Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Sunday, March 26, 2017

And Transfers!

March 22, 2017

When I was on Siquijor my trainer was the one who called me and gave me my new assignment. He shouted "I have a new apo!" meaning "I have a new grandson" (implying that I am now training). Well last night I got to call my trainee and shout to him "I HAVE A NEW APO!" I am finally a true lolo in the mission:') They grow up so fast!

My call was also in. Staying a zone leader; I will be shipped off tomorrow morning to San Carlos 2A. This is on the Negros Island and is right next to my first area! So this looks like my last area, making 6 in all: Toboso Negros. Argao Cebu, Pardo Cebu, Siquijor Siquijor, San Nicolas Cebu, and now San Carlos Negros. My new companion in Elder Eberhard (American). He follow-up trained my trainee. He went to Toboso when I left. He went to Siquijor when I left. This should be good :) He is my jr batch so he goes home in 4 1/2 months (I in 3) so I don’t doubt that we will only have one transfer together but basta, this shall be good:)

This past week had many fun things happen! In a lesson with EmEm Alidon a man came in looking for 2 members. He had a pistol and apparently was an assigned hitman looking to cap my two friends... I almost pulled an “LDS Missionary in Brazil” and almost took his gun before beating him! (Yes we heard the story!) Jokes, but no this guy was looking to kill this small family and when he learned they weren't there he took off.

I got to baptize a sister last Saturday:) Yeah it wasn't our area but it was our ward:) I always love baptizing.

Our investigators are doing well. We have a tatay Rico and Sister EmEm that are doing well and should be harvested by the end of April. And a few other small people here and there.We had a bet with the STLs last week to see who can get the most work done. The looser had to make a meal for the winners. Well last Monday morning I made my favorite sudan - Pininyahang Manok:) and we ate it in the hour before district meeting. We lost by 1 new investigator - 14/15. Either way, I left a bunch of potential progression.

A few other activities include going to the Amadala (think Star Wars). It is a coffee shop owned by the bishop here. It is Star Wars themed. I got this huge Chocolate shake thing.

All is good here. Just going to enjoy my last few months here and try to get as much work done as I can before the big time comes.

I love you all back at home!

-Elder Morris

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Got to See My Ribs!

March 15, 2017

Last Saturday I got in to have my TB test done. They pressed me to a mat and shot X-rays at me. The funny thing about it is that it cost me $3! I am a little worried about possible cancer coming from being shot with third world x-rays (jokes). Last Monday I got the result. After looking at my bones I found the place that told me that I have Tuberculosis. Time to start the giant pills! My comp had to get his foot checked at the doctors so we spent a good 2 hours there. 

(Next email a few minutes later…. “Ai one last thing! The TB test was negative. That’s all folks!” He got email scolded for that one. His mother didn’t think it was funny!)

We talked with a lady who believes in Korean Jesus. She wants us to meet with her church leaders to discuss what true doctrine is. Like that's going to happen! I hate debating and no matter how many people tell you that it will just be a simple discussion... yeah no, it is not. 

A guy told me to go away yesterday and as he left he shouted, "stupid!" That was the first time in my whole mission that anyone has called me stupid. Usually we get the Cebuano equivalent of some English swear words but not the English! We shouted thanks and walked away. 

I went to my bishop’s house for the first time in about a year and a half. I have been in branches since then XD. He gave us Dunkin Donuts and for some reason I have just been having a serious craving for donuts! The KrispyKreams, Dunkin' Donuts, etc. are American priced here - about 600 pesos for a dozen. CANT AFFORD THAT! So I just stick with the Filipino off brands like HappyHaus and Mr. Doughnut. 10 pesos for one… Sold! 

We did have an investigators activity at our church last Saturday. We got a lot of our gators to the church and had a fireside with them. We had about 4 from my area and maybe 4-5 from the sister’s area. It turned out well. We had tons of soda left over so hooray for free soda! 

We went on splits yesterday. Yeah... that has pretty much been my week. Rico made it to church again:) We have a handful of people scheduled for baptism here in a few weeks and months! Oh and transfers next week! I admit that I requested to President for my last area because this next adventure might very well be my.... LAST!:,( I hope to go back to Escelante Zone, my training zone. I have some of my fondest memories from that place and I hope to die off there.) But any who we shall find out next week or maybe even today because the new A.P. gets assigned today. You never know! 

