Sunday, February 26, 2012

Whoa...One Heart and One Mind I Guess!

I know it’s not super coincidental that we both happen to think about families a lot, but do you want to know something super crazy??? Mom, you know how you and Dad went to Costa Vida for lunch last Tuesday??? That is exactly where my district and I ate lunch! I didn't even know there were Costa Vida's outside of Arizona... There are! They were pretty new and super unorganized and slow moving compared to the one we usually go to but their ingredients and stuff tasted a whole lot more fresh! I really did think about our family a lot this week though. I've been starting to see the more time I serve in this area the closer I come to the families in our ward and the investigators we teach. The reason that's so important is because it's lonely out here, especially being away from you guys, but there is one family in particular; the Nelsons, who take such good care of Elder bills and I. And this week when we were teaching them we felt so much love for each other it was just like being at home.

Ooooohhh volleyball... darn I miss playing out in that grass field already... sigh. Anyways though, I will try to send some pictures after I’m done. So, Tuesday I forgot to mention that on exchanges I got to stay in the NICEST mission home ever! The place is owned by a member who is a millionaire. It was just like a second guest house or something and it was HUGE! I also forgot to mention I met a little girl EXACTLY like Ava. Her name is Gabby and she is 5 years old. We were at an investigators house (they just had a baby) and while we were talking to them she pulled me down to show me her pictures! She draws pictures exactly like Ava and then she did the same thing where she writes her name a thousand times and then the rest of her family’s names! We became best friends in an instant and I even drew a couple of doggies on her paper. The best part was when she invited me to go see her room... (just like another little girl I know usually tends to do with people she doesn't know). She was a little upset when I said I couldn't but she still gave me 4 pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for the trip home.

Wednesday Elder Bills and I went to go contact a less-active member. They weren't home so we tracted around a few of the houses. We got back in the car and we saw up the street a little ways a man outside raking his leaves. Elder Bills saw him and determined that we should go talk to him. I wasn't exactly feeling prompted but we talk to EVERYBODY so I agreed... We got out and when we got within earshot I said:

“HI, how’s it going?!”
Him: Take a hike.”
Elder Bills: Is something wrong?
Him: Can’t you hear?! Take your...

Anyways, long story short, no he has no date set for baptism. In fact, we got cussed out hard. Elder Bills looked a little down on the way back to the car so I figured I would try to help lighten the mood so I turned to him and said, “Elder Bills... I think we planted a pretty good seed there.” :) I think I might have asked him what he could have done better. I forget, but I got a laugh out of him.

Thursday: I helped a family move and one of the girls looked exactly like Miranda Lee but with brown hair. Then the rest of the week we just worked HARD. Sadly enough we weren't making a whole lot of progress which was frustrating cuz we have so many people we have to work with which kinda leads to the lesson I learned this week.

Behold the field is white ALREADY to harvest... not ALL READY to harvest. Finding people ready for the gospel is a HUGE part of mission work. The problem though is that the people that are ready to hear the gospel will not come down with one mighty thrust of your sickle... well not all the time. But anyways, we realized that we need to pay more attention to the people that we are currently working with, that we need to stay in contact with them everyday, so that they can start to know and feel the absolute love we have for them. So that's what we started doing! Sure we still look for opportunities to meet new people but we need to be better at serving the people we teach and constantly try to build our relationships with them. Charity never faileth is what I’m trying to say I guess. So we will give that a try.


Elder Ward

P.S. Oh Travis Hatch and Justin Garner... I miss those kids who is Justin unofficially engaged to? And is Travis super different now?
P.P.S. Can you check where my visa is at? My ward mission leader gave me a website you can look at (I just forgot it...) and as far as a package goes, I kinda need more ties... candy is always good and more of that blue hair stuff. Oh, and I forgot to mention some things... I have gained 15 pounds since I left home! I'm doing it. I’m getting FAT!!! And I got to teach the gospel principles class in singles ward! It was a lesson on the creation and it was super cool beans. I think that’s all I might have forgotten … probably not, but oh well... I still love you guys a ton!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Three Weeks Already???

It just keeps getting better and better! Sure, I'm not afraid there will be downs to this mission, like how I realized at church this last Sunday that for the next two years nobody will be there to scratch my back during sacrament meeting. We haven't baptized anyone since Caiden but I know that Elder Bills and I are making a serious difference in people’s lives.  

