Monday, February 17, 2014

Glendale Week 27 *February 17, 2014

This week was one full of trials. I have come to the realization that missionary work is not going to ever be easy because if it is easy then we will never grow from the experiences that we have. For whatever reason appointment after appointment fell through over and over. Even after we made other arrangements those would fall through too. I got so frustrated. It wasn't even potential investigators only. It was fully active members and people that we have been teaching for quite some time. Neither my companion or myself could figure out what we were doing wrong or why this is happening to us when we are trying our very best to put everything we have into this great work. Maybe we are just not looking for the right opportunities. We are going to really take a step back this week and analyze what we could do better and what areas we can improve on. I really want this work to move forward and I know that nothing in missionary work happens until we find people to teach. That is where our personal finding efforts come into play as well as the members reaching out to their friends and inviting them to hear about the gospel. 

In our ward we are implementing a new finding idea. Each week we have asked primary, young men's, young women's, elders quorum, high priest, and relief society to have one person volunteer to invite one of their friends or coworkers to come to church the following Sunday. Then the missionaries (me) follow up with that person and help them make the invitation if they need it. I know that this will really help people see that missionary work is not a scary task and it can bring major blessings into the lives of those that pursue it. 

This week I had the great opportunity to talk to a gentleman who was having a difficult time forgiving someone who has wronged him. It was a challenge to help him see that he had to do everything in his power to help the person feel of his love.  In order for the person who has wronged us to see that we are forgiving them we must give everything that we have. Exhaust every single option that we can make in order to show someone that has wronged us that we love them. When we go up to the judgement bar and see the Savior we cannot say that we did our very very best if we didn't go down the path of discipleship and and give the person who has wronged is every option to accept our forgiveness. Give them the choice to accept the forgiveness. Put it on them. Through doing this we maybe just maybe we will see every option that the Savior is trying to give us everyday.  We have a knowledge of the gospel to help us in our quest for forgiveness and accepting Jesus Christ in our lives.  These individuals often don't have that. They don't know where we came from. They don't know where they are going. More importantly they don't know what the atonement feels like. No one knows what the atonement feels like unless they first experience it within their  own life. The atonement has the power to heal and change even the worst of sinners. It can mend a broken heart and help us forgive those that have wronged us. 

One day we were sitting in our house at lunch and we found a gigantic roll of plastic wrap. So what do we do with it you might ask? Well we locked my companion out of the house and wrapped his entire bike up haha. He was not too stoked on the whole situation but we all thought it was pretty hilarious. The things missionaries do for fun! We also went to a dinner with a couple from Australia and they had Vegemite. So naturally I tried it. It was so disgusting. I almost threw up! My mom is such a stud that she had a guy from out here in Arizona that works in Simi sometimes pick up some Ticos Tacos and hand deliver them to me! I was so excited! I thought I would have to wait two years to have it but nope. Just seven months haha. 

Yesterday we had the entire BYU baseball team in our sacrament meeting. They are down here for a tournament and they decided to swing by for sacrament. It was cool to see these college ball players dressed up in white shirts and ties. If I had not know who they were then I would have never guessed they were these study ball players. They did a devotional later that night that I was fortunate enough to go and see. They had some very spiritual parts and they even had a couple of the guys share their conversion stories. The rest of the time they were making jokes and trying to get everyone to laugh.  All in all it was a good meeting and I am sure that everyone came out of there more uplifted then they were when they entered. 

Thank you again to everyone that has been sending me letters. I really love getting them. They are so much fun to read and it means a lot more that they are hand written. Most the time when you get and email you breeze through it once, answer the questions and then never look at it again. But with a letter it makes you feel like you have to go into a room all alone and see what the person has to say haha. I read the letters over and over. They are super great. 

Well I love you all and will talk to you next week,

Elder Cole Safford

Elder Neilsons's Bike

Tico's Tacos!!

Vegimite. Gross. Only word to describe it

Monday, February 10, 2014

Glendale Week 26 *February 10, 2014

Hey anyone who still looks at this blog to see how I am doing,

This week has been great. It is amazing how fast time goes by when you
are having fun everyday. For the first time on my mission I am loving
with another set of elders and it is a constant party I. The house.
There is always something to do or see. It makes that times when we
don't have anything to do go by and the times when we are supposed to
be serious a little harder to be serious. We just got some news that
they are trying to find the other elders a house that is I. Their area
so they don't have to bike 5 miles to get into their area everyday.
None of us want it to happen and if it does I know that this house is
going to get a lot more quiet. It will be a bummer for sure. Hopefully
it takes a while for them to find a living situation and by the time
they do I will be gone. One can only hope I guess.

