Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Sunday, December 4, 2016

First Official Full Week as Zone Leader

November 30, 2016

My dad told me when I was in Argao (my 2nd area) that being a leader is a lot of babysitting. Yeah... I'll get to that in a moment.

Last turkey day I celebrated real well! I ate a 16 day old balot:)  That's the boiled duck fetus. Mmmm... duck fetus. I got a picture.

I won’t get into much detail about this, but one person in the zone has been using the cell phone to contact others outside of the Cebu Island. He used up ALL of their load on the phone so they cannot call or text. That is a real problem in the work especially when your companion is the district leader. So we get a call from their neighbors phone (the DL calls) and asks us to come over because there is a problem. At 4 p.m. we leave and by 11 p.m. we get home. A.Ps were involved and we even went to President’s office to sort this out. I just remember the A.P going up to the one bugoy person and saying "E., E., pack your bags you are going home!" The problems were rather quite huge, but like I said I won’t get into much detail. I got it in my journal:) He didn't end up going home that night but we did go on exchanges; me with the DL and Elder Espiritu with the other.

My day with the DL in his area was a day that I haven't ever had before. We left at 10 to get to an appointment and as we were walking we heard a guy calling us over. He was very adamant about it so we went over to his house. He pushed all of his furniture around to make room for us. He then sat us down. He sent his wife out to get stuff and she came back in with a litre of Coke and a ton of tinapay (bread). He then grabbed a mango the size of a coconut (like this thing was HUGE!) and cut it open for us and then fed us! It is common to get food and such from the people but not like this! He then told us his name, si Lee. He explained how he is named after the assassin of JFK. He has a brother named Stalin, another named Hitler and so forth! I honestly was like "This man is going to kill us both Americans!!!!" He then said how he has been bouncing around from religion to religion trying to find the correct one. So we took the opportunity to teach about ours and he was very in tune especially at the part about Joseph Smith. He was really good to be honest (not living up to his name!). I am not sure what became of him because he is not in my area but the lesson was fun!

We continued in the work until around 5:30. We were supposed to go to the church for a baptism. It was for a Child of Record, but we were still supposed to support. Well we are both one week in our new area so neither of us knew where their church was! Not to mention the DL doesn't have load on his phone so we couldn't call... I remember E. Espiritu telling me that their church can be seen from the big round about in Cebu and so we went there. It then started to down pour and we were running around that HUGE roundabout looking for the steeple of the church. We decided to stop and pray for God to give us a miracle i.e guide us to the church. Right when we started the prayer our companions called us! I was like WOW! Well Elder Murdock answered and then hung up cuz he didn't understand them... I was like "NO! YOU HUNG UP THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYER!!!!!!" So we ran around some more asking everyone we could if they knew where the Mormon church was until we stopped and prayed again. NO ONE knew where the church was. This time our answer came differently. I felt prompted to go down this one street and so we did. Got to the end of it and I felt prompted to go down another street and so we did. We got to the hospital. We kept asking everyone we could if they knew where the church was and still not one person knew. Well at the hospital we found a police (pulis) dude and asked him. He happened to be the only person who knew where it was! (Being guided to someone who knows the answer to our question was an answer to our prayers!). We jumped on a jeepney and went to the place they told us to go to. I saw the great white spire of the church and hooray! We were an hour late but still on time cuz those things don't start on time anyway.

Sunday we planned a baptism for this Saturday with one of the most golden investigators I have ever met! Brother Kenneth (Kent) is fantastic! He has a girlfriend fellow-shipper and his testimony about the restored gospel is exactly what it should be! He tells us how he feels that it is true. He feels that it is a hingpit (like whole, full, not missing anything) gospel. He was members of like 5 different churches but explained how this church has something that everyone else doesn't! He also went and saw Elder Cook last week so that ALWAYS helps (to see an apostle).

We also had a new L.A. come back to church. His last time at church was in 1993! His wife and child died last month and after being through the wringer this past month he decided to come back all on his own! No one knew about him but he just came by himself so that was a bit powerful!

Had a funny 2 FHEs. One we had a hair fight again haha! Maghairfight ta! We also had another FHE with a ton of mga bata, kids. At the end, one little 8 year old lost in the games so she had to do a talent. She chose to dance and then all of a sudden all these little 5/6/7 year olds started chanting "twerk it like Mylie!" and that little 8 year old girl started twerking it like Mylie Cyrus! I am not so sure where those little kids learned that but all of us older people were a bit... uneasy. She twerked real well too as if she had been practicing.

Other than that all is well. We saw a drug raid- left before the execution. Have been mocked by a ton of people this week too... My depression, for some reason though, has come back. I am not sure why but it just did. I almost always know the reasons for my depression but this week...inay.. I’m not sure. I am trying to be happier.

Christmas is coming up. I can't wait for that. Oh and I got mga package from home! THANKS MOM AND DAD and anyone else involved! All is well. I don't trust this place to plug in my camera but rest assured I do have lots of pictures. I have been going a bit picture crazy this past 4-5 weeks. I figure I can always buy more memory cards! I also have seen the huge blessing of writing my journal every day! EVERY DAY SO FAR! I can see how I was earlier in my mission and even now! I am grateful that my dad told me to do that! And also for sending me the camera in the MTC.

I am doing well, I hope you all are too! Love you all! Take care!
-Elder Morris

My Beginnings as a Zone Leader

November 23, 2016

What a crazy long week! So I said adieu to Elder Fernandez last Thursday (they grow up so fast! :' ) and I hit an early bus going to Lahug Cebu (that’s the temple here). I met Elder Espiritu, my new companion. We had to finish organizing transfers and such, making sure that everyone had their travel buddy (companion) and their luggage! We did find a big piece of luggage left at the terminal that we had to take to the temple; some elder forgot his suit case!

