Hey there! This week was a tough one for Elder Bunn. On Monday we decided that it would be a good idea to go jump around on a trampoline at this place called SkyZone. We were all having a blast for about 10 minutes and then someone tried to convince Elder Bunn to do a backflip. Mind you that he has never done a front or a back flip ever on his life. I told him I would stand next to him and try to spot him. Well he didn't exactly know what he was doing and no one told him what to do so he just trusted that I would catch him if things were going to end badly. Well let's just say I was kicked off the Olympic spotters team due to a lack of skill. He totally only made it halfway and landed straight on his neck in the worst way possible. He sat out for the next 50 minutes while we all finished our jumping session. We got him checked out by a chiropractor and everything was fine except that his neck muscles were super sore for the next few days. Then on the 4th of July we had to be someplace safe after 6:00pm so we all met up at the stake center to play some basketball. Then it was Elder Bunn's ankles turn to get hurt. He went up for a pass and came down on top of another elders foot and totally rolled his entire ankle. It was all swollen and bruised up. In our stake we have some podiatrists so they took a look at it and nothing severe was done. He did have to cruise around church on Sunday with crutches. It was pretty funny. For the 4th of July we had a normal missionary day until 6:00 and that is when we went to play some sports. After the incident with the ankle we went back to our house with some other missionaries and climbed on the roof to watch the fireworks that we put on by the Peoria Sports Complex. It was a good show and we had a blast hanging out, talking and drinking too much Mountain Dew. For our YSA family home evening someone had the fantastic idea to play Quidditch like in Harry Potter. Let me tell you what! That was the best dang game I have ever played. Everyone has to pretend to fly around on a broom and there are positions and different plays. It was a blast. I had the chance to be the Chaser, which is the only person that can shoot the ball for points. Over the course of the game I scored 8 shots! It was so much fun. And a bonus was they got some sweet pictures haha. Rob and Alexis are still progressing towards baptism. We had a really great lesson with them all about the plan of salvation and where we go after this life. Normally this is a source of some serious questions from investigators but they both accepted it all and we're excited about the fact that they could live with their family forever. I know that if they would just make the effort to come to church consistently that they would be ready for baptism. We are working on that part. I am excited to just keep helping them and I know that whenever they decide this is the right path for them then they will be fantastic members of the church. We have a bunch of other investigators that are so close to wanting to keep taking the missionary lessons but for now they are just unsure. We are working with the ward members to help fellowship these people and invited them to activities. We should see some good things happening soon. Thanks you all for the things you do each day. Keep being awesome and I will talk to you next week. Love you! Elder Cole Safford
This week was great! I think one of my favorite things that ever happens to us is when we plan to go to a house and share a message but when we show up the family is in the middle of preparing dinner for the family. Instead of suing us away and telling us that is not a good time they welcome listen with open arms and a full plate of food. This past week that exact thing happened to us at 8 o'clock one night. We knocked on the front door and nobody answered but we could hear people talking in the backyard so we looked over the fence and there they were having a big old barbecue. So we hollered at them and they invited us in for a burger and to share a message with everyone! It's not every day that you get to have two free meals back to back but when that day does come it is glorious. Haha I have come to realize that a lot of missionary work is just simply becoming people's friends. People just want to feel loved and if you can help them to feel that and to be comfortable most of the time they will feel comfortable letting you teach their friends. I have really learned the power and asking heartfelt questions and then sincerely listening to the people answers. It helps to build that trust and show them that I care more about them than I do about the numbers. I think it's a good thing for life as well so I hope to continue it when I get home.
Through our iPads we have the ability to receive referrals from LDS.org. We were sent an email with a address and the name Divine and told he requested a prayer from missionaries. At first when we walked up I thought that he only wanted to mess with us but after talking to him a little more we came to find out that he had simply meant some missionaries on the side of the road and offer them some water and they offered to send missionaries to pray with him. We asked him about his family and found out that his wife is going through cancer for the third time. You could tell that he loved his family and he poured out his heart and would to us. We are just two kids but this man trusted us and showed me that you don't have to be the same religion to get along. He has a deep belief in God and in the hope that miracles can happen
as he believes in Christ and shows it through his actions. He was a Muslim but converted to Christianity when he found the bible to be the word of God. He has a strong testimony that could easily be felt as he talked about his wife. We offered to say the prayer and he grabbed our hands and we formed a circle in the middle of his driveway. Elder Bunn offered a very heartfelt prayer and Divine couldn't stop from giving thanks to God and to us. It was a really neat experience that I know will change all of our lives.
We have a part member family where the wife is a member but isn't regularly attending and the husband Nick is a member. Now you might be thinking that I have mentioned these people before but it's not the motorcycle painter from a few weeks ago. Coincidentally this new guys name just happens to be Nick as well hahaha. Anyway we have been teaching them on and off for a few weeks but is week they came to sacrament meeting and also had us over for dinner. We ate breakfast food which is always a treat and had a great lesson on the plan of salvation. Nick accepts everything we tech but is hesitant about joining the church right now. We will keep doing what we can and I know eventually he will come around. Alexis and Rob are still going great and wanting to meet with us which is never a bad thing.
