Canada day << 🇺🇸4th of July🇺🇸

Well to start off Happy of 4th of July everyone! We had a patriotic and celebratory day to Elder Pilling why America is the greatest country on the Earth. In the morning we helped with a pancake breakfast in the Lynn Ranch neighborhood and were able to stand in the scorching sun by a hot grill and serve breakfast to everyone. Although that sounds pretty awful because it’s been 112° the past few days… We actually had a lot of fun and talked to many people including members and people we have meet before while working the area. Later that day we had a ward activity at member home with a big bbq with steak and chicken, baked beans, potato salad, patriotic desserts and everything else you could imagine. There were fireworks later that night we were able to see a little bit of to too off the day. Elder Pilling really enjoyed singing The Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful in church this last Sunday… You can see his enthusiasm on his face with the attached picture.

MLC was on Tuesday down in Oxnard. We had all the leadership in the mission there again plus district leaders. I was able to take a picture with 5 of my previous companions that were there, almost 6 is Elder Kopaunik would have stayed after lunch. We talked all about setting higher expectation for missionaries and helping them achieve their full potential as servants of the Lord. We also discussed the changes to Preach My Gospel and our weekly meetings we have as districts. My original group is going home after this week so hope they hit it hard! All of the departing missionaries got to bear their testimonies of leadership growth. It is pretty amazing to see what God has done for all these missionaries I have known, 2 years of accelerated growth with the Spirit guiding them. As always we made a stop by Oxnard Drug to say hi to Brother Hoffman and let him serve us with kindness and free stuff. One of my favorite things was MLC was from President Nakken, “Our missionaries will never reach a capacity of power greater than the leadership of the mission, you must be the example!”

Ahmady, our recent convert dad who lives in Afghanistan continues to amaze us. He recently escaped the country and made it to Dubai after running from the government for being Christian. Here is an amazing update of those thristing for the gospel. “Last night, Martha and I were able to send her father the address of the church building in Dubai. Now that he is free, we wanted him to have the oppurtunity to attend church. He was so determined to hear for himself the true gospel, he got a taxi and traveled for 8 hours (on top of escaping a country…) hours to the building. Because of the many beatings he has endured, Ahmady now struggles to walk with a cane. When he made it up the steps to the chapel door, he met the bishop there, who sadly, could not let him enter. “Are you Muslim?” “No, I have been a Christain almost 20 years. I have traveled long way to come here. May I come in?” “I’m sorry, the government of Dubai forbids us from teaching Muslims the gospel. I am so sorry.” Ahmady traveled back to his hotel without the blessing of the gospel association. My heart broke for him. He wrote to me, “Please please I am ok with everything which happened. I am back in my room, I am praying for the church to be delivered from there government rules.” I asked Ahmady how he was able to have such great forgiveness and fath. He said, “The Lord is with me. All I want on this earth is to one time see the face of my daughter again.”

This story of two children of God struggling for the gospel is not unique to Martha and Ahmady. I am so impressed by their devotion. I am also saddened that so many people we talk to are able to accept the gospel of they wanted to but do not. It is my closing thought to this email. Ask yourself, “How did I get so blessed?” Almost all of those I send this to are in safe place with friends and family that are close and the ability to worship as they please. As Christians and members of his true church it is a priceless blessing and oppurtunity to share the gospel freely without government restriction of our lives being in danger. The scriptures say it best in Amos, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” We are blessed to out of that famine as a world but it is our duty to help every one get out of their personal famine of being farther from the Lord than they could be!

Transfer calls this Saturday, I will find out if I stay or go from Thousand Oaks!

Have a great week and God bless America!

Pictures below⬇⬇

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avenida De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Advertisements

Fun subject about a mission

Happy 4th of July and also Canada Day (in honor of Elder Pilling). There were some spriitual highlights that I definitely want to share!!

First off, we had a combined stake and zone conference on Thursday night. Here we had all the full time missionaries currently serving in the stake as well all the ward councils (bishops, ward mission leaders, ward missionaries, elders quorum presidents, primary presidents, etc). It started off with a great combined dinner and then a meeting as to how to better work together to bring the gospel to all of God’s children in Thousand Oaks and Moorpark! We discussed having true desire, how to have functioning ward mission plans, shared our mission statistics for how many new people are found per month and the ratio of those that are baptized if missionaries or members found them initially (55 new people to 1 baptism if from missionary efforts compared to 8 new people to 1 baptism if from members). It was a very inspiring meeting and we all felt a great unification going forward to find increased success in gathering all of God’s children to His one true gospel. Attached is a picture of Elder Pilling and I with President Nakken, President Olson and wife (stake President) and President Roberts (counselor).

