Monday, June 2, 2014


As I´m sure you all wondering, Sonia finally got confirmed! It was an incredible experience to see her in the Gospel Principles class. She has matured so much spiritually and her comments are much more appropriate. A testimony is a wonderful thing to watch grow. She also gave me a thumbs up on her way to her seat after the confirmation.

In that Gospel Principles class, several new converts, like Andres, shared very nice experiences. The whole Insfrán family finally came!! I´ll be happy to hear about their baptism in the coming weeks. We have a lesson with them tonight, and like you said, I have a lot of goodbyes to do. I didn´t cry during my last testimony, but I almost did while playing the last hymn "God Be with you till We Meet Again," which I requested.

Now everyone wants me to come by their house and say goodbye. We´ll see what we have time for. I also have mostly planned how I am going to pack things, so I´ll be fine there. There are 8 missionaries going home with me, but only two others will be with all the way to Salt Lake.

Everyone keeps asking me how feel, and I honestly don´t feel much differently yet. But, the best word to describe it would be grateful. The experiences have been unforgettable, the Paraguayans are more than welcoming, and Heavenly Father has always been with me to help me learn and grow.

I think that´s something very important in order to feel at peace at the end of the mission, being grateful. It has also helped to be obedient--I don´t have any guilt nagging at me. Above all, I have tried to give my all to the Lord and to his work. That´s the key. You can´t be a successful missionary if one foot is still at home and one is in the mission. And above all, I have stayed focus on the most amazing miracle I have seen in these two years--Conversion.

Conversion means that someone makes their own decision to follow Christ and change their life to be more like His. And that´s why we´re here. That´s why they gave me a name-tag and flew me all the way from Utah for two years, to help the process of Conversion--giving people access to the Atonement. 

That´s why it´s so important to stay focused on baptism. There are a lot of misconceptions in the church about missionary work, especially when it comes to baptism. Before the mission, I thought  I was coming out here to help people live better lives, and if they didn´t get baptized, oh well. Now I understand that if they don´t get baptized, the changes they have made will most likely not have eternal significance. It´s like a hospital. The nurse that brings food to the patients will make them feel better for a few moments, but only the surgeon will help them make the permanent changes that they need. We are instruments in that surgery, and sometimes it´s tough. We need to work hard and be clear so that the people can understand the importance of repenting now. Everyone needs to understand in the first visit that our goal is to help them get baptized, because waiting longer will probably create confusion.

And above all, baptizing is just a very happy thing. The people I love and remember most are my converts, and I am so grateful to have helped them. I recognize that many great missionaries work hard and don´t bring many people into the waters of baptism. Finding and teaching are noble efforts, and I know I have laid the foundation for many people who were baptized after I left, which is great. But our focus always needs to be on baptism and confirmation, and it is urgent because it is of eternal importance! Salvation is so important, and we need to do the work the way Christ would. 

That´s another thing I have tried to do, always live like Christ would. I know I need to continue doing that for these last days, because I have to keep up the good reputation of the church. So, once again, I am very grateful to all of you for your support, and I will see you soon!

-Elder Morgan the much Older

P.S. I do have two food requests: Krispy Kreme donuts and those layered graham-cracker and caramel bars. I don´t know if you remember them, but they are pretty similar to alfajors. I´ll explain more when I get back.

Monday, May 26, 2014

This is my joy

The theme of this week might be Romans 15:1, a scripture I found and really liked. I don´t know how it translates to English, but those of us who are stronger need to be patient with those who are weaker spiritually. For example, not all the missionaries take the work as seriously as I do. Or yesterday it rained A LOT, and the investigators and members who committed to come to church did not. But, like I learned from that scripture, we just need to be patient, and love everyone even if they are imperfect. Cesar Insfrán was finally going to attend church, but I´ll have to wait until next week, which also means I won´t be at his baptism. It´s frustrating, but if there is one thing I have learned, my mission is not about me. It´s about the Savior Jesus Christ and helping other people come unto him.

Sonia is included in those who didn´t attend, so we´ll also have to wait another week for her confirmation. Interesting turn in the story of Deborah. We had a very straightforward lesson about the Law of Chastity, and without offending her, she realized herself that she is committing adultery. She, as always, wants to get married and baptized. Her member boyfriend does not. One thing led to another, and the next time we went by, they had fought and are no longer living together. So, there´s another baptism for Elder Rodriguez and his next companion.

