Sunday, December 28, 2014

A New Sense of Commitment

 Happy New Year!!!! And more importantly Happy Birthday Mother!!!!!!
What a week it has been! So much has happened. We had ZTM and felt the spirit then got all our Christmas packages! It was great to read all of the testimonies and letters I received thank you! thank you! We had a secret Santa in the zone, I got a box 7 "Fairytale Princess" Barbie dolls. I was the laugh of the whole zone. It was pretty funny! One of the Elders In my district had me.. so he HAD to do something funny. ha. Christmas was good. I enjoyed talking with all those who I got the chance to! boxing day.. nothing really to  exciting..ha. I have had a couple of visitors this week! There is a big YSA convention Sydney right now. It is basically like EFY/FSY for YSA. Anyway, we were assigned by the assistants to usher for an activity they had. And guess what... Who else shows up but on old Returned Missionary Friend! Elder.. or Brother Leneham! My first zone leader in this mission. It was fun to catch up and get a bite to eat! We miss his presence in the mission. Later that day, the Thompsons from Tuggerah came to give me and Elder Nathan a CHRISTmas gift! SO nice of them! You truly make some good friends that are more like family when you serve. It was good to see "family" again. I am e-mailing late because we had our "Temple P-day" today. Meaning that instead of studying we get to go to the temple as a zone for "P-day." Pretty fun! I included a picture for you.. Ithink it is sideways though... sorry for making you all turn your head! ha.
   My core experience with God this week was great. The last little bit we had found ourselves in a bit of a sad cycle. We lost a bit of a sense of purpose, so we would get a little discouraged, so we would work a little less, which led to losing a bit of purpose and getting a little more discouraged, then doing a little less and so on. We noticed it and couldn't figure out what was happening. When we finally put it all together we saw this little cycle. We have been fighting for several days now, and both seem to be receiving some fantastic revelation. I have finished the Book of Mormon and am now reading and studying Preach My Gospel for studies. Chapter 1: My Purpose. After doing the 1st study idea and reading some of the 1st chapter I had felt revived and reminded of what spiritual power we have and have been given. We talked as a companionship and have targeted ways to improve and have started doing so. I am very excited. We see lots of things happening right now in Normanhurst. Thankful for the time of year and the spirit it brings to the world! We were talking with a recently returned missionary earlier this week. He said he went to a missionary meeting and felt so powerless and stripped of so much because he was not a missionary any more. This Brother had been a great leader in his mission and was looked up to by many missionaries. When he told us of this spiritual power it had reminded us of our studies. I have now "risen to a new sense of commitment!"  We are looking foreword with faith and excitement for what God can bring. We desire to change the world around us and there by... change the world itself!
   Teaching as Jesus taught. I am striving to be more like my savior by having more trust. He knew who, when, and how to trust others. I have moved from trying to show the way and lead out all the time when teaching. Lately however, I have tried to be a bit more reserved and let my companion teach rather than smother and dominate the lesson with what I think needs to be said. I need to let others grow! I am striving to be more like my savior and Teach as he taught by Trusting others, especially my companion.
   Goals for 2014. Do all I can to ensure the Salvation of my fellow men. Not a very specific goal, if you want something in numbers... I spoke recently about a vision I had obtained for being involved in 20 Baptisms. I would 11 in about 6 months. I have faith. I will do all I can for that vision to come to fruition. Also, to fulfill that which I have been called to do. Gather Israel and Strengthen Zion. Work with those who have not yet received ordinances or who have set aside their covenants. I hope to become converted and to help others receive the blessing of the Atonement, especially those who may not understand them or who may
   I love you all SO much and dearly! You are fantastic! happy New Year!
      Elder Ford

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry CHRISTmas!

