Sunday, May 10, 2015

Winter's come... but come ye back When Summers in the Meadow

Hello, dear loved ones, and HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!! I am grateful for all the mothers that have made the biggest impact of my life! I would list you but the list is far too long! It has been a good week! We had a Preach My Gospel study with the richmond sisters. It went well. Gained some revelation for our own area as well! We had lunch afterwords and walked through an ally back to our car. There was a graffiti ninja turtle.. had to take a picture! We aso had a zone service prject up in Katoomba, The Blue Mountains It was scenic and fun! Almost all of us trained up so Elder Moore & I had to take a picture at the station. I took a few pictures afterwords so I incuded ne for you!
   My core experience this week came from a song. A song I have listened to for a long time in my mission. A special rendition of "Danny Boy." It is not as sacred to me as some of the hymns I  have mentioned in previous e-mails, nonetheless it holds a special place in my heart. Some of the lyrics were a bit more symbolic recently. Let me share.

"O Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen and down the mountainside.
The summer's gone and all the roses falling.
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
winter's come and all the flow'rs are dying,
And I am dead, as dead I well may be,
O Danny Boy, the stream flows cool and slowly;
And pipes still call and echo 'cross the glen.
So if you've died and crossed the stream before us,
We pray that angels met you on the shore;
And you'll look down, and gently you'll implore us
To live so we may see your smiling face once more"

There are a few points I seek to draw on here. The First, The summer is over here in Sydney. It is moving into winter and all the trees are dropping leaves and the flowers are starting to dwindle and die. So it is with my mission. The summer, or life and excitement, are a nearly over. I am on my "deathbed" here in the mission, my last area, my last week. But come yea back when summers in the meadow! In sandy Utah it is sunny and 75 degrees, the summer is beginning to burst and so are the flowers and bright colors. Indeed you could say LIFE is about to start. I recognize that this a the parable of my life. My time here is coming to a close, but I will return to a life that has just begun! The post-mission life. Do not worry, I am fixed to do all I can this week with my remaining time as a duly ordained minister of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! It was a thought I had and desired to share. The mission is a big parable of life, and I am returning to the spirit world to teach and uplift.
   SO once I've "Died," as we missionaries say, there will indeed be angels to meet me on the shore. Loved family members and friends. Some of which are shortly departing to serve missions. In a symbolic way, I pan to "look down and gently implore" them and the missionaries I LOVE still in their service, to serve so they may find success in and return from their missions honorably. I have grown in love largely for the up and coming generation of missionaries. Such life and excitement is found in them! There are great things in store! Inevitable death is no reason to slow down and enjoy the dying roses. I plan to serve well, and give it my all. I know the Lord will bless & guide us by the hand us as we evermore effectively Hasten his work!    Teaching as Jesus Taught. We have had a different spirit with us this week while teaching. I cannot pin it... Other than just following the spirit and teaching to needs. We were inspired by the fireside we attended recently and decided to teach abut trials in our lives. With every lesson it has had a different out come as the needs of the people changed and everyones trials were different. It has been a great week in teaching. I was blessed to be able to do the same with Elder Lonitenisi. He came up with the same lesson all n his own and it was just as powerful.
  SO much Love for all you mothers and Everyone! See you on Memorial Day Sunday! :) Ofa Atu!
   Love,       Elder Ford

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Missionary Spirit

   Been a good week! We had Mission Leadership Council and Zone Training Meeting this week! SO it was fun. Lots to do and prepare. Got it all done and had some good meetings, also met with and had the chance to help train all the ward mission leaders in the Penrith stake! At Zone training meeting I gave a training about things that changed my mission and included a new smash approach the city zone has been trying out. It is all focused on helping people to understand Our Purpose as missionaries "To Evermore effectively invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end." You introduce yourself as a representative of Jesus Christ, state you purpose, and then ask if they have faith, if they feel they have repented, and so forth. Super Smash! The missionaries love it and they say they are feeling the spirit all day. Fantastic! There was a big missionary fireside last night. SO I got to see all these missionaries it was fun. A few weren't able to bring investigators... so they couldn't come but it was fun to see those who were there!  A good reunion with ma Boy! Elder Nathan and my "Grandson" Elder Kafusi! Took a bunch of pictures with missionaries... this one had the most people in it so I included this one. I also thought it would be fun to take a picture of us going to the library this morning... so here ya go! Hope all is well!
    My core experience with God this week has been rediscovering my mission miracles! I have been writing my report to turn in at the end of my mission. I have been blown away at the amount of experiences I can recall and the spirit I still feel from them. Some more memorable and changing than others. However, all bring the same happy and joyous feeling. I am grateful for the chance I have to write and reflect. It helps me realize what I can do now and it strengthens and builds my testimony stronger, even though it's my own stories! ha. I can see the Lords hand behind everything in the spirit has brought back to my remembrance to write. The Lord chastens and reproves, he shows tender mercy, then he refines, and the spirit performs through us. The missionary spirit is amazing and something we take for granted all too often! In fact, it is something we lose or lose sight of all too often.. We can and DO see miracles everyday if we are willing to follow. "What more can he say than to [us] he has said..." 
    My practice in teaching as Jesus taught this week came from a call to help out in Primary! It was fun to see their programs running and feel the fun that they experience in their childhood spirit. We were able to teach about the Gospel: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, The Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. It is challenging to teach simply but to give them more than they already know... the spirit works so easily with a young willing child. I was reminded of one of my favorite songs..."He said Suffer the Children to come to me." The savior was the master and he LOVED the children. I was grateful for this reminder and experience. To be the Lords representative doing as he himself did...
     If I had only one sentence to transform someones view of the Gospel I would say something like:... The Gospel is not meant to restrict because the Grand Creator, God, is all about Freedom!
  I Love you all more than you know. Thank you for your examples to me. I am Grateful!
           Elder Ford

"Come What May & Love It!"
               -Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Out of my stoney griefs Bethel I'll raise!"
               -Hymn No. 100

p.s. I am getting so fat...   :( ... hahaha

Sunday, April 26, 2015


 Week has been crazy! SO many Experiences!Floods, rain, hail, special zone trainings, and the results of it all! The week started with like 4 days of straight non-stop rain! SO ridiculous! The rain went down the wal and under our wall to come up into our carpet! Yikes! It started by the wall in our study room on MY side, so it's the joke that I must not be righteous... ha. ha..ha..   It quickly (by morning) had spread to the other side of the room, then that afternoon it was into the hall way, then the next day it had wrapped around the kitchen and was into the living room! We had to move our stuff into the other room, anything on the floor was soaking in water. Our apartment has been getting al humid and dank smelling! They (the office) gave us some stuff to vacumm it all up and take away the smell. It is getting  better now that the weather has stopped and it has had time to dry! DOo not worry, we are healthy and the mission office is n to it! On a brighter note, and better smelling, we were able to take a recent convert to the temple for the first time to do some family files in the baptistry! It was great! He loved it and was quite humbled and awstruck! Great man! Bro Lazarus always buys stuff for us and gives us gift cards to Coles (grocery store) and meat platters he wins at his golf cub! ha Great man! We also went on exchanges with the Leura Elders, up in the Blue Mountains! Pretty sweet. Great Elders! It is really setting into fall up there so I took a picture for yous! (don't worry here that is proper to say. haha) Also, Elder Stockman (a Maori Elder we live with) and I went out of our way last p-day just to find Peachee! One of the greatest things australia has to offer! Bundaberg Peach flavored soda! SO good! Highly recommend it. What a week! SO busy! Didn't even mention Preach My Gospel studies with the sisters and ur meetings! Oh! We went to the mission office to pick some stuff up when one of the office couples says you're coming with us right? "uh.. what" We had to help drive two smashed cars to the repairman deep into the south mission! Crazy! The cars were parked at the Normanhurst chapel during a zone conference when the rain and wind caused a tree to snap in half and the top half fell on the cars! Smashed the bonet (hood), front lights, and door handle of one car, While it broken the back window in another! Nuts! Took us a huge portion of our day.. unplanned! But when you're in the service of your fellow man... you know the rest ;)
     My core experience with God this week was simple. I had the chance to be in various teaching situations. I noticed the inexperience of some of the missionaries I was around. I could see myself in them. I am where I am now with more knowledge and capability. I can do things more powerfully than before in my mission. Skills like introducing the Book of Mormon using the introduction in the front of the book, the commitment pattern, reciting the first vision, etc. A these things that the Lord has been able to help me to learn. Now I see these missionaries learning the same thing I learned in the earlier stages of my mission. I now know why the Lord has called me t be here, serving in this capacity, when before I did not understand it. The Lord puts us and calls us where we are needed, to help those we need to help and teach those we need to teach. A simple but powerful reminding experience
   Teaching as Jesus taught. With all these things I have learned it is great to see how the spirit can work and bring back t u memory the right thing at the right time! All the zone conferences and trainings are paying off. I feel great, being able to see and feel the spirit working through Elder Moore and I, giving these people exactly what they need. The Savior was the Master.He knew what was right at the right time, the spirit can help us to realize the same.
   Something I have learned in my mission is obedience. Not just following the white hand book and mission rues. But listening to what your leaders tell you. Doing the small things even if you disagree. Not having district lunch every week for example. I fought it, but it wasn't until after we had made the change and been living it for a while that I saw the blessings! It applies to trainings and keeping commitments as well. It is not until I practiced what we were trained about, as invited and committed to do, that I gained the skills I have spoken about earlier. When we do what we are invited to do we grow, That simple.Not just going to a meeting to go to it, but apply it afterwards, instead of just saying "Oh, that was nice and uplifting!"
I testify that the Spirit of God changes us to be what is best and what will end up making us the Most happy!
 I love you all! I hope you can feel that. I really do! Thank you for the support! I pray for you all.
        Elder Ford

