Sunday, December 28, 2014

A New Sense of Commitment

 Happy New Year!!!! And more importantly Happy Birthday Mother!!!!!!
What a week it has been! So much has happened. We had ZTM and felt the spirit then got all our Christmas packages! It was great to read all of the testimonies and letters I received thank you! thank you! We had a secret Santa in the zone, I got a box 7 "Fairytale Princess" Barbie dolls. I was the laugh of the whole zone. It was pretty funny! One of the Elders In my district had me.. so he HAD to do something funny. ha. Christmas was good. I enjoyed talking with all those who I got the chance to! boxing day.. nothing really to  exciting..ha. I have had a couple of visitors this week! There is a big YSA convention Sydney right now. It is basically like EFY/FSY for YSA. Anyway, we were assigned by the assistants to usher for an activity they had. And guess what... Who else shows up but on old Returned Missionary Friend! Elder.. or Brother Leneham! My first zone leader in this mission. It was fun to catch up and get a bite to eat! We miss his presence in the mission. Later that day, the Thompsons from Tuggerah came to give me and Elder Nathan a CHRISTmas gift! SO nice of them! You truly make some good friends that are more like family when you serve. It was good to see "family" again. I am e-mailing late because we had our "Temple P-day" today. Meaning that instead of studying we get to go to the temple as a zone for "P-day." Pretty fun! I included a picture for you.. Ithink it is sideways though... sorry for making you all turn your head! ha.
   My core experience with God this week was great. The last little bit we had found ourselves in a bit of a sad cycle. We lost a bit of a sense of purpose, so we would get a little discouraged, so we would work a little less, which led to losing a bit of purpose and getting a little more discouraged, then doing a little less and so on. We noticed it and couldn't figure out what was happening. When we finally put it all together we saw this little cycle. We have been fighting for several days now, and both seem to be receiving some fantastic revelation. I have finished the Book of Mormon and am now reading and studying Preach My Gospel for studies. Chapter 1: My Purpose. After doing the 1st study idea and reading some of the 1st chapter I had felt revived and reminded of what spiritual power we have and have been given. We talked as a companionship and have targeted ways to improve and have started doing so. I am very excited. We see lots of things happening right now in Normanhurst. Thankful for the time of year and the spirit it brings to the world! We were talking with a recently returned missionary earlier this week. He said he went to a missionary meeting and felt so powerless and stripped of so much because he was not a missionary any more. This Brother had been a great leader in his mission and was looked up to by many missionaries. When he told us of this spiritual power it had reminded us of our studies. I have now "risen to a new sense of commitment!"  We are looking foreword with faith and excitement for what God can bring. We desire to change the world around us and there by... change the world itself!
   Teaching as Jesus taught. I am striving to be more like my savior by having more trust. He knew who, when, and how to trust others. I have moved from trying to show the way and lead out all the time when teaching. Lately however, I have tried to be a bit more reserved and let my companion teach rather than smother and dominate the lesson with what I think needs to be said. I need to let others grow! I am striving to be more like my savior and Teach as he taught by Trusting others, especially my companion.
   Goals for 2014. Do all I can to ensure the Salvation of my fellow men. Not a very specific goal, if you want something in numbers... I spoke recently about a vision I had obtained for being involved in 20 Baptisms. I would 11 in about 6 months. I have faith. I will do all I can for that vision to come to fruition. Also, to fulfill that which I have been called to do. Gather Israel and Strengthen Zion. Work with those who have not yet received ordinances or who have set aside their covenants. I hope to become converted and to help others receive the blessing of the Atonement, especially those who may not understand them or who may
   I love you all SO much and dearly! You are fantastic! happy New Year!
      Elder Ford

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry CHRISTmas!

