Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

That was a Hard Week!

December 30, 2015

This was probably the hardest week so far. Argao, my new area, is not like Toboso. Toboso has about 40,000 peeps living in that area and a ward with about 150 active members (about 300 total) whereas Argao has 60,000 people and a branch of about 80 members and 50 are active; big difference in the wards and in population. Argao is also a city area. There is not much visible poverty here as compared to Toboso where there wasn't much visible wealth! 

We do not have a teaching pool here so we spend almost ALL DAY going door to door saying, "Hi, we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ and we would like to share a little message with you." And receive the response, "Oh no, we are busy. Thanks...” This is how my week went as well as Christmas day. We did have a little more luck on Christmas day than the other days because we would read the birth of the Savior from Luke 2 and Matthew 2 (with all the vestiges included- for those small group of you who would get that joke). I met one person who wanted to bash us (on Christmas too!). I did well confounding this man but ended up saying "Kita ta sa paghukom!" which translates to "see you at the judgement!" MAN I WAS ANNOYED! Just the hardness of the hearts of people is really annoying. But in the end we did share our story with a few families and invited the spirit into their house so... mission accomplished! 

Yesterday was this day of feast here and so EVERYBODY was feasting all day – sort of like American Thanksgiving. We ate a lot. We also walked around all day trying to find people. I swear that this whole area got deserted! There was hardly anyone around! I believe they all went to parties and such, so yeah, that was fun. I have literally spent all week knocking on doors.... BUT! We found one guy last night who we shared our message with and it was a fantastic lesson! I sure hope something good comes from that visit! 

Last Friday I had the chance to Skype home. It was the first time in 5 months that I had seen my family. I had a nice 45 min long talk with them and it was great to see them. It did make me miss them though and put me in a little bit of nostalgia but that’s ok. It was great to see them again.

I walked around and handed out these little toys to some of the members children. They were sure happy to receive these small gifts! Also I made 2 new friends. They are two sisters about the age of 7 and 8. Not sure why I have a knack with children but I do and they really like me here. Kind of fun haha.

Well I hope you all had a great Christmas! I sure had a long one - haha. I am 1/4 of the way done here! Wow that was fast! And it is only getting faster. I wish the best for you back at home! 


(The full moon here on Christmas day as it was over the ocean.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

First Week of the New Transfer

December 22, 2015

Alright, alright that was different...

So I guess I could start on my new great area of Argao here on the Cebu Island. It is a bit cooler here than in Toboso. The place has about 20,000 more people here than Toboso and hardly any poverty like from my last area. A lot of things here are "new" and "hip...ish". The people are a bit tougher too. I have here a branch of about 50 members and they are great! There is one Joe in my branch too from Montana and he is very nice. My new companion, Elder Adap, is a Filipino from the Middle East. He speaks English and Tagalog. My first week here was LONG!

It down poured on us last Friday and Saturday and I got some sicknesses – grr... I got a migraine last Friday and it did not go away until yesterday morning (Tuesday morning). I got this weird form of pink eye the call Sore Eyes here, that only lasted a day. Oh and don’t forget the stuffy nose... Our phone ran out of service the day I got here, last Thursday, so I couldn’t  call ANYONE!  But alas it all went away and I am doing great now!

The people here are great and are helping me a lot with my Cebuano. My language is really coming too! 

We don’t have a big teaching pool here so we have spent most of our time tracking and going door to door... that’s fun. We met a lot of people that tell us, "Oh we have nothing to do". "Do you want to hear a message?"  "Oh no we are busy sorry!"  MGA BAKAKON! (Liars haha) It’s all good though. They aren’t rejecting me, they are rejecting our Lord. 

I read 2 Nephi 27-29 and it is all about how the people reject Christ and how very few people will find true salvation... it is true! A lot of people don’t want to come unto Christ cuz they are busy... I guess our Savior will too be busy to save them... it’s a give or take relationship.

Miss Philippines won Miss Universe... so that’s pretty big here...

Not a whole lot has happened... just was sick haha. 

I wish the best for you all back at home!

-Elder Morris

And I am Done with Follow-Up Training

December 15, 2015

So I suppose you would like to hear the biggest news first? Last night we got transfer calls and just as I suspected, I have been evicted out of my humble fishing town of Toboso and tomorrow I will be going to Carcar zone on Cebu Island. I will be the senior companion as well and follow up training my companion. So right off the get-go I will be in a leadership position and hopefully will be able to do my best!

This past week has been very long... Started out with going to Dumagetti last Thursday, Friday, and returned Saturday. Dumes is a BIG city on the southern tip of Negros Island whereas Toboso is on the most northern tip of Negros. It took 7 hours travel by bus to go one way (A distance of about 100 km... which would take 1 hour MAX on American freeways). There we ate at this restaurant called Burgers and Beer. I had true American food and imported cherry Dr. Pepper! OH BOY I MISS AMERICAN BURGERS AND FRIES AND SODAS! We then watched the Christmas devotional from the First Presidency. We received mga gifts from the president. We each received a new hardcover BOM with a new challenge to read the whole thing in 3 months. It hasn’t been a week yet and I am halfway through 2nd Nephi. I love that book and so far it has been a great blessing to read it again! I plan to be finished by the end of next transfer (in 6 weeks if anyone wants to race!) The president talked to us about Christ’s birth and then we had a "Talent-ish show". Each zone had 45 min to do whatever they wanted on the stage in front of all the Negros missionaries. It lasted about 5 hours... I met up with my old trainer, Elder Noprada, there. We exchanged words and small gifts. It was good to see him again and I see that being a District Leader has changed him (for the better).

