Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It Means A Lot To Know Our Service Has An Influence On People Mara Wants To Be Baptized!!

Hey familia!!!

Sorry this letter is so late again. Wow I'm really getting bad at that haha. So today was AWESOME!! We spent the entire day in Manhattan with a lot of the other missionaries that I am going home with. We went to the Statue of Liberty, Wall St., and a couple of other places. It was way fun!! The Statue was really cool! I'll attach some pictures in the email :)

So this week was really cool! Thursday we had service at that Nature Museum and we helped them set up for an Earth Day celebration that they were putting on. So funny story, on Monday last week we got a media referral (a text from Salt Lake saying that someone requested either some church literature/materials or they wanted missionaries to come over to their home. So we got a referral for a guy wanting a Book of Mormon. We didn't realize it at first, but as we went to call it, we realized that it was George, who runs the volunteer program at the Nature Museum!! Haha it means a lot to know that our service actually has an influence on people! Anyways...on Friday we had a trio split with one of the APs who came to our area. We had a good day of tracting and teaching Mara and Eva!! Both of the lessons were really good. As far as the tracting for three hours a day goes, it's been going pretty well for us...not super well, but well. It's just hard to plan in that huge chunk of time when we have so many other things we have to do! But it will get better as we have more practice.

Saturday we had a future missionary zone conference with the youth in our stake!! It was super awesome and inspiring! I was asked to conduct by President Morgan and it was kind of nerve wracking at first, but I thought I did a pretty good job so I was proud of myself haha.

Sunday was a regional conference broadcast thing. Idk if you all had that or not but I guess it's something that they're going to be doing now? Pretty cool!!

Monday we had plans to go to this members house to help them out with moving, and then we were all going to go to her friends house because she wanted us to teach her the plan of salvation!! But it fell through and so we helped them move. Then we went tracting for a long time and then went to Volleyball!! It was super fun and even though we lost, we got to play basketball which made my day ;) so remember that Polynesian family we play volleyball with? So I got to have a super cool conversation with the father that night. We just talked a lot about what we do and about our church and he was telling me about some cousins or something that are serving missions right now. It was great!
Tuesday we had service at that food pantry we serve at, went tracting, went and saw Suzie and had a lesson with her, and then a lesson with Mara!! Guess what?! Mara wants to be baptized!! Oh my word we've been praying for her so hard and she agreed to a baptismal date! She wants to do it not this Saturday, but the Saturday after that!! We hope that will work out for everyone in the branch. It's the week right before graduation, and so it would have to be that weekend or we would have to wait a LONG time to baptize her. Anyways...super awesome!

Well, that was my week!! Sorry I'm rushing again. I love you all so much!! You're the best! :)

Elder Stafford

So...this is our mission president, President Morgan, in the middle
of a meeting. So at interviews, he always takes selfies with us haha.
So some sisters in the mission bought him a "selfie stick" which is
basically a stick that you attach your phone to and you can take
selfies from farther away with. I can't tell you how excited he was
hahahaha I laughed SO hard :)

On a boat with the New York skyline behind me. Dang I look like a
redhead in that picture!

 What the Statue of Liberty is REALLY holding!!

So these are most of the elders that I came out with that are going
home this cycle and next cycle. We decided to take a
super...awkward...jumping photo hahaha. You should have seen the crowd
of 30+ people gathered around to watch 15 or so Mormon missionaries
take a high school musical, holding hands picture. Seriously haha :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I Got To Give Toese The Priesthood. HO-LY COW. That Was Awesome!

Hey everyone!!

I am sooooooo sorry this is such a late, lame email. We got stuck
putting together an impromptu game day for the zone for pday, and then
had to rush back from Middletown to get ready for an early
appointment. Before I knew it, p-day was over and I realized that I
hadn't even gotten to finishing my email to you all!. I don't have a
ton of time, because I really shouldn't be sending any emails this
late haha but... :/ I just would feel awful if I didn't get an email
out to you!! So I don't have much time, but I did want to tell you
about two pretty big things that happened to me this week.

