Sunday, May 22, 2016

13 December 2015 - The Greatest E-mail

It has come. As all things do in this world, to an end! Thankfully this is a happy one. In a way I don't feel as if it is really ending. I hope that I can apply the same work effort when I come home.

But first the week... This week was a challenge. As I have mentioned in the last e-mails, our area has seemed to get tougher to work in. I have seen this happen before on my mission. I have experienced just about everything that a missionary can go through on his mission. The only solution is to keep working with faith and diligence. We didn't have too much success, however though it simply felt good to go out and work. Talk to people and keep visiting those that are still in need of help. So that was our success! 

Tekani and George are doing well. We have had to read just the goal for him getting baptized on the 26th of December which is his Birthday! It should be just right. Last weekend didn't work out because of a Ward Christmas party, and things simply could not be pulled together quick enough. The 19th doesn't work to well either due to a Stake Temple trip on the 19th where many of the Recent Converts are going to be going to the Temple in the first. The 26th seemed to us like the best day. It doesn't hurt to add a bit more preparation as well. By setting the goal though, we where able to draw out an important concern. Tekani's mother, is not a member, and she is against the church in many ways. She is the legal guardian for him too. According to George, she does not want him to be baptized into the church... Nothing a bit of fasting and praying can't help out with. We will be looking into a bit more to see what we can do to help it happen on the 26th. George is a great guy, it is amazing to see the love that he has for his Son. I love how George does his own studies, he takes notes on the commitments that we give him as well! We love hearing about what he has learned. Sometimes George can take the stage during the lessons, however we remind ourselves that he is just as important as Tekani and that we should help him just as much. Ultimately, by strengthening George, Tekani will get there for sure. I am not disappointed in the least bit that it did not work out. Something that I have knew but learned well on my mission is that we cannot base our success as missionaries on the number of Baptisms that we accomplish. It comes down to us feeling the Spirit as we work, and our own personal commitment to fulfil what the first Presidency expects of us and ultimately the Lord. The best thing we can do is live the gospel as fully as we can and then invite people to learn about what makes our lives so rich!

This week we also had a chance to go down to the New Zealand Hamilton Temple. It was a choice experience and I am grateful for the chance that I had to go at the end of my mission as well. It was a great opportunity to reflect on what I learned on my mission and the things that I had accomplished. I didn't need to do it in the Temple, but I had a chance to give an accounting to the Lord in the Temple so why not? That is one thing that I have learned on my mission. We are accountable to the Lord in everything we do. This is his time that he has given us to be here on earth. We should use it to accomplish his will! He can do so much more with our lives, than our selves alone. Keeping his commandments make us free, and preserve our agency. Repenting of our sins relieves our spirits of the great burden it carries and weighs us down with. The scriptures are amazing and they teach us, and testify that the Gospel is real and that our Father in Heaven loves us. It is no secret, God wants us to know this, and he is sending his servants, all around the world to declare it! I am grateful to have been one of his instruments!

Some would say it is a incredible Sacrifice. I would say it is a privilege to be something that is weak, and be made strong. D&C 1:18-28

I look forwards to seeing you guys in person and getting to hug yous once again. I look forwards to the time that we will be able to spend with one another again! It will be amazing! Love You all!

Elder Ward

Sunday, December 13, 2015

6 December 2015 - Good Hard Working Week!‏

Another good solid week of missionary work. The most exciting being that we could be having a baptism this Saturday. I have mentioned Tekani to yous before. He is a great boy and we have been teaching him for a while. His father George has been a great help with the work. I love teaching them because they are diligent with their commitments. We always have think of commitments that are meaningful and achievable. Sometimes as missionaries we get to general with commitments. "Oh just read the pamphlet" or "read the introduction to the Book of Mormon". These are good but they are not the best depending on the needs of the investigators and how the commitment is extended. I always love to find specific scriptures that I feel will be meaningful to them and then write down questions on a sticky note that they can think about and find the answers to as they read it. It is great to see investigators keep commitments and give great positive reports. It doesn't happen unless you have an investigator. It is rewarding to watch people grow in faith as they keep commitments that you extend.