 Hello!!!! I hope you are all enjoying this wonderful season of CHRISTmas! it is a good one. Great for everyone to be remembering the Savior! Great. CHRISTmas conferece this week was good. had some Great trainings! We watched Luther. A movie made about martin Luther and the reformation. Learned a lot! was good. They had two conferences so the whole mission wasn't there. Most of my friends were in the other one but all is well. Still had friends! In fact I was able to see Elder Geuvara! A missionary in my MTC intake who visa waited in Missouri with me and come here. I have only seen him about twice since the MTC, so it was fun to see him again! ha. I was able to catch the Narrabri Elder and have lunch with them! Elder Orr and Elder Nielson! ha. Loved that! Ghost of companions past I guess. ha. Last Monday we got to work at eh Temple lights! So we were guiding people on tours and talking to them about the pictures and stuff. So that was fun! Got to meet all kinds of People! been a good CHRIST filled week. Hope this week will offer the same! What a great time of year!
   This week I truly realized and kept thinking about how inspired companionships really are! Being with Elder Nathan so been great so far. I have learned a lot, about the work, about him, and about myself as well. I hope he would be able to say the same! I keep finding myself surprised yet unsurprised at the same time a when another similarity we have surfaces. We are very similar, yet our backgrounds and even behaviors are very different. We are able to talk openly and freely. We both have similar areas of testimony that have been tested and strengthened as a result of serving together. he is gaining confidence in ability of following the spirit and giving Priesthood blessings. I remember my first few transfers in the field and the great fear I had of giving blessings... I also remember a senior companion I had begging me to give a blessing. After some persistence on his part, and disregarding my argument that our other companion should so it, I finally gave in and have come to have full confidence in the Lords Priesthood power. I have always been grateful to Elder Phillips for that. I have been humbled a bit these last few weeks and have needed to ask for a couple of blessings. It has been great to see that same confidence in the Lords power build in my companion as it did in me nearly 16 months ago in Maryland heights Missouri. I feel we are unified in our work. I definitely have learned a lot from Elder Nathan and I hope to give him the example he needs at this crucial time of his mission and life. Companions are definitely inspired! So much growth.
   Teaching as Jesus taught. We have been focusing this week on Extending commitments in our "12-week" study. It has been good. It reminds me of trainings I had received all through out my mission and how to more effective invite people to come unto Christ and repent. It has been good. We are now much more focused on extending invitations and commitments. the spirit is definitely stronger as you ask a "Will you..." question. The chance and opportunity for change is so much greater as well! We have been trying to do as the Mater teacher of Nazareth always did, that is inviting others to change. And by so doing coming closer Jesus Christ. It truly is great to be an instrument in the Lords hands and doing as he would do, namely INVITING others to Come unto Christ, and fulfilling our purpose.
   Being taught about faith in the recent zone conference was great! It is something I think was very beneficial to us all and was really needed. if we truly believe all that we teach and learn about in church then we would have that miracles would come naturally! They do really if you think about it. Facing challenges or setting goals in Faith, and continuing on in Faith, is showing the Lord we Truly have a testimony. That is why I LOVE the quote "Come What May & Love It!" from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. If we are faithful. follow the spirit, and choose the right, we need not fear, for we KNOW that we have done as the Lord desires. When the spirit moves upon us and helps us to change we are filled with so much faith, knowing we can "go and do the things the Lord commands!" It is not until after that the Devil tries to put fear into hearts. he tries to get us to have the opposite of faith so we can be immobilized and not accomplish our goals. We know however that with faith in t Lord 'All things ARE possible!" Having Faith has truly helped us accomplish our goals!
   MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!! I Love you all! You are all examples to me and I am grateful that you have been in my life! I pray that you will remember why we  celebrate CHRISTmas this year.
     Elder Ford

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rainy Days in Sydney

 Hello WORLD!!!! Love you all! 
   It has been raining SO much here! Like everyday! ha. So annoying! At least it is warm though. At least it is warm! Not too discouraged though! We have had a good week! Saw some of my favorite members from Tuggerah so that was fun! Good visit. Grateful for their travels to the Land of Normanhurst! The "He is the gift" is getting pretty good we hear! Good good. We are really trying to spread knowledge of it well! Also, we are guiding tours at the Temple lights tonight so that should be a fun opportunity for us! The CHRISTmas season does do a bit for the work. People can be more open! Plus we have the CHRISTmas spirit to use as well. usually works in our favor! It is good!
    My core experience with god this week is different than usual. I kept finding myself distracted and downtrodden in spirit. Overly distracted by thoughts of home, of going home, of friends going home, and what I, and others, will do when these things happen. The usual distractions: school, work, transportation, etc. All that. I knew it was not what I should be thinking about but the thoughts persisted. I did not want to be like some missionaries I had seen who lost steam in their last 6 months serving. I DID want, however, to be like other great leaders I have had, Serving faithful and being driven by purpose until the end. I see now upon hearing small things from them back home at the great difference in conversion to the gospel it has caused in the lives of those missionaries. I want to be faithful. I want to do what is Right. I want to "labor the rest of my days crying repentance unto the people." Seeing I definitely needed help, I decided to humble my self and ask for a Priesthood blessing from my companion,something I rarely ask for. I am stubborn... anyway! That very night I realized I hadn't thought about any of that all day and we had been very successful and saw many miracles. I pray that I can keep serving Diligently and faithfully, in deed, heart, and especially thought!
    Teaching as Jesus Taught. Jesus always taught in unity with the spirit and his Father. We are striving to do the same. I would like to say we are teaching with that unity and also unity as a companionship! Elder Nathan and I were blessed with many more teaching opportunities than usual this week. We were able to teach in unity with each other and the spirit. It was a great feeling. the spirit is so much stronger when you and your companion are unified. And even more so when you are obedient, striving to purify yourselves and motives, and thus being in Unity with the Spirit! That is when we are teaching with the Power and authority we have been blessed with. I would advise all to look at their lives and ensure they can enjoy that unity with the spirit always!
   I love you all! You are fantastic! Thank you for you love and support! I will always be grateful for all you do/have done/will do for me! Merry CHRISTmas!
       Elder Ford

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Happy Christmas!/18 Month mark

