Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I...BORE POWERFUL TESTIMONY THAT REINDEER REALLY DO FLY...


Well Feliz Navidad to all!! I hope everyone had the best Christmas ever. It was so sweet being able to skype you guys and see your beautiful faces and hear your sweet voices...awkward. It definitely made my Christmas. I'm writing today cuz President Risso changed Pday to Tuesday for the New Year. Well this Christmas didn't feel too much like Christmas when it comes to the lights, the music, the trees and all the good atmosphere that Christmas brings. Peru celebrates Christmas a lot differently, Christmas Eve is really the big day for them. They have a big party Christmas Eve and at 12 they set off fire works, eat their big Christmas dinner with turkey, hot chocolate and fruitcake and exchange gifts. The kids don't even believe in Santa Clause. They know the story and who he is but don't believe he's a real person. So I spent all this week preaching of Santa Clause and his little elves, and bore powerful testimony that reindeer really do fly.

haha but seriously.. What impressed me was that not every home had a Christmas tree but the majority had their own homemade nativity. There are many good people here who understand the meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ and his purpose on the Earth. It was a priveledge to focus on the birth of Jesus Christ this week and testify of His life and sacrifice for us. My companion and I also liked to focus on the signs, like the star. The star that led the shepherds and the kings to Christ. In this life there are many people searching for truth, many who want to know Christ and have His gospel in their life but don't know where to find it. As members of His Church, we are like this star, as we strive to share the Gospel with our friends or even just live every day trying to be more like the saviour, people will know Christ through us and we will have the opportunity to bring them this joy. 

Well Thursday we had a great experience with Aurelia. We brought a member and he bore powerful testimony about baptism and how her daughter (who has a mental handicap) does not need baptism cuz she is innocent. After conversing with her for an hour and a half and bearing testimony she told us she wanted to be baptized this Saturday. The spirit was strong and I was so excited that she had finally made this decision in her life, but her interview came Friday and we found out that there are still a few things she needs to work on before she is baptized. She has a decision to make but she tells us that she still has a strong desire to be baptized. We have many other investigators that are progressing and could potentially be baptized this January! Unfortunately, I might not be able to see them cuz changes are coming up and I think I'm out of here. 

Well I better get going but thanks everybody for the love support, letters and candy that you give me haha. keep it coming.. my Spanish skills are decreasing but I'm already pro at the harmonica.

Love,
Elder Harper



Monday, December 30, 2013

I ONLY BELIEVE IN SCIENCE (12/23/13)


Baylor:  Hey I'm not going to write this week, cuz I'm gonna talk to you guys Wednesday and there is no time haha. 

Mom:  Ok.  No letter from you this week.  But……..who is the boy you baptized in the photo?

Bay:  hahah sorry...Luis Recejoh..he's a good guy ;)

Mom:  Tell me very briefly about him and when he was baptized and I will post that to your blog this week.

Baylor:  puchaaaaa. Yeah, he's the cousin of a member we have been teaching. It was awesome to see hime get baptized cuz when we first taught him he basically said "I only believe in science" haha, (Nacho Libre one-liner) and didn't know if he could believe. But we kept teaching him and he always attended church and he received an answer that he should be baptized!!! He's a stud and I'll tell you more about him Wed!!


Monday, December 16, 2013

WELL IT'S MOMENTS LIKE THIS THAT MAKE ME SOO HAPPY....

 Dear Fam Bam!


Gota Waterfall
Sorry this letter is gonna be short cuz we just got back late from a legit Pday and don't have much time to write. We went to a waterfall called Gota! Supposedly it's the tallest in South America and in the top three tallest in the world. It was pretty sweet. We hiked through some thick jungle. It wasn't too long of a hike but it was a 4 hour drive from our area to get to the trail head. The falls were legit. I'll send some pics. So about Christmas, I have no idea but the stake president has Skype so I think I might be ale to Skype from his house but I'll have all the exact details by next pday. 

So this week again was another good one. Elder Quispe is the district leader so it kind of eats up some of our proselyting time cuz sometimes he has meetings and has to give interviews and report to the zone leaders, but still we have been working hard. This week our focus was getting Rony and Gloria ready for marriage and baptism. We taught them everything they need to know and went over the baptismal questions. Rony bore powerful testimony. I don't know if I shared this in the last letter but Rony told us about what interested him in the church. He has always been pretty religous and has attended various churches and has been visited by various missionaries of different churches. But he said he was never super intrested in what they taught and the way that Rony explained it sounded basically like ¨there was something missing¨ as he was invited to our church he said he was embraced by the members and could feel the love they had for him and God, and as we visited him, he said he knew we were really there not to judge him but to help him cuz we cared about him. 

We have been visting his mother and wen we told her about her son being baptized, cuz she didn't know, she cried cuz she said she has seen his life change as he's been going to church. Anyways, we were on toes all week cuz they lacked something with their papers of marriage. Gloria had some issues with her medical papers cuz shes 15 and pregers but by midday Saturday, they had everything and Saturday at 7 at night they were married and at 8 they were baptized. It was a sweet experience. They were both crying afterwards and you could just tell how happy they were. Well it's moments like this that make me soo happy as well!  I'm glad I had the opportunity to know these people and teach them of Christ,  and in the end I think I learned more from them than they learned from me. 

Junior was not baptized this Saturday cuz when we went to get permission from his father, his father is Adventista, he told us that his son will be following his ways and won't be baptized. We avoided contention and the man accepted a visit from us for another day. Sunday we visited him and shared our beiliefs and faith. It turns out that this man is very nice and has strong faith in Christ.  I think the Lord will soften his heart so his son can be baptized and maybe even him haa, we shall see. Well sorry for another short letter but remember I'll be talking to you in a week or 2!!!! Love you all, thanks for your prayers love and support. Besitos!!!! (kisses)   Elder Harper


Monday, December 9, 2013

I LIVE FOR THOSE MOMENTS

Happpppy Birthday Mooooooooom! Wow 30 already? You are getting old. I'm glad you had an amazing birthday with all your sick deals and the Howie day concert, I'm so jealous. All the Christmas talk makes me a little trunkey but I'll survive haha. 

