Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Weekly Update

March 30, 2016

Like always this has been a long but fast week. Idk what happened to all my money but I ran out last week so I've been running on fumes this past week - haha and don’t get to withdraw until Friday... Pastilan I guess I need to better budget my money.  Nothing big (as in falling in the sewer or damaging a car) happened this week. We did go to the Cebu Temple and took some of our gators there to show them around. We didn’t go inside due to the nonmembers but we showed them around and such. While at the temple something fun happened. I saw one of my friends from the MTC there! I have a batch of about 17 missionaries and only 3 of us came to Cebu. (I've only seen one of those 3 since we were assigned trainers). Everyone else (save one) went to the Cebu east mission, the other one went to Tacloban. Well I saw one of my batch mates from the MTC there so that's always fun!  
(Me and the 2 sisters: the one in blue is my batch mate.)

We went back to my friends at the dump to find out that one of the guys we are teaching got arrested! He apparently had drugs and was caught. I guess I know what we are teaching him when he gets out! My other friends at the dump side are ok. One of our recent convert families moved to another place just randomly. I feel it is because the husband is trying to run away from the church (or keep his wife from going). She wouldn’t come to the temple with us because her bana would beat her up... pastilan I hate that! It was always difficult to teach there too due to brother not liking the church. I guess at times like these you just have to give it to the Lord. He knows how to direct His work and shall do all things for good. The people at the dump actually live in the trashy parts and scavenge through the trash for the things that they use to make stuff to sell. The kids all have dirty little faces too:). 

(This is the family that the sister is the RC and ended up moving to Talisay (for reasons unknown...). she has 7 kids.)

So this just in!! My companions chair JUST GAVE IN! All 4 legs ripped out from under him and he fell to the ground. He's broken 3 chairs at home and now this one hahaha! He just laughs it off. 

Hmm... I can’t really think a whole lot about anything else to share.... If I do I’ll either send another email or wait till next week! 

 (I found a zebra so schempre I had to take a pic on it! )

(Four of these chilldren are RCs here (as in baptized last month). They are awesome! They know all the scriptures and the stories, and love to play games.) 

Amping moha!
-Elder Morris

2nd Week Down

March 23, 2016

Well this week was rather quite quick. I would like to start with the funniest thing that’s happened this week and possibly my mission.

So we were walking down this rather narrow path to get to some gators house and all of a sudden a motor cycle decides it wants to pass us on this path meant for one person. On our left is a brick wall and the right is this river of sewage. As I barely squeeze to the wall, Elder Beretara tries to get as close to this open hole in a corner to let to motor pass by. He took one small step back and I watched his HUGE body fit perfectly into this small hole as he fell into the SEWER!!!! GAH EEEEEWWWWW!!!!!!! He scraped his arm and LOST OUR PHONE!  His scriptures were fine though :) He ripped his shirt and had ...brown stains... on his clothing... We went home dayon! so that he could get cleaned up. He cried like a baby too when I tried to get alcohol on his scrape... After barely touching it with the cloth he would utterly refuse it. Yesterday,  I watched this EVIL dog bite the fingers of this little kid. He took it like a man when I cleaned his small cuts with alcohol. 

 (His battle wounds)

(Elder entered this whole to fall into the sewer... EEEWWWW!!!!!)

So the little children love me! I am like a jungle gym to them too. They are always grabbing onto my arms either swinging on them or asking to be lifted up. I love them so much and they are probably my favorite part of this whole mission! With their dirty little faces they are so adorable and I wish I could hug them:/ We can’t hug them.

