Saturday, March 30, 2013

Conferencia de Zona. Golias

Wow, what a week. 
We passed this last week just preparing for zone conference. I have the feeling that I already talked about this, but since I didn´t find it in my emails, I will write about it again. So President Castro worked for the church educational system before being called as a Mission President. He is a great professor, and he always, uses object lessons and visual aids. Usually they are quite simple and we can help him out with that. This time he called us into his office and we were discussing zone conference he mentioned that he would like to train about David and Goliath and overcoming the Goliaths in our lives and missions. He asked us if we could manage to make... a life sized Goliath. Just to make things clear. Goliath had about 9.45 feet of height. WOW! 
 We assured him that we could do it (WHAT?!) and then I jokingly asked him if he would like us to get a sling as well, which he responded that yes, he would like to have a sling. Unfortunetaly we didn´t get the sling, but Goliath turned out AWESOME! We were running from here to there during the conference and I didin´t take a picture with me and Goliath (but don´t worry, I will) but I have a picture of him and Pres. Castro (who is way short) by his side that I will attatch. But everybody really liked it and were taking picture with him, I think it will be something that they will remember. 
We held conference Tuesday with 3 zones, Wednesday with 3 zones, and Thursday with 4 others. It was way special really. I am learning to give much better training and to feel more comfortable in front of the missionaries. We trained about working with the members to find people to teach and evaluating our planning. One thing that I will for sure be taking home with me is the principles of setting goals and planning. I remember in High School they gave us a planner to keep track of everything and I thought that was about the most ridiculous thing ever. Now, I see how ridiculous I was not to use it. Planning is so important to really reach our full potential and to accomplish the things we want to in this life. 

The missionaries who are in their last zone conference always bear their testimonies, and that included me this time. I had a really rare privilege to be able to bear my testimony three times, for which I am grateful. The most powerful and for me emotional conference was the last, with the zones from the countryside, which includes Pelotas. Where I served half of my time as a missionary. During the testimonys, Elder Ewer, who is a spiritual Giant, bore his testimony with a lot of conviction and love, and it really invited The Spirit, for which I am grateful because I bore my testimony next. I don´t have the adequate words to express what I feel. I don´t really find it necessary to try and to repeat what was said either. But during this conference I had some really sacred experiences. I love these missionaries so much, and I am grateful to have also felt their love. 
It was hard to say goodbye. They are my friends, I was in a city that I love. I wanted one more chance to go out and teach them. I love being a missionary so much. 

I know that God lives and Jesus Christ is His son. He atoned for our sins. During this Easter week, I hope we can remember Him.  

All of my love to you.
Elder David F Morgan

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Indiginado! Mas muito abencoado!

Well, we got news this last week that the rules for missionários were changed and that we can now recieve and send emails to friends, family, church leaders, etc. Ha, just about two years too late for me hahaha. No biggy. I now have and hour and half for email on p day. So this will be useful for... three weeks. Still not trunky. 

Wow, I think the thing that is most common in my emails is my memory crisis, I think I say this every week. I don´t remember anything that happened on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday off the top of my head. I just consulted my companion, and he helped me to remember what we did. Again, way too much time here in the office, it is cool, but kind of a drag when you want to be out there on the street. My last transfer was fine. But this transfer it seems like every week we have a Conference, or Zone Council, or transfers, or training, or something that we need to prepare for, and my limited computer skills doesn´t help me to do any of this quickly either. Not complaining, it is just sometimes hard to adjust, and I feel a little bummed, feeling like the end of my full time missionary service will be a little less proseliting and a lot more training and planning, which is also important. The worst part is that you lose the habit of certain things in the work. Even my sleep schedule is getting messed up, because sometimes we are getting up early to travel, other times we are getting home at midnight from that same trip. I think that changing my routine stresses me out a bit. Luckily Elder Barros is really patient with me and has a good spirit. 

I have officialy gone to all the zones in our mission now. On Thursday we went and travelled to Bagé, which is the western extreme of our mission. I had never served there before, but we went on exchanges with the zone leaders there. It is a beautiful place. We passed the time in the car trying to get ready for Conference next week, and also preparing for the final week of the next group of missionaries leaving. I used to get car sick when I was younger ( I am sure everyone remembers :p) but when I got older it passed. I think looking at papers etc, and planning during the trip gave me a weak stomache, I started to feel car sick. It was kind of embarassing. I bought something for the way back, and it knocked me over with drowsiness. I am sure that in this state I made a few comments about our training that had nothing to do with the subject at hand, and I also had to call someone and I slurled my portuguese so bad talking to the poor man on the other end.