On Tuesday I had the chance to work with Elder Campbell again for another exchange. We focused on being bold and straight forward with people that we were able to meet. It started off with finding a new person to teach this up coming week. Her name is Kelly and is a very sweet woman who has had a difficult year including some major deaths in the family. As we were talking she was a little hesitant to accept learning more so we pulled out the video “The Refiner’s Fire.” https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2014-11-010-the-refiners-fire?lang=eng

This video talks about a woman who went through a difficult time very similar to Kelly’s, by the end of the video Kelly was all teared up and made a joke to break up the emotions she was feeling. We promised her if she set aside time every week to meet with us then there would be answers to questions and an increased peace in here life than ever before! We are really excited to go teach her. Other exchange highlights included Elder Campbell getting dog poo in his hand and being insanely distracted until he was able to wash it off, we saw Sarah and Tyler again and heard Sarah explain what new things she is learning from the Book of Mormon and gaining a witness that it’s of Jesus Christ, went by Chad with Jeff Dottl and had a very straight forward conversation that led us to having to part ways… they aren’t ready to make the change to a happier more full life sadly. We also had dinner at the Hendricksons where the dad just got home from the dentist and was very very loopy and fell asleep after dinner and started to snore during our spiritual thought.

Emma came to church this week and we had an amazing lesson at the end of the night at the Fauver home. She continues to impress us beyond words! Her parents aren’t really happy about the Mormon church so Emma will leave the house in normal clothes and change at church so she can feel the Spirit stronger and change back before going home. This week she came with our Young Women’s President and we spent all the time by her side to make sure she was comfortable and happy since her main friend was not there this week. At the end of the night we had a lesson going back over the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We shared and discussed each point and spent more time on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon at the end. There was a great video over the First Vision and after we watched it Emma felt similar to Joseph Smith’s journey. Emma began to express how she wants to know without a doubt that this is all true but her family tears down her new beliefs and feed her information that is negative and targets different inaccurate aspects of the Book of Mormon or the church. As we discussed, the Spirit was more and more present as Emma came to know a little bit more of opposition in all things and especially how Satan tries to block us from eternal joy when we get closer to it. She is now inspired to have an increased testimony and knowledge as she studies and prays this week. This was the best lesson I’ve been apart of with her and it is all about the basics of our unique message to the world.

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that opposition can strengthen our testimony if we are daily feasting on the word of God. We can all come to have a spiritual witness of the fact that this scripture is indeed another testament of Jesus Christ and confirms his divinity and mission as our Savior. Preach My Gospel was updated and we now teach this about the Book of Mormon,

“The Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It also contains the clearest presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes referred to as the doctrine of Christ found anywhere in scripture.


According to the Book of Mormon the gospel of Jesus Christ includes five key points: (1) faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) repentance through the Atonement of Christ; (3) baptism by immersion in Christ’s name; (4) the gift of the Holy Ghost; and (5) enduring to the end.”

We have an obligation to God’s children to share this scripture with people and to have the name of Jesus Christ on our hearts. Our missions are so much more than having people come to church or to read a book or to meet with us; it is about helping people make covenants with God for their individual and family eternal gain! I am grateful for the chance to do so every day and even if it is hard at times I know I am fulfilling a purpose that is far greater than anything I could do for myself.

Have a great week everyone! Shoot off some fireworks to celebrate the greatest country in the world.

 

Shout out to PG for signing a second year with the Thunder!!! Elder Iongi still thinks the Blazers are better but he knows he is wrong…

Pictures hopefully in this order…

1- Stake and zone dinner

2- Thousand Oaks Zone! Back row: Elder Allen, me, Thueson, Campbell, Tangren, Pilling, Grayam and Baker. Front row: Hermana Huesca, Mejia, Elder Hutchinson, President and Sister Nakken, Elder Bates and Pack, Sister Behunin and Madder

3- New bikes we have for missionary work

4- New cars we have for missionary work

5- A big horse at the Pinneo farm

 

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avenida De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Youth conference, bashers and laughing it all off.

Hey y’all!

What a week here in Thousand Oaks. We are getting into the busy parts of the transfer this up coming week. There will be our final exchange tonight with Elder Campbell and Thueson, interviews, zone conference with a stake meeting right after, setting baptism goals with all the companionships for rhe month and then getting a couple different reports.

We went to youth conference on Saturday for the Thousand Oaks Stake! There were 6 elders that helped with an activity we did for the youth. Our section of the day we helped with was a simulation of what a mission entails- included but not limited to riding a mini bike on am obstacle course, making and eating a peanut butter sandwich as fast as possible, sharing a scripture, avoiding kids spraying water on you and bearing testimony. One of the “missions” was in Mexico so in honor of the world cup win we sponsored some Mexico gear. Our friend Emma was there and had a lot of fun throughout the conference! At the very end was a testimony meeting and Emma got up there and bore her simple yet powerful knowledge of this gospel. It was pretty moving to see that and we all gave her high fives to congratulate her!

