Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 15, 2014

So you guys remember how I was telling you about he rain last week
right? Well while I was typing that later form last week it was
raining out side. It rained for the rest of the day, and then all of
Tuesday! Elder Rogers and I where out biking in the rain all day long.
IT wasn't a torrential downpour, but it was certainly enough to get us
pretty wet and cold. But that's not what missionary work is about

For this week we had an opportunity to teach Fa. His girlfriend is
actually a member, and her family is quite strong in the gospel. Fa
has been to church quite a few times, usually he comes about once a
month as work permits. Elder Rogers and I where able to sit down with
him and the family of girl friend (who is kinda Less Active) in the
evening. We first started off with getting to know and understand his
religious back ground. He hasn't really been to church all that much
growing up nor has a good understanding of what the Bible talks about
either. We soon got to ask what he hoping to get from us missionaries
teaching him about our church, he responded with "The Mormon Church
just seems like a real good church, and I think I would like to learn
more". Which is perfect. It was one of the first lessons where we
where able to teach and do the very best we could. Fa listened, asked
a few simple questions, his future Father and Mother in Law where able
to bear testimony of what we taught, the spirit was strong in the
room. We then told Fa of the first vision and Joesph Smiths
experience, and then I asked him how he felt, he said that it felt
right, and that he thinks it did happen. I questioned him further to
further understand how he felt, like peaceful, gentleness, and
meekness, and he said "yes" that is how he felt. In our district
meetings, we have all been encouraged to pray with our investigators
to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, so we then asked him if
he would pray to his Father in Heaven and ask if Joseph Smith was
Prophet of God. Everyone in the room knelt as Fa prayed, the spirit
was very strong, a few tears where given on the Father in Laws part
based on what Elder Rogers noticed. Fa prayed, and did a wonderful
job, however during the prayer he forgot to ask that simple and direct
question! Is Joseph Smith a Prophet of God? I wasn't sure neither was
Elder Rogers sure if we should have him do it again, but we moved
forwards, and finished the lesson. It was uplifting for everyone in
the room, and we committed Fah to further reading of the Book of
Mormon, and in particular to knowing whether Joesph Smith was a
Prophet of God or not. We look forwards to teaching Fa in the future.
He is going to be awesome! Probably one my favorite lessons so far in
the mission. When ever I have the opportunity with my companion to sit
down and simply just teach someone, and have them ask sincerer
questions, it really makes you feel great! That was probably the
highlight of my week for sure.

This week we also went on trade off with the Zone Leaders. I
personally love going on trade-offs, because you get to work with a
different Elder who has had quite a bit of experience, so it is simply
a great opportunity to learn. Elder Rogers and I worked hard in
finding new people to teach while street contacting. We got a few new
Potential investigators from that so we are looking forwards to
contacting them in the future. We met one fella from Zimbabwe Africa,
or maybe it was Ethiopia, not to sure but Christian Orthodox is very
prominent over in those areas of the world. He had some wonderful
questions for us, and he gladly accepted a copy of the BoM. We sure
hope that we can get a hold of him again. It can be a challenge to
contact people. A lot of our investigators such as Lee have been
interested, but never are there for appointments so we can teach them.
We have had to move on to finding new people to teach as well.

Nari however her life is a bit torn up at the moment and it can be
hard for her to meet up with up at us. We will continue to reach out
to her in love and share the gospel with her as she continually seeks
peace in this life. Apparently she just kicked her partner out of the
house this week she told us (We haven't been able to explain the Law
of Chastity yet though), which is good, certainly brings her close to
baptism, however it can be tough on the family for sure. Elder Rogers
and I where a bit worried about that because this is often the hold up
that prevents people from progressing like they should, this in
particular was a huge problem back in Onehunga with some of our
investigators. I think that for Nari it will be amazing to see the
blessings come as she continues to a line her life with Gods will. Our
next challenge will be the Word of Wisdom, as we do think that she
smokes, but considering how sincere she is in learning I think she
won't have a problem with giving up that habit.

