Sister Emily DeFord

Called to serve as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Colorado Fort Collins mission.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Week 79 part B: 2/17/15

And I'm Home!!!!!

The waiting....

First Sight.....


 All the hugs....


Meet the baby!

 It's good to be home again :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 79: 2/16/15 Final Weekly Report

February 16, 2015
Longmont, CO

Over this past week I have hugged and said goodbye to more people than I did when I left for my mission one and a half years ago.  On Sunday I was given the privilege to speak for a few minutes in Sacrament meeting, and I looked out on a ward which I know far better than my own.  They have invited me into their homes, shared their stories of how they met and where they're from and how they have applied the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives, and I love them more than I thought that I could.

A lot of people have asked over the past week, "what was the best part of your mission?" and "what was the most difficult?" so I thought I would answer those questions for you.

One highlight is almost impossible to identify, but I do believe in perfect moments.  There have been many perfect 'glowy' moments here in Colorado, and in those wonderful 6 months I spent in Wyoming, particularly to see someone that I love and care about so much feel the Spirit of the Lord and recognize his personal love for them as an individual.  There really is nothing more beautiful than that.

As for the most difficult, I know there have been personally trying days, but most of those I don't remember.  The tender mercies of the Lord truly are over all those whom he has chosen and I didn't go through a single slump that he did not lift me out of in a wonderful way which was appreciated in contrast to the difficulty, but also made the troublesome things seem to fade into nothing.  What I do remember are the times when one of those people who has recognized the peace and the hope and real change of the gospel in their life, turns away from it.  For one reason or another, the adversary intrudes and they decide to give up the fight.  However, because of Jesus Christ there is always hope for all of us, so I don't regret a single thing.

Once, towards the beginning of my mission I had a crazy dream (did I tell you about it?) I dreamed that I was in a giant auditorium, with many people that I knew from home and from the ward I was serving in, when a man came up to me and told me that I was going to be sent away because I didn't have a testimony.  I was so embarrassed for him to say that in front of all of those people!  But I also knew it wasn't true.  I told him then, and I am a witness now that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father live.  They are real.  They have a love for me which I cannot comprehend, it is so all-encompassing that every moment of my life is important to them.  My salvation and eternal progression are of utmost importance to them and that is why Adam fell, that is why Jesus led a made a sacrifice of himself, for me.  I love them and I know that whatever it takes to be with them and to be like them is worth it, regardless of what else must be sacrificed.  He gave everything for me and offers me everything if I want it, and I do.  That same promise is extended to everyone, through his grace.

Even though tomorrow I will be taking off the nametag and not having a companion (actually, today even I will be riding in a car with only two Elders...awkward...) the work is not finished until the great Jehovah says the work is done!

This seriously has been the best week!  I couldn't have asked for a better one to finish out on, but I'll tell you all the stories tomorrow ;) If hear you anything about the crazy missionary carrying a plant in her purse at the airport....that's probably me!

love, Sister Emily DeFord


Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 78: 2/9/15

February 9, 2015
Longmont, CO

There are certain experiences which most missionaries have, but every mission is different, so you really never know what might happen.  Apparently one of the experiences which I need to have, just barely got it snuck in here, is to be in a trio!  Welcome to Longmont Sister Jensen!

That is the pretend sign that we might have thought about making, but as happens with such surprise transfers, it was a surprise ;) We found out yesterday afternoon that someone was coming (just after we found out that we are also moving this week) and when she arrived a few hours later we discovered who it was!  Super excited though, Sister Jensen was trained in the Capital Hill ward in Cheyenne while I was in Corner Stone so I know she is great, the only trouble is......

I don't know who to look at during companion study!

But if that is our only problem (and it probably will be) then everything will be dandy :)

Backing up to the pre-crisis mode, still-pretending-there-is-all-the-time-in-the-world part of the week:

We saw Z___!  Seriously plans A-W fell through, so what did we do?  Go with the one more thing that came to mind.  And what happened?  We got to talk to our investigator who has been MIA!  He was going to be wrapping up some legal stuff last week, after which his schedule should open up a lot so we get to talk to him today and I am so excited!

Interesting that just last week in a Sunday School class there was a discussion about how God doesn't do 'plan B'.  It is always 'plan A' for him, regardless of whether it is what we think should have been 'plan A'.  So I find that comforting as well when we have times that I think we are on 'plan W', He has known what to do all the time and it was all part of the plan.

