Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekly letter from Josh

Ah thanks a ton for the info! If I need anymore info about family history, I'll ask you, you're like a master in family history!

So, what happened this week....I finished my first transfer! How awesome is that? I've been out for almost 3 months!  I'm still in my area for this transfer, however this transfer is the last for my companion, that should be fun.  Today, we went to the bus station to say goodbye to the missionaries who are going to different areas, it was a bit sad because I'm going to miss some of the missionaries that left.  It made me want to go to a different area as well hahaha. Time is starting to go by fast though, I just need to make it to Mother's day, which is coming up really soon! I'm so excited to see you guys! You should make sure that everybody is there! Well, except for maybe Maggie, Steven, Chelsea, and Brandon, it would be a bit difficult for them to make it probably. 

Anyways! So like I told mom, we got bikes! I do not like these bikes whatsoever. It's really small, and really hard to pedal. We ended up leaving them at a member's house because one of tires on one of the bikes got a leak, like the inner tube has a hole in it. Ugh, that was terrible, I'm glad it's over.

Nothing really happened this week, nothing too exciting, kinda sad. It really feels like this week just shot by.  There are a few exciting things that will happen this week though. For instance, General Conference! It's going to be my first conference in a different country! Oh man, It's going to be so weird! I don't know if I'll be able to watch it in English, I'm a little bit worried that I won't be able to watch it in English, and therefore, I won't be able to fully understand what the General Authorities are saying, I hope I can figure something out!.  

There's also this huge activity this week for the members, on Friday. It's in a place called El Fuerte and to put it simply it's just a really big party.  There's going to be games and festivities and a bunch of other things that I don't remember right now. I really hope we'll be able to attend some of it, it's going on for the entire day. We have a zone meeting though that day, maybe after we'll go to it? Probably not, which is sad. Oh well, there's work to be done I guess.

Other than that, more teaching, and learning, and walking of course.

Elder Morrison

p.s If anyone wants to send me a package, they should know that it takes around 2 months for me to recieve it.

From Dad to Josh

Another week is come and gone. In your last letter you had quite the story about the police giving you a ride home. I hope you are keeping a journal so you will always remember these amazing stories from your mission. 

Family history it a wonderful thing. Even though it can be a lot of work and quite frustrating at times, finding out about your family is where it's at. In all the things there are to do in life, nothing is more important than the family. The project I told you about that we are doing with the Salt Lake Tribune is still going. This week they are going to interview Aunt Memo and possibly me and my cousin. Next week grandfather is coming into town and they will talk to him as well as one of his cousins who is coming in from California. We might even be involved in a town hall meeting this summer where a panel of people will be talking about the murder and the trial that happened 100 years ago. That is supposed to happen in July. I'll find out more about that in the next couple of weeks.

You asked for our info so here it is:
Mom - 
born Feb 14, 1966 - Glendale, CA
married April 9, 1995 - Las Vegas, NV (coming up on 20 years!)

Me -
born Jan 30, 1963 - Edwards Airforce Base, CA

born Aug 11, 1947 - El Paso, TX
married July, 11, 1964

born Nov 4, 1942 - Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
died Aug 22, 2013

born Jan 11, 1931 - Miami, AZ
married Nov 4th 1955 (coming up on 60 years!!!)

born Jan 31, 1930 - Salt Lake City, UT

There ya have it. Let me know if you need more. I've got loads of family history stuff.

Last weekend we went to another rugby game. Jacob did played well. There were two guys that broke their wrist on the field. One was so bad people could hardly look at it. I did see that one. Later in the game another guy did it again and I saw his. It looked like the bone was almost coming out of the skin. All I can say is rugby is a tough sport. Only real men can play it. It's been real fun to get to know the other parents of Jacobs teammates. We had dinner with some of them on Saturday night. 

Other than work and rugby and family history, it doesn't seem like much else is happening. So I guess that's about it for now.

Remember how much we love you and our strongest prayers every night are for you. I hope you can feel the Lord answering them. Believe me, I know it may be hard to tell when the Lord is answering prayers for you but He will. 

Take care Josh and we can't wait to hear from you.

