Sunday, November 24, 2013

On Top of the World!

My Posterity:  Elder Rasband & trainee, Elder Taylor & Elder Ward, Elder Misbach, Elder Hammar & trainee
Dearest Mother and Father and the rest of the family,

So good to hear from you again.  Mom, I will start things off by saying I am totally fine and do not have diabetes... I pee a lot in the morning because I drink a lot in the morning but other than that I am sweet as. I have not gained or lost anything for almost my whole mission after Missouri. I feel the same I always have when it comes to eating habits, and as far as fatigue goes I think I have more energy than I have ever had in my life. I wake up alive and ready to go at 6:30 am. I think I have only not woken up at 6:30 two days on my mission because an alarm clock didn't go off, but I actually find myself waking up at like 6:00 because I feel too well rested and am worried I have slept in. So no worries Mom. I am feeling great!

So yes, the long-awaited news!!! Mom and Dad I am staying  in New Plymouth! I am also training yet again... another new missionary!!! Gee wiz. I am almost tired of training...haha.  I'm also co-training my grandson because Elder Rasband is training now after me just training him for 8 weeks. Also, Elder Hammar is training but he has moved on to another zone in Rotorua. My POSTERITY IS FLOURISHING!!!! Haha I took a picture of all the new additions to the family. I will make sure I send you a picture today.

I will be honest. I was hoping I would leave because if I get transferred next transfer I will be in a brand new area 6 days before Christmas where I don’t know ANYONE! It's nice to have some kind of family, but either way I will be fine, because when President called I felt the spirit letting me know that my work was not finished in New Plymouth. SO I AM HAPPY. J

Other news. J? Remember her? She is finally getting baptized!!!!!!! WHOOOHOOOO!!!  She is getting baptized on the 30th!!! Elder Rasband and I are on top of the world.

Well, Mom and Dad, I am doing well. I fight more and more every day to not care to look at a calendar or look at the days I have left.  I didn't really finish strong with my pest control job, but I am doing a little bit better on the final stretch of my mission. I was proud of myself. We ate lunch Sunday and then members invited us in for a steak dinner right after we finished. I turned them down so we could go out and get work done. THAT WAS PAINFUL!!!! I haven’t had a legit steak in ages!!!

OH and I almost forgot, Elder Taylor is my new companion. He is from Aussie... my 4th from Australia!

I actually don’t have too many funny stories or super exciting things that happened this week... I lost almost half my zone yesterday though. That was a big bummer. And to make things worse I don’t even know why I had 4 missionaries leave out of my 12. President asked me to not ask any questions so I didn't but man I am struggling not knowing why. Also pray for President Rudd. He is about to lose his mom. I called him yesterday and he told me he wasn't doing the best because his mom is slipping away. The whole family is gathered there and Thomas S. Monson even came and gave her a blessing. I don’t think I could have ended this letter on a more negative note.

But I will send some cool pictures and just know that I am UBER happy and I feel good because looking back on the past 22 months I don’t have any regrets! The Church is true everyone. The Church is true.


Elder Ward



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Heavnenly Father Knows Us and is Mindful of Us

Me and my boys...Elder Rasband, Elder Hammar, and Elder Misbach
Dear Family,

My time is very very short today because this is the last p-day of the transfer!!! So the whole zone is getting together for a massive PDAY experience where we will have an eating contest and other crazy and stupid activities. One of our district leaders is buying two cases of Dr. Pepper which is a huge deal for us American folk, We are doing an eat off between three elders in the zone who are all tanks and then we are going to play a mean game of touch rugby.

First item of business, I think I have gathered that I still have all the money in my checking account from home. I would like you, mom, to take all of that out except for 500 dollars and give the rest to you and dad. I DONT WANT you guys paying for my mission. I know I didn't earn enough for all of it but I want to come home a very poor man, and I want to know my money is being spent on my mission. I know my dentist fee is around 600 dollars. I already took out 300 hundred for part of it, so I will take out the other 300 maybe today. So just keep enough in there for emergencies and stuff but other than that I want all my money out and paid back to you guys for helping with my mission funds.

It sounds like exciting stuff is going on over there. I am glad everyone is doing well.  I appreciate your guys emails so much every week! To answer your question mom we are still all in the same place and we all attend the same branch... in fact I just sent in a request to have another two sets of missionaries to come down and help out in this area. So we will more than likely in the near future have 4 companionships attending this one branch... how about that?!  MOM SAMMIE JONES!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She and I were pretty good friends my senior year of high school. I went to some dance with her…I think it might have been the one in the fall.

