Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Monday, December 29, 2014

Letter from the Mission Office

Dear Brother and Sister Stafford,

Your Elder is doing fine.

 As a result of New Years Eve being on Wednesday, the Mission President has requested that P-Day be changed from Wednesday to Thursday.  Because of that the missionaries won't be able to email their parents until Thursday.  The missionaries will need to be back in their apartments early on Wednesday.  We appreciate the missionaries and their efforts to be obedient to the counsel of the Mission President.  We especially appreciate your support of your missionary.  Have a wonderful New Year.


Sister Hunt

Office Secretary

New York North Mission

700 North Plains Road Ste # 315

Scarsdale, NY  10583

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'm Gonna Be Talking to You Tomorrow!!

Hey mom!! Well, I'm gonna be talking to you tomorrow!!, AHHHHH,!! I'm
so excited! I love talking with you guys! I feel like I'm in a daze
for about an hour afterwards, but other than that, it's always been an
uplifting experience for me :) well, it's crazy that in two days, I'd
be coming home if I was a sister missionary ;) weird!!
But hey, so if it's alright with you, I'd actually like to try and
Skype at like 3 my time, 1 your time. We have Christmas "dinner" at 1
o'clock, so 3 would work a lot better. Let me know!! Thanks love you

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Making Plans for Us to Skype! Woohoo!

Hey mom!! So we have one more P-day before Christmas, but we'd better
figure the whole skyping thing out! So I was just thinking about doing
it like 2 o'clock my time which is like noon over there. Is that
alright? My schedule is pretty darn open so really whenever works for
you, I'll be able to do it. Well, have an awesome week!! Love you to
death!! Well...and further than that of course... :)

...Do The Hand Thing

Hey everyone!! So it's been another wonderful week over here in the
Bronx!! So mom mentioned that it was surprising how quickly I get
comfortable in an area. To be honest, it actually takes me a while to
adjust to the work in each area. I feel comfortable with the people
and my apartment and the ward after about a week when I'm able to
clean and organize the apartment and then have my first Sunday in the
ward. The first Sunday is always super awkward, but by the next
Sunday, you've at least remembered a few people's names and you've
gotten to know a few people. As far as working with investigators and
doing finding, though, it takes me a while to feel comfortable.
Missionary work is just so drastically different in this mission by
just taking a subway up two or three stops! It's insane!

So this week was pretty dang awesome though. Thursday was a pretty
normal weekly planning day. I like to take a long time to weekly plan
so that I can feel organized and we have plans for like every minute
of the day. It doesn't usually take very long if you have a large
teaching pool, but I've kind of come to accept that teaching pools
just don't get very large here...at least in the areas I've served in.
But anyways, so Friday was our missions Christmas Party!!!! Oh my word
it was amazing!! So once a year during Christmas, the whole mission
(all 250 of us) gets together and we have a wonderful devotional
filled with tons of musical numbers and talks and Christmas stories.
We have so much musical talent in our mission it's crazy. Then after
the devotional, we all sit down and have a Christmas meal together put
on by the wards in the area and the senior couples. It was so much
fun! We all send in pictures from the past year and put them together
into a ginormous slideshow and we watch it while we eat....so much fun

Then on Saturday we had the ward Christmas party. I couldn't tell you
how that one was because I hardly got to go haha. So while everyone
was putting the finishing touches on decorations and everyone is
starting to get there, Chris, one of the zone leaders investigators
walks up and I shake his hand and am like, "hey man, how's it going?
How was your day?" And he says, "oh it was...okay. Kind of...strange."
And I go, "oh yeah? Why's that? What happened today?" And he just
looks at me in the eyes and his eyes just tear up and he just starts
bawling. :( it was so sad! So I pull him in and he rests his head on
my should and I pat him on the back. I grab one of the zone leaders,
Elder Delehunty, and whisk him out into the hall for some privacy. He
cries for a couple minutes while we try and comfort him and pat him on
the back and stuff. Then he asks if we can go into a room and talk. So
we do and we end up talking for like 2 hours and 15 minutes!!! He's
kind of a weird guy, so we hardly could understand what all the crying
was about, but we eventually got to talking about baptism and the
gospel. It was one of the more spiritual moments of my mission when I
was able to testify of how we can feel completely clean after baptism,
and then later after taking the sacrament. He was really interested in

Then on Sunday we had a few laughs. So the high counselor for our ward
came to do some stake business, then Brother Johnson, the second
counselor, came up to do some ward business. He's only a convert of
like 3 years, and I mean...he's only been to church in the Bronx, so
he hardly knows what he's doing haha. It's kind of a bad joke in the
mission that the church is slightly less true in the Bronx hahaha. In
the Spanish ward last year, there was a then 15 year old teacher that
had been blessing the sacrament.......for a year. Hahahaha oh wow...
But anyway! So he gets up to do the sustainings, and he didn't really
know how to say "those in favor, please manifest", so was like,
"uh....those who are in favor...um...do the hand thing" hahaha and
then to try and switch it up he said, "aight...an any opposed....just
raise ya hand" haha it was pretty dang funny.

