Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dear Parents and Loved Ones,

Today has been a day of studying, journal writing, game playing and apartment cleaning. Many streets and county roads have been off limits to pedestrians while heavy equipment crews have cleared large trees, fallen rocks and debris and huge piles of leaves, limbs and branches. While all are "safely gathered in" they're also bored and restless.

This afternoon, those missionaries who were evacuated from low lying areas in Connecticut have been allowed to return to their apartments. Elders and Sisters have been given the "all clear" to reach out to branch and ward leaders to inquire as to member homes and clean-up opportunities. We've asked that they be back to their apartments as it gets dark. The fresh air and a little physical labor will feel good.

Tomorrow is P-Day for our mission. You should be hearing from your missionary about their experience over the past few days. As you write them back, you should know that I feel the Lord has greatly blessed our mission with safety and protection in large measure due to the obedience and faith of our missionaries. Every missionary has contributed to our coming through the hurricane without harm or incident by their focused obedience, faith and prayers. Please tell your daughters and sons that their personal worthiness has been the key factor in our mission's blessings. 

We hardly have the words to describe how much we love our missionaries. They lift us and strengthen us and empower us with their work ethic and love for the Lord. They obey with exactness, (which some of you will find hard to believe, but they do!), and they teach with the spirit and they serve with priesthood power and unwavering faith. It's no wonder to us why the the Lord protects them and prospers their work!

We'll move now into a phase of clean-up where we'll have the opportunity to stand side-by-side with neighbors and friends picking-up, cleaning-up and building-up. Our example of hard work and community service will be our Christian message. 

Thank you for sending us such wonderful men and women. They are really amazing! We are still without power or cell service at the mission home but I will continue to access information and communication from the office.

Thank you for your prayers and encouraging thoughts.

All the best,

Tom Morgan

Thomas B. Morgan

New York New York North Mission

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hola familia! Que tuvan una bien semana!

I CANNOT believe how fast this last week went! This is so insane! Next Thursday will be my last P-day in the MTC!

Not much happened last week until about Sunday morning. Usually my hermanas and I wake up early to go to take a shower at like 5:45, 6:00 and that is what they did this Sunday morning. I was sleeping in until 6:30. At 6:10, the fire alarm goes off. We are all like running around mostly thinking that it was just a drill. I couldn't find my hermanas anywhere in the room or the halls so I went in to check the bathroom. Hermana Peterson walked out and was said, "let's go!" but I said, "I can't find hermana Richardson." Sure enough Hermana Richardson had just put conditioner in her hair. So we were like hurry hurry hurry! We got outside and there were sisters in their towels and blankets, and it was cold! They sent us into the gym and told us to just hang tight for a while. We were all like, why would they schedule a fire drill for a Sunday morning? Then the security guard came in and told us that a "bug" (dust mite to be exact) got into the wiring and set off the alarm. We couldn't go eat breakfast at the assigned time of 7:00 so they just told us to all hurry and get ready or else we wouldn't get breakfast. Ya.. that was a great way to start off the morning. But it ended up being a really good day. We had Sister Dibb come and speak to us for Relief Society! We talked about virtue and about Pres. Monson. Last week we had the Relief Society General President! I'm really going to miss this about the MTC.

This Tuesday we got 2 new sisters in our zone! Then on Wednesday 5 more came! The sisters who came on Tuesday are international sisters! Sister Hansen is from Norway. She is the only member in her family. Sister Diezi is from Swizerland. She has a British mother and a Swiss father. Her accent is beautiful because it is like Brittish, German, English. Then we got 5 more sisters Wednesday! This is the most sisters we have had in zone 32 EVER! Our other hermanas left us Tuesday for the Guatemala MTC.

We sang "This is the Christ" for Choir this week! It was seriously so amazing. I really really love the choir. Except the fact that they show us on the screen.

