Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fun In The Snow And Two Awesome Investigators!

Hey everyone!!

So this week was not quite as great as last week, but it was still WAY
good!! We were able to see so many miracles.

So the most important things that happened this week is that we were
able to have member present lessons with both Cali and Toese! They are
both doing sooo good! So on Friday we had a lesson with Toese at our
branch mission leaders home. We went over the restoration in further
detail, and then watched the Restoration DVD with him. He was like
completely blown away! After the video was over, he was like
completely speechless. All he could say was, "wow that was powerful".
It was so cool! We KNOW he felt the spirit. It was kind of sad,
though, because he wasn't able to make it to church on Sunday.
Remember how I said that his girlfriend is a member? Well it sounds
like he and his girlfriend had some sort of fight on Saturday morning,
and it lasted like really late into the night so he was just not
feeling like church Sunday morning. We're hoping that this will be a
growing moment for him, and he'll realize that he can't do this for
his girlfriend or for anyone else...he has to do it for HIM.
Our lesson with Cali on Sunday, though, was terrific!! We had it at
the Creasons home, who are a family that she's gotten really close
with in the branch. We also had two of her friends that are members
there as well. We taught her the Restoration again as well because our
last lesson with her was just so jumbled and crazy because there were
like 12 people there. It was much more personal this time and we were
able to use a lot of How to Begin Teaching Points (if you don't know
what that is, read the section in chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel...yes
I'm pushing for you guys to read Preach My Gospel...its a terrific
book haha). But guess what? She's accepted to be baptized!! When we
asked her she was like, "uh...I might." Haha and when we started
telling her about how we think she can be ready for baptism by March
14th, she seemed a little hesitant. I was able to bear my testimony
about how I know that by setting a goal to be baptized on March 14th,
she is showing Heavenly Father that she is willing to show her faith,
and that He will bless her with an answer to whether she should be
baptized or not. She just gave us this big smile and was like,
"okay...why not?!" And we all laughed and it was just great. We asked
her how she felt and she told us that she was pretty nervous, but she
felt kinda peaceful. We were able to tell her that it was the Spirit
that was there, telling her that what she was doing was right.

So I'm sure you all heard about the super crazy blizzard that hit New
York...well we were pretty bummed because it didn't really hit where
we're at at all. We had this big conference call with the mission
president about all the precautions and procedures we should be doing
to prepare for it, and that we should expect the worst case scenario
for everything and we were all getting pumped to survive another "Day
After Tomorrow" if you've seen that movie.....but it never happened
here haha. We had to go in early on Monday night, and we couldn't
drive at all Tuesday, so all we did was shovel snow for people that
day. It was pretty fun! I was kinda hoping to be in a blizzard but
hey...maybe next time.

So we did have a pretty frustrating moment. We've been trying to set
up a sports night at the Newburgh chapel for the last month...and
every single time it fails miserably. This time, we had a guy that was
supposed to bring a few people bail out on us last minute. He was also
supposed to email all of the guys that we play basketball with to try
and get them to come, but he never did that, so hardly anyone knew
about it! The only guy that came was Brother Folau. He's an assistant
coach for the rugby team here at West Point. He's a super cool guy!

We went on a split with the Newburgh district leader and his companion
this week. I was in Newburgh with Elder Giesel, the district leader.
He's a Spanish speaking missionary, so alllll of our appointments were
in Spanish. I've never fallen asleep in a lesson before, but I got
close this time haha. I couldn't understand anything, so it was just
really hard to stay focused. It was fun, though, because for one of
our appointments, we were on our way to go look someone up, and as
were walking to their door, we here him yelling to us from this yard
thing in the middle of the apartment complex. He waves us over and we
see that he's playing in the snow with his nephew. He didn't speak
English, so while Elder Giesel was talking to him, I made a big
snowman with his nephew hahaha. And then we helped him make this big
snow tiger! It was actually pretty cool! I'll try and get pictures to
you next week.

But yeah...so that was about my week! It was great! We had a lot of
fun in the snow and we have two awesome investigators. I love it here
sooo much!! I can't believe that I have less than 5 months left now.
That's so crazy. I'm going to be super sad to leave, but I'm also very
excited for the next part of my life to start. Life's just great isn't
it? Well, I'd better get going but I love you all so much! Take care!!

-Elder Stafford

So...this is my view from my apartment. That river is the Hudson. This
is after it snowed a little over the weekend. Isn't that gorgeous?

