Friday, July 31, 2009

Baptism of Stacy

Happy Birthday Mom!
Nate from his email

July 27, 2009

Things are going great! To answer your question we walk everywhere and take buses to different villages. Buses are just vans with numbers painted on them. They like to fit 20 people in one van and blast reggae. Ha ha, quite the experience!

This week was pretty sweet! Tuesday we had a district meeting at this park place where there are monkeys in the trees! It was fun. We fed them bread and they snatched it out of our hands and on our heads! It was really cool. I have never played with monkeys before!

Things are going great here. From being sick I lost like 15 pounds and I actually feel better than I have in a while. Just gotta make sure to eat foods I’m used to. I still don’t eat as much as I used to but that is changing. Like for example today we ate at “The Brazilian” which is this sweet restaurant with guys walking around with meat cutting it off for you. Expensive but we had been saving up for it. It was fun!

Saturday was Stacy’s baptism! She has been ready for so long. She was excited and it was a nice baptism.

Yesterday was branch conference. President Hymas spoke but instead of his talk he started off saying, “The spirit is subdued.” He said that the spirit wasn’t in the room. For some reason he didn’t feel like giving his talk and instead talked to the branch and kept saying that they needed to repent. He talked how he felt wickedness in the room and that the people needed to shape up and repent. Without it, he said, how is the branch supposed to grow? It was quite interesting. He is such a good speaker and I was looking forward for his talk but what he said was inspired and I hope the branch takes note. It was very weird.

Anyhow, we’ve found some new people that we’re teaching. This family we just happened to tract into on accident. This kid yelled at us and was like, “Hey come talk to my cousin!” She was like 18 and showed up to church with a friend and a cousin. It was pretty cool.

So I’ve had some sweet studies. I’ve read like 200 pages of the Book of Mormon in the last month ‘cause I’ve just been trying to read the whole thing well and get an overview of the whole thing before I get into some sweet study. Praying before study helps so much.

Well hey I know this was a weird email but I don’t have much time. I love you! I wish I could say more! Tell Ryan to send the ties to the address in Guyana. Amy, I couldn't reply to either - tell her I love her. HAPPY BIRTHDAY (Mom) AND I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hey Mom!

This past week was a really good one. Thought I’d mention I’m feeling much better but am not eating as much or else I start to feel sick again. I feel great now. Probably just hadn’t gotten used to the climate/area whatever. I sweat like crazy here! You should see my collars after a hard day’s work. Dark brown! Haha. Don’t worry I bought some spray and wash.

To answer questions from you, yes! We do work with the new converts. We teach them all the lessons over again. President Gamiette said that if the convert stays active for 42 days after baptism they stay active. Pretty cool statistic. Veneta moved over the river to Esecuevo for a short time but she’s solid. She’ll be back soon. The Salims’ grandmother died this week so they have been over the river as well this week

Did you know that most people here only make 200 dollars US a month? We get 540 as a companionship just for food and travel. I can’t imagine. Btw that is 108,000 guyanese dollars. Haha!

Zone conference this week!! WOW!!!!!!!!!! That’s all I can say. I learned SO SO SO much. WE took the beatitudes found in the Sermon on the Mount both in BOM and Matthew and we learned that they are more important than we think. We made a list of each thing we need to do. Like mourn for our sins. That’s important! Repentance is absolutely essential and we need to OWN the atonement and know it is extremely positively important before we can teach others about it. And when teaching others we need to make sure they OWN it as well. That’s what makes them prepared for baptism. To make sure they know how important it is and how it applies to them. I don’t have time to say everything I learned but believe me I learned TONS. I feel different. Like a different person. President Gamiette is an incredible person and I have a lot to learn from him. WOW.

