Friday, March 21, 2014

Dinner Appointments

Several of the ward members in Dallin's area have emailed us pictures of him and his companion when they have visited their homes for dinner.  What a fun surprise to receive them and to know that our boy is in good, caring hands and is being well taken care of.  Thank you to all families everywhere who go out of their way to serve the missionaries.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fires and Earthquakes and Heatwaves, Oh My!

Sadly, I did not feel either of the two earthquakes we've had in the past couple days. Everyone else did, though! It's probably because I was laying in the rocking chair in our apartment.

Yesterday was quite an interesting Sunday. Besides the normality of walking doors and getting doors slammed in our faces (Only two real slammed doors so far), not much happened in the way of missionary success. At the end of church, the fire alarm started going off! Lights started flashing everywhere, and the fire alarm talked to us. That was pretty weird. Us Mormons though didn't panic, and we took our good sweet time getting out of the building. Everyone automatically knew that it was a child who threw the alarm, but as the law goes, the firemen had to come check it out. Standing outside with everyone we watched the firetruck pull up and the firemen come out in their yellow suits to go check the building. Obviously nothing was wrong, but we took the chance to take some pictures of the truck because why not.

This past week in general has been alright. We had zone interviews on Friday, where everyone gets ten minutes to talk with President Hall. 

Since we baptized all of our progressing investigators, we're back to square one: Finding. We have a few investigators, but none are progressing... yet!

An older couple who's grand-daughter is marrying a member want to know what she's getting herself into. But they don't want to learn to convert! ...yeah right. With the way that we discuss the lessons with them, and the doctrinal questions we discuss with them, they'll definitely come to know that the Gospel is true.

A lady is our newest investigator as of Wednesday, but I know nothing about her as we were on exchanges with the Zone Leaders then. Hopefully we can get in to teach her soon. All I know is that she's the mother of one of our former investigators.

We have another investigator who is an interesting fellow... He's been an investigator for quite some time, apparently. He's a recovering drug addict, but has been having troubles with it again lately. He keeps on cancelling our appointments, so we may have to drop him as an investigator, which'll be sad. I guess before I came into the area, he had had all the lessons and a baptismal date, but then went off the radar for about a month and has been getting worse since he got back. Sad.

Besides trying to get in with them, it's all knocking and trying to get in with our few potential investigators.

Before I forget, the heatwave part of the subject line is no joke. Spring starts this week, and it's already getting into the 90s. Yesterday our car showed 92 degrees, and I don't doubt that that's what it was! This summer will be a real scorcher, especially with the drought. We may have gotten a few days of rain, but it definitely will not be enough. I've heard rumors that Northern California, or wherever our water comes from, may cut off our water supply because they need it just as bad as we do.

Elder DeFord

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's a Nice Day for a White Dunking

On Saturday, we had FIVE baptisms! Said that we would in last week's email, so it's not a huge surprise, but it's still cool! The people baptized are shown in the attached pictures. The family has been working with the church more-or-less since November. A young man in the family heard in passing that one of his friends in school was a Mormon and, not knowing what a Mormon was, found himself on downloading the Book of Mormon. After reading about it and praying about it, he walked into church, went up to the missionaries who he had absolutely no contact with before, and said that he wanted to be baptized. On our sheets, he was lasted as "Miracle" under the "How Contacted" section. He was baptized in January. Soon after, his family, which includes his younger brothers, his mom, and his grandparents, all started to come to church and began taking the lessons. On March 8, 2014, they too were baptized into the church, and were then confirmed the next day (yesterday) into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I got to stand in the circle for that, which was pretty cool.

Elder Davidson did all the baptisms, and the family had our ward mission leader do all the confirmations. That took a chunk out of Sacrament meeting, and we still had 3 speakers and a musical number after that. Plus all the paperwork which pulled us out of our other church meetings.

We had a couple things happen last week that were interesting. First, we had an exchange with the Copper Hill West elders. I stayed in the area, and Elder Coles from my MTC district became my companion. We had the car, and I got to drive. I don't know how we managed it, but we have the newest car in the mission. We're driving a 2014 Ford Fusion, and it's really nice! We just got the odometer to 1000 miles today. Our work that day was amazing! We hit our contact goal, 27 out of 25, and we got 5 potential investigators. Miracles always happen on exchanges, and I'll be going on plenty as Elder Davidson is the District Leader.

A funny thing happened while Elder Davidson and I were trying to visit some potential investigators a few days ago. While waiting to see if one would answer her door (she didn't), we heard a man across the street start yelling at us. We look over and he's yelling at us to leave the neighborhood as it's "private property". He even threatened us multiple times that he would call the Sheriff on us. The neighborhood, as we already knew, had private roads. According to the signs outside the neighborhood, that's the only private thing about it. Walking, soliciting, and proselyting are completely allowed. Gated communities are the only places we can't proselyte in. We actually wanted an officer to come, but that's partly because we wanted a story to tell. We both have our papers certifying us as preachers, and we weren't doing anything illegal, so if an officer had come, we'd have been in the right. Also, luckily, many officers around here are Mormon, or at least respect the work we do and would not do anything to disrupt the work. We did stay in the area for another 10-20 minutes, but no one ever showed up to put us in cuffs and haul us away. So sad.

Elder DeFord

Monday, March 3, 2014


I meant to send a letter the first day of the new transfer, but by the time I remembered a couple days later, I thought I may as well wait until today to send the news. I'm in Valencia now, in the Seco Canyon ward, serving with Elder Davidson from Missouri who has about 6 months left to go on his mission. He's also the district leader, so this transfer will be interesting... P-Days and emailing will vary due to that. Not everyone has cars, so we have to carpool people around.

