Sunday, August 28, 2011

Exchanges and Visiting Authorities (posted by mom)

I got a new companion on Monday. He is originally from Hong Kong, and more recently from Washington Utah. We get along really well. He works hard, is really humble and willing to sacrifice for the mission. He has attended BYU and is in the Utah Coast Guard.

We hit the streets hard this week, exchanging with missionaries every day except Friday. I enjoy talking with missionaries about what is going on in their work. Some missionaries really struggle and some really thrive. It is a special thing if we can have an open conversation about it, and I can offer suggestions as needed and requested by the missionaries.

Friday was a special day; Brother Adrian Ochoa came to the island for a island wide youth conference. He stopped by our mission and gave a talk in the north and in the south about what he feels successful missionaries do, and gave us seven points for future study and thought.

Be One with Christ
Be One with your companion
Be One with the bishop
Take responsibility
Develop Perfect Faith

His presentation in the north was very different from the one in the south, but all the same points were covered. I felt each was custom fit to the needs of the missionaries in the room. I knew missionaries in each group and some of the struggles they are going through and those struggles were touched on in the things that Brother Achoa said.

My companion and I ended up driving Brother Huang, an area 70, and Elder Jensen and his wife, the Area President, around the city to a few places they needed to go. It was kind of a scary thing, I am not that familiar with the city, and we ended up taking a few wrong turns, but we still made it in a timely manner.

It was a great week. Thank you for your prayers! Elder Spencer Harris

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The 1st Baptism on Jinmen Island! a lost passport and another baptism (posted by mom)

On Saturday, we went to Jinmen. It was a very sweet experience. Brother Huang, the man who we were meeting with on webcam over the internet, was baptized. My companion and I had the opportunity to go over there and be witnesses to his baptism. He is the 1st person baptized on this island. It was a very special day for the members on Jinmen. I have included pictures of the Jinmen branch of Brother Huang and his family.

We also had Combined District Training Meetings and Interviews in the south. It was fun to see the missionaries who I have served with before. They are all out there working hard and helping others come unto Christ. While President Bishop is interviewing the missionaries my companion and I do planner-checks. It is a lot of fun. A good planner will have a plan every half-hour, it will have back-up plans for each main plan, it will have daily lesson plans, goals, follow-ups, and other information recorded in an orderly fashion in the back. I really like doing planner checks. If done the right way, it can become a heart to heart conversation about what the missionary is accomplishing and where they feel they can most improve. It is always fun to listen, discuss matters important to them, and offer suggestions.

My companion and I were assigned to take a missionary to the airport so he could go to the MTC and pick up another missionary to bring back to the mission. We couldn’t find the passport for the elder that was going to the MTC (in the Philippines). In the end, the Elders in our mission office found it and drove it up to us. It was close, but the elder made his flight.

After that we went to Tainan as fast as we could because my companion's former investigator Brother Shir was scheduled to be baptized. We were running late so we took the high-speed rail, and then a taxi to the chapel. It was really close, but we made it with 5 minutes to spare. After the Baptism we took a bus back to Taizhong. Brother Shir is a really special brother, he has known the church since 1992, but not only until recently did he make the choice to get baptized. It was a very sweet experience.

Elder Spencer Harris

Monday, August 15, 2011

Meeting my recent converts at the temple (posted by mom)

My companion had a recent convert going to the temple for her personal endowment, so we got to go to the temple in Taipei to be there with her. What a neat and special experience. While we were there I got to see some of my beloved Gangshan friends in the temple. After the session, I ran into 4 of my recent converts!! What a fulfilling experience that was. They are full active members--really apart of the church/ward family and they are going to the temple to worship God. These are some of the pictures I took with them.

The other highlight of the week was helping with the combined district training meetings (CDTM). We go from zone to zone to help in training and working with the missionaries. The zone leaders prepare a training, and the mission president teaches. Afterward, the president does interviews and the assistants and zone leaders do planner and area book checks. It is a really fun experience. It is a lot of opportunity each day to get to know missionaries and feel of their love for the work. It is a chance to share effective missionary methods and help to resolve problems and challenges they are facing.

Our President has been teaching us about mighty prayer. It is really special because each time he teaches it, he does it differently. I feel he really tires to think of each zone and it's members and then teach to their needs and as the spirit directs him. My companion and I are the lucky ones because we get to see it every time and hear all of president's insights. One thing I like that he shares frequently is from Jacob 4:10. Don't seek to council the Lord, but take council from his hand.

Have a wonderful week. Elder Spencer Harris

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Grateful for the Atonement (posted by mom)

This last week we just had move call. It is the time where we take missionaries home. On Monday we stay around the office and help things run smoothly. We make sure the missionaries are to their interviews on time and we help set up their career work shop as well as their evening devotional. The returning missionaries always look so noble.

On Tuesday we take the missionaries to the temple, then to the Taibei 101, and finally to the airport where they take the great transfer to the sky (in an airplane).

I had a special experience in the temple that I wanted to share with you, but it needs a little bit of background:

On my 4th transfer on island, I had a local companion. He is a great missionary! He speaks English very well and he is very smart. On that particular transfer he moved into the area, and I had been in the area for 3 months at that point. I felt like I had a good grip on missionary work and a good understanding of the area. I was a little stubborn, proud and controlling of the work at that time. I have felt bad about that situation and since that time I have tried to make things better. I have written him letters, and I have prayed and asked God for forgiveness and for help to make things right. Often people will advise missionaries to not have any regrets on their missions, and I was really regretting this. I was so happy to run into this brother in the temple. We talked for a little bit about life and how things were going. He is currently serving his mandatory military service. (He ended just this week.) After talking briefly we split so he could attend a session in Chinese and I, a session in English. We met up again in the Celestial room where we talked in hushed tones about our recent converts in Dakeng. There is one boy in particular, who we were unsure if he would continue to remain active. But his one boy kept coming to church, riding his bike, and now he has the Aaronic priesthood. We talked about other investigators we taught and about our own personal spiritual growth. Outside the temple he came and found me; he wanted to take a picture with me. After we took a picture we had another brief time to talk, and I was able to apologize for my hardheartedness. We worked it out. I am so grateful for the atonement which covers our sins. I am grateful God is merciful enough to grant me the privilege to tie up this loose end in my life. I am grateful that I now have another friend in Taiwan.

I know this church is true and God is always there for us.

Elder Spencer Harris