Monday, January 26, 2015


Storm Preparations for the New York New York North Mission


Dear Parents and Family Members of Missionaries in the New York New York North Mission,

It’s a singular blessing for Sister Morgan and me to serve with your missionary here in New York. Our missionaries are talented, obedient servants with incredible work ethic and courage. We count our blessings every day, enjoying the opportunity to be associated with each one!

As you may already be aware, a significant winter storm system is approaching the New England States. Areas in our mission are preparing to receive as much as 30 inches of snow accompanied by high winds and whiteout conditions. Forecasts indicate the Borrows of New York City will experience the highest accumulations but Westchester County and the Hudson River Valley may receive as much as 24 inches as well.

Mayor De Blasio has indicated commuter rail and subway lines may be limited or suspended this afternoon determined by weather conditions on an hour to hour basis. DOT alerts for the Tri-State area (New Jersey/New York/Connecticut) are asking drivers to only use roads and highways for emergencies after 7:00pm this evening. (Times may change determined by changing weather conditions)

We have prepared our missionaries for the storm in the following ways:

· All missionaries have acquired extra food and water.

· Flash lights have been tested or acquired and extra batteries acquired.

· An “All Accounted” protocol has been tested.

· All phones and iPads are to be kept at full charge in case of loss of power.

We have instructed the missionaries to be in their apartments by 7:00pm this evening unless conditions require earlier arrangements or instructed by me, through the assistants and zone leaders. An “all accounted” call protocol will be conducted at 8:00pm this evening. Tomorrow, all missionaries will be performing service by shoveling snow and helping homebound individuals near their own apartments. There will be no automobile travel until the roads are completely cleared and the DOT issues and “all clear” bulletin.

Depending on weather conditions into Wednesday, p-day emails may be delayed - however as of now, forecasts call for good conditions in the middle of the week.

I will be happy to respondent any questions or concerns you may have by responding to emails or calls if necessary. My email address is tmorgan@ldschurch.org and my personal phone number is                         801-244-3601.

Kindest Regards,


President Morgan

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

We Were Sooooo Blessed This Week

Wow I am SO sorry!! This is way late because I forgot to hit send and
I just saved it as a draft!! I'm so sorry I just realized it!!

So...I had an AMAZING week. Seriously. We were sooooo blessed this
week it was just ridiculous. Our area is like almost exploding now
haha. It's pretty crazy considering how dead it seemed at first. So
I'll just kinda go over the biggest stuff.

Okay so first off, this isn't like super exciting to all of you, but
we've been able to start going to the gym at West Point in the
mornings!! It's just the weight room for the staff and family members
of the staff members, but it's SUPER nice. It has everything you could
ever want. :)

So about the actual spiritual stuff, we have like 5 potential
investigators now and two SOLID new investigators that are actually
progressing!!! :) :) yup! In one week haha. So what happened with how
we found the potential investigators was we did an APF in our area.
All the missionaries in our district came and did some tracting in
Highland Falls, which is the little town in our area. So our area is
super super small. All it is is the actual West Point installation and
then two little towns called Highland Falls and Fort Montgomery. Fort
Montgomery is ridiculously small, so it's all just basically Highland
Falls. Not that Highland falls is much bigger...but yeah. So when we
aren't on Post, were usually doing service or other missionary work
somewhere in Highland Falls. But anyway, so during the APF, we were
able to get a few potential people that might want to learn about the
Gospel sometime. One was super cool!!

So we went and knocked on this door and right as we knocked on the
door, someone drove up (super awkward and it happens all the time). So
we went and waited for the lady to get out of her car and we went up
and were like, "hey how's it going? Were just going around sharing a
video about setting goals, and New Years, and not looking back and
stuff...would it be okay if we showed that to you?" (We've been
showing everyone the Mormon Message "Look Not Behind Thee" as a
finding and teaching strategy). She agreed and so we went inside and
showed her the video by her front door (one of the only times I've
actually been let into someone's house on the first visit). She LOVED
it and we talked for a really long time. We got on the subject of God
answering questions we have about things. She just kinda stopped,
looked at us, and was like, "actually...you know what? This was an
answer to one of my prayers. You really need to talk to my son. He's
not home right now but here's my number and give me a call tonight.
We'll have you over for dinner and we can keep talking." Sweet!! She
hasn't answered quite yet but we've still got hope!

