Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Power Of The Spirit

 Hello again! Another week in the service of our God, A good one at that!
All is going swimmingly Down Unda! All Good in S'tray'uh! We are having fun. Doing the work as usual. We had zone Conference up in Charlestown (NewCastle) about an hour north. That was way fun! It was a combined ZC with Coffs Harbour, NewCastle, and the currently greatest zone in the mission the Central Coast! haha. I am completely unbiased too... totally. (Tuggerah is in the central coast BTW). It was fun to see old companions and friends from Coffs Harbour that are still there and missionaries I came in with that are serving in Newcastle! We learned a lot. It was a BIG zone conference. I included a picture of The District leader training I went to a few weeks ago and am hoping to add in one of Tugger lake, and a nice sun rise early before ZC on Friday!
  I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from the recent Zone Conference, and from my first few weeks  as a District Leader! However, my Core experience with God this week has come from working with the members, Less-actives, and investigators. What some would call the usual and mundayne missionary work. Sometimes we have to go "back to the basics," as they would say during the first week of football practice in High School. For whatever reason, Elder Orr and myself have found a new way to go about working, particularly with the members and less-actives. It's called "The Spirit!" We have experienced some REALLY good lessons this week , some of which came out of members who we usually struggle to get into spiritual or sacred space. As we listened, truly listened, to these people questions would pop into our head. We couldn't always ask them right at that very moment, but whenever we asked them in the next moment or two it always brought the conversation to a higher level. It brought more spirit. We would let them talk and since the spirit was there they received personal revelation. In one case it was for a less-active son who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood. As we were leaving this mother said "I think I know What I need to do now, I think I need to get the ball rolling." It was a very happy and fulfilling moment as a missionary. It is not only my core experience with God for the week but also how I, or more we (My companion and my flat-mates), have been trying to teach more as Jesus taught.
   Going along with this improved understanding of the spirit, I was really trying to focus yesterday on the meaning of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I looked at the Water as if it were a small cup filled with blood. It really helped me to visualize and take more seriously what it meant. It represented my Savior love for ME. He had provided a way for me individually. A small cup just for ME. He made sure he could help ME to be clean. It was interesting. It was a small, but meaningful lesson to learn as my Companion and I strive to deepen our testimony of the the Great Mediator, Jesus Christ.
  I love you ALL! SO much! You know it. I Hope all is well!
       Elder Ford

