Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014 - First major Hong Kong Storm & Baptism Disappointment

Well, my family, today I have some interesting things to share. One is very bad, the others are okay. Bad one first.

Last week I mentioned that we had an investigator who might be baptized by today. He is not, nor will he be in the near future. He passed his baptismal interview (which was funny, because he got really nervous, worried that he wouldn't be able to speak clearly, and that the zone leaders would flunk him, so he brought chocolate to bribe us) and was looking awesome. Then, on Friday his girlfriend's sister, who is Christian, anti-d his girlfriend, who stole his phone and blocked all the missionaries' numbers, and told his Dad about stuff, which caused his Dad to get upset and forbid him from ever seeing us, going to church, or being baptized. He still wants to, and is still doing fine, but obviously a major problem. We were pretty devastated. He's changed a ton and loves the gospel, super fun to hang out with, but because of the anti-Mormon sentiment that is really strong in Hong Kong, can't be baptized. It was rough on Sunday, because at that point we didn't know any of this had happened, he just randomly didn't show up, wouldn't answer the phone. We don't really know what else to do, but we have his address. We're thinking of trying to visit his family and convince them, but it's going to take some preparation and faith to even get that to happen. So right now just praying for guidance. He is the first investigator I have really taught a lot or helped progress, and it is hard to see this happen.

But on the bright side, miracles. I did exchanges with a missionary younger than me in Sha Tin, right next door, and it was pretty cool being the daaih tuhng buhn, or senior companion. Previously I felt like I wouldn't have been able to do it at all. Now, if I had to train I could (though I wouldn't like it). Elder Tong and I also learned from this exchange how to do really powerful street baptismal invites, so we invited 5 or 6 people on the street to be baptized. Most refused, but 3 gave us their numbers to meet again and one actually has interest. It makes you feel really cool to go at things with such boldness and faith. Obviously not appropriate for every investigator, and we still need to refine things a lot, but very cool. You feel the spirit.

We had a sort of consolation prize for the other investigator not being at church, in the form of a random kid who showed up for sacrament. We didn't even know who it was, but apparently he had talked to missionaries a couple months ago and came to church, and rescheduled. New Investigator! For all you in other missions, we don't get a lot of new investigators. So this was quite a miracle. While Elder Tong was teaching the kid, I was on splits teaching another investigator who is just ridiculously progressing. His only problem is that he is a bit shy, doesn't know our ward very well at all. But he goes to Institute, reads the Book of Mormon a ton every day, and has already been taught and understands most of the lessons. So start filling the font.

Our zone set some fairly optimistic goals this month. We have not had nearly as many baptisms as we were hoping for, because of things like I previously mentioned, but in almost every other measure we are blowing things out of some sort of fluid. I can't wait for Zone Training this week, it'll be funny.

I also saw (and heard (and am still hearing and seeing)) my first real Hong Kong storm. It's rained before, but on Sunday it started pouring at around 6 o’clock (poor Ma On Shan Elders got drenched) and hasn't really stopped since then. And the thunder. Lightning Lake (in the Uintas) was still definitely the most intense thunder and lightning I've experienced, but last night you could look out at the bay out our window and it seemed like there was a light just flickering on and off, nonstop, for an hour. Crazy. Last night at about 12:00 am, the rain picked up like mad and slammed all our windows and doors until Elder Ah Mu shoved his flip flops under them as jams, at which point it just started whistling through all our air conditioning machines. Crazy.


All that jumping takes a ton of body energy and turns it into heat in your muscles and blood, heat in the trampoline tarp as it warps and stretches, heat in the springs as they expand and contract, and heat in the air as the breezes off you disperse and even out. So all that jumping is basically just heating up the universe a tiny bit and giving that much more entropy to the big entropy monster in the sky. Congrats.


If only all games could just dial in to the appropriate comedy level. Oh well, I told myself I'd stop thinking at all about books, movies, or games, so so much for that. Frau Adams tends to be a bit nice, because she loves her students too much, but still sounds very good. Now go for a 7on your IB German test (a 7 is the highest grade in IB & Joseph’s teacher told him he has a 6), lazy bum. I have realized on my mission how much better my German could have been if I did language study like I do now. I can learn like 30 or 40 new words a day right now, with only about 40 minutes. Imagine what you could do. And German dictionaries are a lot better than Chinese ones.


Abigail. If only she enjoyed violin she'd be amazing at it. I recommend you not let her quit at 16. Just make her keep doing it until she moves out or enjoys it. She's got some talent.

St. George sounds nice. I bet you loved the weather. It really is weird here right now. Humidity is at about 97% so nothing dries unless it's in the dryer. You take a shower and never actually end up all the way dry. You walk for a couple minutes and start sweating. You turn on a fan and immediately are freezing because everything is damp. Weird. We had one day where we went running, and literally water was just condensing on our faces. When we got back to the apartment I had water droplets all over my face and eyelashes.

