Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We have a baptism this Saturday!!!!

Hey Family!!

Sorry that I'm not able to write you back and forth today. We're meeting together with another zone to have a zone-on-zone soccer match! It's gonna be super fun because it looks like it's about to rain pretty hard! I'm excited :)

Well, this week was obviously crazy considering all of the change that's been going on!! Yes, I am the district leader and it's actually been kinda fun! It's not AS stressful and fun as I thought it was going to be...because all it really is, is a few extra things that I have to do. Some of my jobs are: I have to call all the companionships in my district every night (so two sets of sisters) to make sure they made it home safe and to see how their day went, keep everyone accountable for the goals that they set for the week and sometimes the day, give an hour long training at district meeting from an agenda that is provided for me, take down everyone's numbers (the number of baptisms, member present lessons, referrals, less active lessons, other lessons, new investigators, etc.) on Sunday night and then report them to the zone leaders, have interviews with each of the companionships a couple times a month to make sure they're doing okay, and a few other minor things. It's been good! It's really made me grow closer to my district now that I feel some sort of responsibility for them. It was really stressful to give a training on Monday because I'd never really conducted a discussion among missionaries before, but everyone said that it was really good and that I did a great job...so I guess it wasn't so bad. I got to go to a mission leadership counsel with President Morgan and the rest of the district and zone leaders, so that was awesome!! I learned so much about leadership. These counsels are where all the nitty-gritty "behind the scenes" business for the mission happens, so it was cool to be in there with all of the other leaders and help President Morgan resolve some issues and discuss some topics about the mission that not everyone gets to hear about.

I am actually super excited for my trainee. I am a lot more excited than nervous...which was WAY different from what I was feeling a week ago...so that's good! I'm actually very very excited to be a missionary's very first companion. MTC companions (especially for English missionaries who are only in the MTC for a couple weeks) are a little bit different just because you don't really experience a lot of the things that you do in the field, and you're only together for a very very short time. I just hope that I'm able to develop a good balance between having fun, and getting to work and be serious. I feel like I struggle with that sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I'm either way too laid back (which is actually most of the time...or I'm a little too serious and intense. I just want him to feel like he can trust me and we can be really really good friends...but also know that I want him to have a hard working first experience in the mission. It's just something that I've noticed from my time here, that you develop a lot of the same habits as your trainer. Missionaries who have lazy, disobedient trainers usually find it easier to become lazy and disobedient later in the mission.

Other than that, its just been a super busy week. Me and Elder Fuller have tried to work super hard covering two areas. It's been pretty easy to fill up our schedule with things to do. One super exciting thing, is that we have a baptism this Saturday!! There is a man named Dan in the Danbury ward that has been coming to church for almost 15 years, but never got baptized! He just never felt like it was something that he should do, but recently the Elders in Danbury (and now me) have been working with him consistently and he wants to get baptized!! He's had a really hard time giving up cigarettes in the past, but since me and Elder Fuller have been meeting with him, he hasn't smoked at all!! The last cigarette he had was the day that me and Elder Fuller went over there and set some goals with him to not smoke. He really really wants to be baptized and he's showing it!! He had his baptismal interview by one of the zone leaders on Sunday and he "passed"!!! We're so excited for him!!

Me and Elder fuller work SUPER well together. I really love the guy. He's really awesome and is a lot like me. He's super relaxed but realizes that we need to get to work. We push to keep each other busy and that's been really good for me. He's probably one of my favorite companions so far. I'm going to be sad to not be companions in a couple weeks! Elder Edmunds was probably my favorite companion, just because I felt like I could trust him so much. He was super funny and relaxed, so we got along really well. We almost got along too well, though, because sometimes we'd just find ourselves not being as productive as we should have because we were almost just "hanging out". We did do a lot of work, though, and we were usually pretty good about getting to work as soon as we caught ourselves. Elder Fuller is a good balance between getting along and being relaxed, but also hard working and productive! I don't think I could really choose a favorite companion, just because everyone is so different. It is pretty easy to say who was my "less-favorite" companions...but I won't say that ;)

Anyways...this week was really good! Now we're going to go play some futbol so I'll see everyone later! I love you so much!! :)

-Elder Cade :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WHAT ?!?!?!?! I'M TRAINING?!?!?!?!?!