Well this is me. I don't think there is anything else to say but that I hope that you all are doing good! Take care! 

-Elder Morris

John Tanner, What an Inspiring Story!

March 8, 2017

Another week down with loads of fun! My cough went away as I got some really expensive medicine. With that being said I also bought a vile of eye drops for the small strain of pink eye that I seem to have gotten. It was small and is gone now. Chest x-rays are this week! Hooray for TB!

We had our interview with the President sometime last week. That went by very simply - in and out. We also had MLC last Monday and Tuesday. Monday night was fantastic with a lot of inspiration. We watched the 20 minute John Tanner video, if you haven't seen it, I recommend watching it! This man donated over $50,000 to the church in the early 1800s. That money and his property are now worth over $1.5 million. Talk about consecration! I wish to be like that some day. We will all have to live the law of consecration at some point in our eternal progression. I wonder what it will be like!

We also watched the new First Vision video. That was such a cool video kind of showing a bit of what it was like. They combined all 9 accounts of the first vision into one and man it was cool! I also recommend watching it.

Rico is doing great! He didn’t make it to church last week though but is still trekking along! We had 3 new investigators make it to church last week—Gretchel, Leah, Meme Dukai; all sisters in their late 20s and early 30s. My heart jumped when I saw them walking up to the church!

My 12-year-old  homeless friend is still my friend. We haven't managed to teach her yet because she always is with her friends when we schedule a visit.

Gayford has made it home from Mindanao. Something happened to him... not so sure what.

Oh and the mother and daughter were hiding from us last Wednesday, and by last Saturday they told us to not come back. I will admit that that made me a bit angry. Faithlessness always makes me mad. It’s like people don't know what they are passing over. You know how many miracles I have seen just in my work alone when people listened and came unto Christ? Gayford came to church just once and he found a job that very next week after 3 months of nothing. Rico was very hard hearted and would refuse to pray or read but the past few weeks he is WAY more humble and is almost completely done with tobacco and coffee. I have seen hardened fathers (non-members) come to church with their whole family after years of refusing the missionaries. I've seen healing, fathers provide food, contentions boil down. And why? Well that is simple.  Ether 12:12 states,

“For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith."

Oh how true that is! And that is what ticked me off a bit. Faithlessness of people to EVEN TRY!

I do wonder a bit about life after the mission. One thought always comes back is what if I get off and sit there and say to myself "Did I really do that? What just happened?" It is very simple that my attitude needs to not be "Did I..." or  "what just..." but should be a "I just did that and I will take what I learned into action." I always fear going home and ending up not making much progress in my own eternal progression. Always striving to be better is what I am trying to do. I just hope that I do end up being someone who is not who I was. I want my family to think that I am weird:3. I want social interaction for the first few weeks to be that uncomfortable, uncertain situation where I am not sure how to hold a casual conversation. I am getting there but haven't made that last push.

It has been so fast! Just like a 400 meter dash, you sprint very hard for the first 100, coast at your top speed for the next 150-175 meters and then just fight every doubting feeling you may get as you push down the last strip to the finish line and continue to sprint for 5-10 meters after you have finished. The mission is like this. And here I am. I love it here. Serving here really is like a 400m dash. Hurts while you do it but boy is it rewarding.

Ok now I am just blabbering on. I hope you all enjoyed that last sermon of mine. I did:).I hope you all are doing good back at home! I love you all and can’t wait to see what you all have become as you see what I have become.


(This building is Holy ground to me)

(Some of my good friends)

Ofa Atu! 
- Elder Morris

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Whoops... Looks Like I Am Getting a Chest X-Ray

March 1, 2017

So just as the title explains I am going to get a chest X-ray and another test done here in 2 Saturdays. My little wormy friend is gone, as well as his other little friends, but now something else happened!

To start this off I would like to explain from the beginning. While tracking (and mistakenly we were in the Sisters area) we came across a group of young ladies - 15-30 years old. We OSTd them. The lesson was a bit flat. Not much Spirit felt but in the end I felt prompted to talk to this 15 year old girl. She told me that she was sick and has a hole in her heart (paton ductis). I (stupidly) asked her, "Well you aren't going to die in the next year are you?"  To her response she said, "No, the doctor gave me 2 more years" ...... WOW!!! Talk about inspired questions! Bravo Elder Morris! Bravo. Anyway, we went to her house and talked with her dad who is also sick. Set up a return appointment and left. I felt really bad about my terminally ill friend.

