Have you ever heard of the Book of Mormon?

Hey everyone,

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Me and Sister Griner during a car fast.

First things first, transfers are this week and I’m staying here in Arvada with Sister Griner! This will be my first area where I’ll stay for six months! I’m really glad because I love it here and there are so many good people who need the gospel:)

Whew okay so this week was very busy! Mostly we were running around talking to as many people as we could and passing out Book of Mormons like crazy because we had a goal of how many to give away this transfer, and yesterday was the end of the transfer, and we reached our goal yesterday evening! It’s been a really good thing for us and has helped us find people who are really searching for the gospel, especially this week:) Goals really are a way that we can show Heavenly Father what we want to accomplish, and as long as it’s in line with His will, He’ll help us get there!

We had another car fast last Tuesday, and it was really cool because we met a woman who was walking her dog and it turns out she spends a ton of time at the family history center at one of the LDS church buildings here. And she also knows the members who we lived with last transfer because she took family history classes from one of them at the Arvada community center! So we were already very excited to meet her, and then she told us that she’s always been interested in the Book of Mormon! We were happy to help, and we’ll be seeing her again this week:)

Sister’s P-Day food fight photos:

Oh in other news, I am perfecting the art of turning any political comment into a discussion about the restored gospel. I’m getting pretty good at it.

Debi and her friend came to church yesterday even though Debi was sick and his car wouldn’t start (and the Broncos were playing an early game), so I’d say that’s dedication! It really is so important to come each week and partake of the sacrament and reflect on the Savior and His Atonement.

My testimony of listening grew this week. We had a lesson with an investigator who has a ton of questions, so we just spent some time listening to her talk about the things she’s struggling with and then we were able to answer her by the Spirit. It was an intense, powerful lesson and renewed my commitment to really listen to the people we teach and understand where they’re coming from and love them like the Savior loves them.

Yesterday I played the piano in sacrament meeting! It was an arrangement of “All Creatures of our God and King” and it’s so beautiful. A woman in our ward arranged it actually. She’s one of the most amazing people I know, so I was so glad to be able to play it for her:)

We’re coming up with a transfer goal for handing out Book of Mormons again. It’s amazing to see how this book touches people’s lives, especially mine. I’m so grateful for the Book of Mormon because it helps me understand my relationship with my Heavenly Father and how to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It truly has changed my life and continues to do so every day. I’m so grateful to be able to share that with the people around me:)

I think that’s pretty much it! Arvada is beautiful. Missionary work is beautiful. I love my Savior:)

Have a wonderful week!

Love,

Sister Stratford

 

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I know this says Boulder CO, but it could pretty much be Arvada or Denver or anywhere else here too.

Um Vote For Pedro?

Hey everyone!

p1020731The week started off in an unusual way with Halloween! Since it was p-day, we had a zone Halloween party. Sister Griner brought cupcakes. I brought fake wounds. We walked in and all the elders were playing volleyball and they just started kinda looking over at us in confusion and over the next several minutes they came up one by one just staring and were like, “Wow. That’s gross.” Man it looked so good:) That evening, we had to come in early, so we helped pass out candy and scared little kids with my face. Success.

Tuesday was also unusual but really fun! First we got a new car. 2017 Chevy Malibu, straight from the dealership:) I don’t know how we got it but it’s really cool! It takes the hills and mountains much, much better than the chevy cruz did. Then we had interviews with President Mendenhall, which I always love! He and Sister Mendenhall and amazing and I really think part of the reason I’m in this mission is because of them:)

Also we rescued another bunny from our window well. We’re getting pretty good at this.

Wednesday we went to the temple!! I always love the feeling of peace that is there. One of the sisters in the mission said that at the temple she feels homesick for Heavenly Father. It’s so true! I’ve never felt closer to my Heavenly Father than I have while praying in the celestial room of the temple.

We had a few really good experiences with teaching people on Wednesday too! One of them was with Debi’s friend who wants to be baptized. He loves everything we teach him, but we do need to help him understand the importance of the word of wisdom. So we’re working on that, and I know that the Lord will help him because He always prepares a way for us to keep the commandments!

