Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd


WOWWZZEEERRRRSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO COLLIN!!! SPEECH!!!! GIVE THEM A SPEECH!!!!

It's really funny actually. I joined with Collin this week in a very funny way! I spoke too! For I think the 7th time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This time my topic was on the worth of souls. Kinda an easy topic for a missionary. I was at your talk in spirit, Collin, and I was at Ava's baptism too in spirit. I sat next to Mom at both and she scratched my back spiritually speaking that is. Thanks for all your letters everyone. It sure sounds like things have been going great in AZ… stressful, but great! That's mission life Collin. GET USED TO IT!!!! That’s why Mom is going to make an awesome missionary with Dad when that time finally comes around for them.

So I have got a FUNNY story for you guys and it’s the reason why I have made the subject of my letter, “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd.” So I was going to use a few lines from hymn #221-Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd for my talk on the worth of souls... Anyway, on Friday (at least I think it was Friday) we biked out to a university where we had a few potential investigators. As we wrapped things up and needed to head off to our next appointment I did not particularly have the desire to back track and go around the small nature preserve in between where we were and where we needed to be. So we threw our bikes over a small fence, hopped it, and started riding towards where I thought we needed to go. As we made it up a small hill we noticed a good 50 sheep minding their own business grazing in the fields. Of course, my boyish side came out and we began to chase the sheep on our bikes! As I was chasing the sheep they all went for high ground except one broke off from the 99 and instead of laying it on my shoulders rejoicing I chased that one. As I was chasing it (going down hill) out of nowhere there was a good foot deep random pot hole in the hill and my front tire jammed right into it, and I went face first into the ground and rocket launched my Book of Mormon, badge, pens, pamphlets, and of course my bike in front of me. Two miracles happened here: 1. I didn’t get seriously hurt—just a good bump on my head, a grass stain on my shoulder, and small aches and pains everywhere else; and 2. I didn't land in any sheep POOP because it was everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!! Long story short I was able to laugh it off and work the rest of the day. Now it will always be a choice memory of my mission!

I had a great week guys! Elder Johnson and I are for sure ROCKIN THE BOAT! Honestly, as far as investigators and baptisms go I might not have another the rest of my mission, but I feel SO GOOD!!!!!!!!! On Sunday we had 146 AT CHURCH!!!!!!!!!! That is literally double the average attendance New Plymouth had 6 months ago. I think the first two Sundays I had in the branch the attendance was 66 and then 73. 

Christmas was SOOOO GOOOD!! Being able to talk to you guys was priceless! The first 20 minutes was a little bit weird because everyone was in the room with us while I was trying to have a good proper heart to heart with the family. By the way, Elder Johnson says that Ava is super cute. He liked Trevor’s Mexican impersonation, and he said that Collin is going to make a great missionary. I asked him why he thought that and he said if anyone asks that question it’s a good show of what they are going to become on their mission. Also Collin, I found answers from the scriptures for what you need to do. In D&C 4 obviously, but also in 11 too! I studied it this morning and I found 4 things! 1. HAVE DESIRE!!!!!!!!!! 2. BE WORTHY (I mentioned that one) 3. Study the Word of the Lord  4. Keep the commandments (Obedience). Start doing those things now and feel free to read D&C 11. Collin, I think it would be good.

Other good things that happened this week… T passed the sacrament, we brought another less active family to church—J and her 4 kids! We had a dinner set up with them and the G family the night before. She was super shy and scared to go, but it all turned out SUPERDY DUPER! I hope you guys have a great new year! Collin, be careful. Don’t go to any dumb new year’s parties. I remember before I left there were heaps of those and some of them were definitely not the best places to be.

Love,

Elder Ward

 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS...ROCK THE BOAT!!!!!


SOUNDS GOOD family. I will do everything to talk to you at 4 [on Christmas Eve] but in all honesty I will probably be a little bit late just to give you a little bit of time to get home and everything like that so it might be more like 4:30. Hopefully everything goes off without a hitch and yeah kind of like how Aubrey said, I guess I will just see you in a month anyway... It's okay Aubrey. That is totally something I would say. If anything I am impressed how much you have become like your older brothers! BUT YOU BETTER STILL WRITE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So the news we have all been waiting for! I am GONE!!!!!! Serving in the Tongan Princess Ward in Papakura! Jokes. I am staying in New Plymouth and finishing my mission there. Elder Taylor is gone now. He left up to Hamilton and my new companion’s name is Elder Johnson. I know him well. He is one of the most experienced zone leaders in the mission besides me and Elder Wachob. So I am pretty excited to be leaving the Taranaki zone leader mantle on him. It’s really nice to be able to take a break from training too!!!!!! I loved training but it gets pretty tiresome doing it back-to-back-to-back... It is really cute though seeing missionaries make all the funny newbie mistakes. For example, we just picked up a new missionary in the zone and on our way back we stopped at a gas station and he asked if we were allowed to drink soda still. J  It made me laugh. Oh and yes, Elder Rasband and Elder Andrus are still with us in the 4 man flat.

Well, I’m keepin things short today but I will tell you family that at this point in my mission very few days go by where I can't help but look back on my mission and see the difference every single day has made in my life. I know Elder Edward Dube's mom would tell me not to look back because it is true I have got a lot of work to do in the coming weeks!!!!!!! I am happy though because MY FIRE IS FUELED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have seen too many missionaries finish regretting their last few weeks, getting trunky and what not so I’m working my buns off!  Elder Johnson and I hit the ground running straight after our drive back from transfers. It’s pretty funny and I haven't told a lot of people but on my last missionary daily planner I have taped on a picture of Noah’s ark... President Riggle in the district Presidency told me to really pay attention to how many days I have left not as a countdown but as a reminder of how short my time really is. So I figured out I had 40 days and 40 nights the day of transfers. I followed his counsel and I am going to do everything in my power to ROCK THE BOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I have a cool picture of Noah to help me stay motivated. 

Sad news Dad, Rmoved to the south Island... He did it to get away from bad influences so we are going to refer the missionaries down to him. But for some GREAT news Tabare received the Holy Ghost and is now an Aaronic Priesthood holder! HAVE a good Christmas Season and I will talk to you in two days. SEE YA!

 

Love,

Elder Ward 

 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Taranaki Hit Their Goal!!!



