Monday, December 28, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 12-28-15 Newport News, VA

Hello Family and Friends!

Well we had Christmas this week. It was fun opening up presents and other festivities, but the best part of my day was talking with my family at home, and with Hannah. It was nice to see them.

After that our Christmas day was really busy! We stayed a little at the Fraydey's house after we called our families, and after we went to eat dinner at the Ramirez house. We had ten minutes in between that dinner and another dinner we had at the Flores house. At the Ramirez, we ate tamales, rice, ribs, and a jello/nut dessert that was really good. We then went to the Flores where we ate more tamales, and after had a dessert of bread that sits in a batter of honey and some other things. Both dinners were really good, unfortunately it was a little hard to put my belt on after both of those dinners!

We also have experienced a miracle in our mission work. It happened the day after Christmas. We had an investigator, whose name was Belkis. We had taught her once, set up another return appointment, but when we went to stop by her house again no one was there. Well we've been really busy these past few weeks teaching people, so we never had a chance to stop by her again, and we had lots of other people that we wanted to continue teaching because they were progressing pretty well. But during daily planning Christmas night, we felt that we needed to stop by her house the next day. So we went and knocked on her door. She opened it, and instantly said "pasen adelante!" So we came into her house, and taught her the Plan of Salvation. We taught her this lesson because recently her daughter was killed in Honduras, so she was going through a really hard time. But after the lesson was really when we were able to see the hand of God in our work. We asked her if she had any questions, and she told us this. "Last time you stopped by I was entering the neighborhood right as you guys were leaving. I honked at you, and you all turned around and looked, but I don't think you realized it was me." She then explained to us that when she got home she felt awful. And she thought she missed her chance, and that we were never going to come back again. She said that no one has ever taken the time to teach her about Jesus Christ, and she wants to learn so she really appreciates us coming back for her even though she missed our last appointment. We assured her that we were going to come back again, because she was practically begging us to teach her more. We offered a closing prayer to end the lesson. We invited her to say it, and she said she had never prayed before. We taught her how, and then she bowed her head to pray. The Spirit was so strong, and I know she felt it too. Halfway through the prayer she stopped, sobbing while she struggled to get words out of her mouth. After the prayer, we also invited her to church which was the next day. She said she would come but she would need a ride because her license plates had just expired. We told her we would do everything we could to make sure she had a ride tomorrow. The first person we called said they couldn't give her a ride because their wife was in the hospital and they wouldn't be attending church the next day. We only had one more family that lived close enough to give them a ride, so when we called them we knew they were our last hope. Well, they gladly accepted to give Belkis a ride to church! So the next day, it was no surprise when Belkis and the Martinez family entered the chapel. But what was surprising was when she entered the church, she waved at several different members! It turns out that she knew about four members of our congregation really well through work. I kept thinking that the circumstances couldn't get better, but I kept being amazed! The sacrament talk we had planned was about salvation for the dead. Which fit perfectly because she had just lost her daughter. Now she knows that she can live forever with her family in Heaven. We went through the rest of church. During the different classes she was able to participate and sit with her friends. Then during Relief Society, we asked the sister missionaries to sit by her. They did, and after told us that she said she was coming back next week. She wants to meet with us as much as possible. Luckily we can because she doesn't have work until the 24 of January, so she told us to come over as much as we can between now and then! We have an appointment later today with her, and we are all really excited to go and teach her!

The last story this week took place this morning. Every transfer we have the option of going to the beach in the morning to watch the sunrise and exercise there. So we got up early this morning, and went to the Fort Monroe beach! There we played soccer in the sand, and went for a run on the beach. We were able to watch some large cargo and military boats pass by. After, when we were getting ready to go back, we looked where we had parked and found out we parked right by an old military fort! So we looked around a little bit before we went home to do our studies.

Well, that's all that's happened since Christmas! Thank y’all for your Christmas wishes and all the support I get here. I love y’all.

-Elder Adams

Elder Harrison Adams Skyping on Christmas Day

Spanish Speaking Missionaries at the Christmas Conference

Monday, December 21, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 12-21-15 Newport News, VA

Merry Christmas Family and Friends!

This week has been busy, it doesn't really feel like Christmas is even remotely close! But, during this season, I would like to share with y’all some of my favorite Christmas songs.

Here is my list:
1. Oh Come Oh Come Immanuel.
2. I Wonder as I Wander.
3. Carol of the Bells.
4. God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen.
5. What Child is this (Greensleeves)

Around this time of year, the Spirit of the Lord is so strong. I've felt it especially here as a missionary. People are more willing to open doors and hear a message about our Lord and Savior. It makes me think back to the story of the Christmas during World War One. When on Christmas Eve, the men from both trenches came together to celebrate Christmas. There was even a soccer game in one location. No power on earth could have done this, except for the birth and love of the Savior, and the knowledge that we are all brothers and sisters.

