Monday, December 23, 2013

oops, I missed a week - here's a little information from December 17th 

It's definitely a.."different" area.  It's also (I believe) the biggest in the state.  I was obviously prepared to work here, having experienced both the "little Mexico" of Maryvale (Phoenix) area as well as the nicer Trailside ward.  Since this is essentially just a combination of the two, I'm a perfect fit.  I am so excited to see how I can change this ward.  I know that we're going to do it, it's just a matter of time.  We figure that we're going to work Phoenix for the afternoon hours before dinner and bike everywhere, then in the evening (people in Laveen have jobs) we put the bikes on the car and drive them down there, and bike Laveen in the afternoon.  It's going to be legit.  I really believe that the Lord has prepared me for this area.  It's going to be hard but... whatever.  I can do hard things!  As far as safety is concerned (MOM), I have never felt threatened or even close to threatened in any of my areas.  Since we aren't affiliated with any gangs, we're safe.  Oh, and the simple fact that we're representatives of Jesus Christ and have angels buoying us up.  Whatever though, no big deal.
As far as miracles this week, here goes.  We have been going through our list of names that missionaries have talked to before, and just praying about who we need to see, when, etc.  Most of the time, whenever we go to a house, it turns out that the people don't even live there anymore.  So, we were out looking for a former investigator to see if we could get our foot back in the door.  We knock on the door and we ask for the guy and the person at the door just says "they don't live here any more".  Typical.  So as I usually do when we have disappointment, I ask "why did God send us here".  So we knocked on the next door neighbors house.  A teenager answers the door and we introduce ourselves.  He says "let me ask my mom" or something like that.  (he doesn't even live there, it's his girlfriend's mom... weird.)  She comes to the door and we ask her if she's ever talked to missionaries before.  She said no, and then invited us inside.  Wait, what?!  Yeah.  Never talked to missionaries and then just invites us inside.  That.  Never.  Happens.  Long story short, we taught the Restoration and they said they'd get baptized when they knew it was true.  Once again shows that because God seemingly leads us into failure, a lot of times it's because another door (PUN) is going to be opened.
What's up?!  It's a chilly 52 degrees here in Phoenix, AZ (ha!) and Christmas is on the way!
Truth be told?  I completely forgot that it was Christmas time.  A Mexican guy said "Feliz Navidad" to me the other day and I was like... "Oh yeah!".... It's Christmas!  I forgot!  Pretty sweet!  Super excited to talk to mi familia this week!  
Baptisms this week!  Well I guess just one.  Another nine year old baptism.  She's super super smart and just absorbs everything we teach.  She's going to be a rocket scientist or something.  Super nuts.  We just have to work out some logistical details and we're all set for another baptism this week.  Woo woo!  She lives with a member family who more or less adopted her and they're one of the really strong families in the Phoenix area.
We also put someone on date for baptism for the following week!  We met this super neat-o family that is going to be super legit.  The mother has family that's all LDS and has been pushing this for a while, and the Dad-guy has a little bit of religious background, but just loves it.  He loves the Book of Mormon too!  We read with them last night and they really understand the importance of the gospel and everything.  He says that it just makes sense that if we had prophets before, that we'd have prophets now, etc.  Super good family.  They came to church too!  Just when we think they wouldn't show up, BAM, there they are!  Apparently they had a good experience even though the bread for the sacrament was late and...etc.  All good though.  We'll keep working with them for the next couple of weeks and baptize the heck out of them.  They have 6 kids.  We only thought they had like 2.  We saw them in church and was like, holy cow, they... they have a lot of kids.  They even said they want to feed us some time!  Boo ya!  Member dinners in this ward are few and far between!  Luckily I have food storage fit for a king and, for example, we didn't eat dinner yesterday because we were just... Busy.  Didn't have time.  Funny how that works!  Still fat though.  Plenty fat. 
So I get a call on...Wednesday, from the Assistants to the President.  Elder Jurgensmeier, one of the guys I lived with in my first area, says "Elder Cox, we're having our Mission Leadership Conference tomorrow and we have people from Salt Lake coming down to do some training.  President Toone is inviting some other people to attend as well, and he wants you to be there."  Uhh... okay.  What the heck?  He then tells me that it's just me going, and not even my companion.  Uhh...okay.  What the heck?  So I get off the phone and tell Elder Wilcox, who happens to be a District Leader, that I'm going to this Mission Leadership Conference tomorrow but that he's staying and working the area.  Thought comes to my mind:  Wait, Elder Wilcox and Cox are pretty similar names.  So I text the AP's and ask them, "Did you mean Elder Wilcox?".  Nope.  Elder Cox.  What happened is that Brother Donaldson, who is in the Missionary Committee (or something) over the Church, essentially was coming to our mission to absolutely nuke everything that we've been doing and change some things.  Apparently he wanted a bunch of the "younger" missionaries to be there so that this training wouldn't be given to people that are going to leave the mission in a few months.  In any case, it was super crazy and confusing.  Really I guess it wasn't a "nuke", but they did change a lot of things.
See you on Christmas!
-Elder Cox

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Elder Cox's new address is:

