Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

Peoria Week 98 *July 6. 2015

Hey there!

This week was a tough one for Elder Bunn. On Monday we decided that it
would be a good idea to go jump around on a trampoline at this place
called SkyZone. We were all having a blast for about 10 minutes and
then someone tried to convince Elder Bunn to do a backflip. Mind you
that he has never done a front or a back flip ever on his life. I told
him I would stand next to him and try to spot him. Well he didn't
exactly know what he was doing and no one told him what to do so he
just trusted that I would catch him if things were going to end badly.
Well let's just say I was kicked off the Olympic spotters team due to
a lack of skill. He totally only made it halfway and landed straight
on his neck in the worst way possible. He sat out for the next 50
minutes while we all finished our jumping session. We got him checked
out by a chiropractor and everything was fine except that his neck
muscles were super sore for the next few days. Then on the 4th of July
we had to be someplace safe after 6:00pm so we all met up at the stake
center to play some basketball. Then it was Elder Bunn's ankles turn
to get hurt. He went up for a pass and came down on top of another
elders foot and totally rolled his entire ankle. It was all swollen
and bruised up. In our stake we have some podiatrists so they took a
look at it and nothing severe was done. He did have to cruise around
church on Sunday with crutches. It was pretty funny.

For the 4th of July we had a normal missionary day until 6:00 and that
is when we went to play some sports. After the incident with the ankle
we went back to our house with some other missionaries and climbed on
the roof to watch the fireworks that we put on by the Peoria Sports
Complex. It was a good show and we had a blast hanging out, talking
and drinking too much Mountain Dew. For our YSA family home evening
someone had the fantastic idea to play Quidditch like in Harry Potter.
Let me tell you what! That was the best dang game I have ever played.
Everyone has to pretend to fly around on a broom and there are
positions and different plays. It was a blast. I had the chance to be
the Chaser, which is the only person that can shoot the ball for
points. Over the course of the game I scored 8 shots! It was so much
fun. And a bonus was they got some sweet pictures haha.

Rob and Alexis are still progressing towards baptism. We had a really
great lesson with them all about the plan of salvation and where we go
after this life. Normally this is a source of some serious questions
from investigators but they both accepted it all and we're excited
about the fact that they could live with their family forever. I know
that if they would just make the effort to come to church consistently
that they would be ready for baptism. We are working on that part. I
am excited to just keep helping them and I know that whenever they
decide this is the right path for them then they will be fantastic
members of the church. We have a bunch of other investigators that are
so close to wanting to keep taking the missionary lessons but for now
they are just unsure. We are working with the ward members to help
fellowship these people and invited them to activities. We should see
some good things happening soon.

Thanks you all for the things you do each day. Keep being awesome and
I will talk to you next week. Love you!

Elder Cole Safford

Friday, July 3, 2015

Peoria Week 97 *June 29, 2015

Hey hey!!

This week was great! I think one of my favorite things that ever
happens to us is when we plan to go to a house and share a message but
when we show up the family is in the middle of preparing dinner for
the family. Instead of suing us away and telling us that is not a good
time they welcome listen with open arms and a full plate of food. This
past week that exact thing happened to us at 8 o'clock one night. We
knocked on the front door and nobody answered but we could hear people
talking in the backyard so we looked over the fence and there they
were having a big old barbecue. So we hollered at them and they
invited us in for a burger and to share a message with everyone! It's
not every day that you get to have two free meals back to back but
when that day does come it is glorious. Haha I have come to realize
that a lot of missionary work is just simply becoming people's
friends. People just want to feel loved and if you can help them to
feel that and to be comfortable most of the time they will feel
comfortable letting you teach their friends. I have really learned the
power and asking heartfelt questions and then sincerely listening to
the people answers. It helps to build that trust and show them that I
care more about them than I do about the numbers. I think it's a good
thing for life as well so I hope to continue it when I get home.

Through our iPads we have the ability to receive referrals from
LDS.org. We were sent an email with a address and the name Divine and
told he requested a prayer from missionaries. At first when we walked
up I thought that he only wanted to mess with us but after talking to
him a little more we came to find out that he had simply meant some
missionaries on the side of the road and offer them some water and
they offered to send missionaries to pray with him. We asked him about
his family and found out that his wife is going through cancer for the
third time. You could tell that he loved his family and he poured out
his heart and would to us. We are just two kids but this man trusted
us and showed me that you don't have to be the same religion to get
along. He has a deep belief in God and in the hope that miracles can happen
as he believes in Christ and shows it through his actions. He was a Muslim
but converted to Christianity when he found the bible to be the word
of God. He has a strong testimony that could easily be felt as he
talked about his wife. We offered to say the prayer and he grabbed our
hands and we formed a circle in the middle of his driveway. Elder Bunn
offered a very heartfelt prayer and Divine couldn't stop from giving
thanks to God and to us. It was a really neat experience that I know
will change all of our lives.

We have a part member family where the wife is a member but isn't
regularly attending and the husband Nick is a member. Now you might be
thinking that I have mentioned these people before but it's not the
motorcycle painter from a few weeks ago. Coincidentally this new guys
name just happens to be Nick as well hahaha. Anyway we have been
teaching them on and off for a few weeks but is week they came to
sacrament meeting and also had us over for dinner. We ate breakfast
food which is always a treat and had a great lesson on the plan of
salvation. Nick accepts everything we tech but is hesitant about
joining the church right now. We will keep doing what we can and I
know eventually he will come around. Alexis and Rob are still going
great and wanting to meet with us which is never a bad thing.

Oh my word the other day a new member family moved in to an apartment
and the bishop asked us if we would come and help. Well we were on
splits with a member that night so I went with the member to the move
and Elder Bunn went with the other member to a lesson. I was in my
missionary clothes and we moved in the entire fully furnished
apartment in 1 hour in 115 heat! It was insane. I don't think I have
ever sweated so much in my life hahahaha. It was fantastic.

Well I love you all and appreciate all you do for me. Thanks for the
letters and packages that you still all send. They are great. Talk to
you next week.

Elder Cole Safford

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Peoria Week 96 *June 22, 2015

Hey hey everyone!

After a lot of hard work and patience we are seeing some serious
blessings come into our area! It has been long awaited but now that it
is here I am so excited at what the next couple of weeks look like. To
start off we found a new investigator in our young single adult ward
named Mike. He lives in Maryland but it engaged to a girl in our ward.
He is taking the missionary lessons in Maryland but wants to be
baptized out here. In order to do that we have to teach him all of the
lessons again. So we started with lesson one over Skype this past
week. He is so excited about learning what he has to do in order to be
baptized and what blessings will come to him as he does so. We are
going to the lessons pretty quick because he just went through them
with the missionaries in Maryland. He is scheduled to be baptized on
July 18 and we meet with him just about every other day over Skype. We
have different members of our ward sitting in on the lessons so that
he can meet some of the people in our ward. His fiancé is really
excited that he is doing this for himself and not just for her. He
will only be in Arizona for a few weeks so that is why we have to
teach them over Skype before he even gets here. It's a little awkward
teaching over the Internet but we make do and spirit can still be

We have a few other potential investigators that want to meet with us
on a regular basis. It is awesome to see people change their lives
after so long of being in contact with the church. They really do have
a deep desire to come closer to their Savior and I love to teach them
and help them feel the spirit. We don't have any that are scheduled to
be baptized just yet but we are working towards that. Alexis and Rob
are still doing awesome and still progressing. We meet with them twice
a week now and they are still excited to learn about the gospel. It's
a process that we are happy to be a part of.

