Sunday, July 26, 2015

20 July 2015 Interviews

This week was a busy week. Went on trade-offs with some missionaries that live about an hour south of this main little town that we serve in. We had a pretty good time and we enjoyed it quite a bit. Lots of traveling though. Ended up taking their cell phone after we traded back and we drove all the way down and all the back up to give them there cell phone. 2 hours of driving makes you tired as! Also went on a trade off with our Elder Adams one of our Zone Leaders. it was his Birthday that day so it was even more of a treat! His family got real creative and sent him a video through the Bishops ward that he was currently serving in and he watched it. He really loved it and enjoyed it. Every day they have to drive about 45min into their area everyday to and from. They work way out into the country so it is a really neat area. Sometimes they where rubber boots when they proselyte because it is so wet and muddy! I got to where some a on a trade off which was pretty awesome. I got a picture too....

On Friday we had interviews with President Balli. Everyone was so excited for it. It is an opportunity to have a simple one on one with him and you. Ask questions, and express concerns. He asked me about how I was doing serving as a District Leader, as he was concerned about how stressed I was. I learned on my mission that I tend to stress way to much. I was happy to tell him that I have adjusted well and that I really enjoy serving as a District Leader. We had a wonderful chat and we really enjoyed it. One thing that all the Elders and Sisters love about President Balli is how much love that he has for us as missionaries. He really cares about how we are doing and what our concerns are. Instead of only doing 15min interviews, he will gladly go over time with us. Showing love is something that he wants us to show to everyone that we meet. Investigators, our companions, and members.

That evening after our interview with President Balli, we went to a Ward activity. They had a wicked dance. Lots of people came as well. Including our investigators that we are working with. Luke and Niya, and Marlene and her daughter Tayla. It was pretty great. We stood outside simply because it was a bit wordily and took pictures as people came in. Everyone had a great time! It was amazing to see Luke and Niya getting into it as well. They really enjoyed it.

This week though investigator wise we had some great things happen. For this area we had Luke, and Niya come to church which is awesome! They need to be baptized and they are so ready for it, however they feel as if they need to prepare a bit more. They are ready though that is the thing! We are doing our best to build their desire to be baptized so they can be motivated take care of getting married. Marlene is also LA that has recently come back to church. She talked with Bishop Pita about having her daughter baptized and we now have a baptism coming up on the 2nd of August! Missionaries have been visiting that family for a very long time and Elder Lene and I are now blessed to assist in finishing the lessons and helping her with the final preparations for baptism. 

It looks like everyone on the their scouting excursions had a fantastic time! I liked the e-mails this week Mother having 2 this week was a real treat. I am glad that you where able to have so much help with getting around. Eric has certainly gotten bigger... It's crazy. I loved what Madelyn shared about her camping experience as well. Loved the pictures to as well

You got a picture of me in "Gum Boots" as they call it here in NZ. That was so cool!

And then you have the Cultural Hall all decked out with projectors and lights.
Love You all lots!

 A gorgeous picture of NZ once again. :)
 This is what NZ police cars look like. Colorful Lolly pops.

 Bishop Pita was constantly telling people that he was the Incredible Hulk not Shrek... Thor is our first counselor in our ward. His name is Brother Kruger
 Luke and Niya, they had a blast at the dance. We kind of took the picture in the middle of an activity they where doing, still turned out nice.
And then you have Marlene ( The one in the red without the face paint) and Tayla The girl in the black towards the lower left. It was great to see them there for sure!

Elder Ward

Sunday, July 19, 2015

13 July 2015 Trade-offs!

This week was a busy one as usual. As a District leader I went on trade-offs with the Elders that are serving in the Bream Bay area. It was good to be back! A few of the members we saw were a bit surprised to see me back! They thought that I was gone for good! Still though it is neat to be able to go back and help those Elders with the area. Just for some information, trade-offs are when 2 missionary companionship's switch their companions so they can learn something new. They are fun and helps out a lot with becoming a better missionary. Sometimes we get stuck in the same ruts. Teaching things the same way over and over. Trade-offs helps learn new ways to teach things and work in the area when comes to finding new investigators.

I taught District Meeting this week as well. I wasn't too nervous or anything. It went pretty well and we learned a lot. Well I learned a lot! Things went all right. It was my first time so what could I expect? We had a bit of fun and we did do some role plays with each other. Next time I do though I will be a bit more prepared, and have a better idea of what to do. It's great being a District Leader, and I am going to do my best to help these Elders and Sisters in the district!

