Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baptisms and Miracles (posted by mom)

We celebrated two baptisms this past weekend. Because the chapel is under construction, we held them at the bishop's house in a pop-up font. The same, special feeling prevailed as we sang the opening hymn. As I introduced our investigators who were being baptized, my heart was filled with gratitude. One of them has made more sincere changes in his life than anyone else I've known. I was really excited for him to make this covenant with God. At his baptism there was a light in his eyes and a certain smile that I have never seen before. I think I felt a little of what God feels when His children choose to repent.

Yesterday we fasted for Brother Lin. The commitment we gave him was to stay for all three hours of church. Regardless of having much excuse to leave, he stayed the entire time.

Since being on my mission I feel like every time the alarm goes off in the morning, another miracle begins.

Two short stories in particular have increased my faith and have displayed the Lord's blessings in the work we are doing.

One was in my first move call, I prayed daily that I could find and baptize someone, and help them accept this gospel message. In the end, I found two people who were baptized in the same move call. I was so new to the work and I truly felt God heard and answered my prayers. I felt He knew me personally and he knew the people we baptized. God is mindful of us and daily takes care of us; He provides our needs and righteous desires.

Another story was when me and my second companion, decided we would break our personal record for adding investigators in one day and collectively break our companionship record. When we woke up the next day, it was raining. I had heard a lot of things about adding fewer people in the rain, but we prayed and had a firm resolve that we could do it. We went out and challenged EVERYONE we saw to hear the gospel and accept baptism. At the end of the day when we were counting numbers, my companion had crushed his personal record but I was short 2 adds of breaking my record. I was heart broken, but then a thought came to my mind--"reach in your rain coat pocket". I had forgotten about 3 adds that I had put there to protect them from the rain. God had truely blessed me and I was able to add more investigators on a rainy day than I had ever done before that time.

I love missionary work and see miracles every day.
Thank you for all your prayers. Love, Elder Harris

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I am so thankful to be a missionary--my mission has been the best experience of my life, and I still have another year!!

We got our move call this week and I'm excited for another go around in Douliu. It's such a great place! I feel like I've grown up here. I feel like I finally got a grip on the language here. I feel like I actually know the ward members and investigators here. I have learned a lot about myself and leadership here. I love this place--It's a part of me and always will be.

I am also excited to train another missionary. My new companion is really confident. He added 3 people the first day and found us a sit down.
In the short time we've spent together I've learned a lot. Mostly I've learned that everyone is different. New methods need to be used with new people.

Last time we met with Lin Baba, he was PROGRESSING! He said he was reading and praying. He agreed to attend church for 3 hours this next Sunday and agreed to pray with us the next time we meet with him (He still hasn't prayed while we've been there.) We were bold, and he committed himself to action. I'm excited to follow up. I have a feeling that he will keep these commitments. My desire is to see Bro Lin join the church and on the path to be sealed to his family in the temple.

We have two baptisms coming up this week. One is a girl who was brought into the church by her boyfriend. She was ready for a baptismal interview the day we met her. The other is a former investigator. He showed up at church one day and has had a change of heart. He passed his baptismal interview and we are really excited for him!!

I recently refocused my mission on goals. Most of my goals are under the umbrella of becoming a better teacher. I think this is an important way we can influence others for good. I think improving my teaching will help in all phases of the work especially in leadership.

To accomplish this goal, I am striving to have the spirit's constant companionship, developing an increased knowledge of the scriptures, and working on Christlike attributes and teaching skills. I've found that in times when I've needed words the most--a scripture has come to mind. I know that the Lord's promise of giving us the words in the moment we most need it is true, but we, first, need a store of knowledge and scriptural understanding. I am also focusing my personal and language study around this purpose.

This past district training meeting was about teaching people, not lessons. I enjoyed preparing it and sharing what I learned. The conclusion was that, everyone is a brother or sister and if recognized and treated people as such we will have a genuine concern and love for them.

We need to ask ourselves: Do we just go through the motions and get casual in our relations with others? Or do we ask how they are and then really listen to what they say? Do we remember that Brother liao's mom is in the hospital and ask how she is doing? or do we forget?

This is an exciting goal for me and I feel really motivated about it.

Thank you for all you do,
Elder Spencer Harris

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Week in the Life of a Missionary (posted by mom)

This morning we rode our bikes to the very north of our area. It was about a 1 hour bike ride. There is a long red bridge there. Elder Gillespie and I had personal study out on a peninsula in the river. It was quite a sight, a good time to ponder and reflect.

I guess the biggest news this week is I did my first baptismal interview. Also, because our English class can no longer meet at the church we are holding our class in a company's second floor. It's kind of like the school of prophets... In an upper room...

Another exciting things is Brother Lin randomly called me up on Sunday and said he wanted to come to church. I love this guy, he had passed his baptismal interview awhile ago and then came across some commandment problems, and went missing. It was good to see him at church and we really want to help him start progressing again. The other Brother Lin has been out of town so we didn't get the opportunity to teach him this week.

Elder Gillespie ran into a guy the other day who was so touched by our missionary spirit and hard work that he wrote a blog article about it...I thought that was cool. He met with us and we are working with him. We need to help him overcome the problem of work on Sunday.

Move call is this next Monday. This is the first time I haven't been excited about it. I love this area, the people, and my companion.

Zone Conference this past Thursday was about setting goals and making plans. I feel that this is super important.

Elder Harris

Monday, November 8, 2010

What is the difference between good & great? (posted by mom)

This week was great. We went on assistant exchanges. I always learn a lot from exchanges and always come away with a clear idea of how I can repent and improve.

I've been pondering the question what makes a good missionary great? Why was king David in his prime able to expand Israel's kingdom to such an enormous size? Why was Joseph of Egypt able to thrive in any situation? Servitude, prison, second only to pharaoh? What's the difference in a good companionship and a great one? What makes a good district great?

I feel that it has to do something with love, prayer, diligence, desire, and attitude. I plan to continue studying and praying about this, and I plan to listen with my spiritual ears at Zone Conference to find the answers.

Right now, we still have the Chen Baba on board. He is so good. We meet with him 3-4 times a week. He has time in the evening so sometimes we stop by and sometimes we meet at the church. He knows the bishop and has a really good member friend Li Dixiong. We are excited about him. He works at a slower pace, but he makes the right decisions and when he is committed, he does it. He still needs a little time. We know he will make the right decision.

I love that God always blesses us when we make sacrifices to overcome bad habits. When someone stops smoking--God fills that hole with a testimony so perfect and pure. They are filled with spiritual strength. When someone abandons a sexual sin, virtue and spirit will quickly fill that hole. When someone sacrifices to come to church, their life aligns--spiritually and temporally. When someone digs a hole in their wallet to pay tithing, it's filled with a feeling of divine protection and security--this person will be filled with a deep commitment to God and his church.

Life's great, I love my companion, and I love the work. I love the people. I feel as though we walk with God.

I know miracles are possible; I know hundreds could be baptized here in Douliu.
We are working hard and the Lord is blessing us.

Love, Elder Harris