On Tuesday we went mountain biking with a new person we are teaching, Andy! He is the husband of a member here in ward. Let’s just say it was a bit of a struggle at first… mainly because I put my bike in the highest gear possible thinking it was the lowest gear possible… oops. After we figured that out we had a ton of fun biking the trails. We then had a chance to have dinner with this family later in the week and have a lesson. We did some foundation laying for him to learn more of the gospel and overcome the concerns he currently has. Andy has come 4 weeks in a row to church and we are going to start teaching him weekly.

This week we had a exchange WITH the only and one Elder Pack and Hutchison. I went with Elder Pack and had a great day but also an interesting experience… We came to knock on this door and when the guy answered he said, “I recognize Satan when I see him… Get thee hence!!!” He just kept yelling and yelling this at us- it got pretty annoying to be honest haha. Our reply was just “Sir, we are not Satan” as calm as possible. Then he came out of the home and walked up to me pointing his finger in my face about 1 inch from my nose and yelling at me. We finally convinced him we were not Satan and decided to walk away. Immediately we laughed off the situation and got back to work. Elder Pack also ate about 18 chocolate covered strawberries at a member home… borderline impressive.

 

A couple days later Elder Pilling and I ran across a lady that was a liberal atheist. Nothing wrong with that for the record but she was also sooooo mean hahaha oh my. We had this car pull up to us and tell us how his mom like to talk to us just around the corner. So we walked over as she presented a wide variety of questions aimmed to try and get us to mess up and say something negative about our faith or theology. We would just simply answer that we may not know everything but we know enough and it is because of the Book of Mormon. It lasted about 20 minutes and she eventually got tired of talking to us… We left with a smile and some laughter as Jeff Dottl picked us for an amazing lesson with some other people we are teaching! That being Sarah and Tyler. 

 

What a great lesson we had with Sarah and Tyler! They are a sweet family and just got back from a trip. As we taught this week Sarah asked “What is the Book of Mormon about?” Perfect question. We explained how it was another Testament of Jesus Christ and meant for all of us to come closer to God. One of my favorite from the Book of Mormon was the same theme as Youth conference. 2 Nephi 25:26, “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” Christ has done everything for us. We can lay all things that bear us down at His feet and He will carry it for us. I know that to be true because He has taken so many things off of my shoulders because He loves me. He loves all of us equally and is willing to carry every thing we give him.

For Pday today we hung out a members home in Walnut Canyon Ward in Moorpark poolside. We had burgers and relaxed with the district. Pretty simple but pretty nice to be honest. Maybe took a spin in 2017 M Series BMW X5 with the owner.

 

Have a great week every one!

 

Pictures hopefully in this order…

1- Elder Pack & I on a porch swing

2- Viva la Mexico!

3- Some pizza we got at Parma

4- Emma, Sami and us at youth conference

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avenida De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

 

“Iaorana”, LA and exchanges

How has it been a week already?? Hello again from Thousand Oaks!

Let’s get right to it….

Tuesday we blessed with the chance to go down to the LA temple with the ward youth. We went because our good friend Emma who is not a member yet wanted to go and see the Vistor’s Center! We didn’t know if we could go or not so we sent a request real quick and got a response back about a hour before we had to leave. We rode down in the car with Bishop Whitman and a few priests. As the youth went into the temple, the three of us walked around the temple and meet some sister missionaries at the Visitor’s Center. Emma was able to be taught by a sister missionary from Peru that went through her near exchange situation growing up; that being her parents not being on board with joining. It was a pretty spirited filled conversation and perfect for Emma to hear and talk out. We also were able to discuss the need for prpheys to lead and guide us in these latter days so our faith becomes unshaken as we head their counsel. We wrapped up watching about the Bless4 group in the Meet the Mormons II videos! After every one was done we all went to In-N-Out and Diddy Reice for hamburgers and ice cream sandwiches. It’s always a fun time going down to LA for the temple no matter the reason. Gave out a Book of Mormon to a guy on the street right before getting in the car with some youth, showing them it is a little easier than we might think. The guy actually new about the temple and said he wants to go to church so hopefully that happens.

I had a chance to go with Elder Grayam on exchanges on Wednesday! The day consisted of me searching for ways to bring up the fact he spoke Tahitian and French to any one we talked to. That strategy lead to some great conversations about missionary work around the world! We had a wonderful lesson+lunch with Maryann at the Johnson home. We talked all about how the gospel blesses our life here and now and also in the future! In addition, we explained what priesthood blessings are and were able to give her one. She said right after there was an overwhelming sense of love and peace she has never felt before. MaryAnn is making great progress to her baptism in July. We also were able to teach Scott more about the Book of Mormon and how we are true Christains. Also, we taught Emma a little bit more as she fed us fried rice. “Iaorana” means hello in Tahitian!