Haha oh and also during church, the lady that said the closing prayer
said the Lords Prayer haha. Only in the Bronx!!

So yeah, that was about my week! So much fun!! I love you all so much.
I hope you have a great week. :) peace yo!

-Elder Stafford

Hey mom!! So we have one more P-day before Christmas, but we'd better
figure the whole skyping thing out! So I was just thinking about doing
it like 2 o'clock my time which is like noon over there. Is that
alright? My schedule is pretty darn open so really whenever works for
you, I'll be able to do it. Well, have an awesome week!! Love you to
death!! Well...and further than that of course... :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Week 2 in Da Bronx...Performers and Beggars on the Subway?

Hello everyone!!

Haha so I'm just loving it here in the Bronx. I feel like I'm in a
dream a lot of the time because it is just such a different place than
anything I am used to, but it's great. I'm starting to get used to
being the "odd one out"....we are literally the only white person
you'll see walking around the streets of the South Bronx haha. Our
area is everything in the Bronx west of Grand Concourse and south of
Fordam Rd. if anyone is interested in looking it up on a map. The
people here are great and definitely keep life interesting. I don't
know if I've told you about the performers and beggars on the subway,
yet, but they are some of my favorites. Here in the Bronx there aren't
a lot of performers like paint-bucket drummers or dancers like there
were in Manhattan, but there are a lot of kids who go to BJs (kind of
like Costco) and buy big boxes of fruit snacks and go train to train
selling them. And then there are just a ton of beggars. They all say
like the same thing. They walk onto the train, stand there until the
train starts, and then say, "Hello everybody, sorry to bother you.
Some of you may have seen me before and some of you may have not. My
name is (insert name). I am on my way to a shelter. I am not a drug
addict. I don't drink. And I could use some help. If anyone can spare
any change, whether it be a dollar, a quarter or even a penny, yes,
ONE penny, it would be appreciated. God bless and have a safe day."
Haha I almost have it memorized!! But yeah, so it's really hard
because you want to help them out, but you literally can't. On
average, I probably see 10 of those people a day. If I were to give a
dollar to each of them, that's like $300 dollars a month! I can't
afford that! I don't even get that much money for food and personal
items each month. That and if you do make it a regular thing to help
them, then they start targeting all missionaries because they think
that they have money to give out and that they're all just nice white
boys that are willing to give away money.

So this month the church is putting on an initiative called "He is the
Gift". I don't know if any of you know anything about it, but
basically what it is is a push from the Church to help people remember
that Christ is what Christmas is all about. The Church has literally
dropped millions of dollars on this project. They've spent like 2
million dollars or something crazy like that to rent out a jumbotron
in Time Square with the ad for it on it. They've made a video called
He is the Gift and it is GREAT!! You HAVE to watch it. So yeah,
they've really pushed for missionaries to talk about He is the Gift
and to hand out cards and show the video to everyone. So that's what
we've been doing!!

This Sunday was the 1st Presidency Christmas Devotional, and it was
awesome!! I hope you were all able to see it! It totally put me in the
Christmas Spirit.

This Sunday was also fast and testimony meeting! It
was...disappointing. Haha no just kidding...it was actually really
great, it just wasn't as exciting as I was hoping it was going to be.
I was expecting a bunch of crazy stuff that usually happens, but
everyone said that this was probably the calmest, most spiritual fast
Sunday's in a long while.

Yes I have been able to get rid of most of the cockroaches. We've been
slowly destroying all of their hiding places, but there are still a
couple I see every day. It's getting there, though!

So we only have two investigators, really. They are two brothers that
are like 16 and 11 or so. They are awesome! I haven't really had a
lesson with them and they haven't been coming to church lately, but we
are really pushing to see them this week.

Me and Elder Sorensen are doing great. He is from Las Vegas, NV and is
20 years old like me. He is just a big goof all of the time haha. He's
still pretty weird sometimes, but we get along just fine. We joke
around a lot and have been able to talk about a lot of things, which
is really nice. He'd been in the Bronx for 6 weeks before I got here,
but he actually started his mission out in the other side of the Bronx
in the Olmstead zone. He was there for 4 1/2 months I think. He's been
on his mission for exactly a year! He hit his year mark last Thursday.

Well, sorry if those answers to your questions seemed rushed, but they
were haha. I've gotta get going but I love you all so much! Have an
awesome week. Merry Christmas :)

-Elder Stafford

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Happy Late Thanksgiving!!

