Monday, January 20, 2014

Peoria Week 9, *January 20, 2014

Hey everyone!

This week has been full of little moments that have made it great.
First off we went through the old teaching records of the area and
found a lady named Maricella who had not been taught for over a year.
All the comments on her said that she was very interested and she is
ready to grow in the gospel. So we were super stoked to get into her
home and talk with her. We went over on Tuesday and she welcomed us
right in. Our plan was to talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ which
is through Christ we can be cleansed from sin, faith, repentance,
baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. as we
started to talk to her the tangents started rolling and we got way off
topic. I honestly didn't know what to do. I silently said a prayer in
my head and the spirit came in loud and clear. I bore powerful
testimony of the power the gospel has to bless our earthly families and
how important it is to grow together because we will be together for
time and all eternity. I could see in her face the comfort that
sentence brought to her and the peace in her heart. I know that that
is exactly what she needed because I didn't come up with it but the
spirit did. It was a huge testimony builder. We left when the spirit
was high and we have a lesson with her in a couple of days. We are
planning on inviting her to baptism and I hope she says yes. I have
not seen anyone more prepared by The Lord and ready to come closer to

One day Elder Zaugg and I decided that we would go and contact a ton
of the potential investigators in our area to see if any of them would
be willing to have us come and teach them. As we were riding through
the neighborhoods there was a group of like 3 women walking through
the streets trying to get their late night workout in. We ran across
them multiple times and finally they asked us if we were stalking
them! I tried to explain what the situation was but they were
convinced that we were stalking them. Finally I just accepted it and
agreed to be stalking them. They laughed it off and we went on our
way. It was pretty funny. The very next door we knocked on was a women named Jody. When we knock on people's door we ask them if they want to hear the gospel and
if that is a no then we just see if we can do some service for them
which is usually a no as well but we might as well ask right? Anyways
Elder Zaugg tells Jody that if she lets us rake her rocks (because no
one in Arizona has grass in their front yards) we will take off our
shirts and ties.... She was all like "oh your those kinds of
missionaries!" Elder Zaugg tried to back his way out of the situation
but she let him have it. I couldn't say anything because I was
laughing too hard! It was so funny. Elder Zaugg felt so bad but he got
over it soon enough. Then after we left her house we were riding down
this street and a cop shined his spot light on us and pulled us over.
They were looking for some kids who stole some stuff but luckily we
were not them. He saw we were missionaries and let us go. All of these
things happened in one night! It was so crazy.

At church this last Sunday we watched a video in our elders quorum
meeting from a BYU devotional that talked all about the grace that
Jesus Christ has for us. It talked about how many individuals think
that we need to reach a certain place before we die in order to
receive the atonement in our lives. But in reality we will have the
atonement everyday of our lives if we are making the steps to improve
our lives. Even in the darkest hour God is there and His love for us
is infinite. We never need to feel alone because we aren't. Don't ever
feel that your are not good enough or that you cannot be forgiven for
things you have done. Even if you have promised that you will not do
something again and then you fall and do it. You can be forgiven if
you improve. I love you all and I know that this life is tough. Keep
moving forward and don't give up on yourself. Read the scriptures, go to church,
and pray. Although these things are simple, but they are precious. God is not complex
 and neither is His gospel.

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

ice cream man!

vacuuming fool

District leader Elder Barrus and me chillin on the porch

messing around

Monday, January 13, 2014

Peoria Week 8 *January 13, 2014

Hey there everyone! 