Sunday, April 19, 2015

22 Emails!! (plus 2)

WOW! What a Birthday response! I opened my e-mail this morning and had 22 emails from all of you wishing me a happy birthday! Then my mom sent 2 more of yours with her e-mail! Plus I know a couple of you aussies sent a text. Thanks HEAPS for all of your wishes! Didn't know I was so loved.. haha. It was a good week. Super busy! 2 Preach my Gspel studies, a DL exchange, a district meeting, and birthday with a companion that likes to make things known! was good!  I forgot about this sunset till i saw the picture! was fantastic! Beautiful sunset.. beautiful! For my birthday we went to "The Village Hotel" were you can get a big rump steak for $8.50 and a big ol' plate with unlimited chips (fries) and veggies and stuff. it is the place to go when you serve in Penrith! So we went there for my birthday meal, Elder Moore was kind enough to buy me a fancy steak. 415 new York strip! So good and got SO FULL!!! it was ridiculous! Oh and did I say you cook it yourself?! It was good. that night we went to a nice ol' aussie couples house for dinner, they were so kind and made a cake for my birthday! What sweet souls! The stake presidents parents.. have to be on you BEST behavior! ha, as if we aren't normally.. I know the Thompsons and Evans are busting up laughing right now! ha. It was a good day, Elder Moore told al the missionaries so they had a "surprise" at he chapel.. totally saw it coming! ha. Our Tongan District leader has a huge heart and likes to celebrate and eat any chance he can get! haha LOVE him! Then he told the right members on sunday so EVERYONE knew before church was over.. ha. Was alright though. may have gotten us soem better dinners this week.. haha. jk.. Well... onto the next paragraph!
      My core experience this week is Our Purpose and mini miracles! Near every training we heard this week was on our purpose. It was a great reminder for me personally and the zone generally. i felt inspired. I also felt a sense of purpose as I was reading some old miracle books one night after planning. The kept thinking of all these stories and miracles we always here about missions and missionaries. For some reason I felt like I hadn't had an experience like this in a long time. It weighted on my mind a bit that night. Then 10:30 arrived as it always does. The next day continued as usual. Our plans fell through we didn't know what to do... we thought of one of our perspective elders that said he is usually home this time of night. So "why not?" we asked. We headed over. The family was grateful or our visit. The father was sick and just a moment or two before our arrival they had been talking about contacting some priesthood holders to give him a blessing. The priesthood blessing we were able to give provided the father and the family with comfort. We were also able an inspiring lesson with George (the perspective Elder) after the dad, who had been laying on the couch upon our arrival, jumped up and drove the kids to mutual. It was simple. No changing water to wine. But it was a simple miracle that, combined with the trainings we had received, filled me again with purpose. I was grateful for the opportunity I had to be an instrament for the Lord.
   Teaching as Jesus taught. With all the lessons on our purpose we read a lot about teaching with Power. I knew the concept. But I have decided to focus on it now. We can teach with authority all the time, cool. We are missionaries we are set apart we have the authority. But the setting apart can also give us power. Keeping covenants and commitment give us spiritual power that transforms lessons. This week we have been trying to teach with real power! Just as the Savior of the world did. We pray that we will be able to do so.
   Since my arrival in the mission have my expectations been realized? I would say my expectations were different and unrealistic. I would also say my expectations have been exceeded as well however! I never thought that I could do the things I have done. The lord can do amazing things with us if we let him! No one could imagine the great friendships and love that would be created and forged through spirit filled lessons learned! Missions are miracles! Everyday is a miracle. It is cliche, but it is true. I don't think I could have realized any of this before my mission, at the start of my mission, in the middle of it, or even a few weeks ago. Serving a mission has been Nothing like what I had expected thus far... it has been greater! Definitely harder and more extensive than I imagined, surely life changing and much more worth it than I expected! The greatest experience of my life. I understand the saying that has been said before, "The Best 2 Years." Not meaning the 2 with least trials and most comfort, but the most learned the best experiences and closest friends. I am grateful for every day.
You do not understand my gratitude to you all... I thank the Woodruffs for helping my mom with the floor! Also, i am excited for the rising generation of missionaries, you all will be so ready.
 LOVE YOU ALL HEAPS! I am grateful to being serving. I am grateful for you and your love.
       Elder Ford

Sunday, April 12, 2015


What a week it has been! Enjoyed it! Conference was good as always, it seemed a bit weird, also we didn't see Richard G. Scott speak.. Did I miss it or did something a happen? odd not to have an Apostle speak. Good conference though! Sad that people want to oppose just to oppose.. Darn Satan! Well, on a lighter note,  Earlier in the week it was a new transfer as you saw, so we had a bunch of missionaries studying and working with us for a bit on Thursday morning. From Penrith and Hebersham zones. The Mt. Druitt Elders we live with are in the other zone.. weird, hey? So some of their missionaries got dropped off then their real companions came back to pick them up after their District Leader Training, I used to attend. I got to see Elder Nathan and since he is training I got to meet his trainee or "Son!" It was fun to see the posterity and to see the Line of Tsai continue! I have a weird missionary family tree... I was born to foster parents thus being part of the line of Duke/Wickham, then coming to my promised land to my ASNM trainer or father Elder Tsai! ha. Weird missionary humor most of you probably find weird and peculiar.. but it makes us laugh, so I hope you et some sort of joy from it. ha We did a lot of driving this week as well so I took a picture of Elder Moore and I in the car, I have a lot more free time in the car since I am not driving this month, ha. DO not worry I am still making sure I fulfil all my co-driver responsibilities! We have a good record in the mission right now for avoiding accidents. We hope to continue that in the Penrith Zone! So I was also able to take a picture of a funny truck we pulled up next to. ha. Top Gun! This one is for you 2 Mayson and Peter! I was feeling bad the other night about my miracle entry and felt it was a bit lack-luster and too made up on the spot. So I asked if I could re do it and do something better. I submitted the following:
    "My Miracle is one of Change. I am amazed at what the Lord can and does do with each of us through out the course of our missions. I seek to share with all of you 4 (and perhaps mention a few more) things that have changed my mission and changed me Forever, but Ffrst here is a note about change. If we won't change, if we decide "“That’s just the way I am,” we give up our ability to change. We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle, and just surrender—any prospect of winning is lost." )What Manner of Men? Elder Hallstrom of the Presidency of the 70 April 2014 General Conference)

