Monday, April 25, 2016

Sweat: Remember Me?

Hello folks,

Yes, its the time of year again where I complain about the heat. This week wasn't TOO bad, but we definitely have had some sweaty moments already! 

I forgot to bring my journal today so I will try to remember what I can. 

We did great this week with our key indicators. We taught many lessons and had a bunch of referrals. Right now we have 4 people with dates set to be baptized. One is Ryleigh, a 9 year old from a part-member family. It has been a lot of fun to learn how to teach kids. This will prepare me for my future. Her and her sister, Miranda who is 8, are a lot of energy. We use primary songs and other ideas to do simple, spiritual lessons. They will be baptized next month. 

This ward is going to make me fat. We have been given a ton of junk food and sugar by the members here the past few weeks and we are trying to get rid of it too! This week we are eating healthy. The downfall of living in our Condo is that we don't have a gym, but its also a good thing because all we do every morning is run. My calves are looking good. Plus after the mission I won't have a gym every morning to go to so I am learning how to exercise without one. 

On Thursday, we went out with our Relief Society President, Sister Nelson, for some visits of new move-ins in the ward. She is very funny, giving us many southern words. "Soda, not pop" and "gator bate" and "I'm fixin' to do some laundry" and shopping carts here are called "buggies". She is also a very strong woman and a good example, has been through a lot. 

We've mostly been tracting all week, finding. Life of a missionary. 

The ward had a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the boy scouts. They have to pay a lot to go to camp so we went so we could mingle with members and get to know the ward. They had a dessert auction at the end. It was funny to see the little deacons up there saying "15 dollars, do I hear 20, 20, 20, anybody have 20?" It was adorable.

It definitely hasn't been easy to adjust to this new area. There are so many bugs, especially mosquitoes. Yuck. But it reminds me of Oregon with how beautiful it is and the green fields. I like this ward, everyone supports each other. 

I want to testify this week of the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and confirming your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. We meet so many people out here that say they believe everything but Joseph Smith. Huh? Everything in our church are fruits of Joseph Smith being called a prophet. We wouldn't have temples, prophets, the Book of Mormon, the priesthood, or our huge service emphasis, without him and the knowledge that this is Jesus Christ's church. Read the BoM, pray to know it's true, and when you receive that spiritual confirmation, you will know that he truly was a prophet and an honorable man. I know he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that it goes hand in hand with the Bible. I know that this church is the only church with the priesthood authority that can heal, baptize, and bless lives. I am so grateful to be a part of it.

Sister Morgan

 Sis J and I at our Relief Society activity

 Ryleigh, Caden, Miranda

Banana Plant

 This is mostly for Allison, but off our street is a gated community that had the Parade of Homes going on! 
 They were mansions and so pretty.

 This is the city I live in, "Where the past feeds the future"

 There are more "southerners" here than my previous areas. 
And a billion churches, all of them with signs with funny sayings on them!

 Our area....sketchy

This is a trumpet tree. 
They are illegal to plant because they are used to make some illegal drug. Yep. 

 These are very random. Sister Judkins wanted a picture of me pumping gas? 
Maybe for my Oregonian friends.... 

.... and then we found a banana plant in front of a house we were knocking on! 
Naturally, I had to take a picture!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mulberry, home of the...mosquitoes?

There are a lot of mosquitoes here, we are putting bug spray on like crazy!!!
Our relief society president is sending us a "Southern word of the day" and today's was: GRITS- Girls Raised In The South. haha Our ward, Highlands, has a lot of southern, country people and we love it! Ward council is fun and everyone seems to just tease and love each other here. People actually know their neighbors too! Which is funny because the houses are further apart than in St. Pete.
Sorry, I have no time today! I gave a talk yesterday in church about recognizing the Holy Ghost. I have a strong testimony of the Spirit. God has not left us alone, He has given us the comforter. I love John 14:16-18 which talks more about this. God has protected me many times on my mission by prompting me to maybe not knock on a door, or not go a certain way when walking. I need the Spirit as a missionary or I cannot teach. The Spirit testifies of truth. We must ask for the Spirit though, pray for it, and God will deliver. We need to act on promptings we receive. As we do so, God begins to trust us more and more. The Spirit will send clearer answers and we will have peace in knowing we are choosing the right decision.
I love you all, have a blessed week and you will hear from me next Monday!
Sister Morgan

Look at this sign!

Sister Faalaulau and I
Hermana Gibson and I

All of Sister Judkins companions. Sisters Sackley, Olsen, Sutton, her, Huber, and me!