A couple nights ago we received a phone call telling us that a super typhoon is coming to Negros and will plow through my zone....yeah that didn’t happen. It barely rained on us too! No wind, no scared people; heck I think no one even knew a typhoon was about to come! Nothing different happened but we were all scared!

This past transfer, when I look back at it, has been a huge try of my patience. I have learned a lot about my personality and about becoming more Christ-like in my actions. I am safe to say that I did not blow up on anyone haha but TBH I am glad for this upcoming transfer. I'm tired of waiting on disobedience. I have also learned that I hate to waste time when I need to be doing something. I hate worldly talk. I really loathe any form of talking about others without respect towards them. It truly drives the spirit away.

I cannot wait to be the senior companion this next transfer! I will be doing my absolute best at my job! You can count on that!

I wish the best for you all at home and I hope you stay safe in the snow! It is something like 80-100 degrees here and I am always sweaty!

Amping moha! 

- Elder Morris

(This is us giving the presents my mom sent over to the little mga bata!)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

...That Was a Long Week!

December 9, 2015

So I'll start out with the bigger news. We had 3 baptisms this week! Our zone had 12 all together on the same day! Now the sad news… We only had 2 confirmations as one of our newly baptized decided to smoke right after his baptism... WHOOPS!  Sister Victoria was finally baptized and confirmed! She had been worked on since June! I know her very well and am glad that she is now a member. She was crying at her baptism saying "I will finally be saved!" I know this to be true that baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ is the pathway to salvation! 

(Our baptisms this week.)

I went on splits 3 times... TBH I like to see other missionaries but if I am not in my own area I am missing out on a lot. Three times on one week is a lot cuz a lot happens in 1 week! 

So Ernesto still isn’t doing well. To be honest, he has most likely given up on life now. He isn’t moving and is stuck in a stupor of thought. I have been told that he has stopped eating as well. It truly hurts my heart to see these things happen, but I know that once I've done all that I can it is in the Lords hands now. 

I’ve got a new little friend. Her name is Metheane and she is 8 years old. I don’t know if she likes me cuz I'm nice or an American. Either way, she is my new little buddy! I have learned in these past 6 months that I am really good with little kids. I suppose it is because I give them attention when no one else does. 

We went to a rich person’s house for a birthday dinner. They had a Lenchon Baboy (rotisserie pig). This thing looked so disgusting! It was all shredded up in the end and was a big mess of carcass! These things cost 10000 pesos gihapon! I get 2000 to live off of for a week (about $50.) This thing, for one meal, cost as much as I get in a month and a half to live off of, pay bills, etc! It wasn’t the best tasting thing ever... nevertheless I m still a happy camper! 

I will most likely be transferred out of Toboso next Tuesday (few days before my Christmas party:( ). I am trying my best here and I love it! 

Everything is going great and I wish the best for you all back at home or on missions!    

(Here’s another picture of where I currently live.  This was before the new haircut. I got a hair cut that is a military style. I’m practically bald! FREAK!  And I didn’t mean for it to be short like that. By the way, I don’t have any pics of it like that.)

-Elder Morris

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

And It’s Officially December!

December 2, 2015

This week was full of many...weird and challenging things. It is now December and it is still hot and humid here! Christmas trees are going up. (They are more like pictures of trees cuz no one can afford them and there aren't any pine trees here.) Christmas songs are playing everywhere, planning for Christmas activities are underway and  so forth. 

So I ran out of money about halfway through last week. I was down to 200 pesos (that does NOT get you far) and so I had to scrap by haha. (Editor's note: 200 pesos is currently equivalent to $5 USD.) I figured out how to withdraw from my personal account the day before I withdraw my support, so not much help there. I truly felt poor:). We ran into our friend "Beads". She came up to me and Elder Germaine while we were eating BBQ for dinner. She went off on weird tangents about bisan unsa (any thing). We told her not to follow us home but she would not leave us alone, so instead of walking to the house we went to the pulis (police) station and met up with some cops. They then chased her down the road and she was shouting profanities like you couldn't believe. I feel bad for her but our safety does come first and I do not want a 40 year old stalker trying to kiss me and do other things.

We went on splits yesterday to an area that is very bukid (wilderness/jungle). We walked up three mountains and around two of them. There I met a 15 year old girl who had a baby. When we sat down to teach her I figured out that the baby isn't hers. The story goes that both parents of the baby died and this little 15 year old is the only one who will and is taking care of this little boy. I felt so bad and wished I could help! She was very nice and humble and I am very thankful that at least there are some good people here willing to sacrifice everything for even people they do not know.

(This is when I was on splits yesterday, This is what Negros Island looks like.)

Went to a mini zoo held by one of the RMs here and played with his angry monkey. She doesn’t like us too much and attempted to attack us every time we got near her. Fun:). 

(Nini, the monkey that hates us!!)

We had three baptism interviews this week so you know what that means?! Three new members this Saturday the 5th! Victoria is one of them and is finally going to be baptized! I am excited and I cannot wait for this Saturday! 

