Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

Hello Everybody!

I am pushing through! Missionary work is tough but we are making progress. We have goals in mind and are working toward those goals. I also have personal goals that I am working towards so I can improve. It's hard work though, but I'm learning and growing day by day.

COOKIES & MILK... do make me happy!

Tuesday: We continued work on a family's patio. We visited with some recent converts and a less active member. Game night was "Capture the Flag" and that was super fun. There were less active members there and potential investigators which was really great! 

Wednesday: Elder Anderson and I gave a training about how to teach simply and with unity at our district meeting. We also has a lesson with a potential investigator we met at game night. It went well, but he will be out of town for a while, so it will be some time before we see him again. This is a weird time of year because people go on vacation We also meet college students but struggle to set up future appointments with them because they're going back to school. 

Missionary night was fun. I got to be with the branch president. He gave me a lot of advice about life and about being a missionary. 

Funny [Interesting] story: We wanted to visit someone that night, but didn't have time, so we started to head back home. We stopped at a convenience store to get a candy bar, and we coincidentally parked right next to the person we wanted to visit! It was a small miracle. [Have you ever heard the sayings that, "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous," or "Chance is the pseudonym of God."?] We also had a lesson with another less active member. It went really well. 

Thursday: We did service in the morning, had a lesson with an investigator we haven't seen for a while, and had a lesson with a member referral that we got a while ago. In the evening we tried to visit people and were able to have some lessons with less active members.

This is my desk where I study and plan.

Friday: We did service in the morning. The person we did service for is a potential investigator. He took us out to lunch afterward at a place called Jalapenos Cafe. It was super good. I loved it. We tried to talk with him a little bit about the gospel while we were eating. Then we had weekly planning. In the evening we tried to visit people, but other things came up such as planning for an exchange, having a baptismal interview far away the next day, and our phone dying. In the evening, I went to another companionship's area so Elder Anderson could do an exchange.

Saturday: I was in another area. The missionary I was with got out [came to the mission] a transfer [six weeks] after me, so he was still very unfamiliar with the area; but that made it more fun. We stained a fence in the morning, then visited people throughout the day while trying to find time to do our First 12 Weeks training in the mission field. We were also on bikes. That was awesome because the weather was great (especially in the evening) and it made it easier to talk to people. We tried to talk to one person, but quickly found that he mainly spoke Spanish. Not much happened except me butchering Spanish as I tried to say the church's name.

Who knew city's close down... 
Where do they all go after 5:00? ;)  :D

Sunday: Our companionship study was planning and study time because of how late the exchange the day before had ended. We had ward council, then popped into the YSA branch to see if any people we invited came to church; none of them did in either ward. After church, we went to dinner in Clay Springs (about 25 minutes away). We couldn't find the family's house in our GPS, so we ended up 11 miles past it before turning around. Dinner was Navajo Tacos (my first time having them) they were super good! In the evening we tried to visit people with not too much luck.

Monday: I dropped my disc golf score this morning to 85, then we went shopping for groceries. I had to by new running shoes and I spoiled myself by getting some ASU shorts and an ASU baseball cap. Tonight we have a good FHE planned, so today should be a good day.

Spiritual Thought:
God loves us. He knows everything. We need to trust and rely on him.
Remember *Mosiah 4:9 where it say we cannot comprehend all that God can and **2 Nephi 9:20 which talks about God's omnipotence. He knows everything we are going through, feeling, dealing with, thinking, etc. And in the end, all of that can work out for the best so long as we follow him.

*Mosiah 4:9 (Book of Mormon)
Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

**2 Nephi 9:20 (Book of Mormon)
O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.

Thank you all for your love and support! I hope you have a great week! I love you all, miss you all, and think of you every day!

Elder Morgan

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015

*Pioneer Day is an official holiday celebrated on July 24 in the U.S. state of Utah, with some celebrations in regions of surrounding states originally settled by Mormon pioneers. It is the anniversary of the day that the first Mormon Pioneers entered the Great Salt Lake Valley.

Hello everyone!

Another week is done in Show Low! I'm holding up well! There is nothing too interesting or different going on. Missionary life is becoming normal and routine. The work keeps moving on and the days keep going by. (Highlights in red.)

Monday: I got my haircut and got to play dodge ball with the YSA's (Young Single Adults) at
FHE (Monday evening YSA activity). That was fun! We also got our car washed which is always fun!

