Monday, July 6, 2015

He's a cheerleader now!

July 6, 2015

So the big thing this week is that we got a new mission president!
His name is President Griffin, and he's super cool.  He's from the
south (South Carolina), so he has a sweet accent.  He's way more
touchy feely than President Fenn, though.  So I may be in trouble.  I
don't like hugs.

The work has been going well.  We have someone on date for baptism,
but she's been avoiding us.  But every time she sees us, she's all
like "I'm so excited for my baptism!"  I think it's because she knows
that there are things that she needs to start doing before she gets
baptized that she's not doing, so she's just sort of trying to sneak
into the font.  We'll see how everything works out.  I'm sure it'll be

Other than that, nothing super exciting has happened.  Being a
district leader is sweet.  We're basically cheerleaders, and it's nice
having another district leader to help you.

I hope everything is going well back home.  If I remember right,
doesn't Carter get home next week?  That's pretty crazy.  It's going
to be awesome.

Have a great week!


Monday, June 22, 2015

June 21, 2015--A baptism!

June 21, 2015

Marge: Homer! There's a man here who thinks he can help you!

Homer: Batman!?

Marge: No, he's a scientist.

Homer: Batman's a scientist.

Marge: It's not Batman!!

Hello family!

I already sent a picture from our baptism this week.  His name is
Adrian Love and he's the greatest, and the first person that I've ever
baptized, so that was super cool.  We had him sit in a chair in the
font so we could do it.  It was awesome.

In other news, transfers are this week!  I'm going to Joliet, which is
one of the sketchier parts in the mission, and I'm super excited. I
went on my very first exchange ever in Joliet, and in one day we got
chased by another car while driving, as well as see a drug deal (my
very first ever!).  It was great.  And we share a building with the
Plainfield ward, which was my very first ward, and I'll get to see
everyone on Sunday's!  It's going to be great!

I hope everything is going well at home.  Sorry my emails have been so
short lately.  It just happens when you've been out longer.



June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015

Hey family!

This week was really good. I spoke in church and it went alright, even
though I was super nervous. And we had two investigators at church!
And Adrian is definitely getting baptized this week, and he wants me
to do it! It'll be my first time actually baptizing someone on my
mission, and it's going to be interesting because he's missing one of
his legs. We're probably going to have him sit in a chair when we
baptize him. Apparently there's precedent for that.

Other than that, there isn't a whole lot of new things going on.
Transfers are next week, and we find out this Saturday what is going
to be happening, so that'll be exciting.  Then I'll only have three
more transfers left.  Weird.  Really weird.  I don't like it.  I mean,
obviously i'll be excited to go home.  Being excited to come home
isn't "trunky".  "Trunky" is when you pile out because you're going
home so soon.  But I just love doing missionary work and am definitely
in a groove now, and I'm sad to be leaving that.  But I still have 6
months left, so it's ok!

Have a great day!


June 8, 2015--A talk in church

June 8, 2015

Hi family!

I'm speaking in church this week, so I thought I would send my talk home and get feedback from you.  I've been assigned to speak on "Dealing with trials by using the Atonement."  

"It Is I; Be Not Afraid"

There are two specific incidents mentioned in the Gospels involving storms on the Sea of Galilee.  The first, perhaps better known instance, shows us the Lord in the role of the Master, exhibiting his dominion over the forces of nature.  We all know the story: Christ and his apostles are caught in a storm at sea, and in an act of fearful desperation, they awake their leader and plead with him to do something, anything, to save them from what appears to be their imminent doom.  The Lord Jesus, rising from his slumber, calms the tempest with a simple command, shocking the Apostles who, at this point in their ministry, may not have fully understood exactly who it was that they were following.  

The second incident takes place some time afterwards.  The Apostles are more spiritually mature, having had a multitude of remarkable faith-building experiences. They have served missions. They have seen the Lord heal the sick and cast out devils.  They have seen him raise the daughter of Jarius from the dead.  They have seen him feed the five thousand.  At this point, surely, they know of his divinity, his identity.  The Lord, desiring time alone to commune with his father, sent his faithful disciples by boat to the other side of the sea of Galilee, and retired to a secluded spot to pray.  

