Sunday, June 30, 2013

Music to My Ears

Dear Family,

I would be jealous of you being at the beach house but I just feel bad because my beach house is closer to the beach than yours and I have stayed in mine for 5 months now and you will only get one week. J haha jokes I am kinda jealous... But in all seriousness, if you want to look how close I am to the beach look up 60 Parton Road, Papamoa on Google maps. Also, I can hear the ocean at night time just in case I haven't told you before. Sounds like fun though! I hope the new beach house is cool. You should send me some pictures of the new house so I can have a better view of what it is like for you guys. I only got 2 emails so I will have some time to send some pictures today. 

SO I have a lot to respond to but first, A GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEKEND!!! It was kind of an awesome miracle. Sunday he let us know he went 3 days without smoking... Then he stayed clean ALL WEEK!!! Elder Lamb and I both felt he was ready so we had him interviewed and he was baptized this last weekend. Honestly, I had started to wonder if it would really happen and then… MIRACLE!!! HE DID IT! Powerful service! It was a good day for everyone. 

About the Broadcast, it was all music to my ears! I reckon this mission will be a little bit farther behind in the Internet use... But other than that all those miracles and experiences all just sounded great. It definitely motivated me to work a little bit harder at working alongside with the members in our ward. One of the main things I resolved to do is GET these rescue nights up and kicking in our ward... All of New Zealand and the South Pacific was asked by the area presidency to dedicate one night of the week to GO TO THE RESCUE!!! which would entail at least two or more members meeting at the chapel and going on splits with the missionaries to visit those that are less active or need ordinances performed... (the priesthood, temple, baptism, sacrament, mission... stuff like that) I have kinda moaned to myself that there are only a few people in the ward who actually want to go and do that on a Tuesday night (the only free night around here) But I made a list off the top of my head of all the LA or PMF families that I know will accept visits from us and the members. I listed at least 75 people who we need to come back who will accept visits. And we have our South African assistant ward mission leader assigned to get up and be as straight forward as he can (which South Africans are very well known for) to help inspire the ward to come out... Our vision is having six members and two missionaries doing these visits every week. So yeah, I will let you know how that goes down.

Also I feel inspired to tell the family when you invite the sisters over for dinner next time don't just talk about doing missionary work—make a plan with the sisters and let them know that you are going to do some kind of block party with the Dicksons and whoever else is on that road or a FHE or something where non members are invited and that they would be welcome to come along as well. Haha That would make them pretty happy. I know it would not be the most easy thing to put together and it would be a little weird inviting the only 4 non member friends you have but get other people in the ward to join in and it will be less awkward. 

Things are great right now... the new mission officially started. I woke up this morning and just yelled, “WHOO HOO WE’RE IN THE HAMILTON MISSION!!!!” The work is picking up again. C J went to A’s baptism and he told his family he wanted to get baptized on the 27th of July... we found a family of 6 with 4 unbaptized children that is keen to feed us just about every day so we will set them with a baptism date when we have dinner with them on Tuesday. 

President Rudd, to answer your question, just flew in 3 days ago. I haven't talked to him yet but we have mission leadership council at his house tomorrow so I am looking forward to that big time! Also cool thing! He stays like a football field’s distance away from the Temple!!!!!! So yeah, big cool changes going on. The work is great. I have had to be a little bit crackdown and fire and brimstone in the zone because of some disobedience but hopefully the Elders know I still love them and the only reason I give them a hard time is because I want them to be good missionaries (heck you could say the best that they can be). 

Anyway, I will leave my thoughts at that but I sure do leave a lot out of these letters that can be saved for after the mission. Some are just too long and detailed to put down or sum up... But no worries, I have written in my journal EVERY DAY since I started my mission so I will be able to share a lot more when I get home! Keep that chair warm for me, which won’t be too hard in the 115 degree weather. Enjoy California while you can!

Elder Ward

Doing some service chopping wood
Cute Baby
Pet Ambulance not knowing how to drive???