Well the zone leaders have my backpack so that is pretty sweet. So the big news is my new comp. My new companion is Elder Quispe de Mekewah?? or something like that. He's from Southern Peru where it practically touches Chile. Elder Quispe is the bomb though. The only English he knows is basically what I've taught him so far but he's not too hard to understand. He's got 13 months in the mission and is our district leader too now. 

So as you all know, I was frightened to lead the area and stuff but with puro fe (pure faith) everything worked out. My Spanish didn't become fluent over night but my sense of direction basically did haha. This week I was able to guide us to every house without getting lost..miracles do happen haha. And it's a little stressful as well cuz as of now, I'm the only connection that my investigators and some converts have with the church.  They all had great relationships with Hulet but this week I felt that I was able to converse more and teach a lot smoother with a lot more confidence. I wanna say I've already progressed a lot this past week, well as far as confidence goes. So there were some awkward moments but I live for those moments haha. Everything has been working all thanks to the Lord, as he molds me to be an affective missionary.

Well Jaen is super hawt and it will definitely still be for Christmas, but either way I will still be praying for a white Christmas. We have many investigators that are so ready to enter the waters of baptism and why not during the Christmas season? First of all, we have Rony and Gloria who have a marriage and baptismal date for this upcoming Saturday. They were a little late on getting their marriage papers started so it's gonna be calling it pretty close but we have been praying hard for them. I just found out that Gloria is pregnant so it will be my first family I baptize!! Rony is a stud and just loves the church and everything we teach. His testimony is so strong in the atonement. He's been wanting to get baptized for so long but because of the marriage thing he hasn't been able to till now. Gloria is also excited, she's just super quiet and doesn't really express her feelings as much. We are also teaching an 18 year old Girl named Sabina. She was a reference from the Stake President. The first lesson she told us that she knows the church is true and the Book of mormon is true also. We committed her to be baptized and she said yes haha. She has been coming to church and reading in the Book of Mormon as well. Well I know this letter is pretty boring and I got no more time cuz my comp, I don't think, is gonna let us print every week but thanks for all the support. I still don't know anything about Christmas phone calls yet. Love you all! 

Elder Harper



Monday, December 2, 2013

EVERYTHING I'VE KNOWN for 2 MONTHS...was GONE

Hello There Familia! 

Well this week has been really weird but a good one as well. It sounds like you guys all had a good time Thanksgiving Day and Thanksgiving break. Movies and food all week ahahah good times. For Thanksgiving dinner I had 2 cremoladas and ice cream haha so nothing much. Why didn't I see a stick version of myself in any of the photos? sooo messed up. 

So nothing tooo exciting happened this week. We tried to visit a lot of members and all of our investigators so Elder Hulet could say his last goodbyes. People offered us a lot of food cuz of it. One of the highlights of the week was when a member took us to a pretty nice restaurant for lunch. We ordered a giant plate of fried yuca and fish with some Inca Cola. The cool thing about this place is it has soccer fields, a water park thing and a zoo. We checked out the zoo for a while. There was a monkey that tried to grab his animal friends in the other cages with his tail. There was a fat sloth that just hung upside down and slept, a parrot that said hola, turtles and crocodiles. It was a pretty cool place but at the same time the definition of animal cruelty haha. They were stuffed into cheap metal cages with nothing to eat. I don't have pictures cuz I didn't know we were going but I'll have to go back and get some.

Well this week has been pretty stressful for me, with the knowledge that it was my last week with Elder Hulet and that I would have to get a new comp and lead the area. Elder Hulet informed me about my new comp. He said it was this latino, I forgot his name, but he said he was really trunky and only had two months left. So that added to my stress cuz I didn't want to kill another missionary. But I have been praying hard that I would have the confidence and faith to be able to lead as I teach and work without my trainer. Well Elder Hulet left at 1 yesterday and it was the weirdest thing haha. Everything I've known for 2 months, which was hiding behind my dad, was gone. So I've been with Elder Smith, a gringo here. We will be together until our companions come tomorrow. Oh and Elder Hulet, right before he got on the bus, told me that he actually doesn't know who my comp is haha, so that relieved some stress. 

Well Sunday was weird but everything worked out. I know that the Lord calls people in their weaknesses and raises them up to meet His standards. We had a few lessons where I had to do the conversing and lead off the teaching. We taught the cousin of our convert, Diana, who is 12 and is super interested. Usually I get super nervous to teach when it's my turn with Hulet, but this time I felt a new confidence and that Lord was on my side and I was led by the spirit. I was able to converse with  Diana and teach her cousin, Michell, the restoration of the Gospel. Of course my Spanish was still terrible but I felt like I had more faith. Michell wants to be baptized but we still don't have a date for her. We had 9 investigators at church today and 2 of the norms weren't even there. But we have lots of good potential with our investigators, lots of hearts that are ready to receive the gospel.  The field is white and ready to harvest and I think as my comp and I work hard this transfer we are gonna have a lot of  success. 

Well nothing too exciting this week, mainly goodbyes and nerves but I'll make sure to update all about my new comp and uplifting experiences. Just know that I'm happy and I'm ready to work hard and hit the pavement. I know that I'm weak but with enough faith the Lord can perform miracles through me.  Even though I miss you all there is no place I'd rather be than serving the people of Jaen and growing to be a servant, a TOOL in the hands of the Lord. I love you all! Thanks for all the support. Ohh and I sent mail with Hulet for Christmas. 


