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Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 15: 1/23/2017 Wait .... Transfers?

Yes before anybody else decides to blow up my inbox about transfers...I'm staying and I'm getting Elder Skaggs. Fun little bonus... I'm also the designated driver now. So that'll be fun. Elder Skaggs is the one I was talking about who got called out at the morning devotional at the Christmas party because he was in her class... should be fun. (I don’t remember him telling this story, so I asked for more details) Well the morning devotional at the Christmas party was being taught by a professor from BYU. She mentioned at the beginning that he had been in her ancient scripture class when he got his call... then throughout it she would ask if he could remember different things she'd taught him... and the answer was normally no. It was super funny. He was sitting right behind me.

Ok so I talked about my crazy Monday morning last week... but we survived and still managed to do things, that's what's important. Then between a couple meeting in the evening and a late dinner and a
baptismal interview, we really didn't do much that day. It was kind of nice. Tuesday was super good though, picked up the last thing I needed to go try Tuning my first piano. Went and played another piano to prep for a baptismal interview, had a great interview and performed silent night and Oh holy night (a little out of season I know but I made promises that sickness forced me to delay... I had to do what I had to do!) Anyway, quick lunch and then the interview and performance. The interview was great, she did fantastic, and the songs were pretty great. Not perfect but ok enough I guess. I think she recorded'll have to get that from her though. I'm not setting it up for you :P good luck ;P
Then we got to have a meeting with T! Woohoo. Haha I love that guy, he's working on activation and is way deep doctriny... so much fun. His fiancé was there this time too, so that was even better :) unfortunately everyone else canceled on us that night so we went finding.... but it gets better the more I do it, I swear ;P luckily we needed to have another meeting about the baptism so we got to go and do that. Super nice.

Wednesday in addition to normal stuff... house inspections. Haha not that those are hard at all but it's always fun getting things cleaned up. Then Piano Tuning... for 3 hours. Whew. And I tuned just barely over one octave. And some of them need re-tuned. That's actually the biggest worry.... I don't know how long my Tuning will last, there's a special skill called setting the pin that piano tuners develop over their entire careers... I don't know if I'm any good at that. It's basically just a special way to twist it to make it stay... I guess we'll find out tomorrow. We went on splits like normal for Wednesday nights. My temporary companion and I.... yeah we went to New Beginnings (a special evening for the Young Women). That was more than a little strange. And nothing really came of it, we were supposed to meet a potential investigator... but she escaped.

Exchanges again Thursday... like I said, I'm getting really good at Spanish. I taught in 3 Spanish lessons and sang in Spanish twice... by the end my head was pretty tired from trying to follow it... plus a cold I picked up that morning. But it was super good, great district training meeting, fantastic district lunch with the Porters, then some contacting and lessons. I learned a ton just like I always do from exchanges. Good stuff :) we also got some interesting news though...a car fast for Friday. Apparently in the first 18 days of year there have been 12 accidents incurring major damages... so no cars on Friday. Woot.

Luckily Friday is weekly planning which takes off some of that load. We started just visiting people in our trailer park to save time, then we got a couple rides around so it wasn’t too bad. We actually had some great unplanned lessons, got two new investigators and put them on date. Then got to go to the temple with A. in the evening, talk about a great day! :D

Yeah, good day.

Saturday was pretty easy... finished the piano Tuning... baptism number one... dinner.... baptism number two... good stuff. C had to get dunked twice and S a whopping 5 times... but it was a super good experience all around. Really these are the best kinds of days!

