Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happy Birthday Everyone! May 24, 2015

  Happy Birthday Everyone!
I work with people all day, so we can just share the day! Thank you
all for the birthday wishes and love. I Had a great birthday weekend.
My companion secretly told people that we were going to visit that it
was my birthday. So I got cake and a mini party on Thursday, Friday,
and Saturday! On my actual birthday I only ever remembered that it was
my birthday when I saw the date on my watch or my companion told
people. I guess it's called getting lost in the work. I love it here,
and the work is going great.

 Church on sunday is kind of interesting. The church is just starting
here, so the senior companion (so Elder Smith) is the branch president
for the church on the island. We personally have to run church for it
to happen. So we hold it in 3 places. First way up at the farthest
north part of the island. We start at 9 (8 oclock Kiribati time). Then
bike down and meet up with a truck that picks up everyone in the
middle of the island (it can't go all the way up north because the
road is broken). Then after that we bike down south and hold it again
for everyone out of range for the car. We need the car so that
everyone has the opportunity to go to church. As it is we usually
finish a little after 7.

 The story is that this week we started
trying to have 2 trucks. One for everyone south and another to go from
the north, then they'll meet in the middle. Since it is new of course
everything didn't go perfectly. Turns out that our new car has a
broken battery. So the driver and us Elders pushed the car out on to
the road, then up onto a small hill (actually a bridge) then pushed it
down trying to jump start it.  We tried once with no success, then we
waited for more people to come. 5 guys in their 20s and one lady in
her 40s came to help (actually the lady was there to catch a free
ride, but she helped too). Now there were 8 of us guys pushing the car
up the mini hill and down trying to get the engine to start.  The car
moved really easy with all the help, but everytime we pushed it down
and the engine didn't start the lady would shout, 'Rest Yourselves!!'
Then everyone would find shade and rest for 3ish minutes then try
again. It took us 4 tries then the engine finally started. We ended up
starting church an hour and a half late, but it was so funny to me.
'Rest Yourselves!!' I ended up making it into a spiritual thought for
my talk in church. When there are more hands the work goes easier.
Life is always an adventure, but great fun!

 Working with Elder Smith is really fun. He has a great knowledge of
the scriptures and shares them all the time. He is what I would call a
scriptorian, which is someone that I have wanted to be since I was
little. Just a person that knows the scriptures really well. I haven't
met a missionary here like him and it encourages me to study and
memorize lots of scriptures too. We don't get quite as much study time
as I would like, but I'm working on it. Sometimes I feel like a
doctor. Someone has a concern with quitting smoking, or being shy to
come to church, or says that they are too lazy to read scriptures, or
has a question about their religions beliefs, or about the proper
nature of prayer, or any of a bunch of things we quickly turn to a
scripture to share. Also lessons are fun, sometimes when we have to
teach a different lesson, or give a spiritual thought we start with
one scripture and basically do a huge scripture chain with new
scriptures following the spirit. Lessons, and all of the work, is lots
of fun. Even more so when following the Holy Ghost. I love the work
and hope all is well in America.
Elder Morley