Sunday, June 23, 2013

Difficult Goodbye

Kia Ora,

MOM!!! I GOT YOUR PACKAGE!! THANKKKKK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was good. I enjoyed all of the contents about 3 or 4 weeks ago and I sure do appreciate it! I just totally forgot to respond to that question week after week after week! I think I just might make it to the end of my mission on the stuff that I have with me. My shoes are starting to wear a little thin. My underwear is luckily still white as day thanks to NAPPY SAM!!! My socks are taking a toll and I still somehow lose them all the time!

I think I remember the beginning of my mission receiving some of Elder Jackson Law's letters talking about the “4th QUARTER.” He made a good analogy how that's when I have to be working the Hardest... It’s weird that I am in the 4th quarter now. Also, speaking of which, come June 27th I believe my American driver’s license expires.  I have tried to convert to a kiwi one but for some reason my dumb AZ one is a class G graduated license.  The mission office said that from home you can upgrade my license so, Mom, I hope you don’t have a long list of duties to do, cooking duty.... dead guy duty (Nacho Libre reference)... Maybe it's time for you to get another duty??? Can you please send Dad in his free time to the MVD to upgrade my license? 

To answer some of your email, no I will not be watching the special broadcast today. I have to wait until Sunday at 6 o clock to watch it at the stake center!!! DARN IT!!!! I am sure looking forward to that! We didn't hear the topic but I have a feeling that it will be a call to action for members and missionaries! It's going to be SOOO COOL!!!!!!!!!!! Oh and hey Mom! Kevin Pearson came to one of our Mission Conferences along with Elder Christensen! HE IS THE MAN! We get to see him every now and again because he is in the South Pacific Area Presidency and even lives really close to President Lekias! 

But yeah, I am sad this day because last week we had to say goodbye to President and Sister Lekias. They did one last specialized training with us on Friday and they talked a lot about the new mission and answered all our questions about concerns and stuff like that. Then we sang “God be With You Till we Meet Again.” Sigh. I hadn't cried in a very long time and I honestly don’t get too worked up by goodbyes any more...  But that one was a little difficult. Life moves on though and I will have to make sure to befriend them on Facebook or something when I get back. 

So let's see what else happened this week... We have found HEAPS of part-member families and are still doing a lot of good. A lady was moved to tears who has been less active after moving into our area.  We reminded her of her baptism day and told her how she will be able to feel the spirit just as strong in her new ward, and that the relationships she makes there will become just as strong as she attends actively. 

A and J are still struggling a little bit but we went over yesterday to see if they were all good for church and they were good to go, but not only that.  They let us know they went the whole day without smoking one cigarette!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I was so pumped because honestly I was starting to lose a little faith... We did everything—fasted, gave them blessings, taught the word of wisdom.  They are praying often and reading the Book of Mormon diligently, and they completely stopped buying smokes a month ago. They just have so many influences around them that drag them back it's hard to avoid it. So yeah I was pretty pumped to hear they finally went a whole day without smoking. 

We had some other pretty choice experiences. One was teaching Primary in our ward! It made me miss those awesome 9 year olds of mine! My goodness they are all 11 now! What the heck?! We taught them about baptism and the Holy Ghost; two subjects we are masters on! It was fun being back. I even made a little funny cut-out of a person with all these spaces that needed to be colored in and talked about how after we receive the Holy Ghost we need to feed ourselves spiritually every day or the Holy Ghost will leave!!! So we challenged them to read their scriptures, pray or do service, and when they do those good things they can color in one of the spots and we told them to bring it back next week to give to their teachers to show them how much you fed your spirit. 

We also had a great lesson with a guy named S.  He just married a lady with 4 kids who is attending our ward. He is funny. He says he is Methbyterian and it has been a little bit of a challenge to teach him... But the other day we brought bishop Bejerling to the lesson and we answered a lot of questions and stuff but we didn't really have a whole lot of organization and spirit and, finally it got to the topic of the priesthood and the restoration and Bishop just bore POWERFUL testimony of the restoration and the priesthood and how it has helped him as a father and you could tell it impacted S!!! So that was cool.

