Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

avocados are my favorite now, because they taste super good. There´s no better reason than that, right?
My area just got split up into 3 areas this week. I´ll share an excerpt from the email that I sent to dad:
Transfers are every 6 week, and always on a wednesday. I didn´t leave this change. I thought that I might. I´ve already been here for almost 6 months, but I guess that I´ll be here a little bit longer. We have an area right next to ours that´s called Hibueras that just opened up again, but the elders coming in didn´t have a house to go to to live. So they had to come live in our house for a little while while they tried to find a place to live in their area. So we brought them back, and showed them around their area and introduced them to a couple of the members that we knew there. We also had to give up one of our most positive investigators that lives there in Hibueras. But they lived in our house for like 4 days. they found a place and left saturday. It was super crowded in our house for a little while. We had all of the stuff that they were going to have from the mission there too, so we put down their new mattresses on our main room floor for them to sleep. It was a little annoying for a little bit not having any space, and the worst part was trying to plan showering with 4 people when we have to boil water for each one, but we got it figured out. But that was our adventure for this week. We are also starting out with a new zone and a few new areas have opened up in this zone, so we have a few new people, but a lot of the elders here are still the same.
Other than that, nothing too new or exciting is going on. We´re just continuing working, like always.
I thought that it was weird that Ben used to have to wear suit coats all the time. That would be awful here in Honduras. These last few weeks have been super hot. This week that´s starting will be the hottest week of the year here in Honduras. It is called the ¨Semana Santa¨ or the Holy Week, in English. But almost everyone will have work off this week, and can go and visit family or whatever. But it has been super hot recently, and my body just loves sweating and sweating and sweating, all day every day. But it´s alright. I´m used to it by now.
That´s about all that I can think of for this week. I hope that you´re all doing well!
Elder Ward

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013

Dear everybody,
Today I think that I´ll just copy my thoughts and impressions from yesterday´s temple dedication with you all, directly from my journal entry because it will be easier than trying to write it all again, so here we go:
Today was the dedication of the Honduras Tegucigalpa Temple. I woke up early today and got ready to go. My companion and I stayed for all 3 of the dedicatory sessions. They were all good, and I enjoyed the spirit that there was for each one, but particularly I enjoyed the third session, where Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf both gave super good talks. Elder Holland spoke of the importance of temples and family history work. He spoke about how temples are important because first we do ordinances and make covenants for ourselves, and then afterwards, we do this work for those in the past that can´t do it for themselves. He talked about how we need to go to the temple even if we don´t want to, or if we don´t feel like it because we need to feel the peace from the temple and its comfort. A lot of the things he said I already knew the concept of, but still, the advice is just as necessary for me being a missionary as it is for the rest of the people here in Honduras listening to this message. Even though I knew a lot of the things that he was saying, he said things in a way that was more clear and made a lot of sense to me of how temples work and why temples are so important and how much it helps us to go. He said that we will feel the calm, peace, and spirit that we need when we go to the temple and explained that we develop Christlike attributes when we go to the temple and help others that can´t progress and need our help. He said something about us becoming in a small way other people´s saviors. He talked about the joy that we will find as we find our ancestor´s names and do their temple work, and then he said something that I liked a lot: ¨Welcome to the thrill of becoming saviors¨. At that point, it made sense to me how we are saving people by going to the temple, and that´s how we become more like the Savior. How if we want to become like Christ, we should go to the temple. So that was a cool quote. Then as he continued his talk, at one point, he stopped using the translator to talk to the people. He paused... Then a silence came over the room that I don´t know how to describe, but the spirit was there as Elder Holland started bearing his testimony in Spanish, with as much power and confidence as he ever would have in English, he spoke to the audience directly in their own language. It was simple, it was slow and enunciated and not all of it was pronounced exactly proper in Spanish, but it had such power and caught me off guard that my heart like skipped a beat or something weird. That sounds like a weird way to describe it, but I can´t really think of a better way, it sounds a little weird, but now I understand why a missionary can have such power just bearing a simple testimony with what little they know of a foreign language. So that was a good experience.
Then President Uchtdorf spoke to us about sitting in the cockpit with the pilots as they flew in to Honduras, and as they landed the airplane on the airport runway here in Tegucigalpa which is a little sketchy apparently (supposedly it´s the 2nd most dangerous airport in the world, but idk, I didn´t notice when I landed here), but he said something like ¨I´m glad that I didn´t have to land the plane on that landing¨, and talked about the pilots he met as he flew in to the city. Even in Honduras he will still add in airplane comments to his talk. ;) He continued to talk to us about how pilots will lead us to our destination and about the symbolism of the temple and that we should focus on the symbolism of the ordinances and not the architecture of the building. He also talked about how there are 2 types of sins, and this was something that I had never thought of before, there are sins against God, and there are sins against our fellow men. Then he quoted the scripture of the 2 greatest commandments that the Savior listed in the bible: to love God, and to love our neighbors. So if we love God we won´t sin against Him, and the same for our neighbors in life. So if we truly love God and everyone else, we won´t have any desire to sin. So the dedication was super good, and I am glad that I went to all 3 sessions.
So that was my journal entry for yesterday´s dedication. It was super good and I learned a ton there! We also went to the cultural night broadcast at our stake center, and we watched all of the dances of the youth from all of the stakes from all over Honduras, and that was pretty good.  We apparently are not going to have a meeting with President Uchtdorf or Elder Holland like we thought we would. Originally they said that we would, and for a lot of the dedications they do have a special missionary meeting, but I guess that they weren´t able to this time or something. That´s too bad. We woke up this morning and thought that we were going to get to see them today, because we got a text that said that we had to dress up in our suits and come to the big church in the middle of Teguz where we normally have all of our meetings, but it turned out that we just listened to a psychiatrist missionary couple that are over all of Central America, they were probably here for the dedication yesterday, so they would be in Honduras to meet with us and teach us. It was a little disappointing to get up early and go to this meeting and find out that we weren´t going to be able to hear from the general authorities, and to have a meeting on P-day too. Looks like I get to wash my clothes by hand tomorrow morning instead of today...
That´s about all that happened this week that was exciting. But now we have a dedicated temple 45 minutes away from my area. Hopefully we get to go a few times and do some sessions. This next week we have changes (missionary transfers), and I don´t know if I´ll stay or leave. I have 4 changes already in the same area, and normally missionaries don´t have longer than 4, but at the same time I am training a new missionary, which is normally for 2 changes. But my companion already started his training in Guatemala before he came to this mission, so I´m not sure what will happen. Either way is fine with me, we´ll just have to wait and see.
Well, I hope that you are all doing awesome!
Elder Ward

