Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Friday, December 27, 2013

I made it to Harlem!

Hey everyone! So I just wanted to say that I made it to Harlem safely! It's sooooooooo different from ANYTHING that I've ever experienced! It's going to be GREAT!! :) I love you all so much and thank you SO much for my package!! I haven't opened it yet but I can't wait!! I hope you have an awesome week!! :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Missionary Message" from Elder Stafford

Look what I got for Christmas!! What better gift than to be able to have the Book of Mormon, yet another testament that Jesus IS the Christ?
The gifts you'll receive from it are better than anything Santa could bring you! Don't believe me? See for yourself! It's even free! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I will be........going to..........Harlem!!!

Helloooooo family!!

So this week has been pretty fun!!  We had snow, snow, and more snow the past 5 days or so!  It’s been nuts!  We’ve been “grounded” twice this week which means that the snow is too bad for us to drive in so we have to stay in our apartment for the day.

However, the biggest part of the week were shock calls (transfer calls)!!  And I will be……….....…GOING TO…………………………………HARLEM!!  Ahhhhhhh!!  I’m going to the city today!!  I’m gonna be there for Christmas!  That’s what I was hoping for!!   : )  I’m soooooooo excited!  I’ll be companions with Elder Edmunds and we will be whitewashing an area.  That means that instead of one missionary staying and getting a new companion so he can show him around and show him the investigators and members and stuff, we’re BOTH going to be going into the area new!!  This will be fun!!

Well…I don’t have a whole lot of time so I’m just gonna sign off and I’ll have to let you know more about it on Monday!!  Be SURE that you’ve got your computer handy on Monday as much as you can because we have to coordinate when/where/and how we’re going to Skype each other on Wednesday!  I’m soooooooooooo excited to talk to you guys!!  It’s going to be great!!  So yeah…our p-day is Monday this week so stay in touch!  Alright well…I guess I’ll talk to you Monday and see you Wednesday!!  Have an awesome week everyone!  I love you all!  : )

-Elder Stafford

And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare
my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night.  And I 
will give unto him strength such as is not known among men.
-Doctrine and Covenants 24:12

...now it's just my life! It's great!!

Hello everyone!

This week has been a lot more normal than it has been lately! We were able to finally meet with this awesome lady and her son this week! One day while we were tracting, this lady and her older mom asked if we were Jehovah's Witnesses (we get that A LOT here...I hate it). We told her no and who we were and she was really interested but said that these next couple weeks wouldn't be good because of thanksgiving and family visiting and everything so she told us to come back in a couple weeks. So this week we did and it was awesome! It was funny, though. When we knocked on the door and she saw who we were, she went and got her coat and came outside and the first thing that she said to us was, "so, you guys said that you were Mormons. Does that mean what I think it means?" And we were like, oh great, what now? So we were just like, "uhhhh we don't really know what you mean. What do you think it means?" And she was just like, "by Mormons do you mean that some of your men have more than one wife?" AHHHHH! Gosh dang it all you crazy religions! People are always getting us mixed up with those crazy FLDS or RLDS people or Jehovah's Witnesses or something. I'm pretty sure that that's why 25% of the people that say they aren't interested...aren't interested. Makes me so frustrated!  But anyway....we just told her that no we don't do that and she was super relieved and said that we could come in haha. She's super cool, though, and we hope that she's able to make it to church this week! She's a school teacher for Monticello High School! She's literate and not crazy!! That's better than 95% of the people that we usually talk to!!! :D

So with that Wesley guy... He still hasn't answered any of our phone calls. We've tried to leave voicemail messages and everything but it doesn't seem to be working. Looks like he really was scared off for good. Yes someone talked  to that lady and I think that she's going to be better from now on. Was just super frustrating and made us so mad. We can't really be super mad at her though because she does have some mental issues and she has some serious social issues as well. Well just keep trying with him I guess.

We also had our missions' Christmas devotional this week and it was amazing! We have some crazy talented people here in the mission. One of the elders, Elder Hurst, has one of the best voices I've ever heard! Then another elder WROTE all of the music for the program! That's crazy! It was so great, though. Really special.

