Monday, February 22, 2016

Constructing Zion! - Week 24

Hello Family and friends!!

This was a super duper good and busy week!! Lots of things happened!! We taught quite a few less active members, and committed them to come to church and some of them came! So that was cool!! It's also been a really nice week weather wise! 70 degrees or so most of the week! Which was good because most people were out and about doing stuff so we had more opportunity to talk to people!  We also had the chance to do some service a few times!

I went on exchanges again with Elder Pope to the Kearny 3rd area again. It was pretty fun! We tried some potentials there that I have actually met before on the last exchange, and one of them became a new investigator! So that was really exciting to see and be a part of. We went to a member of the Far West Stake Presidency's house, President Meyer. I also went there last time. They are such an awesome family. One thing that I really like about them is that they have such a clean house!! They are just as nice as nice can be. They remind me a lot of my old boss Dr. Cole and his family. And a lot of members from the Chapel Hill Ward and Victory View Ward back home. Just very very nice and friendly and Christ like! I met their son Cole both times. He has been going out with Elder Thompson and Elder Pope a few times. He is really cool. I outlined the Plan of Salvation for him and gave him some parts to talk about for the next lesson he goes with.  There aren't many families like that in the Wood heights Branch. And I'm certainly missing that a little bit haha. It may not seem like it to outsiders, but Missouri is definitely a huge culture shock, and I love it! Although, I'm dreading the summer humidity time coming up haha.

One other thing. WE GOT KYLIE ON DATE FOR BAPTISM!! It was so awesome! Kylie is super solid. Loves the gospel and just can't wait till the day she can be sealed to her husband. She wants her husband Rob to baptize her!! Rob is working towards that!! We don't know exactly how long it will take for him to get there. But we set a goal for them to baptize Kylie on March 26th!! I sneakily suggested that day because it is my Brother Ethan's Birthday and I just think that would be cool! Also, it's the same day as the Women's General Broadcast. So that will be a busy day for her! Just keep her in your prayers that all will go well and that that day can happen!

Also. We stopped by Cheryl and Stevens. That one referral. Last week we weren't able to set up another appointment because they were super busy. But we stopped by this last Friday. And Cheryl came to the door.
She said sorry she never called back haha. But she said that she has read HALF OF THE BOOK!! Not sure if she meant the whole book or first book of Nephi. But we are gonna call it the whole Book of Mormon until we hear otherwise! Haha. It's so amazing! Definitely an answer to prayers! She said she has a couple questions, but that she really liked it! So we have an appointment for Tuesday!! So exciting!!

On Saturday we helped a recent convert build a new deck for his porch. Brother Arnold is his name. He is really cool. And can build anything! So we helped him with that and nailed some new tin roofing onto his shed! So that was fun!

This week I was reading in the book of Alma. And came across Alma 36:30.  This chapter is Alma telling his son Helaman about his conversion after seeing an angel...towards the end of the chapter, after the story of the conversion he says: "But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to his word." I realized that the word "prosper" in there also refers to the spiritual meaning. Of course it may refer to material things as well. But I think namely things of the spirit. If we keep the commandments, we prosper. We are successful in obtaining the blessings of being close to the Lord. We are on the track to entering the Lords presence. And if we don't keep the commandments, of course the opposite effect happens, and we are "cut off from his presence." I love how simple the gospel really is.  And how wonderful the blessings are if we live it. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son Of God and that he is the only way for us to return. I Know the commandments are holy and truly are for our benefit. To keep us happy, have eternal families, and to return to Father in Heaven.

I love all of you so much!! Have a splendid week!!
~Elder Samuel LaVar Ward

Brother Arnold's deck! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Referrals for Dayzz- Week 23

Well hello! Happy week!!