So then Sunday rolled around...and this was the HUGE miracle day. So
randomly one of the cadets brought a friend that I guess had talked
with some of the missionaries before, but they only did one lesson and
it never really went anywhere. But we went and talked to him, and
asked if he would want to talk to us right now. He agreed and we went
and taught the Restoration with him and TWO of his good friends who
are members, but one is slightly less than active in the Church. It
was AMAZING. Finally someone that is mentally sane that I can talk
to!! You don't really find a whole lot of people in the Bronx that are
100% "there". So his name is Toese Tia, and he is this super big,
super nice Samoan football player that is from Hawaii.

But yeah, then after that we went and had lunch with the Lotzs. Elder
and Sister Lotz are a senior missionary couple that live right above
us. They are so cool. They're like my grandparents away from home (no
offense Grandma, Mammaw, and Papa haha). They are just so great and we
go over there all the time to hang out and talk with them at the end
of the day. But anyway, so after lunch, we taught another lesson to
Cali. Cali is a female cadet that has been coming to church for the
last month or so, as well as institute. We just haven't been able to
meet with her yet, but she is so solid!! She wants to be baptized! We
taught her the Restoration as well, except there was kind of a lot of
people there, so it was kind of strange, but that's fine! Were going
to meet with her Saturday nights now hopefully.

Then Monday we went to dinner at the Tonelli's home, and guess who
showed up? Toese!! The members have the cadets over for dinner a lot,
and they asked if Toese could come. Way cool! After dinner we got into
this really spiritual talk about how the Tonelli's learned that the
church was true. We taught Toese (Toe-es-ey) about how to learn from
the Holy Spirit and how we can gain a testimony for ourselves. He's
just so sincere and hungry to learn. Were really excited for him.

So yeah, that was our bomb week!! We are sooooo excited and so
grateful right now. We have definitely been blessed immensely this
cycle so far.
Well, I gotta go but I'll talk to everyone tomorrow!! Love you! :)
-Elder Stafford

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Helllllo all!!

This week has been so awesome!! So as most of you might know, I was
transferred to the West Point Military Academy Branch to be a zone
leader of the Newburgh Zone.

So as far as companions go, I'm with Elder Neuerburg (new-er-berg) now
and he is great!! We get along swimmingly. It's kind of funny because
his name is Caden, so people look at us funny when they ask what our
real names are (which happens a lot here) haha. At a dinner
appointment last night, they had a son that was also named Caden, so
we had a Cade, a Caden, and a Caden all in one house.....you can
imagine how crazy that got ;) haha jk. Elder Neuerburg is super quiet
and doesn't say a whole lot. It's kind of funny because his whole
mission almost his first words to a lot of his companions have been,
"so I just want to tell you now that just because I'm not talking or I
seem quiet, it doesn't mean that I'm mad". Haha he's just got one of
those faces, too, where you look at them when they're just sitting
there and they look super ticked, so the poor guy is always getting
told to smile more and not look so mad...but it's just his face!!

So now about West Point. West Point is absolutely the most interesting
place in the country to serve haha. It's also by far the coolest! So
as you can probably guess, being a military installation, that things
are pretty darn strict as far as rules go here. The rule that effects
us the most is an EXTREMELY strict "no solicitation" rule. As regular
missionaries, we are pretty much soliciting like 100% of the time so
that we can get the good news out...but that doesn't fly here....at
all. We can't even wear our name tags...like at all. I've only worn my
name tag once on post so far, and that was to go to church, where it's
kind of "our turf" for a little while. We meet in an auditorium in
some building on post for sacrament, and then split up into different
classrooms for the rest of the classes. Other than that, we either
just go in our shirt and tie, or we are wearing our jeans. The only
real reason they even let us on post, as missionaries, is if we are
seeing a member of the branch. And even then we have to have a
predetermined, set appointment with them with a specific start time
and end time. Missionaries have almost gotten kicked out of West Point
for good because they tried to look up a couple less active members
that live on post without an appointment...and they didn't like that.
It's really easy for people that don't want to see the missionaries to
hide behind the no solicitation rule, so it's super important to talk
with the members a TON and get them to reach out to less active
members. We try and see a few of the cadets in the library at least a
few times a week, just to check up on them and to see if they've had
any luck trying to share the gospel with their friends.

