Travis' Mission

Travis' Mission

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Honduras

Christmas in Honduras is so amazing, and i loved it so much.  It is definately nothing like the states, but i had so much fun.  Being a missionary in such a wonderful time of year is great, and i have so many opportunities to bare my testimony of Christ. 
On Tuesday after our weekly district meeting our whole zone watched "Forever Strong", which has a really good messege.  Our Zone did a gift exchange, which was a lot of fun, and i definately wore my Santa hat that my Mom got me.  Christmas with missionaries is a lot of fun because we use everything that we can to make it like the Christmas at home.  We definately decorated a palm tree and put our Christmas presents under them, it was awesome. 
The whole week leading up to Christmas Elder Webb and I worked hard to talk to as many people as we could about Christ.  Christmas is such a great opportunity to teach and testify of Christ.  We used The Living Christ in a lot of our lessons and passed them out to as many people as we could.  I also have a lot of pictures of Christ that i tried to give to many people.  One lady we found and taught accused us of not believing in Christ, and when i heard her say that i immidiately got our my pictures of Christ and bore my Testimony of Christ.  In reality i wouldnt be the person i am if it wasnt for Christ and his atoneing sacrifice for me.  I am so grateful for everything that he has done a suffered for me.  I am also so grateful to represent Him and preach His gospel. 
Saturday the 24th was Navidad for the people here, and Honduras goes crazy about Christmas.  The way the people here celebrate Christmas is by blowing up stuff, firecrackers, fireworks, and anything that shots fire or makes a lot of noise.  All day Saturday my ears were ringing because.  Sometimes i felt like i was in the middle of World War 2.  Everytime something blow up i just smiled and lauged.  Another thing that the people love here for Christmas is making lots and lots of Tamales.  I am pretty sure that every person we taught and visited gave us Tamales.  I at 8-10 throughout the day and i felt like i was going to explode.  The tamales here are really good, so when i was full i just asked the people to put it into a bag so that i could save it for later.  My fridge is now full of Tamales.  The people here are realy nice, and they made my Christmas so great.  A lot of the members treat us missionaries like family, and it is really great.  I love the people here so much. 
Another thing the the people here love doing is drinking beer, and a lot of it.  Most times when people are drunk they are funny and always try to use english when they see us, but the only words they know are 4 letter words.  On Sunday when we went to go pick up our investigators to Church, a few of our investigators were so wasted from the night before that they couldnt come outside because either they couldnt walk or the sun was too bright.  Needless to say, they didnt come to Church.  Church was great, and we were able to bring some of our investigators to Church, and they loved it.  the biggest problem is that people dont go to Church.  I love going to Church, feeling the spirit, and sitting with and teaching our investigators. 
I made Cookies with the stuff that my Mom sent me, and I gave cookies to all of our investigators and members that make us dinner.  They loved the cookies a lot, and some of them want me to show them how to make them.  A long with handing out cookies we handed out pictures of Christ and bore our testimonies of Christ often. 
Christmas for me was amazing.  We even had a little Christmas Tree with lights and ornaments that our neighbor let us use.  We put all of our presents under the tree, and when i woke uf the next morning Santa came and we opened our presents.  My comp and I get alone very well, and we had a grand Christmas Party. 
Overall, this was the best Christmas in Honduras that i have ever had.  It was a lot of fun, and it was amazing to see how the people here celebrate Christmas.  The Cultures are very different.  I try to do everything i can to enjoy and be apart of the Culture.  I love the people so much, and i love serving them and preaching them the gospel.  I am so grateful for this Christmas and the opportunity i have to share my testimony all the time about Christ and his wonderful gospel.  I want you nto know that i know that my Redeemer Lives.  I know that Jesus Christ died for me and for you.  I am so grateful for his atoneing sacrifice for me and for everyone.  I love being a missionary and being an example of Jesus Christ.  I am doing fantastic, and i have never been happier in my life.  I had an amazing Christmas, and i hope that you had a great Christmas too.  Thanks for your support and your prayers.
Elder Travis Jay Ward

Monday, December 19, 2011


Being a missionary is so amazing, and i love being a servant of the Lord.  We had Changes this week which was exciting because it was my first change since my very first day.  All the members and investigators are really sad that Elder Neher is leaving right before Christmas, but they are excited that i am staying for Christmas.  I am so excited to spend my first Christmas in Honduras with the people that I love.  We had changes on Wednesday, and all the missionaries that have changes all meet at the big stake center in San Pedro Sula.  The meeting is really cool because we get to meet all the new missionaries straight from the MTC or CCM, and we also get to hear all the testimonies of all the missionaries that are leaving.  there were about 19 new missionaries (And its crazy to think that i was one of those newbies a few months ago), and 25 missionaries that were leaving home.  It is really exciting to have all those missionaries together, and there is a lot of excitement because of all the changes.  Elder Neher was a great trainer and i was able to learn so much from him, but i was really excited to get a new companion.  I was really hoping to get a Latin comp so that he could help me better my Spanish.  At the end i got my new comp Elder Webb, and he is from Salt Lake City.  He is a really great Elder, and I am so excited to be with him and learn from him.  This week has been really great because i have been able to get to know my new comp, and we are already really great friends.  I know my area very well, so i was able to show him where everything is and introduce him to all the investigators and members.  Because my comp doesn't know anyone or where to go I had to take the lead on everything.  I am really surprised at how much my Spanish has grown, and i feel a lot more comfortable with it.  It is a great feeling to really be able to talk to people and express myself, especially during the lessons, teaching, and when i share my testimony.   
It has been raining a lot this week, and because of all the rain there is a lot of mud.  However hard i try to keep my shoes and pants clean, they get covered in mud.  I also really enjoy when the buses and cars drive by on the dirty muddy roads and spray mud everywhere.  Also, there have been many times when i am walking and i think the ground is solid or its a rock, and its not, and my whole foots sinks into the mud.  Its awesome.  I actually think its really fun because when i walk on the street people always tell me that i have mud up to my shins.  I just use that opportunity to talk to them and invite them to come closer to Christ.  Overall, i love Honduras, and there is no place on Earth that i would rather be than here in Honduras on my mission. 
Because it is almost Christmas we have been able to use Christmas and Christ to find and teach a lot of people.  A lot of people don't realize the true meaning of Christmas and just focus on the colors, presents, gifts, candy, and everything else that comes with it.  I have been able to share my testimony many times this week about the true meaning of Christmas which is Christ.  Since i have been on my mission i have strengthened my testimony in Jesus Christ because there have been many times were i needed to turn to Christ for help or put all of my faith in him.  Teaching about Christ is a powerful and wonderful way to preach the Gospel.  Most people here already know a lot about Jesus and love him very much, so they always want to know more about him.  We teach about Christ, share our testimonies on Christ, and then go into the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and everything that he has done for me.  I know that he lives.  I know that he died and suffered for each and every one of us and all of our sins.  I wouldn't be here on my mission if it wasn't for Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ, to be his hands, and the preach his gospel. 
"We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. - 2 Nephi 25:26
"And Now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him!  That he lives!  For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father -- That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." -- D&C 76:22-24
Overall, I am doing fantastic, i love being a missionary, and i have never been happier in my life.  I am so excited to spend my first Christmas in Honduras with the people that i love.  part of the culture of Honduras during Christmas is lots a lots of fireworks, and lots of tamales.  I am so excited, and i cant wait to tell you more about it next week.  I hope that you enjoy the pictures that i sent.  I love you very much, and thank you very much for all the prayers, letters, and support.
Elder Travis Jay Ward

