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

Thursday, March 8, 2018

2/26/2018: Week 72 Time To Suck It Up and Write Again

I emailed last week right? So I just have one week of catching up to do this time around. Right now my district leader and I are half napping and half emailing because he’s sick and I volunteered to stay with him. Keep in mind this is a purely selfish move on my part, no Christlike or charitable motivation whatsoever. I didn’t really want to go play chair soccer, the sooner he gets better the sooner we can go back to crossfit. If I email no one will nag me…. There were just too many positives to turn it down. Plus I get to sleep whenever I’m all done with this stuff.

This has been a week of ups and downs for sure. But I just had HuHot for lunch so I’m probably gonna be pretty positive. I love HuHot. While every area is unique, as is every person in any given area, a question that comes up from time to time in every area goes something like this “What’s your favorite part of your mission? Why did you come out?” Once again please understand that I’m no saint, my first answer to that question is almost always the food. Favorite part? The barbecue bacon wrapped meatloaf I had yesterday, that’s my favorite.

However, that being said, I do normally follow it up with a more serious answer (more serious to them that is, they don’t know me well enough to understand just how intense my feelings about food are) and it just occurred to me that I don’t know if you all know why I’m out here either. I would hope that most of you who read this, if anyone does, would know I’m on a two year mission to serve Jesus. But that’s not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about what drives me, why I’ve made the decision to sacrifice this time and be out here when I could simply choose not to, choose to go home with essentially no temporal consequences. I’m not forced to stay. I can leave whenever I want to, all I have to do is say, “I’m done, send me home.” I didn’t have to come out. I didn’t have to fill out the paper work and jump through the hoops and get my physical and dental work and interview. I don’t have to live up to the standards I teach and that are required for this service. I chose all of this, and this is why.

All of you who might be reading this have seen only a fragment of who I am, of my character. You have only a small keyhole view of my life, my choices, and my mistakes. Even my parents, while they do have a far larger view, don’t know all of my thoughts, the whole story of my life and existence, or everything I’ve experienced. I am unique, just like each of you, and God is the only One who knows just how unique we are. I’m not here to confess anything, but in order to understand why I’m here you must understand who I am.

I am on my mission because I’ve made mistakes. I’ve not always been nearly as good as many of you think I am. I’m still not in many cases. I am on my mission because I’ve screwed up, thousands of times. I’ve hurt people I love, my friends,  my family, and people I haven’t even met yet. Selfishness and Pride, that’s why I’m on a mission. At this point some of you are probably panicking, I’ve painted a rather bleak picture of my reality, of my life, and it also could be taken to mean shallow reasoning and motivation, but there’s more.

I am on a mission, my mission, because I have hope. Because my family and friends and church leaders loved me so much that they taught me the right path, the right things to do. They taught me who my Savior was and is, and how to find Him for myself. I was raised in an environment of love. But I’m not here for my parents. I’m on a mission because of their love.

I am on my mission for just two people, and for the whole rest of the Human family. I’m here for myself, and I’m here for my Savior. There were many who showed me the way to him but I had to take it. I’m here because He, still bruised and hurt and bleeding from the cross, picked me up every single time I fell, or stubbed my toe, or tripped myself. I’m here because I know Him now, and He loves me. He healed my broken heart and soul, that’s why I sing. I was raised from many places of darkness to the abode of light, I was touched and changed as clay in the Master’s hand, and I love Him. He loves you. I know that because I know him. That’s why I’m on a mission. He asked me to come, to lift someone else, show them the way so He can heal them. And I still fall. Every day. And He loves me and lifts me up again. And again and again. I am on my mission because the Atonement of Jesus Christ has filled me with love and strength in my weakness and I love Him.

The way to Christ is His true church. That church is this church. I know that with every fiber of my being because I’ve experienced it. The Book of Mormon is like my passport to him, the Bible is my Visa, the words of the modern Prophets, of President Nelson, are my road maps leading to Him. If you want peace in your life, find the Christ. This is the way. He’s calling you, all you have to do is follow in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2/12/2018: Week 70 The State of the Biannual Weekly Address

Well hello world. It's been a long time, how are you? It's funny, while I was in Vernal I kept saying I was a sinner and that I would email better eventually... And now it's been a solid 3 months or so since I sent out anything substantial... So why don't we start with a little bit of a recap of my mission so far.

So currently, I'm just a regular missionary, the only form of leadership I currently hold is just being the senior companion. Essentially, I just choose who prays during studies. I have been out for 16 months today. I have served once as a regular district leader, once as a district trainer (district leader who trains a new missionary simultaneously) and a follow up trainer twice. To date I am in my twelfth transfer in the field and am on my eighth companion. I'm currently in my fourth area, Spanish Fork Maple Mountain, my other areas being Provo West, Ferron, and Vernal Ashley. This is also the beginning of my third transfer in this area and my second with my current companion, Elder McKinney.

