Sunday, October 26, 2014

Come What May & Love It

 Hello Dear Loved ones!
   This week was PACKED! Meetings everyday and lots of work to do! Was good though. The Feils, a senior couple that works in the office, are going home this week so Elder Crump found his way to get them to have us over for dinner! ha. It was nice, fun to see them and get to say goodbye. The are from Lehi, I will have to let you know info about their homecoming if I can.. or whatever it is the senior couples do when they come home.. haha. Will miss them. Will miss them. Speaking of missing things.. I do not remember if I said this in my last e-mail so sorry if it is a repeat! ha. After a lot of memory chasing with Elder Crump we decided we are suffering from PTD... It is similar to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) that Vietnam vets and stuff have.. but it is Post-Tuggerah-Disorder! haha. We miss that ward... but understand that in order to progress we must move on! Sadly... I have my New companion! Fresh from the Mission home! ha. His name is Elder Nathan! From Perth, Western-Australia! He is way cool! Big Maori fella, born in NZ but grew up in Perth. He has such a desire to serve and work. It is incredible and such a blessing! Couldn't ask for a better trainee! Love him. Excited to spend the next 12 weeks with him! We have done what all new missionaries do... tract, learn how to contact, and of course as any missionary that served in Australia would know, Tim-Tam-Slam! haha. Bit the edge off the Tim-tam cookie, sip hot milo through it like a straw, and enjoy the melting goodness on your taste buds! haha. It is a fun aussie and missionary thing to do. ha I did peak at the blog Nyla made. WOW! That must have taken some work! Thank you! It was fun to look at! God has blessed me with great friends and family...
   This week I have had the chance to seriously put into action my "6-word-vision" said by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come What May & Love It!" Elder Nathan and I have been working fairly diligently, talking to as many people as we could. We sometimes got discouraged sometimes. However, I have done my best to be determined to have a good day! We have been making the most of situations, laughing at scorns and ridicule, and staying positive. The result has been good. Our companionship unity has sky-rocketed as an effect. We have been given the strength to continue on and be happy, despite the less-then-desirable results we achieved. We have "Kept the faith" so to speak, been progressing spiritually, and learning a lot (especially abut each other). We noticed last night as we pieced together out weekly numbers that we actually did a pretty good job, especially considering the chaotic week full of meetings we had. It was interesting to reflect and see how I was tested of what I put on any and every e-mail! I hope that we can continue on and see many great miracles. I do think we have the right combination to make it happen.
   Teaching as Jesus taught... We have been trying to discern what people are really yearning for spiritually and which aspect of the gospel they need to hear! It has been good. The 10 question survey we have been given to use helps greatly with that! It is good to gauge and see peoples understanding of God and to help them understand more. It is so much easier to share the gospel with someone when you know what part of all the great wisdom of God they need. Christ was the ultimate example of discernment! As he is with all good traits, skill, abilities, and gifts.
   The happiest moment of my mission so far... I would say there is a bunch of small moments that are too hard to choose from. All the fun memories made with my fellow missionaries in the field, all of the spiritual lessons in members homes, helping 9 amazing people to find the truth they had searched for their whole life! SO many moments of joy. I think reflecting  back on all these moments and reminiscing with the Elders, the missionaries, my family-my brothers out here. Those are my happiest moments. See I say that but then I remember each individual I have had the opportunity to teach and I have the same feeling.. I think of the awesome family I got to teach and their friendship, I feel the same. I think of getting the chance to "raise my 1st born son" and I feel joy. Honestly, I cannot pin a single happiest moment. I  have never been good at making difficult decisions... just ask my mother. ha. 
   I love you ALL! Thank you for all you do and have done for me! It is because of all of you that I am who I am today. I am grateful!
               Elder Ford

Sunday, October 19, 2014

And the Cycle Repeats Itself..

