Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Dearest Family,

I’m sorry my time is very limited today... so I will have to quickly tell you all about the crazy madness that happened this week. First off…CRAZYYYYYY RIGHT?! The New Zealand Hamilton Mission!!! We learned at transfer meeting this week that there would be a new mission here, but we have no idea how they are going to go about splitting the mission.  Also, we had to make the 8 hour drive up from Gisborne to Auckland because… big news…I GOT TRANSFERRED!!!! I was surprised when I got there because with the 40 new missionaries I thought were arriving I expected the chapel would be absolutely packed, but I figured out that with the MTC change they are now out of sync with our mission. So, we will be having the massive transfer happening in three weeks time, but the coolest part is I was actually called to be a Zone Leader in Tauranga! My companion is Elder Florence and he is from Canada. We currently also have a third companion, Elder Wright, who is from Australia and was also in my zone in Gisborne. I also got to see my “son” (trainee) at transfers, Elder Loffhagen. We had a warm embrace and talked for a bit, and he was so proud to tell me that he is now a District Leader!!!! That was a happy day for me!

So, yes, I am in Tauranga and I literally live about 200 feet from the beach. We live in a pretty nice apartment complex and I was surprised to see how wealthy this part of the country really is, especially when I just came from one of the poorest parts of the country. We visited our Elder’s quorum president who actually has the beach as his backyard…that was cool. Anyway, I apologize, I’m using this keyboard and all the keys are shifted weird and my pinky is starting to really hurt. So sorry if I’m misspelling words and stuff because this delete button is tiny.

One of my first nights here, we went to go give a priesthood blessing to someone who had been in a serious car accident. I also got to do a baptism interview for the coolest little girl who is just a year younger than Aubrey. She reminded me a lot of her and her baptism was awesome! She was even brave enough to bear her testimony after.

I’m sorry I don’t have much to report on or much to write. My mind is pretty blank and much of the past week was basically heaps of driving.  But, I do have one more thing cool that happened. On our way up to Auckland, we ran into Nana Paul who is just about the sweetest 70 year lady you could ever meet. She had a bad day cuz one of the missionaries that she was most attached to was leaving to go home and she travelled 8 hours just to go see him off, but the missionary, Elder Gubler, left a little early. She was bummed out and crying because she just missed him and now, Elder Wasden, another one of her favorite missionaries, was leaving as well. We met her in Whakatane (fa-ka-tawn-ee) and she said her last goodbyes to us at least. We had all ran into her on trade offs or at church and she gave all of us a hug and a nice little necklace. She gave me a necklace called the eternity loop. It's pretty cool.

Anyways, I love you fam! Aubrey thanks for writing me. I will send you something next week. Be good, and Collin hope you can survive your last season of volleyball. If I can give any advice, I would say enjoy it while you can, because once its gone you will never go back. Whether it’s school or a mission, just enjoy it while you have it. I think that’s enough from me though. Let me know about any funny coach Vee stories...

Anyway family, read the scriptures! Mom is right…do it with meaning and you won't regret it! Those scriptures are unfailing and always point us in the right direction, but it's up to us to be able to understand where they are pointing us to and then how to get there. I love the scriptures and trying to understand and apply them in my life. The more you read, the more converted to the gospel you will be. Check out Alma 37: 5-9… I think. Also consider John 17:7. Read the doctrine, live it, then gain a personal testimony of it or KNOW it.

Love you heaps whanua,

Elder Ward


Sunday, February 17, 2013

I am so Happy Right Now!

Dearest family,


So that shout out up there I just let out in the family history center where we are emailing. I kind of gave the other elders a fright, but I was almost in tears and had to fight them back. Elder Loffhagen just informed me that Tutukanara and Reynold got married and baptized!!!!!! Remember them?! Elder Loffhagen DID IT!!! Also what makes it cool is his companion is just as new as he is!!! I know last week I was saying baptisms are great and all, but I should have made that a capital GREAT!!! I am so happy right now I can’t even believe it.

Transfers happen this week!!! I reckon that Elder Denham and I are both going to be staying here. Which is all right with me. It's a tough area to work in, but I know we can make things happen here. So, some thoughts for this week, I will be honest, I am coming a little blank. Okay. I got something. Soooo, in our mission we have a funny legend. It's if it rains on your badge your wife gets prettier, and if you drop your scriptures then your wife gains weight. Anyway, this week Elder Denham "dropped" his scriptures at least five times. Three of those times kids got a hold of them and threw them smack dab into the ground. When Elder Denham and I saw that we just went dead silent and our faces dropped. Elder Denham is going to have a heavy Mrs.