       1.   I had the fortunate experience of Visa-waiting as many missionaries do. Sometimes it is frustrating, disappointing, or even depressing. Luckily, for me, I was able to LOVE my experience and all the people I was blessed to meet in the Missouri St. Louis Mission. The first thing that changed my mission was a small Mormon message played to entertain us while we came back from lunch at a Zone conference. I was filled with peace and happiness as Elder Joseph B. Wirthlins life motto became my own: "Come What May & Love It!" It means a change of attitude. An attitude of Faith and Humility. Two things I believe every new missionary must learn in order to have  a successful mission. Letting "Come What May & Lov[ing] it" is accepting the Lords will and being faithful no matter what happens. Knowing that, as the finding faith in Christ DVD tells us, good things will come to us whatever outcomes come, IF we are faithful. An example: Accepting and loving the companion your are given, the area the Lord places you in. Knowing that no effort is wasted in finding (as Preach My Gospel tells us), even when the contact was rude, abusive, and full of anti-Mormon harassment. Instead of calling President and complaining about your new companion before you even work with them or in your new area, or losing faith in people because of the rude contact... Remember: "Come What May & Love It!"
     2.   Once you are accepting the Lords will and humble enough to move forward, the lord will continue to shape you. Through an inspired Process of Purification. For me it was the "40 Day Fast." It starts with a day long fast all leading up to you allowing the Lord to make a list of all the things you do that hold you back and poke at your spirit. Then for the next 40 days you "Fast" from these things and start doing better things. I was hesitant at first a did a watered down version first and saw watered down blessing. Once I finally put away or sent home all the distractions (football cards, pictures of home, flat brimmed hats, mirror tint sunglasses (all the small things or small rules we break)) I was finally able to be lead by the spirit and CLEARLY understand and follow nearly every prompting that came my way! I was truly able to be "an instrument in the hands of the Lord." It takes sacrifice and spiritually minded discipline. We truly give it all to the Lord and stop holding our small acts of disobedience or our favourite sins. For those little things are what cause, to some extent, the spirit to cease to strive with us. Making this work, this spiritual work, even the Lords work, Impossible.
    3.    All of this Change lead me to have effective and revelatory studies and days, but even more importantly... A testimony that Jesus IS the Christ. That Joseph Smith IS a Prophet of God, and of course that the Book of Mormon is a true, God inspired Record. I testify that the That all of that is true. I have felt the Spirit guiding me by the hand, I have felt the forgiving power of the Atonement, I know that the Lord cares for and Loves us more than we can imagine!
    4.   Now this would be a great ending point wouldn't it? But that is the Thing. It's not all sunshine and rainbows once we get a faithful attitude, a sharper behaviour, & a testimony. Life moves "Onward Ever Onward," as we sing so often, and so do Satans temptations! That s Why these changes within us HAVE TO be Lasting! The mission is supposed to have changed our lives forever, not just for two years or 12 weeks! ("The First Great Commandment" Elder Holland, Oct. 2012 General Conference) We must keep going, enduring to the end. Despite our good works thus far, you may find yourself at rock bottom. A transfer has occurred and perhaps you don't have the best or most Booming area or the most supportive companion. Maybe you haven't gotten mail in over a year.
  So do we just give in and let our "Rolling Waters" stagnate and become impure?
  Do we forget Our Purpose?
  What happened to "Come What May & Love It"?
  What happened to those 40 days of purification and clear promptings?
  What happened to that testimony of Jesus Christ?
  Again, what happened to our sense of purpose?
 Elders & Sisters Please! Always Keep our Purpose in your heart! Do all you can to stay faithful and true! (Hymn no. 248) When satan tempts remember "You are doing a great work & cannot come down!" (We are doing a great work & cannot come down" President Uchtdorf April 2009 General Conference) If you are ever at your spiritual "Rock Bottom" Maybe even your own personal Gethsemane or Golgotha... Don't quit. Turn to God! He uses the unlikely to accomplish the impossible! (Elder Nelson) What helped me was Hymn no. 100, "Nearer, My God' to Thee." Seeing the example of Jacob, sleeping on rocks far from home...yet in his dreams he'd be nearer to God. So he ACTED as an agent unto himself (Elder Bednar). In the seldom sung 4th verse it shows us how we can turn to God in our trials. "Out of my stoney griefs Bethel (The house of God) I'll raise!" Because Jacob had a Faithful attitude, was purified enough to be lead by the Holy Ghost, & had a testimony of The Lord, he was able to make a complete turn around! From the stoney griefs of rock bottom to raising the house of the Lord and Building the Kingdom of God.  ... So by our woes we grow Nearer to God. By turning to God we are filled with Eternal perspective and realize our grand potential!  "Sun, moon, and stars forgot Upward [we] fly, guiding our tribe up the Holy mountain into the presence of the Lord!
   My dear friends, Elders & Sisters... Please! Let your Missions CHANGE you! I ask...
            Will You let "Come What May & Love It?"
            Will you purify yourself through the "40 Day Fast?"
            Will you receive a testimony of Jesus Christ?
            Will you come nearer to God?
            Will you be changed because of your missions?
   I promise you (PMG Ch. 11) that if you do these things you will NEVER lose sight of your purpose. You will endure many things (Article of Faith no. 13). Your promptings will be Clear. And you will Quickly develop those Christ-like attributes that will allow your confidence to wax (or grow) strong in the presence of God, and the Holy Ghost shall shall be thy constant companion. I so testify in the sacred name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
      I love you ALL.
                   Elder Ford
   "Come What May & Love It!"
                            -Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
     "Out of my stoney griefs Bethel I'll raise!"
                            -Hymn no. 100"

that is my miracle entry.
 I Love you All SO Much! I hope you can feel it. I feel your love and prayers. Thank you!
       Elder Ford

Monday, April 6, 2015

Patterns of Light: The Light of Christ

The Spirit of the Lord

Hello and Good day to you all! Happy Easter Tuesday! I don't think that is a thing.. but might as well be right? Things have been good this week! It was Penrith Zones turn to host the monthly Missionary Fireside. We lucked out and got Easter! The theme was "He Lives!" It was great. The spirit was strong. We had some amazing musical items! Amazing! For the closing hymn we had all the missionaries come to the stand and sing the 1st 2 verses of "I know my Redeemer lives!" and then the congregation joined with us for the last 2! It brought a few tears and made everyone happy! Yesterday we went on a hike to Wentworth falls, in the Blue Mountains! Pretty sweet! Elder Moore has a good member friend that came and visited and took us so we had a great preparation day activity yesterday! We had to end early though so we could e-mail today. Before the hike though we had to drive some missionaries around for transfers. Some good friends and even better examples "Died." One of them being one of my favorite companions and missionaries, Elder Chin Ah You! Will miss him. Do not worry, Elder Moore and I are staying together in Minchinbury!! Very Grateful! Great Companion!  Love him!
   My core experience with God this week was the Penrith Missionary Fireside. We had worked hard and dealt with some dramas leading up to it. We knew that we had followed the spirit in planning the meeting as best as we could. It was great to see the inspiration behind all the promptings come to fruition! As well as to feel the spirit in attendance. It made all the effort worth it. I was grateful to see the spirit work upon the congregation. You could see investigators and members from various places around the area crying and smiling. You could see the spirit up lifting them. A great reminder at what we are here to do, to invite others to come unto Christ. To help Everyone feel the spirit and desire for themselves to come closer to the Lord and to know that their Savior lives! It was great. I was thankful my companion and I could be the instruments in the Lords hand for that occasion!
   Teaching as Jesus Taught. Elder Moore and myself have been able to have some great teaching moments lately! We have found ourselves doing what we have been trained to do (How to begin teaching, the commitment pattern, etc) and how it naturally developed into a great love for the investigators we were with and teaching. As we loved them the inspiration was clear what they needed. It was great to see and feel the spirit work with them! Their hearts were softened! We even noticed a man after at eh end of our visit say "Man, I was having a bad day! And I don't usually let people into my house... but I feel good right now!" He recognized the spirit, something he likely has felt very seldom in his life and it softened him.  It helped him to feel Peace, joy, long-suffering, patience and all the other gifts that the spirit brings to our lives! How incredible. I know God is there. I know he loves us, his children. I know we can be changed by the spirit. I know Christ Changes our lives!
   We are so grateful for the new zone members, will miss the old ones but grateful for the new! We are excited to have the missionaries we do and to have so many fresh ones! 6 training! We believe it will give us some great miracles and great teaching opportunities! Very Excited! The zone started to have a YSA attitude recently, so we are already working with the District Leaders to turn it around. We want to be fully aligned with inspired focus of the Assistants, Our Purpose.
                  Elder Ford

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Another week in the life!