We have been trying to find a way to locate those individuals that are
ready for the gospel message. And the best way that we have found so
far is through the members of our wards. We have been trying to set up
lessons like crazy and go in and first build their faith and
conversion before we invite them to help others do the same. This way
they know without a doubt that the things we teach as missionaries
really do change people's hearts and gets the spirit into people's
homes. That really is the biggest thing. The spirit. I love meeting
with members and learning from their experiences and seeing what they
do in their daily lives. I have really become a people person hahaha.
It's a miracle haha.

We had transfers last week and quite a few of our missionaries got
moved but man we got some really amazing ones in return. They are all
excited about the work and really trying to do the best they can!
That's all we can ask for. They are helping me probably more then I am
am helping them. Thank you all for everything you do. I really
appreciate it and I know you are making a difference.

Until next week,

Elder Cole Safford

Peoria Week 95 *June 16, 2015

Hello to everyone!

This week was transfers and to nobody's surprise Elder Bunn and I will
be staying together for the next six weeks. President Griffin had
already told us that was his plan but today solidified it. We are
excited for what the next month holds in store for us. We have a few
referals that we will be starting to work with that come to us in July
and we are still working with Alexis and Rob. We are in full swing
with going on exchanges with the members of our zone and so far it has
been an absolute blast. It makes the week go by way to fast but it's

This week we were able to teach Alexis but Rob was at work. We read
though the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi chapter 32 which talks all about
faith and the need that we have for the Holy Ghost in our lives.
Alexis is a sponge and really wants to learn it all. She is so dang
close to being baptized but is just a little nervous about the big
commitment and lifestyle change that it will be for her and her
family. She will be baptized for sure it just will take a little while
for her to make the jump. Which isn't a bad inch at all. It shows she
cares about living up to the promises and the commitment.

Elder Bunn and I are doing really well together. He loves missionary
work and working hard. He is helping me to stay focused and oriented
in our goals. I am so excited for the next few weeks. It really will
be a good time and a blessing. Thank you all for the prayers and the
love. It means a ton. Sorry it's short.

Elder Cole Safford

Peoria Week 94 *June 8, 2015

Hey there!

Like I said in my last weeks email president Griffin has challenged Elder Bunn and I to go on exchanges for the day with each member of our zone in 8 weeks. We have 16 missionaries which makes for 2 exchanges per week! It sounds like a ton and it kinda is but at the same time it is really awesome. We are having the opportunity to go to other missionaries areas and learn from what they are doing as well as share our insights on what they can do better. Since I have been out quite a bit longer then most of the missionaries in our zone President Griffin wanted me to share my experiences with the younger ones and help them to not make the same mistakes so they can become better missionaries earlier. It's a dang good idea haha. This week I went with elder Rodriguez into their Spanish area and got to hear nothing but words I couldn't understand but feel a spirit that is real. It is incredible that even though I have no idea what is being talked about I can feel that the words are genuine and Christ is at the center of the conversation. It is a really cool experience. I also went with an old companion of mine Elder Zaugg. Remember him from forever ago? Well he is back in the same area where he and I served together so it was like a mini reunion. It was a blast. The best part about it was seeing the changes that were in him and then hearing the changes that he has seen in me. It's weird but you don't feel like you change a whole lot and then you see someone from your past and they can point out everything that's different in a heart beat.

I had an extremely uncommon experience on Friday. The assistants to the president told me that they and president Griffin had made a choice to have me and one other missionary go down to Scottsdale and help the missionaries in that mission to better understand how to use the iPad for missionary purposes. I really didn't know why they were choosing me but went along with it. The Scottsdale mission just got iPads like two weeks ago and are still trying to figure out how everything works. Well my mission has had them for just under two years so we have learned from our mistakes and have quite a bit of knowledge as to how to be productive and use the tools properly. I just got up in front of everyone and felt like I vomited tons of information onto these missionaries and they just almost couldn't handle it all. Haha I slowed way down and went to the very basics and helped them understand the importance of keeping everything complete, correct and doing it timely. Overall it was just one of those times when I was really great fun for people who had taught me and made it possible for me to teach others.

Each month we have a mission leadership council on Tuesday and then the following Friday we relay all the information that we learned to all the other missionaries in our zone meetings. This month President Griffin really focused on the importance of planning and also working on Facebook. It is great for me to be able to learn to use social media appropriately now because I know the temptations to goof around on it when I get home will be so much higher. The lord really is hastening his work and all of the tools that we are receiving are evidence of that. I am blessed to be in a mission that has been able to use these to move the work forward in a way that isn't traditionally used by the church. It has been a great experience so far.

Well thank you all so much for everything you do. I really appreciate it and will talk to you next week!

Elder Cole Safford

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Peoria Week 93 *June 1, 2015

Hey hey hey!

On Saturday we had the great privilege of seeing Chris Scott's baptism. Chris didn't want too many people there so only about 12 were invited but It was still a tremendous experience that I will forever remember. He has been taking missionary lessons for the past 13 years on and off as he has been married to his wife Paisley. Up and down he went trying to figure out where he stood and what he needed to do in life. Then just less then a year ago the bishop had an interview with Chris' son,  Justin in preparation for his baptism at 8 years old. In that interview he was beyond excited and the bishop was able to feel the spirit telling him that Justin was ready to make the promises with his Father in Heaven that come from the ordinance of baptism. The only thing holding Justin back was that he only wanted to be baptized by his non-member father Chris. Obviously you have to first be a member of the church and hold the proper priesthood in order to baptize, so that posed a problem. That was the final surge of motivation that Chris needed to help him make the changes in order to finally be baptized. In comes us. We got a call from Paisley telling us that her husband would be home in a few days and he wanted to take the missionary lessons and be baptized. Over the next three months we taught him everything he needed to learn and got him ready for his baptism. The spirit was so strong in the baptismal room that you couldn't help but have a smile on your face.  Paisley couldn't hold in her excitement and everyone knew that she had been praying for this day for a long time. Justin's baptism was the following day and unlike Chris' the room was packed! Justin really is a quiet spiritual giant. He has touched so many people's lives and they came to support him. Chris did a perfect job baptizing his son and the two of them beamed with the spirit and were so pumped. It really was a great weekend.

We had interviews with our mission president on Thursday and Elder Bunn and I were in charge of ordering and setting out the food for the whole zone. We always seem to have pizza but this time since we had the choice of where we wanted to get I chose Jersey Mikes Subs! I went back to my artistic roots and got table cloths and drinks and cups and bowls full of chips and had the works. When our mission presidents wife came in and saw the table spread with food she wondered which sister came in and helped us set it up hahaha. She said it was the best she had seen in the whole mission. I think I might change my major to party planning haha. Totally kidding but it was nice of her to say. Interviews with the president went amazing. We talked about college and what I need to do in life to be successful by applying the things that I have thus far learned on my mission. We then talked about why Elder Bunn and I are together. He pointed out how different we are from each other but that our personalities really compliment each other. It is true. Elder Bunn and I have been getting along and have really been learning a ton together.