View DSCN8222.JPG in slide show  View DSCN8218.JPG in slide show View DSCN8217.JPG in slide show

Hello my wonderful friends and family!!!
     I love you all so much! You are fantastic! Every single one of you! man... Good week. Big week. Even Bigger week this week! HUGE week! ha. Last week was good. We went up to Brooklyn, the top of our area. It was fun! Pretty place. It is a quite little boat town. Until the weekend! Then it is a popular destination to go boating! ha. It was fun. It was quite one of the days we were up there. Really calm and Peaceful. Reminded me of dad. We always went to quite little fishing places just to walk and experience the beauty of the earth! We got transfer calls on Saturday. Elder Simeavao is leaving the Normanhurst ward after 6 months. sad... I know how he feels...  *caugh*caugh* Tuggerah *caugh*caugh*  ... ha.  Later that day we went to a child of record baptism, we were asked to fill the font and pass out flyers to all the non-members coming! While there we got a phone call from President Howes. You always get a little nervous when President calls and your companion answers and says "it's for you!" Handing the phone to you. ha. I have been asked to Train a new missionary! Hurray! ha. I have never trained before so he wanted to explain a bit about it. SO the new missionaries don't fly in 'till Wednesday... SO they put the missionaries who are training together for those few days. I am temporarily with Elder Crump! If you have a good memory, you MIGHT remember that I was in the MTC with Elder Crump, and served with him for a Day while visa-waiting in Missouri. He is way fun! He also trained Elder Orr and I replaced him in Tuggerah. We served in Coffs around the same time also. So we have lots of connections! It will be a good couple of days. Today we had transfers, tomorrow we have the "Train the Trainers" meeting, Wednesday we have the "new Arrivals" meeting, where we will get our new companions, Thursday is District Leader Training again, and Friday is District meeting because we can't do it Wednesday. So Something is going on everyday! Gonna Be a BIG week! Excited! eager to meet the new companion... The district changed a lot to. one from every companionship left. The sister staying in Normanhurst is training as well. The Dural Elders both have new companions, both I am told work well. One was even my zone leader my last transfer in Coffs! So that is kinda wierd.. he is released now. ha So lots of change. 
   My core experience this week is similar to last week. I talked about the example my parents had on my mission and my attitude. This week, especially after I was told I would be given the chance to train, I often thought of my trainer. I Learned  a lot from Elder Tsai! A lot. I find it odd, I was "born" to him when he was a about 3/4 of the way done with his mission, he was a district leader, and was now training for the first time. As in life, we all turn out to be much more like our parents than we imagine. Besides those similarities, I thought of all the 12-week training sessions, odd adjustments coming to a new country, and learning opportunities that presented themselves. I am grateful for my trainer, and all those opportunities! I will now hove the blessing of strengthening, helping, and learning from a missionary in a similar situation! I expect I will learn more from him than him from I. However, a feeling of gratitude in remembrance of my "forefathers" and excitement to repeat the cycle have been my core experience this week.
   I am trying to always be more patient and humble. I have struggled with this for a few weeks. I feel bad,  I have learned this lesson before. Or maybe I am just learning it on a new level... I don't know. Christ-like characteristics are always the most difficult things to obtain. It takes constant self evaluation and change! The blessings are obvious and very convenient. 
    As a result of conference... I am trying to strengthen my testimony deeper and deeper. From the past 2 G.C.'s it very much seems that the world and the church will only grow apart. The importance and value of the church and it's teaching will NEED to be #1 in every members priorities. It should be already, yes. Nonetheless, the message I received is that. We all will need to deepen, strengthen, even fortify our testimonies and selves in the gospel to rise up to the needs of our Father in Heaven. That we may be able to do our part in the strengthening of his kingdom and establishing Zion. I am grateful for the Prophet, his councilors, and all of the special witnesses of Christ that strengthen and warn us from the Lords watchtower!
      I am excited for the new transfer! I see a lot of good things that can happen. The district changed a LOT, but I see a lot of potential as a result! It should be good. I am excited to work with the new Elders in the District and hope that I can do my part to make the new missionaries the best they can be! I hope for and expect Great things out of the "Dura-hurst" District!
    Much Love,
        Elder Ford

