Sunday, April 13, 2014

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!

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