In this new area, we have 5 baptism dates set for this Saturday. It's a family, obviously, but nonetheless, that's awesome! I don't really get to count them as "my" baptisms, since they've been set since before I was transferred. The work is better in this area. A lot more people home. Hope good things come from it.

The first Thursday after the transfer we had an exchange. President Hall has a training with all the DL's right after transfers, so all the DL's companions get together and do an exchange. Each zone this transfer got a new district, putting us at 3 districts in this zone. With the influx of missionaries, especially sisters which is why many areas were changed to sister areas, we needed more as the districts were getting too big. Since we have an odd number of districts here, we combined all three for the exchange, so I was in my first tripanionship of my mission. That was fun, covering a whole zone. We went to Cafe Rio for lunch, and a member payed for us. May have happened anyways as the owner is Mormon. I heard he used to be a Mission President somewhere.

Yeah, we definitely got a lot of rain in the past week! The worst it got was something like a mid-winter rain back home. Nice and wet! We definitely didn't stay dry, though. We were out knocking in it, and I really got to test the trench coat (which President Hall loved, by the way). It held up pretty darn well for not waterproofing it. It took quite a while for it to start getting to my clothes beneath. Luckily we have a good size washer and dryer to get our clothes looking good again.

I hope everything with Grandma goes well. It'll be a new beast of a challenge when she goes home, but with faith she and everyone around her will be alright as she gets used to life back home.

Hope things continue to go awesome back home!

Elder Dallin DeFord

Monday, February 24, 2014

I've completed the Blazin' Challenge!

That's a Buffalo Wild Wings thing . 12 wings, 6 minutes is the challenge. We both beat that, with me doing it under 2. Everyone, including the servers, was under the impression I got it free for doing that. Apparently though, the managers had just got an email where they couldn't do that anymore, and didn't tell anyone, so I still had to pay for it. Oh well, I got a free shirt.

We got two new investigators this week! One of them came from a referral from the spanish elders, and the other came from the YSA sisters. Honestly, any investigators we get come from them. One of them, John, is an old friend of a member of our ward which is pretty cool. We had a second lesson with him today but he wasn't there. He really wants to learn though, as his girlfriend and son's mother is a member and he wants to become more of a family man for her. It's pretty cool. The other guy, Pierre, we don't know much about. We taught him about the Book of Mormon on his doorstep and had a prayer with him which is enough to count him as a new investigator. Sadly, we won't be seeing any of our investigators again...


Cause we're being transferred. Calls came on Saturday, and both Elder Argyle and myself are being transferred out of the area. We're being "Pink Washed" with two sisters. Seems our new investigators are for them to teach, which is why we did the first lessons, prepping them for new sisters. The actual transfer meeting will be tomorrow, so I've no clue where I'm going yet. Likely I'll be going to the valley. Who knows. It's been good being with Elder Argyle and this ward, but I'm ready for a change. This ward is disintegrating slowly due to the people in the ward not acting together as a ward family in unity, but maybe the sisters will be able to make a change. We've done all we could and made starting steps to reactivating this ward, but it will take a loooooong time. When I get settled in, I'll send down a letter with my new address and such.

Besides that, all's good. Work continues to chug along.

Love you all,
Elder Dallin DeFord

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I Am a Master Chef!

Dang, that stinks about the Camry! But at least Katherine is okay, and that's all that matters.
We had an interesting experience last night. Elders Thomas and Nielson, our District Leader and companion, needed blessings. Thomas burned his wrist with boiling water while making pasta, and Nielson was just sick. We gave them both blessings, and it's always interesting what you say when you give one. I didn't even think of it beforehand, but when I gave Nielson his blessing, it sounded like I was reaffirming his setting apart as an Elder. Kind of cool.

Besides that little event, there isn't anything to report. Transfers are a week from now, and we'll know who's staying and going this Saturday. I think I'll be staying and Elder Argyle will be leaving, but who knows.
As for the title of this email, I have had a chance to make both the muffins and the Banana Wonder Cake! Sadly, we don't have a Bundt pan, so we had to make do with 8-inch cake pans. Still working on the cooking time with them. I also made a delicious peanut butter banana smoothie! I have to half the recipes because my blender is too small for the normal ones. Pictures shall be attached.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy (early) Valentine's Day

WOW that's a lot of snow! Your drought is definitely better dealt with than ours. We've had a couple showers here and there, but not much besides that.
Again, there's not much going on in this area this past week. The area is dead, but we're trying to revitalize it. Apparently this ward used to be so full that you had to fight for space in the chapel! Now there's plenty of room in there, with half the active families coming in late and the ward occasionally starting 5-10 minutes late. So many families inactive, it's sad. And it all happened within a few years. One way this is going to change, we hope, is by having one of our ward missionaries start filling out our dinner calender. They're going to be prioritizing calling less active and inactive families to feed us, and then we'll share a message with them afterwards. Maybe we can get this ward pumping again, even if contacting and getting new investigators doesn't really work.
Yesterday we had an open house at church during the second and third hours. People were challenged to invite and bring a nonmember to the second (first if they could) hour of church, where we had a "Meet the Mormons" type fair. We had about 12 nonmembers in Sacrament meeting, but only a couple in the second hour which was supposed to be the big ticket event. No new investigators, sadly.
Speaking of V-Day (Referring to the title), apparently kids here get the day of from school and seminary. I find that strange. We actually had to teach seminary on Friday, so we had to wake up at 5 in the morning, and then were up for about 20 hours straight because of different reasons. It was a long day full of meetings and such.
I also got to drive last week! First time driving in about 3 months, and I didn't get in an accident! We were on exchanges and I stayed in the area for the first time, so I became designated driver for a day. Chevy Cruzes are pretty nice, and have a great turning radius.
That's all for this week, unless I forgot something. Hope I didn't!
Love you all,
Elder DeFord