Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jan. 4, 2016 A snail mail received Jan. 28, 2016 Happy New Year

Dear Mom and Dad,
     So, by now you've probably noticed that I finally got back to Nikunau.  Hopefully my scholarship essays got to you.  I spent a lot of time on those.  I'm finally on my way back.  I remember my last Sunday on Nikunau.  It was Fast Sunday and I felt that I would leave soon, but I didn't know when, so I didn't tell anyone.  The next day I left.  I stayed in Tarawa 1 month.  Long enough to get my name moved on the Transfer Board.  Long enough to help 3 people to the waters of Baptism.  Long enough to fal in love with 2 families.  When Pres. told us we would work in Ambo he said,  "Do you want to know your assignment  Your first priority is to get 10 names of prospective Elders and activate them!  So that is what we tried to do, but we didn't get too much o a chance to.  But I enjoyed it.   I decided to love Tarawa, so that's what I did.

   I knew when I left that leaving was the right choice.  We prayed and felt good about it and I couldn't deny it.  But the consequences of it were a lot bigger than I anticipated.  I wanted to ask Pres. what he thought and luckily (if there is such a thing as 'luck') President Weir attended our District meeting.  (He also told me I was District Leader,  Surprise!)  After the meeting I asked if I could talk to him and said,  "Do you feel that I made the right choice in leaving the island?"  He said,  "You'll know when you get back!  He continued and said that if I go back and see that they have been holding church in my absence, then we will know that the island is ready for a Branch.  No matter what my reasons in leaving were it would be worth it just for that info.  That made me feel better.  Then he talked about how I have just as much right for inspiration from heaven as he does.  Inspiration is real.  I feel like I'm just starting to know how it works.

  I enjoyed writing those essays because it brought to my attention something I hadn't realized.  I realized by looking back how well and how smoothly I was prepared on my mission.  I started in Betio which is more similar to America:  no culture shock.  I moved to the closest island to Tarawa: no culture shock.  Elder Miller and I figure out missionary work together.  Elder Davis comes and is more experienced.  Immediately after, we open Ribono and the Branch Pres. in Tabontebike goes less-active and pulls the Branch with him.  I learn from Elder Davis how to work on new areas and how to lead.  I go to Nonouti.  I'm now used to Kiribati culture:  no culture shock.  My Comp is Branch Pres. and I continue to learn.  I go to Nikunau, absolutely no culture shock and I'm now completely trained and ready to revive the work and become Branch President.  The Lord's hand is simply amazing.

  Here is one more way.  Elder K. didn't teach me much language.  But Elder Miller was really good.  He taught me how to speak.  The foundation was set, so he gave me that vocab.  Elder Davis learned from books, so he taught me all the structure.  Elder Smith is one of the best in the mission so he taught me loads.  Elder Vaai is good with the accent so he taught me how to make my words sound good.  Then Elder Tiaon was Kiribati, so I learned new things and was immersed in the language.  The whole time I thought my language was awful and  then I find that I really have been blessed with the gift of tongues.  I was able to teach easily and had loads of fun translating for Senior Couples.  Line upon Line, precept upon precept.  It's so much fun to be a part of.

   When I left Nikunau I thought I would get in trouble for leaving my area by airplane.  At the very least I thought people would be annoyed with us for making an emergency transfer.  All I got was praise for bravery and complimented for my being willing to take action and solve problems.  I was almost disappointed.  I felt bad enough that I almost wanted to get yelled at.

   Wed. Jan. 6  So, now I've been here for almost 2 days.  Everyone was really happy to see us.  Every time a flight came in a few people went to the airport to welcome us.  The good news is that the branch is still strong.  Church happened every week and they took the sacrament  (they had keys deffer-ed to them),  They had FHE, They had a Christmas Party.  President's words are right,  they are ready for a branch.  One cool thing is that we had hired a car for E. Tiaon's farewell party, but the car didn't come.  So that gave us one free hire.  These guys remembered and hired the car for combined sacrament meeting on Fast Sunday.  They rode motorcycles and told everyone they could remember about the car and had a really successful meeting.

