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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

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