Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm Still in Blue Springs

Dearest of all dear families,

Man! 129 days?! That sounds like a whole lot! (I informed Connor that he had been out 129 days and Trevor had 129 days left to serve).  So I have some crazy news!!! I'm still in Blue Springs, Missouri! Elder Bills was made a zone leader and is serving in Olathe. It came as a little bit of a shock that he was leaving instead of me. That happened Thursday. Our zone leaders are still the same, Elder Jensen and Elder Kamalu. I really do miss Elder Bills hah now that he is gone. I promised I would do my best to not say anything negative about him while I was working with him, but now that he is gone I can really only say that I miss the guy. We definitely finished the transfer strong and we actually became really good buddies. Sometimes it was hard to tell, but he actually had a lot of love and respect for me. He just wasn't a real emotional type so he wasn't the best at showing it, but that’s okay.

I love how Ava is growing up so much! I don’t even think Trevor is going to be able to recognize anybody, and I can't even begin to imagine what she will be like when I get home. Haha dad…yup Collin is definitely the best volleyball player in the family by now... (weird huh?) To think 2 years ago he wouldn't play because he was embarrassed and didn't think he was good enough to play. Man he is a big boy now. Oh and yes I did write Aubrey a letter! I woke up at 5:30 yesterday to write her. I finished by 7:00 she better appreciate it. ;) I love you Aubrey and hope you have a good birthday!

So this week we figured out a little early that Elder Bills was leaving so Tuesday and Wednesday we spent a lot of time saying goodbye to investigators. I kinda had to force Elder Bills to go visit some of the people and bear one last super powerful testimony (he hates getting emotional so it was a little tough on him). We had great experiences as we worked really hard the last few days we had together and even found some pretty solid investigators named Tabitha and Mike. I am definitely going to miss that kid and I know that he was definitely an inspired companion.

Thursday was transfer day we woke up early so our YSA mission leader could take us to Denny’s (Elder Bills favorite) before transfers. He took me, Elder Bills and the Zone leaders. Haha…he always jokes around when we thank him for paying for stuff. He just says "no no…it’s alright…that’s just my tithing for the month." Anyways we had a tearful goodbye (not really). It was still a little tough saying goodbye to my "dad". Anyways after that I decided to team up with the zone leaders. We went home and started to weekly plan and that's when it really hit me as I wrote down every single name that we are teaching or have on date for baptism and whatnot. I realized how much more responsibility I have now. It was a little overwhelming. Anyways, it was cool to go work with the ZL's as a trio. We had a lot of fun and actually met a few sweet potentials. Then at five Brother Nelson and I drove down to pick up my new companion. It was pretty weird doing that and being companionless and all for awhile, but it was still fun. Brother Nelson is a really good guy. Anyways we picked up my new companion (ELDER TAYLOR). He is from Alberta Canada and has a scholarship to play basketball and guess what??? HE PLAYED VBALL IN HIGH SCHOOL!!! Oh yeah and he is 6'4. He is a great missionary and loves the Lord which is pretty much all I asked for. The volleyball was just a tender mercy I guess. That day we also met with Alexa and Mindy to help prepare them to be baptized by showing them the baptismal interview questions... We got to number 4 which is probation and parole. MINDY IS ON PAROLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAGAGHAHDRHFU I don’t think my heart could have sank deeper. We need 1st Presidency clearance.

Friday on a lighter note we met with Mindy’s friend Christy to help her. We talked about how the gospel changes lives and makes life happier and more worth living and she said she would love to learn more. She has a 7 year old son, Johnathan and a boyfriend she wants to get rid of.  I could see why... the guy hasn't worked for a year and he is super white and is trying to start a career rapping. Haha Also when we were talking to her, she saw that her t.v. was left on while it was playing Spongebob Squarepants and she was embarrassed because she was watching it. She even showed us some paintings she does because she is a champion artist! I asked her if she new about Adventure Time and told her I would definitely love to buy a painting off her. She should have it done by today! Don’t judge me! ;) Also going back to Mindy and Alexa….I talked to President Keyes about what our course of action should be, and he helped a ton. He told me to explain the principle of repentance and gave me the 1st Presidency clearance questions. So that night we tried to stop by but she wasn't home so at night I called her to explain. She answered and we talked and well... she got angry and said it was her personal business and that other people don’t need to know and stuff, and that she doesn't even know if wants to get baptized anymore. I told her we would talk more and let her know that I still love and care about her. That night was rough. All the weight of taking over the area and what had just happened absolutely crushed me. That night as I prayed with Elder Taylor I prayed for Mindy and I watched as tears sank into the chair as I knelt down and asked Heavenly Father for help like I never really had before. I definitely experienced that night a strong portion of what our Heavenly parents feel for us... it's definitely something indescribable. No worries though…prayers are being answered and I am fully confident that everything will turn out okay.