Hello everyone!!! And Happy late Thanksgiving!!

So my Thanksgiving was actually very interesting. As most of you know, I've been transferred to the Bronx to be with Elder Sorensen. For those of you that don't know, the Bronx is definitely the "ghetto" of New York City. Everywhere else like Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn, Washington Heights, etc definitely has their really poor, almost sketchy areas, with most of it being "not bad". The Bronx is kind of the opposite haha. Most of the Bronx is extremely poor and pretty ghetto, with the exception of a few nice areas, which are mostly Jewish neighborhoods. It's safe to say that me and the rest of the white people here in the Bronx make up about 1-2% of the population. We can literally play "spot the white person" and lose some days haha. But it's actually not bad. Being here for a week, I've never felt threatened or scared at all. We run into a lot of "scary" people...but they are actually the funniest to talk to haha. In fact, most of the "gangstas" are actually some of the most polite people you'll meet in the Bronx. They are usually pretty respectful to us. I live literally across the street from Yankee Stadium, so this area is pretty mild, but once you start making your way any further, you'll start hitting the pretty scary parts of town.
This week, I've actually only gone out proselyting for about 4-5 hours. As many of you know, I have officially taken after mom and become an absolute psycho (no offense mom) about having a clean house/apartment. Well, you can only guess the look on my face when I walk into the apartment and it looked the way it did. I mean, it wasn't bad, and the floors were kind of swept and cleaned and there wasn't garbage or junk laying everywhere...but it definitely wasn't "Elder Stafford approved" as an elder I lived with said once haha. That night, I actually had one of the worst nights sleep I've had in a while. I woke up about 10 times because I was worried that there was going to be a cockroach crawling on me....that's right...we have cockroaches. So the next day (Thanksgiving) we didn't have any set appointments except for dinner with the bishop and his family, so we stayed home and we CLEANED. I spent the whole day deep cleaning and throwing stuff away in our room and putting cockroach poison all over our room so that I could sleep well that night. Once we sufficiently got our bedroom to the point where I was never going to see a cockroach in there again, we left for dinner with the Fergusons. Brother Furguson is the bishop in our Ward, and he hd his wife had us all over (all 10 of us...yep, we have 5 sets of missionaries in our Ward...not including a senior couple). It was the......"blackest" thanksgiving I think I'll ever have for the rest of my life hahaha. It was so much fun!! We were all in this tiny little apartment scrunched together and they had the Thanksgiving football game on and wouldn't turn it off haha, this family was running in and out of the tiny kitchen yelling at each other, and we had a bunch of Southern food like candied yams and cornbread stuffing and everything else haha. It was actually so delicious!! And Sister Ferguson...oh my gosh she is so crazy. She is officially the sassiest black woman I've ever met in my life haha. After dinner we just talked and talk until we had to go home...definitely an experience.
The next day we stayed home and I cleaned some of the hallways and some of the kitchen (the worst part...there are like 3 separate "nests" that the cockroaches come from. One inside the dishwasher, one behind the oven, and we think one underneath all of the drawers and cabinets and such. It's disgusting and smells so bad. I will never forget the smell of cockroach poop for the rest of my life... Then we actually went out and saw this man named John who we are going to go see again tonight. He is a member but could use some help, so we go over and see him a couple times a week or so. He's great! Then we had dinner at the Johnson's house, who is the second counselor in the bishopric for ANOTHER thanksgiving dinner. This one was a lot more calm and "home-y" feeling. They have an apartment, but it's more of a house. They were a lot more calm and we sang a couple Thanksgiving hymns and then had a terrific turkey dinner and everything...it was great! The next day...I got sick. I think I've gotten at least a little sick every time I've been transferred. Weird! So we stayed in and we did a little more cleaning. 
The next day we had church which was fun! Next week is fast Sunday and that's what I'm looking forward to. The Kingsbridge 2nd Ward is famous for its fast and testimony meetings because there just always seems to be something crazy that happens or is said.
Then these last couple days, Elder Sorenson got what I had except way worse, so we've stayed inside and I've had my fill of cleaning. Our apartment actually looks really nice now. I wish I would have take before and after pictures. The only thing we have left is to instigate the roach holocaust. We're going to buy a couple cans of Raid today and we are just going to go to town killing all those cockroaches so this place can finally feel like home.

It's funny...sometimes I think I get called to areas just so I can turn the apartment around haha and who knows...maybe that's what God really needed from me! You never know!

Well, I hope everyone has a terrific week! I love you all so much. Stay safe and enjoy this Christmas Season!!! Woooo!! :)

Picture: me with my Raid

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

...To The BRONX!!!!


