Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hermana Ferrell latest letter

My dearest family and friends!!

I love you so much. I just feel so much love for all of you. Everytime I pray (which is QUITE a lot here) I think about and pray for all of you! I hope everything is going great. Where to start... so in my weekly planner that all the missionaries use I keep a list of things to write you about I have filled 2 whole pages with things I should tell you. So we'll see how much I can get through!!

First of all, one of the executive directors of the MTC came and did a fireside with us last tuesday and was talking about the way this MTC was going to increase. He said that the huge devotional room that fits 3,000 missionaries will be completely filled with sisters by the summer time. CRAZY. He said that probably around april or may, devotionals and MTC conferences would have to be moved to the Marriott Center! It's incredible to see how much more crowded the MTC has become just in the 6 weeks I've been here. I saw the Cosgraves on Sunday! That was fun. We took a picture and I think they sent it to you...

I've had a lot of powerful experiences this week. Earlier this week I seriously could not handle it anymore and the only thing that was going to keep me from snapping was praying. So I said probably the longest prayer I've ever said in my life. And just pleaded with the Lord to help me. Well at the end of my prayer I had this thought come to my mind "look inward." and after thinking and pondering I realized something.. I was the problem. There was something inside of me that was off, not her. I had to fix myself. So I've been studying Christlike attributes and Charity like crazy. And just trying to really change me. And WOW, things are changing. I have to tell you about this one experience. One of my investigator's (her name is Erika) has been progressing so well. Then her husband Gerardo started sitting in on the lessons. And he is a pain. He doesn't believe in God and we spend most of our time with him talking in circles in broken spanish. All of the other missionaries in my district can't get ANYWHERE with him (the investigators are our teachers) and we're all frustrated. Well my companion and I decided to plan a lesson yesterday and we prayed very sincerely for the gift of discernement and to be able to plan this lesson the way the Lord wanted it planned. So we show up to the appointment and we're giving our lesson and it's going nowhere. When all of a sudden I had the thought to ask him hypothetically, that if there were a God, why would that be important? And he said a pretty good answer. And then Alma 32:27 came to mind so we read that and all of a sudden the spirit came into the room very strong. I asked him, "do you have a desire to believe in God?" And he said yes... and then my companion bore the sweetest, most sincere testimony. And the spirit was THERE! It was incredible! And then we decided to ask him to pray. And of course, he said no. Well, I asked him if he had a question to ask God. And he said yes, I want to know if God is real. And then I asked if there was a blessing he wanted to thank God for. And he said his family. And I said that was perfect! That's all he had to say in his prayer. So we all knelt down and Gerardo prayed and he asked, "will you let me know if you are real?" And the spirit bore witness in the most powerful way... I can't even describe it. I have never felt so strongly that God was real before. For lack of a better word, it was amazing. The spirit in the room was tangible. Afterwards, he committed to reading the Book of Mormon! I am so excited to help real people feel like that. To feel that God is so real and change their lives!

My branch president is incredible! Dad, he reminds me of you so much. The way he speaks and everything is just bold and powerful. He came to our district meeting on Sunday (and that is kind of like Sunday School here) and we were talking about the Book of Mormon. He REALLY inspired me. He was talking about living in this day and age. This is the time of all times to be alive. I wrote similar things home after Elder Holland came, but I still feel them burning inside of me and want to share them you! This is the time that prophets have looked forward to and prophesied of since Adam. Every dispensation before now has failed , but we aren't going to. I don't know what I did before this life to merit being born at this time, but whatever I did, I better live worthy of it. I owe something! This is NOT the time to be weak and waver and doubt. It's time to get a testimony that will astonish people. And siblings, you can't wait until you're on a mission to get a testimony like this. The sooner you catch the vision of this work and become fully converted to the gospel, the better it will be! . My branch president said (and like I said he's bold and passionate, like Elder Holland), "Do you have the ability and power within you to forget your petty fears and insignificant lives and fully enlist in this work?" Seriously, I need to pull out all of the stops. And I don't think that applied to just missionaries... we should all figure out what might be holding us back to fully committing to the Lord. Cause this is the place to be!!

Another thing that I have realized here is the importance of Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ falls into an entirely different category with the Atonement, and I owe every single thing to Him. But he wasn't solely mortal, He was divine. No mortal man has changed my life more than Joseph Smith. I have put my entire life into the work that he started. Because of him, everything I have, that I am, that I'm doing, that I will do is different. His ability to swim in deep water is inspiring to me. It reminds me that even when it gets rough, that he had it worse. And then I think about my Savior and that he descended beneath the burden of everyone's pain and sin and struggle. I'm so grateful to be associated with this gospel. It is such a blessing that I can never express my thanks enough for!

