Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 18, 2013

Hey Everyone!

Hopefully everyone has had a good week. The past week has been all over the place. We've had some great highs and some lows.

It's getting pretty crazy coming up to easter here. It seems like all the different churches are going all out to try and convert as many people as they can before easter sunday. I think every door we knocked on had been knocked by Jehovah's witnesses the day before! So many doors in our faces haha. I guess that's what happens though in a country where there is a different church on every corner. It's a battle. The witnesses have been really active. I remember them knocking on our door when I was home. I was probably 14. I don't know if I ever told anyone this story. It was one of the first experiences I had with another church. They knocked on the door and I answered. They told me who they were and I told them I was a mormon. They asked if everyone in the neighborhood was mormon. It's Utah so the answer was yes haha. They gave me one of their watchtower magazines. I remember going inside and starting to read it. I remember the things I was reading sounding right and I was feeling the spirit. Then I read one line and the spirit shut off completely and I through the magazine away. Crazy how it works isn't it?

Our most progressing investigator, debbie, dropped is this week. She got into some anti-mormon materials and it shook her up quite a bit. She just wasn't ready for any of that yet. It's pretty sad how that happens. There's more anti-mormon material out there than any other church. If you think about it though, if you were satan would you waste your time attacking other churches or the true one...exactly! Debbie will come back one day. We have started teaching a lot of other good people. We're teaching a lady form the West Indies(Trinidad and Tobago) named Monica and her niece named Crystal. They are two of the funniest people I've ever met. In the middle of a lesson Monica just started rebuking crystal calling her a sinner and telling her to repent. It's sounds pretty funny in a carribean accent. We started teaching a part member family this week as well, Rob & Elaine. They've been coming to St. Helens for about 7 weeks now. They don't live in our area though so we'll probably have to hand them off soon. Not sure what the plans are there. We began teaching one of the girls who came to church and said that they wanted to be baptized as well. Her name is Sarah. Honestly, St. Helens is so close to just exploding. 

The church is getting a lot of publicity right now in England because the Book of Mormon musical is coming to London. It's pretty apostate but the church is using it as a tool. The church is going all out with it's Mormon.org campaign. They've got advertisements in the front page of the musical program saying "Now that you've seen the show, read the book". They've bought all the advertising spaces in some of the biggest train stations in London and ads on the big double decker buses. It's pretty crazy. It's spreading all the way up here to the norhwest as well. They've announced that for the first time outside of the U.S they'll be having an official church pageant at the Preston Temple grounds. I have no idea what a pageant is or what it's all about but apparently it's a big deal. haha. They're having that in July and they're saying that it'll be a huge missionary opportunity. The church is definitely getting it's name out here. People know the Mormons. Now we just need to baptize them. :) They interviewed some missionaries in our mission on BBC radio. I'm sure you could find it on Google or something. 

There's been quite a few funny moments this week. Dad will love this one. I had a classic Brian Regan "you too!" moment. haha. We were talking to a less-active lady on her doorstep for awhile and when we turned to leave she said "have a safe journey" and I said "you too!...In case you decide to go somewhere or something". haha. She looked at me like I wad an Idiot. Elder Peterson won't let me live it down. Unfortunately he likes Brian Regan too. There was some pretty funny quotes flying around In Elders quorom as well. It's pretty ridiculous when some of the start "master Yoda said..." haha. English wards are so funny. The church here is a lot different than at home. Elders Quorem made me think about some quotes i've been told on my mission that i've really liked. When I was in Preston and the work wasn't going to well, one of the high councilors over missionary work said, "Elder Ford. Finish this sentence for me. If at first you don't succeed..." I said "try try again." "Wrong! If at first you don't succeed, ask yourself WHY? Don't keep making the same mistake over and over again." It changed the way we did our work there. There are some pretty wise people out there. 

Well there's not much else that happened this week. Today is the last P-day of the transfer. Transfers are on the 27th. Not sure what will happen but I'll probably stay. I'll email on the Thursday most likely. It's crazy how fast time goes. I'm going on exchange in Southport this week so I'll get to see Steve and Naomi on Tuesday. Get in there! I guess I'll end with something I studied this week. I've been thinking about the Atonement recently and how to put it across in a way that people can understand and relate to. Yesterday in sacrament meeting we sang "Reverently and Meekly Now". The 4th verse puts it perfectly. It says, 

4. At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.

God loves you and I love you. Thanks for everything.