On Friday we went down to Oxnard and I was with Elder Robins for an exchange. We got to see our friend Eramus Erastus (maybe just our friend because of his name…) In all actually, he is actually a great guy! Turns our he is moving China to marry a woman that emailed him and said they should get back together! What?? We are helping him come back into full activity with the gospel. Other exchange highlights included going to district meeting where Elder Pilling and I gave a discussion on bold invitations, eating a Chicago dog at a graduation party as depicted below, convinced a guy with a bad past of heroine to stop and come to church as his spiritual high, morning workouts with some Oxnard Elders (swear those Elders are on a football strength workout schduele because they are getting HUGE) and talked to a wonderful African family about the gospel and those elders hopefully will start to tecah them (Her name is Lulu).

 

Mary and Tom came to church on Sunday and so did Andy. Andy is a husband of a great member of the ward and we will.be mountain biking with him tomorrow and start to tecah him!

Our pday activity we all went to the driving range with the one and only Patty Pawlus here in Thousand Oaks. We went with the Thousand Oaks district and Elder Campbell and Thueson tagged along. Shout out to Brother Dottl for the driving tips maybe one day I’ll be as good as Elder Judd on the range… nahhh, not possible. It was tons of fun with a long drive and chipping competition.

Happy Father’s Day shout out to my dad and grandpa’s! We definitely miss Jim here in mortality but I know he is doing so good reunited with his loving wife. You all have taught me many great things in life and I am grateful.

Most of all I am grateful for my, your, and everyone’s Heavenly Father who is perfectly aware and involved in our life. He is a loving Heavenly Father who sees us for our potential versus what we might view ourselves as. In Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” I love to know that I am a child of God, it brings irreplaceable peace and hope in all things I do. How great of a thought is it to know that no matter what problem, hardships, heart aches, or disappointment come we are still loved continually and unconditionally by our God. I know these things are true and we all can feel those same emotions as we work on developing greater faith and repenting.

I hope every one has a great week!

Pictures:
1-Sami, Emma, Elder Pilling and I at the temple
2- Elder Grayam my “great grand son”
3-Oxnard “Chicago” dog with another dog

4- Driving range featuring Elder Pack going on 4+ weeks wearing a tie to district activity…

5- We found a bird that a kid wanted us to put on our shoulder!

 

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avenida De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

 

Just another good week.

Thousand Oaks week 19 in a row!

Hey every one! The new transfer is off to a booming start. Elder Pilling came in on Tuesday and we have been so busy we’ve barely had time to think about anything besides missionay work. Today is our first slow down day being P-day so we decided to go email in the backyard of our ward mission leader and catch some California sun rays in shorts and a t-shirt.

Let’s catch up on the investigator pool. John Vudmaska is still set for July 7th to be baptized! Been a little rocky the last couple weeks but we are digging deep try to make that a reality. Great family who needs to blessings of the temple as a couple and they are beginning to realize that. Next is MaryAnn, she is set with a baptismal date for July 29th! Amazingly sweet Italian woman who had been having some health and family struggles recently but lives to see the missionaries. Thankfully a lot of our ward is beginning to go over to our friend’s home seperate from us and help with the conversion process.

This Saturday Elder Pilling and I walked a neighborhood for 2 straight hours talking to people we know and knocking new doors. It wasn’t being veey fruitful until the last door we decided to try. This sweet young mom opens the door with a big hello and smile! Elder Pilling thought it was a member and I was pulling a prank but I was in shock of how nice she was. We said we had a message from God for her family and she said to come on in!! She had about 5 minutes so we love right into the good stuff. We talked about how God knows her family and loves them in an unbelievable way, how prophets are called to help us receive guidance and protection and how Christ set up His church on earth and performed the Atonement. At that moment someone rang the doorbell and she said, “Sorry that is all the time we have for today! Please come back, I’m here in the afternoons on weekdays. I want to hear more!” Woah woah woah, these are the magic music ears for us to here! We are excited to go visit her again and hopefully start tecahing the whole family. Turns out one of her neighbors is Mormon and knows her pretty well.

Friday we had a random phone call from a lady and asked us to do some service for her. We showed up and she let us in to your backyard which was FILLED with stuff. Elder Pilling and I kinda looked at each other and just asked what we had gotten ourselves into… We should’ve taken pictures of the mess but didn’t, words won’t do it justice. Over the course of 2 hours there were piles organized, trash thrown away, old water dumped out of buckets, rusty metal moved, and just about anything one could do in a backyard. It was very sweet though because she came out and apologized for everything but was so grateful for our service and help because with each minute that passed she felt the burden get lighter and lighter off her shoulders. We shared Mosiah 2:17 which states, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” How true that is and we felt it for sure as servants of God!

