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 Mormon.org 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