So it has a been a good week , as usual we a continually praying for
strength and guidance in the work. Lot's of progress to be made.
Something that I learned and also liked in personal studies this week
was in Alma 21:1-12. Aaron goes to teach some wicked people who have
strayed form the original teachings. I found it interesting how after
Aaron had opened the scriptures and taught the people, and saw that
the people where hard hearted and would not hearken, he simply
departed. We often have to do this as missionaries, however when I
read this was surprised to find an example of it in the Book of
Mormon. Even Book of Mormon Missionaries where not successful in all
there en-devours. So I thought I would share that with you guys.I
think I may share something every time I e-mail to share what I am
learning about.

Transfers are this week, so there is a chance I could be leaving the
area, however I think that Elder Rogers is more likely to leave. Or we
could both stay. Should be awesome no matter what happens!

I saw this beautiful bird up in the tree the other day I snapped a
quick pic of it so you guys could see also!

and then of course Elder rogers and I having a good dinner at the
flat, We often cook up some pretty good food on the mission, sometimes
you have get a bit creative, I think that day in particular we had
beef stroganoff (bear with me) thanks to Elder Rogers! Frozen Veggies
have become a great friend of mine, especially when it comes to making
fried rice.

June 8, 2014

Well another week of the mission has flown by. It bugs me a bit. I am
getting a bit worried about the mission going by quick. Just trying to
make each day as fruitful as possible, and uplifting as possible for
me and my companion. I am still surprised at the fact that I have been
out for nearer half a year. the mission can be a bit repetitive
sometimes, and I think often times it can be difficult to separate the
memories of all the days you have spent in an area which is why it
seems to go by so quick. Thank goodness I am keeping a journal. It's
nice to be able to go through it and remember all the experiences that
have happened in the past whether it is just meeting with people or
teaching amazing lessons.

So this week was actually really good. Elder Rogers and I where
blessed quite immensely.

So I mentioned a Lady named Nari last week. We had set up a time to
meet with her this past week to teach her a bit more. We had set the
appointment for the morning. Elder Rogers and I showed up and
unfortunately she was not home. We where a bit disappointed because we
where worried that we where going to have to play a game of chase the
investigator! We rode away from the house. We where a little ways down
the street when Elder Rogers spotted a car drive by and thought he saw
her in it. That was enough for me to turn around and go see if it was
her. We pulled into her drive way to find her walking into her house.
She was happy to see us, and explained that she was just a bit busy
with the kids that morning, and also shopping. Our Ward Mission Leader
was there with us so we where able to go inside and teach her the
Restoration. She loved it! She said that it mad sense, and hoped that
this was what she needed to bring her out of the all the confusion
among the other churches. We committed her to read, and most
importantly pray to know if what we taught was true. We then extended
an invitation for her to be baptized which which gladly accepted, and
told us that she would certainly be baptized into a church that she
new was true. That was very exciting, to finally be teaching someone
who is sincerely looking for the true church. What a privilege to be
there to help her learn about the restored gospel. We invited her to
church this Sunday. We had an opportunity to teach her again on
Saturday before church. She had some pretty deep concerns as to why
life is so hard for her. Her partner is Atheist, and doesn't support
her in her efforts to follow God and raise the children in a Christian
manner, and often times this results in arguments and stress in the
family. She has made some Ultimatums to him however. We aren't to sure
what they are but we hope that they mean progress. She can't be
baptized if she does not either get married or split up form her
partner. Unfortunately this Sunday she hasn't made it to church... We
where very disappointing but we do understand that life is difficult
for her at this moment especially with a distressed family. We haven't
been able to see her since, but we have left notes for her with her
partner. We are excited for her!