But anyways, so luckily for us, though, there are a lot of
opportunities to be on post where we can go "undercover", or just
merely as "civilians", as people in the military here refer to
non-military people. Basically the only way to meet new people here is
to just be involved in as many things as possible, as not
missionaries. So lucky for us, we are on two basketball teams that
play in a league during lunch and the evening. Like twice or three
times a week we have actual games where our team meets in the gym at
West Point and we put on jerseys and play against another team. It's
pretty dang cool. We've met a lot of people so far that way!! Not very
many that we've been able to even mention what we do as missionaries
for our church, but people at least know who we are! Besides
basketball, were trying to get involved in as much service as we can.
We are going to start coming early to basketball and we're just going
to sweep and mop the gym floor for everyone playing basketball.
So yeah, that's basically the bulk of our work while we're on post. We
just have to be super careful all the time because technically were
only supposed to be on post to see members, so when we aren't seeing a
member, we have to act like regular civilians coming to help out or
participate in activities. The only way we can share the gospel is
just being super friendly and  starting conversation with everyone,
and then after you tell them who you are and that you are missionaries
for your church, trying to get them to ask more questions, because as
soon as they start asking you what you do and stuff, it's free game to
invite them to meet with you and stuff. It's just very strange. Our
branch president summed it up best when he told us that "West Point is
basically the Army's farm for people with type "A" personalities...so
we just have to be careful" hahaha.

As far as my week went,
Thursday we planned...all day, and then played basketball. It's been
so cool to have the responsibility of zone leader, now. It was so cool
because from my first day, I've just noticed such a change in
revelation that I've had that affect our zone. We had a lot of "wow
I've never even thought of doing that" moments together...and I know
it's because the Lord is helping us.

Friday we had a leadership meeting with our district leaders and
sister training leaders, and a couple district leader interviews.

Saturday we had three lessons! One with our investigator Suzie. Suzie
has been investigating the church for a really really long time, and
she progresses SO slowly. We don't drop her, though, because she is
progressing. I guess when she started investigating, she didn't even
believe in God. But now she has a firm testimony of God, and she
almost has a testimony about Christ. She wants to learn mostly out of
the Bible, but she is okay reading the Book of Mormon every once in
awhile. Then we taught two cadets in the Library. After that we went
to a bowling party with our branch haha. It was on post, so we didn't
have tags, we weren't wearing our shirts and ties, and we were in a
loud bowling alley listening to music and bowling. It was weird. Haha
but it was really good! We had FOUR non-members come! Three of the
guys were from basketball!! And the other was actually the daughter of
Suzie, our investigator.

Sunday was church and two dinners. Yup... We had dinner with the Lotzs
(the senior couple) and then dinner with a member. I'm going to get so
fat being here.

Monday was district meeting and basketball.

Tuesday was basketball, and then we escorted a missionary in our zone
down to the mission home to meet the elder he is training. He got
super sick in the MTC so they quarantined him there until he got
better, so he didn't come in until last night. And then we had dinner
with a member.

So yeah, that's basically my life!! It's AWESOME. I'm thinking about
asking President Morgan if I can just die here (which means end my
mission here). I would love to be here for the next 6 months. I love

Well, I'd better get going, but I hope you all have a good week! I love you!! :)

-Elder Stafford :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

You Are NEVER Going to Believe This!!!!

Hey everyone!!

Sooooo...quite the interesting day... :) today was TRANSFERS!!!
Annnnnd...I was transferred! Haha yup! Only one cycle in Kingsbridge!
It was quite shocking!! Just the week before, it was the beginning of
the month and so we got more food money on our debit card and so I
bought a bunch of food at BJs, which is like Costco, that would last
me like 2 weeks!! But nope!! I got the call to be transferred!

So as far as my call goes, there's three things that are pretty much
awesome about it. 1)I'm going to be with Elder Neuerburg
(new-er-burg). He is awesome!! I was in the MTC with him and so we
already know each other a little bit. He's a staulky, blonde football
player from Idaho Falls. He's really humble, though, and isn't your
typical jock type at all. 2)I've been called to serve as a zone leader
up here in Newburgh!!! My first zone I served in at the start of my
mission!! A zone leader is like a district leader like I was, but with
a LOT more responsibility and a lot more missionaries you're in charge
of. I'm really excited, though. I love serving other missionaries and
being there to help people. And 3) I'm now serving in the West Point
Military Academy branch!!! Wooooo!! I'm pretty dang excited. This is
basically the dream area of the mission in my opinion haha. We live in
a SUPER nice apartment right under an awesome Senior couple that has
us over for dinner and hangs out with us and everything. It overlooks
the Hudson River and is SO beautiful. We serve "on post" a lot of the
time, which means we serve inside the actual campus of West Point.
There are a bunch of rules with what you can and cannot do here. You
are not allowed to proselyte whatsoever while you're on campus. The
only real way we can begin meeting with people is if they ask if they
could learn more. We can push it on them at all and we have to be
extra sensitive to treat it more like a conversation at first instead
of trying to teach points of doctrine like you usually do to invite
the spirit. While we're on post we can't wear or name tags, and it's
discouraged to even look like missionaries most of the time. Some
times we just walk around in our jeans and shirts haha. And the
absolute best part of the whole thing is that we play basketball...and
a lot of it. So basically our entire purpose for being here is to be
super chill and get super close with the cadets and the faculty
members, so that they will refer they're friends to us or they will
give us opportunities to serve. And everyone knows that young, college
age militants are quite athletic and LOVE basketball. So we join em!!
We are in two different intramural basketball teams. One has games
during lunch, and one during night. These are actual intramural teams
with a coach, and brackets, the works. There are refs and scoreboards
and everything...I'm basically stoked out of my mind. But the really
the whole purpose of it is to develop close relationships with the
people we play with. There's something about sports that bring people
together (or tear them apart, depending on who they are haha). So
yeah...that's basically what we do :) it's awesome.