It's been a pretty good week! We got lots done here in the Wood heights Branch this week! We started off on Monday going referral contacting! Nobody was home, so we left some little notes and such. We taught lots of Less actives this week. One even took us out to dinner! We went to Applebee's. Which it's pretty amazing that they even have that here...we had to get permission to leave the area haha. But I had spinach artichoke dip!! Sister Conner is the one who took us out! It was  really awesome! She brought her non-member friend Ed along. Ed has met with missionaries in the past, in the Independence 4th ward. He was really close to being baptized once upon a time, but he had some issues that hadn't been cleared up yet. And apparently the missionaries just
handled everything utterly terribly wrong, which is so sad. So he wasn't baptized. But he came to dinner, he lives in excelsior now. We cleared up a lot of questions he had. He said he wants to leave everything that happened in Inde. 4th in the past! We weren't able to set up another time to meet with him, but he said it wasn't the last that we would be seeing him! So that was really cool! 

We went on exchanges this week. I Went to the Kearney 1st ward with the  district leader Elder Thompson. It was really awesome! We went to dinner at an awesome members hose WHO IS GOING TO SEE ELLEN THIS WEEK!! Her mom was on it before, on the twins episode, and now they are going back! I told her to tell Ellen that she is awesome from me. So hopefully that gets passed along. But while on the exchange, Elder Taylor and popped went to go see Kylie! Apparently it was really good! She is definitely set on getting baptized, she can't give us a date yet, but we DO know that it's probably going to be in March. She wants her husband to
baptize her, so he is working towards that! 

 We went back yesterday to the referrals home, Cheryl and Steve. We have been praying all week to find solid prepared investigators. We knock on the door, she looks confused, and I'm ready for her to slam it. But we start talking and she says..." Come in!!" Wwwooooaaa! That doesn't just happen. We go in, it turns out they have a granddaughter being raised Mormon. They didn't refer themselves, but they wanted to know more about if she is
being raised right! So we start off with a prayer, and have just an absolutely amazing restoration lesson. They asked all the right questions, and the spirit was just so strong!!! Definitely one of the best lessons I've experienced on my mission so far. They pretty much agreed With everything we talked about That God really can call a prophet today, and that he WOULD and HAS. We invited them to baptism, and they said when they know it's true, that's something they will definitely do. They had some questions about the temple, and we testified of eternal families and the amazing blessings that come from the temple. They LOVED the idea of being sealed for all of time and eternity. They committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I KNOW that they were truly an answer to our prayers, and will hopefully go to our zone goal of 16 baptisms in the month of March. The Power of Prayer is just so amazing and this work is truly amazing.

 It's so crazy that February is already over halfway over. This transfer is flying! I love this work and know the Lord is at the helm. I love all of you so much!! Have a wonderful rest of the week, talk to you soon!

~Elder Samuel laVar Ward.
(Letters are welcome ;) 
209 Fine St. Apt. #3
Excelsior Springs, MO 64024
I'm wearing a Lava Lava because I forgot my pajamas on exchanges this week! 

I didn't give in! 

Temple Testimonies! -Week 22

Yo yo familia!!

This was a pretty Amazing week! Definitely has been a challenge getting used to Missouri. The people here are just simply awesome! I've seen so many weird pets here. One family has two Guineas. Which I actually thought were turkeys at first. Then there were the monkeys, lots of birds, and creepy looking dogs haha. But it's all part of the mish! I have a rock pet named "Harold the Great" so I guess it's kind of rubbed off on me.

But this was a really super good week! We took Kylie to the wonderful Historic Liberty jail! It was a really good experience. She didn't think that the original key to the jail was real for some reason haha. But the sister missionaries there quickly corrected her. She LOVED the scriptures received there by Joseph Smith. D&C 121-123. It was very spiritual. Well, after that. There is an exit room. Kylie is very interested in the eternal family aspect of the gospel. So I pulled up on the little kiosk the virtual temple tour. And I was like....sssssooooo, you wanna go to the temple? And we did!!!!! It was super great! It was at night. Which the Kansas City Missouri temple is just so beautiful at night. You can see it from the freeway. And there is a 13ft tall angel Moroni on top! So we get there. I explain Some of the symbolism on the outside. Namely Moroni, the fountain, spires, etc. Then Elder Taylor and I run in real quick to ask the front desk guy if we could bring her inside, just up to the desk and in the waiting room. So we did! And she literally was taken aback when she went through that door. The spirit is so strong in the temple, and she definitely felt it. She barely could even get through the door without crying. We told her what the temple is for. What some of the ordinances are. And what significance it has on the Earth. We told her that there is a room that is meant to symbolize being in the celestial Kingdom, and being in the presence of father in heaven, which it definitely feels like. That the temple is a place where Christ can appear if he so pleases. As shown during the Kirtland temple revelations. She loved it so much, as did I. She actually asked when she could be endowed and sealed as a family. I said well, we should start with being baptized first haha. She went home that night with a promise. To talk to her husband about doing what he needs to do in order to baptize her. And she said she is definitely feeling that it will be at the end of February or March. But she won't give us an
actual date yet. Hope fully this week! 