 Hello my loved ones!! How great you all are! Thank you for caring!
  Good week so far. good week. We have some new people in the district! Elder Bjornberg is new and been trained by Elder Spicer, and Sister Aldan from Micronesia has come to work with Sister Vereivalu! The zone leaders came to District Meeting this week! Elder Watts from Kaysville, who I served around up in Coffs, and Elder Guthrie from Bountiful. Was good. Also, weird side note. The sisters I came out with Died! they are back home.. weird! ha Weird to think...3/4's served! To celebrate me and Elder Nathan went out and got some Fish 'n Chips! The Coast and Port have much better Fish n' Chips than Hornsby.. ha. but nonetheless! all is well! We h ad our Normanhurst ward Christmas party! Here is me and Elder Nathan with a good and funny group of guys! Summertime is winding up and the sunsets are too! This was a cool one the other day as we were walking around in Hornsby! Shout out to the Schwendiman family! Welcoming a new member to family! Congrats! What a special spirit she must be... Good on ya!
   My core thoughts and experience this week is a sad one. I noticed my work had become a bit stagnant. I looked at what I was doing and noticed I had spiritual digressed. I was lower than I had been months back! I was sad when I realized I had be come complacent in the work. We all know when we are not Improving and progressing (as I have written about before) we are spiritually declining and digressing. Elder Nathan and I took a look at what we had done so far, found where I went wrong. Together we have reasoned with the Lord and come to find how we many accomplish all we seek to do in this area. We have now started our "40-day-fasts." We are excited to fast from all the things that poke at our spirit for the next 40 days in order to purify our motives. We really hope to stay focused on our Purpose. After an exchange with our Zone Leaders, Elder Guthrie and Elder Watts, we felt rejuvenated and revitalized in spirit! I wouldn't say our hearts were in a bad place, but we have had an increase of spirit that has led to a change of heart. We are excited to see miracle here in Normanhurst this CHRISTmas! It is no coincidence that we received a member referral right after making the list for our forty day fasts...
   To improve my teaching I am trying to be more like the Master teacher himself! I am seeking to be more humble. Another trait I recognized that creeped back into my soul, or perhaps never left... Pride is a ridiculous thing... and SO hard to rid your self of. I am striving though. I am a firm believer that as you take one step towards Christ he takes two steps back at you! I am grateful more and more everyday for what the Savior of the world did, and was, for us. Not only do we have the magnificent gift of the Atonement, but his example alone we could spend entire lifetimes learning from and striving to follow and internalize in ourselves.
   I cannot quite remember any particular dramatic experience where the Holy Ghost protected me from danger or saved me. I am sure there are many, I'm even more sure my mother could tell you all of the instances in my childhood, ha.  But I do know and am very aware that he leads and guides us into the harbor of spiritual protection and safety each day. He always guides and prompts. Always. Spiritual destruction and danger and ever more present than physical obstacles. It is all around us. Thus the need to purify ourselves and truly live in the world but not of it! A statement made by many church members quite often. Yet, I fear we do not fully realize how difficult that is and how much we are sucked into the world and Satans firm grip on it. The only way we can be led to that protected harbor I mentioned is to humble ourselves and follow, oh, so carefully the the gentle guidance of the "still small voice." As we do we will truly realize how great a gift the Savior was and how really special this CHRISTmas season really is! 
  I LOVE you all! thaks for all you do! Remember to have a CHRIST centered CHRISTmas! Here is a short video that should help!

  Elder Ford

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Making Memories And Erasing The Bad Ones