So this week, a small interesting thing happened where the spirit really did guide me in what I should do. As we were planning for the day we were stumped on what to do at the night time so of course I said a little prayer on who to visit and immediately Ernesto’s face popped up, so thus we went to visit him at this weird hour (cuz every one is sleeping at 7) and we found him awake. He hasn't been doing so well lately and at church he couldn't even walk up the steps into the building. Well this night he wasn't able to do anything physical. As we pondered what to teach him I first had in mind to teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ so I turned to a scripture about the gospel that I do not normally share. As we were assessing our situation we found that we needed to be discussing about healing (cuz it was very apparent that his physical well being is not so good). I came to find that this scripture that I felt enlightened to share could also be tied in with healing as well! (I'd be delighted to share this scripture to you, but I cannot find it anymore!) We taught him this scripture and about healing and then gave him a blessing. As soon as we were done he stood right up (like he wasn't sick), went to his couch and fell asleep. We left him then. He is having heart difficulties due to high blood pressure, and to be completely honest, I think he may be going home to our Father in Heaven soon. I truly feel bad for him because everybody he knows has pretty much abandoned this old man and left him aside and not many people are helping him (including family). I hope that he can at least see the love that we missionaries have for him and that he will soon be at rest in the kingdom of our Father. 

This week has also been good for our stats. We got 42 lessons and 153 FTEs. The mission standard is the average coming in at 25 lessons and 100 FTEs. The previous week we got 41 lessons and 150 FTEs. They work here is great and the laborers are few. By and by we shall get it done! 

I wish the best for you all back at home or on missions! I love you all and hope that you have safe holidays! I sure am enjoying my time here in the middle of the Pacific! 

(Hangin' with my peeps!!)

Elder Morris

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Five Months Down!

November 25, 2015

Yesterday, the 24th, marked 5 months of my mission. To be honest, it doesn’t feel like 5 months! It feels like a few weeks. This week has been a long one in many ways. We smashed it this week with 41 lessons and 150 FTEs. (Standards are 25 lessons and 100 FTEs). I finished reading the Doctrine and Covenants this morning. I started about the beginning of this transfer so it only took 3 weeks. There is a lot of deep doctrine in there!

We have a "crazy", homeless friend by the name of Mando. We fed him BBQ the other night and he is now our friend:) He always gives us this weird look and smile. He tells us how people fed him human feces and all these disgusting stories. Well yesterday we learned a little more about our friend Mando. He has a child and the wife is...get this...his first cousin! He also hooked up with his sister once.... He is the funniest homeless person I've met here and he is very...out of it. Well yesterday morning he got arrested. He was drunk in the market and people called the fuzz on him. Poor Mando!

Last Sunday I had the chance to confer the Aaronic Priesthood on Ernesto.  Elder Germain did it for Gabriel. It was great and a good experience! I have done many priesthood ordinances since I've been here. I also hear that we can curse people instead of bless them 0-0! Cool stuff.

So today we get the great chance to have Thanksgiving here! We have ordered a grilled chicken, have potatoes (those are expensive here!), and very simple other things. It shall all be well W-.-W. I wish the best for you all back at home and hope that you guys are having a great holiday week!

We have three baptism interviews this Saturday that I am excited for! I know that I am not supposed to brag about numbers (or even count my chickens before they hatch) but if all goes well I should be looking at having 8-9 baptisms by the end of my time here in Toboso! Unless of course I stay another transfer! (Then more! W-.-W) This area is very fruitful and I cannot wait to see what else happens!

All is well on the Pacific front and I wish the best for you all back at home! Amping moha!  

(On the beach. Ang bay-bay sa Tigbau.)

(Elder Germaine ate a blue gumball!)

-Elder Morris

P-Day Again!!

November 18, 2015

This was a very long week... they all are - haha! Started out with getting a nice care package from home last Thursday! It contained a lot of toys to give out to the kids here and a few small things for me ;) (like a first edition BOM and a new tie clip!). We had two baptisms on Saturday! I baptized kang Brother Gabriel ug kang Brother Ernesto! These guys show what a true investigator is like! Gabriel walks several kilometers to get to church each Sunday, totaling 3 hours of walking one way. And Ernesto changed from a diehard Catholic to someone who truly sees the light of Christ! I was super happy!

 (Baptism day!! Me, Gabriel, Ernesto, and Elder Germaine.)

Brother Gabriel showed up 1 1/2 hours late to his baptism and I just about died when he didn’t show up but alas he did! I got to confirm Ernesto a member the following Sunday (I had to say the prayer twice cuz I suck) and another person confirmed Gabriel (cuz I suck at giving prayers in Cebuano). I was also asked to give a talk 5 minutes before church started.... that went well. Ernesto went up to the pulpit halfway through sacrament meeting and just started bearing his testimony. It honestly was kind of funny, but his testimony was good!

We have a bunch of "Tokos" living in the jungle and the houses. A Toko is a big lizard that sounds weird. Well we have one in our house named Mikey Gecko and we came home one day to find him on our wall just chillin’. I've lived here for about 4 months and this is the first time I have seen Mikey Gecko. So what did four 19-22 year old boys do? Shempre! We caught it! He was MAD! I got a video of him in our basket – haha he is funny! We ended up letting him go because, let’s face it, life wouldn't be the same without his annoying mating calls at 2 in the morning! Plus he is endangered.