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Higher Plane

Hello my wonderful friends and family!
I hope you all have had a fantastic week I know I have. It has been a really good one. Last week for P-day Bro. Hancock took us to "The Mental Hospital." We had to drop off Elder Orr. ha no I am kidding. It is a site where they have a BUNCH of kangaroos! So I took some pictures for ya! We broke out our onsies me and Elder ORR haha. Pretty funny. We also tried to do some street contacting on the bike path that goes around Tuggerah lake. Dad would love that place. He loves bike paths.... ha. It was a nice and sunny day! So we took a minute to look at the beautiful lake. It was nice! SO I included a picture of that as well. Thought you would enjoy. They call it winter here but this week has been really nice actually! Really nice. Very much so enjoying that! I hear it is nice weather there as well. Good for ya'all! Enjoy the long hot summer, I would. i am excited for the 4th of July coming up. We have four Americans in our Flat, I guess that is pretty rare. So we are going to sing the Star Spangled Banner (Hymn no. 339) to open our companionship study that day. haha. ANd I have an American Flag so we can put our hands over our hearts and go the whole 9 yards!
 Here is Another Joke to brighten up your e-mail reading.
  Who puts the Leaves back on the trees in the spring time?.............................................
The Re-leaf society. ha. ha. (Credit to Sister Hughes in Sunridge Ward (one of my old primary teachers) for that joke)
...well....On to my weekly e-mail we venture!
    My core experience this week was all about revelation. As I have strived for greater guidance from the spirit I have been more able to easily recieve Revelation. For myself, my companionship, and the District. I am constantly thinking of things I can do to share or help the Districts or my own situations. There is an obvious connection between the increase of Revelation and my desires. It is that, my desires. I now feel a greater sense of responsibility and purpose. I have a greater need to rely on the spirit. All week I have been thinking "wow, it is incredible how I just receive promptings." It is indeed incredible. What is the reason it flows better now? I see now that it is sincere desire and real intent to change and serve. It is a consious decision to think on a higher plane. I have noticed this slowly spreading across differant fields of our companionship. We are activly seeking to improve our prayer to our father in heaven. We are actively trying to have the spirit by being obedient to mission rules. We are sincerely seeking more inspiration and revelaton. (I do not mean to be prideful I aor brag about the good we are doing, but trying to point out good changes I see.) I now more fully realize the promise in the Book of Mormon, we WILL recieve an answer to that the Book is ture if we ask with REAL INTENT to change. We can act all we want but Improvement and Progression will not occur unless we have a desire to change. I recall hearing words in a transfer meeting from inspired leaders, "You determine the level of spirituality you live." If we have real intent to change, to improve and progress, we determine to live on a higher plane. I see my companionship and out flat all on this upward slope. I hope my ramblings added up to a coherent and understandable lesson I learned. It made sense in my head.
   Last week I spoke about how we were trying to find and utilize more resources. We have been sharing some mormon messages in lessons. It has had a very good impact! I do understand there is a danger in relying fully on a video for a lesson. SO we are trying to find ways we can integrate them rather than have them be the focus. It is good though. It really brings the spirit and we can feel more what to teach to the individuals. It is not nessecarily how Jesus taught, but he did utilize what he had. He taught in parables. I feel that mormon messages and parables have a similear out come. To teach based on experiences we can percieve but have not nessecarily experienced ourselves. I hope it continues to be a fruitful method of teaching where appropriate.
   The mission so far is great! The Sydney North Mission is Differant from the Mission I was "Born" in. So it is fun to be able to learn from and see two differant worlds. Altogether the experience is simiear though. It is very humbling and really shows you what is important in life. I talk about this with Elder Orr often. We really see now what is important. Plans that we had before our missions now seem pointless and mwith out purpose. We usually find the idea of home life and not being a missionary quite odd. I would the mission experience 12.5 months out is great so far! I have learned a lot and know I have muck to learn. I am finding the mission very revelatory and Life-changing. Absolutely life-changing.  Many thughts or ideologies I had are now very differant. i can see the eternal perspective easier and why I believe what I believe.
  I LOVE you all! I have had many extrodinary examples in my life. I am very grateful for all that you have done for me. All the sacrafices you have made in my behalf. I am eternally grateful!
            Elder Ford