Hello one, Hello all!
Thanksgiving is over (we didn't celebrate it here.. was going to... but then forgot!) and the CHRISTmas season is upon us! It is exciting! I don't know if you saw but the church apparently bought out the home screen of YouTube for the day to advertise their new video: "He is the Gift!" It is good. A lot like the #Because of Him Video. I think you would all benefit from it! I think everyone would.. ha. Well Elder Nathan has been in the mission 1 whole transfer! A new transfer starts today and we are staying together as one would anticipate! We are happy about it. Elder Lonitenisi is leaving though! Sad.. we will miss him in our district! One of my favorite missionaries, so fun to be with. ha. There is other good news though, The other Elders in Dural are staying! SO that will be good. I feel like we have a good sense of unity and want to keep the love here. It makes the work so much easier! So since CHRISTmas is coming up I decided to spend a bit of money and get some souvenirs! Ha All kinds of stuff... Mostly decorative. and a little noisy too.. ha I think Andy will be excited. ha. That is about all the "fun" or worldly news...
    My core experience with God this week came from Sacrament meeting. Invitation Sunday was great the chapel tour went alright, the members were happy, non-members came, but the biggest impact for me was receiving personal revelation in sacrament meeting. I was sitting, listening to great and very well constructed talks by ward members all focused on the Savior and his great power and Atonement. As we know, it usually is not what the speakers actually say but the spirit that they bring that inspires us. Brought back into my memory was something I had TOTALLY forgotten about. I remembered WAY back to my 9th grade gym class. I do not remember what caused this but I remembered the experience briefly. As a struggling youth learning my way through life often feeling lost and confused, I remember breaking down and sitting on the gymnasium floor crying. I remember pulling shirt over my face embarrassed. But that was about all I remembered. I did not remember the cause or what happened a moment after. I saw all the youth standing on the stage singing with smiles. I, for a moment, remembered what it was like to be in their shoes. I felt for them.. however that was not the core experience. I was trying to understand why I had remembered that. When the it hit me. The Atonement of Jesus Christ can take away ALL our pains, fears, and sorrows. A very traumatic moment from my past had been completely forgotten about. None of those circumstances mattered. The people the situation. I understand that is partially due to time as well. But I do not feel guilty or sad about it anymore. I truly believe because of my faith at THAT time and because of my service now... that memory and those feelings were erased. The Atonement had healed me. I always find it difficult to understand the Atonement and how it works... But I understand and feel more and more of my Saviors love Each day. I do not think we can ever fully comprehend this great gift that has been given to us freely. The Gift which we have the blessing of celebrating this month... He is the Gift! 
   I am striving to teach as Jesus taught by taking more time preparing and practicing. We practiced our chapel tours and went to clean and prepare the Chapel the night before the big "Invitation Sunday!" I find it obviously helps dramatically! ha. I companion and 12-week study, in District Training, in investigators appointments, as well as the much appreciated Dinner appointments with members! Putting together and then reviewing and going over just to ensure your Audience receives personal revelation makes it SO much easier. It really helped us have a good chapel tour and is something we are applying to more and more phases of our learning!
   I feel my companions love often. But I would say the most, usually the night before Transfers when one of us is leaving. Bags are packed just waiting. Remembering and reminiscing the good times we'd had, the success and miracles we'd seen, and all the love we had felt. From Members, investigators, missionaries, and each other. I  have always been told growing up, "It's all about the memories." As time moves on, we can prepare for the future and remember what we learned and the good times that were had.
   Thank you to all of you! I love you! I Hope you are all doing fantastically!
   Elder Ford

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lessons Learned

My dearest  loved ones... How I love you so!
   Been a good week. One of the Sister Missionaries in our ward hurt her leg this week so they have the car a lot more now. As a consequence we have gotten much more familear with public transport! We thought it would be funny to take a picture while the train was stopped real quick, since we are the Normanhurst Elders. the sign in the back is small.. but it says Normanhurst! ha. We were walking on the street the other night when the branches kind of moved a funny way. We stopped and looked up the tree, what do ya know! A POSSUM! How awesome? (ha..ha... lame rhyming...). (I pictured Davis Busteed saying the last parentheses) ha. I love ane miss my friends serving. as well as my friends in Missouri and back home. I think of all of you often.. but too often to be creepy...  We had some open space on our whiteboard so we decided to add some personality to it! ha. Elder Nathan and I just laughed.. Ball so Hard... or for the older genereation "Do really good missionary work and work hard." That us about all the fun and worldly updates...,
      My core experience this week has been a conversation piece for my companion and I. The Priesthood. We have been able to exercise the Priesthood in various ways the past week or two. Giving blessings and administering the sacrament mostly. We had the blessing of being able to go with a member of the ward to a Hospital with a specialty in the area of cancer, where we met Sister Edwige. She is a sweet elderly french speaking woman from New Caledonia. Luckily the member with us had served a mission in France and Mauritius. Her joy was so full as she was able to receive a blessing and partake of the sacrament blessed in her native tongue. We noticed a very similar gratitude after blessing a very faithful and very humble missionary. I kept hearing a talk from President Eyring in my mind. "The Priesthood Man." There may have been some pride infused into me, but I do recognize that the power and authority has NOTHING to do with me. The point I will get to is that I was fulfilling my purpose and calling so others were blessed by God and received the benefits. Men and women are both blessed by the priesthood, one may have the power conferred upon him, but BOTH receive the blessings and benefits. The idea I am attempting to paint however, is the importance of embracing Magnifying our callings. Our currant and short term callings, as well our eternal callings. For me it is as a Full Time Missionary and as a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. As a companion and as a son. As District Leader and as Brother. Callings are not just ways to serve in the church, but relationships we have with our families and with GOD. Doing our part and being who we have been called and set apart to be is embracing and magnifying our calling. Doing our VERY best and giving all we have to these callings is keeping our covenants and magnifying our callings. 
   We have been teaching as Jesus taught by teaching correct principles. We get concerns or questions then have studied it out using other missionaries or our missionary reference library to answer the question or concern. We can have so much knowledge if we just "Put our shoulder to the wheel" and study it out, if we ask questions and answer then. Not by instantly doubting and assuming this stranger who knows not the church or the God who guides it has found a secret hole in the plan. Fear not, only believe. We have been studying and teaching correctly. As I am positive Jesus did.
   A lesson of great importance I have learned on my mission is one of priorities. Before my mission I probably had good priorities. Serving a mission removes a spiritual blind fold of what you find important though. I now realize the importance of  eternal families, ordinances particularly the Sealing ordinance (which I had No plans of obtaining before I was set apart), and really  the Church and Jesus Christ! If the Savior of mankind and his Church does not effect all we do and deem important, we are greatly mislead by the adversary. When you forget about the world and all it's other good add-ons or ornaments, you see the truly important roots and branches in the Christmas tree that is you and your life and thereby your priorities. I have learned a great lesson of TRUE priorities on my mission.
  Again, I love you all! Thank you for all that you have done and will do. I am grateful!
          Elder Ford

