Sunday, March 16, 2014

Week 26: Family Fun, Stake Choir & Conference and the work is going well!

GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) HEY!!!!! :) ha ha how are you all doing? :) I am doing great! This week was a lot of fun! I am starting to appreciate all the little things that make me happier. Some funny things that happened this week were what some kids say sometimes. So we were at dinner and the cookies were brought out and then I don't how this happened but elves somehow were brought up and then this 7 year old said very seriously to me, "Don't give elves cookies. They Jump all around the place and when you see them, they freeze." Ha ha ha made me laugh so hard. Then we had a lesson with this family and we are teaching them the plan of salvation and I asked the kids if they knew what the plan of salvation was and they said, “YA I KNOW!” all excitedly. Then I asked them what it was and they said "NOAHS ARK!" Oh my goodness ha ha. Shows what kind of teachers we are. Just kidding! Ha ha ha but they are just goofballs. The family we were teaching has twins and they are just a blast.

Some other good things happened this week! A family from Parker in my last area just one day came and picked me and Elder Farr up and went to lunch. It was great! It was so nice to feel that you have friends here in the mission that love you and support you. It was great. It was a really tender mercy and a huge blessing I was so grateful for it.

Oh, I bought a whoopee cushion ha ha ha. I have been trying really hard to get Elder Farr by hiding it and putting it places where he wouldn't expect it but he just figured it out every time and I finally got him. I was so excited and happy! Ha ha it made me laugh for like 5 minutes. His face was priceless when it happened. So yeah we got to have a little fun on the mission :) So those little things make me happy now. Now for the bigger things.

We had Stake Conference this week and it was awesome! we had an 8 year old speak! Wow how brave! haha he did awesome. It’s so great to see these youth to just be so strong at a young age.  They are such an example to us and it’s great. We had a recent convert talk at Stake Conference as well from our ward and it was awesome to see and hear the transformation that happened when she got baptized. She was a strong devout protestant and her husband was inactive when they met and after twelve years of their marriage, her husband goes back to church. She thought it was just a phase. She had a very strong belief in God and she knew her stuff. Then after three years of her husband going to church she noticed something about her husband. She noticed that her husband became a spiritual leader in the home and that after all those years of being married with him. She saw a transformation take place and it was like she saw him in a better light and as a better person as well. That stuck out to me the most about how she noticed a transformation in her husband just from going to church for three years. Then she started to go to church to see what they teach and what changed her husband so much and she said she had just a very strong feeling in church and she started to ask questions. She sincerely pondered and sought for truth and she found truth and confirmation in the scriptures. It was incredible. An incredible Stake Conference.

So our ward is like one of two choirs in the Stake.  So we were volunteered to be the choir for stake conference. We sung Child of God and the Iron Rod in front of like 2,000 people plus!. It was so awesome! I felt like I was in the Mormon tabernacle choir! Except that everyone around me sound good except for me. I just try to imitate what they are singing and sound like the people around me. I cannot read music ha ha and I kind of know how to sing, but the feeling singing those songs were amazing. We had different arrangements of the song and everyone said it sounded good so it was awesome to be a part of it. I feel good when I sing hymns or when I am at choir because these are people that are bearing testimony when they sing and it’s very powerful. These people put so much emotion and spirit into the songs. I love it. I think I am going to do the choir when I get back home just go to be a witness of these amazing people that sing and I just feel the spirit so strong when we sing. Plus my ward choir is so fun and funny! I love them. I would love to be a conductor. A legit one with both hands just going off and I just know every song and I can just hit every note like those conductors do that direct the orchestra and other things ha ha. On a mission, conducting is the coolest thing ever. Ha ha.

Sunday was a spiritual high.

We had dinner with this amazing family. We always leave that place learning something new or just multiple things. They are the Gawoski's family. The dad is a convert. He reminded me a lot of my dad. It was amazing that dinner we had with them. The Dad is a patrol officer I think. All I know is he works for the cops. He is a strict firm but funny and great guy. He married a member and we always seem to have a good gospel conversation with them. They are amazing. Amazing, amazing, amazing people. The wife is sweet, nice and strict but firm too. They are a great couple and they have some older kids and little ones. So anyway, we talked about what we learned at Stake Conference and we had a great discussion and then the dad said, "hey we love having you guys here. You guys really bring the spirit into our home." And then he paused and started to tear up and said. "If it weren't for two young 19 year old boys like you my life wouldn't be like this, so I appreciate what you are doing" It was something so special to witness. It reminded me of my dad just because of how sometimes the little things of spirit can affect him so strongly. I love that about him and I love that about Brother Gawoski. He said that when they would move houses he would put up the Book of Mormon on a shelf and always wonder what was in this book and when he read it he was like why didn't you show me this earlier.  I wonder how many of us do that. We don't show them earlier when we have the chance to do it.