(Mikey Gecko!)

A mouse caused Elder Germaine to squeal like a frightened little girl :D. That was funny cuz he is 6'3",  240 lbs and a high pitched noise came out.

The crazy lady came back again! I told Elder about her and he wanted to meet her. We were eating barbeque one night and just like that she popped up behind Elder Germaine and in mid sentence I said "Do you remember that crazy lady I told you about?" He was like "Uh oh!".  I said "She's standing right behind you!" She chased us! I got to run again – haha!

Other than that, all is quiet on the western front. We have 3 baptisms coming up on the 5th of December which I am excited for! So far, I have had 5 baptisms since I've been here and am looking at having 9 before I leave to a new area on Dec 17th! Things are good!

I still love my little fishing town of Toboso and the people are great! The youth on the other hand are being too casual with the missionary which frankly needs to stop. We have a missionary leaving tomorrow for his mission in San Paulo Philippines so that is good! Toboso is sending their own into the mission field!

All is well here! I wish the best for you all back at home!    

-Elder Morris

And that was the end of my first week of actual mission life!

November 11, 2015

So no more 12 weeks, which means that I am now on regular mission schedule! I received my new companion Si Elder Germaine. He is from Arizona. We graduated the same time. He is 6'3" coming in at 220-240 lbs of pure American. We have received a lot more remarks of "Joe" and every time anyone says the word “Joe” he goes after them and FTEs them – haha! It certainly scares a lot of people when they say "Tambok Joe" and then all of a sudden the two Americans are hot on their tail to share the gospel with them! We get along quite well and have a similar taste in music. His teaching methods are interesting--more of an ‘in and out’ type deal, but I feel like I can learn great things from him. He was also batch with Elder Noprada, my trainer.

(Me and Elder Germaine)

So I get to lead the area and my first week was rough! I always had people in mind to teach but we were punted by just about EVERYONE for a straight week!!! What a bad impression! Being punted...

We had three baptismal interviews this week and 2 passed! On Saturday si Brother Gabriel and si Brother Ernesto will become the newest members of the Church of Jesus Christ! I am excited because these two are the first baptisms that I’ll have in which I met them and taught them their first lessons and saw their conversion! I truly do love these people and I am excited for them! Sis Victoria needs some more time though...

Things are going great here in Toboso and getting better! We have gone exploring a lot lately, seeing new parts of our area and meeting new people.

I hung my gigantic American flag in my room cuz MURICA!
(My simple bedroom...)

Not much else new has happened here in my small fishing town of Toboso.

So for some quick missionary tips:
  • Get a bag with lumbar support! If you can rest it on your hips like mine can it is so much better than resting it on your shoulders.
  • Have water proof and durable shoes where ever you go! They hold together and your feet don’t get soaked.
  • Buy your umbrella before you get to the Philippines! I love this place so much but the quality of just about everything isn’t...good.
  • Have a wide variety of very nice ties AND DONT TRADE THEM! Missionaries and even members want your new and nice ties.
  • Socks...people stress about socks, but to be honest, buying a $10 pair of socks isn’t worth it. Your feet are sweaty wet no matter what you wear.
  • The deodorant here is expensive.
  • Be prepared! Study your language before you get to the MTC. Study your scriptures from all the standard works before you get to the field. A lot of people will think "oh I'll just learn while I am there" but TBH you will want to know this stuff ASAP!

The mission is great and maayong ang tanan! All is well!

I wish the best for you all back home and just know this, that I do miss the snow!

-Elder Morris

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Done with "12 Weeks"

November 4, 2015

So, “12 Weeks” is the plan the church has organized for the new missionaries in which we are able to adjust to missionary life. This is the time when we get our trainers and learn all the missionary life things and well... I am done! They say that your mission is divided into 4 parts: The MTC, 12 Weeks, your mission, the last 3 weeks. These next 20 months are going to go by fast!

So Elder Noprada and I are now splitting up. I am staying here in Toboso for another 6 weeks for my follow up training while he is going to the third island of our mission, Siquihor. On Siquihor there are 30 members and 6 missionaries. You can walk the length of the island if you really wanted to. My new companion whom I will be meeting tomorrow is Elder Germane. He is an American out for 1 year and...oh yeah he is Elder Gali's trainer! Looks like we have something in common haha! Elder Gali was my MTC companion.

(My geneology... Me, My Trainer - Elder Noprada, his trainer - Elder Smiler)

This past week was a very long be honest… a sad one. So right off the bat we were told by 4 of our "good" family investigators to not return, I know I should be happy that my focus can now be more centered on those who are Elect but being turned down after having several lessons still sucks!  We had a member die this past week and she was one who we visited weekly. She was one of the pioneers here in the Toboso ward. Elder Noprada and I were asked to give a talk at the funeral. I was asked to dedicate the grave. It was a great exp to see the love people truly have for their family and friends; it reminds me that the world isn't so bad. On the same day as the funeral it decided to downpour! I was soaked to the bone! Good fun :)

Last Wednesday we hiked out to Gabriel's house. It was a great hike! His family was so nice and very humble. Just as the Zoromites were able to be learned because they were humble, I too believe that Gabriel has been able to learn because he is humble. We had fun, took pics, caught chickens with ropes, ate bread fruit, hiked back.

