Thursday, January 29, 2015

"fat zone vs zone futbol game"

January 26, 2015

So this week was a pretty good week. Monday we brought a zone from a whole different part of our mission over to us and had a fat zone vs zone f├╣tbol game! It was so sick! And so much fun! That night we were done with our lessons and it was about 8:40 and we were ready to call it a night but we felt prompted to go see a family. So we walked to their house and the second they saw us they said their baby needs a blessing because its been sick for a while. So my companion and I gave the baby a blessing and about a week later we checked in on them and the baby was feeling much better. It was a really a great feeling. Tuesday not much happened besides me hurting my heel and I have no idea how the heck I did it. But it’s all good now. Wednesday was a really good day! We went on cambios where the zone leader and I traded companions and I went to stay in Elder Conchas house and we went and taught some families in his area. I learned so much from him! It was great! We also did service that morning and took some roofing off a guys old house because he was making a bigger one and we also made a fence for him. It was fun. So, there are dogs everywhere here and I was riding on the motorcycle taxi and out of nowhere came this dog and he is trying to bite at my ankles and the drivers ankles so we had to kick it. It freaked me out! Now I’m terrified of all the dogs here. So Wednesday I met the hermanas who were on a 4 day test run in our area to see if this area was clear for hermana missionaries but after that I never heard if they passed or not. We also met with an investigator Vernando. He wasn't feeling well so we just talked to him and left but he's excited for our next visit. Thursday we visited the lady with the sick son and we just sat and read the scriptures with him and answered questions. Friday I woke up and my companion told me I was sleep talking in Spanish last night! Haha! I was so surprised but that was pretty cool to hear! Oh, and this week Presidente Zambrano came! It is a huge deal if he comes to visit the outer parts of the mission! He had a conference with us and taught about using the holy ghost but later that day he had a meeting with all the leaders of the church out here to try to get a better order of things because the church out here is really weak. His wife also had a meeting with the pentions because all of the missionaries in my zone have gotten sick. Haha! President took us out to get a really nice lunch, it was awesome!  Sunday was a solid day. We had two lessons with a member of the church with us and we taught the teenagers in Sunday school again! Oh, and there is a certain road where there are probably 20 dogs on it and its the street my pention lives on! So we were leaving and we just hear a lot of barking and turn around to see 11 dogs running straight at us! We just start sprinting and got off the road and looked again and it turns out they were just chasing off a dog that entered their territory! Haha! That was pretty funny and scary!

Love Elder Harding
 Making Empanadas
Riding in a 3 seater motorcycle taxi
My area

Friday, January 23, 2015

"He had to buy me a machete!"

January 19, 2015

Oh man, what a week.... 
On Monday literally right after I finished writing, I received my Christmas package! Thanks so much mom! it was perfect! It was full of everything I have been craving! The photo books were super awesome! My companion and I had a bet. He thought he could finish the gallon milk challenge correctly so we went and bought milk. To make a long story short, I ended up winning and he had to buy me a machete! It was fun and awesome! We also had a testimony meeting and said bye to Elder Sanchez who is finishing his mission. Tuesday we had another service project and I got to use my new machete!! That thing is so awesome! Haha! As we leave our pention these little kids always beg for money and this time one of them said, “Hey greengo!” I’ll let you marry my sister if you give me 2 pesos!! And his sister came outside and looked at him like, “what the crap?” And he was yelling, “This is my sister! This is my sister!!” Haha! All the elders thought that was so funny. I will never hear the end of it. So on Wednesday I was still sick. Hermana Zambrano had me stay home for the day and gave me a list of medicine to take. It was like antibacterial stuff and I was super dehydrated so she gave me this stuff to put in my water. It sucked, I never want to stay in again. But then on  Thursday I was good as new, no more problems! And you know how said last week there was a huge storm… this week, we had a storm that was even bigger!! We were eating dinner at our pention’s house and it was just pouring rain and water just starts flowing into her house. So Elder Wertz and I grab shovels and run outside to redirect the water and save her house. We were just drenched in water and meanwhile all the latin elders are huddled up trying to stay dry… what the? Haha! So we grabbed them and we threw them all outside. It was pretty funny. Afterwards, we had an activity at the church about a mile away and I kid you not, we were walking in the streets in mid shin deep water! It was crazy! Then we get to the church and no one showed up... but the whole experience was fun anyway! Earlier that day we taught one of our investigators and he always seems super interested but after the lessons, he just grills us with intense questions and after all of that, he's super happy. So I hope he is feeling the spirit and is taking in everything we are teaching him. Other that that no one wanted to listen to us so literally all week was spent tracting... and walking around. It was tough... and Friday wasn't a good day, it was super hot, no one wanted to hear our message and none of our investigators let us in. It was frustrating but we just kept on pressing forward. Saturday was the same but this time me and my comp were playing stupid little games to keep our mind busy. Haha! It was fun. Then on Sunday, we get to church and we were told we have to teach the teenagers in Sunday school! So we just kind of winged it and the kids thought it was soooo funny that I have trouble understanding Spanish...... but it was super fun teaching them!!
Tomorrow they are bringing in hermana missionaries in my area for the first time in 20 years! Its been too dangerous for hermanas, but we are having a test run! Also there is rumor our mission is expanding and creating another area! But we are losing an area to the La Paz mission! In July, I think which ever missionaries are in this specific area may being switched to the La Paz mission. There is a small chance that could be me but I doubt it. I love it here we have the best group of elders and the best president!!