I also feel like goal setting is extremely important. You already know that, I wrote about it before. I still haven't really gotten a hang of it. But I was reading today in Galatians and Paul talks about the worth of working for righteous things, same as in 2 Nephi I think 17 or 16, talks about wo unto those who take wickedness for righteousness, which I take to mean put things like video games or movies above service. Goals help us use our time more wisely and actually accomplish things. Grandpa Carmack sent me something about that from a friend of his, which talked about how recording accomplished goals is important.

Just so you know, I am a very frugal budget-er. Even with very high travel costs I have $300 left over (which admittedly is only about $40 USD) won through frugality. Very cool.

Weird to think of General Conference again, so fast. There is a guy in our ward who is going to the MTC on the 8th, and I don't know when he'll watch it. It takes a week for it to show up to the Kong, and by that time they'll have already seen it in the MTC. I am looking forward to it. A couple times this week we listened to the 2010 (which we randomly have CD’s for) and it is great. I didn't appreciate it before.


Just like the violin already. It's a wonderful instrument (though not a viola).

I am swimming in a suit coat right now. Through the air.

I am tired all the time these days. If I sit down without something to do I fall asleep. Luckily I always have something to do.

I've seen that movie. (The girls watched "The Other Side of Heaven" on our ride back from St. George this morning).We saw a dead rat being eaten by flies and ants a couple days ago.

Sorry so short, it's because I need time to send pictures.


I know that Dad is first but you always get shortchanged. Rebecca, Rebecca, we discussed this. You can't get sick every weekend. I haven't gotten sick once yet, though gastrointestinal problems are common here. Most missionaries complain about it a lot, but I've been lucky. It's usually not really food poisoning, just that the food is all sort of sketchy and randomly it punishes people. But I eat oatmeal every morning so I'm nice and regular.

I am disturbed that being "in a missionary mood" leads you only to say go convert people. Did you invite anyone to go to General conference with you? Not yet? Repent.


I didn't kill anyone this week, though the parents of a certain investigator should be careful. Honestly, I don't resent them. They obviously think they're helping him. But there are going to be an awful lot of parents or friends who feel really bad when all's said and done. When they look back, they'll feel bad. I hope I can prevent it. Maybe they'll all get baptized. Who knows. I think there's a chance...

Did you ever have something like this happen? Mom?

That is all. I will now send pictures of my shoes falling apart and 10,000 Buddhas.

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014 - "Things seem to be picking up, accelerating, you could say Hastening"

Hello my dear family. I don't have a ton of time today, because I had a very many people who did write unto me a very many words, which did bring a very many happiness in my soul, even unto the gushing out of many tears, and something about bowels and good emotions.

This week was pretty cool. We have had a bit more success this week than before. Slowly but surely things seem to be picking up, accelerating, you could say hastening. A sign of that is that we have someone who probably will be baptized by the next time I write. Vincent is his name. Cheut Gaai (out street, going out on the streets) was his game until the wonderful Shatin Elders got him and his friends. He lives in Tai Wai so a couple weeks ago we took him, and he's pretty great. Elder Tong and I are a little nervous because he still doesn't know the ward too well, he's young, and still has a lot of iffy friends. We don't want him to be baptized and then go “less active”, but we have prayed and feel like he's ready for the 30th. So pray for him this week. I am really excited.

We've got another investigator who's friend already taught the first couple lessons, is going to institute, and has read the entire Book of Mormon. He'll be baptized in April. The only thing about him is that we're all scared that he's too good to be true. I keep asking deep questions, expecting to find some misunderstanding or rote recitation, but he just responds with more perfect answers, so I won't complain.

Met a guy this week named Beaver, skinny neck, super random, loves westerners. He is as weird as David but I am hopeful for him. Met a guy whose wife is going to be baptized into a Catholic church next month, so we'll put a stop to that. Things are nice. But all these people were given to us. WE still haven't found many people on the street. I am still not complaining.

My biggest stress right now is that I really feel the high expectations that the Lord has for us. There are many things that I really need to improve, but sometimes it seems like all I can do are lament for mistakes. Then last night and yesterday in general I realized that never does the Lord counsel us to despair because of sin. In fact he says something to the opposite effect in Moroni 7 (technically Mormon says it but you know my own voice or the voice of my servant it is the same...). So my message today is do not despair because of your weakness or faults. Do not be paralyzed by your sins. We need to have sorrow for them, but also have hope and joy that we can repent of them and do better. Never feel like you failed a day because you messed up, but look at it in the eternal perspective and take another step forward.


Your fatherly advice is much appreciated. I have been (very slowly) reading through the New Testament again, though I rarely feel like I have time. I find Paul's epistles very cool because they all seem to deal with very specific, practical challenges. They seem random or odd sometimes but only because we don't know exactly what the situation was in Greece or Macedonia at the time (or Paul's "eloquence" defeats us). I have learned a lot of practical application of doctrine from them.

