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.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 37: 4/28/14

April 28, 2014
Longmont, CO (for the last least for now!)
Funny thing about being a missionary.  Since you have already been set apart as a missionary, you have already agreed to any other calling/assignment which you may be asked to fill.  Due to that, sometimes they forget to do the asking ;) Sometimes I wonder if it is because they are worried I will try to say no ;) But not really.  I love being a missionary and I will try to do anything that I am asked, as well as many things on my own.
That's right, transfer doctrine is in!  We will apply to Alma 22:4 (in the Book of Mormon) for our phraseology: the Spirit of the Lord has called Sister DeFord another way, away from Longmont.
[Mom, for some reason the pictures won't attach to this email, can you put them in for me?  Haha really just leaving you hanging!]

So the full news is that Sister C and I are being swept out, me to Wyoming and her across the street (literally) to the Mountain View ward!  Elders are being swept in to our ward, one of them being Elder H who until tomorrow is one of our ZLs in the Left Hand Creek ward.  He will be training, since apparently Ute Creek is a good ward for babies ;) Hermana J is being transferred to Virginia/dying/going home!  And Hermana E is returning to the Ute Creek ward from Boulder to serve with Hermana S.
What is something to make you feel good about transfers?  B and P!  They are the ones who it will be hardest to leave, but I have no doubts about them continuing to progress, even if they aren't happy about the Elders (sorry Elders, nothing personal).  B is ready to swim in the water, though it is still a long road ahead, and together they are overcoming P's concerns.  Both of them are so open to feel the Spirit.  Honestly, I hope to be like them someday!
Lest you think this week has been all about transfers (it hasn't, only the past two days as we have tried to pack/say goodbye/write extra notes all over our area book so the Elders can take care of our people properly) hmm...I can't actually remember what happened this week...
Ah!  The Sisters remind me that we went to Estes Park on Monday, which means the OUR Center had a barbecue for us on Tuesday.  On Thursday S (soon to be a Sister herself in Illinois!) came out with us and worked miracles.  We were only able to go to three people's houses in the time she was out with us because ALL of them were home.  That never happens, especially with the people we were trying to see, so we had an awesome afternoon.  Friday and Saturday we got to do some great yard work and on Saturday I think we did some awesome contacting!  A few weeks ago (not sure if I told you) we met a guy named L who seemed like a great potential investigator, gave him a Book of Mormon, set an appointment.  It turns out that he does not live at the place where we thought he did so every once in a while we go to where we met him and try to find him.
This last time we prayed that we would be able to find him, or be able to meet someone new and say the right things to introduce them to the gospel.  Just as we were finishing up there and about to leave for our next appointment, there is a man outside flying a kite with his daughter.  We went up and talked to him, and were able to talk about the possibility of eternal families.  His daughter loved that and said it was exactly what she wanted.  Prayers are answered if we will be brave enough to follow, one step at a time, the guidance we receive.  That experience made transfers a little sadder, since the Elders will be the ones at that appointment next week, but maybe we were the ones in the right place to find them, and the Elders will be the right ones to teach them.
Also, Elders can be awkward.  That is okay though, I too have decided to embrace all the awkwardness of missionary life (though sometimes I still need help being brave enough to, that is why we have companions!  And pep talks, I can talk myself into all kinds of things)
Tune in next week for the move to Cheyenne!  Cowboys here I come!  [Dad insert picture ;)]
love, Sister Emily DeFord
Emily and Sister S.

