Monday, May 26, 2014

What is memorial Day?

 Hello friends and family!
   So you all have a holiday today, huh? well it is a good thing we don't celebrate it here because if we did I would not be able to e-mail because the library would be closed!  Anyways, hope you all enjoy the warming up weather! it is getting cooler in the mornings but all is well so far! Praying it stays nice! ha. Warming up in Utah... A year ago I was speaking in my home wards sacrament! Crazy! Funny thing, I spoke at the baptism we had on Saturday! It wasn't quite the same... less philosophy of man... more scripture! ha. Zak was baptized. He is 14 and an awesome kid. real quiet, and likes to choose the right. His little brother Isiah is so funny! He is nuts and speaks his mind. it honestly reminds me of My brother and myself. So, I LOVED teaching him. His mom and dad are going to be baptized soon as well. It will be a great thing and a a big deal, great blessing to their family!
   This week we have been fed pretty well! We went to the Hancocks for dinner on night and man they pulled out all the stops! It was incredible! SO much food! Good food too! Bro. Hancock is amazing, he found a family for us to teach. he is the best member missionary I have ever seen! We LOVE to work with him. He used to be a bishop and is So solid in teaching. he used to be a personal trainer and has a little gym in his garage, so we work out with him on Monday mornings. It is good! We taught a lesson when we went for dinner and left a commitment as missionaries will do, they accepted and extended us a commitment to make sure we are exercising every day, "the 30 minutes every morning right out of preach my gospel," he said. It was awesome.
   We also had dinner at the Thompson home this last week. They have 4 boys and we love going over there. they are so fun and nice to us. We got their 11 year old son a gift for his birthday. So of course me and Elder Orr put some candy in a grocery bag tie it up, wrap it in cling wrap, and repeat that process several times before wrapping tightly it in duck tape putting it in a shoe box with a small American flag (thanks mom!) and proceed to cover and wrap the box and make an impenetrable fortress of duck tape, then put the American flag tape around it (again thanks mom!). It was hilarious! They thought it was pretty funny. SO funny!!! ha He had a good birthday!
     My core experience with god this week came from church this week. Zak who had been baptized the day prior received the Holy Ghost! It was special. Zak is a leader in his family right now. He truly is leading his family in righteousness and setting the path for them. he is quiet and might not realize it but he is guiding his family to the lord in his decision. The mixture of all going well with Zak and his family and our investigator family finally coming to church proved to me two things. First, People are looking and searching for the gospel, they are more prepared than ever! it is incredible! Second, the gospel truly blesses families. Zaks parents are now staying for all three hours of church, Graeme and Denise (the investigator family) fit right in to the ward! Their kids recognized friends from school and forged other new friendships. They were all happy, these two families are coming closer together as they are coming closer to Christ. I see how our flat-family is able to identify with each other and help each other as we are getting better and better at the work we are called to do. The entire Plan of Salvation is for FAMILIES! That really hit me as we taught Graeme and Denise this week and hit me even more at church this Sunday. I am grateful for my Eternal family and my Eternal Father and his guidance.
   We are getting better in our teaching. We are splitting time well, transitioning well, and learning a lot from our District leader, Elder Balmes, when we are on exchanges. We are trying to apply all we can to teach simply, clearly, and personally. Studies in the morning is key. It sets the tone for our day. We are preparing and it is working. I think I need to pay more attention to my teaching and how I can improve... I say the same thing every week, but it is true every week! I need to learn a  bit quicker. ha
   Our level of being consecrated as a missionary varies. It is usually always... where I would call good on the scale. Not great, not alright, but overall good, a little abocve average. At least comparably to my past year in the mission. I do not intend to be prideful but I do think we are doing good. There is always more room for improvement though. District meeting this last week was really good for that. We had an apartment discussion on how we can ALL help each other to be better. We have some good goals set! I live with some good missionaries.. I hope to keep getting better and better through out my mission. After all, improvement and progression have one eternal round...
   I am grateful for all of you in my life! Thank you for your example in my life. Don't underscore yourself... I even hear some of you are getting called to Be mission presidents in the far far east! Good Luck! Love You All!
    Elder Ford

