Words can't really express how I feel right now entering into my last
week of missionary service. It's honestly hard to believe that these
two years are almost at an end. This mission has been such a blessing
to my life and I will be forever changed because of it. All the people
I've had the privilege of serving with and around have taught me so
much, so much that it's hard to sum it all up in one letter.
I've really grown to love England and all the people here. I remember
when Jeffrey R. Holland came to the mission he talked about how much
he came to love England on his mission. He shared Mosiah And
substituted the word England instead of Mormon. "And now it came to
pass that all this was done in [England], yea, by the waters of
[England], in the forest that was near the waters of [England]; yea,
the place of [England], the waters of [England], the forest of
[England], how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came
to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for
they shall sing to his praise forever." The people in the Book of
Mormon loved the place of Mormon because of all the wonderful things
that happened there and because it was there that they came to a
knowledge of their redeemer which is the exact way I feel about
England. I think that's why everyone always says that the mission they
served in is the best mission in the world.
I've been getting a lot of questions this last week about what I've
learned from my mission. It's been really hard to narrow it down. I
could take days explaining everything I learned. I've learned a lot
about faith. That true faith isn't based on the outcomes we want.
I've learned about the necessity of repentance.The absolute necessity
of changing the way we act and think for a better way. Without it
there is no progress. I've learned that my level of diligence and work
is equal to the measure of how much I love God. I've learned that If
we don't have a vision of what we can become or what we can accomplish
then our appetites will rob us of our will. I've realized that the
underlying reason for everything we do has to be because we love God.
These things are only a few. I'm forever grateful for my mission
experience. It has forever changed me. Thanks for all the support over
these two years. See you soon.
Love Elder Ford
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Dec 15, 2013
It's been another really busy week. Everyone is getting pretty excited for Christmas. We spent The day at the mission home for our zone Christmas meal and trainings. It was a lot of fun. We had an amazing meal from Sister Preston, watched a church movie, had a white elephant gift exchange, and a lot of other fun stuff. Christmas time on a mission is great. It's a completely different experience from all the other Christmas's I've had in the past.
We've seen massive progress in our area. We have an investigator all set to be baptized . She is understanding everything we've taught so far and has progressed very quickly. I'm a bit devastated that I won't get to see her baptism though.
Other than that not much new. We've had loads of exchanges, three this week, so I've had a lot of time to hit the streets. I love being able to work with so many different missionaries. Being a missionary is the best decision I've ever made. Love you all!
The Trio. Elders Ford, Cox, and Debenham
Dec 8, 2013
Sorry it's been awhile since I've been able to write. Like always, it's been pretty busy. We've seen a lot of miracles in our own area and the work has really started to progress. Ever since Elder Texeira came things in our area became so different. We went from hardly having a proselyting area because of other time consuming tasks, to having one of the most productive areas in the mission. All in the space of 3 weeks. It's been crazy to see how fast the Lord is moving the work here. We had an entire family come to church today!
We went on a few exchanges this week as well. One of them was back in Preston, my second area. Since there are three of is in our companionship we've been able to go on a lot more exchanges. Two of us work with the zone leaders and the other works with a nearby District Leader and their companion in a trio. I was with the Preston District Leader for about a full day. It felt really good to be able to hit the streets and work the buses again. You forget what a bus is like after being in a car for almost a year. I had a crazy miracle as well. We were walking to a less-actives house and we turned onto a street that looked really familiar. We did some work on that street and we contacted a man who remembered speaking to me a year and a half ago. I didn't remember him until about ten minutes into the conversation. The last time I had spoken to him he was very negative and anti with what we were trying to share with him. He said the following year and a half after meeting was one of the worst times in his life. Things just started going wrong for him. His circumstances had humbled him. The Preston Elders hopefully can start teaching him soon. I met the nephew of a man I had spoken to while in Preston last year as well. Two people in one day!
