Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Monday, September 30, 2013

Erin!! It's your birthday!


     ERIN!!!  It's your birthday!  You're like what?  9 years old now?  Ha! Just kidding!! :)

     I hope you're having an awesome year of being a baby freshman!  High School is really a cool experience as long as you don't let the petty little drama get to you...and trust me...it will come.  Just keep being your adorable, weird little self and you'll be good.

     Everything is going great over here!  I haven't actually been to the Big Apple yet except when I first got to the mission and they drove us through "the hood" (the Bronx).  I think we were the only white people there!

     Well, sorry I didn't get this to you sooner but I just thought I'd write you a little note to tell you happy birthday.  I'm not sending a present or anything because I wanna wait til I go to the city and can get you all New York stuff!
     But yeah...keep it real, don't do drugs, stay in school.  Peace.

--Your favorite ginger (besides Ally),

   Elder Stafford 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Baptism on Saturday!!!!

Hello my lovely family!!! It's so good to hear from you guys every week! I hope my letters are getting better! I'm trying to be a little more detailed in what I write so you guys aren't so in the dark...
I wish I could write you guys more...they really just allow an hour to email a week and there's actually a lot of people that want to email me so it's hard to write longer letters...especially for all 6 of you guys!!! :) haha
This week has been really good though!! It's been kinda normal but that's just good! There's actually very few days where I'd consider a day "not one of the best days". Every day is good on the mission! Especially the best mission in the world! Hahaha we joke around that the New York New York South mission is the second best mission in the world because they have the best view of the best mission in the world! haha :) but yeah...I actually got my first view of the New York skyline yesterday! We were driving over a bridge on our way back from Scarsdale (about 2 hours away from Monticello) and you could just barely see it in the distance but I'm pretty sure that I saw the Empire State Building!! :)
Anyway...so George Ann Cardona is getting baptized on Saturday!!!! I'm soooooo excited!!! I might even be the one baptizing her!! When we asked who she wanted to do it she smiled and was like I either want President Fuller (the branch president) or you! And she points to me! haha I was so flattered! But then on Sunday she told me she wanted President Fuller to do it which is GREAT because then the family kind of has a connection with the branch and less with the missionaries...especially the one that MIGHT be leaving next week!! Ahhhhh!!! I'll find out on Saturday if I'm taking off or not so I guess we'll see!! :) But back on topic...so she wanted President Fuller but guess what?? He broke his big toe this week so he might have to get surgery on it!! What the heck! So I might have to do it anyway!! :) I'll send you pictures...which reminds me that I have not gotten a picture of me yet...I'm so sorry...It just doesn't even cross my mind during the week...but I'll take one tonight and send it to you as soon as I can!!
So this week was actually pretty normal except for yesterday...yesterday we went down to Scarsdale to listen to a GENERAL AUTHORITY!!!! His name is Bruce A. Carlson of the second quorum of the Seventy...so not super up there, but it was still cool! He was sooooo nice and cool! I was thinking that he'd be like super serious and intense but he was actually really fun and he joked around with us and talked to us like he was talking to...well a bunch of 18,19, and 20 year olds hahaha He had a ton of insights though...like you could tell that as he was speaking to us, he was saying things that our mission really needed to hear. It was so cool!
And then President Morgan also spoke and well...he's just amazing. Like I'm 99% sure that he's going to be called to be a general authority after this...he's just SO spiritual and connects super well with us...I'm just so lucky to have served with him. I'm glad I ended up with a cool mission president and not like a bump on the log or someone super serious.
So that was my week, though! I hope everyone is doing well! From what I heard you're all having fun at school especially HOMECOMING!!!! MY FAVORITE WEEKS OF HIGH SCHOOL!!! Oh my word...they were just so fun! Did you guys do any of the events?? Who won?? I hope the stinky freshman got pounded (muahahaha jk Erin ;) ...and Derek you guys better have beaten the Seniors...that's always the best when the Seniors lose...except for the best class that's ever gone through good 'ole NP *cough cough* (mine) ;)
but anyway...so I hope you guys know that I pray for all of you all the time and that I'm always thinking about you! Stay bosses! Go Stafford Family!! :D
-your favorite ginger besides Ally,
Elder Stafford :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thanks so much Dad

