Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The doll goes up in flames...............

Hi family,

I am just fine. Hurricane Paty did not touch us here. The only thing that happened was a little sprinkle of rain a few days before. But we have been just fine. Everyone here in Chiapas was praying for those in the North, and I am sure you guys were too.

GOOD NEWS with Miguel! We went with the bishop and another hermana from our ward to have a lesson with Miguel, and Miguel GAVE UP THE DOLL to be burned! We were SOO happy. He gave the doll to the bishop and the bishop took it to his work (he works in a morgue) and was able to burn the doll in the morgue's oven.... ha ha. It was hard for him to do it, but it's what he wanted to do. Ha ha he asked us as a joke if he could take a "selfie" with the doll before he gave it up. ha ha. Weird.

Miguel feels a lot better now, and today we have him lined up for a priesthood blessing with the bishop. He came to church for the fourth time on Sunday, and he is getting ready to be baptized on the 7th of November! Justo (el colocho) will also be getting baptized on the 7th! 

I think President George will be interviewing Miguel for the situation, we will keep you updated on that. President knows all about it and has been calling us and helping us through the situation. Everything was really a miracle that Miguel is choosing a new life and that he wants to progress. Miguel also came with us on Saturday to an activity in the ward with mormon messages, popcorn, and a special tour of the chapel. He is reading his book of mormon and wants to preach the gospel with us. Mom, it was surely no coincidence that you went to the temple on Thursday, it was that very day that we went to have a lesson with Miguel. I felt the spirit VERY strongly and I was the one that actually invited him to burn the doll. And he accepted! It's a story that's for sure. Thank you momma. You always feel when something is about :) 

Justo and Belen are going to start preaching with us! Every day from 5 to 8 they will be accompanying us to preach. I am super excited! They are still not even members but the gospel means so much that they want to share it. It is an example that we should apply to our own lives. Justo is lined up for the 7th of November for his baptism. He didn't come the day of general conference, and so we had to push his date back one Saturday (or it would have been on halloween).

Belen is giving her husband until January to get divorced from his other wife. And if he doesn't, she is moving OUT. She wants to live the law of chastity so that she can get baptized!! WE ARE SOOO HAPPY!! 

We had 5 investigators in sacrament meeting this Sunday: Keyla and Belen, Justo and Belen, and Miguel. We are working with Keyla and Belen's parents, we actually have a family night set up for them this week. Their dad is going to ask off work that day to be there!! And the two of them committed to come to church this coming Sunday. We are sooo happy.

Things are finally starting to roll here in Jardines de Grijalva, and we are really getting in good with the members. On Sunday I was able to play "Come thou Fount" in church and when I finished a little girl about 3 years old named Luna said in the silence, "Wow que bonito" (wow beautiful!) And everybody giggled- it was the funniest thing. 

Yesterday we went to the doctor for a follow up appointment with Hermana Mendez, and she still is having the same problems. So the doctor did another ultrasoind and gave her some different pills, a little more strong to help her our. At last, the poor girl has suffered through these past months. 

Two more weeks here and we will see if I get stay in Jardines or if I get sent somewhere else... 

I love you family. Thank you for your prayers and your love.


Hermana Cook 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

6 investigator's......in Sacrament meeting!

