Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So first off, It rained... a lot!

So first off, It rained...A lot. I sent soem pictures trying to capture how intense this storm was. The morning started out fantastic as most mornings in Florida do. The next thing we see is some clouds in the distance and say to ourselves, "Oh it will probably rain today". We we got to one of our member meals when next thing you know, it starts raining. Wait did i say raining i mean pouring. It was creating a river outside of her porch. We then shared a quick scripture with her and rushed to go save the other elders who were trapped in the rain. We went to go pick them up and next thing you know, we are driving in a river. No joke. The car was creating a wake and water was being flung all over the car just from the puddles on the side of the road. Yeah Tropical Storm Andrea was nothing, just a consecutive rain. We were drenched after 3 seconds of being in that storm. We to get through the water to our car we had to do high knees just to make it so we wouldn't be stuck in the water. Yeah that was a fun crazy few hours.
   The great part about this last week is that I got to know my new companion. Elder Baugh. He is super awesome. He is super awesome. He is a magician. He does tricks here and there that just blow my mind. He loves playing board games too. He owns farkle so we play that with our free times during breakfast and lunch. We have a running total games that we play. He is kicking trash right now.
   Other news from this week. I'm feeling really good with spanish. I'm feeling more and more prepared as Argentina seems to get closer. Just the other day we were biking to an investigators house when a guy yelled at me and said "Hey" i stopped and he asked me if i spoke Spanish. I started speaking with him and he asked me what i was doing dressed up and on bikes. I basically taught him about joseph smith all by myself and all in Spanish. It was absolutely crazy. I felt so good about it. He even accepted a Book of Mormon and started reading it right after i left. He just sat down on a bench and started reading. It was so awesome. I'm hoping to see him this next sunday so we will see what his full potential is.
  So a lot of changes are happening here in Florida. President and Sister Hall are leaving and President and Sister Berry are coming in as new Mission President and Wife. I don't know how long they will be here before i leave, but that just means if they arrive while i am here, i will have a new mission president also in Cordoba when i finally make it down there.
  I'm still in Florida, but i truly don't know for how long. I love it down here, storms and all. I am hoping i get to see a baptism while i am here, but if i don't life goes on i know that the people that we are teaching now that they are prepared enough to be baptized. Saul has come to church now three times and loves it and is now participating in Gospel Principles. Iris as well made it to church this last sunday and we are hoping she had a positive experience.
   I love being a missionary. The lord has blessed me in so many ways. He has blessed me with the Gift of Tounges and the gift of interpretation of tounges on multiple occasions. I  know that i am learning Spanish so quickly is because the Lord is preparing me. He has prepared the people here in Florida for me to meet them and also he is preparing people in Argentina as well. The lord is truly preparing the way. Big things are happening in the world and i am one of the few who get to witness the changes that are happening first hand. I love this work and i know it is more about me leaving for two years to serve the lord. I am making a difference by doing the Lord's work. I am starting to lose myself in it and having so much fun doing so. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for me.
      Elder Cameron Jay Cook

