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

Monday, January 27, 2014

No Sales Tax at Vons!

I discovered last week that when I use my/our Safeway Rewards card at Vons, it recognizes me belonging to Oregon and it forgoes the sales tax! We found this out because we've run out of MSF (which will be reloaded this Friday, thank goodness), and so we decided to buy rice with what we had left. Still working on that whole "budget" thing.

Last week, I ripped another set of pants. Did I email about the first ones I ripped? Maybe I only put that in the audio journal. First ones ripped getting into the car, these ones ripped while moving boxes. Both ripped right on the seam, which leads me to believe that the seam was bad. They were both the nice black ones we got from Kohls. First ones I got fixed and strengthened, and I'll do the same with the other ones when MSF gets reloaded. We have a cleaner around here who gives a 10% discount to missionaries. It's nice.

Your little package arrived safe and sound. UNO might be fun, and the other churchy card game looks interesting. It's like a variation of the card game "Golf" that we like to play.

It's awesome that Katherine was accepted at BYU-I, too! SVU sounds pretty cool, though. And William's joining the Cadets?! That'll be fun. Make sure he gets video of himself being pepper sprayed. He can laugh at it later.

It really does sound busy up there, which sounds nicer than here. This area is just dead, but we're hoping to be able to teach a family starting this week! This guy's name is Ernie, and he and his family (especially the kids!) can't wait to learn more about Jesus! Besides that bit of good news, all we get are dropped appointments by everyone. We had four drop in one day! No fun. Dawn always cancels, Renola has pneumonia, Teddy is working on the Super Bowl, etc...

It's going to be awesome for everyone now that dad has a new job! It'll be really exciting! It's amazing seeing the blessing that come from supporting missionary work. And they'll only continue!

At the same time that your package arrived, the quilt that everyone's been working on also arrived! I'll attach a couple pictures, and I'd appreciate it if you could forward them to Grandma and Grandpa! I'm sure they'd love to see it in use! (note to readers....Dallin's grandma had a massive stroke right before Dallin left on his mission.  She and Dallin's grandpa are avid quilters and were working on a quilt for Dallin to take on his mission.  Dallin's aunts pieced it together, grandpa quilted it, and an aunt did the binding and sent it to Dallin in the mission field).

That's really it for this week. I'm waiting for some responses to some letters I sent out, but it's been a couple weeks since I sent them.

Loving you all from afar,

~Elder Dallin DeFord

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This Message is a Day Late.......

The library was closed yesterday due to MLK Jr Day, so we're emailing a day late. 

The bottles (The Missionary's Health Potion, The Missionary's Manna Potion, The Missionary's Spirit Potion) are just decoration. They had sparkling apple cider in them, then I took the labels off, filled them with Gatorade, and then put the labels on them. I'm getting more ties because missionaries trade ties! It's what we do at the end of a transfer. I could trade 1 nicer tie for 3 ties of a bit less value and be happy, but I just need room to put them up.

That's awesome news about dad's possible job opportunity! It'd be awesome if he got the job. I hope the dental is good, as the canine that Brother Seare didn't fix (which I hoped he would at our last appointment) will likely need to be repaired/resurfaced while I'm out here. It's fine for the most part right now. Just sensitive to chocolate. Speaking of dental, will you want me to get a dental checkup every 6 months? It'd be tough because I technically don't have a dentist down here, but our resident medical person can point us in good directions. I've heard rumors that some will do it free for missionaries.

That's great news for Katherine! And Orson Scott Card? That's freaking awesome! He is one of my favorite authors. And that scholarship is huge! Even though it's not all paid, that's a good chunk of money we're not paying.

I recommended to one of our Less Active members that he look into a sales position at Sleep Number. Philip seems to like it so much, and this member, Steve, reaaaaly wants out of his used car sales job, so I made the suggestion to him and he said he'll look into it.

I'm glad that Grandma's recovery continues to go well for the most part. I'm sure she'll pull through in the end! It may be frustrating at times, but the Lord puts us through trials to test our patience and faith. (Mosiah 23: 21-22)

21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to achasten his people; yea, he trieth their bpatience and their faith.
 22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his atrust in him the same shall be blifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
The floor looks pretty good! And it's nice having a picture of the dogs. If possible, could you send a small photo album with pictures of the family and pets and whatnot? It's not something big to have, but it'd be nice so my companions can see where I come from. 

The only people I get letters from are Jenny and Sheldon's family and the Mabey kids.