    The thing that made me happiest though is this.  Two - three weeks before I left, Tarawaa, the mom asked me to start an early morning seminary class for her little kids.  I didn't get a chance to answer her then.  I had meant to give her answer for ages, but I forgot when I saw her and remembered when I didn't.  Then it's finally that last Fast Sunday night after 10pm.  I'm just finishing eating dinner and I remember her request and I feel like I should tell her my answer.  I put it off because it was late, but then I felt so strongly about it that I walk over and sit down next to her.  I said,  "I know you think that I forgot, but I just never got a chance to tell you.  I could easily do a seminary class for you, but that is not really my job.  What would be best is if you and Teiaba run it yourselves and start holding scripture study time."

     She got so happy, "Oh, why, did I never think of that before.  At that time I didn't know I was leaving but the next morning, I left and was gone for a month.  I feel like part of the reason the church stayed so strong is because  at least this family faithfully held scripture study.  The Lord works in simple ways and I am so happy to be a part of it.

Elder Morley

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Snail Mail Written Dec. 21 received Jan. 21, 2016

Dear Mom and Dad,
So here's where I'm at time wise.  Today is Dec. 21 the day I was supposed to go back to Nikunau.  We got up early and went to the airport.  We asked when Nikunau would check in and even though we arrived right at check in time, nobody knew.  Finally somebody told us that the flight hadn't left yet and to wait for the announcement.  We waited for 45ish min and an announcement came that said "We are sorry to announce to all passengers to Nikunau that the flight has been delayed."

Know body knew at that time when the replacement flight would be.  We'll call first thing in the morning, but at this  point the replacement flight could go tomorrow, or the next day, or maybe we'll have to wait until the next scheduled flight on Thursday, but that is Christmas Eve, so there might not be a flight then.  We'll see in time.  So, I'm sorry I didn't email today, but I was so emotionally crushed after that announcement.  I wrote you a farewell letter last night and I was too depressed to write again.  I just wrote president.

I want you to understand a little why I want to go to that island so bad  Why it is worth it to me to leave behind internet, family, the world, you guys, etc. to go to a tiny dot on the map.  I think the best way t express it would be through my journal entry that I wrote just after we got home from the airport.  It was supposed to be just an unloading rant, but I hope you can feel the love in it.

Dec. 21, 2015
I'm depressed.  I don't think I'll ever get off this island.E Kanibwara nanou*  (A really strong way of saying  I almost want to give up.  My heart/desires are untied.)  I remember that last Sunday morning on Nikunau when I could feel that I would have to leave the island and the uncertainty of if I could come back.  The almost overwhelming feeling of stress and anxiety and loss that I almost couldn't breathe when I was biking to the airport.  Then when I told Teiaba,  "If I don't come back, my stuff belongs to you guys!  Then that Wednesday after a fast when I tried to get myself a place on the plane.  I was unignorably told,  "NO" to my prayers to let me leave Tarawa  Jeff's charter plane needs to be inspected and the time got pushed back a week randomly  This flight was delayed b/c last night or the night before the pilot got some strange back pain and can't get on the plane.  I feel like I am again being told that I am not supposed to leave Tarawa.  Not supposed to go to Nikunau.  I KNEW that leaving was the right thing to do, even though I HATED it.  Now I just want to go back.  What will they do without me, or more importantly what will I do without them?

I love that island so much.  I have never loved a place more than there,  Oh the pain of separation! But its not just some strange homesickness.  It's like a shepherd being put in jail with the continual promise that he can go to his flock, but it never ever happens  What if a wolf comes?  What if they get scattered?  What if they wander and get led astray?  What if one gets lost?  Who will rescue him?  I have so many new members, brand new converts and investigators just starting to feel the seeds of conversion.  And there is So much opposition  My finger and heart are over every facet of the church on that island and I have no way of knowing how they are doing.   No way to communicate.  No nothing  I feel such responsibility in addition to the love, but there is nothing I can do about it  I'm just left to hope and pray and trust in the Lord.  I know that this is part of the Lord's plan  I can FEEL it.  But I just wish I knew why.  That hardest part however is that while I am here it is wrong of me, down right selfish for me to be moping in a rot of despair.  This is the work of the Master!  It is my Call to invite All to come unto Christ.  To devote all my heart, might, mind, and strength to this work, no matter where I am.  It means I need to let go.  Let go and trust in the Master's Hand  It just hurts a little.  I know that this is His mighty work.  I know that He leads this work.  I know at All will go well if we but trust in Him.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

So that was my journal entry.  After I finished I wrote a letter to President Weir with similar contents, but also expressing concerns like  "I'm starting to feel like I'm not supposed to go back.  I will go back to Nikunau right?"  Later in the day I got to see him and asked my question in person.  He joked around at first and said,  "Elder Morley, you may finish your time on Nikunau here on Tarawa and get transferred somewhere else!  But then he saw my face and said,  "We  Will get you out to Nikunau!"

