Monday, December 29, 2014

                                                      At the Temple with Sister Leasi
                                           Thanks for the Lion King shirt!  I love it!

Happy New Year!

Well, Christmas was joyous and wonderful, and the New Year ahead is looking bright!

This month has been so great. It's felt more like Christmas than ever before.  We've been focusing so much on "He is the Gift" and the birth of Christ this season, it's just been nothing but Christmas for us all December long! And I got my White Christmas!! :D

But it's still snowing. and cold. I think I'm ready for spring now. 

Sooo, for Christmas we had a delicious breakfast with the Bishop, I talked with my beautiful family, we delivered a few Christmas gifts, had dinner with the Osegueda family, then went to the Eppichs house, where I read "The Three Trees" to them.  It was a lovely day :) Much thanks for the gifts and the love that was sent to me this Christmas :) I love you all so much!

Please pray for Evelyn. One of the hardest things as a missionary is to see people so broken and feel like there is nothing you can do.  Some trials strike some more than others.  But that doesn't mean that some people are "better off" than others. We all have trials, and they are all for reasons, even if we can't see them yet.  At the time it might just feel like we are being punished for trying our best, but at the end of the day, the Lord will bless us more abundantly than we could ever imagine for enduring our trials well. It makes me think of the Lord's counsel to Joseph Smith when he was in Liberty Jail, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all they foes.  Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." -D&C 121: 7-9

We went to the temple visitor's center with Lindsay on Saturday, which was really great! There were like 3 weddings going on at the time, so it was a bit loud because there were a bunch of children there, but the spirit was still felt as we talked about eternal families and temple covenants. I love the temple!  

The Riders have decided to try and quit smoking again!!! :DD We are so excited for them to begin to progress towards baptism again. I know that through Christ, they can do all things! 

Well, the new family that just moved in, the James, came to church yesterday, and they brought the whole family!  It seems like they had a pretty good experience, which was good. There are so many amazing people that are prepared for the gospel.  It just makes me have the same wish as Alma: "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with he trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth...yeah, I would declare unto every soul...repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth."  <--solution for world peace, right there. 

Well, I hope you all had a wonderful, White Christmas! For New Years Eve, we are watching movies. Then for new years day, we are getting together as missionaries at our member's house and sledding! :D

Love you and God Bless!
Sister Moreland

Monday, December 15, 2014

My dearest loved ones,

Woooaaaahhhh work is exploding here in Blackfoot.  New people, progressing investigators, baptism dates and more!  I am so excited for these people that are prepared to receive the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Lord prepares the hearts of his children, there is no doubt in my mind.  The only thing left after that is the use of their own agency.  Pray that the investigators here will use that agency to follow Jesus Christ!

I love Christmas!!! I love Christmas so much, and the season is here!! We have been spreading the message of "He is the Gift" everywhere and to everyone that we meet.  What a wonderful opportunity to get people in the Christmas spirit by turning their thoughts to the birth of the savior.  There is a wonderful Bible video on called "Glad Tidings of Great Joy" and it depicts beautifully the blessing and gift that the birth of Jesus Christ is.  I am really getting into the Christmas spirit and can't wait!  I just really hope it snows here on Christmas day because I've never had a white Christmas before.  

Speaking of weather, it's been unusually warm here.  Unusually warm for Idaho December, at least.  For the last few weeks, it's been 50 degrees or so, so it feels more like Texas December.  But then it finally snowed yesterday.  But now it's melting. Weird.

How much I have felt the spirit this week.  There is a new family that just moved in who had met with the Elders in town once before.  We went over to meet them this week, and it is amazing how prepared they are to receive the gospel! I am so impressed with this family.  They've had a lot of struggles in the past, but have been searching for a relationship with God lately, and as they've been seeking, they have felt more peace and happiness in their lives than they ever have before.  We promised them that this peace and happiness would continue to grow as they learn and accept the restored gospel.  I notice that it's with people like them that the spirit is felt the strongest in lessons---because they are both receptive to the spirit and contribute to it.  When we left their house, I was giddy with joy at their desire to find the truth.  

One of our investigators, Lindsay, has a baptismal date, and she is working hard to get there, she is fantastic! We took her to another convert baptism on Saturday just so she could see what it looks like and what goes on.  The guy getting baptized was a big guy, so he didn't get completely submerged the first time, so they had to re-do it.  Although Lindsay is more comfortable now that she has actually witnessed a baptism, now she's a bit nervous that she'll have to re-do it and be embarrassed.  Haha.  But we reassured her that she'd have plenty of time to practice before then. I'm just glad that that's her biggest worry right now :)

Well, Merwwy Chrwistmas  to you all! Love you all and hope that you are in the Christmas mood as much as I am! 

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, December 8, 2014


Got myself a new companion here in old Blackfoot!  Her name is Sister Leasi (Lay-AH-see) and she's from Samoa.  She's pretty awesome--already teaching me some Somoan, haha.  This week has been ridiculously crazy. I've been pretty stressed just with all the adjusting.  Sister Worrall and I went around for her last couple days seeing different people, getting pictures, etc.  I'll send you some. A lot of people were really sad to see her go.  But Sister Leasi is fitting in just fine.  She's a hoot, so people tend to love her pretty quickly. 
I've been pretty stressed the last week with making sure I have all the addresses I need, contacts, info, phone numbers, knowing where everybody lives, etc.  Leading out an area takes a lot of work, so I've been waking up pretty early to get caught up on some things I've gotten behind on.  Feels like being at school again.  Except no science.  I'm okay with that.  
One thing that really touched my heart this week was when we went over to teach the German student and the family of members he lives with.  When we got there, their 9-year-old daughter excitedly runs upstairs and brings down a sticky note.  She says that this week in school, one of her friends asked her about her religion.  She and another friend began to explain about The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith to her, and they bore their testimonies of the Church to this girl. "Then," she said, "I asked her if she wanted to see you guys to learn more, and I got her phone number for you!"  So she gave us the sticky note with the girl's name and phone number on it.  I was so excited that this 9-year-old girl was excited enough about what she believed to share it with a friend.  It made me feel like progress was really being made in the home of these members as well as the non-member that lives with them.  Warmed my heart :)

This week, I've learned the power of a positive attitude.  One morning this week, I had just woken up on the wrong side of the bed. In my discouragement, we hardly got anything done that day. Then the next day, we had a zone meeting that really made me see how much we could be improving in our work.  That night, even though we hadn't reached many of our goals, I said to our District Leader "we didn't reach this goal and this goal, but I have faith that if we pray for help to reach these goals, the Lord will bless us!"  So with that positive attitude in mind, the next day we went out to teach, and we ended up setting baptismal dates with 2 of our investigators in a single day! I was worried about these investigators not wanting to set dates to be baptized, but the spirit was present and their hearts were opened, so they accepted.  What power faith and a good attitude has to accomplishing goals! 

