Things are looking up out here in the mission field. I dont think that there was a huge change as far as the actual work I have been doing but there was a change in my attitude and the attitude of my companion. There is always a way to judge missionaries to see if they are being successful and that is by their "numbers". Which means the number of lessons they have taught, the number of investigators found, the number of referalls and of course the number of people baptized. For the bulk of my mission so far these numbers have not been all that high and I finally could not help but to become discouraged. At that very moment the thought of my family popped into my head. I began to think about all the blessings that have come to them since my desicion to serve a mission. I realized that everything they tell you about our Father in Heaven and prayer is absolutley true. Of this I am sure. He really does hear all of your prayers and does want to bless you in the ways you ask. But the thing about God that I have not really noticed until now is that He does not do things in the way that you want Him to. He will bless you in the ways that you need it most because He know all of us perfectly and knows how we need His help in our lives. I am really grateful for Him and for this new found knowledge.
The way that I have come to measure success is not by the numbers that we have put up on the board that week but by the number of lives that we have been able to touch. I know that numbers show the work that is going on in the area but I dont think that they are the best way to judge success. People have agency and can choose to accept the message that we share with them or not. We could talk to 100 people in one week all about their lives and how God can bless them and report in that we taught zero actual lessons. Does that mean that we failed that week? No. I dont think so in the least. The seeds that we plant in peoples lives will one day be harvested by future missionaries. We cannot reap if we do not first sow.
We have been trying hard to progress the missionary work among the ward members because they know their neighbors and the people that could benefit from the gospel. There is a particular family that has really blessed my life. Their name is the Evans. The husband is a convert and he was coverted after marrying sister Evans. They have a fire inside of them to share the gospel and the blessings that have been brought into their lives. It is such a motivation to me to be better because they are so willing to go out of their way to talk with people they come in contact with and I'm over here like I am a missionary and will probably never see half of these people again so why not share the gospel. Cause if they reject it I just move on and try again. The Evans told Elder Pettingill and I the other night just how big of an impact we have made in not only their lives but also the ward missionary effort. I am not telling you this to brag about how awesome I am but I say it to show you how loving people in all aspects changes their view of you. I have been worjking really hard at outwardly expressing the love I have for all people here in Arizona because I was not very good at it when I was home. I know for a fact that no effort is wasted and every good thing we say to people will not go overlooked. We really are being watched every minute and even a simple smile can go a long way. Never give up on people and always share your love. Dont bottle it up because it does no one any good.
The weather here is changing so rapidly! Just the other day we woke up to go work out in the morning and it was raining and 60 degrees. I didnt even bring a jacket with me so I was a bit chilly haha. But it is so pretty when its not raining. The air is so crisp and wonderful. I love it. I know that I will be needing some cold weather gear in the near future which I never thought would be a possibility. On the plus side its supposed to be under 90 all this week so I wont be sweating all day long! Thats a real plus. I am finally starting to see why anyone in their right mind would ever live in this barren dessert. The secret is the winter season.
Well I love you all and I cannot wait to tell you about next week. Life is what you make of it so go out there and make it an adventure. Write your experiences down because one day we will all be too old and senile to remember them
. Take too many pictures!
. Take too many pictures!
Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford