James Morris: Oridnary Man Extraordinary Call
James Morris, featured in the image below, served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thousands of people receive calls, a notice in the mail that informs them of where they will go as did Elder James Morris, making the choice to serve; all of them are known and special to the Lord. It was fortunate for me to know this missionary.
Prior, I wrote about his brother Wesley, also an Elder Morris, who served simultaneously with James, though in a different service area in Guatemala while James served Stateside.
Elder James Morris was called to serve in the Oregon Eugene Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because he served in another part of the USA, he was not worried much about cultural differences or language barriers.
He informed me prior to leaving to start his service that he will enjoy the cool weather there as opposed to the dry hot weather in Phoenix! His eyes lit up with excitement when I asked him why he moved out of his Aunt and Uncle's house before going on his mission with pride and satisfaction.
"I am an almost 20-year-old man," he said. "I don't need any one telling me when I can leave or when I can come home."
"It helped me prepare for my mission. I will have to live on my own."
He took living on his own five months prior to his mission as a badge of honor; one where he proved to himself that he could be independent in the world while still living his life dependent on Jesus Christ his Master.
His favorite scripture is in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ in the book of 1 Nephi 3:7 which reads in part,
...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
Elder Morris spoke with convincing piercing pale blue eyes that he knew he did the right thing to serve as a missionary.
The older brother Wesley he reveres with great care and devotion. It is all in the eyes. I could see it, the reverence, the devotion, and the love, as James spoke of Wesley.
The great respect for Wesley's service as a missionary encouraged James to follow in his footsteps and rise to the challenge of leading other people to the very truths that changed both elders lives.
Missionary headquarters for the Oregon Eugene Mission
Missionary headquarters for the Oregon Eugene Mission
When James and Wesley first came into our Laveen Ward/Congregation--together they stood always as inseparable as identical twins though they are not. I scarcely would see one brother without the other close by.
The first thing to notice about the two was the vivid yellow hair, like two real-life Naruto characters! Notice their bright yellow hair and Naruto's bright yellow hair below.
Elder Morris's Family
What do YOU say?
Have you ever spoken to a missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Baptism of James Morris and his brother--James is the short one!
The baptismal picture chronicles the beginning of both Morris's journey into The Church of Jesus Christ from the beginning up until my friend Elder James Morris went on his mission and now as an active and faithful Saint presently.
Not always a Latter-day Saint
Separated from his birth family in Michigan, James found himself in the care of his Uncle and Aunt, Terry and Alyeska pictured in the image above. James said that he felt the Spirit of God when a very planned dinner occurred at his Aunt and Uncle's house with missionaries.
He saw no angels or had no great waking visions that lead him to accept the gospel message from those elders who taught him. What he had was a feeling of peace and calm. James referred to this feelings often as we spoke prior to his leaving. He is strengthened by the knowledge that it, the message the missionaries taught him, felt right.
He said, "I didn't know it was the spirit back then; I just knew that it left when the missionaries left." He wanted the feeling to stay!
James was baptized on December 12, 2009. James, Elder Morris, was age 14 at the time. He prayed about the gospel the missionaries taught, felt good about it, and accepted the invitation to change his life at that young age.
The message he shares is about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as it was revealed through a prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr. Smith himself was a young man when he chronicled his first experience with God--14 years old!
In a great theophany, Joseph Smith, Jr. saw God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son in answer to his prayer about what church to attend. In answer to Smith's prayer, he received what he asked for and so much more! Seeing God, Smith knew unequivocally that God and Jesus Christ are separate beings physically and Jesus Christ truly lives!
Smith also, from that great introduction to the creators of all things, received direction over time in what manner to restore The Church of Jesus Christ in the latter-days with authority; and as recorded in the Bible as a letter to the Ephesians, Paul instructed that God
...gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of theknowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:11-15)
Just like his brother Wesley, James recognized Jesus Christ's true teachings within the organization of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Morris humbly stated before he left, "I'm serving a mission because it is the right thing to do."
One of my chiefest concerns with talking to James was to dispense some of my elderly and sage advice about preparing for a mission. I did share some things, but I think I learned more in that meeting. It is cliche to say so, but there is a reason we people say it.
James is the most humble person that I have ever met save Elder Mesetle who I met on my own mission. The humility that exuded from James caught me off guard and humbled me a little. It made me love James all the more and joy in the fact that other people will have the chance to feel that loving humility, teachable spirit, contrite and broken-hearted man.
What do YOU say?
Did you know that most LDS Christians live outside the United States?
The following are some excerpts of letters Elder James Morris sent to his Congregational family as he served the Lord.
I love this gospel with all of my heart. This is the greatest work ever! I know that I have been called by a prophet of god to preach the gospel to Heavenly Fathers children. Joseph Smith is a prophet of god and the priesthood keys have been restored on the earth today.
I love the scriptures and the Book of Mormon. It is so true when Joseph Smith said this is the most correct of any other book on earth and that a man can grow nearer to god by abiding by its precepts than by any other book!
Thomas S. Monson is the prophet on the earth today and he receives direct revelation from Heavenly Father. I love you all and i hope that everyone has a safe and blessed week .
© 2015 Rodric Anthony Johnson