T's Baptism

T's Baptism attendees
So here are some pictures along with the email. First off, there is a picture of T, my companion, and Noah Jones, the priest who just moved into our ward from Utah! It was his first baptism so it sure was exciting for the family and especially for him. It was a great after church program. Normally we do the baptisms on Saturday but I wanted to see if it would be a little bit more easy to just have it be done on a Sunday... TOTALLY WORTH IT!!! We just have to wait for him to receive the Holy Ghost till next week and the Aaronic Priesthood. Funny story, it turns out his mom is a less active member and got baptized when she was 14 as well but her dad told her to leave the church and stay away from it, but after her daughter and son joining the church it will be hard for her to stay away. J Also, there is a picture somewhere on here of everyone who stayed for the baptism after.
So yeah, my very last transfer. It’s a little bit nerve racking figuring out what is going to happen to me... to be quite honest my number one place to go is wherever the Lord wants... A Tongan ward wouldn't be half bad though. haha Apparently, when missionaries finish their missions, Tongans throw a huge party for them and go all out with pigs and everything and then they get young teenage girls and put some kind of oil stuff on them and as they dance people stick money to their skin. And everything that gets put on the missionary takes home.... SOUNDS SO WRONG!!!! But would be sweet. I don’t know anything that is happening yet but sure am looking forward to it! Getting a little antsy to be honest!
Other cool stories… at church on Sunday a really dark Maori guy showed up wearing normal clothes and had a very long pony tail. His name is R.  Turns out this guy was investigating the church and progressing quite well when the law caught up to him and he eventually had to go to prison for 6 months... (hopefully not for murder) J Because you would be surprised, Dad, about some of the laws and punishments in this country. I am just using the word surprised because I am not meant to say anything negative about the country. In emails home. J Anyway he showed up to church and we got talking to him and he knows all the lessons we teach from Preach M Gospel almost better than I do. He told us he decided to drop all his addictions and his 6 months in prison helped him do that. Then he asked how soon he could get baptized. January 4th it’s happenin!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Taranaki is finally up and running. An area that had been deeply scarred is now an active, fun running zone to be in. We had a goal to baptize three people this month and guess what, SUNDAY WE HIT IT!!!!!!!!! President Rudd told each of the zone leaders he would like each of us to call him one day and say, we did it president, we hit a goal! So after our baptism on Sunday we gave him a call to let him know that we were the first zone in the Hamilton mission history to hit a goal as a zone. Haha President Rudd said, “Hold on a minute,” as he rolled down his car window and yelled at the top of his lungs, “WHOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Taranaki HIT THEIR GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, Elders, it has been shouted from Tuhikaramea in Hamilton. WELL DONE!” Something along those lines it was pretty funny.
I forgot to mention last week but I finished reading the Book of Mormon again!!! I lost track of how many times I have read it all the way through. I think it was three before the mission and six on the mission but I could be wrong... Anyway, I went downstairs in the middle of personal study after I finished reading it and prayed to ask God if it was true... again and I just received yet again just another small confirmation that it was true then I went back upstairs and disturbed everyone else as they did personal study and said, “Well, I got good news everyone! The Book of Mormon is still true!” Mom and Aubrey, keep that challenge. That is the most important book you will ever read in your life, and most important to keep reading DAILY!
Anyway, love you guys. Sounds good for 4:00 pm my time 8:00 your time on Christmas eve. I am Skype-tarded so I will need a little help on how I will reach you guys so you can just send me that next week.

Love,
Elder Ward

Sunday, December 8, 2013

GOOD NEWS!!!


Well family…today is a good day! Once again we had another good week! Let’s answer some questions first! Yes family, I will be able to skype and that is what I will be trying to do! President Rudd is also giving us an hour instead of 30 to 40 minutes.  You can tell me later about when you would like to skype.  I would prefer my Christmas day and your Christmas eve. It doesn't matter so much for the time and yes, mom, you have a point. We will give Collin most of the time. I guess just slap him in front of the computer because I will be able to talk to you guys a month after that call. So yeah, then for dinner …let’s do In n Out!

SOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS... your prayers and mine have been answered again! T, a Kiribati boy, is getting baptized on the 15th of December in our branch! We found him early in the week on Monday. His sister is a recent convert from Tauranga. It's funny too because I figured out that I had gone to her house there and started to reactivate her family. Then Elder Reese came and picked up where we left off, and she ended up getting baptized. Now she has moved down to New Plymouth and is helping convert her family. So yeah, we are just going to have his baptism right after church! And it’s good too because it is 4 days right before transfers! His mom got baptized ages ago and will slowly make her way to church and we have been trying to work with the dad too.

Other exciting news…I had a really good weekend because of District Conference. We had a visiting member of the 70 come and visit along with the Rudds! I LOVE THEM!!!! I got to talk to Elder Dudfield of the 8th quorum of the 70 for some time! He was awesome! There was just a really good spirit the whole time! Other good things…we got another set of really good sisters in our zone and we are going to be the first zone that has hit a baptism goal this entire year! President Rudd is big on setting goals that we will achieve but still make us stretch.   I set a goal for our zone to baptize three people in one month which is doable but still a hard thing to do. Well we have two already for the month and things are looking positive for the rest!

Mom and dad keep working hard! AVA!!!! Good luck getting baptized. Make sure you take lots of pictures and write down how you felt on your baptism day so that you can remember everything a little bit better. Your baptism day will be the most important day of your life!

Just a small email today folks. I will send some pictures but one last piece of cool news. I GOT A NEW CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...like brand spankin new with only 23 kilometers on it! It's a 2013 Holden Cruze. The thing purrs like a kitten!

Love,

Elder Ward

 
 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Perfect Baptism


J's Baptism
Dear Family,

It sounds like you had a mean Thanksgiving week full of heaps of reunion, volleyball, and TURKEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, in New Zealand they don’t believe in Thanksgiving so it was easy to forget that all those cool things were happening back home. Anywho, I am doing quite well this week even though for some reason I had crazy bad allergies and my eyes were buggin’ out and goin’ completely red on me. Other than that it was simply marvelous! Oh and I checked myself for DA BEETUS!!!!!!! And I am all sweet Mom you got me a little nervous there for a second.

We had Jo's baptism this weekend and it went off just about as perfect as any baptism I have ever been to. We had a good turnout. People remembered spare clothes. The branch president was there. The branch mission leader conducted everything. The water was warm... Elder Rasband and his trainee are the ones teaching her so they were left in charge for everything which is STRESSFUL!!!!!!! I was able to help Coach Elder Rasband through everything he needed to do and prepare for. He did a great job! I had to help quite a bit but he still did well. I will send a picture of her baptism day.

Other cool things that happened this week … we had AN AWESOME zone conference! President Rudd is the man! He started off by telling us that we brush over the first bullet point (God is our loving Heavenly Father) too quickly... He explained that until people really know and understand who He is and what He is all about it will be very hard for people to have the desire to want to figure everything else out. Then we did a lot of other trainings and workshops and stuff like that. It was weird being the OLDEST missionary there.

Also, random experience for the week... I would like to have you know I ran over a ducky the other day. It was just chillin’ in the middle of the road and I was wondering why the cars in front of me were swerving out of the way... until I saw him. It was too late. There was a big sickening THUD!!!! and I destroyed Mother Ducky while all of her family was watching from the other side of the road... What is funny is I felt pretty bad. I think my mission has changed me heaps more than I expected it to.

Lately I have been working HARD in the east side of New Plymouth. Basically from Ground Zero... My missionary sons are GREAT but the problem was they got stuck seeing a lot of the same people who would accept visits but would not keep a single commitment. So now we are kind of weeding out the wheat from the tares. I think I might need you guys to pray for us to find more investigators again because the WEST SIDE is still SUPER PROSPEROUS!!! Good things are happening down here.

