Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I Want to Tell You About a Miracle That Happened!

Hey everyone!

So this week has been quite hectic! To start, I just want to tell you
a miracle that happened to me recently! So...if any of you aren't
aware, I'm officially a clean freak about the apartments I live in.
Consistently, the first couple weeks I'm in a new apartment I end up
deep, deep cleaning it because missionaries (Elders) just have no idea
how to clean. Luckily I have a wonderful mommy who taught me how to
clean, despite my lack of it while I was home haha. So anyways, so as
I was deep cleaning our bathroom (my favorite because you feel so good
having a clean bathroom) I found this old Area Book from forever ago!
Like 3-7 years ago! Don't ask me why it was in the bathroom but it
was. So during weekly planning, me and Elder Moss looked through the
former investigators from way back when and picked out some of the
more promising! So we found a good solid list and then planned in
times when we could look them up. Some of them were from pretty
recently, so we tried to do those first. Well, while we were looking
them up, we went to this one apartment, knocked on the door, and no
one answered. So the next day, we had some extra time so we started
over with the people that didn't answer. Luckily we were right by her
apartment so we went and knocked on the door. This time, this older
lady answers the door. She seemed a little complacent that we were
there, but then as we were talking to her a SUPER pregnant girl comes
around the corner and was like, "oh my gosh! It's the Elders! I
totally found your card yesterday and was going to call it but then I
lost it somewhere! I'm so glad you're here!" So we talked to her and
totally set up for her to meet with the sisters! That was cool!
Inspiration! Haha Heavenly Father used my cleaning to re-find someone

So yeah, this week we had a cool service project with the stake. We
all put on the Helping Hands vests and went to work making the
Riverside Park on the West Side look better! There were a ton of
overgrown trees and bushed so they sent the Mormons to take 'em all
out and replant them!! It was a lot of fun being with trees and grass
amidst all the concrete and glass. I tell ha, if there's two things
Mormons are good at, it's cooking and yard work hahaha :)

So Greg has been super hard to get ahold of. We had a ward party last
Friday that we wanted him to go to, but he was working. We haven't
been able to see him since :( he takes like two stinkin days to
respond to texts and he won't ever answer his phone!! Ugh! But he's
still cool. He hasn't been like rude or told us he wasn't interested,
our schedules have just conflicted.

So because I'm the district leader, I have to interview each
companionship in my district every cycle. So this last Monday, we had
it with the two sisters in our Ward, Sisters Arquero and Holdaway.
They are so awesome!! I love them haha. Sister Arquero is this little
Pilipino girl that is HILARIOUS! She is deceptively evil inside ;)
haha just kidding. But yeah, so a member in our Ward gave us these
gift cards that totaled up to $100 for this famous BBQ in town. They
were like 8 years old, so he wasn't sure if they even worked, but he
said that if they did then we could have them! Awesome right?! So we
went and they ended up working! It was great! We got a TON of BBQ and
then took it to the church and feasted haha :D heaven!

So I also got to go on a split with Elder Nielson! My old companion!
I'm his district leader so we got to be together for a day. It was
fun! Definitely brought back a lot of memories.  Got to go to the Southern tip of
the island in Alphabet City. It's where they live and it's
pretty....ghetto haha :)

Ummmmm....other than that, me and Elder Moss are still getting along
great! He's a great guy and I'm so glad that I'm able to be myself
with him. We're always trying to be better and it's been cool to see
the miracles in our lives. I hope all of you are able to have an
awesome week! Stay safe! Love you all! :)

-your missionary
Elder Stafford

This Has Been A Pretty Fun Week!!

Happy Wednesday everyone!! Holy cow, I can't believe that we're almost to October!! What da?! I'm kind of disappointed that I don't get to see all the beautiful leaves turn different colors! That was my favorite part about being upstate in the fall! I guess I have Central Park...but that's not nearly the same.

