Sunday, May 3, 2015

{Farewell Talk}

I had some friends ask me to share my farewell talk so here it is!
I have audio as well, so comment below with your email if you want it.

Buenos tardes hermanos y hermanas! And for those of us who don’t yet know Spanish, good afternoon brothers and sisters! As most of you know, I am Sister Devere Morris. For the next 18 months, I will be known as Hermana Morris. I have been assigned to labor in the Peru Huancayo Mission. It’s okay if you can’t say it right, I couldn’t the first few times either. For the next 18 months, I will give up a lot of things. These sacrifices may seem HUGE to someone looking at my life from the outside, but they cannot compare to what I owe my Savior.
I would like to begin with a story. Some of you may or may not know, but I hate white rice. I absolutely hate it. Growing up, I would DREAD the days my dad would make white rice for dinner. I would eat about two bites and maybe gag down two more and I was done. No way would I eat more.
When I was little, I would get really mad when people would laugh at me. I hated being in the spotlight whatsoever. I would do something silly and cute, my parents would laugh and I got mad. I would get super upset and scream at the top of my lungs “DON’T LAUGH AT ME.” Of course, most people thought this was absolutely hilarious and would laugh harder.
One time, I think I was 5 or 6, my mom made me a bowl of white rice. At this point in life, I didn’t like rice, but I would eat it. So I was sitting in my high chair attempting to eat. Supposedly I did something funny, my mom laughed, and I screamed the typical “DON’T LAUGH AT ME!” She kept laughing and in response, I took the bowl of extremely hot rice and poured it upside down on my head. She then took a picture of my red hot, screaming face with rice everywhere and a bowl on my head.
You’re probably all wondering why I have told this extremely embarrassing story. Well. For the next 18 months, I will be eating white rice for at least 2 meals a day. I will be laughed and mocked. I will be put in situations I don’t feel comfortable in. I’ll eat things that are gross and weird. I have “not been called to serve in a place, but in place of the Savior.” I will do all of it in the name of Christ and that’s what is important.
When Bishop Lanegan assigned me with this talk, he wasn’t very specific on my topic. He basically told me to talk about my mission scripture and how it relates to the Atonement. And then he told me only Kadee and I are speaking.. There’s a lot of time to fill.. I reread my mission scripture and it’s not very long. I thought he was crazy for thinking I could speak for so long. I then realized how close to my heart this topic is, and how long I could go on about it.
Alma 26:12. I’m sure you have probably all heard me recite this scripture once or twice. It has had one of the largest influences in my life. A little historical background on my mission scripture. Ammon has been reunited with his brothers and friends. They had been teaching the Lamanites in different areas and they were all very grateful to see each other alive and well. Ammon starts basically saying “Look at all the amazing work that has been done!” The others are concerned and remind him not to boast. Ammon’s powerful reply is recorded in Alma 26:11-37 but the scripture I want to focus on is verse 12. It states READ SCRIPTURE (ribbon bookmark).
This scripture has been critical in my decision to serve a mission. I would read this over and over. This scripture became my desire as what I wanted to be like as a missionary. It was no longer a decision of whether or not I wanted to serve, but how I wanted to serve.
Another deciding factor as to what kind of missionary I want to be comes from this quote.
I want my Savior to recognize me when he returns. I want to know him and I want him to know me. I want to be that “good and faithful servant” spoken of in Matthew 25. I want my banner to be clear.
Here are some other things that influenced me to serve a mission. As many of you know and have seen, I have two pretty awesome parents. I have always looked up to my dad because he decided to serve a mission. He also served in Peru. For as long as I can remember, he tried to teach me some of his Spanish. Whenever I would help him with a project, he would say “gracias” and I learned to reply with “de nada!” This was pretty much all the Spanish I knew until junior high and high school. Little did I know it would actually come in handy!
My mom on the other hand did not serve a mission. She had actually decided she was
going to serve about 2 weeks before she and my dad met. At that time, the mission age was 21 and my mom was not yet 19. My dad returned home from his mission in Peru, and my parents met less than 2 weeks later. There ended up being a wedding reception instead of a mission farewell for my mom. Despite not serving a mission, my mom has always tried to follow God’s plan for her and I think it turned out pretty well.
How faith filled both of these amazing examples are to me. I look at both my parents and attribute a huge portion of my desire to serve to them. Both have always inspired and encouraged me to go. A mission has always been in my tentative plans. Until the age change. That October morning, when I heard President Monson’s announcement, I ran to my mom and said, “Mom I’m going.” She looked at me with a smile and has been extremely supportive since.
