Sunday, June 14, 2015

MTC District Fun!

Missionary work is a well balanced mix of 
service, study, teaching, growing and fun! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

June 8, 2015

Hello all! Things are going well here in Show Low. 

Here is a rundown of my week: 

Monday, June 1: P-Day. Went to the YSA Branch FHE that night. Also went to DQ to meet a potential referral, but he wasn't there. Instead I got free food!

Tuesday, June 2: We taught a part member family about praying often. We also gave everyone a chance to bear their testimony. They are all almost ready to be baptized, and in that lesson we talked about eternal families and the temple. The spirit was very strong. I am grateful for our Heavenly Father's plan of Happiness and that we can all live with our families for eternity. I'm grateful that in the temple, we can be sealed with our family for eternity. For dinner, another part-member family took us out. It was a Mexican Grill called Lacaons. It was so good. I had a Chicken Chimichanga and Fried Ice Cream. Then we had game night with the YSA Branch. I tossed a Frisbee while I was there and it felt so good.

Wednesday, June 3: Time started to feel like it was moving faster. I was starting to get more comfortable with people. We had a district meeting where we talked about how to do better at finding people to teach (ride your bike & ask for referrals when you shake someone's hand) and we discussed how to adjust to missionary life. We also talked about have a booth at Show Low Days (it is a festival for the city of Show Low). We had missionary night with the YSA Branch and while we were out I taught a less-active member the Plan of Salvation. That day we also made some visits to people with the family ward mission leader. It was also my first time giving a blessing to someone I hardly new. It was a unique experience!

Thursday, June 4: We had to drift from our normal routine for the next few days because of Show Low Days. At 9 a.m. we went and set up for the festival. We hung signs, ran electricity from the generator, and helped vendors set up. After that we met with a potential investigator who wasn't very receptive to the Book of Mormon. That's okay though! I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and teaches us eternal truths and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With the Book of Mormon and the Bible, we can learn exactly what God wants us to know in this life. And as we pray, read, and study the Book of Mormon, our testimony can be strengthened in modern-day prophets and the church (see the last two paragraphs to the Book of Mormon Introduction). Also during my studies that day, 1 Nephi (First Nephi)  chapter 3 stood out to me. It teaches a lot about trials. I encourage you all to read it. I got burned being out side today and I think I'm starting to get more tan.

Friday, June 5: We studied then did our weekly planning. We setup our Show Low Days booth (we had tables with Book of Mormons and other proselyting materials). Then staffed it. We then went to teach a lesson to a women who's boyfriend is a member. I extended an invitation to baptism and she accepted! The spirit was again strong. We returned to the apartment to do more planning, but then went to dinner (it was with another part member family and we ate ribs and baked beans and cherry pie). During dinner it thunder stormed and rained really hard. Afterwards, we went over to Show Low days to help cleanup/close down our booth and drive the elders, who had been out in the storm, home. I also learned more about hope and trials that day. I know as I hope in the things that I know are true (the atonement, eternal life, promised blessing, priesthood authority, the Book of Mormon, etc.) I will be able to better endure through trials. Trials may not go away, but Heavenly Father will help me endure through them.

Saturday, June 6: This was the first day of my mission I forgot to write in my journal. We started the day by putting our booth back up, then went to breakfast at the Stake President's. Then my companion had a meeting. After that we staffed the booth then went and did some service. One part-member family is doing their own home improvement, so we are helping extend their patio. We have prepared the land and tomorrow we will go and finish the project. I got mail that day (thank you to all who sent letters) too. In the evening we manned the booth for another hour, rode one of the rides at the festival, then clean up our booth.

Sunday, June 7: We woke up at 6 a.m. to help vendors clean up their booths. We then studied and had a lot of church meetings. In the evening we helped the seminary teacher recruit students to enroll (they do released time and the deadline for enrollment with the school is fast approaching). I felt sick a lot of yesterday unfortunately.

That was last week! Thanks for your love and support!
-Elder Morgan


P-Day (Preparation Day)
Missionaries write emails, do laundry, grocery shop etc.