About Elder McKinney. In mission lingo, he's my second step son (a regular son being a missionary you train, a step son being a missionary you follow up train - So my mission posterity currently consists of one son, one daughter, two step sons, and one grandson) Anyway, so Elder McKinney is from Maumelle Arkansas, he comes from a big family, he's the youngest of seven, but also has a sort of adopted family where he's like the oldest of five. He's been on his mission for about 3.5 months, and had an incredibly well rounded extra-curricular profile. Band, dance, twirling, modeling, volleyball, basketball, football... All sorts of stuff. He's a super cool dude.

Let's see... That's probably enough of a review... It goes fast. It's super crazy to see all the missionaries that have always been around, and that I love, go home. It's sad... Next transfer is the last transfer for the sisters that came out with me, and four more after that is game over for Elder DeFord. There's just not enough time left. I've got too much to do.

There's no way that I can go over all of the things from the months of absentee emails, no way to catch up.

Suffice it to say, I love the Lord, and am grateful for his endless for me. I'm well fed, I'm doing good, I love my mission, staying warm, learning, growing. The music is always there. If you don't know about the Church, learn about it before you throw it away. If you do know about and have left, because of your own choices or due to another's influence, there is no better time to come back than now. If you are actively participating in the gospel of Jesus Christ already, keep raising the bar, keep learning, keep progressing, and then share those blessings you receive with those that you love.

I know that this gospel and the book of Mormon are true. I know that the priesthood authority of God is on the earth, in the church, and in the lives of every one of us who lives worthy of it. I love you all, and I promise I'll make an effort to write more consistently in the future. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

10/23/2017: Week 54 Weekly First

Alright people... let me tell you about this weekend. The rest of the week isn't important... just Thursday on. 

So Thursday... no District Training Meeting because we had a giant Zone Conference all day long the next day. But, Friday is weekly planning so guess what happened Thursday. Weekly planning. And, on top of that, we just got a new addition to PMG (Preach My Gospel), a replacement chapter 8 called How Do I Fulfill My Purpose As A Missionary? With a totally new planning process... so that was an adventure. But, I get ahead of myself. First, we dropped off the car at the shop to get some basic maintenance and went to Wingers for endless sticky fingers for the next hour or two, so we ate a lot. Then planning, so it really wasn't too bad. Then it really began. 

Friday, all day long, Zone Conference, 8:30 to 5. It was a long meeting. Learned all about facebook... meaning a lot of people asked the same question over and over again and received the same answer over and over again. It was long to say the least. Basically the answer to almost any question about FB is that you need to focus on the work, if it's not about the work, don't do it. So yes I have fb, but you've all been unfollowed, if you wanna talk to me, send me an email. Anyway, so after that meeting we had some decompression time at dinner. That was really nice. Followed by a lesson and a split to an interview, followed by another lesson. Over the course of that night I gave 3 blessings. We got home at around 10. It was a long day.

The next day... was worse by far. Morning frisbee was gonna be great cuz everyone was gonna play, even Ballard, who have to drive 30 miles to come... then they texted they weren't coming... and the Spanish elders and the sisters got sick... and the Glines elders left their phone in the car all night... it gets worse, just wait. So the Vernal elders and us were the only ones who could come, so we went to the chapel. A little background... we got kicked out of our chapel for our baptisms a couple days ago because of a funeral. So instead we were gonna do it in this building.  We get there at 6:30 and it's also set up for a funeral. So we go to the Glines stake center and we need a key for the font.... we call and call the elders... show up at their house and they had left their phone in the car...

Actually. I can't even care about all that mess right now... I think I will just copy and paste a summary I wrote a couple days ago. 