I called the mission nurse to ask what her sickness is and she told me that it is an easy fix problem and that there is a hospital here that will do the surgery for free (since she is dirt poor). We went back with the news. She said that she went to that hospital and they are asking for 1 million pesos for the surgery. Yeah.... So I called the nurse again and she asked if there was any other sickness. I asked the girl at our next visit and she said that the previous week she started medication for T.B. Her dad apparently also has this too. So I told the nurse this info. The nurse then asked me, "Elder Morris, do you know what T.B is?" I said, "Well to took my CNA course 3 years ago but a quick rundown of it might help!" She then tells me how I need to be quarantined from that house... WHOOPS! Looks like I and my companion have been exposed to Tuberculosis! I have had a bad cough ever since. I don’t think it has to do with the T.B though.

Aside from being made fun of each day we had an interesting week. Last Sunday night we had an interesting challenge. I mentioned earlier that we have been poking a hornet’s nest lately. This Pastora Edna really does not like us. We received the challenge to meet with her at her church last Sunday night. I was like, "We have scheduled visits! BAHALA SIYA!" The members that informed us about this seemed a bit uneasy about her challenge to meet with us, but nonetheless, we did not go:3. I have a feeling that she will try to confront us here in the upcoming week. We have like 3 of the members from her church as our teachies. One is already a member and another is about to be baptized (tatay Rico). The third is in a bit of a sticky situation.

We also have a new little friend. This little homeless 12 year old girl got our number from Elder Putnam and she won’t stop calling us! She called us at 11:30 p.m. the other night (3 times). My question is "where did the homeless girl get the money for her cell phone load?" -they pay by text and minute. We are trying to visit her and maybe baptize her!!!!! Ambut.
Other than that all is good - just been a bit tired. We had our zone interviews last Monday. We have MLC this Monday and Tuesday. I like MLC. Free pizza :D. I also hit my 20 month mark. I remember always thinking that the missionaries in the 16th month mark and 20 month mark were so cool and so anad sa mission. Well here I am! Not to be trunky at all, just sayen.

I am almost done with reading the Cebuano Book of Mormon. Not many people read the Book of Mormon in their mission language but here I am almost done:) I understand it too! That’s the cool part.

We had surprise exchanges with the assistants.

Well I got to make this a bit short. We have a temple session unya. It will be my first time back in almost one year! About 10 months. I understand most missionaries don’t get this privilege (151 temples and 400+ missions) but I am excited for it! See you all next week! Amping! 

-Elder Morris  

February is Almost Over

February 22, 2017

Another quick week gone by! I am still alive! A handful of fun activities this past week include our Stake Conference, our Cebu Island Zone Conference last Monday, more walking in the burned area, dedications of homes, and exchanges. Same old same old! Oh yeah, and lots of witnessing of drug exchanges... I just so happened to walk right through a group of people right as they were exchanging... it was extremely awkward!

We have been spending this whole transfer trying to find a day to day companion for one of the sisters in my zone. Well, her American companion finally got to Cebu last Friday so now we aren't stressed about that!
(Sister 7 and her new comp Sister Shirley are my good friends:) )

Four investigators made it to church last week. Tatay Rico made it for his 6th time I believe. He is still looking good for baptism here in a few more weeks! We also had a mother and her daughter, Vivian and Dona, make it as well for their 5th time! Again, we are looking forward to baptism here in a few weeks as well! We had some random tatay from our area just show up to church as well. We were like "um…OK!" We haven't been able to find where he lives though but we are still trying!

My friend Gayford is doing a lot better. He left last Saturday night for Mindanao. That is the big island where foreigners aren't allowed due to the high Muslim population. He is a professional B-ball player and has been out of work for the past 3 months, but now is going back in. He was super excited for his job. He will be gone for about 2 weeks so we won’t be able to follow up with him much.
(The guy on the phone is Gayford) )

Really other than that nothing life changing has happened! Still hanging in there! I hope that all you back at home are doing great! I am doing well and I wish the best for all of you! I love you all! Take care! Amping!