Friday was pretty eventful. We started off at the Arvada Food Bank which is always fun. Then we bought lunch and went to the nearest church building to eat it. Upon arriving, we realized that there were people there setting up for a party! Okay rewind– a few years ago, a boy named Chris joined the church. No one else in his family did. Then he went on a mission. Two years later, we’re here and hear rumors that he’s coming home from a mission and his mom lives in our ward boundaries. Turns out, we met Chris and his mom and various family members setting up for a homecoming party:) So of course we set our lunch aside and assembled fancy silverware/napkin things for an hour and became best friends with Chris’ grandma! The Lord works in mysterious ways:)

Then we saw our cute 90-year-old part-member couple. They always have little service projects for us to do, like sweeping the porch or trimming the roses. Then we talked to a little elderly lady named Norma who we’ve met before, but she doesn’t remember us. So we just read to her from the Bible and Book of Mormon because she’s losing her eyesight and wishes she could read the scriptures. She’s super sweet, and I love that even though she barely remembers anything, she knows that she loves the Lord:) I want my love for the Lord to be that much a part of my character!

Then we were tracting an apartment complex and felt like we should visit a little family in the ward who lives there. Okay so I’ve been to their place many times, and there’s no reason I should not know where they live. Well, we knocked on what should have been their door, and a random guy answered it. Thankfully, after over a year of being a missionary, I’m getting good at handling unexpected situations. So we taught him the restored gospel and he loved it! After that, we realized the family in our ward lived in the next building over, so we still got to visit them too:) Again, the Lord works in mysterious ways:)

That night, we went to the homecoming party we’d helped set up for! There were plenty of people to talk to and also delicious Mexican food, so it was a missionary’s dream come true.

Saturday was exchanges! So I was here in Arvada with Sister Hudson, and Sister Griner went up to Boulder with Sister Nelson. Sister Hudson taught me the Book of Mormon game, which is where you ask your companion a question and then they have to answer it using a scripture from the Book of Mormon. It’s actually a pretty powerful thing! Then we tracted for a while. We’d tell people, “Hey we’re just asking a question. If there were a prophet on the earth today like Noah or Abraham or Moses, what would you ask him?” Then they would say some question, and then we’d answer their question using the Book of Mormon! It was great. We were able to help people feel the Spirit and recognize this book as a place to find answers from God. I’m so grateful for the Book of Mormon!

Sunday, we had a regional broadcast and it was amazing! My favorite was when Elder Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke. He talked about how we can be instruments in the hands of the Lord as we love and serve the people around us one by one, just like He does. I’m so thankful for the example of Jesus Christ. I want to be like Him and do the work here that He would do. And I’m so thankful that He suffered and died and rose again for each of us, individually, one by one.

Have a wonderful week! I hope you feel the Savior’s love for you and share it with those around you:)

Love,

Sister Stratford

 

Happy Halloween

Hey everyone,

Happy Halloween!!

A couple of quick highlights:

Debi’s friend committed to baptism!!! It will be in December and he’s really excited about it:) We’re trying to work with the ward really effectively to help him be ready! He has really strong faith in Christ and knows that this will help him follow the path God has for him. It’s so wonderful to see how Debi’s example is blessing those around her:)

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Bunny in window well

One morning, we were down in the basement because that’s where we live, and we heard suspicious shuffling noises from the window. Upon further investigation, we found that a bunny had fallen into the window well and couldn’t get out! (It’s like 4 or 5 feet deep.) Luckily, with an old towel and a little ingenuity, we were able to get him out safely.

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My Birthday flowers

Oh and I turned 21! Best part of the day? We were teaching an investigator who has been meeting with missionaries for about 5 months. We were

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Birthday sparkling cider

talking about the Restoration again, and in the middle she exclaimed, “It’s all starting to make sense!” She then told us that it’s more appealing to her than it ever has been before and she’s really getting excited about it! Best birthday present ever:)

 

 

I just love being a missionary!!:)

Have a wonderful week!!

Love,

Sister Stratford

 

A Very Sweet Week

Hey everyone!

The annual “Everybody Give As Much Sugar To To Missionaries As You Possibly Can For Three Months” has officially begun! Brownies and cookies and Ben & Jerry’s, oh my! We’re starting to have to put goodies in the freezer to keep them good until we can re-gift them. So far I’ve avoided gaining 20 pounds (the average for sister missionaries), but I’ll have to stay vigilant.

Weather is still hot and sunny! I think the first snow last year was in October, but no sign of it yet. I’m soaking in the sun as much as I can until then:)

Last Monday we moved into another member family’s home since they rotate every couple of transfers. We live in the basement, where they have every type of school supply known to man and they said we can use anything we want so missionary life is about to get crafty!

