Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 17, 2013

Hey Everyone,

Elder Palmer and I had a pretty busy weekend. The entire Newcastle Zone was asked by the Stake President to help out with this massive youth activity that they were having in Stafford. There was youth from all 7 stakes in the mission and some others outside the mission as well. In total there was about 400 youth there. We were the leaders of different groups and took them to different stations where they had obstacle courses and other games. It was pretty fun but dead tiring. It was nice to be able to do something a bit different though.

Hopefully everyone had a great Fathers Day. They had a special service at church with the Primary kids singing. It reminded me off when I had to do things like that when I was that age. There was one kid in the back who refused to sing. Exactly like me! haha. It was fun to see though.

Things are going really well in our area right now. Lisa, one of the people we are teaching, Is going to be getting married this Saturday at the church so she can get baptized the following week! She's getting pretty nervous about it. It'll be an experience that's for sure. I've never been to a wedding before on my mission so we'll see how it goes. We might have another wedding coming up with someone else we're teaching named Margaret. She's from Glasgow, Scotland. And she's been progressing a lot these last few weeks and now her and her boyfriend are talking about getting married in our church as well. She's already expressed a desire to be baptized so marriage is the next hurdle.

I've been learning some funny things about the English language this past week. The people here in this area are hilarious. For some reason they call everyone "Duck". You walk down the street and say hello to some one and they respond, "Y'alright Duck". Margaret has been teaching me Scottish as well. She says the always call everyone "Jimmy". I've decided Scottish is the best accent by far. We get Margaret to say things for us because it's so funny. So far the best is "Power Hour". It can be pretty difficult to understand though. Her cousin was down from Glasgow last week and we she would talk to me all I could do was stare blankly at her and nod my head. CRAZY! complete different language.

I've been learning loads about the Atonement recently. I want to share a bit from a talk I recently read by Brad Wilcox.

The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly (see John 10:10). The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans 8). Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but, brothers and sisters, no unchanged thing will even want to.
I know a young man who just got out of prison—again. Each time two roads diverge in a yellow wood, he takes the wrong one—every time. When he was a teenager dealing with every bad habit a teenage boy can have, I said to his father, “We need to get him to EFY.” I have worked with that program since 1985. I know the good it can do.
His dad said, “I can’t afford that.”
I said, “I can’t afford it either, but you put some in, and I’ll put some in, and then we’ll go to my mom, because she is a real softy.”
We finally got the kid to EFY, but how long do you think he lasted? Not even a day. By the end of the first day he called his mother and said, “Get me out of here!” Heaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to be heavenly.
In the past I had a picture in my mind of what the final judgment would be like, and it went something like this: Jesus standing there with a clipboard and Brad standing on the other side of the room nervously looking at Jesus.
Jesus checks His clipboard and says, “Oh, shoot, Brad. You missed it by two points.”
Brad begs Jesus, “Please, check the essay question one more time! There have to be two points you can squeeze out of that essay.” That’s how I always saw it.
But the older I get, and the more I understand this wonderful plan of redemption, the more I realize that in the final judgment it will not be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus, “Let me stay.” No, he will probably be saying, “Get me out of here!” Knowing Christ’s character, I believe that if anyone is going to be begging on that occasion, it would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, “Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement—not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you want to stay.”
The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. We would be left forever with only willpower, with no access to His power. If Jesus did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time. They would forever be surface and cosmetic rather than sinking inside us and becoming part of us—part of who we are. Put simply, if Jesus didn’t require practice, then we would never become pianists.
This talk taught me a lot about Christ and His Atonement. It's something I'm extremely grateful for and something that has transformed my life. I love you all so much! Thank you for all of your love and support. I'll speak to you soon!
Love Elder Ford

June 13, 2013

Hey everyone!

A new transfer is here! I'm going to be staying in Newastle for a 3rd transfer! No suprises there though. My new companion is Elder Palmer. He's in my same M.T.C group and he is from Snowflake, Arizona. He's the 4th person in my same M.T.C group that I've served with now so it's pretty fun. Transfer meeting yesterday was pretty crazy. Elder Leimgrub was pretty sad to go and we got loads of new missionaries, 28 came in just yesterday. The mission is changing loads. Half of the missionaries here I've never even seen before! haha.

We've been crazy busy these last few days. It seems like we've been driving up and down the mission. We've been able to get a lot of things done though. Our area is still doing great. Lisa is all set for her wedding on the 22nd and her baptism on the 29th. She's getting pretty nervous but it should be exciting. We've got a few other really good people that we're teaching as well, Margaret, and Steve. We've been pretty blessed this last transfer to have people fall into our laps who were ready to listen.

I learned loads last week...too much to try and put in an email. haha. We had a really good mission leadership council that taught me a lot about how to effectively lead. Other than that...My brain is pretty fried. haha. Hopefully my email will be better next week. haha. Sorry. Love ya!

Elder Ford

June 3, 2013

Hey everyone!

