Sunday, June 28, 2015

22 June 2015 Invitations are important...

For this week we really worked hard to invite people to the showing of Meet the Mormons. We had one of our members (Brother Mills, who has e-mailed you guys before) print out 200 flyers and we put up posters as well. We handed out all the flyers. We organized to have warm soup there as well with some refreshments. Sunday evening the time came and we went to the town hall of Waipu and set up the event. Brother Mills came with the projector and video equipment, we set it up and got the chairs all organised. It fell together quite well. Many members of the Branch came and supported us. A few of them had not seen the video either so it was their first time. We waited for people to come and join us that we had invited. My heart breaks to report this, but no one came. There was not a single non-member there. Not even DJ was able to make it. It doesn't matter though. The Branch saw this and was invigorated in their own personal desire to work harder in their missionary efforts. They saw it as a great act of faith before the Lord, in our desire to share the gospel. There are many reasons why people may have not come, maybe it was just not a good time, a "cold/freezing" (as NZ'ers put it) Sunday evening. We don't know, but the first thing Brother Mills said to after we watched it was, "Give me a date and time". Needless to say we are going to keep trying. We have 3 main towns that we work in... ( They are not too big, you could walk form one end to the other in about 7min and are surrounded by farm land) and we are going to organize to have showings there as well. Try even harder to advertise and invite all those that we meet. I know our Father in Heaven was pleased with what we did as missionaries and as a Branch, and I know because of how I felt inside, good warm and happy, or the Spirit.

Good things are happening. Raylene, I am not to sure if I mentioned her before, is the  grand daughter of a very active Grandmother, and great Grandmother. Her father is LA and is not interested. However though her extended family have faithfully been taking her to church for quite a while. She hasn't been baptized yet because the family simply does not want to push her into it and then watch her decide not to go to church one day. She seems to be coming around. She came to church last Sunday and a question was brought up about the baptismal interview questions. She was nervous about that idea. I took out my handy dandy planner and turned to the page with the questions on it handed it to her so she could read it for herself and know that there are no surprises. She felt much better after reading them over quickly them. We will be teaching her tonight. We are going to show Meet the Mormons, as that is what her Great Grandmother asked us to do. Lots, of people should be there, and LA's even and she will enjoy it as well.

DJ has been doing ok. It is a bit tough at the moment because he has 2 older Sisters. both converts. The older one (20's) is active as, and the younger was recently baptized in March. She is struggling a bit though because certain circumstances( I won't go into details for now), and that has thrown a wrench in the system. The big concern now is the older Sister who is struggling  before we really can help DJ move along.

Well that's about it for this week. We are doing well Elder Mahreza and I. I want to keep working hard and use all the time that I have left on my mission to it's best. It goes quick. Mixed feelings for sure as with all missionaries when they get near the end of their missions.

I know Heavenly Father loves us all. I am thankful for his son Jesus Christ, I know that he lives, and how wonderful is his sacrifice. 

Elder Ward

So there is another Elder Ward in our District, he is going home tomorrow, he is a great missionary. We are related.. I just had to ask if he was related to Hyrum and he said yes and I said "Sweet we're cuzzies!!!" as they say here in NZ. 

 And then also you have a picture of the event! It was a great success!

 So I got a chance to eat a raw oyster... It was all right. It wasn't to bad actually, and I had 2 of them. A LA fiance pretty much insisted that Elder Mahreza and I eat it.

Kinu is guess..................... Sea Urchin. It is a bit of an acquired taste. It wasn't to bad though. It's like the Moari caviar. It tastes, like it is from the sea, and it is pretty strong. Thats the only way I can describe it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

14 June 2015 Meet the Mormons

Elder Mahreza and I have been passing out to flyers to those that we meet on the streets, and inviting like mad to make sure that we have a good turn out. I have attached a picture of one of the posters that we put up in the little town of Waipu and also Ruakaka. There have been serveral people that have had a warm response to our invitation. A few have turned it down, not liking the fact that it is about "Religion". All well there loss unfortunatly. I was thinking to myself the other day about how you said that many of the people on the base don't even except us as Christians, despite explaining, reasoning, and expounding. Maybe the Branch could organize an event and invite friends and co-workers to it so they can have an enjoyable time and also maybe have a few myths shut out. 
Even if a few people only come, they would still generate a lot of conversation others, and share what they learned from the video. We are also having the relief Society bring warm soup and bread so people have an enjoyable snack to keep them warm and cozy.

Reuben was able to make it to church this past Sunday. He was given the Aaronic Priesthood! There is now another priesthood holder in the Bream Bay Branch! Many of the members are excited about that. Reason being is because it simply means growth. There are many Sisters attend which is wonderful. But with out Priesthood holders to hold leadership postitions, the Branch cannot really move forwards. Reuben is happy to be a memeber. I was so privledged as a missionary to be part of his conversion process. It was not me, nor previous missionaries who converted him, it was simply the Branch and the strength that is in it.. The Lord of course played the biggest role of all!

DJ is doing all right. Unfortunatly progress has slowed due to some ripples in the family. DJ has 2 older Sisters who are members. You have Marama, and Mandy. Mandy is a recent convert since march, and Marama is a convert of about 2 years. Mandy at the moment is struggling a little bit and we want to make sure that she stays on the right path. You could look at it as we need to make sure Mandy is strong before we can then baptise DJ. Or at least that would be best and preferable. DJ is close and we are still seeing him.

Other than that we do have a few other people that we are seeing, and doing our best with helping them to get to the point where they are progressing.