I am so blessed to be a missionary and to feel of our Savior's love for us. I absolutely know that Jesus Christ died for us and now lives again today. He heals families, individuals, and everyone that truly seeks Him. No, this is not easy sometimes. This mantle of responsibility can seem like too much to bear, but I know without a doubt that I am at the right place at the right time and that I have a Heavenly Father there to always lighten the load off my back. I love you guys so much and thank you mom for sending the package. I’m super excited for it!


Elder Ward

p.s. Mom wipe those tears away

p.s.s. I forgot to mention my 2 funny running stories this week! Friday we inducted Elder Taylor into the brotherhood with our early morning workout! We have to run a mile first and it was super rainy, so I figured we would just cancel that part... nope we didn't. The Zone Leaders made me run without shoes on. I felt like a hobo and yes it was still raining! I still beat them too! The other story…on Saturdays we go to a nature preserve and run on a 3 mile trail with the assistants and other elders every now and then. Don’t worry in this story I actually had shoes but it was super sweet! While I was running, I turned a corner and there was a deer 8 feet away from me just staring at me. It startled me a little but I stopped and just stared back. After about 5 seconds I took a step forward and it ran off. That day I actually saw another 2 while I was running, but not that close. It was so COOL!

p.s.s.s. I FORGOT TO MENTION MY VISA STUFF IS IN!!!! ...... again, I better have done everything right! If that’s the case I should be gone within 3 weeks.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Dear Parents, family, people,

Hey! How’s it goin? That’s good. I’m sorry I have very little idea of what I have to say this week. Except, Mom I totally know what you were talking about. Talking with you guys on Mother’s Day was super awesome except it was just a little weird when my time was up all of a sudden and then I realized ohhhh yeah...back to missionary work.  Dad was right too it will never be the same again, and before you know it we will be having your 50th anniversary party at my house. (Not really though cuz dad won’t make it that far ;) go exercise ya bum!) Haha, just kidding… I love you dad. Oh, and that’s kinda lame that the stake split, but kinda cool too. I think 4th Nephi 16 or 17 would be a cool thought to share. These people were so happy not because it mattered what kind of ''ites” they were, but that they loved God and followed him.

So GOOD news…I finally got my new VISA application paper thingy. The bad news though is that I have to do EVERYTHING OVER AGAIN!!! Also, I don’t have a mommy to help me, but all is well. I got everything finished just a couple of hours ago.  I hope everything was done right. I found myself bossing the doctors around (not really) making sure they signed my passport size photos and stuff like that.  It made me feel pretty cool that I had a better idea of what needed to be done than the doctor. Everything should be turned in though by the end of the week and then after that it should only take 3 more weeks to get my visa.  (FYI-We received word last week that the Church is finally making progress with New Zealand to allow our missionaries in their country again.  It’s been about 7 months since they have let any in.  We had to send Connor’s priesthood ordination dates and seminary graduation certificate to show he is “qualified” to be a missionary.  Also, since his visa application was completed back in November, they are requiring that he completes a new one with all of the medical tests and exams done again to be more current, but at least he might finally get to New Zealand now!!)

I'm sorry family but I don’t have my journal on me today, so I’m a little worthless when it comes to remembering some of the stuff that happened this week.  I do have some sad/interesting news though. Remember Bernard? Uhhhhuuuuhh! We have been going to his house a little non-stop. Finally one day, Bernard’s wife, who we very rarely see, opened the door and we asked if Bernard was around. A little teary eyed she said that Bernard doesn't live there anymore. We asked what happened, but she doesn't know. Bernard I guess just got up and left his wife and 10 year old son that was pretty much the love of his life. Ssssiiiiigggghhhhh... We are going back tonight to try and teach/console Bernard’s wife and offer them our Kansas City zoo tickets that a lady in our ward gave us.