Went on splits with my DL and worked in our big city here of Talisay (because Pardo isn’t big enough!). Worked there and had a great time! Kind of a break too haha!! (Not a break from working but a break from not working.) It is difficult to get some people to have a true desire to serve and so it ends up affecting you. When I am not working my depression come back. I get more annoyed, patiences goes down, I get slightly more angry too. I don’t like this so I am always trying to be out and working (cuz working for us is really serving).  Well with this whole transfer we have been out of the house 2-3 hours late every day, not really trying to find people or new gators... it’s really frustrating and depression the comes back. Well I was reminded of a talk by David A. Bednar called the Character of Christ. In summary he talks about how people in their worst of times turned outward to serve others and due to this the pain goes away. This is how I've managed 9 months (WOW 9 MONTHS!!) by always serving, so I HATE IT when I am not working (serving). It just brings back the loneliness and depression. A lot of people’s "walls" go down when all you try to do is help them. This one exp we helped this mentally disabled tatay carry his big water buckets to his house and ended up teaching his older sister. She seemed slightly interested kay all we tried to do was help them. Good lesson and blessing that came from trying to serve! 

Ah... simple week. The happiness is slowly coming back and hopefully I will be able to learn to serve even those who are bugging me hahahahahaha! JK I love them all:3

I wish the best for you all! I totally had some awesome pics but the internet shop here won’t let me plug in my camera. Oh well. Sa sunod lang! 

My cebuano is getting good too. Maybe next week Ill email sa bisiya lang! 

Amping moha! 

-Elder Morris

First Week in the New Area

March 16, 2016

Oh my, this has been a very eventful week so far! I love my new area so much! So previously this area was a sister’s area so of course we have a TON of people to visit and a TON of investigators! A lot of peeps are ready for baptism too so it looks like this transfer we will be harvesting! Planting in Argao and harvesting in Pardo! 

Our neighbors are Indians from India. They play the Hindu music all... the... time... It is rather quite funny actually-haha! They have a shih-tzu sa gawas (outside) and this big dog too (idk the breed). The little one loves us but the big one hates us! They always cook, and to not be offensive to my Indian friends out there.... it smells really bad!!! 

The first night we were here we didn’t have our beds, tables, and area book so we kind of had to wing it- haha. We slept on the floor the first night. Once we got our area book and a few members to kuyog with us, we met a lot of other peeps and me and my new companion, si Elder Beretara, have got this area down now. 

Here in the area we have this one road called White Road. White Road isn’t white. It IS literally the dump here in this area. Even Canada exports their trash here too. We have a lot of families that we teach here in the White Road dump side. They are all fantastic! Simple sila and they love us Elders. We have this long road we have to trek to get to the dump side and so we sakay (like... ride sort of) this pedi-cab. A pedi-cab is where you have a bike and a side wagon and you pay the biker to peddle you to where you want to go. Well being that I am a 170 lb dude and my companion is (not kidding) 300 lbs and we have this 50 year old 100 pound tatay biking us, I decided to have him and my companion in the wagon and I bike. I always get the most funny looks and hoots haha! 

Last Monday I almost died.... I was driving this pedi-cab home at like 9 pm and I had to overtake this parked car. Well, right as I went to overtake it, another car came up from my left and me trying not to get hit or hit anything took it a little too close to the parked car. I scraped the crap out of the side. Well, turned out that the car I hit was a 15 day old 2016 Suzuki!  The owner was furious at first but I was like "Dude I'll get everything! This was my fault and we will take care of it!"  thinking I would have to add onto the already large bill I owe my parents (kay I would ask them for the money to fix it :D). The next day, being yesterday, we went to the car dealership, which conveniently is in our area! It was 5 minutes away and minimum fare on the jeepneys to get an estimate and they just decided to fix it right then and there. The best part is they didn’t charge us a thing!!! I was like "Pastilan! basin 10,000 pisos sa repair!" but no. I swear through the grace of our Lord I was spared from having to pay a huge amount to fix my damage.  All I wanted to do was not kill the tatays from driving us around everywhere so I guess it must have been good karma coming my way :)

(Here is part of the car I dinged. The scrape was on the whole side of the car btw)

Last night I was walking back in this pitch black alley way and I all of a sudden sunk deep to my right knee in this tiny stream of black sludge that runs by. My shoe filled with human.... yeah and all sorts of other stuff. Oh it was so disgusting! 

