Sunday, June 28, 2015


Subject: Happy American Independence Day Week!

Hello Hello everybody!
This has been a great week. I love the work here. Slow and steady,
little by little, person by person, the work here progresses and it is
glorious to behold and to be a part of. Just for fun I'll share some
random things from the week. Friday morning I woke up and saw a
massive double rainbow, so since I live on a tiny island, I walked a
couple hundred feet to the bank of the ocean. The rainbow literally
went from horizon to horizon touching the ends of the island curving
away in the distance. But then I noticed that it was low tide. When
the tide goes out the island basically gets another couple hundred
yards of semi puddley beach. In the puddles I saw the rainbow continue
all the way up to me. Not to brag but, last Friday, I was the pot of
gold at the end of the rainbow!

Also, I finally found out where Santa vacations for the summer. We
were trying to find an investigator's new house last week, so went to
a random house to ask for directions. While we were talking with the
people there an old shirtless man in a lava lava walked up (pretty
much 90% of men are shirtless in lava lavas). He had a nice pot belly,
white hair and a nice trimmed white beard. My first thought was, It's
Santa! So I casually asked what his name was. He said Chris. Everyone
around laughed, so I asked again to have him tell the full story and
they all said his name was Christmas, Chris was just a nickname
(people here don't have nick names, so he was just showing off for the
white people, that's why everyone laughed). So it's TRUE! Santa
vacations here under the name of Christmas! (Actually a realatively
common name).

As far as stats this week, lessons were low, but 66 people came to
church. The record for the island is 77 back when they were able to
hold church in a bunch of people's houses (The elders then did splits
to make it work, but we don't have people anymore to do splits with).
A few months ago attendance was in the teens. We had 66 with everyone
getting into one of 2 trucks or walking all to the same place. Plus
2/3 of them didn't even have us by them to encourage them to come. I
am so pleased with the progression of these people to show their faith
to come.

Also this week we had a beautiful baptism of a cute older couple.
Tetauea (Tay t ow E ah) and Taroaiti (tah Rose) are both in their mid
fifties, but look older after a life of hard work under the sun. I
love both of them and have enjoyed helping them through the end of a
long road to baptism. They were taught when elders first came to the
island and got married then, but ended up being dropped because they
just couldn't stop their word of wisdom problems. Tetauea smoked and
drank and Taroaiti smoked the equivalent of 2-3 pack a day. Shortly
before I got here they had just started lessons again and were taught
about Fasting along with a challenge to fast for the strength to quit
those things. When I got here Tetauea was pretty much done, but
Taroaiti was just starting to lessen the cigaretes. She has now been
free from smoking for about a month. She said that she was offered a
cigarette a couple weeks ago, so she submitted to temptation and
smoked. But after one puff she was so disappointed in herself and also
her head and teeth hurt and she truly commited to never touch one
again. It amazes me that with the help of fasting and the gospel a
person could quit smoking so thoroughly in such a short time that even
the desire for it was gone. I was blessed to be the one to perform the
ordinance for this wonderful faithful couple. The church is true and I
love it!
Elder Morley

Sunday, June 21, 2015

06/21/2015 Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day,
We’ll see if the internet will cooperate with us today, but if I can’t
send this today, just imagine it came last week!

 This has been another whirlwind of a wonderful week. The week before
last was rough, and this week was a good recovery time where we have
been able to see the turn for the better. I am so full of excitement
for the potential of this area. As with every worthwhile thing in this
world, the progress goes slower than one would wish, but there is
definite improvement. The highlight of this week for me was church
yesterday. It has changed slightly since the last time that I
described it. Now we have 2 cars. One that goes south picking up
everyone that wants to come to church, and the other starts from the
very farthest north and moves down. We had some problems with the car
a few weeks ago. The driver wanted to go to church, but his church
started at the same time that we wanted him to start driving. Nobody
told us his problem, and we told all of our members what time the car
would come. So we were in a bind. But as soon as we knew we changed
the time of our church so that it starts at the same time as his. So
he drives the car and goes to church in the same town as us. So that
made it so we now don’t have time to run church in the far north down
of Tebuange.