We had a very frustrating dinner appointment last night that went over about 1 1/2 hours. I feel like we need to be tougher with the members, but they just have some weird idea that we're all starving and that we want a break from finding. And I don't want to offend them too much. We've talked about it a ton, and they still don't seem to get it quite yet. Oh well, we shall endeavor.

I think of your (and Mom's) example as missionaries often. I am glad that I have such amazing parents who both served missions to give me advice. It really means a lot. In my scriptures, right to the left of Moroni 8 v. 2 is written Glen Morrell. I love you Dad, thank you for your teaching.

I feel cheesy now, so I will try to add something else because this is no way to end a letter. I took some pictures of some German sausage at the Park n Shop this morning, I want your opinion of whether or not to eat them, but I forgot my camera cord today. One is called Pomeranian Frying Sausage, one is called Bio-Wiener and says it comes with "extra Knackig", which I am ashamed to say my meager German no longer can decipher. What is Bio-Wiener, and how much Knackig is too much Knackig?


I am glad to hear my long absence has not yet numbed you to the point of not crying, though I am very disturbed to hear that only at certain meals you feel that I should be there. Hmmmm. At least Rebecca still remembers me.

I am getting receipts, which will be sent home to you to be turned into the insurance company. One should arrive shortly. Acne is better now than before, partially because I now have stopped picking my face at all. You would be proud.

I have “Called to Serve” and “This is the Christ”, and the MoTab performing with the Chinese Children’s Galaxy Choir, randomly. I'd like the “Men of the MoTab”, any other ones that have nice cluster chords, contemplative, classical, minor, or latin songs, or if Dad thinks they're good, or if you think they're good. I like “O Divine Redeemer”, “God So Loved the World”, that type.

You'd be proud of me; today I bought my first pork chop. I have been forced to learn how to cook, though I am still not great. I am at the point now where I don't worry as much about ruining stuff so I just make things. Joseph would do well to do the same.

Remodeling. I know how to say that in Cantonese, randomly. Jong Sau, both high tone. My Cantonese listening and speaking are still nothing amazing, but my vocab is getting okay. The sisters in our ward have both been out for more than a year now; I realized today that vocab wise I have surpassed them. But if I get prideful I will lose it all so I am afraid.

I sent an email to Valerie, but I am super excited to hear about the call. She'll be great. I've also emailed Caroline a few times and she seems super well prepared. It's a pity I'll have to wait so long to see their homecomings, but say la vee (I am tetra lingual.) Valerie should dump her boyfriend now. Not sure what he's thinking, if he's an RM he knows what it's like. He he.

It'll be pretty weird if I get back and you've remodeled. Good luck on that, don't blow the budget. Ask Grandpa Morrell for advice. He's pretty cost efficient.

You should send me more stories from your mission. I realized that I have only ever heard a few of you and Dad's stories. Thank you for your upbringing. It's paying off now.


I have somewhat failed today, no time. I will be quick. David, your friend emailed me. I am happy to hear you have friends. In Canto you can't raise or lower tones at all without changing meanings, so you put particles at the end of the sentence to make them more rude. You’d like it. Chess Pres. for the win. Tell Castleton hi.

Abby, your letter is amusing. You don't seem like the type to get too nervous playing the violin, but I also wouldn't peg you as a blood puker, so hmmm. I see some weird styles in Hong Kong. You’d think it funny, I bet. More extreme then red lip stick.

Rebecca, nice letter this week. Read with Abby. I am glad to hear that at least someone remembers me. You should draw a picture of me. I don't know. I’m just like you, nothing to say. We're both blond. Woo hoo.

Joseph, you should know I battle daily with the temptation to think of physics or science or history. Cherish your opportunities while you can. Tell Mr. Miller Hi.

Sorry this was so lame, but there it is.

Elder Morrell

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014 - 95% Relative Humidity & Different missions in the world can have the same value/worth!

Well, to start I just want to say that you all had pretty good letters this week but Rebecca's was definitely the most angsty and amusing thing I've read on my mission, possibly my life. Made me laugh in the middle of a quiet library full of Chinese people. How did I get here? What will happen next? Tune in next week to find out.

Very nice week. We have had a good deal more success, taught several lessons, what not, and so forth. A month or two ago we would plan our week and every day would be nothing but study, eat, and find. Now we have some activities and actual scheduled lessons, I must say it is quite nice. Thank you for your prayers, I don't know how much they did because I wasn't there praying with you, but I'm certainly not doing it on my own.

