Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sweet miracles!

Dearest family,

Man it was so good to hear all your voices this past week on my Christmas day. I couldn't believe the spark of recognition behind Aubrey’s voice reduced me to tears so easily :) haha. I remember the days when I couldn't stand being in her presence for more then 5 minutes... The gospel truly does bless families. It really was good to hear from all of you and I think I laughed the most when Collin was telling me about the teachers coming in to the “hen house”. I could totally picture that whole scene goin down. Also, I appreciated how one of the first questions I was asked by mom was if I was eating good and staying healthy.:) After Christmas when I had eaten more than enough, my tummy was pretty upset with me and it sure did get its vengeance. This Christmas sure was different from any other experience that I have had on a Christmas day, but it was great being able to participate in the true spirit of Christmas. I pretty much gave away all that I possessed. I kept the personal things like the jammies and the Nicaragua shirt and the bolo game (WHICH WERE ALL SUPER AWESOME), but everything else was given to investigators. Oh, and I kept the mac and cheese and Crystal Light... SO maybe not ALL I possess, but it was still good especially because they appreciated the American lollies a lot more then I did.

As for my birthday, I would like to ask for a few things. #1…fresh underwear.  I am not in dire need but when I pulled them out of the wash recently, I realized that I would appreciate having some that are actually a little more white then they are brown….especially around the armpits. I know a tie or two is inevitable so I will make a challenge to get one that isn't blue, purple, or black. Then I am on the fence with this one, but I would like a Pro Touch indoor volleyball (the red, blue, and white Molten ones) for p-days. That’s all I can think of for now, but really I am pretty content. Oh and the last one is for Trevor to stay away from my friends!!! Don't you dare go there bro... they probably only hung out with me and Collin to get to you. Don’t you dare fall for it! ;) Jokes!!!  I just hope Collin gave you your “jersey” authority back. Or maybe it’s kind of like a patriarch deal where once you have the authority it never goes away.

But let’s move to a more serious note!!! I had a sweet miracle happen this week! We are teaching a mom named Kaa, and she was kinda interested. She has a daughter and a son in law that are living together all in the same house. At first the kids were not interested (in there twenties and have 2 kids of their own), but this week Renold, the son in law, explained his aunty passed away. So we offered to teach him about where she is now. They all listened and it was a sweet, spirit filled lesson! They all accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 26th of January. Now, the even more miracle part about it is that they are all smoking 20 to 30 cigarettes a day, or I guess they used to. We taught them the word of wisdom and I honestly didn't have a whole lot of faith going in, but the very next day they let us know that they were on their last pack before they gave up completely!!! They stopped on Sunday and came to church and BOY was I happy! They were spending loads of money a week on cigarettes and that would also lead to other sins and problems. When we sin, we truly do lose our agency bit by bit and literally become slaves to the sins we commit. When we taught the word of wisdom, I think they had a really good wake up call as to how VILE, FILTHY, SLIMY, NASTY, STINKY, and PUTRESCENT not only smoking is but SIN in general.

Another cool experience is we stopped by a recent converts house, Langi. We asked if there was anything we could help with and she explained she was asked to give a talk on prayer and she was terrified. She really is the shy type and she was not confident in her abilities at all. I just suggested her reading 2nd Nephi 32: 8-9 for the beginning of her talk on prayer and then just sharing her own testimony and personal experience with prayer. When she first got up she was so nervous and almost froze, but it was so cool to see the spirit give to her in the very hour what she needed to say. There was four talks given on prayer, but none came close to the one Langi gave. It really showed me that when we are humble and rely on the Lord we can accomplish wonders, but if we don’t we’re really just going through the motions.

I got to write Aubrey so gots to go, but I love you guys heaps and hope you have safe travels back home.

Elder Ward

p.s. The Church is true
Fireside...Kanahana's family, Brother Armstrong, Brother Aupori

Elder Ward and Elder Loffhagen teaching
Christmas present for Kanahana's family
P-day (Where did those humongous shoes come from?)
Sweet rugby boot! (cleet)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Divine Intervention

What a beautiful Christmas Eve day for me and a Christmas Eve Eve day for all of you. I am uber excited to give you guys a call!!! Thanks Mom and Dad for your faithful e-mails each week. Come with questions and with stories, and I think I already told you, but I only have 40 minutes to talk so it would be nice to do 5 minutes with each family member except Collin. I only want to talk to him a minute…just kidding…love you bro. Then just the last ten minutes as a family. Sound good? Well it better sound good because I don’t think I will get a response until next week. Sorry to hear Dad that you lost to Wendel but you could take comfort that you probably didn't lose to the same Wendel that I remember from a year ago. WAY to go Collin taking the whole thing with Sean Chapman! You two make a killer team! Mom, I never thought I would hear you say those words "I'm sick of shopping"…that has got to be some form of apostasy for woman code. :) Oh and one last comment…talk is cheap dad. Don’t be the boy who dipped his toe in the water and went swimming it is good to say you’re going to go the gym but actually going and working out is better.:) I love all of you!!!

K, so let me inform you on this week a little. Tuesday I did a trade off and went to Pukekohe which made me appreciate my area so much more. We had a sweet day filled with cool miracles, but we also had a freaky experience going down the "dark side". We went to go talk to a lady and some gangsters started yelling from across the street all manner of profanities and threats to give them the car keys and stuff. Then when we got rejected by the lady, one threw a beer bottle at us. I didn't see the throw but I honestly feel there was some kind of Divine intervention there that stopped the bottle from hitting its designated target. That freaked me out a little, but the rest of the day was honestly GREAT!!!

A cool miracle experience we had this week was when we were driving and we saw a mom pushing a baby in her pram (stroller in kiwi terms). We got out of the car and I started to talk to her. Our conversation lasted about 15 minutes as we did our best to explain why God loves us and never cheats anyone out of anything. She is a divorced mom who is losing custody of her pride and joy (her almost 2 year old daughter). She had a hard time being convinced, but she really liked talking to us so she gave us her address on 26 Opaheke and we set up a return appointment for 3 days later. 2 days later, the day before our appointment, we were driving down Opaheke which is a main road and we were about to turn into a roundabout. I noticed on the side of the road the same baby that lady was walking 2 days earlier, and that their gate (which she mentioned is supposed to be closed) was wide open. So I flew around the roundabout in a complete loop and slammed the car in park. Elder Loffhagen was asking what was going on and I explained that the baby shouldn't be there!!! So the baby was really close to the road and normally the story would go that we swooped in, picked up the baby, and took it to the house... well that is against mission rules. So we looked sad as we tried to tell the baby to come back to the house. I told Elder Loffhagen to wait there as I frantically pounded on the door and yup anyways, long story short, a lady stopped because I’m sure Elder Loffhagen looked like a pedophile standing next to the baby. I eventually found the mom working way in the backyard and she said "HEY!!! I thought you were coming over tomorrow???" I explained well yeah, but we saw your baby playing out close to the road with the gate open. Then the woman and Elder Loffhagen came around the corner holding the baby. Sorry I didn't do the story justice, but the mom was sure grateful. It made my day!

Other Cool experiences that happened…let’s see…we had zone conference and I got to sing with my district “I Stand All Amazed.” We got to do the same thing you did at FHE with our mission president (share our favorite miracle or story from Luke). The whole thing was super uplifting. Haha…I made a mistake in front of our mission president. We received our packages at the conference and my car was parked just behind President Lekias's car. As me and Elder Loffhagen loaded everything into our car,  I closed the trunk and went OOOHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOO!!! acting as if I had locked the keys in the trunk. I got Elder Loffhagen with that one along with President. He said that was a good one, but he didn't look impressed. ;)

A really good lesson we had this week was in Pukekohe with Elder Galt as we met with Sam and Mike, a Maori couple. Mike has been taught everything and is super onboard with everything, but he was always afraid of Sam’s reaction to everything. So Elder Galt and Elder Toani didn’t realize he hadn't informed his partner, Sam, that he was working to get baptized. While we were there, Sam came out from her corner and started asking us all these really good questions and I could tell Mike’s happiness had definitely been making an impression on her. So I mentioned something about him getting baptized... apparently Sam didn't know and she wasn't impressed that he didn't let her know. We fixed things and explained this is something that is awesome when experienced individually, but it's really something extraordinary as a family does it together. Her heart was softened big time and it was cool teaching them about the restoration. We committed them to be married and baptized on the 19th of January.