Tuesday: We tried to take a new member family to the Family History Center so they could find names for temple work, but that didn't work out too well. We weren't as organized as we needed to be, the family history consultant did most of the work, and they didn't find any names...oh well! We cleaned up the backyard of someone we met on the street, and then we taught them about the Book of Mormon. It was a good lesson and they said they would read 3 Nephi 11 (Book of Mormon). For dinner, we went to a member's home. The father there is the band director of Show Low high school. We got talking and I may be able to help out with their band camp! We also brought a new YSA ward member to fellowship one of our YSA investigators and things are working out great with them!

Wednesday: Lesson with a less-active member, then Zone Training Meeting. The sister missionaries in our district gave a great training about being bold. The meeting went really long, so my companion and I gave an abbreviated training on how to use digital missionary pamphlets in lessons. Later that day, we went to the temple to do baptisms with our family ward youth and our recent converts. It was my favorite day of the mission so far! I love working in the temple. My companion and I got to do the confirmations which was very fun. After that we taught our ward mission leader how to better use the Gospel Library on and we gave a blessing.

Thursday: We did service in the morning, then made a lot of visits in the afternoon. We found out that someone we thought was a less active member is actually not a member, so hopefully we can start teaching him more. We had other good lessons that day.

Friday: We got our oil changed, visited less active members, and did service for one of them (we built a gate under her deck). I also tried some super hot chili extract, and lost my bag (but found it that night...phew). Also that day, we were asked to provide missionaries for the stake *Pioneer Day activity on Saturday which was easy to do, but we were also asked to find two musical numbers for that activity. And that is what we spent the rest of our free time Friday trying to do. In the evening, my companion and I came up with a cool arrangement of Come, Come Ye Saints (pioneer hymn) while he played the guitar and I sang.

Saturday: We started working on another patio, we helped a less-active member move, we performed our song and participated at the stake Pioneer Day activity (It was a week before Pioneer Day because they didn't want to have it the same day as Snowflake, AZ). We also made progress on our weekly planning.

Sunday: After studies, my companion and I had to go on splits. (To meet the need for missionaries in two places at the same time, the companionship splits and each missionary joins with a member from the ward as a temporary companion to cover both events.) We were to split for an hour because we needed to be two place at once: he needed to attend a confirmation, and I was needed at the YSA branch. Turns out the time for the confirmation was wrong, so the split ended early. I performed Be Still, My Soul in the YSA branch. We had church as usual and a nice linger-longer. (A social gathering after church where people visit and have refreshments. Very common in YSA wards/branches.) We also had a stake correlation meeting with our ward mission leaders and the high councilman over missionary work that was very good. In the evening we had a lesson with the family we introduced the Book of Mormon to on Tuesday. There was a daughter, mother, and grandmother. The mother and grandmother weren't interested in our message, but the daughter was, so we will try and teach her more. In any other remaining time, we did weekly planning.

Today: We played disc golf again. This time I scored 95 (lower my score by 9). I don't know what par is for that course. Then we went to Panda Express and shopping. Unfortunately, the internet is down in most of Show Low because someone cut the cable of one of Show Low's biggest internet service providers....whoops.

Spiritual thought: 1 Nephi 11 is the guidebook to how you can receive inspiration from the Spirit. My favorite part is verse 1-5. Nephi says "I sat pondering" (v. 1), "I desire" (v. 3), and "I believe" (v. 5). In order for us to receive that inspiration, we have to ponder what we read, learn, hear, etc., desire to hear from God, and believe that he will communicate with us. As we do, we will learn. Our branch president also shared a great talk about the story of the brother of Jared and ships (Book of Mormon). We must remember the we need to put in effort and do as much as we can, then the Lord will help us (especially if we ask Him).

I love you and miss you all! I hope you have an amazing week! You are in my thoughts.
-Elder Morgan

Monday, July 13, 2015

June 13, 2015 Email Highlights

Hello everyone!

We have gotten a lot of rain here which has been great. It keeps things cool! I have also been out for two months! It's weird, it feel like it has been a really short time, but also a really long time, ha-ha. I still miss you all and think about you!

Wednesday: I was able to use my new discs and play my first 18-hole course of disc golf! I scored either a 104 or 106. Luckily, it was my first time playing a real game so I can get away with such a high score like that! In the evening we had missionary night with the YSA branch. We got to share my favorite Mormon Message (The Hope of God's Light) at those visits.

