Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I attached some pictures of our new apartment! It's not really though. It's an old building we found on the Rez! The walls were literally filled in with mud like it's from the pioneer days or something. It was neat! My slacks were tucked into my sock because that's an ancient Indian tradition. When you enter the ruins of an Indian dwelling you're supposed to tuck your pants into your sock to symbolize... Just kidding, we were just biking that day.
So we found this cool new investigator named Mark! I think I already mentioned him last time. Mark is super solid though! It seems to me like he'll be another golden child. We had a lesson with him Saturday and we taught the Restoration. He completely understood everything that we were teaching him about and could connect all the dots. He says that he's felt he's been pushed in this direction for a long time. That made me excited because that's exactly what Karen said, and she's the most solid person anyone could imagine baptizing! When we asked if he would be baptized when he knew this was true he just gave us a firm "absolutely". It just sends chills down my back even thinking about it. We're super stoked for Mark! The Boyter girls got baptized yesterday! I may have not ever even mentioned anything about them... but we were teaching 9 and 10 year old girls and they got baptized in Utah yesterday. Pretty sweet! Super exciting to see more and more people coming into the gospel. Even more exciting that I could play at least a small role in helping them progress. It's so legit being out here. So. Legit! We've had a huge focus on member work lately. So we've been going by all the members of our ward and helping them do missionary work and share the gospel with their neighbors. I'm coming to realize that it really shouldn't be that hard! It's pretty easy to mingle it in everyday conversation. Anyway, I guess my point is that being a missionary is super awesome, and I encourage all to be member missionaries! This week has been pretty good anyhow. I don't really have a whole ton to report though. I see so many miracles every day that I tend to take them for granted and not remember to write my family about them. Woops! I love you all though and hope you have a fantastic week! Love you! -Elder Cox
Happy St. Patrick's Day! (I guess)

I wore a green tie.  That's about it.

News time!:

So apparently Brian ended up getting baptized up in Maryvale ward last Saturday!  SO SWEET!  I was way worried about Brian, but apparently his interview was Friday night, and the Elders up there planned and scheduled a baptism in 24 hours and made it happen.  I'm so proud of him.  Just wish I could've known about it so that we could make it there.  I'm sure he'll forgive me though!...

We stopped by Karen's again this week.  She's still a rockstar.  She'll always beTHE Golden Investigator.  We talked to her about the temple and doing family history.  When we asked her if she would schedule an appointment and do baptisms next weekend she pretty much said "no problem".  Karen.  Is.  Amazing.  I just want her husband Mike to get involved in the Gospel.  He's a really really nice guy, super supportive.  Just not interested I guess.  We'll keep praying and inviting. That's all we really can do!  I'm sure eventually he'll see how amazing Karen is and how much she's changed and want that to be a part of his life.  In any case, Karen is going to the temple to do baptisms so that's super legit.

MARIE CAME TO CHURCH!  Marie is the investigator that speaks very little English and mostly French.  Luckily, a member in Trailside ward got back from Canada while I was serving in Trailside a few months ago!  So we enlisted his help, as well as a member of our ward that speaks a little French.  He was able to bring her to church and translate everything for her during Sacrament meeting.  It was super awesome.  I'm really excited for Marie!

Okay, I forgot to mention some details about the new ward last time.  First of all, our ward is HUGE.  Not only the boundaries, but the congregation is massive.  Not only is the ward massive, but we just got a new Ward Mission Leader!  Our old WML was far sub-par.  The new ward mission leader was a counselor for the bishop in Capitol Ward, and his name is Brother Tuitavuki.  He seriously is just the best.  He's on fire!  He's a super big Samoan guy who can get anyone in the world to have a soft heart.  Not only that, but he loves missionary work and is very excited for the opportunity.  Way sick!  Not only THAT, but we have (had, but still sort-of have) a Ward Missionary whose sole purpose is scheduling DINNER.  Say whaaaat?  This ward is too awesome!