I think the coolest thing about the mission, is when we see people recognize something different. They think it is us; the missionaries. All of our investigators love to be with us but it is not because of who we are. It’s because of the Spirit and seeing them recognize the Spirit is the coolest thing in the world, and seeing them want to have what we have that brings the Spirit into their own life is amazing. I didn't know we had such a powerful influence on people because of what we have. Not because of whom we are.

Our missionary work is really picking up :)

Faith is progressing. We have had some amazing conversations with her, we just hope she recognizes that this is what she needs in her life because she loves reading the Book of Mormon and loves the topics we discuss with her.

We are going to meet with Raul sometime this week and get back into teaching him.

Savannah and her parents, we are going to meet with them this week and see how they are doing and help them make more progress with understanding that God can answer their questions and that this gospel can bless them.

We have a referral who wants to meet with us. His name is Eric. He is a great guy. We hope that we can give him the best.

We are meeting with a guy called Don, good guy. His daughter is going to get baptized in a few months and we want to tell him that we see him baptizing Emma, his daughter. He knows the Book of Mormon is true. He just doesn't see the need for going to church every Sunday.

One of the people we have been working with, last week bore her testimony. It was so special and amazing to see. She is doing good, and her name is Gabi.

All I can say is I love you guys and I love being here helping others :)

Elder Garrett Steven Harrington

Week 25: Tough week, tough food, and tough testimony builds character...

Hey guys! I hope you are all doing well like always. Its soo good to hear from you guys!  It really helps me. Sorry if I don't respond to all of you. I will always try my best. I love you guys.

This week was hard. It was really hard for me.  It’s not that nothing is happening; we have had some good things happening. Just kind of disappointed in myself, that's what has been bringing me down.  I just haven't been feeling well some days and just been missing friends and family and I feel like I haven't been becoming a better person. I love serving others and trying to help them come closer to Christ and Heavenly Father but I feel like I am not good enough a lot of these days to be out here. I guess that is the adversary working on me. I don't think people realize how hard a mission is. It is tough. You think you have to be mentally tough when you do sports and push when you don't want to push even though your body is aching and dying for a break. Nope you got to be mentally tough. 24/7. There is no break. There is no rest from this work. You have to stay focused. The hardest thing for me on a mission is just trying to maintain that eternal perspective and that I am a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The reason why it’s hard for me with an eternal perspective is because I often find myself just wondering what is going to happen when this happens and it’s not good. I need to have that eternal perspective that this is God’s work and this is His plan for me. No matter how much it hurts me, I can get through it. What’s hard about being a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ is that I have to my head held high through whatever happens to me. I have to be one that steps up when I get denied my love and be forgiving and humble. I want to be that so bad but it is hard but like I said last time. The things that are worth the most are the things that are going to be the hardest fights of your life.

But besides that; I think I am doing pretty well. What’s the point of going through these things if I am not learning anything? I am learning so much from these things! I learned that the lord calls us in our weakness and qualifies us for His work. I learned that He works with this raw material and shapes you into what He wants you to become and what He wants you to become is who you need to become! We got to give ourselves up to Him. That's all He wants. He wants you because He can shape you into the strongest person that you can become.. He uses all of your potential. I just wish I could see that this is what needs to happen. I need to go through these things to be who I am supposed to be. I am learning that I need Him, I need him every hour. I can't do this on my own. I am not supposed to do this on my own.

I am learning that I need to be humble and that is my biggest dream and goal to have now. Just to be humble. When I am humble, I can come to the Lord and ask for His help to help me with my weaknesses and He will show me the way to overcome my weaknesses. I am learning this mission is all about you becoming the best you from serving others and that's what it comes down to sometimes. Forget yourself. Go serve the Lord. Go serve these people of Colorado and love them so much that you can't wait for each and every day to meet one of your brothers and sisters that needs you, an instrument to the lord. Everyone is a different instrument to the lord and different instruments are meant for different places and people. We are the Lords orchestra and no matter how many faults you have. He will still use you because He knows what you can do. You don't just yet until you do it. So do it.

