Feb 18, 2010

Feb 18, 2010
Thanks to all the friends who showed up at the airport - we were so surprised to find out how many have been following the blog for 2 years. You all are great!

Elder Nowland and His Friends

Elder Nowland and His Friends
We've Been waiting for you.

29 August 2009

29 August 2009

Morgan sent us pictures of his apartment and also of a few of his
companions who were going home this past transfer.

View from the apt balcony

Elder Nowland's study desk (below) - nice and neat.

Perfect for picture taking. Actually he is a pretty neat young man for the most part. Some of you remember I coordinated all of the colors of his mission items (orange) so it would be easy for him to keep up with. He got his call in October so everything was orange anyway. So you will see these throughout the pictures. My other mom friends thought I certainly had OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder - yeah so!)
Orange supply box with orange stapler, orange sticky notes, orange scissors in the box.

Bedroom Area - notice his orange suitcases.

Kitchen - pretty modern. They must have just cleaned for the apartment check or something. This is just way to clean for missionaries.


Closets and his companions bed.

Here is Elder Nowland's bed. He asked me to
make him a lite weight spread for his bed with
the pattern of the Czech flag. I am happy to
see he is still using that. Under that you will
see his orange sheets and pillow case.

Study Area

Previous Companions who were
getting ready to go home.
Elder Chambers, Elder Nowland, Elder Wilding

Elder Chambers and Elder Nowland
they are great friends

Here they are again. They served in Olomouc
together in Morgan's 2nd area
and had great success together. They will remain friends
forever. Elder Chambers mom and I developed a great
friendship also. We love our boys. Aren't they awesome.

Now for Elder Nowland's letter for this week:

I just got back on Thursday evening from another week of conferences. It was a lot of fun! But I'm not going to lie about that fact that i was completely exhausted afterward. We started off in Brno, where i had some interesting feelings run through me as i watched Elders Guzy and Barker give their departing testimonies!!!! it was super weird!! because i remember serving with Elder Barker and him being scared because he had only 5 transfers left. Yeah....now he is in his last one. Our companionship study training got progressively better. Our best run of it was in Praha. We had this one training called the "silver bullet" which focused on the standards of excellence. For part of the visual aid we had a missionary shoot a silver birthday hat off my head with a Nerf gun. It was a lot of fun and surprisingly no one took advantage of the opportunity to shoot me in the face. Elder Strupp at the Prague conference nailed it first shot! I was impressed.

Cool story of the week was that we had been on exchanges in a little city called Zlin and then another little city called Jihlava. After these exchanges we were completely worn out. We had worked so hard and diligently to find people in those areas. We were in the car on our way home when i vocalised what we were both thinking. I said,"when we get back to praha we need to go out and find, the Lord has someone prepared for us." So we went. We took the metro to the stop Namesti Miru. We get out and make our way up the stairs, right as we were on the pavement Elder Briggs takes about two steps and contacts this guy that has an ice cream cone. The guy is interested and walks back to sit down with us on a bench, we talk about Heavenly Father, Prayer and the Book of Mormon. When this guy sees the Book of Mormon he got really excited. He said something to the effect that, patterns repeat in this world so often, just like when Christ came to the earth and started preaching something slightly new, and the pharisees and leaders of the church all denied Him and hated Him, even today people are still doing that. He said many wise things that were very impressing for a man that is not a part of any church. This man, whose name is Pavel (Paul), has clean cut hair, he is shaven, kind, intelligent, has a job, a home, a great desire to improve and progress, he knows the bible, he speaks czech and english, and is possibly a father (we didn't find out too much about his family) Pavel is what we would call a "Kingdom Builder" he could very easily become the next young mens president, or branch president. He could hardly wait for us to hand him the Book of Mormon. he opened it, closed it, then looked at us and said," I'll read it." From this experience i learned that for miracles to occur we need a few things. We need obedience all the time, we need faith that the Lord is watching over us, we must make sacrifice (hard work even when we are having little to no success), and then when the feeling hits us that we are ready to go in or to stop, we say a prayer asking for strength, and then go out fully expecting and waiting for the Lord to provide. It was a great experience, i slept well thursday night.

