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, August 26, 2014

Week 54: 8/25/14

August 25, 2014
Cheyenne, WY
You know what is interesting?  When you get to the end of the day very tired and can't at first figure out why.  On paper it looks like little has been accomplished though you have been working all day.  However, as you reflect, small bright points poke through the regular work.  As one appears it triggers another and another until the day is really seen for those wonderful happenings and the rest melts away in the midst of so much light.  For me, this is how much of my week goes.  Ordinary (for a missionary) activities and ordinary conversations and every day prayers and every day visits.  Every once in a while there is something very bright that happens, as someone's countenance changes, or they choose to keep a commandment which has been difficult, or we get some great news and I imagine if we could really see the brightness of the angels which were present and helping at such moments we would be blinded and overwhelmed.
So, we had some ordinary moments this week.  I think I took a nap on p-day which was great :) but I didn't get as much done as I might have otherwise ;) We finally really got to talk to B______ (potential investigator) and she had a couple of questions up front about the Church, such as how it differs from Christianity in general and views on gay marriage.  That second one was one of those scary moments where I almost didn't want to answer, not because I'm afraid to stand for the truth, but I didn't want her to completely close off her heart to the gospel before giving it a chance and understanding how that stance has come about (through revelation) and why it is so important (eternal families and eternal increase).  Here was a glowing moment though, we talked about how she could read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out if it is true, and through that she would be able to determine if there is a prophet on earth today not setting the standard, but revealing God's standard.  She agreed to do so!  That just encourages this little missionary's heart :)
More normalness (for a Sister Training Leader) we had an exchange with the Frontier sisters (last one of the transfer, now we get one normal week to end on!).  Sister Metzger and Sister Jarvis are such fun sisters and love what they do as missionaries.  Sister Metzger and I had an interesting experience as one of their investigators called us over and said she needed us right away.  Turns out, she is a painter and was having a creative block!  We helped her a bit as we could and then had a lesson.  It is amazing because she has been addicted to pain pills since she was 12 and has done other drugs in the meantime.  She has now been clean for almost 3 weeks!  However, since most of her previous art has been done while she was high, she is having to relearn a lot.  She is sticking with it though, and truly since she has been sober she has been far more open to the Spirit in her life.  Sparkling!
We met another less active member this week who is going through a divorce and trying to find somewhere to move.  We told her we would keep our ears open about anywhere that was renting inexpensively, you never know, we pick up some random information :) While at a lesson with another sister it randomly occurred to me to ask Sister Aguirre and Sister Webb if they knew of anything like that.  We got one contact for the first sister to try, and it turns out that Sister Aguirre is looking for a house and Sister Webb is a closet home buying specialist ;) It set them off on a whole other avenue where now Sister Webb will be helping Sister Aguirre who hasn't bought a house before!  Super cool random Spirit promptings :)
We also had a tender mercy in the normal things in that we had one evening which was one appointment after another and we forgot to plan travel time for a couple of farther out ones so we were getting behind, but our last appointment of the evening cancelled so we were still able to take the time we needed with those we did see!
For investigator news, V______ came to church!  We still couldn't meet with A_____, but should be able to this week because her schedule is going to be less crazy :) We were going to go dress shopping with D____ so she would come to church, but her daughter ended up in the hospital so we put that off and are just hoping that there aren't any more complications.  Plus, J___, mister move-to-Minnesota, is going to be some missionaries' miracle as he shows up to church with his aunt there!
One week left in the transfer!  Holy guacamole!  Haha I almost forgot about our Spanglish lesson this week with M____ and M________, Sister Christensen said "Holy cow" and M________ thought that was soo funny "vaca santa" :)
TMFWD shall be.....PURPLE :)
Just in case we were going to be transferred out of Wyoming, we finally went over to the welcome to Wyoming sign and took pictures this morning :) It is just across the freeway from our house so we went for a walk for our workout this morning :)
Are you starting school this week?  Cheyenne is!  Good luck to all school starters!
love, Sister Emily DeFord

