Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Late I know

 Sorry, I know this email is way late in the day. More so than usual. When I email really just depends on how we have scheduled our day. So if you want me to read your email, probably gotta to get it in by Sunday ha, or it can wait until next week. Speaking of which, I don't know if everyone knows this, but everyone is allowed to email me, not just family, however I can only send hand written letters back, so if you email me, give me your home address too and I will be sure to write back. ( I should note that this doesn´t relieve anybody from written letter duty :p)
 I hope you all enjoyed the picture I sent. Ha we snapped the photo of Elder Gramosa and me while we were running out the door to email, so sorry it kind of stinks. There is also one of him at his desk, he is fixing a shaver. When I found out he would be my companion another elder told me ´he is always creating things´I didn't really know what that meant. I do now. Most people when they don't have something, they buy it or do without. He just makes it. For example, our MP3 player broke. So using a plastic can and some spare parts, he made us a new one, with a sub. and everything. He made rope out of a tie, and the other day we were making pancakes, but we don't have a spatula, so he made one out of a tin can. Pretty much I feel very blessed to have him as my companion, I am really going to miss him once he goes home, what a stud.
  We had a good week, but I did manage to acquire another injury. I wish I had a better story, but truth is, I was opening a door while E. Lopes was closing (trying to rope the door closed) and the door handle broke and sliced my hand pretty good. I think it looked worse than it actually is, but it was pretty nasty, ha E. Amaral got sick when he saw it.
So we had a really good week, we had four of our investigators at church! and we have a really great teaching pool right now. Ha get this, Sunday morning those young men we are teaching, actually called us at like eight in the morning wondering if we were coming. Gosh they are awesome. We played soccer and some football with them today. That was an up, but as far as everything else, this week was pretty slow. We had to go on a lot of splits and it was really crazy. We also had a big bummer, we had two baptisms set for our district this weekend and both of them backed out. We are going to keep working with them, but we were still bummed.
  So as some of you may know, I talk in my sleep. I am just putting that out there. My first day in the CTM I told E. Goldsberry that I do, and was giving him fair warning, I told the Elders in my district the same thing when I arrived here in Pelotas. Ha so apparently I usually talk in English, but last night they told me I was speaking in Portuguese in my sleep, and that I didn't have an American accent. I was pretty pumped, its like getting extra practice while I sleep!
Ha speaking of the language, I was on splits with another Elder, an american and we were walking back to our house at night and he told me. Okay Elder, we have to speak only in Portuguse now, people think that Americans are rich and they might try to rob us. Ha I would only have a few bucks to give them if they did, plus I am pretty sure people can tell we are Americans even if we are speaking Portuguese or not. Our area is way safe I think, I have never felt in danger, ha Elder Gramosa told me later that he is a little afraid of our area. Don't worry mom, our area is totally fine.
So for something a little more serious. Elder Bednar said once that the purpose of the Gospel is to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable. I definitely saw both sides of that this week. When I was way bummed about our baptism this week, I found comfort in the scriptures, and council for the work that I am doing. I also had the pleasure to comfort the afflicted this week with our message. We started teaching some people that are really receptive and I could tell the Gospel message spoke peace to them. Ha and I also had to afflict some comfortable people this week too. I taught a lesson last night with Elder Amaral to a woman and her son. She was so receptive and really is a sincere seeker of truth. He was rocked to his core. I don't mean to sound like we were being mean, we taught the same message we always do, and the Gospel is also to comfort those people who have been afflicted by it, if they will accept it. I could tell that The Lord was really with us as we taught, he really was interested and said he would pray about it, but he was also very up in arms and kind of wanted to argue with us. We just calmly explained our message like we always do, we invite people to come to Christ, but we can force anybody, and arguing never helped anything. Elder Amaral said he was the same way when the missionaries first taught him when he was fourteen, so I have hope for him.
  Well, I am glad to hear about how everything is going on back home. Sounds like there is a lot of change going on, but a lot of good things. I appreciate the shout out from the people from C/TMTO and to hear about how everyone is. Please keep it coming. Thanks for everybody's support, thoughts, and prayers. It is a great strength to me. I think that is all for now. I love you all. I read about charity this week, about loving people just for being them, because they are children of God. I have been trying to work on that, I am not there yet, but I am trying. We refer to charity as ´The Pure Love of Christ´ but what does that really mean? I can really only put it like this. I think it is when we are finally able to love others more than we love ourselves. Just something I thought about this last week.
Take care, much love. Seu Filho, Irmão, e amigo.
Elder David F. Morgan
p.s. I learned how to do a ´rainbow´ with a soccerball this week. I feel pretty cool.

