Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stake Conference (posted by mom)

Today was interesting, we attended a stake conference that was about 1/4 live and 3/4pre-recorded. It started and ended with a choir and a stake presidency direction, but the middle they showed a pre-recording of Elder Scott, Brother Osglthorpe?, Sister Dibb, Bishop Burton?, and the Asia Area President Elder Perkins. All of their talks were inspiring and just what the area needs. We had an investigator at church, (which is a big deal for our time-limited companionship.)

This week President Bishop opened a new district (Jiayi District). It is pretty exciting! The size of the district is such that it can soon become a stake. There is a good strong presence of priesthood brothers in that area. The members in Taiwan work really hard to further the church.

Tomorrow, I move--back to the deep south in Gaoxiong to a place called Xiaogang. My companion and I will be opening this area, so there is a little pressure to get out and baptize, but I am way excited.

Love you all. Thank you for your prayers and love.

Elder Spencer Harris

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A great week! (posted by mom)

This was a great week. Monday, as usual, was spent in the office. We picked up a big book of mormon that we had made for our investigator. This investigator is a Brother Ye. He has a hard time seeing, so we had a book of mormon printed large-size so he could read it.

Tuesday I exchanged over to Donghai where we had a fun day contacting and were able to sit down with a few members.

On Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder X, an Elder from my MTC district. We are good friends and we had a fun day preaching the gospel together. He is just a really happy missionary, and I was grateful for his example. He loves this work. While I was with him we went and visited someone I helped get baptized in my second area (Taizhong Beitun). Her name is Sister Zhuang. She had cancer and is currently in the hospital. Her condition is really bad, and she is probably in the hospital for the extent. She was happy to see us and cried. It was a special moment to see them again (her and her husband). I was impressed by her positive attitude. She was still joking around with us, just as she always has. Her high spirits lifted me in our brief visit.

Thursday was Specialized training. (A training meeting for Trainers and Trainees at the end of their first movecall.) First we held it in the north and then went to the south. My companion and I got in some pretty slow traffic and were late to the meeting in the south. But the overall feeling of the meetings was good, and President Bishop masterfully taught us how to teach with discernment.

Friday was a fun day because I got to go back and visit my beloved land of douliu. While we were there we had weekly planning session. I went through old records and made them a list of all the former investigators who I thought had potential and made a list for them. The list was one page (front and back), I sure hope they can set up with some of those people and see them get baptized, especially Chen Baba. I called Chen baba while we were down there and he said that his dad is sick and dying. It is a sad thing, but I think this experience will soften Brother Chen's heart and prepare him to hear the gospel.

Saturday, we took a preparation day of sorts. We wanted to bike up Taiping mountains for our exercise. We called President Bishop for permission, and he said, where are you right now? can I go with you? So all three of us went up taiping mountains. It was a long, beautiful trail and for part of the time, it down-poured. At noon we went to my "leaving the office" lunch. I chose Subway. In the evening we had a baptism for the English branch. It wasn't a convert baptism, but we helped get the clothes and we helped fill up the font. There was something wrong with the water pressure in the church and so it took extra long to fill up the font...too long. We had to wait about 1/2 hour to start the service. In the end the water pressure returned to normal and we got the font filled. It was pretty miraculous. We resorted to using hoses and buckets. The water was really cold, but the kids were baptized anyway. It was a neat experience for the families involved.

Today we attended church. I helped translate for two stake high councilors who came to visit our branch. It was a fun experience, but there were a few times where I had to use my own words or just give the general idea of what they said. Our friend Verhilio has passed his baptismal interview and is scheduled to be baptized in the coming weeks.

I love each of you! Elder Spencer Harris

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Standards of Excellence

Thank you for your birthday wishes! I did have a good birthday. Elder Gluch called me and wished me a happy birthday. (I called him today and wished him a happy birthday.) To celebrate we watched conference and went out and preached the gospel.

Each week is full of exciting events and changes. This past week we had zone leader council. We talked about where the mission is headed and things we can do to increase baptism as well as retention. President Bishop brought up the idea of setting standards of excellence. We discussed some standards that would challenge missionaries and raise their vision of the possiblities. President Bishop is still pondering and praying over this and he will send out an email tomorrow informing missionaries of these standards.

This last week I got to go on an exchange with my first trainee--Elder X. (He is training right now.) It was fun to take the passenger seat on the exchange and follow him. He is a really good missionary who is focused on his purpose. He loves this work, and he is very diligent. I am proud of the missionary he is and the missionary he is becoming.

We are trying something new this week for our exchanges. One of us goes to an area and we bring one of the missionaries from that area here to our area. It is easy to do for when the exchange is close by. It has been fun, and we have seen many miracles already. In a matter of a few days, we have found 8 new investigators! It has been a great blessing.

Our recent convert over in Jinmen is doing well. Yesterday when we video-messaged with him, he told us that he had been reading in the prestood lesson manual and saw a portion about priesthood line of authoritiy. He wanted to know if we could help him get a hold of his priesthood line of authority. What a solid recent convert!

Thanks for the birthday wishes. Elder Spencer Harris

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Zone Conference & Letters to Converts

Today was special, I got to meet with mom's Taiwanese friends--Sister Annie Jiang and the Cai family. They were so kind to me and gave me some cakes and other gifts. It was fun to be able to COMMUNICATE with them. haha. It was interesting to find out that the cai family is from jinmen. They were excited to hear about what we are doing with the the members and investigators there.

This past week was Zone conference. My companion and I taught on effective principles of contacting. President Bishop talked on the importance of covenants and what you can expect from your mission. There really is only one expectation that we can have, and that is to do our very best and trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises. President Bishop talked about how we can know we are a successful missionary from those things listed on Page 10 of Preach My Gospel.

This week I went on an exchanges to two areas. The first was in Nantou: there is a big mountain that they run up for exercise. It was quite the work-out. I had a fun day spent with them. They have some good investigators. Second exchange was in Xinying. That was also a fun exchange. I feel like I was able to help the elders there. We met with a Filipino investigator who is Catholic. He is such a humble man, and he has a great testimony in Jesus Christ. He is just a little hesitant to get baptized. We invited him to come up to Taizhong to attend church in English with us. So today he took a 2+ hour train ride up from Xinying to attend church with us. I think he had a really spiritual experience. I wish we would have invited him to be baptized on a specific date right after church was out. It would have been a great time!

My language study as of late is writing letters to my recent converts. I have a lot of motivation to get them done. I really want these people who I have taught, and who I love so much, to endure to the end and get sealed to their families in the temple. I figure a letter isn't much, but it conveys a lot of love and is a good way to invite someone to read the scriptures or pray.

Thank you for everything. Elder Spencer Harris