Sorry this week is kind of short.  Just know that I know that this gospel is true with every fiber of my being.  May I serve as a witness to my God that the things that I am teaching daily are true.  I love you all so much.

God Bless,
Sister Moreland
P.S. I can't remember whether or not I mentioned this last week or not, but if you haven't seen the "He is the Gift" video already, check it out! It's an awesome video about the true meaning of Christmas and it's very powerful.  It's really short so you can share it with your friends and family via facebook, twitter, or whatever other social media shenanigans you like to do. You can also use the pass-along cards from the December Ensign to give to friends and tell them what you enjoyed about the video. Share with the world about keeping Christ in Christmas and what an important gift to the world that he is!  Merry Christmas, y'all!  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Enjoying the snow

      The elders thought they were funny by putting blocks of snow on the sisters' car

             First day of driving in the snow, and we had to get towed out of the ditch!

Dear loved ones,

Another adventurous week in the Idaho, Pocatello Mission.  Thanksgiving was awesome!  We went and did service by helping serve thanksgiving food at the Community Dinner Table.  We met so many great people and was a good experience to serve and get to know those who didn't have anywhere to go on Thanksgiving.  
That evening, we went to an investigator's house and had thanksgiving.  Although I'm not usually a fan of stuffing, I ate seconds of hers because is was delicious.  After being stuffed to the brim with food, we went to another investigator's house--intending to simply stop by--but instead they made a plate full of food for each of us despite our polite refusal.  We kinda picked around at our mashed potatoes and cranberries for an hour....haha,  Then they sent us home with pie. 

On Friday, we made lemon bars (thanks for the recipe, Momma!) with a sweet old less-active woman who has really been trying to come back to church.  We are planning on taking the treats to potential investigators and people that we don't get to see as often for Christmas!
Speaking of Christmas, if you haven't seen it yet, "He is the Gift" is an awesome new Christmas video on and you should watch it!  It is a great message to share with friends, family, and neighbors about the true meaning of Christmas.  #ShareTheGift  !   (<--haha I feel like such a dork using if I actually use technology.)

We had an AWESOME lesson with the Knocks family.  We haven't seen them in a while, but we finally saw them and their new foster son.  We talked about coming closer to God through prayer and the importance of the Book of Mormon.  We invited their foster son to be baptized when he came to know that the Book of Mormon was true, and he said that he would if he knew it was true.  The spirit is always so strong in every one of their lessons.  It makes me think that the Lord is trying to let us know that they are ready.  I am so excited for them.     

Tom. Tom is amazing.  We met with him for the 3rd time on Saturday.  Our third lesson.  And we asked him if he is still reading the Book of Mormon.  He's in Jacob.  It took him a week to read 2Nephi. A week! I started in 2Nephi a month ago, and I'm still on chapter 17 or something! So he's awesome at the reading, but he's still working on getting comfortable with praying.  but he's on his way!

We did Sharing Time in Primary yesterday!  It was fun :) .  I will send pictures.  
Soo.....on my first day of driving in the snow, I may or may not have gotten the car stuck....we had to get towed.  Haha. Here's a picture. 

The Lord absolutely answers prayers.  There is no doubt in my mind that the blessings I have seen so far on my mission come directly from Him.  He cares about the our needs and the needs of our investigators.  He cares about your needs.  He may not always answer us in the time that we think is necessary and in the way that we want Him to, but that's where patience and faith comes in.  I gave a talk on Sunday in one of our wards about receiving revelation.  One of the things I talked a lot about was patience.  Although nowadays we are so used to getting any question we have answered instantaneously by Google and other websites, God does not work like the internet.  We must be patient and recognize that His knowledge and His timing is best.  I love you so much and hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dearest Fam,

Well.  The bad news is I lost my planner.  Which is pretty much our brain here in the mission field.  So usually I use that to remember what I did this week because believe me, without it, I don't remember anything. Anything.  So now that it is lost, I will be trying to recount this week events by memory.  It will be difficult, but here it goes.
So last Monday, we went sledding! The bishop we live with has a steep slope outside the house, and covered in snow, it made great sledding ground.  He even had sleds for us to use, and we had a lot of fun.  I even tried to "snowboard" on the sleds, which did not go well, as the sled was disk-shaped, so it slipped out from underneath me and I landed flat on my back.  Haha fun in the snow!
Oh, man, what happened this week?  hmmm... well, we met a lot of new people.  Met a nice man who told us to either not talk about religion in his house or go away.  Also didn't want our contact info in case they needed any service.  That was pleasant. Right after that, we met a less-active family who really wants to start coming back to church, which was a real tender mercy from the Lord because it certainly lifted our spirits after that last meeting.  We also had dinner with a family of members that has a Swedish student living with them.  Good news--he loves the religious atmosphere here in Idaho and he wants to learn more!  Yayy, we are so excited to start meeting with him and the family! 
So for thanksgiving we have a p-day and are also eating dinner with one of our investigators.  We are helping her cook it, too, which will be really fun! So that also means that today, we don't have a normal P-day, just one hour of emailing (I am typing like the wind, here) and the rest of the day is a normal proselyting day. Mom, thank you so much for your letter. I love hearing from you throughout the week.  Sometimes, emails just can't compare to the excitement of getting a letter in the mail. It made my day, as it always does :)
It impresses me so much how--even in the midst of chaos and trial after trial--some of our investigators are just holding on with all of their might.  One family especially has just been having one piece of bad news after another.  Have they given up? Cursed God?  No.  Their faith is increasing more than even as they see that they are given strength to push through their trials--not deliverance from their trials--but the strength they need to work through them.  I wonder if I could do that if I were in their shoes.  I'm honestly not sure.  But I am working to get to the point where I know that I would!  God has a plan for each and every one of us and He will never abandon us if we do not want Him to. Something I've learned this week is how family is so extraordinarily important to strengthening faith in Him because you are in it together!  I will never take my family for granted.  Know that I love you so much and appreciate more than you know the love and support that you gave me growing up.  For the careful teachings and patient parenting--it has molded me into the missionary that I am now.  I love you so much and pray for you always.
God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hello my wonderful beloveds!  (<--is that a word? I don't know.)