But guess who spoke to us!? Elder Echo Hawk! I personally think that the talk he gave the MTC was better than the Conference talk! He talked about how he came to be a Mormon, and how the hard times in our life help to build us to be bigger, better, stronger members of the Church. He talked about how he was not very interested in the church after he was baptized so a priest quorum adviser said that he would help coach him in football. As he did he became not only better at football but closer to the church. As the school year started he looked at which position he would be playing and was shocked when he saw he would be playing QB. I can't really remember what happened but the first game, he was hit with the "corner" of the football right in the eye and was taken to the hospital. His eye was hemorrhaging, and they had to cover both his eyes. At this moment he "made a deal" with Heavenly Father. He said that if Heavenly father would help him heal quickly, he would read 10 pages of the Book of Mormon each day no matter what. As he began to heal, he remembered the promise that he made and read the Book of Mormon. He also began to be a great football player. He actually ended up getting a scholarship to play football for BYU! But with out the accident he went through he probably wouldn't have read the Book of Mormon, he probably would have fallen the way of his father, and definitely wouldn't be where he is now. It was so cool!

Yesterday when I was hosting I hosted a sister who had been living in my mission!! She said that the church in the city isn't really that big but that people are really curious about it. Especially with Romney running for president. OH MY GOODNESS! I was just thinking that that usually happens the 2 of November and that is like next week! CRAZY!!! You all better vote!!

I am so thankful for my time at the MTC. I seriously am sad that I won't have the Spirit that is here with me constantly in the field. But I know that Heavenly Father is aware of EVERYTHING, even our tiniest worries, and will help us when we put our faith in him.

I love you all so much and I am so thankful for your love and prayers! Today at the temple I ran into my old dance teacher Miss Chris Ollerton. She  reminded me of all the love that is coming my way from outside the MTC. I love you alllll!! Les amo mucho! que tengan un buen dia!! :)

