Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Farewell to Nicaragua

Here are some pictures from our trip to Nicaragua.  We had an amazing experience visiting the country that Trevor served in for 2 years.  We were able to meet his mission president and family and many of the missionaries that Trevor served with.  The highlight though was meeting and visiting with several families that Trevor taught and helped to convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were such humble people living in very humble circumstances, but you could certainly feel of their joy and happiness!  We grew to love these people in the few days we had there just as Trevor did as he served them faithfully over the last two years.   
He's ours again!
President Monestel and family
Departing missionaries
Top of Cerro Negro Volcano

Ciudad Sandino
CTR ring gifts






Monday, October 1, 2012


Well, I'm going to make this extremely short, but WELCOME TO MY COUNTRY!!!! You guys have no idea how excited I am that you are here. Why? Obviously because I get to see you and spend time with you after not being able to for two years, but also because there are some things that words can literally not describe. You guys are experiencing the very things that I`ve come to love about Nicaragua. You understand what its like to not speak Spanish, being completely lost, eating weird food, get accustomed to the extreme poverty...but there is one HUGE thing that you`re missing and it`s what makes all of it worth it. Being able to bear witness of Jesus Christ every day. I`m sure you got a small taste when you took that old couple home from church, but I`m hoping that I can give you guys a little taste of that when we visit some converts this week.

I was thinking about sharing more thoughts about finishing my mission, but I will just talk to you about that in person. Just got back from Managua from my last interview with President. It was amazing and I feel such a good peaceful feeling knowing that I served the Lord with all I`ve got. Kinda crazy getting back because all the taxi drivers were on strike over the gas know...the normal in Managua (burning tires, road blocks, policemen in combat uniforms). AWWW MANN!!!!!! I'm so stoked that I'm gonna see you guys in two days. Went with Elder Jovel and Gaitan by the way. Haha...they said they saw you guys at church. Supposedly your Spanish isn`t too bad, Dad.

I`ll just say that this week has been amazing. Ana and Adonis`s baptism...SO AWESOME!  I love that family so much. Well, you guys will just have to wait anxiously until you see me on Wednesday morning to hear about the rest.

Wednesday at 9:00AM changes meeting starts so I would maybe try to get there like half an hour early. Here is my phone number if you guys need help getting there:  (505)8403-9058. That will end at about 12:30 or so and then we have to be at President`s house at 4:00 pm for a little meeting followed by a dinner. Before and after that I think we`ll probably just go to the hotel and visit a couple of converts here in Managua close by.

See you guys on Wednesday! I'm SOOOOOOOOO STOKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SALVAJE!!!!

Elder Ward

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Gonna Be Hard to Get Me to Leave

Dear Family,

Happy Anniversary!!! Dad, you’re right, one of the many things I have learned on my mission is the importance of our families. I don’t think I ever REALLY appreciated that sealing power, but now I know that it is truly amazing. I’m so grateful that our family will be together forever. guys are coming to Nicaragua THIS WEEK. NUTS!!! It’s really weird because I feel like you guys are coming to visit my country instead of you coming to take me back to mine. You might want to bring some handcuffs because it’s gonna be hard to get me to leave. I’ll talk more about that in a sec, for now I’ll share some experiences from this week.

Tuesday afternoon was pretty slow. All of our appointments had fallen and we weren’t quite sure what to do (that’s when your plan A, B, C, and D all fall) so we started to contact. We went walking by what I would say competes for the humblest home in our area. There was a slightly gorda woman lying down on a wood pallet that she used as a bed with a very skinny, dirty-faced girl. She smiled and let us come in...her situation touched my heart. She had NOTHING. A blanket, a bucket, some sticks to make a fire to cook if there was any food, a couple items of clothes and her flip flops. We asked if we could help her with anything and she ashamedly confessed that she didn’t have soap to wash the little girl’s clothes. We went to the nearest pulpería (that’s what the little stores in people’s houses are called) and bought her soap that cost 50 cents. We came back, gave it to her, and she just started crying. She said that two minutes before that she had prayed asking God that somehow she could have soap. God loves His different the world would be if everyone could just understand that one principle.