- Elder Morris

(A CSP we had in which we made Lumpia:)  )

 (A good amount from my returning batch (we all go home at the same time))

(Elder Putnam always plays little games with the kids (i.e Pak-ganern etc) )

First Week of the New Transfer

February 15, 2017

And another successful week! With helping the transfers last Thursday, we were at the South Bus Terminal the whole day! Organizing the traveling missionaries etc was pretty fun. This past week was a bit stressful I'll admit. We had a sister whose companion is still in America! Sister Pito doesn’t have a companion and so we are asking anyone and everyone if they can just work a day with Sister Pito, even if just for a few hours etc. A little rough, but in the end we managed to find people to work with the missionaries.

The work this past week was maora gihapon (same old same old). We are receiving a lot more help from the ward. Ward members are working with us and we are seeing a bit more success in the establishment of the ward. Our new bishop also adds to the help. He is very strict which makes things so much better!

Tatay Rico is still progressing well. We are planning around March 25 for him. A new family came to church last Sunday as well and we are looking at March 25 for them as well. One of our investigators, si Gayford, is going through a really rough time right now but in the end he asked us yesterday without warning if he can join our church:) He has a good long way before he would be good for baptism but we shall work with him. 

We had a couple fun experiences this past week. For example, we went to a laundry mat (for the first time) to leave my polos. The sign said 20 pesos per kilo. I had 1.5 kilos. The lady was like "sigi, 1.5 kilo....that’s 80 pesos". I called her out right there and was like "why are you charging me double the price?!" That led to an interesting conversation. This is a problem here BTW. The people will charge us a lot more (or try to) because we are American. It is annoying. 

I honestly feel like a ton happened but I aint so sure if I have anything to say! Yeah my mind is kind of black right now of things to say but rest assured things did happen.

I do hope that everyone is doing good. I am doing well. Even if things are slow or fast I am still good. Man it is already halfway through February! Pas Pas no? 

Again I love you all. Take care! 

-Elder Morris

Last Week of the Transfer

February 8, 2017

We had transfer calls last night (or more like we gave out the transfer calls!). And might I say that my time in San Nicolas has been short! 3 months is a short time and I am staying another transfer so it shall be 4 1/2 all together. Same companion, the only big difference is that my trainee, Elder Fernandez is coming to my zone! Hooray!

Not quite sure where to begin with my stories. There was a ton of things that happened this past week. One of those experiences I will have to email my parents with and sorry but you will have to contact them to hear it.

While walking home the other night this guy walked past me and asked (translated to English), "Is Joseph Smith handsome?" So my reply was, "Am I handsome?" He didn't like my reply cuz within a minute a HUGE debate sprung out - so much that a crowd of college students gathered around us. This guy was angry for some reason (usually offended) and he was just yelling and railing. Yeah, I admit that I didn't handle that one quite well but if I learned anything from debate class in Jr High, it is that he who gets mad first loses. So...what is my strategy to debates? Put a huge smile on my face and let 12 years of hockey do its course. He got mad. I confounded him and made fun of him (much like my dad would haha) to the point that I think I need to repent haha! My comp. came rushing in after about 10 minutes and pulled me away. It has honestly been a while since I've had such an adrenaline rush. It was probably the most heated debate I have ever been in. But over it all I did learn a ton! 

For one, I shouldn't do that again.

Two, my friend used what is called "scriptural rail splits". That is where you use a verse or line WAY out of context. For example, Hebrews 7:12 talks about a need for a change in the Law because of the change in the priesthood. One could think this means that ALL old things are done away (from the time of Adam- Abraham- Moses- Isaiah- Jesus) but the context (Hebrews 7 and other surrounding chapters) is talking about the Levitical priesthood being given (the lesser law) because the higher law "or the order of Melchizedec" couldn't be upheld so the lesser law given. The lesser law is what is fulfilled (the Law of Moses) and the higher law or the order of Melchizedec restored through Christ.

What I learned from my friend is the need to really study the scriptures yourself with the companionship of the Holy Ghost INSTEAD of listening to the words of preachers alone. If we listen to the words of preachers only, then we have only their understanding and thus we are ‘sheeple’ (people acting like sheep). I bolded a few words because people can help us understand the truth. But our studies shouldn't be their words only. A leader’s wisdom and God’s wisdom as well can help us see beyond our own wisdom. We just need to be able to discern between the two at times of question.

I hope you can understand just a bit of how passionate I am about this subject - false vs true doctrine. James 1:5 tells us to ask God for wisdom and He will give it freely. Why should we rely on human understanding of godly things when God Himself can teach us like He does to me SO much here in my mission, and like He always has throughout the history of the world to prophets and the earnest seeker of truth.