Although Nari didn't come to church, we where surprised to find young
Indian man at church. Turns out he had been their since 11:00am and
our services start at 1:00pm. We where shocked, and we got to know him
and his background. Turns out that he was christian, and has been to
many christian churches just looking for one he liked. It was awesome,
after the sacrament meeting we where able to teach him a bit with a
few of our recent converts after. We where able to share a bit of the
Plan of Salvation with him. He says that he really enjoyed it and we
are going to teach him before church next Sunday so we can give him a
good understanding of the church. We have an awesome Ward Missionary
named Brother Lal. He is fantastic. He is from Fiji, and converted
when he was 18 years of age. Fijians often have a strong Indian
background. So they clicked right away. Having him as a fellowship at
church was really awesome and we are really blessed to have some
amazing blessings come our way this week.

So with Lee and Samantha, we have set up appointments with them this
week to see them. They have both been having some pretty crazy
schedules, including everything form doctors appointments, to work
schedules changing. So we are looking forwards to teaching them this
week as well.

So much more happened in the week, there is simply no way I could tell
you guys about everything that goes on, everything from running into
drunk guys teaching drunk doctrine, to people who are stoned out of
their minds. Oh boy lots to look forwards to this coming week!

yes it is winter now. I like it quite a bit. For the past year I have
been in the heat now I get a bit of a break! But it does frost at
night sometimes here. But it really doesn't get to cold. The jacket
that you originally sent me with mom works pretty good even with rainy
whether. It does rain here a bit. Often times it will down pour for
about 5 min then stop. Half hour later it will just pour buckets for 5
min again. But really hasn't rained as much as I thought would... yet.

So I finally got a picture of Elder Rogers and I. We get along well
and both work hard!
The tree is a lemon tree. In New Zealand you can walk down the side
walks and have apples hanging over your head that you can pick and
eat! but there are lots of fruit trees, everything form peaches,
oranges, grapefruit, fijawas (these are real good), lemons, apples,
bananas(It's a bit cold here for them though), and a few more also.

Well hey good luck to Stuart hope he enjoys going back to Cali for a
bit! Hope the Kids enjoy being free form school!

Love you all

-Elder Ward

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 1, 2014

Hello Family!

Well this week has surely gone by quick! and yes it has been 5 months of being out in the field! By the 19th it will be 6 months away from home officially! Boy it has been going by quick. Something that I have been thinking about very carefully is not flipping that cruise control switch to the on position. I have certainly gotten use to missionary life. The days don't seem as long now, and certain things about the mission have become much less tedious or taxing. However I don't wan't to get comfortable and settle down. Elder Pearson told us that we must always be learning and growing on the mission. We have over 700 hours of study time and we should be using every hour it to study the scriptures and become more knowledgeable in the gospel, so that's something I want to make sure happens. I have been able to read through the Book of Mormon once all ready, now I am going through it marking up all the Prophecies of Christ and the principles that are taught within it again(I am about 3/4 the way). It's pretty cool, because people can ask me questions about it or ask about where things are and I can just about find anything in it now, or anything on a certain subject to. Now I am reading a bit in D&C and pulling that apart, and I am looking forwards to reading through the New Testament. Not so sure about the Old Testament because it is very big and their isn't to much to really gain form reading while on the mission. That's based on what I have heard form other Elders that have read it through.I while study the stories that are in it though so I can be familiar with it. But overall, I am always striving to improve as a missionary. I have to say being a mission has been a wonderful blessing. Both spiritually and secularly. My knowledge of the gospel has been expanded vastly, especially with the Book of Mormon, and my testimony of the gospel has grown as I have continued to study it and other standards works diligently. My reading, and writing (including penmanship) has really improved also, which has been a wonderful blessing considering that they where not really any of my strong areas back at home.

So this week was another tough week... We had to drop a few people because they where really going no where, or we simply had to be bold with them and ask them if they where truly interested in learning about the Book of Mormon. However we did pick up a few new investigators. 