Elder Harper





Monday, November 25, 2013

IT was PRETTY SWEET and the SPIRIT was STRONG

Heyitsme Elder Harper! Hola familia, 
Baylor and Damon Jarman

So mama I did not get that backpack in Chiclayo but today I got the third package so all is well!! Well this week was quite the experience. After I wrote last Pday, we went on splits and Elder Coons, who only has 6 weeks more than me in the mish, and I went to go teach our investigators, Rony and Gloria. I was pretty nervous cuz Rony is like 23 and Glory is 17; they are living together and are super receptive to our message.  Rony has even expressed how he wants to be baptized before so I knew I had to teach la ley de Castidad (the law of chastity), probably my favorite thing to teach. So got there and taught them about chastity using scriptures and our testimony. The spirit was super strong and we felt it was right to commit them to be married and baptized the 14 of December. Surprisingly, they both gladly accepted. They did not know about this commandment before and they expressed how they want to keep all the commandments so they can be baptized and clean of theirs pecados. It was pretty sweet and the spirit was strong. We gave Rony a Book of Mormon recently and he's  already 14 chapters in!!! He says many people, including his friends, say it's a lie but he says they think that cuz they haven't read it and experimented on the word. He says now that he's read part of it and experimented, he knows it's true and it is just as much as scripture as the Bible. 

Baylor and Elder Oswald, he's comp from the CCM, on the bus to Chiclayo.
Well Tuesday afternoon we left to Chiclayo. It was a 7 hour bus ride. We had a bus all to ourselves, 30 missionaries.  It was a long drive but we arrived in Chiclayo in the night and slept in the rooms of other missionaries. In the morning, we woke up early, got ready, ate, and booked it to the chapel and got front row seats for Elder Nelson. I got to see all my friends from the MTC!! It was really cool and I also go to see mi amigo, Elder Jarman!! We got to talk for a while. He seems like he is doing really well. He says he's struggling with the language but knowing Damon, he probably already speaks better than I do. 

Elder Waddell and Elder Nelson both spoke!! Elder Neslon spoke in English and had a translator so that was pretty sweet. I got to shake their hands also!!! The talks were on The work of Salvation obviously, but the emphasis was on the family and on family history. They talked of how our purpose on this Earth is to have families and enjoy the gospel together and make sacred covenants so we can live together eternally! This message needs to be taken to everyone no matter what situation they are in. They also told of how the ancestors of our investigators are across the veil doing everything possible and pulling for their relatives on the earth to accept the gospel so they can be set free. So as we teach the gospel, we need to teach the importance of family history so when they accept it, they will want to do everything possible to do the work for their families. Am I making sense??? Didn't think so haha. 

Well it was all pretty sweet.  The Trujillo temple will be built soon. Directly after the conference, we left for Jaen  in the bus with boxes of Pizza hut pizza ..sooo tasty. Saturday was the baptism of Gianela, Clarita and Jose!! puro niƱos. They were all super excited and it was rewarding to see the bright smiles on their faces as they emerged from the water and to hear their testimonies of this Gospel. Also, the sister of Luis Fernando was baptized. The sisters taught her but she asked me to baptize her. I also go to baptize Gianela!! It was super spiritual for all of us.

Today we watched the Ultimate Gift as a Zone. It made me super trunkey cuz we always watch that as a fam and Switchfoot is in it a lot hahah. It was sweeet. Well I get a new comp next week. I'm pretty scared cuz I'm supposed to know the area and Spanish so pray for me!! haha. Well gots to go. I love you all and Se que Jesucristo vive. (Jesus Christ Lives)


Elder Harper


The baptism of Gianela and Clarita


The baptism of Jose
Baylor's last week with his trainer, Elder Hulet.  On their apartment balcony.

Monday, November 18, 2013

TRUST in the LORD and in the SPIRIT and....MIRACLES HAPPEN BABY

Familia!!!! 

Well I don't have that much time to write today cuz the zone leaders told us that we shouldn't print before we write anymore...lame. But this week was pretty epic as far as the work goes, packed full of lessons and what not. As of now, we have three investigators who will be baptized for sure this Saturday and it's very probable that we will have another. The bishop's brother didn't show up to church so he won't be baptized this week.

So there is this family in our ward that always brings a couple of their neighbors with them to church. They are both little chubby kids. One is 7 and the other is 9. We met them a few weeks back at a family night and taught them but ever since then we haven't had time to teach them.  But the kids come to church every week so we made it a priority to go see him this week. When we walked up to his street, he was pushing his little sibling in a stroller and when he saw us he darted over to us and left his sib in the middle of the street; he was so excited to see us haha. We sat down with him to teach him and before we even started the lesson he told us that he wanted to baptized. So from there, we taught all of lesson 1 and we've been teaching him almost every day since. He's a little fat stud and has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. 

Also Yanela and Clarita, the Hermanas of Franco, are going to be baptized this Saturday!! They came to church this Sunday and loved it. I always love teaching them cuz Franco and his mom are always there too. So it's like my first real family Iv'e taught!!! There's nothing better than teaching families cuz that is what the gospel is all about and that's where true happiness comes. And the fourth possible for Saturday is Aurelia. We challenged Aurelia to get on her knees and pray if she should be baptized on the 23.  She wants to be baptized she has a strong testimony and loves the church but she just has fear that she will fail. So she prayed and she told us that she is ready to be baptized and that she felt very peaceful and a strong urge and feeling in heart that she needs to continue to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized. The only problem is that she wants to be baptized with her daughter who is special. We explained to her that she has no sin and does not need to be baptized but she was pretty persistent about it. 


Well I'm sorry I've got no good stories this week besides the fact that I puked multiple times again. It's cuz I eat too much and my body can't digest it, fun stuff. Well tomorrow I'm off to Chiclayo!! It's gonna be awesome to hear an apostle of the Lord. Hopefully I'll get my butt kicked and come back to Jaen working harder and speaking fluent Spanish ;) So Elder Hulet also leaves in 2 weeks and I'll have to lead the area and probably with a Latino companero. I'm super stressed cuz I can't speak, and I have no sense of direction but I also know that the Lord will provide a way cuz he wants me to obey right? right. So I figured out my prob is I have no confidence. So I keep reminding myself to trust in the Lord and in the spirit, and when I do that, miracles happen baby. Well I got to go. I promise to make next week's letter juicy, full of spiritual stories, photos and all that good stuff. love all of you and thanks for the support!!! 

