Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day!!!

Mi familia, mi amigos,

Hola! Okay, I'll talk in English. Happy Leap Year! This week has been fast. I think after you hit your halfway mark, the mission speeds by. 

I actually have time to send a nice weekly email this week. I'll try to be more detailed for my mother's sake. :)

Monday: I think I had the most awkward experience of my mission. We were teaching a girl named Emmy, who is 16. We went over to have a lesson and to talk to her mom about baptism. Her mom is a pastor and actually baptized Emmy when she was younger so we knew this was going to be a little difficult, but we had faith that Heavenly Father would tell us what to say! Well, apparently, they had a fight the night before about who knows what and were on bad terms. We were talking to Emmy when her mom comes over and starts doing a regular mom thing- teaching. Emmy fought back at her though and told her that she didn't love her and that she hates her and her mom yelled back at her saying that she's a sinner and all this stuff (remember she's a pastor) and so Sister Judkins and I are awkwardly sitting on the couch as this yelling session is going on right in front of us. I have never felt more out of place and uncomfortable in my life. Sister Judkins was just trying not to laugh. Her mom sounded like she was preaching in a baptist church. Needless to say, we asked if we could leave and her mom said no, talked some more, and left Emmy crying with us. On the bight side, her mom said she was happy she was going to our church!  

Shout out to Adina who sent me a wonderful letter this week, I got it on Monday. And to my mom for sending me one as well. :)

Tuesday: I started a 2-day diet that my family would do sometimes growing up. It wouldn't have been so hard except for the fact that people kept bring delicious treats to everything. But I held strong, I made it. :) 

We had a lesson with Gabby, a 17 year old investigator. The elders were teaching her and now we get to. :) We taught her the restoration and she prayed at the end of the lesson! She was so scared to because she hasn't prayed in years but she did a great job! She came to church last Sunday and enjoyed it. I love teaching young women, because the more I am myself, the more comfortable they feel and are able to relate to me. The youth are the future leaders of our church and they are seriously so awesome. 

I am going to send some pictures of some mansions we tracted, just for kicks and giggles with Deyeneira. They were HUGE! One answered and said they'd been to Salt Lake City and to a Mormon church before. They weren't interested but really liked our members. 

Wednesday: We woke up feeling weird...and it turns out there was a thunder and lightning storm about to pass through! So we watched the rain as we did our studies. 

We had the opportunity to do service at the Day Star Care Center again, but only for an hour. We helped put fliers in envelopes for some event coming up to raise money. I talked to the lady next to me at the table and she saw the Book of Mormon play the week before. Her husband I guess was part of the reformed LDS church, the one Emma Smith broke off to. So she knew a little bit more about our religion and is a Quaker herself. It was neat to hear what the Quakers believe, I read a book about them in middle school and that's all I know. If there is one thing you do learn on your mission, its of other religions and beliefs. I've never really cared before but I find it very interesting now. 

Stephanie was in a play at her school so we went to support her and sat between her dad and Gabby, our investigator. They did a good job but you know media these days, its raunchy even if its Shakespeare... 

Thursday: I felt sick in the morning- thought I was going to pass out but by lunch time I was fine. 

We saw Peggy today, I love her. We are basically done with her after baptism lesson which makes me super happy but sad too because I won't be able to see her much. She is recovering quickly from her surgery and is doing great in her faith! She has a lot of time to read so that helps and she is always thirsty for answers. I will miss her but we are slowly convincing her to move to Utah. ;)

Friday: We did a lot of tracting with not many people home. Its hard during the day, everyone is at work. 

Miracle for the week: We went to the church to watch Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (you can find it on netflix and YouTube)  with a few people, bringing Gabby. But she didn't show up. After 20 mins we decided to leave because we didn't feel productive (and after you've been a missionary for as long as I have you can't really sit in one place for that long anyways) so we walked out. We said a prayer because we didn't know what to do for the rest of the night. I had a thought that we should start walking, Sis Judkins thought we should go store contacting. Since our prompting wasn't the same, we prayed again. I felt that if we started walking up 4th street, God would place someone in our path. Sister Judkins said okay, let's give it a try. It was really cold so we didn't want to, but we did anyways. As we were walking, we said prayers with a few people but they would walk away right when we said amen so we had no lessons. Finally, we got to a stop light and decided it was time to cross and turn around. We pressed the button but saw a lady with a stroller coming down the road towards us. We asked if we could pray with her. She said yes. After the prayer we got talking and teaching and offered her a church tour and she said yes, that she had just been thinking she wanted to find a different church to go to. We speed walked to the church, which was 10 blocks away, and taught her the restoration on the way. She was very interested in there being a prophet on the Earth today (which there is if you didn't know) and wanted to know what he is saying now. We gave her a tour with her baby, whose name happens to be Joseph. (Not a coincidence). And best of all, she was actually normal! That sounds mean but its hard to find people who are in good living situations in my area. It was a pure miracle that came from praying and listening for a prompting of the spirit. 

