Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Taiwan Taichung Mission Photo

Our Favorite Missionary is on the back row--4th from our right
...just past the bush, in line with the door frame.
(ps--Colby's MTC companion Elder Olsen, is in the bottom right corner of the closeup pic.)

27 weeks in Taiwan

SO this week was pretty good. Elder Braby and I are trying a new thing: Having our investigators meet at the same time. To be honest, it is kind of an accident most of the time, but it is working pretty well. It is interesting to see how it doesn't matter what situation they are in, they become friends because they are both looking into the gospel. It gives the people that have met with us a little more to testify of what they know and the newer investigators to get a testimony from somebody very close to the situation that they are in. I think that is may not be the most effective thing as far as numbers go, but that doesn't matter, we have some great investigators making some great progress. The only problem is that I don't know if we have as much of an opportunity to focus in on the one persons need as much as if we were sitting down alone with them. It is cool to see them encourage each other towards baptism though. Really cool.

I'm greatful for the chance to serve with Elder Braby because he has really put a new spin on the work for me. Yesterday, he figured out mid lesson that our investigator wasn't applying the gospel to him self. A lightbulb went off in my head like never before. It is something that I have heard over and over and over to apply what we are saying to the person, but until I was in the situation and It was pointed plainly out to me that "Look, our investigator isn't making any progress because what we tell him, he doesn't apply to his life or even think about how this can benefit him at all." I was just a little embarrassed when I thought, "Oh, so that is what they mean." It makes so much sense. I couldn't sleep because I was thinking about each of our investigators and how we could help them actually take the principles that we tell them and apply them. The simple analogy came into my mind that you can tell somebody all day how much more comfortable they would be if they would plug the fan into the wall. But they won't feel it for them selves until they plug it in. So that is a lot of what I am thinking about. Helping my investigators plug the fan into the wall..

It is going to be a good month.
The wonderful thing about the gospel it that it is true, and there's nothing that any of us can to about it. You can always be sure that the Lord loves us and will always forgive us and pull us back into the fold. The promise of help and it just so miraculous.
Anyways, have a good week!
-ELder Sanford.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mr. Branson is retiring :(

The saying on the door is:
"A Good Teacher
is like a
It consumes itself
to light the way
for others."

I'm not sure who was in charge of decorating his door for Teacher Appreciation, but they picked the perfect quote to describe Mr. Branson! He is exactly as the quote suggests. This was Mr. Branson's last year of teaching as part of the Farrer Elementary faculty. He taught Junie 5 years ago when she was in second grade and he taught Esther this year when she was in second grade. I'm so very greatful that our two youngest daughters had the privelege to have him as a teacher. He is very kind and dedicated. He could figure out a way to get each and every child to learn any subject. He expected the children to succeed, and they did.
He certainly was a light to them.

As I drive by the school and watch the progress of it's demise, I couldn't help but notice that the bright blue banner that was put on Mr. Branson's door is still there. It likely will be the last classroom to go...as far as I can tell. If you look at the destruction photo straight up from the fire hydrant on the ground floor, Mr. Branson's door still stands, brightly decorated in blue, and the yellow flame of the candle shines brightly.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Logan--7 years ago

Look Ma, no hands!

Last Saturday at Marco's Goodbye party Logan made a "shelf" for his plate. Silly!!! These Sanford men think of everything. :D

Little Logan who is 6 feet tall, turned 15 today

Happy 15th Birthday, Logan Timothy Sanford!
Thanks for being in our family! You're funny, and fun to be around.
We love you Logan!!!!

The little boy in the poster with his mouth wide open looks like Logan from 7 years ago, but that isn't him.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Crazy times...
That is what this summer has been so far... (and apparently will be for the rest of the summer!)
They left for California late on June 5th (Lila's Birthday happened while they were gone) and were back by the wee hours of the 17th. This week was Youth Conference, so others left for the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. Things will be relatively "normal" around here for a week or so, then for the month of July it's going to be here and there for some of us...Scouting expedition, visit to Missouri, trek to San Fran to take Claire to the beginning of her adventure: Scout Jamboree in Sweden, back to Provo in time for Junie's Girls Camp, then Logan's Timberline... Claire will come back...and then a few weeks of normal summer break and then it'll all start again...SCHOOL. Oh yeah in the middle of these things is Logan's birthday, Our Anniversary, and the 4th of July... lots of fun and crazy times this summer!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Taiwan week 26 --Prayers

