Sunday, August 25, 2013

An Action-Packed Week!!

I HAVE GOT SOME HUGE NEWS AND AWESOME ACTION PACKED STORIES FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But first off let me begin by telling you guys that I appreciate all your letters big time! I logged on to my email today and I had 18 emails in my inbox. Two were from stake presidents—ours and my last one in Tauranga, two were from converts (Micaella being one), Grandpa, old companions, and members from Missouri.  I sure do feel soooo grateful for my missionary service. I just read my patriarchal blessing today too and everything it says about my mission is PRETTY SPOT ON (haha minus my companions loving me.) haha jokes.. Micaella emailed me as well and she thanked me for being a good missionary. Let’s just say I have had a really good morning.

As for Mom and Dad, I am sorry about your grieving (with kids leaving the home). J President Monson nailed it when he said that to your surprise you will miss us profoundly. haha...I remember before my mission when I would bug the heck out of Mom by either burping, forgetting to do something important, or just bugging another family member. I would tell her in a half-joking way, “You’re going to miss me sooo much!!!!!!” Congrats Mom on your new calling to help in the special needs seminary class! That will probably be one heck of a character-spiritual-strengthening calling. Teaching seminary is one thing.... but teaching seminary to some of the most special spirits Heavenly Father has to offer is pretty dang sweet.

Well well well. The IN-Famous (form Three Amigos) mission picks are happening again! Grandpa will probably let you know what I sent in, but through much prayer and fasting (not really), I have come to the conclusion that my little brother will be going to the New Zealand Auckland Mission!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! haha jokes He will either be going to 1. the Congo 2. the Dominican Republic or 3. the Western States. I guessed the Congo first because the family needs to serve worldwide! I got the Pacific. Zach’s got the States and Trevor has got Central/South America. When Collin gets the Congo that covers Africa! Then Aubrey will go to France (better start learning French) and then by the time Ava hits age 19 China will have been opened and there will be a huge push in the Church there so she will be sent to China!

So the huge and awesome news… #1 Everything in the area is running quite smooth. We still had a 100 flat at church, Elder Hammar is doing awesome and we brought 10 out of those 100 to church yesterday sooo no complaints there. #2 We got called in to have a Mission Leadership Council with Elder Haleck. Then we were the only zone who got to meet with him as well. The very next day I got to walk with him the short, 400-foot walk from President Rudd’s house to the temple to take a picture and have a good 1-on-2 conversation with him and his wife... IT IS SO COOL being with a general authority. #3 Hold on. I might need to start a new paragraph for this one.

Mission Leadership Council with Elder Haleck
So Thursday, after MLC, I had to go pick up my companion. Then we were going to spend the night with the Glenview zone leaders, Elder Galt and Elder Lelenoa, both of whom I have previously served with! I was super excited because I was going to go with Elder Galt on a split in his area and I haven't served with him since I was his district leader in Papakura almost a year ago. Anyways, we got super lost on the way when Elder Lelenoa called letting us know that Elder Galt was in need of a blessing. We were still fifteen minutes away so we did our best to hurry. When we got there he had already given him a blessing but Elder Galt was in so much pain he literally could not move off his bed. So Elder Lelenoa and I carried him off his bed and into the car. My companion was about to hop in to drive because I've been banned from driving J but I said I will drive because I knew the general direction of the hospital... It sure was an adrenaline rush. It was probably as crazy as the time Dad was flying down that dirt road after Collin broke his arm. Long story short, Elder Galt had a kidney stone. I stayed the night with him while our companions visited appointments and did baptismal interviews.  President Rudd and Sister Rudd made it to the hospital after things calmed down. It was pretty comical. I was trying to crack jokes to Elder Galt while he was going through his agony... Like “Elder Galt, how come dinosaurs don't talk???” “Why?” “Cuz they’re all dead!” Then it was cool to spend the rest of the night till 11:30 with the Rudds while we waited to get discharged from the hospital. Then the next day Sister Rudd gave a training on companionship unity and talked about that experience (in front of Elder Haleck and half the mission). It sure was special!

Anyways got to go family! Love you heaps. Elder Hammar is doin it all. A little bit difficult sometimes but we’re two peas in a pod. Every now and again when we are talking to people on the street he will do the little look to me... to either back him up, or to make sure what he is saying is okay... Really though, he is pretty well prepared. He is doing good and I love serving with him.


Elder Ward

Oh actually I got a little bit more time... so I might as well explain the not-allowed-to-drive story. Soo I tried to get my license converted but my Arizona graduated one would not allow me to convert it to a a full license. So that means I would not be able to drive anyone but myself, which is useless when you’re a missionary. Hence the reason why I asked Mom to send me an upgraded license for me to convert over. After a year my American license is NO GOOD so technically I have been driving illegally the past two months or so. I also got flashed twice by cameras. One was in May. That just came up this week and the other on August 6th. So I took that as a sign that I should probably live the law especially as a missionary. I am not exactly proud of doing that but the mission has such a shortage of drivers that it would have probably ruined a lot of things if I had been removed from a driving position. I let my mission president know the circumstances... He kinda just laughed and said “you’re the man... just don't drive anymore until you get it converted.”


