Monday, April 30, 2012

It Really Isn't a Sacrifice at All

Well, I feel like I need to talk to Collin first. Hang in there bro! 2 more weeks! Then you’re going to be a state champion! I LOVED volleyball! You know why??? Not only is it the absolute most fun sport there is, but playing for Highland taught me discipline and to WORK or CRY. A lot of people who fail in life today are the ones who cannot stay patient or hang in when the going gets tough. Whether it's in marriage, work, or church sometimes people figure it’s just easier to quit, give up, you know, take the easy way out. Before I did pest control my boss asked me what is the hardest thing I had ever done... Hahaha the answer was volleyball. The real question he was asking was HOW MAN ARE YOU? or ARE YOU GOING TO QUIT 3 WEEKS IN? I'm going to have to break it to you buddy, but all of life it's going to be easier to just QUIT, but let me just tell you whether you have to walk 4 miles a day on a foot that doesn't fit into your shoe because of a stingray incident to just get cussed out and make 0$ a day, or you’re tired of making a certain someone happy in the family by keeping stupid, furry poop machines in the garage, or getting absolutely destroyed by a reee dooo doo diculous schedule that consists of school, volleyball, and other church activities, everything is for your benefit and if you can endure and have a GOOD attitude while doing it life becomes so much easier. Pray for help, maybe not to win, but to have a good attitude and to work your hardest, and you will do all right. Way to be a champion though! :)

 OH and HAHAHAHAHA AVA!!! You smashed ketchup into someone’s face?! You little Stinker! Way TO GO ZACH! Who was even at Zach’s farewell? Isn't everyone gone? Well I'm super pumped for him and I cannot believe how fast things are going. OH and Uncle Spencer??? Really? I can see that happening. :) RESPECT! I'm super excited for Grandma and Grandpa and their anniversary. I hope you enjoy the sweet pork and other Cinco de Mayo festivities this week. You make sure to brag all about how yummy the food is and I am still definitely counting on bragging about eating Frosted Flakes with the Prophet. :)

This week was super good!

Monday night we got to go hang out with our YSA ward for FHE to help fellowship a recent convert, Johnathan. We played the game "Never Would I Ever." That was pretty fun! I also may have forgot to mention that I gave a talk last week in the YSA ward. I talked a lot about my "mission theme" and super heroes.

Tuesday, we had interviews with our mission president... I LOVE my mission president so much and in the words of Elder Evans he is thee most QUALIFIED MISSION PRESIDENT IN THE WORLD. Haha. Don’t tell Trevor. It seems like a lot of this mission used to be pretty lazy and or apostate, but every day this mission is making LEAPS and BOUNDS forward. Without words really to explain how or why but he definitely has changed the whole outlook of my mission and what I am meant to do. Also Tuesday we met with Mindy and Alexa to take them to the open house. Greg wasn't home from work yet so we had to reschedule for Thursday. We also taught Jeff, the RLDS guy, again. He was hung up on a lot of issues that really aren’t very important. An RLDS convert named Bishop Cato met with him too and answered his questions but we hated that lesson. We explained to him again that these answers aren't whats important, and to read the scriptures and pray and ask God whether this is where he needs to be. (Don’t worry, it was in a much more loving manner.)

Wednesday: I’m short on time. Nothing too special.

Thursday: UGHHHHHHHHHH! We went to Greg, Mindy and Alexa’s house to take them to the temple and make arrangements for all of them to get baptized and when we got there Alexa, the ten-year-old girl opened the door with cuts on her neck and face. Mindy is in the hospital, and Greg is running from the police... We said a prayer with Alexa and her grandma who was there watching her. At first, I was kind of bummed but then I realized that it might be for the best. It was going to be really difficult baptizing all three of them because Greg and Mindy are not married and Greg needed First Presidency clearance. So we prayed and sat and talked with them for a little while. Mindy still really wants to get baptized and she really likes having us over.