Alright so this week is transfers already!!! The 7 week cycle is over!
As a surprise to me and everyone else....I've been transferred already
:( at the most exciting time of the year!! What the hay!! I guess I'm
excited but also really sad. I love the area that I was in so
much.....so much. Like THAT was what I thought of when I got my
mission call to NYC. But it's all okay! I'm so excited to work
wherever the Lord sees fit to put me haha :)

So this email is actually going to be pretty short because we don't
have a whole lot of time to email, as are most transfer days, but also
because this week was pretty uneventful. The most exciting thing that
happened is that our Ward had a baptism!!! Wooooo! The sisters
investigator, Luz Santos, was baptized in Saturday. It was SUCH a cool
baptism...probably my favorite one on my mission. The Spirit was just
overwhelming as soon as that woman came out of the water. Me and Elder
Stevenson were witnesses, so it was really cool to be so
close...reminded me of the primary days when you press your face up
against the glass during baptisms to watch haha.

The rest of the week was really just walkin around trying to find all
of our invisible less active members haha. We were finally able to
meet with John for the last time, though! Well, I wasn't haha. We were
on a split and I was in the other Elders area. Im actually not the
biggest fan of splits. I mean they're fun sometimes, and it's always
fun to have a change of scenery, but I'd rather just stay in my own

So I guess people have been hearing about a lot of protests and riots
in my area of Manhattan, but I just want everyone to know that it's
really not a big deal and they've been very peaceful. There aren't any
worries, so none of us have been instructed to stay away from
anywhere. We'll be totally fine! Plus...we've got name tags and the
protection of the Lord! What else do you need? :)

So about the thing that happened with John last Sunday haha. Sorry I
totally left you hanging. So what happened was he went up to Sister
McClure, a sister in our Ward, and asked for her number hahaha. It was
so awkward. We were actually pretty worried because it was the first
time that he actually put forth the effort to wake up early and go to
our Ward, so we were scared that the only reason he did it was because
he wanted to see Sister McClure. But he came again this last week so
it was good! We aren't worried anymore.

Well....so I'm sure you are all dying to know WHERE I'm being
transferred..........IM GOING TO THE BRONX!!!! Haha the one place I
haven't really been yet! I've generally been everywhere that the
mission has to offer except the Bronx!! I live right next to Yankee
Stadium!! I'm pretty excited. My new companion is Elder Sorenson who
is...weird haha. But I'm sure it'll be fun. I'll let you know more
about it next week!!

Well, I gotta get going, but I hope you all know how much I love you
and that I pray for you daily. Have an awesome week everyone!! Peace

-Elder Stafford :)

 Me and Sister Hoyos

Times Square 

Book of Mormon The Musical...I was pretty upset we couldn't 
get a good quality picture because of the lighting :/

Christmas lights by our apartment 

My first pair of shoes from the beginning of my mission.  I've already gone through
another one and am on my third pair haha

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Still Haven't Outgrown a Birthday Party!!

Hey hey!!

So I just wanted to say thank you SO much for my birthday package!!
Haha my roommates and I are excited to have a party on Sunday! :) as
much as I want to think I've outgrown stuff like that, I still
secretly like having a party with cake and balloons and stuff ;)

So THANK YOU!! Haha one question, though. What was with the glasses
theme haha? :) both my gifts were different kinds of glasses and it
was so funny!! I'll send you pictures of me using my silly straw and
Spy glasses.

Well, you are the best and I hope you have an awesome day! Love you!!

-Elder Stafford :)

Sunday was...MY BIRTHDAY!!

Hey hey hey!!

So yes I did indeed break out the winter clothes for good this week.
It got pretty stinkin cold. No snow!! But it was cold. And windy.

So this week has been pretty eventful actually!! I'm just gonna break
down each day so that I make sure and get it all!

So Thursday was weekly planning day! I'm not gonna lie when I say that
weekly planning takes up the majority of Thursday's. It's pretty
fueling, but I like it! It's just really hard to fill our week out
with productive things for us to do that isn't just tracting and less
active lookups, which we could very well be doing all week long. We
also taught John! He's the guy that we've been teaching that is pretty
sure that he got baptized when he was 14, but we have no records of
him. We are just reteaching him and are probably going to do it again
so that we make sure he actually was baptized haha :) He finally
stopped being a bum and got back to us! We taught him about the Word
of Wisdom which is the church's law of health. It's the thing that
makes it so we can't drink coffee or tea haha. It was good, he's only
got one more lesson to go before he'll be ready to be baptized again.
He's pretty cool! Fun story with him, though, when I get to Sunday.

Friday was fun! We've been helping this lady in our Ward out that
lives in a project building. We've been deep cleaning her apartment
and painting a couple rooms for her. It looks 1000X better. Afterwards
we went to our Ward mission leaders apartment for dinner!! He's so
great! He's very involved with us and the work we do. We've been
putting together a Ward mission plan which is kind of like our wards
blueprint for the missionary work here.