I’m loving it!
Elder Harding

PS (potty talk)
The teachers back home had some questions about how I shower and use the bathroom. So the showers are these weird pipes with a normal shower head on them and there is a bunch of wires on top and that how we get our hot water. We have one shower with hot water and you flip two switches to get hot water but this week the wires just exploded and caught on fire so now we have no hot water. Haha! It’s alright, you get used to cold water. So the bathrooms in our house are for the most part like in the USA. But at members houses, they are outside. And two different kinds. One is a normal toilet except you have to go get a bucket of water and pour it down to flush it and you cant put your toilet paper in there. You just throw it away. And the other type is a toilet like normal but it just leads to a hole in the ground. And there are two holes on the toilet one for number 2 and one for number 1. So if your aim is bad on number 2 and you hit the middle you’re screwed! Haha! So thats for all you teachers…
My Zone
The Emergency Flood Rescue Team

Friday, January 16, 2015

"I think it was the cow intestines"

January 12, 2015

Oh man, this week has been interesting, haha. So, last Monday was my first p day so me and the district played soccer it was a lot of fun! Oh, and my area is called Guayaramerin. So here we either teach Catholics or less active members here. There are so many less active members its crazy so we are always stopping by to teach them and trying to reactivate them. Right now we only have one family who we have routine visits with. The Duran Soto family and they say they will come to church every time we visit but they didn't show up on Sunday. That was disappointing but we have an appointment with them tonight and we will see how that goes. On Tuesday we did a service project! We got to cut a family’s grass. The only thinning here, they don't have lawn mowers. So we all had our machetes and we started hacking at the grass it was pretty fun, haha. Wednesday my companion decided to start forcing me to talk so he knocks on a door and says this is yours... so I was like crap, dude, I'm not ready! So, as it turned out, I got my first contact! We met with them a couple of days later. Thursday was kind of a slow day, we mostly were knocking on doors. Then later when we were flagging down taxis this guy starts yelling at me while he was riding by on his bike and he through up an elbow and elbowed me in the back! I was so mad at first but I figured I had to just laugh it off and go on with my day. Friday we had a great day we taught a lot of contacts and we had some great lessons! One family has a really sick son and we were able to give him a priesthood blessing. After that the mom showed up to church on Sunday. It was great! That afternoon there was a huge storm! The streets were all literally rivers and water was everywhere! Saturday, we were talking to this lady and I kept wondering why I couldn’t understand a single word she was saying!! So after my comp asked me if I understood and I told him, “no”... I found out she was speaking Portuguese! I guess we will run into a lot of that since we are so close to Brazil. Sunday I gave my first talk! haha! The funny thing was, I didn't know I had said yes to giving one! The branch president asked me something and I smiled and said si! Really I had no idea what he was saying. haha! But it went really well I think... My stomach was hurting all day that day and later I was in the bathroom all night! But today, its back to work! I'm doing better now! I am the third elder this week to get sick. we don't know if it’s because of our cook or not. But i think it was the cow intestines... We have a lady to cook for us and we have another lady who cleans for us. Our house is two stories and way bigger than any of the peoples houses here. And since my companion is the district leader, We got the one room with air conditioning. It’s so nice!

I have a challenge for everyone… It’s the “one by one” challenge. The Book of Mormon has the phrase in it “one by one” six times. You have to read it to see if you can find all six. It was the challenge in the ccm and I completed it, it was fun!


Elder Harding

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"It's absolutely awesome here!"