I think this a pretty boring letter. I don't have much to say about this week other than that. So I will just tell you guys that I have really loved every bit of my mission. Mom, I thought a lot about what you shared with me from Alex's mission conference and it is so true. I think this is the closest I have ever been to REAL LIFE than anything else I have experienced before. I love New Zealand. I love EVERY SINGLE PERSON I talk to like they are my own family. Then once again, I think I mention this almost every week but serving out here has made me gain such an appreciation for MY OWN family. I love you guys so much and the sacrifices you have made for me. I am grateful for all of your good examples and for helping me love serving God and being a part of this church. You guys are GREAT!!!

Love,

Elder Ward


Another Baptism in our Zone
 

 

New Zealand Currency


Elder Andrus' bicycle burnt hands...Ouch!


P-day at the TSB Bowl

New Zealand Ice Cream

Another random P-day picture

 

 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

On Top of the World!


My Posterity:  Elder Rasband & trainee, Elder Taylor & Elder Ward, Elder Misbach, Elder Hammar & trainee
 
Dearest Mother and Father and the rest of the family,

So good to hear from you again.  Mom, I will start things off by saying I am totally fine and do not have diabetes... I pee a lot in the morning because I drink a lot in the morning but other than that I am sweet as. I have not gained or lost anything for almost my whole mission after Missouri. I feel the same I always have when it comes to eating habits, and as far as fatigue goes I think I have more energy than I have ever had in my life. I wake up alive and ready to go at 6:30 am. I think I have only not woken up at 6:30 two days on my mission because an alarm clock didn't go off, but I actually find myself waking up at like 6:00 because I feel too well rested and am worried I have slept in. So no worries Mom. I am feeling great!

So yes, the long-awaited news!!! Mom and Dad I am staying  in New Plymouth! I am also training yet again... another new missionary!!! Gee wiz. I am almost tired of training...haha.  I'm also co-training my grandson because Elder Rasband is training now after me just training him for 8 weeks. Also, Elder Hammar is training but he has moved on to another zone in Rotorua. My POSTERITY IS FLOURISHING!!!! Haha I took a picture of all the new additions to the family. I will make sure I send you a picture today.

I will be honest. I was hoping I would leave because if I get transferred next transfer I will be in a brand new area 6 days before Christmas where I don’t know ANYONE! It's nice to have some kind of family, but either way I will be fine, because when President called I felt the spirit letting me know that my work was not finished in New Plymouth. SO I AM HAPPY. J

Other news. J? Remember her? She is finally getting baptized!!!!!!! WHOOOHOOOO!!!  She is getting baptized on the 30th!!! Elder Rasband and I are on top of the world.

Well, Mom and Dad, I am doing well. I fight more and more every day to not care to look at a calendar or look at the days I have left.  I didn't really finish strong with my pest control job, but I am doing a little bit better on the final stretch of my mission. I was proud of myself. We ate lunch Sunday and then members invited us in for a steak dinner right after we finished. I turned them down so we could go out and get work done. THAT WAS PAINFUL!!!! I haven’t had a legit steak in ages!!!

OH and I almost forgot, Elder Taylor is my new companion. He is from Aussie... my 4th from Australia!

I actually don’t have too many funny stories or super exciting things that happened this week... I lost almost half my zone yesterday though. That was a big bummer. And to make things worse I don’t even know why I had 4 missionaries leave out of my 12. President asked me to not ask any questions so I didn't but man I am struggling not knowing why. Also pray for President Rudd. He is about to lose his mom. I called him yesterday and he told me he wasn't doing the best because his mom is slipping away. The whole family is gathered there and Thomas S. Monson even came and gave her a blessing. I don’t think I could have ended this letter on a more negative note.

But I will send some cool pictures and just know that I am UBER happy and I feel good because looking back on the past 22 months I don’t have any regrets! The Church is true everyone. The Church is true.

Love,

Elder Ward

 

 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Heavnenly Father Knows Us and is Mindful of Us


Me and my boys...Elder Rasband, Elder Hammar, and Elder Misbach
Dear Family,

My time is very very short today because this is the last p-day of the transfer!!! So the whole zone is getting together for a massive PDAY experience where we will have an eating contest and other crazy and stupid activities. One of our district leaders is buying two cases of Dr. Pepper which is a huge deal for us American folk, We are doing an eat off between three elders in the zone who are all tanks and then we are going to play a mean game of touch rugby.

First item of business, I think I have gathered that I still have all the money in my checking account from home. I would like you, mom, to take all of that out except for 500 dollars and give the rest to you and dad. I DONT WANT you guys paying for my mission. I know I didn't earn enough for all of it but I want to come home a very poor man, and I want to know my money is being spent on my mission. I know my dentist fee is around 600 dollars. I already took out 300 hundred for part of it, so I will take out the other 300 maybe today. So just keep enough in there for emergencies and stuff but other than that I want all my money out and paid back to you guys for helping with my mission funds.

It sounds like exciting stuff is going on over there. I am glad everyone is doing well.  I appreciate your guys emails so much every week! To answer your question mom we are still all in the same place and we all attend the same branch... in fact I just sent in a request to have another two sets of missionaries to come down and help out in this area. So we will more than likely in the near future have 4 companionships attending this one branch... how about that?!  MOM SAMMIE JONES!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She and I were pretty good friends my senior year of high school. I went to some dance with her…I think it might have been the one in the fall.

So let me tell you of two awesome experiences I had this week. One was in Waitara where two elders had a baptism happening for S and B. It was happening at six o clock that Saturday and when I got there the elders were stressed to the MAX. One was even angry because he had gone through probably one of the worst days of his mission and then to make things worse, they forgot to fill the font so the water was going to be freezing and a combination of a lot of other bad things. I pulled him aside and tried to be as cheerful as possible and said look this is normal…Satan is trying everything he has got up his sleeve to make you feel like junk while your doing something so good. Now you have worked for months to have this happen so we are going to say a prayer to make sure that you can enjoy the thing that you've worked so hard for. So I said a prayer for him and he still wasn't doing the best... especially when he got in the FREEZING COLD WATER!!! Later that night though he called me and he thanked me and told me that as soon as he baptized her the spirit just rushed in and it honestly felt like he was getting baptized too. It was a good day for everyone. :) We even had J, the lady we have been bringing to church, come! And she loved it! 

Another awesome miracle that happened this week was we were visiting the C family who is from Fiji. They are a less active, part member family. We had a great visit with them and after we were done I asked if I could use the toilet (because they say toilet here instead of bathroom…if you ask for the bathroom they will think you’re weird and wonder why you want to go take a shower) Anyways while I was in there…which by the way I NEED TO GO ALL THE TIME NOW!!! I don’t know if its cuz I actually drink a lot of water now or what but I go like 10 to 20 times a day. Anyways, back to the story… I felt we should go out and visit our branch president who lives all the way out in the Whop-Whops. I pondered more and never really said no but the thought came back with just a little bit more force three times. After we left I told Elder Misbach…I don’t get obvious promptings a whole lot but we should go to the branch president's house. So we drove out despite it already being 8:30 at night. We got there at like 8:45 and when Sister C answered the door I explained we felt prompted to come and asked if we could do anything. She invited us in and grabbed her husband from upstairs. We sat down in their living room and I told them what I experienced at the C's house and felt like we needed to come. President C then broke down into tears and told us how the past two weeks have been dreadful for him. We all felt Heavenly Father’s love that night and it helped me gain a stronger testimony of how much Heavenly Father KNOWS us and is mindful of us.

