Monday, September 29, 2014

Glendale Week 59 *September 29, 2014


After months of being here and trying to figure out why I am still
here I think I may have found my answer in the form of a new
investigator. His name in Jonathan. About three weeks ago we were
doing service for a non member named Larry, and we got a text from an
unknown was from a guy named Jeff in a nearby ward that had
a friend who wanted to learn more. There was a phone number there so
we called and nothing happened. No answer. No call back. We tried to
call again but still there was nothing. So I gave up. All we had was a
name and a number. We tried calling so that was all we could do. Well
a week rolls by and we finally get a text from Jonathan saying that he
would like to meet with us. We started texting back and forth and
found that he crummy living situation and that he just wanted to turn
his life around. We tried a few different times to meet with him but
unfortunately something always came up on his end. We were finally
able to sit down with him at the church this past Friday. He is such
an amazing man. He has gone through a lot of trials including
adoption, jail and deaths but he is ready to move on. We asked him if
he was interested in being baptized and he said "I'm not interested in
it.... I am going to be baptized really soon." It was powerful. Since
he has a rough past he needed someone to just be honest with him. I
was able to be that person. I told him everything he needed to do and
change in order to be baptized. I could tell it was a shock that I was
so forward. But I know that confusion comes if we are not straight to
the point. He is set to be baptized on October 25th.

We had a pretty amazing Micro-Burst storm roll through town this week
and surprisingly it did a lot of damage. Since there is not much rain
here the trees have very shallow roots so they can soak up the water
that's close to the service. Well add 70 mph winds and you know what
happens. I have never seen so many trees and walls and fences strewn
all over the place. We were inside for the most of it so we were not

The Phoenix temple celebration is coming up pretty fast and we as
missionaries are pretty excited. It is a very simple way for people to
talk to their friends and neighbors about the gospel. We have not got
any teaching appointments out of it yet but I know it will come for
sure. The main thing I learned this week is that there is more we can
do then just invite someone to one activity. We need to follow up with
our friends and keep them accountable. The initial invite is just the
beginning. If they feel the spirit their curiosity will be peaked and
they will want to do something more. It doesn't have to be straight to
missionary lessons, but it can be a ward activity, dinner and your
place, or if we're brave enough we can invite them to church. The
point is that we cannot just leave them hanging. We are their friend
and their initial contact for the spirit. Help them learn how to have
it everyday of their lives.

I have had a trial the past six weeks that has really forced me to
focus on my attitude. There are so many days that I believe I can't do
it. That I cannot move forward. But then I remember that God is real.
That his love for me in infinite and that I can do all things through
Christ, who strengthens me. I am so grateful for everything that has
happened. I bore my testimony yesterday in sacrament on this same
thing. I know people have it much worse then me. I just try to see the
good in all things. That's all we can do I guess. No point in
complaining about things you cannot change.

I hope you all have a great day! Thank you for the letters of love and
Until next week,

Elder Cole Safford

This is Larry. We help him build his house probably three times a
month. Nice guy. The little guy in the red shirt is Elder Stults.

Glendale Week 58 *September 24, 2014

Howdy everybody!

The time has been just flying right past us and it seems like there is nothing we can do to slow it down. Something that my dad told me was to always just love in the moment. Stop looking forward to the next big event in your life because you could be missing the daily opportunities for growth. I have found that I am looking forward to different events on my mission like preparation day or a baptism or Christmas and when I do that I am cutting myself short. Everyday here is a blessing and everyday there are things happening and people I talk to that could change my life. If I don't realize those things they will be gone. Opportunities will be missed and growth will cease. I know that not everyone is struggling with this but I thought you would like it if I shared my major learning of this week. 

