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