Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Wow...5 to Go!

January 11, 2017 

I’m not counting or anything but I got 5 more months to go. I am not so sure how I feel about that but that it will be super fast!

I woke up to something weird this morning. Take it for what it’s worth but at 4 a.m. I woke up to something screaming at me. The voice sounded as if someone was standing right over me as I laid down and it told me, "Hey you! Why don't you just go home!" His voice sounded like a mixture of Golem from Lord of the Rings and Batman. I wasn't scared by this but it made me question "Yawa ba na?!?" Was that a devil? It is the second time in my mission that I have woken to something screaming at me... it wasn't my comp. BTW.

We have really been poking the hornet’s nest these past 2 weeks - haha. I have seen a lot more attempts from Satan to stop what we are doing. We have several new friends from a local Born Again church that were referred to us by our recent convert as well as our new friends from last week (also Born Again and also referred from our recent convert). We have had some fun encounters with the sister pastor haha. One visit she just barged right into the house we were teaching at and started to yell at the recent convert. At the end we pointed out that contention and yelling is of the devil and EVERYONE agreed haha. After it, one old nanay said "I like you guys more!"

We have a loaded up escalator and looking to start a weekly harvest here in February and March! I am excited! The Lord is really working with us BUT we are also seeing a lot more from the adversary (for example this morning). The mocking and such that we get on the roads is getting a lot worse! It is down pouring rain like you can’t believe here and so the streets are flooded. Yesterday as we were walking a car sped up and got us with a huge wave of dirty water. Had I had a rock in my hands I would have thrown it! They did that on purpose BTW. The temptations that are coming to do something stupid have been a bit bitterer lately. As I focus on what is a temptation I can see just what it is trying to do.

We had surprise visits with some other Elders this morning.... yeah not a fun conversation with them. Do you all remember the sister I baptized a few weeks ago? The one who saw the temple in her dream? Well it turns out that she was baptized and SEALED in Manila back in 2005. Not so sure what is going on there but that is a little disappointing.

And through it all, we have SO much potential in our investigators! We have a family we just started to work with to get married and baptized, about 5 gators from this one recent convert of ours, a son and his 5 kids from our other recent convert of ours, a couple of people we tracted that the Lord led us to the other day, our new LA we found has come to church for his 2nd week in a row, and an inactive tatay that didn't make it to church but little by little will we get him back in the road of repentance.

Me and my comp are getting along just fine. No issues like my 2 comps on Siquijor. I am really liking my area. I wish I could stay here just a bit longer. This rest of the transfer is going to be very busy. 2 MLCs, 2 ZTMs, Zone interviews, Zone conference on the 23rd and a special visit by Sister Bonnie Oscarson here on the 27th. Last transfer we had Bishop Waddell and this transfer we have Sister Oscarson! Work here is very busy! And not to mention I am back in my Follow up training of the mission:/. I had 1 transfer in the MTC, 2 transfers in training, 1 transfer in Follow-up training so now we go in reverse! Follow-up, 2 transfers in training, and then 1 transfer in the "MTC'' and then home...

All is good. I am still kicking! I hope that all is going well back at home! Take care all of you! See you when school gets out!

-Elder Morris

1 Samuel 3:9

January 4, 2017

This reference has been my motto for the past week. To begin to even explain all that I have felt and what we have gotten done is difficult. I guess I could start with a few smaller things before the bigger ones.

We were able to watch a movie last Saturday night for our New Years thing so we as a zone watched Disney’s Moana. I bought the movie for like $0.50 haha! #pirated! I enjoyed it. I thought it was interesting because the story has to do a little with the culture here! We have New Zealanders who have the folklore of Maui, the demi-god who pulled up New Zealand from the depths of the ocean. Kind of cool. Did anyone else notice when Maui was shape shifting he turned into the caribou from Frozen - or am I just seeing things?!?

We had our MLC last night and Monday. I enjoyed it! We had sloppy joes and tons of pizza and Krispy Kream:)  I love the MLCs. They are like huge spiritual meetings that always get me fired up and ready to work!

My new comp and I have been doing great! Things this transfer have been a bit different tbh. With a companion like Elder Putnam we have gotten a lot of stuff done! With the way I work, we got an inactive to come to church last Sunday, three new investigators at sacrament! 10 referrals in one week (referrals don’t happen here btw) and a lot of subtle excitement going on!  We are trying our best to be very diligent and spiritual in the work, and it has actually paid off! As we were looking for a certain member’s house the other day, we kept roaming around the street going "Where is it?!" We stopped and prayed in the middle of the work and then continued to walk. I felt pretty impressed to turn around and try this one other house. So we did. On our way we talked to an old man who turned out to be an inactive member! We talked with him for a while and he seemed really interested in coming back to church!

