Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Elder Stafford's "stake conference" talk
Cade was asked by the stake president, President Barlow, of his home stake, if he would write a message to be given at their stake conference. This is what he sent:
Hey mom! Here's the letter I promised! I hope it's what you were
looking for! Please, please tell me if you want me to change around
anything or focus more on something else...or if it's too long or
short! I love you!
Hello my favorite stake in the world! Greetings from the New York New
York North mission!
To start off, I just want to say that it was such a privilege to be
able to grow up in this stake with all of you wonderful people. I hope
you all know how blessed you are to have such amazing leaders,
teachers, and friends here at this conference today. I wish I could be
there in person!
Throughout these last 9 months, I have learned so much on my mission.
There is a saying that goes, "the very first convert on your mission
is yourself". And I've found that to be so true. Choosing to leave my
family and loved ones behind has been the hardest thing in the world
for me...but also the best thing for me.
One of the reasons why I say this this is because I have truly been
able to be a first-hand witness to the Lord "hastening His work". The
Hastening of the Work is not just a catchy phrase the Church uses to
talk about missionary work in this time. This is real, and it is very
literal...and also exciting! Missionary work is becoming more and more
efficient, or "hastened", each and every day. Right now, I am typing
this letter on an iPad Mini that is used to help plan, teach, study,
find, communicate, proselyte, report, and many other amazing things!
And this is just a fragment of this "hastening"!
People are literally walking into our church buildings to learn about
what we believe. When I was serving in Harlem, we received almost 15
referrals from the Mormon.org website from people who visited the site
and wanted to know more. And that's from a group of people living on a
small fraction of Manhattan island...in less than 3 months!
Members are coming up to US to introduce their friends who are
interested in the Church. I've had people take one look at my tag,
smile, and then have a nice conversation with me about how they've
heard about our church before and they love what we're doing. These
things are happening and they are real!
One of the most important aspects of the "how" Heavenly Father is
hastening His work, is the preparation of His servants. All
Church-sponsored activities, church classes, and meetings are designed
to make us, Heavenly Fathers children, better: better people, better
families, better citizens, and better missionaries.
I know that we are truly a prepared people. The Lord has prepared and
is preparing us all to help others return to live with Heavenly
Father. It is through missionary work and the use of the Atonement
that we are able to further this hastening.
I am so grateful for my parents and my family for the lessons they
taught me from a very young age. It is truly in the home, through
personal and family studies, that we are able to learn the teachings
of Christ the best. I really do know that my Redeemer lives. I know
that His atonement extends far beyond our own personal weaknesses.
Each and every one of us are missionaries in this great Work, and it
is our responsibility to spread the message of faith and repentance to
the people that we come into contact with each and every day. That
doesn't always necessarily mean inviting them to an activity or to
meet with the missionaries. That would be amazing, trust me, but
missionary work simply begins with the thoughts we think...so think
like a missionary! Look for ways to be an example, share your beliefs,
and help those in need.
I truly love each and every one of you. Keep up the awesome job you're
all doing. Have an awesome stake conference!