It was a truly great learning week. I had a lot of fun. Slovakia is absolutely beautiful. Rolling hills....It looks like the Shire from Lord of the Rings. Marvelous!
Momma, make sure to take care of yourself, lots of rest and patience.
(mom's note: I hurt my back (herniated disc) last week when we were in Utah for our son-in-laws graduation from BYU - but I am doing much better)

I love you all enjoy this next week!--
With love, Your son,
Starsi Morgan Nowland

22 August 2009

22 August 2009

Cau! I'm glad you had fun in Utah! The weather looks like it behaved while you all were there. Thank you for sending the pictures. Everyone seems to be the same for the most part. It is a slightly different family to look at with a newly added member. I'm glad you all had fun together.

This week i had a really cool experience with my testimony of the Book of Mormon. the story can be a long one but i will try to keep it short. we were talking with a guy out on Namesti Miru. He started out as being very interested in what we believe, but really just wanted to prove to us that his ideas about us not needing a church or anyone for that matter other than God were the true way that God wanted us to live. He was all over the place and very unfocused. He caused a very strong spirit of contention as he was cutting my companion off everytime he tried to teach this man something or testify to him. I felt suddenly very alone and empty as the Holy Ghost left because of the level of contention between this man and my companion. I stood up because i wanted to leave. Once we kindly said goodbye and walked away, i said a prayer in my heart asking the Lord to please send his spirit back and to calm my heart, for it was beating very fast. After having offered up that prayer, I felt an impulse to read the Book of Mormon in Moroni 10:3-5, and continuing to 6 and 7. I read out loud in an effort to bring the spirit back to the both of us. We were waiting down in the metro when i started reading. To explain a little bit, i have never felt that horrible and completely alone in a long time. I have always had trouble recognizing what the spirit feels like, i was always looking for some powerful feeling that would be super noticeable when a person had it, but i came to find out that the spirit is a very simple feeling of calm and quiet comfort. As righteous people we have this feeling always. It is when we offend the spirit that we really notice the difference. So as i read these passages from the prophet Moroni, I felt my heart and chest fill so quickly with love and peace and that quiet comfort that my body didn't know what to do or how to react other than to send tears pouring from my eyes. I cant remember the last time i cried but i dont ever remember crying quite like this, and i could not stop, which was funny because i felt the desire to keep reading but i couldn't read the words for the tears that were filling my eyes. It was a bit embarassing in front my companion, but that experience was so powerful for me. Any doubts that i had ever had about the Book of Mormon being written by God through living prophets were completely washed away with those tears. I know that God exists. I know that he loves me and cares for me. His love was shown to me that night in the Book of Mormon. He does want us to know who He is, He does want us to know what the purpose of this life is, He does, and has made that love for us boldly evident through the revealing of more scripture in addition to the words that he had been revealing with the books of the Bible. The Book of Mormon was compiled and written by those prophets of old for the sole purpose of proving more powerfully to all of mankind here on earth that Jesus is The Christ, the living son of a living God, Our living God; and that we need not be lost our confused anymore about what the gospel of Jesus Christ is and what it isnt. It was a truly great experience for me.

Question time! Your b-day is coming up. Anything you would like? The only thing i can think of would be those scriptures that i wrote about last week, but i would want those to stay there at home with you all.

How's your new comp? He is a good hard working missionary. We've served together already so that makes it easier.

Are you impacted at all by the Swine Flu or these other Flu viruses going around? nope not yet at least
Did you ever get the envelope of the posters that I made? I did, Sister Robbins thought it was way funny, and President got a good kick out of it. We all agreed that someone has too much time on their hands and loves being a missionary mom.
Did you ever use the Bumblebee training idea? not yet but i was looking at it the other day stewing over it a little.

Family, you are the greatest. I love you and am thankful for you.--

With love, Your son, Starsi Morgan Nowland.

