Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More pictures!

Hey everyone!! So these are just things from the last two weeks that happened! There's some from the ice caves we went to a couple of p-days ago and then just some random things that happened haha :) I love you all! Have a good week!

some ice caves

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Elder Witbeck is GONE!!! Ahhhhhh!!

Hello family!

K so this is really hard but I'm actually not going to be able to send an email this week either. Today was TRANSFERS!!!! And guess what?!?! Elder Witbeck is GONE!! Ahhhhhh!! He got transferred to South Manhattan to be a zone leader there!! My new companion is Elder Rydalch and he is really cool!! It's exciting to have a new companion already! I'll miss Elder Witbeck.
I'm so sorry though...I'm such a terrible person and I really do try and write everyone...it's just so hard to find the time. I hope everyone understands :/ We also had transfers today which is a meeting we have every 6 weeks where we get new missionaries and get rid of the old ones haha and also transfer companions for whoever is doing that! :) But yeah...next week I'll try and write you a better letter!
I love you all! I pray for you often and I hope that you guys can experience some of the missionary experiences that I've been able to have!

-Elder Stafford

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Finally some pictures!!!

Hey family!! So I'm a total failure and didn't plan any time to email today because we're going to some ice cave things...here are some pictures, though, so I hope you forgive me! There aren't a lot because it would take forever to upload...sorry again and I promise we'll talk next week!!

                            MTC district: (L-R) Elder Smart, Elder Ibarra, me,
                            Elder Schneider, Elder Lambert, Elder Neuerberg

                                     Going to the Provo Temple

                                     I'm going to New York!!

Monticello Branch Building

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This one's for You, Erin!

Erin had been writing Cade a whole bunch of long e-mails with not much response to her personally...so she let him have it! ha ha!  So he promised her that he would write just her this week.  He kept his promise...awwww!  With her permission, here it is...

     "Well Erin, here it is...your sort of big letter that ONLY you are getting so you get to have complete control over who does and doesn't get to see it ;)
     So this week has been really good! I'm slowly starting to get more comfortable with sharing the gospel with EVERYONE and I am really surprised at how strong the spirit is when He REALLY wants me to go talk to somebody! Me and Elder Witbeck get along for the most part...we've had a couple stubborn moments where we just miscommunicated and things went downhill from there haha...but anyway...he really is a great missionary and a great trainer.
     The most frustrating part about the mission I think, is Sunday morning. This is the WORST time of the week. That is the time where we call/stop by ALL of the like 15 investigators that said that they would come to church and we get to be disappointed by 15 lame excuses as to while they won't be able to make it...it's so frustrating.
     I'll probably never get a bike here in Monticello just because the area is SO big (the biggest in the Eastern United States). I don't really know exactly how big it is area wise...but it's big trust me.
     The members are...interesting as you know. There's only about 15 people in the whole branch that are pretty strong in the Gospel...then we get like 10 random people that might show up that are less active...so HUGE area...SMALL branch haha
     May and Jamar are progressing the most, I personally think. ESPECIALLY Jamar. He is absolutely eating up whatever we have to say and he has so many GREAT questions for us when we get there. He says that he looks forward to our visits every time. We set a baptismal date for the end of September...but I wouldn't be surprised if it gets moved up ;)
     May is really doing well too! She's a little harder just because she's been pretty strong in her faith but she's so open to what we have to tell her. She got a little hung up on the three degrees of glory last time we were there just because she thinks that that means that everyone is going to be divided into "classes" like we are here on earth...but after some scriptures and help I think she got it. They haven't come to church yet, but we're like 95% sure at least Jamar will come this Sunday.
     The weather is actually not bad. It's pretty warm some days but it's actually been really cloudy this week. And either I'm getting used to the humidity or it hasn't really been here lately because it hasn't been bad at all! I'm still glad we get to drive though...which by the way...I'm starting to drive like a New Yorker!! Ahhhhhh!! I have to cut people off sometimes or we just won't go anywhere...especially traffic on the freeways which we've only really been stuck in like once.
     I was kind of expecting GG to go soon...it's still kinda sad though. Not gonna lie... my heart sunk a little reading it...but it's a good thing. She's with her Heavenly Father and her family and I'm sure her white hair is as perfect as it ever was haha. I wish I could be there for the funeral :/
     I hope everyone is doing okay though. Especially Mamaw and her siblings.  I'd better get going, though, so I hope you feel special Erin! haha :)
     I love you all! Give everyone a hug for me!"

                                               -your little ginger missionary,
                                                                                         Elder Stafford :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

So you want to know about my investigators, huh?

