Monday, December 31, 2012

Dec. 25, 2012

Here are some things we learned when we talked to Matt on Skype on Christmas Day! 
 
He said to get around they walk, ride buses or taxis.  It would probably be possible to walk the circumference of his area in a day.  None of the elders have bikes.  Matt thinks they would just be stolen anyway.
He has had two haircuts since he has been to Honduras, and he got his hair cut by a member.  
The stake center there (where they had their Christmas party) is the biggest in Central America and bigger than the ones in UT--it has 3 floors.  His ward there has about 75-100 people who come each week.  
His address isn't an address--it is directions.  That is is why it is so long.  It says something like: go this way, turn left at....
His mission president does not speak English.  His kids are all grown and gone from home.
In one of his pictures, there is a sister missionary with a cast on her foot.  When we asked him about it, Matt said, the zone was crossing the street as a group, and she was hit by a car, which ran over her foot!
They drink bottled water, which they haul in 5 gallon bottles up the hill to their apartment 2-3 times a week.
The weather there is like UT in August.
He said he knows a couple of missionaries who have been mugged.
To take his daily shower, he boils a gallon of water, which he adds to 4 gallons of cold water in a bucket, which he pours over himself.
Most things are available there, but quite expensive.
People sit outside the supermarket trying to sell things like toothpaste.
20 limpiras equals about $1.  A pizza costs 100 limpiras, which is about $5, but the pizza is a lot smaller than it is here.
The zone gets together on p-days.  They often play soccer.  On Thursdays they have district meetings and usually go out to eat at a place where they can make their own burritos.
40-50% of the mission are American Elders/Sisters.  His zone leader is from Mexico.  He doesn't get much of a reaction about being American since he is in the city, but he thought he might if he were in the more rural areas.
There are 11 zones in his mission.  Transfers are every 6 weeks.
A lady in their area washes their clothes for free.  They have brought her candy bars to say thank you. After she washes their clothes, they bring their damp clothes home and hang them up to dry.  They clean their own apartment.  I asked Matt to send me a picture of the bathroom, but he said he wouldn't, so I am assuming it is pretty bad.
Once when they went to a member's house, the lady was straightening the daughter's hair with a clothes iron.
He gets 1-2 hours/p-day to spend on the computer.
There is no bedding provided, but he has his own sheets and that is usually plenty.  If he ever gets cold he just puts on his hoodie and warm socks.  
I asked if they had problems with flying bugs, like mosquitos, and he said no.  They have a few flies, but that's about it.
He hasn't seen any snakes, but his companion did.
It gets dark about 5:30-6 p.m. and light about 6 a.m.
He understands quite a bit of Spanish, but still struggles to speak it.
He said he is happy and enjoying his mission.  
 
He looked and sounded really good.  It was great to talk with him!

Dec. 24, 2012

Mom,
Okay, it looks like I have to go fast again, I´ll answer some questions:
There are like 22 missionaries in our new zone, which is a lot bigger than before, they opened up 2 areas in our zone. The temple is in Teguz, but the city is split and shared by our mission and the Comayaguala mission, and the temple is out of our mission´s area, but in the same city.
I haven´t gotten the backpack yet, my ZL´s still have it, but it made it from the office to their house, so I will have it by the end of the week, my ZL forgot to bring it today when I saw him to give it to me, but it did make it.
There were transfers this week, but Elder Evans and I are still together for another change (until february). He was expecting to leave, since he had already had 4 changes in the area, but we are still both here. A lot of the Elders from my district in the MTC, that came at the same time as me are training other new missionaries now, which is crazy to me!
It is hard for me to take pictures of a lot of things because I don´t always carry my camera around, and I don´t want to be waving my camera around in public places to get robbed. I have been trying to take more pictures with some of the members and converts, this week we took a lot of pictures because my companion thought that he would be leaving. When I get time, I´ll try to upload them. :)
Did Golden come home and has he given his homecoming talk?
Okay, well I will talk to you tomorrow..
Love,
Elder Ward

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Fun!



These are pictures from the Christmas party this week. One when we were in the temple, and one at the church, at lunchtime

Christmas Decorations!


Christmas decorations! We found some christmas stuff that was left in the apartment from other missionaries, over the years, so we put up a tree, and some lights, and like snowflakes all around the apartment. well, mostly just my companion... I just sat there and studied, while he decorated and called me a scrooge for not wanting to help. 

More Apartment Pictures






Bedroom, and main room shots

Apartment Pictures













Apartment pictures
One with my desk, and how I normally study in the mornings... With PANCAKES!!
the other is just a general view, as we walk in the front door
 

Zone Pictures





Here are some pictures of my zone.

Zone Leader & Companion




One picture is me with my ZL, the other with my companion, at a hill overlooking the temple. this was about a month ago. my hair was really long with the wind, so in some of these pictures I have weird hair. (My hair is short now, which is good)

Tie and Temple






Here´s some pictures.
One is of the tie that I´m going to give to Ben, because it has turtles and is pink.
The other picture is of the temple on one of our temple trips.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dec. 17, 2012

This week we had a Christmas party with like 4 zones in the mission, and had some musical numbers and talks and stuff, and then we went to the temple, and fit a ton of missionaris onto a schoolbus, there were like 100! I was standing the whole half hour long ride there. Then we went back to the church, they gave us each a little present, with an apple, some treats, and a mini PMG that is really handy. We got a really nice lunch that was catered. Then our mission president let us go and choose between playing soccer, or basketball, or watching a movie. I went to watch the movie, and we were allowed to watch Toy Story 3! I was surprised, but the president let us watch it this one time on the mission, for the Christmas party, so that was fun to relax and watch a non church movie. It was also interesting watching it in Spanish. we only watched like the first half hour of it though, then we had to stop, because we had to go. So that was a nice break this week.
We have been mostly just teaching the new people that weve found. We have a few investigators, so that´s good. Saturday we went out with a teacher´s age convert, and he came with us for most of Saturday so that we could show him what it is like to be a missionary, and to bring a member to bear testimony of what we teach, so that was a good experience.
We have changes this week, so we will see soon if my companion stays or goes.
I heard the other day that they are going to add a mission in Honduras in 2013, so there will be 4, so that might affect where I would go, I could get switched to a different mission.. Idk if it´s true though, it was just a rumor that I heard. We are supposed to get a lot of new missionaries here soon though.
To reply to some of your questions, mom:
The weather is pretty much still the same. It has not rained for a few weeks, it hasn´t been too cold, we´ve had a couple of hot days, but it´s still about perfect weather. It feels like an average, utah, august day, every day.
I sent some pictures. I haven´t been taking a ton, I always forget to take pictures, although nothing here stands out to me as being all that exciting anymore to take pictures of.
Okay, that´s about all of the news that I have right now.
Love,
Elder Ward
 
(We will post the pictures as soon as we can get them to work.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dec. 10, 2012