Love,     Elder Harper
Franco and Baylor

(email to Dad) Thanks for the email Dad! It's always inspiring. I miss you bud. I always have dreams about the fam; it's weird and of course you are always the star. haha. I forgot to ad the main letter so you can if you want but Luis is a stud!! Sunday he passed the sacrament for the first time and he said a perfect prayer in Sacrament meeting!! My joy was definitely full, seeing the fruits of baptism and seeing how far that kid has come in about a months time. And the picture thing, my room is messy but I'll clean it and shoot you a pic next week and it's really dangerous to have cameras out in the streets cuz people steal them and stuff. And you know me, I can't even converse with the people so it would be hard and awkward to pose a photo with them, but ill try idk. Thanks for the letters and the advice. You da best. love you. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'M HERE TO SHARE THAT WITH THIS PEOPLE & THAT IS WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY

Well hello there Family!!

So this week has been a swell one. First things first, I have the package with the stocking in it but I don't know about the other stuff.  My Oakley backpack is dead, the zipper broke so all I have is the side bag which I use most anyways. Yeah and I don't think there is anything more aha. 

So this week we had a zone meeting and I got to see some pals that I haven't seen in a while. I know I'm not supposed to compare myself to others but I can see how I'm lagging on the language train, which is a little frustrating. This week was a little hard for me in a lot of ways but I always end the week feeling blessed, uplifted and ready to go. haha. We have this investigator who laughs almost every time I open my mouth. He's not trying to be mean but he's just not used to a gringo accent. I guess he can understand me but it's always super embarrassing and frustrating.  That was the only negative part of the week.

We ended up getting permission to baptize Luis!!

We went with the bishop to talk to him and his parents and at first they both said no but by the end, his mom was of agreement but the dad still thought he wasn't ready and said that he can't be baptized. But we still went on and had his baptismal interview and the next day we went back with our District leader and explained how he passed his interview and was ready to be baptized.  His mom signed the form and gave him permission but his Dad still wasn't thrilled about it. Anyways, the baptism was on Saturday and his mom and sister ended up coming!!! It was an awesome experience and I was able to baptize him. He bore powerful testimony of how reading the Book of Mormon and striving to keep the commandments has been changing his life and how through repentance and baptism, he's clean and a new person. It was pretty shhhhhwwwweet. Sunday he received the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood.

So The Hermanas (sisters) of Franco finally came!! Clarita and Janela. They loved it and I'm pretty sure we are going to set a baptismal date with them this week. We have been teaching the brother of the bishop. He was already taught by hermanas years back but now he has started to come to church consistently and he wants to be baptized on the 23!! So it has been a successful week.  The members have been giving us more references and helping in the work. Without the members it's almost impossible! 

So my testimony has been strengthening a lot out here. I have hard times but whenever I feel down or discouraged I just look back on why I'm here and what I know to be true.  I know with all of my heart that I'm called of God to serve the people of Peru!! and that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that we have a prophet today that speaks to God and guides this church.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and most importantly, I know that Jesus Christ is my Saviour and Redeemer and only through him, I can arrive to be a better person every day.  I'm here to share that with this people and that is what makes me happy. Thanks so much for all your support. You guys are da best. I hope everyone has a great week. Keep it classy.

Muchas Thank yous

Elder Harper

(email to Dad) Well thanks for the email and pics!! Everyone is always jealous of how much mail I get hahah. Sounds like everything is going well. It stinks the surf is flat. This week I saw an old old old beater volkswagon bus rolling through the streets of Jaen and it looked like gringo surfers were driving it, but I think they were lost cuz there's no beach here. haha.  I've been getting yoked but at the same time I've been getting fat off of rice.  We just switched pinches and she feeds us toooo much , it stinks. I don't know the feeling of hunger. Fast Sunday is my favorite day. ahaha. Well te amo mas que mi vida (I love you more than my life)  ;) Thanks for being a stud.  Love you Dad



Monday, November 4, 2013

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I HAVE EVER LAID MY EYES ON......

Hola Familia! 

What's good in da hood? Well danget, it sounds like you guys are having a flippin blast. Halloween
parties, parties at Grandma's house, weddings, you could at least send me an invite? jeesh ;) Well Mother the package that I don't have is lj512979518us. I have the wrapped stuff that feels soft, I have the ornaments and the letters but not the envelope stuff? and I'm guessing I should wait to read the letters, ornaments and eat the candy? idk but I'm going crazy over here. The theme this year, You Can't Coast to Higher Ground is awesome, and the picture you sent is probably the most beautiful thing I have ever laid my eyes on. I cried when I saw it, basically. (note: every year our family has a Christmas theme that we base FHEs on during the months of November and December)
This is the picture that made Baylor cry when he saw it.

So to be honest not much happened this week. It was probably the worst week we've had and the slowest work wise. We had multiple citas drop everyday, investigators who aren't progressing, only taught a few lessons everyday. But the Hermanas did hook us up with this one joven (youth) named Luis Fernando. He's a stud and the sisters were teaching him but they thought we would be better to teach him cuz he's a young single man. So we've only been teaching him for a week, but he's got a baptismal date for the 9th of November. He's been to church twice and he's tearing up the Book of Mormon. Everyday that we teach him, we ask him how his reading has been and he gives us a detailed summary of all the chapters he's read. So this week was a huge testimony booster of the importance of reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.

We are teaching another man named Oscar. He's about sixty and Catholic but is really open hearted about what we say. He says he knows Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true, but doesn't think it's important to read or pray about the Book of Mormon cuz ¨all the word of God is true¨ I know it's possible to believe something is true but the only way we can gain a true testimony, a true conversion to this Gospel, is by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to our Father with true intent if it is true. When we have a true desire, we will receive an answer from God and be willing to make changes in our lives according to the truth like Diana, Franco and Nino, and Now Fernando. They all have prayed and have a strong testimony and have changed their lives. 

So this next week we are gonna have to pray hard and help him realize that and help him enter the waters of baptism..... Well thanks for all your love. Everyone is jealous of how much email I get, even if it's basically only my family; I've got a big family. ahah Well I love you guys. Wish I could be a part of the festivities. Oh Elder Hulet's mom sent him cookies and candy, so I had a Halloween, and in Peru they like to eat pumpkin guts; it's nast stuff.

Well Chaou my friends,

Love Elder harper

Monday, October 28, 2013

I HAD A BEARD AND ALL THE CROWD WENT WILD

Hola Familia!

