Sunday, September 22, 2013

Glendale week 5 *September 16, 2013

Hey everyone. At the very beginning of the week I had the opportunity to go to a trainer/trainee meeting with the whole Arizona, Phoenix mission. Which means that any new elder that came out in my group or any elder that came out a 6 weeks before that met together to talk about how things have been going so far in our missions and our personal experiences that have made big impacts on us. It was really great because I got to see all of the elders in my MTC district and talk to them about how they are doing and how their trainers are and everything. The whole meeting was all focused on companionship unity and being able to talk with your companion about whatever it is that is on your mind and how he can help you. Considering that I am an open book and tell my companion EVERYTHING it was cool to see the other elders and to hear their stories. E. Pettingill took from that meeting that he really wants to work on wearing his heart on his sleeve and sharing it with everyone. I could see a huge change in him as he started to talk about things and get them off his chest. He has high expectations for himself and tends to bottle emotions up inside so seeing him just let it out was great.

I have so much fun with him! We are a great companionship and really good for each other. We are constantly laughing and making jokes and really working well together. He knows the gospel and I talk to people with love so it works out great. He thinks of himself as my bigger brother so he is always trying to pick on me but I am pretty buff so I intimidate him with my large muscles haha Good news is though that I have gotten him stoked about drawing and he does it all the time now whenever we have time. He just sits and doodles and makes little note cards with inspiring thoughts on them. He is getting really good!

 The priesthood has taken a large role in my life since coming on a mission. You don't need it to do missionary work (sisters are a testament to that) but you get the opportunity to use it with so many investigators and less actives who need blessing or other ordinances that we can perform. I had the wonderful opportunity to give two blessings this past week to less active members of the ward. The spirit that you feel is so strong and I love doing them. At first I was really nervous but after the first one I am confident the spirit would guide me through them all from now on. I am learning how to use my words in such a way that they bring peace and joy to those who hear them and the spirit makes that all possible. I have to really think before I speak because I am so excited to talk sometimes the words that just come out make zero sense. But I am getting better and E. Pettingill really help me out in that area.

 I have come to the realization that this gospel is very hard to teach if you dont have a basic understanding of the principles. I know that they are true and now I am just really working on developing a greater understanding of them so that I can teach them very simply and powerfully. Its great to see the progress based on how easy it has become to teach certain aspects of the gospel. I have a long way to go but I have my whole life to continually learn and grow. Thank you all for the love and support that you are giving me through emails and letters. It is fantastic to open up the mail box and see a letter addressed to me hahaha I love it.

 Until next week.
 Elder Cole Safford

Glendale week 4 *September 9, 2013

Hey everyone! This week has been full of appointments and lessons and talking with our investigators. Not much has gone on besides that stuff but it has been really great. We did get this one new investigator from a referral from a recently returned missionary in our ward named Michael. He has a co-worker named Yarillea (pronounced Yadi.. dont ask me how haha) and she has been asking him questions for quite some time about the gospel. One day he just said that he knew of two young men that would love to talk to her all about the gospel and answer any questions that she had. Needless to say that the next day we were over at Michaels house having lunch with Yarillea and talking about the Gospel. We taught her all about the Restoration of the Church and the Plan of Salvation. She was so ready to hear our message and just soaked up everything like a sponge it was CRAZY! We extended the commitment to read the Book of Mormon and to pray to know the truth and she accepted. Then the spirit testified to both Elder Pettingill and I to invite her to be baptized at the beginning of October. I knew we should ask her so out the words came and then she accepted! It was so cool to see the spirit light up her eyes and to feel how ready she was. I know the Lord had been preparing her to receive the message and we were obedient enough to share it with her.

 I had the great opportunity to go to the Mesa Temple on Saturday to witness the Crandell family make their eternal family just a little bit bigger. They adopted four new kids Sonny 13 Ammon 5, Aaron 5, and Charlie 3. I had been anxiously waiting for this day to come all week not solely for the sealing but also so I could go inside the temple and feel the great spirit that is there. The moment that I stepped foot inside the Temple the most immaculate of feelings came over me and the spirit bore witness that I am of worthy nature to be in the Temple and to witness the family bond become an Eternal one. Each moment I spend in the Temple is another that I grow closer to my Father in heaven and having the feelings that I will feel as I live with my own family for Eternity. The peace I feel is indescribable. It has taken a whole new meaning to me as I try to help people come to the Temple and feel the way I do. The Lord beareth witness to me through the spirit as I walk down these hallowed halls of the truthfulness of the gospel.

