Monday, September 28, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 9-28-15 Newport News, VA

Family and Friends,

This week has been really good. A little more mellow, but maybe that's a good thing.

The other week I expressed a concern to y’all about how I was living off of only sandwiches. Well. Let me just say now I miss my sandwiches haha. We are being fed so much by the members, and get to have lots of different food from around the world.
So those of you who know me well, knew I was a picky eater. And I hated beans. Sadly that's just not an option here. Over half of what is usually on my plate is some sort of bean. At first it was hard, but now I can eat them without problems. Although I think the members here are trying to kill me.

There is this old lady, Sister Lopez, and we were over at her house for dinner one night. Well she set in front of me the biggest plate of food I had ever seen in my life. Carne, rice, beans, soup, and all of that good stuff. It was fantastic! But there was no way I was going to be able to finish it all, or so I thought. After a while, I told her "No puedo comer mas," And she came up to me, slapped me hard across my face, stuck her finger in front of me, and started going off in really fast Spanish. I'm not quite sure what she said, but it was obvious that she wanted me to eat it all. And if it wasn't already bad enough, after I said this, she went in the kitchen, grabbed a pot, and came and refilled the beans and rice that I had already eaten. I have never felt so full in my life. Me and my companion had to take a fifteen minute break after because I could not walk, and he was struggling as well.

The food is amazing, but there is always just so much. Oh I forgot the best part haha. So instead of water, for a drink we had what's called "Quacker." It has the consistency of glue, and is warm like hot chocolate. It consists of a mix of cinnamon, passion fruit, pineapple, milk, and a few other ingredients. It tastes super good, but it's so thick and filling. And I just wanted a glass of water to wash all of the food down, but all I had was this thick filling quacker. So the first week I was a little worried about not having enough to eat. Now that I know the ward members, I have the opposite worry.

I'd just like to share a few small miracles that happened this week. Nothing big, but it's the little things in this life that count. So we were running late for an appointment, and we never would have made it, but every single light turned green right when we approached it. We didn't have to stop once, and because of that we were able to make our appointment and actually got this investigator to come to church this Sunday!

Another one, this same day we here heading home and we were cutting it close, we have to be in our house at 9. But we were supposed to turn left and my companion forgot to switch lanes so we were stopped at the light and couldn't get over to the turn lane because no one would let us in. Well, a fire engine came down the road and all of the cars had to move out of the way. It turns out that we moved right into the turn lane to get out of the way, and then we just took the turn after. It was actually pretty funny.

Last miracle, we were going around knocking doors. And we met a man that was prepared to hear our message. We went in and he just started crying. We eventually found out that his wife had died just less that twenty days ago, and he had been asking God for a sign that he was still there. Well there we were, we showed up on his door, and we were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation, and assure him that he can see his wife again.

This week I got to witness a baptism that some other Elders in our district had. The baptism was on Saturday, and his confirmation was during church. Hector was the one who got baptized, and he is the most solid convert I have ever seen. He had just barely gotten baptized, but on Sunday he was talking about how we need to do member missionary work and all of this other stuff. The Lord really prepares the way for his children.

For a ward activity we were able to watch “Meet the Mormons” in Spanish. A lot of people came to it actually, and all of the missionaries form our district were there. During the last story, where the missionary is leaving his family, all of the missionaries were balling. It's sad sometimes. People will ask us why we left everything behind to go do this. They don't understand. And it's true, I left so many amazing things behind to be here. My family, my friends, my girlfriend Hannah, and all of the other things I love. But I know I am right where I need to be, no doubt about it.

Finally I'd just like to say that the people here are fantastic. It's a little ironic, but the only people who are ever mean to us are the white people. All of the Hispanics and Black people are nice, even if they are not interested in what we have to say. Walking around the trailer parks, basically everyone knows us now. People constantly offer us food, drinks, and even beer haha. They're just trying to be nice, and we actually have trouble leaving these parks on time because so many people come out to talk to us. All is well here, the work is exhausting. But it's all worth it.