Well I guess Christmas comes early in Jaen!! haha.  I already got 2 of my 3 christmas packages Mom. I had to hide them under my bed cuz it was tempting and agonizing, but I'm super excited to open them in 2 months haha. Let's hope I won't have to bring them on a transfer. Well we got news this week that Elder Nielson of the 12! is coming to Chiclayo!! I don't know if it's a good thing cuz it probably means our mission is wicked but I'm stoked to hear an apostle of the Lord again. He'll be coming in about 3 weeks so it will probably be a 2 day journey for the Jaen Missionaries, but I'm stoked cuz I'll be able to see my old district and I'm guessing Elder Jarman as well! That will be fun.

Well this week was another steller and fast week, lots of ups and downs, but don't worry mostly ups ;) So this week I got to teach about temples for the first time! It was the best. One time was to a family that just recently became active and one time to Nino. But honestly, it was an amzing expereince for me cuz I was blessed with the opportunity to work in the temple before the mish and because of that, my testimony and love for the temple is huge. This recently activated family is not married or sealed, but we were able to testify and teach about eternal families and the blessings that come from temple work, and with Nino it was sweet too , cuz his mother died when he was younger and we were able to tell him that he can do the work for his mother.  That his mother will have the opportunity to hear and accept the gosple and he can live with her para siempre. But at the same time it's hard cuz the nearest temple is Lima, and people here don't have the money to travel to Lima, so it takes a lot of faith. So I feel so blessed to live 15 minutes away from a temple, it's unreal. Members at home  have the opportunity to participate in the salvation of others across Cali multiple times a week!

Well this week was the Baptism of Franco. This was the kid who is already pumped to sereve a mission. It was also a great expereince. I had the opportunity to baptize him, which made me nervous cuz latinos have 10 names and I probably have the most gringo accent any Peruvian has laid their ears on. But everything went perfect. The spirit was strong and on Saturday he was able to receive the gift of the holy ghost. Unfortunately, his sisters, who want to be baptized, couldn't attend cuz one is in the hospital with Dengae. ( I guess that is super common to get here, especially with missionaries). So I'll probably be chillin with Andy Irons soon.

Saturday night we had a show de talentos and believe it or not, I was a star of a play that I basically wrote haha. jk.  We  did a sketch about Noah and as the noob in the district, I was selected to be Noah, and I rocked.  I had a beard and all the crowd went wild. I've got a vid of it but I don't know if I can send it.

So our investigator Arelia, who is suppsosed to be baptized next week, wants more time. We visited her last night and she said that she doesn't feel ready cuz she doesn't know much and wants to learn more. We testified of how the only requirements needed for baptism are faith in Jesus Christ and repentance, so were are gonna work with her this week and maybe we will have a baptism. But she's 40 years old and already is more active than the average member. She comes to all of the meetings and activites and she has a strong testimony of the gospel. She lives in a one room adobie house with her handicapped daughter. She is awesome and humble. She just  needs to have the confidence in herself and the Lord.

So this week I've been learning personally about enduring to the end, and with joy every step of the way too. In the past I have felt that I have given up too soon on certain things, like lacrosse, running, piano, work and lots of other stuff. I feel that's definelty one of my many weaknesses. (note from Mom:  Baylor has always been so hard on himself)  There have been  multiple times when I have told my companion that I wanna serve an English speaking mission in the states, but I've been strengthened this week as I've focused on God's hand in my life. I think of the hardships as trials God has given me to make me stronger. And as I do this, I'm filled with such joy and happiness. Positive thoughts and gratitude all day every day is where it is at ladies and gents. Weeel I gots to go. Peace out.

Jawas from Jaen
Elder Harper

Monday, October 21, 2013

I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL I'M THE MISSIONARY GOD IS MAKING ME TO BE!!

Familia!!!!

How goes it? Well thanks for the Halloween letter, hahah I enjoyed the picture and all the stickers and notes. Oh and don't forget the sponge one tatoo, definitely gonna rep that while hitting the streets of Peru. Well I'm glad you guys had a great week and pops had a great bday. Sounds like you guys had fun, and Iz keeps wreckin it at cross country, what a stud. Well this week was pretty great and pretty fast. Monday we had a zone meeting with president Risso. Everyone had interviews, and this time mine was in Spanish. He just asked me how everything was going and how our area was. My comp played a nasty trick on me. After his interview he said that he was being transfered and that I would receive my new comp that night haha. I believed him for almost a day but I pried the truth out of him haha. So no changes with us but we are getting a new ZL and a couple others in my district are leaving.

Well it was just a normal week of teaching and such but on Thursday we did innercambios and I spent the whole day with one of the ZLs. I was stressed out at first cuz I was gonna have to lead all day showing him to all our citas and stuff and knowing my horrible sense of direction, you can probably imagine. But everything turned out well I was able to find every house ok and teach that message. It was cool being with another Elder and seeing his way of teaching and doing things, and the advice he gave. He's trying to learn English so I would talk to him in Spanish and he would talk to me in English. But he's a super good missionary and made me go out of my comfort zone. In lessons sometimes I don't get the opportunity to speak much but this Elder  just kept turning to me and every time I was surprised what came out of my mouth. One lesson he made me commit two people to be baptized and it was our first time teaching these people. They didn't say yes right away but the spirit was super strong and we promised them that they would be ready and in the closing prayer they prayed to be ready to be baptized so that was pretty sweet!!

The baptism of Diana was Saturday!!! It was again an amazing experience. She is the most ready person to accept the Gospel I've seen in Peru! It was only 2 weeks from the day we contacted her to the day we baptized her and yet she knows so much! She is like halfway through the Book of Mormon and has such a strong testimony. After she was baptized she bore a powerful testimony. She talked about how at first she wasn't too sure if our message was true and didn't know for sure. But when she sincerely prayed about it, she received a strong witness of the holy ghost and overwhelming peace and joy telling her it was true!! OH it was sooo sweet. 