Some sad news on the teenage investigator front, when you are still in high school it is possible to be grounded for forever so then meeting with the missionaries isn't an option either....but, B______ got to come to mutual several times first, so now she knows the kids from the ward who go to her school, and she has a Book of Mormon, so that is hopeful!

Happy news on the teenage investigator front, J____ has been reading in the Book of Mormon and wants to come to church!  There is a young man from the ward who is in his class at school and so his family is going to bring J_____ to church.  In fact, they went over and met him all on their own, which I think is super cool.

As per usual, we laughed a ton this week!  Particularly at the YMCA while painting with Miles when he called my companion evil (jokingly), reaffirmed that I am a redhead (we have been trying to convince him for weeks that I am not) and told us "Deception is cool".  Really excited about that too because we are going over to his house to see his wedding video and Sister Allen hasn't been able to meet Rosa (his wife) yet.  Should be great :)

To end with, some great quotes on agency and our natural rebellion against restriction of our agency:

"You're 'moving me'?  What, am I a piano?" -Sister Moore

"You can tell me what to do but not how or when to do it.  You only get one of the three." -Sister Griffin, quoting her husband

This week is going to be a blast!

love, Sister Emily DeFord
Sister Allen and I made each other Valentines ;)

Sister Allen, Sister DeFord, Sister Jensen

Random snowman we found (no we didn't build it, yes it made us think of the song from Frozen which I know almost all of the words to thanks to Sister Allen)

Sister Allen had a dream after we went here that our whole zone went to Menchies and President Brown was there and got up on the counter to say that all the frozen yogurt was gluten and dairy free!  Haha if only

Sister DeFord at FroYo

This sweet little girl is being baptized on Saturday with her family in Utah.  Her family is active and everything, but they wanted her to take the missionary lessons so she could be sure this is something that she personally wants to do.  It has been so fun to spend time with their family over the past couple of months!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Week 77: 2/2/15

February 2, 2015
Longmont, CO

It's the final countdown!  Just saying, since I know my mom's countdown calendar of "Fast Sundays until Emily Comes Home" ticked down to 0 yesterday.  Also, it seems crazy that this is almost the end, but I'm feeling ready for it, which I never thought that I would.  I love this work and being here and the people and the calling and I am sure there will be many a day that I will want to go back to the 'simpler' life of being on a mission, but there is a peace that comes from having done what was required of you I think.  And then you go on.

For now though, I've got two more weeks!  Woohoo!

To start off with, some excellently funny quotes from Brother Schroeder yesterday.  (Background for those who may not know: In the restored gospel of Jesus Christ we have a practice of setting apart one Sunday in the month, generally the first Sunday, as a day of fasting.  Along with this, testimonies are shared in our regular Sacrament meeting and donations are made of the money which would have been spent on those skipped meals in order to provide for people who are in want, as is proscribed in Isaiah 58 in the Old Testament, see also

So, back to Brother Schroeder:

"When I went to Church for the first time 19 years ago it was a Fast and Testimony meeting and I thought it was the strangest thing; but it's wonderful.  It's a wonderful kind of strange"

and "It's kind of freaky processing your fast offerings, because it's like, who is this person?  And we never know your first names, but now I do!"

In other news, last p-day after emailing I got my hair cut, well only some of them, but I now have straight across bangs!  So that is fun.  Also, none of our investigators came to Church even though we were pretty sure about a couple of them, but several of the Less Active members who we are working with did!  All of the meetings were so good!  I love Sundays and I love going to Church!  The recharge, the power, the Spirit, the Sacrament.  It is all so beautiful, and the same wherever you go so it is always like home :)

This week we had interviews with President Brown, which meant this was my departing interview.  Maybe that is part of why I am feeling a little more ready for the end.  From what we talked about, I was thinking about how there are a lot of cliff-hangers in the stories of missionaries.  We don't know the end of someone's story.  But Heavenly Father does!  And he is involved in every aspect, much more than the short span of us.  Like Esther though, we may be put in a position or in someone's path for just such a time as this, and get to make an impact on their life which can change it's course forever.  Someday we will get to know those stories ;)

We had a neat experience this week when we went to contact one potential investigator named D__, he wasn't home, but we saw these two girls who we had seen a couple of weeks before but hadn't talked to.  So we talked to them this time!  As we were having a conversation together and gave them each a Book of Mormon (good thing we both had one!  It is harder to carry a lot of stuff when we are walking) D__ actually came home.  He came over to tell us he was pretty busy that day and wouldn't be able to talk, but also told the girls that they should listen to us because our message is good!  That was a sweet thing, especially for someone who has been so newly introduced to the gospel.