 And Sunday was a good day of course. Had some super good lessons and stuff, good finding, a fantastic dinner. All good stuff. It's been fun and next week will be another new adventure! :D

Elder DeFord

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 14: Almost Transfer Time Again

 Whew. Pretty long week. But we did a lot. And we just have more to do next week. Here we go. Let the fun begin. So first of all... last Monday I got a haircut. And there was a misunderstanding of definition. Oh dear. I'm honestly not sure my hair has ever been this short... certainly not since I was in elementary school. She asked if I wanted it to be shorter on the sides... buzz... oh well. Haha I'm not complaining, just wasn't expecting that... and I've been told it looks good so I guess that's that :P ok bad picture but... deal with it. I figure if I complain about it I at Least owe you a look :P 

Ok now that my trauma is over.... the rest of Pday was great. I bought a ton of stuff... Dressy boots, monk oil, other shoe stuff, a new knife among other things. A couple ties. Then we just had visiting people and eating great food what more could a guy want?

Tuesday was exchanges, that was actually super fun. Exchanges are those kinds of things that I always dread a teensy bit as they're coming up... even though I always enjoy them and have a blast and learn a ton. So anyway, I went with Elder Gallegos and worked in their area primarily. Nothing too crazy, some lessons and a baptismal interview for Elder Santos (Man Candy 🍭 #3) yeah so about that... Elder Gallegos made a list of all the Elders in the Zone... and rated them for their Man Candy status... yeah... I think I would've put Elder Santos at number 1... or maybe Elder Conley (not my companion, he's another district leader in our zone) but to each his own I guess.  Anyway we did a little finding, and I mostly just talked to him about how I can be better. We also had an adventure... partway through the day we called a Ward Mission Leader (WML) in one of his wards... who then crashed and hit another car while we were on the phone.... awkward.... like suuuuper awkward. Elder Gallegos felt super bad because he felt like it was his fault... to make things worse... the lady whose car he hit was pregnant... her boyfriend was not happy to say the least. On the bright side of things, we stole a piece of her taillight that was broken on the road, oh yeah did I mention we then drove right by the accident so we went and talked to everyone? Yeah... but the piece of taillight... totally looks like the screen from a scooter in DBZ... so guess what I'm gonna make today? Oh yeah. It's gonna be sweet ;P

 And yes, there's my hair again.

Wednesday was good, we actually had two lessons scheduled all evening, so we took a couple of priests and divided and conquered... until half of them cancelled. So instead we just stayed split and went finding. I have to admit that finding is growing on me... mostly because I asked Elder Gallegos all about it and discovered that we have been doing it all wrong... I love that feeling. But now I feel so much better about what I'm doing, I feel like I have the tools to do what is needed now. Finally. We also got a new investigator, it's an interesting situation, Bishops have said he doesn't need to be baptized because of some disabilities, but he's super high functioning and wants to be married in the temple so now we're officially working with him.

So something interesting I've noticed in my mission thus far... certain concepts or scriptures will suddenly stick out to me... and instead of applying for one investigator or one day... the principle or scripture will apply to everything for a period of time, sometimes multiple weeks. So when I get all doctriny in these letters that's normally why. The one I've been super focused on for the last week or so is a pretty well known scripture, Mosiah 2:41

41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Those first few lines are the ones that have seemed so important. Anywhere you go in the world, members of the church serve as example, people see the light in our eyes, they see the happiness and the glory of the knowledge we have. But especially here in Utah, when you not only see us around... when you're completely surrounded by the answer, all it takes is for someone to say something, do something, that makes someone else think for a moment. Then consider just how special we become as we follow Jesus Christ and are sanctified and lifted by His Infinite Atonement. That's all it takes. The Gospel is so simple, just a set of instructions from a loving Father that if we follow we become happy. That simple. And all it takes in an invitation. Not even an invitation to do something, go too church, read the Book of Mormon. Nope, just an invitation to think. To ponder. That creates an investigator who is searching for answers on their own for themselves and their families. Because of love. The greatest attribute, and the strongest motivator in Heaven and Earth. It moves the smallest child to be like Christ, the oldest grandparent to serve and to support their posterity, and it moves the Great Eternal God of Heaven and Earth and the whole of the cosmos. That's why we're here. That's why we have the Gospel. Families. Love. It's always love. Love your brothers and sisters. The ones who live next to you, the ones across the street, the ones you work with. Love them. And you're life will be utterly changed. I can promise that because I'm serving my brothers and sisters every day and I am no longer the boy I was. I am now a Son of God and I can think of no greater title.