 Hello!!!! I hope you are all enjoying this wonderful season of CHRISTmas! it is a good one. Great for everyone to be remembering the Savior! Great. CHRISTmas conferece this week was good. had some Great trainings! We watched Luther. A movie made about martin Luther and the reformation. Learned a lot! was good. They had two conferences so the whole mission wasn't there. Most of my friends were in the other one but all is well. Still had friends! In fact I was able to see Elder Geuvara! A missionary in my MTC intake who visa waited in Missouri with me and come here. I have only seen him about twice since the MTC, so it was fun to see him again! ha. I was able to catch the Narrabri Elder and have lunch with them! Elder Orr and Elder Nielson! ha. Loved that! Ghost of companions past I guess. ha. Last Monday we got to work at eh Temple lights! So we were guiding people on tours and talking to them about the pictures and stuff. So that was fun! Got to meet all kinds of People! been a good CHRIST filled week. Hope this week will offer the same! What a great time of year!
   This week I truly realized and kept thinking about how inspired companionships really are! Being with Elder Nathan so been great so far. I have learned a lot, about the work, about him, and about myself as well. I hope he would be able to say the same! I keep finding myself surprised yet unsurprised at the same time a when another similarity we have surfaces. We are very similar, yet our backgrounds and even behaviors are very different. We are able to talk openly and freely. We both have similar areas of testimony that have been tested and strengthened as a result of serving together. he is gaining confidence in ability of following the spirit and giving Priesthood blessings. I remember my first few transfers in the field and the great fear I had of giving blessings... I also remember a senior companion I had begging me to give a blessing. After some persistence on his part, and disregarding my argument that our other companion should so it, I finally gave in and have come to have full confidence in the Lords Priesthood power. I have always been grateful to Elder Phillips for that. I have been humbled a bit these last few weeks and have needed to ask for a couple of blessings. It has been great to see that same confidence in the Lords power build in my companion as it did in me nearly 16 months ago in Maryland heights Missouri. I feel we are unified in our work. I definitely have learned a lot from Elder Nathan and I hope to give him the example he needs at this crucial time of his mission and life. Companions are definitely inspired! So much growth.
   Teaching as Jesus taught. We have been focusing this week on Extending commitments in our "12-week" study. It has been good. It reminds me of trainings I had received all through out my mission and how to more effective invite people to come unto Christ and repent. It has been good. We are now much more focused on extending invitations and commitments. the spirit is definitely stronger as you ask a "Will you..." question. The chance and opportunity for change is so much greater as well! We have been trying to do as the Mater teacher of Nazareth always did, that is inviting others to change. And by so doing coming closer Jesus Christ. It truly is great to be an instrument in the Lords hands and doing as he would do, namely INVITING others to Come unto Christ, and fulfilling our purpose.
   Being taught about faith in the recent zone conference was great! It is something I think was very beneficial to us all and was really needed. if we truly believe all that we teach and learn about in church then we would have that miracles would come naturally! They do really if you think about it. Facing challenges or setting goals in Faith, and continuing on in Faith, is showing the Lord we Truly have a testimony. That is why I LOVE the quote "Come What May & Love It!" from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. If we are faithful. follow the spirit, and choose the right, we need not fear, for we KNOW that we have done as the Lord desires. When the spirit moves upon us and helps us to change we are filled with so much faith, knowing we can "go and do the things the Lord commands!" It is not until after that the Devil tries to put fear into hearts. he tries to get us to have the opposite of faith so we can be immobilized and not accomplish our goals. We know however that with faith in t Lord 'All things ARE possible!" Having Faith has truly helped us accomplish our goals!
   MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!! I Love you all! You are all examples to me and I am grateful that you have been in my life! I pray that you will remember why we  celebrate CHRISTmas this year.
     Elder Ford

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rainy Days in Sydney

 Hello WORLD!!!! Love you all! 
   It has been raining SO much here! Like everyday! ha. So annoying! At least it is warm though. At least it is warm! Not too discouraged though! We have had a good week! Saw some of my favorite members from Tuggerah so that was fun! Good visit. Grateful for their travels to the Land of Normanhurst! The "He is the gift" is getting pretty good we hear! Good good. We are really trying to spread knowledge of it well! Also, we are guiding tours at the Temple lights tonight so that should be a fun opportunity for us! The CHRISTmas season does do a bit for the work. People can be more open! Plus we have the CHRISTmas spirit to use as well. usually works in our favor! It is good!
    My core experience with god this week is different than usual. I kept finding myself distracted and downtrodden in spirit. Overly distracted by thoughts of home, of going home, of friends going home, and what I, and others, will do when these things happen. The usual distractions: school, work, transportation, etc. All that. I knew it was not what I should be thinking about but the thoughts persisted. I did not want to be like some missionaries I had seen who lost steam in their last 6 months serving. I DID want, however, to be like other great leaders I have had, Serving faithful and being driven by purpose until the end. I see now upon hearing small things from them back home at the great difference in conversion to the gospel it has caused in the lives of those missionaries. I want to be faithful. I want to do what is Right. I want to "labor the rest of my days crying repentance unto the people." Seeing I definitely needed help, I decided to humble my self and ask for a Priesthood blessing from my companion,something I rarely ask for. I am stubborn... anyway! That very night I realized I hadn't thought about any of that all day and we had been very successful and saw many miracles. I pray that I can keep serving Diligently and faithfully, in deed, heart, and especially thought!
    Teaching as Jesus Taught. Jesus always taught in unity with the spirit and his Father. We are striving to do the same. I would like to say we are teaching with that unity and also unity as a companionship! Elder Nathan and I were blessed with many more teaching opportunities than usual this week. We were able to teach in unity with each other and the spirit. It was a great feeling. the spirit is so much stronger when you and your companion are unified. And even more so when you are obedient, striving to purify yourselves and motives, and thus being in Unity with the Spirit! That is when we are teaching with the Power and authority we have been blessed with. I would advise all to look at their lives and ensure they can enjoy that unity with the spirit always!
   I love you all! You are fantastic! Thank you for you love and support! I will always be grateful for all you do/have done/will do for me! Merry CHRISTmas!
       Elder Ford