Some missionaries were scheduled to move out of an apartment that had been owned by the church for the past decade and lived in by hundreds of missionaries. They didn't move complexes just apartments. I knew that the apartment was pretty beat up but after seeing the place empty I was shocked. I really don't know how people let things get so bad. It was awful. Haha. Their new place is really nice and new and clean and has wood floors. It took forever to move all their stuff because they didn't have any boxes to hold random odds and ends so we had to carry each individual thing. It took a long time. But it was worth it I hope. I also went to the dentist this week and the dental hygienist was shocked that I had not been to the dentist in just about 2 years. She said my teeth looked great and clean! Just so you all know. Haha

Well I love you all and will talk to you next week!

Elder Cole Safford

1. Chris Scott and his family at the baptism. The little kid with the glasses is Justin.
2. Elder Bunn and I
3. Missionary closet haha

Peoria Week 92 *May 25, 2015

Hey hey!

The weeks are going by too fast. I don't know if that ever happens to
any of you but man it's in full swing. It feels often like all I do is
go to church but there are literally 6 days jam packed in between each
of those Sundays! Time flies when your having fun is what I have to
keep reminding myself. Maybe if I just quit enjoying it I will be out
here longer... Probably not the best thing to do haha.

We were able to find a new investigator this week! That's always a
great feeling in missionary work. His name is Nick and he is the
husband of a less active member of our ward. his wife was a member of
the YSA ward that we cover but after recently being married they have
now transitioned into our family ward lucky enough. He has some
reservations about religion in general but we were able to convince
him to let us come and try out the lessons with him and just see what
he thought. He really is a cool guy and loves to talk. We went over
and had a very simple lesson about the restoration of the gospel
though Joseph Smith. He asked tons of questions which shows he really
is interested. He was grateful that we had come over and had a lesson
with him when it was all said and done. He even set up another
appointment for the next lesson! We hope that they make the choice to
come to church and feel the spirit and want to be closer as a couple.
It really is such a blessing and an opportunity.

I got to go on exchanges this week with an elder from the Philippines
named Elder Gonzales. The first question I asked was if Gonzales is a
common name in the Philippines and he assured me that he was not
Hispanic haha. He has a super thick accent and has only been in the
mission for about three months so he is learning all the time. He
absolutely loves missionary work and just talking to people about the
gospel. We were able to have some lessons while he was here and he
kept asking if we could go to some YSA sisters houses so that he could
get to know them for future reference! I knew he was just joking but
it was so funny to hear him talk about his dreams of living in America
with a southern country girl haha. We are still working on the
sarcasm. It's a tough habit to kick. We are continually giving service
still which is great. I am getting back my farmers tan and making
people smile while we work. It is always a blessing to help those in
need and to get the immediate results from our labor.

There are tons of new people in both our family ward and also in the
YSA due to it being summer break. A bunch of them are here to sell
pest control as a summer sales job. Coincidentally all of them are
returned missionaries and are doing really well at the selling. They
tried to recruit me to come down here after my mission but I told them
that they better not get their hopes up. Haha. We had a unique
sacrament meeting this past weekend in our family ward. It was called
a hymn meeting. Basically different people went up and chose a hymn
that was their favorite and then explained why. Then as a whole group
we sang the hymn and moved onto the next. It was a cool way to feel
the spirit talk through the words and music of the songs. I really did
enjoy it and I think most of the people there did as well.

Well I hope you all have a wonderful week and had a great Memorial
Day! We went and played football and ultimate frisbee as a zone. It
was a blast. I will talk to you all next week!

Elder Cole Safford

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Peoria Week 91 * May 18, 2015

Hey there!

Things here are starting to get rolling again after the last transfer. It's always awkward at the very beginning with a new companion because you are trying to figure out how each other does everything. Everyone is so different and it takes time to get used to each other. It's a cool thing because you get to work with so many different types of people and learn how others function and how you can adapt their style to yours. Elder Bunn is a go getter and a really hard worker. He wants to teach the gospel so bad and right now we are struggling to find people to work with which is tough for both of us. Although, the people that we do have are doing so awesome! For instance Chris is fully ready to get baptized. He was supposed to be baptized on Saturday but we had a lesson on Tuesday and found out that he would be leaving town on Friday for two weeks. So we rescheduled his baptism for the 30th of May and he is beyond excited. He is planning on being baptized, receiving the Holy Ghost, receiving the priesthood and then baptizing his son Justin on Sunday night. How sweet is that?! We are excited for him.

The Randell's asked us to come over and teach Tim, who is a member, the lessons as review. His wife Margaret is not a member and is very open about why. They are the nicest people and I really want to see them grow in the gospel together but for right now Margaret is settled where she is now. We will continue working with them and I know that the spirit will touch her and help with her conversion. A new family moved in a few weeks ago and they are already on the ball as far as member missionary work goes. Their name is the Sweetwoods and last Saturday they had a ward BBQ at their home for lunch and then a few hours later they had a neighborhood BBQ which all of their neighbors were invited to. It was awesome. They are such a good family. Both of them already have callings in the ward and are helping us out a ton with referrals and coming to lessons.

We have been having so many opportunities for service it's amazing! We are working hard and trying to soften people's hearts by serving them. It's starting to heat up around here so at times it's a bit hot but for the most part we stay alive. The weeding hasn't stopped and the moving has increased due to the school year ending and summer beginning.

Well I love you all and thank you for everything that you do! Have a great week.

Elder Cole Safford

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Peoria Week 90 *May 14, 2015

Hey hey hey!

Like I mention last week we had transfers on Wednesday. Normally the mission president will call us the day before and give us a heads up on the changes that will take place but this time nothing. Not a peep. It was so nerve racking! I have become so accustomed to knowing what was happening that when I don't know it was awful. Well anyways, elder Johnston must have been giving the mission president treats without my knowledge because he was sent up the flagstaff for the summer! Right when the heat started to pour here he goes up to the nicest weather. I was a little jealous haha. My new companion is Elder Bunn and he is fantastic. He is the polar opposite of me in most every way except for our desire to serve a mission and share the gospel. He is ridiculously smart, loves computer science, got a 34 on his ACT, has a full ride to BYU, he is half Korean but it totally American by culture, he played tennis in high school and is 6'3". I always get the taller guys haha. He knows the doctrine in the scriptures and has a powerful testimony. It is going to be awesome to work with. He has only been out on his mission for ten months so he has a lot to learn but he is farther along then I was.

Alexis and Rob have been doing amazing. They came to church two weeks in a row and we have a lesson with them tonight. We hope to talk about baptism and the need they have for it. I know they are going to make the right changes to have the happiness they are looking for. Chris is home this week and his baptism is scheduled for Saturday. It is going to be the coolest weekend for that family. It has been 13 years since he was first married to his wife and that has been her dream for the whole time! We are so stoked! Our singles ward had been planning for a few months an "Almost Summer Picnic" which was going to be held at a park with field games and a giant slip n slide. Who wouldn't like that? Plus free BBQ. That's the icing on the cake. Well a few days before the big day the park decided to flood irrigate the whole place with a few feet of water! And to add to the bad luck the weather made a turn for the worse and it was rainy and colder. People still showed up and it was a good time. We stayed just long enough to grab some food and say hello to the members friends before we went out to work.

