Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd


It's really funny actually. I joined with Collin this week in a very funny way! I spoke too! For I think the 7th time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This time my topic was on the worth of souls. Kinda an easy topic for a missionary. I was at your talk in spirit, Collin, and I was at Ava's baptism too in spirit. I sat next to Mom at both and she scratched my back spiritually speaking that is. Thanks for all your letters everyone. It sure sounds like things have been going great in AZ… stressful, but great! That's mission life Collin. GET USED TO IT!!!! That’s why Mom is going to make an awesome missionary with Dad when that time finally comes around for them.

So I have got a FUNNY story for you guys and it’s the reason why I have made the subject of my letter, “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd.” So I was going to use a few lines from hymn #221-Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd for my talk on the worth of souls... Anyway, on Friday (at least I think it was Friday) we biked out to a university where we had a few potential investigators. As we wrapped things up and needed to head off to our next appointment I did not particularly have the desire to back track and go around the small nature preserve in between where we were and where we needed to be. So we threw our bikes over a small fence, hopped it, and started riding towards where I thought we needed to go. As we made it up a small hill we noticed a good 50 sheep minding their own business grazing in the fields. Of course, my boyish side came out and we began to chase the sheep on our bikes! As I was chasing the sheep they all went for high ground except one broke off from the 99 and instead of laying it on my shoulders rejoicing I chased that one. As I was chasing it (going down hill) out of nowhere there was a good foot deep random pot hole in the hill and my front tire jammed right into it, and I went face first into the ground and rocket launched my Book of Mormon, badge, pens, pamphlets, and of course my bike in front of me. Two miracles happened here: 1. I didn’t get seriously hurt—just a good bump on my head, a grass stain on my shoulder, and small aches and pains everywhere else; and 2. I didn't land in any sheep POOP because it was everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!! Long story short I was able to laugh it off and work the rest of the day. Now it will always be a choice memory of my mission!

I had a great week guys! Elder Johnson and I are for sure ROCKIN THE BOAT! Honestly, as far as investigators and baptisms go I might not have another the rest of my mission, but I feel SO GOOD!!!!!!!!! On Sunday we had 146 AT CHURCH!!!!!!!!!! That is literally double the average attendance New Plymouth had 6 months ago. I think the first two Sundays I had in the branch the attendance was 66 and then 73. 

Christmas was SOOOO GOOOD!! Being able to talk to you guys was priceless! The first 20 minutes was a little bit weird because everyone was in the room with us while I was trying to have a good proper heart to heart with the family. By the way, Elder Johnson says that Ava is super cute. He liked Trevor’s Mexican impersonation, and he said that Collin is going to make a great missionary. I asked him why he thought that and he said if anyone asks that question it’s a good show of what they are going to become on their mission. Also Collin, I found answers from the scriptures for what you need to do. In D&C 4 obviously, but also in 11 too! I studied it this morning and I found 4 things! 1. HAVE DESIRE!!!!!!!!!! 2. BE WORTHY (I mentioned that one) 3. Study the Word of the Lord  4. Keep the commandments (Obedience). Start doing those things now and feel free to read D&C 11. Collin, I think it would be good.

Other good things that happened this week… T passed the sacrament, we brought another less active family to church—J and her 4 kids! We had a dinner set up with them and the G family the night before. She was super shy and scared to go, but it all turned out SUPERDY DUPER! I hope you guys have a great new year! Collin, be careful. Don’t go to any dumb new year’s parties. I remember before I left there were heaps of those and some of them were definitely not the best places to be.


Elder Ward


Sunday, December 22, 2013


SOUNDS GOOD family. I will do everything to talk to you at 4 [on Christmas Eve] but in all honesty I will probably be a little bit late just to give you a little bit of time to get home and everything like that so it might be more like 4:30. Hopefully everything goes off without a hitch and yeah kind of like how Aubrey said, I guess I will just see you in a month anyway... It's okay Aubrey. That is totally something I would say. If anything I am impressed how much you have become like your older brothers! BUT YOU BETTER STILL WRITE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So the news we have all been waiting for! I am GONE!!!!!! Serving in the Tongan Princess Ward in Papakura! Jokes. I am staying in New Plymouth and finishing my mission there. Elder Taylor is gone now. He left up to Hamilton and my new companion’s name is Elder Johnson. I know him well. He is one of the most experienced zone leaders in the mission besides me and Elder Wachob. So I am pretty excited to be leaving the Taranaki zone leader mantle on him. It’s really nice to be able to take a break from training too!!!!!! I loved training but it gets pretty tiresome doing it back-to-back-to-back... It is really cute though seeing missionaries make all the funny newbie mistakes. For example, we just picked up a new missionary in the zone and on our way back we stopped at a gas station and he asked if we were allowed to drink soda still. J  It made me laugh. Oh and yes, Elder Rasband and Elder Andrus are still with us in the 4 man flat.

