Called to Serve in the Peru Piura Mission

Monday, October 27, 2014

Talara & Elder Martinez


Oh my word! It sounds like you guys have had such a crazy week! KENZIE WENT ON A DATE #what?!?! ahh that’s awesome! Was it for the school or what? What’s the boy’s name? How did it go?  Tell dad to let her kiss some boys.. she needs to start soon if she’s going catch up to us 3 :) 

We don’t celebrate Halloween here. It’s not a big deal and I never was that into it anyways. I totally forgot this week was Brayden Matheson’s wedding! How did it go? And Maddi’s? Tell them I’m sorry I missed it, but I was a little busy.  Also I’ve already met Tanner at Tyler’s wedding. Definitely a good guy. That’s awesome I’m super happy for them!

Dang.. I miss yard work. I just wish I could come back for one day just so I could help. Ahh I miss our yard.

Well.. I left the CCM this week and our last soccer game on the nice turf field. It was definitely bittersweet and I made sure to end my last goal with a bicycle kick. Elder Beidlman and I made sure to kiss the field good-bye as we left. It was tough saying good-bye to all the people especially our teachers. Our last time seeing them they just told us how much they loved us ect. They really meant a lot to me considering how much they helped me and how much time we spent together. Our last night at the CCM we had our tie trade and I got some sick new ones. It was tough saying good-bye to the Elders going to the other missions but hey.. 2 years. Beidleman, Haws, Ayala and I all gave each other blessings in the bathroom on the last night.  It was super cool.

We got up at 3:30 like I told you that morning and headed to Piura. We saw this lady hiding in the bed of a truck in a potato bag. It was funny. Then I got to talk to you and we were off.  I slept most of the plane ride.  This place is a desert and it’s hot. The president and some missionaries were there to pick us up. The mission home is absolutely beautiful. I also got to proselyte with one of the leader missionaries. Elder Melo from Ecuador. We went to San Pedro in Piura. It’s pretty run down. We taught this lessen to these 2 Hermana’s and they didn’t have a ceiling and only dirt floors. Thye had absolutely nothing. They gave us some food and it was in this glass jar and it had like the consistency of boogers - with chunks. It was horrible but we ate all of it though, and we were grateful.

We then went to a meeting and got our new areas. I’m in Talara! It’s BEAUTIFUL.  I’m right on the beach – it’s literally a 2 minute walk from my apartment and it’s amazing. They have a ton of crabs everywhere and we found a dead seal last week on the shoreline. A month ago, a member found a dead shark and he pulled out all the teeth and wears them around his neck. haha pretty sick. Talara is the most west city in South America. Pretty awesome. I don’t actually live in the city though... I live about 20 minutes away but we have to come to the city for everything.  And where we live.. well... yeah it’s not much.

My new companion is Elder Martinez from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He’s super cool.  Like you said he’s pretty tall - about 6’ 4”.  He speaks a little English - but not much. He’s a straight clown, and I think he has memory loss because when we pray together... we usually switch off but he goes ummmmmmm I think it’s you. EVERY TIME.  I just smile and do it :)  His accent his really thick and hard to understand but we communicate well. He’s a super hard worker and just a good guy. 

Our room is.... wonderful :) It’s not much. We have a tin roof and concrete floor. We don’t even have a mirror. Ahh man.. you guys have got to see our shower!  It’s a barrel with a PVC pipe that trickles water out. It’s hilarious. Oh by the way, ITS FREEZING. Ice cold.  It’s miserable every morning. Our toilet is literally right under the shower so you gotta wipe off the toilet too. It’s dope. Sometimes we just use a rag to clean ourselves just because it’s easier.

 It’s really hard being here. This first week has been the hardest week yet.  It’s super frustrating because it’s straight Spanish all the time. No English.  I don’t understand much when they talk 300 miles per hour.  As far as the food ... oh man it’s hilarious. It’s just bread all day.  For breakfast, bread or sometimes we just don’t have any food so we just say whatever. We have a huge lunch though every day. Like huge. It’s soup and rice. Oh yeah this is the best part - PLANTS. We eat plants. Like what? Like cactus. I’m telling you guys it’s the weirdest thing. No wonder I’ve had diarriah for the past week. Dinner is usually noodles or bread. haha

The people here are amazing though .. for real.  I already love all the members. We got to give a blessing to our Relief Society President a couple days ago. In Spanish! Boom! She’s got the cutest little kid - Nathan. Seriously everyone here has a little kid and they are ADORABLE.  I would adopt one if I could, not kidding. The members always give us food too but usually it’s just horrible. We always have to gulp it down with our drink but were grateful :)  There’s this guy named Polly. He’s hilarious. He’s 80 years old and soo animated.  We also we went to a birthday party of one of the members. Her name is Pierina and she’s 10.  Ahh it was great.  Evaline is awesome and were teaching the Peña family right now. They have a son that always comes with us. He’s 19 and a great guy. Ahh man I could just go on and on about the members. 

