Monday, November 25, 2013

Peoria week 1 *November 25, 2013

Hey there,

This week has been a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions. On Wednesday night we got a call from President Taylor and he said that there was some situation in and area and he needed me to pack up my things and be ready to go in the morning. I was okay with leaving because I know that this is what the Lord needs me to do and he trusts me enough to do it. But at the same time I was super bummed to have to leave all the families that I have grown so close to love. I was able to call three of them and let them know how much they meant to me but it was really surprisingly hard to do. It is true that you don't know what you have until it is gone. That's how it was for me and the area I served in. I didn't realize just how much the people meant to me until i had to leave them all without even saying goodbye. The other thing was my companion Elder Clay. Even though he bugged the crud out of me sometimes I really had come to appreciate all he did and all he was. It was hard to say goodbye to him after knowing him for just two weeks. But all is well and I know that this is the way it is supposed to be.

My new companion is Elder Zaugg (its like dog with a Z) and he has been out for just 5 months. He has been in this area for only two weeks so it is pretty difficult to get around because he has little to no idea of where people live. Thank goodness for our new iPads with maps on them haha He is a great elder and really works hard. Our area is quite large and has a big hill right smack dab in the middle of it so anytime we want to go to the other side of the area, which is like five times a day, we have to ride up and down this hill. Pardon my french but they have named the hill "hell hill". I personally don't think its all that bad but its pretty funny to see Elder Zaugg struggle up it every time. I am excited to be in this new ward though. There are so many rich people here it is insane! Every house we go into is like a mansion! I honestly don't know how these people have so much money. The ward is very missionary minded and working hard to move the work of the Lord forward. A little side note is that this is the same ward that President and Sister Taylor are in. Yes my mission president and his wife are in the ward that I am serving in! Kinda freaked me out at first but I am semi okay with it now.

My new house is pretty rad. It is actually a casita behind a members home. I am only the fourth missionary to stay in it so it's all nice and new. The town is very nice so we just leave our bikes out front on the patio and leave the door unlocked 24/7. Much different from my last area hahah Its great though. The members that live at the house are semi active and semi not so we don't really interact all too much. They are kind though so that's a plus.

Funny story about this week. It started to rain on Thursday which was the first day that I got to this new area and it didn't stop raining until Sunday morning! The rain was not the bad thing. The bad thing was that I didn't have a single sweater or jacket to wear. Since I was transfered so suddenly the jacket my parents sent to the mission office is now waiting for me to pick it up in my old area! They need to shuffle some things around and I should get it within the next week. but it's okay because one of the members went out
and bought me a sweater. Super nice of them. On top of it being wet it is just about 50 degrees here. Kinda different from 120 degrees!

I really do love the mission and do love the people in this new area already. The saints everywhere you go will open up their arms and embrace the missionaries so I feel right at home already. I will do ever thing in my power to push the work forward here and help others to come unto Christ. Don't ever forget to simply pray to your Father in Heaven because he can help you with whatever you need. I have gained a much stronger testimony of prayer this past week. well I love you all so much. Keep moving forward.

Me and my new companion Elder Zaugg

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Glendale week 14 *November 18, 2013

Hola! (thats spanish for hello)
The weeks are going by and I am finally feeling like I am getting the hang of things. I feel a lot more comfortable with the teaching and I find joy now in talking with complete strangers. I think that I like talking with strangers for the experiences that I normally have and not exactly for the purpose of inviting them to Christ so I need to still work a bit on that. As far as the teaching is going, I think I have found my stride. It all flows so easily and it is a lot of fun to see people light up when they feel the spirit and know that what you are testifying is true. The gospel is amazing I tell you. People think that it is so complex and hard to understand, but in all reality, once you find out that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God then all other things fall into place. It truly is the keystone of our religion. Read it. It will change your life. I have come to the realization of that over the past couple of months and I cannot wait to keep learning for the rest of my life.
This week was a bit unusual because for the first time we actually taught a bunch of lessons. I know that may sound bad but it is true. I finally have been able to do what I came to Arizona to do and that is to teach the Restored Gospel to anyone that will listen. People here are funny. The most common thing that I find is people want to be blunt and straight with you but they still beat around the bush or go into third person mode and say "well thats not what others think". I still know that they just want to say that they dont believe what I am teaching but they are just too scared so it is pretty funny. I get a good chuckle out of it. For the most part the people that we continually teach are interested but when the time comes to commit to coming to church or being baptized they pull back. We are still trying to figure out how to come around that obstacle, but it is still good to teach people and plant those seeds of truth and a little bit of knowledge.
Life has been going real swell here in AZ. The weather is just absolutly great and the ward members are just full of support. There has never been a dull day in the whole time that I have been here. I am laughing everyday and making memories that will last a lifetime. It is pretty funny because everytime we go to someones house they always without fail ask how long we each have been out. I am excited to say 4 months but Elder Clay just says "a little over a year". He will not accept that he is coming to an end of his mission. I always bring up the fact that he has only six months left snd he gets pretty mad. Its quite funny.
Rad story time. Laying in bed a couple of mornings ago we hear a knock at the front door. We are not expecting anyone because its 6:30 in the morning. We grab some clothes and rush to the front to door to see who is disturbing our peace at this hour. We open the door and there is no one there. Then all of a sudden a man comes around the corner. He introduces himself. His name is Matt. He then says and I quote "I need the Holy Ghost." Yes thats what this man says at 6:30 in the morning. We were so shocked. I think it must have shown on our faces  because he then starts to give us his phone number and information and tells us to give him a call and set up a teaching appointment. So the day goes on and we give him a call later that night. He says he wants to meet on Sunday at the church. Really?! Okay!! Then he call us back no more then 2 minutes later and asks what time church was at. We tell him and he said he would be there! WHAT!? I automatically thought he was messing with us! But come Sunday morning here walks in Matt at 8:30. He is fantastic. Wants us to teach him and I am thinking he wants to be baptized but we dont know yet. Pretty crazy right?
Well that is all for this week folks. I love you all and appreciate each and every one of you. Keep the faith and keep moving forward. There is more to this life if you just go out and find it. Be adventurous.