Dear Mom,
I don´t have much time to talk today again, sorry...
I was going to get pictures sent today, but I think that the computers that we are using here at the internet café are all locked from using a file explorer to upload pictures, so I will have to wait until another P day so that I can send them from the church computers.
The temple is not in my mission, but we just went a few weeks ago. We heard the announcement this week for when the open house and dedication for the temple will be! The open house will be from Feburary 4 to March 2, and the dedication will be the 17th of March.
I did not see the Christmas devocional, we just worked that day.
This week we had an activity, a family home evening activity thing, at the Mission President´s house. We brought 2 investigators and a recent convert. It worked out really nicely because one investigator is on crutches, and can barely walk with them, but the other is a taxi driver, so we got a driver to drive all the way up the dirt hill to this guy´s house who couldn´t walk, and didn´t have to pay like a bajillion lempiras to get there and back. So that was good, and the activity went well, we watched the Restoration video and the President and his wife talked for a little while, and then we had donuts and went home. So that was a good activity and turned out well.
Other than that, we have still been trying to find new people to teach, we don´t have many investigators right now. Changes are next week, and there is a good chance that I will get a new companion, but stay in the same area. I don´t know if that would be good or bad right now, I know that we are getting a lot of new missionaries coming in in the next couple of changes. We are getting about 50 more missionaries in our mission than we would normally have, so there will be some new areas opening up, and a lot of people will be training. I hope that I won´t get called to train yet, but I have heard that the mission president likes to do that to the new Elders who are right out of training... We will see what happens there.
Thank you for sending my backpack. Also, I got a package from Grandma and Grandpa Beecher this week with socks in it, which was good! Please thank them for me for that!
Also, my companion got a package this week, which had all of his Christmas stuff in it, and his mom also sent presents addressed to his companion, which was random, but super nice of her. So I got 2 new ties, and some candy and stuff.
Anyways, thats whats happening recently!
Love,
Elder Ward

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dec. 3, 2012

Mom,
I don´t know how the Skype thing will all work out yet, we still need to find somewhere with internet and a webcam and all of that stuff before I can find out times and stuff.
The baptism was good, and we had a few members from the ward there.
We had some other Elders here make the Thanksgiving dinner, and we bought the chickens from the store.
Nothing else much has happened this week, I wrote dad about how our recent convert is doing, I´ll copy and paste the piece here for you to read:
We only baptized the man, he does have a couple brothers and his parents, who are all older (He is 25). We are working on trying to talk with his family, but it is a little harder because they go to another church already. I was there for the whole time with teaching him. He has also been watching a lot of the church DVD´s that we have given him to watch, and has even been showing them to some of his friends, who we have started to teach too, so he is a cool convert because he wants to learn more and share the gospel already in his conversion. He got the priesthood yesterday too, so he´s a priest now. :) So that´s been good.
Other than that, not much has been happening here.
I hope that everything´s good with you all!
Love,
Elder Ward

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nov. 26

Dear Mom,
We had mission conference this week, and we found out that we might have the option of using Skype this year for Christmas to talk to our families, so that would be cool, but I would have to find someone with a computer with a webcam and a fast enough internet connection, so we´ll see about that.
I´m not going to put pictures on yet, and I didn´t get any at the baptism, because I forgot my camera, but I will see if I can get a copy from my companion´s camera to send to you.
The baptism went good, as well as the confirmation yesterday. He has been studying a lot of the stuff that we have given him, with the scriptures and liahona magazines and things like that, so it has been exciting to see him study that stuff recently.
We did actually have a small Thanksgiving celebration this week. We were with the zone this thursday, and so we decided to pitch in some money for our own little Thanksgiving celebration with food. So we got chicken, mashed potatoes, rolls, and pumpkin pie, and ate at the church this week, and had a nice meal together, which was pretty filling, and good food. So that was fun.
I´m pretty sure that our water problems won´t ever get fixed, there just isn´t really any water pressure here. The stove was just old, and had been having problems with sparking up and weird stuff like that before, but the new one is good. No we don´t have an oven, nor will we unless we buy one with our personal money. We just have a little countertop stove with two burners.
Other than that, nothing too exciting has been happening recently here.
Love,
Elder Ward

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nov. 19, 2012

Dear Mom,
I was going to put pictures on today, but I´m going to wait until next week because we have a baptism this Saturday, and I thought that you might want to see those pictures. We are baptizing a person who is 25 years old, who we found like 3 weeks ago and have been teaching, and helped him stop smoking. He stopped smoking in like a week, which is crazy! We fasted with him, and promised him that with the Lord´s help he could stop to get ready to be baptized, and he has completely stopped smoking now, so we are really excited for that.
This week has been good. It´s been a little crazy with divisions with other missionaries and stuff, and I was sick all of yesterday, and we got home from church and I just fell asleep, and slept through the night pretty much, but I am feeling a little better today. Yesterday we were told to stay in our apartments anyways though, because they had elections here in Honduras, and apparently they have had problems before with it being dangerous, so that was the best day possible to be sick.
My apartment is pretty nice. We have electricity just fine, with regular outlets and lights in every room. We were having problems with our stove, and it exploded this week and broke, so we got a brand new one, that works a lot better than the other one, so that´s good. We have running water, but not very good running water. The freezing shower works, and a spigot to fill up our 50 gallon tub that we keep water in to wash our hands and do laundry, and stuff like that. The sink in the bathroom doesn´t work at all, and the kitchen sink barely works, it just trickles. But the apartment is nice. It is pretty clean, and we only have little tiny ants that get everywhere, that we just ignore.
It sounds like Ben is doing well in Columbia, that is exciting that he´s already left. I got a letter from him this week, and based on the letter that he sent me from the Provo MTC, I don´t think that he got the letter that I sent to him to the MTC. I keep getting letters saying that people haven´t gotten any hand written letters that I´ve sent from Honduras... Do you know if anyone has gotten a letter from me in Honduras? Did you get the letter that I sent to James at your address? Because I sent that like a month ago...
I don´t have a lot of time on Monday to use the internet to read email, so it would be better to send me long things through Dear Elder.
We won´t have a Thanksgiving here, I don´t think, it´s an American holiday, but I´m not super disappointed about that.
Love,
Elder Ward

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nov. 12, 2012

Dear Mom,

I´m not sure if I got Ben´s letter... I haven´t gotten one from him in Honduras though.
I got 5 today. The one you sent from James, the Dear Elder that you sent to me came in 2 letters, your postcard from the moab trip, and one from sister himes that she wrote at a ward activity.
I haven´t found a printer yet to use, I´m still working on that...
We are not teaching any families regularly, but we have found a family that seems pretty positive, that we´ve been to twice, and we also have an investigator who is trying to stop smoking, and is working hard on that to prepare to be baptized. We fasted for him yesterday, and he joined us in that. He is progressing pretty well.
We contact in the street by going up and talking to people, and share a quick message, and invite them to church or give them a pamphlet or something like that.
The spanish is alright, but it´s hard to learn more every day. I don´t feel like I´m progressing as fast as I want to. I can understand a lot, but speaking is super hard for me.
Yes, we found a person to wash our clothes. She washes them with her washer, and returns them to us at the end of the day. We offered to pay here, but she wouldn´t let us, so we are just going to buy her like chocolate and stuff, idk yet, we´ll see.
The cheese here is just weird. There aren´t very many types that I like, and none of the cheeses are like the cheese from home, except for the cheese on Little Caesars pizzas, which is always the same, except the pizzas here are smaller, for the same price.
I haven´t heard anything about the earthquake in Guatemala.
I wrote Shalisa back today, and can probably send it on Thursday. I also got James´ card today, and replied to that. So I´ll probably send James´ to your house... 
Yup, that´s about all that I have for this week, just answers and stuff.
I hope that you are all doing good!
Love,
Elder Ward