So the work here is going pretty well!! We have like 2 investigators that we are really trying to work with. We have a handful of potential investigators that we'd love to become progressing, but unfortunately they're not using their agency the way we want them to ;) our best investigator is a man named Greg. He is so awesome!!! He is from New Delhi and is WAY smart. He designs equipment that has something to do with how your brain processes the things hat your eye sees. It was way over my head haha. The reason he is so great is that he actually listens to what we have to say. He doesn't say a whole lot, but when he does say something, he really thinks about it and wants to say it how he's feeling. He's not afraid to ask questions if he really doesn't understand something. It's like perfect!! He actually does the commitments that we ask him to do, so hopefully he'll move right along and be baptized soon!!

We work mostly in the Upper East Side, almost up towards Harlem in the 90th and 100th streets. A lot of the poorer (and more humble) people live there, so that's really why we spend a whole lot of time there. Yes we ride the subways a lot. To get from where we live to where our area is, we usually take the NRQ which is just a subway line that takes us across the island below Central Park, and then transfer to the green line which goes up and down the East Side. I took the green line a lot when I was in Harlem. Then to get home, we usually take a cross town bus which takes us across Central Park. It's really cool!!

I'm still loving Elder Moss. He's such a great guy and someone I would consider a true friend. He's from Highland, Utah and has been out for 3 months. He just got done being trained, so I'm his "mom" because I'm his second companion! 

The ward is pretty great here!! It's actually pretty loaded with visitors!! TONS of people in the ward are just there for a couple weeks for a project or something, and then they leave. Elder Moss said that one time there were actually more visitors than there were members!! Our bishop is less active but......haha just kidding. But almost!! During the summer he's only there like 1/3 of the time! Crazy right? And then for about 4 months we didn't even have a second counselor, and then occasionally the first counselor is gone as well!! So yeah...it's been a rough summer. The Elders quorum president is also the secretary, so he's pretty much running the show ;) but now that summer is coming to an end, the bishop is back a lot more, and we sustained a new 2nd counselor last Sunday. Woohoo!!

That's crazy about feeding the sister missionaries! I agree (in a completely unbiased way) that having the missionaries over to your home is the best way to get to know them and gain your trust in them. Plus, they're hopefully able to bring the spirit of missionary work into your home. We also have to remember that feeding the missionaries is NOT a responsibility of the members. Members shouldn't feel obligated to have them over, but it is nice when they do. I think that reminding the ward in sacrament meeting or in individual classes that you do have missionaries and even of some of the blessings they will receive if they do is good...but people shouldn't feel like they have to. But I'm sure you know that and I think it's great that our bishopric cares about the sisters in our ward. :) 
The members here do feed us though! Probably like 3-4 times a week. We have alllll sorts of different food. I think that everyone thinks that there is a "staple" that we eat all the time, so they always try and be unique! I'm fine with that!! :) last night we went out to this super fancy Vietnamese restaurant. It was soooooo good!! I'm also fine not being fed as much, though because me and Elder Moss like to cook together a lot!! Every week we pick two or so meals that we want to try making together! It's so much fun! And we've even picked some really healthy stuff so don't worry mom ;) so far we've cooked baked macaroni and cheese, chicken gnocchi soup, homemade hamburgers, and some other stuff. This week we're doing baked potatoes I think :)

Well, this has been a pretty fun week!! Nothing super special!! Oh, well Elder Moss got Facebook finally, so we're going to try and do more online proselyting!! The last two companions I've had haven't had it, so it'll be good to have this new focus. I hope all of you have a good week!! Take care and keep praying!! I love you all! 

-Elder Stafford :)

Here's just a couple pictures from the Natural History Museum!
It was soooo fun!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Missionary Message from Elder Stafford

Who you are now is NOT who you have to be forever. Through Jesus Christ, we can all repent and come back to Him...no matter how far along the wrong path we've gone.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities."
-Joseph B. Wirthlin
 — feeling hopeful with Elder Peyton Cannon Moss.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

One of the best weeks of my mission!!

Hey everyone!! 