So let me tell you of two awesome experiences I had this week. One was in Waitara where two elders had a baptism happening for S and B. It was happening at six o clock that Saturday and when I got there the elders were stressed to the MAX. One was even angry because he had gone through probably one of the worst days of his mission and then to make things worse, they forgot to fill the font so the water was going to be freezing and a combination of a lot of other bad things. I pulled him aside and tried to be as cheerful as possible and said look this is normal…Satan is trying everything he has got up his sleeve to make you feel like junk while your doing something so good. Now you have worked for months to have this happen so we are going to say a prayer to make sure that you can enjoy the thing that you've worked so hard for. So I said a prayer for him and he still wasn't doing the best... especially when he got in the FREEZING COLD WATER!!! Later that night though he called me and he thanked me and told me that as soon as he baptized her the spirit just rushed in and it honestly felt like he was getting baptized too. It was a good day for everyone. :) We even had J, the lady we have been bringing to church, come! And she loved it! 

Another awesome miracle that happened this week was we were visiting the C family who is from Fiji. They are a less active, part member family. We had a great visit with them and after we were done I asked if I could use the toilet (because they say toilet here instead of bathroom…if you ask for the bathroom they will think you’re weird and wonder why you want to go take a shower) Anyways while I was in there…which by the way I NEED TO GO ALL THE TIME NOW!!! I don’t know if its cuz I actually drink a lot of water now or what but I go like 10 to 20 times a day. Anyways, back to the story… I felt we should go out and visit our branch president who lives all the way out in the Whop-Whops. I pondered more and never really said no but the thought came back with just a little bit more force three times. After we left I told Elder Misbach…I don’t get obvious promptings a whole lot but we should go to the branch president's house. So we drove out despite it already being 8:30 at night. We got there at like 8:45 and when Sister C answered the door I explained we felt prompted to come and asked if we could do anything. She invited us in and grabbed her husband from upstairs. We sat down in their living room and I told them what I experienced at the C's house and felt like we needed to come. President C then broke down into tears and told us how the past two weeks have been dreadful for him. We all felt Heavenly Father’s love that night and it helped me gain a stronger testimony of how much Heavenly Father KNOWS us and is mindful of us.

I will end with those and try and send some pictures love you guys heaps!

Elder Ward

Wedding Time

First baptism in New Plymouth...not sure why I have the serious face??


The Fitzroy bridge

Elder Misbach  (I played my first game of golf on p-day!)

The rugby stadium down the street from my flat (Mt. Taranaki in the background)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

126 This Week!!

Good thing I am so forgiving J [We were late getting our letters to him again.] I guess I will just send you an email without hearing from you guys first... But anyway, this week WAS AWESOME!!! The Chapmans’ son got baptized on Saturday!!! WHOOHOOO!!! I think there were at least 10 non-members there too. I tracked down most of them and got a few good potential future baptism candidates! So yes, finally baptized someone in New Plymouth! But at the same time I have come to realize how much success we have been having in this area. Remember how I told you that when I first came here our average attendance was in the low to mid 70s consistently the previous 4 months. Well, the past three months have been in the hundreds and now this month in November we had 117 attending the first week and just had 126 come this week! We almost had to open the back doors for the first time in YEARS!!!

So this week has been quite the week I have switched to the EAST side of New Plymouth.... and Elder Hammar came back to the West side. Elder Misbach and Elder Rasband are now taking the role of senior companions. It was pretty hard to leave all of the families I have grown to love, but it was for the best. Plus, I might be leaving within two weeks anyway... So yeah, I am starting things over and meeting all sorts of investigators and less active families. V and J is a couple we have been teaching. V is Maori and J is Samoan. They are getting married this weekend! J is a member and is sister to our branch mission leader and V is keen on joining the Church. He has a few concerns which I am having a hard time figuring out... he isn't married and he smokes, but he has almost quit. He has never once prayed asking God if he should get baptized or to ask if the Book of Mormon is true or anything like that. He still prays but just not to find answers. We are planning on just asking him why he won’t pray specifically for those things, but yeah that’s them! Also he went to the Chapman’s baptism and HE FELT THE SPIRIT STRONG!!!

What else happened??? OH yes, Elder Misbach and I started playing pranks on the other two elders... we think of the dumbest things! We planned to have the elders open the garage and the garage would make something fall yanking another string tied to an egg that would fall off a ledge and pedulum swing into the person opening the garage. We spent half of our lunch hour preparing it and doing practice runs... but IT DIDN'T EVEN WORK!!! It was still funny though.

