Monday, July 28, 2014

Glendale Week 50 *July 28, 2014


As I was telling you last week we have been working a lot with active
members by teaching them the actual lesson as outlined in preach my
gospel. This does two things : helps elder Thomas and I to become
better teachers and it's brings the spirit so strongly into the homes
of those we teach. The idea was to go into their homes with the
preface that they were going to help us become better teachers. Little
do they know that as they listen to the simple pure doctrine of the
gospel their spirits are lifted and their conversion is deepened. I
have seen it help the multiple families that we have already done it
with. I have also seen it bless my own teaching and gives me a lot to
work on. It is a great step in the right direction for this ward. I
think it will help a ton. We usually have these appointments set up by
the leaders of the different auxiliaries and most importantly by our
ward mission leader. They do this through a google calendar. It has
made our schedule readily available to all that need to see it. And it
also holds us a little more accountable to stay busy and working hard.

This ward and I am pretty sure all of Arizona is great at keeping us
missionaries well fed. There are so many families in this ward that I
just love to go socialize with and eat their delicious food! This past
week we ate with a few of my favorites. I don't know what it is but I
feel like a normal person when we go over their and we get talking and
have just a normal conversation. I don't know what it is about
missionary work but it makes me feel a little abnormal. Maybe it's the
white shirts or the biking around in pants. I don't know.  But it is
nice to just relax and unwind a little. One of our dinners even had a
batting cage in their backyard that we were able to go and play in. We
broke a sweat and I just about broke elder Thomas' head with my fast
ball hahaha.

This past Friday we had an amazing district meeting. It was centered
on our individual purpose for being out on our missions. There was a
few questions that helped narrow down our mindset ad help us focus on
the things that really matter. 1: what got you out on a mission? 2:
why are you still here? 3: what is your end goal? 4: who do you want
to be when you return home? As you can see all of these questions are
centered around each one of us personally. They are kind of selfish.
The whole purpose behind missionary work is to help others. Turning
outward and forgetting about what we want. It is a hard thing to do
and there was only ever one man that was perfect at it and that was
Jesus Christ himself. But we can all do a little better everyday.
Improvement is all that is asked of us.

We have been doing as many little things as we can to enjoy the time
out here. There is a saying "if you are not having fun they you are
doing it wrong." There are so many little things like wrestling,
having nerf wars, playing Munchkin, jumping our bikes, taking funny
pictures, talking to complete strangers, ect. A few days ago we found
this old swing hanging off a pretty old branch that was over a huge
mud pitt. Elder Thomas grabbed the swing and jumped on. He started
swinging and planned to jump across the mud and land safely on the dry
grass about 5 ft in front of him. He attempted to jump but his arm got
caught and he almost face planted into the mud but saved it! He then
regained his composure and tried again. Success. He was so nervous but
it was so funny. We have been doing a bit of service around the town
and it has been fun. We have been stating in shape and still to this
day i have not gained a single pound. Impressive I know.

Today Elder Thomas finally got his Visa! He leaves for Brasil on
August 26th. Which is a normal transfer day. Needless to say I will
have a new companion in 4 weeks time. I am stoked for him and I know
he will do great out there. The other elder that is here waiting
hasn't had any news and I am sure it's been tough on him. I just hope
he gets his soon too!

Well I love you all. Have a good week!

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Glendale Week 49 *July 22, 2014

Hey hey hey!

The time that we spend doing what we love is never wasted. Each moment that I am out here I find more and more reasons to love God and the people that I come into contact with. If there is any advice I could give to my younger self and to all of you it would be to build the best relationship you can with God. He is someone you can rely on, trust in and always talk to. We may not understand why things happen but it is not because He hates us. He wants us to grow and we grow the most when we are pushed and tried. I have come to appreciate trials now more then I ever thought I would. They make my creativity come out and make me a stronger person. Plus it's a ton of fun trying different things and finding what works and what doesn't. 

Elder Lewis' stay with me was brief but he did more for me in that six weeks then I thought I needed him to. He really has a way about him to feel the spirit and to act on the promptings that he received. It's a trait that I want to develop for sure. My new companion is Elder Garrett Thomas from Allen Texas. He is 19 and came out 6 months ago. He was assigned to labor in the GoiĆ¢nia Brasil mission but they are having some trouble getting visas so he came here to serve until he can go there. I am so grateful that we are companions. He is so excited about the work and so ready to get stuff done. I have been in the area for a little while now so my idea tank was running a bit low. But he has so many new ideas that are going to help out a ton. It is going to be cool to see the area grow and be able to be a part of it all. 

