Come Follow Me

Come Follow Me
"And he saith unto them, "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19) As the New Year begins, we, the members of the Willow Wood Ward, invite you to Come and Follow Him!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Elder Riley Harris

January 27, 2014
This week has been pretty good for us as well. So Marquis who we met last week was committed to be baptized on the 15th along with his girlfriend Lene! They both came to the young men's young women's activities and they just soak up everything we teach! They are so prepared and the love we have for them is just unreal! He just told us flat out yesterday that he can't wait to become a member of the church! it's super exciting. Plus I will for sure get to see them baptized if they are baptized on the 15th. Then we had Justin and Tyler who we've been teaching for a while come to church as well. We had 4 investigators at church on Sunday! HOLY COW! I couldn't believe it. It was so overwhelming that I was a freaking out a little but it turned out great! The other elders had an investigator come as well so we had a total of 5 non members come to church. The work is just exploding!

Also this week we got to try a southern tradition thanks to Brother Bonds ( the member who made the tail lights) We got some moon pies and an RC cola and just sat back and relaxed one night. It was awesome. I was a little sick after though from all the sugar we had, but it's great. Tastes just like coke.Man I wish I could just take y'all everywhere I go so that y'all could see the things I see around here. The photos just don't do any justice to it.

OH! also one of the investigators from Boonville is getting baptized! IT'S FREAKING AMAZING! This kid said he was going to be baptized, but in two years because his dad is a pastor and he would,"have to quit his job due to the shame he brought on the family." Now he's getting baptized on the 31st! I'm hoping president will let me go.

February 3, 2014

The baptism this week was great! It was small, but the spirit was definately there.  I'm not sure if you remember the story of Taylor or not, but he was not going to be baptized for 2 years since his parents were very against it. His dad is a Baptist preacher and would quit his job due to the shame he would bring on the family by joining the Mormon church. It was a sad story and it's sad that Taylor felt that he had to do this behind his parents back. I am just glad that President gave us permission to go. It was really funny how he gave us permission. It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive. There's also a rule that it has to be 2 hours away in order to go. So President calls and says, "it's a 2 hour drive right?" I responded "It's a little over 2" He then says "It's 2 hours right?" I got the hint and said YES! I love our mission president. We just drove down and back. May have barley made it before 1030 the night before but we made it. It was totally worth the trip. It made me miss Ol' Miss though.

March 3, 2014

We have had some crazy weather these last couple of months. It's a tad bit ridiculous. We have these perfect days where it's warm with a slight breeze, 70 degrees. Then today we wake up to 29 degree freezing cold days.  Our car doors were frozen shut due to the rain last night. It was like being home without the snow! Hopefully we'll get out of this cold spell soon. I'm ready for some warmer weather.

Other then the weather things are going good out here. We're workin harder then I have the last couple of transfers. It's a little sad to admit that, but we are. This area needs it. Plus I think it's easier to work harder out here since it's not a city. I love being out of the city more then anything. I hate that I had to leave some great people behind, but I love it out here. Plus I'm back in my home state. I feel more at home here in Mississippi then in bama. The only real place I feel at home in Bama is Scotty town. That seems a little weird since I've spent more time In bama. Oh well. I love the good ol' state of Mississippi.

So Ryan is our one progressing investigator. He's doing pretty good. He's committed to live the word of Wisdom and as far as we know he's living it! We've also been trying to help him to remember to pray every night. He's 27 and feeling down on himself because he can't find a girlfriend. I only kind of know how that is because of high school. But then again, I was having too much fun in high school that I didn't worry about it too much... All we really need to do is help him realize what it means when he is baptized. He still wants to go to his church and come to ours every once in a while. We can help him out with that though.

We've also been doing a lot more finding out here. It's been nuts! The hardest thing is finding rides for people to church, since we live about 30 min away from our church and have only 4 active members/families in our area. We sort of live on the ourskirts of the ward. Our ward also has 10 missionaries! 6 that live in the town of Tupelo, 2 that live 20 min away in Ponitoc, and us 30 min away. We are right next to the West Point ward boundary! It's cool though. 

It's so weird to think I've been out 19 months. Elder Savage keeps telling everyone I've been out for an eternity. It doesn't feel like it though. Time has been flying by! Just yesterday I first came to Mississippi. A few hours before that I just hit the MTC. Time just flys by and before we know it everyone is home talking about it. 

March 17, 2014
There's a couple of experiences that I have had this week that have been interesting that I would like to share. So this week we taught Ryan again. He was telling us about how he didn't want to disappoint us and how he felt like he needed to go to his church. So we went over the restoration, teaching it the way that we had been trained on in zone training. It brought the spirit very strongly and we asked him what happened to the priesthood after the apostles died. He answered "it went with them." Then we asked "Do you think God would take it away forever?" He said no. Then we asked him how it would be brought back and who would have it. He said his pastor had it so we asked him how he got it. He said He thought some other pastors prayed over him. so we asked where they got it. He said he didn't know. Then we told him straight up, "Ryan, that's because they don't have it. They do not have the authority to run or set up Christ's church." We then told him that Joseph Smith got the priesthood from Peter, James, and John, and asked how he could know it. We got him to pray right there what church he should go to. So he did. We sat there for a few min. while he prayed and waited for an answer. Long story short he said he needed to come to our church and he didn't know why. We told him to come so he could figure out why. He didn't end up coming so we are going to drop him later today or tomorrow sometime. It's sad that we have to, but it needs to happen.