We are slightly hesitant about the baptism coming up this weekend. Only reason being is because they don't want to feel rushed or un prepared. Best thing we can do is teach them a bear testimony that they are prepared, so they can feel the Spirit. :) I don't want them to feel pressured into doing it because I am going home... I would be just as happy if was baptized after my mission than if I was there. My ultimate goal as a Missionary is that people are for the right reasons, and understand fully what kind of a commitment they are making. It is going to be great none the less!

I don't think I will really be able to buy any souvenirs, however I don't really have a strong desire to be honest. Don't know why, I think it may simply because many of the "cool things" You can get you can also get online for cheaper at home. I will see what I can do though. I would love to share more of NZ with you guys. May not have to much stuff to take home, other than what is most important, myself, my testimony, scriptures, journals, and clothes :)

I am excited to come home. I am sure it will be a wonderful experience. I don't really look at it as ending. Maybe my purpose a bit. However though I look forwards to applying what I have learned on my mission. Set some great goals and work hard towards them! I love my mission, it has been a wonderful experience, and there is still more to come! I have one more week left to devote ALL every second of everyday of my time and attention to the Lord. I am looking forwards to doing my best!

I know that this that our Father in Heaven Loves us. So much it is difficult to describe. I am grateful for the chance that I have had share my testimony with everyone that I meet. Especially of Jesus Christ, and what he has done for us out of love. Everything our Father in Heaven has done for us, has simply been out of love. 2 Nephi 26:23-24

 Love you all!
Elder Ward

 New Zealand is so Green!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

30 November 2015 - Chicken the Pox

This week was pretty interesting. We had a missionary come down with
Chicken Pox... He ended up staying in our flat while we stayed in other
Elders flat we could avoid having him around to many missionaries. There
was one Elder out of the 2 companionship that was not vaccinated, so he was
most likely to get it. I have been vaccinated, so I haven't been to
concerned about getting it. But there where thoughts going through my head
like what if I got it and I could not fly home?...extension? Haha. Everyone
is healthy though now. The Elder that was sick was so happy to get out of
the flat. He was in there for nearly a whole week!

Anyways, this week we have been working hard as usual. We have been
diligent with working with some of the same people despite them not
progressing as much as we envision for them. We are always seeking to
help them in anyway. I think the best thing for them is to simply just
feel the Spirit.
It is the spirit that softens peoples hearts changes desires. We do through
sharing meaningful thoughts, and inviting them to act.

We had an awesome lesson with Tekani one of our most solid progressing
investigators. His Father George is LA, however he has been coming back
really strong! His love and support for his son has made it an amzing
experience for us to teach them both together. We often have lessons at the
chapel, but even better is the family that is fellowshipping them. We have
had a FHE with them and the Spirit is so strong when the members are the
ones leading the FHE and helping the investigators know what it is like to
live the gospel in their lives. This week though we taught the 3rd
lesson in PMG. It was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was awesome! We
invited to Takani to be baptized, however though they did not commit
to a Solid date to them wanting to be more ready. We assured them that
they would be and that as they pray, and continue to learn they will
know it is right for them and the desire will be there. We are excited
and prayerful for it. We hope that on the 5th or the 12th things will
be in order for the Baptism.

I think that I will have to leave it at that for this week.

No pictures this week sorry. We are at a different e-mail shop and I
don't trust the computers.

Looks like you guys had a great time in Rome! Boy that must have been
interesting. The Temple is looking good too. I remember 2 years ago I
took a selfy in fornt of it and it was no where near where it is now!
Very cool.

Love You all,
Elder Ward

Sunday, November 29, 2015

23 November 2015 - Another Week of Hard Work

This week has been good. Lots of good hard work. Despite the area being small, it is interesting to see how we are still managing to stay quite busy. I have noticed that in larger areas missionaries can tend to think that they have more work to do in their areas. However I would like to say that this mind-set is not a bit faulty. In a smaller area you focus more on the individuals, realizing that we have to work with these people despite maybe thinking that there are others that we could go find and see. You focus much more on their needs. If you see some of the same people walking on the street, what do you do? Keep talking with them. Just because you have spoken with them before does not mean that you have nothing meaningful to share with them today. I love trying to figure out creative and different ways to talk with people. It is great to have a laugh with them on the street to show them that we are normal people as well.