Yes, my missionary tag says ´Elder Ward´.
Baleadas are a honduran food that has tortillas, mantequilla (a creamy butter), beans, and eggs. That´s just for a basic baleada. If you want you can add fried platanos (banana things that you fry), avacado (my favorite vegetable now), and meats.
Dough soup is like soup with balls of fried dough in it. It wasn´t bad, but I liked the fried balls of dough plain better. We also this week went with a member and learned how to make spaghetti better, the sauce is sweeter how they make it here in honduras, and we made scrambled eggs with sliced up onions, tomatoes, and chili peppers.
We have a few investigators right now, but we are going to lose a couple of them when we get 4 new missionaries in our area to open up different areas. Right now our area has 3 basic areas: reparto, el hatillo, and hibueras, which they closed in like november because it was too dangerous for missionaries, so it was added to our area, but we hardly worked there because Í don´t like going there and having everyone beg me for money because I´m the only gringo they´ve seen in a long time because only latin missionaries were assigned there before. But they are going to reopen Hibueras, with latin missionaries I´m sure, they´ll also be the ZL´s of the new zone that´s opening up as our zone splits because it´s gotten too big. Then the super rich part of our area, El Hatillo, will open up with a couple of missionaries starting there, so our area right now is really big, but after this next week with the missionary changes, our area will be pretty small.
Well, this week really hasn´t been all that exciting, aside from the dedication which I already wrote about.
Elder Ward

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Highlights from email sent to Arissa

Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2013

I have been good, doing missionary stuffs, like reading the scriptures, studying, going out and talking to people and sharing the gospel, all in spanish.
I do like it here. It´s a fun change from my life before, its a lot different here, but at the same time, it´s pretty much all the same.
The environment is a lot different, and the culture and the people are different than in the US, but what people want, and things that people do are almost always the same. Everyone has the same needs and wants everywhere in the world, but in different places people will do different things to get what they want and need. Like people here in Honduras will do things differently than people in the states, but everyone wants the same things in life.
So it´s definitely interesting to see how that works and to know that I can help people by teaching the gospel, and to see how going to church and reading the scriptures, and praying and all of those things will change how people see themselves and they will change their lives because of the gospel. So that´s cool. That´s been my favorite part of my mission.
Enjoy school while you have it!
Elder Ward

Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2013

I miss a lot of things about home, namely:
-Running water
-Soft carpet
-Couches that aren´t broken and falling apart
-Jumping on trampolines
-Watching movies
-Hanging out with friends
-Being able to go out and be alone
-Captain Crunch
-Dairy products like cheese and milk that actually taste normal
-Scuba diving (not really, that one´s a joke)
Yep, that´s my list for now. Hope that you enjoyed it.
I miss you too,
Elder Ward

Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013

I do missionary stuff here. I talk to people in spanish and teach lessons, and try not to get hit by crazy car drivers :)
I have a lot of cool experiences. One simple one is that yesterday we were having a lesson with an investigator whose wife is a member, and were teaching him about the plan of salvation and that his family could be eternal if he follows our Heavenly Father´s plan for him in his life. Then, his wife bore her testimony about how she knew that this was what they needed to do, both of them. She talked about how she had a point in her life when she knew that they would be ready to go to the temple and be sealed together to be together forever, and the spirit was super strong and the spirit bore witness to me that I was changing people´s lives, and that the temple is the key to everything, all of the blessings that these people want and need in their lives. So that was a cool experience. I really think that this investigator is going to get baptized, so I´m excited about that.
I love you too,
Elder Ward