21 August 2009

15 Aug 2009

We have been so busy this week. Picking up new missionaries getting a new companion (see questions below), taking old missionaries to the airport, and having leadership conference. I don't think that i have ever been as tired on my mission before as i was this week. We lost a lot of sleep due to getting up early and getting to bed late. No fears though, the reason that we got to bed late was because of President and assisting him with the old missionaries and other items of business. It was really neat though that i got to see Elder Chambers' parents. His mother said so many nice things about momma. She said that she was so thankful that momma talked to her and kept her updated on what was going on with her son. She said that momma was such a wonderful lady and knew for sure that she was a wonderful mother. She said that momma was always so loving and kind and that she really enjoyed the conversations that she had with you mommy.
My letter is going to be a little short today because i was just downstairs in the building with a gentleman that was homeless and looking for food and clothes. I got him something to eat and gave him a coat and shorts. I sat and talked with him for a little bit. He is originally from slovakia so he was speaking a mix between slovak and czech. He is a little mentally ill. He was kind. It was really sad for me because he said that he doesn't love his family because they can't help him anymore. So now he is homeless and on his own. I couldn't imagine that kind of life. a life without family, without love. I will always strive to show kindness and love to others.

I'm happy and healthy, my allergies have been acting up a little but no worries.

Here are the questions of the week:
Who is your new companion? My new Companion is ........[drum roll please].......Elder Briggs!!! Round two!!! Where is he from? He is from North Carolina
Do you want anything from BYU? Maybe, a book. "The Apostasy" by James E. Talmage.
Ok so there is a missionary here who has the small size Quad that I have and use. But get this his is not the quad all-in-one version like mine, but his is the split version. The Bible and then the Triple. I would absolutely love to have that version of the scriptures. I would be so excited. The color of choice would be first in brown, then black. I would ask that you not send them to me though. But keep them at home for me to use when i get back. I will pay you back for them once i get home. I love you tons.
You are the coolest family ever!!
When you send "the Apostasy," if there is still room in the box could you send the cinnamon poptarts, and cheese grits again?!!
Thanks I really appreciate you all so much as my family. You all mean so much more to me since i have been away. Take care until next week.--
With love, Your son,Starsi Morgan Nowland

08 August 2009

8 Aug 2009

Hello Family and Friends -
This is Morgan's Mom - I did get pictures this week after much begging. But I have to preface them with this: Morgan has NEVER been able to take a picture with a "normal" face. You should see our family photo album. We can take 5 quick photos on the camera and he will have a different goofy face in every one of them. So with that being said, here he is. Nothing has changed, even as a 20 year old.
A package for the AP and Office Elders...

...some serious stuff

A sign - OK - I need a translator for this one,
but it says something about the name of the Church and a date. I guess I will have to wait until February when our translator gets home to find out what it says. Or if you don't want to wait, you could just google it. hmmm now there is a thought.

I want to go here someday. I wish he would send me little titles to the pictures, but I guess I should just be grateful that we get pictures.

This is Elder Nowland, Elder Guzy and Matthew Slovacek - the Mission President and Sister Slovacek's son. He is a return missionary and has come back to Prague to visit his parents. He caught up with these two while they were on their P-Day in Downtown Prague

Now for Elder Nowland's letter for this week:


This week is the week of transfers. That means that we have not yet had transfers but Elder Guzy and i have been spending quite a bit of time with President at the transfer board trying to figure out who needs to go where, who needs to take on more responsibility, who needs to move out of their city, etc.
Getting the sisters worked out just right was quite difficult. Zone Leaders and my next companion proved to be the next difficult task. It has been a lot of fun though to work so closely with President, counselling together about what should take place.