Saturday: The elders had a baptism that we went to. I lead the music and Sister Judkins and I gave a talk on the holy ghost. 

The ward's ice cream social was that night and it was fun! We had a family feud game show and a newlywed game which was funny to watch all the couples in the ward try to guess the same answers. Stephanie came for a little bit, but had to leave early. We were suppose to have a lot of investigators there, but sadly none came. :( 

Sunday: Yes, my notes are getting shorter. We went to the Festival of Praise at the First Presbyterian Church in St. Pete. The guest conductor was Mack Wilberg, the music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!!!!!!!!!! It was amazing! And I got a picture with him. He's basically famous. ;) He was happy to see missionaries serving here and asked if it was a hard area. I don't remember what we told him but he is very nice. 

So that's my week, probably the most detailed weekly email home that I'll ever type! You are all welcome. :) 

I am grateful to be a missionary here in Florida. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what brings us happiness. When we follow Christ, we are automatically on a path of peace and happiness. Yes, we still have trials and temptations, but we are stronger and able to fight them off easier. I love my Savior and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve Him full-time. I hope you all have a blessed week and look to the future with faith and hope!


Sister Morgan  
 Some mansions

gross pic of us

 A huge tree! Says restoration....
This is in Crescent Lake.

 Peggy, my favorite person! 
Peggy & her cat

 A turtle

 Another library mailbox thing! 
 Mack Wilberg, the director of Mormon Tabernacle Choir! 
Sister Judkins, Mack Wilberg, Sister Smith and I

Mack Wilberg, the guest director at the First Presbyterian Church in St. Pete. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

13 Month Mark!

Hello everyone,

Did you read that? Yes, 13 months! Crazy. I was happy to find out that I am in St. Pete for another transfer with Sister Judkins. By the end of these next few weeks, I'll have been here as long as I was in my first area, Tampa 4! Its kind of nice. I hate change, but I also don't like no change so I think the Lord is teaching me to be patient and not expect to be delivered out of situations.

This week was actually a little hard. Our investigator, Donika, dropped off the face of the Earth and when we finally got in contact with her she had gone back to her word of wisdom problems and just completely stopped progressing. It was so sad. But if there is one thing I've learned on my mission, its that your physical environment has to be ready for your spiritual environment. Its hard to quit smoking if you are surrounded by smokers all the time or keep a pack on your dresser. You have to completely leave the environment or you get sucked back in.

Sorry, not much time to write this week. We have been taking the youth out with us as much as we can and we are having great success. We think the reason we both stayed here is actually for the youth. Many of them want to go on missions now, it's great! I love feeling like I am making a difference in their lives. I never really had missionaries that stuck out to me so I am glad I am helping them gain righteous desires. The future of the church is in the youth.

I have so many blessings being out here. I truly love the St. Petersburg ward that I am serving in. They are slowly catching the wave of member missionary work. I love this gospel and I know that when we follow the commandments we are blessed, we are happier.

I love you all,
Sister Morgan

 Most of the youth and a few of our investigators after Sunday School :)

 Giant leaves :)

Monday, February 15, 2016


I AM STAYING IN ST. PETE!!!!!!!!!!!! AND SO IS SISTER JUDKINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!! I am so happy!!!!! That is all, love you guys!

"God's Love" Day!

Hello everyone,

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, as you all know. But to us missionaries, it was sharing God's love day! Heavenly Father knows and loves each one of us. He may not always love the choices we make (we have the wonderful gift of agency, to choose for ourselves) but he will always love us and our spirit, because we are His children! 

Some highlights from this week: 

Donika- she is awesome, we taught her a few times but she was out of town a lot. We are going to have to push her baptismal date, but her desire is strong to change and become only dependent on God.

On Tuesday, we had a service opportunity. If you know me, I love service projects! We went to Day Star Care Center in downtown St. Pete. Its a place for those who are homeless or in transition can go and get legal documents to apply for jobs, a few days of food, and of toiletries. Its really cool. We bagged cans and assorted for for them to get ready for a pick-up order. I just love hands-on service. Can I find a career that I can get paid to do that? If so, please let me know. ;)

We definitely did a lot of tracting this week. Said many prayers but didn't find too many people who were ready for a change in their lives. All we can do is invite and testify of Jesus Christ, and leave the rest to God. 

Miracle of the week: We went tracting Thursday night, took out a young woman with us from church, and had a lesson later that evening. That night we couldn't find the phone before we went to bed. We said we'd look in the car in the morning. It wasn't there. We were freaking out a little at this point but we were praying and knew Heavenly Father would help us find it. During my personal prayer, I asked where it was and the thought that came to my mind was that it was on the ground by where were parked our car to go tracting. I thought that was strange and that it would be a miracle if it was there. After checking multiple areas for it, we went to check that spot and as I was driving by slowly, there it was! On the grass! We said a prayer of gratitude and now I learned to follow promptings first, even if they seem ridiculous. 

