Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I love being a missionary!

Hola Familia!!!!!

Wow do I have some stories for you all!! Every day I try my best to understand every word that people say. I understand most of everything and so it{s frustrating when I can{t say what I think they need to hear. But it{s teaching me patience and to really rely on the spirit when I open my mouth. 

We were contacting in the street a few days ago and we passed by this lady. The spirit told me we needed to go back and talk with her, and my companion felt the same way because she was already backtracking towards the lady before the time I could say, vamos!! (let{s go) Her name is Sandra, and at first she was a little hesitant to let us in until I told her I could play my violin for her. BTW I play my violin for almost every family we teach. If I don{t play my violin my companion and I sing hymns together at every lesson. She let us in and I played my violin for her. She loved it and afterward said yes to baptism! She won{t commit to a date yet though. The second lesson with her was not as successful but we are going to keep trying. 

Ivan (the young guy I told you about in the last letter who took notes during the lesson about the book of mormon) has a brother!!!! His name is Hugo and he is even more excited about the church believe it or not!!! We teach them together as brothers and I love them so much!!! I want them to be baptized together, but Ivan is moving a little slower in progress because I found out he has a girlfriend... He is actually 17 not 15. And Hugo is like 13. Well my companion and I bear our testimony to them as often as we can and we love them. Everytime we talk about the book of mormon they take notes and ask questions, they are really brilliant boys. Hugo is going to be baptized on the 29 of this month november!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love him!! He will probably be my first baptism, along with another young girl named Mirna who is 11. Gracee and Mal and Abby you guys would like Mirna and get along with her well.

A lot of time my comp and I are contacting, we go into the house of older ladies, and they will just pour out their life story and cry to us. One lady, named Magdalena has sort of like a prodigal son. She just cried and told us that she doen{t even know where he is at right now. She thinks he is in a lot of trouble. She loves him so much. We just listened to her, sometimes as missionaries that{s all we can do. And then we told her that we would pray for her and her son, Samuel. I hope that they can be reunited someday. We are going back to teach her soon.

Yesterday I gave my first talk in sacrament meeting!!!!!! It was on missionary work and charity. I think it went well. I smiled a lot, and I think that helped. OUr branch needs a tiny bit of cheering up. It{s the weirdest thing where thet people are so loving and inviting when they are in their house or on the street, but as soon as they come to church it{s a little solemn. We need to work on unifying the members a little bit. 

I want to write a little bit about a recent convert named Brenda. Brenda{s husband is out late a lot of nights drinking, although he is a member. He has a really bad habit. Hermana Brenda is a faithful member who comes to church every week with her 3 children, small daughters. But I can see the weight she carries in her eyes. She is very strong and works hard, but this is difficult for her. She has no money and sometimes she cannot feed her children, and yet she has us over every week to feed us. I know this is a huge sacrifice for her driven by her love for us. We have been trying to work with her husband and help him return to the light of the gospel, but he doesn{t have that desire to act. Brenda is sad that her husband doesn{t have that desire. She is so sweet, just a young mom trying to live the gospel. Yesterday at church we talked with her and she cried about all of this. All we really could do was hug her and try and put ourselves in her shoes. Her life is not easy, but she makes the best with what she has. 

Another really cool story is about another less active lady, Hermana Dilcia. Dilcia has a past with witchcraft and working with bad spirits, but she is just now returning to the church!! She has so much potential for good I think, and she really is a good lady. Her son, Johan, comes teaching with us sometimes. He is a strong convert to the church and is going to serve a mission in about a year. She also has three other children, all quite young. She is starting to attend church and come to activities throughout the week because she has that desire. She is hungry for the truth after being in darkness for so long. When we teach her she is excited to learn and she keeps her commitments. It{s really quite amazing her progress in the church. 

There is big drive here to learn English, and I can{t pinpoint exactly why. And so, now I teach music classes and english classes. I help lots of young kid with their English homework. Also I wish I knew the guitar because everyone here wants to learn the guitar. One member here who is learning English said he has read the Book of Mormon seven times to learn. He said it{s because he wants to hear what the prophets say and understand. 

Another less active we visit is Hermana Milady. She has the worst arthritis I have ever seen, and is confined to a wheel chair becaue of the inflamation of her legs and feet. She is so sweet and mom you would get along well with her, she loves earrings and necklaces and fashion ha ha. She has got a personality to boot as well. But she lives alone and she is so lonely. There was a man passing by her house, and was very interested in religion and talked to us for a minute. I felt prompted to give him the book of mormon and so I did. He was excited and we scheduled a time to teach him with Milady. 

My favorite thing is when my investigators say yes to baptism and then they start changing their life because of what they know. It is so amazing, especially with the younger kids. They have so much faith. 

The street.... I have to describe the streets here because it is really something else!!! I can hardly put into words how beautiful the streets are here. I love everythying about them!! The colorful rundown houses, the trash in the gutters, the beautiful trees and plants growing up through the sidewalk, the strange smells from the vending carts, the smashed flowers all over, the uneven sidewalks, the homeless dogs, and even the bread and banana venders on bikes that play creepy carnival music when they pedal!! Here everybody is a vender. Wether on a bike or in a little mini store at the front of their house, they are venders. They sale bread, tortillas, fruit, vegetables, hot dogs, tacos, and all sorts of Mexican food. There is always always always Spanish music playing from different houses and buildings and venders. The children here just stare at me with their mouths open... ha ha. lots of them reach out and touch me. Dad it{s exactly like you in New Guinea!!! Elder Coook Elder COook and they touch your skin cuz it{s white!! ha ha. Lots of swerving and speedign in the street, walking, bugs, strange birds, coconut and mango trees, beautiful mountains of JUNGLE with a giant cross at the top of the mountain, the smokey haze from cooking fires and construction, and last but not least, the way I feel walking down these streets being a MISSIONARY!!! I LOVE IT!!! 


hermana cook

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