Sunday, September 28, 2014

Patience my Boy...Patience

Hello my WONDERFUL comrades in Gods Army! It is a BEAUTIFUL day here in Hornsby! Summer is coming and it is getting nice and warm! :) Makes elder Ford happy. Must be the endorphins in the sun light! Or how ever you spell it! This week has been interesting. not bad though! HEAPS to learn from! The are doing the monopoly campaign at McDonald's, or "maccas" as the Aussies say it, again! So we in the Dura-Hursst District (Dural/Normanhurst) have a pool going. We all go to McDucks (as Elder Ford has called it for a while now) and pool our monopoly cards.. ha it is fun! Builds unity right? We are close on a couple! We know we will never win.. it is probably impossible... filthy Maccas and their sneaky business.. haha. One of them has a HUGE blow up monocle monopoly man! ha. Reminds me of Ace Ventura "Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars!"  well.. that is a good summary of the week.. now on to some good lessons learned!
   My Core experience this week... Is kind of like last week. Every where we have gone, surveying, tracting, following up on formers, etc. Man people have been quick to get a little.. not angry.. but defensive might be the right word. I asked one man if he would be willing to take a survey. His response get eviler and eviler as he spoke, "Oh no I am not the one to talk to about religion. I do not believe in God. All churches are blinded. And THAT CHURCH (pointing to my name tag) is the worst of all with gold plates and..." he continued to slander my beliefs. All of this because I asked him to take a survey! I didn't even mention God, Church, or Religion. It was So Funny! I walked away from him laughing. This week has been filled with people trying to prove us wrong. I do believe Satan is trying to test our faith. Not succeeding though! If anything this week has built my Faith higher. I have truly had to rely on the Lord for many things. Is it the refiners fire? I do not know. But this week, and I hope all weeks in my future I will have the same feeling as I did in my last e-mail: "I will always be faithful and true!" 
I am striving to be more Christ-like in my life and in my teaching by increasing my patience. I'll tell ya, I have wanted blow my gasket a few times, For various unimportant reasons. I try to realize this won't matter in a months time or maybe even a weeks time. I have tried to be as D&C 121 as I could. Patience, "long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile." Striving to give up all my hate my anger to the Lord and thinking of his love for me and his sacrifice. I was reading today in 3rd Nephi chapter 22. I read verses 11-17 and felt comforted. I think that is a good motivation to endure all! Just a couple of thoughts!
I would hope that my impact on the mission would be a good one, as everyone else. I think of the leaders that truly helped me to grow and were true examples of what a missionary SHOULD be! I Hope that I have left the same impact on all my companions and District members I have been given responsibility for. I would hope that I have been that same example of what a missionary should be. I may not have been in some cases... None are perfect, that includes senior companions, District leaders, and so on. However, I hope that I can improve myself, and help others to do the same! I try to share my experiences that have shaped me and helped me to grow so that they can experience and have the same knowledge as I. Which hopefully would lead them to get more out of other and higher leaders. I feel that I am rambling now. I hope that I have said something to inspire you! 
   You all are an inspiration! Thank you for all your kind thoughts and prayers! I DO love YOU!!!
        Elder Ford

