Monday, October 26, 2015

#service #buildingbricks- Week 8

Hello Hello! This was a very good week! We had lots going on! We did a ton of service! We helped out a partial-member family a few times, the Pehrsons. The husband is a member, but the wife is a strong Catholic. They are very nice. They are finally selling their old house after
keeping it for like 20 years. We went and chopped down some trees and are going to build a stone wall tonight. They also took us to an awesome Mexican restaurant last week and we gotta see a smidgen of the Royals game while there... I restrained from watching more than 5.3 seconds... Royals won though! I guess they are going to the World Series or something? NBD. So it's going to be CRAZY here soon. We also did some service for members of our ward, we did some street dimming and brick stacking....reminds me of my old Job! I even saw a couple goat heads I GOT to
pull. haha. 

Also, pretty much all of our appointments cancelled on us this week. 😔 Ron had to take care of his friend who just had major surgery, and Derek Flint cancelled. But we popped by Derek's House and
gave him a Spanish Book of Mormon and Spanish Plan of Salvation pamphlet, his brother just died and he was wondering what we think goes on there. It was good though! We are going to try to take him to the awesome visitors center in Independence this week. That's ALWAYS a great place to really get investigators to progress. 

We also met with our Burmese investigator Van and his family this week. Unfortunately
we didn't get to play Cheen, but we had a great lesson about the restoration.  The parents don't really speak English very well. But Van and his sister Khin do, and they liked it. They are going to try to
come to trunk or treat as well as church! I'm excited. We also got an appointment set up with their Burmese Neighbor. Unfortunately the Book of Mormon is NOT translated into Burmese yet. So that needs to get figured out ASAP. It causes a bit more difficulty for sure. But nothing we can't handle. 

Our investigator Cedric has pretty much ignored us all week. Which is really depressing. But we will pop by and see what's up.

Overall a really Really good Week! Lots of service and teaching! It's what we do! The work here is amazing. I never realized how important member present lessons were until recently. It
just always makes things go better. An example:
 We went on a team up with our new ward mission leader Brother Tady. We went to go see potential investigator Teresa. She wasn't home so we called. She was around the corner helping her best friend move in, so we went and helped! It only took about 40 minutes so we shared a brief message about service and how it is the Lord's work and benefits both people. We showed a message, testified, and they were in tears. They are also going to come to trunk or treat and church! They seem prepared and we have an appointment scheduled with each of them this week. Had Brother Tady not been there it wouldn't have been the same. They now have a member fellowship in the ward for when they come to church. It's also a great way to see how normal people are part of the gospel as well. That is not all just full time missionaries. How members also want to share their love for this gospel, and how important it is. It was awesome! A great week! It went by really fast! 2 month mark next week! Holy monsters! It's going by quick! Aargh. 

The Lord is our Savior. He knows what we are going through and that is what prepares us to see Him! Make sure you share what you know! Go with the missionaries! They will be blessed from it, so will you, so will the investigator. Love you all! Thanks for the packages and letters! Until next week!

-Elder Samuel LaVar Ward

(P.S. If you are going to send Christmas packages I've been asked to ask you to send them to the mission office by November. 20th. They want them at the mission office because transfers are right before Christmas and that could get REALLY confusing haha.) 

I'm hoping to not get transferred until after Christmas, but you never know, I'd imagine because I'm new and opening an area I wouldn't be transferred. But I guess president is very unpredictable, so that's what I was asked to ask you! Thanks for your cooperation! I love you all! 

Also. We are going to have a missionary car for trunk or treat, details and pics next week, buckle up!

Hard at work: 

Elder Kolacz's amazing sweater



Monday, October 19, 2015

#Burma - Week 7

Another one down! This week was good! Elder Kolacz and I moved into our new apartment! It's REALLY nice. We live more central in our ward now so we will be saving a lot of miles and time on driving. And we can utilize bikes more! We live in a place called royal ridge apartments, fancy... I know.  It is actually the nicest apartment in the mission right now because we are the first elders to live in it! We also have brand new everything too. New pots, pans, plates, an iron, beds, etc.  It's really awesome, we feel super spoiled. It's going to suck to get transferred and have to live in gross places. The best part about it, is that it's CLEAN! 😱 and we have new carpet!

As for missionary work, it was also a really good week! We met some new people, got some referrals, and had some lessons. A couple things awesome that happened is 1. We met with Ron Wilhelmi again last Tuesday. Ron only has a reading level of about a 3rd grader. So he doesn't really like to "read" the Book of Mormon, so we told him to download the gospel library app and listen to it instead. He has taken missionary discussions for a few years now, and has only gotten to lesson two. So we are going to start changing stuff up with him. We started talking about the beginning with him to see if he even had a testimony about the Book if Mormon at all. He definitely didn't. He thought that you had to read the entire thing and THEN pray about it. We told him no. Pray about what you read everyday! Even if it's just a verse! He had never thought about that and is going to start trying it. He also made a commitment to come to church, and he CAME! I think he liked it! He was really happy and talked to a lot of people, he also had some very good discussion in the lessons as well. He works for the Royals and is working a lot. He usually leaves early in the morning and doesn't get back till way late at night. So he finds it hard to find time to pray. But we told him other wise. If he just does it, He will be blessed and WILL receive the truth. Hopefully he does it! 

