Thursday, March 24, 2005

Brian Email 3-24-05

Hey family,

Thanks for the letter again. I like hearing about y'all and all the
things that are going on. It seems like everyone gets busier and busier
all the time, that's exciting. I'm glad you got to participate so much
in sacrament meeting last week. I wish we had families like ours out
here in Charlotte, you don't need any pushing or prodding from the
missionaries to do what you're supposed to be doing anyway. We have a
few really good families, but we still struggle a lot. Even the best
families here take random Sundays off because of headaches or something
silly like that. It's hard to keep people active here, and there's
really not a whole lot of incentive to keep going to church. It's rare
that we feel the Spirit there. We have lots of lessons on washing hands
and things that aren't even related to the gospel. A lot of the members
of the branch prefer going to the English speaking ward, because they
can learn there. It's hard because our branch president is trying
really hard to do a good job, but he has had no experience in leadership
before, and he hasn't been trained for his calling or anything, so it's
hard for him. And our relief society president who is really strong and
self motivated is moving soon, so we'll be really hurting then. But a
lady from Colombia just moved in and she's been releif society president
and young women's president in Colombia, I really think she'll help us
all a lot.

As for upcoming baptisms, they are all being pushed back. Nathaly
didn't come to church and she has a lot of questions still, so we're
going to talk to her this afternoon and hopefully get her a baptismal
date early in April. Galo made it to church, so we're going to visit
him a lot and hopefully he can be ready for the same date as Nathaly.

And Vicente and Maria are making a lot of progress on their paperwork
and divorce issue. The missionaries have been trying to help them
figure out how to get married for years, so this is really going to be a
big acheivement. Vicente had to pay $200 to get his son out of jail in
Mexico so that his son can help him get the ball rolling down there.
His ex-wife is living with a man down there who said he is willing to
pay for all the divorce costs, and then Vicente's son is going to fax a
copy of the divorce papers to a member here who is a notary public for
notarization. At the same time, he is working on getting a passport,
and then he will need one other form of identification so that he can
get a marriage license. We are getting him started with a W-7 form with
the help of a member who runs a tax company (Amigo Tax, haha) and he
might also qualify for a visa so that he can legally be here. We're not
sure at all how this stuff works so we make a lot of phone calls to
Washington DC and Raleigh to talk to the consulates or magistrates of
deeds and all kinds of things. It's pretty frustrating sometimes,
because the whole thing is just a big math problem where nothing fits
quite right. You need certain things to get other things, but Vicente
is pretty much starting at nothing. We think they can be married within
3 weeks if he qualifies for a visa, and if not, then within 6 weeks with
a W-7. It's looking pretty good right now. They want to be baptized
the same day if possible, they are just dying to be members.

Way to go Andy with the bike! I thought that thing would never run
again, but you're a genius, so I guess anything is possible. 50 miles
in the rain is a pretty big feat, congrats! How much money has gone
into fixing it? Does it have a light yet? How often do you ride? Do
you ride to school ever? When the weather is really nice here, I wish I
had a bike to ride sometimes, and I always think of you when I see
people riding.

And Michael, congrats with track! It's not easy, but it feels so good
if you keep pushing. I always felt pretty tired after practices, and
sometimes I would be sore the next few days, but after you go for about
two weeks, you always feel awesome in the mornings. Track helped me
sleep better and then I could wake up easier in the morning, maybe that
will help you get a jump start to your day too. And the harmonica?? I
just hope that doesn't get in the way of the trombone :)

Are any of the missionaries in our ward from the South? I just talked
to a lady that has a friend in the Boise mission who just got there
fresh from the MTC. She says he was a little different but had lots of
energy so I was wondering if she knows the new one in our ward.

I had my first experience at being a sick missionary last week. I think
it might have been food poisoning from a little restaraunt called La
Unica. I felt pretty weird all that day, and then I threw up all night
and got about an hour of sleep. I called Sister Noel and she suggested
taking a long nap, I was grateful for that. We went out again around 4
the next day. I'm doing fine now though, and I'm still happy to be
here. I'm still in Charlotte for now. I have two weeks left of my
training and then I don't know if I'll be transferred or not. Elder
Frost goes home in two weeks, and Elder Gordon leaves the transfer after
that, so he'll be staying here. If I stay with him, I'll probably stay
another transfer after after that too, to help whoever comes here learn
the area. That looks pretty likely right now but I'll find out more
tomorrow in my interviews. Also the airport is in my area, so they
might keep me here for a while just in case something comes up. My area
rocks. We cover all of the SW quarter of Charlotte and down into Rock
Hill and York in South Carolina. This Saturday we were going to go down
into SC but we have an investigator moving in. She ordered a video and
had listened to one of the lessons in North Charlotte and is coming down
into our area so we're going to help her and then maybe still drive to
SC for the evening. This lady is also good friends with Nathaly and
Nathaly has been babysitting her daughter during this transition time.
Maybe they'll help each other.

And that's all I really have for today, it was a pretty long letter with
lots of details, I hope that's a good thing. Have an eximious week!
(that's a word I learned on Monday. It means excellent) Best of luck
with everything.

Love, Elder Harris


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