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Multi-Zona

This week was a fantastic week.  Being a missionary is such a wonderful experience, and I have already learned and grown so much.  I love preaching the gospel and see this gospel change the lives of others.  Through the guidance of the spirit we have found many new people to teach, and i feel like there is never enough time to teach everyone.  It does help a lot the the ward is really supportive with the missionary work, and members go out with us almost every day.  Also the ward is doing something called "Noche de Hogar", which is Family Night.  Every Sunday and Tuesday night many of the ward members meet together at an inactive family´s house and sometimes even investigator´s house.  Not only is it uniting the ward, but it is bringing the inactives back to church and helping our investigators to know more people.  We also bring other investigators to these things, and so overall it is just a giant missionary opportunity. 
This Tuesday I went on divisions with Elder Abplanalp from Utah, and I stayed in my area.  he is a great missionary, and i was able to learn a lot from him.  We took two hermanas from the ward across the wonderful bridge that i love so much.  We taught two families together in one house because they are related but live in different houses.  Because of the sudden change of plans i had no idea what we were going to teach them.  After the hymn and prayer i still had no idea, until I had the strongest feeling (no doubt the Holy Ghost) to teach on the importance of families using The Proclamation to The Family.  I just happened to have a few copies that we used.  The Proclamation to the Family is really powerful, and the spirit was so very strong.  When ever I bare my testimony about the importance of families and how much the gospel blesses them, i always like to show them pictures of my family.  Being out here on my mission had made me realize more how much i love my family and how much this gospel has blessed my family.  I love my family so much, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here on my mission so that i can bring other families into this amazing gospel. 
"Missionaries leave their family for two years so that other families can be with theirs for eternity". 
On Thursday the whole mission except two zones (becasue they are too far away) got together in San Pedro Sula for the Christmas Multi-Zona.  Our whole zone left really early so that we could all eat at Denny´s together.  Its been a while since i had a breakfast like that, and i ate so much i thought that i was going to explode.  I had pancakes, bacon, sausage, toast, hash browns, and orange juice.  It was a lot of fun, and i love my zone so much.  The multi-zona was so wonderful.  There were so many missionaries there.  Having so many missionaries together is such an amazing experience and feeling.  President and Heremana Veirs gave powerful talks, and i love them so very much.  We played jeopardy with everyone about gospel facts, missionary stuff, and it was a lot of fun.  We then had a giant talent show where people sang, did skits, magic, and dances.  My Zone leaders found out that my comp won a thing at his high school for dancing the Single Ladies dance, so they got permission for him to dance and forced him to do it.  He practiced a bunch the night before even though he did not want to do it.  When he did it everyone was dying with laughter, and it was a lot of fun.  Afterwards we had a great lunch together, and i met a lot of great missionaries.  I had a lot of fun, and it was a wonderful experience. 
Because there are changes this week, our whole zone on Friday had a zone breakfast and watched a church movie.  I made my famous egg McMuffins for everyone with cheese, egg, and bacon, and everyone loved them.  We also had pancakes, fruit, and Orange juice.  It was so much fun, and my zone is really great.  I am going to miss the elders that are leaving, but i am excited to meet new people.  My companion Elder Neher is leaving my area which i am really sad about because i love him very much and he has taught me a lot.  I am losing my mission dad and mom this change.  My mission mom is Hermana Juarez, and she is from El Savador.  Because Elder Neher is leaving we visited a lot of people in the past few days to say goodbye.  A lot of the members and investigators are really sad that he is leaving because he is a great Elder, and he has helped change many lives through the gospel.  We have definitely had a lot of fun together, but i am excited to learn more from a new companion. 
As a missionary i have the opportunity to meet a lot of great people.  The people here in Honduras are wonderful, and I love them so much.  they are so receptive and they will always listen to us.  Sometimes people just come up to us and talk to us because we are white crackers.  We also have a lot of fun with the black people.  Because I love the people so much i am trying to do everything i can to bring the gospel into their lives so that they can receive the blessings of the gospel.  After a lot of hard work and many trials, we were able to baptize a wonderful lady named Rosa this past weekend.  She has had a lot of trials and hardships in her life, but she is one tough woman.  She currently has cancer in her knee and can barely walk.  She also has a lot of problem with money.  But she has a strong testimony and puts all her faith in the Lord, and she has seen the wonderful blessings that come with believing and putting your faith in the Lord.  I have a testimony of Jesus Christ, and i know that if we believe and put our trust in him that we will be blessed in so many ways.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ and to help people come closer to Christ. 
As it comes closer to Christmas, I try to teach and bare testimony on Jesus Christ to the people of Honduras.  During the Christmas time we should center our attention more on Christ and less on presents, santa, and everything else that comes with it.  I know that Christ lives.  I know that Christ suffered for our sins, pains and sufferings, and i know that he died for each and every one of us.  I am so grateful for him and everything that he has done for me, and i wouldn't be here on my mission if it wasn't for him. 
Overall, know that I am doing fantastic.  There is no place i would rather be, and i have never been happier in my life.  I am so excited to spend my first Christmas in Honduras.  I heard that this place goes crazy around Christmas time.  They make a lot of food and go all out.  I have a feeling that i will be eating a lot of food because all the people want to have the missionaries over for food.  Also one way the people here celebrate is firecrackers and fireworks.  They shot them off more an more every day.  One day we were walking at night and a big one went off 20 feet from us.  It sounded like i was in the middle of World War 2, and i jumped pretty high.  The people that started it saw me and started laughing.  The I laughed with them.  Through that experience we were able to contact them, get to know them, and we have a cita with them in a few days.  anyways, i am so excited to spend Christmas here.  I love being a missionary.  Thanks for all the prayers and support.
Elder Travis Jay Ward

