Monday, December 8, 2014

Peoria Week 68 *December 1, 2014


Thanksgiving here for me was wonderful. Our new mission president is a great guy and wants us to enjoy our time here in the mission field so he allowed us to do just that. At 7:00 am we went and took some off-road trails in our truck to get to this field that members were having a turkey bowl game at. There were WAY to many people there at the beginning but it went down to about 20 people towards the end and it was way better. I even caught the winning touchdown pass! After that we went and played some basketball at the church with some other missionaries. We were all pretty tired but made it work. I am trying to get decent at basketball because Shane, Statton, and Matt all love it and I know they won't want me on their team if I suck! The members we live with took us in for dinner which was nice because we didn't have to dress in church clothes and we didn't have to stay around for too long. Then we just hung out the rest of the night. Pretty sweet. We have way too many pumpkin pie left overs and too much turkey haha. 

We taught our new investigator Brenda for the second time at Bishop Owens home. We wanted to teach her the restoration but when we tried to start the lesson with a prayer she wouldn't say it. We talked to her about it for a little and then it turned into the whole lesson on prayer. She didn't think she was worthy to receive answers to her prayers and even went as far to say that God wasn't even listening to her. We tried to help her understand it is an act of faith to pray. You have to show faith in God before he will manifest his answers to you. Faith is a huge aspect in all our church doctrine. Without faith you cannot move forward. You are stagnant. At the end of the lesson we felt she understood the doctrine of prayer and is ready to do it on her own. She will be and is amazing. 

Bishop Owens in the Sun Valley is amazing. He is SO missionary oriented and is always trying to get people motivated to do it. He is a good example of it though so I think the invitations mean more. He talks the talk but man can he also walk the walk. He gave us a huge list of people to visit and we are working hard to make good things come from these potentially amazing investigators. 

Christmas is right around the corner and the church is coming out with a whole new initiative called "He is the gift". Meaning that so much of the world has turned to stores and goods to try to find the joy that comes from the Christmas season but they are missing the whole point.  Christ was the first and greatest gift that we could ever receive. With out him there is nothing. Whiteout him we can never return to life with our families forever. We have to discover him, embrace him and share the great message that he brought to the world. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week. Talk to you soon

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Peoria Week 67 *November 24, 2014

Hey family and friends!

This week was an answer to prayers on behalf of my companion and I. We were starting to struggle just a little but here only covering the Young Single Adult ward because there is only so much you can do to find new people to teach if members of the ward are not giving you ideas of friends and neighbors. I'm not bashing on the ward, all I'm saying is that the teaching was getting pretty slim and the future didn't look too bright. We prayed and fasted a bunch for a miracle. God is pretty mysterious at some points in time and with certain answers. He came through but not in the way that we thought. We wanted new investigators for the YSA ward but instead we went to the transfer meeting and were assigned a family ward to cover on top of covering the YSA! We now have so much work to do that we don't have enough time in the day to keep up with it all! It is probably one of the best problems that we could have. This doesn't mean that we stop trying to find people to go to the YSA and just forget about that obligation. But it does mean that we have plenty of teaching opportunities in the family ward to keep us busy while we seek for more YSA teaching. 

We started off on Saturday teaching an investigator that had taken a "break" from the missionaries in the past. Bishop Owens had his home open to us to teach her and it went amazing. We wanted to get to know her and her story and lucky for us she was an open book. She spilled the beans and really let us know everything. It was really a great experience. We taught her about faith and used chapter 32 in the book of Alma. She responded very well and understood the need to exercise her desire and build her faith. At the end of the lesson we invited her to be baptized and she said yes. We told her to pray about a date, so next time we meet with her we will be set to go!  She really is a great lady and is moving forward fast. 

Other then that we really haven't had too many things that are worthwhile to write about. Not that they weren't great, they just happen so often I don't want to repeat myself. Missionary work is great. There is no doubt about that. It is hard and frustrating at times but fulfilling. I know that this is were I need to be and where many 19 year olds need to be. My life is changed for the better and I couldn't be more thankful. This season is one of blessings and giving thanks. But that shouldn't be the only time of the year we do it. Thank you to everyone that has gotten me this far. It has been great and will continue to be. Love you all! I hope you have an amazing thanksgiving and I will write some exciting things next week. 

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Peoria Week 66 * November 18, 2014


This week has been a lot of fun and there have been so many rare
opportunities come my way that wouldn't normally happen but since I am
a missionary i have been able to be apart of them! The first and
probably the biggest opportunity was getting to be a part of the
Phoenix Temple Cultural Celebration. For the past few months they have
been telling us to practice singing a new version of "called to serve"
as well as the sign language for another song "Keepers of His Light".
So we spent countless numbers of hours working ourselves to death
trying to learn this sign language and when the time came to perform
we pulled through! It was so great! The day of the celebration went
like this : we got to the school at 11:45 am to begin our one and only
practice session. They told us where to go what to do and how loud to
sing and then it was off to the races. We were lead by a guy named
William Joseph who wrote most of the music and lives in our stake. We
got to run through the March for called to serve and then practice the
sign language once and then it was a lot of sitting around. We watched
the entire cultural celebration 2 times as they worked at becoming
perfect and just hung out waiting for our time to shine. There was
multiple stakes there so there was tons of members from my previous
areas that I got to say hello to. That might have been the best part.
So many people were stoked that the missionaries were there and gave
us high fives and cheered. The prophet came at 7:00pm and we got to
perform the final show. It went flawlessly and everyone did great. If
you watch the video I am in the second row holding a Brazilian flag!
It was so much fun. We got home right before 10:00 and hit the pillow.

The next day was the dedication of the temple itself. They have three
different dedication ceremonies so that everyone gets the chance to
see it. We went to the first two sessions just so that we could spread
the talks and see what the difference was. They were both great! It
was a unique experience in which the spirt was strong. Later that same
night a bunch of us missionaries were invited to go help get the
temple all put together do that it could start functioning. There was
a big group of us so it didn't take very long to accomplish the task.
We had to be insanely careful because if we nicked a wall then that
would delay the start date of the temple days as they fix it up. That
was also a really rewarding experience.

On Friday night I was able to go down to the Gilbert temple to see a
less active family, the Rowes, that I had taught in my very first area
a year ago, get sealed together for time and all eternity. One of my
most favorite members of all time was the one to drive us down to the
temple so it was amazing to see him and his family. The sealing was
Amazing! The family was so excited and crying and just full of smiles.
They had no idea that the missionaries were going to be able to come
so when they saw us all it was a surprise. We took lots of pictures
outside the temple and then went to dinner. It was a lot of fun to
reminisce and just see how they were all doing. I am grateful that I
was able to go and that it was such an amazing experience.

Thank you for everything! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

1. The Rowe family and missionaries.
2. The Crandells. One of my favorites.
3. Classic jumping picture with the Assistants to the president.
4. All the youth at the cultural celebration.