So now every Latter Day Saint (Mormon) on the island
catches a car (really a flat bedded truck) to come to church together.
Most weeks there is some problem that either stops the car or the
investigators from coming. So with our relatively big truck, it was
never full, even though the potential is much higher. This week
however was different. This week some people that have never come
before finally showed the faith to come. Man it was a miracle. By the
time we arrived, the North car that I rode in really couldn’t fit
another person. A fair number of people came from the south, some that
have also never come before. So we had a large crowd. The record for
the island is 77 people at church, but that was holding church in
several spots along the island (the previous Elders were able to do
splits to make that work). Our record is 58 holding church in 3 spots,
and yesterday we had 48 (12 of which were investigators, and there
were 2 Less Active Members that came for the first time in years) all
coming to church in one spot all together. Also the southern half
didn’t have us riding the car to encourage them. There was such a
spirit of unity and excitement as everyone saw the crowd growing
larger and larger. Then we gave our talks and every one was more
engaged than usual. Then after Sacrament Meeting we have always wanted
to split up into classes, but never have been able to because of cars
coming late or people not being ready or any of a number of problems.
But this week, we finished and the cars hadn’t come yet. We were so
surprised that we weren’t prepared. We just figured that church
wouldn’t work out again. So we stood up and asked everyone if they
wanted to have a nice question answer session or to have hymn
practice. This branch only knows 10 or so hymns total, so they repeat
a lot. We chose to sing. We laughed and struggled along together as we
figured out the words and the melody (the translation doesn’t always
fit the notes as well as the English version). But it was so beautiful
feeling the spirit that hymns bring together with my small group of
saints, my friends, here.

 Well, the internet isn’t up yet, so I’ll just continue writing! The
biggest highlight of yesterday was Koonono (Co. no no) coming to
church. He is the brother of the adopted man that lives in America
now. He and his wife have had lessons for ages. He was taught when the
Church was first brought back to Nonouti 2 years ago, and has
continued to be taught on and off since. We have had so many
individual personalized lessons with Koonono in an effort to help him
to progress. We have felt for a long time that he has a testimony of
the truth, but has always been too shy to come to church. He prays and
reads pretty well, just couldn’t make it to church, we almost dropped
him and baptized his more faithful wife on her own. There have been a
couple things that have helped his progression. One was finding his
brother. His mom was the one that asked, but he had been curious for
ages about his brother that he hadn’t seen since he was really little.
He just figured he was dead. So bringing that contact back helped.
Also we tried to make a big focus on the family. We taught him and his
wife (Marena) the importance of the family and the role of parents and
gave them a ‘Family, a Proclamation to the World’ paper. Then we told
him that his wife would only be baptized if he was baptized with her.
Not entirely true, but really what we were trying hard to make happen
so that they could strengthen each other. Lastly we gave him a white
shirt to wear to church. We feel that the shirt was the last straw
holding him, but the real change happened through the family.
Yesterday he came to church, we were trying to encourage his wife to
get in and bring their kids, and he jumped in behind me. I couldn’t
believe my eyes. This church really is based on the family. The family
has brought the biggest changes that I have seen in the work here on
this island. I testify that this is the Lord’s work and that it is
centered on the family. I am so happy that we can celebrate families
on this beautiful Father’s Day. Have a great week!
Elder Morley

Happy Memorial Day 6/14/2015

Happy Memorial Day!
Life is still great here in the islands. There are struggles everyday,
but we love sharing the gospel here with our Friends in Nonouti. This
week Mouaa (Moe Ahh) was baptized. He is another with a crazy story.
When Elder Smith first got here Mouaa was coming to church every week,
so he went over and asked if he had received the Priesthood yet. He
said that he hadn't and hadn't even been baptized. He and his
companion were shocked that Mouaa wasn't even a member, because he was
one of the strongest and most consistent people coming to church every
week. Turns out that he had been on parole for a long time and living
in the Policeman's house because of it. Before he had been a heavy
drinker and quick to anger and been arrested a few times for what he
did when he was drunk. But his sister's family are also strong members
so they invited him to come to church. Since he started coming to
church and in our time in teaching him he has made lots of changes and
really felt the joy of Repentance in his life. He has completely
changed his life and as soon as he learned a doctrine or commandment
he changed his life to be able to live it. I marvel at the ability of
people to change and especially at the work for good that the gospel
does in people's lives. I add my testimony to that of Alma's in Alma
This week my favorite scripture is Doctrine and Covenants 123:17.
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things
that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost
assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be
No matter what if we do all that we can, and do it happily, God will
be right there making everything work out as it should. I know that
this is true and that God Lives and loves us. This is his true church.
Elder Morley

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 7, 2015

Hey Folks!
Well, so far the internet doesn’t work yet, but we’ll hope that it
connects. This week has been great. I love seeing changes in people’s
lives. There are a lot of people that we work closely with that have
made just the tiniest hint of progression, but we are proud of them
for it, and work with them and praise them even more for it. One of
the houses that we have permission to sleep at is at the home of
Tamwaiti (tah Mice, or maybe Thomas). He and his family have been
members for years. The wife/mom , Taburuke (Tah brook) served a
mission in Utah back in the 25+ years ago. They have 5 kids living at
home from 3-14 years old, and the parents and all of the kids have
become like a family to me. We go to their house 2 times a week to
spend the night and every time they have a meal and a separate private
place set up for us to rest. Then we joke and play Sorry (but they all
count cards so we struggle to win). We also used to hold church for
them and others around them in their house (that’ll change this week).