We had a super cool experience this week. We went into an apartment complex to visit a less active member but I got the prompting to try by a lady that we had knocked on a million times. So we walk up the flights of stairs and for some reason I felt oddly good about the whole situation. Well she answered and after a few pleasantries she invited us in. Come to find out she and her non member husband, Randy, we're having a discussion about God communication with his children and how Randy didn't think God ever listened to him. Well he kinda tempted God and physically knocked on a bedroom door and said "hello God, I want you to send me a physical sign that you are there". Well wouldn't you guess that five minutes later we come knocking in the door! Crazy I know. We talked to him about the plan of salvation and how God answered our prayers based on faith and not on sight. He has a ton of questions that we didn't answer on that visit but it was still an amazing experience and a real faith builder.

Thank you for everything you have been doing! It was awesome to see my family on Mother's Day and to see the niece Eleanor! She is so big now. Talk to you next week.

Elder Cole Safford

1. Elder Johnston and I at the Almost Summer Picnic

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Peoria Week 89 *May 5, 2015

We were at church on Sunday and a guy walked in was a full retro Star
Wars tie on. I asked him what the special occasion was and he said
"May the fourth be with you." I have never heard that before and I was
laughing so hard! So for all of you who love Star Wars I hope you
enjoyed May 4th.

Alexis and Rob came to church this Sunday for the first time and had a
great experience. It was testimony meeting and everyone that bore
their testimonies did a real good job at keeping them short sweet and
focused on specific points of the gospel. Rob works nights so he only
had three hours of sleep before coming to church so I was proud of him
for being a trooper. They only stayed for sacrament but you've got to
start somewhere. Bishop Owens had a family home evening at his home
and invited Alexis, Rob and us to come. It was a really fun time. We
ate ice cream and sang songs and watched a Mormon message about the
influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives. Everyone had really great
insights and it made for a good discussion. Alexis and Rob are so
close to making the step towards baptism. It is going to come down to
helping them see that there is where they need to be both for them and
for their family.

We had Mission leadership council which was focused on how we can
raise the vision of the mission and help missionaries see the value in
setting realistic goals and creating plans to achieve those goals. We
talked a lot about Facebook and how we can use it effectively to share
the gospel in our own areas. We are no longer allowed to communicate
with people back home even if they are not members of the church. We
are really tying to use Facebook as another tool for the work of God.
Not just to see what our friends are doing or to waste our time on. I
am pretty excited because I am learning how to use technology to its
full extent and how not to get stuck surfing thought the garbage that
is on the Internet. It will be a valuable tool for me and I know it
will help a ton of missionaries. We took what we learned and brought
the water to the end of the row in our zone meeting. We had a bunch of
great discussions and the missionaries really came away with some good
insights and things to apply.

I always love going to dinner in the YSA because it is always some
type of adventure. This week we went to In-N-Out with one member and
then the following day we went to Applebee's. It's a blast going with
people that are pretty close to the same age as you and getting to
learn all about their mission experiences and what works for them in
school and what doesn't. Our YSA has been planning a big family home
evening for the past few months and it sounded like it was going to be
amazing. There was BBQ, gigantic slip n slides, and lawn games. Well
it's was pretty stormy the past few days and on Monday it was
especially bad. They went through with the activity despite the weather
but when everyone got their they figured out that the park had been
flood irrigated a few days prior so it was like a lake! People still
came and it was a blast for the 15 minutes we stayed.

Well transfers is this week and in typical fashion I am staying in my
current area but Elder Johnston is leaving. It's a bummer when you get
to know someone and find that you have a ton in common and then boom!
Their gone and you have to start it all over with the next guy. But
hey that's mission life and I am pretty used to it. I am exited to see
who my new companion is and I will let you all know next week. Love
you all! Thanks for everything.

Elder Cole Safford

1. Elder Pettingills(my first companion) last day in the mission
2. All the scorpions we found in our backyard. Yikes!

Peoria Week 88 *April 27, 2015

This week was well packed with a lot of good things and they all
panned out really well. We have been working a ton with the Harrison
family and they are amazing. The husband is going through some major
health issues and it's only a matter of time before he passes which is
a really bummer. He is a member and has strong faith in God and
family. His wife and daughter are not members of the church and we
have been teaching the whole family the missionary lessons. We knew
that death was a touchy subject but felt impressed to teach about
God's plan of happiness for his children. This lesson cover the main
questions of 1) where did we come from? 2) why are we here? 3) where
are we going? The lesson went great and everyone was receptive to the
message. There were some tears shed on their part but there was also a
lot of faith built in God and his love for them. We know that the
Harrisons are going to make the step at some point in their lives to
be baptized, it's just a matter of when. Our other investigators
Alexis and Rob are still doing great! We just have so many people that
are right on the verge! It's just a matter of helping them take that
final leap of faith and not looking back.

Our Young Single Adult ward put on a family history fair at the local
community college of Glendale which we were invited to. A few sets of
missionaries, including us, had a scheduled time to be there helping
out and talking. We went for three hours and no joke not a single
person showed up.... It's was a bummer. The good thing though was that
Elder Johnston and I learned a ton about family history work from the
experts that were on site and had a good experience. I wish more
people would have showed up because the really missed out on a good
opportunity. Another day this week we tried to follow up with a dinner
appointment to see if we were still okay to come for dinner. Well we
didn't have any answer. This family is fully active and always has us
over so we had faith they would be expecting us anyways. Well we
showed up at 5 and there was not a single person home! So much for our
little bit of faith haha. To this day they have not called us back or
made any mention o the missed dinner haha. It was a classic missionary
experience that I never get tired of.

In my current assignment I go on a ton of exchanges with missionaries.
This week I went on two. One with a Spanish missionary from Argentina
named Elder Rodriguez and another with the Assistants the President. I
absolutely love Elder Rodriguez so going on exchanges with him is a
real treat. I went to their Spanish area and set the goal to share my
testimony in Spanish to an investigator lesson we had that night.
Usually I just sit in the lessons quiet as a mouse and just nod my
head and smile because o cannot understand anything haha but this time
I was determined to make it a better experience. I wrote out a simple
testimony about Jesus Christ and that the investigators choice to be
baptized was a good one. Elder Rodriguez translated it for me and I
read and re-read it over and over to become familiar with the words.
Well the investigator lesson went amazing and I bore my testimony and
everyone loved it. Then we went to a members house for a visit and
Elder Rodriguez puts me in the hot seat and asks me to bear my
testimony in Spanish again. I was all pumped and read though it and
pronounced everything right on.... then I remembered that a part of
the testimony had been written talking about how the investigators
choice to be baptized was a good one. Well I remembered that a little
too late and already said it. After the lesson Elder Rodriguez was
laughing so hard! I totally invited an active member of their
congregation to be baptized! Ah I was so embarrassed! If only I had
payed more attention in Spanish 1 and 2 while in high school.

Transfers are this next week and we are unsure of what will happen but
everyone around me is saying that I am a goner but I am not sure. I
would love to stay with Elder Johnston but we will just have to wait
and find out. Thank you all for your love and support. Talk to you
next week.

Elder Cole Safford

1. The Hayes last goodbye (they are from Simi Valley and have been living here in my ward)

Peoria Week 87 *April 20, 2015

 Hey there everyone!

