Monday, June 18, 2018

And to my surprise, when we exited the chapel after the conference, I saw Twinkle Frilles waiting outside to meet me!

This week was great yet again! Elder David and I have been working really hard to get the members to start working with us, and we learned that these members are capable of working miracles if they just put their minds to it! They have helped our investigators read the Book of Mormon, come to church, pray to God, and many other things. Especially our Bishop, Bishop Serrano, is helping us a ton.

One new progressing investigator that we have found is a girl named Aileen. She's about 30 years old and can't walk at all. She has legs, but they haven't really worked since birth, so she has a really hard time getting around. Poor woman has no one else living with her in her house, so she has to rely on infrequent visits from family and neighbors when she needs help with something. But she still does her own laundry by hand, her own cooking, cleaning, etc. Anyways, she has a baptismal date for July 28, so we are doing everything we can to help her reach that goal date. The only problem is her church attendance (because she can't walk) so we are going to make arrangements this next week for a member to pick her up to come to church. Wish us luck!

We also found a family (the Del Castllo Family) two weeks ago, and from what we see, they are very much ready to receive the Gospel. The first thing we asked when we met them was why they allowed us into their home to teach them, and they responded by saying that they really want to change their lives, come closer to Christ, and they felt, when they saw us, that we were the key to get closer to Him. We have only taught them twice, but they are really excited to go to church next Sunday, so we are very excited to see them progress.

The Magdaong family is just kind of on and off. Sometimes they show progress, and other times they don't. We still have hope for them, but they just seem to be having a very difficult time progressing.

Last Saturday all of the missionaries in the Legazpi Mission had a conference with a member of the Presidency of the Quorom of the Seventy, President Ucida. It was only a two hour conference, but it was an amazing spiritual experience, and we all learned a lot. President Ucida is a very bold man, and used the phrase (almost shouted it) many times, "I invite you to repent NOW." I think it was the closest I've ever come to being chastised by a general authority haha. But I learned a lot and received some answers to some questions that I've had for more than a year now.

And to my surprise, when we exited the chapel after the conference, I saw Twinkle Frilles waiting outside to meet me! Twinkle was one of my converts in Irosin, (my very first area on my mission) and probably the strongest convert I've met on my mission. I was seriously so shocked and excited to see her. It's been more than a year and a half now since I have seen her, so I was definitely not expecting it! Our conversation was only about ten minutes (which made me really sad) but it was the BEST ten minutes!!  haha. It really made me MISS Irosin a lot!  haha.  It was such a blessing to see her and those she traveled with because I didn't expect to see her again while on my mission.

Well, that's it for this week! Pictures will come in a separate email! Love you all!! :)
Elder Austin Russell Cook

               Surprise visit from Twinkle Frilles :)

                Service project for our bishop. 
They dont have lawn mowers, so we just use machetes

We had like 11 missionaries sleep at our apartment 
one night, and this is how we fit them all 
(good thing they have a balcony)

Monday, June 4, 2018

These weeks are just full of pure tracting!

These weeks are just full of pure tracting!! Something is happening in this area and tracting just doesn't seem to be working. We have set some good solid goals for ourselves and our area, but they are just not being reached by us... But we still work, and we aren't getting down! Well, sometimes we do, but we quickly pick ourselves up afterwards!

Our only progressing family, the Magdaong Family, have finally missed their fourth week of church attendance, so we don't know what is keeping them from coming... That's our struggle with them. They read, pray, and keep all of the commitments we give them EXCEPT coming to church. We might have to get some more members involved with this one.

That's pretty much it for this last week! Hopefully I'll have more to report on next week haha. Sorry mom for the short email. Love ya'll, have a great week!

Since my SD card got stolen I have been using my companions to add photos.  But now I have a new companion and he doesn't have an SD card.  Ill try to buy a new one or use another missionaries SD card.  

Monday, May 28, 2018

We had a total of 8 baptism interviews for a set of Elders in our zone. It was such an amazing experience

This week has been full of our favorite activity... Tracting!! So we have this problem in our area (well, in pretty much EVERY area) where we teach tons of people once or twice and then they start hiding from us or become really rude to us for no apparent reason. But this past week we just couldn't find ANYONE to teach! We tracted probably a total of 30 hours and didn't find a single lesson from it... Probably the first time on my mission that that has happened. But we still laugh and have a good time while sharing the Gospel with others. Elder David is a great companion and we bond really well through tracting haha.