We had 11 new missionaries to the zone come into Thousand Oaks this last week out of the 16 that were here last transfer. Big changes and already off to a big start! The personal highlight is that I am a great-grandson. This is literally only cool in the missionary world but I’ll explain. My first trainee had a trainee who now has a trainee. Make sense? Its these unofficial lineage lines in the mission. We don’t really identify by them in the mission or anything important to be honest just a fun thing we think of because our minds are so easily entertained on mission. This new missionary is Elder Grayham who is actually Visa waiting to go to Tahiti! On Wednesday we will be able to serve together for the day on a new missionary exchange. That means I’ll get to learn a hour’s worth of Tahitain for studies, hopefully I’ll remember it…

Well, I want to end by saying how grateful I am for the mission. It has been the most spiritually stretching experience of my life but I know that everything I have learned and will learn is for my benefit and also my families when I am an actual great-grandpa (if I make it that far). There are so many families in the word that need the blessings of the restored Gospel above all other things in life! No matter how busy, no matter the initial interest, no matter their past experiences nothing should block the oppurtunity to hear the message and be able to accept it. It sure takes a lot of humility and sacrifice to accept and live it but it’s eternally worth it- if people only had an inkling of what awaits them they would be begging for more and more. Elder Pilling and I have been sitting down with families of the ward and asking who they know that has recently moved? Has a baby? Recent death of a loved one? Change of job? Would benefit from the message? In over 2 hours we have identified over 50 people to pray about together and make a plan to introduce the gospel. Here is a great quote to end, I’ll try to do a lot better myself this week and invite you to do the same!

“All people on the earth were members of God’s family in the premortal life (see Acts 17:26–29; Hebrews 12:9). We are part of God’s family in this life and can enjoy even greater blessings as members of His family in the life to come. We are all brothers and sisters in the family of God. This knowledge gives us a sense of identity and belonging. It gives us reason to hope for eternal life in God’s presence. We understand these basic truths because of the Restoration. Teaching restored truths to your brothers and sisters is your responsibility and blessing.” Let’s go find our brothers and sisters waiting for the gospel!

Have a great week and see yah next Monday!

Pictures:

1- Our good friend Emma giving us free Cold Stone ice cream

2- 4 missionaries just laughing at life. Happy birthday to Elder Campbell today!

3- One last picture with Elder Clegg, long live the unicorn.

4-SportCourt vehicle. The owner lives in our ward, also known as the guy that dunks on Shaq in previous emails.

5- The new Thousand Oaks district!!! Me, Elder Pack, Allen, Sister Madder, Behunin, Elder Bates, Hutchinson, AND Pilling (from left to right).

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avenida De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

 

Another one in 🌳Thousand Oaks🌳

Hello from 🌴Thousand Oaks🌴again.

Transfer calls came in and it’ll be another 6 weeks from the one and only Thousand Oaks ward here in the Thousand Oaks Stake!!! Elder Clegg is going to San Luis Obpiso with Elder Iongi- going to learn to be a baller spiritual and literally. I’ll be going into my 4th transfer on this ward with my 4th companion-Elder Pilling! The ward is making jokes at me saying that I scare away all my companions here. He is from Calgary, Canada, an avid biker, big fan on Lulu Lemon clothing. He spent his first 4 transfers in Moorpark which is here in the Thousand Oaks zone, overall he is on his 6th transfer cycle and this is the first time being a zone leader. It’s going to be a good 6 weeks with a TON of work going on. All 8 companionships in the zone has a change happening to it!

Elder Clegg this week had to go into the doctor’s office and get his toe all cut up because of an ingrown nail… honestly it was pretty entertaining to watch. The doctor was a member in the Newbury Park stake so we talked about his family and mission. He had to do 3 shots of the numbing agent on Elder Clegg’s toe and then cut a ton out. The rest of the day we walked around with a Nike flip flop on which added to the conversation starters we could use! Luckily no amputation was needed or anything too fun. There is part of the video where a big stick is stuck in the middle of his toe and the doctor let go and it was just sticking out, Elder Clegg thought it was pretty crazy how he couldn’t feel any of it but was also very glad he couldn’t.

MLC was on Tuesday in Oxnard. As always this meetings are just really spiritual and helpful as leaders in our mission to better serving the missionaries and also those being taught. One of the most profound things was when we broke up into groups and talked about member missionary work. Every member is a missionary and we planned how to better work in this meaningful way as leaders. We planneed to ask people, “Who do you know that has recently moved? Had a baby? Had a death in the family? Recent change in jobs? Would benefit from the message of the gospel?” Then we will have those people who answered the questions to pray for revelation on what is the next step for their friends to come to learn more. We spent about one or one and half hours with some members this week and have 22+ potentials! Compare that to knocking on doors for the same amount of time and getting a handful of people. Again, member missionary work is so much better!!!

Last week we went to Dojo Boom again with the Thousand Oaks district. Elder Hansen attempted to go up the warped walk a legitimate 50 times and couldn’t get it. We were all watching time get closer and closer but never did… He got a coupon to come back for a free hour so it was all worth it in his sight.