I cannot describe my feeling this past week. Down hearted? Depressed a bit (but at the same time not depressed)? Hurt? One of our stake families here in my area took a huge fall lately and unexpectedly I found the skeleton in the closet. We teach just about ALL of our lessons in their house because almost all of our gators are coming from that section of the Drug Den area nako. I am not quite sure how we are going to start this new transfer with the issue that came up.

My Filipino sister batch went home actually a few hours ago! I got close to 2 of them here in my zone. It is sad to see your friends leave. It feels a bit empty. Elder Espiritu (my previous companion) went home last Friday on a medical release.  Puntedness!

We also had the chance to talk with a few people in the burned down area. One of the men came to church last Sunday, Si Gayford. When we met with him, he just looked down the whole time, took several long pauses to respond to my questions. In the end he told me, "Brother Morris, very hungry". I cried a bit when he said that. Because a stupid fight between a boy and his girlfriend lead to a candle being knocked over, 300 houses burned to the ground in a squatters area! These people have NOTHING and a fire took even that. We had a very tender lesson as I exhorted him to come to Christ who will help!

Drugs are rampant in that area as well! I have seen SO many exchanges to the point where without even asking I know who to go to, prices, and products. It is so crazy. The grasp Satan has here is really torturous. So many people come here on vacation to the nice beaches (think Siquijor) and never see the real life here.

This week had me pondering a lot, not just how I can even try to help but with my life when I go home. A few things stand out. Alcohol will never pass my lips. Cigarettes and drugs will never have a part of me. I will never hit my wife or kids. God will be first. Families are godly so them too first. Education - I will do all I can to become a successful doctor of some sort (not sure yet). Food will always be on my table even if that means that I don’t eat. My children won’t have to ever suffer because of my mistakes. I will be like my own parents and give my children every opportunity to do what they would like to (sports, music talents, trips etc.). I understand that things get difficult but I will make sure that I am not the reason to my family being held back.

It’s been a long week.

We have a tatay who came to church for his 5th time and he is looking really good! The ray of hope is the baptism of Tatay Rico this transfer! He is persecuted so much at home but always stays strong. The other investigators are still investigating.

Well, I feel a bit drained right now - haha!  I do hope that you all are doing well! At home or abroad I pray for you all. Take care. 4 1/2 months to go:/    

The pics below are some of my friends in the area.

Love you!  

(The little girls is super cute! The older one is MicMic; one good friend nako. 

(My zone)

-Elder Morris

Another Successful Week

February 1, 2017

This past week has been very busy with meetings! Last Friday we had our Zone Conference. We watched the new missionary broadcast which was exciting! We have a few new changes here in our mission as well as worldwide. Our Key Indicators (lessons, FTE, new investigators, gators at sacrament, baptisms, referrals, etc) has been changed. Instead of 9 reported KIs we now only report 4. Our focus is now strictly on investigators. Our daily schedule also changed. That is a big thing BTW. We had a very strict schedule and now our schedule is centered around D&C 58:26-28. We normally leave at 12. Well now we leave at 10! Our P-days started at 10 a.m.;, well now they start at 8 a.m.! I get to email at 8 a.m. btw, so earlier emails! 

I cannot explain all the changes that are happening in the schedule mainly because most people at home won’t understand the significance of them but rest assured it is a HUGE worldwide change in our daily activities. The prophet said that these changes in our work came from direct revelation, and was discussed for the past 6 months and is the Lords will. 

Sister Bonnie Oscarson (Y.W General President) came as well! I got to shake her hand like I did with Bishop Wadel (Presiding Bishopric), Elder Haynie (70), Elder Bowen (70), Elder Ardern (70), and Elder Peirce (70). I've seen many other 70s and even Elder Russel M. Nelson but didn't get to shake their hands. Well Sister Oscarson was great! The story of her and her husband is very interesting! She was a mission president’s wife at age 25! Her husband was only 30. Their talks were rather quite great! I enjoyed them. 

We had MLC last Monday and Tuesday. It was good again. We had loads of pizza and such. The meeting was pretty much discussing all that happened last Friday—all the changes, all the new implementations etc. 

We have transfers next Tuesday. So I may have a new companion or area. But as far as I go, I have a new companion! His name is Elder Ulod. In English his name is Elder Worm haha! The medicine is a bunch of big pills. 

