Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Return of Elder Zachary James Morris

Dear Brother and Sister Morris,

This is surely an exciting time as you await the return of your son Elder Zachary James Morris.  He is scheduled to return home on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Elder Morris has rendered faithful service and has achieved substantial personal growth. His willingness to learn and the effort he has put forth in the growth of the kingdom has been an inspiration to both members and missionaries alike. It has been a pleasure laboring with him in the Philippines Cebu Mission.

While here, Elder Morris has served with several companions and labored in various areas. He has served as both Junior Companion, Senior Companion, Trainer, District Leader, District Leader Trainer, Zone Leader and Zone Leader Lead. In these areas of increased responsibility he has served faithfully, performed his duties well, and rendered valuable service.

Here are the details about your son’s honorable release:
  1. We will provide an airline ticket for travel from Cebu to the airport nearest his home.
  2. Missionaries must travel directly home. Any exceptions are to be approved in advance by the Mission President and the missionary’s parents.
  3. The cost of any change of approved travel plans will be paid by the missionary.
  4. He is to report to his Stake President as soon as possible after his arrival home.
Thank you for raising such an exceptional young man. May the Lord’s choicest blessings be
poured out upon you and your family.

Warmest regards,

President Terry C. McCurdy
Philippines Cebu Mission

This is it!!

June 7, 2017

"The time is far spent; there are a few days remaining to publish glad tiding here in Cebu mission!"

I honestly can't wrap my brain around the fact that I will no longer have an assignment here on Monday and then released from being a missionary a few days later. I always watched my friends line up and take off thinking that it will never be me! My time will never come! Some part of me wishes that my time won't come, another part of me wants to go home and find inday hahahahaha!

Starting in premortal mission life with Elder Gali in the MTC and then being born here in Toboso Negros with Elder Noprada. Followed up be Elder Germain and then buggin out to Argao Cebu to followup train Elder Adap. Coequal with Elder Estanislao and then opening Pardo C Cebu with Elder Beretara. Making it 10 weeks with him before the emergency transfer and having a stake missionary, nga si Brother Mark Jayme, for 2 weeks. Afterwards, I got exiled to Siquijor where I was with Elder Artajo for the two transfers. Became District Leader after one of those transfers. Then I picked up my anak, nga si Elder Fernandez, and trained him for two more transfers on Siquijor. Receiving my first Zone Leader assignment in San Nicolas A with Elder Espiritu, then pushing two more transfers with Elder Putnam. After requesting to die off in Escelante I was shipped off to San Carlos where I never regretted it! Elder Eberhard (who shares the same first name as me) and then to be killed off by Elder Murdock. A total of six areas, 13 companions.

I baptized 21 people (counting two more THIS Saturday). 8 in Toboso: Mika, Rezamia, Patrick, Chris Merk, Gabriel, Ernesto (R.I.P), Victoria, and Kyle (who never got confirmed). 1 in Pardo: Billy John. 1 on Siquijor: Mae. 1 in San Nicolas: Kenneth. 10 here in San Carlos: Roque, Punay, Flora Mae, RoMari, Jill Beauty, Tony, Alfredo, Larry, and Liza and Antonnette this Saturday.

Last Monday morning I finished reading the Book of Mormon in Cebuano. I understood it! That makes 6 times in the past 2 years that I have finished that book. I also read the D&C once, PoGP once, and the New Testament once. (Sorry Old Testament! Didn't find time for you!).

So much happened and boy am I glad that I took a journal with me! Wrote an entry for every day! I am very blessed that my parents sent me a camera in the MTC. I wish I had taken more Photos of course but I have about 32 GB FULL of pics & videos.

After all that has been said, all I can testify is that I finally see the light in my life! After that experience of mine in the MTC, a quiet chastisement from the Lord, I haven't had depression since! I get very frustrated and angry when I cannot work because that is how I have figured out how to beat my depression, Service! I have always known that this church is true but now I know why! My eyes are open to many different things in life and religion is one. The Book of Mormon speaks to me each time i read it especially the last one I read in Cebuano! I have learned so much from that book that it draws my full attention! The latest verse that has been on my mind for the past 3 months is found in Moroni 7:45-48. I sustain our living prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson. His body may be weak but his mind is still sharp! I likewise sustain all the Apostles of the church as my guides back home. I know Christ lives. His teachings do lead to a happier life! Life isn't meant to be easy but at least it can be enjoyed!

This past week we baptized Alfredo and Larry! The sisters also added their baptism. The tall Filipino in the Center is the sisters baptism who was baptized by the more round Filipino.

We attended a wedding last Friday for Branch 1. The married two people and then baptized them right after our baptism.

We interviewed Liza and Antonnette Aclan for baptism this Saturday. They passed!

We had MLC last Monday and Tuesday. I Took my first picture with President and Sister McCurdy. 2 years and I finally get a picture with them! 

Well I have some stuff I need to get done! I will be seeing most of you inig uli nako! 