Friday was an interesting day. We had Bishop Waddel from the churches Presiding Bishopric, Elder Robbins and Elder Peirce from the 70s show up, all with their wives, to have a conference with all the missionaries. ALL of Cebu mission was there. That doesn’t happen btw! They spoke just briefly on “Teaching Repentance and Baptizing Converts” as well as “Begin with the End in Mind”. They then opened it up to a Q and A. Now I ALWAYS ask some sort of question or say an insight so of course I asked a question. My question really did quiet everyone in the chapel. After the conference a lot of people came up as commented to me about my question. One of the 70 (E. Peirce and even Sister McCurdy) even said some brief words such as "Oh so humbling!" and "Thank you for that!" etc. I asked "What advice do you have to give to someone who is overcoming depression?"

After my time on Siquijor, depression did hit, not hard but just enough to humble me. I overcome my depression by always working and serving. That was difficult to do on Siquijor. My thoughts as I reflect my past 1/2 year, 6 months, 1/4 my mission, last 26 weeks, whatever you want to call it are these:
* Siquijor is by far my favorite area
* Matthew 22:35-40 are some of my new favorite verses as I have been pondering lately (about the past month
* and... I miss it:'(

I did get word that sister Mae was confirmed last Sunday too!

Being a ZL is fun! Already heard of two problems in the zone haha. Had fun with a lot of meetings. Everyone looks up to you (literally and figuratively - haha). My comp has been sick lately though so we haven't been working as much this past week.

Other than that we are all fine! We have here some really good investigators. San Nicolas is very city and Central Zone (my new zone) is the most city out of any area! We have places from malls to squatters areas which are very dirty. I already get along with the members, and already have some new friends :D.

We are now devising a plan to present to the MLC. Lately the new mission implementations have just been "Raise the Bar" and that is NOT effective. The big problem with that is there is no plan on how to do that. So we are making a plan! Our focus will not be on just up the lessons and tracting but mainly focus on working with the stake and ward leaders to enforce the totality of this plan. I will email next week with how it goes and possibly what the plan is.

Other than that I am doing great! I am having a fun time here in San Nicolas (TONS OF PEOPLE AND BBQ). All is good. Love you all! See you soon:) :'(

-Elder Morris

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dali, Dali!

November 16, 2016

I am not sure how to introduce this email or where to start. This past week has been one of those "a lot has happened" weeks. I am in Dumaguete for a dentist thing for Elder Fernandez and so we missed a lot of our P-day. Tomorrow E. Fernandez returns with his follow-up trainer and I will continue on to Cebu City. In San Nicholas Cebu, Elder Morris was reassigned with his new comp being Elder Espiritu, Pinoy (filipino). I am a Zone Leader there. 

We had a totally fun transfer call last night. We set up candles on our stairs and a big tiki get up thing where we each cast votes as to who would be "voted off the island". I’ll send a pic. It was pretty epic! So yeah I am going back to the big city and will be a Zone Leader. It will probably be my 2nd to last area too. I am excited for this next transfer! 

 (Our voting game for the Siquijor Island survival!)

So, my mind is boggled by a miracle that happened yesterday (Tuesday). On Monday night we found out that our investigator, Mae, who I found my FIRST week on the island, isn’t moving to Dumaguete. I asked her if we could baptize her tomorrow and she said sure. So at 10 p.m. we called the Zone Leaders on THE OTHER ISLAND and they said sure to coming out to Siquijor. We had he interview at 8 A.M and I baptized her in the ocean at 2 P.M on the same day :DDDD. I would honestly write a lot more but due to time I need to be short and say that the girl who I found my first week, and the same one who I thought would actually be baptized WAS baptized on MY LAST DAY!!! After 6 months we had a baptism! Siquijor A hasn't had a baptism in 13 months and we finally broke the curse! I honestly feel super happy about that! I have baptized someone on all 3 Cebu mission islands!!! I am also happy for Mae, She is super cool and nice - haha! 

(Baptism with sister Mae :) 
Last night a farewell party was thrown for me. It was rather small, one family and Mae, but it was my first time to have a farewell party. The sister baked a cake and they all smeared it on my face! I woke this morning with loads of zits:/ but ok I still love them - haha! 

Hearing about America’s new president, eh IDK about that. There are positives and negatives to it. I am just glad to have spent all that time on a small 75 km circumference island - away from all the riots and evil! I wish the best for my friends and family back at home. 

Umm yeah, I have to be quick with this one so I will email next week! If I forget some other stuff at least I wrote it in my journal to share when I go home! 

-Elder Morris

Probably the Last Week of Mine on Siquijor

November 9, 2016

The work is still moving on. We have had some interesting experiences in the past week. We have cut down our investigators by more than half. We aren't teaching Juvy anymore:( We also had a really progressing investigator, si Allyssa, who we have been teaching for 2 months who texted us last Monday saying not to return to her, that she will stay with her family in the end. A few new investigators were put into "reserve" (dropped) and it just makes things a little more difficult but at the same time allows us to work out even further so we can spread the message to more peeps. 

Our main investigator right now is a sister Mae, I would send a pic but the computerhan won’t let me:( (computer-han: place of computers). She came to church for the 3rd time last Sunday, if she comes this Sunday then she is good for baptism! The only problem is she is not so sure if she will move to the next island over for school or not and she will find out this week... I really don’t want to lose my gators:( With Mae, at least, we can refer her to the Zone Leaders in Dumz to teach her.

We had a family who actually should be at the temple today to be sealed but something came up and they cancelled their sealing:( After 6 months of preparation and waiting for this week and... yeah. It is probably a big trial for them right now and I just pray that they can overcome this one. The last thing I want is for them to be insulted/offended or such like that. 

We had another death here in Laurena branch. In the past 10 months we have had 5 deaths, 4 Melchizedek Priesthood holders (that is really "ouch" for a branch!). We had the burial for the Tatay Tomogsoc last Saturday and dayon we caught word that a sweet old nanay Mary found her husband unresponsive. I am not sure what is happening here. Us missionaries think that it is Laurena Branch's "refiners fire" time; the time to really put the member’s faith to the test. Almost all members here are single - single as in widowed. Things haven't been easy for the church here but I can see a few shining stars emerging. The Branch President has been really hastening the work here and trying his best to help the branch. Also a few other members are starting to strengthen haha. We also found 2 new members in our area! After 6 months here and with one week left we find 2 new members. 