This past week we have been pretty busy with exchanges, teaching and serving in the community. We were able to participate in three community service projects this past week alone and as a zone we wracked up a total of 117 hours of service! It was incredible. We started off with our weekly project at the thrift shop sorting through donations and putting them out on the floor. We found out that if we find something we like we can buy it for 1/2 the price because we are volunteers. A bunch of missionaries took advantage of that and walked out with a few hand-me-down items. Another project that we did was with the Live United organization. We were guides for homeless people as they traveled through a gymnasium and talked with different representatives from organization to get the help they need to get back on their feet and into some homes and jobs. It was really fun to get to meet completely different people and to see the life styles they had. I learned a ton of people's stories and the life lessons that they were so open to give. Obviously some of it had a bit of flawed logic but for the most part it was good advice. Then on Saturday we went to a river bed cleanup for the city of Glendale. There we were a part of a big group of environmentalists and volunteers trying to clean three miles of this river from all debris and trash. It was a great turn out and a lot of fun. I even got a little sun tan with was nice.

I had the opportunity to go on exchanges this week with Elder Owens from Burley Idaho! He is a unique kid that has an absolute ton of potential and a great future in aeronautical engineering. His three favorite things in the world are planes, trains and ..... Cats. Haha. He is so funny. We had a great day and I even got to bust out my bike for a few hours. It was a blast riding around and feeling like a true missionary. I was talking with strangers, dodging cars, and jumping off anything I could find. Elder Owens had only been to In-N-Out once in his whole life so my goal was to treat him to a burger but as I went to pay a member snuck in front of me and beat me to the register! I was grateful but it wasn't necessary! Haha.

We are on a rotating schedule to teach the gospel principles class in the YSA between myself, Elder Johnston, our ward mission leader and another member. This week I was up and I taught about Adam and Eve and their fall from the garden of Eden. It was a good lesson if I do say so myself and I had a blast teaching it. Good discussions broke out and we were all able to learn from each other and all I had to do was stir up the conversation every once in a while with a question or two. In our family ward we are teaching a handful of families and individuals that are so close to making the choice to be baptized. Chris is still doing amazing and we are just working around his crazy schedule to find time to meet with him. He is hopefully going to be baptized may 16th. He basically teaches us each time we go over there and is just waiting for his schedule to line up. A part member family is allowing is to come by and teach them finally after years. Their name is the Harrison's. It is going to be totally wicked when we start teaching them! Then our other investigators are Rob & Alexis. They are great as well and but have a tough time having the time for church. They want to improve their lives and make the changes but work always gets in the way. It's a tough situation for them so we just keep working and scheduling appointments.

Well I love you all! I hope that this week is full of excitement and new beginnings! Don't get down on yourselves... You can do it!

Elder Cole Safford

1. This is Elder Langi from Tonga. He is 6'7" and 410 pounds. He's a defensive end for BYU. Needless to say elder Jonston and I took him down.

Peoria Week 86 *April 13, 2015

Hey hey hey!
This week went really great as far as member missionary work goes. There's a really cool story that took place in the YSA that restored my faith that ward members missionary work makes things happen. There is a member in our ward named Brian who came out on splits with us. Both he and Elder Johnston put down a girls name to go by and see. Her name is Crystal. As they drove over there they both had a good feeling that the visit would benefit Crystal a lot. When they got there she was not home but they had a good conversation with her grandpa and found out a lot of useful information. They found out that her days off of work are Mondays and Bryan decided that he would go and try and visit her again the next Monday. He called us and asked if we would like to join and of course we said yes! We met him there and just like the grandpa said Crystal was home. The grandpa was more than happy to let us in to talk with Crystal because he was very active in the church and wanted her to be the same. As we started talking we realized that all of her interests were also Brian's interests to. What a coincidence! It was a picture perfect scene out of a fairy tale. Crystal is less active and has been for  10 years but Brian being the great member missionary that he is invited Crystal to come to family home evening that very night. She agreed and got in the car with him and drove to FHE. A week later we saw her at church for the first time in years and when we asked who she came with it was our boy Brian that pulled through. We congratulated Brian on doing a great job and being a wonderful missionary and he said he couldn't have one it without us. It was such a cool experience to see heavenly father inspire us and Brian to help out Crystal and also for Brian to make a new friend and potentially a wife haha. Blessings really do come as we try our best to reach out to others and be their friends.

We had opportunity to go do a just serve project at in old thrift store. There is a town in Arizona called Sun City that you can only live in if you are above the age of 55. Which means that everyone is old, can't see, can't drive and have funky clothes. The thrift store was tucked away in a corner of the shopping center and filled with I don't even know what. They had us go into the back and it was as if a tornado hit a trailer park. There was literally stuff everywhere and no rhyme or reason to anything. The manager had us pick stuff up and assess its quality and then put a price that we thought would be reasonable. I guess when the whole things is run by donations any profit is still profit. I hope that he wasn't mad but I don't think I put a single thing for more than three dollars. One of the missionaries and I got roped into sorting books and VHS movies. It wasn't such a bad deal because the table that we are sitting out was right next to the radio that was playing all the classic hits from the 80s. It was a tender mercy from the Lord and I still have the songs stuck in my head. All the people working there were grateful for our service and we plan to go back this coming week as well. It should be a hoot as the old people say.

Our family ward has been doing really well with finding people for us to eat with. They even called a lady name sister Horn to be in charge of a dinner calendar. One of our favorite families that we teach quite often signed up to feed us named the Danielsons. We texted them to confirm our dinner the night before and they said that we are good to come by. As we showed up the next day at 5 o'clock for dinner we realize that they totally spaced that we were coming to actually eat haha. As we walked in the door there was reminance of the dinner on the table and also on the counters and in the sink. Luckily both Elder Johnson and I are observant and knew that we were on our own for dinner that night. We sat down and acted as if we weren't there for dinner and just shared the message that we plan to share after dinner. As the lesson was wrapping up we asked if there's anything we can do for them and they said that they were good for the time being. And still there was no mention of being physically fed by dinner at all. We were all spiritually fed and that seemed to suffice for the time being. We thank them for letting us come by and then proceeded to drive to Quiznos subs to treat ourselves to dinner. It was one of those situations that can only happen as a missionary and I was grateful that I was able to participate. These things don't happen very often but when they do they always make for a good story and you can always laugh about it later. I know that they didn't mean to do it and that they probably would've been crushed if we had told them that they forgot so we're just going to let it slide.

Thank you all for everything and I hope you have an amazing week filled with great adventure. It's out there you just have to find it! Talk to you next week.

Elder Cole Safford

Peoria Week 85 *April 6, 2015

Hello to everyone!

I hope you had a fantastic week leading into Easter and especially a great day rebbe ring the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Out here in Arizona we had a great time! The weather is absolutely gorgeous and people are slowly progressing which is nice. We had the chance to give a ton of service this week. It ranged from pulling weeds, moving furniture, picking fruit and pulling more weeds. For the past couple of months no one was letting us come over and help them out with anything. Then elder Johnston and I made the conscious effort to really see what they needed help with and now we have so many opportunities it's almost too much! It's good though. Anytime I start to get done or just the day isn't going great, as soon as I go out and serve my attitude is flipped completely around. It really is a good work to do. Everyone needs help they just don't like to ask for it. Pulling weeds is a specialty of ours now and I think the amount of hours I have done it should improve my job resume. We found it to be way easier if we bring 5 gallon buckets to sit on and just have a good conversation all the while we just keep pulling pulling pulling. Haha.