We turned over the second to last guy that we found in a 1 week period a couple weeks ago. He was a super cool guy, praying to know what church to join, and we ran into him next to a river. Finally got him scheduled and turned over to the Kowloon Elders, it makes me feel real good inside. Sometimes you need things like that to remind you that it's not about how many investigators you have, but how many there are, period. That is a fairly commonly discussed topic, but still really hard to apply fully. It is tough to really let go of your pride or sense of ownership of the people you teach and remember what's really going on. The best way that I came up with to describe it is that you need to remember, when someone gets baptized whose victory is it? Not yours, not the people who found them, not the fellowshipper in the ward, not the Mission President, not the Bishop, but the person who got baptized, and the Lord. The success we have is between those two people, not us. The fact that they get baptized doesn't do anything to me. It doesn't really affect me at all. It affects them. This is their triumph, their baptism. The thing that affects me is what I do, how much effort to I put forth, home much do I care for them, how much did I pray, etc. That is why missionaries who go to Africa and baptize hundreds of people and missionaries who go to Hong Kong and maybe baptize only 5 people can have missions of the same value, same worth. The only thing that can really change us is our own efforts and the Lord. 

Random, I know. I don't really feel any other deep stuff today, so I will digress. The weather today is warmer, and 95% relative humidity (which I have reasoned probably means 95% of the amount of moisture that could be evaporated in the air for this given temperature, Dad, please correct me if incorrect, this affects me practically, not just scientifically (though frankly the scientific part is the more pressing in my view)). That means that it is warm and sticky. I will not lie, I dislike the humidity. It is hard to explain how but it is quite oppressive. You feel like you just need to bathe or shed layers even if you're cold. Everything is slightly wet, thus slightly sticky. Papers become damp and soft. Vision is obscured. But on the bright side it smells very nice, and is probably great for your skin.

I ran 4 kilometers this morning, which frankly was probably a mistake. Elder Dorman, who we live with, is a fiendish runner, and guilts us into destroying ourselves every morning. Usually we run 2 kilometers, today was quite long. I felt slightly like vomiting when I finished, and was ridiculously sweaty, but really enjoyed it. The problem is that we still need to be able to find well all day long. Oh well.

Today we go to 10,000 Buddhas, which is a mountain with 10,000 Buddhas on it. I will have pictures next week, for now you can content yourself with looking it up.


Just trying to make you proud with the letter writing. It is really hard, actually, because I have very little time to write. Often no time at all. But all the people who write me letters are pretty awesome. Rachel Kirkland, Mo, Grandma and Grandpa Carmack, Caroline, other family, pretty great. So I try.

Oh, and you should tell Grandpa that the books he sent me are slowly torturing me. I have them sitting on a shelf next to my desk, because President Hawks said that later I can read them, but for now I have to live with every week or so reading out one sentence and trying to figure out how this will help me "make friends and influence people". For a person like me, rough.

I too have spent some time looking at houses this week. We went around to some areas that we usually don't go to, because neither of us had ever been to them and we wanted to make sure that the windows of revelation for where to find were all the way open. So far just a lot of money, high fences, and low interest. Look up Peak One and Paramount Hill, should be about opposite sides of Tai Wai. I would really love to live there, I won't lie. Lots of opulence. Nice architecture, next to the jungle, pretty nice. But they're ridiculously expensive and not that big.

If you move while I'm gone I'll be really confused when I get back.

Just remember Mom, if you know you don't have faith like that you've got a nice clear goal of where to end up. Start walking.


I had some weird dream last night where you were cooking some food. Don't know what or why, but it made me a bit sad when I woke up and found that it was time to run. I think that I probably miss home more than a lot of missionaries (because of my naturally home boundedness and amazing family) but I decided early on that if I think about home now I'll just feel stupid when I'm back.

Do you find it odd at all to be doing the other side of the process that forces you to write so many grants? I would. It would be pretty weird to be asked to fellowship a lesson right now.

It's weird that I've been out long enough that you can say "a few months ago..." Even weirder that I can look back and actually see that I've gone through 'a hard time'. But it's true. Things are really nice right now, though none of it is my doing. All our investigators are turned over to us. Keeps you humble, I suppose. You better find more fatherly advice to send. It is usually my favorite part of P-Day.


I hate to say it, but I think you are growing up. "Sniff sniff". The epoch of Zelda games in our house may have passed, and as the Elves said while boarding the ships, the time of Hyrule is past, now dawns the age of Valve.

I think the people in your story should all decide to go back to earth but then the ship breaks. Then everyone feels silly. Or, better yet, it was broken the whole time. All that drama over nothing. OR BETTER STILL massive alien animals burst in and kill them all. Like the book, Deus Ex machina, the writers and the crocodile, ask Dad.

Are you still running? I'm doing my part so just making sure. And go to the temple for once.

Of course I knew about that. Don't be silly, I don't watch history channel for nothing. It's a relative thing. The gravity between the stars in a galaxy is strong enough and the distance is low enough that they don't spread out. On the bigger intergalactic scale the distance is greater. That matters because the space itself is stretching, so the bigger the distance the bigger the stretching, etc.

That happens to me a lot in Personal Study. I'm looking for a specific verse in Exodus and next thing you know I spend 20 minutes reading about how the Ark of the Covenant gave the Philistines emerods in uncomfortable places. 1 Samuel 4 or 5, I think.


