Monday, January 25, 2016

Far West is #FAR OUT! - Week 20

Hello family!!! 
Things are going pretty well! I got transferred :( it was pretty sad, but also expected. haha. I now live in good ol Excelsior Springs Missouri!! There are like 5 people that live here, we are totally in the boonies.   

We now get 1800 miles on our Ford Fusion haha. My new companions name is Elder Taylor. He is 6'7" and pretty awesome. He is pretty quiet, but awesome, I'm excited to serve with him!

Missouri is super different, I kind of miss Kansas, where I was the past few months.  haha. But it's cool being in Zion!! I've learned that a lot of people have a HUGE misunderstanding of Adam-Ondi-Ahman, even the members, so we've cleared that up a few times already. 

But things are really good! I'm serving in the Wood Heights Branch in the Far West Zone. There was only about 30 people at church on Sunday, and we had to sit on the stand... I'm  not quite sure why,  but it was cool. The Branch is full of nice people!! We have not had a single dinner appointment since I've been here, which was an adjustment because in my last area we never NOT had a dinner appointment, but it turns out my preaching and begging for food at church on Sunday went well
because we are full for a week or so now, so YAY!! 

There is mainly less active work going on here, we only 3 or so investigators, so we have a goal of finding more this week! It was super hard saying goodbye to a lot of people in the Chapel Hill Ward, I cried, a lot. haha Which is okay i guess.   

But this area is super cool!! It's been snowing and we've taught some people! Not a lot has really happened this week because of transfers, but here is a spiritual thought! I was reading in the Book of Alma this week- chapter 31, who was just a super awesome prophet! I am definitely learning more and more about the atonement every day; what it has done for me and how happy it has
made me, this part really stuck out to me: 

"34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we
may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
35 Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our
brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we
may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee." 

I just love these scriptures because it encompasses our purpose as missionaries, and shows that we MUST have the Lord's help in carrying out his work, we simply cannot do it on our own, just like we really can't do anything on our own without Him. 

I'm so excited to be here in Zion, and to serve! I know that I am in  this area for a reason, Just like I was in the Chapel Hill area for  reason.

All is well!!!! Thanks so much for everything you all do!! 

My new address is 
209 Fine Street. Apartment #3 
Excelsior Springs, Missouri
64024 

I promise its the right address this time ;) ok i love you all!

Love, Elder Samuel LaVar Ward


Elder Christensen, Me, and Elder Slesk!

Elder Kolacz and I saying goodbye

Me a T! Whoops! I accidentally put my arm around her... 

KIRBY VINCENT! And the owl he helped me carve 
Ron and Cheryl Pehrson


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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Another one joins the fold! -Week 19