We walked to an area the other day. Last December 1 there was a girl and her boyfriend that had a fight. A candle got knocked over and 300+ houses burned down. The area is smack dab in the middle of my proselytizing area but I have never wandered out there. I heard of the fire but no one I knew was involved so I put it aside until the other day we wandered there. At first I thought the place had been fire raided from a war but after a few questions to the locals I remembered. The sad thing is that all the people are squatters. The government gave no money to help the people. So think of 300 families, already dirt poor, having to start absolutely all over again! The kids were happy to see us though:) It was a bit of a sad sight to see. I honestly thought that this place was carpet bombed! The main job there is to make bulad (dried fish). They have this HUGE area set out just for sun baking these fishes. Thousands of little fishies at a time; it is rather quite a sight to see! 

(The "Bombed" area)

 (Just a part of the burned area and the kids of the burned area)

Rico came to church for his 4th time! We can check that one off now! We are still working on the faith first. It doesn't make sense to baptize a less active so we are working with him on that. A few other gators are doing good. Things are slowing down a bit though but rest assured things are still going great:) 

I am doing good. No issues other than the one mentioned about. I do feel a bit nostalgic/ sad. All the people I was close to or knew in the mission are going home now. My sister batch went home last transfer but my Filipino sister batch goes home this week! A handful of friends take off as well:/  I guess that is what happens! Things only change and will only be changing!  I hope all of you are doing good! Amping! 

(Pics are of my two friends MacMac and MicMic)

(My favorite dinner that I cook! It is pineapple chicken. I will cook it when I get home!) 

(An old nanay investigator and my comp.)

(The Pic is the STLs in my zone. If I could marry them I would! They are awesome!)

-Elder Morris

Still Hanging’ In There!

January 25, 2017

So yesterday marked the end of 19 months and that leaves me now with 5 to go:/ It is weird to think how quick everything is going! It seems like my time here in San Nicolas has been very brief and all summed up in just a few words—busy kaayo! 

This past week was same old same old. We went on 2 exchanges with Elders in my zone last week - Elder Mora and Elder Murdock. When I worked with Elder Mora I met this RMP (returned mission president). He was a mission president in the Tacloban mission in 96-99. He was awesome! He told me about how he has about 15 people who he is working with to refer to the Elders. If only I had one of those in my area! We call them an Amulek member - someone who continues to work and help out the missionaries. My time with Elder Murdock was rather simple and good:). Working with other Americans is a bit different because all of a sudden everyone thinks that you don’t speak Cebuano, yet I have been here for 2 months and have talked with many of these people. Oh and all the girls go gaga when we walk by. It has its ups and downs haha.

Investigators are still investigating. We have a tatay, Rico, who came to church for his 3rd time. He is doing very well! We also have a sister, Analyn. She lives in her born again church which makes going to church a bit difficult but she already tells us that she is receiving answers to her prayers that this message we bring is true. We also received a referral from my MTC comp, nga si Elder Gali. This part member family goes to church in Kamputaw (the Temple area) and the husband and oldest son are members and those two live in Elder Gali’s area. The wife and eldest daughter are great and since they live in my area so guess who gets to teach them? I see no issue coming from them and expect that they will progress very well! We also have a few new investigators from that house (cuz they live in a school boarding house) that we will start teaching.  Also we got us a new recent convert that moved in. I've never really talked to anyone who is "high" but boy is it weird! He relapsed right after his baptism and has only been falling ever since. He is fun!   

Other than confiscating horror movies, helping fighting companionships, and uplifting the stressed, all is good here:). We have a super busy next week! We have a Zone Conference this Friday in which Sister Bonnie Oscarson will attend. We have MLC this Monday and Tuesday which means ZTM on Thursday and transfers the following Thursday! The time is going and I ain't so sure where! I have only 3 transfers left:( Time to stop running and start flying! 

One last thought, I have been pondering a bit about what Abinadi said to King Noah and his Priests. A selection of verses that has caught my attention is in Mosiah 14:2-5. It hints that the Saviors suffering was more than just in Gethsemane and on the cross but that a large part of it was simply His whole life. He was the kid pushed in the lockers at school. He was the kid who was called ugly or fat or whatever the insult may be (Hey Joe!) (vs 2). He was the kid who when walking down the streets all the people turned from Him and want nothing to do with Him. Left alone to suffer and probably spent most of his time in suffering alone. (vs 3). Mocked and "esteemed... stricken, smitten of God" (vs 4) as if to say He was cursed by a god and that assumed because of the trials that He faced. And because of all that He felt in his mortal life, he can really understand what we go through, not just because some super suffering hit him at one period of his life, but he can comfort us through our trials because He himself lived it. These verses tie in well with Alma 7:11-13. See also 1 Nephi 11:31-34; 19:9, D&C 19:16-19, and 3 Nephi 9:13-14.