Last Tuesday we had a total of 8 baptism interviews for a set of Elders in our zone, and all eight of them passed! It was such an amazing experience interviewing each of them and getting to know their conversion story and what it really was that showed them that this Gospel is true. Each of them are so established and firm in their testimonies, and I'm not sure that I've met more converted people out in the Philippines.

Sorry if my email is short, but that's all I really have to tell this week... Just tracting and baptismal interviews. But I still am working hard and always look forward with faith to find success in our area. If people didn't accept us last week, which just means we are sifting through those that don't care about our message, so our chances this week for finding will be higher! (Hopefully haha) Love you all, have a great week!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Francis Monilla got baptized! He was converted to the Lord, and it truly shows in his countenance.

Finally got a new companion, Elder David! He's Filipino, so I'm taking a little time to get back into the groove of having a Filipino companion, but we are doing great! He works really hard, and loves tracting, so it gives me a lot more drive to knock on doors all day... And that's pretty much all we've been doing for this past week. I think on average we knock on doors for more than three hours every day, so we get pretty exhausted by the end of the week. Thank goodness for Mondays! (It's funny because back home I hated Mondays, but the mission forces me to love them haha)

And Francis Monilla got baptized last Saturday!! It was great, because his older brother Jonathan did the ordinance for him. After the baptism he bore his testimony and the room was on fire. I didn't know that a 14-year-old boy was capable of bearing such pure testimony. In all honesty, he's probably the most solid convert that I've taught on my mission. He wasn't converted because of friends in the church - he has none of those, not even one. He wasn't converted because of activities or programs of the church - they don't have those in this ward. He was converted to the Lord, and it truly shows in his countenance.

That's pretty much for this week! We don't really have any other solid solid investigators, so we will be finding those this next week hopefully. Love you all and will email in another short week! Stay classy ;)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mothers Day skype May 13, 2018

Our family was spread out this Mothers Day.  Landon was in Rexburg, Idaho attending school.  Danielle and Austin were in Kentucky Visiting Austins family and Dad, Mom and Brooklyn were home in Las Vegas and I, of course, was in the Phillippines 



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Missionary work is like a huge orchestra, and you, as a missionary in the Philippines, have to be the conductor

I am learning a ton in this area! I think the thing that I am learning most is how to really coordinate with the members. Missionary work is like a huge orchestra, and you as a missionary in the Philippines have to be the conductor (I think that's what it's called). Everything must be orchestrated exactly in order for someone to feel true conversion, and it is not an easy thing to do!

But this last week was mostly focused on Lannie and getting her prepped for baptism and such. The baptism was great though! And her younger brother, Francis, is right behind her on May 19. He's already on like Alma 20 and is very ready for baptism this far. He loves reading and I don't think a day goes by that he doesn't read. He also keeps a notebook full of notes and questions that he has while he reads, so he learns a lot!

I remember that after Lannie's baptism, I told Elder Peterson that I wish the veil could be removed from our eyes during baptisms so we could see the angels in the room and the pillar of fire that lights in the hearts of the investigators when they get baptized. Well, the next day, after Lannie got confirmed and received the Holy Ghost, she came up to us afterwords and said, "No wonder you told me that it's the baptism of fire! It was so hot up there while I was being confirmed. I almost wanted them to hurry up and say 'amen' so the fire could stop." I told Elder Peterson afterwords that if the veil were removed from our eyes, we would have seen the pillar of fire in the room. The church is true ladies and gentlemen!

So this next week we've got a lot of work to do with our next set of investigators we are working on, the Magdaong family. There's four of them that are completely ready for baptism, but brother and sister Magdaong aren't married yet, so that's kind our hurdle here. We are really chasing down a lot of paper work to get them married, but it'll happen! That's it for now,
Elder Austin Cook

Picture1-2: Matching ties again
Picture 3: Hop in mah ride
Picture 4: Elder Peterson has a hard time chopping onions
Picture 5-11: Pictures of Lannie's baptism