Another transfer has already almost come and gone. This is ridiculous. Elder Leimgrub goes home in a week and a half! We don't talk about it much though. I don't let him. haha. We're staying focused and working hard. We were able to spend a lot of time in the sun doing service for some investigators and members. We did some proper landscaping at a members house and I was ridiculously sore the next morning...I've officially gone soft. haha. Not good. I'm working on it though.

We've seen some huge progress in our area. We finalized Lisa's wedding and Baptismal dates! She'll be getting married on the 22nd of Juneand then baptized the following Saturday. She's excited but a bit nervous. We have another person we're teaching who is really progressing as well. Her name is Margaret and she is from Scotland. She has a hardcore Scottish accent so It can be a bit difficult to understand her at times. It can be pretty funny when she asks a question to Elder Leimgrub and I and we just stare at her with blank looks on our faces and just nod our heads. haha.

I went on exchange this week to the Chinese area in our zone this week. It was so much fun and brought back so many good memories. The Chinese people are amazing. Religion is a totally new concept to them so they are all really willing to talk and listen. They are really committed as well. It's a completely different type of missionary work though because you pretty much spend the entire day at the university teaching people the same age as you. It's pretty fun though. I'd do it again.

We had a super late night this week, at least it seemed pretty late to me. There was this huge Chinese activity that they were putting on in Liverpool for all of the Chinese investigators and members. We had to give a few of the missionaries a lift home from it. Long story short the activity got over way late and we didn't end up getting home until midnight....I don't ever remember being so tired in my life. It used to be so easy staying up that late but when you're conditioned to go to bed at 10 30 every night it that hour and half makes all the difference in the world. I'll catch up though.

We went to the mission home fireside last night and I saw a few of the people I was able to teach in some other areas. The mom in one of the families I was teaching in St. Helens was there and she ran up to me and told me that she was getting baptized next month. It was pretty exciting. There's just been a lot of good news lately!

Well I hope everyone has a good week. I'll probably be emailing again next Wednesday or Thursday because of transfers. Speak to you then!

Love Elder Ford

May 28, 2013

Hey everyone,

Sorry i didn't get to email yesterday. It was the late spring bank Holiday and everything was closed down. Bank holidays are pretty random. Just an excuse for no one to have to go into work. haha. It was another busy week with a few exchanges.

I got to leave the country for awhile to go on exchange in Newtown which is in Wales. Still in Great Britain but it's not England. It was completely different to the rest of the area I've been in. A lot of countryside. I think there were more sheep in that area than people. It was a great experience though. I got to work with Elder Kunzler who is someone that I lived with for two transfer when I was in Blackburn. 4 man flats are the best.

I got to work with Elder Palmer this week who is someone that is in my same M.T.C group. It was so much fun. It's amazing to see just how far my group has come in the last year and a half. Everyone is so much different and a lot more mature. Thinking back to all the things we talked about in the M.T.C and all the really immature things we did....ahah. Everyone has grown up a lot.

I decided to go back to the basics this week in my studies and I studied all about faith. It's something I feel I can improve on greatly. I was able to use the faith I did have this week and some good things happened. We found some prepared people. We met a lady named Margaret who is originally from Scotland. She met with missionaries when she was 17 and was going to be baptized but she moved away. It was so much fun to teach her. Her accent is the best! When I was told I was going to be speaking English as a missionary I wasn't to worried about understanding people. Scottish might be one of the hardest accents to understand. I just sat there with a blank look on my face a few times. The U.K is such a small little island but everyone inch of it is so different and diverse. If you drive for 20 minutes you get a completely different accent, culture, and history. That's why I love it though. We've been doing some pretty fun things for our P-days. Last p-day we went to this super old church and abbey that was built in 1050! It's pretty much in ruins now but it was still pretty cool to see all of it. Yesterday we went to this museum. I'm learning even more about Britain!

The transfer is winding down to a close. Only two more weeks. Next P-day is already the last one of the transfer. It'll be Elder Leimgrub's last p-day! He's still working hard and staying focused even though he only has two weeks left. I'd imagine that I'll probably be staying here for another transfer since my companion will be going home but you never know. It'll be another good week this week. More exchanges. I'll try and remember more of the details so my emails can be a bit more interesting. haha. Sorry. Love you all!

Elder Ford

1. Me at the abbey
2. Elder Leimgrub and I at the abbey
3. Just laying in a tomb... no big deal

1. Elder Leimgrub and I at Zone Conference
2. Bananas in pajamas and Thomas the Train.
3. We ran out of food this week so my Sunday dinner was a bowl full of vegetables. It was actually really good. haha.

May 13, 2013

Hey everyone,

It was so good to see everyone yesterday! The kids have gotten so big!..Brianne too. haha. Other than that everything seems pretty much the same. It doesn't seem like that much has changed in the last year and a half. It was good to see that everyone is doing well though.