This has been such an amazing week!! This has been one of the best weeks of my mission!! I'm soooo happy to be in the city, and I'm so happy to be companions with Elder Moss! He'ssuch a good guy. I can honestly see us being extremely good friends, even after the mission. We have like the exact same personality and sense of humor, so we just get along great! We have so much fun and are able to talk to each other about everything.

Another reason I'm doing so well is because we've been trying to be a lot more obedient. Not that I've been disobedient, but there's always a lot more room for improvement. We made it a decision at the beginning of the cycle that we were constantly going to try to be better. It helps so much that we're so close because it's not uncomfortable or anything. 

The city is AWESOME!!! I'm so happy to be back here. It's definitely one of the funniest areas in the mission. We are right in the heart of the city. We live like 10 streets from Times Square and we drive through Central Park (on a bus) to get home from our area. Our area is 110th street (right below my area in Harlem) down to 70th street on the East side. It's such a cool area, it's full of projects in the North and full of high rises and classy business buildings in the South.

We aren't teaching anyone super frequently except a woman named Inez. She's been an investigator for 7 years but she's getting closer every day. We are wanting to give her over to the sisters permanently. A lot of the time we teach her with the sisters, but the elders have become such good friends with her over the years that she doesn't take a lot of our lessons very seriously sometimes. She thinks that she knows everything haha. Oh well! We'll keep working. We have a bunch of potentials that we're trying to meet with as well. I'm still kinda lost, so hopefully I'll have more detail to tell you about people next week.

Well everyone, I love you so much!, thank you for being the people that you are. Keep up the faith and stay strong! Only like 9 1/2 more moths left!! What the heck?! Haha see ya next week!! :)

-Elder Stafford

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm going to the big city...South Manhattan!!!! I'm stoked!!

Heyyyyyyy ya'll!!!

Sorry that I didn't get this off to you on Wednesday...it's been a
crazy couple days so we haven't really had a chance to get wifi until
today. Sorry!! :(

So this week we finally found out where I'm going!!!! HAHAHAHA
craziest transfer ever!! So before I tell you where IM going, I gotta
tell you about what's happening with Elder Prestwich!! MY BOY IS
TRAINING!!!! Haha President must have thought I did something right
because he's only just got done being trained!!! Not only is he
training...but he also got made district leader!! Hahaha he's doing
what I did 2 cycles ago except he's only been out 3 months!! I'm so
excited for him!!

So to put all of your curiosity at ease, I'm going to be going
to.....SOUTH MANHATTAN!!!! The big city!! I'm going to be in the area
I've wanted my whole mission!! I'll be in the Upper East side, which
is like THE rich area of the city!! I'm going to be with Elder Moss.
He's only been out for two cycles and he's been in the city so I have
no idea who he is. I'm gonna be his mom!! Haha that means I'm his
second companion. I'm so excited!! Hopefully I'll be able to stay in
the city for longer than 3 months!! Agh I'm stoked!

I think one of the things I'm most excited about is being able to try
and talk to more people. My confidence level is a lot higher than it
was when I was in the city last. I was really nervous because I'd only
been out 6 months and it was only my second area...so hopefully I'll
be able to open my mouth more. I've heard a lot of good things about
Elder Moss, too, so I hope we'll get along well!!

Ummm...let's see, I don't have a whole lot of time to write because
I'm going to be traveling almost all day. I'm in a van headed to the
top of Manhattan right now. We're jamming out to Mindy Gledhill if any
of you know who she is ;)

Pretty much all week I've just been trying to see as many people as we
can to say goodbye to them. I took a ton of pictures so I'll send a
lot of those to you! As far as those potential investigators we
got...nothing has happened with them quite yet. Remember that guy that
stopped us on the bike? Well it kinda seems like he ditched us. It was
extremely disappointing. Newtown was really hard for that reason
exactly. It seemed like every lead we had was just a dead end. He
juked our lesson with him and hasn't responded to us yet :/ oh well!
People have their agency! As long as we do our best, the rest is
between The Lord and that person.

Well, I think pictures will fill in the stuff that I left out. I love
you so much everyone! I can't wait to email you more next week! Have
an awesome week! Stay strong!