Elder Taufa
Friday we went on exchanges and I got to work with Elder Taufa, the Hilarious Tongan elder from Mesa, Arizona that I have mentioned once or twice. It was definitely a sweet day for both of us. It’s just nice to have a little break from your own companion now and then and man we sure did have fun together. Not only that, but we got some serious good work done! He really taught me the importance of loving people, that missionary work is not a business even though you have to record your NUMBERS and plan your days it is absolutely not a BUSINESS. He promised me that he would go visit you guys once he got home and I said you guys would let him eat food from the pantry. We also visited Alexa again and she asked us when she can get baptized and we set a date with her and her mom to get baptized on the 26th of May. Oh and on a less important note, when we first walked in the TV was on and I noticed it was a preview for the Avengers movie... Satan won that battle as I got a little absorbed into that one. Can you blame me though??? THOR, HULK, CAPTAIN AMERICA, IRON MAN, BLACK WIDOW and the ARCHER GUY????? That movie is going to be so Sweet to watch in two YEARS!!!

Saturday we took Connie to the temple open house. She absolutely loved it. Afterwards we sat and talked with her and she basically told us she knows it’s true but that she will have to make a couple sacrifices. She is super willing and I found sweet scriptures to share with her (Mark 10:17-23 and Alma 7:11-13). When you compare the two side-by-side you realize NOBODY can sacrifice more than what Jesus Christ sacrificed, and even when we do make sacrifices they aren't even a sacrifice because the Lord blesses us more than we can imagine when we do. Also, another miracle happened. We visited a less active member to help him and to get him to church. His friend was there at his house and we taught her. She asked if God answers every prayer and I asked her if there were prayers she felt haven't been answered and she started to cry and told HORRIBLE stories about her health, abusive husband, and mother. We talked about the Atonement, shared Mosiah 24: 13-14, and I think everyone there was crying at one point or another. We invited her to be baptized right then and there and she said she would! Oh and not only that but we had a team-up who is 19 with us. He has been struggling to know whether he should go on a mission or not... I think that night really showed him how AWESOME some missionary work is! And that it really isn't a sacrifice at all.


Elder Ward

P.S. Go Hawks
P-day volleyball

We aren't sure why Connor sent this picture??

Monday, April 23, 2012

Are you church people?

Awh man, Aubrey! YAH GOOF! [Aubrey was slow to realize that Connor was just kidding about the tornado in his last letter.] That is so hilarious! I'm sorry your week was boring and uneventful... Mine was too. :) haha No, really it was pretty dang good. Collin, I’m glad you had a good time at PROM. I'm also glad you won your games. I was a little bit worried about those ones. ;) So, we just finished playing 2 hours of sand volleyball with the zone leaders. Elder Schofield is gone and we have a new zone leader in training named Elder Jensen. He is a really cool guy and a stellar missionary. It is actually getting pretty competitive. It's definitely a really good stress reliever, especially because I'm undefeated. The Gilbert game is going to be crazy! Collin, you better win... OR YOU'RE WEAK!!!!

 I apologize. I forgot to bring my journal today so I have to remember all my experiences this week. First off, I did go to the temple open house with an investigator. His name is John and he worked for Hallmark as a photographer for 40 some years. He is an older man and RLDS (there are a ton down here). The RLDS church believes that Joseph smith III was meant to be the next prophet instead of Brigham Young... Even with the BOM though, their church lacks DIVINE INSPIRATION that can only come through a prophet of God. So in the past 20 some years their church has split, removed a good chunk of the Doctrine & Covenants and is starting to allow stuff that I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ wouldn't allow into his church 2000 years ago... like gay marriage. So John kinda stopped going. At the temple he took some pictures outside (they are some of the best I’ve ever seen. He is GOOD at what he does. Anyways though, before we went to the celestial room we were asked to be quiet. We got in and started to enjoy the spirit when after 5 seconds John starts going off on all the reasons why he can’t join the LDS church... Nobody had said anything to him but I’m convinced it was the spirit slapping him in the face. On the way home he was saying too that he just wishes he could be happy again... GAAAHHHHHHH! We will help him understand how this week.