Letter from Dad:
Hi Cade,

A big warm hello and hug from Idaho (This is Dad by the way). We're now into fall over here and have had some cool lightning storms and rain come through lately. You've already made it through your first season!  Isn't it amazing how slow, yet how fast time goes by? I really hope you are enjoying your mission to the fullest extent possible up to this point.  Don't waste one moment, since you will never get it back.
By now, you realize what a challenge it is to find good investigators to teach. Do not allow Satan, the "Spoiler", to get inside your head or your companionship to discourage you in any way. Those feelings will not come from the Lord and must not be allowed to take root in your thoughts. You are privileged to take part in Heavenly Father's work and glory and it is your challenge to identify who the Lord has prepared for you to find. You must be in tune with the Spirit to be guided on where to go, what He would have you say and do at any given point in time that will open the door to someone's heart.  Oftentimes, the Lord has designed the finding and teaching process to require every ounce of your abilities. He is converting not just your investigators, but also you, your companions and the members of your branch.  He requires ALL of your heart might mind and strength.  Analyze and refine your approaches, get inside the mindset of each person you come into contact with. Discover as quickly as you can which key will unlock their hearts. "Use the Force" as Yoda would tell Luke and it can be so much fun.
I hope you don't mind me trying to help out.
As I was saying last week, John at work introduced me to a book that his stake is reading and discussing/implementing called The Power of Everyday Missionaries by Clayton M. Christensen. Our ward council is now reading it and will discuss how to use its tips and techniques in each of our organizations. It's designed to help each member become a better missionary and more naturally share the gospel. In all my mission experiences and training it isn't very often that you hear something new.  This book has been  full of great insight. I wish you could read it, because it's just the kind of training that members need to find people for you to teach.
My heart goes out to you Cade. May you have the gift of forgetting about yourself and your own needs, so that you might experience a fullness of joy.

-Love Dad

Cade's response:
Thank you so much dad. Don't ever feel bad about giving me tips because...as I'm finding out VERY quickly...I don't know anything hahaha :)
That is so great that the ward council is reading that book. Dad, if there is anything I can tell you in the ward...it's that the work is changing. I cannot express to you how important the ward is with missionary work. If the work is to continue...the members HAVE to be involved...not only in sharing the gospel with their friends, but with working with the missionaries on splits, and giving the missionaries REFERRALS!! I cannot tell you how important referrals are. I like wanna wet my pants when I get a referral from a member because they are just so much more effective. Keep up the good work and keep being awesome!! :)
Love you!

Your (favorite) son (haha just kidding),
Elder Stafford

To answer a few more of your questions...

                 1.  How is the C******* family doing?
The C******* family is the bomb. They are like the perfect investigators still. So D***** (the boyfriend-who is flipping awesome) and B***** (the mom of the kids) live together sometimes and D***** will "sleep over" some nights so we were like "oh great, the law of chastity is gonna be an issue..." So Elder Rydalch and Elder Linton went and taught them the Law of Chastity (I was on a split with Elder Jensen...gosh dang it I wanted to be there to teach it!) and they said that it went SUPER well!!! Apparently they already live it and their "sleep overs" are actually just D***** sleeping in a separate room than B***** and spending the night when he is over late and it's too late for him to drive home (because he has his own house and they live out in the middle of nowhere haha)!! So that was a relief!!! So we just explained to them that they're either going to have to get married or D***** not going to be able to do that anymore even if he is in a separate room. They immediately brought up that they were thinking about marriage anyway so it was perfect! The only hang up is that they think it'll take til like next spring til they get married!! Ahhhh! I can't wait that long! And neither should they!!!
Anyway...so also after the lesson on Chastity they gave them all Word of Wisdom pamphlets and after we went over that next week, D***** was like "yup...I've been coffee-free for 6 days!!" hahaha it was so funny but soooooo cool! Gosh...I pray that all of our 'gators will be like D*****... :)
                2.  Are you like the only “white guys” in the hood?  What are people’s reaction to you on the streets?

