Thursday, March 20, 2014

This car is making me crazy

Holy cow, talk about a whirlwind of a week.  Transfers are always crazy, but somehow this week seems like it was even crazier than usual.  I'll try to give you all a run down.

First off, due to some DMV shenanigans, we've ended up with one of the other ward's car for a couple of weeks.  At first I thought this would be totally awesome!  A car!  For the first time in my mission!  But now I'm seeing the terrible and dark side of the car.  "Elders, can you give us a ride?" "Elders, my tire popped, we need your help."  "Elders, a grizzly bear ripped off my companion's left arm and is using it for a baseball bat, can you drive us to the hospital?" Things like that.  Also, you can't talk to anyone while you're driving.  I miss feeling like a total stud missionary, walking down the streets with a Book of Mormon in my hand, calling people brother, and preaching the restored gospel to everyone I came in contact with.  It's different in a car.  Brigham Young didn't have a car!  Wilford Woodruff didn't have a car!  Parley P. Pratt didn't have a car!  Why do I need a car?  I'll be glad when we get rid of that thing, haha.

We had an amazing opportunity this last Saturday!  Elder Neil L. Anderson, one of the twelve apostles, VISITED OUR MISSION AND SPOKE TO US!  It was awesome!  I got to shake his hand!  He was super cool and super funny!  I learned so much from him.  He talked to us a lot about the Atonement and about Jesus Christ.  He wanted us to put even MORE of an emphasis on Jesus Christ in everything we do because, as he said, "This pure and perfect belief in Jesus Christ WILL fade from our society."  Right now we're fortunate to live in a country where a majority of the people still respect Jesus Christ and honor him as the Savior of the world, but he wants us to prepare for a time when that won't be the case.

Speaking of Jesus Christ, I started the Book of Mormon over again and decided that this time I would bold with my pen every time him or the Father are mentioned.  Spoiler alert: They're mentioned a lot.  Like, fifteen times a page a lot.  It's been a great reminder that the purpose of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Jesus Christ.  It's been great to read through it again.

I wish as a missionary I could put on a resume when I get back all the jobs I did while I was out here.  Marriage and family counselor, therapist, life coach, spiritual adviser, moving crew, maid, gardener, organizational consultant, etc.  But, unfortunately, it's not really me doing any of those things  I just pray a lot and ask for the Lord to help me and he does!  As for now, I'm proud to have the title of "Missionary."

Thanks for all the support you give me.  Please keep me in your prayers.  The church is true, the book is blue, folks.

Your friend,
Elder Carter David Morgan

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014--a new companion

So apparently I've missed a few weeks updating Carter's blog:  Here are the latest entries…

Feb. 26, 2014

Greetings from Chino, CA!  You know those weeks where your brain has just kinda turned into mush?  Well, that's one of them.  This week has been so crazy, so busy, and so hectic that I don't even know what to think.  I don't even know if this letter will be coherent or not.  Bear with me, people.

First off, I GOT PERMISSION FROM MY MISSION PRESIDENT TO GO TO APPLE VALLEY FOR SARA'S BAPTISM!!!  Woohoo!  I'm so excited!  I will return to the land of my birth!  President's been getting a little nervous about missionaries from the valley going to the desert and vice versa but I was able to get everything organized and he gave me permission to go!  I'm so excited to go this Saturday!  The Ranchos ward was absolutely awesome and I can't wait to see everyone again!

Like I said, this week has been crazy.  A lot of stuff fell through so it was a lot of running around (sometimes literally) at the last minute to teach our investigators.  But hardwork, persistence, and groveling at doorsteps pays off in the end, it turns out!  We continue to lead our zone and to find more people to teach!  We're so excited!  And the ward is too!  Our bishop complimented us in front of the entire congregation and our ward mission leader told everyone that they should take advantage of teaching with us while they can because they won't have us forever.  It's cool to see that the ward is finally starting to trust missionaries again.

We had a super cool experience this week!  Last week we were walking out of a lesson and we saw a guy in his driveway holding a book.  We asked him what book it was and he said, "It's the Holy Bible, my friend!"  We asked him what we was doing carrying a bible at this time of night and he told us that every Tuesday they hold a born-again bible study at his friend's house.  He invited us back next week to hear the Mormon take on the bible.  So this last Tuesday we went to his house to study the bible together.  Turns out it was less of a study and more of a makeshift pastor audition, haha.  Several of the people stood up at the "pulpit" (which was really just a lamp without the lampshade) and read from the bible and gave little sermons.  After one of the preachers had sat down this big, quiet, Mexican guy who had been silent the whole time looks at me, points, and says, "Brother, the Holy Spirit has told me that YOU must preach next."  Now you all know me, I'm not one for making speeches...

Just kidding.  I love making speeches.  I wish I could give speeches professionally.  So I was up to the challenge of preaching to a bunch of born-agains.  The only thing is, I don't know the bible too terribly well.  I mean, I know it better than the average American, but not as well as a devout born-again.  I thought, "How on earth am I supposed to give a sermon without using the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price?"  Then I thought, "You don't.  Instead, use them."  So I did, haha.  I got up, explained a little bit about who we are as Mormons, introduced our different volumes of scriptures, and then explained that I would be using those as well because of the blessings they've brought into my life and I wanted to share it with them.  So I gave an impromptu twenty minute sermon on diligence in the ministry of Jesus Christ using both the Bible and Book of Mormon.  When I finished the big Mexican guy spoke up and said, "I like this Mormon book.  It elaborates on the bible and makes sense to me.  I like what it says about Jesus Christ."  I told him it was a good book and that he should read it sometime, haha.  We got invited back and we plan on giving another sermon tomorrow, haha.