Also man so many miracles are happening this week between the ZLs and us. Tuesday we met with a former investigator, his girlfriend and 10-year-old daughter (sound familiar, Trevor?) This guy’s name is Greg. He weighs 350 pounds, is an ex UFC fighter and he is HUGE! Their whole family knows that it’s true and they really want to get baptized but Greg is on federal probation until 2015 so he will need to get First Presidency clearance. We had a super awesome lesson over there and stayed for about 2 hours. The 10-year-old girl’s name is Alexa and she had some awesome questions like, what if there was no Satan? and why do we need to repent? We also had a music battle with her recorder and my ocarina. Don't ask. I have no idea how that happened. Oh, and then after the lesson, Elder Bills runs out to the car and we get in and he was not doin’ good... at all. On the way home, he says, “Forget it,” and parks in the middle of the gas station. Twenty minutes later, Shane Pope and I are teamed up and we see Elder Bills come out and he was still a mess! He couldn't even find the car on the way back, which need I remind you was in the middle of the gas station. He gets in and I offer to drive. He says no and, long story short, Elder Bills spent the night in the bathroom, so Shane and I planned together until his mom came to get him. Shane btw leaves for the MTC in 2 days. He is going to Germany. The next morning Elder Bills still wasn’t doing good and we had 2 early appointments so the ZLs took him to district meeting while Shane and I went and taught. I kinda flew solo. It was weird.

Also, this week we met a kid named Adrian who is 19 has a rare form of cancer. When he saw us he said, "Are you church people?! I need to get baptized!" MMMMMMHHHHHHMMMM. We shared the restoration and gave him a BOM and set a date for the 5th of May. Oh, and on a sad note, Bernard kinda started blowing us off since we set him on date... heartbreaking... oh well! Discouragement is just one of the 6 destructive D's—Doubt leads to discouragement, to lack of diligence, to disobedience, to something else and then disbelief.

Oh hey! On May 5th there is the cultural celebration! The Prophet and Jeffrey R. Holland are coming down! You can't watch it on BYU TV or online but you can talk to Bishop and he can set up something in the chapel so you can watch it. I think it’s pretty much the same deal as the priesthood session of conference... if that makes sense, but ALL the missionaries are joining together to sing "To Bring the World His Truth." So, not only does that mean I get to be in the same room as the Prophet, but I get to perform in the cultural celebration! Oh, and it means I will see Elder Jordan Clare!

I’m super pumped and I love you guys so much. Give Zach my well wishes and Collin, once again, PLEASE smash Cody and Ty [Gilbert High School’s best volleyball players]. PLEASE!

Elder Ward

Monday, April 16, 2012


Collin!!! Mister Pipster making me proud all the time! You libero ball digging champion of pure awesomeness you! MAN I’m just feeling so much love from the fam right now! I got emails from everyone! So let’s get right down to the business…this week has been crazy!!! UPS, downs, crazy experiences…I never do it justice in my emails so maybe one day you guys will have to fly down and spend some time with me ;) To respond…I love the baby chicks story... peep peep peep peep. And dad, you have too much faith in mom. 5 days is all she’ll last.  She is no fun (as Ava said). :) As for volleyball… man that would be so crazy to watch! Good job, go Highland hawks, and yes sadly I remember the getting lined up according to our skills and being thrown pointless statistics and then being absolutely rebuked.!

TORNADOES!!!!!!! So this Friday we were out tracting and out of nowhere these super loud alarms went off! So Elder Bills and I made a mad dash to Sister Miller’s house in our ward (she has a basement). When we got inside, Sister Miller was on the floor crying uncontrollably. When she saw us, she said that her grand daughter was riding her bike to her house! So Elder Bills and I ran back out and it was seriously something straight out of The Other Side of Heaven. Leaves and twigs and all sorts of stuff were whipping past us in the wind. Luckily, we found the girl fast and she was holding onto a stop sign as tight as she could! We tried to grab her but she wouldn't let go and then we started pulling her leg and pulling and pulling and well yeah, kinda like how I am pulling on yours... sorry that was a waste of time. It had to be done though. :) We did have a tornado warning though, but they hit Oklahoma instead. COOL HUH?!

