Wednesday, February 19, 2014

6 month mark!

Greetings once again from Chino, CA!  The work continues to go well here and I feel incredibly blessed and humbled to be a missionary for our Savior's church.  What a wonderful opportunity it is to preach the gospel and cry repentance all day long!  What a terrible feeling it is when 95% of people reject you!  But what an even more wonderful feeling it is when you teach the 5% that accept you and share with them the blessings of the restored gospel!  It's a give and take sort of life out here, haha.  We make the best of it though.

This week I officially hit the six month mark on my mission.  Crazy!  I can't believe that I'm already a quarter of the way done!  It's gone by so fast.  I can't vouch and say that this is the best two years of my life quite yet, because I haven't finished the whole two years, but I can without a doubt say that these past six months have been the ABSOLUTE best of my life.  A complete vacation from all worldly cares and a time to serve the Lord with all my might, mind, and strength.  Who could ask for more?

Anyways, since I turned six months it's customary to burn a tie.  So on Valentine's Day Elder Wagstaff and I were getting ready to do that in the evening.  As we were walking to an appointment we found a box that said, "Free Stuff" on the corner of a street.  We were intrigued so we looked through it and found a whole treasure trove of useless junk, but among it was a Twilight book.  Elder Wagstaff remarked, "Good kindling for your tie."  It was at that moment that I realized I had never lit a book on fire before.  Why not try it now?  So we took the book, doused it in rubbing alcohol when we got home, through it in a wheelbarrow to keep the fire from spreading, and lit it on fire.  It was awesome.  It did indeed make good kindling for my tie.

Elder Wagstaff and I have continued our walking efforts.  We've ditched the bikes and are on foot from now on. #bikestrike2014 We're calling it "Walkupy Chino."  Get it?  Like, Occupy Wall Street?  I thought it was pretty clever.  The other bike area in the zone has also joined the bike strike!  Soon we'll have the whole mission on foot!  It'll be great.

Speaking of the zone, I love my zone.  The elders and sisters I've met here have become some of my best friends that I've ever had.  It'll be sad to see some of us transferred away but I enjoy the moments we have together right now.  I think that's been one of the greatest parts of my mission, the friendships I've made.  Whether they be with members, missionaries, or non-members, I've made some great friends out here, people who I'll remember for the rest of my life.

We're emailing on Tuesday today because the library was closed so we just got out of district meeting.  I love district meeting.  It's a great time to be strengthened and uplifted by all the other missionaries in the district.  Today we had a great training from one of the Sister Trainer Leaders on extending commitments and how Captain Moroni did the same when he raised the Title of Liberty in the Book of Mormon.  It was great and I took a lot away from it, but what I took away the most is that if I want people to keep commitments I should tear my clothes off and write things on them, like Captain Moroni.  I'm not sure if that was her point, but I'm going with it.

One of the new investigators we found this week is the daughter of a less-active member of the ward.  We had a great lesson with her Sunday evening and she asked lots of great questions.  We're really excited about being able to work with her more.

I went on exchanges with my district leader this week into his area, which was awesome.  I learned a lot and had a great day.  One thing we were working on was talking with everyone we saw.  As missionaries we're constantly told that we absolutely HAVE to talk with EVERYONE that we see.  This is within reason, of course.  I'm not jumping in front of cars because I saw someone on the passenger side, haha.  Well, on exchanges we saw a man and his wife and his two girls.  We went up and just asked a casual question to get the conversation started but it kinda fizzled out and didn't go anywhere.   We started walking away and I thought, "Y'know, that man could be sealed with his wife and kids forever in the Celestial Kingdom of God if I would just go and talk to him."  So I turned around and began to bear my testimony of eternal families to him.  Nothing came out of it, we gave him a card and left, but I'll be darned if I'm going to let his salvation be jeopardized because of my unwillingness to act.

That's about all I can think of for now.  Thanks for all the support from back home!  I love receiving all of your letters and I'm sorry that I don't have time to respond to every single one of them.  Just know that I do appreciate them and love the support!

Your friend,
Elder Carter David Morgan

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hoofing it--remember, Carter is sarcastic….

Greetings from Chino, CA!  I hear that Vancouver is all snowed in.  Crazy!  Stinks for you guys because it's 70 degrees down here!  Man, I love California.

This week has been pretty dang good.  We've been working hard and have seen a lot of success this week.  The Walnut Park area continues to lead our zone in numbers and we feel incredibly blessed for it.

This week I finally got fed up with my bike.  For some reason I've just been dreading getting on that thing and going out and working.  So I finally told Elder Wagstaff, "Screw it, we're walking from now on."  I figure if all the missionaries in Brazil can do it then why can't we?  So we've been on foot for the past couple of days.  It's nice, our area's one of the smallest in the mission.  Walking is a lot more relaxing and Elder Wagstaff and I have some good conversations while we're out and about.  As dumb as this might sound, there's something empowering about walking.  I feel like the first missionaries of the church, boldly setting out on foot to invite all to learn of the Restoration of Christ's church.  Nothing can stop me now!