This was a pretty well funded party. Where was this? And who threw it? And what did the seeker do? And what do you mean Ravenclaw :(? Ravenclaw is obviously the best house. Where do all the scientists go? Ravenclaw. That is the house of the Engineers, my sister. You have some repenting to do.


They have home teachers, but they are not nearly as good. It is actually quite a problem. In our ward the Bishopric and Elder Quorum president seem to do most of it. But it's also tough because if they don't want to be visited they just block phones and don't tell the guards to let them into the building. There is a decent base of members in Hong Kong, just not quite enough and too many less actives.

I turned into that for a while when I got here because everybody thought, 'Oh, let’s let the new missionary practice'. Nowadays, not too bad, but I feel ya bro, I feel ya. And just like the ads always say, those who are bullied often become bullies. There's something called unrighteous dominion, have you ever heard of it? He he.

I feel like you would like Hong Kong, David. Lots of really random funny stuff. You could be kept amused by just walking around for quite some time.


Wow, quite a teenager. My calendar says you don't turn 13 till next month, but there must be some mistake. You also seem too much like me. Using inferior. Your friends might understand that but I doubt they'd use it much. Ah, the joys of reading.

Well, I'm tired, I'm a missionary, and my hand hurts. I don't want to write anything else. Sorry, that's just how it is. It’s pretty weird to only have 16 months left. I don't know how I feel about that. Becca, you should go to the temple. You can be one of those cool people who make everyone else uncomfortable and guilty in seminary because they don't go to the temple 3 times a week. If you go I'll go with you when I get back.

Read with Abby. If you want something to write, there's your prompt. READ. And REPORT.

Make sure you all have Family Home Evening. Sometimes I worry...
Elder Tong in the elevator.

The parks that go through the chyun we live in.

A random building nearby.

Lots of weird bread here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 10, 2014 - Faith, Miracles, and 65 Baptisms in July

This week had some pretty cool things faat saang, as they say in the Kong. And by cool things, of course, I mean MISSIONARY WORK!!

This was the most effective Sunday I have ever had on my mission. We had 3 people come to church. One of them was an 'eternigator', eternal investigator. That was weird. A Chinese lady just walked up to me in the library and asked me if I knew how to get some stuff from her phone onto 'a paint', or the printer. Unfortunately the phone was an iPhone, thus built with many restrictions and obstacles to prevent the successful accomplishment of tasks without specially, apple made hardware and specially trained apple workers, so she was thwarted. But apparently, people think that because I speak 2 languages I am smart.

Anyway, the eternigator comes to church every week and is probably more active than some members, but doesn't want to be baptized. We had an investigator who was turned over from the other ward that uses our building, who's got a baptismal date and everything, (though he was late because he was the witness of some triad crime at his school and the police were doing witness interviews from 5 pm Saturday to 9 am Sunday) and the last was a new investigator who was turned over from Tsing Yi. He is a member referral from a recent RM who already taught the guy the first two lessons (though we'll have to reteach). He's already read the whole Book of Mormon, which in Hong Kong doesn't happen. Pretty cool. I've never felt like I didn't have enough time to manage all my investigators, and it feels pretty nice. And this is only 3. We have big plans coming.

These plans were started by Elder Holland's visit. He spoke a lot about high expectations and the reality of the dispensation of the fullness of times, the hastening of the work, etc. It was pretty cool. I got to shake yet another apostle's hand. Tick.

It really inspired President Hawks, too (though with him, it probably doesn't take much to trigger inspiration). He has been thinking about how our mission wasn't doing anything for the 65th anniversary of the gospel in Hong Kong, and had some idea. A crazy idea. An idea that we could get       65 Baptisms in July. I will put this into perspective. An above average month is about 35, 36. In 2009, the mission got 64. That was the highest since the early days when it was fishing, not hunting (see Jeremiah 16). 65 baptisms in July, without slacking off on the lead up time or postponing baptismal dates. When they announced that, it made me more excited than a less exciting thing would have. I am filled with desire right now to achieve that goal, to do my part of it. The way we do it is nothing amazing, nothing too new or radical. We just need to be absolutely obedient, work harder, and have it as a goal. Have this as a vision. There is a really great quote by Elder Packer about faith that was included in this announcement. It talks about how normal faith is the belief in things unseen but basically scheduled, the sun the next day, Dad coming back from work each day, the reality of the Savior, the consequence of sin. These things are sometimes un-provable, but predicted, promised, settled. This faith leads us to action. Because we believe the sun will rise the next day, we brush our teeth, because we have faith that tomorrow will happen and we don't want bad breath unless the world's ending (I recommend brushing whether or not you think the world will end). We set the table for Dad because we have faith that he'll be back. We repent and are obedient because we believe that the atonement can help us and we believe that righteous living will make us happy. This is faith.

