Sunday, July 29, 2012

Luckiest Man on the Planet

Dear Family,

Let me start this letter with… COLLIN YOU DOG! You are almost the luckiest man on the planet! In one week you did pretty much all of the stuff I can barely afford to dream about... Magic Mountain with Jessica Barney, talking to Alex Boye, chicken and waffles, the beach, but you know what??? Notice how I said ALMOST? You still fail in comparison to me. ;) I am the luckiest man on the planet let me explain how.

Elder Tafiti
This week was transfers. Elder Manewell is gone and I am the new senior companion for the Red Hill Ward missionaries! My new companion is named Elder Tafiti he is Samoan from Utah he has been out 22 months.   I am going to do my best to keep inspiring him and keep him motivated the last few weeks of his mission.

Anywho, we were able to make sweet progress with a lot of our investigators! Daisy, we have never taught before but have tried a million and a half times to visit her, has come to church the past 3 weeks in a row and stayed for all 3 hours with her sons. One night she called and she was really struggling. :( We told her to come to the PMG class we were teaching and then we could visit with her after...) We came to the church and she was there and we talked about the atonement with her. Then the PMG teacher kinda ruined it by telling her it was just a class for members only. Long story short (cutting out some details), we took her to the baptismal font and explained how she could leave behind all her troubles and worries in the water as she comes up... and that the blessings from living the gospel don't start in the next life but in THIS ONE TOO!!! We’re looking to baptize her on the 11th of August with her 2 sons!

This week also we ran into a lady on the street, Sister Lemalu. Normally we just tell the members we meet to have a nice day and call if they need anything, but the spirit whispered that we should go share a scripture at her house... We ended up going and it turns out they have been a little inactive for the past while and there daughter, Laura, is 9 years old and hasn't been baptized! We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ that night and boy do I love teaching kids! WE came back the next day and she remembered the abc's of repentance: Admit, Be sorry, Confess, DONT DO IT AGAIN, and Enjoy your blessings! She is getting baptized on the 11th as well! I had tears rolling down my face as her Father said the closing prayer to our lesson yesterday before church. He prayed in Samoan but it was a POWERFUL prayer with lots of thanks. (He was in tears along with his wife too.) They both gave us a hug as we left (Sister Lemalu caught me off guard). I left their house so grateful for the miracles and the opportunity to help bless the Lemalu family.

My painting for the O Kinga kids
Then the O Kingas! I might have mentioned them before but the wife is a member and they have 2 sons and a daughter named Taaliyah. We played the Holy Ghost game where you line up 9 pamphlets in 3x3 so it forms a square and then you hide a coin under one of the 9. Elder Tafiti leaves the room and then when he comes back I will tell him where to find the coin! So for example if they hide it under the top left corner one I will then ask him while pointing to the top left corner of a different pamphlet "is it this one???" Elder Tafiti will then know that it is in the top left corner and then I will continue asking, “is it this one”, pointing to several others until I finally reach the top left corner one. Then he says YEAH! It blows kids minds everytime! Some adults too. :) The point was if you feel the Holy Ghost its possible to never choose wrong! We explained that if you read Book of Mormon stories and pray you can always have the Holy Ghost! AND… to put icing on the CAKE, I made a point system: 1 point per prayer. 2 points per each chapter read in the BOM stories book. And 10 points for church attendance.  I promised them once they had a combined 100 points, I would give them my Adventure Time painting that I had an investigator make for me back in Missouri! Before we left, everyone was reading from the BOM and offering to say the closing prayer!!! VICTORY!!!

I am the LUCKIEST MAN on EARTH!!! Don’t worry though, Collin, one day you will be just as lucky as me and Trevor both. :)

Other funny story… Elder Tafiti can be quite hilarious at times.  He went through the little photo album that you made for me Mom and he put a picture of Jessica Barney and you right next to each other and asked if I ever kissed Jessica. I said no we were just good friends and he then showed me the pictures and explained, “that’s good because that would have been like kissing your mom”... You both look really similar in the pictures side by side. I thought it was pretty funny

I have some cool stuff to send home, but I find very little time to get these things done. Collin, I’m still searching for a rugby jersey. I have some experts doing research. Google the Vodafone Warriors rugby team... that’s what I’m thinking and tell me what you think next week! It might take more time but I also have a letter for Mariah, a Maori Jade Stone for Aubrey (I think you might be able to attach it to an earring or a necklace or somethin...), and I have 2 lava lavas maybe 3! Oh, and a picture of me, Elder Manewell the triplets, and their brother Haylen who we recently baptized. The triplets are Pania, Marama, and Kaila. It’s an awesome picture!


