Monday, August 31, 2015

So about that Copa Chiasmus

Sister Eggleston and I are now companions in Maricopa!! :D oh my
gosh!! It's seriously a dream come true. For those of you who don't
remember, we were companions when we were being trained. Sister
Hutchison trained us both together. We were each other's first
companions, and we're going to be each others last companions. So

It's gonna be a fun time!!

Seriously, she just brightens up the whole room and I love her to death!! We found our names on the board t the exact same time and we screamed with excitement, haha! I was literally crying, I was so happy. We've really hit it off and Maricopa won't even k ow what hit it. She is an amazing missionary with an incredible heart. She loves so deeply.

It's also been fun to see the difference since we were greenies together. We haven't served around each other since, not even in the same zone, so it's really fun. She's still Sister Eggleston, she's never going to be anyone else, but she's grown so much. And I feel so different than who I was 17 months ago. And at the same time, we talk as if we never left, like we just picked up the conversation from last night. Ugh, it's been so fun!

Alright, so we've got our efforts set on two particular families. The Monta family has two twin boys we've been trying to help. The dad hasn't been to church in years and wants to come back. He's felt something missing. But his wife, who isn't a member, really doesn't care much for the church or anything religious, really. She's on the brink of it, she flip flops back and forth all the time. Sometimes she lets them all go to church, other times she really fights it. Poor brother Monta looks so tired sometimes. So were just going to show genuine love for that family (because I love that family so much!) and pray really, really hard that she softens her heart and those boys can be baptized and come to church.

Then we have Peter and his family. He's basically flat out told us that he'll be baptized, it's just a matter of time. His wife is returning to the church, and he has a son who is turning 8 in a month. And that's really turned his mind back to baptism....he's been wavering back and forth for a while. He knows it'll happen, it's just a matter of when,and it's a huge leap of faith.

Lots of faith and prayers. Lots of work to do.

I love and miss you all! I read Alma 25 today. Time moves so fast! Five emails left from me.

You are all awesome and I love you! :)

Sister Stratford

Monday, August 24, 2015

Full Steam!!

Sorry for the late letter. We went bowling as a zone, it was super fun. :p

It's actually been funny.....sister Williams is leaving for home this
Friday, she's finished her mission. And watching her pack and get
everything ready and such, as much as I love my mission, I have
moments of, "man, I can't wait until that's me! Just a few more week!"

But we went bowling today, and y'know, loud music and we're all
wearing civilian clothes and hanging out like a bunch of teenagers and
there are ads and music videos playing everywhere. And it was fun not
being totally missionary for a few hours, but afterwards, I was
thinking, ".....maybe I actually don't ever want to go home. Like,
ever...." The mission life is hard, but it's sooooooo good! And, I
dunno, it's nice being separate from the world...were not isolated and
secluded. We're interacting with tons of people everyday from every
walk of life imaginable, but there's still that separate-ness that's
just so special, and thenSpirit is so special. I dunno if I want to
come home, guys. I'd rather just help people and teach them about
Jesus and not pay attention to anything else for the rest of my life.

We had a very special baptism yesterday. Keenan is a 9year old we've
been working with, his family has slowly been coming back to church.
His dad didn't feel like he could baptize his son, and we were
scrambling around to find someone who could baptize him. Scout leaders
couldn't, home teachers couldn't, primary teachers were all
sisters.....and we're getting frustrated and tired (I had a stress
dream that night where I was still calling people :p), and the thought
pops in, "why not get one of the young priests to do it? Perform their
first baptism?" So one of the priests accepts, and he's soooooo
nervous, haha. He invited his friends for moral support. He's like 16,
:p. And all of Keenan's family came, both immediate and extended, LDS
or from other faiths. His grandmother gives a great talk, and his
grandmother, and there was even a musical number, and it was just
awesome. The spirit was SO STRONG, and his mom was just ear to ear
smile, just glowing with joy. Then in the confirmation, the WML was
like, "wait, so why can't Keenan's father confirm him?" After the dad
talkedwith the bishop, they found out it wasn't a worthiness thing, he
just didn't personally feel worthy. But talking with the bishop ironed
some of that out. He was totally worthy to participate in his own
son's ordinance. So he got to be in the circle for the confirmation,
which was super special. It was th first time he exercised the
priesthood in years. It was so cool!