We have this cool Family Home Evening with the Price family every Monday.  The Price family is our main resource for everything Reservation.  They know tons of people on the Rez and have been doing unofficial missionary work for like 15 years there.  Brother Price reminds me a lot of uncle Dave actually.  He could fit right in our family.  Anyway, every Monday they go on the Rez and pick up a bunch of the Indian children and bring them to their home for Family Home Evening.  (Mind you, they don't abduct Indian children.  They have permission)  I think that's a really cool thing.  I've come to love the Indian people!

That's all the news I have for ya'll!  Sound like everything back home is just dandy!  Glad to hear everyone's doing alright.  The church is true!  I'm super glad to be on a mission!  I appreciate the sacrifice of family and others that make it possible for me to be here!  I love ya'll!

-Elder Cox

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I've attached some pictures of the baptism we had last weekend!  Well, I guess technically the baptism counted for the other missionaries.  Well, I guess the baptism really counted for God.  Details details.  In any case, the Garcia family finally got baptized!  It.  Was.  Amazing.  I had the opportunity to baptize Jose and Andrea, and Elder Wilcox came from Mesa (where he got transferred) and baptized the two kids.  After the baptismal service, I got to hear the sweet sweet testimonies of the new converts.  Let me tell you:  Nothing is more amazing than hearing the testimony of a new convert.  Especially when you helped that new convert to find that testimony.  It is so amazing to see the fruits of our labors and it all really pays off!  During Jose's testimony, he essentially said that he covenants with God that he will always be active in the church.  What was really amazing is that he said that he wanted his grandkids to be able to grow up with the Gospel entirely throughout their life so that they wouldn't have to know what it's like to live without it.  Holy cow!  So powerful.  So humbling.  Helps me really understand how much of a blessing it is to be able to have been born into the gospel.  Thanks Mom and Dad! :)

We went on the Rez a couple days last week!  I thought Central Phoenix was an iffy place.  Central Phoenix ain't got nothin' on the Rez.  Just kidding, it's actually pretty much the same.  We haven't really been able to do a whole lot of damage on the Rez, because it's so far in the south part of our area.  Much like the Laveen part of Capitol ward was way far south.  We did manage to find a couple young teenage boys to teach.  Looking at them, you really wouldn't think that they'd be interested at all about talking about Jesus Christ.  But, we just approached them anyway and started talking to them.  We invited them to pray in between our next visit.  We scheduled another appointment and in my head I was thinking "there's no way they're going to show up for this appointment."  Tsk tsk Elder Cox, how dare you lost faith?!  But, we went back and lo and behold, they were there.  Even more, they actually did what we asked them to do!  They live a pretty sad life and they're both dropped out of school, but when we talked about baptism and how we could have all our mistakes washed away, they seemed to really take interest in the message we have to share.  We asked them if they'd prepare for baptism, and they told us yes!

We also found this other guy named Taylor.  Taylor lives in a group home for crazy people (to put it ever so tactfully) but he's actually really sincere.  He was a referral from the Sister missionaries who met him when he was pounding on the doors of the church saying that he needed to be saved, and he needed to join a church.  While he sounds crazy, he's really teachable, and he really understands the message that we have to share!  Taylor already really loves the Book of Mormon and he carries it around with him everywhere so that he can read it every day.  How cool is that?!  We haven't met with him for a couple days because he says he "accidentally" hitchhiked to Flagstaff, which is like two hours away.  He's got a little bit of different wiring, but I firmly believe that Taylor will be baptized.

I forgot to mention our living conditions!  Remember Trailside?  This is smaller than Trailside.  In Trailside we had a fridge and some kitchen appliances in our room as well as an attached bathroom so we never had to leave the room.  Not only that, but our Trailside room had its own front door.  This housing situation, we just share the house with the members.  We have a tiny tiny room with a single desk and two beds.  Our bathroom is down the hall, and we share the kitchen with the members.  While it might sound like I'm complaining, in reality I'm just stating facts!  It's really altogether a good move.  We're right in the middle of our area, and logistically everything is just way better!  Brother Bezold even is so nice that he insisted to do our laundry every P-day.  Hey, I can't complain about that!  While it's really awkward that he's going to be washing my underwear, the lazy part of me just accepts the fact and moves on.  Even more of a bonus, apparently Brother Bezold is a renown pie baker.  We haven't had the opportunity yet to taste one of his famous pies, but I'm sure the time is soon approaching!  The Bezolds are way awesome and really, it's not as bad as you might think it is.

