Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pray Until Something Happens

OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH MAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN... OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH MMMMMMMAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN! haha I think I already told you the story behind that one. J It's always good for me to treat home sickness (trunkyness) as a joke. I couldn't help but let out one of those “awh mans” when I remembered the savory sweet goodness of turkey taquitos... I had to turn it off by picturing Collin shoveling a mountain of guacamole onto his. I'm glad that you sent me a list of things you’re grateful for. I figure the more grateful you are the easier life is for you. I learned it's a lot easier to be grateful that you’re on a mission rather than wanting to be thanked for serving a mission. Notice how Jesus Christ was always grateful to go about doing his Father’s work like when he raised Lazarus from the dead he said, "Father I thank thee." I think it's notable too how much the general authorities talk about being grateful for everything. So I really did appreciate that.

Also DANG!!! Heaps of mission calls! I will have to shoot Seth a short letter of encouragement. He is the man though and I reckon he will make one awesome missionary! The volleyball sounded sweet. Collin and Trevor probably would have beaten Robert and Parker. I hope they got along well as they played with each other. Trevor was probably humbled as he recognized just how good Collin has gotten over the time he has been gone and the fact that he is probably one of the best players in the family. Enough about that though, let’s talk mission stuff!

I will give you a little day-by-day again. I figure those are easier to talk about.

Monday after I emailed you guys I picked up the sisters and we drove and gathered the whole district together to go to the beach!!! It was cool. I was surprised that we’re even allowed to go to the beach on Pday but we spent some time playing on the black sand beach. That was pretty fun. Then we took a small hike through these rocks into a cool waterfall like place and took some sweet district pictures there. That was a fun Pday. Then we had a sweet FHE with some of our recent converts at one of our member’s houses it was a huge success and that day was just awesome.

Tuesday (district meeting day), we planned a trade off with the zone leaders and I put clothes, pillow, blanket, scriptures, back pack, all my notes for the district meeting... pretty much everything, in the trunk of our car. In a little bit of a hurry I closed the trunk and right in the middle of closing it I realized I put the key down in the trunk as well as I was unloading all my stuff... haha That was so funny I just laughed... Really though, I started to get upset because I felt so naked without everything. Anyway, long story short, we had to bike down to the chapel and It was really cool because on the way over I found a 20 dollar bill flying away in the street! I almost crashed slamming on my brakes to get it but that was a sweet tender mercy! Anyway, the district was all doing pretty stink "numbers wise" and I was having a hard time myself without all my notes for the meeting. So pretty much after the accountability for how the district was doing even though I was as encouraging as possible the spirit was just GONE. I tried teaching everything I had prepared, but I had forgotten some of the scripture references I was going to use. IT WAS A MESS! Nobody had a smile on their face and it stunk... So I just stopped everything and said okay, this can't happen, lets all kneel down and say a prayer. A prayer was offered and the spirit flooded the room!!! It was awesome! Smiles came back and I even remembered all the scriptures I wanted to share! Then afterward, I had a sweet trade off with Elder Bills! HE is the man! I learned heaps from him and we set two people for baptism and had six AWESOME LESSONS!

Wednesday... We are struggling to find people to teach so we did a small P.U.S.H. (pray until something happens). We prayed everywhere we went, probably offered 20 prayers all day. Nothing spectacular happened, but I felt a whole lot better putting things into the Lord's hands and relying on him.

Thursday, we did another trade off with the Zone Leaders just because of car driving issues with them and the other trade off they were doing, its complicated... Anyway, I went with Elder Fernandez who is also the MAN!!! Except that day we ran into a Jehovah’s Witness who we spent a little too long with and he just wanted to bother and argue with us. Elder Fernandez got angry at himself for letting it happen and we lost the spirit a little. We tried to go teach a lesson to the same guy we taught and set for baptism on Tuesday, but it was HARD!!! The lesson went okay, but there was a very distinct difference between the two. I learned that the spirit is the thing that turns these 18 to 25 year old "boys" or “children,” as Elder Holland would say, into fishers of MEN!!! The rest of the day turned out better as we asked for forgiveness and prayed to have the spirit back.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all good average days! We found some sweet people to teach. One is a Tongan family that moved from Mesa, Arizona just three months ago. So that was cool. But hey fams, I think I'm running out of time. I just want you to know that I love all of you guys so much and am so grateful for all the letters of support and encouragement that you give me. You guys are da bomb!!! Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving and make sure you eat heaps of turkey and taquitos and mashed tatoes and stuff like that. Oh and don’t forget to take a sweet five-hour nap after that. As for me I still got some work to do before I can do those things.