Talking about brothers and sisters, I think back to what President Monson said when someone asked him what the best present would be for him to receive on his birthday. Without hesitating, he said "Find someone who is having a hard time, and do something for them." During this Christmas season, I know we can all find someone to serve. I imagine that if we could ask Christ the same question that was asked to President Monson, we would get a similar response.

This week we also had a Christmas program in our branch. We read from Luke 2 about the birth of Christ, and sang songs throughout the program. At the end. Our Branch President got up and said something that really stuck with me. He was talking about how scholars and well learned people argue about when Jesus Christ really was born. He said, "Maybe it was in the winter, in the summer, or in the spring. I don't know. That's never mattered to me. What does matter, when was Christ born in us?"

One more thing, around this Christmas season we have seen many miracles. One of them has been an investigator that we actually ended up dropping, because he said he would never be baptized no matter what. Well, about three weeks ago, we were in church when he walked in the doors and sat down. We were surprised, but we never got the chance to really sit down and talk with him because he had to leave a little before church ended. We stopped by later that week, to ask him how he enjoyed church. Well, a new roommate of his moved in to his house. And we were able to teach him and his roommate again. We invited them to church again. And once again, he came this past Sunday. It's humbled me to see him make changes in his life as he draws closer to God. His attitude on baptism has even changed. He now says that he will be baptized once he knows it's what the Lord wants him to do. That's just a small miracle I want to share this Christmas season.

We as missionaries aren't always perfect, sometimes we misjudge people. But, the Lord doesn't forget about anyone of his dear children. If they are ready, he will do everything in His power to give them the Gospel. I have a testimony that people are prepared by God to hear our message. I have seen it, and continue to see it every week. I am humbled to be called a servant of the Lord. I know I'm not qualified by myself, but through Him and His grace, I am a tool in his hands. We're not perfect. But this Christmas season, let's all try and become a little more like Jesus the Christ. It's humbling to me as well to know that Christ came into this world the same way as each and every one of us. He was born in the most humbling circumstances, and he became the most humble man who has ever lived. He is the gift. That I promise you. Merry Christmas, I love you all so much!

-Elder Adams 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 12-14-15, Newport News, VA

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a fantastic week! We had lots of lessons, did lots of service, and also had a Stake Nativity party. I'll be sure to tell y’all about that later in the letter!

But to start off, I'll be honest. It feels nothing like winter here in Newport News. I've heard that last year it was really cold, but it's super warm right now. At night, we walk around in our normal clothes. And during the day, we're sweating a lot of times walking in the streets. But, we are all getting a little bit of the Christmas hype here. This upcoming week we are having a mission Christmas devotional, which will be really fun. Every year they get to watch a movie (the only time on our mission where we will ever watch a movie) and last year it was Polar Express. I'm excited to see what it will be this year!

Well, this week, I was at a place I never thought I would be on my mission. The DMV. One of our less active members, from Cuba, has been having a lot of financial problems recently. And he had sold his car, but hadn't transferred the title over so he was still getting charged for it. He needed to change that of course, but he doesn't speak a lick of English. We happened to stop by, just when he needed our help. So we went to the DMV, sat down in the little waiting room, and translated for him. He was able to get it all taken care of and now he's a lot more open to meeting with us, because before he didn't really like the missionaries.  

Now I'd like to talk about a small miracle we had this week. We were going to contact one of our investigators, his name is Alex, and we knocked on his door but no one answered. There was a for sale sign in their house and all of the things inside the house were taken out, so they had already left. Well, we went to knock on another door across the trailer park. We didn't really know why. We knocked on it, and Alex's wife answered! Turns out they only moved to the other side of the neighborhood. We had never met her before, but before we could even explain to her who we were she told us to come on in. We went in, and taught a really powerful lesson. She recently had her daughter die in Honduras, and I think that she really needed a message from God during this time of her life. We asked her when we could come back again, and she told us that the next day she wanted us to come back. That was really nice to see, and now I have a strong testimony that God does prepare people for His message.

Okay so this week we did get to help other people with service too, and they were all less actives so that's all the better. One lady, recently found out that she had to move. She had three days to move everything she had into a damaged, beat down house. So, of course we helped her! We carried beds and other things out of her house, and then we went over to her new house to see what we could do. The roof had a leak in it, and all of the insulation in the ceiling was ruined. So, she asked us to take it all down. It was one of the weirdest acts of service I've ever given, because I felt like I was just vandalizing a house. We didn't have any tools, or equipment like that. So, we walked into the new house (I had to duck because the ceiling was so low) and we just started punching holes in the ceiling. Then, with our hands, we would grab chunks of the ceiling and throw it down on the floor. We took off her whole ceiling, and all of the insulation that was with it. We didn't really have safety equipment, so after we were all really itchy and irritated from the fiberglass, but it was really nice to help this lady out. She really appreciated it. After, we swept up the mess in garbage cans, then we took off!

Later that night, we had the big stake nativity party. It was really similar to the one we did back home, where everyone brought nativities from different places around the world, and set them all up. Another really cool thing, they had a live nativity outside. With animals and everything! We got to pet them, and also got to watch the youth of the stake play a live nativity of Mary and Joseph. It reminded me of the one we do every year as a family, with an angel, three wise men, and everything else. It was really neat, and they had live musical performances going on inside the church with violins, cellos, and singers. It was really successful.

