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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Week 24: 3/27/2017 Three Week Mailer

Ok sorry for the laxness of the last several emails. Many of you have
been wondering if I'm really alive out here. I promise I am and I'm
doing great.

So to recap some.... we've been working with a girl named S,
she's from a less active family, her older sister was baptized a while
back but hasn't ever really been active. So we've worked with her a
ton over the last couple weeks, getting her ready for baptism. She got
baptized last week, I talked about it a little bit. She actually has a
little sister that just turned 8 so we baptized her at the same time.
Probably the coolest part though, after the baptism and the
confirmations the next day, we got a text from their mom. It basically
said that she had been inactive for 23 years, had had a multitude of
missionaries come and teach them, say lots of things, but never had
she had a desire to come back to church or really have her daughters
learn. But as we worked with S. and her sisters, she has really
truly felt welcomed for the first time in a long time, and same with
the ward. She said she will be at church every week she possibly can.
That was truly miraculous, seeing how the hand of God really changes
people's hearts in His time and theirs.

Aaaaand... I formally apologize... but I totally ran out of time and
got distracted.... so it turns out you'll have to wait another week
for a solid mailer. I'm really sorry about that. I'll start working on
it tonight so it's ready. But a couple highlights... I tried Rocky
Mountain Oysters a few days ago... super good. I actually watched them
get harvested, prepared, and fried... so good. Also gonna harvest some
for the other Elders next week hopefully. Learned to weld. I'll try to
send some videos super fast. Found some new investigators. I'll try to
focus more on the work next week in the mailer... I know it's mostly
been a bunch of cool things I've done, and that's not really the
point. I'm really trying to grow here, and it's been a struggle.
Please understand that in spite of all of the new experiences I'm
having, and how focused I may seem on them, the focus is always the
Lords work, although I may need to refocus some now that I think of
it. Please keep me accountable, it's easy to get distracted out here
in cow country.

I love you all, and I love this Gospel so much, I just need to become
better than I am right now, please keep me in your prayers, you're
definitely in mine. Once again sorry for the brevity. I'll start on
next weeks tonight

Elder DeFord

Rocky Mountain Oysters Frying

Blood on my hands from helping harvest the oysters

Welding Masks 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Week 23: 3/20/2017 Probably a Crappy Weekly

Mostly just gonna do pictures and quick like... what happened. Cuz I
hurt. And I need to sleep.

So I talked to all the peeps before I left provo... then I came here.
Friday we roped for the first time. I got stepped on. I was much sore.
We met people and taught them. We're gonna baptize... then we did.
Went to church. Played the piano. Did a special musical number. And
another one. Found out we have 6 hours of Zone conference tomorrow.
And president Interviews the next day. We dug a big hole down in
Ferron. I went to Moore at night and took pictures of their messed up
houses. Had lunch. Had super sketch lessons. We went to a museum that
was super dope, a potential and now new investigator owns it and
showed us around. Then... we got special permission to leave the
mission... and went to the Manti Temple!! That was super cool. Then we
took our car in to get stuff done... then a baptism on Saturday. Cool
stuff. Oh wait that's out of order... what evs. Oh and sweet district
Training Meeting with our ginger being turned into a leprechaun. And
stuff. And then all the roping today. And cool stuff. I'm done. Bye

Elder DeFord

District Training Meeting

Seeing Old Friends

Manti Temple

Manti Temple
Roping Cookies and Cream

Manti Temple

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Week 22: 3/12/2017 Transfers

[Mom note: in Michael's new area he has much less access to WiFi, so his opportunity to email will be less as well. He didn't actually send a weekly blogpost. This is a compilation from family emails.]

Haha I love rural Utah,hings here in Ferron are great :)  Very different, and the area is different, but I'm having a blast :) still adjusting but I'm pretty much there by now, it's a really good place, although we have certainly met some interesting people. If I ever get around to a weekly I'll
probably talk about it some.

[With this new transfer, Elder DeFord is a district leader.] Being a district leader is super good  actually, I have a great district, so no complaints there, it's gonna be a blast. I've already had my first District Training Meeting which actually went super well. I feel pretty good about what I'm doing and the direction we're moving in. The area is pretty huge, probably 20-30 minutes across on the highway. Ferron, Clawson, Emery, and Moore. About 2100 people. 5 wards in the Stake.