 (One of the many paths to Gabriel's house.)

(Kit, Gabriel, Me, Elder Noprada)

A crazy dude came up to me and demanded money... kind of weird. Then he demanded my neck tie.... he got nothing. I wish I could have helped but we aren’t allowed to give out money.

I finally got one! I have finally received a cacao! I cracked it open, ate the actually good fruit in side, and am now in the process of drying the seeds. I will make chocolate from them!  #determined

This past Nov 1st and 2nd are holidays here in the Philippines. It is some "go and visit the graves" day.

Gabriel, Ernesto, and Victoria are all on schedule to be baptized on the 14th! I am excited, for they will be my first "find them and teach them from the beginning" investigators. I also have a 17 year old Kyle who we have been teaching this whole time too who is doing great and will be baptized on Dec 5th. He would have been baptized weeks ago but since he is 17 and his parents aren't members he has to go to church for 3 months so we can see that he is actually dedicated to this work. The work here is good; you have to be turned down by hundreds of people to find the one!

I love it here and I wish the best for you all back at home! These next 20 months will be pas-pas! Fast! 

(My Filipino friends!)

-Elder Morris

Thursday, October 29, 2015

One more week in this transfer...

October 28, 2015

The end is nearing; my training is almost complete and soon I will receive a new companion and or a new area. As far as this week went...well it went!

Last Wednesday, we had a zone activity where we had a "Bottle Fight" (totally not how it is spelled) where you get a bunch of banana leaves, dump all your food on them and it is like a free for all buffet. All 30 of us went in this mass of food with our hands and destroyed it!

We have had splits about half the days this past week as we are trying to cover more ground! The great thing about a Philippines mission is there is always someone to teach (and we have a lot of those "somebodies"). My split yesterday wasn't the best day of my work haha. We got punted by 5 families (caught 3 of them right as they were walking out the door!) Taught only 3 lessons and got only 2 not a great day but the night made up for all the effort! We had FHE at the Stake Presidents house (who lives right behind my house much like in my home ward). We had another "Bottle Fight" (boodle fie...something like that) and played some interesting games that I am taking home to America with me.

Went to San Carlos (a big city because it has a mall!) for zone interviews. We left at 6 A.M and got home at 8:30 P.M. San Carlos is only an hour away but we had to wait a long time for our time with the president. We worked in San Carlos for the day. It was kind of exciting working in the city but alas I like my humble fishing town of Toboso:). Brother Ernesto's IBD is coming up here in 3 weeks as well as sister Victorias and I hope I stay here one more transfer so that I can see them get baptized! And if Gabriel is ready he too will join the Church of Jesus Christ on the 14th! Exciting things are happening and I am happy here!

One thing that I have learned here on the mission is just about how much a missionary really needs to rely on the Savior and... just how lonely one can be. You get sent to a foreign land, don't speak the language, get a new companion every 6-12 weeks, your leaders have a lot to worry about and the president has 180-200 missionaries to over really come to learn that if you aren't feeling so great that you have to turn to Christ. I can see why this is so important because it is a lot of "you and Him" time. You get to learn just how much He cares for you when you see that He is there for you EVERY time that you need help. I am very thankful for our Savior and that He is there for all of us!

Other than that I am doing quite well! I can lead the area quite well and understand the people a lot more! I can converse with the locals and they understand me! I have been told that my Cebuano is much like slang haha but all is well!

I am excited for what the future has in store. I am scared though that my mission will fly by fast! It has already been 4 months and I got 20 left.... In the MTC we sang the song "To bring the world His truth". The lyrics normally go "We are as the army of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth. And we will be the Lords missionaries to bring the world His truth." We sang a slightly different version. "We are as the army of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth. And we are now the Lords missionaries to bring the world His truth."  I only have 20 more months left to do what I have never ceased to think about desire. I am now the Lord’s missionary and at times it feels like I haven't quite realized it yet. These next months are going to go by very fast and I am truly going to miss this great experience. I truly love my mission and I love the people so much! Filipinos aren’t like Americans haha, They don't have the American sass. They are a great and wonderful people!

All is well and I wish the best for you all back at home or on missions!

Amping mo!
-Elder Morris

Friday, October 23, 2015

Another Great Week

October 21, 2015

This week was great; full of plot twists and happy endings!

So first, we only had a strong wind here and not much rain. I didn’t realize that we had a typhoon in the Philippines until after it had passed!

We had a baptism! Little Jewel Mikah! She was very excited and happy! 

We also have two IBDs who...relapsed :( Bro Ernesto drank a cup of coffee so we had to move his bunyag date back a month to Nov 14. Sis Victoria smoked a cig so hers also moved :( Gabriel still treks to church each week and it is quite awesome that he is able to make it! Other than that the teaching is going great! I am in charge of planning, leading, and teaching right now! All on me! MWAHAHA!

I am in the process of buying a cocoa fruit so I can eat it and then make chocolate from the seeds :) Members are feeding us hot coco drinks made from the cocoa trees in their back yard and it is amazing! Bitter kaayo!

Me and my companion have bought lava lavas as a companion item and might I say, walking around in this thing and emailing (currently wearing) in it is quite fun. Every one stares at you...