One thing I am really looking forward to this next week is the branch Christmas party we are going to have. We talk about it a lot, especially in ward council. I'll be honest, I was afraid a fight was going to break out in that room. Hispanics don't joke about their food. For example, we were talking about carnitas. one lady said she would make them, and everyone just started bombarding her with questions about how she would make them. "What do you put in them?" Then she said "Coca-Cola, orange, oil...." "What else?" then she said "That's all..." then everyone in the room kind of scoffed at her and shook their heads. I decided if I ever am in a Spanish branch in the future, I will just leave all of the cooking to them. But, a man named Fautsino, is making his legendary punch. I guess this punch is supposed to be warm, and has just whole fruits in it? It will be interesting to try! Lots of Hispanic food I am coming to love. It has taken me a little while to get used to (for example I'm still struggling with arroz con leche), but after a while I really start to love it! If y’all are interested in what we get to drink a lot, there is a drink that almost every members gives us—it's coconut juice, in a big can. The brand name is Foco. It's a little different because it has whole chunks of coconut in it, but it's really good if y’all every want to try something I have a lot!

Well, that's all for this week. I wish yall some happy holidays, and remember that Christ is the reason for everything! He is the light.

-Elder Adams

A member texted us this photo of Elder Adams and his companions last Saturday
Elder Adams with Hector before he left.
Family Night with the Herrera Family.
Elder Adams with a llama at the Live Nativity.
Elder Adams with a donkey at the Live Nativity.

Elder Adams with a cow at the Live Nativity.
The Live Nativity.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 12-7-15 Newport News, VA

Family and friends,

All of these days and weeks are starting to blur for me. It's hard to think about what we've done in the past week, but I'll try my best to remember everything I wanted to say.

To start off, we had transfer calls this past Saturday. We received a call from President Baker, which means one of three things. Someone is being called to be a trainer, someone is being called to a leadership position, or they are going to close down an area. Luckily for our case, it was about the old area of Elder Martinez. President Baker decided that for now, we are going to split it up and share it with the hermanas. But,  Elder Berry, and Elder Martinez, and I will be staying here in Newport News for this Christmas season!

Speaking of Christmas, we also had the chance to watch the Christmas Devotional yesterday night at the Frayde's house. I especially liked the talk by Elder Bednar, and now I don't think I can look at Christmas lights without thinking of Christ.

As missionaries, usually one funny thing happens once a week. This week, it happened when we were backing out our car. It was my turn to back out the car, so I turned around and marched behind. Well, our neighbor started his car at the same time, and started to backup before we did. Well, the two cars are the same color, and I wasn't really paying much attention, so I got behind his car and starting making the hand signals to back him out. I backed him out, and he gave me a pretty funny look as he drove off. My companions teased me quite a bit for that one.

This week was a lot of fun, and even though we are staying in the same area this next transfer, I had to say goodbye to two good friends. The first person I had to say goodbye to was a man named Elian. He was an investigator of ours, and one of the most generous men I have ever met. The other Elders before us were teaching him, so when we got her we just continued. It's hard to get a hold of him, because he always gives his phone to people to borrow. Also, whenever he is not working, he is always working on old beat up cars. He buys old cars, fixes them up, and gives them to people who don't have cars. Free of charge. He is from Cuba, so a lot of times I have to ask him to repeat himself. It's crazy how fast they talk. Well, I should get to the reason why we had to say goodbye. Recently his wife divorced him, now he never sees his daughters, he lost his job, his best friend got killed, his niece is about to die in Cuba, and his grandma who also lives in Cuba needs someone to take care of her. I guess, he just doesn't have any reason to stay here. We went over to his house this week, taught him a quick lesson, and said our goodbyes.

The second person we had to say goodbye to was Hector, our recent convert. He was only living in America because he had a heart condition. He has had several heart attacks, and a heart disease, and currently only one fourth of his heart is working. So he was here in America, where he could get proper care for his heart. Well, he has now stayed the duration of his allotted time, and he returned to Columbia this Sunday. Although I didn't baptize him, I had the opportunity to teach him once we became a trio with Elder Martinez. Even though only a fourth of his heart may be working, I pray that I can have a heart as big and loving as his.

A spiritual insight I would like to share real quick comes from Elder Williams. He is a missionary in our zone, and is actually leaving today to go home, after serving a faithful two year mission. During our zone meeting this past Friday, he gave his departing testimony. He paraphrased a talk by Elder Eyring called No Man Left Behind. Or at least that's what he said he thought it was. I'd like to quote a few insights that I learned from his testimony. He said, that on a battlefield, when a soldier gets shot and falls, everyone yells "Man Down!" and rushes to give him help. Even putting themselves in uncomfortable circumstances to help their friend. Why is it then, in this spiritual battle that we all fight, when someone takes a shot and falls we don't help them? Instead, we sit by and say things like "Oh man, they shouldn't have done that." or "They shouldn't have been there." Instead, we need to rush to their aid and help them. When a soldier gets shot, you don't ask them why they got shot. Why is it then, that we do that with the spiritual battles of our friends and families?