Well, I gotta go. I love it here but I am excited to go to Chile!! I'm hosting new missionaries tomorrow so I'm excited about that! I love you family. I feel a little self centered to just write about myself. Know that I LOVE hearing from you!! Let me know if there is anything I can do for all of you.

Love always,

Morgan 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Morgan's P-Day letter

Hi family and friends! I hope you enjoy all the pictures. I just realized I'm pretty much wearing the same outfit in all of them... I promise I don't wear that everyday! I guess that I just wear it on the day I decide to take pictures! I'll try and send a few more next week.

So this week has been wonderful! Great things have happened! I'm glad my letter made it to you about Elder Holland. I'm still feeling the effects of his talk. It really hit me deep. Everyone here at the MTC are major enthusiasts of Elder Holland! I've been here for 5 weeks tomorrow. Can you believe that?? CRAZY. It feels as if I've been in this place my whole life. And that I've still got an eternity left! And it's alright, because I like it here. I've had some of the best experiences of my life these past few weeks. Missions truly are the greatest thing ever. I was the very first week of 19 year olds and now, there are sisters everywhere. We have relief society every week with ALL the sisters and we almost fill up the entire auditorium. It's great.

The MTC Presidency just changed. And our new president is awesome! I actually had a really neat experience with meeting him. So Elder Slavens and Elder Woodbury and I have been getting this musical number ready (Savior, Redeemer of My Soul) and it sounds really good. So I told you last week that Elder Woodbury somehow got it into his head that we should audition. Aaaaand we made it! we performed on Sunday. IT WAS SO STRESSFUL I CANNOT EVEN TELL YOU. I'd rather have 5 piano recitals with Madalyn. Now you know how stressful it was. So the auditorium is set up like the conference center. There's the pulpit in the middle like normal, and then because the room is so big, there are two HUGE screens mounted on the walls that the speaker's face is projected up on so everyone can see. Well, they also do that with those performing the musical numbers. So I sit down and I start playing and good grief I've never prayed so hard in my entire life. It was the most trippy thing, while I was playing I could see one of the screens out of the corner of my eye and the cameras kept putting me up there!! Especially on my solo. AH it was so stressful. But so, so, so rewarding because we nailed it. Anyway, afterwards, I got to talk to the MTC president for a while. And we also had front row seats! Which was fun! The president's wife also did a special musical number and his played the piano and his 5 daughters played the most beautiful violin piece. All from memory! And then for the closing song they had the 5 daughters, plus 5 grandkids play a whole violin piece. From memory! It was so beautiful.

One of the Elders in our zone had to go home on Saturday. It was so incredibly sad. Apparently he didn't "clear stuff up" before he left. Yeah, don't you dare do that boys. Just thought I'd throw that in here...

I've made the decision to start speaking in all Spanish when I'm with my district and zone. It's been really difficult because I can't express everything. Ah it's SO frustrating! But my district is really bright and really motivated. We're about to finish our entire grammar book. So, we've just about learned all the Spanish we can here at the MTC. Now are we good at it? Eh, not so much. But we're very slowly yet surely coming along. We're going to have 4 weeks of review so hopefully we can somehow get this language into our heads. I went to write my Sacrament talk on Sunday and wrote a draft in English. And then translated it, and it was amazing! I only had to look up one conjugation! The Lord is really blessing me. I can feel His help so strongly in my life right now. I feel like everything I do I'm completely dependent upon His ayuda. And it's been a humbling thing. I can't speak without help, I can't teach, I can't deal with my companion, I can't learn, I seriously cannot do anything without the Lord. I feel really needy but I've never felt so strengthened before. Dad, I can see what you've been talking about the enabling power of the Atonement. I'm so grateful I'm learning what this feels like. I've never had to plead with more sincerity of help before. And it's changing who I am. I feel different on the inside. I've really been trying to internalize what Alma calls the "mighty change of heart." I love this gospel. My heart is so full right now! I love what Elder Holland said. So many people have this view that the missionary experience is two years (or 18 months) is an abnormal amount of time set apart and above from our normal lives and that when we return home we go back to "real life." No. This is THE life. It's the ONLY life. And it truly is the best possible life. I'm not going to ever stop some of the habits I've developed here. This time here in the MTC has already drastically changed my entire future and eternity. Christ told his apostles that no man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Well, I've put my hand to the plow and I don't intend to ever look back.

I love you all so much. Ellie, thanks SO much for your letter! Sabrina, I wrote you a letter this morning! So look out for those :) I LOVE hearing from you.

Jacob. Jackson. You're going to be in trouble if I don't hear from you soon!! Kins I also wrote you a letter!! And mom, you too! Dad, I'm about to go respond to your email! I'm so lucky to have such an awesome support group. And it's also a good thing that I love to write so much!! I look forward to writing you all. Shay and Hay, your letters are bomb. Seriously, I've been re-reading them and laughing my head off. Love you!! Melina, I haven't heard from you in a while!! Write me chica!

