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

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