I will end with those and try and send some pictures love you guys heaps!

Elder Ward

 
Wedding Time

First baptism in New Plymouth...not sure why I have the serious face??


 


The Fitzroy bridge

Elder Misbach  (I played my first game of golf on p-day!)


The rugby stadium down the street from my flat (Mt. Taranaki in the background)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

126 This Week!!


Good thing I am so forgiving J [We were late getting our letters to him again.] I guess I will just send you an email without hearing from you guys first... But anyway, this week WAS AWESOME!!! The Chapmans’ son got baptized on Saturday!!! WHOOHOOO!!! I think there were at least 10 non-members there too. I tracked down most of them and got a few good potential future baptism candidates! So yes, finally baptized someone in New Plymouth! But at the same time I have come to realize how much success we have been having in this area. Remember how I told you that when I first came here our average attendance was in the low to mid 70s consistently the previous 4 months. Well, the past three months have been in the hundreds and now this month in November we had 117 attending the first week and just had 126 come this week! We almost had to open the back doors for the first time in YEARS!!!

So this week has been quite the week I have switched to the EAST side of New Plymouth.... and Elder Hammar came back to the West side. Elder Misbach and Elder Rasband are now taking the role of senior companions. It was pretty hard to leave all of the families I have grown to love, but it was for the best. Plus, I might be leaving within two weeks anyway... So yeah, I am starting things over and meeting all sorts of investigators and less active families. V and J is a couple we have been teaching. V is Maori and J is Samoan. They are getting married this weekend! J is a member and is sister to our branch mission leader and V is keen on joining the Church. He has a few concerns which I am having a hard time figuring out... he isn't married and he smokes, but he has almost quit. He has never once prayed asking God if he should get baptized or to ask if the Book of Mormon is true or anything like that. He still prays but just not to find answers. We are planning on just asking him why he won’t pray specifically for those things, but yeah that’s them! Also he went to the Chapman’s baptism and HE FELT THE SPIRIT STRONG!!!

What else happened??? OH yes, Elder Misbach and I started playing pranks on the other two elders... we think of the dumbest things! We planned to have the elders open the garage and the garage would make something fall yanking another string tied to an egg that would fall off a ledge and pedulum swing into the person opening the garage. We spent half of our lunch hour preparing it and doing practice runs... but IT DIDN'T EVEN WORK!!! It was still funny though.

I finally got your letters. It’s good to hear from you guys as usual. I like the random trip to California too. That sounds pretty awesome! WAY TO GO ON THE MISSIONARY EXPERIENCE!!! DID you get a return appointment? Ask if you can have them come and be taught in your house with the missionaries there! That is such an ideal situation! DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT!!!!!!!! In fact, let’s use the Preach My Gospel commitment pattern. Mom and Dad will you invite them back to have a lesson with the missionaries??? Awesome! I knew you would accept. I PROMISE YOU that if you do that it will invite a powerful spirit in our home which will be beneficial for not only you but for Ava, and Aubrey. Then your joy will be great as you fulfill the Prophet’s call to RESCUE! I know that this will happen because I have seen it time and time again and even you can remember how special it was having Joey and his family taught in our home! I will follow up on how you guys do next week! OH and have the missionaries come over before so that you can inform them of where they are at. I know it's hard trusting 18 and 19 year old boys but I just trusted an 18 and 19 year old with HEAPS OF PEOPLE!!! The missionaries will do Great! J

Oh and Mom, I think dad and president Nuttall was right. It would be better for you to appreciate the temple while you’re working there. SIGN ME UP!!! I will be keen to help out there! Put me in the Celestial ROOM!!! haha I saw the announcement of the temple on Lds.org. I am pumped! I was so sure it would be finished before I got home.

Anyway, I love you guys. The Church is definitely true and OH WAIT, I got this question/theory. You know how the three wise men came to see the baby Jesus? And how they said they came from the East and saw the star there (Matthew 2:1-3)? Do you think it's possible it could have been Nephites or Lamanites? Cuz Samuel the Lamanite disappeared and then Nephi did as well. I forget the chapter and verse but it mentions him randomly leaving and not being found anywhere in the land???

Also question number 2, in D&C 20:37 it talks about the qualifications of baptism and one of them is receiving the spirit of Christ unto a remission of their sins. Does that mean people are forgiven after they repent before they get baptized? All my sons think that is the case but that does not sit well with me. I always thought forgiveness came after baptism and confirmation. Anyway, things to ponder on.

Love,

Elder Ward

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I am Still Sweet As!


Well family, it’s a crazy hectic day at the library and there are a lot of people here so I am going to have to make this letter pretty brief as well!!! Thanks Dad. I forgive you [for being a little late writing the week before]. D&C 58:42-43 I won’t remember that one slip-up you had any more. Hahaha. And I did come as a thief in the night didn't I? haha And Dad, I liked your scripture next to Mom’s picture. We had the assistants come down for companion exchanges and Elder Lui, the assistant closest to going home, told me to Read 1 Nephi chapter 11 verse 10 and then jump down right to verse 15....

Anyway, back to what’s going on in my mission! Everything is going quite well. I am leaving NEW PLYMOUTH WEST!!! and going to NEW PLYMOUTH EAST!!!! I am not super thrilled about it but it’s for the best... Our transfer will be a little longer and last for another 2 weeks. Then the one after that will be cut short 2 weeks and last for 4... SO yeah, that’s what is happenin’. Mum, I still am coming home toward the end of January but yeah, I am really starting to hear it from everybody, “YOUR  TIME IS SO SHORT,” the Elder who is about to finish his mission. haha Don’t worry though. I am still unfazed. I think I would be embarrassed to admit if I was fazed but I am still sweet as!

This week I had another awesome mission leadership council at President Rudd’s house. I took up Elder Christie, the Canadian district leader in our zone, just to have a mean 3-hour heart-to-heart with him on the trip up and then for the trip down. I learned a lot from him, especially at night. He knelt down and prayed for at least 20 minutes. He inspired me to stop saying lousy prayers where I am kneeling with my face in my bed, and to get away from my bed and to start my prayer with a small hymn or something to help me focus cuz I lose focus easy. J

Anyway, things are going great. The entire zone has 7 people set with a baptism date now!!! That is phenomenal!  SO I couldn't be more proud of the effort and hard work that has been put into making this area awesome to be in! It's fun and exciting too because I kinda get to play a big role in developing the Hamilton mission. I am determining areas that missionaries will be put in for the Taranaki Zone... Of course, President gets the final say but President has trusted the zone leaders to figure out what areas should start being covered and stuff like that! So it’s fun serving right now.

Other good news, J is still progressing. She came to church for the 2nd week in a row! She was deathly afraid to be there still but she came! We have a few other investigators starting to progress so that makes things really exciting.