Saturday we did an activity with all of the missionaries in the area!!
We went to Washington Square Park and had a white board and free hot
cocoa and a picture of a bald turkey. Yes, I'm not kidding. We went
around to everyone that we could see and had them write down something
that they were grateful for. It was actually pretty cool how receptive
the people were! Usually everyone sees us and just puts their head
down, but this time we talked to a lot of people! After the activity
we had a PIE NIGHT!!! Our Ward has it every year. Literally, everyone
just makes a pie, brings it, and we eat it. It's great. There's also a
pie contest that some people got pretty crazy about haha. People take
a lot of pride in their pie.

Sunday was MY BIRTHDAY,!! It was great! Not super exciting! Just went
to church, looked up some former investigators, then went to a members
home for dinner. The members we had dinner with are SO funny!!! I was
literally laughing the entire time. They are this couple that are just
best friends. They just seem like two buddies from high school. It was
cool. They set up a little party from a kit that my mom sent me
(THANKS MOM!!!) and we just partied hard. Not really, but it was still

Monday was district meeting! A district is a smaller group of
missionaries that are in he same area. I'm the district leader....so I
lead the district...go figure. Woo! It's actually a lot of fun. I'm in
communication with the missionaries in my district a lot, so I get
really close with everyone. After district meeting, we walked around
for days in the freezing cold rain trying to find some former
investigators again. Then we had dinner with Brother McQuade. He's a
SUPER cool member that just moved into the Ward. He and his wife are
pretty adorable.

Tuesday we walked around and looked more people up...on the coldest
day of the week. We are geniuses. Then we had dinner with the
Weitzmans. It was delicious! She pretty much made us a thanksgiving

And here I am today! Today we went around shopping for some essential
clothing items and such. I'm looking for a new pair of shoes, too. My
second pair of shoes are toast...I'll send ha pictures next week!!
Then we just went to the church and played basketball for a little
bit. Shopping took a lot longer than expected.

So yeah that was my week!

Well, I gotta get going! I hope you all have a fantastic week. Let me
know what's been going on with you! For everyone that I didn't have a
chance to email, I will get to you next week I promise!! Love you all!
I'm praying for you!

-your favorite New Yorker
Elder Stafford :)

 After our Thanksgiving APF

My Hood milk haha! 

I don't know... 

Every gangsta in Manhattan takes pictures like this...thug life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pretty Intense Week!!!!

Hey everyone!!

So this week has actually been pretty intense!! As far as teaching
goes...it was by far not intense, though. It was so weird!! We totally
got juked or ignored by everyone this week!! For the first time, ever,
Greg just never texted us back to have a lesson. I mean he always
takes forever to respond, but he's never just not texted us back. We
even we're going to bring a member to the lesson and it was going to
be awesome! :( and then he never went to church the next day, either!
And then John, our investigator who potentially might already be a
member, never got back to us either...and then he never went to church
either! It was so weird...were hoping that it's because of the
Veterans Day weekend or something. Weird..
We have been able to see a lot more members lately, though. I'm just
starting to realize how cool our Ward is haha. There are just TONS of
newly married couples that are just hilarious! They are all best
friends (the husbands and wives I mean) and so dinner appointments
with them are just hysterical because they are laughing and joking and
teasing each other, and I mean they aren't that much older than us
(weird), so we just get along great with them! It's been really fun.
The members are always my favorite part of the areas I serve in.

