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Sunday, August 6, 2017

7/31/2017: Week 42 Pday is Longer Than When I Started, But Then it Disappears

When I entered the mission preparation day didn't start until 10 (or was it 10:30... how can I not remember that?) oh well, but now, due to the changes in January, Preparation day begins at 8. So two extra hours for doing whatever you want.... and yet.... it seems like I have less time than I did before. It's not very often that I actually don't plan on emailing... the time always just disappears. So sorry about that, let's do some catching up.

So last email I mentioned that Monday two weeks ago we went blacksmithing right? So that wasn't too crazy, we just watched Vaughn do it and asked tons of questions and turned the crank to keep the fire hot. I learned a lot even then. This week on the other hand... we got to finish the project he started. He calls them feather hooks, they're like hooks to hang coats or hats on. He made the feather the first week. Then when we came back last week, we forged the actual hooks and put the scroll in the end and everything... and I got two giant blisters, one on my thumb and one on my palm, but he didn't have to help me, I did it all on my own :D so that was fun. Other than that, those p days were pretty straightforward, we just shopped and did other stuff...

Tuesday. So Tuesday was pretty good two weeks ago. We had lessons with both S. and A.. S was still getting ready to be baptized, and A was progressing. We went for a meeting with Bishop Oakeson and that went really well. We took some cookies from the Oakesons to Kaylee Morris for her family.... although later when we asked her husband had no idea what we were talking about so I think she ate them ;P Unfortunately we were supposed to have a lesson which got canceled so they was a bummer but you win some and you lose some.

Wednesday is sing at the nursing home day, that's always one of my favorites. This one was kind of special, after singing for about an hour or so, Donna, the Activities director, asked us to sing for a
woman who was actively dying. So we went in with another lady and sang some hymns for her and tried to bring her some peace. Wednesday was also our final meeting with the L’s, they're really very nice, and great to have an intellectual conversation with, but have no desire to change their ways or try out anything else. So we'll probably come by and visit occasionally but they haven't chosen to accept the message. It makes me sad, but that's their choice. Then we did some other contacting that day, but the people we found weren't too interested, although I think we left good impressions on all the people we did contact. And we got a phone number for a guy we've been trying to find forever.... and nothing. Bad number. Dang it :P

Thursday is district training meeting as usual, and that was fine. Then we went searching for Z’s, but we still haven't been able to find them unfortunately. Then we had to head home to prep S for her interview in just a little while. The interview went great, we got all the paperwork filled out and she was ready. We got the font set up. We got her a jumpsuit that fit. All that good stuff. She is so excited. I'm actually not sure what we did after that. That was pretty much the highlight :P

Friday... was an interesting mix. So it's weekly planning which is always a little bit awful. Then Elder Shepston had to Skype into a wedding at the same time we had a lesson, so we had to go take care of
that, I went with one of our Ward Mission Leaders, he stayed with Brother Stressing, and our lesson cancelled. I think I mentioned it last time, a woman at church said she wanted to get baptized. We set
up a lesson... they weren't there. So brother Snow and I went contacting and things actually went really well. Then I was performing at the care center again, a woman who works there was putting on a program, she was going to sing a bunch of older songs, and they asked me to play for her. So the whole last week was lots of practicing. But it went really well. And then we went and sang for the woman who was dying again, a very special experience. But then our other lesson for the day cancelled. But we had a dinner with a family with one member who was baptized at 8 and never went to church, and three nonmembers. But the ironic thing is.... we had to leave without a message or a lesson because we had another lesson … which cancelled. Grrr... can't win. But still good. Just an odd day.

Saturday was lots of fun, it was the 24th of July celebration in Emery, so we went down there for that, had breakfast, watched a little program, got pelted with water balloons at the parade then headed back
to Ferron to fill the font for S's baptism. It was wonderful. I sang If the Savior Stood Beside Me. The talks were just awesome. When she came up out of the water, she clapped her hands together and hopped up and down saying "I'm baptized, I'm baptized" it was a wonderful experience. She is just so genuine. The baptism was fabulous as I'm sure you can tell. Then we changed and ate and actually headed back to Emery. I got a short voice lesson then we were out to the festivities, having dinner, watching the annual softball games. It was a lot of fun. Rick managed to tear his Achilles' tendon but he was the only injury I think. Haha and he didn't even want to play. But that was certainly a great day.

Nothing crazy to report Sunday, there was a gathering down in Emery we went to after dinner for Riata Christiansen. She was coming home after three weeks of competing in the national Rodeo Queen competition, she took 6th overall, out 46 national contestants. Everyone was just there to support her, she had been really hoping and working for the top three, so she was pretty disappointed.