Other than that we've had a pretty normal week. Nothing really exciting or different. I can't really say how...fun it is though. Like seriously, what we do would not be considered "fun" or "interesting" to most people...actually anyone really...except for missionaries. Idk...it's like once you're called to a position, the Lord helps you not only enjoy, but love what you do. Yeah, I was kind of resisting at first, but now it's just my life! It's great!

It sounds like things are fun back home! -18 degrees?? That's crazy!! What in the world! It's NEVER gotten that cold there! The coldest it's gotten here is like 5-10 degrees...it pretty much stays in the low 20s most of the time. Yesterday we got a lot of snow and it kind of shut our day down. The back roads didn't get plowed for a while so things were pretty slippery.
That's totally fine if you want to comment on those Facebook things, though! It really wouldn't be too big of a thing...just wanna be safe. Yeah, it's something that they want the whole mission to do every week, so that was our first one. It was great! I hope things get better!

Oh goodness mom you spoil me way too much! You really don't need to get me hardly anything! Just remember to send EVERYTHING to the mission office regardless of whether I'm staying in Monticello or not. They don't want anything to be sent to individual apartments anymore. You're so thoughtful, though. Thank you for everything that you do you guys. You're the best!

I love you all so much and can't wait to talk to you on Christmas!! Yes you can skype me! :) I hope you all have an awesome week! :)

-Elder Stafford

Oh! And tell everyone thank you so much for all the
letters/pictures/stories that came with my package for my birthday!
Especially Brandon's story that he sent me! It was great!! It was SO
something Brandon would write ;)

Me and Elder Rydalch with Santa! (Brother Vaccaro)

Making "ginger"bread houses NYC style at our zone activity

I ended up with a mini cactus at the "white elephant" gift exchange

I was quite excited about it! haha!!

"Missionary Message" from Elder Stafford

This is the simple testimony of a simple man. We don't need to be geniuses or scholars to know Christ. He is my Savior, and He is your Savior...and our faith in Him can increase as long as we're willing to put the work in! So let's get to work! 
How can you know Christ without having physical "proof"?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

You just gotta laugh it off!!

Hello all you New Plymouth-ites!! :)

So I guess to start out I'll just tell you about how my week went! My Thanksgiving was AWESOME! It's kinda funny...we had plans to go over to three different people on TuesdayWednesday, and then Thursday, but the ones onTuesday and Wednesday canceled on us last minute!  Oh well...we had a really great meal over at the VanValkenburgs. They're both kind of older so all their kids are grown up and moved out but they are just the nicest people I've ever met. They had all six missionaries over and then this other family and then my branch mission leader, Brother Vaccaro and his son, Peter. It was super fun! We just went over all day munching on food and talking and eating dinner and talking some more. It was great! Super relaxing!
So yeah...this week has been a real slow, but busy, crazy week.

Thursday was Thanksgiving so we didn't have to do anything that day. Friday and Saturday were pretty normal. Oh! Except we found this really awesome family knocking some doors in this apartment complex by our apartment and they are super cool! When we knocked on the door and said who we were she was like "well...I'm going to be honest, I'm not super into the whole religion thing but my kids are like CRAZY about it so you guys could come back tomorrow and talk to them if you'd like?" So of course we said yes and we went back the next day! We had an awesome lesson with her 11, almost 12, year old boy who is SUPER intelligent and sharp and herself (she's totally going to be into religion now! Haha). She told us about this amazing experience she had where a few years ago, her father had just passed away and she was over at her moms apartment with her whole family after the funeral and stuff, and all of a sudden she just felt like something was calling her outside. She kind of ignored it but then a couple of her family members went up to her and said some stuff like "do you hear that outside?"  She went outside but didn't see or find anything so she thought it must have just been some random noise or something so she went back in and continued to grieve and spend time with her family. Then she said that the next day she was super sad...like she was just SO upset, and she felt like something was "calling" her from outside.  She said that when she went outside, the sun was shining so beautifully right on our church building which is exactly across the street from where she was! She said that she'd never felt more peace in her entire life and that that was by far the most beautiful experience in her entire life! It was so sweet! She told us this and we were just stunned! We had a cool talk about how people feel the spirit differently and we told her that that experience definitely came from Heavenly Father and that it obviously meant something! It was so neat! We'll be going over there again this Saturday hopefully!