Week 36: 4/21/14

April 21, 2014
Longmont, CO
A funny thing about my companion.  One of the things I love about Sister C is her phraselogy, just the way she says things tends to make me laugh.  The way my face looks tends to make her laugh so we get on well.  So here are a few of my favorite quotes from recently:
"Sister DeFord, I really like you, but I wouldn't want to be your trainer...I kind of feel bad for Sister Z"  Apparently I like to be in charge or something ;)
"We could spend the afternoon doing area 4"
(me) "Well....unless nobody's home"
"But if nobody's home we can just start over!"
"Sister C, I like you"
(Hermana J) "I really want to go to a dinner where I don't speak the language just to see what it would be like"
"Awkward.  Really awkward" Sister C doesn't speak any Spanish ;)
"Are there anymore goals we should set?"
(me) "Of course!"
"Well good gracious do you want to talk about them now or do you want to go to bed?"
Weekly planning is not the bane of my existence, but I do get pretty tired during it, and it always seems to have to be finished just before bedtime, so I am really tired.
Funny is not limited to Sister C however, we continue with a little girl from the ward:
"My friend got picked on by a boy who is 7...He said he is going to marry me when we get older.  But I'm not going to--he drank coffee before!"
And more marriage advice from Tom:
"There are a lot of frogs out there.  If you are really quiet, you can hear them ribbet"
Now, do you know what is not funny?  When you get behind on updating the area book (Good advice from Stake Conference this weekend: if you want to improve at something, make it a habit.  We are working on it!) and are looking for some details on a lesson you had, and think 'oh, I will look in my journal, there might be something there!' and the only thing you wrote for the day is "Today, oddly, most things went as planned.  Weird."  ......Thank you self, that was a lot of help.
What did not go as planned this week included getting an HQ referral with a nonexistent address and fake phone number.  Also not planned was the referral we got from a member for someone who is currently living with his family and has had a lot of things happen in his life to bring him there.  We were able to have two lessons with him this week, and he is someone who is excited and ready to change his life.  That is a good thing, because this is a gospel of change.  Another great point made at stake conference is that is our whole purpose in life was to get back to our Heavenly Father, we never would have left.  Instead, our purpose is to change to become like Him.  That is a lot of work, but the benefits are incomparable.
The Atonement, which we have had the opportunity to focus on more directly this week, is meant to change us.  The reason it is not simply enough to say we accept God, is because in Atoning for our sins Jesus Christ did not relieve us of our agency.  We have to choose, and become the kind of people who look to him as our Savior.  This is not a church for those who are comfortable or content or looking for something which the world would say is 'easy'.  I would think though, that a life underlaid by the peace of righteous living along a covenant making (and keeping) path is much easier than one with no steady footing and unsure ends.
I just want to throw in a reminder as well, that it has been encouraged that members of the Church should know the names of the people who the missionaries in their ward are teaching.  When this was announced there were several members of my ward here who approached us and asked about who we were teaching, I assume this happened in other wards as well.  However, who we are teaching now is not all the same as who we were teaching last month or even last week.  Like our lives, this work is not static.  Ask your missionaries again, continue to be involved in the lives and if nothing else, the cheering section of those within your ward who are contemplating these large changes in their lives.  They need all of the love and support which they can be offered.
As for other adventures of the week: 
And we visited the Longmont museum last week.  And I dressed up as a buffaloe :)

The Easter Bunny has been leaving us presents all week, including these sweet bunny masks :)

Oh and the adventures of being a missionary and not knowing how to spell someone's name!  So this investigator's name is said like Calvin, without an 'l' so is it spelled Cavin?  Or is it spelled Kavin to be like his brother's name which is Kevin?  Was this clever enough to look like a 'C' or a 'K' depending on what he expected to see?

The Easter Bunny who goes to my house (see brothers, the Easter Bunny has it covered) sent us some fun things this week too.  Which turned into a throwing purple grass around party :) Which turned into Sister Carbno put a large pile of it on my pillow, that I put in her pillowcase while she was in the bathroom ;) She came out and says "Wow, I thought you were going to put the purple stuff all over my bed or something, instead you cleaned it all up!" I stayed very quiet until...haha bedtime!

