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.


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!

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.

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, 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! 

Elder Ward