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

Sunday, January 4, 2015

19 Months Today

Can't believe it is 19 months today... Crazy!!!
GOOD DAY to you all!!! I hope you are enjoying the new year!
What a week it has been! We went on 2 exchanges back to back! Elder Nathan served in Dural for 2 days straight and I spearheaded Normanhurst! Was fun. Worked with Elder Musters from Toronto and Elder Bjornberg who has only been out a few weeks form West valley. I decided to show Elder Bjornberg a bit of the "bush land" in our area and take him across the ferry. Took a selphie for ya! When were back in regular companionships we had a dinner appointment in at on retirement village. All the parking was taken and we couldn't find anything.. so Elder Nathan guided me to what he deemed to be an appropriate space. I included a picture for you! The zone leaders asked to come to district meeting this week so we had a full house, we took pictures using our cameras self timers (as missionaries do) so we all had to run and stand together. (again as missionaries do). ha. It was a fun week and we did well. I am excited for what the new week can bring!
   Last night while I was half asleep and my mind wandered on it's own, I kept hearing a line form Hymn no. 100, "Nearer, My God, To Thee" (one of my favorite Hymns). The line was out of the seldom sung 5th verse: "Out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise." It stayed with me all morning. At the beginning of personal study I decided to look into it a bit. I re-read the story of Jacobs ladder and the Bible Dictionary under "Bethel," meaning "House of God." I pondered the story and meaning and wondered what It was God was telling me. I resolved that I must repent and do better. I Must rise out of MY "stony griefs" and raise Bethel, or the House of God. I must strive more earnestly to Build the Kingdom, Gather Israel, and Strengthen Zion.  I seek to make "Out of My Stony Griefs Bethel I'll Raise" one of my new mottos or even my mantra for mind/self control. New Years time to reevaluate and move foreword.
   Teaching as Jesus Taught. Using resources. Christ used all his resources as any master teacher or master anything would do. I am now reading Preach my Gospel and doing all the Study activities. I have been getting more out of my studies, on a consistent basis, than I have in most of my mission! I am so grateful for that book. I have heard others speculate and quote that is was "Constructed beyond the veil." It is inspired of god. I am grateful I was led to do this now while there is still time to do it all!
   How I have grown and improved this last year is amazing. I would say the biggest thing it has done for me is to Build my testimony! A year ago, I had a decent new missionary testimony. Over the last year I have had uncountable experiences, insights, studies, and conversations that have given me the firm gospel anchor I have needed and yearned for (whether or not I knew it) all my life. I now feel comfortable saying I Know that God lives, loves us, and is our Father. That Jesus IS the Christ, and he also: lives and loves us! That the Atonement that he accomplished for us is real. that it is the only way that we can return to live in his presence and become like him. I Know that Joseph Smith was not a crazy young boy, but indeed an inspired, dedicated, honest, brave Prophet of god that indeed did in reality restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints is the Church of God and the only way to Salvation, not to mention Joy in this life and the life to come. My mission has built my testimony. That is without a Doubt the biggest area I have grown in during the last year!
   I love you all! And as my mother would say, more than you know! I am grateful for the part you have all played in my life, especially the past year-19 months! It's like a Symphony, you all play a piece to make my life the Beauty that it is! LOVE YA HEAPS!!!!!!!!!!
     Elder Ford