Sunday, August 31, 2014

What is your level?

  Hello my loved ones!!!
 Been a good week! I do not have much time on the computer this will be quick. I for got my picture reader thing a anyways.. so all is well. She'll be right! We had zone meeting and that was good. Went on exchanges with elder saga that was fun! He is great... We have stake conference this week so that should be fun. They broadcast it to all the different chapels. Taree and tamworth all the way down to here and gosford!
   My experience with god this week came from a song; Nearer, My God, to Thee. It came on in teh apartment one night and caused me to reflect. Early in my mission, when I was referred to as a "greenie" often, I had (what I now understand to be) a very trunky companion and leader. We worked well and hard, but obedience was not of the utmost importance. As I left him those attitudes grew and grew. Even to the point where there was no work to do well or with great effort. Obviously due to the fact that we were not worthy of any work. We simply could not be lead by the spirit... we wanted to do things our own way, me and my new, even more disobedient companion. A week later I left and reported to the Awesome Sanctified Noble Mission (ASNM). I have told this story before. The first week here had chastened me and called me to repentance deeper than I have felt in most of my life. It caused me to change. I think I may have even driven my new trainer, my real trainer, a bit mad with my desire to be exactly and freely obedient. I attitude in THAT case had change fed almost 100%. As I worked diligently and strived to let go of my "nets" as we call them, I found my self on a long car ride, listening to the song "Nearer, My God, To Thee." It struck me to the core. That night, on a drive to Coffs Harbour, and again this week I have come to realize... that through sincere change, I am "Nearer, My God, To Thee" than I ever have been in my entire life. I am grateful to be here serving. I am thankful that I learned how to change and follow the Lord and HIS ways, rather than the "wicked traditions of my Fathers," so to speak. I would encourage all to think about their willingness to obey the commandments and rules they have been given in connection to the distance they feel is between themselves and God.
   Teaching as Jesus taught... He did what he was told, Jesus. HE was told to set up the church, accomplish the atonement, and many other things. He was never told how. To my knowledge at least. Similarly, we have been given a task by our Zone Leaders and by our stake president. We have been given resources to share and implement in the ward. We are excited about and trying our best to find ways to best impact, assist, and inspire our members to due their sacred duty in respect to the gathering of Israel. It is exciting. This was just what we needed to start on the upswing in the zone and district! Our leaders are inspired!
 Thank you all for all that you do! I am grateful for your support!
      Elder Ford

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Covenant Keeping People

Dear mates,
    The thunda down unda is.... actually it hasn't been thundering... just raining! But it is nice and sunny today! 20 degrees even! That's nice. Got Hair cuts this morning from Sister Hancock, that is why we are e-mailing a bit late! All good though! Doing pretty well. Last P-day we had a zone fun day at the chapel. Was good. Passed balls around and stuff, had some sausages. Was good! It was Sister Slades last P-day. She died!!!! In the mission that is... She goes home tomorrow and wanted to have a shin-dig for last p-day. So we had a fun time, took selfies! hahaha. Hence picture no. 1. We were visiting this former and his neighbors must have thrown bread out on the lawn or something cause a TON of rainbow lorikeets (IDK how to spell that...) were huddled together being loud. ha. It was funny. reminded me of Coffs. We were at the Moanas for dinner this Sunday and they had their family over, so we tried some traditional Maori food. Weird, not bad, but weird. Their my companion and Elder Evans started talking about comics... me and Elder Saga got bored and started "muckin' around" as they say here. Elder Saga is so funny! because he is learning English he asks a lot of questions. We laugh a lot.. He speaks great english for only having been out a year! We love Elder Saga! ha. Him and Elder Chin Ah You had fun on exchanges this week... they walked from our house up to the top of our area (hamleynn terrace)! Pretty far, the walked in front of a  mosqe (IDK how to spell that either) and the Muslims followed them! they got scared and stopped sat the train station. Was a good story!
       My core experience this week came from exchanges. We had a pretty good day and the time came for evaluation. This Elder Expressed concern for keeping commitments he had been extended in various mission meetings. he wanted to actually be committed to doing them. We brain stormed and found a couple of ideas that should prove to help. It got me thinking. I found this question in my mind, "am I committed to the COVENANTS I have made?" The idea is the same. I haven't been committing serious crimes or anythin, but the question challenged me. How serious do I take my covenants? Baptism, Temple, the whole lot! Am I actually committed to keeping them? Such a big promise on my end ought to be taken serious, not just viewed as a part of life because I am mormon. As I looked at it and decided to Honor my Covenants i had a renewied sense of passion for the work and my purpose, revelation flows a bit faster, all around ait is a big blessing, the spirit works easier. I highly reccommend to anyone to contemplate how much the honor the covenants they have made with the Lord.
   Teaching as Jesus taught. I am continuing to apply what I learned recently about find when you teach, teach when you find, & talk with everyone. It is what Christ did. People flocked to him, as they should have, and we are given teh oppertunity to have a smilear impact and effect on the people we meet each day. Preach my Gospel is the greatest missionary resource we could have. I am greatful to be learning from it.
    Elder Chin Ah You is good. He is himself and he talks. He gets tot he point of things and states his purpose. Which is good for me! I tend to "beat around the bush a bit." That is good. I am able to adapt and get along with huim easier than I have others. He is straight upa nd will tell me if he likes or dislikes anything. Makes it easy! Being straight foreward is good, it establishes purpose. AJust have to be careful to always be sensative as well... haha.
Thank you all for your support! I love each of you!
         Elder Ford

