Monday, November 30, 2015

Weekly Email

Dear everyone,

I have had a great Thanksgiving week, hope you did too!

First of all, I want to give a shout out to the Damascus Ward Young Women!!!! Thank you so much for the cute little Christmas package you sent me, it was very thoughtful. And Especially to Sister Sivertson, I love you, you are the best!

Thank you parents for the Thanksgiving card, it was a nice surprise! 

I hope World War 3 hasn't broken out...sounds a little scary.
I also hear the church is more in the news lately. Spread the gospel!

The new Christmas initiative, A Savior Is Born, is out!!! Go check it out at :)

This week has had lots of adventures! 
We have three people we are teaching, preparing for baptism. 
Alain: He is the french one. We teach him almost everyday and are taking it very slow since he didn't have a Christian background. It is cool though, reminds me of a past investigator who didn't know Jesus Christ. He is praying and reading the scriptures everyday and he is so much happier. IT is a cool experience, I love being a missionary! He came to church yesterday too.
Mark: We have taught him a few times and he has the biggest heart. He came to church yesterday! He felt welcomed and said he will be going up soon to give a talk like the other speakers. haha 
Shannon: She is moving :( Has a solid understanding of the Book of Mormon though and how it will bring her closer to Christ than any other book besides the bible. I know she will find comfort in reading it. Going to hand her over to the missionaries in Tampa. 

Peggy gave her first talk yesterday and it was fantastic!!!! Made me cry. So did Taylor's, we have been teaching her and helped her get to the temple! She was baptized in January. I love both of them and feel so lucky to be a part of their lives.

For Thanksgiving we ate dinner with a few families in my ward- my bishop and the stake president and my relief society president. It was good, but we felt antsy the whole time so we went out and street contacted before pie time. Speaking of pie, we made pie with the YW on Wed. Pumpkin and chocolate creme. The YW president was happy that I knew how to make pie crust. Who knew I took that culinary arts class for my mission? :)

Went to Sawgrass Park, see pictures. We saw so many alligators, it was cool! We went for a birthday party of a girl in our ward. Its funny that you can find random swamps in the middle of a city, but you can here! 

Well, I probably forgot something but oh well. I love being a missionary. It has changed my life. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know it because I have read it and prayed sincerely to know its true. I feel happy when I read it and that the spirit is more in my life. It testifies of Jesus Christ, that He lived, that He loves us, and that He wants us to return to live with Heavenly Father. Reading a little bit of it everyday will bring you closer to our Savior. I know that the truth is found in this church. 

I love you all!

Sister Morgan

 Our relationship

 A final draft of the picture I painted :)

 Us ... a bit windy!

Us again!

A random picture

Monday, November 23, 2015

10 Months!

Dear family and friends,

I am so old. Do you see that title? Yep. I have been out 10 months! Sister Vanderhoff was out 10 months when she trained me. She was so full of wisdom and experience...I feel like I just got here! Oh well. I am learning how to be a better missionary everyday. The cool thing about a mission is that you can change almost anything that you don't like about yourself - any weaknesses you have can be strengthened through the Lord. Of course, this will still take a lifetime but at least I get a head start! :)

What a wonderful week. I have the best companion ever and I found out yesterday that we get to stay together in St. Pete for another transfer! Yay!!! We have a few investigators that are progressing so we are excited about this. Plus the holidays. We are going to have a lot of fun! The new Christmas video should be coming out soon, "A Savior is Born". I am excited to get pass-along cards so everyone can know about our Savior and His birth! 

Meet the Mormons is on youtube! Check it out! 

Question, is World War 3 about to break out? I heard that Paris got bombed and then they bombed Isis back...just sounds a little concerning. I don't know, maybe its just me. 

So some updates from this week:

We had two members we are teaching go to the temple! One was a recent convert, Taylor, and she is incredible! We meet with her once a week, give a lesson, and study out of Preach My Gospel with her. A less-active/ recent convert, Vilma, was able to go to the temple and walk around the grounds. The temple is like a 2 and a half hour drive from here I think so it showed a lot of devotion. We have also been meeting with Peggy and preparing her for the temple. I love Peggy. Guess what? She got a calling!!! She is the Personal Progress advisor now and she is looking forward to it. She felt not having a calling held her back from being a true member. She's so awesome. We are now working with her on her family history. 

Our mission is really big on setting baptismal dates with people on the spot so we had a district meeting on this. After the meeting, Sister Judkins and I set two dates with people! We are excited because we are finding people who are prepared by the Lord to make changes in their lives to be in closer harmony with Jesus Christ and His teachings. 

We are teaching a less active member who just moved into our ward. She is from India and has a very thick accent! She was basically baptized then dropped because she got married to a Hindu man. We are teaching her all the missionary lessons. She made us India food on Friday and she fed us the "not spicy" mouth was on fire. It was good though! 