This week was a stressful week in the district doing tradeoffs and then interviewing 2 people the sisters were meant to baptize. Both passed but I got a call from the sisters who heard that the girl who was meant to be baptized broke the law of chastity the night after her interview. So I had to come back down and reinterview her. She didn't show up and the sisters were too afraid to call and ask her straight from the source if that was true. It turns out that it was just a rumor and it wasn't true, but the days before both the sisters had a serious emotional break down. They called me crying in the middle of companion study asking for a priesthood blessing.

Those are some of the interesting things that happened this week. . . It really was a good week and I enjoyed every second. I am super excited for Christmas and I look forward to giving you guys a call tomorrow (my Christmas Day-your Christmas Eve) at 5:00 pm my time, 9:00 pm your time. Have a safe day until then!

Elder Ward

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Serving with all your heart, might, mind, and strength

Dearest Whanua,

Let me just start by saying TREVOR STOP IT!!!! Don’t go there bro!!! Haha..jokes. I was actually pretty good friends with Lauren Cheney. She is a cutie. Good on ya mate. Keep me posted. :)

Also, Dad you really must start feeling old ending your letter with Love, Pops.

Collin, I'm glad you had a good attitude even though you lost regionals. I'm sure I would have been proud if I was there and it still sounds like you guys played pretty dang awesome! Are there any players on the Club Red 17s team that I know…and wait a second…is Jared back hitting again?

Aubrey, thank you so much for sending me an e-mail. I appreciate your letters so much. I did hear about that shooting poo…that stinks. However I did not hear about the note the kid had on him and the teacher that was a hero. I am excited for Christmas and that I get to call you soon. Which reminds me about calls….this year our mission president said that U.S. missionaries can call anytime Christmas or the day after which equals your Christmas Eve or your Christmas. I think I would prefer to call on my Christmas Day which is your Christmas Eve but the tricky part is knowing what time you will be home and would be most convenient for you. I wouldn't mind doing it night time, but I guess mommy and daddy should have the last say on that one. We will finalize things next week.

So this week I will start with some of the funny things that happened Sunday morning. While Elder Loffhagen was in the shower, I pulled out everything from our fridge (which isn't much) ;)…anyway Elder Loffhagen gets out of the shower at the same time everyday at 7:28 am. So I set a timer for that exact time and set up my camera recording the prank I was about to pull... Oh whoops, I forgot to mention our fridge is right next to the bathroom door. So yeah anyways, I just started by talking into the camera saying okay Elder Loffhagen is about to come out of the shower and I am going to scare the poo out of him. Then I set the camera down and slipped into the fridge and closed the door behind me. It turns out the fridge light really does turn off when the door closes!!! My alarm went off at 7:27 and sounds for a minute and boy did I time it perfectly he came out right when the buzzer stopped and right when he passed by I went RRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! It was so funny and I'm glad I have a companion that can laugh about those kind of things, and I'm just glad he didn't drop his towel!

Hmmm but lets talk about something more spiritual. This week was great but I think one of the coolest things that happened was teaching a new investigator named Leona. Normally when we try a referral or something falls through we try to go knock on a few of the surrounding doors keeping in mind that maybe the Lord wanted us there for a reason. Well on one of these occasions we met a lady named Leona who we taught a little and asked her about her religious background. She explained she used to go to some church but it has been a looonnng time since she has been and that she has actually been talking about getting back into it. We asked her if she had anything she wanted us to ponder about to teach her when we came back for our appointment, and she just said nope but I will have heaps of questions.  Well, when we came this week, she sure did! She had a page with at least 15 deep questions. So we took a quick timeout and looked at all the questions and realized teaching the plan of salvation would be the best thing to answer most of her questions. I love teaching that lesson sooo much and helping people who might feel cheated or might feel that God isn't there because he lets people suffer.  It’s awesome to help them realize that he really didn't cheat us of anything. In fact, we should be doing everything in our power to show our thanks, love and respect for God for all the good he has given us, and has yet to give us. Romans 8:16-18 especially verse 18 really shows that we have nothing to be upset about. Anyways, that lesson was AWESOME….for sure in the top ten of my mission so far. We set her for baptism on January 5th.

The work in our area picked up this week and Elder Loffhagen really impressed me one morning during companion study when we were practicing street contacting and he did everything perfect…exactly how I taught him.  I felt the spirit super strong as we practiced simple role plays. I'm happy to be a missionary and to help serve the Lord in whatever way I can. I have been humbled time and time again as I realize that I have so many weaknesses that I need to overcome, but that's why missions are so great. I'm really starting to understand serving with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. It's easy to serve with all my might and strength, but sometimes it's hard to do it with heart and mind. Sometimes it’s hard to do some things and I withhold within my heart, but I've seen time and time again that as I forget my desires and try to focus on what Christ desires for me I find more happiness.

I’m glad you guys are reading Luke like I challenged you. The Book of Mormon is awesome, but it's always good to remember just how awesome our Savior really was and is. In your next letter to me it would be great if everyone could share some thoughts on a story they heard or a miracle that was performed in Jesus Christ’s life that is significant to you. (It can be anywhere in the New Testament.) That would be a cool family home evening activity and I'm interested to hear your responses.

Love you guys with all my heart!!!

Elder Ward


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Two Sweet Miracles

Dear family,

You so just reminded me of that week where Elder Fale and I were just having a really really hard time... It was twisted ankles, wasted P-days, nobody to teach, and getting pretty dang sick... We would just laugh and say, “It's just not our week.”
J It definitely sounds like it is just not your week. HAHA Collin sounds exactly like me, putting ridiculous amounts of ice cream in the freezer against Mom’s wishes and locking the keys in the car with it running... Everything you just wrote are my favorite things to do... EVERY DAY! Sorry Collin. It's just not your week. Just be glad I know how you feel.

Dearest Ava Sister, I have got somethin’ to say to you!!! Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear AVA!!! Happy Birthday to YYYYYYOOOOOOOUUUUUU!!!! Whooooo hoooo!! You did it!!! I just wanted to make this little section especially for my baby sister!!! I hope you had a good birthday and I think you’re so lucky that you got to play Candyland and stuff. Also, I thought I would let you know that I keep a picture of you on my desk to help remind me to be sweet and nice to people just like my sister Ava is. I also think you’re so lucky that everyone loves you so much in our family. Especially Mom taking you out to Olive Garden and Trevor taking you to Chick Fil A. I hope you got heaps of cool presents and I am so proud of you all the time. Also, I miss you a ton and can’t wait to come give you a big hug when I get home. Also, I want to talk to you first on CHRISTMAS!!!

