Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Hey mom and dad and family!!

GUESS WHAT?! ITS HERE!!!!!!!! I'm coming home!! Just wanted to let you know that I won't have my iPad by this afternoon probably, so if you have anything you needed me to know, you better say it fast haha. Just FYI, I'm bringing a bunch of quarters in case I need to call you at the airport for whatever reason. Hopefully everything works out and I actually get home. Knowing our family, though, I'll probably end up taking a wrong plane or missing a flight and it'll end up being a tiring, stressful, expensive experience
trying to get me home ;) haha jk! I'll do my best to not screw up!!
Alright have a good one!! I LOVE YOU! This'll be my last email as
Elder Stafford :(

 Me and Brother Downer (one of my favorite members of the ward)

 The whole zone

 My last district :(

Had to get a door knocking picture before I left ;)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Exhaustion Has Set In

Hello all!! This week was pretty good!! For some reason my body has
just been way out of sync, though. I've been feeling exhausted like
all day long. Annoying! I got a priesthood blessing, though, so that
will help. My body has just decided that it doesn't want to fall
asleep at 10:30 anymore or wake up at 6:30. I've always been pretty
good about actually getting up at 6:30, but recently my body just
isn't letting me...really weird.
But anyways...so Anthony (our only investigator really) is doing
really well. He came to church again like he promised and he's loving
it! He's really excited to get baptized. We had a lesson with him on
Sunday after church which was awesome! We taught him about the
Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the Book of Mormon
and all that good stuff. Always my favorite lesson if everything goes
really well.
There has been one hiccup with me and Elder Unice, though. I've just
noticed over this cycle that we have a really hard time teaching
together for whatever reason. It just doesn't seem like we can see
where the other person is going with what they're saying. He has a
tendency to go off on tangents very easily, and he mentions a lot of
stuff that really has nothing to do with what we're talking about, and
so it's hard to rally everyone back to what it is we're actually there
to teach. There are some things that I need to work on, as well
though. Because I've been on my mission so long, and because I feel
like I've developed a really good way to present the doctrine so that
it makes sense to the investigator, I get frustrated when my companion
(usually when it's newer missionaries) kind of goes out of order with
things or he skips something really important that needs to be
mentioned, and so I almost feel like I have to clean up everything he
said so that the investigator isn't confused anymore. I don't know.
Does that make sense? Really I've just got a lot of pride that I need
to work on haha. I guess I just kind of forgot that I didn't have
everything right my third cycle in the mission, either. Heck! I still
don't have it right... :)

So the other thing that's kind of been going on is a little drama with
our Ward mission leader haha. His name is Ray and he's just got a few
quirks that have been really bothering the missionaries in the Ward.
He's a SUPER great guy, don't get me wrong, though. He is retired and
single and so he doesn't have a whole lot to do, and so he invests a
TON of effort into being a Ward mission leader. He takes it sooo
seriously haha...which is good! He makes stuff like charts and
spreadsheets and all sorts of other things to organize
everything/everyone. The only problem is that he's kind of got it in
his head that he's the "boss" of the missionaries in the Ward. He
feels that it's his responsibility to direct how the missionaries do
their work in the Ward...which is not the case at all. The Ward
mission leader is really the connection between the efforts of the
full time missionaries and the efforts of the Ward. So there's just
been some drama and frustrations (a good amount on my part haha)
because we feel like he's trying to get us to submit to what HE wants
done and who HE wants us to visit...and all sorts of other stuff that
we don't need to get into. But it's just been fun. He's gotten a lot
better recently, though.
I feel bad, though, because he picks on poor Elder Unice a lot. Unice
kind of asks for it just with his personality, but Ray can be kind of
short with him especially because he's a newer missionary and so he
doesn't think he knows what he's doing yet. I was really upset after
our last Coorelation meeting because I was on a split with the other
elders in my district, and so I couldn't make it, but I heard that
Unice just got put down pretty hard by Ray. He was trying to figure
out what we had done that week and what we needed help with or
something, and Unice was kind of struggling to remember and just kind
of stumbled trying to figure everything out on his own, and so I think
Ray was kind of making him feel dumb or something. I think that Ray
knows that there's no way in heck I would have put up with that, but
because I wasn't there he did. Idk...we're probably just overreacting,
but I'm sure it'll work out eventually.

So just went to the city for my last official p-day :( next p-day
we're going to the temple with our mission president, and then after
that I'll be on a plane home! Holy moly...it's all just happening way
too fast! It was lots of fun, though! We went to Chinatown to buy a
knock-off Rolex (super super expensive watch brand...they're usually
like $2,000-$10,000) for $30 ;) hahaha. Then after that we just kind
of walked around and soaked it in one last time :( next week we won't
have hardly any time at all in the city, so this was probably the last
time I'll walk those magical streets until we come back to visit!!