There is another faith. It is the faith that works not on our actions because of circumstances, but on our circumstances through our actions. It is the faith that changes how things were. It takes the desires of our hearts and makes them as firm and real as the sun rising or Dad coming home. It is the faith that performs miracles. It depends on obedience, on receptiveness to the spirit, on righteous desires, and on goals. It uses and molds our actions to bring to pass what otherwise would not be. This is the faith that, when called upon, moves mountains (e.g. Zerin) or affects the weather or the elements or the hearts of men. This is the faith that works miracles, and causes 65 people to be baptized in July. I don't think I have quite enough of this second kind of faith yet. It is developed by exact obedience and by using personal agency. As an example, Yoshi

Yoshi is a convert in Ma On Shan ward. When he was meeting the missionaries, he decided the church was true and wanted to help them. He saw that their shoes were old, and decided to buy them new shoes. The problem; Yoshi is a teacher and doesn't have that much money. He decided he would pray to get more money to buy the shoes. At this point I would be very impressed if a member had this much faith. But Yoshi has an understanding of miracles. He decided that if God really wants us to test and show our faith first, he couldn't wait until after he got the money. That wouldn't be faith, wouldn't be sacrifice. So, he bought $5000 HK of shoes and gave it to the missionaries, one nice pair each. No idea how he would pay for it. Next week he got a tax return. Exactly the same amount as the shoes, down to the cent. Post dated the same day he bought them. Needless to say, he is doing pretty well right now. He teaches Elder's Quorum. He is not yet an Elder.

We can all work miracles. God wants us to. I think he really, really wants to work more miracles in the world. He doesn't mind us putting ourselves in positions that require miracles, he wants us to. He encourages us to try him and then stand still and see the power of God. Think of Nephi. Think of Ammon. Think of Nephi and Lehi. The War Chapters. Brother of Jared. Peter. Everyone worth writing about. Then do it. That’s what I'm trying to do right now.


Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to break into Festival City, or Peak One, or The Riverpark, or every other really wealthy apartment complex I see. It is a serious distraction. Maybe after my mission...


Business first, I just went to the Dermatologist again today (one of my pictures is his 'vanity wall'. I hate to say it but it outdoes ours) and the antibiotics are doing okay, so we're holding off on Accutane for a while. It has been much better recently. I am sending back two receipts for you to shove down the insurance company's throats. Do not be alarmed.

I don't see a ton of what I always thought of as Chinese food here. Potstickers, yes. They are called Wo Tip if fried, Won Ton if not. They are super cheap to buy and really easy to cook, so we eat them a lot. And there's a restaurant nearby that we just call the Wo Tip place that we go to a lot that has pretty good ones. They eat them with vinegar often. Rice, obviously. You find some things like Orange Chicken or the like, but they are usually not set up like they are in the U.S. It's more like they are part of the meal that you are eating, but you are expected to have some other vegetables besides that so often they are just chicken. They cook a ton of chicken wings. Almost every cheng out. Lots of semi-sweet soup based on carrots and corn and a couple pork ankles. Tons of fish cakes, pork chops, etc. I will cook you all mapo daufu when I get back. It's pretty amazing.

I would actually kind of like some more MoTab stuff. I have listened to the 'This is the Christ' disc quite a lot. Helps me stay more focused, sort of. The 'Men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir' has some nice ones. Anything super American and easy to cook, especially those cheap fettuccine Alfredo boxes. I did find some Mac 'n Cheese. And Reesees. Maybe some more pajamas, or some nice pens. These are just suggestions, not demands. I am doing fine right now. But if you send candy make it all at least chocolate based.

Oh, one of the major changes I've made on my mission is I now like coconut, so that's a thing. Sorry mom.

I like bragging about my eccentric Grandpa Morrell. He usually trumps other people's relatives. Either the 300 tomato plants or the plumbed compressed air indoors. Or having his kids making cement for their driveway.

I really do think that is true, Mom. I know that I felt like I couldn't do any missionary work before my mission because they all already knew about the church, but if no one invites them they probably won't start looking on their own. Be brave about it. If they turn you down, you've still done your part. And it sounds like you're being great with working with the missionaries. I really do feel like that is important. It helps to have willing fellowshippers. The Holy Ghost gives chances to people who will use them. The more willing you are to share the gospel, the more chances you’ll get.


Your emoticon count continues to escalate. I don't have a ton of time either, but I remember what it was like to have my own room for the first time. I was 12, I think. So be grateful. It was quiet. Strange at first. But I liked it. Maybe you'll miss being with Becca, though.


Enjoy the praise while it lasts. Chinese takeout. The irony. Oh, interesting side note. All restaurants here are super fast. Menu has like 80 things on it and if it takes more than 5 minutes to get there you ask questions.

Everything in physics is cool. Wait till rotational mechanics. Oh, that was so much fun...

I like the idea. Try this one. 30 years in the future (about) and the Olympics have become just a big corrupt corporate advertising competition between companies selling various types of prosthetics. They just want to win to get advertising, gov. contracts, etc. Lots of corruption. The athletes aren't that important any more since the technology has totally surpassed people. They are just picked to be the ones showcasing the tech. But obviously, they still have to have things amputated, because otherwise it wouldn't be fair. Main character is the "athlete" for a big company. Add social commentary, could be a nice science fiction. Setting is everything, you know.


