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

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