So let’s see … stories for this week... OH YES!!! We had two sweet miracles this week. One was with Elder Toani, a new missionary in my district. He came on a trade off with me. He has only been learning English for eight weeks but his testimony was POWERFUL! We were able to set a lady named Kaa for baptism and I got to see the gift of tongues in action. During the lesson, the English was still a little bit shaky but it was so much better and the spirit was felt so strong! Also, we are teaching a younger girl named Monique and I think I already mentioned her but she didn't believe in God and only invited us back so she could pray, not get an answer, and then call us liars. We have been talking about baptism and trying to get her to tell us how she feels when she prays... if she has received an answer, anything... and we seriously cannot get anything out of her. Anyway, this week we dropped by to give her a copy of “The Testaments” and we had just previously done weekly planning where we wrote in our planners a week ahead having Monique’s baptism service at 1:00 pm, really just as an act of faith. When we dropped off the video and we were talking and then the thought popped in my head that I would bring that up to her. So I just said, “Okay, Monique, tonight watch the video, then Sunday you need to come to church and then next Saturday we have your baptism at one... IS that all good?” Then she said, “Yup.” ... Elder Loffhagen and I just looked at each other a little bewildered. Something definitely changed in her though. We went through the baptism interview questions and it was so sweet to hear her answer “YES” to the first question: “#1 Do you believe that God is our Eternal Father, and that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world?”

Those are two sweet miracles that happened this week. So the work is picking up again! I love how in my mission everything works out great for a time, we have people to teach and miracles are happening, and then sometimes we get really humbled with nothing happening and we have very few people to teach and we spend a lot of time praying for ANYTHING to happen. Missions have so many highs and so many lows... Heck, I cried both tears of joy and tears of sadness this week. I'm just so grateful for my mission and what it is doing for me and especially the impact it has on others. Life is good.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for the packages, and yes, Mom, I will try to think of stuff.

Love you all!!!
Elder Ward

Sunday, December 2, 2012

True Happiness

Dearest Whanua,

It is so good to be able to hear from all of you... I'm sorry Dad. I've repented and put your name on [to receive my email] this week as well. Also, you’re right. I don’t think you will ever win that battle for Ava's love. You need a mother’s touch. ;) haha But no matter how much I make fun of you and glorify Mom just always know I couldn't have asked for a better dad. Actually, I couldn't have asked for a better family. I love all you guys so much.

Soooo what happened cool this week... Well, I didn't lock my keys in the car. That was cool. I first need to tell a little of my experience on Sunday (the day you’re experiencing right now). You know those Sundays where the spirit is so thick you can cut it with a knife? That happened for me yesterday! I was so happy to be fasting for new investigators and to find a greater love for the people in this area. The day started great with a MCM meeting and visiting investigators before church. We also visited Kanahana’s daughter because it was her birthday and she was turning ten! I gave her a Christmas “Joy to the World” DVD, a couple funny pictures of me, an American dollar and change, and my mission T shirt (which was a little too small for me). Her eyes lit up so big and she gave me a big hug and that just gave the warm fuzzies all day! Then we went to go pick up our investigators. They weren't home and my heart kinda dropped... SO we went to church and at like 2:27—three minutes before the meeting started—I felt like we needed to go back. We did a quick split and I went with Brother Aupori (the ward mission leader) to go pick them up! Monique is her name and, surprisingly enough, she was able to get her mom to come along as well! That was cool! Then I was just so happy to see heaps of our recent converts; Cheveir in his nice suit and tie passing the sacrament, the Lemalus on the bench behind us, Shanil and his dad on the right of me, Kanahana and Miami with Cindy and her family, Micaella, who has just gotten her Patriarchal Blessing came up to me with eyes really wide saying, "I'm definitely going on a mission." I was so happy. I had to go share my testimony, of course, on TRUE HAPPINESS. I talked about allowing ourselves to be happy and following Nephi’s example in 1 Nephi 11:17 where we might not understand everything or why certain things may seem unfair or difficult to bear, but if we can just understand REALLY how much God loves us and what that means there is nothing to be upset about. Man, all of Sunday was the best! Also, I got to participate in giving AJ Houia the Melchizedek Priesthood. Trevor is right. Even though sometimes there will be some away-from-home pangs, I need to live this up because I don’t think I will be able to experience anything close to this ever again.

So this week was transfer week, even though it didn't really feel like it at all. It's funny. I had a pretty good "feeling" I would be staying another 6 weeks and I AM! In fact, my whole district is staying the same. At first I was a little bummed out because I was starting to feel a little bit stuck in this area like I've talked to everyone and been to all the places I need to go to, but I know for sure there is a reason for me staying and heaps more lives I need to bless before I leave. So yeah, I'm happy to be here. Also, it's good that I will have some kind of family for when Christmas rolls around. Speaking of which I am not sure on when the call is or what the procedure is going to be but I'm pretty sure we will not be allowed to Skype... Bummer. That was cool last time.

I'm trying to think of other cool experiences this week and oops, I just thought of one! In the morning, after studies, we went out on a quest to find some people to teach! So we were driving, jumping out of the car, doing everything we could to talk to everyone passing by on the street. Anyway, on our way home I felt like I needed to turn down this street which was kind of out of the way. So, with a little groan I made a quick turn and Elder Loffhagen asked, “What?” I just said, “1st Nephi 4:6,” and we pulled up to a house and Elder Loffhagen knocked on the door... Long story short, we bore testimony on how the message we have to share will bring her family closer together and that she could live with them forever. We are going back tomorrow. That was a sweet new investigator that we found this week.

This week we have also been reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). I would highly suggest going over those as a family sometime and discussing some of the parables and things Jesus Christ taught. In fact, I will challenge you to finish Luke by the end of this year. Let me know how that goes! And I'm sorry. I know it will put a pause on the Book of Mormon reading, but make sure you study the BOM extra in your personal studies!

So on the lighter side, I will try and send you some pictures of the district and me and other stuff. Also, NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! My friends are already getting married?! What the Hannah??? Ha. Trevor better go hurry up and steal some of my friends before they all get taken away. J It probably feels like a big game of musical chairs for Trevor. Now that the "music" has stopped he is on the verge of an anxiety attack trying to find a "chair" before they all get taken away and he is left standing awkwardly by himself... I always hated that game, and I don’t look forward to playing it with those kind of stakes. Haha Oh and I just laughed at the thought of Collin trying to find his chair. I pictured one of those small nursery-sized chairs because he is going to have to take one of Aubrey's friends. J Haha. Sorry bros. Love you.

Anyway, enough Babylon. The Church is true!

Elder Ward


Hunua Falls

Cool Rash Thingy
District at the Beach
Elder Ward and Elder Toani
Da Elders

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pray Until Something Happens

OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH MAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN... OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH MMMMMMMAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN! haha I think I already told you the story behind that one. J It's always good for me to treat home sickness (trunkyness) as a joke. I couldn't help but let out one of those “awh mans” when I remembered the savory sweet goodness of turkey taquitos... I had to turn it off by picturing Collin shoveling a mountain of guacamole onto his. I'm glad that you sent me a list of things you’re grateful for. I figure the more grateful you are the easier life is for you. I learned it's a lot easier to be grateful that you’re on a mission rather than wanting to be thanked for serving a mission. Notice how Jesus Christ was always grateful to go about doing his Father’s work like when he raised Lazarus from the dead he said, "Father I thank thee." I think it's notable too how much the general authorities talk about being grateful for everything. So I really did appreciate that.

Also DANG!!! Heaps of mission calls! I will have to shoot Seth a short letter of encouragement. He is the man though and I reckon he will make one awesome missionary! The volleyball sounded sweet. Collin and Trevor probably would have beaten Robert and Parker. I hope they got along well as they played with each other. Trevor was probably humbled as he recognized just how good Collin has gotten over the time he has been gone and the fact that he is probably one of the best players in the family. Enough about that though, let’s talk mission stuff!

I will give you a little day-by-day again. I figure those are easier to talk about.

Monday after I emailed you guys I picked up the sisters and we drove and gathered the whole district together to go to the beach!!! It was cool. I was surprised that we’re even allowed to go to the beach on Pday but we spent some time playing on the black sand beach. That was pretty fun. Then we took a small hike through these rocks into a cool waterfall like place and took some sweet district pictures there. That was a fun Pday. Then we had a sweet FHE with some of our recent converts at one of our member’s houses it was a huge success and that day was just awesome.

