Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Every chance you get, share the Plan of Salvation with someone

A note from Danielle's Mom:  I believe Danielle's email was so short because she found out from a friend of hers that another friend she knew was killed in a snowboarding accident.  She personally messaged me this note:  I am in an awkward mood right now.  I'll tell you why in a few weeks ♥
Don't worry though.  Just know I love you a lot and I'll send pics next week.

The following is her sweet short note this week :)

My comp is a Latina me!  Love her so much, we teach well together.  Love my ward.  I feel like family here.  I am in love with my sector.
I love the plan of salvation.  Every chance you get, share it with someone, you don't know if they have had a loss in their family recently or someone close to them along time ago.  The Plan of Salvation is my favorite and it has become one of the closest things to my heart on my mission.  I love it.
Be a missionary.  You don't need an official missionary tag, you don't need to be 20 years old.  Have family home evenings, and invite people and the missionaries.  It's fun and a good way to share the Gospel (:

love you. hugs and kisses.
Hermana Cook

Monday, May 19, 2014

MAMA COOK! Your prayers were answered!

MAMA COOK!   Your prayers were answered!    I have a Latina comp, Hermana Lepin!!  Full of energy and just how I like `em, SUPER SASSY! (:  President pulled me aside and told me that I have to work hard on her because.... well, he didn’t say wh,y but I can kind of imagine why.  So we will be working hard (:  Presidente is awesome, can I just say that?

Hermana Leavitt, Elder Smith, Allen, and Alderige, all are heading home today.  I was born into their zone (I arrived in their zone first) and now they are all ¨dying¨ I am really sad!  It is CRAZY how fast time flies.  They are all fantastic missionaries and I am sad to lose them.  But they all need to go home and live their awesome lives.  Time passes WAY to fast.... I can’t believe it.  

This week went well.  Hermana Taylor and I worked hard our last week and it turned out really well.  I said bye to every one Sunday in El Parrón and there were tears and laughter in every house we visited.  I am currently in an area called El Progresso, where ironically there has been no progresso!  YAY. in the Steak Gran Avenida.  SWEET!  It is about 1/2 the size of my other sector and we live in a house house (: It’s supèr cute like a little cottage!

But I am really excited for this change. Cambios are my favorite! 

This week went really well in the sector El Parrón. It was a long last week together with Hermana Taylor and me, but she has progressed mountains worth!  I am excited to work in this sector.  I heard rumors that this sector is pretty difficult but I am ready for a challenge.  I am excited to practice exact obedience with Hermana Lepin, I think a testimony of this will really help her and I know her previous companion, Hermana Earl, had worked on this with her while she was here training as well.  She has a great amount of energy which I am really looking forward to working with.  I hope and pray we can help build each other and the people we serve here!

This week I read a lot in chapter 3 lesson 2 in Preach My Gospel about the Plan of Salvation.  I haven`t read it really deeply since my grandfather passed away but I felt a wave of love as I read about the resurrection.  A country song came to my mind that has the lyrics something to the effect of ¨I`ll see my grandpa again and he`ll match me step for step,¨ by brad paisley and Dolly Parton came into my mind, and I thought about my grandpa and how that will indeed be the case (:  I love the Plan of Happiness! I can`t wait to find someone here to teach it to.  Service this week we helped a less active and his wife clear out their back yard of broken down pieces of a part of their house and Hermana Taylor and I got to talking to the husband and found out he has been hiding behind a wall of shame for the past six years because he declined going on a mission to Utah and I really think he wishes he would have taken the opportunity.  But that is where the atonement comes in and we forgive ourselves, move on and do better.

Elder Taffur is in my zone and I forgot to tell you all about Elder taffur but he is a prankster and this week I pranked them and told them I had special changes and had already left the sector and THEY BELIEVED ME and elder taffur apparently cried....... OOPS (:  and then the told the ward and then on Thursday when the joke was over, and they found out I didn’t leave... Everyone at the Noche de Hogar came up to me hugging and kissing me and crying thinking that I had actually left!!!!  So... it is official.  I cannot do pranks.  They never work out. (:  MY poor ward thought I had left without saying good bye so technically I had to say bye to them twice... awh :/  they are so great I will miss them so much!