In Denby Ward we had 4 investigators come to church. We had Luke and Niya come with Niya's younger Sister as well. They have been taught by missionaries for a very long time. They have been doing so well. It has been 3 weeks since they last smoked and they have been coming to church consistently for the past while now... That's all that I know! Anyways after sacrament meeting we had a lesson with them. Elder Lene and I originally planned to teach about the commandments. We went off teaching about the scriptures and how we can study form them. It is interesting to hear from a non-members perspective what they think of the scriptures and how they feel. Often times very intimidated seeing members flip through scriptures like experts and expound complex wording as well. It was great though. We showed them how to cross-reference, and dig deeper to understand the scriptures as well. They were so happy to learn about it. One example was cross referencing the 10 commandments in the Book of Mosiah and Exodus. We read through them as well and they then asked a question about the Sabbath day and working on it. We had a great discussion with them on it and learned lots! We could have just plowed on and taught about all the commandments and so on, but I am so glad that we followed the spirit in that lesson and answered their sincere question. Their own personal inquiry made it so much valuable to them as well! 

That was probably the best teaching highlight of the week for us.

Things are going well in the mission. It does get harder as time goes on. Sometimes as an older missionary in the field you can be stuck in your old ways and not want to change, but it is always important to change, especially when you get no results. Always still learning on the mission, you never will know everything you need to know about missionary work.

Love You All lots! Pictures are of some beautiful land next to their home in Bream Bay. This was just before dinner.  And then the other is frost. That is about as cold as it gets here in NZ. The flats here have no insulation so they very cold. That's all right though. We bundle up next to the heater. :)

Elder Ward

A Beautiful morning sunrise. A view form our flat!

6 July 2015 What a Big Week...

This week was a big one for sure... Transfers came quick and boy was it a surprise as to what happened. I got transferred. It is the shortest amount of time that I have stayed in an area. Just 3 months which is a bit annoying. I kind of like staying for a while because you really get to know that area well and you also get to really try hard to find those that are willing to receive you. It's ok though I didn't really go far. I got transferred about a half hour away into Whangerei the town it self. Bream Bay is about a half hour away, and it just borders the town. I am now serving in a ward called Denby Ward. That is not all though. Last Monday evening the phone rang while we where driving back to the District Leaders flat in Town. We stay the night at The District Leaders flat so we can do shopping the next day in town and e-mail as well. P-day ends at 6 and we then drive about 10min to the North part of our area and do and visit a few people there for the evening and then drive back again so we can stay for District meeting for the next day, and also save k's with going all the way back. It is a bit fun staying with other Elders needless to say :D. Turns out that it was President Balli, and he then let me know that I was being transferred and assigned to serve as a District leader replacing our current District Leader as he was then assigned to serve as a Zone Leader in Whangerei! To be honest at that moment I was very nervous. Serving as a leader in the mission field is a big deal, and as it says in the White handbook "it should not be taken lightly". However I am enjoying it so much. Serving the other Elders and Sisters in our District is a privilege and is a great delight to serve and help them. Whether it be teaching them about a principal in PMG, or giving them supplies they need for the work that they are doing in their area, and much more. We have all ready had a companionship study with the Sisters as they are both new to the area and are trying there best to get a grip on the area. I am also excited to go on trade-offs with The Elder Mahreza who is still serving in Bream Bay with his new companion Elder Thorpe. It will be great to see those that I got to teach, and members that I cam e to know so well.  I am excited and I will do my best. Lot's of praying and studying. It is important to also be humble as a leader, as they often learn a lot more from those they serve than those that are being served. It is easier said than done though.

Yesterday in Bream Bay though DJ did go up and bear his testimony to everyone. He said that he "knows the church is true". He is so close to baptism and is really doing well with preparing  for it. Lauren didn't make it though. She felt church to be a bit overwhelming for her, however she did enjoy it. She said that she wants to take just small baby steps for now, which is fine. We do not want to make her feel uncomfortable by pushing her over. Things are going good in Bream bay and Elder Mahreza will take good care of it for sure.

Here in Denby we proselyte in a real similar to Auckland Neighborhoods, it is still different and we still have country areas or "bush" areas as they would call it here in NZ. We have some good investigators that we are working with though. I will tell you more about them next week. I would like to share one experience though we had yesterday. 

