Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cool Miracle!

Dearest Forever Family Forever,

I am pleased to write you on this fine Gisborne morning. The sun is out, it is very nice outside, the bee's are humming and sweet birds singing. I'm not going to lie the letters sounded pretty depressing this week. It’s okay. I would rather know these things and it’s hard to stay positive when speaking about death, sickness, and stuff, but it’s always comforting to think what if I wasn't in the church? What if I didn't know what I know? It's one thing to believe that there is life after death and that everything wrong is one day going to be made right, but it sure is awesome to FEEL and KNOW that these things are all possible through Jesus Christ. Also, to understand that God really does LOVE all his children no matter how dark things get he is there, and there is a reason for it. If we have forgotten, it’s because Satan lied to us and somehow convinced us otherwise. Pssshh…father of all lies…spit on those lies and have faith for good things to come.

Trevor way to get back into the dating game bro! Get good grades at BYU and don’t let me down my broseph. Mom and Ava, I'm sorry you got sick. I hope with all those priesthood blessings dad was giving he thought to give his beloved wife and daughter one as well. It's cool dad that you are active in the church and worthy to administer priesthood blessings. I started reading the Miracle of Forgiveness this week because I've heard a lot about it and I found a copy in our zone leaders flat (apartment) on a trade off. Dang, that book states things pretty clearly…what is right and what is wrong. I just read about mothers today and how they should stay at home because the house needs them. He told a story of when he went to go do work with a stake president and he was sitting at his house on the typewriter and worked until about 3:00pm when all the kids started getting home.  Long story short…all 4 kids came in at different points asking the same question, “MOM”?  They all got similar responses like, “I’m upstairs come up if you want” or “Do you need anything?” None of the kids went upstairs or asked for anything, but went on to go play with friends or do homework. It was just comforting to know that MOM was home. Then he said, “Could you imagine if those kids just heard she will be back at 5:30 day after day. They would stop asking” and... yeah that's all I remember.  I couldn't help but think of the home movie we have of Collin as a little boy repeating over and over again. Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom. Then mom, ignoring Collin, yells out the window, “HEY TREVOR WHATCHYA DOIN?!”   Collin continues…mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom. :) Sorry mom! You know I love you! If it makes you feel any better, I think if you didn't make those few mistakes every once in awhile and didn’t have a diet coke habit, you would already be exalted. I say it every week, but I’m grateful for a worthy, priesthood holding dad and a mother that puts all others to shame.

Let’s see though…me and Elder Denham are doing well. We still haven't set anyone for baptism yet but we have a large teaching pool now! In fact, I would be quite angry if I were asked to pack up and leave. The ward is starting to trust missionaries again and life is just peachy clean. The only thing is…I wish I had my birthday package... oh well!! I think I might get it next transfer. Oh speaking of which, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TREVOR!! I might be too lazy to send you an actual email but I will glorify you a little in my letter to the whole family and maybe mom will put it on my blog.  You are the man!! I was just thinking the other day as I was listening to my companion explain about how he wasn’t always the best example for his younger siblings. that I am so blessed to have such a righteous example of a brother as you. Sure it has its upsides to have an older brother to see how to act around the ladies, to mooch cool music off of, to wear their clothes and do basically all the cool things they do (volleyball, wakeboarding). But…having an older brother who served a mission and showed the rest of the family that it is the right thing to do to serve the Lord goes a whole lot farther than one would think. You are the MAN for everything you've done for the family, but especially all the things you have done for me... even making me tougher by giving me hidings when I was younger. Happy late birthday bro, go kiss a girl, and eat heaps of cake!