-Elder Adams

Elder Adams and Elder Berry

Elder Harrision Adams 9-21-15 Newport News, VA

Dear family and friends,

Boy I have a lot to tell yall this week! It’s been so much fun. I’m always on my toes that’s for sure.

So I guess I’ll just tell all of the fun things (and scary things) that happened this week. So when I first got here, I quickly learned that even the people that speak English don’t really speak English. Oh also, I’ve started saying yall. It’s just a habit now and I’ve only been here for one week. But anyways, people here have weird phrases and expressions. Instead of saying Norfolk, they say Nah-Fick. So that took a little while for me to get used to.

We arrived and in the first church building we went to we found a bunch of cockroaches crawling around. Needless to say I was thrilled. But then we got assigned to our companions, and I am assigned with Elder Berry. He is super nice and a really good trainer. He keeps us busy for sure, and he is teaching me everything I need to know.

So the first night we got here, we went to go knock on doors. Well, since we are Spanish speaking Elders, that means we go to trailer parks. Since most of the Spanish speakers are illegal, they don’t have much money and live there. We actually got to teach someone a lesson the second door we knocked on! Which was a miracle to me. So we did that and went home.

Well I was sleeping that night, and I woke up because something was touching my face. I swatted it off, shined my flashlight, and saw a cockroach crawl into a hole in the wall. And it’s happened to me two nights since then. So that’s pretty annoying and a little scary.

Also I would say over half of the people we have taught were drunk. There is a lot of beer and drugs in the neighborhoods we go to. And the police are constantly there. And they like their beer for sure. So going along with the drug part.

I have a really interesting story I’m sure yall would love to hear! So me and my companion were teaching this man, we had knocked on his door and he let us in. Well halfway through the lesson, the door gets kicked in and police run in the room. Our investigator pulls out a gun, fires at the police (he missed luckily) and ran into a room and locked the door behind him. I’m not quite sure how but the police took him into custody and off to jail.  Well the police wanted to know what we were doing there, so we told them, and it turns out he was a drug lord! They had been tracking him down for a long time and had just found him. It’s a shame, because he seemed really receptive. Oh well. Maybe he’ll get the chance to hear the Gospel there!

And while we were leaving to return to our car after this appointment, me and Elder Berry both had the feeling that we needed to run. So we started running and didn’t know why. Well it turns out some people (friends of the drug lord) thought we set him up. So they started chasing us and they had metal bats! It was so scary. Luckily we made it to the car and drove off. They managed to get one swing in but it hit the back of the car, and left a nice little dent. So we had to talk to our mission president about this, and we are no longer allowed in that area. But it’s fun to look back on now. That sure got my blood pumping!

Another thing about these neighborhoods. Lots of big dogs, with very long leashes. One dog actually ran us down and tried to bite me, it only got my pant leg, and it left a little rip. But I was totally fine. The dogs here aren’t that bad, but yall have to watch out for the cats! I didn’t think cats were super mean. Well the cats here are ferocious. On two occasions I’ve had to kick a cat just so it would stop attacking me! They come out from under trailers swinging their paws. Usually they can’t get you through your pants, but the first time I saw a cat (and before my companion could warn me) I went to go pet it. And it clawed up my hand pretty good.

Sorry this letter is all over the place, it might be a little hard for yall to make sense of it.

Final crazy story. The other day, when it was dark, we met this man. He was totally insane! He started talking to us, and we were just kind of joking around, and then he said “I knew yall were Mormons.” And we said “how?” Then he said it was because of the M in our palms. He then showed us his palms and said that he had the number “7″ on them. Then he said that it was because he was the seventh seal in the Bible. He said that crash sight around area 51 was him coming to Earth. And that he came from the planet Andromida. But he kept saying all of this weird stuff about how God chose him and how he was better than everyone else, and how he had seen God. And then he told us that he was created both male and female…and through other people he would be reborn? Then he said that he could unleash the seal whenever he wanted to, and that it would end the world. And he was totally genuine and serious this whole time.