Also, we went on exchanges this week. I went with our district leader, Elder Hansen, we stayed in my area and talked to a lot of people. One of them being a man named Cedric. We met Cedric by visiting a member and when we were leaving, he was walking out to his car across the street. So we stopped him and talked a bit. We then went to see him again a week later (this last week) on exchanges. We knocked on the door, he let us in, we gave the entire first discussion in his entry way. He asked if he could come to church, we said uh, yes! Aaaannnnnnddddddd, he didn't show up..... 😩 so we walked over to his house right after church to see what the deal was, he had "surprise company and wasn't feeling good" which he really didn't look good, I may have detected some pink eye. So we set a return appointment for Wednesday afternoon and will get him going!  He is a super cool black guy school bus driver, with a HUGE goatee. 

That's basically been our week! I guess another thing is we were at the library doing some iPad training and a guy came up to us and said, "I've been thinking about being a Mormon, do you guys know how I might be able to do that?" We set an appointment. I'm not sure what it is about our missionary get up, but it seems to draw people in I guess. It's pretty great, we also get free food a lot. #MissionaryLife. 

We also met a guy in an apartment complex down the road named Van. He looks about 15 yrs old with the dirtiest mustache I've ever seen. He was out back in a sandpit with a million Burmese people playing a game of schin? (Cheen) idk how to spell it. Burmese. But we talked to some of them, they are Baptist. They were really interested and we set an appointment with like 15 people for Thursday. So we will see how that goes! They need to teach us how to play their game! It looks like a mix of volleyball and hacky-sac. They were ninja kicking a bamboo ball over the net at lightning speed. I must learn. It was a good week! The Lord is good! Thanks for all the support at home! I love you all! Keep the faith!

-Elder Samuel LaVar Ward.

 Leaving the Lees house.
 Goodbye to the beloved screen porch! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

#HitTheDeck - Week 6

What a crazy week! There has been a lot happening! We have done a ton of service this week! We painted yet another deck. It took like 7 hours because it was so huge, the paint was really thick, and they wanted texture. But it was nice to be outside and doing something. We are going back next saturday to do coat #2. This time the sisters will be there, and I guess we will have some other things to do there as well. We got a new bishopric in the ward last Sunday! It was kind of weird, people were crying, and sacrament went 2 hours with all of the testimonies. Is that even church legal? Oh well. You can really tell how much the people in this ward love each other! It's  awesome, and they are so awesome at being missionaries! They always take us places and they talk to EVERYONE about the gospel. It's really cool. I finally got a bike. So now we can go to an area somewhere, park the car, and bike around to people. That will be really refreshing and I think a better way of contacting people. We only got to meet with one of our investigators this week, Ron Wilhelmi. He is a man that struggles with some pretty severe anger management, and has a lot of personal issues. I usually get some sort of headache whenever I go there, but that just shows how much he really needs the gospel! He is content to never be baptized he said. He said if that was our purpose we may as well leave beacuse we are wasting each others time. So that posed to be a bit awkward, but that's what they all say before they actually get baptized. so we are going to keep going. haha. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation. He has met with about 5 sets of missionaries but they never followed up! So he only got to half way through lesson 2! SSOO LAAAMMEE!! But that's why we are here now! We have set appointments with him EVERY Tuesday at 10. So we can always follow up, and encourage him. He is pretty awesome. he works with the Cardinals baseball team. So thats his only day off. I guess they are pretty good or something. Instead of everything being BSU its either Royals, Chiefs, or Cardinals. Never heard of any of them before I got here. But that's cool that there is something cool here too! So we taught the 3 Kingdoms of Glory to him. Which he didn't seem to like at first. He didnt like the idea that his father in jail could potentially be in the same kingdom as he. But we explained that you cant worry about that. His salvation is his, and yours is yours. The atonement is for EVERYBODY! Which is so awesome! He said that makes more sense, and I said even if he did get into the same kingdom, he didn't ever have to see him if he didnt want, that made him feel better! haha. And we don't usually talk about outer darkness when we teach, because it is so hard to get into, and really kinda drives the spirit in our teaching out in a way. But I felt we should talk about it, so we did. He liked that there was in fact a "Hell" for people and that not EVERYONE can have a degree of glory. We further explained the requirements to get there, and really how difficult it is to get there anyways, but he was really intrigued by it, and it made the kingdoms seem very much more pleasing and acceptable to him. So we will see if he kept his commitments on his reading for the week, and see what happens tomorrow! This week will be good! We have more service lined up, and will get to see Megan again and teach her lesson 2! The Alpha and Omega mission is doing well, we have over 350 baptisms this year so far, with a goal of 400 something. So we are working hard to meet it! But it's all about enduring to the end! So we spend just as much time, if not more time contacting and trying to reactivate less actives! We got a few to come to church this week! I think they enjoyed it. We'll try to get them to come more often...hopefully every week soon! Thanks for all the letters and prayers! I feel them working! Time is going by fairly quick! It's crazy to think Halloween is already coming! I look at my pumpkin Matilda everyday and get so excited! I guess Halloween is sort of our "day off" because we have to be inside by 5pm. Hopefully we can go to a trunk or treat or something. Thanks for everything! Hope all is well!! I Love you!!
~Elder Ward
(Also the tornado sirens go off every first Wednesday, try not to freak out as much as i did) ;)
Also, we found a sword.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