Tuesday (district meeting day), we planned a trade off with the zone leaders and I put clothes, pillow, blanket, scriptures, back pack, all my notes for the district meeting... pretty much everything, in the trunk of our car. In a little bit of a hurry I closed the trunk and right in the middle of closing it I realized I put the key down in the trunk as well as I was unloading all my stuff... haha That was so funny I just laughed... Really though, I started to get upset because I felt so naked without everything. Anyway, long story short, we had to bike down to the chapel and It was really cool because on the way over I found a 20 dollar bill flying away in the street! I almost crashed slamming on my brakes to get it but that was a sweet tender mercy! Anyway, the district was all doing pretty stink "numbers wise" and I was having a hard time myself without all my notes for the meeting. So pretty much after the accountability for how the district was doing even though I was as encouraging as possible the spirit was just GONE. I tried teaching everything I had prepared, but I had forgotten some of the scripture references I was going to use. IT WAS A MESS! Nobody had a smile on their face and it stunk... So I just stopped everything and said okay, this can't happen, lets all kneel down and say a prayer. A prayer was offered and the spirit flooded the room!!! It was awesome! Smiles came back and I even remembered all the scriptures I wanted to share! Then afterward, I had a sweet trade off with Elder Bills! HE is the man! I learned heaps from him and we set two people for baptism and had six AWESOME LESSONS!

Wednesday... We are struggling to find people to teach so we did a small P.U.S.H. (pray until something happens). We prayed everywhere we went, probably offered 20 prayers all day. Nothing spectacular happened, but I felt a whole lot better putting things into the Lord's hands and relying on him.

Thursday, we did another trade off with the Zone Leaders just because of car driving issues with them and the other trade off they were doing, its complicated... Anyway, I went with Elder Fernandez who is also the MAN!!! Except that day we ran into a Jehovah’s Witness who we spent a little too long with and he just wanted to bother and argue with us. Elder Fernandez got angry at himself for letting it happen and we lost the spirit a little. We tried to go teach a lesson to the same guy we taught and set for baptism on Tuesday, but it was HARD!!! The lesson went okay, but there was a very distinct difference between the two. I learned that the spirit is the thing that turns these 18 to 25 year old "boys" or “children,” as Elder Holland would say, into fishers of MEN!!! The rest of the day turned out better as we asked for forgiveness and prayed to have the spirit back.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all good average days! We found some sweet people to teach. One is a Tongan family that moved from Mesa, Arizona just three months ago. So that was cool. But hey fams, I think I'm running out of time. I just want you to know that I love all of you guys so much and am so grateful for all the letters of support and encouragement that you give me. You guys are da bomb!!! Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving and make sure you eat heaps of turkey and taquitos and mashed tatoes and stuff like that. Oh and don’t forget to take a sweet five-hour nap after that. As for me I still got some work to do before I can do those things.

Elder Ward

P.S. For the college bowl picks throw me in and put all my answers for the team who would come first in the dictionary. Send my top prize winning candy in the mail please. J


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Preaching the Gospel...In My Sleep

Dear family,

Today, I am, once again, believe it or not, in a mad rush for time to do a thousand and one things. So, first off I will start by letting dad know that his email is perfect. It's kinda like chapter 11 in PMG under bearing testimony. It is hard to question a testimony. I think that was inspired. It's awesome how parents are entitled to receive revelation for their families. Good job. And Mom, it sounds like you need another vacation. Going to jail [aka traffic school], finding shoes, doing animal projects, trying to keep everyone happy, and being called upon again right when you get a couple of seconds of peace. haha You should start getting paid for that kinda work. I guess though, in a way you do. It just might not be in the way you would think. For example you could be getting paid with a greater capacity to love. Just something to ponder on.

So I just remembered I need to respond to others individually so this letter might be a little short. Something really funny happened this week while I did a trade off with Elder Galt. He said that at 12:30 at night he woke up because he heard me talking. Apparently I was teaching the principle of Repentance (from lesson 3) and that it was actually pretty well done. I used some kind of analogy about Heavenly Father’s house being clean and how we need to be clean and he was starting to wonder if I was awake and just playing a joke on him... He realized I was actually asleep when I ended with "and all of this is possible because of … (BIG SNORING SOUNDS)" He explained what happened to me in the morning and I couldn't help but smile. Also, Elder Loffhagen told me I was trying to get someone to pray in my sleep as well.

We have a sweet investigator named Monique. I think I might have mentioned her last week as the girl who would just laugh at us every time we went over... It's so cool watching her countenance change as she prays seeking truth from Heavenly Father. She also came to church this week and actually enjoyed it and stayed for 3 hours. That was a shock. Something I'm starting to realize though is people who grow up in the Church might sometimes take for granted really how much the spirit can touch their hearts during all three of those meetings. The work is a little tough right now as far as our teaching pool goes. Things will turn around soon though. Sorry I have to cut things short to email OObers and Coolin (Aubrey & Collin).

Elder Ward

P.S. Tell the priest quorum I love them all and appreciate everything they have done for me, and that I wish them well on the best 2 years of their lives.




Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Miracle Happened This Week

Dear family,

I have heaps of thoughts and letters to respond to that I probably won’t be able to get finished in the short time that I have, but I will do my best to type fast! So, to be honest, I can’t think of anything really... for Christmas or my birthday. I’m pretty content... I don’t really need much. I guess come strawberry orange banana Crystal Light packets would be great and some Sponge Bob macaroni and cheese. That would be cool too. (It's pretty sad that’s all I can think of.) I don’t need much, but feel free to surprise me.

This week a miracle happened!!! WEEE GOT A CAR!!!! A tender mercy indeed, especially for Elder Loffhagen! We had a great day where we were able to teach a girl named Hinerangi and set her to be baptized on the 1st of December. We just knocked on her door and offered to teach her on her front lawn. Then, not even 10 minutes after, we got a call from the AP’s (Elder Barney) letting us know that we were going to get a car tomorrow. I was so happy. I said, "This would be such a sick joke if you were just kidding! Are you for serious?!" So yup, anyway, long story short, the Samoan elders in our zone crashed the car so now we get to drive it around everywhere! I was just starting to enjoy biking too, but I think I will be all right.

So let’s see—for your district meeting tonight, I actually do have something to throw in. I talked about this a lot in the last district meeting that I did. I will do my best to sum it up but I talked about Elder Bednar’s talk on personal conversion and focused on his analogy of our lamps and conversion oil (regarding the ten virgins). As missionaries everything we teach is to help people make and keep commitments and the biggest three are of course reading scriptures, praying, and going to church. Every day we BEG investigators to do those three things, because without those three things they cannot be truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Doing those three things can lighten the heaviest loads, bring hope to those in despair, and help brighten dark times. The thing is though, in order to help other people we first need to help ourselves! So a question you could ask everyone there is how much conversion oil do they put in their lamps? How often do they read their scriptures, how much work do they put into their prayers? and just how serious do they take the sacrament? (I mentioned that talk about the man who was "sleeping" when the water came his way). Anyway, without the spirit we can do NOTHING. This week I kinda experienced it. We had a baptism on Saturday—a boy named Shanil Kumar. It was a great program but it started at nine in the morning. So in a mad rush to make everything perfect we had to skip personal study. We still came back and did companion study and 12-week program training, but the whole day I could not tell what was wrong with me. I was super impatient in lessons, I had anxiety issues, and I was just angry throughout the day over nothing. That night I got in, planned, called the district, and then when we were reporting to the zone leaders Elder Bills asked me how my day was so I told him that it wasn't that great and what I had been feeling throughout the day. So he just asked why do you think that happened? Right away it hit me I DIDN'T READ!!!!! When you’re a missionary your conversion lamp gets a whole lot bigger and needs a whole lot more oil to power it. D&C 82:3 I strongly advise everyone to deepen their personal conversion including all the Priests and Laurels that are planning to go serve a mission, and ESPECIALLY any who are having second thoughts! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