Love Dad

Monday, March 23, 2015

From Josh to Everyone

WOAAAAHH!!!! That's amazing!! We're going to be famous! Hahahaha. That really boosts the importance of family history, doesn't it?

One thing that we focus on is family history, believe it or not. We have handed out this little booklets, where you can write down your information like your name, birthplace, and what you like to do. Then, you do the same thing with your parents, then your grandparents, then I'm pretty sure great-grandparents, I don't have the booklet with me. A group of members in our little branch are actually going to the temple in 2 weeks to do baptisms for the dead, so recently we have been sharing messages about family history. One time, I shared the story of Mosiah Lyman Hancock, when he was a little child he had to walk across the tundra and snow, without shoes!! I really hope I have that story correctly :) Speaking of stories, to fill out my little booklet, I need to know where you and Mom got married, and where Mom was born, and then the information for Grandmother and Grandfather, and Nana and Grandpa. Their birthdays, birthplaces, and the dates of their marriage, if you can find all that out
Haha so I believe this was two or three days ago, so my companion and I are waiting for the bus to come, it's around 8:30 to 9:00 at night. Then, a police truck comes in front of us and stops. Now, the police here are a bit different than the police in the United States. They drive heavy duty trucks, and they carry full-size rifles! Sometimes, they wear ski masks to hide their identity, because sometimes when they drug bust people, the drug dealers (Narcos in spanish) will somehow find out where they live, and kill them. No joke, it's messed up! So, the police can seem kinda scary. However, they're meant to be intimidating I guess, but when they pulled over next to us, they offered us a ride home! They were actually really nice guys! How awesome is that! We rode in the back seats of the truck and my companion was talking to them on the way to where we live, I didn't say much because my spanish is still a work in progress :)
So this week is the last week before the transfer is over, I'm going to complete my first transfer! How awesome! I'm most likely going to stay in the same area, but still, the mission is going by at a pretty decent pace. I don't know how I'm going to handle myself after my trainer goes to another area, but hey, one thing that he taught me was to just go for it. Don't worry about messing up, that's the only way you can figure out what doesn't work and what does work.
Oh! I have something to show you! Actually two things! This video of Jeffrey R. Holland speaking to some missionaries about the hard times of the mission. The video is called "For Times of Trouble", it's only like 4.30 minutes, but it's very powerful!
The other thing! There's an "iniciativa" that the Church is putting out, it's called "Gracias a que El vive". Ask mom to translate it :) It's about Easter, well, His resurrection, which happened on Easter. On April 5th, the church is going to release the video on Youtube, there's going to be an announcement on the front page of Youtube, you can't miss it. We have been passing out little cards with that information on it, and I invite you, along with the rest of the family, to share this information to everybody! Everyone should know about this :D
Other than that, more studying, more walking, and talking to the members, and people in general.  And I hope you're all excited for General Conference! I am!
Love you all!
Elder Morrison

From Dad

Hello Josh,

Spring is here. 

The next time we see spring come in you will be more than half way done. I can remember when Jacob was out it took me a while to get used to him not being around when things in life happen and he wasn't around. When it got close for him to come home I had to start thinking of him being around again when things happen around here. That was weird. I see this pattern starting over with you and to be honest with you is one of the greatest blessings I will receive in live. I hope you realize Josh that your mission gives you an opportunity to qualify for the blessings of heaven. Not just for you but for your family as well. 

In your last letter I really appreciated your honesty. You said clearly that things had not been going very well in that you were having trouble finding people to teach. That's the reality of a mission. There are going to be times when things don't go your way. Your challenge is to look for God's blessings every day. They are there everyday and you can see them if you are looking for them. If you don't look for them then the struggles and adversity will really get you down. Believe me Josh, your mother and I hope and pray that you will not have that happen. Our prayers are that you will find reason to be out there in spite of the trials you will face. 