So the first is that on Sunday, I got to give Toese the priesthood.
HO-LY COW. That was so awesome. I was so terrified, though, because I
had no idea that I was going to be doing it. Literally 5 seconds
before it happened, he asked me haha. We were all just sitting in
priesthood class and they look at Toese and say, "alright Toese it's
that time, who was it that was going to give you the priesthood?" And
he just looks at me kind of shocked and whispers "Elder Stafford, will
you do it?". My eyes got huge and I got way scared haha. I hesitantly
flipped through the missionary handbook on how to give someone the
priesthood and ordain them a priest, and some of the other men were
helping me, too. I could really feel the Spirit telling me what to say
during that blessing. It was so so so cool. I will never forget that.

So the second big thing that happened is actually an announcement from
President Morgan! He recently received a revelation on what our
mission needs to do to take the next step in its progression. Well, he
did a lot of praying, and he has felt that each and every
companionship for the next while needs to go out and find people for
at least 3 hours a day. That's only including tracting and street
contacting. HOLY CRUD!!! That's a ton of tracting!! But while the APs
were calling us and telling us to tell our zone, I felt the Spirit
bear a strong witness that this came from Heavenly Father. This may
not be the most convenient or conventional way to go about finding
Gods children that are prepared...but for now, it's how the Lord is
doing things! I'm excited!!

Well, I'm sorry again that this is so late!, I feel horrible!! Have a
terrific week. Love you all :)

-Elder Stafford

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cali Was Baptized!!! How Special To Be A Part Of Two Baptisms

Hello everyone!!

Everything is going good here at West Point! Cali was baptized this last Sunday and it was terrific!! It's been so special for me to be able to be a part of two baptisms now that I'm winding down on my mission. So it actually went really well. SO many people came which is always good. I hope you all are able to make it to any baptisms that you hear of because I know that it means a lot to the person getting baptized, the missionaries, and the bishopric when there are lots of people there to support them during this special time. Baptisms are so awesome! She was baptized by Brother Creason who is almost like her father figure here at West Point. Each of the cadets in the branch have this like "adopted family" in the branch that has them over for dinner a lot and makes sure that everything is going well and
everything. Well, the Creasons pretty much adopted Cali the second they found out about her. It's been so amazing for her to feel such support. The kids in the family just love her to death. So yeah, it was super sad that Elder Neuerburg wasn't able to come though. He spent such a long time in that area teaching her, but he left just a week too early. Darn it :/

That Sunday we had Mara come as well. We weren't able to meet with her since I wrote last week because her company got in trouble. All of the cadets are broken up into smaller and smaller groups, kind of like how the church is broken up into Areas, Stakes, Wards, etc. The cadets as a whole make up "the Corps", and then the corps is broken up into something smaller, and so on and so on. So her "company" I guess got into some trouble because a bunch of their apartments were messy or something and so they wouldn't let them leave the school for anything other than sports. So yeah, we're still waiting for that to be lifted haha.
We're hopefully meeting with the Ridgeways this Sunday. We honestly have no idea how they are doing. I'm getting a little worried that they aren't going to go anywhere, though. I mean they told us from the start that they weren't going to convert or anything, but I was really hoping that they'd change their minds because of how much they seemed to love our messages. People confuse me so much.... If something makes complete sense, you feel amazing as we talk about it (the Spirit), and you agree with every word we say...wouldn't that make you want to think about joining?! Anyways...

Well, I really don't know what else to write about haha. Sorry, this week was pretty uninteresting except for Sunday. We also had a little accident with one of the elders in our zone while we were playing sports. We think he might have torn has LCL or one of those knee ligaments. Hopefully not, though, because that can be a really really bad injury. :/ I love you all! Have a great day! :)

-Elder Stafford

P.S. I will get pictures to you as soon as I get home from the church. I forgot my iPad at home and that's where all of my pictures are.