(Pics are the wedding, baptism, and the Martinez family as they went home from church last Sunday!)

- Elder Morris

Two More P-Days Left…

May 31, 2017

And the time is here when I get to announce that next p-day of mine will be my last. SO WEIRD! This past week was full of lots of work! We have scheduled 2 baptisms this Saturday, si Larry ug Alfredo will be baptized. They passed their interviews last Saturday and are good for this Saturday! We also will be interviewing the wife and daughter of Tony (the guy we baptized last week) this Saturday so that my last Saturday in the mission we shall have 2 more baptisms. That would cap me off at 21 baptisms in my mission. We will be leaving a lot more baptisms for next transfer -  Elder Murdock and his new companion will be harvesting them! We have a sister Leonessa who has made it to church 2 times and promised to come the next Sunday. We have a sister Vicinta, the one with polio, who really wants to be baptized and has made it to church once. We have a mother and 2 children of a recent convert namo that we are going to kuyog with to church this Sunday in hopes that they will be baptized here in a month from now. We also have a new investigator, a friend of Leonessa who accepted baptism here in 2 months that may be a good bet. Also 2 youth aged girls, si Jessa Mae and Regilien who have come 2 and 1 time. Also the gahi Catholic mother of Tony said she will try to make it to church this Sunday! That's a miracle! If she progresses well we may just baptize her too! Elder Murdock is lucky! 10 baptisms this transfer and if he works hard next transfer I don’t doubt that he can steal away with 5 more baptisms before he goes home! 

We worked out in Macasilao area. They are an hour away and are the only are in the mission that is not a Zone Leader area with a truck! They have to drive it to get to their area because it so walay klaro far away! I interviewed their baptism candidate and he passed. I then continued to work there for the day. I ran into a member family. They have been inactive for almost 9 years. This family taught me a lot! They have a daughter of 18 years old. She looks fine, talks fine but has a mentality of a 7 year old. The family doesn’t know what the disability of her is but I say she has autism. She reminded me so much of my younger brother! Same age, same situation except my brother can usually do a bit more physical things. The thing the frustrated me the most (and a big lesson I learned) was just how impatient and unloving the parents were towards their daughter! They spent the hour that we were there complaining about how their daughter can wash dishes, bathe herself, wash her laundry (she was blunt when she mentioned blood stains...), she always fights with the other kids, throws tantrums, can lunag (cook rice), can’t cook anything else. As in! I was a bit disgusted. We read Mosiah 4 and 14-15. They still didn’t get my message. I saw a huge lack of love and charity! From the words of Elder Holland:  

"I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally 'free at last'."

What is going to happen in the next life when you confront your friends of family or children who have suffered from disabilities like such? What are they going to say to us? "Thank you for your huge sacrifice in helping me my whole life when I could not"?  Or, "I can’t believe you would not help me in my time of need"? I tried my best to talk with the girl; I saw my own brother in her.

I think I have offended the mother of my friend who is in the Womens and Childrens protection facility. I followed up with the reading and worship of the mother (fully knowing that she hasn't been doing either for years). When she said she hadn't been doing either but that "hugot gyud ang akong pagampo!" (My prayers are still tight/strong i.e she is faithful in her prayers). I related a story to her about a hunter who is in the woods. He comes across a bear and decides to run. The bear chases him. The man then drops to his knees and prays "Father, please make this bear a Christian bear and that he won’t eat me!" Right then the bear catches up to the man. The bear also drops to his knees and prays "Father, please bless this food which thou hast given me!" I told her that her prayers aren't sufficient alone. You need to work! She didn't talk to me after that. Preach my Gospel teaches us, "Pray with love and charity. Pray for people by name.Ask for inspiration to help you understand and meet their needs. Pray for the welfare of contacts, investigators, new converts, and less active members. Pray for the members and priesthood and auxiliary leaders in your area. Pray for your family at home. Pray for your companion, other missionaries, your mission president. Pray to know how you can help others, then be willing to sacrifice in their behalf." Our prayers won’t be answered if we do not do our part. The first law of heaven is obedience. The second is sacrifice. How can we ever expect God to teach us or guide us if we are half-hearted? When a trial comes this is your time to come to know your God. How can He remember you if you don’t even remember Him! (think of the parable of the ten virgins "Ye knew me not!")

Last Friday night, the truck went down two big holes and the next thing we know is that the oil seal on the right front tire is broke and we have a huge leak of our power steering. We know have to use power arm steering! We can’t get her fixed here in San Carlos. The parts just aren't here so we need to take her to Cebu this Monday (which is also MLC) to get her fixed. 

Other than that the week has been another good week! A lot written down in my journal to share when I get home:3. T minus 13 days until I leave my area and make my way to Cebu where I will be having my departing missionary workshops and such and hopefully a great dinner at the Marco Polo hotel! MAHAL MAN SIYA! 

I would email pictures right now but I have forgotten my cord to email pictures with! Patay! Sigi, sa sunod na lang! 

Amping moha! 

-Elder Morris