Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A lot happened in my family this week!  I guess the world really doesn't stop revolving when you leave on your mission.  Stuff just kinda keeps going regardless of what I'm doing.  Weird how that works!
So Saturday we met this super nice ex-con! (Is that comforting Momma?)  He really is super cool though.  He got out of jail a week ago.  He was a serial killer and convicted pedophile!  Just kidding.  He was going into foreclosed houses and stealing appliances out of them.  No big deal. Anyway, "Ace"  was taking lessons from a Bishop that volunteers weekly at the jail and was learning a ton about the church while he was in there.  He got out and the Bishop made sure he got the information to the local missionaries so that he could continue investigating.  Pretty awesome!  So he seeked us out and we met him on Saturday.  He came to church Sunday too!  He really wants to serve, so we had a meeting set up with the Bishop to see what he could do.  Apparently he is now assigned to help clean the church building every Saturday.  Ace is such a cool dude!  But of course, he's on parole so he can't be baptized (without special First Presidency approval) for like a year.  Bummer.
We FINALLY were invited to Ward Council!!!!!!!!  I tell you, we're changing this ward.  Before, the Bishop told us that we weren't invited because there simply isn't enough room in there.  Well that's a bunch of crap.  Either way, when we met with Bishop one time we asked (again) if we could go to Ward Council and he said... "yeah, you guys can come."  Sweet!  Literally, I don't think missionaries in this ward have been to Ward Council for years.  Super awesome.  We are slowly but surely sparking a fire in the dying heartbeat of missionary enthusiasm in Capitol Ward.  Yippeeeee!

Th-dd-d-th-d--d-th that's all folks!
Love you!
-Elder Cox

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

News time!  I forgot to write down specifically what I'd write home about, so hopefully my memory is good.

Our investigator family, still great.  Came to church.  Did I mention they asked if they could pay tithing before they even get baptized?  Isn't that cool?  They are still a super legit family!  Nothing really new there!
We met this guy, and to put it nicely, he is a little rough around the edges.  He's killed a few brain cells doing this and doing that, and his physical condition is sub par.  However, he is probably the most sincere and selfless person I've met.  He'd give you the shirt off his back.  He really doesn't have much to give, but every time we go over there, he offers us soda or food or anything he can.  He doesn't seem at all like the type that would be interested in baptism, but his fiance is an active member that has influenced him towards the church.  We told him that he needs to quit smoking and drinking coffee.  I apologize for my sentence structure :P ).  He's been smoking for 50 years and said it would be super hard, but that he's willing.  We set a date for baptism, and gave him a blessing.  He made light of the situation a little bit, but you could tell that he felt the Spirit.  He's super sweet.
This other family moved into the ward (I told you about last week) and they're pretty cool.  They are another super impoverished family living in a trailer.  Unfortunately they didn't come to church yesterday, so hopefully nothing's up, but they seem pretty sincere.  They asked for help from the Bishop, which can be a little iffy for people that are super poor like that.  Bishop says that people always pretend to investigate until they get help, then they peace out.  I don't really think this is one of those families, but I'm just hoping that after we told them they can't get help, they just didn't come to church by coincidence.  Hopefully it's just coincidence!  Kind of a weird situation because the father has to get divorced, then married to his girlfriend he's living with now.  Should be able to work out!
Hmm.. I thought I had some more stories but most of them are about negative things that happened.  It was a pretty good week as far as member support is concerned though.  We're getting a lot more dinners lately and we got up to 13 Member Present lessons last week, which is the most I've gotten yet.  I don't know how it compares to other areas, but the Standard of Excellence is 16 Member Presents, so we were close!
I've gained like 15 pounds since I left home, so I think next month I'm going to eat a lot better.  I'll start running in the morning when it starts to be warmer outside (yeah yeah, like above 50).  It's still super hot here... all the time.  It's probably 75 or 80 today.  My fear is that "winter" is over already and that it's only going to get hotter.  Hopefully not the case! 
Welp.. that's pretty much it.  Love you family!
-Elder Cox

