Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 17, 2014

Hello Family!

It is great to hear from all of you. 

So this week was good, but also a bit tough. We taught restoration to a fellow named Sam, he has been tricky to schedule a time to see him and his family. It was the usual "Ah maybe come by Friday and see how things are going for the weekend" type thing. It just never worked out. We knocked one day and said " Do you have time now for a quick lesson?" He reluctantly said yes, and I think he just wanted us to get out of his hair. But when we held up the picture of Joseph and the First Vision, and told him of his account boy did it just hit him hard. Ever since then his whole continence has changed, and he has been happy to see us. There was a young man who played professional rugby, who left on his mission, he returned not to long ago, and apparently on TV they had a little special on him returning from it. Sam got to see that not to long after the lesson, and we he told us about, Elder De Kock and I had the biggest grins. It was amazing to see how it changed him and how excited he was about it! Unfortunately it has been difficult to see him in the past few days. Here in new Zealand, the Father and the Mother often do shifts, or one works during the day, and the other works during the night. This makes it quite challenging to get the families together, none the less just simply speaking with someone! We will probably be seeing him later today for sure. 

Niko, the staunch Catholic fellow I told you guys about actually attended the last hour of church on the 9th. He actually called us and let us know that he would like to come attend! It was pretty awesome, he got to see the attend the Elders Quorum, and see the Priesthood body of the Ward practice a hymn for Ward Conference. It wasn't exactly Sacrament meeting, but we are hoping that he can make it and see Sacrament Meeting. We have continued to come to his home and discuss many of the doctrines of the churches with him and answer some of his questions about it. Niko has gone around with many faiths and spoke with them about what they believe in and where their doctrine comes from. And he has come to the conclusion that they are all wrong.... But Elder De Kock and I think that he sees something in the Book of Mormon. He sees something in the Church that his does not have. And that is why we think is searching so diligently because he has questions on his mind! It will take time but I think he will one day pray about the Book of Mormon!

Love you all I love your e-mails!

-Elder Ward

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 10, 2014

Well this week went by quick. As of right now the mission is really flying by. Which makes me a bit nervous, because I know that it really pics up as time goes on!! But I am really enjoying the mission. I think that I have really improved with talking with people. I often ask them to tell me what they know of Christ, and how their belief has blessed their life. It really opens them up and I can then teach them more about what he has done for all of us! Elder De Kock and I have really been blessed to be able to come into peoples homes and have the opportunity to teach the restoration. When we show them a picture of the first vision, and then recount his words, you can just see their face just light up! So we have a few new investigators that we are excited to follow up on to see how they are doing with their studies in the book of Mormon. Anyways I think I am goping to try and send home lots of pictures this week.

Rob is a very good fellow. His girl friend is a Mormon. And I think that she was the main reason he got baptized. We did ask him to bear his testimony as to see how strong it was, and he did seem serious about it. Missionaries taught him previously and Elder De Kock and I helped him the rest of the way. He has been coming to church, so thats good. It has been on and off. But I will continue to support him for sure and get contact info for the future! He is slowly breaking into the ward and Elders Quorum, so we hope that he willl soon feel wanted there.

Thanks so much I love your e-mails!

Love, Elder Ward

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 2, 2014


Things are well here in Onehunga. Elder De kock and I have been digging through our Area book, and have been organizing routes and areas to go see old investigators, and possible investigators. As we go about our day teaching appointments. We have found several new investigators, and we have found some old ones that are still interested. We are carefully taking notes so we can keep the area book updated for the future. It's been tough to get teaching appointments. We often speak with people the day before, then they are know where to be found when we come visit them! Then we have to fill that time with finding people, and talking with people on the streets.

We have one Catholic fella who at first really wanted to do a Bible bash type deal/doctrinal bash. After much discussing, we have got him to use the same version of the Bible that we have when referring to scriptures. This is important because he would often use a more modern bible translation. Which can make it easier to understand, however many truths are lost in it because it has been translated in mans understanding, not with the power of God. Something very significant that he has learned is that The Book of Mormon is what we claim or know to be the "Word of God", and it provides us with the correct view, or way to interpret what the bible scriptures say. He actually originally thought that Joseph Smith knew the language the Book of Mormon was written in, and Joseph Smith translated it with his knowledge, and then used the "scripture" he had to start a religious sect. But we made it clear that it was by the Power of God that he did so. Therefore making it the word of God. We could sit there and talk about clashing doctrines all day, and we will never make ends meet because we see the bible differently. He is seriously investigating the The Book of Mormon to see if it "Holds Water". As he has been studying it, we have been there to answer his questions about it, and help him understand it. He has grown to trust us, especially as he has had lots of expereince in speaking with many JW's, Islamic, Hindu, and other break offs of the Catholic Church. I think he is beginning to understand that there is something more behind the Book of Mormon. I look forwards to helping him understand more!

