Thursday, May 29, 2014

Glendale Week 41 *May 26, 2014


There has been many opportunities this week for me to go out of my
comfort zone and to try things that I have been reluctant to do. I
have found that there is absolutely no growth when you sit there being
content and comfortable with what is going on around you. You have to
take steps into the unknown and try things in order to grow. One night
as we were riding down the street on our way a lady held yelled at us
to stop and come talk with her. I am not the best at talking with
strangers on the street but I am trying to do better so we rode over
to talk to her. We got to her and I could see tears streaming down
her dark face. I knew at this moment that she needed help. Not help
from the world. She had already been through that source of relief.
She needed help from our Heavenly Father. I handed her a plan of
salvation pamphlet and testified all about the love He has for us. His
plan for us and the opportunity to live with Him again. We talked
about the experiences she has had in her life and promised her that
God would never abandon her and if she was faithful she would
progress and be made stronger. As we rode away I felt accomplished. I
knew that she needed help and Heavenly Father used us to help her.
That is one of the biggest blessings of being our here. It is an
amazing feeling.

We have meetings each week where a group of us missionaries meet and
learn from the leader of our small district. These meetings are
normally very informative and nothing more. But this past Friday we
had a very spiritual time. We went over the Book of Mormon and how it
helps people to get over their concerns about wanting to join the
church. At the end of the meetings we role play how we would teach the
principles we just learned to real investigators. I had the chance to
play an investigator and I tried to make it as real as possible so
that everyone could learn and get something out of it. As we began I
played a little of the devils advocate but as we got into deeper
discussion there was no way I could deny the things they were saying
to me. Even trying to find them I failed. It was so incredible. I know
that this book is the word of God. I know that it is the keystone of
our religion and without it there is nothing but doubt and confusion.
We need to have strong testimonies if we are to withstand the societal
blows that will surly come to pass in the days to come.

I am so very grateful for the opportunity I have to serve in Arizona
and in the Glendale area. There are so many members here that are
ready to spread the gospel to those around them. It is funny that here
in the states we have different problems and trials then our fellow
missionaries in foreign countries. For instance we never have to worry
about food, housing or transportation. But then again we do have to
deal with pride, wealth, and misinformation. Each trial is unique and
each one can easily be solved in Heavenly Fathers own way. We just
need to have faith. That is all it really takes.

I love you all and hope to hear from you soon. Special shout out to my
sister Alex for having a beautiful baby girl, Eleanor Ann Ford, this
last Friday. I am officially an uncle!!

Elder Cole Safford

Glendale Week 40 *May 19, 2014

Hi everyone!

Now is the time of year that I start to question people's reasons for
living in this state. The temperature has been slowly climbing for a
couple of weeks now and has been consistently in the 100's for the
past few days. I have already survived the summer here once so I know
that I can do it again but my companion was up north last summer so he
is not having any good days. It is pretty funny to hear him complain.
We are so sweaty all the time it is great. If I ever want to go to a
sauna all I have to do is step foot outside and off falls the weight.
Farmers tan here I come!

Ever since I have been in this area it has always been a struggle to
park our bikes in the garage because it is so full of clutter. So this
past week we took the initiative to clean it up and organize. We spent
a solid amount of time on it and in the end we made enough room for a
whole car to fit. Brother Fullmer even tested it out and was amazed.
To be honest we were too haha. It is always fun doing a little
something for brother Fullmer because he does SO much for us and never
asks for anything in return. There was a family moving into the ward
and they asked if we along with some other members would help them
move. We showed up along with four high- priests. Needless to say the
job would have never gotten done if we were not there. It was so much
lifting that I don't need to go to the gym for a good year. I am
looking really good if you ask me! It is always fun moving people that
need the help.