So now to the intense stuff!! So I got to call NYPD for the first
time!!!! :D haha so let me explain..
So the superintendent of our building is absolutely insane. Like
seriously. At least every other day I've been in the area (and a good
amount of the time it is every day) he will take a hammer and bang
hard on the inside of his front door for like 5 seconds at like 4:00
in the morning. He has this idea in his head that we are these gay
college students (he thinks we are in a private school, which is his
explanation of why we are always in a shirt and tie...and there are
four of us living together so that's where the gay thing comes in
haha) that like to run and jump in our apartment in the middle of the
night. Yes, he really, truly believes that. So whenever he wakes up
and "hears" us running and jumping at like 2:00-6:00 in the morning,
he goes and bangs on his front door to tell us to "quiet down". He
lives right across from us, no his front door is right beside our
front door, so every morning it wakes us up and scares the heck out of
And this is just the beginning of the story. So remember, he is
absolutely insane. So apparently two weeks ago, he saw a random lady
on our front steps crying, so he let her into our building so that she
could stay with him. We suspect that he was illegally renting a room
in his apartment out to her. But I guess she was from Florida and was
only staying for two weeks, and then she was gone. So...last
Wednesday, me and Elder Stevenson came home to put our groceries away
and we heard this commotion outside. We look out our peephole and we
see like 6 cops outside our door going in and out of our super's
apartment. I guess this woman that he just let into our building to
stay with him was on hardcore drugs or alcohol, and just freaked out
hd called the cops on him. So they took her away to the hospital and
that was all we really heard.
Then later that night, we get a ring in our apartment from the box
that you press to let people into the front door. We ignored it
because we weren't expecting anyone. But I guess this person kept
ringing and ringing all the apartments in our building until someone
let her into the building. So it's about 10:25 and we are going to go
to bed, hd we get a knock on our door. (So, I am unofficially the
apartment "leader" because I pretty much run our apartment haha. I'm
the one that makes everyone clean and takes care of all the business
like calling the contractor if we need something fixed, etc.). So I go
and answer the door because they all look at me like I'm the only one
that can answer a door, and it's that same lady!! She proceeds to tell
me this huge long life-story, but basically she asks if she can stay
at our apartment for the night because she "doesn't feel safe". She is
totally still on drugs, so I just look blankly at her and tell her
that "I have no idea who you are, and it's making me nervous that you
are just walking around our building when you don't live here. You are
going to have to leave because you aren't supposed to be here. You can
do down to the police station and talk to them if you feel unsafe."
She just kinds of goes off again like she didn't understand what I was
saying, and then takes our superintendents doormat, lays it on our
staircase, and then just curls up in a ball and goes to sleep! Haha I
had no idea what to do! I wasn't really sure if it was enough to call
the police about, but we all talked about it and decided that we were
not just going to let this woman sleep in front of our apartment all
night! So I call the cops and they come, but she had left before they
could get here. It was so weird.
So then the next morning (yes, the story continues)...we hear more
commotion from outside our door, and we see the super and this same
lady arguing and yelling at each other. She goes off and calls the
police, they come, and then she tells them that our super hit her, so
they have to take both of them away...

So yeah, we had an interesting start to the week haha. So I've just
been sick of our superintendent because he is just so rude to us and
still bangs on his door and scares the heck out of us. He came right
back the same day from the police station, so he obviously didn't hit
her, but he still kept giving us trouble. So Sunday morning (and yes I
feel bad that I did this on a Sunday morning), he banged on his door
at 5:30 in the morning, and usually we've just ignored him, but this
time, I woke up scared half to death and I was just TICKED. I've only
been more mad one other time on my mission. I put some shorts on and
my sweatshirt and my slippers, and I stomp over to our front door and
I just clench my fist and banged on our door for like 10 seconds as
loudly as I could. Then I opened up our door, and banged on his door
and shouted "LOU!! (That's his name) GET OUT HERE!!" He didn't come
out, so I banged on his door again and shouted again. He never came
out so I went inside, tore the side off of a cereal box and wrote him
a note that basically said that we were absolutely done with his
stupid, insane tantrums. I said that we were going to call management
if he did it again and either he was going to leave, or we were. I was
so done. It would have been one thing if he just thought that we were
running and jumping every night, but we've told him in explicit detail
that we are asleep by 10:30 until 6:30 and that we don't even get up
at night for anything, so there's no way it could be us. We've told
him this like 10 times, but he just doesn't get it. So yeah...that was
actually quite relaxing for me haha. I just let all of the stress of
the past week out on his front door and my front door ;) I totally
bruised my knuckles I was hitting it so hard...but it was so worth it

But anyways...this week we also had zone conference!! It was SO good!!
We had a really long question and answer session where President
Morgan answered any questions we had on mission rules, church
doctrine, or just missionary work in general. He is so awesome!! We
also had a clothing exchange thing where we brought any clothes that
we don't wear anymore that someone else might want to use. I got
myself 5 new ties so that was cool :) I have so many ties.....haha.
It's crazy.

Well, so that was pretty much my week! I hope you all are doing good!
It's going to start getting super cold over here so hopefully I won't
come back a Popsicle! I love you all so much and pray for you every
day! Have a good one :)

-Elder Stafford

Thursday, November 6, 2014

About my Mission...


So this week has been pretty good! For all of you that might not know,
I'm serving in Manhattan right now. My area is the Upper East side
which is the streets to the right of Central Park. Our area covers a
big diversity of people. At the top of our area, it's considered
Harlem and so there are a lot....a LOT...of black and Hispanic people.
This area is very poor. Well, they are definitely poor...but they
don't think they are haha. Most everyone lives in projects which are
government owed and ran apartment buildings. These buildings are
disgusting. No one cares about having a clean living space, and so the
halls are absolutely nasty and smelly. There is more often than not
urine in all of the elevators from someone who couldn't wait to use
the restroom...yes I'm being serious. It's ridiculous, though because
everyone that walks out of these buildings are sporting three things:
a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre, a $150 pair of Timberland boots or the
newest Jordan shoes, and the newest iPhone. Haha and then you look in
the parking lot of these places and there are like brand new cars and
motorcycles. People and their priorities...
But then you go lower and lower until you hit the REAL "Upper East
Side". This is where the money is. When you think of a super expensive
penthouse or townhouse in the heart of New York, this is it. Here,
people actually DO have money. almost everyone is white, rich, hd way
too busy or stuck up for us haha. So yeah, my area is so awesome. I
absolutely love it and I'm having the time of my life sharing
(well...trying to share) the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of
New York.

