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:

Monday, October 19, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 10-19-15 Newport News, VA

This week I had the chance to eat at lots of members houses! To start off we ate at the Branch President’s house, President Ojeda. We had a chicken dish with a dark chocolate mole covering it. It was different, but good. I don't think I quite got over the fact that it tasted like chicken covered in chocolate, and it had a kick to it as well. After that we had some rice type of dish that melted in your mouth. It was really good! Also to drink, we had "agua de piƱa"  or pineapple water. I've never had it before but it was really good and I'd recommend it to person who would like to try it.

After that, we ate at the Flores house. It was really good as well. We had flat hard shell tacos. So they had this chicken that they had cooked for a while, with peppers and a bunch of other good stuff, and then we just put it on the tacos and ate them. It was fantastic. Also to drink we had a melon drink. It was made out of cantaloupe. It was really strong, but very good. I felt a little bad though, after we were done eating the sister basically gave us half of her fridge to take home with us. My companion tried to tell her that we didn't need that much food, but she said "elders, what I give you, you take." So now we have a bunch of food! I don't think we even need to go shopping today haha!

Finally, we had a meal at the Fradays’ house. Brother Fraday is from Mexico, but he now works for the army. So we got to go to the Fort Eusits military base to eat with them. We had to go through a security check, and they made us get out of the car, checked our ID's, and a bunch of other stuff. The Fraydays are pretty lonely because they don't have anyone to visit them other than missionaries. Other people would like to visit them, but basically everyone here is illegal so they wouldn't be able to make it through a security check. So the Fraydays really like when we come and visit. For dinner with them we had these tacos that were folded together, with fresh cheese and really good salsa. And we got to eat tres leches for dessert. So those were the meals we had this week, and also the branch is having an activity this Friday where they will be making pupusas. Anywho, everyone talks about how good they are so I'm pretty excited. I'll let y’all know in my next email how they were.

Oh, another quick thing about food that I have learned real fast. There is a big difference between the way people define "spicy." If you ask someone from South America if something is spicy, and they say no, you're going to be fine. It someone from Central America says that something is fairly spicy, you've been warned. And if someone from Mexico tells you that it's not spicy at all, be prepared to eat the hottest thing you've ever eaten in your life. Haha. That so far is my survival guide for food.

Also this week we had the chance to go on exchanges with the other Spanish Elders. It went really well. I was with Elder Edwards, who is from Riverton Utah. We had a good time.

So I thought I would just give a list of some of the names of people we teach, hopefully y’all will get a little laugh out of it. Okay here it is (there are just some of the people we have taught, not all): Carlos, Carlos, Maria, Maria, Marina, Raisa, Daisy, Oscar, Juan, Juan, Juan, Pablo, Eduardo, Aldo, Edwin, Dulce, Edgar, Elisas, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose, Ricardo, Richard, and Alexander. As you could imagine, I have a hard time keeping track of which Jose is which.

I don't really have anything else to say, except for one small problem we have been having recently in our branch. So because our branch is made up of basically all recent converts, there have been some incorrect doctrines being taught in a few Sunday classes. Not intentionally, they all have great hearts, they just don't know better. So as missionaries who have known the gospel for quite a while, we now have to have a pair of us sit in to every class and give "loving corrective advice" whenever something is a little out of line or off topic. So that makes church a little more interesting, that's for sure. But I love it here. The people are great, and the food is great as well!

Elder Adams

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 10/12/15 Newport News, VA

Well, my first exchange was a little strange! So this week I had the chance to go on exchanges with Elder Wardell. My zone leader. And it was different for sure. So he only speaks English so for the whole day we taught people in English. I met some really great people, and also some really nasty people. I've never been cussed at more in my life! Maybe I have while I'm teaching people in Spanish, I just don't know the words haha. But one person invited us in their home, sat us down, and then started talking to us for about an hour saying how we were children of the Devil and that we worshipped false prophets and that we were going to hell. It wasn't very fun of course. But we left that house, went to the next house, and found a super sweet old lady that let us in and we had a really great lesson with her. That's typically how a mission life is I feel. You get discouraged, and then you feel super blessed. Kind of like back home in a way. I'd have a hard day, but then Hannah or my family would do something to cheer me up and then the rest of the day would just be good! But it's a constant rollercoaster!


But I find it very interesting that the people that I've met who are the rudest, all claim to be really religious. I think there something can be learned from this. I hope we can all be nice to people, even though they might not have something you agree with.


So we had dinner at several members houses this week, and it was all super good! And also different. The first meal we had, the member went out in their backyard, cut up a cactus, and came in and cooked it! We ate the fruit on the cactus, and also just the cactus itself. It wasn't half bad actually. It wasn't amazing by any means, but I'd eat it again. Also a family from the Dominican Republic fed us some weird mix of eggplant and other things. It was also decent, and they invited us over for Thanksgiving to have a Thanksgiving from the D. Republic. So we are looking forward to that. Okay, that's really all for this week! A few crazy experiences but overall it was a pretty fun week.


-Elder Adams

Monday, October 5, 2015

Elder Harrison Adams 10-5-15 Newport News, VA

Story of the week: Lots of rain and a hurricane! There wasn't a single day this week that we didn't get poured on! It rains so much, but it's a different feeling with the humidity. So when it rains we wear our jackets so our ties and such don't get ruined, but it's still super hot when it rains with the while we are getting hammered by rain on the outside we are still wet on the inside from our own sweat! It's pretty weird. But luckily the actual hurricane didn't ever hit us, but we for sure felt the effects of it!