Luckily our soccer sister Krista was able to give us an explanation of the "rainbow": It's when you flick the ball over your shoulder.  Basically you take the ball with your right leg lets say, and hook it up to your left heal.  Then you use your left heal to actually flick the ball up your backside and over your shoulder and then you catch it on the other side with your foot.  It's a pretty difficult trick, one that I definitely don't know how to do.

New Pictures

David didn't actually explain the pictures he sent so we are going with assumptions here.
Here is Elder Morgan with his district.
 Elder Morgan with Dallas Cluff (from Ashland). They were in the MTC at the same time for a couple of weeks.
Elder Morgan with his first companion in the mission field. (I'll have to look up his name).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Week

I'm so sorry that it took me so long to post this letter. I have been so busy I didn't realize until today that I had forgot. Look for this week's letter in the next day or two.

Whenever I get to Monday and I actually email, I can only remember what we have done in the past maybe three days, everything else kind of runs together.

We had a good week, lots of solid hard work. We started working with some youth, I really can't think of the right word. Young men? I don't know what to call them, ages from about 12-15. Here it is Rapaz, I don't know if we have a solid word for it in English. Anyways, they are really receptive, very intelligent, and just fun to teach too. One was a referral from a member to teach, then his friend came by during the lesson, and so we invited him to listen too. Then after our second lesson they had another friend passing by that we taught. Pretty much it just keeps growing and it always helps to have friends in the Gospel. I am really excited, and we are hoping and praying to be able to start teaching their families too. It is also really good because all these kids play and hang out in the street all day, so when we pass by we can check up on them, see how they are doing and so we have a really solid relationship with them.

I am not a huge fan of just running, I prefer to have an activity that goes along with it, but the food here is just heavy. Beans, rice, fatty meats, and butter. I just had to start running in the morning. My suggestion to anyone that feeds the missionaries, first of all, please do it, we are SOOOOOO grateful for it. Way better than we make for ourselves, I am very grateful that we have lunch with someone almost everyday. As young men we are seen as human garbage disposals, I hear almost everyday. ´Come mais Elder´ a sua vontade´ ( eat more elder, at your will) Usually by this point, my will was two desserts and a plate ago. Ha, trust me, I can pack it down, but man, these Brasilian women just shovel food on my plate and I feel rude saying no or not eating all of it. So, if you feed the missionaries, and there is excess food, feel free to offer, we do want to be polite by not eating too much. But if you offer and there is excess, we will eat IF we are hungry. But man, I never have put so much food down in my life, ha all these Brasilian women are so sweet how they feel so concerned for us.
ON the running note, I can't do it anymore anyways. I managed to have half of my big toe nail on my left foot almost ripped off this week, it is hanging on barely. I wont go into details, but I did send a picture. It is pretty gnarly. We were helping a family in the ward move this last Saturday. After we helped them move they insisted on feeding us. In the mean time a game of soccer started, because the sister preparing didn't need help with anything and there really wasn't much space in the house with boxes and everything so just sit and visit so we were outside. My socks had been hanging out to dry the night before and we have another thunder storm and so they were soaked, and my one dry pair I wanted for when we went proselyting later, so I was in tennis shoes with no socks. Long story short, my feet were soaked, we were running around and there was pain. The shoe came off and there was my toenail hanging by a thread. Sweet huh? I really am just an injury magnet I think.
Anyways, we are always here about two steps forward and one step back, I think that is how the language is, But I keep rolling forward being patient. It is hard, but I can see progress. Still can be frustrating a lot. Ha but I said a prayer in English for a family because they wanted to hear. A few Portuguese words slipped in, it felt weird. I really just never use English except for emails so I had to flip the switch in my mind back.
Well, I love you all. I got to run. Take care.
seu filho, irmão, e amigo. Elder David F Morgan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sweat, Stress, and Mini Miracles