I love you so much! Have a great week :)

Hermana Morgan Ferrell

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Morgan's latest P-day letter!


Family and Friends!! Oh how I love you! It has been a long, but wonderful week. First off, thanks SO much for the package!! I LOVED IT! And it defintiely came on a day when I needed a little bit of love. The zen mix is awesome! Loved that. Seriously, I loved the whole package so I really appreciate the thoughts that went into it :)
 
Where do I start? Let's see... I got new teachers! One of them teaches in the morning and the other at night. Their names are Hermana Doxey and Hermano Byrd. And they are AWESOME. Just as good, if not better, than Hermano Rodriguez ( my last one). Hermana Doxey is especially amazing. I want to be like her. She's a powerhouse. And I'm really trying to implement her teachings into my lessons. I've already learned so much from her that it's really changed the way I think about missionary work. Hermano Byrd is also great. And I'm loving being taught by them!
 
Okay, so mom you mentioned Madalyn in your email to me. Haha, she'll get a kick out of what I'm about to say. And yes, this does taste like vinegar, but I am using my piano skills daily here at the MTC. All that time slaving away at the piano... yeah, it's paying off. I've been asked to be the music coordinator for my branch and because I'm one of the few that actually play in my branch I play all of the hymns for Sacrament. I also am accompanying several musical numbers! One of which is Savior, Redeemer of My Soul. The MTC music committee heard me play and asked me to be one of the MTC accompianists.  Yes, for the ENTIRE MTC. So, I could be playing in front of several thousands of missionaries at any point. Kind of nerve racking... but my skill is not going to waste that's for sure! Music is something I'm starting to love here. It's amazing to feel the spirit through music here. The other night the entire MTC audience sang Hope of Israel for one of the opening songs for a devotional. And wow, there have been few times that I have felt the spirit so strong in. All three thousand of us missionaries singing with our whole hearts is really moving.
 
So I have something to share with you that maybe all of you could benefit from. My personal motto for my mission is "Obey With Exactness." I know there is a real power that comes from being perfectly obedient. I want to obey all the rules and do everything I'm supposed to so that I can be the  very best instrument in the hands of Lord that I can be. I'd like to invite all of you siblings of mine to be do the same. I was reading in Nefi about the difference between he and Laman and Lemuel. The reason that L&L rebelled against their father is because they didn't understand the reason behind the commandments. They thought they came from Lehi and murmured because "they knew not the dealings of God". I look back on my life and wonder why I wasn't more exact. I complained and fought mom and dad so much about  things because I didn't understand the reasons they had rules. I didn't stop and think that mom and dad were just trying to obey the commandments of God. I definitely could have obeyed with more exactness. So maybe think before complaining about rules, and try to understand that they come from God. From the movies you watch to the music you listen to! I know that when we're obedient we can do incredible things. I've been thinking about what Madalyn Taylor taught me about the wedding dress missing a sleeve. Or the 90 percent baked chicken. No one wants to eat or wear stuff like that! I don't want to be a 90 percent committed missionary. I want to be 100 percent all the way obedient to the Lord. And I want to stay that way my whole life! So let's all be completely committed to Lord and decide right now where we stand on keeping the commandments, whether big or small.
 
I LOVE the temple. It was incredible to go today (and last week). I'm really glad I got to go a lot before my mission. Well, I'm short on time today. I have to go! I love you so much. I know this church is true and that it's the Lord's work! Thanks so much for the letter dad, that really gave me a boost. I'm writing you a letter with many more details! So be expecting that!!!!!
 
With all the love in the world,
 
Hermana Morgan Ferrell

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

morgan's p-day letter


Hola mi familia and amigos!! Oh this has been such a phenomenal week. I can't even begin to describe in words some of the things that have happened. Some incredibly spiritual things, like out of this world. And a bunch of semi interesting things. I'll start with those! But first off, this week I have felt your prayers more than anyother time. Seriously, I feel so much love for all of you and think about you a lot. Sabrina and Eli, your letters made my WHOLE week!! I'm writing you both back, but I just had to say how much I loved those. You guys are the best little siblings ever! So be looking forward to letters E and bina :)
 
So.. I SURVIVED! For real, it has been a crazy place here the past week. The entire MTC got hit with this huge strain of the flu. They cancelled devotionals, and set all these weird rules. THere's a no handshake policy still in place and if you are sick you aren't allowed to leave your room for at least 24 hours. If you are throwing up acid or blood, you had to be quarrantined. Get this, HALF of the missionaries got sick. They even broke the companionship rule cause if half of everyone is sick that means there's nobody in class. But be proud of my immune system of steel, I have survived. I should probably knock on some wood really quick...
 
