Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 6, 2014

Well this week has been pretty good. I do have to say I think that I have experienced probably one of my lowest lows so far on my mission. And that I will likely ever have, however I do say so cautiously. 

I have been showing Elder Walker around the area a bit. He has had the opportunity to meet a lot of our investigators who really aren't making to much progress. He has given me some really good advice when it comes to teaching people, but also where we should be really focusing our efforts as missionaries. We have been finding lots of less active families who have unbaptized children. Not only do we want to baptize these children, but most importantly, bring the family back into activity. Us as missionaries work through the Ward council meeting to find families that are currently active in the church, and then have a FHE with them to help them feel more welcome, and also feel the spirit, in being with family and bonding with one another.

Rob has been doing all right. We where actually teaching a fellow who is heavily addicted to smoking, and drugs and trying to help him gain the motivation to stop the terrible habit. His name is Ben. While we where teaching Ben, Rob actually came and delivered some pizza that Ben had ordered! It was quite a blessing, I haven't seen him for a while, but I was able to invite him to church, and ask him how he was doing. Being in a rush, he quickly said that he would come if things worked out for him. Next Sunday we saw him at Church with his girl friend Taylor. He attended Elders quorum also. So I'm hoping and praying that he continues to warm up to the church. His parents unfortunately where not to keen on him being baptized. We found that out when we went to his house, and asked for his signature on the baptismal paper about a month ago. Not realizing that he had previously acknowledged that he did not want home teachers to come to his home for some reason, we came around and unfortunately met his Father. Rob came to the door not to pleased and basically told us to go "take a walk".  Elder De Kock and I then realized that we had made a pretty big mistake. Fortunately Rob called us later that evening and apologized for being a bit rude. We also apologized for not really taking initiative in our thinking and calling first to see if we could get his signature. But in all honesty, I don't know Rob to well, neither does he know me. Elder De Kock and Elder Cray the Elders before me really got to teach him and get acquainted with him. However I am always more than happy to see him, and always try to make him feel loved and appreciated in the church. He is slowly warming o the culture, and is getting involved with the YSA.

So the big low of my mission has to do with Eddie..... Eddie is soon preparing to head off to live in the United States, away form the New Zealand winter. Elder Walker and I decided that it was time to really see what his deal is. We met with Eddie, and we could see that he was quickly losing interest in our conversation, and really just wanted get away from us missionaries. Before things winded down and we separated, I busted out a scripture. The scripture, that I had planned to share with him, was selected the previous day. We where in a meeting with President and Sister Lekias and discussing our goal to read the book of Mormon in 90 days ( also had interviews with him). Sister Lekias was asking us questions about BoM we where kind of having a bit of a competition within our district. We actually came across this scripture while participating, and I felt like it was perfect for him, it really seemed to hit home and I felt as if it was right. It was Mosiah 18:8-10. Alma at this point in the Book of Mormon is explaining to his people that if you are willing to mourn , and help your fellow beings, then what do you have against being baptized. It was interesting because within our conversation just before I shared he was talking about how he helps people and serves others. I thought that this would really be perfect. After I finished it I looked up, and there was anger in his face. He immediately said something to this extent "That's it! I am tired of these people, It is not me it is the people in the people!" he then walked up the steps opened his door turned around, I then said "Eddie I didn't mean it that way, let me explain", Eddie then responded, "NO! and don't ever come back!" he then slammed the door. I was crushed, I didn't think that he could ever be so wroth with anyone before. I thought we had a pretty good friendship going. I can't recall the exact words he used, I think he said a few other things, but from what I remember, and can conclude from that crushing experience is that he has quite a bit of pride, and likely has some deeper issues maybe with word of wisdom that he is not willing to divulge to anyone. I teared up a bit, Elder Walker was great, he said that I did the right thing. I Invited him to be baptized, that is all I did, and he turned it down. I didn't leave at that though, I don't like to leave anything on a sour note. I wrote a note, apologizing, and explaining what I meant by the scripture. I also thanked him for sharing so much about his experiences in life in the note, and thanked him for letting me know of his testimony of the church. Anyways, I got back up and continued to work hard and moved forwards, so things are good!