Another completely random side note… remember how we always used to watch the same movie on Sunday—The Other Side of Heaven? Since I have been on my mission I have collected A LOT OF DVDs... Another Testament, How Rare a Possesion, D&C Resource DVD which has Legacy, Mountain of the Lord, Only a Stonecutter, the John Tanner story and the Joseph Smith movie... the Old Testament resource DVD, the old Family Home Evening DVD, On Our Way Home, Mormon Messages, Reflections of Christ (thanks Mom), Between Heaven and Earth, On the Lord’s Errand, and Finding Faith in Christ... Mom, I have one request. If you REALLY NEED to send a package for Christmas, there is now a Mormon Messages 2 DVD… it should have a green cover... Elder Hammar got it and it is AWESOME!!!

Anyway, love you guys and good luck at the temple dedication!!! Make sure everyone gets those booties on! OH and YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THE MISSOURI MISSION SENT A COPY of the cultural celebration!!! That’s awesome! I am stoked for that!

Love,

Elder Ward

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Mum!!

Hamilton Temple at Night
So I am here a little bit early today because the library is shut down so we are at the chapel. We got permission from the assistants to have one companionship email first while the other does companion study and then swap to save time. Sooo yeah, here I am!!!

I started with the paragraph below but I figured that I better move up a little and start with something a little bit more uplifting. MOM I LOVE YOU! Happy Birthday YOU DID IT! How old are you now? 39? Still lookin good for your age, Mom. You got all the boys wanting you to hug them. J It was really fortunate actually that I remembered your birthday. haha I woke up this morning not even knowing if it was November or October let alone which day of the month. I did the usual exercise, shower, eat breakfast routine and I had about 20 minutes before study and I was looking in my study desk and I found that calendar you made for me... Sorry MOM. I love the calendar and the time and effort you put into it, but I usually keep it hidden down in my drawer... I don’t know why but I picked it up to check what day it was and I look down and it's mum’s birthday! It just registered now that it’s actually tomorrow for you so happy early birthday Mom. Even though I have been away for awhile and changed a lot on my mission you don’t have to worry that I will never change from being a total complete momma’s boy. In fact, my mission has probably just made me more of one especially cuz I do all the cooking in my house full of noobs! I miss you Mom and look forward to getting a hug from you even more than Hans Peter. J

Now time for the not-so-positive portion.

Mom, don’t worry about sending me a package on Christmas. Honestly, it's not worth it... Haha Maybe it will make my companion feel bad for me and he will just give me some of his stuff. J jokes Do what you like, Mom. In fact, you probably won’t want to get anything for me any more because I have some bad news. This week I went to the DENTIST!!! and I had to get some work done... $600 dollars worth in NZ money so probably 520 American... I just got two cavities filled and this stupid gap in the back of my mouth from wearing those brackets for my braces, one of the two cavities was found under one of my fillings. The dentist had to take out the old filling and put in a new one IT STUNK!!!!!!!!! I almost had to get a root canal. They suggested doing it in two different parts but I HATE WASTING TIME!!! so I said nope lets get it all done at once. MY WHOLE mouth was numb for a couple of hours that day I sounded SO DUMB!!!!!! Anyways I thought that it would be covered by the mission but it turns out they don’t do dental sooo they asked me to ask you to contact the mission office and pay them or I could just use my own personal card... I honestly just don’t know how much money I have on mine and I am scared to use it. Mom can you figure that out for me? 

So other awesome news this week, J came to church this week!!!! WHOOOHOOOO! She is an awesome lady. It’s really sad she suffers from anxiety and post traumatic stress and does not do well in large groups of people!!! But she came to church and I knew she was having a hard time but all the relief society sisters really helped out and held her hand and were really nice to her! So yeah, this week was pretty good. My companion, Elder Rasband, got really sick. He has bronchitis so we have had some serious ups and downs this past week. 

Anyways, I honestly don’t have a whole bunch of time but tell Trevor thanks for the letter to me with all those suggestions for member missionary work. Keep being good and pressing on. Tell dad that he is lame and needs to not be in the habit of doing things last second (Alma 34:32-34) but that I still love him! 

Oh just real quick, other cool things that happened this week, the C family, the less active family that we helped come back met with the branch president and arranged a baptism date for their son! It’s not a convert baptism but I couldn’t care less!!!!! And then one last thing that I did this week was I spoke again at church for the third time. Missionaries are pretty much the high council speakers... We usually get called monthly here. Have a good day.

Love,

Elder Ward

P-day on Mt. Taranaki

Sunday, October 20, 2013

AWESOME Week!!!!

Dear family,

Sheesh! Mom and Dad, it feels like I have written way too many of these letters but really you guys have been writing them twice as long as me and still have quite a few more to go. J hahaha No breaks. Back to back to back. So thanks for always emailing me. It's cool you guys do that.

To answer some questions, Matt Devlin—I am shocked that he remembers me... That was ages ago! I am surprised. I don’t even remember watching The Other Side of Heaven with him, but obviously he remembers. That is pretty funny. Oh and Mom, that is totally fine by me. I don’t need anything for Christmas. Maybe it would be sweet if I had a combined Christmas and birthday when I get home??? Feel free to wrap up whatever Collin leaves behind that will still fit me... I am not sure if I have gotten any bigger or skinnier which is shocking with all the Massive Samoan feeds I have received, but even they couldn't break the Ward Family curse/blessing.

Well, Robby is home. Karson is coming home. Ryan Nelson is back. Sean Wade should be home pretty soon... All of Trevor’s friends are getting married. haha Well, at least all the guys are that happened to the girls before I left. J Time will never slow down will it?

Good job Dad. It sounds like things are really good in young men’s. Between you, Brother Aubrey and Brother Morris, you three coached a super team of awesome young men... Even guys that I thought wouldn't make it on a mission have made it. Give yourself a pat on the back and keep working at it because just like Edward Dube's mother said, don’t look back—we still got a lot of work to do.” Oh, and something must be terribly wrong. Mom informed me more about volleyball this week than you did!!!

So let me tell you what happened this week! I will start off by saying this week was AWESOME!!!

One of the foremost experiences was when I was sleeping and I had this dream... I think I was still a missionary in New Zealand because I was in the passenger side which was on the left side of the car... Anywho, it was dark outside and there were a lot of dark, low-hanging clouds. When I saw them I thought, "Oh shoot, that looks like a tornado forming." Then, next minute A MASSIVE tornado touched down in the street in front of us. Weird though. I wasn't really scared I kinda just felt at peace and figured it would be okay. God would protect us... Then we drove straight into this tornado and as we passed this thick wall of gray there was a big light shining above our heads over the car. Everything kinda just slowed down and I tried to look up to see where that light was coming from, but then we passed through the other side of the tornado. I still looked back behind and the tornado was actually lifting back into the sky and the light was coming out from the bottom... As I kept watching some kind of angelic being came out and stretched his hand out after me and I just remember hearing “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son....” And then I woke up completely overwhelmed by the spirit.  I knelt down and said a quick prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for letting me experience that. Then I went back to sleep... Later that morning during personal study I read a cool scripture. I think it is in Alma 26:5 where Alma is glorying in God and is happy over the people he converted and it talks about how they will avoid the storms and strong winds...