We had the monthly meeting with the Stake President, and we are seeing slow but visible progress. He is always saying he wants to teach with us, and we decided to invite him to teach Santiago and Sara. Unfortunately, that just made her close off more. All of the wonderful progress we were seeing...ciao. She´s back to not wanting to get married. Now you know why Romans 15:1 is the them of this week.

But that is okay! We had my last Leadership Council today. I took more notes than ever, even though the things I wrote may not be used until my next mission (yes, there will be other missions). It was all about how to be a good leader, and one missionary, who had been here with me in Pa´i Ñu, talked about how I had been a great example correcting him with amor (love) so that the misionary wants to be better. President also talked about an experience he had with us a few weeks ago with a missionary who wanted to go home. Remind me to tell you when I get back. Above all, I was able to give my last testimony, which is also a feeling that everyone looks forward to. I just told them that I know I may not be the best missionary in the mission, but I know that I am the best Elder Morgan I can be, and that´s what is most important. I know that I am a child of God, that Christ died for our sins, and I can be an instrument in his hands. Like it says in Alma 29:9, "this is my joy."

I have learned so much in these years. I am amazed that I couldn´t realize at the beginning of my mission how important baptism is. I think I heard too many stories of "don´t worry how many people you baptize" and misinterpreted them. I have finally gotten as focused on baptism as I think I should have been my whole mission, and our goal is to help the Zone to do the same.

I also had my last interview. It was a great experience. The counsel President gave me was simple, direct, and but not very specific. He didn´t tell me what to do when it comes to work or marriage or anything, just focus on putting God first. He was also very emotional when he realized it was his first exit interview for someone who he had also interviewed at the beginning.

Haha, I didn´t realize I put a double meaning in the subject title. Honestly, I try not to count how much time is left. I just know that June 5 will one day arrive. I´m still feeling like a missionary. Next week, when everything culminates, I will write a little more about what I have learned and how I feel. Know that I will keep praying for you, especially for your back injury and Dave´s passing. I hope everyone is doing alright.


-Elder Morgan the Older

P.S. Elder Brown is my hero.

Monday, May 19, 2014

2 Weeks

Okay, I have to update you on some things that have happened in the last two weeks. That is a very long space of time, just so you know. We had our district activity, where Elder Henrie (our district leader from Idaho) made AMERICAN food. He made brownies, we tried the cream soda recipe (it turned out alright), and I did my best imitation of champ sandwiches from Ernie`s Sports Deli. Cooking eggs and meat for 16 sandwiches is a lot of work.

Last Sunday, like I said, was Stake Conference. It was very spiritual, especially for me personally. I got to see the effects of missionary work done in that Stake while I was there a year ago. The photo attached is of Miguel and Gema, who I found in Costa Bonita. She is from the Nivacle tribe, if you remember me saying that. They got married and baptized after I left, he received the Melchizidek Priesthood, and she is pregnant with their second baby. In San Isidro, two converts who I met while I was there are now doing very well. One, Francisca just received her endowment and her mom, who was very Catholic when I was there, just got baptized thanks to several miracles. The other one is preparing to serve a mission very soon. Just a few results of missionary work here in Fernanda de La Mora Sur.
"My companion and I at the temple."
We went to the temple, which was beautiful. The new video is amazing. We`ll talk more about all that later.

Sonia was finally baptized! But she did it in secret, and her family made her go visit some relatives when she should have been at church for her confirmation. We called her to try to get her to come...but it looks like we`ll have to wait a week. She understands that her baptism isn`t complete, and we visited her with the Benitez family last night. They live nearby and should offer great support.

Marcelina Insfràn and her daughter came to church again. She decided not to go to her meeting, but her husband had to take care of another daughter. She already has a very strong testimony, so the only question is when she`ll be baptized.

We also had a great experience with Santiago. His girlfriend Sara had a dream that she was getting married. We had a very intense lesson about repentance yesterday, and she wanted us to come by again today to talk more, because yesterday she wouldn`t commit to a marriage date.

Well, this subpar internet place is kicking me out early. What can you do? All is well.