Sunday, August 18, 2013

So Much Fun to Train New Missionaries!!!

Collin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NICE BRO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Haha…that is crazy! I guess we will have to see what happens. (Collin decided last week to submit his mission papers before heading up to BYU and may end up leaving before Connor comes home.) I am glad you chose to follow the spirit even though it may not have completely made sense. :) I can tell you right now that it was the right decision because it was made by the spirit and the spirit will never prompt anyone to make a wrong choice. In fact, I sent a copy of your same e-mail to one of my converts, Micaella, so that she can see your faith and build a little bit of hers. WAY TO GO!!! Oh and Collin, to answer your question, yes I do say heaps, keen, true, skux, flash, and sweet as. Also, try and figure out which investigator he is talking about on facebook or something. 

So yes family, I have my 2nd BOY!!! His name is Elder Hammar. He is from Las Vegas Nevada. I think you should have gotten an email from the mission President with a picture of me and him. It is so much fun to train new missionaries! Things are definitely going a WHOLE LOT BETTER now! The branch is still picking up. We had an even more astounding 115 AT CHURCH!!!! I am definitely working Elder Hammar hard.  I have already had him lead the way from house to house and have him do a whole lot of the talking with people and teaching in the lessons. It was really cool at transfers seeing the 26 new missionaries coming in and figuring out that A LOT OF areas are going to start getting covered that were not covered before and a lot of wards are starting to get a 2nd set of missionaries!!!! For example Redhill (my 1st NZ area) and Welcome Bay (my last area) have 4 missionaries serving in them now!!!!!  Also, it was cool too because President Rudd took all of the POWERHOUSE missionaries (besides me haha) to go and train the new incoming missionaries.  Most of the trainers have been out for a long time or are zone leaders of some sort and all are just powerful missionaries. There is a lot of cool things happening. OH, and I forgot to mention EVERYONE in our zone right now is training a new missionary. That is unheard of! OH and there is a missionary named Elder Anderson from Gilbert, Arizona, in my zone!

So yup that is the update on all the transfers and everything. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!! You are getting SO OLD!!! Haha…I remember telling you so many times that you’re not old till you’re 50, so I won’t call you old man or pops yet. But make sure you enjoy every ounce of youth (find joy in the journey right???). It sounds like you have a lot of things to be joyful over, especially that day in the temple with two of your young men right next to you. If it makes you feel any better, we ran into a 52 year old guy who honestly looked like he was in his late 30's, had long flowing hair, was wearing a tank top, and told us he gets to work by longboarding for 15 minutes through Auckland City. So if you ever start to feel old, those are some options that can make you look younger... or you could just buy a Corvette…either or. I miss you dad! If it counts for anything, I remembered your birthday during the week because of that calendar you guys sent for Christmas.  I think you’re doing a great job and I want to let you know I am proud to call you my father. 

In other news, sheesh, I think I have driven the 5 to 6 hour long trip from New Plymouth to Hamilton and back 4 times already within the last month…twice this last week. Exciting news though…I get to go AGAIN this week for a surprise mission leadership council with Elder Hallick…I believe from the quorum of the seventy and then a zone conference held in Hamilton the very next day!!!  HAHA…I AM SO SICK OF DRIVING!!!!!!!!!!! 

C and C are still doing great! They accept everything we teach with excitement and they are reading the BOM and coming to church and praying together and all those good things, but we have kinda hit a stand still with the whole marriage thing. I will keep you updated, but please keep them in your prayers. I have faith something will make things turn around in the near future. 

I love you family! BE good! Once again Collin, good choice!!! And Aubrey....sorry I don’t get to respond to your letter but I did get it and it made me so happy! I am glad you like high school AND WAY TO GO SWIM TEAM!!! Stick with swim NO matter how crazy hard it gets….because that does sound pretty tough! 

Elder Ward



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Our Branch DID IT AGAIN!!!

Kia Ora,

It sounds like everything is going back into FULL SWING!!! That’s awesome that Ava is having so many “10” days. haha When you’re a missionary there are a lot of “10” days, but to be quite honest, I would kill to have a “10” day every day. But now, looking back, I think what matters most is the full experience of my mission will always be a "10"—the good and the bad. Speaking of GOOD, transfers are happening this week!!! WhoooHOOOO!!! I try really hard not to look forward to transfers because a lot of missionaries catch that disease where every time transfers roll around if they could just get a new companion or just get a new area then everything will be just fine and dandy. But it’s just like Mormon’s scripture, “he that is filthy will be filthy still,” he that is unhappy will be unhappy still. In other words, he who isn't a good missionary still won’t be a good missionary and he who is unhappy serving will still be unhappy.

