Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Letter from Santiago South Mission President Cook

In June of this year, as we began our mission, we attended the New Mission Presidents Seminar in Provo, Utah.  A record 173 new presidents and their wives received final instructions before beginning their service all over the worldAll 15 members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed the group.  Elder L. Tom Perry concluded the seminar with these comments:
“This is a most remarkable era in the history of the Church. This is something that ranks with the great events that have happened in past history, like the First Vision, like the gift of the Book of Mormon, like the Restoration of the gospel, like all of the things that built the foundation for us to go forward and teach in our Father in Heaven’s kingdom.
During the seminar the historical broadcast entitled ¨Hastening the Work of Salvation¨ was transmitted by satellite to the entire church.  President Thomas S. Monson spoke at that time and said:
¨Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work.¨
Do you sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be participants in the great events of Church History? Do you wonder what it would have been like to attend the first meeting of the organization of the Church in the Peter Whitmer cabin?Do you wonder what it would have been like to hear Joseph preach at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple and to be there during the celestial manifestations that took place that day?  Do you wonder if you could have remained faithful during the horrific persecutions of Missouri?  Could you have made the journey across the Great Plains to the Salt Lake Valley? Well if we truly believe what the prophets are saying, future generations may also look behind and wish that they might have participated in the events that will occur during our lifetimes.  This is indeed an historical time in which the Lord is hastening his work.  
What is our role?  Sometimes I fear that we just sit back as observers and say ¨OK Lord, let it roll.¨ Then we wait for the hastening to begin.  I am convinced that now more than any other time in the history of missionary work we need to do all that we can do to hasten ourselves.  We must be participants in the hastening not just observers.  We simply cannot continue to do what we have always done and expect different results.  So how can we hasten our work?
Evaluate Yourself - Take a long hard look at yourself and honestly assess what you can do better.
Your Time is the Lord´s - Recognize that you are on the Lord´s errand.  You are his agent.  Literally your time is not your own and every minute you waste is not yours to waste.
Remember your purpose - Anything you do that does notinvolve your purpose of bringing souls unto Christ should be revised or eliminated.  
Work with the Members The only way you can find more hours in the day is to work with the members on divisions and team-ups.  We can find, fellowship, retain and teach more when we are in partnership with the members.  These are the things that will fill the chapels of Santiago.
May we all resolve to be active participants in this historical time.  We love you and know you will find incredible fulfillment as you serve the Lord as an active partner in the hastening of his work ¨to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.¨
President & Sister Cook

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our FIRST found Baptism. Waldo was beaming Saturday after his baptism!

This week was filled with a little more stress than the weeks in the past, but sometimes that is necessary in order for us to change things about our points of view!
I was able to share more experiences and in the lessons this week and really looked for and had the desire to say more.  It is really fun to see what the Holy Ghost puts in our minds to tell our investigators.  Sometimes we don´t think what we're saying applies, but then they tell us that the experience we had just shared with them was just what they´ve needed.  The more I talk in lessons, the more I want to share with them and others.  It is really true how when we exercise our faith and try it out for ourselves, we really do grow!  Our sector is really great and I feel so blessed to have started my mission here. 
Waldo was absolutely BEAMING Saturday after his baptism, and on Sunday after he was confirmed as a member.  I have never seen anyone work the floor of the chapel as a runway before.  He came down from the stand a new man.  He has already been given an assignment and was interviewed for the priesthood.  He is the cutest man ever.  I am so happy for him. 
Also, this week for service we searched high and low!  We finally found something to help the Bishop and his wife out by helping them cut out masks for about 45 minutes for a project they had to complete and it we were rewarded with laughs and the thanks of Hermana Sierra and Bishop.  They are such amazing people. We also found a house to paint next week, yippeee!!  All-in-all this week I´ve learned a lot.  Hermana Leavitt is great and I can´t believe how much I have been able to learn from one person in such a short amount of time.  Hopefully I will be able to take what she has taught me and apply it to the rest of my companions, mission and life. (:
In interviews this week Presidente told me I would be stretched in ways that I couldn't possibly imagine and I will benefit a lot if I work my hardest.. So I've come to the conclusion that this means I will be put with a hermana with the same amount of time as me, because there's only 2 new hermanas coming this transfer and they will be trained by the Hermanas' that have had 8+ months. So that's a good thing!!  But I am ready to take on whatever challenge comes my way.  Sometimes the ´´I cant do this´´ comes to my head but some divine power happens to push it out.  So I know that I am capable even though it may be the toughest thing I will ever do! 
This week we had our record number of lessons and I enjoyed my last P-Day with Hermana Leavitt as my companion. 
Hope all has been well with the family! Miss you and we get to Skype in 1 month yippeee!!!! :) 
kay that's all!
Chao ♥
xooxoxo  Hermana Cook!
ELDER KURNS CAN DO THE SPLITZ!! hahahah he's so precious.
the ones with the towels are Hermana Mooney, Hermana Leavitt, Hermana Cook and Hermana Vincent! (in that order)
Hermana Activity!
Hermana Water Activity ♥
Who says Hermanas can't Jump!
Making American chocolate chip cookies with our beautiful Young Womens
Lunch with Waldo
Our English Class