Elder Wesley Morgan

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Well, I received my flight plans, and I´ll admit it, I feel like my mission has come to an end. But hey, that´s life. I´m excited to see you all, like we did yesterday, but I will stay focused on the work. Next week I´ll write more about plans for the next life. For now, keep praying for Sonia to stop smoking and for the Insfráns to have faith to keep coming to church. Stake conference was VERY spiritual, and a bonus: I met a returned missionary visiting Paraguay who is studying at Georgetown with Sophie Siebach. God never ceases to amaze me.

Elder Morgan the Older

Monday, May 5, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

"Well, I finally have time to send pictures of our small-ish apartment. As you can see, the other two missionaries are sleeping on the floor. That´s interesting for Elder Henrie, who is more than 2 meters tall."

It was a bit of a hard week. We are losing contact with a lot of investigators, which is tough because we don´t even get the chance to tell them why they should keep investigating. But, we also found a lot of new families, like the couple last night who had heard some bad things about tithing. It was a good lesson, and we are able to shift the focus to baptism and finding out if this church is true. With all of those new people, our biggest challenge is that most people want to wait a few weeks to see what church is like. Elder Morgan doesn´t have time to wait! Well, next week we´re hoping for a lot of people to come to church, especially the Insfrán family, whose daughters were sick but are now committed to come.

Yesterday we asked the bishop when he would interview Andrés for the priesthood. He started to talk about how many people get scared when he talks to them about commandments like tithing, so he likes to wait a few weeks. My companion and I were not very happy with that, but we told him we understand his point of view (from my experience as a counselor I know a little of how hard it is to work people who just aren´t willing to keep the commandments), and luckily the night before Andrés had asked us to help him fill out the tithing envelope. He´s very converted and willing to obey, and the bishop believed us. It sounds like they had a very spiritual experience in the interview--what a relief for everyone.

You asked me a bit about my zone and the area. I can´t think of much more to say about the Paraguayan culture, I feel like I´ve shared everything. The biggest difference in this area is that there are so many members (including less-actives). We contacted a teenage BMXer with long hair who was listening to Linkin Park, and when we went by to teach him, he told us he was a member. Happens all the time with all sorts of people.

We have a great, hard-working zone. One of the sisters who just arrived is Hermana Cortés, who was also with me in Ca´acupé and when she started the mission in Amambay. We´ll also be ending the mission together, which is cool. For the first time, we have two young American district leaders. Elder Henrie, from Idaho, and Elder Walsh, from Utah. They are great to work with.

That´s about it! I look forward to talking about spiritual experiences next week. See you soon!

Elder Morgan the Older

Monday, April 28, 2014

One Thing is Needful

Well, as you can see from the photo, the baptism was a success. Antonia was so nervous she was shaking, and unfortunately her foot came out the first time, so I had to baptize her twice. Andrés shared a great testimony, and I hope they´ll be able to start helping in the ward ASAP. The other man in the photo is Santiago, Andres´s is brother, who is very converted, but his girlfriend Sara still doesn´t want to get married. We need a miracle soon.

We are also praying a lot for Sonia, who finally left the hospital, but still has to spend lots of time taking care of her grandson. Good news--she can´t be near the baby if she´s been smoking, so she said that might be what finally motivates her to quit. Yesterday we shared 2 Nephi 25:23 with her, explaining that Christ´s grace has gotten her this far, but it all depends on her own decision to do her part to quit.

We were hoping to have a family of 8 in church yesterday, but it looks like we´ll have to wait at least one more week. We are teaching their son, Carlos Saldivar, who is trying to overcome a drug addiction. In the first lesson, his parents said they were very Catholic and didn´t want to change, but they are all (he has 5 sisters) willing to come to church with him to provide support. He wants to repent and be baptized, we just have to get the ball rolling by getting him in the church.

We´ve also got the Insfrán family, who I mentioned last week with the introduction to the Book of Mormon. He works on Sundays, but we taught about the Sabbath and the Plan of Salvation, and he understands what he needs to do to change. Once again, it´s just a matter of time until they decide. We are teaching so many great people, and, like Elder Funk said in the last conference, "Hearts Open Daily." So many people are willing to open their doors to this message, we just have to help them have the courage to open the chapel doors and visit us there. The ones who can do that will be the ones who get baptized in the marvelous month of May!