So...uh....this week has been the craziest week of my mission. Actually only the craziest 48 hours of my mission. So the first part of our week was pretty good. We've been painting, painting, and painting our apartment for the most of the week in our free time (and because we don't have the largest teaching pool in the world, we kind of had a lot of free time). We had our apartment inspected a few weeks ago, and during it, the senior couple that did the inspection mentioned that we needed to talk to our landlord about getting us paint so that we can make it look better. It wasn't anything we did that made it so bad...it's just...old. The building itself is at least 45 years old, and missionaries have been living in it for a good 10 years. You can only imagine what an apartment looks like that have had bored teenagers living in it for ten years... There were tons of little holes, dents, scratches, etc. in all the walls, so we fixed those up, fixed some of the heaters along the floor, replaced all the old light bulbs, and did a whole bunch of other handyman work. After that, we got a few buckets of paint from our landlord and painted all of the walls in the downstairs portion of our apartment. We haven't gotten to the ceiling, yet, but it automatically looked 500% better. We put two thick coats on so that the walls look brand new (although you can still see the imprints and little dents in the wall). We've just been in handyman mode lately. The senior couple in charge of maintaining the apartments is absolutely in love with us. They're so happy that we're doing this because we're making the apartment so much better for the missionaries that will live here after us. So yeah...the only thing we need to do now is replace the carpet. I said that the building is at least 45 years old...well the carpets are just about as old as the building. They are absolutely disgusting. We probably vacuum 3 times a week...but they're just so bad that you can't really do anything with them. They are supposed to be a light cream color, but they are mostly a darker brown everywhere. Along the edges against the wall, and up the stairs, though...they are almost black...no joke. It's really gross. I hate walking on it with bare feet. Haha we took carpet cleaner and a rag and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed one area of the carpet, and when we saw what color he carpet was supposed to be, we wanted to throw up...

But anyways...that's all soon to be taken care of. Back to the much much crazier part of my week:

So on Tuesday, Elder Sprunt (the companion of the Elder that went home last cycle) went home himself. He went home for a much different reason, and will be returning in just a couple weeks. A couple of years ago he had a cyst removed from around his tailbone, but recently it's been slowly getting worse again and is starting to become inflamed. He just had to go home and have a simple surgery on it, but then he can be right back out. In the South Manhattan zone, there is another elder who is also having some problems and will be going home for a while. So...President Morgan decided that he would just do what he was going to do in three weeks at transfers anyway, just a little early. While Elder Sprunt drove to Scarsdale to go home, he took Elder Nielson with him!! So Elder Nielson is in South Manhattan right now!! What the hay?! 

So what ended up happening is me and Elder Fuller, the only two elders left in this district, are now companions...and we are having to cover both of our areas!! Ahhhhh!! Not again!! So as of now, we are PACKED this week of things that we have to do in both of our areas/wards. It's okay, though, because it makes the work SO much easier when you are busy...plus I love Elder Fuller. He's such a good (NORMAL) guy! I get along with him great!! I actually feel like I can be myself around him.

So anyways...if that wasn't enough...President Morgan called me yesterday and told me that because Elder Sprunt went home, and he was the district leader, he wants ME to serve as district leader!!!!! Ahhhhhh!! I've never been in a leadership position before, except in the MTC as a zone leader (but we all know that that doesn't really count....nobody knew what they were doing in there haha!). I'm soooo nervous. But I know that it will be really good for me. I've noticed that I'm not exactly the most self-motivated person in the world, but when I have others counting on me, and I have to be an example to others, I do much better. I'm hoping that it will be the same thing with this.

If THAT wasn't enough....there's one more thing that's the icing on the cake with this whole crazy mess....

So on Monday, when we were figuring out Elder Sprunt's traveling plans, we were talking to President Morgan and he was telling us all what was going to happen. He told Elder Sprunt that he would be returning to this district when he comes back, and that he will be with Elder Fuller again. Then he goes, "...and as for Elder Stafford....well, unless The Lord suddenly changes his mind last minute...you're going to be training a brand new missionary out of the MTC next cycle...."


WHAT?!?!?!  I'M TRAINING?!?!?!?!  I don't know how to train someone!!!!  Oh my word...I just about died.....

Oh my.....this has all just been too much haha. I don't even know what to think. I'm like not even freaking out anymore. I'm more just in a daze haha. This has been the most insane few days of my life. One minute me and Elder Nielson were just boppin' along here in Newtown having fun...when suddenly he gets thrown down to South Manhattan, Elder Sprunt goes home, me and Elder Fuller have to take care of two areas at the same time, I get told that I'm going to be a dad (that's what we call trainers here: "dads" and their trainees are their "sons"), AND I'm going to become a district leader for the first time.......

