Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bon Voyage!

Well two cans of spray cheese and 8 weeks later, I'm finally headed to Ukraine!!  I can't believe I'm actually going out into the real missionary world.

I think I mentioned my disposition with the community bathrooms in an earlier email.  It gets better.  The other night, Sister Johnsen and I are brushing our teeth, getting ready for bed.  As we are talking, we notice there is a ferocious sound of splashing water coming from one of the shower stalls, which has a bathtub in it.  To our horror, we realized someone had filled the yucky, thousand year old tub up with water and decided to BATHE in it.  I'm not sure if she was a swimmer before all this, but as the sound of ferocious splashing continues, I became more confident that she was practicing her backstroke.  I think she could be the next Michael Phelps with that kind of dedication.

Another funny moment that happened this week was when our whole Zone was doing a language practice program on the computer.  And me, being the devoted little missionary I am, was busy working, when out of nowhere, I get hit in the head with carrot flying full speed.  Yes you read that right, a carrot.  I never knew how bad carrots could hurt.  Well it turns out that Elder Olsen was trying to throw his carrot into the garbage can that was probably ten feet behind me... he was a little off.  I had to embarrassingly walk around with a red mark on my forehead for the remainder of the day.

Our district had a bit of a hard time this week because our beloved Sister Grant decided to go home.  Just ten days before coming to the MTC, her older brother passed away.  But still, she decided follow her prompting that she needed to go on her mission.  She has been dealing with so much emotional distress these last few weeks and prayerfully made the decision to go home.  It was such a bittersweet moment to watch her leave because our district has become so close; we're like an MTC family.  It's been amazing to watch her grow, she's such an inspiration to me personally; it made me realize that God often has us go through things, rather than under them or over them, because it's an experience we need.  One of the most significant things she said was, " I know I was meant to come to the MTC because I was meant to meet all of you.  I think I would have been so mad at God for letting my brother die, but instead I've become closer to Him."  If you look back at the hardest times in your life, what did you learn from those experiences?  I know that everything that happens in this life has a purpose and sometimes it just takes time to find out what it is.

"Step into the dark believing that the light will follow."

To the right is a picture of a package of cookies my mom sent me.  I think she was making a fat joke when she wrote the sticky note "To Share" thinking that I would eat twenty frosted sugar cookies by myself.  Cool Mom.

Thank you for all your love and support! 

Cectpa Morris

Ukraine-Dnepropetrovsk Mission

Pictures from July 22nd

Our Companionship in a Picture
Roomies <3

Cute Sister Fotheringham

Sister Odom

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


This week, as I was looking through my journal to see what to put in this email, I came across the beginning of a journal entry that pretty much sums this week up perfectly:
"What a beautiful, beautiful day.  Also... I'm not sure how many cupcakes I just consume."

Basically, I'm just getting my sugar-fix in before I leave for Ukraine in two weeks because I hear they don't have very good desserts.

This week was pretty normal.  There was however, a very interesting lesson given with another acting investigator.  As my companions and I were leaving the lesson, our investigator told me I look French?  I said, "Thank you!" excitedly, but his reaction made it clear he didn't mean it as a compliment.  We're all still trying to figure that one out. 

The first week I arrived, I decided to purchase a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon, write the question "Can I be a successful Russian speaking missionary?" in the front of it, and then read and highlight missionary scriptures throughout the entire book.  I am about 2/3 of the way done, but this week I somehow misplaced my book and couldn't find it.  I was so upset because the book had become a significant source of confidence and was very special to me.  Like any "good" missionary, I prayed fervently to find it again.  On Sunday, while walking to Relief Society, I saw my Book of Mormon sitting on a table in the hall alcove.  I was so relieved!  When I picked up my book, I realized why is had gone missing.  On the front was a sticky note that said, "To whom ever left this here - thank you.  As I thumbed through it, your highlighted verses were exactly the confidence boost I needed.  The question in the front has been echoing in my mind for the past few weeks.  This book being here at this time has been the answer to many tear-filled prayers.  Thank you, you will be an inspiring missionary."  I was so touched that Heavenly Father had chosen to use something that I had done to answer someone else's prayers.  It's amazing to think that whoever read my book could have simply left with an increased confidence in their abilities, but I know that Heavenly Father inspired them to leave a note so that I could also be blessed from this experience.  It is so miraculous to see how each and every one of us affects one another, even when we don't try.  It strongly reminds me how important being a good example is.  We all radiate ourselves to other through our actions.  Your thoughts affect your choices, and your choices determine who you will be. 

Thank you for all the love and support! I love you all!



Cectpa Morris

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Russian, Russian, and more Russian!