We had a return appointment with a French man that we met tracting. He doesn't have a Christian background but has a desire to find the truth. We taught him how to pray and about who our Heavenly Father is. A lady in our ward went to France and Switzerland on her mission so she came with us to our lesson and it was great. We have been trying to get the members more involved in our missionary work this week and it has helped. Invite the missionaries to meet with your friends in a casual setting, don't make it a big deal. You will be happy you did when a year or two later you are sitting with them in the temple. :) I love the temple, it is a sacred place where you can be sealed with your family for forever! It's the thing I miss most out here on my mission. 

I love Moroni 10:32 in the Book of Mormon. Read it! 

I am grateful for my blessings of having family and friends that support me out here. A mission can be hard at times, but its so much easier when I get to email every week and receive letters from all of you. I have learned that I need to better support my friends on missions. 

Love you all,

Sister Morgan 
 Don't forget the "1/2"

  Peggy doing family history for the first time!

Can't remember if I sent this already...funny. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

November Already?

Dear family and friends,

I think my title says it all. Its the middle of November! Boy, time flies!

My email is a little late today because this morning we went painting! A lady in our ward is an artist, AMAZING artist and gave us a free session today, painting on canvas with oil paints. :) It was so cool! I think I am secretly an artist ;) Sorry Allison, I am taking over the title! Not really, but I did better than I thought! 

Miracle of the week:
On Saturday night, we went up to these really nice apartments to contact a referral. The person we received this referral from wasn't sure which apartment his friend lives in, he though it was building 12, apartment 1209. So we walked over to it and the numbers were only five digits. We knocked on a few of the doors, asking for help or if he lived there. One man opened the door and after making it clear to us that he was Jewish and not a prime prospect, he found us a map of the apartment and told us that 1209 was in building one. So off to building one we went, we debated whether to walk there or drive because the complex was huge but we walked. Once we were there, we walked up the stairs, where 1209 and 1210 were, across from each other.  We knocked on 1209, no answer. 1210, no answer. We had no plans the rest of the night because our appts. cancelled. We walked down the stairs, disappointed with our night because we hadn't really talked to anyone and no one was outside. Once we reached level ground, a car pulled in. We decided to wait until they came out so we could talk to them. Out came a woman, who turned out to be a member in our ward that plays piano in Relief Society. She's single and works a lot. Thought she was in trouble because the missionaries were knocking on her door! We ended up going to her apartment and teaching her the Restoration. The spirit was very strong there and she said that Heavenly Father knew that she needed to hear it. What added more to our joy is that she is kind of an expert at family history so she might be able to help Peggy find out about her family which is hard because they are all dead and she's adopted. The miracle of it is this: If we hadn't knocked on the doors in building 12, we wouldn't have known to come to building one. If we had driven over to building one, we wouldn't have ran into the member. If we hadn't asked her if we could share a short message with her, she wouldn't have felt that God answered her prayer that night. It's in the timing of things that we can truly see God's hand. 

There were other cool stories from this week but not enough time to share them. Peggy is hopefully going to the temple this Saturday and just walking around while some members do a session. We are so excited for her to feel the power and spirit of the temple. I love the temple and can't wait until I can go again. :) I know that families can be sealed for this life and for eternity, after death. I will be married in a temple of God for time and all eternity someday. I love family history, we need to do all we can to find our lost ancestors and do their work for them. God is perfect, and so is His church! Everything is so organized, Peggy commented on that. She is in awe that there is an answer to every question and a reason and a place for everything. I so so grateful to be a part of Jesus Christ's church, ran with the same power and authority He had from God. 

I am grateful to be a missionary in Tampa, Florida! Or St. Petersburg, right now. :) I know the Book of Mormon is true, and I have come to love it as I study it every day. It applies to me in my life and I know it comes from God. I invite everyone to read it, whether they have already or not. 


Sister Morgan 

 Me and my painting, the teacher only had to help me once! 

Us and our paintings, and Sister Gorman our teacher! She's been doing this for over 40 years. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Another Week in Paradise

Hello Everyone!

This has been a great week, a busy week, which are the best weeks!

Thank you Brad, Grandma Morgan, and Sister Vanderhoff (Ashley) for sending me a letter this week, I love getting letters! 