One is a sister I met when I first moved here. She told us she was moving to Cebu for work and did. As we were walking home last Monday from Allyssa telling us not to return, I stopped in front of her house and felt impressed to go and see if she was home. Well it turned out that she was home! Apparently after like 2-3 weeks in Cebu (last August) she quit her job and moved back! No one knew she was here and that impression I felt helped us to know that this sister was actually here for the past almost 3 months! She greeted us warmly and it only took like 2 questions for her to really open up with what is happening in her life. I will not share the details but I will say that the spirit really did lead us and push that impression to find her! I felt a little different when talking to her than most other people I've talked to. I see someone that is hurting inside much like I did before my mission. All I want to do is to give this lady a hug :'( 

The time is winding down. We have transfers next week. Like American elections, you don’t quite know what is going to happen - haha! I want to stay for the chance to baptize Mae and to help the new LA sister we found but I do want to experience new things in new parts of the mission, plus it is time for someone else to enjoy the island paradise of Siquijor - haha! 

I really have gotten close with a lot of peeps here. I have been taking a lot of pictures - haha! I have one memory card completely full with just Siquijor! It is going to be wierd haha but again I am kind of excited for the future! (Just watch that Hillary becomes president and I don't transfer! I'm calling it!) 

I have a lot of pics I want to send but not at this place so basin next week! I love you all at home! Take care!   #intheendeveryonewillacceptthemessage

-Elder Morris

And November!

November 2, 2016

Oh man this week was something else. I am sure there are times in everyone's missions where they are just ready to move on haha! That was me this past week. We haven't had great success with investigators this week as well as with most members. I will admit that I probably spent most of the week just more angry at the faithlessness of people than any other emotion haha. We seemed to have hit a brick wall in the work that makes the days hard to go through. 

About last Monday, I gave a workshop on charity. As we discussed charity this past District Meeting it made me see just what kind of an impact I am really having on the area. A grumpy missionary does no good. I focused on this the past 2 days and I kind of feel inside that a burden was lifted off in the end and that I just need relax and let the Lord guide this show and I am just the show monkey haha. I just need to be ready for when someone does chose to come unto Christ on their time and not my own. 

We have another death in the ward. A tatay Tumogsoc passed away Monday. Last Monday around 3 I felt impressed to go to the hospital to check up on Tatay. He had a fever the past week and has been in the hospital the whole time. When we got there we found out that tatay was discharged last Sunday night, the night before. So we continued on the day when at night time out housemates told me that tatay had died at home around 3 o' clock and no one knew till about 4. I find it a bit strange that at 3 I felt impressed to check up on him when in reality at 3 he had died. He was the 4th death in the past 10 months here in Laurena branch. All 4 were Melchizedek Priesthood holders. In a branch here in the Philippines you have a very small amount of Melchizedek Priesthood holders, so having 4 die within the past year makes things really difficult for the progression of the branch. There are only now about 6-7 Melchizedek holders on this island (other than the missionaries). 

It has been raining a ton lately! Like every day we just have sudden downpours! I took many videos of the downpours so that I can show you how insane they get here! And just random too! 

We had a couple fun activities with some of the members. I took a bunch of pictures but forgot to bring my camera to the internet shop! Sayang! 

Other than that we are still good haha! Still kicken. I am doing well; just been a bit humbled the past few days.

We met more Bible bashers. They are always fun. I try my best, like I really do, to not talk much, but after 12 years of hockey and 8 years of track, the competitive side of me likes the competition -haha. Anyone who talks to me and has a bone to pick with the church is like racing me in a 200m during my senior year of high school. Yeah, good luck! 

About 2 more weeks and then transfer calls. It will be very quick. My time here on this island will be very fast. The refiner’s fire is starting to cool off- haha, but no I do really love it here. Don’t get me wrong. 

I hope that all of you are still hanging in there! I love you all! If anyone wants a souvenir from Siquijor let me know! 

I would send pics but I left the camera at home! Love you all! 

-Elder Morris

Three to Go!

October 26, 2016

I have about 3 more weeks left on Siquijor; pretty fast if you ask me. These past 5 1/4 Months have been pretty insane haha! 

Our interviews with the mission president were pretty good. Nothing new. Nothing bad either haha!  

The main thing that w-  (OK I am going to make an intermission real quickly. While I typed that thing 4 hours ago we had a brown out where the power shuts off for unknown periods of time. This is typical. Sigi, balik ta!)

The main thing that I want to share with you is what happened last Friday. We had a great opportunity to go out to some far away place and teach. We got invited by a barangay (subdivision) leader to give a 2 hour presentation to about 200 people. They were students and their parents (and this was after school btw at the big b-ball court). The place took 2 hours to get to and was rather quite crazy to get to! We got to Lazi Siquijor on the other side of the island and had to walk about 7 km into the jungle to find this place called Po-o Lazi (I can see my dad making a joke out of the name...). We got lucky and hitched a ride with a construction worker to the place. 

These people sure were prepared for us! They had 2 rehearsed dances that they performed for us! The cooking students cooked food for us! And they were all sitting and waiting for us by the time we got there. It was pretty fun! We talked to them about stress management, spirituality as a student, good morals and values, and how to be a good student. It was a rather neat experience. I have a bunch of pics and videos of it! 

 (Me talking.)
 (The food!)
 (This is the dance group.)
 (Took a bunch of pictures with the people.)
(They gave us little pins as you see on Elder Badana.)

Going home at 5:30 we ran into a problem. There were no more vehicles at that hour and it started to rain. We were a good 15 km from our house and had a mountain to climb! We started trekking. As we neared a really rich house in the middle of nowhere the rain just down poured! Oh yeah I had no umbrella cuz mine got lost. So I said, "Alright time to be humble! I'm going to ask them to drive us down the mountain." As I walked over to the house this guy peered out the window and then invited us over. So we ended up getting a ride home! To be honest if we had walked we would have gotten home at around 11-12 at night so we were blessed with a ride! The Lord got us up that mountain and He sure did get us down! 

The rest of the week was simple. We had 1 person from my entire area make it to sacrament this week... No investigators which does mean that I will not baptize anyone here on Siquijor:( I did chastise a few people for that haha. 