Those have been to two highlights of my week and I have just been moving along and continually having fun and making the best out of every situation. I know this is where I am supposed to be and I know that the Lord needs me to do His work. I love missionary work and the adventure that I am on. Thank you for the constant support and love. Till next time.

 Love Elder Cole Safford

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Glendale week 3 *September 3, 2013

Hey everyone,

Another week gone by and I have no idea where it actually went. I think that that’s how it is going to be from now on. There are so many great moments that make all the hard times seem like nothing and after a little while I am able to just brush them off and move forward.

This week we had Zone Conference, which happens every 3 months so it was cool that I was able to go to it within my first month here. I find that I feel most at home when I am surrounded by missionaries who are going through the same trials and experiences that I am going through. I know that everyone is a different missionary and member of the church, but it is comforting to see that so many teens are trying to grow closer to the Lord through service. The main focus of the conference was how our faith is used to find the principles behind all the rules of the mission and the principles that God has given to us. You really have to want to have a desire to be better and closer to you father in heaven. As this wanting grows your ability to put action behind your words increases. If you have more faith, you will have more success. Plain and simple. Whether that is being a missionary, a parent or a youth in the gospel, as your faith increases so will your success in following the commandments of God. As we learn to humble ourselves and let the Lord take us by the hand and lead us in our time of trials, our faith in his help grows and we build upon the light we have.

A little bonus to the conference was the announcement that our mission will be going online to use Facebook as an online proselyting tool. We are in the process of making profiles and cleaning up our personal Facebook pages. It is going to be so cool to teach people from all over the world and people back home. I cannot wait to broaden my horizon and really talk to people that I was too scared to talk to before about the gospel. It’s a huge blessing but at the same time a very big temptation for wasting time each day living back home through the posts of my friends. I am up for the challenge though.

I have really discovered the importance we all have in being missionaries to the people in our lives. There is more to being a member of this church than just being an example to those around us. We all really need to look within ourselves and find enough love to serve other people and share with them the joy the gospel has brought to our life and the life of our family. This gospel is more than a Sunday religion. It is an everyday thing and we have to strive to always teach people about it or at least help the missionaries in your ward know of the people that you feel would benefit from the message they have been set apart to share.

Hearing stories from men in the ward that have served missions has really helped me to realize the importance of obedience.  Some of their experiences show just how bad a situation can get if you are not being obedient all the time and listening to the promptings of the spirit. I don’t want to look back on my mission with regret in my heart because all I ever did was "knock and walk". There is never a situation that we cannot change or make happen if we truly want to.

I have reached the point where the newness of my mission has worn off and I am ready to get down to work. I am becoming more in tune with the spirit and finding new ways to lose myself in the great work everyday. I keep asking myself if I was all alone would I truly serve the Lord how I am now or am I doing it just because I want my companion to believe that I am trying to be a great missionary. Its really challenging to stay focused all the time, especially for me, but I am working really hard, because I know it will help with everything I want to accomplish on my mission and for the rest of my life.

The weather here in Arizona has been so great!! All last week was a little humid during the day and the sky full of huge billowing white clouds but as the sun started to go down the heavens opened up and poured down the most rain I have ever seen in such a short period of time. There is Lightning that lights up the whole sky and deep thunder rolling everywhere. Its so much fun to be out riding to or from an appointment when it hits and just getting soaked haha

This next Saturday Elder Pettingill and I have the great opportunity to go to the Mesa temple to witness a sealing session of a member family. The Crandells have just adopted 4 new kids and the oldest one they adopted just got baptized right before I came out. They now have 8 kids so the sealing rooms should be packed. It will be a great experience! One I am sure I will never forget.

Apparently my favorite primary song is Happy Birthday... at least that’s what my companion said I told him a couple of nights ago in my sleep. (For those of you who don’t know, I talk in my sleep ALL the time haha) He said he asked me all sorts of questions and I answered them very specifically and most of them made perfect sense but then there was the question of what my favorite primary song was and I yelled out in a weird voice "Happy Birthday!!" and then stopped talking and continued sleeping haha

This is what has been going on in my mission and I am loving every minute of it.

Love you all.

Elder Cole Safford