Monday, September 30, 2013

Sheboygan District

Puffy pancakes

Near Elkhorn Lake

Onward, ever onward!!

September 30, 2013
Hello Everyone, I hope everyone has had a great week!
Sheboygan is treating me well, especially the weather. It has been perfect this week, right at 70 degrees and nice big white clouds, and a great breeze.  The leaves are starting to change, but I get the feeling that the best is soon to come.  This week has been really good, my companion Elder Cranney and I have talked to lots of people.  We have spent a lot of our time this week talking to people that have showed interest in hearing more about the gospel before.  So we have a list of all their names and addresses and it takes us a few hours to stop by them all.  The hard part is most of the time they aren't home or no one answers. So it feels like we have wasted precious time.  But looking back I have seen that almost everyday we have found someone and set up a time to come back and teach them. We have 4 or 5 lessons set up this week that we set up from contacting these people.  It's amazing to see how the Lord works.  Many of these people are going through a rough time or just simply want to be closer to Jesus Christ.  So there are little miracles everywhere.  This week we were at a Chinese Buffet with some members for dinner and a lady walked up and asked us where the church was in Sheboygan, she has lived here for a few weeks but wasn't able to find where the church was online.  She hasn't been to church in a while and really wants to come back and feel that spirit that comes from hearing the gospel. Its just amazing how everything works out. 
I am so excited for Conference this up coming week!  Hearing from prophets and apostles is such an amazing and spiritual experience!  In Mosiah 8:3 Ammon goes to  the people of Limhi and teaches them, "he also rehearsed unto them the last words which king Benjamin had taught them, and explained them to the people of king Limhi, so that they might understand all the words which he spake."  I love this verse, the people of Limhi were in bondage and didn't know if the people they left in Zarahemla were even alive.  So when Ammon brings the teachings of the prophet the people of Limhi rejoice and give thanks to their Lord.  Hearing from the prophets is such a blessing, whether it is from modern prophets or ancient ones, their message is always meant for us to improve and grow closer to Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer. They help us understand His teachings and how we can become more like Him.
I am so grateful for a living prophet on the earth today.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is chosen by God to lead the people of the earth and that all who heed his counsel will be blessed.  God speaks through his prophets and this weekend God will speak to us through them.  I challenge everyone to listen to as much of conference as possible.  And to write down at least three questions that you want God to answer.  I promise that as you listen to the speakers and keep these questions in mind and have an open heart to the Holy Spirit, Your questions will be answered and if you act on your answers your life will be full of peace and joy.
My time is nearly up, but I want you all to know how much you mean to me!  I love being a missionary, I have never felt closer to my God and My Savior. They love you infinitely, and want nothing more than to bless you.  We can feel Their love whenever we pray with an open heart.
I  know this.
I hope everyone has an amazing week!
Love Elder Jackson Moroni Ward
September 23, 2013
Hey Everyone,
I hope you all have had a great week!  This week was good my companion and I were able to talk to a lot of people about the gospel!  Unfortunately we had to drop a family's baptismal dates, they are just so busy with work and school that they have to cancel appointments and aren't in town for church.  We are excited to continue to teach them and hope that they can find the time to meet with us because they have such a desire to learn!  Another investigator who has recently moved to another house and had back surgery has not been able to meet with us, but we did find her new house this week and plan on having a lesson with her this week.  The rest of the people we are teaching are doing well, our biggest struggle is setting up solid appointments to be able to teach them.  But on the up side this week, we talked to a bunch of new people who are willing to hear the gospel. Many of them were referrals from the other missionaries in Sheboygan that speak other languages that they met.  We have a big list of names and times that these people are expecting us to show up, sometimes its hard because we make the effort to be to the appointment but half of the time there is no answer so it feels like the time is wasted.  But we do find a few who do want to learn more and it makes it all worth it.  One in particular is C, a guy in his 20's who is catholic but not practicing and we have had some good talks with him. At the moment he isn't changing but he loves God and what we do, but he is beginning to read the Book of Mormon. 
    Lately I've been reading in Mosiah, and King Benjamin is such an amazing leader. He tells us that all we need to do is come to Christ and follow his commandments to receive exaltation.  In chapter 3 he repeats four or five times how salvation comes only through Christ.  I just think how important it is to accept remember and rely upon Jesus Christ and His perfect Atonement!  He also talks about how God blesses us daily in chapter 2: 23-24 He says that all God asks of us is to keep his commandments, and how we are in debt to him.  The least we can do to show our thanks is to do what he asks.  But in verse 24 we learn that when we keep the commandments "he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever" How great of a God do we have, He is continually blessing us in our lives.  I hope we all can look through our lives and find the little ways that God has blessed us and I challenge you to better thank Him and recognize the blessings He has granted you.  Verse 20 talks about giving thanks and praise  with "which your whole soul has power to posses"  I think about my prayers and the things I thank God for and all the things that I take for granted. May we all recognize and give more thanks to God for the blessings He gives us daily.  I know that we will be blessed as we try to do our best to follow the commandments and make our best effort! 
I hope everyone has a great week, I'm getting really excited for conference in the upcoming weeks!
Love you all!!!
Look for how God has blessed you today!
Love, Elder Ward 
September 16, 2013