The work in the area is progressing pretty rapidly. I am excited to
see where it goes and I am going to try my best to push it along as
fast as I can. The ward has had a bit of a dry spell for the past
couple of months which usually means that the work blows up. We have
been working with an older woman named Karen for the past couple of
weeks and she has finally decided on a date to be baptized. March 8th.
She has a problem when it comes to letting us teach her instead of us
just sitting there and listening to her life story and her problems.
It is funny. As missionaries you want to be very friendly and nice to
people so they see you care but at the same time if you just let them
get way off topic from day one then that is all they will ever do
whenever you go over there. I am pretty sure that I know more about
Karen then I do my own companion haha. She is a crack up but I love
her. We have set appointments two items a week and we told her if she
wants to be baptized she will have to let us teach her. She promised
to let us do that so I hope it works out. We have been doing all we
can to help the ward see that they need to become the best member
missionaries they can be and they are really getting into it. They are
giving us leads on people to go and see and are willing to come out
with us when we need them to. Right now we are working with 4
investigators and we are hoping to have them all on date in the next

Since coming on my mission I have really come to the reality that
people fall away from the church more often because of something that
a bishop or someone else in the church did that they are not happy
with. They don't understand that this church is run by imperfect
people because that's all God has to work with. They think that since
people in the church make mistakes and are imperfect that the church
is false and that they don't need it in their lives. It is so
frustrating because they are so set in their decision to be away from
the church that they will not listen to a word that we have to say. I
hope and pray that you keep an open merciful mind and remember that
humans make mistakes and that doesn't make the church untrue. All you
have to do is listen to your heart and what the Holy Ghost tells you.
I know that life gets rough and towards the second coming of Christ
the gap between the followers of Christ and the ones that despise him
will grow deeper and wider. The advisary is trying all that he can to
pull people away from the truth by deterring them with seemingly
important things. Hold to the rod and never let to for one moment.
The moment that you do the path gets very narrow and the fog around
you gets thick.

Thank you for all of the letters that I have been receiving. I am
always so excited to open up the mailbox and see a white envelope with
my name on it. It makes my day. Special thanks goes to my grandma
Judy, my sister Alex and my mom. My mom pulled all the stops and gave
me one of the best valentines I could have ever received. I know she
had a little help from my grandma and that made it even better. I even
was so lucky to get Ticos Tacos all the way from California. (delivered by 
wonderful Brother Thronock) Any of you who spent any time with me 
know how much I love that place. I was so stoked.It was the best day of my life.
 Not figuratively but you know what I mean.

Until next time
Elder Cole Safford
My new companion Elder Neilsen

Arizona sky

Glendale Week 25 *February 3, 2014

Hey hey,

Tuesday came and the transfer text came. And guess what? There was my
name. It was at the bottom of the text but it was there. I had a
little time to pack. It is remarkable how much stuff you can acquire
in just under three months. Thank goodness I don't have a hoarding
issue because I would not have made it out of that front door. I even
bought some of those airtight ziplock bags and I still was cramming.
When we got to the transfer meeting I sat and waited to hear where the
mission president would call me to serve. I sat and I sat and I sat.
Cotten wood came and went, Prescott, and finally Flagstaff. Nothing. I
was the second to last missionary to get my call. I was called to serve
in the Glendale North zone so I am still in the valley and the soon to
be heat. As of now the weather is absolutely beautiful and I can never
complain. We live with an older man named brother Fullmer. He is so
amazing. He is about 75 and retired so he is here all the time. His
house is beautiful and he is so funny. He treats us as if we are his
grandsons so he is always checking on us, joking with us or pinching
our cheeks or sides. We live with another set of elders and it is too
fun. Way too much haha I love it.

My new companion is Elder Morgan Nielsen from Riverton Utah. He has
been out for a year and is a handful. He is so funny and down to
earth. We have a ton of fun together and are going to get work done
here in this area. The ward is full of either terribly old couples or
newly weds. There is two colleges in our area so that is where a
majority of the congregation comes from. It is definitely different
for me but it is going to be great. The members are all ready to work
and to share the gospel in whatever ways they can.

We were riding to an appointment and we saw these two kids on really nice razor
scooters.  We started to talk to them and answered some questions that they had. I then asked to see one of their scooters and I totally wrecked their day. I showed him my scooter
skills and elder Nielsen taught the gospel haha it was pretty sweet.
We met this kid on the street names Najib from Moroco who was insanely
high on drugs. He tried to catch a bee and was tripping out. It was so
great. On Friday night we got to partake in a Jewish sabbath ritual.
It was so weird but very informational. We got to wear yarmulkes and
everything. I will never forget this experience!

We are teaching a couple of people right now and they are coming along
wonderfully. The most interesting investigator we have is this 72 year
old woman named Karen. She is so dang funny. Whenever we go over there
we get an hour long synopsis of her weekly dating life and the guys
she has seen. It is incredible how many guys she has gone through. She
is a member of about five dating sites and tells us all about those.
She has already had two failed marriages and wants to find someone
else to spend her time with. We do the lessons over at a members house
but she is also an older woman so the two of them go to town chatting
away on any topic under the sun. We try to teach but she goes off on
tangents that are so far way from what we were originally talking
about. She did however tell us that she would like to be baptized so
we are looking forward to when she finally sets a date for when she
wants that to happen because she doesn't let us "determine her
future". We hope that it is soon. We are also teaching a couple of
students and they are great to teach. The trouble is helping them to
see the importance of our visits and to make time for us to come and
see them. I know it will work out in the end. It is just getting it
there faster then the speed we are rolling right now.