While the Apostles were traveling, a storm quickly arose and they again found themselves being tossed to and fro on the waves of the sea. This time, however, they were alone.  They toiled heavily to keep themselves afloat, but a strong headwind rendered their sails useless, leaving only the oars as an option. As they struggled, the storm became fiercer, and their situation grew dire.  They had exhausted their strength, they had made no progress, and to top it all off, the Lord was nowhere in sight. 

Or so they thought.  The Lord Jesus, while alone in prayer, was acutely aware of his disciples perilous situation. And so, between 3 and 6 in the morning, he approached the vessel, walking on the water as if it were solid ground, reassuring the frightened apostles with these words of comfort: "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." (Matthew 14:27)

Here we see another display of the Lord's miraculous power over nature, and yet, the Apostles have a much different reaction.  Rather than shocked at what they are seeing, they are relieved.  Why? Because they have had enough experiences by this point to have a testimony of another one of Christ's roles, that of the Deliverer.  Their fear left them as, hearing those words from across the waves, they realized that they were saved. Their Master has come. 

It is a matter of fact that all will face trials and adversity in this life. Indeed, that was one of the purposes for which we came to earth. Each of us knew that we would be tried and tested, and that things would not always be easy. But we also knew that we wouldn't need to do it alone.  All of us knew that the great plan of happiness would be centered on a Savior, our elder brother, who would perform the Atonement and provide a way for our redemption. 

Most people are no doubt aware and familiar with the cleansing power of the Lord's Atonement.  But I wonder, perhaps, if we often overlook another aspect of his sacrifice, namely the enabling power of the Atonement.  It is this power that Alma spoke of to the people of Gideon: "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

"And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:11-12)

While the Atonement can cleanse us from our sins, something we cannot ever do ourselves, it also performs another function, taught here by Alma.  I would like to highlight one part from those scriptures: "And he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." To "succor" is to "assist and support in times of hardship and distress" (New Oxford American Dictionary). This is the enabling power of the Atonement, namely, the ability of the Lord to use the power granted to him by his sacrifice to assist us in enduring and accomplishing things that we would not be capable of on our own.  It is this power that Nephi showed such great faith in when he made his oft-quoted statement in verse seven of the third chapter of first Nephi: "I will go and do the things that the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them to accomplish the thing which he commanded them" (1 Nephi 3:7).  It is this enabling power of the Atonement that will ultimately deliver those who are faithful from their trials. 

Many of us have experienced a trial so difficult that it looked like there was no end in sight.  Indeed, for some trials, such as chronic illness or severe handicap, there is no end in sight, at least, in mortal eyes. The message of the Gospel, however, is that for all who have faith in Jesus Christ and apply his atonement, deliverance will come. It may not come in this life, but it will come. 

So how do we apply the atonement to our trials? Most members understand the repentance process involved in applying the cleansing power of the atonement. People who join the Church learn how to apply the first four principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ and become cleansed and sanctified through the blood of the lamb.  However, I feel that the key to accessing the enabling power of the atonement lies in the final principle: Enduring to the End, and all that entails. Nephi teaches us the way we do this in second Nephi chapter thirty one, verse twenty: "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:20). Here, Nephi gives us the formula for enduring to the end, which, again, I believe is the key to accessing the enabling power of the Atonement. 

First, we must "press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope." We are not to just suffer through our trials, white-knuckling it until they pass. Rather, we are to press forward, exercising faith in Christ. When trials come our way, we do not lose faith in Christ and cease to keep his commandments. Instead, we continue to follow him, living according to the standards that he has given us. We push forward, with a hope that, through Christ, everything will be made right. It is not enough to simply "stick it out." Instead, we must move forward and learn from our trials that which they were ordained to teach us. 

Satan knows perfectly well the sanctifying ability that trials and what they drive us to do have on us, and therefore attempts to discourage us and cause us to quit moving forward. He would convince us that, since we don't fully understand what is happening to us, we can't be expected to continue living the commandments. He does this because, while he can hedge up the way we must go, when it comes down to it, he has only the power that we give him. Thus he tempts us to give up living the commandments, thereby binding us with his chains and preventing any sort of real progression. However, if we exercise our agency and if press forward with faith in Christ, choosing to obey his commandments, there is nothing the adversary can do to stop us. 