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Not trunky... Just learning

 Hello! My friends and family! How much I love you all!
    This week has been nice. One of the families had us over for dinner and the made a little fire in the front yard! That was fun. It reminded me of home and all the fun times in the back yard... You also think about the saints in the pioneer days the "Firesides" they undoubtedly had. That was fun! We did a fair bit of service this week that was nice. Always good to break up the work a bit! over all life is good. Not too much to report... Elder Chin Ah You and Myself are getting along well. He is fun to be around. it is good to get fresh eyes into the work here to see how we can improve things. Elder Saga is great as well! he is funny and makes us laugh! He is very courteous and clean as well. All around a very easy person to live with! i just hope I am giving back and returning the favor.
   My core experience with God this week came from a few different experiences. The first, we went fishing on preparation day with Brother Wills. I was reminded of my father taking me fishing as a young boy. I thought of his letters from Coasta Rica talking about his Deep sea fishing he had the chance to participate in. We caught 6 fish that day. Elder Saga caught 3 in about 15 minutes! We were all amazed! Elder Saga is fun to be around... anyways! We had the fish for dinner a few nights later at Brother Wills home with his 2 sons. He decided to smoke the fish instead of grill them. The smell and taste all reminded me of my fathers home and cooking in southern Utah. By simply tasting food cooked in a similar fashion my mind could see the sun setting on the mountains of red rock and snow canyon in St. George. I could hear native American tribal music in my head. It had all reminded me of my life and relationships before the mission. Similarly, I went on exchanges this week with Elder Bardsley, who was my zone leader when I was blessed to be able to serve in the Port Macquarie branch. I was reminded off all the good times and fun experiences of what seemed like a past life. In both cases I was happy and wanted to talk more and smile. For some who might read this the word "trunky" is coming to mind. I knew there had to be a spiritual lesson behind it. I thought about it... and I realized... When we as missionaries share the Gospel with these people we talk to every day, we are reminding them of their literal past life, their pre-mortal life! The heart yearns for it and our message is the way they can have this joy, the way they can find this truth while lost in a "tumult of opinion" the world creates.  We have a responsibility to remind our brothers and sisters of their divine heritage and purpose! how great will be their joy when the are reminded about their prior lives! It was a happy thought to me.. I hope I have illustrated it well for you!
   Teaching as Jesus taught. He always did what he could to have a profound influence and increase the amount of believers. We must also do all we can to increase the amount of believers. We are seeking to utilize our time with members more effectively. Elder Chin Ah you has brought back a good way. We are going to be seeking more referrals! We have said this before, but we are moving ahead with a plan that I have seen work in my mission. I am excited to be here with my companion at this time. I think we CAN have a profound influence on the ward!
   I would say my level of consecration is good. There is always room to improve though. I was really happy after going on exchanges! It kind of kicked me into gear and made me realize some bad habits that had formed, and potentially have added to the stagnation of our work. I am excited to be moving on. Always looking of small ways to improve makes a big difference as we know. I regret not doing a 40-day-fast this transfer... It seems so much easier to grow when we are reminded day and night when you must account to God for your actions! I WOuld sayover all I am good, not great. I am seeking to become great however! I just need to make the choice to be great I think...
   I am grateful to be here. I am happy to be serving. I am doing well.
      Elder Ford

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I Would Hope...