Teaching has been pretty slim this week. Two of our investigators are actually pregnant and their due dates are in the next couple of days so trying to set up appointments is pretty hard. They don't know when they will go into labor so they are hesitant about committing to anything which is understandable. I couldn't imagine being pregnant. So they are on standby until they are ready. The rest of the people we are teaching are going great. It's always nice to see people take initiative in coming closer to Christ. You always know someone is sincerely wanting to become better, when they actually take the steps on their own. We have been working a lot with the members of the ward and inviting them to make invitations to their friends for the Phoenix Temple open house. Everyone is pretty excited. So am I! It's going to be great. This is going to be a good change for us to find new people to reach out to. Finding as a missionary goes up and down. It's like when we have people to teach we stop looking for new ones. Then after a while the people are either baptized or lose interest and we are back to trying to find. So what the moral of the story? Keep finding. Always find!

We had interviews with President Griffin, who is our mission president, and it was a great learning opportunity for me. Normally the interviews are like five minutes and nothing is really accomplished. But this time our president took 30 minutes with each of the missionaries. This allowed him to really get to know people and share the things that needed to be. He is a really honest and straight forward man. He just tells you how it is which I really like! There is no room for question once he tells you something!

I am still a district leader but President Griffin made my companion Elder Pemberton the "senior" companion. Which basically means he is in charge and has the responsibility on his shoulders. I still help him out everyday that I can but he has the final say if that makes sense. For his whole mission now he has only been the "junior" companion so president wants him to have a trial with me to help him learn the role and become comfortable before he is just thrown into the deep end. I thinks it's a pretty smart move. Elder Pemberton is learning a ton and oddly enough so have I which is always nice!

I had the chance to interview two people for baptism this week in different wards. It's my most favorite thing to do because the spirit is so strong and you know those people are the best that they have been their whole lives and just want to do the best everyday. I absolutely love doing it. This one girl named Kourtney had been attending church for 5 years! She is 17 and her mom just didn't want her to be baptized yet. So all this time she has gone to seminary and young women. But finally she is getting to make her own choice and she is choosing to be baptized! Pretty cool. 

Well I love you all and thank you for the kind words in emails and letters and prayers. Keep it up! Haha I need all the help I can get!

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford 
 This is the lady we baptized back in May. Her name is Jeanne Elliott. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Glendale Week 57 *September 15, 2014

Hi friends!

I want to just want to tell you all the biggest and best thing that I have ever learned while here in Arizona... You ready? Alright here it is: attitude is everything. Such a simple phrase and yet it changes out whole lives if we truly live it. Absolutely everything we go through can be for our benefit if we just look at it in that light. We need to see the greater picture and stop being so narrow minded. God is not a dumb guy. He knows every fiber of our being. He knows what we need exactly when we need it. Just because a silver platter doesn't end up on our doorstep with the knowledge we need written on a nice note doesn't mean that god doesn't give us the opportunities everyday to learn. I know that right now in my life is a testing period. The chance I have now to stay positive and keep working hard will help me for the rest of my life. How many of us have ever been stuck doing something that was once exciting but has lost its zest over time? Probably all of us. But if we can work hard all the way till the vary end then we will be able to stick with and accomplish life's greatest challenges. Well that's it. That's what I've learned. I think that regardless of anything else I learn that is what I really needed. That's why I'm here in this area for so long. Now comes the application. I have to practice what I preach and really put my whole heart into the work. Go hard or go home empty handed. It's my choice. Haha. 

This week was awesome. I have grown a ton and I am really figuring out how to let my companion take the lead and do the things that he thinks will work. I am finding that I have a bias when it comes to certain families just because I have been here so long. I'm all like "umm... I have already been to them... Three months ago..." Haha. But now that I have a fresh pair of eyes and a new mind I want to learn how to step aside and let the Holy Ghost do it's job dang it! That's a hard thing for me to do. But I am making progress and it is really working out. We have had such meaningful lessons with members and have been inviting them to invite their friends to the Phoenix Temple open house and they have all been so willing! It's wonderful! We are going to see a lot of growth and progress come from this in the next few months. We will be so busy! I better mentally prepare now!

We finally found out what we will be doing as missionaries for the Phoenix temple cultural celebration! We along with the 3000 youth will be singing a special arrangement of "called to serve" as well as "keepers of His light"! It's going to be super amazing. In keepers of his light there is a section of it where we get to do it in sign language! Crazy I know. They have sent out all the music and mp3 versions so that we can practice and get well acquainted with the music. And we have to practice the sign language portion and get it passed off haha. It's so hard. But it must be done!!

