Monday, May 29, 2017


So this week I actually have some stuff to talk about (but no pictures, sorry, I left my camera at the apartment)

On Wednesday of last week, we had a giant service project that took like all day to complete. Well, we thought it was a service project at first, but then turns out that we were just doing landscape work for an old lady in the branch who didn't wanna hire other people to do it. But hey, it was nice, I love doing physical service out here! The rest of the day we went around and tried to find people to teach, but there was this huge event called "Fiesta" going on in Libon. It's pretty much just everyone partying and eating and stuff all day for no reason. So every time we tried to go to an investigators house, they would just say "OH HEY COME IN! IT'S FIESTA COME AND EAT!!" And then we would say no because we had other places to go, but it's apparently SUPER RUDE to reject food at fiesta. So long story short, we ate huge meals at three different houses in succession. That'll hurt your stomach. Woo-hoo Filipino culture!

Thursday we had interviews with our mission president, President Dale Kotter, which was pretty nice. I don't necessarily like interviewing with him just because I don't really know what to tell him. I just told him how the area in Libon was doing and how me and Elder Nonu were doing, so not much really. He took a lot of notes while I was speaking to him, so that made me super nervous too. It's like I was being interrogated. But after the interviews we went home and finished up our studies and that was it for the day!

Saturday we spent the whole day (Yes the WHOLE day) cleaning the branch meetinghouse with the branch members. We weeded the whole yard, moved the coconut trees, and cleaned literally everything! Hard work, but it was good!

Sunday was packed with lessons and stuff, which was really nice! Me and Elder Nonu went on splits, and my companion was a guy in the branch named Aries. He's actually from Manilla, but he's vacationing down here and he is THE BEST member present! He's an RM and He and I went around and did some amazing, spiritual missionary work that I haven't been able to do in a long time. It was such a relief to be able to teach people with purpose and move urgently from appointment to appointment. Aries really is a gift from God in this area. 

Well that's it for this email! Sorry that there are no pictures, but I'll try and send them all next week :) I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Elder Austin Cook

Monday, May 22, 2017

The scriptures don't lie, by the power of the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of ALL things.

Sorry everyone for not getting an email out in the past couple of weeks! We just haven't had much time out here on P-days, and all of these computers are having difficulties, but this week I am luckily able to email you guys! 

This is sister Tewaea, my mother on the mission. 
She is the best and I would take a bullet for her in a 
heartbeat (this was at a zone conference two weeks ago)
I don't remember what I said in my last email, but I'll just give an update on these past two weeks. So Elder Nonu and I are getting along much better than we used to. I finally figured out how to get along with him, so we are happier when we are together, but it hasn't affected our work results at all. I'm still having some trouble trying to get him motivated and focused on the work. I'm 100% okay with that though because I've realized that some people just need help in some areas more than others. He's not a lazy guy, he just needs a little bit of gentle pushing is all. But I can honestly say that we are really happy together!

Our work is still difficult honestly. Last area I had a ton of people and investigators that I would like to email home about, but in this area we just have nothing. The people are a little bit more hardened to our message, but I kind of like it! Every day there is something new to learn, and I am learning things in this place that I would have never learned anywhere else.

Me and Elder Robinson. This guy has been one 
  of my greatest examples here on the mission

The most important thing that I've learned here is the significance of the Holy Ghost. As members of this Church of Jesus Christ, we have all received the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands by those who are in authority and who hold the Priesthood of God, but the severely unfortunate fact is that a lot of us don't even know what that means. I've learned that this third member of the Godhead will tell us EVERYTHING that we need to know. The scriptures don't lie, by the power of the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of ALL things. He speaks to us constantly. If we heed to his still but ever present voice, we cannot go wrong and we will learn, we will be comforted, we will be preserved and kept safe, and we will witness miracles. I know that the Holy Ghost is one of God's greatest gifts to us, and I urge all of you who are members to heed to his still small voice. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week! :)
Elder Austin Cook
By far my best companion on the mission, 
     Elder Bangal. I miss this guy so much!
Me and Elder Peterson (the only white guy who 
   immigrated with me over here from Provo)
The cutest kids ever The kids in the Reblando family. 
I told the mother of the little 
girl in the very front of the picture that I am 
going to take her home with me when I leave

Monday, May 8, 2017

So let's get a review on this week pretty quick right here shall we? So the work out here is still difficult in finding new investigators and stuff, but we are still trying! Poor Elder Nonu has been in this area quite a while and has lost a little bit of hope, but I'm just trying my best to revive his spirits. We found some great investigators this week who were super interested in our first two visits with them, but I'm not even going to mention their names because guess what, they are already gone and don't want to listen to us anymore!