Other things that happened, we keep finding all these investigators. We found 31 in the past three weeks... That is no small task but a lot of these people are not doing the best at progressing or keeping appointments... Sooo we’re going to have to change something in order to have more success. I do a pretty sad job at working with members to find people to teach which isn't good because that is the best way to find people that are solid and ready to progress, so I will try to change that around. Trevor, do you have any good ideas for working with members? I have heaps that are keen to have us over for lessons with our investigators and family home evenings which we try to do a lot, but when we try to find people to teach through them I have been met with small success here in New Plymouth.

Also WE DID IT!!! Elder Rasband and I had an awesome lesson with a lady who suffers from post traumatic stress from all the abuse in her life... We taught a really powerful lesson and Elder Rasband invited her to be baptized on the first lesson. She said yes but she wouldn't commit to a date cuz she is leaving to Hamilton for 2 weeks. So we will wait till she gets back! Keep pressing on family! The Church is true and I love you!

Love,
Elder Ward 



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Conference Was Spectacular!

Dearest Loved and Cherished People,

GOOOO UTTTAAAHHHHH!  It sounds like you guys had a great time while you were there. Mom, that is actually where my two new sons are from—Utah, one from Orem and the other from Provo. Haha It’s so funny how ashamed missionaries from Utah are about being from Utah. Some elders just say the city they are from and some even say they are from somewhere else justifying their lie when they say they were born in California even though they lived in Utah the past 19 years... I have no idea why I’m starting my letter this way but just a fun fact.

Way to go Collin! You made it to the Temple!!! It’s cool to see on MLS or a ward list a family that has marked down an Elder or High Priest and it's really cool to see Endowed or Sealed next to their name as well... It's funny. This is my missionary way of thinking, but I would like to see what our Family Household report would look like on paper... with 4 Elders, 5 Endowed, and 2 Sealed. I would kill to have a family like that move into our branch. Anyway, this is once again, another weird topic to be starting on.

SO sorry I just keep getting interrupted by a lot of different things and I have to work on some accident report because we got backed into yesterday by a less active member... We got her details but I just felt bad for her because she is not insured. I tried to make a few jokes to lighten the situation and did my best to let her know I didn't care at all that she hit our car.

Other news, I had to help with an emergency shift of an elder up to Hamilton because he was having some concerns so that was pretty bummer...

Enough with the negative! Time for some positive!!!!!!!!!!! WE found 15 new investigators this week which was pretty dang awesome. One lady was having some major problems with her 17 year old son. We had a good lesson with her and her 5 kids. Then we found a less-active member and taught him and his 5 kids the ten commandments and they all felt the spirit and he just promised us last night he is coming back to church this Sunday. And then we found another mom with a few kids. This week was absolutely awesome!!! 

Conference was spectacular! My favorite talks were given by Edward Dube, David Bednar, Henry B. Eyring, our beloved Prophet and the usual Jeffrey R. Holland. I learned a lot and made a few suggestions for myself to improve after listening to all the general authorities speak. I know for sure those men aren't just your average old and dusties THEY ARE special witnesses of Jesus Christ and everything they spoke was pure truth. Don’t forget Elder Ballard’s challenge FAMILY!!! INVITE ONE PERSON BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!! Don’t worry. I will join in on his challenge too.

Another good experience this week was I was talking to an elder who is having a hard time recognizing the spirit. We had a good chat to make sure he was worthy, and he was so I assured him that he does have the spirit with him as long as he is praying, reading and partaking of the sacrament, and doing the things he is meant to be doing... He was still a little bit down SO I told him here is what we’re going to do today. Not only are we going to pray to have the spirit with us throughout the day (like we normally do)  but we are going to pray to recognize the spirit’s guiding influence everywhere we go, and in everything we say!!! The very first time we prayed to recognize the spirit we talked to a lady who was not very keen to talk to us at first... We offered service and we started talking about her family and then we started talking about the gospel. Little by little her countenance changed until she told us she could give us 30 minutes when at first she was pretending to be in a rush out of her house. After, we had a short lesson with her. I pointed out how her whole entire countenance changed as we met with her. The spirit is so quiet and so gentle but it is SOOOO POWERFUL!!! I don’t think we realize how much the Holy Ghost influences our day-to-day actions. Always live worthy of its guidance family.

I love you guys heaps and miss you too even while I am in the best place and amongst the best people on Earth.

Love,
Elder Ward 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Mission ROCKS!!!!!


Dearest Family,

Let me start by answering whatever questions you might have. First off, I am leaning more towards a 4 out of 10 (in regards to whether he wants us to pick him up or not).   I will just go home the normal way. Also, all three missionaries are still my companions and I am still the zone leader, and I have the choice to go with whatever missionary in whatever way I feel is most affective... THIS IS LIKE EVERY MISSIONARY’S DREAM!!! Haha! I find myself a lot more tired by the end of the day though. Training can be a little bit taxing sometimes…especially 3 at a time.:) Definitely worthwhile though!

Sounds like Conference is pretty awesome…thank you for not spoiling too much for me! (Connor doesn’t get to watch it until the following week.)  I am guessing they announced a few more temples and stuff like that? And I still don’t understand why the family finally decides to go and do something fun and new and exciting that we have never done before while I am away! (We attended general conference in the conference center…first time for some in our family.) All sweet though! :) Sooooo let’s see what happened this week...

1. I got to drive sister Rudd’s car…that was awesome!

2. Had another great missionary leadership council!

3. Afterwards picked up Elder Temarono who came down with me but had stayed the day with another set of missionaries and mooched some grilled cheese sandwiches off the Rudds before we drove back down.

4. We had a good trade off with the new traveling assistant, Elder Williams. He was super funny and he complimented me on the quality of my “children”.

5. Before Elder Williams left I thought it would be funny to throw water on his car from the balcony. It would have been hilarious, but his window was down! I felt SOOO BAD, but he still thought it was really funny.

6. We had a few awesome lessons this week. I will go into these with a little more detail…

One was with a mom and her 2 little girls. She plays a little too much World of Warcraft, so her house and a few other things in her life are a little out of order. But anywho, we tried to teach her but she would never let us in until one day we offered to do her lawns for her. It was quite the job moving everything out of the way so that we wouldn't mow up bike pieces, stuffed animals, real animals…dead and alive, cards, trash, you name it. It reminded me of what we did to Mitchell Shepherd’s house a long time ago when we got into big trouble...still not proud of that one!  Anyways she invited us in right after and we had a great lesson! They felt the spirit and the next day we came to watch Finding Faith in Christ with her and the children. The Spirit was strong as I asked the kids to count the miracles that Jesus Christ performed in the movie after describing that a miracle is doing something that no ordinary person can do. When it got to the scene where Jesus was being whipped and carrying his cross, the seven year old was so sad that they were doing that to Jesus... It was powerful to see how much she cared about Him.

Another lesson we had wasn't even so much of a lesson. Normally I am pretty gung ho for being bold and telling people they need to get baptized or come back to church, but not so as we visited the M’s home. The husband is a less active returned missionary and his wife is less active as well. These two were classed in the Branch council as people that will take a lot of time. When a member of the branch presidency visited them, the first thing Brother M said was, “Don’t talk to me about the Church”. Anyways, I felt that we just needed to have a good heart to heart with them without so much of the rebuke about not coming to church. I asked a lot about his mission and really just had a good talk. We left with a prayer and I didn't think much of the visit after... BUT  THIS SUNDAY THEY CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It brought tears to my eyes when I saw them walk into the building. My mission ROCKS!