Elder Clegg and I had the priveledge of teaching the second hour of church this last Sunday. We taught about the Church of Jesus Christ today and how it matches the blueprint of the organization Christ established when he was on earth! I love the 6th article of faith that states, “We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.”

Two of our people we are working with are the parents to a recent convert in the young adult ward, the Militellos. With Elder Clegg leaving they invited us over for dinner! Oh my, it was so good. Tom and Mary can really cook great food… This time they cooked their famous zucchini where they cut diagonal slices and drizzle butter in the cracks then cover in parmesan cheese and throw it on the grill for a little bit. It just melts when you eat it! We also has kabobs with steak, onions and bell peppers. Oh man again. They spoiled us with some homemade mac and cheese too and cookie dough ice cream. We had some great gospel conversations throughout dinner and at the end we shared the Children’s bible video of the Atonement. Here is a link if you want to watch! I recommend it. https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2016-05-005-the-atonement?category=childrens-bible-videos&lang=eng

The Atonement is so real if you let it be. A same child got up in testimony meeting and said, “I don’t have a cool story but one time I repented and it felt good.” I couldn’t agree more with him. Repentance is so relieving to our spirits, it’s the cleansing agent that is available every hour to us. Jesus Christ stands with open arms ready to heal us and all we must do accept the invitations to come to him with a broken heart and contrite spirit. I can’t imagine living a life without that knowledge. I can’t imagine how burdensome that would all be to have everything laid on my own shoulders alone. There are many people who might know of Christ but need further strengthening power to that relationship with covenants performed by proper priesthood authority and that is our unique message to the world!

 

Have a great week everyone!!!

 

Pictures:

1-Tom Militello with the great food described above!
2- A surprise visit from a good family friend from Oklahoma Ryan DeMik. Great surprise to see him while he was in LA.
3- Elder Judd and Clegg at MLC

4- Our ward mission President winning the Masters (but not really).

 

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avendia De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Zone Conference and Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!🇺🇸 Well… it is more for honoring those for that have sacrificed all to defend this country rather than just being a happy weekend without school or work. We have a guy we are trying to start teaching that lost his Marine son back in July of last year, we are keeping him in our prayers. The Plan of Salvation is blessing to all those that have lost a loved one, it helps us know where we came from, why are we here and where are we going after. This knowledge will bring peace and closure to everyone that wants to know if they will truly see their loved ones again. So, go share it with someone in need.

This past week we had zone conference in Simi Valley. Attached to this email are pictures from it, including the wonderful Thousand Oaks Zone. Back row: Elder Allen, Hansen, Baker, Emerson, Smith, Leckbee, Campbell, Goodman, Merchant, Cl🥚. Front row: Elder Pack, Hermana Trejo, Huesca, President and Sister Nakken, Sister Frankman, Lindsey and yours truly. I had to do a training about member missionary work to both zones. It was great to really understand the principles and applications of this type of work and help other missionaries learn more about it. My favorite quote I found is from Russel M. Ballard ““Member missionary work does not require the development of strategies or gimmicks. It does require faith—real faith and trust in the Lord. It also requires genuine love.” That is so true! All we do must come by faith, trust and love or it won’t succeed as best as possible. Other noteworthy items from zone conference include us getting second place in cleanest car award… the winner cleaned their engine… geniuses. I will have to remember that strategy for next month. We had a chance to eat dinner with some of the Simi Valley elders after zone conference! Pictures attached with Elder Roth and Rogers. Elder Rogers is leaving for India at the end of the transfer.

Investigator update: We currently are working with 13 people! A couple families in that number and we are looking to pick up the spouses of some of our investigators this week. Last week was kinda slow because a lot of people went out of town for the weekend BUT that left us with a lot of time to find and were blessed with some new people. Elder Clegg and I have been keeping the pool fluid with dropping people but the Lord blesses us with more.

We did 3 hours of service today for someone in need so I’ll be cutting it short rightttt about here.

Finally, I had to give a talk in church on building faith. I found this great quote, “What can faith do for us? The effects of true faith in Jesus Christ include (1) an actual knowledge that the course of life one is pursuing is acceptable to the Lord (see Heb. 11:4); (2) a reception of the blessings of the Lord that are available to man in this life; and (3) an assurance of personal salvation in the world to come.”

I know that faith is the first principle of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Without the strong foundation of faith that I personally have I do not think my testimony would have survived this week… we have a couple people spend a healthy amount of time and energy telling us that our prophets were false, the Book of Mormon is not inspired, that we aren’t really Christians and that we are doing the right thing for the wrong God. It was pretty concerning to be honest to hear these people relentlessly attack the truth that we carry. It taught me that an open heart and mind coupled with the influence of the Holy Ghost (which is a seperate and distinct being from God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who are also seperate and distinct from one another) is what allows us to receive and grow our faith in God’s correct principles that will lead us home to Him. Whenever you are faced with opposition in testimony or people present questions that you can not answer off of the bat rely on what you do know. Rely on your experiences and knowledge that you currently have and doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith!