Week 53: 8/18/14

August 18, 2014
Cheyenne, WY
Well I want to start off with a couple of stories, not mine, but good ones nonetheless.  A few weeks ago, Brother R____ gave a talk in Sacrament meeting.  He said he had a dream once where he and his wife were standing in front of a wall covered with chalkboards.  They had chalk in their hands and were instructed to list out all od their sins on the chalkboards.  He said that his wife only had a chalkboard or two and she was done, but for him they kept adding more and bringing out bigger and bigger ladders for him to reach the extra chalkboards.  After many hours he finally climbed down the ladder.  She gave him a hug and said, "I'm so proud of you, you're finally done." And he told her, "I'm not done yet, I just came down for more chalk!"
Yesterday, Brother G_______ spoke in Sacrament meeting.  Following Brother R____'s talk, he also had a dream with chalk.  He and Bishop L____ were standing in front of a building with all kinds of words written on it, and a ladder going straight up.  They too each had a bucket of chalk.  They were told that the words were all of the sins in the world, and to go up the ladder and circle the ones they thought applied to them.  Brother G_______ said he struggled to reach all of the words from the ladder and made very slow progress.  Bishop moved a little more quickly and soon was a few floors ahead on the building.  Then Brother G_______ saw him coming down.  Thinking of Brother R____'s talk, he was going to tease the Bishop about needing more chalk, but saw that his bucket was still full.  Instead, Bishop told him, "No I don't need more chalk, but the Savior is just a few floors up and he has already taken care of each of these sins.  You don't need to worry about them anymore.  He sent me back to get you and bring you to him."
How much time do we spend trying to identify and circle and worry over each of our sins, instead of quickly making our way to the Savior?  That one gave me a lot to ponder on.
There is just no hiding when you are a missionary!  This week, we were just walking through the parking lot of an apartment building after visiting someone and a man called out to us, "Do you know Jesus?"  "Yes!" we said.  "Are you a Christian?" he called again and we again said "yes, do you know Jesus too?"  "Yes, I'm a Christian" he said, and then told us about how he knew we were Christian (he had been too far away to see our tags at all) because we glowed.  That's why he came over to talk with us, and we were able to set an appointment with his family.
Then!  At the animal shelter where we wear jeans and the same t-shirt as all of the volunteers, everyone has to wear a nametag too so we really blend in, a little girl came up to talk to us with her grandma and says, "Hey!  I go to that church!"  I guess we don't blend like we thought :)
We had an amazing exchange this week with the Eastridge sisters which I really appreciated and learned a lot from.  Seriously, I'm not always sure what the other sisters learn on exchanges, but I sure learn a lot!  Though exchanges have not made me get to know Cheyenne any better...I lose track of where we are before we get back to their area and then am somewhat confused directionally for a day.  There aren't any convenient mountains here like in Longmont!  Plus, the streets here tend to be at weird angles to each other.
Anyway, we did forget to take an exchange picture, that is a bummer :( but I do have a picture of the personal cake we made for R_____ for his birthday!  Plus trimming down a not-birthday candle to light for the cake since we forgot to get candles on Monday :) Maybe not used as anticipated, but the sunshine candle was put to a good purpose ;)

We also had an incredible lesson with A______ this week!  She is only 17 and the only member in her family.  She has been going through some tough things and hasn't been to church in a long time.  We happened to have the perfect timing to catch her at home--one of those where we pull up and the car isn't there, but prayed anyway and when we were done there they were!--and retaught about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  At the end of it, A______ shared some of her feelings and testimony, and her face was glowing :) It was a beautiful moment.
You know how whenever there is a ward activity and we decide to do a food contest, the missionaries are the go-to for judges?  Well, it never occurred to me that I was in that position, until we were asked to judge the pies at the ward BBQ!  (Celebrating the Corner Stone ward's third birthday)  So we sacrificed, and did it ;) Just kidding, we got to eat some delicious pie!  Which is one of my favorite things anyway, so life is good :)
This week, since it was a year since I went into the MTC and started up my missionary journal, I decided to look back at my journal to what I was thinking a year ago.  It was interesting, because I can remember those thoughts and feelings like it was last week, yet I feel like a very different Sister DeFord.  There has been a lot of learning and growing and spiritual maturing that has come since then.  Hopefully you still recognize me at home ;)
TMFWD should!  Because Samantha sent me some news today which makes that fitting ;)
love, Sister Emily DeFord