Con Amor, Hermana Lancaster

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hola familia!
I hope that everyone had a wonderful week! I hope that time is flying as fast for you all as it is for me! I can honestly say that these last few weeks have FLOWN by! This Tuesday we will have 2 weeks till NYC! So crazy!
So guess what I got to do this Tuesday, sing in the choir! We meet together every Sunday and Tuesday, and then on Tuesday night we sing at the devotional. There were probably 50 sisters and 100 elders singing but it is always so beautiful! I am so glad that I got to have this experience! I was even shown on the jumbotron!! HOLLLLLAAA! We sang Consider the Lillies which is so pretty and I believe I was told, at least once in my life that it is my dad's favorite song! So it made me think of him! 
The choir director was super hilarious! He told us a great story about our Heavenly Father's love for us. He said, One day a dad was babysitting his 5 kids and thought it would be fun for them to float down the Provo River.  They got a little raft and the dad put the oldest, who was 12, in charge. Then he said, "Okay you guys float down the river and I'll meet you at the end; there is only one part where it gets a little hard. You have to go under this bridge and not run into the barriers....but i know you can do it." So they set of down the river and everthing was going well, until  they got to the part where they had to go under the bridge. Of course they tipped over and lost their raft down the river. As they all came to the bank and started walking up the shore they could see their dad just around the bend holding their raft. He had been watching the whole time, and new everything they were going through. This story really reminded me of Elder Eyring's  Conference talk. I seriously listen to it at least once a week. Please go and read it! it is so good for the soul. 
So we had an amazing teaching moment! We were preparing "Ingrid" for her baptism which is on the 20th. We started talking about the Commandments. The first one we talked about was La Palabra de Sabaduria, or the Word of Wisdom. I explained to her that Heavenly Father has asked us not to partake of harmful substances. Then I asked her how she felt. She was quiet for about 30 seconds. But during those 30 seconds, the Spirit came so strongly. She explained to us that she couldn't be baptized because she was addicted to tabacco. We explained to her that Heavenly Father loves us, and wants us to take care of our bodies. We also explained that we know through the strength of Christ, we can overcome all. We prayed with her for       her to gain strength and we meet with her again tomorrow! Even though "Ingrid" is just our teacher, we care for her so much and want her to be able to be baptized. Especially because she wants it so much! 
Elder Bowen, who spoke in General Conference, spoke to us on Tuesday night! He talked a lot about obedience. 
We got new Hermana's in our room! And they speak Spanish!!! VERY VERY WELL! They will leave the same day as us. One Hermana is serving in Ogden, one in Bolivia, and one in Washington DC South. The sister who is going to DC South is from Chihuahua, Mexico.  
The other Hermana's in our district will be leaving this Tuesday. :( We have become very very close to them, and it is sad that it has already been 3 weeks. They are all leaving for the Guatemala MTC. 
Also, Elder Perfect got his visa! So he will also be leaving us tomorrow! it is so weird! Now there will only be 6 out of 10! It will be very different. 
So today, we got to go to the pharmacy at BYU! It is really close to the MTC but still! we were like, "FREEDOM!" hahaha it was fun.  
So every Wednesday the new missionaries come in, and today while we were walking back from the bookstore we saw some sisters that kind of looked lost.  We asked them where they were headed and saw they were speaking spanish, so we asked them were they were serving. One sister said Virginia then the other said New York!  We were like, "oh what mission?", and she said, "New York, New York."  We were getting more excited and said, "NORTH?" and she was like "Yes!"  We all kind of screamed a little and it was fun! She will be coming out in December. Her name is Hermana Valdez. 
I haven't finished the hand written letters as today has been a little crazy so I promise within the next few days you should be hearing from me on a more personal level. :)
estoy muy agradecida por la opertunidad estar aqui en el CCM. yo se que este lugar es donde Dios me quiere. yo se que mediante la gracia de Jesucristo, podemos llegar a ser las personas Padre Celestial nos nesicita. Yo se que puedo todas las cosas con la ayuda de mi salvador y redentor Jesucristo.
les amo mucho! Tengan un bien semana!
con amor, Hermana Lancaster
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DYLAN! I can't belive you are 9!! That is insane! just think one more birthday then I will be home. It won't take too long. Let me know how your party goes! I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hola Familia!
Can you believe that I have been gone for over a month now! Weird!! I can honestly say I am very very happy with my decision to serve a mission.
