Sunday, February 2, 2014

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

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