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Familear Faces

I have had a good week! An interesting one, but good!
During sacrament I had some fun memories pop into my had from those meetings in my early years! I remember standing on my chair looking at whoever was talking with my camouflage binoculars, eating little sour orange flavored "lollies," as the Aussies call them, from my moms purse, and getting coloring books out of mom & dads black brief case they brought to church. That is WAY back, you can tell cause I said mom and dad. Ha. Good fun lil memories I thought of yesterday, do not fear though, I am not trunky in the slightest. ha. We have done a lot this week and it has been fun! We kinda rearrange our wall art and Put both flags side by side, with Ol' Glory above my bed. SO I decided to take a few pics.. haha. Also, We found a Scarface poster under our bed that said  "Money Power Respect" so we shanged it to 'Faith Priesthood Respect For God" it was funny! We covered up where it said Scarface and put Missionaries and covered some of the inappropriate things he was holding into pass along cards and a paper air plain. haha. It was funny! So that is in our apartment now...  And they other day I read In Alma where Captain Moroni rends his clothes, creates the title of liberty, and rallies the people. SO during companionship study when we all share what we learned I shared that and how much I liked reading it. As the others went around and shared, I realized there was a hole in my shirt, and the neck was really tight (yes I am getting fat I know! but I lost like 9  lbs in 2 weeks, or like 3-4 Kgs) so I joked about something making me mad and ripped my shirt where it had said hole and tore it off.. haha then made our own title of liberty and we all signed it! haha kind of like our own legacy scroll for those of you that have served.. haha That is some of our wall art now... pretty cool!  Thought you would enjoy that! hopefully the picture of it loads so I can send it! Our library is not the best... the internet is really slow.... but Come what may right!
   So this week at Church some of our older members, the Kirbys, brought their friends to church. He was introducing them, they looked oddly familiar when I saw them. HE said the just returned from a Mission in... And before He could say it I said "Saint George Utah, In the visitors center!" I had met them there when I went down to visit dad. Elder and Sister, now Brother and Sister, Houston! Remarkably they remembered me! I found it fascinating! It was so much fun to talk to them. They said the miss the desert. ha. I also got to ask them if they knew Sister Busteed. they lit up "we LOVE sister Busteed! she was one of the missionaries we got really close with! In fact she said she would come visit us!" They were happy when I told them that she was from my home ward and knew her little brother quite well. Also funny, my first companion Elder keefer is serving currently in their ward in Sydney! Pretty cool. they were so happy that we could make such connections. It was fun to talk to them. I normally don't remember people.. so I was happy. What a fun miracle!
   As I always like to share, My core experience with god this week was definitely in teaching a referral family. They are good people who are looking for a church. They study the Bible everyday. Walking into their home it almost felt like a members home. All the kids were happy to see us and even shook our hands. We really got to know them and taught the restoration. But it was unlike any other Restoration lesson I have taught. It was THE MOST "Preach My Gospel" I have been a part of, I keep saying. Anything and everything we did it was just like preach my gospel said to teach. From How To Begin Teaching to the Baptismal Commitment even to having the Father of the Home say a kneeling prayer at the end of lesson and leaving a short time after! The spirit in that lesson was incredible. They actually asked questions to make sure they understood what we were saying. We asked if they would read the Book Of Mormon. Their Response: "How could we not?" It was incredible. The Member we brought, who gave us the referral, was fantastic. Testified at the right times and knew his stuff, because we took the night before to co-ordinate. like Elder Ballard said in the November Conference the Lord IS Hastening his work. The People we are finding are more prepared than I could imagine. I am SO grateful to be able to be the Lords Set-apart full time servant right now. It is incredible what the spirit can do... I hope to be able to teach like this for every investigator we see, not Just Graham and Denise.
      Our teaching is getting better. One of the members recently asked to have us teach her children that is close to being baptized. We were excited to be invited to their home for the first time since I have been in the area. It has really helped us build relationship and trust with that family, but more so our teaching. Teaching a young girl seven years old, even though she is a bit brighter than most in her Sunday school class, forces you to teach simply. This is just what we have needed. It has been a blessing to teach things simply and understandable. Since she is so young we can see what confuses her, indicating what it is we need to make more clear and improve on. It was been Great! Little Matilda will be more ready than most that get Baptized at her age.
    What I really found interesting when Elder Halek, from the Area Presidency, came this last week was when he told us we are there for the Bishop and Ward Council to use. It was really needed. It is so easy for missionaries to get a little prideful and say "oh, the ward council doesn't do enough for us, they won't help us." That is not how it is supposed to work. We are there to help THEM. We are their tools. I understand that we need to be careful with that and make sure we are still fulfilling our purpose, but it was fantastic to get a different point of view and understand what bishop sees rather than what we see. We definitely can and are starting to work better with the Ward Council. If we stay on course here the area should be heading a good direction. We are working to make sure we do our part.
   I love you all so much and am so grateful for the Examples I have had in all phases of my life! You all are truly an inspiration!
     Elder Ford