So yes, I did get your package Mom.  Thanks for your letter. You were definitely right and even though it is not completely all good I am still pretty happy with the improvements that have been made... So this week was a toughy! It started on Monday with me getting pretty dang sick. I went on tradeoff to the smallest branch in the whole mission!!! There are a sum total of 10 to 15 active members and a branch list that takes up half a piece of paper. I also went with one of the least enthusiastic elders I have ever met on my mission. Needless to say it was a rough night. The trade off went over night Monday to Tuesday and was extended to Tuesday so he could come to MLC mission leadership council with me. So we took the 3-hour drive up to New Plymouth with each other. On the way up I had a good conversation with this elder (and by the way he HATES ZONE LEADERS). I told him I thought he was a great missionary and he had great teaching skills and that he had power to do a lot of good things (which was all true by the way), but I pretty bluntly told him that he needed to QUIT COMPLAINING about his companion, the area, and everything else... 

I got reunited with Elder Lamb on Tuesday night!!! We were so happy to see each other so we reminisced and told stories and had a good time Tuesday night. Then we went to MLC the next day which was another really cool experience!!! Man, I love President Rudd! I learned a lot about revelation and how the Lord works... I think we all came to the conclusion that now that we are here we can't run the mission the Auckland way or the Wellington way but that we need to do it the Lord’s way... And the Lord’s way will come through whatever President Rudd is inspired to do. I also recognized that President Rudd can't be doing things how President Lekias did things. I learned a lot. It was cool.

Other really exciting news is our BRANCH did it AGAIN!!! We had 108 people attend!!! We had 101 last week which everyone thought was a fluke but boy there was a good spirit in the branch yesterday... especially too because a family with 3 boys moved in from Utah. The dad is SUPER FAITHFUL. He took a 71 percent pay cut just to come down here. hahaha I feel he will probably be in the district presidency in no time—at least the branch presidency (we’re missing a 2nd counselor). There are BIG THINGs happening in the Church around the world. All these new missionaries are tremendous!!! AT MLC we had a big board with all the areas that are going to start getting double covered and areas that aren't being covered that are going to start being covered! Elder Goodman, the mission finance guy, (I believe the job Trevor did) has quite the job finding as many missionary apartments that he needs to.

Anyway, life is good. C and C are still awesome, still progressing. We had a big FHE with them and the C family (the less active family) at the C’s house. (We asked them for help fellowshipping C and C) so it works out perfect. C and C have friends at church now and the C's have more pressure to stay ACTIVE!!! Anyways hope you guys have a good rest of the Sabbath day. Let everyone know I love them heaps.


Elder Ward
FHE at our branch mission leader's house

The Elders in our flat...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Challenge...Fill a Bench

Dearest Parents, Brothers, Sisters, Friends, and everyone else...

Sounds like everything is going well back home! That is very very weird that everyone is leaving the nest... It will be especially weird not having any boys at home. Dad will just start having to invite his young men over more often to keep him sane. J haha Even though your young men might sometimes drive you a little insane!

Mom, to answer the question you forgot to ask, no I have not gotten the package yet but we have mission leadership council on Wednesday so hopefully I will get it then. I will try and let you know next week whether I get it or not. Oh and Mom, I can see you’re very concerned with when I am coming home..haha. There are so many new missionaries coming in right now that we kinda had to do 2-week mini transfers this week. On Thursday we just got two new missionaries to replace one who finished his mission and one who was going to another area, and to make things better there is going to be another transfer next week. What it sounds like is I could either be going home January 29th or December 18th. Elder Lamb’s parents just emailed either the mission office or President Lekias to figure it out... But I am pretty torn on what to do so I will just go with the flow and do what my mission president needs me to do.

Other crazy news! The other elders that also stay in the flat smashed a cat going down the freeway... It kinda destroyed the puny little Toyota Yaris that we drive and it has been needing repairs for about a month now... We finally switched with another companionship to get the much nicer Corolla (zone leaders get the nicer cars cuz we drive more and pull the trailers for transfers.) J Anyways, we just heard news that they are going to scrap the Yaris and we are going to get a replacement car. It's a native brand car called a Holden. These cars are SWEET!!!! Try looking it up on Google (be careful of course) but I will be one of the first privileged to drive a Holden in the New Zealand Hamilton mission…haha.

A new temple video??? That is cool. Let me know how awesome it is! Do you know if it will be worldwide? Cuz I think the New Zealand Hamilton Mission is due for a temple trip pretty soon here. Collin is one lucky dog getting paid big bucks for helping at a volleyball camp. haha I guess state champions get special treatment from Coach Vee.

Good news about our cute little branch in New Plymouth. We went to President Riggle’s house who is the 2nd counselor in the district presidency. He challenged us to fill at least a bench at church. (Our benches probably seat about 7 comfortably; 8 for a tighter squeeze). This Sunday we brought back two less active families!!! WHOOHOO we filled a bench and a bit with 9 people. My companion and I were pretty stoked! C and C didn't make it though which was a bummer. Their alarm didn't go off... We had a mean lesson with them though and figured out they have been living the law of chastity for a week straight... All we need to do now is either get them married or encourage one to move out. J

I am definitely learning heaps out here. I love every second. It is for sure the best two years of my life! Keep being awesome family!


Elder Ward