This morning we got to transfer all of our stuff to the sister’s old apartment. They figured that if we were the only ones here we should at least have the nicer house! So we spent all morning taking down the beds, desks, packing, and moving everything to the sister’s old house. It smells like a flower in there...

We got invited by this member to this dinner they were having. Well it turned out they had this huge party set up with clothed tables and catering and about 60-70 people there. It was this Nay's birthday. It was the first time in 9 months (not counting the MTC) in which I actually ate beef! Like legit beef, not the corned beef they have here. It made my heart happy once more:). 

(Our fancy dinner with beef!)

It’s been interesting so far. With great kabalay (house mates) things have been great here in opening this place. I admit it is going a bit slower that I want it to due to me not being the senior but that is ok.

A scripture that has been meaningful to me this past week is D&C 1:38. The part that reads "...whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants it is the same." I now phrase it as "...whether by mine own voice or the voice of my fellow servants it is the same." All missionaries have their own teaching style and methods, their own thoughts and impressions. We all know that revelation is subjective and is interpreted individually gihapon. As much as I want to do things my way (for I have found that it works) it only creates arguments. I do have my thoughts and ideas of how to take this new assignment but alas my plan doesn’t get executed kay I cannot make others do what I want (as in get up on time, leave the house on time, teach how I feel things should be taught and handled, etc) so whether by mine own voice or the voice of my fellow servants it is the same! Maybe there is something there to learn. Who knows yet? 

All I do know is that this assignment is a blessing! Went from 3 months of not even 1 progressing investigator to this place that has so many people to visit we are fumbling around with what to do! It is great here and I love it so much! 

It is also VERY city here; my most city area so far and far bigger than my past individual zones meeting area (as in Escelante and Carcar). My favorite place so far is the White Road. You just can't help but love those there living in the actual dump itself - haha! The kids are so cute with their dirty faces and missing teeth:) The people are also very simple and simple is good!  
(One of the families on White Road. They have 7 children so 9 members in the family. Mama is the only member of the church being that she is 3 months a member.)

So far I'm loving it here in this new area, I hope to make it my favorite so far! I hope you all are doing great! I wish the best for you all!

The following picture is of White Road. You may think it just ends there but no! It goes on for about 2-3 kilometers in every direction! 

 (White Road)

(Elder Beretara sa White Road)

Amping moha! -Elder Morris

Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Last Day in Argao

March 9, 2016

It has been a long (but really fast) past 6 weeks and 3 months here in Argao! As hinted, I will be transferring out of Argao tomorrow.

Two weeks ago, while in the temple in Cebu, I received a bit of revelation that this next assignment will be the hardest of my mission. I am assigned as a Jr. companion with Elder Beretara. He is an Islander from a very small island in the Pacific. We are assigned to the Pardo C area, and we will be OPENING this area. Opening - as in there hasn't been missionaries assigned there for several months to even a year. So neither of us knows anything about this place and we are now going to be the pioneer missionaries in this place! Looks like my tracting skills that I've honed here in Argao will be put to the real test! Pardo is in the Talisay zone which is the zone right above Carcar (in which I am at). So not too far of a travel and I get to see my old branch at the General Conference this April because we are all in the Talisay stake. 

I’m gonna miss Argao. Things just got a little more fun as two families asked me to baptize their two little 8 year olds and one family asked me to bless their baby in Sacrament meeting. I wish I could have stayed for those but I guess maybe someone else needs the blessings of performing those sacred ordinances. I was just starting to get close to the peeps too:/ Oh well KITA TA SA LANGIT! (literal translation: See us (all of us) the, in, at heaven).

This week was an emotional roller coaster.....