Received a snail mail written May 2, 2015 received May 22, 2015

Dear Mom and Dad,
     This is May 2nd  (Happy Anniversary yesterday!)  I'm writing because I didn't get a chance to write about my last week in Abaiang.  I'll start with when I found out that I was leaving.  On
Thursday we worked super hard in Borotiam.  We had lots of great lessons and had a fun uplifting chat with Tiwini.  I was on such a high.  Then I came home.  Elder Davis and I were joking around and texting the ZL's on Tarawa.  (They are in the same intake, Davis and Mattison.)  Then they said that I was being transferred.  It ruined my night.  They said that it wouldn't be for another week or two.  That news totally rocked my world.  I was on such a high, completely loving life in Abaiang.  just that Monday I had asked if I could stay there with Elder Davis for a long time.  We had just made big plans and goals and finally the pieces were in place to see them happen.
     Then the next morning I found out I was leaving before Wednesday.  Talk about rocking my world.  That didn't give me any time to say good bye or even if I did they wouldn't have time to prepare any thing.  So I decided to only tell Borotiam in church and they would be all that knew other than select investigators.  So I told them and through a crazy turn of events I ended up getting scheduled for 2 good bye parties.  So my Monday schedule ended up being:  wake up and wash, then pack up, be to Borotiam by 5 for my party then back to Tuarabu by 8 for another party and in the gaps fit in email.  Unfortunately Borotiam didn't start until 5 and ended at 8, got to Tuerabu at 9:30 then they partied until 11:30ish  9culturally it is incredibly rude to leave a party that is thrown for you, but you can leave other ones if you have a nice MC).  So email fell through.
     The Borotiam Party was the best thing in the world.  I love the people in Borotiam so much.  I have worked personally with or with a family member of 90% of the people in that unit.  At parties it is standard to have a 'Marooro' where whoever wants to get up and say something can.  Almost the whole unit was there including my recent converts and investigators and most of them spoke.  I felt like I was at my own funeral because they all said heart felt messages of thanks and good luck.  Tawaia (from Ribono but living close to Borotiam) and Karikaman (Tiwini's wife)  both shared their conversion stories.  many people cried and I was teary and grinning ear to ear the whole time.  I was given 2 chances to speak, once giving a spiritual thought and once at the end of the Marooro!  In my spiritual thought I first share Alma 17:23 saying I wish I could stay there until I die, but then said I have been called elsewhere and shared 1 Nephi 3:7 talking about how the Lord will strengthen me.  After all this they gave us food.  They killed a pig and there was fish and corned beef, papaya, canned ham and bread fruit and all sorts of stuff.  They have no budget so it was all donated and I felt their love even more strongly.  Then we danced.  There was some cultural dancing but mostly it was crazy, funny, but still clean, dancing.  Again almost every member of the branch got up and did some dance to make everyone laugh.  People are so comfortable with each other here, so someone can do a completely stupid dance and everyone will laugh but no one will care.  I love that.  Basically lots of love and lots of fun all around.
     Leaving Abaiang was cool.  On Tuesday Morning the church's speed boat the "Riona' (Liahona0 came to pick me up.  it was fun zooming across the ocean.  The weather was super nice.  We smoothly coasted across the ocean.  The boat driver would point out different things to us.  We drove right next to like 30 dolphins skipping across the ocean.  When we got there we stopped in at Sister Aldredges house. 
     I've got a little more time, so I'll talk about one fo our investigators in Ribono.  his name is Tongobo.  We found him through tracting on our first visit there.  Every time we have met with him, he has been asleep in a different house, but he always lets us in.  He said that he doesn't have a religion, but feels it is important to listen and learn about God.  Everyone in Kiribati that I have met, whether they have a religion or not, believes in God.  So that is how we generally approach lessons.  however when we were teaching  about faith, Elder Davis was prompted to ask if he has faith in or believes in God.  Then to both of our amazement he said, "no".  This guy we hardly know opened up to us and said that he and his family have prayed for years and never seen an answer to prayer.  He sees other people receiving answers to prayers, but feels that God must not love him, or if God is supposed to love everyone there must not be a God.  His questions was,  "Where is God?"  Now we are planning to teach the plan of Salvation gearing it towards how God loves us and how to recognize answers to prayers.  That lesson we tried to answer his questions and help him trust God.  I love having these tender moments with people.  The spirit can do some beautiful good things, through us teenagers doing our best. 
   I love this work and enjoy it everyday.  God is there and DOES hear and answer prayers for He love US! 
Elder Morley

May 17, 2015 Happy Day

     Today we were able to Skype with David and Elder Smith.  They were on their way to get haircuts.  They fluffed up their hair with their hands so that we could see how long it was getting.   They both looked and sounded great. 
       Last week they went over to an investigators house and there were rats running up and down the floors and walls. They counted 8 rats. They asked the family why do you have so many rats. The family said, 'Because we feed them!" They both laughed.
      It rains every day. They drive their bikes in mud and have muddy feet and pants all the time.
      Elder Morley and Elder Smith were able to go fishing.  This is how they did it. 
They use long nets. This was David's first time. They put out the net and then they go around and splash and scare the fish into the nets, then they pull the net in and catch the fish. They caught a few and someone cooked them for them.
      50 baptismal dates given, 40 progressive investigators. They give the baptism challenge every lesson. Some dates are real and some people are just being nice. They are working hard.  He said that it is the Kiribati way and tradition to be nice.  So they must be very very careful not to just baptize people, but to make sure that they have a testimony and are sincerely desiring the gospel.  Also that they bike a lot and have like 4 places to stay depending on which area of the island they are working. 
      I enjoyed the call very much, but felt quite emotional during it, so I didn't talk much.  The call had come late and I had started thinking that it was another one of those times that the internet wouldn't work at all.  Mostly Mike asked the questions and I just watched David.  I was able to observe that he was happy and relaxed and peaceful.  He had a big smile the whole time and laughed comfortably a lot.  He seemed to be turning into an islander.  He said that no one that they work with on this island has walls on their house, only the roofs and floors. 