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nov. 5, 2012

Dear Mom,

I am excited that Ben is leaving, and that he already got his visa that quick. I talked to a ton of elders in the MTC going to Colombia who were all waiting to get their visas to leave, so he is lucky to leave on time. That will be fun for him. Hopefully the letter that I sent to him in the Provo MTC gets there in time. That is also exciting that Tiffany is going to go on a mission too! That will be cool. 
I haven't heard anything other than what you´ve told me about hurricane sandy, although Ive heard a couple people mention it here, but I don´t know much about it. It sounds pretty big.. And the elections are coming up. That is exciting, I'm sure that I´ll hear a lot more about that this week.
A typical day is waking up, working out, eating cereal for breakfast, studying while waiting for the water to boil to shower with, showering, going back to studying until lunch, which we usually go to a member´s house to eat, which you can read dad´s email for information about what we eat, and a short story about something that we ate this week that was interesting. Then, we work for the rest of the day, talking to people on the street, members and investigators in their homes, other random appointments, some sort of dinner, normally around 7, because they eat dinner later here, so 7 is early. We go back to the apartment around 9 and plan for the next day and go to bed. Not too exciting.
P-days, we usually play soccer first thing in the morning. We drop our laundry off at the house of a member with a washer in the mornings, and go play soccer for a couple hours, come back, shower and eat, then we go out to use internet, go shopping for random stuff, and then for groceries, normally we go with other elders in the zone, and we come back at 6 and continue like a normal work day until 9.
We haven't really done anything more with the mission president. He is plenty busy with other stuff. We had interviews with him a couple of weeks ago, and I saw him today in the office and shook his hand, but other than that, we don't often see him or visit the mission office.
For service, we have carried roof materials up a ton of stairs one morning, and this week we moved bricks to help build a house for a member. Nothing too exciting for service so far, but it is good.
I hope that everything is good for you all!
Love,
Elder Ward


Dear Dad,
 
This week has been good. We have been trying to get a lot of new people to talk to, so we have been working extra hard to do that, which is good, I like working hard, and when my companion is more excited to work and go out and teach. So that has been good. I have been a little bit sick this week, but am just going to keep working and hope that the tiredness doesnt catch up to me and kill me. But I am starting to feel better now. We have been walking a ton recently, or maybe I am just more sore now. This hill is killing me! But that´s alright, that will just replace my morning workout. I´m kind of slacking in that department. I should be better in doing that, but I have little motivation early in the mornings.. But my goal is 20 pushups and 10 pull ups a day. We have a pullup bar here, because my companion is obsessed with working out. So I try to do that and a little bit of stretching, but thats about all I do right now... 
 
I have been trying to get better at cooking this week, but it is hard to do here. There arent all of the same ingredients, all of the titles of food and directions are in Spanish, We dont have a oven or microwave, and only have a stove with 1 working burner to cook everything with. But I made chicken quesadillas this week and some hamburger, as well as lame stuff like ramen and spaghetti and easy boiling foods like that. Most of the time we eat at a member´s house, which a normal meal for that is rice, beans, a block of cheese (which is normally the grossest part), maybe some avacado or tomato slices, and tortillas. And also we will almost always have banana soda, or occasionally like sprite or a different soda or juice. But the foods not too bad here, my stomach still isn´t loving it all, but it all tastes good. We never really have a set mealtime for lunch and dinner. or how many we will get. We had one day this week 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, a snack, and 2 dinners, which we were obligated to eat, and we have to eat everything on the plate to not offend them, so occassionally we get super full, and sometimes we are hungry, it just depends on the day. 
 
Thats a little sample of some of the stuff that happens here, just random stuff that I thought that I´d share.
 
Thats still weird to me that you guys got chickens. I dont know if I see the point in that... Are the eggs good? Have you cut ones head off and eaten one yet? WAIT! Hahaha, I have a funny story for you that I remembered, its a good one...
 
So I was at the house of some members that we visit quite a bit, and we were talking with them, and they were cooking something for us on the other side of the room, and we waited for the food, and they brought us our plates, and there were chicken legs on the plates, cooked and flavored and all that, but like chicken legs, like just the 3 little feet/toe thingys. They insisted that we try them and said that they were good, and I wanted to say that I had tried it, so we did. It wasn´t all that great. The flavor was fine, just like you´d flavor regular chicken meat, but there was only like bone and skin, there wasnt any meat to eat, so you basically just suck on it to get the flavor out, and eat at the skin. I didn´t spend too much time trying to eat it, but I can say that I have had chicken legs now. So that was a fun little experience.
 
Anyways, yup, that was good. I hope that you are doing well, and that everything was good for Halloween and stuff like that.
 
Love,
Elder Ward

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Oct. 29, 2012

Dear Mom,
I dont have much time, I ended up sending a big long email to Mishelae, so you can blame her, or something...
My shoes arent bad, just sunday/formal shoes in general, worn all day everyday, especially in an area like I am in in Honduras, is going to not feel great, especially if your socks arent good. And I am glad that you liked my speech about socks..
So, I was too impatient last week to wait for James´ letter, especially because he hadnt even sent it (everyone gets scared to write or send my letters when they see my address..), so I read it in Mishelae´s Dear Elder last Monday.. That´s crazy that he´s going to Alabama. But I am excited for him.  I´ll tell him more when I get his letter, and can reply to that.

Thank you for the sheet music and the talk. The talk is the right one, and i will have to print them both out next week, because today we are in an internet cafe instead of the normal church building that we use.

I do have a bank account with the mission, and a mission debit card for while I am here that I can take money out of for the month. I could use my American debit card too, from home, if I need to, but I will try to avoid it for a while as much as I can. I did run out of money already for this month, but we get more tomorrow, which is too bad, because I would have liked to get groceries today, because it is pday, but oh well..
I have not heard anything about a hurricane sandy... but Im so far inland that I doubt that I would.
My shoulderbag does have a camelback, but I want a nice backpack too, eventually..
A scripture that I like, that I forgot to give to Matthew Nuttal before I left (for the mission plaque), is Mormon 9:31. Or I had also thought about Mormon 9:22, because its more mission like, but I dont know exactly.
I probably like the Thorlos Golf socks better. And by the way, thank you for the package that you sent, I think that I forgot to say thanks last week.
Sorry that this email is only full of random weird replies in an order that probably doesnt make much sense, but I am doing good, and learning a lot!
I hope that everything is good there, and maybe gets a little bit less hectic soon.
Love,
Elder Ward


Dear Mishelae,
First of all, don´t you DARE say that cereal isn´t filling. Cereal is the source of LIFE! Cereal is the most important invention ever. One of the rules that they had here in the mission that they taught us the first day, is that we need to eat healthy foods, and the 3 examples it gave were: fruits, vegetables, and cereals. So I´ve been following that religiously. Mostly, only the cereal part... because it´s food that my stomach can actually handle well, although it is outrageously expensive here. It´s about 70-80 Limpiras for a small box of cereal, I saw one last time I went for 275 Limpira, which is almost $15.. 80 Limps is about $4, and $1 equals 20 Limpira. 
Anyways, now that you know those fun facts, and probably skipped over them, just like everyone skips over chapter 11´s information on money. (Yes, I did just quote a scripture in my email to try to prove that I´m a somewhat good missionary, are you impressed yet?) ;p
So anyways, after both of those tangents.. I just had to make sure that you understand the value of cereal, and of the money here I guess too, idk why.. I suppose that I can continue on in replying to you in a normal, sequencial manner starting from the beginning of your letter and replying in order... Here we go...
That is good that you got to go talk to the bishop, but bad that he didn´t send the papers yet. My bishop sent them in like 3 days from when he got them, and I had an appointment within the same week.