It's been a lot fun working with Elders Cox and Debenham. Being in a trio is a bit different but it;s fun. We are able to get a lot of work done. We've had some great memories as well. This past week we went to Costco for our weekly shopping and got way too much food. haha. Love Costco though.
All is well here in England. The work is hastening. Love you all loads!
Nov 29, 2013
I realize it's been over two weeks since I emailed. It's been the craziest two weeks of my life. I don't think I've ever had more things to do and not enough time to do it. We had a full week of zone conferences with Elder Teixera, the Europe area president and that week blew my mind.
We met him at the mission home the very first night he came in and he talked to Elder Cox and I for almost an our about our area and how our work was going. We've been caught up in a lot of administration things so obviously our area wasn't that great. Pretty much non-existent. He corrected us and told is we needed to do better and then challenged us in our busiest week of the transfer to double our numbers.(Our Previous week wasn't that bad either). With a lot of prayer we were able to accomplish the goal though. He was very hard on our companionship specifically. We had interactions with him several times throughout each day he was here and he always took time to teach us and raise our visions. The last day he did interviews with Elder Cox and I at his hotel and he recorded them so he could use them for future training. The mission has been changed because of that week of zone conferences.
We came out of that week dead tired. Not much sleep, not much food, but it was a very successful week. We did our next upcoming tranfer planning with President Preston for an entire day. It was a pretty spiritual experience to be able to seek revelation on which areas and assignments specific missionaries might need.
Transfers have come and gone (). We'll be in a trio for the rest of my mission. Our new companions name is Elder Debenham. He is from Sandy, Utah. We'll be in the trio until I go home on the 27th and then Elder Cox and Elder Debenham will just stay together. It's been loads of fun already and we've been able to get loads of work done. This last month is going to be the most effective time of my entire mission. It's great being in a trio. I got to go with President Preston back to Liverpool to the Baptisms of two people I taught there and Elder Cox and ElderDebenham stayed and got a lot of work done in the area. We're seeing loads of miracles as well.
God has been really good to me on my mission. I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had and the people I've met for anything. Thank you all for all that you do. Love you loads!
Nov 14, 2013
Another quick week has flown by! We've had loads of exchanges to sort out the last few weeksSince there was only a two week span where we didn't have any meetings. I got to travel back to Preston and spend some time there. It's been over a year since being there so it brought back a lot of memories. Preston was probably my most challenging area but because of that I also learned a lot about myself.
I had a miracle while I was on exchange there as well. We have this program called the AUFprogram (lost sheep) where we go out and try to contact less-actives who have lost contact with the church. After we go the less-actives house, we knock ten doors to the right and ten doors to the left. We knocked all the doors...nothing. We decided to go one extra door because we know God blesses extra effort, and we met a young mom who we ended up teaching on the spot. We were pretty excited! As we were walking back to the car we stopped a lady just before she was able to go into a house. It turns out that she was a less-active member and she felt prompted to go to a friends house, but her friend wasn't in. We literally were two seconds away from out car before we bumped into her. She asked us if we could teach her right there on the spot so we had a lesson right there in the middle of the road. God always blesses you for extra effort and sometimes it's at the very last minute. "God loves photo finishes."
I went on exchange with my MTC companion as well. It was so much fun to talk about all of the crazy memories we had in the MTC. We talked about how they took us all the way to Manchester City Center and they set all the MTC missionaries loose and told us to go and talk to people. We were scared out of our minds! Looking back on it now we were able to laugh. Things change over a two year span.
We had a Manchester Zone sports day that Elder Cox and I went to for about an hour. It's been almost a year since picking up a basketball but I realized that I can still shoot :) Some things don't change haha. I also realized the next morning how out of shape I was when I could barely walk. I'm still feeling it.
This next week is going to probably be the busiest week of my mission. We have loads we have to prepare for. Elder Texeira, the Europe area President is coming next week for a mission tour and zone conferences. We'll be having Zone Conferences , , and with Elder Texeira. We have a new missionary training , and we have a transfer planning where we will plan all of the transfers. This transfer has flown by! It ends on November 27th. My brain will be fried next week but it will be a week full of memories. I'll be sure to right it all down.