Good news is that I have officially traveled over 1,600 miles on my
bicycle in the past six months all in suit pants and a button up shirt
with a tie on! It's pretty great.

I love you all and will talk to you next week.

Elder Cole Safford
Jewish Sabbath

yeah baby

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Back in Glendale *January 30, 2014

Hey Family and friends,

I am just sending off this quick email saying that I am safe and I am
in my new area. I live in a single man home with my companion and two
other elders. It is going to be pretty sweet. The address 5108 West
Gelding Dr. Glendale, AZ 85306. Yep I am still in the valley and I am
still in a bike area! Woohoo

I am doing great. It is a little weird moving areas because it feels a
little like I am leaving home again for the first time. But
nonetheless I am happy and excited to start work here. Sorry I didn't
email you yesterday things were pretty crazy.

Love you all and I will talk to you on Monday!

Peoria Week 10 *January 28, 2014

Hola Me amigos!

This week was chalk full of very spiritual experiences that have
strengthened my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the power
that I have as a missionary. Each week we have a district meeting
which is where a handful of missionaries in neighboring areas meet
together to learn and grow. This last Friday we had the most powerful
one that I have ever had the opportunity to be apart of. As one elder
put it "today we did not learn much doctrine or many principles, but
today elders and sisters our conversion to the doctrine and principles
we already know was deepened." I know that the spirt is was planned
for that meeting and it was there with is the entire time. I know that
as missionaries we get to feel the spirit in more abundance in these
two years then at any other point in our lives. It was a huge blessing
to me and I will never forget the way that I felt when I was there and
even now as I think back to the event. One part of the meeting we were
asked to stand up and pick what kind of animal our companion was if
they were to be any animal. We knew that this could automatically turn
into a joke feat and that's not what was intended at all. So we were
all very mature and reverent when it came time to pick our companions
animal. Oddly enough elder Zaugg said that I was a moose! He went on
to explain that like a moose there are not many like me. I am the
unique individual that people are drawn to and want to see when they
go to Yellowstone National Park. He said that I have a great presence
about me and that I continue to grow bigger and better everyday. After
he said all these things I didn't know what to even think. I was so
blown away about how he thought about me. It was a huge bonding
experience as well as a testimony to me that people watch you and look
at you even if you don't know they are. I was humbled.

On Saturday night and Sunday morning we had stake conference. The
entire thing was planned around "Hastening the work of salvation". I
know that obviously that is a big push in the church right now so it
was very reasonable as to why we spent four hours talking about it.
All of the speakers were divinely inspired on what they were going to
talk about. It was amazing. The digital world was given to us on the
earth to move the work of The Lord forward. That is the whole reason
that God allowed us to invent such wonderful things such as the
television, radio, and internet. We need to be ready to share our
testimonies to the world and never back down from the opportunity to
do so. I know that it is scary at times but we never need to fear
because The Lord has promised angels on our left and on our right to
bare us up and He always keeps his word. I know that as we put forth
the faith to testify of Him, He will soften the hearts of those we
testify to. No one can ever disprove a personal testimony. Remember

This week was tough as far as the work goes for sure. We had tons of
plans to teach investigators almost everyday and without fail every
single on of those appointments canceled on us. They always said they
were busy and didn't have time. One of the most disappointing of these
cancelations was the investigator I talked about last week Maricella.
We didn't get the chance to invite her to baptism and I really thought
she was ready for it. It was super disheartening. I was so confused as
to why it continued to happen. We finally came to the conclusion that
people need to understand the value that the Gospel can be in their lives.
I am going to make it a point to always explain it's significance from
the very beginning. That way they will always have time for us. On the
other hand the appointments that we decided to have with members and
less actives when really well. On multiple occasions we were told that
the message that we shared was an answer to that families prayers.
Often I couldn't believe it because to me it was just a simple thought
that I had as far as what to share. The Lord works in mysterious and
simple ways. We have to learn to trust in our hearts and in the Holy
Ghost to lead and guide us.

For a while now one of the elders in my area has been struggling with 
some issues from his past that I had no idea were even there. He came out
one day and told me that I had helped him through one of the hardest trials
of his life just by being a good friend to him. I know that we have the power
to influence people even when we don't realize we are doing anything
for them. In all of our associations with people we need to be loving,
we need to be a friend, and we need to be an example.

Thank you to everyone that has been sending me letters I love them. I
am especially grateful to the primary kids, my grandma Judy, my mom
and my sister Alex. I cherish the letters I get and I am excited every
time I open up the mail box and see my name on an envelope!

Until next week,

Elder Cole Safford