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

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