Sunday, November 16, 2014

TRUE Discipleship

   Hello my dearest Loved ones!
 Good week. Good week. We had the new arrivals follow-up training! So we went back to the mission home for a day of training and follow-up. Mostly to check if us trainers had been doing our job right, haha. Taught Elder Nathan perfectly we got away with everything!!! haha jk. Nothing we need to "get away with!" was good though! We got to see Elder Crump and Elder Paratta again, so it was a fun reunion! We also ran into Elder Saga who I lived with Tuggerah! So we had to take some selphies! haha. Love that Elder! So humble... so humble.Last p-day we went to the other ward in the districts WML's house. he is famous around the mission for his cars. SO famous that i actually heard about him before I left SLC. When grandpa took me to Mr. mac we were taken care of by man named Brad, from tasmania! Who told me about his friend Bro. Bailey! He gave me his card and wrote the name down. It stayed in my wallet for 17 or 18 months until last Monday! Pretty fun. I gave it to him and told him the story and smiled! Was good. But back to his cars, several ferraris and mustangs! Classic mustangs! Elder Ford was excited to see all of it.. haha. took a few pictures! Thought I would share it! We are still trying to visit everyone on the Normanhurst ward list to invite them to and notify them about "Invitation Sunday!" Which is on the 30th of November. It should be Sweet! It is all the talk in the zone and district it is mentioned in every meeting and visit we and ward members have/make! Exciting!
   My core experience with God this week came from the New Arrivals follow-up training me and Elder Nathan attended. It returned memories to my mind of my own New Arrivals training, 1 year ago today. I was reminded of the immense guilt I had from bending and breaking White Hand Book rules in my visa-waiting mission, and the change that followed. With the added knowledge and experiences I now have plus the new few additions to the training... caused me once again feel that I need to be better & change. As we listened the an extended and missionary focused  version of one of my favorite conference talks, "The First Great Commandment" given by Jeffery R. Holland, I was once again given a vision. It seems scary and intimidating at first, but the reality is true. I cannot go back. I cannot go back to the life I used to live, I cannot return to my "nets,' I cannot go back to my old ways, my old thoughts, any of it. Yes, I will return to my home is Sandy, Utah. But If I return unchanged or slip back into old habits and become a victim of spiritual digression... all of my efforts and mission ultimately is in vein. Thoughts popped into my heads as we read the words of The Apostle Paul, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." This scripture always seems to hit with such force... In a sense we must and have promised to leave behind all of this, all our childish things, and live a life devoted to and centered on  being a TRUE disciple (follower) of Jesus Chris. Going where, doing what, saying what, and being what he himself would Go, do, say and be. I felt the spirit so strongly as all of these thoughts occurred. I always want to improve and progress spiritually and do was I am told to return to the presence of the Father as we all do and want. In that moment it was easy to make the decision. It took a whole meeting and full-length MTC talk to give me such zeal. We all have experienced that. It wasn't 'till a few days later that I realized, largely and and more real-ly, recognized just how hard it will be to maintain such zeal and dedication upon returning home and all through life. it was late in the evening we were getting dinner from a small take-away shop. There was a television playing the top 100 pop songs. I had forgotten how catchy and fun modern music can be to listen to. As we walked out side there were some kids long board skateboarding on the road lit only by a few street lights in the warm spring evening air. My mind was flooded of memories and thoughts and flash backs. I wanted to skate down falcon drive in sandy at 1 AM in a cut-off shirt listening to modern music so bad. As we past them... I could think only of Jeffery R. Hollands version of Christs interview with Peter the Senior Apostle. "Do you LOVE me? DO you love me more than all of this? .. what I need... are disciples! To preach my Gospel"  and to keep my faith! I hope and pray.. that I can chose to LOVE my savior and forsake sin (not that skating or music is a sin) so that I can be a TRUE disciple and follower of Jesus Christ, or Lord and Savior. 
   Teaching as Jesus taught. We are trying to be more humble. We are slowly coming to realize, as I recently said, that we are focusing to much on Joesph Smith, and not enough on the Savior! We are trying let go of the "our church is right" approach and serve our Savior. Focus on Christ. Doing what leaders ask even if we don't understand or disagree, listening to others views and not forcing our own. Boldness but Humble is what we are trying to find the balance between. We will find it if we focus on our Savior!
   I LOVE you, all of you! Thank you for being a part of m life and doing so much for me!
     Elder Ford