There is not restriction on who the Spirit can touch or who or when though.  We had a first lesson with a boy named J_____ this week.  He expressed some of the fears that he has of the 'dark side' let's say, and how he wants to know God better.  We talked about what the Spirit feels like and how it brings peace.  He wasn't sure that he had felt that before.  As we continued talking though he paused and said, "you know that warm feeling you were talking about earlier?  I'm feeling some of that right now"  It was beautiful, because he had confirmed to him to know that he has a Heavenly Father who loves him.  God knows about his struggles and wants to help him and welcome him home.  He wants the same for each one of us.

One last funny note, we were walking home one night and saw a guy walking his two pitbulls the other direction on the other side of the street.  As they got closer the dogs started pulling towards us and their owner said, "My dogs find you attractive!" .....Awkward pause, what is the proper response to such a statement?...."And so do I by the way!" Haha since it was pretty dark and he could probably only really see our shoes it was silly, but also flattering.

I love you and hope you have a marvelously fantastical week!

love, Sister Emily DeFord

p.s. pictures.  New hair and what it looks like towards the end of a week of walking when we get home at night ;)


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Week 76: 1/26/15

January 26, 2015
Longmont, CO

There is this man in the ward who we have tried to meet many times over the weeks which we have been here.  No one ever answers the door.  This week we were determined though.  We rand the doorbell, no answer.  After a brief finger warm-up I knocked very, VERY hard on the door.  Another minute went past and he answered!  Apparently he can't hear the doorbell if he is anywhere but the front room of the house, but if you knock really hard then it actually shakes the wall and he can tell that you are there :)

Luckily we had the Seyfis with us so we could go in and have a lesson which was totally guided by the Spirit.  It was great too, because we actually got to say, 'hey, we are the missionaries, you know why we are here, we want to help you come back to church and receive all of the blessings of the gospel, how do you feel about that?'  He isn't to the point where he is ready to come yet, but small steps lead up to big things.

We had exchanges this week and I went up to Berthoud with Sister Tafengatoto :) Fun fact, I really enjoy saying people's full names when most people just abbreviate it because it is long.  Like when I was with Sister Zvirzdin, or Sister von Niederhausern :)

So we had many awkward experiences this week, which is part of what led to my resolution to not use the word 'awkward' this week.  I'm trying to come up with other ways to describe things :)

One of these experiences included going to talk to J____'s mom.  We tracted his house a week or so ago, he is probably about 14.  Then we were walking down the street and saw him again and he told us his mom was home and would like to talk to us.  So we went!  Another guy answered the door, one of those questionably aged people where he looked maybe too old to be in high school, but maybe he was just big, but he wasn't old enough to be J____'s dad.  So I asked the question, as I thought through all of those things, "Is  Sorry, I really can't tell how old you are!"

"No, she's not, I'm 24" (said with a smile at least, phew!)

"Okay....are you J____'s brother?"

"I don't know anybody named J____"

"Alright then...we obviously have the wrong house, but anywho..."

We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said we could come back :) Totally worth it!

Also, case in point that you never know who or when someone will be receptive to the gospel:  After leaving an appointment on Thursday, we saw some people sitting outside their apartment, so of course we talked to them.  They weren't interested at all, but they were still nice.  A few days later we were walking down the same street and saw an older lady, a man, and two kids unloading a moving van.  Having had much practice moving, and looking for opportunities to serve we offered to help!

Amazingly, they actually accepted.  So we unloaded together and got to know them a little bit.  The older woman was actually one of the people we had met before, helping her daughter move in to the apartment beneath hers.  She wanted to get us lunch to thank us for helping, and as we ate we were able to discuss the gospel in a very normal way.  We were able to also give her a Book of Mormon which she now knows a little bit about so it isn't so strange.  Such a sweet family and I am so glad we got to talk with them!