Thank you for all of yours prayers to help us to find people to teach. It helped. Please continue! After a day trying to plan and get ready we decided to set out at night and at least try to get something done out in our area. We went to an appointment, but the man wasn´t home, there was a entering into the apartment and asked who we were looking for. Turns out it was her brother and he had commented something about our visit with her. He She invited us up, and we taught her, here boyfriend, and her mom. I remember praying that morning, just pleading really with The Lord that He would bless us with somebody to teach that day, to just let is into one home to teach a lesson. He hears and answers prayers. It was a really quick visit and we are going to go back on Tuesday. Please pray that they will be there and we can keep teaching them.  Marcio, and Renata are their names. 
We also taught the family members of a member of our ward. Mauro Tupinambá. He got called recently to be a Mission President in São Paulo! His brothers and sister are not active members in the church and their spouses and children aren´t members of the church. He invited them all over and us to be able to share a message. It was really very special, I could tell that his sister was feeling The spirit, and we are going to try to visit them again in this week. The area presidency also asked him to invite over the missionaries from his ward to have us teach him all of the missionary lessons as if he were an investigator. So we will probably be doing that over the next few weeks. He is really great, his wife Rossana is real sweet as well. 

We estabilshed a day of special baptisam reunions in the whole mission. Every stake in the mission is holding a stake baptismal service today, and all of the missionaries worked really hard to find someone and help them to be baptized on this day. Sadly, we didn´t manage to find someone, I really wanted to also contribute to this really special day... I really hope we can find some more people and the time to get out there and look for them. I would really love to have the experience of baptizing again before my mission is over, but if The Lord doesn´t see fit that that happens, I would at least like to leave a good teaching pool for Elder Barros and his companion. Please keep the people in our area in your prayers. 
Okay. I think that is about it. When I write on Saturdays I start reflecting and thinking, and it freaks me out/ gets me choked up a bit, and a lot nastolgic, so I am going to go. 
Just a little thought. I have learned to seek spiritual experiences everyday, through daily study of the scriptures. I would like to encourage everyone to set aside time EVERY day to not only read, but study the scriptures. They are so special and gives us a comprehension about why we are here and gives us an eternal perspective and to see things as they really are. 
All of my love to you. 

Elder David F Morgan

Saturday, March 16, 2013

sickness :( Travels


I hope everyone is doing good. My English is pretty good today because Elder Barros has been expressing his desire to learn English and so I am "trying" to speak with him in English, the other Brazilian in our house, Elder Gomes already speaks English so we will probably make a rule at home to just speak English, gonna be super weird. 

Sunday we had a quite pleasing Sacrament Meeting and the day was good. We didn´t have too much success in finding new people that we are DESPERETLY needing (plesae pray very very very much for this aspect of our work)  but we taught Jair e Luciane again which was a referral from one of members of the ward. They are really enjoying learning about the church and understand very well. I don´t remember if I already told this story so.. Jair was going to do a surgery and João, the brother in our ward, suggested that he could send the missionaries to his home to give him a blessing. He accepted and so we went and gave him a preisthood blessing of health before his surery, this led to the question of what is the preisthood and we taught him the first lesson, his wife Luciane showed up at the end, and now we are teaching the two. He is going to start work again this week and so maybe we will only be able to teach them on the weekends which will be rough, but I am sure it will work out alright. 

We got robbed at the bus stop on Sunday night, that was fun. At least it was for a good reason, we needed to divide the money that we recieved, but we couldn´t split it evenly, and we both wanted that the other stayed with the bigger half, ha so when I went to go hand him the money he didn´t accept it, and I didn´t accept it in return. That was our fatal mistake :P Waving money around in down town Porto Alegre, not such a good idea. Luckily we were left with enough to get back home still. Just to show hom pure my companion is. I was playing the scene over and over again just feeling like an idiot right? My companion suggested that we pray for him... ;p 
I have had a cough for the last week or so and Sunday night when we got home I broke into a fever. Sister Castro thought I might have an infection so I went the hosptial for myself for the first time in almost two years on monday. Woohoo! It was all full and we spent the whole day there, it would have been fine if my fever wasn´t making me feel really super cold and the air condition wasn´t on. No infection, just a virus. My stomache still hasn´t recovered though. Not the funnest missionary experience. Elder Barros was great during all of this. 
Am I four or five hours ahead of you guys right now? I can´t remember. 

I am feeling starved of a good scripture study, I could just sit down and study for hours I feel like, we are been just on the go these last few days or I was sick and we haven´t managed to study too much,  but we have had a few good Gopsel conversations. 

We went to Pelotas on Thursday morning, President went to do interviews with the missionaries and we went with him to be able to go on exchanges with the zone leaders there. I passed the day with Elder Ewer!! Man, I love that missionary, he is a good friend and I like him lots. We taught a few lessons, and it was nice to just be together agan. I saw a few people from the ward too, and the ward is full of life. What a good feeling. I participated in the Executive Committee meeting of the ward and they were talking about the importance of the youth and they were particularly worried about a few and I felt really touched and grateful for dedicated leaders who work hard and sacrifice themselves for the growth of the youth. 

