Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Friday, February 19, 2016

Week Three of This Transfer

February 17, 2016  

Hmm… it has been an interesting week this week. So here in Argao we have lost all our investigators. We are spent tracting each day now. For our plan this week we are trying our best on member retention. We have planned more LA and member visits than anything else! We have been down to 1-2 lessons a day here due to being punted and or told to go away, but alas, we still haven't given up! We had a huge blessing the other day to testify to our dedication as we were guided and directed by the spirit in all that happened.

So 4:30 finally hit and we planned to go to this LA’s house. On our way to meet up with the three branch missionaries, we crossed the highway at one simple point in our walk and right then our branch mission leader popped up on his bike and talked to us. He told us how he wasn't able to come with us. He was our only male in the group of branch missionaries so we couldn’t go to the house (cuz there’s not a male there either). So we decided to talk to this one guy who is slowly apostatizing. On our way there we ran into another LA guy who told us that his wife just gave birth to their baby boy! We told him that we would go to the hospital to say hi. We continued on our way to this other member’s house and I will admit that he made me really mad! Three weeks ago he was a full active member, then after being fired from his job (he worked for a member) he has totally revolted from everything. I just got up and left that guy there and was pretty angry - haha. We decided to cancel that plan to the LAs house and go to the hospital. Along the way there we got called at by this one lady. As we went to her she was thanking us on how we were doing our part in making better for a better tomorrow in the Philippines (she expressed this phase many times). She spoke fluent English to me but was a bit cuckoo -  haha. After a long discussion, and Elder E. not being present cuz he was dying from laughter, I told her to continue on doing good. She then replied "Oh no, that is bad! Too much good will kill you!" The whole time we spoke she had this really cheery tone that a determined telemarketer has and it was probably the funniest FTE I’ve had! As we walked away, the anger left me as we reminisced the last 10 minutes with this buong. We got to the hospital and met the new one-day-old baby! He was so cute! The father, he being a LA, asked me to bless his baby boy on Sunday too!

While we were at the hospital, we met a lady who had just lost her baby. It was the third time this has happened too. The father and mother were very discouraged. We shared about the plan of salvation; how the children and even family members we lose here aren't eternally lost and that we can seal our families for time and all eternity. I cannot describe what happened in that nursing wing of the hospital but we were directed to that mother and father. Without losing our branch mission leader we probably wouldn't have figured out about the new baby. Without the funny random FTE I probably would have been in a bit more of a less spiritual mood going to the hospital. And without it all we wouldn't have been able to help two people trying to be parents through this hard time. It truly was a miracle that this happened!

We had a great stake conference here! A lot of great insight on the temple sealing and eternal families was shared. 

I had splits with my ZL yesterday and had a great, stress free day not working in Argao. Sometimes a break from tracting is nice!

Well kana, this has been the highlights of my week; everything else is normal. I'm still alive and hoping that all will be well with the members and work here!

I wish the best for you all at home! Take care, Love you!

-Elder Morris

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Making Progress

February 10, 2016

OK, a somewhat better week! Spent a lot of time tracting. We all know how fun that is! I actually got laughed at pretty hard for the first time too! Oh I love it:) knowing that prophesy is coming being fulfilled... good stuff! Sacrament ATD is still slowly decreasing but last week we had 4 of our investigators show up! I have only had one guy whom I've been teaching show up to church and that was only once in the past 2 months I've been here… and last week we had 4! 

We went to the Temple complex last Thursday for this world wide missionary broadcast given by the apostles of the church. They really emphasized teaching repentance and baptizing converts. We as missionaries don’t really spend a whole lot of our focus on teaching repenting (believe it or not lol) so it is good to know the structure of what we need to be focusing on. They also emphasized teaching part member families and less-actives - thus finding gators through them. So that is what I have been pushing this past week.  I know I'll most likely be transferred out next transfer so I am trying my best to make sure that Elder Estanislao has some people to baptize next transfer! 

One recent convert that started to come to church is a sister Janice. We have started going to her house and teaching this big crowd of people because she is the only member in this huge area! Not to mention, missionaries haven’t even been to her area cuz it is so far from the branch meeting house we have here. I figure that if she treks all the way out to church each Sunday and has kept her faith, then she deserves to have some visits. That group of people has really been receptive and I hope that all will go well! I then looked at a map last Sunday (after we had visited them 3 times) and found out that the area we have been going to is a whole different area. (Whoops! Been leaving my area w/o knowing! SSSHHHHH!!!!!) We have a lot of members that live outside of Argao area so we have to get special permission from the APs to visit them:/  I’m going to try to get permission to visit them multiple times a week.