The snow is here!!! So white and beautiful and lovely.  I saw actual snow-flakes for the first time.  When they land on the car or the sidewalk, you can see the individual flakes and they are so cool looking.  The cold isn't as bad as I thought it would be---until the wind starts blowing.  When the air is still, it feels nice and cold and dry, but when the wind starts blowing, that's when it becomes pretty unbearable.  But I experienced negative temperatures for the first time this week! It was quite chilly.  

We met lots of new people this week, expanding our pool of investigators and people to go see!  Also, we have one investigator who said she would never go to an LDS church because of stuff that's happened in her past, and out of the blue she showed up at church this Sunday! Woah!  We had no idea she was coming, so we weren't even in that ward this week :( Apparently she was looking for us, so I felt bad we weren't there to see her.  
Speaking of yesterday, Sister Worrall and I sang in church again--in two different wards this time.  Did I mention that I have been doing the Soprano part? You might mention that to Sister Nguyen, she's been wanting me to try Soprano for a while. 

So apparently we have a knack for reactivating people into the Catholic church :/   There was this family that we met, and they are Catholic but haven't been going and we talked to them about the Book of Mormon, etc, and the Dad said that he feels like God sent us as a message--to tell him he needs to start going back to church--the Catholic church.  Well...not our original intention, but our purpose is to bring people closer to Christ, so I suppose any faith is better than none at all.  This is the second time this has happened, haha.

On Friday night, we came home at the end of the day and flipped the light switch, only to find that our power was out.  The members we live with were out of town that day, and as our house is big and dark and creepy without any lights, we went back into our car to decide what to do.  There had been a strange man that came to our house earlier that day, so we were a bit paranoid. (I was picturing "Criminal Minds"-type scenes of stalking and kidnap).  So the members we had just seen that day were nice enough to come over with big flashlights so we could go inside and pack bags to go stay at the Sister Training Leader's place for the night.  That was an exciting adventure.  All was well and the next day our members were home and the lights were back on.  

Man, I love this gospel so much.  There really is nothing on Earth more important.  The basic principles of the gospel are just so important.  There is so much out there about church history and deep doctrine and all that extra stuff, but that's exactly what it is--extra stuff. The essential things for salvation are right there in the basics.  It all boils down to faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end by striving to become as Christlike as we can.  I have really been trying hard to improve my prayers this week.  I want to take time specifically to kneel before the Lord and offer up my heart and soul to him.  You can only get closer to someone by talking to them, after all!  

I love you all so much! Write me anytime :) 

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Sunday, November 9, 2014

                                                Courtney's Missionary comic

Hola mi familia!
How is all?  I'm missing you so much and I want you to know how much I love and pray for you every day.

We ate at a member's home this week, and the wife made hot chocolate.  When I went to take a sip of mine, she said "Sister Moreland, you might recognize this hot chocolate!"  I took a sip and sure enough, it was Mama's Hot Chocolate!  I was so happy to have that delicious stuff in my tummy again.  Thanks Mom, it was a wonderful way to feel at home :)

I wish I remembered a lot about this week but the truth is I don't.  I didn't write in my journal at all so, as a result, my memory has been wiped clean of all that happened before Monday.
MONDAY. Monday we had a mission tour! It's where someone cool comes and speaks in the mission. And by "cool" I mean a general authority!! Elder Martino and his wife came and spoke to us and it was amaaaazing!  Oh and by the way, they are from Denton, Texas, and they know Grandma Jeanette and Papa Joe!  Apparently they've known her for 40-some odd-years. What a small world!  Anyway, it was SO inspiring and so encouraging.  I got so many ideas of how I can be doing better at missionary work.  For one, I've decided to commit to praying more.  Just more communication with my Heavenly Father throughout the day.  And better quality prayers, too.  Sometimes a prayer at 10:29 when you're about to pass out just doesn't cut it.  Good-quality communication is the key to any good relationship, right?  So it's gotta be the same way with God, too.  I'll let you know how that commitment goes and how it improves my relationship with Him. 
Also I've made a goal not to get fat.  But that's kind of hard when members are feeding you every stinkin' night. So we'll see where that goes as well.
I love you all so much!  Something I've learned this week--this sounds so cheesy--is to never give up.  Never give up on people, on the Lord, on His work for you, on your testimony.  Even when everything is crumbling down around you--you can't give up!  The Lord loves each one of us so much and will never give up on us, so we can't give up on Him!
God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, November 3, 2014

My loved ones,

Wherever one door closes, another opens. And sometimes when one is opened, it is shut rather quickly.

This week was one of those roller-coaster weeks.  Lots of joy and lots of disappointments, all within a few days. Last Monday we went to the park and played football and soccer with some of the other missionaries.  It reminded me so much of Thanksgiving at Mimi and Papa's house, when we would play football with the cousins outside in the fallen leaves and the cool air.  My district leader tried to teach me how to catch the football behind my back.  That didn't go very well.   haha.  
We met the wife of a baptist preacher this week.  That was interesting. She was very nice, and told us why she didn't believe the Book of Mormon was true. We got to testify to her and clear up some misconceptions, so it was a good conversation all-in-all.  