Going along with that, I'd just like to share that some of the most joy I've found in missionary work has been working with the less-active members. They have their testimonies, sometimes it just takes a little work to help them remember it. Sometimes we get all excited when we find new people to teach, but we always have to remember that we have our brothers and sisters in the church that might be just a little lost right now. Maybe they just need a hand. Maybe, they've been shot and they need someone to help them. I have a testimony of missionary work, especially by members. I have seen it here, and I know it is possible no matter where you are.

I love you all so much, and wish yall Happy Holidays during this time we are preparing for Christmas!

-Elder Adams

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 11-30-15 Newport News, VA


This week we had the Dia de Accion de Gracias (Thanksgiving). Like I said in the prior letter, we had three different Thanksgiving meals set up. The first one we went over to the Richey's house. There we had our traditional Thanksgiving, with mashed potatoes, stuffing, beans, rolls, and pumpkin pies. After that, we had a little bit of time where we went and taught a few lessons to investigators. Then we had to hurry over to the Martinez's house for our second Thanksgiving meal. There we had, more or less, another typical Thanksgiving meal. Well, they're from Panama, so it wasn't quite an "American Thanksgiving." There was a side of rice with almost every dish, which was a little different for Thanksgiving, and a lot of fruits and greens. Finally after this meal, we had one more to go to before the day was over. At this point, I was not looking forward to this last meal. I was already super full, and at the point of bursting! So we arrived at the house of the Herreras, and they brought out a huge plate of food for us. The nice thing about the first two places was that we served ourselves, but here we had no choice but to eat everything that was on our plates. We each had our own little chicken, a huge side of rice, and another huge side of mashed potatoes. I've never felt so sick from food in my life. I was afraid that I was going to throw up. Not because the food was bad, it was delicious, but it was just so much. So after quite some time, we finished our last bit of food. Or so we thought. After we ate all the food on our plates they brought out a birthday cake from the fridge for Elder Martinez. Once again, they served us so we had no choice but to eat a huge slice of cake. After that, we returned home to our house, did our planning as fast as we could for the next day, and passed out in our beds. It was a different Thanksgiving experience, that's for sure. But all of the food was super good.

A few funny stories that happened this week. The first is about me. This actually happened yesterday. We were in a lesson, and we were talking about Joseph Smith. One of the investigators asked if they had to be young like Joseph Smith to find God. But I only heard them say that Joseph Smith was young when he found God. So with a big smile on my face, I looked at them and said "Yes!" Haha. After they good really quiet and a little awkward. And I was wondering why. But then my companions stepped in and told them that they didn't need to be young to find God, because they were both a little older. After that though we had a short laugh.

One more story happened with one of my companions. We were talking about how the Book of Mormon and the Bible are different witnesses of Jesus Christ. One witness in the Americas and one in Jerusalem. Well, instead of saying the word "testigo" for witness, he said the word "testiculos" (testicles). We got a really weird look when he said that. One of the fun things about learning a new language is looking back at the mistakes that you make. At the time it may be embarrassing, but when we think back to those moments we always have a good laugh.

Last thing in this letter, I just want to write about an experience or two that we had this week. The first one happened yesterday, during sacrament meeting. The Spanish Sisters in our area have been working really hard in our area to activate this less active lady. She's come to church the past few weeks, and she's really progressing. But this week, they were impressed to invite her to take her friends to church with her this Sunday. Well, Sunday came along, and we couldn't find the Sisters anywhere and church was about to start. Then they came in through the doors, looked at us, and said "prepare yourselves!" About fifteen people who we had never seen before came in through the church doors, and joined us for our sacrament meeting. Back home I didn't really think fifteen people at church was a big deal, but looking out at our congregation, it was about doubled! That was a really neat miracle that we all saw.

One other thing, we were having a lesson with a lady named Adriana. As far as we know, she has never met with the missionaries before. But while teaching her the Restoration, it all just made sense to her. Normally we have to clarify points about the Restoration, but she was the one saying the things we normally clarify. At the end of the lesson, we were able to set her with a baptismal date. And she invited us back again, and offered us to feed us before the lesson. For Hispanic people, that's a super big deal! So there is lots of potential with her in the future, and I know that God prepares people to receive our message. I have no doubt about that.

I hope y’all had a good Thanksgiving, and hope that y’all are getting excited for Christmas!

-Elder Adams

Monday, November 23, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 11-23-15 Newport News, VA

I'm trying to think of what happened this week but it's really hard to think of things. It feels like I was writing my last letter yesterday, time really flies by here. I'll just go over a few small events for the week.

So this Thursday is going to be Thanksgiving. Last Thanksgiving in the Mission the Missionaries had it off, but our president decided that this year it will be treated like a normal day, with the exception that we can have dinner appointments that are 90 minutes long instead of only 60.