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Atonement

My friends and Family! Happy late mothers day! To my actual mother,and to those that have acted as my mother, at home AND in the mission field! I am ever so grateful for your labors in my behalf! ha. This week was great. i enjoyed getting to talk to a select few of you, was really nice. Last night at a members home we came out to our parked car at around 9:00 p.m. to find all 4 of our tires flat... it resulted in us getting home 5 minutes before bed time having found out that there was a hole in all 4 tires the same shape and in the same place... odd right? Plus, the spare tire was flat because we have been needing to get that fixed for a few weeks now! So that is what we spent our morning doing and why we are e-mailing so late! It was crazy... This week we walked through a park at The Entrance that was right on Tuggerah lake. We saw these HUGE Pelicans! and there a bunch of seagulls too. I just kept thinking of finding nemo... "Jump into my mouth if you want to live..."  I got a good laugh out of that! Also, we were at a members house for dinner and they served a few years back and pulled out some old memories to share with us. A missionary drew a funny comic that is scarily true... haha. hopefully all these pictures load... So that is the fun and temporal side of the week.
    My core experience with god, besides learning to be more patient with things from having our tires mysteriously flattened, was definitely from my atonement study. I started my personal study thinking "no I am done with my atonement study it was good, I enjoyed it but time for a new topic." I flipped open Conference Ensign on my desk staring me in the eye was a talk I have listened many times and really enjoy but have never read before, "The Atonement" from Boyd K. Packer a few years back. I got the hint. I read it and finally on the thirteenth day of my study of the atonement, I could apply it to My life and My history. I finally pieced a few things together in my life. I had never felt complete in High School. I attended seminary regularly, but I hardly read my scriptures, off and on prayed before bed, and usually avoided any priesthood responsibility. Church was not my first priority. I see now that I had a God before God, a graven image. That I in a sense worshiped football. I put it before any thing and everything, or anyone and everyone. I was always ashamed when I failed or messed up in off season training or during practice. In those days I remember feeling lost, dark, not-knowing what was missing. As Boyd K. Packer puts it, "I do not remember ever being where it was so dark." The answer is obvious now, The spirit and the Healing power of the Atonement is the result I couldn't find because and missed utilizing. I see now. I finished the talk and was amazed. I went out in the back yard and prayed. As I got up from saying a sincere and genuine prayer apologizing for the history of myself and decisions, I stood up and the bright Sabbath day sun was shining on me. I felt a bit like the actor portraying Joseph smith in the church movies when I instinctively put my hand up to block the light from my eyes. I had a voice in my head that I hope was an answer not a thought I wanted to hear..."You are another son in whom I am well pleased. You are free I love you." For the first time in my life I understand the atonement. I am grateful that I was pointed in the right direction to have this experience and to write down to remember. I have seen the healing hand of God.
    We are continuing in trying to teach simply. It is easier when we do as I have pointed out before, plan it our before hand. I have been saying I am working on those two things for a long time.. I am a slow learner. We are improving though! We teach and get along well, Elder Orr and myself. I personally could work on being a bit more Bold. i tend to be over-bearing though. Elder Orr is not scared to be bold, so that is good. however we need to both work at it. I love being Elder Orr! he is not scared of what people think of him, members, non-members, everyone. he is himself. I am too nervous about how I am viewed. I am starting to hopefully draw that from him. Slowing down with Judgmental attitude during my 40 day fast definitely helped there... definitely.
   I am so grateful for all of yous and your support! you are a bunch of Fair Dinkum Mates!
And I mean that from teh bottom of my heart.
     Elder Ford

