Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Max speaking of Elder Harris Max said "God let me be his companion"

Getting to know Elder Harris has been the highlight of Max's mission so far.  

Last week Max said "Being Elder Harris' companion has truly changed my life. Not a doubt in my mind anymore that I wasn't supposed to come earlier because God let me be his companion. He's grown me spiritually more in the last 6 weeks then in the last 18 years easily. I didn't realize how much I took the Gospel for granted until I came here. I also know I'm really going to try hard to never complain about things ever in my life. Because Elder Harris literally came from nothing and is the happiest person ever BECAUSE of this restored Gospel."

I wanted to share the Elder Harris story.
The first week Max wrote home he mentioned his companion Elder Harris.  At the first mention of his name I had a very powerful feeling come over me that I needed to make sure that he was ok. There were no red flags, but I knew I needed to do something for him.  I called a friend, Kim Nield, whose parents worked at the MTC and told her I was concerned about Elder Harris and asked if she would contact her parents and have them check on him.  I was sure that they would come back and tell me that there was something I needed to do to help this young man.  When Kim called the opposite was true.  They reported that he was doing great.  The feeling would not leave.  The next week I gave Kim a package for her parents to deliver, and asked again if they would check again. Same report.  He was doing great.  The feeling that I need to do something only intensified.  For 3 weeks I could not sleep for worrying about this young man.  I emailed Max, only to get the same type replies.  Finally, after 3 1/2 weeks a mother of another elder in their room contacted me.  Her son had emailed and asked if he could give a pair of his gym shoes to Elder Harris because he did not have any.  When she told him she would buy him a pair if it wouldn't put his luggage over weight, his reply was "Mom he doesn't have very much".  We got a list of items needed for the Comodoro Rivadavia mission to our boys and asked them to let us know what Elder Harris was lacking.  When the list came back I sat down and cried.  Despite the fact that his mission is practically to the South Pole, he had no warm clothing at all.  No long sleeved shirts, no coat, no sweaters, no boots, no sleeping bag, thermals, or wool socks.  He had only one pair of shoes.  I knew I could not provide all that he needed.  I talked to a few friends and posted on my facebook page.  I got some donations.  The next day I took the what had been donated and the money we could put in and went shopping.  I thought it would be hard to find all this winter stuff in the Cache Valley in the middle of winter, and I knew I didn't have anywhere near what we needed to get everything he needed, so I prayed before I left home that I would be able to find what I needed and make the money stretch.  It was amazing, not only did I find many of the items, but they were hugely discounted because they were out of season. Even more amazing was the fact that when I got home, more donations had been left and I had more at the end of the day than I had started out with.  We were eventually able to get everything on his list and a second suit case and carry on for him to put it all in, and had extra money to put in a savings account for emergencies.

So here is Elder Harris' Story.......
Elder Harris is a convert of two years.  His conversion story in his own words.

I was baptized 2 years ago it has changed my life....I cant ever repay my Heavenly Father for how much he has given me.  ALL that I have is because I chose to give my all to him and follow Jesus Christ.  I had nothing when I first car...nothing but the clothes on my back....I didn't even have a High School Education....but after I got baptized my whole way of thinking changed.  My heart changed all because of my decision to follow the creator of the universe :)    I was homeless for a while and I decided to move in with my grandparents (they hated my dad which sucks but that a whole other story)  I had nothing at all but the clothes on my back and my id.  That was it I had nothing I didn't even have a high school education. I moved in and I was there for a day or so and my grandmother told me to watch out for the Mormons upstairs. I was like ok?  But I have always been a nice person so I saw them one day and spoke with them and they seemed so nice and loving. They were 2 sister missionary's.  I love them both so much and miss them so so much.  They are both now married and live in Arizona.  Their names were Sister Taylor and Sister Averett.  Anyway, they invited me to come to this Christmas party and I was like sure I'll come so I went to the party and the people were all so nice, and I felt somthing different about the people and the church.  I didn't know what but it felt so different and not a bad different but ...I belong here kinda feeling.  My entire life I have strived to keep Gods commandments and it all felt right.  Well like a week later they invited me to come to church.  I said, "yeah sure".  My grandparents didn't want me to go but I felt like I should go, so that Sunday my grandparents didn't want to give me a ride so I walked the mile and a half or 2 miles to the church.  I'm guessing the sisters didn't think I was going to come because when I walked into the chapel they were about to give a talk and they were freaking out when they saw me.  I loved it so much.  Well I took the lessons from the sisters and when they taught me the plan of salvation I was so made so much sense.  I loved i!  They eventually invited me to be baptized.  I was like yessssssssssssss!!!  The day of my baptism I wore this black and gold polka dot tie and to this day I have it and every baptism I go to I am going to wear it.  After I was baptized I never felt so clean and loved in my entire life and I felt so happy and at peace. I will never forget it.  After that my entire life changed.  After I got the gift of the Holy Ghost my way of thinking changed and I walked to school everyday for a year to get my diploma.  On December 11, 2014  I got it.  I was baptized on January 11, 2014   I got a job that same year at Walmart and then in August of 2015 I got my licence and a car.  My life was getting better, but I sold it all and gave everything I had back to God.  I love this church and this Gospel and I want to testify to you that I KNOW God is there.  I don't hope or think,  I KNOW he lives and that my entire life I have been lead and guided by his hand even when I was in my darkest moments.

As he said, he got a job at Walmart.  Every penny he made went into a mission fund.  His ward agreed that if he would pay the first third, that they would help him with the rest.  He paid the third, and submitted the papers.  When his call came he sold EVERYTHING he owned and bought the items he packed and brought with him to the MTC.  One suitcase only half full, but the faith that the Lord would provide.  And with the help of many of you he did.  I got to talk to Elder Harris as they were in Salt Lake getting ready to fly out.  He told me over and over that he had no words to describe how thankful he was, and how amazed he was at the generosity of strangers.  We were the answer of fervent prayers.  He knew that God knew us individually, He knew our needs and our hearts.  In letter received later that day he says "I will forever be grateful for all that ya all have done.  When I got the suitcase of clothes and other stuff I cried so much.  Not just because it was an answer to many prayers, but for the fact that there are people in this world that listen to God's promptings and and act on them.  Thank you all for everything.  I thank God for allowing me to bless others by blessing me and showing me so much love.  I pray that all that I went through will be a tool to help others increase their faith in Jesus Christ.  I have seen God's hand in my life.  I love you all.  Thank you so,so,so,so, so, so, so, so much!  Words can not describe how grateful I truly am.

To all of you that helped, and there were a lot, thank you!!!  This is an amazing, humble kid, who will be able to go and do the Lord's work now without worrying about the necessities.  You have help answer the many prayers offered by this young man.  You have been part of a miracle. I have no doubt that his faith and love of the gospel will touch many lives in Argentina.  Thank you again!

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