Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Peoria Week 65 *November 10,2014

Well hello everyone!

As I am sure many of you know based on church news and me telling you
last week, the Phoenix Temple is being dedicated this week. So they
have to make sure the whole temple is absolutely perfect! It's
probably cleaner and just as perfect as NASA. Haha. Well after having
over 10,000 people walk through the open house on a specific path the
carpet needed to be cleaned. And unlike myself they weren't just going
to do a halfway Harry job. They recruited 30 missionaries including
myself and elder Allen to go and help move out every price of
furniture in the whole temple. It was the most amazing experience I
have had in that temple. It was pretty tedious work just because they
didn't want you to ding any walls or any doors. But it was a work that
was well worth doing. There are way more chairs in those temples then
you would imagine. I think we counted 500 in this one. One by one we
brought them into the storage under the temple. When we got into the
celestial room there were these two identical 12ft long banana shaped
couched that didn't come apart. They each weighed about 300 pounds and
needed 8 missionaries to carry. It was a bit ridiculous. We almost
killed two missionaries and about 20 walls but we made it down to 3
flights of stairs and through the 9 doorways without any incidents! It
was a miracle for sure. After we got all of the furniture out the
engineers took us on an inclusive tour of the temple. It was even more
beautiful when it was bare. They told us all about the symbolism and
the special materials used. It was great. The best part though was
getting to go into the "Brides Room". I literally can not put into
words how pretty and intricate everything in that room is. Those
brides will feel like absolute queens as they look into the three
sided mirrors and crystal chandeliers hanging. It was a once in a
lifetime opportunity because grooms are not allowed in those rooms
when you get married. They showed us the rest of the temple and even
took us into the basement to see the foundation and the work that goes
on behind the scene. Overall it was a once I a lifetime opportunity
and a great blessing.

We are still working with Brian twice a week. He is learning a ton and
is having a blast doing it. He hasn't had any exposure to religion so
we are starting from the very absolute beginning with everything and
taking it all slow. He is picking up on it and wanting to make changes.
His changes are going to be gradual but I know that one day he will be
able to make them stick. He came to church all on his own this week
and he was even in a white shirt and tie!  That was the most
surprising thing ever! We are excited to see what the future holds for
him and where he decides to take things.

It was fast a testimony meeting for us this week and that is the
biggest change in the ward I am in now and my last one. The last one
had tons of little babies and they were always crying. Their was snack
bags crunching and toys rattling. But in this ward there in NONE of
that. It is absolutely dead silent. It is actually really nice and relaxing. It
gives me time to think and ponder what I want to be and how much
better I can really become. Which is a lot. On Wednesday we had a
leadership meeting. It was good but it was a bit long. I firmly
believe that less meetings with more precise shorter ones would be so
much more effective. But that's not my call so for the time being I
just go with it and make the best of it all. We learned a lot and have
some improvements to make!

Well I love you all a ton and thank you for all you do for me. I want
to congratulate Hannah on her big announcement and Jon for pulling the
trigger and putting a ring on the thing he desires most! Haha.

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

The moving crew

Elder Allen and myself

Monday, November 3, 2014

Peoria Week 64 *November 3, 2014

Hello everyone!

So this week was the final week for the Phoenix Temple Open house.
There was a big push to get as many people there as possible and we
made that happen for sure. The temple presidency was saying that the
tours were supposed to stop going at 8:00pm but there were so many
people that they had to let the busses run until 9:30pm. They estimate
over 170,000 people have gone through the temple in just the past 3
weeks. There has already been so many great opportunities for people
to teach those that have gone through. They always have little "how
did we do?" cards that people can fill out after the tour. We got to
read some of them and so many people of other faiths had nothing but
nice things to say about the building, the experience and especially
the way that they felt. A few years ago in general conference there
was a great parable that explains the importance of helping people
identify exactly what they felt while in the temple. It goes like this

"A merchant man seeking precious jewels found at last the perfect
pearl. He had the finest craftsman carve a superb jewel box and line
it with blue velvet. He put his pearl of great price on display so
others could share his treasure. He watched as people came to see it.
Soon he turned away in sorrow. It was the box they admired, not the

The pearl in the temple is the spirit of God. It is his house and that
is where he resides. We know how valuable the spirit is in our lives
and how much we love God. So we build these miraculous temples for
Him. They are the box. They are beautiful, intricate and amazing but
that is not why we build them. When people go through the temple they
will feel the spirit no doubt. But it is up to us to explain what it
is, where it comes from and how we can have it in our lives more

This past week we had stake conference and since I cover a Young
Single Adult ward I got to go to their conference. It was a great
meeting. They talked about dating... A lot. Haha. I guess that is the
whole point of going to one of those wards in the first place but they
really hounded it. The rest of the time they had recently baptized
people and people that had come back from inactivity speak and bare
testimonies. It was super powerful. They were all so prepared and knew
what needed to be said. I liked it a lot.