Love Elder Ford

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

hey everyone!

Another week come and gone. It was the British mothers day yesterday so happy mothers day all you mums(super English)! It's been another really good week. We've seen a lot of progression in the work and a lot more miracles. The weather turned a bit nasty though. After a few days of solid sunshine it started snowing yesterday and today. Rubbish. We're pushing through it, even though we can't feel our faces! We got some news as well that the missionary email policy has changed at that we can email pretty much anyone we want now. That was pretty surprising but no complaints from me. haha

We saw the work really progress at church on Sunday. We set up a dinner appointment with a part member family for this Friday. The husband is a returning member and his wife and three kids aren't members. His wife and two of his kids have been coming to church for the past 5 weeks but we haven't begun teaching them for whatever reason. We'll be starting on Friday though! The mother has already had spiritual experiences at church and one of the daughters already wants to be baptized! Another miracle we had a church, a 19 yr. old young man in the ward brought a girl he is dating to church. She has been going to mutual for awhile now. She met with the bishop after church and then came out and told us the she wanted to take the missionary lessons! It's pretty crazy because the exact same thing happened last week with another young woman. We're just waiting now to see where we will be teaching the lessons. The members are really providing some great people to teach here.

We had another miracle on Sunday night as well. We were knocking by some formers and less-actives in a specific area. We knocked by a less-active named Norman. He said that he was excommunicated from the church when he was 17 because he couldn't stop smoking and he hadn't been back since. He's in his 60's now! He was on our ward list so I'm not sure that he's actually ex-communicated. He told us that his wife was a pretty staunch Christian and that she probably wouldn't want to meet with us, they both weren't feeling well either so he said that it wasn't the best time. We started to walk down the road and we were about 20 yards from his house when we heard, "Hey Elders!". Norman was calling us back to his house. He let us right in and introduced us to his wife. He must have changed his mind. We ended up teaching parts of the Restoration to them. After the lesson we gave them both Priesthood blessings as well. His wife was a bit emotional after. We're going back next Sunday to teach them again! So many good things are happening.

We're actually picking up quite a few people right now. Some of them are pretty...interesting. This one man we met invited us into his house and the first thing he asked us is if it was o.k to contact the dead with a Wigi board. He said that he was a Catholic and that he had a lot of questions that he wanted answered so that's why he wanted to contact the dead. Pretty dodgy. We asked him if he had ever thought of praying about it and of course he hadn't. hah. One of the next lessons we were teaching him the Plan of Salvation. We were talking about the spirit world and I used an analogy about it being kind of like a waiting room in a dentist office. If you've taken good care of your teeth you won't be worried, if you haven't then you'll be a bit uncomfortable...big mistake. He launched into this huge story about an experience he had at the dentist when he was ten where they gave him laughing gas and he thought he was dying. then he asked us, "Is that what dying is like?"... He's a character.

We spent pretty much all day Saturday on the trains. I had a meeting in Liverpool that I had to be at pretty early. Liverpool is so good! It's a big city just a bit smaller than Manchester. It's right on the coast and the people there are great. There's a lot of church history there too. The Docks in Liverpool are where the first missionaries to England landed and where pretty much all of the converts who were heading to America went. I definitely want to serve there. After the morning in Liverpool I got to go back to Blackburn! I got to go see the baptism of Greg! he was the son of Rosalyn, the African lady who fed us all the crazy food. We were teaching him for awhile before I left the area and I got a call earlier in the week inviting me to his baptism. Elder Reali got to baptize him. I was standing there watching like a proud father. haha. Greg is going to be great. It was so good to see all of the Blackburn members as well. I miss them a lot. The first few weeks here in St. Helens I was going through withdrawals of not being there. I'll probably get attached to every area I go to. I still miss Stockport and that was a year ago!

Elder Peterson and I are working hard to find new people to teach. We're going to try all different ways. We're thinking of starting up like a weekly basketball game or something. We're both pretty good at basketball so we figure we should use it to our advantage. The trouble is everyone here loves football(soccer) too much. Hardly anyone here plays basketball. I still haven't properly converted to football. I have quite a few jerseys but I still don't ever play it. I'm not coordinated enough with my feet. I'm trying to convert them to basketball and baseball but it's not working. 

