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