Elder Ward

March 30, 2014

Hello Family!

It is great to hear form you guys. Love the pictures. Must be neat to
see more of Italy for sure.

Well we had transfers this week, Elder De Kock, was moved to an area
called Panmera, and they brought in a British Elder named Elder
Walker. He has been on his mission for just over a year, and it is
really great to have a companion who has so much experience. He knows
what to do when it comes to certain situations, and has really been
able to wake the Ward up when it comes to missionary work. Something
that really got people's attention was when he said "you can be active
in the church, but you also need to be sure that you are active in the
gospel!" Elder De Kock and I could see the spiritual sleepiness in the
ward, but we know that it is not our job to tell people how they
should be carrying out their callings. But just by simply bearing his
testimony and telling the Ward that we are hear serving in their ward
to serve them, and to help them teach their friends and family  the
gospel. It truly is up to the members to use the missionaries for what
they can do!

Elder Walker is a great guy, he can do some pretty funny voice overs
of some popular characters on TV. Even with some of Apostles to! He is
a pretty big crack up. I look forwards to learning lots form him.

Well we are teaching a fellow named Nigel. He has faith in Christ,
however he doesn't be believe in any particular religious
denomination. Mainly because he can see the faults in them and how
they are corrupt. We shared with him the Book of Mormon, and he
actually said that he would read it cover to cover, because he is
'"pedantic like that". Hopefully he reads it with an open heart,
searching to see if it is truth. We are looking forwards to seeing him
today after actually so it's pretty exciting for sure.

Sorry for the short e-mail. We are kind of short n time. I really
would like to share more. But certainly next week!!

-Love Elder Ward

March 23, 2014

Dear Family,

Things have been good this week.... just as everyone says. But yes, probably the most wonderful lesson we taught this week was with a mother named Jone. Her daughter Rima, was baptized in the church at the age of 18, and since then Jone has been touched by the change that she has seen in her daughter. Life for the 2 has not been easy. During the lesson some stories of their past came up. Needless to say, the gospel has change Jone's daughter Rima, into a wonderful light. In doing so Jone has really opened up and has been willing to listen to what the church is about. Here in Onehunga, New Zealand, there are MANY cultures. Your talking people form Africa, people from India, people from China, people from Japan, Tahiti, The Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Nyguan, Maori, and people from England. There are many cultures. Particularly in the Pacific Islander cultures, religion can be ingrained in the cultural quite deep.  One cultural ideal that I learned of is when a women marries, she is to go to the husband's Church. It sad to meet someone who has had this happen to them. It also is a big deal when someone joins another church outside of the normal Family Church. Sister Jone's family is strongly rooted in the Cook Island Church. She doesn't necessarily see the people of that church as good people. Not only that but she doesn't necessarily agree with all that is preached in the church. Which is part of the reason as to why she isn't an active church goer. She said her self that taking the discussions we be frowned upon by her mother, and family. But the reason she said that she says she has opened up is because she has seen 2 people in her life change because of the gospel. Those to are here brother who joined a while back, and most importantly her daughter who joined. By watching these people, and seeing how these people are changed and blessed really has made her open up and willing to listen. Truly being and example is one of the best ways missionary work can be done. We look forwards to teaching her again this week, hopefully we can see some wonderful miracles happen.

We are going to be having a lesson with Niko today, so we are looking forwards to seeing how that goes, hopefully he has so good questions for us to answer about the Book of Mormon. Because when it comes to discussing differences between churches, it really comes down to the Book of Mormon. I have kind of looked at like this... No church can prove that they are the true church with the Bible, (well for ours we could only if they look at the doctrines within the same way we do) the only way people can understand the Bible the way they do is by reading the Book of Mormon, ask God themselves if it is a true book from him by pondering it a praying about it.That is what our message really comes down to. SO hopefully we can get Niko to do so!