Hey Folks!
This'll be a quick update because I just finished skyping with Mom and Dad. Sorry to those that weren't able to be on a lot, the internet
isn't the best now. Work is going great here right now. We work hard
every day and need to go soon so that we can teach some lessons
tonight. I'll just describe our house. I live in a 'stick house'. It
is basically a platform with a thatched roof. No walls, just fresh
air. We sleep on a woven mat with a mosquito net. We have a house that
looks like a house also made of sticks to keep our stuff in and a
bathroom. The bathroom has a concrete toilet that we need to use a
bucket to flush, but it's a pain to flush and the forest is closer...
The other problem with the bathroom is that it is inhabited by a
family of pigs. There is a mother and 3 babies that sleep next to the
toilet because it is shady. We keep our soap and stuff in there for
showering with a bucket of well water. For cooking we have a kerosene
stove, it is a pain and difficult to make work, but I'm figuring it
out. Most of the time we eat with people. We live the commandment that
Jesus gave to his apostles. 'Take no thought of what ye shall eat.' We
just figure that people will feed us and it hasn't failed yet. We
usually get 2 meals a day, but we actually don't know where or when
food will come. It is really fun, and I'm still getting fat so it's a
problem! Life is great I love it here.
Have a great week!
Elder Morley

Kam na kukurei n ara tain neboa Tinara May 10, 2015

(Happy Mother's Day or literally 'You all will be happy in our time to
praise our mothers. They are pretty much the same...)
This has been another crazy week.. Last week I set up the foundation
of what the work is like. This week, however, I want to share what we
do, or really some of the people I have had the blessing to meet. I
want to talk about faith.

 The people here have so much faith, it just blows me away. Last week
was fast and testimony meeting. There were 50 something people at
church and a good amount of them shared true and powerful testimonies.
One lady stood up and among other things said, 'I know that our living
prophet is a true prophet.' Then she went to say his name, but had no
idea. This lady testified of a prophet who she knows to be of God, but
she doesn't know his name and she probably has never seen him or heard
his words in any form. How is this possible? Faith. The faith of this
lady in some tiny forgotten isle of the sea surprised me and after she
was done I immediately got up and said thank you and bore my
testimony. Such simple but pure faith.

 There is another lady, Ramira (Raw mirror), we meet with relatively
often. We teach her (currently rather unfaithful) daughter. Ramira
always sits in on the lessons so I asked her to share her testimony.
She said that when the Elders first came to the island (last year)
they asked if they could have lessons with her. She had no desire to
listen, but being polite she said yes. They would extend her
commitments to pray or to go to church and she would flat out refuse
them. One day they had just invited her to church and she said 'we'll
see' and then refused to say the closing prayer. So as one of the
elders was closing  she heard a voice. She looked
around and didn't see anyone. It said that these were true elders.
From that moment she believed and never has doubted. That Sunday she
got up early and walked to church getting there before the Elders and
still comes today. She then told a story about how just a few weeks
ago she was drying copra (the coconut meat that sits out under the sun
until it is dry then sold. If it gets wet it has no value). She is an
old lady and had worked all day to cut it out of the shell and put it
under the sun. As soon as she was finished it started getting cloudy
and looked like it would rain. Straight away she said a prayer that
the rain wouldn't come and destroy her copra. All of her neighbors
were scurrying to gather and protect their copra, but she felt good
after her prayer so she just watched. She was tempted to do the same,
but thought 'no, I must not doubt' so did nothing. The rain didn't
come. Her simple prayer of faith was answered. Afterwards all of her
neighbors asked her why she didn't protect her copra. She said that
she knew it wouldn't rain because she prayed and she didn't doubt the
Lord. This little lady of faith was given a miracle so she could bear
her testimony to those around her.