A couple of weeks ago, a woman showed up at church with her member friend. So we introduced ourselves and she said she’d love to have us over! We had lunch with her this past Tuesday and started teaching her. She has incredible faith in Jesus Christ and is really excited about everything we teach:) It’s such a blessing to be able to work with her! Also it’s fun because she’s the type to get really passionate about her faith, kinda “praise the Lord!!” sort of thing:)

We had a super awkward lesson with one of our investigators. He kind of flirts, so we were passing him off to the YSA (young single adult) ward Elders. So it was like four missionaries and one investigator and none of us knew exactly who was supposed to be teaching… and we had planned to read with him in the Book of Mormon wherever he was at.. and it turned out he was at 1 Nephi 4… haha part way through reading, on of the elders asked, “so what are you getting from this so far?” and the investigator just said, “umm he had to take a man’s life…” Haha so it was an interesting lesson but it worked! I think YSA will be a good place for him.

This week we proved yet again President Uchtdorf’s “Fourth Floor, Last Door” principle! (I actually discovered it months ago and dubbed it “The Last Door Effect” or something like that and taught about it in a zone meeting:D). We were trying to visit someone, but they weren’t home, so we decided we should probably talk to a few of their neighbors. And we found a potential investigator! So I figured that was the reason we had come to that area, but then Sister Griner said, “Should we tract the other side of the street?” (I love greenie fire!) So we did, and what do you know, we found a new investigator at the very last door! Diligence brings miracles.

Here’s the talk, by the way. It’s amazing and everyone should read it:) https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/fourth-floor-last-door?lang=eng

Saturday was the ward Trunk or Treat party! Sister Griner and I were fairy princesses. SO many people came and it was just a blast:) And the highlight was when the family that we’re teaching English to came! They want to get more involved with the community, so we invited them, and they had a really fun time and met lots of people and it was great:)

So it was a fun week! I’m so so grateful to be here:) There are just amazing experiences all the time as a missionary that help me learn and grow and see God’s hand working in the lives of His children!

Have a fantastic week!

Love,

Sister Stratford

 

 

Mighty Starvada

Hello everyone,

stratford-grinerThe week started off a little rough for Sister Griner. Because of previous arrangements made the week before, we “tracted into” a member when it was Sister Griner’s turn to do the approach… and the member and I both acted like she was a non-member… and she invited us in for a lesson… haha and proceeded to bombard us with difficult questions until she finally gave in and told my poor companion who she was. I feel a little guilty as a trainer. But she’ll thank me later.

And the week only went up from there! We started teaching Debi’s friend. He’s in love with her and it’s really sweet. Hopefully we can help him get up to her newfound standards of temple marriage for time and all eternity. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure he’s doing this for the right reasons! It’s just one of the greatest joys of missionary work to live vicariously through others’ romances.

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Beautiful Arvada

Wednesday we were working in an area and had tried to visit a less-active member, but she wasn’t home. We had a relief society activity in an hour and weren’t sure what we needed to do with that time. But we had a strange feeling that we should just go to the church and then work around there. So we went, and lo and behold, there was our less-active sitting in her car in the empty parking lot! She had gotten off work and decided to come to the activity an hour early. So we were able to visit with her after all:) I’m so grateful for promptings that seem weird but that make sense when you follow them!

Speaking of the relief society activity, I now know how to make ginormous bows out of huge ribbon. I’m trying to find a way to incorporate that into missionary work.

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Beautiful Arvada

Sunday was the temple dedication! So no missionary in the state of Colorado had any investigators at church because you had to have a temple recommend to get into the building. But besides that it was an absolutely wonderful day:) We were ushers for our stake’s broadcast, so that was fun! We were able to watch the first session of the dedication, including the cornerstone ceremony. President Utchdorf of the First Presidency offered the dedicatory prayer, and it was a really amazing experience. He also talked about the youth cultural celebration (I need to find that on youtube after my mission because it sounds like it was spectacular) and a song they sang called “Fortress of Faith.” He said we are the fortress of faith, but it’s an open fortress because we need to always be helping others enter in and feel the safety and peace that comes through Christ and the ordinances and covenants in His house.