Sam unfortunatly has been difficult to get a hold of.... We spoke with is wife Vinnie about the Church, but she is already quite comfortable, and deeply involved with her church. So we think that by teaching Sam we can then get to sharing the message with his wife Vinnie. The work schedule here in New Zealand is challenging. Sometimes both parents are at work, sometimes one will be home during the day, while the other is at work during the night. We will continue to knock and try to share the message!

We also went on trade offs with the Zone Leaders this week. The are some real nice Elders. I went with Elder Jones, from Utah. We had the opportunity to teach a wonderful lady named Betty. She is Samoan, and has a very strong testimony of Christ. She worships at a church called the Assemble of God. She is very loving and enjoys us coming by to share our message. I was actually a bit concerned about hurting her feelings by coming in and telling her about the restoration. But we added an emphasis on saying that her church does contain truth, all we are doing as missionaries is inviting her to learn of more. We had to address a concern as to Joseph Smith, and whether we worship him. We cleared that up quite well, and after doing so, she was willing to accept a Book of Mormon, and then read from it. We are looking forwards to a lesson this week to see how things are going for her. Elder Jones was great to have there also. I really learned a lot from him, as he is an experienced missionary.

We saw Eddie the other day. We talked with him for quite a while. He now attends a different Ward because he feels that the Onehunga ward is not what it use to be. He feels as if the members are not living their faith like they should, and that the leadership is not committed to their calling. He is right to a certain degree. I can agree in some ways, but I am in no position to judge nor condemn. All I do is support and try to help the Ward as best I can. No one is perfect. But Eddie sees it as something that should hold him back. So really it all comes down to pride. He told us as missionaries, he feels have not done everything we can to invite him to be baptized. I was quite irritated by this, I almost asked him if he wanted a personal invitation from the Savior to be baptized, and if that was what he was looking for. We think that it could be an underlying issue. He may still have issues with smoking. We have spoken with a previous missionary that served in the area, and he said  that he caught him smoking one time when popped in to see see him. He is a psychologist, so he could be fibbing us away from the real problem.

This week we have transfers. Elder De Kock and I have a feeling that we are both going to be double shifted out of the area. I don't want to leave yet, cause there are so many investigators that I really want to be there to teach. However I do have to say that Onehunga has gotten quite old/boring. We see a lot of the same people often on the streets. I know some missionaries are put in areas for 6 months, and I have only been here for 3 months! Elder De Kock 4 1/2. So I really don't have much to be complaining about. It's not a good attitude to have really. Because I know every area will be like that after staying for a while. You always got to be on the look out for new opportunities, and always putting forth your best effort to make the best of your day.

I hope Eric does well in his Pinewood Derby. 5 cars is quite a bit but it should be awsome!

I hope Stuart enjoys his job, long hours at work is what you got ahead of you... thats the unfortunate truth, and I only worked 5 at Subway....

Thanks Dad for the e-mail. What project are you doing and whats it all about? Hope it goes well!

And thanks for your e-mail Madelyn, unfortunately we aren't baptizing to many, but we are planting a lot of seeds!

Hope you guys enjoy this e-mail, 

Love Elder Ward!

Here are some more pictures of the District that I am in.

Also at the One Tree hill Monument. A pretty neat place. 

Oh here in New Zealand they usually have more than one house on properties, we have a very nice flat behind a members home!

There is one of a big bug. They are ceccatas (I dunno spell), any ways it's starting to cool off here in Auckland, but when it was real hot they would make a deafening noise! They sometimes fly into us while we are riding on our bikes. They aren't to good looking unfortunately. They are about the size of a mini tootsie role. They don't bite or anything so it's all good. :D

I think some missionaries had a bit of fun on P-day, it was funny to spot this from up top!