So as I already mentioned Monday again was blacksmithing, no change there. Tuesday this week was a little more interesting not really in a good way.. Zone Conference all morning... we were on route to be half an hour early, but there was a massive wreck just before we got there and it held us up so long, we ended up being 15 minutes late instead. Then we found out just a couple days ago... the boy in the wreck is the nephew of the Nelsons, he's dying, the right half of his brain is already gone, and the wreck was a year to the day after their son died. Prayers and fasting would be greatly appreciated for them.

Wednesday was exchanges, I went with Elder Giwagiw, what a blast. We sang at the nursing home and made plans for a giant snake robot. No one is allowed to say anything to any of the elders in the mission though, it's out secret. Our code word is the girl back home. Haha I think this robot may become my life's goal after my mission, its intense.

Thursday was lots of finding... or at least attempted finding... no one has been home when we knock for days now. So that's pretty frustrating, but no district training meeting this week so that was pretty nice. And we did get to see Joe and chat with him for a while which was good, we're gonna try to visit him soon and teach an actual lesson. We also saw J. and I. and got started on their paperwork
for baptism, exciting stuff!

Friday... classic. Weekly planning and more non finding. I swear, everyone in Ferron is hibernating or something. It's ridiculous. Saturday more of the same. We spent the morning planning for Sunday lessons. Then went visiting people in Ferron. Nope. Visited the Sundstroms in Emery, they were home and doing tons better so we're gonna teach them next week too. That was a super great pick up for the day. Then voice lesson, more attempted finding. Dinner, then that's when we found out about the Nelsons... so we headed over there to see what we could do to help.

Sunday.... now that was a day. As I'm sure most of you know, it was a fifth Sunday which normally means a combined 3rd hour. We were set up to teach the 5th Sunday 3rd hour lessons in three different wards. They started at 9 10 11. So the lessons were at 11 12 1. And each one is 15 minutes away from the others. We went from MILLSITE in Ferron, straight to Emery, and back to Ferron for Dutch flat. We didn't even get through everything. We were talking about member missionary work and what it really means. The lessons all went super good so again, prayers for explosions and fire would be appreciated. After that kind of a day, and after Correlation meeting we just went home and tanked. Major decompression time. We still got to go with the Jenkins in the evening though. I'm currently in the middle of telling the story of Moses, it's been fun :)

Anywho life is good, but so are prayers ;P

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

Elder DeFord

Picture time!

We haz cat


S’s Baptism

So the story here... that's a really low beam, people hit their heads in it all the time. So Vaughn put the duck there to remind them to duck.... but his son in law still kept hitting it... so he put up the panties... and he hasn't hit it since!

This is my hook that I made

And now Blacksmithing Videos

7/18/2017: Week 40 Weekly Weekly Weekly ... Only 65 To Go

That's a scary thought huh? In a couple days I will have been out on my mission for 40 weeks. 9 or 10 months out of 24 doesn't seem like very much... 14 or 15 left. And I guess 40 out of 104 or 105 doesn't seem like that much either... but 40 down and 65 to go? Where has the time gone? At the end of this transfer I will have been out 10 ½ months, I will be just beginning my 8th transfer, and I still only have two areas. The wonderful Provo West Stake where I served for 3 transfers and loved the people, and my little town of Ferron (and Emery, Clawson and Moore of course ;P) for 4 transfers, where I loved everything and everyone. And who knows what might happen next transfer. To be fair... it's pretty highly unlikely that I'll stay another transfer... but I'll keep praying. But just one transfer short of half way... half my mission is over. I'm glad I get to be where I am though, I'd be ok with staying another couple transfers even, I love this place and these people. Haha it'll be interesting to see what the second half of my mission looks like though. I could end up serving in just 4 areas. Or 5. Or if I got transferred every transfer for the rest of my mission I could have 12 areas. Who knows. My current companion has been out for 20 months and this is his 9th area. All I know if that the Lord has a plan for me and if he wants me to go somewhere then I'm going to go. Just putting my two cents in... I wouldn't mind staying.

Anywho, enough about that, my new compaƱero is Elder Shepston. As I said, he's been out 20 months and is pretty experienced. And tall. Again. I've literally never had a companion the same height or shorter than me. I haven't even had one under 6 foot. Oh well. It is what it is I guess ;P

Ferron is good. Ferron is so good. It seems to just get better and better. Last week in preparation day, as you could probably tell, we went roping and steer wrestling again... and I got whooped by a couple cows. But that's ok. It was fun :) haha still have bruises though. Tuesday was pretty much just Elder Bayless packing for home so not too exciting. Wednesday we got up early and headed for Provo. I got to
meet one of Elder Bayless sisters who came to see him before he left Utah, she lives somewhere up north I think, with her husband and two little babies. So that was kinda fun and then off he went and off I went with Elder Shepston. We stopped for a free smoothie (shhh that's a secret) and then headed home down the canyon. We went food shopping for the transfer and got paid for by a wonderful lady. Then we got free lunch at the Cowboys Kitchen, again, wonderful. Then headed home for Elder Shepston's first view of Ferron. Luckily he was actually in Goshen last transfer (tiny little town near Santaquin) so he's used to small, Ferron is actually a step up. He's of the opinion he'll die here, just a couple more transfers, but I guess we'll see.