Elder Ward,

p.s. Mom I traded my card reader for a camera cord but I guess a 2nd one wouldn't hurt. I should be okay without it though.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Most Eventful Week Yet

Dear Familia,

Before anything gets said…MOM, YES I need that camera charger big time!!! Also I need to request socks… not those worthless church socks but those good athletic socks. I like the all black ones with the small white circles at the bottom. Those are the most durable and are the ones I wear the most. To be safe, 8 pairs would be good. I will only take out half now, so I won’t lose them all because socks are slowly become a highly treasured possession of mine now. OH…and I’m not sure where exactly you can find them, but a sister in the Missouri Mission had a super awesome Mormon messages DVD. If you could somehow come across 1 or 2 of those, that would be so appreciated!!! Those small video clips invite the spirit so well. It would help a ton!

So anyways… MY WEEK

Monday was a sweet p-day. I finally got reunited with ping pong! The Tongan ward was playing that and volleyball and boy was that a good p-day! It was sad at first. I completely forgot how to play, but eventually I got it back! A lot of the Tongans would be talking to each other and glance over to me and I would only recognize the word Palangie... I hope they were in awe with my mad skills. ;)

Tuesday. You remember mom how you were asking about biking??? Well Elder Manewell finally got back on so we started riding bikes around. Anyways…it turns out that in NZ the bike’s brakes are switched so right equals front brake and left equals back... I figured that out going down a steep hill!! I totally flipped head over heels and slid a good ways down the hill. I HATE BIKES... I nicknamed my bike stupid. :)

Wednesday was crazy! We started out the morning committing a sweet couple Mike and Linda to be baptized and married (opposite order) on August 25th. Then around 12 o’ clock we were supposed to trade off with the zone leaders. We went to the street they told us to meet them at and they didn't show up for 15 minutes.  I was getting frustrated because we had an appointment at that time... so we decided to check back at the flat if they were there. When we turned the corner down on our street PRESIDENT LEKIAS was there!!! So long story short… me, Elder Alder, and President Lekias went to go teach one of our investigators, Teinei (Tane - ee). Pressure is on by now right? Don’t forget we have to sing... and well, bad news, Elder Alder is terrible at singing too!! The song, “Families Can be Together Forever”, I don’t think could have been sung any worse ever since it was first added to the hymnbooks. It was so bad that President laughed in the middle of the song! Anyways, the lesson went well. She wants to get baptized and understands its key in fulfilling the Plan of Salvation. She just needs to get married! We’re shooting for August 25th with her too.

Also that day after that lesson, President was about to take us home to eat a lunch but as we passed a street, I remembered a good referral on a street we passed by. I asked President to turn around and we ended up going back. Rhianon answered the door and we taught her and her partner the POS too! IT was super sweet! On the way back President Lekias said, “Now which is better.. eating lunch or teaching that lesson???” Easiest question ever!!

Thursday I got attacked by another dog... don’t worry it was just a little ankle biter, but I gave the thing a good kick. :) Don’t tell Ava. She might be a little devastated.

Those are my crazy experiences! Here are some awesome people were teaching and are progressing well!

Remember Sydney and her son? Well we helped her gain a testimony of Jesus Christ. She prayed about it and felt the spirit big time! She should be getting baptized either next week, Saturday, or the week after that... depending if she makes it to church.

Micaella is 17. She wants to get baptized really bad but she can’t until she is 18. Her parents just won’t let her... She is going to be baptized September 8th.

Daisy, Chever, and Zachary A sweet family that we haven't even really taught a whole bunch. They are super hard to catch but they always show up to church on Sunday unexpectedly. :) They should be getting baptized together in about 2 weeks time.


Sam and Tasha. Sam is a less active member and Tasha is a non member but they are progressing big time! Tasha wants to get baptized and knows the church is true! We are teaching them about forgiveness and the atonement! They are doing so well!