God will always lead us to His truth if we are seeking with real intent.

Have a great week!

Pictures:
1- Thousand Oaks Zone

2- Singing Called to Serve in zone conference

3- Korean church!

4- Elder Roth and Rogers

5- Elder Clegg being kidnapped by a bunch of children at an apartment complex. They chased him around for about 10 minutes while I sat there and laughed.

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avendia De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Readers digest of this week in Thousand Oaks

This week was a whirlwind of just being busy. We also had a crazy pday so here in the weekly email in bullet point form:

• Interviews with President Nakken which is always amazing
• Exchanges with Elder Campbell and Smith. I was with Elder Campbell here in Thousand Oaks!
• Zone activity at the Hendrickson home (he dunked on Shaq one time). Picture attached below
• Set John Vudmaska with a baptismal date!!! July 7th 2018. Elder Smith and Clegg were at that appointment with this family. John Vudmaska’s wife is actually a member!
• Went to seminary make up and watched “The Golden Plates” movie, we were with the freshman class. The Book of Mormon came about 100% by the Spirit of God with Joseph Smith as God’s selected prophet. All of the prophets that were Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after him were true.
• I was sick about 3-4 days of the week which was less than desirable… but I kept working as much as I could through out the week and we were blessed.
• We are now tecahing a family where the husband played professional baseball! I really want to buy his baseball card of eBay now.

• We have zone conference this Friday!

 

In conclusion I love the scripture Moroni 10:32 which states “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” I had a chance to finish reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover in a little under 4 months (just finished about a week ago). It seems impossible to deny ourselves of all ungodliness… and it is. But God wants us to reach perfection somewhere in the eternities after this mortal life not here are earth right now. We need to do all we can that is within our power and make sacred covenants with Him. The grace of Jesus Christ is what makes up all the difference that we never can do on our own. I gave strengthen my testimony of the Book of Mormon but most importantly of the Savior. Jesus Christ did come minister to those in ancient America as a resurrected and gloried being with a body of flesh and bone. Jesus Christ is the son of God and our advocate with the Father. I know these are all true and we can also all know of we read the Book of Mormon and pray to confirm the truthfulness with God.

Have a great week everyone!!!

 

Here is Dale Hendrickson dunking on Shaq.

Elder Clegg and I found some awesome motorcycles.

Found Elder Kopaunik down in Oxnard.

Not a lot of pictures this week, sorry!

 

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avendia De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

 

The week Bill got baptized.

This is going to be a short one! 

 We got to talk to our families yesterday and it was a big blessing to see everyone. What a blessing to be a missionary with the technology we have to hasten the work and have meaningful connections with family from a far. Again, Happy Mother’s Day mom!!!

On Tuesday we had the blessing of working in Oxnard with the assistants. I was with Elder Robins this time! We had a great day working the ‘Nard. One of the highlights was that we were walking in a certain part of the city and heard a little clown horn honking. We looked and it was an elote cart!!!! Authentic Oxnard elote right out of the garbage bag… literally… that’s where they keep the corn on the cob… So we each got one and took a picture in an alley that made it look like we were in another (less wealthy) country. Then we talked to someone as we chomped on our elote and taught them about how his family can be eternal and set up some return appointments.

I also got to go on an exchange this week the one and only ELDER PACK. We have been in the same district for six transfers now. He is so funny and just a great friend I aim to have for the rest of my life. Elder Pack is pretty much mission famous for his spontaneous quotes and appropriate shenanigans. The world needs an Elder Pack but only one.

The big news of the week as that Bill Morgan got baptized!!! It was a wonderful service and he asked that I baptism him while Elder Clegg confirmed him the next day. We each bought him a tie so now he has 3 total! We had a great gathering for his service and it was spirit filled. Bill got up to bear his testimony and it was all about how God works in mysterious ways but is always in charge. He shared the crazy story of the last month for him and testified to all of that God’s plan is always better for us that our own. God gives us what we need best with the time frame that will be for our greatest gain, if we can align our will with His will then every one wins! Bill said so many great things and one could really tell he was converted to this gospel. On Sunday after the confirmation, Bill leaned over and said “I can feel the difference. I have received the Holy Ghost!” That clear and simple statement brought the biggest smile to our faces. We will miss him and Darlene greatly as they move to North Carolina today… but as Bill said “It’s not goodbye-it’s just see you later.”