Well thank you all for your support. I love you all loads! have a good week!
Love Elder Ford
P.S Here is our Harvester Corner,
In the 35th Section of the Doctrine & Covenants the Lord states, “I call upon the weak things of the world…to thrash the nations by the power of my spirit” (D&C 35:13). We each recognize that we have weaknesses and at times the weight of them can create a feeling of immense inadequacy. Many of the great leaders and prophets we look up to have felt these same feelings. When God called Moses and told him of the great work he was to do in leading the children of Israel, Moses responded, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh… (Exodus am I thy servant ).” Enoch also felt the weight of inadequacy when he was called. “Why is it that I have found favour in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore ?” (Moses walk with me ). This feeling can easily lead to the disabling feeling of discouragement if left unchecked. Discouragement is not a Christlike attribute. It comes from missed expectations and is one of the adversary’s most powerful tools. He will constantly tell us that we are not good enough and that we will fail, but through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we learn that we fail only when we make choices that lead to failure. We are each a spirit child of a loving, all powerful Heavenly Father and we were not put on earth (or into the mission field) to fail but to succeed gloriously. Through the principle of faith, doubts and discouragement can be overcome. Through gaining a testimony of our divine potential and our calling we gain confidence. We are not in this work alone. God has promised his “angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88). We have faith in Jesus Christ, and he has faith in us. He will give us the power to accomplish our calling “notwithstanding [our] weakness” (2 Nephi 33:11). God’s words to Enoch apply to us, “Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you: therefore ” (Moses ). We love you!
“Be ye therefore perfect”
Elders Cox & Ford
Nov 5, 2013
It's been a quick week. I hope everyone has had a great week. It's been busy for us. The first of the month is one of the busiest times for us. We have loads of meetings right at the begging. We have Mission Leadership Council, District Leader Council, Mission Home Fireside, and Zone Meetings spread over 5 days. There's been quite a bit of revelation spread out though so I'm grateful for it.
We finally got to spend some time in our area this week and we were able to seem some great success. We've been focusing on finding at every opportunity that we get since our finding time is extremely limited. We met a man right in front of our flat when we were parking the car and we started speaking to him. We ended up teaching him the other day and he's super good. In the middle of the lesson this Jehovah's Witness turned up and started trying to bash with us. We bore testimony! After the Jehovah's witness left we asked our investigator how he felt while the Jehovah's witness was speaking and he said that he only got a feeling when we bore testimony. Sincere people will always recognize the truth.
We're looking forward to the next few weeks as well. We have to make loads of preparations for Elder Teixeira, the Europe Area President who is doing a 3 day mission tour later this month. Super exciting. Well I love you all loads. Have a good week!
Love Elder Ford
Oct 30, 2013
It's been another crazy week. Sorry it's taken me so long to email. These last two weeks have been our specialized trainings for each zone so we've been all over the mission. Elder Cox and I have given the same training 6 times now and we'll be going for a 7th . We think we're starting to understand the subject a bit. haha.
I got to go back to Liverpool for a few days on exchange to work with Elder Duran. It felt like I'd never even left! I love going on exchange with former companions and going back to former areas. We were able to teach a lot of the people we were working with and visit some of my favorite people. We got some KFC as well :). It's ridiculously overpriced here...
We had our Manchester Stake conference this week as well. For the first time in my mission all the missionaries were asked to attend the evening session. Both and were completely dedicated to missionary work. It was amazing. Afterwards we had members coming up to us and telling us they had people they wanted us to work with and that they wanted to come out teaching with us. The work is hastening. Now we just need to create some time to spend in our area so we can take advantage of all this help we're being offered.
I'm really enjoying the work right now, even though it's a bit different than I'm used to. Elder Cox and I are getting along great! Since I don't want to bore everyone with the same things I do everyday I'll share some things I've learned recently.