So back to for serious... This week I think Thursday I got pretty upset with a lot of different things. It was probably one of the hardest days of my mission and I can’t really explain why, but I was just super tired and worn out. So right at 9:30 p.m. when planning was done, I got right into my Captain America shirt and sweats, but I was not feeling like a hero in any way. I brushed my teeth and wrote in my journal about everything I was frustrated about. I think when I got to complaint number 6, the Spirit just REBUKED me saying “you’re being a real idiot (pardon the french). So I started to pray. I won’t go into too much detail, but it’s the craziest thing…prayer works!!! I’m happy to report that from Friday on I am back to old optimistic, happy me! Which is funny because now looking back, I have been out for just about as much time as I did pest control, and without a doubt this has been easier! Not because the work is any easier but because I have SOOOO much more help in doing the work that I need to do here on my mission.

I might have to cut this letter short because I need to email my favorite cousin in the whole world, but let me tell you some of the highlights of this week.

1. We had a super awesome dinner with some Samoans in our ward! The Olamelavas and the Terrys. We ate huge steak burgers, rice chips and, Gatorade. Yeesh, maybe I don’t want to go to New Zealand ;)

2. Sunday, Elder Bills and I had a last second assignment to teach gospel principles on prophets. WORST LESSON EVER! There was a girl named Laura-Denise (don’t forget the hyphen or she will cut you). She is African American and has born testimony of her anger issues this past fast Sunday... so before class we introduced the whole class to our recent convert Johnathan Stapelton by saying their name and greatest fear. Laura-Denise said she hated creepy crawlies and that she hated the name and everything about them. When Elder Bill’s turn came he said he couldn’t think of a fear so I said "aren’t you afraid of SPIDERS" without realizing I named the thing which should not be named. Laura-Denise began to dig in her bag for something to throw at me. I still don’t know what it was, but luckily I dodged it because it was big and black and made a huge clang against the chalkboard behind me. Then to start the lesson, all manner of false doctrine came out of her mouth about how the prophets aren't always right.  I almost lost my cool and sent her out but patience prevailed. Oh, and don’t worry, we resolved all the false doctrine preached.

3. We met a girl named Kaylani. She is what I like to refer to as a halficuz (half poly half white). There are a ton in Blue Springs Missouri! She is 16 and not a member. Her parents aren't really in the best relationship so she is currently staying with her grandparents who are super awesome influences and members of the LDS church! We taught a super good lesson and asked her if she would like to learn more, and she said definitely! She is also a volleyball player and really good looking, but that’s not the important things to mention…just a little noteworthy...

4. We had Connie attend church (Super sweet older lady). She had a great experience and she sat in the middle in between me and the relief society president, Sister Nelson. Before church started, I explained how the meeting would go and I jokingly pre-warned her that I’m so bad at singing that even the people who are good sound bad next to me. She got a good laugh out of that one and when it came time to sing we both sang decently loud with each other and it turns out she was terrible too...

5. We taught a family with 11 GIRLS ELEVEN!!! The dad was a really friendly pastor and they let us sit on their couch as they all gathered around. It was a good message but Elder Bills and I did not have it in us to boldly say that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the ONLY true church... FAIL

I love you guys so much and think about you everyday! Good luck in volleyball and everything else.


Elder Ward

p.s. Mom GO HAVE FUN!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Faith Isn't Simply Believing...It's Doing

COLLIN?! DA HECK???  You Dog you! Give me the deets!!! I want to know how volleyball went too! I did get Nate Rogers letter though. I will write him back today. Man that kid is hilarious. Oh and poor Ava! Do you know what movie it was that she accidentally rented on “video on demand”? The Atonement is so amazing and Jesus was right when he said that children are the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. Make sure to tell her that I love her and Aubrey and well everyone... Collin you dog! Oh and Taylor McBride?! Who is he engaged to? Blake was with Annie... Annie Rossel? This is weird... Oh, and MOM I NEED KARSON AND ROBBY"S EMAIL ADDRESSES!
Anyways though, this week was as spectacular as ever! I started it out by meeting my Grandpa (Elder Bills Trainer, Elder Masters). he is a short guy with red hair and he is hilarious! He just has a ton of energy and reminds me of well me... We had 4 zone leaders come down from a far away area to stay with us before they went to their zone leader council the next day. So Elder Bills and I, Kamalu and Schofield took the other 4 zone leaders through one of our crazy workout sessions! I'm pretty sure they all cried because I know I did. :) I almost threw up after too... and I don’t think they will be able to straighten their arms out for awhile.