So enough about Nikunau.  While waiting we have been doing splits with the other missionaries.  I fell in love with the investigators in Ambo and I was able to help one family finish their preparation for baptism.  I love them, so if I don't get to go back to my island I'll ask if I can go to their baptism on Thursday (Christmas Eve, it will be a white Christmas!)

All is well.  Life is good.  I love you so much,
Elder Morley

PS  I'm sorry about not eating the yummy cookies you sent.  I just knew that there weren't many and it was something they will never get to try in their lives.  It was a gift I wanted to give.  Thank you for the opportunity.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

1/17/2016 Please send bread

Seems like the island is still out of food.....  Requesting bread to be mailed by airplane so that they will have something to bless for the sacrament.  He is healthy and well,  what more could we ask for....... and we got to hear from him, even though briefly.

Hi mom,
I have no time. I'm healthy and well and am having lots of fun here on
Nikunau. Can you please forward this letter to Elder Jenks for me?  He
is the new Senior couple.

Hi Elder Jenks,
Thank you for sending those packages last week. The work here on
Nikunau is going great. I just want to tell you what happened to that
letter that you sent here back when I first arrived in Tarawa. It
arrived here and Teiaba, the man that it was addressed to, thought
that it was a certificate for him. He recognized that it had the same
paper as the packages that we receive, but this was addressed to him.
He thought that it must mean that he was supposed to be an Elder too.
He placed it in his store and showed off his 'certificate' to
everyone. The next day another member came and asked about it and said
that there must be something inside of the two pieces of cardboard
inside. So they opened it up and found the letter. He still is so
proud of his certificate and keeps it in his store. Included is him
holding it. We have one request. Could you send us a loaf of bread
every Thursday for a few weeks? The island is out of flour making
sacrament difficult, Once a new shipment of flour comes or anything
else that could be blessed we will tell you. This would help our
church significantly. Thank you so much for all you your help to us
and to everyone.
Elder Tonini and Elder Morley

Sunday, January 10, 2016

1/10/2016 An unexpected hello!

(1rst letter is the family letter.  2nd letter he calls the 'mass email.'

I made it to Nikunau!
So, uh, funny story. They got the internet to work!
Thanks so much for everything that you got for us for Christmas. It
was INCREDIBLE! I now have a mini Christus Nativity Christmas Tree,
and Lights in my house, (and a brand ne w camera that I forgot to use
to take a picture of the pretty setup). You guys are so cool. We got
here last monday right in time for FHE. I used FHE to give away loads
of gifts. Stuff you gave us, stuff I had, etc. It was so much fun and
everyone had a great time. We are spending loads of time reading. We
read the daily quote books from the prophets every day. Elder Tonini
finished Pres Monson's book in 3 days (it was way good. I'm going slow
to stretch out the fun). He says thank you all the time.
I'm here, but my computer is hard to type with.
 My Christmas
this year was on  Monday January 4. It was one of the best of my life.
Thank you for the stocking notes from all the people of my life. I
loved it. Dad wrote an awesome note.
The letters from the missionary book you compiled is incredible. 
We are at the Gov office on somebodies laptop.  The camera is
incredible. I use it lots to make up for all the pictures I lost. I
love you lots. Got to go.
Elder Morley

Hello all from the happy island of Nikunau!!
So incredibly enough, the satellite disk that they use for internet
was not damaged in the massive fire that burnt down the internet
place. So this means that if we can borrow someone's laptop, we can
get onto the internet! It's a christmas Miracle!
Restarting the work here has been easy in some ways, hard in others,
but I am so happy to be here. I only have 5 minutes so I'll be fast.
Elder Tonini's language is incredible. We can't believe that he has
only been learning for 1ish month. He had no MTC time. He can talk
with the members here for hours, but if you ask him what any word
means he will have no idea. It is truly a miracle. I love talking with
the members about him and individually alot of them have said to me,'
It must be the Holy Ghost' They have no word for the Gift of Tongues
but that is what they mean. Heavenly Father Loves us and gives us
blessings in all aspects of life. Thank you all for the christmas
wishes. I had the best Christmas of my life on January 4. I love you
all. Have a Great week!