So sorry I'm so rushed, but I'm already late (we had an interesting
day) so I'm just going to quickly cover some of the things we did the
last couple weeks.

So a couple weeks ago, I was able to hold a baptismal interview for a
man named Ceasar that got baptized. I'm a district leader, and
district leaders are the ones who hold the interviews. It was
absolutely awesome. It was amazing to listen to the testimony and
enthusiasm of a recent convert.

So last week we had to explain to a less active, John, how the
sacrament is NOT cannibalistic or vampiristic hahahaha. He had heard
that we believe that because the bread "represents" Jesus's body, and
the water His blood, we were participating in a freaky-deaky ritual.
It was very strange. But luckily I'd studied up on kind of what
transubstantiation is and how we don't believe in it, which kind of
calmed him down. Transubstantiation is the belief that when you
partake of the sacrament, the bread and water (or wine) literally
become the blood and body of Christ. It's something that a lot of
religions, including Catholics, believe. We were able to explain that
really they are just emblems to help up remember His Atonement, and
really don't stand for us "eating" him to remember him. It was so

So at Ceasars baptism I was asked to give a last minute talk on
baptism like 10 minutes before I had to give it. It was terrifying,
but I quoted Preach My Gospel hardcore and no one even noticed ;)

We had this terrible zone sickness that swept through everyone...it was awful.

So the reason today has been so crazy is that we lost Elder Michia
today on the way there. Elder Michia is a small, slightly mentally
disabled (he has about the same maturity and comprehending level of a
10 year old) elder from Argentina. We live with him and his companion,
and on our way to transfer meeting, we all got off a train to transfer
to a different line, but he didn't notice even though he was right
next to us, and the doors closed behind us. Before we could even think
to do anything, the train drove away. So for the next 2-3 hours, his
companion went everywhere looking for him, while we went to transfer
meeting and organized a rescue with President Morgan. I got to help
file a Missing Persons report to the police and everything. It was so
terrifying, because there's NO way that he'd be able to know what to
do or where to go. For all we know, he didn't even notice we were off
the train and he would have ridden it down to Brooklyn. We said so
many prayers, and I personally even went into a room with one of my
zone leaders and we just prayed out loud so hard that he would have a
clear head with what to do, because we were terrified. But we found
him!! He is safe and sound. He had enough sense to find the nearest
police station as soon as he realized he was lost, and then they were
able to help lead him back to us. It was such a miracle. It was
absolutely an answer to a very heartfelt prayer.

Well, I gotta get going, but I love you all! Have an awesome week and
take care!!

-Elder Stafford :)

Oh and I totally forgot to tell you that I sent a package home, but
it's just a bunch of random stuff I've collected on the mission. If
you really want to, you can open it, but I'd rather you wait and I can
just tell you what everything is when I get home! Sorry I haven't sent
anything for Christmas yet. I was so disappointed, but I wasn't able
to get the thing I wanted to get the family, yet. I can only really
get it in Manhattan and we didn't have enough time this week to get it
:/ so sorry!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sorry... :/

Hey everyone!!

Sorry about this but I'm going to have to wait until
next week to tell you about my week. My iPad is being SUPER glitchy
and doesn't want to work for me at all. The keyboard is acting weird
and won't recognize the space bar 50% of the time, andI have to click
some buttons like 10 times to get it to work. Transfers are next week
but I'll try my best to write about everything that happened. I love
you all!

-Elder Stafford