 (There is the small town where our church is.)
 (Messing with sleeping people! She is a member btw...)
(This one is little Quinny Mae. She is a 12 y.o member and like the only youth in our area! )

Other than that we are still kicking! I did receive news that on November 18 we have a mission wide meeting. We have a special guest coming to speak to our mission! Si Elder Quinton L. Cook!!! Oh man I am excited to hear him and see him! I will try my best to take a selfie with him! He will be my second Apostle that I have seen in my life so I am excited! 

Other than that i am still good. I did hit the 24th again and this time it means that I am 16 months done (2/3) and have 8 to go:((((( Super fast.....:( 

Take care! Love you all! Vote wisely here in a few weeks! 

-Elder Morris

Sunday, October 23, 2016

And naa'y Zone Interviews

October 19, 2016

Hello from Dumaguetti. We were told that we have zone interviews today so we went to Dumz this morning. As in... woke at 4, barely made the boat. I'll admit that I threw up on the boat and have just finished my interview with the President. All is well haha.

This last week was actually pretty long. It felt like a whole transfer! Due to Elder Rice being out with Dengue, we had to make some interesting work calls. For half the day I would stay home and watch him and send out the 2 trainees to go and work. Elder Fernandez, my companion is fantastic and can work without me haha! Elder Rice's trainee is only a week in the mission so he is new. Any who, I had a lot of time in the house this last week and you want to know what I did the whole time? TBH slept! Being self motivated isn’t easy - haha. It is a lot easier to get stuff done when you have a plan.

We had ZTM last weekend. I missed it. Elder Rice couldn't make it so I thought it be best to send the two new trainees to the meeting and I would stay here with Elder Rice. So a whole day to do nothing! yeah....

Because we are in Dumz right now we couldn't go on any big adventure today:/ but the Senior Couple was here last night and we worked with them. They took us to a huge resort to eat lunch. I ordered a really expensive pizza that was the size of one of those freezer pizzas you give to your 5 year old. 

(The top pic is me at a resort and this one is ALL of the missionaries on Siquijor island plus the senior couple (the sister is taking the pic)). 

The investigators are still kicken - haha. Juvy and Jesselle are not where we hope they would be. Things are a little difficult with them right now. Mae is doing great! The only problem with her is that she is probably going to the Negros island for school next semester! That’s in 2 weeks... so we may just have to refer her to others to seal the deal with her. And Allyssa is doing great. She came to church last week! We are all still doing great. Our one and only RC just graduated last Monday. We now have no more recent converts in the area:/ 1 year dry ang Siquijor for baptisms.

All is well here. I hope that all of you are doing good back at home! I have about 1 month left on Siquijor before I will transfer. There is a very small chance that I won’t transfer but that’s like nothing so 1 month left! So fast haha!

I read two talks this last week that really inspired me. One is called "Accepting the Lord's Will and Timing" by David A. Bednar (found in Aug. 2016 Liahona). It talks about "Do we have the faith to not be healed from our problems/ sicknesses?" It really focuses on how the Lord's will will prevail and how we need to accept it because it is for our better. I recommend reading that story.

All is really good. Still hangin’ in there! Again, I hope all is well for y’all back at home! Amping!

-Elder Morris

General Conference Was Great!

October 12, 2016

The week was pretty simple as we spent the entire weekend over on the other island, Negros, so that we could watch General Conference. I felt like it was all counsel on enduring to the end. I can see that now that men’s hearts are failing them. All over here we have a lot of people just fall away. As far as member retention goes, it is a little difficult here. 

Our gators are doing great! I think. Allyssa is doing fine; she doesn't commit to baptism cuz she fears her father but we will keep praying and trying! Mae is still doing well. She has come to church two times and if she comes the next two times then she will be baptized here on the 5th! Hooray! Juvy and Jesselle are still trekking along. We are having an important lesson tonight with them which would probably help them decide once and for all (cross your fingers!).

One of the missionaries, Elder Rice, got Dengue. He is training a new missionary and because of this sickness he can't work so we have been switching out on who is working with Elder Rice's new comp. It’s been pretty busy and we aren't getting so high on our numbers of lessons and FTEs, but alas I hope that the sacrifices in the work will bring blessings! 

Not much really happened but I would like to share my favorite part from General Conference. President Thomas S. Monson gave a great talk in priesthood session. He shared a story of a man in WWII who had to evacuate off of a Filipino Island. He caught the last boat leaving the island and barely made it to the last big boat leaving the bay. A rope was thrown to him to climb up onto the big carrier and he had a big radio on his back. As he got 1/3 of the way there (and by now the boat was heading out to open sea) he started to lose his strength and was about to fall and perish in the ocean. He cried out "Father! I have been keeping the Word of Wisdom my whole life! I really need the blessings NOW!" As soon as he said this he felt a great serge of energy fill his body and thus he was able to climb up the rest of the way to the deck of the boat. 

I know that the blessings come when we most need it. We may not see the blessings of keeping the law of chastity of the Word of Wisdom right off the bat but they are ours when we keep them and when we most need them! I've learned from experience that this is true. Keeping these blessings helps you overcome the big problems! 

Any who, I hope you all are safe! My next week email will be short and quick for we have an activity next week. Take care! Love you all! 

-Elder Morris

And Transfers!

October 5, 2016

My sister batch is in their LAST TRANSFER!!! HOLY FAST!!!! I got my transfer call last night and this is the 2nd time in the past year and a half that nothing will be changing for me. It looks like I will be finishing Elder Fernandez's training (he is doing great BTW) and I will be doing 6 months on Siquijor Island (1/4 sa akong mission!). I really need to emphasize just how rare it is to be here and for as long as I will be here!

Last week was long haha! We have been averaging about 16-20 lessons every week since I’ve been on this island but last week we had 31 lessons! A huge amount of teaching haha! We have really been cracking down on about 4 people. We have a sister, Mae Sasi, which should be up for baptism on Nov.5! She came to church a second time with Juvy and his wife Jesselle. And if all is well the three of them could be good for the 5th. Another investigator, si Allyssa, is doing great! It is difficult getting her to church but other than that she is doing great!  We really need your prayers with these gators! Getting answers to their prayers is what is needed!