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Nope! The transfer fairy has passed by me this time!  I will be staying in the same area.  Same companion.
In other news!:
So we had been planning on visiting this part member family forever.   The dad was baptized about three years ago, and his wife is not a member.  They aren't active in church or anything, and we had never met them.  Every time we went by previously, it was either someone else who said they weren't home, or no one answered at all.  So once again, we knocked. *knock knock knock*.  No answer.  *knock knock knock*.  No answer.  *knock knock knock*.  No answer.  Just as we were about to leave, mi companero says "maybe we should check the back and see if the kids are playing back there".  That didn't even make sense, because we didn't really even know if they had kids.  We look back, and I wish I could say that my companion had a prophetic moment, but there weren't kids there.  But we did find the mom and dad, so I guess it was sort-of prophetic.  Anyway, we talk to them and apparently he was talking to his wife about baptism and trying the whole "church thing" out again just barely the night before we got there.  He had literally been praying for guidance and help and they were thinking about calling us when we just popped up.  Super crazy!  Long story short, they were at church yesterday and his wife is on date for February 15th.  Game time!
We had a baptism!  This guy, has been calling himself a "dry Mormon" for the past several years was finally baptized with his nine year old step-daughter.  Everything went well, and a bunch of people came.  They were confirmed yesterday and he was given the Aaronic Priesthood.  Pretty neat!
Our investigator family is still doing really well.  They came to the baptism on Saturday and seemed to enjoy it.  They didn't come to our ward yesterday, but they did go to their mom's ward down in Laveen.  They tell us that they are praying and reading the Book of Mormon daily individually and as a family.  Super cool!  I think tonight we're going to show them how to conduct Family Home Evening.  They are so Mormon already it makes me sick.  They just need to get married.  Good thing they totally are.  Did I mention that?  They're all on date for marriage and baptism on March 1st!  I can't remember if I mentioned that or not.  Probably did.  Anyway, that's going to be a big day for them.  They totally love us.  He found out that missionaries don't necessarily just stay in one area for their whole mission and he was upset.  I guess he can rest assured that neither of us are leaving yet!
Rick, I haven't realized, but I get a ton of compliments on my awesome backpack.  I thought I'd let you know that.  Thanks again!  I don't think there has been a week where my backpack is not complimented by another missionary.  Pretty classy.
Oh yeah, I think I mentioned Elder Holland was coming to speak to us on Saturday?  Yeah, Elder Holland got reassigned and Elder Wright from the 70 spoke to us instead.  Still cool, but not quiteElder Holland cool.  We also had Zone Conference last week, and President Toone made us a promise that if we apply the principles that were taught in "The Meeting" (you know, the MLC that I randomly got invited to where they changed everything.  Yeah, it's "The Meeting") that we'd be able to find and baptize complete families.  That's a pretty sweet promise.  Definitely already coming into fruition.
We just got a new family of like 6 that moved into our area that the Maryvale Elder referred us to (suckers!) and they are really cool!  We only taught them yesterday, but we should be teaching them pretty much daily.  Cool stuff.
Th-th-tha- that's all folks!
-Elder Cox

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hey there again!  Happy new year!
Transfers next week.  Stay tuned!
I'll get right into story time!:
We have a baptism this weekend!  This guy is finally getting baptized after like 5 years of investigating the church.  He has really just been a "dry Mormon" for a really long time because he had a hole in his throat and couldn't get baptized because of it.  But, looks like he's finally healed and able to be baptized!  The best part is, his step-daughter who is...9?... is getting baptized with him too.  What a super awesome experience that they get to be baptized on the same day!  And I have the opportunity to be a part of it.
We have two other children over 8 that are on date for February 1st as well.  Super cool!

