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Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 10: 12/19/2016 Almost a Christmas Mailer

Well let's see... maybe we'll make this weeks a little shorter yeah? In my defense cool things happen on missions and I don't do very good journaling soooo... here it is.

Frisbee fell through Monday which was super sad. But we're getting a bunch of guys (and some sisters) together to play the day after Christmas so that'll be super boss. Then Monday... was kind of awful. We didn't eat dinner so we had T. pick up some in and out from Orem... but we didn't get it till 7:20 or something, R., who we love dearly, forgot and flaked on our chapel tour, which was kind of the big thing for that day, she didn't let us know till we'd already set up everything. Then we went to the church to eat... and locked the car keys in the kitchen by accident... then we just kind of crashed at the B.'s house for the rest of our night before we headed home. It was not our best day. It's kinda been one of those weeks off and on.

Tuesday was better though, got to play the piano some and we had lunch with the Zone Leaders and a former senior couple then some really great lessons. The M.'s learned about the law of chastity and then we ate with a new investigator who is awesome and asks tons of great questions. Unfortunately our evening fell through again and we did our best but... ugh. Super cool though, A. who we baptized December 3rd, for Christmas is getting the three of us matching CTR rings. How cool is that? I'm super pumped, I love that guy so much. I can't wait until he can baptize his daughter.

Wednesday we got to see lots of people we like, got to have a great talk with T. again, it's so. Good. Just good. I don't know if he's progressing exactly... but it's awesome. Oh and I'm gonna teach K. some breakdancing while we're preparing him for baptism. Unfortunately we only have two baptisms on Christmas Eve after all, the other ones all got moved back because of scheduling issues. So that's sad.

We met all the new peeps in our district on Thursday. Sis. Mendoza seems pretty cool, and Elder Zamudio, our new zone leader is super sweet. Then we went to Great Steak with the Zone Leaders as usual and then headed back to the church for some music practice for my song in Sunday in 3rd ward. My Gift, My Offering. Then we had a great discussion with the C.'s, ward mission leader for that ward. And in the evening we had a 60 day sobriety party for someone we're working with, she's really incredible, but she's been dealt a lot of hard cards in her life, but she has a feel to her... I'm not sure what's gonna happen but I'm excited to see where it all goes.

Weekly planning Friday... woohoo. Ugh. Haha but we got to see B. which was great, even though that's when we found out his mom wanted to push his baptism back to January. Grr. But it's ok, haha we love them anyway. We're actually gonna go eat with them sometime... was it Christmas? I don't remember but they're from Louisiana and boy does she know how to do Cajun. She's also a Hinckley actually... so that's cool too. That night was the 4th ward Christmas party which was pretty fun. Good way to get fed too ;P we had 3 investigators and some recent converts there which was great. As well as their mom who is not a member... at all. Then even better that evening... we got to visit a family we really like, who are about to go through a pretty hard time. The husband is about to head to Mexico for a month to deal with some green card type issues, the wife is a member but almost completely ignorant about the church. They have 3 kids, and they just need help. We were able to give them both blessings of comfort and counsel, as well as bring the spirit into their home. When we got there the kids were fighting and being rowdy but as soon as we had the opening prayer, they were totally focused and silent. Just listening to the message we had to share and the power of the spirit that was with us. It was pretty incredible.

Saturday was super fun, we tried to visit people through the day but with very little success. That was frustrating but in the morning we went to a YM activity in 14th ward where we played some fun games, ate pizza, shared a thought then had some instruction and a knife throwing tournament. The priests had actually designed their own knives with some CAD type software then had them produced out of steel with a robotic plasma cutter, and taught the other boys how to throw them. We did two divisions, a bronze and a gold, and I won the gold division with my thorn style throws. I actually won a knife which was pretty cool. We also ran into this Native American lady who couldn't seem to decide if I was an incredible musician or a young novice. It was interesting. Apparently starting Christmas, the Native American Ward is moving into one of our buildings. They have quite the music program, we may have to attend their meetings occasionally. Then finally that evening we had the 2nd Ward Christmas party which they set up like Edison Ward did several years ago, everyone dressed up, the gym was set up like a Bethlehem market place, you had to get little coins to buy food.

Then that night at about 10, Bishop Jarvis called to ask if one of us could narrate their Christmas program... which means me. So he brought it by at 10:27. Which means no practice... oh well. Sunday was fun. Stake Correlation meeting in the morning, then talks in 6th Ward (that has some cool stuff but just be patient) then practice and a song in 3rd ward, then in 4th ward the narration and singing with the choir. Ok so talks... I had about 35 minutes for my talk... yeah. I went second and somebody was a slacker. Not that I'm bitter :P it was really good though, I hope it made a difference for somebody. We were talking on Spiritual self reliance. Anyway after the meeting, Sis K. (less active family we ran into several weeks ago, I probably talked about them, she's super awesome) came to me, after discussing it with the bishop, and said that as I was talking she could see a glow. She figured her eyes were playing tricks so she looked around at other things other people... no glow. Looked back at me, glow. So she talked to Bishop to see if she was crazy and said she knew that as missionaries we had special blessing and gifts... he told her that it was real and she should be grateful for the blessing the spirit gave her. She described it as my mantle. That kind of blew me away... just.. wow. I told her to write it down, write down how she felt, to describe it all and to ask God what she needed to learn. I actually had a story from a recent conference open that I could share, it's from Elder Richard G Scott who is the boss man of spiritual revelation. It's as follows. This is pretty long... so so much for a short email :P but if you really want to learn about spiritual matters and revelation, study Richard G Scott. This talk is To Acquire Spiritual Guidance from 2009, and he has an article entitled Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge in a 1993 ensign. The man is incredible. Anyway here is the story.