We were only able to baptize one person this weekend. We had three that were ready but they required second interviews by someone in the mission presidency. After talking with President Gamiette he decided to push back Stacy’s baptism and Michelle’s as well. Stacy will be getting baptized this weekend and Michelle in 2 or three weeks. Angela, a short Amerindian lady, way nice, got baptized by me this weekend! Picture included. She is super short! She moved in last week and had been taught by the missionaries in Linden. They are breaking new ground and are having great success there. She was very ready and is always feeling the spirit. She knows without a doubt this is the true church. And so do I! Soon a stake will be in place in Georgetown and from there we will be able to go into the interior and over the Esecuevo river. The interior sounds AWESOME! We will be the first missionaries to ever step foot into there. I can’t imagine what it’d be like. I can’t believe that I’ve been here for 4 weeks and have 4 baptisms. They said to anticipate a baptism a week!

About Wilt Weekend. It didn’t work out at all. 38 people in the entire mission!! Not good. Only 2/6 companionships baptized this weekend in Georgetown . It was too bad. There are 5 zones in Guyana to put it in perspective. I love it though. I think it was a lesson to not focus on the number, but making sure that each person is really ready to enter the waters into baptism and make a covenant with God. Retention is a big problem here. People think that baptism is the final step instead of the beginning. They get forgotten and forget the church and continue with their lives. Our branch, Georgetown 2nd, has a really good program set up to go out and retrieve those people. Thursday nights the Relief Society, Priesthood, and Young Women go out and visit less actives to help them come back to church. It’s working pretty good. I like our branch. Some way cool, crazy, awesome people. Haha, just thinking about em makes me laugh. I’ll take a video of the branch this week and send it so you can meet them! If I have time of course!

Dad wanted me to include some ideas on how to study preach my gospel. Go through it each chapter and do each activity. Do companion studies with mom too. At the end of each chapter it has them. Member missionary work is ESSENTIAL here. Please help the missionaries and think of referrals for them. They LOVE it. Just go through the whole book doing each activity and every activity at the end of each chapter. Also, do the Christ like attributes quiz and figure out what you could improve on each week and work on it for that week! A lot of things I know, but it’ll help. It helps me! I see how important Preach My Gospel is now. I see why each missionary comes home wishing he would have studied it before he went on the mission. I’m keepin up though no worries.

BTW give my congratulations to Rachel (Gray) on her engagement! Dad told me about it. Todd seems like a cool guy.
Well that’s all I can really say. I love getting your emails and I work hard to make sure to reply to everything you ask me! I love it here. What a unique environment, walking down the street, being called white boy archers (gay white boys), jokin with drunk rastas, (dreadlocks Bob Marley types), playing cricket, etc. It’s all good. Haha I like being called spies too. They think we’re really from the FBI. Haha it’s way fun. Well I love you mom. More next week!
Elder Morris.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 13, 2009

Mom –

I’m excited you were able to go to the Robison’s homecoming address. In the short time I stayed with them, I learned lots from them and they are amazing people. Zone conference and interviews with the President are this week so I will be able to meet and talk with President Gamiette then. Their talk sounded really amazing. And it was exciting to hear that those important General Authorities were there as well! I’m really really glad you guys both went. You said one of President Robison’s 4 purposes for speaking was to motivate people to serve missions. What about you? Are you motivated? Haha it would be fun! 3 years is a very long time though.

About Caricom, yeah I was surprised also when I learned that Guyana is part of the Caribbean. Even though it is a country on South America! Haha. About my stomach. I’ve been doing good. I haven’t been able to eat as much but I’m drinking tons of water. I have a fever off and on but really I’m doing okay, no worries. The Evans are aware and call and check up on me so know that they are watching over me as well. They gave me medicine that is helping a bit.

About baptisms! This past week was The Salims’ wedding & baptism. Saturday night they had a wedding at the church and a big party after. It was really fun! The zone leaders came and it was a good time. They are a great couple! They were baptized yesterday morning. I baptized Abdool Salim and Elder Stebbing baptized Valarie Salim. I’ll upload a couple pictures, one of them at the reception and one of them before baptism.