Hey fam! This was such an AWESOME week! 
We started off Monday evening going to the wonderful family of Collin and Ashley Smith again. The snowball fight people. Well, we had awesome breakfast for dinner, I take my plate to the sink, look up, turn around, and see people holding high tech nerf guns. IT WAS ON!! I got wrecked. hahaha Their 4 yr old son Nolan is such a pro. He has awesome hiding places, and shot me more than i could handle. We also had an ugly face contest...I think i won, but I'll leave that for you to
decide below. 
Tuesday was good, we tried to find some new gators, but ended up unsuccessful. But we passed out like a ton of Book of Mormon copies. So #SeedsPlanted. 
We went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders Wednesday night for learning purposes. I was with Elder Vehar. He is super awesome. Ww taught Jan and had a great conversation about baptism, it was really open, which was good, because we haven't been able to talk about it for a while.  She is definitely getting way close! She stopped going to her old church, and is making baby steps to the Church of Jesus Christ! Also, Elder Vehar and I threw some glow sticks around the apartment later that night..it was fun.
The next day, we had lunch at a place called Jazz. Apparently they give free food to missionaries, it's been 2 miles away from our house the whole time and we had no idea. So hooray! That's fun. Its really good! and they played a Curtis Stigers song! 
That night we went on exchanges with the District Leader, and Elder Ili came here with me! He's so fun and so cool! We sang non stop, and went to see a lot of people! 
The next day was Theresa's Baptism! Which was really stressfully AMAZING! We have been searching for weeks for a baptismal jumpsuit that would fit her...to no success. We finally had to settle with a 5x that she was just swimming in. LUCKILY, we finally got permission from the temple to borrow one of their jumpsuits, that day!!! haha, so Brother Reynolds went and grabbed it. It all worked out! We spent about 2.5 hours filling the font, which was just ridiculous. haha. So we did that, and got everything ready to go. The time finally came and we started! I gave a talk about baptism, and then we went to baptize her, (which bishop Bebel did)
Well...we opened the curtain aaannddd HALF THE WATER DRAINED OUT IN
ABOUT 13 MINUTES!! HOORAY!!  Well, I panicked, kind of a lot...President and Sister Vest were there and it took so long to fill up in the first place! ssooo, it turns out that we have a leaky plug, the
plug is built into the font, and something was messed up. So we grabbed a TV and throw on the 20 minute restoration video while it is filling back up.  I definitely had my testimony grown this week that
everything happens for a reason, and the reason is usually preparatory for bringing people into the gospel. 
Like i said before, I definitely panicked when we learned that a lot of water had drained out of the
font. I was embarrassed for us, and was worried that we made things stressful for Theresa.... Well, It filled back up in about 15 minutes, and we ended up just ending right after the first vision. She was
baptized and it was one of the most amazing things ever! The spirit was so strong, and I know that it happened just as it needed to. Then Elder Kolacz gave a talk and we were done!  
On Sunday, a sister who Theresa works for came up to me at church. She said that at the baptism, she went back during the restoration movie that we put on to go talk to Theresa. She said she found her on the bench, crying and smiling. Theresa looked at her, nodded her head and said "It's true!" Theresa had a confirming witness that what she was making was the right choice, and gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon. To me, that is the most rewarding thing that I was able to see as a missionary. Yes the baptism was amazing, but the fact that she now has for herself that testimony, tells me that she is more likely to stay very active and endure to make more covenants and that I have done my job as a missionary. 
KNOW that the water had to drain for a reason. So she could have that time to ponder. And there is no way it could've filled up again that fast, save it were only God's will. (Because it took like 3 hours to fill the first time.) I know that it happened for a reason, and it's such an amazing feeling to be a part of that. 
Then, i got the opportunity to Confirm her a member of the church!!! It was so awesome!! I'm so  grateful that she asked me to do that. and the spirit was SO strong!! Anyways- definitely an awesome week. 
So, Elder Kolacz got another training call that day, so it is for sure that one of us will be transferred. We aren't sure who yet, but it will most likely be me, but you never know. So transfers are this week. So probably don't send anything until next week if your going to. :) 
I went to the WW1 museum today!! It was so sick!!! It took like 5 hours to get through, but totally worth it. It's the only one in America of that caliber, and is definitely world class. I learned a lot!! 
Thanks so much for everything you guys do!! Have a great week! Talk to you soon!

~Elder Samuel LaVar Ward
Baptism day!

Downtown KC!

I spent 3 hours scrubbing the font with Comet- there was some moldy alien substance there. 
Selfie at the WWII Museum- Model T Ford Ambulance!

Ugly Face Contest! Did I win?

Fun at the Smiths!

"Bust the Windows out Your Car"

 HARRY POTTER and the CHOCOLATEY MILK!
Thanks Gretchen for the fun gift! haha!
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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kolob- Week 18

Hello family! 
This was a pretty awesome one! Lots of things happened! We had a great lesson with a lady named Teresa and her  husband Ron. Not the same Theresa getting baptized soon though. This one was a good lesson! We had Bro. Black with us and he answered a lot of questions that I definitely couldn't, so it worked out well. We are meeting again this Tuesday! 

We also taught Jan! it was pretty good! We had Brother Bruce with us to reteach the restoration because she has forgotten it a little bit over time. It was a good!  We asked her to be baptized again, but she said "nah... someday!" She is beginning to move away from her old church, so... baby steps!

We also took Theresa to Liberty Jail! It was great! Bro. Reynolds took us. It was very spiritual as usual, and she said multiple times how pumped she is for her baptism on Friday! She is so excited and I'm pumped for her! It's so amazing to see the progression she has made! I love it. 