Other story….did divisions this week with the Zone Leaders. We went to go visit a family that they’re teaching that has really had some hard times. The husband is unemployed and they are having a hard time just to get food for their two daughters. We were in the middle of talking about why the Lord allows us to have trials when he started speaking to me in English (used to live in the states). He said that he was so desperate that he even had thoughts of hanging himself. I bore a simple testimony of the Atonement and Jesus Christ’s plan. He said, "I guess I am still supposed to be here because the tree branch snapped when I put the rope around it”. Sorry, I know that’s kind of disturbing, but my point is that Christ will carry our burdens, and I felt good leaving that lesson knowing that we could set a lost sailor on his course again.

Alright...I feel like I’m going to just make everyone cry. To lighten it up a bit…this week Elder Comfort was running away from the dog that lives by our house named Persa. He tried to fake her out or something but turned the wrong way and the dog totally took his legs out. He FLEW. You had to be there but we laughed for a long about that.

Ana and Adonis are so awesome. They love the church and complete every commitment that we give them. President has to interview Adonis on Tuesday so we’re praying that everything goes well so they can be baptized this weekend.

Mom, to answer your questions you can just bring some old doesn’t matter much to me. I’m a size 36 waist now so...JK haha…I’m still the same size, so you can just bring whatever size 32 pants. Maybe you can bring a new razor head too. I’ll give you the details next Monday, but you have to be at the church in Reparto San Juan before 9:00 am on Wednesday. The address of the church is "de la rotonda universitaria 1 cuadra al sur y 1 cuadra al este". I’m super excited for you guys to come and we’re gonna have an awesome time!

Also, I didn’t end up going to San Juan del Sur today :) but you guys will like it there. Welp...see you in Nicaragua!!!

Elder Ward

Monday, September 17, 2012

Finish My Course With Joy

Ramon's Baptism
Dearest Familia,

I’m not going to lie it feels really weird knowing that I have very little time left to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary. I don’t want to focus too much on that but, just to get it out of the way, here is my response to your encouragement to "finish strong":

Elder Ward, Elder Comfort and their District
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Just trying to finish my course with joy :) And this week has been a very joyful one. Let me start off with an interesting story...We had an appointment to go and visit a family that was a referral from the members. The husband’s sister just passed away about a week ago and we knew that it was going to be a good experience. We came to the door and the wife told us to come in. That’s when a crazy old woman, who appeared to be unhappy that we were there from the very first sight, came up and said in English, "Do you know what really pisses me off??? That you guys can come to my country but that I can’t go to yours!" Elder Comfort and I were pretty shocked. She went on to explain how the US government (and when she referred to the govt. she said "you guys") had taken away everything she had, had tried to kill her, etc. When she finally gave us a chance to talk I explained that even though we were from the United States and Canada (go figure) we were representing Jesus Christ and that our purpose was simply to help people like her that had had hard times to come closer to Him. matter what we said she was COMPLETELY convinced that we were spies from the govt. and that we were there to ruin her life. A taxi came up from behind us and our potential investigator asked us to help take the food in that they brought from the market. As we went to grab the sacks of food the crazy lady grabbed our arms and told us not to touch the food. It was a crazy experience but I feel like the Spirit really helped us to know what to say. We kind of just laughed about if afterwards. We still call each other "Agent Comfort and Agent Ward" every now and then.
Elder Ward, Ramon, Elder Comfort
We had a baptism this Saturday! Haha…I don’t even think I told you guys that we were going to have one but our investigator, Ramon, got baptized. He’s a really good guy and had a tough past so it’s really cool to see how the Lord has changed him. He even showed up to church with a white shirt and tie yesterday and looked like a stud. I’ll send some pics. Our whole zone is pretty excited because everyone is starting to see that this isn’t really the "No Baptizing Zone".

