Happy New Year everyone!
I hope that your celebrations we as fun as mine! Just kidding, ours wasn’t that exciting at all. It was still good though! We had to been in early for safety curfew in our mission but Elder Kelly, Shumway and Peterson are all REALLY sick. The majority of the night consisted of them falling in and out of consciousness but I got to just relax and write in my journal of many experiences I have had this week! Here are a few!
On Friday nights, we have started a pick up basketball game at 7:00 pm and we try to get as many members and nonmembers there. This Friday we had 5 nonmembers show up from the Cal Lutheran University here in Moor-park/Thousand Oaks area. Four of them are from Osaka Japan and have been here in the United States for about 4 months. They have never played basketball before in their life! When we started it was a funny sight to see all this guys running around trying to play basketball. There was a lot of tripping and falling over. Each time they would score they would all cheer super loud and yell “Wow!” Even if they got scored on, they would still be really happy to see the ball go into the hoop. We had a member, Brother Van Woerkum, come and play with us. He is the bald man in the picture and was the Japanese favorite person to be around. They thought we was the next best NBA star and would always pick “the bald American” first when they picked teams.
The Elders in our apartment went and did some surprise service for a lady in our ward named Grandma Coy. She is spunky 80 year old that loves to feed the missionaries Taco Bell every Friday for lunch. She mentioned last Friday that her year was all messy but she didn’t have the time or energy to get it done, so we went over there to surprise her! Both her gates we locked so we decided to jump the fences and just start working. We got about 10 minutes into the service when we hear a voice from the house saying, “Ever have your butts kicked??” She said how we scared her and we didn’t have to clean up but we went ahead and did it! We spent about 2 hours raking, sweeping and bagging all her leaves. At the end one of her neighbors came by and asked what we were doing and wants us to come surprise her with a clean yard! I guess service really does pay off.
Final experience from this week was Jeanne Bryce. She is a 94 year old that was a referral from a physical therapist we randomly met. Has has already been to church two times and for Christmas we gave her a large print version of the Book of Mormon. When she unwrapped the package she was so happy that she picked it up and gave it a big hug! It was the sweetest site to see someone love the word of God that much! Elder Kelly and I are thinking we need to baptize her real quick because being 94 she may not have a lot of time left!
I love being a missionary and I can’t imagine doing anything more fulfilling than serving the Lord for the entire year of 2017. Its crazy to think that next year I will be done with the mission that I look forward to service for all my life. Until then, I will soak up each moment and serve with all my might!
Have a great start to 2017!
Elder Austin Morgan
2455 Vista Wood Cir
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362