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, May 27, 2014

Week 40: 5/19/14

May 19, 2014
Cheyenne, WY
That awkward moment start talking to people about the distance between Washington and Colora....Wyoming :)
Actually, yesterday a very cute little girl asked me how far away Washington was.  Not satisfied with "It is a long drive" she said "But was is the number?"  Haha I just do not know. {Editor's note: about 1,020 miles, give or take a few}
So I am super stoked because yesterday I finally was able to attend church here in the Corner Stone ward!  The weather was beautiful and warm so no snow at all!  Already from my visits with the members I have been starting to love this ward, but oh man I am so excited to be here!
(Mom I can sympathize, with how yesterday went, I am not sure I will be able to remember the rest of the week before that, but here is the gist!)  Bishop Lopez likes to ask the missionaries when he sees them how many lessons they have taught thus far in the week, he feels the responsibility of the ward to reach their goal and our goal of 20 lessons in a week. Yesterday at ward council was no different, and being informed that both companionships needed about 10 lessons to reach that goal, he asked if we thought we could teach 10 lessons in one day. I thought he was joking, and was pretty dubious, until he started counting families in the room.  With the members of the ward council offering their families and homes, we set up lessons for most of the evening (and as it turned out, they were lacking a Sunday School teacher for Gospel Principles), with several families having both sets of missionaries over within an hour.  Those lessons would bring each of us up to 19 lessons for the week.
We were left a few hours in which to contact the people we had planned for the day, and supply the 20th lesson ourselves. This was a miracle to me in itself, of the enthusiasm in that room from the ward leaders to achieve that goal together was incredible.  They don't just talk about the goals they set, they do something about them. More miracles followed, as we were able to have lessons with 2 of the people we planned for the day ourselves, as well as contact and set an appointment with one other, and follow up with an investigator who had not attended church as planned. It was an exhausting, but wonderful day as we tried to truly bring the Spirit to every lesson and teach specific to those families, despite the short time in which we were meeting with them.
One of the people we had planned and were able to teach yesterday was D. She is an investigator who had her first lesson in February and agreed to be baptized, but had been unable to have a lesson since then. We committed her to continue the lessons and explained that though we want to help her, and will help her all that we can, this is her journey and she must take the action to make changes in her life. She is excited to do so.
We happened to drive past the Elders last night, close to the close of the evening.  They were also exhausted after the marathon of lessons.  That is the best kind of tired though :) It doesn't always come from teaching 10 lessons in one day, but it comes from working diligently and faithfully throughout the day, whether that is in lessons or tracting or in one of those days where no one will answer their door but you went out and did your best.  We read in Doctrine and Covenants section 4 yesterday with the Bishop's wife about consecrating our whole heart, might, mind, and strength to the work of the Lord, and truly that is what we are blessed to do here.  We may be tired after, but we did our part and the Lord truly works miracles when we do so.
Also, I love kids!  Talking to them never fails to brighten my day.  As we were teaching several families yesterday, I was blessed to have some good conversations with 3 and 4 year olds, they have great things to say!
Yesterday was sure an exercise in teaching and full of opportunities to apply the things which we practice and study!  You never know what is going to turn into a missionary experience :) Just as I have been typing this at the library, the man next to me mentioned how fast I type and we were able to begin a conversation about the Church :) Miracles everywhere ;)
Okay, let's see about the rest of the week...we again had a couple of sick days as we have not yet been able to get the doctor in Boulder and the Lab in Cheyenne to coordinate so we can get my companion feeling better.  I did a lot of studying and I think "The Testaments" was played over 5 times....Options for sick movie watching are pretty limited as a missionary ;) We walked dogs for hours at the animal shelter and I learned about a 'small world' miracle.  A sister that I served with in Longmont had told me about a woman she taught in Laramie who was baptized a few months ago.  A man in Cheyenne who is less active and we are working with is dating that new member and she is a major factor in his motivation to come back to church.  it is incredible, unbelievable, exciting, I love missionary work!
One more plug for the cause of the missionaries.  Please, please, I beg of you, do not forget or cancel on the missionaries!  It is hard enough when people who aren't members of the Church do it.  I know sometimes we think "oh, it's only the missionaries" and we truly do still love you, even when that happens, but it is sad that these things, the gospel of Jesus Christ, is often moved to the 'luxury' part of someone's list, something that can be put off.  This is for here and now, today, every day!  It is a necessity, and not only that, but invites the windows of heaven to be opened to bless you and your family.  This I know for sure.
I love you and hope that your week is full of sunshine!
love, Sister Emily DeFord