Hola Familia!! Hola de Chiapas!
We were pleased to have Justo (el colocho) AND his mom in sacrament meeting this Sunday! Belen (Justo's mom) loved EVERY minute and it was really neat to see her come with her son. She invited her husband, Alberto to come this coming Sunday. We hope that he comes as well. We had Belen, Keyla, MIguel, Justo, Belen, and Irvine (he is catholic and we haven't visited him yet)
We had a lovely family night with Keyla, Belen (sisters and our investigators) and their PARENTS!! Their dad asked for work off to be there! We ordered pizza... 2 for 1 for the missionaries and their mom made a delicious raspberry cake and we watched the video of the restoration. It was really neat- the spirit was super strong and we gained a little more confidence from their parents- Lendis and Mauricio, but they said that they still won't firm their baptismal form. But if we can just get them to church- which I know we can with God's help, they will start to change and they WILL give them permission. In fact, they will get baptized themselves! ha ha ha.
We are still planning on Justo's baptism for halloween. We are so excited, but even more HE is excited! His mom is overjoyed for him.
We had some real interesting experiences this week with our investigator, Miguel. REALLY weird. Let's just say that Satan is more real than ever and he has a GREAT hold on many people. His spirits, his army roam the earth and search for those who are a little more weak, and especially to the youth of the church.
(This is a halloween story... super creepy) We had a lesson with Miguel and he started to tell us that he has a doll. He talks to the doll. And the doll talks with him... I know it's really weird. He told us that he asked God to give life to the doll when he was 15 years old, because he felt alone. He says that his "faith" was so strong that God gave life to the doll. He tells us that the doll is good because the doll tells him to do good things, like go to church, listen to us missionaries, and pray to God.... this is what is really confusing. Obviously the doll is not good, and is possessed by a bad spirit. Remember that Miguel is 17 years old and it just gets weirder... He says that the doll moves and that the doll moves his things when he does something bad. He says that he feels the doll's presence in all times... and especially in the darkness. ah NO! It was HORRIBLE! The doll supposedly teaches him Portuguese and he reads the book of Mormon and his pamphlets with the doll! He told us that the doll wants to get to know his girlfriend, who is also our investigator, Belen (Keyla's sister) so that she can talk to her as well. It was so weird- he respects the doll and prays with the doll. NOO!! I knew we needed to get him a priesthood blessing and FAST! It gave me and my companion the heebee jeebees. He said that the doll told him that she wants to have a body and experience mortal life. And that was IT. We called our district leader and he told us that we should talk to the bishop and invite Miguel to destroy the doll, because it is surely Satanic. We are going to get him a priesthood blessing. We'll see if he is willing to destroy the doll. But it sounds t me that he loves his doll and that he has had it and talked to her for 2 years... Okay.... Well we went with the bishop to talk to Miguel, but he wasn't home. I will let you know what happens with Miguel.
What I can't figure out is that the doll teaches Miguel that he should pray. And we read in 2nd Nephi 32:8 that the bad spirit does NOT teach man to pray. I think that the doll has to be teaching Miguel good things and slowly, she will teach him to do bad things, and lead him slowly down to hell as Satan has always done. Some other scriptures I was reading about the subject: D and C 50:2, 31-32, D and C 129, 1 John 4:1-3. I don't know it's really weird. It scared the Elder's pretty bad all of this hallabaloo. They told us that they woke up in the middle of the night to bless their home, they were pretty scared ha ha. Hermana Mendez and I have coped with the situation by laughing and praying.
We also visited a less active member who says he doesn't believe in God or Jesus or the bible. It was a little difficult to teach him, but we prayed anyways and shared our testimonies. I shared the story of Peter stepping out of the boat to follow Jesus and told the hermano that he once believed in God because he was baptized. But when he entered college, and saw the wind and the waves, he got distracted and started to sink. I told him that we need God and now is the moment to reach out to Him. My companion also shared a powerful testimony that God and science are interelated. But in the end of the lesson, the hermano told us that he doesn't need God. Well, we can't do anything about that.
It has rained quite a bit here and we are enjoying a cooler climate that I have missed. Dad I haven't seen a single deer or elk here but I showed my investigators the pic of you and your elk and they love it. They think it's cool that we eat it. ha ha.
I love you family, the work is going well and I am happy to be a missionary. My companion finally got in with a good doc and he says she has colitis. He did an ultrasound. He gave her pills for one week. We will see how it goes with these, I think she has been getting better.
And please pray for Miguel... And ALL our investigators

Hermana Cook

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Jesus is Coming for His People

Hola familia!

My companion hasn't got any better but I finally took matters into my own hands and talked directly with President. He gave me a reference of a gastro doctor here in Tuxtla. I made the appointment for tomorrow. We are FINALLY going to get her fixed up. President said he works miracles with his patients so I will put my faith in God that this is the answer. The poor girl. 