Our investigator Margaret and her husband Tim, who is a member, had us over for dinner in the middle of the week for some authentic Italian. Tim was in the military and was stationed in Italy for a few years so Margaret learned how to cook really well. We had Pasta carbonara which was sooo good! Oh my. It had bacon and cream and cheese all rolled into the pasta. Then to top it off we had coca cola cake. That stuff is made by the devil himself. The next day we were helping our mission office clean out an apartment of furniture when our truck,  "Donnie" short for Donatello the ninja turtle, decided he had enough and wouldn't go into drive. So onto the tow truck he went and we got to drive a new fusion around for the day. It was pretty dang fun. Good news was that Donnies damages were not too bad and he is back in business doing the lords work.

General conference took up our whole weekend but it was well worth the time! All of our investigators bombed out on us and didn't make it to any of the sessions so we had to watch them alone. But a few other missionaries also didn't have a place to watch it so we all went down the the church and got the whole chapel to ourselves to listen to the Lords anointed servants. There were so many good talks that I cannot say which one was my favorite but I did really love Jeffery R. Holland and also Kevin W. Pearson who talked about staying by the tree of life and the importance of it. Those two talked really stuck out but I am sure as I read over the others things will become clear too. Elder Johnston's mom sent us matching Easter ties so we matched on Sunday and my mom sent we a rocking floral print so I wore that to the priesthood session of General conference. It was a good day of ties haha.

We knew that April fools was coming up so we had to try and think of something good to do to the elders that we are the closest to and one of the embers gave us the idea and the Saran Wrap to wrap their whole car up. Then we had the idea to get water balloons and soak the missionaries as they left their apartment for their morning run. Well with all the ducks in place things went exactly to plan and we were able to prank them pretty good. They were good sports and it was a lot of fun. They still haven't gotten us back which is kind of nerve wracking so we are always on the look out haha.

In Arizona a ton of people and even the city use flood irrigation instead of sprinklers because the ground is so hard. So we took the opportunity last pday to play some ultimate frisbee at a flooded park. It was so much fun and it was a great way to refresh.

Well I love you all and thank you for the prayers and support. Hope you have an amazing week and I will talk to you next time.

Elder Cole Safford

1. Donnie on the tow truck
2. April fools prank
3. Ultimate frisbee in the flooded park
4. Our district of missionaries

Monday, March 30, 2015

Peoria Week 81 *March 9, 2015

Hey everyone!

Our mission has undergone some serious remodeling as far as how we use the technology that we have been so privileged to use the past year. We were one of the beginning missions to get iPads and to use Facebook so we didn't really have too many rules from the bigwigs in the salt lake missionary department. Our mission president came up with a bunch of rules that helped us to stay focused and to learn the best way to use the devices. He had us try things that worked really well and other things that worked not so well haha. Now that the headquarters has had the opportunity to gather enough information they were able to see what changes needed to be made and what rules really needed to be implemented. We had a big conference where all the missionaries came together to talk about how we could best learn and use the iPad's that we had been given. They handed out booklets and talked all about the new rules and what we really should be doing. Luckily for us we were not doing too bad so we didn't need to change a bunch but some minor tweaks were made. 

The rest of the week consisted of helping the missionaries set up their new iPads and working with the office staff to get everything all situated. Needless to say we didn't get too much done in our area as far as missionary work goes but this was a necessary thing to do that will bring future blessings. 

I will write more of my adventures next week. Talk to you then.

Elder Cole Safford 

Peoria Week 84 *March 30, 2015

Hey hey hey! 

Many of you have heard about the new website called Just Serve. It's basically a site that you can upload service opportunities on for people to come help with. We had the opportunity to go to one of these events put out by the Feed My Starving Children organization held in the Community of Grace Lutheran Church. They put on a once a year food packing event to help the children all over the world that do not have the means to obtain food through their own country. The gymnasium had been converted into a fully functioning FDA approved packing site and there were plenty of volunteers and more then enough work to go around. There were tons of different jobs to perform and all of them were fun. They had music blasting, people dancing and everyone was really getting into it. We had a total of 12 missionaries participate for three hours each so in total we were able to work for 36 hours. In the three hours that we were there as a group we packed 33,000 meals and the whole 24hr event packed over 171,175 meals. At the end of the whole thing we prayed as a group over the food to make sure it had a Devine guiding hand to help it arrive at its proper destination which really added a heartwarming spirit to the event. One of the missionaries volunteered to say the prayer which was super neat. The atmosphere was one of unity, love and service for those that couldn't do it themselves. We all left that event knowing we had really done something right and felt good about it all day!

We have been doing our best to find some new investigators and to get to know the ward the best that we can and the lord is starting to bless us for it. We received a text from some other missionaries with a referral for someone who wants to come back to the church. We were hoping he was not a member but we love to teach everyone so it wasn't a big deal. His name is Zach and he recently moved into our area after some major obstacles in his life. We went over and had a lesson that went really well. As we were about to leave,  Zach's older brother and best friend, David, walked in. David started asking us all sorts of questions about the church and we ended up teaching the whole restoration. He isn't a member but wants to find the right church! God really does bless you when you do the best you can and follow though with opportunities. We invited all three to come to the YSA ward because there was two missionary homecoming talked which are always powerful. Unfortunately they had some last minute things come up which is a bummer. The homecomings were still good and we were able to meet a bunch of people, both members and not, that came to church just for those talks. 

There is a new Easter video that the church has just recently put out titled "He Lives" and it is so good. Last Easters video got me all pumped about Christ and what he did for me but this one really lays it down nice and smooth and really gets the point across. If you have the time and the means I highly recommend you checking it out. Just go to helives.mormon.org It will be worth it! We have been sharing this with everyone and it has been very powerful. We had the chance to take a part member family, the Randells, to the Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant last Wednesday night. I have never been to a church pageant before but this one was really good. There are over 500 cast members and they went over the life of Christ in good detail. The music was beautiful and the cast did a great job. I was really impressed and luckily so was the family we went with. I hope this was a turning point in their progression towards the gospel and becoming a fully active family in the church. We didn't get home until pretty late at night and I realized that I have become a real Nancy when it comes to being tired. I could barely stay awake to hold a conversation and I looked over to see elder Johnston passed out next to me but the two members in the front seat were still yapping away and having s good ol time haha. It was priceless. 

Thank you all for everything that you have and continue to do for me. It really means a lot. I hope you all have a great Easter and remember the Savior Jesus Christ. Love you. Talk to you next week

Elder Cole Safford 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Peoria Week 83 *March 24, 2015

Hey everyone!

Transfers were this week and Elder Johnston and I will be staying together for another six weeks. We are both happy staying together and are positive this next transfer will be better then the last as far as our effectiveness goes. No matter what companion you get or where you go there is an amount of time referred to as the honeymoon stage. Elder Johnston and I are finally over that and understand how each other works and that we want to accomplish and how to go about doing it. Elder Johnston is really efficient when it comes to being organized in all aspects of missionary work. He has really taught me a bunch and made our area ready for miracles. I know that the things that will happen are going to be blessings from the time he and I spent organizing and showing the lord how bad we want it. 