This week we taught our continual investigators of Amber and Rachel. They are both coming along great. We also have been going around teaching the ward members and getting help to become better teachers. That has been a big blessing in itself. I feel so much more confident going in to teach a non member because I know what to do and what not to do. Haha. Since we have the newest in technology as far as missionaries go we are using it to the best of our ability and trying to make it the most effective. We are currently working to get calendars set up on all the members phones/ computers so that they can see our schedule and let us know when we can come over to teach them. It will help out a ton and I know that we will be blessed a ton in the future. 

I have been getting really good at doing long wheelies on my bike in the past 12 months. There has only been two time in my mission where someone has yelled at us and told us to do a wheelie. This week was one of those times. A group of twenty year olds where hanging out at this house and someone yelled at us calling us nerds and asking us to do a wheelie. I did. And it was awesome. They all cheered and said they believed in Jesus and that we weren't the nerds they presumed. It was a proud moment. Elder Thomas was like "boy I sure am glad you can do wheelies. I would have looked like an idiot" haha. Then another night we were riding past a group of Hispanics having a party on their front lawn and they invited us over to have a snow cone and a beer. We took the snow cone. They had obviously been out there for sometime because they were all pretty intoxicated but it was a blast just talking to them. They were nice guys and in the end they just wanted us all to be equal and to be one. 

The other night I was walking in our room and the lights were off and I knew I didn't want to kick my bed so I was really careful. Little did I know elder Thomas decided to leave out his luggage. My pinky town found it. And my head found the floor surprisingly fast. I was writhing in pain and everyone was laughing at me. It hurt so bad. Ugh it was the worst!
Now that we have two new people living in brother Fullmers we are back to doing our pranks and having a blast. We all get along great and it makes the days much more exciting and we look forward to when we are all here together. It really helps to have a little escape every once in a while. I think we need that as humans. A destresser if you will. We are trying not to burn down the house or kill one another, so don't worry mom. 

Thank you all for everything that you do. People around you really appreciate it even if they have a hard time saying it. We need to do things for the sheer love we have for others and not so much for a recognition. God will recognize it and bless us abundantly. I love you all! Have an amazing day. 

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

My new companion Elder Lewis

Elder Thomas

The "hangover" burger

Glendale Week 47 *July 7, 2014

Hello to all!

I hope that you all enjoyed your 4th of July. We were able to have a
BBQ with brother Fullmer and his children. It's a rule for us here
that on major holidays we have to be in our apartments at 6:00 for
safety reasons so they all came over then and we just hung out. It was
really relaxing and a ton of fun. The other bonus was now we have a
ton of left over food that we get to eat and we don't have to cook
haha. That's always nice for sure.

On Wednesday we had our very first interview and interaction with the
new mission president. His name is president Spencer Griffin from
Billings Montana. He is an older guy and owned a ranch and car
dealership. He is very soft spoken but loves to just talk. It's a big
change from the previous president who hardly ever talked but when he
did it was bold and powerful. But I do like this new president. He is
super genuine and really just wants to help us build even further. He
told me that I remind him and his wife alot of their youngest son. He
says I act the same and look similar and have the same attitude. I
hope that this isn't a bad thing haha. In our interview I knew that
you only have one chance to make a first impression so I just showed
him my best self. I wasn't fake and overly loving but just showed him
the respect that he deserves. I know that there are many good things
to come from him. He has a lot of ideas and is really excited to
implement them. It's going to be a good year.

We have been teaching Rachel twice a week and things have been going
great. We went over the plan of salvation and really focused on the
family. She has some great kids and I know that she really loves them.
Teaching about the importance of family is one of my favorite things
to teach because it really hits home haha. She accepted Heavenly
Fathers plan once before so we and she are praying that she will do it
again in this life. Then we taught her about the importance of prayer,
church attendance and scripture study. I think that she already knows
the importance of these things but it is just continually doing them
that's the hard part. We testified to her that these things, as
repetitious as they seem, are the things that overtime transform us
into the individuals God knows we can be and the people we want to
become. I have seen so many blessings coming from these principles so
I really hope she sees the blessings that come to her as she studies
and grows in the gospel. The other investigator is Amber. She is
learning quick and has accepted the invitation to be baptized. We are
happy for her and I know her husband is too.