Seriously, you just never know who needs a little more Jesus in their life!

love, Sister Emily DeFord

p.s. So excited about the package from Heather who will be having a BOY!!  Sister Allen and Sister Seyfi are my witnesses that I knew it ;)
Estes Park Photo Shop
On exchanges in Berthoud with Sister Tafengatoto

My sister, Heather, is having a boy :-)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 75: 1/19/15

Longmont, CO
January 19, 2015

When we saw the Hermanas on Sunday they asked how our week had been.  Not bad, we said, we only got asked out about three times, that is a record high for my mission!

In completely unrelated news, a family that we ate dinner with this week ordered pepper spray for us to carry around!

This week I got to go to the temple with some of my favorite missionaries!  We had our departing temple trip early because the Denver temple is closed and will be for the next month so I am so glad it was able to work out!  There is nothing like being able to feel the peace and the joy in that building.  Not because of the architecture, which is great and the beautiful design, but because it is a place which is dedicated and consecrated to be the Lord's house on the earth.  I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants section 109, which is the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland temple, and these verses stand out:

22 And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them;
 23 And from this place they may bear exceedingly great and glorious tidings, in truth, unto the ends of the earth, that they may know that this is thy work, and that thou hast put forth thy hand, to fulfil that which thou hast spoken by the mouths of the prophets, concerning the last days.

This really is the work and hand of the Lord going out to all of the earth, to tell all people of what they can gain a personal knowledge in order to receive all of the blessings of God in their lives.  Not only is this for full-time missionaries to do though, everyone who has entered that sacred house has been blessed with the responsibility to invite all to come unto Christ.

On a lighter note, at lunch after the temple President and Sister Brown were asking about our plans for after our missions, so I asked them about their plans (they just passed their halfway mark on January 1st), lots of visiting family and such for them :) Then I asked,

"President Brown, can I come to your homecoming?"

"Of course you can.  Will you bring your husband?"

Touché President Brown.  Well if I am married then I will and if I am not married yet they will be invited to the wedding!

Have you ever been with someone when they see snow falling for the first time in their life?  That has been kind of a secret wish of mine and Hermana Hansen, being from southern California, just happens to be one of those people who had never seen it before.  Her comment when it started to fall, "It's all white and fluffy and not at all horrible like I thought it would be" :)

There is a man named C______ who is visiting from Haiti and works with Brother Seyfi who also had never experienced snow, he isn't much a fan of the snow.  The Seyfis have been doing their utmost to introduce C______ to the gospel of Jesus Christ and send those missionaries in Haiti a golden referral.  If we can get one in time, we will be sending him back with a French Book of Mormon.

More exciting news of the week!  We got our commissary!  Which means that we have copies of the Book of Mormon again!  It is rather uncomfortable to walk around as a missionary without one of those to share, so I am happy not to have to be doing that anymore :) Oh yes, and we are walking around again.  We made it through last week when we thought we were going to lose our car, but Elder Holley picked it up after the temple trip so we are hoofing it again.

This gives us the great privilege to talk to everyone though!  Even all sorts of people who are in their cars while we are on the sidewalk, whatever it takes :) Seriously, we have had some great experiences as we simply invite everyone who we see to experience the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ more fully in their lives.  That has made this week go quickly, despite the fact that all of our investigators cancelled our teaching appointments.

However, B_______ did come to mutual!  She is in high school and knows a few LDS kids and discovered when she came to the activity (glow-in-the-dark volleyball, so fun!) that she knows several more.  This is something she is really looking for in her life, even though her family isn't that in to church.  Though apparently her brother picked up and was reading some passages out of the Book of Mormon we gave her :) This has been a week of youthful miracles I guess, because we had a girl who is a senior and preparing to go on a mission come out with us on Saturday night (what better thing to do on a Saturday?) and we were able to get in to teach a 21 year-old less active sister who was baptized three years ago and have a great lesson where she shared with us how she felt so happy all of the time when she was going to church and reading her scriptures, and how she wants that back.

I love this work.  I love the temple.  I love the gospel and the decision which I am making to live to be with God forever.  Sometimes people say that we are brainwashed and that our Church makes us be something that we aren't.  That is a twist of the truth.  The truth is that I want to be like my Heavenly Father, and to do that I have to make some changes and some sacrifices, but there is no part of this which I did not agree to fully and knowingly, both in the premortal life and now, and there is nothing which I give up that would make me as happy as I am through what I gain for doing so.