Well, I gotta go, but I love you all so much. Have an awesome week!! :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Little Miracles...Just Do It For The Right Reasons/ The Countdown Begins!!!!

Hey hey everyone!! 

This week was great! We've actually slowly slowly
slowly started to see some miracles and successes. Tracting
has...still not been super successful, but it's cool because every day
we get out there, we see a little more success. We've even had a few
people that seemed pretty interested in having us come over again!
Although they've all juked us....haha :) but it's all good! We're
seeing miracles in other places for sure. There is a member that has
brought her friend to church the last two weeks and we got to talk to
him after church, and it looks like he's seriously considering being
baptized! He's a really cool guy and so far we think he's felt the
spirit for sure. The only thing we're worried about is that the first
week he came to church, they were "friends", but then this week when
they came they are dating haha. So we just want him to be doing this
for the right reasons is all.
So funny story, before I got to this area, the missionaries here were
out tracting and as they were walking down the street in this kind of
ghetto part of town, they ran into this wad of cash just laying on the
ground. And when I say wad of cash...I mean a WAD! I think they said
that it was about $6500 dollars in hundreds and fifties....yeah. So
they freaked out because hey thought that it was drug money or
something, and so they called the police and they came and picked it
up. So long story short, the police told them that if no one came to
the station to claim it within 60-90 days, it was all theirs. Luckily
the person that it belonged to came to the station looking for it,
though, and it turns out that this guy had dropped this huge pile of
money walking down the street and it was like the rent or something
for his families house or whatever! Anyways, so he was like sooooooo
grateful and so shocked that they were actually honest enough to say
something and not just put it in their pocket and leave. The guy said
that he'd want to go out to dinner with us sometime, so hopefully we
can maybe turn that into a teaching opportunity!

Well, isn't it so sad that Elder Perry died :( I was so sad after we
heard about that. He was so great! One of my favorites!! I just love
love love the way that he would bear his testimony so firmly. He would
almost growl as he said it haha! But something that I will always
remember about him is his intense commitment to unite all Christian
faiths together. He really taught me that just because not everyone
believes the same way we do, it doesn't mean that we're not on the
same team. We're all on Christ's team! When he was at some convention
with people of all sorts of different faiths, he spoke and you know
what he did? He challenged every single one of those denominations to
double their worship service attendance or something! Haha. That's a
man who really understood the meaning of "love thy neighbor" not just
"love thy friends who think just like you do". What a spiritual giant!
I'm interested to find out who will replace him, though. We are all
thinking that President Morgan is going to take his spot at the end of
the month ;)

Well, that's about all I got as far as news! Only three more weeks
until I'll get to see most of you! I'm really excited! :) I'm gonna
cry so hard when I have to leave, though....but luckily that's not for
a few more weeks. Hope you're all happy and healthy :) love you all!

-Elder Stafford

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Doing Some Good Old-Fashioned Tracting

Hey everyone!!!

So this week was probably one of the least exciting
weeks of my mission haha. It was still a good week, but there was just
literally nothing going for us. This area is another one of those
where we don't have many people to teach. The people that we do teach,
though, have been investigating the Church for years. The guy that
were teaching tonight has been having missionaries come over for like
4+ years or something like that. He knows that the Book of Mormon is
true, he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet...but no matter how
many times we tell him, it just doesn't click that he needs to change
his life because of that. He goes to this other Protestant church
every week, and doesn't see why he needs to be baptized in our church.
But he'll get there eventually...maybe.

We do see a few less active guys that are all really cool. One guy
were really hoping starts to come to church again soon. He's a great
guy, but just needs to feel his testimony come back. Right now he just
doesn't feel ready to see everyone and come to church again. It's so
sad, though, because you can totally tell that it's just pure laziness
that keeps people like that away. He even told us that if he started
to come back to church, he'd have to start doing a whole bunch of
other stuff, and he just doesn't want to put in that work. But he
loves us coming and sharing a message, so we'll keep working with him.
We've been doing a lot of finding lately. Our week is pretty much full
of looking up potential investigators and then tracting for hours
around them. It's definitely not the most effective thing in the
world, but we can't afford to just sit on our behinds and do nothing.
President Morgan has promised us over and over again, too, that if we
just get out and do some good old fashioned tracting every day, the
Lord will bless our efforts. He might not always do it through the
actual tracting, but he'll bless us in other phases of the work as

The weathers been beautiful lately so that's been really nice. It is
getting really really humid some days, though. I'm pretty sure that
when I go back to Idaho, I'm going to dry up and crack in half because
my bodies so used to this wet, humid air!! Haha

Well, only four more weeks to go, before I head back home. That's
still so crazy to me! That really snuck up didn't it? I still feel
like a brand new missionary some times, but it's been really cool to
just notice the difference in how I act in certain situations that I
would have two years ago. I'm a lot more comfortable talking to
strangers, which I think will help me in whatever job that I happen to
go into. The Lord has definitely helped me grow a bunch, and a hope
that I've let Him do everything had planned for me out here. I just
know that I've come to this mission for a very specific reason. I'm so
happy to be out here serving Heavenly Father at this time in my life.
I wouldn't have it any other way! I love all of you and pray for you
often. I hope you all have a terrific week and you enjoyed your
Memorial Day weekend! See ya!