Monday, June 17, 2013

    Hey Family and Friends, Guess what? I'm still in Florida. 4 of the 9 Visa waiters are leaving today though. Yeah, I know that I still have something to do here in Florida and I know that the Lord has blessed me for keeping me here for a 2nd transfer. The thing is, I don't know how long for this transfer I will be, it could be a day, it could be for the whole transfer. I got a letter from the Missionary Department saying "we are working on your visa don't freak out" Yup, it was pretty nice.
    This last week has been truly awesome though. We have found some pretty new and solid investigators. One of them is a 9 year old that is a son of member who has an investigator as a boyfriend. Yup I know that is a little confusing but we have two investigators in one house, the 9 year old speaks English and the boyfriend/step-dad speaks only Spanish. The thing is, it just makes them want to come over every day to teach each of them haha. They are an awesome family. They make us food all the time too, even if we don't want them to. They made smores for us this last week. We have them tonight again. They are the Avilleneda family. The parents are from Paraguay the cool part, they speak kind of like people in Argentina. It is really cool. I love being over at their house. It makes me happy to know that I get to spend a little more time with them.
   Saul is still doing pretty well. With his work schedule it is really hard to teach him, but he has come to church now twice. YAY! He basically is ready to be baptized, we just have to finish teaching him. He is super positive and I hope to see him Baptized before I leave. The cool thing about him was I was able to have a full conversation with him yesterday. It made me feel super close to him. This last Sunday he came and we had to translate for him. The coolest part about it, I had to translate for him during a couple of the meetings. He then approached me after church and told me how he liked my translation and really liked singing Soy Un Hijo De Dios(I am a child of God) and he understood it because we sing right next to him in Spanish. He is loving church and he has found so many friends. He is so solid and I hope to see him Baptized.
  Another interesting story. We didn't get to sleep until 2 o'clock this last night. You want to know why? It was because we were helping another companionship stop the flooding in their apartment in their bathroom. We got a call at 10:30 last night right before we went to bed from the companionship that lives in the apartment close to us. They called freaking out because their bathroom was flooding and starting to flood their bedroom. We went over there and their bathroom was taking on water from the walls and it was crazy. We were soaking up water with towels and the mop like crazy. We then just had to wait for the senior couple to get over and try to contact the emergency number. We were up until 2 because we couldn't sleep just in case we had to take in the other elders into our house and the elders didn't have a functional room. Well the senior couple just gave us permission to go to bed because the flooding had slowed down to a stop by that time. Yeah so I am a little tired today but I think the lord is blessing me because we still got up at 6:30. Obedience for the win.
  We have had so much success this week. We have found so many cool people this last week and we have a companionship record of 5 progressing investigators for this week. YAY! Our companionship is changing up this transfer. Elder Jackson is leaving for a different area and we will be getting a different elder who will be replacing him. We are hoping that this will help maybe fan the fire in our area that we just started. I love all of this and can't wait to learn some more from this area and from Florida. I love you all and I hope everyone had an amazing Fathers day.

     Elder Cook
These are two pictures from our District Prep Day.
1. Me at the Waterfall pointing at the crashed plane up there. Isn't that cool. Shows that Mini-Golf is taken seriously in Florida    

2. Sorry people, I sunk in some quick sand, good thing I was rescued!
(zoom in, quicksand only left behind Elder Cook's name badge, looks like that floats?!)

Monday, June 10, 2013

So the glad news is I didn't drown in my first tropical storm, or get struck by lightning which is always good. This also means that I was in Florida the whole time. I have not left for Argentina yet. No news on the Visa yet either. I think it will be one of those things that I will hear of it and then next thing you know I will be on my way out. Yup, it will be quite an experience.
  More about the storm. Well lets just say the work truly does press forward no matter the weather. I think out of this week with the tropical storm I was out in the rain for the majority of it. The only reason we do stay inside is because lightning is close by. We have 30 seconds of a buffer between flash and sound. If it is anything closer than that we have to take cover. For example these last two days we have had dinners scheduled with members. The day looked all great in the area and we started biking to the member’s houses. The sad thing was we got half way there and it started pouring buckets and lighting was 5 seconds between flash and sound. Yup it was pretty crazy. We had to cancel the dinner, but the member did bring us food at the Publix that we were stuck at for 2 hours waiting for the lightning to pass. The other one was yesterday. We had had rain in the early morning so we thought it was the end. Well we biked down for another dinner and next thing you know BANG! Flash and sound 3 seconds. Yeah we took cover. The good thing was, the member was willing to pick us up in his truck with our bikes and take us to his house. People are so nice.
   The missionary work continues down here in Florida. Saul and Iris continue to be our most positive investigators. We are pretty sure both of them are going to be baptized in the next couple weeks, which is amazing. Iris is having a hard time getting to Church because of work, but she said that if she doesn't get the next Sunday off, she is quitting. We didn't tell her that, she just knows that getting to Church is that important. She is amazing. She is making cheese cake for our little movie party we have planned for her this week. We will be watching Finding Faith in Christ. Haha she is so funny. She thinks I am weird because I don't talk a lot but I am working on my Spanish enough so I can speak up a little more. 
  The other is Saul, He came to church yesterday. He called us 45 minutes before church and asked if he could come. We found him a ride; he came to church and really loved it. It also helped we had a Linger Longer and he was able to meet the members and he enjoyed himself very well. We are going to try to get him to church this next week and hopefully get him a new date for either the 29th or maybe even earlier.
  Ahhh anyways. I truly do love this work and there is no doubt in my mind that this Church is true. We have a special opportunity to be here in the fullness of the Gospel. With a living prophet on this earth who can give us guidance straight from Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father and that is all through the Priesthood. I love being a missionary and even though we may have to fight through a few storms and may not get our lessons because of it, we are still pursuing the will of the Lord. He blesses the work and will make sure it is done the way he wants it to be done.
  I love you all, I’m missing Bear Lake but the great thing is I just get to experience getting drenched in the rain haha. Good luck with the Garden and all that sunny Utah weather.  