Elder Ward

P.S. For the college bowl picks throw me in and put all my answers for the team who would come first in the dictionary. Send my top prize winning candy in the mail please. J


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Preaching the Gospel...In My Sleep

Dear family,

Today, I am, once again, believe it or not, in a mad rush for time to do a thousand and one things. So, first off I will start by letting dad know that his email is perfect. It's kinda like chapter 11 in PMG under bearing testimony. It is hard to question a testimony. I think that was inspired. It's awesome how parents are entitled to receive revelation for their families. Good job. And Mom, it sounds like you need another vacation. Going to jail [aka traffic school], finding shoes, doing animal projects, trying to keep everyone happy, and being called upon again right when you get a couple of seconds of peace. haha You should start getting paid for that kinda work. I guess though, in a way you do. It just might not be in the way you would think. For example you could be getting paid with a greater capacity to love. Just something to ponder on.

So I just remembered I need to respond to others individually so this letter might be a little short. Something really funny happened this week while I did a trade off with Elder Galt. He said that at 12:30 at night he woke up because he heard me talking. Apparently I was teaching the principle of Repentance (from lesson 3) and that it was actually pretty well done. I used some kind of analogy about Heavenly Father’s house being clean and how we need to be clean and he was starting to wonder if I was awake and just playing a joke on him... He realized I was actually asleep when I ended with "and all of this is possible because of … (BIG SNORING SOUNDS)" He explained what happened to me in the morning and I couldn't help but smile. Also, Elder Loffhagen told me I was trying to get someone to pray in my sleep as well.

We have a sweet investigator named Monique. I think I might have mentioned her last week as the girl who would just laugh at us every time we went over... It's so cool watching her countenance change as she prays seeking truth from Heavenly Father. She also came to church this week and actually enjoyed it and stayed for 3 hours. That was a shock. Something I'm starting to realize though is people who grow up in the Church might sometimes take for granted really how much the spirit can touch their hearts during all three of those meetings. The work is a little tough right now as far as our teaching pool goes. Things will turn around soon though. Sorry I have to cut things short to email OObers and Coolin (Aubrey & Collin).

Elder Ward

P.S. Tell the priest quorum I love them all and appreciate everything they have done for me, and that I wish them well on the best 2 years of their lives.




Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Miracle Happened This Week

Dear family,

I have heaps of thoughts and letters to respond to that I probably won’t be able to get finished in the short time that I have, but I will do my best to type fast! So, to be honest, I can’t think of anything really... for Christmas or my birthday. I’m pretty content... I don’t really need much. I guess come strawberry orange banana Crystal Light packets would be great and some Sponge Bob macaroni and cheese. That would be cool too. (It's pretty sad that’s all I can think of.) I don’t need much, but feel free to surprise me.

This week a miracle happened!!! WEEE GOT A CAR!!!! A tender mercy indeed, especially for Elder Loffhagen! We had a great day where we were able to teach a girl named Hinerangi and set her to be baptized on the 1st of December. We just knocked on her door and offered to teach her on her front lawn. Then, not even 10 minutes after, we got a call from the AP’s (Elder Barney) letting us know that we were going to get a car tomorrow. I was so happy. I said, "This would be such a sick joke if you were just kidding! Are you for serious?!" So yup, anyway, long story short, the Samoan elders in our zone crashed the car so now we get to drive it around everywhere! I was just starting to enjoy biking too, but I think I will be all right.