Second, we are to have a love of God and of all men. Trials are opportunities for us to grow closer to God and to our brothers and sisters. I am sure that, if called upon, many of you could share experiences where a trial brought you closer to someone. This is one of the purposes of trials, and in learning to fulfill this purpose, we will be granted aid from the Almighty.

Satan will go to any length to stop this and, as a fitting counterfeit to the Lord's option, tempts us to turn inward and blame god or man for our struggles. This is a lie intended to bring damnation to our souls. Just like walking inland won't get you any closer to the sea, turning inward won't bring us any closer to God or our fellow man. When we turn outward, asking for help and leaning on the Lord and our loved ones for support, our relationships with others grow stronger, and we are better equipped to deal with our troubles 

Third, we must feast upon the words of Christ. By continuing to learn and grow in the gospel, both by studying the words of the prophets and attending our Sunday meetings, we open ourselves to revelation from the Lord on how to deal with our present struggles.  Like Nephi was taught to build a boat, a seemingly insurmountable task, we too can be taught how to cope with our trials. 

Satan's counterargument to this is pride. He would convince us that there is no point in seeking guidance from the Lord or his servants, for who could possibly understand what we are going through? Surely we can handle this on our own. We don't need their help.  This is a lie, and we can protect ourselves from it by always remembering that, no matter what happens to us, there is someone who knows exactly what we are going through, for he experienced it himself.

Finally, we must endure to the end. This means continuing onward, even if we fall.  it means that we do not give up, even when it looks like there is no hope. Enduring to the end is a demonstration of our faith in Christ. It says "I may not see the end of this path yet, but I know who I've put my trust in, and I know that he will not let me down." 

Satan would have us give up. He would have us quit. He tells us "It's impossible. Might as well give up now and save yourself the trouble." He preys on our shortsightedness and appeals to the natural man who would have every claim tested and every doctrine proved. He lies to us, telling us there is no end to our suffering, and that such faith is foolish. But there is an end. There is a finish line. It is the Celestial Kingdom, where those who are faithful will, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, overcome all their trials.  We cannot forget this, for the moment we take our eyes off of eternity is the moment we turn from our Heavenly Father who is waiting there for us. 

I know that if we follow Nephi's counsel and endure to the end, we will be able to apply the enabling power of the Atonement to our lives. While we may not be delivered from our trials immediately, we will be delivered. We can be freed from our trials, either in this life or the next.  Satan would have us believe that this isn't true, that our trials are here to stay.  We need to understand that, while his power seems great, it is nothing compared to the glory of God. Where God is, satan flees. Darkness cannot be where light is.  In closing, I would like to share an example of this in our modern time. I can think of no better demonstration of this principle in action than the following account:

"After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction."

        "But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction--not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being--just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me."

"It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

Brothers and sisters, I pray that when trials and hardships come our way, we will not give up. I pray that we will be able to exercise our faith in Christ and apply the enabling power of his atonement until, through the cloud and darkness of our own personal tempest, we see the approach of the Master and hear those words of deliverance: "It is I; be not afraid." In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Please point out any typos and anything I could do better.  

Everything is going great!  We have a baptism on the 20th, and another one coming soon after that.  It's going to be great!  I love you all!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An Awesome Week!

This week has been awesome!

We have another investigator named Adrian, and he lives with a member.
One night, the member was supposed to come out with us to an
appointment that we had, but Adrian (who we hadn't even met at this
point) wasn't feeling good.  When we asked if there was anything that
we could do for them, this member suggested that we come and give
Adrian a blessing.  Then he just asked Adrian while he was on the
phone, and he said sure. Now Adrian is investigating the church and is
being baptized on the 20th of June.  He's super excited, and every
time he reads the Book of Mormon, he says that he feels a warm feeling
come over him, and that everything that he's ever worried about is
washed away.  It's awesome!  He's super cool.  That's what happened
when you make simple invitations.

We also have a few new investigators that seem super promising.  One
is eleven years old, so it's going to be awesome.  Kids are great.

Things have been good here.  It's raining a lot right now, so it
reminds me of home.  We're going to play board games today once people
show up, but right now i'm just emailing and playing the piano.  Not
at the same time, of course.

I hope everything is going well back home and that everyone is happy.
Have a great day!

Elder Jordan Morgan

Monday, May 18, 2015

Short and Sweet

Hi family and friends!