In conclusion, we started asking people if they have showered the day we talk to them. It is actually surprising how many people say no… luckily we found out there are just a lot of night time shower-ers (this way we protect the clean reputation of the people of SoCal). We started asking this because we want to bring up baptism a lot more with those we meet! We ask if people shower and after they say yes we ask why they do it as often as they do. Everyone says it’s because they like to be clean of they need to clean off every once and a while! Then we ask, how do we clean our spirits when they get dirty? The answers we receive are a lot less confident and vague…that means they really don’t know how to! We are able to explain how it is possible to be cleaned spiritually day after day as long as we make covenants beginning with baptism. I know that daily cleaning, physically and spiritual, is essential to true happiness.

It states Moroni 6:4, “And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ.” Being baptized by authority is the gate that leads to the path back to our loving Heavenly Father-  path we never have to walk alone. I know that angels sing on both sides of the veil when people make and keep covenants with God.

Have a great week everyone!!!

 

Pictures:

1-Bill and Darlene with us.

2 and 3-Elder Robins and I

4-Throw back to the Camarillo days

5-Thousand Oaks district at ice cream

 

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avendia De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

 

Saturday’s forecast: Sunny with 100% chance of 🌊baptism🌊

Another crazy week here in Thousand Oaks but thankfully Elder CLegg is a STUD at learning about people and all the responsibilites we have. It was filled with teaching and it is hard to believe it is already Monday again! By the end of this week we are already half way done with the transfer…

First off, we had MLC this Tuesday in Oxnard. I love MLC because it is such an uplifting and spiritual meeting that enables us to better lead the missionaries of our respective zones. I got to see my second born (second trained would be a more correct way to put it) Elder Governale there! He is a district leader for the first time and this MLC we had the district leaders join in. In the classic Elder Governale (aka Argiv) way of living life he forgot his suit jacket… he was the only one in the entire meeting without a suit coat and he was soooo embarassed but laughed it off. Other former companions that I saw included Elder Judd, Barzee, and Kopaunik.

The most spirtual uplifting aspect of MLC was when we talked about our commitment to baptism. Now we do not associate our success as missionaries to how many baptisms we are blessed with here in California Ventura BUT we do define success by commitment. In preach my gospel it states that we are successful when we have commitment to find, teach, and baptize. Our mission baptized 21 people this last month which is the highest in the last 18 months! The energy is picking up and Thousand Oaks and all the wonderful missionaries will see many miracles this month. Baptisms bring baptisms.

The highlight for us and the remainder of this email will be dedicated to Bill Morgan. Now we did not know Bill 12 days ago… he is getting baptized this Saturday!!! We are so excited for him and his new wife to enjoy this commitment and step together. Here is the story… We got a call from some missionaries in Oxnard (shout out to Elder Kopaunik) that there was a man in the hospital that needed a blessing. Turns out Bill was in the ICU for a blood clot in his colon… bad news. Elder Clegg and I went over the first night they were there and gave him a priesthood blessing. Bill and his wife (who is a member) got married on April 13th and he was admitted into the hospital on the 25th (talk about cashing in the “in sickness and health” element of their vows). That night we chatted a little, exchanged numbers and let them know we were here for them since we live pretty close to the hospital. The next nights we went over and kept providing them comfort but also went with the Relief Society President to bring them food since they did not have support here in Thousand Oaks. Poor Bill could not eat because he was awaiting surgery but his wife definitely enjoyed all we brought them!

After a couple days we had the thought to start teaching him and get him ready for the Oxnard missionaries whenever he got released. Instead we found out that his apartment is in our ward! We began to teach and committed him to baptism, in fact the oringinal date we asked about was not soon enough for him. In a period of about a week Bill was taught all the lessons, kept all the commitments, had all the required worthiness elements, and passed his baptismal interview. Why so fast with all the lessons? Well, they are moving to North Carolina next week and he wanted to get baptized here in Thousand Oaks by us. We were blown away at this event and something inside us was kind of doubting if this was really going to happen or not… but it just kept getting better and better and now Bill is all ready to go for this Saturday!!!

One of the best things that Bill said this week was, “I feel like I am just coming home to something I knew before.” This comment came right after the Plan of Salvation lesson and it made us all smile. We all came to feel that is true with everyone that has come into this gospel. Sometime in the pre-earth life, where we truly dwelt with and knew God as spirits, we knew that we would have the blessing of coming across his gospel and acheive what the Book of Mormon says in Mosiah 2:41; “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

I know there are people out there waiting for the joy of gospel!! We should be anxious to help them find their never-ending state of happiness. I love to see the miracles the Lord is pouring out here in California and I know all of you reading this would also love to see that in your part of the world! Go share it!

Till next week y’all

 

Pictures:

1- Elder Judd’s and my training product- ARGIV

2- MLC zone leaders (plus Elder Ballantyne)

3-Tacos from “El Tap”

4- Jeff Dottl teaching Bill

5- Service at the Morgan’s in our ward

 

Elder Morgan
133 W. Avendia De Los Arboles
#212
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360