So first I will talk about conference because I know everyone wants to know what I think! Haha! I think that Heavenly Father knew exactly when I was going to serve a mission, and if he wanted me to serve when I was 19 he would have changed the date earlier or sent me later. I know I am here, right now, at this exact point in my life for a very specific reason. I couldn't be happier for the 19-20 year old sisters! How amazing that they are able to have this amazing spiritual experience even sooner in life! I can only imagine the marriages between returned missionaries! The amazing families and the spiritual strength they will have! I'M EXCITED!!
So my favorite talks were definitely Elder Eyring's and Elder Bednar's. There was one phrase in particular from President Eyring's talk that really has stuck with me this past week. It was when he was telling the story of his daughter-in-law and how she couldn't have a baby. While walking along the beach one day she said a prayer to Heavenly Father that with this time that He has given her, she would do what he wanted. That is how I feel out here. I am on the Lord's time, and I am ready and willing to do everything the Lord needs of me. Everyday I try to be receptive to the Spirit to be sure I am not missing any guidence that would lead me to someone to help or something to learn!
Then in Elder Bednar's talk, "Becoming Converted"... Need I say more? I know, that as I become converted to this amazing gospel of Jesus Christ, that as I teach, I will teach with the Spirit. The Spirit with then testify to the investigator of the truth of this message and they inturn will be able to become converted.
So, we have devotionals every Tuesday and for the almost 6 weeks we have been here we haven't really had an apostle come to speak to us. We all thought that since General Conference was this past Saturday and Sunday, they would all be taking a break. Well, guess who showed up on Tuesday night? Elder David A. Bednar. Yes! AND I was in the same room as him. AND he taught us some amazing doctrine. He basically taught us his way of analyzing conference talks to be able to get out the Doctrine, the Invitation, and the Blessings and Promises. (There was also a bat on the ceiling of the gym. SCARY!) It was so amazing to feel of the spirit that he brought with him. It is amazing to think that the apostle's of our day are just as close to Christ as were the apostles of Christ 2012 years ago. It is amazing!
So we have 4 Elders in our district who were supposed to be headed to the Columbia MTC in 3 weeks. Well on Tuesday, 3 of the Elders were called down to the travel office around 4 in the afternooon and when they returned, they told us they would be leaving for Columbia at 5 am the next morning. HOW CRAZY! The Elder (Elder Perfect) who didn't receive his visa is doing fine. But now our district has gone from 10 to 7! It is a drastic change but honestly a change for the better.
I can honestly say to you all, Heavenly Father hears our prayers. I have been asking and asking Heavenly Father what I can do to be the missionary that He needs me to be. Then yesterday at the beginning of class, my amazing teacher, Hermana Wetzel, told us to read 2 Nephi 2:14. I think that is what it is, it talks about people who act and people who are acted upon. We listed qualities of the missionary who is acted upon. Usually they are a creature of circumstance and irresponsible. They push the rules and the teachers to the limit. Then there are the missionaries who ACT. They are on task, they know why they are here. They are humble enough to submit themselves to God's will. They are willing to be molded and shaped into the missionary that God needs them to be. It was like Heavenly Father was giving me a personal list of qualites and character traits that would make me be the missionary he needs.
Another answer to my prayers happened this very morning. Everytime I go to the temple, I say a little prayer in my heart, "Heavenly Father, if it be thy will, may I see someone I know at the temple today?" This morning my companion, Hermana Richardson could not find her recommend. We found out about 30 minutes after our scheduled time that it was at the temple, so we headed up. We went into our session and I looked around. There was no one I knew. As I entered the Celestial room I again looked around and saw no one I knew. Realizing I was focusing too much on seeing someone I said a prayer of repentance and headed back to the dressing room. As I walked in, lo and behold, Lezlee Strong! Not only Lezlee Strong but Kristy Strong, Janette Strong and Julie Biesinger. I let out a squeal, and the temple workers looked shocked and asked me what was wrong. I ran into the arms of my wonderful aunts thanking Heavenly Father for the wonderful tender mercy I was experiencing. It was SO good to see all of you! It seemed like no time had passed at all, and when the time to say goodbye came it wasn't to hard. As I left, my spirit was engergized and at peace. As I returned to my room, I fell on my knees and thanked Heavenly Father for his great love. It was such a great day.
I wish that I could have seen all of you! I was definitely sad that my mom, Holly, Beckie and Grandma weren't there. But alas, my prayer was heard and it was WONDERFUL!
Things are wonderful here. As we enter into the 6th week of our missions we are trying to soak in all that we can before we enter the field.
I saw Elder Tyler Johnson today. Oh my goodness. He is probably the most handsome missionary here. I am very excited for him to start his journey here at the MTC and in Argentina. I am also very excited to be seeing him around. :)
I love you all so so SO much! I am so thankful for this amazing oppertunity to not only to come unto Christ myself, but to bring others unto Him as well.
Les Amo Mucho!!