My companions name is Elder Stevenson. He is...interesting. He is an
awesome guy and has the biggest heart in the world. I say that a lot
in my emails, but he really does. He's very genuine and sincere. He's
just really...slow. He moves really slowly, walks really slowly, and
yes, he thinks a little slowly. It takes him a while for thinks to
process and click in his brain, and so it's been rough for me to help
him do everything that he needs to. I could be leaving the area in a
few weeks, and so I need to help him be ready to take it over for his
companion. During a mission, you get moved around pretty frequently.
Every 6 weeks or so, you could be moved to a new area, get a new
companion, or anything else. It's all up to the Mission President (he
is in charge of my mission and all of the missionaries in it) and what
he feels is best. For example, I started out in Monticello, NY, went
to Harlem, got moved to Newtown, CT, and am now here in The Upper East

Right now the main guy we are teaching is a man named Greg Aggewala.
He is an Indian (as in from India) that has been taking lessons with
missionaries for like 8 months now. He has really gained a testimony
of the Book of Mormon and knows that this is what he wants to do. He
is so awesome and really just wants to get closer to Christ. He is
planning on being baptized on Dec. 6th. We're excited!
We also have a man named John that we are teaching. He swears up and
down that he has been baptized but we haven't been able to find the
records of it, so we will probably end up baptizing him again just to
make sure he actually was.

Other than that, we really don't have a whole lot of people to teach.
We are still in the process of finding people right now.

So it has been getting flipping cold here. Well, the last couple days
it wasn't so bad, but it was bitter cold like 3-4 days ago. It finally
started to feel like November haha. Can you believe that it's the
holidays already?! What in the world!!

Well, I just want you all to know that I love you and pray for you.
Keep being awesome and keep moving forward. Let me know how everyone
is doing!! Have a great week!!

-your favorite missionary
Elder Stafford :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I Miss That Fat Cat!!

Hey mom!! 

So I'm on my way to go get groceries, and then after that,

we're going to the church to write emails, but before I write my email
to the family, I just had a couple things I wanted to mention :)
So first of all, thank you again so much my two packages you've sent
me recently! They were so nice and such a surprise!! But just a
request for any packages you may send in the near future.  Please
please no more junk food haha :) it was so nice to get all the sweets
for Halloween and just to snack on. I've got a little stash now that
will last me quite a while haha. Im actually really watching what I
eat recently. I've noticed such a difference in my attitude, health,
face, everything when I eat super healthy.
But as far as like birthday and Christmas packages go, you really
don't need to send me anything much. Like really. It is fun to get
things on birthdays and Christ,as, so I'm not saying you don't have to
send anything...just not a whole lot and nothing super spendy. I'm
sure that I'm going to have a lot of things things that I'll need help
getting when I get home, like clothes and getting a laptop and such
for school, so if it's allowed, I'd like to save up gifts for when I
get home haha :). I did have a couple things that would be nice to
have, but really just a nice letter and maybe some baked mommy snacks
(I won't turn down your cookies or anything...that I can't resist ;)
haha) are all I'll need until I get home.

So something I was also wondering was if I could get a picture of
Checkers in my next email??!! :) I miss that fat cat! Haha

But yeah, that's all I really needed to mention. I love you so much.
Thank you again for always being so thorough with your emails to me.
It's so nice to hear all that you have to say and know what's going on
with everyone. Have an awesome weeks! See ya! :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Missionary Message from Elder Stafford

To clean something like a machine, you sometimes have to take it apart piece by piece to clean the parts that are harder to get to. As we come closer to Christ, He exposes our weaknesses so that we may become clean in all aspects of our lives. When you begin to see faults in yourself, know that you are on the path to becoming clean. Ether 12:27 (in the Book of Mormon)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Greg is Committed to be Baptized!!

Hey everyone!!

