Sunday, July 16, 2017

"Love is a decision." I've thought about that phrase so much in the past week. Love is not only a decision, but it is a conscious effort on our part.

For some reason, when I sit down at the computer it's so hard for me to remember exactly what happened in the last week. But this time I finally brought my journal, so hopefully I'll be able to be a little more descriptive this time.

On Tuesday we had this thing called "Trainer's Training," which is just a training seminar for all of the trainers in the mission. President Kotter and Sister Kotter both spoke to us as a group, and as usual, it was a great experience to have them uplift us with their words. One thing that I really thought was interesting was a quote that Sister Kotter gave to us: "Love is a decision." I've thought about that phrase so much in the past week, and it really is true. Love is not only a decision, but it is a conscious effort on our part.

Wednesday we had a lesson with a less-active family, the Concepcion Family. They are a very poor family and we are just trying to help them see how the Gospel can help them out with all of their problems, whether financial or not.

Thursday was actually the FIRST DAY with Elder Caballes in which we got absolutely zero lessons. But we weren't discouraged, some days that just happens.

Friday we had an amazing lesson with a new investigator of ours named Maria-Christina Saya. This was only the second time that we taught her, and she is so amazing. She told us of the hardest things in her life right now, which are threefold. She told us her hardships started last November when she had a stroke that kind of threw off the left side of her body, and even now she still walks with a limp. Then last December, on Christmas Day, her house got absolutely wrecked by a super typhoon that flooded this whole area. Shortly after that incident, her husband was killed right in front of her with a machete. So it's very obvious to see that she has almost more than she can bear right now. We have been teaching her about the Book of Mormon, and how the doctrine found in the Book of Mormon will help her find peace and joy, despite all of her horrible circumstances. She absolutely loves us visiting, and she told us that we are different and much greater than all of the other missionaries from other churches that come to her house, and told us that every time we leave her house, her mind is cleared completely and she has finally has peace of mind. she is such a choice spirit and I know that she will be changed by what we have to offer her.

Saturday we traveled out to a far area to teach Stanley Araw, who, even though we only gave it to him two weeks ago, has finished the Book of Mormon. The only problem with Stanley is that he might have a bit of a mental problem. He's had a very rough background as well which I won't get into, because I think it might be illegal to even mention, but he's had a broken soul before and he fully believes that this is the true church of Jesus Christ and he wants to associate himself with it. I believe that he will be baptized into the church soon enough.

Sunday was actually a great day, probably the best of this last week. We had 9 of our investigators come to church, and they all loved it! Every week is getting better and better, and the branch is becoming so much more involved in the missionary work and always asking us what they can do to help us out. Sunday we had another lesson with Maria-Christina Saya, which was equally as great as the others, a lesson with new investigators Judy-Ann and Amy, a lesson with Connie Sabas, and a great lesson with the Docot Family. Each one of those lessons was filled with the spirit and we brought a member with us, Brother Cedo, who bore very powerful testimony to each of them about the church.
 

I am very grateful for all of the miracles, both great and small, that have occurred in these past weeks with Elder Caballes. He is such a blessing to this area and to this mission and to my life. I know that it is because of our faith and obedience that we are witnessing these blessings in our area. I love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Elder Austin Cook

my incredible companion


Monday, July 10, 2017

Our area is great, Elder Caballes is seriously the best and wants to always work and obey the rules. It can't get much better than this :)

This week absolutely flew by and honestly I don't remember much from it because I don't think anything too significant happened...


Just a little contest going on :)
But everything is still as happy as ever! Even though we aren't getting many lessons in a week, our numbers are skyrocketing! We are just talking and helping everyone that we can, and people are coming to church and accepting baptismal dates and really progressing in the church :)

OH WAIT THERE WAS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED!! We have been teaching this one couple (The Docot Family) and they have two children. The wife is actually inactive and has been since she was 15 years old, so she doesn't even remember the church at all. So we found her one day and were trying to reactivate her in the church, but it just was not working. Then we met her husband who became instantly involved and interested in our message, and even started reading the Book of Mormon! Anyways, we had some great lessons with them, and they just looked so amazing as a happy little family listening to the gospel and wanting to learn more, it really was heartwarming to see. But last Tuesday, sister Docot
taking votes...
sent us the most random, blunt text that I've probably ever received on the mission. In effect she said, "Hello Elders. Don't come to my house again, I don't want to listen to you anymore. Don't waste your time, just don't come." We were taken back so hard when we read that. Then we ran into her husband yesterday and he told us sorry, that he really wants us to come back, but he and his wife are fighting and she was the one who sent the text and not him. Sorry to tell you all, but there still isn't a happy ending to the story, but we are going to talk to Sister Docot today to see what's really going on. Hopefully it all goes well.

Anyways, our area is great, Elder Caballes is seriously the best and wants to always work and obey the rules. It can't get much better than this :) Alright, I love you all, talk to you next week! :)

Elder Austin Cook



















#Team Yellow
Highest class of toilets












Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Every day our work is progressing, and there are people literally walking up to us saying they want to come to our church, or they want to be baptized, or they want us to teach them. I know that this is what happens when you work together in a companionship to be worthy enough to have at least a portion of God's spirit with you

So this week has been full of amazement and pure awesome!

I wanna describe one of our visits with our investigator that I mentioned last week named Stanley Araw (The guy who had the vision.) We went deep into the mountains again to teach him and when we arrived, he welcomed us so excitedly, saying that he had read the pamphlet that we gave him that explains the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He explained how much he loved it and how much he learned, and because of his diligence in understanding our message, we proceeded to teach him about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He loved it all and understood everything we taught as well as accepted to be baptized on the 5th of August. After the lesson ended we gave him a Book of Mormon and he just stared at it like it was a gift from God himself. He then declared with the utmost confidence that he will finish reading the book before his baptism date. He then gave us a closing prayer that lasted about 15 minutes in which he thanked God for Joseph Smith and for Moroni because he hid the golden plates for Joseph Smith to find, and thanked God for the Bible and for us missionaries and for pretty much everything he could thank God for. It was a really sweet prayer, and I really felt his sincerity.

We also had a lesson with one of our investigators named Connie Sabas, who is about 65 years old. We basically had the same lesson that we had with Stanley, and she had the SAME REACTION, saying that she would finish the Book of Mormon before her baptismal date, which is the same as Stanley's.

Elder Cook as he got up to play the closing hymn at the end of Sacrament Meeting
There are tons more stories that I really want to tell you all about, but I just don't have the time, and ya'll probably wouldn't have the time to read it. But it suffices me to say that every day our work is progressing, and there are people literally walking up to us and saying that they want to come to our church, or they want to be baptized, or they want us to teach them. I know that this is just what happens when you can work together in a companionship to be worthy enough to have at least a portion of God's spirit with you. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Austin Cook