We have had some fun these past few days. It has been a huge fiesta here on Siquijor. Lechon baboy everywhere! That’s rotisserie pig btw. We had 3 houses we went to that just fed us dayon!! I felt fat after that!  

At one of the houses… oh man I just need to share this story! I felt a little molested by a drunk gay dude... We were walking up a huge hill (about a 2 hour walk) and we heard "Hey... MORMONS!" We looked up to this huge house and like 10 people were yelling at us "Hey come eat!!" Normally we don't but I looked at Elder Fernandez and said "Sigi, kaon ta! Alright, let’s eat!" We went up and apparently they just finished a birthday party but they brought ALL the food back out and fed us! I had never met them before and I didn’t even know their names but we feasted W-.-W. Well while we ate there was this 40 year old gay dude, a bayut as they are called here. (Lesbians are called Tomboys btw). Well he comes up behind me and puts his arms on my shoulders and shrieks cuz I am soaked in sweat! He then tried to take my shirt OFF me!!! He undoes my tie like really fast and I am trying to decline and not insult these people who are feeding me. He then takes my handkerchief and starts touching it into the neck of my shirt... I wasn’t sure what to do cuz I didn't want to insult these people but anyway he then had to go and I said, “Salamat brother!”  And he said, "Dili ko si Brother, Sister ko! DING!" (I'm not brother, I’m a sister DING!) It was a bit awkward!

Everything else seems to be same old same old. I do see a lot of hardened hearts all around, not just on Siquijor but even back in America. Sad to say, but true.

We should be having a great next week. We leave Friday night for Dumaguetti and return Sunday night. We will lose a lot of work here though:/ Oh well, it shall be good.

I love you all back at home, Take care!

-Elder Morris 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Last Full Week of the Transfer

September 28, 2016

It honestly doesn't feel like so but next week I shall have transfer calls. I don't expect any changes but who knows?

This past transfer has been the fastest thing ever! The work here is REALLY picking up! We had about 11 new gators and have narrowed them down quite a few BUT we have a new girl we are teaching, Allyssa, whose sister is on a mission right now. I am in contact with her sister begging her to persuade her younger sister, Allyssa, to listen to us - haha and it is working! The branch president works with us now (after 4 months I finally have members at our lessons!) and we are tackling our investigator Allyssa with about 3-4 lessons a week for the past 2 weeks. She is doing well and keep praying for her! She is so sweet and needs our prayers!

Juvy and Jesselle came to church again for the 5th time. I've never had a gator progress as much as they have and not be baptized! We are so close with them! They are good to go but some Word of Wisdom issues are holding them back. With luck, they could be good for a Nov. 5 baptism. We taught another college girl who came to church, someone who we have been teaching for 4 months but she wouldn’t progress. We dropped her and the next Sunday she came to church so we have returned to her and she accepted the Nov. 5 date. We are very excited for her! TBH I have a lot of hope for her.

We have a new teaching trick we are doing. We would average about 15-16 lessons a week for the past 16 or so weeks since I’ve been here. Well in the past 2 DAYS we are at 12 lessons because of what we are doing. To be honest our tactic is very bold and simple. Instead if asking if we could teach people when we approach them, we just go straight into teaching them. No joke! The very first OST we tried this with, Elder Fernandez walks right up to this tatay and asks "Hey tay, can we pray?" the tatay is confused and so the question is repeated 2 more times before he said yes and so we prayed right then and started right into teaching him the Plan of Salvation. He rejected of course the next lesson (it was expected btw) but at least we gave the Holy Ghost a bit more time to teach this old man. It states in Ch. 9 of the PMG to do so, so we are! It is working and I can see the fire in Elder Fernandez and me growing to share!

Another OST exp... We sat on the edge of a sidewalk, 10 feet drop to the river below, and we shouted the L1 to a group of construction workers while they were working. They DID say we can share before we did so we did! They paid attention and such, it was quite fun haha.

A few days ago I had a DLC in Lahug Cebu... the temple here! So I left at 7 a.m. on Thursday and got to Lahug at 9:30 p.m... yeah I don’t like to travel. On one of the boats, I OSTd a Buddhist guy. He was really nice and grew up in Vegas so we spoke English haha. As we discussed religion I came to see that Buddhism is really close to Mormonism sa pakkatinuod. A few points were brought up that were pretty impactful. The first and main point is the reason why this man left his religion sa una and became a Buddhist. It was because he would go to church, worship and then go home and see all the other people he worshiped with and how they would immediately return to their vices and unChristlike lives. He asked me why people don't live what they believe.  And I see that too! How often are we Mormons only on Sunday? I recall hearing an Apostle of the Lord saying that this religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, isn't just a religion but a life style. We should make sure that it is our lifestyle! My meeting was good. Nothing really big but finally learning how to do my job! after 10 weeks... yeah. \

All is well. I got a package from home which has athlete’s foot stuff! That stuff is really expensive here! I am so blessed to have parents who care about my foot conditions:) It also contained a lot of food. I have shared it with my Comp. and some members. Thanks mom and dad!

So far so good; still alive. I hope all is well with you all at home! Take care! Love ya'll!

CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND! I get it in 2 weeks btw. 

- Elder Morris

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


September 21, 2016

The last thing I remember is emailing you all last week! The weeks are going by very quickly, especially these past 3 weeks. They feel like a blur! I am glad to keep a journal for everyday of my misison so that I can remember what happened! The week started off interesting.

To be honest, I've been getting very frustrated with the work lately. We are just tracting all day. We don't have gators to teach and we are being punted from many lessons. Punted means that we get there but can't teach for some reason or another. I was in a bit of a funk this last Sunday. Just seeing how gahi the people are lately and the fact that we just can't get anywhere here in this area. But rest assured the Lord always waits until you are pushed to your limits before we receive help (2 Nephi 25:23). The past 2 days have been interesting in the gators perspective.