Our Crazy English Class!
Waldo writing in English.  We were cracking up!  It's suppose to say, "I ate three things" but he tried to write "eated"  but he wrote "heated"! LOL

This is where I e-mail my Family each week

Another View of the place I e-mail each week

Family Home Evening With Mayra

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Lord Prepares Us in All Things!

So this week I've gained a huge testimony that the Lord prepares us for events that we have no idea are coming.  Many of you may not know, but when I was in 8th grade I was teased almost every Sunday for many months because of my weight.  I hated going to church, especially Sunday school.  I actually ended up ditching for a solid 5 weeks or so, and somehow got the car keys from my mom and went and sat in the car and cried and read my scriptures.  After a few weeks of doing this though, I realized I felt hollow inside and that I was breaking the commandment of attending all meetings, and I felt really guilty!!  So I decided I needed to go back to that class, not for any other reason other than I just needed a clear conscience.  I was not going to Sunday school for friends, or even really to learn anything.  I just wanted to go back so that I could have a peace of mind.  It took me along time to actually enjoy myself at church again.  But I realized that going to church for myself and for Heavenly Father actually made the lessons more personal.

This is a super lame experience, but was actually a really hard time in my life, but looking back now, this experience turned out to be a great teaching tool here on my mission.  We went to an inactive family´s house this week and she said that people in the church are really mean to her because people said some things to her and had called her fat as well.  I was able to share my experience with her and she started to cry a bit and said she was really thankful I had shared what I had been through and how I over came it.  Her and her husband are going to go to church next week and want to sit by us and she said she was very grateful I shared that because she felt she was the only one who has had to deal with harassment with in the church.  I also shared my favorite scripture with her in Moroni 8:16 where it says perfect love casteth out all fear. ♥  I love this scripture because honestly if we have love for all and for the Savior specifically, we wouldn't fear what people thought or what would happen in the future, we would just love and trust in the Lord.  Also, I shared this experience last week as well with a lady named Patricia and she has come to church twice since. :)

Other things in my life have also prepared me for where I'm at now, for example, the lack of desire to really date, the friends I had before (Who some are just like our investigators), the experiences I had in college and many more that I don't have too much time to be specific about. heehee.  I'm just really grateful for every experience I've had and being on a mission has opened up my eyes to many things. I know that if we have trust in the Lord, there is a reason for ALL things we go thorough :) I just love my mission!!!!! 

Waldo bought me sushi last Wednesday
 and he made us a special lunch!! awe
OKAY SO WE TOTALLY FOUND WALDO!! :) He is doing great.  So far he´s sold his wine company, read the entire book of Mormon, has fasted, received an answer to his prayers about the church, and is getting baptized on the 23rd!!!!!  I'm seriously so excited for him.  He loves learning about the Gospel. its so precious and hilarious to watch him interact with the members and in the classes we teach!  He gets so excited when he figures things out and knows about the Lamanites and Nephites and how they were good and bad through out the whole book!  He's just doing so well!  I'm doing well too, but please keep praying  for me !!

Anyways, this week was full of many really spiritual experiences.  We found a new person to teach and He's progressing well already.  His name is Gustavo and he loves to go to church which is way cool!  The young women are doing great, we made American chocolate chip cookies and ALL THE GIRLS CAME!!! which was a first for them in a long time♥   They are so loving.  I love this age of life!!  Young women are my favorite.  We had a good P-Day at Presidente Cooks house with all the Hermanas in the mission and I'll be sending pictures :)
Hermana Olsen from BYUI is here
 on the same mission SO WAY COOL!!
Me and Hermana OLSEN at the Hermanas activity!

Stay safe and classy!!!

Landon, your muscles are big, but make sure your testimony is bigger.
Austin, your tractors attractive, but the ladies really dig a testimony of the Gospel.
Brooklyn, your taller than me, but make sure your testimony is growing faster.
Testimonies are the only thing people cant steal :) They are the best I tell you.