These next couple of weeks we are trying to find new ideas to find good investigators. We are going to try to set up a huge activity in the city where we show a movie about our religion, and we expect to get a lot of people because EVERYONE likes that kind of thing out here! I don't know the exact details, but hopefully we can get that moving this week. And then if we show a video explaining our religion a little bit, we can establish some common ground with the people in this city, and then they will realize that we are actually good people.

But hey, that's all good with me, I'm as happy as ever! The only thing that I'm learning is obedience. And not the type of obedience of "Okay now class, lets look at the board and take our notes and blah blah blah" kind of obedience. I'm talking pure, doctrinal, gospel of Jesus Christ obedience. If we can understand that, we can understand true happiness. In the Celestial Kingdom where our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live, the highest form of obedience is performed. That's right, even Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ themselves are governed by certain laws, if it were not so, God would cease to be God. This means that if we are to prepare ourselves in THIS life to live with Him in the NEXT life, we must practice those exact same attitudes of obedience here that are expected there in the Celestial sphere. It is through our obedience that we call down the blessings and powers of heaven and the ministering of angels. This is the knowledge that I have further acquainted myself with these last couple of weeks, and it is through this type of obedience that I am able to find happiness in any of my circumstances.

Anyways, that's all for this week! Love you all!!

Monday, May 1, 2017

I have decided to explain all of the wonderful things that we do here in the Philippines and to take some time to describe what life is like out here!

Alright so time for super-mega-awesome-descriptive email time! So this week I have decided to explain all of the wonderful things that we do here in the Philippines and to take some time to describe what life is like out here!
First off I'll start with the morning routine! We wake up at about 6:30 and work out (which is super sweaty because yeah, the Philippines) and then we eat breakfast, which usually consists of rice mixed with hot dogs or eggs. Then we shower! The showers here are a little different than what ya'll are used to back in the blessed states. So here, we use a garbage can. And then we fill it up with some semi-brown water. And then we use a giant ladle looking thing and pour the water over ourselves, and that's pretty much how we shower. And the toilet is also in the shower, so that’s super convenient too! WOOHOO the Philippines is awesome!
And then we go out and work amidst all of the bungalows and tree huts to find people to teach! You have already seen pictures of the areas and stuff, so yeah, that's where we work every day. Then we come back to the apartment, which is a place that I probably should also explain. So all of the houses here are either made of wood or cement, there is no other option. So, naturally, our apartment is made out of cement, which means it gets SUUPER HOT in the day and in the night, which makes sleeping kind of difficult, but hey, we survive right? After returning to the apartment, we eat lunch and do additional studies for the language and such. For lunch we eat anything: sometimes just bread, but usually a ton of rice mixed with either chicken (any part of the chicken), or pig (yes, any part of that as well), or fried fish (which is the whole fish bone, scales head and all)
Then we go out and work some more until 8:00 at night when we come home for dinner and get ready for bed. Dinner is usually the same as lunch, so it’s just whatever we want to eat. Then for bed time, we just shower, brush teeth, and then put our toothbrush's in the fridge so they don't get ants on them (Or sometimes we leave them out, who cares, it's just ants) and then I coat myself with baby powder so I don't sweat through the night, we turn on our electric fans that we set at our feet so they blow over our whole body through the night, and then we go to bed! Sometimes we sleep outside with our little foam mattresses though because it can get really hot inside.
And for laundry, I guess I'll explain that a little bit. We fill a bucket up with water, put some detergent in there, and then put our clothes in there and let them soak for about 2 hours or so, and then scrub them with a brush and a washboard or with our hands.

And that's pretty much the normal routine here in the Peenes. That's all there is to this email! I just thought I would give a little description of what we do here, because I think I've forgotten to do that since I've been here! I don't have any time do describe what happened this week, but next week I will explain a little better! Love you all!!

Elder Austin Cook