I forgot to write to you last week, which filled me with sorrow. I realized right after we left. Now you are punishing me but falling asleep instead of sending me funny, slightly sarcastic letters that consists of you just saying that nothing happened and then taking up all the space that could consist of the interesting things that happened. (Just realized how unfair this is, you guys send one letter, I have to send a cool inspirational and spiritually uplifting thing and write 6 other letters. As we say in China, san fuh saai) I am sorry, but I can't imagine you playing basketball. I don't think I've ever seen it, it just doesn't work in my head. But nice job. Enjoy your big comfy mattress I think it quite odd that of all the beds in the house, I was sleeping on the very smallest. How did that happen?

Keep it up Becca. I really hope you are planning on going on a mission, because you'd get some stuff done. And you already know how to work hard. Plus, everyone in the Hong Kong mission knows we always need more blondes. Well, this is your make-up letter. Notice that it is longer than almost anyone else's. That was on purpose. Because even though you hate me I still love you.

Farewell all, Elder Morrell

How serendipitous. (John got Glen's & Rebecca's email that they wrote late because Glen had to work on Sunday and Rebecca fell asleep.)


I hope you are not intimidated by the many shiny plaques of Doctor Ronald Leung. They outnumber yours, I'm afraid. And we've done the math on his finances a bit. Assuming his secretaries are well paid he's making millions a year. So you have to step it up, or I might stop telling people you're a doctor out of shame. Especially since so many of your (admittedly porcine) patients are being killed by you and not saved.

I really do feel like there is no other circumstances that could have led to me learning this much. The requirement for all men to serve missions is kind of like saying all people need to be baptized, it feels pretty essential for salvation right now.

I would be pretty afraid to go senior companion right now. One move ago I literally think I would have been unable, now I could but I would not enjoy it. That got humbled out of me pretty quickly. Next transfer is in about 5 weeks, I think. Love you, Dad. I brag about you alot (mission stuff, not pig sticker (though I do brag about that too)).

You are not forgotten. Ha ha. Don't worry about mock trail, you're in 7th grade, you've got 2 more years to try. And debate in high school seems a lot more fun than the debate you're used to. So get ready. You seem pretty fast and jumpy to me usually, so I can see the appeal.

Central Hong Kong

John didn't say what this building is.

Dermatologist's wall 

John's desk

Elder Tong (Companion) & Elder Ah Mu (John's MTC Companion and now flat mate)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6, 2014 - "Never say finally at the 7 month mark, it makes you seem silly!"

Well, you don't need to wait any more because this week's letter is here!

Well Family,

It has been a pretty good time recently. Though I have not reached Elder Bennett level success yet (by the way, I took a double take at his email. The South, indeed) we have had some pretty cool things happen recently.

Our companionship has been able to find several people on the street recently. The problem is that, as always, they don't live in our area. But, we were able to teach and schedule several turnover lessons, which actually always makes me really happy. It's nice to feel like you're hastening the work without any pressure to teach well. But seriously, it has been pretty good. We had several weeks of completely dakhaahn schedule, which just means tons of finding. Eventually it pays off.

And I guess what goes around comes around because this coming week we have two turnovers coming to us. We also had a guy that we found on the street randomly tell us he wanted to meet us at church on Sunday, another guy who said about the same thing, a guy who after we taught him a lesson said that 'this really changes my view of things', and many other likewise miracles. I think that I am learning something about finding. It is pretty miserable when it's raining and cold and you spend 5 hours without actually talking to anyone. But I would find like that for a week if I could get one chance to teach a street lesson. I love sharing Joseph Smith's experience on the street, it's always my favorite thing. I love getting to know people. Missionary work has got a lot of hard stuff, but the rewards are pretty great.

Our Bishop has a Family Home Evening every week at his house, and invites us and any other people who want to come (usually converts whose families are not members) and eat and have a lesson. It's usually a highlight of our week. This week we couldn't find anyone to bring with us, and we faced some pretty big temptation to just call this slightly less active family a 'strong missionary purpose' and go eat free, amazing food. But, we decided not to. No point in only being obedient when it's convenient. The purpose of commandments is to change us, if they don't inconvenience us then we didn't get anything out of them.