Elder Crump & I
In Brooklyn

Sunday, October 12, 2014

God Given Role-Models

Hello My dearest Loved ones!!!!
   What a week! From Public holidays, and zone conferences, to zone leader exchanges and general Conference! It has been HEAPS crazy! Heaps fun though too. I think I filled you in late last week about all the early week-shenanigans. The weekend came and Gen. Con. was only being broadcast at the Stake Center. So ALL the missionaries in the zone (28), were gathered there. After the Saturday morning session ended there was only a few members there and they all went home or other places. So all the Elders went to Coles (grocery store) and got some stuff, met back at the ZL's apartment and we had a HUGE missionary lunch! We were almost late for the afternoon session. haha. I think It was 12 or 14 elders, many of whom were Polynesian! So we had to cook up a big feed. I think we got like 5 KG's of chicken drumsticks, a bunch of instant noodles, corned beef, and I bought 4 large chips for everyone. It was mad! ha. SO fun though! The thing to do in the zone to kill time is play Uno. SO there were a few rounds of Uno going. Was fun! That night I think 12 Elders all slept over at the same small flat. haha. For dinner we got 2 family feasts from KFC after Priesthood session. Huge meal! ha. Sunday was not quite as chaotic. More members and they all brought lunch for us. It was nice! Normanhurst ward was good! Took care of us. 
   That is probably the funnest part of the week. Other than that is was average. We had lunch at a members house on the 7th story. That was fun to see the view. Did I send this last week? his toilet was weird. ha. It was like hidden in the bathroom cupboard. ha I included a picture for you... Don't worry the picture is clean! 
  Conference was good. Inspiring as always. I quite enjoyed Elder Bednars story about his 2 young boys. Funny! I bet me and Andy have some funny ones.. I know me and my cousin do! paint EVERYWHERE in grandmas basement.. ha Anyway. Conference. Elder Nelsons talk was good. I have really come to like him a lot. The Sunday morning session felt like a tribute to President Monson.. kinda weird. Love him though! There was a 70 that spoke.. Jorg Clebingot or something. Liked his talk a lot. Hollands was a show. Enjoyed it. Made me want to be more generous! Hence the 2 KFC meals... Was inspired over the weekend!
   This week has been good. I was trying to see what my core experience had been so I could share it. I kept seeing small things, nothing I could make to by my CORE experience. I saw many of the small things begin to be connected. I saw my parents traits in me. Sometimes I see this and it scares me.. ha. However this time it was good. Frequently growing up, my mother always taught me to "Be the  first one there and the Last to leave!" NOT so I could chat and talk to friends, but so that I could help set-up and clean up. Whatever the occasion. At this point in life it has become habit. I saw twice this week peoples gratitude when large clean up tasks had already been started. I do not mean to saw that I am so great because I clean up. There are many times I have forgotten to cleanup and NOT shown my scout up-bringing of "leave no trace." I am happy that I could be the lords tool to help them in their busy callings and lives. Called to Serve. Whether great or small acts... some say it's all about the little things. Another trait I recognized that was given me by the great role-models God gave me. Whenever my family went on trips back home, my dad would ALWAYS talk to random people and make friends. We rarely ever met these people again. It always seemed to have a positive impact on him and these new people we had met and been friends with for a brief moment. I see now, in contacting everyday, that people are not trusting. people have such a negative attitude about the world and people. That is what we are trying to change. By simply talking to people and being happy, sharing with them the happiness we have, we can change and get the world closer to a Zion Community and a Zion World. The lord gives us great examples, All around us, In our families, in our companions, in our leaders, in himself. it is an interesting experience to share. I do not feel I have communicated it adequately.. but I pray it is received clearly. 
   Teaching as Jesus taught.... This week I have been striving to be evermore humble. A zone leader exchange highlighted, for me, how I can do this. We are progressed, we think we know a topic. When we look at the perspective of another, we know nothing about the same topic. Ultimate humility is required in all cases. Even when we know we are right. We still need to consider from anothers view, how we Could be wrong. Jesus is the perfect example of Humility. I hope to always become like him!
   My love for Heavenly father has grown the last few transfers mostly through prayer. I have started to pray more earnestly and truly trying to converse and give true thanks to my father in heaven. how do have a greater relationship with someone? Give them time, talk to them. I have been trying to do so. My the length of my prayers have grown, but it doesn't bother. I get SO much more out of prayer. it is not just a tradition and quick "thing I do before I go to bed." I Share with God how I am feeling, trying to understand my situation from HIS view, not asking for as much but rather talking to him about the day, what happened. I try to pray continuously throughout each day. Giving even more time to my Father above. You truly grow to see and understand his view and your potential and your purpose. 
    I am so grateful for the love you all show for me. Thank you! I wish and pray for your success! God be with you!
     Elder Ford