On Halloween, we proselyted until 5:00, and for the rest of the night was a half p-day.  We have to be off the streets on Halloween night because a lot of people dress up as missionaries and go do mischievous things.  So we don't want to be accused of anything.  We got together with all the other missionaries in our zone and got to watch movies!  I miss movies.  So that was fun. 

So our joy this week came from being given a new investigator, a teenage girl who is dating a member in one of our wards. We had a lesson with her and it went well.  She's already been reading the Book of Mormon and says she's felt really good about it.  The Lord just leads us to those he has prepared! Such a blessing.  Then we had an awesome lesson/church tour with a highschooler we've been working with for a while. I've been worried because I wasn't sure whether he was just going with the lessons and going to church because his family was, or if he really wants to get baptized. (mostly because he answers all of our questions with one or two words.)  But after the lesson, he texted us and really express his desire to be baptized, he just needs more time, and thanked us for everything. I guess that's just a typical teenage boy, expresses himself more over text than in person :) . 

Sunday was rough. Remember the new family from New Mexico? The one that had all these questions and was coming to church and were really excited about it and all?  Well they are feeling a bit too overwhelmed about all this, so they didn't come to church.  That was a disappointment, but the good news is they are still willing to let us come over and see them.  Also, our baptism date that was trying to quite smoking was supposed to be smoke-free by Saturday so she can be baptized by the 15th, but she didn't make it.  That's okay though, because I have faith in her determination. I know she'll make it eventually, I'm just more worried about their family because they're really struggling.  It breaks my heart to see people who want the gospel so badly in their lives, but they are just so bombarded by outside stresses that it makes it tough.  Addiction, finances, family pressure, lack of support from family or's just heart-wrenching.  
But on Sunday night, we met a part-member family where the dad really wants to come back to church and his daughter has started asking a lot of questions about God and is really interested in us coming back.  Meeting them was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father really is looking out for us. He knows all of the disappointments that we face and is constantly putting his hand into our lives to guide us to those who are prepared for the gospel.  He also makes sure that we have little miracles in our lives every day to comfort us.  We all have little miracles in our daily lives, we just have to keep an eye out for them.

We've talked a lot about member missionary work this week, so I just want to make sure that I encourage everyone to pray for missionary opportunities and then ACT on them! Help those missionaries in your home ward out!  They are always looking for new people to teach and visit and talk to.  I love you so much. Stay strong in your struggles and always pray for the guidance of the spirit.  

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, October 27, 2014

My dearest loved ones,
Well, we had yet another investigator drop us last Monday.  That would make 3 in one week.  Having an investigator drop you is a bit like getting dumped.  Some approach it really slow and carefully and feel bad about it, but still want to see us.  Some do it over the phone.  Some send it in a text message.  Either way, it's not fun.  Especially when it's an investigator we thought was progressing so well and wanted to learn so much more about the gospel.

The beginning of the week started out really really slow.  Longest week of my life.  Things just were not moving.  Nobody was progressing.  No one was able to meet with us.  But on Friday, we had an awesome lesson with the new family from NM.  It is crazy how much they have been prepared to hear the gospel.  The opportunity to move to Idaho just randomly popped up and they took it without even going up here first to check it out.  They had a bunch of stuff happen in the moving process that got them in contact with LDS people from NM, they just randomly went to the temple visitors center on their way up to Idaho just to check it out....just so many things have been put in their way to prepare them for this.  Their hearts are so open to learning new things and to really putting it to the test and figuring it out for themselves if it is true. 

Little miracles have been happening all over the place.  For example, we went to contact a referral the other night and the house was dark. No one was home, of course, but we went back to the car to figure out where to go next, and we hadn't been there for 30 seconds when a car pulled up. This kid got out and told us that his family is remodeling this house, so for now, they live down the street.  If we hadn't run into this guy right then, we wouldn't have ever figured out where this referral was. We almost just barely missed this guy. Coincidence?  I think not.  But since he caught us just before we left, we were able to go down the street and meet his family (hopefully some potential investigators!)  The Lord plans things out.  He times things just right to show us miracles. 

Haha, we saw another primary program yesterday.  In this ward, the kids knew the songs really well and did an awesome job.  But, like the other ward we saw, this primary also like to yell during the song "God gave us families."  Did y'alls sing that one? It was pretty great. 

Dawn is getting baptized next week!!!! She and her family have been working SO hard to get to this point.  Seriously, I have never seen so much faith and perseverance within one family.  The adversary has been throwing everything he has at them, but they have pulled through by relying on the Lord and supporting each other.  They didn't give up.  They kept going to church, even when the stress was almost too much to handle.  What an amazing family.  We are SO excited for them!

Love you all.  Stay strong and never give up!
Tell the fam to email/write me.

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hola, mi familia and mis amigos!
This week was transfers, and I found out that this area is in need of more Spanish sisters, so guess who has been called to speak Spanish for the Blackfoot area in the Idaho Pocatello Mission?  Estoy muy emocionada de ser una misionera en espanol!  I was shocked when I got the news, but Sister Worrall and I will both have to learn the language, so we will be in this together.