There was repeated warnings for a dust storm this week and we never
once listened to them because the last time we got the warning there
wasn't even a slight breeze haha. We got out of a lesson and we saw
the storm clouds rolling in and felt the breeze start to pick up so we
started peddling our little butts off to get home. I felt like I was
in Harry potter running from he huge storm that was soon to befall us.
I was like yelling GO GO GO!! Haha. It was so much fun but at the same
time it was kinda scary. Just as we were passing this empty dirt lot
the wall of wind hit us and so did tons of dirt and debris. We ran and
got behind a wall and that blocked all of the dust from hitting us. We
waited the storm out and then finished riding home. Just as we got
home we heard the rain pounding the roof and went outside to see it.
It was really cool. The storms are always amazing here though. We were
safe and sound in the house so it was all good.

We have been trying to get to know all of the ward. And when I say all
of the ward I mean every single member that lives in this area. Less
active, old, young and everyone in between. We have officially knocked
on every door in the ward roster! Yeah we were pretty excited haha. We
have been making notes on people just so that when we see them we
kinda know who they are and don't have to ask again haha. It's saving
our butts and making us seem much more knowledgable to the ward.

I hope you all have a great day! Go out and make it special

Until next week

Elder Cole Safford

Glendale Week 48 *July 15, 2014

This past week was the last week of the transfer and as I sat there to
think about what has happened the past six weeks I realized I have
grown a lot more then I thought. You never quite see the changes you
are making while they are happening. I guess for me I see them once I
stop moving forward and check my progress. Elder Lewis has been a
great help to me and I know that God put us together for a reason. He
and I are so very different but at the same time we are united in the
purpose of sharing the message of Jesus Christ. It has been a lot of

We are still teaching Rachel as well as working with Amber. Both of
them are truly making changes in their lives to draw closer to God as
well as their families. We are just trying to answer their questions
and see what they want to do next in their journey. I think that is
why I love this religion so much. As we go around and teach there is
the doctrine we believe in and ways to know it is accurate but there
is no set way in which we have to learn. We have the ability to do
things based on what each person needs and where their level is at. I
have really come to find that being on a mission is so much more than
the numbers. There are individuals behind those numbers. They have
families and lives. We have to help them to learn the doctrine but at
the same time help them to take sufficient steps along the straight
and narrow path so that when hard times come they don't have to fall
so far before getting back up and trying it again. We want to help
these people make the covenants and promises in the temple. Not just
in the baptismal font.

Our ward mission leader gave us a great way to help the active members
in missionary work as well as benefit ourselves. We ask the active
members if we can visit them at their house and teach them a full
lesson while they take notes on what we could of better as teachers.
We have found that this shows our trust in the members and helps us to
become the teachers that can really bless the lives of others. We
tried it out on our ward mission leader Ammon Taylor and it went
great! He played the role of an investigator and really gave us some
good insight on what we could do better. A lot of the things were
things I was already trying to work on but it was nice to get a second
person telling me to work on them. We are going to continue to teach
the members and work on their suggested improvements.

We had a day this week where we didn't have any appointments planned
and really wanted to find new people for us to start teaching. So we
hopped onto our bikes and started riding in hopes of finding people on
the street. We talked with a few people but after multiple hours I was
pretty fed up with the whole thing. I let myself get into a negative mood
that really didn't help the situation at all and now looking back I
could have done a lot more to make the situation better. We did find
one person to go to church with us but,  come Sunday he was no where to
be found so it was a bummer. On another note for the first time in six
months of being in this area I finally saw the inside of our bishops
house! He is a scout for the Seattle Mariners baseball so he travels a
TON. but we stopped by randomly and he was there. It was pretty cool.
This week we also got to do some service and help a lady move out of
her house. There was so much stuff and it was a ton of work but I
really don't mind it much. However since the last rainstorm it has
been nothing but humid so I am not so happy when we have to go outside
haha. Especially to move around tons of furniture.

On Friday morning we had the great blessing of being able to go to the
Mesa temple with brother Fullmer before he has his second knee surgery
done. I have not been in a few months so I was excited to go. There
was only a handful of people in the temple when we went so it was very
small and personal. I went in with the question of what I needed to do
in order to be a better missionary and as I was sitting the song "a
child's prayer" came into my mind. It goes "Pray, he is there;
Speak, he is list’ning. You are his child; His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer; He loves the children. Of such is the kingdom,
the kingdom of heav’n." It was a great experience.