I talked with sister Janice the other day about where her husband is (cuz I've never seen the guy). She said that after she got baptized he left her and took their two kids and left her pregnant (she’s due at the end of April). She tries to keep in contact with them but he is withholding the kids from her. I felt really sad for the price of her faith and then reassured her that Christ has promised her (and us) 100 fold of the things we have sacrificed for our faith in Him. As I thought of her the thought came to my mind when Jesus visited the Nephites and beheld their faith, He said "So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews;"(3 Nephi 19:35). She has sacrificed a lot for her Savior, Jesus Christ, and it made me think "What would I sacrifice for Him?  Will we show that same faith in Christ when trials come, when roads part and paths change?” Remember: Christ has promised you His wealth untold! He will reward us each and individually for our efforts and sacrifices. Sister Janice has the faith right now that is escaping a lot of the members here in Argao. It is tough for the missionary work but it is great to see such faith in Him! 
I got a nice package from home with a lot of American goodies! It came with a big pack of Skittles, which, by-the-way, are worth their weight in gold here. And I also a new red necktie as seen in the picture below. It made me all nostalgic to see such great American treats in such abundance! I am trying my best not to hork them all down at once! Got to savor it! 

I popped a rib out of place...

-Elder Morris

Thursday, February 4, 2016

New Transfer!

February 3, 2016

So I did get a new companion, Si Elder Estanislao. He is a pinoy (Filipino) from Manila. He is 23, 6' 0" and entered the Manila MTC the same time I entered the Provo MTC, so he is technically my senior batch but we will be going home at the same time. He is very nice. His English isn’t so good so my Cebuano has really been pushed, and isn’t as lazy as some of my past companions - haha. 

As I have looked through the emails I have received I was quite impressed as to how many people wished/ hoped that I'd have a good week but alas not so much. We haven’t taught ANY of our investigators this past 10 days; not one! They are either not at their house or are "busy". So we have been tracting for the past 10 days.... The branch here is slowly starting to minimize as we went from 50 ATD to 39 ATD in a few weeks. My less active family that began to start to come to church again moved away! A few ward members are getting in scuffles and we all know that never ends well… And, my bike died on me last week so we have been walking everywhere!

Depression had an onset this past week and I admit I have been more quiet and less "smiley" this week. It has been a very long week for me, and other than that there isn’t much else to report on.

There was this one OST (on the spot teaching) we had in which after I had recited the first vision the young man took a deep gasp with a slow exhale as he said under his breath "woah". HAHA NINDOT! Spirit flood! 

We are also going to the Cebu Temple complex tomorrow to watch the Missionary broadcast. It should be good. The temple is closed though so no session:/. 

Simple lang! I wish all the best for you guys back at home, Have fun with all the snow!! 

(I was walking in the dark and heard a scuffling. I saw some eyes gleaming in the dark and as I shined a light I saw this little guy staring at me! He’s happy.)
Take care ya'll!

-Elder Morris

End of the Transfer

January 27, 2016

So after waiting 2 1/2 hours... we finally got our transfer calls last night. Just as I predicted, Elder Adap got transferred to Old Escelante in Escelante Zone (the place where I am from!) and I am staying in Argao as senior companion in just a normal companionship – my first normal companionship without any training or followup training or MTC. My new companion is a guy named Elder Estanislao, Ive met him before and I believe he is my senior batch. Should be fun! 

This week was fun haha. We had a zone activity last Wednesday at this small little beach resort. We are not allowed to go swimming so we pretty much hung out in this little bamboo bungalow thing. We lost the basketball in the ocean so...yeah... 

Lost more investigators too this week but when we lost some gators we ended up finding new families! I sure hope all goes well with them! 

We went to a new barangi (more like subdivision or neighborhood) and we pretty much went house to house and cleaned it out. Finishing that day with 12 lessons! PATAY! it was a great day! 

Elder Adap got a bad headache yesterday from us being in the rain on Monday. He was sick so we didn’t work yesterday. Just laid in bed, read, ate manok (chicken), and yeah... 

My week has been pretty simple and fun! I hope all is well with you all back at home! 

-Elder Morris
(Me and Elder Adap)

An Eventful Week

January 20, 2016

Oh where to even begin! Lets start here:
We lost our IBD and two "progressing" investigators. We also lost also 2 of our new investigators gihapon. ALL IN ONE WEEK! It kind of hurt but right before it all happened I reread my copy of "The Rhiccardi Letter". It gave me inspiration on what to do when people tell you that they don’t want the Church of Jesus Christ. 

Elder Rhiccardi would stop all he was doing (once told they don’t want the missionaries), thank them, then ask them to invite the future missionaries over when they come. He then explained how he now had more time to focus on those who are actually willing to accept the message of the restored gospel instead of wasting time with those who are not progressing. I hate using the phrase "wasting time with those not progressing" but it is true! We only have two years to serve a mission and it needs to be spent finding, teaching, and baptizing. 

Other than the saddening moments we were walking on the street and heard a little psst. We walked to the source to find a sister, her mother, her husband all sitting there and the first thing they said was where is our church because they wanted to go! The other night, sister happily accepted a baptismal date!  So I have learned even after all this finding and losing we will eventually come across the one who is actually ready. Let’s see how this goes! 