Things are going well here in good old Elgin, Illinois.  We have at
least three people that are totally going to be getting baptized
within the next few months, and it's going to be awesome.  I'm still
learning sign language, and it's gotten to the point where Adrian and
I can give each other a hard time.  It's been hilarious. Also, my old
companion and I would definitely use it to secretly communicate with
each other in meetings.  It's super helpful.

Other than that, nothing new and exciting to report.  Thanks to
everyone that's emailed!

Elder Jordan Morgan

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I'm just now getting around to catching up Jordan's blog.  The most recent post is first--

April 20, 2015

Hey family!

So Adrian is getting baptized on the second, which is going to be
awesome. And then we have another investigator, Kendra, who is going
to get baptized soon as well. It's going to be great!

Our mission president goes home in two months, which is sad. We're all
going to miss him, but it'll be alright. The next mission president is
called of God as well.

I played basketball today. It was awful. I will stick to board games.

If anybody has some really hard puzzles, I would love to try them out.
Send them to me! Through email!


April 13, 2015

Hi family!

When we Skype, i'm going to have to show you my mad sign language
skills that I've developed in order to communicate with our
investigator who is deaf.  I'm not very good, but I'm getting there.
It's been super cool.

Yeah, so you might have heard about the tornadoes.  We get tornadoes
here.  They don't usually kill people, they just ruin everyone's day.
One of my friends area's is pretty much gone.  We didn't get anything
here but a bunch of hail and rain and thunder and lighting, though.

We had two people come to church!  It was super cool.  One of them was
a referral for the Hermanas.  He can speak pretty good english, but he
said he would be more comfortable in the spanish branch.  He's super
cool and we're super excited for him.  And then our deaf investigator

Other than that, there hasn't really been anything out of the
ordinary.  Just serving the Lord.  It's been great.  OH, we did get to
teach the restoration to new people twice this week.  They were both
member referrals, and as such, they are both awesome and solid.  It
was great.  And we got to teach one of the lessons in the members
home, which made a huge difference.  She's going to get baptized.  I
mean, she knows God is real and loves her personally because of an
experience she had when she was twelve IN THE WOODS.  Sound familiar?
It's going to be great.

Everything is awesome.  Make sure to help the missionaries in the
ward.  Isn't it exhilarating to know that they are there because the
Lord wants them to be there?  They are trusted by the Lord to be in
our ward, and it's super cool.


April 7, 2015

10 points to everyone that figured out that p day was moved to today.
Sorry about that, I totally forgot to tell anyone.  Although I did
remember to remind everybody else to tell all their families.  It was
pretty great.

So conference was great, of course. President Uchtdorf's talk about
humility and not seeking for the honors of man was awesome.  I'm going
to read it every single day.

We had something yesterday called the sacred grove experience. The
whole mission went to a park and president talked about the First
Vision, and then a bunch of people bore their testimony.  It was

This week was a little slow, but things are picking up.  It was mostly
slow because of conference.  That was a good chunk of our week.  And
then we spent all this time getting the ASL translation up for our
deaf investigator, and he ended up having to work.  Lame!  But not his
fault, so whatever.

I hope everything's going alright!  Have a good week!


March 30, 2015

Does anyone remember what the subject line is from? I hope so.

So this week has been pretty much the best ever.

On Monday I got Minecraft sheet music, courtesy of Mom. Awesome.

Then later this week we had exchanges, and I went with my awesome
district leader, who is the only person I've ever met to have heard of
Scott Pilgrim, Flight of the Conchords, and Homestar Runner. And then
elder Jackson and I found out that we are not being transferred, which
was awesome. And then our deaf investigator came to church and loved
it again. And then we saw our other investigator last night and were
able to put him on date and teach a very impromptu law of chastity
lesson, since he is living with his girlfriend, who is an inactive
member. Our poor member, he had no idea we were going to be teaching
that. WE had no idea, we just realized that if we were going to put
him on date, we needed to have that conversation. But he did a good
job. And then we found out that we're going to be getting a car full
time! And that they aren't closing the sisters area, so we don't have
to worry about that. It's just been awesome. Super awesome.

Our church is the only true Church of Christ in the earth and the only
church that can get us to the celestial kingdom. Also, make sure to
defend Joseph Smith. He's a prophet of the Lord, exactly like Noah or

Elder Jordan Morgan