Well I hope you all have a marvelous week! This week is transfers and
Elder Lewis is leaving me after just one transfer together! I am
staying in brother Fullmer's house which I am more then happy about
and I get to continue to help this ward grow. We will see what
happens! Love you all!

Until next week,

Elder Cole Safford.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Glendale Week 46 *June 30, 2014

Hello friends!

It is really good to see all of you today! Thank you for stopping by
and checking to see how I am doing in the land of Arizona. This week
was a miracle week for sure. There has been something off with the
work for the past couple of weeks. I don't know what it was because if
I did I would have changed that a number of weeks ago. But this week
things just clicked and people we didn't think to teach all of a
sudden wanted to be taught and it has been great.

We have been meeting with this part member family for a few weeks now
every Wednesday for dinner because the husband, which is the member,
got a new job that requires him to work on Sundays. So when we go over
there for dinner we are giving them their spiritual boost for the
week. I don't know if it is quite the same thing but hey it is fun to
teach the gospel. Anyways the wife is not a member yet and her name is
Amber. They are a great family and love to talk about the church. This
past week I just felt like I should ask her if she wanted to hear the
missionary discussions and not just some lessons that we had made for
them that day. She was all like "oh I thought that's what we were
already doing...." Hahaha. I don't know why we didn't think of it
sooner but she is on board so we are excited to see where she goes.
Her husband was pretty stoked too. I know that their family will for
sure be blessed by not only having the spirit in the home, but hopefully
one day being sealed for time and all eternity.

About a month ago we got a referral for a women named Rachel. We went
over there and set up a return appointment for later that week. When
we came by at the scheduled time she wasn't home. We got busy helping with
less active members and never followed up with her. One day we were
trying to visit a less active sister who just happened to live next
door to her. As we left the driveway Rachel came out and asked us why
we were not teaching her. We tried to explain but in the end it didn't
matter. She invited us in and we taught her the restoration of the
gospel with an invitation to be baptized and she said YES. How cool is
that? We set up,another appointment and this time brought a member
along with us. His name is Richard and he is basically amazing. We
talked to her about Gods plan for her and her family and set the
baptismal date of July 26th. We meet with her two times a week and she
comes to church and everything is going great. She is super bubbly and
happy and isn't shy at all so she made a bunch if friends at church
and it was great. I know that the Lord is helping her to know that
what she is doing is the right step for her.

So I don't know if I told you this or not but brother Fullmer is
finally home. It seemed like just about forever that he was gone. The
house just wasn't the same. The day he got home I walked in to his
room and the first thing he said was "is there anything I can do for
you now that I have my new knee?" Can you believe it? He had knee
surgery a week and a half ago, can nearly walk yet and he is asking ME
if there is something he can do. I try to tell him no but he insists.
I ask him what I can do for him and he laughs haha. He is too nice. I
didn't think it was possible but he is. It is so good though to have
him home. Last night we had a really great talk and it just feels like
home when he is here.

This week I got to go on two exchanges. The first one I went on was
with elder Crane to his area. He is such a funny kid. He has been out
six weeks longer then me so we are in the same boat as far as what we
are feeling and how we see the work going. It is pretty cool. I like to
talk with him and get his insight on what I should do in certain
situations which is nice. He is such a weird kid though hahaha. I tell
him that all the time. It's funny because I don't think I would have
ever became friends with him if I wasn't on a mission. But now that we
are friends it's great. The other exchange was with a zone leader
named elder Barley. He goes home in two weeks so this was his last
hoorah. He is a funny kid too. Normally on these exchanges everyone
has a rod in their back trying to put on a show and be perfect. But he
was so normal. It was a nice change of pace. We just worked hard and
had a really good time doing it. He tried to leave me with the
knowledge he had gained and a lot of it was useful stuff. I know it
will help me out for sure.

On Friday we had a zone meeting that was entirely centered on work.
Working hard but at the same time being efficient and effective with
the amount of work that we do. I think that we all look for reasons
and ideas as to how we can do things but what I have found is that it
is all a personal choice. We have to decide to do something because
that is what we have set our minds on doing. No external force will
ever be able to change your heart. It can force us to do something for
a short period of time but if we haven't made up our mind that we are
going to do that thing, then as soon as that external force leaves, so
will our desires to work. It's a tough pill to swallow but I know it's
true. This life is full of choices. We all have to make them everyday.
The challenge is making more good ones then bad ones on a day to day

Well that was my week. In between all of those exciting events was
some bicycle riding, water drinking, sleeping, eating and of course
being scorched by the radiant blacktop heat. Always a fun time here.
No doubt about that hahaha. Thank you all for the letters and love. I
hope you all have a good week!