Going on with the list…
7. A little bit more negative…but I just dropped a missionary off at the bus stop who is quite possibly going home. His companion is joining with us for the time being. 

8. We have a member feeding us dinner soon who let us know he is going to boil up a full pig head and feed us everything that falls off the skull…brains, eyes, tongue..you name it!  

I think that is just about it, but HEY COLLIN, you enjoy the temple! You will be able to feel the spirit there soooo strong! I am jealous for the rest of the family because when you all get to spend a little time in the celestial room together, you will definitely get a good taste of heaven on earth. Enjoy good ole Utah and let all of the rest of the family know that I think that they are awesome! See ya guys! 

Love,
Elder Ward 

 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Running a Mini MTC

Taranki Sunset

Dearest family,

Elder Hammar is the Man!
Another transfer finished! So here is the report. I AM STILL IN NEW PLYMOUTH!!!! Also more fun news, I have two more boys that I am training. I had TWINS!!! Elder Rasband and Elder Misbach (MIZ-BOK). And Elder Hammar who I have been training for only 6 weeks is still in the same 4-person flat with me so I am, in President’s words, running a little mini MTC... How’s that? It’s a little taxing sometimes but I love the challenge. Elder Hammar is the man and is helping me out big time with a lot of the training. But yeah, that now makes four children in my mission posterity—Elder Loffhagen, Elder Hammar, and the two newest additions to the family. I know Elder Loffhagen cooked me up a grandson already so I am hoping to have a pretty rich posterity before I
leave.

To answer some of your questions, Mom, I do not wear those white slippers [see picture] as proselyting shoes. They’re comfy, around-the-flat shoes. They [the Goodmans] came in the middle of our companion study. And yes, I believe that was Elder Hammar [in the picture]... Thanks for your letters everyone. It’s good to hear from everyone, and sorry Ava that you’re sick... that’s why you should become a missionary and choose the right because if you do that even when you get sick the Lord will help you get better way faster!!! I was only sick from Sunday morning to Sunday night.
The Goodmans picking up junk from our flat

Sorry, got to go quick. I have to help some sick missionaries do their shopping and drive them around. J

Other funny news… we had interviews with President this week. He came down to help out in the district and to make some callings and do some temple recommend stuff. Anyway, I told President my PERFECT KIWI FRUIT PLAN.... Haha. We had a good laugh but he let me know the obvious, that it probably couldn't happen... Parents, I only want to do what makes everyone happy. I will put the ball in your court. If you come what would you want to do? Give me some details on your expectations (how long you would want to stay, min or max, things like that, and I know money isn't everything but an overall cost for the whole trip.)

Sooo one funny thing that happened this week is my mission president’s WIFE GAVE ME A HUG!!!!!!!!!! It was the most special moment of my life. J And then right after that, Sister Labrum one of the cute, old office ladies gave me a hug too!!! haha I have reduced myself to hitting on old ladies J like the 86-year-old librarian at our branch, Sister Hamilton. I always tell her she is beautiful and that she is the best librarian in the history of the Church... She has been doing it for 26 years now so she better be good.

The work continues to press forward. We continue to find people to teach and things are going well. I love you guys and please don't think that it was the kiwi fruit that was more important than the family... it definitely is a WHOLE lot more than a bunch of fruit. I look forward to seeing you guys more and more every day and if I wasn't engaged in such a good cause I would probably have asked to come home sooner, but I want to let you guys know that you’re more important than kiwi fruit.   

Love,
Elder ward   

Me and Sister M


Sleepover at President Rudd's

Cool Jammies!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Growing Leaps and Bounds in New Plymouth


Good to hear from everyone! I am not going to lie. The excitement from reading emails from family never has really worn on me... I look forward to hearing from you guys every week. Soooooo lots to talk about. Let’s start with Aubrey first. Sorry about your lip!!! That will hopefully stop you from kissin any boys for the next while J and shoot, dang, was Aubrey the one on the very right of that picture??? You have some buff thighs (especially getting first) I thought Wards are meant to be the small people in pictures.

Mom and Dad, this might sound really silly (yes it does and is not going to happen) but I had an idea that got cooked into my brain this week. So, I figure that since I would be finishing my mission at the end of January I would be going NUTS!!!!!!!! until school started and I definitely do not want to get back into the lazy old person that played way too many video/computer games and watched TV all the time. SO I was wondering if we could somehow work out that I end up getting released while in NZ and I can go live with members or Golf back in Tauranga and work a job picking kiwi fruit. They make about 120 a day (that’s probably $90 in American money). Then I would just stay for a good 3 months or so until school starts up and I can apply for BYU Idaho where all the lazy bums who didn't apply themselves like me go. J   I know this may sound a little out of it but I think it would be good for me. Plus I think the only way I would be able to make that happen is if you come get me. J And if you did come, I would like to stay as long as you like. The only problem is the $$$$ it would cost to do everything.

Anyways yes I will give it more thought. I am still torn...

 More news, yesterday I got SUPER SICK… probably the worst I have ever been on my mission. It was absolutely miserable to the point where I had to ask for permission to take it easy for the day... The first time ever on my mission where I had to stay at home because of illness... NOT FUN. But I woke up this morning with a somewhat miraculous recovery. I felt a lot better. Still a little bit of aches and pains but I am doing 1000 times better than yesterday.

Mom, thank you for continuing to pray for us to find more people to teach because things are still going AMAZING. I have started to figure out that the Lord has sent me here to just start things going—to start from ground zero and begin to build a solid foundation whether it's with the teaching pool, members’ trust, and a good solid attitude of working hard and positive. New Plymouth and most of the Taranaki zone has made leaps and bounds in the past 2 and half months. I haven't baptized a single soul down here but I am still grateful that I got to come down. Oh anyways, about finding more investigators, ON Saturday WE HAD A MEAN DAY!!!! We found a mom (brother M's daughter, the guy who played badminton with us.) Then we found C and his brother (a lost recent convert and his non-member brother) they came to church yesterday and then we found a young couple who just had a baby. The guy is a less active member who wants to come back and his wife is keen to be taught.

GOOD NEWS, remember the C family???? Their dad has finally picked a date for their son to get baptized. I believe it is October 28th!!! Not a convert baptism but it still means the world to me! I am so pumped they let us know when we went to their house on Friday. Anyway, I finally have my camera, my cord, and the right memory card so I will send some pictures. Loves you!

Love,

Elder Ward

 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Your Prayers Actually Worked!!


Dear family,

You would not believe it!!!!!! Your prayers actually worked!!!!!! Hahaha I totally forgot that I asked you guys to pray that me and Elder Hammar would find a few more people to teach... Well IT HAPPENED!!!!!!! We found 6 new investigators this week!!! The past average has probably been 1.5 and those 1.5 have not been that solid anyway, but yesterday we found two ladies who both have lost loved ones recently. They invited us in and we shared the Plan of Salvation with them. WHOOHOO!!!!!!!! They were in tears half of the lesson and we got invited back for another lesson tonight. Also, Dad was right. One of the members of our ward is from Kenya and she brought her friend to church who is divorced and going through a hard time and is looking for truth. She is super out going and even though we already had 8 people in the Gospel Principles class we basically focused it all on her, which she was perfectly fine with. So thank you family…your prayers and many of mine were answered.

