Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nov. 30, 2014 Seeing a friend from home via a Mormon message in Kiribati

(Today Mike and I were privledged to be online at the right time and to get a bit more info than usual.)
 The 90 degree days are pretty awesome, but it hurts my mind to think that is is winter there. I loved your emails. I'm sorta jealous of the traditional Thanksgiving Meal and all of the family. I play with the little kids here, but it's not even close to the same. I cried a little when I read that Mason did my job, but remembered me. I guess I'm more homesick for the little things. (Christmas is his all time favorite season.  Mason took his place in decorating the tree.)

       This week I have a goal to take a picture with a Christmas Tree and Santa Claus (there's only like one on the island, but it should be fun). The island is beautiful, so those pictures that you saw are probably very accurate for my life here.

I sent Elder Birrell the picture, and he's pretty excited (but maybe not as excited as I am) his email is  Things are usually good with Elder Kareketaake. Transfers... well nobody really know when those are. I know that Elder Aliksa from my intake is going outie today (I just found out 2 min ago). I also know that before next year there will be a big transfer with lots of shuffling. Lots of people have been on outies for a long time, so lots of moving around will happen. When? I don't really know. People don't get shipped in for Christmas, but if I'm on Tarawa you can probably expect a Skype, but it might not be on the actual christmas. I haven't heard anything though.

I didn't do anything special for thanksgiving on the actual day, but on Saturday we went to a restaurant. I had a quiet Thanksgiving meal of Chop Suey Fish and rice, and we tried to order the most american thing on the menu (Apple Pie and Ice Cream) but they were out of Ice Cream... and probably apples too. So not really... but it was fun anyways.

I heard Christmas music on the radio this morning which was weird. It was a really groovy silent night
 No letters yet, but there is a plane tomorrow so maybe.  (It's been 6 weeks now since I mailed the first one.)

The airport isn't in my zone, so I don't know much about it, but I just know that when I flew in there was a gajillion people (kids mostly) crammed against the fence watching us come in and shouting Imatong Imatong!
I understand more of the language now. I will have days where I can understand most everything, then days where I have no idea what is going on. I think of myself as similar to a genious goldfish. I'm a genius, so I can do alright, but a goldfish nonetheless, so the geniusness doesn't last long. My goldfish days are getting less and less though!
It is becoming a home here. I love being out with the people and have a couple of families that call themselves my parents (it is so cool) There is 2 and maybe Rotan will be a third. I love having lots of families, but I can't stay with them for very long. There's always more to do. Don't worry, you'll never be replaced.
I'm excited for the pistachio pudding!  (I'm sending him the ingredients to make his favorite Christmas salad.)

I saw Elder Carrington this morning. I didn't have time to talk, but today is a combined P-day, so we will chat then. (he looks the same and smiles a lot, so I know he's doing all right). I'm sending a letter to Elder Buhler. I don't know how or when it will get to him, but it is fun.

I can still see Mars, and I found another planet maybe. Since I can look at the same stars every night I will start tracking it. We'll see. I can see the pleides and orion now. It is always hazy around the horizon, so I probably won't see the big dipper till spring.

Dear Friends and Family,
Life is great. I love the missionary perspective and that I can see miracles from it. There are miracles everyday.

There  are no seasons here, and the sun comes up at the same time so it's hard to imagine that it is changing out in the rest of the world. Last night I was looking at the stars (they are soooooo clear) and admiring Orion. I thought to myself. It's cool that I can see this now, usually I only see it in the winter time. Then I remembered, it is winter. Weird.

The other day we were out working and our investigator (Erema) wasn't quite ready for us to come to her house so we waited next door at bishops house). Ok, get the image of house out of your mind. Think of a tin roof and a table beneath. There are walls made from those big metal barrels, so they are only 3 or so feet high. Electricity comes through an extension cord from somewhere. Probably not the safest thing... (This is not always the case, but the house that we were at is like this). They were watching videos from the church on a little laptop (that is pretty rare). They showed me a Mormon Message. It had a map and zoomed in on Utah, then Logan and I said Woah, I'm from there. Then it started talking about this family and introduced every one. One of them was Jane, from Encore! How crazy is that! I'm in a shack in a tiny forgotten island in the sea watching a video about a freind of mine that I danced with. Boy the church is cool.

Yesterday was a Special Sacrament meeting. At the beginning of the month there was an area wide fast and one of the things that we fasted for was help in knowing who we could invite to this special meeting. Enough people came that they had to bless and use a bottle of Fiji Water. SO cool. It was great because a ton of less actives and investigators came to church. They decorated the church with leaves and flowers from the plants around. If we were having a tropical party we might do the same sort of thing, but here every thing was natural, not plastic. Soo cool. Then there was refreshments which is always nice.

I love being able to share the gospel and be friends with the people of this tiny beautiful land. THE church is true. Have a great week.
I love you all!

Elder Morley

Nov. 23, 2014 Giving Thanks

Mom and Dad,
Thank you guys for all of the help that you give me,  physically and through prayers. The things that you are thankful for, dad, are pretty much the same as I am. I am thankful for Jesus Christ everyday. Whenever I introduce mom to people I say that she is a saint, and if we didn't need her so much she'd probably have been translated already. I totally believe that is true. And I've noticed that too, I can grasp certain things and learn a lot easier than some others. I was thinking about that when I was hanging my laundry this morning, and a bunch of other times too. I'm thankful that I can learn, because this would be so much harder if I couldn't. Also I see the world differently than others sometimes so that's interesting too. I am also thankful for the Book of Mormon. It is what gives me the strength to be happy everyday. Nephi and I are becoming buds, and I am sad that I will finish his books tomorrow. It teaches me so many things. (I've included some in your letter and one to Steve. So when he gets his (delayed by a week) you can ask him). What day is thanks giving?
I can honestly say that I haven't gagged on food since my first week even though I've eaten fish cooked in a multitude of ways (raw fish is actually pretty good), I've eaten worms (way to chewy to be worth it) and pigs blood soup (If you can get past the fact that it is blood it is really tasty). Really except that one meal,  and sometimes the karewe (the stuff from the coconut tree that they cut and drip from a rope) all the food is good.
I think your scripture study wasn't because I had a super bad day, but more to stock up blessings, study and prayer, for the days that would come. Most days are good, but some have some dark spots. However I am blessed so that there are always bright spots in every day.
I don't know all of the senior couples on the island. One couple just got here a couple weeks ago. There is a single lady nurse here that helps out a bunch. And the Walls are basically the President and wife over Tarawa while President Weir  is away.
Right now I'm using the personal computer of the lady that owns this internet cafe, so I'm going to wrap up and hopefully write a mass email later.
I love you so much!
from Elder Morley

Dear Friends and family,
This week was a record week for church attendance in Betio 3! I've been tracking how many people come by the amount of sacrament is gone. The first week there was 67, then 50 something then the low 40s. But yesterday there was 75! We needed to bless a new tray! And Saturday night I gave a kid my pants (the ones I bought forever ago with my suit) so I really hoped he would come. AND he did! Oh it was a good church meeting!
And the day before we had baptisms (hopefully the picture will come). There were 13 or so baptised. 3 that we taught. I Baptised 5 people all on my first try (even though the names here are really hard). Baptisms are so cool. The spirit is always so strong at a baptism service. I loved being able to do  that work for them and the Lord.
In the MTC our teachers pretended to be the investigators that they taught and loved. We taught Rootan and Fred  at the MTC and then I found out that they are both in my ward. Well I just found out that Fred moved, but I included a picture of Rotan!
I love you all.  Elder Morley

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oct. 15, 2014 A letter to Justin

from Beito Tarawa

Dear Justin,
I wonder how long this will take to get to you.  My guess is 2 weeks.  (Reality was 4 weeks)

I want to tell you about how much perspective can change everything.  When I was in America and I was in a poorer house that was unkept, I would think,  "Wow, That is pretty sketchy."  But, if I were to go into that same house here, I would be so impressed.  I would say, Wow, this guy has a garage!  And a door!  Not just one, but several!  He has walls!  and furniture.  It would be the nicest house I have gone into, by far.  What kind of house that people live in doesn't matter.  The people matter.  We teach one investigator that has a car and a house with doors, and another one whose house is smaller than your bedroom and doesn't have walls.  But they both are accepting the truth and are close to getting baptized.  What people have is much less important than what people are.

On a similar note, the food here is pretty bad.  If I was in America, I would not eat most of it.  But, the flavor doesn't matter as much here.  I was thinking about this the other day, while eating some food that was prepared for me.  It was in my mouth and I was chewing it, and it dawned on me, "Hmm, this isnt very good."  It wasn't my first reaction at all.  I've kind of been disconnected from flavor.  One reason is again, the people.  They make this food just for you, so it is the least you can do to enjoy it.  But the bigger reason, I think, is believe it or not,  a blessing of reading the Book of Mormon.  It's not a very common blessing that we think of.  But, I think that it is true.