I am learning of the atonement and what Elder Holland said that the missionaries will most likely use the atonement more than people they are teaching. I am learning that I just need to have faith in Christ. I need Him. If I am humble I will be with Him. There is so much I am learning and I wish I could tell you all of it. But the biggest thing that I am learning is that the Lord has called me to be who I am supposed to be, to step up. The only way I can do that is just forget myself and go to work. Like President Gordon. B. Hinckley. Be all you can be.

So what happened this week that was good was that I learned! We are now teaching this little girl that can get baptized!  Her name is Olivia. She’s 10 and the mom finally allowed her to get baptized and Nadia as well. She is 8. Sweet girls that have an amazing testimony! It is so cool and exciting. 

This week has just been crazy like chaotic. ha ha Just very disorganized and busy and in a rush to do a lot of things. So anyway, we have this Elder in the mission that likes for other Elders to try to do hot food. He has been trying to get me to do a habanero, this chili and this hot sauce. I neglected for about 4 weeks. I finally gave in. worse 5 minutes of my life. They got me to do the chili which wasn't too bad, (mistake number 1) compared to the hot sauce. I dealt with it pretty well. Then I did the hot sauce after it because they said it was not that much hotter than the chili… Well one thing for sure, it was still hot. So hot, I threw up. (Elder Barfington is back ladies and gentlemen!) I got a video of how hot it was so maybe you guys will see it when I send home my next SD card. ha ha  But there is a lesson to be learned here! That Elder was exactly like Satan! Not is Satan but like him, because he knows how to tempt. I was getting made fun of for resisting this stupid hot food and I finally gave into a little. Then they say to go bigger because I did something not as bad but it was still bad. So don't give in to a little thing because it can lead into a bigger thing! I was doing so well. Now I get like this awful hot taste in my mouth when I think of when I did it. blahhhh But, what makes me mad the most is that the Elder said he would get me before the end of the transfer and I totally forgot about that. I let him win.

Don't do hot foods and eating contests. No one wins.

I got to watch a little bit of the Joseph Smith restoration videos this week. It was awesome! I have so much stronger of a testimony of Joseph Smith now. I realized what he went through just for us, so that we can make it back to our Heavenly Father and know what true happiness is; the gospel. That's what brings me true happiness.  It made me that more happy to go testify of this man and what He has done for us. I know He was a prophet, to restore the church of Jesus Christ. I know that this is Jesus Christ’s church. And just like Joseph, who was called in his weakness but qualified for His work. The same thing goes for me. I am called to his work in weakness, but I am qualified for his marvelous work. I love you guys. Thanks for listening or reading and supporting me. I love you all so much!  

Elder Garrett Steven Harrington

Week 24: Special Families, Special Prayer, Special moments...

YOOO :) Whats up guys! I AM SO HAPPY!! hahaha just. This week was interesting! Like it was exactly what someone needed. Not wanted. 

So some highlights of this week! 

I got to go to a unified basketball game! it was amazing! Unified basketball game is when kids with disabilities go play a basketball game! We have a kid in our ward named Harrison. He has cerebral palsy. So he can't walk, he's in a wheelchair. It’s very hard for him to express himself when he’s trying to talk. He can say a few words, He can laugh and smile! He is such a great boy and has such an amazing spirit. His family is amazing too! Harrison reminds me a lot of Austin. It’s pretty crazy! So the family invited us to his game and Brother Spiers. (Harrison’s dad) said something interesting before we went. "You will feel the spirit." and I totally did. We went there to go try and meet some people like we did with the wrestling meet and we talked to a lot of nice people. It was awesome; there were very humble people there. So, most of the kids that played in the game were ones that were able to walk. Harrison is a coach! haha its awesome. So he has a buddy push him around in a wheel chair. But this game Harrison got to play!!!!!! :))))) It was amazing. Someone got a rebound and then gave him the ball and his buddy pushed him down the court all the way to the basket; I just got chills and felt warm inside, and I just recognized again what a great spirit Harrison has and all these other kids. You didn't care who scored. You got to love every minute of it. I felt as I did at Austin’s baseball games. So Harrison, he lifted up the ball as high as he could then his buddy shot for him and made it!! EVERY ONE JUMPED UP AND CHEERED! He was the game difference! The score was 50-48. He got pushed down the court with his hands up and smiling and yelling!!!  I got the chills again and just teared up for this guy because I was so happy for him.  I wish you could all meet him

It was just an incredible experience and I was so grateful for it. I wish I could just talk to all these kids parents about how special these kids are and who they are just noble spirits. And I could just relate with these parents because of my brother and hope that they can see the gospel side of these special ones.  So that was just a spiritual uplifting experience. And another great thing happened.

