Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Peoria Week 73 *January 5, 2015

Hello everyone!

This week was transfers and Elder Allen and I got the new that we are going to stay together! I am sure that I already told you that but just so you know that what my destiny has in store for me the next six weeks of my life. It really is interesting how a mission works when it comes to who will be your companion and where you will be serving. My current mission president is a very forward thinker and plans things out like transfers in advance. So the companion you are with is not some random appointed person but it is in preparation for you to get he companion you need on the coming transfers. All missionaries have brought out the good in me. Some choose to act in a poor ways and use their agency to not make the best decisions but they are not bad people. Like me, they are at the point in their lives where they are growing and striving to become the individuals that God needs us to be. I am lucky to be with Elder Allen. He is a great missionary and a good friend. 

This week was rough because of the holidays. We had preparation day on Tuesday, transfers on Wednesday which take up the whole afternoon, then New Year's Eve we had to be inside by 6, and then we had to be in all of New Year's Day. So that's three out of the seven days completely gone and void of contacting people. So that's what happened. We played some basketball and had a little house party with church music and appropriate dancing. It was nice haha. 

We are working really hard at combining our efforts with the wards we cover to help them out in the best way that we can. Our ward mission leader in the Sun Valley ward is on top of the ball. He really is an amazing member missionary and wants to get the work going in the right direction! We are so excited for what the future holds! The members are starting to warm up to us and are letting us come into their homes to teach lessons and some are letting us teach their friends. That part is not at the level we want but we need to learn to walk before we can run I guess. 

Well I love you all and hope you have an amazing day.

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford 

Peoria Week 72 *December 30, 2014

Hey there!

For the past couple of days and basically this whole week we have not been able to do as much real missionary work as I would like. Around the holidays we try our best to stay out of people's hair and let them have their family time. I really think it helps build a unity and a trust within the ward and the people know that we are there for them and to not be a burden. With that being said Christmas Eve and Christmas are days we stay inside and away from members homes. Of course if people want us to come over and be with them for Christmas then we will be happy to oblige. My Christmas eve was really relaxing. We had a dinner with some members in the family ward and then we went to the church to meet up with a few missionaries to burn some extra calories before the big meals the next day. I have really come to have a love hate relationship with sports. When your doing good there isn't anything you would rather be doing but when you hit the other end of the spectrum all you want to do is go home and try again some other day. Luckily for me that night I was on top of the world. It was a small not very populated world but I was the king haha. Then we went home and I opened up my traditional Christmas pajamas to find a sweet great onesie! I rocked it through the the night and enjoyed every minute of it. We had a bottle of sparkling cider to cap off the night and then hit the hay. 

We woke up Christmas morning and decided that cereal just wouldn't cut it for this special occasion so we hopped in the truck and went to village inn for a nice hot breakfast. There was only about two people in the restaurant so it was a blast. We just hung out and talked for a few hours and then headed for home to open up whatever Santa had UPS deliver. I had a nice little bundle of gifts which is great because I didn't get all this "stuff" that I didn't need. Instead I got those things that I wanted and I was a happy camper. We had a waffle brunch with our bishop from the YSA which was to die for. They had these Italian sodas there that I just couldn't get enough of. The family is very nice and welcomed us but it just isn't the same as being home. It tries to compensate but just doesn't quite get there. Then it was off to the church for the long awaited Skype home! That is the best part of any Christmas and I will just leave it up to your imagination to try and figure out what we talked about. The rest of the day was filled with napping, writing letters, drawing, playing sports or eating food. It was a great day. 

We have been working hard to find those people at need/ want us to come over and help them come closer to Jesus Christ and this week we were able to find a really cool guy. Well actually we didn't really find him. He kinda just showed up on our area book so we went and contacted him. His name is Andrew and he has been a member of the church for about 8 months. He moved down her from up in show low Arizona. He is super humble and wants to continue to build and feed the fire that the missionaries were able to instill is him when he was taking the lessons. He asked where I was from and I said California. He mentioned he had just gotten back from a race in San Bernardino. I knew that a major race had just taken place (A Day in the Dirt) and asked if it was the same one he went to. Sure enough it was. Then we went on a long rant all about motocross and the people we knew and I found out that we have a ton of the same acquaintances and that there was probably times that he and I had been at the same race! Pretty crazy to think about. Haha. We have been working with him and he still defiantly has that desire on him! 

So do any of you remember Vanesa from my last area? She was the 15 yr old that got baptized after we started to teach her mom Rachel. Rachel couldn't be baptized right then and there due to some legal issues but they worked through all of those and two weeks ago I got a call from her asking me to be the one that baptized her! It was such a great experience! It was the first time I had ever taught a whole family and had them all be baptized and it was the first actual baptizing that I had done. It was a lot of fun and I couldn't be more excited for her!

Well it's another year gone and one more is about to begin. One of the elders we lived with just went home on Monday and it made us all pretty ready haha. It's weird to think that I wasn't home at all for the whole entire year of 2014. 2015 will be a different story. Thank you all for the Christmas wishes. I hope you all have a safe week and party on. Talk to you next year. 

