Monday, February 23, 2015

One Month!

That's right, I have officially been on my mission for a month!!!! It feels like I started forever ago but at the same time its gone by so fast. 

Florida is so great. There is a Publix on every corner- big grocery store. We went today and I got some really good sushi :) Yum! The store is kind of expensive but they have good fruit and stuff. One thing I discovered that I really like? Granola cereal. Mmmm. And I cut up bananas and mix it in with my vanilla almond milk. The best. So yes, Mom, I am eating. But I am eating healthier too! I know, its so unlike me but hey, missions change people I suppose...or at least that's what I heard... ;)

This week was pretty awesome. At district meeting we all got individual ipads- which I don't care too much for, one was fine - and in a few weeks everyone in the whole mission is getting brand new ipads which I know they contacted you because I have to pay for it (whoop). But its okay I guess, we keep it after the mission. We had a mission conference on Friday where we talked about ipads. The first Presidency and Quorum of the 12 are really liking that we are testing ipads and think God is giving all this technology to us now to hasten the work. They think ipads are great for us to adjust after we return home too. Most missionaries go home and they haven't had technology their whole mission so they go home and get in a lot of trouble because all the sudden they can access everything again. By us learning how to use self control with technology on our missions, it won't be so hard of an adjustment when we return home. Elder Zwick came and is still here, he is a member of the first Quorum of the 70 and let me tell you- he is amazing. I felt the spirit so strongly when he talked to us. I invite you to look him up and read some of his background and his talks. He's awesome. We also were the first people to see "Because He Lives", the new Easter video and it was fantastic! It will be released in a few weeks. 

I saw my first opossum this week. They are gross. 

I have had a problem with headaches this week. Been taking medicine almost every day, I don't know if its the sun or change in was the coldest its been in Florida in years- 30s! But its warming up now, very humid today. 

I love the families in my ward, they are powerhouses. One of my favorite families is the Barberenas. The mom and daughters are Dominican, the step dad is from Honduras I believe. They are amazing and make me feel right at home. I also love the Riveras, a couple who are both from Puerto Rico but lived in New Jersey most of their lives. They have a fun accent and are both pretty short. But the wife- Ziraida is learning to read because she didn't have the best education growing up. They both just love it when we come over. 

Got my first actual blisters this week and that was gross...not sure what to do honestly so hopefully they'll just get better. I know, tmi. 

Everyone here ropes me into playing the piano at church all the time so that's fun. I really love playing, I just wish that I had focused on learning more hymns before my mission. I don't have time to practice here, so people just have to suffer through my bad playing on a lot of hymns. That's a goal when I get home is to learn how to play every hymn in the hymnbook. 

Thank you for the Valentine's Day card! And tell Bill and Leann Miller thanks for the card as well!

2 Nephi 31 is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon, you should read it! 

I know that God lives and that he has sent me to Tampa, Florida for a reason. To give people hope and faith in Jesus Christ and a better world. In knowing that families truly can be together forever through him. Life isn't over when we die. We are here now to gain experience and become more like our Heavenly Father. You want to know my biggest motivation of being on a mission? My family. I love you guys. I want to be with my family here now and my future family forever. God just wants us to be happy. 

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sister Morgan

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16th, 2015

Sorry, this is going to be pretty short.

This Wednesday marks 4 weeks since I left on the mission! A whole month! That's pretty crazy. The days are long but the weeks are short is what I hear and its pretty true. 

So much happens between p-days and I'm not sure what to write honestly. Thank you everyone for the letters, I felt loved :) 
Dad- you know that letter you wrote me like the first of February? I didn't get it till this last Thursday! Thank you for writing me, I was beginning to think you forgot about me!
Thank you Brad and Allison for the letters and pictures, I won't have time to email you this week but I'll try to see if I can write a letter! I love pictures so keep sending them!
Thank you Aunt Sandra and Gma for the Valentine's Day card!

YAY!!!!! Baby Morgan!!!!! I was wondering all week when he was going to be born. Glad everything went well and I can't wait to see him in 17 months! 

It has been super cold for Florida this week. I have to wear an actual jacket instead of a cardigan! So sad. Sister Vanderhoff and I did a lot of finding this week with no luck. We need new investigators to teach the gospel but we can't find any. :(  We have been seeing a lot of less-actives though so that's good. 

We ate dinner last night with a convert from San Antonio- she's in the San Pedro ward if that means anything to Brad. She misses it. She has a cat who looks exactly like my Dash cat, Mom. Purebred applehead seal point Siamese. So cute. 

Fun missionary story- went to teach an inactive that wasn't home but his two sister-in-laws were there. One of them was drunk out of her mind and it was pretty funny but it just reminds me how important it is for us to have control over our own bodies and that we shouldn't take anything to make us lose this control. She pulled out the bible and started reading it so that was good but it is just so hard to have the spirit in that environment.