Brother Shepard we saw again this past week. He felt really entitled in showing us some of the material on the Islamic anti-christ stuff in the Book of Revelations. We tried to talk him away from it however he insisted, and out of fear of offending him we let him show us some. Needless to say it was nothing worth our time. Or should I say it was complete rubbish. Elder Rogers and I decided that we needed to go and see another appointment. I then asked Brother Grey
"Our visits are a predicated on your willingness to learn about the Book of Mormon" Brother Grey then explained that he would like us to come to his home as friends to share "Knowledge", and not as Elders. After that "lesson" Elder Rogers and decided that we wouldn't be returning.

Samantha we have been having trouble with contacting. They have been very busy so it has been hard to contact them. We will certainly be teaching about our father in heaven though. As I said in the last e-mail, no one can progress with there learning until they get that first principle down. I do hope that I can help her feel his love Mom!

Bhenhilda has unfortunately stopped progressing. We had a real good lesson with her the other day. We where also able to get one of the Ward Missionaries out with us to help us teach. We taught it as simply as we could. Her 3 year ol daughter helped out a lot in the lesson to! She is struggling with the idea that their could only be one true church. We taught her the apostasy however she is still struggling to understand how there could be one true church. The language barrier is difficult, we will continue to teach her and invite her to come to church. At the moment though she isn't progressing to well.

This week we where able to make contact with Lee again. A very friendly, loud laughing Samoan Lady, wait she may be Tongon, it can be difficult to tell sometimes because they can have both in them. They are often referred to as "Half Casts". She has been reading the Book of Mormon, which is awesome, and we are going to see her tomorrow  with our Ward mission Leader. We where able to teach a little about the Word of Wisdom also so she is all good with that now.

We also made contact and set up a time to see a lady named Nari who has 2 young rambunctious little boys, she has met with missionaries in the past however she is ready to start learning again! We are also going to be seeing her tomorrow, with our Ward mission Leader. Nari is a Cook Islander, and has seems to be really keen and earnestly seeking to see if the Book of Mormon is true.  

Matthew Tia we have continued to fellowship. It's a bit tough being locked up in your own home for 10 months straight. He likes our visits, because it does ive him more spiritual strength. Last week Elder Rogers and I didn't get around to teaching the restoration unfortunately, however today we are going to hit home hard with it. Elder Rogers and I have also been getting the felling that he isn't to interested in learning about the Book of Mormon. So tonight is the night to be bold with him and give him a strong invite to Learn of the Book of Mormon and find out if it is true. It is interesting though because he has been to LDS services before, I think we will be learning of his real stance today.

Other than Elder Rogers and I have been working hard to find new people to teach. Whether it is through members or talking with people on the street. Often in our companionship studies we do role plays and try to figure out how we can be a more effective when we approach people to talk to on the street. We have improved on so much, but yet there is still so much to improve on.

All good I can't think of anything else that I need to let you guys know about. I don't have to many pictures to send home it turns out so this week I will try to get a few for sure.

It's great to hear from you guys, love you so much!

Elder Ward

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Handwritten letter dated March 2, 2014

Chase sent us a package and it took a REALLY long time to get to us.  He included two large bars of special Cadbury chocolate.  The chocolate had jelly beans, chocolate candies, AND pop rocks in it.  It was really fun to get and even more fun to eat.  He also sent 2 shell necklaces for Eric and Madelyn to share.  He received them from a Tongan elder in the MTC.  The last item, and by far the most entertaining was a hand written letter from him!

Here it is:

Dear Family, 
I hope all is well in Italy!  I have been trying to send something in the mail for a while now.  I think from this point onwards, I will send home a letter home every week.  Maybe with some neat things so you guys can enjoy New Zealand also.  i can't guarantee that I will have something worthwhile sending halfway around the world!  In the letters home I think I may include some funny stories, but also some deep feelings/spiritual things.