So, I don’t know what happened but this week I was just thinking a ton about my missionary efforts and stuff like that.  I realized how much meaning there is behind “serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength that ye may stand BLAMELESS before God at the last day. I don’t know why but there were a couple of things that didn't really go that well this week (just like every normal week), but for some reason I got down on myself just worrying that there was more I could have done or something better that I could have said. It's really hard to explain how I felt this week, but I have been praying really hard. I’m not even sure what for, but it’s been helping! So yeah…transfers are this week. I have no idea what is going to happen, so I guess we will just have to see.

Mindy and Alexa were supposed to get baptized this week except Mindy missed church because she was at the hospital. So we’re going to have to push it back a week. Alexa is going to be devastated. Oh and something cool happened last week too! We went over to their house to share a lesson and start to set up the baptism program. We asked them who they wanted to baptize them and we started offering names like the Bishop and a couple of other people in the ward.  Alexa stopped us and pointed at me and said, "I WANT YOU TO DO IT ELDER WARD!" I almost started crying. I’m so excited for them and I am going to miss them so much when I have to leave.

I love you guys so much and I hope you guys have a good last day of school. Go give Nater bug, Hannah, and Jessica a big hug for me, Collin. Tell them “good job” and “you did it”. Keep goin to the temple and man that’s super sweet about the Gilbert temple! I will probably get a picture of it on Wednesday. I have an older gentleman, Brother Phelps, who comes out with us to visit another elderly part member family on Wednesdays and he used to work at the Mesa Arizona temple. He always brings me pictures of the Gilbert temple. Haha, I probably am better updated on it than you guys are. Be good!


Elder Ward

Monday, May 14, 2012

Winning the Hearts of the People

The Zone Leaders and Elder Bills are being lame so I might not have a whole lot of time to email you guys todayL sorry! IT WAS DA BOMB talking to you guys last night!!! Mom, I feel bad it was more your day, and I probably should have talked to just you for a little bit. Let it be known though on my blog that I declare that I have the absolute best mom in the whole world. Thanks again for everything mom and I meant every word in that poem I wrote for you. :)

Alex Mcbride, huh??? Well, if you can tell him before he leaves… I know that he will be a legendary missionary and I'm ready for him to get out there too!!! Crazy! So in my new home ward someone just got called to Korea and another Czechlosovakia (if that’s how you spell it).

So this week I had some cool experiences. The 5 dogs one I shared with you during our phone call was definitely the most funny though.  Thursday we were tracting in a huge apartment complex and I started feeling major stomach problems coming on...MAJOR! Don’t worry I made it back to the apartment in time.

Mindy and Alexa... Remember how Mindy lost ALLL of her clothes and 50 pairs of shoes? Well we have been asking the members that we visit if they have anything to donate and they have been helping a ton. Anyways, one lady heard what happened to Mindy so she gave her $100 and then another $75 in gift cards for stores and stuff.  After we received everything from her, we took over a big bag of clothes and all the money. When I went inside, I asked Mindy if she had been doing some serious praying. She said yeah and I gave her the envelope with everything in it. She broke down crying and gave me a hug. I promise I did my best to not acknowledge it. Anyways though, we explained to her really well that it’s not the members that make the church true and that prayer and this gospel can bring a ton more blessings than $100 and a few gift cards.  It worked perfect though because Mindy has a ton of family and friends around this area and they all know what we have done, so they are interested in meeting with us and knowing more. King Lamoni=Mindy. So this week should be really good. We’re winning the hearts of the people and then teaching them.

Sorry, I have to go. This is a lame email, but this week has been SOOO GOOD. Once again Mom, I love you soo much…everyone else you’re alright.


Elder Ward

p.s. We played some serious 2 vs 2 volleyball and I almost lost too. Don’t worry though, I will stay undefeated.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Poem

Connor sent me a framed picture of the Kansas City, Missouri temple and the following poem he wrote for Mother's Day.  He will probably kill me for posting it on his blog.

Mommy, I love you, I sure do.
So here are some things I need to say to you.

Jesus Christ had a perfect love....Right?
To me you're pretty much there. It's plain in sight.

I know you don't have marks in your hands or side as proof,
But it's obvious you sacrifice EVERYTHING for those under our roof.

