Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 16: I understood everything that was going on.

Well this week went by super-fast! 

Monday we decided that it was time that we go to Central Market and look for cool things to buy. Elder Cuong and I ended up buying two of the coolest hammocks and for only 6 dollars #Bargain. Next we went to visit a recent convert family. The mom of the family is Co Nhien. She is really interesting and says some of the funniest things. She just so happens to love everything Japanese, including me because I always get snacks from her :). Anyways, she was asking us about animals from America and other places. She started talking about animals in Japan and stuff and she asked me about the "Big Dragon". She said that it lives in Japan and terrorizes the people. The other Elders told her that it doesn't exist. She argued back saying that it did  exist because she saw it in the movie. Finally she asked me... since I lived in Japan. I didn't have the heart to crush her dreams by telling her that Godzilla doesn't exist, so I told her that Godzilla was really sneaky and that I have never seen it before. She seemed satisfied with that answer. 

Tuesday was nothing out of the ordinary. We contacted a ton after District meeting and that was about it. It rained super hard and we couldn't go outside. 

Wednesday we taught two more recent converts and then we received a surprise call from the Assistants asking us to come to a special Conference that night. We went and it was so cool! We had the presidency of Church History there in the Stake center. They all gave talks and some great advice. They talked about the importance of keeping records for our posterity. They committed all of us to write in our journals more often. It was really cool. 

Thursday we had to cut our studies in half because we got a call that we had to interview with President Moon. For some reason like half of the missionaries are scared of the president here. I think he is like super nice. My interview went really well and he gave me some really great advice. Then we went out contacting and for lunch we decided to try out this place that we found out by the national museum. It’s called Cartel and it sells like burritos and tacos. I was really surprised how Americanized it was. It reminded me a lot of Costa Vida, plus they were playing the Beatles so I couldn't complain. The food was pretty good.

Ok so Friday we had to go to the dentist office again for a check up on the stuff that happened the previous week. It wasn't too lame because this time they gave us juice and we got to put on some cool white crocs. After that we headed over to teach a family. I made it a weekly goal to participate even more in lessons, and this time I ended up teaching the whole thing. It is kind of stressful, but I am glad that my companions give me those kinds of opportunities. Then it was raining super hard so we took refuge inside the church. That day we had planned to meet with a youth who is preparing for a mission, but we couldn't get a hold of him and we assumed he wouldn't be able to meet. To our surprise, he came walking into the church and said he had time for a lesson. We shared a scripture that I read in personal study that reminded me of when I was preparing to leave. D&C 52:33.  We tried to pump him up as much as we could and I think it worked because since then he has already started on his papers and met with President Moon. It blows my mind that I could serve with him. 

Saturday was a blast! We taught an investigator in the morning and came home to study. It started raining really hard so we took that time to make Banana Bread for our investigators! It was a lot of fun. 

Then that night we were asked to come and help at a Halloween Party that the Youth had set up. This is really cool because it is the first time that the members prepared and planned everything without the missionaries help. Some of the people who helped plan were two brothers. These two boys are part of a dance crew that works with the Step Up movies. When we got to the church, there was around a hundred people there and even more kept piling in. It was so wild. I must say, there were a lot of immodest costumes and kids who dressed like Justin Bieber, but all in all it was really cool. I was so proud that the Youth put it all together so well. We shared for a little bit and they had prepared a sort of haunted house thing. The Elders went through first to see if everything was appropriate. We went with all the kids who were there. I guess some girls jumped in the back of our group because we were about half way through and some random girl tried to like grab my arm and stuff. I freaked out and like pushed her into the next room and ran back to my companion. I was more scared of her than of the haunted house. Yikes. I think everyone enjoyed it a lot, and after we left I guess they had a huge dance off. I saw a video that one of the members took. I think the whole dance crew showed up because there were a lot of dancers in the video. It was actually pretty cool.

Sunday was kind of a cool milestone for me. Nothing really special happened, but I realized in the middle of sacrament that I understood what the speakers were saying. Without even noticing, I understood everything that was going on. I was really happy :) 

Well there is my week for you! Thanks everyone and I hope you all have the Spookiest Halloween Ever ;)

Love, Elder Morris

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 15: My Japanese is a lot worse than my Vietnamese!

Well this week was actually pretty slow.

Monday we didn't really do much out of the ordinary. We did get to go to this big store, I bought Yogurt that was on sale; a good Scout is thrifty after all ;)  (haha) 


Tuesday, we had two elders that needed to go to the dentist. One of them was getting his wisdom tooth removed. Yikes. That elder is our District Leader and on Tuesday we have District Meeting. The task to lead the meeting fell upon my shoulders. I prepared as well as I could in the waiting room of the dentist's office; which was really hard because they had National Geographic on the T.V. and it was about the biggest rescued crocodile in the world. 

