Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015

Hello all!

The work is still good in AZ! Last week was a slower week, but still good. I'm doing well and having fun! Things are still kind of warm, but school has started and places are a lot less crowded. Another fun thing that happened this week is that I've been assigned to be a mission tech! Aka, I help the mission with their iPad usage and implementation, help answer people's questions, and test the apps with Apple's new software! Currently I'm Beta testing iOS 9. It's a fun responsibility to have! Also sorry for the lack of pictures this week.....I'll get better.

FYI: The next time I email home will be one week from Wednesday because of transfers!

Monday: In the evening we had  a lesson fall through, then FHE. We ate Papa John's wings/pizza. It was so good! We also had a good lesson with one of our progressing investigators (we've had a lesson with her almost every  day this week and she will be getting baptized this Saturday)!

Tuesday: We did some service (fence painting and digging holes), then had a normal day with a few lessons. Dinner was super good. Our branch president took us out to a restaurant called Samurai Sam's.  I loved it! We also got to go temple cleaning in the evening which was awesome as always!

Wednesday: Most of the day was spent doing district meeting and missionary night (members of our congregation gather together and go and visit less active members or investigators). We got pizza to entice people to come to missionary night. It was from Little Caesars and they have a really good pretzel pizza. I got to go with the branch president during missionary night and we had some very powerful visits. It is amazing to see the love he has for his branch members. He is the principal at Show Low HS, so he had many of them in school as well. He took me on a off-road short cut in his Jeep which was super fun as well.  

Thursday: Not much happened. We had a good lesson with our progressing investigator, our recent convert family, and we visited a less-active YSA and his girl friend. The less-active guy was sleeping because he had work soon, but his girlfriend gave us some extra dinner (we ate a lot that day).

Friday: We had weekly planning which took a lot of time. We also had four set lessons, but only one actually occurred. It was a super good lesson though. We were preparing our progressing investigator for her baptismal interview the next day. We also had a really good dinner: homemade Chalupas.

Saturday: Another slow day. We did our studies, then our zone leaders came over so Elder Anderson could check their Area Book inputting. We then had our progressing investigator's baptismal interview which she passed! Elder Anderson had a meeting, so I just spent time waiting.  And our lesson for that day, unfortunately, fell through.

Sunday: Good as always! It was busy though, we had branch council, then did some companion study, then had ward council. In ward council, we got a training on how to make sacrament meeting and the Sabbath day more meaningful. The answer is that it all starts in the home. We contacted a lot of people in the park after church, then went to a really good dinner (homemade orange chicken and peaches with ice cream in them). After dinner, I felt sick for the rest of the night so it was hard to focus. We had a good lesson with another one of our investigators. He is so interested in learning more and because of that the Spirit is always present when we meet with him (especially when his kids are there too).

Monday: All we have done today is shop. Today I'm going to have to get caught up in my journal writing.

Last, I was very sad to hear about the car wreck and the death/injury of Holly, Dale, Kyle, Kevin, and Hannah. I have been keeping those people, as well as all affected by this accident, in my prayers. I sent a statement home to my parents to share, but here it is again (plus some additional comments)...

Note from MOM... The post dated August 8 has two paragraphs. The first was his original statement, which appeared on Facebook, and the "additional comments" are the spiritual thought he shares in the second paragraph.


On Friday, August 7, a tragic car accident began when a wrong way driver hit an SUV with five young adults inside. A semi truck came upon the accident and the truck driver did not have time to stop before hitting both vehicles. This accident ultimately led to the untimely death of three HHS Band friends from Elder Morgan's 2014 graduating class. Elder Morgan writes:

August 8, 2015 
Those peers of mine that were lost and injured were great examples and leaders in The Pride of Herndon Marching Band, at Herndon High School, and within the Herndon community. They were actively involved in a  variety of activities -- band, theatre, scouting, charity, and more.  They were also people who loved making others happy and putting others  before themselves and they would do that with little acts of kindness  ranging from surprising people with flamingos in the yard to being the leaders of Herndon's Pride. I was lucky enough to have the privilege of working with those people throughout my time at Herndon High School. They were some of the most outstanding leaders and people I have worked with. They always cared about how other people were feeling, they  made people happy with their Pride spirit, and they made sure the band  was always striving to "be better today than they were yesterday." I thank Holly for the time I was able to  work  with her as drum majors, Kyle for his large desire to make  people happy and support the school/band program, Dale for his leadership within the band and his motivation to be the best he and the ensemble could be, and Kevin for his leadership over the pit and drumline, for also always wanting to be the best he and the ensemble could be, and also for being a great friend since  elementary school. Their influence will  always  be  remembered.