We had another really good lesson with Brother Sausage....but he
basically dropped us. :( he told us he was grateful for all we've
done, and we were key guides, and he believes in God again. He wants
to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, and then the New Testament,
and do his own study and learning from God. Which is awesome, it's
great when they want to figure it out for themselves. He just doesn't
want us coming by so often, so I don't get to see him so much. So

WAS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!! They were just glowing the whole time, they
looked so happy to be together in the temple, and in the Celestial
room together, and basically the whole Ward was there, and Sister
Nelson and Sister Eggleston (they're companions :p two companions I
love very much, haha) were there, and gaaah, it was just the best!!
They're hoping to get sealed later in the year. I really really really
want to be there for that, too. They're just such a great family. I
love them so much!

Well, I'm running out of time....focused and so very not trunky,
mm-hm. I've got one transfer left! Tuesday is the last transfer call
that actually affects me! Though it's anti climatic, since one thing
is certain....sister Williams isn't going to be my companion again
next transfer....:( so crazy. We'll see what happens! I hope I stay...

Love you all!! Thanks so much for all you do! :)

Sister Stratford

Monday, August 17, 2015


Usually the temperature starts out really high and then goes down to the actual temperature outside after driving around a while.
One time it was 119, and after driving, it went up to 121. So.
Sure feels that hot. Don't know if it actually is, but it feels it!

Sister Stratford

Devil, don't come cuz I won't go

Devil don't come, cuz I won't go!
Devil don't come, cuz I won't go!
It's TOO HOT down there!

Haha. I've been finding myself singing a lot of African spirituals
lately. I don't even k ow that many. Anyway, I have a photo category
for pictures I've taken of the temperature in our cars thermostat.
It's been so hot. I though July was the worst. It didn't cool off in
August, monsoons or no. We are baking.

It's been such a good week! We had quite a few lessons fall through,
but we've been getting good quality lessons. The people seem to be
progressing kinda slowly, but they're making steady progress . It
might just be because I'm nearing the end here and I don't have a
chance to stay here eight months like I did in Phoenix, so it's sad
that I might not be here to see certain milestones in their faith. Oh,
well. Going to go through the temple with the Amary's this week, so
that'll be exciting!! :)

Brother Sausage, the brother who is keeping a log and read all of
Alma? It's been crazy to watch the progress. Bit by bit. :p he told us
again that he didn't even know if God existed. We talked a little
about the Holy Ghost and his role in things and coming to know things
for ourselves. At one point he asked, "Do you believe people who
aren't members, or who aren't even Christians, can feel the Spirit?"

We told him, "Oh, definitely. God communicates with everyone
otherwise, non-Christians would never know there was a Christ if the
Spirit couldn't tell them until they did. "

He said, "I believe that." Then after a moment of thinking, he said,
"now, how can I believe that everyone can feel the Spirit, but not
believe in God? How does that work?" Haha.

It goes back to what President Uchtdorf talked about. A testimony is
a jigsaw puzzle—a piece here and a piece there. It's not a light
switch, it's not either on or off. There was a time I knew the Book of
Mormon was true but questioned whether or not Joseph Smith was a
prophet. How was that possible? Well, I had a testimony of one thing
and not the other, and for a while it was just reasoning "if A is true
then B is" until I gained a testimony of B. It was that way with a lot
of things, actually. It's okay to have doubts about things. As long as
what you believe is defined by what you believe, not by what you don't
believe. Because that wouldn't make sense.

There's another family that were teaching. Just a husband and wife
with no kids right now. She is less active and not really interested I
coming back, he's not a member and doesn't really have any interest in
coming. Which was kinda awkward, because when they told us that, we
were like, "okay....we don't really....know what to do then. " but
then we started talking about having the Spirit more fully in our
lives. We talked about the peace the Savior offers in John 14. They
said they wanted God in their lives more, but they were going to wait
until they had kids to actually find a church and determine what they
were going to believe....which is a little crazy. If I had a newborn
or a couple of young kids, I would hope that I would have already
figured out (at least mostly) how to gain my own revelation and
guidance from God, and already determined that He was even there and
that He cared. Seems like life would be crazy and unstable enough,
without undertaking that spiritual journey on top of it all. I know
I'm going to need God and draw on everything I've ever learned in life
and in the mission.

When we talked about that peace, though, and the strength that comes
to families and husbands and wives when they have the Gospel, you
could tell they wanted it. And while they made it clear they're not
really interested in the Church, they're interested in what we have to
say. They wanted us to come back and teach more. We're really excited!
:p it just goes to show, when you've got the why, you naturally want
to k ow the what and how. It'll all fall into place.