Speaking of health, haha I have developed quite the repuation here. I would like to announce something: I found the Splenda packets!!!!!!!! Best day ever. At gym yesterday I passed by the scale and thought I might as well evaluate what damage has been done... and to my immense surprise... I've lost about 10 pounds! Crazy right? I've noticed my clothes are a lot more loose, but honestly I don't have time to even think about it. It seems like every mintue here is filled up with the gospel or spanish or some other missionary thing!
 
I saw Sister Hodges! We had a lovely chat. I found Grandma and Grandpa's mission president picture and took a pic by it! I'll send it home when I can. So here's a fun spanish story. I'm teaching the Plan of Salvation to one of my investigators, and I'm talking about why we need the Atonement. I told them that the only thing keeping us away from God is our sins. I later found out the real word for sins are "pecados" definitely not "pescados". Which means fish. SO yeah that was a fun experience. Also, the other day I opened my mouth in class to say something in class and Arabic came out. That was weird. Like fluent Arabic. No idea where in the bottomless pit of my brain that came from...
 
So now for the spiritual. We watched a talk Elder Holland gave to the MTC earlier this year about the Book of Mormon. He asked a few random missionaries what they had their investigators read for the first time reading in the BOM. They all said a variety of things. Then he had a few missionaries come up and talk about what was actually in the first chapter of the first book of Nephi. I was so embarrassed for them, most of them had NO clue what was in it. But he went on to say, that if we could get our investigators to read just the first chapter of the BOM that would be the most wonderful thing. What's in this first chapter? A young Nephi desiring to know the mysteries of God, a prophet praying to the Lord for help, receiving a vision, being given a special book, and being commanded to take the message to the world.  RING A BELL!? The 1 Ne chap 1 contains the prophetic pattern. It will resonate with investigators who have just been taught the Joseph Smith story. It testifies that it is the way God works. He said that unless we were under speicific direction from the spirit to do otherwise, we should always challenge our investiagors to begin reading the BOM with the very first chapter and help them see that it truly is the propetic way. So interesting right?! Also, he said that perhaps it was the infinite wisdom of God that the 116 pages should be lost. Because what better chapter could you being this book with than one that re-testifies of the experience of the prophet Joseph Smith?
 
I was studying in Nephi more this past week and was talking to my Teacher about some of things I'd leared. He made a very interesting observation. Nephi, Sam, Laman, and Lemuel were all on the exact same journey. They all had to leave, go back to get the plates, the daughters, trek through the wilderness, build a boat, cross the ocean, and live in the promised land. But oh what a different type of experience they all had. Nephi had some of the most powerful spiritual experiences you could hope for, and grew in the knowledge of the Lord. While L&L only did the bare minimum. They just skimmed by on what they had to. They abandoned the gospel. WHat makes the difference? What you put into the journey and what you allow the Lord to do with your sould. That is so true with missionaries. There are some that go through this experience and come home with nothing changed. THey fall back in old habits and become who they used to be. But there are some who come home with their hearts changed. And that's who I want to be.  
 
On Sunday night they showed the Joseph Smith Story film to all of us in the big devotional room. I cannot tell you what a powerful spiritual experience it was. I have NEVER felt the spirit so overwhelming strong my entire life. When Joseph said, "shall we not go on in so great a cause?" there was not a dry eye in the room. Being in the MTC, surrounded by thousands of missionaries all called to take the gospel to the end of the earth. We are carrying this cause forward. I have never felt such a strong emotion inside of me bearing testimony that this was the truth. Sunday was fast sunday and I was fasting for a variety of things. And Sunday was the most powerful day of my entire life up to this point. Sacrament was wonderful. I bore my testimony in broken Spanish and had to slip into English at the end, but I felt the spirit that whole day so strongly that even though I couldn't speak the language I had to bear my testimony.
 
After three weeks here and having the Lord teach me so many wonderful things, I want to tell all of you something. No matter what comes in life. Come hell or high water, sickness, heartache, loss, death, it doesn't matter, I will never forsake this church. I will follow my Savior and the prophet until the end of my life. I believe with every ounce of strength I have inside of my that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. I will side with this church until the bitter end. I cannot wait to go to Chile and tell everyone possible about this gospel. I understand what the prophets say when they wish they were angels!! I wish everyone could know. I am going to boldly testify to the people of Chile that this is the way. My mission is NOT a burden or a requirement or anything of the sort. It is my honor and my privilege to be a representative of Jesus Christ and share his gospel. 18 months isn't long enough to do what I need to do.
 
I love this gospel! I'm writing you a letter!! I'll send it off today because I have more to say. Dad, I got your email and I love you! I'll write you for sure today! Much love always :)
 
Morgan