Our investigators have been standing us up this week so we have not had the opportunity to teach them as much as we would have liked. I am getting to the point where I want to be super bold with them and help them make the black and white choice. Either they are going to learn how to have a better god, spirit filled life or they need to stop leading us on. It's really heartbreaking when they cancel lessons last minute and then never reschedule you know?! This is a new week and we will do all we can to make it amazing!

Love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Cole Safford

 The one and only Elder Pemberton. He is wearing this game called butt head where you throw balls at his head and he has to catch them for points haha.
We heard a HUGE crash right outside our window late Tuesday night. This car rolled four times. Luckily no one was hurt too bad. But I thought this was a really cool photo. 

Glendale Week 56 *September 8, 2014

Good afternoon!

As I sit here and write this email a downpour is ensuing just outside
the window! It is such an amazing thing. Rain. I absolutely love it.
We definitely do not get enough of it here but the times that it does
come are pretty special. It would be even better if brother Fullmer
had a fireplace but since hardly anyone does in Arizona I am not too
bummed. The rain will last all day but by tomorrow it will be back up
to 90 degrees and we will be out riding our bikes having a good time.
I think that has been one of the reasons I have not gone crazy this
past week. I have the ability to just hop on my bicycle and leave
everything behind. It reminds me of home and I can think so much

This past week was tough. But not in a discouraging way. In a "I want
to be more efficient and smarter so that this doesn't happen again"
kind of way. We have a ton of people that are semi interested in
learning more and they would progress greatly if we could just meet
with them on a weekly basis but for some reason they evade us. We were
unable to meet with any of them this week and it was pretty lame. We
tried and tried to get in contact via text and calling and even going
by their homes but to no avail. Normally I would be in the mindset
that I want to quit but this week was cool. I had my mind more open to
the idea that everyone has their own timetable. They all have so many
things going on in their lives. We don't know what those things are or
the weight they are carrying on their shoulders. I need to just be
patient with them. I need to show them that I care but not letting
them fall by the wayside but also giving them a little space. It was a
pretty great experience that I know will bless my life for the better.

We did however get two new referrals from a member of a different ward
for some prepared people. We gave them each a call to see if they were
interested in setting up an appointment but they answered back way
better. Each of them basically said "I am not interested... I'm going
to do it for sure. I'm ready to better my life and the church is how
I'm going to do that!" It was terrific. We were so stoked for them. We
set those appointments for this coming week so I will have to update
you on them next Monday.

I had the ability to go to a mission leadership council on Tuesday and
hear from President Griffin. He talked a lot about his vision for the
mission. He is making a bunch of changes according to the inspiration
that he is receiving on our behalf. He is really emphasizing that we
as the leaders of the mission need to help the younger missionaries to
prepare to become the leaders. He really wants us to turn outward and
help them see that they are good enough and that they know enough to
lead people. If we start to do this when a missionary is first out
then he or she will be able to be a leader earlier in their mission
and near the end they could train a new missionary and help them to
grow that much more. I am pretty excited about where it will take us.

Some of my most revelatory experiences on my mission have been while
on exchanges with my leaders. This week I went on one with my zone
leader and best missionary friend Elder Jason Barrus. I knew him when
I first came into the mission field and now we have the opportunity to
serve around one another again. We had  a great day on Saturday but
the crowning moment was just as we were wrapping up. We drove up to
the new Phoenix Temple site and just looked at the temple. It started
to drizzle so we got into the car. Well the heavens opened. It was so
perfect. We just sat in the car and listened to the rain beat upon the
roof and felt the spirit so strong. I know God loves me. I felt it
that night.

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week. Make sure to make
it great. Go out and do something that you have wanted to do for a
while now. Just do it. Don't think! Thank you to everyone that has
written me letters. I love them.

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

 Arizona Phoenix Temple with the rain on the windshield.

Elder Barrus and I trying to get a picture together while driving.

Didn't work out too well haha.