Ha! Gotcha! Just kidding :) I'm still English-speaking. Haha.   I am hoping with all my might that that will never happen.  So this week was full of trials, blessings, and miracles.  First off, we were dropped by two investigators in 3 days.  But it was nice to hear from one of them (her name is Evelyn) that even though she was not going to "be a Mormon", she thanked us earnestly for "giving her faith again".  The Lord knows how to prepare his people for the gospel, and even if she isn't ready now, the fact that she is going to start attending a church again (even if it isn't the LDS church) shows that she has become a little bit more prepared to receive the gospel later in her life.  Well, where one door closes, another opens.  We met a woman who doesn't like organized religion but LOVES God and Jesus Christ and has studied many different religions.  We have set up a return appointment with her and we are excited because she has tons of potential.  Also, that new family from New Mexico came to church yesterday!! They may have been a bit overwhelmed with all the new information and way of doing things, but hopefully it will just pique their interest even more. 
So Sister Worrall and I were going to sing in Sacrament meeting yesterday.  Unfortunately, though, Sister Worrall got very ill that morning, so we didn't sing. :( The awkward thing is we invited a lot of our investigators to that ward to hear us sing and then we weren't they probably think we were just pulling their leg to get them to church!
So remember the little boy, Ethan, who just got baptized? We went over to his house on Friday. Ethan (who is 10, mind you)  told us that he started reading the Old testament last Sunday.  He is now in the 34th chapter of Genisis.  34 CHAPTERS. OF THE OLD TESTIMENT. IN 5 DAYS. THIS CHILD IS 10.  Needless to say, I was impressed.  If a ten-year-old boy can speed through Genisis like that, I should be able to enjoy the scriptures so much that I soak it up just like he does!
Well, that's it for this week.  I also carved a pumkin last Monday.  But now it's all saggy and rotten-looking.  The end.
Sister Moreland

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Dearest Loved Ones,
Oh, my gosh, this week has been CrAzY! I feel like so much has happened in the past week it feels like it's been 3 weeks or something.  Okay. Here it goes.
I think the highlight of the week was a new family that just moved in the area.  They aren't members but the ward has been so friendly and warm and welcoming it's AWESOME. They came to the ward harvest party and afterward we and the bishop took them on a CHURCH TOUR. Big deal, y'all, that's a big deal.  So we showed them all the different rooms of the church and explained what we do in sacrament meeting and why the sacrament is important.  In the primary room, we explained the primary's theme (families can be forever) and they had lots of questions about that and seem pretty interested.  They wanted to come to church yesterday, but they didn't have any church clothes, so they went to Idaho Falls to buy some (wow, they really want to come) and they are coming to church next Sunday!

The best part of that whole thing was that the members were SO EXCITED about this new family! We came over to bring them an invitation to the harvest party, and they had already gotten 2 of them from other ward members.  I wish that members could get this enthusiastic about EVERY missionary opportunity!  There are SO MANY people around you every day that need the gospel.  It is the most important thing, and the best way you can show love for your friends.

 Let me repeat that--

Sharing the gospel is the most important thing that you could ever share with your friends.
Ask the missionaries for help! Ask them for ideas--ways that you can share this great message.
Anyway, enough of my lecture on member-missionary work.

So apparently I'm a terrible driver.  I mean, I've always known I'm not the best driver, but I didn't think I was that bad.  But these country roads, man, they aren't easy to drive around on.  The speed limit is constantly changing (from 50 to 25 to 40 to 55 to 30...) and the stop signs sneak up on you like crazy.  So I've given Sister Worrall a bit of whiplash from stopping so abruptly.  And she says I'm a terrible driver.  Well, fine then.

YES, I heard about Ebola.  Oh, my gosh, that is so scary.  Usually when I tell people I'm from Dallas, they say something like "How bout them Cowboys?"  But this week when I tell people I'm from Dallas, they have said "How bout that Ebola?"  Not comforting....Don't shake hands with Bishop for a while.  Wash your hands.  Carry hand sanitizer.  Please don't get sick.  I love you.
We went to the temple on Friday!!!  Y'all.  The temple. The temple is the best place to just let the world go and focus on what is important.  The eternal perspective I get from going to the temple is unmatched by anything else.  After going to the temple, I feel renewed and ready to go! Then we went and ate Indian food (a first for me!). 
I learned a lesson about obedience this week.  When we left to go email last Monday, I couldn't find my planner anywhere.  And the planner is LIFE.  It has our schedule, our appointments, our contacts and numbers, everything. I couldn't find that thing anywhere.  When we got back from emailing, I searched every inch of our bedroom and bathroom for my planner.  I prayed for help to find it, knowing how important my planner was to the work.  Then, I saw Sister Worrall cleaning the bathroom, and I realized that I had forgotten to do my weekly p-day chores that the Mission President asks us to do on Monday. Then I thought "Oh, I'll do them after I find my planner," and proceeded to re-look for my planner.  Then, these words came to me--  "Do your chores, and you will find it." I didn't see how that would do anything, but I figured I would be obedient and do my chores.  In the first 2 minutes of vacuuming our room, I found my planner stuck between my bed and my desk.  There was one little angle at which you could see it, and I wouldn't have seen it unless I had vacuumed.  I immediately knelt down and said a prayer of gratitude, thanking Heavenly Father for the inspiration.  I also promised to be more obedient in the future! Every little thing about the missionary schedule is put in place so that we can be productive servants of the Lord and serve at full capacity. 
I love you all.  Stay strong in the storm.  And tell me what's going on with you! I love to hear from you :)
God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, October 6, 2014

                                                                  Love from Potato Land!

My Dearest Loved Ones,
Watch The Bible Videos.
Seriously. They are awesome. Especially the ones that depict the life of Christ.  I seriously wish I could spend all day just watching those videos.  Watch them.

Holy blessings. We have seen so many miracles this week.  Last week we were really struggling to find new people to teach, find anyone that was interested in hearing what we had to say, really.  But this week we had lessons with two people that we set baptism dates with!! One of them was a woman that we didn't even ask to be baptized, she just said, "So when should I get baptized? Should we plan a date for that?"  And Sister Worrall and I were kind of shocked (because this was only the second time we'd ever met this woman) and were like "Uhh...Yeah! We should!" And we've met a few other people that seemed like they might be interested in hearing more, so we'll be checking up on them again.  But like I said, the blessings are just pouring in!!  Heavenly Father is looking out for us.

We volunteered at a blood drive this week for this one kid's Eagle Scout project.  We were fasting that day, and they put us at the "snack table" of all places.  So we had to sit in front of a table of beautifully plated cookies, donuts, crackers, and juice for 5 hours and could not eat anything.  Oh, mylanta, it was so hard.  But the fasting paid off, and we met some people there at the blood drive to invite to watch conference.