We eat almost every night with members in this ward which is amazing!
I don't think that Mac and cheese and tacos would be so good after a
while. Anyways there was this one member who really wanted to take us
to Chick-fil-A. I have only been there once so I was game for it. The
food was great and we had a good visit. As we were leaving I opened
the front door to the restaurant and in walk the Crandell family from
my first area! I was so stoked to see them. In a way it doesn't even
seem like anything has changed even though I have been away from there
for almost seven months. It was so cool. They made sure to take a
picture and shake hands cause that's all we can do haha. Another
amazing thing that happened because of the members we have is that we
got to go to a trampoline house called jump street! Sister Thrailkill
is a manager there so she hooked us up with some free time! It was so
much fun. Her and her husband are getting ready to enter the temple
and it is so great to be able to see them take these steps. I really
love working with those who are trying to draw closer to God in the
only way they know how. They are both terrific and kind people. I love
them! We are so blessed. We had a lesson with them and really just got
to know them. I think the best way to know people is to obviously talk
with them and just be their friend. I have made so many friends here
and it is al stemmed from simply caring about them.

This week for church was ward conference so we had a priesthood
meeting in the morning. It was a little early for me so I thought that
I wasn't going to be able to make it through the whole thing but then
the speakers started to go and it was wonderful. They all were so
filled with the spirit and gave the best talks. I was so happy that I
got to be there and witness it. I know that they were inspired and
needed to say those things for someone that was in that crowd.

Thank you for the support and love. I cannot thank you enough!

Until next week

Elder Cole Safford

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Glendale Week 39 *May 12, 2013

Good afternoon! The earth says hello!

The weeks that you have a significant event waiting for you at the end
of them make time seem to fly by. This event just happened to be
Mother's Day. Many of you know that this day is one of two a year that
I get to Skype home to my family! Oh it is such an amazing
experience haha. It is so good to see their faces and hear their
voices! We have a set amount of time we get to talk with them and it
will never be enough haha. We start talking and don't stop until the
final minute. No matter how long I talk with them I don't think I will
ever be satisfied. There is just so much to talk about and so little
time. It is the worst haha. By the time I hang up I just wish I could
talk for hours. But alas I cannot. But I am glad that the family
hasn't changed one bit. They are all the same! Nothing can or will
ever amount to the sheer bliss I receive after clicking the call
button and hearing them all scream in excitement haha. I love it.

I have told you before but I live with a member of the ward in which I
serve. His name is Ross Fullmer. He is elderly but he is too stubborn
to stop moving haha. Sounds all too familiar. We give him a hard time
and tell him he needs to rest or use his cane but it never works out
too well for us. He usually thumps us on the head and says a funny
comment about where liars go. He is a saint and I love him to death.
The other day he was out doing some yard work. So we all changed our
clothes and ran out there to help him. He didn't want the help but we
told him we were going to do it anyways so he finally accepted. We
mowed his lawn and trimmed the trees and the grass. But the best thing
we did was paint the citrus trees white haha. Yep you heard right.
There is a special paint you out on the lower half of the tree trunk
that keeps the tree cool in the heat and keeps certain bugs off. I
have never painted a tree on purpose before but now I can say I have!!

When you serve in a mission that does not go tracting from door to
door looking for people to talk with, you have to look for others ways
to do it. One way that we have found that is both fun and not very
intrusive is the "cookie drop" and let me tell you it is awesome. So
what we do is have a member bake up a batch of cookies and select one
or two neighbors they want to know better or think could benefit from
the gospel. Then we set up a time to go with them and deliver he
cookies and simply ask the neighbors if we can say a prayer with them.
They either accept or deny. If they accept then we say the prayer and
specifically include things they are struggling with. If they deny
then we leave. Simple as that. I can testify that this works. The
spirit is so strong! It is so great! We did it this week with a family
and I was a success! Wahoo! Another great way that we have been
helping people come closer to Christ is by working with the different
leaders of the auxiliaries. They know they families they work over
much better then we ever will. They know who we need to see and what
we need to do when we get there. It is very effective! I love it!

