Monday, March 30, 2015

22 March - The time is too far spent!

Time is surely going by very quickly. I don't have much more with Elder Hann before he goes home to Scottland! Boy he has been a great companion for me. I have learned a lot from him and he certainly loves all those that he meets. The picture is him resting near the end of his 2 years of service. Pretty great picture. :D

This week tested our patience at times. It was difficult to really find people available to teach. We think it is because of a bit of a festival that they do called "poly fest". This is pretty important to the islander culture here. I have not been to it but all I know is that it is a big celebration where all the different Islander cultures come together and do all of their different dances. Pretty fun!

Sunday in particular was a big day. The ward that I am serving in got a new Bishop. That was a bit of a surprise, but yet very exciting, I will miss working with our old Bishop though because he was a great selfless hard working man. To put it into words though change is good! A lot of the members where quite shocked. None the less that Sunday Jodie came to church as she usually does. It was really great to see her. We where finally able to have her stay for the 2nd hour class. I have been very concerned as to why she does not come to the other classes, but it turns out that she is just simply very shy! Elder Hann and I where quite happy to find her concern there because we then knew that we needed to introduce her to more of the members of the ward so they don't feel like outsiders in a sense. She is doing well with the word of wisdom and this weekend Saturday she will be baptized! Lot's of planning to do indeed! She enjoyed the lesson we had. We taught a really powerful but simple lesson on the Plan of Salvation.

This week we also had one of our "former investigators come to church. Her name is Lesly and she truly has a wonderful heart. Several sets of Elders have been through to teach her, however she is unable to be baptized because she is not married. (That is a big problem here in NZ... well the world really) Anyways we have always stopped by her home every week and tried to teach some principle to keep her strong. She has an amazing testimony of the gospel and reads the scriptures on her own at times. At first we where not really getting anywhere when we taught her or visited her. However, she watched talk given by President Thomas S. Monson and she told us about it and how she felt about it. needless to say she want's to baptized and have the gift of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. She basically committed her self to come to church. She told us at church (we where so happy to see her there!) that her partner was not in a good mood that morning, but despite all that, he dropped his guard, and let her go. Gary her partner is a real nice guy. We have spoken with him. He loves the church actually, and feels the spirit very strong. He told us that when we visited him and got to know him. It all really comes down to him getting married. The culture is so different today. Marriage seems to be feared. But it is a sacrifice from the mother and Father that blesses the children for sure.

Jeremy is doing all right. Their daughter is now starting to loose her hair. He really does like our visits. We taught him a quick lesson on the plan of Slavation. He said that he would have to think about it a little bit for sure

It was a good week for sure! The driving here Mother is a bit crazy. I have gotten use to the left side of the rd, so I will have to readjust when I come back! Where we live and serve particular, there is a big shopping mall and lots of traffic. There are some dodgy drivers that love sinking their petal down and then slam the brakes once they have reached the red light as the finish line. Simply put driving is never the sane in any country. They are more like Americans though to put it simple.

The picture of us on the grass is when we had a bit of a picnic, we cooked some rice, grabbed some flavoured cans of tuna, and enjoyed watching the rowers do their thing for lunch.

Also I just want to thank everyone that wrote a note in the Christmas Package:
Madelyn-Thanks for hug! and the monkey stickers!
Eric-thanks for the hug as well!
Sister Jarvis thank you for your kindness, I will use it carefully. The mission is busy!
Graham-Thanks for the pencil drawing wish I could meet you now!
Lange Family-Thanks so much for the note!
Benjamin Ray-Thanks for the great picture!
Aunt Anette-Thank you for the letter, sounds like you guys are having great adventures!
Maggie Ray- Thank you for the wonderful note!
Uncle Riley and Aunt Rachel for the note about their family!
Lucy Ray- Tahnk you for the Christmas Reed!
Aunt Kim-Thank you for letting me know how the family is doing exciting things are happening!
Udy Fam- It is great to hear from you guys! Thanks for sending a note!
Grandpa-Thank you grandpa miss you lots!
Fomby Fam- Thank you for the note you sent it was great getting to know you guys!
Brother Jake Davis- Thank you for the note about your mission I do appreciate it.
The Scott Fam, Travis, Kirenia, Aden, Antonio, Atticus, and Alexander for the fun art you sent!
And thank you Elder and Sister Clark as well!

Love you all!