Been a good week. Busy Busy! We had Temple P-day today, thus we e-mailed today not yesterday! MLC or Mission Leadership Council last Monday was good! Always enjoy a training from President Howes! Always. So the Mount Druitt Elders get all this Islander stuff from their members. So they tried to scare us with their... outfits the other nights! Ha. It was pretty funny! Speaking of the Mount Druitt Elders... They came home one night... noticed a light was on in their room. (now, Elder King is a neat freak (in good Way) and locks up and turns off all the lights before he leaves so this was weird.) He walked over to see what was going on, fully expecting us to be up to something in their study. All their clothes were on the ground and it looked a bit off... So Elder Stockman goes to see if our room is thrashed too... he goes and opens the door, but it doesn't open all the way! So he pushes it again. There was a man hiding behind the door with a bag full of stuff! Long story short... he gives all the stuff back, the Elders teach him a lesson about the atonement, give him some food (he said he was homeless), tell him they love him, and invite him to church! haha. If it were ANYONE else but missionaries he would be beaten and in jail! haha. Craziest thing! haha. So now we are taking a bit more precaution in our Flat safety and lock down.As one would... There are moments here in Minchinbury where I can actually see a sunset. I had a Hotel California flash back! Thought I'd share it with you.
    My core experience with God this week. We did go to the temple today, it was revelatory. However, I do not feel compelled to share that today. Perhaps another time. Other than that, I LOVED the chance we got to watch "Meet The Mormons." It was great, filled me with the spirit and thankfulness! Many different aspects of why we do what we do as Latter-Day-Saints. I LOVED seeing the missionary son serving. It strongly reminded me of my purpose and what we are doing here. I just wanted to talk with everyone! I kept thinking..."Man... I love the Gospel and the church!" I felt a great connection to my Brothers and Sisters as I was able to see how the gospel connects us all, and gives us all a purpose and sense of being. I often question how anyone could not or would not even try to read the B.O.M. or to believe in The Lord our God. It fills us with purpose and love one another! Watching that filled me with Th Spirit and Joy!
    Jesus taught people wherever he went. We have been focusing on trying to not only teach when we find and find when we teach, but also always teaching in every visit to a members home. Not that we ever plan to stop by without sharing something. But even in short unplanned visits we can still teach something life changing! I am reminded often of a quote from a great old leader and friend of mine: "Every moment with someone is a teaching opportunity!" We have been striving to have a lasting impact by making every moment a teaching opportunity.
    If my companion could have 1 Christ-like attribute I would chose Patience. It helps in countless settings! I do lots of weird and potentially irritating things by nature so they would have to have patience with me. Also, if you don't have patience in teaching... it can turn very bad very quickly, and make it very difficult to recover from! Patience is responding well to everything that comes and moving forward. Not just holding your tongue when you are angry. In a very real sense it is living "Come What May & Love It!" If I could help any missionary out with or chose a companion to have 1 strength or Christ-like attribute it would be Patience!
   Thank you all for your love. I feel it. You are all an inspiration to me! Truly. You do so much good, you don't even know! I Thank you!
             Elder Ford

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Preparation from on High

 Hello My dearest Loved ones!!!! Near and Far! How I love you all...
   It has been a good week! We started off with a District Leader exchange. I was with the District Leader! It was way fun. He is a great Elder, and funny! I tried to find a purple tree to take a picture by for a flash back! like last week, haha. anyway. Was great! Miracles just seem to abound on trade-offs! Found some sweet people, taught good lessons, had a mediocre missionary made lunch. ha, ALWAYS a good experience! Was great. I am excited for him in the future! Elder Lonitenisi! From Tonga,  learned heaps about Tonga that day, it was fun. We call him the "Siona Maka!" Tongan for "Man of stone" at least that's what they tell me. It's probably swearing.. haha no I am kidding! We had a zone service day up in the Blue Mountains! It was sweet! Always good to do some physical work and break up our day to day missionary stuff. The missionaries over time have made a huge impact on these people that work there. It is called Greystanes. It is a mental disability center. We just work out side on all the property and landscape but it is fun. The staff took us to see a big view point in Leura (Blue Mtns) called the 3 sisters a big rock formation and valley. Apparently it is older than the Grand Canyon, not as big though.. still cool to see! I am including a picture of the ZOne in front of it as well as a picture of ELder Moore and I in front of the 3 sisters! Heaps cool
     My core experience with God this week is how the Lord always warns and prepares us! For some reason this week I noticed how in each of my areas there was something pointing me to know where it was. Usually I couldn't figure it out until after! Then I'd get the thought "Oh! That's why I kept hearing about Penrith!" or "I heard so much about old Toukley ward now I am serving in it's sister ward, Tuggerah!" I think it is amazing how the Lord prepares us for things with out us even realizing it! These are small examples and menial really... but it illustrates a great point! By giving the Lord our all, in our calling, time, efforts, whatever it is for the individual, he shapes us to be what He wants us to be (and what we should want to be), and prepares us for what is to come. He expects us to (and our purpose is to) progress eternally! To get better, to do more, to be evermore effective in what we do. He does ask a lot of us, he does ask us to change dramatically, sin-celestial. But He ALWAYS aids us in every worthy cause! Like, Eternal Progression, thus he will prepare us for what we are to be, he will prime us and place us where we will flourish and succeed! That is why I don't get down, by loving what the Lord gives us, what ever comes our way, we will have no stoney griefs, just Bethel to raise always! He loves us, he does prepare us. It reminds me of the quote I heard many times int eh MTC..."Who He calls, He qualifies!"
   Teaching as Jesus taught! I am really trying to teach people not lessons right now to adjust our teaching to meet the needs of the person. We often run into language barriers and cultural gaps. Making teaching difficult. Constantly reevaluating and simplifying our teaching has helped, and I imagine will continue to help. The savior always did what he could to help the people understand his message. Indeed, you could say his bowels were filled with compassion towards them. He loved them and taught to them and to their needs! That is what we should do!
   If I could change 1 thing in the world... If everyone had more love, patience, and honesty it would help everything! Every situation would have a better result and outcome! Not that anyone is a liar but I feel sad when that question arises in me. It could very well be myself but it could also be a voice of warning from the spirit. Christ like attributes are... everything. I spoke of eternal progression a few moments ago... that is what we are trying to progress to, perfect Christ-like attributes! That is what I would change a focus to be more Christ-like and Christ -minded!
   I love you all! Thank you for the role you have played in my life... you don't even know how grateful I am!
         Elder Ford

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tender Mercies... The Lord Provides