But this Sunday, news got around the branch that we didn't have anywhere to eat this Thanksgiving (we don't know how they got this news), so by the end of church we had about five people set up to feed us. We still haven't quite worked out what we're going to do, although we are allowed to have several dinner appointments that day. So we think that we are going to eat with the Richey family at 12:00. The Martinez family at 4:00. And the Herrera family at 6:30. I have no idea how I'm going to be able to eat that much food! And also we can't fast the day before, because that day is the Birthday of Elder Martinez so we have a dinner appointment with the Frayday family. They are the ones that live on the military base. Last time we went there, we had Korean food, because Hermana Frayday's mom is from Korea, so she knows how to make super good Korean food. We had sushi, lettuce wraps, and a bunch of other side dishes last time, and we are going to have the same thing this Wednesday. But I am really excited for all of the food this week. The Richey family only speak English, and Elder Martinez is super excited to have thanksgiving with them because he has never had a white thanksgiving. So that's what's going to happen this next week.

This past week has been a little rough with teaching people. We haven't had too many lessons, and the lessons we did have were a little difficult. The first lesson we had this week was with a man named Pablo and his family. They are super nice, but they don't quite understand our lessons. That's how it is with a lot of people here. Lots of them have minimal education, and it's rare to be able to find someone who can read. So, a lot of times inviting them to read the Book of Mormon just isn't an option. We ran into that problem a lot this week, and also the problem that Jesus is white. And another one of our fairly solid investigators basically dropped us. That's always hard.

This week though, we did have the chance to work with a lot of new members and less actives. Mainly we met a lot with the Herrera family, because they had the chance this week to go to the temple for the first time. When we went they shared with us really cool stories too. About how they were converted. This was the family that had been investigating the church for fifteen years. They had been invited to be baptized many times, but they still refused to. But they both had dreams after they were invited to be baptized again. Ramon had a dream that he was sitting on a beach. He said it was super calm and he was relaxed, and then all of a sudden a huge wave just came crashing down on him. He was still calm though and remained in a relaxed state the whole time. Belkiz on the other hand, had a dream that her and Ramon were sitting on a dock. Then they both decided to lean back and they fell off the dock and into the water. And that's the reason that they got baptized. They're super strong in the church, and they finally got their van working so now they said they will give a ride to all of the investigators that we have.

Other than that, not much happened this week. Although I did have the chance this week to read the book by Elder Ballard, Our Search for Happiness. It's pretty short, but I enjoyed it a lot. I'd recommend anyone to read it if they have a little bit of time. It brings up really good points and expounds on some key points of doctrine. One part that really stuck out to me was the comparison Elder Ballard made with a house right by a fire station. And this is all taking place in a little town. Now everyone in this town has access to the fire station. Like how everyone has access to the Holy Spirit. But the house right next to the fire station is a lot more protected, because it has the immediate help and protection of the fire station. He then goes on to say how the Holy Spirit operates in the same way. Only those with the Gift of the Holy Spirit have the immediate protection from danger. That's just one thing that really stuck out to me from that book.

Well, it's going to be a little different not having Thanksgiving with my family. Although I was happy to receive a package from Jolie, Clark, and Avery with a few little Thanksgiving treats inside. The picture that Avery colored is currently hanging up in the wall of our apartment. 

I hope y’all have a great week this week, and that y'all enjoy Thanksgiving!

-Elder Adams

We also got bored during one of our dinners, so we set up the Christmas tree we had. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 11-17-15 Newport News, VA

Family and Friends,

This week has kind of been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. I've had some of the best experiences of my mission so far and also the hardest.

First off, this week he had a branch activity called "Noche de Hispanidad." So we invited all of our investigators and branch members to this activity we were going to have. We had it inside the chapel, and we had people from our branch make different foods from their countries. We had food from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Panama, Peru, and a bunch of different places! After we ate all of our food, we had dances from their different countries, and we also played some games with the children after that. I was only able to see a traditional dance from Mexico, because we were busy serving and helping to prepare the food. But we saw a lot of investigators there. Two of our investigators, Manuel and Ana Calix, were able to come and the Sister Missionaries also brought a few of theirs as well! This Noche de Hispanidad was a huge success, and super fun. At the end they had a few partner dances and all of the couples in our branch got up with their wives and children and danced. It was super neat to see!

For the hard part of my week, we had to drop one investigator that I truly loved. His name is Don Raffael and he is such an amazing man. He was probably one of the first people I have ever taught on my mission, so it was super hard to have to do that. He wasn't keeping his commitments and wasn't progressing, so we decided it would be best to give him a break for a while. Hopefully there will be chances for us or maybe other missionaries in the future to teach him again. But when we were in his house, letting him know where we stood, my voice started to crack and I was on the verge of crying basically the whole time. It's so hard to see someone you love so much not have the same happiness that you have, and not progress.

