Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Great Last Week!!


Today is a good day! I just finished a game of golf with the Goodmans and I am sending off one last email! I had a GREAT LAST WEEK! I prayed and asked every day for God's help to endure to the end and I still have time to go but Sunday was great! It was my last full day of missionary work and, of course... it decides to POUR DOWN! I was actually excited for the challenge so instead of walking with umbrellas like we normally do we BIKED ANYWAYS! Haha! I got soaked! I had to change in between dinner hour. Then after dinner my shirt was SOOOOOO gross. The top around my neck and shoulders turned brown from the water and sweat from pumping up and down New Plymouth hills. We had a few great last experiences—found a keen new investigator who just went through a bad divorce. We had a few other great miracles happen early in the week too. But I will tell you! On Sunday there were SO many people that came to church that we had been working with. Doing the math, there were a little over 20 individuals at church who we had been working with to bring back throughout my time here in the Naki. 

There have been a lot of great things that have happened, a lot of nice letters and notes and stuff like that... but yesterday the most meaningful one of all was Brother Coward, the Rock of a man who used to be the district president. He was announcing the success of our rescue visits (he and I got out to 11 families in one night). After that, he thanked me for everything I did in the branch and said I have been an outstanding missionary and that I would be greatly missed. He teared up a little which was pretty shocking coming from him. I love Brother Coward. 

It still has not really sunk in that I am finishing up my mission soon. Hopefully it won’t sink in when I am in public cuz I might be a mess. Anyways, I love you guys so much! I will see ya tomorrow. haha My tomorrow—your two days. I will travel back in time to catch up with you guys though. No worries. Have a good time until then! Thanks for your letter OOBS, and nice teeth Ava and Despicable Me 2! SOUNDS GREAT!


Elder Ward


Sunday, January 19, 2014

This Gospel Makes Me Happy


GO Collin!!!!!!!!!! That was just about one of the coolest letters I have ever read on my mission. [Collin’s first real letter from his mission.] I don’t know about you, Mom and Dad, but it sure is sweet seeing Collin out there. Haha And AVA, IT IS MY CAR NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mom, let’s suss out the most important stuff. [Wow! That’s actually a real word. suss:  figure out —usually used with out; to inspect or investigate so as to gain more knowledge] Can you just send that to the Goodmans? I would send it to President but I think it would be a little bit better if we sent that to the Goodmans. Good job Mom inviting friends to the temple open house. That will be an experience and a half. I think that general authority guy hit it right on the nose! Remember Craig Christensen’s talk about his 5 year old son who was in the celestial room and he asked his dad why he had a weird/good feeling in his chest? And Elder Christensen took the time to kneel down to his son and explain what he was feeling? I know your friends will feel it along with everyone else who comes along to the open house... Hopefully we can just help them recognize what that feeling is!

Anywho WOW, I only got 8 days left. I will probably email next week because I still have companions and stuff who need email so I would not want to be unfair to them. So still email me I guess and I will probably share some last thoughts in my last letter home. 
Now let me tell you something Awesome that happened this week! I gained a stronger testimony of the Priesthood! On Wednesday we learned that R, a struggling convert to the Church got hit and run over by a drunk driver. That was a pretty big shock. He went to the hospital and got admitted out the day after. Anyways, we got a call from a member asking us to go visit him in his house and give him a blessing SO we did. When R opened the door I was a little shocked he was able to walk... he had a big gash on his head, torn up knuckles, bruised ribs and very sore knees. I still don’t know how anything was not broken inside his body but we gave him a blessing. Anyways, the next night he gave us a call and he sounded super happy and excited (especially for a guy who had just been run over by a car). He called just to let us know that our "prayer" worked and that he felt better and that the pain in his ribs and everything was gone. 

Another experience was with J.  She had not been able to make it to church the past 3 weeks because of a serious chest infection. She showed up last Sunday even though she was not doing well at all! When she talked you could tell she had at least 4 pounds of junk clogging her lungs, throat, and nose. We gave her a blessing after sacrament and then when she came out of relief society at the end of the day she said she felt fine and she was talking perfectly normal without the 4 pounds of junk. Isn't Heavenly Father GREAT?! 

Honestly, I think that those two experiences alone can explain how awesome my week went but, I just want to let you guys know that I am happy. J  I hope you guys are too. I find myself telling that to a lot of people especially as of late. I explain the whole reason I am here is because this gospel makes me happy and I know it will do the same for you. So stay happy over there in Arizona. You guys rock.

Elder Ward





Sunday, January 12, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Dear family,

I had an awesome 21st birthday! Lots of love and zero gifts really. OHHH WAIT NEVERMIND!!! I got a lava lava straight from Samoa and some Coa Coa Samoa to share with the family. I kinda kept the whole birthday thing on the down-low… not sure why.... and no, you sent the package too late. I won’t get that until I leave for home. SO yeah...

This week was a little bit testing in different ways, one way in particular was on Saturday. On Friday we had to have biked at least 12 miles... My butt, thighs, and everything was soooo sore! I was a little tired of not having set appointments and not being able to find new investigators. But things went well on Saturday. We had a few mini miracles and we were able to find a few keen people to teach. Anywho, God is pretty good at helping us be humble... I read later on in the Book of Mormon when Alma and Amulek had just watched all their converts burn in a big fire and they were sitting in prison for ages, when one day a lot of judges, lawyers, and other people came in and started cleaning them out (smiting their cheeks) until the very last one took his cheap shot at the two when God finally gave them strength and provided the miracle. I wondered why even they had to endure such torment but Isaiah 55:8-9, right?

Nothing too different is happening... I decided to finish the BOM one last time before I finish my mission so I started on Sunday last week and I made it to Alma chapter 21 as of today... So halfway through in a week. I think I will be able to finish by the time I finish.