Umm...Kind of? Not really? There are TONS of black people...but there's also lots of white people so we're not super stand-out-ish...it's mostly just our nice clothes that make us stand out...and that we're so young.

                3.  How do you approach Jewish people?

We don't really...I mean we try but as soon as they see "Jesus Christ" on our chest they shut down and don't really wanna talk to us.

                4.  How’s life with Elder Rydalch?  What’s he like?

He's super cool!! He loves sports and he's really funny so we get along great!

                5.  What’s your apartment like?  How many of you are living there?  Any surprise visits?

Our apartment is really nice and really big compared to some of the other ones. We try to keep it really clean (to be honest it's me that usually starts freaking out about how messy it gets and I force Rydalch and them to help me clean it...thank a lot mom. You've cursed me. (actually probably blessed me :) )) We're supposed to have apartment inspections every 6 weeks but we actually haven't had one yet...

                6.  How often do you get to see President and Sister Morgan?

Never. Haha we're in "banishment" so we're like 5 hours away from the rest of the city. haha

                7. What’s the weather like now?

It's starting to get super cold! (Well at least to me!!)

But hey...I love you all and am always praying for you. Keep strong and keep being awesome!

Elder Stafford :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Some answers to your questions

Elder Rydalch is from Oakley, Utah and has been out for just over 7 months now! Pretty young still!
Oh and by the way...in the mission we refer to everything as like "being born". Idk it's kind of hard to explain but like I was "born" in Monticello. My "dad" is Elder Witbeck. My "mom" is Elder Rydalch. And I'm almost 2 cycles old. haha It's funny but yeah... :)
Didn't I send you my address? :/ darn it! Sorry! It's 661 W. Broadway #7, Monticello, NY 12701
YES I GOT MY GOODIES!!!! We ate them in like three days ;) they were SO good!!!!! Thank you so much! I don't know what I'd do without you guys!! (P.S. the Andies ones were my favorite...oh my word.) they were in great condition! Not stale at all and the Crystal Light containers were genius!
We email in the clerk's office at the church.
I'm probably okay emailing...I spend most of my time emailing you guys just because I write Akayla hand-written letters. So I usually end of spending probably 3/4 of the time trying to write you (even if I only end up getting like 10 minutes to write emails) and then just write Akayla a short email and then maybe emails from other people.
Oh by the way, is Mammaw and Papa okay if I send them the email I send all of you? I LOVE getting lots of emails but it gets REALLY hard to write back like 10 people and still have time to actually write lengthy emails...I feel so bad that I'm not able to respond to everyone so I try and just write you guys long ones and then have Mammaw and Papa over to read them with you...is that okay? Please let them know that I'm not just ignoring them :/
So things over here are pretty slow!! This week has been very...uneventful haha. We've really been slowing down with the lessons where it's almost frustrating because we have no one to teach!!!! Ugh!!! but things are still good. I did get kind of sick one day...my body just felt exhausted and I was kind of dizzy so we just stayed home that day...we felt bad but I REALLY needed to just take a nap and relax for a day. Other than that things have been going pretty regular...Elder Rydalch and Elder Linton (another elder in my apartment) taught the C****** the Law of Chastity while on a split and they said that it went EXTREMELY well!!! Apparently they've already been living it! :)
But yeah...I'm sorry this letter's kind of boring today...this week was just really slow and there isn't much to write about. Keep asking questions though! Sorry I don't have pictures this week...I don't even think I took any haha
I love you all so much though!
-Elder Stafford (your favorite ginger missionary)

Oh and P.S.

Oh and P.S- the goal for the mission this month is for every companionship to have a baptism...me and Elder Rydalch have the one for the C****** family but if you could all pray for the rest of the mission and us as well...that would be awesome :)

It reminded me of Peter Pan...don't ask me why

I love this guy!

Me and Elder Rydalch


I'm not even kidding...the mission is so fun!