Thank you for all the support. I love you all so much. Hope you have a great week! 


1. Greg and I on his baptism day.
2. Our house. Proper English. squashed in between to other houses.

Love Elder Ford

March 4, 2013


Hope everyone has had a good week. We've had a very busy one. We honestly worked like dogs this last week! We were really able to see the blessings throughout the week as well. I started the week with an exchange in Southport. I was with Elder Caleira from Portugal. It was a lot of fun and we saw a lot of miracles throughout the day. Southport is a really nice area right next to the ocean. It's basically a place for rich people and retired people. haha. I got some really good news as well from the Southport Elders a few nights ago. They told me they got a call from Steve and Naomi. They're moving from Blackburn to Southport! I'll get to still see them on exchanges. I was pretty excited about that and I'm sure Southport is as well. Not every day a family of six moves into the ward.

We faced some pretty good trials this week. We were literally just out in the street finding all week. Not many teaching appointments our anything. We walked a ton and poke to a lot of people. Elder Peterson and I were both on the verge of just collapsing from exhaustion a few times (not really haha) We knew good things would happen though. We went into church on Sunday with pretty high expectations. After the first hour the young women's president pulled us aside and said that she had a girl who wanted to be baptized. BOOM! she said she would set it up and get back to us on it. Blessings always come. We were able to find a lot of other people to teach this week as well. Our teaching pool is growing. St. Helens is about to get wet(Baptized!). 

Everything is going really well here. So much has happened that it's hard to know where to start. My brain is honestly friend from this past week and all the work. We've been coming home every night and just collapsing into bed! I've never appreciated sleep more in my life!  This upcoming Sunday is the English mothers day. It's a bit earlier than ours but Happy Mother's Day all you Mom's! haha. Random thought as well, We walked past a Domino's pizza and saw a poster for the new "hot dog stuffed crust pizza"...What's that about? looks disgusting. and In other news we no longer have to proselyte with Suit jackets on! It' still pretty cold so I probably will anyways. It's white shirts until November! Well I need to get going. sorry it's so short but the fire alarm went off so we had to leave and come back so we don't have much time.

Here is my spiritual thought for the week!

I think sometimes in life we look at things with a very limited perspective. We can't really see past what's right in front of us. In 2 Kings 6 it tells the story of how the servant of Elisha the prophet had the same problem. In the middle of the night enemies surround the house where he and Elisha are and the wake up to chariots and horses right outside there door. He says "Alas, my master! how shall we do?" Elisha responds, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. (2 Kings 6:8-18). Even when you don't see or feel it, you're never alone!

Love you all!
- Elder Ford
Feb. 25, 2013

Hiya everyone

It's been a busy week. It feels like it's gone by so quick but the things we did on Monday and Tuesday seem like it was so long ago...pretty weird. I don't get how that works. So anyways... I guess I'll tell you about my week.

