Monday, January 30, 2017

I know that through obedience to the principles of this church the Lord will bless us beyond our comprehension.

So this week has probably been one of the most productive and miraculous weeks in my mission so
The Elders in our district
far. So first, we interviewed Edna's 3 kids for baptism, and they are all ready now for their baptism next week! But there story is the best, and they are literally so excited to share the gospel. They have neighbor friends (Like three houses down) that they ALWAYS invite over when we teach. So we are teaching Edna, her three kids, and like 8 or 9 other kids as well, all in the age range of like 6 to14. But then one of Edna's kids' friends invited their older sister, Twinkle, who is 18, to our lesson. She absolutely loves listening to our lessons, so she invited the rest of her family. So now, when we teach Edna's kids, we are teaching about 18 people all at once, seriously it's awesome! And all of Twinkle's family LOVES listening to our lessons! They all read from the Book of Mormon by themselves and as a family, even the little 8 year old girl, they all have family prayer, and overall they are just insanely prepared to receive everything we have to teach. They all have set baptism dates for the 25th of February, which they are very excited for.

I love this Mission!
This week we also found the Cadena family. They are a family of about 8 people, and they too welcomed us with open arms. The mom and dad say they were first Born Again Christians, then they converted to Catholic, but they just don't think that those churches are 100% correct. They tell us that a lot of the things taught in those churches just don't make sense, and that when we shared with them the Restoration lesson, they just said it made total sense. They all accepted baptism dates for the 25th of February as well, which they are also super excited for!

Our best miracle was on Sunday. Normally we get about 4 or 5 new investigators coming to church every Sunday, which is pretty good. But this week, we had 16 new people come to church! Edna's kids, Twinkle's family, the Cadena family, and all of them invited their own friends to come as well! Seriously, this week alone we have had SO MANY new people who just love what we teach. I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for them!

My Companion Elder Bangal and I entering the Bee Farm
This work has been making me so happy. Every time I think about these people and the happiness that they are going to bring into their lives, I smile. Our gospel is just so different, and it really shows. I know that this work, this church, and this gospel are true. And this isn't a gospel that's "for some people, but not for everyone." No, this Gospel IS for everyone. Everyone who wants happiness and freedom in their lives needs this gospel. I know that through obedience to the principles of this church the Lord will bless us beyond our comprehension. I am just so grateful for this opportunity to be serving a mission.

Me with some super dope piggies. They were at this 
lady's house that we did a service project for
Well that's all for this week! Next Tuesday I hit my 6 month mark already! Things are moving pretty dang quickly, so that's a blessing as well! Alright I love you all and will talk to you next week!

Elder Austin Cook

Awesome district
Our district at the bee farm

Such a beautiful sky

bee hive

bee hives

Take a look at that huge bee in the center
Elder Robinson at the bee farm

fish at bee farm

Volcano near us
such beautiful greenery at the bee farm

Awesome plant at the bee farm
Super cool transportation!

Rice fields of the Philippines
Me and Elder Bangal at the district activity today
More pictures of our district activity. We had it at some bee farm

Monday, January 23, 2017

This week (actually these past couple of weeks ever since Elder Bangal got here) went really well! We have so many people progressing and so many people wanting to be baptized.

Exchanges with Elder Robinson
This week we counted it all up and we have 18 people with a set baptism date. There's too many to give you all an individual description of each person, but I do want to explain Edna and her kids, since they are the closest to baptism. Edna is a returned missionary, but she left the church after her mission for some unknown reason. Her husband actually committed suicide two years ago, and that made her want to re-join the church. She's about 45 and has three children, and none of them are members because they were born in the time of her inactivity in the church. She actually found us a while ago and asked us to teach them so her kids could be baptized and so she could start going to church again. Her kids are only a week away from baptism, and they go to church every week and the all really love it. It's so amazing though, they barely have enough money to get to church, but Edna says she makes that sacrifice because she knows that she will be blessed in her finances if she continues to go to church every week.

Our night of exchanges and we made spaghetti
OH AND I JUST REMEMBERED! This week we made something called Sisig. It's literally my favorite food here, but it's pretty expensive so we don't eat it that much. But one day we decided to cook it in our apartment, which I was super excited for because I wanted to learn. Turns out this stuff is made of pig face. Literally the face of a pig. Not the inside of the face, but the actual mask of the pig. We just cut up the ears, the face, and the snout and just fried it all and put some seasoning and BAM there's Sisig. It was so weird knowing that my favorite food here is made out of pig face. That's why it's ALWAYS best to not look at the food when you're eating it. B t yeah we literally eat stuff like that here all the time. Nothing goes to waste, absolutely nothing. We eat everything. The face, the feet, the skin, whatever. If it's digestible we eat it.