I finally got your letters. It’s good to hear from you guys as usual. I like the random trip to California too. That sounds pretty awesome! WAY TO GO ON THE MISSIONARY EXPERIENCE!!! DID you get a return appointment? Ask if you can have them come and be taught in your house with the missionaries there! That is such an ideal situation! DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT!!!!!!!! In fact, let’s use the Preach My Gospel commitment pattern. Mom and Dad will you invite them back to have a lesson with the missionaries??? Awesome! I knew you would accept. I PROMISE YOU that if you do that it will invite a powerful spirit in our home which will be beneficial for not only you but for Ava, and Aubrey. Then your joy will be great as you fulfill the Prophet’s call to RESCUE! I know that this will happen because I have seen it time and time again and even you can remember how special it was having Joey and his family taught in our home! I will follow up on how you guys do next week! OH and have the missionaries come over before so that you can inform them of where they are at. I know it's hard trusting 18 and 19 year old boys but I just trusted an 18 and 19 year old with HEAPS OF PEOPLE!!! The missionaries will do Great! J

Oh and Mom, I think dad and president Nuttall was right. It would be better for you to appreciate the temple while you’re working there. SIGN ME UP!!! I will be keen to help out there! Put me in the Celestial ROOM!!! haha I saw the announcement of the temple on I am pumped! I was so sure it would be finished before I got home.

Anyway, I love you guys. The Church is definitely true and OH WAIT, I got this question/theory. You know how the three wise men came to see the baby Jesus? And how they said they came from the East and saw the star there (Matthew 2:1-3)? Do you think it's possible it could have been Nephites or Lamanites? Cuz Samuel the Lamanite disappeared and then Nephi did as well. I forget the chapter and verse but it mentions him randomly leaving and not being found anywhere in the land???

Also question number 2, in D&C 20:37 it talks about the qualifications of baptism and one of them is receiving the spirit of Christ unto a remission of their sins. Does that mean people are forgiven after they repent before they get baptized? All my sons think that is the case but that does not sit well with me. I always thought forgiveness came after baptism and confirmation. Anyway, things to ponder on.


Elder Ward

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I am Still Sweet As!

Well family, it’s a crazy hectic day at the library and there are a lot of people here so I am going to have to make this letter pretty brief as well!!! Thanks Dad. I forgive you [for being a little late writing the week before]. D&C 58:42-43 I won’t remember that one slip-up you had any more. Hahaha. And I did come as a thief in the night didn't I? haha And Dad, I liked your scripture next to Mom’s picture. We had the assistants come down for companion exchanges and Elder Lui, the assistant closest to going home, told me to Read 1 Nephi chapter 11 verse 10 and then jump down right to verse 15....

Anyway, back to what’s going on in my mission! Everything is going quite well. I am leaving NEW PLYMOUTH WEST!!! and going to NEW PLYMOUTH EAST!!!! I am not super thrilled about it but it’s for the best... Our transfer will be a little longer and last for another 2 weeks. Then the one after that will be cut short 2 weeks and last for 4... SO yeah, that’s what is happenin’. Mum, I still am coming home toward the end of January but yeah, I am really starting to hear it from everybody, “YOUR  TIME IS SO SHORT,” the Elder who is about to finish his mission. haha Don’t worry though. I am still unfazed. I think I would be embarrassed to admit if I was fazed but I am still sweet as!

This week I had another awesome mission leadership council at President Rudd’s house. I took up Elder Christie, the Canadian district leader in our zone, just to have a mean 3-hour heart-to-heart with him on the trip up and then for the trip down. I learned a lot from him, especially at night. He knelt down and prayed for at least 20 minutes. He inspired me to stop saying lousy prayers where I am kneeling with my face in my bed, and to get away from my bed and to start my prayer with a small hymn or something to help me focus cuz I lose focus easy. J

Anyway, things are going great. The entire zone has 7 people set with a baptism date now!!! That is phenomenal!  SO I couldn't be more proud of the effort and hard work that has been put into making this area awesome to be in! It's fun and exciting too because I kinda get to play a big role in developing the Hamilton mission. I am determining areas that missionaries will be put in for the Taranaki Zone... Of course, President gets the final say but President has trusted the zone leaders to figure out what areas should start being covered and stuff like that! So it’s fun serving right now.

Other good news, J is still progressing. She came to church for the 2nd week in a row! She was deathly afraid to be there still but she came! We have a few other investigators starting to progress so that makes things really exciting.

Another completely random side note… remember how we always used to watch the same movie on Sunday—The Other Side of Heaven? Since I have been on my mission I have collected A LOT OF DVDs... Another Testament, How Rare a Possesion, D&C Resource DVD which has Legacy, Mountain of the Lord, Only a Stonecutter, the John Tanner story and the Joseph Smith movie... the Old Testament resource DVD, the old Family Home Evening DVD, On Our Way Home, Mormon Messages, Reflections of Christ (thanks Mom), Between Heaven and Earth, On the Lord’s Errand, and Finding Faith in Christ... Mom, I have one request. If you REALLY NEED to send a package for Christmas, there is now a Mormon Messages 2 DVD… it should have a green cover... Elder Hammar got it and it is AWESOME!!!

Anyway, love you guys and good luck at the temple dedication!!! Make sure everyone gets those booties on! OH and YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THE MISSOURI MISSION SENT A COPY of the cultural celebration!!! That’s awesome! I am stoked for that!


Elder Ward