Monday, September 30, 2013


Whoops, forgot a subject last time. First I need to write about today before I forget, We went to Segovia! It´s gorgeous. It´s a pity I can´t serve there. Maybe it will open again in a couple years. I´m definitely going there as a non missionary. We saw the aqueduct which was amazing. It´s so huge! The pillars are like as wide as I am tall or more. It was so huge and cool! Basically every street was a beautiful view. It´s all antique-ish. And all the streets are the legit cobblestone where they just grab a load of rocks and put cement between them. We saw the cathedral but didn´t go inside. It was pretty dang spectacular. Look it up.

We went to the castle and inside the castle! It was pretty dang sick. Although in one room the people in the paintings have just straight black eyes which is beyond creepy because it was kind of dark in there anyways. We went up the tower which is quite the hike. It definitely would be hard to invade. At the top you get a reward for your muscles burning because the view is amazing. I took some great pictures. It´s just perfect. My camera died right before the castle, so I´ll send them later along with others. And I have to get pictures from other people.

Afterwards we decided to be really American and go to the Burger King. It was good, especially the free refills of Fanta. I was full to the point of uncomforable-ness. That has been a while. But the burgers... The patties were so tiny! They were like 3 inches across or something. If you get a XXL one then it´s normal American sized. We got to wear normal clothing! It feels so odd. I think I may have either lost my beloved red shirt or left it at home. Is it at home? A huge part of the fun of the trip was the group. It was the guys from my district and Barrio 1. They have some really funny people and they´re all really nice. 2 are from my group. And the hermanas were both hispanic so it was quite the test of Spanish. One was Argentinian so we got to hear the sh sound on the y´s and ll´s. 
This week was so much better. We essentially opened this area when I first came. But now we have some progressing investigators and baptismal dates. I´m getting used to the exercise and schedule. I can´t remember many experiences because I forgot my journal because of Segovia. And I have to type like a madman because we only have an hour left and we still have lots to do. It´ll be much better next week. I want to tell stories but I´ll save that for next week too.

I´ll just quickly mention a few things. We had a couple days sprinting home and making it 2 minutes before curfew. It´s been cooling down and raining! My companion from Arizona is not happy with that but I love it. Lots of cloud and mist and rain. Umm, more stories next week. My companion is a passionate lover of mate* and country music. Don´t talk bad about either. He made me try the máte and it was pretty dang gross. And I´m not the biggest country fan. But it´s all in good fun. Love you all loads! Be excited for stories. Hopefully I wrote them down too.

Random weird Spanish lesson. They say "me cae" and then bien or mal. It means I like that person or I don't like that person, but literally it means "they fall me". I hear it and it still makes me weirded out. Just like hearing English. My brain always sort of trips when I hear American English.

Love you all!

Elder Morgan the Younger

*Mate is an herbal tea popular in Argentina

Monday, September 23, 2013

Life in Madrid

So I'm adding pics of the beautiful sunset, one of the cool tree lined streets around here, and the view of the temple that we got every time we went up the staircase. I haven't been able to look at many so I´ll do that later. I finally got my camera to work so here it is!

Sorry, it's hard to remember all the questions. Here are the answers to what I remember. We live in Vallecas. Brother Corbridge sent me an email and asked me if I was there. He knows where it is. We live in the second most ghetto place with gypsies around us. If you want really specific, here it is. There's a train system called renfe cercanías. We're just a hundred feet north of the El Pozo station. The street is Calle Violeteria or something like that. We have 4 people in the apartment. We call them pisos. We have little cell phones with the normal keypad, no more than that. Apparently Europe gets everything last, but who knows when we´ll get stuff. It could be in a month or it could be in a year. I´ve also heard that we might not be able to take them out of the pisos and only use them as an area book and whatnot. I´ll find out what the President says when we get them. We do email in little shops called Locutorios. They sell computer use based on time and print stuff and have phone booths and other things. It varies between locutorios.

Man, half the time in the work is travelling. It's a big city. It's about 20 minutes by bus to the church. But it's hard to be on time because things vary. You might get the bus or metro or renfe perfectly or you might have to wait an extra 20 minutes. It´s interesting. 