 Hello!!! I hope this e-mail is finding you all well! I do feel your prayers, Thank you!
   This week has been good. Elder Chin Ah You and myself are starting to get to know and understand each other. So, that is nice. The fla is doing alright I think too, as far as adjusting is concerned. Elder Saga is so funny! Earlier in the week he kept walking around the apartment saying "I'm full, but I'm hungry. Does that make sense?" ha. It was so funny for some reason. He is an Awesome Elder though! Convert of like 2-3 years, only member in his family, served in this branch presidency for a while, and he is only 21 years old. What an Elder! We have fun. We have kind of been exploring a bit, me and Elder Chin Ah You. This is us at the end of a path where the Ourimbah creek (or crick as uncle Larry says it) meets the Tuggerah Lake! It was pretty cool. Elder Chin Ah You took some funny photos hanging off the tree. We also found this cool place in Toowoon bay before a dinner appointment, the Sun was setting and it was beautiful! We took some more funny pictures, one of us walking, it is kinda like an iconic missionary picture... just in the woods. haha. But it is good. I thought I would share some of my pictures with you.
   My core experience this week is more of seeing an outcome. I do not intend to be boastful and hope to avoid all pride. I would hope that the Lord, and others, would say I have grown and have made a good habit of following the spirit and trying to receive revelation. The whole process of seeking inspiration, preparing lessons or trainings, leaving commitments, promising blessing, and later following up is becoming natural. It seems like a puzzle of random segments from Preach My Gospel that I have miraculously been led to piece together. (I would say it seems almost a second nature, but I am just asking for trouble if I say that!) I feel that my spiritual progression has hastened since my call to serve increased through the assignment of District Leader. I enjoy it. I hope that I am doing well with the stewardship the Lord has trusted me with.
   When Jesus taught, he knew how the people lived. He knew their environment. He knew where, how, and what they lived in their lives. Elder Chin Ah You and myself have been trying to really get to know Tuggerah and the environment so we can relate to people, investigators, less actives, and members alike, more fully. Even more importantly to relate the Gospel to them in a way that they will understand and accept. Knowing who and What is around you is key!
   I would say it is the small and simple things that would be holding me back in the work. I need to make a habit of updating the area book, I need to talk to everyone, I need to always seek referrals, etc. There are the small things that we always forget to do and usually don't like to do, but make All the difference for ourselves and others, now & in the future. It is overcoming forgetfulness, laziness, and bad habits as well.  Those are the things I am working on to perfect my influence as a representative of The Anointed, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ.
   Thank you for all you do! I really appreciate it.
      With much Love,
                     Elder Ford

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Quite the Hold.....Reality

 Hello everyone! I love you all... I really do!
   This week was a weird one... a good one but weird! We had district meeting on Wednesday with the new district! This is them! (see picture 1) Went good. Went down to Sydney on Thursday for district leader training! We started our zone fast an hour after the meeting ended so me and Elder Nielson (other district leader on the central coast, from delta) were downing apples in the mission office until the zone leaders called and we had a big fast starting prayer! Was fun. Trained back and had a good day! Friday, we broke our fast and had district lunch at all you can eat pizza hut! Not a good idea.. or the best idea? not sure yet! haha. Friday night we were sleeping when at 1:14 am 3 of our 4 windows in our from room were smashed in! No brick or anything so it was like a punch and a hammer or something. Really weird! We called over Bro. Karczmarz our land lord and he come over at 2 am. We got it all taken care of and boarded up in the morning. Saturday turned into all day service at the Thonpsons. was good... Sunday. We fasted again and went to the Moana s for dinner! They always feed us good! And make a TON of food! Good Maori family!
My core experience with god this week is interesting. On Thursday we went down to Sydney for the District leader training. On the train, bus, and while walking to the mission home, I found myself stunned a bit. We are so distracted by false realities. Movies, television shows, novels, games, the list goes on and on. This isn't a new thought for to have but it struck differently that day. The devil has such a hold on society these days it is scary. People walking around with all manner of vulgarity on their shirts, where it is text or image. Even wreaking windows in missionary apartments just for fun. All focused on what is not real. Hiding in false realities trying to find something, They think they will find it in entertainment. I do not seek to condemn the television or wearing of t-shirts. But I do not understand why society has shifted to such a way that we focus SO strongly on fake people having fake relation ships on the TV or in a book, but do not value raising a child in a married relationship, or taking care of our fellow men. It seems a bit cynical yes, but think about it... We need to be more dedicated to our purpose and what we do than ever before to change a world so full of glorified sin. We know that in the end God, Christ, the Priesthood, and Good will conquer. But what are WE doing to ensure and help that process?
   Since the Baptism of the Jessep family we have not had many people to teach. I am now trying to "Go about doing Good" and "Find when I teach, and teach when I find" so we can find those being prepared for us, well more accurately for the gospel. Christ always was lead the the people or they were lead to him.. How can WE get that as missionaries? I do believe it is by being willing to fully give ourselves to the lord and to FOLLOW the spirit in all things. I thought I have been strong in this category... I will relook at it and try to do better, so that we may find all those who are ready to help prepare the world for the 2nd coming of our long-awaited Messiah.
   Our long awaited messiah... I have been trying to think about the atonement of Christ and share it in every lesson or contact I share. It should be the reason for all we do. As a missionary I am finally starting to understand the atonement (at the surface of an iceberg level of course) and how I can use it and apply it and what it means. He loves us and invested a lot in us. I am grateful o be his servant at this time. The work is progressing and the world is changing! I am grateful and happy to be here at this time, that he has chosen me to represent him.
    Elder Ford