But enough of the dibble daddle! This week we set Bernard on date for baptism!!! April 28th! We are taking him to the temple open house tomorrow with his 10 year old son, so I am super pumped! Other that that, nothing too special happened this week. We met a UFC fighter who used to be investigating. He was huge! When he saw us at first, he just wasn't happy and didn't want to talk to us. Then he saw our name tags, and he got a big smile and just said OH ELDERS! We also taught another huge guy who had been in a motorcycle accident last year that humbled and prepared him big time! He lives next to a lady named Sister Jarvis in our ward, and she said that he would have slammed the door in our face a year earlier. In fact, we had a hard time leaving his house to make our next appointment.  He has got real potential and we’re going to go see him again on Wednesday.

This week though I learned a lot of stuff... go figure right? We ran into a ton of people who don’t really understand 2 Nephi 9: 28-29. These people study the scriptures so much, which is good, but as President Keyes put it, “people are going to know more and more and more until they know less and less and less until they know nothing at all.” It's so true and we ran into a ton of those people this week (as in 3 or 4). I hate it when they say the bible and your Mormon bible's gospels completely contradict each other and then throw completely meaningless arguments out that have nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Bills and I will be good boys and listen and when they are finally done, we ask them if they have read the Book of Mormon... it's usually a no, but either way, we just testify that everything that God wants us to know and do are in these two books. If they read what these prophets so desperately try to slap into our brains and actually APPLY them into our lives, there is no way that you could say that the Book of Mormon isn't true.

I also learned a ton on faith! Faith isn't simply believing…it's doing! If everyone TRULY had a complete understanding of the BOM, the world would be perfect... so I really want to increase my faith and do everything I can to be a legendary missionary. So Collin I need you to do me a favor. In my “do no touch drawer” I have that blue and white racquetball racquet. I need you to return that to the school please. Don’t judge me. ;) I want to do everything I can in the next 21 months to bring others to the gospel of Jesus Christ. THERE IS NO GREATER BLEESSING! MMMMHHMMMMM! Family I love you a ton and think about you a lot. Sometimes, (I think I’ve said this before), I’m kind of like Jake the Dog from Adventure Time when he can’t focus. Finn will be talking to him and then he will ask him a question and he has Ice Cream in the toaster... haha not really. But I am not going to lie, Thursday night I did wonder how Collin’s game against Gilbert went and then on Tuesdays I like to picture you guys chillin at Morenos after a good temple visit.

Thank you for your e-mail Collin. Write me ya bum! Mom, please send me that info. Ava, don’t watch PG-13 movies. Dad, keep on flexing those golden pipes. Aubrey stay away from boys and Trevor, my fellow representative of Jesus Christ, stay strong and learn to drive!


Elder Ward

p.s. I am going over to talk to a young man today, mono e mono, because he threatened to kill his parents the other day... So wish me luck! I already prayed, but at least 5 more couldn't hurt!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Su Su Super Awesome Week!!

This week was su su su super awesome! It’s amazing just how much happens in one week and it's really hard to tell everything and remember to respond to all your questions and ask some of my own... No I’m not working at the temple open house but we get to take 3 different trips with investigators. So far we are going with Bernard and his son, Bernard.  He is this sweet black guy who we met in his driveway. He always has a smile on his face and whenever he talks he tends to throw in a uhhhh huhhh or mmmmm hhhmmmm. He loves his son and he loved the plan of salvation and has a hard time understanding the restoration, but he really likes Elder Bills and I. So he definitely trusts us when we tell him this will change his life. Funny story…just the other day we had a lesson and after he asked me to give the closing prayer.  Whenever I said something he really liked he would say YYEEESSS!  I felt bad when I chuckled a little during the prayer... I couldn't help it.