 Conference at the Zone Leaders...
The hidden toilet...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Learning Lessons

 Hello my loved ones!
  I am glad to hear you all enjoyed conference! Down here we watch it at the stake centers a week later at he same times they do it in SLC. 10:00, 2:00, and 6:00. It is the full sessions, just like we are watching it live! Most of the members take little peeps through out the week so they don't have to go to the Saturday sessions or something. It is fun to have it that way.. I don't know... I like gathering together! It is much easier to pay attention and receive revelation when you are dressed up showing your faith and in the chapel. In the Baulkham Hills stake the missionaries pretty much have to be at the stake center all day.. causing that much traveling back and forth just really isn't worth it, plus it is a lot of K's! (We are limited on the # of kilometers we can drive if you didn't know that). The stake President in a meeting on Sunday said they are trying to get the YSA to pack and bring lunch for themselves and a missionary. ha. He is watching out for us! Should be fun! Gotta love supportive stake presidents. Most are. ha
  I am e-mailing so late in the week because Monday was a public holiday so the libraries were closed. And yesterday we had a special zone conference! Went from 9-4. So petty good amount of time! Plus, appointment s that night and what not. Then we had district meeting this morning! So here we are! ha. All good though. She'll be right. 
   My core experience this week came from exchanges. I was serving in the Dural ward with Elder Lonitenisi. I get along better with him than I have with any other Tongan, missionary or not. He is fun to be with, love him. Anyways! We had a good day, accomplished most of our goals and learned a lot. I told him "sorry we didn't reach our goal for new investigators today.." His response was my core experience. "Elder Ford," He said, "Did you do your best today?" I sat there for a second and thought. Before I could respond he continued, "Then don't worry about it!" We talked for a while more about our day and the good things happened. The things he saw as miracles that i just took for granted. He made me realize... I don't have to do THE best, as long as I do MY best. That is all the Lord requires. This comforted me. It continued to help throughout the week. Don't get me wrong, I don't try less and think I am still doing my best. But I am relieved by the knowledge that as long as I continue to do my BEST work, the Lord will accept it. It seems simple and cliche, but that was my experience this week! We can learn so much from those we serve...
   I realized today, after district meeting had ended... that all the things I  had assigned and prepared worked perfectly to fix a concern shared by the district last week. I had not intentionally planned this. I truly believed I was prompted to assign and prepare various topics. At the time they seemed unrelated, but I figured I had better follow the promptings, yea? Yea. As a result I see now that it all flowed together perfectly. I pray that the spirit will continue to guide and direct me in all I do! I wish the same for you!
   My vision was non-existent at the beginning of my mission. As I have learned more and more my behavior has improved. I feel that I am more mature than I was when I left home. But obviously there are still many childish habits and attitudes. ha. I feel that the more we learn spiritually and the more accountable we become, the more our behavior and attitude "grows up!" Establishing a vision amplifies that! It does not dull personality or sense of humor, but builds situational awareness and mental appropriation.  There is a time and place for all things under the heaven. I feel that in order to truly see the time and place for all of the different facets of our soul, establishing a vision and "growing up" is essential! This all made sense in m head... I don't know if I got my point across but.. I hope that it helped some how!
   I love you all! Thank for all you do!
         Elder Ford