A really cool success story this week was that Elder Guzy and I had just had a meeting with a guy named Gus. We were hungry and were deciding where we should go to eat. As we were walking across Namesti Miru (Town Square of peace) Elder Guzy contacted a young man sitting on a bench. He is a young man with a piercing right through his lower lip. He would appear to be a bit of a punk, but he is such a humble young man. He was actually sitting reading a book called "On the Boarder of Truth." It is about a reformer named Jan Hus. We had a very spiritual conversation with him on a bench on this town square that was positioned right in front of a massive catholic church. (Ironic huh?) We taught him about knowing the truth of all things through prayer. He agreed with the things that we discussed and set up a meeting for the next day. He came the next day a little late and a little flustered. He had been running from job to job, and still had another to go to, so he only had like 15 minutes, but told us that he had to keep his word to us even though he would only have 15 minutes. We gave him the Book of Mormon and challenged him to read Ether 12. He happily accepted. A very cool story and success for me that it does not matter what a person looks like, or how they act; they might very well be the person who is most seeking for the truth, they just dont know where or how to find it.
The Work is still going forth. We have had a lot of meetings this week. things are working out well for us. We have been blessed to teach 14 lessons already this week. the Lord is truly blessing us.

Question time:
Did you get transferred? Nope, Assistants always stay for at least two transfers
Did you get a new companion? Not yet, on Monday
What interesting thing did you do this week? Umm i stared at a board for a long time to figure out which missionaries should serve together and where changes should be made!!
Is it scary to drive in the Czech Republic?
a little bit but it is not too bad after you get used to it.
Do you drive on the "wrong" side of the road? nope the road system here is pretty similar to that in america. the big difference is no turning on RED!
Is the drivers seat on the opposite side of the car from here? nope same side.
Take a picture of you by your car OK? Ok, that is not a question momma
Take pictures of your new apt OK? Ok,....still not a question
MORE PICTURES PLEASE-PRETTY PLEASE? Not going to answer one this because it is not a question.Mother, we might need to take some time to re-explain the difference between a question and a command.
(note from mom: I figured if I put a note to him in the question part that he has to answer about sending me pictures, I might get some, hence the funny little replies - it worked, I got some pictures - hehe)

I love you all so much and am thankful for the motivation that i recieve from your letters.

Do something fun and unique this week! --
With love,
Your son,Starsi Morgan Nowland

01 August 2009

01 Aug 2009

So this week has been really quite hectic because there is a young single adult conferencce going on in a little city outside of Prague about 2 hours away. Elder Guzy and i were basically the shuttle service for the conference from Prague. We mainly had to bring a senior couple that is serving in Moldova to the conference and then back today so that they could fly to Holland. So today we were on the road for about 5 hours. After getting back to Prague, we ran into another senior couple that is from Serbia. Their son served here in the Czech Republic as a missionary and they had arranged to meet up with a family that their son baptised. This family has been in-active for the past 15 years and this meeting is a opportunity to get them active again in the church. So we have been translating between the two for the past hour. It was a really great experience. Tears were shed and i could feel a great sense of love in the room as these two worlds were being brought back together again. It was a testimony to me that there is missionary work to be done all over the world in all sorts of different settings. This world really is a small one. I love this gospel and the truth and happiness that it brings to people all over the world. Since i am short on time i will get to your questions.
Do you plan on going back to school Spring term? My mission will not end until february so i don't know. I would like to have some recuperation time to work and earn some money but whatever needs to happen i'm willing to do, except for coming home early.
If so, we will have to make a quick turn around to your mission when you get home and it will probably be cold, or do you want to wait and start BYU in summer? Look into it and give me the options of how things would work out in each situation and then i can give you a firm answer of which one will work. Thanks, I love you
When you have baptismal services, do the Elders conduct them or does the Ward Mission Leader do it? The Ward Mission Leader
Is the Branch Pres. there each time? usually, it is very rare that he is not there. He welcomes them to the branch family.
What is a typical baptismal service like as far as the program goes with speakers, music, etc.? We have 2 five minute talks usually about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, a musical number, and opening and closing prayers and songs. While the individual changes clothes we have a testimony meeting our just sing songs. sometimes missionaries can teach a lesson.

The work is all around us and the Lord can only bring us back into His presence if we will all help each other. We are in this world together, and we promised each other that we would do our best to use our free agency wisely. For some of us that promise includes helping those around us who havent yet figured out how to choose the right.

I love you so much and wish you the best week.--
With love, Your son,Starsi Morgan Nowland