 Last story, and by far my favorite. There is an old lady that we visit
to teach her grand children, her name is Tearabi. She and her husband
were baptized forever ago, but her husband Reui is bed ridden. He has
some disease where he can't move or sit up. He can't talk, but he can
move one arm. He is aware, but can't do much. One day we asked if
there was any thing that we could do to help her she said that she
wanted us to give a blessing to her deaf and dumb daughter and her
lame husband. She had total faith that if we blessed them they would
be healed. The husband wanted to shower and prepare himself so set up
a time for the next week, and gave the daughter then. We gave the
daughter a blessing according to the faith of her  and her
grandmother's faith that little by little she would be healed. Her
daughter used to be too shy to look at us and if we said anything she
wouldn't hear. Now we call her from the road and she waves to us. She
still isn't completely healed or have the ability to speak, but she has
been healed. Her mother hasn't seen the change as much yet, but that
hasn't shaken her faith. Last week we had the opportunity to bless
Reui. We gave him a blessing that in this life or the next we would
understand the reason for this problem and that he would be stronger
and feel so much joy because of it. We said that he probably won't be
healed, but he would have the strength to take the sacrament. So
yesterday (for us) everything fell through. All of our plans for
running church crumbled with the rain. So even though we were not able
to help everyone come to church, we were now able to have the time to
bring this family the sacrament. I could feel the spirit as soon as I
entered their house. It is another one of my most tender experiences
that I've had, giving the sacrament to this family that can't come to
church to receive it. This family that still is the most faithful that
I know, even though their prayer wasn't answered in the way that they
wanted. I love this work and my time here to work for our Savior. I
know this work is true and that if we have faith we will be blessed
and always have peace in our hearts,
Elder Morley
P.S. Sorry for my poor language and writing skills, it is getting
harder the longer that I am in these islands.

May 7, 2015 Happy Mother's Day

Wow, I thought mother's Day was later in the Month! Golly time flies
when the weather never changes and you are totally disconnected from
the world! Life is good.
Well, now I'm in Nonouti. It is pronounced 'No nose" and all of the
other islands make fun of them for not having noses. The work is very
good here. It struggled for a little while, but both of us are
determined to make it turn around for the better. Our goal is 50
lessons a week and within a month to be up to 70. It is just so hard
because everyone wants to feed us and talk to us, and we want to too,
but there is never time. There are too many people that want to hear
the gospel and we are working of finding a good way to meet with them
all 2 times a week so that they can progress. We still don't know how
it will work, but I enjoy the challenge. I love the work here and my
time with Elder Smith. The people here are wonderful, I get sooo much
food, but it is too much fun to complain.
Sorry, we don't have any time and I need to get back to work
Elder Morley

April 28, 2015

Howdy Ho!
So, life is crazy as usual. I'll try to send my last weeks letter as a
snail mail, or maybe as a mass letter next week. Basically last Monday
I sent a letter to president strongly asking him if  I could stay in
Abaiang. Then Thursday night I found out I was leaving for Nonouti to
be working with Elder Smith (he says Hello and that he loves you all).
I figured I had a week or two, but then Saturday night I found out
that I would leave Tuesday morning. I told 2 of our areas and the
worked it out with each other for me to have 2 parties on Monday. So I
didn't get time then.

 Last week while we were walking to the islet, Ribono, Elder Davis and
I starting making goals, our vision for the island. We finally have
the ability to go to church every week in Tabontebike to strengthen
them. The entire branch presidency is in stages of inactivety. If we
don't go there, church literally doesn't happen. but we just worked
things out so that we could spend more time there and strengthen them.
I was so excited to see the progression and watch the hand of the Lord
in the live of these people. In the Borotiam unit 54 people came to
church last week with (including us_ 10 melchezidek priesthood holders
there and 9 investigators. They are so ready to become a branch. There
are 5 potential priesthood holders as well. Also Elder Davis has made
a goal to start a unit in Ribono and one other town. We have been
getting investigators from towns all over the island now so that seems
very possible. The work is exploding there, we are no longer limited
by just the 3 towns, but now I'm excited to be here.
Elder Morley