The girls here love us. I’ll just straight up say it. We call them snakes! hahaha.  All the girls here give us dead fish handshakes. Pretty funny. Also everyone always asks me to pray. They love hearing me speak in Spanish because they think it’s hilarious to make fun of me. haha  We had our first Sunday here and there were probably 10 people there at start time.  Then around 9:45 about 20 more people rolled in.  There’s about 30 in our ward and they asked me to bear my testimony in Spanish. It went pretty good.

Our Penchenista is great. She’s super old and her name is Hermana Veto.  All my shirts are already yellow btw.

This area isn’t bad though. For real. You can tell how bad an area is by the roads and this place has some rock roads.  You can also tell by the houses. There’s all sorts in this area. The best houses have concrete everything. The second best have brick houses with tin roofs and then the worst have dirt floors, wood houses, and a tin for the ceiling or no ceiling at all.  We see it all here.

So funny story, we hiked over this sand mountain to get to this house and when we got there, E Martinez informed me that she was crazy. Anyways when we got there we heard this lady screaming a prayer. It freaked me out and her kids were crazy too. They were throwing rocks at us. IDK - it was weird.  They live right next to this cemetery ... 

It’s super humbling to be here and see what these people have.  I seriously feel guilty having all this crap. It’s hard to adjust to the culture. I definitely have some culture shock. I go to bed absolutely filthy every night just because there’s no other option. It really is hard to live amongst these people but I really am doing great.  My Spanish is getting a lot better since I have to speak it all the time. I’m even picking up an Argentinian accent so maybe I’ll be able to understand Cody when he gets home.  All the other elders make fun of me because I talk with it occasionally.

I hope you guys are doing great. I’ve been thinking about you guys a lot this week. I miss you! I’ll talk to you next week

Love you!

-Elder Harris IV

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Made it to Piura!

Family!  I guess this is my email for the week.  I just wanted to let you guys know that I made it it safely to Piura.  I love it here already!  But they weren't kidding when they said it's hot, OH MY WORD.  I never thought that there would be a city in a desert.  I stand corrected.

We made it to the mission home and it's absolutely beautiful.  I think we're staying the night here and we find out who our companions and areas are tomorrow.  It was great talking to you guys today and I hope you have a great week!  I'll talk to you again on Monday!

Love you!
Elder Harris

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Time to Leave the CCM


Oh man I loved all the emails! Sounds like you guys are having a ton of fun at home! I LOVED the pictures. Seriously, keep sending them! 

This week flew by . . . it feels like I just barely emailed you guys. Not much happened this week.. except that I really miss your food mom.  This rice every day, every meal is really getting to me. haha   Speaking of food, I found a hair in my eggs yesterday haha.  Also, we eat this fruit every day called Granada I think, look it up.. it looks like brains.

Pday was sick last week. We were on the bus and the bus drivers are crazy so he slammed on the brakes and everyone just kinda fell on the bus. haha.. yeah.. real personal with the Peruvians. The temple was amazing though.. like always.  Today was the last time I get to go for the next 2 years... kinda stinks but I’m ready to get to Piura.  We also bought some drinks. It’s called Tampico.  It’s 3 liters for 3 soles which is like a dollar. Everything is so cheap.

Also, my Spanish teacher added me on Instagram! Look for him, his name is Gabriel Davalos. Have fun :) haha  Another one of my teachers name is Hermana Coca. So I always call her Hermana Coca Cola so she thinks it’s funny to call me ¨Harris Potter.  Now all Latinos call me that too. haha But for real the teachers are awesome... they teach us a ton of Spanish and a ton of life lessons.  Yesterday, my companion Elder Ayala asked me the verb to shave cause he wanted to ask the teacher if he shaved his arms... so I told him it was afeitarse - which is correct. But the funny part is, I told him to say: Puedo afeitarse sus brosos? Which means.. can i shave your arms? Everyone in the district laughed and laughed. Ayala didn’t think it was too funny but were getting along fine.  We have our occasional arguments but we overall like each other.  We play a lot of jokes on him at night. Like we always put fruit in his bed.. it’s so funny to us because he gets so mad when he climbs into bed at night.   Speaking of Ayala... a couple days ago he was so tired that he literally fell out of the top bunk bed onto the ground. I was so worried I thought he broke his arm or something.. but he just moaned for a couple minutes and got up.  So we give him a hard time now.. I wish you guys could have seen it.