Elder Ward

Sunday, March 22, 2015

15 March 2015 - 28th it is then....

Well Jodie did not get baptized. Bad news first I suppose. but we have set a date for the 28th. Many reasons came into play. Jodie simply was not prepared for the 14th of March. It has simply been to long since we have been able to sit down with here and teach her. We sat down and went over the baptismal interview questions, and we decided, and Jodie agreed that there is no need to rush and have her be baptized and be unprepared. We would try for the 21st, but that is the stake temp[le day so none of the ward members would be there for the baptism. :S and that would be now good. The evening is available however Jodie has a wedding that she would like to attend. In the end, the main reason we put it on the 28th is simply because she is still working on the WoW. She has improved since we began to teach her, however it is still there. I even called the misison President and talked to him about it to seek more council as well. I love our mission President. They are always great men. True repentance is best shown over a period of time. and that extra time is there just to make sure that she is prepared as she can be. :D

Other than that this week has been a bit tough. Elder Hann got sick with a little bug so that slowed us down during the week. A few of our investigators dropped. It is sad, but it happens Sometimes people are just simply not committing to what we teach about so in the end we have to drop them. Of course we will go back and see how they are doing and see if they are ready. I won't mention names because I haven't really mentioned them before in e-mails. Just sharing and aspect of the work.

Oh! we had something wonderful happen this week. Selenah, I think I told you guys about here in previous e-mails a while back. We made contact with her and it was great! We knocked on the door and her partner opened the door and explained to us that she was not home at the time. Then she pulled up in her car not a even 30 seconds afterwards. It was great. We had a good lesson with her on Friday and we had some good wonderful Tongan members come with us to lesson to fellowship her. We played a small game and Selenah really appreciated it because it had been a while since she had learned something about the gospel. She didn't make it to church that Sunday. Apparently it was to early. (9am that's really early for NZanders by the way). So that is a bit about how the work is going. 

The Edmonds are doing ok, we tried going by the family this week but it was a bit crazy, the Father did not really want to talk to us at the time. I will do my best!

Sorry! I got the package a long time ago! I just forgot to tell you guys. I have all ready eaten the 2 chocolate hearts... I didn't think I would but I could not help my self. And the shirt... It was puzzling. I though it said something or it was a pattern. We walked out the flat and then I thought of the Plan of Salvation, and I said out loud "Oh! that's it!" I then told my companion because he didn't know either. I really like the shirt thanks! Also I will thank everyone in the next e-mail for all the letters. I have the names written out, I just don't have enough time!

That is nerve racking with Dad leaving. I will be praying of course. Sounds like Mother is doing better with the classes. Stuart is doing awesome now that he has his Eagle! And Madelyn and Eric are doing well in School, and Jelly is being a "Derp" as usual . I guess we can simply count our blessings. :D

Got some snazy pictures of me. Need to take more of me and my companion. Haven't been taking a lot lately.

Elder Ward

 Well this butterfly was in the grass not doing to well. We where done talking with one of our potential investigators and I had to go over and pick him up. got the conversation going a bit more. I am pretty sure he was in the last stages of his life. His wings where not in good condition. Really amazing how big it was!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

8 March Great Things are Happening!

What great week Elder Hann and I had. Jodie did have her wedding! but I will get the bad news out of the way in a hurry because I didn't get any pictures. It was a bit of an interesting situation. They had the marriage at the chapel, however the reception was else where in Auckland and Elder Hann and I could not go because it was way out of the area. Still though the wedding was on Saturday, and it was at 10am in the morning. We arrived early for the wedding. We watched and greeted alot of Jodie's family as they walked into the chapel. On Jodie's side of the family, many of them are Catholic, so it was likely their first time in a LDS building. Some of them probably had not been in a church for over 10 years, but it was funny none the less to watch them slowly walk into the building looking a bit hesitant. I don't think that I have ever seen so many non-members in a chapel before! Lorenzo was there early, and he was nervous as. Jodie came about half hour late which fits with the standard time for brides to arrive from what I have been told. The ceremony was conducted by the Bishop, it was simple, and according to Elder Hann, the words that are used in the temple are exactly the same except for the exchange of "mortality" and "immortality". I am not sure my self because I have never been to a sealing. Anyways after the ceremony, they walked out of the chapel into the forier (bear with) and then began to take pictures with all the family. Before I new it they where out the door and into the Limos and we just got a "Hello" and "Congratulations" in there before they left. It doesn't bug me or anything it is understandable.  Someting interesting to understand about islander weddings is that they make them a huge deal. Often times families will go into debt to pay for weddings/funerals. Family expects big celebrations with lots of Kia (Tongan for food). With funerals they will last several days or a week or more at times. Jodie's side of the family being Tongan and holding to their culture strongly expected alot for the wedding. It was unfortunate to see Jodie go through all that planning and stress but they are happy that it is simply done now!

Now we are in the week before her baptism. They came to church and then had to leave soon after words because they still had family to attend to however. This week we will likely be teaching all the lessons again. THe Baptism should be a lot less stressful for her and be a blessed experience. 

Toru this week unfortunately did not make it to church, nor was he there for the lesson that we had scheduled with him. He knows what is right, we are just going to need to work with him slowly but surely. He has a lot of commitments on his plate at the moment.