Anyways, this email is getting long. Love you all, will send more pictures if you aren't sick of them yet. :)

Sister Morgan
 Donika, Komar, and I

Stephanie and I 

 Service at the Day Star Care Center
Sister Judkins and I bagging food

Elder Brau, McEwen, Kitty, me, and Sis J

 I love my district,
I am going to miss them!!!!

Sister Judkins and I, Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 8, 2016

February Already?

Dear family and friends,

Well, that was fast! Next Sunday is Valentine's day, where has the time gone? Each day is long, but the weeks are short!

This week was hard and happy. Weird combination, I know. Let's just say that Satan was attacking us because he knew that Stephanie was going to get baptized and that she's going to be a rock for the St. Petersburg congregation here. Her baptism was great, she had some family and neighbors there to support her and many members came. I wanted it to be perfect for her, because its a day she will always remember. For those of you who don't know already, baptism is one of the first steps to following the example of Jesus Christ. Once you have faith in Him, repent (meaning change permanently from wrong to right), then you can be baptized! When you are baptized, you are committing to take His name upon you, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. Obviously you aren't perfect and we will still mess up after we are baptized, but we are then given the gift of the Holy Ghost after we are baptized to help guide us and keep us on the right path. We can endure to the end, persevere, and basically repeat all these steps. I am grateful for the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was baptized by John the Baptist, who had the proper priesthood authority to baptize Him. We can be baptized today and commit to follow Him so we can return to live with Him and our families for eternity. 

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is actually quite simple to live, we just complicate it ourselves. Just pray, read the scriptures, go to church, and have a desire to change and the faith to act on it. Then you will see miracles in your life. 

I am honored to be a missionary at this time, serving the Lord. It is stinkin' hard to get up every day at6am and to work everyday until 9pm, but it is worth it. I love my family and miss them, can't wait to see them again. But right now, I am doing the best I can and God helps with the rest!

Love you all,
Sister Morgan

Sorry, I sent a ton of pictures again because last week they didn't really go through. 

 More photos from "the hood"

 Another pic of Joan's crew!

 I tried collard greens, black-eyed peas, the best fried chicken ever, homemade mac and cheese, cabbage, and anything else Southern you can think of. 

A wonderful day! February 6th, 2016! Stephanie's baptism!!!
Beautiful Stephanie on her baptism day!

Stephanie's baptism program

 Dressed in white and ready!
 Sister Smith sent this on Saturday, right before the baptism. So happy and excited for Stephanie!

 More of her baptism!

Great day for these young ladies!
Maddie, one of the Young Women, age 14, photo bombing!

 My new journal!

I made her a birthday balloon, like Sister Vanderhoff did for me. :) 
She had to spin it around to read it! :) She didn't want to turn 20...

 She didn't want to turn 20...

 Her birthday party!
 We had Marie Calendars chocolate cream cake with mint chocolate ice cream! yum!

Happy Birthday, Sister Judkins!

Monday, February 1, 2016

"St. Pete load-up, we're going to the South side!"

Dear family and friends,

So yesterday was the highlight of the week. 
We got permission to go with a family in our ward to the South side of St. Pete, which is the ghetto aka the hood. The Wests have a friend named Joan who is black and hilarious and wanted to cook a big Sunday meal. There were at least 30 people there, going in and out. Sister Judkins and I were in the minority. It was so much fun though- I tried collard greens, black-eyed peas, the best fried chicken ever, homemade mac and cheese, cabbage, and anything else Southern you can think of. Our investigator Stephanie came too. I am sending videos and pictures if they work. We didn't want to leave. But, if we didn't have the "in" with Joan, we would have been scared to death to walk down that street. Its one of those streets that you see in a criminal show that people are doing drugs, dealing drugs, and probably walking around with guns. Needless to say, I was safe because we were with Joan's crew. :) 

There's been some drama with leaders in our ward lately but its getting better. Sister Judkins and I work really hard with members- to get them out to lessons especially. I love working with the young women here because they are all really young and not sure about their testimonies so its been fun to strengthen them and hear them wanting to go on missions now. Stephanie has been a big help too, they all look up to her. 

Speaking of Stephanie...she's getting baptized this Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited, she is ready! Keep her in your prayers please that Satan won't try to attack her and make her doubt herself. She is so strong and loves the members here. They have really took her in, especially the Wests. 

We had some cool lessons this week with different people. We are working hard! 

Oh, and I had pizza on Saturday. I am always reminded of Mountain Mikes, which has the best pizza ever and I miss working there. I think pizza is one of the things I crave the most being on my mission. I can beat anyone in a pizza-eating contest. :) 

Anyways, love you all! Read Moroni 6:4-6, it reminds us of why we continue to go to church after we are baptized and the importance of worshiping together, and not just in our hearts. 


Sister Morgan
 It was flooding by the bay, rained all day. 

With Auntie Joan

 At the "hood"

 Joan's crew!

Taylor and Sister finger paint anyone?

In the car headed toward the Skyway Bridge!
Some people fear this bridge because it is long and large over the bay.
 But it isn't too bad!

Much of the bridge is low, next to the water.
One section with height for large ships to pass

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