Some funny-ish story (or funny to me):One of the new investigators we lost was what I call a Bakakon! (I will later give the translation). We FTEd her at her house and she happily accepted a return appointment. We showed up at the time planned and she wasn’t there. Did this 3 times and still nothing. Well we decided to give it one last chance. We went to her house and saw her and all her family just chillin’ outside. As we approached, all the males got up and walked inside and sister said to us "Oh there are no boys here! They are all gone! (We can’t teach a girl without a boy our age there) "I am also very busy all the Sundays!" She kind of had an annoyance in her voice too. So this brings me to the translation of the word Bakakon. It means Liar.  I started reading the Book of Mormon again on Dec. 12 and finished last Jan 15. As my questions do come up I can at least find answers to them as well as peace. I do know that the Book of Mormon is true; I do know it to be the word of God. As we actually study the book and understand what is going on the book makes so much sense with what’s in the Bible. It frustrates me though how people won’t even read the Book of Mormon to know and receive answers. It also bugs me how people see the church based on the members. The church should be judged on the doctrines and not the people. The doctrine is perfect, the people are not. 

I had a quite fun spiritual moment the last weekend. I had finished work and for the last 30 min or so of the day I wanted to sing hymns and feel the spirit in great abundance. After about 20 min I was still feeling pretty bland... wasn't sure why. So I knelt in prayer and after a long time of conversing and asking for help and such I received a prompting to relate a message to my mission president. The next afternoon I decided to act on what I felt and gave him a call. As we talked (he not being aware of the real reason of why I was talking to him) and discussed what I had said to him a feeling of peace came over me and I felt that the spirit began to flood me as I had wanted the night before. I learned that day that I had received the spirit not because of the things president said to me but because I had listened to and followed the impression in which I had received. Even though it was a simple thing as relating a message that had nothing to do with what was going on in my life or mission it still was what was asked of me and through obedience I got what I had been searching for the night before, the flooding of the spirit.  

Thank you all for the emails. The small simple things of encouragement really do help! I love hearing from my peeps back home! I wish all of you to be safe in your endeavors! Next week will be transfers so I will know if I sill stay here, receive a new companion, or a different assignment. Should be fun! 

Take care ya'll! 

-Elder Morris

Buhing Ko!

January 13, 2016

The week started with a great FHT at an LA's house. He later then came to church which is great! One of our investigators came to church too! But yesterday he told us he doesn’t want our message anymore :/. 

On Sunday we went to Talisy which is 2 hours away from Argao. We had a one hour long General Broadcast session and then we went home. We didn’t end up proselyting that day but at least had a good spiritual uplifting.

I went on splits with my zone leader on Monday and had a really great day. Lately I haven’t been doing so great and this day was like a break from stress haha. I almost became a father after a lady tried to give me her baby…that was fun! The little thing was 8 weeks and freakin' cute! But alas, I aint a child napper. 

Had a fun night yesterday where E.A and I had an inventory- thing. I had many things on my mind to discuss due to the course of the day but as we began... not sure how I did it but I learned that correcting with love is a way better way than with pride - haha! We just had a good discussion and ended up on good terms in the end. 

No huge news to report I suppose, but that things are going by quickly and happily. 

I wish the best for you all back at home! Stay safe and I promise that I will too.

Amping moha! 

-Elder Morris

And Halfway Through This Transfer!

January 6, 2016

Like always, another long week! Started out last Wednesday with a visit to a less active family who hasn't been to church in 7 months! The father is also the 2nd counselor here. Well after a great lesson about Jesus' appearance to the Nephites, we committed him and his family to go to church and sure enough they showed up! I am seeing a new light in this family from our visits and I sure hope that they are able to come back! 

We gave out a good amount of blessings to peeps this week. One was to this little baby girl running a fever of 41 Celsius (nearly 106)! This made an impression on me when I saw her. I feel so bad when little babies get sick! They can’t talk or even tell us what’s wrong to understand what to do to feel better. I also hope that she will get better.

So the teaching pool here has gone up 3 families! FREAK! Walking around FTEing for two weeks is starting to pay off! Nonetheless, the families we have found are much like the families in Toboso. They are great and hopefully will progress well! We committed one to baptism yesterday night so that was good! 

Went to a family’s b-day and received cake and such. Took one bite and was like "COFFEE! NNNNUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!" This family is a more poor family and they had this very expensive cake so I turned to Elder Adap and say "The Lord will forgive you!" Yeah still not sure where to go with that one but at least we didn't insult the members. 

So Thursday night we went to a city called Carcar. We had our New Year’s party there. We watched two movies -  1) MegaMind and 2) Inside Out. I really liked that Inside Out movie. It wasn't the usual/typical Disney thing. I thought it was good. Well I figured out why we don't normally watch movies. They really throw you out of the missionary mode. No one had good stats at the end of the week and I blame the worldly entertainment - haha. 

We went on splits Monday and then Elder was sick on Tuesday so we spent most of the day at the apartment. I am almost done with Alma in my Book of Mormon reading again. It’s only been about 3 weeks and I plan to be finished by the end of this transfer (Jan 28). It’s been hot here and I wish for the snow! It really didn’t feel like the holidays! It’s just been hot and hot and hot... so on so forth. 

A lot better of a week this week. I wish it stays like this! 

I wish the best for you all back at home! Love you all!!

Amping moha!    
-Elder Morris