Siiiiiggggggggggghhhhhhh.... Sooo I have some news to break. Last Monday I was pretty dang conflicted after I learned that Collin would be leaving January 7th. I kinda started making a list of what I would be missing out on if I didn't make it home in December. 
1. Collin
2. Christmas
3. School
4. Ava's baptism  then a few other things...
I was so conflicted that I asked President Rudd if I could talk to him when we had our mission temple trip which I will let you know more about later. Anyways, I will admit I told him how I felt and that it would be nice to see if going home in December would be an option, and I asked for his opinion on everything. He didn't really give me an opinion.. :I but he told me he would see what he could do. I prayed and asked a lot to know what I should do before and after but it wasn't that clear. It honestly was making me angry that it was weighing so heavily on my mind. Then eventually on Sunday during Priesthood we had a lesson on submitting to the will of Heaven. I honestly couldn't focus on the lesson, and I will admit that I probably didn't hear a single thing that was being said. Then out of nowhere someone said something that reminded me of a scripture I had read earlier that morning. In 2 Nephi 9:39 it talks about being spiritually minded leads to life eternal. Then the Spirit slapped me in the face and said something along the lines of “Elder Ward you need to be a little bit more spiritually minded”. So I quickly texted the mission president and said something along the lines of... "forget everything I talked to you about leaving early. I can't escape the feeling that even though I would miss out on a lot back home, I would miss out on a whole lot more if I finished my mission six weeks early."  President Rudd approved and told me the Lord's choice is always the right choice. So sorry Bro!! Know that I still love you heaps! :)

In other news though remember how I said I got to talk to President??? Well on Monday when we figured out we were going to the temple in Hamilton, we asked president Rudd if we could come and stay at his house the night before ( because we were coming up anyway but would have had to stay in a small missionary flat with no available beds...) So we stayed the night at President’s house. I got to sleep in a room by myself on a well furnished queen-sized mattress. I was so comfortable I didn't sleep well, and even though my companion was in the room across with a bathroom adjoining with the doors open…I felt lonely...haha. I am going to have some serious anxiety when I come home. :) We woke up the next morning and ran around the temple grounds bare foot and in our jammies for our 30 minutes of exercise. THAT WAS FUNNY... Then Sister Rudd made us one of the best breakfast meals I have ever eaten on my mission.

The temple was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot wait to go as a family (minus Collin) haha…jokes. I’m definitely looking forward to all of us. We will just have to wait until 2016. I had a great experience at the temple and it is still my favorite place to be in the whole world! How’s the Gilbert temple doing??? Any word on completion dates???

Sorry Dad, I don’t remember all your questions and I don’t have heaps of time buts let’s just say that the changes I have made over the past however long I have been serving, I would not trade for anything in the whole world. Even something as simple as 42 days (six weeks) I would sacrifice a lot for because I know that those 42 days will be more beneficial for my life than anything else has to offer.

Anywho… keep being awesome family! Mom, I am sorry if I made you use a couple of extra tissues, but with all these changes I am starting to consider a whole lot more having you guys pick me up. Elder Lamb (former companion) is getting picked up by his parents in a week... So we will see how I feel when it gets closer.

Oh and WAY TO GO COLLIN!!!! Keep it UP!!!...before you become an awkward mess like me!

Love,
Elder Ward #3
Technically if you include Dad
Elder Ward #2 if this is just between the boys

 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

HE CAME!!!!


You’re doin’ it Collin!!!!!!! YOU’RE REALLY DOIN’ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SPAIN???? hahaha That’s sooo nuts! So it turns out Aubrey will have to be the one that goes to Africa, or Jared since you've got Europe covered.... Funny. Micaella Wilson is doing a nanny job in Spain for the time being. She was just telling me how pumped she is that my little brother is going to serve there. Well DANG! I will admit when I saw January 7th I was a little bit taken back. [This means that they will probably miss seeing each other by about three weeks.] Whatever the Lord wants though right??? You’re going to be great, Collin! Start preparing now. I know you have been but even double now! Mom is right. Still focus on your school (you kinda need to), but YOU ABSOLUTELY cannot lose focus of the little things (Book of Mormon reading, praying, and other church duties) don’t get stressed out and enjoy every bit while you can!!!!!!! The next minute you will be on your mission wearing a suit and tie every day! Remember YOU.

Sorry Mommy. I did not send the pictures last week because I forgot my cord and I did not realize that until after I sent my email and I had limited time left. Then I went to find my camera today and … sad news … I left it in my backpack which I forgot at an investigator’s house... DARN!!!! I STILL FORGET EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!! hahaha Even though I’m training I find that I am the one being reminded to do certain things or to not forget my planner, or to remember to put the phone on the table so we don’t leave it behind.... I am proud of my son (trainee). He is pretty dang good. I have made it a goal to have him ready to train in six weeks. We do something new called the 12-week program which might be just before Trevor’s time, but we do an extra hour of companion study, going through this program to let the new elder take the lead in different things bit by bit until on the 12th week they take over on everything as a senior companion. I am trying really hard to cram all of the 12 weeks into 6 so I am definitely working Elder Hammar hard and making him take on a lot of
responsibility and he is doing a good job!

Awesome story that happened this week… we ran into Brother M a Maori fella who was once a bishop in Tauranga but then moved down here and has been less active for more than 20 years... We met with him to give his wife a blessing, then a week later we visited him at his house. We started to get to know him and I figured out he plays badminton. I am still trying to figure out if it was my own will or the Spirit telling me to offer to play with him (it was probably both), but we asked if we could come play with him... Sure enough he agreed and we told him we would call our mission president to get permission and let him know what we would be doing. So after we left I called president Rudd and he said, “Yeah, go for it!” So we went for it! We played on Thursday night at the local YMCA so we played with a big group that gets together every week. I still got GAME!!! It wasn't super competitive but still great. Then when we had to leave, Brother M gave us a hug and said, “Thank you Elders for coming out with me. I will see you at church on Sunday.” J  And when Sunday came around, HE CAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He actually made it!!! So that was a big deal and a half. It made me happy.

Lately I have been having a hard time because we have very few progressing investigators with C and C putting the brakes on things... We have been doing excellent bringing a lot of less active families and people back, but I still get a little bummed sometimes with how few people we have to teach, especially while I am training Elder Hammar... It would be great if this week the family could just pray for us to find some investigators who are ready to receive the gospel!

I hope things are going well at home. It sounds like Aubrey is having fun doing swim! Don’t quit, Aubrey. And keep having fun with it! Ava is still Ava. Dad hasn't broken down yet. It sounds pretty much normal to me. Give me a round of inspired questions if you can, Mom! You should find a “Preach My Gospel and go to Chapter 10 and look under “Asking Questions and Listening,” two awesome chapters in PMG!!! That story was great! Thank you.

Love you tons family,

Elder Ward