Also I’m uploading a picture of Veneta’s baptism & a picture of us playing cricket a couple weeks ago. I put a picture up of a price of a box of Frosted Flakes. Most expensive cereal in da world! The Salim’s dog, brand new baby, is called “little Mulder”. Because Elder Mulder and Elder Stebbing found the Salim’s. They named the dog after him. Such a cute dog! Picture included. Also, we live below a member family called the Bacchus’. They’re awesome people. Their son, Aaron, who is 4, loves cricket so we play with him sometimes. There’s a picture of him as well. Some of the best pine (pineapple) in the world is in Guyana so we get it a lot on the street from the same dude. He’s cool. He’s always like “yah man! Best pine in da world!” Picture included of how they cut pine here. Another picture of the view from the street in front of our apartment.

Ooh! Forgot to tell you. Driving here is opposite. Ya go on the left side of the road. Also some more about life here. Stray dogs are rampant. Dogs have utters here pretty much. They run everywhere. Most have broken legs because of them getting bounced on cars. But really they are EVERYWHERE. Same with goats, cows, and horse carts. (I thought they were a thing of the past) guess not.

The work has been going okay. We might be able to pull off one or two baptisms this weekend to help with the Wilt weekend but we haven’t been able to find too many people that are ready for the gospel. Some are just ready. Stacy who I told you about, is keeping commitments left and right and is trying really hard. Only thing that could keep her back is her boyfriend who doesn’t live there but isn’t as willing to keep that ever important law of chastity. So if she does something about it she can get baptized Saturday. Michelle, someone we have also been teaching, has 6 kids, about 45 years old. She had a dream after reading the book of mormon for the first time. She said everybody was in white, and was in a very nice place. She knew that it was part of our church she said. She said she felt amazing the whole time and when she woke up she still felt good. She came to church and wants to be baptized. I know that this work is true. Some may not believe but they lack the faith to give it a try. We don’t ask them to believe us. We ask them to ask God for an answer and believe Him. The work is really going great. Well that’s how I’ve been doing. Very busy teaching, but we need to find new people as well. That’s a problem here. We don’t have enough time!

Also. I was going to give news of my other friends here in this mission. Elder Prince is in Rosignol Area in Burbece. He’s loving it here. Elder Houchens is opening a new area in Linden, and have over 15 people baptizing this Saturday. They are meeting with people who have never heard of the Church before. Most have never heard about Christ. They hold church in their apartment. Elder Beeson is in Canje, Burbece and is also loving it.Well I had better be off. I love you Mom! I couldn’t email everyone so tell everyone I miss them and love them. You should send me snacks and treats! Haha. Jk. Only if it doesn’t cost much.

Elder Morris

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7, 2009

Nate sent answers to some of the questions Dad asked last week:

1. Many people have asked if they can email you directly or if they should send the emails to us and have us forward them to you. what are the rules and what do you want us to do? I don't want you spending your hour each week reading emails from other people, I want you to read mine!

Yes, anyone can email me directly! I love it. And I will read your epistles no matter what. Don't worry bout that.

2. Are you going to email at the same time each week?

You guys are two hours ahead of us so it is 10:00 am here. As you can see, no. It all depends on how everything goes throughout the day. P-day plans change quickly.

3. Today is Aunt Susies birthday and it was Fatty Addie's first birthday on Saturday. Wish them happy birthday and I will tell them you said so. Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett both died this past week. Michael Jackson was only 50 years old.

Yes, wish them happy birthday for me, and I heard Michael Jackson died. In fact everyone now all of a sudden thinks he's the best ever so that's all you hear every day haha.

4. What are your hours for sleep etc. bed time, get up time, studytime.

Same as mtc pretty much. 6:30 wake up. 8:00 Study. 10:00AM proselyte. Around 1:00pm Lunch for an hour. 9:00PM daily planning. We have so much to do so we don't take a dinner break.