Well okay I’ve told enough wacko stories, and I’m sure yall want to hear about the good ones! So we taught a boy named Browler, he was only 18 and lived on his own, but he was super receptive. He happily invited us to come back again and it was awesome. Also, we’ve now made friends with almost everyone, so when we are walking around in the dark this man named Don Rafa (who isn’t interested in our message) follows us around to make sure we are safe.

The people here are really nice and friendly. We only had the chance to eat at one member’s house this week, The Martinez’s. But they were from Panama, and they fed us the best food I have ever had in my life. I don’t remember what it was called. It was some chicken dish, but it was delicious. The Spanish here is hard, mostly because people all talk differently. We’ve taught people from Peru, Panema, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Dom. Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, and a few other places as well. The worst are the ones from the Dom. Republic, because they cut their words in half so I never know what they are saying. For example “para que” they say “pa que” so it’s really hard to follow. But it’s all okay, I just need to work harder!

So yesterday was my first Sunday here, and we have a nice little Spanish branch. There were maybe thirty people there, if that. And because I was new, and they had very little people, I had to say the opening prayer, bless the sacrament, share my testimony, then give a talk on the Holy Ghost. And during the meeting when I wasn’t doing something, I had to translate Spanish to English so everyone who spoke only English could understand. It was hard and I didn’t do it perfect, but I sure tried! Then we went to our Gospel Principles class, which we found out we were teaching. So we just had to wing it in a language that I don’t even know. But it actually turned out okay!

Well those are the events that really took place this week. I hope yall are doing okay, and I’d love to hear from you! I’ll include my mailing address below so yall can have it!

Elder Harrison Adams
148 Yeardley Dr.
Newport News, VA 23601

Much Love, Elder Adams

Elder Berry (companion), Elder Edwards, and Elder Adams

Elder Adams Arrives In Virginia!

We received this letter today from Elder Harrison Adams’ mission president. We looked up his apartment on google maps and it looks very nice.

Dear Brother & Sister Adams,

Sister Baker and I were delighted to welcome Elder Harrison Adams to the Virginia Chesapeake Mission yesterday. He arrived in good spirits and has been assigned to his first proselyting area. Elder Adams is assigned to labor in the Newport News Spanish Branch of the Newport News VA Stake, and his trainer is Elder Trevor Berry. I have attached two photos of your son: one with his trainer, and one with Sister Baker and me.

Elder Adams’ address is:

Elder Harrison Adams
148 Yeardley Drive,
Newport News, VA 23601

Thank you for sending us such a fine missionary,

President Baker

Elder Adams with President and Sister Baker

Elder Adams with his trainer Elder Berry

Elder Harrison Adams 9-10-15

Dear Family and Friends,

This is my last week here at the MTC. Let me give you all a quick run through of my week. So this past Sunday, for some unknown reason, our branch president added Elder Clark to our companionship. So I am currently serving in a trio. I like it a lot and it’s fun, although they both were swimmers. Elder Clark swam for the BYU team, and they love talking about swimming. I don’t really understand what they are saying because they use some weird terminology I have never heard. But it’s all good fun.

Also on Sunday we were made the zone leaders. It’s a lot of hard work, and lots of times we don’t even have time to do our personal studies because we have so much to do. But we were able to have a little bit of personal study time, and I was able to finish the Book of Mormon again. I started it over when I got to the CCM (MTC) and got to read it all the way through so that was a pretty cool thing. Other than being super busy, nothing out of the normal has happened this week.

Yesterday we got to introduce the new district and give them a tour. That was really fun, and it’s crazy to think that was me not too long ago. Time in here went really fast. It’s hard to explain. I feel like I’ve lived my entire life here. But I also feel I’ve only been here for one day.

With me reading the Book of Mormon I have been reflecting a lot on all God has done for me. I look back at times in my life and I see how God helped me, even though I wasn’t able to see it at the time. I know I owe everything I love to God. My family, my friends, and everything good that has ever happened in my life has come because of God. My testimony has grown so much being here for only six weeks. And I’m super excited, but also a little nervous, to fly out to Virginia in four days and start my missionary work.