Sunday our investigator Franco, who is getting baptized this next Saturday did not show. So we left after sacrament meeting, hunted him down and brought him to the next sacrament meeting. His sisters still haven't attended so they cant be baptized til later. But it's awesome how there are so many people here ready to accept the gospel and follow the commandments of God. My testimony has grown so much on the power of this gospel has to change lives and what true faith can do! I was reading about the sons of Helaman this week and how they had such strong faith because they kept the commandments of God and trusted that God would deliver them. This helped me cuz I constantly doubt my abilities, but I've come to learn that I don't have to doubt in my abilities cuz it's through faith and trust in God that I'll be able to teach and to speak and not through my own abilities.

Well this week has been really great. I've felt so much happier as I've been striving to think about my investigators and not home or my own weaknesses. I know this church is true with all my heart and that the spirit and true faith has the power to change lives.  I love this work and I can't wait til I'm the missionary God is making me to be!!! Well til next week, thanks for the letters and support keep it coming..

Elder Harper

Monday, October 14, 2013

WHAT HELPS ME IS REMEMBERING "WE ARE ALWAYS SUCCESSFUL WHEN WE HAVE THE SPIRIT WITH US".

Hola Familia!!

Well the weeks sure do go by super fast; it's scary. Sorry Mom for not sending pics last week. We
aren't supposed to bring cameras with us proselyting cuz it could get stolen but I'll try harder to take and send more pics for you. And I've got some this week from the baptism. Well sounds like you guys had  a fun week! Filled with races, dances, movies, decorating, and food. I'm jealous but this life is better anyways. And thanks for that article Mom! It was very uplifting, and all the letters you guys write always pump me up and make me feel better. Happy Birthday Pops!!! You're gonna be the big 50 tomorow! THAT'S SCARY, you are sooooo.....young. I cant believe it;) Well you better have a birthday paddle out for me and eat lots of pie and Alber Tacos. 


Anyways the work here has really taken off  this past week! We have been teaching many people with lots of potential. Sunday we had 10 investigators at Church who stayed through all the classes too. 2 of the investigators have baptismal dates for this month and 2 more I think will be baptized. We are teaching this 15 year old girl named Diana. She was a reference we contacted a week ago and we've only taught here a few times but she is progressing super fast and has a strong testimony. She wants to be baptized this week. Her date is for this upcoming Saturday, but last time we visited her she was crying cuz her mom wants her to wait longer to get to know the Church. But Diana has a strong desire to follow Christ and to become clean, starting a new life in the gospel as soon as she can. She's been reading the Book of Mormon, the pamphlets and shows up to church by herself haha. Well the last time she talked to her mom she said her mom said ¨Do what you want. Don't bother me." haha   So I think she'll be baptized soon. We just have to soften her mother's heart. 

Another one is Franco and his sister Janala. Franco will be baptized at the end of this month and his sister at the beginning of the next. Franco is 16 and is super receptive. His family is the best too. His mom is super interested as well but she's not married to her spouse so that will be tough cuz people here don't have a desire to get married cuz of the money and the commitment. But Franco is already talking about preparing for a mish and his mom is stoked on it too and he's not even baptized!! These people are very humble and have a strong will to follow Jesus Christ and change their lives. 

This Saturday was the baptism of Nino Davis Sanchez Sanchez. It was an awesome experience. I had the opportunity to baptize him.
I was nervous cuz I didn't want to ruin his experience with my awful Spanish, but everything was perfect and the spirit was sooo strong. He bore his testimony after and on Sunday he received the gift of the Holy Ghost and received the Aaronic Priesthood. The kid is a stud and is gonna go far in the church. These youngsters we are teaching are great examples to me of stalwart youth and makes me wish I was better before. 

Well everyday we have been going from lesson to lesson. We never knock doors and the members are starting to help a lot. It's been a real blessing. My Spanish is still the same but I can't complain cuz I know I could be studying harder and trying harder. Well I'm sorry I don't have any awesome experiences Dad, it's hard sometimes to notice the little moments through lessons and in the day cuz I still don't understand much. But what helps me is remembering what Bishop Greiner said once, "We are always successful when we have the spirit with us". So I need to try harder and harder every day to have that , cuz that's the only way I can understand and communicate. Well thanks so much for all the support; you guys are the best. I used to get super homesick on pdays from letters and stuff but now it just makes me happy and comforted.
Until next week!    Elder Harper

Baylor watching General Conference last weekend

Monday, October 7, 2013

I WAS BEING GUIDED BY THE SPIRIT AND I WAS ABLE TO EXPRESS THE THINGS IN MY HEART.

Hola Familia! 

Well it's been another week in Jaen. Not much happened this week, just teaching investigators and walking up hill all day everyday. Still no baptisms, but the highlight of every week is when we teach our investigator Nino Sanchez! He's going to be baptized this Saturday and he is sooo ready. I just love teaching him cuz the spirit is always there and I'm calm and confident with him cuz we know him very well. So it seems like every week our pool of investigators changes. People I thought were golden drop and new ones randomly show up haha. 

This week we did intercombios. It's basically where you just spend a whole day and overnight with another elder. Elder sleepover. It was cool getting to know a new area and having the opportunity to teach with another elder. But the highlight of the week for suurezies was General Conference. Yes, I got to watch it in English. Half our zone is gringo, haha.... so we had a little room with an hd flat screen to watch conference on with all the gringos. Conference was so uplifiting and inspiring! They talked a lot about missionary work and repentance, which was perfect for me cuz I'm an imperfect missionary. The spirit was soo strong and it was devastating when the last session ended haha.

Well it sounds like all you guys are having a blast. Matt Nathonson and Joshua Radin? and I basically cried when I found out everyone went to Anberlin..so jealous haha. But it seems like all is well at home which makes me a happy elder. Let me know when you guys find out where Damon ends up. I'm guessing he goes into the field in 2 weeks and I probs won't see him for 5 months cuz I heard once your in Jaen, you stay there for a while. So I'll be able to speak Spanish when I serve in Chiclayo for the first time!! 

