Monday, January 27, 2014

Australia Day, eh?

Hello! The libraries were closed on Monday due to the public Holiday of Australia day! So that is the reason for the late letters! Thank you all for e-mailing though. It is great to hear from everyone! I am doing fantastic! This week has been crazy. We were out of port most of the day. WE traveled up to Kempsey Tuesday and worked there for a while, we stayed in a members home (Approved by President Howes) that evening. WE worked in south west rocks the next day, and traveled up to Coffs Harbour that evening stayed the night over, and went on exchanges there! I was with Elder Leneham from Brisbane. He is way cool! I really like him. We were up talking about cars for like 40 minutes. ha. We saw a lot of good families and a really cool recent convert man. You can tell he changed a bit to become a member. He is ROCK SOLID though. Really cool to see. We then stayed the night again, and had a Zone Training Meeting! We had zone p-day directly afterwards. We went ice skating. It was fun, but man my feet were sore the next day! Since we all had to spend that night in coffs anyway we went to a fellow shipping activity at their chapel and we went and played basket ball with a bunch of non-members. It was fun. Then we drove home on Saturday, and went to our branch Australia day activity. We had 2 investigators there, it went well! President and sister Howes came and spoke in our branch on Sunday. They of course did wonderfully. It was good to see them again!  oh, random side-note: In Kempsey there is a cool place called "Famous Fredo Pies!"  I definitely had a crocodile pie AND  a kangaroo pie!
    My core experience with god this week has been seeing how the gospel really is a gospel of love! President gave a training on how god is loving. It has been on my mind as many angry people claiming to "already have a church they are happy with."It seems to me that it is quite the opposite! People get so mad at us for simply knocking on their door or walking down the street. It is apparent that they are not happy in their lives! The devil has a hold on them so when they feel a bit of spirit at their door in the form of missionaries they kick them away. It is so funny sometimes. People get mad at us and tell us "We are fine with our religion!"all the time. This gospel really, truly, is a gospel of love! we know god loves us and so we re happy and more loving! Other people aren't. It is sad to see people so angry all the time. It gives me hope that I can help make this world a brighter place!
  I am trying to teach as Jesus taught by eliminating distractions. I noticed I tend to wonder off in my mind during lessons, Obviously not a good thing. So, earlier this month our Zone Leaders gave us a commitment called the "40-day fast." I have  been trying to fast from all my distractions in teaching. it seems to be working. It is tough to break thought habits though... ha. But I am working on being the best teacher and missionary I can be!
   the most wonderful thing I see happening in my mission, is that I am starting to see a bit of success and it is making me forget about home or any distractions (that I am fasting from).  I can see great things in store. Like President Howes said last week in your e-mail, I feel like we are on top of a wave and there is about to be some incredible things happening! I see that there are virtually no distractions from home, enabling me to focus on my work and I am SO grateful for that! I see things being put in place for marvelous works to come forth in all aspects of my life. The lord BLESSES Missionaries, no doubt about it!
  I love you all! Thank you for your support!

   Elder Ford

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A familiar face from the History books!

This week we had the awesome experience of going on exchanges with the Tamworth Elders! I was reunited with my MTC companion Elder Keefer, for a few days! ha, We cant seem to get away from each other...  we are great friends though! great.WE aren't allowed to drive yet so we had to do some street contacting... Good thing the biggest Country Music Festival in Australia happens in Tamworth and started that day! ha. it was an adventure and there were MANY tourists in from out of town. However, in the Tamworth apartment there is a big book of names and pictures of missionaries who have previously served in the area. I began looking through the large photo book when I come across a whole page dedicated to "Elder Blake Andreason!" Oh, man! How cool is that!? One of my examples in choosing to serve a mission and a friend I was well fellow shipped with was right in front of me! It was so fun! What a guy.... Hope all is doing well for him and his whole family he has acquired since he wrote this page. ha so fun!
   In my area, Port Macquarie, there are roughly 50 members at our small branch building every week. It is not a chapel but 2 homes that the church bought next to each other. We cover a large portion of land... about 40 minutes south,  an hour and a half north and about the same amount of time inland! We are in a car most of the time but bike on occasion. There are many large rivers we have to cross over on bridges. I have never wanted to kayak and canoe so much in my life! They are jsut HUGE rivers and I want to explore them so bad! haha. It is the boy scout in me coming out I guess... In our zone we are at least an hour away from other missionaries and have district meeting over the phone! We see the other missionaries in our zone maybe once or twice a month...  However we will see ALL the mission and the whole south Sydney mission in February as Elder Nelson from the quorum of the 12 comes to visit and speak to us! we are very excited! 
 President Howes is making a website were people can write their testimonies about the Book of Mormon and post them to it. he has asked all his missionaries to submit a testamony. here is mine:
    The Book of Mormon claims to be "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." I believe every bit of that! When I was in my teenage years and contemplating my religious beliefs and spirituality I often fell short. I seemed to feel like that about all I did, even my recreational pursuits, falling short. I knelt down in prayer one evening and began to pray to my father in heaven. I expressed that I needed help! I was trying my hardest to get better at things and be more obedient to his commandments, I was putting so much pressure on my self to be the best I could that I was starting to break. I promised him that I would serve as faithfully as I could if he would bless me and help me in my worldly desires and aspirations. I had never really received a big or strong answer to any of my prayers before. Those seemed to just be nice stories people told... However, as soon as I said the word "Amen" in closing my prayer, the words "Ether 6:10" popped into my head. I had never before read this scripture out of the Book of Mormon, or even much out of the Book of Mormon. I quickly picked up my scriptures from the floor beside me and found the passage. it reads. "And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither awhale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water." Kind of a silly thing I know, but it gave me so much encouragement! I knew that by being obedient to the Lords commandments I would always have Gods help, that "no wave could break me," and that I would "have light continually!" It is no mere coincidence that this happened. heavenly Father answered my prayer using the Book of Mormon! To me, that definitely must mean that it is TRUE SCRIPTURE, and ACCEPTED as his word! There is no book that can bring you closer to god than the Book of Mormon!"
I love you all and hope all is going well! I am doing fantastic thank you for all of your love and support!

