Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Thursday, June 23, 2016

And Halfway Through the Transfer

June 22, 2016

They say that the mission only gets faster as the months go by and yeah, that’s true. I am already halfway through this transfer with Elder Artajo.

This week was rather quite interesting. Last P-day we walked near our house along the beach and collected the sea shells that washed up on the shore :) I got a bunch of little cool ones. I also found a star fish and am still in the attempt of drying him out to preserve him :) He is really cool and has these huge black bumps on his back.

We had a rather quiet week this week and not a whole lot of work (number wise) done. It has been a bit of a struggle to teach people and we are averaging about 1-2 lessons a day. But among the trials we have been able to find a total of 4 people who are progressing quite well and have accepted baptismal dates on Aug 6. One family I swear (2 of them) was hiding from us yesterday night though... I just hope that I am wrong on this one. The other family (the other 2) are doing really good. Neither has come to church yet but we will try very hard this week to get them to church:).

At the 2nd family’s house we were able to talk to the father’s mother and the people at the next house. They were very nice to us last week. We went there on Sunday night and saw all this white corn on the floor cuz they are pulling the corn off the cobs so we just went in and joined them. Yeah, here it isn’t that awkward to just walk into someone’s house and start shucking their corn. We did that for about an hour until the nanay came out and said that she had cooked us dinner! I'm all shy and all about eating the peoples food because they don’t have much but they cooked for us fried fish and rice and some goolay (vegetable soup thing). I felt like that poor wayfaring man of grief who was fed by a stranger - haha. They were very nice to us and I think we may be able to progress them! I really hope so!

Last Saturday we went to this place called Basac. It is 5 km up a mountain and no motor cabs go up there... We walked up there in about 2 hours. Me being a track star would have run up that thing in 15 minutes... just sayin’. Well we took a small detour and climbed up this huge hill and pastilan we were able to see 5 Islands from up there!! It was a quite impressive view up there! Of course I took pics too! We posted a small "Mormon" memorial at the top of that hill too. I'd send the pics but this computer is being... well not smart. I'll see if I can send them all next week with my pics of the waterfall we shall go to later today :)

(We posted a flag on top of this HUGE hill! up there we could see about 6-7 different Islands!)

This week has been a rather quick one that’s also been long. We’ve done a lot of tracting in places with a very little amount of people. I can see, though, a little depression coming back in. I'm not quite sure whether it is the small work or the isolation haha. But anyways I'm trying to get over it. Let’s see how it goes!

I love you all back at home! This Friday I'll be hitting the year mark!  But I am already on the downward slope as of the 14th. I'll be back sooner than you'll know! Try to enjoy the time you have without me cuz when I get home I'm never going to shut up about how cool this mission is!!

Stay safe and I will too!

-Elder Morris


June 16, 2016

So this past week went by very quickly! I'm not really sure what to say (same as usual haha).

Last Saturday we had this huge Barangay party. A barangay is like a subdivision much like Traverse Mt. The barangay captain (much like the H.O.A) threw this party as a thank you for the past elections and all the voters. We had lechon baboy (roticery pig), and Mexican style white beans, and tons of rice... yeah it was a feast and FREE!!! Everything is better when it is free:) The individual sections of the barangay (or more like neighborhoods) did some kind of performance. Ours held a cha-cha dance and I totally would have won it had we been allowed to dance haha. Well my landlord danced and it was pretty funny!

A few days later, on Monday, we packed up a suitcase and went back to Cebu! Hooray!... 10 hours and 2 boat rides way... did I ever mention that I don’t like to travel? Well anyway we had a really great conference with Elder Ardern who is the Philippines area 70 president and most likely that would be his last mission tour too. So many great insights and I was also able to talk a bit with him as well. I asked a few questions that are on my mind as well as share a spiritual thought in front of the whole mission! Hooray! I saw 5 of my 8 last companions. It’s probably the last time I will see Elder Germaine and possibly Elder Noprada. They go home in August and October. I managed to get my proselytizing bag back from Pardo. Apparently the apartment there flooded another 2 times since I've left and they left my bag on the floor! My camera is fine as well as the BOM I left in it but it smells like someone went to the CR in it! I did need to wash that bag soon though... We got home this morning about 2 hours ago... its Thursday btw...

(We had a bottle fight. Very fun:) )

It has rained every day since I've been on this Island... I do like the rain haha. Pastilan I love it here on Siquijor! It is very clean and no canals of sewage to fall into, as well as quiet. I like the quiet. There aren't as many people on this Island within our teaching reach. Sure we could travel to the other side of the island but that’s like an hour away and nearly 300 pesos! (Normal fare costs us 9 pesos.) So, we tend to stay within reach of the church! I am planning on next P-day to go to some really cool waterfalls they have here AND in my area! cuz my area is half an island...  The cows here are nice and let you pet them. Everything to buy here is very expensive as well. Pork in Pardo costs me 180 pesos a kg while here it is 210 kg! The rice costs the same though.

Elder Artajo is doing great! We are getting along quite well. A good breather haha! We have a few families we are trying to progress but due to us leaving last Monday and P-day today (Thursday) we haven’t been able to visit them at all this week! Not to mention I got something (whether virus or worm) that has made everything that comes out as fluid as the water I drink. Sure my innards are getting well cleaned out, but I'm in need of a CR at least 5-6 times an hour every 10 or so hours... for the past 4 days......... Even as I write this email I fear to otot. (Hmm after trying Google translate, that word doesn’t translate...). The Spirit will tell you what that means.