This is how we really are....

This is what everyone thinks we are!

We are so close to legoland and disneyland and the temple! 
Only like 30 mins away!!!!!
I found Portland Ave :)
Beautiful Florida trees
Krispy Kreme!!!

We had the opportunity to go to Faith's (a recent convert) ROTC event. 
It was for state so it was huge!!!! 
It was a cool experience, I've never seen it before!

Individual competition for Faith

Monday, April 11, 2016


Wow, this week has been nuts. I was always told you are not a true missionary until A) You are emergency transferred and B) You white-wash an area. Well folks, this last week that is exactly what I did.
On Monday we got the transfer emails, saying we were safe in St. Pete. Tuesday around noon we got a call from the APs as we were coming out of a lesson. We were told that we were being emergency transferred to Lakeland. We were to go home immediately, pack our bags, and clean our apartment because we weren't being replaced. We cried. We didn't even know where to start packing. We didn't tell anyone we were leaving for a while, except the elders. So all day Tuesday we packed since we had to leave early the next morning. Our ward mission leader wanted to take us to dinner so we ate at El Cap, a hamburger joint. The hardest part was telling Peggy. We knew we had to see her though. It was sad, I cried like a baby, but I know I'll see her again! Our ward loves us so much, we had members driving to our place to say goodbye as we started telling people. I will miss them. We cleaned our apartment the next morning and headed off to the mission office.
When we got there, we had to wait while the trainers were in a meeting. Then President Cusick took us to his office and told us why we were white-washing Highlands (that means that the two missionaries before us are transferred out and two new missionaries are coming into the new area, not knowing anything basically). He said that this ward needs to liven up, that we are the two to do it. They haven't had sisters in over a year and are excited to have some. Our job is to jump in with both feet and get the ward excited to do missionary work. Challenge accepted.
As we drove to Lakeland, it was becoming more and more apparent that it was going to be the opposite of St. Pete. It was all city, but Lakeland is all country. We had to wait 20 mins for a train to cross. I love it here though, its beautiful and green like Oregon! Lots of green pastures, open fields. Definitely not a biking area. We tried yesterday and it didn't work. It is very hill-y here, which is funny because I though Florida was flat. But the hill by our church building (which is new and the stake center) is the third highest point in Florida. Crazy. We do NOT want to bike up or down it. Our area has two sides I've found. One is hick, trailer in the back woods, and the other is farming country with horses and beautiful homes- it looks like that one road we take on the way to the beach that is windy and pretty with hidden mansions.
The members are awesome. Ward council is on top of things. We visited a few members before Sunday and they all loved the ideas we have and immediately put them to action. Its a family ward! My last ward had like 5 active YW and 7 or 8 primary kids. This ward has 20 active YW and like 30 primary kids. So fun! We bore our testimonies yesterday and the bishop asked us to give talks next Sunday. Fun fact: I haven't had to given a talk my whole mission, so I guess my time has finally come. Joy.
Our apartment was gross when we got here- only elders have lived here so nothing was clean. We spent Wednesday cleaning it- not sure they have ever really mopped! We went looking for a grocery store and sadly there is no Aldi's, we have to go to Walmart or Publix, both expensive. Oh well.
We got a referral way down in Ft. Meade, so we drove down there the same day we went to Bartow. Yes, our area covers multiple cities that are all spread out. Many small towns. But I am excited to take my parents back here after the mission, its gorgeous!
Anyways, not too much more to say yet. Just trying to get to know the area without a functioning GPS. I am actually really excited to be here. I miss my St. Pete people and the investigators we were teaching (we had five dates set with people to be baptized) but this new area will be great too. I really want to focus on member-missionary work here because everyone we teach is going to come from them. Its a good challenge for my last 3 transfers.
Anyways, love you all! I sent a lot of pictures and videos this week so I hope they work! Feel free to write to me!

My new address is:
5921 Tropher Trail
Mulberry, FL 33860

Sister Morgan
Sister J and I when we thought we were staying in St. Pete...

Sister Arick

Deyeneira and Justin Masse (my ward mission leader)

Peggy! We are both crying pretty hard.

I am sending these first two for mom.
Jimmy Johns!

People here have the little recycling bins,
 reminds me of our blue one growing up!

Just some misc of our new area.
Our complex is through the trees.

A hick trailer out in the back woods

Local airplane show

Airplane show-loops!

Tree covered in spanish moss