Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I love Chiapas!

Hola familia!!!

Wow this week has been CRAZY!!


So update on the Hermana Flor (7th day adventist)... We went to teach her this week and out came the controversy of what day is the sabbath day... Saturday or Sunday. She had a load of scriptures, but so did we... We explained as cleary as we could but she couldn't accept it. She says that since the commandments were written on a rock that they should never change or the world will stop moving and so will the movement of the sun. And because everyone worshiped the sabbath day on Saturday before Christ came she can't accept that it changed after Christ was resurrected and held the sacrament with his disciples on Sunday. We tried. But again, agency plays a big role in missionary work. And she chose not to accept our beliefs about the sabbath day being on Sunday.

Here in Chiapas there is so much false doctrine and false churches, and Satan loves to "stir up the hearts of the children to contention one with another" about Christ's doctrine on EVERY INTERSECTION.Literally there is a different church in every intersection here. We have to defend our doctrine with every single religion here. We have to be prepared to explain why and how with every person who says differently. It's hard sometimes because you don't always know all the answers. But the beauty of the gospel is that you can always ask for wisdom from God like it says in the first chapter of James verse 5. And God will tell you through the HOly Ghost.

So we found an investigator about 2 weeks ago who is named Geronimo. I don't remember if I told you about him. But the first time we taught him he had lots of questions (like Marcos) and we taught the whole restoration and the book of mormon. And he shouted out, "what is the true church?" and all that... well we returned to teach him this week and he said that he had read the book of mormon one night and asked God to give him knowledge to know what is true. Then he had a dream... VERY PECULIAR ... 

He said that in his dream there were 2 paths, one path appeared easy and pleasant and lead in one direction. The other path was like a jungle with obstacles that he would have to climb up and it lead in the other direction. Well, there were to "muchacha's" as he said, one mexicana and the other americana. They told him to take the easy path. Well he took the hard path. As he arrived to the end of the path upward, there was a box of stone in the dirt, and inside were golden plates. He was fascinated to find the plates and stepped forward and picked up the plates. Just as he had the plates in his arms, voices from all angles started to tell him things and fear entered into his heart and he became fearful. Darkness started to close in on him. And so he returned the plates back into the box and the dream ended. He woke up in fear and ran around and fell down on the floor. 
I asked him why he didn't take the plates and run.... and he just laughed...
This whole time I was thinking.... this is CRAZY!! Satan really doesn't want this guy to read the book of mormon. And so I explained to Geronimo just that... but he didn't believe me OR my companion.
We explained that the dream was not from God because he felt fear. We explained that the only feeling that Satan CANNOT imitate is Godly peace. We explained with clarity and simplicity again the restoration, and that something similar happened to Joseph Smith when he tried to pray for the first time.

But he rejected it all for FEAR. I can't believe it!!!!! 

We are going to go teach him again and see where it goes but my companion and I don't feel a lot of hope for the poor guy. He has the truth and he is going to reject it for fear!

update on Marcos.... He still won't commit to ANYTHING. He says he is on the correct path. Even though we are going to stop teaching him for now, I have complete faith that he will one day know and accept.

The other day we were walking in the street smiling and having a great time talking (my comp and I) when a young girl about 16 took out her headphones and basically waited for us to talk to her. ha ha1!! Elder Oaks said that 10% of the people you will convert will know the message is true from thet very minute you see them. So we made an appointment wiht her and are very hopeful she will accept. The cool thing is is that she lives, JUST WITHIN our boundaries of our area!!

We also had the activity and it was a big success,especially for less active members. I will send pics. 

I love you family, please pray for everyone, and that Hugo will one day accept the truth and make a COMMITMENT.


HErmana Cook 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hola familia!! 

So we have been teaching lots of recent converts and less actives this week. I love Hermana Buendia and I think we are working really well together. 

When you get to the house and you feel like you really can't do one more thing, you know that Matthew 10:39 came true. When you are walking in the street and the only thing you want to do in the world is talk to people about the gospel, Matthew 10:39 has also come true. And when you arrive to the point where you don't care what you look like or what you feel like, you just want to do missionary work, Matthew 10:39 has just come true. I love Matthew 10:39... Look it up.

So we have been teaching hermano Hugo and a few days ago he said that on a scale of 1 to 5 he wants to be baptized a 5!! But then we did everything we could to get him to church (leaving notes on his door, sending members to get him, commiting him to go) and he hasn't come to church for 2 weeks in a row. He is so close to baptism I would hate to lose him. But there is really nothing more we can do. He has to choose. It's his angency not ours. I saw him a little while ago and asked him on a scale of 1 to 5 about baptism and he changed his answer to 3.... I'm not sure what happened.... He really just needs to come to church and take the sacrament. We taught him the word of wisdom and he committed to stop drinking coffee. He offered the most beautiful prayer in the last lesson we had with him too. He asked for wisdom from God and help to stop drinking coffee. He asked for help to get baptized too. He is so young I want to baptize him before he loses another minute of time or another year of age. But we are on the timeline of God and not our own. I don't want to give up on him the poor boy. His brother Ivan is never home, although we have tried multiple times to find him. He is always with his girlfriend. It is so sad.