con amor,
Hermana Lancaster

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hola familia!
I hope all is well today! I also know that I have a lot of personal letters to write...I promise I will get to them! I can only write on Thursdays so please keep the letters coming at the usual pace and I will write back personally to them on Thursday.
This last week seems like it went by so fast! I seems I was just barely sending a letter to you! Unfortunatly, we have lost access to the sim card readers so I won't be able to upload anymore pictures. :( Sad day I know. But I will keep them for the next 4 weeks and send them when I get to NY.  
I got a shirt that says New York on it! It has the flag on it and the population and info about the state. The flag isn't as cool as I thought it was going to be but hey, IT'S NEW YORK! :)
A little about these week, I got called to be the Coordinating Sister! haha you may or may not be wondering what this is. Really it is kind of like the Relief Society president but different. All of the sisters attend Relief Society together on Sundays whether your speaking English, Russian, Cantonese, or Spanish you all go to Relief Society together and the MTC Presidents wifes are the presidency. But the Coordinating Sister is over the Zone or the ward. I go to meetings with the zone leaders on Sundays and Tuesdays then when we get new sisters I give them a little info and show them there rooms.  
Speaking of new sisters....WE GOT NEW HERMANAS!! Finally, after 5 weeks of being at the MTC we are no longer the only Hermana's in our Zone. We received 4 new Hermanas yesterday! Hermana Montoya (Guatemala), Hermana Winward (Guatemala), Hermana Scott (RN Nicuragua), Hermana Price (Guatemala). They will all be leaving us in 3 weeks for the Guatemala CCM if visa's allow but we are extremely happy to have them with us! I also got to help 4 new sisters in another zone who didn't have a Coordinating Sister. It was a busy night....but really fun!
We had another district leave. This time it was more bittersweet because we were closer to them. And one of them was such a cutie.  Elder Boazarth and Elder Coombs were our Zone Leaders when we arrived. They are so kind. Especially Elder Boazarth(his smile is to DIE FOR!). They are now serving in Ogden, Utah because their visas to Spain haven't been approved yet. Along with another Elder, Elder Miskin who has now been reassigned to the Referral Center. He was really disappointed at first but then the branch president told us how an Elder in our Zone, one of the new Zone Leaders, was actually taught by referral missionaries at the MTC a year ago and is now serving a mission! How awesome is that! I definitely believe the Lord knows His missionaries and exactly where they are.
On Tuesday we were at a workshop and we were talking about learning to speak the language. When we started it talk about the Atonement, I was trying to figure out how that appiled to speaking Spanish. But then, a train of thought, obviously not my own, began to teach me about how the Atonement is not just for repenting of sins. That Christ suffered for me to be the best that I can be. I was so overwhelmed with thanksgiving. I am sad to say that as I have read Ether 12:27 and read of his grace that I never applied it to the Atonement. I am now forever changed as I think of the Atonment if not hourly, daily and of how it effects me. Especially here at el CCM.
Spanish is coming, and I am very thankful to the Lord for His grace. I know I would never be this far if I didn't have Him to rely on. I also know I wouldn't have made it this far without your support. Thank you so much for the kind words you have sent, and the wonderful packages put together with love! I honestly can say that the love I feel from you all is pushing me onwards. I love you all so much and miss you daily but I know that the Lord is counting on me to take His message to the people who are ready for me in New York. This is why I am here and I could not be happier!
I really hope that you guys send those pictures soon though! I may or may not have forgotten what you all looked like. ;)
Yo se que Jesucristo es me redentor. Yo se que soy una hija de Dios. Yo se que Jose Smith tranducio el Libro de Mormon meidiante el poder de Dios. Estoy muy agradecida por la opertunidad tengo servir Dios y Jesucristo. Estoy agradecida por mi familia y me aman. Estoy agradecida por la Expiacion y que puedo ser limpio meidiante fe en Jesucristo. Este es mi testimonio, en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.
That may or may not be right but hey, I´m close right!!
I love you all so so so much!! Have a wonderful week! Cheer hard for the Boys for me, and also for Springville and the Cougars!!
Con Amor,
Hermana Lancaster

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hola!! Como estan familia!? Yo espero que su esta bien!

It is kinda crazy that it is already Thursday again. People have said that time in the MTC would go by fast, but I really didn't realize how fast it would feel. The day feels so long and I am so tired during the day, but when we go up stairs to our room it takes like 20 minutes for me to go to sleep! It is so weird!