That's a cool story from Bishop Moore! We'd be doing different things in our area if there was anything to do besides knock. No possibility of being on a busy street sidewalk. It's all houses. How about some stories from you and Dad? Honestly, those would be cool stories. Just misc. mission stories from both of you. Put them in email and I could print them here. Actually, anything you send me I can print.

This past week has been a dead week. Tuesday was transfers, and Elder Patterson (from the other companionship in our ward) left the area. He's gone to Valencia 2nd, and has actually just gotten his Visa for Brazil! Took 9 months, but he's got it finally. He'll head to Brazil after this transfer, I think. Elder Hudson (his now ex-companion) gained TWO companions, so he's in a trio. Their names are Elders Smith and Nordgran. They've been on bed rest all week because Elder Nordgran got a concussion right before transfers. He's fine now, though. Besides that, our entire district is the same.

Yesterday we went to Subway for lunch (using up our gift cards), and we sat next to a guy who recognized who we were are knew our purpose. It didn't lead to anything, and he wasn't a member. In the few seconds that he sat there, he made sure we realized that we're representatives of Christ and commended us for it. We then cleared up his confusion about the LDS Church and Mormons being different things, which they aren't, of course.

Thanks! Love and miss you all!

~Elder DeFord

Monday, January 13, 2014

I'm Staying Here!

We got transfer calls on Saturday, and I'm staying here with Elder Argyle in the same area for the next transfer. Woo-hoo!

Not much happened this past week. Both exchanges that were scheduled to happen did not happen. First one with the Zone Leaders didn't happen because we had a meeting with our bishop that they didn't want to interrupt. Very considerate of them. The second one with the the District Leader, Elder Thomas, didn't happen as Elder Argyle hurt his ankle and was physically unable to work for the day. 

On Friday we were looking for a potential investigator named Bill that we found a couple weeks ago, but we had forgotten to write down which street he was on. All we had was a house number and a rough idea of where he lived. Looking about on different streets, we happened upon a man shooting a pellet gun in his yard. He was pretty awesome and we talked to him for a while. He said that in a couple weeks we could come back and share a spiritual message, as he would love it if his kids got to know Jesus. He just doesn't want it to be by the Catholics. He despises them. He said that if any church this day had it right, it'd be the Mormons. He's really prepared to hear the Gospel, and is very in tune with the Spirit! It's amazing how the Lord prepares people to hear our message. 

After that run-in, we visited the Evans and one of Brother Evans' kids' scooters smacked Elder Argyle in the ankle, and for the past bit it's been swollen and bruised. Hurts him quite a bit. Hopefully it'll go down and get better soon. It'd be bad if he cracked the bone. 

From memory, I'm not sure if much else has been happening. I've been doing the audio blogs and will be sending them home this week. There's quite a few, and maybe you could make a SoundCloud account and put them on there? There's a lot more happening and in more detail than I put in these emails, as I can't remember everything when I type these up; I only really remember major events.

Anywho, I think that's all for now. In another email I'm going to put pictures of the stickers on the bottles. They look great!

~Elder Dallin DeFord

Monday, January 6, 2014

Here Come the Exchanges...

We had another exchange this weekend. Went with the district leader. It was alright. We taught one lesson at the door, and gave out three copies of the Book of Mormon! It was a really good exchange. I was with Elder Nielson, who's the district leader's companion, and this Saturday we have another exchange with them, this time me being with Elder Thomas, the actual district leader. Then this Tuesday, we have exchanges with the Zone Leaders. It's kind of ridiculous, going on all these exchanges. It's really only supposed to be one or two a transfer.

Besides all the exchanges, nothing happened last week. All of our appointments fell through. All the appointments were with the same lady, and she missed all three appointments we had set up. Hopefully this week will be better.

At the end of exchanges on Saturday, us two companionships went to something the other ward calls Pancake Saturday. It's just done with one family who feeds the missionaries every Saturday. But this family is crazy! It's a couple who's last name I'll withhold as per email policy. Turns out the husband used to be a criminal, way off the deep end. Violence, drugs, everything. He and his wife were drug addicts for years. They're clean now, and have been for I think 3 years. The husband had to get permission from the First Presidency to be accepted into the church. It's really interesting. The couple are very funny, and I hope I get to interact with them more. They're the kind of couple I want my wife and I to act like when we're their age. Withholding the drug and violent past, of course.

This is the last week of my first transfer. I'll know Saturday if I'm staying or leaving. Technically, I'm supposed to stay with Elder Argyle here for another transfer as I'm being trained, but you never know.

Love you all,
Elder Dallin DeFord