FHE - Family Home Evening
Monday evenings have been set aside for families in the LDS church to spend family time together. No church meetings are scheduled on Mondays. The exception is YSA wards where young adults get together and socialize by doing service or playing games, etc.

Stake President
An ecclesiastical leader in the LDS Church. 

A daily religious education program for teenagers in the LDS church. Classes generally meet for 50 minutes each week day.

Released Time Seminary
Students may enroll in seminary during the school day. Seminary replaces an elective or study hall period. A seminary building is located next to the school and students have permission to leave the school campus for one period and go to the seminary building where they will attend their seminary class. This program is generally offered in areas where there is a large LDS population. (Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, parts of Washington, California and possibly more.)

*Early Morning Seminary
In Virginia, where Elder Morgan is from, most LDS teenagers attend seminary at a local church building at 6:00 a.m. before school. The church also offers an online seminary course and home-study seminary.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Missionary Work (Talk)

Sunday (5/31/15)
Sacrament Meeting Talk
By: Elder Blake Morgan
Based on a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard titled, "Stay In the Boat and Hold On!"
(LDS General Conference, October 2014)

"The Lord in His goodness has provided help, including a boat, essential supplies such as life jackets, and experienced river guides who give guidance and safety instructions to help us make our way down the river of life to our final destination."

Three rules:
Rule number one:      Stay in the boat!
Rule number two:      Always wear a life jacket!
Rule number three:   Always hold on with both hands!

The boat sounds like a big help, especially when the waters outside the boat are rough and dangerous. Now, wouldn't you want to invite other people to join you in the safety of the boat? [As member missionaries, we are inviting those we care about to join us in the safety of the boat.]

In 2003, Elder Ballard gave a talk about member missionary work. In it, he states that we are all commanded to do missionary work and he follows with examples of how to go about doing so. 

[The first missionaries were called by the Savior himself.]

John 21:15-17 (Bible)
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him a third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

If we love Jesus Christ, we must feed his sheep. What does it mean to feed His sheep? It means we must share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others, having a sincere desire to help bring them closer unto Jesus Christ.

D&C 88:81 (Doctrine and Covenants)
Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

We are commanded by God to warn others now that we have been warned. Elder Ballard teaches that through missionary work "we're not marketing a product. We're not selling anything. We're not trying to impress anyone with our numbers or our growth. We are members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, empowered and sent forth by the Lord Himself to find, nourish, and bring safely into His Church those who are seeking to know the truth."

Missionary work can be hard. Elder Ballard has three suggestions to overcome the challenges:
  1. We must exercise our faith and pray individually and as families.
  2. Leaders must lead by example.
  3. Member missionary work does not require the development of strategies or gimmicks. It does require faith--real faith and trust in the Lord.
As you reach out to others, share the gospel out of love. 

The Church would not have grown without missionaries and the sacrifices they make. Missionary work is hard with or without a name tag. The sacrifice may be stepping our of your comfort zone. If there is anything we [the ward missionaries] can do to help, send us a text message or give us a call. 

Here is one idea on how you can share the gospel: sharing the gospel online is convenient and fast.
  •>Share the Gospel
  • Mormon Messages (short and powerful)
  • Hashtags
We should remember that missionary work is service and a display of love.

Mosiah 2:17 (Book of Mormon)
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

Matthew 22:37-39 (Bible)
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Elder Morgan concluded with his own testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

LDS Vocabulary

Talk in Sacrament Meeting 
10-20 minute sermon in a Sunday Worship service.

Elder M. Russell Ballard
A significant church leader. A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; one of the most senior leaders in the LDS church.

General Conference 
A bi-annual event for the LDS Church which is broadcast worldwide to all members of the church. The conference is held the first weekend in April and October, with multiple sessions.

D&C (Doctrine & Covenants)
This book of scripture is a collection of divine revelations and inspired declarations given for the establishment and regulation of the kingdom of God on the earth in the last days. Although most of the sections are directed to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the messages, warnings, and exhortations are for the benefit of all mankind and contain an invitation to all people everywhere to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to them for their temporal well-being and their everlasting salvation.

