Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rescuing Xochimilco!

HOLA Familia!!! 

¡¿Como estan?

I love you guys all so much. First of all I have to answer some questions that mom asked... 

Here in Xochimilco it's not a branch. We have a ward. In Villaflores it was a branch. But not very many people have been coming in these past weeks. Asistence varies from about 50-90 people every week. We can't seem to keep it stable. It's because there are lots of less active members here. I am serving in the oldest stake here in Chiapas, the Tapachula Mexico stake. For that reason there are so many less actives. But there are also many strong families in the church that keep our ward together here in Xochimilco. We have various priesthood holders, both young and old.

My companion is doing better from salmonella but her she has lots of pain in her knees and back. We went to the traumatologist today and things aren't looking too good. My companion has really lost her excitement to be here because she knows that they might be sending her home. I don't know what to do but to just keep working and keep having the excitement of 2 missionaries instead of one. We are going back to the traumatologist next monday to see what they say. 

Our area has been really difficult to find new investigators in the past 2 transfers. And so... our whole zone did something SUPER awesome!! Our whole zone of missionaries came to work in XOCHIMILCO!!!! We had over 20 missionaries and members flood every colonia of Xochimilco. In about an hour and a half, we had done over 200 contacts together (which is amazing because usually the streets are silent), had 28 lessons, 11 lessons with a member present, and I played my violin while walking in the streets of Xochimilco, and I discovered that I can talk and play at the same time. ha ha. So together with 5 other hermana's, we paraded the streets and contacted LOTS of people. Afterwards the whole zone got together and we sang hymns while I played the violin and we ran after the combis that were driving past and contacted all the people inside. I was so excited that in one of the streets we were walking (nobody was walking by) and I yelled out, "BAUTIZENSE!!!" (why don't you all just get baptized...) ha ha. It was A RIOT!!!! We were just like a bunch of missionaries running around and working so hard to find one soul who would be willing to get baptized. Well, after the hour and a half had passed, we were left with a ton of references to contact. We have lots of people to look for and we hope that a baptism can emerge from an effort like this. 

We had found 2 little catholic girls who were loving our message. Their names are Daniela and Adriana. Daniela came to church one sunday but then we went to talk to her mom to see how she feels about it. Her mom told us no. We taught her the restoration and tried and tried but it's looking grim with her. I think we are going to look for people who are above the age of choice (18) so that we don't have to have permission.

We have a ward activity that we are plannign called the "iron rod" and it should be pretty awesome. IT will be complete with an iron rod to follow (rope) and temptations along the way, facebook, food, dancing, music, videogames, and everything. WE ARE SO EXCITED to get this ward moving. 

Yesterday we gave talks on the work of salvation and we are planning to have more members that can work with us than just Sara. Today another member menos activo went with us to buy the treats and goodies for the activity. 

Yesterday we had a stake activity where they played meet the mormons for the first time outside of theaters. IT was really great, and a lot of the ward came to see it. I love the movie. 

We have still been visitng with Lupita but she says she doesn't want ot come to church because she is basically jealous that Jaime is with Sara. We are trying to help her out... but if the members aren't helping we really can't do anything. Missionary work is about the members. Because the missionaries all leave the area, but the members are the ones who stay to help out...

It's been really hard still with my companion, but I am trying to love her with all my might. Every week brings some new cafaffle that we have to pass through. ha ha. But I am learning a lot about the 24-7 forgiveness and asking for forgiveness. If you think something isn't good between you and your companion, TALK with them and ask them for forgiveness. If not it's just going to go on and on and it's no fun. Even if you think it's the problem of your companion, you get down from your high horse of pride and you ask for forgiveness... because who is really going to win in this situacion? And then if they offfend you and don't know it. FORGIVE them and FORGET it. Because living like that is no fun either. After all, isn't the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ faith and repentance in the Lord Jesus Chirst? 

I love you family, keep on keeping on I AM ROOTING FOR YOU GUYS HERE IN MEXICO!! 

Hermana COok 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sometimes we have to retrace our steps for those we love

Buenos Tardes Familia!!!!!!! 

HOLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you guys so much, I just want you to know family that you are my strength when I feel lonely. I know you guys are praying for me and that you are rooting for me. Who can feel prideful seeing their little red-headed brother on a unicycle? NOBODY!! 

Well this week has brought even MORE trials. This week we returned to the hospital with Hermana Zamora because she got salmonilla... really bad. I don't know how in the world I didn't get it, because we eat all of the same stuff... my stomach is REALLY strong and God is really watching over me. 

We were in the hospital for 3 days... my companion and I... in the same room. I went crazy!! It's really hard going from working your hardest to staring at the wall in front of you. It was a trial really hard for the two of us, and to tell you the truth, I lost a little bit of my excitement but as soon as I started to work again I got it back. They hooked my companion up to an IV for like 48 hours (6 bags of medicine) and it's tough. 

But the doctor's daughter, Mariana, loves it when we visit because she pulls out the violins... ha ha. We played violin almost the whole day one of the days we were there, and that helped me a lot. But my poor companion having to listen... ha ha :) Mariana is still just learning and you know how that goes... cat stepping on a horse and vice versa.

What I haven't been telling you guys is that I have been having a few difficulties with my companion, Hermana Zamora. Since she arrived it has been very very difficult. She is the companion most difficult that I have had. But maybe for that reason I also love her a lot. I just serve her and talk with her and try to work things out. But sometimes it is hard to maintain my excitement when I am with her. I think it's because of all these sicknesses that she has had to pass through, and her life has not been easy. It's hard for her to keep a smile on, and naturally, harder for me. I feel sometimes I have to carry her... literally through the streets of Xochimilco.