The Walkupy Chino movement is a success!  This week we taught the most lessons out of the zone and the most this area has seen in over a year!  We were super excited!  I credit it all to being on foot this week, haha.  After initial hesitation from our bishop, ward mission leader, and zone leaders in our decision to ditch our bikes, we have proven our great experiment to be a success.  Take that, non-believers!

I wish I had more time to talk about everything else that happened this week!  It was so exciting!  We found lots of new investigators and had a great experience teaching all of them!  Hopefully I'll be able to talk about them a little more in the future.  In the mean time, have a good life and keep it real.

Your friend,
Elder Carter David Morgan

Carter and Elder Wagstaff 

March 3, 2014

Greetings from Chino, CA!  So, I just read through practically a bajillion emails and have no idea what to write or say or do.  Man, I'm confused right now.  Where am I?  California?  Why aren't I in Brazil?  Does Brazil even exists?  Are the prophets and apostles just playing a REALLY elaborate joke on me?  What's going on?  I'll try to write this email, but I'm not making any promises that it'll contain any of my usual wit or handsome charm.

In the most amazing news of the week, I GOT TO GO TO APPLE VALLEY FOR SARA'S BAPTISM!   WOOOOOOOOO!  That was a completely awesome experience!  Even though I'm here in Chino, Apple Valley is where a good chunk of my heart will always be.  I'll get to Brazil one day and just tell them how they weren't lucky enough to serve in Apple Valley, because Apple Valley is the best place on Earth.

Sara's baptism went great!  It was so fantastic to see her finally take those steps into the water.  I was asked to be a witness for her baptism and I witnessed with pride!  She had been investigating for about two years but started seriously investigating these past nine months.  She's more active than most of the ward, haha.  It was great to see her baptized and I'm so excited for her!  She'll make a great member of the church.  Also, if she ever goes inactive then she'll have a horde of missionaries show up at her door, haha.

Another great thing about Apple Valley was I got to see a lot of my old friends again.  I saw my best friend/ex-ward mission leader Johann "Joey Science" Simonds and his family again!  I also saw the crotchety old high priest group leader who hated everyone except for me Bro. Fergusson!  I also saw the Heywoods, Steve "Daddy Muffinbear Warbucks" Moffenbyer and lots of other friends!  I was even reunited with my last companion/trainer Elder Escamilla for a day.  It was a surreal moment to be back in the high desert but I loved every minute of it.

We continue to be ON FIRE when it comes to missionary work.  We teach more than any companionship in the zone and we're kicking butt, taking names, and scheduling return appointments with those names that we take.  Nothing can stop the dynamic duo of Elder Morgan and Elder Wagstaff!

Speaking of Elder Wagstaff, this week his parents sent a care package and included in it was a small frying pan decorated as a medal which read, 

"The White Knight Knocker Award
Awarded to Elder Morgan
For bravery above and beyond the mission call"

It hangs on my wall with pride, haha.

Your friend,
Elder Carter David Morgan

March 10, 2014

Greetings from Chino, CA!  It's transfer day today so it's been a little crazy.  I'm still here in the Walnut Park ward but Elder Wagstaff has left.  I'll miss that guy.  I'll miss all of his internet reference humor from 2009.  

My new companion is Elder Sanchez and he's the bomb.  This is his last transfer and he's from Veracruz, Mexico!  The same mission where my dad served!  Crazy!  He's super chill and a super hard worker.  We're gonna get a lot of good work done here.

Our giant less-active/part member family came to church for the first time in years this Sunday!  It was awesome.  Eight people at church who haven't been in years!  It was really rewarding.  We've been teaching them for a bit. For starters, all the kids are hilarious.  I feel like I'm walking into a sitcom when I enter their home.  They all have such huge personalities.  We really wanted them to get to church so we had a member drive us around early Sunday morning and knocked on there door.  We get to their house and there's little six year-old Katelyn in the yard with a giant pink bin of dirt.  We walk up to her and ask her what she's doing.

"I'm planting a flower."

So we look into the bin of dirt (which is really just sand, that flower will be dead within a fortnight) and see that she's got this tiny fully grown sunflower (I think it might've even been artificial) in this giant bin of sand.  

"Oh.  Why are you using this bin?"
"Because it's the only bin big enough."

We then look at the yard to see about thirty flower pots, all appropriately sized for a three inch sunflower, scattered throughout.  Deciding to leave her to her madness, we ask if she's coming to church today.

"It's Sunday?"

... Yes.  It's Sunday.  How do these kids not know it's Sunday?  After informing her about the proper day of the week we tell her that we want to see her at church.  She immediately agrees and goes inside to put on her dress.  While she's inside we find out that the rest of the house is asleep and there's only an hour to church.  Assuming that there's no way a family of six kids is going to get to church in an hour, we say goodbye and figure we'll try again next week.

And then they showed up.

When we asked the mom why they were there she simply said, "Because it's important for us to be here."  I couldn't have put it any other way.

In other news, Sara of Apple Valley has just gotten her first ever calling in the church.  She's the primary teacher for her daughter's class.  She'll be great.  I wish I was there to see it.

That's about it!  My trainer is now in Chino with me, which is sweet.  We'll tear it up down here.  I hope all is going well back home!

Your friend,
Elder Carter David Morgan