I read this the other day in a talk. It's a poem called "The Man in the Glass"
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what "the man" has to say.
For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum
And think you're a wonderful guy.
But the "man in the glass" says you're only a bum
And you can't look him straight in the eye.
He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear to the end.
And you've passed your most dangerous,
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may fool the world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass.
But your only reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated "the man in the glass."
["The Man in the Glass"]
I've learned a lot about the importance of self image and self respect and the kind of power it can have. You should respect yourself enough to be a self you respect. When you look around the world you see the people who have self confidence and self worth and they are magnets for success. We can choose that. Our lives are sacredly ours. No ones has lived it before. No one will ever live it again. In the talk he says this: "No habit chips away at our self-confidence quite so effectively as that of comparing ourselves with the people around us. When we find somebody who is indeed smarter, better looking, or funnier, it diminishes our sense of self-worth. A rabbi was asked on his deathbed what he thought the kingdom of God would be like. "I don't know," he replied. "But one thing I do know. When I get there I'm not going to be asked, 'Why weren't you like Moses? Why weren't you like David?' I'm only going to be asked one question: 'Why weren't you you?'"
This is a topic many people in the world struggle with and there are many missionaries that struggle with it as well. Everyone wants to find who they are and where they fit into gods plan. I discovered this week Patriarchal blessings are key to discovering that. It outlines everything, spiritual strengths and even your weaknesses. Each of us is on a journey to come to know ourselves. There are no born losers to God. We fail only when we make choices that lead to failure. Be true to who you are!
I love you all so much. Thank you for all the love and support that you give me. It means the world. By the way, Happy Halloween! Talk to you next week. Love you!
P.S here is the bit I put into the mission newsletter this week.
A missionary’s Gethsemane
You’re on a mission and things seem tough, doors are slammed with voices gruff. Your companion refuses to do his share; you feel discouraged and even despair. You question your testimony and belief in God, you wonder about the path you’ve trod. Memories of pleasure dance in your brain, a siren’s song an old refrain. The work is hard, and with a taunt, whispers not as He wills, but as you want. You tire of rules, feet worn to the bone, and suddenly you decide you want to go home. You’ll never know if you say goodbye, what might happen if you stay and try. To follow the rules and do your best, to serve the Lord and pass your test. Where do you think you would be if Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, His soul in torment, a trial of fire had selected not duty before desire? He set the pattern for you and me, to meet our own Gethsemane. From boy to man to Elder with fire, comes only when duty can master desire.
To come to know the Saviour each of us will have to go through our own personal Gethsemane but how grateful we should be for a Saviour who knows exactly how we feel. “He will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to his people according to their infirmities” (Alma ).
Through Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement we can overcome anything; President Uchtdorf said “there will be times when you you cannot continue on. Trust the Savior and His love. With faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the power and hope of the restored gospel, you be able to walk tall and continue on.” Elders and Sisters, You can do it! The enabling power of the Atonement is available to all who seek it. We can say each day “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians ). We Love you.
“Be ye therefore perfect”
Elders Cox & Ford
Oct 23, 2013
It's been pretty busy lately. We started specialized trainings this week and they go one for the next two weeks. We'll be travelling to all of them to give trainings so that'll keep us really busy. Other than that not too much has happened this week. We've just been cooped up in the mission office preparing for our trainings and stuff. Not very much fun. I'll get to go on exchange back to Liverpool this week though so I'm really looking forward to that.
I had a pretty fun birthday. It's hard to believe I'm already 21! Thanks to everyone who sent all the birthday wishes. We were stuck in the mission office for most of the day but we travelled down to Newcastle to go have a meal with Sam Wiles. Definitely worth it.
This We've spent a few days this week in the Chester zone which is mostly in wales. We were asked to give a training and how to be a member missionary for the Priesthood leadership session of stake conference. Other than that this week was pretty non eventful. haha. super boring I know. I'll have more info next week. Love you all loads!