Glendale Week 55 *September 1, 2014

Hello hello, 

This week was full of changes. Transfers were on Wednesday and since Elder Thomas left for Brazil I knew that for sure I was getting a new companion. Now whether I was moving areas or not was a different story all together. On Tuesday we for the text and elder Crane was the only one getting transferred. Which meant that I am spending another six weeks here in this same area. I was a little bummed because change is always good and it helps you to not get lazy but I also know that there is a reason that I need to be here. I just have to find out what it is. 

Well Wednesday rolled around and we went down to the transfer building. There were a ton of changes going on throughout the mission so instead of having only the people being transferred go he brought the entire mission there. Being a new mission president he wants to make a few changes in the mission so bringing everyone together was an easy way to let everyone know of those changes. My new companions name is Tyler Pemberton. He has been out for 15 months and is from Houston Texas. He really likes to collect things and play online video games. He is pretty knowledgeable on just about everything so I am never wondering what stuff is because he lets me know about it haha. 

We had the opportunity to receive some new referrals from a member across town which has greatly increased our teaching opportunities. I am excited to work hard and get the things done that need to be done. Most of our time this past week has been spent introducing Elder Pemberton to the ward auxiliary leaders and just working with them to find out what route to take in this wonderful work. 

Nothing too exciting happened this week and I'm sorry about that. I will try to make some memorable experiences next week so that I have more to write about. I love you all and hope that you have a great week filled with amazingness. Remember who you are and don't do many thing that I wouldn't do. 

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford 

Glendale Week 54 *August 25, 2014

Hello everybody!

This past week was spent getting everything prepared for Vanesa Duarte
to be baptized so I will apologize now if that is all I really talk
about. We met with Vanesa one last time on Thursday night to go over
all the little things that she needed to know about Saturday. We had
the Young Women's president and her daughter come to the lesson with
us to help explain what she needed to wear and how to do her hair. All
the things that don't really matter to boys but make or break a girls
day, you know? The lesson was super effective and we had a blast
talking with her. She knew everything to be baptized but my only worry
was that she wasn't fully committed in her heart. But faith is needed
if we will ever see the blessings so I took that leap.

Saturday was the big day. We drove down to the church at 12:30 to fill
up the font and set up the chairs. Our Ward mission leader Ammon took
us out to Sonic for a burger while the font filled. We got back to the
church and had a little over an hour to wait so I ate and Elder Thomas
practiced his piano piece that he was performing at the baptism.
People starting arriving at around 1:45 and there were more people
there then I had expected. But the most important person, Vanesa, was
no where to be found. We waited, and waited for what seemed like
forever. Finally she showed up and had to run in to get changed into
her little white jumper. She brought a couple of non member friends
which was pretty cool. The baptism went great and she only needed to
go under once which is always a good start. After she got up in front
of everyone and bore her testimony which was powerful. It made me
happy. Her mom was supposed to give the closing prayer but instead she
got up there and bore her testimony then just went and sat down! Don't
get me wrong the testimony was great but everyone didn't know what to
do. Finally I just stood up and said the prayer haha. It was a good
day for sure. I had the privilege to confirm her a member of the
church on Sunday which was fantastic!

It really hit Elder Thomas on Sunday that he was leaving for Brazil in
two days. He leaned over and said that it was going to be the last
time for 18 months that he would hear sacrament in English haha. We
had dinner with our elders quorum president who served his mission in
Taiwan so he gave some advice for going to a foreign mission. Elder
Thomas soaked it all up and got even more excited about the whole
thing. Sister McKinney offered to give Elder Thomas a last descent
haircut and there was no way he was going to pass up on that! We went
over to their house and there were two other member families there. We
just hung out and I felt so comfortable. I didn't feel like a visitor
in the ward or in the home. I felt like they wanted me there and that
was where I belonged. It was neat. Elder Thomas left for he mission
home on Monday afternoon. It made me miss home pretty bad. But I know
my day will come when I go home. I don't want to have any regrets.
That would be no bueno.

Well I will write you all again next week. Love you!

Elder Cole Safford

Rachel, Vanessa and the little one is Elizabeth

Last picture of me with Elder Thomas