Called to Serve

Called to Serve

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Daily/Weekly Routine and Other Events

September 9, 2015

Maybe I should start this by sharing my daily/weekly routine… Every day, Elder Noprada and I buy three pieces of fried chicken from Sister Marzan (a ward member who is very nice and reminds me ALOT of Aunt Erin lol). We travel and teach with a member present and his name is July. He is very nice and has been a member for 2 months now.  Every P-day we give our laundry to these ward members who do it for us for 200 pesos. Every Sunday night we go to the Libre family’s house for FHE; they are considered "datu" (rich) because they have a nice house AND a car (not many peeps own a car). There we teach a lesson and receive brownies:) Makes Sundays a little more special:))) We do what we do to support the members in their businesses.

This last week was a long one...that went by fast - haha. I did the unthinkable....I ate balot (baloot)...The rotten duck-fetus thing still in an egg shell. Mine was 18 days old which is the oldest you normally buy them!

I received a love letter from a (crazy) lady on a bus! That was weird...

All the kids LOVE the American! Everywhere I go I hear "Hey Joe!" Joe is what Filipinos call white people and yes it is meant to be racist and insulting. Last fast Sunday, Noprada and I went to the ocean to pray at the start of our fast (because it is that close) and when I opened my eyes a huge swarm of kids were right in front of me! So we played some games and took some pics:)

The missionary work is going great! I am becoming better at my Cebuano and can understand just a little now as opposed to none earlier. The investigators are great. We teach a lot of less-actives. We started teaching this older man named Ernesto. He is Catholic (everyone here is Catholic btw) and he came to church the next day after we taught him. He didn’t come to church last Sunday so we went to his house on Tuesday and talked with him/ taught a lesson. We had a very good lesson and the spirit did touch his heart. He had told us that he hasn't received a witness yet and when I testified about Joseph Smith the spirit flooded the room and he was brought to a state of happiness that can only be described as conversion. He came up to me right before we left and thanked me personally. I felt really good that I was able to teach and testify by the spirit.

I also mentioned about another investigator named Gabriel. He just decided to come to church after we talked to him on the street. In the past 4 Sundays he has come 3 times and each time we teach him, after church, he is happy and WILLING to learn! He walks 3 hours one way to get to church and to me that is a person who actually wants to learn about religion— a dedicated investigator:)  If all goes well he is to be baptized at the end of this month.

I got Elder Noprada into Magic the Gathering. He asks me each P-day to play:) I am also asked each other day to cook some fried chicken because apparently I cook good fried chicken. Last Sunday we mixed it with BBQ sauce just like General Tso.. that one brand that Costco sells and it is good. Many times we are far from the house and we need to go home but there isn’t a bus... so we walk! We walked for about an hour last night, got maybe 2/5 of the way home before a bus saved us at 10 PM! We are requesting for bikes.

I killed a gigantic spider this morning. The thing was as big as my hand. After dousing it in pernephorin it ran into a corner and died:). Cockroaches are everywhere here btw. They fly and bite. They too are fun to douse in pernephorin! Lizards are still everywhere as well, more often than cockroaches. Elder Noprada doused one in the chemical and It FREAKED OUT! I felt bad for it. Dogs are more common than humans here. There are tons of the four legged friends and they are pretty casual with people. The people here don’t really like dogs so much.

My tummy still feels awkward. (Probably because he ate the balot egg!)

It rains a lot...

Things are great and I am loving it here! When we climb the MOUNTAINS (not hills) to teach, I can over look the many green hills and see the ocean in the back ground. It is exactly as President Gordon B. Hinckley states "controlled chaos". The driving is chaos yet no one crashes. The houses have no address yet everyone knows where everyone lives. The food here...wouldn't be held up to American standards yet we still eat it - haha. With all the interesting quirks of this land I still find it to be an interesting place to live and I can't wait for what is to happen in the upcoming weeks.

Email me with what is going on back home in Murica! I want to know if anything big is happening.

- Elder Morris

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Personal Testimony: Message 1

September 2, 2015

Today I would like to expound just a little on an old prophet whose name is Abinadi. We all know this man when he stood in front of King Noah and testified that King Noah was wicked and taught false doctrines. Abinadi called him and his priests out and didn’t hesitate to call them to repentance. In Mosiah 11: 20-25, we hear from Abinadi as he predicts the people will be placed in bondage. The king doesn't like this so he throws him in prison. Then in chapter 12, the priests of King Noah contend with Abinadi and try to batter him with scripture in which Abinadi defends himself quite well with the help of the spirit. In chapter 13 he begins to teach the 10 commandments. 