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Sweet Christmas Onesie

Christmas breakfast at Tiffany's

Baptism Day for Rachel

Peoria Week 71 * December 22, 2014

Hello hello,

As we have been working in the Sun Valley family ward we have been
seeing s ton of success in working with the part member families. A
lot of times they just get caught up in life or just don't know if
they are quite ready to make the commitment to be baptized and so they
don't. Then we show up and start to teach them and their hearts are
touched by the Holy Ghost. That's what happened to this new family
that we started to teach this week. The members name is Kevin and he
hasn't been to church in years but comes from a very active family. He is
married toTamara who is a generic Christian and things have been going
great in their lives. We got a referral for them from Kevin's seminary
teacher! How cool is that! Anyways we went over to their apartment to
see if they would be interested and Tamara had tons of questions that
we were able to answer. She is really interested in learning about the
church and having it all make sense in her head.  We are excited for
her and are going to take things slow but still help her along.
Another family that we started to teach is a return less active named
Heather. She has a 10 year old son that is super excited to be
baptized. We went over there to teach the and the very first question
he asked was "So when am I going to be baptized?" Haha. He is so cool.
And really smart. I was definitely not that smart when I was 10.

In Sun Valley our ward mission leader was called to be the second
counselor in the bishopric. They didn't have anyone to replace him for
a few weeks so he was doing double duty. He is a really great guy and
has helped the work a ton. Yesterday we got a new one called. His name
is brother Selin. He has had various callings throughout the church
his whole life but this is the very first time for him to be a ward
mission leader. He is excited about getting to work with us. I hope
that we can start off on a good note and be a very high functioning
ward. I guess only time will tell. It is looking up though.

We had interviews with President Griffin this past Friday and those
went amazing. He really is a unique individual. He is so done to earth
and really understands how people work. He values everyone's different
strengths and is willing to work with them on their personal weakness.
We talked a lot about the zone of which I'm in. He listened to me and
asked for my input on what he could do to make it better. I have never
had that before from such a prominent leader. But he explained that I
get to work with these missionaries all the time and that I know who
they really are, not who they try to be. I know that this mission is
going to do great things because of the person that he is. His
favorite thing to do is talk about how little bits of growth over a
long period of time equals a lot of growth. He is patient and knows we
will improve.

With Christmas right around the corner we decided to make some sweet
Christmas cards. We all put on our red and green ties and added some
vests for fun. It was a blast trying to get everyone in the picture
and trying to find the best type of picture to do. I plan to send them
to people as thank you/ Christmas cards. They will be a treat indeed.

Well I love you all so much. Remember that this time of the year is to
remember christ, our families, and all that we have been blessed with
this year. Go out and celebrate. Have a good time and enjoy the life
you have. Play in the snow for me because my Christmas is dry but
great weather.

Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford

Peoria Week 70 *December 15, 2014

Hello everyone!

For the past week we have been doing a ton of sharing of the Christmas
message with members and non members alike. The church came out with a
really amazing video called "He is the Gift". It is focused on the
fact that Christ is the center of this holiday, that everything he did
is for us personally and that we can receive peace and comfort in this
life if we believe in him and his words. The video is pretty simple.
No spoken words. Just written and nice music. The message it contains
really brings the spirit and it is so apparent in the homes and in the
eyes of the people. At the end of the video it gives out three
invitations. 1) Discover the gift 2) embrace the gift 3) share the
gift. As we learn what Christ did for us we can apply it each day. He
should be every thing to us. He came here to relieve us from the
stresses of life. Without him there really is nothing. We would be
born and live in our sins forever. Never to return to our father in
heaven. Just think about that for a second. Without this one man you
could never become the amazing person you were meant to be. We are
sons and daughters of God. We have the potential to be great. We just
have to reach out and apply it. Once we do that we have to have the
love for people in order to open our mouths and share it.

Every year around Christmas our mission president organizes a
christmas conference for all of us to go to. It is always a great
event and really brings in the spirit. This year we went down to the
Mesa temple to do a few things. We first went to the visitor center to
learn all about the tools they have there for our investigators and
all the ways we can make the trip a better experience for them. Then
we have a lunch that we provided for ourselves on the temple grounds.
We then went and did a session in the temple with about a quarter of
the mission. They have to break it down or else it is just too much.
The spirit was strong and made for a great time. Then we went to Old
Country Buffet for dinner and headed back to the temple to see the
Christmas lights. We drove around the whole day in a big tour bus and
had a blast the whole time. I am really glad I got to be apart of the
whole thing.

I went on exchanges with in of the missionaries in our zone and he is
in a Spanish ward. So I got to go hangout there all day. We had a
couple of lessons in which I didn't say one word because the whole
things was in SPANISH haha. They kept looking at me and I would have
to say "no habla espanol..." Haha they would all bust up laughing and
call me a gringo and whatnot. It was a super funny and a once in a
lifetime experience. I was laughing the whole time. But oddly enough I
could feel the spirit in their words. Even though I couldn't
understand any of it. It was a testimony builder to me that this church
is true. No matter where you love or what language you speak. This is
Gods church. And He runs it.

For my birthday on Saturday I didn't have any presents to open.... I
mean I did but I was impatient and opened them the day I got them
whenever that was. Haha. It was a good day. I didn't tell all the
people  we went to visit because that is just a little awkward and I didn't
want to have that haha. Brother Fullmer from my last area took
me to lunch. We went to the Cheesecake Factory! It was soooo good. I
love it. It was a simple day but really made it great. No more teen
years! Whoop! Whoop! I bet you can't believe that!

Thank you so much for everything. I love you all and hope you have a
great week.
Until next week,

Elder Cole Safford

1. Classic jumping picture. Our house and the assistants to the president
2. Nice proportioned photo of the zone.
3. Elder Allen and I at the temple.
4. Pday basketball group at the Temple
5. The Lemoine household!