-Elder Stafford

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

1st Week in da Poke!...with Elder Unice

Heyyyy everyone!!

So, I promised that I'd talk a little bit more about my last week in
West Point before I talked about this week so here goes:

So Mara baptism was awesome!! Our investigator Danielle was there
along with another one of her friends....annnnd Sabrina also came!
Sabrina was this investigator that we had towards the beginning of my
time at West Point and she just kind of fell off the face of the
earth. She ran into some questions about the church and heard some
rumors from unreliable sources, and just kind of stopped meeting with
us. But she came!! And she really really liked it! I was able to get her
email so that we could keep in contact after I left. I'm hoping that
I'll be able to convince her to start meeting with the missionaries
once the school year starts again. But anyways...the baptism! The
spirit was really strong and I think that she really really liked it.
Brother Platt was the one that baptized her, because she's known him
for quite a while actually.

So then the next day, Elder Quentin L Cook came to speak to us!! Oh my
word...it was so incredible. That is probably one of the most
memorable experiences on my mission so far. It was so incredible how
tangible the spirit was. You could just feel so strongly that that man
is a man of God. It was crazy. He spoke a lot about the sacrament
surprisingly. He gave some really incredible insights. One of my
favorite points that he pointed out was this: a lot of people think of
the sacrament as a renewal of your baptismal covenants. This is
true...but if you think it's only that, then you're missing the point.
The renewal of our past baptismal covenants is just a part of what
we're doing. We're really, in fact, making brand new covenants with
God, not just renewing old ones. Those aren't his exact words, of
course, but I just thought that was a good way to think about it.

So then that next Tuesday (my last day at the Point), we got to go to
the temple to do baptisms for the dead with Mara and Toese. It was
soooooo cool! I've never gotten to do that with a recent convert on my
mission. In fact, I don't think I've done baptisms for the dead since
I was like 17! It was awesome! It was funny, though, because
afterwards I was talking to Mara about what she thought of it, and she
said that it totally caught her off guard. Apparently she wasn't
paying super close attention to what we were saying when we were
talking about the temple, and the words "baptisms for the dead" didn't
really sink in either, because she just thought that we were going to
be sitting in a big beautiful temple to just think and meditate haha.
She had no idea she was going to be doing anything like that! She did
say something really cool, though. She said that even though she was
really confused and kind of overwhelmed with how different everything
was from what she was expecting, she came out feeling ridiculously
peaceful. I really think she felt the spirit strongly. And Toese just
loved it, of course. That dudes just a spiritual giant. It's pretty
crazy how prepared he was. I love that guy!

But yeah, so my first week in Poughkeepsie has been...different. It's
honestly been kinda hard to go back to the grind of a regular,
challenging, hard area again. West Point was such a dream, and so to
come back to an area with no work going on was kind of depressing. And
I mean NO work. We don't have like anyone to teach. At all. I can kind
of see why this area is the one that's looking to get shut down next
cycle. It's been good, though! Elder Unice is...good! He's another one
of those strange ducks that I've gotten out with, but he's awesome.
He's a little strange, but in a good way. He's got a big heart, and
that's all that matters. There's really nothing too exciting about
this week. I cleaned the apartment for like 2 1/2 days straight.
Again...I just don't do well with messy places. Plus...this apartment
is literally the best apartment in the entire mission. We have
everything. Washer, dryer, stainless steel microwave, oven,
dishwasher, and refrigerator set, a full bathroom to each one of us
(mine has a walk in shower with sliding glass doors, we have a little
deck that overlooks this little creek, a piano (yes a piano, and it's
nice...so I'm really trying to take advantage and get a little better
at playing it), brand new furniture...just everything. It's awesome.
So I would just feel horrible if this place wasn't in tip top shape.
Anyways...so yeah, not a whole lot of lessons that I could tell you
about. We did a LOT of tracting. No success yet, but that will come.
We did have an interesting lesson with a guy that's been taught a
couple of the lessons. Although...we will no longer be teaching him
because he has 0 interest in learning anything about the gospel. In
fact, he believes very heavily that the entire government is being run
by the devil, every politician is a devil worshiper, and he also
thinks that he saw a pentagram in one of our churches, which is a
devil worshipping symbol. So yeah...he's nuts :/ but it was definitely

Well, I'd better get going. I love ya'll so much! Have a terrific week :)

Elder Stafford