I don't care about miss appointments too much. This is definitely the refiner's fire time. It's ok though because everyone says that it gets better as you go on. I do feel good being exhausted at the end of the day. There's a lot to explain, but I know it will get better. The good thing is I will come out of this as a seasoned veteran. And ripped. Dang ripped. The missionary walk is quite the pace. I'm down to like 88 kilos from 100 initially.* Best weight loss program ever. That´s normal supposedly. It should slow down. My comp used to be a bigger guy and he´s lost 70 pounds overall. 

I learned how to counter Jehovah's Witnesses! They're bigger than us in Spain and they're around a lot. Testigos de Jehova. Everyone thinks we are them. I hear the word "testigos" a lot. My comp told me about their lessons that are always the same and how to answer their accusations and questions to flip it around. They have some interesting beliefs. Now I have the counter to their bible bashes! The Armor of God.

Alright, so stories during the work. We actually had a guy come to us on the street instead of the other way around. He wanted to learn English and we quickly changed it to church lessons in English. He's going really well. He likes it. He found a friend at church that's from Peru too (he's from Peru). We have a lot of menos activo** people to teach. It's hard because a lot of them have work which is really important for people in the Crisis. Spain is at 25% unemployment overall. Some areas it's much worse. John Anthony continues to call us every day to tell us that he is watching the news or just blessed his food. He's getting so close to quitting smoking! He got down to 3 cigarettes but went back to 6 and ten but then goes back down. This last bit seems to be the hardest. Hopefully he'll be good by October. We're teaching this awesome African guy called Aguibou (Ah-gee-boo) on the city center steps a lot. I really need to remember more of these people. I'll try to remember to write a list. We have a lot of references to go try out. We're getting to know a lot more people in the ward so we're getting more references, members that want to come, and whatnot. This should be a great week. I'm excited!

Random Spanish lesson of the week. People never say "Hasta luego!" They sort of scrunch it up and it becomes "Staluego!" Now you know.

Love you all and I miss you loads!

-Elder Morgan the Younger

*He's lost 25 pounds.
**less active

Monday, September 16, 2013

La Vida Bella*

After writing last email I forgot loads of stuff that happened that week but I don't want to go into it now because that wasn't so great. Like I said, it was crazy. I don't remember if I've said this, but I feel like I'm in that Japanese movie called Spirited Away. The girl gets a new name and starts forgetting her old name and needs her old name to get home. It's weird to remember that my name is Daniel not Elder Morgan. Hopefully I remember my name for these two years. 

I forgot to write about my last MTC days. Monday we had Dominoes pizza, took pictures, and a emotional testimony meeting. A funny moment was in the testimony meeting. At the end a girl said she could feel the spirit so strong that she wouldn't be surprised if Jesus walked in at that moment. Right after she said that the door opened and we all whipped our heads around in shock but it was just a tiny Spanish man with a clipboard. Maybe his name was Jesus. They have a lot of those. It was so sad to see everyone go. I got email info so I hope I´ll see them all again. I see a few people at zone meetings and whatnot.

Speaking of awesome meetings, we got a talk from an apostle! Elder Ballard is going around Europe for leadership conferences and whatnot and President asked if he would come and see us. He was able to squeeze in an hour to shake all our hands and give us a talk. It was pretty awesome. Although we had to wake up dang early to get to it.

The problem with many people here is that they won't say no to our faces. We get them to accept appointments but then they won't answer the door or their phone. One day we had all 7 appointments fall through. It was actually kind of funny. That's all you can really do about that. Laugh or else you cry. It's interesting teaching. Especially when I can only catch a few words. Poco a poco.** That's the rough part. The two main messages I'm being told by everyone is it will take time and you need to be patient and that missionaries need to not take so long and do good work. I don't know how to put it but they're conflicting and it's hard to find the medium. Although the second one is more for the experienced missionaries but it still is quite prevalent. I at least know I'm working hard because I am exhausted a lot.

