Family and Friends!!! 

How are you all doing?  What is new?   I have finished my first week in the mission field and holy cow it is BRUTAL!  The days are super long and tiring.  I totally understand what everyone means now when they say you will want to sleep at night because you are beat every day.  Being here makes me miss home a lot because people are mean…hahah you would think that they would at least gently or kindly reject but no way it is a door slammed in the face.  That has been the hardest part for me.  Rejection is not one of my favorite things in life.  I havent always liked talking religion in my past growing up so it is quite a change and sometimes a challenge for me.  People might think I am shy here because it is sometimes hard to say anything which is crazy because any of you back home know that shy isn’t in my forte.  It has been rough on me but it will all be okay because I have the best love and support out there.  This first week was weird since I had no idea what the heck I was doing.  I would just follow my companion around and do whatever he said.  We tract a lot and havent had a ton of success but we do have about 4 investigators.  It is crazy to see how the spirit works in other peoples lives.  We met a less active family with a 12 year old son who was not baptized.  We started teaching the family over dinner and the son all of a sudden said that he wanted to be baptized.  The kids name is Braxton.  We have been teaching Braxton Monday, Wednesday, Friday and it is awesome.  The family is starting to gain their testimonies back and it is amazing.  The only problem is that Braxton is going to move back to Texas with his real mom for his school year and she is Catholic.  We have to get her permission so all we have been praying for is for the Lord to soften her heart and allow Braxton to be baptized before he comes and arrange with the ward in Texas a way for him to get around.  When we taught Braxton the first lesson, we ended with a kneeling prayer and asked him so say it and ask if the things we teach were true…. when Braxton said Amen, the room was filled with tears and the family all hugged.  The spirit was maybe the strongest I have ever felt and it was incredible.  I hope and pray that we can get little Braxton baptized and get him closer to Christ and gain that Priesthood as a Decon. 
 
Next, we met with an investigator for the first time.  Her name is Elaine Macken.  Elaine is an older lady in her 50s-60s and she is amazing.  She said that she has always admired the way the Mormons treated everybody and the way they live and center families.  Elaine wanted to know more about the church.  When we met with Elaine to teach her The Restoration, she told us that she had already read through 1st and 2nd Nephi….. IN 2 DAYS!!! That is incredible.  She has an amazing desire to learn more and she said that she already knows it is true.  Elaine was our Dan Jones investigator which means that if an investigator you find shows up to church that first week you found her it is a Dan Jones.  That is really rare but she came to church with us.  I bore my testimony as the new Elder in the ward and it was great.  The ward is an amazing one and a super friendly one.  Our Bishop of the ward is Bishop Jones… now remember this name because I have a crazy story to share….
 
After church and dinner, Elder Holman and I went to Bishop Jones house to meet with the youth of the church for Preach My Gospel/mission prep.  Bishop Jones was talking about his mission and I noticed that it was in Ecuador.  I asked him what part he served in and he said Guayaquil.  I told him that my father served there as well.  I asked Bishop how old he was and he said that he was 52.  I told him that my dad was similar in age and might have been there the same time.  Bishop Jones looked down and then looks straight up at me with big eyes and says…..CARL FORD!!!!  Bishop Jones was companions with my father Carl Ford when they were serving their mission in Ecuador.  Bishop Jones told us stories about being with my dad and how they even went and played intrameral basketball at BYU together. SMALL WORLD!!! Is this real?? How does this even happen at all hahahhaha!!! This was such a sweet experience and it made my whole week.  Bishop and I took a picture together and sent it to my dad.  Bishop called my dad and they talked a bit as I went and played tennis with Bishops son because he plays tennis as well.  This was all crazy and amazing at the same time!!! This week was a busy one and exciting one and I am looking forward to the next one.  Hopefully I will get more comfortable and use to being away!!! I love you all so much and miss you a bunch!!! I have been so blessed and have so many amazing examples in my life!!! Keep writing me and you can send me letters too. Love you all!!!!!
-Elder Ford  
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