Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Very Last Email!

Well, it looks like this it y'all! It's been a full and exciting two
years here in Texas and Louisiana. There's been so much that's
happened I guess it would take about 106 emails to share about it, and
then some. It's been extremely humbling to serve in this calling, to
know that I've been working side by side with it Savior these last two
years has been a learning experience that I will always be grateful
for. I feel like Ammon after his mission, in Alma 26, "Now have we not
reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had
so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my
joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all
power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things,
and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will
repent and believe on his name." I truly know God will forgive all who
come unto him and repent. He is our father and he loves us. All he
wants is for us to come back home and live with him. He's holding out
his hands all the day long, asking us to come back to him. I know that
we can, I've seen it happen in my life and in the lives of so many
others. I know this is only possible because of Jesus Christ, he is
our Savior, the light the truth and the way. This is His church, it's
true it's true it's true! Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, The book
of Mormon is proof of that, I know it is because it testifies of
Christ. The spirt has testified this to me, and is testifying it to me
now as I write this, what more proof do I need than that?
I love this gospel, I've loved my mission, and I love the Lord. I'm
excited to see what he's got in store for me next! For anyone whose
interested, I'll be giving a talk in church on Sunday the 13th of
August back in good old Mapleton Utah, at 10:50.  I'll get you the address! Hope I can see you!
I sure do love y'all, but I love the Lord more, I'm so glad I could
serve him these past two years.
Elder Murdock

Month 1- The Blackburns took Elder Murdock out to dinner in Onalaska.

 Month 24-The Blackburns tracked him down again and took him out!  Thanks Blackburns

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 105-Last Week!

Hello everyone! This will probably be my last big email I send on my
mission, next week I'll be getting ready to ship out back to Utah. I
could go on and on about how much the mission has changed me, about all
of the times I've felt the spirit prompt me to do something and seeing
the miracles come from it, about all the wonderful friendships I've
made here, and the lessons I've learned, about the lives I've seen
change, and the sorrows I've felt, all the joy I've felt too, man, you
know, I could just go on an on about it all! In the end though, the
most important thing I've come to know here is that I have a Savior,
and that he loves me more than I may ever know, and that I love Him
for that. It's been a pleasure to serve him, and I hope to one day
embrace him, and look him in his eyes, and thank him for this
wonderful mission he let me serve.
OK, enough emotional stuff, this week we got to go on lots of
exchanges all throughout the zone, from right here in Vidor all the
way out to Jennings Louisiana. We also baptized a kind old lady this
week named Becky Bartok, she needed help in the font, so we both
stepped down and helped her to be baptized, it was a very sweet
I sure do love y'all, but I love my Savior more, I'll be serving him
for this last week with all I got!
Elder Murdock
True to the Faith

Elder Murdock Returns Home on August 1st!!

Week 104

Hello everyone! This week was super busy, so I think the best way to
describe it is with a photo montage, here we go!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Week 103

Hey everyone!
This past week has been great, we've been able to see the Lord work
his miracles out here in Vidor for sure! Like on Friday, we were
eating dinner with the Hoosiers, a family in the ward who have been
here forever. We asked them if they knew anybody they thought could
use some help, and they told us of a less active guy,
who lived down their street on a little farm. We decided to go see
him, and found him sitting out on the porch of an old trailer home he
converted into a feed barn for all his cows and pigs and such, they
were all moseying around his yard. We talked to him for a bit, he's a
good old dude with a big old beard who's been a member forever and
less active for just about as long. We asked him if he knew anyone
that would like to be baptized, and he said, "yeah! My little niece is
nine years old and needs to be baptized!" So we went over to his house
across the street where his niece is staying at for now,
taught them a little lesson, committed her to Baptism, invited them
both to church, and what do you know, they came! He was quite the
sight to see walking to church with a Hawaiian floral shirt and his
big beard, but Kiley was all smiles, she's great.

