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.
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.