Anyway... so Thursday was pretty weird. We did what Elder Gallegos calls a 'splash'. The sister in our district have been really struggling super hard so we took a few hours and split up their area with us, them, and the Zone leaders all working different parts of it. It was kind of fun to be honest. Like I said now that I know how to find it's not nearly so bad, and I actually went with Elder Zamudio so it was a bit of a change of pace which was super nice. We also put a lady on date from the doorstep... or he did anyway. She speaks Spanish so I could kind of follow along but... yeah I didn't have anything to do with it. Super cool experience though, there's a reason we always tease Elder Zamudio about being the next assistant to the President since Elder Bentall is going home this transfer. Which brings us to the big excitement for the week... transfers are coming right up. We're not really sure what's going to happen, as usual, but it will be an adventure for sure. I also built a robot dinosaur. Or at least it's legs ;P

Not a ton to say about Friday... we had several lessons set up but they all cancelled, and it was weekly planning day so... yuck. But we survived and next week is gonna be busy busy so that's good. Then that evening we went to a Provo High basketball game. We have an investigator who plays on the team and this was the big timpview rivalry game so we got permission to go. It was super weird being in a high school gym at a high school sporting events... strange on so many levels. Unfortunately they lost but they put up a good fight and it was a good game.

Now Saturday was interesting... no lessons scheduled and Elder Connelly was going to the temple without me. I had to stay back and work the area with a member while he was gone. So basically 5-6 hours of finding. But it was actually super good. I got a couple potential investigators, met with others, it was really positive. And I spent the day with a recently returned missionary who was super cool. We were also asked to give a blessing to our friend M. who lives in our RV park. Then that evening our lessons cancelled... and we did even more finding. So yeah. I guess that's what I get for complaining about it ;P serves me right. It was super good though and we've met lots of people who have been prepared and open to our presence. Life is good.

Sunday was a little crazy. We got asked late the night before if I could accompany a musical number for the Bee Hive Home retirement communities sacrament meeting. Which meant skipping our 11 o'clock church meeting. So we have early morning Stake Correlation meeting, actually had some WMLs there this time so it was pretty good. Then we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off for a little while, talking to people and running errands. Had our 9 o clock meeting like normal. Had a class being taught by a recent convert... but then it was cancelled. But we had an opportunity to talk to Bishop while we were there. The the bee hive homes thing, I played prelude and the first hymn before the pianist got there, then the musical number, I said the opening prayer and also shared a testimony. Then I found out that the older couple who volunteers for the sacrament meetings there are related to the Czirrs. So that was cool. I also told them I would come tune their piano because it's awful. The back for the 3rd ward, made some more visits, then right after that Ward we had a meeting with a bishop about an investigator who also let us know about a guy who just showed up in church today and was kind of odd but gave us his info. So we went and visited him... he's a little crazy. But... we'll see where that all goes. Then Ar. had some stuff and needs a temple recommend so we went and saw Bishop again... then we ate dinner with Brother Hales nephew... someone should let him know about that :P McKay Lindsey. Also I don't remember if I mentioned it but i met a Hales in the MTC as well. Then we had a fantastic lesson with a recent convert and his dad who is investigating and answered some great questions... then finally we spent almost two hours with the Tolmans, C, and L getting C's baptism all set... then got kind of reprimanded by a bishop because we were gonna baptize her but she technically lives in his ward... we finally got that whole mess figured out this morning but it requires talking to President and a request being sent the First Presidency... so yeah. We're kind of trouble makers and now it's Monday and We haven't really had an Pday. We just finished with that Bishop then we're gonna go eat and have a lesson... then Pday starts. Alright

Think that was all the stuff maybe, hope everyone's still alive at home. Love you all and may the Spirit be with you