Thursday: There was a thunderstorm in the middle of the night that woke me up and we woke up to rain! Luckily, it stayed cool all day. We had district meeting and there was a great training ... and also a great get to know people activity. We each wrote three things about our companion, then we had to teach a gospel principle to someone while incorporating those three points about that person into our min-lesson. It was super funny. 

Friday: Weekly planning day! In my personal study, I learned a lot about setting a date to achieve goal and having faith the Lord will help us achieve those goals. .We did service for a member family and helped them replace parts of their porch. Dinner was good today, too. Homemade pizza, homemade ice cream, cake, kale salad, carrots, and watermelon.

Saturday: We weren't able to get our free Slurpee's because there are no 7-11 stores near Show Low. Here is an interesting story. One of our zone leaders who was staying with us left his retainers in our house. I was doing the dishes, and didn't notice they were in a cup, so I dumped them into the garbage disposal. When he came over to look for them, he found them in there and they were barely damaged. That was a small miracle.

Sunday: Was a usual busy Sunday. When we had dinner, I ate way too much and felt sick the rest of the day. I won't make that mistake again. 

Monday: Nothing much has happened yet! Just studied, went to Wal-Mart, got discs for another missionary, and now emails! We're hoping to get our car washed and get haircuts today too.

We contacted people and they let us hold their snake.

Elder Morgan

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Missionary Me in AZ!


Wicked good cupcakes!
Marble Mutt and Cheesecake Lab. Um, um, good!

July 8, 2015

Hello everyone! 

An update on the transfer: I am going to stay in the same area with the same companion for the next transfer!

Tuesday: We did a lot of service (Eagle Project, yard work) and we also helped a teacher move her classroom. We had a few lessons and played some volleyball as well with the YSA's for game night. At night, the zone leaders slept over with us and we slept in our member's home's tree house. It was very uncomfortable and very close quarters. We also went frog hunting and caught a small frog.

District leaders prepared for District Meeting.

Wednesday: District meeting. After that meeting we went to Dairy Queen with the zone leaders. We had some lessons which all went well and a friend of one of our recent converts said she wanted to get baptized! That's super exciting. We had missionary night in the evening which was great! We did a lot of driving around, but we met with one member and had a great lesson. We got to show my favorite Mormon Message "The Hope of God's Light." I loved it. [You can view it here.]

The Hope of God's Light

Thursday: We had a lot of less active visits and a few set lessons which went well. We then moved to Pinetop to live with the zone leaders because the member's we live with needed our studio for their guests for the fourth of July (they had 32 people over!).

Friday: Weekly planning, two lessons which both went well, and then service. We were taking out a less-active member's bush for her. A storm was coming and it was really cool working outside, seeing the lighting around us and hearing the thunder. One of the great things about the rain here is that it cools the temperature down by about 20 degrees after. It's great.

Saturday: We woke up early to help check-in floats for the Show Low 4th of July parade, then watched the parade. The rest of the day was trying to make less active visits which was very challenging. For dinner, our recent converts invited us to their campground on the reservation. It was about a 25 minute drive from where we were living. It was super pretty and felt super nice outside. We had some great foil dinners. There were Mexicans at the campground next to us and they gave us some really good salsa. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to see the fireworks, but that was okay because we got permission to go home 30 minutes early instead, ha-ha. We also got our transfer news this day.

Sunday: Busy church day as usual, trying to make visits in the evening. One of our zone leader finished his mission and went to the valley, so the other stayed with my companion and I starting Sunday.

Monday: More less active visits and some lessons. Our recent converts gave us dinner again at their house and it was so good. We had a potential investigator go to FHE, but found out he isn't actually interested in learning more, only in hanging out. So, we will see what happens.

Tuesday: Service in the morning, lessons, and visits. For the service, we started leveling ground so we can lay a patio. Dinner was a fun experience. It was with a potential investigator (the one we do service for). We ended by showing the Restoration video of the first vision. WE are going to try and meet with them just to talk about religion. They are religious as well, so we plan to discuss our different beliefs. Game night was great! I got to meet some less active members and play ultimate Frisbee. I had so much fun.

Wednesday: We had to help clear out an apartment, then I bought some discs and am going to play disc golf later today. We did our shopping and tonight we have missionary night and hopefully a lesson with a potential investigator!

Note... This is disk golf with a message! Cool!

Me: I'm doing well. I'm adjusting to mission life well and time seems to be speeding up. I'm excited to keep learning and growing. I'm having fun! I do miss you all and love you all!