How did TMFWD go?  I was able to attend a shoe themed Relief Society meeting on Tuesday, wearing all of the blue I could get together into one outfit
 Love, Sister Emily DeFord
ps:  I forgot to tell you the TMFWD color for tomorrow!  It is white! Love you!
Here are some other misc pictures

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 35: 4/14/14

April 14, 2014
Longmont, CO
Do you know what today is?  No?  Good.  I would sort of rather forget as well, but I can't help it, so I took this picture while my hair was still wet this morning just so I wouldn't forget to have one for you.  (And so that I could change, because this isn't actually what I am wearing today, it is just the outfit designated for such pictures)

I really enjoyed hearing that you remembered TMFWD (anybody come up with some funny way to say the abbreviation yet?  All I've got is that FWD is also "forward").  I wore green both to service

(where we got a cake that was somewhat questionable so we smushed it instead of eating it ;) I mean really, how often do you get to do something like that?)
And while proselyting!

Are you impressed with the amount of green I can wear even though I didn't have anything green when I got here?  Dillard's had a closing out sale....
This week's color for Tuesday is My Favorite WeekDay (because I get to match you lovely family, and it seems that Sunday should be my favorite day in general--more on that in my testimony of the importance of exchanges!) will be blue!  Now, since I wear blue quite often, I am going to try and make it special tomorrow :)
Alright, let's see how far back I can remember this week.  I do not promise that this will be in chronological order :)
We got a couple of part-member family referrals from our Bishop in our meeting yesterday.  Yay for ward trust and great, inspired leaders!  Dad, do you remember when I would sometimes go to Priesthood with you instead of going to Primary?  Well I don't think I have been in a Priesthood meeting since the memorable time when whoever was conducting mentioned that you had an unusual guest...until yesterday!  Sister C and I were asked to teach Deacon's Quorum so we went to Priesthood opening exercises as well.  We sat in the back, but wouldn't you know it, the High Priest's Group Leader mentioned the two sisters in the room while giving his announcements!  Funny what things can make you feel right at home ;)
Want to know what happens when you talk to people about the gospel?  (Disclaimer: this may not occur exactly as listed in all cases, but I would be happy to make it happen for anyone who wishes) You get free donuts!  You see, there is this wonderful donut place in Longmont, that also has awesome, tasty bagels.  The very first time that Sister Z and I went there (so, many moons ago--see first picture) we talked to the man who worked there about what we do as missionaries and about the gospel!  He wasn't interested exactly, but thought it was pretty cool.  Since then I have been back a few times (the bacon avocado extreme melt on a cheesy bagel is just the best), with Sister Z, Sister C, and now Sister S!  As soon as we walked in this last time, he was excited to see us, we got to talk about the gospel again, as well as service, and he gave us free donuts with our sandwiches :) Who knows what things you say or do are going to be memorable?
So missionary exchanges (when a missionary leader changes companions for 24 hours to work with a different missionary whom they have responsibility for) are important for many reasons.  Though they are not to be used as an excuse to get away from a problem companion, they can be a good time to openly share concerns about a companion with mission leaders.  They are an excellent time for training.  They offer an opportunity for missionaries to learn more as they experience what happens in other areas.  Et cetera.  I had a lot of great experiences with Sister S on our last exchange (see: donuts) it also turns out however, that they have a woman whom they are working with who is confused about why we celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday instead of Saturday as was done in the Old Testament.
What a great question!  And that is one which an investigator in my area had as well so we were able to study on and I could share with Sister S what we learned!  For anyone who is curious (Being a missionary is cool because people bring up questions which I have never thought of and it gives me a great chance to learn more and thus grow my testimony.  In the case of what day the Sabbath is held on, my answer for myself, should nothing else be available, is that the day of the week isn't as key as the setting apart of one day out of seven to worship and focus more exclusively on God.)  When the resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred, it was on a Sunday (Easter, almost here!) and came to be called the "Lord's day".  In Acts chapter 20 (in the New Testament) it talks of the disciples gathering to a meeting which sounds very much like our current sacrament meeting.  From the time of the apostles leading the church after the ascension of Christ, Sabbath worship transitioned from Saturday to Sunday.
Speaking of Easter, a family in my ward happened to get confused and thought Easter was yesterday, and we were blessed to have Easter dinner with them a little early ;)
This week I discovered that an Elder in my zone will return home at the same time as me, and happens to be from Othello, WA so going home is really the same!  Everytime something like this comes up, it reminds me to do the most I can with the time I have because it grows ever shorter and not enough!
Other highlights of the week.  T prayed with us for the first time ever!  She was worried that she would mess up in the middle, so we asked her to write out a prayer that she could say, and she did!  It was beautiful and incredible.  Little by little, hearts soften and open to the Spirit and the light of the gospel.
Sister C and I tried 'Spirit walking'.  This is something which one of my former district leaders, Elder J, and one of the Elders he trained and is now a district leader, Elder S, can't say enough good things about.  Basically, they go out to find, and rely completely on the Spirit for what they are going to do.  It was a cool time for me to practice listening to the Spirit, and learn more about how I receive promptings, plus, we found a new investigator!  If we will listen, we will realize there is more help out there than we have been utilizing ;)
Utilize it :) Heavenly Father wants to help you!
love, Sister Emily DeFord
Three perfect peas in a pod!  Look, the first one is you, the middle one is me, and the third one is the Holy Ghost!