On Tuesday I conducted my first baptismal interview with someone. It was different being the person on the other side of the table asking the questions. It made me feel old.. It was a really great experience though. We went travelled on the train to Southport to do the interview. His name was Tony and he was in his 70's. It just proves that you're never too old to change. I read something from Jeffrey R. Holland said about change."You can change anything you want to change and you can do it very fast. That’s another Satanic deception that it takes years and years to repent. It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say, “I’ll change”—and mean it. Of course there will be problems to work out and restitutions to make. You may well spend—indeed you had better spend—the rest of your life proving your repentance is genuine by its permanence. But change, growth, renewal, repentance can come for you as instantaneously as it did for Alma and the Sons of Mosiah. Even if you have serious amends to make, it is not likely that you would qualify for the term “the vilest of sinners” (Mosiah 28:4) which is Mormon’s phrase in describing these young men. Yet as Alma recounts his own experience in the 36th chapter of Alma [Alma 36] it appears to have been as instantaneous as it was stunning.
Do not misunderstand. Repentance is not easy or painless or convenient. It is a bitter cup from hell. But only Satan who dwells there would have you think that the necessary and temporary discomfort of acknowledging your sins is more distasteful than permanent residence there. Only he would say, “You can’t change. You won’t change. It’s too long and too hard to change. Give up. Give in. Don’t repent. You are just the way you are.” That, my friends, is a lie which comes from desperation. Don’t believe it." ("For Times of Trouble" Jeffrey R. Holland). It's so true. I've felt it and I saw it in the baptismal interview. 
We had such a great Zone Conference in Chorley on Wednesday. We had Elder Stephen Kerr from the seventy there. He's from Scotland and he's hilarious. We talked about so many different topics that really helped me. He used the story of Nephi going to get the brass plates to highlight a few important points. The first was about the importance of record keeping. It's something a lot of missionaries struggle with, myself included. He specified the importance of our Area Books and our personal journal. My journal hasn't been the greatest so far in my mission. I read through all my entries for my first year one day in Blackburn when Elder Reali was sick. Some of them were pretty lame! Elder Kerr told us that our Journals should be like out small plates of Nephi were we write the things of our souls. He said that our posterity doesn't care what the weather is like. haha. so true. He really pounded into us the importance of records. he said this, "Records are so important that within the fist eight pages of the Book of Mormon somebody gets there head cut off because of them!". Everyone laughed pretty hard at that one, mix in a lot of hand animations and a Scottish accent and your in for a show. 
He taught us another principle from that same story. It was about the times when we just have no idea what we should do. He told us that it's a good thing to be in that situation. He said that's why he loves new missionaries so much, because they don't know what to do. They rely on the spirit to know instead of experience and knowledge. Nephi tried to use his experience and knowledge to get the plates(records) from Laban. Round 1, 1 nephi 3

 11 And we acast lots—who of us should go in unto the house of Laban. And it came to pass that the lot fell upon Laman; and Laman went in unto the house of Laban, and he talked with him as he sat in his house.
 12 And he desired of Laban the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, which contained the agenealogy of my father.
 13 And behold, it came to pass that Laban was angry, and thrust him out from his presence; and he would not that he should have the records. Wherefore, he said unto him: Behold thou art a robber, and I will slay thee.
Fail! Round 2, 1 nephi 3
 22 And it came to pass that we went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our agold, and our silver, and our precious things.
 23 And after we had gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban.
 24 And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the aplates of brass, for which we would give unto him our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.
 25 And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did alust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.
Fail again. Both times where he used his own knowledge and experience didn't work then... the 3rd time.
 And it was by night; and I caused that they should hide themselves without the walls. And after they had hid themselves, I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban.
 And I was aled by the Spirit, not bknowing beforehand the things which I should do.
Zone conference are the best. You get a lot of insights from people who have a ton of knowledge. 
We're teaching some really good people right now. Some are really close to baptism. The just need one final push to get them there. We did something a little different on Saturday morning. We went fishing. haha. We got permission to go fishing with someone we are teaching and a member. It was freezing cold and even started snowing. We didn't catch anything but it was a good chance to build a stronger relationship with them. We're still working hard trying to find more people to teach. We should have a pretty good week coming up. I'll be in Southport for a few days on exchange so it'll be fun to see another area.
Thanks for all the love and support. You're the best. I love you all so much. I'll talk to you soon!
love Elder Ford
1. Casting into a tree...classic
2. Elder Peterson and Jordan. The son of Debbie, one of our investigators.

Feb 18, 2013

Hey Everyone,

Well it's only been a few days since I emailed last so not much has changed. I've just been trying to learn as much about the area as I can. St. Helens seems to be a pretty good place. From what I've been told it used to be very big in the glass industry back in the day. It's not a very big or busy town. Less busy than Blackburn for sure. It's not far from Liverpool so a lot of people have a very different accent. If you haven't heard the Liverpool accent go on YouTube and find it or something. It'll make you smile. There isn't a football(soccer) team here which is a surprise but there is a professional rugby team here, The St. Helens Saints. Pretty original name right? haha. Google St. Helens and you'll probably know way more about it than I do.

The members of the ward seem to be really good. The ward is a bit bigger than Blackburn and has solid active membership of about 90 give or take. That's probably average for the Northwest of England. We have a meal appointment almost every night so I'll have a good chance to get to know them on an individual basis. My first Sunday was pretty good. They do their Sunday meetings in a backwards order. Priesthood/Relief Society, Sunday school, then Sacrament meeting. Not sure why. I'm not really the biggest fan of it but it's probably because it's just different than what I'm used to.