I said a really sincere prayer this week. I was very open and honest with my Heavenly Father and the prayer lasted about 15 minutes long and it just felt super good to get everything out. During the middle of the prayer, I started to talk less and just listen and then I heard a voice say, "I am aware of you and know what you are going through." And that really brought peace to me.  My testimony of the will of God increases every day. I am continually amazed with how much Heavenly Father gives us exactly what we need, because that is what I needed. I just needed to feel that I am looked for and that He knows me and that just spoke to me that everything is going to be okay. I have never had an experience like that before and it is so great to just know and feel that. And my testimony of prayer increased too. I think maybe the longer the prayer, the more time we get to spend with Him and come closer to Him. I don't think I would of had that experience if I wasn't honest and open with my heavenly father and just to just talk to him and not to talk with him, if it was a short prayer that probably wouldn't have happened either. 

I got to go to the temple this week and I felt the spirit there too again. It was great. The temple is always like a refresh. A spiritual recharge; like Sundays, Zone conferences, and meetings. Temple days are a spiritual boost. I didn't get to see Elder Ruiz :( but I know he is doing well. 

So, our mission work going on right now: 
Raul is a little stressed out right now :( it’s hard to run a gym but he’s always glad and happy when we come. We cleaned his gym and we are serving him as much as possible right now! He’s a great guy and I hope he can feel that this is what he needs and that it can help him so much. He is a brother.

So we are still meeting with Savannah! We didn't get to meet with her this week but we are on for this week and we are excited! It’s pretty cool looking at what has happened. Savannah wanted to get baptized, and then her mom said no. Then it has turned into us teaching all three of them. It’s kind of like when the Lamanites come to attack these other Lamanites; but these other Lamanites don't fight and just pray that the Lamanites that are attacking these other Lamanites will stop attacking  the ones that are just praying.  It then turns out that the ones who were attacking join them. And thus we see the work of God is amazing (: haha I love the mission, it can be hard at times but the things that are hard are the things most worth fighting for. 

We have been trying to meet with Susanne, and she has just had things come up but she wants to meet and that is great news :) We chopped her wood and she loved us coming over and serving her. She just has been busy!

We also got to talk to a guy outside of his garage about cars and he gave us some advice and he said we could come by sometime again if he’s outside. He’s talked to missionaries before. I don't think he has been taught but his neighbor is Mormon. He races. His name is Landen and he is like late 30's. Pretty cool guy, He had a Ferrari 360 spider ahaha. So jealous... 
Oh and I am also in the ward choir... My companion loves to sing, so he drags me to choir, but it is good because the members really open up to us more. So we are building a lot of trust with them.  So I will sing in front of the ward and it is nerve racking! When we go practice, I have absolutely no idea what I am doing and I just try to sound like the rest of the people. I am in the bass section. Making a super low voice is funny.  Choir practice is like the show, ‘The Office’, basically, it is hilarious.  And I don't know if you guys know this but I have been out for 5 months now!  When I hit my 7 month mark I will be getting an IPad! The whole mission will be getting IPad in April! Super exciting! :) 
Oh, and Faith. She is slowly making progress. It is awesome though because like she says she’s not going to change but she is feeling the spirit and recognizing something she just doesn't know; so we hope she can continue to progress! We have started to figure out that what will work best with her are open ended questions. In our lesson with her, she is reading from the Book of Mormon and she knows it is true! So I asked her a question. Faith, if you knew something was true. What would you do? She said, “Well, I would consider all the things that bad could happen with the people around me.” Then I asked her, “Faith, what about the benefits that could happen with the people around you?”  She said she’s never thought of that before. So our questions are staying with her and she is thinking about them :) It’s pretty cool. I love talking to her and having a good gospel discussion. 

Everything is good. Time to just try and go make some things happen this week. 
I hope you are doing well :) I love you guys! And that is my report!


Elder Garrett Steven Harrington

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Companions, Elder Smith Sep 2013 - Dec 2013 Elder Anani Dec 2013 - Jan 2013 Elder Farr Jan 2013 -