So yeah, some other cool things happened this week. I mentioned Shanil’s baptism a little already but I should tell you a little bit more. Baptisms are crazy. SOMETHING ALWAYS goes wrong. This time I was determined to get everything right. So the morning of we woke up at 5 in the morning to go fill and heat the font. Then we went to go run and exercise with Aj Houia who is starting to get a little fat and lazy.
J We got back at six thirty and we started to get ready. We got to the chapel at 8:15 and started to set up chairs and everything else. Then at 8:30 Shanil arrived with his dad so we went to go change into our whites. That's when I realized I forgot extra clothes.... so everything that gets wet stays wet which includes white shirt and top and bottom garments. So I [improvised]. Then everyone started coming in, including members and the Assistants and zone leaders. The spirit filled the room but I could tell Shanil was nervous!!! We said a prayer with him and did our best to help him feel better, but when we got in the water I realized that it was not heated! AT ALL!!! Whoops. It was a good program and even though Shanil was clinging onto my arm for dear life and kicked his feet like a mad man he felt a lot better after and I felt the spirit really strong!

Sorry. I would love to write more but I need to take the sisters home! I will respond to all ya’lls next week. Love you guys heaps. Be good and don’t forget to fill your lamps.

Elder Ward



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Working Smart Trumps Working Hard

Dearest family,

This week was excellent and once again full of many adventures! First off, before I forget, Mom I have no idea what I want... OH yeah another ball and pump would be nice. I left the pump in Missouri and my ball was popped by intense Tongan vs. Samoan volleyball. Also, that blue hair stuff would be cool and some deodorant because it's expensive here and I stink. Other than that I’m not sure what I need really. I guess just surprise me. It would be cool if you could send me an In-n-out burger, but I don’t think that’s possible. :) Anyways I do have some great news…I back to normal! No, I did not buy 6 bags of oranges. I only bought 4 which was quite a lot actually, and I ate about 3 and a half of the bags….probably in total 25 oranges. I have some good pictures I will try to send.

So WHOA the family sounds good! Trevor the sales champion!!!  I think my total average working at Moxie was probably like 4 bucks a hour. :) I’m still glad I did it. Brycecream did it again?! By 80 points?! hahahaha The 2nd place guy could have done another 2 dives and still not win. That kid is nuts!  As for Collin, way to go! Lindsay Wade…dude…that’s cool! She has the coolest family in the whole world. Be good to her and maybe offer to go play her in racquetball sometime. Tell her I said Hi. Aubrey I have nothing to say….you LIED!!! Jokes…I miss you sis and I bet you made a good Minnie Mouse for Halloween. Ava keep being cool and help dad scare away those pigeons before he shoots them in the face.

I kinda don’t even know where to start. Oh, just a reminder with Seth Bloomfield and all them boys when they get their mission calls….PLEASE let me know! Give me their addresses too and I will do my best to send them a letter before they go. So something cool that happened this week was INTERVIEWS with President Lekias. This is without a doubt the hardest I've worked on my mission, and we are struggling to find new investigators and help them progress. STRUGGLING! Anyways, President asked if Elder Loffhagen has been able to invite anyone to be baptized, and I said, “Well president, that's something I wanted to talk to you about... WERE STRUGGLING”. Ha…right away he asked have you been visiting the members... No.... and within 3 minutes he made a plan for us to help fix our problems. He let me know that working smart trumps working hard. He really helped me heaps and things are starting to progress again! Also we are baptizing Shanil Kumar this weekend! WHOO! I have been really humbled this week and realized just how much more I need to learn to be an effective servant.

Also this week, don’t worry this is with Elder Loffhagen’s permission, Elder Loffhagen does not like bikes... he has crashed too many times to count! One particular day I felt pretty bad for him. He crashed within the first 20 seconds of leaving the flat (apartment)  hurting his arm and his head, crashed again crossing the street, and then at night time going down a big steep hill. I told him not to brake and he didn't see the sidewalk on the dark hill so he ran over that and it threw him off his bike. I feel bad for him and I hope things will start getting better for him soon. We get along great haha. In our free time we play this geek card game called Magblast where you shoot each other’s ships and you have to make the sound affects. We also play this weird game that’s like a form of rock, paper, scissors, but it's dragon ball z style where you can either power up, reflect, shoot instant transmission, or spirit bomb. ( I have no idea why I’m telling you this.)

This week I had a cool experience going along with mom talking about her lesson on prayer... yeah I feel the same way sometimes too. I read a talk in the Ensign where a teacher had the people chant pots, pots, pots, pots, pots, and then he quickly asked, “What do you do at a green light?”… STOP!!! No you GO!  He talked about how sometimes we just mindlessly chant stuff out in our prayers and that we might not take the time to stop and think about what we are really saying. Then he gave important steps to affective prayer. I think they were 1. Pick a place 2. Pray out loud 3. Pray for others 4. Be grateful and 5. I forget but it was really cool. He used examples from the BOM and then he read Jesus Christ's prayer with the Nephites and he did all the steps. You should find it!!! It should be in either the October or September Ensign.

Anyway one night this week we went over to do some family scripture reading with the Houia/King family, and I don’t know what it was but everyone was just ANGRY! AJ was being cheeky, Pita started playing music because he wanted to read in Alma (not 2nd Nephi), and then mom got mad because she was feeling the spirit and it was just getting ruined. Towards the end I was just ANGRY myself because I loved this family. We had just read 2nd Nephi 32 and 33 which are some of the sweetest chapters in the BOM and the spirit was just gone. I was so close to just freaking out and letting everyone know how retarded they were acting... I’m so glad I didn't! Anyway, nobody wanted to say the prayer so they started to pick on each other and put it to a vote (yes they argued about that too). I just sat quietly in the corner and when they asked me for my vote I stopped, didn't answer, and just knelt down and waited for everyone else to follow. The spirit then came in and with tears coming down my face I apologized for what had just happened (all the contention) and asked to let the family see how much we loved them and how much the gospel had blessed them in their lives. It felt as if I were literally talking to Heavenly Father and it is a prayer I won’t soon forget.

Anyway, I’m taking too long. I gotta go soon, but one last experience. This Sunday Kanahana surprised me and bore her testimony! She thanked me and all the members and she explained that the first day she came to church she was wondering why everyone was so happy, and she wanted that for herself. She said she finally understands why everyone is the way the are and that she experienced it ALL last week. She was just super grateful and you could tell how much of an impact the spirit had on her. That was priceless. Keep doing good things family and know that I love you guys to death.