Those are just a few of the people we teach and meet with week to week... these people are my life and I love them to death!!! I have a sweet picture of Haylen and the triplet’s baptism printed out so I will try and send that this week with my letters home! Collin, I’m doing research on that rugby jersey! I have some people who have hook ups! Whatever I send you should be pretty dang cool but you BETTER LOVE IT!!!


Elder Ward

p.s. NO UPDATE ON THE TEMPLE??? Give me some good news next week! IF you don’t have any then repent and GO!!!

P.s.s. I did read that talk mom…PERFECT

p.s.s.s. I also read the story, The Master’s Hand... I think dad might have shown me this one but its a poem talking about an auction with a worn violin. People place 1, 2, and 3 dollars but before it sells a man gets up and plays a beautiful song that puts people to tears... then it goes to 1000, 2000, 3000 dollars! Awh man can you send me that one next week? It’S SOO PERFECT and I'm not allowed to look it up


Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Couldn't Be Any Happier

It is a beautiful day 7000 miles away. I think I might have mentioned the distance last week, but it still blows my mind that I am so far away from you guys! Oh, and I am embarrassed to report but at the same time a little blown away that me and Collin are still so darn close. All of a sudden, Friday Night while I was lying in bed, I totally was thinking about watching the 4th season of 24 but that’s not what missionaries need to ponder on for too long so I mentally nuked it out of my brain (jack Bauer couldn't stop that one). I’m glad everything is well at home!

So this week hmmm... that family I talked about last week we tried to visit Monday but they weren't home and we haven't been back since, but we are planning to go see them tonight. Haha…. I love trying to follow and listen to the Spirit. IT’S HARD!!! Sometime this last week we were walking to an appointment and I glanced at this house and I felt like we should go there. I pushed it off and kept walking. Then I got angry that I didn't listen so I said, "ELDER WAIT!!!" He asked if it was a prompting and I just said, “I DONT KNOW!” He just kinda laughed at me because I was getting flustered. Long story short…we knocked on the door and we woke up an old grandma. I told her we felt like we needed to stop by and she asked why? I told her we were representatives of Jesus Christ and we had a message about the restored gospel. She closed the door, but I still felt good as I left her house knowing that I made the Lord happy whether it was a prompting or not.

Funny things that happened this week... it was Elder Manewell’s birthday and well he is a Starcraft nerd. We planned to visit one of our investigators, Micalla. She is 17 almost 18 and she has wanted to get baptized for about a year but her parents wont let her. But she is already set to be baptized September 8th! Anyways, we sat down for a lunch with her and her member friend Levi and she is a champion BAKER. At Elder Manewell’s request she made a Starcraft cake with a Zerg base and other things on it... It was pretty funny! A lot of investigators and less active members that were helping invited us over for cake and other foods and by the end of the day…I FELT NASTY! I probably had 4 different cakes and 3 different dinners...

Also another funny thing…we took Tama, a Maori 16 year old investigator, to a fireside last night and there was a lady who sang that did awesome!!! It was really funny though because after she was done, he started clapping really loud (not knowing that never happens... ever). His family and well everyone with him got a pretty good kick out of that. I found it hard to stop laughing too. OH and hey…I was finally reunited with my MTC companion, Elder Wachob, for just a few minutes! It was cool!

We had a good week teaching wise. I had someone get mad at me because…well this guy is less active and he has 4 daughters (1 that needs to get baptized), and we went over to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. We pretended that the floor was lava or SIN and we had to get to the other side of the room to make it back to Heavenly Father and a big happy face. If they touched any part of the floor, they couldn't make it. So we laid down stepping stones (paper with the words faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost and enduring to the end) on the floor and explained each one as we went. Anywho… the father was drunk and he got real mad while I was teaching and said it was too advanced (I was teaching repentance). The spirit left and I did my best to stay patient with the guy. He almost kicked us out but he ended up leaving instead. We taught to the end of the lesson and helped all the girls, ages 5 to 9, understand the basics of the most important thing they could ever know in their whole entire lives and bring them the most joy. The Father came back at the end and I got a little prideful as the five year old took every step and explained each principle and ordinance PERFECTLY!!! I apologized to the father and told him I was new and still figuring things out.  He agreed that I still have a lot of learning to do, but before we left he did give us some bacon and egg pie.

Those are just some stories. I’m a little short on time, but life is good, missionary work is awesome, and I couldn’t be any happier! Collin, you still need to write me ya bum!  If you have time for Jack Bauer, you have time for me! Other than that, be good and go to the TEMPLE!!! How is that going by the way? I better hear a good report from all of you'se.


