Sunday, November 29, 2015

23 November 2015 - Another Week of Hard Work

This week has been good. Lots of good hard work. Despite the area being small, it is interesting to see how we are still managing to stay quite busy. I have noticed that in larger areas missionaries can tend to think that they have more work to do in their areas. However I would like to say that this mind-set is not a bit faulty. In a smaller area you focus more on the individuals, realizing that we have to work with these people despite maybe thinking that there are others that we could go find and see. You focus much more on their needs. If you see some of the same people walking on the street, what do you do? Keep talking with them. Just because you have spoken with them before does not mean that you have nothing meaningful to share with them today. I love trying to figure out creative and different ways to talk with people. It is great to have a laugh with them on the street to show them that we are normal people as well.

This week though, we have been working with a lot of Less-Actives, it has been great. If we don't have any appointments, we are always looking for someone to teach and assist in their journey back to their Father in Heaven. We taught this one Less-Active young man named Sid. He was about 15 or so. We taught him outside on the grass because there was no one home old enough for us to go in. We had a great lesson on prayer. We asked him questions about how he was doing personally. He said that he was only praying every so often. Nothing to consistent. It was great to explain to him how important it really is to pray and talk with our Heavenly Father. We did a little demonstration or visual with our ties. You either end of the tie in each hand and then try to put a not in it. It seems impossible however if you fold your arms like you are to pray and then grab the tie and then unfold them, you make a not in the tie. He really enjoyed the small demonstration to go along with the lesson. We where thinking of a commitment that we could leave with him. I didn't want it to be boring or meaningless. Like giving him something to read. It is not to appealing for a young boy. With a stroke of inspiration (it was the Spirit that gave us the inspiration) we invited him to go teach his Brothers and show him what we showed with him.

When we followed up with him and we where elated to hear that he had shown his Brothers and also shared with them about prayer to. Very often we come back and they don't do it. We had another lesson, this time more centred on the scriptures, and learned about Lehi's Vision. We showed him a picture and explained it to him and how important and meaningful it is for us. He really enjoyed it. Once again we gave the picture book to him and challenged him to read 1 Nephi Chapter 8 and then share it with his family. He also expressed a desire to pray as a family, and we encouraged him to continue working with his family. He is a great kid!

Congrats Stuart on getting the Melchezidek Priesthood that must have been a real surprise for sure. Look forwards to hearing about your call and also doing some training when I get back. Have you watched those videos I sent a link to? That would be really good for you to. I will keep following up for sure!

Love you all heaps!
Elder Ward

The picture is with one of my favourite missionaries. Elder Schetzel is in the Zone and it is great to be with him again. He was actually serving for a while in Niue, for a bit. He loved it out there. He has some awesome stories! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

15 November 2015 - Letter Home

In this week we have accomplished a lot. As missionaries one way report on how our efforts have been going is through Key Indicators. Like how many lessons we have taught during the week, how many people we have talked with, how many people we have baptized during the week as well. For this week you could say that our numbers where a bit low. However though we did have a few moments we felt where very valuable though.

One being a visit with a Less-Active Brother who has been wuite shy torwards us. We met with him once before when we popped by, however he didn't say to much and we ended up talking to his Mother more than him. He was home by himself with just the Kids. He invited us in and we chatted up a storm. He apparently doesn't have a concern as to why he doesn't come to church. But he has to cause he doesn't come. He even told us that he wasn't being lazy about it either. Didn't really make sense, but we didn't want to interrogate him by any means. I did note that he was more open when his mum wasn't around...The most important par tof the visit though was inviting him to start acting and move forwards. We extended a challenge for him to read the BoM in 90 days and he responded with a solid yes. So we will be organizing that for him. If we can help him feel the Spirit I know that he will progress torwards bigger commitments such as coming to church. He is married to one of our investigators. You could say that he is the one that is holding her back. We where pleased with the miracle of encountering him and helping him!

What makes a successful missionary is not how many people he baptizes, but his commitment to serving his mission and bringing others to Christ. There are many things that are done on a mission that are never counted or reported. We worked our hardest this week, so I am happy with what we where able to accomplish because it was our best!

That is about all the time I have for today. The visa stuff has taken quite a bit of time... So busy, it is so good!

Elder Ward

Elder Falatau turned 21. So the Elders and Sisters in a District organised a bit of a surprise party for him. He didn't tell anyone about it, but they still found out though. Elder Falatau doesn't like birthdays to much... All well he got one anyways!

08 November 2015 - Transfers....

Not feeling to well right now. Just a little sick to the stomach. but I am still going to send home an awesome letter home!

Elder Falatau and I worked diligently this week for sure. We had transfers this week, so being assigned as a Zone Leader we where busy with renting a trailer and planning for how we are going to be moving all the Elders and Sisters around. It was to much fun. Elder Falatau and I are staying. So I will finish my mission with Elder Falatau. He is a great missionary and I am happy to end with him at my side. After the transfer meeting though President Balli and I spoke briefly. He gave me some great council. He put both his hands on my shouldlers and looked into my eyes and said something along the lines of "Elder Ward you are a great missionary and leader, you have shown this in the past, and just simply enjoy your last transfer, just enjoy it and the work". I appreciated it greatly because it was what I needed to hear for sure. Often times I can be very self critical, and simply to hard on myself. President knows that about me. He has been able to give me great advice for me and help me over come this personal challenge. I have improved but it can still be hard at times. Something that I will probably have to work on even after my mission to as well.