Hey I love you all! I hope you have a great week!! Talk to you soon.
Until next week,

Elder Cole Safford

Monday, May 5, 2014

Glendale Week 38 * May 5, 2014


Happy Cinco De Mayo! 🎉

I have been wondering this week what I could do to help the work move
forward and I have come to one conclusion, I must talk with everyone.
I once heard that if you want to baptize a few people then talk to a
few people, if you want to baptize a couple people then talk to a
couple people, but if you want to baptize everyone then you have to
talk to everyone. It may sound like common sense, but honestly it is
not as easy as you think. Even though I am already weird for being out
on a bike in a white shirt and tie, it is still hard to talk to a
complete stranger. I don't know what it is. I really want to but I am
such a chicken. I think it is more of a mental block. 
Since our mission is not a tracting mission this is the only way
we as missionaries can take matters into our own hands. Other than
talking with people on the streets, we also really try to work with the
members in our ward. But then again they have their agency and about a million
other things going on in their lives so missionary work sometimes may
fall to the wayside, which I understand. It takes a major change in
lifestyle to become missionary minded all the time. It is hard. But I
know that as we all make a conscious effort to remember it is our duty
to share this gospel with everyone then we will have the power from on
high to do it!

We have been working a lot with the members of the Sunburst ward. It
is amazing to feel a prompting or have a name come to your mind of
someone you should go visit and when you get there you find out they
really needed you. It is just a testimony builder to me that Heavenly
Father loves us all. Even if we have already made the promises with
Him to live the best we can He will still help us up when we fall.
Whether that is through his own way or try sending someone along our
path to help us, it will get done. I know helping the less actives in
a ward may be more important then bringing more people into the ward
because they have already made certain covenants with Heavenly Father
and it is important for us to be there for them.  We need to help them. All of us.
Not just the full time missionaries. I love working with them and
seeing their progress. One boy we were working with was falling away from
the church and so we started to meet with him. He took the necessary
steps on his own to come back. He received the priesthood and just last
Saturday he baptized his two younger sisters. It was a very
powerful moment in time. I will never forget it. I loved every minute
of being there.

We had a zone meeting this past Friday and the major focus was on
family history. Can you believe it? We are going to start using
people's ancestors to get them into our church buildings and help them
feel the spirit! Who knew it would be such a great tool. I have not
had much experience with using so it was really nice
when they brought a family history expert in to teach us. Guys, this
is an amazing missionary work. There are others in our own family that
need our help. They that have passed on cannot do this work. As you
type in their names and find them it is such an amazing feeling.  Now I
know why the grandpas and grandmas do this all the time, it makes you
SO happy! There is no other feeling like it. Please try it out. You
will not be disappointed. Share it with your friends. Help them figure
out how to do it and then explain to them the feelings they are having
when they find those ancestors pleading for help. Your testimonies
will be strengthened. I promise.

I have really been trying to be optimistic lately. Optimism is one of the best traits
If we are optimistic about the things going on in our life then we will see the good 
in all things. We will work harder and try our best to make the outcome what we 
want it to be. We have this power as human beings. We can be anything we want, 
we can make anything we want, but you have to see the great potential that
everything has. We can all rely on the love of our Heavenly Father to
help us out. I came across a man the other day that had those rose
colored glasses permanently attached to his face. He was so happy and
so excited for the events that were to come. I know his life is a bit
better just because of this attitude. It was contagious. Just being
around him made me want my life to progress. I can't wait for those
events to come into my life that will change me forever. This mission
is one of them. You can look at your challenges as road blocks to the
rest of your life or you can see them as stepping stones. It is your
choice. It is my choice. I am so happy I chose to serve a mission. It is
challenging and rough at times but if I look to the future and see the
benefits of the experiences I am having then it makes it all worth it. 

I love you all so much. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you
for all the letters and notes. They mean a lot. Mother's Day is this
week.  I can't wait to talk to my family!

Until next week

Elder Cole Safford