Travis' Mission

Travis' Mission

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