EMAIL

I can email on Mondays and I would love to hear from you. My email address is:

michael.deford@myldsmail.net

Sunday, October 8, 2017

10/2/2017: Week 51 Alright Conference Week



So follow up on last week. The only two things I got questions about
was the Commandments lesson and Bible videos from another church.
So... here we go. A. was the first new investigator we found
together and she was getting baptized last week. Unfortunately, we
planned poorly and anticipated having more lessons before she got
baptized... then she was sick. So, we're talking crunch time. We had
one meeting left before the interview, and all of the commandments to
teach. The 4th lesson, the commandments, isn't really meant to be
taught as one lesson. It's meant to be divided up as several lessons,
parts included in other lessons, some points taught all by themselves
for a whole lesson sometimes... and I had half an hour to teach it.
Alone. We were on splits which made us late for the lesson and then
another lesson directly after... so I had to teach all 13 points of
the Commandments, in a way that would make sense, teach doctrine,
commit her to live them all, and have her remember them, for the
interview... it was an adventure. But, I did it. She remembered them
all, is currently living them, and understands them all.

Then the other Bible videos... there is a website, accessible on our
tablets, called bible.com. On said bible.com, they have many videos,
one is called Jesus, and it's based on the Gospel of Mark, I believe.
We've watched parts of them many times, the Spanish elders are
slightly obsessed. They're super entertaining, and very doctrinally
incorrect at times. For example, at the baptism of Jesus by John the
Baptist, all the people just kinda’ walk up to John in the water, and
squat a little, then stand back up. It's entertaining. It also has a
lot of other videos and Jesus movies based on other gospels. It also
has some really interesting analysis on the books of the Bible, most
of which are very educational, but if anyone goes and watches them,
please make sure to take anything they say with a grain of salt. These
are not LDS videos and don't teach our doctrine, especially in the
beginning section of the Bible and the Torah series of videos, lots of
false doctrine. But I have really enjoyed most of them.

In other news... good things happened... and we went to conference,
I drove for a really long time. And I'm done :) bye bye, maybe see ya
next week.

Have a great day, have a great week, have a great life.

Oh yeah.... I forgot, transfers are this week, and nothing's happening to me.

Love,
Elder DeFord

Before General Conference in Salt Lake City

Dinner Appointment 

No Dinner Appointment, Extra blessings on some kind souls

Sunday, October 1, 2017

9/26/2017: Week 50 I Know I Know I Know ...



I'm a bad person. I didn't email last week. Yeah yeah yeah... I know. There are just lots of frisbees to throw and not enough time...

So quick overview... in the last two weeks, three baptisms.... sorta. Technically two of them actually happened the week before that but they were confirmed last week because of the area broadcast to almost all of Utah, kind of like a baby General stake Conference ;P lots of frisbee. So good times. We were also all supposed to die two days ago, but you're all still here so I guess you're righteous ;P uh what else... I'm going to General Conference this time around! Good stuff. I'm actually going to be driving everyone that the assistants aren't driving... all the way from Vernal to Salt Lake and Back.... I've driven out of the mission a lot, and spent lots of time there, and driven more extensively than most missionaries, and I've just driven a lot more too... but normally it's been mountain roads and little used areas... this'll be an adventure. I wouldn't say no to prayers ;P

Haha I remember the first time driving back into Provo, during rush hour, coming out of Spanish Fork Canyon after spending, I think, 5 months or so in Ferron where there is only one stoplight in the whole county and it's over half an hour from where I was living.... that was pretty scary. I adjusted pretty quick but it was still quite the adventure.

Anyway back to overview, I'm gonna send some pictures (side note from his mom: he forgot to send the pictures) from several weeks ago when we hiked the U, they're pretty cool, oh man.... you missed a lot. I just looked at the calendar for the last two weeks.... yikes. Played Durango Boot for the first time (Casey always wanted to play it but we never had cones, it's a pretty intense team disc sport where you have to knock over cones with the disc), had president interviews and requested a stake president chastisement for some of the members of my district.... that was an interesting talk. Went to 3 baptisms that weren't ours, including one in Spanish (have I ever mentioned that I actually really enjoy singing in Spanish?) one of which led to a massive miracle the next week, DH, who has been attending church for over 3.5 years and investigating told us he wants to get baptized. Also a bunch of baptismal interviews scattered in there and the fastest most in depth Commandments lesson of my life.

3 exchanges, a wedding Skype, lots of bible videos from another church, two Saturday morning breakfast parties, one with Ultimate and one without. 4 primary programs, skyping into a 4 hour meeting for trainers and trainees... a couple service opportunities, a lot of weirdness, and other good stuff. So here's what I'm thinking.... actually let me make this big and bold so people actually do it...

-----------> WHICHEVER OF THE THINGS LISTED IN THE OVERVIEW ABOVE THAT YOU WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT OR HAVE EXPLAINED, JUST COMMENT ON THE POST AND I'LL TELL YOU NEXT WEEK <------------

And now, a message from our sponsors....

Sorry no message after all, we were gonna go eat with our best friends, the Vernal Elders, and the Uintah sisters so I was gonna have everyone take turns writing paragraphs but then stuff happened and we ate alone :( sorry, maybe next time :P

Have a great day, have a great week, have a great life.