Spiritual thought: The Lord loves us and will teach us "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little" (2 Nephi 28:30). We may not notice we are spiritual growing (just like we don't notice our physical growth), but we are! Also, we live on a covenant land (America) -- a land promised of God -- and as long as we obey God and keep His commandments, we will be blessed.

I love you all! Enjoy your week! I'll email again this Monday!

-Elder Morgan

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Surprise Email, June 26, 2015

I (Elder Morgan's mom) opened an unexpected email from a member of the church in Arizona, and was pleasantly surprised to read this note referencing the first baptism that Elder Morgan was involved with.

Happy baptism day! 
What a great son you have raised!! 
Also his voice is beautiful!!
                                                                                                         --Maren Robertson

Made my day... Loved it, love him!

June 29, 2015

Hello all!

Unfortunately, I forgot my journal again, so this will probably be a short email. The main thing that happened this week was [our introduction to] the Area Book Planner app. Each area in a mission has an area book which contains records of everyone taught over the years. That, along with our daily planner, is now on our iPad. It has been hard learning how to use that app effectively this week, but we are figuring it out one step at a time! We also have to input all of our records from our area book into the app and that takes a lot of time.

Challenges of a new App.

Monday: P-Day. We had some lessons in the evening. At the YSA FHE, Elder Anderson and I sword fought each other with noodles. He won, ha-ha.

Tuesday: A lot of service. We started with a member's Eagle Project in our ward, then we were taking all vegetation out of a potential investigator's yard (this is a project that is taking forever and is hard because there are no trees in this person's yard.) We went to let people [students] practice taking blood, and we helped prepare a deck to be painted. In the evening we went to game night where I learned a new game called Chair Soccer. It is super fun! Then Elder Sorensen (our zone leader) came with us for exchanges.

Guinea pig for phlebotomy students.

Missionaries at arm's length... ha-ha!

Wednesday: Exchanges with Elder Sorensen. We had district meeting, then the senior couple in our district took us out to lunch at a great pizza place! Nothing else really happened except for studies and visits. We visited a less active member and it was really fun to teach her as a threesome!

Zone Leader, Elder Sorensen (McKell Poulton's brother) with Elder Morgan. 

Fun note... Elder Sorensen finishes his mission on July 6, and will be returning home. McKell is a member of the church who lives in Herndon, VA, and her husband was one of Elder Morgan's church youth leaders in Virginia. She hoped they would meet before her brother went home. YEAH!

Thursday: More pulling up vegetation in the morning, then taught a lessons to the people who got baptized last week. Other than that, it was just more visiting people. We had one lesson that evening which also went well.

Friday: We had the baptism. I got to sing "Be Still, My Soul" at it. It was a great baptism and the spirit was very strong. We also had weekly planning which took up a majority of our day with this new app. Then at about 10:28, we were about to go to bed, but then we got a call from the hospital and we were asked to give a blessing. We had a late night that night and didn't get to bed until 11:30.

Saturday: Helped out with another Eagle project in the morning, then had a lot of visits and a few less-active lessons the remainder of the day.

Sunday: LOTS of church meetings. Because of church meetings, we did some finding in between church and dinner and visited a family. Otherwise, we had studies and a lot of administrative type things to get done.

Spiritual thought: 
God is going to teach us "line upon line, precept upon precept" (2 Nephi 28:30); we will learn and grow slowly, so slow we may not notice it. We have to keep pushing forward through that unnoticeable growth and keep trying and experimenting on the things we are learning (Alma 32:27). As we do that, we will know they are true, beneficial, and a blessing to us AFTER we act on them (Ether 12:6).

That's all for this week! Transfers are next week, so you won't hear from me again until Wednesday!

Elder Morgan

Here are the scriptures referenced above:

2 Nephi 28:30 (Book of Mormon)
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, we have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

Alma 32:27 (Book of Mormon)
But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

Ether 12:6 (Book of Mormon)
And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

LSD missionary vocabulary
Exchanges: When two missionary companionships trade partners for a day or for an evening. (Often, a zone leader and his companion will exchange with a trainer and the new missionary he is training. This gives a zone leader an opportunity to get to know the new elder and see how his training is going.)

June 22, 2015

Hello all!

Last week was very busy, so I didn't have much time to write in my journal, therefore this email may be kind of small.

Monday: I downloaded some piano music to learn and got time to play the organ! It's really hard. We also contacted a referral.