It rained here! well... mist.  It doesn’t rain here.  But it was glorious. We all went outside and danced in the rain.  The same night there was a party across the street so we all sat at the window and listened to the music and watched the party. Wishful thinking but we have a lot of parties here so it’s all good.  Like THe order of the Tie. Everyone raps and we have a good time. We dress up and get pimped out.  I’ll send pics later.

The zone leader stuff is killer. We have so much work but I’m happy doing it because more blessings right? We get to spend a lot of time with the Latinos and we got to teach them English a couple times this week and it was soo funny.  They’re so bad and their accents are hilarious but we’re supportive. I’m sure they say the same thing about us when we speak Spanish.  Speaking of Spanish, mine is getting better. It’s still frustrating but it’s coming.  Today at p day when we were in the city, we decided to do some contacting and we tried to talk to this guy but we didn’t know what he was saying so we just bore our testimonies.  At the end he said, “I just want my lunch”.  so..... yeah, I don’t know.

One of the Latinos in our room had a birthday yesterday. He turned 25 so we all rounded up some stuff and got him a birthday present. We got him 4 ties and some drinks and treats. He was SOOO PUMPED. Ahh it was soo good to see that. He has a crazy story... all the missionaries do. Even the Americans have crazy stories. I wish you guys could hear all of them. 

Anyways.. I’m doing great. Not much happened this week.  There’s nothing to worry about over here in Peru. My Spanish is coming and I just learned there’s 86 different ways to conjugate ¨"to be" sooooo yeah.

I’m getting nervous to go to Piura but I’m also so excited to get out of here. It just feels like school all day every day so I just want to get out and actually feel like I’m doing something.  I leave Tuesday morning at 4 am.  I might be able to call home so if I do, it should probably be around 5 am your time.  That’s because I have to drive to the airport and get through all the security.  So is that something you want to do? I know that it’s early so let me know. :)

If you’re sending me a package soon, I’d really appreciate some toothpaste. The stuff they have here sucks.  And deodorant. I still have some but it runs out quickly, and Tums and Advil and face wash. If you have some :) thanks mom.... love youuuu. Also, can you send the pic of my mission plaque when it’s done and my setting apart blessing. Thanks!

Whats new at home? What are all my homies doing? Keep me updated on everyone in the family and their lives. I want to hear about it because they never email me.

Also, because I’m flying out to Piura, I won’t have a p day next week so you won’t hear from me for 2 weeks. I hope that’s okay. Well... I guess you don’t have a choice.

Everything here is great, I’m loving my mission so much and I can’t believe I’ve already been out here for 5 weeks.  It feels like I barely left you guys.

I hope all is well at home.  I had a dream that McKenzie died so that was a nice reassurance when she didn’t.  Anyways.. miss you guys like crazy. Always praying for you.

I love you and I’ll talk to you in a couple weeks!

- Elder Harris 1111

Thursday, October 9, 2014

News this Week


It’s been an awesome week! Yeah I’m definitely getting used to the food... I just try and mix it up all the time.  You’d be surprised at what we put in our rice... hot sauce, onions and tomatoes... all of it. But hey sounds like you guys had a killer week!! I imagined all the stuff you guys were doing on Kenzie’s birthday and I got a little homesick but I’m still doing good.  Why am i not surprised you went to Texas Roadhouse?:)  haha   

I can’t believe I’ve already been out here for a month! The weeks seem like days here.  I’m so busy all the time that’s probably why.  Dang I wish you could see my life here. It’s amazing.

Some news this week:  I’m the new zone leader.  The president said were over like 70 missionaries.  It’s a super cool opportunity, just a lot of extra work.  I’m excited though.  Everyone always looks at me to be the example though and its tough sometimes.  But i get some perks as well.  I had the opportunity to welcome some latinos and show them around the campus.  I watched all of them say goodbye to their families at the gate so that was a little hard cause it made me think of you guys.. but I reassured their families that they were in good hands :)  We got to take all the new Americans to breakfast the next day as well.. they’re all pretty shook up and nervous.. (as I can imagine I was the first day) so we laughed and joked all day to make it feel a little more like home.  We held a meeting for them and we shared all types of stories and shared advice for them... it takes a lot of time to be a zone leader. geez.

We got 2 new latinos in our room.  1 is from Ecuador and the other is from Columbia.  They’re pretty quiet but very nice.  Especially the one from Columbia.. He’s 25 and a lawyer.  A genius! Super proper and eloquent.