Yeah, the change with the missionary ages will be weird, but good. That is crazy how many papers got sent in this week! The first presidency and quorem of the twelve will be crazy busy these next few weeks after conference, but its good. Maybe China is opening up soon, and they will send them to a new Chinese MTC thats secretly being built right now... How do you feel about learning Chinese, Mishelae? Haha, that would be entertaining, but I dont think that 18 months is long enough to learn chinese. 1/2 of your mission would be in the MTC, like the russians, and japanese missionaries in Provo, haha. Yes, I am still planning on going to USU after the mission, and hanging out with all of the cool people there. Are you going to try to make it back from your mission in time for fall semester at USU when you get back? What are your after mission plans? Okay, I will admit, my sentence did not make any sense... You win the grammar correction game today. Arissa didn´t though, in her last email. She tried to correct my grammar, and told me that my brain was deteriorating into only Spanish mode, and that I couldn´t use English grammar right anymore, but I was right, and proved it to her in my last email.. I´m still an English genius, although my spelling skills are a little bit lacking, especially without spell check being in English and having every word that I type be marked in red as I type. And these ridiculous Spanish keyboards with different symbols and thrown in ñ´s and crazy stuff like that. But other than that, its all good. Wow, this email reply is taking up all of my internet time... Thanks a lot.. Except for that its my fault, because I´m just rambling now... I´m in an internet cafe... It´s exciting... or something like that...
Now back to your email reply...

Anyways, umm... We have a few investigators, but they are not progressing very well, or following up on commitments. We had 2 people and 3 families that said that they would come to church yesterday, but none of them showed up or were there when we tried to go get them to walk with them before church. So that was disappointing.. So we´ve been deciding whether to drop a few of our investigators that we have right now, and spend our time finding other people who would be better to teach and progress, but it is always hard to decide whether or not to drop an investigator. But we´ve been focusing on finding the last couple of days, and have found some people who seem positive about hearing our message, so we´ll see how that goes... We don´t really contact all that much. We never ever go door to door knocking, because every person would let us in and be willing to listen to a lesson for an hour or two, but they wouldn´t keep commitments or want to hear more, they would just be polite, and listen for an hour and take up time feeding us and stuff. So with contacting new people, sometimes we talk to people on the street, just go up and talk to people for a few minutes, because there are plenty enough people on the street in my mission, but we try to just get references as a way to get new people, which is a ton more effective. So that is all going well, I think..

So with the rule about being dressed up on Pdays, it is always best to go out dressed up, and keep your formal appearance, but there are times when you obviously can´t. I am typing this email in my missionary attire, but this morning when I woke up to go play soccer, I walked over to the field dressed down to play, so it just kind of depends. You should dress up as much as you can though. But with like service projects and things like that, that you would get dirty for, even during the week, we´ve dressed down to help out with it.
Well, now that I´ve spent all my time talking with you.... haha, it was a good stress relieving, positive pday activity... I probably should go... But I want to hear a formal apology about you saying that cereal is not that filling. That is disrespectful.
Anyways, don´t step on cracks, because they break your mother´s back(s).
Yeah, that´s my cheezy advice for the week.
Love,
Elder Ward

View of Tegucigalpa

     This is a picture from my laundry room, of the city Teguz. We have a good view. Sent October 8, 2012

Another view

 This is a picture from my laundry room, of the city Teguz. We have a good view. Sent October 8, 2012

Watching Conference

 This is how we watched conference. It´s a bad picture, but we watched it in like a little conference/meeting room in the church in English, with like 8 other missionaries from the states who all speak English. It was good though, it was nice to hear only English for a little bit. I enjoyed conference a lot. Sent October 8, 2012

Reparto

 This is a picture of the area  that I am in right now, called Reparto, it is just a hill full of houses in the city Teguz. The Coca Cola sign on the hill, similar to the Hollywood sign in California. Also, if you look close, above the sign is a statue of Jesus. I haven´t been to either of these places yet to see them up close though.. My apartment is out of the picture to the right, on the other side of this hill. There is a lot of walking up this hill, the roads are either dirt, partially cemented, or they have attempted to be paved, but the bricks in the cobblestones stick out, and try to trip you as you walk up or down them. Good leg workout.. ;) Sent October 8, 2012

Laundry sink = washer

                                     another laundry room shot, of the pila Sent October 8, 2012

Laundry room/view

                                                     laundry room Sent October 8, 2012

"Washer"

                                             laundry room  (= washer) Sent October 8, 2012

"Dryer"

I like the view from the laundry room, so I took some pictures of Teguz from the room, which I will include in the next email. In Honduras, we don´t get washers, or dryers, we get to go outside, and use the pila, which is a tub of water that you get from either rain water from the gutters to fill it, or bring your own water from buckets. So what you do to wash clothes, is you soak them for a few minutes, then pull them out and scrub  them with soap and your hands to clean them, and rinse them off, and hang them up do dry for the rest of the day. Each piece of clothing takes 5-10 minutes to clean, and the scrubbing hurts your fingers a little bit, but my clothes have never looked so clean. :) I only got through like 10 shirts this week, I´ll have to finish the rest of my laundry later... But that´s the process, unless I hire a cleaning lady to do it for me, which I might eventually have to, I don´t have enough time to do all my laundry in a week.  Sent October 8, 2012

Laundry room

This is the laundry room. The next few pictures are of our laundry room (well, technically it´s probably not a room because it´s outside, but it just stops, so it feels like a room without a roof and a wall.)  Sent October 8, 2012

Houses & barbed wire

This picture is a picture that I took from inside of the mission home. A lot of the nicer looking roofs are made of the red cobblestone thingy stuff or whatever. The poor houses-the ones that I visit in my area called Reparto, which is in the city of Teguz also-have tin roofs, which make it so you can´t hear anything when it rains. Notice the spirally loops of barbed wire that all of the nice houses have around the entire property. this barbed wire protection is on every wall sturdy enough to stand on to protect from jumping the fences or anything like that, or for parkour people, it would be our worst nightmare to try to do anything with this everywhere, good thing that I am a missionary now... :p  Sent October 8, 2012

Mission President, his wife, Matt's companion, and Matt

This picture is of the mission president, his wife, and my companion and I. We are in the mission home, and this is right after we found out who are trainers would be. Our group that all arrived at the same time had about 14 missionaries in it. 6 of us Elders from the Provo MTC. Sent October 8, 2012

Rainvests

This is a picture of the day that I went out with just a random missionary for a day, to see how Honduras is like, this isn´t my trainer or anything.. But the first day that I went out to teach, we were in the more poor part of Honduras, and we were in a teaching appointment, and it started to pour, so we asked if we could use some plastic bags to make these snazzy vests that we´re wearing.. Yeah, we´re cool.. I got soaked that day anyways, but my scriptures were dry, so that´s good. Sent October 8, 2012

Another plane view

                                            Another pic from airplane Sent October 8, 2012

Tegucigapla from the air

                                 This is a picture from the airplane of Teguz Sent October 8, 2012

MTC Companions

                    My companion and I, in our room, right before we both left. Sent October 8, 2012

MTC Roommates

                                     These are my roommates in the MTC Sent October 8, 2012

MTC District



                           This picture is of my MTC district, all 10 of us.  Sent October 8, 2012

Tegucigalpa Temple



I was trying to get the new Teguz temple in there. (Also you can notice how low the plane is, way before it prepares to land, but we did land safely, after trying twice...) Sent October 8, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Oct. 22