Good Morning Everyone!
The weather in Wisconsin is amazing at this time of the year.  It is really started to cool off during the day which is amazing!  It is perfect for walking around with a cool breeze.  The trees haven't started to change colors yet but that should be happening soon.   This week was crazy!  We had so many lessons with so many different people!  We weren't able to meet with a few of our regular investigators because they were either busy or had some health problems they were recovering from. So instead we spent a lot of time trying to find new people to teach.  The other elders in Sheboygan (Hmong and Spanish) have been really busy in finding us new people to teach when they talk to people on the street. We recieved 20 referrals from them from people they talked to and we contacted 8 of them this week. Sometimes its hard because we have appointments with people but they aren't home so we have to stop by later. But we have really found so many people to teach.  Between the three companionships we have had over 130 lessons with people.  We have truly been blessed by the Lord with people to teach.
   A miracle we saw this week was when we went to talk to a guy that we had given a book of mormon to a week ago or so, so we wanted to talk with him even though he wasn't too enthusiastic about it.  But when we went his son whose in his 30s was outside so we talked with him and found out that he lives pretty close to us and had missionaries visit him a few years ago and found that the book of mormon increased his faith in Jesus Christ. So we would not have found him if we hadn't have been where we were. 
  So we had a really good week, one lesson we had with a regular investigator "T" was at the church with a member and he really felt more comfortable with the idea of coming to church after that. It was really great to have a member along with us to befriend him and make him feel more welcome.  We have started to see so many more people at church. 
  I started singing in the ward choir a few weeks ago and yesterday we sang Come thou Fount, it was really powerful because we only have maybe 10 people who sing but it was quite spiritual and didn't sound to bad. So that was a lot of fun.
There is a scripture in Enos that I would like to share in Enos 1:15 where the Lord explains that "Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it." This is such a blessing to know that we can go to the Lord with any problem and ask in faith to be able to receive an answer to our prayer that will bring us closer to Christ and God if we are patient and truly faith full.
  I love being a missionary, I'm so grateful for this opportunity and everyone who supports me! I hope everyone can have an amazing week and remember that it is through diligent study that God is able to communicate with us and refine us.
~Elder Jackson Moroni Ward

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Elders in the air

P-day fun

this is the basement of his apartment building where they
"exercise" by playing nerf gun wars.

I truly don't know what this stuff in the bowl is, but it
looks like some kind of dip for a raw hot dog.  Hmmm.



And this concoction ... looks like he is getting plenty
of protein!  I was happy to see the green beans.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

September 9, 2013 update
Hey Everyone, I hope you all had an amazing week. 
So it rained a few times here in Sheboygan this week. It doesn't smell as good as rain in Utah, its more muggy but the lightning that comes with it is pretty sweet.  It's started to cool down to a tolerable temperature during the day.  This week for our exercise time in the mornings we have gone down to the beach and gone on runs or tossed a frisbee around. The sunrise is always amazing of the water.  This week we had two different meetings in Oshkosh about an hour and a half drive from Sheboygan. The first was just a meeting with our Zone to do some training, and the second was a training meeting for everyone who is being trained or training.  So I got to see all the people that were in my district from the MTC. That was really great to see everyone, it's so hard to believe that it has been 6 weeks out in the field.  We got to have a lesson from President Cutler and Sister Cutler, the mission president and his wife, about the gospel of Christ.  And the role that it had in the premortal life.  It was pretty deep and mind boggling. But basically he taught how we had faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and the Atonement and that it could get us back to the presence of the Father.  We repented because we made the right choice to choose the Fathers Plan and we strived to follow Jesus Christ and be more like him.  We weren't baptized but we had the faith that baptism could redeem us from sin.  And we constantly felt the Holy Ghost as we learned about the teachings of The Father and Jesus Christ. It was amazing and will be really helpful as we teach investigators about faith.  But those two days of training took a lot of our time this week, so we didn't get to get out and teach as much.  Many of our investigators weren't home when we would stop by.  We did have an amazing lesson about Faith and scripture study with our Investigator T, we taught about Enos and his experience and the faith that he had to receive a knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel.  That was a really powerful lesson. We brought a member with us who is a professor at a local college.  He is amazing, just a super friendly guy who can really relate to people. He was able to tell him how we just need a little faith and we can grow as Christ builds our faith. 