Let's see... our one family still needs to get married.  They were coming to church for a couple weeks straight but they missed yesterday due to a family emergency.  Dang Satan, always tries to get in the way!  They'll be baptized though, sure enough.  I know they will!  Just a matter of time.  And member fellowship.  And the Spirit.  And marriage.
We found nine new investigators this week.  I don't know about anyone else's mission, but for us that's quite a few.  The craziest part is that eight of them were found on Friday.  Eight in one day.  The worst part of that is that was the day I was gone for exchanges...  I guess I'm doing something wrong if the one day I happen to be gone they find eight investigators.  Sheesh!
Speaking of exchanges, I had the opportunity to be with Elder Jacobsen.  Elder Jacobsen is from Salt Lake and went to Highland High School.  I knew he had played guitar, so we were just talking about music and bands that we were in and all sorts of fun stuff.  He was talking about one of his bands he was in and was talking about how his drummer was super good, and had like 15 drum sets and a ton of basses and guitar amps and guitars that were all his, and how his drummer had a sweet studio that they played in.  In my head I though.. "man, that sounds SUPER familiar..", so I asked him "What was your drummers name?"  His response?  Matt Morrison.  HOLY FREAK MAN, Iplayed with Matt Morrison too!  It was such a coincidence.  My Zone Leader played in a band with Matt Morrison and is one of his really good friends, and went to high school with him and everything. Crazy coincidence.  Not coincidence.  I said something like "well freak man, let's baptize him!"  He then told me that Matt's a member.  I had no idea.  Apparently Matt's just super less-active.  We decided that it wasn't coincidence at all that we made this discovery of a mutual friend, and that we are going to A) be in a super killer band when we get home!  and B) totally get Matt going to church again.  Phoenix miracles.
I wish I had some more fun stories to tell, but that's just about all I got.  I'm a failure at remembering to write down what I want to tell my family about.  All well.  All you need to know is that the Church is true, the Book is blue, and Jesus was a Mormon too.  Also, I'm safe and plenty happy.  There's nothing more important than the work that's going on right now.  Even though I miss my family like crazy, it'll all be worth it in the end.  The blessings far outweigh the sacrifice!
Love you all.  Good luck with your new years goals!  I pray for you daily!
-Elder Cox

Monday, January 6, 2014

I forgot that it was even new years this week.  The only thing that is different for us is that we're inside by 8:00 instead of 9:00 that night.  *pop* wwwooooo........
It was great talking to everyone on Christmas!  Since that was only a couple days ago, I bet this letter won't be super long.  But we did have some things happen since then!  First off, a baptism on Saturday!  Yesss!  That super smart nine-year-old girl.  She was confirmed just yesterday so now everything's taken care of!  Check!
The main other news is about an investigator family.  We thought that the guy was our "golden investigator", but in a mad twist and turn of events in a classical mystery, it turns out that his girlfriend  is actually the golden investigator!  We haven't seen him in a while, but I'm sure he'll come back around.  We originally had them on baptismal date for this Saturday, but we taught the law of Chastity and sure enough, they're not married.  So we have to delay their baptism.  When we taught them the law of Chastity, he practically got on one knee right then and there and said "come on, we've been talking about this for a long time let's just do it" and it was legit.  She said they'd "talk about it".  From what she told us, apparently he is very different than when he usually is when we come around, and she doesn't want to marry him until he shapes up.  Fair enough.  However, she has come to church twice in a row now!  She even stayed for all three long grueling hours yesterday!  Way cool.  And to top it off with sprinkles and a cherry, she was at the baptism on Saturday, and afterwards asked for a tour of the church.  Way cool!  She'll be baptized for sure.  In our lesson we had with her on Saturday, she prayed and asked God to help her and her family "do this Mormon thing" and she asked for help getting to baptism.  I love when people ask God to help them be baptized.  Because duh, of course he's going to help now.  They don't know what they're asking :)  They just asked the Big Man for help.  And they're going to get it.
I don't remember if I mentioned this -- pretty sure I didn't -- but apparently Elder Holland is coming down in January for a... thing... and I guess our mission gets to go to this...thing!  Other than that, I have absolutely no knowledge of any details whatsoever.  But, who needs any more details than that?  It's Elder Holland.  And a gathering of sorts.  And I'll be there.  No more information needed!  Other than what President Toone gave us about how we better have shined shoes, cut hair, matching suits, etc. etc. 
To supplement for the obvious lack of content of this email, I will send pictures!  Did I ever mention that we made a giant President Toone pinata?  I think I told some people, but maybe not everyone.  Well... we made a giant President Toone pinata, and unveiled it at the Mission Conference.  It was super funny.  President Toone attacked it with a stick, which might have been one of the most terrifying things ever.  Because he's 7 feet tall.  The pinata is life size.  Anyway...

Have a happy new year!
Love y'all!
-Elder Cox
The highlight of any missionary Mom's Christmas is being able to talk to her son.  This was definitely the case for me.  We were lucky enough to be able to Skype with Dylan which was an added bonus.  When the familiar sound of an incoming call came in I was giddy with excitement (and may have had tear or two).  We were able to talk for awhile, ask questions and laugh together as a family.  Because of being able to Skype he was able to meet his nephew Jameson for the first time, and see and say hi to his nieces.  I'm so grateful for modern technology that allows us to gather together, even though we are miles apart and in three different states we were still able to spend time together as a family on Christmas.