Marcos... We visited him and he had read the introduction and the testimony of the 3 and 8 witnesses of the Book of Mormon. He had so many questions again and, like everyone else here, he thought that Jehovah is God. So we got to teach him that Jehovah is Jesus Christ and we shared with him various scriptures from the Bible. I have become an expert at explaining why Jehovah is not God and why Jehovah is Jesus Christ. I LOVE DOING IT!!! ha ha. We also explained the word of wisdom in this lesson because he asked why it's a sin for mormons to drink coffee... I enjoyed myself a lot. But again, he doesn't want to committ to anything, because one time a man taught him the bible by the river in the most beautiful way he had ever heard. And after that he believed that you don't need religion as long as you follow the commandments as stated in the Bible. So we have been helping him understand that their are ordinances that you have to complete before this life is through. I will keep you updated on him.

We have been teaching a young mom named Flor who is a 7th day adventist. She LOVES our message. She was AMAZED to hear that we have a living prophet and apostles. We explained the restoration and she understood it all and thought it was very peculiar. Her husband was working on the computer the whole time- but I know he was listening....He is actually a teacher in the 7th day adventist school... We'll have to see how this goes. She asked lots of cool questions about Martin Luther and John Calvin and some of the other reformers. She is very educated in the Bible and some other fundamental principles of our church. I love it when they already have this sort of background because we have a common ground to start from. I will let you know how it goes with her. 

We have also been visiting a less active member named Gisel. She got baptized because of a dream she had and not because of her testimony of the Book of Mormon. She has now changed her religion. Her and her mom are Nazareno (nazareth in english? I'm not sure....) and they will NOT accept anything but the Bible. We have been having some trouble lately with people accepting the Book of Mormon. Lots of people say, "we have a bible, we have a bible, and we don't want more." It's very common to get this response. We had some Jehovah's Witness missionaries contact us in the door of our house (they LOVE to do that...) and I presented the Book of Mormon to them. We showed them where it talks about the Book of Mormon in the Bible and they were stunned. They took the book of mormon. 

Well family, I love you so much. Godspeed.


Hermana Cook 

Friday, March 13, 2015


Hola familia from VILLAFLORES!! 

And he doesn't work on Sunday's now and so he can come to church!!! He accepted baptism and we are planning for the 28th of March!!! Hermana Buendia told me that I needed to come back to find Hugo. Because they weren't going to serach anymore for him. I think I know why I had to come back to Villaflores... I will let you know how it all goes. 

Hola familia from VILLAFLORES!! 

How are you family!! I am doing so good here in Villaflores with my new companion, Hermana Buendia!! 

We are working really hard right now to see the construction of the new chapel go up. We have to have 25% active members to construct the new chapel. We have a whole list of about 500 members here in Villaflores but only about 70 are active.... So we have A LOT of work to do. I would really like see the new chapel go up, and Hermana Buendia and I are going to give our all. If not, we will definitely open up the gate for the next Hermana's who will come after us. 

I reunited with my recent converts!!!!! It was the happiest reunion, but the most special with Hermana Mirna. When we saw each other in the street we ran to each other and hugged and it was so amazing to see her again!! She is doing so great and we have been doing her family history with her. When she turns 12 she can go to the temple and do this work. Alondra is doing great, and Octavio hiccuped for a minute with the missionaries from Jehovah's Witness but he is doing much better now. We have had a lesson with him since I returned and he is getting ready to receive the Melchezidek priesthood in the coming weeks. He went to the temple for the first time SATURDAY!! I can't wait to ask him how it went. Alondra's husband got baptized when Hermana Allende and HErmana Buendia were here together, and now they are planning on getting sealed in the temple in one years time!!!!!!! With their precious daughter Sandy!!!! I couldn't be happier. 



Also when I got here my companion Hermana Buendia told me that her and Hermana Allende had been having trouble with bad spirits in our house too. One night at about 11:30 at night Hermana Allende woke up and so did Hermana Buendia and they felt sooo horrified- fear and darkness entered the room. They got up and turned on the light and ran out of the house. They went next door to have the PResident of the branch offer a prayer for the house. Since then they didn't have any problems. Since I got to the house we haven't had any problems. We pray every night for the angels to protect us. The truth is when Hermana Buendia told me that as we were traveling to Villaflores together I was horrified. Every night since then we have prayed for protection and nothing has happened. Now I feel at peace and I know God is protecting us. I think Satan is not happy with the work we are doing to see the new chapel go up and reactivating all the less active members. 