Her mom, her, and her grandma (with one of the Creason girls trying to tackle her)

  Me and Cali (with Josh Mooney photobombing us as well as Jared's arm)

Cali and her other cadet friends

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

General Conference...Wasn't It Just So Good?! and Cali Is Ready!!

Happy Easter everyone!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. It's always a special time to remember the fact that Christ lives! I know for me, I sometimes forget to think about what that really means. I find myself thinking a lot about the fact that He died for me, when really we should be celebrating that He lives! It means so much to me to know that Christ opened that gate for all of us. It also really humbles me to think that out of all the people that will ever live on the earth, Christ is the only one that will completely "deserve" the wonderful gift of Resurrection. However, He's made it possible for even a sinner like me to have that gift, too. Isn't that incredible? Because of Him, the sting of sin and death doesn't have to last forever. What a relief!

My Easter was really good. I wouldn't want to spend it any other way than by listening to General Conference! Wasn't it just so good?! I loved how much they talked about the Family and how important it is. It really is amazing to think that those men don't receive any sort of assignment of what to speak on. It's all revelation!

We weren't able to be there with them, but we had three people watch at least a little conference! Toese watched it at a members house with a bunch of the other prepsters (prep school students) including Mara! I hope I've told you about her a little bit. And then Cali, who is getting baptized THIS SUNDAYalso watched a little bit of it on the Internet while she was at home for the weekend. Isn't that awesome? They all really liked it!

This week was interesting for me just because I've had to take over the area. Haven't had to do that in over 6 months!! When I went to the Bronx, I was only there for a cycle so I never had to get a new companion. It's been interesting being with Elder Nielson again, as well. I had kind of a hard time with him the first time that I was with him about a year ago. He's definitely changed a little bit, but it's been a little rough adjusting to him again. Me and Neuerburg were such great friends that it was just really weird to go back to someone that I don't exactly click with. I've had my fair share of hard companions, though, and I'd take Nielson over all of those, so I guess I can live with it ;) he's a good guy...we're just very different people.

Volleyball started up finally!! I don't know if I told you that or not? So we are officially on a team with a bunch of Polynesians haha!! They're great! It's like this one family with a mom, a dad, and like three of their kids that make up the majority of the team. The daughter is about my age and is a cadet here at West Point and the dad is an employee here doing something. But besides this white girl who is friend with the daughter, we're the only white people on the team! It's a lot of fun. They're all not very tall, so they really like to hit it to me because I can jump pretty high and can spike the ball haha. They're a way cool family, too! We're really hoping that they open up to the Gospel. The know that we're "the Mormons" and they have a lot of family that is Mormon because they're from Tonga. It's always so neat how close Polynesian families are, so I make sure and talk about family a lot with them.

Anyways, so I'm super excited for Cali's baptism!! I've just been so blessed to come here when I did. I feel like I don't deserve them at all! There's just so much missionary work going on, it's awesome. Cali had her baptismal interview with our district leader Elder Henriques last night and I guess it went really really well. She's ready!!

Well, I gotta get going but I hope you all have a terrific week. Love you!! Stay classy :)

-Elder Stafford

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Toese's Baptism!!! and Goodbye Elder Neuerburg :(


This week has been absolutely crazy!! Transfers are today! Isn't that crazy? Only two more cycles (12 weeks) before I go home! Elder Neuerburg has finally gotten out of West Point :( he had been here for 9 months, so it was definitely time for him to be gone haha. He was released as zone leader and made a district leader in Newtown, Connecticut! Exactly what I was doing a year ago!! I'm really going to miss him. He's been an awesome companion. We haven't had a single issue, really, and we get along really well. We are both inner thugs ;) you'll see what I mean from the pictures haha. You'll never believe who my new companion is, though. ELDER NIELSON!! Like, the guy I was companions with in Newtown! Haha we're going to do round 2 together. We'll see how it all goes! We got along pretty well when we were last together, so hopefully this goes even better now that we've both had a chance to have more experience and grow up some more. I'm interested to see how it all goes! I think I'm going to "die" here in West Point, which means that it will be my last area. I'm training Elder Nielson to be a new zone leader, so we'll probably go two cycles together.