This week was a bit of a toss up for sure but it ended on a good note so that's a plus. I woke up on Tuesday not feeling too well and we came to find out that I had the flu. Since this was my first time being really sick on my mission I didn't really know what to do so I called the mission presidents wife. She told me to just take some NyQuil and sleep it off. Well that first day that's exactly what I did. I slept all day and all night only getting up to use the bathroom and empty my stomach. Not too bueno. But then the next day I woke up and could not go back to sleep! I tried ever trick in the whole book and ended up just making myself more awake. So there I sat for hours on end trying to read or study or do something to make me tired. But to no avail. It gave me a lot of time to think about what I am doing here and what I want to take away from my mission. I came to the conclusion that I don't want to come away from my mission with a bunch of great stories but nothing really worth while coming from those stories. Sure, I want to have adventures but more importantly I want to be able to say that I know that my Father in Heaven and His son live and that they love me. I want to be able to know exactly what I have to do each day to make it into the Celestial Kingdom to live with my family for time and all eternity. I want to feel the everlasting joy that comes from righteous living. I want to love deeper then I ever have before. I want to be able to trust in God and His plan for me. All of these things can come from a mission but only if I put forth the effort to make them. Going through the motions will bring me no closer to these goals. It will be much more beneficial to gain these things than stories to tell my friends. Eternal life is much more important to me now then living a great earthly life according to the worlds standards. All this starts with the faith I already have. You have to have a sure foundation if you want to build upon anything. That's where the studying and prayer come into play so that's where I am going to work on first. After that I will know what I have to do to help others feel this desire to grow towards their Father in Heaven.  I don't know how I thought about all this while being on DayQuil and having the flu but that's what happened. 

On Saturday we were supposed to have a tri-mission  conference with Jeffrey R. Holland presiding but he had some family emergency come up and could not make it. We still had the conference and it was pretty great. The Tucson, Tempe and Phoenix missions all met together so there was about 700 missionaries in one stake center. The spirit was very strong so much so that I started to sweat. I don't know if the 100 degree temperature in the the gym had anything to do with that. A Elder Wright of the quorum of the seventy presided. He spoke mainly on allowing your mission go through you instead of you going through your mission. Which is funny because that is exactly what I was thinking about while I was sick in bed. Kinda funny how The Lord answers are prayers whether spoken or unspoken. He really does know how to let us know what we need to do. After the meeting my entire mission met at the sight of the new Phoenix temple and took a mission photo. It was incredible that we all were able to stay in line and not break the lens of the camera. This will probably be the last time we have the entire mission together before my mission president leaves and we get a new one. It will be a bitter sweet farewell. I have been changed by his words and will miss him dearly but I know that missions begin and then in due time they will all end. It's a fact of life really. 

On Saturday night we decided to go by a part member less active house. The dad, brother Robertson, is the member but he has not been to church in over 30 years. We went over there to see if we could begin to teach his family because he has three younger daughters who are all over the age of eight and we really wanted to see if we could help them realize the blessing that the gospel could be to their family. When we knocked on the door he excepted us right in and  we started teaching them about the plan of salvation. The kids were super interested and asked really great questions. He answered some questions that we asked and the lesson went along smoothly. We asked if we could come back and we now have a standing appointment every Friday night! I hope that the kids stay involved and that a desire to be baptized grows inside their hearts because that will really help bring the family closer together. I know that the Lord has blessed us with this opportunity and has answered many of our prayers. I just pray that the family will not get scared and drop us. I know that if we move forward in faith The Lord will continue to bless the family and help them have a desire to grow. 

I hope you are all doing well and I hope that you continue to build upon the faith that you already have. Don't doubt the talents that God has given you. Use them to bless the lives of everyone you come in contact with. You never really know the impact that you can have. 

Elder Cole Safford
Peoria missionaries

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Peoria Week 7 *January 6, 2014

Hello Everybody!

This week I had two big and out of the ordinary testimony building experiences.
The first was when we got asked to teach the boyfriend of one of the
members in my ward. His name is Nick and we went over while I was on
exchange with Elder Syndergaard. We went over there and started
talking with him and at first he seemed a little hesitant to talk to
us but after we got to know him and talked about his life and his
background he started to open up and the lesson started to take off. We
talked with him about anything from temples to church to missionary
work to priesthood authority to the restoration and even went into a
bit about celestial marriage. He soaked everything up like a sponge
and it was one of the most amazing experiences that I've ever been
able to witness. He has not been in a church in over 10 years and so when
they said he was going to come to church the following Sunday we
couldn't believe it. We tried to explain everything that was going to
happen so that he would not be lost and would not be confused and he
seemed super excited. We ended up teaching for over an hour which is
not normal in most cases and he was totally fine with it. I was able
to bear powerful testimony to him in and just talk with him like a
normal human being. We know that we are not going to ever teach him
again so we wanted him to have a very positive experience with
missionaries so that when he goes back to school up in Ohio he can
have the missionaries come and teach him and not be nervous about how
they will act and what they will say. The family that he was staying
with was very happy with how we went about the lesson and after the
lesson we read our phone and we had a text from the family that we
actually received before we went into the lesson that we didn't get a
chance to read and it said that he was super nervous to meet with us
and didn't know if he wanted to actually meet with us. I guess it was
a prompting that we started off the lesson just getting to know him
and talking with him and not really pushing the whole religion thing.
I thought that I was just being awkward and not knowing exactly how to
open up the discussion but the Spirit knows what to do and if you
truly rely on it and then anything can happen and the things that are
meant to happen will. I know that my Father in Heaven put the words
that needed to be said in my mouth and I know that the experience was
a good one for Nick and hopefully in the long run he will meet with
missionaries because of how we treated him. One can only hope I guess.