We visited members for dinner, and asked who where some recent converts that they havn't seen around for a while. They mentioned 2 names. We went and visited one that evening. We met her son, and he was a bit shy to us as it had been a while since the missionaries had popped up on his door step. He hesitently let us in, we had a YSA young man with us at the time, so we could enter into the home. We started to sing a song so we could lead into thought when the mother, who we were originally looking for came back form her run around the neighborhood. She was a bit surprised and it was a bit awkward you could say. However though, we introduced ourselves and we continued. By the end of the visit we had built a great relationship with her. We learned that she worked for the police force and that she has a very interesting job working for the youth. That discussion took up much of the time that we spent there. It was great though, we ended with a small scripture for all of us to ponder on, and it was great to see this Sister reach and find something to write on so she could write it down and remember it. She still has a testimony, but at the moment she is going through a lot in family matters, relationship wise. We didn't teach a profound lesson sprinkled with scriptures and intelligent thoughts. We simply got to know her and express to her that the Ward missed her, and the we the missionaries are there to help her in her journey with the gospel, and help her feel the spirit again. We should be seeing her next week. It was a fantastic visit!

Well there is so much more that I would love to type, but time does not permit sadly. I am now companions with Elder Lene. We have actually served around each other a lot! We where so excited to find out that we where serving together! I have sent pictures with him home before. He is a fantastic missionary with a powerful testimony.

Got some more mean pictures, me and my new companion. These pictures where taken at a members home that we had a zone devotional at. They have the most amazing view ever!

The camps sound like fun, send lot's of pics!

Love You All!

Elder Ward

Sunday, July 5, 2015

29 June 2015 - 3 Investigators

We had 3 investigators at our sacrament meeting this week. It was great! DJ came to church. He is certainly feeling at home there. We are still teaching him, however his older Sister is still a big concern. She has not come to church for a month and everyone in the Branch is worried for her. We did visit this week with our branch president and she seemed to be doing just fine. She seems to really tied up with life right now and relationships. 

Raylene is 9 or 10 years old and her Grand Mother and Great Grand Mother are very active in the church. She has always been around them and has come to church. Just recently though she started getting serious though with investigating and also baptism. We taught the first lesson this week and it wen t well. We left with her a commitment to read the introduction of the Book of Mormon with her Great Grand Mother. She should be ready for baptism soon! We don't want to rush her, and make sure that it is her making the decision and not her Extended family. Her family is also concerned about that as well.

The 3rd person that came to church was a bit of a miracle. Her name is Lauren., I don't think that I mentioned her last time. She was taught by missionaries a long time ago. They never made a teaching record it seems. They INvited her to be baptized and she said no because she did not feel prepared. She was also going through a lot at that time as well. The waters have settled for her and she seems to be interested and ready to progress. After she said no to baptism the missionaries seemed to have stopped going by. The missionaries where transferred and she was forgotten about. We met Lauren just by talking with people on the street. She mentioned her past experiences with the missionaries and I was a bit blown away. I wen t back to the area book looked for a teaching record and could not find one. However though I did go through a weekly progress report and found her name there from years ago, so what she said was most certainly true. We have been visiting her for the past few weeks at her door step and we have been sharing meaningful thoughts with her. We invited her to Church, and also mentioned that we where going to be having a linger longer as well. She came to church though much to our surprise. She missed sacrament, only because she did not know exactly where the church was. She went to the local Morai  ( Moari meeting house) actually thinking that we where meeting there but she was still able to find the house we where at. She brought her 2 sons, one was autistic, he loved the place and was running around everywhere which was great! The sisters where so kind though to her and encouraged her to stay despite her considering to leave because the kids where hungry. She enjoyed , but I could also see that it was a lot for her to take in as well. We have an official appointment this week and we are certainly looking forwards to it.

Overall though it was a pretty great week.We had a lot of success. Reuben is doing well. He enjoys coming back over to teach him the New Member Lessons. He has missed church a few times due to various inconvenient commitments, however he is still doing well.
Love you all and thanks so much for all that you do for me.

Love Elder Ward

Some beautiful Landscape.

 I went on a trade off with our District Leaders companion. We tried to visit some members that live in this house boat it was so cool! They live in it and they travel sometimes in it. Really cool!