Monday, March 21, 2016

"I have never left your side, Jehovah"

Hola Familia!! 

This week has been pretty crazy, the little apartment where we are renting is really quite a dungeon, ha ha, it's full of mold, flees, a broken sink (we can't wash our dishes), all the lights have burnt out and we are TIRED of the sad old thing. Tomorrow my companion and the other hermana cook (she will be taking my place here in Sancristobal) will be moving out to another house. That will be a blessing for the two of them. We have suffered in that thing ha ha.
We found some new investigators, one of them is pentacostal, her name is Luz Maria, and WOW does she have faith! All of her life she has suffered with her husband being involved in all types of worldly things. She says she never stopped reading him the bible even though he was disinterested and appeared to be sleeping while she would read, he would suddenly be able to say a phrase or two and so she kept on reading. She said that "I never left Jehovah's side." She prayed and fasted for 26 years, and now she says her husband has made a 360 degree change. She says that in the last year, she has had the husband of her dreams because he miraculously changed and has never picked up the bottle SINCE. It's a miracle. She and her daughter accepted baptism, sadly I won't be here to see how they progress, but my companion will have to keep me up to date.

Yesterday I said goodbye to everyone in the ward, it was my companion and I's turn to speak, I enjoyed myself a lot and wished they'd given me more time ha ha, I only had 6 minutes but I think I took 15... whoops. My bus leaves for Tuxtla tomorrow at 9, and from there who knows what will be happening ha ha.

I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE AIRPORT SCENE ha ha. I have imagined it lots of times ha ha. 

A few days ago the hermana wasn't there to give us to eat ha ha so we sat on the curb and I was like, okay we have lots of options, roasted chicken, crunchy chicken, or roasted chicken, or more chicken. ha ha. We didn't want any more chicken they give us so much chicken so we went to the center and ate pizza. I was happy ha ha. 

The baptisms in Chenalo went off without a hitch, but we were unable to attend, because those who were getting baptized didn't have the money to travel and congregate in the river, so they all were baptized in their respective branches. The good thing is that they were baptized :) 

Well, I just want you to know that I am so happy, my joy is full and I will see you all on Thursday lets see if I can stay awake ha ha just kidding I'll be fine. 


Hermana Cook 

P.S.I thought my last email was my last email so that's why I made it so EPIC and this one just caught me off guard. 

pp.s let us never leave Jehovah's side. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

I am a Mexicana!

Hola familia,

The saddest part about all of this "coming home" is that I AM a Mexican... In a few days you'll know what I'm talking about. I have completely adopted their culture, and it's like getting part of my heart ripped out. I think I forgot how to speak english...

18What is my reward then? [Verily] that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 19For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some. 
1 Corinthians 9:18-22

Chiapas will always be a part of my person for what I have lived, what I have seen, what I have done, and what I have had to pass through. There is much to say. I can say that it has been in the darkest moments when I have felt closer to my Savior and more grateful for what He passed through for me. It has been in the tiniest houses of tin and cardboard where I have felt so strongly the spirit that I could burst, and it has been walking in the streets of Chiapas where I have understood so clearly the gospel truths that will bless my life for eternity. It has been in my prayers that I have come to know what it means to rely on my Father in Heaven and in His Son, Jesus Christ. It has been in the pages of the book of mormon where I have discovered a burning testimony of the Savior's ministry here in the American continent. And it has been in seeing the suffering of others that has made me more grateful for what I have and where I was born. 

And it has been in my heart where I have been converted for this life and eternity.

This week we taught Manuel, he chose to go do visits with the Catholics on Sunday instead of coming to church. He says he still doesn't get an answer about the book of mormon. I think it's about time to move on but we also should be patient... We read with him a little more of the book of mormon and testified with power, I know he felt the spirit. 

This week we went to the computer lab with Sarita (the one who says her mom who passed away is always asking her for help and that she wants to leave from where she is) and we printed out her mom's name to take to the temple, along with 7 other family-members that she will be able to do the work for. She cried when the little temple square appeared on the screen under her mom's name and she kept saying that she thought it was going to be harder. We were over-joyed that finally her mom will be able to get out of the spirit prison once Sarita does her work in the temple. 

This week was satisfying, I am EXHAUSTED but I am so happy, we worked in our area, in Comitan and also in another part of Huitepec, here in Sancristobal with the hermanas in divisions. 

We are only the capacitadoras (sister training leaders) for the Chojolho zone, but we don't actually work in their zone except for exchanges with the hermanas or rescue efforts in their areas. But we support them in all their goals and activities, that is why you hear so much about their zone. We are going on Saturday to support them in their baptisms, I think they have over 20 ready to go. 

I want you to know family that I love you, that it is the most beautiful thing to completely lose yourself in the work of the Lord. I know that God lives and so does His Son Jesus Christ. I know that we can overcome sin, death, and weakness through the Atonement. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, I have come to love the book so much here in Chiapas, and knowing that comes with knowing that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God, and that we have a living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. He recieves the revelation from God and this is the ONLY church on the face of the earth with God's priesthood authority. The temple is the house of God on earth, and it's where we can be sealed as families for this life and for eternity. 