In addition to being zone leader, I am also the travel leader for our flight. So I’ve been pretty busy going around making sure everyone has all the information they need.

Here is what my travel plans look like:

3:30 AM- Wake up and report to the Travel Office. 
7:10 AM- Fly from Salt Lake City, UT to Atlanta GA (7:10-12:45)
2:09 PM- Fly from Atlanta, GA to Norfolk, VA (2:09-3:51)

After than I will arrive at the airport, get my bags, and look for representatives from my mission. So if I would be able to make any calls, my guess would be in the morning before my flight. And if not hopefully during my short layover in Georgia. Another fun thing, is that five people in our district are going to be on the flight with us.

I’ve been taking lots of pictures, but they computers here are super protected. You have to buy a converter from the MTC store and I just didn’t see a need for it. Once I’m out on the field I will be uploading more of my pictures. 

I almost forgot to tell this other crazy story! So on Tuesday our companion, Elder Clark, needed to go to Salt Lake City to get his visa. So he was companions with Elder Cutler for that day, because he was going for the same reason. Well they were gone way longer than they should have been, so we were all worried about them. Later we saw them and asked what happened. It turns out they had a pretty crazy experience! So they went to Salk Lake, everything was fine there. Then they went to a store after to get some drinks. Well it turns out the man working there was LDS so he bought all of their drinks for them which was pretty cool. Then they got on the train to go home, and they were talking with a lady. She got off the train and they realized that she had left her phone. So they ran out and caught up to her just as she was getting in her car and gave her the phone back. Well the train had left at this point, so they got on the next train. And when they arrived at the Provo train station all of the buses had stopped coming. So they had to walk from there, about four miles back to the MTC. 

Well that’s all that has happened this week. I love you all so much, and am so excited to leave this Tuesday! I think my next P-day will be a week from Monday.

I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures oh when I arrive and my new companion.


-Elder Adams

Elder Adams with his companion Elder Mickelson

Elder Harrison Adams 9-3-15 MTC

Where do I begin for this week….This week has been super spiritual but also probably the hardest week of my life. I’ll start off with the bad things so we can end on a good note haha.

To start off, basically the entire MTC is on quarantine because there is a nasty bug going around. And of course, I was one of the people who picked it up. On Monday I wasn’t able to go to any of my classes because I was sick in bed, constantly making trips between my room and the bathroom to throw up. It’s one thing to be sick at home when you can watch TV or do something else to pass the time, but all I had was a blank wall. And I didn’t have energy to do anything else. So Monday was by far the worst day I’ve had here, but luckily I only really suffered from it for that one day. 

The next day, I woke up and was feeling better. So as a district we went to the gym to play basketball. We were playing against some other guys who were a little hot headed and an Elder in our district lost his cool. It’s hard here, to sit in class all day and have very little time to work out, so all of our tension had built up and everyone in the MTC is always a little on edge. But the Elder in our district and the other Elder started talking to each other, and you could tell a fight was about to break out. So I went to grab the Elder in our district, and I did and started pulling him back. But I did that right when the other Elder threw a punch, and he hit me right on my cheekbone. It hurt pretty badly, but I’m okay. But it is bruised and because of that I won’t be sending any pictures this week. I don’t know. It’s just hard here to keep all of your emotions in check. I don’t blame anyone for what happened. And it’s nothing too bad. 

Okay enough about all of that sad stuff! Because being on a mission is awesome! So a way cool experience that happened this week. One of the hermanas (sisters) in our district had a really nasty cough, and was coughing every minute without fail. She was going to go see the doctor but the doctor’s office is closed on Saturdays so she would have to wait until Monday. So all of the Elders in our district decided to give her a blessing. Elder Clark was the one who was asked to give the blessing, and he was giving a good blessing. But out of nowhere in this blessing, Elder Clark just stopped for about thirty seconds. Then in a loud voice he said “Sister Eldridge, at this time we bless you to be healed. That through your faith in Christ, you can and will be healed.” He said some other things too that were super cool but that was the gist of it. Well, after the blessing we were all pretty much in tears. And still to this day I have not heard that sister cough once!