I had the privilege this last Sunday to teach the primary how to be missionaries. We had two places to be at the same time so I got to go to the primary while he went to the YSA ward. I knew that I needed to keep the kids attention or it would be a disaster so I used my artistic nature and made a sweet poster all about missionary work and how they can be missionaries in their own lives. It was a really fun experience and I learned a lot as far as how to deal with little kids and hold their attention for more then 30 sec. While at the church I also had a lesson with our progressing investigator Chris. He is still set to be baptized and is looking forward to the day that he will be. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ which includes faith, repentance, baptism, relieving the gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the end. He has been around the church for a long time so nothing I say is really new but more of a refresher course. He has made the decision to be baptized and nothing is going to stop him. They had us over for dinner a few nights ago and they had Buffalo Wild Wings. Chris always gets the hottest wings and dared myself and elder Johnston to eat just one. Well it was the worst idea of my life. I was literally dying. Never again. 

We had an investigator that was dealing with some legal issues and we totally thought he had been locked up but the other day we got a call and he wants to meet with us again! It is going to be so sweet! We have some appointments set up with him so hopefully he wants to progress as badly as we want him to. Our friend Dominic has been on the outs for the past few weeks. We haven't been able to meet with him which is a real bummer. The best way to find new investigators here is to use the members so that's what we have been trying to do. We set up as many appointments as possible and then go on splits with the ward missionaries. It has been pretty successful so far. We have also been working at doing service for people to try and open up their hearts to us. It's a good thing to do but man do I hate rocks. They are just the worst way to do your yard. Please don't get them. If you were thinking about it stop. Haha

Well I love you all. Talk to you next week 

Elder Cole Safford 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Peoria Week 82 * March 16, 2015

Hey there everyone!

This week was a little consumed with meetings and all that good stuff. As much as I enjoy learning new things there is nothing much better then going out and doing the good ol fashion missionary work. We had a two day stake conference for the YSA ward that we cover. They talked a lot about marriage of course but also about our unique ability to teach the gospel to our friends through inviting them to simply "come and see" what we do at our activities and at church. It was nice because I got to see my old companion elder Allen right before he went home and I also got to see brother Fullmer! He is the man. I love him so much.

We had stake coordination meetings for two different stakes and they both went so well. One thing I have the ability to learn while serving here stateside is how the church really works as far as callings and members and leaders. It is something I will use for my whole life and something I can definitely improve on. One thing that comes with that is the gift to be able to communicate what is on my mind in the way that people need to hear it. Effective communication is the easiest way I have found to get the stuff done that needs to be in the way I and the lord want it to be.

We went on exchanges with some elders in our zone named elder Luke and elder Davis. I went with elder Davis and got to ride "the banana". Haha it's an older road bike that is bright yellow. It's pretty dang ridiculous. Elder Davis is a newer missionary and is way excited about the work. It made me excited just being around him haha.

Well that's all folks. I love you and will talk to you later.
Until next week,

Elder Cole Safford
Elder Johnston in our study room

Peoria Week 80 *March 2, 2015

Hey everyone!

This week was jam packed with meetings and next week will be as well. There are a bunch of changes being made in the missionaries working with iPads so we all need to be instructed on how to use the new applications and how to be as effective as possible. All good things but still they take time. This past weekend we had Stake Conference here in the Peoria stake. One of the members of e quorum of the seventh came down to preside and he gave some wonderful insights. I will put them in here so you too can be spiritually fed like I was:

" I often do not come to meetings and learn new doctor in either about the church or even history, but I always try to come away edified by the spirit. This is the reason that we go to any meeting in the church. The doctrine never changes and as we get older in our lives it may seem like a constant repeat of the same thing but ultimately the spiritual promptings we receive will always be specific to our challenges at that point in our lives. And that is what we come to meetings to learn of. "
The church did a survey and found that the number one reason the young men go on missions is due to the spiritual experiences they personally have throughout their young lives. Parents can help them have these experiences in the home, church and in their daily lives. The prayer of a righteous parent can do more than we can often give them credit for. Those prayers for their children are often what helps them to have these experiences. Then he shared a joke : "Children should be like pancakes... you should be able to throw the first one away."

There was some great insight on our choices in this life that really resonated well with me. He said "Many of the path of happiness in the world are simply mirages. We look at them chase them and once we get close, that happiness evaporates because it was never there. Then we are left empty and unsatisfied looking to the future for another opportunity."
I really loved all the 7 hours of stake conference and couldn't get enough. That's a stark difference from when I was at home and 30 minutes seemed too long haha.

The time that I have spent so far with my new companion elder Johnston has been a blast. He really enjoys missionary work and doing the things that we have been called to do, so we always have some interesting or awkward experiences. This past week we were able to just be walking down the street and see moving trucks in front of houses. On two different experiences we just walked up to these strangers and asked to help them move and they accepted. There we were in white shirts and ties helping these people we met not just 5 minutes earlier. At the end of the move we didn't preach to them but simply shook their hand and said good luck. These types of interactions will do something some day. They won't get baptized next week but years down the road they will remember missionaries help them move and will be more inclined to let them into their home to teach them. That's the hope anyways.

Their is a part member family here in this area named the Vanalstines that remind me exactly of the story of my mom and dads journey into the church. Nick is a motorcycle painter and loves anything with wheels so we hit it off from the get go. Telling our daredevil stories and having a blast. We had a lesson with them and I told my dads conversion story and the father, Nick, could not believe it. He said that there was a reason I was in their home and it was because of what my dad went through. I was able to connect with them and I hope to see something come out of it. They have been married for a number of years and Nick told us "it's not if I get baptized but when". We are so stoked for him. He knows the church is true and has had many spiritual experiences before but just has those favorite sins that are holding him back. We will get him over he hill though. It's going to happen haha.

Thank you all for the love and letters. The weather here is wet and wonderful. It's nice to be in a car and enjoy the rain in shelter haha. I will write everyone agin next week.
Until then,

Elder Cole Safford

1. Mission Lane. Classic. Boulevard of making dreams
2. I gave elder Johnston a sharpie tattoo. I think we will get it done for real this week.
3. Light on the horizon. I need to clean the inside of the window. Sorry dad.

Peoria Week 79 *February 23, 2015

Hello to all!

The longer I am in this Sun Valley ward the more I begin to love the people and the work that is going on. We don't have the most baptisms or the investigators right now but what we do have is members that are willing to do the work and to progress the gospel throughout this area. We have been training the different auxiliaries how to have a gospel conversation with their friends and so far we have had a ton of success. People are excited to share their experiences and they are getting more confident. The bishop is defiantly the source of the fire. His excitement and attitude is contagious. It's interesting to see how things work in the states as far as missionary work goes and in other countries. The members really are the foundation for everything that we do. But that's as it should be. We are all missionaries in some way, shape or form. It's cool to be able to recognize that now.