   Elder Ford

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Elder Ford in Port Macquarie

SO something interesting. Green peppers are called "capsicums" here.. kinda odd. And the pharmacy is called the chemist. oh and instead of Kool-Aid powder... here a liquid mixed with drinks is called cordial. it is okay. oh and desserts here are not nearly as good. at least at restaurants. no mcflurris or shakes or anything. that is all new this week. hope all is well.
My core experience with god this week was after talking to President Howes. He said he never saw miracles. It made me think of all the small miracle s that happen everyday! We truly are led to people and people are led to us, all the time! We meet and help people all the time. I began thinking about how every companionship has that one investigator that is just "nuts." How is it that missionaries always find these unique individuals to teach. They are led to the people that need Christ and love the most! It is SO true! You cannot tell me that missionaries and the work we do is NOT inspired. We do see miracles everyday... it is such a great part about serving the Lord.
   I received some revelation at the special zone conference in Coffs Harbour last week. There are so many resources for us to use just waiting for us to use them! For example all of the information in the pamphlets. Jesus used all the resources he could, so why shouldn't we? I am going to look for as many of the "hidden" resources I can.
   We have only recently started using the survey and seen a little success. I plan to keep using it in the street contacting way of finding. I think we can get a lot of people thinking. WE are also looking into the details for setting up a booth somewhere in port... that could be a good idea!
  I am doing well. I feel that me and Elder Tsai are continuing to work better and better!
p.s. the library here requires money... so we are at the office works e-mailing today. haha. kinda cheating the system.. It is like office max or staples. ha have a great week!
Love, Elder Ford

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Years & Birthday Mom

Hello family and friends,
   Glad to know new years and moms birthday was good! Hope you are all continuing to enjoy your lives and do what you know to be right! I included a picture of my favorite place to sit after nightly planning and enjoy a cup of water, and our investigators birthday cake! ha, it is pretty funny. Something interesting I can tell you is that is is not pronounced AUStrAlia, but UStrOlia. ha, It is more just the accent than anything... and a failed attempt at a joke.. but it gets the point across! ha We talked to a less-active sister this last week who works at an assisted living home cooking the food. It made me think of my grandma and how it has been nearly a year since she passed away. It is odd to think that I couldn't just go to the Coventry and see her, besides the fact that I am across the world, she has passed. It was an interesting thought. All of the stories I won't be able to hear until we meet again in the spirit world,or perhaps after we area ll resurrected! I am happy she is in a better place however. We didn't do anything on new years eve. Sat in the apartment after 7 O'clock like we were supposed to. There were fireworks at 10 pm. But we could only see the glow because the trees were in the way. ha oh, well. It was fun to see regardless. 
This week we have been teaching people this week about new years resolutions, about Resolving to be better. We share with them a verse in Doctrine and Covenants 25, saying that we ought to "Seek for the things of a Better." Talk about how we can "seek" for these "things." Afterwards we read the scripture mastery verse in Jacob 2. We show the people we teach that we are promised riches (if we seek them) after we seek for the Kingdom of God. That is what has been on my mind this week. Resolving to be better. That is the goal right? I mean, "Improvement and progression have 1 eternal round." The way to do this is through trainings, listening to the Holy Ghost, and following promptings. I am setting goals for the new year to always resolve to be better, to "Ever more effectively" be a better servant of the lord. My goal is to always live up to our standard of excellence set up by the mission leadership!
  I am still working on always having the spirit in lessons, and by doing so, asking inspired questions. It is a thing I have seen change lessons entirely. I am trying to work on that and help people to understand and realize for themselves the importance and sacredness of the discussions we have, for them! I am trying to teach as Jesus taught... as with trying to follow Christs example in any way, it is harder than originally anticipated! That is why it is always a good goal.
I hope you all enjoy the 2014 as best you can! I love you!

    Elder Ford