Last Wednesday we went to this Mama Mary's Castle in Sibonga. It is this huge monastery built by the Catholic monks (I didn’t even know Catholicism had monks!). I will admit that I was a bit irreverent in my hushed words spoken. As we all left I realized just how stupid I was acting earlier. I had come to realize that those of other religions are doing what they think is the right thing just as we are and we all need to respect that. The castle was pretty cool. It was HUGE and looked like a gigantic fortress. I took pics but on my other SD card.

This past Sunday was probably the most spiritual Sunday I've probably ever had! As I was playing the prelude music sa piano (and yes I am doing that now) this little girl came up to me and I was like "PASTILAN! You and your family are here!" This little girl’s inactive family came to church for the first time in nearly a year! We also had our less active sister, Sister Sycon, come to church too! She came to have her new baby boy blessed but sadly they forgot that part in the program. At least she came! And has plans to come back next month to have her baby blessed then. We also had a third less active family come too! First time in 2 months they came. With these three inactive to very less active families coming to church on my last Sunday here, it made it very special to me and the spirit was very strong and abundant during the fast and testimony meeting as my member friends went up and bore their testimonies. This was the first Sunday I've had in Argao where the sacrament ATD didn’t fall lower but actually went up about 10 people! We started with about 50 ATD and each week we lose either one or two peeps until now, but last Sunday we had 45 so fantastic!

(This is my LA family who had their new baby. I am not quite sure what Jessymae is doing - the little girl to the left).

Last night, while at this inactive families house, the ones who came to church for the first time last Sunday, we all said goodbyes and such. The chillens were all hiding their tears as we all said bye and they gave me little good bye cards they had made earlier. AW I LOVE YOU GUYS! I am going to miss that family! The spirit wasn't there my first visit but slowly, slowly the family had a different light come to them until they are all bubbly with the missionaries and we are all good friends and they have come back to church. 

(The pic is of me and the inactive family that came back to church last week. Love them! )

Last Sunday I had a huge scare. I reached into my bag to grab my camera and wala! It wasn’t there! My wallet also was not there and I panicked. After running back to a previous appointment and then to others we didn’t find it. I was like "dang, someone pick-pocketed me!" We got back to the house and yeah... found them there. I swear, though, that I had brought those things with me. I never forget those. I am just glad to have found my stuff and all my memories (in the form of pictures). In the midst of my frantic panic I remembered a story about the Lord. John the Baptist got beheaded and the apostles told Jesus. Now John and Jesus were probably very close being that they were family first and that one was the prophet and the other was the Savior of the world. Well in the midst of the pain of our Lord for His friend what does He do? He heals the peeps in the multitude that followed Him and then fed the 5000! When His friend was just killed He turned to others. I learned this lesson in the MTC but I cannot believe that I had forgotten it! In my small predicament I should have stayed and taught just like the Savior would have. All would have been fine in the end too. I guess lessons learned- hehe.

Good week I guess and I am excited for my new assignment! Got a lot of packing to do today as well... fun.

 (I found a little friend who can do it too!!!! )

 (It has a golden butt!)

 (Cannot forget the Temple in Cebu!)

-Elder Morris

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Last Week in This Transfer

March 2, 2016

To start this off, about 5 minutes ago I was just informed that Tatay Ernesto, back in Toboso, has died. He was referred to me and to Elder Noprada by his sister. We began teaching him and about two weeks into it he decided that he didn't want the church. After inviting him one last time to pray we returned to him two days later. He said that he did receive an answer and would like us to continue to teach him. I baptized him on December 5, 2015. He was the first and only person so far who I personally found and taught every lesson to. I saw the change that took place in his life as he came unto Christ and now he is resting in the paradise! I love Tatay Ernesto; we were good friends. 

I know that this is a time of sadness for me but I feel even more at peace than I do sadness. Tatay Ernesto had slight dementia and lived a rough life but now he is freed from the constraint of a disabled body and is resting until the resurrection. 