This Sunday President asked me to play in another stake conference and I got to see a convert! (he was baptized when I was in Teran with HErmana Juliana) Jose, who has sent his mission papers in and is just waiting to find out where he goes! He looked so happy, and completely changed from when we were teaching him. He said the closing prayer in the conference. I saw my companion, Hermana Robles who is now in that stake, Mactumatza. I started in that stake- villaflores belongs to it. I was SO happy. Afterwards President took me back to the mission home and Hermana George made a delicious meal and cookies! Then we played piano and violin for like 2 hours.... just me and president and hermana george. We started playing chopin and president came and sat down on the couch and just listened. It was one of those things that you never want to end. I was in heaven! He couldn't take me back to my area until later because church had just begun over there and we had to wait until it finished. I really really enjoyed myself and the choco chip cookies, it's been a while since I've eaten them. Hermana George joked with me because I ate the rest of the bag of choco chips ha ha. 

Well this week we went to teach the investigator that was present when I burnt the sandwhcihes. It was a beautiful lesson on the restoration, and we really emphasized the trinity because she was really confused. When we talked about the book of mormon, we felt impressed to talk about 3 nephi 11 when Jesus comes down from heaven. She then told us that her son had had a dream that was similar. She said that he saw a beautiful light in the sky and that he saw Jesus coming down from the sky, and that trumpets played. And then he told his mom "Jesus is coming for His people." I thought it was really neat and it really inspired her to want to read the chapter. She accepted baptism, we'll see how she progresses.

Justo taught the restoration this past week to some hermanos that we were teaching. He was with us and without even realizing he starts teaching that in 1820 Joseph Smith went to pray to know which church was true. And I just stood back in awe wondering how it was that this 8 year old boy remembered everything we had taught him over a month ago. IT was another one of those moments that you just never want to end. Then he was like, " A lightning is not going to fall right in front of you when you pray to know it's true. You are going to feel PEACE." Wow. He really GETS IT. His mom feeds us every MOnday on pday even though she stills suffers from the chincun. She is so LOVING! 

The other night we were walking in the street and it was time to get home, we had about 5 minutes. i prayed to God that He would give us at least 1 more person that REALLY wanted to hear us, someone READY for baptism. We found 2 teenagers on the curb and started to talk to them. At first they were real shy but we opened them right up, invited them to baptism, and got an appointment set up. They were AMAZED that we are not from here, that we wake up at 6:30, that we fast, that we preach the gospel all day long, do exercise, and live the way we do. They were just awe struck. What really seemed normal to me is not normal to them. We are a people of covenants. We make sacrifices to make those convenants and sometimes we don't realize what we have.

This is for Gabby and Gracee especially: Everything that I have gone through in my mission is to help me for the moment that I reunite with you two again. I do not wish for the imaginary "victory badge" that some may give me when I get home from my mission nor do I want that badge. What I want is to help you two see that you are MORE amazing than I am. And that is the truth. You two were born in an earlier dispensation than I was, because God was saving you for harder times. It is that simple. What I want you two to feel is that I LOVE YOU. That I am your SISTER and that WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER. That pride, competition, and vanity can end and that we can form a bond of true sisterhood that will last an eternity. 

I am coming home to add to the family, and not to be the shining star on the wall. I may be tall, I may be a missionary, and I may play the violin, but that does not make me better. I may be a returned missionary when I come home in March, but that does not lift me up on a pedestal. I love you Gabbs and Grace. I just want you to know that. And I am PROUD of your accomplishments. God is proud of you and loves you more than I do. 

I love you family, keep praying for my investigators  


hermana cook 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I lit the sandwiches on fire!


Some of my fondest memories come from watching general conference and eating all day long with my FAMILY! I love you and miss you family! 

I loved the trio of singers that they had on the song of "Come thou Fount"- how their voices blended!! I loved Elder Holland's talk on mothers and especially when he said that they are Savior's on Mount Zion. He also said that what mother's do is part of Christ's work. It is so true that when we break our mother's heart we break our own. I felt a little sad during Elder Bednard's talk, I felt that it was almost a farewell to other apostles to come. I felt that the prophet is looking a little frail, but I loved his message on faith and that WE WILL BE DIFFERENT (seremos diferentes) than the world. We should be PROUD to be different. The faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind. 