So those were some reasons why I wanted to serve. Why do I want to serve now? The answer is love. I have felt my Savior’s love and I cannot help but to share it. The first great commandment Christ gives us is to Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and with all thy mind. So this is how I can show my love for my Savior. I would now like to discuss a little more what the Savior has done for me and what he can do for all of you.
I would like to relate this back to my mission scripture.
Starting in verse 11 of Alma 26, here are some of my favorite tidbits of what missionary work means to me.
VS 11 - I do not boast in my own strength nor in my own wisdom. My joy is full and I will rejoice in God.
VS 12 - I AM NOTHING. For in HIS strength I can do ALL things.
VS 13 - how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell? brought to sing redeeming love
VS 14 - we have reason to praise him forever.
VS 15 - we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work!
VS 16 - Let us glory! We will praise our God forever. Who can glory too much in the Lord?
So how do these verses relate to the Atonement, you ask? Ammon, like Moses recognizes how small he is compared to everything else, yet he also recognizes that through God, all things are possible. In Moses chapter 1, we see yet again, that man is nothing. We are so small and seemingly insignificant, but to God we are everything. Verse 39 of Moses 1 reads …… Because we are imperfect, God knew we needed a Savior. He knew we would make mistakes. A quote I found reflects this perfectly: “When God designed the plan for your life, it wasn’t dependant on you being perfect. Your mistakes are not a surprise to Him.” Heavenly Father sent His Beloved Son to die for us. Just as important, Christ lives for us. He overcame all so that we can too. In His strength, we can do ALL things. What amazing knowledge we have. Christ makes all things possible. As President Monson says, the future is as bright as your faith!
So. How do you prepare for a mission? To quote Elder Bednar from the October 2005 General Conference:
“One of the questions I am asked most frequently by young men is this: “What can I do to prepare most effectively to serve as a full-time missionary?” Such a sincere question deserves a serious response.My dear young brethren, the single most important thing you can do to prepare for a call to serve is tobecome a missionary long before you go on a mission. Please notice that in my answer I emphasized becoming rather than going.”
I heard this is a mission prep class once and it has stuck with me since. To be the best missionary in the field, we need to be the best missionary at home! We do the things we will do as a missionary: scripture study, prayer, fasting, serving. Someone wise once told me to look at every person like they have a sign around their neck that says “make me feel important today!” How different this has made me feel. Heavenly Father tries every day to do this with us, but how often do we ignore His hand in our lives? Let us listen and look for His blessings daily.
How grateful I am to be serving the people of Peru. How blessed I am to have this opportunity. Getting a mission call is like nothing else. You feel your Father’s love so much. For you. For His children you will serve, and for all His sons and daughters. It is an amazing feeling. I was able to receive my mission call the same day as another of my friends. The support and love you feel when you prepare to serve a mission is amazing. I have felt so much love from family and friends as they support and work along side me. I thank you all for this.
As you pack your room, shove 18 months worth of clothes in 2 suitcases, leave behind family and friends, and get ready to go, you really start to consider what is of value. I love my shoes. I love the art on my walls. I love my school and my job. But what really matters beyond all that, is my testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters beyond the hope in Christ that I have. I pray I don’t lose any of my luggage, but I’ll survive if I do. I hope I don’t get sick, but it’s bound to happen. The things of this life last only for a moment. God’s plan is eternal and Christ’s Atonement is perfect.
Brothers and sisters, I would like to share a little piece of my testimony with you. I know that God lives. He is our literal Father. He knows us and loves us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. Just as important to remember, Christ lives for us. He overcame all so that we can. We don't have to do it alone. Christ never asks us to do anything He hasn't already done. He's been there. He's done it all. I know we can gain a personal testimony of our Savior. I know because I've done it. I knelt down and asked God. I felt His peace and I feel it every day. God lives. He loves us. Nothing can change that. I share these things humbly with you, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

xo Hugs and Kisses xo

Until next time,

Hermana Morris

{Mission Preparation Round 9}

Mis queridos!
How are you my dears?
MTC in two days.
On Tuesday, May 5th, I leave for Peru. I'll get to Lima around midnight.
These next few days are going to be long ones.