So then on Sunday, after church we went over to the Murphy's house and we had a little party thing there! It was the first of December so they got this HUGE live tree and put it in there house and had us help them decorate it while listening to Christmas music and stuff! It was so fun! Then we just ate a TON of junk food and talked and everything. Their son, Danny, left on his mission yesterday actually so they had us over to say goodbye and stuff! He's such a cool, funny kid! He was one of the only two youth in the ward so were really going to miss him! Hahaha :)

Then on Monday we had a zone meeting about a half an hour away which was fun and our district leader went on a split so there was one of our zone leaders with us! He's really nice and cool. After the meeting, we all went down to the mall there in Middletown and ate some Chinese food which was amazing! And then after that we just came home, went on Facebook for a little bit, then went to go eat dinner over at a members house! And that was about our day!

Then yesterday was pretty much normal except we went to a food pantry and volunteered helping people get their food and stuff like we do every Tuesday, and then we had that party for my two week late birthday hahaha it was fun :)

So yeah...this week we've pretty much just been a bunch of bums and messed around!  Just kidding!!
I really have been doing better, though. Things are getting a little more fun, a little more enjoyable as I go along. Things still aren't easy but I don't think they ever are for a missionary. I actually have learned to just enjoy my time here in Monticello. Yeah, it's small, crazy, hard, and frustrating most of the time...but I love it. I wouldn't mind staying here another cycle even. Idk about another cycle with the same companion though...it's not that I don't like him or anything, it's just that 4 1/2 months is a LONG time to spend with someone nonstop 24 hours. I'm pretty sure after 6 months we'd just kill each other Haha!!

Something that I am learning is to just laugh everything off...which probably isn't abnormal for me...it's just most of the time people blow you off or they yell at you or are rude to you and I just think it's so funny! :) Elder Rydalch hates it and gets so angry but I just laugh! Like the other day, a less active that apparently tried to tell missionaries to stop coming over got SO mad at us and started saying that we're just rude and annoying and that we'd better get the heck off his property before he called the cops and a whole bunch of other stuff and then slammed the door on us...frankly I thought it was funny that he was being so immature so I just yelled through the door "Happy Holidays! Just wanted to share a Thanksgiving message! You just gotta laugh stuff like that off and not let it get to you!

It hasn't snowed in a while here! It's warmed up after that cold front that we had and it hasn't really gotten cold enough to snow! It's supposed to be a crazy winter here, though, so we'll see!
Okay so about that guy that just ran up to us on Broadway and we taught last week...we're pretty sure one of our members scared him off. We are so upset right now. There's this lady named Sister G***** and she is NOT good with people and can be very rude sometimes. She doesn't know much about our doctrine so most of what she says that has to do with what we believe is kind of sketchy. Apparently she lives in the same apartment as this W***** guy (that's his name) and I guess she's told him that (oh and by the way he does smoke...big surprise) he is worshipping false gods by smoking and that he can't get closer to god when he smokes and that he'd better stop before he goes to Purgatory. We've only taught him ONCE!!!! He has no idea about the word of wisdom! Ugh! So we eventually talked to him about her and tried to tell him not to listen to a word that she says because she's crazy! But I guess what happened next is that he had plans to come to church this Sunday after we invited him and I guess that he talked to her like Saturday night to see if he could maybe ride the bus with her or take a train with her and she told him that he couldn't come to church unless he wore slacks and a white shirt and tie! He doesn't own any of that! He's poor! And I guess he was like "can't I just wear jeans and a nice sweater?" And she said no!!! Who the heck cares what he wears as long as he gets here! It would have been good if she'd just let him know or made the suggestion he wear nice clothes but she just straight up told him not to come!  And then she came up to us at church and was all proud that she was "being a missionary" and telling him what he needs to do and stuff! We wanted to strangle her! So now we haven't seen him since and he won't answer any of our calls or anything. We're making Brother B**** who's in the brand presidency talk to her and tell her to leave people alone and explain her calling as ward missionary again because apparently she has no idea what that actually means.