Also Tuesday night we had our devotional, and we all sat down, and then we all noticed they had the stands of bulletproof glass set up. So we were all pretty excited. Then Elder Dallin H. Oaks walked in, and we all stood up. It was really cool because I was sitting really close to him. More or less about fifty feet! He gave a wonderful devotional and said some things I really needed to hear. Here is my favorite quote that he gave, and it helped me during this challenging week of mine: Courage isn’t always a loud booming voice. Sometimes it’s the little voice in your head at the end of the day saying… “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Well that is all for today!

-Elder Adams

Elder Harrison Adams 8-27-15 MTC

Okay I don’t have too much time this week, but I will try to tell you everything relevant that happened.

To start off this week has been a little sad. Lots of my friends from South Korea left and a few of my good friends in our zone also left this week. We are now the second oldest district in our zone. That’s crazy! And I guess this week marks the halfway point for the MTC. I don’t know whether to be excited or sad. I like it here but I also just want to fly to Virginia and get started.

Also one of our teachers, Brother Gomez, got assigned a new district yesterday and will no longer be teaching us. That was pretty sad as well, but he teaches a class next door and now we can stop by and talk every now and then.

This week my companion and I were also made district leaders. I don’t see why everyone wants to be one, or makes a big deal out of it, because in all honesty it’s just more work added onto an already heavy work schedule! But the branch president called us, and they are prepping us to become zone leaders once the other district leaves. I guess that will be fun.

The food here has gotten bland. At first it was good, then you realize it’s just the same food just in different forms every day. I’m running out of ways to keep it interesting. But oh well. Only three more weeks of this food.

Well that’s all I really have for today! Sorry I don’t have more time, but they really keep us busy here. Even on our P-Days.

Much love, Elder Adams

Elder Adams' MTC district having some needed fun.

Elder Harrison Adams 8-20-15 MTC

This week has been an adventurous one! To start off I will tell some funny stories that happened throughout the week.

So while staying here I have made some friends from South Korea, they hardly speak English but we still manage to communicate somehow. And they wanted to play basketball with me and my district. So we all got together and played basketball (which I’m sure was a funny sight because the tallest one was probably about 5’2″). Needless to say we won.

Also this week some new Elders from the Pacific Islands arrived. They had never heard of warheads (the candy) before so we gave them each about three. One of them just spat it out, the other fell to the ground and clenched every muscle in his whole body, and the last one just smiled and said “These are good!”

Also this week I had a really bad bloody nose and a lot of blood got on my nice white shirt. Luckily when I washed that shirt today it all came out, and it helped that Elder Pearson gave me some bleach wipes.

This week has had some of the longest and most challenging days of my life. Aside from being physically exhausted all the time from all of the lifting we do, I also feel at times that my brain is growing so much that it’s getting squished inside my skull! But my Spanish is coming along really well still, and I’m learning so much more everyday. 

Although I am having a fantastic time here. I do miss all of my family and friends! Aside from that, the things I miss most are…

1. Naps


3. Driving

And also, today while doing the laundry, the sound of the dryer reminded me of home. It made me a little bit homesick, but I think it’s natural to be. But I love it here and I’m doing so much!

This week we taught all in all probably about 15 lessons. Of course all in Spanish. And we even were able to teach an investigator named José Mesa. We didn’t know he was an investigator at first though, because they never tell you if you’re teaching actual members or investigators. But here is the story of how we found out.

So me and my companion went in and started teaching about the Book of Mormon. It was really hard to get to him, because he had a lot of problems about Joseph Smith and the fact that our church was three hours long. He thought church should only be fifteen minutes. But we testified to him that the Book of Mormon was the word of God, and he told us to prove it. We opened the scriptures to Third Nephi, Chapter 11 (when Christ visited the Americas). We asked him to read verses 3-12, but we were surprised that after he had reached verse twelve he just kept reading. We didn’t really know what to do, but you could tell that he was engrossed in the scriptures so we let him read for about another five minutes. After, we asked him what he thought about that, and he said “That touched my heart. It was very beautiful. And I know that’s the word of God.” Well we were able to end the lesson on that note, and we left. But our teacher came the next day and told us that José was an actual investigator. And because of our lesson he asked our teacher if he could take lessons from the missionaries serving in Provo. I thought that was really cool. If you guys haven´t read that chapter in a while, I´d go read it. There is truly something magnificent that happens.