Now we all know that King Noah killed Abinadi and didn't accept the word of Christ but what stands out to me most is that twice did Abinadi prophecy of his own death. In Mosiah 13: 3 he states "...God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time." also in 13:9-10 "But I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved. But this much I tell you, what you do with me, after this, shall be as a type and a shadow of things which are to come." We see here that Abinadi knows that he will die by preaching and nontheless that he knows he will die by fire! He knows and taught that the wicked will suffer an endless torment of fire and he states that what happens to him will be a shadow of what is to come (fire to the unrepentant sinners). He knows he will die because of his why does he continue?

We learn in Mosiah 17: 2 why Abinadi taught the King and priests. Alma! Alma was a priest of King Noah and he believed on the words which Abinadi taught. It is through Alma that we have this story (Mosiah 17: 4). We all know Alma to be a great man and through him countless people were brought to the light of Christ. To my understanding, Abinadi didn't see what Alma did so he never got to see the fruits of his labors and sacrifice, but through him thousands if not tens of thousands (if not more) of people came unto Christ.

The point behind this is that we may not see the result of our works right away. We may never see our results at all! But this shouldn't stop us from doing our job. Every member a missionary! Bring others unto Christ through your example and as time passes you may convert people and SAVE THEIR SOULS! Study the story of Abinadi AND look at the fruit of his labor.

I know these things to be true and close this letter in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

-Elder Morris

Week 3 Down!

September 2, 2015

(It isn't as fabulous as Las Vegas but it will do!)

I have now been out for almost 3 months; in the Philippines for 4 weeks and Cebu for 3 weeks. So it rains a lot here... All of my clean pants and shoes are all muddy now. The rainy season is starting to pick up. If I could send you videos I totally would because we are hiking through jungle and muddy mud ALL. THE. TIME! I have also grown a new love for sugar cane. It is harvest season here for the sugar cane and so there is a lot of the stuff everywhere! You just reach down on the road, pick one up, and bite off the bark and wala! -  you got yourself a sweet road trip snack. 

So this week was great! Last Saturday I had the opportunity to baptize 12 year old Rezamia. She is a very sweet little girl and very receptive of our teachings. As I was leaving the font, Satan snuck up behind me and pushed me down! I tumbled to the earth in a big heap of... American. I whacked my shin on a door and that hurt... a lot! 

 (Elder Noprada and I with 12-year-old Rezamia)

The teaching is going great! I have been able to speak Cebuano very well lately and I have noticed that the harder I pray for help with the language the more loose my tongue is. I’ve had the chance to do splits with other missionaries and as I talk with the foreign missionaries I have come to learn just how hard it was for them all to serve a mission and the things that they went through to be here. We as first world missionaries are asked to pay for our own missions because a lot of the foreign missionaries come from poverty; they are in no way able to pay for themselves so the church provides for that. I have met loads of missionaries whose families disowned them because of their desire to serve. Almost all of the missionaries here have only one parent too due to death of a parent either before their mission or who died while they are on their mission. I have no idea what it is like to lose a close family member and I in no way want to lose one especially while on my mission so I commend those who have lost someone they love while on their mission and stayed. It takes a lot of faith to continue in your calling. 

I almost died too (at least I thought I might).  Elder Noprada and I sat on top of the motor cycle cabs they have here and the guy drove really fast over muddy roads and I was honestly scared that I was going to fall off and maim myself! My hand was stiff and pure white from clenching onto the roof of the vehicle for my life! 

(Yeah....looks fun with all the real danger and opportunity of DEATH!!) 

The bananas here are VERY SMALL! Smaller than my finger! They are sweeter here and are nice when you fry them in butter and sugar :) Tambok ako haha! (I’m fat). I’ve also had many times where we get to spend time with some members and have fun (as well as teaching them) PARTY-PARTY! 

 (Yeah, you probably though I was lying about the bananas!)

It has been a long and great week! I am enjoying my time here and I cannot wait for my future adventures and lessons learned! I wish the best for you all and good luck in all you do!

Love your Elder,

Elder Morris