We saw a homeless naked dude just strutting his stuff in the road... Saw a couple other... scary things along those lines as well as the days passed by - haha!

So my motivation this past week is found in Samuel 3. I am trying my best to be one with the Spirit; to be very diligent and finding new ways to work. So I say to myself "Speak Lord; thy servant heareth." I am trying to listen. I am ready for anything that the Lord needs me to do. I honestly just feel so different! I can’t explain myself but I honestly feel... lighter? Not burdened or stressed of confused? I feel more in tune with the spirit of the Lord. A bit happier. I don't really show it though but I do feel happier. This transfer will be one of change. "If it aint broke don’t fix it. If it is broke... FIX IT!" A lot of fixing will be made. A lot will change.

I am doing great! My comp, si Elder Putnam is doing great as well! I wish the best for all of you! Take care!

-Elder Morris

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Christmas Week

December 28, 2016

This transfer went by SO fast! This last week, though, we had a super ton of stuff happen.
Before I continue I will just share about transfers. My new companion is Elder Putnam. My second American comp! He is my junior batch and I met him in Escelante zone (where I was trained) so we know each other very well. He is a hard worker too. I am super stoked for this next transfer! I am turning on the jets in the work! I have huge plans for what to do and I will see to it that my goals and ideas are met! #D&C4

The bigger things that happened were last Christmas of course! We had 2 Elders come over on Christmas Eve to spend the night. We woke at 2 A.M to find one of them gone! Woke up the APs and President. Ran around my city looking for him and by 6 we found our way to his house and there he was sleeping. A long story short he talked with president and chose to go home. The next day it turns out that he is staying... This concept of the mercy my mission president has shows me just a little bit of what our Savior does for each of us! I feel that he will have grace and mercy for anyone who asks for it but in the end He will let all our decisions up to us if we want to use Him or just say "no, cant do it no more".

I got to see my family again! Through Skype. That was my 3 time out of 4 times in my mission that I get to see them via Skype. The mission is so fast!

We found some time to work (cuz my comp is always sick) and so we now have a handful of hopeful investigators. One of them actually showed up to church last Sunday too so if all goes well we are looking at a Jan 28 baptism.

Like I said earlier, the work is going to hasten this transfer. I have a great new comp who isn't naughty or sick so this shall be a blast! We had a ton of meal appointments this week but due to the last of my time today I will have to share those memories when I get home. #JOURNAL!!!

Yeah, that is pretty much a rundown of my week. I am at the point where I just cant seem to write down my thoughts or feelings. They are too powerful to type haha! Everything I wish to say is difficult to say and everything I have learned is hard to share because there is so much! I do wish that all of you had a merry Christmas! I wish you all safety and a happy new year! We get to watch movies on Saturday:) EXCITED KO!

Any who, love you all!

Last Full Week of the Transfer

December 20, 2016

And it is that time of the transfer again! By next P-day I shall have the transfer calls in. The APs hinted to me that I need to be ready for anything. If I am to train a new ZL etc. They also hinted to E.E about transferring to the Negros Island. Who knows?

A ton happened this week that I am not so sure as to where to begin! I think I will just go down the days of my past week.

So, for starters, we had our ward Christmas party! They had 2 rotisserie pigs and a ton of food! We also had the R.S and Y.W do little dance performance things for the ward which was pretty fun. I got them recorded for future watching haha.  Attached is a picture of one of the pigs. This is meant for my dad cuz I know he will get a kick out of it but feel free also to bask in its...yeah you will see!

The next day (being Saturday) we attended a baptism for our zone members. After it was done, all of us missionaries got into a jeepney (my whole zone) and we went to the Stake activity. The jeep full of missionaries was quite funny! The driver and his wife were overwhelmed with the overload of us! It was the most happening jeep ever!

One Sunday our plans were changed as we were asked to participate in this ward activity delivering "Bundles of Joy". We wrapped up (in a plastic bag) a handful of food to give out to the poorer members in the ward. We went on exchanges with the members to deliver these things. I had fun, we had a Santa go with us and he was giving out all these candies and such to the children as we gave the adults the food gifts.

Thursday, we went on exchanges with a trainer and his trainee. I went with the trainee cuz the trainer and I were on Siquijor for 3 months so I know him well. My big story from this is a woman we met. As we went to a member’s house I saw their daughter. She is 42 and has thyroid cancer. Her throat was sticking out further than her chin! She had a nasal cannula but not attached to O2.  The cannula was doing something to stop the continuing bleeding from her nose. She is also fed through this tube as her throat is practically closed. She kept moaning and such and there was nothing to do about it! The medications is far too expensive for the people here and her cancer is diagnosed as stage 4. We gave her a blessing and I talked to her a bit. She can’t talk or hear but she could see and that time that I held her hand and just looked at her she stopped the groaning. She looked back and for a second I thought "She is only 42, she is younger than my own mother!" I just couldn’t help but feel just a bit of pain for her. I wish I could do miracles and take away the pain. I do know that she will be freed from the pain here in a couple more months.