So we live with the Bishop and his wife, the Nickells.  Bishop and Sister Nickell are awesome, and they have a two-story house with an upstairs that is just guest bedrooms.  We have a roomy bedroom with two desks, and the loft has a treadmill, stationary bike, and elliptical, so it's perfect for morning workouts (if we get out of bed soon enough to have time to work out, that is :/ ) Every morning we wake up at 6:30, exercise [kind of], shower and eat breakfast, do personal study for an hour, companion study for an hour, training for an hour (just for greenies like me) then we are off to proselyte!

Conference was awesome. All the missionaries in our zone went to the stake center to watch it in the chapel. There are about 12 of us, so it was kind of nice just being there with that small group.  Man, there were so many great talks.  If you get a chance, invite some friends to watch either President Uchtdorf's talk from Saturday or Elder Bednar's talk from Sunday.
ELDER BEDNAR. So we were sitting there on Sunday and I was thinking "please let Elder Bednar speak, please tell me Elder Bednar is speaking..."  And then they announced Elder Bednar and me and a few other missionaries there said "Yes!!" And then Elder Bednar said that he was directing his talk to non-members, and about half of us threw our fists in the air and said "YES!!" That was such an awesome talk.  Read the talks over this week, next week, and keep them in your hearts and minds as you go about your day.  So much good advice and spiritual guidance can be taken from conference.  I love you all and can't wait to hear from you. God Bless.

With love,
Sister Moreland

Monday, September 29, 2014

                                  We saw a cool barn so took some pics. 

Hello my loved ones,

I have one word for you:  Arachnophobia.
I've seen about 3 huge spiders in the house this week. A few more than that outside the house.  I mean they're not tarantulas or anything, but they are some scary-looking suckers.  They're called "Cat-face" spiders.  But at least they aren't Hobo spiders-- Idaho has a lot of those, and apparently they're very poisonous. Needless to say, sleep doesn't come easily when you know that the 8-legged monsters are coming inside for the winter.

 Man, there are just so many people we see and teach here. I'm really still working on getting names and wards and faces straight with the members.  Something hard about teaching is when you are teaching more than one person and they are on two very different levels.  For example, we are teaching this couple, and the woman is less active and has all these questions about really deep doctrine, and her fiance is a non-member and has no religious background.  So he's pretty lost when she starts asking about the deep-doctrine stuff.  But we just have to keep it basic enough where they both can understand the really important foundational things about the gospel.  I've learned that many people, members and non-members alike, can get hung up on little details about the church and it keeps them from gaining a testimony.  It all comes down to the basic foundations of the gospel, though.  God lives, Christ is our Savior, and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. If a testimony is gained of those basic things--of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel--  the other little concerns that we have won't really matter as much.   

It's also really sad to see when people leave the Church because of what other people do or say.  Please remember to be kind to all.  Love and support other members through thick and thin.  And if someone is unkind to you, remember that although the gospel is perfect, the people in it are not.  Other people's mistakes are no reason to lose your faith in the restored gospel.  Never lose hope! 

We had a baptism on Saturday!! Ethan, who is 10, and his 8-year-old sister got baptized.  Their Dad had just received the priesthood and was able to baptize them! Such a precious moment.  Those kids are amazing and so faithful.  After the girl got confirmed with the Holy Ghost, she was in tears.  The spirit was so strong and you could feel the bond that family has strengthened over the last couple weeks, and it's all because of the gospel.  Because they shared in it with each other.  

Women's conference was awesome. Loved the little korean kids singing.  Elder Uchtdorf is a boss.  I love the women and all but he is just awesome.
Being a missionary here is weird sometimes.  People just know the Mormon missionaries, whether they have a positive or a negative view of us.  Bonding with the investigators has proved really important.  Both members and investigators need to trust us, which is why we need to do everything we can to be trustworthy representatives of Christ.  One of our investigators makes these awesome metal art sculptures, and he's in the process of making one for me and Sister Worrall right now, one for Oklahoma and one for Texas.  I just love the people here.       

So on Sunday, we were just finished with sacrament meeting in 1st ward when we get a text "Hey Sisters, making sure you're good for your talks today?" It was from the Bishop of one of our other wards.  Talks?? We had completely forgotten! That ward was starting in 30 minutes, and it was in the other building on the other side of town.  I've never written a talk so fast in my life.  But we gave them and mine wasn't half-bad, and Sister Worrall's was awesome--it sounded like she had prepared all day for it.  

So something funny that happened this week was that we discovered that Sister Worrall can communicate with turkeys.  There is this flock of turkeys that's always just walking down the road. The other day we drove up to them, Sis Worrall made a turkey noise, and they gobbled back.  She did it several times, and it was so funny! I got a video and I will try and send it if I can. 

Love you all! Pray and study daily and go forward in faith!

Sister Moreland

Monday, September 22, 2014

 Met up with Elder Goodsall, one of her fellow actors from the theatre program at BYU (notice the appropriate arm's length missionary handshake.)
                                                          This is where we're going!
                                     Watch out for missionaries lurking in random cornfields

My dearest loved ones,

Blackfoot is beautiful.  The leaves are starting to change and the weather is perfect--sunny and cool. The people here are awesome.  Members are really supportive (not to mention they feed us every night) and the investigators are excited about the gospel. The only hard thing is that there are a lot of inactives here who really want nothing to do with the church.  The funny thing that Sister Worrall and I get a lot is whenever we knock on a door and the person isn't interested at all, we always ask them if they know anyone that we could visit.  And they always point to other houses and say "That person is mormon, there's a mormon family there..."  Hmm, not exactly what we meant, but okay.