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Seperate Experiences

Hello My wonderful and supportive family and friends! I am so grateful for all of you and your prayers. I am happy that you enjoy my e-mails. It makes it even more worth it. This week has been good.
I had the fortunate chance to go on exchanges with the Zone leaders and put that vision into action. We taught 8 other lessons, and during evaluation saw 3 separate occasions where we missed our chance. All adding up to 11. The goal I or vision I set. the lord blesses us when we set goals and follow through with them. I love learning. It is a blessing. I also have 4 Elders In the district to go on  exchanges now, so that is fun. I have to start earlier! ha. I was able to go to Dural with Elder Nalawas this week. he is from Vanuatu and amazing. He is quiet but a good missionary with great desires. It was a pleasure to serve with him! I have included a picture for you. :)  Other than that not too much has happened in the past week. Work work work. We taught 25 other lessons. I was amazed when I was reporting numbers last night. But it is not about that as we aall know. But I do feel happier talking to more people.Lots of moments to learn from...
  This week for my core experience I want to contrast 2 separate occurrences. The first. We set up an appointment with a man that was a bit argumentative but I had faith the spirit could wrought a miracle. At this appointment we never had a chance to invite the spirit. He was angry and set to disprove all we said from the get-go. The spirit was gone, absolutely. I was nervous and angry. We tried all we could for an hour to invite the spirit into our conversation and begin teaching the message of the restoration. It was a lost cause. He would not even let us pray, we know what kind of spirit entices a man not to pray... It was obvious he was trying to waste our time and even crush our beliefs. He tried to make us feel guilty once we told him we had to depart. He was wasting our and the Lords time so we dismissed his statements and went along our way. The experience effected me for the rest of the night. The prayer my companion offered helped. The spirit,or comforter, was brought back to us. I still was amazed and could not believe this man and his cause to (try and stop us from sharing the message." Eventually the sacrament the next day and the talks following cheered me back up. But it had a negative impact. As contention, slandering, ridiculing, swearing, and other unclean and impure acts always do...  I want to consider that while looking at this service opportunity I took part in this week. We showed up to the members home to see a rather dingy and dimly lit hall-way. Step 1: scrap the walls of excess glue and paper. The walls them selves seemed a bit livelier but not much of a notice could be taken other than they were a bit more smooth than before. Step 2: Wash and scrub the walls. It was interesting. We used water. It didn't really seem to get our tools that dirty but the walls were very noticeably lighter. In fact the whole room was a bit brighter. Step 3: Primer. As we changed the actual surface of the walls to white It was incredible, to me at least if no one else, how much brighter and happier the room was. It all looked cleaner, spirits were all up, it had a good impact, and the potential of the hall way and walls was huge now. What I can conclude from these 2 experiences is great difference we can have on ourselves, our family, our community, and our world if we slander, degrade, and destroy.. And the Great difference and legacy we can share with those same paries if we Uplift, Clean, Prime, and Purify. Purify our motives, purify ourselves and our acts, so we can uplift, (help to) clean, and prime others to do the same. I believe that is also part of our great calling and commission as missionaries.
   Teaching and striving to be Christ like is a long process. It requires diligence and patience. I am striving AGAIN to follow the spirit in all I do. We can understand the obvious consequences. I have experienced them.. unfortunately we are not perfect. I am trying to once again recognize the spirit always. Instead of thinking.. "nah I got it. I know what I'm doing.. I've been our fora almost a year and a half now." I need to humble myself and let the holy Spirit guide as the hymn book tells us. ha.
   The mission has had a huge impact on me. I know see the great importance of the church in my life, community, and world. it is not just tradition anymore. It is deep inside of me. I have had many experiences that have truly shaped me into who I am and who I am meant to be. I have learned many life lessons, Obedience the one I have told most of. It was a BIG humbling hurdle for me. I was thinking of that this morning actually on my walk to the library.. funny how that works. In the MTC I struggled with faith. Coming into my mission I had concern an doubts. The growing influence of atheism had grown huge around me. Now, I have been given the opportunity from the Lord to truly learn of all that he does for me and truly see his hand in my life! In the negative experience I told you about earlier I did have some positive experiences... He asked "what would it take for you not to believe in God?" I Answered I will always believe in God. Then I Know he is there. I wish I had answered using the lyrics from one of my favorite hymns, I have mentioned it before. I feel it is more powerful and accurate of what I hope to get across, "I will always be Faithful and True!" My sacred Grove? My Sacred Grove is my Mission really. My sacred grove is repenting after newly arriving in Sydney. My sacred grove is diligent obedient work in Port Macquarie with my trainer. My sacred grove is helping close member friends understand the importance of the Book of Mormon in their Family. My Sacred grove is being blessed by lord to be apart of a miracle, a family finding the truth, the Restored Gospel, they have been searching for. My sacred grove is Finding my vision. My Sacred grove is The Australia Sydney North Mission.
Thank you all so much. I am so grateful for my chance to serve. I appreciate all you do. HEAPS of love! until next time...
             Elder Ford

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Sense Of Commitment

 Hello!!!! How are all of you? I hope well. I hope well.
  I am e-mailing a day or so late because we had a big zone Temple P-day. We get to do that here in the city zones! Ha. It was good, always nice. I was feeling quite rushed before hand (Sydney traffic), but I was so calm once I  was greeted inside the temple... funny of the Spirit on the House of the Lord will do that to you! Not a whole lot to tell you this week... I am getting used to the Ward it is different, but fun! It is definitely a lot more busy! Driving here is fun too! I love driving down Pennant Hills Rd at night... You get kind of the cruisin' feeling.. haha. It was good! All in all, the new ward is good. The work moves quicker here. I see the office staff more than once in a blue moon. ha. They told me that our ward is one of the 3 that gets the most referrals! So that is pretty cool... yea! i just looked and realized i didn't take ANY pictures this week... sorry!
   My Core experience this week came from what else but the miracle books we received! I was SO happy to read miracles from missionaries I had served around! Most importantly, and impactfully, were the ones from my first zone leaders in the Awesome Sanctified Noble Mission, ASNM... I began to miss old times and experiences I had with them and started to remember the things they taught me. I had been feeling discouraged all week, so this was helping.. but also somewhat amplifying the feeling...  one of them wrote that he learned "a missionary without a vision is usually the one who struggles the most." Boy, did I know that  was true through the spirit when I read it. It applied to my whole mission (and life)! I have been asked what my "Vision" is many times since arriving in Sydney. I have always had a thought to say but never have. Even when my own Stake President asked me before I left, I had a thought.. but never said it. I think Because I knew if I said it that it would be an actual goal. I believe I was afraid of failing the goal so I just have never put it to be an actual goal. 20 Baptisms, with at least 1 in each area. I have always thought about it. I decided to man up and make it an actual goal in my mind and now actually, as you will be able to hold me accountable. I thought of something that our "Mission Mom," Sister Howes always says: "Mission math. If you want to baptize a lot of people,, you will talk to a lot of people, if you want to baptize a few people you talk to a few people." With that in mind... I realized I have been the Lords instrument in the conversion of 9 of his Sons/daughters. Thus meaning 11 more to reach this new goal. I mad e the decision that I was going to try and teach 11 other lessons a day, and talk to everyone! I had this great zeal come over me at 11 o'clock at night when I was in bed thinking that "that will be easy!" I started to think of all the people I talk to, at the grocery store, walking to appointments. I have realized I can do more. I pray for the strength and courage to do more! And I hope and commit to do more. That is a bit of my experience this week.
   I love you all! Thank you for your support and prayers!
      Elder Ford