Some interesting things have happened last week. I got a call from the Salt Lake Tribune. They want to do a story about a legendary Utah historical figure that has to do with our family history. I don't know if you've ever heard me talk about the murder of my great-grandfather John Gibson Morrison and his son John Arling Morrison but the guy that murdered them was a guy by the name Joe Hill. He ended up being put to death by firing squad for it and this was done exactly 100 years ago. Last Thursday a couple of reporters came to the house and spoke with me and Aunt Merylin about what our family knew about this. I had been gathering stuff like pictures, videos and some audio recordings about it and I showed some of it to them. They were blown away by it because they had no idea that our family had a version of the story to tell. In all the history books, the story is about Joe Hill. Virtually nothing is ever mentioned about what happened to John Gibson Morrison's family following the murder. These reporters actually changed their plans on how they were going to report on Joe Hill and now they want to focus on the story of the Morrison's. They are going to interview my dad, Aunt Merylin and maybe some of their cousins and do a piece in the newspaper later this year. They also want to interview me since I'm a descendant and know a lot about what happened. 

So how's that for crazy?? I'm pretty excited about it because I love family history and this gives me a little more reason to really dive in and put things together that I can share with the rest of our family. You and your bothers and sisters and cousins know very little about this story. I want to change that. There is a saying that I love. When I was in high school it saw it at the top of the library at the University of Colorado. It says: "Who knows only his own generation always remains a child". The most important channel of learning in live is our own history. As I get older I'm learning that more and more. This actually ties into what you need to be teaching those people down there. When Moroni came to Joseph Smith he told him that Elijah the prophet would come "he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to the fathers". (Mal. 4:6) The Lord does not what us to know only our own generation. 

Well Josh, I want you to know that I love the Gospel. I love the opportunities it gives us to serve and to learn and you are in the best place to realize that too.

We love you and are so proud of you and pray very hard each day for your success. 

Take care and we can't wait to hear from you.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Letter from Josh

Another week down! Some fun events too!

On saturday I went to my first zone conference, which was about 40 minutes away from where we lived, by bus. It was fun to just relax for that period of time and look at the landscape. It focused on how we need to make a plan and work with the branch in our area, in order to baptize more people, reactive the members, and invite more people to come unto Christ essentially. Something very important in the mission is to work with the members, there's even a section about it in Preach my Gospel. The members can help in many ways, like they can go visit the other inactive members and they can help invite other people to church or refer them to us. Another way they help us is when we invite them to come with us and visit inactive families, I strongly feel that when they share their testimony with ours, it really softens the hearts of the members of the family.

Later that day, we had what we call la Noche de Hogar, which is their Family Home Evening. We watched a video, called the Testaments, it's about the period of time before Christ appears to the Nephites, up until the time where Christ actually appears to them. After that, my companion and I bore our testimonies, and we had refreshments. It was a great night.  We spend most of our time trying to reactivate the local nonmembers, it's important to have a strong foundation, for example our branch, before building on top of it, or increasing the numbers of members.

Today, we didn't wash our clothes by hand, we instead asked a member if we could use their washing machine, which I'm grateful for because she let us use her washing machine. It's easy to say that this opportunity was a blessing.

Everything other than that was more tracting, contacting, and working with members. Fun stuff!

Con amor,
Elder Morrison

Letter from Josh

Hey Josh.

Another week has rolled around. So how did your week go?

It sound's like your trying to treat Fast Sunday like it should be treated, as a real fast! Ironically it seems like it goes slow when you do. Nothing fast about it. Actually, when you are in the right attitude, you're not worried about your hunger. To be honest, that's something I always have to work on. So do it right so you can be a good example to me!!!

It's great to hear that you are getting in to reading the Book of Mormon. That, along with your personal prayers, is what you have to commit to for the rest of your life. The beauty of a mission is that it strengthens the foundation for your testimony which you will use in trying to keep that habit. That to is what I have to always work on. So again, do it right so you can be my shining example.