#AllTheIdaho - Week 5

What a wonderful week it has been!!
We have finally been in touch with our new investigator, Megan!! She is super nice. We brought Brother Woodsen with us as a fellowship and it went really well! We talked about the restoration with her and gave her a pamphlet.(She already had a Book of Mormon) she only had a couple questions about Joseph Smith which were really easy to answer and she accepted them well. She also asked if we could watch T.V... there are certainly some wild misconceptions about Christ's church. We set a return appointment for two weeks later because she will be out of town. Our plan is to talk about the Plan of Salvation. She is interested in going to the beautiful visitors center in Independence as well, we will try and set that up with her. If it works out we will put her on date for baptism there, but if not, we will ask her in the next lesson! I'm looking forward to it, and am so excited for her!! It's been such a crazy week! So many conferences! Distict meeting, Zone Conference, and General Conference! Just conferencing up the chain I guess. After Zone conference, I made Elder Kolacz stay with me to clean up because most of the other Elders already left, who does that? We cleaned up the chapel, put chairs and table away, etc. It was us, the Zone leaders, and President and Sister Vest. Sooo THEY TOOK US TO FIVE GUYS! It was soooo good and really cool to get more conversation time with the President and Sister Vest. also, that was my SECOND experience with Idaho potatoes this week! (They were from Blackfoot...) number one was at the Will's house. It was so cool. Because there have been al lot of people from the ward trying to get in their home and meet with them, but me and Elder Kolacz are the only ones who have been able to actually do it so far..3 times! we popped over one night. They have BSU stuff EVERYWHERE... all over their cars and house, multiple flags outside, etc. So I figured I just HAVE to meet them, we did! They are such a sweet family! Two parents, 12 year old boy, 8 year old daughter. and all they wear is BSU clothing! I love it! Their older son whose 19 lives in Idaho still as a potato truck driver. Who would have thought? They were there for a few weeks before and got a bunch of potatoes. So I was definitely happy when Sister Wills walked out with a sac of Idaho potatoes with me still with idaho dirt on them!! I scraped the dirt off into a jar and keep it on my desk now! But more importatnly, they invited us to watch conference with them..twice!! We went for one on both Saturday AND Sunday...with a baked potato bar on Sunday ;) they treat conference with the equivalent to the super bowl! Snacks beyond snacks! It was awesome! We also got a chance to meet with our other investigator, Derek last Thursday. We just showed up at his house and he was moving a bunch of junk out of his garage, he said "God always sends the missionaries at the right time." I said " God is obviously trying to tell you something!" We helped him, he was extremely grateful and bought us lunch. He has something against one of the members of the ward, and that's the reason he won't get baptized, but he said he "could feel his heart softening because of us" so that was good! We invited him to watch General Conference and he accepted. We watched  the morning session on sunday with him. He really enjoyed it, and I think he's getting closer. Also, conference was amazing!! I never knew the choir was THAT good, oh man.... all the talks were so good! I especially loved President Eyring's about his grandpa, reminded me of my grandpa and how much I want to be like him as well.

I have been reading a lot of talks from the modern day leaders in sync with my scripture and Preach My Gospel reading this week. In my study of the Atonement lately, I've been pondering the idea of "God will remember our sins no more" that statement has always been comforting, but I wanted to know more about it, about what that means for us and how we can remember them no more as well. I came across the talk "Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying" by Elder Dale G. Renlund. Something he said in it was "God promises forgiveness when we repent and turn from wickedness--so much so that our sins will not even be mentioned to us. For us, because of the Atonement of Christ and our repentance, we can look at our past deeds and say "twas I, but 'tis not I." No matter how wicked, we can say "That's who I was. But that past wicked self is no longer who I am". (Renlund). It is truly amazing to me how he will not even mention them to us. He knows that we feel really bad about our sins, and if we truly repent, it really will be like  it never happened, in his eyes. But we will always bear the burden of remembering the horrible things we have done, so much so that it may still bring feelings of guilt. But is it not the most amazing thing when one can say "twas I, But tis not I?" I love that. When we see that it is who we ONCE were, and that we have completely changed our way of life from that, and can say that is no longer who we are. I love it. I love Christ and his commandments, and I love the atonement, I use it daily. Everyday. We can always change and get better, it never runs out and we cannot take it for granted. My two hopes are for me to be like him, and to help others to be like him as well. So I guess a mission is a good place to do that! I love being here, all is well!! Read your scriptures, and have a good week!! 
Love, Elder Samuel LaVar Ward
(P.S. have you fed a missionary today?)

                      Five Guys with the Zone and Mission President, and Mission Mama!
                                 I bought a pumpkin and named her #Matilda.