But anyway...other than that little mishap it's actually been a really fun week for a change! I'm doing better each week just kind of adjusting and figuring out how this whole mission thing works! It sounds like things  are going smoothly over there. Sounds like the usual but hey...that can be good! That's so cool that dads over in Chicago now! How long is he there for? Is he liking it? Tell him to come to New York! Haha just kidding :)
How are you doing? I hope you haven't been down in the dumps at all! I pray for you guys almost every day and hope everything goes well. Let me know if there's anything I can do for any of you! Oh and by the way...your Christmas presents might be a little late this year :/ there's actually a couple reasons: one, I wanna get you guys something cool and there's not exactly many cool things to get up here in Monticello. And two, I don't exactly have many personal funds to be buying gifts or shipping right now (I'm saving up though!)
So I just want you guys to know that I really don't get much money except for money I get from you guys which I don't wanna just spend...I try and only buy things that I really need. Which by the way...sorry if I spent a lot on stuff these last few weeks...I figured out very quickly that I don't have very many winter things so I was freezing and had to buy some boots and sweaters and big socks and hats and stuff :/

That's a good idea that the missionaries had over there! Make sure and help me out by actually bringing someone! Haha! Oh if only I knew before how desperately missionaries need members to do that I'd probably have been a little better at missionary work. It's super easy too! Yeah it might be weird trying to get somebody to come to a church activity, but it's really not at all! I mean would you be weirded out if one of your nonmember friends invited you to a Christmas party that was over in that big baptist church? No! It's because it's just an activity, something fun for the family and...FREE! Haha it's not weird at all :) so don't wait for Heavenly Father to tell you who to ask...just ask everyone! Just remember all those scriptures in D&C that say "open your mouth at ALL times!" That means ALL times :) Gods promised we wouldn't be confounded before men when we have the spirit and were genuinely trying to help someone...and I've found that to be so true. So don't be afraid! You guys can do it!

We'll...I'd better get going but I hope you are all doing really well! I love you all! Have an awesome week!

Elder Stafford :)

So we had our party!! Haha  Thank you SO much!  I only got 
teased a little bit but it was worth it  ;)

Birthday boy!!

Gettin' ready for the party!

I'm 19!!!!!  Woooohoooo!!

 Thunk!!  Ow!!

Back atcha!!!

Look at that cake!!

This is MY day!!

Make a wish!!

What the...?!

NOT nice

Oh well...it still tastes good


Our district got to spend Thanksgiving Day with the Vanvaulkenburgs

This is one of our monthly branch potlucks after church.  This was Danny Murphy's
"goodbye" potluck so his parents made all the food.  Delicious!

I love these guys

Then we went over to the Murphys for a party to say goodbye
to their son Danny who was leaving on his mission.

Me with Danny Murphy

We also got to help them decorate their tree



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Missionary Message from Elder Stafford

Jesus Christ is our living older Brother. He is someone that continually plays a critical role in each of our lives. He is more than someone we look up to. He is our everything. To feel the true spirit of Christmas this year...act on the faith and love you have towards your Savior.

How will you live YOUR faith this Christmas?

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Missionary Message" from Elder Stafford

Light is the perfect analogy for Christ and his role in our lives. We will never walk in darkness with Him, our older Brother, leading the way through his perfect example. What do you think Christmas lights teach us about our Savior?

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
John 8:12

Monday, December 2, 2013

"Missionary Message" from Elder Stafford

For those of you that are going through a hard time...find strength in these powerful words from one of my favorite speakers. You can do this! Never feel alone! You can do this.