Wow was I impressed with Elder Christofferson's spanish!!! He recorded his own talk in spanish and he is absolutely FLUENT! It was amazing. My companion from Guatemala gave him a 10 in his spanish. I did too! I was delighted to find out from momma that he was Elder Richard G. Scott's mission president. That is AWESOME! Imagine what type of missionary he would have been to have the recommendation of his mission president :) 

Sadly, el colocho and his mom were not able to come to general conference. We didn't have a single investigator in conference. Not everything works out how we would like. But they did invite us over to eat today and they want to give us lunch every Monday for P-day. They tell us that we are always invited in for a glass of water or food. Most of the members here are just as loving. I am learning a lot about that. I see members give us EVERYTHING they have to help us in the work. We lost 400 pesos (about 30 dollars) of our money for transportation. We weren't going to be able to go to general conference because we had no money. We were walking home real sad when we opened the door and we found an envolope with 100 pesos inside, it was a family of members. God always provides for our needs and he does it through other people. 

We are planning the Colocho's baptism for the 30th or halloween! He has completely stopped drinking coffee, his mom makes him hot coco instead, and he is just adorable. He says that the bow is his arm of choice, ha ha. I tell him all about dad and talmage hunters, and that you shoot elk with your bow. Colocho's dad says that you ought to be pretty skilled to be shooting elk with a bow. He asked if you make your arrows. I printed out the pic of your elk dad and I am going to show it to them. We are starting to have a really great time with them, lots of inspired lessons where the spirit is present. Belen once said a prayer and said the following, "I know I am a sinner God, please help forgive me." We were once teaching about the book of mormon, and Colocho said, "No solamente creo. Yo estoy SEGURO que esto es verdad." (I don't only believe. I KNOW that this is true.) He tells us that his greatest desire is to serve a misison. He says he would love to see the snow fall in the United States because he has never seen snow before. I am sure he would have a great time getting pulled around on the back of the fourwheeler with Talmage. He is 8.

My companion is still very sick, we went to see the doctor, he didn't do a single test or ANYTHING he only told her what she has.... hmmm.. he said she has gastritis and colitis (I am not sure what it is in english... something similar) The poor girl has lots of pain all the time and it is NOT  fun to work under the hot sun when you are sick. 

This last monday we set the alarm for 1:30 p.m. but instead it went off at 1:30 am. I thought it was 6:30 a.m., rolled out of bed, said my prayer half a sleep, and started exercising. I said "buenos dias" to wake up my companion because she was dead asleep. She rolled out of bed and started praying, half asleep. I wondered why I was so tired and looked at the clock. It read, 1;40 A.M. ha ha ha. I went back to our room to tell my companion and she was still on her knees, "praying" and sleeping. I couldn't see anything because it was really dark and tripped over her knees and we started laughing and laughing and we couldn't sleep afterwards. Sounds like something I would do. 

A few nights ago we went to a family night with a few investigators (who afterwards accepted a book of mormon and a charla- a lesson). We were playing a game that included various objects. One of the objects was a match, and when I lit it, it fell into the bowl of sandwhiches and starting burning the sandwhiches and everyone starting laughing and screaming and trying to save the bowl of sandwhiches because we were all hungry. ha ha. I ate the burnt sandwhich so that nobody else would have to. ha ha. The family of investigators we found there are really awesome, I am excited to start teaching them. 

I love you family, I am happy, because I am a missionary.

Hermana Cook 

We walk fast!

Precisely at the time that mom felt prompted to pray for us, we were knocking at the door of Colocho (his name means "curly hair") to take him and his mom to church. Colocho came to church for the second time! And he has stopped drinking coffee! But things are looking a little grave for his mom, Belen. We found out this week that she is not married with the SeƱor that she is living with and has lived with for 7 years. He is an alcoholic but enjoys to listen to us- we invited him to stop drinking but told us he can't because he is an alcoholic... Everything lies in your desires. And... he has another family somewhere and has not divorced from his first wife. It would be extremely difficult for Belen to start living the law of chastity unless she separates from her husband, and we don't want to encourage breaking up families. So we told her to pray to know what to do. But her "husband" is not interested in divorce OR marriage, so we will see where the will of Belen takes her. She was loving the lessons more than colocho believe it or not.

