Thursday, December 26, 2013

Peoria Week 5 *December 23, 2013

Hello hello.
So this is really cool and I thought I should just let you all know
that I am emailing you right now from my iPad sitting in my apartment
on the couch. Pretty neat huh? No more having to ride to the library
and having to deal with all that. I never thought that I would get to
do this on a mission so I am pretty stoked about it. Not to mention my
keyboard skills are not very great but I sure can type real fast on a
smaller key board with only my thumbs haha I guess that a bad thing
but it is what this generation has to deal with so I might as well
make the most of it right?

This was the week before Christmas so it was really cool to be able to
share the wonderful messages of Christ to people who would not
normally have accepted us to come in. I know that this time of year
peoples hearts a bit softer so they are more receptive to the spirit
that the gospel can bring to their lives. Most of the year they are in
just too big of a rush and don't see a need for the wonderful
blessings that come from having a knowledge of the truth. But that's
what we as missionaries get to go out and proclaim right? That is why
I am so stoked to get to be here at this time. Not only because the
work is hastening and members are now starting to be everyday
missionaries but because we get to see the wonderful fruits of our
labors. Please promise me that you will all work very hard at keeping
Christ in your thoughts and in your minds all year long and not just
at this time of the year. It will be tough to do but I know you can do

I love you all so much and wish you the best of wishing this day!

Elder Cole Safford
Our casitas all decorated for Christmas

Me and Santa Haha

Having a little fun

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Peoria Week 4 *December 16, 2013

Hey hey hey. How is everyone doing today? 

This week has been just absolutely wonderful! For the main reason it was my birthday. That is really weird to think that I am already 19 years old! It seems like a year ago that I was turning 18. Crazy how fast time flies by. On the bright side I am in the last year of my "teen" years. That will be something to look forward to. Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday! It really meant a lot to me. One tradition we have in our family is to put up handmade signs all over the house for peoples birthdays. Well I thought that I would miss out on that this year with me being gone and all, but as great as my family is they sent my companion a secret package that had all these signs and posters and things in it. He woke up a few minutes early and put them all up around the apartment. As I woke up he started to record me. At first I didn't even recognize that anything was done. But slowly I looked around and saw all these signs. I had no idea what was going on and I was trying to figure out exactly how this could have happened. The video is pretty great! You can totally see me piece it together in my foggy 6:30 AM brain. It meant so much to have all those signs. You really don't realize how great things are until they are gone. But in my case they were not actually gone... Make sense? 

I was able to go to the Mesa temple with my mission this week as well. What an amazing and powerful experience that was. The entire room was filled with just missionaries. I know that the Lord was pleased with all of us and I could really feel his presence there. Members of the wards we serve in provided family names that they needed to get done. How great would it be to have 250 of your personal family names done in one day? I know that we were the answers to someone's prayers and I was happy to get to do that. When we got into the Celestial room we got to give a hug to our mission president and his wife. She does so much for us and I was so excited to hug her and tell her how much it all means to me. It was a tender mercy of the Lord for sure.

This past week we have really been looking for opportunities to share Christmas messages with people. Christ is a pretty common belief among people so this non threatening message is a great way to break down some of the barriers that people automatically put up when they see white shirts and ties. I know that we are planting seeds in people that future missionaries will come along and harvest. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and all that he did and continues to do for me and my life.

I just want to publicly give a shout out to my parents and to my sisters for their love and support on my birthday. They always know how to put a smile on my face and make me feel like 2 million dollars. They are they best family and friends that I could ever ask for.

Every transfer the District leader goes on an "exchange" for the day. Either you go to his area and then his companion comes to your area with your companion or the other way around. I got to go to his area with his newer companion that has been out for about 2 months. He has been having a tough time with missing home and was thinking about leaving the mission field. I have been through something similar even though I have never thought about coming home, so I felt a need to help him. I absolutely love this elder to death and he has so much to offer the people here in Arizona. We get along very well and I was able to help him see the blessings that will and have come to his life already. I know that he will make the right choice. It just went to show me that I can bless peoples lives even if they are members of this church or even missionaries. I know that this is a great gift from my Father in Heaven and I intend on using it to the best of my abilities. 

I love you all and wish you a very Happy Christmas!

Elder Cole Safford
December Birthdays

At the Temple with Brother and Sister Taylor and Elder Zaugg

Monday, December 9, 2013

Peoria Week 3 *December 9, 2013

Hello Friends & Family,

This week has been nothing but a bunch of fun. I don't know why but for some reason people are so much more receptive to the message of Jesus Christ this time of the year. It must have something to do with Christmas but I thought that was only about presents and chocolate oranges.... Maybe i'm wrong. But seriously we have trying to get in contact with certain families for so long and all of a sudden their doors are swinging wide open and they are welcoming us in. It is such a beautiful thing. We have been sharing "Christmas messages" which are really only messages surrounding Jesus Christ but at this time of the year it is a lot less forward if we just call them Christmas messages. One of my favorite verses that I have come across in my study of Christ is Luke 2:10. As a missionary we get to do that all year long. Everyday we get to share those good tidings of great joy. Each Sunday we should be remembering the Savior and all that He did for us. We don't only have to do it around Christmas and Easter. It makes me so happy to be able to call myself a representative of Jesus Christ each and everyday. There are no words to describe the love that I have for Christ and all that He did for me personally. Think about how excited those angles were that ministered to the shepherds. Those went off singing "Glory to God". They knew the blessing that He was going to be to the world and how much we were going to need Him in our lives. Don't ever forget just what He did. Thinking of Him this season is a good thing but the best thing you could do is think of Him and Thank Him all year long. It doesn't matter if you are Mormon or Christian or Catholic. Jesus Christ died and suffered for YOU. Don't you think he would like a little thank you every once in a little while?