So I thought I would explain some of these photos for this week and the others from last week. So two of the photos from last week were from our dinner with the Bishop of our ward. He is super nice and has truly made our work in the ward easier. The one with the all the missionaries was at Mini Golf with some other missionaries who live in the same apartment complex as us. The one guy holding a cake is an investigator we had that just moved to California. It was his birthday so we made him a cake. It was the last time we saw them it was quite a sad little day. The one with us holding the cake was where we were at a cake auction. The bishop gave us some money to bid on a cake, well we won the big old chocolate cake.

Monday, June 3, 2013

 Well, the regular transfer time is almost here. I can't even believe how time can seem to fly by. The weeks just seem to mush together. My companions have even told me that the first transfer is always the longest. Well these next two years are going to fly by with amazing speed if this one is supposed to be the longest.

            Just to let you know I am still in Florida at the moment. I don't know when and I haven't received any sort of update of when. The sad thing is, I am truly loving the people that I am serving and it will be hard to say good bye. There are so many people here that I just want to see them progress and see them realize their relationship with Christ, but that will be really hard when the Lord needs me in Argentina.

I have gained relationships here also in Florida while spending the last few weeks here. I have gained the Nickname Elder Galleta which in English means Elder Cookie. Yeah there was one elder in my District who just called me that one day and it stuck for him, the thing that sealed it was one day we went to see an Investigator and I said Hi my name is Elder Cook and he said "Oh Elder Galleta si" and my companions busted up laughing so now I will forever be known here as Elder Galleta. I am going to miss it here, but I know that my feelings truly don't matter when it comes down to it because I will lose myself in the work over there in Argentina as well.

  The Investigator we had with a Baptismal date set for couldn't make it to Church 2 times before his date so we have to move the date. It was hard to see that happen, but you know what - life goes on. We hopefully have some more positive Investigators that we can set some baptismal commitments with this week. We are feeling really good about the work that we are doing here in Kissimmee.
Well, I continue to see miracles while I work here and I wish I could put all of them down and tell you about them. The hard thing is, it would take longer than the hour that I am allotted. I love this work and I truly get to see the wave come in. There is so much forward movement in the work of the Lord. God has prepared his Children for the restored Gospel and it truly is amazing to see the changes that it can make in people’s lives. I love this Work and I can't wait to see more. The Work of the Lord is truly hastening.
Love you all. This Church is true.
        Love,   Elder Cameron Jay Cook

PS: For anyone who is sending handwritten letters make sure to put my full name because there are 2 Elder Cooks in the Orlando mission so you never know when you have two people with the same last name.