that is snow.  In April.  It was in the 70s the day before.

This is a river?  Look how little this bridge is!

trough night!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 34: 4/7/2014

April 7, 2014
Longmont, CO
I want you to think of some great movie duos.  Who might represent Sister C and I?  Oh the options!  But to tell you the truth, I am Izma, and she is Kronk.  Yep.  Ever since an Emporer's New Groove quote came up about a month ago, it has become increasingly apparent that I am Izma.  A few key lines would be ones such as "The nerve of some peasants!" and Sister C's observation of "what is holding this woman together?" "This is Izma, living proof that dinosaurs once roamed the earth" haha at least she has good taste in color!
This week we got to help a man named R clean out his apartment.  It was quite an adventure!  Not the most disorganized place I have been in on my mission, but that may be because he had limited space.  Mom, thanks for helping me recognize how to help people work through the keep/toss process and Dad thanks for raising me brave enough to tackle icky jobs!
We got to embrace all kinds of awkwardness this week, so still living up to my transfer goal!  One awkwardness was having a doorstep lesson, and asking if we could pray as the person's friend was coming up the walk and waiting to talk to her.  Hopefully he could feel the Spirit too!
One of my favorite parts of this week was we still got to meet with P, even though Stop Smoking class was cancelled, and talk about her questions.  When we arrived, she informed us that she had asked B already if he would start us off with a prayer :) Ah happy missionary moment!
General Conference was uber duber good!  I loved every minute of it.  Last week as I was working to "serve with all of [my]...mind" I worked really hard on taking notes during study, which I think was a good prep for conference notes.  I plan to continue the study notes and this week as I serve with all of my strength I think Elder Bednar's talk is a good one to apply :)
So I thought of a fun game to play!  No matter what my dear companion says, you should not be worried when I say this ;) This will actually be fun!  What is the game you ask?  Let's call it "Tuesday is My Favorite WeekDay".  Since I am the leader of this game, I am going to pick a color, to wear and look for on Tuesday and you can all match!  Why would we play this game?  Reasons abound!  First, I want to create some family unity as we all expand across the planet.  Second, sneakily I am trying to make you all think missionary thoughts throughout the day. 
Example: Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful...hey the sky is really blue today!  Wait, blue is the TMFWD color that Sister DeFord (a missionary) picked for today!  You know, this is a fun game, but what makes me even happier is the gospel!  Maybe I should tell my friend about it! ...
Example: Hey Michael, nice blue shirt!
Thanks, blue is the TMFWD color this week, and it's Tuesday!
What is TMFWD?
A fun game my sister came up with to create family unity while we expand across the planet.
Expand across the planet?  Where is she?
Well in Colorado, serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ...
Now family, what do you think about my sneaky plan?
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to wear green tomorrow.  Will you do this?  As you notice green in the world around you will you think of missionary and grateful for the gospel thoughts?  To quote a brother in the ward "If you think about it, and pray about it, Heavenly Father will do something about it."  I know that as we have our minds and hearts in the right place, there will be unexpected and unbelievably perfect opportunities to invite others to enjoy the blessings of the perfect gospel of Jesus Christ. 
This gospel is perfect.  The plan which our Father in Heaven has set for us is also perfect.  Even though we are imperfect, He works with us to be part of the plan, and lay out the opportunity of our eternal salvation and exaltation.  As a missionary, there are definitely moments and days when I feel that I have messed something up, where I know that I could have done better, but didn't.  Being called to work in the labor of the salvation of souls, this can be pretty discouraging, as I don't want to be the cause of messing up someone else's chances for happiness.  However, let's think back to a really big mistake someone made...