Holly, Kyle and Dale

August 10, 2015 (additional thoughts)
That event ties into my spiritual thought [religious perspective]: God has a perfect plan of happiness of each of us. It started before we came to Earth and it  continues on after this life. Dale, Kyle, and Holly live on. Their spirits are in a place where they can continue to learn, grow, and be happy. Just like birth is part of God's plan for us, so is death. Birth brings us to this stage in our eternal life and death moves us on to the next stage of our eternal life. This is a hard thing to have happen. It is tragic. I know that as we rely on God through prayer, scripture study, and church attendance, He will ease this burden that now rests on many of us.

I love you all; I'm praying for you all; I miss you all. May God be with you.

-Elder Morgan

Friday, August 7, 2015

August 7, 2013, A Tragic Day of Loss for the HHS Class of 2014, and the Pride of Herndon Band Family.

Herndon Patch

Three teenagers identified as recent graduates of Herndon High School died early Friday in a head-on collision on a Texas highway, and two other teens were seriously injured, according to media reports.
WTVR Channel 6, a Richmond TV station, reported Friday that Dale Neibaur, 19; Holly Novak, 18; and Kyle Mathers, 19, were killed when their SUV was hit by a wrong-way driver at 1:50 a.m. on Interstate 30 in Hunt County, Texas.
An 18-wheel tractor-trailer that came upon the accident could not stop in time and slammed into the SUV and the wrong-way driver’s car, WTVR reported, and both vehicles caught fire.
The wrong-way driver also died in the crash, according to media reports. He was identified by a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman as Kenneth G. Frazier, 78, of Royce City, Texas.
The two other teens in the crash were taken to a Dallas hospital, according to media reports. They are Hannah Galbaith, 18, and Kevin DiCicco, 19, WTVR reported.
The Facebook page of the Herndon Band identified the three deceased teenagers as members of the band and of Herndon High School’s Class of 2014. Novak served in the band as a drum major, while Neibaur served as trombone section leader and Mathers as pep band manager.
The five teens were taking a road trip in the SUV from Virginia to a video-gaming convention in Austin, Texas, media reports stated.

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015

First, thank you all for your kind birthday wishes! It really means a lot to me and helps me feel happier when I receive that love from home. I wish I could respond to you all individually right away, but I just don't have time! I will try my best to a reply to each of you within the next several weeks!

Anyways, I'm holding up in AZ. This week has been a really good week! We are getting closer and closer to our personal, mission, and stake goals each week. It's amazing to see the Lord's hand when we consider Him in our goal setting.

It's a lot of fun getting to be in this part of Arizona! I'm beginning to feel more adjusted and used to life. I understand the geography, I'm getting to know the culture, I've picked what college I'll root for (ASU) and what high school to cheer for (Show Low HS), the weather is beautiful, and the evenings, sunsets, night skies, and storms are all wonderful. On top of that, I'm getting a lot closer with all of the missionaries in the two stakes I serve in and I'm getting better at disc golf. Today we started playing disc golf at a new course and It was so much fun. I'm excited to keep playing and I hope to play when I get home too!

Monday: We met with an investigator we haven't seen for a while and read the Book of Mormon with him and his family. It was super fun. After that we went to FHE. There was pretzel pizza and it was the best pizza I've ever had. They also had a huge telescope to look through which was super cool.

Tuesday: We didn't have any lessons fall through -- that was a miracle. We had a lesson with an investigator we have been working hard with to get to church. We met with a less-active woman and her non-member husband who are interested in learning more and coming back to church. We  met with a person we contacted in the park on Sunday, and we met with a person we've done service for. All of those we fun lessons. We also got to help paint a fence in the morning.

Wednesday: We mowed a less-active member's lawn for him. After that we had lunch and then interviews with the mission president. That was really nice to talk to him one-on-one. He hinted at what my transfer news might be, but I'll inform you all of that when they are definite (so two weeks from this Wednesday). In the evening, we had missionary night which was fun as always. It was my first time traveling out to Clay Springs (a small town 20 minutes from Show Low). I love the drives in AZ. At the end of the night, our branch president bought us Dairy Queen. That was super nice!