We spent a WHOLE day going to some far out place about 8 kilometers away, uphill. We trekked up there and followed up with one referral. We had a great first discussion with them and now have 2 new gators and a new area to go to and tract. We have an old investigator who we followed up with. Her sister is on a mission now and so I am like "I'ma baptize this one!" Her sister is a missionary right now so I feel she might be a huge help. Well we taught this girl at the church with the help of our branch president and 1:15 minutes later she was in tears and speechless. I have very high hopes for her! She lives very far away! Even further than the referral that took 3 hours to hike to her house BUT she goes to college in Laurena (right next door to the church) and is there Mon-Fri. so we teach her after class.

Overall, after yesterday and Monday, we now have a total of 11 gators. About 6 new ones just these past 2 days. We extended baptism to a ton of them and they all accepted it. Extending baptism is a great way to find if people will actually listen or if they are just being nice.

We met this one guy in Siquijor, Siquijor and taught him L1. We extended the 29th of Oct. to him and he was like “Sure!” We returned 3 days later on last Friday and he asked "what time on the 29th?" He then asked his mom if he can be baptized into "Mormons". He is like 36 BTW. This actually did cause a huge argument to break out.... Nanay just wanted her family to be unified in one religion because they all had a bad exp. in another religion earlier. Well... I will keep you updated with how this goes. Right after our lesson with that last guy we went to a bread shop to get some bread and the kid at the counter asks "are you 'Latter-Day Saints'?" We said yes and he responded "hmm I am looking for the truth right now, can you teach me?" He is an 18 year old and lives far but works in Siquijor. We shall see how he goes too!

We just had a lot of good FTEs and 1st lessons but this next week we shall see how things go!

To be honest, everything else has been same old, same old. My Zone Leaders came out to Siquijor last Monday. That was a first! They had to get special permission from the mission president to come out here but we had fun:) My comp., si Elder Butterworth, is a transfer behind me and a full year younger than me so it was a little odd but still fun talking and working with another American. We just seem to get the same kind of humor you know?
(This is my district and zone leaders this past Monday.)

All is well here. I head out to Lahug Cebu tomorrow. I have a DLC to be at and will be gone until Saturday because crossing three islands and traveling 99 miles takes over 10 hours. To travel 100 miles on the American freeway system takes an hour in no traffic...
All shall be well. I can send pictures here!! Prepare yourself!!

I love you all! Take care back at home!

-Elder Morris

Maayo ligi siya!

September 14, 2016

Another eventful past week. Yesterday I reached the end of writing in my first journal and am now on to book number two. I enjoy having these books that have a record of every single day since I entered the MTC. I just know that it will be a huge blessing in my life later on! I do encourage each missionary to keep a daily journal. It pays off once you start reading what you did last year and can still remember the memories:) I find that I am, however, the only missionary to actually write EVERY day. interesting de ba?

I mentioned earlier that a new favorite fish of mine is Marlin but I found out that the fish I ate was not marlin but called Kanyigi. I got another kilo of him and BBQ’d him last week:) He has truly fulfilled his purpose:) BTW the fishes head is bigger than my entire torso! He is a big guy! Coming in around 20-25 kilos, he is a good one! I also like this fish here called a milk fish. It tastes a bit like milk believe it or not.
(I have been eating some really big fishes lately. Tuna (dont really like tuna), Milk fish, Kanyigi etc. This is my big 2 kilo tuna.)

As far as the work goes, we are still trying to trek along. We don't have a definite teaching pool anymore. We are down to tracting and pushing lessons to random people.

Last Friday was the birthday of Elder Fernandez so we went to San Juan (a place really far away that I have never been to.) San Juan is where all the tourists go because it is full of nice beaches, resorts, resturaunts etc. We found a nice Italian restaurant to eat lunch at and I had 2 pizzas -- 145 pesos each (cheap BTW). I now have a hankering for Italian food. I bought a bottle of olive oil and have been frying garlic in it and dipping bread in it for the past week. Olive oil ain't cheap here but it is worth it:)

On Friday we also went to Dumaguetti for a ZTM. The meeting was simple, nothing too big.
 (Elder Fernandez and I on the boat.)

Other than that my week has been same old same old except it went by really quickly! All is well and I hope all of you back at home are doing good too!

I love you all!  BYE!

Elder Morris

Two Weeks of Training

September 7, 2016

So this week was a little stressful as well as miraculous in many ways. We did end up losing 6 of our 7 investigators right at the start of the week. We have spent the last 3 days going door to door and nothing more haha (it rhymed). Brother Juvy is still holding on! His wife is slowly losing interest but he still remains strong.

I managed to have my FIRST member present lesson while here on Siquijor with him. We don't have members in our area to work with us, not to mention the male presence in members is very small (some 5-6 priesthood holders to about 50-60 sisters). We had 2 ladies from the relief society show up and try to help the sister. We talked about the Priesthood to Juvy and he was ok until we told him that after he is baptized he will receive the Priesthood authority of God. This seemed to really spark a fire in him! I could tell that he began to be a little more excited! This was just one small miracle (having members help us!) out of the many that happened; free rides, revelation, receiving referrals from members (also a first for me here on the island), and to be honest... my safety this week was a bit of a miracle.

I have now made it very clear in my work that I will refrain from talking to ANYONE who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs for that matter. We had 2 close ones with drunk guys whose stories I'll share.

The first drunk guy: We got punted from our lesson last Saturday and remembered this huge group of people just down the road at a birthday party. We thought we could get a lot of FTEs there and share a bit. We got there and this big (he was really big) guy came up to me offering me a shot of beer, this happens a lot BTW. I declined and he persisted. I told him that it is a commandment from God that we should refrain from alcoholic drinks (and I saw another witness as to why). He then got MAD! Like, I'm trying to be as nice as I can but he got furious! He told me to get away and such. So I go and say bye to my other new friends and he starts counting to ten much like a parent to a disobedient child. When he hit 7 I got back to the road and he still continued to count.  I looked at him when he got to ten and he jumped up, grabbed his beer and stormed over to me. I honestly thought he was going to 1) dump the beer on me and 2) smash the bottle into my head. I turned my left shoulder to him and readied my right fist cuz if this guy was going to do anything to me I was going to put him down right then and there. He continued to yell at me and I just smiled at him and walked away. As I walked away he said "If I ever see your face again I will shoot you!"... all because I refused beer...