火曜日に歯医者に行く必要がありました。二人長老がいって一緒に行きました. 一人は親知らずを抜きました。彼はDL。。そして火曜日は地域集会で、司会をすることになったので、歯医者の待合室で準備しようとしたが、テレビで世界一のワニの番組があって、集中できなかった。

The meeting went really well… I think. We had an appointment later that day teaching a family with three little kids. They are so cute and one of the little boys reminded me a lot of myself at his age. He had the same poofy hair and everything. 

会議はうまくいった。。。と思う。 そのあと、三人の小さい子のいる家族とのアポイントがあった。本当にかわいくて、そして一人の子はその年の自分のことを思い出す。。

Wednesday was rough. We had a whole bunch of really great lessons planned. But every time we were about to leave to the lesson, we would get a call saying that they couldn't meet. It was such a bummer. We ended up just contacting all day.

Thursday, we had a few more lessons fall through, but that was ok because we had planned a family home evening at an investigator's house. It went really great. We had his two youngest children learning too. We played a really fun game where everyone is in a circle and the person in the middle closes their eyes. A person outside the circle has to make an animal noise and the one in the middle tries to guess who is making the animal noise. It was really entertaining. 


Friday we taught another one of our progressing investigators. Things were all going great until this little chubby kid came over. He started making loud noises, spitting, poking our investigator, while he was farting up a storm. My companions and I were getting really frustrated. We tried to ask if he wanted to learn with us; even pulling out a chair for him. He just grabbed the Book of Mormon from our investigator and made things even worse. I was so mad that I wanted to drop kick that little poop. When the investigator began reading a scripture and he started poking her head again, I stood up and asked him to leave. He laughed and frolicked away.                                              That is probably one of the times in my mission that I was most angry thus far.


Saturday we had a lot of appointments! We got a lead that some people at the local cafe were Vietnamese. We went over there it turned out that there were a lot of Chinese people. But they spoke Vietnamese too… a very cool old couple. Then we did a split and Elder Tan and I went to meet our Branch President because he said he had a referral for us. It started raining really bad so he said he didn't want to go out in the rain. He made us eat dinner with them though. This one was rough. They brought out a bowl of noodles and with the noodles were a bunch of blood cakes. They are really gross, but bearable. Just little jelly squares of blood. Yum... 


Sunday was really great. It was my first time at the Branch 10 building. The members are all so sweet… greeting me with a lot of smiles and handshakes. In the middle of sacrament, a man came over and asked the assistants something. They came over and talked to me. They said that this man was Japanese and that they needed me to help teach him a lesson. I almost had a heart attack. I'll just say right now that my Japanese is a lot worse than my Vietnamese! I found out where he was from and that he is a teacher here in Cambodia. He wants to learn about the gospel, and has already read about the Restoration. The lesson was pretty hard but I think it went really well. He said he wanted to meet again and learn more so maybe I didn't botch the whole lesson. :)


After church the sister missionaries had a baptism! I was so excited because I hadn't seen one yet! It was so good! We sang a special musical number and we had to wait for some of the girl's family to show up so we sang like five hymns. It went really well and the spirit was strong. This week was a blast and I can't wait to see what this next week has in store! Love you all so much.


Elder Morris

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 14: I guess I look like a girl...

Hey Everyone!

This week was amazing!

Monday was full of fun and excitement! We went on the hunt for anything and everything related to Halloween that we could find. This was super hard because the country has no idea what that is. 
We ran around to few different craft stores and the central market for as many things as we could find. We found some stuff that we could use as decorations and for costumes. Then we went over to the Branch 10 elder's house to construct these costumes and to make a peach cobbler in the slow cooker. 
The cobbler turned out really well and we had a little ice cream with it as well. All in all, a good P day.  

Tuesday was also very fun! We had our studies and then we had District meeting as we usually do on Tuesdays. After, we received a phone call from the Assistants informing us that we had two missionaries coming in from Vietnam who had to renew their visas and they needed some babysitters for a few days. They had volunteered Elder Barker and I for the job. 

I soon found out that the two elders were Elder Tran and Elder Nguyen, my companion from the MTC! We were both excited to see old friends. We picked them up and went on splits. Elder Nguyen and I would go and teach together. It was so much fun. We taught an investigator and contacted for a while and then returned home. 

Wednesday was huge! The day of the Halloween Party! We took a little time with the sisters to make final preparations and things were looking good. I went out with Elder Nguyen again and we taught a few lessons and started inviting people to come to the party! I decided that I would dress up as a Hippy because I found some super cool pants and it's really easy to do. We had also planned out a skit for the spiritual thought. We all decided on the Restoration and they voted that I should be Joseph Smith. I am not sure I fit the part too well. We got everything in order and costumes were on. The people started flowing in. 
We were expecting maybe 20 people to show up, but to everyone's surprise we had a grand total of 38! That is a miracle seeing that only a transfer and a half ago we had almost 0 people in attendance. We played games like Chubby Bunny (my station), and a game where they ate donuts on a string. We did the skit and I think it went really well! People were really paying attention and the spirit was really strong, especially at the end where the actors/actresses got to bear a testimony. It was so much fun, and everyone wanted to take pictures with me. I am so happy that I got to spend a little more time with some of my favorite members and the best English students ever.

Thursday was interesting. We went to do some service in the morning and on the way back, we decided to go through the market. I was super dirty because we spent the morning
scraping paint off of a member's walls. A man in the market stopped me and asked in English why I was so dirty. I said that we were helping someone with their house. Then he asked if I was Christian, and I answered yes. He then invited us to talk with him somewhere a little quieter. We began to talk to him and he said that he was a hair stylist and that he also cut hair for a little orphanage for free. He said that he also spoke Vietnamese because he went to school there and that he had heard about the church. We told him a few things about the church and asked for his number. After giving it to us, he said that we should come to his hair salon. He said that he wanted to cut my hair because it was beautiful. hahaha That's not all. He then told me that I looked a lot like a girl. I asked if that was a good thing and he said yes! Score, I guess I look like a girl...

Later that day, we had a lesson with a progressing investigator. I have become more and more aware that he has a weird understanding of the Holy Ghost. I found this out because when we arrived at his house and I asked him how he was doing he answered, "I am great, the Holy Ghost and I are happy today." I think he thought that the Holy Ghost can live in his heart and is like a friend that he can hang out with. He said he had an amazing experience with the Holy Ghost. He told us that they were riding their bike together. He went on to say that it had just rained so there was a big rainbow up in the sky. He said that the Holy Ghost took him up into the rainbow and he felt really special up there. He said the people were so small and he felt like he was on like another level or something. So there's a funny story for you. 

Friday was a blast! Transfers! We went to the mission home a little early because Elder Barker had a training meeting and we both wanted to see the new missionaries. I was being transferred with the Zone Leaders. We split up and the day went pretty normal and because of some weird circumstances we had to sleep in a room with five people. It was pretty cramped, but also super fun.. 

Saturday was so much fun! General Conference! I have been waiting so patiently and it is finally here. We got to meet up at the stake center and we all had snacks and watched it together. We watched all of the sessions and I loved it a lot. Not to jump on the bandwagon, but Jeffrey R. Holland's talk was amazing. I also loved the talks from Eyring and Bednar. The one from Elder Callister about families was also a favorite of mine. 
Sunday was amazing as well. I don't have as much time as I would like to write about it. 

This week was amazing. I am so grateful for the opportunity to fill my spiritual cup and I am so ready to continue this marvelous work. I know that Christ is at the Helm and if we rely fully on him, we will see miracles in our lives and the lives of those around us. I love you all and hope you have an great week. :)

Love Elder Morris

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 13: Turning 20 in Cambodia

This week was a huge improvement from last week, as far as floods and thieves go. Monday was pretty exciting! I had been told for the past week by every missionary I came in contact with that I had received a package! I was waiting to get them from the mission home so it would feel more like I was opening them on my birthday. So we went to lunch at this place called USA Donuts. They have like Cambodia famous donuts and food. 

We got lunch there and I got an Apple bear claw. It was a pretty darn good. Then we headed over to the mission home to get the packages. I strapped em' down to my bike and I kept one hand on them at all times. I am a little paranoid still about getting stuff stolen...

 Tuesday was pretty fun. We went to a member's house after studies to help him wash and re- paint his cart that he uses to sell his little bread creations. We decided that red was the best color. After about an hour it was looking brand spanking new!

After that, we went to go contact a little bit on the main road before an appointment we had set up with an investigator. We started to contact and group of motorcycle taxis. They all wanted to learn English and we passed out a few fliers for that. I was pretty surprised when one the Taxi drivers turned to me and said, "You are very cute." in broken Khmer/English. (haha)..