Well, I’m keepin things short today but I will tell you family that at this point in my mission very few days go by where I can't help but look back on my mission and see the difference every single day has made in my life. I know Elder Edward Dube's mom would tell me not to look back because it is true I have got a lot of work to do in the coming weeks!!!!!!! I am happy though because MY FIRE IS FUELED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have seen too many missionaries finish regretting their last few weeks, getting trunky and what not so I’m working my buns off!  Elder Johnson and I hit the ground running straight after our drive back from transfers. It’s pretty funny and I haven't told a lot of people but on my last missionary daily planner I have taped on a picture of Noah’s ark... President Riggle in the district Presidency told me to really pay attention to how many days I have left not as a countdown but as a reminder of how short my time really is. So I figured out I had 40 days and 40 nights the day of transfers. I followed his counsel and I am going to do everything in my power to ROCK THE BOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I have a cool picture of Noah to help me stay motivated. 

Sad news Dad, Rmoved to the south Island... He did it to get away from bad influences so we are going to refer the missionaries down to him. But for some GREAT news Tabare received the Holy Ghost and is now an Aaronic Priesthood holder! HAVE a good Christmas Season and I will talk to you in two days. SEE YA!



Elder Ward 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Taranaki Hit Their Goal!!!

T's Baptism

T's Baptism attendees
So here are some pictures along with the email. First off, there is a picture of T, my companion, and Noah Jones, the priest who just moved into our ward from Utah! It was his first baptism so it sure was exciting for the family and especially for him. It was a great after church program. Normally we do the baptisms on Saturday but I wanted to see if it would be a little bit more easy to just have it be done on a Sunday... TOTALLY WORTH IT!!! We just have to wait for him to receive the Holy Ghost till next week and the Aaronic Priesthood. Funny story, it turns out his mom is a less active member and got baptized when she was 14 as well but her dad told her to leave the church and stay away from it, but after her daughter and son joining the church it will be hard for her to stay away. J Also, there is a picture somewhere on here of everyone who stayed for the baptism after.
So yeah, my very last transfer. It’s a little bit nerve racking figuring out what is going to happen to me... to be quite honest my number one place to go is wherever the Lord wants... A Tongan ward wouldn't be half bad though. haha Apparently, when missionaries finish their missions, Tongans throw a huge party for them and go all out with pigs and everything and then they get young teenage girls and put some kind of oil stuff on them and as they dance people stick money to their skin. And everything that gets put on the missionary takes home.... SOUNDS SO WRONG!!!! But would be sweet. I don’t know anything that is happening yet but sure am looking forward to it! Getting a little antsy to be honest!
Other cool stories… at church on Sunday a really dark Maori guy showed up wearing normal clothes and had a very long pony tail. His name is R.  Turns out this guy was investigating the church and progressing quite well when the law caught up to him and he eventually had to go to prison for 6 months... (hopefully not for murder) J Because you would be surprised, Dad, about some of the laws and punishments in this country. I am just using the word surprised because I am not meant to say anything negative about the country. In emails home. J Anyway he showed up to church and we got talking to him and he knows all the lessons we teach from Preach M Gospel almost better than I do. He told us he decided to drop all his addictions and his 6 months in prison helped him do that. Then he asked how soon he could get baptized. January 4th it’s happenin!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Taranaki is finally up and running. An area that had been deeply scarred is now an active, fun running zone to be in. We had a goal to baptize three people this month and guess what, SUNDAY WE HIT IT!!!!!!!!! President Rudd told each of the zone leaders he would like each of us to call him one day and say, we did it president, we hit a goal! So after our baptism on Sunday we gave him a call to let him know that we were the first zone in the Hamilton mission history to hit a goal as a zone. Haha President Rudd said, “Hold on a minute,” as he rolled down his car window and yelled at the top of his lungs, “WHOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Taranaki HIT THEIR GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, Elders, it has been shouted from Tuhikaramea in Hamilton. WELL DONE!” Something along those lines it was pretty funny.
I forgot to mention last week but I finished reading the Book of Mormon again!!! I lost track of how many times I have read it all the way through. I think it was three before the mission and six on the mission but I could be wrong... Anyway, I went downstairs in the middle of personal study after I finished reading it and prayed to ask God if it was true... again and I just received yet again just another small confirmation that it was true then I went back upstairs and disturbed everyone else as they did personal study and said, “Well, I got good news everyone! The Book of Mormon is still true!” Mom and Aubrey, keep that challenge. That is the most important book you will ever read in your life, and most important to keep reading DAILY!
Anyway, love you guys. Sounds good for 4:00 pm my time 8:00 your time on Christmas eve. I am Skype-tarded so I will need a little help on how I will reach you guys so you can just send me that next week.