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Devotional

This week was another fantastic week.  I love being a missionary so much.  The area that I am in is wonderful, and the ward is really supportive.  Being a missionary is such a wonderful experience, and i have learned and grown so much.  Many things have happened this week, and I have no idea where to start. 
The black people in Honduras are amazing, and they definitely have a lot of soul power.  It is so much fun to talk to them and teach them the gospel.  There are many black people here, and there is a whole colony full of them.  In Honduras they are called Garifunas, and they have their own language.  They share the Spanish and Latino culture, but they also have their own culture and swagger.  When i am with them i stick out so much, and they love talking to us white kids.  We have had some pretty interesting people come up to us.  Some drunk, some crazy, and some really funny people.  Overall, the people here are wonderful, and i love them so much.  I had no idea that i could love the people so much.  I try to do everything i can to soak in the culture and everything that comes with it.  I love asking the people about their culture, and they love teaching me about it.  it is so great.  I seriously couldn't ask for anything better on top of being a missionary. 
One interesting thing that i have had to deal with this week is a guy named Elvin.  he was baptized a few months ago but recently fell away from the church after seeing general conference.  We now believe that he has gone mentally crazy.  he came to our house in the morning 3 days in a row (how he found our house, i have no idea).  Long story short, he believes that he is the Reincarnated Christ.  He gave us his revelations a long with his "Third Testament" that he wrote talking about the end of the world.  He also has a list of things that he wants us to do, and he wants us to be his apostles.  We also believe that he is following us during the day.  Long story short we talked to the bishop and things have cooled down.  Overall, this experience has only made my testimony stronger about the truthfulness of this gospel.  I know the Jesus Christ lives, i know this Church is true, i know the Book of Mormon is the words of God, and i know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.  I love the crazy interesting things that i see every day as a missionary.  I am so grateful for the opportunity i have to be a missionary and be an instrument in the hands of God. 
Sundays are always the best day of the week.  We fasted for our investigators, and our faith was able to help many investigators.  We had many of our investigators and recent converts at church, along with a new family that we have never talked to before just showed up because they were interested.  Having our investigators come to church has been a really big problem, and it was so grate to see our investigators received the promised blessings of going to church.  I pray daily for each and every one of our investigators, and i love them all so very much.  One big problem we have is that not a lot of our families and investigators are married.  Marriage is a big problem here.  We have two marriages planned for this weekend along with their baptisms, and we are doing everything we can do to get the paper work and money ready.  Anyways, our investigators loved church, and the ward is really supportive and helps us a lot because we cant help all of our investigators at the same time.  Also this Sunday was the Christmas Devotional.  Our whole ward took a bus to the stake center to go see it.  Many of our investigators also cam too.  The devotional was amazing, and i love hearing from the Prophet and his counselors.  The spirit was very strong, i learned a lot, and i loved how they talked about the importance of Christ during Christmas.  I am so grateful for Christ and everything that he has done for me.  I know that he lives and that he suffered for each and every one of us.  Our investigators and recent converts love it so much, and it really helped their testimonies.  they loved hearing the prophet and how it was all about Jesus Christ.  It also strengthened my testimony because i have the wonderful opportunity to bear my testimony every day about Jesus Christ and how we have a living prophet on the earth today named Thomas S Monson. 
Here are some things that I loved from Conference...
"Christmas is really about Christ"
"Christmas should point your heart to the savior"
"Choose the right and walk in the light"
"God knows our every need"
"Remember the gifts God has given you, and share them with others"
President Monson
"Christmas is what we make of it"
"let us not spend Christmas, let us keep the spirit of Christmas in our Heart"
"May Christ be the center of our celebrations and the center of our lives"
I want you to know that i have a strong testimony, and that i am so grateful for the opportunity i have to share my testimony with others every day.  Overall, i am doing fantastic, and i have never been happier in my life. 
Also, today for Pday our Zone played another Zone at soccer at a legit field with turf.  Their zone was full latinos, and we were half and half white and latin.  We won, and i scored 4 goals.  all the Latins are really surprised at how i can play for a white kid.  we had a lot of fun, and i love playing soccer so much. 
With much love,
Elder Travis Jay Ward

Monday, November 28, 2011

Joseph Smith Concert

I love missionary work so much.  This week was another great week.  On Tuesday I went on Divisions with my DL Elder Melendez.  I know my area very well now, so it was great to take him around my area to teach our investigators.  We took two sisters from the ward with us to teach Familia Salines.  To get to this family we have to cross the really safe and sturdy bridge (the one that reminds me of Emperors New Groove).  When these two sisters saw the bridge they turned around and started walking the other way, and they were freaking out.  I finally convinced them that the family was amazing, they have been to church twice, and they want to get baptized, and that the family was worth it to cross the bridge.  We crossed it very slowly, and they held onto our arms the whole time.  The lesson with that family went very well, they want to get married, and they are doing everything that they can to get married.  The father Jose wants all of his kids to come to church too, even though now of them live with him.  I love this family so much, and i am so grateful for the opportunity to teach them the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is so amazing to see how much the gospel and the spirit has changed their lives and how much happier they are.  The gospel is truly amazing, and i love preaching the gospel so much. 
On our way crossing the bridge we saw two motorcycles cross the bridge before us, and i am pretty sure that they were insane.  The bridge has no sides, and i thought that they were going to fall off.  I love seeing new crazy things every day.  I love this country so much.  I love the people, and the culture is amazing. 
The rest of the week was great.  The ward is really supportive of the missionary work, and we get one or two people from the ward every day to come with us and teach.  The investigators that have members there with them progress so much better.  Some people think that we are prophets and or angels (which is why i show my family to everyone we teach), so its really nice to have someone there to relate to them.  We found a lot of new people and family to teach.  I feel like there are so many people that we are teaching and not enough time to teach them all.  But with the help of the Lord and the guidance of the spirit i know that we can do it.  We pray lots to know where to go and what to do.  Its amazing how the Lord works, and I am so grateful for the many ways that he blesses me. 
Thanksgiving was just another day.  We worked hard all day, and we taught many people.  Our lunch cook made us some really good Fish, and for dinner the bishops wife made us some really good chicken.  It felt like a normal day, and it really didnt phase me that it was thanksgiving because I was too busy.  Latinos dont celebrate Thanksgiving because it is an American Holiday. 
Church was great like always.  Our investigators loved it, especially familia Salines.  After church they took us to lunch at a Galifuna (black people) food place.  Black people food is the best food i have ever had in my life (besides my Moms).  The black people here have soul power, plus they speak Spanish.  They are so much fun, and they love talking to us white kids.  Right after we ate our ward got on a school bus to go to the stake center for the big Joseph Smith Concert that they have been getting ready for a year.  I have never seen so many people on a bus before.  You really get to know the people when you are that close to them.  The Concert was really amazing.  There was a famous Honduran Orchestra with a Choir and dancers.  They pretty much did the whole Joseph Smith story through music.  The music was really good, the spirit was really strong.  Familia Salines said that they felt like their hearts were coming our of their chests, and that they have never been happier in their life.  The music was great, and it was such a wonderful experience.  I have such a strong testimony of Joseph Smith especially because i teach about him almost every day on how he restored this wonderful gospel.  I know that he was a true Prophet and that he restored this gospel. 
"Joseph Smith, The Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it." (D&C 135:3)
Sunday night our ward had "Noche de Hogar" (Family Night) at an inactives house, and we brought a few investigators.  There was 71 people that came, and we all traveled together because it was dark and the house was on the very edge of the area.  On the way we had to cross a spot covered in Mud.  The only way across was these small stepping stones.  One Hermana slipped and fell in the mud.  I jumped into the mud and helped her.  I then carried all the children and helped everyone cross.  I was so wet and dirty, but it was so worth it.  I love to serve others, and i dont care at what cost.  The family night was really good, and my comp and I sang "Nearer my God to Thee" as a duet.  Our ward is great, and i love the people so much.รง
Overall, I am doing fantastic.  I love being a missionary so much.  The wonderful and great moments out weigh the hard and tearful moments.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.  I love preaching the gospel, and i have never been happier in my life.  Thanks for the prayers and support.
Elder Travis Jay Ward
"Our missionaries are gong forth to different nations, ... the standard of truth has been erected.  No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing: Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every Continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done."
-- Joseph Smith - The Standard of Truth --

