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

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