"[I] acknowledge that your path will at times be difficult. But I give you this promise in the name of the Lord: rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Savior, and one day you will look back and be filled with eternal gratitude that you chose to trust the Atonement and its power to lift you up and give you strength."
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Saturday, November 30, 2013

This week has been great!

Hey mom!

     This week has been great!! Lots of fun! There's been so much going on! We're getting fed like three times this week so you don't have to worry about us not getting a Thanksgiving at ALL! We're going over to this family called the Vanvalkenburgs and he reminds me so much of the Pearce family. We call him the manliest man to ever walk the earth because he does all of the stuff that's stereotypical of this big macho mountain man hahaha. He's like super quiet but SO nice and he's obsessed with hunting and guns and fishing and he has this big ole truck and he cuts down his own trees and owns this big pond in his backyard where he has this dock that he can fish off of and it's just so funny. So hopefully we'll get some real American Thanksgiving food. No we haven't had a lot of soul food. I mean we eat pretty much the same as back home. I think it's more when you start going south into the Carolina's and Mississippi and all of those that you start getting into all of that.
     But anyway so I FINALLY got your package on Monday!! Holy cow it took forever because of how stinking far up we are and just because of the day that it got to the office it was right in between deliveries to our zone. But because we didn't get it until then I've only been able to open my presents and we haven't had our official "party" yet with all of the party stuff, but we will DEFINITELY have it soon. Thank you so much for putting that together it was great! Exactly what I needed for my birthday!! You know me too well :) Yes, I love my ties that I got!! And yes, they are "sick" colors ;) I'm wearing that pink and black one now! And yes, the Scentsy thing was perfect! I only got teased a little bit but they were actually grateful...now our apartment doesn't smell like there's four guys living in it with no one to give it any feminine touch haha! 
     This week's been really great, though. This guy that we met a while ago (I don't know if you remember, but the one that just ran up to us while we were walking down Broadway) finally got ahold of us and we were able to teach him the first lesson! He is GOLDEN and we're so excited to see where he goes with this. He's a super interesting guy with lots of good insights and everything. Also I don't remember if I told you this in my last letter but we were able to skype a member that's in Perth, Australia!! He's going on his mission soon and one day he was on Facebook and he randomly messaged me and asked if we could talk! I've never even seen the guy before and the only mutual friend that I have with him is this little Asian sister that's in my mission that I don't even hardly know! He just said that I looked really familiar so he thought he'd ask if we'd met before. It was really cool and we got to know him and answered some questions about serving a mission and stuff. He's super friendly and we've been messaging on Facebook.
     Our area is starting to get a little life in it again after that long "drought" that we had.
Things are good with the members! Weve been teaching them a lot more and getting closer to them. I teach the gospel principles class every three weeks with Elder Rydalch and it's great! At first I absolutely hated it and was so nervous and everything but now it's a lot easier and I feel like my teaching skills are improving a lot!     
     I think that I'm over that little period of sickness that I was going through because I'm doing a lot better! Don't worry about sending me vitamins or anything. We have everything that we need in our apartment. I even bought bottle of those One-a-Day multi-vitamins for men that has like everything in it. I call it my "dirt pill" because it seriously tastes like I'm eating dirt haha! 
     But anyway...that's about how my week has been! Thank you so much for writing me and thinking about me on my birthday!!! It was so great to be able to still open presents and stuff even though it was like a week and a half later! ;) that's not your fault though! Just remember that during Christmas it's going to be super hard to get things through in the mail because that's what everyone and there dog is trying to do. I'll try and come up with a list of things that I need/want for Christmas like you asked but in all honesty, it's going to cost a fortune to send a bunch of stuff in the mail so maybe think about just sending money or little things. I really don't need a whole lot for Christmas...I'm pretty much as happy as I can be here :) You guys are so awesome, though! Thank you again for everything and I hope you have an awesome week! Love you all!

P.S sorry if some of my sentences and words don't make sense...my iPad likes to correct me a lot and it's hard to type on a virtual keyboard haha!!