Monday, November 21, 2011

Disciple of Jesus Christ

Wow, I love missionary work so much. This week was amazing. We have found many great new families and people to teach. There are so many people in Honduras that have been prepared by the Lord. I know that if we follow the spirit we will be able the find the people that the Lord has prepared. There are so many people that are willing to listen to us. Once they invite us in it is the job of us missionaries to invite the spirit into their lives so that the spirit can teach them and bring them closer to Christ. One great way we have found to invite the spirit is to sing Hymns. Even when we have to sing on the street or outside the house. They seem to want to listen a lot more when we sing Hymns. Contacting people is a lot of fun, and i have met so very interesting people. There was one lady that was a little on the drunk side, and she tried to go in for the kiss. I gave her the stiff arm, shook her hand, said nice to meet you, and we got out of there. Drunks are always a lot of fun. A lot of people ask us for money because we are white and they assume that we have money. We come up with a new excuse each time, and we now almost make it a game. One guy just walked into the house that we were teaching and just started quoting the Bible, and tried to diss on us and disprove us. We each bore a powerful testimony, which invited the spirit, and he didnt say much after that. There are so many crazy stories each day, and i wish that i could explain them all. But the people are amazing, and i love talking to them and teaching them so much.

One family that has been really prepared by the hand of God is Familia Salines. After we taght them about the Book of Mormon, they prayed an got an answer. The husband then read from 1 Nephi 4 to Jacob 7 in two days. When we came back he said that this was the most that he has ever read in his life, and that he couldnt put it down. He owns a pulperia on the street, so he reads it while waiting for people to buy from him. Some people pass and notice that he is reading the book of mormon and start going off on how bad and wrong the Mormons are. He then got up, told them that they were blind without the Book of Mormon, that their churches werent true, and that this church has already changed his life. He had only gone to church once and he was already preaching the gospel. When we came back to teach him he told us all about it. He also wants to be a missionary just like us. also, they are the furthest colony from the church, and they came 45 min early to church. We had ward conference this week, so the whole stake presidency was there. He didnt have a white shirt or a tie, so we ran home before church and i gave him one of my shirts and ties. He looked so good in white, and he was so happy. The ward is really supportive, and a lot of them introduced themselves. One Hermana gave them a brand new hymn book and triple combination. They want to get baptized, but they are not married and they dont have the money to get married. We talked to the bishop, and a lot of the ward members are willing to donate some of their own money so that they can get baptized.

We had two baptisms this week, and it was such a wonderful experience. Josue, a 10 year old boy who is the grandson of our last convert Manuel, was baptized by his grandpa Manuel. Manuel was baptizewd 4 weeks ago and recieved the priesthood 2 weeks ago. He was so excited, but so nervous. We taught him the pray and how to baptize many times, but when it came time he was really nervous. He had to dunk his grandson Josue 6 times until he got it right, he either didnt dunk him all the way or didnt say the prayer right. But when he did it right they both were so happy, and the spirit was so srong. The other person that was baptized was Georgina. The is one of the coolest lady i have ever met, and i have mentioned her many times in my past emails. She has such a strong testimony, and she was so excited for her baptism. She asked me to baptism her, and i was grateful for the opportunity. I was really excited because it was my first time baptizing someone. I said the prayer right in spanish the first time, and i dunked her all the way. When she came out of the water you could tell she had changed, and she was so happy. The baptism was amazing, the members were very supportive, and the spirit was very strong.

The relief society had a huge culture activity at the stake center that we were invited to. There was many cool things from honduras, lots of amazing foods, and it was a lot of fun.
Ward conference was great, and our investigators loved it. the stake president is 26, and he was an AP on his mission. He gave a really great talk, and he used Lion King and put a spiritual twist on the whole movie. It was great. After church we were invited to have lunch with all the leaders. We had a priesthood session at 3:30, so while we waited 8 of the leaders and us missionaries split up in pairs to go get all of our investigators and inactives to come to the meeting. Our ward is realy helping us a lot with the missionary work, and we are getting so much more work done. While we were out getting inactives to come it poured rain. One second it was blue skys and beautiful, and the next it is pouring rain and we are soaked. I actaully love the rain, and it was so much fun.

Overall, I am doing fantastic. I am loving my area, my comp, the people, and just about everything else. One scripture that i found that really changed my week is 3 Nephi 5: 13. "Behold, I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."

Being a Disciple of Jesus Christ, I have never been happier in my life. I love being a missionary, I love serving the Lord, and I love preaching the gospel to the people of Honduras. Thanks for all your prayers and support. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Elder Travis Jay Ward

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Seis de Mayo

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shaky bridge over troubled water

This week was excellent, and I love missionary work so much. Being a missionary in Honduras is so much fun. I love the country, love the people, love the culture, and love the food.

So many things happen each week that I have no idea where to start. The ward leaders are really pushing hard to get the members to help with the missionary work. The stake president challenged every family to find a new family for us to teach. The goal is to have the members find families for us, and we do all the teaching. Its so great to have the members working with us. We have had a few meetings with the leaders of our ward to talk about our investigators, what we need help with, and what the members can do to help us. We now have a schedule set up so each group of the church is going to help us each day. We also have gone on a few splits with the leaders. One missionary going with some priesthood to visit our investigators, and the other missionary going with the priesthood to visit inactive members and find new families. The ward is helping us so much, and it is such a blessings. we have found and taught more families with the help of the members. The missionary work force is so much stronger with the members working with us.

There was and activity where come of the women in the ward played soccer at the church. Our super amazing investigator Georgina came and invited who friend Rosy, who is also an investigator, and they played soccer with the rest of the women in the ward. We talk them a lesson while we waited for the women to show up. And then we stayed because there needed to be priesthood there to watch them, and we played with them. It was a lot of fun, and the investigators loved it. They were able to really get to know the women of the ward, which is great. Then a bunch of the young women came and played, and everyone was so surprised at how good I am at soccer. People think that just because I am a Gringo that I cant play. Well I showed them by scoring 7 goals against them.

It rained a lot this week, and there was mud and water everywhere. It was so bad that the kids went swimming in the streets. The kids are so funny here. The kids love talking with the Gringos. Because of all the rain there was a lot of mud everywhere because all the streets are dirt. I took a step where it looked solid, and it wasn't. Lets just say that my foot and leg went in the mud up to my knee. It was awesome, and i couldn't help but laugh. The members and investigators made comments the rest of the day, and it was great.

We found many new families this week. The gospel blesses families so much, and it is so great to invite the spirit and gospel into their lives. Familia Salines is one family that really loves the gospel. The first day we found them we taught them lesson one, gave them a book of mormon, and the accepted to be baptized. The only problem is that they aren't married. The second lesson we taught them we found out the husband read 10 chapters of the book of mormon, which never happens. we gave him another chapter (2 Nephi 31), and he read the whole thing while we talked to the wife about marriage. They came to church yesterday and they stayed for all 3 hours and loved it.