Well I kept track of the goings on through out the last week so that I could actually remember come e-mailing time so here it goes.....
Last Thursday we went to the temple and did initiatories. It was a really great experience.
We met a new teacher that will be working with the new district, and she served with Hermana Reay (from our home ward) in the Dominican Republic! She was like, "Oh you were one of the girls that went down with them to pick her up!" That was pretty cool! She is VERY strict with the Elders, and whenever they get out of line she makes sure to put them in their place. Her Spanish is VERY fast as well, she did learn Dominican Spanish after all, so when I can understand her I feel pretty cool, like I can speak Spanish. :)
 I wrote down mom's letter..mom, I just want to let you know that every time I get a letter from you it is EXACTLY what I am needing to hear. THANK YOU! I got my "sick" package! and I am feeling better! My teacher, Hermana Wetzel told my companion, who is also sick, and I that we should not go to gym time and rest so we can recover and that has been helping trumendously.
Mom, I LOVED the letter on Friday about the lady who served her mission in NYC that delivered at your hospital! It was such a great thing to learn! I CANNOT wait till I get experiences like hers!
We met our mission president's son! He is very cute and told us that the NYC North Mission is awesome! He is serving in Chile!
Saturday I got my first charlie horse here. It is still hurting but I've been rubbing it out. It was so crazy. I was just in bed and all the sudden my calf just siezed up! I was like "what do I do, what do I do?!" to my companions and they were like "just pray!"
We have this awesome Hermana that helps us in our class room named Hermana Platt. She served in Mcallen, Texas and is so kind and reassures us daily of our ability to learn Spanish. She gave us an awesome lesson about being the people of NYC life savers. That there are people out there that only we can bring unto Christ. And this is the reason we need to learn Spanish and that the Lord will always be there to help us.
On my list of things to write I think "Elders going crazy" appeared like 3 times. They just are boys, and it is hard to remember that. Most of the time we feel like their mothers telling them to focus. They are going to be great I already know by their testimonies. The other day I was talking to Hermana Richardson (my companion) and she was like, "I just love our Elders like a mom loves her baby!" We honestly have developed a motherly love for these boys. We got in a little tuffle last night about being on task, which is usually what our fights are about, but we all love each other. Okaayyy so there are these Elders, who well.... they don't look like they are even 19. We basically have the same schedule as them. The same gym, food, laundry, workshop.... we see them everywhere. Even as I write this one, who looks like Tom Cruise when he was young is RIGHT behind me. The other looks like, "chiseled from heaven." My companions and I are very thankful for the ability we have to admire them. It helps us to remember that somewhere out there is a hottie RM waiting to be our husband. So on Sunday I said the prayer in la Santa Cena (Sacrament meeting!) Lets just say all my Spanish left me as I got to the pulpit. There are probably only 45 members of our zone total, but only 6 are girls. My companions and I and the presidencies wifes. All the rest are Elders.
Hahahaha it was funny.... Grandpa Niel sent me a letter!! I was thinking about how grandpa told me that he was going to be coming to the MTC to give Patriarchal blessings at dinner then the loud speaker came on and called off missionaries names to go to the front desk and I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if they called my name?" Then, to my surprise, they called it! I was like, "No way!" I was hoping to see him, but they called me to the front desk to pick up his letter. It was great to hear from him!!
The Brigham City Temple dedication was cool to watch too! I loved Elder Packers love for his wife! So cute! We had a Devotional last week from the guy who does the "I am a Mormon" ads. OH MY GOODNESS! The main place where they have hit the most is NYC! It was so crazy to see all of the ads ALL OVER NYC!! Hopefully this means we will get a lot of people contacting us!
We watched a rebroadcast of Elder Bednar's "How to receive the Spirit". It was really great because that is something that I feel that I had been struggling with. His words of advice were, "Don't worry about it. If you are doing all that you can to be good, your thoughts are probably on the right track so follow them." Also, I didn't know his wife was from Star Valley! Cool!
Every day my companions and I make goals to have so many contacts which is where we bear our testimonies in Spanish to them. It has been really good because now I am able to get out of my comfort zone. I've had like 20! On Monday our companion who has been struggling opened up. Hermana Richardson and I are really out going and when we teach our investigators, she is more reserved and only says what she has written down. On monday we opened up to her about how we feel she is being left out, and we don't want her to feel that way. Then she told us about how she has always been really introverted, and just choosing to go on a mission was hard for her. Hermana Richardson and I basically bore our testimonies to her that we know that the Lord will make weak things strong! She says she is still working on it and Hermana and I are trying our best to keep her included.
On Tuesday, I was SOO tired. I basically fell asleep 3 times during class, and again during the devotional. I haven't been doing my best at asking for the Lord's help, but then on Wednesday I did and it was amazing the difference that I have felt since then!
On Wednesday we got new Hermanas in our room! We are super sad that Hermana Mattson and Morgan have left us but we have been joined by 3 sisters who are headed to Lubbok, Texas. They will only be here for 3 weeks then we will get new ones!

I am so excited for the weeks head!! Things will only get better, and I cannot wait!! Thank you Holly for the amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and letters from cousins! Thank you everyone for your love and prayers! I love you guys so much and can't wait till I get to hear your sweet voices!!


Hermana Lancaster