Thursday was our first District Training Meeting with our new district. The Huntington Sisters got white washed with English speaking sisters, Sister Brown and Sister Schank. And Elder Hansen got transferred out to be a Zone leader so we got Elder Giwagiw. Anyway after that adventure we went out to the Ferron UFO landing site to meet Vaughn Reid and his wife. They both ended up being members, but they gave us a referral for another man who lives nearby. After giving us a tour of their little exhibit and all of the cool stuff. Sorry no pictures... oops. Haha I'll get some next time we see them. Turns out he's a blacksmith as well and he said he'd show us how so that'll be a fun adventure too. After that it was just catching up on all the things and people that the last couple weeks have kinda screwed up with everything that's going on.

Friday was weekly planning which is always interesting when you have a new companion cuz they don't know anything about anyone or anything in the area. But we got to go to the senior citizen center and sing for lunch again, we haven't gotten to for like a month. But now we finally get to go back. Mostly we were trying to get around and have Elder Shepston meet all the Ward Mission Leaders and Bishops which we finally managed to do.

Saturday we had lunch with the S’s, met with the L’s. And then had a lesson with S and started getting her ready for baptism. Then off to Emery for some tasty din-din, and talking to Brother Dalton, again, not terribly exciting, but fun. I love that family. Sunday was another good day, went to MILLSITE Ward where they had a farewell, talked to bishop some, then headed to Dutch Flat to see S, J and I. Then we headed for a lunch meeting with the Whittles, and then came back for Correlation meeting, then out to the Property with J and I. where we told Bibles stories and things around a campfire. It was a good day.

Then today we had our first training in Blacksmithery... again... no pictures, I'll send them next week. Anywho, gotta run, see ya in 7 days ;P

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

Elder DeFord

7/11/2017: Week 39 Weekly Bi-Weekly

Ok so in my defense.... Pday was Wednesday last week because of the 4th, and we went goat packing, then had a BBQ where I was gonna email... but that said BBQ involved too many wifi enabled devices which overloaded the router... so no wifi. So apologies for the silence. Haha I'm getting better slowly.

Anyway, this week has to be one of the most bizarre on my mission. Let's begin. Monday started well enough, we went with a less active family we've started teaching. They took us up to one of the many reservoirs in the mountains fishing. It was fun and very, very hot. We did not have a ton of success, but we got to know them a lot better and have a good time. We're working pretty hard on getting them back to church so that was a really good deal. Then we had to pack and prepare. We left for Price to pick up some other Elders, then drove them to Springville for the night before leaving to go to Spanish Fork where we were gonna stay with the Zone Leaders over there. That was fun as usual, Elder Durfee and Elder Santos are two of my favorite missionaries and they are the Zone Leaders. So we spent the night with them and the next day headed out to the Parade.

For those of you who don't know, in Provo they have a large parade for the 4th of July, and traditionally the missionaries from the entire mission come to march in it. Since the split two years ago when Orem and Provo became separate missions, both missions have collected all their missionaries to march in the parade. This is one of the most highly anticipated parts of the parade, many people just pack up and leave after the missionaries pass them because that's the most important part to them. Anyway so we were required to be at the parade start by 7:15 even though the parade didn't start until 9 I think and we didn't begin until almost 10. So we all gathered up, got everyone there, and walked to a large stadium where we all sat together in the bleachers. There we sat and waited. Eventually the Orem mission arrived and we sat and waited some more. For a couple hours actually. During that time, we were asked to perform several impromptu musical numbers.... which were just awful. Not gonna lie. Apparently the Orem missionaries had a few people who had been practicing some song for a while, I wouldn't be surprised if you'd never heard it, I've only
heard it on my mission, and honestly, it's really pretty poorly written to begin with. Then they threw these unsure missionaries on a mic system in front of the combined missions without warning to perform. They really did pretty well considering the circumstances, which were far from ideal. Haha but then President Hodgman decided we needed a musical number too... so he pulled some of us down to perform an unrehearsed Brightly Beams Our Fathers Mercy.. again not bad considering... but I found out after that some of the ones up there had never even heard the song before, much less sung it. *sigh* haha it was a long wait. Then when the parade finally began we had some fun, it was great to see so many people so excited for the purpose that we had and the service we were giving. I got to see my sister running through the crowd with her adorable little pregnant tummy trying to find me. I got to see some people that I had taught and baptized and some from the Stake I'd served in. I saw some old friends from home. That was funny because I heard someone calling out Michael and was so confused before I remembered that my name hadn't always been Elder DeFord ;P