The only problem is that the dad, one of the 5 native Melchezidek
Priesthood holders, is not worthy because of Word of Wisdom Problems.
He has had some smoking and drinking in the past, but dropped them as
soon as he was baptized. Then he was a Unit President in Christmas and
fell into drinking Kava which is against the Word of Wisdom in
Kiribati. When we first started working with him he had no desire to
change, he had been doing it for so long. Then every week in church we
gave a subtle (or sometimes pretty direct) talk about obedience or
commandments or Don’t Do Kava!! Then, since we have gotten so close
with him and his family we were able to have a completely open
conversation about how we can help him to quit. We decided that he
needs a new hobby, but only a handful of people in Kiribati even know
what a hobby is. So there is progress, it is just tiny. But I always
love returning to his home after a long day (we’ll go there today and
on Saturday).
Life is great and fun and I love you all!
Elder Morley

Note from mom:  We had a beautiful thing happen while we were receiving this letter last night.  At the same time as David was online, we had in our home a RM from Kiribati, Elder Lane Tait and a future Kiribati missionary Sister Brooklyn Baldwin.  Sister Baldwin and David had been in the same seminary class at Sky View their Senior year.  David was able to send encouraging words about the mission to her and to give her some suggestions for preparation.  Also,  David is currently serving on the island that Elder Tait and Elder Grover opened Nonouti.  Lane was able to send a couple of emails to David and to find out that many of his new converts from 18 months ago are the core of the branch now.  He was so very very happy to see that his converts were still strong in the gospel.  The spirit flooded our home with the goodness of the Lord to let these missionaries connect and strengthen each other last night.  It was so tender.  What a beautiful blessing to see the goodness of the Lord last night in touching all our hearts and making Kiribati seem a lot closer for a short period of time.

from May 31 received June 7, 2015

Hello Everybody!
Well, right now the internet doesn’t work, and the government office
that we are in (also the only place on the island with internet) just
lost power. So I am writing this letter in a Word document… This has
been another week of hard work, rough times, and rewarding fun times.

I want to tell the story of a lady named Eema (A may, so basically Amy
or maybe Emma). She was baptized forever ago and when she was younger
and still starting a family she had one of her children adopted by a
LDS family in Saint George Utah. Unfortunately, since then she has
fallen away from the truth. She has let the influence of her Catholic
family and friends to pull her away from church attendance. Elder
Smith started working with her son before I got here. One day he asked
her if she would be willing to join in on the lesson. She refused, but
over time, little by little she started reluctantly listening in. One
day she told us about her son that she hasn’t seen since he was just
born 20 years ago. She gave us his name and the names of his new
parents that she had been remembering for years for us to try to find.

Embarrassingly, each week at our internet time we forgot. Then one
week a member was sitting at her computer using Facebook (somehow a
couple of people have and use Facebook on this tiny detached island).
We remembered Eema and asked if the member would try to find that son.
With the miracle of modern technology we found her son in a few
minutes and sent him a friend request with a message. The member was
able to connect with him after we left and chatted for a bit. Eema’s
son had prayed on Mother’s Day for the ability to contact or hear from
his mother. Miraculously (because of the Lord’s infinite goodness) our
communication to him through a member’s Facebook was on and American
Tuesday (our Wednesday), just 2 days after his prayer. His and his
mother’s prayer was answered. As soon as we could we told Eema that
her son was alive and well. Still living in St George with a good
family. She happily accepted the news, and to our delight, as time
went on we saw a change. We saw the visible difference of a change of
countenance, the light of Christ coming back into her life. She
started being the first one to lessons. She started her prayers again
and actually progressing. Today we promised her that we would help her
to see his picture and write him a letter, but you know the internet
is struggling… I wish I could say that yesterday she came to church,
she still isn’t there yet (plus there was a funeral yesterday) but I
am so grateful to have been allowed to help a mother find her son and
all of the glorious changes that have followed.

On a fun note, every P-Day Elder Smith and I try to schedule a fun
activity. We’ve gone fishing a few times. A few weeks ago we went over
to our Kiribati Grandma’s house and she made us food, told us stories,
taught us a fun dance, and even did our wash (after we left). Side
note: we actually have 3 or 4 Kiribati grandmas. Today, we were late
to doing internet because we were dancing with a guy named Ioane
(John). It is a super active, fast cultural dance. It was lots of fun
and with a little more practice I’ll be a pro. I love doing fun
activities with the people here. Our activities are always simple, but
the people her make it always lots of fun.
I love my time and work here in Nonouti!
Elder Morley
Hey Pops and Mommy-O!