These are true principles that anyone can test and discover their genuine nature personally, and I am so blessed to be here inviting others to do just that.

I love you and hope you have such a great week!

love, Sister Emily DeFord

p.s. Just for fun, one last quote, from my dear companion, "I never read the serving sizes on chocolate because they are always wrong" :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 74: 1/12/15

January 12, 2015
Longmont, CO

These pictures are really exciting to me so I am going to start with them.  This giraffe is in Loveland.  It is right next to the road as you drive in from Longmont.  However, it is a divided highway so you don't see it as you are leaving.  This is important because I have driven past it so many times and wanted to take a picture, but we are always on our way to something so we don't stop, and coming home it is out of sight, out of mind.  This week as we headed home from our mission conference I finally got a picture!  So yeah, another mission bucket list item fulfilled ;)

The mission conference was because Elder Bednar came to visit.  We weren't sure at first if we would all get to meet with him, but they made it a mission-wide conference, as long as the weather was good enough to get there.  At the beginning of the conference Elder Martino and Elder Christensen of the 70 both made a few remarks, then Elder Bednar began.  He premised the rest of the meeting with two things: first, we have this funny thing we do in the Church where we take all of these notes, and then never use them.  They are useless.  So we talked about keeping a 'small plates' type of record.  Then, he mentioned another game we play in the Church called "Guess what's in my head" and promised that they would not play that game with us even once in the time that they were there.  Then he asked for things we had learned from studying the talks which were assigned reading in preparation for the meeting.  Many comments followed.  He changed the question a bit, many comments followed.  When we had about an hour left he invited us to ask him questions and commented, rightly so, that we were in a room with only about 200 other people and an Apostle of the Lord, and would probably never be in that small of a group with one ever again.  Really, Elder Bednar didn't teach us much, but he invited us to learn from the Spirit which was far more powerful.  He knows his role which is very similar to ours.  It is not to teach, except to the end that he can invite the Spirit to teach us and invite us to act on the things which we have received.  There are 15 men on the earth who are prophets, seers, and revelators.  And talking with one who is in that calling was a wonderful experience.  There are several things which I am going to do because of what I learned and felt, that will reflectively make the conference even more meaningful.

There were some really amazing learning experiences in other avenues this week as well.  Monday I was able to see part of the result and much of the reason for my fast the previous Sunday.  It had to do with F____, who we still hadn't been able to reconnect with.  We happened to be driving past his apartment building that evening, and saw lights on in his window.  We pulled over immediately, got someone to let us in the building and ran up to knock on the door.  It was hard to say if my heart was beating so fast because of the running or because of the anticipation and anxiety of not knowing what he would say.  Standing in front of his door, who happens to come up the stairs behind us but F____!  He greeted us very nonchalantly and invited us into his apartment where we met his wife L___ who was in there with A_____!  F_____ doesn't not like us, but he lost his phone, he got a new one but didn't have our number because it was in the old phone.  So that was a major relief.  And he had told L___ about meeting with us and she seemed positive about it!  We still didn't get to meet with them for a lesson this week and he didn't come to Church, but we are really glad to know that he is doing well and still interested.

As we went to the C______'s house afterward, the road was pretty icy and this is an exchange that Sister Allen and I had:

"Watch out for the road!"
"Nothing can get me down right now, not even the street!"
"Maybe not emotionally, but physically it sure could!"

We were pretty stupendously happy!!

Another funny conversation this week, with a man we tracted into named J_______, after we introduced ourselves:

"I don't have much time to talk right now"
"Okay, well, have you ever heard of the Book of Mormon?"
"I saw the musical"
"Would you like to read the book?"

I could not believe that actually worked!  Since he didn't have time to talk we invited him to read the introduction and testimonies at the beginning to understand what it is, and asked if we could come back by another time to talk about it.  He agreed.  We happened by a funny happenstance to get to see him only a couple of days later in the park and he told us he had read the beginning and started 1 Nephi!  He was really liking it, and decided to set some time aside to really focus on it and understand what was going on.  The Lord sure works in mysterious ways!

Hope you all have a great week full of the wonders of life!  Love you!

love, Sister Emily DeFord