We had a great missionary opportunity this past week for the ward as far as less actives go. There are a group of about 10 men that have gone less active for whatever reason and still have net received the Melchizedek Priesthood. So this past Friday we held a mini fireside for them and their families to come learn more about it and how it applies to them. There was a nice dinner and games for the kids and then we had the fireside. The bishop and elders quorum president spoke to the men and their wives and really brought the spirit into the hearts of many. I know that I felt it and understood the importance of having the priesthood in my life. All of the individuals at we invited came and participated and then they all came to church the next day which was amazing. We are seeing them make changes in their lives and we couldn't be more excited. Sometimes people just need a gentle reminder of the things they are missing out on. Then it's up to them to make the choice.

I had a chance to go on exchanges with one of the Spanish missionaries in our zone. His name is elder Canny and he is from Norway. He speaks three languages! Norwegian, English and he is serving a Spanish mission. How sweet is that? He is the nicest guy ever. He has been out for just over a year and absolutely loves missionary work. I talked the whole day and was just drilling him with questions about the Spanish culture and Norway. He was a good sport and answered all the questions haha. We had a nice productive day and set up a ton of appointments which was really great.

Our investigator Chris is still progressing towards his baptism at the end of March. He is still working a bunch so it's hard to find the time to teach him but when we do teach him it's magic hahaha. I got to go to dinner with Bryce and Savannah Hays this week which is always a blast. We went to a play called Carved. They have burgers but they serve them in these non sweet thin waffles. It was way good. I always like going out with them because it's a little slice from home and I feel like they are the one family that I can really let my hair down with and have a good time. You know? Not in a bad disobedient way. Just different then most people.

We have some good things lined up for this next week so I am excited to be a missionary. For those of you that didn't hear, I got accepted into BYU Idaho! Woohoo. Elder Johnston and I celebrated how Californians do and got double doubles from In-N-Out! It was a great night. Love you all. Thanks for the support.

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Peoria Week 78 *February 17, 2015

Hey hey hey!
Things are starting to work in our favor over here in the great state of
Arizona! The weather is absolutely amazing and the people are starting to
want to listen to the two white kids with name tags. I have told you about
Chris before. He is the nonmember father of a part member family that was
super ready to hear the lessons finally after many years of putting it off.
Well anyways last night we had a lesson with them and taught the plan of
salvation. Since he has had so much exposure to the gospel nothing is new
to him in the missionary lessons so they tend to go rather smooth and
simple. At the end of it we knew we needed to try and set a date for him to
be baptized. His work schedule is so wack that setting any type of date
rarely works out but we felt prompted to say that he could be home and
ready to be baptized by March 21st! He said he
would try his best to make it happen but no guarantees. You better believe
elder Allen and I are praying for a miracle! We are so excited for him. We
were also able to set a baptismal date for Dominic, a 10 year old boy of a
returning less active family.  They are a super great family and we hope
that the family gets fully active a ready to support his decision to follow
Christ's example.  So that's two people who are so close to be baptized!
It's such a good feeling knowing that you have helped someone make such a
big commitment that will being them so much happiness!

Well the day finally came that the missionaries that lived with us finally
got the OK to move back into their assigned house. It took a lot longer
then they would have hoped but it all worked out. Our house is now a lot
more spacious and a lot more quiet. The nights are a little boring right
before bed but that makes it easy to want to write in a journal or do other
productive things. It's tough to talk to elder Allen about what happened
during the day because he was there and  he already experienced it and we
already talked all about it. Hahaha. I got to go on exchanges this week win
my very first companion Elder Pettingill. It was pretty neat to see him and
do missionary work with him after 15 months of separation. He is a great
guy and I trust him a ton. We talked about goals and how are missions are
panning out and helped each other with whatever we could. It was a good
experience and I learned a lot from it. We were also. Finally able to find
some service opportunities throughout the ward which is a nice change of
pace. We did some weed picking for an elderly couple and let me tell
you.... I really dislike little rocks in people's front yards instead of
grass! Holy moley it makes picking weeds so much harder and just annoying
haha. I pledged that I will never have rocks.

We had a mission leadership council and talked all about obedience
throughout the mission when it comes to our iPads. We are doing well
compared to other missions apparently but we still have much improvement to
be made. It's a world wide problem and we are just trying to find the best
way to cure it. Zone meetings are always after a mission leadership council
and we do our best to get the water to the end of the row and teach the
rest of the missionaries all about what we learned and new things that we
are trying to accomplish in the mission. The power was out for the most
part of that meeting so we had windows and doors open for a natural
lighting haha.

Well today we received the transfer news and it looks like I will be
staying in the area with elder Allen for his last transfer. I am pretty
excited and we are going to go out swinging! Thank you all for the love and
support. Talk to you next week.

Until next time,
Elder Cole Safford
Our Zone

Peoria Week 77 *February 10, 2015


In our zone we have a companionship of Spanish missionaries and one of them happens to be the district leader. We get the opportunity to go on exchanges for the day with them and help them with whatever is needed. Well when I went on exchanges I got to teach Martha in broken Spanish who was preparing to be baptized this past week. For whatever reason I made a good enough impression on her and she invited elder Allen and I to attend the baptism. Holy shmoley Spanish baptisms are so much different. The culture all together is so polar that the way they run their meeting and everything are just a little crazy. It was a blast and I could barely understand a word. We sang in Spanish and watches the crazy little kids run around haha. It was a great experience and one I won't forget. More importantly we were able to support Martha on her special day. She wouldn't stop thanking us and taking pictures and smiling. In our family ward we have been working with the Danielson family and they are preparing to go to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. Hey are going through some rough times and just want to learn as much as they can and progress towards their ultimate goal. They have two young girls and a a 2 year old boy and they are all nuts. The whole lesson they are all over the place and will not sit still. The Danielsons are always apologizing and trying to get things under control but in all reality that is just how young kids are. We do our best to teach them but sometimes it's just too much! Haha. This last lesson the 2 yr old boy Henry was standing int he middle of the room with a plastic red hammer thrusting it into the sky and spinning in a circle while yelling at the top of his lungs until he got too dizzy and fell over. He would wait a few seconds and be right back at it. It was so funny but at the same time you just wanted to swat the kid on the head haha.

We had a chance to go into the stakes high council meeting and teach them something that we are presenting to all the wards in the whole stake to get their feedback and approval. We took it as if we were just teaching the class and role played how it would all go down. Ultimately we are trying to teach and help the members know how to have gospel conversations with their friends and to make them normal and flow. We teach them a about it and have them break off and actually practice with each other a few times and then finish it off with some key learnings and testimonies. With the high council it went great and stale president fully approved it. It is going to be a huge help in future missionary work and helping the members be more available to teach and invite their friends.

As many of you know the Superbowl was held in Arizona. What many of you might not know is that I live 5 minutes away from where the stadium is! It was so cool to see the whole set up and the slow influx of fans throughout the city. Because it was such a big deal our mission president asked us to stay inside Sunday night to avoid any trouble that would come from angry fans mixed with alcohol and driving haha. We stayed in and played some board games and had dinner with the members that we live with. Elder Allen is a big patriots fan and when he heard about the game he was so pumped. We had to go to a Nike store by the stadium on Monday so he could by a patriots championship shirt haha. It was a fun and relaxing night all together.

Well I love you all so much and hope you have an amazing week 
Until next week

Elder Cole Safford

1. Issac Rogers
2. Beautiful winter sunset
3. Super Bowl stadium!