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Family History Fire


Hello, wonderful Brothers and Sisters!
   This week has been great. I told you allthat we were told to get familiear with our Family History and I know understand why people love it so much! I loved connecting the trees and reading stories from my ancestors. I read about about Andrew Ole Anderson and his pony express adventures and his run-ins with the indians, I loved reading the story About how the Ford family joined the church in england and crossed teh ocean on what the Aussies would call a very "dodgey" vessel! It was fantastic! Our ward family history advisor was so excited to show us all about it and introduce us to all the people in the family history center. I guess 1 of every 2 people is interested in family history. A great finding method!
  We had the blessing of being able to help Emerlita Donado Torres on her path back to heaven by entering in to the waters of baptism! It was great! She is a refferal from Sister Johnstone. Merly was SO ready for the gospel we didn't really have to do much, the spirit was already working with her and our primary president was fantastic in the fellowship. It wsa great to be able to help her on her path. Miraculous you might even say.
   My core experience with god this week was pretty simple. Elder Orr and myself started to weed out some of our "borderline Obdeience." Particularly in the area of music. The blessings followed. Sister Merly Torres was baptised and she was and is so ready. I don't like to use the term golden, but she was so ready and willing for the gospel and the commandments. We bettered ourselves, we followed the rules we'd been given and our investigator recieved the blessings. It was so great to see and help someone reach the ordinance of baptism for the first time in THIS mission. Continuing on with the rules we'd been given. I gave a talk after the baptism and invited all to be baptised, like we have been asked to do. In the time afterwards when everyone was in the gym having refreshments and talking, a member we thought didn't trust us came to us and asked if we could come by this week and teach their family, moastly their duaghter who is preparing for baptism in the coming months. I have always known obedience brings blessing, and exact obedience brings miracles, heard that a thousand times. I have seen similear blessing before. It is just nice to have reminders as we continue to see the vision and align our self with it! it feels so much better to know you are doing the right thing than to think "I hope I am doing the right thing and following the rules okay."
    Teaching is getting better. We are becoming less over-bearing and teaching more simply. It is helping our investigators I think. Why would it not? We are giving them a lot of new things to think about. We all know what it is like to not understand something, for example math class. It is easy, for me at least, to get lost in math class. The end result is me hating math class. If we confuse the people we teach they won't accept the gospel becuase they do not understand it, and we will have to be accountable for that at the last day. Simplicity is the key. That is what I am seeing as I study the atonement everyday. The gospel is more simple than we sometiems make it out to be. That study is going well by the way. It usually ends up taking up more of my study time than I originally intend. ha.
    The biggest thing I learned this last transfer is I need to start taking the lead more, especially at members home when we are trying to get out on time. I am coming up on a year out and am no longer the less-experienced in misson. I just need to keep breaking those mental barriers I spoke about a month or two back. Also, getting to really know people, members and investigators. I was told that a LOT last transfer and had several experiences. I need to understand and know the people I am trying to serve. I would say that is what I learned last transfer.
   I love you ALL!
    Elder Ford