So conference was really an answer to my prayers, uplifting and filled me with more confidence. Right after the last session, we went to teach an investigator and I prayed hard to have the spirit with me and to follow the spirit  before and during the lesson. I don't know how, but I was able to understand a lot and I felt as I was speaking, that I was being guided by the spirit and I was able to express the things in my heart. It was a legit feeling and after my comp said that he was surprised and witnessed the gift of tongues haha. 

My comp is awesome. We get a long great, but he's going home soon sadly. He's an awesome trainer and I'm sure he will have me ready to be with a different companion who might not be as awesome. This week I read an article about missionaries and it said that there are plenty of good missionaries in the world, many great ones but there needs to be more consecrated missionaries. A missionary who sacrifices everything and gives the Lord 100%. I'm way far from that right now, but my goal is to become a consecrated missionary! I want to be the best I can be. It's gonna take a lot of hard work, but I'm up for the challenge. 

Well it's still super hot here, even when it rains, which it does twice a week. The food is good but I hate eating cuz they feed us so much. It's aweful haha. Every meal is a mountain full of rice with chicken. We have someone too cook every meal and someone else to do laundry. Oh, and we basically live in a hotel so our room is pretty nice.  Well that's all I got for now.
JAJAJAJS FROM JAEN

Elder Harper
Sorry no pics this week; we did nothing cool.

Monday, September 30, 2013

"I DON'T UNDERSTAND; I THINK HE IS SPEAKING ENGLISH" HAHA

Hola Familia!

I'm writing from a place called Chumba?  It's 30 minutes away from our area.  It's mas arriba (higher) and it's more jungly here.  We ate lunch with a family who have palm trees everywhere so we cut open coconuts and drank the milk with our lunch.

This week was a good one.  We almost had a baptism but the father of the girl won't let her yet.  She's 11 and her name is Maria.  All of her sisters are members but her parents are not. She lives in the highest part of Jaen and every day this week we hiked up this hill to teach her and her family. Her house overlooks all over the city.  It's quite a sight. They don't have much but they are very happy.  There house is made of Adobe, a tin roof and a dirt floor. There bathroom is the river right next to their house and they have no electricity. Maria and all her little sisters are always so happy to see us.  They are fascinated by our white skin and colored eyes. Children have the hardest time understanding me. After I shared a message one time, a girl said, "I don't understand; I think he is speaking English". haha.  But Maria will probs be baptized next week. We just need to work on the dad.

My boy, Nino, is being baptized on the 12 of October. He's a stud and has been going to church and all of the activities.  We have a couple of other investigators that were at church who have potential. There are a lot of good humble people here in Jaen, especially in our area cuz we have the hills, which include the poorer part of the city.

As far as my ability goes, I've really felt blessed.  I've gotten a lot of good advice that I've taken into account.  Like  my bro Riley H told me, "Always pray that your investigators will be able to understand you and don't pray for yourself".  And Bishop Baker told me how when missionaries don't know the language, they are humbled and are more prone to rely on the spirit and on Jesus Christ. Fear and frustration are just a lack of faith so this week I tried to focus on the spirit, the people and our message and not my own ability.  And I've felt the Lord work through me in simple ways.  I've felt great joy as we have been able to help people and as they have accepted our message.  So the key is to have the spirit cuz when we have the spirit, we are calm, confident, happy and can be a tool in the hands of the Lord.

Friday night our pinchanista fed us way too much food I think or it was bad cuz Saturday morning I woke up at 5:00 am and threw up every 10 minutes til like 8:00 but I prayed for strength, slept for 2 hours and we hit the streets at 10:00!  I was pretty weak all day but I was able to do it.  Well, I'm having a hard time getting excited for General Conference cuz it's gonna be in Spanish. 10 hours of not understanding modern revelation from servants of the Lord : )

Thanks for all the letters and the support. I love you all and hope all is well.

Elder Harper

Elder Baylor Harper with his trainer, Elder Landon Hulet





Monday, September 23, 2013

I FEEL THE HAND OF THE LORD IN MY LIFE EVERY DAY...........

Hola Familia and Amigos!!


Sorry I have no time.  I'm gonna have to come up with an efficient method to have time to write everyone and send pics.  This week was great! But nobody told me the mission would be hard? jk
Nobody told me it would be easy. It's hard but I am loving it. Sorry Mom, but the most stressful
part of the week is internet time.

But yeah, my speaking and understanding is coming slowly.  I try to not get frustrated and stay positive. I see that when I am positive and excited, I have the spirit with me and I'm more confident in my teaching.  I know through faith and study the language will come.

Well we've been teaching an average of 5 lessons a day and have lots of investigators but not many are progressing.  There's one 18 year old boy named Nino who wants to be baptized.  We have a date and all but he didn't show up to church so we have to postpone the baptism.  We might have a baptism this week from a reference we got.  We are gonna start teaching her today. She already has gone to church multiple times and has expressed that she wants to be baptized.

So Jaen is really hot.  We either walk or ride by motor taxi.  Sunday was fun.  They asked me and Hulet to bare our testimonies in Sacrament meeting.  I just broke the ice by saying, I can't speak Spanish, then attempted to speak and everyone laughs and it's all good!  Same with lessons too!

Yeah, it's definitely hard but I'm loving it.  Elder Hulet is a great trainer and a hard worker. Yesterday I ate Cuy or guinea pig for the first time.  I'm special cuz that was only Hulet's second time.  It's basically seasoned rubber. We have a really cool zone with lots of Gringos.  So I need to be careful not to slack with my espanol cuz I tend to do that.

Everyone, thanks for all the letters and emails!  I love you guys and keep you in my prayers every night! Especially you Papa!  You are a strong man and I love you so much.  Get better Fast!

Well many times I have wished I was in the states teaching in English, but I know this is where I need to be. I feel the hand of the Lord in my life every day and know as I lose myself in service, I'll be able to progress.  I love being a missionary; it's pretty dope.  I might never come home if that's ok with you guys, jaja.  Also, I've been called Jefecito, which means little boss or chief.

Jeffecito from Jaen,

Elder Harper

Monday, September 16, 2013

EVERY DAY IS A STRUGGLE BUT I KNOW ONE DAY I'LL BE ABLE TO BRING THIS MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE.