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Focus on Christ

 Hello Dear Friends and Family!
   I love and miss you all! Wherever you are! Utah, Missouri, Sydney, Canada, anywhere...
I feel bad.. I don't have any tremendously exiting or funny to tell you about! ha. I wish I had some funny pictures to send! I will try to make a mental note to do that! Here is a picture of me at my Desk that Elder Nathan took. I might have already sent that! IDK. ha. Here is the stuffed kangaroo we role-play to for our 12-week study! ha. Also Elder Nathan hard At work studying! Good on him! here is our Bedroom.... I don't know why I took that! But there ya go! haha. can ya Guess which bed is mine?
   There is actually something exciting going on down here. I am unsure if I have mentioned it before and "can't be bothered" looking back into my previous e-mails! The Whole Pacific area fasted on fast Sunday for missionary work and for what is being called "Invitation Sunday!" The name  gives away what it is. Every member is    supposed to invite someone to a special sacrament meeting! Now I am blessed to be in the Baulkham Hills stake because the Stake president is taking it to the next level! he is having every ward prepare a specific sacrament with 3 musical numbers, 1 being the primary, and 3 talks, 1 being a full time missionary, and a after the special and spiritual sacrament meeting, the kids and youth go to regular class but all the adult members are lead by missionaries on chapel tours. Highlighting various things throughout the chapel, sacrament table, pictures, primary, family history room and the temple ( a good way to invite to all the Christmas lights at the temple in DEC.), and it all ends int eh cultural hall with short video on the restoration and refreshments + mingling afterwards! We are going on splits 3 nights a week until the 30th of November to invite EVERYONE on the ward list to come if they are less-active and invite all the active members to invite a friend or family member! It is supposed to be a HUGE day! The Stake president has a HUGE vision and I am excited! It is a great time to be a missionary! Guess I did have some exciting news after all.. haha
   This week I was striving to find strength and guidance from on high. We were at a home with a less-active who has a great love for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We watched a few Christmas songs they had preformed in the past with him, when it hit me. I have been so focused on learning about Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and Church History that I had forgotten why it was so important and who it testified of. Jesus Christ. Not to say I had felt distanced from my savior, but that I had preoccupied myself with learning and studying of Good, even better, things but not the BEST things. One could argue that those were the best things at the time and it has now changed. However, the meaning is the same. I had lost focus of what all the exciting information I was learning meant! This was re-hashed into my brain the next day during President Interviews. I need to rely on the Savior and his enabling power EACH day. I hope to now keep that in my heart and mind always, never forgetting or losing sight of my purpose and what I am doing. Everything testifies of Christ. I am excited to continue in my reading of the Book of Mormon with this new and refreshed view and spirit. It is all about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
   Elder Nathan and I are trying to teach as Jesus taught by "keeping our eye single to the Glory of God." yes, this does mean controlling our thoughts and eyes, but bigger than that it means adjusting our view to see his (Gods) view. Often times we only see things from our limited perception, when we consider our view as well as the view of God we see what he sees and desire what he desires. Thus we have a single image in our head, what God wants, keeping our Eye single to the Glory of God.
   Elder Nathan is GREAT! he is always wanting to improve and find better ways to do things. He has an innovative mind is really striving to see success as a missionary. He loves God and wants to serve with all his heart, might, mind and strength. I am so happy and blessed to be with him! His desire is huge. He likes to eat healthy but be full. So we eat well, and don't go hungry, the perfect combo! He is really settling nicely and adjusting to the work quickly. it is good to see. he is a fast learner and will be great tool in the hands of the Lord. I am excited to "see how we  go!"
I love each of you! I am grateful for the roll you have played in my life! I know this is a broad e-mail and goes to a lot of people, but I do think of you all individually while I am writing it and the things you taught me!
    Elder Ford

