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, 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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Week 73: New address

The mission office will be switching over to the new and permanent building on January 14th.  
So to send mail to me it will be:

Sister Emily DeFord
Colorado Fort Collins Mission
500 Hillspire Drive
Windsor, CO 80550

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 73: 1/5/2015

January 5, 2015
Longmont, CO

Sometimes I am distracted very easily.  Like when I was writing the date in my journal on January 1st, and was determined to write the year correctly, but somewhere between the 'Jan-' and the '20-' part I got distracted from my goal and did it wrong.  Now that had made me even more determined to write it right the rest of the time though!

First part of the news from the end of the week is (drum roll please!) exactly what I expected to happen with transfers is happening!  Every once in a while I have an idea ;) Sister Allen and I are staying together for the next transfer! (sidenote: there seems to be a possibility that Sister Allen's uncle Jeff and my uncle Don were mission companions)  Hermana Ferrell will be departing from us to head to Boulder and train again, dear, brave, chosen Hermana Benny is staying here to train a new missionary.  They can use all of the prayers anyone can spare, though I'm sure the Lord knows what he is doing and is prepared to uphold them.  Hermana Benny was called at a special time, where she would have to train after her first transfer, the Lord doesn't call just anyone to do that.  We will continue having as much fun in the work as we can handle!

Do you remember D______ from way back when?  Well, due to the boundary change she is no longer in the ward, but we get to work with her grown up daughter N_____ now.  She has had a rough life, but really is working on drawing closer to God and relying on him and his plans for her.  My favorite part of talking with her this week though was when she told us about a job that she did, which included a lot of heavy lifting and stuff like that.  People would think she was a sissy because she looked nice, but her response was, "Don't underestimate my eyeliner."  There is a girl after my own heart :)

Another funny quote of the week, by Sister Allen as we were talking about the importance of baptism and the ways we want to help other people understand that, though really this is a summation of how not to do it, "I think we should terrify them first, then tell them how to not be peons on this earth through baptism."

We went tracting this week, on New Year's day and I got into more houses than I ever have in one tracting experience.  However, most of them were just nice people who felt bad for us in the cold and didn't want to talk about anything related to the gospel with us.  There was one really nice lady named R____ who is 95!  She lives on her own still and invited us in and gave us cookies.  Figuring it was too difficult to explain to her about Sister Allen's food allergy, we each took a cookie and I ate both of them ;) I would take a bite of mine, then when R____ wasn't looking Sister Allen would hand me a piece of hers.  Oh the things we do for our companions!  She sent us home with a bag of more of them that Brother Seyfi helped us out with :)

 I forgot to mention last week that my prophecy concerning Brother Baker came true.  He was our WML, he also had the same phone as us!  Not many people do.  When I went up to Cheyenne our WML up there had the same phone, so apparently this is a thing for the WML to have.  I came back and Brother Baker was still the WML, but then they switched over to smartphones and I said he would have to be released, and last Sunday he was!  That was unexpected, I was just joking.  Brother Dix is the new WML though which will be fun, I know him pretty well because I lived at their house the last time I was here :) We had a breakfast there on Saturday to talk about the missionary work and I think it went quite well.  He even got gluten-free oatmeal for my companion to have!

Last, and sort of least at this point, my birthday was this week!  For the first time that I can remember I did not wear a tiara on my birthday, but the Merrills did have a birthday hat for me when we were at their house for dinner ;) And we got to have a party since we had to be home at 6:30pm.  The Seyfis were gone at a party, so I put on my giraffe pajamas, we baked cake, blew up balloons (some of the glowy ones are still glowing!), popped some martinellis, and were just settling down to watch The Testaments when the doorbell rang.  I jumped up, then let Sister Allen get the door herself because, well, giraffe pajamas.  It was the Gees!  They were coming over to play games with us and the Seyfis!  So, giraffe pajamas and all I made an appearance ;) We had a fun evening together, including poppers provided by my marvelous mama!  It was a good day.

Hopefully you have all also had wonderful starts to the new year of 2015 and don't forget to include Heavenly Father when you make goals, he may have some ideas of what will help!

love, Sister Emily DeFord

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Week 72: 12/29/14

December 29, 2014
Longmont, CO

The funny thing about skyping is trying to remember what I already talked about/coming up with other things to talk about now/remembering that some of you weren't there for the skyping so I can talk about all of it anyway!

