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.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Week 16: 12/2/13

A funny thing about Colorado.  So many people who live here are transplants from different places.  Therefore, many are the times where we find ourselves face to face with someone, desperately wanting to relate some version of the restoration to them, and find ourselves unable to do so because of our limitations in speaking Vietnamese, Chinese, Navajo, Spanish, and Portuguese.  We limp through the Spanish, translate through their children when possible, and smile and wave while trying to hide our disappointment over not speaking their language.  Missionary work must have been so easy pre-Tower of Babel.

For those of you who remember my grandparent's mission in Lithuania, I hope you are by now smiling.  For those of you who don't, I admit to spending every spare minute of the past week (and a few not as spare minutes) reading the personal history of my grandpa (Dennis DeFord) including the many 'Weekly Reports' sent home during the mission he served with my grandma as the office couple in the Lithuanian mission.  My grandpa is a very entertaining writer, and my missionary cohort could not understand what I kept laughing about while reading instead of being bruised up in dodgeball last p-day.  Not to worry, I did pull myself away for a few minutes in order to play a few rounds of dodgeball.  So now I have decided to adopt the format, including, as many of their letters did, telling something 'funny' at the beginning :)

Update on the chastity lesson: it went very well, if not quite the lesson we were expecting.  We had a wonderful fast and testimony meeting which ran long into the Sunday School time, and then waited some few minutes hoping that our class would expand beyond the three people who were present at the beginning (I think we ended up doubling it).  So Sister Z and I were blessed to teach the law of chastity to 6 people over the age of 50, all with many years of experience in marriage and family (the theme of the series of lessons to which the law of chastity belongs).  Yet, there was still ample time for crickets to sing during the lesson and we were grateful for the shortened time.  In this case, we were also grateful that a certain person we are working with did not make it to church since the lesson might feel a little too pointed had they been there.  Overall, there were good points made and some helpful discussion and the regular gospel principles teacher returns this week!

A holiday week is an interesting time to be a missionary.  Many people are gone or busy, but we were still able to have a productive time.  On the day we happily were invited to participate in the Turkey Bowl with the stake, and also happy that it included a round of ultimate frisbee, our usual p-day game of choice.  The remainder of the morning was spent in adventure of trying to find our eternally potential investigator, R, who to that point we had met only in the park and never found him at his home.  Also, H, another investigator, was able to bring her 19 month old son home from the hospital that day (he had eaten some things he shouldn't have some days before) so we had the opportunity to visit with and encourage her as well.  Our Thanksgiving feast was put on by the Stewart family and here there was another funny story.

We arrived at the Stewart's home as they were finishing preparations and setting out an enormous amount of food (another interesting story, but one which I don't have time to tell, is how we ended up at the Stewart's house for Thanksgiving, I am glad we did though!) and in discussing the various dishes we heard there were three kinds of rolls available.  Sister Z and I love rolls.  And bread.  And warm deliciousness of baked flour.  So we declared that we would try each kind of roll, and see if one was best. 

Having done so, Sister Stewart asked if we would like to know a secret about the rolls.  One of them was a recipe she had gotten from my mom, and made my grandma's roll recipe which we have at every family get together of the Vladimiroff variety.  That was certainly the sweetest moment of the day to know that she had taken the thought and time and conspired with my mom to bring a little of home to Thanksgiving.  I am truly grateful and in admiration of people like that.

Sadly, I do not have memorized enough of "Little Thomas" to have recited it to the gathering, but I did whisper the first stanza or so to myself, or else it wouldn't have been truly Thanksgiving.

Continually entertaining are the many experiences we have with people at their doors.  Even being out for under four months I get to feeling pretty seasoned in the whole door approach idea, and then something else occurs to catch us by surprise and often be laughed over on the way to the next appointment.  Such as: knock on the door, wait a few moments, someone knocks back.  Knock again, knocks back.  The door never opened.  Or, when knocking on a door and it isn't latched all the way and so opens wide, and trying to catch the door and close it before someone appears to wonder why we were opening their door in the first place!

Along the lines of baked deliciousness, one of our friends, J, showed is this week how to make the best garlic bread in the world.  Plus, our favorite Catholic friends who we meet with every week are certainly trying to fatten us up! but for what purpose I do not know.  That may be the subject of my next personal study.  Lessons with them are always enjoyable, and we truly have the opportunity to talk with the nicest and most interesting people!  Both of them are converts to Catholicism, having been raised Protestant, and have each lived in various parts of the world for many years.  I believe one converted while in the middle east, and the other joined the congregation of an Australian priest somewhere in Africa.  Or something like that.  I must say that one of our main differences at this point is that Catholics are very time-conscious with their meetings, while we often run on the stereotypical "Mormon standard time" which is five minutes late.  How this great difference came about will also require some pondering.

One more note back to the Weekly Reports of years ago, was anyone ever able to give a definitive answer on the Baltic Time Compression?  I see the same forces at work here in Colorado and am never quite sure what answer to give when I am sure the week has only begun, but yet we find ourselves in the midst of weekly planning for the next one!

And happy December to all of you!  If you have not enjoyed 60 degree weather through the end of November, I am sorry, because it has been beautiful here!  But the expected high on Wednesday is 18 degrees, so we will join the rest of you in winter soon.

love, Sister Emily DeFord

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