(We were told the fabric we used is for curtains... They still are pretty cool though... BTW I have a green one from a friend from the MTC that I wear all the nights :P )

My twelve weeks is coming to an end and soon I will be just like the other missionaries. I haven’t had any run ins with crazy people this week. Sis Marzan’s fried chicken is still good. The area is still peaceful. Food is still good (questionable at times).

I do love it here and I hope that I can look back at my mission and say that I gave it my all!

-Elder Morris

Friday, October 16, 2015

Weekly Update!

October 14, 2015 

Sorry for not emailing last week. We had a power outage all day last Wednesday and were only able to get to Escelante for 30 minutes to email there. General Conference was great! We got it in English too! One problem with that though. Can you think of it? The people here don't speak English! We had over 1000 peeps at the conference here and hardly anyone understood it! I myself loved it haha.

The weird (crazy) lady came across my path again... As I shook her hand she grasped it tightly, sniffed it, then KISSED it! WWWWWEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah and the kids also really like me too! They like to grab onto my long monkey arms and swing! I know I am tall and nice, but it gets kind of weird when a group of kids surround you just to swing on your arms.

The lessons are going great! Brother Ernesto went to General Conference and seemed to enjoy all he understood-haha. He is scheduled to be baptized on Halloween (2 weeks)! I am excited for him! We will be baptizing little sister Mikah on Saturday, and she has asked yours truly to do the honor! Excited ako!

(Elder Noprada and me with little Mikah)

I have begun a new "study" on faith hope and charity. It is coming along very well and I hope to mail it home when I am done translating my scribbles so that hopefully my mother can type it up and share what I have found. (Oh btw, Mother, I have a request for you!) 

I woke up this morning with a bad bloody nose... it has stained my white polo :( BOO

Yesterday was great! I led the day (so we did what I wanted to do mwahaha!) We had great lessons and a sufficient amount of FTEs (Find The Elect or OYM Open Your Mouth). I found a tranquil place here so we took some selfies! I shall send a few pics.


All is well here and I am still alive haha! I met four Americans the other day and half of what I was saying to them was in Cebuano not by choice haha. 

I truly love my mission and I have been blessed with so much! I wish the best for you all!

-Elder Morris

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Longest/Most Difficult Week So Far

September 29, 2015

So I have been a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for 3 months now and let’s just say that the past week has been the longest/ most difficult week so far.

Each week Elder N. and I do what they call "your first twelve weeks". This includes learning the lessons and making the new missionary lead discussions, lead in planning, use the phone etc. Well what I have noticed as well is that each week also has new lessons to learn that aren't from the twelve weeks. This week’s lesson that I (and Elder N.) had to learn is on dealing with a kauban (companion). As far as the details of what our "disagreements" have been I will try to keep them to a minimum. I have learned so much about the importance of patience and turning the other cheek. I have fully come to be aware of the comments that can be made to get a point across as well as fully intended to insult and upset others. As I have come to see these things in action the thing that has helped me a TON is to just hold my tongue. To be completely honest, I do not like to hold my tongue. It makes me feel passive and like a push over. But we learn in the scriptures that those who do not have the spirit of contention are far more blessed than those who do have that evil spirit. I was quite amazed at myself (not to boast) when a question was shot at me yesterday intended to justify and to insult me and the first thing I did was wait. Not answering right away allowed time for me to think about the situation and to think of a more reasonable approach that will calm things down.  As we finished our discussion last night we were able to finish on good terms and hopefully things will change for the weeks to come. 

Currently, I am still in Toboso for another 6 weeks. Another transfer and then afterwards I may be shipped off elsewhere on literally a days notice. On Tuesday nights every 6 weeks we receive transfer calls stating that in the morning we need to pack and head to our new area to meet a new kauban. Things are going great here BTW!

So where to begin with the stories?!? As of right now (night time in America) there should be a full blood moon! I saw the bright red moon here last night and might I say it was cool kaayo! The next full blood moon will be in 2033! (I know this because I sinned and paid attention to the news at a members house). It honestly looked pretty dang cool!

This past week was Family Week. We woke at 4 a.m. to get to Escelante by 6 for a stake wide gathering in which we played lots of games, had a minor parade through the streets, and ate loads of food! It was a good time and the stake president and bishops were all glad that us 30 something missionaries were there. These three kids followed me everywhere and always clung onto me – haha! It was quite adorable but at the same time it restricted me in my associations with others. 

So remember that story I shared about the crazy weird lady who wrote me a love note on the bus? SHE'S BACK! We ran into her yesterday! She chased us down this long empty road stating that she was just going for a jog (in a dress). We got on a motor cab and she still chased us! The twist to it all is that her bana (husband) showed up... He was really MAD! MAD KAAYO! He threw rocks at her, tried to punch her, and told her off like no other! I feel bad for her but at the same time I myself would be very mad if my wife was flirting with every white guy she saw and showed absolutely no fidelity in our marriage. This guy stalked me and Elder N. as well. As soon as we stopped he began to demand money for his cigarettes (I thought we were being mugged!). We were like "No! That is bad for you and we can't give you money to begin with". He was very persistent but so were we. I was bit scared haha but all ended well. 

The investigators here are very interesting. Um yeah... So we have one who is 15 and claims that her Catholic priest opened her third eye and she now sees ghosts. I asked if she saw the Holy Ghost but she said no :(  I have nothing further to say about this "belief" in seeing the dead. 