The second guy was WAY WORSE!!! Elder Fernandez and I were hiking up to Basac about 5 km from the main town of Laurena. We rested at our first rest stop and heard screaming. He sounded a LOT like The Water Boy. EEERRRRRR!!!!! We looked to this one house and this guy comes running out saying some very big words! He is screaming at his mother (EEEERRRRRR!). The guy looked to be about 35 and mama was about 60+. The guy chucked many rocks at his mom, missing all and nailing his house 10-15 times. His mom came out and confronted him on the road and he tried to club her with wooden sticks but this old nanay was FEARLESS!!! He then ran inside and grabbed his sundang (machete) and confronted mama again screaming how he was gonna... yeah well mama says "Sigi! Sigi! Sigi!" meaning "GO FOR IT!" he took many swings at mama and stopped each time right before he takes her head off! Nanay is standing there like this is just another day! He then screams like a possessed child (EEEEERRRRRR!) and rants and runs away! Mama then calls the police. We watched for about 15 minutes. Now, we missionaries are to refrain from entering into domestic abuse situations but I and Elder Fernandez were about to tackle the guy had he hit his mother. The guy was, obviously, drunk.

Amongst the drunks, and to be honest I did meet a ton of hard-hearted people this week and all the loss of investigators, I did see the Lord’s hand all the way through. I know I am safe because of the Lord. We found a girl who is actually very bright. She read all of the Pamphlet we gave her (which TBH is rare) and even spelled Melchizedek for us! She ASKED for the Basahon ni Mormon! Other miracles did happen this week that I very much want to share but I feel it would be better to share these things in person when I return home. Ask me what happened and I will be glad to share!

I finished reading the Book of Mormon again for the 5th time yesterday. I can say to you all as I did before that I know that NO man wrote that book. You may know a prophet by his fruits. I know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God.

This week was long haha! And this computer doesn’t let me send pictures, but rest assured I am still alive! I will hit my last 6 months when I am done training Elder Fernandez so PAS PAS (quick) is my mission going and PAS PAS will it come to an end. I love it here! I love serving too!

I promise I will take care! Take care ya'll! Love you all back at home!

-Elder Morris

Saturday, September 3, 2016

First Week of Training

August 31, 2016

Hmm it’s been rather interesting this past 2 weeks. So I ended my 3 months with Elder Artajo. We had a good run. No issues, no fights :) I got out of the house at 830 last Wednesday morning and rode (by myself too!) to the boat. It is bad for missionaries to be alone w/o a comp. but if you are transferring, etc. you can be alone so this was my second time being alone haha.

Got to Dumz where I found 30 min to email at this TERRIBLE internet cafe. I was only able to get out that little email before my 30 min ended. Just imagine 30 minutes to get the little one I sent last week. My patience was tested haha.

So I got to Lahug (temple) and stayed the night there. In the morning we had breakfast at the president’s house. There are about 12 trainers. I had fresh MILK for the first time in... probably since the MTC haha. I also had bacon! That is RARE here. We then had a 1 hour instruction by President McCurdy. We then went outside where the new missionaries were lined up facing the temple and we stood behind our new comps. They then turned around to meet us. It was awesome. So my new comp is si Elder Fernandez. He is 2 years RC and is from Bacolod (over on Negros island close to Toboso where I was literally the next island over haha! We can see his home island from ours!) He is awesome at scriptures! Very smart! He can also hold his own when bashers come (and yes we have met some already). He turns 20 next week.
(Me and my anak--my trainee--Elder Fernandez.)

For our gators, we are starting to thin the herd now. Brother Juvy is doing fantastic! He is one of the best investigators I have had so far! The only problem is his wife. She is not interested. I have a lot more on my mind I would like to say about that but feel like I shouldn't say. We found a new college student that we are teaching – si Brother Jorie. He is really interested so I hope that we can progress him!

When teaching brother Jorie we met a bible basher... He is actually the cousin of a previous basher I met haha. He took a 30 min tangent on grace. Then the Lord called him elsewhere (salamat) and we taught Jorie.

So far so good. Elder Fernandez is doing great! He is learning really fast too. BTW he speaks Illongo and Tagalog. He is better at English than Cebuano but is still really good at Cebuano. We get along.

Other than that it is same old same old here on Siquijor. It looks like I will be here for 1/4 of my mission and until December too. It shall be fun!

I love you all back at home!

(Ok I am struggling to get pics uploaded. It charges the camera but doesn’t connect to the computer... yeah it’s not working. Maybe I will just mail home the pictures.)

-Elder Morris


August 24, 2016

I have to be quick. I only have this 20 minutes to email! I got the transfer call yesterday night and caught a boat around 10 A.M. I am in Dumaguetti right now and in 15 minutes will be going to Lahug Cebu (Lahug is where the temple and mission home is). I will be there by tonight! And bright and early in the morning I will pick up my new companion and sail on back to Siquijor for another 3 months where I will train him. Not sure who he is but I will find out tomorrow! Hooray for 10 hour travel today and tomorrow!!!!

Siquijor is doing great. We have extended a ton of IBDs this past week. We had a zone conference with all of Negros Island and it was some very inspired messages from the pres and his wife! New implementations in the Siquijor work now hahaha! 

I bought a 2 kilo tuna fish and roasted it over the fire one night. #tuna4life

Really a lot of things happened but I don’t have any more time! I did get a photo with ALL of my companions in it!!! Not common BTW. Any who I got to go! 

(A pic of me with ALL of my companions before I trained. It is pretty rare to get all of them in one picture.)

Maybe more time next week! 

-Elder Morris

Last Full Week of the Transfer

August 17, 2016

It is that time again where I say "Next week we shall have transfer calls". I am still guessing that I will finally train! I haven't trained yet and all my batch has and all the Jr. batch and so forth but at the same time, less and less missionaries are coming in which means that there will be some people who won't train on their missions:/ Oh well. WE SHALL SEE!

So last week we had this activity at Salagdoong beach where we grilled some big fishes. I bought a huge hunk of Marlin and boy was he good!!! I wish I could eat more of it!! I shall try to buy more later. We grilled it like a steak and ate it with our bare hands! We also bought a huge squid head. The squid head is bigger than my own head! I haven’t eaten him yet but I got plans to!