Dear Mom,
I did get your package. I got it just barely, right before I read your email, and opened it up, and had a couple of Elders swarm over to see what it was so I shared with them. But its good that inside it has been disguised in a Bible box, so that everyone else thought that I just got a book, and isn´t asking about what it is more...
I didn´t have to pay anything as far as I know. It is possible that when it got to the mission office, they had to pay and just took it out of my account, which is fine, but I´m not exactly sure right now. I think that I can get most of the things that I want here, if there is ever any time to go shopping-Pdays are already pretty busy... But I don´t want to waste a lot of your money in sending big packages. A couple of things that I can´t get down here that I would like is the Thorlos socks, which I know are expensive, but honestly they are the only socks that I will wear, even if I have to repeat days with them now. Other socks don´t feel good with sunday shoes, and start to hurt my feet if I wear them. Anyways, yes I am now a huge fan of the Thorlos socks now, and I would like a few more pairs of them, so that the ones that I have right now don´t get too stinky from wearing them all the time. That also might be something to pass on to like James and some of the other people who you know are going on missions. They are worth the extra money to save your feet from getting all beat up from walking all day every day in uncomfortable shoes. The socks just add protection and comfort to any of the uncomfortable shoes that you wear. Anyways, so that was my big long story about how much I love my socks... haha. Also, I might want my old Camelbak from home that I had. I haven´t seen any good backpacks here, and I think that I will need a good one for when I go to the southern areas of my mission. But I´m not dying for either one of those things, just thoughts of things that I might want. I´ll try to think of more, and maybe sometime I could just get a bigger package of all the stuff that I want at one time to save some money on sending packages. Umm, and also, I was wondering if you could try to find a talk that Elder Bednar gave in the MTC I think it was the Christmas of 2009 or 2010. It is called ¨The Character of Christ¨. I watched it when I was in the MTC, and I really liked it, so I was wondering if I could get an attachment of the article in an email or something of it. I tried to find it on LDS.org in the MTC, but I couldn´t, so I don´t really know exactly where you could find it, or if there is even access to the general public to talks given in the MTC or anything like that. Another thing that I wouldn´t mind that could be sent through email is piano music. Sometimes we have free time when we can practice, but I want to learn other stuff than just simple hymns. I was wondering if there was some sheet music that you could like scan onto the computer and email to me to print off and practice. One in particular that I was wondering if you could send to me is ¨Winter Wind¨. I don´t know why, but I wanted to learn that one recently... Anyways, that´s all that I can think of right now that I can´t get down here.
So anyways, life is good here. Just continuing to learn and teaching and talking to people and normal missionary stuff. My companion and I get along pretty well, its working out pretty well to be with him, and I am learning a lot from being with him. We normally walk everywhere. Our area is pretty small, but it is on a hill, so its getting me in shape a little bit more. I´m trying to exercise more, but sometimes I just dont have time or motivation in the mornings. We occassionally, if we are going somewhere else in the city out of our area, like for district meetings, zone conferences, pday, shopping, if we need to go to the mission office, etc., we will use a taxi or a bus.
It´s crazy to think that its already Halloweentime. They won´t celebrate Halloween here, I was talking to this kid who was probably about 6 years old, who was trying to talk to me in English, who was telling me about how Barack Obama celebrates the day of the witches (Halloween) and that Halloween is the birthday of the devil. It was interesting, and confusing to try to comprehend his English, haha. He then went on to ask me about the soil of the US, and was talking to me about how the soils were different between Honduras and the US, and was talking about the soil levels in Miami Florida, specifically, and how it changed the ways that the trees grow in the US. It was super random that he was telling me about it, and went on about it for a good 5 to 10 minutes while we were in his parents car, who they didn´t understand what he was saying, they dont speak English. But after talking to that kid, I began to wonder if in the English classes they were teaching the kids geology classes in English, it was very strange, so that was interesting. I think that most of the nicer schools try to teach English here, but not too many people learn English here. A lot of the people that I talk to, especially all of the teenagers talk about how they want to save up money, learn English, and move to the US. Like, a lot of the people. I think that it´s crazy. We have been talking to some teenagers who we are teaching about this, and have been teaching them a little bit of English, along with the missionary lessons. They came with us to play soccer today too. I just think that its crazy how many people want to leave here.
lot of the other things here are similar or the same. I was telling arissa today in an email about how a lot of the labels on the foods at the store are in English, and that the music they play in the stores are all in English, and songs that I know, and were popular in the US. I think that it will be fun to go to the South part of the mission, and not have any of that, and be in like mud huts and some of the other stuff that the missionaries talk about living in in their other areas. But I´m sure that that time will come.
Anyways, I have to go, but I hope that everything is good there in Utah!
Love,
Elder Ward

Dear Arissa,
I wish that I could have gone to Moab with all of you too, that would have been fun! I enjoy Goblin Valley especially and all of the other hikes and stuff that is there. Utah is a cool place, very different from a lot of places in the world, you are lucky to be in such a cool state. I´m sorry that school is difficult and that you are so busy with your schoolwork... But if you are learning a lot then that is good too. The weather here is very nice. I am in the city part of my mission, so the temperature is pretty nice, most of the time. We have 2 seasons: dry and raining. Right now it is in the raining season, so we get wet every once in awhile. It´s a little bit hot right now, but not too bad. It will be weird not having any winter though... The stores are good. They are very similar to the United States. There are a lot of products that are imports from the US, and so a lot of the stuff in the stores are in English. Some is labeled in both English and Spanish, and some is just Spanish, but I didn´t really expect to see stuff like Cap'n Crunch and name brand stuff like that here, just like from the states. Also a lot of the music here is the same music that you could listen to back in the US. Especially in the stores, they will play american pop music, which surprised me at first. They don´t mind that they don't understand the lyrics, they just like the music. Anyways, everything is good here.
I hope that all is good at home!
Love,
Elder Ward

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oct. 15

Hi,
I have not heard of James´ call! He better write me if he hasn´t already, although it is possible that it´s still coming, especially if it isn´t a dear elder. I sent him a letter to your house that I want you to give to him when you see him next. I wrote it last monday, but I sent it Thursday. All of the mail goes through the mission office, and then it jumps back and forth through the zone leaders and district leaders, and a whole bunch of random people just try and get their right mail from the mail pouch that bounces around in each zone, so it´s possible that it is here and just bouncing around. Most of the time I will only get mail when I see the zone leaders, which is normally only Mondays and Thursdays, so those are also the days that I can send out mail. So normally I write mail monday, and send it Thursday. I did get a letter from Quinn today, so my address should be right, and eventually I will get the mail, hopefully. 
I do have a lot of stuff here, and I probably could have bought a lot of it here, but it´s okay, we don´t have a ton of time to go shopping, a lot of my Pdays are spent playing soccer with the zone, and then with emailing too...
This week has been good, not too different than last week. We went to church this week, and our church has like 3 buildings in the fenced enclosure. 1 building is for Sacrament Meeting, another is for the baptismal font/bathrooms, and the other is for the general meetings. Church was nice though, even though it was hard to understand anything in Spanish. Also, we went to the next class, and my companion told me that we were teaching! So we found some scriptures really fast, and got a small lesson ready, and it went pretty well, I think. So that was good.
We got to go to some of the higher parts of the hill of our area, which we had to hike to get up to, which was good. I enjoyed the hiking.