In the beginning of time, after the creation of the world, when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden they had peace and lives of innocence.  The world was in a state of perfection, but it could not progress.  At that point it was impossible for any of us to come to earth, so we waited anxiously in the premortal life to see what would happen on this new world.  Eve was tempted, she chose to eat the fruit which would mean her removal from the beautiful Garden.  Adam chose to do likewise, so that they together could begin the whole human family.
Though the tempter was Satan, the master of lies and deceit, and opposer to all that is good, even he could not confuse or corrupt the great plan of our Creator.  The fall of Adam and Eve was a necessary and understood part of the plan to bring about the human race so that we could have bodies, choose between good and evil and receive the reward of our obedience.  Though some look on that event as a terrible mark, scarring the beginning of our history, I am so grateful for it!  Because of that choice, we are here.  Their decision did make it necessary to have a Savior, but he was also prepared from before the foundation of the world to accept that role.  Because he paid the price for that fall, none of us need suffer the consequences of sin, save those of our own which we are not willing to give over to the Lord.  When we do let them go, we are blessed to be able to feel the joy and wonder of forgiveness and his atonement.
So, was the fall of Adam and Eve a mistake?  No way!  Due to the divine plan for that single act of far-reaching consequences, there is no way that I or anyone else can mess up bad enough to ruin someone else's chance at happiness and exaltation.  The only person's salvation in which I have a definitive role is my own.  I am grateful for the chance to play a part in the lives of others, and hopefully witness the change of their lives towards the better, but if I was unable to fulfill the necessary role, Heavenly Father will find someone who can.  He does not lose His children.
That being said, it is always good to strive to be the person on whom Heavenly Father can count to get the work done.  This is how I work out my own salvation, by becoming that kind of person, and as I try, experiencing the blessing of seeing His work accomplished, and witnessing the great love which He has for each of His children.
With that kind of assignment, this has been a lovely week in Colorado! 
I love you and hope you have a wonderful week :)
love, Sister Emily DeFord

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Week 33: 3/31/14

March 31, 2014
Longmont, CO

"Hi.  My name's Dory and...I don't think I've ever eaten a fish." :) Our Stop Smoking group started this week, and that is how I felt.  It went swimmingly though ;) Lots of excitement about setting goals and stickers and good support.  Uber excited to see how this goes for these people that I care about to use the Atonement in very tangible ways in their lives.

Alright, someone needs to help me figure this out.  It appears to be that, more often than not, when I am feeling incredibly prepared and excited for a lesson it falls through.  And that person becomes uncontactable for a month.  As well, we recently put a sign on our bedroom door reminding us to update our area book.  In fact...

(The area book is basically a record of the work which we, as missionaries, do for the particular area we are assigned to.  We record information which can help missionaries who are new to the area know what is going on, plus it helps us remember important things)  We are supposed to update any necessary information in this book every day.  We weren't doing so well at remembering to do that, thus the sign.  However, ever since we put the sign up, and have dedicatedly followed it's instructions, we haven't had much to update.  Hmm.....