Okay so another great part about our week is that we had the chance to hear from Elder Arnold of the Seventy this week. We actually had the chance to meet with him on two separate occasions. So he and his wife are practically fluent in Spanish, and so they had a meeting with all of the Hispanic branches in the Mission. (So only two or three). But we had that on Sunday after church. And something really cool, he promised us that in six months, these branches will be wards. If we each do our parts and invite others, then instead of having zero Spanish wards in our mission, that we would have two or three. The next day we also got to meet with him with all of the other missionaries on the eastern seaboard. Before the meeting started, I also had the chance to finally see Elder Haslam. We got to talk for a little bit and we talked about Bingham and about Lacrosse. But after that we had our meeting. It was probably the best church meeting I have ever been too, and I learned so many good things from that. One thing that really caught my attention is the very last thing he said before he ended. He said something along the lines of "You know, every time I got out on an assignment to see the missionaries. President Monson always meets with me. He always brings me in and tells me, make sure you tell them how much I love them." Then he said. "So, I need to let you all know that President Monson loves you. He thinks about you, prays about you, and loves you all so much." It was really powerful. I'm so grateful that we have a living Prophet today to guide and direct us.

I'd like to share a few more little thoughts really quick. I heard a story a while ago, and it really got me thinking. I've been thinking about this for a long time, and maybe y’all would like to hear it too. I don't know it exactly but I'll do my best to paraphrase it. So there are two men sitting in Heaven after their deaths, and they are waiting outside of an office room. The door opens and the first man is called into the room. In the room, he sat down. And there was a man across the table that started talking to him. He said. "So tell me how you know Jesus Christ." The man responded "Well, His parents were Mary and Joseph, he was born in a manger." Then the other man said "Yes, but tell me how you know Jesus Christ." The man answered again "He grew up, taught the Gospel, was baptized when he was thirty..." The other man said "Very good, but how do YOU know Jesus Christ." The man responded again "He was crucified when he was thirty three, and after three days he was resurrected." After that, the other man said "Thank you, you may leave now." The first man left the room, and the second man was invited to enter." The second man entered, and the man started to ask the question "How do you know...." but he was interrupted by the second man, who fell to his knees and said "My Master!" That really has had me thinking these past few weeks. How well do we know Jesus Christ. Do you just know about Him? Or do we truly know Him.

That's all I have for now, I love you all so much, and Happy Thanksgiving!

-Elder Adams
My plate of food during our activity

Me at our newest convert's house, Hector.
He has a snake collection going with over 40 snakes! 

Me holding one of Hectors puppies. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 11-9-15 Newport News, VA

Hello y’all, this week has been really eventful!

So to start off, we finally got to meet a family that we've been trying to meet for basically my whole time here. Their names are Angel and Judith. Angel is a member, less active, and Judith isn't a member. But it's interesting to see how the Lord works in their lives. So they had been wanting to go back to church, at least Angel did, but he didn't feel comfortable because he didn't know anyone, and didn't know the missionaries. (Little did he know we'd been trying to contact him for weeks.) But, actually the morning of the day we went to see him, he got a call from the sister missionaries that converted him. He expressed how he had wanted to meet with other missionaries again, but he didn't know how to get in contact with us. Well, that night I'm sure he was surprised to see us knocking on his door! But we had a super great lesson with them, and we actually have another appointment with them tonight and they're going to feed us dinner.

Also we have dinner planned this Thursday with the Florez family, and I'm worried because supposedly every meal they feed you mealworms. And all of the other missionaries say that they're horrible. One of them told a story how after he ate it he ran into their bathroom and started throwing up. Wish me luck!

I also feel that my Spanish has taken some really big steps this week. I finally learned how to roll my R's, and I can talk to anyone about pretty much anything. (Anyone minus Cubans that is, I'm still working on understanding them.)

Another weird thing about this week, I'm now in a trio! It's honestly super fun and I love it. But I guess I should tell y’all how that came about! So this Thursday, me and my companion, Elder Berry, were knocking doors, and we got a call from the President of our mission (which usually is never a good thing, so we were both a little worried). Any who, he told us that one of the Spanish Elders in our zone had to go home for medical reasons, and that Elder Martinez would now be staying with us for an "Extended period of time." We think he'll probably be with us the rest of the transfer. So we had him move into our apartment. For the first few nights we took turns sleeping on the floor, because we were short one bed. We also only have one shower, so it's hard in the morning after we exercise to find time to shower. But luckily the zone leaders had a cot, so now we each have our own beds. But I love Elder Martinez. He was originally born in Guatemala, and moved here when he was three. He was raised in Idaho, so that's where he learned English. (He has a super funny western accent thing going). And also, he is REALLY short. As is common for most people from Guatemala.

Umm. I'm trying to think what else happened this week but I'm struggling because it honestly feels like I wrote y’all yesterday. Time flies by so fast. Oh. This might be some good information to know (mostly for my family and Hannah). So next week a member of the Seventy is coming and he's going to have a meeting with us all next Monday. So our P-day next week will be on Tuesday instead of Monday, I just don't want y’all to freak out when an email doesn't come, haha. And this Sunday, because he speaks Spanish, he is doing a special meeting with just all of the Spanish branches. So we will get to go to that as well.