Oh my word the other day a new member family moved in to an apartment and the bishop asked us if we would come and help. Well we were on splits with a member that night so I went with the member to the move and Elder Bunn went with the other member to a lesson. I was in my missionary clothes and we moved in the entire fully furnished apartment in 1 hour in 115 heat! It was insane. I don't think I have ever sweated so much in my life hahahaha. It was fantastic.
Well I love you all and appreciate all you do for me. Thanks for the letters and packages that you still all send. They are great. Talk to you next week.
After a lot of hard work and patience we are seeing some serious blessings come into our area! It has been long awaited but now that it is here I am so excited at what the next couple of weeks look like. To start off we found a new investigator in our young single adult ward named Mike. He lives in Maryland but it engaged to a girl in our ward. He is taking the missionary lessons in Maryland but wants to be baptized out here. In order to do that we have to teach him all of the lessons again. So we started with lesson one over Skype this past week. He is so excited about learning what he has to do in order to be baptized and what blessings will come to him as he does so. We are going to the lessons pretty quick because he just went through them with the missionaries in Maryland. He is scheduled to be baptized on July 18 and we meet with him just about every other day over Skype. We have different members of our ward sitting in on the lessons so that he can meet some of the people in our ward. His fiancé is really excited that he is doing this for himself and not just for her. He will only be in Arizona for a few weeks so that is why we have to teach them over Skype before he even gets here. It's a little awkward teaching over the Internet but we make do and spirit can still be felt.
We have a few other potential investigators that want to meet with us on a regular basis. It is awesome to see people change their lives after so long of being in contact with the church. They really do have a deep desire to come closer to their Savior and I love to teach them and help them feel the spirit. We don't have any that are scheduled to be baptized just yet but we are working towards that. Alexis and Rob are still doing awesome and still progressing. We meet with them twice a week now and they are still excited to learn about the gospel. It's a process that we are happy to be a part of.
We have been trying to find a way to locate those individuals that are ready for the gospel message. And the best way that we have found so far is through the members of our wards. We have been trying to set up lessons like crazy and go in and first build their faith and conversion before we invite them to help others do the same. This way they know without a doubt that the things we teach as missionaries really do change people's hearts and gets the spirit into people's homes. That really is the biggest thing. The spirit. I love meeting with members and learning from their experiences and seeing what they do in their daily lives. I have really become a people person hahaha. It's a miracle haha.
We had transfers last week and quite a few of our missionaries got moved but man we got some really amazing ones in return. They are all excited about the work and really trying to do the best they can! That's all we can ask for. They are helping me probably more then I am am helping them. Thank you all for everything you do. I really appreciate it and I know you are making a difference.
This week was transfers and to nobody's surprise Elder Bunn and I will
be staying together for the next six weeks. President Griffin had
already told us that was his plan but today solidified it. We are
excited for what the next month holds in store for us. We have a few
referals that we will be starting to work with that come to us in July
and we are still working with Alexis and Rob. We are in full swing
with going on exchanges with the members of our zone and so far it has
been an absolute blast. It makes the week go by way to fast but it's
This week we were able to teach Alexis but Rob was at work. We read
though the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi chapter 32 which talks all about
faith and the need that we have for the Holy Ghost in our lives.
Alexis is a sponge and really wants to learn it all. She is so dang
close to being baptized but is just a little nervous about the big
commitment and lifestyle change that it will be for her and her
family. She will be baptized for sure it just will take a little while
for her to make the jump. Which isn't a bad inch at all. It shows she
cares about living up to the promises and the commitment.
Elder Bunn and I are doing really well together. He loves missionary
work and working hard. He is helping me to stay focused and oriented
in our goals. I am so excited for the next few weeks. It really will
be a good time and a blessing. Thank you all for the prayers and the
love. It means a ton. Sorry it's short.
Like I said in my last weeks email president Griffin has challenged Elder Bunn and I to go on exchanges for the day with each member of our zone in 8 weeks. We have 16 missionaries which makes for 2 exchanges per week! It sounds like a ton and it kinda is but at the same time it is really awesome. We are having the opportunity to go to other missionaries areas and learn from what they are doing as well as share our insights on what they can do better. Since I have been out quite a bit longer then most of the missionaries in our zone President Griffin wanted me to share my experiences with the younger ones and help them to not make the same mistakes so they can become better missionaries earlier. It's a dang good idea haha. This week I went with elder Rodriguez into their Spanish area and got to hear nothing but words I couldn't understand but feel a spirit that is real. It is incredible that even though I have no idea what is being talked about I can feel that the words are genuine and Christ is at the center of the conversation. It is a really cool experience. I also went with an old companion of mine Elder Zaugg. Remember him from forever ago? Well he is back in the same area where he and I served together so it was like a mini reunion. It was a blast. The best part about it was seeing the changes that were in him and then hearing the changes that he has seen in me. It's weird but you don't feel like you change a whole lot and then you see someone from your past and they can point out everything that's different in a heart beat.