Elder DeFord

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 13: 1/9/2017 Mailer for Baptism Week

Woo... good week. 3 baptisms. We've been waiting way too long for some of these. But they're here and done and there are three new members of the stake who have received the blessings of baptism and confirmation. Yay :)

That's basically the highlight for the whole week right there ;P started off strong with a fun FHE with A. and his family, helping them really come into the Gospel and continue strong now that he's been a member for over a month. Just 11 more and they can get sealed! We also just talked to them today (Sunday) and hopefully S. can get baptized in two weeks :D double yay. We shared with them the
infamous faith rocket lesson... with crappy tea bags (or maybe crappy faith I guess ;P) so it was interesting but good anyway. We had a great experience, and A. (A.'s wife who has been less active
for a long time) talked about some of her experiences with faith, it was very powerful. She's been feeling better with her back and the baby. Still, she is a pregnant woman with a bulged disc so it's kind of relative. She made us the best casserole though... it was fantastic. A little bit like Hamburger pie... super good. We also played the longest game of chess... S. vs Elder Polar Bear. He did eventually win... but it took about two hours. Wowza. We also played games with B's really less active daughter A. (different A.) she's... uh.. something else. I'm not sure we're really gonna get anywhere with her but it was fun and we've gotta try at least.

Now this was a cool day... so the snow came in super hard yesterday, so we got to save an investigator whose car was stuck. And we've been trying to contact her again for a while so it was pretty great. Of
course we also got stuck 4 times... my companion just doesn't get the snow at all basically. Apparently in Oklahoma they never get snow that stays, just ice, but his driving skills in ice have been pretty suspect as well. Anyway... finding. Yay. I'm gonna be honest.... I kind of hate finding. There is this little part of me
that really really wants to become an AP (Assistant to the President) so that I can spend all day teaching and working, instead of finding. The Assistants cover all of BYU basically (and a bunch of other super productive areas) so they
literally just have people come to them with referrals and spend all day either working with President, planning trainings, or teaching. I'm sure it's stressful and a ton of work... but also no finding. Soooo tempting. So yeah, just stopped at a bunch of people's houses hoping to catch them or talk to other peeps. Did have one really good lesson in the evening, working with C and the T’s again,
plus we got to hear from P, D’s boyfriend, who it turns out was gonna get baptized back in Delta. Hopefully that's a new investigator for us.

Now Wednesday was a day. It seems like we really didn't hardly do anything. I got to play the piano (I forgot to mention I was asked by the Zone Leaders at about 10 Tuesday night to play and sing a song, Rock of Ages, the arrangement from the YSA Face to Face with Holland and others, at Zone Training Meeting on Thursday) which was nice and we collected up all of the things we needed to return (Christmas trees, 5 gallon jugs, Ephraim’s Rescue etc.) then an extended lunch with the ZLs and Elders Santos and Christensen (Elder Santos is the DL (District Leader) of the Grandview district and Elder Christensen came out with me.) then we had to hang out at the church while we filled the font for M’s and V’s Baptism. The baptism was fantastic. Super funny... we have a pretty awful selection of jumpsuits... I dunno what the deal is... but I think some of our tithing money needs redirected into up new jumpsuits... check out V’s in the picture... and wait till you see B's from Saturday... anyway... I baptized V, I think it went pretty well for my first time baptizing someone. The best part I think was after the baptisms, V. and M. both bore their testimonies. Wow. It was incredible. Oh and double bonus, President and Sister Hodgman came! They apparently don't have many Wednesday baptisms so we got priority ;P once we finished up there we had a great lesson with O to prepare her for temple baptisms on Friday. Talk about a good day. M. and V. were so happy

And here's one with Baby Davit too!

