Friday, August 30, 2013

First p-day in Sweden.

Dear Family,

Hope you are all doing great! This is my first p-day and I finally get to email you all.  It is a little difficult because the keyboard is Swedish and some of the buttons are just a little off, haha. :)   Anyway this first week in Sweden has been pretty great!  But, First I will have to comment on everything in your last email!  

It was so great to talk to you all as well and i hope it didn't cost too much money. :)  I do miss you all and it was awesome to get to talk.   It was good to hear that everyone is staying busy and having fun!  Jake, your experience with not knowing what the teacher is talking about was basically the first week in the MTC in our classroom, but you'll do great.  Estee, it sounds like you are having a really fun time with things!  Keep working hard with gymnastics and school and everything!  I loved your smiling picture from the first day of school for you!  You are too cute :)  Abby, way to stay busy!  That is so cool that you are doing all of those things and I'm sure you are being so successful in everything that you do!  Estee, Jake, or Abby feel free to ask me any questions about school or whatever and with my vast knowledge of everything I should be able to help if you need it. :)  You are all so smart you'll probably not have any problems.

Onto the first week in Sverige!  We arrived Tuesday morning and we were tiredddddd!  Sweden is eight hours ahead of Utah and so basically when we wake up is when we were used to going to bed!  The jet lag was pretty bad the first two-three days.  On Tuesday we got here in the morning and we had a full day ahead of us.  Some highlights of that day were that we got to meet President Newell and his wife.  I had an interview with him and since he is fluent in French and saw that I had taken a few years of French in high school, spoke to me in a little French.  He asked how many years I had taken and I said tre (three) and then he was like, thats Swedish.  I laugh at that experience every once and a while. :)  I did actually understand a sentence he told me in French, he told me that it is not rare that people are taught in French from missionaries who know a little French.  So we will see if I do any of that!  

Also that day we got to go and try to place a Book of Mormon, in Swedish!  It went really well actually!  We talked to this one couple and found out they were visiting from Thailand so knew no Swedish and so we spoke English.  I found out he had lived in Michigan! So since they couldn't read Swedish he took a picture of the Book of Mormon and we told him he could look one up in Thai or English. :)  Then we also talked to a Swedish guy and I told him about it and then he took it!  So that was a fun experience, placing Book of Mormons in downtown Stockholm with my broken beginner Swedish.

The next day a few of us went on a run with President Newell down to a bay. :)   We also found out where we were going and who our companions would be!  I got sent to Västra Förlunda Area in the Göteborg branch.  I soon found out that this is the downtown area of Goteborg!  Goteborg is the second largest city in Sweden and so it is a reallly neat place to be!  So far we have had lots of lessons and the members have fed us a lot.  We've also only had to a do a little contacting, so it's good we stay busy with lessons and traveling to lessons!  My companion is awesome!  His name is Elder Allsop and he is from southern Utah valley.  He really likes college football and actually played at Dixie before his mission.  He is a fun and relaxed, but hard working guy.  It is fun to be with him and he has done a great job of training me so far.

The ward here is cool, a little small, but still feels like church anywhere else in the world.  Even though it is across the world and in a different language.  Church yesterday was fun even though I couldn't really understand much at all from the talks and stuff and I am still really tired so sacrament meeting was hard.  But the people are great!  

Also Sunday night we taught a couple from India in English and we actually skyped with some of their relatives in India!  The guy, Joshua, is totally really searching for truth and I felt like we did a good job of speaking to him about how to find that through prayer and church and reading the Book of Mormon, so hopefully he is guided the right way.  

Everyone here speaks at least a little English.  Especially in the city because everyone who doesn't know Swedish comes to the big city so they can communicate.  Also in the ward, there are a lot of Americans (by comparison) and so quite a few lessons have already been in English.  This is a little disappointing because I always want to practice Swedish but nice because I can actually contribute.  Everyone is surprised at what I can say after six weeks in the MTC but the Lord totally blesses me!  It's great to have that help and I would be lost without it.  

Today was p-day and we went to some islands on a public boat that apparently is ok to go on, so our whole zone went to one of these islands and it was super cool!  We hiked up this hill and then me and this other missionary went down a back way across these huge rocks and forests.  It was neat stuff!  I'll try to send my pictures from it!  

Anyway, hope you all have a great week and I'm sorry for all the grammar errors that I am sure are scattered throughout this letter that is basically all underlined in red because this Swedish computer says all these English words are spelled wrong.  Love you all and miss you and can't wait to talk to you again soon!  Please ask me any questions and I can answer. :) Sorry this week it is a little crazy but next week hopefully i can be more clear with my ideas!  


Elder Ward

PS I found out that my new companion just finished training Peter Lambson!  They were companions and I am sleeping in the same bed in Sweden that Peter has slept in!  Anyway, bye, and love you all!

Elder Ward's address

Some have been asking for Andy's address.  He loves mail!  You can send packages too, but they say it's pricey and keep it under 4lbs.   A standard letter needs two stamps.