Elder Tafur is a super great missionary.  I had fun with him and Elder Burhoe in el Parrón.  I will miss working closely with the both of them, but I am stoked for changes.

Love you all.

Prayers are real.

Fasts bring miracles.

And Jesus Christ lives.

Have a super sassy week xoxoxox

Hermana Cook!

Monday, May 12, 2014

I love my calling, and am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and for repentance and forgiveness.

This week was one of the hardest weeks for me.  I felt very discouraged.  We cannot find our investigators, my Spanish is going downhill, every service activity we had planned failed through last minute and I feel fat and depressed.  But as always, after a hard week, you see the rainbow after the rain.  Last night we were able to teach one of our investigators the restoration and she asked us how she could know what church was true and she told us at least three times that there is only one loving Dios (God) and that He doesn’t have 500 churches.  We explained how she was just like the young prophet Joseph Smith, and read Santiago 1:5 with her.  She said she really wanted to read and know if it was true.  It was a really beautiful lesson and I think in this lesson, Hermana Taylor talked the most that I have ever heard her talk in a lesson.  I was not super worried about Hermana Taylor not talking much in lessons, because I did the same thing in my training, but I was a little concerned that she had not taken all the opportunities she could have to share, but last night I could really see her progression and I teared up a little bit.  It was a tender miracle from Heavenly Father :)  She is doing great! ♥ 

This week has been a really good week of reflection and deep thinking.  I read a lot about the Apostle Paul and I was blown away by his wisdom and strength. I have read it before, but it takes on a whole different meaning when you’re on a mission!  He was a great tool in the hands of the Lord, so great that when he was killed the Lord revived him!  I love the Bible and the Book of Mormon heroes (: 

I also was taught a very important lesson from the Spirit this week.  There is this man that works at a botelleria, Enrique, and he has been asking us for months to come teach the jóvenes (young),  and I have always been open to teaching who ever these ¨jóvenes¨ (young) were, but my companions had not felt very comfortable around him, because sometimes he was drinking when we would say hi and talk to him, so usually we would just try and just pass him to the elders, but finally I decided to set up a cita (appointment) with him this week.  We entered his house for the first time earlier this week and we met his children and asked what exactly he was looking for and in that moment, I saw my dad´s face in his eyes and he looked at me and said ¨Hermana Chikas, I just want peace back in my house.¨   It was a very powerful and humble request from this single father of 5 boys.  So we taught him a little about what the gospel was.  We asked his 9 year old son who he thinks God is and he told us that God made the trees and plants and sky and all of us.  It was the cutest explanation of our Heavenly Father that I had ever heard!  I love children; they are so simple and sincere.  I saw a picture of his mommy on their wall and I commented on it and asked where his mom was.  The dad changed the subject super quick and the little boy said, ¨no daddy, she asked where mommy was...¨and he again changed the subject.  The second time we entered his house he did not have time for us to be there for more than 15 minutes because he was working.  But he told us that his wife had hung herself and their 14 year old son had found her 6 years back, and they´ve had trouble ever since.. I cried all night.  He had been asking us to come by and teach them for MONTHS.. And I was ignoring the spirit and the invitation to teach him.   I felt so unworthy to be a missionary and thought that we had lost the opportunity to teach him and help.   I repented and we have been trying to work with him and his family since then, but the only thing we can do now is gain his confidence and help him find what he had asked for... for peace to return to his house.  Through the gospel we can surely help him if he is willing to keep commitments.

I am so grateful for the gospel.  It really is the biggest source of peace and comfort in my life.  I love sharing it and learning every day.  Joseph Smith was a worthy and true prophet of the Lord and I know he translated the plates of Gold.  Jesus loves us with a deep love that we cannot understand, and I know that Heavenly Father sent him here to save us from an eternal hell.  I know that He has a lot of trust in His missionaries to share His message and find all His children.  I love my calling, and am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and for repentance and forgiveness.

Talked with my family and BROOKIE DARLING, I didn’t talk to you much, people kept cutting you off. :( feel free to message me and we can talk. I love you! I had so much fun talking with you. I will be repenting for going over time talking; I literally did not notice the time. But good news, you got to meet our ward mission leader, Claudio Barra, who is the funniest thing ever! He showed you his two cats and did head, shoulders, knees and toes for you in Spanish! heehee. He is a great man, we are lucky to be working with him!