January 5, 2015
Man, Riley will be a great missionary! I can’t wait to hear how the Mexico ccm is!
It is absolutely awesome here! So, this first area they’ve assigned me to is in the far jungle. It’s so cool! it is on the border of Brazil, and I can see Brazil from my area. There is a giant river separating Bolivia from Brazil. There were 10 of us transferred from the ccm to Bolivia, Santa Cruz. They put us all in a hotel and we were just screwing around for 2 days before we were sent off to our areas. It was hard adjusting to the missionary life, but its awesome. My companion is Elder Del Valle and he has 3 months left in his mission. He has been teaching me a lot. He is from the Dominican Republic. The language is way harder than I expected. We arrived here Friday and we organized our house and on Saturday we went to a couple members houses and got to know them. Then, on Sunday, we had church. The church has maybe 40 people in our branch. Everyone is super nice, I felt right at home. Sunday afternoon the branch president took us around in his truck/ motorcycle thingy to all the less active members. We probably visited 12 families that night, it was awesome! We gave a short message to them and invited them back to church. Hopefully they come. We are reopening a new area so its hard to get started, but we are starting to find our groove. Seeing the people who live here has humbled me so much. I'm so grateful for everything I have back home. 
The language is slowly coming. I'm now at a point where its not one big slur. I can now hear the words, I just don't know what most of them mean. Haha! But, so far I'm loving my area I love the people here. My favorite part is the taxi’s. Haha! They are all motorcycles! So what you do is put out your hand to stop them, then hop on one and take off! It’s awesome! 

I hope everyone is doing well.
Elder Harding

"He isn't the best fisherman"

December 15, 2014

The funeral looked amazing! It looks so cool!! 
Cole is a man now! Haha! But he isn’t the best fisherman!

Anyway, nothing much has happened since Friday except I am no longer with my companion! As of right now I am waiting for my companion to get here from Argentina!! I'm super excited to meet him! So tonight, we get to watch a movie and stay up late waiting for everyone! We will also get more North Americans.
Today we got to go on tour! It was a lot of fun! We went to this Catholic church on top of this mountain! It was cool! We also got to go to a gold museum and see a lot of the city. Man, I can’t get over how they drive here. No one stops until its absolutely necessary. Its nuts! I am having a great time in the ccm and learning a lot. President Dyer has talks with us and goes into extreme depth about the plan of salvation and it is absolutely mind blowing. He is a really neat and spiritual guy, I have learned so much from him! 

Sorry the letter is short. 

Elder Harding

"Go for it!"

December 12, 2014

First off I want to say happy birthday mom!!!! I cant believe luna got your cake!! hahaha! It’s funny though! It’s been raining a lot here this week. We got to watch the Christmas devotional live this week, it was awesome! I've also became friends with the cook. he's a cool guy and my companion and I talk with him every time we walk by. The most exciting thing that happened this week was that we went proselyting! So, they took us on a bus to this poor ghetto part of town and pretty much said go for it! haha! so my companion and I start walking looking for people to teach and for the first 30 minutes absolutely no one wanted to talk to us! We were getting down but we said a prayer and we found this lady that we started talking to and at first she was terrified of us but we smiled and got to know her and told her about the book of mormon and she accepted it and said she would read it! So the next lady we talked to was a super cool and nice lady and she was very interested. She felt lonely because she didn't have family in Bogota and she wanted all the information about the church so she can go to church! It was awesome! And she accepted a book of mormon also! The last lady we had success with had us walk and talk with her for 2 blocks! She was almost impossible to understand but with the spirit to guide us we were able to pick out some stuff and say the right things. She also wanted to read the book of mormon! After we got done talking to her we realized we had no idea where we were! haha! We kept trying to talk to people and we eventually found our way back. As we were walking we saw this dude drop his pants and drop a duce in the road and use the dirty rain water on the road to clean up!! It was nasty but funny at the same time. We were running out of time so we were looking for the church bus to pick us up and this guy wanted to talk to us and we were like, oh cool he's probably interested in the church! Ah, nope. He just starts chewing us out about how our church is wrong and so is every other church ever established! He just kept going on and on and we could not even understand him! We were late at this point and I tried to give him hand outs and leave but he wouldn't touch them. He just kept chewing us out and wouldn't let us leave! So finally he stopped for a second and we were able to end it and go back. haha! It was awesome!
Elder Harding


When president told me about grandpa it hit me hard. I was having trouble finishing the day, but then after I talked with president for a while and he reminded me of the beauty of the plan of salvation, I felt a little better. My district was very supportive and wrote me letters and that helped me a lot. Now I see the beautiful side of it. I cant stop picturing him, with grandma Dianne smiling and being beyond happy. I know you’re okay but i cant help but to worry about you and pray for you. 