Other funny story, on Saturday we were driving down the road and we stopped to check our plans and figure out where we were going... and as we were sitting in the car we saw a cute little doggy walking down the street... so Elder Lamb opened the door and told the dog to come and it did! He petted it a little and then pulled it into the car at his feet, then lifted it up onto his lap and then gave me his camera to take a picture with him and the doggy... I was dying laughing but still managed to take the picture. Then he casually opened the door and let it out. Love him.

Anyway, sounds like everything is fine and dandy over there! Give me some of the temperatures for the upcoming week in AZ because I bet it will be a lot hotter there than in NZ. It's starting to hit the low 30's and 40's here... I DON’T LIKE IT!!!! But at the same time I think I can be grateful as well that I don’t have the heat that you do.


Elder Ward


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Going to Challenge You...Cuz I Love You

Kia Ora Katoa.

Or in other words Hello People!

Haha. Yeah, I am pretty pumped to be in this new mission... Some missionaries are being real girls about it though... IN all fairness though I was kinda a girl when I first got to New Zealand. Yup, President Lekias is doing a goodbye tour all this week. I will say my last goodbye this week on Friday... Sniffle sniffle. I am going to miss that man to pieces. Mom, that letter you sent me, a little more than half of those points are pretty true! Some though I have not seen as much, like being called a Yank I have only gotten 2 or 3 times, but I think that can depend on where you are serving. Oh and yes, it is not the worst thing to have a bishop say hell or damn over the pulpit. Sounds like you’re having a good effective summer vacation. Especially Collin, way to stay busy!!! You will be able to pay for your mission in no time. That is something this stake is STRICT about. You absolutely have to be able to pay for half your mission before you go. So good luck with that... How much do you have saved anyway? Personal question I know, but just want to make sure you’re doing good. 

Dad HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love you heaps! I read your talk. I loved it. That sounds like it will be the talk of the year! Oh and I laughed pretty hard about your comment about Grandpa and “Jeepers.” It's funny because it is true. J Also yeah, I remember that Ava story. That's a good one. That's always good to explain what you’re doing wrong so that you can help others do something right. When Dallin H Oaks came to speak to us he referred to it as a "Dark Example." He said when we are in the dark it is a lot easier to see the light. So I always get a kick out of dark examples now.

Well well well, what is new with me? Crazy news! This week I got rejoined with my MTC companion Elder Wachob!!! We only got to spend 4 hours with him at night time, but yeah he and Elder Alder are the assistants for the Hamilton mission so they came to do a trade off with me and Elder Lamb. That was Awesome!!! That same day I did half a trade off with the only new missionary in the Zone; Elder Ipson. He is straight from Utah. He even lives a block away from the temple. I love the boy to pieces. He just finished his 3rd month in the mission and is still pretty fresh, and in this mission we have to talk to heaps of people on the street and stuff like that. He is working on doing that... I warned him that I was going to challenge him that day and help him do things he didn't want to do, but the whole reason I was doing it was cuz I loved him and want him to be happy serving his mission. SO we started off trying to talk to a few. It was tough. I pulled him aside to a member’s house and gave him a quick blessing. Then by the end of the day we decided to try going smaller so I just told him to CONFIDENTLY go up to people and just say in an audible voice “HI!” or “HOW ARE YOU?!” I promised I would not leave him hanging and I would do the rest. 

Elder Lamb and I have got a lot on our hands right now with our zone, but I think we had one of the most effective weeks of my mission teaching 40 lessons, finding 14 new investigators and building the ward a lot higher so I was pretty stoked about that. We also got to do a split last night with the members and I went with Ryan Seymour. He is 19 and ready to go on his mission and has been for awhile. He just needs the money to go. Anyway, I took him to a few lessons and they were a ways out so I got to talk to him for a good half hour about my mission, the ups and the downs and really how the downs have even, in the long run, been ups. It was cool being able to talk to him... I think he appreciated it too and helped motivate him to work a little harder to start earning as much as he can for his own mission. 