We also have a fellow named Eddie. He is about 65 years old, and has been involved with the church for a good 10 years. He reads the Book of Mormon, has paid tithing, and comes to sacrament, and knows to turn it away because he is not baptized! He knows more about the Mormon Church than most members do! He has been friends with many members, and seen them pass on to the next life. He has seen all the Bishops be called and then released,  He has also spoken with many missionaries through out the years. The first missionaries cam very close to baptizing him, however something came up and he didn't for some reason. Since then it has been difficult for missionaries to come close to him and speak with him about his concerns. Me and Elder De Kock have been able to come close to him, he says that he trusts us and likes to speak with us. Eddie is actually quite wealthy. He has a second house in Auckland, and also in California. He was a Professional diver, has so many cool stories about his job, and I have impressed him a bit with what I understand about it. He is also a Jeweler, has owned companies that manufacture plastics, a plumbing company, and to top it of he has a college education in psychology, and has worked in mental hospitals. I know it sounds like a lot to claim but it is all true! He has a shop with all the tools he uses for Jewelry including furnaces! He actually taught at a University in California, for diving, but while he was there he took classes in psychology for himself. That's where a lot of his wealth has been made. The thing about Eddie is that he doesn't show it. He looks like a normal old British guy with bad teeth. Oh and did I mention that he plays the Organ, and that he is a professional? Yes he has a full on pipe organ in his other house here in New Zealand. He has played for local churches, but unfortunately he does not play for our church because he is not to impressed with it, and he doesn't get paid like he does in other churches he plays for... haha. I mentioned that mother plays the organ and that she has one herself in here house! It made me wish that I played at least a little because then I would be able to connect with him on another level. I haven't seen it because it is at his other house in Auckland. but he has tons of stories about playing for other churches, and listening in on what they teach. It has helped him believe more in the Mormon doctrines. We have been speaking with him since I started here in Onehunga. Just recently it got to the point where he was speaking with us about baptism. He doesn't really touch on why he hasn't been baptized. Eventually though as we spoke with him, we noticed that he would only talk with us outside. He originally would speak with us in his house. But he would not invite us inside when we spoke with him. Eventually, after inviting him to a baptism, to see the fount (because he had never seen one before, and he was curious) however he fell ill just before the day of(He was honest and felt bad) one day after church we spoke with him and he basically told us that we where not the missionaries to baptize him, and that we would have invited him to see the fount at church that Sunday if we really wanted to baptize him. His claim being very unreasonable, to turn us away. Me and Elder De kock rode away on our bikes quite irritated, we had gotten to know him so well and then he through us away. We got put in the category with the other missionaries, even the ones that tried to teach him the Plan of Salvation with the little cut outs when he knew very well what it was all ready. We then decided that we should go back to his house not more than an our later than when he turned us away and just tell him that he needs to be baptized NOW, and that there are no perfect missionaries, or perfect wards. We walked up to his house and rung the doorbell, he didn't answer, we rung it again, he then came out wanting to know what it was we wanted, and let us know that he was watching a yacht race. Elder De Kock then said "Eddie................... You need to be baptized", The three of us had a good conversation, I told him that he was missing out on the blessings of partaking of the sacrament, and the Holy Ghost, he replied, and said that he new that. We also explained that no missionaries or wards are going to be perfect. He seemed to take it well and we left on a good note, giving him a week to think about it. We returned later and rung his door yesterday. He did not answer. We returned later in the evening, and rung the door bell. He poked his head out one of the windows and said "and what do you guys want at this hour?"  We told him we wanted to speak with him. He simply said "oh not right now I'll catch you guys later". I know you guys where probably wanting an amazing story, but it is the reality of missionary work unfortunately. We will return later in the week to say hello again, and hopefully he will be more willing to speak with us. Me and Elder De Kock think that he has a bit of pride. He wants everything to be perfect, or wants the people of the church to live up to what they are suppose to be. Unfortunately he has seen the ward at the chapel that he considers his "Home Ward", degrade a bit. The chapel isn't as well kept as it use to be, and the meetings aren't what they use to be unfortunately. For example, the deacons like to wear white shoes sometimes when passing the sacrament, and Eddie himself doesn't find this appropriate. Eddie himself unfortunately holds this against them in a way. The speakers aren't as prepared as they use to be, and what really gets his goat is when people are on their phones at church. It's sad that he is letting small things like this keep him from getting baptized. He also may have an issue with smoking. We where talking with and Elder form Germany that previously served in this area, and has actually caught him smoking. So maybe that is where fit is really stemming from. Either way he is to prideful to seek for help, and except the faults in people. Either way we will try to keep working with him, and I'll let you guys know how it goes. He could certainly use a few prayers. Eddie is a great guy though. He does not have a family, and he looks at people with family's and in a way envy's it because he never took the time to settle down and start one. He has fellow shipped many boys in the past with what they want to pursue, including a boy he sponsors in yacht racing. He doesn't do it to make him self feel better, he expects good grades out the boy and more. He wants him to get a good start in life. Considering he is pursuing yacht racing I think he has some big stuff in store. I don't think it's the big million dollar yachts, just smaller more average racing. I would like to research it myself, to figure out what exactly it is but I can't. :/ Me and Elder Dekock took a bit more time out of our schedules to write so thats why its so long and detailed! I hope you guys enjoy it! I know a lot about Eddie sounds crazy, but it is true, and there is so much more I could tell you guys!

