Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010

Hello America!

This morning we went to "the crane." Supposedly one of the nicest beaches in Barbados, thus one of the best in the world. The sand was fantastic. It was almost milky. Weird but it was awesome. Elder Jones and I buried ourselves in the sand up to our knees and we played football and cricket. Way fun.

This past week was tough but better than last week. We've been working with this guy Bazil who says a spirit inside him won't let him pray. But.. we're trying to figure out what to do. He's reading the Book of Mormon but having trouble getting an answer to his prayers because of the evil spirit inside of him. I've never dealt with anything like this so we're definitely in new territory. Thank goodness for the priesthood we have. He came to church and that was cool so we're still working with him.

We still don't know a ton of members here and although we're getting a bigger teaching pool we still have a lot of downtime. Which means a ton of walking around and talking to everybody we can. It's goin alright though. But the days can feel very long sometimes. Church yesterday was interesting... to say the least. Our branch president, well let's just say a change needs to be made. He has no enthusiasm and causes a lot of contention. We're trying to figure out what to do about him but we'll figure out something.. It's cool though. A lot of the active members have been active for 20+ years. So they know the gospel well but they're comfortable with the way things are, but things need to be changed. It's a trial and member work is hard to come by but we're still trying.

I've been reading a ton of the BOM still and it's fantastic. I"m loving every minute of it. Learning tons and feeling the spirit more and more. I've realized that if we want to become better and feel the spirit more we have to sacrifice more and be more obedient. So, i've been doing that and i've been gaining a strong testimony of that process since. I love the book of Mosiah. It is sweet! To see the hand of the Lord in delivering his righteous people. It's such a common theme and still happens, even today. Look at the pioneers and the early saints. Same kind of thing. However like in Mosiah 23 how it said the lord seeth fit to chasten his people. We'll ALWAYS have trials. that's what gets us better and stronger.

To answer some questions: Mom, Barbados was part of the Puerto Rico San Juan East mission, which was Billy Oden's mission. He served in Oistins Barbados and i see his name on records and stuff which is fun. He's way sweet and did great here. Also, Elder Hoepel does know dutch. But we've only met one person that can speak dutch, so it doesn't really help.

WEll that's about it from here. Lots of trials, lots of blessings. We're working hard and being obedient so that's what counts. I love ya and i hope you have a great week!

Elder Morris

PS: I"ll be eagerly awaiting the package!

PPSS: Elder Nelson i'm also excited to get your letter! Hope things are going well for ya and Matt, I love reading your emails too. Keep doing great.

PPPSSS: Pictures! Just random ones from today's expedition. The one with the kid in the red shirt is Elder Hoepel!

August 23, 2010

Good Afternoon!

Last week was sooooo crazy. Heavenly Father was definitely testing my patience and faith. The last couple days in the office were way hectic. It was transfer week so we had to deal with all that, a missionary had a heart attack, i had to say goodbye to people in San Juan, and then I was thrown in Barbados! Haha. It was ridiculous. Sometimes all i could do was shake my head and say to my self "i can't believe it." Sometimes I wish i could just have a day to sleep. But no can do.

Alright. Here's the situation in Barbados. 4 areas. Black Rock, Christ's Church, Oistins, and St. Phillip. Black rock is where I am. It's on the west coast but we cover about half of the island. all of the northern part of the island and the west side of the southern part of the island. Gorgeous beaches, but economically, not doing very well. The people love alcohol and parties. Just like everywhere else in the caribbean. My companion is Elder Hoepel. He's from Suriname. This is his 2nd transfer. He is doing great though. I don't have a picture of him to send. Sorry. Next week I will. Also I don't have any pictures really at all of Barbados. Haven't had time to take any. Our apartment is nice. Big but no Air conditioning. Some of the members in Curepe, in Trinidad, served their missions in Barbados and said that if i want to get anything done it's through member work. Otherwise it's a lot of tracting and contacting. The first two days not going to lie were very hard on me. Felt like Abinidi with the people of King Noah. (that's where i'm at right now in the BOM so it's on my mind). Elder Hoepel and his last companion didn't do any member work really so they don't know where any members live. And they aren't really teaching any investigators. They baptized 2 great people though that we're teaching the new member lessons to. Janis, and Gopaul. Janis is about 50 and seems just like an old time member. She is way awesome. Gopaul is guyanese and can't read and write so that's kinda difficult. Anyways, so those first two days here were basically spent walking around the streets talking to anyone we could all day. Only taught a couple lessons. We kept at it though and Friday and Saturday were great days. We set a couple baptisms dates, one of which came to church on Sunday. Friend of Janis'. His name is Peterson. He's cool and wants to get baptized. He is already reading the book of mormon too. That's about it for our work though this past week. Tough start but we're getting the ball rolling.

It was pretty tough on me mentally those first days in Barbados. I just prayed more than i have in a long time. I asked what i should do to feel good about the transfer. To feel the spirit more. To be given the strength and courage to continue. My answer came. I felt specifically "FEAST". I began to read the BOM more than i ever have on my whole mission. So basically my whole life. Every chance I get i'm reading. I love it. Then came the peace and strength that i needed. A lot of prayers and a lot of study. My mind began to push out those thoughts and I'm doing great now. I'm way happy. The work is way tougher here than any other place i've been on my mission but things are going to be great.

I have to go now, wish i could write more and answer more of your questions but i can't. I love you all and thank you for all you do.

Elder Morris

August 16, 2010

Hey everyone!

This week was not productive! Here's some reasons why. Elder Vaea had an emergency Monday night and we took him to the hospital. He is good now though but he wasn't allowed to go out and work until Friday so we were inside at the office doing stuff all week. Then the new office elder, Elder Ackerman came here on Saturday and I trained him in there all day. So basically, that last week flew by and now I'm flying to Barbados Wednesday afternoon. I'm way excited for that. This next transfer is going to be a fun one. I'll actually get to go out every single day and do some quality work. I am going to miss this though. I've learned tons from President Gamiette and I've matured and grown a lot (spiritually, not physically). It's been a thrill being so close to all the action. Talking to the Zone leaders every week, sometimes more. I'm gonna miss this area a lot. Fantastic members. However it's not as bad as I thought. After church yesterday I told a few people I was leaving and it's not that big of a deal. In Guyana it's different because for some I'm the only missionary they knew. But here longtime members for 10+ years have seen many missionaries. It's not hard to leave, really. Dorris and Rita will be sorely missed. Their after church lunches then all the members that'd teach with us are awesome.

Church was crazy yesterday. They were starting it and only like 20 people were here. So Bishop decided to change Sacrament to the last meeting and have priesthood/relief society first. It actually worked great. President Gamiette taught Gospel Principles. That was amazing. Taught about sacrifice and how we need to put the things that are holding us back on the altar and become more sacred by doing so. It was really sweet. Then in Sacrament Meeting, Keisha, our recent convert, who was called to be the Relief Society Secretary gave a talk on the Sacrament and the importance of it. Baptized for just 1 month she was teaching everybody about the baptismal covenant and what it means, how we honor the sabbath and all this great stuff about the sacrament. It was definitely great to see. She is learning a lot and is becoming more and more converted.

Wow I almost forgot to write about the coolest thing that did happen this week. Tuesday. Zone Conference. Elder Coleman of the 70 taught us the whole time. It was absolutely grand. He taught us all about the power and authority that comes along with this calling. I was grateful just to be present for all of it. I learned so much. He told a lot of amazing stories that I wrote down and I can tell you all in several months in person. Hah. Don't worry. I'm not too trunky. I was privliged to take him to the airport and pick him up and drive President and his wife, the Ap's, and the Colemans around on several occasions. It was really cool. He definitely is on a higher spiritual plane than most people I've met. He's an amazing example. So yeah that was a cool experience.

That's basically it for me though. Not much else to report. Transfer is bittersweet. I will miss this place a lot... I won't be very close to everything that goes on in the mission. It feels way weird... But change is good and now I get to learn even more. I love the work, I'm happy with everything and I hope things are going well at home.

Love, Elder Morris

PS: Here's some requests for the package.

Large Bag of Werther's hard candy, mike and ike's, sour patch kids, that's about it for candy. Pictures from home, maybe a couple pairs of socks, A couple quality pens.. Just some Ideas. Beef Jerky!

August 9, 2010

Good Afternoon!

This past week has been pretty great. I'm happy so that's always good. I'm pretty dang sure I'm going to Barbados next week. So expect some gorgeous beach within the month!

This morning/last night was crazy. The AP's, President and Sister Gamiette, and Elder and Sister Coleman of the 1st Quorum of the 70 were flying in last night at 8:30. We were picking them up. We get a call saying that the plane was delayed. So we waited at the office until 1:30. Their plane finally got here and so we picked them up. Now, remember I learned how to drive stick 3 months ago. And the bus I'm driving is a huge Toyota Hiace. Feel like I'm driving a school bus. The clutch is really sensitive so it's a bit jumpy if you're not perfect in every shift. Well President said to me as we were leaving the airport, "drive smoothly Elder Morris". Haha i just said, "President, I am doing my best." I was so dang nervous. Not every day you drive around a general authority.

We had a really cool experience Saturday. We went by a part member family/less actives in the morning. The wife's husband, Clyde, was the only one home. In his past he was a spiritual baptist (shouter baptist). He left the faith and his family met the missionaries a few years ago. They were all baptized but him. Usually he never talks to us, never listens, etc. We just started talking with him. Trying to figure out what he really needed and wanted in his life. And we asked if we could sit down and share a message with him. We sat down and started teaching him about the gospel and baptism and things like that, because he did want to change and he does want to know the truth. He was very open in the lesson. He told us all of the things that have kept him from the faith and we committed him to begin searching again. We asked if we could come over regularly and help him prepare for baptism, help him find the truth. He agreed and we invited him to pray right then and there. We all knelt down on the floor and he said a prayer. It was great. He asked for help and guidance to know if it's the truth or not, and for the motivation to change. The spirit was present and it felt great. We told his wife about the experience at church the next day. She was floored! She was shocked that he actually willingly listened and had a lesson with us. She looked like she was going to fall over she was so surprised. She was so happy. I thought it was such a great thing! Even if he doesn't progress towards baptism, because he has a long ways to go, he will get there, and he is progressing. It was great to be a part of that. Who knows what would have happened if we just left when we saw it was just him there.

Our investigators really haven't been progressing too much lately. We found a lot of new people though this week. We had fun. We took a member kid, Cameron, out with us on Friday night. We just were calling into houses and we taught 3 lessons, and found 5 new people. It was a fun night. One of the guys we taught seems cool. It's funny, you can get a lot of new investigators here, but quality ones are far and in between. Taught a cool guy named Brandon on Sunday with Brother Phillips though. He wants to know the truth. He's a single parent and has 5 kids. He said he is going to come visit the church this upcoming Sunday. Even though we were in the office again this week a lot, we got a lot done out in the field and I was way happy. Never had a bad day, really. I'm happy.

Things are great here though. I'm gonna miss Trinidad but I'm excited to get out and see the rest of the mission. I am glad things are going well at home. Sounds like the kids are quite a handful, a fun handful at least. haha.

I love ya!

Elder Morris