One day, we were working and walking and we had forgotten something in the house. We stopped by to pick it up, and when we shut the door to leave, she stayed in front of the door and did not move. We started to walk, Hermana Sara (the member who always comes with us) and I, but she stayed in front of the door. I told her let's go but she didn't move. This had never happened to me before, and I didn't know what to do. And so I walked back to where she was, grabbed her hands, told her I needed her, and pulled. But she didn't move. I tried again, pleading for forgiveness if there was something that I had done (really not knowing what it could be) and pulled again. She didn't move. I talked to her, just telling her what the spirit told me, and pulled for the last time. And she started to walk. 

Sometimes we have to retrace our steps for those we love. Sometimes we have left them behind but they need us to pull them just a little. Passing through difficult experiences unites people like nothing else. But the most powerful of all is the ability to ask for forgiveness- and forgive- 24/7 hours. This is the doctrine of Christ that we read over and over again in the scriptures. repent. progress. repeat. This is the key to really being happy and making others so as well. 

I know that God protects us with his angels, I know that the spirit will tell us what to do when know one else can. I know that Jesus Christ has descended below it all. If there is someone who knows how you feel, it is Him. 

I love you family,


Hermana Cook 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hola hola familia!

Hola hola familia,

Happy fourth of July yesterday!! You know it's a little strange being in a different country. All of the missionaries down here in Tapachula were in a meeting in the morning (on the fourth). When we left the meeting, one of the Elder's from the U.S. shouted out in English, "Happy fourth of July!!" It was the funniest thing because a lot of us missionaries from the U.S. had not realized that it was the fourth of July. It made me miss my home country. I loved the poem that you sent me. Thank you!!! 

I'ts so good to hear from you mommy and daddy. I love you!! 

This week has brought many new challenges.....

We had only heard that Jose recieved permission to be baptized, so we had to go and check, right? We went and gave him a lesson and planned to come back the next day with the baptismal form so that his parents could sign it. I was sooooo excited... I've been a little antsy to see a baptism, it has been a while. We prayed a lot and I had faith that all would be well... but God had a different plan in store. 

We went to Jose's house and I had the baptismal form in my hand, the pen ready. We called out for Jose and out came his dad. Well, long story short he yelled at us. He told us to go away and stop looking for Jose. He told us that Jose is not ready for a baptism.

I was really sad, and it was a difficult for me. 

This week my companion wasn't able to work really well, but she started to work on Saturday. I missed working with her a lot. Right now she is doing okay. We will be staying another transfer here together in Tapachula. I hope that she will be able to make it. 

We have looked for Christian and haven't found him still... but we are not losing our hopes. We will find him. 

Lupita is still strong but there is this whole drama thing with her and Jaime and Sara (Jaime is the one who got baptized about 3 months ago and stopped drugs and everything). I don't really understand it all, but all I know is that they both like Jaime and they both just found out and.... it's exhausting.... ha ha (Taylor Swift) And because Sara always accompanies us to lessons she is always relating the newest drama. ha ha. 

Aylin has escaped her husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She left last night to Manzanillo, where her family is. He came to church with her yesterday, and then afterwards he went to drink, and she had to go with him. We went to see her and she was just crying. They have been together for 3 years and he hasn't stopped drinking. She has suffered so much. Her husband is the one who brought her down here to live with his family, even though he is never here because he works. We were talking with her on the sidewalk when we saw her husband enter their house really drunk looking for more money. We told her to escape when she had the chance. 

She went and talked with her husband, and well he let her go. I think it's a miracle, like in the Book of Mormon when the Lamanite guards get drunk so that the people of Limhi can escape. It reminded me a lot about that. So she left and is headed for a better life. We are going to send the missionaries to her house. She can be baptized now... :) Even though she wasn't baptized here, she is my miracle and I am so grateful to have had the privelege of knowing her. 

My companion really likes to cook and she has been cooking me all sorts of surprises from Northern Mexico. She uses a LOT of chile... Mom you are going to have to use some chile when I get home :) Prepare yourself to eat a salsa made with lots of jalapeños and cilantro :) because I have some good recipes to share. 

The other day we went to the chapel and we cooked up a big surprise for Lupita and her cousin Perla... She made "flautas" they are papas with cheese and better rapped up in corn tortillas with a spicy salsa on top with a side of rice.... wow it was so goood. My companion says that all of her past companions have fattened up. We'll see if that comes true with me... ha ha.

Even though we have been having lots of trials this week, I have been trying to seek out the moments of joy and laughter.

This week there was a group of niños playing futbol and they all ran up to me to ask me if I speak English...  ha ha. Then they wanted to hear me speak english and so I did. They all laughed and ran away.

There ball came my way and I simply kicked it to where they were and accidentally hit a little girl on her bike with the ball... you know me and my antics. Sooo graceful. I felt so bad but good thing it only hit the bike and not the little girl. My companion laughed the whole night about that. 

Mom you would be excited to hear that Hermana Hansen (the one who put pics of McDonalds on her blog) is coming here to Tapachula to be my sister training leader. I AM SO EXCITED!! Together we are ALMOST as crazy as when ME AND YOU are together!! ha ha. We'll see if she will come to Xochimilco with me :) 

Well I love you all family, peace out. 

Hermana Cook 

This is what happens when the Elders steal your camera!