  It's getting a little more difficult to stay  motivated every day now that I'm not as fresh out of the MTC.  At the MTC, we practice teaching so much and watched the teachers role-play teach a lot (and the MTC teachers are AMAZING at giving the discussions).  But here, it's a whole lot of driving, knocking, planning, talking...not as much teaching as I did at the MTC.  I worry about getting rusty sometimes.  But we continue to study and pray to keep the doctrine and the spirit with us. "Then, if you desire, you shall have my spirit and my word, yea the power of God unto the convincing of men."  I don't remember what verse that is at the moment. But we recite it every morning before companion study.  I like it a lot.  Also, I'm trying to re-memorize The Living Christ.  I love The Living Christ.  I have a little laminated copy in my scriptures, and I try to read it as much as I can.  The knowledge of God's love through Christ's Atonement keeps me going. 
Also there is a movie coming out in a week or two called "Meet the Mormons".  Look it up. Invite everyone you know.  Tell everyone about it. Everyone.  It will be awesome.  

 The amazing thing is the variety of people here.  There are all different types of people from all different places, from all walks of life, but they all need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every one.  They have different ways of getting there, but it will bless every one of them, no matter how different they are.  Be member missionaries.  Spread this gospel in whatever way you can.  I love you all. 

God Bless,
Sister Moreland  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sister Moreland with trainer, Sister Worrall.  See letter below.

Oh, my goodness, what a week.  At the beginning, I was going to write and tell you all about the end of my time at the MTC. But then I came here, and I was going to write about the first few days of the field. And now so much as happened I just don't know what to say.  Well, I will start at the beginning, I guess.

Fast Sunday at the MTC was great. We had a lot of bearing of testimonies, and we really all grew closer as a district.  Have I mentioned I love my MTC district? I love my MTC district. They are awesome. The last day of the MTC was really awesome and spiritual and fun. The next morning we took a bus to Pocatello and met President and Sister Brinkerhoff at their home, where we had a yummy lunch, had some orientation, relaxed a bit, and then found out where we are serving and who our trainer is! (Blackfoot area with trainer Sister Worrall.) 

We stayed the night with different members, then parted for our different areas the next morning. It was sad parting from our district and from Sister Brimley, but we saw each other in the field later so it was all good. 

So. Blackfoot, Idaho.  Honestly, if I didn't know I was in Idaho I wouldn't think I was in Idaho.  (Except for the fact there are potatoes everywhere.) It looks more like Kansas or some rural parts of Texas even.  The hills and small mountains are so far in the distance, you hardly notice them.  Our area is a lot of farmland.  Like all. Farmland. Potato farmland.  All of it. So we have a lot of driving.  Sometimes there are just cows chilling in the middle of the road.  That part kind of reminds me of Ireland.  

So Blackfoot is the Potato capital of the world.  I thought the whole "potato" thing was an exaggeration, kind of like it's an exaggeration to say that everyone in Texas wears a cowboy hat.  Let me tell you something. The potatoes are not exaggerated.  I've had potatoes for every meal so far.  In Shelley, Idaho, they have a day this week called "Spud Day".  There are trucks everywhere just full of potatoes.  It's harvest season, so all the fields we live around are being harvested here.  It's kind of weird how stuff revolves around harvest here.  Like people aren't at home because of "harvest" and  school is out because of harvest.  It's really foreign.  Example of the kind of place I live in: the other day, I saw a fence around a field that was made out of cars.  A wall of cars, each one turned on its side with the driver-side door face up.  Weird. 
Also, my trainer and new companion, Sister Worrall, is AWESOME. She likes Harry Potter and Stick It, so basically we are best friends.  We've got a good balance of goofy friend-ship-ness and good teaching companionship, so it works out really well. I will send some pictures later.  

Yesterday was the longest Sunday of my life.  You don't know what a long Sunday is until you've been to 8 hours of church. 8 HOURS. Do not complain about how long church is until you've been to 8 HOURS OF IT.  It's because we cover 5 wards here.  Also, I gave a talk.  Sis Worrall didn't tell me I was supposed to give it until Saturday night.  So basically I wrote my talk Sunday morning during a meeting.  

I've met a lot of investigators and less actives here, each one very different. Already loving it here and loving the people.  Some are just so ready for the gospel, all they need is a gentle nudge from the spirit to get  going.  I'm getting the hang of talking to people and inviting them to be baptized. (we do that a lot the very first time we meet people, which was so scary at first!)  Sis Worrall is helping a ton with getting familiar with mission life and teaching.  The spirit is the essential tool in this work.  It edifies both missionary and investigator.  I love you all so much.  Please share this great gospel you have with others in whatever way you can.  It will bless their lives and yours.

Much love,
Sister Moreland

Friday, September 12, 2014

President and Sister Brinkerhoff with Sister Moreland, arrival day in Pocatello, September 9, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

My dearest loved ones,
It has not been a week since I have written. I mean, obviously it has been, but it does NOT feel like it. It feels like this week has been like a month.  So much learning, so much growth, so much of the spirit, so many rollercoaster of emotions, so much's crazy. 
 I've learned quite a few lessons from this week. 
The first is that it is okay to not be in a happy mood all the time. I think some missionaries think we just have to be happy and positive and upbeat all the time, but we just can't be, we are still human, and to try to do that 24/7 is just exhausting.  Realizing that everyone has ups and downs and that it is normal is important.  
Second, that even though we can't be happy all the time, at the MTC (and I expect out in the field as well), you will have about as good a day as you decide to have. Even if you have some trials, lingering in frustration or disappointment will do nothing for you.  I decide to get over it and just get engaged in the work and its like, Boom, I feel great again.  I learned that on Sunday. I was having a pretty bummer day, just struggling with the stress and the rules and the work, and it wasn't until the beginning of Sunday devotional that I thought "you know what, I want to get something out of this devotional, so I'm going to be in a good mood!" All of a sudden I became a sponge, soaking up every great part of that devotional, and what an amazing one it was.  Then we watched a talk by David A. Bednar called "Character of Christ" (don't bother searching for it, it's exclusivley MTC) and wow.  One of the most motivating, inspiring talks I have ever heard. 
It brings me to lesson number three I learned this week.  When you learn to turn your attention away from yourself and outwardly to others, that's all you care about! Who cares if I miss home? Who cares if the rules are hard to follow? It's not about me.  This is not just about doing, it's about becoming. Becoming as Christ was, and turning the attention towards others to serve them 100% selflessly.  Since Sunday, I have determinedly worked to acquire the characteristics of Christ to quit thinking about myself and focus on my purpose--to bring others to Christ.  
We've been teaching "Marcus" (our teacher as an investigator) which is a really good learning experience for recognizing the needs of investigators and teaching them according to their needs.  Our district has gotten so extremely close.  Something else I've learned is that laughter is a fantastic way to relieve stress and having fun is important.  However, if we're having too much fun during class, it can be impossible to focus.  We're still working on that. Because we have great laughs every day.  But the spirit is also felt really strongly, and we are all learning together and growing together and struggling together and picking each other up...I'm really going to miss these guys.