OK, one more long story, but this is a really cool miracle that I'd
like to share,

Yesterday we decided to go try walking around a neighborhood that we'd
never been to before, and found a good looking place to go on the map.
Once we got there, we both felt prompted to start walking down a
street to our right. We didn't find anybody too interested on that
street, we just talked to one man and gave him a pamphlet, he wasn't
too interested though. As we kept walking down the street, we thought
it was a dead end, and almost decided to turn around, but another
promting came to go down to the end just to make sure. Lo and behold,
the street kept going around the corner. Then we decided to check our
area book map to see if there were any less active or part member
families that lived on that street, and of course there were, this is
Vidor, it's like the Utah Valley of Texas, there's Mormons everywhere!
In fact, the very house we were standing outside of at the time was
the house that the part member family lived in, and the wife was
pulling into the drive way at that very moment! We called to her as
she was getting out of her car, asking her if James (the less active
guy) was home. She replied no, James is dead. What! Turns out that the
lady was James' wife, and that he'd been dead for almost a year now.
Her name is Liz, and has been a member of the church of christ for a
while now. They teach that families will not be together forever, so
she has been rather upset since the death of her husband. She was
crying a lot as we talked with her, she and her husband were both
still pretty young, into their fifties or so I'd say. We testified to
her that families are eternal, and that it's all part of God's plan
for us to be together forever, and that it's all because of Jesus
Christ and his Atonement that this is possible, and that we know this
because of the restoration of the gospel. We gave her a book of Mormon
and asked her to read it, and we'll be back to see her this Thursday!
She was feeling a lot better by the end, I'm just glad I've got a
testimony of a heavenly father who has a plan for me and my family,
and that we can live with him together forever because of it, and for
the chance I had to share it with her and help her be happier!

The scripture for this week is Alma 5:33, I've been studying more on
the atonement this week, and I've noticed there lots of scriptures
about the atonement which teach that we can one day return to our
father in Heaven and be received in his loving embrace. Anyway, read
it live it love it!
I sure do love y'all, but I know the Lord loves y'all more!
Elder Murdock
True to the Faith

4th of July Celebration


Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 102-Vidor

Hey there everybody, here's my weekly email, hope you like it!

Elder Anderson and I had a good week out here in Vidor, we were able
to see some miracles as we worked to find people to teach and put on
date for Baptism. One of those people was a kid named Trevor, a friend
of Amon Hutson, a young man in the ward. Trevor had met with the
missionaries a few weeks before we got here, and has been talking to
Amon a whole lot about the church even before that. He's had lots of
questions about god and which church is true, and now that he's found
the truth he's so excited about it! I was on an exchange with my new
friend Elder Mooney down in Orange when we had our first apointment
with him, so sadly I wasn't able to meet him til yesterday, but the
lesson went really well apparently, Elder Anderson was with Elder
Bohne, a real good missionary that came out with me. They thought the
restoration lesson in a literal sacred Grove of trees behind the
Hutson house, I was happy to hear it went so well! Now Trevor's fixin
to be baptized in a couple weeks by his friend Amon!

We've also been working with other members of the ward, we've been
making a push to work more with the youth and it's really paid off!
First there's Amon and Trevor, which was a miracle, then there's a
young woman named Whitney, who's fixin to go on a mission
herself, she helped us teach her friend Gabby, whose been
investigating the church for a while now too. So things are going
pretty great here, the Lord is blessing us with a lot of miracles,
we're just glad to be here serving in this way!

In other news, Saturday was Canada day, and Elder Bohne is from
Canada, so we decided to go and sing the Canadian National Anthem with
him after our exchange was over, he was pretty excited about that
Also, tomorrow is Independence Day, woohoo!!!!! Go
America!!!!!!!πŸŽ‡πŸŽ‡πŸŽ‡ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸŽ†πŸŽ†πŸŽ†I've loved serving in this
great country, it's truly the promised land. I know it's a blessing to
live here, and especially to serve here!