Aww Man!!! Arizona sounds like the place to be! I really wish I could have been at the temple to see Zach go through. And WAY TO GO COLLIN!!! I cannot believe that Coach Vee and BJ were cool with you going. That’s kinda nuts actually. It's not hard to believe the other guys giving you a hard time though. Aubrey, I'm super proud of you too! BUT Mom told on you and said that you have been using the temple as an excuse to get out of chores. You can't be like Nacho Libre. Sometimes we have to put up with kitchen duties, and dead guy... duties and most importantly chore duties! I know you have a lot on your plate but I promise that the more good you try to do around the home and at the temple the more happy you will be.

So I got my hair cut last P-DAY. Man is it short! I will do my best to send some pictures next week. I don’t have my camera cuz we just finished exchanges. I just worked with a guy named Elder Taufa. Yes, he is a Poly and yes he is Hilarious! It's the craziest thing though. He lives in Mesa, Arizona and his uncle is Valoo (The Highland High Head Security Guard).  He is super Jealous of my mission call and says I need to baptize some of his family that lives in Auckland. Last night we went to two families’ houses, one for dinner and the other was a PMF [part-member family]. We went over for FHE. FHE was so awesome and the family loves the missionaries. They had three little girls; Emily 8, Itania 12, and one other, I forgot her name. Whoops. And a boy named Daniel. After family night I got to play freeze tag with them... I almost threw up. They were really good but what made it difficult to win was the fact that, well, they didn't freeze.

Let’s get back to what I was talking about with it getting better and better. A week ago, Elder Bills and I were running low on people to teach. So this last week we built our faith and read PMG chapter 9. And do you know what we did??? We found!  We found 11 new investigators and to put things in perspective the standard of excellence in the mission is 2. Now, I do not boast of my own strength for as to my strength I am weak, but I do boast of my God. Here is a good example of one. It was a little bit late at night, probably around 7:00 pm and we decided to go visit a former investigator. We knocked on their door and it turns out they moved... but the people in the apartment right next to them had their lights on so we figured we would give them a try. We knocked on the door and waited until the door opened. A younger guy stood in the doorway with a baseball cap, a sweet goatee-beard combo, and some interesting tattoos visible on his neck and arms. Seeing this, I started to summon all of my people skills obtained through months of experience with Moxie (not really).
Me: We’re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Have you ever seen us walking around here before?
Him: No.
Me: Well, have you ever talked to us before?
Him: No.
Me: Well, do you want to?
Him: Yeah. Sure come on in. :)

There is absolutely nothing that I did to get him to open that door. That is pretty much how the whole week went.

So, we have to kick Carl and Fawn’s baptismal date back. They are really struggling but it's still amazing how much they've changed in the little time since we have been teaching them. They have a ton of desire and a ton of faith, but A TON to deal with. So I will keep you updated on them. We met a former investigator whose name is Eric. We knocked on his door and asked if he would like to meet with us again. This man is at his wit’s end. His life is an absolute mess. I can't even begin to tell you where he is at right now. I did figure something amazing though this week … that it doesn't matter what you’re going through, big or small, the Atonement covers it all. (Well … reaffirmed.) As we sat in Eric’s super trashy house and invited him to be baptized, he smiled. A man who had NOTHING to smile about except for one thing; to know that God loves him and that he was doing His will. He has a date for March 17th. 

I love you so much family. Sorry that I didn't mail you yesterday. All the libraries were closed for Presidents Day. Keep doing good things and always strive to obedient.
Elder Ward

Monday, February 13, 2012

Charity...The Pure Love of Christ

Well Hello Family!!!

Man this week has been soo crazy! It's hard to believe how much occurs on a week to week basis out here but I will do my best to explain everything that has happened. First, it is COLD here like 4 degrees and snowing cold. Anyways, Friday night I believe we had finished a long day of mission work and it was time for bed. I fell asleep great, but about two in the morning I woke up and I was FREEZING!!! It had been a cold night, but I couldn't really figure why our apartment had turned into a freezer... Well, in the morning Elder Bills rebuked me for not locking the door. It had swung wide open somewhere in the night. Whoops... Thank goodness for your blanket, Mom. I think I would have been a lot worse off if I had some thin sheets for blankets.