Now I share an experience that taught me a way to gain spiritual guidance. One Sunday I attended the priesthood meeting of a Spanish branch in Mexico City. I vividly recall how a humble Mexican priesthood leader struggled to communicate the truths of the gospel in his lesson material. I noted the intense desire he had to share those principles he strongly valued with his quorum members. He recognized that they were of great worth to the brethren present. In his manner, there was an evidence of a pure love of the Savior and love of those he taught.

      His sincerity, purity of intent, and love permitted a spiritual strength to envelop the room. I was deeply touched. Then I began to receive personal impressions as an extension of the principles taught by that humble instructor. They were personal and related to my assignments in the area. They came in answer to my prolonged, prayerful efforts to learn.

      As each impression came, I carefully wrote it down. In the process, I was given precious truths that I greatly needed in order to be a more effective servant of the Lord. The details of the communication are sacred and, like a patriarchal blessing, were for my individual benefit. I was given specific directions, instructions, and conditioned promises that have beneficially altered the course of my life.

      Subsequently, I visited the Sunday School class in our ward, where a very well-educated teacher presented his lesson. That experience was in striking contrast to the one enjoyed in the priesthood meeting. It seemed to me that the instructor had purposely chosen obscure references and unusual examples to illustrate the principles of the lesson. I had the distinct impression that this instructor was using the teaching opportunity to impress the class with his vast store of knowledge. At any rate, he certainly did not seem as intent on communicating principles as had the humble priesthood leader.

      In that environment, strong impressions began to flow to me again. I wrote them down. The message included specific counsel on how to become more effective as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I received such an outpouring of impressions that were so personal that I felt it was not appropriate to record them in the midst of a Sunday School class. I sought a more private location, where I continued to write the feelings that flooded into my mind and heart as faithfully as possible. After each powerful impression was recorded, I pondered the feelings I had received to determine if I had accurately expressed them in writing. As a result, I made a few minor changes to what had been written. Then I studied their meaning and application in my own life.

      Subsequently I prayed, reviewing with the Lord what I thought I had been taught by the Spirit. When a feeling of peace came, I thanked Him for the guidance given. I was then impressed to ask, “Was there yet more to be given?” I received further impressions, and the process of writing down the impressions, pondering, and praying for confirmation was repeated. Again I was prompted to ask, “Is there more I should know?” And there was. When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.

I can so testify to the truthfulness of this pattern. And that's exactly what I did for sister K. I don't remember if I've told you, but starting just a few days into the MTC this pattern began to unfold for me. I talked about my experience with denying Satan, praying, and being given greater light and Knowledge right? That whole experience came about based on this principle I've described here. If I hadn't done what I did, and written it down, then asked God what was next, I would never have had the beautiful feelings, experiences, and growth that I did. Try it out. In that story there are a few steps you can follow. You will learn and grow more if you figure them out by yourself, but if you really can't, feel free to shoot me an email and I'll explain :)

Alright so that was cool... then we practiced for my song in the next ward which is always great. There were actually supposed to be 3 songs that day... and their Christmas program is this week. Anyway that was great, B. came and sat with us which was good for him, and then we messed with the Fischers kids all of sacrament meeting. Then we had a meeting with Bishop Parke to talk about a bunch of people which was great. Then back into sacrament for the 4th ward. Now remember... I haven't practiced with them at all, and my narration is totally unprepared... but here we go. Haha it went ok I guess. A bunch of people told me they cried, including C. who we're working with with the Tolmans. All of whom were there today, woot! But then the sketchy part. You may recall I told you that there were Janice Kapp Perry descendants in my ward right? Well guess who came to the Christmas program? Yep... Janice Kapp Perry. We were talking to people and I figured it was just another ward member who wanted to be nice and say hi... but as she shakes my hand she starts out with "I'm friends with your aunt." So I think oh that's cool, we should talk, then she says "we know each other pretty well. I'm Janice Kapp Perry" and she just walked away. 
Processing terminated.

Mind status: Blown
Reboot initiated

Yep that's pretty much what happened. She did compliment me on what I did and stuff too... but that's not really important, the crazy thing was (and please no judging) I thought she was dead! My whole life I just kind of assumed she was super ancient and therefore no longer around, when I met here children and grandchildren they were decently aged so I didn't even think about it... oops. So that totally just happened. I kind of freaked out about it the rest of the day.

Ok so just real quick, last couple things I promise. So we had an awesome lesson with A., then an awesome lesson with M. and V. 
M. has been really struggling, from the very beginning V. knew he wanted to be baptized, but she had a lot of struggles. But last night she had a dream. She told us about it yesterday, she called it getting her testimony. She knows that this is what God wants her to do, and if she doesn't do it, Satan will come into her life. That was so powerful. Dreams and prayers and visions are real. Don't you ever deny that. Then V. asked me to be the one to baptize him, said I had something special, that I was very holy, so that was cool too. alright I'm done I promise, love you all :D

Elder DeFord

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Michael,

    Like your hair cut and we miss you, it is great hearing from you, your Grandpa and I enjoy your Blogs.
    So great to hear your doing so well, we are so proud of you doing the Lords work, nothing better than that! We send our love, Hollaye and Grandpa Dave