Uhhhh...what now?

December 3, 2014
I had a cool little experience about prayers being answered even the small ones! So I lost my cord to plug in my camera to send pictures and my companion and I looked everywhere! We went through all my drawers and it was not there. We were praying throughout the day and after a long day of being frustrated I opened my drawer and it was sitting right on top of everything!

Here in Colombia it pretty funny because every 5 minutes there is a car alarm going off. This isn’t the best neighborhood. The flies here are giant! They are like the size of a quarter and they just sit on the outside walls! Not much has happened since I last emailed. We had our tour early because the teachers were having a Christmas party or something. After we went to the temple we changed and the bus driver took us to the spot where we do the tours and dropped us off and left. So we were sitting there like uhhhh what now? There was supposed to be a teacher to come get us but they never came! So we were wandering the streets of Bogota not knowing very little Spanish! Haha! It was fun though. We were just like a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Everyone was just staring at us. Then around 4:00, the bus driver came to get us again and then we went to a jersey shop and bought some jerseys and stuff. Oh, the hype here in the ccm is a chocolate bar called “jet bars”. In each package there are these stickers of animals and stuff. There are 300 stickers and everyone here collects them and trades them. Some people even found a way to smuggle them through the fence. It’s so funny to me. 

Our latin roommates left for their missions. It was really sad because I got really close to them. But I know they will be great missionaries.
My new roommate is Elder Nichols and his latin roommate, whom we are still waiting to arrive. We got some more Latins from Chile, Argentina and Venezuela. All the Latins are super cool. We also got 4 North American missionaries!

My Spanish is slowly improving I still struggle to understand it when people speak it but if I read it, I can pick out more words and understand it. 

Elder Harding

I absolutely love it here!

November 28, 2014

 I absolutely love it here! My companion is Elder Critchlow. He’s a funny kid! He is a super hard worker which is good for me! He reminds me a lot of Riley! President Dyer and Hermana Dyer are really nice people. President Dyer’s devotionals are always the best! In my room, it’s me and my companion with two latin guys. Elder Abello is from Venezuela and Elder Chinchey is from Peru. We are able to talk to them now. They are so funny especially Elder Abello he has us cracking up every night! The food here is home cooked Bolivian food! Everyone jokes about the meat sometimes being cat “haha” but we did have bear meat with noodles and this fruit called something like “granadion". It’s this fruit that you crack open kind of like an egg shell and the inside looks like alien eggs. It looks nasty. You have to suck it and swallow without chewing or they say you can get sick. The texture is like a giant loogey, “haha” but its super sweet. I like it.

We were introduced to our first investigator our third day here! We didn’t know enough to teach in Spanish, but we did alright I think. The second time we met with him went really well. We taught about repentance because he said he had lots of problems and mistakes in his life. We were able to get the words out with the Holy Ghost helping us. All the meetings here are in Spanish “haha” but we are understanding more and more. Our classes are with our districts so we only have 8 people in our class. The teachers are great! I've learned more Spanish in 2 days than in 2 years of high school! Every week for church we have to prepare a talk in Spanish and they call one person from 5 of the 8 districts to talk. I didn't get called on but I felt like my talk was pretty solid for the first one. It was on how God reveals his gospel in every dispensation. We have a service day every week here and we do chores around the ccm(Spanish for mtc). We cleaned all the outside tables this week. And volleyball is so much fun! I've found an Elder to workout with too! Elder Johnson! He is awesome and he's showing me all kinds of missionary workouts. The pull up bars here are our best friends. Elder Torrez from the quorum of the seventy came to talk to us! We had a translator for the Americans! Our translator was new at it so it was kind of rough but I got the message. We get to go to the temple every week here, its awesome. We went on Wednesday and it was beautiful! You guys should watch “meet the mormon” it’s a great movie, we got to watch it last night. It was like all the emotions we had from leaving on our mission all came out. It’s a touching movie.

We were given a Thanksgiving dinner here because the cooks know how much it means to us! It was so good. We also listened in on the Thanksgiving devotional given by Elder Bednar at the provo mtc. It was so cool. He gave every missionary there a phone and put an email on the screen and had all the missionaries around the world send in questions and he answered as many as he could. It was awesome.

Elder Abello and Chinchey are leaving Tuesday to go to their missions. I’m going to miss them. They are really cool guys. 

Love you all,

Elder Harding