Here it is:

Aldste Preston Andrew Ward
Sweden Stockholm Mission
Enebybersvagen 38
182 46 Enebyberg

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pictures from the MTC!

Andy must have finally figured out how to get some pictures sent to us!  Yay!  We got a bunch, but I will restrain myself and just post a few. :)  We are so excited to talk to him tomorrow!!

Leaving for Sweden soon!

Dear Family,

I hope you all are doing great!  It sounds like you are :)  Abby and Mom I am jealous that you got to go to New York, but I'm glad you had a great time and that it was a great birthday present!  Thanks so much for the package! Everything in it is great!  Thanks so much for the watch!  It is much nicer than I expected and I was very happy to find out it was waterproof up to 200 M deep!  I am wearing it now and am very glad to have another one!  I also love the other things you sent and will use them! :)  Abby thanks so much for your letter. It was fun to read and the same for your postcard.  What show on Broadway did you see, if you saw one?  Estee, thanks so much for the card you sent me!  I loved it!  I liked how it was a lovely butterfly card and I liked the stamp decorations on the outside of the envelope! I miss you all too and we will have a huge party when I get back I'm sure.  You may be interested to know that I have eaten none of the candy from the first package you sent me, so I am thinking it will be good for snacks on the plane! 

Ok, so highlights of this week:

First, I would like to give you a little update of how much reading and studying I have been able to get done in the month at the MTC.  I have read and studied all of 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, Jacob, and then all those little books in the Book of Mormon and I am just starting Mosiah.  I am really going deep and have learned so much.  I've also been marking as I go and it is fun to go back and read my markings.  I've also read and studied the Book of Moses in the same way and I've read Our Heritage, which is a very interesting history of the church.  I really liked the last 5 chapters of 2 Nephi and if you want something spiritual to read this week, you should think about reading and studying those chapters!  

Last week we got to host the new missionaries!  It was so much fun!  I tried to be really friendly and nice to them and two of them (their families) took pictures of us together.  I met a guy from France who was going to Madagascar.  He was a really cool guy but I won't see him again because he is on the West Campus.  In total I was able to host 4 missionaries and I really liked trying to make their introduction to the MTC fun.  This week we host again. My companion and I were chosen to be the traffic directors so that should also be fun!

Last Thursday we got our travel plans!  I am so excited to finally be going to Sweden/Sverige!  We leave Monday morning!!  We have a 3 hour layover in Detroit and then we fly to Amsterdam and then to Stockholm! 

I am allowed to call you at the airport and I am thinking the most ideal time for me to call you would be in Detroit. Let me know what time I can call.  Also this week I will be able to briefly email on Saturday so just email me what you think I should do and what time will work for all of you.  I can't wait to go to Sweden and to hear from all of you!

In basketball this week I just wanted to tell you I have been having a lot of fun!  One kid gave me the nickname of "Big Blue" because I play bigger than I am and am always wearing a Michigan shirt.

This week I found out how to access my family tree and I did lots of research and determined that both Mom and Dad have lots of English ancestors!  I have more English than anything else.  But I also found out I'm basically a mutt, our ancestors came from many different countries and most are English, Swiss, Swedish, and Danish.  I was surprised at how many had been in America for a very long time on both sides.  Also, I found out that I am a direct descendant of Erastus Snow, an early apostle of the church and someone that went on a ton of missions!  He actually helped organize the first church branch in Scandinavia, in Denmark.  He actually has a building named after him here in the MTC!  You all should read about him. He spent some time at Liberty Jail with Joseph Smith and his life is a crazy story. 

Also could one of you find the story in I think one of the Holmstead's family history books for a story about one of our ancestors who saw an angel come immediately after the death of Joseph Smith to the mob that killed him. Could you send me a copy of the story if you find it?  Thanks :)

I have met a few guys going to Denmark/Belgium who went to Sky View and just graduated and know Jenessa and one of them knew Josh.  One of them is Elder Hill and the other is Elder Lindstrom or something like that. Anyway, you will have to tell Blotters.

Lastly, I have seen Elder Ipsen from our ward a few times and I think he is doing good.  He's fun to talk to.  He told me that he found out that the way he gets to Mozambique is this:  They leave and fly to South Africa and then have a 600 mile bus trip to Mozambique!  Crazy!  I'm glad I just have 2 layovers!

Hope you are all doing well and ask me any questions about the MTC!  Dad, if you're not too busy, keep up the sport news, but I completely understand if you can't do it every week or even every month.  Love you all and miss you and tell me the new things that are happening!  When does school start? Love you all so much!