Hello and Good day family and friends! I love you all dearly..
   This week has been good! We have a top level to our apartment, on the roof. IT is all finished and has tables and BBQs and stuff. Pretty cool. But we went up there the other night it was cool! You could see so far! (relatively). So I took a night time picture of Mount Druitt For you! we got all of our Preach My Gospel studies with the sisters in the zone done! did all 4 this week. Pretty busy.. now we have 2 District Leader Exchanges this week! ha. so that should be fun! Always busy now-a-days! Always something to do! One of them is Elder Lonitenisi! A Tongan Elder that used to be in my District when I was a District Leader. I sent you a picture a while back so I thought I would give you a flash back and send the same picture cause I will be working with him again! haha. Sweet Elder! Sweet-as. Great missionary!  We have a zone p-day planned today! Elder Moores brain child, it is pretty cool. Zone Fear Factor! ha. so we will be making some gross foods for the missionaries to eat! haha. also some egg challenges! should be funny! Hopefully I will have some good photos for you in the future! ha Well... on to the real purpose of the letter!
     My Core experience with God this week has been a reoccurring thought. I have heard MANY time the phrase: "Obedience Brings Blessings." True. I have a testimony of it, absolutely! What Are the blessing of obedience though? It is simple once you figure it out. The blessing for living in harmony with the gospel are the Tender Mercies of the Lord. Another cute phrase we have heard about often. So this is what I have pondered about. Tender Mercies. We always learn of the miracles that occur while we are in the service of our god, how things always seem to work out just perfectly! How we are always comforted by something small. These are the Tender Mercies of the Lord. Tender Mercies are the moment that are all too good and well to be a coincidence. It could be working our hardest all day... only to get a call from members saying that they have a bag of groceries for you. Which just so happen to contain the delecacies the companionship was talking about and yearning for only a few moments before hand. It is having the right hymn play at at random when you enter the car. In the real world it could be running into a friend at the temple that has the exact advice needed. It is having the exact amount of funds left to obtain what is needed at he end of a fortnight. It is your companion saying or giving something of the utmost and personal importance. It is going on exchanges in with just the right missionary to to find just the right person to teach just the right lesson. It is the MIRACLES happening! Living the Gospel and obeying Gods commands is receiving the Tender Mercies of the Lord. Obedience brings the spirit of God into our lives to comfort and lift us higher! The Tender Mercies of the Lord are exquisite....
     Teaching as Jesus taught. Adjusting to the situation. We started Gospel principles class late and as w2e were starting this sister walked in and the conversation shifted to her weekend experience. She ended up telling a big story. It was spiritual we could learn from it, but it meant we would NOT have time to cover a lesson of the deepest meaning... The Atonement. This topic could never be given sufficient time in a church class regularly let alone the last 5-10 minutes of class. I was amazed as I saw my companion do the impossible. H taught the class and gave the lesson. The spirit was there, we all learned and taught about the Atonement. Another Tender Mercy I would say. We can adjust to any situation and still get done what needs to be done. The Lord provides as I like to say... The Lord Provides!
   My goals for the next 3 months...
            I would love to baptize each month! That would be fantastic, not for the numbers but because I know it is possible and I want to help these people. That is another goal I would say Do the most good I can before my time has come. That is not really  measurable though... But I want to fulfill all my duties and assignments, help each missionary learn something, and Baptize each month. I think that is the best thing I could do in the next 3 months! Help Penrith Zone to Improve! Get to the Top of their spirituality, so they can baptize each month as the Lord and our leaders have indicated is possible.
 Love you all heaps! So much LOVE!!!! Heaps of Ofa Atu!
               Elder Ford

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Called to Serve

 Hello My dear friends and family!!! I love you all! Been a good week. Not too chaotic but a bit.
On P-day we got a bunch of veggies and made moms old salsa recipe! Was SO good! Elder Moore and I enjoyed it! We took it to district meeting and they all liked it as well! As usually happens... ha. We had Stake missionary coordination meeting this last Tuesday night. I thought back to the old days in Maryland heights when I used to fall asleep during them with my trainers. haha. Now I actually have the responsibility and am involved in the conversation! Pretty cool. Quite a power group, you can feel a bit intimidated. President Howes, the Stake President, and the Stake High Councilman for missionary work! Was a good meeting though! on Thursday night we had a zone leader conference call, so US the Assistants and all the other Zone leaders, we were out getting a chocolate and raspberry calzone 10 minutes before and the moon was bright and big, so I took a picture of it amid the hurried state we were in! This morning we stopped at 7-11 to wash the car ang get gas. They had a sweet deal where you could buy 1 chocolate milk and get 2 more for free! So we got some "Mint Choc Milk!" Was pretty good! Like mint hot chocolate.. just not hot! ha. Tasted nice... That is about all the funny stuff for the week... I will get on to the good stuff now!
    My core experience with God this week has come from several different places. I kept thinking of Elder Laurensen while we were on exchanges. We were at a Samoan family's house for dinner, he helped my bridge a culture gap I have struggled to build most of my life. He gave me a few pointers and afterwards he told me, "Elder, the reason I told you to do all those things was so they would like you and (this is the line) See that you really are here just to serve!" I was grateful to have a kind leader that just wanted to serve me! I have thought about that most appointments since then. This week I remembered a quote from a motivational speaker and NFL legend, Ray Lewis, that I quoted in my farewell talk. "I am just here to serve, I am only a servant." He was applying it differently but in a gospel or missionary mind set it was striking. Also, this morning we were able to teach seminary. I have read and even taught about Ammon in the Book of Mormon time and time again. I know service is a good way to help people and soften their hearts. However With these 2 experiences in my head I realized, I am only here to Serve To help out, to lend a hand. I know I have been serving a mission, I know people say I am serving God, I know we perform community service. But I thought of the way Ammon acted. He really as just there to benefit those he was around. Not to "kill 'em with kindness" and start teaching them, (although he likely hoped for that) but because he just wanted to Love and give to them. It is a whole attitude change. Very humble too. It doesn't matter about me, just about others, Namely Gods Children. We are here to serve God, yes. But whether it it is him or his children it is the same., and that is how we Serve Him, by serving, giving, loving, and helping all his children. Not so I can teach them... but so they are happy.
   My experience this week in teaching as Jesus taught: I have learned much from the great example of Elder Moore. I have learned the art of supporting your companions testimony with your own. By the mouth of 2 witnesses it shall be established... not by one testimony then another totally different testimony. Supporting and sharing our teaching is what we have been starting to do. The spirit is able to flow across us to each other and the spirit is teaching one lesson through us. Undoubtedly part of it has to do with our focus on sincere prayer and asking for the spirit to work THROUGH US to help those we teach to make correct choices.
   I found great Joy and satisfaction in speaking in Church yesterday! It was faith building to feel the spirit aid and guide us as we prepared talks on short notice. However, as soon as I was speaking and sharing my inspiration it was great. I could feel the spirit. It was definitely not the most elequently and properly delivered talk... but I felt the spirit calming me. I was happy to be speaking. I enjoyed it. I do not know if many people were uplifted, I am sure a few were and many would say they liked listening out of kindness. But it uplifted me. I was happy to speak and attempt to serve.
  I love you all. I am grateful for all you have done for me. It has taken this massive village to raise me to be who I am today. You all have played a bigger and greater part than you will ever know. Thank you!
               Elder Ford

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Miracle Book Entry

 Hello Dear Loved ones!!! How are you? I hope fantastic! You are all an inspiration to me!
  This week has been good! We had MLC. The next day we prepared for Zone Trainign Meeting. My first time training the Penrith Zone! Went alright. Some missionaries said they liked it! So that is good. If it helped 1 of them, then we're all good. We found the Krispy kreme factory out in Penrith! That was fun. haha. We are looking for some fun stuff to do for zone p-day! If any returned missionaries have good activities let me know.. ha. or good training ideas! There was a beautiful sunset earlier this week. Bright orange across the sky! Found a wee little hill to take a picture.. Gotta love that Elder Moore! He's so nice to stop for me to take a picture! Love him.. ha. He is great! An incredible leader and a great missionary! I learn heaps from him! Here is a picture of him in companionship study! So President & Sister Howes make a "Miracle book" each year and get entries from all the missionaries... Here is my entry!
      "My Miracle is simple: Answers to Prayers. Receiving an answer to a prayer is a miracle! Think about it. Anyone in the secular world would say it is an incredible phenomenon! There is a God, or Heavenly Father, who loves us! He sends messages to us through the power of the Holy Ghost. That may come by the Holy spirit working upon you or even flowing through the words and actions of another. I want to share some answers to my prayers with you. 
   1. The 40 Day Fast. There is no way quicker to improve and progress spiritually. Evaluating and forsaking behaviors everyday leads to truly changing. The change is made possible by DAILY prayer. When we plead to the Father for the strength to change and show him where we are struggling (showing him we know where we went wrong), it leads to the purification of motives. We receive the moral and spiritual strength to resist temptation everyday. I was able to let go of many of the things that held me back as a missionary, I was then able to discern prompting more clearly, act on them, and see miracles! We pray everyday for the chance to see miracles and to help others. We pray everyday that we can be the missionaries HE needs us to be. Through the 40 Day Fast and DAILY prayer, he answers that prayer. He helps us to fulfill our righteous desires!
   2. Every time I have struggled with something and prayed for the ability to change and grow, I have received a companion that helped me to build the exact Christ-like attribute prayed for. Coming from their strengths! Companions are inspired, even if you are not the best of friends and struggle at times... they can help you HEAPS! Learn all  you can from each companion, your prayers will be answered! Why do you think he put with them? Maybe for us to help them, but SURELY they are to teach and leave their mark on us. My companions have answered my prayers man times!
   3. I have learned if we pray for something, it will happen! We were teaching a man that was to give up smoking. He prayed every time we were there to give up smoking by February 1st. he expressed he really did want to! But his behavior and appetite seemed to be growing closer to the cigarettes as he got closer to the date. # days before the 1st of Feb no one could find him. No one! ha. Our Elders Quorum president got the police department to break into his house, no one was home. Long story short we found him in the hospital a few days later. Smoke free as of the 1st of February, a Sunday, and with no desire to smoke again (as a result of the 2 emergency visit to the hospital in a week)! God WILL answer our prayers! It is a whole lot easier when we humble our selves and giving to his will, rather than rebelliously fight back!
   4. My first time I went through the temple and received my Endowment I prayed to know the church was true. I didn't receive a huge answer or vision. I was disappointed at my answer. I read in The Book of Mormon a verse that said be meek and submissive like a child. Even though I had received a powerful answer I still had shaky faith... It was not until I had done my part, served the Lord, prayed and studied everyday, that I received my answer. Family, my brothers and sister here on this earth... Let me tell you, I received a spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon was true! That the Church which espouses it is also true! It came when I was humble enough to understand how my God worked, when I had studied it out. Almost 2 years after that Endowment session in the Draper Temple, I stand as a Witness that Jesus is the Christ, and I know this because the Spirit told me so in answering my Prayer.
    The Lord and our God, Heavenly Father, LOVE us! We can and WILL receive answers to our prayers! Please, NEVER doubt this great work you are engaged in or him who you represent! Every answer to a prayer is a MIRACULOUS thing, just as miraculous as the 1st vision or as the Day of Pentecost. Remember, You can know and receive ALL you ever need, from your Father In Heaven who LOVES you! I so testify in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
                         -Elder Ford