What else. N and J are coming along great! N has been smoking since he was 7 years old. We bought him heaps of lollipops—I think 150 total. They have been working big time. He has only been smoking 1 a day the past few days! GOOD ON HIM!!! Also, remember the ward mission leader’s girlfriend? She is keen beans and we were finally able to have a real sit-down chat with her this past week. It turns out she referred herself to the mission office, but it went to the other missionaries and when we finally did a trade off with our zone leader he and I went over there. She knows the church is true and even had a dream of herself bearing her testimony at the pulpit.

We had a good dinner with the Browns who just sent their oldest son off on a mission to the Aussie Perth mission. They are a great family and they could tell how much good it was doing for not only for their son, but their whole family as well, I don’t think there is a more proud father than him in that ward.

So I don’t have much to say today cuz heaps of missionaries need a ride everywhere, but one last story. This week we knocked on a door and a man opened it so we could hear a big, angry Pitbull barking its head off in the other room. The guy asked his wife to put it away so he could talk to us and I even asked is your dog mean? He said, “Yup.” I asked does it bite? He said, “Yup.” Next thing I knew the dog darted around the corner and this thing was HUGE! I was kinda frozen, but for some reason the dog just put its head down and took a few steps closer almost in a wimpering puppy kinda way. The owner then reacted fast, grabbed it by the neck and chucked it inside and closed the door behind him. So, I don’t know if that was just luck, or if the dog wasn't as vicious as the owner said, but I felt like the Lord may have had His hand in that one... That was cool.

Anyway, I love you Mom, I love you Dad, I love you Trevor, I love you Collin, I love you Aubrey, and I love you Ava! Keep being good and stay out of trouble!


Elder Ward

Elder Ward and Elder Denham on the way to Ruatoria

Sword fighting with Tobais

Sheep on the road...only in New Zealand

Ancient New Zealand sacrament tray

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Absolute Most Fun Thing: Teaching People to Understand the Spirit

Dearest family,

This week was a good one! I loved hearing about all your experiences, especially COLLIN, ya dork! At first I was thinking YEAH!!!...that is hilarious, but Mom and Dad were right to give you a consequence. Something cool about commandment number 5 is that it's the only one that comes with a promise. I don’t have a set of scriptures, but I think it says that thy days may be long upon the land. It's true bro, if we didn't have parents to correct our bad behavior or even a Heavenly Parent who allows us to feel Godly sorrow when we sin or make mistakes, I don’t think we would really grow. It's sad to see parents here in New Zealand who do not have the gospel that do everything opposite of The Family: a Proclamation to the World. In the words of Ava, “I am glad I got you too.” (Sorry, I’m not supposed to say anything negative about areas I serve in. Don’t think for one second that I look down on them for it at all. I love them to death and I understand that Satan is good at his job and Amos 8:11 is true. A lot of people have not found the gospel.)

Danny McBride…poor fella…let him know that he is in my prayers. Also, I think he could appreciate the story of Job when he got boils and I think oozing sores all over his body. It's funny too, Dad, because I just rememorized that scripture in D&C 13 and I was pondering on that part, the ministering of angels. It's cool that Heavenly Father trusts that authority with 12 year olds. He will be fine and dandy in no time. How is his brother doing by the way? I miss Alex! I heard his Spanish is getting better!

Hmmmm... So I need to tell you some of the funny things that happened this week. I think the one that tops everything was my trade off with Elder Wasden. He is from Canada and he is a little crazy and anyway he really likes cats. Long story short…we found one and he picked it up by the scruff of its neck and kind of twirled it around. I will send you a video of it if I can except I don’t know how. Oh and a member of the Seventy Presidency called Elder Denham this past week too! He is helping with a criminal investigation. So, yeah, that was cool talking to him.

Oh and Dad, I feel ya big time on memorizing the shortest scriptures possible! We are doing the master teacher, teaching guide which involves memorizing 15 scriptures for each lesson. My scripture mastery scriptures helped a ton because I remembered where a lot of good scriptures were and had a lot pre memorized. I decided to challenge myself a little more though and memorize some of the bigger scriptures. It's awesome how much you get to learn on your mission!

Now enough of that…lets talk spiritual matters. I said I would update you on things. C moved to Ruatoria…sad day! N is SOLID! She is more likely than not getting baptized at the end of the month. Just needs to break a few bad habits but she is getting there. We made a calendar for her and she has cut down heaps. She did slip a little this week, but she said she felt super guilty so that made me happy.:) L is from a part member family. We are helping to baptize and reactivate her family. Her niece killed herself, and she took it really hard. It was good being able to bring hope by letting her know that there is life after death.

