Monday, December 29, 2014

A week of partying and a week of just absolutely hard work

A week of partying and a week of just absolutely hard work.
   So Christmas week is always an interesting but always rewarding week. ANd that is for two reasons. You always do have families getting together so you have more opportunities of finding new people that may have never heard the gospel before, and two the fact is that when families are together usually they don't want two strangers knocking their door and asking if they can come in and share a Christ filled message with them. Yes a few may let you in but the majority of those people not so much. But the few people that doo answer are very elect peopel and we know that they will most likely progress.
    So to start of the week, it has been a very interesting experience to train. First off sometimes you just realize that the guy sitting next to you sometimes just doesn't understand why you do the things you do. I may do something or say something and he then asks me why i do what i do and i realize that it isn't something that he does on a regular basis. For example today he asked me why i was getting in proselyting clothes if it was a p-day, then i realized he doesn't know what we do on a p-day. This was his first p-day that actually didn't have something weird like a Christmas conference or traveling so he was able to experience something normal and he doesn't know what to do.
   Also part of the week was a great filled Argentine Christmas eve dinner. We ate with a family here that i have grown quite close with (the Martinez Family) as well as they invited me to come have dinner with them. Brother Martinez cooked us up a barbeque with half of a pig, a goat, and a good rack of ribs. It filled me up fast. he let me help with the barbecue as well but it was more just a watch and learn experience because he cooks his asado a little differently than i have seen before but it sure saves money but it takes a golden eye to make sure you don't over cook your meat.
   Also this last week though we had a Christmas conference with the whole mission there. It was so interesting because i saw companions from the first part of my mission and realized how old i am because the majority of them are now past their year mark and making fun of me because i will be going home soon. I thought it was quite an interesting experience and kind of out of body thing where i just couldn't help but think to myself on how tired i was as i went around talking to people.
  Well finally it has come to the new year and i am getting pretty excited to start the new year. Start a new part of my life and see what life actually has in store for me. The new year is all about resolutions, and i have made a few, and i know that i will keep adding to the list as time goes on. But anyways i love you all and i hope that life just keeps giving out the blessings. I love you all!
    Elder Cook

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 companion is Elder Chuquipoma. He is an Elder from Peru

   Well i am guessing that you are all now trying to figure out who my new companion is.Well my companion is Elder Chuquipoma. He is an Elder from Peru. I am already in love with the guy. He is an awesome elder and i am super excited to be his first companion here in the feild. He has the fire like none other i always feel bad when we really have soemtiems nothing to do but we get a lot of thigns done. This week we put 2 dates with peopel to get baptized. It was amazing the miracles that we found when we just put ourselves to work with the blind faith that we were going to find the miracles that are waiting for us.
   Yesterday was the christmas confrence for the mission and ti is oen of only very few oportunities where the mission gets together. And this is the whole mission all 246 of us get together and we just have a blast. This Christmas they had a talent show and i was actually able to sing in it with one of my good friends here on the mission named Elder Toledo. It was super cool we sang Mary did you Know with a mixture of Spanish and English lyrics. It was super cool and though it may not have been the perfect performance i was super happy about it and it was fun.
    Well i am super excited about Christams. This year we will be celebrating it with a member family and the man of the house invited me to come learn how to cook the asado (barbeque) we will be cooking a full pig and a goat instead of the traditional cow. i am super excited because i have never cooked something so big before so i am quite excited to learn. 
  I love Christmas on the mission because it just give me time to think about Christ and just read the story and think about what opportunities and moments that i have as a missionary to share the good news that is Jesus Christ and that he was born so that we could actually be saved from damnation. From eternal suffering. From Death itself, And he opened up a door so that my family can be together forever and that i could go around for these short 2 years and tell people that they can receive the blessings.
   I love you all and i hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas!
            Elder Cook

Monday, December 15, 2014

i officially have been called as a trainer for the mission

What a week!
       transfers have ended and i officially have been called as a trainer for the mission. I will be receiving a newbie straight from the MTC. I will be taking a long bus ride into the city on Tuesday to make sure that i can be there Wednesday morning. I cant wait to get my new companion. I am super excited i get to have the opportunity to train a new elder. To be honest i am super anxious to receive him though because i will forever be his first impression of a missionary and that can create a bit of pressure but you know what i am super excited the same and i just hope that whoever my companion is that i can just have an awesome transfer with him.
Something about this week that i have learned though is that it is sometimes just the best to find the best part of life and just keep working your butt off until you just cant work no more. We kind of hit a dry spell this last week and just couldn't find anybody who wanted to receive our message or even wanting to talk to us and all the people that usually talk to us for some odd reason just weren't home or we just never caught them at a right time. It made things very difficult to work but as always when you work you find miracles.
  The miracle for this week has to for sure be a less active woman that my companion and i started teaching about 3 weeks ago. We were told by the ward to start passing by her because she had expressed feelings to come back. SO what happened Her visiting teachers passed by and then a week later we did pass by and we had amazing spiritual lessons focused on the sacrament and its cleansing powers. Next thing you know we see her at church. She had come by herself and she was welcomed into the ward with open arms. It was absolutely awesome to see her there, and even she looked even happier to just be able to have us there with her to congratulate her on coming back to church. Sometimes you just feel so cool to be part of these stories that you just know God has more plans for the people than the things that sometime we have planned for them.
But more than that this week was just a week to kind of get to know my companion a little more. Elder Weller and i probably got a lot closer in this last week than we got any other week. We just kind of let our feelings about some things out and it made the week as hard as it was better. I don't know what it is but i think that the companion is made for more than just a testimony and a teaching companion, but more for somebody that can just help you through a hard a difficult time, someone that can just be at your side when you tell him i am having a hard day. And the greatest thing is that i didn't just have him, i had my zone leaders, i had the other 2 elders in the pension, and then i had the best of all God and Jesus Christ right next to me telling me to just keep moving forward. They are all their to help me to succeed not to fail. Never do they do something to see us fail. Friends would never do that, and just to think God gave us Jesus so that we could have the opportunity to bounce back when we fall. The gift was his to give and ours to receive. This is the time of gifts but he gave something to us that we can hardly give back in return. But we can sure think about it. Christmas is a week from now and i just have been focused so much on Christ and what he did for me. I love the mission and i love the offering that i could give my loving savior after what he did.
   I love all of you and i hope to talk to you all and maybe even see some of you in a week!
 Elder Cook