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What Do You Have?

Been a great week! Great Week! Started off with P-day roasting a Pig at eh Fine familys! Great Tongan family! They gave so much for us. It was a great experience. Live pig i the morning when we showed up.. in our belly that evening! They taught us how to make Otai!  A tongan drink! Amazing! Here  are some great pictures! Lots to do! Heaps of shotgun exchanges and P. my G. studies! Real Busy! And we are going to Mission Leadership Council today. Wearing a suit like 9 days in a row.. fun stuff! Gotta love it! Serving the Lord and others...
     My Core experience with God this week comes from 2 occasions. "You don't realize what you have." I had a dream earlier this week. I was in the car all was normal I was wearing a white shirt and tie, all was well. Until I noticed I didn't have my Missionary tag on. I kept feeling looking for it! Feeling as if all hope was lost and my commission was gone. I felt like crying.... I am not a crier. You generally do not feel anything physical during dreams... I could feel the sadness and evidence weeping building inside me. I woke up and realized it was a dream. I realized the meaning of the dream quickly, as one with such an experience would. I have a great power and responsibility. I don't think I fully realize what I have.  The 2nd occasion came from the Elder Bednar conference. It was great to see him personally and hear so many ask and answer his questions. I thought I had a fantastic question! Slowly as everyone else was asking questions I was contemplating my question. Slowly, amid all the answers and requests for knowledge that had no relevance to what I intended to inquire of, I got the answer in my head and recorded the revelation, so it would not be lost. The answer I need to be more sincere in my prayers and stay sincere instead of always getting lazy, vain, and repetitious. I wondered how I could keep a zeal and commitment after I had already learned this lesson twice in the last 18 months. The answer came louder. Prayer. Prayer was the answer to it all. I again recorded all the information I had received. I tuned back in to the meeting, they were talking about asking inspired questions, before revelations came they were talking about Elder Bednars fears for our generation. Later in the meeting, I was happy to raise my hand when Elder David A. asked anyone to raise their hand if they had received an answer to a question that not one else had asked or talked about. He and us all were amazed at the # of hands that up. I LOVED when he said "That is a miracle just as Powerful as the parting of the Red sea!" What a true statement. Between these 2 experiences I have come to realize a bit more fully What I have, what power the Lord has given me, and the Great abilities He blessing me and Us All with. Out of that conference I decided I need to obviously prayer more sincerely rather than routinely. And more importantly to help people ACT. The ability of extending commitments is such a valuable tool and thing to do! WE need to help people act!
   Teaching as Jesus taught. I Learned HEAPS from reading the Talks assigned to us to read and all the preparation that took place for the 2 mission conference. I loved the Talk "Learning by Faith." All of the insights were so useful especially to us as missionaries. I hope to be able to help anyone we teach, Investigator, less-active, or full time missionary, to Learn by faith and act as an agent for themselves. As Elder Bednar identified!
I love you all! Thank you for your support! It's busy at the library!.. time is running short my friends! At the Library!
        Elder Ford

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Miracle Exchange!

Elder Ford, Elder Tonne, Elder Moore
Elder Laurensen, Elder Ford

Been a good week! Felt so long but so fast at the same time! haha. was great! Our district leaders stopped in after their District leader training. Was good to see them! We took some pictures. Here is a picture of Us and Elder Toone (in the middle). Me and Elder Moore. The assistants came for exchanges on Valentines day so we all wore red ties! haha. It was funny! People commented on it! it was funny. I didn't know the area too well but luckily Elder Laurensen served there earlier in his mission! So he was able to show me around a bit! Was good. He is a great Elder Great Elder!
The work went well this week. Not too much to report. It sounds like you are all doing well. glad to hear it! Dad found the chapel here in minchinbury on google maps as he always likes to do. ha. It is fun to see. Not too much else to report...
   This week my core experience with God, I would say, was going on exchanges with the assistants. It was great to learn from them and see how missionary work should be! I felt uplifted and inspired. We didn't have the best plans but we went forward with faith and actually did quite a bit and accomplished our exchange goals. being and talking with Elder Laurensen I learned a lot about our Savior and our role as leaders. I realized I need to rise to the level of what is expected of me. I felt the spirit and was happy, I felt that I needed to "Rise to a new sense of commitment" as Preach My Gospel says. This combined with the Elder Bednar talks we have been assigned to read lately have helped me to see what my "weapons of rebellion against God" are and encouraged me to let go of and bury them. This is how I am overcoming any distractions keeping me from holding to the rod and progressing. I am striving to continually focus on the words of Christ, as I taught others to do as a District Leader. I realized there is more expected of me than I have been living and doing. I want to establish the Lords vision for this zone with Elder Moore. If you have any input on how we can help inspire these great missionaries, please let us know.
   Jesus knew the People and how to work with them. This last week I have met many new friends and families here in Minchinbury. I hope seek to know everyone in this big ward so I can help the ward to grow. If we know the people, we can help them to learn. If we can help them to learn they will be more than willing to fellowship and rise to a new sense of commitment as we all should. That is how a true Zion like community runs. Everyone helping and learning and growing together, bringing everyone with them. I can see Mighty Penrtih excelling with Members Present at all teaching opportunities. MP. Just a thought. Being like Christ the master, and KNOWING the people, not knowing OF the people.
   I love you all! Thanks for all that you do for! I truly love each of you!
           Elder Ford