Oh, I remember another story I wanted to share. This is something that a less active we are teaching said, and I just loved what he said. He said "Tenemos la Santa Cena cada semana, pero no porque somos perfectos personas. Tenemos la Santa Cena cada semana porque somos perfectos pecadores." (Translation: We have the sacrament not because we are prefect people, we have the sacrament because we’re perfect sinners.)  I just love that. God knew that we were going to make mistakes, every week, and every day. And we have the chance to take the Sacrament every week to make up for our shortcomings.

One more thing I'd like to mention is just how loving all of the Hispanic people here are. I remember someone telling me in the CCM (MTC). They had a friend that served in the same mission, Spanish speaking, and they said "Serving in that mission, my feelings towards illegal immigrants totally changed." Which I understand why. These people are they nicest, most generous people I have ever met in my life.

One family especially caught my attention this week. The Herrera family are fairly recent converts. They're been in the church for about a year now. But beforehand they were investigating the church for over 15 years. Well they are some of the most spiritual people I know now. They don't have a lot, they live in a small beat up house and are just barely scraping along. Which was why me and my companion were surprised when we passed by their house and saw a van. It was an old van, pretty mangled. So we went and talked to them, and they had sold a bunch of valuable, sentimental things they had in order to buy the van. We then asked why they needed the van, and the only reason they bought it, is so that they can drive investigators we find to church. And they can't really afford to drive that van any other time because they don't have money to pay for gas really. I mean, the dad, Ramon, bikes to work every day. They don't have enough money to buy a car....but they sold some things so they could. And the only reason they did that was so they could drive investigators and their friends to church. Thinking about them almost brings tears to my eyes, that's how much I've grown to love them these short few weeks I've had here.

Other than that, this week has been pretty uneventful. Hard, we got dropped by a few people, as always doors slammed in our face, and walking down the road people roll down their windows and curse at us. At first that was hard for me. But I've realized now all the good in people as well. We'll talk to someone on the street and just talking to that one person will give me enough happiness to last the week. People here are truly amazing. I see miracles of kindness every day. So with all the good and the bad. I'd say, there is a lot more good in this world. Without a doubt.

I love being a missionary, and my testimony has grown so much. Especially about the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. Literally everything is possible through him. One attitude people here have that I've kind of adopted, that everything is because of God. The leaves move in the trees, because of God. The birds sing in the morning, because of God. Everyone has so much faith, and everything they see in front of them, they know it's from God. I love my God. I love my Savior. I love my family, my friends, and I love the people here. The church is true. I know without a doubt. I love being a missionary.

Love, Elder Adams

Me, Elder Berry, and Elder Martinez

Monday, November 2, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 11-2-15 Newport News, VA

The Week of Halloween,

Well this week I had my first official holiday while out on my mission. All of the missionaries say that Halloween is like a reverse normal day for a missionary. Normally we're out knocking on doors and people are hiding from us. But on Halloween people knock on our door and we don't answer.

Well, my family sent me candy for Halloween. So I was ready to handout some of that candy if anyone came to our door (and maybe a picture of Jesus to the parents), but no one knocked on our door so that was a little disappointing. But I guess that where we live is pretty dangerous, so no one around our area really knocks on doors. Instead, they go to the city center and all of the stores hand out candy. But we didn't know that until after the fact!

We had a rule in Halloween that we needed to be in the house at 7, for our safety. So we did a little bit of area book, made a few calls, planned for tomorrow, but then we were done with everything. So for Halloween we sat around a small table playing Uno. And also, we had forgotten that it was Halloween, so we had started our fast for fast Sunday then realized we couldn't eat any of the candy we had—haha. So that was my first Holiday on the mission!

We are currently planning a "noche de espanidad" (Hispanic Night) and I am really looking forward to that, mostly for the food. Spanish food is so good. I don't know how I ever didn't like beans before my mission, because it's one of the main things I eat now. Some fun stories this week. We kept passing by a house, and this cute little girl (she was probably about 5), would always run out when we walked by and say "Hi church people!" And then her mom would grab her and take her back inside because she didn't want to talk to us. But whenever we would pass again she would do the same thing.

Also, I found out I am going on exchanges either this week or the next with a missionary that only speaks English. But we will be here in our Spanish zone. So it will be me and him, which means I will have to translate back and forth, and I won't have anyone there to help me. So I'm looking forward to that! It should be fun.

The people in our branch are so nice. There is a lady that makes us banana bread every week, and also marshmallow fudge. We always eat at "Abuelita’s" (Little Grandma’s) every Tuesday, and she is the lady that feeds us impossible amounts of food. We never eat dinner the day before or breakfast that morning, and we always pray that we can eat it all before so we don't offend her. Also, the Martinez family has us over each Thursday for dinner. They are super loveable, and are from Panama. Their son, named Aldo, always loves to talk with us. He is about thirty-five years old if I remember right, and he always comes out with us whenever we need a lesson with another member. But while we were over there at dinner this week he was telling us a bunch of riddles. Here is one that I liked a lot. "What's bigger than God, more powerful than the devil, rich people don't have it, but poor people do. And if you eat it, you'll die?" The answer is, nothing.