Our mission car is a Silver Nissan Rogue, it's fun. We can't really get mail... our mail goes to the mission office who sends it to our Stake President's PO box, he then gives it to our High Counselor over Missionary work who gives it to us once a week at Correlation meeting. So you gotta go the slow way if you wanna send anything.

 I've definitely had some adventures. Let ya know later. Let's just say this, I'm super sore, cows are heavy, and I have no broken ribs. Yet ;P

Farewell to Elder Skaggs and the Provo West Stake

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Week 21: 3/6/2017 What Week Weekly

Not sure why I named this email that, but it is what it is so I guess that's what you're gonna get. Currently, as I'm writing this, it's 3:25 AM and I'm sitting in Brent's car on the way to Moab. Ooooh yeah. Well actually now it's 3:33 but you know what I mean. And now it's 4:11. I guess I'm a little distractible, I haven't really made any progress. But can I just say once again that my mission President is the coolest? Brent was asking us what time we could leave so we texted pres... he just said go when our member escort wants to leave. We asked Brent, he said 3 am. We double checked with Prez cuz it was so early, he just said don't worry about it. We asked if it would interferes with Transfer calls, he said most likely. But don't worry about it, if we can't get a hold of you, you'll find out eventually. So here I am. Woo hoo!

So it's actually been a great week... just with a couple of not so greats in the middle. Monday after Pday, we just had an FHE with the H's and a girl who has been actively coming to church for years but hasn't been baptized. Apparently the last missionaries that worked with the family didn’t really connect with them or leave a great impression on her parents. Her father was excommunicated and her mom isn't a member, her siblings haven't ever really been interested, but, like I said, she's been active and not a member forever. Hopefully we can make something of it. It was pretty cool though, we had gotten a call from Brother H Tuesday or Wednesday last week inviting us for FHE with her, apparently they had talked to her and she had expressed interest in meeting us, especially me because of singing in sacrament meeting that week. So that was super cool, I think it's the first time I've actually had a direct investigator type experience through the voice. Needless to say I was pretty stoked ;P

Anyway Tuesday was super cool. Lunch with the ZLs, some finding, trying to get people to go to the temple, went and played the piano at the Bee Hive Home for service... then funny experience number 1 happened....

Also today.... Tuesday that is... we showed up for an appointment with N and D, but they weren't home. So we called and on the other end we just hear,

Who is this?

The Missionaries

*insert girly scream from N here*

And hang up.

We try again a few minutes later... almost identical call. So we go to check the skate park where they often are and as we pull up... there they are walking down the road... with R and J. You remember them? They're the kids we miraculously set up a lesson with and then found their aunt too who isn't a member? Well we haven't managed to meet with them yet after all... and there they are. So we go to talk to them all... and N throws a snowball. Full on snow fury ensues between all parties. We're talking ninja Dragon Ball WWIII stuff going down. Haha it was sooo much fun. Anyway results: we talked to R and J’s mom and are now going to tutor R in math. We're going to start teaching them for real as well. We had a lesson with N and D and they should be able to go to the temple aaaaaand.... about an hour later we get a call from our mission President. 

Elder Skaggs answers the phone: Hello, this is Elder Skaggs (slight tremor of fear in the voice)

President: Hello this is President Hodgman speaking. You called me and left a message... it sounded like you were having a snow ball fight with some Sisters...

Elder Skaggs: Oh no President, it was a couple investigators and Recent Converts we were just trying to contact them to set up appointments. (Elder Skaggs is kind of a nervous worrier, he was probably about to wet his pants so he explained as fast as he possibly could to avoid retribution)

All President asks, and really the most important part...
Pres: Well... did you win?

The rest of the conversation isn't important

Yeah... so that happened, suuuuper fun. We definitely had a blast and it seemed positive all around. Then right after that was dinner with the G’s... and this happened.