I mean Jesus was always serving someone in one way or another.
I'm not kidding when I say that sounds just like my mother.

He taught everyone by example on what was good.
Alma 56:48 is spot on.  You taught me everything you should.

So I thought a picture of the temple would be fitting
To remind you two years is less than an kidding.

Or maybe the reminder is more for me because I miss you a ton!
Anyways, the point is even though it's tough, I know I'll always be your son.

So mom, just know that I owe you more than you know.
I hope this can make a small dent in the thanks I should show.

Have a good mother's day. Go drink a Diet Coke or two
Because in twenty months somebody will be back to steal know who.

Elder Ward

PS: Sorry I ate your chocolate rose.  I couldn't resist!  I LOVE YOU MOMMY!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kansas City Temple Celebration and Dedication...SIMPLY AMAZING!!!

Hey! Sorry about your trouble, Aubrey. [She crashed on her bike.] Bikes are the worst. When I read the story I couldn't help but think you have got to be pulling on my leg. Collin, POWER THROUGH. Only one more week. Man! I can’t imagine how stressed out you probably are right now... Oh wait. I forgot. I actually do... It's kinda hard to forget those precious moments when we brought the demons out of Coach Vee; namely the Bosco Tournament last year. Haha. Just learn to laugh it off. Oh, and I sure am bummed that I wasn't there for the big 50th anniversary party. I don't know if it's from being a little homesick or what, but as I try to picture how it all went I'm sure everything leading up to it was pretty stressful, but when the whole family was gathered together I'm sure you guys got a small taste of what heaven will be like—the whole family gathered together enjoying each other’s company without a worry in the world, especially compared to all the hard work and effort it took to make it so GREAT... And, of course, our Heavenly Parents in tears overjoyed because of their family. But it’s okay. I got my own taste of heaven pretty much every day this week, so here we go.

Tuesday after P-day, we were out tracting and ran into a big, black lady name Stephanie. I started talking to her and shared a little bit of the Restoration with her and asked if she would mind if we sat down and explained more. She let us in and we talked for about an hour and invited her to be baptized on the spot. She said YEAH!!! We set a date for June 2nd.

Wednesday, haha. Something funny happened. We went to go see a lady named Cassandra and, well, she wasn't home, but the apartment door right next to hers was wide open so I told Elder Bills let’s do this one. We saw an older lady inside and we knocked gently on the door. She turned around and saw me and said, “NOOO NNOOOOO NOOOO!! GET OUT!!!! or im calling security!!! And then Elder Bills just said, “Okay, well I hope you have a good day!” Then she responded, "I HOPE YOU DON’T!" haha I thought it was funny. Elder Bills had a hard time recovering from that one, but it was okay. We still had a good day. We met with Connie and taught her about making sacrifices and shared Mark 10: 17-23 with her about the rich young man and also shared Alma 7:11-13 and explained how we can't give the Lord more than He gave us because whenever we give He just gives back blessings that overcompensate for whatever sacrifice we make... We set her on date for June 14th. SHE is totally getting BAPTIZED!

Thursday: I really don’t write about it much but Elder Bills and I are really different... We sat down and talked things out and have resolved to be better FRIENDS and to work TOGETHER... which is good because later that night we went to go see Mindy and Alexa and we invited them to be baptized on May 26th!!!! I'm so excited for them!!! Mindy is okay but Greg gave away all 50 pairs of her shoes and all of her clothes to charity (Mom can probably imagine how truly devastating this would be) so I started to round up the relief society reinforcements and Mindy cannot believe how loving everyone is in our church.

Friday: Yet again, ANOTHER MIRACLE! This is biggest of them all! Remember Cedric and Fawn??? The couple from a LONNNNGGG time ago? Remember how they fell off the face of the map after Fawn went into rehab? And then after went to jail for driving on a suspended liscence? Well, Thursday we visited a Samoan family in our ward and the husband used to come with us to meet with Cedric and Fawn and even had them over for dinner at their house... Anyways, Brother Olamelava is his name. He was working at the temple open house and he said that he saw Fawn there and she waved to him... Are you following this??? Okay. So we asked him if he was sure because she was GONE and he said he was pretty positive. So Elder Bills and I decided we would go by and, what do you know, she is there!!! We were so HAPPY to see each other!!!! Then the craziest part was that she didn't even go to the temple... The Lord is so mindful of all his children. It is crazy! We also set her on date for June 16th!

