Elder Andrew Mitchell from Dunedin, served his mission in 2004 – 2005 in the Australia Sydney North Mission. After one year in the mission field he felt like he had not found that one unique person or family. Then he was transferred to the Ourimbah Ward.
His new companion Elder Ricks had already found a family while out tracting, and arranged to teach them. Elder Mitchell arrived in time to teach the first lesson. The Norford family soon became a very significant part of his life. After six months, three members of the Norford family accepted the challenge to be baptised – Wendy, Chad, and Ellenis.
The Carnovale family were also members of the Ourimbah Ward, and became close friends with the Norford family, after their baptism, fellowshipping and supporting them. In early 2007, the Carnovale’s youngest son Joseph was called to serve in the New Zealand Wellington Mission. At the end of that year, tragedy struck, and Elder Carnovale was killed in a bicycle accident while serving in the Masterton area, just before Christmas. Now it was the Norford’s turn to support the Carnovale family through the devastating loss of their youngest son.
Gradually as the years passed, the Norford family became less active. After experiencing some hardship and regret, Chad Norford decided to pray and ask for some help and counsel. Chad prayed three times for guidance to help him return to the straight and narrow path. He received answers to his prayers, and the spirit whispered that he should return to Church, and would soon be on a mission. Guided by the prompting he had received, Chad took the necessary steps to return to full activity in the Church, and prepare to serve a mission.
When Chad’s mission call eventually arrived, he was the first elder to go on a mission from the Ourimbah Ward since Elder Carnovale, and he was also called to serve in the New Zealand Wellington Mission,. The Carnovale family were ecstatic, and gained tender mercies from the Lord, as they watched their son’s friend prepare to serve in the very same mission their son had served in.
Westport Branch is a tiny branch in the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. When the Branch President, who happened to be the former Elder Andrew Mitchell, received a phone call from Chad Norford, he was surprised to hear that the young man he had baptised several years earlier was about to leave on his mission, and would be serving in New Zealand. Their paths crossed again, when Elder Norford was transferred to the Westport area. Soon after he was called to serve as the Second Counsellor in the Westport Branch, with President Mitchell.
They both have a testimony that Heavenly Father places the right people exactly where He needs them, in the right place, at the right time.
As an added blessing to Chad Norford’s mission, his mother returned to full Church activity, and entered the temple exactly one year after he left for the mission field.