Me and Elder Bangal moving at lightning speeds
Anyways, the work here is progressing SUPER fast! People are loving us to teach them, and the language is coming along really well too! I'm not sweating nearly as bad as I used to (Thank the heavens for that one) and I'm getting used to the differences of this place.

And yes, don't worry, I actually have pictures this week! I'll send those in a different attachment though. Alright, I'll email you all again in another short week! I love you guys ya'll are the best!!

Also we have power! But typhoons come all the time here. Literally almost every week. I think there have been about 10 typhoons since I’ve been here. But I’ve kind of lost count.

being silly with Elder Robinson

Elder Gus Robinson, Elder Downing and me
Also at our service project with the less active member

Service project for a less active member in our branch

Me looking silly as heck and Elder Alutaya just loving life
Super cool setting that I found on my camera that brings out the blue color
I FOUND A PINEAPPLE PLANT. Ive never seen one of these 
in my life and seriously it was the most exciting moment of my life
Just some of the Beautiful Scenery

More beauty

Add caption

Sunday, January 15, 2017

So this is just a quick update email for every week that I've missed emailing all of you! So my new companion, Elder Bangal, and I are hitting the streets hard. We go knocking doors anywhere from 2-8 hours a day, and we are seeing so much success from it! This guy seriously knows how to work! We have a lot of people lined up for baptism, and I am so excited for all of them!
So we've been teaching these two guys named Tony and Luis. They are really good investigators, very humble and very poor as well (as typical here in Irosin). Their problem is they just wanna be rich. That's it. Nothing else. And every time we teach them, we ask them to read the Book of Mormon on their own, and pray on their own, and to do all of these things, which they are actually very willing to do. But then they ask how that will make them rich. They expect that by reading the Book of Mormon and by following God's commandments, they will become rich. We say "But how do you feel when you read the Book of Mormon, or how do you feel when you pray?" Then they say, "Oh we feel happy and enlightened and very peaceful... Now how do I become rich?" They don't understand that the point of this gospel, the point of the Book of Mormon, the point to following God's commandments is not that so that we will become rich. It's so that we will find happiness in this life and the life to come.
I've been a first hand witness of that here on the mission, especially with Elder Bangal. We live, obey, preach, and teach the gospel all day every day, and I've seen so many blessings come from it, especially my own happiness. I just wish that everyone would understand that if they want happiness, they need to follow god's commandments. It makes me sad every now and then thinking of my friends and family back home who aren't a part of this gospel. They are missing out on so much happiness and peace in their lives.
But I hope you all have a good week! I love you all and will email in another short 7 days!
Elder Austin Cook

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Our family finally got our Christmas Skype from Elder Austin Cook.  He was fabulous and in good spirits.  All I have is some photos of our skype time.  Isn't he adorable!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

I'm still alive if  you were wondering! 

So I wasn't planning on writing a mass email this week, but mom insisted, so here it is! (It'll be super short though).

Our super organized picture at the beach

So the reason I didn’t email last week is because all of the power was knocked out from the typhoon (which wasn’t strong at all, there was absolutely no damage done in our area). But last Tuesday was transfer day, which means i finally got a new companion! His name is Elder Bangal, and yes, he is Filipino! At first I was scared for a Filipino companion, but seriously, I and Elder Bangal get along way better than my last two companions. We are like actually friends which is so weird, but I love it!  Having Elder Bangal as my companion is helping my Tagalog improve so much faster!  Elder Bangal was able to skype his family today. His parents are actually mission presidents in Bagyo.

We seriously are working 3x harder than me and Elder Perkins ever did, and I think it’s awesome! We are teaching way more people, finding way more people to teach, and overall it’s just making me so much happier! Really, that's all for these past couple of weeks. Nothing new, except the power was shut off, which was actually pretty dang rough, especially at nights without electric fans. It got so dang hot, but you just kind of get used to it.

Anyways, that's all for my short little email this week! Hopefully I’ll be able to write more next week, but hey I love you all and hope you all had a great Christmas!! 

Super cute beach selfie with the sisters!
Love, Elder Austin Cook

P.S. Elder Montemayor went home last transfer L  Elder Montemayor was by far my favorite. That guy was the perfect missionary, and seriously like my best friend.

My going to save sister Tewaea from falling off of
the tree. She's the best, I call her my "Mission Mom."

Family home evening at the Gernali's

This is elder alutaya

Some photos of us dancing to a Christmas song  and having a good laugh :)

No I didnt punch him we are just laughing and falling down