Also I mentioned Mace before. He is doing well however he isn't very disiuplined and hasn't been reading or praying. So we have been REALLY encouraging him to do that. Please pray for him.

Yes, I chuckled at Jennifer going to Salt Lake. Not because it's bad but it just.. ya it was inspired of the Lord for sure...  Hannah going to New Jersey is cool also is pretty awesome. The only dear John I was worried about was for her boyfriend in serving a mission! But it looks like hes safe for now. They both e-mailed me about it, so that was it has been exciting for me to see where my friends go on their missions!

Anyways tell Grandpa that I love him and that I do often think back to coming to his house and helping out in the backyard and all the fun things that we have done! I think it would be nice to e-mail him also. So I have not received the package that you guys have sent unfortunately. Maybe this week. I will let you guys know for sure. 

I think of so many things that I can tell you guys during the week but I usually forget quite a bit! Something big was meeting an Apostle! I met Elder Anderson! I shook his hand, and he talked to our mission about teaching people and gave us some wonderful insight! It was a great experience! I totally blanked on telling you guys about that! It was on the 20th of Feb I met him.

I cant think of anything else, hope all is well I love all your e-mails!

Love you all hope all is well!

-Elder Ward

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February 16, 2014

Hello Family!
Things have been going well. Unfortunately, it has been a bit of a slow week. School has started up, and there aren't so many people out on the street as their use to be. It has been tough teaching lessons. Me and Elder De Kock are on bikes, and without a cell phone, so it is really difficult to make sure that people remember appointments, and are there and ready to learn about the true and restored gospel of Jesus Christ! It gets really frustrating, when you have knock on all the doors of the people that have expressed some form of interest, and none of them are home, or are really keen on learning it anymore. The people here are quite religious as I have mentioned before in previous letters. It can be difficult to get them to recognize that are church is something more than attending on Sunday. Often times they say "Oh we all pray, and believe in the same God, so go save someone else that doesn't!" Makes me want to say  "Ephesians 4:5 - One Lord one faith, one Baptism," ! and a whole host of other scriptures! Haha but no that's not what we do as missionaries, often times I just tell them about the Book of Mormon and how precious is it is to our church and how it can really continue to build upon the faith that they all ready have. Many times they have family remember or friends who are member's of the church. We often ask what they have learned from their family members, and then try to explain more so they have a better understanding of what are church is all about. There are a number of ways that we try to talk to people. I think people here are so stuck with the church that they have been brought up in, that it can be difficult to look at other churches, and see what they believe in. That's why am grateful for our church and how we are encouraged to study other faiths, and see what they believe. We have spoken with a few people that have been instructed to not look into other faiths, and hold up their hand a say go away when we try to just have neighborly chat with them. My favorite people to talk to are those who listen to what we have to say, ask questions, and then explain what they believe themselves. That's when they learn, and I learn a ton. Both I and the investigator, get to learn so much more.

Ok well needless to say, Elder De Kock and I are always striving to be more effective in our teaching. We do have tough times, but we are always elated when we see a miracle happen! 

My studies in the Book of Mormon have been very good, I learned heaps about the Book of Mormon. I have never studied so carefully, and it really does seem to speak to you!`Look into Stuarts e-mail, for more on what I have been doing to study it.

Well jeez I wish I could be there to "help' with Eric's pinewood derby car. That was so much fun to build them. Good times. Hope fully he really enjoys making a really cool car! I need pics to of it!