Oi! this week was full of ups and downs, I feel that is kind of a trend in missionary work, and probably in life too. We did a lot more contacting this week than usual and we are probably going to step it up even more this week, nothing happens in missionary work until you find somebody to teach so that is really where it has to start. We started teaching a new family this week and I am really hopeful for them. I mentioned to dad in my last email that Sunday may be a day of rest for the rest of the world, but it is anything but that in the life of a missionary. This Sunday was no different, but there were quite a few neat experiences. The first of which just reminded me how awesome my companion is.
Saturday night we had a dinner appointment (Which doesn't happen much) and so we forgot to buy food for Sunday. I woke up Sunday and remember that we had nothing to eat, to my delight E Gramosa was already making homemade bread when I came downstairs (which consists of a kitcehn/dining room. when it was finished I saw that he had cut it in half, I figured half for us, half for the other companionship. It would be meager but we wouldn't have nothing until lunchtime. Ha, the bread wasn't even for us at all. Our investigators from Urugai we found out had been been sleeping on the street for the past five days and he wanted to make sure that they had something to eat when we went and got them for church, and also, we bring some recent converts every week with us, a seven year old, a twelve year old and a fifteen year old, they come from a pretty poor circumstances, so he wanted to have something for them after church. I felt pretty humbled, here I was thinking about getting some breakfast and he was making bread because others didn't have anything. What a guy.
anyways. to top it off, we had four of our investigators at church!
I really just wish I felt more involved in their progress, and was more aware of what they were feeling and how they are progressing. I know it is going to come, but the language barrier is a killer. sometimes i feel like i am doing really good and other times i just wanna cry because i have no idea what is happening. Ha we were at the house of a recent convert and one said. Elder Morgan why aren't you talking very much today ( ha not like I am a big chatter box right now anyways) but it is really just because if more than one person is talking, it goes right over my head, and then it is just hard to focus and try to get what i can from the conversation.
So i spoke too soon about the weather, it must have just been a weird week, because it has been high sixties or maybe even seventy with a cool breeze for pretty much the past two weeks, and we are in winter. love it. The breeze can be chilly, but nothing a sweater doesn't solve really quick. really only the morning waking up, and the evening i use a coat, but it has been pretty nice.
We are teaching a lady who her kids were baptized and she wants to be, but she and the father only live together (very common here) and in order to be baptized she has to be married to him, not just living together, but he isn't really interested in that at all, but we aren't just going to drop her or anything, so we still teach her and talk to her and she comes t church. But we are trying to get him involved too, so that at least he will marry her so she can be baptized, I would love to have him join the church too. We were watching a church film and the Spirit was really strong and we actually had him watching with us. suddenly the lights went out, not uncommon and not the first time that night, or that day. I really wanted him to continue to have the chance to feel the spirit, especially because in the film a man was just kneeling down to pray about the Book of Mormon, usually the lights are out for about twenty minutes or so, I just said a little prayer that I knew that Heavenly Father could give us power again, and to please help us we could keep going. The lights came right back on and we started the film again without much of a hiccup. We didn't have power for maybe thirty seconds, within a minute we were back in the film. Mini miracle. pretty much what I think most of our lives are made up of.
I don't know if he even felt anything, He actually asked a few questions, most of which were irrelevant and trying to get us defensive, but maybe it wasn't for him, maybe it was for me, or Elder Gramosa, or Maria, who knows, but miracles are everywhere when we are willing to notice them and recognize the hand of The Lord in everything.
Goodness, I cant believe that Grant is already leaving, today is his last day in Medford, well full day, ha and in US for a good two years. Please forward me his emails every week. I have been thinking about him that is for sure. I don't really feel homesick, but there are things here and there that always trigger a quick memory or feeling. I made french toast this week and it reminded me of Shaun, ha except with Shaun i was waking up at nine and he made it for me. Anyways, it is hard to believe that things that are going on back home. Somebody, or everybody, give grant and extra big hug for me. Grant, if you have time to get it, or somebody get it for you, but Head and Shoulders shampoo, something about Brasil is different and everyone wants that stuff when they get here, and bring your own shaving cream because it is dang expensive here. Ha and be prepared to have your digestive track redefined. Love you buddy, you are going to love the CTM and Brasil, I am so happy for you and I cant wait to hear from you. Much love.
Much love to everyone, seu filho, irmão, e amigo. Elder David Morgan

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Elder Morgan Arrives at Mission Home

Elder Morgan officially arrives in the mission field. Here he is at what I'm assuming is the mission home with the Mission President and his wife.

Also, for whatever reason, Elder Morgan is not able to recieve mail at the address where he is currently living so all letters need to be sent to the mission home until further notice.