As we go around sharing these messages about the Savior we also offer to do service where ever it is available. We got to help a family move their entire house out into a trailer by ourselves. Just Elder Zaugg and I. The husband has had over 16 knee surgeries so he was not really much help. We moved like 4 huge dressers and t.v. units and a full couch and basically anything else that goes into rooms down these crazy crooked stairs. It was rad, The wife kept cringing and freaking out thinking that we were going to drop her stuff. No she didn't think we would get hurt.. just her things. I also had the great opportunity to put Christmas Lights on a 20 foot tall cactus. Yes that is right. people in Arizona decorate the cacti in their front yards. I even took one for the team and got stabbed in the knee by like 9 thorns. Needless to say that I felt like a stud and then went home and cried as I slowly pulled them out of my knee.

The weather here has been absolutely insane. It's like 32 degrees in the morning with a high of about 55 degrees. Who knew that it would ever get that cold in Arizona? Cause I most certainly did not. Thank goodness for my family for sending me a sweet jacket. Literally saved my life. It makes me miss the days when it was 120 degrees and I was dying of heat exhaustion. It does however make it feel more like Christmas so that is a plus.

This week we have had to give two different investigators over to other wards because they don't live in our ward boundaries.We taught both of them all the way up until the actual baptism and then just like that they were gone. It's okay though because the work is still moving forward and I am still helping to bring people closer to Christ. There will never be any sadness in my heart after having to give them up. I just love to teach. I don't care who it is. As long as I get to teach them I will be satisfied. This work is so real and so wonderful. Don't ever underestimate your testimonies and the power that they have. Share them and they will touch the lives of those that hear them. I guarantee it.

Well I love you all so much and cannot wait to see what this week holds in store for me. Keep up the faith and never lose the ground that you already do have. Just have hope for a brighter future to help you get through the struggles that you have today.

Elder Cole Safford

Me vs. Giant Cactus


Oh happy day...night

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Peoria week 2 *December 2, 2013

Hello people,

What an exciting week this has been! We have been doing a ton of work here in my new area and the members are really starting to get a hang of the whole concept of member missionary work. Every week we have at least 2 lessons in church all about missionary work and how to do it. They even have created an entire class all about the book "the power of everyday missionaries". It is so crazy to be apart of this great work at this great time. I know that I have been called to Arizona now for a reason. I know that I was called here to see the work of the Lord take off and to be with the missionaries around me and the members in this area. I know that if we all just open our mouths and proclaim the gospel truths that we know, we can work miracles in peoples lives. Trust the Lord and put your faith in Him. If you pray for specific chances to have missionary opportunities they will come. I know this because I have tried it. You do not need to be a missionary to allow the spirit to prompt you and your actions. The better you recognize those promptings the more the Lord will give them to you.

This week we had Thanksgiving. I mean I know all of you that are reading this did as well but I still had it and it was great. We went over to a family in the ward named the Snow's and we had a huge fantastic Thanksgiving dinner and party. They invited a bunch of non member friends and we were able to just talk and mingle and share a little about the gospel without things getting too weird. I even got to see pictures of my family because sister Snow is now friends with my mother! Its amazing! I cannot believe that I got to see them on that family holiday. It made the whole day. After that dinner we got to go to another dinner and another dinner and then a dessert at the mission presidents house while we put up Christmas lights and their tree. Needless to say that I did not have to eat food for like 2 days after. But its all good because I have not had any Thanksgiving leftover dinner since, Thank gosh.

I have come to the realization that missionary work is not all about just teaching investigators and baptizing them. But you can do so much more by opening up to the members of the ward and to less active families and to people that just need some service done for them. It is remarkable how satisfying it can be to just help people see that we are normal people who are willing to give up our time to help them. I love serving people now. Christmas lights are a major one that we got to do this week. It is weird how the Lord can soften your heart and help you to see the blessings that come from serving people. I did not like to do service at all before my mission and now I love it. We got to go to a baptism for two 8 year olds in our ward because the families invited non member friends. While we were there a lady walks in and asks to talk with us. She was sobbing and said that she was driving by and saw the church and just knew that she needed to come inside to get a blessing of comfort. She was a less active of about 30 years and was having family issues. I was so thankful for the opportunity I had to be worthy enough to give that blessing to her. I know the Lord put us at that baptism for that specific reason.

I have really come to find out just how judgmental I used to be. I used to not give people the time of day depending on what they looked like or what they acted like. Since meeting tons of people on my mission I have come to realize just how off my initial thoughts on a person were and most of the time still are. It is so great to get to know someone and have them trust you enough to just completely open up to you and allow the spirit to guide you in what to say to them. The spirit knows everyone perfectly. It knows what we all need and exactly how we need to receive it.

I know that I still have a long way to come as far as my progression both spiritually and physically, but this week I have been able to see just how far I have come. It is a huge blessing and I hope I can just keep building and getting closer to the person the Lord needs me to be.

Until next week,

Elder Cole Safford