Elder Ward
Heaps of Oranges

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Greatest Gift for Another Mom

Dearest Whanua,

Sorry I just need to point something out real fast... Mom is going crazy doing a million and one different things and it's her birthday today and she still manages to pop off a real letter to her missionary son... Sorry either all you guys are sad or Mom just has some kind of super powers! I think it's a little bit of both. :) Anyways… HHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY BBBBBBIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

Good job you did it mom! Haha…we just sang happy birthday to President Kennedy (a guy in the stake presidency) at our zone breakfast today. He was turning 69 today... just around the corner mom, just around the corner... jokes. Well, I will be honest…even though I will have absolutely no problem admitting that I am a true blue Momma's boy I Live it! I Know it! I Love it!!! :) I am sad to admit that I completely forgot that it was your birthday today, so say sorry to the family because most of this letter should be just for you today. In all seriousness I have no idea how you do everything you do. I sure do hope that the family has appreciated everything you have done the past few weeks, and I really do think of you as some kind of super hero. Haha it just seems like your kryptonite is speeding tickets. :) 19 in a 15!!! What were you thinking?! You could have killed someone! :)

So mom, I didn't really get you anything but I will do my best to send you a picture of a mom and her kids that we were able to baptize this weekend. I think it's really cool that even though I wasn't able to give anything to my mom I was able to help give another mom one of the greatest gifts that can be offered. Her name is Kanahana Tamangarangi Taiaroa. I have talked about her a little, but man she is so cool! We found her about a month and a half ago when I still had Elder Tafiti with me. I knew she was important, so every time we had an appointment set with her I would do my best to plan heaps of appointments to do splits with other missionaries. :) Anyways, at first she didn't think we would come back. She didn't really believe in God and she never prayed before in her life. Over time through awesome spiritual experiences, she gained a testimony of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and stopped smoking, drinking, etc. This week her and her 2 kids, Miami and Kaniehana, got baptized. This, by far, was my favorite baptism. We planned to have Pita King there to fellowship baptize all of them, but the youngest Kaniehana asked me to do hers. The two kids went first and Kanahana (the mom) was so happy she couldn't help but clap. She experienced so much joy that day…it was priceless! Confirmation day was pretty sweet too! Even though I failed big time pronouncing their crazy Maori names :), the spirit was felt really strong by everyone.

You don’t know how much I miss having a mommy. Without a doubt and whenever I get asked what I miss the most, I don't hesitate to answer my mom... or sleep…haha. No, just kidding, I say mom. Anyway…whether it's washing my stinky clothes, making dinner, or even telling me I need to go shower, I don't think anyone has made as big as an impact on my life as you mom. Haha… I especially missed you this morning when I had issues from the lack of eating any fruit.  I can't remember when I've eaten fruit last. Sorry that is probably just going to make you worry, but in all seriousness my first thought was…Dang!...Mom would be giving me such a hard time on this right now. Haha…it probably wouldn't have happened in the first place. Don't worry though.  I'm fixing the problem today.  I am going to go out and buy like 6 bags of oranges.


Haha…I just read dad’s letter. All is excused since you were trying to help mom out. BUT YOU BETTER REPENT!!! Anyways, I just want to let the family know that they need to go hug mom and let her know just how much they appreciate her whether its for being a good example, cleaning everything, doing laundry, loving you, making good food, or just helping keep your bowels in check.  LET HER KNOW!!!! From the words of Thomas S. Monson quoting William Shakespeare, "They do not love... who do not show their love." Also, he encouraged us to never assume that someone knows that we love them... we should let them know. I love my family so much and, MOM, I love you too and no matter what you think YOU ARE the best mom in the whole world.

Elder Ward

p.s. I will throw in some quick cool stories that happened this week. I went to my first Maori funeral. They are a little different than what we are used to! When somebody dies, they have a 3 day funeral.  The first day after the service, we went to a house with about 50 Maori people gathered in one room around the coffin in the middle. Luckily we had Pita with us that day who is Maori himself and knew all the rules and regulations of what to do. Like…you have to be invited into the house and wash your hands before you leave. Anyways, we sat in the center of the room and sang “God be With You Till We Meet Again” and “Families Can be Together Forever”. I taught a little bit of the plan of salvation and bore my testimony about how families can be together forever. I talked about great grandma Dolly's funeral where I first distinctly felt the spirit as we sang that song.

P.s.s. To end on a lighter note…haha… man Kiwi's are a crack up. One phrase they use a lot is “hard out!” which means different things like big or crazy. They use it in a lot of different instances. Anyways, I almost laughed this Sunday when a YSA member who is a recent convert said the opening prayer in sacrament meeting and he was thanking Heavenly Father for heaps of different things. Then he started to run out of things to say and his prayer went a little like this "Thank you for all our blessings" and “Thank you for.... all our ‘hard out’ blessings to!" That was funny!!

Kanahana, Miami, and Kaniehana's Baptism


Sunday, October 21, 2012

This Week was SAAAAWWEEEEET!!!

Auckland City

AJ and Elder Ward
Elder Loffhagen, my trainee
Red Hill Tracting View
Dear Family,

Man, that’s so crazy how much stuff you guys have been doing the past week or so... Haha…some of those pictures of the Kansas City temple hit so close to home and it's really cool you were able to see some parts of the mission that I use to cover in Missouri. You even ran into SISTER LISONBEE!!! That's my mission mom from Missouri. Man, she is like 25 or 26 years old and she is very authoritative….if that's even a word, but she was the best! I loved her! Haha…yup and that was true that Elder Bills was pretty serious all the time. Man I love him to death too! I found a new sense of appreciation for what he did for me when I first entered in the mission. Now that I'm on the other end of the spectrum I see just how good of a job he did and how much I owe him. Also something cool about that cornerstone of the temple that says Erected 2012, the Prophet and Jeffrey R. Holland stood in that same exact spot about 6 months ago. If you touched the top left corner of the box, that's where they put the mortar during the cornerstone ceremony.  Also, it was funny cuz seeing Ava there reminded me of a little girl that the prophet called up to put a little mortar in herself…it was pretty tender when she hugged the Prophet’s legs.

So, yes this week was SAAAAWWEEEEET!! Elder Fale left Tuesday and I got to spend the next 2 full days with Elder Bills, my zone leader. His companion, Elder Barney, was just made the assistant so I got to be a zone leader for 2 days. It was sooo nice being able to drive a car. I learned heaps from him and we had awesome days even though it was a little stressful covering both areas. One really cool moment we had was when we were working in his area we went to go teach Elder Bill’s next door neighbor. There was no other guy home so we couldn’t go inside, but she was keen to come outside and have a lesson with us. It was super sweet teaching the restoration to her, and halfway through the lesson when I finished teaching the Great Apostasy, Elder Bills started teaching the Restoration portion. Right when he started, I had a feeling that I was going to recite the first vision even though Elder Bills was teaching about Joseph Smith. In the lesson though when it came time Elder Bills explained that I would share the first vision... I started with a prayer in my heart hoping that the spirit would touch this ladies heart while I said it. It's probably the most I have ever felt the spirit and it was crazy because right when I said I saw a pillar of light, the heavens opened and it shined super bright all around us and on the lady we were teaching... when it had been rainy and cloudy 20 minutes earlier. THAT was cool!

So yup this week I got my new companion, Elder Loffhagen! It has made me reflect on how much I have learned and how much I have grown since being out on my mission. He kinda had a rough first day. He crashed on his bike, ripped his pants, and almost got hit by a bus. He felt really homesick, but Friday and Saturday we just worked super duper hard trying to find new investigators.  I had him do a pretty good amount of the talking to people which made him feel a lot better. He is great. I forgot to mention he is from England, oh, and guess what else... HE'S 18!!!! He is kinda like the English version of Benson Ferris (I mean that in the nicest way possible). I love spending time with him and teaching him how to be the best he can be. This morning we were going over how to teach the Restoration and how to really help investigators understand, and also working on how to transition (taking turns). So we took turns teaching different principles of the lesson while the other would sit on the couch right next to a picture of Joseph Smith. When Elder Loffhagen got to Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, he had a real hard time teaching that principle and kept freezing up. With a few attempts he started looking more and more discouraged. I told him STOP, okay, close PMG... “Elder Loffhagen, do you know that Jesus Christ lived and died for you”... Yes. “Do you know that he lived a perfect life and set a perfect example for us”... Yes. “Do you know that he lives and leads and guides this church today”... Yes. I then explained…”I know you know these things because the Spirit has confirmed in your heart and mind that it's true. Now what I want you to do is pass that same knowledge into my heart and mind, and pray for the Spirit to do that.” He prayed and after awhile I asked if he was ready. He then taught simple principles of what Jesus Christ did in his life. It wasn't anything really different on how he said it but I felt the spirit so strong!!!