To get to that family we have to cross a bridge. The bridge is really shaky and scary, and it reminds me of Emperors New Groove. it is about water that is really dirty and smells amazing. This shaky bridge over troubled water made me think about my mission and my life. It also made me think of a spiritual message that i would like to share...
Life is hard. However hard we try, there are always bridges that we have to go over, and waters that we have to cross. Sometimes we may feel like everything is going against us. Sometimes we feel like the bridge has no foundation, or that the ropes are going to snap, or the wood planks are going to break. We all have these feelings in life. But I promise you that there is always a solid foundation at the end, and that we are never alone when we cross the bridge. Jesus Christ has promised that he will always be there for us, and that he will be there to carry us during our times of need (refer to Footprints in the Sand, its really good). he has promised that he will always be there for us, and that his angels will be there to bear us up (D&C 84:88). I promise that if you put your faith in Jesus Christ that he will help you cross the shaky bridges in our lives. I testify that if you have faith, pray, and never give up, that you will be blessed in so many ways.

"When everything says you cant, believe in the part of you that says you can." (MTC Fireside)

When you feel like the whole world is against you, remember that planes fly with the winds against them."

"You dont grow when you don't have resistance."

"We will all experience those broken times, when it seems we will never be put together again. But Sunday will come. May we remember, no matter how dark our Friday, Sunday will come." (Joseph B Wirthlin)

"It doesn't matter how many times we fall, it only matters how many times we get back up."

I have a strong testimony of Jesus Christ. He has suffered everything that we have felt, and he knows exactly what we are going through. If we just believe and but our faith in him, he will bless us and help us through our trials.

Overall, I am doing fantastic. I love my mission so much. I have never been happier in my life. Thanks for all the support and prayers.

Elder Travis Jay Ward

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Seis de Mayo

Monday, November 7, 2011

Come what may and love it

This week has been an amazing week. So many things happen every week that I don't even know where to begin. There were changes this week, and I don't change. I am so grateful that i can be with my trainer for another change because he is really awesome, he is a great Elder, and he has taught me so much. A lot of the Elders in our zone had changes, so its cool to meet new Elders. Elder Neher and I have been working really hard together, and we have been finding a lot of great new families and investigators. The people here are so amazing, and I love them very much. They are really nice, and they will usually listen even when they aren't interested. We contacted an amazing lady named Carmen, and she lives in a colony on the very edge of our area that we have never been to before because it is so far away. We have to cross a river on a bridge. The bridge is a rope bridge with wooden planks to walk on, and it was very sketchy. It reminded me of the bridge on Emperors New Groove, and I am pretty sure that if i was any bigger I would have fallen through. It was so much fun, and I was literally living life on the edge. We contacted into a lot of great people, and we will be going over that bridge more often to t each the people. Teaching the people is so much fun. My Spanish is doing much better, and I love teaching the people. It is so amazing to see the gospel bless the lives of the people. I know that if we invite the spirit into the lesson that the spirit will touch the lives of the people we teach. I see the blessings of this gospel bless the lives of my investigators, and also bless my life. I have grown so much on my mission, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow.

We are teaching a lot of people and families, but one investigator that really sticks our is Georgina. She is super amazing, and she loves the gospel. The other day she saw us contacting near her house, so she decided to come with us. She knows the whole neighborhood because she owns a small DVD store, and everyone stops to talk to her. She would just walk into their houses, we would follow her, she would introduce us, bear her testimony, we would invite them to church, ask them if we could come back to teach, and give them a pamphlet. We had so much success because of Georgina, and she literally opened the doors to many new investigators. She isn't even a member yet, and she is already doing missionary work. She just needs to go to church one more time, and then she can get baptized. She went to Church this Sunday and she loved it. She walked around to everyone and shook their hands and introduced herself. It is so amazing to see how happy the gospel makes her life. Last night we brought 3 priesthood members to meet her and help teach, and it was a very powerful and spiritual experience. Georgina is one of the many other people that we are teaching.

One thing that is really hard for our investigators is going to church. We had 15ish people say that they would go to church for sure, and only 3 showed up. We even called and texted them the night before, and visited half of them a few hours before church started. Agency can be very frustrating sometimes. But we don't give up and keep working hard to get them to come. Most of them are keeping their other commitments. but they just need to go to Church. They cant progress and grow if they don't get baptized.

the other day we had a really hard day. I am pretty sure all of our appointments fell, it was pouring rain, and we couldn't find anyone to teach. We even tried to go visit members and teach them, but nobody was home. we tried so hard, but nothing was working out. My companion was about to give up, but I offered to say a prayer. After the prayer we felt much better, and we taught one of our investigators that is usually never home, but we were able to find him. The work is really hard, but it is so worth it. Being a missionary is so much fun, and i have never been happier in my life.

Just like a mission, life is really hard. No matter how hard we try, it never turns out the way we want, and sometimes we feel like giving up. Sometimes we feel like there is so much adversity against us that we cant handle it. I promise you that God never gives us more than we can handle. This week made me think of an amazing conference talk titled "Come what may, and love it" by Josph B Wirthlin. I actually read this talk at the start of the week, and it really helped me get through the hard parts of the week. Here are some quotes from this talk that really helped me a lot, and i hope that it can help you the way that it helped me.

"The way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life."

"Trust in yourself and each other, don't blame others for your misfortunes, and give your best effort in everything you attempt."

Every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don't sing and the bells don't ring. yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result."

"Sometimes the very moments that seem to overcome us with suffering are those that will ultimately suffer us to overcome."

"He who has descended below all things will come to our aid. He will comfort and uphold us. He will strengthen us in our weakness and fortify us in our distress. He will make weak things become strong."

"The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him."

"Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it."

"While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."

"Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of out on-the-job training."

"These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others."

"Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others."

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, this talk, and these quotes. I really hope that you take them to heart the way I did. We all face trials in our lives, and we have have discouragement. But just like the Mother of Joseph B Wirthlin says... Come what may, and love it. We cant change what happens to us, but we can change how we react to the situation. Elder Wirthlin challenges us to learn to laugh, and enjoy every moment. I promise that as we do this, we will find more joy in our lives, and you will have the strength to overcome. put your faith in the Lord, and leave the rest to him. Whenever you are down, I challenge you to read the talk "Come what may, and love it". I promise that it will bless your life the way that it has blessed mine. If you change your outlook on life and think of your trials more like learning experiences, and less like a burden, the trials will be a lot lighter. Its all about the attitude.

A Mission is very hard. But I try to be positive and laugh lots, and that has helped me get through the bumps in life. Overall, I am doing fantastic, and I have never been happier in my life. I love my mission, i love the people, love the food, love the culture, and I love being a missionary. thanks for all your support and prayers.

Elder Travis Jay Ward

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Seis de Mayo

Monday, October 31, 2011

God works in mysterious ways

This week was incredible. So much happened I have no idea where to begin. The mission life is so busy and crazy, but i love it so much. We have many investigators that are progressing very well. I love my investigators so much, and i am getting to know them very well. This week was interesting because a lot of our appointments fell, and sometimes we had no idea what we were going to do. We prayed, followed the spirit, and we always found someone to teach. Each time we had an appointment fall we contacted and found an amazing person or family that was very receptive about the gospel. we followed the spirit and taught some inactive members that really needed our help. one inactive member named Melvin, who has been having a really tough and hard life, prayed to have us come over and was thinking about all day. When one of our appointments fell, i had the feeling to visit him, so we did. We were able to help him and bring the spirit into his life. He cried as we left, and he gave us a big hug. Its amazing how much the gospel and the spirit can bless the lives of people. I love being an instrument for the lord in helping bring his children unto him.