Remember the summer before last when I would work all day on the Munk's Farm.  Most people would think that would be one of the worst summers of my life ie. getting covered in manure every day, literally head to toe, getting sunburned, staying up really late and getting up really early to do jobs that are uncomfortable, that include getting pooped on and attacked by cows.  But, my memory of that summer is quite positive.  The only thing that I can think of that changed my perspective is that every morning and every night I would spend at least a 1/2 hour reading the Book of Mormon so that I could meet my goal to finish it over the summer.

Now I am still working up to reading it that much, but even though to America's standard, what I am doing is hard and uncomfortable, every day I am happy.  Every day I get up excited to go to work and am sad when I don't get the chance to.  But I don't stay sad for long because there are always more ways that I can help people.  Read the Book of Mormon.  It works!  If you are ever having a down day,  make it your first remedy to read it for a little while.  If you want every day to be good/better read it in the morning.  I know that this is true.

So, I tell you these things or a few reasons.  1.  To lift you up and to show you that even i you don't go to a 'civilized' country you will still be alright.  2.  When I write, I learn things, so writing this down helps me to understand it.  3.  The spirit plays a big factor in what a missionary does too.

President Packer said, "that a testimony is found in the bearing of it."  This is true, but confusing because it seems backwards.  When you give something away freely it is only then that you get it back. (Matt16:25)  In the MTC everyone is encouraged to watch the talk, "Character of Christ by Elder Bednar.  It talks about how Christ, when he was at his lowest would 'turn outwards to others' instead of turning inwards to himself.  When Christ was down he would help others.  I know that when we do that we will be blessed.

One more thing,  when people here see pictures of our home in UT they say,  "You are a millionaire!"  Compared to what they have we are incredibly wealthy.  So next time someone has nicer stuff than you, just smile and think,  "You may be rich,  but I am a millionaire!"
  Love Elder Morley

Nov. 16, 2014

Life is great. I did get slightly homesick last Monday, but that was the day that I got packages and letters from home. The Lords timing really is impressive. So since it takes about a month for things to get from wherever you are to wherever I am I've decided that for Christmas I want a letter from you guys. So if you send it this week, I might get it before next year!

This week we had a zone conference where the APs talked Mission President and his wife talked and all of the missionaries leaving bore their testimony and then we had spaghetti and ice cream. It was an incredible time. Afterwards, even though it was never really talked about I was left thinking about our infinite potential. I'm going to give you guys a piece from my journal of that night.

When the missionaries bore their testimonies ' there were sad comments like, 'I'll never be perfect.' I couldn't help but think that that is not true. ... Ever since I was little I have been taught that there is no end to my potential.' Infinity and beyond! ~ Buzz Lightyear 'Some people say that the sky is the limit, but I say the sky is just the begining' ~ Probably somebody important. '

My parents have always taught me that if I want something and am willing to work for it than there is no reason that it shouldn't happen.' The lord is infinitely powerful see Moses 1:30; 1:33-35 for some examples. and we have the ability to be like him. This life is here to prepare and the next we can do all the things that he has done. He did all of his incredible things for one purpose, us. Everything he does is for us. One of the reasons that I love Nephi so much is that he can see that picture. The Lord asked him to do something so Nephi knows that it is possible. (Compare the attitudes from the last verse in 1 Nephi 3 to the first verse in chapter 4) 
SO I actually wrote 3 pages, but sending the pictures took a long time. I only have a minute left.
I love you all so much, Have a great week!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Oct. 14, 2014 First Week in Kiribati

(Letter received Nov. 15, 2014)  Postmarked Oct. 24  Written Oct. 14th

Dear Mom and Dad!
     I realize that it will take about 2 weeks for this to get to you, but I want to tell you all of the things that I forgot to put in my letter on Monday.  (I think he meant Monday Oct. 13, his first Monday there.)  First,  I have started taking the vitamins.  I started on Sunday.  I don't remember to take them every day yet, but it is still an improvement.

     #2  Most of the food here is palatable.  I arrived on Thursday (9) and on Saturday the 11th  I had my first meal at a native's house.  I always want to take pictures of the food, but it kinda seems like that would be rude.  (Ex.  Oh, that really looks gross, let me take a picture so that my family can see how gross it is.)  anyways.....I live in a relatively developed area.  There is a main road with stores and houses on it that are pretty nice.  But the further you get away from the road the less traditional the living gets.

So we went all the way to the beach,  (maybe 3-4 hundred yards).  The people (my companion's parents)  had a raised hut about the size of Rachael's bedroom.  It had no walls.  It looked basically like a table with a thatched roof.  They wanted to feed us, so they gave us rice, breadfruit (when raw tastes like a dry baked potato, without flavor, when cooked tastes like a moist baked potato with a subtle sweet potato flavor.  This was uncooked),  something else, and this bowl of slimy black rings of something, in something that wasn't water.  Imagine you were served raw intestines, then double that feeling because you know that this will be worse, but you don't know what it is.  I tried to ask, but all they would tell me was that it was saw fish, but I really don't know.....
Well, I am determined to eat everything, so I tried it.  It tasted like a slimy version of eating the sea.  Pure salt with a fishy taste in there somewhere.  I started gagging, really bad and they started laughing and I started laughing.  But they took pity on me and took it off of my plate.  I have found that that was just an exceptionally bad meal.  Since then I have had raw fish, the whole fish (it was staring me down) and a whole slew of other things and not gagged once and they were all do able.  Some were actually yummy.  I tell you this story for 2 reasons.  #1  Right after this experience I felt it would be wise to start taking the vitamins :) and #2.  for you to have a laugh.  I laugh about it and especially since 85% of the food is good, it is nothing to worry about.

You were worried that the rice would clog my system.  Well good news!  My bowels have never been more free in my life.  Only problem is that we are out of toilet paper....   The store with toilet paper in it is on the other side of the island (sad face drawn in)  (guess they don't get to the other side of the island very often.)

I really like showing off the picture book that Midori gave me.  People love seeing all of my family and I like talking about you guys.  Here's a bit of culture.  The youngest is the most loved.  People always want to know where I fit in the family, so when I say that I am the youngest they all laugh and either say something like, "I feel sorry for your siblings because you were loved more."  or Oh, your parents must miss you!"  So since I am the youngest they love to see the rest of my famly.  One time when I was showing off the picture of all of us in our pjs on the couch, I introduced every one then they asked if it was taken in our home?  When I said yes.  They responded in English, "You are a millionaire!!"  I told them that I wasn't but they didn't believe me.  They saw the wood bookshelves and said,  "Wow  expensive,  You lie,  you are a millionaire!"  Then they saw the picture with me and a cow.  They said,  "Now I know you are a millionaire!  You own cow."  So, I tried to explain, that I worked on a dairy, but I don't think they ever really believed me.  Plus when you compare our living conditions, we almost are millionares. The difference is incredible, but the people are happy in both places.  Just remember this,  if you start to wish you had something more or greater.  "you are a millionaire." Plus it should make you smile because their Kiribati accents are funny when they speak English.

The food I brought has been quite helpul.  It helps me wean myself from America, because the food here is, as mentioned quite different.  Also, thanks for the package.

I love you both so much!  Have a great......... however long until my next letter!
Love Elder Morley.  Also, I sent Justin a letter so ask him for more stories.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sept. 6, 2014 MTC

Dear Mom and Dad,
   Guess what?!  I was walking in the cafeteria to get an ice cream sandwich when I heard, "David, David Morley?"
Nobody calls me that, my comps all know my name, but nobody call me that.  I turn and see some boy who looks vaguely familiar.  It was Samuel Cowden!  I was so excited,  My voice jumped up like an octave.  I didn't even know he was a member of the church.  But here he is going to Kansas this week  It totally made my day.

I love the MTC.   It is hard, but I love it.  The theme of this week is Alma 32:13,  "Blessed are ye if ye are compelled to be humble."  (paraphrased)  I know that if I were going to speak English on my mission, I would be able to teach lessons easily and help those I am teaching.  But in Kiribati?  At this point I probably only know 20 words.  I have to rely on the spirit and on the grace of my Father in Heave to get through.  I am improving.  Every day I can see the improvements I am making all across the board, but I know that left to myself, I would be drowning in the expectations set for me.    Because of this need I have to rely on the Savior.  I have been trying to learn more about the enabling power of the atonement.  I am trying to learn how to rely more on the Lord.  How to forget myself and only have the spirit in my place.  If you have any advice there I would like to hear it.