Colocho feels at home in church now, and has found many friends. One of which is in his class at school, and that sure helps getting him to church. It's not any coincidence that we have found colocho. He has permission from his momma and I hope from his dad to be baptized, and he is set to go for the 24th of october.

Two of our investigators, Keyla and Belen (sisters) also came to church and brought her boyfriend, Miguel. It was Miguel's second time in church as well and seems to be progressing nicely. He is also set up to baptism for the 24th of October. Keyla and Belen's dad has started bringing them to church in his car. Little by little we will gain their confidence and I know they will be baptized. Keyla asked me how to pay tithing and payed her tithing this Sunday. She is also going to bring her boyfriend to church the sunday after conference.

I didn't know that richard g. scott died! He always talked with so much love about his wife. He will be missed. I suppose they will be putting in the 3 new apostles this 3rd and 4th of october.

While everything I am sure is cooling off in Utah, it is just heating up in Chiapas. ha ha. We walk SO fast. When we first came to this area, we breathed hard up the hills. And now after more than a month here, we WALK FAST up the hills and we don't breathe so hard. I feel like Daniel when he didn't eat the King's meat and the Lord strengthened him and his brother's for his obedience. My companion, despite all our prayers and blessings, is still sick and nothing really seems to help. She has taken the pills that the doctor told her to take over the phone. And she is drinking water-because I am always on her about that. We even notified the relief society president that she can tell the hermana's to make food with less fat, but she is still sick.

A few weeks ago Hermana Zamora told me she was going to go home because her boyfriend (who is from Chiapas) came home early and is now IN THE SAME WARD WHERE HERMANA ZAMORA IS SERVING. Imagine that. THe poor girl could hardly concentrate. But I wrote to her and told her what the Lord put into my mind, and the next week told me she had changed her mind thanks to what I had told her, and that she is going to stay in the mission and fight. I still think that she asked President to change her to a different area.

A while ago we found an investigator one night because I told him I would play my violin for him. He wasn't going to let us in. Well we got in and as the weeks have passed he has also been progressing nicely. Yesterday we talked about the book of mormon and he is excited to read and has lots of questions. He has a lovely family as well and we have starting teaching his daughter, who, along with her Father, accepted baptism. His name is Rogelio and his daughter is named Dana.

We also found a shy student who is studying violin in a university in Tuxtla Gutierrez in the street the other day. He didn't accept the little card of Jesus we tried to give him, until we talked to him some more and I told him I would play the violin for him as well. HE still didn't accept an appointment. So we gave him a pamphlet of the restoration and our number. A few nights later we saw him AGAIN and he stopped to talk to us. We told him it wasn't a coincidence that we had found him again. He said that when he was sufficiently convinced with the pamphlet he would give us a call. He had just begun reading it. I think that if he calls us, he is ready for the gospel. His name is Eddy, and he is from Honduras.

I asked sarita from Xochimilco if Allan and Cynthia ever used that money from the fundraiser we did to get married. She said that had moved away and as far as she knows they still haven't gotten married... sigh... everyone has their agency. She said that one of the new Elder's that President sent to work in Xochimilco got sick and was sent home...

I played the violin for an hermana the other day who only came to church because her son dragged her. I promised I would play for her if she would come to church with all of her HEART, might, mind, and strenghth. And that Sunday she came without her son dragging her. So I played for her. THe next day she left to go live in Cacahuatan (close to Tapachula). I was glad to have met her.

We got to go to the temple this week for a special missionary activity, and President came too. It was really neat to be with Hermana Mendez in the session, I know it helped to unite us more. This Sunday we spoke in church on charity to help unite the ward. THe bishop's wife, Teresita said that we brought a great spirit. I shared all my experiences from Xochimilco.

I love you family and I hope that you are all doing well. Talmage I had a dream about you and I love and miss you! Momma I was looking at the moon the other night too thinking about you! Gabby congrats on a great dance! Gracee you are beautiful, inside and out and never forget it! And dad, congrats on your bull, big trucks and big bucks.


Hermana Cook