The Savior is misunderstood by most people in the world. He is as 1 Nephi 19:9 states "[judged] be a thing of naught" or as translated in Cebuano "[gihukom]... nga usa ka butang nga walay bili" (judged to be a thing of no worth). It really takes time to understand who He was but as 3 Nephi 9:14 states, His arms are open to all who come unto Him. I myself have seen His hand in my life these past 19 months. I cannot really express all that I have felt. For the past 2 weeks whenever I even talk about a simple thing about the Savior to investigators I always get a bit teary. I know He is there, He lives and loves me. He is our God, sent to earth to save us and all we need to do is follow the promise given by Alma in Alma 32:28. Take a small seed of faith and try His word. If you don't cast it out, He will grow it until you can say like me that you know He lives as well. 1 Samuel 3:9 - "speak Lord, they servant heareth!" I wish that we would all at least try the promise.

I am still glad to hear that everyone is still safe. I wish the best for everyone back at home! I love you all and can't wait to see you here at the end of the school year!     

-Elder Morris

What a Tough Week

January 18, 2017

This week can follow-up a bit with what I said last week in which Satan is keeping a close tab on us. Ever since I became a Zone Leader the temptations have been much worse. With my new American companion, we get a lot of attention walking down the streets. Every single day for the past 2-3 weeks (and especially this past one) we get made fun of, looked at differently, treated far too differently; it is a bit of a struggle. The biyawyaw (kind of like mocking/ persecution) has been really bad this past week. Tons of people call us out and make fun of us (they think we don’t understand but we do). This always gives us a great conversation starter btw.  We have upset a few other religions in our area. No bashers have come up to us but they are going after our investigators when we aren't there. All of this leads to a more bitter war with Satan. We are more bold when sharing the message, and our calling to teach repentance is taking on whole new levels as we have to be more bold. The missionaries are same old same old. Love the sisters, desire more from the Elders. Through it all I still say that I love this work! We have had a lot happen this past week and a lot we are looking forward to! 

So it has been pouring cats and dogs here for the past 5 days or so. So much that my zone has flooded really badly on some of the days. We even got a call from the Sisters saying that their house has flooded and outside is flooded up to their necks! (They are short so probably up to my pecks;)). They are staying with the STLs until the bagio (storm) moves on. We taught a lesson and at the end when we walked out we were trapped! We had to wade through a pool top get to the road. My ankles we submerged in the water - haha! YUCK! The rain water here is not clean because of all the animal/human waist and litter on the ground. Some missionaries couldn't leave their house until the water receded! 

This past week was the HUGE Cebu Sinulog Festival (Google it). It is a Catholic feast and celebration of Senior Santo Nino (black baby Jesus). Huge speakers are set up with crazy loud music, alcohol everywhere, tons of slaughtered animals for rotisserie and such... yeah it is fun! Nobody was home! At the city center they had huge presentations going on with dances and such. It was so big that the government shut down ALL cell phone communications for Saturday and Sunday because of bomb threats. Apparently it was a success, we didn't get to go but we didn’t hear about anything bad happening!   

We had a fun night last night. One of the sisters, Sister Pito (pito means 7), had her B-day so we went to the stake 2nd counselor’s home for a dinner. We ate a ton of food, and had a nice cake. 
(The picture is of the B-day party for Sister 7. She is on the left with the white shirt. Her comp, sister Mateo is on the right and she is my Filipino batch mate. She goes home in 3 weeks.) 

Took selfies with bayuts (bayut means gay!) 
(This girl on my left is really cute! OH WAIT! ITS A BOY!!!!!) 

Our work here is going great. Even though we have been fighting Satan this whole past week we have had great success with our gators. We had a new gator come to church this past week. That is 5 new people we have had at church in the past 3 Sundays! So that is really good. We just need more prayers for them so that their problems can go away and they can progress without issue. We are loading up the escalator leading to baptism, even so much that we struggle to find time for all that we are finding and to even find more! All is good here:).

I hope that all is well for you back at home! Keep going strong! 

-Elder Morris