So yeah...there ya have it...the most random and crazy weekly letter I hope you ever get from me. Hahaha! oh gosh....I'm doomed.... :)

Anyways...let me know how all of you are doing this week. I hope everyone stays safe and out of trouble...especially you Grandma! I know how much of a trouble maker you are! Haha just kidding :) but yeah...I'll talk to you all next week if I make it through these next 7 days!! Love you!!

-your soon to be dead missionary,
Elder Stafford

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Learning that Heavenly Father is in control

Hello from Connecticut!!

So this week has been loads better. A lot of the stress is becoming easier to handle, and I've been more relaxed than I have been. There are just some things that only Heavenly Father has control over. I wish with all of my heart that I could take away people's agency for just a few small moments sometimes...but then I realize that that is the whole reason we are here haha. We went tracting for a while yesterday. It was in more of a rich area, so yes..."castle tracting". Haha we probably knocked on 15 houses in that street and almost no one even gave us the time of day. The people that did, weren't interested. It was just one more of those situations that would have made me super stressed...but it didn't! I'm getting better! haha :)

So this week was super good! Sunday was my favorite because I got to talk to the family!

Thursday wasn't super exciting because it was weekly planning day. That always eats up a majority of our day. Haha I heard something that made me laugh the other day. I heard that the reason they put weekly planning on Thursday is because everyone still has a "p-day hangover" from Wednesday haha.

Friday we went tracting! This one was actually a success! We did an Area Proselyting Focus in our area, so the whole district went and tracted in our area. As always, the sisters found a couple people, and then the other elders found one or two people. We didn't find any..... :( but that's okay! We haven't had any lessons with the people that were found yet, but we're going to keep trying! Maybe we'll be able to actually find an investigator! Haha

Saturday we had a good lesson over at the Prince family's home! They are this young couple with three kids that invited a couple that they are friends with to eat dinner with us. It was a very, very casual setting...so we weren't supposed to like proselyte or anything. It was mostly meant to just get them introduced to the church and the missionaries. We had a good long talk with them and told them a little about what our services are like. Hopefully we'll see them at church sometime!

Sunday was Mother's Day!! We went over to the Taylor's home for a little get together before church. After Church, we went over to the Nelson's for dinner and then came to the church to Skype! 

Monday was spent trying to figure out our dumb car..... I guess the mission got a letter from Chevy saying that there was a recall for all Cruzes made in 2013, so we have to take our car in! We will be going in next Thursday to see if our front axle has a malfunction haha. We're hoping that there is, and that in the time until they fix our car, they will let us pick any car on the lot. We have plans to choose the new Camaro ;)

Yesterday wasn't super exciting. 

So yeah...this week has been a lot of fun!! I truly am happy to be here. But anyways...I've gotta go but I hope you all have an awesome week! I love you so much!!!
-Elder Stafford :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Missionary Message from Elder Stafford

This is for you Mom!! I love my mother with all of my heart. I owe almost everything that I am to her. I am so grateful that God has given me the family that I have. I know that I will be able to live with my mom (and the rest of my family) for much longer than this short time here on Earth. I love you mommy!  Happy Mother's Day, Shauna Spain Stafford!
It’s the highest, holiest service assumed by humankind. It’s the definition of selfless service. It’s both a daunting responsibility and a glorious opportunity. The divine role of motherhood is a gift from God, and key to His plan of
happiness for all His children.

It's been a really rough, bumpy cycle...but with small sparks of success

Hello everyone!!

This week has been very good considering how I've been feeling the past few weeks. It's been a really rough, bumpy cycle. This last week though, we've been able to see small sparks of success. We called a media referral that we got about a week ago, and she sounds like she's interested in hearing what we have to say! She said that she'd talk to her husband about it, and then we'll call her on Thursday for her to let us know a time we can come back. We're excited! The sisters also gave us someone that they found, and he sounds like he's pretty cool. We'll see, though. We've been doing some tracting the last week. We hate having to rely solely on just tracting to find, but considering were in an area where you don't see ANYONE just walking around, tracting is really all you have to meet new people. The best way to find people to teach is when a member refers someone to us...those almost always lead to at least something...but we haven't gotten any of those at all lately, so tracting's all we got! Haha
I'm just glad that Elder Nielson realizes that too, and isn't super stubborn to tract like some of my previous companions. It's really hard, and you run into so much rejection and let-downs because of it, but you also do meet lots of people and at least plant some seeds. 