It was another busy week. We go on loads of exchanges (two a week) Elder Leimgrub and I are hardly together it seems. I was back in Manchester early last week with one of the Assistants Elder Reynolds. I love Manchester so much. It's so busy and it makes missionary super fun. We had to drive down to Shrewsbury for another exchange this weekend. It was about an hour and ten minute drive one way. We have a pretty big zone. Things are going pretty well with the people we're teaching. We're now teaching a woman from the Phillipines who seems really good so we'll see what happens there.

Recently we got trained on how to use family history work to find people to teach. The mission has been putting a bid emphasis on using it. I was looking through some of the family history things that Mom gave to me to take out here. I really learned a lot about our ancestors who left England. Our great great great Grandpa Richard Godrey was raised about a 40 minute drive from where I am right now. I found a really good poem that he wrote when he was getting ready to leave England for America

Farewell my former friends, Farewell, Since you have proved unkind
Although you persecute me, You cannot change my mind.

I've set my heart to serve the Lord, Whatever may oppose.
Though all the world deride me, Though all my friends turn foes

Through Babylon's disillusion, I've spent my early years,
And practiced her religion, Through constant doubt and fears

But now I've found the gospel, Joy through my heart doth flow
Gods message of salvation, With certainty I know.

To hear the holy priesthood, Deep mysteries unfold.
The past explains the future, As prophets did of old.

And feel the Spirit's witness, That what they say is true.
Gives me the power to bid, My friends and Babylon adieu.

And while the wicked murmur, And still more wicked grow.
The glories of affection, Will monarchies o'er throw.

The ocean will the mighty fleets, of Babylon devour
And wealth for ages heaped on wealth, Shall perish in an hour

As direful scourges waste the earth, The Lord will seperate.
The wicked and his people,  Whose blessings will be great.

We'll build a temple for him, To which he will come down
And with Celestial bodies, The saints salvation crown.

And all the saints are gathering, with this great end in view.
But hypocrites will linger, and hope it is not true.

The Spirit bids me leave this land, so joyfully I'll sing.
The saints shall be my kindred, and Christ shall be my King.

I though this was pretty good. It's pretty amazing that I've been sent back to the same country our parents left. It's a privelge. Thanks for everything you all do for me. I love you all!

Love Elder Ford

May 7, 2013

Hey everyone,

It's been another quick week. Time is cruising. I don't have much time today because we're on exchange with the assistants and we have loads of stuff that we need to get done. I'm actually sitting in the mission office right now emailing. Feels way weird being back here.

We've had some pretty good miracles this week. On Saturday we were driving to an appointment and i felt prompted to stop and try-by a person who we had contact with previously. Her name is Dawn. When we knocked on her door she opened right up but we didn't have a fellowshipper so we couldn't go in. We set an appointment for the next day. We had set up many appointments with her before and none of them had gone through. I decided that because she had already dodged a few appointments we wouldn't get a fellowshipper. We went by and she opened right up again. I felt so rebuked. Complete lack of faith on my part. We drove back to the church in a complete scramble to try and find someone to come with us to teach. Luckily a really good member dropped everything to come with us and we had an amazing lesson.

Lisa is really doing well too. We're seeing her pretty frequently and the ward is starting to get involved in making plans for her wedding. The wedding will be on the 25 of May and her baptism will be on 1 of June. Pretty exciting stuff.

These last few days have been such a blur. (I think I say that every email.) We've had a few trainings that we've had to prepare for over the last few days. I always get super stressed over those kinds of things but we had the last one today so we're done for a few weeks luckily. Well I love you all so much. I'm looking forward to skyping on Sunday! I'll get a member to email you about the details. Speak to you soon!

Love Elder Ford
May 2, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Well Another transfer has come and gone. That was probably the fastest transfer of my mission. I'm Staying here in Newcastle but I have a new companion. His name is Elder Leimgrub and he's from Munich Germany. I've had the chance to work around him a bit before so I already know him a bit. This is his last transfer in the mission and his first transfer as zone leader so there is a bit more pressure on me to show him the ropes of the new assignment. I'm still trying to figure it out myself!

Elder Sutton and I were a bit devastated that we're not serving together for another transfer. We may get to serve together again though, who knows. I'll be praying for it :) The past few days have been really hectic. They're opening up a new area in Newcastle ward that is Chinese speaking! We got two new Elders in yesterday, the only problem is their flat isn't ready yet. haha They've been sleeping and studying on the floor. They have a big challenge ahead of them. They are literally starting from nothing. Right from the ground up. It must be kind of what the first missionaries here in England felt like. Pretty Daunting. They'll do great though.

I'm really excited for the upcoming transfer though. There are a lot of challenges and growing opportunities ahead. I can feel some learning experiences coming on. This past week and a half has been a blur though. Well thanks for everything. I love you all so much. Next Monday is a Bank Holiday so I'll be emailing on Tuesday. Speak to you then.

Love Elder Skyler Ford