One of the fun things about eating dinner with families in the ward is that you have straightforwardly have a great discussion on the Word of Wisdom during dinner, and not even have to be the one to bring it up!  One great thing that Brother G pointed out is that, besides the 5 'do not's in the Word of Wisdom, the rest of it is about accountability according to our understanding.  Once we understand that something is not good/harmful for us (think allergy or diabetes) then it would be against our personal wisdom to partake of whatever it is.  We have to hold ourselves and our wisdom accountable on these things and no one can do it for us.

In the midst of this great discussion on the Word of Wisdom, we were actually having ice cream (no comments on how that is not healthy for me and should be against my personal word of wisdom, personal accountability remember).  Sister G leaves for a minute to go to the kitchen, and apparently examine the ice cream carton, because she came back saying "Don't eat the ice cream!  It has coffee in it!"  Oh the irony. :) So if my running was a little wearier or my walking more faint-like this week, or the hidden treasures of knowledge more hidden, I may have accidentally broken the Word of Wisdom.

Yet that was not the end of my coffee adventures!  The next day, Sister C and I were washing the dishes at the OUR Center during lunch, and one of the people serving food brought in a strange bowl.  We sent it through the washer, and then I went to ask someone where it would be put away.  In a coffee pot!  I thought she was making a joke, but no, the poor Mormon missionary just doesn't know how to put a coffee pot together.

Then, once again at the OUR Center (great adventures there) (Sometimes D will even play MoTab instead of his usual Oldies music, quite strange how not far behind on news and popular culture our members, contacts, and service keeps us), this time we were helping serve on the line (think middle school cafeteria lady, but with a more fun apron) a woman came through with a walker.  So I carried her tray for her to a table, and then she asked me to get her a cup of coffee as well.  Oh boy.  I got plain hot water on accident at first because I didn't know which pot the coffee was in, then some nice man on the line handed me the sugar so I didn't have to figure that one out.  But how much sugar?  How much cream?  Why is it even worth it to drink something you have to make so many decisions about?

Had a day this week that was one of those where you become worried about even getting out of the house because everything that you do is wrong.  Oh dear.  But then I remembered what I, myself, had told T just a day or two before.  That sometimes I have bad days or rough minutes, but the week is good anyway :) I tested that out for sure, and it still came out true!  The week was good, even though I felt pretty silly and bad a couple times that day.  Though I think that set me up to be so over awkward situations that when we met someone on the street that night and had a conversation something like the following, I didn't give up on it and he now has a Book of Mormon :)

"Hi!  We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints..."
"Yeah, I talked to you before remember?"
"Oh" squinting to try and see him better (it was a little dark) "Sure..."
"Yeah I was walking with the little kid by the park"
"Oh......well did we talk to you about the Book of Mormon?"
"No.  You just told me about that dinner thing they were doing at the church.  At 5:30"
"Wait.  Today?"
"Yeah I talked to you earlier"
"Um...we definitely didn't meet you before...there was nothing going on at our church today at 5:30..."
"No remember, I was with the kid"
"Nope.  Pretty sure I didn't meet you before.  But would you like to know about the Book of Mormon?"

What do you do when you meet someone who has already on their own studied out and learned pretty much all of the doctrines of the Church, except for that one key point of continuing revelation and the Book of Mormon being true, who in fact finds the Book of Mormon ridiculously unbelievable, but only because this person has yet to give it a try?  Think Green Eggs and Ham :) Even better because we weren't recently introduced to a missionary parody of this done by a mission president's wife somewhere in Florida :)

Super excited for General Conference (the Women's session on Saturday was terrific!) and the upcoming weekend will be splendid :)

I love hearing from all of you and hope the week goes as good as Heavenly Father knows it can be ;)

love, Sister Emily DeFord