So surprise.... it's Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) and apparently that song they asked me to perform... I'm performing it as a duet. Yeah... that was interesting on a lot of different levels. But not awful. Thankfully my voice is now officially back to normal operating capacity... still... very interesting. ZTM was good, long as usual, but good, I got a box, sang a song, and listened to a lot of talking. Nothing super mind blowing this month, although there is a missionary broadcast on January 25th. If you promise not to tell anyone I'll let you know what we heard from an inside source... a new daily schedule for missionaries is being announced, probably increasing the amount of sleep we get and decreasing the amount of time we work each day. Then Panda Express with the ZLs, every time we go to Panda I can't help but think of the late night trips, and all the other trips, with Jason and Damon and various band peeps. Good times. Then lots of snow shoveling, more yummy foodstuffs, and on to the lessons for the night. We got to teach the new investigator we picked up New Year's Day, super cool kid named M. I say kid, but he's 18 and looks older than me. He really is fantastic and has an interesting story, asked great questions and really seems to be interested in the church. Then we had an adventure. So we went to spend some time with the Kearns and Elder Gallegos shows up at their house with a recently returned missionary. Turns out Elder Zamudio went to a temple endowment with some converts at 6 and wasn't back yet. It was almost 9. Oh and they dropped their phone in the snow and it stopped working. And no one else has the number for the people with Elder Zamudio. Long story short... We took Elder Gallegos home with us, I did some tinkering and fixed his phone... then we chilled till almost 11:45 before Elder Zamudio finally showed up... haha it was fun. And I finally landed the drone on Elder Gallegos! Oh btw the box was a Buttermilk Cinnamon Streusel cake from Grandpa... suuuper good.

Friday... yeah so weekly planning is a thing... we did service instead :D oops. Then we went to the Temple to do baptisms for the dead with O... accept she never showed. Sister Campbell got there early to watch for her and we were early too... no sign. We talked to some interesting people in the lobby... but no O. Texted her... no response. Oh crap. We were supposed to meet at 12... we got there at 11:50 and now it was like 12:20... no sign of her whatsoever. Turns out... yeah she was even earlier than we were and was already in the baptistry. We had names for her... but she had already done a full set of temple names while she was waiting for us. Oops ;P it was a great experience though, she actually went through and did all the names we brought in as well. After we did all the confirmations, we were asked to stay and do some more because they were understaffed... so we did. We stayed for probably an extra 45 minutes doing confirmations. What a blessing to be able to spend so much time serving in the temple. It feels good :) we went a grabbed a bite then played some games with B. and made sure he was all set for his big day Saturday, then the best part of the day... catching up on the weekly planning we skipped that morning! :D ...   ...  ugh, but we were greatly rewarded. Because this is the day we had set aside to try the Great Steaks Baby Back ribs... and oh man was it worth it. Tom (our favorite cook) got us the two biggest racks from today's ribs... it was so good we both got another half rack afterwards!  Unfortunately... our evening after that was empty so that means more of my favorite... finding! It actually wasn't too bad, we visited the M’s for a bit, although they're sick again so we didn't stay too long, and took some time to visit the R’s. Now here's something I haven't really mentioned. Thursday a house in 6th Ward burned down. Twice. The L family aren’t members and it seemed like an opportunity, but we got very little information at the time and didn't have time that day to track down more. We did learn however that the R’s who live across the street had been housing them for a day or two while they figured things out. So we stopped by. Unfortunately the L’s are not interested at all at this point, but thankfully the ward and especially the Bishop, have stepped up and taken care of all of their immediate needs, and are working on the more long term ones. However, while we were talking with the R’s we discovered an interesting connection... Brother R served his mission in Brazil... and knows Sister Cancado in our ward! So I don't know if she, or Paulo, or Daniel read these... but someone should let her know! But then the blessing, our empty evening very suddenly became much less empty when we got a call from the Bishop in 6th Ward, Bishop Parke. I don't want to go into a ton of detail here, but someone we'd been working with is gone temporarily with some issues to deal with and his sort of family has some other issues... it was long night. But it was evidence of progress in many different areas and families... good things are happening but life is hard for many people. A glimpse into the life of a Bishop. This was a very delicate and complex situation, and don't forget this is the same Bishop taking care of the L family... and if you remember our investigator from a couple weeks ago who had to go to Mexico and we gave blessings to his wife and kids and him? Yep same ward. Let me just say, I have a great deal of respect for the people that the Lord chooses to act as Bishops and shepherds for His people. Also another box.... cinnamon rolls from mom this time. Double yum

