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