So far I have only wrecked on my bike once.  Well there have been a few stumbles here and there, but those are not even close to being as serious.  So one day me and Elder De Kock were riding over to an older fellow's house.  His name is Jack.  Depending on where we come from, we may take certain paths.  So the path we were on was kind of past a pork and runs in front of a community center.  There are two small steps that we ride down.  What I like to do was get some good speed and then kind of jump down them..  Well I decided that I would get some good speed going and really get a good jump in!  I simply went to fast and after I wend down the steps I was unable to turn and stay on the path because going to fast.  So being unable to turn I ran smack into a telephone pole!  I hit and kind of hugged the pole with the left side of my chest, then bounced off, and landed on my back.  I was fine surprisingly, and my clothes were still clean, so I was all good!  I just straightened out my handle bars.  I rode away, with a laughing companion (I was laughing myself), and having learned that I shouldn't be trying to push my luck on the bike!  Thank goodness I was okay because it would have been a real shame if I had gotten hurt and had to come home!

So I hop maybe you guys enjoyed that story and got a  laugh or two out of it.

So far on my mission, my faith in the Church has really increased.  My knowledge of the Book of Mormon has increased in huge portions.  You could say that I am getting the testimony that is going to carry me though the rest of my life. But also developing the habits to maintain a strong testimony.  It is important that we are always building up our testimonies.  Once we say that we can never lose our testimony, that is when we stop building, and cease to feed ourselves spiritually that is when we can lose it.

(Mar 9, 2014)  Something that has been a challenge for em e is teaching to peoples understanding.  Sometimes when i teach I will throw out big words like "apostasy", "dispensations", or even "prophets".j  Many people don't even know what a prophet is or does!  So yes I have been learning how to teach to peoples understanding..  it is a challenge.  Sometimes people don't even understand Christ and what he did for us, and they claim they are Christian.  But that ok because I like when I teach them about Christ and they then walk away with a better understanding of their Savior!  Well I have been writing this letter over the course of a week.  It is quite challenging to find time to write a letter, or even in your journal!

(March 10, 2014)  So today is Monday and I am going to try and mail this letter with some gifts for you guys!  There are of course 2 necklaces that were given to me in the MTC.  I hope that they make it safely and haven't been smashed up.  They came from the Tahishian Elders, and they are quite nice looking.  Hopefully Eric and Madelyn will be able to manage well with sharing them.  then there are 2 bars of chocolate that I think you guys will really like.  I was quite surprised when I had some myself.  I love the jelly beans.  If you let it melt in your mouth, you'll then start to hear the pop rocks going off!  The chocolate here is a bit different than American Hersheys,.  I must say that Cadbury is a good brand.  I hop you guys enjoy it, and that the package gets there safely!

Elder Ward

May 25, 2014

Awesome! I am so glad that the package finally arrived! I was saddened
that it go through, but I am elated that you guys got it. I wanted to
share the chocolate with you guys cause I thought that was some of the
neatest chocolate I have ever had! And the necklaces I got from the
MTC. I think it was the Tahitian Elders that passed them out. So ya
they are pretty cool, glad that worked out.

Well this week has been tough. We have had a hard time finding people
to teach and getting our current investigators to progress. It fells
like like they are not going anywhere at times and I get pretty
frustrated. It can be a bit discouraging and it often leads me to feel
a bit depressed, like I am not doing enough, not spiritual enough ,and
simply good enough to find successes in the work. Elder Pearson made
it clear that we can't let ourselves get discouraged in the work. And
I know that this is a good area to work in. There have been some
amazing recent converts in the area that I have met that are nothing
but joy to visit an support. I know missionaries often think of areas
as bad or good areas, but I know that is not the case, it's about
attitude and dedication. I have often refereed back to Preach My
Gospel for encouragement, and to get my ideas straight in my head. It
certainly helps! On top of that we got 3 flat tires this week! Indane,
we whre able to get them fixed up though so hopefully that will be all
we get for this year! Oh and then the other day I bit the dust on the
way to church! It was pretty funny. I was wearing my nice dress shoes
and they have some tough soles. My left foot slipped of the pedal as I
was coming over the top of crank and rubbed up against the front tire
and got stuck in the fork of the bike (pretty silly) . Over the handle
bars I went! I wasn't going to fast, I caught myself on the way down,
so I was able to get right up laugh it off and look a the drivers
smiling as they drove by, and keep biking.