Okay, now I have a somewhat sad story to tell. On Wednesday my companion and I were walking down a busy street, and someone in a car opened their window and threw out an apple at us. Well, it happened to hit me right beneath my eye. So for this past week I have had a slight gash on the side of my face and a pretty painful black eye. I'll include a picture, but I took the picture today so it has gone down quite a bit! We've had people throw stuff at us before, like eggs and such, but they've always missed. This week was the first time that they hit us. Oh well, what can you do?

So we had the wonderful chance to watch General Conference. It was fantastic, and I especially loved the last talk given by Elder Bednar. It was interesting watching it all in Spanish. We had it broadcast in a room, and all of the Hispanic people were there watching it with us. It was actually pretty funny. They were all really animated and excited about it. For example, whenever the choir would sing they would all mutter about how beautiful it was. Whenever someone talked about something sad they would all basically start to cry, and here is my favorite part. Whenever someone would mention Satan or something along those lines, they would all start to boo and some of them would even yell at the television. It was pretty funny.

So we had the chance to eat at the same house again this week. Hermana Cruz who feeds us massive amounts of food. This time though we prepared. I didn't eat dinner or breakfast before, I just drank lots of water to expand my stomach. Well it came time to eat, and needless to say I was a little nervous. The first thing she said when I walked in was "Last time I fed you like a bird. You are not a bird. This time you're going to eat how you are supposed to eat!" Haha. Luckily I was able to finish it all. But everyone says when they go to eat there they always end up praying that they can finish everything she gives us! She is super nice though. She calls us her children and I love her so much! She fed us this time this soup. It wasn't really soup. It was more like vegetables with a little bit of soup. Broccoli, sweet potatoes, beans, carrots, corn on the cob—all of my old enemies. Well I actually enjoyed the soup a lot! It had lots of flavor. After that she fed us some rice, beans, and chicken. I barely made it without losing my lunch, but I was able to do it. Also, she calls me "Monster" because my last name is Adams and she loved the Addams family series.

Okay. One story I've been meaning to tell for a while is the story of Oompa. I guess that this is a mission game. I don't know if it's played everywhere, but it for sure is here! Y'all would love this game. It's a mix between football, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee. So here is how you play. You have a football. And you play on a basketball court. One team kicks it off to the other team. Then you pick it up. And you can take three steps before you have to pass it off to someone else. And if you drop it, it's the other team’s ball. But here is where it gets fun. So normally in ultimate Frisbee you have to give them space. In fact, you can practically tackle them if they have the ball. There aren't really any rules, so long as you don't start a fight. And the objective is to make it down to the other hoop and put it in the basket. Which is pretty hard to do with a football because it bounces really weird! But it's so much fun. I love playing it!

Another thing I love is hearing all of the different stories people have about religion. For example, we were teaching one of our investigators about how Jesus Christ was baptized by John. But he had a different story. Here is how he thought it went. So John the Baptist was carrying people across the river because he was a big man. For some reason Jesus needed to cross this river. So when John was carrying Jesus across the river, he was really heavy and big. (Hence the "there was one greater than he") So in the middle of the river John just let go of Jesus and he fell into the water. And that's how he was baptized! It's fun to hear people’s different perspectives.

Everyone here in the branch is so nice and I love them so much. Whenever I see a man, Brother Herrera, he always teases me about how I wear expensive ties. Then he brags about how he got his for one dollar at the Dollar Tree. I have so far had some of the best days of my life here. Except of course some nights I spent with my family, and prom night with Hannah. But in reality. I love being here, and it's such a blessing.

I love you all so much!
​Nice picture of my eye. Sorry I'm not smiling, I currently can't smile with this haha!
This is what I ended up wearing every day because of the rain!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Letter from Elder Adams' mission president regarding Hurricane Joaquin

1 October 2015

Dear Families of Virginia Chesapeake Mission Missionaries,

You are likely aware that hurricane Joaquin is making its way toward our mission.  My counselors and I are tracking the storm and are making plans to evacuate the missionaries inland.  One of my counselors has some expertise in this arena and is advising me regarding how far inland our missionaries need to be moved.

The coastal North Carolina missionaries will be moved inland to Greenville, Kinston, and Goldsboro and stay with missionaries in those areas.  Missionaries serving in Virginia Beach will move to the Chesapeake area of the mission and stay with missionaries there, and missionaries in Newport News will move up toward Williamsburg and will be housed with members.  Our Area Seventy is contacting stake presidents further west, outside of our mission, so that if we need to evacuate further inland we can house the missionaries in the Richmond and Chesterfield Stakes.

The safety of our missionaries is our highest priority, and we will move them ahead of any mass evacuation.  We have asked them to fill up their gas tanks immediately, and to pull together the appropriate emergency items in preparation to evacuate.  We will also advise them about appropriate safety measures, specifically that they should not drive, bike, or walk through flooded areas, and that they should not participate in any recovery efforts without my approval.

We will inform you of our actions as the situation develops.  We are grateful for each of our wonderful missionaries, and for your faith and prayers in their behalf.

With warm regards,

President Baker