Monday, December 8, 2014

Every week here in San Francisco is becoming more amazing

Well another week has flown by and every week here in San Francisco is becoming more amazing. This week marks the end of another transfer which as i approach people are not afraid to point at me and help em recognize that i only have 2 transfers left after it.....The mission has flown by and we have someone going home from our pension so it just kind of freaks me out to see it happening. Just keep the focus and the goals still set to work as hard as i can!
    This week was somewhat slow. We have been trying to work hard and focused but the hot spring afternoons just make it seem like the longest day of my life. The sun and humid air of the area is not as fun. We have been having heavy storms blow through the area and we were caught in them on more than one occasion. But as wet as we get the day of the storm isn't the problem it is the day after when the blazing hot sun comes out. I have come home to the pension a little darker every day.
   Good thing about weeks like this is that as hard as you work you may not see as much success but you see a lot more bigger miracles than just the small graces that you get from the lord. This last week we were able to focus on the Christmas message with some of the members and they all were super excited about it and have been sharing it everywhere they can. We are holding a Christmas night on Friday night to watch a few Christmas things and then next week we have the Christmas activity for the branch. CHRISTMAS IS HERE!
   but finally i would like to put something that God has shown me every week since i have started the mission. He loves us. When we show our love for him, he shows it even more. So as always we had fast Sunday this last week. We as missionaries here start Saturday  after lunch and then goes till Sunday for lunch. Well lets just say that was a trial. Hottest day yet of the spring, hunger wrenching my stomach, and no one wanted to listen to us that day. We had very little success. But we continued on with the faith that we would see something. Sunday comes around and no one. Very little people because of another storm that hit us right after Church. Worst news was that our lunch for that day canceled on us because their fridge broke so they lost all they food that they were going to make for us. It was rough, but something that we did end up seeing was that after Sunday right at the end of the night, we go to a new investigators house and we teach her the Restoration and she ends up in tears telling us it was the message that she has been looking for to unite her family. We have a lesson with her today and we are super excited to see what continues out of it. But it was just a testimony builder that God loves every single one of us and though he may try my faith i know he does a lot more for me than i could ever imagine, especially since he already did something for me which i can never pay back which was send Jesus to all of us right?
   Anyways i love you all and i will talk to you all next week!
          Elder Cook

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bikes again...and more rain storms...

 Bikes again...and more rain storms...
        Yes the title is so true. This last weekend was filled with a cold front, a huge rain storm, and us being on bikes. So i didn't tell you guys in my last couple of emails but this area actually has bikes to ride on for proselyting. The two bikes we have are not in the greatest shape but it helps us from not getting robbed while we are not looking. But anyways this weekend we decided to take the bikes for a good spin to make our long distance travel to the Province of Santa Fe an easier trip.
   Let's just say that Saturday reminded me a lot of how florida felt like on a weekly basis. We had recently got out of lunch when we look to one side and see a gigantic front of gray and stormy clouds coming straight towards us. I knew from past experiences that in about an hour from when we left we would be hit with a gigantic rain and thunder storm. Well we decided that it would be best to go look for a house that we may be able to take shelter in. All the members we looked for in the area were already asleep for the Siesta and the regular people that we talk to as well. So we took the chance and went to go look for somebody. Right before the storm hit we found a house of a potential investigator that we have been trying to find for the last 3 weeks and we finally found her. She let us in and she told us to take cover in her house until the rain calmed down.
   First off, that visit was amazing. She told us her faithful story of her family and how she lost her son to a tumor in his liver. We were able to share the whole plan of salvation and as well as share some scriptures from the Book of Mormon with her in the hour and a half that we were there during the hardest part of the storm. It was super cool and showed me that the lord truly has his ways of realizing his work.
   Through out the whole day we had moments just like that were just as it started to rain hard we were able to get into a house before the rain started pouring down. That is until the end of the night when we finally had to make it home. The rain came pouring down the worst it had the whole day and ti showed no sign of stopping. I had no jacket and nothing to really cover myself. So what did i do, i took my bike saddled up and took it like a man and tried getting to our house as fast as i could. Lets just say the puddles that i splashed through may have covered about half my calfs. By the end of the trip my shoes were filled with water and i was absolutely soaked. We all just took our time to take off our clothes and dry off a bit. it was a fun little moment. 
 Anyways i know that as much as we all love the cool mission stories i would just like to share with you all a video that really has changed my thoughts on this season. It may not be in the states, and i may not be seeing a white christmas, but what i am able to see is a Christ Centered Christmas. I am really able to focus on the true meaning of christmas and the true gift that we have received this season. I am going to leave you all with a video of what the true gift was for all of us and then invite you to think what this gift has given you! i love you all and i hope that you all have a great miracle filled week!
He is the Gift
   Elder Cook