Georgina, the lady that we have been teaching, has had a great testimony building experience. She owns a little store that sells CDs and DVDs, and it hasn't been doing the best. The guy that owns the property was coming by Sunday to collect rent, and she was 300 Limps short (almost $15, but it is a lot for Honduras). We told her before about the importance of going to church, and how much she would be blessed. but she had no idea where she was going to get the money. she had two choices, go to church and close the store for a few hours, or not go to church and work to get the money before the guy came for the money. she came to church! she was there for only an hour, and i could tell that it made her really happy. she went back to the store, opened it up, and had many people buy stuff before the guy came. when the guy came she had 100 limps extra, and she knew that the lord had blessed her. when she told us the story she was so happy that she went to church, and she cried because she knew that the lord had blessed her. She is a wonderful lady, and i love her very much.

Yesterday for dinner i had the member teach me how to make homemade flower tortillas. The tortillas or really good, and it is amazing how they make them. after making the dough, they slap the dough back and forth in their hands until they have a perfect tortilla. but the thing that i found our is that they have been doing it all their lives and know what they are doing. I tried to slap the dough with my hands, and it did not work at all. I kept dropping it, it was an awkward shape, and it was very hard. But i was having so much fun, and i couldn't stop laughing. the members we laughing lots and taking pictures because of how bad i was. it was so much fun. I am trying to soak in all the culture i can of Honduras because i love Honduras, and i love the people.

It rained a lot the other day, and the streets were very wet and muddy. When i was walking next to a huge puddle, a rapidto drove by (van/bus) and sprayed mud all over me from waist down. i was so dirty. but right after it happened i just starting laughing. There isn't really anything else to do but laugh. It was so funny that i couldn't stop laughing, and i told and showed the members and investigators all about it. i was soaked and dirty, but i was loving it. It reminds me of a talk i read yesterday by Elder Wirthlin called "Come what may, and love it". It is an amazing talk, and i challenge you to read it. He talks about how life is to great and too short to not enjoy it. he also said that we must all learn to life. Life is hard, and it can be very frustrating. but if me put our faith in Jesus Christ, pray lots, be positive, smile, and laugh lots, i promise that life will be so much easier, and you will be able to clearly see the many blessings that our Heavenly Father gives us each and every day. We cant control what happens to us, but we can control how we react about it. I promise that if we try to slow down and enjoy the small moments in life, be positive, and laugh always, that we will find greater joy in our lives.

"Its often life's smallest moments that bring the greatest memories. Don't let these moments pass you by" (MTC Devotional)

Overall, this week has been fantastic. A lot of appointments fell, but i know that God works in mysterious ways because we were able to find and teach some great people because our appointments fell. I testify that God will always answer our prayers. It may not be the way we want, how we want, or as soon as we want, but God know what he is doing, he knows what we need, and he knows how to help us. It is so wonderful to see the many blessings of being a missionary. I know that Heavenly Father watches over and blesses the people that serve him. You dont have to be a missionary to receive the blessing of serving Gods children. I challenge each and every one of you to serve someone every day. If you do this, i promise that you will be blessed in so many ways that you wont know what to do with all the blessings. Life is hard, and we all need all the blessings that we can get.

Overall, I am doing fantastic. I love my companion, I love my area, I love my zone, I love the people, and I love the food. the food is amazing, and i cant get enough. the members and even investigators always love sharing their food, especially the baleadas and pastalitos. I am having so much fun on my mission. I love it so much, and i have never been happier in my life. thanks for all the prayers and support. Just know that i am doing great, i am protected by the Lord, and I love being a missionary. I love being a missionary.

Elder Travis Jay Ward

ps - read D&C 84:88. I testify that the angels of God are always around us, and i feel their help and presence along with the guidance of the Holy Ghost in my life, and i am so grateful for the extra help.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Seis de Mayo

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pastalitos and crazy drunks

This week was another great week.  I am having so much fun in Honduras being a missionary and preaching the gospel.  I love the people, I love the culture, and i love the food. 
On Tuesday we had interviews with the President, which we have every other change.  My area is only 30 minutes from San Pedro Sula, which is where the office is, so I didn't take that long.  We spent most of the morning in the office with our zone.  Hermana Veirs made a lot of amazing brownies, and i had 6 because they reminded me so much of my Moms cooking.  My President is amazing and really nice, and I love him so much.  My zone is really great, and i love being with them.  I have gotten to know them really well.  Hermana Juarez, who is my "mom" in the mission.  she is my mom because she is the oldest hermana in our zone.  My dad is my trainer. 
On Wednesday I had divisions, and I stayed in my area with the district leader so that he could interview Manuel for his baptism.  I was very surprised of how well I already know my area.  It was fun having a Latin comp the whole day, and I was able to communicate very well.  with him we contacted 38 people and found 3 new families to teach, which is crazy!  We found a family that was moving houses so we stopped and helped them and served them.  They were very grateful for the help, and they were interested in what we had to say because we were so willing to help them.  There are so many ways to contact and find people, and it is very important to follow the spirit.  I am so grateful for the spirit, because I know that I couldn't do missionary work if I didn't have it. 
We are teaching an amazing lady named Georgina, who is a golden investigator that we contacted.  She has a baptismal date and is so excited.  The only thing she is waiting for is to go to church 2 more times.  when we went to go teach her, two of her friends were there, and we taught them too, and she pretty much taught them the first lesson.  She then gave us two more references for us, and they all are interested because of how happy the gospel has made Georgina.  She is really funny, and she always cracks jokes with us.  She is amazing, and I already have a deep love for her. 
We have many other great investigators that we are teaching.  I feel like there is not enough time to teach all the people that we have.  It is such a big responsibility, and we have to work really hard.  One thing that is really hard for the people here is keeping their commitments.  They always say that they will do it, but they hardly follow through.  All of our investigators said that they were going to church, so we were expecting 10-15 people to show up to church, and only Georgina showed up.  Agency is so frustrating sometimes, but that just means that we have to work extra hard to get them to come.  they cannot progress if they dint go to church.  sometimes i wish that i could make them come so that they can fell the spirit and blessings that come with going to church. 
We had a baptism this Saturday for Manuel, who was super excited for his baptism.  One of the members baptized him.  the member is 5 ft 120 pounds, and Manuel is 5.5 ft 180ish pounds.  He had to dunk him 5 different times because he either didn't go all the way under, or he said the prayer wrong.  Once he finally did it right the spirit was very strong.  We had a lot of great support from the members, and it was a great baptism.  We gave him the holy ghost during sacrament meeting, and it was great.  its great to see the end result of a lot of hard work.  I know that there is no way that we could have done it if we didn't have the spirit.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to preach the gospel.  It isn't easy, but i can see the many blessing that the Lord has given me every day. 
One of the great things about Honduras is the crazy drunks.  and when I say drunk. I mean wasted.  there was one guy that was following us, but luck for us he couldn't walk straight, so we just walked fast and lost him.  Another drunk came up to us asking for money, and when we said we had none he started yelling at us and cussing at us in English (i am pretty sure every Honduran knows how to cuss in English, its awesome).  A lot of people like to use great English words when we pass by.  There was another drunk that was a friend of Georgina that was really nice, and he really wanted to change.  WE helped him out, taught him about word of wisdom, and he asked us to pray for him.  we went back to teach him later in the week and he hadn't drunk in 4 days.  we taught him some more, and he really likes how he feels when we are there.  I know that he was feeling the spirit, and i am so grateful for the influence of the spirit and how much it helps Gods children. 
One thing that i really love about Honduras is the food.  I really try to do everything i can to enjoy the culture, and a big part of the culture is the food.  My favorite is BaleadasPastalitos.  It is flower tortillas stuffed with chicken, rice, and other great stuff, and then they fry it with oil.  its really fatty, but it is soooooo good.  I am going to have the Hermana teach me how to make that too. 
The Temple in Honduras is going to finish early next year, and we are handing our pictures or the temple to all the members and investigators, and they are all so excited about it.  I cant wait until the temple is finished so that the members can feel the blessings of the temple.
One thing that has helped me so much is reading the Book of Mormon.  There are so many great things to learn in the Book of Mormon.  It has blessed my life so much, and i promise that if you read it that you will be blessed in ways that you cannot comprehend. 
"There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your loves the moment you begin a serious study of the book.  You will find greater power to resist temptation.  You will find the power to avoid deception.  You will find the power to stay on the straight and narrow path."  --  President Ezra Taft Benson
"In a world ever more dangerous...The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ has the nourishing power to heal starving spirits of the world."  --  President Boyd K Packer
The Book of Mormon is such a wonderful tool in conversion because it is physical evidence that our church is true.  everything in our church is centered around if the Book of Mormon is true.  I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon, and i know that it is truly the words of God. 
overall, I am doing fantastic.  I love what i am doing, and I love being here in Honduras so much.  It is such a wonderful experience.  I am grateful for the opportunity i have to be hear, and I have never been happier in my life.  Thanks for the support, and I love you very much.
Elder Travis Jay Ward