My dearest family,
...I am the worst person in the history of the world. I have been literally SO terrible at writing everyone lately. These last three P-days have been really crazy. The first one we went to these ice cave things that were pretty cool!! The second one was transfers and that day is crazy!!! We had to wake up super early in the morning to drive to Ossining which is like 2 hours away...then comes the meeting which is like another 2 hours...then we all talk and hug and blabber and mess around for like an hour...then comes lunch...then comes the drive home. So it's pretty much impossible to do anything that day. And THEN the next week we went to this resort thing in the mountains about an hour away which was SO fun!!! The Longs (the Senior couple in our district) know the owners there so we got in for free and got to hang out there all day!! We didn't get to swim at all...which was disappointing...but it was still really cool and I'll attach pictures. It's like this HUGE old mansion that's built next to this gorgeous lake. It reminded me of Peter Pan...don't ask me why...like seriously...I have no idea why. haha :)
But yeah...so this is my nice and relaxing P-day!
I'm not even kidding...the mission is so fun! I love Elder Rydalch! He's like this big, goofy football player haha. He's really into sports and messing around so naturally...we get along great :) We're constantly laughing about something or other that is funny that happens to us. It's so weird...I never thought that so many weird people could live in such a concentrated area...like literally we can walk 20 feet down Broadway (main st.) and something weird will happen to us. The other day we met someone that was crazy high and kept trying to tell us that we need to understand what Mormon actually means...hmmm? He tried to tell us that Mormon actually was Moore-men...which means "black men" apparently. So this crazy black guy was like scolding us for going around saying that we're black men. And then he got super deep about how we need to align ourselves with nature and how God is just a figment of our imagination and that really we're god and we can fly if we really really want to...but by then we'd just zoned out and started nodding our heads and backing away. Yeah...stuff like that happens alllllll the time.
So our day usually consists of us waking up at 6:30, working out/eating breakfast, studying for a few hours, eating lunch, and then we just go around visiting people and tracting (my favorite) and participating in ward activities. Speaking of which, Monticello is the only place where the branch here would reserve an entire classroom here at the church to be used as the "yardsale room" where people just come and dump off old clothes, furniture, and other junk like that to be sold at the annual yard sale which was last Saturday...it is so gross because people just dump whatever the heck they want to! We had to bring everything into the cultural hall last Thursday so they could arrange it into catagories and I'm pretty sure we all picked up some sort of lice or something because after we got done we kept feeling like there were bugs crawling all over us!! So gross.....
Ummmmm...I'm trying to think of something else I could tell you...it really helps when you guys come up with a list of questions of stuff you want to know.
I hope everyone is having fun at school! Ha! Suckersssssssss ;) haha it's alright...by the time you're all on missions I'll either be in college crying because I'm poor and hungry...or maybe I'll just live at home til I'm 40! :D
The C****** family (I'm pretty sure I've told you about them) is still on the fast track to be baptized!! It's going to be so exciting!!! They are so solid haha I'm pretty sure they're more active and participative in the Church then 85% of the members here... :) no but seriously, they're great and the rest of the members here are so awesome too! (I've already told you about some of the more interesting ones haha) I don't really get fed by the members very often but thanks to the dollar menu and frozen pizzas we eat well! :D haha jk! We actually eat pretty well. I make a lot of pasta and rice and TONS of hootinannies because everyone loves them over here!! haha Oh and one time (just a random story) I started a fire in the apartment!! haha don't freak out mom it wasn't anything serious ;) I was just making pasta or potatoes or something and I'd put some butter and salt in the water and when I looked away for a sec, it boiled over and the water evaporated but the butter like caught on fire which made some of the junk under the stove from other missionaries catch on fire so there was like this tiny little fire on the stove for like 30 seconds and I we couldn't decide if we should laugh or take pictures or actually try and put it out (I know we're idiots). It eventually just died and it was hilarious afterwards but yeah...we have fun.
But hey I better get going (we're going to play some basketball and maybe buy me another suit because come October we have to wear a suit all day everyday so it'll be pretty boring to just wear the one I have everyday! ( I know I'm such a girl...but hey...I'm in the classiest mission in the world! I gotta look good! ;) )    I'll pay for it using my credit card because I don't think I've bought anything with it yet sorry :/ I was just going to buy a bike like it said but we don't have any here!
I love all of you guys very much and I think and pray about you everyday! Have a good one! Be safe. Don't do drugs. Stay in school. Peace.
-Your favorite missionary!! :D
Elder Stafford