The Edmonds family is doing ok. We had a few good visits with him this week. New Zealand has socialized health care so medical bills fromm what I understand are not to big of a worry for the family. The family does have a lot of support form the ward. They are familiar with a few of the members. The local school has been helping them as well when it comes to food, they often will bring surplus they have from the cafeteria and donate it to them. For the most part the family is having difficultly understanding what is really going on. Well at least the other siblings are. Jeremy is beginning to get a grasp on the situation and he has actually made a greater commitment for himself to keep the house clean for her health. With 8 kids the house is often a disaster. I have shared a bit about what we have gone through. I have given him a long story about what has happened to me and my family but I have let him know that for myself cancer has had an effect on our family. I am sure there will be more appropriate times to share more as time progresses. Their daughter is just beginning the Chemo treatments. Her hair will be falling out. I will ponder and pray what I can do to help him. It is always important to follow the spirit to know when the right time and place is.

Well there is simply to much happening this week! But I have let you know about the big events for sure!

Take Love you all,
Elder Ward :)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

1 March Jodie's wedding is coming up!

So some great news! Toru is still on board with us! He came to church this week, and is now part of the YSA here! Boy are they great! Toru really enjoyed church and is looking forwards to his baptism. We are looking for maybe the end of March. We are going to be teaching him about the Priesthood, because we had a good discussion about it as Elder Hann and I taught the Elders Quorum. 

Jodie has been flat out busy with preparing well for the wedding. Haven't really been able to teach all that much lately. Elder Hann and I have been keeping in touch with them and sharing spiritual thoughts at the end of their day. Next week should then be the baptism. That is going to be an important week for making sure that she is ready for baptism.

This week overall has been a really great week. Through out the week there have been many of our investigators or people that we keep in touch with who we are trying to help become investigators that have expressed gratitude for our visits. Something that I really tend to over look kand not give myself as much Credit as I should for. There is one family in particular that we call the Edmonds Family. They are a family of 8 and they are struggling you could say. One of there youngest little ones has brain cancer. The Father Jeremy has been difficult in the past to connect to but just recently, thanked for the visits that we give him and his family. Often times these visits are just visits where we sit on the porch and just talk a bit with him. Sometimes he is to busy with taking care of the family. Sometimes I fell like he isn't really listening to us and just seems to stare off into space. But this week we visited him and he thanked us for all that we have shared with him. He mentioned that sometimes he doesn't really seem to respond, but he does think about and it does sink in for him. Now that I look back on it, I can see how it is success, simply because we have made a small change in him. There where many others as well, but there is simply not enough time in the world.

Things are going real well. I really love my companion he is a great Elder!

Stuart is looking good. He sent me a pick. Had a hard time believing it was him to be honest. Daisy seems the usual. Looking for comfort in the least obvious places.

Love you all,

Elder Ward

Sunday, March 1, 2015

22 Feb 2015 Well my little siblings....

Thanks so much for the e-mails this week, I did enjoy them very much. 

I will quickly go over our investigators, Jodie is still preparing well for baptism. The marriage is just around the corner now. I am a bit excited but the stress is high for her! Still preparing for baptism the week after. Our relief society President Sister Langi is a great fellowship for her.

Sadly Toru is no longer set for baptism. He doesn't have his priorities straight at the moment. He signed up for going to college, and college is actually a pretty big deal for islanders. It considered to be a great honor to have a college level education. So that has become his focus for now. He said "Maybe in a few months". That's certainly not my expectation, but we will keep working with him having the members around so he can feel the spirit. We will continue to fellowship him with members. 

I don't think that I have explained what fellow-shipping is, but it is the most effective way to help an investigator progress. usually what we do is set up an appointment with someone in advanced. We then consider the members that we could ask to come out with us and then ask one to be there with us for the appointment. It is always great to have them there because they often share experiences that are priceless or mean so much to the investigator themselves. The member is then there also to be friends with the investigator. This is usually how we try and get it to work as missionaries. 

There is maybe one other investigator that we have at the moment. Her name is Sharny. I don't think that I have mentioned her before. But we originally contacted her when we approaching a group of flats and we saw her and she invited us over to talk with her. She has been through a very difficult and abusive relationship. It has been quite traumatizing for her. As missionaries there was not much we could do for her, but we have one faithful sister in the Ward who is working hard to be a friend and support her in anyway possible. There has been a bit of a change in Sharny, but still a long way to go. She came to church yesterday and seemed to like it. We taught her a little bit about the gospel of Jesus Christ. After church she came up to us a thanked us sincerely for the day which was a bit of a surprise. She hasn't liked us teaching all that much to be honest. She can be a bit rude at times, and even act like a child to a certain extent. Still amazing to see the progress that she has made though! 

For now that is about it for our investigators. Brother Semati is still the same, waiting of the marriage papers...

Elder Hann and I get along real well. He is quite a sensible person and has lot's mission experience. He has had some tough experiences, but they have made him stronger.

Thanks for the e-mails, love you guys lots!

Elder Ward

Love the pictures! The clouds where amazing during lunch time so I took a picture!

That other one is borther Naeata or ward mission leader!