We left Pelotas at about 8 last night and we came staggering into our house I think at about midnight (before my mission that wouldn´t seem late at ALL) poor President Castro had to drive the whole way, he must been crazy sleepy. He told us that we could sleep in a little longer this morning to make up for the lost sleep. But my body is like a machine now and at 6;30 I was awake. I made the conscious decision to stay in bed to try and get rest because I knew I would need it, but I couldn´t fall back asleep, I couldn´t believe how lazy I felt being in bed past 7.Reminded me of Proverbs 6:9: "How long wilt thou sleep , O sluggard?" (in portuguese  the word sluggard is subsituted for lazy :p) Bascially the experience of sleeping in a bit wasn´t as grand as one might imagine. 

Everyone is trying to make me trunkie :p they shall not succeed. In my mind I know I am going home soon, but my heart hasn´t quite gotten the message yet. But I was thinking about experiences that I would be able to share when I go home if somebody asks, and I do have neat, and funny stories, but I honestly was reminded (and I talked with Elder Barros about this) about the story that Elder Ballard told in a General Conference of the young merchant who sold everything and went to California in search of gold and his fortune expecting to find gold nuggest the size of his fist. After a certain time of searching and searching, he had come up with nothing convinced there was no gold. Ready to quite, he met an old prospector who told him that there was gold there and you just needed to know where to look and showed him a rock filled with many tiny flecks of gold. The young man then replied that those flecks were hardly worth his time and that he wanted nuggests like the old prospector had. He then opened up his pouch for the merchant to show that it had been filled, with the careful accumulation of thousands of tiny gold flecks that had brought him quite a fortune. What I mean to say is, I think I was expecting nuggets when I came on a mission, giant and impressive spritual experiences. But honestly I don´t remember too many, nothing that you ever would read in a church magazine, or like Grandpa tells, even some of dads mission stories that I remember. Just lots of tiny gold flecks of experience accumulated of two years that for me were really valuable and helped me to be converted and to just come to know The Savior just a little bit better and to understand the influence of His spirit. I´m grateful for my little flecks of gold, the nuggets can come when they come. 

Gotta go. All of my love

Elder David F Morgan

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Another week flown by, Got my sea legs on this week too

Okay, to make sure that I don´t run out of time I will write firstly my weekly letter home. 

Once again, i have struggled to remember what actually happened this week. On Monday we finished up getting ready for Zone Council, our training, receiving the missionaries who would be travelling etc. 
We trained about how to be a better teacher and improving specific teaching techniques (how on earth do you spell that?!) I won´t lie, one thing I have never liked about being a zone leader and even more now as an Assistant is giving training. Going out on splits with the missionaries I like, we get work done, and I don´t feel like an idiot. I honestly don´t have fear of public speaking, I just feel like what I am saying is really dry. I guess I should focus more on trying to edify than to entertain, but really, I don´t like it. I like Elder Barros a lot, but we make a plan to follow for our training and he doesn´t follow that plan AT ALL :p. He is much to spiritual for that, he ends up sharing experiences and talking about the scriptures. We have to follow a pretty strict training prossess called EDPAR, which is: Explain, Demonstrate, Practice, Avaliate, Re-practice. Haha, he doesn´t manage to follow that too well, so I have to keep on my toes and bring him back in, or be ready to follow whatever inspiration he might be receiving. Zone Council was always really edifying, and then I got called here and now I don´t dig on it too much :p
Wednesday we honestly had some things to do, but we couldn´t take being in the office anymore, we got outside and got to the real work we were called to do. We didn´t have too much sucess that day, but it was nice to invite people to come unto Christ again. 
On Thursday we went to Rio Grande. I had never gone there yet, and it was a 5 hour trip. It was just us two and President Castro this time. President Castro deligates a lot and is really interested in what our opinion is. I remember when he got here and I called him about a question that two missionaries had asked me. His first response was "Well what do you think Elder?" I honestly didn´t know because nobody had ever asked me that before. I am trying to work more on not brining problems but solutions to the table. "President, we have this and this and this as a dificulty, but we could do this and that and this, to fix it." It is much more helpful that way and it seems less that you are whining and more about helping. 
Rio Grande was awesome, it was like being in Brookings, the smell of the ocean and fish :) President was doing interviews and we went on splits with two missionaries. Elder Wang and Elder Carvalho. It was great. we taught a few lessons, and I always like being with new missionaries. I relearned the importance of treating people like agents and not objects and also to teach simply so that the message can be understood instead of just covering the material. 
OH! also! there is a missionary from Rio Grande that was (or is) living with Grant in São Paulo, haha it was cool, I saw his picture on the ward announcements! Cool huh? small world. Grant will drink Chimarrão with me when we are both home. 
Well, I had to try out my sea legs too, because there is a branch that you have to travel by boat to get to in Rio Grande and President wanted to go visit on Friday morning to know what it was like there and to meet the ward mission leader that is really great there. It was just a half hour ride there and back, but it was fun to be out on the sea and to have a different experience. 
I really wish you could all get to know President Castro, cause he is amazing. On the trip home there was a part where it was a little quiet, everybody was deep in thought and I had made a list of questions I had for him haha ( you have to take the chance while you still have it) and some of my questions were about life-after-mission, and I didn´t really want to think about that that yet. But when we were in the car he suddenly said that he had the impression that he needed to ask us if we had any questions or would like council about things like college, or work, or marriage for after the mission and that it was alright because we were near the end of our missions and that he knew we were responsible and could keep that locked up until afterwards. It was a really neat experience to see that The Lord inspires people to answer our prayers and I learned a lot. 
We are kind of in a jam to find people to teach again here and I would really like to have some good success before I leave and to leave a good teaching pool for Elder Barros and his next companion. We really need a miracle to find and baptize in these next few weeks. 
I am really glad to be with Elder Barros, it is different, but he is really commited and so it is nice to be able to push together in the work, sometimes I feel like I need to do better in keeping up with him actually, really dedicated. 
We visited a family that Elder Barros taught when he first started his mission today, ate lunch with them, they are way special. Loved it. 
Well I am gonna go now. All of my love