This week for us seemed fairly uneventful other than the weekend. Most weeks are like that. Mom goes to work. I go to work. Alex goes to school. The weekend was great though because we got to go down to another of Jacob's rugby games down in St. George. Last week they played Cal (as in California) which happens to be pretty much the best team in the country. They got creamed if you don't remember. This week was quite a bit different. They totally dominated the game. I think the final score was 64 to 20 or something like that. I had a great time because I took pictures. I really love doing that if you haven't been able to tell. It was tough because it was at night and taking good pictures is harder at night because you have only the lighting on the field and not the sun. It's kind of like people that do not have the fullness of the Gospel. They have little bits of truth but don't have a full understanding of all the truths that God has revealed. Therefore it's hard to bring somethings into focus. On the other hand, when you do have the fullness of the Gospel, you have available to you all the light and truth that God has revealed and most things in life are a lot clearer to you if you make the effort to bring them into focus. 

There ya go. A perfect Gospel metaphor for taking pictures!!! 

It's really been fun to do this rugby thing with Jacob. It's been a little weird to hang out with all the Ute fans. Being the Cougar fan that I am, it's been a new experience. Mom had really made a lot of friends with some of the other moms. The neat thing is that a lot of them are non-members so it gives us a chance to be good example for the church even though we live in Utah. I talked with Jacob about this and he said that about half the team are members. There is a lot of mutual respect between them which is a really good thing for the church in the long run. Don't get me wrong, I love BYU through and through. They do however, miss opportunities like this sometimes. Especially here in Utah. I think BYU's influence is much greater in the rest of the country and the rest of the world for that matter. 

Anyway, this weekend they have a couple more games so I'm looking forward to getting some more pictures taken for the team.

Hey. I'm going to be going to a new Sunday school class for a few weeks to learn about how to use social media to share the Gospel. I plan to put all your letters up in a blog for everyone to read. So remember, use good "missionary" speak. haha. Your letters have been great so the stuff you right will be great material for my blog. I've been wanting to do blogging for a long time so I'm looking forward to this. I'll send you a link so you can follow yourself.

Well Josh, we miss you but at the same time, we're so proud of you for what your are doing. There is really no greater feeling to a parent than to see their child making great sacrifices to serve our Heavenly Father. We're praying everyday for you that you can put up with the cold water, not understanding everyone (this will get better!), dirt roads, no washing machines, etc. Don't ever forget that the Lord knows where you are and each and every struggle you have. Remember, you're daily struggles is what caused Him to bleed.  Each week when you take the sacrament, think about the cold water, dirt roads, no washing machines or what ever doesn't go your way. If you make the connection between your life struggles and the Atonement, you will gain a deep and rich personal relationship with Him. It sounds to me like you are beginning to learn this already. 

Hang in there.

Love Dad

Monday, March 2, 2015

Weekly letter from Josh

Yeah, you pretty much hit the nail right on the head there. I'm slowly starting to understand what my companion says, and anyone else that I talk to. Living poorly in Mexico as you can imagine, I never thought to be grateful for warm water. I haven't taken a warm shower in just about two weeks. It's going to be a long while until that changes.

Anyways! This last sunday was fast sunday, as you probably knew, was fast sunday for you too! But yeah, we fasted from yesterday after lunch until lunch on sunday, which was hard, because I need to eat :P I don't know if it was the same when you were a missionary, but we fast after lunch on saturday, until lunch time on sunday, so for 24 hours. We had testimony meeting, (I hope you shared your testimony ;) ) and I think 3 other people shared their testimonies, and me and my companion shared ours, it was fantastic :P 

We gave the second lesson to a family this week, which is the Plan of Salvation, which is a personal favorite for me, because it includes the Atonement, and I love the Atonement! So! It was fun, trying to express my feelings in spanish, sooooooo it was not as great as I wanted it to be but it's all good! In order to get to their house, we had to walk super far! I'm sure it wasn't a mile, but it felt like it! We taught the family in that house, and then the house right next to it.

Remember when I told you that I started the Book of Mormon when I arrived in the MTC? Well, I'm halfway done now! I'm about two chapters away from finishing Alma. I'm currently reading about the wars between the Nephites and Ammoron and the Lamanites. The most recent chapter I read was when Captain Moroni chews out Pahoran for not sending provisions and soldiers to the Nephite armies, and Pahoran responds that he was overthrown and the government pretty much fell, which taught me that patience is truly a virtue. I can't imagine how bad Captain Moroni felt when he discovered that! :P

 Those were some of the highlights of my week, fun stuff, I'm still marching on I guess. See you next week!