So I apologize that I wasn't able to get an email out to you
yesterday!! Something pretty crazy happened haha. So for pday, we went
and walked something called the Hi-Line with some other missionaries
in my district. That was really cool! It's like this above ground
garden that is built on an abandoned railroad track the goes above the
city. It's...an alright garden haha. The people in New York probably
think it's like the most beautiful thing ever but I've seen better in
someone's back yard at home ;) haha. But it was just cool to say we
did it. Then, we went to a few gyms around town to try and see if we
could afford any of them....nope! The only one that is affordable is
called Planet Fitness if any of you have heard of it. It's a good gym
and it's WAY cheap, but the problem is that to sign up, you have to
have a voided check that you give them, so that they can just take the
money out of your account on the first of the month. They won't except
any cards or cash...only a voided check. So unfortunately we don't
really have checks to give out, and even if we did, neither of us
really want/have money from home to pay for a gym. Guess we'll just
stick to half-hearted push-ups and crunches in the morning haha ;) But
after that, we went home before we were going to go shopping for food,
but we'd gotten a call from someone, so we called them back and it was
a senior missionary working in the office that had called to tell us,
an hour before we needed to be there, that there was a woman that is
moving into our ward. So far it was just her bishop that was going to
unload this big truck by himself, so we needed to help him. We went
over at 2:00 and stayed there until 6:00.... So that's why I didn't
email you, because we spent our whole stinkin' pday lifting heavy
boxes! Haha

But anyways, so this week has been pretty good. Me and Elder Stevenson
have kind of found our stride as far as our companionship. I've just
kind of accepted that I have to be extra responsible with him and be
very patient! It's been good!

So you asked what my day was basically like every day...
Well, so first we wake up, exercise (well...try and exercise), and
then I hop in the shower before anyone else so that I am not waiting
and waiting. We only have one bathroom for four of us, so we have to
hurry fast. Then I make breakfast, which is usually eggs, granola
(thanks mom), lots of fruit, hot cereal, or oatmeal. Breakfast is like
my favorite meal, so I usually make a pretty big one. Then we study
for an hour personally, then an hour as a companionship. After that,
I've designated an hour or so as cleaning time. We are really only
supposed to need to clean once a week on pday, but my roommates are
really messy and don't do their dishes or anything, so I usually just
do all of the cleaning. Elder Stevenson tries to help out as best as
he can, too. After that we have lunch and then try and leave by noon.
We'll go to the church and usually take care of something there, or
we'll have a few errands we have to run. Because I'm district leader,
I do a lot of interviews because there are four other companionships
in my district. We usually do those earlier in the day after lunch.
Then, if we don't have any scheduled lessons, we will start looking up
the members of our ward that haven't been to church in awhile. We also
have a big list of people that we have to try and get information
about that we think might have moved out of the ward boundaries or
something. We try and find out where they went so that the clerk can
transfer their records to wherever they went. After that, we'll
usually do some tracting or contact people on the street. We have
about 2-3 scheduled lessons with people every week (Greg, John, and
then maybe someone else we run into). After doing that, we'll have
dinner with a member, and if we don't have one with a member, we just
eat by ourselves. Sometime during the day we might go to the chapel
and do some online work, as well. After all that, it's usually time
for us to head home because we live 20-45 minutes away from home
depending on which way we take and how lucky we are with the subways
and buses. After we get home we plan the next day, set goals, eat a
quick snack, I like to shower again, and then we'll read scriptures,
talk, and then go to bed. Then we start all over the next day! Haha
it's great!

So something unfortunate that we learned recently is that some
missionaries have been abusing the music rule. The rule has been that
you can listen to it, as long as it's been sold on Deseret Book, it is
uplifting hd encouraging, and brings the spirit. People have been
letting too many songs or CDs slip that probably don't qualify for one
of those things, so President is changing it. In two weeks we'll only
be able to listen to Mormon Tabernacle Choir or classical music that
is 100 years old or older.....yuck. Haha just kidding! I love both of
those things, but I like listening to actually good church music, too!
Some of my favorites are Vocal Point, Mindy Gledhill, the Lower
Lights, David Osmond, and I even have a Les Miserables soundtrack that
is edited with all of the bad songs out of it. (Yes it was sold on
Deseret Book when the movie came out, and I don't know about you but I
think it's definitely a story of repentance and change...plus it's the
most quoted play in General Conference, so I'm just saying that if
it's good enough for the twelve apostles, it's good enough for me ;)
haha). So yeah...I'm going to be sad to only get to listen to MoTab...

Greg is doing awesome!! HE CAME TO CHURCH THIS LAST SUNDAY!!! He's so
great! And he committed to be baptized on December 6th!! There's just
something about him that is different. It seemed like he was just
learning to learn facts...but now he is trying to learn to grow closer
to Christ and to Heavenly Father. He expressed that one of the main
reasons he meets with us is because he wants to learn how to have
better prayers. He's so cool!! We're meeting with him this Saturday
again and then hopefully he keeps coming to church!! :D

So yeah, I actually gotta get going, but I hope you all are having a
good week! I love you all so much! Talk to ya later!

-Elder Stafford