A cool miracle that happened this week is that we cover thee biggest area in the whole entire mission. We cover about 4 branches and a ward. We go out a long ways driving distance. The longest distance is probably 1 hour and 40 minutes to hit the farthest limit of our boundaries. That is huge for NZ. Anyway, we haven't ventured that far yet because the previous missionaries used all of our kilometer's doing long drives before they left the area. GRRRRRRRR. Anyways, we found a lady on the former investigator’s list who lives far out in the country. We felt prompted to go out and see her. It should’ve taken about 20 minutes to get out there, but we got kinda really lost on the way because we had a pooey map. By some miracle though, we found the house down some strange street at the very end of a very long strange driveway. They were so happy to see us and this lady was KEEN!!! We asked her what the past missionaries had taught and they said they would just talk. Disobedience DESTROYS power and authority. That's why Jesus Christ taught with so much power because he was obedient with exactness. Anyways, long story short, we had a good lesson with her. At the end, we learned of a bad relationship with an ex-husband that was causing a lot of anger and bad feelings, and it was hard for her to let go of the anger. We had to go, but I let her borrow the Mormon Messages dvd with the story of Chris Williams whose family got killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. I owe you big time mom for sending me that. She was super grateful as well.

Anyways, I think that is all. I will hear from ya all next week. Please send me more pictures of the fam if you can. I forget what you guys look like! It was cool seeing Ava so BIG!


Elder Ward

P.S. Collin, I just realized yesterday that you NEED to go to the NZAM (New Zealand Auckland Mission) because the islanders here worship KFC. Every missionary always has leftovers in their fridge and they seriously go all out. It tastes fresher in NZ as well along with all other restaurants like Subway, McDonalds, and Burger King. You would love serving here!!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Talking to Everyone that Breathes

January 20, 2013


Okay mom, here are some answers to some of your questions. Elder Denham is Aussie. He has been on his mission for about a year and a half. We are driving a car and it took a little more than 6 hours to get from Auckland to Gisborne…probably seven. There are two other sets of missionaries besides us, but for the most part we are kind of exiled out here. In fact, President had to fly down to do interviews. We’re that far away, but I will let you know more about it later. Thank you everyone for your letters to me. It means a lot even if it’s a small paragraph about your skiing experience. Oh, and sorry mom, I forgot one of your questions. I did get grandma and grandpa’s letter but I have not gotten the package. I think I will just get it at the next zone meeting in February.

So I have a lot to say! The area is great! I can see why it gets the rep that it does and a lot of the members have some bad feelings towards missionaries, but with all the missionaries serving in Gisborne at the moment I can see it starting to lift. Me and Elder Denham of course have very little people to teach or had very little people to teach, but we had a great week! We knew that in order to find people, we were definitely going to have to talk to everyone that breathes.  I will admit I hate jumping out of a car and running people down and I prefer tracting a whole lot more, but it just makes sense to talk to people who are already in front of you rather than guessing if they are home or not. Anyway, so I told Elder Denham that I hate it and I need help with it. It turns out he hates it as well. So we started a new game where we just take turns and we pick or dare each other to go talk to people... It's really affective!!! Even the people that might be drunk or littered with tatoos that we would normally pass, the other missionary dares the other to go talk to them! So the first day I brought the game up, two bone thugs were walking down the street and elder Denham said, “I will start. I pick them...” When I saw who he was pointing to, I just let out a moan and said, "Oh Elder don’t make me do it!" So yeah… that’s our story. It has definitely helped me overcome my fears and make talking to strange people a little more fun.

Lets see…what else…I am a little jealous of the volleyball. That sounded pretty dang awesome. Trevor, let me know about home teaching Jessica Barney. That is really weird. Also, Collin giving a talk?! I hope he puts in the not being worthless part. He will make an outstanding missionary and I am sad that I missed out on hearing his talk. Tell him I felt the spirit coming from the church building in Gilbert all the way to Gisborne…his talk was that good!

Lets see…miracles that happened this week…our ward mission leader’s girlfriend is preparing herself to be baptized. She has been waiting for a long time and she has been going to church the past 3 months pretty consistently but the previous missionaries weren’t really teaching her. We met with our ward mission leader this last week and he was actually pretty on top of things in the area and what not, and he asked us to start teaching his girlfriend. So yes we do have some baptisms coming up for the month of February already, so that will be AWESOME!!!