Monday, February 9, 2015

6 Questions

Hello my wonderful family and friends!! It is a day late yes. I was transferred! I left Elder Nathan and all the great missionaries in Baulkham Hills! I grew to love it, I will miss them, but on to the next one! I am now in the Minchinbury ward in the Penrith stake!  Pretty cool. It is in western Sydney and it is my first time out west. I have only heard amazing things about the ward, everyone at transfers kept smiling and saying "wow... you'll love it!" That usually happens but it seemed more legitimate and real than normally. I am excited. I now am with Elder Moore. He was born in Texas, but grew up in Guam, and will be going home to Brazil. His dad works for the FBI, counter terrorism or something... Should call him Elder Bauer, hey? haha 24... Ages since I have thought about that.  He is great though! A legend! I have looked up to him for a while so it is cool to be his companion, I think he will be an assistant before his time is up! I do not have a picture of us yet since we were crazy busy yesterday! Had to help some missionaries get to their area, move bags and stuff, plus do some Zone stuff. SO yea.. way busy yesterday. Sorry... Picture next time!
   This week there are a few experiences I could write about. However, I think the one I could best illustrate for you has to do with my new calling or assignment as a zone leader. As I began to pray this morning I kept thinking of one thing. Sister Howes. Her words about my companion from yesterday were playing over and again, "he needs a companion, not a backpack." I pondered on that for a moment or two and began my study. I felt prompted to read a bit about Callings and Authority in the topical guide and Bible dictionary. I was obviously led to D&C 121. I was reading through it and I thought of zone leader examples from my past, many of which have actually served in the Minchinbury ward, and the outcome of their examples. Between the two, mostly the scriptures, I learned much. The gist of what I learned can be put simply as follows. I was lead to write down 6 questions I and the Lord want me to ask myself before I make any decision. 1. Is it Hypocritical? 2. Is it Patient? 3. Are you doing it for them, or for yourself? 4. Is it Loving? 5. IS it what God and Jesus Christ would do? 6. Then should you do it? By so doing I can easily detect if I am being a righteous Priesthood leader. If am truly being a representative of the Savior to those I have been given responsibility for. I was greatly humbled this morning to realize a bit more about the trust and responsibility I have been given. Also how to fulfill all that the Lord wants me to do here.
   Teaching as Jesus Taught. This might not be a particular skill, however I feel it is right to share. I heard a song by the Mormon Tabernacle choir this past week. Towards the end it was building and building to it's climax and eventual close. I thought about that and how it is similar to the Saviors mortal ministry. He got more bold, taught more people, taught more personally and with more spirit than ever before. Until his final service of said ministry offered at Gethsemane and Calvary. I Realized that is how I am to be. I spoke on Sunday about "Forgetting yourself and getting lost in this great cause." I have a great chance to do so and follow the Saviors example by building and building, improving and progressing, lifting and strengthening higher and higher until and inevitable end. The focus being in the building portion. The work.
   My mission thus far has been great! I am so grateful for all that I have learned and all the families I have been able to be a part of and strengthen. I have learned much, I have shared much. It has had a bigger impact on my life than anything else I have ever done before! It has helped  me to really know God. It has helped me repent. It has helped me realize what I need to be and what God expects of me! It has increased my intellectual capacity. It has given me many close friends with deep bonds. It has prepared me for the rest of life. My mission has gone great so far! It could undoubtedly it could have gone better to this point.. missed opportunities and promptings not followed.. That is part of the learning process though! I could not be the missionary or person I am today without having those experiences. It is the same reason we still feel pain even though we are forgiven. To help us learn and remember what we have come from and how the Lord has helped us!
 Thank you all for your love! I appreciate it!
       Elder Ford

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A House

GOOD MORNING (insert your last name here) FAMILY!!!!!!!!
I just thought of that home renovation show.. Extreme Makeover! That's it! ha. And how they would yell that at whoevers house they were going to renovate.. then I thought of Nick petty yelling it at his pet mice in 7th grade! ha. Good times... It is still good times here as well! Had a great week, Had zone training meeting. Our Zone leader, Elder Watts, made us all take a picture out in the rain! ha. It was funny. Cheerful attitudes everywhere! SO many umbrellas! If I get  picture I'll send it to ya! ha. was good. Went on exchanges and saw some miracles. that was good! Enjoyed that! OH! So this lonely older man we visit didn't answer his door on Friday for our appointment which he never misses. In fact he calls us if we are 5 minutes late to check if were are still coming. He wouldn't answer his phones, no one knew were he was. We were the last ones to see him and that was on Wednesday. It got to Saturday and no one had heard from him still. His phone was dead at this point and we were beginning to get a bit scared. Our Elders quorum president called the police and they broke in. Nothing. Everything seemed to be in order. the only thing gone was him. All of his cigarettes 9we are working with him for that..) his phone all there.. But not him! We were baffled! Looking around for a crazy old man! the hospital had no record of him we called several times to a few different hospitals on Saturday. Nothing. WHERE DID HE GO? He could be dead in the ally-way nest to the R.S.L. for all we know!! haha we got a call from our Elders quorum President Sunday morning saying he called the hospital one more time and got connected to someone with his name but no one answered... so we went up to have a look. Well what do ya know. he had been in there since Thursday evening when he was in a struggle for breathe at the shopping center! my goodness.... relief! Found him with a big desire to quit smoking... the Lord finds ways to humble those that need it...he is safe though. We are visiting him again tonight! phew.. funny story for ya!  In other news I got my watch fixed this morning! Got a new battery and it works better than when I first got it! ha. pretty cool! Excited about that. My wrist felt naked! I was able to go on exchanges for the last time with Elder Spicer! From Queens land. he was my zone leader in Coffs and is now my district member. I have learned heaps from him and he goes home in a week! Also, me and Elder Nathan made a home made camera mount out of blue-tak in the car! So we can take pictures and record funny videos while driving. Do not worry.. the driver is always alert and focused on the road. Here is a picture for you laugh at! ha.
      My core experience this week came again from Studying "Preach My Gospel!" I was in the effective study chapter and in the course of my hour I was lead to read a lot about knowledge and its importance. I enjoyed reading much from the Book of Proverbs. (1:20-33; 3:13-26; 4:1-13; 8:1-36; 15:14;) The bit that stood out most to me most, however, was Proverbs 24:3-4, which reads:" 3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: 4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches." I do not claim the exact intents of the author but my thoughts were interesting. I pictured a house. It is established by the parents, Meaning they set the rules. This probably comes from my imagination of having a future family and intending to create a sacred environment as D&C 88:119 says:"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." Anyway... that is how it is established, by the Children understanding (as proverbs says) and applying the principles they are being taught. Learning and living the basic principles of the Gospel: Faith, Repentance, Prayer, Sacrifice, Baptism, ETC. That is when the house is established and the knowledge is obtained, thus furnishing our lives with precious and pleasant riches (the joy that comes from true gospel living). Now, "what does this have to do with you Elder Ford?" You may, rightly so, be asking. I understood a bit after reading that the parent of the House is our Heavenly Father and we are obviously the small children striving to understand the BASIC principles given us by our maker. That is how we will establish the house of God, or Bethel we will raise as I have been saying recently. By continuing to learn and apply what we have been taught. By improving and progressing until we reach the point where we can become Like the our creator, like our Savior. We cannot selfishly take in all we can and not help our brothers and Sisters to improve and progress eternally, or we are not raising our Fathers house, we are trying to raise our own. Thus, we must teach, we must Invite others to com unto Christ and be perfected in him.
   We have been teaching using stories and poems a bit. We try to use resources we have and almost teach in parables. The savior often taught in this symbolic way with great power. We are trying to teach similarly to our members. the result is good. The spirit is strong, the confusing doctrines of the kingdom become just a little bit more clear. I am happy about it. I feel the ward members are gaining a bit more respect and trust for us. Which is essential do bringing to pass the Lords great work in Normanhurst as you well know. It has been successful.. funny what happens when you follow the example of Jesus Christ.
   We have been rehitting the survey while tracting this week. It is great! It defuses that fear people have when they see missionaries at the door. It can instantly get you right into a gospel conversation with them feeling comfortable and willing to learn more. It has been worth while. This is the only area where I  have had success with the survey.. and it has been great success! ha. It is, I would say, my best way to find, using the survey that is. it works on the street and it makes tracting a bit better. We have enjoyed it.
I LOVE you ALL!...HEAPS!    Please don't forget that! I wish I had time to write you all individually but the time does not permit. Whether friend or family, I Do love YOU! Thank you for your support.
           Elder Ford

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Realization of Time

Hello My dearest Loved ones!!!! How much I do Love you, you will never know...
This week has been good! A pretty regular week. We had a zone conference. Always fun. District meeting on Wednesday. It was good we learned about teaching and our resources. We took some pictures after. Here ya go! A couple of pictures! went on two exchanges this week! Back to back! Elder Nathan went to Dural for 2 days and I handled the fort here  in Normanhurst for the same. Elder Bjornberg form west Valley Utah and Elder Tetuira from Tahiti! Both great missionaries, loved serving with both of them! was fun.. forgot to take pictures! Sorry... ha. had a good time though. Taught a lesson with 2 returned missionaries for our members present, was smash! Felt the spirit. It was cool, everything was like triple testified! ha. loved it. Well... on the lessons learned on my part!
     My core experience with God this week was realizing my time. Not to say I am thinking about home or getting trunky, but I realized time doesn't slow down or stop. I was thinking this week and the spirit helped me to understand how much more I could be doing and my true potential as a missionary. I saw how valuable our time as a missionary is and of powerful and sacred our calling is. It helped me again to be more purpose driven. I then went on two fantastic exchanges and felt like I really helped and guided these missionaries. It is not the longest experience I have written about, but is an important one!
   Teaching as Jesus taught. During district meeting, and zone conference for that matter, this last week we focused on teaching for understanding. We learned several different things we can do and how we can help the people understand more of our great message. We also focused on what the Brethern say to MAKE SURE every one we teach understands. How can we expect people to accept our message if the cannot understand it properly. We need to teach so basically that no one can misunderstand and that a child can have the knowledge to make the correct choice in embracing the gospel.
   I learned from the White Hand Book this week that blessing are just as sacred as ordinances. All the direction and protocol are in the back ready for us to review. How it administer a Priesthood blessing is in with the rest of the "How to's" of the Priesthood, including: Baptism & Confirmation, Baby Blessings, blessing a home, dedicating graves, and setting apart priesthood and auxiliary leaders. great things to be learned from the WHB!
       Elder Ford