Week 52: 8/11/14

August 11, 2014
Cheyenne, WY
My priorities have been realigned once again so I am writing my weekly report first ;) But first, a flashback.  One year ago, today, I used my personal cellphone for the last time, talked to my best friend, now Elder Oldham, for the last time, then went and ate delicious kettle corn made by Doug as comfort food :) Later that night I was able to have much of my family gather around, including grandparents DeFord, to have Bishop Smith and President Call in my home to be set apart "by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the gospel"
(Ha, bet you never saw the 5th Article of Faith like that before :) Oh, and what is my missionary textbook called?  Preach My Gospel)
We got to hear testimonies from my family, and my dad gave me advice about being a missionary which I have shared with each of my companions, plus a few ;) That is just how good the advice was!
Later that night, Adam told me he had wanted to take me to see Despicable Me 2 but we ran out of time because he was leaving for Scout camp early the next morning, but we have a date for when I get back ;)
The next day I had a minor freak out (minor, right mom?) about my departure date from the MTC which had me only being there for 5 days.
Two days after being set apart was goodbye to my family besides Mom and Michael (who skipped band to come with me!) one stop at the doctor to get a wart off of my toe literally on our way out of town and a long drive down to Utah (with stops for ice cream and in Boise to see Peter and Dallas on the way) where we got to see some of the Ransom family!
Then Wednesday morning took lots of deep breaths before being finally dropped off by mom and Michael at the MTC into a whirlwind of I didn't know what.
That whirlwind has continued in different forms for all of the past year.  Probably it will continue for the rest of this life in some way, shape, or form, as it really was going ever since I became accountable.  However, this is the promise on which I rest, some advice given from a father to his sons, which they decided to share with others because that is just how good the advice was!
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." (Helaman 5:12)
Speaking of foundations, have you seen the work on the Fort Collins temple recently?  If not there you go!
This week I got to have 3 different companions!  Sister Christensen and I have decided to leave week one and week six of the transfer with no exchanges in them (hopefully) but that means we have to double up one week, and this was the lucky week!
Sister Sowder and I had one of those days where everything falls through but it turns out great anyway, even despite the attack of the flying ants and the sudden downpour :)
Then Sister Christensen and I were companions long enough to do a training at our zone meeting, before switching again and I got to bring Sister Cardon home!  (Sister Cardon is from Yakima, by the way:) ).  We had a really neat experience together.  There was a potential investigator named J___ who we hadn't gotten ahold of for a while, so we went to see if we could catch him.  Turns out he was going to be moving in a few days so it is a good thing we caught him then!  He has had a rather horrible couple of weeks but found some peace in talking to us.  He really loves Jesus Christ, knows the Bible, and applies it!  He then told us about how he had prayed to ask God if there was a faith he should be involved with, and the next day was when we tracted into him for the first time.  He prayed again to ask if that was his answer, and we texted him.  Though he is moving to Minnesota he still wants to learn, and it seems that his life will be taking a turn for the better there, where he can focus on those spiritual things a little bit more.
Then we had a small world moment as we got a referral from some other sisters for a man named E___.  We went to track down the address and discovered it was the same place where we had spanglished to someone a few weeks ago!  We haven't gotten ahold of E___ yet, but not to worry, things like that don't happen on accident ;)
I love you all mucho and can't wait to wear pink with you for TMFWD tomorrow ;) Try not to get too toasty over there in Washington!
love, Sister Emily DeFord

Week 51: 8/4/14

Editor's Note: We got only a token email today on p-day, but a nice snail mail later in the week. Unfortunately that threw off my groove and I got a little behind on the blog. Enjoy

Weekly Report
Cheyenne, WY
August 4, 2014

Dear Fambly,
Old school weekly report here we go! Hopefully this and the sd card get to you with no problems. This should have all the pictures since the last time I sent one home? I know I had you put all the pictures on the one you sent back, but you still have a copy at home, right?

Funny thing about people—we often manage to mess up perfectly good systems. We have literally been waiting months to get a large print Book of Mormon for J___, and it turns out there has been one all along in the clerk’s office! So happily, we were able to deliver that to her this week, now she may be able to progress a little better.

An exchange with Hermana Smith this week, no Vaseline this time :-) She is coming up on the end of her mission, so we talked about what habits or traits she has acquired as a missionary that she wants to continue with at home. It made me reflect on the same thing, where will Emily and Sister DeFord meet at home?
Then I think, I’ll worry about it later :-) Plenty of time left! And not enough at all.

The exchange had to end a bit early since we ended up having interviews with President Brown. Talked to him a lot this week actually, interviews, MLC, phone tag all weekend to ask what to do about our Spanish investigators…theoretically this will be a quieter week ;-)

It was wonderful to see so many sisters I love at MLC! Plus, there are quite a few sisters there who love Sister Carbno which just makes me happy :-) She is still in Longmont, in the Mountain View ward and doing very well it seems. She did tell me that P__ quit investigating for some reason :-( I’m not giving up hope though, just learning more patience!

Here is the interesting plot for the week. On Tuesday, Elder Hanks and Elder Clay (our zone leaders) met a woman named K____ who said she wanted the missionaries over. She just moved here but is less active, they met her at the library. They got her information and passed it along to us on Wednesday at district meeting. On Friday we met her. Apparently her dad was LDS and her mom was RLDS. Mostly she went to the LDS church though, growing up. Then she married a Catholic and her daughters were baptized Catholic, but never really went to church. Got her information (as well as a referral to her daughter and gave a Book of Mormon to her friend :-)) so we could order her records. Saturday the plot thickens. Brother Walker can’t find her records. We get a maiden name and a middle name, still nothing. New investigator?

And finally, we met a man yesterday named J___ who decided to call me Henry because my last name is Ford :-)

Love, Sister Henry DeFord

p.s. I have been having a discussion with myself about how we can be “devastated” (Preach My Gospel page 8) but not “discouraged” (Preach My Gospel page 10). I have some ideas, but do you have any thoughts?