The other sister missionaries in our ward are awesome, yes we have 4 sisters in our ward! They are Sister Brown from Herriman by South Jordan and Sister Day from St. George. Everyone loves calling me Sister Morgan from Oregon. That's how they remember me. Lots of kids in the ward which is fun but hard because I can't pick them up or anything. :(  And oh my goodness, everyone and their dog has a dog!!! Everyone.has.pets. And dogs are always inside.. always. So most of my skirts I can only wear once a week because they smell like dogs. 

Anyways, 3 Nephi chapters 13 through 15 are pretty awesome. Read them. But my favorite scripture since I've been here has been Moroni. Definitely read that. So yeah, sorry I am forgetful! Thanks mom for the address book! I am grateful for everything you guys did for me! Love you!

Sister Morgan 

P.S. I'll try to upload some pictures.
P.S.S. Sorry it won't let me upload any photos I don't know why :( I got these from Sister Vanderhoff.  Have a good week!

My 1st Florida Companion! Sister Vanderhoff!

Not sure there really are cookies inside!?!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Congrats! New Auntie!

Congrats! You are a new Auntie!

So if you have not heard you are a new auntie! Feb 10th, 2:34 pm, Lincoln James Morgan entered this world in about 6 hours of labor. His weight was just a smidge under 7 lb 6 oz and he has big feet, long toes and some hair! (Kristin was excited about the hair!)

I am sending you a couple pics with the others! This is just a short baby announcement in case you open your email before P-day! :)
Love you!

Monday, February 9, 2015

1st P-Day in Florida

Hey family!

Before I forget, here is my new address:

Sister Morgan
6706 Camden Bay Dr #103 
Tampa, FL 33635

Send mail and packages to this for the next 3 months, because if you send it to the mission home it takes FOREVER to get here or doesn't get here at all!

This week has been pretty crazy. If  you think of a typical missionary in a typical mission, that is not this one. There is not tracting allowed, and only a little bit of street contacting. The missionaries work through the members only. Since I have been here, I have only taught or visited with members. It's fun to get close to members but its also hard because the reason I am here is to share the gospel and bring people unto Christ and baptize. It's hard when members are too scared to share the message. Families can be together forever! I left my family for a year and a half without phone calls, without recreational time, without sleeping in, without TV or phones or facebook or naps. I did this so I can tell people that their families can be together forever, even after death because God loves them and he loves families. And through Christ and his atonement we are able to be together forever and all we have to do is have faith. Repent. Be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. And endure to the end- continue to believe in Him. That's it. I want peace in this life and I think most everybody else does too. This is where you find it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true! I know because I have prayed to find out. I got an answer in my heart and now I am dedicating 18 months to sharing it. I have been in the actual field for less than a week and it's already been hard. But I can do hard things for God everyday for 18 months. 

Florida is awesome! I love the weather- everyone thinks its cold but I think its a tropical heat wave! (cue Dad's singing). Its rainy today, but its been low 70s and just perfect. I am trying out my sandals today! :) 

Okay, to answer some questions and such- I got 3 dear elders the day before I left so I haven't had time to respond from you (mom), Brad, and Kayalauna. I will try to find time to respond but I don't have Kayalauna's email or address so I can't to her. I am glad that the move (Gma Tanner) went well, you are trying to do what's best for her! If you are still in Utah, tell her I am in Florida now and that I love her and that I know families can be together forever! 

I don't want you to send anything else, I have way too much stuff! I am most likely going to send home a big box of things after I get unpacked and settled. I am going to Walmart today to get groceries and hangers. I will be in this area for 3 months while I am training. I am in the Tampa 4 ward, Tampa stake. I am north of the peninsula, farthest north I have ever been in in Florida. My companion is Sister Vanderhoff (I cannot remember any of the names you told me to look for but you should tell me because I have met a lot of missionaries now! haha). She is from Highland, UT and is the oldest of five. She actually grew up in Oregon- different areas like Eugene and Bend and Albany and such. She is 3 months older than me, but has been out for 10 months. She is nice, pretty quiet and exactly obedient but that's good because my mission president is HUGE on being exactly obedient. Very strict. We get up at 6 and do hard exercise till 7. My heart rate should be 80% of max heart rate. I hate it and love it at the same time.

My greatest difficulties so far have been staying awake during personal study- today is the first day I haven't fallen asleep while reading Preach My Gospel and scriptures during personal study. That's an accomplishment. But the rest of the day I have been fine. Our investigators don't like to show up to appointments sometimes and it is hard to find when we can only walk around neighborhoods and hope someone comes outside. But the hardest thing is this: patience. Before I decided to go on a mission, I prayed to learn how to be patient because it doesn't run strong in the family. When I decided to go, I prayed for patience. And since I've been here, I have prayed for patience. Basically, I brought it upon myself. haha. My companion is not a super big go-getter, like she is good with just sitting and waiting. I am not. I always have to be doing something, like all the time. And its hard for me to just stand there in silence after talking with someone and whatnot. So the Lord is teaching me early on to be patient. Another difficulty is prayer. We have prayed more this week than I have in my whole life. Its crazy. I just want to have the spirit with me though when I visit people so I am trying really hard to put myself in a good position. The mission president promised that if we are exactly obedient, we will have success so I am trying. 