Elder Ward #2

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I'm Starting to Feel More and More Like a Kiwi Every Day!

Dear Palangies [white people]!

Greetings from 7000 miles away!!! I am happy to report that this week got a lot better! I am starting to feel more and more like a Kiwi every day! In fact, you'll love this. The tuesday after P day we did exchanges with our district leader and his companion I went with his companion, Elder Sua. All the leadership in the mission are assigned cars so I got to drive the car because we were covering his area and Elder Sua has a restricted license because he is from Australia so yeah! I DROVE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!!! It wasn't too bad but Elder Sua was making fun of me because I looked so focused when I drove. :) So yes, I’m getting used to being different. It’s actually pretty sweet in fact. I carry some American money in my backpack to show to little kids and stuff they flip out and say that’s crazy!!! and they make fun of our penny because it's only worth 1 cent. (Their lowest coin is worth 10.)

Anywho, you guys should be grateful for the heat! haha Just kidding. Nobody should be grateful for that hot! Come midday here it’s perfect outside! The only time it gets a little tricky is at night. I don’t know why but we practically freeze to death.

So I will give you my day by day.

Monday we played volleyball with the Tongan Ward. I had no idea what people were saying the whole time but it was still lots of fun! It was pretty legit ball too.

Tuesday was my first driving experience. Oh, also Mom, I forgot to mention, no, I’m not a biking master. I have rode bikes for only one week of my mission. That was only once in Missouri. :) Elder Manewell and I have walked (crutched) everywhere because of his hurt foot. It’s still in a moon boot and we’re going to the doctor again tomorrow.

Wednesday I spent the whole day with Elder Sua. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention they are Samoan speaking so half the people we visited only spoke Samoan, so I would just draw pictures to entertain kids while Elder Sua taught a lesson. We also gave a blessing and I had to pronounce this crazy Samoan name, but anyway, his wife is a member and the guy isn't but after the blessing he told Elder Sua, “You know, this church brings a lot of happiness, I want to know more.” So that was a real cool experience. Even though I had no idea what was going on I still felt the spirit working with him. :)

Thursday we were out talking with everyone in the morning and I talked to a lady out in her yard and she said she wasn’t interested but I asked her if she knew anyone that would be interested and she said somebody at the opposite end of the street on the corner at the very end had been waiting to hear a message. I asked the lady if she knew them and she said no... (So my first thought is that this lady is bonkers, right?) I didn't think much of it but as we walked down the street closer to the house the more I thought you know what if she is right. What if they have been waiting? So we went and knocked on the door and a lady comes to the door with a phone in her hand and I just told her about the lady saying that they had been waiting to hear our message and it turns out it’s a sweet family who used to take lessons from missionaries but they all of a sudden stopped coming over and she happily invited us over for tonight! MIRACLE!!!

Friday I read from Jesus the Christ about the atonement and Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and then later I read all of the kids New Testament stories so from super advanced to primary-aged reading. I felt so much love toward Christ and his life. It was a cool experience.

Saturday we stopped a guy in the street who had just left the hospital. His wife had a miscarriage. We testified that families can be forever and gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. It was pretty much the best street contact I have ever experienced. I felt so much love for this random stranger as we taught and prayed with him on the street. We only left him with our number but I definitely know he felt the spirit.

Sunday. We have been teaching a lady from Israel whose English is … eehhh... okay, anywho, she has a 5-year-old son with no father and this kid is a handful! He punches his mom, calls her nasty cuss words, and has no respect at all. He likes me. He even came up and held my hand when we took them to Haylen’s baptism so it was up to me to control him at church... I think I experienced what most moms experience on Sundays with their young kids. So if this sounds familiar you’re probably a mom! During sacrament, he was talking really loud and jumping all over the place! We gave him some stuff to draw with and he ended up drawing on the benches and well... he screamed if you tried to stop him from doing something and I didn't hear a thing from any of the speakers. Eventually, his mom just let him go in the hallway. Relief!!! That’s when I realized we were singing the closing song, “Love at Home.” Good job Mom, and I am so grateful for all you have done over the years and sorry for all those sacrament meetings you probably almost lost your mind.

I love being a missionary and I love all of you guys. Tell Trevor that those were some sweet pics.