Hola Familia!
Thanks again for waking up to talk to me.  It was awesome hearing all your voices. So after I hung up with you,  I had an hour an a half flight to Chiclayo, where President and Sister Risso picked us up with a bunch of office Elders. They took us to a capilla (chapel) and fed us breakfast: fruit , cereal and muffins.  After, we had a cambio meeting where our new group had to sit up on the stand and later introduce ourselves to everyone. We then had a meeting where the office elders went over the mission rules and what not after we were introduced to our new companeros. jaja 

I have two of  the rarest things for a new missionary. My trainer is a Gringo! Elder Hulet from Payson Utah. He only has  2 and a half months left in the mission so it looks like I am going to kill my father. He barely speaks English to me so I get a little of the Latino experience. but he can understand everything I say in English obviously. Our area is JAEN, which is very rare because there are only two areas of jungle in the mission and Jaen is one of them. It is one of the most coveted areas in the mission. It's not like deep Gutamela jungle; it's like a city that's very green.  I'll try to send some pics. 

President  Risso is very nice and his English is pretty darn good. So we had to take an 8 hour bus ride from Chiclayo to Jaen. Oswald is in my zone, Jaen, too so that's exciting! Elder  Hulet and I are both new to Jaen so it's been intresting. We were basically white washed. For the first few days we had no area map, no phone and no area book, so we just knocked doors all day. This area is very receptive though. Not everyone is enthusiastic about our message but almost everone gives us time to teach them a lesson. In our first week we already picked up 27 investiagors but that only means we taught them at least one lesson and they committed  to another. 

Spanish is so hard. I feel like a hopless wanderer haha. I don't understand or speak anything haha. My comp does the majority of the talking cuz he's 100 percent fluent. Lessons are very scary and hard cuz it's difficult for me to follow along and my comp turns to me several times each lesson and i just stutter and try to slowly and simply teach. It's very difficult and whenever there are kids they laugh at me cuz my Spanish sucks. But my comp is really cool, nice and supportive. He's patient and helps me learn every day. Every day is a struggle but I know one day I'll be able to bring this message to the people. 

We have a pinchanista who cooks all three meals. It's usually chicken, rice, sometimes fish and a whole lot of yuca Which is a root type thing.


Sunday was a broadcast conference to all of Peru from Salt Sake.  Bednar and Chrsitopherson spoke but I couldn't understand them and the whole stake was there so I didn't  meet very many members, but everyone is nice and laughs at my Spanish.
So I'm always very frustrated at night but I was reading in Alma 29. When Alma desired to preach like an angel but knew he had to be content with what the Lord had alottted him. So for now I've gotta be happy with my ability and sit back and have fun progressing. 

Well sounds like everything is going good at home, except for Pops! Wow, that was unexpected and I was freaking out as I read it. It's very scary but I know he's a strong man and will get through it. Papa, you're in my prayers always!!  and Elder Cook left the CCM with an apostolic blessing that our fams will be blessed and protected as we are away, so I'm very worried but know everything will be all right . Well I love all of you . Unti next week .
Elder Harper 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'M THE SHORTEST GRINGO IN THE CCM AND I'M ALSO THE SPEED WALKING CHAMPION, JUST THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW.


¡Feliz Navidad! 

Hola familia. It is Christmas today for district 105 in the CCM. We have been caroling for two days straight and I think everyone hates us now haha. This morning before we left for the temple we had a white elephant exchange! Last Pday we all bought  food or dumb trinkets and wrapped them up and put them safely under our Christmas tree. I have a picture of  it but the compuer is being funky so you might not get those til next week. Every district that has had the tree, leaves an ornament with all their names and I saw Abs!  It was pretty sweet. The Harpers will be a legend in the CCM.
 
So when I was telling you about my sickness last week I guess it was just the calm before the storm because the next two days I was in my bed and throwing up every thiry minutes haha. Whatever virus it was, just exploded and spread fast throught the CCM. I felt like the infected on I Am Legend.  We were quarantined to our rooms and all the other missionaries wore masks. But it gave me some good time to catch up on sleep and ponder and study.  I'm 100 percent better now, but I'm scared I'm gonna die again out in the field.
 
So I only have a few days left in the CCM, which is really weird. I have mixed emotions. I'll get pumped after teaching a lesson or after an inspirational devotional but I'm also super nervous and scared, especially since I'm almost guaranteed that my trainer will be a Latino who speaks no English.  I am excited to get out of here and serve although I'll miss my district dearly, especially those going to Bolivia. 

So nothing too eventful happened this week but I've been on a spiritual high. We had a couple of devotionals that just hit me deep. On Sunday we watched a dvd of Elder Bednar and he talked about the characteristics of the Savior. He talked about how Christ always turns out but the natural man's first reaction is to turn in. How he described it was powerful and made me really wanna change, so this week I've been working on trying to turn out. It's hard to do in the CCM but that's why I'm excited to leave so I can lose myself and serve others.
 
On Tuesday we had a devotional from Elder Uceda, who is the president of the area 70 over our area I think, but he described his conversion story to us in such a simple and powerful manner. He told of how he was taught by two gringo missionaries and one could not speak very good Spanish and he "wrestled to say the things he wanted to¨. And although he couldn't understand him very well, it was his testimony and the spirit that converted him. So even though I can't speak Spanish, I know I can make a difference if I have the spirit with me.
 
So I found out general things about my flight plan. I guess we leave the CCM at 2 am and our plane flies out at 6. So I'm guessing I'll be able to call around 4 or 5 my time?  A maestro that is basically my BFF is buying me a calling card so I'll have that for Tuesday. I'm still on the hunt for leather Jesus scripture cases so mine are naked and I had to pull money out of the atm in soles cuz I got a bunch of worthless American cash and I don't know where to exchange it.
 
Well I love all you guys and hopefully I'll be talking to you bright and early Tuesday morning and we can have a long convo! Well untill then, luego!

Oh, and I'm basically the little brother of the whole CCM. I'm the shortest gringo in here  and I'm also the speed walking champion of the CCM (speed walking..my hips move real fast), just thought you should know.
 
Lollz from lima ( for the last time)
Elder Harper