Sorry thoughts are short today.  Love you heaps family!

Elder Ward


Sunday, June 9, 2013


Dear Family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Come July 1st, I will be entering my 3rd mission with my 3rd mission President!!!! Haha….So make sure that gets changed on my plaque back home sitting near bishop’s office... Haha jokes. I am pretty excited about being in the new Hamilton mission, but I am just a little bummed that I wont be around President Lekias anymore. Also, my one and only son (trainee), Elder Loffhagen, is staying in the Auckland mission, but here are the upsides…..! My grandson is in the Hamilton Mission along with most of the missionaries I know and all of my areas Papakura, Gisborne, and Tauranga are all still in the Hamilton mission as well! So I am pretty stoked about all dat. When we got the transfer call on Thursday I was SO SHOCKED! We only had one missionary leave the whole zone. But yes, mom, I am fine! Last week was just a really trying week with the zone and lack of success on our part... Heck, we even got a call from the stake president who was definitely not impressed about some comments he received from his bishop about 2 missionaries serving in our zone. We SUSSED them out though. We also had some upsetting setbacks with a recent convert and an investigator. That tore my soul in half but...all is well now though!!!

Hahaha…sorry, dad, I set a bad example for the kids... always bashing on you and what not. Obviously the Lord knows that you are a good father and you have something to share to the congregation full of dad's on Father’s day who might need some inspired council from some of the best of the best... Or Heavenly Father just thought to himself, "Geese that Michael Ward needs to learn a thing or two about being a good father. Maybe he will learn a thing or two if I humble him by making him speak on it in church on Father’s day." Haha…jokes….well if it counts for anything Dad, I think you’re great. Today a lot of men are portrayed as dumb animals kind of like what Brian Regan was talking about in the commercial with the dad stuck in the blinds saying "THESE MUFFINS ARE GOOD". Well, for some reason I thought of the scripture, I have no idea where, it says something along the lines of “The Lord uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise.” Well, I think The Lord has shown that He can turn dumb men stuck in the blinds into awesome father figures. I sure am proud to call you my Dad and even if it was mom flying solo, as awesome and mighty as she is, I don’t think she would have been able to do as good without you. Oh, and yes, the scripture is 1 Corinthians 1:27.  I hope that makes some kind of sense as to what is going on in my head. So good luck with speaking and let me know how that goes!

Mom you would be so proud of me out on my misson! I actually get things done now!!! Remember how I am the worst at procrastinating and holding things off for a better time? Like taking that dumb scholarship test for MCC? Homework? I don’t know just about anything... Well, I have realized that the past transfer I don't procrastinate anything! When someone needs to be called, I CALL THEM! When the house needs to be cleaned, I clean it! When something doesn't feel right, I change it! I have no idea why I am telling you this, but I guess I tell you something I learn every week and this is something I realized this week. So I wanted to give me a pat on the back and let my mommy know I won’t come home a pathetic slob. :)

Well, I hope that the summer time is treating everyone okay! Is it pretty hot there? I would imagine its getting up to the 100's there by now? So it sounds like Collin is doing that Vball camp again with Jear Bear? Haha… you should tell Aubrey to start hanging out with an older girl who might feel left out who might be able to drive. That way she could help her feel included with a group of friends and also have a ride everywhere? Haha… jokes…that probably wouldn't work out. Just tell her that God gave her feet.  Maybe buy her some running shoes or something.

Well, I think that’s all the news... Oh wait, nevermind. I don’t know if I told you about this family that we have been trying to help??? Yup, well anyways, they are all members accept their 16 year old. We have tried to help him stay away from the bad crowd and we finally got him to young men’s where he was well fellowshipped and after that he was just KEEN AS to come to church and listen to us when we came over to read the Book of Mormon. Well, he FINALLY came to church this SUNDAY!!! WHOOOOHOOO!!!