Zone Meeting was on Thursday, and it was amazing! One of my favorite parts was when this was pointed out in Matthew 26:

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Sometimes everything seems pretty hard and we don’t know if we can keep going. But in this, the very hour of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, he went a little further. And we can too if we just let Him help us. It takes some faith, that’s for sure, but we can do it:)

Have a great week!!

Love,

Sister Stratford:)

Training!

Hey everyone,

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind this week but life is good!

First of all, I’m training! Meet my wonderful new companion Sister Griner (that’s a long i there, not Grinner)

sisstratford-griner(The one in the middle is Malcolm. We think we should be in a trio.)

She’s from Tucson Arizona (is that how you spell it?) and has seen snow twice. The Colorado winter usually starts somewhere in October so she’s just in time!:D Also she bakes so I’m exercising a little harder in preparation for this transfer.

This week we’ve been getting her all settled in. The MTC is great, but nothing can truly prepare you for coming out and just doing some real missionary work:) So we’ve been talking to lots of people and teaching and introducing her to the ward and it’s busy but good!

I think it was on Friday but we were tracting and met this man who was fixing the road, and we started talking to him and he has an amazing story! He’s had lots of background as a teacher on the reservations in Arizona, and we told him about the Book of Mormon and how the people in it are ancestors of the Native American people and he thought it was so amazing! He told us he would read it and would even come to our church:) He lives outside the area, but still!

Something else cool with that experience- I was reaching into my bag to give him a pamphlet about the Restoration, but for some reason I decided on a Plan of Salvation one instead. And right after we gave it to him, he started talking about how his wife just passed away. Heavenly Father really knows His children and is looking out for them!

We also had another English lesson with the family in Jordan. We started using a really great program that the Church has for teaching English as a second language! Also since we won’t let them pay us, they bought us pumpkins:)

On Sunday we had our last church meeting outside our mission boundaries. This Sunday is the Fort Collins temple dedication, and the next Sunday we’ll be meeting in the ward’s normal building in Arvada. Our limited mile allotment will appreciate it!

I’m really excited for the dedication! I’ve only seen one before. Sister Griner has seen three so she’s a pro at this.

That’s pretty much it! Hope y’all have a wonderful week:D

Love,

Sister Stratford

Aloha!

Note from Jenny:  If this feels a little choppy it’s my fault.  I think she ran out of time for the group email, so here are some excerpts from the family email.

 

Hey guys!

Transfers are this week! Sister Johnson is leaving and I’m staying. And we’re both training new missionaries straight from the MTC! It’s going to be fun! Also we’re getting a Jeep:D (Well, Sister Johnson isn’t. She’s on bike haha!)

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Drawing by Sister Johnson

We watched conference at the church for most of the sessions, but for Sunday morning we watched it with the members we live with and had a yummy breakfast with them (cinnamon rolls and bacon).  Debi, who was baptized two months ago, already loves Elder Holland. She calls him “Prophet Holland.” 🙂

 

Regarding teaching English to the family from Jordan:

Yes, the church has an English program! I think it’s called “Ye Shall Have My Words.” We haven’t used it yet because we’ve been working more with the kids who are more advanced (they mostly just want pronunciation help), but we want to use the program with the mom.

 

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Half the Avon bottles we’re cleaning

Advice to Jacob and a little window into the mind of a missionary:

Referrals can be hard! One thing I like to do is ask for specific referrals, like asking if there’s anyone they know who would need a prayer, or service, or anyone who moved in recently. And a great way is to teach them, for example about the Plan of Salvation and how we receive hope from it, and then ask if there’s someone who needs to hear that message. So like after teaching an investigator, ask if they know someone who needs that specific message. And the key is to do it when they’re still feeling the Spirit. Don’t just tack it on right before the closing prayer. And you can even use that principle when you’re contacting. Just start teaching right away, and whether or not they’re interested you can ask if there’s anyone else they know who needs to hear it. And with members, you can get creative with asking who they know who just started a new job, or just had a baby, or just lost someone close to them. And even if it doesn’t seem like it’s working to ask for referrals, keep asking everyone because you never know! Haha sorry this is long. Hope it helps!

Pictures of beautiful Arvada:

I actually talk about earthquakes quite often because Sister Johnson and I compare natural disasters. She’s like, “eh, tornadoes” and I’m scared of them, and I’m like “eh, earthquakes” and she’s terrified of them. She’s a true Texan.

I love you all!! Wish me luck with training! I’ll be picking her up from the mission office on Wednesday:)

Love,

Sister Stratford