Hello from Thousand Oaks California!
This week has been a crazy busy and rewarding. Elder Kelly and I were whitewashed into our new ward and the previous Elders didn’t do a great job at keeping the area organized… so we spent a lot of time week fixing it up! We were able to really rely on the Lord for guidance as to what we should do each day and He answered our prayers!
Our ward had a Christmas party this weekend and we had invited about 4 nonmembers we had meet on the street to come and enjoy a free meal! All of them came! We had a table full of people that didn’t know anyone in the ward, including us because we are still new! A lot of members came up and introduced themselves and invited them to come sit with them and get to know them. It was really impressive to see how the Lord’s work continues on even if there are new individuals in the equation! Attached is a picture of Elder Kelly and I with Santa and our festive ties!
My district that I am over covers the T.O. 1, 3, 4 and 6th wards! We have a total of 8 missionaries (6 Elders and 2 Hermanas). We had our first district meeting which I have this responsibility of planning weekly! It went really well and we all to go know one another a little bit better. Our focus of the meeting was to prepare for Elder Ballard! There were several of his talks shared and was special to get spiritually ready to listen to an Apostle of the Lord. Pictures attached are of our district!
The highlight of the week was Elder Russel M. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles coming to our mission!!! Our entire mission of 165 missionaries came together in Ventura Stake Center early on Saturday and awaited his arrival. I was asked to say the opening prayer to the meeting so each second that passed by I got a little more nervous, I mean I was saying a prayer in front of an apostle! A picture is attached of my literal front row spot, it was amazing to be that close to an apostle in the midst of instruction for missionaries.
The time came where he walked in and we all stood up and welcomed him! He is a shorter than I imagined but he is a spirit giant! We all got a chance for a quick handshake and he went right up onto the stand and started to address us after Elder Hallstrom and Wild. We got to listen to Elder Ballard for about a straight hour and every phrase he would utter was inspiring!
The theme of his address was “Let Us Adore Him” because of this great Christmas Season we are in the midst of! As members of this wonderful Church we have a lot of knowledge and responsibility to help the world be prepared for Jesus Christ Second Coming. We must able to teach more powerful than the other influences in the world that distract and destroy families. As we talk to more people daily about the gospel, we will see more success in our work and Heavenly Father will be able to open up new opportunities.
One of the most powerful things that Elder Ballard said was for us to imagine passing on form this life and seeing family and friends that will ask us, “Why didn’t you tell me? You had the truth and didn’t tell me!” We have all had experiences were we could have opened our mouth and testified of Christ but didn’t, I know I have! My invitation to myself and to all that read this email is to go forth and share the gospel with those the Lord has placed in your life! Think, of all of His beloved children, He has entrusted you to be where you are and around who you are to help bring them to the truth of this life!
Success isn’t measured by numbers but it is measured by effort! We have to really try in a simple, clear and personal manner to connect with our friends and families about the gospel. A smile goes a long way and will radiate your love of Christ to all that see it! Keep going,file forward, teach, testify, witness and lift those around you.
Elder Ballard left us with a beautiful Apostolic blessing and his confidence in our work.
I witness that we are lead by Apostles today and that Elder Ballard, along with all the other Apostles are truly the Lord’s chosen to lead us through this crazy world. We are blessed with modern-day prophets that speak with God then instruct and edify us to be strong enough to press forward back to His presence! I know about all things that Jesus Christ lives. This Christmas season, I have already seen countless miracles because He is hastening His work. He is coming quickly and we must be ready to accept and feel His unconditional love!
Best wishes and #LightTheWorld,
Elder Austin Morgan
2455 Vista Wood Cir
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362