Sorry it's taken me so long to email. We've had a pretty busy few days. Things are going fantastic though. Lots of good things are starting to happen. So.. On to the highlights of the last week and half!
Last Wednesday was an adventure. We went to pick up three new Chinese speaking missionaries from the Manchester Airport and welcome them to the EMM. It was pretty weird being back there. I don't really remember my first day in England to be honest. It was a all a big hazy blur because I was so tired. It was great to see how excited they were to get out into the mission field after 12 weeks in the Provo M.T.C. I even wore my Chinese name badge that I got serving with Elder Chan for the special occasion. We let them sleep for a bit and then we got to take them out on the streets for their first experience with finding. You should have seen the fear in their eyes. I've totally forgotten what it felt like to be a new missionary. They were so excited! They had such fresh faith and it taught me a lot, They also got their first taste of discouragement when people rejected them. It hurt to see how shocked they were that people didnt want to listen. They'll be great missionaries though.
Thursday we added Elder Beard to our companionship. We now call it the all powerful tripanionship. It's been so much fun serving with two other people that I came out with. I'm not sure if that's ever happened before in the history of the mission. Needless to say, we laugh a lot. If i had to describe Elder Beard I would say that he's a lot like a young Chris Farley. haha. We're really meshing well though and having an extra person has helped us with the big workload.
We had our Zone Conference on Thursday as well. I learned quite a bit from it.President Preston did a training on "hope" which is something that I'd never really thought about before. He started by showing us a picture of an ant and a rubber tree. He asked us what they had in common. Nobody had any idea haha. Apparently there is a Frank Sinatra song that says everyone knows an Ant can't move a rubber tree plant, but they have high hopes. Preach My Gospel says that hope is "an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. When you have hope you "work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for you good. Moroni 7:40-48 teaches it perfectly i think. It highlights the relationship between Faith, Hope, and Charity.
One missionary asked "what's the difference between Faith and hope?". I thought about that for awhile. You can't have Hope without faith. You can't have faith without hope. and we learn in Moroni 7:46 that if we don't have charity we're nothing. The three are inseparable. It reminds me of the Godhead. We know that they're three separate individuals but that they have one central purpose and one mission. After thinking about it for awhile here's what i came up with. Faith is our Actions. Hope is our desires. Charity is what we become. Three different things, but inseparable.. It was a good training.
I'm pretty pleased with the way the work is going this transfer so far. I feel like we're far exceeding the low expectations that have been set in the past. We're even surprising a few people. People will say things like "Office Elders don't teach or baptize." Then i call them to repentance and humility. haha. It's a process but things are turning around here.
As of right now we have three solid investigators. Kathir, Victor, and Jovanna. Kathir
Kathir is a Hindu man from India. He was a Former Investigator that I called and set up an appointment with, He's very willing to meet with us and attend church. He loves it there. The challenge is building faith in Christ since he's coming from quite a different background. He's an I.T person who's actually published two books with a 3rd on its way. It's safe to say that he's so smart!
Victor is amazing. He initially didn't want to meet with us when we met him on the streets. He said he wanted nothing to do with Religion. He has studied Christianity all his life and didnt like it at all. He lived in Greece for awhile where the Greek Orthadox church is pretty dominant. He was pretty surprised when we agreed with a lot of the things he was saying on the street. he didn't believe in a lot of the false doctrine out there and was quite interested with what we had to say. He's writing a book on Christianity so he was pretty interested towards the end. He's heart was softened so much! At the end of the prayer after the first lesson he was in tears.
Jovanna is a miracle as well. Also a Former Investigator. She is from Italy and grew up with a Strong Roman catholic upbringing. She grew up in a nunnery!. She had a lot of trials in her life and got sick for awhile. She picked up the Book of Mormon while she was sick and read quite a bit of it. She already believes it's true, We just need to meet with her more frequently. She's super busy so we've only been able to meet with her once a week so far.
We've also been working a lot with the youth in the Ward. I've been talking a lot with a recent convert who is 18 years old. He wasn't really sure if he was wanted to go on a mission but we've been talking a lot with him and taking him out teaching. Now he's preparing for a mission. He'll be fantastic too. such a strong testimony. We took him teaching with Victor and he set the tone for the entire lesson.
Things are going great here. I'm looking forward to General conference. The count down started 3 months ago here! it's more exciting than Christmas! It'll be a good one. Prepare yourselves. I love you all. Thanks for the support!
Love Elder Ford