5. Can you download or send pictures? Does it cost money to use the Internet?

It costs to use the internet. I sent a couple pictures last week, of me and the doc in quarantine and my district. The internet cafe there let me send pictures but this one won't let me so i'll have to try next week. I'll send some cd's of pictures home.

6. Are there any fast food restaurants there like McDonald or other restaurants that I could send you some funny money to?

Don't send me funny money, haha. It'd just be too confusing. We have money for food provided to us.

7. Can we send you letters in the regular mail? What is the address?

I sent the address. Use the one that Sister Robison provided. Mine i just got from Elder Stebbing.

8. Is there a senior couple in your area?

yes, their names are Elder and Sister Evans. Also, one of the leaders of the mission is President and Sister Hymas. Supposedly Ed Hymas' cousin or brother or something. Let him know! You can share these on the blog if you want. It's good information.

Mom -

It was great to hear from you! By the way, my mistake. No on says, "Oy!" here. My bad! They do say a lot of funny stuff though. Like "baderation" means misbehaving or crazy. Or instead of "us" people say "we". Like "you talking to we?" haha it's fun. I know more but am forgetting a lot of it right now. Like "yeah yeah yeah" just means alright.

To answer your questions, I don't use a mosquito net. I have one, just don't feel like I need it. I have two fans pointed on my bed and that does a pretty good job but I usually wake up with a couple here and there. The worst are my ankles. I could count 20 on each!

I meant last email that most homes are a downstairs and an upstairs.

So I'll just use this as my big email for the week. Feel free to use any of what I send home to anyone in the family on the blog.

So this week was pretty cool. On last tuesday we had all the elders in the Georgetown zone, (12), combine and disperse in our area and find many people. Many of them didn't want us to come teach them but some did. We found some great, prepared people from it. Friday was my first baptism!! The girl, Veneta Layne, who is about 15 called us up and asked if I, Elder Morris, could perform the baptism. She'd been taught for like 8 months but her mom was out of the country so she couldn't get baptized. It was an amazing experience. I never really knew her but it was still tight. As we were leaving the font she said "I feel so light! Like a burden has been lifted off!" It was great to see the miracle baptism really is. Then, this week, a couple is getting married on Saturday, and on Sunday getting baptized. Talim Salim and Valerie. Way cool people. They would have been baptized this weekend but the Branch President wanted to meet with them first and do counseling which does make sense. So many people get married then fall apart here. Really families are far and in between here. Too many single mothers and kids who don't know who their real father is. We've also been teaching a girl, Stacy, about 28 years old. She's met with missionaries in the past about 2 years ago but now she feels like she's ready for baptism. She's received answers to her prayers and is way excited. In fact we hadn't mentioned baptism until last night, she was asking about tithing, sacrament, things like that. Then she went quiet and looked at us and asked "so when can I get baptized?" The magic question!! We were thrilled to hear that. It was fun to see how excited she was to get baptized. She'll be able to get baptized on the 18th of July. Part of the WILT weekend. (100 baptisms in Guyana in one week.) The previous record is 68. We gotta do it!

Anyways a little about life here. All i've felt like we've eaten is starches and meat. It makes me sick! I've had to eat other things the last few days to calm my stomach down. I still feel kinda weird. Curry makin me sick! haha. Yesterday for P-day it rained all day and it was "caricom day" in Guyana so everything was closed. That was why i couldn't write yesterday. Instead we played risk and ordered pizza hut. Instead of regular risk we have "georgetown risk" which Elder Stebbing created. It was way fun. Me and one of the zone leaders, Elder Scott, had a secret alliance and wasted Elder Marshal and Stebbing.

I can't write more. Keep asking questions so I know what to answer right away! Also, tell Ryan to send me more weird, fat, skinny, ugly ties. They are worth lots here.