Monday, June 16, 2014

A change of View

Hello Friends and family! All is well down unda! I am just getting over a bit of a cough. Feeling better. Yes transfers were this week and we did not e-mail on Monday.... so what is your guess???    nope! I am still in the beautiful Tuggerah and with not so beautiful Elder Orr! haha jk. He is beautiful.. just spiritually. ha. Jk again. Love him! I did get a call on Saturday night from president Howes though. He asked me if I would be willing to be the new District Leader in the area since Elder Balmes was being transferred. "Come What may & Love It!" "Yes sir I would love to!" So I have to prepare hour long trainings for the missionaries every week now. I am excited for this chance to serve even more in the lords vineyard! The new missionary in the apart... flat. in the flat is Elder Evans. From South Jordan'layton Utah. There are 4 Americans in Tuggerah. crazy, hey? It is fun though! he is a great missionary and will keep me and Elder Orr on our toes! I am excited to see how it goes. I didn't take many pictures this week. There is one of one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Kiwa (Maori-New Zealander). We were expecting them at any minute to go on exchanges. So we heard this knock on our front window. Elder Orr lifts up the blinds and we die laughing seeing this! ha. It was great! We had to take pictures, obviously! ha. the next one is the only one I took with me in it. That is a sister that got transferred out of toukly (in the district) and some random member. haha. so yea.. that was my Sunday best this week! That is all the big news of the week... yep!
   My core experience with God this week came from a few differant experiences. I began to notice and look at a change of Attitude I was having. In highschool I often felt like the one on the outside trying to fit in with what was "Cool." I alays got into the trends as soon as they seemed to be dying. I always felt a bit like the odd duckling. I could never seem to fit in just how I wanted to. Everyone wants to be "That cool kid," even if it means acting stupid. Anyway, I have painted that picture adequately enough. I NOW see what I thought was a burden of unpopularity and "just not being with the times" is actually a TREMENDOUS blessing. I am less attached to the world and can break the ties to sin much easier, or so I feel. A change of context shifts viewpoint draramatically! I am now greatful I could never find that social position I thoguht I wanted. A true testament that Gods ways TRULY are higher than our ways! He has a Plan for me that gets clearer and more seamlingly tailor-made everyday! I know who I am, I know gods plan!
    Going along with last week where we were improving our teaching by teaching to their needs, Me and Elder Orr realized we need to check our inventory and resources. There have been so many times in my mission were I (or other missionaries) have said "Wow! I wish I knew that when I came into the mission! It would have saved so much time!" I see that happening again... So we are evaluating our resource pool so we can evermore effectively Teach to their needs.
    A time I felt spiritually fulfilled this week was... Honestly.. Taking the sacrament! I really tried to focus on what it meant that day, to be cleansed again! Everytime I think about it.. it amazes me! We have the chance to be forgiven of all our sins everyweek! Is that not impressive? I focussed on it and tried to think abour and contemplate the atonement. I have realized I need to keep studying it. I need to more fully understand it! Like has been told me before, I could awrite an eassay and cover all the points but I have not yet learned to appy it propperly or fully in my life. Sorry this has turned more into a revelatory experiemce thana time I was spirtiually fulfilled.
   Thank you all for the love you show me! I can feel your prayers! Thank you all so much!
    Elder Ford

Monday, June 9, 2014

History Geek

Hello Family and friends!
 I am e-mailing a bit late in case you didn't notice. That is because the libraries were closed yesterday due to yet again! A public Holiday. The queens birthday... But they will swear till the moon is green that they are not British. ENGLAND doesn't even celebrate this Holiday. Pretty funny, huh? Well, all is well. I am doing good. Tuggerah is fun. Transfers are in a week. Could have a new companion next time I e-mail, but ya never know! I hope we both stay. Love Tuggerah and Love Elder Orr. It is good. We have a good relationship with the members here. We were at a dinner appointment last night, sitting on the couch. And their little 3 year old just comes and sits between us and hangs out with us. ha. It was funny. We took a picture we thought it was so funny. I was looking at the picture afterwards and boy, I am FAT! Ha, at least you know I am being well fed! We were driving to a members house the other day and the sky was orange-as! It was crazy. So we stopped by Tuggerah lake and tooka photo or two. It was pretty cool-looking! So there are some pictures of that!
  My core experience this week came from my calendar. I am somewhat of a WW2 nerd, as you may well know. I saw June 6th and realized it was the 70th anniversary of D-day. The infamous allied sea invasion of Nazi controlled France. It has been something that has fascinated me my whole life. I was thinking about A large scale military invasion and the bombings prior, how it would have been very difficult for families to stay safe and how frightening it likely was. I then thought of one of my favorite hymns. No. 248 "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion." It is not a very popular hymn, likely because it is a bit different. However, one of the lines says "The foe is at the doors of your homes." The analogy of war and the spiritual war we face everyday is nothing new, but it made me think a bit deeper about it. In a sense we jumping out of a plane into a foreign land and fighting, fighting for what we know to be most important, "...Our god, Our Religion, Our Freedom." I hope to be the best soldier (and medic for fallen comrades if you will) in gods army that I can be.
   We are trying to improve our teaching by widening our investigators pool of fellowship. We are trying to get more and more people involved so they really feel welcomed to the ward and loved. I see this being good so that when the missionaries leave they have better friends than just one part member family in the church. Their true conversion process will flow a lot faster and more naturally.
   The way I move forward with faith when potentially discouraging circumstances arise is to live my "6 word Vision." Come What May & Love It! Unfavorable situations can and will happen at any time, usually when very inconvenient. I love that talk by Elder Wirthlin. If everyone just lived that in their lives they would laugh a lot more and face challenges with increased faith. I have noticed it usually makes the outcome of whatever circumstance better. I have found that facing difficult senarios with the attitude of "Come What May & Love It" usually makes me, those I am around, and the spirit much more comfortable and willing to face said senario with faith.
   Thank you all for your love and support! I greatly appreciate it! you are all wonderful!
      Elder Ford