I love you family, I will tell you all of the times that God has protected me when I get home. And all of the good stuff. I am definitely ready :) 


Hermana Cook 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Poor in heart, rich in Spirit

Hola familia!!!

 Yesterday we had a family night with a family I LOVE, the dad just inactivated for getting offended by the second counselor in the branch presidency, and the president asked us to visit the family. 

When I saw the mom, her name is Petra in church alone I asked her if we could come have a family night in their house and she started to cry and say that her husband wouldn't let us in. But she didn't know that with the violin it was a sure ticket to getting in ha ha. I know that the hermano's favorite hymn is "mas cerca Dios de Ti" (Nearer my God to Thee). He cried when I played. 

In the end he said for now he isn't going to go to church but it was a beautiful lesson and he realized through the spirit that the only salvation he is jeopardizing is his own. His mom and daughters are suffering a lot for his choices.

Hermano Manuel came to church the second time on Sunday, but not without encouragement from us. He likes what he is learning a lot and he still waiting for his answer that this is true through a dream. He says that one week he'll come to church and one week he'll go to preach in the anexo (jail for drunks).

My companion is getting steadliy worse in health, her knees are feeling the same, the bed bugs have started to bite, and her stomach hurts. The poor girl. Even though everything is falling apart she keeps on moving on. Her dad drinks a lot and her mom is less-active from what I understand, and sometimes they don't write her on Monday's, and yet she is so positive. She is an example for me and I have come to love her. 

We found a new family to teach, they are so simple and humble, I find joy in teaching them. The hermana isn't married to her husband, but she said she is willing to come to church and keep her commitments, she accepted baptism.

The hermana that I told you guys about went to playa del carmen to look for work, it's about 12 hours from here along the coast. She left her kids here- she kept saying, "no lo hago por gusto" (I am not doing it because I want to) She is doing it so that her children will have something to eat. She cried and cried and we went over on Sunday morning to say goodbye and she recieved a priesthood blessing. May God bless her. She asked us to keep visiting her children in her absence, she thinks to be gone about 2 months. She said she didn't even have a plan of where to stay, what to eat, or where to work, but that she felt she needed to get out of here because there is no work here. She called us crying and thanked us for what we have done for her.

We have been eating with a family with very low income fo this past month, and they signed up again this month to feed us, but it is literally a sacrifice what they give us. I sometimes think that they go without eating so as to give us to eat the day that it's our turn to eat there. I know that God will bless them for their efforts. The mom, hermana Sarita says she has been able to see spirits since she was a little girl, and that she always sees and hears things in their house. That's pretty normal down here. Satan's followers bug a little bit more here than in Utah. So we also had an heramano come over to bless her house. 

She tells of dreams she has that her mom is asking her for help to get out from where she is, that she can't do it alone. We have explained to her the importance of doing her family search and the work for her loved ones, but something seems to be impeding her. She has to work (single mom) a lot and she hardly has time to breath. We have offered to help her in her search for her mom.

I love you family, these past few weeks have come to be the most fulfilling for me as a missionary, I am just ENJOYING every moment and every lesson and every person that we come in contact with. I love you and I know that God loves you. I have come to feel a little bit of what the people here feel, poor in heart, and rich in spirit. 

I will see you soon,

Hermana Cook 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Yet will I not forget thee"

Hola Familia!! 

This week was full of OBSTACLES for Erik, but in the end, he was baptized!! He didn't really like the idea of fast offerings because he said that we can help others in more ways than with money. We explained to him about service and the priesthood, and in the end he calmed down ha ha. 

His wife left to Ecuador today, she gave a talk on baptism for the baptism and it was really neat. She said she had always been waiting for this day when her husband joined the church. After three long years it finally came, and she cried. My companion and I were so happy that Erik had finally made this choice, it was definitely time. The water was cold and when he came up out of it he laughed, ha ha. He forgot to plug his nose too...

Max was so happy as well. He shared his testimony after the baptism and said that he was so happy. He smiled when he came up out of the water. His uncle baptized him, our branch mission leader. 

Today we are going to visit the doctor in Tuxtla, my companion's knees are really hurting her now. We also scaled some ruins with the zone and Presidente George on Thursday. It was AWESOME. But now my companion's knees are really bad... You guys are going to LOVE the pictures. 

We have really been able to start working with our branch President. We have started working on a work of salvation plan for the branch that includes goals to re-activate, maintain, and invite others to the gospel. I am just beginning to see the load daddy has being the bishop and all... ha ha. 

We also have been visiting a less-active family whom I LOVE! The little girl is just adorable, and this last time while her poor mom was crying because they killed her husband about a year ago, she shared this scripture and it touched my heart:

  14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.
15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

1 Nephi 21:14-16 Mom always put this one on the wall

I LOVE YOU FAMILY and I really can't wait to see you!


Hermana Cook