We have found many new investigators just in one week. It has been miracle after miracle. We went looking for a less active member and instead we found her nephew, Marcos. He had so many questions, that by the end of 20  minutes we had taught the whole restoration and the book of mormon. He told us that he knew what we said was true, but that he doesn't like to commit. We showed up for the second appointment and he wasn't home. We are going to try a few more times and I hope that the spirit will prick his heart and let him know that he needs to act. 

Another guy we found who has been with all different sorts of churches. It's easy to do that here in Mexico because there is a different church on every corner. He knows the bible and loves God as do lots of people. We were teaching the restoration and he finally burst out, "What IS the true church??!!" We explained to him that his quesiton was the same as that of Joseph Smith. We invited him to ask for himself to know. He seems very promissing. I will keep you updated on him. 

WEll, I love you family and I pray for you and think about you often.


Hermana Cook. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hola Familia!

And...... I'M GOING BACK TO VILLAFLORES!!! I think with Hermana Buendia. I will send you pics of her soon. 

On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 5:37 PM, Sariah Cook <sariah.cook@myldsmail.net> wrote:
hola familia!! 

Wow it's been a CRAZY week here in Juarez. To start off, they feed you SO MUCH FOOD here in the city it is not even funny. We showed up to a member's house to have lunch, and to start off I wasn't even hungry. The sister started serving up the food on a giant plate. Well I thought it would be fine until she kept dishing, and dishing, and dishing, and DISHING!!  Oh my goodness, it was like the food challenge of my life! Anyway, it was quite a miracle that I finished...

I also had a really neat experience. This day I realized how God fearing a lot of the people here really are. We walke up to a house with no door, you could see right in. An old man inside heard that the hermanas were coming. He hobbled out towards us with a cane, grasped my hands, and cried out, "pray for me, pray for me, because I cannot see." My heart broke and next I met his wife. She was just the sweetest old lady you've ever met. She was having severe pains in her stomach, and I told her to sit down for a minute, so she did. They are not members, and are VERY strong catholics. We explained the restoration as simply and as clearly as we could, but it was like they just didn't understand. But I loved them with all my heart. 

Mom you asked a quesiton about the catholics here. The catholics haven't stopped fiesta-ing since Christmas. Just the other night they were shooting off fireworks. That means lots of drinking and who knows what else. In almost every house we walk into, there is a shrine in the corner for the picture of Maria, the plastic cross with Jesus hanging from it, and lots of old flowers and candles and creepy doctor dolls. My companion says that the people here often worship these idols. There are many families who are very strong in their catholic faith until their dying day, but there are others who treat it as only a culture for partying. It is the culture here in Mexico.They celebrate when the catholics do and they wear crosses around their necks, but they don't go to church and don't really live their faith. And when you ask them they say, "I am catholic, but in my own way." That means they talk the talk but don't walk the walk. But as my companion says, you can't be a catholic and live by the bible at the same time." And it's so true. Where in the bible does it mention "Guadalupe" or "the Santos" or that we should worship idols? Who knows....

Yesterday and the day before I was able to play my violin for Elder Oaks! Let me tell you, it was quite the experience. The first meeting was with the WHOLE mission here in Chiapas, all the missionaries. We made a giant line, and he shook every missionaries hand. I played Abide with me (the one with Hermana George from facebook) with a small missionary choir. After I played, Elder Oaks put his hands together, shaking them in the air, and whsipered, thank you. I just smiled and my heart filled with joy that I was able to play my violin for an apostle of the Lord. The meeting was something else, as he had a translator at his side, translating everything he said. It was so neat!! He told the Elders to get home and get married. He told us that we need to encourage those "frail little creatures" (those are his EXACT words) to GET ON IT and GET MARRIED. Wow it was the strongest mandate I have ever heard from him. It was something else... He said it was his first time visitng Tuxtla Gutierrez, although he has assigned SEVERAL missionaries to the Tuxtla Gutierrez mission!! I thought that was so neat! He also explained the process of how they choose the place of assignment for missionaries. He said sometimes he has to go back and meditate a little bit more to make sure that that is the place that this missionary needs to go, but that he rarely changes the place. I thought that was interesting... 

The second meeting that I played for was for the all the young single adults from 3 different stakes here in Tuxtla. When he entered, I was the first one that he shook hands with, and he said, " Hello again." ha ha. The whole time we were playing the prelude (me and the other violinist- I sent you pics of her once), he was out in the crowd shaking everyone's hand. It was really a sweet experience. As we played the last song, he took his seat and just listened. He sat forward in his chair and watched intently. I looked up and smiled at him many times, and he was always looking directly at me, smiling back. It was pretty neat. 

Well I love you family, gabby and mom, good luck in AFRICA!! 

Hermana Cook