This week though, we have been working with a lot of Less-Actives, it has been great. If we don't have any appointments, we are always looking for someone to teach and assist in their journey back to their Father in Heaven. We taught this one Less-Active young man named Sid. He was about 15 or so. We taught him outside on the grass because there was no one home old enough for us to go in. We had a great lesson on prayer. We asked him questions about how he was doing personally. He said that he was only praying every so often. Nothing to consistent. It was great to explain to him how important it really is to pray and talk with our Heavenly Father. We did a little demonstration or visual with our ties. You either end of the tie in each hand and then try to put a not in it. It seems impossible however if you fold your arms like you are to pray and then grab the tie and then unfold them, you make a not in the tie. He really enjoyed the small demonstration to go along with the lesson. We where thinking of a commitment that we could leave with him. I didn't want it to be boring or meaningless. Like giving him something to read. It is not to appealing for a young boy. With a stroke of inspiration (it was the Spirit that gave us the inspiration) we invited him to go teach his Brothers and show him what we showed with him.

When we followed up with him and we where elated to hear that he had shown his Brothers and also shared with them about prayer to. Very often we come back and they don't do it. We had another lesson, this time more centred on the scriptures, and learned about Lehi's Vision. We showed him a picture and explained it to him and how important and meaningful it is for us. He really enjoyed it. Once again we gave the picture book to him and challenged him to read 1 Nephi Chapter 8 and then share it with his family. He also expressed a desire to pray as a family, and we encouraged him to continue working with his family. He is a great kid!

Congrats Stuart on getting the Melchezidek Priesthood that must have been a real surprise for sure. Look forwards to hearing about your call and also doing some training when I get back. Have you watched those videos I sent a link to? That would be really good for you to. I will keep following up for sure!

Love you all heaps!
Elder Ward

The picture is with one of my favourite missionaries. Elder Schetzel is in the Zone and it is great to be with him again. He was actually serving for a while in Niue, for a bit. He loved it out there. He has some awesome stories! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

15 November 2015 - Letter Home

In this week we have accomplished a lot. As missionaries one way report on how our efforts have been going is through Key Indicators. Like how many lessons we have taught during the week, how many people we have talked with, how many people we have baptized during the week as well. For this week you could say that our numbers where a bit low. However though we did have a few moments we felt where very valuable though.

One being a visit with a Less-Active Brother who has been wuite shy torwards us. We met with him once before when we popped by, however he didn't say to much and we ended up talking to his Mother more than him. He was home by himself with just the Kids. He invited us in and we chatted up a storm. He apparently doesn't have a concern as to why he doesn't come to church. But he has to cause he doesn't come. He even told us that he wasn't being lazy about it either. Didn't really make sense, but we didn't want to interrogate him by any means. I did note that he was more open when his mum wasn't around...The most important par tof the visit though was inviting him to start acting and move forwards. We extended a challenge for him to read the BoM in 90 days and he responded with a solid yes. So we will be organizing that for him. If we can help him feel the Spirit I know that he will progress torwards bigger commitments such as coming to church. He is married to one of our investigators. You could say that he is the one that is holding her back. We where pleased with the miracle of encountering him and helping him!

What makes a successful missionary is not how many people he baptizes, but his commitment to serving his mission and bringing others to Christ. There are many things that are done on a mission that are never counted or reported. We worked our hardest this week, so I am happy with what we where able to accomplish because it was our best!

That is about all the time I have for today. The visa stuff has taken quite a bit of time... So busy, it is so good!

Elder Ward

Elder Falatau turned 21. So the Elders and Sisters in a District organised a bit of a surprise party for him. He didn't tell anyone about it, but they still found out though. Elder Falatau doesn't like birthdays to much... All well he got one anyways!

08 November 2015 - Transfers....

Not feeling to well right now. Just a little sick to the stomach. but I am still going to send home an awesome letter home!

Elder Falatau and I worked diligently this week for sure. We had transfers this week, so being assigned as a Zone Leader we where busy with renting a trailer and planning for how we are going to be moving all the Elders and Sisters around. It was to much fun. Elder Falatau and I are staying. So I will finish my mission with Elder Falatau. He is a great missionary and I am happy to end with him at my side. After the transfer meeting though President Balli and I spoke briefly. He gave me some great council. He put both his hands on my shouldlers and looked into my eyes and said something along the lines of "Elder Ward you are a great missionary and leader, you have shown this in the past, and just simply enjoy your last transfer, just enjoy it and the work". I appreciated it greatly because it was what I needed to hear for sure. Often times I can be very self critical, and simply to hard on myself. President knows that about me. He has been able to give me great advice for me and help me over come this personal challenge. I have improved but it can still be hard at times. Something that I will probably have to work on even after my mission to as well.