Well family I love you with all my heart :) The 11th of this month completed 2 months in the field and I have 3 and a half in total. AHH! pray for my Spanish, investigators and pray they will stop feeding us soo much! 
Hermana Leavitt wrote this on her white board :) 
I love her so much!!
Peace and blessings to all! :) :)

Hermana Danielle N Cook

Me and Hermana Clearwater in our towel capes at the Hermanas activity

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Letter from Danielles Mission President in Chile

I, Danielle's mother, wanted to add this letter to her blog for Danielle's keeping. This is a letter from her mission president there in chile. This letter was sent to all the missionaries in his mission area.😊

November 11, 2013


EL MENSAJERO #20 – 11 nov 2013
WHAT WILL BRING THEM BACK? ElMensajero #20 – 11 Nov. 2013

We continue to rejoice in your efforts to find new investigators and to bring back those that have grown cold in the gospel. Your efforts indeed are yielding an impressive harvest. We are seeing activity levels and attendance swell across the mission. We all realize that in some ways rescuing the less active can be a much more challenging work because the reasons for one’s inactivity are many and varied. We have all heard such reasons: ¨I am not worthy to associate with the Church.¨ ¨I was offended by someone.¨ ¨The Church is not a priority for me right now.¨ ¨I am too busy.¨ ¨The Church asks too much of me.¨ ¨I no longer believe.¨ It is always important to listen to the reasons and try to understand before trying to help someone overcome the challenges in their life.

Many of our less active brothers and sisters look at other members and think their lives are perfect and that they just will not fit in because their life seems to be full of challenges. When I was called as a bishop I would often sit on the stand and look at the congregation. On the surface it looked like a calm sea. I very soon learned that beneath the surface there was a tumult of difficulties being faced by almost every individual and family. I learned that regardless of the strength of one’s testimony, calling,economic condition or family status the challenges and stresses of life are universal. They just come in different sizes, shapes and seasons of one’s life. But come they do.

If there is one universal truth I have learned is that the Lord loves lost and broken things. Just think of the stories and parables of the scriptures that illustrate this: the lost sheep, the lost coin, the laborers in the vineyard, the woman taken in adultery, the thief on the cross, the calling of Saul, the conversion of Alma, etc. It is very clear that God loves lost and broken things. Why? Because we all fall short. But he promises us that our ¨brokenness¨ can be fixed and that the lost can be found. Above all broken things theLord loves most a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He says give me your broken heart and I will give it back to you healed. Grace is the healing, the finding and fixing process.

So how do we best help our lost brothers and sisters find the joy of healing that the Gospel brings? Often it is our tendency to create a program to address the problem. Pretty soon we have an unmanageable program that has a life of its own and is not truly blessing the lives it was intended to serve. This has always been the case. Jacob wrote of this in his day and said ¨. . . many means were devised to reclaim and restore the Laminates to the knowledge of the truth; but it was all vain. . .¨ Jacob 7:24. So what is the answer? Do we just sit back and say ¨well that is just too bad, nothing we can do will change a thing.¨ NO, NEVER! So what works, what should we do?

In addition to all of our one on one personal efforts as guided by the spirit (DC 84:106), in my experience there is one and only one thing that works, the power of pure doctrine!

¨. . . for unto such shall ye continue to minister, for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them, and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.¨ Nephi 18:32

Among those pure doctrines that make a difference is the doctrine of grace. It is through grace that we are saved and healed. It is through grace that we overcome our challenges and it is through grace that we help others come back and be healed through the atoning blood of Christ. We promise you as you come to understand and apply grace in your own life you will be more effective in becoming a disciple of the Savior and in helping others to do the same. So please continue to minister for we truly know not what the Lord has in mind for them. We love each one of you.

President and Sister Cook (no relation to Danielle 😉)

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Lord Loves Broken Things!

This week we've been working with a lot of inactive members and guess what? Well, you can't guess... so I'm going to tell you.  I finally broke down and cried two days ago.  Umm, it happened.  I've never had my heart broken before, but when I found out that one of our 15 year old young women's was pregnant I got in my bed and couldn't hold it in.  My heart broke.  This week was rough.  Raquel told us that she didn't want us to visit her because she only feels happy when were in her house for that hour and after we leave she is upset again so she thinks its pointless and she doesn't want to read the Book of Mormon with out us there.  Luckily though, I felt at peace when we left her house.  Something told me she will accept the Gospel, but now is just not her time.  Lots of good came from this week though, Waldo finished the Book of Mormon and we had 9 in-actives come to church and we found 2 new awesome investigators!  One is a gangster :) And he went to church and said he really likes it and he's fulfilling ALL of his commitments so far.  He read all of Ether 12 and the little restoration folleta we gave him. :) 