This week hasn't been too interesting. We got a new Elder that we're living with. His name is Elder Fuller and he was actually my zone leader for two cycles in Monticello, so I know him pretty well. He's an awesome guy and a really good missionary so I'm excited to live with him. Elder Nielson and I are doing fine. He's definitely got a super different personality than me...which is hard. But that's okay! I'm just learning more and more how to deal with different personalities! Newtown is starting to grow on me. I think it just took a while for me to get ahold of the geography of the area, so once I got that down, it helped me get more comfortable with it. The ward is really great and loves the missionaries, so that's good, too.

I'm so excited to talk to you on Mothers Day, though!! I seriously can't believe that it's almost been five months since we talked! When works best for you? I think that the best time possible would be at about 7:30-8:00 my time, so 4:30-5:00 your time. We have church, and then a dinner with someone after that, so I think that that would be about the only time we could do it. If that REALLY doesn't work for you, just let me know over email exactly what time does, and I'm sure that we can work around it. Just let me know! :)

Thank you so much for letting me know everything that's been going on! I know it seems kinda dull to tell me everything that's been going on, but it is nice to feel like I'm involved a little bit. Please call Brandon "Old Man Maxwell" for me just once ;) say it in a toothless old man's voice, too, that'll make it better!!  Hahahaha! that made me laugh so hard!  Don't worry, Ally, I'm not a morning person either! I thought I was...but then I went on a mission and had to work 13 hours a day haha. Have fun with the yard work (haha suckers!). I'm thinking about getting plastic flowers and trees with AstroTurf in my house just so I don't have to do that ever again ;)

But anyways...I better get going! Have an awesome week, everyone! I love you all and am praying for you, as long as you pray for me! I need it! Haha bye!

-Elder Stafford :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Missionary Message from Elder Stafford

Elder Cade Stafford
Elder Cade Stafford added a new photo: "Hello everyone!! Just to remind anyone that already knows, and to let people know that didn't know...we will be having an online discussion on Sunday at 10:00 am EST about the Christlike attributes of charity and love. We want anyone and everyone that feels inclined to join us, as achieving these attributes should be what all of us want! "

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I need to humble myself and know that God will help us

Hey everyone!!

So as you may or may not know, transfers were this week! I got the call on Saturday and I will be staying with Elder Nielson in Newtown for another transfer! Woo! A companion for more than one cycle! Haha I was starting to think that something must be wrong with me because President didn't want me with a companion for too long ;)

I can't say that I'm like SUPER stoked to stay the same. Not that I don't like Elder Nielson by any means...it's just nice to have a change after a long 6 weeks. The district isn't even really changing much. The only change is that Elder Sprunt (the companion of the elder that went home) will be getting Elder Fuller. Elder Fuller was my zone leader in Monticello for two cycles so I know him pretty well! It will be fun to live with him. 

Things are still chuggin' along. I mean it's been probably the worst week ever as far as missionary work, but it's alright. Because that elder went home, we had to be together with Elder Sprunt for the week. That meant that we had to cover two whole areas WHILE having to deal with the whole situation with that elder. It took a good chunk out of our week and it was so stressful to be flying back and forth trying to be two places at once. It was terrible. That's over, though, so I'm stoked to be able to get back to normal work.

I've been struggling with faith a lot lately. As you know, I've been studying it a lot recently. In fact, I finished the Book of Mormon again a few days ago, so I decided to do what Elder Bednar does and study the whole Book of Mormon with one topic or question in mind. So guess what I decided to read about....faith!  I guess I'm just really hard on myself sometimes and I try and think too logically about things. That's a problem with missionary work, especially in finding, which we're doing now, because it takes SO much faith to find people. You have to believe and I mean believe that people will come to you for you to teach. Missionary work in the states, especially in New York and Connecticut, can be really hard. People just have a hard time believing in God...and if they do, they are very set in their ways.

I'm excited to hopefully learn how to humble myself more and know that God will help us find people. I hate feeling like a stinker sometimes, but it's just one more thing I need to work on!

I had a really cool experience that I don't really feel like sharing over email, but I will definitely share it on Mother's Day!!!! I can't believe I get to talk to you again!!! I'm so excited!! 

Well...we don't have a lot of time this p-day because of transfers. I love you all so much though! Have an awesome week! 

Elder Stafford :)