I'm not sure what I have but I'm surviving so far. The blood tests came back ok so that's good. I have some appointments elsewhere hopefully soon. It's hard because they're far away. I did get some meds so that may help me get through all this jazz. Oh my heck, there is literally a pharmacy on almost every street corner. They all have glowing green crosses. People must be druggies here. It's cheap too. The stuff I had to get only cost 8€. People drink and smoke like there's no tomorrow here too. It's quite the crazy life style for a lot of people here. A lot of people don't get married until much, much later and look like their kids' grandparents. 

I'm sorry I don't remember much about my investigators/menos activos.*** There's so many yet so few. By that I mean so many that we try to meet but so few that we actually get to or we just don´t see them that much. We do a lot of menos activo work here. We have like 4 people we are teaching named Viviana and that get's confusing. The a lot people who we do teach have really strong testimonies. Not all but there are a lot of really good people. I hope to be able to actually teach more.

I've had a few conversations with people in Spanish. Mostly casual ones about random things. More than often members or missionaries. I met this really nice Italian couple and we had a Spanish/Italian/English conversation. It was quite interesting. We had both seen Life Is Beautiful so that was fun. It made me happy. There is a big mixture of accents so that makes things interesting. I hear everything from Dominican to Andalusia to Paraguayan.

That is quite the email. I could write more but I won't. Please still pray for me, if you would. It's still rough, I just don't want that to be the main theme of my email. I really love physical letters too. This is definitely a trial of patience and humility. Wish me luck and pray me luck. 

Elder Morgan the Younger

*The Beautiful Life
**Little by little
***less actives

Saturday, September 14, 2013

MTC Life

Elder Morgan's companion's mother was nice enough to send me (Mom) some of the pictures her son took.  I'm including a few here.

With Companion Elder Lopez from Layton, Utah

District in the MTC
Checking out a soccer stadium

In front of the Royal Palace
More touristy stuff


Tired on the bus--who that joking around?

Studying hard or hardly studying?

Monday, September 9, 2013

The World is Quiet Here

So, first week. It's been quite the week. My companion said it's been an insane week for him too. Another Elder took our keys 3 hours north so it was quite the trip getting home. We had to room 5 elders going to the Islands that day. We've been a hotel basically. We had elders staying for zone conference, the island elders, and a Segovia elder, and one other that I can't remember. Segovia was open for 4 days and now it closed again. All I really can say is that things went corrupt so they took the elders out.

So, I've been told the first week is the worst week of your life and it was definitely leaning towards that. I've been sick for a few weeks but we don't know what it is yet. Tests are coming back soon. Some guesses were things like Mono. Part of it is I'm not getting REM sleep, they think, and so it's kind of rough doing such hard work. Whatever it is, I'm still going to work and stay until I can't physically do the mission work. And a lot of people spread around a nice cold which seems to like me a lot and wants to stay a week longer than everyone else. And apparently the second most popular activity in Spain after breathing is smoking. Not really but there are a lot of smokers here which doesn't help much. We live in the southeast area of Madrid which is the ghetto. There are lots of Spanish gypsies which are much different than the Romanian gypsies who lie and beg more money and whatnot. Nothing got stolen. 

After a series of events, we have almost no investigators from the start so it's been a lot of contacting on the streets. The investigators we have can be frustrating. There's a guy from Africa who is angry at some people in the ward over misunderstandings and we have to help him get more of a testimony of the priesthood. We have this awesome guy John Anthony who has taken the lessons, he's just trying to quit smoking. He's doing well. He started at 20 per day around when I got here and now he's only doing 5. He wants to get baptized on his birthday which is the third of next month. Hopefully that will work out. He calls us 5 times a day to talk shortly. He always says, "Hello my friend" in his deep Spanish voice in English whenever he starts talking to anyone. He once called us to basically tell us that he was at work and couldn't talk and had to go. He's a sweet guy. We´re getting more contacts to hopefully it will be better. We went to a member's house and apparently we had talked to the husband at church, the hermanas talked to the wife at church, and the hometeachers just came over so we all taught at once and had a good laugh about accidentally overlapping. 