Elder Bills and I are going to attend an RLDS church on Sunday. Funny huh? We are getting some seriously good work done! We had our first baptism. His name is Caiden Ruth and he is 9. He reminds me a lot of Booker, just a more shy version of him. He and I have became really close friends. I taught him knucks, bows, toes, and fros. I also got to help prepare him for his interview for baptism. He was really nervous but I did my best to put him at ease by telling him that the missionary he was going to talk to is really nice and that if he wasn't then Elder Bills and I would beat him up. (Don’t worry. He knew we were kidding.) As far as investigators go, we are meeting with Jennifer again and she was a lot happier. We read with Shane from the BOM Alma 36. It was so powerful! After we were done I bore my testimony that he could feel the same joys as Alma the Younger. He was crying and I know he felt the spirit. Sorry I’m kinda just blowing through all these experiences. We met with a less active lady named Sister [Smith]. She normally visits with the sister missionaries but she wanted us to stop by to give her a blessing. She has had problems with smoking, has some serious health issues and she was feeling super frustrated with her life. Which reminds me, Dad, thank you so much for sending me the poem "The Race." After the blessing, I shared that with her and told her basically it's time for her to get back up again and win the race. She was in tears and I really hope that will help make a difference in her life.

By far the most coolest thing that has happened this week was teaching [Carl and Fawn]. They are an African American couple that has had to endure a lot. We taught them three times this week and every single time it has been so powerful and reminds me of exactly what it was like having the Dell’Osos over when they were taught in our home. It's amazing how the gospel can bring so much love and happiness to families. Early this week, Carl would call and there would be A TON of yelling and he would be saying, “I'm throwing in the towel! I can't do this anymore.” After our last lesson on the law of chastity, a big, 39-year-old man was in tears sitting on the couch with his wife holding his hand right next to him saying that he knew that God put them together and that he loves her and nothing is going to stop that. They were all at church and they are progressing amazingly!

Sorry, I know I kinda did this outta order but I really love hearing from the family. I found it hard not to cry as I read all your emails and seeing the love that our family has for each other, like Collin picking up Aubrey at the mall and letting her hang out with him. Good job. Even though I do get homesick though and really do wish that I could be there hanging out with you guys and going to the temple--heck, even helping around the house and hanging out with the priests and that dorky new YM President. I will tell you though that nothing can get me to leave because I know I can help give other people a lot more than all those things. I still have no idea how long I will be in Missouri but I am still glad to be here. Oh, and to answer your question, I am in Blue Springs. Oh, and hey, there is a Costa Vida here!!! I thought it was only in Arizona. I did get your package. Thank you so much!!! My new scriptures are money mcboss. As far as lunch goes, I converted Elder Bills to pizza rolls, dinosaur chicken nuggets and we also eat corn dogs and hot pockets. I got to go email Collin back so see ya's.

Love Elder Ward

P.S. I will fix the ordering next time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Teacher in Zion

Well, I do not even know where to begin! These past few days have been sooo crazy, soooo life changing and just down right MATHEMATICAL!!! First, I just need to state that I know I’m supposed to be here... I arrived at the Missouri airport with the AP's ready to greet me. They were nice and have been out 23 months both of them! (One looked and talked like Samwise from Lord of the Rings). I went and ate at the mission home and met my companion Elder Bills! Elder Bills has only been out for 4 months but let me assure you he is a champion superduperstar missionary. Anyways, after spending time at the mission home, me and Elder Bills traveled back to our apartment in our mission car! SO SWEET! Anyways, I was just super in the dark and I had no idea what to expect for the next day because as good as Elder Bills is as a missionary, he is terrible at communicating (he admits). Anyways, it kinda just felt like my first day of Moxie Pest Control. I had no idea what was going on!

In my journal I even wrote that I will really need the spirit to get me through the day cuz this is like a game of pin the tale on the donkey, but playing it 12 hours straight. I'm glad to report that our first day was super solid! I placed a Book of Mormon! I gave it to Shane Fetters. He is 22 and I told him to read Alma 36 and we arranged to go back to his house Monday (so today) at 8:00 (we couldn’t interrupt super bowl time on Sunday). Anyways, that gave me some confidence and trust me the rest of the day went SUPER! We taught a lady the restoration and we’re going back to teach her whole family. We taught another family the restoration and I dug through my scriptures and managed to find my only copy of the Family a Proclamation to the World. We also taught at member’s houses and asked for referrals and then we did some tracting in between.