Another week has just flown by.  This week was filled with a lot of fun activities such as making microwave s'mores, celebrating the 4th of July, Russian, Russian, and more Russian! 

So today... the best thing ever happened.  We have an ID card that we use to get into all the buildings and we always have to have it with us… and today… mine accidentally fell into the toilet!  As if using community bathrooms weren’t bad enough, I then had to put my hand into the COMMUNITY TOILET to retrieve my card.  Definitely a highlight of my life. 

Spending the 4th of July here was a very humbling experience.  A little ironic too.  Here at the MTC you are on a very strict schedule and you are confined to the Church property.  Yes, I am comparing it to a prison.  I was made aware of how beautiful this land we have to live in is.  We are SO blessed to be able to worship however we please, and to be able to live however we want.  Granted America doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation, but there is always hope for the future.  I truly believe that we are different from any country in the world.  I now sound like I am about to announce my bid for the 2035 Presidential Election, sorry about that, ha ha.  But I am truly proud to be a citizen of this country.

This week was Fast Sunday, so we bore our testimonies (in Russian) in sacrament.  It was probably one of the scariest things I've ever done, but I decided to trust in God and bear my testimony.  I wish I could say that some big miracle happened and that I gave a ten-minute testimony in perfect fluent Russian, but that was not the case.  My testimony was probably 1-2 minutes of broken Russia but nevertheless, it was one of the most spiritual experiences I've had.  I think back to four weeks ago and I literally couldn’t say "hello" in Russian.  Now I can testify of the gospel in it!  I know that the Lord answers prayers.  Sometimes it takes a lot of time.  I've spent many days of these past few weeks frustrated with myself because I am not learning as fast as I would like.  Looking back, I realize there was no way I could have learned all that I could on my own.  It made me realize that sometimes we don’t realize that God has been there all along. 

I am a firm believer in prayer.  Prayer is literally our lifeline to God.  Never feel like you are not worthy to talk to God because of what you've done because that is just the Devil trying to keep you from feeling the relieving power of the Atonement.  God wants to hear from us because we are His children.

Quote for the week: "Have courage and be kind." (Thank you Cinderella)

Thank you for all your love and support!



Cectpa Morris

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Truly Blessed . . . Except for Bats!

Ether 12:27

What an adventure filled week!

The Russian speakers have an intense passion for volleyball during gym time.  You make your best friends and enemies during volleyball time.  It’s SO much fun.  There have been few times in my life where I laughed harder than at the MTC. 

This week, I learned that if you ever complain about moving, they will make you move again.  I was once again reminded of how much I packed when a "bat infestation" was reported in our building.  The bat infestation required that everyone evacuate the building within only a few hours.  Ironically, our new room was literally the door next to the first room we had.  This time, no one is completely unpacking because we fear they will make us move yet again.  We are also all convinced the "bat infestation" was a conspiracy because the workers have yet to find any bats.  It was probably the people we beat in volleyball trying to get revenge. 

But besides all the moving, the MTC is amazing and I've really grown to love it.  It's been a journey, but I've learned so much.  I have met tons of amazing people from all over the world.  The Spirit here is so strong its like you can touch it!  Only one month left until I leave for Ukraine, crazy!  I'm both terrified and excited all at the same time. 

Another enjoyable thing this week was being blessed by having Taco Bell, Subway, Costa Vida, AND Chick-fila catered!!  I think I almost started crying tears of joy.  When wondering what was being catered for dinner, one of my companions decided to tell the whole MTC that Texas Roadhouse was going to be serving us.  That's when we found our new passion for spreading rumors; its our new favorite thing to do.  Every day we pick a hilarious (innocent) rumor and stand by people and say, "Did you hear..." and automatically the people next to us will start talking about it.  Shoot me a Dear Elder if you have any good ones, hehe.

This week I met my mission presidents.  They are such amazing people!  They have a son who is serving in Denmark who gets released in August.  He flies straight from Denmark to Ukraine and gets to stay with his parents for six days and then he flies home.  I can only imagine how hard that is for his mom; it's amazing what people give up to serve the Lord

Quote of the week:
"Your only concern should be to do better than we did yesterday. Step by step is the law of growth. God does not expect the acorn to be a mighty oak before it has been a sapling."
                                              - George E. Carpenter

One of the characteristics I struggle with the most is patience.  But I've learned that when we do our VERY BEST, then we've done all that we can do.  Learning to be successful and developing personal growth takes a lot of time and a lot of patience.  Don't give up, keep moving forward!

Have a wonderful Fourth of July!  Enjoy all the parades, family, friends, fireworks, and freedom, for we are truly blessed.


Cectpa Morris
Ukraine-Dnepropetrovsk Mission