Sunday, June 24, 2012

Travel to and Arrival in New Zealand


So in the excitement of finally getting here I didn't really prepare myself for intense culture shock!!! This place is NUTS! I don’t even know where to begin... Anywhoo, Mom, I will try to answer most all of your questions. YES it was super tough to leave Missouri!  A lot of investigators and people we were working with were pretty upset too. The members were super awesome to me and I got fed like I had never been fed before, especially by the Olamelavas (the Samoan family in our ward). My favorite was the Kae Kae Poas (I think that’s what they are called) anyways…they are pretty much just dinner rolls with a bunch of meat cooked in the middle... I was in heaven! I also acquired my very own Lava Lava from them. It’s blue and it looks sooo sweet! I wore it as jammies Friday night (my last night in Missouri) and boy was it comfy. Also, the night before I left, Austin Smith came over ( a priest I was really tight with). He even brought his non member friend and we sat outside and had a good discussion till about 10:20.  I also got him to admit that I was the coolest missionary ever. :) So yeah, leaving had its ups and downs!  I also got a mission pin and binder from President Keyes. He said he normally doesn't give them out to visa waiters but that I earned mine staying for 5 months and working hard.

Elder Ward and Elder Adams meet up in LA on the way to New Zealand.
So anyways, Saturday I flew down from Kansas City to Texas that was about from 10:30 to 1 then from Texas to Los Angeles from 3 to 5:30 and then it was the craziest thing when I got to Los Angeles airport. I was in terminal 6 and I figured out I had to take a bus to get to terminal 2.  So I eventually found the bus... and when we stopped by terminal 5 ELDER ADAMS (one of Connor’s roommates in the MTC) hops on!!! So yeah, me, him, and 3 other elders and a sister met up with 3 senior couples. We waited for our flight until 9:45 p.m. and then embarked on our 13 hour journey... The plane ride by the way terrible!! I slept an hour... MAYBE! There was at least 3 babies crying and they had these video screens and everybody had them on super bright and then the people I was sitting next to were chomping on gum really loud and I was in my suit which got really hot. I'm not really one to complain about minor details, but boy I seriously almost had an anxiety attack on that plane... It didn't help that I didn't have a chance to read scriptures that day, which for sure played a huge part in making it tough.

Now when we arrived…luckily I made it okay with all my bags and got checked through customs alright and I met my mission president and his wife. I love them to death already! They are super young they are almost as old as you mom and dad! They both have neat Aussie accents which probably won’t be too big of a deal to me in about a week or so because my new companion is from Australia! In fact everyone in my district is not from America... Weird huh? The first thing we did though was go to One Tree Hill with the AP's and the mission president and his wife. We got to see a lot of New Zealand and MAN!!! Then we went straight to the mission office, had interviews, and discussed mission policies and stuff like that! It turns out that this mission’s goal is to baptize 2012 people…one everyday! I love everything sooo much! There are a few differences that hopefully won’t be too hard to adjust to like being on bikes... but I'll tell you the culture and being thrown into this so fast makes me feel like a brand new missionary all over again! Also, it’s super crazy driving on the opposite side of the road… haha. They even busted in Elder Adams driving his first day on a 4 hour car trip to his area. So yeah, I’m REALLY tired!! I’m goin on 30 hours straight now of no sleep I think, but I will probably be more coherent and can give you a ton more detail about the mission and stuff next week once I actually figure out what’s going on! I have pictures to send but I have bad news... I have 2 cameras right?  The only things I forgot in Missouri were the chargers to those 2 cameras... It’s okay though I will probably just have Elder Taylor mail me them with whatever else I forgot if there was anything else.

Family, I love you so much and I really hope that I can remember to pray for you guys all the time. I know this is sad to admit, but a lot of times I get so caught up with the work and stuff like that I forget about what matters the most to me... YOU GUYS! I know you’re supposed to lose yourself in the work, but I’m sorry to admit that I forget to pray for you guys sometimes... So as much as I don’t like to admit that, I do however like to admit that everytime I teach about how the gospel blesses families and how they can live together forever, I am so grateful for the family I have back home that probably always remembers to pray for me. Be safe in Park City and Happy Birthday bro! It's crazy your b-day is in 2 days! 3 days for you, but that’s okay…I will just celebrate your birthday without you.

1 day into the future Elder Ward

P.S. I have been getting better at remembering to pray for you guys back home! Once again I love you a ton. I also forgot to mention something, but now I can’t really think of what it was I wanted to mention. But yeah…our flat (apartment) is sweet. It seriously just feels like a tiny version of the beach house in California or something quite similar to it. I promise I will try to send pictures next week I actually went and bought a card reader of my own in the airport for 20 bucks just so I can actually send pictures a lot easier.

p.s.s. I think you should also receive an email from my mission president’s wife with the picture on top of One Tree Hill where my face is completely covered! I didn't want to get in Sister Porter’s way! So yeah… pray for me big time this week even though it will be hard to pray as a family consistently on vacation. I will need it big time. Be good and give the Tanners my LOVE if you see them in Park City.  Thanks for everything…BYE!

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