Segunda Semana

Wow, another week already finished in Pelotas, time sure is weird, I wake up and after my body really wakes up and gets rolling, it seems I am already back at our apartment getting ready for the next day. One thing that is taking some adjustment for me is that the Almoço, or lunch is the most important meal of the day here. So we wake up, exercise, eat, and get ready. Then between personal, companionship, and language study it takes me right to lunch time. Then we have an hour for lunch. The thing is, here in Brazil, lunch and the hour after might as well be sacred. Everybody goes home and takes a nap and nothing opens again until 2. If I wasn´t a missionary I would probably be all over that, but as a missionary it is killer, because you just DO NOT bother people in their house after lunch, and so if there a few people on the street we can try to talk to, but other than that, the day doesn't really get rolling until about 2. But people are up later, and dinner isn´t such a big deal. We are allowed to take an hour for dinner too, but usually we just work until it is time to go home. We grab some food on the way home for `dinner´and our breakfast the next day. Plan for the next day and then go to bed. Lights are supposed to be out at 10;30, I am really good about that one ha. If I have it my way I am laying down before 10.
Also, speaking of breakfast. I have graduated. From Ham and cheese to tuna, or just butter. Ha we also buy this really good bread called Kuca, I am too lazy to describe it, but I like it. Ha, a few days ago there was ham and cheese that E. Gramosa bought. I just couldn't do it. I put some butter on some straight cold bread and that was breakfast, ha.
We really didn't get to teach that much this week, it was kind of rough. A lot of people were not at home, didn't keep commitments, and we didn't have a single investigator at church Sunday. We also tried to get some members to help us out with getting our investigators to church and everybody fell through there as well. But yesterday was Fast Sunday and I could really feel the Spirit at church, I felt renewed to go out and work harder this week. I really just feel at a loss as to how to help our investigators progress. But I am sure this will not be the only kind of bummer week. We did contact a mother and daughter who are less active in church this week though and met with them twice, I have a lot of hope for them, they seem to be really great.
Ha, also, I mentioned this to Krista last week in my email to her, but we are teaching a couple from Uruguai ( I don't remember how to spell that in English to be honest, Urugway?) Ha, so they are talking to us in Spanish and we are responding in Portuguese, and I understand a surprising amount. Gosh it still is just killing me that I cant understand when more than one person is talking. I had a whole conversation with a lady at church the other day, she almost fell over when she found out that I had only been here a week and a half. Then her husband came up and I had to follow more than one person speak and I was totally lost.
Anyways, about our Urugaian couple. We just teach them on the street because right now they live in a motel, they are street jugglers, ha he gave us a private demonstration. At night, he juggles flaming torches, under the legs, putting them on his head, whatever it is, he can do it. Blew my mind.
I am glad to hear about how everyone is doing. Keith is in Prague?! Sweet! Also, if I am not mistaken Tom left (or leaves) today for Mexico right? Crazy.
So just cause I thought of it and it is a fun little fact, here in Brazil, the plumbing isn't efficient enough to handle toilet paper, so you take care of business and just throw that in the waste basket. Fun huh? haha. I am glad this is my first area, living here is kind of an adventure. You would not believe how many animals just roam the streets. I see probably around a dozen people riding around town in horse drawn wagons on a daily basis, and there are a few sheep to that just chill around here. I think they belong to somebody.
I had heard that Pelotas is the second most humid city in the world? Can somebody check that for me?
So regarding the name. Nobody told me what they think F Morgan or Fredrick. Don't know why there cant just be two Morgans, but they asked me to choose, nobody is really making a big deal out of it though. But in case push comes to shove, let me know. I am kind of leaning toward F. Morgan. I think I want to have my families name represented. Not that it really matters anyways, everybody here either calls me OAmericano, or O Gringo, because, I am the only one around. I teach and English phrase here, an English phrase there and people just love me ha.
Well, everybody. I love you. I really mean that. Please take care. Much love
Seu Filho, Irmão, e Amigo.
Elder David F Morgan

Selection from Elder Morgan's letter to his mom:

I have been thinking about the same thing ironically this week. Even as a missionary it is much easier said than done to keep and eye single to the glory of God. Especially in a strange new and exciting place. It is definitely helpful to have much less wordly influences here though. I love when I catch myself thinking about our investigators, The Savior, and that when my mind wanders. It still wanders to The Gospel. I had that same thoughts though too about how often we think about ourselves, thank you for sharing that quote with me about just prepare yourself and then don't think about it again during the day.
I think this was a blend of reading about how the Nephites new the true purpose of the law of Moses, and reading about The Savior's miracles and a lot about the Atonement this week. I was thinking about how we just give The Lord what we can and He takes care of the rest. He didn't just make wine, He asked for water and He made it wine. He blessed loaves and fishes to endure, they didn't come out of nowhere. Whatever it is we have to offer The Lord, he asks of us, and if we give it and trust Him, He makes it more. He doesn´t fill and empty cup though. But that is kind of a thought I was having this week, felt like I should share that with you for some reason.