Love,
Elder DeFord

Sunday, September 17, 2017

9/11/2017: Week 48 So This is Actually Half and Half



This is both my weekly and my response to you. The first paragraph is for you, the following is for the weekly and the end will be the response to your email. (Michael’s Mom: I took out the first and the last, but I included the explanation because otherwise the title makes no sense J)

I am pretty busy that's for sure, although some of that is definitely my fault. For instance, today we woke up at 4:50. Went to Cross fit at 5. At 6 we met with the Vernal and the Spanish Elders to go hike to the U on the mountain. We ended up having to hike clear from the road because Elder Rowe doesn't know how to drive his Rav 4 (which in my opinion he doesn't deserve and he should trade us for our Rogue!)  We rode with the Vernal Elders in their Corolla. I don't remember if I sent videos of the adventures Elder Bayless and I had with the Rav 4 but needless to say, it has several times more than enough to do it. Anywho we're also playing golf (meaning he's playing golf and trying to convince me that he's having the time of his life while constantly complaining about the clubs, the course, his hits, the balls etc etc.... not terribly convincing to say the least. And on top of that they're all free so.... yeah) then we're gonna play Ultimate in a little while, should be super good. 

Last week’s Pday wasn't too crazy so no need to get into that. As for the rest of this week... we're so busy! Like I knew that this area tends to have a lot of work, plus whitewashing and all the other stuff I've been talking about... but this is crazy.

I really don't know where to start, it feels like there is just too much to put together in one email if I go day by day and talk about everything, but at the same time, I don't want to miss things.

Well let's discuss the area first. Obviously, I'm in Vernal, also known as freebie heaven, the promised land, or the Mecca, in the mission. Interesting thing about Vernal, in spite of the fact that it's actually two districts, Elder Joachin and I almost act like the Zone Leaders for Vernal, because we have people go across district lines all the time, and we hang out as well. We also do baptismal interviews for each other, which is normally a ZL responsibility. Quite honestly, the people we spend the most time with are the Spanish Elders, Elders Sanchez and Rowe, who cover all of Vernal, and the other district leaders, Elder Joachin (from Guatemala) and Johansen (from Denmark) who obviously aren't in my district. We also have activities with both districts together pretty frequently... which we don't really have the authority to authorize... but sort of we do. It's pretty odd to say the least. Over the last three days.... we've just spent a lot of time together, let's just leave it at that. Vernal is a super tight knit group, which is pretty cool. Another oddity, although this is our ZLs decision not because of Vernal, we're basically going on surprise exchanges with our ZLs. They just texted today and said meet us at this place at this time and we're having an exchange. I'll be going to their area tonight with Elder O'Reilly (my frisbee buddy) and Elder Hansen will come up here with Elder Nelson. 

Ok so the work. Something we have in our mission is the Standards of Excellence (SoE). President Hodgman, some time ago, took a great deal of time to study, ponder, and seek revelation as to what each area in our mission can do. The result is the SoEs. We have a promise, from the Lord through President Hodgman and the keys he holds, that every area in our mission CAN achieve the SoEs. That being said, they very often don't. I've never had an area before that consistently met them. In the past I never really focused on them too much, I didn't think about the promise we had, it was just cool when it happened. Normally we could at least meet some of them. They are as follows. Gate (meaning baptisms) on average 1.5 per month. So three every other month or so. Date (meaning investigators on Date for baptism) is 4 per week. Pew (church attendance) is 5 per week. And New (new people who have been taught and agreed to learn more) is 9 per month. My goal for the last several months has been to achieve the promise and work to fulfill it and make my areas SoE areas. My time is Ferron was spotty, we could achieve some parts but not other parts. Here in Vernal, we almost met the SoEs for the month the first week. 2 baptisms, 4 on date, only 3 at church, and 2 new. I'm not sure why the new was so low... because the week after that we met the standard in the first week on the new month except for baptisms, which was the next week. So now, the goal is to make my district an SoE district... that'll take some work. Our area is just exploding, now to figure out how to help them too. My district is a total of 4 areas, which means SoE for the month is Gate 6, Date 64, Pew 80, New 27. That's a lot of people and a lot of good we gotta go out and do. So that's the goal, just gotta get it done. 

So as for this week... we got 7 new investigators, 4 of whom went on date. That felt really good. Haha my last two areas have been low finding areas, it feels just wrong for it to be so fast. ... it's just weird. That being said.... if there are any missionaries or future missionaries reading this.... do NOT push and force people to baptism. There are things that are so much more important! In the last week, we've contacted at least 3 or 4 or 5 different families, all of whom either didn't meet with us or thought about not meeting with us because of missionaries and other members who pushed them away by trying to force and cajole people into baptism. It's not about baptism, it's about conversion. It's about Gospel centered families that last generations and are sealed together in an eternal chain that reaches from one end of the eternities to the other. And it happens on the Lords time table. If you just love people, provide an example, listen to them, and invite them, always always invite them, then the time will come. That's the way it works. 

I love you all, I really do. Thank you for always being out there, for being the examples you are. The other thing that has seemed so obvious this week is gratitude. I remember a companion whose mom chewed him out for complaining about only getting two baptisms in a month, where in some missions they wouldn't have any. I know lots of people, companions, missionaries, members, nonmembers, it seems like all they know how to speak is complaints and whining. Just like those who begin to swear and then forgot how to speak any other way, their language is weak and corrupt, they are not fun to be around, and they drive away the spirit of light and call in the spirit of contention. If you feel sad or weak in your life, if you feel like your relationships are failing, ask yourself how grateful have you been. If you will just focus on being grateful, your life will change. Especially in our mission, missionaries are blessed with very many things. I mentioned my companion complaining about his free clubs today. That happens all the time. Missionaries complain about restraints on freebies, the food they get, the members who feed them. It's such a poison. And it makes me sad. If there is one thing you could do for me to change your world and the people around you, it’s to be sincerely grateful for all you receive and for the blessings you have, that's all I ask.

Have a great day, have a great week, have a great life.


Love,
Elder DeFord