This week I want to get a bit preachy, because I've been thinking a lot of things that I regret from before my mission. I don't dwell on it too much, but I have realized more and more that I was living far below my privilege and duty before I came here. I went to church and read scriptures regularly, of course. But I have learned that there is a higher plane of life that if we want, we can live on. The Temple (which we got to visit today, and was excellent as always) is a great example. I can remember the decision that I regret the most before my mission. It was about April, I had made a goal to go to the temple every week and do baptisms for the dead. I went the first week on a Friday, and had a really great time. The next week, I waited till about 4 or 5 o’ clock to leave, and something came up, I think I had to drive Becca to something. I remember thinking, "No, I have to go. If I don't go I'll drop this goal and I'll regret it." But I'd waited too long, there was no option. So I said I'd go the next morning. That didn't happen. I wasted a massive blessing. That is something that I regret so much it literally almost brings me to tears. We have such privileges. The Lord has given us a blank check on how much effort we can put into his service. If I could go back I would not play any video games, not watch any TV. I'd do more study, I'd go to the temple, and I’d serve around the house. I know that it's easy for me to say this now, being on a mission. I understand. But I feel like I HAVE to help you all see that we can choose to move up to a higher plane. We can choose to have the spirit with us always, to learn, to have joy and peace. Especially to meinen Brudern, video games are fun, but just put them after these other things. Please. I know that you all pray for me, and I'm grateful. Please know that I pray for you, because I have been given a chance to see what life can be like. It can be better than you can imagine. Please sit down, have a Family Home Evening, set some goals for study or prayer or (and this or is actually a mandatory) temple. Go together. I know Abby is only 10 (almost 11), but Mom and Dad are smart. If there is anything wrong in your lives, know that immersing yourself in the more important things, scriptures, etc, spreads into every facet of your life. The temple can help every facet of your life. Set goals. Please.

Okay, I'll relax a bit now.


You'll be happy to know that we had a couple days of almost summer (for Utah) weather. Warm, sunny, lovely. It made me ridiculously happy for those few days. It was a bit absurd. And I think it tricked the plants too. It's cooled down again but there are flowers EVERYWHERE. Utah's got nothing on Hong Kong flowers. They really are everywhere. I know how to say tulip in Cantonese. Wat Gam Heung, all high tone.

We've got almost 150 missionaries total in the China Hong Kong Mission, I don't know how many zones but 7 sounds about right. 5 Chinese stakes, international, and Macau. There are only 10 native Elders, don't know on Sisters. Relatively few. Our ward mission leader is leaving in April on a mission to Canada. Pretty awesome guy.

It is really weird to think of Dad as 50. That is extremely strange. I guess that makes me pretty old too. Well, drink more water, exercise, I guess? Hate to say it but from what I've seen over here people get old and they get weird. Lots of old people whose day's are filled with complaining about body pain and comparing vegetable prices while being wheeled around by Indonesian maids.

I am very happy to hear you are working so much with YW and missionaries. You probably remember, but it means a lot to have good ward leaders. I'd be happy with you guys as quorum leaders. Oh, yeah they wash all the dishes at restaurants as well. They always poor a glass of hot water into a bowl and wash everything. Super weird.

I really do feel like the Lord is arranging things for us. It's always really cool when someone cancels an appointment, and then we suddenly run into some one on the street.

Hey Abby,

I'm a bit short on time too, but here goes. The most stressful movie I ever watched was Secretariat. I felt the whole time like some injury was about to happen or the horse would lose unexpectedly. Falling through Earth's atmosphere would be nothing. I’m proud of you for your Canyons Youth Symphony exploits. I really like music nowadays, so when I get back you better give me a symphony. Just so you know, I have a big picture of you right next to my desk from the calendar. So I haven't forgotten what you look like, yet. READ WITH BECCA. Refer to top message for why.


That is just like IGN giving Mario Planet 2 a 10. I'm telling you, these boards and panels of judges are all in some hipster's hands, and he's playing them all to keep the mainstream away from the cool stuff so that he can keep playing his fun 'indie' games and watching good movies in peace. I say.


You are given advice similar to Joseph. I don't know who it is but someone is up there messing up the job statistics and ratings. Probably a mechanical engineer trying for better job security.


Maybe I'll stop saying that my Dad is a doctor and start saying he's a butcher. All the books that I've read that involve doctors killing things usually turn into some sort of grotesque artificial life thing. Isle of Martinique (don't know how to spell, Jules Verne, on the Kindle), Frankenstein, etc. On the bright side, you're old now, so you can retire soon and get back to model rocket launching.

I hope you guys laugh at this stuff, it's pretty good.

Spiritual thought first, then engineering. I have been learning a lot recently about the value of the Holy Ghost. I never really appreciated it before, but recently I've just been studying it a ton (PMG chap 4) and I think it is really changing my mission. I don't know how to explain it, but I think I have finally realized (or started to realize, never say finally at the 7 month mark, it makes you seem silly) that the attitude I need is to be an instrument for the Holy Ghost, not a user of it. I need to ask to be led, not ask to lead. I don't know how to explain, but my prayers have become much more fervent, much more pleading for the Holy Ghost to guide me, prepare me, and use me. And I think it really has changed things. IT makes me happier, for one, because I know that if I'm working hard (which I feel like I am) and following the Spirit it's all according to God's plan. I think that might be part of what you were saying.

We saw a remote helicopter this week, about the size of a toilet seat, which had a 5 pound battery pack that got drained in 3 minutes, and had servos that could reverse the pitch of the blades. Crazy.