N and J are a really young couple we are teaching. They are keen to learn and we have gone over pretty much every day in the past week to help them feel the spirit and understand everything. We had them pray to know the BoM is true and N actually had a dream where he couldn't see anybody or face of any sort, but he heard a voice just saying the BoM is true! It gave him crazy goose bumps and he woke up and couldn't go back to sleep... pretty cool huh? J then asked why God didn't answer her the first time she prayed. I really had to think. Yeah, why doesn't he just let everyone know it's true the first time they pray?! But Isaiah 55:8-9 came to mind and we explained that God wants her to know but he isn't going to give an answer until she’s ready. He knows exactly when you need it most. I don't know if I've already explained this, but baptisms on the mission are AWESOME!!! However, I think helping people understand the Spirit and the truth and recognize answers that God gives is one of the absolute most fun thing about serving a mission.

The work is going good and I’m learning heaps. Also, Elder Denham and I are getting along great! In fact, apparently our mission president used us as an example in Zone Leader Council about how we are an ideal companionship in getting along and that there are too many missionaries that fight, bicker, argue, etc. and just cant wait to get transferred. Apparently he praised us saying that we are serving in the slowest part of the mission, we came into an area that had nothing from past missionaries, and we have other difficulties we have had to work through, and even with all those challenges they still manage to be happy and get along. YES!!! That felt good to hear that! Also, I finally got my birthday package!!! YAY THANK YOUUUUU!!!

I think that is all I have to share. Feel free to ask me any questions! Also I forgot to tell you there are 40 new missionaries coming into our mission!!!! There are over 250 missionaries in our mission or at least there is going to be over 250 next transfer. I love you guys so much! The Church is true!


Elder Ward

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I Love Teaching the Gospel!

Dear family,

Good letters…a lot of love and spirit felt behind each one. Let’s see…I honestly don’t have much to say in response, but mom I don’t think anyone could really answer that question Ava asked with relative ease (Who made Heavenly Father and Jesus?). I get that asked a lot. I usually just say nobody has a clue who made God, but you can know that He is there. (I think I already explained this in previous letters or you might have heard it before.) We can’t see God but we can feel that He is there and see the affects of His hands in our lives. Just like the wind…we can’t see it, BUT! we KNOW that it is there because we can feel it and we can see the affects of it in our lives. Dad you are the man at being the young men’s president. Don’t get prideful…that’s a sin, but if everyone fulfilled callings as the Savior would the Church of Jesus Christ would probably be lifted up into heaven right next to the city of Enoch.

What else…thanks Aubs for the pictures…your hair is long!!! Also, Collin good luck on those volleyball tryouts. Make sure you help console some of the kids who are publicly humiliated in front of the whole team when they get put at the very back of the line and are told that their mental capacity is at a 1….haha poor Bryce. By the way is he trying out? Give Trevor my regards and hope that he gets better!

Now let me go on to tell you some of the awesome spiritual things that happened this week. We finally set some people for baptism one named N. who was a hard out drinker and smoker. We refound her by some awesome miracle and have been teaching her. She wasn't confident at all that she could quit, but as she has read the BOM she has become so much more confident, and I absolutely love going over to teach at her house. At first she said she would get baptized at the end of March, but as she felt the spirit more and more we were able to help her see that she could be free from addiction/sin by the 23rd of February. WHOO!!!!

We finally started teaching the ward mission leader’s girlfriend. We asked her to fellowship this person Charlie that we brought to church and she actually came to our missionary gospel principle class! It was a good experience. I love teaching the gospel so much now! It is almost an adrenaline rush being able to help people feel and then recognize the spirit. I will admit that when I taught primary I learned heaps and I grew a ton, but I didn't really put my heart into it. Now every chance I receive to go teach or to answer someone’s questions I am just thrilled to do it.

Another cool experience we had this week was when we were having our ward conference. One of the speakers in the stake presidency was speaking and he just asked the audience to feel the spirit speak to you and say your name or something along those lines. When he said that I started pondering on that and I just gently felt the spirit say Elder... Then I got this warm feeling throughout my whole body. I thought it was cool that it just said Elder…no Connor or Connor Ward….not even the Ward, but just Elder that was a cool experience.

Also, one last thing this week I want to share.  We saw a few people crowding around a lady who was bleeding and looked in a lot of pain. Anyway, we pulled over and ran down to see if we could help. Nothing too special happened, but I felt sick not being able to help this lady who had been hit on her bike by a car and smashed the windshield. She had no idea where she was or how she got there and her daughter was taken to a nearby house to go get a drink so she wouldn't have to see.  The mom didn't know this though, so she was yelling for her daughter. I felt so sick and helpless not being able to do anything, I have no idea why I’m writing this, but now thinking about it as I typed this out I remember Bishop McBride’s words about how if we were to pull someone out of a burning house that would be great, but to pull someone out of the depths of sin and hellish darkness means a whole lot more. I'm grateful for what I can do for those who are suffering spiritually. I think I’m typing this more for myself, but something you can ponder on as well is to think of those who might be in a house on fire (spiritually speaking) and run in and see what you can do to help.



Elder Ward