Other than that, this week hasn't been too eventful. We've been struggling to get lessons, and to get people to church as well. But we'll continue to work hard.

I realize that I haven't said much about my companion, Elder Berry. He is twenty-three years old, and is from American fork. His dad is a veterinarian, so he always goes up and plays with any animal we see. He is always happy, and we get along pretty well. He is really big into running, so we do that quite a bit. 

That's all I have time for right now. I'd just like to share a quick scripture that really impressed me this week. Moses 1:39. It's incredible to think that we can help in many ways to bring to pass His work and His glory.

I love you all so much, and love hearing about everything that's going on in your lives back home! Sorry if there are some days I don't get to respond to everything, I have very limited time.


Elder Adams 

This is me with the old zone leaders and other set of Spanish elders. On the left is Elder Berry, me, Elder Edwards, Elder Wardell, and Elder Martinez.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 10-26-15 Newport News, VA

Family and friends,

Well I guess this is my weekly letter for the week! To start off I just want to talk about something I mentioned in my last letter—pupusas. We learned how to make them on Friday night, and then we ate them, and they were amazing. They look a lot like pancakes, and in essence are a reverse taco. I don't know how else to explain them. But you cook them, but some onions and salsa on top of them, delicious!

Okay also, on the way to church I always see a lighthouse, and I have no idea what lighthouse it is. And it's been bugging me! So if any of y’all could tell me which one it is, let me know! From what I can see it's red and white with a diamond pattern of some sort. (Kristy and I looked up the lighthouse—it’s the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse, pictured below)

Also another exciting thing about this week was that it was my first transfer here on the mission field. Luckily I still get to stay in the same area with Elder Berry, but a few of the friends I have made are moving out! Elder Edwards, another Spanish speaking Elder is being transferred down to Kinston North Carolina. And also one of our zone leaders, Elder Wardell, is going down to Greenville, also in North Carolina.

Oh but some exciting news, the Nags Head area is now open to Elders, including Spanish Elders. Maybe I'll get a chance at some point during my mission to go there!

One more thing that I always forgot to write in these letters, I've been meaning to send this for a while....So in our mission we have a mission hymn. It is "Brightly Beams our Fathers Mercy." Needless to say this hymn took on a different meaning now that I'm a missionary, but also as a mission we have added one last verse to the end of this song. Here it is:

Chesapeake, your faith is shining,
As the lights along the shore;
Reaching out to Father's Children,
Guiding each to Him once more.

Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman,
You have rescued, you have saved.

Not too much has happened this week. We had to drop some investigators, because some of them wouldn't keep appointments, and others cussed us out through the door. So it's always sad when we have to do that.

Also the weather here is getting cold! It's different that Utah...because it will be forty degrees here, but with the humidity the cold gets inside your body and your bones feel cold. Forty degrees here on a cold day feels like ten degrees in Utah!

Yesterday we also had the chance to teach one of our investigators, Don Raffa. The lesson went well I think, but we were a little...not harsh, but bold with him. We've been teaching him a while and he still has a problem with being baptized again, so I hope that we showed enough love for him, but it was probably the most straight-forward I had ever been with someone about something. I'll let y’all know in the next letter how he took it, because honestly I have no idea.

And for whatever reason this week we have had a lot of trouble with Jesus being white.....I don't see why it matters what color Jesus is, so long as he suffered and atoned for us. People can get caught up in sometimes trivial things that aren't important for their salvation.

Well, honestly this week has been pretty normal. I finally gave into drinking out of jars. I tried to resist, but at peoples’ houses that's all you ever drink out of. And for whatever reason, when you drink something out of a mason jar, it just tastes better. Also, whenever we aren't proselyting, I someone find a toothpick in my mouth. I also tried to fight that habit, but after a while it's just something that you do.

It's kind of hard being a Spanish missionary in an English area. Haha I can feel my communication skill in the English language going down, as my Spanish ability goes up. But sometimes when we are contacting people on the street, we will just have finished a lesson. And I will go to talk to someone, but I talk to them in Spanish. So then either they give me a really weird look or just get offended. Sometimes that is hard, but also it's fun when you start talking to someone in English and you can tell they don't really understand, so you just slip into Spanish and then they are so grateful that you speak Spanish!

Last thing, in the mail this week I received two different things. Both were fantastic and made my day. First I received a package from Aunt Marci and Uncle Pascal that had some Halloween decorations and some candy. Needless to say the candy was gone in a matter of hours. But now we have the decorations in our apartment and it helps set the mood a little! After that I received letters from Hannah. Which made me really happy, to know that everything is going fine back home.

That's all I have for this week, until next time!

-Elder Adams

Last week we were surprised to get two photos texted to us from a Church member in Newport News.  Here they are: