Monday, November 25, 2013

The Frozen Tundra!!

I never thought I would say this, but how the heck did Mexico get so gosh dang cold!? You may be thinking, "Oh c´mon, how cold can Mexico get?" Well, let me answer that for ya, I put on all of the warm clothes I owned and was just barely warm! That´s a long sleeved shirt, two sweaters, a sweater vest, and a jacket! Every morning during our studies me and my companion huddle around the little heater that we have because our house is freezing! Even as I am writing this, I have to stop every once and a while and warm up my fingers. (I just did it) 

So, how is the work going in the Frozen-Over-Monterrey? Not too shabby if I do say so myself! On Tuesday we got 5 fechas bautismal.(baptismal dates) 5! So that is pretty awesome. We have been getting a bigger investigator base as of late, so it is good to see some hard work pay off.

In our first lesson with Juan, a new investigator with a totally unique name, everything went great! I really think this family has been prepared because in the lesson Juan was reading everything before we even asked him to. And then he would go on and read more than needed. He was really participating and conversing with us, not just us giving a lecture. And he seemed really excited to start reading the Book of Mormon! Hopefully he actually does, because when you read it sincerely, there is no way that you don´t feel it is true!

On Sunday they are having a special "open house" at the temple. Obviously not an actual open house, but this is an opportunity for people to come and learn about temples and to learn about the Gospel. So I am really excited to go because there is always such a special spirit at the temple and it will be a great opportunity to get some good teaching in! And we just found out tomorrow that we get to go to a special meeting with the Area President. That will be super awesome! Well, if I can understand it.

Speaking of understanding, the language is really coming along, with a lot of energy and concentration; I can get the gist of the conversation with minimal translation from my companion. But it depends on the person because everyone speaks different it feels like. Some speak super fast and others speak slower. Some people slur their words, others are pretty clear. But it is still super mentally exhausting. But one funny thing that happened this week was that we were helping some members prepare food for some event and the dad had learned a little bit of English and knew some phrases and I kid you not, it sounded exactly like my dad doing one of his imitations. Exactly! It had to be the funniest thing ever! He probably thought that I was weird because I just kept laughing but it was so funny!

So I had a cool thought in our district meeting this Tuesday. The district leader asked who was a convert to the church. A couple of missionaries raised their hand. It takes me a moment to process the whole sentence so I started to as well until I put it together. The district leader said something about my 1/4 hand raise, probably something like "Elder Morris always looks so sharp" or something like that. But I had a thought come to my mind and I defended my action with this. Aren´t we all converts? Or even better, shouldn´t we all be converts? As youth, our leaders tell us to develop our own testimonies. Testimonies of the Book of Mormon, of Joseph Smith, and of our Savior, But we don´t just need to get a testimony of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to me converted to The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to truly become a disciple of Christ in not only our words on Sunday´s, but our actions and thoughts consistently! So my challenge to you is to become converted wholly to Christ. Show your love for him by standing as a witness of Him, by living for him. I know that is hard, I am going through that now. But the harder we try, the more help we will have from Him. And the more help we have from him, it will be less hard. Really a pretty great cylce. 

I almost forgot, Thanksgiving is
 Thursday! Well, I am grateful for the best family to ever have been placed on this earth. I must have won the lottery or something in heaven to have got them. I am grateful for muy asombroso (pretty amazing) sisters, the very best. I am grateful for the hardest working dad, lo mejor ejemplo I could ever ask for. I am grateful for the most caring mom, and for her amor eterno para mi. I can´t thoroughly express my thanks for them. And I am and will be eternally grateful for mi Salvador and Redentor and His infinite sacrifice for this very finite Elder. I have a lot to be thankful for, more than I can say so I will just say that I am very grateful for everything and for all of you! I hope you all have the Lord´s hand in your life and will continue to feel his blessings.
¡Tenga un excelente semana!
-Élder Morris

Cooking up some grub at our Zone Meeting.. mmmmmmmmmmmmm

Me and the Zone. Love Em!

I'm Everywhere.

Salt Desert of Utah road. Who knew!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another use for Duct Tape!

Well, this week was a little tough. Just because we had a lot of appointments, but almost all of them fell through. It is really hard to have progressing investigators when they keep telling you to come back in a couple days. Another thing that was kind of weird was that we had a lesson with a hardcore atheist. Actually, that was kind of cool. We really made some progress and I think that slowly the spirit is working on him. I mean, why else would an atheist be reading The Book of Mormon? He listened to the lesson and had some really good questions. I think that he is one of those people who are looking for something, they just don’t know they are looking for something yet. Well, that is, until we serve it to them on a silver platter!!!!

This week we had a taxi driver stop and talk to us for a couple of minutes. It was raining so I thought of the story in Preach My Gospel about the taxi driver in Monterrey that offers a ride to some missionaries and then gets converted. Maybe this would be another story like that! He had taken English classes so when he saw me he pulled over. He just wanted to start practicing his English again. That is a little racist, don´t ya think? What, just because I am a white boy does that mean I speak English!? Well maybe..... but still!! Anyway, it was way cool because I was able to teach the first lesson in English. Funny thing, I kept saying things in Spanish, even though I was trying to teach in English. I hope that is a good sign!!

Another funny experience this week was when I was at church, I was told that I am better looking than Justin Beiber. I will admit I was a little flattered but then just super weirded out because the girl is in my ward and shouldn´t be saying things like that to a missionary.

Something that helped this week was when we had a training we watched a talk by Elder Holland to mission presidents about why a mission is so hard. He said something like a mission is hard ‘because you are doing what the Lord did. You are joining in the same work He labored in. Was it easy for him? NO? So why would we expect anything less than to experience just a fraction of what He went through. Him, the greatest of all, suffered a lot. And why would we expect to not go through anything? Just realize that you are participating in the work of the Lord and you stand shoulder to shoulder with the greatest missionaries. So know that it will be hard, just push on’. That has helped. I love it here. I love you all and am really thankful for all your support and prayers!!

Hasta próxima semana!!!!
 Cold times in Mexico!!! Elder Hernandez finding heat.

Duct Tape Engineering 101

Monday, November 11, 2013

Never eat at the Bishops house!

Baca Santo!!!! Has it really been 3 months!? Oh my, they weren´t lying, this whole mission thing really flies! I don´t know if that is a good thing or bad thing yet... But if it is going this fast with the language being so slow I can´t imagine what it will be like when I finally know the language! 
I received my packages from home!! The candy and food tasted soooo good!! Muchas Gracias.

This week we had interviews with President Bird. He knows when to be tough, but he really is the most laid-back mission president. He makes you feel totally comfortable and is very insightful with questions and concerns. We also had Capacitación de Valientes (training) on Friday which was way cool. All the Elders who were six weeks in got to go and have a training session with the President and his assistants. It was really helpful to see how some really experienced missionaries would teach or plan or handle a situation.

WARNING, WARNING: If you ever have comida (lunch) with the Bishop on a Saturday, call in sick. Or he will end up asking you to talk, in church, in Spanish. Man, it is a good thing my companion knows some English, I had a Spanish-English Dictionary, and that I had a PMG in English and Spanish!! But it ended up being great! I thought I would not like it but once I got up there and started it was awesome!! For the most, they understood me and they even laughed at my jokes. THEY ACTUALLY LAUGHED AT MY JOKES!!!!!! Some of the jokes in my farewell people didn´t even laugh at!! And no, the jokes weren´t even scripted, and no, I didn´t plant people in the audience either! So after they laughed and had smiles on their faces, everything just went so well! And the Spirit was definitely there! I think that when you are happy you are more easily inclined to feel the spirit because this gospel really is a gospel of happiness!!

Well, in other news, our investigators are going nowhere fast. Our district is baptizing people left and right and me and Élder Hernández can´t even get our investigators to church. And you have to go to church 5 times before baptism. I know that it is through no fault of me or Élder Hernández´s, but it is just hard when you are doing all you can and they just don´t seem to catch the importance of it! And I know we shouldn´t compare ourselves to other missionaries but it is just tough.
One of the biggest challenges is just finding people! People never seem to be home! Or they are home, you see them look at you through the window, and they don´t answer the door. It´s like ´´people; this is your SALVATION we are talking about!!! You think that we would give up two years of everything just to tell you of a story!?! NO! This is what you were sent to earth to find!!! So answer your freaking door!!!´´ But I really can´t say that, something about not scaring off potential investigators or something like that.

Que mas? The weather here is freaking bipolar! On Wednesday, we left the house and it was a pretty decent day. By the time we got done with comida (lunch), it was raining like crazy! On the walk back to the house we got completely drenched! But I will admit that I really liked it. I don´t know why but the rain really has a calming influence for me. Unfortunately, it is also the pitter-patter of rain on the window that tries to put me to sleep. And it doesn´t help when I can barely understand what people are saying in lessons and my mind wanders and I have to do everything possible to stay awake!! 

I really liked something my Dad sent to me this week. He said ´´not every contact has to lead to a discussion, treat every person as a potential investigator either for you or for a future missionary.´´ all of these people we are teaching, may or may not progress. But at least we are planting the seed. If it is us that harvests the seed, great. But if not, we just have to hope that it will grow within them and that our successors will be the ones to lead them into the waters of baptism. Everything that happens will happen in the Lord´s time. I was reading in the Liahona and something that struck me was a talk that likened getting the President of the United States to talk at a college to getting results from God. If a university of 30,000 well educated people can´t give a schedule for the most powerful leader in the world to follow, how can we expect, us equal to the dust of the earth, to give a schedule to the most powerful being in the universe? 

So my hope for you all and myself is that we can learn patience. That we can try and learn to see things as God wants them to be, because there really isn´t any other option, is there?
I hope you all have a stellar week, where ever you are! Stay strong and keep the faith!! Thanks for everything!!
Élder Morris

Monday, November 4, 2013

Coincidence? I think not! Look who I found in the Liahona/Ensign.

So I don´t have much this week since I wrote last Thursday, but there is just one story that I would like to share with you all. 

One of my P-days, while I was writing, a thought came to me that I should email one of my friends, Elder Isaac Ford, who is in Pachuca Mexico. Pachuca Mexico is the home of my companion and I had remembered him telling me that his family is inactive. So I emailed Elder Ford my companions address hoping that he could refer it to some Elders who were in that area. Right before I got off the computer, I got an email back from him. This is what it said. ´´MIRACLE!!! That reference IS IN MY AREA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And even crazier, it was pouring rain yesterday on our way home, and some nonmembers gave us a ride! They said that they were the aunt and uncle of your companion!! SMALL WORLD!!´´ This is the point when I pull out my bubble pipe and say in my best Sherlock Holmes imitation ´´Coincidence? I THINK NOT!!!´´ 

I know that everything the Lord does is for a reason, whether we know it or not. I am glad that I listened to the prompting to write Elder Ford. Did I know it was a prompting then, nope? Do I know, oh yeah? There are no coincidences. I was meant to be the companion of an Elder whose family is inactive and lives in the area of an awesome Elder that I know. No way the circumstances of them just happening to live in his area was by chance, and his Uncle giving them a ride home.The Lord´s hand is in everything. That is what I have really come to love about my short time in the field. When you start looking, you see evidences of the Lord´s love and of his influence in our lives. So my hope for all of you is to try and see how the Lord is in your life and start searching for the small things. Also, never pass on just a small thought. A quote from Pres. Hinckley that is in the recognizing the spirit section of PMG goes something like ´´if it invites to do good, it is of the spirit´´ Pay attention to the small thoughts and the small promptings, because that is what the spirit is, a ´´still, small voice.´´

Love you all, Thanks for your support. Tenga un fenomenal semana!!
-Élder Morris 

Look who I found in the Liahona in Mexico!

This is a friend who lives nearby. We need to give him a name.
See poll above top right corner.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Something is a little FISHY!!!

Mom, Dad, you would be SO proud of me! On Sunday, we had our usual meal planned with a member. We had been fasting and so when we arrived I was super excited for dinner. I sat down, talked with the family as best I could and waited for the food. The main course was fresh fish. And by fresh fish I mean caught Saturday by the member, cooled on ice over-night, fried right next to my chair, and slapped on to my plate. And this just wasn't a piece of fish either. This was the WHOLE fish. Eyes, fins, tail, scales, whole thing. The only thing that had been done to it was it had been gutted and breaded. For those of you who don't know, I am not the biggest fan of fish. So out of consideration of the family, I took a deep breath and dug in. Did I eat the fins and the tail section you might ask, why yes, yes I did. Did you eat all the scales too? Yes, yes I did. Did you eat the eyes!? Heck no! I wasn't that hungry!! And the members didn't even eat the eyes so I figured it would be okay if I didn’t as well. But would I if they had? You can bet your bottom peso I would have!!! And when they asked if I wanted seconds (which they always do) I said yes. Yes, I did it; I conquered my dislike of fish, well, at least for that Sunday afternoon.
Also on the subject of food, I made tamales, handmade tamales. We were at a new investigators house and gave a lesson on prayer and sang some hymns while we made tamales. That was freaking sweet. Then after when I was saying the closing oración, the lady (a Presbyterian) was saying amen and agreeing with all of my prayer. I have never had someone do that before so that was kinda funny. And then she gave us some sort of blessing. I didn't really understand it but it was kinda weird.
The language is really coming. I am able to understand a lot more of what the people are saying. I knew that the gift of tongues was real before but now I have a real testimony of the gift of tongues.
Intercambios, or for you non-Spanish speakers exchanges, are awesome!! I have gone with the district leader and the zone leaders. They are freaking rock stars!!! I have so much to learn and so much work to do to become a teacher like them!! It was a really cool experience because my trainer has only been out for 3 months and so he is relatively new so going with more experienced missionaries was great!!!
This morning we got to go to the temple. That was really awesome!! I didn't really get much because it was in Spanish but it was still way cool. The House of the Lord is The House of the Lord, whether people are speaking Spanish or English.
A scripture that I really liked this week is Helaman 5. I have been seeking how to receive more personal revelation and how to recognize it. This whole chapter is great but the part that really hit me was when it was talking about how characteristics of the Holy Ghost. I want you guys to go and read it for yourselves because when we read the scriptures looking for guidance, really looking, that is when the real teacher, the Holy Ghost, starts teaching. And for everyone it is different. So go find it for yourself!!!
For P day we went to the Temple with our zone.What an awesome experience. We then went to some park with a bunch of muesum type exibits and then ate at a members house with our whole zone. pretty sweet!!
Today being Halloween it’s great! Haha yeah, there are little kids running around yelling halloween with a mexican accent. It’s pretty funny. They are saying queremos halloween. ¨we want halloween!¨
Well, That all I got this week. Please ray for the members of the church. Not just in your own wards, but for the members throughout the world because trials and afflictions are universal.  Thanks for all your love and support!!
-Elder Morris

Found some cheap ties, SCORE!

Service project cleaning up at a members house after a fire.

New Investigator. Straight from the horses mouth!
Hide the sneaker.
Ward activity.
Pday at the Temple with my buds.

Elder Hernandez and me
Elder Pendleton and me
My favorite snack!