Oh, on my birthday I got all that cool Samoan stuff and then we set up a BBQ Sunday dinner with an American family (the Riggles) and the Kleins, a family that is just starting to come back to church. They have 5 kids so it was quite the dinner! Oh and the Riggles have 3! Plus us made 14 of us total which seemed like a lot, but now saying it Mom is probably laughing saying, “Try doing 3 times that!” Anyways we had a great time. They even had hot wings which was so crazy for me because SPICY does not exist in New Zealand! I almost died the first bite but I really grew to love them. I think I smashed like 15 hot wings. Now I just fear some Spicy Hot #2 which will probably soon come. J I think I have grown to have more of a liking for spice out here. Not as bad as Uncle Ryan though... Wasn't he the one that had spicy sauce sent to him in his packages? Anyways after the BBQ we sat down and watched Mormon messages and the Riggles did a great small FHE and helped the Kleins feel the spirit! It was a great birthday for me.

Thanks for your letters everyone. I especially liked the pictures. Dad, I was a little disappointed that you had nothing to say about my infringement notice for $600. Just said "Operated Vehicle in a manner liable to cause annoyance."  I am so tempted to leave the country without paying that fine... NO worries though. I wouldn't want to leave with that sin on my head. Then I wouldn't be able to come back because there would be a warrant out for my arrest. Sounds great though 2/16 for my homecoming talk? haha Aimee Mouser [who will be giving her farewell talk the same meeting] is going to make my talk trash! Anyways love you guys a ton. Keep praying for me to finish strong and stay happy. I'm doing my best to not be sad about finishing.

Elder Ward


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Advice to Collin

Dear Collin,

This letter is really only going to be titled for you even though the message is going out to everyone, but I feel it would be a little bit more meaningful if this letter is a little bit more centered around you. Before that I need to respond back to some of the emails. First off, nice temple picture. Mom is looking good! Haven't aged a bit since I have left. Second, Dad, thanks for the rebuke on the sheep. You were totally right. That would have been pretty lame getting seriously hurt. Third, Ava's puppy has a funny looking nose. It's really pink! But so is part of my head that got bashed into the ground. It might scar!

Now Collin time. I got some advice for you! ARE YOU READY?!?!

#1 This is not going in order of importance. But the first thing is Be safe on your mission! Don’t chase sheep! Be careful on your bike, and be careful when you’re driving. Getting tickets is NO FUN! By the way, more information on my ticket: I got the infringement notice in the mail... and this is word for word what it said "Operated vehicle in a manner liable to cause annoyance... 600$"  President Rudd will probably not have me fight it in court as ridiculous as that is,  it doesn't look good for the Church showing up in court... In the States if you took that to a judge he would probably just laugh.

#2 Work your buns off! We just had the assistants come down from Ham town to visit us. They stayed two nights and worked with us all Sunday. I realized something cool. A lot of missionaries need to put on a good face and plan better for the day, work harder throughout the day, and be a little more obedient while the APs are watching. It felt really good not having to worry about putting on a face or changing anything that I would normally do. A good measure of your work can be seen on how hard you work when you think nobody is watching (that was kind of half stolen from PMG chapter 6 under the Christlike attribute Virtue). Also, by the way, one of the Assistants, Elder Hirschi, has one of those funny chest cavity thingies and he and I are pretty tight. We play pranks on each other all the time... Anyways the 1st morning before he got in the shower I got the other elders to pounce on him and hold him down while I grabbed milk and cereal and poured it in for a makeshift bowl. Totally got it on video too.

#3 The most important thing that should be focused on is WHO you become. Let me make this one very clear and something I hope you never forget. You’re not going on a mission for you. You’re going on a mission to save others who need saving, and your going because that's what the Lord wants. However, the reason I say focus on WHO you will become is because if you become someone who is filled with the Spirit, Testimony, Faith, Optimism, Hope, Charity, and Complete and Absolute desire to Obey all of God's Commandments, then your purpose to invite others to come unto Christ will be SOOOO Much easier. There are so many things that missionaries have to worry about: Working with Members, Talking with Strangers, Following the Spirit, Keeping the Rules, Reactivation, Baptizing, Teaching Skills, Leaving and following up on commitments, Personal and Companion Study, Leadership Responsibilities, and MUCH MUCH MORE. Elder Galt (the assistant) explained to me, “I don’t think there will ever be a missionary who is doing everything PERFECT all at once. There is just so much to do it's near impossible to master everything at once, but if there is anything that would be important to keep with us the rest of our lives would be just what I mentioned, WHO we become.

#4 Gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. That book is so true. Read it every day of your mission. I think I have finished 6 times and going for a 7th before I leave the mission field. It will give you so much power to do your work. Some missionaries go out without reading it all the way through. I could safely assume you have read it once if not multiple times, but find a real love for that book on your mission.

#5 Don’t feel bad if things get hard. It’s meant to go that way.

#6 Follow the Spirit. Don’t be the missionary that needs to get prompted 3 times.

#7 Sometimes you’re going to have to care more about a missionary’s salvation than your friendship.

#8 Be careful of what you pack. That is your life for the next two years.

#9 Don’t be afraid to have fun (appropriate fun). The Cheerios and milk from the chest bowl may have been a little over the top. J

#10 Live in the moment. Don’t worry about Family, Friends, School. All of those things can sit and wait. Live in the moment. Make every day meaningful because one day you will be at the end like me and you will want to look back on what you accomplished with a big smile on your face.

Elder Ward

P.S. There is heaps more advice I could give, but I guess you will just have to figure that all out. Be good Collin (Elder Ward #3). Save a seat for me at your setting apart. J