My new companion Elder Clay

Look what we got!!
Yup. Just like home!

Elder Cole Christopher Safford

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Glendale week 13 *November 12 2013

Hello there,
This week has been full of changes because it was transfer week. Since I was being trained last time transfers rolled around I did not have to worry at all about getting a new companion or figuring out if I was going to move areas. Going into Wednesday I knew that I was going to stay in the area but I also knew that I was going to get a new companion. Yikes! I was so nervous because I didn't know what to expect or who I would get. The meeting started and President Taylor started to call off peoples names and their new companions. The time came to hear my New companions name and it is Elder Nathan Clay.
Elder Clay is from Axton, Virgina and he is 21. He has been out for almost 18 months now so he has a little better of an understanding of how he likes to do missionary work. He has his head on straight and works really hard. He has his faults and things that he is continually trying to work on but for the most part we get along pretty well. He talks about 100 times more then my last companion so at times it is pretty annoying to be around him but he knows the doctrine and how to present it to people we come in contact with. He is a full blown country hick with a super thick accent and everything. It is so funny to hear him talk with people and them try to understand what he is trying to say. I know that the Lord has put us together for a reason and that I need to learn somthing from him so I try to listen and absorb all I can. This companionship is going to try me and is going to push me to the limits but it will be a great learning experience and a great adventure.
I have been working really hard in this area to help it take off and it is finally starting to show signs of doing just that. I have been able to teach a lot more people and help those I come in contact with build their understanding of God and the role he should play in their lives. I know this gospel is there for everyone and I know that there are people here that need it in their lives I just have to go out and find them. The spirit is contstantly putting thoughts in my head of where to go and when I actually listen to them the experience is amazing. I have been tried and tested and I know that the spirit in me has grown from actually listening to its promptings. At times I feel like I am all alone in this work and that God is not there to help me just when I need him the most. But I need to remember the teacher is always quiet durning the test and if I push forward with faith the blessings will be that much greater.
One day while we were walking down the street a group of Native Americans yelled at us to come over and "preach" to them. So naturally we rode on over and started to talk to them about the gospel. They were all drunk as skunks and didnt really have an interest in anything that we had to say. One lady told me that she was Catholic. I said that that was great and she quickly rebuked me saying that it wasn't. I asked nicely if she didnt like to be Catholic and she yelled at me face to face about how much she loved being Catholic. I was so confused and didnt know what to say hahaha She asked me to pray for her so thats what we did. Right there in the middle of the road. Stood in a circle holding hands with drunk indians praying for them. It was quite an adventure!
I know this gospel is true and that the Lord really does know each of us and answers our prayers. I love this mission and all the people I talk to... even the drunk indians.
Thank you for the love and support.
Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Friday, November 8, 2013

Glendale week 12 *November 4, 2013

Hello everyone!
Well this week was a great one! There was a ton of new things that are being implemented into the mission. The biggest one has to be the iPad. Yes that is correct. Apple iPads. I never thought it would ever happen on my mission but they have come and they are wonderfully frustrating. It is so difficult to go from just being able to pull out a planner real quick and jot stuff down to now have to go through all sorts of apps and passwords just to put a simple note in. I know that they will turn out to be a blessing in the future, but for a little while they will be frustrating. There is an app that is a digital version of our daily planners which holds all the information all about the area, lessons we teach, people we talk to, members and investigators. Its going to be really great to have all of that information right at my figure tips, but in order to have that we need to input it all in. That has to be the most time consuming part of the whole process. I know that if we are diligent at entering it we can have it done in a relatively short amount of time.
Halloween came and went. Nothing great there. As a missionary they want you to be inside your apartment by 6:00 so that people dont confuse you as a kid dressed up like a missionary haha. It totally made sense so we went and had a sleep over at the zone leaders apartment. It was really nice to have a break from the work and get to just hangout as friends and as guys. We were still very obedient but we got to play some board games and talk about life. It was the most relaxing halloween I have ever had haha
This week is transfer week and we literally just got the news as to who is being transfered. My trainer Elder Pettingill is being transfered away which means that I am going to get a new companion.... Thats going to be a whole new adventure. Let me tell you. I have no idea who it is going to be and frankly I am not all worried because whatever happens is part of the Lords plan for me and I am just going to make the most of it. I know the Lord knows me and my needs. He knows what I still need to learn and just who can help me do that. I really love the area I am in and the people that live within it. It is going to be really great to get to stay with them and help them come closer to Christ anyway I can.
The weather is getting way better and it is no wonder why people live in Arizona at all. It is for this season and the weather it brings. The mornings are brisk and cool and very refreshing. It is perfect for morning excersise!
There have not been too many crazy experiences this week due to all the meetings that we have had but I am sure I will have a ton to talk about next week. Until then,
Elder Cole Safford
My buddy Charlie

The new iPad