I feel impressed to share an experience on the subject.  One day this last week, I was feeling a little overwhelmed and didn't feel like talking much during lunch.  My companions were talking so I felt I had time to say a prayer.  Even though I was in a noisy cafeteria I started bearing my soul to my Heavenly Father.  It was one of the first times in my life that I truly prayed with 'real intent'  having pondered and really wanting to know.  I prayed asking God to help me to be able to recognize and follow the spirit more.  To be able to rely more on the atonement and learn how to use Christ's gift everyday, and also how to pray like I am having a conversation.

At some point during the prayer, I felt like I was being filled with His love.  Like I was a pitcher being filled with love seeping into every crevice of my body and heart.  I enjoyed it, but at the same time I didn't know what it meant.  My whole life it seems that Gospel answers have been fed to me.  But all I had was me.  So throughout the day, and every day I have pondered this experience, always keeping it in the back of my mind.  I think that all of them are right and help me know more about my purpose.  I will share only one.  Many times/most of my life, I have felt my Saviors love.  Now it is my turn to share it with others.  That is what I now try to do every day.  Share the love that I feel.  Try to lift people so that they can feel it for themselves.  Teach the gospel so that others can feel it for all eternity.  This MTC is truly a place of receiving answers.  I have received so many answers to prayer in this last week, that if I told myself a month ago, I wouldn't believe me.  I love it here.

Yesterday I went to a devotional by Elder Don R. Clark.  A quote I liked was a motto we could have,  "I fear no man.  I fear God.  I fear No man."  They then talked about how we should be more bold and confident in our teaching.  Something I definitely need.   It is easy to not say the words with confidence and conviction since I am unsure on how to say most of them.  they also said that as we walk side by side with the Savior and are obedient etc.  we will be blessed and have success.  What does it mean to walk side by side with the Savior?  The spirit was even stronger than usual.

The language is a never ending adventure.  It is so hard, yet so fun and exciting to be learning and progressing.  My american tongue cannot pronounce many of the words.  Rolling R's, the letter ng, and the words with more than 3 vowels in a row (which is most).  Plus there are only 13 letters so most of the words sound super close and you have to be very exact with pronunciation.  Here's an example of my daily endeavors.  The letters 'ma' make a meh sound, 'me' makes may,  'mwa' makes mah.  They are all so close and don't always make sense, so I just have to try hard all day long.  But the incredible thig is that eve with us oly being here for a week and not always having a teacher we are learning.  We will be reading and I can now pick up enough words to understand its general meaning.

Today our teacher introduced himself as our new investigator.  He spoke to us in straight kiribati for 3 minutes and we were able to pick up most of what he said.  I love our language classes.  I learn so much.  Yes, it feels like someone is stomping on my brain, but it's so fun to improve.  I can now bear testimony and pray (not as easy as you think,  Next time, pay attention to all the different verbs, nouns, and pronouns that go in there) on the spot without notes.  I also know a bunch of other random bits that I can say and understand.  I'm starting to figure out the numbers and how to make my own sentences.

The letter has been written in 20 minute segments over about a week, so some things have changed, but as a rule just assume that I have improved.  I'm starting to lose some of my english, but I won't need it or a few years, so it is ok.  The Lord is mindful of us and will provide for our needs in anything that we go to him with.  (D&C 84:82-83).  I love you so much.
Elder Morley

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

August 27, 2014 Day 1 from MTC

Dear Mom and Dad,
Oh, boy.  I just left, but there is so much that I've done and I need to learn.  But, I have finally regained my excitement.  My companions are great.  (I'm so blessed, I get 2!)  The spirit is eternally strong.  I have teachers that speak fluent Kiribati and they use it all the time. The  food is good. I am in the Big Leagues now!  No more practice missions,  I am a set apart missionary.  I can't wait to get started! 

Turns out that being there at 1:00pm was important,  a language class started then.  (We were late.)  But, I don't really remember much from the day anyways, so I didn't really miss much.  Plus, we went over everything they learned yesterday today.  Then we went to a  meeting by the MTC Presidency and their wives.  On of them shared a great scripture:  D & C 31:3.  Basically, Rejoice!  The hour of my mission is here.  That has been my personal feeling this day and a half.  Rejoice!  Everything is great.  Yes there is an adjustment and life isn't easy.  But, the spirit is here so there is no need to worry about anything.

My companions are amazing.  We share a similar work ethic and desire to be obedient.  We were assigned a Senior Companion for the companionship (by name alphabetically).  So my Senior companion is Elder Buhler.  He is from Springville, UT.  He went to the summer semester at BYU and played on the soccer team.  He is into film making and earned top scholar in his school.  He is a deep thinker and always has great insights.  He is also full of love.

My other companion is Elder Carrington, from Layton, UT.  He is a red head.  He doesn't talk much but when he does it is always deep and right on.  He does most sports.  He worries about his teaching skills, but I have no doubts about his ability and spirit.  So tell people that my companions will push me and raise me up and that there is at least one other red head on the islands.

We had a great meeting with the Branch Presidency and their wives.  He basically challenged us to  be perfectly obedient.  He said that there is a big difference between waking up at 630am and 631 am.  We have been getting up at 620am just to be safe.  So far, I have been waking up pretty well, better than my companions.  I just hope that I can make it a habit.

I say that Elder Buhler is full of love because once when we were role playing, I was the investigator and he was supposed to teach me about prayer.  The 1st thing he said, was "Will you Pray?"  I said, "No."  So he said,  "Elder Morley,  I Love You!"  Super bold and straight out.  I was supposed to be a new  investigator so I rejected him.  But since then we have  all striven to learn about and love each other.  When ever somebody is down or anything someone will say or shout, "I love you Elder _____"  Then we smile and move on.  As we do it more it becomes more and more true.

Today was P-day, so we went to the temple.  Oh, I loved it.  It was like a taste of home.  It made me sad that mom wasn't there to stand up and go to the prayer circle with me.

We had to teach an investigator (just one of our teachers)  a 20 min. lesson today and he refused to understand or acknowledge any English.  It is a MTC miracle that we did as well as we did.  We had phrases and questions written from the books that we were given.  We would read what we had then try to respond to his Kiribati and pantomiming.  We didn't always know what either us or Fred was saying but the spirit was there, so we accomplished at least part of our purpose.

We are trying to obey all the rules, but it takes getting used too.  For example this morning the alarm clock didn't work.  Miraculously I woke up at 634 so we still had time to get ready,  but we missed it by 4 minutes.

I am taking the oil pills from Midori (Onguard),  Midori sent me a Dear Elder, I don't know how it works, but I got it in the middle of the day, so I think it is same day delivery.  Anyways, it really made my day.  Just enough to make me smile and keep going.  So you should send me one.  I want to know when the babies have been born.

Life is Great.
Love Elder Morley

Oct. 5, 2014 Singing in General Conference

Dear Mom and Dad,
I will write about singing in General Conference last night.

Those in the choir watched the 1rst session, then ran off to lunch, then got inspected to see if we looked all right, then we were bussed to the Conference Center.  We went to the auditorium.  When we walked in Elder Oaks was on the screen, but at the end of his talk much to our chagrin, they turned off the sound.  Then we rehearsed for a good hour and a half.  Then we got a box lunch and went into the actual conference center room.

I've been in there before, but never from that angle.  Everyone just stopped and stared.  I've never had my jaw actually drop.  I was like that for a good 1/2 hour, then I heard Mary Poppins in my head,  "Close your mouth,  We are not a codfish."  Chastened, I tried to keep my mouth respectable.  It was like being a minnow in a very large fish tank, or an ant inside a basket ball.  Sooooo huge.  Then the pipe Organ started playing.  It literally vibrated my body.  When we rehearsed in there, Bro. Egget said that the ratio was a good 360 of us to 800 angels.   Well, I'm pretty sure that when we performed for real the ratio was much bigger.  Closer to 360 of us to 2000 angels.  It was the best we have ever done.  Believe it or not, it was even cooler than when I sang in the Tabernacle with the All State Choir.  There isn't the after glow, but the pipes are so powerful.   I guess the big difference is the circumstances.  Here I am a missionary, singing missionary songs in a choir full of missionaries all singing with all their might, praises to our Savior, our God and King in Geveral Conerence in front of the world.

Every time we stood up to sing, I was grinning ear to ear,  but our director told us to have long vowels, so if my face looked conflicted that is why.

When I first found out that I was going to sing in Conference I started thinking about how cool it would be to be on TV and have all of my friends and family see me.  So I almost prayed for me to be on camera because that would be so cool.  Then I stopped because it was such a bad reason to pray for anything.  Then our directors talked about how our faces could bear testimony to those who see them and I know that Kiribati will watch Conference this weekend.  So I started praying that I would be able to help those in Kiribati through my face singing in Genereal Conerence.  The Lord has already started to answer my prayer and I'm excited to see how he will  help the rest to work out.  There is such power in music and I loved that I could share my testimony in this way.