A few weeks ago a sister missionary in our zone told me that there was
a family in the ward she was covering that wanted to take me out to
lunch. I was a little confused but see cider to give the number a
call. It turned out to be Bryce Hays and his wife from Simi Valley!
They moved out here for school and work and happen to live in our
area! We set up a time and went there for Sunday dinner and it was
great. I had a great time talking to someone familiar and just being
able to relax. I was super grateful for it!

Halloween came and went and it was simply another day as a missionary
haha. No dressing up. No candy. We came in at 6:00pm which is required
by our mission president and then we had a nice little fire and
roasted some marshmallows and made s'mores. It was pretty relaxing but
the next morning I was just as tired as ever haha.

Thank you for everything! I got some letters this week and a great
package from my mom!  Now my house smells great and I am a happy kid.
Talk to you soon.

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Peoria Week 63 *October 27, 2014


We did something that has not been done for quite some time in this ward... We had a new investigator at church! I will give you the back story as to how we were able to find him and how we got him to come to church. We got a text from church headquarters with a name, address and a first name, Brian. We put it off for a few days and forgot about the whole thing, but one night we didn't know who to go by. We couldn't think of anyone that really needed us to stop by. Then Elder Allen remembered about the referral! We called him to see if we could swing by and he was so excited! He told us to come right away and talk to him. We drove over and he was sitting out in his garage waiting for us with chairs set up. We found out that he was drunk. But not like the sloppy making no sense drunk but enough to be noticeable. The visit went great besides that. He is just a little lost. He is not happy with his life at the current stage and he wants to find the happiness and joy that only God can give him. It was neat to see this tatted, pierced up guy break down and see that he wasn't reaching his potential. We are way excited for him and the path he wants to go down. He came to church on Sunday and he was a little nervous because he has only been to church once in his whole life. But everyone was super nice and made him feel welcomed. People were excited that we had someone new there so that made it easier for them to fellowship him. 

I really hope that is finding this new investigator will get the members excited and help them to find the desire to do missionary work themselves. It is hard to be so passionate about something that I do not have total control over. That has been a big learning experience for me. I am finding that it takes a lot of love and even more patience. I would love to just be able to find tons of new people to teach every week but the best teaching opportunities come from the referrals that members give us. If the investigator is referred from a member they have an immediate friend, support and someone to turn to. They know they are loved and the experience is all around better. I am excited for the day that we all work together and are on the same page. 

Elder Allen and I have been getting along great! We are laughing a ton and really figuring out how each other works. We are a bit different in our approaches but that is a good thing in most cases. Because of that we can work with groups differently and apply what we want in a way that best suits their needs. We live with another set of missionaries that are just as wild as we are so its a party every time we are together. Sometimes it is a bit distracting and we have to slow it down a bit but we are figuring it out. 

We had a huge mission wide service day this week. We all got together in the dirt of Avondale to help paint six pretty run down homes. It was a blast to get to serve such humble people but every better to see all of my friends from the mission and catch up. 

In other news I am learning how to play basketball haha. Me and a ball don't go together as well as some handlebars but Elder Allen is being awfully patient with me. The roommates I have now all love to play so if I don't play I am left out! So I am having to take baby steps and just get better each time. It's a work in progress for sure. 

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week and a great time trick-or-treating on Friday night. Thank you for everything you do. Keep it up!

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford
The household. Left to right. Fackrell, Allen, Searle, me

Peoria Week 62 * October 20, 2014

Buenos tardes mi amigos!