I'm loving all the in-actives coming to church.  President Cook pointed out that:  the Lord loves lost and broken things.  Just think of the stories and parables of the scriptures that show this.  For example; the lost sheep, the lost coin, the laborers in the vineyard, the woman taken in adultery, the thief on the cross, the calling of Saul, the conversion of Alma, and more.  It's super clear that God loves lost and broken things. Why?  Because we all fall short.  But he promises us that our ¨brokenness¨ can be fixed and that the lost can be found.  Above all broken things, the Lord loves most is a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  He says give me your broken heart and I will give it back to you healed.  Grace is the healing, the finding and fixing process.  I love this so much.  I kind of feel this is why I was always around the type of people I was around.  I love helping people and I'm seriously so in love with my mission!  We had such a great day today and GUESS WHATTTTTT... Elder Holland is coming tomorrow so I am preparing for a huge jump start to this week.  We are are so excited.  Also we did a Barbecue for P-Day and were trying to arrange a day for paint balling next week but well see how that goes. 
Please keep praying that the members stop feeding us so much and that the spirit can continue to work through me so I can speak and teach well.
Also I got the Christmas package!!!!!! already! WOOHOOO
I have pics of it yay!!

Austin I think you have a sexy tractor and I miss your hugs.
Landon I miss your blond hair and blue eyes and you're hilarious jokes.
Brooklyn stop growing. Just Kidding :)  You can grow.  Just know to continue growing your testimony too!  I miss my midget a lot!
Mommy and daddy keep laughing and loving! 
Miss you all  :) Remember don't worry about a thing cause every little thing is gonna be alright

♥♥♥  Pray, love and grow!  Have a super sassy week
Hermana Cook
All my favorites, Takis, pringles, rolos and Christmas Presents

Opening my package from my family!

Merry Christmas with our pink tree I bought and decorated

Elders hugging out in the field.  
They didn't know we were taking 
the picture.  My hand with nail polish
and Hermana Earls Hand

WLADO my investigator, my companion and Silvia a new member!

On top of a tall box by the church just chillin' on Preparatory day!

HERMANAS!!  and Elder Intriago
Silly Elders cooking for us!  We love them

Group Photo!

Kicking butt at soccer.  That's my companion in black!!

Elders in our district

Ward Activity!  Chilean Night!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Focus on the Happiess of Others

I didn't feel earth quakes at all! And don't worry about my safety mom. The Lords hand is in all things. If I die here then he needs me more then people need me here!! I'm great :) In my blessing it says I will return home so don't even worry about that :) Okay ? I love you way so much!

My DearElder Package I received
from my Daddy!
So this week went very well with teaching lessons, we taught the law of chastity to Claudio and Rosario and it was one of the most peaceful lessons I've been in. I love having the Holy Ghost teach the lessons for us. But our sector is doing great! Things are progressing and we taught a lesson with the young women this week for Sunday class! I can't wait to officially be called as second councilors. Young women are so powerful, and I love helping them realize how great Heavenly Father hopes and expects them to be. I love these young women! Right now we have Waldo as a secure progress towards baptism, and he has received the confirmation from the Lord that this Gospel is what he needs. He's just working on progressing in a few more things, and then he is golden! He asked us to change his date though because he said he has a confession to make to us. And he then told us he owns a side business that has been very successful. Its a new wine business. And he says he wants to Liquidate it before he get baptized. UHM HELLO...?  HOW GREAT IS HE?! So yes, we had to change his date to the 23rd instead of the 9th, but he's making such great progression I love it!

So this week for service, we went to help an elderly woman clean her house and I was taught the biggest lesson on the charity that Christ has for all of His children. This old lady's name is Ximena. She is an inactive member and has a hard time finding peace and happiness, but of course we didn't hesitate to help her out! But, after 45 minutes of helping her clean, we asked if we could share a scripture with her and she absolutely went CRAZY. She would not let us share anything and told us that we didn't know how to work like women should, and all of these other things. She then told me to clean up her dog's pee and then hand-wash the rag after. I don't know if I would have done it if it weren't for the lesson that we had taught the young women about charity earlier in the day. But I thought of the Savior and the service he did for us and how he would have showed his love for Ximena; So I did as she wanted. After listening to her yell a little bit longer about her hard life and how horrible women we were, we just gave up trying to share a scripture with her and settled for at least saying a prayer. After we left I thought about the fact that Heavenly Father loves Ximena as much as Thomas S. Monson and how I really wish to develop this love. So that is what I've decided to focus on this week. And for the past week, I focused a lot on the effect complaining has on our work, and that if we truly forget what makes us unhappy  and focus on the happiness of others, our eyes will be opened to more miracles. 
Well, I think that's is for now. Hope I have another week of progression with everything here on my mission. Take care! 
♥Simpre, Hermana Cook :) Chao!! 

Companions Birthday Dinner !
I decorated my companions area for her birthday!
My birthday note to my companion!

An interesting tree we found!
More zone games on P-Day!! Whoopee
Eating the popcorn I got from my package
while watching missionary training video!

Me scraping dog poop from the bottom of my shoe!
My companion thought this was worthy of documenting

My district leader..Elder Allen :)

My fancy Chilean CTR ring! (Choose the right)