One thing we were challenged to do by the mission president was to invite everyone to read the Book of Mormon for 10 minuets every day and look for the change that comes in the lives of the people.  So we did that with T and H during the week and they were able to feel the spirit.  T described it as someone is watching over him like there is something that he needs to learn when he reads. It is amazing the change we have seen in his life in the past weeks and especially the past few days as he has been reading. 

I want to challenge you all to take this challenge. Read out of the Book of Mormon for at least 10 minutes everyday.  When you begin pray for inspiration, guidance, and understanding of the Atonement.  Look for peace that comes to your life and the spirit that you feel when you read and throughout the day.  I promise that if you pray with faith and read diligently, God will bless you with answers to your questions and guide you by the power of the Holy Ghost.  You will feel peace and His infinite love when everything else seems to just fall apart. I know that as I have read everyday and prayed for understanding that I have been blessed with spiritual promptings and guidance to help myself and the people I am teaching.  Jacob 1:2 teaches us that he only wrote what he considered to be most precious, including (V 4) sacred preaching, great revelation, and prophesying.  This record is meant for us today to guide and direct us and to give us comfort and peace.  1 Nephi 1:12 simply states " And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord."  I know that to be true.  God blesses us with the spirit when we read the inspired words of the prophet.
I Love You All!!!
Have an Amazing week! Look for the little miracles that God has Blessed you with!
Jesus Christ lives and loves us and when we strive to follow Him we Follow the will of the Father and we are blessed with the Holy Ghost.
- Elder Jackson Moroni Ward

September 3, 2013 update
Life in Sheboygan is better than ever.  This week has been really great as far as the weather and the work goes.  It has really started to cool off at nights and during the day. Which makes it a lot easier to walk places and not get heat exhaustion. We have been able to talk to all of our investigators the past week with summer winding down and everything starting to get back to normal.  We had some really great lessons this week about the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The people ask questions and really care about learning and growing in the spirit.  We have started to text out a daily scripture to our investigators to encourage and remind them to read from the book of mormon. Last night the verse was from Helaman 5;12 it talks about when we have Christ as our foundation we can not fail.  How important is this guarantee. We already know that if we follow satan we will lose and how hard it is sometimes to resist temptation and to not let trials get us down. But when we remember that through Jesus Christ we always have someone to turn to.  There is a scripture in 2 nephi 28;32 that the Lord said ''come unto me; for mine arm is lengthend out all the day long" and he will help us with whatever we need. It such a blessing to be able to teach people that they have this great support and source of peace and comfort in the Lord.  This week we were tracting and some guy got out of his car and started "enlightening" us about how the ''mormon'' religion is false and how all we need to do is accept Christ to be saved.  He kept giving us garbage for about 30 minuets and finally we bore testimony (which he discredited) and left.  Feeling quite ticked that this man was so close minded against the truth, we stopped by the bishops house on the corner of the street to feel the spirit again and shared a quick testimony and scripture in 2 nephi 28;2 how the things in the book of mormon will be of great worth to the children of men.  We talked about how powerful the atonement is and how we can learn about it better through the Book of Mormon.  Bishop Holmes then shared how when looking at infinity it doesn't matter if we go 10 miles or 10,000 miles we are no closer to infinity. But when we accept Christ and apply the Atonement He takes us to infinity.  The Bishop then invited us for lunch.  For Labor Day we had a Brat cookout at a members house.  Brother Klunk is the Ward missionary and he's a recent convert so he is awesome. We take him teaching all the time.  Well that was my week. I love hearing from everyone!  Love you all!
Elder Jackson Moroni Ward