OOOOOOkay! Sorry I've been a total failure at writing you guys but the last two p-days have been so crazy trying to fit everything in...I'm doing great! So you wanna know about all my investigators huh? Well...it's quite the interesting list but here it goes ;)
     C**** is an inactive member that lives in probably the scariest apartment ever...and I'll leave it at that. He has really bad memory problems so he doesn't ever follow through with commitments and is always coming up with excuses not to go to church or family home evening...so we've probably just gonna let the branch take care of him.
     Sister D****...we call her that because D***** is an internet preacher that is just an investigator. She thinks that she is a prophet and is always talking about how when she preaches to people she like blacks out because "THE HOLY SPIRIT IS UPON ME!!!" haha it's actually so hilarious going to go teach her because it literally take us like 30 minutes to teach the simplest principle because she feels that it's her obligation to teach US every time we come  over. She's way cool though and she's really nice about it...she's just gonna take some work.
     D*****...D***** is awesome. He's getting close to being baptized, he just has some Word of Wisdom problems. He is from Jamaica so yes, he is an ex-Rastafarian...which means that he and his friends smoke weed to "come closer to God" and feel that a verse in Revelations about God coming down with "red eyes" proves that God smokes weed...that was really interesting. But he's so cool and he's getting there.
     M** and J**** are probably our most open-to-the-Gospel investigators. J***** is M**'s son and he is about 25 or so...he is SO ready! He has SUCH good questions and really looks forward to us coming when we do. M** is pretty much just as excited and is really easy to teach because in her words she said, "I'm pretty much open to all religions...I just have to find the right one." and "Every time you come I get this warm feeling..." So yeah...they're gonna get baptized within a month haha :)
     J****...J**** is interesting because he's read the Book of Mormon before and said that he studied the Mormon church for a long time...he thinks that the Book of Mormon was just written by some guy and says that organized religion is something that man came up with. We've been explaining to him that this Church is the Church that Jesus set up when he was on the earth and he's starting to come around. We're trying to get him to church! Oh and also another funny thing about him is that he doesn't think that the Bible is true either and thinks that the King James version is way too altered to be considered readable. So instead...he reads the Apocrypha which are books of the Bible that aren't really important...you can read more about the Apocrypha in the Bible Dictionary but yeah...he reads that and the Book of Judas and this other book called The Other Bible as scripture...he's kinda weird but really interesting to talk to.
     *...* and * Jr. are a father and son that we met last week. He's a legally-blind hip-hop artist and he's way cool haha. We're trying to get him to read the Book of Mormon but it's kind of hard because of the whole...blind thing. But he says he can if he uses his really big magnifying glass.
     Sister P****...Sister P**** is actually a really active member but I just thought I'd tell you about her because she's so flipping cool haha...she's an ex-evangelical preacheress...so yeah...she's WAY exciting and is TOTALLY a stereotypical "PRAISE THE LORD" kind of black lady that stands in the front of the gospel choir singing Halleluja hahahahahaha :)
     Brother V******...he is also a really active member but he's so sweet. He's from Italy and he's this really old Italian guy that talks with his hands and sound like a totally stereotypical Italian guy...so yeah, just thought I'd throw him in.
     Uncle N****...Uncle N**** is an investigator and his real name is like Weiken Pavlikonovich or something totally Russian like that (that's totally not his real name I just made it up to prove my point...it's just way hard to say like that so that's why we call him Uncle N****) haha...he's from Yugoslavia I think and he's AWESOME! He takes us out for dinner like every time we go over and he and Brother V****** are like best friends now after like one visit haha it's so funny to hear them talk to each other because they both have so much energy and one is talking in a totally heavy Russian accent and the other is like broken English mixed with Italian hahaha It's awesome.
      So yeah...we actually have a TON more investigators and funny members but those are pretty much the most interesting :)
Thank you SO much for my package!!!! I loved it and everyone thought that it was hilarious haha :) Yes I live in an apartment with one other companionship. We drive a car everywhere and just this week I was made the designated driver so I have to drive everywhere...it's actually not that bad because I'm still in a pretty small town. I WILL eventually send everyone pictures and I'm going to try my hardest to do that today...I just forgot my camera at the apartment and we have to write emails in the library :/ Oh no I absolutely don't mind if you put my letters online...I think it'd be a good idea to replace the names of all my investigators with stars or just take them out all together so I'm not giving away personal information haha. 
But yeah...I hope that answers most of your questions!! EVERY stereotype I've ever had about different cultures...are true. haha :)
Ummmm...what else can I write about? I'm eating really well! We eat at a members house every Tuesday and Wednesday and also some other days! It's really gross though because I've been really blessed to live in such a clean house my whole life and haven't really been in many dirty houses just because most of my friends and most members' houses I've been to have been clean...but coming here is NOT like that. Almost every house we go to smells like hardcore cat pee and wet cigarettes..and those that don't are still like falling apart...
Well...I hope that this was a way better letter than the last two weeks but I gotta go! I love you all and think about you everyday!
-Your Missionary
Elder Stafford