Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stars and Dots (posted by mom)

Thanks for the prayers, the prayers, the prayers, the love and support, and the prayers.

I think I've been letting myself get stressed out a little too much lately. This past week, I tried to not let the dots and stars stick to me. I tried to talk to everyone I met and just tried to be a little more cheerful. I tried to hold up a clear banner and some people answered the call.

The times when I was refused, I let those dots slide off. The times I felt I had done something special, I let those stars slide too. It was a prayer process. I tried to do as king Benjamin invites in Mosiah 4:11-12 and tried to remember my nothingness before God and retain a remission of my sins. This kind of existence was more joyous and happy.

It's odd how we get in these patterns of thinking that what we do makes a difference. Clearly God requires our all, but that is not the main requirement for success. A broken heart and a contrite spirit, humility and meekness, charity and faith give our words and actions meaning and power. When we realize this, things just happen on their own; and more often than not, the blessings come with little or no correlation to our focused efforts.

Elder Gillespie and I are having fun getting to know some less-actives. Not many people have the privilege that we have of being born in the covenant and having the blessings of eternity before us at the moment we take our first breath.

I love you lots. I pray for you too.

Elder Spencer Harris

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Typhoon and Some Great Investigators (posted by mom)

I love this work. We had a Typhoon here yesterday. They cancelled church. It was bad in the morning as far as wind goes, but in the afternoon it was the eye of the storm. Then in the late afternoon we got the end of the storm, but it wasn/t as strong as had been predicted but everyone was still worried, and no one was on the street.

We are excited about some investigators right now. This week I had, what I consider, a powerful insight. That insight was that regardless of how many people we have investigating the church, I always have an investigator with me 24/7. That would be my trainee. After this realization, I found myself riding a little faster and striving to be more focused. I found that I was praying more often, using the scriptures more, striving for a cheerful attitude, pointing out the successes, and being more thankful.

We truly have been blessed. One day we had one investigator call us up and tell us she was at the church. We were able to get a member there and share the importance of the restoration. The spirit was there, and she came ready to learn. She understood much of the depth and importance of prophets and the restoration. She agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was true. She has cancer and I felt to promise her that in those times of pain and discomfort, if she prayed with faith in Jesus Christ she could receive power to endure and comfort from the pain.

The same day we went to meet with a Mr. Zhang. His family loves us and have encouraged us to continue meeting with him. When we taught him, he was very somber and I believe he was touched by the atonement and my companion's simple, pure testimony. We found out that he had been divorced just a little under a year ago.

Also the experience we are having with the Lin part-member family has truly been a revelatory experience. I've been learning the power of the promise in 1 Nephi 10:19 about seeking and finding. I've prayed daily for this man for around a month or more. Two times ago meeting with this family, he was in a bad mood and kept getting up and walking around. I knew it was deliberate and a pain entered my heart--it was hard to continue sharing something so sacred and personal to someone was wasn't listening. At one point I thought of saying, "Maybe now isn't a good time, you two seem busy, maybe we can come back tomorrow."

I said a prayer.

In that moment, the spirit distinctly told me, "Just get to the restoration." As the lesson neared that point, he sat down and focused for a moment. My companion started to recite the first vision. I hadn't heard him mess up before, but this time there were some struggles. Brother Lin helped him with his Chinese and soon the recitation turned into my companion saying a portion and Brother Lin repeating. The spirit came, his heart softened. I felt brother Lin realize that we are in the same spot his son is in (on a mission), and I felt how he wished people would listen to what his son had to say--I saw this change happen on his face and in his heart. The lesson ended well and on a much higher note than it started. As we left the door, the spirit gave me the next, clearly distinct piece of inspiration. From the time I left the door of their home to the time I got to my bike, I knew exactly what I needed to do for the next lesson. The spirit brought to mind a deeply personal experience of mine that needed to be shared.

Throughout the week, I had plenty of time to practice sharing the experience to myself, I did it in English, I did it in Chinese, I practiced it as I lay in bed, I practiced during my prayers. By the time the next visit came around and the time came to share, the spirit filled the room and attended my words. They listened intently, I cried, and they were touched.

We gave the invitation to be baptized and found out about brother Lin's current concern. (undisclosed) As much as this seems like a dead end, I know that the spirit will continue do direct this process. Brother Lin's wife has worked with him for over 20 years. Her faith his very strong. I know there is a happy ending to this story and I'm excited to see what the Lord has planned and how the spirit will continue to direct my companion and I as we work and pray for him.

I love you all. Keep being all that I know you are!

Elder Harris

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eternal Families (posted by mom)

I'm so greatful for our eternal family. What a HUGE blessing it is. Not a week goes by that members don't express their gratitued or desire for an Eternal Family (yonghengjiating) or Momomon Family (momenjiating).

We met with three part-member families this week and they all came to church. We are going to meet with another husband of a part-member family on Tuesday. I'm excited that God has given Elder Gillespie and I an opportunity to work with part member families. Our plan of action: HELP THEM FEEL LOVED. We are going to create opportunities to stop by, have members meet and friendship them, and help them keep commitments and grow in their testimony, faith, and desire. We are going to continue to be bold.

Here are a few scriptures that really help me as a missionary: Alma 36:24-25 helps me find joy in the work. Alma 16:14 helps me have the courage to talk to everyone to find that person who is willing to listen. 3 nephi 5:13 helps me remember what the ultimate goal of missionary work is--Eternal Life.
I love you all, Elder Harris