 Check out this super cool ally-way-blocker that we found in Monticello.  Don't worry...
Elder Rydalch wouldn't let me go in there like I wanted to...psh!  Yeah right! haha

This is a super cool lake right by a member of our branch

Me and Luis Santiago.  He was a member of our branch but he went back to the Dominican 
Republic.  He's soooo cool!  We're gonna miss him!

Friday, November 29, 2013

"Missionary Message" from Elder Stafford

"We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become when they receive testimonies of the gospel of Christ."
-Thomas S. Monson

And I'd like to add by saying that we need to develop the capacity to see OURSELVES as Christ would! We are not perfect yet. Surprise! 
Our loving Heavenly Father has provided a way for us to humble ourselves and become better: the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
How have you seen this change take place in your life?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Facebook message from Akayla

Today is Thanksgiving, so I would like to share just a couple things that I am thankful for. To start out, I would like to say I am so thankful for my Savior. For the atonement of Jesus Christ and the knowledge that I have that I am never alone. I am so grateful for The Book of Mormon, and that I have it so available to read whenever I want. I am so very thankful for the amazing opportunity I have to go to BYU-I. For all that I have learned so far, and how much I've grown. I am so grateful for my best friend Elder Cade Stafford. I don't know what I would do without him in my life. He is such an amazing example to me for choosing to put the Lord first. He helps me want to be better, and I am so lucky to have him. I could go on, and on, and on... but last of all, I am so thankful for my family. For my incredible mom Angela Johnson Ferrara, and amazing dad David Ferrara. For my wonderful siblings Corina Ferrara,Tanner FerraraAdriana Ferrara, Annalisa Ferrara, Mariah Ferrara, Elora Ferrara, Leandra Ferrara, Landon Ferrara, and Mason Ferrara. I have the best family in the world! It's been so nice being able to be home with them! I have missed them terribly! I would be lost without them! What more could I want?! I am the luckiest girl alive! Happy Thanksgiving everybody! 

Facebook message from my sister, Erin

Well since it is thanksgiving, I want to say what I am grateful for. I am truly thankful for The Atonement of Jesus Christ. Without Him, my life would be incomplete and I know that he loves and care for each and every one of us. I am also grateful for the opportunity to have such an amazing brother, Elder Cade Stafford, on a mission. Even though I miss him tremendously, he is serving the Lord willingly and I know he loves Him with all his heart. So that is what I am grateful for this year! (Besides food) Happy Thanksgiving! (:

"Missionary Message" from Elder Stafford

We'll...it's that time of the year again! So I'd like to share a few things that I'm grateful for.
First and foremost, however, I need to say that I am so grateful for my family. I can't express how good it feels to know that I have so many people back home supporting me. My parents Kirk Stafford and Shauna Spain Stafford are the two greatest people I know. I would not be the person that I am now if it weren't for them. (Not that I'm that great still, I'm just a lot better than I would have been without them!) They've been the best parents I could ever ask for. I've put 'em through a lot of stress and they've always handled it perfectly. I also wouldn't be able to live without all my siblings...even though they drive me crazy sometimes 
Next I am grateful for my best friend Akayla Ferrara. She is the most Christlike person I know. She's been there with me through thick and thin...and the love she's shown me is something I'll never be able to repay. I really would be lost without her...so hopefully she sticks around 
The last thing I'd like to give thanks for is this mission that I'm on. I've learned more in these last five months than I have in my whole life! I've got a while to go but it seems like so little considering how fast it's flown by so far!
I'm so grateful for a lot of things and I'd never be able to list them all off...but as I go throughout the rest of this year, I'm going to try being more grateful for things every day, because it's my opinion that the more we show our Heavenly Father our thanks for the blessings we do have, the more willing He'll be to give us more blessings! I'd encourage all of you to do the same!  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Missionary Message" from Elder Stafford

I LOVE this quote! Just as with trees, the more adversity we face in our jobs, relationships, families, school, and even our faith...the more that we can grow from it! We'd have some wimpy trees if they didn't have anything fighting against them!
So just remember something that my best friend wrote to me in a letter this last week: We can do hard things! We ALL can!