This week, by request, is stripes!
And I have a super awesome family who sent me a halfway package--complete with only one sock out of a pair!  (Something about sock pictures this week...) :)
Roll of Duct Tape cut in half

Half a Bow


Week 39: 5/12/14

May 12, 2014
Cheyenne, WY
A funny thing about being a missionary.  We probably talk about the weather more than anybody else.  Maybe that is because we are in more awkward conversations with people we don't know than most other people are.  Maybe it is because we can't check the forecast so the weather is always a surprise.  Maybe because lots of other people check the forecast for us and it becomes a contest to see who is actually going to be right.  Will it be two feet of snow or light rain during the night?  Will there be tornadoes or happy sunshine?
One thing I have found out, some part of the combination of snow all day yesterday piled on the car, the wind blowing as I tried to brush it off the car this morning, and the sun reflecting off said snow made my eyes water so bad that my face would have been black if my mascara wasn't waterproof.  We are buying sunglasses today.

Back to the week.  We discovered the hard way that my companion needs to get her blood work done to get her thyroid medication adjusted.  Apparently switching to be companions with me has been stressful and messed up her levels which turned into nausea and throwing up 4 out of 7 days this week.  Especially not fun since Tuesday was her birthday!  We have spread out the celebration and tried to make it a good week anyway :) Though the gluten-free chocolate cake has yet to be baked.  There is no such thing as too much birthday right?

We have also discovered that it is dangerous to request shepherd's pie for dinner.  We were going to have it with the Millers on Monday, but Sister Miller got sick and is now in the hospital.  (Update, we went to see her yesterday and though she is going to have to stay there for several more days the antibiotics are working and she should be getting better).  On Sunday we tried again, we were going to have it with the Sutherlands.  However, the snow was so bad yesterday that President Bailey cancelled church for the whole stake and the Sutherlands, who live out in the boonies, couldn't even get in to town.  However, since we had planned to have it with the Millers (who we also live with by the way) on Monday, they had all the ingredients so we made shepherd's pie ourselves and, having satisfied the craving for it, the Corner Stone ward should be safe from any requests for it in the near future!

On Tuesday, I got to do orientation to volunteer at the local Animal Shelter, and so much of Thursday was spent playing with puppies of all shapes and sizes (and ages really, but what dog isn't a puppy at heart?).  Serving at an animal shelter is great as a missionary, but I'm not sure it is something I could do at home.  You see, as missionaries we aren't allowed to have pets (and I forgot my plant in Colorado, so not even a green pet for me!) but as a normal person who could have a pet, it would be far too dangerous to be there.  I witnessed it happening last week.  Beware of the cute!

We are still brainstorming ways to help someone overcome water phobia.  Namely going underwater phobia.  As in, we have a couple of dry-Mormons here.  It's like potatoes, just add water :)

Or hot chocolate.  We had good excuse to have that yesterday ;) Which was delicious, but finally brings us to the real highlight of the week!  Yesterday was MOTHER'S DAY.  Talking to my family (well, the ones currently resident at home) was wonderful!  It is a nice chance to get back in touch with the way things are going at home.  (For some reason they didn't all freeze in place when I left....)  And I got to meet baby Eden on Skype!  She is the cutest little thing and anybody who is having trouble believing in God being a loving Heavenly Father and that we lived with Him before we came to earth should meet her.  I am sure that would settle all doubts.  I am so grateful for forever families and that we could have family prayer together as well!
That is something I have been looking forward to since Christmas ;) If that isn't something you have experienced before, you should give it a shot because families are the best!  If you don't know how, ask ;) but you really can't mess it up.