I promised last week to post my farewell talk!! If you would like audio, comment below and I can share it with you.
I will do a separate post with the text of my talk. 
So what have I done in the last week?

Lots of goodbyes.
Lots of trips to Costco, Walmart, ShopKo, Macey's..
Last minute stuff really adds up and there's more than you think.
And repacking.
And weighing.
And folding.
And shoving.
Leave lots of time to pack... It takes forever..
I went to the temple last week. Twice!
I was super blessed to go to Salt Lake Temple to do a live endowment session.
Once you've seen it, there's no wonder it took 40 years.
The temple is a wonderful place and I invite all to make it a goal to return, or go!
Even just to visit the grounds. The Spirit is there.
Had a party and said more goodbyes.
Church today.
Payson Temple Open House tomorrow.
Getting set apart right after that.
Family dinner.
Tuesday morning comes, and I'm off!!

Can you believe it's already here? The last 13 weeks have flown by! It's crazy!!
I testify that Peru is where I need to be.
I have been blessed so much by this opportunity.
I cannot express my thanks enough.
But I'll try my best to. 

The Church is true. God loves you. Never forget that.

Lots of love!

xo Hugs and Kisses xo

Until next time,

Hermana Morris

Sunday, April 26, 2015

{Mission Preparation Round 8}

The farewell talk. Today.
Can you believe it's here already?
9 days until I depart.
9 days until I get to the Lima MTC.
I will post the transcript of my talk soon <3

I thought the talk went well, and the food afterwards was good.
So that's always a bonus.

So what's the preparation tips for this week?

No, my suitcases are not yet packed. Most of the stuff I have to use daily so naturally I procrastinate.
Here are some useful tips I have found!
Check luggage allowances!
Figure out how large, and how much you can take.
Going over is very expensive and can put you in a panic.
Allow for extra weight!
You are given books and items in the MTC, so don't forget to account for that!
Rule of 4!
If it can't go with at least 4 other things, don't bring it!
You definitely want to be able to use everything you bring. Don't waste any space!!
Get 360 rolley wheels!
These can SAVE YOU in an airport. I have loved mine so far.

So there's my packing tips for this week. I'll try and post more as I actually pack..

Conference talks about missionaries are usually pretty cool.
Preach My Gospel. Like always. Duh.
Book of Mormon. My favorite of this week is Alma 26. (Alma 26:12 is my mission scripture)

So those are my tips and hints this week. It's a short one, but I'm sure you can forgive me.
As always, life is busy and God is good.

xo Hugs and Kisses xo

Until next time,

Hermana Morris

Saturday, April 11, 2015

{Mission Preparation Round 7}

Hola mis amigos.
Como estas?

Bueno! Estoy bien!
I am doing so great! But let me again say, busy!!

I'm just going to put a small plug in for my amazing family and friends!
There's no way I could do this without you guys!
(Visit the blog of one of my besties at
(She's amazing and super pretty so you should do it)

I have some big news for you kids and you should most definitely get hype about this.

*cues drum roll*

I will fly out of Salt Lake on the morning of May 5th!! I will arrive in Peru (late) that night.
It's really happening!!!
Less than a month.
Farewell invites are ordered.
Farewell menu is figured out.
I'm ready! 
(Totally not yet. I definitely need these next 3 weeks.)

Some things to expect: BUSY. People are like "let's hang out!" and you're like "alright how does January of 2017 sound?" 
Seriously. It's craziness these last few weeks.
Expect to be broke as well.
Missionary supplies get pricey. Especially when you have to buy 18 months worth of everything.

This weeks buys:
Tights from ShopKo, JCPenney's, and Dillards
Down Comforter from Macy's
Twin Sheets and King Sheets (to make a comforter cover) from Ross
2 Skirts from Ross
Ponytails and bobby pins from Walmart
Exercise clothes from JCPenny's
PJ's from Dillard's
Shower flip flops from Rue21

As you can see, you have to buy a lot of random things. Thankfully winter clothes and tights were on clearance everywhere! Yay clearance!! 