Love,
Elder Ward


(from a letter to Arissa)

Honduras is good, I like it a lot! It is very different, but it is very interesting. My area is on a big hill, and we do a lot of walking up and down the hill on dirt roads. We´ve been to a couple of the farther parts of area, at the top of the hill, which we´ve had to do little hikes to get up to them. It has been nice to go on these mini hikes, because I have missed hiking. It was a little tough to go up, hiking all dressed up, with a shoulder bag full of books, but today (p-day), we went up to the top of the hill to play soccer, with the other elders in our zone, so we got to go on that hike in normal clothes. And on the way down, I jumped down all the rocks, just going a little bit crazy, how I normally do, so that was good. Soccer is the only thing that anybody talks about here. It´s huge. So we will probably be playing it a lot, which is good, even if I´m not very good at it right now. My Spanish is doing alright, I can understand most of the conversations we have about the gospel, but I still have plenty more to learn, but I´m not too worried about learning Spanish, it will be cool when I can talk perfectly with the people here. There is not a time difference right now, because we don´t have daylight savings time here, which I wish that we did, because I wake up before 6 every morning because it is too bright in my room before even my alarm clock goes off, and then it gets dark at like 5-6 in the afternoon, so we have to work in the dark until 9. And then I can´t fall asleep because the dogs here go crazy barking at night. Mostly just one dog thats nearby, that I hate. But other than that, it´s good.

Hope that all´s good!
Love,
Elder Ward 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Contact info

He can get mail through dearelder.com.  You need to select the Honduras, Tegucigalpa Mission (there are no codes).  You need to send your email to him through dearelder.com by midnight Sunday night/Monday morning to go out in that week's pouch. 

You can also write directly to SLC to have something go in the pouch:

Pouch instructions:

Pouch leaves Church Headquarters each Friday.  Only postcards or one-page correspondences (no envelopes) written on one side of the page may be sent through he pouch.  Notebook or other lightweight paper will not process through the USPS machines.  Photographs are not acceptable. 

Letter folding instructions:  Lay the letter blank side down.  Fold the bottom of the letter about one-third of the way up the page and crease.  Fold the top of the letter to the bottom of the first fold and crease.  Secure the long side with two pieces of tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends.  In the top left corner write your name and complete return address.  Affix first class postage in the top right corner.  In the middle write the missionary address as follows:

Elder Matthew Bradon Ward
Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150

Here is his mission home address:

Elder Matthew Bradon Ward
Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission
Colonia Florencia Norte, Contiguo a SEAR
Entre boulevar Suyapa y PriceSmart
Edificio Plaza America, 3er Piso


(In Matt's mission packet, they didn't include this, but I wonder if you need to put this line on too:  Tegucigalpa M.D.C. HONDURAS C.A.)

Here is the address for packages:

Elder Matthew Bradon Ward
Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission
Colonia Florencia Norte, Contiguo a SEARS
Entre boulevar Suyapa y PriceSmart
Edificio Plaza America, 3er Piso
Tegucigalpa M.D.C. HONDURAS C.A.

Oct. 8, 2012

Well, alright. I´m in Honduras now. The first 2 days, we stayed in the mission president´s home. Now, my companion, Elder Evans and I have gone to our apartment in the city Teguz (Tegucigalpa) which is pretty nice. We have running water and electricity. We don´t have warm water, so we boil water for our showers. I explained the laundry in my pictures that I have sent to Averi today. The apartment is fairly nice, for Honduras. The houses here are very simple. They have either cement walls, or poorer with like wood. The roofs are almost always tin, sometimes they are nicer, like in our apartment. We have windows, but not like actual panes, most everybody just has screens, or just open windows. Although we don´t have bugs in this part of Honduras very bad. I haven´t seen any mosquitos yet, and have only seen like ants and stuff. I did see a spider today too, but it was tiny. I hear that the city really isn´t too bad for heat, bugs, and having nice houses and stuff like that.. The south part of the mission, or more to the east I´m sure will be worse. The weather here is pretty nice, I thought it would be worse. I have lost my sense of telling exactly what temperature it is, but most days it´s pretty nice. We are in rainy season right now, and it rained really hard one day, and a little bit another day. It is hot here, but not awful. There is humidity, but not really bad. Sometimes I get back at night covered in sweat from walking up the hill in the heat and stuff, but not always. Again, I have it pretty easy because I am in the city. My companion is from Utah, and has been here about 7 months, so he is pretty new too, which is good for me, because I can understand most of his Spanish, it´s not too complicated yet. He´s a good guy, he did parkour too before his mission and stuff. General conference was good, we all went to the church, and all of the english missionaries (about 8 of us) were in a little room with a TV in English. It was a good session of conference. It was crazy the announcement about the different ages for missionaries. That will make things so weird, not only here in the mission, knowing that I might train an 18 year old, but also for the differences in stuff after I get home, everything will be different in school and stuff, the new social change that that will make is crazy. But it is good. I´m sure that that will have a huge effect on who/when people are going to college/getting married/going on missions up there. Other than that, things are pretty good here, just teaching investigators and stuff. The investigators and members feed us a lot here, so I have been trying new foods. It is very offensive to turn down any food, so much so that my companion and I broke our fasts to avoid offending our investigators, but we fasted the next day to make up for it. The food is mostly pretty good. It´s mostly tortillas, rice, beans, and eggs. It´s normally pretty good, although sometimes you just have to choke something down to be polite. We can´t drink anything from the tap, so we buy big containers of clean water to drink, but when we visit members or investigators, they like giving us either some type of juice or soda. I hate when I have to drink soda, but it is like their best drinks, so they give that to us, which I´d rather just always drink water. The soda is going to kill my body. I hate soda, just in general. So, for food, all we really buy is breakfast, and the rest of the time we either buy some type of food while we are out any about, or get stuff from the people we teach. In the stores, about half of the things have just been exported down here, so all of the labels and stuff are in english for half of the items in the store, which is a little weird. I can buy most of anything that I could before here. They have name brand stuff too, like Cap´n Crunch or 5Gum or stuff like that I can buy here... My Spanish is okay, I don´t know what´s going on most of the time, but I´m getting there. It´s hard to explain how it´s progressing, but eventually I´ll get the language down. I have only been here a week, but I feel like I know a lot about Honduras already, and it feels pretty normal now, it´s exciting to do something new in my life, to have all of the customs, styles, and people be different than before. I´m sure it would have been even crazier if I had gone to one of the little village missions in the south, with a native companion, like most of the Elders from my group did, the mission president likes to put the new Elders with native speakers, so I´m one of the few with an English companion. That´s about all that I can think of about how it´s going here. It´s good though, it´s definently different than I expected a mission to be. Idk how to describe it well. Anyways yup, that´s life here.
I did get your Dear Elder (letter) this week (I, Tiauna, submitted it on Sunday, Sept. 30). I think that that might be the best way to talk to me. Mail and Dear Elders, after they get to the mission office, are just given to the zone leaders and eventually sometime in the week, at like church or P-day zone activities, or in zone meetings they will hand out the mail they got. I don´t know how long actual mail will take to get here though. This ldsmail email is supposed to be only for my immediate family, so my friends can either use dear elder, or snail mail to talk to me, and then I would use snail mail to reply back to them. 
I´ll talk to you all later,
Love,
Elder Ward