On Monday we had exchanges with the DL. I worked with his companion in my area and might I say we had a very fun day! A lot of rejection but at the same time a lot of small miracles! We started off with a visit to our new investigator family here, si brother Jovie and family. We had a great lesson about Christ and they taught us how to weave coconut tree leaves into a square. You put rice into the square, boil it and boom! You have puso or hangin rice! It is a very common thing here btw to have rice in these little contraptions. The family seemed to really enjoy our help with them.

That night we got a call from the APs telling us that we are to be going on exchanges with them in the morning so me and E.E met back up again and went to work with the APs. I had one of my more memorable days yesterday while on exchanges with Elder May. He will be in America next week. There is a difference in working with someone 6 months into the mission, 1 year into the mission, 1 1/2 years, and 1 year and 51 weeks into the mission. A small miracle happened while we worked. The APs have an RC who after his baptism last month he fell away dayon. His younger brother (whom he was really close to) died of a blood poisoning. Brother is about 30 and his younger brother was about 27. He has avoided the church and the missionaries the past month! But when we got to him he let us in. He told us what he feels and told me what happened. I immediately told him a story from earlier in my life; this really caught his attention. I then felt prompted to read 2 Nephi 2:11. It talks about the need for opposition. As I blabbered on a bit more he sat and thought. After I was done talking he looked up to us and was like "This scripture really says something to me..." in the end he seemed happier. He saw more hope and my companion told me how he has been inconsolable about it the past month but today he seemed to have really changed! I really hope that all goes well for him. Our own Gethsemane’s happen on the Lord’s time, his just so happened right after his baptism.

Again, I cannot write all of the things that have happened. There were many things that have happened that made this past week a bit of a changer for me. A few small miracles happened that have been taken note of. But I just want to say how much more I feel closer to the Savior. I really saw MANY examples of how people really need Him and I could only picture what He truly did for the people when He was here and what more He will do!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas! I will be blessed to Skype my family here in a few days. I wish that I could see you all! These next 6 months will fly by really fast! I hope they don’t go by too fast cuz I love it here - haha.

- Elder Morris 

After 18 months you tend to run out of heading ideas!

December 13, 2016

The events this past week were very rough and interesting haha.

Last Wednesday we went to the store to buy E. Espiritu some fancy pants shampoo that was way expensive! On the way home, the traffic in Cebu was terrible! We left the store at about 5 and got home at 7:30... I could run to my house from the store!!!!!! Trying to flag down taxi's is really annoying during rush hour. Traffic here is an issue BTW.

We had a lot of sick days this week so we didn't get out to work a whole lot. But on Friday night we had a totally fun meal appointment with a really rich family. Now when I say a "rich family meal appointment" (and reminder… I am in a 3rd world country) I mean we had spaghetti with meatballs and fried chicken and Lays chips and brownies with vanilla ice cream:) I haven’t had Lays or the ice cream brownies since...MURICA! The husband is a real estate agent and the wife is a fashion designer. The wife brought out her art portfolio and we browsed through all her paintings (water color) and we had a great conversation. She ended up giving me and my companion some really expensive sketch pads! And they are big too! I guess I know what else I can do on sick days!

We had exchanges on Saturday. They were kind of walay klaro (not clear). We had a dance practice for our Christmas conference on Saturday which took up 4 hours of the splits, and then we had a baptism to go to later that evening (I got to perform the baptism for the sisters IBD:)). We spent about 2 hours trying to navigate the Jeepney system here in the city and I swear for a second we left the mission! I am not sure where we went but I did see Jeeps going to the other mission! 

We got to watch the Christmas devotional from the 1st Presidency. It was great; I liked it:) There were some good insights on what I should do when I have my own wife and kiddies. We then hosted all the Elders at the house for the night because we had an early dance practice last Monday. We cooked all of my food to feed them and not to mention... out of money! But it was fun.

Other than that, the week was "mao ra gihapon!" (same old same old). We had our Christmas conference. I messed up on the dance in front of the mission... oh well - haha. We even forgot to bring our music for the dancing so we used some random songs on the spot... it made it a bit weird haha. We got stockings and candy and a little Plano sa Kaluwasan kit and neck ties for Christmas. I like getting neck ties:)  

So my computer is being funny right now so I can send pics:/ Other than that all is well! I hope you all stay safe in the cold! I will try my best here in the hot pacific!