So we were eating with this super cool family, the G’s I told you about last week, I'm playing with their band a little bit. I've talked about them before, they're the ones we watched It's a Wonderful Life with on Christmas. Anyway they're son, Adam, is in a dual language immersion program, very similar to what my brother Adam did... only in Chinese. So I may have mentioned him saying "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope"... I don't remember... but I got it on video but it was really awful. So they pulled out google translate and had him talk in Chinese into it to see what it said he was saying in English... it was hilarious. And then I finally convinced him to say "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" which is as follows. For some reason though the ones I record are always a little choppier, I promise it sounds better most of the time. 

 {Editors note:The video refused to load. I will have to find someone more techy to help me get it on here}

Anyway apparently I should've kept recording because next his mom reads what google translate says... "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my first father" That's funny all by itself but then J (Brother G) says "Well that makes a whole lot of sense when you look at where the series is going" and.... we completely lost it. It was soooo funny. My sincerest apologies for not continuing to record and capturing such a prize jewel.

Oh man it was a good day. Pretty normal stuff after that, just good lessons and good contacts, keeping busy doing the Lords work.

Wednesday wasn't quite as exciting but still super good, we had district training meeting which was nice, went out for breakfast with the ZLs... yeah, it was pretty awful, I gotta admit. It was this old diner Elder Gallegos always went to when he served there... awful. Just awful. But it was fun, we had the right people so it worked out. Then food bank with ZLs... we really basically spent all day with them... basic finding... went to dinner which cancelled... but the ZLs dinner did too so we went with them again... and got crappy food all over again. Super cool though, we had a great lesson with the W’s that evening and put her on date. Unfortunately their kids ran away right at the end so they're not on date yet, but it was a great lesson and they asked lots of questions about the Plan of Salvation which is what we'll talk about next. Our lesson did go a little long though so we were late to see F, but when we did, it turns out he actually went to church last week after all! We had a very spiritual and sweet lesson with him, apparently since we tutored P. the week before he has been feeling better and doing better and was super excited so we made sure we'd be there to help him this Friday too. We also set up a chapel tour for F on Friday evening, and he even asked for a blessing! Talk about a blessed day. The best part though, as we were leaving he said he had something funny to tell us, so apparently P was in the shower right around 8 when we were supposed to show up, so just before 8, F decided to go hide in the bathroom so he wouldn't have to answer the door... but because of the W’s going so far over... we didn't get there till almost 8:30 so he was trapped. Then he even acknowledged that God was looking out for him. Super cool.

Thursday... I don't wanna talk about. All day was just super dead and we had nothing to do... it was rough. And that's all I'm saying.

Friday on the other hand... we had probably out best weekly planning yet. And it was only 2 and a half hours or so... so actually within the timeline we're supposed to follow. The rest of the day was pretty decent... but also meh. We are still trying to figure things out with J and R... every time we make progress... seems like something pops up to push it back. Frustrating. Plus when we showed up to tutor P he wasn't there. His grandpa seemed a little off but we figured we'd wait, sometimes he's a little late. After about an hour we knocked again and gave his grandpa our number to let us know when he comes.... never got a call. We were pretty worried. Great lesson with the G’s though, then we went to set up for F’s tour and hoped to get more info on P, plus we were stoked to give him a blessing. He doesn't show up either. We call his home and nothing. Super frustrating. And worrisome with all we know about them, and all we don't. Haha not a great way to end a day. 

But of course Saturday made up for it. I got to have an experience that is pretty rare among missionaries I think. I mean come on, how many missionaries can say that after being in the field for like 5 months, they spent half a day on splits with their father? That's right, coolest mission ever! So Saturday morning, my cousin Aubrey was being sealed in the Provo City Center Temple which is in my zone... and I got to go! Super cool. Plus I've spent the last 2 weeks tailoring a suit I got at DI just for the Sealing. I do feel a little bad though... after all that, getting the permission, getting picked up, going to be late, leaving the mission... waiting in the Sealing room, watching the Sealing, waiting for pictures, doing pictures, eating food, talking with sister, cousins, aunts and uncles... the only person I never managed to talk to... was Aubrey. Awkward. Well if you're reading this Aubrey, just want you to know that I love you and I think you found the right guy. As soon as you two walked into the Sealing room it just felt right. This is your path, and I look forward to seeing where it leads :) 

Anyway also a great experience... because I got to see my Niblings! Scott and Eden are both so grown up now... it's crazy. Plus they're crazy. So it was a good day. Of course before I went back to missionary life we had to take a few pictures... 