Would you please share my conference story with everybody.
Elder Morley

Sept. 12, 2014 Another Week

Hey everybody!
Life is still great. My only complaint of the MTC is my brain (I learn too slow) but that doesn't count, so actually the food. It tastes pretty good, but it is basically the church's version of McDonalds. Which after living in a pretty healthy home doesn't agree with me very much. Since this is the MTC we have to share a scripture with everything, so our MTC Cafeteria scripture is Jeremiah 4:19. It's good enough to make anyone that's been here for more than a week laugh so hard that they cry, or just cry in general because our small intestines don't appreciate what we've been sending them. That is why we love the Temple Cafeteria. It is still a cafeteria, but the food there is more personally loved, plus it's pre-blessed so it is double healthy.
We are getting relatively good at speaking/understanding the lessons. They go pretty well for the most part, but are even more nerve racking because we aren't allowed to use notes anymore. Basically we have figured out the general sentence structure and know just enough vocab to get our point across. The cool thing is that we are all knowingly totally reliant on the Spirit to get us through. There is no way that at least I could hear what he says, then translate it into English, formulate what I want to say, translate it back into Kiribati, and say it in a reasonable amount of time with out some help from the other side. We pray so hard all of the time. 
An interesting cultural thing is that in Kiribati there is no word for brother or sister. There is a word for sibling of the same sex and different sex, so it would get kinda confusing if you addressed the room by saying hello to all of the congregation's siblings of the same or opposite gender. So instead it is just like amalga. You address everyone you meet by their first name. If you were to address a congregation (correct me if I'm wrong Brother Kunz) you would probably just say the word for people, "aomata". Also people for the most part don't have a family name, their last name is the name of their father. So I would be David Michael, and everyone would just call me David (but really Elder Morley, most people wont know my First name).
Every time we have a devotional (which is at least twice a week) we will sing the prelude. Everyone in the room will sing the hymns. It's a great way to invite the spirit into a meeting even before you start. On Sunday we sang the song Army of Helaman. But instead of singing "we will be the Lords Missionaries" It has been changed for the MTC to be "We are NOW the Lord's Missionaries." It is super cool.
We now teach 2 investigators every day or so, totally in Kiribati without notes. One is a less active, and one is a totally new convert. It is so crazy to be sitting in a room, cross legged on the floor, just chatting in a language that I didn't even know existed a few months ago, having a simple but real conversation. We have been told that the people there are very relaxed and aren't used to thinking deeply into subjects. So there is no way to teach too simply, they will almost never feel like you are speaking down to them, because that's just not their culture. They will love me just because I am trying to learn their language. Also their culture makes it so that lots of people will try to invite us in and have us eat a huge meal. But we don't need to be eating all the time, and will usually have appointments, so the best way to get out of it is to ask for a drink of water. They will give us a cup  of water with a bunch of baby little worms swimming around. So I've figured out how to get a parasite! So try hard to not drink the whole cup, and just hope that they swim downstream. Apparently the natives can drink the cup and just catch the worms on their lip then swat them away when they are finished, or just leave them on the rim of the cup.The MTC gave everyone going to Kiribati free filtering water bottles. But it may be an insult to their culture to just pull out a filtering straw and drink through that. So pretty much just a formality.
So we laugh about the fun bits of culture ( or not so fun, I haven't told you the worst yet) just knowing that in a month we will be crying about it.
Have a great week!

Sept. 19, 2014 Oh Boy!

Oh, boy. This language is an adventure. I often get confused by little things like, for example, the personal pronouns. When ever you want to say a sentence like, David went to the MTC, you would say, He went to the MTC David. Which isn't too bad, you just have to turn your mind upside down and remember what you are talking about for a whole sentence (however we talk so slow that that is sometimes easier said than done) The hard part is that the word for I is I but it is said E, the word for he is E but it is said A, and the word for they is A but it is said AH. So I'll say I, but be meaning he, Because I said E because the word was E but the Sound was A. Oh, my,  my mind gets jumbled just thinking about it.

We now teach an investigator without notes every day or so. It's pretty crazy how much we can say with our growing but still very limited knowledge of the language. I have 2 teachers and each pretends to be a different investigator. The hard one's name is Rootan (Row-Tawn). He is a less-active that hasn't been to church for 10 years, because his wife died and he started drinking. But he is an RM, so he knows all of the doctrine and will sometimes quote our scriptures to us, but his testimony is buried deep and it is hard to help him feel it again. He acts very comfortable how he is but we can hardly ask a deeper question then Ko uara (how are you). But I'm excited, the spirit is there every time we teach and I've got an idea how best to continue. Sorry, it's still a secret, I haven't had a chance to talk to my companions about it yet.

Every Tuesday and Sunday I go to Choir. Sunday is the practice day, then on Tuesday we perform for whatever general authority is speaking to us that day. This week we found out that the Tuesday Devotional would be broadcast to some of the other MTC's in the World. Unfortunately this meant that it was even more crowded than usual. Usually it is very crowded to get into the Tuesday night devotional because there are only so many seats. They can only take one section of seats, because the one next over has all of the equipment for broadcasting translation, so all of the Foreign Missionaries have to sit there. Because of this you have to arrive for 5:15 choir at 4:55 at the latest because otherwise you wont be able to get a seat (I know I tried it once). But since it was known that it would be broad cast, even more people wanted to come than usual. We got there at about 4:35 to be safe, but there was already a super big crowd there to sing. And the people didn't stop coming. Pretty soon we were body to body and the people didn't stop coming. It was pretty intense, if possible it was even more intense than 4-Square! The cool thing though is that since we were all stuck there and couldn't really move any part of our body, we just started singing hymns. It was great. I just barely made it even with getting there super early. It was sad, like 200 people had to be turned away.

The devotional was the best ever. Elder Richard G Scott spoke to us. He spoke to us for about 45 min. It was like general conference, but we were closer (didn't even need the projector really) and it was directed exactly towards us as missionaries. I should say me as a missionary, cause it was. It was awesome! I've been working on my personal prayers and that is exactly what he was inspired to speak about. I didn't bring my notes with, so I can't give any direct quotes, but I'll do my best. He talked about 3 main ways that we get answers to prayers. The first is with a yes, usually a feeling of confidence and hope/peace. This one is my favorite, for me I usually feel super excited. The next is harder, when he answers no. He said you will feel unsure and confused-ish (definitely not a direct quote). We need to be able to accept God's will and go with what he wants us to do. It doesn't feel the best in the moment but God knows more than us (or at least me) so it will work out alright. He recommended that we pray asking for our will to be aligned to match his will, then ask for the strength to follow it. The last is the hardest of all. When he with holds an answer. This can be for many reasons. Maybe to help us to walk by faith and to trust him enough to take a step into the metaphorical darkness. But Elder Scott promised us that our Heavenly Father will not leave us in the dark for long, he will help us, but often only after the trail of our faith ( if I have time I'll find the scripture). Right at the end of the talk he left us with an Apostolic Blessing. It had 3 parts with promises. He blessed us that as you pray the lord will indicate what you need to do throughout your mission. This mission will be the foundation for the rest of our life's work (the Branch President's wife added that he didn't limit that promise to only callings in the church. It will be the foundation of our careers as well). And the Lord wants to hear from us and WILL answer our prayers. Then He suggested that we should write down our feelings/promptings immediately, or else we will lose them (Which I can totally testify is true).
I've been getting some sweet art in the mail from my nieces. I now have a cool art wall devoted to the lovely creations of loved ones. I have been so inspired that I have started sending little original Elder Morley's back. I will extend the offer to all of you. If you send me a picture then I will send one back (it might not be immediately, I do have some major time constraints, but I willl try). Maybe you can even send a suggestion of what I should try drawing (remember I only have 5 scripture marking crayons). As always, it's the thought that counts, not necessarily whether or not it deserves to be in the Louvre. 
Have a great week. Everything is great and so rewarding.
Elder Morley
P.S. If you can all do me one last favor. Pray for me to have the Gift of Tongues. If there is anything that the MTC has taught me it is that I need the Lord's help so much. I love this gospel so much!