Elder David F Morgan

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Forgiveness and Transfers, you'll be best friends someday, GET ME OUT OF HERE!!

My title is just to help me not forget some of the things I wanted to write about. 
First of all, mom and dad, you are both forgiven for not having written me this last week. Your only chastising is that you have to pass through the shame of me having announced in this email that you both forgot. But I love you and I am glad that you pased that time serving other people. 
Okay, so we had transfers this last tuesday. It is a great time to be a missionary in Porto Alegre, and any other part of the world, with the announcement that the missionary age has been reduced, so many great young men and women are coming to serve The Lord full time as missionaries. This last week we received a group of 22 missionaries! only 3 left the field and we opened 10 new areas on our mission, another zone and we will open another in Pelotas on the next transfer!! Woohoo! I really wish I could stick around here to see it happen... but enough of that thought! 
I love going and picking up the new missionaries at the airport, one of my favorite things. Elder Barros (my new companion) showed up here on Monday, we spent most of the day getting ready for the huge transfer, after 22 new missionaries need 22 trainers, and we train the trainers. Elder Barros is one of the most Christ -like people I have ever met, he is also a little awkward and weird at times as well, but he has a real special spirit and the desire to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and is commiteed to following those impressions. Elder Singelo was a great companion, a lot of fire, but Elder Barros is calm, reserved and very thoughtful, it is interesting being companion of the two. I had the chance to go on exchanges with Elder Barros near the begining of the last transfer and I really enjoyed it and felt great with him. When it came time for us to give our suggestions to President Castro about the transfers, I put his name of the list to be my new companion ( it is weird being able to do that) clearly that I don't decide the transfers, it is The Lord who does that, but I felt really right putting his name there, and look what happened. 
So ya, transfer. We picked up the new missionaries at the airport. First rule of transfers, everything goes exactly the oppposite of what was planned. The flight delayed, we made mistakes in the tickets for the missionaries traveling by bus, our training ran over time, we had to switch what restaurant we would take them to at the last minute, and everyting else you can imagine. BUT, as incredible as it seems, it all came together and everything worked out! Miracles DO happen. 
Training with Elder Barros is fun, but you make a plan, and he doesn´t follow it AT ALL! haha, so it is ALL just going with the flow, but I feel like it was alright, we have zone council next week and we will see what happens, we were planning a bit of our training for that today. 
I forgot to mention a funny story. We travelled to Pelotas last weeks, or the week before, I don´t remember, we were with the whole Castro family. He has two sons, Gabriel who is 12 and Lucas who is 8. Ha, no matter who you are son of, boys will be boys and at some moment during the trip  they started in with a mild... discussion, it was quickly finished, it didn´t last really long, but at some moment I remember commenting afterwards that someday they would be best friends, and that they don´t believe me, because my parents used to say the same thing to me about my brothers and I didnt believe them, but now, my best friends truly are my brother and sisters. Funny how that works out right? Okay my time is up. Love you a lot
Also, we are staying here in the office WAYYYYY too much lately, so many things to do, I want to get outside! 

Elder Morgan