Later, we met with our investigator Chu Phong. He is really nice guy and loves to have us over. He made us agree to eat the dinner that they had prepared for us. First, he began setting out cans of Alcohol for us, four each. We explained that we have something called the Word of Wisdom and that we don't drink things like that. He said sorry and gave us some water. Then his wife brought out the food… three different dishes of fish because of a slight communication error from an earlier conversation. They thought that I told them that “I love to eat different kinds of seafood more than anything else”, instead of I don't much like seafood”.

I prepared myself mentally, as we set out the plates and said the prayer. It was actually pretty good, they she brought out a dish of little fish about the size of your index finger in some sort of green sauce. She said that these were really good and we would have to worry about the bones because these fish we could just eat whole. I find out pretty quickly that these fish had not been gutted. (haha Suffice to say… not my favorite dish.
We went home feeling a little un-easy about the whole thing.

I forgot! Tuesday was also my birthday! I lit a few incense candles that I had received and my companion and I shared some candy in celebration of my big 20. 

Wednesday! We went to meet what we call our Eternal Investigator, Chu Hai, who has been learning for around five years now. He has been close to getting baptized for about two months now, but his wife was never interested in learning...until now! We talk about the Temple and how in the temple we can be sealed to family and married for eternity. She got really excited about that thought and now she is learning with us. She has told me that she really wants to get married and they have both agreed to let us throw them a wedding :) 

Thursday was a real treat. We had decided that we would refer an investigator of ours to the sister missionaries. We went to her house and her sisters were both there visiting. One was from Vietnam and she started asking us questions. Both the sisters were probably double my age, but that didn't stop them from asking if I had a wife yet and if I was looking. I answered, "no" to both questions but that didn't stop her. 

After the lesson she jumped up and started grabbing my cheeks saying that she wished she had a child that looked like me that she could hold and kiss all day. I took that as my queue to leave. As I was unlocking our bikes, she asked me for my phone number and asked if I wanted to go grab a coffee sometime, she just didn't know when to quit! I told her that we didn't drink coffee and the sisters could tell her more about why.  Thursday was interesting. 

Friday! We had an exchange with our zone leaders on Friday. I went with Elder Cuong, or Pham in English. I really was taught a lesson on the importance of planning. I was going to be the one leading the day so I had to plan the lessons we would be teaching. I spent a long time thinking and thinking. I just decided to teach a simple lesson to both of the investigators we had planned I planned a lot of scriptures and back-ups for them if the lessons weren't what they really needed. We had our lessons and I was amazing that the lessons I had planned seemed to fit like a puzzle piece to what the investigator needed. I know that if I hadn't taken my time and really thought about them and their needs, our lessons would not have worked out. 

On Saturday, I woke up and felt like I was going to die. I felt like I needed to throw up all night Friday, but assumed it was nothing. In the morning, I had ridiculously high fever and still felt like I was about to throw up. I forced myself through studies, but the sick feeling just
got worse. I took some medicine and it didn't help. We would exchange back to our usual companion at lunch so we just waited it out. We made some curry together during our lunch hour. Luckily my mom left really easy instructions for us or it would have been a disaster. It smelled great but I didn't have an appetite. We decided it would best for me to just sleep it off. I napped for a few hours and I woke up to a puddle of sweat, but on the bright side, my fever was practically gone. It was a miracle. 

This Sunday was great! No floods this time :) I realized during priesthood meeting that for the past four months, my life has been a giant game of charades. I haven't been able to understand very much of what goes on, so I just try and guess based off of the hand gestures and facial expressions of the person talking. I found myself laughing out loud during a story someone was telling that involved something dancing around the room. 

Sunday Night was a night I don't think I will ever forget. We had a family night at President Lam's house again. We had a short spiritual thought and played a fun game where we pass quarters two each other with spoons and forks. After, I thought we would just end and go home, but they turned off all the lights instead. I thought it was another game or something, but then they came out with a cake and a lone candle on top. Of course the cake was carrot. I'm not gonna lie, I got choked up. They heard about my stuff getting stolen and that it was my birthday this week. I made a wish and blew out my candle. I am so grateful for such a loving Branch with such amazingly caring people. They have truly helped my feel at home here.

Last thing for the update: Transfer Calls came. It only seemed fair that just as I became comfortable here in Branch 3, I would be getting transferred to Branch 10. I will be serving in a trio with both the Zone Leaders. I guess that doesn't happen very often. I am both super excited and super sad to be leaving. I am really going to miss these people.

I have such a testimony that Heavenly Father truly prepares people for the Gospel. I know that through love, we can change people's lives… and without love, we cannot teach. I know that Heavenly Father knows each and every one of his children and that if we rely on him and his plan for us, we will find true happiness in this life. I love you all so much, and I hope you have an amazing week as well. 

Love, Elder Morris