Whoo, so now I am on my 5th move call.
I am still in Chao Zhou with Elder Braby and we are going to tear it up this next six weeks. We had an amazing sit down with a father of one of our recent converts. I feel like he believed everything that we had said in the past, but then said,"Ok, that's how Christians do it". But in "Preach My Gospel", it says that to help people with no background in Christ, you just need to help them have spiritual experiences of your own. We met with him last week and invited him to take a little time out of his day to pray with his family every single day. He had done that all this week, and I could see the difference. We had a Chen Mei Gui come and be part of the lesson. She bore some pretty powerful testimony of the Plan of Salvation and then invited Zhang Ba Ba to do a very personal prayer and ask Heavenly Father if he was there or not. It was great. On the way home, Elder Braby and I started talking about what we could do to teach with more power and more authority. It was a good conversation. I came to the conclusion that I need to focus on using the scriptures and SYLing. It's so much fun so see who you want to be and then see how you can get there. Goal setting is awesome.
I'm glad to hear that all is going well at home and that the Robin is out zipping around the streets of Provo. I can't wait to drive it.
One of the things that I have been studying alot about lately is prayer. There is so much said about prayer and how to "pray right". Communicating with our Heavenly Father is a HUGE thing. We always tell investigators that there is no such thing as a bad prayer, which I don't think that there is, but there I have had some really great prayers in the past that I really felt in harmony with the spirit. So yes praying is important. but there are so many questions that come up that can be confusing like is an out loud prayer better, or how long should it be and things like that. In my studies, I have found that the most important thing it praying with a sincere intent. In a letter that Shan sent me, I think that she said it well;"Praying with real intent is praying with the intent on actually acting on the answer that you receive." It is so true. I love feeling the power in prayers that I have had lately. I haven't been worrying about if it is to long or short or if I forgot something, but that I really mean the things that I say and am willing to act according to my answers. Just something that I've been thinking about lately.
Thank-you all for your prayers and support from home!
Love ya All!
Elder Sanford
P.s. Yeah! to June who got into advanced dance for next year. (Thank you for the lovely letters June)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Cutting some rug" in Cupertino


Jeff and Lila are at Uncle Bill's house in Cupertino CA. They are fixing things (drippy faucets, taking up old carpet...), and retrieving precious family possessions and papers because, most likely, the house will soon be up for sale. It's a great house that has served their family well. Aunt Joann passed away in April 2010. Uncle Bill, a survivor of 5 cancers, is not doing well. It's not exactly cancer that began roughing him up after Joann's passing, but a decades old leg injury...and it's taking its toll. Unfortunately the esophagal cancer has reappeared and is destroying him. I HATE cancer!!!! Dear Uncle Bill is living with Cousin Susan (Billy & Joann's first born) and her family in SanDiego. Tomorrow they are going to Susan's to "hand off the good stuff", at which point they'll get to visit with Uncle Bill. He was chipper and up and about last April. I'm afraid the Uncle Bill they see tomorrow will look/be much different.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Taiwan week 25

Elder Sanford & Elder Braby last week at the aquarium in Hung Qun. Fun times.
(Hopefully at some point I'll turn it right side up.)

Well this week was good.

The assistants randomly decided to go on exchanges with us after Combined District Training Meeting on Thursday. It was so much fun. The assistants right now are Elder Weng (from Singapore) and Elder Cocke. Elder Cocke was with us. He's a great missionary and was a big help to Elder Braby and me. He had a lot of words of advice, but I think that he helped us most in the nightly planning process. Planning has a big influence on the rest of the day, so it was really helpful. He's vegetarian too. I think that he has one more move call after this one. Oh, which this move call is over next Monday. Weird. It went by way too quickly. I should probably send a picture of my new companion before I have to send one of my next one. Yeah, I'll get on that.

Anyways, yes, this week was good. It sounds like all is good at home as well. One cool thing that happened was the Fang family invited us over for food. We thought, OK this is just like any other invitation to eat and were generally excited. The Fang father is a less active because of work, but he is solid. The wife and son are super solid and come to church all of the time aswell. There is an old grandma there as well that sits in the corner by the tv and smokes and is OLD. Not sure who she is related to actually or if she even has any relation...Anyways, when we showed up, the first counselor was there with his family. Then the second counselor in the Stake Presidency's family all showed up, and then the Bishops family, and then the Guo family who are all super cool and then the Hung Qun's Branch Presidency and his family and everybody brought a whole bunch of food and it was all just one big happy get together. It made me miss linger longers and ward activities. It was really fun though. It was as if the whole ward was just together in this little house/hair salon thing, just eating and talking. It was good to talk to some really important people about what the Ward Plan is and what we can do to help, and when they all can come help teach lessons and that kind of thing. And after that, we got Brother Wang to drive us to the neighboring township and help teach the Zhang family. Brother Wang bore some pretty powerful testimony about sacrifices and how we need to make those sacrifices in our lives. It was over all a great lesson. This Zhang family lives next door to a member in the ward who takes their recently baptized son to church every week. We have been working with the Zhang family for a while and I think we're actually going to start making some progress soon! YEAH! ETERNAL FAMILIES!!!!