Example of our antics: we had a "complaint jar" drawn on the white-board and if you complained, someone would write your name in it.  But it got so ridiculous, every tiny thing you said, someone would say "Is that a complaint??" and write your name, so everyone had their name in so many times.  One of the Elders called it the "Salem Witch Trials" of complaints. 

We had in-field orientation yesterday, which was learning about goal-setting and working with members and other stuff we'll need to know once we get out there.  One of our teachers was Brother Christiansen, who was a missionary in "The District" training videos that everyone has to watch before going into the MTC. So now that he's an RM he teaches here, and basically everyone knows who he is.  He's like a reality star here at the MTC.  And he's a fantastic teacher too. Sis. Brimley and I have been teaching an investigator at TRC (teaching resource center). That has been a tough trial, because it's hard to know what to teach when you don't know someone well, especially if they are reserved, because if they're not open and you don't know what they need or want in this life, it's really difficult to tailor the lessons to them.  We have one more lesson with her, so I hope it goes well.  We just have to teach by the spirit and hope she uses her agency well. 

I love and miss you all so much! My p-day next week will probably be different, so just send emails whenever you can! 

With love,
Sister Moreland

Friday, August 29, 2014

Surprise! My P-day while in the MTC is Friday. So expect an email around 12:30 or 1:00  next Friday as well. Holy moly it feels AMAZING here. I'm kind of loving Utah summertime because it's like 75 and sunny, so you can stay out pretty much all day. Well, the first day, everything was pretty rushed at first until the host brought me to my classroom where I met my companion! Her name is Sister Brimley, and she is awesome. We get along super well, both in terms of personality and with teaching together. But I'll get to the teaching in a minute.  After we met our district, which is a group of about 10 of us (Sister Brimley and I being the only sisters, the rest Elders), we went to a big orientation welcoming us to the MTC. I don't remember many specifics, except for one funny thing that the presidents wife said when she was speaking to us all. She was talking about how here at the MTC, we don't call the men "guys", we call them "Elders".  "Here, you are Elders. 'Guys' are the ones back home dating your girlfriends."  Oh man, the looks on everyone's faces! So funny.

 Well into the first day it was not a shock or anything to be at the MTC, it kind of just felt like going to school again.  I was just ready to get to work. Sister Brimley and I met our other roomates, a trio companionship, and we went to teach investigators, first day! But luckily it was in a pretty large group. There were about 30 missionaries and one investigator.  We taught three different investigators, and their situations and problems were so different, you really had to adjust what you asked them and what you said to them based on what they knew and what they needed.  It was very insightful and has probably been one of my favorite teaching experiences so far.  I talked to this one man who seemed resentful of God's punishing judgement, and as I was assuring him that Heavenly Father is here to love and comfort him and not judge him, it was like I wasn't saying it.  I've heard people talking about the spirit filling their mouths, but I hadn't experienced it until then.  My brain usually doesn't connect to my mouth as eloquently as it did, then, so I know it was the spirit taking over!

Well, the MTC is huge but I'm starting to find my way around. Staying together with your companion was weird at first because you can't even walk out of class to go to the bathroom without them.  But now it's like, if I turn around and my companion isn't there, it's a bit of a mini panic.  I've gotten so used to her being here now. I'm finally introducing myself as "Sister Moreland" instead of "Sister Court---er---Moreland."  I saw Elder White at dinner yesterday! We didn't have much time to chat, but we're going to try and get a picture before we leave the MTC. 

We are working on a few other "investigators" which are our two teachers role-playing as investigators. But it feels a lot more real than you'd think. They have us knock and go into a separate room with them and everything.  Sister Brimley and I are starting to get the hang of planning and studying with those two specific investigators in mind, trying to meet their needs and show them, with love, all that the gospel can do for them in their lives.  It's role-playing, but we take it very seriously, and the teachers include real things about the "investigator", or themselves, that help us to help them.  

We met our branch president last night.  He's quite the military man, so the Elders were scared to death of him, haha. But he's very genuine and really wants the best for his missionaries.  So guess what?  Sister Brimley and I are now Zone Sister Training Leaders! Okay. Now I'm stressed.  But it's a lot like the beginning of a new school year, where the amount of work and stuff to do can be overwhelming, but you get the hang of it and then it gets smoother. 
Our classroom is on the 5th floor so we have to go up 10 flights of stairs every day and OH MY LANTA either the air is crazy thin up here or I am just ridiculously out of shape.  I swear it gets harder every day to walk up those stairs.  Also, from 6:00 am to 6:30 am here, they have a morning aerobics class especially for the sisters. We did yoga Thursday morning and it was awesome. Felt a bit more like home, doing yoga. The orange sticker you see on my nametag in the picture was to mark us as first-day new missionaries. So everyone would see our sticker and be like "welcome to the mtc!" which was nice at first but then made you feel like such a newbie. Taking it off was like becoming an adult, haha. It also is kind of awesome and fun to be able to call people "Elder" and "Sister" so we all just say hi to every group we see "hi elders, hi sisters!" or "Thank you, Elder" or "Excuse me, sister" and attach the title to everything just because it reminds us that we are missionaries now. It's kind of fun to be in the cafeteria and just shout, "Elder!" and like 20 elders turn around.

Well, I'll keep you posted! I love this gospel and am working hard to learn all that I can to help bring others to Christ!  

With love, 
Sister Moreland