Monday, October 17, 2011

The blessings of being a missionary

I love being a missionary so much.  Its amazing how much the Lord blesses those that serve him.  This week has been great.  Tuesday it poured rain all day, and I got soaked.  I am very grateful for my rain jacket.  The jacket covered the top half and my bag with all of my stuff.  But unfortunately it doesnt cover the bottom half, which got soaked.  after a while the dirt roads turned into muddy rivers.  there comes a point where I was so soaked that I didnt even care any more, and i just waded through all the streets to get from appointment to appointment.  It was actually quite the adventure.  Both my companion and I love rain, so we had a blast.  we raced each other through the rivers, splashed water on each other, played with some kids playing soccer (more like water Polo), and had a great time.  Its actually a really great time to go contacting because every lets you in to get out of the rain.  The only hard part about that is that you cant hear anything because the rain is pounding on the tin roofs.  One thing I thought was really sad but really funny was a little boy about 6 years old was walking on the street when a bus drove by and pretty much destroys him with water.  The blow knocked him down.  It was really sad, but it was so funny that i busted up laughing, and I am pretty sure that it made my whole day. 
we found a super amazing lady named Georgina.  She is an owner of a Pulperia (which are little stores that have the things you need, and they are on almost every corner).  We were late to an appointment when we ran into her, so we game her a pamphlet on the Restoration and set a date to come back.  when we came back the next day she was reading the pamphlet for the second time.  she said that it had touched her in a way that she couldn't describe.  she pretty much taught us the lesson from reading the pamphlet.  we explained Joseph Smith, the first vision, and the Book of Mormon, and she told us that she loved everything that she heard.  she pretty much begged us to get baptized.  it was such a humbling experience.  We gave her a book of Mormon and set a baptism date (on the fist visit!!!).  It is so amazing how much the Lord had prepared her.  The spirit was so strong during the lesson that words can not describe. 
we are teaching the Romero Family, and they are amazing.  The husband and wife aren't married, and they cant get baptized until they get married.  With the amazing power of the holy ghost we taught a great lesson on the importance of marriage and families.  they felt the spirit, and we set a date for marriage and baptism.  I dont know why, but marriage is hard for people down here.  Not because of the money, but because they dont like commitments.  There is a 72 year old man that we are teaching who isnt married, but he has been with his "wife" for 32 years. 
Something I ate made me really really sick, and my stomach hurt really bad.  It hurt so bad that I couldn't sleep.  In the middle of the night I had the runs, threw up, and had the runs again.  the gringos here call that the Double Dragon, which is the squirts at both ends.  its no fun at all.  But I was able to get that over with fast, and i was able to work hard and do missionary work.  The food is really great here, but when its not cooked well or cleaned well, its not fun going out. 
Church is always great, but is really nerve racking waiting for our investigators.  we had 9 say that why were coming, and only 2 came.  Sometimes i just want to take their agency away so that they can feel the blessing of going to church.  they cant progress unless they go to church.  I gave a talk in church, and it went well.  I know that i had the help of the Holy Ghost because i wasn't nervous at all, and my Spanish was much better that usually.  there are so many little ways the Lord blesses me, and it comforts me to see the so many blessings. 
I am so grateful for this opportunity i have to be on my mission in Honduras.  I feel like i have so much love for the country, the people, the work, the food, and everything else that my heart is to small to handle it.  There is no place on earth that i would rather be, and i have never been happier in my life.  I know that this is where i am supposed to be.  I know that i have been called of God, and i am so grateful for the opportunity to serve Him.  Missionary work is so powerful.  Just remember, you dont have to go on a mission to be a missionary.  every member is a missionary, and i challenge you to look for ways to serve and preach the gospel.  "Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words".  Be an example, and be a missionary. 
"After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel"   ---  Joseph Smith
"God never calls people to fail, always to succeed."
"As long as you are willing to pay the price, nothing is impossible."
Christ gave his all for you --  give your all to him."
The Church is true.  Never give up, pray always, read the Book of Mormon every day, have faith, hold nothing back, have no regrets, always smile, enjoy every moment, laugh lots, and be yourself. 
Elder Travis Jay Ward