Well that´s all for now! I miss and love you all so much. But I know this is where I´m meant to be. 

-Love Elder Adams

Elder Adams' MTC District.

Elder Harrison Adams’ First Letter from the MTC

Dear Family,

Okay. Here is a report on my first week at the MTC. My companion’s name is Elder Mickelson. He went to Lone Peak High School and swam there. He actually won state for the swimming relay. We get along super well, he is really nice, and we have lots of laughs. Also, we are going to the same mission, and both leave the MTC the same day. So we could potentially fly to Virginia together! I’ll let you know who everyone in my district is—Elder Peterson, Elder Pearson, Elder Mickelson, Elder Clark, Elder Hilton, Elder Hale, and Elder Cutler. The sisters in my district are Sister Eldrige Sister Swenson and Sister Buchanon. We are basically family now, and know pretty much everything about each other. And sister Buchanon is also serving in the same mission as me. There hasn’t been a single day here that I have not cried from laughter, Elder Pearson is the funniest person I have ever met. But along with having fun, we also get a lot done.

I arrived at the MTC on Wednesday, and the next day, I was teaching an investigator who only spoke Spanish. My Spanish is coming along really well, but it is really hard, since I need to learn things about the gospel in Spanish. But every day now we teach at least two investigators (of course they all only speak Spanish), but me and Elder Mickelson do a great job. The Spirit is really strong here, and it can be felt when we teach.

The food here is fine, not commendable, but I am always full. As a district we always workout together, and since four of the eight elders in our district were former football players, we have gone heavy lifting almost everyday. But I enjoy doing it so it doesn’t bother me.

At night after all of our classes, we get together and study Spanish. The Elders in my room have me teach them about the Spanish language. It turns out, I actually know the most out of the whole district, so they are always asking me how to conjugate a verb or say something in Spanish. My teachers are Brother Gomez and Brother Draught, they are both super friendly and nice. It’s hard because they only speak Spanish, but after a day or two of it it’s become natural. Now I say all of my prayers in Spanish, even the ones in my head. It’s hard to sit in a class for ten hours a day, and I do miss all my family and friends, but I know that I am supposed to be here. Ever since my first day here that was clear to me.

We have had the opportunity to give all of the sisters in our district priesthood blessings, and also one Elder who needed one. I was able to give my very first blessing to Sister Swenson. I never really understood when people said that they “just knew what to say.” But as I gave my first blessing, words came from my mouth that I hadn’t even thought of, and I said things that were powerful and true, the Spirit manifested that to me.

On a side note, me and my companion have picked up some habits from each other. For instance, he now always goes up the stairs two at a time. And now I always spend about thirty seconds cleaning out my toothbrush after I am done brushing my teeth (yes mom we brush our teeth, in case you were wondering). Also, my companion loves doing handstands. He has taught me how to hold a handstand, and now I can walk about thirty feet while in a handstand position. Our goal is to be able to walk down the residence halls on our hands by the end of our stay at the MTC.

I love it here, but my sense of time is skewed. The days have felt like weeks, and this week has felt like a day. It’s weird to think that there is a world going on outside the MTC. But I guess I’ll get used to it. Today we get to go to the temple, and everyone is super excited. It will be nice to have a relaxing day, because all we ever do is work. If we’re not learning Spanish we’re learning about the gospel, if we’re not learning about the gospel we’re teaching someone, and if we aren’t doing any of those things we are eating. That pretty much sums up everyday I have spent here. But know that I’m having a good time here, and everyone in our district has come to deeply love one another.

Tanner was right when he told me that I’ll make some of my best friends here at the MTC, I think I already have!

Much love,

Elder Adams

Elder Adams minutes before entering the MTC.