The ABSOLUTE HIGHLIGHT though was when we were on the way to Sister Waite’s house... who by the way owns a Moxie pest control company in Missouri with her husband! They were UBER excited when they heard I sold in Arizona!  Anyways, on the way to her house I felt like we needed to cross the street and knock on this one house. I knocked and a lady comes all the way out of her house and just stands there almost on the verge of tears. I felt so sorry for her and I just wanted to give her a big hug (I’m sure that wouldn't have been good though if I did for many different reasons). Anyways though, I told her we were missionaries and asked if there was anything that we could do for her. She paused and then said "Yeah, you can prove to me that God exists and tell me why he lets bad stuff happen to people.” Long story short I talked about Joseph Smith who was a prophet and God allowed TERRIBLE, AWFUL, INHUMANE stuff happen to him and we read Doctrine & Covenants 122 with her.  We bore testimony that God lets us suffer only for our benefit and we just talked and talked outside where it was raining and super cold, but she said that she was just thinking about her relationship with God and that it was amazing that we showed up at the time we did (sorry its really hard to explain the whole experience). But anyways, she has had a tough life in her marriage and I know that the spirit directed us to her house and that she felt it because the lady who stood on the porch on the verge of tears when we first met her was laughing and smiling by the time we left! Anyways though, we are going back to her house Tuesday with Sister Waites. I love missionary work A TON already! The tiny sacrifices of being away from family and being lonely is nothing compared to the pain I can help prevent in other peoples lives, and of course it's nothing compared to the sacrifice that Christ made for me and I will never forget that!

The people are great here and I've made a lot of new friends already! We knock on doors and all these memories come back from the summer, so it’s unreal when people say yeah Jesus is good you can come over tomorrow! We also had dinner at a Polynesian family’s house and it definitely made me start to long for New Zealand! The father and son played rugby together all the time and they fed us a ton of food! Don’t worry though I absolutely know that I need to be here right now! In fact the craziest thing happened Saturday night! I got home and was super tired and I started to get ready for bed and stuff! I said my prayers and then when I was getting up I decided that I would read my patriarchal blessing and one little line hit me so hard. It says "You will be a teacher in Zion, this will be a great joy to you."  This land is where the New Jerusalem (ZION) is going to be.  I felt the spirit so strong and I could not believe how awesome Heavenly father is! I know that I am teaching in Zion and nothing makes me happier than knowing that I am in the right place at the exact right time!

I love you guys so much and I think about you a ton and pray for you a ton too! Collin good luck with vb tryouts and the ACT!  Oh and hey, I want to hear reports on how many temple visits that you total each week as a family! Other than that, all is well and my address 517 West Walnut, Independence, Missouri, 64050 is the mission home. That’s where you are supposed to send mail.

Love Elder Ward

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Missouri and New Zealand
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Leaving the MTC
So you’re probably wondering why you have an email from me today??? Don’t worry, I’m not being disobedient, but there is definitely a crazy story behind this! So here we go. Precisely an hour ago all the Auckland New Zealand missionaries were called up to the office... UH OH. So we go down there and the lady at the traveler’s desk bluntly says none of you are going to New Zealand... UHHHHHHHH OHHHHHHHH. It turns out none of our visas have gone through so we are all getting temporary assignments! My companion Elder Wachob is going to South Dakota, Elder Adams is going to PHOENIX ARIZONA!!! and as for me....  I don’t know if you want to have the family guess or anything so here is your chance to do it... But I have been temporarily assigned to the Independence Missouri MISSION!!!! Crazy huh??? Although as crazy as it is I know that it is where I am meant to be. I don’t know how He does it, but Heavenly Father always puts all the RIGHT people in all the RIGHT places at EXACTLY the RIGHT time! So to answer your question about why I’m having an early P-day, and this is the best part, I leave tomorrow at 10:00 am. I kinda have lots to do so I will end my email here just a forewarning, and I hope you get this but I will probably be calling somewhere between 4 and 5pm today. I Love you guys and want you to know that I was BORN READY!