Yeah to Logan for cleaning his room!
Sounds like everybody else is having a wonderful summer so far. I'm glad to hear it.

I know that the work that I am doing is a sacrifice that will bring many blessings in the future. I'm so glad that I can serve the people here in Taiwan. It is a spiritual blast. I love it.
Thank-you for all of the prayers!
Love ya all!
-ELder Sanford
Happy Eight Months as a Missionary to Colby.
24 months - 8 months = 16 more months.
He's loving serving the people of Taiwan.
That makes our family so happy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Feliz Cumpleanos Hija

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our firstborn:
Mirielle Sanford
She's 22 today. We're so glad she's in our family!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Taiwan week 24

Yeah, I've been on island for all of 5 month now. Cool. Time flies.
Elder Braby and I are working hard. My experience here in Chao Zhou is so much different from the experience I had in Tai Zhong. I feel like I am finally getting it. Of course this is not the first time and I know that it won't be the last time. BUt so many more things are clicking. You know when you just have that moment when things are all just going right? I love that feeling. But I also know that without heavenly father, NONE of this would be possible. In reality, He could do this all on his own, but he gives me the chance to serve here to gain the experience. I love it.

We had a very intense sitdown this week. It is interesting to notice that my number of sitdowns has gone down since being in Chao Zhou. But the quality of the sitdowns is really increasing. I am getting a chance to really look people in the eye and have wonderful conversations with them. This particularly intense sitdown that we had came as a result of really listening to the investigator when he talked. He opened up and told us his whole life story and all of the trouble that he has been having in the past 20 years. He said that it was impossible to be able to feel peace in his heart. I am excited to be able to follow up with him this next week and see how the Book of Mormon has influenced him. It is so wonderful knowing that it is true and not having to wonder. Knowing with a perfectness that if he reads and really wants it, then he will feel that peace in his heart. So good!
SO yeah biking around here in Chao Zhou is really a blast.
Today, Elder Braby and I went down to Chao Zhou and saw the ocean and an aquarium. It was really fun. It was really blue and bright out. The Ping Dong ELders set up the trip. A Ping Dong member drove us down. Really good time.
I have really loved reading the Book of Mormon this past week and really feeling of the power that has. It is the best book on the planet! Everybody should read it everyday of their lives. Not because I said so, but because if you do, you will really see the change. Reading and pondering it will help you to know how to have peace in this life and salvation in the life to come. I really love it.
This next week is going to be Combined District Training meeting. It will be fun. And I should be getting some water filters soon... that will be good.
I hope that you all have a wonderful week!
Love ya all!
-Elder Sanford.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Control. That's what Satan wanted. He had this "perfect plan" of how he wanted it to be. His plan would make nothing hard on anyone. It'd be exactly how he thought best. There would be no room to grow and learn, though. No chance to make ones own decisions and live with the consequences. No chance to be anything other than what he wanted.

I'm SO thankful that Heavenly Father didn't let Satan be in charge. I'm indebted eternally to Jesus because He wanted to carry out Father's plan. Yes, there is pain, but there is room to grow and share and become...we don't have to be anyone special or do things the way a taskmaster commands. We can be who we want to be or not be. We are free.

I'm extremely thankful for the service men and women who are fighting for our freedom because there are those in the world who want to carry out satan's plan of control. The servicemen and women put their lives on the line for us. They fight against oppression, for us. How unselfish. Thank you!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Food for thought...on Fast Sunday

So I just realised that my life is strung together by one food event to the next...I mean... yep, that's exactly what I mean. Food is an "event"....something to look forward to. I know it should be different. Food is necessary to keep the "engine" going, but it shouldn't be one's main emphasis or enjoyment in life.

Here's an example that may or may not make sense. Monthly as we get ready for Stake Children Baptisms we remind the families that if they are planning a celebration (which usually means: food event) that it be scheduled in another place, not in the Stake Center. We want to have a separation of the Party from the Baptism. When the children remember their sacred covenant of Baptism we hope they remember it separate from the party.

Life is like that. Enjoyable, but it doesn't always have to have food to MAKE it enjoyable and meaningful.... This is a whole new mindset for me. I'm not perfect. I do think there is more to think about on this subject. It's ok to have parties and food and sharing, but I really want to try to separate it all---at least in my brain.

Yesterday was a full day....Baptisms, picnic, Baby shower, Family Dinner with the Reeses in Nephi, seeing "Seussical" in Nephi...Fun times!

Good times. Fun times...friends and family. ( I sound like a telephone commercial.)