Our apartment is a mess. It came from not so clean elders sooooo, ya. Dishwashing soap is expensive so we use the sink, people don't wash that much, and we have very few dishes so finding a clean dish around here is hard. We're trying to fix that. We do have air conditioning which is a blessing. And the weather is getting better. We finally got hand soap and laundry detergent so that will be nicer. Ah, the ghetto. But hey, it's home. Since our scale is sketchy, I'm not sure how much I've lost but I think I lost 10 to 20 pounds this week. It's a lot of work and we don´t eat big meals. Any illusion I had about cooking or using any simple recipe are out the window. It's just been things that require no cooking or can be heated in the microwave. The milk's not too bad. Most liquids come in a 1 liter box. All the ingredients are expensive, not worth getting for a short amount of time, and/or I have no time. I´m eating all my food groups, though. We were fed by a member once. It was really nice and made me happy. They were nice members from the north visiting the temple who knew my companion.

I went to my first Sunday in a ward. It was nice. I can't understand much but I get what I can. I got to talk a bit this Sunday. Our ward building is the one on temple grounds so I see the MTC a lot and get nostalgic. I miss that place now. Especially the people. Strange how it's that way for most everyone. When you're in, you want out. When you're out, you want in. My companion's nice. He´s very patient and understanding. He's very experienced. He doesn't like people to bring it up, but he leaves in 12 weeks right after he trains me. Elder Shumway. It's a good sign that he thinks that way. It means he'll go good until the end. I'm getting better little by little. They say the mission gets better and faster as you go on, so all I can do is keep working. It's a bit slow and rough right now. I definitely need prayers and support. 

Sorry that I didn't respond to anything or stuff. I'm pretty exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally, and whatnot. I'll write better emails when I'm well, rested, and doing better. Spain is gorgeous. Every street is tree lined. There are many flavors of cobblestones. The good ones have good grip but aren't a rockslide. We have 10 missionaries in our ward. 6 hermanas and 4 elders. One of the hermanas, Hermana Seastrand, turned out to be Mr. Seastrand's niece I think. He's a teacher at Orem High. We use the public transport system like none other. Mom, I got your letter that you meant to reach me in the MTC but I got it now. Thanks for it, it helped. So, I'm pooped. I'll write more next week and hopefully more coherently. Tell me if any of this doesn't make sense and I'll explain it next week and probably tell more next week. How things are changing, it'll be much better, Wish me luck! Or rather pray me luck. 

P.S. The liking/loving system goes like so:
Me gusta - I like (whatever or whoever)
Me encanta - I really like (whatever or whoever)
Te/Le quiero - I love you (really friends way or slightly romantic)
Te/Le amo - I love you (Family and significant others.)

Now you are bilingual..

Les amo,
Elder Morgan the Younger

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Letter from Mission Pres. - 1st Area!

Dear Parents of Elder Morgan,

We received your son into our mission Tuesday morning. We brought him to the Mission Home and fed him lunch. We gave him an overview of the mission and some of the rules and expectations, and spent most of the day with him. He was excited, and seemed ready to get to work.
With President and Sister Jackson
Later that afternoon, we had a meeting at the Stake Center in Madrid on Temple Square, and met with his trainer to discuss the new 12 week training program. During this 12 week period, your son will have an extra hour of companion study each day, and will be given specific things that he must report to the Mission President. We know that this is an inspired program, and will help to make missionaries better teachers and better followers of Christ. Please encourage your son in this program. It will help him develop tools that will help him to have a successful mission, and a more successful and fulfilling life after his mission. 
Elder Morgan has been assigned to the Madrid area, in Barrio 8. He will serve with Elder Shumway, who is from Arizona. Elder Shumway is a happy, obedient missionary, who will be a good first companion for your son. 

Our Preparation Day is on Monday. Elder Morgan is instructed to email his immediate family every week. We look forward to getting to know him and working along side him in this great work here in the Spain, Madrid Mission. We can tell he will be a great missionary. Thank you for sharing him with us! We already love him.

President and Sister Jackson

Missionaries just out of the MTC

Monday, September 2, 2013

Quick Email before my first Transfer!

So, I get to send an email today and say that I´m alive and being transferred to my first area. I´ll write a more lengthy and eloquent letter on next Monday, my new P-day.

And of course this means all the addresses* and jazz like that need to be changed. I´m so excited! I´m guessing like 5 baptisms in the first week. Thus it begins.

Elder Morgan the Younger

*See Mission Home address on the right.