Also, every time I read the Bible Dictionary (LDS King James version) entry on prayer I learn something wonderful.  Then, as I begin to implement the thing that I learned I read it again and learn something new.  Talking to our Heavenly Father anywhere and all the time is such a blessing!  Talking to him appropriately and in the right way brings such great blessings.

Because of Skyping yesterday, we were able to decided together that the TMFWD color for tomorrow will be PURPLE :) I thought about picking a color and having it be the same every week, but we have decided to continue with different colors, of which striped may also be a color ;)

Lastly, a quote from my District Leader to make you smile. "The fear of being rejected us never as bad as actually being rejected.  I've had enough dates to know that!"

Such is the life of a missionary :)

I love you!  Have a great week!  Write me letters! (shameless plug;)  ) I have been inspired by one of the Sisters in my zone to be more on top of writing back!

love, Sister Emily DeFord

p.s. Some just for fun pictures taken while we were stuck at home last night :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 38: Pictures

(Editor's Note: These pictures didn't come through last week, so Sister DeFord re-sent them. Enjoy :-))

B and P are going to go on a mission someday, I know it! My hardest goodbye from Longmont.

Goodbye Sister P! One of the best missionary moms in the Ute Creek Ward!

Holey shoes that I just couldn't packing all over the place!

It's been a long day, but Welcome to Wyoming!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Week 38: 5/5/14

May 5, 2014
Cheyenne, WY
A funny thing about Wyoming.  On the transfer van from Loveland to Cheyenne, as soon as we crossed the border into Wyoming we saw our first snow flurries, and I am sure the speed of the wind doubled.  While I was actually beginning a tan in Longmont (you might not believe it because I am still white, but I definitely have a watch line) my first day in Cheyenne became a blizzard!  However, it has warmed up since Tuesday and been downright pleasant the past couple of days.  I am not holding my breath about that being permanent though.  This is one of those places where they occasionally have snow on the 4th of July.
Speaking of holidays with creative names, happy Cinco de Mayo!  Sadly this ward doesn't have the Spanish group, so I am missing what I am sure would be an awesome party.  Speaking of other important days, the anniversary of my wonderful, fabulous parents was on Thursday and they are still amazing and loving and happy and the best parents in the world!  Also, today is Elder Garrett's birthday over in West Virginia.  We have been friends since...3rd grade?  I am sure he is doing great work over there.  Tomorrow is happy birthday to my new companion, Sister Linsenmann!
Alright, I will try to bring you up to speed on the craziness of my life this past week.  Monday involved a lot of packing and cleaning and last things to get done.  It also involved overwhelming Elder Hanson with telling him all sorts of things about the people in the Ute Creek ward, which we did in addition to writing sticking notes all over the area book.  We also discovered that though we had assumed we could squeeze a few things in to the morning before transfers on Tuesday, I was going to need to be in Loveland at 10am to catch the transfer van up to Cheyenne!  Ah!  Rearrange and reschedule and I think we got everything covered.  Awesome farewell dinner with Sister Pickerell, some goodbye lessons and off to bed with us.
We got to see the S's on our way out of town, and they offered to send me with a gallon of water because apparently it isn't the same in Wyoming ;) That was a true statement, but it isn't too bad.  I was a little freaked out this morning when I looked at my cup

[by the way, how do you get Sister DeFord to drink more water?  Get her a Captain America cup!]
and saw this