I had an extremely uncommon experience on Friday. The assistants to the president told me that they and president Griffin had made a choice to have me and one other missionary go down to Scottsdale and help the missionaries in that mission to better understand how to use the iPad for missionary purposes. I really didn't know why they were choosing me but went along with it. The Scottsdale mission just got iPads like two weeks ago and are still trying to figure out how everything works. Well my mission has had them for just under two years so we have learned from our mistakes and have quite a bit of knowledge as to how to be productive and use the tools properly. I just got up in front of everyone and felt like I vomited tons of information onto these missionaries and they just almost couldn't handle it all. Haha I slowed way down and went to the very basics and helped them understand the importance of keeping everything complete, correct and doing it timely. Overall it was just one of those times when I was really great fun for people who had taught me and made it possible for me to teach others.
Each month we have a mission leadership council on Tuesday and then the following Friday we relay all the information that we learned to all the other missionaries in our zone meetings. This month President Griffin really focused on the importance of planning and also working on Facebook. It is great for me to be able to learn to use social media appropriately now because I know the temptations to goof around on it when I get home will be so much higher. The lord really is hastening his work and all of the tools that we are receiving are evidence of that. I am blessed to be in a mission that has been able to use these to move the work forward in a way that isn't traditionally used by the church. It has been a great experience so far.
Well thank you all so much for everything you do. I really appreciate it and will talk to you next week!
On Saturday we had the great privilege of seeing Chris Scott's baptism. Chris didn't want too many people there so only about 12 were invited but It was still a tremendous experience that I will forever remember. He has been taking missionary lessons for the past 13 years on and off as he has been married to his wife Paisley. Up and down he went trying to figure out where he stood and what he needed to do in life. Then just less then a year ago the bishop had an interview with Chris' son, Justin in preparation for his baptism at 8 years old. In that interview he was beyond excited and the bishop was able to feel the spirit telling him that Justin was ready to make the promises with his Father in Heaven that come from the ordinance of baptism. The only thing holding Justin back was that he only wanted to be baptized by his non-member father Chris. Obviously you have to first be a member of the church and hold the proper priesthood in order to baptize, so that posed a problem. That was the final surge of motivation that Chris needed to help him make the changes in order to finally be baptized. In comes us. We got a call from Paisley telling us that her husband would be home in a few days and he wanted to take the missionary lessons and be baptized. Over the next three months we taught him everything he needed to learn and got him ready for his baptism. The spirit was so strong in the baptismal room that you couldn't help but have a smile on your face. Paisley couldn't hold in her excitement and everyone knew that she had been praying for this day for a long time. Justin's baptism was the following day and unlike Chris' the room was packed! Justin really is a quiet spiritual giant. He has touched so many people's lives and they came to support him. Chris did a perfect job baptizing his son and the two of them beamed with the spirit and were so pumped. It really was a great weekend.
We had interviews with our mission president on Thursday and Elder Bunn and I were in charge of ordering and setting out the food for the whole zone. We always seem to have pizza but this time since we had the choice of where we wanted to get I chose Jersey Mikes Subs! I went back to my artistic roots and got table cloths and drinks and cups and bowls full of chips and had the works. When our mission presidents wife came in and saw the table spread with food she wondered which sister came in and helped us set it up hahaha. She said it was the best she had seen in the whole mission. I think I might change my major to party planning haha. Totally kidding but it was nice of her to say. Interviews with the president went amazing. We talked about college and what I need to do in life to be successful by applying the things that I have thus far learned on my mission. We then talked about why Elder Bunn and I are together. He pointed out how different we are from each other but that our personalities really compliment each other. It is true. Elder Bunn and I have been getting along and have really been learning a ton together.
Some missionaries were scheduled to move out of an apartment that had been owned by the church for the past decade and lived in by hundreds of missionaries. They didn't move complexes just apartments. I knew that the apartment was pretty beat up but after seeing the place empty I was shocked. I really don't know how people let things get so bad. It was awful. Haha. Their new place is really nice and new and clean and has wood floors. It took forever to move all their stuff because they didn't have any boxes to hold random odds and ends so we had to carry each individual thing. It took a long time. But it was worth it I hope. I also went to the dentist this week and the dental hygienist was shocked that I had not been to the dentist in just about 2 years. She said my teeth looked great and clean! Just so you all know. Haha
Well I love you all and will talk to you next week!
Elder Cole Safford
1. Chris Scott and his family at the baptism. The little kid with the glasses is Justin. 2. Elder Bunn and I 3. Missionary closet haha