Anyways, sorry my thoughts are short, but I love you guys to pieces! Stay out of trouble, be good, and all that stuff.


Elder Ward!!!



Sunday, June 2, 2013


Dear Family!

Thank you so much Aubrey for sending me a letter!!! Have fun at EFY! Make sure you call Mom and Dad halfway through, maybe even twice, to tell them all the cool stuff that is happening! I know for me that was a great place to recognize the spirit. Mom and Dad, make sure you help her recognize that as best as you can. Then help her realize that those good awesome feelings can be kept as long as we are reading the scriptures and praying every day! Sorry Mom and Dad… not trying to coach you or anything, but from the child's perspective I wish I had a greater love for the scriptures (at that age) and that definitely would have helped me especially through the dark stages we refer to as freshman year.

Anyways! NO WAY COLLIN!!!! You did it!!! Who else on the team made 1st team all state??? Anyone? I can't wait to go back and see your pretty little picture up on the wall! You should do a goofy smile... haha Be careful that it’s not too goofy such that it wouldn’t get put up on the wall.

I liked all your good analogies from painting, to rock climbing, to white water rafting... It's weird how analogies, talking about something completly different from the topic, can help people better understand the POINT you’re trying to get across... A lot of the best missionaries are great at making analogies whether they are training other missionaries or teaching a lesson to non-members.

Well, I will be honest. This was one of the tougher weeks in missionary life...Sorry. After that sentence I started to list all the low points, but I think I will just have to share some after my mission... It's not worth getting down on! So I am going to have to just tell you all the good things that happened instead!

Number 1: Mission Leadership Council WAS AWESOME! As always, being taught by President Lekias is a very very cool thing to do. You feel the spirit so strong just being in the same room as people like him. Also, we get to meet with President Fitzpatrick on a monthly basis to discuss things so that is cool too.

Number 2: Tongan people are awesome! On the way back from Leadership Council we decided to stop by Pokeno, the best ice cream place in all of New Zealand... which, by the way, if I haven't told you, New Zealand's ice cream is 387467821 times better than ours. Ours is a lot more ice. They do it right and have more cream. Anyway, we pull up and Elder Lamb and I were both out of money.... Whoops. Irresponsible. Anyway, I recognized the old Tongan bishop who attended the same chapel as me when I was in Redhill! I called out, “HEY BISHOP!!!” and started talking to him. Anyway, long story short, without asking they bought us all three massive scoops of ice cream cones just before they left to go back home from the temple trip they had.

 Number 3: We ran into a lady named G who we could tell believed in God even though she had weird ideas about reincarnation and stuff like that. Anyway, I felt the spirit tell me to ask her why she believed in God. She told us about her depression and stuff like that and how he fixed it but she kinda takes her own ideas on it because the Bible can mean so many different things! SHE LOVED THE BOOK OF MORMON when we explained what it was and how working with the Bible can confound false doctrine and establish truth. That was a cool first lesson.

Number 4: On Sunday there was a family sitting on the back right bench, the “Smith” family... and I could tell that they were having a hard time... They happen to be Ward Missionaries so we went to their house and told them we noticed that they weren't doing so good. Can we help you? She did as Elder Nelson directed, "Ask the missionaries!" They shared with us some concerns and we are seeing what help we can provide. Keep the "Smith" family in your prayers.

Number 5: I will figure out where I am going this week!!! Ha! I am torn. I don’t know what I want...stay in Auckland...or go to the new Hamilton mission??? All good though. I bet you can't wait to hear either! Oh and hey! Elder Bills (companion in Missouri) emailed me today and also brother Nelson. Remember I skyped from his house back in Missouri?! Yeah him.
I love you family! BE POSITIVE!!! IT HELPS!


Elder Ward