Sorry, I got to go, but always listen to the spirit. You can't go wrong! I love you all extended family! :)

Arohanui Always,
Elder Ward
Part of my district, AJ, and Pita playing touch Rugby
Pita-King Planking Champ

Sunday, October 14, 2012

General Conference...So COOL!!!

Dear Family,

Daaaa Heck??? That's not what I was expecting our family never does anything except go to California at least 2 to 4 times a year. (Connor learned we were on a church history trip.) I hope you’re enjoying everything and I hope you enjoy spending time in ZION. It's such a great place down there. Missouri will always have a close place in my heart. Also, you should go check out adam ondi aman. (I know I totally goofed that one up.) You should also go to the RLDS temple and visitor’s center right next to it. You might even run into my old mission president, President Keyes, but it sounds like you already have planned 832479816487236438 things to do already. Sounds like fun, and I’m glad you guys are trying something new. Haha! WAY TO GO COLLIN…30 on the ACT!!! Also, congrats on setting again. Trevor, good to hear you’re getting back into the swing of things.

So, I got some news! I got a call this week from President Lekias letting me know that I will be training a new missionary and I am going to be made the new district leader. So, I’m staying in Papakura for another transfer…WHOO! That will make 6 months here. Good thing this area is super cool! I don’t know my new companion’s name yet but there are 22 missionaries coming in and President let us know that 10 of them are in the process of learning to speak English. That would be pretty interesting, but I don’t have distinct impressions that will be the case for me. Who knows though….whatever the Lord wants, right?

This week was a little rough for some reasons. Monday, my bike’s tires both popped leaving us bikeless. Elder Fale smashed his ankle in a pothole playing touch rugby in one of our member’s backyard. Tuesday and Wednesday we couldn't really get a whole lot done and the people we did visit dropped us. Thursday, me and Elder Fale ran out of food except for some apples and milk, so we both drank a liter of chocolate milk each for lunch... Milk Was a Bad Choice!! Elder Fale was throwing up big time and I felt nasty. Then Elder Fale got sick on Friday again... haha. Normally I try to leave the negative details out, but I have good news! All of those things happened this week, but you know what? I honestly could not be any happier! Everyday me and Elder Fale were just able to smile, shake our heads, laugh it off and say, "It's just not our week. :)" Kanahana and her kids along with Shunil Kumar are progressing awesome! They are going to be baptized on the 27th of October.

Oh yeah, and then General Conference was SOOOOO cool! You guys were right…Jeffrey R. Holland did it again!  Remember Pita King? He was sitting next to me and after the talk he quietly whispered pointing to the ceiling. “Do you see that?” I said Nah (Kiwi version of no) and he said “that's everyone’s brains that just got exploded.” I especially liked when he talked about missionaries having been commissioned of Jesus Christ... that talk was super good! My other favorites were Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s (spell check maybe) talk on Saturday morning. Also, I loved Thomas S. Monson’s talk especially when he spoke about the Cultural Celebration in Kansas City. I WAS TOTALLY THERE!!! He mentioned Susan Cooper’s name too and I know her! I had dinner at their house like 4 times. It felt cool being able to be a part of all that. Anyway all the talks were super great. Robert D. Hales is looking a lot better from last conference and yup….best conference ever.

Good picture, Dad. I could take a better look at it if it wasn’t upside down, but I can make out that it's you, Trevor, Collin, Jared, Taggert, and Spencer. Quick response to Dad's letter…haha…the day before when we were at the Armstrong's house for the weekly MCM meeting. They showed a video of Glenn Beck sharing his thoughts on his beliefs. It was really good and gave me a lot of insight on just how important it is to have Heavenly Father play a role in our day to day decisions whether they are big or small. Also, about Trevor, that's kind of the stinky thing about coming home from your mission... because you’re going to suffer. It's either going to be regret for not doing what you should have... or you’re going to miss doing the things you got to do. Good thing it's that second one for Trevor! :) My only advice for Trevor is just remember Elder Uchtdorfs Saturday morning talk…keep finding joy in the journey and good things are always coming.

I love you guys so much and I was for serious about going to Independence to go check out the RLDS temple, the Far West Temple site, Adam Ondi Ahman, and the mission office in Missouri. It would be cool if you could meet President Keyes... Oh and the Kirtland temple that the RLDS own, but I heard it's still a crazy experience.

Elder Ward

p.s. The Church, believe it or not, is still true! ;)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happiest Week of my Whole MIssion!

Dearest Family and Trevor!!!

HAHA…man…lots of emotion! I guess all you guys had a pretty eventful week! :) Trevor I love you so much buddy and I know without a doubt you served a mission that made our Heavenly Father proud. I think now that you’rE home back to where your old life used to be you've probably realized just how much your mission has changed you. I'm envious of your capacity of love towards those you served in Nicaragua! Now keep doing good things, make sure DUMB boys stay away from Aubrey, and go get married in the temple. 4 days….I mean come on…what's taking you so long? haha

Well, there is lots to say. I have recovered miraculously since last week. Elder Fale is pretty much a new missionary. He has been out for 2 months now and is still going through the 12 week training program. Now this area has not 1, but TWO missionaries that are obedient and have the desire to go out and work! Man, I learned this week just how much disobedience handicaps the work... being obedient is THE ONLY INTELLIGENT way to serve a mission... I fasted just yesterday to be able to forgive and forget. Things are better now, but I still had to overcome a lot of anger and bad feelings. Things have gotten a lot better and I LOVE ELDER FALE. He is a champion! He is from Mangere, New Zealand, which is like ten minutes away from our area. He is waiting for his Visa to go to PNG (Papa New Guinea) might need to do a spell check on that one. Anyways, we have been working SOOO HARD this past week to repent from the last few weeks transgressions and help get this area back to where it was before, and this week was AWESOME… in fact, the happiest of my WHOLE MISSION!!

This week we were able to find a new investigator and his less active dad. This guy stopped us a long time ago in town on our p-day. He owns his own Fiji curry shop and was baptized in Fiji 26 years ago. He let us know he wants to come back to church. We told him he will need to close his shop on Sundays and also let him know the Lord will bless him for keeping the Sabbath day holy. Anyways, he has a son (Shunil) and a wife who aren't members. We started to teach the son and helped him say his first prayer and the wife just avoids us, but we are going to invite her to sit in on the next lesson with Shunil.

Good news though…remember Kanahana??? Well dang she is SOLID! Three weeks ago she didn't even really believe in God or Jesus Christ, but she has had so many good experiences and felt the spirit so much that she can't deny what she has felt! She has quit alcohol, tea, coffee, and is SOOO CLOSE on the ciggies. We went over everyday this week and she was so grateful for everything we've done for her and her family. Everytime we left, me, Elder Fale, and either AJ or Pita Houia would leave doing Elder Fale's happy skip. ( It's really funny watching a 220 pound Tongan do a happy skip.) She came to church this Sunday, made friends really quickly, and felt the spirit really strong as others bore their testimonies.

This week I learned something really cool that is in Mark chapter 2 verses 4-12. I think that’s where Jesus heals the man with Palsy (spell check), but Kanahana brought up how she doesn't really believe that Jesus Christ healed all those people because she sees people today go into church blind and still come out blind. People roll in to church with a wheel chair, but they don't walk out on their own 2 feet. I read that story to her and explained that Jesus Christ did all those things that he did to show us that he had power to heal, and even though he died 2000 years ago what happened back then still happens today! Jesus Christ can heal broken hearts, cure anger, fix families, you name it he can do it. It's just a matter of putting your trust in him and doing the things he asks. After bearing my testimony she said, “you know that makes sense…I believe that.” THANK YOU HOLY GHOST!