We hiked the peak of a local Mountain called Mount Mania. It had a stunning view of our area. That beach you see all along the coast is part of our area that we cover. I don't think I run out of beautiful things to take pcitures of here in NZ!

Love you all!

Elder Ward

 We visited a lady that has loved reading the pamphlets and this is the view right next to her home... The water was perfectly still and was a perfect reflection of the pink sky!

 A picture of me at the Zone Leaders flat in the morning. I was a bit sick so I rested while they prepped for the big feed. Today we are having an "umu" (oomoo) or "hangi" (haungy). It is an under ground oven where cook the food by heating rocks to red hot and then putting them in the ground and then the food on top with wet blankets to trap the heat and steam the food.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

9 June 2015 - Elder Mahreza

Well this week was a bit slow, however there are a lot of other things that are happening in our area that I don't think that I have mentioned to you guys. 

Elder Mahreza is form Jacarta, Indonesia. He currently lives in Babasi. I don't think that those are spelled right but I think that you should be able to find them on a map. What a great experince it is to serve with him. He is really humble and he does speak English well. He has been out for 5 months, and he had to learn English in the MTC. He is pretty much fluent and can have a well involved conversation with someone on the street. It is amazing to think that he has learned so quickly. His native tongue is Indonesian. They do have many dialects in Indonesia, however they do have a national Indonesian Launguage. His Grandparents where converts to the church. He has been born into it, as well as both of his parents. HIs Sister is currently serving in Indonesia itself. To attend the temple they have to go to the Hong Kong temple, however he took out his endowment when he came to NZ. They always make a trip from the MTC to the temple so those missionaries that don't have their endowment can get it. They did not even have it in his launguage. Something I can't fathom is how difficult it must have been in the MTC for him. There was no one that could speak his laungauge, no translators no nothing. He could not speak any English whatsoever. They were taught it in school, but, they never really learned, similar to highschool launguage classes. (haha) I thought that the MTC experice was hard, but my goodness for Elder Mahreza it must have been a highly challenging experience. He is a humble missionary, he certainly is going to go on and serve a great mission. He works so hard and is so diligent in his language studies.

We are planning a showing of Meet the Mormons in one of the nearby villages called Waipu. We are going to be renting out the town hall and getting flyers organised and invite like mad to the event. It should be awesome! We are hoping that it will help generate more curiousity and openess when we speak with people. a problem with small villages is that everyone tends to knwo each other and also attend the same church or have the same ideas. We have shared it with a few people and they have shown some great intrest in it.

Yesterday we had a Zone conference. Which is the reason why we did not e-mail on monday. Hope that you wheren't to concerened about it. Forgot to mention it last e-mail. It was a great Zone training though. Presdient Balli is such an inspired man. He taught us how we could use the Book of Mormon more effectivly when we teach. Elder cook also mentioned a few things at the mission conference that really apply to missionary work. Everything from understanding that we are builders of God's kingdom and not ust sales men was one of the messages that was expanded, and also that we ourselves are the message to the people that we meet and see. We are the ones sharing our testimony everywhere we go, we are the ones that dress nicely and are groomed well to show the importence of our message. It was just great. Thats something that I have always loved about the mission is the trainings. They are always so clear, and crisp in helping us become better missionaries. I will miss that after my mission for sure.

I do have some mean pictures but I think I might need to send them next week

Thanks for the e-mails sorry I could not get back to each one.

Elder Ward

Sunday, June 7, 2015

1 June 2015 Reuben's Baptism

This week was a particularly special one. My goodness. I think that in my last letter home I expressed a bit of concern before Reubens baptism. I was a bit worried about him not being bale to make it to church and what not. We met with him pretty much every night before his baptism to go over things that needed to be taught such as the various principles in PMG Chapter 3 lessons 4 and 5. As we taught him though, I began to gain a much better understanding of how well prepared he was for Baptism and how much he desired to make the covenant with God, and I felt confident that he was ready and prepared. We had felt the spirit so much during his lessons, and we felt it all the way up to the day of his baptism. I can tell you that I fasted before the baptism that I would be ready to perform the ordinance and also that all would go well for the Baptism. Nearly all of the Branch was there to support Reuben, and also his Daughter \who is a member but is LA came as well. Reuben also had his cousin (who is an active member) to support him. It was brilliant, and it went so smoothly. I talked with Reuben afterwards, and he mentioned a few things along the lines of that he " felt like he was a changed man". I am thankful for Heavenly Father blessing my companion and I to help someone return to his fold. It wasn't just us. In all honesty I don't really feel like I deserved, or least to extent that I didn't really do to much to help Reuben get there. The missionaries before Elder Mahreza and I found him. They taught him for a few months, then I cam in and continued to teach him with Elder Donaldson. Members came with us to the teaching appointments and where able to bear a powerful testimony of the church and also share with him their conversion story. Our Branch is made up nearly all converts surprisingly, and many of them personally know Reuben personally. So when you look at it in the bigger picture it was the combined efforts of previous missionaries, us, and the members to bring Reuben into the fold.

So Reuben was baptized on a Friday... Usually it is a Saturday... Reason being is because of Elder Quinten L. Cook! He came to our mission and we traveled back down to Auckland and back down to the MTC and we all met at the local chapel with the Hamilton mission. Being in the presence of an Apostle is amazing, and many of the other General Authorities form the Area Presidency. So I have met shaken the hands of 2 Apostles on my mission, that's Elder Anderson, and Elder Cook. Elder Bednar was not able to, but still got to see him up close and be in the same room. :)

Elder Ward