This week was so good, though! Kinda crazy because we had to try and say goodbye to a lot of people, but we still got a lot of work done. The best part of the whole week was Saturday when we had Toese's baptism. It was so good. Lots of people came and the spirit was just so strong there. He told his family a few days before the baptism what he was going to do, and they weren't super happy about it. They tried to convince him to reconsider, but he wouldn't have any of it. He knows without a shadow of a doubt that this church is true. It's so amazing to see how much faith he has. His spirit is as big as his body is haha. You'll see what I mean by another picture haha.

We started working with this inactive girl named Brittany. She is about 26 or so and has been having some serious, serious issues. We found her through a member who learned that their boys are in the same Cub Scout troop in Highland Falls. She has a lot of problems, and so they way we started meeting with her was she texted the member she became friends with and asked if she knew anywhere that could give her financial aid. The member invited her over as well as the ward clerk and also us, to just help her figure everything out and start getting her life back on track. She was supposed to get married last weekend but the guy she is with is a complete loser and bailed on her. He is a completely abusive and psychotic guy that is just way manipulative and crazy. She's not too sane herself, but still...she needs to get out of there. Really the only reason she is coming to church and meeting with us now is so that she can start getting financial support...but we hope that that will turn around for her as she starts to feel the spirit again.

We met with the Ridgeway family (Hindu family) again!!! It was SO cool!! They are absolutely incredible people. They love us to death and treat us like royalty when we go over there. They were so touched by our conversation last time that they just consider us family now. When we went over, we sattalking in their living room and then Kris comes out with these gift bags! They bought us these supernice dress shirts and ties!! We tried to refuse, but they said that it is just their culture that when they have guests that they love, they always get them something. It was so cool. Because we are both from Idaho, Ian (the son) also got us something! He got us a post card from World War II that was printed in Pocatello, Idaho! Isn't that cool? 
But anyways, so we started eating dinner and we taught them all about the Plan of Salvation. We tried to go really simple and basic, but they just weren't having that. They weren't going to be satisfied with us telling about the Fall of Adam and Eve in three sentences. They wanted to understand EVERYTHING. It was a little rough at first, because the Plan of Salvation is such a broad topic, and it's hard to understand some things without knowing all of it first. After we were able to answer a lot of their questions, they just LOVED it. The husband especially was very touched by what we had to say and said that we were able to answers questions that he'd had for his whole life. I think that the most progress is going to come from him. They almost cried when they heard that Elder Neuerburg was leaving :/

Well, that was about this whole week! I'm pretty nervous to take over the area, just because Elder Neuerburg has been here for so long that everyone knows him really well. I'm worried I'm just going to be that "new Elder" for a while...but it'll get better! I've learned that I really don't have to worry so much about those things. It's all in the Lords timing. I've been so amazed to have been a part of the Lord working through me. Especially with the Ridgeways...they are just so smart, much smarter than I'll ever be in this life, yet Heavenly Father helps me know what to say to teach these people that are a billion times more intelligent and sophisticated than me. It's so humbling. I hope you all can remember that it's really the Lord that is in charge. All we need to do is trust him and move forward! Have a terrific week! Love you :)

-Elder Stafford

Me and Toese. Sorry, I was kinda stressed at this point because the font was having a rough time getting filled up, so this isn't the greatest picture. I have a super fake smile.

Awkward steak selfie...we suddenly had an urge to grill when it was freezing outside and pouring rain...but we went for it haha. We share a grill with Elder and Sister Lotz, so that's where we got the grill.

 The post card we got from Ian Ridgeway that's from World War II. Won't really get the joke...but that's okay. 


 Our ridiculous zone haha

 Me and Elder Nagel...one of my favorite goofy missionaries in the zone

 Our district at Paul Nardella's house (I'll tell you more about

Paul when I get home hahaha)

 Us and Elder and Sister Lotz

The district at our favorite pizza place ever! Prima's Pizza in
Cornwall. So good!