Saturday, June 25, 2011

My First Week In BeiQu (posted by mom)

This past week was unlike any other week of my mission. I have a new companion; he is great. He loves this work like no one else does. He is very good at inspiring other missionaries to do their best. He is also very smart. He is a Math Major at BYU. I know I can learn a lot from him in the coming months.

On Monday we were busy in the office and helped out with the returning missionaries' fireside.

Tuesday, we took the returning missionaries to the temple, the Taibei 101, and then to the airport. It was sad to see such amazing people and such amazing missionaries going home. They all left the mission stronger than they found it. Many of them I served with, and I am excited about their futures.

On Wednesday, we got caught up on things in the office, and spent a considerable amount of time cleaning up the apartment. President Bishop really wants us to be the example of cleanliness, so it was good that we cleaned up. It really does look a lot better.

Thursday we started exchanges. Exchanges are really fun. It is a great opportunity to learn from other missionaries, learn about the mission on the front line, and teach them methods that will help them be successful in all phases of the work.

Exchanges are usually Monday through Saturday, minus mission meetings or other events. It is a lot of fun, and it is also exhausting. Thursday, we contacted a lot and met with some recent converts. On of the missionaries in that companionship is in the Army; he invited me to do a work out with them. It was a really good work out--I'm still sore. :) On Friday, we had the special opportunity to pass someone on their baptismal interview. Then on Saturday, I had the opportunity to exchange with my past companion (Now Zone Leader). We had a blast and had a good talk about the mission focus and leadership.

Saturday was also fun because we had an opportunity to go with President Bishop to do a training of Ward mission leaders and ward missionaries. My companion and I presented a training on bearing testimony of The Book of Mormon. We feel that it was well accepted. President Bishop gave a good training.

Today we will attend church with the English branch. It will be an interesting experience. I had a chance to drive yesterday very briefly, but it felt pretty natural, I don't think driving will be a problem.

Thank you for your love, encouragement, emails, letters, and mostly, thank you for your prayers. I pray for you too!

Elder Spencer Harris

Monday, June 20, 2011

Move Day and a New Assignment (posted by mom)

As you have already heard, the dynamics of my mission have changed a little bit. I was asked by President Bishop to be an Assistant to the President.

It has been a pretty crazy day. There has been a lot going on with move-day and missionaries going home. I haven't really had time to soak in what's going on. However, I know that I will learn many things from this new assignment; I also know that I am going to have many opportunities to serve others and grow. I'll let you know more next week.

I love you 300! Elder Spencer B. Harris

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Baptism (posted by mom)

We just had an investigaor Brother Hong get baptized. He was a special one. A trainee found him on an exchange with my companion. He said he would possibly come to church. In the end, he did come to church, and they talked about something that he needed to hear in priesthood. He came for two more consecutive weeks and got baptized. He is a really busy person, but he made time to learn and embrace the gospel. We don't feel like we did anything. He was truly prepared to accept baptism. The second week he came to church, he wore a suit, and he has every week since. He was really anxious to pay his tithing. He gave a great testimony.

Another recent convert was praying for a job. He found one, and he truly believes it is a direct answer to prayer. That one is brother Zhao. His job is the night shift, but he is still willing to come to church and attend. It is great to see people come to church and accept Jesus Christ.

Elder Spencer Harris

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Baptisms & My Testimony (posted by mom)

One of our investigators was baptized this week, Brother Zhao. He has made big changes in life. It has been wonderful to see him change.

My Witness:

I have a firm testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This testimony did not come to me in an instant; it has come line upon line, precept upon precept as I strive to obey God's commandments, study the scriptures, and pray sincerely (2 Nephi 28:30). The strength of that testimony has come over time through consistent, daily effort and by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Because of this testimony, I know that God really loves us. He is our Heavenly Father. As a part of his 'Plan of Salvation', He sends us to earth and gives us our earthly families. He desires for us to do all we can to return to Him. He wants us to prepare our families to become eternal families--to live together, forever, in his presence.

God truly gives us all the means necessary to succeed in this life, obtain our righteous desires, and receive eternal life. Through prophets, he reveals his plan of happiness for us. He also calls prophets in these latter-days, and through the prophet Joseph Smith, restored the gospel and church of Jesus Christ.

At age twelve I have my first recollection of receiving a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of this gospel. While attending a priesthood session conference at our meetinghouse, everyone in the audience stood up to sing the rest hymn. The song was 'Praise to the Man'--a song about the prophet Joseph Smith. As we sang, our voices filled the room with a volume I unexpected. I felt that if my spiritual eyes were opened, I would have seen concourses of heavenly messengers singing the same tune. But what ultimately impressed me was not the volume; it was the still, small voice of the Spirit testifying to my heart and mind giving me a certain knowledge and witness that God truly called Joseph Smith as a prophet in these latter-days (1 Kings 19:11-12, Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3).

I know that President Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet, and he has all the authority and priesthood keys to direct the kingdom of God on the earth. I know he leads us by the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He is the Only Begotten Son of God. I know His atoning sacrifice is real because I have felt His atoning power remove my burden of sin and replace my feelings of guilt and sorrow with those of peace, love, and forgiveness.

God boldly declares unto us "that there is on other name given nor any other means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." (Mosiah 3:17)

This is the doctrine of Christ, His gospel--the good news! This is the way selected by our Heavenly Father and agreed to by each of us in the grand council of heaven before the world was created.

Now in mortality, we do not decide the way--we discover and follow the course already established by our Father in Heaven and shown unto us by Jesus Christ:

"And [Christ] said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?

"And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.

"And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do." (2 Nephi 31:10-12)

Narrow is the gate and straight is the path that leads to eternal life (2 Nephi 31:9,17-18). The gate is baptism. It takes sincere seeking, study, and prayer to know the truth of these things, and it takes humility to heed God's command to believe in Jesus Christ, repent, and be baptized.

I thank God for the promises and blessing extended to us through this covenant of baptism. My decision to accept baptism started me on a life-long journey of spiritual growth. My belief in God and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints deepens each day.

This testimony helps me find peace in the storms of life. In times of trial or when facing challenges, the gospel reminds me of my eternal destination and gives me faith in the course marked by our Heavenly Father. (Psalms 23)

In addition to strength in times of trial, my deepest joys and greatest successes in life stem from participation in this restored gospel of Jesus Christ. God truly grants us the sincere desires of our hearts (3 Nephi 14:7-8). I have learned that God's timing is always correct, and his promises are sure.

I finds great satisfaction and fulfillment in life at this time when I can devote all my time, efforts, and talents to help build God's Kingdom on the earth.

I hope to assist my Taiwanese brothers and sisters embrace the glorious principles and exalting ordinances of the restored gospel, and by thus doing, share eternal joy with them.

I bear witness of the truthfulness of this work and the power and wisdom of God, our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

--Elder Spencer Brian Harris