I love you all! Read chapter 10in Alma today! Two months feels like a
long time and a short time at the same time. :p I love being a
missionary and I love the people here in Copa!

Happy Monday! God bless! :)

Sister Stratford

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The storms!

Monsoons! Woo! This is what makes the Arizona summer somewhat okay!!

So, sorry this is a day late....forgot to tell everyone pray was on
Tuesday this week. We had a big meeting with Elder Corbridge
yesterday. Yeah, the guy who wrote The Fourth Missionary talk. He's
kinda famous among missionaries. It was so good!! I'm running out of
time, sadly, I spent too much time emailing a bunch of you
separately.....if I didn't get to you, I promise I will next week!

It's been such a good week. Sister Williams and I are loving the area
and loving each other and just blazing through! Maricopa is a little
slower than Phoenix, sadly, but it's also just got a slower feel to
it. There's nothing out here but farms and people. The city is full of
places to work and cars in a rush and things to do. Also, if we tried
to go door to door, every fourth door would be a member. XD

We have a very fun less active friend. His wife is not interested,
we've never met her, she hides in the back when we come. We sat down
with him, and he gives us all these experiences he's had that makes
him question the existence of a loving God, but then he finishes with,
"But I don't know. How do I know if there's a God or not?" He read
Alma 32 several times on his own and likes the idea of the experiment.
I always like to try and get people to journal, because, what's the
scripture that says, "how quick we are to forget the goodness and
mercies of Fod," or something like that? If we don't record our
experiences with God in the moment, then we will always define our
beliefs by what we are feeling in the moment...meaning, when times get
hard, it's easier to question when you don't have anything to look
back on. He didn't like the word journal, so we call it a log instead.
:p he likes science and boats, so journey log or experiment log makes
more sense to him.

He believed at one point. He was baptized as a young man, and he
remembers it fondly. But he doesn't remember why he felt that way. He
remembers the feelings of the Spirit, because that's hard to forget.
But he doesn't know what it was that got him there, feeling the
Spirit. Records are so important. You think you'll never forget, but
you do. It's always good to record our testimonies of Christ, so that
when the doubts come, what we don't know doesn't have to overpower
what we do know.

Woops, soap box. Happens. XD I have to get off now, sadly. Love you
all!! You're the best!

.....write in your journal! ^.^

Sister Stratford

Monday, August 3, 2015

Alma countdown starts on Friday!!

It was going to start Thursday, but I've learned that I'll actually be
going home a day later than I thought, so don't forget on Firday to
start with Alma 1! Again, it's free online, and you might want to
read the intro too, if you're not too familiar with where it came
from. Or even if you are. Shoot, I didn't read the intro until I was
on my mission and there's some good stuff there. Changed my mind,
everyone's reading the intro before Friday. Or don't and just start
Friday, whatever. But Alma is my favorite book. And Alma 36 is my
favorite chapter of all scripture of all time, so you'll be hearing
from me about halfway through the countdown. Ahhh, I'm so excited!!!!

So, some news....there was an emergency transfer, so I'm no longer
training my greenie :( she's actually in Phoenix now, in the Ward I
used to serve in. Which is super cool, cuz I can think of a few who
might be needing her special testimony. Julio comes to mind. It'll be

And even cooler.....I'm companions with sister Williams again!!, :D
and we're basically best friends and just having tons of fun and
working our tails off because we're both near the end of our missions
and we want to make the absolute most of it. But also having tons and
tons of fun, because we just love being around each other.

We're still working on finding people to teach....but we've had a lot
of fun with the less active members in the Ward. It's so weird,
Maricopa is full of church members who are technically less active but
they don't know it. Like, we go by just to get to know them, and they
love the missionaries and were chatting about scriptures and our
favorite general conference talks and it just comes out casually that
they haven't been to church in like a year and they haven't prayed in
a long time and they don't have time to read the scriptures, but they
don't consider themselves less active. I'm used to people just flat
out saying they're less active, or even inactive, and telling us
whether or not they have any interest in coming back to church. So
this is an interesting dynamic that's actually kinda fun to work with.

Did Itell you guys the news, btw? So the Amary family from Laveen?
Still super close with them, probably will be forever. But they're
going to the temple at the end of August, and they personally called
President Toone and asked if Sister Nelson and I could be there. H
said we could! I'm so excited!! :D

Sorry for the kinda short and uniform active letter, lol, were kinda
in a time crunch because we're doing something as a zone....but I love
you guys and miss you! Thanks for the awesomeness that you are! :D
it'll be fun to read Alma together!!

Sister Stratford