The next experience was with a potential investigator named Jesse. We
had set up an appointment to go over there a week in advance and we
were pretty excited to get to know him and he seemed like a very nice
guy. From missionaries in the past his background information said
that he was a Anglican Christian and that he really liked to talk
about religion and that it was the nicest Bible bash that they had
ever been in. I don't know whole lot about the Bible or the verses
that are in it so I was kind of nervous as to what he would do. I went
over there again with Elder Syndergaard and we sat down and
immediately he pulled out his Bible and slammed it on the table. The
entire 10 minute lesson was all him telling us that we need to go home
and we need to search out our faith and figure out exactly why we are
on the earth and to forget about our Mormon upbringing and to just
focus on why exactly we are here. He tried to tell us that the real
God and the Mormon God were completely different people and that we
needed to really focus on what he wants us to do and to stop thinking
about what Joseph Smith wants us to do. I had an overwhelming
sensation just to stop him and to not let him go on any further. I
literally stopped him midsentence and told him that we didn't want to
hear anymore what he had to say and then I bore powerful testimony to
him that I may not know all the answers in the Scriptures and I may
not know exactly where it says that we need to do the things that we
are supposed to do but I know for a fact that this is the religion for
me and that this is the true church on the face of the earth. I told
him that I have prayed and I have felt the Holy Ghost in my life and I
felt the Holy Ghost bare witness to me that this is where I need to be
and this is what I need to do. I thanked him for opening my eyes and
helping me see that there are different people in the world with a
different outlook on this life. I walked out of the house with the
most gratifying feeling that I had done what was needed to do. I know
that my Father in Heaven help me to say those things because to be
completely honest I had no idea what else to tell this man. I know
that in the future if I am ever doubting what I should say or I'm
doubting exactly how to go about doing something I just need to put my
trust in the Lord. I know that he is there for me and he is guiding my
thoughts and my actions to bless the lives of those around me.

For those of you who are reading this you might think these are just
average experiences that happen while you're on a mission. But for me
they are one of the two most important and valued experiences that I
have had on my mission so far. I know that these experiences will
carry me throughout the rest my mission and help me to see that this
is truly where I am supposed to be and this is exactly what I need to
be doing with my life at this moment. I know that I may not be having
the most success as far as baptism goes at the moment but I am doing
the best I can and I am working with those who the Lord needs me to
work with. I don't care anymore if that happens to be less active
people or people who have never heard of the gospel before. As long as
I can bear testimony to people and I know that that testimony is
strong and right I am satisfied with the things The Lord needs me to

The work in this area slowly progressing but it is progressing. I know
that as the members here catch onto the goal of the first presidency
that things will take off. I'm excited to be a part of it and I'm
excited to be able to do my part. I pray every day that I will be a
tool in the Lords hands and that I will be able to do what he needs me
to do. At times it is hard to see the bigger picture and it is hard to
see exactly where I am supposed to go but I know that if I do things
in faith and work my hardest each and every day that I will no go
astray. I pray for you all that you will be able to to do the best you
can and do missionary work in your daily lives. I know that it is
hectic and I know that at times it is easy to forget to do missionary
work but I know that if you do it you'll be blessed. Keep up your head
and keep up the good work because you will be blessed for everything
you put forth. I love you all.