Monday, November 3, 2014

Temple P-days

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Hello my loved family and friends! How much I DO love you!
  This week was alright. You will likely notice I am e-mailing a bit late. That Is because we had a Temple P-day. SO we had to shift P-day to a Tuesday as the Temple is closed on Mondays! So Tues, here we are! It is odd to hear about football and Halloween back home! No one likes or even talks about American football here, usually idf they do it is NFL. Odd.. anyways! Hope all of you had a safe Halloween! It sounds like it is becoming an uneventful holiday! It was similar as a missionary. ha. We were up in Brooklyn towards the end of the evening though. SO I got a good picture of the sunset over the little lagoon. I am my grandmothers grandson for sure... I enjoy sunsets! I have tried to experiment more cooking lately. I have usually relied on my companions but I tried to copy Elder Tsai and Elder Orr this last week and make a stir-fry! tell me how you think it looks! ha. Not too much other exciting news... On with the Core experience!
   My core experience with god this week has been training. I have thought often to myself of things said by leaders throughout my mission. One stands out from a good friend at the beginning of my mission in a zone meeting. Elder Banks explained that EVERY action we have has a huge effect on your trainee. Whatever you do is how they will do things for the next 2 years. I have thought about that and other advice much this week. I have tried to ask my self what is the BEST thing to do here? There are a lot of things that are good, but what is the absolute BEST thing to do right now? I am trying to give my "son" the best raining experience I can, the experience I had having 2 zone leader "fathers," or trainers. As we have done our best we have been blessed! We starting to get things rolling we are able to evaluate and adjust quickly and try new things. Elder Nathan is a well prepared missionary. I am learning a lot from HIM! As one would imagine and almost expect. the Lord truly blesses us when we do all we can do.
   Teaching as Jesus taught is the always-present task as a missionary! Always reevaluating and reanalyzing, to see how we can be more Christ like. I would say this week we have strived much harder to recognize and follow the promptings of the spirit! It has been good. Because my companion is new and getting used to missionary life he sees the promptings and miracles and more than I do. I have been humbled to see how blessed we truly are. I hate to admit it but sometimes we take small miracles and promptings for granted! having the spirit with us, and truly striving to recognize his promptings is what has made us teach more like the master this week!
   A scripture that had a big impact on me this week was Ether 3:19. "And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil ; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting." The Brother of Jared was Beyond faith! It was to a hope for things which are not seen which are true as Alma states. For he SAW and had a perfect knowledge! He KNEW! How incredible is that!? After going to the Temple this morning with the zone... I feel similar... I have seen and experienced much. using the scientific theory, we would know, after receiving so much knowledge and so many answers to prayers, that God IS there. It is double testified by the scriptures saying you will know in your heart and your feelings. We have received spiritual manifestation time and time again! Do we KNOW the Lord our God lives, as we claim every fast Sunday and any other time we bare testimony. I would say "yes. We Do!" Faith leads to miracles. Knowledge (or testimony) leads to more and higher revelation!
  A little short this week... but hopefully it was short and Powerful! I love you!
 As Always,
       Elder Ford

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Come What May & Love It

 Hello Dear Loved ones!
   This week was PACKED! Meetings everyday and lots of work to do! Was good though. The Feils, a senior couple that works in the office, are going home this week so Elder Crump found his way to get them to have us over for dinner! ha. It was nice, fun to see them and get to say goodbye. The are from Lehi, I will have to let you know info about their homecoming if I can.. or whatever it is the senior couples do when they come home.. haha. Will miss them. Will miss them. Speaking of missing things.. I do not remember if I said this in my last e-mail so sorry if it is a repeat! ha. After a lot of memory chasing with Elder Crump we decided we are suffering from PTD... It is similar to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) that Vietnam vets and stuff have.. but it is Post-Tuggerah-Disorder! haha. We miss that ward... but understand that in order to progress we must move on! Sadly... I have my New companion! Fresh from the Mission home! ha. His name is Elder Nathan! From Perth, Western-Australia! He is way cool! Big Maori fella, born in NZ but grew up in Perth. He has such a desire to serve and work. It is incredible and such a blessing! Couldn't ask for a better trainee! Love him. Excited to spend the next 12 weeks with him! We have done what all new missionaries do... tract, learn how to contact, and of course as any missionary that served in Australia would know, Tim-Tam-Slam! haha. Bit the edge off the Tim-tam cookie, sip hot milo through it like a straw, and enjoy the melting goodness on your taste buds! haha. It is a fun aussie and missionary thing to do. ha I did peak at the blog Nyla made. WOW! That must have taken some work! Thank you! It was fun to look at! God has blessed me with great friends and family...
   This week I have had the chance to seriously put into action my "6-word-vision" said by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come What May & Love It!" Elder Nathan and I have been working fairly diligently, talking to as many people as we could. We sometimes got discouraged sometimes. However, I have done my best to be determined to have a good day! We have been making the most of situations, laughing at scorns and ridicule, and staying positive. The result has been good. Our companionship unity has sky-rocketed as an effect. We have been given the strength to continue on and be happy, despite the less-then-desirable results we achieved. We have "Kept the faith" so to speak, been progressing spiritually, and learning a lot (especially abut each other). We noticed last night as we pieced together out weekly numbers that we actually did a pretty good job, especially considering the chaotic week full of meetings we had. It was interesting to reflect and see how I was tested of what I put on any and every e-mail! I hope that we can continue on and see many great miracles. I do think we have the right combination to make it happen.
   Teaching as Jesus taught... We have been trying to discern what people are really yearning for spiritually and which aspect of the gospel they need to hear! It has been good. The 10 question survey we have been given to use helps greatly with that! It is good to gauge and see peoples understanding of God and to help them understand more. It is so much easier to share the gospel with someone when you know what part of all the great wisdom of God they need. Christ was the ultimate example of discernment! As he is with all good traits, skill, abilities, and gifts.
   The happiest moment of my mission so far... I would say there is a bunch of small moments that are too hard to choose from. All the fun memories made with my fellow missionaries in the field, all of the spiritual lessons in members homes, helping 9 amazing people to find the truth they had searched for their whole life! SO many moments of joy. I think reflecting  back on all these moments and reminiscing with the Elders, the missionaries, my family-my brothers out here. Those are my happiest moments. See I say that but then I remember each individual I have had the opportunity to teach and I have the same feeling.. I think of the awesome family I got to teach and their friendship, I feel the same. I think of getting the chance to "raise my 1st born son" and I feel joy. Honestly, I cannot pin a single happiest moment. I  have never been good at making difficult decisions... just ask my mother. ha. 
   I love you ALL! Thank you for all you do and have done for me! It is because of all of you that I am who I am today. I am grateful!
               Elder Ford

