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 last sunday, and it looks awesome!
I hope that all of you are doing great!
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!
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!
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.
      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.
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!

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, 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.
   Elder Ward.

Aug 3

Dear Familia

See look^, I'm totally fluent in Spanish by now...Anyways, I'm here at the MTC, with barely any time between classes and study times, and now have a couple of minutes before lunch today to write. It's pretty good here. I am in a district full of people who are going to either Spain or Honduras. I now know like 10 people going to Honduras, including my companion and other 2 roommates, who are all going to the San Pedro Sula Mission in Honduras. They are all pretty cool, and we all get along fine. I've also seen plenty of people that I already know here at the MTC. I came in on the same day as like 3 other missionaries that I know, and have probably seen about 5 other people that I know. Umm, other than that, life is just classes every day, not too crazy exciting worth writing about. My estimated departure date for Honduras has been set for the 30th of September. Also, it will be completely impossible to follow the airline rules about luggage, because they loaded us all full of tons and tons of books. It will never fit. Oh well. You might want to double check this address that they gave me for my MTC mailing address, because it looks a little different than I remember, but maybe I'm crazy:

MTC Mailbox #343
HON-TEG 0930
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

(Also, I believe that my P-day is on Thursday here.)

Elder Ward

From Tiauna Ward (mom):
His email is:

If you use, they print and deliver your letter to him that same day if you send it before noon, Mon.- Fri.