Monday, January 4, 2016

1/2/2016 A brief email

These are actually his essays for his college scholarship application that we are helping him with.  We sent him the questions and he sent these answers.  But, they made for a nice letter to us.  We heard later that day from another missionary mom that David and his companion did officially make it to Nikunau.  Congratulations to him.  I am sure that he is happy there.

Here are the essays:
Throughout my life I have always set simple goals. These goals have guided me throughout my life. For example I love the stars and have a dream to become an astronaut. This goal has led me to buy books and telescopes. I took classes in school and joined a NASA online learning community. This gave me the opportunity to go on a special tour of the Kennedy Space Center. Similarly, serving an LDS mission has been a lifelong goal. I faced opposition however, while growing up in upstate New York. There were few members in my school, so often my standards were different from my peers, which made temptations difficult. The goal of a mission kept me strong and taught me to see how I was being prepared. For example being in the minority has taught me to be true to my testimony. An academically driven school taught me to study hard. Living close to Church Historic sites strengthened my testimony of Joseph Smith. When sixteen I moved to Utah and was strengthened by an LDS majority. Employment of a dairy farm taught me the value of work. I saw the fulfilment of my goal when I received a mission call to the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission. The lessons of my youth were applied and grown I the mission field. I needed to work and study hard and to strengthen those in a minority. Having a firm testimony of the Church allowed me to teach and help those whose beliefs differ. Serving the Lord has given me new goals: college education, temple marriage and continued activity in the Church. I have been taught new lessons as well that will prepare me to fulfil these goals and live through new phases of life.

I have many dreams in life. I want to become an astronaut, I want to raise a happy family, I want to do well in the community and to stay temple worthy, to name just a few examples. Being the youngest in my family I have watched as all of my siblings have gone to Brigham Young University and I have seen the good fruits of this college. All of them have received a good quality education in an uplifting Latter-day Saint environment. This is my hope for my BYU experience. I believe that this university can help all my dreams come true. BYU offers a great education and has a good space program. My whole family have found spouses at this university. Even more importantly they have been given the tools to raise children in righteousness. BYU is constantly doing good will and service activities that can teach me how to serve and to lift where I stand. The LDS majority population can give me strength in a place where IU can be surrounded by people who share my standards and beliefs. The weekly devotionals and institute program can give me the strength to continue as an active and worthy member to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love BYU and look forward to attending this university to see my life goals come true.

Through my life I have learned many lessons from leadership. I was called to serve in the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission. My second area I worked on Abaiang Island. In my time there my companion and I opened an islet for missionary work. Simultaneously a branch stopped holding church meetings as the leadership was less-active. We had to quickly learn how to lead the Church in both areas. I quickly discovered that a leader is also a teacher and an example. We constantly taught what the church is and how it runs. When we weren’t teaching we were leading by example. We saw success from our labours. Church now meets every Sunday in both locations. I was then transferred to Nonouti Island where my companion was the Branch President. Leading on that island was challenging as the members wouldn’t take responsibility. If we asked someone to give a talk or teach a class, the member often stopped coming. Also if anything went wrong we would be blamed. On time a member falsely announced in church that we were liars. We learned patience and charity. We love the people unconditionally. They felt this love and overtime things improved and attendance doubled. Then I was transferred and became the Branch President on Nikunau Island. The Church was only seven months old. I learned that a leader is a shepherd. I applied the lessons I had already learned and gave my whole heart to the work. I led, taught, guided, protected, served and loved the people as best I could. The hardest thing I have ever done was to leave those people. Leadership is difficult, but I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to love and strengthen my brethren through leadership.

Would you please read through these, I wrote them quickly and typed them even faster. I did my best, but I hate focusing on things that do not relate to missionary work. Hopefuly I did alright!

Anyhow, it looks like I may get off of the island for real this time. The flight is confirmed and checkin is at 8 am. Plus the charter jet is working again, so if Air Kiribati falls through we'll hire with him. I want to say once more how much I love both of you and how much I Know that I am right where I am supposed to be. I love you so much and will keep you in my prayers and letters always.
I tangiringkami n aki toki,
Elder Morley