475 N 43rd Ave
Apt #131
Phoenix, AZ 85009

Okay, so transfers!  I am now in Capitol ward, one of the other English wards in the Phoenix stake.  I just keep jumping around from English ward to English ward in the Phoenix stake.  It's too bad I can't stay anywhere long enough to really do some damage, but I'll make do.  Capitol ward is the ward just south of Maryvale ward, so really I'm pretty much where I started.  Trailside ward was down south in Laveen, just like 20 minutes south.  Still in Phoenix zone and everything.  Make sense?
So, not only am I transferred again into a new ward, but so is my companion Elder Wilcox.  President Toone probably thinks he's so funny putting Cox and Wilcox together.  I can imagine his 7 foot tall fram just chuckling at the thought of Cox and Wilcox together.  Anywho!  So, we are doubling in the area which means that neither of us were in this area before, and neither of us know what's going on.  Pretty interesting!  I've said throughout my mission that I think it would be fun doubling into an area.  I was definitely wrong.  It's pretty hard!  I'm sure it would generally be easier, but because of situations (drama) with missionary companionships in the area before we came here, there really is absolutely no paperwork done for anything, so we don't even have a teaching pool yet. 
On the bright side, we got a baptism on Saturday!  Yes, a baptism after three days of being in the area.  The other missionaries put a nine year old on date and then left us to figure out the logistics of it.  Either way, we got the credit for helping someone enter into eternal covenants.  BOO YA!
Currently, we're on track to baptize weekly too!  There are 2 other investigators, one whose nine, and one whose been investigating for like four years, who are both going to be baptized in the coming weeks.  Couple that with faith, finding some new elect people, teaching them, and baptizing them, I'd say we're pretty set up to baptize every weekend for this transfer.  It's going to be legit.  As far as Elder Wilcox is concerned, he's like 6'3" or something, super nerdy -- but not in the "i play video games" or "i like science and Star Wars" kind of way, but in the super awkward kind of way, which might even be better-- and a great missionary.  Love him to death.  Still offended that they'd have the audacity to separate my eternal brother Elder Francis and I, but I will make due ;)
In other news, the new missionary that lives in my apartment came here sick, and now everyone in the apartment is sick.  Myself included.  What a jerk, bringing biological warfare into the mission field.  Tisk tisk.  The apartment we live in is pretty big and nice (for Phoenix) as opposed to the nice...*comfortable*... room that Trailside has.  Granted that Trailside is newer, but this apartment has a kitchen!  I was so excited to have a kitchen and be able to cook things that I spent like half my monthly allowance on tons and tons of cook-able food.  I just grabbed things that looked good that I knew I needed to cook and bought it.  I even bought a single can of green beans.  The weirdest part is, I totally could've cooked green beans at Trailside too, but that's beside the point.  In any case, while the apartment we live in is pretty legit, the people I'm rooming with aren't exactly the exciting type.  I'll get over it I guess, and maybe they're just shy and need a little warming up.  We'll see.
I really wish I had more to report as far as missionary work is concerned, but we really haven't accomplished a whole lot this week!  You know, other than helping someone enter into the waters of baptism and open the gate that leads to exaltation.  Whatever, no big deal.  It was especially hard too because we had Stake Conference yesterday instead of church, so we have no idea who any of our members are.  Makes things a little difficult.  We'll figure it out though.  YOLO.

Love y'all!
-Elder Cox

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

AGAIN!  What my heck?  At this rate, I'm going to have no one to visit after the mission because I'll only have been in each area for 6 weeks.  *SIGH*.  All well.  We'll find out where I'm going on Wednesday, so once again don't send anything unless it's already been sent.

Kinda lame, especially because Elder Francis and I get along so well.  But, what can you do.  I understand the Lord wouldn't put me anywhere unless I needed to be there.

Thanksgiving!  Yeah, it was pretty legit.  We had Thanksgiving with the Bundy family who is actually from Murray as well!  I was like "what the freak?" because it seems like everyone is from Murray.  They are pretty cool though.  I think she's been a lifelong member and he recently converted, or something like that.  So we gorged there and had our second dinner at about... 8:30 that night.  Super late, and really it was just leftovers from the dinner that the old Ward Mission Leader had.  So we ate all his leftovers and then slept, which made for a nice feeling in the stomach the next morning.  But yeah, Thanksgiving was good.  Elder Francis' mom overnighted some rolls too, which actually just got here today.  So much for "overnight".  All's well, they're still good.

Once again I failed to write down things that I would tell my family about this week.  We had a pretty cool miracle yesterday when someone decided to come to church out of the blue.  He's the son of a recent convert and he's been in prison a bunch and just decided he wants to change his life around and he came to church!  We were able to teach him a lesson (pow, thwack, bam!) and then set up an appointment for today!  So hopefully that goes well.  *Cough*, excuse me.  It will go well.

I dunno if you remember me talking about our super-solid investigator Jeff Itoh.  Probably not.  Well, Jeff was supposed to get baptized on Saturday but it didn't end up happening.  I'm pretty sure I already told you it wasn't going to happen last week, because that's when he decided.  It's super frustrating too because he knows everything is true, really wants to get baptized, and absolutely LOVES the church, but he's just hung up on one thing:  His 4-year-old triplets are bored during Sacrament meeting.  What?!  Of course they are!  I'M bored during sacrament meeting, and I'm a missionary!  It's all good though, because the primary is assembling a "sacrament kit" you could say that has all sorts of kiddie things to play with.  Hopefully that'll work out.  He's done for sure. (in the baptized sort of way)

I was hoping to have the title of this email be "A very Trailside Christmas", but seeing as how I'll be spending Christmas elsewhere, I guess it's not "very Trailside".  Super sad, because we DECKED the halls, that is, our room, with jolliness.  We made snowflakes, put up stickers, were even going to have a tree, we have a Santa door-hang, lights on the bunk-bed... But alas, Christmas in Trailside is but a dream.  All well.  I'll get over it eventually.

Hope you guys have a great week! :)

-Elder Cox