Elder Ward :) 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Dear Family,

Thanks for all your words of encouragement!  Also thanks for all the stories of home and such!  It's a blast to hear about how everything is and all the success everyone is having!  Abby congrats on getting your license and doing well with your class!  Also thanks for writing me a letter :)  Thank you everyone for all your wonderful letters!  I love reading them :) Dad thanks so much for all the sporting news and having the top 25 poll is like having the like the big secret in the residence halls.  Last night I told someone that you had sent me it and he was like oh you have it?!  It's like I'm running some secret organization hahaha.  But really thank you all for everything and writing to me consistently :)
So on my list to talk to you about this week is to first say that sadly we did not get to hang the international flags up this morning :(  We had to vacuum rooms with "ghostbuster" vacuums.
Thanks so much for being willing to take the time to find out all the conversion and missionary history too!
This week after one of our lessons our teacher (who pretends to be our investigators) told us that our parents would be so proud to see us speaking and teaching in Swedish :) so i thought I would tell you about that so you can be proud of me for a little bit :)
This week I exposed more of my college football knowledge upon my district and found out that my companion, when he lived in Washington, went to middle and high school with Austin Seferian-Jenkins! Please tell Jake Fisher when you see him because he will actually know who Seferian-Jenkins is and probably think it is cool :) (just so you know a few years ago Austin Seferian-Jenkins was the top rated TE coming out of high school in Washington and chose to play for Washington.  He has continued being a great TE and will go play pro and should be drafted soon)
I also learned a fun Swedish word this week.  It translates to mean "the disputations" that sounds like a title to a fancy book but the word is just 24 letters long: meningsskiljaktigheterna.  I hope there are no meningsskiljaktigheter (disputations)  at our house this week :)
While we are in the MTC we get to do this thing where we talk with members who know Swedish and give a lesson.  Basically it's home teaching, but in Swedish.  It's usually people here in Utah, but this week we got to skype and talk to members in Sweden!  The first guy named Nicholas we taught said he lived near Malmo and I knew that the missionary who mom met in Walmart, and she bought groceries for, was from Lund, which is close to Malmo!  I told him the story and he said that he knew a missionary in that area and it's probably the same guy!  It's cool how the church makes the world so small :)  The second guy I also really liked talking to!  He was from a place near Stockholm and I found out he likes house music and is a DJ!  I thought that was super cool and then we kept talking and I asked him if he liked Swedish House Mafia and he takes his webcam thing and shows us a shirt that was the name of one of their popular songs hanging up in his room!  He said he likes Calvin Harris and Skrillex and David Guetta and has seen them all in concert like 3-4 times.  I told him I was jealous and when I am close to Stockholm we will have to talk more about that music.  Hopefully most Swedes like the Swedish House Mafia, because I think it's great. 
It has been a pretty good week and I love to talk to you all and tell you how things are going :) and I love to hear everything that happens at home.  Tell Estee I am so jealous of her slide and for my next birthday party I want a slide just like that and a big party!  That looks like it was so fun for all those kids! 
Love you all and miss you!! Keep up the good work :)
Äldste Ward

Sunday, August 4, 2013

He's a DL in the MTC

Thanks for the email! That sounds like you have all had a fun week!  Hopefully you will all have another fun week with Abby and Estee´s birthdays! Make sure to tell them happy birthday for me!  And no, I don´t need anymore treats! We have buffets for all our meals so the treats are always slow to be eaten here and always given away.  
This week I wrote down a list of things to email you about that I wanted to tell you!  The first thing is that we do a service assignment every P-day morning and last p-day and actually this p-day as well we got to put up the international flags around the MTC entrances! We like to make the putting up of the Swedish flag a little ceremonial.  It was a super cool job to do and I just wanted to brag to all of you that I got to do that twice!!  
I also want to tell you that I feel like everything at the MTC is improved, memorization is easy--nearly everything just sticks! But also athletics and musical and other abilities feel improved as well.  It's pretty neat! 
What can you tell me about the train accident in Spain with the missionary? 
If anyone feels up to it then that person should research and find out who the youngest missionary was to Sweden.  I was just thinking that I must be one of the youngest to go in likely a long time! Anyway I think that would be cool to know :). 
Who of my ancestry is from Sweden?  Thanks :). 
Someone gave a talk this week and said that knowing the conversion stories of your ancestors would be really neat so if anyone is up to this task as well that would be awesome to know at least a few :). 
I was actually called as district leader! So my first day was yesterday and things have been good so far.  Haha. I'm excited to have that role :)

I will try to send some pictures today!  Love you all and miss you and am so grateful to be part of such a wonderful and loving family.  Have a great week celebrating birthdays and hopefully my letters to Abby and Estee get there in time!  Thanks for everything that you do for me and for the prayers! I know Heavenly Father is blessing me so much and because of that I've adapted great.  Miss you!
Aldste Ward
I just remembered that I only once saw Sarah's sister as she was only in the MTC for 10 days, but she took a class with Sister Dawson at Utah! I've learned it's a small world here at the MTC as at least half the people you talk to you can usually find a connection with!  Oh and last week Andrew Merkley got here and so I've actually seen him a lot and then a few times a friend from Alta that got here last Wednesday!  So it's been good to see people :)
Message to Estee Ward: Love you so much!! and you are still my favorite six year old ever! But soon you'll be my favorite seven year old!! :) ;)