Saturday: We had the cultural celebration. TOO MUCH happened that day. It was SOOOO COOL! First, I got to go with the ZL’s to practice so we could help organize the other 160 missionaries. Being a district leader’s companion has its up-sides!!! Anyway, it was sweet! We got to watch the whole performance and then got to rehearse with about 50 missionaries plus our mission president and his wife. Then we met with all the other missionaries and I GOT TO SEE ELDER CLARE!!!! Then we went down and sat in the nose bleeds until the end when we had to run down for our part. It was amazing!!! So, toward the end, all 3000 youth are on the floor and the youngest sing, “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.” Then the older ones sing, “If the Youth of Zion Falter.” (Is that the right title?) And then the music comes on for “Army of Helaman” and our mission president and his wife lead out all 210 of our missionaries in rows of four. Then as we’re singing, we line up and all face the Prophet and sing to him... SIMPLY AMAZING! All the youth that were standing on the floor with us knelt down and the whole audience—YES, EVEN THE PROPHET—stood up for us... The spirit was overwhelming and I got to stand in the front row only 50 feet from the Prophet and he totally waved in my direction! AMAZING! It also made me realize the love and respect the Prophet has for his missionaries... AREN'T YOU JUST PUMPED, ZACH?! Oh! Also, afterwards we went outside the packed theater and I sat on a small cement column and talked to a guy who ws going to Scotland, Ireland. I told him about Elder Carter and Elder Lewis and I told him that he will make his mission what he wants it to be. His mom was super grateful. :) Oh, and IT WAS CRAZY! After I went to go sit on my cement column again, cuz my legs were tired, and I looked to the right and it was the craziest thing EVER. I saw Tyler Erickson and his whole family taking a picture together just 15 feet away! So I just yelled, “DUDE NO WAY!” and Tyler freaked out too. We gave each other a man hug and talked for awhile about my mission and about getting ready for his. We also took a picture together and, Mom, she asked for your cell phone number so she might give you a call soon... I’m not sure.

Sunday: The dedication was sweet. We attended two of the three sessions. Jeffrey R. Holland was there and Elder Hallstrom was the other guy. He gave an awesome talk on the Church and the Gospel this last conference... It was super spiritual and made me so grateful for the temple!!! Also, they did a cornerstone ceremony where they put mortar on this rectangle block on the corner of the temple that just reads, "Dedicated 2012." President Monson IS HILARIOUS! He put some in and started calling EVERYONE to help out. He was just saying funny stuff like, "Oh watch out!" or "Robert, that was very good, but go get your wife to help clean it up." He even started calling up little boys and girls from the audience to help out... Everyone in the stake center was laughing pretty hard. But family, I’m not sure what night it was but as I was on my knees thanking Heavenly Father for all the success and love and, well, just everything in my life, I could not help but cry... My heart was and is still so full because the Lord has helped bless my life soo much...

One last story. The first dedication session we got a ride with the ZL's by a family in their ward named the Afrovias. (They’re Samoan and a really old couple.) They are both hilarious and they always feed us a ton! The wife makes us give her a hug and says its okay because we’re her sons. Anyway, after the session, Brother Afrovia drove us straight to his house to feed us... While they made food Elder Jensen, the other zone leader, and I talked outside on the porch and enjoyed the nice weather on a rocking bench. After about five minutes a car pulled up blasting heavy rap music and stayed in the driveway in front of us for a little bit. Then the dad came out on the porch next door and started yelling and cussing out his son to hurry up and get inside... The spirit was super gone after that but when the teenager got inside I realized the difference the Gospel can make in one’s life... On one end of the street you have a family that hates each other and cusses each other out for nothing really... and then on the other side of the street is a family that takes in people they don’t know, feeds them a TON of food, calls them their sons, and it is absolutely impossible to not feel Love and Peace in their home...

I love you guys so much and wish you the best... I know that this Church is true. Be good and go win State. Please.


Elder Ward
Goofy Connor!

Connor's District??
p.s. It’s okay if you don’t win. There are more important things than volleyball... trust me.

p.p.s. Sorry, I wrote a ton.