My water had separated into two layers!  What is this craziness!  However, I later realized that water had gotten between the layers of my insulated cup, and that is what I was seeing as the second layer.  So it's all good.
Okay details on the new area...Sister Linsenmann is from Idaho, she will be hitting her year mark in a couple of weeks.  She was in the Corner Stone ward for one transfer before me.  She was 'born' in Boulder and I am the third Sister Trainer Leader she has been companions with.  I left Flick, our new Jeep in Longmont for the Elders (actually we left him in Loveland for the Elders to be able to get back to Longmont) however we got a white Jeep apparently from the Nebraska Elders who took the Cruze that used to be for this ward (hmm does someone not trust me with a Cruze anymore? ;) Or do they figure that if I get in another accident I need something like the Jeep to get through it?).
The Corner Stone ward is shared between Elders and Sisters which will be a new adventure for me but it seems good so far.  Elder Clay is our District Leader and Elder Brazzel is his new greenie who was friends with Elder Kurihara before they came out.  The ward seems very involved and excited which is awesome, and I love President Bailey (the Stake President) who I met at a missionary breakfast and Stake Conference this weekend.  How lucky are missionaries?  When else would you get to have two stake conferences in two months!  It was a little bit of a bummer for my first Sunday since I couldn't really meet the ward members, but we have been doing the rounds and meeting who we can.
As we went to contact a referral, it didn't look like they were home, but we parked outside their house and decided to make some phone calls for a few minutes. As we were doing so, a man came out of the house and up to the car. He asked if we had knocked on his door. To my knowledge, we were the only ones around and hadn't even gotten out of the car yet, but he thought he heard someone knocking and came out to check. He was the person we were looking for and we were able to set an appointment! That was a miracle to me.
So, I thought everyone in Longmont had a dog.  I was wrong, everyone in Cheyenne has a dog!  Literally, completely and usually it is way more than one.  We apparently also get to do service at an animal shelter and at a museum!  Which is pretty sweet.  Maybe more on that another time :)
So Tuesday was Transfer day, Wednesday we had District meeting and service, Thursday I don't actually remember and Friday we had to get up early so I could carpool with the STLs from Laramie and the Cheyenne East Zone to go back to Loveland for Mission Leader Council.  A couple of things were proposed at this conference which President Brown asked for our discussion and support on that made me think "Wow, what timing to have been called for this particular leadership council."  For quite some time President Brown has felt prompted to make some 'clarifications' on the White Handbook's policies for music and preparation day.  So some new policies are:
Music: is it appropriate for Sacrament meeting?  This means hymns only and arrangements and instrumentation which could be played in a Sacrament meeting.  Not that other music is necessarily 'bad' but there needed to be a line drawn which was black and white, so this is it.
Preparation days: No gatherings of missionaries.  An occasional, pre-approved district gathering may be permitted.  Also, except for essentials such as grocery shopping and email, park the car.  Walk or bike.
We have been promised that with these changes, which will be an adjustment for those of us who have been out a while, but will be a blessing of simply the way things are to any new missionaries coming in, we will have the Spirit in greater measure and more power to fulfill our callings.  I am excited to see what happens.
Other notes: sorry I forgot a TMFWD color for this week!  Tomorrow it is going to be RED :) And anyone know how to help someone get over a fear of water?  We have a couple of literally dry Mormons here, the only thing keeping them from that important covenant of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is a huge and terrible fear of water.
We also can't forget the very important day coming up, Mother's Day!  In the missionary world this is a huge deal because I will be Skyping my family!  So, because family is most important, please leave mine free on Sunday unless you are part of it ;) I love you a lot but am too busy to miss you most of the time ;) Hopefully you are the same!  I will work on getting some Wyoming pictures, but instead we are going to have some goodbye to Longmont ones.
love, Sister Emily DeFord

Did I send this one before?  Last trip to Estes!

take ALL the selfies!

Actually last (mission) goodbye!  Hermana Seaborn is now home to Canada!

Ain't we cute?  I accidentally forgot to change out of this shirt (it feels like pros) and so it will pop up again...