Sept. 26, 2014 Another Week

Hey everybody!!!
My parents have been super busy recently processing apples into apple sauce and apple Cider. I knew about that from their letters, but then got some samples in the mail! I was so psyched. I got a package, and it was food, and it was exactly the things that I was missing. So, maybe it's bad, but I kinda wanted to hoard it. 'This is a taste of my home! you can't have any!' There were three bottles of fresh homemade apple cider. One of the Elders in my district (and the guy in the next bed over) asked what they were and, not wanting to share, I told him the first non-true thing that came into my head. "It's coyote urine" I said. I then proceeded to tell him that we would use coyote urine around our garden in NY to keep the rodents away (which is true, I think), and that my parents sent me some so that I wouldn't have a problem with the rats (which definitely isn't true).

 He believed me and life went on. The next day my companion asked me what was in the bottles, and jokingly told him the same story. He sorta believed me and started asking more questions to understand. I answered his questions and just kept the illusion going because I thought it was funny.  But I also hadn't had a chance to actually taste this gift from home, life is so busy, that as soon as I got it that first night, I had to go straight to class. So when my companion left the room to use the bathroom I had my first taste. We (my other companion and my zone leader) then thought that it would be funny if he saw me drinking this 'coyote urine.' So when he walked in I took a good sip of my cider and told him that the acids in it cleanse the palate and that it has a lot of vitamin b.

Pretty soon the entire zone (everybody in our hallway) had heard about the coyote urine in my closet and that I drank it. Everyone started pouring into our room to see it. It was pretty crazy, but I was starting to feel bad about deceiving the entire zone, so after a couple guys tried it to test their manliness the secret came out. (Wait this isn't bad, hmmm, it kinda tastes like cider... that's weird). But you know for a good half hour everyone thought that I had  'coyote urine' in my room. Gross. Plus my companion wouldn't speak to me for about a half hour afterwards. Then when the shock of it wore off people told me how impressed they were that I was able to thoroughly convince everyone that I have and drink  'coyote urine'.

The interesting thing though is that here as a missionary and especially at the MTC I am acutely aware of the spirit. I need it to be able to have energy and a positive attitude throughout the day. So even though it was just a little joke and it was over in 30 min and everyone thought it was funny, I lost some of the spirit. The following couple of hours was super hard, I didn't have energy or the desire to really do anything. So I couldn't get anything done, whether I was trying to play frisbee or memorize a word in kiribati. So I can testify even more strongly now that I need the spirit with me always. I know that without the help of the Holy Ghost I can't do anything.
On the same day that I got a package from my parents, I also got a happy little letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It said, 'Congratulations Elder,' and proceeded to tell me that I had been selected to sing in the MTC Choir in the Priesthood Session of General Conference!!!!!!!!!! One of my other companions had filled out the form to sing as well. We were screaming and handshaking that quickly turned into hugging and just loving life. For both of us this has been a dream. So it is so cool to actually be blessed with the opportunity to sing for the Lord and in front of the Prophet in the Conference Center. Oh my, there aren't even words. Today was the first practice. We have a practice every morning for a week, then we will perform for the world next Saturday. We are learning 4 new songs (and one will be history making), but I'm not going to tell you what they are. (neener neener neener) So I guess that you'll just have to watch and see the awesomeness. It is so cool singing with about 300ish other missionaries. Plus he (our director) told us that we should sing well because we are representing the other 90000 missionaries (that makes it about 300 missionaries that each of us are representing) yeah no pressure. I am so excited.

Today we got our Travel Plans!!!! We are going to Kiribati for Real now. Before it was just a probably. Like yeah you're supposed to leave on October 7, but your visa probably wont go through, or something will get delayed, or something. But NOW it is for Reals! I am flying out the evening of October 7th (yep, right on time) and will fly to LAX then to Fiji arriving there on the 9th. Due to the strange effects of the International Date line, I will never have the joy of experiencing October 8th. *sniffle sniffle* Hopefully it was going to be a lame day anyways. Then on to Kiribati! This is how my life looks at the moment. This week we will have infield orientation (basically a set of classes for people that are leaving) then this next weekend will be General Conference, then I leave the following Tuesday. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! yeah I don't know if that was a happy/excited scream, or a nervous/I'm-going-to-die scream. Mostly a bit of both. I decided today (before I got my travel plans) that I want to go to Kiribati because I can now express myself (however slowly) can understand people when they talk super slow and know the basic sentence structure and grammar rules. Now all I want to figure out is the culture and how words are actually pronounced by the natives. Well, I got my wish. I can't wait. The 8 of us will leave in 11 days!
Before I left on my mission I purchased a Kiribati Book of Mormon and started to memorize Moroni's promise (I really recommend it, no matter how many times you've read it read it again and apply it to your life. It's Moroni 10:3-5). I would translate a word with my borrowed dictionary and write it down, then try to memorize the line. This process took like five evers, so I ended up giving up before I finished. But the day before yesterday we decided to read Moronai Mwakoro 10 for our daily Ana Boki Moomon reading. It was the coolest thing. I read it, and could understand most of the words. And even knew what was going on in the verses that I don't have memorized in english. It is soooo cool to be able to read a book of scripture in a completely different language and understand what is being said. Your prayers for me to have the Gift of Tongues and the Interpretation of Tongues are working. Thank you so much!
Learning a new language is funny. Since we are trying to use it as much as we can all day long, our english is starting to go. It is harder to remember what some words are in english and the common phrases are even harder. The other day I told someone that our teacher was going to crash the whip and teach us a lot that day. They just laughed at me and said, 'Crash it into what?' Then i thought for about 3 minutes and remembered that the correct word was Crack (I think?...). Some Kiribati words you can tell came from the english. For example the word for my favorite thing (or at least one of them), Ice Cream, is aitikuriim. Pronounced Ice Cream. (the ti makes an s sound). It is one of my favorite things. 
This sunday we were privileged to go to both the Ogden Temple Rededication and to a Devotional given by Elder M Russell Ballard. They were both so incredible but I don't have much time left. I loved listening to President Monson's Talk during the dedication. It was just so full of joy. I felt excited just watching/listening to him. I want to be able to carry myself in such a way so that others can be uplifted by me just by me being around them. Also I loved singing 'The Spirit of God' at the end. It is one of my most favorite hymns so being able to sing it with 2200 other missionaries especially since the room that we were in was made an extension of the temple. I love the temple and the feeling/spirit that is there.
I just want to remind you all that I know that this Church is True. All of us have hard times, the MTC definitely isn't easy (It ranks among the hardest continual things I have ever done) but these hard things make us stronger. Make us better. I love the gospel and the light that it brings into my life. And I am excited to share it's message with the people of Kiribati for the next two years. I love you all so much.
Love (it's not redundant I promise) 
Elder Morley

Oct. 3, 2014 YEEEEEEEEE....AW

Hey everybody!
This has been another great week! Every morning we have choir practice which is soo fun. We have three main songs that we are working hard on, each with their own challenges and hard parts. I still want you all to watch me sing (so I'm not going to say what the songs are), because it will be incredible. We are singing in the conference center, being broadcasted to the entire world.

