Spread the Word

Spread the Word

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!!

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