But I definitely have a testimony of the temple. I know that it is the house of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that the words inscribed on the front "Holiness to the Lord, The house of the Lord" mean exactly that. Everything in the
temple points to the Lord Jesus Christ and helps us return to Him. I desire to help everyone receive that knowledge. And that's such a great blessing to being a missionary!

Ok. This is a really long letter. Sorry. Haha. But I love all of you so much! Hope everyone has a great week! It's crazy how fast time flies. Thanks for all the letters and such! I love you all! Here's my new address! 

209 fine St. Apt. 3  Excelsior Springs, MO 64024

~Elder Samuel LaVar Ward

You Wicked Little Monkey!- Week 21

Helloooo Familyyyyy!!

              This has been a pretty dang good week. Missouri Is super weird I have found out. Lots of interesting places and people, but its all about the work and experience! We had a really good week teaching people. We beat all of our goals of the specific types of lessons we wanted to teach, whether that was with investigators, less actives, etc. So that was really cool! We took our investigators Kylie and her family to the visitors center this week! She is so cool! we gave her a scripture the  night before to read, and she had it memorized the next day at the visitors center!! that place is definitely my number 2 thing in my top 2 things of this mission. (#1 is that it's Zion) #AlphaAndOmega, The visitors center is just such an amazing place! I heard that they only build visitors centers like that only if there is a temple right next to it. But I was like, well where is this temple? but then I realized that as I was walking out and saw the lot down the street, that it just hasnt been built yet. haha, so thats cool! But the visitors center is such a wonderful and beautiful place and the spirit  is so strong. I can't wait to take my family  there someday.
               We got Kylie to "think" about a date for baptism! We are taking her to the Liberty Jail and Kansas City, Missouri temple grounds this week and will follow up! I'm excited! it was such a good experience! There is a lot of less active work going on in this branch, so we've been focusing a lot on that. But we also are focusing on finding as well. Because Kylie is our only solid investigator at this time. I got to do some service at a farm this week which kind of made me miss working at the Coles a little bit, but it was an awesome experience! they are a part member family. We fixed their grain feeder and put up some fencing! I didn't take any pictures, but we will be back for sure and ill take some then! 
            Sorry thats basically all i've got for this week, but quick spiritual pearl of wisdom...I've had a really wonderful time reading the Book of Mormon this week. I've been thinking about the initiative of "teach repentance and baptize converts" and Alma 23:6 really stood out to me. its so amazing that ALL those thousand some odd people were baptized, became the Anti-Nephi-Lehis, and not a single one fell away! not one! that is so inspiring, and shows how great of  missionaries Aaron and his brethren were. That they could have such a spirit  to be with them, to touch those hearts so strongly that that many were converted, and not one fell away... and that is our goal as missionaries. To baptize converts, not less active people, and to be worthy of carrying that spirit around at all times wherever we go! I hope that I can continue to do that as well and get better at it. I love this initiative, and this scripture has really helped me to understand it, and work towards it. Thanks so much for all that you do! I definitely feel the love from home and around the world.I really appreciate it and love being here. You guys are the best! Keep in contact! I love you!

~Elder Samuel LaVar Ward
Also, the monkey wasn't wicked for any particular reason. The title of the email is a quote from the movie Mrs. Doubtfire... but we weren't allowed to touch or hold them. Because in the state of Missouri, if it even scratches me and I report it, the state just comes in and kills them all, which is kind of sad. But they were super cool!!! Ok I love
you all!!!