Investigators are doing fine, none came to church though:/ We extended an IBD but haven't been able to teach her lately. We are also going to Dumaguetti City tonight for a mission conference tomorrow. I will get to see my trainer and follow-up trainer before they go home next week. I will also be able to see about 3 other of my companions there too! GROUP SELFIE!!

This week was rather simple as they are now becoming. There was a baptism here on Siquijor so we attended that. As the baptism was going on there was a family from Shanghai watching. We talked to them later and they were very excited to see a "Christian baptism" as they stated. It was interesting to talk to them and it gave me some new ideas about what I could do after my mission.

I've got a simple plan formulating in my head about after my mission. Return to school and start again for medical school. They offer scholarships for those who, after they finish their schooling, go and work in a rural area for 4-5 years, paid too. I think it might be fun to do something like that and work in China or something. YOLO!

We talked to a Blue Grass band on a jeepney. They started playing for us too haha. Went to several fiestas this week and ate a ton of food like rotisserie pig and such. I feel fat due to that haha... BTW I weighed myself 3 weeks or so ago and I was 163. I came into the mission a whopping 165. Still doing great!  Also writing in my journal everyday is starting to be fun as now I can read all that I wrote last year! PasPas kaayo!! very fast...

The week has been great! And before I send this I would like to share my scripture of the week found in 2nd Nephi 33:15 "...for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey." Sometimes people question why we follow certain rules and commandments, especially missionaries haha, but let us be like the seer of old, Nephi, and have enough faith to follow without question. It is the faithful who bring miracles into the lives of others.

Like I said, another simple week. I hope all of you are doing great back at home! Love you all!

-Elder Morris

Sunday, August 14, 2016

This Week

August 10, 2016

This week was rather a good week. The trials that hit last week are starting to alleviate a bit and we are finding success. I interviewed a girl for baptism this past week so the other companionship in Siquijor will be baptizing this Saturday.

As far as our gators go, we did end up dropping 2 people who weren't really doing anything but then extended an IBD to a Sister Mae for Sep 24. When we talked to Mae she told us how she did pray and she did receive an answer! That is the number one thing missionaries want! She is excited to continue to learn and boy am I excited for her! She is only 19 too so maybe a gold mine for referrals?!?

Juvy and his wife came to church last Sunday for time #3! They are still doing great but the one is still having W.O.W issues so slowly but surely!

We have found a couple new people who may have a great chance of progressing. TBH, 2 teenage girls from the local college and a part-member family we found last Monday. The part-member family is new and no one knew they were there! Soooooo....... GOLD MINE!! The father is the member and has a lot of family in the area and not to mention they live like 5 minutes from the church - right on the edge of the two areas here!!!

The work here is going great; a lot of seed planting but other than that we have high hopes! We have a family we are working with to get them sealed here in December. They are fantastic and could really use your prayers! Trials have been hitting them so hard! Family all of a sudden started arguing with them about Joseph Smith and the "Mormons" etc. We shared with them the first vision but we focused on the start of his prayer. Some of you may remember that as soon as Joseph started praying that Satan did everything he could to stop it. Elder Jeffery R. Holland points out that right before we do something so spectacular (sealing in temple, baptism, mission, etc) that the trials will come and they will be bitter. Satan will do everything he can to stop you! He wants you to NOT be happy. Let it be a witness unto you that when the trials come right before these huge spiritual events you are doing the right thing!

Elder Artajo and I are doing great. Still no issues (10 weeks!), two more weeks to go! The district is doing great.  My workshops are the bomb BTW.

We did have an unexpected death in the branch last Saturday. Laurena Branch has been a branch since January and the previous Group Leader is who died at age 46. He has a son two months into his mission too. It has been a very sensitive week for the branch here and especially for the missionaries! Dumaguetti Zone (my zone) has 7/21 missionaries that have served on Siquijor and they were very close to the Group Leader, si brother Solis. The scriptures 2 Nephi 9: 16-18 is some of the most amazing kasulatan ever because it teaches that death is swallowed up in the resurrection of Christ- or in simpler terms we ALL will be resurrected and not remain dead, that our loved ones will be with us!! Remember that always.

Now the last thing I would like to share is a huge revelation that hit me this morning. For all those RMs and missionaries out serving or preparing to serve, let this help you understand. We teach in lesson one the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It teaches first that God is our loving Heavenly Father and Jesus is the Savior of the world. Next is that the gospel will bless your family. Third is dispensations; about prophets, how they receive the priesthood and learn the gospel to teach it to the people, the people go through individual apostasy etc,. Then about the Saviors earthly ministry, the apostasy, Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, and lastly to pray to know. Sigi here is the revelation. Lesson 1 of the missionaries is outlined in 3rd Nephi almost exactly!! Ch 11. is about Jesus comes then testifies of the Father and that he is the Savior. The people then rejoice and cry in unison (Unity of the family through the gospel). He then calls Nephi (calls a prophet) gives him authority and teaches him how to baptize (authority and teaches him the gospel). He says that He does this because of disputations among you (apostasy). The next few chapters are from the Sermon on the Mount (Saviors earthly ministry). Earlier he taught about the apostasy as well as called a prophet so now we move onto 3 Nephi 24 (Malachi scriptures). He gives them NEW SCRIPTURE (new to them)! The Book of Mormon for us; Malachi scripture for them. He also teaches them how to pray and commands it. The people desire the Holy Ghost (or for us a witness from the Holy Ghost). So I thought this was pretty cool. The Master Teacher taught all of Lesson 1 before any latter-day missionary did! Well that's all I got on my mind right now!

Oh yeah! So this week marks my official 1 year in this country! Aug 8 is when I arrived in Manila. And Aug 12 is when I got to Cebu. It also marks my last few days as a teenager. I will no longer be 19 as of Friday. We had B-day cupcakes at District Meeting.

I've also been collecting spiders and cool bugs... just letting you all know.

( Look at this MONSTER!!!)

Well I love you all! We are about to go grill some Marlin fish! I hope you all have a great time! 

-Elder Morris