The sooner you can start shopping, the better. In my opinion at least.
Then again I love to shop.
Here's some thoughts from General Conference this last weekend.

How grateful I am for these amazing leaders in my life. Direct inspiration from our Loving Father in Heaven. I loved conference and all the amazing testimonies of Christ!

Well. Again, I have many things to get done. So I will bid you all farewell.

xo Besos y Abrazos xo

Until next time,

Hermana Morris

Monday, March 30, 2015

{Mission Preparation Round 6}

First off, HUGE apology for skipping last week...
The closer you get to leaving, the busier you are. It's insane.

So be prepared for that crazy busy feeling!
One of the hardest things for me has been staying motivated lately.
I'm tired of working and cleaning my room and packing.
I know it will come soon enough, but it's just to that point.

4 weeks until my farewell and 5 weeks until I leave. 

So what are my tips and helps on staying motivated?
Here's a few things I have found to really help!

*Follow the mission schedule as best you can. 
This includes getting up and exercising! This has helped me start my day out positively, I feel better about myself, and I see progress! And who doesn't love actually getting 8 hours of sleep?

*Keep it all in perspective.
Sometimes the Lord's timing is different than ours. 

I can't tell you how much more often I have prayed since I got my call. Before it was maybe twice or three times a day. Now it's like every 10 minutes I ask for help.

*Serve everyone around you.
Family, friends, coworkers, waiters, anyone. They are all God's children. You never know what they may need. On a mission and in life, we should be serving constantly.
I like to look at people and think, "How can I serve them today?"
It has made me learn to love my friends and family more. This one has changed me tons already.

Well those are a few tips from me. Share with us any you have found helpful to staying motivated!!

This next little section, I just want to share some thoughts and quotes from studying the last few weeks.

"Quit telling God how big your storms are, and start telling your storms how big your God is."
I heard this at church yesterday and loved it. God is greater than ALL.

Quick side story. Last week I had the awesome opportunity to go to lunch with a friend visiting from out of state. He is a very devout Christian, and we had the opportunity to discuss a few things. We talked a lot about Christ and our relationship with him. We naturally discussed our differing views on grace and salvation. He asked me a lot of questions I couldn't answer. I don't know everything, despite the fact that I wish I did.
Some of these questions got me thinking.
Specifically about Christ and my relationship with him. The next chapter in family reading was Mosiah 3.
Mosiah chapter 3.
Honestly it's amazing. I read through it like 3 times in the last week. My heart was filled with gratitude when I realized how much we know about Christ and His Atonement. READ MOSIAH 3. It is amazing and I was honestly so grateful for the knowledge I have. It amazes me how much God wants us to know. We just have to seek.

So those were my greatest spiritual enlightenment of the week.
I know this post is getting long, but I didn't write last week.. Bear with me!!

Here are a few really helpful links to shopping/packing lists!! These are some of my favorites.

This one is helpful to adjusting to those wonderful new G's!
Tips on How to Look Cute with Garments!

I hope these are helpful. I like having multiple lists because I almost always forget something. It's good to compile them to your needs! I hope you all have a fantastic week!

xo Hugs and Kisses xo

Until next time,

Hermana Morris

Monday, March 16, 2015

{Mission Preparation Round 5}

Buenos Dias!!
O Noches.. Depends when you're reading this I guess.

But anywho, howdy friends!
I hope you have had a fabulous week!
My week was actually pretty awesome. It was like a 7 day spiritual high. Fabulous.
If you haven't yet, read chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel.
Here is the link for you all: (PMG chapter 6)
If you want to be a better missionary or a better person in general, STUDY THIS CHAPTER.
I fell in love with it.
Also three of my friends in the field wrote home this week and said to read this chapter.
So go read it right now. Please.

So for your Mission Prep Monday I just want to share some random tips, hints, and knowledge.
Here are some tips from those already in the field and some things I have learned so far!!