Haha…This week also, 2 days after Elder Fale got in, my district leader finally wants to go on a trade off with me and then the very next day the zone leaders took us on one too. I gave them both a hard time because while I was struggling for 2 months they didn't bother to trade off once! Right when we got in the car I just said, “WHERE WERE YOU?!" Both trade offs were good haha and on Thursday when I went with Elder Bills, we ran into our investigator Jessie Moon who is 19 years old and is kinda pretty. She told me and Elder Bills that my old companion found her on Facebook and is trying to convince her to come to America to go out with him.  She was pretty creeped out! Elder Bills and I got a pretty good kick out of that one. :)

The work is going well again. I’M HAPPY!!!! and I’m pumped for conference! Tell Justin and Joey and Trevor I said hi. Give Trevor another big hug for me and stay good. The church is true!


Elder Ward


Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Gospel Brings Families Closer Together

Dear parents...

Assuming the rest of the family won’t be there to receive my letter, I guess this is just more for you. Boy am I happy that you guys aren't dead yet. Those roads in Nicaragua sound dangerous! In NZ the roads are generally safe because even when people get in accidents the usual speed limit is 50 KMH which I think is about 35 mph. Mom would probably get lots of tickets here. ;) I'm not really too worried about Trevor because the Lord protects his missionaries. :) I joke around from time to time that we can jump out of airplanes without parachutes, but I don't think I will try that one. Keep praying and I forgot to mention the whole fam is on the prayer roll in the Hamilton, New Zealand, temple pretty cool aye?

So just yesterday a missionary named Elder Taotua, a Samoan who actually just returned from his mission, spoke in our sacrament meeting. Before sacrament meeting, he passed by and I shook his hand and boy it sure was easy to tell that he had served as a missionary, but not only that, but I could tell right away that this Elder had served a very honorable mission. 3rd hour was combined and we watched Elder Bednar’s 3 part series talking about LIGHT on Go watch the video. It's sooooo good! Anywho, I went and talked to Elder Taotua and I just let him know that I could tell he served a really good mission. I also asked him if he knew my friend Dalton Brough. He said "Elder Brough!!" He spoke really highly of him and I tried to figure out how he knew him but he was too humble to let me know that he was an AP for the Adelaide, Australia mission. I know that when you get to go give Trevor a big fat hug and talk to him all the way home, you will be able to feel that same light coming from my awesome brother. :)

So what is there to tell... This week we had an awesome lesson with a lady named Tania and we had a guy named Pita King come out with us. The Houia/King family I have probably mentioned in the past but they were baptized a year and a half ago and missionaries have been coming over ever since. They have 19, 21, and 25 year old sons who have a ton of time on their hands, so we usually have one of them come out with us almost everyday. Anyway, Pita is the 21 year old and he was with us when we had a lesson with this lady, Tania. She is afraid to get baptized because she is afraid it will hurt her family. Pita jumped in and asked, "can I share my conversion story with you?", and he talked about how when he moved back home he didn't even recognize his family (who had just been baptized a couple months earlier). They were just happy and got along with each other which never happened in the past. Then he bore powerful testimony that the gospel brings families closer together while on the brink of tears. After the lesson, he realized what that true kind of happiness really is…. He said, "You know I really want to go serve a mission now". That made my really, really crappy week a whole lot better! :)

Dad, thank you for your advice with prayer. I will have to let Kanahana know about that. She is progressing well. We were going to have her baptized on the 13th of October but that's actually our general conference weekend, so we had to push it a week back to October the 20th along with her son, Miami, and little girl, Kaniehana.

So, I got some crazy news! This is kinda just going to be one big cliffhanger, but my companion is going home today. He is getting picked up by the AP's at 3:00pm. My new companion's name is Elder Fal'e. I definitely just had the worst week of my mission. The spirit was pretty much gone... I felt completely alone as I taught Kanahana and then again while I read the BOM with a less active member, and at other times throughout the week.  NOT what you were expecting, huh?! I am happy though cuz I’m back to my old cheerful self and I will let you in on more details next week... for now I got to do emails to PREZ

Love you guys heaps,
Elder Ward


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sweet Experience-Hamilton NZ Temple!!!

Hamilton New Zealand Temple
Dearest Family,

Darn I look forward to emailing you guys every week. I love all of you soooo much! Trevor!!! What the heck in the world?! I don’t even know that guy anymore. :) I just took a peek at some of his pictures he sent me and it kinda gave me some flashbacks. There’s no doubt I fought with him a lot and I could probably quote some of the nasty things I've said about him like, "I don’t want him to be my brother anymore!!!" and "I hate him so much I just want to punch him in the face!!!" Make sure when you go pick him up or when he gets home that I send my love and appreciate all the good he has done in my life by being a good example and that it is an honor to wear a name tag just like his... ahh darn…I just realized his is in Spanish.  It's still an honor though!

Happy anniversary parents and good job making it this far! I suppose we owe you some serious props for accomplishing a feat that is not so easy in days like this. Haha…dad you’re right…I think I’m learning a thing or two about what the future holds in store. Remember how I used to get really annoyed at people who would eat loud (sorry about that everyone). This week I finally realized that my companion chews his food SUPER LOUD and I almost cracked up laughing at how much that used to bother me. Sure it can still be annoying but I’ve realized just how foolish I had been telling my own family TO GET AWAY FROM ME!!!

This week on Wednesday I got to go to the Hamilton, NZ, temple and boy, oh boy, was it a sweet experience! It was so much needed and I was so grateful for the Spirit I got to feel there. Something really stuck out to me this time around. I guess I will just share with you when I get home or something when we can be in the temple together. It really helped me to go to one of my favorite places in the whole world, THE LORD’S HOUSE. Thank you so much mom and dad for getting married there and for being good examples for me on the way I should live.
Mission Temple Day

This week we have been meeting with an investigator named Kanahana and her boy Miami and her girl Kaniehana. The mom is Maori and she explained to me that she is having a real hard time. She has tried everything pretty much and nothing has ever worked for her... she said even anti-depressants are worthless. Haha. She is a typical Maori lady. She is super straight forward and is not afraid to speak her mind. She explained that she will read the scriptures and that she will go to church, but she won’t pray for this, that, and these reasons. I just said I'll be straight forward with you... “You WILL NOT be able to get out of this hole and find peace and happiness without help from Heavenly Father, which comes through prayer. We have taught her all the lessons and she came to church yesterday! We’re looking to have them baptized in October but not sure about which date yet.

Also, we went to go contact a referral given to us by one of the members and a really nice lady opened the door and invited us in. She had been taught by missionaries in the past and pretty much received an answer that it was something she needed to do and that it was all true. We had an awesome lesson with her, and she was in tears by the end. She let us know that we were supposed to come that night, and it made me feel so grateful for the Spirit! I hadn't even planned on going there that night, but somehow we got led to that house. I realized sometimes we might not even realize how much God directs us in our lives. It's kind of like Nephi when he went to get the plates. He didn't know what he was doing he just did what he felt like he needed to do, and sure enough it all worked out.

What else hmmm... haha trying to stay positive here. :)

OHHHHHH!!!! I got a letter from Jessica Barney this week along with her graduation announcement. It made my life! Haha…she told me about how she is going to be a nurse and stuff at Utah Valley. She even had a quote from President Hinckley on her announcement.  She will be a good catch for somebody…someday!

Anyways the work is going good. Sorry dad…you’re wrong! My companion has got 3 weeks (not 1 week) left…23 days left to be exact... haha. It's not me counting but I sure do hear it everyday.

Sorry this letter is kinda lame...

Elder Ward
AJ (Cool guy that helps us out) & a Cool Rainbow
Cool Glasses we Found
Awesome Rugby Field