Elder Stafford :)

 Me and Elder Black who is leaving to Brazil

 Henry Choi

Me and Brother Caserta 

Me and Johnny Choi

I don't even know...This was a picture that an Elder in our zone drew

...So I thought I would take some ridiculous pictures with it hahaha!

 Me and Pip Hippen went on a date Tuesday night...it was so fun ;)

 ...she is seriously the most adorable little girl I've met on my mission!!

I love her so much!  I HAVE to come back and visit her! haha!

 Me and the two districts in Danbury/Newtown

Me and my whole zone (minus Elder Black who left for Brazil)

We finally have an investigator!!!!

Alright everyone so this week was AWESOME!! So, transfers were not this week, for those of you that didn't know *cough mom cough*...they are next week! So I still have no idea what's happening :/tonight is trainer calls, though, so if Elder Prestwich is training then I'll find out! Haha
So a few cool things happened this week. First, and the absolute BEST one of them all is that we finally have an investigator!!!! So Saturday, while we were walking around (actually just about 4-5 minutes after we had left our apartment, we were flagged down by this guy on a bike that came out of a Municipal Center in bethel. He was like "hey, hey! Can I get one of your books??" We were like "uhhhhhh....ABSOLUTELY!!!" So we gave him one and talked to him for a little bit. His name is Alec and he's going to college at Western Connecticut University in Danbury (right next to Bethel and Newtown). He seems super nice and really ready for the Gospel!! When we asked him why he wanted a Book of Mormon, he was like, "I don't know, I mean I took a Theology class in college so I know a lot (not all) but a little of what you guys believe. Haha don't worry I know almost all of the things that people say about you aren't true. (THANK GOODNESS FOR INTELLIGENT PEOPLE!!) I've just been feeling really unspiritual lately and I could use a little more God in my life. In fact I was thinking about that while I was sitting down a couple minutes ago. Then I suddenly see you guys walking down the street, so I figure it must be some sort if sign haha." We just sat there with our mouths open and didn't know what to say! It seemed like one of those fake role plays that we practice in the MTC! It seemed like it wasn't even real! It was so perfect! Haha so yeah!! We set up a lesson with him foryesterday, but he ended up having a meeting with someone at school, but we have an appointment with him tomorrow! Please pray for us!! Gosh darn it...I swear, as soon as I'm looking about ready to leave, all the investigators start coming ;) ugh...oh well...it's just how it works out some time :)

Right before we ran into Alec, we found a pair of keys on the sidewalk next to our apartment. Luckily there was a dog tag on it with a phone number. We called her but no answer, but then about an hour later we got a call from her! We set up to meet her at a Burger King in a half an hour. The whole time we were walking there, we were totally talking up how she was going to take us finding her keys as a sign and how she's going to want to learn more about us and about Christ and how this has been like the most perfect day ever so far and on and on and on.....haha. So what ended up happening was we got to Burger King, she said thank you and that she wouldn't know what she would have done without us, then just said goodbye and left! Haha it was kind of funny how complacent she was to see us...but I guess she has her agency ;) darn!

So we had zone conference last Friday!! It was AMAZING!! It was a very uplifting experience for me...always is! We did a lot of role playing with the How to Begin Teaching points found in Preach My Gospel. The big focus was "getting back to the basics". We spent a lot of time talking about the simple things. I came to remember him much I love Preach My Gospel!! It's great!!

Well...ummm....i gotta get going, but that was actually my week! Nothing else that was super exciting. I'm still loving my area, loving my companion, and love the work. It's always a struggle, and probably always will be, to be the missionary I'm supposed to be. But I don't think that being a perfect missionary can or should happen over night. There is always something to be better at...some of us like me just have more to be better at ;) haha well...I better get going! I love you all so much and pray for you regularly!! :) have an awesome week!!

-Elder Stafford :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Missionary Message from Elder Stafford

There are so many things in this world that want to pull me down. Knowing that Christ lived and died for me gives me wings. What gives YOU wings?