I really hope that everything is going just great for you where ever
you might be. The sun is still shining and tomorrow will be a new day.
Sometimes that all I have to keep telling myself. And other times I
really wish the days would not end. I guess that's the trial of it all
right? There are good days and there are bad. This week was full of

The good days were not just good but they were great. Since I am a
zone leader I get to go on a few more exchanges with different elders
in the zone. They are mainly the district leader but if we feel
another companionship needs a little training or help in some area of
missionary work then we can go on one with them too. I went on one
exchange with Elder Handy and one with Elder Rodriguez. Elder Handy
has been out for 20 months and is winding down. It is taking a toll on
him so I really wanted to help light a little fire under him and keep
him going strong. We had a great day filled with contacting people on
the street and appointments with a bunch of less active members. We
were on bikes so I got to have a little fun with that too. I'm not
going to lie and say he was t impressed with my wheelie skills. They
have become quite impressive. We had some good heart to heart talks
and I really was able to find out where he is coming from. He is a
great kid and is an amazing missionary. At the end of the exchange he
complimented me on my maturity and my leadership skills. It was kinda
weird. I was thinking that I did a bad job haha but I guess the lord
really does help you accomplish the things he needs you to.

Elder Rodriguez is from Argentina so his English is getting up to
speed. His mom taught him English back home so that definitely helped
him. He has only been out for 8 weeks but man he is just cruising
along. You would never guess he has been out such a short time. He is
a hard worker and a lot of fun to be around. I got to drive our truck
in our area and boy was that a treat! I haven't driven in 14 months so
I was a little rusty for the first little bit but it all came back
after 10 minutes or so haha. We had a tough time getting into the
doors of people's homes but that didn't stop us from having a great

We have a less active named Andy who is amazing. He is setting tons of
goals to come back to the church and get himself to the temple. We had
a lesson where we taught him about faith, repentance, baptism,
receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. We
asked him tons of questions and he basically taught us the whole
thing. We ware excited to help him along his journey. He has a tough
living situation and work schedule but he is making the most of it. We
set a date to go to the Phoenix Temple open house with him and that
will be great. He is excited!

We went to the temple open house as a district on Friday and it was
AMAZING! It is such a pretty temple. From the outside it doesn't look
so big but actually it is pretty big on the inside. Their is symbolism
is everything and the agave plant is designed into the whole temple.
The place was packed with people with is not a bad thing at all. So
many teaching opportunities will come from this. We are excited that
we get to sing in the temple celebration with the youth and be apart
of the whole thing.

I hope you all have a great week! I want to thank you for the emails
and letters. They are always welcomed. Love you all.

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Peoria Week 61 *October 18, 2014

Hey hey hey!

Transfers came and I found myself in a brand new area with a new companion. But not to worry they are both great. For the first time in my mission I get to cover a YSA ward which is for singles from the ages of 18-32. Let me tell you it is a huge change coming from a family ward to this! Luckily I have an amazing companion who has been here for a little while and has the show on lock. He knows what's going on and that has been very comforting to me. His name is Elder Zach Allen from Lewiston Utah. He has been here in Arizona serving for 18 months. Which means he is in the prime of his mission. He is trained and ready to swing at full speed. We are going to work hard. At first I though the relationship we had would be rocky but luckily we have found our similarities and have become good friends. Like my mom and dad always say "Attitude is everything". I believe that now more then ever. 

We live in a casita behind some members and we have a pretty sweet little set up. The casita is big and has 3 rooms and a nice living room. Right now we have another set of missionaries living with us while their apartment gets renovated. Which means more fun for us. They are also zone leaders so we go to the same meetings and are able to have a good time. The house is a little messy with suitcases due to the lack of storage room but we are making due. It has just been a week of firsts for me and the best one is that we have a TRUCK. Yep that's right. No more bikes for me. It's great. We don't sweat and we never have to ask for rides. My hair always looks great and I can wear whatever I want that would have otherwise been ruined on a bike. The only downfall is that I am way more tired at night as we are getting close to like 7:00 and I don't get to ride a bike, which I really do enjoy. 

Being in a YSA Ward is a lot different because instead of working with complete families and helping them the best we can, we are literally look for single people. One at a time. It is a lot harder then you think. We work a ton through referrals from both members in our ward and other missionaries in other wards. Our members have been working on the inviting part of missionary work. They haven't got their yet but we have seen glimmers of hope. Our bishop, relief society and elders quorum president are amazing. They have been a big blessing. It's weird sitting in sacrament meeting and not hearing the crying of little kids or the crunching of snack foods haha. 

Things are going really great here and I am excited for what the future holds. We have been working hard and that has lead to happiness. I know that if we all lose ourselves and focus on doing what God wants then we can never go wrong. The lord has promised it and he never breaks a promise. He also said that. So that's two birds with one stone. I love you all a ton and hope you have a great day! 

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford 
Our Sunburst ward mission leader Ammon Taylor 

Elder Pemberton