Until next time,
Elder Cole Safford

Glendale Week 45 *June 27, 2014

Hello everybody!

For a whole now we have been waiting for brother Fullmer to get
surgery on his knee because it has been pretty hard to see him
hobbling around. We tried our best to pick up the extra slack and do
the things we could to ease his burdens but a lot of the time he would
still beat us to things. He went into surgery on Tuesday and is
scheduled to come home next Friday. He made sure to keep us updated
and he is doing really great. When the doctor opened him up he was
shocked that brother Fullmer could even walk on his knee it was so
blown up with arthritis and scar tissue. Brother Fullmer said it was
Heavenly Father helping him to keep going. It will be good to have him
back home. We sure do miss him!

We have been working with the elders quorum for the last while with
 members that don't contacted besides by home teachers because
they never answer the door or are just not home. But this week we
decided to help the whole ward with this so we made a list of all the
less actives and went on splits two different nights to try and
contact everyone. We were not able to get to everyone but we made a
good dent and will continue to work on it. We met some amazing people
that are happy to have us over but just don't want to make the
commitment to come back to church quite yet. I know they are on the
right path to come back but I just wish they were on the accelerated
path that would bring them here a lot sooner. But it's all in the
Lord's timing. He knows them better then we do so we just have to wait
and be patient, which is really hard sometimes! Each night Elder Lewis
and I have been coming home a bit early and putting the bikes away so
that we could set out on foot to talk to people in the streets. At
8:00pm it is about 90 degrees which seems hot but it is when everyone
emerges from their homes and mills about the town. We have had quite a
bit of success talking to people and it has been a ton of fun. I am
finally getting over the fear of just saying hello and engaging that

We met a guy that was quick to tell us he was atheist and didn't want
to be rude by not coming to church. I have never really talked with
someone that didn't believe in God so I was kinda curious. He had once
been a believer but science and the theory of evolution had led him to
question his own faith. Slowly he started taking steps off the straight
and narrow and now he didn't believe the there was a god at all. I didn't
understand how it could be possible. But then as I started to think
about it all he needed to have was a little faith. That is was sets us
closer to God. That tiny particle of faith. It can be hard. I know.
The facts may not always line up in our favor or in this case God's
favor. But if we set all that aside and trust in Him and His plan for
us, we will be so much happier. This life is at least bearable with
God in it. It is still not easy but we know we are not alone. I told
him all this and could see a slight change in his demeanor. He thanked
us for our time and kind words. Then just like that he was gone. I
hope we were able to make a slight impact and the spirit was able to
testify to him.

Last December we found out who our new mission president was going to
be. President Taylor's three years here is up and in comes President
Griffin. President Taylor didn't want us all to freak out with all the
changes that will probably be headed our way with having a new leader
so he had a meeting dedicated to helping us roll with the punches. He
explained the idea of substance versus style. Things that need to
happen will still happen but they may be done slightly different. It
was cool to see that President Taylor cared enough about us to let us
all know that. So the beginning of July we will have a new
President... Of the mission that is. We have a clean slate and a new
opportunity to grow and progress. I am pretty excited.

We came home one day to find the back gate open and a black and white
pit bull strolled out to say hello to us. He was super friendly and
nice so we decided to keep him until we could find him a new home. We
fed him beef stew or corn-dogs or chicken. Basically anything we had.
Haha. Probably not the best for a dog. Anyways we took him to the vet
by our house to have him scanned for a chip which he didn't have. They
told us to post some pictures on a website and hope someone claimed
him. We brought him home and kept looking for lost dog signs. We had
him for five days. We come home one night to find the gate open again
and no dog. Oh by the way we named him Moroni haha. Then we hear
someone yell "hey!" We turn around to see our neighbor walking over to
us. He asked us why the heck we stole HIS dog!! Hahaha apparently the
dog had gotten out of his yard and strolled into ours. The neighbor
was the one who heard him barking, looked over the fence and then took
his dog back! Haha we were laughing so hard. We totally stole our
neighbors dog without knowing it!! Hahaha

I how you are all doing great. I love you and want to thank you for
the letters and emails. They are amazing. Have a good day!!

Until next time
Elder Cole Safford