Soooooo our investigators, Samantha, we haven't been able to see this
week. Her daughter is really into softball and baseball, and so they
are often really busy. So unfortunately at the moment we don't really
know how they are doing. However Elder Rogers and I do know that we
are going to talk to her about our Father in Heaven. She can't pray
and receive an answer with out a correct understanding of who our
Father in Heaven is. It's very important.

Brother Mathew is doing allright. He is reading a bit from the Book of
Mormon. He still doesn't seem to interested, but he is reading. We are
going to visit him in the evening and we are going to be focusing on
the Restoration to realy put things in perspective as to why the Book
of Mormon is soooo important. Sister Fran his partner is unfortunately
slowing down a bit on her reading so we still continue to encourage
her so she can receive a stronger and stronger testimony of it for
sure. WE are also going to be giving him a strong invite to chruch. He
can put in a application to go so we will be encouraging him to do so
for sure.

Benhilda, is our only progressing investigator technically. She is
reading for the Book of Mormon. it is a bit difficult for her to
understand however we are helping her come to know what it could mean
to her. She seems to like it, and we are planning on sharing the Plan
of Salvation next with her, along with her along with a bit more back
ground to the Book of Mormon so she can gain better understanding of
it. However so unfortunate sad new is that she will be moving soon :(
So we will have to be sure to forwards her new address to the
missionaries in her new area.

We met with Brother Grey Shepard again! Boy was it interesting. He was
glad to meet us again and have us come in to his home. (He is middle
aged white man) I think their main purpose for inviting us in was to
talk about the prophecies that are contained within revelations. Which
I think I mentioned before that I really don't care about at this
moment. He wanted to show us some DVD's on them and what not, but we
got the opportunity to sit down and he let Elder Rogers and I talk to
him for about 30 min about the ancient church, Christ's ministry, the
Apostasy, and we didn't quite have enough time to get into the
Restoration. It was awesome, Elder Rogers and I really taught well and
to their understanding. We mentioned a bit about how the Bible
prophecies of the Book of Mormon, surprisingly they said "Oh well we
don't have a problem with that" or the Book of Mormon. We didn't have
enough time to really get into the Book of Mormon, but we will be
extending a strong invitation for them to read for our next visit.
Brother Grey Shepard and his son Chris are a bit interesting. They
both believe in Christ, and they have some interesting stories to tell
about family healing's and what not. So not to sure of what to really
think about them.

We are continuing to find people and talk with people on the streets,
however it can be tough, people are often quite arrogant, and

Anyways Elder Rogers and I have been really thinking of how we can
work with the Ward. We have been visiting a lot of the members and
getting to know them. We had dinner yesterday at the Tonga Families
house. They have an interesting rule.... If we are not full and there
is still food on the table... "The church isn't true".... At one point
they asked us Elders if we where done eating and I responded "No, the
church isn't true yet", they had a pretty big crack up over that. But
ya the are very wonderful people plenty of food to eat, I think I ate
to much that night jeez. :S I have had to cut down a bit on what I eat
a dinners often times, because it is simply to much, and I don't need
the weight! We are also trying to make friends with the current bishop
because apparently, missionaries in the past have gotten along to well
for certain reasons. It says in PMG that we need to have an attitude
of "How can help?"
, and just try to to show as much love as we can.

Also mom if you could help me know where I stand financially. Like how
much money I have spent on the debit card I have, how much you guys
have spent or set aside for me that would be great!

Thanks for the pictures, I love pictures, sorry about not sending any
home :( For sure next week I will have some good ones to send home.
And it is sad to hear about sunny, the birds where lots of fun that's
for sure. And if you get another get only one! that's my vote... Oh I
will send one picture home it is of these crazy looking purple birds!
I saw them and I had to snap a quick photo cause I had never seen
anything like them before. I still see them around the neighborhood

You guys take care love you all so much,

Elder Ward
It was hard to get a good picture of the birds they moved quick!