Ana and Adonis are so golden. I love that family so much and they have an unbelievable amount of faith. They came to church yesterday and LOVED it. The members came and welcomed them, including the bishop. They are super excited about getting married. They read the BOM every day and they said that they know it’s true. When we taught them about the Word of Wisdom they said, "Well...we drink coffee every day but it looks like we’re not going to do that anymore." And that was the end of that haha. Adonis even said that he doesn’t want to go back to the military because he wants time to be with his family and go to church. They even asked us what they have to wear to their baptism and at what time it’s going to be at in two weeks haha.
I’ve taken some time to think about them along with the other amazing people that have changed my life on my mission and I’m so grateful for their examples of faith. After seeing miracles like that it’s impossible to not know that this is the true church and that Jesus Christ lives. I’ve come to realize that what was at one point a belief for me has turned into a sure knowledge. THAT is what should motivate all of us to finish strong.

Question? What day are you guys coming again? Haha because I think our zone is going to San Juan del Sur next Monday. I’m pretty sure you won’t be there yet (which is probably good) but maybe I’ll leave you a note in the sand or something. I was gonna ask if you could maybe bring a pair of tennis shoes for me and some jeans (mine don’t really fit anymore). Anyways...I love you guys a ton and I’m super stoked for you to come!!! In the meantime...still going strong.

Elder Ward
Never too old for a crown at Burger King!
Elder Ward and Elder Comfort (Jinotepe)
Elder Chacaj & Elder Ward in Granada

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Gonna Be Really Hard to Leave This Place!

Dear Familia,

Hola mi querida madre! Parece que has estado practicando tu español para venir a Nicaragua. Esooo!! (Hi, my dear mother. It appears that you have been practicing your Spanish so that you can come to Nicaragua.) I can’t believe I made it out alive of that crazy earthquake this week! JK...There was an earthquake this week but as far as I know nobody was harmed. They evacuated a lot of people because of a tsunami alert in Puerto Sandino but other than that it wasn’t a huge deal. It was nuts though. I was sitting their studying when I started to feel really dizzy. I realized that I wasn’t dizzy but the whole house was swaying back and forth!!!! Also, we haven’t been affected by the volcano erupting but there is a lot of talk about it.

To answer your questions:

1. The North Mission office is pretty close to where we will be so it really wouldn’t be a problem to drop those things off.

2. I feel like those things are perfect to bring. I was thinking that maybe you guys could bring some old white shirts as well if you’ve got any that no one is using.

3. As for shirts are destroyed except for like 3 so maybe just like one white shirt to wear home...I really don’t need much though I’m going home...haha

4. I think that you and dad would really like Ometepe. You can take a car over on the ferry for pretty cheap. I really had fun there. There are museums, nature hike type things, I think there are kayak tours, and it’s just a cool place to be.

This week the Lord truly has done miracles in our area. Dad, you’re quote pretty much sums it all up. We’ve been being obedient and working hard so I think he had to bless us some time or another. We’re teaching a family named Armando and Angela who are super awesome. Armando is very humble and really, really wants to be baptized. He loves everything that we teach him and says that he feels like his life is changing. Angela was a Jehovah’s Witness for about 20 yrs. She listens intently when we come and I think she is slowly realizing that all the terrible things she’s heard about our church aren’t true. She has a lot of strong roots from her other church but we’re leaving it up to the Book of Mormon to help her find out the church is true. They went to church on Sunday!

Remember Ana, the girl we walked back to go contact? Well, her companion’s name is Adonis and it turns out that he went to church when he was 15 and was almost baptized. The first night we taught them together they accepted a baptismal date for the 29th and are so freakin awesome! They have such a strong desire to have a happy family and last night when we were teaching them they said, "When we get baptized we have to get married before right?" So they’re pretty much good to go. We’re having FHE in a member’s house with them tonight.

So many awesome things...I’ve felt so happy this week just knowing that we’re doing the Lord’s work and helping people come unto Christ. I think it’s gonna be really tough to leave this place behind. But in the mean time...I’ve got about 3 1/2 more weeks to go and we’ve got some people to baptize! :)

I can’t say it enough but I love our Savior and His gospel. By the way, thanks for the pics. They’re hilarious. I love you guys and don’t get too trunky! :)




Elder Ward