That just tore my heart in half hearing about our good friends. sighhhhhhhhhhh... Keep me updated. I will shoot them a letter through Collin next week. DARN IT!!!! Well Satan is good at his job I will give him that, but hearing this just makes me want to go curb stomp him... kind of like how all the prophets and apostles did this weekend!!! Holy Cow! My favorite was that one talk on family! haha jk I honestly don’t know what my favorite was, but I do know that after teaching the restoration 1234787236238901447832 times it has given me so much more appreciation for who those men are and what they do. When the prophet first spoke to open conference, I found it hard not to cry as I felt the love of the Savior expressed in every single word. All the talks were super good and I know what you were talking about dad how we were all doing the same thing at the same time just thousands of miles apart... In fact it felt just like I was in the family room sitting on the brown leather couch with the fam.  In fact, I started to laugh when on Saturday everyone got to sing How Firm a Foundation and I could totally picture you singing at home just as if you were in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir... I love you Dad. I also pictured mom crying quietly to herself a little when Henry B. Eyring mentioned missionaries in his talk on sacrifices. (Who knows though, I could be wrong.) BUT MOM the prophet told you to slow down and meditate too! DID YOU CATCH THAT??? CUZ I DID!!! I was starting to wonder if that was a dumb challenge... Which reminds me dad…how are you doing on your challenge.  The house better look good right now

The work is really starting to progress!!! We still don’t have a giant teaching pool but we are really starting to get the members on board!  We have a couple investigators who are really progressing; Bernard and his son, Jeff, Mark (an RLDS guy who had DEEP questions talked with another RLDS convert and us at the church for 3 hours), and Jon (the guy who is 6'9 and has the 160 pound dog) who is starting to gain a testimony of the BOM but he was concerned about Nephi killing Laban. Collin, try to answer that! Why would the Spirit tell someone to break a commandment???? Oh yeah, and Connie we shared the restoration with and she asked us for a BOM. We just went back and she bought a KJB to compare to the BOM which is sweet because those 2 books testify and confirm each other! She said she stopped looking for a true church because there are so many... so lucky her, she found it! It would be sweet if you could pray for these people and thank you so much for praying for my Visa. I get asked about it a lot and I just smile and say I have no idea

So I went on splits with the Zone leaders. We are really tight with them and Elder Bills is a district leader so he wanted to see how the masters do it. I went with Elder Kamalu in their area and MAN that day was thee least eventful day ever!!! Nobody wanted to talk to us! We didn't teach any lessons and even when we were tracting people were just really short with us and not having it.  I thought I was pretty good at having a good attitude, but nope, not compared to Elder Kamalu. Instead of ever saying anything negative, when we got home he said, “lets pray”.  He gave the prayer and just thanked for everything... everything!! It made me feel so much better just being grateful doing the Lord’s work. When we were planning, he told me that it's possible to never get discouraged on your mission and talked about how discouragement is one of Satan’s greatest tools... and we all know it not good to be a tool. So that’s why I really liked when I forget who talked about how loud laughter isn't good but having a sense of humor is important to help shake off some of the pressures of the world.

So with that, here is a funny story. When we were on splits, one of our appointments fell through so we decided to go and tract around that neighborhood.  When we were heading back to the car, a door was open so I said let’s try that one. We knocked and a guy opened the door, and the first thing he said was, “I’m so glad you guys are here!” Which usually leads to something awesome like a lesson, but sadly no. He was just as high as a kite... He just told us to wait outside for the mailman and flailing his arms everywhere explained how we need to stop him because he goes all over the place... I love Missouri but there are some weirdies here. (Need I remind you of the hand on my heart healing prayer??? )

As for you guys…Collin you better TRASH GILBERT!  I know Cody Martin and Ty Hutchins are still God's Children, but I don”t think it would be a total sin to throw them down into the depths of humility! Aubrey, I’m soooo super duper sorry I just don’t have the time to write you a letter right now cuz I only can on P-days and they are BUSY.  I will send you emails though. Mom how did you fall? Was it embarrassing? I love you guys SOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!! Be good.


Elder Ward

p.s. I got to attend the ward luau and I got to learn to do the HAKA dance from Brother Olamaleva (Samoan). It was sweet and I felt cool, but I’m white so it really wasn't that cool!