Elder Ward

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Well family…today is a good day! Once again we had another good week! Let’s answer some questions first! Yes family, I will be able to skype and that is what I will be trying to do! President Rudd is also giving us an hour instead of 30 to 40 minutes.  You can tell me later about when you would like to skype.  I would prefer my Christmas day and your Christmas eve. It doesn't matter so much for the time and yes, mom, you have a point. We will give Collin most of the time. I guess just slap him in front of the computer because I will be able to talk to you guys a month after that call. So yeah, then for dinner …let’s do In n Out!

SOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS... your prayers and mine have been answered again! T, a Kiribati boy, is getting baptized on the 15th of December in our branch! We found him early in the week on Monday. His sister is a recent convert from Tauranga. It's funny too because I figured out that I had gone to her house there and started to reactivate her family. Then Elder Reese came and picked up where we left off, and she ended up getting baptized. Now she has moved down to New Plymouth and is helping convert her family. So yeah, we are just going to have his baptism right after church! And it’s good too because it is 4 days right before transfers! His mom got baptized ages ago and will slowly make her way to church and we have been trying to work with the dad too.

Other exciting news…I had a really good weekend because of District Conference. We had a visiting member of the 70 come and visit along with the Rudds! I LOVE THEM!!!! I got to talk to Elder Dudfield of the 8th quorum of the 70 for some time! He was awesome! There was just a really good spirit the whole time! Other good things…we got another set of really good sisters in our zone and we are going to be the first zone that has hit a baptism goal this entire year! President Rudd is big on setting goals that we will achieve but still make us stretch.   I set a goal for our zone to baptize three people in one month which is doable but still a hard thing to do. Well we have two already for the month and things are looking positive for the rest!

Mom and dad keep working hard! AVA!!!! Good luck getting baptized. Make sure you take lots of pictures and write down how you felt on your baptism day so that you can remember everything a little bit better. Your baptism day will be the most important day of your life!

Just a small email today folks. I will send some pictures but one last piece of cool news. I GOT A NEW CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! brand spankin new with only 23 kilometers on it! It's a 2013 Holden Cruze. The thing purrs like a kitten!


Elder Ward


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Perfect Baptism

J's Baptism
Dear Family,

It sounds like you had a mean Thanksgiving week full of heaps of reunion, volleyball, and TURKEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, in New Zealand they don’t believe in Thanksgiving so it was easy to forget that all those cool things were happening back home. Anywho, I am doing quite well this week even though for some reason I had crazy bad allergies and my eyes were buggin’ out and goin’ completely red on me. Other than that it was simply marvelous! Oh and I checked myself for DA BEETUS!!!!!!! And I am all sweet Mom you got me a little nervous there for a second.

We had Jo's baptism this weekend and it went off just about as perfect as any baptism I have ever been to. We had a good turnout. People remembered spare clothes. The branch president was there. The branch mission leader conducted everything. The water was warm... Elder Rasband and his trainee are the ones teaching her so they were left in charge for everything which is STRESSFUL!!!!!!! I was able to help Coach Elder Rasband through everything he needed to do and prepare for. He did a great job! I had to help quite a bit but he still did well. I will send a picture of her baptism day.

Other cool things that happened this week … we had AN AWESOME zone conference! President Rudd is the man! He started off by telling us that we brush over the first bullet point (God is our loving Heavenly Father) too quickly... He explained that until people really know and understand who He is and what He is all about it will be very hard for people to have the desire to want to figure everything else out. Then we did a lot of other trainings and workshops and stuff like that. It was weird being the OLDEST missionary there.

Also, random experience for the week... I would like to have you know I ran over a ducky the other day. It was just chillin’ in the middle of the road and I was wondering why the cars in front of me were swerving out of the way... until I saw him. It was too late. There was a big sickening THUD!!!! and I destroyed Mother Ducky while all of her family was watching from the other side of the road... What is funny is I felt pretty bad. I think my mission has changed me heaps more than I expected it to.

Lately I have been working HARD in the east side of New Plymouth. Basically from Ground Zero... My missionary sons are GREAT but the problem was they got stuck seeing a lot of the same people who would accept visits but would not keep a single commitment. So now we are kind of weeding out the wheat from the tares. I think I might need you guys to pray for us to find more investigators again because the WEST SIDE is still SUPER PROSPEROUS!!! Good things are happening down here.

I think this a pretty boring letter. I don't have much to say about this week other than that. So I will just tell you guys that I have really loved every bit of my mission. Mom, I thought a lot about what you shared with me from Alex's mission conference and it is so true. I think this is the closest I have ever been to REAL LIFE than anything else I have experienced before. I love New Zealand. I love EVERY SINGLE PERSON I talk to like they are my own family. Then once again, I think I mention this almost every week but serving out here has made me gain such an appreciation for MY OWN family. I love you guys so much and the sacrifices you have made for me. I am grateful for all of your good examples and for helping me love serving God and being a part of this church. You guys are GREAT!!!


Elder Ward

Another Baptism in our Zone


New Zealand Currency

Elder Andrus' bicycle burnt hands...Ouch!

P-day at the TSB Bowl

New Zealand Ice Cream

Another random P-day picture