Cultural update:   music here has the same bass line, 4 notes over and over and every car is playing it.  It’s called regatona. Something like that.  Also, booty shorts and tights are super popular here.  And it’s getting super super cold!  Hermana Taylor and I are funny and her family cracks me up.  She is 1 of 9 children and we had fun talking to them. ♥

Well love you alllll!!!!
Hope you have a super sassy week (: Miss you all!
que esté bien
Hermana Cook

Skyping with Danielle.  Danielle and Hermana she is training (Hermana Taylor).  Also Danielle with the Ward Mission leaders Grandmother

Friday, May 9, 2014

I do not want to say prayers half asleep anymore. Heavenly Father deserves more of our time and hearts than that.

I have to start off by saying.... Presidente Cook made fun of me for using the word majestic (; I love presidente. He is so inspired and still is able to keep his sense of humor.  I love him and his wife, Hermana Cook

Anyways … This week went by so fast.  We took time during our planning this week to figure out what less actives and investigators were progressing and those who weren’t.  We prayed a lot who we needed to keep teaching, and who we needed to let go.  Right before we were going to a lesson with Francisca (Francisca is the 15 year old in the wheel chair), we both felt the impression that we needed to let them go that night.  It was really hard and we did a few practices attempts along the way to their house.  When the time came at the end of their visit to explain that we could not keep passing by their house, the spirit took action and they were able to see how important this gospel was to us.  Despite the awkward, unexpected moment of crying, Juan told us that he thinks that us deciding not to pass by was inspired and a true answer from God because he too felt that they were relying on us so much and he said he had told his wife that the week prior, and not really studying out in their hearts the things of the Book of Mormon.  They told us that they would continue to read, and if one day they receive an answer that it is true, they will come to church and find us or the missionaries there (if we’re not there) to continue teaching them.  I just hope that day comes sooner than later, but after we left I felt very strongly that that day would come.   We left feeling very peaceful and we found a new family to teach the next day!  BLESSINGS hopefully they are prepared to progress until baptism and be able to preserver until the end.

Our ward is doing well.  It is still really hard to find members to teach with us... almost as hard as not having citas (dates or appointments) fall through.  

So we went to this lady named Valeska´s house that was on the ´´less active´´ list and began teaching her this week but she says that she knows 100% that she was not baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ..... So we are not sure really what to do. Does she need to be baptized again or do we just convince her she was baptized??  hahaha we are working this our right now.

This week I read a lot in the Bible reviewing a bit in Juan since I didn´t fully understand it in Spanish, and I realized how close and personal Heavenly Father and Jesus´ relationship was.  It is really precious how they testify about one another and how they are a support for each other.  I am trying to make my prayers a lot more personal and sincere at night.  I do not want to say prayers half asleep anymore.  Heavenly Father deserves more of our time and hearts than that.  This is something I have been working on these past few changes but it really hit me hard when I reviewed John how much Jesus and our Heavenly Father loves us.  They set a perfect example for us.  I love the Bible, it´s very majestic.(:  So far I have the Book of Mormon read and almost the Bible read... new testament at least in Spanish!  Whoever says they felt comfortable at 6 months speaking the language.... you need to thank Heavenly Father because sometimes I am still lost when I read.

We went bowling today and can i just say.... I kicked booty (:  I bowled a 58!!!!! That’s 18 more than the last time I bowled in the states!  Pictures to come
It is really hard to remember all that happened in a week. We are just super blessed all the time! It only rained one day here and it was supposed to rain all week so that’s a blessing!

BROOKE YOUR BDAY IS COMING SOON! I am sending you a card but it will be late sorry suggah!!!

What else can I say... I could actually say a lot.  But there isn’t much time... So just ask me when I get home to read my journal for this week (:

We taught a drunk guy that we had contacted (not while he was drunk) and he is progressing really well.  Ask about this story it’s actually really cool.  Sadly we have to pass him over to the Elders but I am excited for him to be taught the gospel

I love you family! SEE YOU IN A WEEKKKKKK when we Skype on Mother’s Day !!!!!!!!!!!!!

These are all the Hermanas that will finish their mission and head home the same time as me!  January 2015