So I just passed a very important date. It was June 14. Know why it’s an important date? It starts the last 365 days left of my mission! My year mark is on the 24th but I will end my service on the 14 of June 2017... Pastilan... It just goes by so very quickly! I am starting my 9th transfer out of 16 so I am on the downhill slope! I aint trunky! It’s just so fast...

I hope all is going well with everyone back at home! I heard on the news that something big happened in Orlando Florida. It was in Tagalog so I didn’t quite understand. I was going to ask what did happen but after reading my mother’s email I have figured it all out. I don't know what to say about that kind of disgrace. All I know is that there are some people who I wouldn't think twice about pushing them into the pit of hellfire. 

I love you all back at home! Stay safe! I definitely will here in my Island paradise haha! 

Elder Morris

Thursday, June 9, 2016

First Week of "Exile-tation"

June 8, 2016

Pastilan! Siquijor is not like any part of the mission. I’ve served in lots of different parts but this place is different! This whole Island is a tourist place. The biggest city is smaller than Toboso (my training area). There are like 5 people on this island and their cow... that’s about it! I always did love the quiet peace and serenity though.

So... not really sure where to begin. I did run out of all my money in the first week and now have to survive another week in the most expensive area of the mission! The branch here is brand new and awesome! The other Elders had a baptism last weekend (in the ocean) and so we got to see that there is somewhat success here! It reminds me much of Argao; it is a bit difficult to find people to teach as we lost about 3 of the progressing gators last week. That’s ok though. There are four of us on this small island and we all live in a small apartment that has one room with air-con (guess which room we sleep in!). Things are simple here too and pastilan the area is clean and very nice! 

All the men are off the island working in Cebu so there is like a 1:2 male to female ratio which makes it hard to teach (cuz we need a lalaki to teach). My trainer was assigned in the same area right after training me. It has rained every single day since I’ve been here. Oh yeah and I forgot my proselytizing bag back in Pardo with my scriptures and camera and hair gel:(  We have to get to the highway by 7 o'clock or else we walk home - haha (everyone sleeps early here).  This place is very simple and quiet and I like simple and quiet:) 

My new companion, si Elder Artajo, is a very nice guy! He was trained by my previous companion, si Elder Beretara. He is about 6 months into the mission already. He is good! When we hike up huge hills he doesn’t whine haha! That’s the sign of a good companion ;).

We did attempt to walk about 5 km to an RC house. It was ALL UP HILL and raining. My shoes are bust too (something ate them a few days earlier!) so walking in soppy wet shoes uphill for 5 km sucks! We were graced with a truck that did pull over and we rode in the bed of the truck to our destination. My comp saved my life then. As we were in the bed of the truck (standing of course!), I dodged a tree branch but didn’t see the 2nd one. He shouted DUCK and I did so immediately and PASTILAN that tree branch took out this metal rod on the truck and probably would have broken my sternum and knocked me off the flying truck and broken my neck or back...  yeah... IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES! 

Hmm not sure what else to say... it’s going great! I am expecting a very nice transfer:)  I hope all else is going great back at home! Love you all! 

-Elder Morris

End of Transfer #8

June 1, 2016

So I am halfway through my mission now. I am done with 8 transfers and have 8 more to go... pastilan so fast....

Alright so some news to share… I'm sure you are all wondering about how my friend Billy John turned out as well as who my new comp and assignment is. To start I would like to say that I had the opportunity to baptize my friend Billy John. Last Saturday night we had a good and simple baptism and pastilan I am so excited for him! His die hard Catholic aunt (his guardian) came up to us on Sunday evening and thanked us for helping him. He is becoming more social, he is now cooking a bit and cleaning, and he seems happier! Now that is the news we all want to hear, that we are helping some soul come back into the fold of God and receive these promised blessings! It made my day hearing that from her -  haha.

(Brother Billy John's baptism! Me and Elder Jayme (the stake missionary, Elder Tauba the big Fijian, and Elder Gali)

So last night we had transfer calls. I will be receiving a new companion, I forgot his name, and I will be the senior. He is relatively new in the mission and he is Filipino. The assignment is simple... and took me by surprise too. I actually will be transferring out of Pardo C and going to Siquijor 1A. Now for those who don’t know the Cebu mission, Siquijor is the third Island in my mission. There are only 4 elders (or sisters) on that island at a time. Not many missionaries get assigned to the third island so I will be a three island missionary serving on all three islands of the mission! 

Let’s now put 2 and 2 together. Two transfers ago I opened this area. Two weeks ago we had an emergency transfer. I got a stake missionary as a companion so obviously he is going home. I am now leaving... so you see what I am saying? There is no one taking my place. Pardo C will be closed and the Pardo A, B, C areas are now becoming one Pardo area. So who gets this huge city? Elder Gali, who only became DL 2 weeks earlier, will now work over this whole area – my part, his part, everything! Not to mention the other district has been dissolved so he is the only DL in the zone and will now watch over the whole zone with the ZLs. He just got a HUGE responsibility! He’s now got about 18 recent converts to help, 300 members all in this area, and three total areas in one! Pastilan I am excited for him to take this challenge! …while I am exiled to Siquijor haha (jokes) 

That is really the big news. Had some rather bothersome lessons and people met but hey, that’s like all the time! 

A few questions that have come to my head --  I've pretty much found answers to these but I'm curious as to what you all may come up with.
  • First: Where did Alma the Older get his authority to baptize Helam and why did he baptize himself?
  • Second: Why did Jesus Christ confer the Aaronic priesthood and Melchizedek priesthood to the Nephites when they already had authority to baptize and confer the H.G?
Like I said, I've already got some answers but if you would like to take a crack at it go for it! 

Well it’s been a good long week and it seems like things will be even faster now! Take care ya'll at home! Love you all! 

-Elder Morris