Me and Elder Denham are getting along great. He is a great missionary and works hard. He is a bigger guy and he is half Tongan. Mom, you can rest at night knowing that I am going to be protected with him.   

We had interviews with President this week as well. He was really sympathetic and he explained to me why he put me here. He feels that me and Elder Denham really needed to be together and also he needed two experienced missionaries who wouldn't quit in the missionary graveyard of Gisborne. It was a really good interview especially too because he started with us first out of 230 missionaries. After interviewing all those missionaries, I would imagine it would get a little hard to be unique and exciting. He also showed a VERY GOOD VIDEO CLIP, “Missionary work and the atonement of Jesus Christ”. It has Henry B. Eyring and Jeffrey R. Holland on it. COLLIN you HAVE to watch this NOW!!!

That is all. I will see you in a year! Love you guys heaps!

Elder Ward


Sunday, January 13, 2013

I'm in Gisborne!!!!!

Dear Family,

I don’t have heaps of time but that is okay even though I have a million and one things to respond to but I just don’t have the time. Good job on everything everyone is doing, and YES the temple work did make my day! No, I did not get the package on time which stinks because I got some big news!!! I'm IN GISBORNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (giz-bin) is how it sounds. Elder Denham and I got double shifted in because the past missionaries....let's just say....needed a shake up. The beautiful land of Gizzy is cool because I see the first rays of sunlight for the day if that makes sense. You should look it up on the internet!  I am far east enough that I see the first rays of the rising sun before the other 7 billion people in the world. So that makes me feel special.

It was really sad to leave my precious Redhill Ward. I received some notes and some heartfelt goodbyes and I gave some last gifts and notes. I went to go say bye to the Lemalus. I guess Sister Lemalu forgot the rule. I stuck my hand out to shake her hand but she just gave me a big hug and looked a little offended that I would only offer my hand... I hate how awkward it is to have any physical contact with women now. Anyway, when I got called I got paired with Elder Denham and I was told I was not going to be a district leader anymore and that I was going to be the senior companion in Gisborne. Honestly, I didn't have a good attitude. I thought I had sinned or something and honestly Satan was trying really hard to get in my head and tell me that only worthless missionaries go there (cuz it's kinda the joke place of the mission). Anyway, transfer meeting was good and I actually ran into president at transfers and  he explained a little bit of the situation there and it encouraged me and made me excited to go.

We got in on Thursday night and well the flat was dirty, smelly, and just gross. The area book had dust piled on it. There was not even a note telling who the bishop is or what time church is or anything. Oh, and we had no food and no money to buy food. We found some movies though (haha) and some weird rotten pumpkins.  

Anyway, the next day I fasted...kinda easy to do since we did not have any food.  I just fasted to love the area, the people, and my new companion. It was good, even though it was really, really hot and I got kinda dehydrated. We started from scratch and visited formers and members. It turned out to be an alright day.

My birthday was good. I forgot until like after my shower. Then I remembered, oh yeah... its my birthday. We went out and worked and then rewarded ourselves with some Dominos pizza. It was just a good rewarding day. It honestly didn't even feel like my birthday at all and I didn't even really feel bummed that nothing special happened on it. Oh actually, President called and he and his family sang happy birthday to me real fast. What else...oh yeah...on Sunday I met the ward. There are some interesting people in this place. It's going to be challenging, but in all honesty (and I'm not just saying this to put mom's nerves at ease) I am happy and confident that good things are going to happen here. Then I'm going to the Cook Islands. :)


Elder Ward

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Don't ask me....ask Him

Dear Dad, Mom, Trevor, Collin, Aubrey, and Ava,

Let me first start by saying…dad I did see the picture of me blocking that guy, but I didn't see the awesome scripture mastery well placed right behind it. Way to be creative! That is really funny. Also, thank you mom for your tender love and care and for sending the package.  This week I will tell you was AWESOME, but honestly I don't have my journal on me and am having a really hard time remembering all the things that made it so good.