I am so glad to have hope! To know that there is life after death and it is far more glorious than life here on Earth. I am so grateful for the Gospel and atonement of Jesus Christ that through Him we can be with those we love for time and all eternity instead of fading into oblivion once dead. I know that I will see Tatay Ernesto again in the next life. I hope to see all those I love there as well.

About last week or so we were walking to a member’s house and a guy we FTEd called us over. After speaking with him this other guy came over to us. I had talked with this second guy only once before as he pulled over his motor cab and told us how he has read the Book of Mormon. He now has a PMG and is trying to learn Cebuano through comparing the English to the Cebuano, and also has some of the language books that we as missionaries have for learning Cebuano. He is an American living here in Argao. We spoke with him and our other friend and then returned to them last Sunday. All I can say is that he is probably one of the best Christians I've ever met. All he talks about is Christ and how Christ has helped him. He is very amazed at the Book of Mormon. He is what I call a Mormon who hasn't been baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We both agree on the gospel subjects too. And the best part is that I get to speak English! No more language barrier (even though I could still do it in Cebuano). It was another miracle that we were able to meet. I learned a lot from him on just what I need to be doing better towards Christianity. 

A lot of people argue about doctrines such as "What is the true name of the Father?" or "What is the true rest day?" or "We have the Bible and that is all we need for our salvation. Not direction from God for our lives right now." or "There is no other 'testament' of Jesus Christ". My new friend pointed this out to me that a lot of people argue about doctrines and could go on for hours about what the books say and NOT ONCE mention the Savior, our redeemer si Jesus Christ. 

A few weeks ago the President of Cebu Mission reinforced  to us all to "...always have the Lords name on our lips." It is so true. Sometimes we get caught up in the "Prophet, prophet, we have a prophet" - LDS and  "Bible, Bible, we have a Bible"- everyone else, that we forget to include who really matters, the Lord of us all! I made it my goal to tie everything I say in with our Lord Jesus Christ. Always have His name on my lips. Testify to everyone that Jesus Christ has once again reached out to us in an attempt to rescue us from eternal damnation. He has done this through the calling of a new prophet and speaks to us now, even today, through a true and living prophet. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the one and true church of Jesus Christ here on the earth and it is my job, as a representative of Jesus Christ, to always be inviting others to come unto Him! 

We had a zone conference last Thursday. It was fantastic there and had tons of great insights!

I went on splits with the companion of my district leader. Good stuff, good stuff.

Today, after emails we will be going to this Mama Mary castle and FTW the nuns! JK - can’t do that. But we will tour this really old church.

In closing I want to make a quick shout out to my friend Allen! 

Amping moha! 
-Elder Morris

One-Third of the Way Through My Mission

February 24, 2016

Well today is Feb 24 which marks the 8th month of my mission! One-third done and dang that was fast! 

This past week was spent with a lot of puntedness... We barely got our mission standards in lessons and FTEs. We almost baptized someone yesterday; had an 8 year old decide they wanted to be baptized. After creating the plan and all, she decided that it was too fast and so we moved that back a month. 

We took a trip to see one of our investigators that we can normally only visit on Sundays after church. She was Skyping her soon to be husband when we got there. He is an american from California. Once my gator is up for baptism (around the end of May) he will come here and baptize her and her daughter and then they will go back to California together. So I got to talk to this guy and plan this lady's baptism and all. Much more easier than having a middle person!  

In church we got new branch president. Our awesome branch mission leader is now the President.

Today we had to opportunity to go to Cebu and go to the temple here. We woke at 5 a.m. this morning to leave so that we could get here at 10 a.m.. Session, email, balik. We will probably get home around 8 at night. Then we wake up at the same time and come back to Cebu for a Zone Conference. Hooray for spending all our support on travels! The temple here is amazing! It is a smaller temple but is very nice. It gives me ideas of how to style my house when I build mine :). 

So far so good. Um yeah nothing really too big happened this week. Still alive haha!  

I hope you are still alive too! I love y’all back at home! Take care!

-Elder Morris