Monday, September 8, 2014

Slowly working my way South

Hello friends and family!
  After an awesome 6 months the Celestial Kingdom has moved from Tuggerah NSW to Normanhurst NSW! I was up in Coffs, up on the Central Coast, and now I have just barely come through the fog and canyons into the Sydney zones! Literally, it was so foggy coming to transfer meeting! haha. I was very sad to leave Tuggerah... It truly became my home. Seemed as if I was part of the family and living there! Maybe that is why I got transferred, hey? All is well though. Change is necessary, as I have said before. The chapel we meet at for transfers is my new transfers, so I am reminded of Maryland Heights MO. My "Birth" area. Normanhurst is in the Baulkham Hills Zone. I call it the mother zone because it is HUGE! One of the biggest Sydney zones in size and THE biggest in numbers! I am 1 of 3 District Leaders in the zone. I am pretty sure all the other zones just have 2. It is weird being here... But I will adjust. My new companion is Elder Simeavao, from Samoa. If you have a good memory you will remember that I served with him in Coffs Harbour zone. SO that is fun. He has a reputaion of being crazy! ha. He is a good time. 
   I will miss Tuggerah. I really loved the Elders I was with when I left. My Companion Elder Chin-Ah-You, from Tahiti. The french military boy! I was mad to be leaving him... And Elder Saga... I love Elder Saga! He is so humble and funny! He is quiet around members... but when he speaks it is pricelessly funny! ha. I will miss them!  To one of our Dinner appointments this week they said it was a pajama party, so they planned on making fun of us for not being in PJs... So what do we do? We were onsies and Pj's over our proselyting clothes! haha. Funny thing is... they all "forgot" it was pajama party night... Really they "couldn't be bothered" which is aussie for we are too lazy. haha Just kidding they are funny... ha
   Last P-day we went to Somersby falls. It was a sweet little hike! So fun! I have so many pictures this week but can only send three(there is a limit on how much info I can send, like memory I can attach.). it was way fun! A good end of transfer zone p-day! A good one! I talked the other disrict leader into getting wet if I did.. he agreed thinking I wouldn't so I go right into the water fall! haha. He had to take up his end of the bargain! So I will try to send more pictures of that! 
   My core experience this week has to do with change. I was in an apartment I had been living in for 6 months. No one around me was the same as when I arrived, nor in my district, and the zone was in a similar state. Then, I came down to Sydney for the meeting on Monday. All these people some I know, some I did not. I see people who are now leaders that I knew well before they were given added responsibility. I Don't see mission leaders that were here when I arrived. I kept having flash backs of my new arrivals meeting. I went to my new zone leaders flat, I had stayed there once before. Again, all was different, but the same. I was feeling.. not let down or disappointed... but for some reason surprised. I knew all these people had "died" in the mission and I know others have progressed spiritually, but for some odd reason it shocked me a bit. After feeling a bit... feelings are often so difficult to describe. Anyway, later I thought. It is much similar to life and history and the church. The doctrine and the scriptures have stayed the same (for the most part) but the faces have changed. (prophets, apostles, etc.) The gospel is eternal... we are merely tools in the lords work to bring to pass ETERNAL changes in a temporary state. I do not know if I have adequately described my experience... but I hope you were able to get something out of it!
   Teaching as Jesus taught. I now have a lot of people to get to know. I hope to be able to get to them on a personal level. SO I, like the savior, can teach to their needs. SO they can improve and progress eternally! I know it is through the spirit that I will be able to do so, and do so quickly. The spirit is key in all things. Through it we can know all things. Even the Truth of all things!
   I would tell any 17 year old who is preparing to leave on his mission to study Preach My Gospel and read the Book Of Mormon Everyday. I would have been so much more prepared If I had spent the time to prepare. Instead of just saying "oh, yea I'm going on a mission soon." And slowly reading through  the Book of Mormon. It is essential in this work. It is absolutely needed. You would have so much the advantage if you studied those 2 books everyday. I would recommend not only preparing missionaries, but all members to do the same!
   Thank you all for the love that you all have for me! I am appreciative of it! ( I nee dot work on my spelling!) I love you all!
            Elder Ford