Conference was amazing! Who would have known there was that many good stuff in there when you actually pay attention! I wish I could go through all the speakers and say my favorite part but I ain’t got no time.  My favorite part quote was "go to work so there is something God can help you with". a perfect quote for a missionary.  I loved every second though.. feels like I got hit by a spiritual train. We also got to watch Ephraim’s rescue on Sunday.  A nice break.

Oh my word, you’ll never believe it. There was an earthquake here last week. It wasn’t big but it gave us a scare.  haha.  I love the temple here.. the celestial room is beautiful. It’s my favorite part of the week.   Anyways... as we were walking there, this lady was moving boxes so I asked if she needed help.   We finished helping her and she was like gracious, gracious and ran to give Elder Beidleman a big hug and then she tried to kiss him. We laughed and laughed. He was stunned. Anyways,  as we were walking back, we usually get on the bus, but Elder Hogge assumed he knew where he was going and took us around and we ended up walking an extra 30 minutes.  Retard.

It’s actually pretty cold here in Lima. I wear my sweater a lot more than you think #thanksmom.  Also, thanks for the blanket.  I love it.  

There were also no vents in the bathroom this week.   As you can imagine, hot, sweaty, SMELLY. The Elders thought it was funny to not flush the toilet. ha. haa. ha.  Also this week we had to say goodbye to the elders we’ve been with for the past 4 weeks.   It was tough cause we got super close to them.  They had to leave at 4 am and as you can imagine everything is more emotional at 4 am.  The latinos were hard too. Elder Guzman and I got super close. He gave me his favorite tie when he left.  I’ll send pics when I can. 

haha funny story. Also, inappropriate so beware.  Our president doesn’t speak much English. So he came in our room a couple nights ago while we had our flashlights on and he slams open the door and yells "give me your lamps" - go ahead and imagine that in a Columbian accent. Okay so this is where it gets bad - my comp and I had a meeting with him cause were the zone leaders right? He hands us some papers and says "here are your sheets" hahahaha we could not control ourselves. We were biting our hands as hard as we could to stop laughing.  I’m horrible, I know.  haha Also our teacher doesn’t speak much English but he’s hilarious.  He always says "do you need repentance?" As if he’s commanding us to repent but he poses it as a question. It’s probably not funny to you but it is to us. We always say it now.

The teaching here is going awesome.  It feels more real and real every time we teach because now we can actually teach with the spirit cause we can speak the language now.  Well.. not really, but better. All I know is the gift of tongues is real! It’s very frustrating at times but it gets better every day. haha.

The spirit is amazing here. I love feeling it every second of the day.  An experience I had:   I was having a rough day this week and I just prayed and prayed and prayed all day and as I was praying late at night I heard the spirit tell me the God was proud of me.  It was an amazing experience.  I love it and I get so excited when I get to share my testimony and exercise my priesthood power.  I love giving blessings and I wish Ii could do it every day.  I’m doing awesome here, so you don’t have to worry about me at all.  I depart to Piura on the 21 or 22 - I can’t remember so I’ve still got some time left.  I don’t need anything except for maybe some treats and TUMS.  I’ve got like acid reflux here all the time because I eat so much rice and bread.  It’s horrible.

I love and miss you guys like crazy. I try and occupy my time so I’m not to home sick, but it happens occasionally. I pray for you guys every night like crazy!  Oh and if you’re wondering, usually it’s like 9:40 your time.  So when you see that, just know I’m praying for you right now! I’m doing awesome, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else with my life right now.

I hope you guys are killing it, and I feel awful I missed Kenzie’s birthday. Tell her that I love her and miss her.

12 more days till the field!
love you guys.

exact obedience.
- Elder Harris

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Keeping it Real


Oh man, this week has been great.. just like every week here at the CCM.  I’m feeling better.. I was only sick for a couple days but once everyone stopped shaking hands, the sickness went away.  Yeah my foots better and I wear the ankle brace when we play soccer and it isn’t too bad anymore.  No doctor haha. 

Sounds like you guys had an awesome week! I can just picture Treyson playing football and I started laughing.. haha that’s a good thing. Danggg Kenzie’s birthday is this week?? Have I really been gone for that long??

Well this week was an adventure.  Last p day when we were on the bus, I got scammed and paid 4x the amount I was supposed to.  The guys that work on the bus are good at what they do... the buses are ridiculous. 1. I can’t even stand up straight.  I have to bend my head in because they’re so small. 2. They pack us in like sardines and it smells horrible because no one showers here. And 3. It’s the craziest thing - people hang out of the buses here like no big deal and then they just jump off whenever. Haha!   Welcome to Lima. 