There are about 365 of us missionaries in the choir, and it will be super good. Just go to tomorrow at 6(mountain) or 8 eastern. The opening song is super high. I am a tenor by preference, not ability, so that song is kinda a challenge. I am a second tenor, and it goes up to a high g (at least I'm not a 1st tenor, they go up to a b flat). Kinda an adventure, but we make what ever room we are in ring. The intermediate song is sooo much fun. I believe that I have a new favorite song. It is called I will be Valiant ( It has a great message and is just so peppy. So I'm in a choir, so I won't be bouncing around, but you can imagine it. Plus there is a nice barbershop spot where it gets super fun, su just keep your eyes (ears?) open for that. The last song that we are heavily working on is by far the hardest. The second tenor part is crazy. But when you put all of the parts together it makes me feel like I could jump to the moon or something. It is so powerful. There is a line that says 'in desert, on land, or mountain or on sea.' So if the camera is on me for that part you will see me grin super big on the word sea, because that is where I am going. Definitely to the sea. The only bummer about Choir is that it takes away from my personal/companionship/language study time. Every day I have 3 hours to study the scriptures, grow my testimony, prepare to help investigators, bond with my companions, and learn the language. It really give the day a wonderful start, even though in the moment it seems sorta lame. There is a definite difference without it. But it is totally worth it.
The language is progressing miraculously, even without my study time. But you know, I still make mistakes. One day we were teaching a lesson and were committing this less active member of the church to come to church with us on Sunday. Her family goes, but she doesn't, so we were encouraging her. However my brain short circuited or something. In Kiribati the word for Church is taromauri (tah-ro-[howdy with an m]) but the word for Word of Wisdom is Tuan te mauri (swan tay howdy with an m). Some how instead of asking her to come to church I asked if she would keep the word of wisdom and stop drinking smoking and drinking coffee. I had no idea. Everyone was giving me a funny look. They clarified what I was saying, but it didn't even register that what they had said and what I said were different. So sorta awkward, but every one knew what I meant. I didn't even know that there had been a problem until a while later, so since I was rather oblivious to the weirdness, I just think it is super funny. So hopefully that doesn't happen very often, but it was pretty funny. 
The next was another slip up on my part, but this time in English. I was swiping my card to unlock the door, and the light flashed green, but the door didn't unlock. Complainingly I said, 'Why it sometimes not like me the door?' then I was so confused, like 'why did I just say something and have it not make any sense, where did that come from?' I fixed it to Why does the door sometimes not like me, but I was still super confused. Then I figured out that I was speaking in English using Kiribati grammar. There you always put a personal pronoun in front of the verb ('it') and then have the subject at the end ('the door'). So it was weird, but I love that I am improving enough that the structure is starting to become natural. 
Random sidenote, in weeks 2-4 or so I was having these awful dreams. I would dream in Kiribati and wake up so frustrated because  I would have no idea what anybody said to me. I would catch glimpses but really not know. I don't know if I don't have those dreams anymore because I am now so pro at the language(yeah, probably not) or if I am just so exhausted that I don't even dream anymore(a little more likely).
I can hardly believe that I will be in a completely foreign county in less than a week. We leave in 4 days!! We will arrive on thursday, but somehow that is only 5 days from now... I cannot fathom what lies in store for me but can't wait for the adventure. I will try to send you all emails, but depending on where I am serving that may not be possible. Also I will try not to die (just kidding, that shouldn't be a problem). But you know, depending on what happens, I want all of you to know that I love you. I know that this gospel is true. It has done so many wonderful things for me in my life. I can't wait to share this joy that it has brought me with others. I know that I will be able to help them to be happy, whether for a day or eternity is their choice.
Have a Great Week!
Elder Morley
P.S. I still want to get drawings from you guys, and will try to send a good one back. And if you see me on TV, make sure to wave!
P.P.S Shout out to my Companions Elder Carrington and Elder Buhler!

Oct.12 , 2014 Hurrah for Israel!

Hey Everybody!
Well I made it, and I'm still alive. So life is good. It took us close to 24 hours to travel here. We reported to the Bus at the MTC at 3, then took a train to the airport, then flew to LAX and got on a plane to Fiji. That plane flight was interesting because 85% of the passengers were Jehovah's Witnesses going to a conference, so we avoided Bible Bashing, then mostly gave up trying to talk because it felt like we were trying to convert each other. We were being very receptive and respectful, but they would downright turn us down, it was pretty interesting. That flight was about 11 hours long, but it was through the night, so I slept most of it. Then we were delayed in Fiji for another 4 hours and the flight to Kiribati was 3 hours. So long but totally worth it!

Landing in Kiribati was sketchy at best. As we began our descent we could start to see a bunch of islands which were gorgeous. Then we flew over Tarawa, it is shaped like a U, or an almost closed circle and the airport is in the middle. So at the bottom of the U. That made it sorta weird, because I could see strips of  land far away on both sides of me, but there was only ocean beneath me. We just got closer and closer to the ocean until we were only like 10 feet above it. Then at the last moment there was land and 2 seconds later we touched down. It was oh so sketchy. When we landed there was probably 40 people, mostly kids under the age of 7 behind a fence for the sole purpose of watching the planes come in. It was pretty cool.
Tarawa Airport

Then we went through the chillest of customs ever and met the missionaries waiting for us. So we will probably never actually go to the mission home, but we went to the next best thing. There is a senior couple that is basically the Mission president for Kiribati taking care of the more temporal things like $ and if we are still alive. Then we went to dinner, had a brief training and met our companions. I will be serving in the Betio (Bay-so) 3rd ward. My companions are Elder Karekataki (yeah, it took me a while to say it, so give it your best guess) and Elder Timeri (Sorta like See-Mary, but at the same time sorta not...). They are both Native Kiribati which is a problem because they will just chat with each other and I will have no idea what is going on. The accent here is so different than that of the MTC that even though I know some of the words it will take me some time  to figure it out, but there is already improvement so that is good! The other problem with them being native kiribati is that even though they speak good english we can only understand each other 65% of the time... With the different culture and accent not only are words phrased differently they don't sound the same. So it is tough.

Our apartment is good. we are on Tarawa so it has electricity and a shower. It is a cinderblock  building with a door and plenty of windows (they are covered with a screen and a cloth so we never actually close them). Sleeping is fine, we have fans right above the bed so I'm not too hot. I just don't need a blanket any more so making my bed is super easy. I do have a real bed. All of my stuff got here and made it through customs so that was handy. One of my MTC companions (Elder Buhler) is going to go to an outer island on Wednesday (that was the earliest plane there, they only go about once a week). The other (Elder Carrington) is at a less developed part of Tarawa, but I haven't seem him for a week, so all I know is that he takes bucket showers with stinky well water and has already baptized someone.

My shower is pretty good. There is no hot water, but then again the air is so hot that it feels good. So I usually enjoy my showers. Except this morning. I slept at the Zone leaders house (I don't know why they only told me in Kiribati). They have an air conditioned sleeping room. So first thing this morning I got up and took a shower, but since I had been in a cooler room the shower was not refreshing, just cold. I stood as out of the stream as I could and splashed myself wet. Then turned off the water, soaped down, and then being a missionary said a sincere prayer for strength and turned on the water full stream on my head. The prayer helped, so it was good.
David on one of his first days there.  I think that
this is the zone leaders house.
Teaching lessons is interesting but is getting better. At first I couldn't understand what they were saying, so at the end they would turn to me and say ' bear your testimony on church' and I would. Now after doing it more I can pretty well understand what is going on so I can prepare what I will say. I try something new every time, so it is pretty fun. I just assume what I say is being understood, because the people don't always tell me. Mostly I just mix up possessive pronouns. Like I was telling a person about when I repented and told her that I felt really good when I confessed her sin to her bishop. I caught it and fixed it, but usually it just slides.
I'm still figuring out how mail works, but I think if you put 3 stamps on a letter and send it to
Elder Morley
Lds Mission
PO Box 400
Bikenibeu, Tarawa
Republic of Kiribati
Central Pacific
That it will probably get to me.
I don't have any more time, so Have a great week!
Elder Morley

Oct. 26, 2014 My First Baptism!

Life is great! I'll try to answer as many questions as I can, but first the big news of this week! We had a baptism on Saturday! I wish I could send pictures, but I still don't have an adapter. I know they're sold here, but I haven't found one yet. I baptized Tamwemwe. She has two children that are members, and has been very prepared by them. Since we are white washing this area most of the lessons were taught by the previous elders. But I could tell that she was ready for baptism. I am confident that she will stay strong.

 They have found out that I play the piano, so I have had to quickly learn how to play hymns, so they wanted me to play for the opening, closing hymns and the musical number, and do the baptism. After practicing with the singers for the musical number I am all the more impressed with all of the conductors and accompanists out there, it was very hard. When it was time for the actual baptism though I was busy getting things to work out, so one  of the sisters played. As a result the meeting went very well. (Just kidding I would've been fine).

Elder Morley,  Tamwemwe, Elder Karekataake
The actual baptism was incredible. It took me 2.5 tries, so I'm improving little by little. On the first time I pronounced the kiribati words so bad that they were wrong. Words like kariaiakaki should not be a hard thing. But they caught me before I put her under the water. The next time I got the prayer right but when I dunked her I forgot to put her hand under that was holding on to my arm. Then the last time I got it perfect. There is an incredible spirit at baptisms and it definitely strengthened my testimony of baptism. As soon as she came up out of the water on the time that I got it all right the spirit was suddenly  there a bajillion times stronger than before. The church is definitely true.

David's first baptism in Tarawa.
This is an outdoor font, without lighting
We are moving forward with our other investigators. Some are really close to being ready, but there are more that are having trouble keeping the commitments which is sad. Especially since coming on my mission I have loved my times to pray and read the scriptures. There is power in those simple acts that cannot be gained any other way. I will continue to help them understand that, but until they choose for themselves there will be little progression.
I have two favorite things everyday. In the morning I read a chapter of the Book of Mormon. I read it once all the way through. Then I read it or skim it again and highlight the little words and things that stick out. Reading it twice really helps give an understanding of the whole verse. So I mark little things that help it to make sense. Seeing the promises and words of the prophets helps me so much. Plus it's kinda like magic. If I read in the morning I have the ability to be happy or at least peaceful all day. It is so weird, I think about the life that I live here and can't imagine myself or anyone in america liking it. But I also can't think of a bad day, there are some bad moments but the days overall are always positive. I can walk down the streets and just grin at the people on the street when I say Mauri (hello). The second thing that I love is teaching lessons. Life here is more strenuous than that in america. So I am often exhausted. But When I am teaching (or listening to ) lessons I have energy.