One more thing, this was President Drake's last week as our mission
president, so we had a big zone conference this week to say goodbye to
them, it was pretty tender. I also got to bare my parting testimony
there too, which was strange. Our new mission President got here a
couple days ago, his name is President Hewlett. We'll be meeting him
tomorrow, so I'm excited about that!

I sure do love y'all, and I know the Lord loves you even more than
that, trust in him and he will show you miracles! This week's
scripture comes form Judges, about one of my favorite Bible hero's,
Gideon, in chapter 6:11-16, read it live it love it!

Elder Murdock
True to the Faith

Orange zone

Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 101 Vidor

Hey everybody
Well I went and got transfered last week, now I'm in a place called
Vidor Texas, a little place that's actually full of Mormons. It feels
a lot like Utah really, just bigger. Because everything's bigger in
My new companions name is Elder Anderson and he's a great guy, he's
from out there in Panguitch and loves basketball and missionary work.
We're whitewashing our new area, which means we're both new to the
area. It's actually how I started my mission, so I guess it's how I'm
going to end it!
We're also both brand new zone leaders for the Orange zone, which
means I get to go into Louisiana every now and then for exchanges and
district meetings and things. We actually went on an exchange this
week with the elders out there, Elder Anderson went out to Jennings
and I got to go back to Lake Chuck one last time with elder Ludlow and
Elder Saunders and see how the area's doing. It was nice to see some
of the places I served in again, and for dinner we ate at the Turreks,
a really great family down there, and they make amazing food! It was
nice to see them again, along with Pierre, seeing all of them almost
made me feel like I was serving there again.
Elder Anderson and I are still getting used to our area, we're really
still not too sure who all of our investigators are, or really what
we're doing as zone leaders, but we're both taking it one day at a
time, here a little there a little! I've definitely been learning a
lot more, it's crazy, no matter how far along I've come on my mission,
I still realize how little I really know, and how much farther the
lord wants to take me. I'm happy to go wherever that is though,
because I know as long as I keep Him as my guide, I'll never get lost,
or need to be afraid.
I've been reading some of The teachings of Heber J. Grant, he preaches
a lot about hard work and persistence, a couple of attributes I've
been needing to work on. It's so important to always be doing
something good, to work and work and work until you can't anymore. So,
the scripture of the week this week is Mosiah 4:27, read it live it
love it!
I sure do love y'all, and the Lord loves us all more than that! He's
in charge here, so just trust him.
Elder Murdock
True to the Faith

Elder Ludlow, Elder Saunders, Elder Murdock

Elder Murdock and Elder Anderson

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 100

Wow, 100 weeks as a missionary, this is too crazy! I hope y'all have
had a good week, mines been a good one. Today's transfer day, and
sadly I've got to say goodbye to my friend Elder Chanel and everyone
else here in Jasper! Ive only been here for six weeks, I sure wish I
could have stayed longer but hey I guess the Lord needs me somewhere
else. I don't have too much time today, so I'll be keeping it short,
all in all, it was a good week, I had an exchange with Elder Wood, who
I'd had an exchange with clear back in Onalaska. It was fun to talk
about our missions and see how much we've learned and just
experienced, missions are crazy things! The rest of the week was
pretty much business as usual, I'm sure this next one will be a little
more interesting, I'll be getting a new comp soon and have a whole new
area to learn again, I can't wait to see what's going to happen!
I sure do love y'all, and the Lord loves you even more than that! Keep
him in mind and you won't go wrong! The scripture of the week is Alma
34:41, read it live it love it!
Elder Murdock
True to the Faith

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 99

Talofa Lafa everyone!
This week was great, we did a whole ton of service for different
people, which was really nice. I forgot to take pictures of most of
it, sorry about that, so you'll just have to make up the picture in
your mind.

On Thursday we went and helped change the shocks in our branch mission
leaders car. He lives way out of town in a little neighborhood in the
woods, so his house is far away from any big stores, which is bad,
because we ended up needing another part in order to fix his car that
was sold miles away in town. The good news is, while he left us at his
house to go get the part, we were able to climb some of the big trees
in his front yard! These are the things we do when we get bored.

We also helped hoe some weeds out of a watermelon patch with Matt
Rogers, an older brother in the ward. This patch was huge, probably a
couple football fields long, with tons of melon plants, which were
just starting to bloom, it was nice to go work out side like that,
it's a great way to clear your head for a while.

Later that day we went over to a family we've been teaching for a
while to help do more service for them, and to teach them the rest of
the plan of salvation. I guess it went well because they all ended up
coming to church the next day! The only bad thing about that was that
their van broke right after church, so they couldn't drive all the way
back to their home about thirty miles away. Elder Chanel was able to
figure out what was going on with it, the front drivers side wheel
bearing was way worn down and unusable, so we spent time going all
over the place looking for parts and tools to fix it so they could go
home, but in the end we couldn't get the right part, so we had out
mission leader drive them all back home in his car. We'll be able to
get the part today and finish fixing the van, which is currently
sitting outside of our apartment, so alla well that ends well!

This week's spiritual thought is about Fa'a Samoa, or "the Samoan
way", Elder Chanel has been talking about it a lot lately, and we've
been connecting it to the gospel. So the main things you need to do to
follow the Samoan way is to have discipline in how you live, show
respect to others, especially your family, and have trust in yourself
and others, especially your family. This is a great modle of how we
should live as followers of christ. We discipline ourselves by keeping
God's commandments, (which do include showing respect to your parents
and your neighbors) and work everyday to make ourselves and others
around us better. We show respect for respect to God by doing these
things, and by loving Him, and we trust him by putting our faith in
Him and in His son, Jesus Christ, believing that his ways are higher
than ours. It's a simple little formula, but I think that's why
Samoans and other islanders are so happy and so able to go with he
flow all the time, because they keep things simple and follow these
Anyway, this is leading up to my scripture of the week, which is:
Proverbs 3:5&6, read it live it live it!
I sure do love y'all, and the Lord loves you the best! Follow Him and
you'll find peace like a river.
Elder Murdock
True to the Faith

Lunch with the Fred Elders

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Week 98-Jasper

Hey y'all, welcome to the latest week of my life in email form!
This week was rather uneventful, most of it was doing service for others, which I don't mind doing at all! Elder Chanel is a real handy man, like, he can literally fix anything, plumbing, electric, carpentry, mechanic, anything, so we get asked to come help fix things a whole lot, I'm trying to learn as much as I can from him! On Wednesday we helped some recent converts in the branch rearrange their stuff in their resale shop theyre opening up, and I say stuff, because they just have all kinds of stuff, nothing really specific they're selling, you know, just stuff . After that we went to help a Hispanic couple in the branch with work around the house, fixing their lawn mower, fixing their toilet, and fixing some of the lighting in their house. We also helped out Brother Rogers with his tractors again, we didn't  get to ride them this time though, because we had to go get things ready for a dinner apointment with a part member less active family. Last Monday, Elder Chanel picked a big tero root that was growing in front of our branch mission leaders house. Our mission leader had never known what it was until Elder Chanel picked it, it's pretty much a big Polynesian potato, this thing

Anyway, the part member family wanted him to make it for them, and it took forever to boil that thing, but it tastes great, especially with coconut milk. while it was cooking, we prepared some songs to play and sing for them, something else they wanted us to do that night. Elder Chanel borrowed a members guitar and I played viola for them, and we all sang old hymns like amazing grace and all that with them. The non member of the family, Bertha, played the accordian with us, which was neat, sorry I didn't get any videos or anything of that, you'll just have to use you imaginations for that. 