I am glad you are figuring out facebook, mom. Good job! Tell Allison I would love it if she posted my new address on my page. :) Sorry about the wii thing, atleast you got to meet Jared and Chris! They are awesome! 

Tell Afton that Aunt Kimmy said Happy Birthday and that I miss her! I was thinking of her! I miss Ruby so much too! 

Mom- don't panic, I'll answer your questions in another email. Hope everything is going well, I love you all!

Sister Morgan

February 9th in Florida now

I have my bike and it was all put together. The handlebars are gross but I have those creepy homeless gloves that are black and don't have fingers that I can wear when riding. My mission in this area is mostly car, but I might have to bike the last week of every month if we run out of miles. Everyone here is pretty spread out, kind of like the Damascus ward. I haven't ridden it, but it looks good. I'll find out in a few weeks if I need new brakes. 
I really liked getting letters from you and other family at the MTC! I felt so loved- I think I got the most letters out of everyone! :) Feel free to send letters and packages.... its kind of lonely out here. I mean in the MTC I was surrounded by other missionaries all the time and I loved my district so much. Now it's just me and Sister Vanderhoff. She's great, but we are very different so its kind of hard. Plus I am trying to learn how to be more spiritual and talk about my feelings and testimony but I am not used to it so its hard. The last few days I've struggled, but I think it'll get better. I just have faced the fact that I am here to stay now and will grow to like it. It's hard coming from the MTC with everyone having the spirit to here I guess. 

On the plane I sat by Elder Davis both times. He is so awesome. We got to know each other well and I really admire his obedience and willingness to serve, his heart is in the right place. I miss my district. I miss Sister Sutton a lot-- she's the pretty blonde from Arizona and let me just tell you, she is amazing! So different than what I though she'd be like. I hope to be her companion someday. I miss Sister Stapley too. Sister Faalaulau was great as well, I finally got her name down before I left! (fa-ah-la-oo-la-oo). 

I love Tampa, the weather is great right now and the people are great. The first night I got here they sent us on the campus of University of Southern Florida to talk to people. It was scary, but fun! And I got to have Panda Express :) 

Is baby Morgan born yet?!?!?!?! I need info!!!!!!! And a picture!!!!!!!

I did pick up a schedule from the Provo temple, by the way. Thank you for getting the Ogden one! I think that's all my temples so far! I will be able to go to the Orlando temple at least once this year, don't know when. 

I am sorry that I couldn't call from the airport. Atlanta didn't have any payphones and when we got to Tampa, the mission president was already waiting. I feel really bad. I now have a calling card I got for $10 that is unused so I guess if skype doesn't work on Mother's day, I can use that. :) 

Today in personal study I studied Moroni chapter 10. It is awesome. Verse 32 is my favorite because the Lord says if you do this, then you will receive this. It has helped me a ton. Well, I have been a good daughter and wrote you a ton! I probably won't write a letter now this week unless I forgot something and I have time. Thank you for all that you do, love you! Let me know when you go back to Oregon. 

Sister Morgan

Monday, February 2, 2015

MTC Memories

My MTC Sisters!

My District in front of the Provo, UT Temple!

My official name tag!  Wow! This one is real!

Of course the famous MAP!

 And look who I bumped into from back home! Elder Anderson and Sister Hansen! :) Elder Hansen was also there of course, but he opted to take the picture! I also bumped into Elder Buchanan but it was not at a time for pictures. Great to see familiar faces from home!

Time to leave the MTC - tomorrow!


I do not have a lot of time because I am just doing laundry real quick because I won't have a chance to do it again until next week! I hope everyone is getting these emails, I forgot to ask that...

Man, it's been crazy busy these past few days but so awesome! I have felt the spirit in my life more this week than I have in my whole life!!! Its wonderful! I love it here but I am excited/ nervous to get to Florida. I have come to understand my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice he made for me. I know that I can be with my family now and my future family for eternity because of his infinite atonement. 

I'm not gonna lie, this week has been a little more rough. But I just pray for help and tell myself that this work is not about me. Its about the spirit and bringing others unto Christ. 

I love you guys! That's actually a word that they hate us saying here- guys- it's "elders and sisters". Hard to get used to saying that. Mom and dad- do you think you're staying in Portland then? Everything will work out for the best. Trust in the Lord and let him guide your life. Do something to show the Lord everyday that you love him and want to do the right thing.

Hope everything is going good! I don't know if there were any questions you wanted me to answer sorry! I'll be on the computer hopefully on Monday! Talk to ya in sunny Florida! :)

Love, Sister Morgan

Note from MOM

Hope you had a great first week! I am writing so you get another email on your P-Day! Hopefully you got a couple of "DearElder" letters by now!

If you have time to read one conference talk from last Oct 2014, read Elder Robbins talk about "Which way do you face? Pg 7 or 9 of your Nov 2014 Ensign that I sent with you! It was the basis for our RS lesson on Sunday and has some really good advice.

I was taking a walk with Grandma Tanner today all around her building and saw this car so I had to take a quick picture!    Just made me think of you and it was all good, except for the U of U frame!

Love, MOM