BTW, tell dad sorry about the phone calls (in Atlanta). I didn't know how expensive they were. Also, FYI, Guyanese dollars are worth 1/200 of a US dollar. So in the bank I pulled out 54000 dollars of my monthly money given to me from the church for food, etc. (270 US). I had a huge wad of 1000 dollar bills. I'll have to send a picture.

Well, I love you mom and everyone at home. Tell them I love them and I couldn't write Amber back but tell her thanks for emailing and sending those pictures!!

I miss home already! Hahah.

Elder Morris

Email from Nate - June 29, 2009

Hey everyone!

I am really likin it here. I dunno about love, but it's very good. Our apartment i'm just not used to haha. It's open to the outside totally pretty much, so we get mosquitos, ants, supposedly rats live under thefloorboards. I loved Trinidad, the mission home is gorgeous. A/C too! That's a rarity here. The people are way nice here. Very open and you say, "afternoon","alright", "yeah yeah", to mostly everyone. Most of the houses here are a downstairs and a downstairs, some even more separated than that. Very run down place. Most of the people get by on basically nothing. You look around you right now, realize the total luxury the states really have. It's a 10 star hotel compared to here. I'm including a few pictures. I played cricket today with the Georgetown Zone vs. LaGrange zone. We owned! 24 to 22. Haha it was pretty fun. I guess i'm a goodbowler (pitcher). Look up cricket and some youtube or something. It's way fun. Mom, Dad, I can't respond to your emails cause I don't have much time. Also, anyone that reads this, I'm allowed to email pretty much anyone I want except women inside the georgetown zone. Haha that applies to missionaries that take girls home for marry. I'm already speakin like the Guyanese. Haha! So yeah email me! I'll try as hard as I can to email back. A little about the work. Baptizing is going crazy in Guyana. We, as the whole country of Guyana elders, comprising 5 zones, are going for the record of 67 baptisms in one weekend. We took it a little further. We are calling July 18th and 19th "Wilt Weekend". Think about it. Wilt chamberlain scored 100 points in one game. We're going for 100 baptismsas a goal for that weekend. We all added up our goals and as a country we think we can get even more, say 167 baptisms in one weekend. That's every companionship's goal put together. Ours is 6. We should be able to do it! This week we have 3 baptisms. First week in the mission and i'm already baptizing. This couple, Valerie and Talim Salim are getting married on saturday and then baptized sunday morning. It'll be great.This 15 year old girl, Vanitta is getting baptized Tuesday. So this is going crazy as you can see. I love the work. Tracting ain't as much fun, but it's fun to call on houses. "Oy, afternoon inside!" They come out and we invite them to church. Then we try to testify what we can, and see if we can teach a lesson. As you can imagine, rejection is plentiful but we've been able to tract out a few families that we are now teaching in the short time i've been here. I'm not used to this though! It's crazy. A problem with the work here is marriage. Chastity issues like crazy down here. This lady is way interested, loves what we teach and feels the spirit all the time, but the guy she lives with is always gone and never there for lessons. We can't baptize her unless they get married. It's Monika and George by the way. An Amerindian couple. (American Indians.) There are tons of hindus, catholics, and muslims down here which make the work a bit tough. The members are really fun and nice too. I liked church, I'll send pictures of the building another time. It takes way too long to send pictures via computer. I'll be doing dvd's and sending em home via the mail. Hey also, you can mail me here. It's not too bad, or not as bad as they say. Just no valuables or things i don't desperately need. The senior couple's address is C/O Evans 243 Cedar Courts Lamaha GardensGeorgetown, Guyana, South America Hey i have no more time to email. Sorry! I'll send ya more pictures and emails next week i guess. I love it here so far. People way nice, it's fun to talk the talk too. LIke crazy misbehavin children ya call "Ya little baderation mon!" Haha it's fun. Well don't worry about me. I'm safe, doing God's work. He'll protect me. I'm workin hard. I'll talk to you later!
Elder Morris