Daylight savings stinks. It is dark by 6:30pm! It is so hard for us because St. Petersburg isn't the safest place to serve in, almost everyone tells us to be careful and stay safe. So tracting after dark is not the best thing to be doing. We are allowed to see members again so we are trying to fill our nights with appts with members and of course, investigators (first priority). But we have pepper spray so we're good. :) 

On Tuesday I had interviews with President. Its been forever- we haven't had them since June!!! I love President Cusick, he is truly inspired. He loves us so much and pushes us because he knows what we are capable of accomplishing. I had a great interview with him, he says that my mission is truly blessing my family and I pray that it is. I have the best family ever! I am grateful for loving parents who taught be what is right and what is wrong. My siblings aren't too bad either ;) 

I have learned two valuable lessons this week. 1. Being happy truly is a choice. After being sick I was kind of in a slump, feeling unmotivated to do anything. People have always told me you have to choose to be happy but I never liked that because I thought it was fake to pretend to be happy, that you are what you are. But this week I put it to the test. I woke up Tues morning feeling sad but during studies I prayed to make myself happy and have the spirit with me. During studies I gave myself pep talks in my head and asked for God to inspire me through the Book of Mormon to change my attitude and guess what? It worked! I was much happier and motivated to take on the day. The other lesson is 2. The faster you apologize, the faster you feel guilt-less. There were two instances this week that I was upset at poor Sister Judkins. They were small things that didn't really matter but it built contention, which drives away the spirit. One of my biggest weaknesses is admitting that I am wrong and apologizing. I usually just let it fume and eventually die down until I forget about it but this week I knew I needed to change. So after both instances I prayed for help to have the courage to apologize and then I put it to action and did apologize. And let me tell you, I felt so good! Why do we get into arguments and fume over them? It drives away the spirit and you usually can't remember the next day why you were even mad. Jesus Christ was quick to forgive, so should we be. 

Elder and Sister Smith got us strawberry shakes from Plant City, and it was the best one I have ever had in my life! :)

We tracted into a man this week who told us he didn't need to do anything for the rest of His life. He said he had a dream that he was playing golf with God so he knew he was saved. Yep. We gave him a Book of Mormon anyways. 

We had St. Petersburg stake conference this week. There were many speakers, including the Orlando temple president and his wife. I love the temple and miss it so much. Please, go to the temple! Do family history! Find a recent convert in your ward and take them to the family history center, it will bless both of your lives! 

Anyways, this is long enough. Love you all, remember LOVE is spell T.I.M.E. 


Sister Morgan
Fun little photo shoot! :D
Practicing with remote set up!

Sister Judkins' camera -- Me and then a selfie!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sickness, Halloween, and Candles

Dear Family and friends,

Well its been a less fruitful week. 

I was sick most of the week with a head cold and so of course no one wanted us to come teach them or knock on their I was forced to stay inside for two of the days. And let me tell you- it is hard to be inside all day for two days in a row!!! So I slept and we watched The Restoration, The Legacy, and I'm A Mormon videos....yep, life of a sick missionary. :) I am better now, just a runny nose. Poor Sister Judkins had to stay in too but she didn't get sick so that's good. I am hoping that the sleep I got will last me for the rest of my mission but I have a feeling my body just needed to shut down and catch up on sleep for the last 9 months...

We had our ward trunk or treat on Sat, along with a chili cook off. It was a lot of fun, we talked to many people and invited SO many people to it. But everyone has their agency, all we can do as members and missionaries is invite. Its our purpose- to invite others to come unto Christ. 

I got a good-smelling candle this week that reminds me of the Fall season. I can't believe it the holidays already. Sister Judkins thinks I'm weird because I can just smell and stare at lighted candles for forever. I love this time of year, the weather is getting a little bit cooler here but not much. Its like 85 and 90% humidity... its great! :) 

I love Peggy, my recent convert, so much. She truly is amazing. It matters much more to me to eventually leave the mission with a few strong converts than to baptize the world and have none of them endure to the end. She is reading everyday and is progressing towards the temple. 

We had a cool experience last night. We were tracting and the first house that we knocked on, a man said we could pray with him. Then we taught him all of the restoration on his doorstep and now have a return appointment with him. We asked him if he found out that Jesus Christ's original church that He established was on the Earth again, would he want to be a part of it? He said yes. We are excited to teach him and help him progress towards baptism. 

I know that this church is true. We have a living prophet and apostles today who lead and guide Jesus Christ's church. I know that God loves us and give us revelation today. I am grateful for the priesthood and the blessing we receive from it. I know it is important for us to go to church weekly so we can partake of the sacrament, which cleans us and gives us a spiritual boost for the next week. I love hearing my friends being called on missions, it is so fantastic! They are hard, but they will prepare you for the rest of your life. 

I love you all,

Sister Morgan 
 Us by the bay

For Friday fun night we soaked our feet in listerine...pinterest idea

Ward Halloween Party, I went as Sister Judkins and she as me!

 A lady from last week's senior community event

Fun palm tree

 Peggy in her cute costume!

Sister Smith and I, my favorite senior couple sister missionary :)