First off I need to tell you in New Zealand fleas are a problem and I guess they are bigger or more powerful here or something because they don't just get on animals. When I did a trade off in Pukekohe I got destroyed and there are some pretty good sized lumps up and down my back and my legs. A good relief system was turning the shower water up really hot (the blaster) and spraying the bites on my back and legs. Then it hurt my feelings when Kanahanas daughter called me a flea bag. :) It could be karma for egging on dogs in New Zealand because I sure do hate them now. Speaking of zone leader had a sweet angel experience where a dog was running at him full speed and then got punted by an angel in the face right above the throat. The Lord protects his obedient missionaries. :)

In other news...if you can tell Terri I said congratulations on her mission call and YES double check if she is really going to The Ohio! That is sweet! Also, please have Collin let Mariah know that I LOVE HER STINKIN GUTS!!! I just got her Adventure Time t-shirt this week and I almost had a heart attack full of joy. I will write her today to thank her too.

Then...what else...lets see... it sounds like you had a good time in California. That's weird that you have church at 1:00 now but that makes me happy that I should be getting letters on time from now on. Something cool that happened was that our church just got switched from 2:30pm to 8:30am. I don't think that could be anymore different. I was really worried that a lot of our investigators would not show up to church, but we actually had 6 come!!! It was perfect too because it was a really, really good fast and testimony meeting! Kanahana and Micaella both bore their testimonies and I did as well. The Spirit was so thick you could cut it with a knife! Kanahana's daughter even shed a few tears while her mother was bearing her testimony and that was a great turning experience for her recognizing the spirit. It made me realize I am really going to miss all the people in this ward and that the past 7 months have been priceless! It also got me thinking a little more about you guys coming to pick me up when I am done. I know it is a little bit of a hassle and expensive and a little unfair to the rest of the family for you to come down. It realized though that if you pick me up I will get the chance to go back and visit a lot of the places that I served in and see the people I got to teach. Still a long ways away though, so we wont dwell on it. :)

Let's see though...I think one of the coolest experiences this week is with Elder Loffhagen in the 12 week training program. It is designed to basically just have the trainee become the trainer/senior companion. At the very end of week 12, not only did I give him all the responsibility of planning and leading in lessons, but I even pretended at points that he was training me and that I had no idea what I was doing. I think he got a little frustrated at points and struggled, but I told him it's not going to be easy this week and you might even hate me at points but you're going to learn a ton. I was right! One day specifically a lot of appointments fell through and we were left with nothing to do for the last half hour before dinner. He didn't have a clue on what we should do or who we should go visit and he asked me who we should go visit and I just shrugged my shoulders and gave him the look, like sorry I need you to learn how to do this. He got a little frustrated there and named a few names asking me whether it would be good to go see them, and I just kindly suggested that he shouldn't ask me but he should ask Him (pointing heavenwards). So we said a prayer and he had me go to Gypsy Moth to a house where we had previously taught a less active family with two unbaptized children. Anyway, long story short, we went to go knock on the door and the parents weren't home, but we talked to their oldest son. Then his mMrs. came out and we taught her and made her a new investigator. We just had another lesson with her yesterday and it was the most powerful lesson I have ever seen him teach/take the lead in. I am proud of my boy.

My scripture thought for you is Romans 8:16, "the spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God"... I know we all as a family believe that there is a God in Heaven with a plan for our whole family and He wants us to be happy. If we truly want to KNOW or FEEL that he is really there, then we need to pray and ask if he is and if he does care about us. We had a cool experience teaching a lady about the Spirit and how it works and she couldn't quite grasp how the spirit can work that way. One of our fellowships, an 18 year old Samoan guy, piped in and said it's like Vodafone (New Zealand phone company like Verizon). Vodafone is just one company and has only one building, but it's signals hit and cover all of New Zealand. God's Spirit covers the whole Earth. We just need to be in areas where we can receive better service whether it's on our knees, in the scriptures, at Church, and of course through temple attendance.

Elder Ward