Another experience was on an exchange with the Zone Leaders up in Tupelo. We went on a church tour with a young girl named Hannah. She is 17 and works at Sonic. that's how the missionaries actually met her. So we went on a church tour and it became very obvious that she liked pictures. She was looking at all of them in the church! So since the new way we are teaching is to have them tell us what they see in certain pictures we asked her to tell us what she saw in them. This is very important because she came to a picture of home teaching. She say a family sitting around a table talking and she asked us what was going on in the picture. We told her it was a family at dinner talking with each other. She then asked us what that was like... My heart just broke. We then got to teach her and it came up that she had watched her parents go through a divorce and then get remarried, was living with her dad at that point, and never new what is was like to sit around a table and just talk with a family. We promised her that if she stuck with these lessons, that she would get to experience that. I feel that she is going to be baptized here soon.

That's about it for stories of what's happened this week. The only other thing that stood out is something we talked about during studies. It was interesting to the point that I want to share it with you. So we read in the scriptures that the amount of times it is required of us to forgive is 70 times 7. We also know that at the judgement day we are all going to have to look at all the bad we did, and I would assume all the people who we wronged, and be Judged according to the progress we made. It also says that After the millennium Satan will be loosed from his imprisonment and many will fall away. What could cause so many to fall away? What could Satan do that could make it so that many souls will fall away? What if at the Judgement bar we not only have to look at all the people we wronged, we also have to look at all the people who wronged us? We have to look them in the eye, Have Satan tell us everything they did to wrong us, and still be like Christ and say, Forgive them, for they knew not what they did? Isn't that what Christ ultimately did on the cross? aren't we asked to be like him? Isn't all judgement placed to the Son? Yet of us it is asked to forgive. Bless them that curse you, pray for those who spitefully use you. That would have to be what is so hard. Will we, at the judgement bar, be able to look at those who wronged us and tell Christ, Forgive them, I want to be with them in the Celestial kingdom. I don't want to lose my brother/sister. Nevertheless not my will but thine be done. That was something that just blew my mind this week. I have a whole new perspective on how things need to be. I just thought I'd share that with you though.

This week I also met with President Nolan of the mission presidency. We talked about what I'm going to be doing about school when I get back. Basically we decided that I am going to go to LDS Business College to start and then I'm probably going to transfer somewhere. That way I can get 24 credit hours at a cheaper cost, and not have to worry as much about my high school gpa. Plus  LDS Business College is an open enrollment and a free semester of college which would help give me a jump start with life if I can find a job in that time. He is emailing me more about grants and stuff like that. I also found out that technically I was supposed to register for the selective services when I turned 18. OOOOpps. Totally didn't know that. My bad. I'll have to do that out here. It was really good though. It gave me some direction and hope on what is going to happen eventually.

Enough of me on my soap box, It sounds like you are having a super busy week! I can't believe that so much can fit in such a short time! You'll have to let me know how the girls do at their lacrosse game. I miss the season and all the fun that you can have while being there. Plus the girls don't write me at all so you'll have to keep me in the loop.

Well I'd better go. I've got to email everyone still and I haven't even started my letter to president... I love you Mom! I miss you and hope your trip goes well! Stay safe and remember to pray often!
March 31, 2014

This week we decided that we were going to try tracting again, LAME... anyway we knocked 3 doors and surprise, no answer. We went down this other street and saw this guy in his garage. We went to talk to him and he let us in his home. I was sick and tired of dancing around peoples questions so I just told him straight up how it was. We have a message that says that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and he restored his church. Here's the fruit to test it, will you read and pray about it. He said he would. In a long round about way at least. It was funny because we got to get into a little black southern baptist shout session with saying, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ." It made us laugh a little after.

We also got a new investigator this week after much prayer and work. They are a refferal from HA it does work. They got on and requested a blessing from the missionaries. Oh the husband is a member. Well we went over after the other Tupelo missionaries went over their since they got the text with the request. So we went there on Sunday and they have a baptismal date for the 15th! We were excited. Well I was. Elder Savage was bummed that he is leaving and we had this happen.

Sunday we got to go to Mormon Springs. It's a place where the saints of Mississippi gathered before they were going to head out west. They planted some food their for people going through there in the future. They were also the first group of saints to reach the Salt Lake Valley! How crazy is that? If you ever find time to look them up I'd recommend learning a little bit about the Mississippi saints and Mormon Springs. It's really cool!

Aside from that, not much happened this week. Oh we did try and get Peggy to the women's conference. That didn't happen, but it came down to the wire. Hopefully we'll get her to watch conference.

I did get the letters this week. I'm going to try and leave a little bit out of this email so I have something to write about haha. You know how it is with trying to tell everyone everything and then you have to try and remember it when you write a letter. It's not easy but it'll happen.

It sounds like y'all had a pretty nice week. Aside from the snow that Dad said y'all got. I'm glad that we're done with snow up here. It's great for a day or two then that's enough for me. I'm gonna have to get used to it again when I get back though.

I'm glad that Ali let you know about transfers. It makes it easier for me, because then I don't have to type a note and send it through the cloud. sometimes it doesn't work, and I don't always have wifi.

So with your friend ... One thing that I've noticed is that sometimes it takes beating a dead horse to bring life back to it. Kind of like CPR. We don't share a message, or have a belief, that is dead. We hold the keys to eternal life. There is no other way to get back to our Father in Heaven than through the priesthood. You can't find it anywhere else. However whatever has offended her is very real to her.  All you can do is be a friend. A quote from the mission that I like is "aquaintences are at church, friends are at the dinner table." How true is that? There are people at church who you just talk to on Sunday and that's the extent of your relationship. Then you have those people who you would and do invite over for dinner or into your home. That's where friendships are built on trust and love. That's how you show someone you care for them. We use that to try and get members to allow investigators into their home to help us to teach, but it works with less active members as well. They won't always change over night, but it can. With God, anything is possible. Well that's enough preaching form me. I'll get of that soap box.

Elder Riley Harris

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