With love,
Elder Morrison

Picture of Josh's MTC group

Hey, want a picture of me and my district in the MTC? Either way here you go :P
Displaying 11B.JPG

Sunday, March 1, 2015

From Dad

I can't believe it's March. In a week you will be at your 2 month mark. How crazy is that? 

Your last letter really stirred a lot of thoughts for me. It makes me really wonder what it's like for you down there. I imagine you walking dirt roads kicking rocks trying to find someone to talk to.  I imagine you with a dude from deep in the heart of Mexico that you have to spend 24/7 with and you barely know his language and the language of everyone around you.  I imagine you may be getting used to the missionary way of life. There's a lot I imagine but how close am I to how things are for you? I really don't know nor could I know what it's actually like because I'm not there. One thing I do know is that there are highs and lows. Sometimes it's great and sometimes it's really tough. I was just reading the ward news letter today because the deacons pass it out when they do fast offerings and today was Fast Sunday. I ready through all the missionaries' letters from our ward. I was touched by Ali Ball's letter. She said she had been knocking doors like crazy. She is in some in a remote place somewhere down in south Chile. All they can do is knock on any door they can find. She went as far as to say that her own companion was getting worn down and wanted to give up but she was determined to keep going. It was really touching to me. It's such a huge life lesson what you all you guys are doing out there. As a parent it's hard because I want to help you and support you and give you everything you need. That's what I've been doing your whole life. Now all I can do is sit here in the house, get on my knees and pray that our Heavenly Father will see to it that you will still have the things you need. I really believe He will.

I also believe that there are blessings that come to the families of missionaries when the missionary is out in the field working hard. Lately I've had some pretty good blessings and I think it's due to the Lord blessing me because of you. I'll tell you this, it's a tough blessing that I really need. It's the blessing of learning humility. I don't know if I mentioned it but I got a ticket about a month ago. I was coming home from DI with the trailer and I got pulled over for doing an improper left turn. The thing that really got me about it was the fact that it looked like the cop wasn't much older than you. It was all I could do to keep from really telling him off. I at least had enough sense to keep my mouth shut and just take the ticket. As I drove away and in the coming days, I was furious. I couldn't believe I did anything wrong and was incensed that come young kid could give me a ticket. Slowly I realized that guilty of what is at the root of all sin. I was letting my pride get in the way of making good decisions. I honestly had to humble myself and realize that I needed to have better attitude. I finally just paid the ticket and tried to put it behind me. It's been long time since I've had a ticket and it's the first time that someone younger than me had given me one. I'm sure it's not the last time I'll have to work on my pride though. Speaking of which I also had a humility lesson at work this last week. I'll spare you the details but I will say that I've had some struggles with my boss because of some disagreements and some decisions that I perhaps could have made better. It's another situation where I really have to look at myself and control the only thing I really have control over and that's myself. To do that you have to lose the pride and be humble. At 52 years old, I'm still learning that. 

Well Josh, that's my lesson for the week. Be humble. 

Some other exciting news. BYU beat the #2 team (Gonzaga) in the country in basketball. It's the first time in 35 years that BYU has beat anyone ranked that high. What makes it really amazing is that it was done on their home court and it broke a 41 have winning streak. Being the loyal BYU fan that I am, it was pretty exciting for me. If you have any missionary buddies that are BYU friends, you can let them know. 

On a less exciting note. Jacob's team played the #2 team in the country in rugby and got pummeled 82-5. It was bad. It was on the PAC12 Network channel because the other team was Cal and they are in the PAC 12. So at least Jacob got to be on TV. Mom and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings and watched it. It was fun to see Jacob play on TV but I'm sure he wasn't having that much fun getting his tail whipped.

That's all the excitement I have for now so I'll have to end it here. Just remember, you are the common element of all of our prayers. We are so proud of you and love you more that you know. You're what I call a stud missionary. You wash your own clothes by hand. That's totally awesome. I know that's easy for me to say from where I sit. All I can say is that we're here cheering you on. 

Take care Josh and work hard every day. I promise you will see the blessings in the Lord's time. Don't doubt that.