If we teach a bunch in a day I am energized and excited. If we don't teach much in a day I find it hard to stay awake. The random miracles of teaching the gospel are incredible (another one is, If I'm trying to be obedient and love my companion I don't sunburn) Who would've thought. I also love teaching because I get to practice the language in a controlled circumstance. My companion will say in kiribati, 'and now I turn the time to Elder Morley' and will whisper whatever I am supposed to teach. I can't say no, so I try. Often it is on something that I have never taught before so it is a constant adventure. I don't teach with eloquence but I teach very simply. Almost every point of doctrine has to be boiled down to it's very simplest point, because that is all that I know how to say. But the spirit is there and I improve in my speaking and understanding everyday.
Have a Great Week!

Oct. 19 Kam na bane ni Mauri!

Life is great! It's definitely not easy, but when are the great things ever easy. Plus life improves everyday with my understanding of the language and my adapting to life here. Answers to a couple of questions: Yes there are mosquitoes in Kiribati, but I don't get bitten much. I have a couple on my feet and one or two on my arms but they are few and far between and don't itch much. Miraculously I haven't sunburned at all. I also have yet to put on sunscreen. I think that it is the Morley blessing. Rachael didn't get sunburned in AZ and I haven't gotten sunburnt here even though the sun is intense and I spend a lot of time out side. I will just keep on being obedient because I don't want to risk losing the help that I get (or my hearing! sorry thats another story)

My favorite thing here is getting called Imatong (white person) by the children. We'll be walking down the street on our way to an appointment and kids will shout imatong and run at me shaking my hand and talking to me. It's like I'm a celebrity! I've started messing with the kids a little bit. Sometimes when the kids are with their parents and they shout at me 'Imatong' I will shout back 'I-Kiribati!' The kids don't usually get it, but the parents think it is funny. Also When they yell at me I'll look all confused and respond in kiribati, 'Imatong? Where's the imatong? I'm black!' Again they'll look confused, but they get this joke faster, so it has been a bit of a running joke. When people say that I'm white, I tell them that I am black. I can't really comunicate all that much, so I talk and play with all of the kids. It is kinda discouraging when I talk to a 2 year old and they're vocabulary is bigger than mine, but I still try.

"Me at the dance competion feeling chill
 in my skirt and little flower thing on my head"
We had stake conference this past weekend and before that there was a competition where all of the wards performed the traditional (and sometimes less traditional) dances and songs. I got to participate and it was the coolest thing. There is a big (4'x4') wooden box that the men sit around and use like a drum to keep the beat. I have no idea what the words to the songs are, but I was copying the vowel sounds and singing with all my might because it is so cool. I love being in a group with everyone totally getting in to the music and singing and pounding the box as hard as they can. We should do something like it in america. Our most patriotic things are dull in comparison.

Stake conference was hard. I told my companions to not translate so that I could try to figure out the meaning on my own. Luckily the Mission President and his wife are in town, so they both spoke and I could understand them pretty easily (they are both american). He is a great guy, I got to have an interview with him and have listened to him speak a couple of times now. I could understand the speakers that spoke clearly, but most of the time I was just confused. It is so exhausting straining to understand. It takes so much concentration.

The food is almost always good. It is always fish and rice, with different stuff on the side. I like rice, because I always know it is safe and will taste normal. The fish is usually tasty it doesn't taste like american fish so it is good. One time I was at a dinner and they put a whole cooked fish in front of me. It still had scales and eyes and lots of teeth. So i just ripped off the  skin and pulled off the meat. It was good, you just have to be careful about the bones. They are like tiny swords. So yeah, the food sometimes looks weird, but I am determined to enjoy all of it. If it tastes bad I just quickly take a bite of rice and smile. I have become a pro not-gagger, which is helpful in showing them that I like their food.
Life is great! I love you all!

Nov. 2, 2014 Kukurei Halloween!

(On This day, we were very lucky and were able to ask and answer many questions before his time was up.  I will include them for others that will have the same questions.)

(David) There are lots of kids here that their eyes wiggle. It looks kind of like  when you try to go cross eyed, but can't do it all the way so they just shake. Do you know of any sort of medicine that could help that. It's kind of a scary problem. I thought that people's eyes would be great here because of the Fish, but bad eyes in one form or another is very common.
          (We googled it and found info on  Nystagmus. Mostly in their case a lack of Vitamin B12)
Do you see scurvy?  That would be sores on their arms and comes from a lack of vitamin C
On kids I see a bunch of dark spots with rings around them, but I just thought that they were bug bites. 
 Thanks for giving me some tools to stay healthy. I took the Oil pills in the MTC and only got mildly sick for like 2 days. And here with mom's pills even though every other member of my intake group has gotten sick to whatever degree I am still completely healthy with solid poop. Thank you both so much for your help! I will use the oils, but they aren't my first response yet, so I usually only remember to use them after a problem is past... But I will do better!
Have you seen Elder Carrington?  He must be closeby isn't he?
He is sitting right next to me, so you could say that...
Are you taking the vitamins now or the mineral drink?
Vitamins, I just remembered about the drink, so I may start that. I take the minerals (minus the radish) everyday almost.
The radish is good for the innards but just take it a different part of the day than the minerals.
So happy to hear that you haven't been sick.
Tell me about the Elder who lost his hearing??
Oh, sorry. Brother Birrell who taught me in the MTC went swimming in one of his first months and got a parasite that made him deaf in his right ear. He is still deaf, It's permanent for now, but it's just a very good example of why missionaries don't go swimming here. That rule for whatever reason has very physical easy to see consequences. The other rules have more subtle spiritual consequenses so people can ignore those easier. He's fine and it only put him out of work for 2 days.
David,I still think that I want to get you 2-3 sets of garments to have in reserve for special times when you want to feel totally clean.  Please send the name of the fabric and the size in this email session.
OK-----Google Betio in Tarawa, and see how small it is. Then know that there are almost 20000 people living there. I am only responsible for a 3rd of it
There must not be much space between huts or much privacy.  Can you send pictures yet? 
Yeah, privacy is not a priority here. Every one is pretty much family anyways. Plus lots of the time they don't have walls so it's pretty close. Often people will have a central gathering place that they will spend a lot of their time instead of being in their house (often the size of our green bathroom, or if they are a little bit more wealthy the size of your bedroom)

  Yeah it's sorta like a campground, but closer. As you get closer to the ocean it's more like that. Next to the road everyone has concrete houses, then it slowly morphs to woodenish tents.
My companion is from all over, his parents moved around a lot. But he went to school at Moroni. He has a older sister. I don't think he's ever been to america, just a couple weeks at New Zealand probably for the temple.   Companions are moved around a lot here. I wouldn't be suprised if I got a new one since president is in town. So I have no idea who I will be with a Christmas time. He does have family support. They lived in Betio for my first couple of weeks here, but now they went to visit Marshall Islands, but didn't have a proper visa so they are in trouble there (that's all I know, but he's pretty upset about it)

 My down times are less frequent now. I guess you could call them culture shock. They are mainly a result of the cultural difference between my companion and I and our vastly different personalities. Mainly when I'm down I read the BoM and it helps. When you read my mass email about the BoM think of Scott Anderson. His personality is what I try to convey when teaching investigators and members ('Commandments make me HAPPY!!!' I want more!) also my companion, but I have to be less direct with him.

People get transfered here all the time, not necesarily associated with the 6 weeks being up, so we'll see when it happens.

Sure, just know that I don't wear socks either, it's too hot, I think that I might have more problems from wearing socks than from not. (moldy feet) But that may just be an excuse, so I don't know. 
Nothing from Elder Buhler, but he's probably having a great time. He has the personality to have a great time wherever he is.  We have a washing machine then hang up our clothes on the line they dry really fast.  

Dear Family and Friends,
This has been another great week! The favorite part of my day is still reading the Book Of Mormon. Even though I have read it before, this time is so much more interesting and great for my life. Maybe it's just because I'm novel deprived, but when I read, I'm sad when I get to the end of a chapter, because it means that I will have to move on to some other study. The scriptures have become more 3D. Even the Isaiah chapters are more exciting than usual. They are still hard, but I can always find a meaning and usually apply it to me.