I have fantastic news!  My first ever investigator and the woman who I taught my first ever lesson to, S. of Apple Valley, is getting baptized!  She had been investigating for a little over a year and she finally committed to a baptismal date of March 1st.  I'm so excited!  That also means that I will get to go to her baptism!  I will make my triumphant return to the land of my metaphorical birth, the desert paradise of Apple Valley.  "And we hear the desert singing, Elder Morgan, Elder Morgan, Elder Morgan!  Hills and vales and mountains ringing, Elder Morgan, Elder Morgan, Elder Morgan!"  I think I'll enter the baptism whilst being carried on a throne with "Prince Ali" from Aladdin playing in the background.  It'll be fantastic.

We found out that one of the investigators we've been working really hard with, C, may be moving to Los Angeles with her mom.  It's bittersweet because we know that things will be better for her there but it'll be the end of our teaching her.  She's still not certain but it's a possibility.  She still wants to meet with missionaries though so we'll be getting her new address and sending her information out to whoever covers her new area.  The silver lining is that we are now teaching her boyfriend, Francisco, and he seems to be taking well to our message.  It's awesome.

We had dinner with one of the less-active, part-member families of the ward again, the M's.  Bro. M is the only member of the family and we had a great conversation with them about the church.  We're now teaching his Catholic wife and his children and it's been going really well.  We had a lesson late Sunday evening and they asked really good questions and seem eager to learn.  I'm optimistic about their case.

The work continues to go well.  I continue to teach and testify, promise and prophesy, and do other such things that the Lord's anointed should be doing.  Thank you for all of your support and prayers.

Your friend,
Elder Carter David Morgan

Monday, February 3, 2014

"The White Night Knocker"

Greetings from Chino, CA!  Y'know, when I thought about California winter and fall I thought it would look kind of like our seasons back home, just a lot warmer.  I was wrong.  In fact, I don't think fall even happened down here and I'll be darned if you can call this winter.  The leaves are still all on the trees and it's about eighty degrees.  I'm not complaining though, haha.  It certainly makes biking a lot easier.  Also, since I was initially called to Brazil I pretty much only have ten white short sleeve shirts.  I certainly appreciate this California weather.

We continue to make good progress with the investigators that we have.  We've been teaching a lot and are looking at some baptisms during this transfer!  We're really excited!

Our ward had a dinner auction the other night to raise money for the youth and their camps.  We were invited to go but the entry price was $5.  As missionaries we really don't have that much money and so we were a little wary to spend $5 on a taco salad dinner.  When we walked up to the pulpit where they were collecting money I pulled off my name tag and placed it on the pulpit and said, "Put it on the card."  I then also told them that charging us entry would guarantee them an automatic place in the terrestial kingdom.  They didn't have a problem letting us through, haha.

So, this story happened a while ago but I haven't had time to tell it until now.  I think it must've been three weeks ago or so.  It was about 10:00 PM so Elder Wagstaff and I had finished the work for the day.  We were sitting in Bert's living room watching some church movies on his TV.  While we were watching I heard someone knock on our window three times.  I turned to look over and I SWEAR that I saw someone in a white shirt walking away.  Well, understandably this freaks us out.  Not knowing what to do we drew upon the vast knowledge of self defense that lies in our young Mormon brains and thought, "Hey!  Remember Tangled?  That frying pan they used seem to make a pretty good weapon."  So we went to the cupboards and grabbed two frying pans and patrolled the house looking for the mysterious assailant.  Bert got up and helped us but none of us were able to find him.  So Elder Wagstaff and I retired to our beds, laid the frying pans on the night tables besides us, and practiced some quick drills of waking up, getting out of bed, grabbing our flashlights and frying pans, and smacking someone over the head.  As we went to go to sleep I could have sworn that we heard someone walking around the outside of our house.  Freaked out, Elder Wagstaff suggests we call the police, if anything just so they can check it out and we can get some decent sleep.  So we did and they came.  They didn't find anything, but I'm convinced that the murderer was just REALLY good at hiding.  We went to sleep that night but ever since then we've been on high alert.  We call him the "White Night Knocker" and carefully watch for him.  It's now not an unusual occurrence for there to be a strange noise in the house and for Elder Wagstaff and I to come running into the kitchen with frying pans shouting, "Where's the White Night Knocker?"  For those of you that are thinking the shouting's excessive, don't worry.  We only shout cause Bert has, like, 10% hearing so we have to shout everything at him.

That's about it for this week.  We continue to move forward in the work.  It's good stuff out here and I'm glad I made the decision to serve a mission.

Your friend,
Elder Carter David Morgan