Hmm.  Well I didn't remember to write down anything else fantastic that happened this week, so I guess that will have to do!

Love y'all!
-Elder Cox

Monday, March 3, 2014

So... turns out I'm not in Maryvale ward after all!  We were pretty confused at the situation wondering what they'd do with us, because it wouldn't make sense to be in Gila River ward -- the ward in Laveen that just absorbed the southern Capitol ward members -- because we still live in Phoenix and we'd have to commute every day and waste like 20 miles (which is a lot of miles), and so we figured we'd be in Maryvale ward and just keep working in the northerly part of what used to be Capitol Ward up here in Phoenix.  The other thing was that there's already a District Leader in the Maryvale ward.  So it didn't really make a ton of sense to have two District Leaders in the same ward that cover different districts.  Even with that though, I figured it would make more sense to stay working in Phoenix because we live in Phoenix, right?


Come transfer day, we find out that we're "white-washing" into Gila River ward!  There were previously Sisters in this ward that were covering the Laveen Ward and the Gila River ward.  Now that Gila River just got more or less all of the active Capitol Ward members, they decided that it's best to have a new set of missionaries cover the Gila River ward.  So, thus far we've been commuting every day all the way down there and burning up miles.  But the good (and bad) news is that we're moving!

I heard nightmares about the house we are moving to, mainly just the fact that they don't use their AC in the summer.  Uh... WHAT?  Elder Francis told me before that it was consistently in the upper 80 degrees inside the house... at night.  So, needless to say I really didn't want to live there, but I figured we should sacrifice so that we don't have to waste God's gas.  Or His miles. :)

We should be moving in tomorrow, so any further mail should probably be sent to that address.  Unless you don't want me to get it.  In that case, send it to Africa.  They could probably use whatever it is.  As a weapon.  To hunt.

So that's that!  We're working in Gila River ward.  The bishop is super legit, and I already know like half the members because of the ones coming in from Capitol ward, and it looks like member dinners for this area are at an A-okay level!  I'm super excited for this area.  We also have an Indian Reservation!  I've always wanted to go on a rez ever since I came to Arizona.  I'm going to do everything I can to be inducted as an honorary member of a Native tribe.  Even if I have to go through some crazy right of passage and track and slay a bear and drink its blood... I'll do it.  More importantly,  I will baptize all of them.  After I baptize myself in bear blood.

Enough of that gruesome imagery.  My new companion!  My Trainee!  My greenie!  His name is Elder Phillips.  He's a short, brown-haired "military brat" that is from Sumpter South Carolina.  I wish I could say that he has a southern accent, but he's moved around a lot so he's not really from the south.  He's a really good Elder though!  I'm definitely excited for the change, and I look forward to working with him!

To answer some questions:
We'll still work with Karen.  She's down in Laveen and I thought I'd be in Maryvale, so I thought we weren't working with her any more.  We still will though!  The change has affected our teaching pool.  The Frias family is up in Phoenix and is now in the Maryvale ward, so we won't be seeing them much anymore.  The last I heard they got married on Saturday and we're still planning on going to their baptism this coming Saturday!  So everything is looking good for them.  We'll definitely come back when they're sealed too.  They definitely will be, because they're super legit!  Brian also lives up in Phoenix, so we are giving him to the Maryvale Elders as well.  Brian put himself back on date for the 15th, but he still has to overcome a lot of his issues before then. I have faith though!  I'm sure he'll make it.  He's just had such a hard life that I can't even imagine.

Oh yeah!  The Gilbert Temple dedication happened yesterday.  Sadly enough, that was my first dedication!  It was really cool though, and definitely an awesome experience!  The Spirit was very strong there, and I was even able to see some people there that we had taught previously, such as Grandma Hinkle  (you probably forgot who that is, but that's okay).

Welp, that's all I got for y'all this week!  The church is true, the Book of Mormon is true, tithing works, missionary work brings joy, do temple work for our ancestors please, pray for missionary opportunities, and have a great week!  

Love you!
-Elder Cox
 New address for Elder Cox

5334 W Coles Road
Laveen, AZ