  • In spite of scheduling the buildings for the 4 baptisms that we had, and the 1 that the Vernal Elders had, we first got kicked out of our building a couple days ago for a funeral, then discovered yesterday morning that we were being kicked out of the next building for another funeral...
  • We went to use the Glines Stake Center, but the Glines elders left their phone in their car. After 7 calls and numerous texts we had to drive to their house to contact them... only to find out that they didn't have a baptismal key.
  • Then we called all the people in their stake who might've had one and couldn't get a response from anyone. Luckily, the Vernal Elders were able to get in eventually.
  • That was only an hour and a half or so until our first set of baptisms. We had to leave it running through the whole program for the water to be high enough by the time it was baptism time
  • Then, someone requested that I perform a song I never practice, and everyone knows, and I had to play it off my iPad on short notice..
  • Then, it got done late so we had a very short lunch and headed to a lesson that was squeezed between our baptism and the Vernal Elders baptism. After the Vernal baptismal interview, the girl, who was very very shy, asked me to give the talk on baptism, and I was playing the piano for that one as well.
  • But, then the person we were having a lesson with showed up half an hour late and asked us to help him move... we did one load and then had to run to the baptism... got there just in time.
  • Then we headed back to finish the move... and he was half an hour late again, and told us to come to a restaurant to talk to him for another half hour until he was ready to move some more... luckily our other lesson that we had squeezed in was cancelled. So we helped him move and move some more... and finished just in time to make it to our 5 o clock baptism, and then he said he needed one more thing... which should've taken 30 seconds but instead took 10 minutes cuz he couldn't decide how he wanted to do it.
  • Then the baptism was fantastic of course
  • Then dinner
  • Then a lesson
  • Then finally cleaning up both buildings from the baptisms
  • On Sunday, those 4 confirmations were all at the same time in different wards... and we're the ones confirming 3 of them...
  • The thing is... I was late to some stuff and things didn't go as planned, but I have exactly zero regrets for the day. I did all the things the Lord commanded me to do and did them in his time. I'm grateful to be such a tool in his hand... haha even if it makes for an incredibly long weekend ;P I'm happy. Thanks for listening

And I'm done. Halloween is Preparation day so I won't email till then.

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

Elder DeFord

Sunday, October 22, 2017

10/16/2017: Week 53 The Weakliness of my Weekliness ...

Alright, I know… I know… I know… I'm a vile vagabond who refuses to email. Shame on me. But I'm repenting :p a little bit anyway. So what's happened lately. Haha more importantly how long has it been since I wrote? Who knows. Kurds you may miss out on somethings or I may go over things double, I dunno. First off, we're having 4 baptisms this week, a family of 3 who are just super good, and then D who I talked about whenever last time was. That's gonna be a good time! Last week I did an escape room... trailer. It was actually pretty fun, but something rather odd happened. We had planned to go with Luke (best member missionary of all time btw) and there was another trailer in town we were gonna go to. Things fell through and that trailer moved somewhere else so we made plans for this one. Two days before we went we got a text from the Uintah Sisters that they were teaching the family that owned it and they wanted us to go for free... awkward, we were already going. So we did and it was good, we beat it the fastest of anyone so far... 25 minutes or so. But it's a hollow victory (and yes if you're reading this Sister Toftum, this is Elder Whiner coming out and being accountable ;P) we got a hint on the last puzzle. Un-asked for mind you. Haha but she told me I could come back and try to do it blindfolded. I think I may just take her up on that. Somebody will just have to read things and put in codes for me. Of course... now I know all the stuff so who knows. I'm asking now… They say he'll have a new one done next month hopefully, so then I can do that one. 

What else? Well... as many of you likely know at this point, my mission has been authorized for facebook. I've already done some thing's and made a lot of new friends, but we don't really know what it's gonna be like at this point. We're also getting smartphones next month. We're not totally sure what that means either... the current understanding is that they'll be older model iPhones, both missionaries will have one but only one will have a plan. But as for details... hopefully we find out on Friday. We have an all day Zone Conference where we'll get trained and receive info on all this stuff. Not really looking forward to it, that's a whole lot of sitting and not doing Things. But, having some closure will be really nice, and knowing what it is we need to do. 

Alright, thinking of other stuff to say is hard. And I need to plan for some splits tonight so here's a thought for you based on some cool experiences this week.

This week I have had the opportunity to participate in every level of the priesthood I currently have the authority to officiate in. In the Ashley 3rd ward, I was blessed to serve as a deacon, to pass the emblems of the Sacrament to those who seek His forgiveness. The same day just a small time later, I served as a teacher preparing the Sacrament, a priest blessing it, and a deacon passing it for 3 soldiers from the Army National Guard post at the Vernal Armory, and then for a part Member family who has difficulty going to church because of some health issues and a slightly uncooperative father. This week I've given several blessings through the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood that I am so blessed to have been given, to heal, to comfort, and to guide. God’s power and love flows through me to bless the lives of others, what a blessing to me. There is just as much love and power and service in a deacons humble actions as there is in the great pronunciations that, at the direction of the spirit, may "command the sustaining or renewal of life" as Elder Holland said. There is no difference. The power of God is the same. In fact, I might even say that the deacons role, and the teachers, and the priests, is the more important and impactful of the two. The renewal of the covenants we make at baptism and accepting the atonement of a Christ into our lives changes and sanctifies us and prepares us for eternal joy and glory rather than temporal blessings. 

To all you deacons and teachers and priests who think your job isn't that important, think again. You provide salvation through your humble service

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

Elder DeFord