For example Yesterday (sunday) I was reading in 2 Nephi. I got so excited about a verse (2 Nephi 6:11) that talked about how God would remember his covenant to the Jews and in the last days they will be gathered again. Even though they have been hated for most of all history they will be given their gift of a homeland again. Yeah, there's definitely something wrong with me... Then in church we were studying in Jeremiah and how Isreal will be scattered then gathered. They were just summarizing a couple of chapters when I couldn't hold it in. I tried to give some of Mom's Seminary teaching or dad's sunday school teaching fire and summarized all of their chapters.  I in scattered Kiribati and English talked about God's covenant to abraham, missionary work, God's love for us, etc. while talking about the scattering of Isreal. But for some reason I have been so excited about it. I also love when the Lord talks about the Isles of the Sea, because I know where that is !
Tarawa is more of a string of tiny islands connected by a road (they call it a cause way) than one long island. I live in Betio (Bay-Sew) which has one main road that goes all the way around it (in a circle).
The Betio Bus

The main form of transportation here (other than walking) is what we call the Betio Bus. There are these really sketchy (in American standards) white vans that drive that loop all day long. You can signal them, or usually they signal you by someone shouting 'Betio!" out the window, and then ride anywhere in the island for 60 cents. They only go clockwise though, so we can get to the area where most of our investigators live in like 2-5 minutes (we only do that when we are running late) but to get back to our house it takes 15 - 40 minutes depending on how many people want to ride the betio bus at that time. 
Today I had a new record. I was in a bus, where if it had seat belts there would be 10, but there was 19 people in the bus. 10 adults and 9 kids scattered on top of people and wherever they would fit. My previous record was 18 people with 2 children. I don't know how they fit so many people. I love it so much though. One reason is that a bus like this would never happen in america. People would see that and say, 'oh that's sketchy, only druggy people would drive a car like that.' but here it is so chill. Even though most of the time you can see through the floor, or the door wont be able to close (they will just tie it shut with a homemade strap), every one rides the betio bus. One time the door fell off and they just put it back on again and kept  on driving. It is not a problem here. Kiribati is so great that way. The quality doesn't matter, just the fact that the job gets done.

The language is coming really well. It feels really slow most of the time but when I look back I realize how many times that I have been able to have most of a conversation with people or given a lesson. The previous missionary was really shy in using the language so he progressed really slowly. So every one is full of praise for me when they realize that I have only been here for 3 weeks. I have a small pocket notebook where I write down my new words of the day. Usually I'll get 2-5 words a day and will then try to apply them every other day. I can't memorize them that fast, but it comes. It really is a miracle.
I love this gospel so much and the joy that it brings me and others. I love being able to shere my testimony every day. Have a wonderful week!
Elder Morii (Morley)

Nov. 9, 2014 Bonjour!

Questions asked:  Have you received any packages or letters? 
No packages. Did you get anything?  it takes so long that I haven't braved writing another yet. My companion is still Elder Karekataake.
  All I know about Elder Buhler is that his island is known for crabs, so he'll probably eat those a lot (I haven't yet).
Is the canning/ apples finished. Has the variety show happened yet? Can you google where the planet mars is in the sky?  How is the family, people ask me all the time. Is everyone all right including the little ones? Is Rachael progressing towards being a pro teacher? Etc.
Christmas, if you haven't sent the package yet: I don't know if I'll be able to find the adapter I'm looking for. Basically something that takes a sd card and plugs into usb, that way no matter which camera I use I can upload pictures. Also just some single pictures of the family. One of you and dad. One of each of my grandparents and great. and one of our whole family, then maybe me as superman. We are supposed to fill out the My Family Pamphlet, and I don't have the pictures to do it.

Does the mission pres.  have the ability to call someone in your area with important information?
What about the outer islands?  Senior missionaries or nurses?
Did Jacob get to meet the mission pres. before he left for the island.  Did he take a picture with him?  Did he or you get any training.  Do you consider your companion to be your trainer, or do they not do that on this mission?   Do you have senior missionaries or nurses in your area?
I think that Elder Buhler met president, but it is hard to remember that long ago, and the specifics of when president was here last. My companion is my trainer. You have a trainer for the first 12 weeks in the mission. But in our mission it is common to have multiple trainers.  The stars here are beautiful, but it is the first time in my life that I haven't lived on a good north south axis. My entire island is not on any direction, just somewhere in between, so the whole north south is sorta confusing. Usually I just look up and find the constellations that I know. Sagittarius is the most common (the one that looks like a tea pot). And I'm pretty sure that mars is right next to it. Since it is so clear everyday and I look at the same constellation every day I have been tracking a planet. And it seems like it is moving the wrong direction,like it is rotating the opposite direction than it should. I can see the southern constellations, but there are lots of trees that way at our house, so I don't know those ones yet. I can see the north star, but it is just over the horizon, which is pretty hazy most of the time. I cannot see the big dipper though.
There is a nurse on Tarawa and one on Christmas. Zone leaders or president can call anyone if there is a problem, but only in an emergency, and most of all of outer islands have a cell phone. On Tarawa there are a 5-6 senior companions all doing different things with missionaries, the people and the work.
I think that president is still here and I will see him at the zone conference on Wednesday, but I'm not sure.
Well I have to go. It was nice to be able to talk to you. I love you both so much. Continue to pray for me, I need all the help that I can get. I hope that all is going well over there.
Elder Morley

Dear Family and Friends,
Oh, my. Time here goes so fast. Around thursday my companion and I looked at each other and said, 'Wow tomorrow's friday, but it feels like yesterday was monday. Weird.' Life here is great. I love the islands. The sun always rises around six. I don't know the exact time, it starts getting bright a little before six and I'll wake up and admire the fabulous sunrise with the sky on fire. Then I'll go back to sleep, but I'll be totally ready to wake up at 6:30 because the sun has been waking me up for a good while before that. In the MTC it was a miracle if I got up before 6:30, but here it is so easy.

Also I never need to iron my clothes. Sometimes we'll sleep at the zone leaders house for what ever reason and only have 3 minutes before we go, so I'll bundle up my missionary clothes for the next day and throw them into my backpack. Then the next morning I will remember that that is not the best way to store my nice clothes, because they are full of wrinkles. But after wearing them for a half hour or so they are as straight as can be because of the humidity. (That specific story happened in my 1st week, but there are a bunch like it).

Every day there is a breath taking sunrise and sun set. It is really impressive with the different colors and arrangements of clouds. A camera does not do it justice, I wish I knew how to paint. There are golds, reds, oranges, pinks, purples, and streaks of light. And as the sun sets/rises it changes and is really impressive.

Also it seems like everyone here is a really great cook. I don't know how they do it. I look at their kitchen (basically a campstove) and storage space and preparation room (almost never any counters) and think, 'there is no way that this food came from this house.' The people here usually feed us chicken and often it is mainly just the drumsticks. I don;t know where the rest of the chicken goes, but the part that we eat is really good. Then we also have pork a lot and often some sort of fish. All of it is prepared in some way that makes it really really good, sometimes even better than at home. (But they don't have the variety that is at home). Then there is usually something on the side like chips (made from fried bread fruit, but they taste just like home made chips) or something, it varies. One time they served cucumbers and some sort of squash (they call it a pumpkin, but it's definitly not, but it's really good).

Yeah, life is good. It isn't the rainy season yet, it rained for a couple of days, but it was still really nice. It was like a 10 minute downpour with just sprinkling surrounding it by 30 min or so. And the rest of the time it was sunny. It is easy to tell when it is going to rain because it gets so humid. I will just be sitting and teaching a lesson and notice that I am sweating tons, then a few minutes later it will start to rain. It's cool.

My favorite part of everyday is still the Book of Mormon. I also have very quality prayers at least once a day, because Heavenly Father is the only person that I can talk to that not only understands my language but also my life and problems. There is no one else that can do that. I try to share that with our investigators but it is hard. It would be hard in English let alone in a language that I am still struggling to speak (every one tells me that I am doing better than most, but it is still hard. Usually I can express my thoughts, but understanding what others say is an adventure).
 Incredibly even though there is a communication gap I have friends here and the people are starting to get to know and trust me. For example, one of the members in our ward invited us to his house for dinner last night. After dinner we were talking and we were getting to the point where we would ask for referralls, anyone that he knows that might want to learn more about the church. But he stopped the conversation and asked if we are teaching anyone in his house (often there are lots of people/families in one house) we said no. So he pointed to a bunch of people in the room (not eating dinner with us, just there) and told us each of their names and some things that they are struggling with. The big one was his brother just died, and the new widow is not a member of the church. And he wants us to teach her the plan of salvation. I had no idea what to say (and we were on splits, so my companion didn't either). I have never been given a problem like that. There was just a tragedy in their family and I am the one that they want to help. I was honored but froze up a little. We set up an appointment to come back, and then I will be prepared and ready to go, hopefully. I will help them the best that I can. I love this gospel and that it can help all people from all walks of life with all types of problems. I love it so much.
Have a great week!
Elder Morley
p.s. sorry for my bad english, both languages are bad at the moment.