Sunday, October 19, 2014

And the Cycle Repeats Itself..

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Hello my wonderful friends and family!!!
     I love you all so much! You are fantastic! Every single one of you! man... Good week. Big week. Even Bigger week this week! HUGE week! ha. Last week was good. We went up to Brooklyn, the top of our area. It was fun! Pretty place. It is a quite little boat town. Until the weekend! Then it is a popular destination to go boating! ha. It was fun. It was quite one of the days we were up there. Really calm and Peaceful. Reminded me of dad. We always went to quite little fishing places just to walk and experience the beauty of the earth! We got transfer calls on Saturday. Elder Simeavao is leaving the Normanhurst ward after 6 months. sad... I know how he feels...  *caugh*caugh* Tuggerah *caugh*caugh*  ... ha.  Later that day we went to a child of record baptism, we were asked to fill the font and pass out flyers to all the non-members coming! While there we got a phone call from President Howes. You always get a little nervous when President calls and your companion answers and says "it's for you!" Handing the phone to you. ha. I have been asked to Train a new missionary! Hurray! ha. I have never trained before so he wanted to explain a bit about it. SO the new missionaries don't fly in 'till Wednesday... SO they put the missionaries who are training together for those few days. I am temporarily with Elder Crump! If you have a good memory, you MIGHT remember that I was in the MTC with Elder Crump, and served with him for a Day while visa-waiting in Missouri. He is way fun! He also trained Elder Orr and I replaced him in Tuggerah. We served in Coffs around the same time also. So we have lots of connections! It will be a good couple of days. Today we had transfers, tomorrow we have the "Train the Trainers" meeting, Wednesday we have the "new Arrivals" meeting, where we will get our new companions, Thursday is District Leader Training again, and Friday is District meeting because we can't do it Wednesday. So Something is going on everyday! Gonna Be a BIG week! Excited! eager to meet the new companion... The district changed a lot to. one from every companionship left. The sister staying in Normanhurst is training as well. The Dural Elders both have new companions, both I am told work well. One was even my zone leader my last transfer in Coffs! So that is kinda wierd.. he is released now. ha So lots of change. 
   My core experience this week is similar to last week. I talked about the example my parents had on my mission and my attitude. This week, especially after I was told I would be given the chance to train, I often thought of my trainer. I Learned  a lot from Elder Tsai! A lot. I find it odd, I was "born" to him when he was a about 3/4 of the way done with his mission, he was a district leader, and was now training for the first time. As in life, we all turn out to be much more like our parents than we imagine. Besides those similarities, I thought of all the 12-week training sessions, odd adjustments coming to a new country, and learning opportunities that presented themselves. I am grateful for my trainer, and all those opportunities! I will now hove the blessing of strengthening, helping, and learning from a missionary in a similar situation! I expect I will learn more from him than him from I. However, a feeling of gratitude in remembrance of my "forefathers" and excitement to repeat the cycle have been my core experience this week.
   I am trying to always be more patient and humble. I have struggled with this for a few weeks. I feel bad,  I have learned this lesson before. Or maybe I am just learning it on a new level... I don't know. Christ-like characteristics are always the most difficult things to obtain. It takes constant self evaluation and change! The blessings are obvious and very convenient. 
    As a result of conference... I am trying to strengthen my testimony deeper and deeper. From the past 2 G.C.'s it very much seems that the world and the church will only grow apart. The importance and value of the church and it's teaching will NEED to be #1 in every members priorities. It should be already, yes. Nonetheless, the message I received is that. We all will need to deepen, strengthen, even fortify our testimonies and selves in the gospel to rise up to the needs of our Father in Heaven. That we may be able to do our part in the strengthening of his kingdom and establishing Zion. I am grateful for the Prophet, his councilors, and all of the special witnesses of Christ that strengthen and warn us from the Lords watchtower!
      I am excited for the new transfer! I see a lot of good things that can happen. The district changed a LOT, but I see a lot of potential as a result! It should be good. I am excited to work with the new Elders in the District and hope that I can do my part to make the new missionaries the best they can be! I hope for and expect Great things out of the "Dura-hurst" District!
    Much Love,
        Elder Ford

Elder Crump & I
In Brooklyn