Member Missionary
All members of the church may perform missionary work in their own lives by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with their friends and neighbors. Members often visit with less active members, and share the gospel with part-member families. Member missionary work is carried out in love and with great respect for those they interact with. It is motivated by sincere love, and a desire for family, friends and neighbors to find greater happiness in this life and eternal joy in the life to come.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

1 June 2015, Excerpt 3 from Weekly Email

                                                                  Mom thought...
Leaving behind family, friends, schooling, Facebook, Snapchat and all that is familiar is a real trial for new missionaries. To live in an unfamiliar place where everything is new, and everyone is new, is a huge adjustment. The transition to this new lifestyle is real, and it usually takes a few weeks for missionaries to adjust. As adjustments are made, missionaries comes to love the people they meet and the places where they travel. I hope you will follow this blog and witness for yourself the transformation that I am confident will come as Blake continues his missionary journey. He will meet new people, build meaningful friendships and have experiences that will transform his life in a very significant way. Great things are around the corner, and I hope you enjoy the journey of discovery that will be Elder Blake Morgan's mission.

Learning Through Trials
By Elder Blake Morgan 

Once you get into the mission field, you realize many trials that you have to overcome and you see the trials other people have to overcome in life.

A Missionary Story from The Book of Mormon
The Prophet Alma teaches the poor whose afflictions had humbled them.
 Book of Mormon, Alma 32:1-6 (Book of Alma, Chapter 32, verses 1-6)

1 And it came to pass that they [Alma and other missionaries] did go forth, and began to preach the word of God unto the people, entering into their synagogues, and into their houses; yea, and even they did preach the word in their streets.

2 And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel--

3 Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart.

4 Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill Onidah, there came a great multitude unto him, who were those of whom we have been speaking, of whom were poor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world.

5 And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: Behold, what shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priest; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do?

6 And now when Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word.

Alma goes on to preach a powerful sermon on faith to this people, and many are converted. (See Alma 32 in The Book of Mormon)

In reading Alma 32:6, one learns that trials humble us and prepare us to accept the word of God and as we accept that word, it will be easier for us to lean on Him. We must pray and ask Heavenly Father to support us, and as we pray in faith, with a sincere heart, He will.

Monday, June 1, 2015

1 June 2015, Excerpt 2 from Weekly Email

Weekly update by Elder Morgan
  • On Thursday we were cleaning up a less-active church member's yard. I was doing a lot of weeding and got my first AZ sunburn on my arms!
  • Friday, we had dinner with a member family and they had their neighbor from England join us. He was a non-member, we were told not to be "too missionary," and it was super fun! Member dinners are the best because they give us so much food and they're home cooked and free. I'm so appreciative. We get member dinners almost every night, except Wednesday. At our dinners we get to meet with less-active members or non-members too! (Great for a missionary!)
  • Sunday was the busiest day of the week. We bounce back-and-forth between two buildings for branch meetings and ward meetings, then in the evening my companion has to put in numbers (zone leader or district leader work). We went to a member's house last [Sunday] night (the Tenney's) and they were super nice, funny, and fun to be around. I also gave a talk about member missionary work on Sunday too! I'll ask my mom to post it on the blog.

I love you all and am thinking of and missing you!

-Elder Morgan

1 June 2015, Excerpt 1 from Weekly Email

by Elder Morgan

One of the coolest things about getting iPads in the mission is that it isn't just for those we teach. They give us iPads to better ourselves and our use of technology. Through having iPads, the church is trying to teach missionaries how they can safely use them, use them with good etiquette, and use them in a disciplined, productive way. The church produced a pamphlet which  all missionaries who use iPads receive. The pamphlet lists safeguards on how to properly use technology. As we pay attention to those safeguards, we create habits for proper technology use that will last us the remainder of our lives. Though there are many temptations and evil things that can be done with technology, we learn how to avoid those and use it for good. We also learn how to use it to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we can share the gospel, using technology, for the rest of our lives.

iPads are great devices to use for studying. The Gospel Library app has so many fantastic features to use: marking, tagging, note taking, linking. It's great. If you have it, I encourage you to play around with it. If you don't have it, get it. iPads are also great for playing music. There are only a few websites I can use, but on there is a youth site. That youth site has a bunch of EFY and Mutual music that my companion and I listen to a lot.