So let’s see—for your district meeting tonight, I actually do have something to throw in. I talked about this a lot in the last district meeting that I did. I will do my best to sum it up but I talked about Elder Bednar’s talk on personal conversion and focused on his analogy of our lamps and conversion oil (regarding the ten virgins). As missionaries everything we teach is to help people make and keep commitments and the biggest three are of course reading scriptures, praying, and going to church. Every day we BEG investigators to do those three things, because without those three things they cannot be truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Doing those three things can lighten the heaviest loads, bring hope to those in despair, and help brighten dark times. The thing is though, in order to help other people we first need to help ourselves! So a question you could ask everyone there is how much conversion oil do they put in their lamps? How often do they read their scriptures, how much work do they put into their prayers? and just how serious do they take the sacrament? (I mentioned that talk about the man who was "sleeping" when the water came his way). Anyway, without the spirit we can do NOTHING. This week I kinda experienced it. We had a baptism on Saturday—a boy named Shanil Kumar. It was a great program but it started at nine in the morning. So in a mad rush to make everything perfect we had to skip personal study. We still came back and did companion study and 12-week program training, but the whole day I could not tell what was wrong with me. I was super impatient in lessons, I had anxiety issues, and I was just angry throughout the day over nothing. That night I got in, planned, called the district, and then when we were reporting to the zone leaders Elder Bills asked me how my day was so I told him that it wasn't that great and what I had been feeling throughout the day. So he just asked why do you think that happened? Right away it hit me I DIDN'T READ!!!!! When you’re a missionary your conversion lamp gets a whole lot bigger and needs a whole lot more oil to power it. D&C 82:3 I strongly advise everyone to deepen their personal conversion including all the Priests and Laurels that are planning to go serve a mission, and ESPECIALLY any who are having second thoughts! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

So yeah, some other cool things happened this week. I mentioned Shanil’s baptism a little already but I should tell you a little bit more. Baptisms are crazy. SOMETHING ALWAYS goes wrong. This time I was determined to get everything right. So the morning of we woke up at 5 in the morning to go fill and heat the font. Then we went to go run and exercise with Aj Houia who is starting to get a little fat and lazy.
J We got back at six thirty and we started to get ready. We got to the chapel at 8:15 and started to set up chairs and everything else. Then at 8:30 Shanil arrived with his dad so we went to go change into our whites. That's when I realized I forgot extra clothes.... so everything that gets wet stays wet which includes white shirt and top and bottom garments. So I [improvised]. Then everyone started coming in, including members and the Assistants and zone leaders. The spirit filled the room but I could tell Shanil was nervous!!! We said a prayer with him and did our best to help him feel better, but when we got in the water I realized that it was not heated! AT ALL!!! Whoops. It was a good program and even though Shanil was clinging onto my arm for dear life and kicked his feet like a mad man he felt a lot better after and I felt the spirit really strong!

Sorry. I would love to write more but I need to take the sisters home! I will respond to all ya’lls next week. Love you guys heaps. Be good and don’t forget to fill your lamps.

Elder Ward



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Working Smart Trumps Working Hard

Dearest family,

This week was excellent and once again full of many adventures! First off, before I forget, Mom I have no idea what I want... OH yeah another ball and pump would be nice. I left the pump in Missouri and my ball was popped by intense Tongan vs. Samoan volleyball. Also, that blue hair stuff would be cool and some deodorant because it's expensive here and I stink. Other than that I’m not sure what I need really. I guess just surprise me. It would be cool if you could send me an In-n-out burger, but I don’t think that’s possible. :) Anyways I do have some great news…I back to normal! No, I did not buy 6 bags of oranges. I only bought 4 which was quite a lot actually, and I ate about 3 and a half of the bags….probably in total 25 oranges. I have some good pictures I will try to send.

So WHOA the family sounds good! Trevor the sales champion!!!  I think my total average working at Moxie was probably like 4 bucks a hour. :) I’m still glad I did it. Brycecream did it again?! By 80 points?! hahahaha The 2nd place guy could have done another 2 dives and still not win. That kid is nuts!  As for Collin, way to go! Lindsay Wade…dude…that’s cool! She has the coolest family in the whole world. Be good to her and maybe offer to go play her in racquetball sometime. Tell her I said Hi. Aubrey I have nothing to say….you LIED!!! Jokes…I miss you sis and I bet you made a good Minnie Mouse for Halloween. Ava keep being cool and help dad scare away those pigeons before he shoots them in the face.