I've gotten to know Elder Peterson a bit better. He is from Eureka, Montana( I make Cowboy jokes to him all the time). He is the middle child with 4 sisters! I told him that I felt bad for him because I only had one and that was almost too much. I can't imagine how much hair is in their shower! (Just kidding Brianne...but seriously). He played a lot of basketball and he's been on his mission about 6 months so he's got a good feel for the work. I keep thinking back to when I was six months out. I was with Elder White in Preston. Seems like yesterday. Elder Peterson is a hard worker and never complains or says anything negative. He's great at serving people as well. Every morning when I get out of the shower I have a freshly ironed shirt hanging up for me that he ironed. So nice. My shirts have seen more of an  iron in these last few days than probably in my entire mission. I've learned that if you get them out of the drier quickly they don't really need to be ironed. Missionary shortcuts . Our flat is still freezing cold because our heat isn't working. We've been meaning to call the landlord but we just forget.

We have some good people to teach as well. We have a family who has been taught for about 6 months. It's a single mom(Debbie) and he two sons (Jordan(13), and Max(6)). They're doing great. She has a desire to be baptised but is a little nervous of what the rest of her family will think. We're working on it though. We fond another family as well this week. We were searching through our Area book for people to try-by and w found the name of Kim on one of the Potential Investigator sheets. We tried by and ended up teaching her and he boyfriend on the spot on there doorstep. They have two young children and they really need the gospel right now. We'll hopefully be seeing them again sometime this week. We're still searching for people and we're trying to do it more through the members. Member referrals are the best way to missionary work. Here is a good quote from President Hinckely from Preach My Gospel. President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church. Whenever there is a member who introduces an investigator, there is an immediate support system. The member bears testimony of the truth of the work. He is anxious for the happiness of his investigator friend. He becomes excited as that friend makes progress in learning the gospel.
“The full-time missionaries may do the actual teaching, but the member, wherever possible, will back up that teaching with the offering of his home to carry on this missionary service. He will bear sincere testimony of the divinity of the work. He will be there to answer questions when the missionaries are not around. He will be a friend to the convert who is making a big and often difficult change. . . . The process of bringing new people into the Church is not the responsibility alone of the missionaries. They succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found” (Ensign, May 1999, 105–6). (Preach My Gospel pg. 160-161)

So the moral of the story is. Find people for the missionaries to teach. Study Preach My Gospel as well. I've had some good studies lately. Here is another good thing I found. In Pres. Uchtdorf's recent Devotional he talked about the importance of truth and what truth really is.He told a really good parable that I've used on the streets a few times with people. It helps them to understand why there are so many different views of the truth. 

Well over one hundred years ago, an American poet put to rhyme an ancient parable. The first verse of the poem speaks about:
Six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
In the poem each of the six travelers takes hold of a different part of the elephant and then describes to the others what he has discovered.
One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and describes it as being round and rough like a tree. Another feels the tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists that an elephant is like a rope. A fourth discovers the trunk and insists that the elephant is like a large snake.
Each is describing truth.
And because his truth comes from personal experience, each insists that he knows what he knows.
The poem concludes:
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!1
We look at this story from a distance and smile. After all, we know what an elephant looks like. We have read about them and watched them on film, and many of us have even seen one with our own eyes. We believe we know the truth of what an elephant is. That someone could make a judgment based on one aspect of truth and apply it to the whole seems absurd or even unbelievable. On the other hand, can’t we recognize ourselves in these six blind men? Have we ever been guilty of the same pattern of thought?
(Dieter F. Uchtdorf. "What is truth")

We should have a pretty busy week. I've got to go to a town called Southport tomorrow to do a baptismal interview so that will take up most of our day. We have a zone conference on Wednesday as well where we'll be getting new phones. Probably won't be anything special. There is a rumor that a lot of the missions in the states are getting Ipads. Is that true?

Well I hope everyone has a great week. Everything is going great here. I love you all so much and I'm grateful for your support and love. I'll speak to you next Monday! Love ya!

Love Elder Ford