Note from Tiauna:  He called us from the SLC airport, but it was really hard to hear him, he couldn't hear us, and he seemed to be in a hurry, so it was frustrating.  But he called us the next day from Honduras, and it was wonderful to talk to him!  We could all hear each other!  He said it is really green there and the houses have been spray painted in bright colors.  He said there are McDonald's, Little Caesar's Pizza, Burger King, etc. in Tegucigalpa.  He told us the mission home is really nice, and he likes his mission president.  He flew out with 6 elders I think he said.  It was great to hear his voice!  He sounded really good!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sept. 27

I am glad that James has his papers in now, and that he gets his call soon! I want to know as soon as he finds out where he is going! You'll have to make sure that he writes me when he knows, because I want to hear from him where he is going.
I have not seen Nate at the MTC, because he flew straight out to the MTC in I think it's in Uraguay.
 I got my travel plans last week, and I am indeed leaving this Sunday, the 30th. I will leave at 8:30 from the MTC, and then my flight to Atlanta from Salt Lake is at like 12:55 I think, then, I fly directly from Atlanta to Tegucigalpa, and I should be arriving a little before noon on the 1st of October. I don't know for sure how my luggage will all work out right now, I am flying with Delta Airlines, so I get two 50 pound suitcases, and a 40 pound carry on, and maybe also a small travel bag too, but I'm not sure how I will fit it all, especially with the weight requirements. I have plenty of books that I got here at the MTC too that I have to pack, and so I don't know if I will be able to take everything, I might have to drop off some of my stuff, and send it back home to you guys. That's my project for today, a good way to spend my P Day, instead of being able to catch up on some sleep. We'll see how it goes, and I'll let you know if I need to send stuff back to you. I don't really know how it works, if I need to send it back through the mail, or if I can just leave it here for you to pick up somehow.
 The MTC is still about the same, although something really exciting did happen this week, and maybe you've already heard about it, I don't know, but yesterday, I was assigned to help with directing the traffic of the cars bringing in the new missionaries, so I was helping out showing cars where to go, and where to park, when a little, old maroon Honda Civic pulls up, and I think to myself "Hey that looks just like Ben's car..", then the car came forward, and it was Ben! He came to drop off his friend to the MTC, so I got to see him, and gave him a hug through his car window, and say hi to him before I had to usher him on, because there was still a line of cars behind him, but it was crazy to see him again, like what are the chances that I would be doing traffic the day that he comes, so that was good. He'll probably tell you about it when he sees you next.
Everything in the gospel is simple, unless you try to make it complicated. In Preach My Gospel, it has a quote from John Taylor on page 182 that says


“It is true intelligence for a man
to take a subject that is
mysterious and great in itself,
and to unfold and simplify it so
that a child can understand it.”

I have tried to apply this recently in my teaching (especially since I don't know complex words or how to explain well in Spanish) with my investigators about the gospel. Because the gospel is mysterious and great, it needs to be taught well, but the best way to teach it is with simplicity. This is something that has helped me a lot, to just focus on how to make my lessons flow more logically and make sense in a natural simple way.
Well, I need to go now, I guess, unless you reply to me with a Dear Elder before like tomorrow at noon or whenever they stop the same day delivery for tomorrow, you will be able to reply to me through my mission home address in Honduras! I am pretty excited to go, it will be crazy out there, I was watching some mormon messages about Honduras on lds.org last sunday, and it looks awesome!
I hope that all of you are doing great!
Love,
Elder Ward

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sept 20


(We asked him what a District Leader does.)
So, District Leader isn't all that exciting, I get the mail, and I also conduct meetings, run some of the things that we do as a district, and attend zone meetings on Sundays and Tuesdays. It has been good though, not too exciting, but I think that it has helped me to try and step up and be an example, as well as helped me with being better at public speaking and talking in front of people, and taking the responsibility of making choices for the group.
Also, I have seen Elder Walker Johnson here a couple of times. Yesterday we hosted, so we helped give a tour to the new missionaries coming in, and showed them where to go and stuff, and that was good. Also we are supposed to be getting our travel plans tonight, to find out all of the details of when we leave, and all of the information, so that's exciting. I should be leaving around the 2nd of October. My estimated date right now is on the 30th of September, but that's on a Sunday, and I don't really think that they would send missionaries on Sundays.
I can't really think of anything else to exciting happening here..
Hope that you all are doing well!
Love,
Elder Ward

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sept 13

Dear Family,
I'm sorry that I didn't have much time to write last week, but there really wasn't even much to write about.
This week has been a little bit more eventful. Every Sunday, we all are supposed to prepare a talk to give in Sacrament Meeting, just a short 3-5 minute talk, but in Spanish. Anyways, everyone writes a talk, and then in Sacrament, they will randomly call someone to speak. Anyways, this week I was called up to speak (there were 2 called from the about 50 people there). It went pretty well, even though I didn't feel as prepared as I might have if I had known that I would be speaking, but I feel that I did well. I filled up the whole 5 minutes (and probably went a little over), and I thought it went pretty good. Afterwards, the 2nd counselor, who had called me to talk told me that I had done a very good job, and that he was very impresed with my Spanish. Well, maybe I should have prepared less for the talk, because he was so impressed by my talk, that on Tuesday night, he called my companion and I into another room, and asked if I would be the district leader! Well, it probably wasn't just because of the talk, but I am now the district leader, over the 9 Elders in our district. So that's new in my life. Other than those things, life is about the same here. We just study all the time, which is good. Nothing too much exciting happening. We did have one of the elders in our district get his visa and fly out to the Spain MTC this week, so that's exciting I guess.
I hope that you are all doing well!
Love,
Elder Ward

Sept 10

This is part of a letter Elder Ward sent to his sister Averianne.

I really hope that soon when I get to Honduras, I will have a native Spanish speaking companion, so that I will have an example and be forced to quickly learn Spanish better.  I enjoy always having something to do with my life right now, and being super busy learning, teaching, and preparing here at the MTC. I enjoy feeling useful and productive. It's good. I am enjoying learning more from the scriptures and Preach My Gospel. There is so much to learn! The gospel is so deep, but still so simple it is crazy! You can never be bored going through and learning from the scriptures or other books. Right now I am reading Jesus the Christ by James E Talmage, which is basically an 800+ page book about Jesus Christ, and it is my favorite thing to read right now. I wish that I could just sit down and read it all day instead of learning Spanish... Also True to the Faith is a good book for topics or for specific gospel questions. I recommend both books, they are awesome! I know that I might sound like a typical missionary brother right now, but I want to remind you how important studying about/reading/progressing in the gospel is. I know that I didn't always have that as the focus in my life when I was your age, but it is super important! God will help you as you take time to give to him. I know that it's worth the sacrifice of time. Anyways, I will stop preaching now, I just felt like I should remind you of it.
   Love,
      Elder Ward