Oct 7, 2013
This past week was amazing! Literally so many miracles. Elder Duran and I had so many experiences this week where we were in awe or how God works with people. It was hard to sleep this week because of all the exciting things that have been going on.
We're teaching some amazing people. We started teaching three girls last week and they're all really good. They came to general conference and loved it. You can always put your money on the prophet! We have almost more people to teach than we can handle right now. We need more hours in the day but we're managing with what we have.
We got to go to the Isle of Man this week to work with the four missionaries there. It was so much fun! It was a bit of a long journey there, almost three hours on the ferry but we enjoyed it. The Isle is gorgeous. It rained the entire time but it was still super nice. I didn't get to see much of the island because we were there only for a few days and we stayed pretty central where we worked. It was definitely worth it though. I learned a lot that really helped me. I learned about the relationship between Diligence and Faith. There is a line in Preach My Gospel that says "Your faith will be manifest through Diligence and work." That really hit me when I read that. Before everything I did I asked myself "How can I show God my faith through my diligence?" It made all the difference. We were able to work super hard and found 2 new people for the Isle of Man Elders to start teaching.
General conference was great as well! My favorites were Jeffrey R. Holland and David A. Bednar. they were both really good. When David A. Bednar said "To those of you who are currently not living the Law of Tithing, I invite you to consider your ways, and repent!" all of the missionaries got super excited and starting going "Ohhhh!" haha it was more exciting than a touchdown or slam dunk for us. Missionaries are lame sometimes but I love it. Quoting old church movies and stuff like that. haha
Well thanks for all your love and support. Transfers are so I'm not sure what will be happening. Only time will tell. Love you!
Sept 30, 2013
Another week has come and gone. They're starting to go crazy fast. There are only two weeks left in this transfer but it feels like we just started. Things are going well for us though. This upcoming week is going to be a lot of fun. We're hopping on a ferry and heading to the Isle of Man for 3 days to go and work with the Elders there. I'm pretty excited because it's probably the most coveted area in the mission. Every wants to go there and we're lucky enough to be able to. There are 2 companionships so I'll be working with one while Elder Duran works with the others. We'll have meetings all day and plus General conference! It's just as good as Christmas.
We had a super fun P-day last week. We went on a tour of Liverpool with the entire zone. We saw all the Beatles sites, all the historical sites, and all of the church sites. There is so much iin Liverpool to see. It's a lot of fun here. I'm starting to feel more at home here. It was a little tough getting used to Liverpool at first. I think because I loved Newcastle so much it made it hard to adjust to Liverpool, but after almost 10 weeks, I'm getting used to it. haha. It's taken awhile.
We had some good progress in our area this week. We have loads of people to teach right now but it all seems a bit stagnant. We feel really bad because we've been really busy with so much other stuff we haven't really been able to give each of them the attention they deserve. It's mostly on us and our lack of getting the ward involved though. We had some big progress with one young man named Rikesh. He is 16 and was supposed to be baptized last transfer. His dad gave her permission and everything, but then an hour before the baptism his dad decided he didn't want him to get baptized any more. It was pretty devastating. He is amazing though! He comes to church and youth night every week, and he even goes to early morning seminary every day! He goes to all of the youth dances as well. He's pretty much a member. We decided that we are really going to focus on his dad but he's never really home. We went to the cafe he owns and just talked with him for awhile about how he felt. It helped loads! Plus he gave us discounted food :). We're going back agian this week so we'll see what happens.
We've been blessed with quite a few solid Mormon.org refferals this week too. They are people who go on the church's website and ask for missionaries to come around. They are usually pretty rare for us but we've gotten 4 in the last week. We've already taught a few of them and they are super solid. They're from Iran and want to convert to Christianity. The work is going well.
Other than that, things are pretty much the same. We get up every morning and work. Not much else to tell you. haha. I love you all so much. Thanks for everything.
Love Elder Ford
1. The River Mersey. Where the saints left England.
2. Cloudy Liverpool Skyline.