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2013
I have not personally baptized anyone yet. My first companion baptized one of our investigators, but that´s the only baptism that we´ve had so far.
Hmm, what else have I done?? This week we made baleadas with another group of elders, that went well, and now I know how to make my own tortillas. We also have been talking to our ward mission leader about how to divide our ward boundaries and the areas that we´re working in. This next week, they are going to add more missionaries to where we are serving. The area where I am serving now will have 6 missionaries in a week, instead of just the 2 that we have now. Also our zone is going to get split up into 2 zones with all of the new missionaries coming in. The next changes we will have more sister missionaries coming into the mission than elders coming in, which is a little bit crazy.
That´s about all of my news.
Yes, I´m having a pretty good time. I am tired, we´ve been walking a lot recently.
Elder Ward

March 11, 2013

(this email is answers to a bunch of questions)
The spanish word for Elder is anciano, but we always use the english word elder in spanish in the LDS church. That´s the word that the BofM uses and the ¨quorum de los elderes¨ in church.
I haven´t found my ranch yet, but I need to go to the other supermarket that would probably have it.
I make rice with salt and butter and a complete seasoning that i bought that has like onion, garlic, salt, and some other spices. I have a pretty good spice set now, and I started using the toaster that´s been buried in our kitchen for awhile to make garlic bread and toast with cinnamon sugar.
Also this week, we made baleadas with some of the other elders, and we made the tortillas from scratch, which turned out well. I learned how to fry platanos, and we made some good baleadas.
Also we learned how to make dough soup from a member this week, but I´m not sure if I could duplicate it all.
A lot of people from our mission too say that they´ve already been baptized. Then we have to explain about the priesthood and stuff, but most people don´t like the thought of having to be baptized again.
You can buy meats here, but they are a lot more expensive. I hardly eat meat here. We do get fresh foods though.
I hope everythings going well.
Elder Ward

Yeah I know, I´m super excited for the dedication. It will be awesome.
Platanos, yeah you can probably fry them twice, they only fry them once here, after slicing them into thin little pieces, but I think that in other cultures they might mash them up and fry them again.
This week (yesterday) we had a soup with one of the members of the stake presidency, just my companion and I. We went up to the rich neighborhood in our area where he lives and had a seafood soup with a big old crab sitting there in the middle of my soup. I had no idea how to eat it, so I just ate everything else in the soup and left it. They didn´t seem to mind that my companion and I didn´t eat our crabs.
We also had to walk back to our house from that appointment yesterday, which is from the farthest part of our area, and we didn´t have money for a bus, because it was sunday, so we walked about an hour and a half to get back. That was a long walk.
Elder Ward

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 4, 2013

Well, still nothing super exciting has happened this week. Today we went to an art museum with another couple of elders and we took some pictures there. It wasn´t huge, but it had a little tour and stuff. That´s about as new and exciting as it gets. Here´s a little bit of what I told dad today in his email:
No the new mission hasn´t been created yet, I haven´t heard much more about it recently. I have no idea how it will be decided in the end. I found on the church website a list of the new missions that will be added soon, and the Honduras San Pedro Sula West mission will open up here I guess. I didn´t know that until today. So, it might not affect me as much as I thought, since the san pedro mission is up at the top of honduras. We´ll have to wait and see.
We went one more time to the temple with one of our investigators. We went in his car because he didn't want to take the bus, and had to give a ride to one of his friends on the way... I don´t really know if he liked it or not, he didn´t act super impressed and didn´t comment on it when we asked him about it. We haven´t been able to talk to him since, so we´ll see.
The dedication is the 17th of March. We are excited about that. We´ll probably watch it in our stake center, we already have the little card to get in to see it. And I think that the monday afterwards, we are going to have a special missionary meeting with Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Holland, so that will be cool.
We have investigators right now, but not many are progressing, so we´re going to focus on finding new people to teach. We are supposed to be getting some references to contact from the people who have filled out a little survey after going through the temple that have said that they wanted to be visited, so we´ll see if we get a lot of references there.
Things with my companion are good. We´re still working hard, but it´s kind of tough being senior companion. It´s hard to plan what to do all day every day, and to keep both of us motivated to work hard and not take unneccesary breaks.
But things are good right now. We´re trying to learn how to cook new things now. So we bought a whole bunch of new foods last week to try to cook. I bought some new spices, and a bunch of vegetables. Veggies here are actually super cheap, I didn´t think they would be. For example: I bought an avocado for 11 lempira, a cucumber for 4, an onion for 5, a whole carrot for 3, a banana for 2, (20 lempiras is $1) so things are pretty cheap to buy. I made a salad last night, and it was pretty good, except the lettuce here is a little weird. I just bought a whole head of lettuce and pealed off the leaves, but I think I´ll have to see if they have prepackaged good lettuce to use. I also am going to try to go to a different store to find some ranch dressing, cuz plain salad is kind of bland. And I finally learned how to make rice right, with flavoring and stuff, because before i just made white rice and water, and cooked it. But now I learned to make good rice. This week I think that we´re going to try to make baleadas, a Honduras specialty, as well as fry platanos, which are shaped like bananas, but taste more like potatoes, but sweeter.
Things have been good here. I hope everyone´s healthy and happy there!
Elder Ward