This was a great week!  However there were a few sad moments.  We had one of those experiences this week where we were walking to an appointment (we still have the car but we are walking as much as we can anyway) and we talked to someone on the street who was quite willing to talk at us, and pity us for our misguided belief in a higher power.  I learned something neat thinking back on this experience and another similar one earlier in the week.  In the Doctrine and Covenants we are promised that if we are doing missionary work then we won't be confounded before men.  Sometimes it feels like I am though, when I literally have nothing to say to someone.  There are things that I could say, and doctrines and testimony that might be brought up, but none of it feels right.  I feel kind of confounded.  However, I realized that sometimes the Spirit constrains us from speaking, when it isn't going to do any good.  Instead of confounding, I would now call what I experience more of a stupor of thought.  Not because the doctrine is wrong, but because the person I am speaking to is not willing to open their ears to hear and hearts to understand.  I think not being confounded is more about not having your own testimony shaken than always having a comeback.  In an interesting way, I find that my testimony is always strengthened by experiences like this.  If not immediately, then as I ponder and search out the answers to questions they may have raised, I always learn.

Also, on the same walk to the same appointment, we saw another man outside shoveling his walk across the street.  My companion and I looked and each other, nodded, and went across to talk to him.  Just because one person wasn't friendly today, we can't let that scare us out of talking to someone else who may be (and in this case was) very friendly and willing to have a good conversation!  He also gave us a referral to his artist friend down the street.  

We seem to have a problem here, that we can't seem to keep a hold on too many investigators at once.  You see, we have really been working on asking good questions and inspired questions, which can even happen in texting an investigator you haven't been able to contact for 3 weeks.  Yay Z___ is back on the map!  However, now F____ has disappeared.  What can you do?  Only all you can, luckily the Lord knows what is going on with him, and can help him out better than we can, though sometimes we get to be the tools.

Christmas was wonderfully fabulous!  We got to do stockings with the Seyfis and the Hermanas in the morning, somehow Santa managed to pick my stocking up from home and drop it off there!  I guess that is a perk of the Christmas Eve practice run at home.  First breakfast of ice cream was delicious.  Then breakfast at President Richards' house and getting schooled at pool.  Awesome though because Sydney is preparing for a mission after high school, and they don't have sisters in her ward so we invited her to come out with us!

Back to the Seyfis for opening presents and watching How To Train Your Dragon 2 which I absolutely really loved.  Also, how could I almost have forgotten to mention that Hermana Jarvis, who has been home for 8 months came and spent Christmas with us and it was so good to see her!  Plus, this was living proof that there is life after the mission :)

First dinner and playing nertz with the Gablers was really fun, and watching my companion try to avoid the not as well done parts of her steak, when she's not that big a fan of meat anyway, was fun too.  I am impressed with her skills ;)

The snow really fell while we were at the Gablers, but we still had no trouble getting to the Bartholomews to 'hangout' with our families!  It was really exciting to get to see almost everyone, though the video cut out on their end part way through so I was invisible.  Everybody is growing so much!  And I got to see Eden walk, and Heather is pregnant and I am going to be there in June so I am super duper hugely excited about that.  Peter and Dallas and Dolly were there so it was really fun.  Adam's voice is changing and I think Michael's hair is even curlier than before, but maybe that is just his perpetual need for a haircut :)

I am so grateful for everyone who tried to make Christmas special and fun for us as missionaries, and I am incredibly grateful for the whole reason of it.  Everything really comes back to Jesus Christ.  As a mission we have been challenged to read the Book of Mormon and highlight every reference to Christ, his attributes, words, and doctrines.  As I've been doing this the stories and distractions have faded into the background and I have been able to see even more how it is simply as it proclaims, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and as President Hinckley promised, as we prayerfully read the Book of Mormon there comes "a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God."  It's true.

love, Sister Emily DeFord

Best Christmas Present Ever

Goodbye to Selina

Hello to Suzanne

Yum! Jeweled Rice

Santa's Going Green

White Elephant Gift Exchange WIN