1. Read the White Handbook- I know it is sounds so funny but strict obedience really actually does bring blessings.
2. Memorize where scripture mastery scriptures are!! 
3. When you are teaching people, only teach the very basics. Line upon line. Sweet, Simple, and to the point. Think of them as babies in the gospel because that is what they are. They are just being introduced to this stuff and they need the basics first.
4. A small hymn book has come in extremely handy!
5. The gospel art book is great :)

6. Flip Flops are life savers for the MTC.

7. Bring a picture or two at least of your family! People will ask you about your family ALL THE Time!
8. I absolutely love post it notes. The little ones are the best. Scripture markers or colored pens are also kind of a must in my opinion.
9. Bring a small copy of your patriarchal blessing that can fit in your white handbook or journal so you can read it during the sacrament.
10. Bring a watch!
11. The MTC provides you with sheets, a pillow, and a really thin blanket but for me it was enough I could have just sent my bedding right to my mission (it depends on your mission and MTC. Make sure to check!!)
12. Memorize the bullet points in the teaching pamphlets and memorize the 1st vision in PMG.
13.Double sided skirts have been nice.
14.SKIRTS :) Do Not Compromise! I promise that if your skirts are not completely modest you will not feel comfortable wearing them.!!!
15. If  you are going somewhere cold. BRING THERMAL TIGHTS!!!! I LOVE MINE!
16. When you get out be patient with your companion. They are learning too! 
17. SERVE YOUR COMPANION!!!! It is super super super important.
(Above adapted from an email from Sister Kraft, serving in Pennsylvania.)
18. Wait to buy things until you have your call!!
19. Accept help and charity!! Let friends and family gain blessings from helping you. They want to help!
20. Pray for your investigators! It makes all the preparation feel real and they start to become people.
21. Your mission is just as important as everyone else's. God doesn't care more about the people in Peru than He does in Idaho. He loves ALL His children.
22. SERVE. Start serving now. In all you do. Ask yourself "Who can I serve today?" or "How can I serve this person?" I promise it makes a difference.
23. PRAY PRAY PRAY. Ask for help. He wants to help.

I hope this helps!! Comment with any other helpful tips you may have!
Have a wonderful week full of awesome experiences. I testify that through the Atonement and Christ's help, we can change. We can be better. We can become who He wants us to be.

xo Hugs and Kisses xo

Until next time,

Hermana Morris

Monday, March 9, 2015

{Mission Preparation Round 4}

Hola mis amigos!

Happy Mission Prep Monday!!!
Also happy email day! I love hearing from the missionaries!

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. I don't usually like long posts but I feel it's needed today.

Hopefully your week has been great!!

Here's a quick review of my week last week!
Monday: sick
Tuesday: sick 
Wednesday: still sick
Thursday: wisdom teeth removal
Friday: wisdom teeth removal recovery
Saturday: wisdom teeth removal recovery
Sunday: mom super sick and passing out

Long story short, it was an eventful week that was kind of tough.
The great thing about last week, is a. It's over, and b. it's a new week!!

On a similar note, I would like to discuss something.

Today I would like to talk about friends and moving on.

I had some interesting experiences this week with friends and I figured I would share.
Let me start by saying, sometimes you have to let go.
I have a few very difficult friends.
I also have some super awesome friends.
I love them all.

But sometimes you have to love them from afar.

Let me explain.

Let me share my newly found knowledge from this week about friends.

Sometimes they just need to talk.
Sometimes you just need to listen.
As a missionary you do quite a bit of listening.
Or at least you should.

BONUS CHALLENGE: Try hard to specifically listen to one person this week. I promise it will make a difference.

Other times you have to love people. From afar.

Leaving on a mission means leaving a lot of things behind. Sometimes it's friends.

This is hard. I guarantee it's not easy.
Focus on the Lord. 
He will help you make righteous decisions.
Don't let a friendship (or relationship for that matter) get in the way with your relationship with God.
Friends are important. But your relationship with God and your Savior are eternal.

Keep that in mind.
To close, I just want to share a wonderful video with you all.
It's the youth theme from 2014.
Come Unto Christ.

"Come unto Christ, come unto Him. And by His grace be made holy AGAIN."
It's a process friends. Again and again His grace makes us whole.

xo Hugs and Kisses xo

Until next time,

Hermana Morris