Well am I glad that I brought that Leatherman. I have used it numerous times to tune up the brakes on the bikes real quick. But yesterday, there was an fellow that spoke a different language, a bit aged, and another lady who was in her 50's or so. They had a pitch fork, and where fiddling with something at the chainlink gate that surrounds their community of houses. In New Zealand, they provide housing for those who are unable to afford it, and quite poor. So there are many people who often are not well off in life that life in these government built houses which aren't to nice usually, and populate our area wuite a bit. Here in our area, there are many people with mental disorders, who receive lots of benefits from the government, to help them out in life.(as viewed by many)This includes medical, housing, and money for living. We have met a few people who are not to well off, and it has really been truly saddening to see them in such a condition. I have often tried to help, but it often backfires and things can get a bit scary. Aaaaannnnnnyyyyways these to people where trying to break a peice of chain that had been wrapped and locked around their gate so they could not get out.  We came over and tried to help them, the pitch fork  simply was not going to work. I thought of what else I could use and remembered that I had my leatherman on me. I grabbed it and used the file on it to cut the chain within about 5min. It was the kind of chain you find on a household swing set, a bit thin but still strong enough to really be a pain. I was felt like a hero and they where quite glad to have it off. I was impressed that it worked so well, at first I didn't think it was going to work but I kept going and it did! Later on though I discovered that there where other gates to the community, and I didn't dell so much as a hero. haha.

Love you guys so much!

-Love Elder Ward
Hello Dad!
It is great to hear from you and the advice that you have for me! Certainly, having been encouraged to physically work hard while I was young has been of a great help on my mission so far.... No task really seems to difficult when it comes to biking up hills. I always look forwards to the down hills for sure! But one example is the bathrooms. I remember doing some big work in the bathrooms numerous times as a kid. Well I wont say to much, but considering that teenage boys have lived in the flat(apartment) for quite a while, you could say that it did not smell to pleasant... and I imagine you know exactly why. Anyways, on one of my P-days I took it upon my self to do some deep cleaning. Now it smells much nicer, and since I have stayed at the flat, me and Elder De Kock have really cleaned it up since we have stayed in it. So all that hard work really has payed off. I am hoping that the tenants are pleased with the work that we have done with it.

But yes for the missionary material, they encourage us to read "Jesus the Christ", "Our Search for Happiness", "Our Heritage", and of course the standard works. But we have over books laying around the flat that I peek in every so often, like the "teachings of the prophet books". I have started to read "Jesus the Christ" and I am slowly working may way through it. and the other missionary books are quite small, and I have almost finished. But I have learned a lot through reading those books. We also read the Ensign, and General conference talks.

I love hearing stories of your mission, and most certainly I always try to make sure that I don't miss an opportunity to serve those around us. I think I may stress a bit to much about thinking that I am not doing enough. So I have relaxed a bit on that, however I am still on the ball with looking for people to talk to to and invite to learn more about what the church is about, and to serve people. Just as long as I do my best at all times!

Thanks Dad Love you!

-Elder Ward

February 9, 2014

Hello Family!
Its great to here from you guys. Italy look s beautiful! A lot better than when I was there. Anyways this week has been quite rough, but the end of it was real good. I got pretty homesick during the beginning of the week. I hadn't really been homesick all that much since I have been out and I thought that I was going to get out of it scott free but no...  It was tough but I just stayed focus and kept working and it has past and things are pretty good right now. Other than that I had lots of questions on my mind. Just questions and questions. It got quite frustrating. After studying and listening carefully to the leaders of the church in conference talks, I kind of came to the realization that I simply need to have faith. Simply just having more faith. After that, everything else didn't really seem to matter all that much, and I was able relax quite a bit. Anyways I have continued to read the book of Mormon, and as I read it just gets keeps getting more real to me. My gratitude for being able to know of our real purpose here on Earth has grown, it has put what I am doing now here on Earth in an Eternal perspective and makes me want to share what I know with those in Onehunga. It's a bit depressing when people simply don't want to know what we have to share, they are stuck in the mindset of worldly things period. I know Heavenly Father has a plan for each of his children so they can grow to their fullest and so I just keep doing my best and putting my trust in him. I have certainly learned a lot!
Well at the end of the week we had a baptism! That was a wonderful experience. We baptized a guy named Rob, Elder De Kock performed it. Rob's girlfriend is a member. Which is a bit questionable but we really made sure that Rob has a real testimony. It's is a good example as to how memebers are the key to missionary work. President Monson has said now is the time for members and missionaries, to join forces and both labor in missionary work. When a member is there to answer the questions of the investigator and help them understand certain aspects of the church it can really do wonders. Me and Elder De Kock have also really been trying to get the Ward involved to. We gave talks in Sacrament meeting about missionary work not to long ago, and now we are going to families homes inviting them to pray and ask Heavenly Father who is ready to learn of the gospel and receive it. So hopefully some miracles come of that!

 I wish I could right more! Love you all and keep the e-mails coming. I try to respond to all them well but it is hard to!

Love you guys so much -Elder Ward

Picture of me and Elder De kock at the Baptism.\

The one of the park is a Stake Rugby activity it was really cool!