So I am looking forwards to this transfer for sure. This week we where able to get 5 new investigators, which is awesome! We have had a few investigators loose their momentum and just are progressing like we would like them top. But in there time they will get there! 2 of the investigators came form the Less Active sister that we met last Sunday. Her sons sat in on the lessons and they where interested and we shared with them a bit about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it will bless there lives just by simply living by the principles. Their names are John and William. They where never baptized, so we hope to strengthen there mother who has the most tender testimony, and then help her boys really get involved. Should be good! Something that really helps in missionary work is bearing your testimony. Or witnessing to those that you are teaching that what you have taught is true. It is powerful and really invites the spirit. I remember at a few points during the lesson that Sister James(the boys mother) doubted that she could feel more of the spirit at that it would be able to help her. At that moment I bore my testimony and reassured her that if she is on the pathway back to her Heavenly Father the Spirit will be able to help her with her returning to the church and give her peace and comfort. IT was awesome!

I have sent pictures of my previous companion who is now serving as a Zone Leader to! only 12 weeks out on his mission! His trainee is now training. It is pretty cool! you could say that I have a great grandson! We usually consider those who train like Fathers, and those being trained like sons. So because my trainees trainee is training, I am now a Grand Father! Haha fun mission Language.

At the end of the transfer meeting, missionaries gather together in a circle with the new missionaries in the center. We sing the mission song and have some good fun!
 President Balli invited me to speak at transfer meeting as well. It was a cazy looking at all the new missionaries and thinking that I was in there shoes nearly 2 years ago! I shared with them my testimony, and a few small thoughts as well pertaining to mission life.

Love You all and thanks for the e-mails,
Elder Ward

Sunday, November 8, 2015

1 Nov 2015 - A great week for the Zone!‏

To start off I am elated to report that the investigator that I interviewed last week was baptized! :) I was happy for her and I was glad that she did not harden her heart and turn away. When I interviewed her for the final time, it was great to hear how she understood the importance of the commandments. I felt sorry for her that she did have to wait, but she was so much more prepared! It was a great feeling to know that the faith on our part, the Elders teaching, the investigators, and as well with her family; all ended in a greater appreciation for the sacredness of baptism. Her husband even came up to me (who the Elder previously did not have a great relationship with) and personally thanked me after she had been baptized. It was great to see the change in him, and hopefully it will lead to him changing and joining the church in the future! Miracles do happen!

In the Zone there where 2 other Baptisms as well. One was a young boy, and the other was a Young Woman who had been preparing for a while and now could be baptized because she had parental permission. As leaders we are to be at the baptisms to make sure everything goes smoothly. So it was awesome! The only down side is that we don't get to spend time in our own area working with our own investigators.

The work in our area is still challenging in it's own way. I will share one miracle though. We received a miracle from some missionaries that where in another part of Auckland. WE went to go contact them however though there was no one by the name that we had. Interestingly enough when the lady opened the door, she said "Oh, hey Elders"... A clear indication that she was a member or at least at least a less active. After we learned that there was no one by the name we said "Oh, then it is inspired that we still met you instead!" We got to know her a bit and get a feeling for where she was in her life. She did express that she did not want to come to church because she was doing things that made her not worthy(WoW). When we learned that was the concern we then talked about how she should come despite where she was in her life. Church, is just simple a hospital for sinners, or a mechanics shop, not a car show room. Often times that is what it can be in other churches, and so many people have tha perception about church. We look forwards to going back and visiting with her and the rest of her family as they may not be members, however ready to listen and learn about the gospel. Certainly a miracle prepared by our Heavenly Father. Investigators may loose intrest, or become a former, however, there always seems to be more people prepared!

I am thankful for the church, for how it has been restored through a loving Father in Heaven. I certainly have a testimony, and know it is true!

Thanks for your e-mails, love you all heaps!

Congrats Madelyn, and I loved the costumes to. Halloween isn't to big here. There where still kids though doing it.

Got a picture of our Zone!

Elder Ward