- Elder Morris

First Baptism and MLC

December 12, 2016

This past week was almost all ups and downs. I received a nice pair of shoes in a previous package but I only use those for meetings and such, so my ‘work in the mud and rain’ shoes are my old ones. Those old ones completely fell apart haha! Huge holes and such. We went to a mall last P-day to get what they call Easy-Soft shoes which are very cheap and made of rubber. They are nice and water proof and should get me through the rainy season. I later figured out that the mall we went to is considered ginadili- that means forbidden or bad. It was HUGE and very worldly. It honestly was a very cool place but I can see why it is banned for missionaries to go to haha! Repent!

We found a ton of great hopeful people this past week. One was a referral from Church H.Q. Those aren't common so they are usually really good! We followed up with about four 18-21 year olds. They were really good and well prepared! We also found another 18 y.o girl who was taught up in Manila so we began teaching her as well.

As soon as I got our ward members to help and have fellow-shippers for them all, they ALL dropped us! The one 18 y.o girl’s drunk father was like "No we ain’t haven anything to do with them!" (Like you even worship in your own faith!) and that huge group of YSA’s dropped us like its hot! Their uncle came over right before we went to pick them up for church and told them no. C'mon! I understand that it is important to listen to your parents and such but when none of them care for you and try to control your interests... that would push me away from them! It is annoying but alas the work moves on.

We did have a baptism last Saturday. I helped teach him L2- the end of our lessons (so a major part) and Elder Espiritu baptized him. Si brother Kenneth is really good! He was a member in a ton of other churches but couldn't really find the right one. His testimony of the restored gospel is fantastic! He sees things like a well-seasoned member or even missionary (i.e that this is a CHRIST CENTERED church, the confusion from the Bible, etc). Next Saturday I will be baptizing the sister’s investigator. We have baptisms planned for 3 weeks in December so it should be great!

After the baptism, we met with each missionary to do kind of a "how are you doing" interview. Everyone seems to be doing good except an interview that lasted about 1 1/2 hours! It wasn't the previous companionship but a different one. They are facing the same struggles I am actually weighed down with in my current companionship. I won’t get into much detail about that (good thing I have it all written down!) but I pretty much told them to apply what I am doing in my companionship which is submissiveness. I actually talked to a lot of other missionaries about submissiveness. They are doing fine now haha.

The focus behind how I work is the "not my will but thine be done". Some missionaries are both wanting to serve very hard but may have other ways to serve so the point behind it is to follow what your companion would like to do because who knows that it may actually work! Elder Beretara wanted to randomly visit an active family. I thought it was stupid! We went in the end and received the referral of brother Billy John. I baptized him 2 months later. We dropped Mae Sasi cuz we couldn't work with her but then Elder Fernandez decided to ask the branch president to work with us. I was like "He is too busy and we are too far away but here is the phone; you ask him." I baptized her a few weeks later. With brother Kenneth, we taught him maybe 4 times before we baptized him. We would teach several lessons in one lesson because Elder Espiritu wanted to! I thought that we were rushing him and that we were shooting for numbers... until I heard his testimony. We baptized him last Saturday.Being submissive to others is a spiritual strength that allows us to get more ideas than our own. Don't be submissive to disobedience but support your companion’s righteous actions.

The past 2 days was great! We had MLC, my first:). The fed us pizza on Monday night (I ate a ton! Not numbered cuz of the greatness of the eaten slices). We then sat with the president and for three hours we just had a Q and A about anything we wanted to! I ALWAYS ask deep questions so I brought one up. It didn't receive an answer but there is one. I asked for a reference on how we know that the Lord was nailed in the wrist. Other deep questions were asked and that was fun.

The next day we had fantastic workshops! We were fed enchiladas:) and NACHOS! We then returned, took a leader’s picture in front of the temple and the new leaders were given a chance to bear their testimony. I went last, my testimony is interesting. I will have to share it in full (like I did) when I am home. It just doesn't work through email, it is sacred and needs to be felt other than read. Ether 12:23-25.

I made mention that I am working on a huge plan to implement in the work. Well everything that I felt inspired to put in was made mention and discussed, and I didn't even bring it up! #intunewiththespirit! From increasing Referrals and M3's and even the idea that I had on Monday. I told my comp and 2 other ZLs that maybe we should see if we can push having the BIG zone conferences (the Island sized ones) to be transferly instead of every other transfer. They laughed at that idea. Well guess what president stated at the beginning! #intunewiththespirit!

The new announcements are: zone conference and zone interview are each transfer instead of every other transfer, and the new mission baptizing goal is once a week baptism! There are other missions in the Philippines getting 250 baptisms a month with 85% retention! Cebu is at 37 last month with 45% retention so we are far behind. Changes will be made so that in a few years the work will hasten! Other than that I am good. Still alive and yeah... I wish you all the best! Love you! Amping!

- Elder Morris