Big day number two! Again not a ton to do, just setting up for B's baptism. Filling the font, setting up chairs, getting programs, all the things. Man it was packed! B is part of a part member family, now that he's been baptized, the only one left who hasn't been baptized is his dad. And his moms side are the Hinckleys. As in Gordon B. So B is first cousins twice removed with President Hinckley I believe. Yeah. Needless to say, there was a lot of family support. It was pretty incredible. His grandpa (the one we met Christmas Eve who looks and sounds like Gordon B) baptized him. I think the best part though was the talk on the Holy Ghost afterwards. This whole baptism was something special but B asked his mom, A, to give the talk on the Holy Ghost... wow. Just wow. She testified and showed her spirit and beliefs in a way I had never seen her do before. She doesn't go to church very often, and has developed a few other habits, but she certainly knows about the Holy Ghost. It was truly a beautiful thing. Thus far on my mission I think it's one of the crowning events in the reasons I came out here to Utah on my mission. It was incredible. Afterwards we all took pictures and did all that jazz. Probably my favorite baptism so far. It was life changing for more than a few people in that room I think. You wanna guess what we did after that? Yep... finding. It's just been one of those weeks. I have to say... I'm not sure I would've survived in a tracting mission. I just don't think I could do it. I mean I know I could because God would help me but... I just don't even wanna think about it.

Too bad... you can't really tell how awful the jumpsuit is in this picture..  you'll just have to take my word for it, it's bad

Sunday... and confirmations galore. Plus fast Sunday of course and testimony meetings... soooo good. We had 4th ward with M’s and V’s confirmations, those were fantastic, then 2nd Ward for B's. Also fantastic. We also got a new referral from the YM in 2nd Ward, and we're getting ready to take J down. Haha he's B's dad and we've been talking him for the last several days that we're coming for him next. I also took the opportunity to talk to N about coming out with us. I don't remember if I talked about him or not, but he came home from Monica's mission in Peru just a few weeks ago and had a pretty rough time so we've been trying to help. We're going to try to take him out with us this week and get to know him a bit more. Last but not least we headed to 3rd ward and got to see the Kearns, Brother Helps, M, and all sorts of peeps. Then we had quick meetings with several Bishops and...  headed out to find. Again. Like I said, one of those weeks. Nobody was home, no one answered, they were asleep, and one just straight up told us to go away. Fun stuff. We ended up back at the Hansen's house to talk about a potential investigator in their ward and hid there until dinner time. Dinner however was fabulous, we actually ate with some Hinckleys, and picked up a phenomenal referral for the Elders in Spanish Fork. They must be doing something right over there... they just stole our blessing :P then we found for a little longer (funny thing, I just failed at typing little and it autocorrected to limitless... him coincidence? I think not) and actually managed to hit the S's right as they got home. Ok so maybe we do get blessed occasionally ;P still hate finding though. We had a really good talk with her, kind of got up to speed there, went and had second dinner with the V’s (just got baptized) delicious salmon, and heard some of V’s experiences with the Holy Ghost. If this wasn't so long already I might put them in... maybe in a separate post or something. It was super uplifting and awesome... and we discovered something that I may tell you in a couple weeks... we'll see ;P lastly we had a good lesson with A and finally got S officially on date for baptism. Then I wrote all of this stuff. Tada. Bedtime. Good night. Oh and I got these

Did somebody tell everyone I need to get fat or what? So many goodies this week... I think I'm going to explode if I eat anymore.

Anyway I want you to know that I love you all and the progress that I hear about from you in all the different aspects of your lives is super exciting

Elder DeFord