Anyway it was a lot of fun, and following the parade was a party with all the missionaries... and because we had some extra time, the Hodgman's went around requesting talents for an impromptu talent show. So my companion performed again, without warning. We had time to run "Make us One" one time before we had to perform. But whatever, it was good. Or at least ok. I was really impressed though, there were some fantastic talents shown, even on such short notice. I'm so glad to be in this mission. We also had a performance from Elder Evans, a magician from Colorado, that's always fun. And the mission slide show. We also learned that each one of our senior office Elders served in the military and they talked about their testimonies and their service. It was really cool. So after all that... and the 2 and a half hour drive back and dropping off the other elders, we gathered all together as a district to finally watch Moana! And sing all the songs since we've been listening to them for months already. It was good to finally have some closure. We also had a great set up and a bunch of food and snacks provide by Emery. It was pretty sweet to say the least. We're still working through the leftover pizza.

Wednesday was then preparation day, and we got to go Goat packing for the first time with Herb, a super cool guy we met a while back who isn't a member of the church. We went hiking with all the goats, including his new one, little dude. We saw a rattlesnake, super cool rocks, had a little adventure, touched Cactus Dans ashes. It was a good day. After that we headed to Price for a big BBQ with all the missionaries in the Zone, which was where I was unable to email after
all. Once again, my apologies. I don't remember if I told you all, I acquired some butchered pig heads for this BBQ... and they were delicious. However as soon as p day ended, exchanges with the Zone Leaders began. I went with Elder Minson, one of the Elders I came out with and we had a fantastic lesson with a great couple. That night we ended up sharing their house with a total of 7 elders because the Moab Elders where staying in Price so they didn't have to come back the next day for Zone Training Meeting. And they're in a Trio. Haha so that was a whole nother adventure.

Thursday as mentioned above was Zone Training Meeting, which luckily this time I was not asked to spontaneously perform for, however there was a request from the Sister training Leaders for me to sing Shiny from Moana, which I said I would if they remembered at the end.... which they didn't, so I'm off the hook. Other than that it wasn't too exciting except Elder Bayless and I forgot our suits in Ferron so we went to the meeting suitless, but other than that nothing. Crazy. Follow that up with Greek food with Brother Quentin, my favorite ward mission leader in the Zone Leaders area and it made for a pretty great day. Then we got back to Ferron, had a baptismal interview, yummy dinner, and a lesson with a family that I love that has been struggling. It was really good on all sides.

Friday there is far less to report... honestly... I'm not even sure what we did that day actually. So ... skip

Saturday on the other hand was full and great. We started things off nicely by preparing for the one of the most wonderful baptisms I've had on my mission. And we had almost nothing to do with it. We just taught the lessons and provided the interview and paper work, made sure the font was filled, that was it. And we were done, just like that. Everything was planned hand prepared without us, we were able to bring another investigator to see it and altogether the Spirit was so powerful, there was hardly a dry eye in the chapel we almost filled. It was incredible. Then straight from there to lunch and a lesson with that investigator, then off to Emery for Elder Bayless' final singing lesson. And my lesson too of course but I'm gonna have more after his last one ;D it went really well and we actually had a really cool spiritual voice discussion about some super deep stuff that blew my mind all over again. Then we prepared our song for Sunday... which we forgot about until Friday and Friday was the first time we'd heard or seen the song. With very little practice time. Then one practice with Erin on Saturday in Emery. Then we contacted a family and went off  roading looking for another potential investigator. We maybe got a little distracted... but we were looking for him. Haha but those are videos I'm not gonna show you :P no luck though, it was weird, a Saturday in the middle of summer, and all of Castle Valley Ranch was deserted. Oh well

Sunday we had J's confirmation and a homecoming talk, then straight to Dutch Flat to perform The Song of our Hearts for Sacrament meeting. Haha and then they weaseled Elder Bayless into a kind of farewell testimony on top of that. But it went well and we didn't really have any complaints.

Today we went roping for the first time in months... and let's just say the cows were a little bigger and more cranky than the ones before... I attached a video that is the closest I got to flipping any this time around. Haha but I'm mostly bruise free anyway ;P not much to report after that, just emailing, food, and driving to Price and back. Tomorrow is just packing Tuesday for Elder Bayless and then transfers after that.

Oh yeah btw, I'm staying in Ferron and my new companion is Elder Shepston who will actually be going home in a just a few months as well

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

Elder DeFord

We went roping this Monday... but the cows were a little bigger that
the one’s we fought before. Oh well, it was still fun

Allow me to introduce the Herd.
Shelby GT
Vincent Van Goat
Amelia Goatheart
And Little Dude

He's the little one who catches up so adorably when he gets distracted ;P

Baptism Day

I have no cow related bruises ...

One of my fishies

post roping selfie

rattlesnake rock