I kinda don’t even know where to start. Oh, just a reminder with Seth Bloomfield and all them boys when they get their mission calls….PLEASE let me know! Give me their addresses too and I will do my best to send them a letter before they go. So something cool that happened this week was INTERVIEWS with President Lekias. This is without a doubt the hardest I've worked on my mission, and we are struggling to find new investigators and help them progress. STRUGGLING! Anyways, President asked if Elder Loffhagen has been able to invite anyone to be baptized, and I said, “Well president, that's something I wanted to talk to you about... WERE STRUGGLING”. Ha…right away he asked have you been visiting the members... No.... and within 3 minutes he made a plan for us to help fix our problems. He let me know that working smart trumps working hard. He really helped me heaps and things are starting to progress again! Also we are baptizing Shanil Kumar this weekend! WHOO! I have been really humbled this week and realized just how much more I need to learn to be an effective servant.

Also this week, don’t worry this is with Elder Loffhagen’s permission, Elder Loffhagen does not like bikes... he has crashed too many times to count! One particular day I felt pretty bad for him. He crashed within the first 20 seconds of leaving the flat (apartment)  hurting his arm and his head, crashed again crossing the street, and then at night time going down a big steep hill. I told him not to brake and he didn't see the sidewalk on the dark hill so he ran over that and it threw him off his bike. I feel bad for him and I hope things will start getting better for him soon. We get along great haha. In our free time we play this geek card game called Magblast where you shoot each other’s ships and you have to make the sound affects. We also play this weird game that’s like a form of rock, paper, scissors, but it's dragon ball z style where you can either power up, reflect, shoot instant transmission, or spirit bomb. ( I have no idea why I’m telling you this.)

This week I had a cool experience going along with mom talking about her lesson on prayer... yeah I feel the same way sometimes too. I read a talk in the Ensign where a teacher had the people chant pots, pots, pots, pots, pots, and then he quickly asked, “What do you do at a green light?”… STOP!!! No you GO!  He talked about how sometimes we just mindlessly chant stuff out in our prayers and that we might not take the time to stop and think about what we are really saying. Then he gave important steps to affective prayer. I think they were 1. Pick a place 2. Pray out loud 3. Pray for others 4. Be grateful and 5. I forget but it was really cool. He used examples from the BOM and then he read Jesus Christ's prayer with the Nephites and he did all the steps. You should find it!!! It should be in either the October or September Ensign.

Anyway one night this week we went over to do some family scripture reading with the Houia/King family, and I don’t know what it was but everyone was just ANGRY! AJ was being cheeky, Pita started playing music because he wanted to read in Alma (not 2nd Nephi), and then mom got mad because she was feeling the spirit and it was just getting ruined. Towards the end I was just ANGRY myself because I loved this family. We had just read 2nd Nephi 32 and 33 which are some of the sweetest chapters in the BOM and the spirit was just gone. I was so close to just freaking out and letting everyone know how retarded they were acting... I’m so glad I didn't! Anyway, nobody wanted to say the prayer so they started to pick on each other and put it to a vote (yes they argued about that too). I just sat quietly in the corner and when they asked me for my vote I stopped, didn't answer, and just knelt down and waited for everyone else to follow. The spirit then came in and with tears coming down my face I apologized for what had just happened (all the contention) and asked to let the family see how much we loved them and how much the gospel had blessed them in their lives. It felt as if I were literally talking to Heavenly Father and it is a prayer I won’t soon forget.

Anyway, I’m taking too long. I gotta go soon, but one last experience. This Sunday Kanahana surprised me and bore her testimony! She thanked me and all the members and she explained that the first day she came to church she was wondering why everyone was so happy, and she wanted that for herself. She said she finally understands why everyone is the way the are and that she experienced it ALL last week. She was just super grateful and you could tell how much of an impact the spirit had on her. That was priceless. Keep doing good things family and know that I love you guys to death.

Elder Ward
Heaps of Oranges