Tuesday: My companion (a district leader) was doing exchanges, so I had a different companion in my area! We did a lot of service: weeding and digging holes for trees (I got super burnt on my neck), finishing the patio for the part-member family (see picture), and cleaning up trash in a yard. We then had dinner (spaghetti!). We had a very good lesson that evening with another part-member family and I played some quidditch with the YSA branch! That was super fun!

Finished laying my first patio!

Wednesday: We had a lesson in the morning then had zone training meeting. We talked about extending commitments and a lot about using our iPads safely. We had to do our studies in the afternoon, then went to missionary night in the evening with the YSA branch.

Thursday: Another exchange, but I went to a different area. We went to map out the hike for girls camp, then made a lot of visits to less-active and other members

Friday: I don't really remember what we did in the morning....but in the afternoon we did service! We mowed a non-member's lawn and sprayed it with weed killer. He is pretty much flipping a house, but he is only here on the weekends, so he plans for it to take two or three years to complete. In the evening we had temple cleaning! It was so fun!

Cleaning the Snowflake Temple was so fun!

Saturday: We had a lesson with someone referred to us. Two people we're teaching (brother and sister) had their baptismal interview! Their baptism will be this week. We taught a lesson to a less-active, did some weekly planning, then handed of a investigating family to another set of missionaries. They are a great family and it was sad to hand them off.

Sunday: Meetings and church until 4. We then made visits, planned and discussed the baptism program for the brother and sister with their family, got some great sweet-and-sour chicken from a family, then went to put in numbers at a member's house whose family is super funny and entertaining.

Monday: Today I'm not doing much. We were going to get the Area Book Planner app today (it will be our area book and planner on our iPad), but we won't be getting that until tomorrow. I'll probably go play the piano, catch up on journal writing, and sleep, haha! We went on a 30 minute run this was rough.

For spiritual thoughts throughout the week: keep working on/strengthening your testimony [of Jesus Christ and His gospel teachings]. To maintain our testimony we must make sure we are praying and reading the scripture daily, because our eternal success is based upon our small habits (i.e. praying and studying the scriptures). As we do so we will learn his teachings and find direction for our lives. If we remember the Lord through life's trials, it will be easier to push through them!

I hope you all are doing well! I love you and miss you all!

-Elder Morgan

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

June 15, 2015

One month down, 23 to go!

I forgot my journal at home so this email will have less information.

Monday: P-Day. Went to a music store and had a lot of fun in there. For FHE we played softball!

Tuesday: We started making a patio for a senior less-active member and his wife. In the evening, we had to wait for the assistants at the stake center because one of them was going to tag along with us for an exchange. His name is Elder Aiono. He is a super nice guy!

Wednesday: Temple trip to the Snowflake temple! It was a lot of fun! I did the temple work for someone from my own family tree for the first time. That was awesome! We then went to missionary night and didn't have much success that time. Then we had a great dinner with a part member family.

Temple Trip with half of the missionaries in the Scottsdale Mission.

Thursday: Worked on the patio some more and taught investigators about tithing and fasting. In the evening we went to institute and talked about Moses 5. That was so much fun! I gained so much insight. I found someone who could play piano for a musical number for me and the ward organist said she would let me borrow her organ key on P-Days so I could go play it!

Friday: Weekly Planning. We had an appointment in the morning and in the evening. Both of them went well.

Saturday: We did a lot of service for a non-member as well as continued working on the patio. I had baked ziti for dinner which was a nice reminder of home (but it wasn't as good or the same as my father's). We tried to visit less-actives, but most of them weren't home. One of the families that was home owns animals and one of their goats got on our car.....(see pictures) We may have found a new part member family that night, which was nice!

Goat on car... go figure.

Sunday: Lots of church and meetings. Branch Council, the Ward Council, then Sacrament meeting, Gospel Principles, and Priesthood. With about 30 minute for a lunch break in between. After church we did some finding in the park. We talked to a man who was also a marine recruiter. We talked a little bit and told him our interactions with the military. Both my companion and I took time to sit down with a recruiter before our missions and talk. He had respect for us because we did that. He let us come meet with him that night to talk about the gospel. He as a really great family and he and his wife are super nice. At church, we also met a teenager who just popped into the meeting. He is really nice and positive and said he'd meet with us tonight. 

My companion and I talked about how it's hard to keep track of missionary visits in the evenings, so I suggested we make a Good Spreadsheet to track everything and so the branch missionary committee can all access and edit it! It might work well, we'll see. We might try it this week.

That's my week! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! I miss you all!

Elder Morgan