On a more spiritual note, Elder Chanel and I talked a lot this week on the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Heres some thoughts on it:
Knowledge is great, we get it through study, listening to others, just paying attention to life, and it's what we store in our minds to use latter. It's like in D&C  84:85, where we're asked to tresure up in our minds the words of life. Now this is all great and all, but unless we actually do something with that knowledge, unless we live according to the knowledge, it's pretty much useless to us. I think that's a good example of being ignorant, knowing something, or having a knowledge of something, and not wanting to act on it. I like to call this being spiritually fat. Just like in life, if we sit down and have a big feast everyday, but never go out and exercise, we become fat, if we sit down and have a big spiritual feast everyday, like studying scriptures or go to church each week, if we don't go out and exercise the truths that we received then our spirit becomes fat, prideful, and overall unhealthy. We know too much, and don't do anything with that knowledge. Now, a wise person is someone who uses that knowledge correctly. That's someone who understands how they need to live, and they live that way. Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of this, of course. He had a perfect knowledge of the gospel, and pretty much everything else, and He acted in perfect accordance with that knowledge. That's what makes you wise, when your knowledge and your actions become one with each other. A wise person is someone who has experienced things, and learned from those experiences, and acts according to what he's learned, trying to become a better person after each experience. OK, I'm kind of going off on a rant now, I'll stop πŸ™ƒ but this brings me to my Book of Mormon scripture of the week, Jacob 6:12;
"oh be wise, what can i say more?" Read it live it love it!
I sure do love y'all, and The Savior loves you even more of that! You can be sure of that!!
Elder Murdock 
True to the Faith

Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 97-Jasper

Happy Memorial Day y'all! I sure hope you're having a good one!
This last week has been great, on Tuesday we had our Beaumont zone
conference, where we got to hear from our APs, zone leaders, and
president and sister Drake. It was actually the last time we'd get to
hear from them in a conference like that, and on Friday we had our
last interview with President Drake, pretty crazy it's already time
for them to go, I can hardly believe it.

Through this whole week we saw Margaret every day to make sure she was
ready for her Baptism, which was on Friday. We did it mostly so she
wouldn't forget about it! We went to her house on Friday with our
district leader Elder Wood for her interview and she thought that that
was the day she was getting baptized! But other than her memory
problems, she had to have been the smoothest person I've ever taught
to prepare for Baptism. There was no problems at all with her, we just
met, taught her, and now, two weeks later, she's a member of the
church with a whole new family of friends. It's been a testimony to me
that the Lord is preparing people every day to hear the gospel, and He
will use you to help those people who are searching, and can't help
themselves. We just need to be ready and willing to go when He calls!

Elder Chanel and I also gave talks yesterday in Sacrament meeting, we
were told we could do it in any subject we wanted, so we decided to
talk on Memorial day, and how it ties into the gospel. Elder Chanel
talked about sacrifice, and I talked about how our service and
membership in the church is like military service. I talked a little
about the flag my uncle Rob gave me before I left on my mission, the
one he wore on his shoulder through his service in Iraq. He gave me
a letter with it describing some of the challenges that went along
with that service, and the challenges I'd face out here in the field.
I carry that flag in my wallet and think about what it means to be a
soldier in the army of the Lord each time I see it. It's hard work,
and does require a lot of sacrifice, but anything good in this world
requires at least a little sacrifice. Some give their all in defending
what they know is right and true, and those are the people we honor
today. I hope as we all go about our day, and as we remember those
brave men and women who did sacrifice everything for this wonderful
country, that we don't forget the one Man who gave His absolute all
for each of us, who performed the greatest sacrifice that has ever
been made, who fought the entire army of the adversary completely
alone. I hope we all remember our Savior today, and every day. As we
follow Him, our ultimate Commander and Chief, we will never lose any
battle that is thrown our way.
One last thing about the meeting yesterday, Elder Chanel and I decided
to do a little musical number between our talks with him singing and
me playing the viola. We did a medley of different hymns in English
and Samoan, which ended with the Stars Spangler Banner, with the whole
congregation singing along. That was a neat experience, playing that
song with everyone
Singing a long. I swear, as I was playing I almost thought I could
hear angels singing a long with us. Very special moment.

Well, I sure do love y'all, and this great country, and I know that
the Lord loves us all even more than that! Keep your faith in Him and
you'll never fail!

Elder Murdock
True to the Faith

Somewhere in East Texas

Margaret's Baptism