Until next week,

Elder Cole Safford

My cool present from Jack

Monday, January 6, 2014

Peoria Week 6 *December 30, 2013

Hello friends and family,

This week was a blur. The most exciting thing and the thing that I was
looking forward to the most was of course getting to Skype my family
on Christmas Day. I was all  uneasy just waiting for 11:50 to come so
that I could see their faces. I honestly had no idea what to say or
what to really expect. After what seemed like a lifetime the time
finally can for me to have my turn to call. I sat down and clicked to
call button and a wave of every emotion just poured over me. It was
like I was waiting for the gate to drop at the biggest motocross race
I have ever been to. They answered the call and immediately starting
screaming! They were so stoked and so was I. We just talked and talked
and had such a wonderful time. I can not explain how different it is
to see your family, I mean really see them after months of being away.
It is just a confirmation of my feelings that I have for them. We
talked about what was going on back home and all about what had
happened so far. I found out that my sister is having a girl so that I
very very exciting. I am that much closer to being an uncle. Then
Hannah thought she would be really funny and put on Alex's wedding
ring. I didn't notice it for a long time and then I freaked out haha.
They were all laughing hysterically and told me that they were just
joking. I couldn't believe that they would ever do something like
that. Oh wait this is the Saffords we are talking about. It makes
perfect sense now! I know that that day will come and maybe it is just
selfish to want her to wait until I get home so that I can be apart of
such a wonderful event. But if it happens than I will support it and I
will be cheering in Arizona on that day. The 40 minutes that we had
went by way too fast. Before I knew it I was having to goodbye and go
back to missionary life. You don't realize it but calling home has
such a huge impact on missionaries. I was so lost for the rest of the
day. All I wanted to do was to call them again and get to talk to them
just a little longer. I didn't of course because I am trying to be
obedient but the thought still crossed my mind two or three times.

We had the opportunity to help a sister move to another house this
Saturday. It was a great opportunity to go out and get out of shirts
and ties for a little bit which is always nice. The patriarch in our
stake picked us up and we went over to her house at 7:30 in the
morning. As we started working there was one of the sons friends
helping. As we finished moving all of the heavy furniture into the
trailer he walked up to me and introduced himself and said that he
really likes Mormons and their unity as a family. He said that when he
moved in to his house there was only about two or three of his
friends that showed up and he was astonished that so many people came
to help this one sister move. I told him that that was the centerpoint
of our religion and how families are so important to God's plan. I
know that over time seeing his friend and his family and their
relationship with the church has influenced him and help him to see
that the beliefs that we have. I know that even though his friend may
not have shared gospel doctrine with him the way that he and his
family live their lives influenced him and helped him to see our basic
beliefs. I know that if we just live in harmony with the gospel and
follow its teachings that we will influence people's lives even if we
don't talk to them.

The work here in the area is slowly picking up. Over the holidays it
was tough because tons of people were out of town or had family over
so the last thing they wanted to do was take time and have the
missionaries teach them. It is so hard to make people see the blessing
that the gospel could be in their lives. I just want them to take the
few moments it takes to feel the spirit and then realize that they
want that all the time. I know that I was sent to this area for a
reason. I know that The Lord knows me and what I need. I am having to
change the way that I go about the work because the way I did it
before was not working. As missionaries we are constantly evolving and
changing the way we do things based on what particular people need.
The gospel itself applies to every single person but the way that we
share it is what makes the difference to people. I know that as I
apply myself and as we all apply ourselves we can know how The Lord
needs us to work. We can know that he needs us to do and how we as
individuals need to go about doing it. It is going to take some time
before every member sees themselves as a missionary but if we all make
the slight change to do something everyday then we can make a big
change in how people view Mormons. There was a talk in sacrament
meeting from a newly married man all about the questions that people
ask about Mormons. He said that he took a survey from all of his
friends and asked the simple question " are Mormons Christian?" He was
shocked to find that every single one of his friends, some he had
known for years, all said that in one way or another Mormons were not
Christian. He was devastated that he had not shared his beliefs with
his friends and that they didn't know the basics to our faith. How
many of your non-LDS friends would know we are Christians?

Keep moving forward with faith and never let anyone tell you that you
are not good enough. I know that through Christ we can be exactly who
we need to be in the very moment that he needs us to be it. Thank you
for all the love and support. I hope that you see how very important
the gospel is in my life and the happiness it has brought my family. I
love you all.

Elder Cole Safford