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Happy Christmas!/18 Month mark

 Hello my loved ones!! How great you all are! Thank you for caring!
  Good week so far. good week. We have some new people in the district! Elder Bjornberg is new and been trained by Elder Spicer, and Sister Aldan from Micronesia has come to work with Sister Vereivalu! The zone leaders came to District Meeting this week! Elder Watts from Kaysville, who I served around up in Coffs, and Elder Guthrie from Bountiful. Was good. Also, weird side note. The sisters I came out with Died! they are back home.. weird! ha Weird to think...3/4's served! To celebrate me and Elder Nathan went out and got some Fish 'n Chips! The Coast and Port have much better Fish n' Chips than Hornsby.. ha. but nonetheless! all is well! We h ad our Normanhurst ward Christmas party! Here is me and Elder Nathan with a good and funny group of guys! Summertime is winding up and the sunsets are too! This was a cool one the other day as we were walking around in Hornsby! Shout out to the Schwendiman family! Welcoming a new member to family! Congrats! What a special spirit she must be... Good on ya!
   My core thoughts and experience this week is a sad one. I noticed my work had become a bit stagnant. I looked at what I was doing and noticed I had spiritual digressed. I was lower than I had been months back! I was sad when I realized I had be come complacent in the work. We all know when we are not Improving and progressing (as I have written about before) we are spiritually declining and digressing. Elder Nathan and I took a look at what we had done so far, found where I went wrong. Together we have reasoned with the Lord and come to find how we many accomplish all we seek to do in this area. We have now started our "40-day-fasts." We are excited to fast from all the things that poke at our spirit for the next 40 days in order to purify our motives. We really hope to stay focused on our Purpose. After an exchange with our Zone Leaders, Elder Guthrie and Elder Watts, we felt rejuvenated and revitalized in spirit! I wouldn't say our hearts were in a bad place, but we have had an increase of spirit that has led to a change of heart. We are excited to see miracle here in Normanhurst this CHRISTmas! It is no coincidence that we received a member referral right after making the list for our forty day fasts...
   To improve my teaching I am trying to be more like the Master teacher himself! I am seeking to be more humble. Another trait I recognized that creeped back into my soul, or perhaps never left... Pride is a ridiculous thing... and SO hard to rid your self of. I am striving though. I am a firm believer that as you take one step towards Christ he takes two steps back at you! I am grateful more and more everyday for what the Savior of the world did, and was, for us. Not only do we have the magnificent gift of the Atonement, but his example alone we could spend entire lifetimes learning from and striving to follow and internalize in ourselves.
   I cannot quite remember any particular dramatic experience where the Holy Ghost protected me from danger or saved me. I am sure there are many, I'm even more sure my mother could tell you all of the instances in my childhood, ha.  But I do know and am very aware that he leads and guides us into the harbor of spiritual protection and safety each day. He always guides and prompts. Always. Spiritual destruction and danger and ever more present than physical obstacles. It is all around us. Thus the need to purify ourselves and truly live in the world but not of it! A statement made by many church members quite often. Yet, I fear we do not fully realize how difficult that is and how much we are sucked into the world and Satans firm grip on it. The only way we can be led to that protected harbor I mentioned is to humble ourselves and follow, oh, so carefully the the gentle guidance of the "still small voice." As we do we will truly realize how great a gift the Savior was and how really special this CHRISTmas season really is! 
  I LOVE you all! thaks for all you do! Remember to have a CHRIST centered CHRISTmas! Here is a short video that should help!

  Elder Ford