Also last p day.. funny story.  This man was banging pots outside this store and I had like 40 centimos in my hand which is like 15 cents and I didn’t want it so I figured I would be nice and give it to him.   He wasn’t begging for money....... he was trying to sell the pots. I was so embarassed and I just kept walking. haha

We got a new drink at the CCM.  It’s called maracuya.  We don’t know what it is but we love it.  We only get it every once in a while but when we do its glorious.  haha    Our new thing that we do here is tea.  We all drink it after breakfast and dinner and just visit.  It doesn’t taste good but we do it anyways...

We do some other weird things here at the CCM, like we have competitions who can make the best farm animal noises like a cow, pig, horse, goat.  Whatever we can think of.   Elder Humble wins everytime because he was raised on a farm.  Speaking of elder humble, yesterday he told us he wants to grow up and have a goat farm in the desert with his family.  He was serious. 

We make Book of Mormon jokes. Like  what? And then our RAP BATTLES.. oh man. best part about this place.  We all come into one room and make the person stand in the middle and they just rap. It’s hilarious. Mine was killer last night. I wish I could send it to you.

Elder Beidleman and I stay up late every night talking about our raps and our lives. He;s one of my favorites and I just love Elder Ayala because has to use the bathroom 18 times a day haha #smallblatterprobs

I miss my bed back at home... I think about it every night. The beds here aren’t great.. but the Latinos sure love them.  All of them are hilarious and also very blunt though. Like they’ll tell you straight up that you’re fat, short, etc.  They have no filter. My favorite Latino elder is Arias.  He’s from Argentina and he’s hilarious.  He’s so animated and every time we talk it’s like were playing charades because it’s so hard to communicate with him.  haha.  But we share some personal stuff with each other.  He and his companion have had some hard lives.  Both of their dads are dead. One was murdered and the other killed himself.  Their families are all torn up and I feel so bad for them every time they tell me stories. That’s how I feel like it is for a lot of the Latinos.  It’s so sad. They’re all from Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia, or Chile.  The Chileans and Ecuadorians are SOO hard to understand but the other 2 not so much.  It’s funny, all of them think it’s hilarious when they call me "Martin Harris".  My favorties are Elder Guzman, Peres, Hurtado, and Quispe. They’re all great guys.  BTW, I changed my hair.  There’s nowhere to get it cut here so I just let it grow and its LONG.  I let some hair straggle down my face like superman sometimes.  I’m just here to shake it up. Haha   We do a lot of that here. 

The milk here is warm so we don’t drink it.  There’s corn puffs though so we just mix it with our yogurt. It’s the best thing here.  We also have a thing called party toast.  We eat it almost every night.  It’s bread with butter and sugar.  It’s not super special but hey, we like it. Elder Beidleman and I came up with it and now everyone does it. #trendsetters.

My Spanish is coming.. slowly. but it’s coming.  I get frustrated and overwhelmed a lot of the time but that’s expected.  My mission is so tough in ways that I never would have expected it to be. It’s weird, but I love it here. I can’t believe I’ve already been out for 3 weeks!!  I wish you guys could come down to Peru for a little bit so you could see everything here. The city is breathtaking in more ways than one.  I miss home a lot and Alpine, but I know what I’m doing right now is where I am supposed to be.  Doing the Lords work!  It’s funny, I always look at my watch and try and think of what you guys are doing back at home.  It’s fun sometimes :)

I’ve had some awesome experiences this week.  We had the opportunity to fast and it was hard but it was good.  A powerful experience.  I got to bear my testimony and it was good.  After that when we went to class, we had some free time to read the scriptures and I literally started crying in class just because I love the Book of Mormon so much.  It was super cool.  I’m learning to recognize Gods hand in my life more and more every day.  A couple days ago I was super frustrated and then a kid in my district started singing "Come thou fount" - my favorite song and instantly was calm.  I love feeling the spirit here all the time.

How’s the neighborhood without me, Ster, Jared and Seth? Pretty quiet? :)
Has Ty taken all the stuff out of my closet yet??

What’s the craziest thing you guys did this week?  Oh btw, I loved the pictures.  You guys haven’t changed a bit. Can’t wait to send you all my pics!!

Things are good here, nothing really to worry about.  I’m having an awesome time and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Thank you for everything! For all the love and support. It’s humbling because a lot of the guys here don’t have that support from back at home.  So thanks again.

I love and miss you guys.
Keep it real.

exact obedience.

- Elder Harris 4