Monday, October 10, 2011

The ups and downs of a mission

This week has been crazy.  So much happened that I have no idea where to begin.  On Tuesday we had a district meeting, and afterwards i went on a change for a day with my Zone Leader Elder Hafen.  It was very interesting going to a different area with a different companion, but i loved it.  Elder Hafen is a really great elder, and he taught me a lot.  After lunch it poured rain and we got soaked.  We taught many lessons, found a new family, and we got a couple to commit to baptism.  at the end of the day there was a very powerful experience when we taught 2 young women with 2 members.  The spirit was so strong, and the lesson was delivered very well.  After I gave the first vision, all the girls in the room were crying.  we challenged them to baptism and they excepted! The spirit was so strong, words cannot describe.  After we left my comp and I couldn't hold it in and we gave each other big hugs, and we danced in the rain.  The next day i was with my comp Elder Neher in my area.  I found out that while i was gone when one our super amazing converts that was baptized a month ago wants nothing to do with the church.  His name is Elvin, he is 21, and he is black. (there are actually a lot of black people here .  They are called Garifunas, and there is a huge colony in our area.  They are really cool, they speak Spanish, but they also have there own language, and there food is amazing).  After Elvin went to conference he said that they talked too much about the Book of Mormon, and not enough about Jesus Christ.  He said that he had a revelation and said that the church wasn't true.  It was really sad to hear because we were preparing him to go on a mission because he was so strong and so excited.  Words cannot describe the pain that we felt because of how much we love him.  He gave away his Book of Mormon to a member with a letter saying that he wants his name taken from the church.  we cried, and i spent a long time on my knees that night. 
Thursday was amazing.  we had a Zone meeting in San Pedro Sula with 4 other zones and the Mission President.  we spent 5 hours there, they taught us some great stuff, and the spirit was very strong.  it is so much fun to be together with so many missionaries.  My mission President is amazing, and i love him so much.  The zone meeting was a lot of fun.  The streets of San Pedro Sula are crazy, and you always have to be on your toes.  The drivers here are insane, and they wont slow down if you are in the way.  We take rapiditos to get back to our area, which involves cramming 20-30 people into a van.  It really fun, especially when you are the only white kid and every looks at you.
Saturday we had a baptism, and it was so much fun.  Her name is Paolo, she is 13, and she goes to seminary.  The seminary teacher baptized her.  Half the ward showed up, and her whole family was their.  4 of our investigators showed up, and they loved it.  It was a wonderful teaching experience which should really help the missionary work progress.
Sunday she received the Holy Ghost, and 5 of our investigators came to church.  The work is progressing so much.  It helps to have such a great ward that helps out.  They are really friendly and always sit next to the investigators and explain everything.  They also come with us and help with our lessons, which also gives them more friends.  
Today for Pday we played soccer as a zone, which is really fun.  its really fun to play with all the Latino elders.  we all have a lot of fun together.  We went to the mega plaza and looked at all the cool stuff they have there.
Overall, i am loving every moment in the mission.  I have learned a lot how to put my faith and trust into the Lord.  Its amazing how much he blesses me, especially when I am obedient and working hard.  I have already learned and grown so much.  Thanks for all the prayers and support.  Just know that I am working hard, loving every moment, and trying to do my best.  I have never been Happier in my life. 
Elder Travis Ward

Monday, October 3, 2011

Conference Week!

This week has been absolutely amazing.  I love Honduras so much.  So many things happened this week, and I have no idea where to begin. 
Honduras is so beautiful.  It is so green, and I love it here.  It is really humid and hot here, but I think I have gotten used to it for the most part.  The area that I am serving is very green, but very dirty.  The streets are dirt, and they are usually very muddy.  The people here don't really care, and they just throw their trash on the street.  But even when there is trash everywhere, I love it so much.  The country is so green and amazing.  The houses here are all made of cement and tin roofs.  They are small, but not super small.  Most people spend their time outside in the shade in their yard.  I was very surprised to find that everyone has TVs, cellphones, stereos, and music, even when they cant afford food, clothes, or the basic needs.  When we teach lessons we are usually outside on plastic chairs.  Teaching lessons outside is really hard sometimes because there are chickens and dogs everywhere, people blast their music, people on the streets yelling super fast Spanish trying to sell something, kids playing soccer, and much more. 
We try to get all of our contacting and teaching done before dark because people dont like to come out of their houses when its dark.  We always have our dinner really late, around 8pm.  The food here is amazing.  Words cannot describe.  My favorite food is baleadas.  Its made with real flower tortillas, beans, eggs, and Honduran cheese.  Pastelitos are also very good.  They also like to fry bananas.  If they cut them thin they are kind of like chips, and they are really good.  Tortillas con quesillas are two tortillas with Honduran cheese in the middle.  SOOOOO good.  The other gringo elders are very surprised that I haven't gotten sick yet because the food is so bad on gringo's stomachs.  I eat everything they give me, and I love it.  My companion says that I have a hollow leg because I eat so much. 
I love talking and teaching the people.  The people here are so wonderful, and I love them so much.  I try to talk to everyone I see, and I enjoy talking about the gospel.  We teach a lot of people every day.  I feel like there isn't enough time to teach everyone that we need to teach.  We have many investigators.  Paolo is an amazing 13 year old girl that has been to church 4 times on her own and she is getting baptized next week.  Familia Romero is a wonderful family.  There is the grandma, the parents, and 4 kids.  The father and mother arent actually married.  Marriage is a really big problem down here.  Latinos are really afraid of commitments, and some don't like the thought of marriage.  It can be very frustrating at times.  We got them to commit to baptism, but in order for us to do that they need to get married.  we are working with them now to do that.  We have many other investigators, and I wish that I could tell you all about them.  I love teaching them the gospel.  I love them so much, and I already feel like I would do anything for them.  I want them so badly to know about Jesus Christ and feel the blessing of Christ and this gospel.  This gospel has blessed my life in so many ways, and I want that same joy and happiness for the people here. 
Conference was amazing, it really had a lot of meaning to me.  we watched it at the stake center.  We had a gringo room, and so I watched it with all the gringos in my zone.  We told everyone that we could about conference, especially our investigators.  all of our investigators that came really enjoyed it, and i know it will help them come one step close to Christ.  There is a great guy named Melvin, who speaks very good English because he lived in California for 16 years (he got deported back to honduras because he was illegal).  He is an inactive, and has a really hard life.  His misses his family so much, who are all back in the states.  But he is a way cool guy, and he came with us on Sunday to watch in English.  I know that it really helped him a lot, and he invited us lunch at TGI Fridays next week.  Long story short, the people here are absolutely amazing.  The members of our ward are wonderful, and we always get dinner every day from a different member.  We have a lady that washes our clothes, a different lady that irons our clothes, a family that makes us lunch every day, and 2 to 3 other members that love coming with us to teach lessons and support the investigators. 
It is so weird being the only white kid on the block (literally!).  I get a lot of weird stares, and I always smile back.  When we take rapiditos to go to the stake center or other places, they cram about 30 people into a van.  Its awesome.  whenever I get in I always get the looks, and I love smiling back.  You get to know the people really well when you are crammed into a van like that. 
My companion is great, and we have a lot of fun together.  He helps we a lot with my spanish, which is getting much better.  We work hard together, and we have done many great things together. 
I really wish that I was able to tell you everything, but words cannot describe the feelings of what I am doing.  I love being here so much.  I have seriously never been happier in my life.  Honduras is everything that I ever dreamed, but better.  Its hard, but I know that when I pray, put my faith in the Lord, work hard, be obedient, and do my best that I will be blessed.  I have already seen the many blessing and miracles God has given me as I serve him. 
Thanks for all the love and support.  I can promise you that as you pray daily, read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, and put your faith in Jesus Christ that you will be blessed.  The conference talks this weekend were amazing, and I challenge you to study them over and over again.  The October ensign about the Book of Mormon is fantastic, and I have already used in many times while teaching.  Just know that I am doing fantastic, I love it here, and I will be blessed and protected while I am here