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Power of Prayer

Hello my loved ones!
  Not  whole lot to report this week. We are doing well. Graeme and Denise are doing well. We are hoping they continue to love church. We are doing a good work here. One of the members had a big ward party for his 80th birthday. We were spreading out, working the members as missionaries do. I was talking to our WML, Bro. Ferguson, and he said he was getting a lot of good reports from members about us. SO I hope that is true and that we can keep it up! I am pretty happy. Don't really need anything.. The sun looked pretty cool breaking through the clouds the other day! I am grateful for all your thoughts and prayers!
  I thought I would give ya a joke to lighten your mood as your read E-mails.
What did the Pioneers eat coming across the plains?............................................Parcly P. Pratt.    ha... ha... ha...
I hope that brightened up your day! I will get on with my letter now.
   My Core experience with god this week has been one that directly changes what I do. There have been a few things leading me to pray more effectively. In my personal study I was reading about what we should and need to pray for. It hit me a bit. I have always felt that my prayers are a bit repetitive and a bit like a grocery list, as Preach My Gospel puts it. I read that we should pray and specifically tell heavenly father who blessed our lives that day and how. That lead me to think more about my prayers and put a bit more effort into them. The BIG changer came during a companionship study. Elder Lewis has been studying prayer lately and he shared what he found in the Bible dictionary. It basically tells us that one of the reasons prayers go unanswered is because they are not the will of Christ.  We pray in the name of Christ. We should not ask for or say anything to our Father In Heaven in the name of Christ that our savior would not say himself. I have been taking much longer saying prayers. Praying for and showing gratitude for individuals by name. More of a daily report than a list of "Thanks for this, give me that." I have been finding, as a wonderful Hymn illustrates, finding more purpose in prayer. As I put more effort forth  and really show more love all phases of work are becoming more clearly. I have found myself more aware of guidance by the spirit, which has done MUCH for my studies this past week. The blessings are evident and clear. It has changed much of what I do and how I react to situations. I am grateful for the revelation heavenly father sees fit to bestow upon me.
   Teaching as Jesus taught.... I always seem to struggle a bit with this each week... We are teaching more how Preach My Gospel outlines the lessons, more following the counsel of our District Leader, and to the whole family. This family we are teaching seems to be a perfect fit and opportunity for us. They are the most Preach My Gospel lessons I have taught. We teach the family, but by the way it goes it is to the father. The lord is preparing his people to receive the restored gospel! He is IS hastening his work. We are teaching the family and following the guide laid out before us. I seem to say this a lot. We used Preach My Gospel and it worked! Weird, right?
   I plan to ensure this family we are teaching gets baptized by doing exactly what we know needs to be done, exactly what we have been taught! Set up a baptismal calendar, keep daily contact, take some advice I got today and be Bold, since it only takes 20 seconds of bravery (I love that!). I plan to prepare them and teach them all that they must know, and more importantly, do to live with him some day.
   I love you all!
Love, Elder Ford