Elder Ward #2

P.S. Collin, ya Egg! YOU PROMISED!!! Also, I am doing work to find you something. We might have to ditch the All Blacks jersey idea because they are like 200 dollars, but I did talk to Percy (a sweet Maori guy) who told me about these sweet 30 dollar shirts with Maori designs on them. He might get a few for me to buy off him. I love you only if you write me back this week!!!! Just kidding but for serious. Also, tell everyone I said hey and give them my love.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

First week in New Zealand

Dear Family,

AWWWWWWWWWHHHH MAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNN!!! I'm in the most beautiful country in the whole world experiencing the best 2 years of my life and you still make me a little jealous!!! COLLIN!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND GOOD JOB BRO!!!! The big 1- 7…you can go to stake dances now! Well Collin, I will have you know that I did sing happy birthday for you and have thought about you a lot! Also, I am looking for a place where I can buy you a New Zealand All Blacks jersey around here (or just some other freakin sweet jersey because you are a boss), which by the way, I get made fun of for saying "boss". Don’t worry…just to my companion. Good job on the win in the volleyball tournament! Did people even try to block the white wall of terror known as Collin Ward? Or did they just give up? You totally should have played in the A's division. I have so much to talk about it's not even funny! Just know that I love you bro and I have set a goal to get something to you in at least 3 months. ;)

Oh, so anyways my new companion’s name is Elder Manewell (man-a-well). He has defintley struggled on his mission. He has ADHD and suffers from chronic fatigue but he is a great guy. Anywho this last Monday, after we emailed, we went down to some rec center to play basketball and well... Elder Manewell crashed down on his foot pretty hard and sprained it pretty bad... So we spent my first day in New Zealand in the hospital getting x-rays, prescriptions, and whatnot. We did however still have a sweet week! We taught about 30 lessons found 6 new investigators and we baptized a family with triplet sisters and a boy named Haylen. (sorry I don’t have pictures)

I’m not going to lie though, even though I had been looking forward to coming here for quite some time, this week was definitely the hardest of my mission so far. I am serving in Papakura in the Red Hill ward. Haha…there is a missionary from this ward serving in Mesa Arizona too. Anyways, it's really hard to explain but this mission is so different from my other mission….really different! Just a whole lot more changes that I’m not used to... like for example we have to sing before every lesson... EVERY LESSON!!!! Hahaha…when I first heard that, I was sitting on the couch in our flat (apartment) and I couldn't help but crack up thinking this is totally karma for making fun of dad’s singing! Anyways, that’s definitely something I have been praying for to just be better at singing or at least just feel more comfortable doing it. But yeah, I’m kind of in a rough area. We run into the Black Power gang every once in awhile, but its okay because the Black Power boss is a member (just a wee bit inactive)

It also made it very hard adjusting to the time difference (jet lag) and the absolute culture shock! I’m not positive but I believe because it is 11:11 a.m.(make a wish) on Monday here it should be around 4:11 pm Sunday there! NUTS! So anyways, my American accent at first I'd get embarrassed about because some people would just chuckle or laugh, but now I just embrace it and laugh about it. Like the triplets and Haylen, every time we came over they would start talking and I would just say in a joking voice… “you guys sound funny!" or sometimes when we approach people I say, “don’t mind my American accent, but would you like to hear a message about Jesus Christ? Something along those lines... I love how people talk down here and how everything is so different. I've even started writing down a list.

Lollies- candy

True!- kind of like "oh really"

That's Mean!- Sweet, Cool, Sick, nasty

Flats- apartments

The boot- the trunk

The motorway- freeway

The bubbler- drinking fountain

Chilly bin- cooler

OH yeah and they cuss all the time! hell and damn are just acceptable in this culture. The bishop can even say it over the pulpit. It’s pretty much just the equivalent of darn it. I figured that one out playing basketball with a lot of the Aussie missionaries.

Oh yeah and I got bit by a dog (there not nice down here)! I have no problem curb stomping the next one that comes at me... I got angry! haha I love you guys so much and hope you enjoy the next week enjoying the beach and stuff! Stay out of trouble and watch out for sting rays!!!


Elder Ward

Haylen and the triplet's baptism.  Elder Manewell/Elder Ward
p.s. a lot of love for Collin…he is special
Elder Ward and ??

Elder Manewell/Elder Ward