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sept 6


How's it going? I was glad to get your letter this week, it sounds like life is still keeping you busy! That's probably good. I enjoy being busy now, to keep me productive all the time. It is a lot different but it is good. I'm also glad that you were able to go see the Brigham city temple, that sounds like fun. That is crazy that your parents will be moving! I didn't really think that I wouldn't be able to see their house again after my mission. But hopefully it works out well for them.
The MTC is probably very similar now to how it was when you were here. Most of it is very old, and our residency hall is very old and falling apart, and probably needs to be refurnished. They won't let us play ultimate frisbee now, which is weird, but they will let us play soccer in the rain, where many of the Elders get injured. I am still being extremely careful though not to get hurt here, and normally only play some soccer or run or lift weights. I haven't let myself do parkour here, which is a little sad, because there are some awesome stuff here to do parkour at, and everyone else has wanted me to do some stuff, when I tell them that I did parkour. Oh well, it's probably better.
I feel bad that I never had many opportunities to hear many of your mission stories before I left. I realize that I should have taken more time to ask you about some of the stuff that happened on your mission.
Well, I have to go, my computer time is up, but I hope that you are all doing good back home.
Love,
Elder Ward

Aug 30


Hi, yes I have gotten 3 Dear elder letters total, well actually I've only gotten 2 in the mail but I recieve a confirmation to all of the letters to my email, so that i could read it. I think that you may have sent one of the letters to Honduras, because it said that the adress was a different one on the email, but I was able to read it.
I do not have my visa, but they say that if it doesn't come, we can still get into Honduras and we don't need it to get into the country. Honduras apparently is a lot more relaxed than a lot of the other countries that people are going to, that are waiting for months longer than scheduled for visas to come in. The teachers don't really teach anything about the cultures of any of the countries, but I hear a lot by talking to other people who know people who have served in Honduras and places around it. But I'm not always sure how much to believe. Elder Cousins just transfered over to the Madrid MTC, so he will still be training for the rest of the 9 weeks over there. There are 4 Elders in our room, and about 20 other rooms on our floor, all sharing the same freezing cold showers. About 1/2 the showers are warm, but there is always a long line to get in in the mornings. P-days, there really isn't anything to do here, since we can't leave campus during P-days, and they don't have anything else to do. So, we normally just write letters, talk with other missionaries, or sleep. My sleep schedule is waking up between 6 and 6:30, and going to bed around 10:30. I'm glad that you seem like you all are doing good for the most part. I will talk to you next week!

Love,
Elder Ward

Aug 23

I am doing good, I haven't been doing anything out of the ordinary too exciting. Just regular MTC stuff, studying the scriptures, learning spanish, teaching investigators, all that fun stuff. But my emails probably won't get very exciting until I get to Honduras and have some exciting adventures. We just got done this morning with going through the temple, like we do every morning of P-day. Umm, Elder Cousins left this week, he got his visa on time (which is very uncommon for those going to Spain, but because he got his call in February, he got his visa back in time to leave on time.) The Elders going to Spain in my district will be here until they get their visas, but they may not come for quite awhile. Also, we had a devotional this Tuesday from Elder Neal L. Anderson from the quorem of the 12 to come speak to us, and that was a super good devotional, which we all enjoyed. My companion and I have had our room to ourselves for the last 3 weeks since after our original roommates moved out because they moved up to the advanced classes, but yesterday we got new roommates, so it's crowded in our room again with not as much space, and more people come in our room now to visit at nights, which is slightly more annoying, but they seem nice, I haven't talked to them much since they just got here yesterday.

Aug 16

Life is pretty good, it's hard work, but I'm not going crazy yet. 9 weeks is going to be a long time here, I don't really enjoy being on the same campus all the time, within the walls of the campus, it will get old fast.. I'm sick right now, with a cold, which has been annoying me since saturday. Hopefully it gets better soon. There is a little bit more class time now, they did things differently the first week than now.. Spanish from school helped a little bit. I can pick up the concepts easier, but it is a ton easier to learn the spanish that will be relevant here. The environment here is good for learning spanish, because i am constantly surrounded by only Elders who are speaking spanish, and we talk about 50/50 English to Spanish, which is pretty good for only a couple weeks. The spanish is getting a lot better though. There is just a ton of food here at the MTC. It's not necessarily good, it's decent, but it's just buffet every single meal of the day. I enjoy eating Life Cereal or granola every morning for breakfast, as much as I want, because Life is my favorite cereal. I talked to a missionary from Honduras the first day, but he spoke in Spanish to one of my fluent friends going to Honduras. There aren't that many international missionaries from different countries here in Provo, because they normally get shipped out to an MTC closer to their mission, unless they speak English.
I can only read emails on P-day, but i can read letters any day, and if you use DearElder.com, you can send emails to me, and I will get them that day as a letter and can read them that day. and that is free while im here at the MTC, and ive heard people say that it might be a good idea for even when im in Honduras to pay for it, because it is a lot faster than regular mail getting to Honduras, but idk for sure. I can only respond to anything on my p-day.
I'm glad that you are all having fun with Naomi, and hope that things are going well there.
I will talk to you later, my time limits up...
Elder Ward

Aug 9

Dear Family,
 
Well, today is my first P-Day, and we just got done going through the temple this morning, which was good.
I am in a district with 10 other guys, we are in a group of Elders going to either Honduras or Spain. (BTW mom, Elder Cousins is not in my group, but I have seen him a few times here, sat next to him at devotionals, dinner, etc.) I know 4 other Elders who are serving in my same mission now, and a few others going to other missions in Honduras. My district is a good group, and we have fun learning spanish and teaching and stuff. My companion is from St. George, and is a cool guy, and we get along, which is good. He is going to another mission in Honduras (I think it's like San Pedro Sula mission).
Learning Spanish is hard, that is the majority of our focus here at the MTC. We are encouraged to only speak spanish as much as possible throughout the day. The first day we came in and our teacher wouldn't talk in English at all. He has spoken in English occasionally now, but not very much. I have learned a ton of Spanish in the last week, and I can pray in Spanish, and bear my testimony in Spanish, and we have had all of our lessons that my companion and I have taught investigators have all been in Spanish, and it has taken almost all of our study time to prepare for our one lesson a day that we teach because we have to choose what to teach, plan out exactly what we will say, and then learn all of the words that we need to be able to speak in the lessons, so we have to translate the whole lessons into Spanish. We plan for about 5 hours a day for our half an hour lessons. These lessons we teach are difficult, because we need to be able to answer questions in Spanish, and teach our whole lessons. Yesterday, I taught the whole lesson, without a written out script in Spanish, and talked with our investigator, without having to use notes, which has been a big improvement from reading a scripted lesson. I am actually very surprised at my Spanish speaking skills, they have improved a ton, and I have had some fluent (slow, but still fluent-ish) conversations with people, and it's very cool. The language is hard, to have to be expected to be able to teach in a different language, without much formal instruction from teachers. A lot of our studies are either personal or companion studies, which surprised me that we don't have as much classroom study as I expected. We've had some good firesides and devotionals, and some good testimony meetings.
Here at the MTC, they make sure to feed us missionaries. Every meal is a buffet of assorted foods, and I always eat a ton at every meal, so I think that I will get fat. It probably doesn't help that I don't workout very much here. We get about an hour a day to workout, that we stretch, and run, and play soccer, or volleyball, or basketball. I feel out of shape already because I eat too much. It's no bueno -- (See, I know Spanish, impressed yet?)
Umm, I get to do my laundry today and am getting a haircut, and that's about as exciting as my P-Day gets... It's good though. It will be nice to relax.
Anyways, I think that this will be about the time that I will be emailing every week, at least at the MTC, so that's probably when you can expect to hear from me.
 
Love,
   Elder Ward.