Sister Mika is going to be baptized in two Saturdays on the 10th! I am so excited for her cuz we have been working with her 3-4 days a week for the past 6 weeks and she is now ripe!
Sister Victoria, when we entered her house, asked for baptism on the 10th as well! Big heart breaker though because she had just came back from a smoke before we came, which pushes baptism back another 4 weeks, If you drink alcohol, smoke a cigarette, miss church, do anything contrary to what we teach your baptism gets pushed back one month. Sad! I could see the hurt in her eyes when we had to tell her the truth. I sure hope she has enough faith to keep her strong in the next month. 

We went to Brother Ernesto's last night. I just want to grunt, not towards him but towards everyone's attitude towards him a few weeks ago. He told us not to return and that he will stick with his religion and we asked him one last time to pray. I was then told by several people who I work with that we should just let him be. We should follow up once more about the prayer but take him off of the main burner. I didn't want to give up on him. Well he came to church 4 times in the past 5 weeks including the past two Sundays. He demonstrated a huge leap of faith last Sunday when he asked for a PRIESTHOOD BLESSING! Even members don't ask for those often and yet a man who everyone says won't accept us asked for one! Maayo Kaayo! Last night he told us that he is now understanding the apostasy and he asked us for a baptismal date! Don't give up on people when you think they are too hardened to hear your message. 

The people here are great and I wish I could share more stories about the cool peeps here.

So this week I finished the Book of Mormon for my first time since leaving on my mission. You honestly cannot prove it wrong. Those who strive to prove it false are being lead by Satan himself to do so. I stand firm in my testimony that this book is true, and through it we can receive salvation!

All is well here in the Philippines, still hot and the bugs are still big! 

I wish the best for you all and I miss you all back at home (or if you are currently on a mission and receive my emails Richards and Simmons). 

-Elder Morris

And Done With My First Transfer!

September 22, 2015

As stated above, done with my first transfer! Even though I have to remain here in Toboso with Elder N. for another six weeks while I am still in training.  

This past week has been long and full of many...things-haha. The reason I emailed on Tuesday is because we went to Dumahetti for Zone Conference. That was fun. Road a bus for 7 hours to the conference. We didn't receive our funds for this next two weeks before we left so we were bankrupt when we got there and had to be humble enough to bum food off of people. The conference was good and I learned a good deal about being a better missionary.

I got to speak again in sacrament! Hooray for broken Cebuano! It went well and I was able to make the whole congregation laugh with one of those cheesy jokes that are usually said when one talks in sacrament.

This week we went to Brother Ernesto's balay to teach him and he told us that he hadn't received any answer and for us to not return. This did actually hurt a bit. We asked him to pray one last time and we left. This past Sunday he showed up to church! He told us that when he went to his Catholic priest about the apostasy he told him to not focus on it or "...those lying Mormons...”. Brother Ernesto saw that they could not answer his questions and so he has come back to asking us because we have the answers. We extended bunyag (baptism) and he said yes. I sure hope all goes well!

A bird pooped on my neck. >:(

Went to the Libre house for a B-day party and there was A LOT of food and people (a lot of food isn’t always the case here so it was quite an eye opener). The Libre family is considered to be "datu" or rich. We have FHE there every Sunday and they always have some sort of sweet thing that is delectable. Last Sunday we had a mango float. It is one bottom layer of graham crackers crushed, sweetened condensed milk poured on top, and then a layer of mango shavings. Repeat this process until you have a trifle looking thing and then freeze it in the fridge. It is lami:) yummy.  Then on Monday I woke with this bad pain in my belly and well… let’s just say that no amount of going to the C.R helped. I blame the mango float as here not everything you buy at stores (the sweetened condensed milk) can be trusted. The Filipino quality check is more like a brief look over. Hours went by my body soon flushed out the toxin that was in me and I feel better now. Yesterday, Elder N. went down with a fever of 102. I got to play Nurse Morris a bit as he tried to feel better.

I killed a HUGE moth. I at first thought it was a bird that had flown into our house but after dousing it in pernephorin, I was able to see it was a gigantic bug! The spiders here are big too.

I have now started to book of Ether in the Book of Mormon. It should take me 2-3 more days to finish, so for all of you who I challenged to read the book before me...well you got a couple days left! As I come to the conclusion of the book I am truly pained to see the degeneration of people as they let Satan into their hearts. You can see these things happening in our lives today as well! It is scary but sadly going to happen. Just as Mormon states that he would lead the armies of the Nephites but he knew they would all be destroyed in the end, so too can we see that the world is ripening for destruction and soon shall have its demise and then Christ shall rule once more. If you don't believe me then pick up a new copy of the Book of Mormon and a highlighter and sit down and study it. If you can truly study it and finish reading it, I promise you that you will believe it is true. If you study it out right now, not going off of past experience, there will be no way you can truthfully say that it is wrong. The blessings that come from that book are much more desirable than we can ever imagine and I look forward to that great day when I can say that I am forever now living with my family and friends in heaven. Say what you will, the Book of Mormon is true and you can see the prophesies happening is this world right now! I wish for everyone to see and know what I know. The first and foremost step in knowing this is first reading the book, but more than just reading, actually study it. You will know for yourself.