Today we had a great Leadership council. Basically, the first three months were incredible for the mission, and for lots of reasons, the mission didn´t baptize as much in April. President said he had planned to talk about lots of things, but he decided to just focus on regaining the vision to baptize. There was a lot of open discussion, and I shared the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42. We have so many things to worry about as missionaries, and last month we talked about a lot of things to improve in our work with the members, the area book, etc. But, we are really just here for one thing--inviting others to come unto Christ through the ordinances of Baptism and Confirmation. All the other temporal and spiritual things we do are appendages to that purpose. So our zone training (my last one) next week will be focused on that.

About the Sister missionaries...I¨ll just say that the Elders were not receiving any support from the members, for many little things that had been adding up during the last few years. This will give that branch a fresh start, and we´re sure the members will be a lot more sympathetic towards the Sisters.

Honestly, there are a lot of things that happen in the mission that I can´t talk about--because it´s personal for someone else or because I just don´t have time to write everything! Is it alright if I use most of the time in the phone call talking about the experiences I haven´t had time to write about? I would really like to do that with Daniel, and I am not sure what our schedule will be like. I´ll just wait to hear next week and make the necessary arrangements.

Elder Morgan the Older

P.S. I´ll add a bonus photo. For an FHE last week, I made strawberry bars from a recipe on the back of the oatmeal boxes we buy. Turned out great!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

Well, we did not have a baptism this week. Sonia has been in the hospital for a few days with her daughter and newborn granddaughter, who is having lots of complications. She (Sonia) seems to be doing well, and she even said that an extra week free from cigarrettes before the baptism would be good for her. That´s a change of heart!

During weekly planning we decided to talk to Andrés about postponing his baptism a week to make sure his wife does it with him. He said that would be wonderful. They prayed for a sunny day (it has been cold and rainy) so that Antonia could come to church with the baby. On the way they ran into Marlene Centurión, a recent convert who was excited to find someone else going to our church, too. Just a few of the miracles that have made them even more sure. They are such a converted family. We reviewed the baptismal questions last night, and they are 110% ready. Antonia seemed very shy at first, and Andrés seemed like he didn´t want to commit, but they have opened up, trusted in the Lord, and they are now like our second family. Yes, I have a lot of second families here in Paraguay.

So, if all goes well we´ll have three baptisms this Saturday. Debora didn´t come to church, again. But her less-active father-in-law did! Progress! That great family I mentioned last week pretty much tried to drop us, but we were insistent, and they gave us permission to keep teaching their children, who have lots of interest. We also had a great experience reading the introduction to the Book of Mormon with a new family, Cesar and Marcelina Insfrán, who had seemed very closed-off but were very interested by Christ´s visit to America and the opportunity to pray to know the truth.

I don´t normally mention the exchanges I do, but know that we do exchanges just about every week. This week we did TWO. One with Elder Ruiz, a Peruvian who was in my district in the MTC. He´s working hard, but they don´t have much support from their members, especially their branch president. Good news--In our meeting with President Agazzani and the Stake President, one of the many things accomplished was that President is going to take out the four missionaries in that branch and put in two sisters. That should solve a lot of problems.

I also did exchanges with Elder Velasquez, which was interesting because we worked together once in Ciudad del Este--August 2012! It was his last Friday, and we were able to teach 8 lessons that day. That kept him from thinking to much about home. He also sold me one of his SD cards, which is good because the one that came with my camera is full!

Oh, I also wanted to mention an eye-opening lesson I had with Elder Ruiz. We ran into two atheists, who were very intelligent, and knew quite a bit about the church. They mostly wanted to mock religion, so we couldn´t achieve much. But the sad part was when their 6-year-old daughter came out and said she also "used to believe in God." It´s so sad to see a little girl talk about not believing in God the same way she´d say she realized the Easter Bunny doesn´t exist. Though I often do not agree with other religions (haha, that´s a light way to put it), I am SO grateful to serve in a counrty where almost everyone has the tradition of accepting that God exists. Besides helping them live better, more hopeful lives, it saves us a lot of work as missionaries.

Church was very spiritual yesterday, though there wasn´t much about Easter. One of the bishop´s counselors talked about the importance of talking to the investigators at church, something we had shared with him at lunch the day before. Sorry I don´t have much more time to talk about Easter traditions. I think I explained a lot of that last year. They eat a lot of food and watch The Passion of Christ all day. 

They sold the house we wanted to someone else, so we´ll have to keep working on that, along with everything else. And hey, you do have other things to look forward to--like Mother´s Day and Skyping your sons. Hope you enjoy it all! Love you lots!

-Elder Morgan the Older