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Wallaby & A Weekly E-mail

 Hello, Dear Friends and family!! I love you all dearly! you are fantastic.
 It has been a good week. We have taken ALL the formers out of the 2 area books we have and organized them into suburbs. We are now going and visiting every one and leaving our mark, if you will, on the area book. We are excited. Bishop also met with us yesterday and pointed us in the right direction with some of the less-actives and what he wants and is okay with us doing. FANTASTIC!!! Miracle! ha. One of the people he wanted us to visit is a nice woman who lives alone with a yard to literally fades into the bush-land. So she has wallabies that come visit her! ha. For those of you that are unaware, a wallaby is a small kangaroo (in a nut shell). Not literally in a nutshell... but you get the point! how fun. She feeds them! probably nicer and cuter than the other animals that show up looking for a feed *cough*cough*  missionaries! *cough*cough*. ha. I thought I would include a picture for you to laugh at. ha. they are so funny... with their little hands. Like little people that hop around. ha. We have also decided that once a week we are going to try some of the restaurants around Hornsby. So last week we got some sweet curry, this week we got some nice pizza. We chose this certain pizza-place because the it had a big Ferrari logo painted on the wall on the inside. ha. I wanted to get a picture.. but it was too crowded inside. Sorry dad! ha. maybe next week... Anyway the pizza was good! Enjoyed it. As I hope you enjoy the picture of Elder Nathan and said Pizza! ha. On to what this week  has taught me and vicariously you...
    This week in my daily reading of Preach My Gospel I have been going through chapter 2: Effective study. It seemed to be repeating itself and hammering the fact that the Holy Ghost is the way we receive all knowledge and can even "Know the truth of all things" through the Holy Ghost. It was great to think about as beginning my personal study I have been reading my Patriarchal blessing. As I ponder my life (and my Mission) I can see a few different ideas and paths, even paths I was on before my mission. While the spirit is there I realized I could actually see far down the track and what impact various decisions would have and Generally how my Mission or life would result. The spirit helps us to lift our vision and even see much beyond what we can see through or natural man eyes or natural man pondering. The spirit truly helps us answer deep, personal, and greatly important questions. The scriptures are right again! The spirit CAN, indeed, show us the Truth of all things.
     I am studying Preach My Gospel everyday in personal study and doing all the study activities. My capacity to teach and understand doctrine has been greatly increased! My studies are more spiritual and I get much out of them. I am starting to understand on another level what it means to Teach as Jesus taught, or to be as Jesus is. I can see how he teaches and what he taught those who would listen. Once again I quote a great example as a missionary, Elder Leneham said to me once: "As missionaries we have so many resources we don't even know about!" I did know about Preach My Gospel. I did know we are supposed to study from it often if not daily, I just didn't like to. Now, I feel as Jynx in the Preach my Gospel videos "you'd think would've told me this sooner. You've all been saying it and I just haven't been listening." I feel as if I just found a resource I didn't know I had. Not really teaching as Jesus taught... but a good thing to share regardless.
     One thing about the Mission that is strengthening my testimony is working with the People and working with myself. I could not have imagined upon entering the MTC how I could now see the Atonement work. In the people we teach lives and in my own life especially. The Atonement is the power purify us. The power to cleanse us. The power to humble us. The power to change us. The power improve us. the power to SAVE us. Save us from sin, confusion, doubt, guilt, and personal inadequacy. And fill us with Power, confidence, gratitude, humility, faith, peace, joy, and all other gifts from the god the Spirit can bring. My mission has highly increased my testimony of the atonement, by working with others and by working with Christ to change me.
I LOVE you ALL!!! Thank you for all you do and all your prayers. I am grateful for your role in my life. All of you. Thank you!
Elder Ford

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Increase of Happiness and Spirit

Good Day to you my loved ones!!! I DO love you all! You are all fantastic. I am grateful for the part you have all played in my life thus far and hope you continue to be a part of it. You are an inspiration. Remember That!
  It has been a good week! 6 weeks have come and gone once again! A new transfer has begun. Elder Nathan and I are both staying in Normanhurst! We are excited about it! Glad to be here and happy to improve it! This last p-day we got together and hit some golf balls at the Thornleigh golf center! It is right by a busy road so they have these huge nets, pretty cool. One of the zone leaders came with a Tongan Elder he lives with. So we had a fun little activity. Driving is weird... it is stress relieving because you hit something but also aggravating because I cannot hit the ball. haha. I am getting better though! Getting better. We had the last district meeting of the transfer while on exchanges so we took a big group photo, turns out only 1 of us left. Had a fun district lunch afterwards at Westfield: Hornsby. Later that day on exchanges we had to take some photos. Almost a year ago Elder Watts and I were regular missionaries, junior companions in fact, on exchanges in Taree. We took a photo then at a scenic place, so we  had to recreate the Photo, now as a District and Zone leader, in a scenic place here! haha. SO I included a phot of us at a scenic place. I will have to send both the old and new pictures next week.. ha. funny! well... on to the Good stuff!
   I was pondering on what I could write to you this week about and share as my core experience with God. I was thinking and thinking when Elder Nathan was recapping what we did this week I realized there was such an increase of Spirit felt and Happiness in all that we did! Upon thinking about it for a moment I realized it came from two changes in attitude and behavior which hopefully will change into a change in Nature! The first: An intentional increase in diligence and work. We realized we had been slack in a few areas and determined to become better than we were. We worked and did more than we had for a few weeks. As a result we talked to many more people and were again thinking about how we can do even better. We were happier, felt more joy in our days, and felt more meaning and purpose to all we were doing. The second: Relying on the Savior and His Atonement! Doing so really enabled us to change and make ground on our 40 Day fasts, our process of purification. Changing our will to match his and praying for the strength to do so. I have done this often. The key thing is as Moroni says, to have "a sincere heart and real intent," and I would like to add faith! If we have a sincere heart and really intended to follow the promptings we receive (and accept the way out the Lord gives in the face of temptation) we must have faith. Believing that we will receive an answer and really will have the chance to get away from the wickedness that will inevitably face us. I can't think of a better way to describe how to have faith than a sincere heart and real intent. That has been my lesson learned this week. By Working, increasing our diligence, and relying on the Savior and his Atonement we received a great uplift in Spirit and Joy. A lesson I am grateful to have learned.
    Teaching as Jesus taught. I have been trying to be happier when I teach. I noticed this week when we were watching "The District" videos for 12-week study that I began to feel the "Missionary-buzz" (as I call it) again! It was fun. I remembered the zeal and excitement I had coming out on my mission. I realized what we are and what we do: Represent Christ and re-present  Christ in our Areas. I noticed the missionaries that had the successful and spirit filled lessons had all been happy when teaching, still respecting and maintaining the high level of the spirit in attendance. I realized that is how Christ likely did and would teach. Happily. That is one way I have been trying to improve my teaching this week.
  One good thing I will do for Elder Nathan this week... I keep getting funny ideas from Elder Guthrie. He would make funny jokes about silly things we "was going to do" for his companion, Like sing him a lullaby before 10:30. I don't plan on doing that but I will do something good for him this week. I am sure I will have many opportunities to serve him through out he week, make him a lunch, make his bed, etc. However, I think the BEST thing I could do for him would be to change myself and be a better example to him. A better example of missionary work, and a better example of a consecrated and sanctified Missionary & Leader.
 I love you all! So much. HEAPS even! You are an inspiration! Remember that.   
        Elder Ford