Travis' Mission

Travis' Mission

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