I feel like I look a little funny... but that's just my natural look, deal with it :P 

So that was most of the day.... my companion was actually in ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) while I was at the temple, so that was fun. Sounds like it was a good meeting. After that just talking to people, doing a little service. We finally found out what happened with F and P, But that's all I'm gonna say, the details aren't important. Jus that they're safe and progressing and we're gonna take care of them, :). It was quite the relief though to find them.

And then of course... Sunday. Fast Sunday. Therefore early morning Correlation meeting... ugh. We barely made it on time and I didn't even get to shower. But we actually went on splits for our first ward, I went in 7th with B and a few other investigators, Elder Skaggs to 14th with the G’s who finally came to church! Woot woot! Then 10th Ward we went to together... but no R or J. However we were definitely meant to be there. Do you remember Brother Gw? We ate dinner with him about 7 weeks ago... he's Mr. Incredible, super cool guy, changed my life. Anyway... here goes

We find out about transfers tomorrow. I may be leaving this area, I don't know if I will but the possibility is there. I had felt that I should make this Sunday as good as possible. Over the past week or two we have finally made some progress with R and J and had hoped they would be able to attend church today. So we attended the 10th Ward today, hoping to see them and sit with them. I didn't see them, I don't think they are here right now. But as we were sitting in sacrament meeting listening to the testimonies in fast and testimony meeting, Brother Gw stood up and went up to the pulpit. I was excited because I love this man and I was sure that he would just blow my mind with his testimony. Then he began to speak.

He started with his gratitude for Home Teachers. He explained that it had been a rough few weeks, he talked about how he hadn't felt well and had requested his next door home teacher to take him to the hospital. He went in, he wasn't able to get his potassium levels up, he had some tests done and apparently he had a rare condition that would likely require open heart surgery to correct. He was in the hospital for 6 days. Then he began to talk about his testimony of priesthood blessings.

He said that was the next thing he wanted to talk about... and I started to tear up. He explained that just a few days before he had gone to the hospital he had had an opportunity to feed some missionaries. He said he's not a great cook... so he got some help from Brother C ;) He said that he hadn't really been feeling well so he asked them to give him a blessing after they ate. He explained how grateful he was for the blessing of that young elder, how he knew that that elder had no way of knowing everything that was going on, he had no way of knowing what things to say and how to say them, so he was so grateful for that young elder being so close to the spirit and ready to be the hand of God in his life. When you think of a blessing you normally think, oh I bless you that the pain will go away and you'll get better, but instead that worthy elder said the pain is not going to go away, but you'll learn from it, and it will be ok. I'm so grateful that he could be here today to hear this. 

That Elder was me. Now there are lots of tears.

Throughout his telling of this story he kept making eye contact with me, that just made me cry more. He wasn't able to attend last fast meeting because of his illness... so he was here. At the one we attended. He continued to explain how he had asked for those he was friends with to pray for him... later they ran some other tests which showed totally different results than those he had received previously. They confirmed he did have the condition... but he was a medical enigma and it actually was far less severe than is should be and would no longer require open heart surgery. My heart was so full, and I was crying. I wish I could really convey just how incredible this experience was. I was then able to bear my testimony as well of just how much the Lord loves his children. I encouraged the ward to pray for opportunities to feel Gods love for someone else. 

We were able to talk to him after, we just came together and gave each other a big hug. He also gave me some papers on the Atonement that he had talked about when we ate with him, he had just been asked to teach a lesson about it today... so he happened to have an extra copy just for me... we were able to talk and I got his email. God put so much together for that one encounter... He truly loves me.

Talk about a good day. And we still had another sacrament to go to. We had some meetings, found some people, D went to Church! Ate with Brother P finally, met with more people, picked up sack lunches from the H's for Moab today and went home for call in reports. Now I'm tired. It's 5:56 and I'm way distracted. I'll send this at 8 and then I'll let you know what happens with transfers. Love you all,

Elder DeFord

Oh yeah so official reveal, I'm getting transferred, my new companion
will be Elder Baker, and I will most likely be serving in Ferron, a
tiny town south south west of Price, and West North West of Moab

Elder DeFord

Moab Pictures