So I am looking forwards to this transfer for sure. This week we where able to get 5 new investigators, which is awesome! We have had a few investigators loose their momentum and just are progressing like we would like them top. But in there time they will get there! 2 of the investigators came form the Less Active sister that we met last Sunday. Her sons sat in on the lessons and they where interested and we shared with them a bit about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it will bless there lives just by simply living by the principles. Their names are John and William. They where never baptized, so we hope to strengthen there mother who has the most tender testimony, and then help her boys really get involved. Should be good! Something that really helps in missionary work is bearing your testimony. Or witnessing to those that you are teaching that what you have taught is true. It is powerful and really invites the spirit. I remember at a few points during the lesson that Sister James(the boys mother) doubted that she could feel more of the spirit at that it would be able to help her. At that moment I bore my testimony and reassured her that if she is on the pathway back to her Heavenly Father the Spirit will be able to help her with her returning to the church and give her peace and comfort. IT was awesome!

I have sent pictures of my previous companion who is now serving as a Zone Leader to! only 12 weeks out on his mission! His trainee is now training. It is pretty cool! you could say that I have a great grandson! We usually consider those who train like Fathers, and those being trained like sons. So because my trainees trainee is training, I am now a Grand Father! Haha fun mission Language.

At the end of the transfer meeting, missionaries gather together in a circle with the new missionaries in the center. We sing the mission song and have some good fun!
 President Balli invited me to speak at transfer meeting as well. It was a cazy looking at all the new missionaries and thinking that I was in there shoes nearly 2 years ago! I shared with them my testimony, and a few small thoughts as well pertaining to mission life.

Love You all and thanks for the e-mails,
Elder Ward

Sunday, November 8, 2015

1 Nov 2015 - A great week for the Zone!‏

To start off I am elated to report that the investigator that I interviewed last week was baptized! :) I was happy for her and I was glad that she did not harden her heart and turn away. When I interviewed her for the final time, it was great to hear how she understood the importance of the commandments. I felt sorry for her that she did have to wait, but she was so much more prepared! It was a great feeling to know that the faith on our part, the Elders teaching, the investigators, and as well with her family; all ended in a greater appreciation for the sacredness of baptism. Her husband even came up to me (who the Elder previously did not have a great relationship with) and personally thanked me after she had been baptized. It was great to see the change in him, and hopefully it will lead to him changing and joining the church in the future! Miracles do happen!

In the Zone there where 2 other Baptisms as well. One was a young boy, and the other was a Young Woman who had been preparing for a while and now could be baptized because she had parental permission. As leaders we are to be at the baptisms to make sure everything goes smoothly. So it was awesome! The only down side is that we don't get to spend time in our own area working with our own investigators.

The work in our area is still challenging in it's own way. I will share one miracle though. We received a miracle from some missionaries that where in another part of Auckland. WE went to go contact them however though there was no one by the name that we had. Interestingly enough when the lady opened the door, she said "Oh, hey Elders"... A clear indication that she was a member or at least at least a less active. After we learned that there was no one by the name we said "Oh, then it is inspired that we still met you instead!" We got to know her a bit and get a feeling for where she was in her life. She did express that she did not want to come to church because she was doing things that made her not worthy(WoW). When we learned that was the concern we then talked about how she should come despite where she was in her life. Church, is just simple a hospital for sinners, or a mechanics shop, not a car show room. Often times that is what it can be in other churches, and so many people have tha perception about church. We look forwards to going back and visiting with her and the rest of her family as they may not be members, however ready to listen and learn about the gospel. Certainly a miracle prepared by our Heavenly Father. Investigators may loose intrest, or become a former, however, there always seems to be more people prepared!

I am thankful for the church, for how it has been restored through a loving Father in Heaven. I certainly have a testimony, and know it is true!

Thanks for your e-mails, love you all heaps!

Congrats Madelyn, and I loved the costumes to. Halloween isn't to big here. There where still kids though doing it.

Got a picture of our Zone!

Elder Ward

Sunday, November 1, 2015

25 October 2015 - Stress...

This week was pretty stressful. I can tend to be one that get stressed really easily and then thinks too hard about things. Something that I think I will have to work on for the rest of my life! It has been good the mission has taught to help manage it.

Moving on though, I would have to say that the work has become slightly challenging in our area. Our area is actually quite small, so by now we are thoroughly familiar with it and many of the people. We have seen some people that have we have had great hope and faith for fall through. It has been tough in that perspective, however we do have someone who is preparing for the 21st of Nov. Her name is Shaniqua, she is 17, and she has been contact with members for a while. She very bright and intelligent. She doesn't have a whole lot of knowledge about the gospel her self though. She is a sponge though and soaking up everything we teach. Her Brothers and Sisters are bright as well. Many of the times the parents don't look after there kids, and so they are not as well behaved. But it was just a different experience working with these kids for sure!The only thing that can make things challenging is when they are being handed between parents. Some days they are there, and others they are elsewhere in Auckland. She has been keeping commitments.

Just been really working on keeping my faith up and my vision of what can happen. discouragement really is no good. I have been discouraged before and boy does the world seem like a dark place when you are discouraged!

Love you all.

And yes thanks for the ring. I got an interesting picture with it.

We had a Zone Devotional this morning. It went well. We did an activity in PMG on pg 124 where we split into groups. It was great, everyone seemed to enjoy it and learned lots. This Elder Manu, he came into the mission with me, he will be going home with me as well. I am also starting to wear contacts again. Got tired of glasses.

Elder Ward