I thank you all for the support and I wish the best for you all at home! AMPING!
-Elder Morris

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week 4 in the Field

September 15, 2015
Everything has been so fast. I feel like I have done quite a lot so far and realize that I still have 21more months! (TRUNKY! Jok lang!). I have to go to Dumaguete today so that is why I’m emailing early. We will be having a random Zone Conference with all of Negros Island missionaries. I'll be back to Toboso in three days.

There are a lot of fun things happening here and a lot of nice Filipinos to talk to. I honestly cannot wait until I can bring my friends and family here and to show them around. It is beautiful here and the culture is so interesting! We have huge fruit trees in my backyard here - haha. We have many (MANY) dragon fruit trees, banana trees, a papaya tree, guava trees, and an atis tree (weird Filipino apple thing). All of which are bearing fruit which brings up my next point: When you freeze half of a dragon fruit and eat it like it is ice cream after a long day... PRAISE BE TO THE LORD! I'll admit that even the dragon fruit here doesn't taste like anything but it is still nice to carve away at the frozen flesh.

The bananas here are actually good! Bananas at home don't compare (sorry Murica). We take them, fry ‘em in butter and coat ‘em in sugar.... SO TAMBOK RIGHT! But alas it is pretty good and being that it is fried, reminds me of home. The other fruits are in development. They aren't quite ready yet.

I saw a Jeepny drive by with two goats standing on top of it...weird! Two girls crashed their motor cycle into a store (IDK if I had already shared that). It was funny. Almost died again on the motor cycle cab thing. Christmas trees are up here as well as singing Christmas hymns in church. I am truly loving it here and I love actually having a Cebuano conversation. The gift of tongues is manifesting it as I have already had dreams in Cebuano haha and I can now get my point across without further confusion! Oh that great day when I return and dili estorya sa english (don't speak English)!

All is well here and the work is now starting to carve itself out. We are now having many meetings each week with the ward -  PEC, BCM, WCM, etc. I can see that by the time I am transferred out of Toboso this place will be better than when I arrived. As far as the investigators go...Eh it is good. We teach more less-actives. They understand our message and I know they believe but they are so stubborn! Mainly because they are offended... that's actually the main big reason as to inactivity here. I will share later my belief on inactivity.

We have a gator whose name is Ernesto. Imagine Grandpa Fry but a little more brown, less swearing, and actually willing to learn about our message. He came to church the other week and it made me so happy to see him but he hasn't come to church lately and he says it is because the Apostasy doesn't make sense to him. There is a tricky subject for you now. How do you convince a Catholic that there was an apostasy? Better question, how do you do it without an argument? We have here a RM (a bit older) named Brother Dodong. Now Brother Dodong will tell you that a bear craps in the woods. If you aren't doing your job he WILL get on your case about it and he won't spare any feelings. He is wise in scripture and in doctrines. He also cooks well and apparently is very funny. And we had this guy with us to teach Brother Ernesto. Well I honestly felt like we were trying to argue our way in proving our points that an apostasy did happen. I wasn't so sure what was happening during this leksion, pero I learned a new way of how to teach people. Most peeps learn by the spirit and by their feelings of the spirit before and after the lessons. Others need to see the doctrines and to be convinced. Well I have learned nga Brother Ernesto is one who needs to see the doctrines in the scriptures to be convinced, which in return makes me feel kind of bad because this isn't true conversion. It is convincing with the words of men and not the spirit of God. We’ll see how this goes because I know that he has felt the spirit in our lessons and I know that HE knows our message is true. Maybe he just needs a bit longer to be prepared by the Lord.

So  I have realized is how much sense the Book of Mormon makes. When you follow the stories and the "who's who", the story line makes so much sense and makes it very difficult to believe that Joseph Smith "made it up". I have finished Alma now and am on the final home stretch to finishing the book again and I hope by the time I have finished studying it I can truly testify that Joseph Smith was called and ordained a prophet of God like all LDS members should. As I continue to teach and to share our beliefs they make so much sense to me.  It makes sense to me that God created all through His son Jesus Christ; that we are the children of a kind and loving Father in Heaven and he sent us here to be cut off from his presence so that we may choose for ourselves the master whom we will serve.  He wants to communicate with us and by doing so he calls and ordains prophets to teach us. When Jesus Christ came even His own PEOPLE rejected him and chose to follow Satanas. So God took his church from the earth until the world was ready again to receive his Gospel once more. And here we are! A prophet has been called and we have received another witness of Jesus Christ that has NOT been translated may times and tampered with – The Book of Mormon. Oh how much sense it makes when you study the belief -  when you get a Book of Mormon, a highlighter, and study the book! So far, I can testify that The Book of Mormon is true! That through a prophet we can know all the mysteries of God because He wants us to know! Families can be together forever and I will never settle for anything less.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect; the people are not. If you have any concerns regarding the actions of members just remember in the book Moses 1:39 "For behold this is MY work and MY glory- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (emphasis added). This is Christ's church. God's church not the bishops or your neighbors church but Christ's. His doctrine is perfect. Mans doctrine is not perfect. Study the words of Christ and those whom He appointed and you will be directed. I know this to be true and leave my testimony in sa ngalan ni Jesukristo, Amen.

I hope all goes well back at home! Take care ya'll! Amping!

-Elder Morris