Thursday: We had district meeting in the morning. I showed up late because one of the zone leaders took me to get their phone and their car cleaned while the other zone leader set up the building for more interview with the mission president. We then had a great lesson with one of our investigators who will be headed back down to ASU in a few weeks. She is very interested in learning more which is great! In the evening we had to head up to Pinetop so my companion could do a baptismal interview.

Friday: It took us all day to complete, but we had a successful weekly planning session. It usually take us 3-4 hours, but we always had to do it at random times of the day because other things come up. We had three good lessons: we introduced the gospel to a women we have been doing service with for a while, we had a good lesson about keeping the Sabbath day holy with our recent converts (see Elder Nelson's talk, The Sabbath is a Delight), and a good lesson with another investigator who really enjoys the missionaries.

Highlight from Elder Nelson's address: The Sabbath is a Delight,
General Conference, April 2015

Saturday: I was with another missionary while my companion was doing exchanges. It was a great day. We went to a Pioneer Day celebration at Woodland park which was a lot of fun. I got to see my MTC companion there too which was awesome! Then we were out on bikes visiting people and were able to talk to a lot of people on the street. We got service planned for next week with a potential investigator, had a lesson with a less active member we have been wanting to see for a while and she said she would read the Book of Mormon daily, and we had a lesson with another potential investigator which went really well (when we asked him to be baptized, he didn't answer us, but he sat silently for 5-10 second then tried to change the subject, ha-ha). My favorite lesson of the day were in the evening.

Saturday Evening: We tried to visit a less active YSA, but she was in the valley. The member we were with (a really cool RM who is going to BYU and applying to teach at the MTC) wanted us to have a lesson that night, so he took us to someone he knew, but they weren't home. He suggested we just talk to people. We talked to one family through their screen door, but they weren't interested. We walked down the stair and talked to another family through their screen door. The women we were talking to was a member and her sister was with her. She said her sister had been asking her questions all day about the LDS religion, so we offered to have a lesson right then and they accepted! We did a how to being teaching lesson, then transitioned into teaching her about the Plan of Salvation. In the end, we invited her to be baptized and a set a date for her to be baptized. Coincidentally, that date is the first Saturday her LDS niece will have turned 8, so they most likely will get baptized together! In the end she gave the closing prayer and the Spirit was really strong. The missionary I was with, the member, and myself were all stoked after the lesson! Then just the missionary and I had another lesson that night with a recent convert we are trying to get to church. It was a lesson with some ups and down, but the highlight was when his girlfriend said she wanted to get baptized and wanted to be sealed in the temple! She wants to do it on her own timeline, so we just keep working with her one step at a time.

Sunday: The recent convert we saw Saturday night came to church after a lot of tugging as well as one of our investigators. She was a YSA investigator, but thought her church was at the building where our family ward met and she showed up just as our family ward sacrament meeting was about to begin, so she was still able to join us. Another investigator we have been working to get to church came to Relief Society for the first time today (her son went to Primary and wouldn't let her leave, so she actually went to primary)! At church, we were surprised that a potential investigator who declined our invitation to hear about the gospel when we go do service for him change his mind! We were told he is willing to talk with us! In the evening we had a lesson with a less-active whose baptism wasn't recorded and has to be re-baptized and we got him on date as well!

Monday: We started the day by playing disc golf, then had to get food for a zone activity, went to the zone activity, went shopping, and now I'm emailing! I found a really cool shirt for the high school I support in Show Low, but it is super expensive....I don't know if I'll end up getting it, ha-ha.

Spiritual thought: This life is meant to be a time for us to learn and be happy. I know there are trials we all face in life, but as we rely on Jesus Christ, His gospel, and His Atonement, we can work through those struggles. I'm grateful, as well, that this church is organized the same way as when Christ was on the Earth -- with prophets, apostles, and so on! It is truly a blessing in my life.

Another blessing in my life is all of YOU! I am so grateful for all each of you have taught me. All of you have taught me a variety of life lessons and I am grateful that I know you and for your friendship! I love you all and miss you all! You all are great! Stay strong! I know the church is true!
Elder Morgan

PS: The Church is still finalizing their materials for what's called "Online Proselyting" (i.e. missionaries on Facebook). It will be longer than originally planned until I'm on Facebook. That time  is still TBD.