The next day we helped the Kaw River Ward with a "lost sheep" activity and they gave us pizza! 

We had Theresa come to church this last Sunday, and we taught "Exaltation." Which she LOVED. But Liberty Jail was amazing, and other than that we mainly were trying to find people this week. And we also had a good zone training. 

One night this week we went to dinner  at Patrick Bruce's house, aaaaannnndddd he bought a
PRACTICE CHANTER!!!!!! aaaaahhhhh and I even got to play it! I have been missing my pipes  sooooo much lately, and that was definitely a blesssing...  This work is truly a blessing of the Lord, I love seeing the changes not only in my life, but others as well. I'm so glad to be here.  

I finished the Book of Mosiah this week. The Book of Mosiah has always been one of my favorites in the Book of Mormon. I love that it shows how influential people are to each other, especially when they are in some sort of leadership position. Mosiah was a righteous ruler, King Noah was a wicked one. Both of their people followed in their ways. But the Lord only helps one way. The people of Mosiah prosper and the people of Noah perish. it is also amazing to see how Mosiah didn't care to be king, and that he even set up the Judge system for after his time. I learned that those who are truly humble are definitely favored of the Lord and receive many blessings. Also, that they are able to help others even when they are gone. He set up a system where people could dwell in righteousness, but more importantly have the agency and ability to do so. He helped bless the lives of many. I hope to be like him someday and to always strive to be a righteous and humble servant continuously forever. 

I know the words of the Book of Mormon are true, and I love sharing it with others. Thanks so much for all the love and support! 

FYI--- Transfers are on the 21st of January, so if you are going to send something, and it wouldn't get here by then, I'd recommend waiting haha. 

BUT THANKS SO MUCH!! I LOVE ALL OF
YOU!!


~Elder Samuel LaVar Ward
HI!


Our car got PUNKED!

With the Zone Leaders at KC Joes. SOOOOO good! 
Elder Torrico and I.... and a daughter of God in the background.

Stopped by the 9/11 Memorial

Best Zone EVA!

Liberty Jail with Theresa, Bro. Reynolds, and Elder Kolacz

and FINALLY.... BAGPIPES!!! (practice chanter) "If You Could Hie to Kolob"

Shout out to Grant Harbison... Wish we could have them harmonies! haha

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

#2k16

Hello family and friends!

This week was great!! Our Investigators are
doing pretty well also. Theresa is still on date for baptism January 15th!! She is loving the gospel and came to church the last two weeks. Our ward mission leader is setting up plans for retention and they are already assigning home teachers to her! 

We haven't heard from Monica this week. We were supposed to give a church tour but we couldn't get a hold of her so it didn't work out. We took Sheryl to the VC (vistor's center) yesterday with her member husband and  non-member grandkids. It was a good time. I'd say she DID feel the spirit and we set up another time to come see her, and she is going to make us clam chowder! So a win-win! Jan is doing fairly well. We are starting the lessons over with her because she seems to have forgotten a lot of them. We invited her to baptism again last week. She won't commit because she is afraid of
losing friends and family relationships, but we are still trying though! She is beginning to cut ties with her old church so that will be a big stepping stone. It is amazing to see how much these people progress, and I LOVE being a part of it and that I have been able to meet and
get to know them.

I have been reading lots of the Book of Mormon this week. I am in the book of Mosiah learning about King Noah and Abinadi. I love that story so much. Abinadi was such a great prophet and missionary. He never lied and would never give up, especially if he hadn't finished his mission yet. He stood up for what was right and endured to the end to carry out the words of the Lord. The Lord preserved him in all things and he was able to fulfill what he needed to do because of his righteousness and determination to do what the Lord commanded. I hope to be like that and strive everyday to become so. 

I love this work and that story definitely shed a whole new light on what it is I'm doing. I love
all of you! Thanks so much for everything!

~Elder Samuel LaVar Ward

P.S. I also meet someone that works on the Da Vinci surgical robot! She's super cool and is going to show me some day.  SO AWESOME! 

Here we are with Will Dilullo!

And now with Captain Kirk and Freddie Kruger

Here's Theresa- she is super sassy!!

Us right now on P-day! COOLEST zone everrrrrrr!