Monday, July 28, 2014

The miracles and testimony building experiences of this week are "so great they can't be written" (not a direct quote I know, but you get the point). God is real, he loves us, and knows us individually!

So I've come up with a theory that I call the "3 degrees"... of heat, that is. Being in Arizona, there isn't hot and cold, there's 3 degrees of heat that are all just hot. Allow me to explain:

Degree 1 is the lowest degree (obviously). Signs of the first degree are simple: sweat, and warmth. Once you can get over the fact that you're a little sweaty, it's totally fine. Just keep riding your bike, and your body just naturally cools you and it even feels nice. Easy to remedy, and doesn't cause too much discomfort. This occurs at about the 95-102 degree range.

Degree 2. Keep in mind that, as one can assume, each higher degree compounds with previous degrees. Therefore, the symptoms of "second-degree-heat" have all those of the first, with an addition to some. The additional signs of Degree 2 are thus: You can feel each individual ray of sunshine as it hits your skin. Also, the "sweat factor" is increased about two-fold. This is a little more uncomfortable, but still fairly easy to remedy. Riding your bike still works. It helps if you stop riding for just a few seconds, allowing your body to sweat a little more, and then keep riding to feel the cool breeze for about 0.3 seconds. Also, standing in the shade can ease the discomfort. Degree two ranges at about 103-109 degrees.

Degree 3. This is where the infamous Arizona heat really kicks in. One would think that it's all just bad when it gets past 104, but no. You can definitely tell the difference. Degree 3 is where the "blow dryer effect" kicks in. Not only does every ray of sunshine melt your skin, but it heats up every individual molecule of air. There is no escape. No amount of riding, sweating, shade (outside), water, praying, crying, water, sweating, or sweating can help. The only cure is air-conditioning. Not even sunglasses can cure the sting of the blow dryer air in your eyes. It's awesome! It happens at 110-116+ degrees. Yes, it did get up to 116 this week :) And yes Mom, I'm drinking tons of water.

But alas, nothing will cramp my style. I rock that sweaty collar and sweat-stained sunglasses. I refuse to be brought low! I LOVE IT HERE! Today is a nice degree 1 too, so that's always a bonus!

In better news, Squeaky showed up to church again this week. He even stayed for Gospel Principles class. Woot! We're still working with him and getting him over some concerns he has, but I think he'll actually progress. He's a really cool dude!

That's all I got for ya! Hope you're all doing well, and stuff. The gospel is true and everything so, yeah. Love!
I don't even know what's going on anymore. The craziest things just happen all the time! Where do I begin?

So we got an assignment for Thursday. You know already that this is awesome, because all of our "assignments" have just been nuts. So there's a missionary in the mission that takes football really seriously, and he's been praying and pondering where he should go to school after the mission to play ball and stuff. Apparently it's a big decision that means a lot to him and his family. So our "assignment" was to drive this Elder around to meet with the various coaches he had interviews with. The first stop was at ASU, which is still just down the road. We got to take a look at their facility and their locker rooms, weight room, coach offices, film room, etc. etc. It was so weird! Here we were just regular mormon missionaries just chillin with this other huge Hawaiian missionary that was being toured around by an ASU coach. The next coach he met with was at at Chipotle restaurant, and we just chilled there. Not only did we get to drive him around, but his decision is serious enough that President approved him to attend the temple. But oh, shoot, the Mesa Temple was closed that day.. so we got to go to the Gilbert Temple. Just the three of us, which no one in the mission (other than departing missionaries) gets to do. SO SICK!

Yesterday at church, a random member that we've never seen introduces us to a guy named Larry, whom he also had never met before. Apparently this member ran into Larry while he was getting in his car for church. Larry wanted to come, so...he did. I guess he said he wants to change his life around! Pretty randomly awesome tender mercy! We'll see him sometime this week.

I've been occasionally messaging Jason Leal on Facebook. Apparently the motorcycle school he was going to is just north of Phoenix. I called President to see if I could meet up with him, one thing led to another, and here's a picture of us together at a sushi restaurant! I asked him to give the missionaries a chance when he gets back to Utah in early August, and he said he would. Keep tabs on him! :)

Sorry, not a ton to talk about this week, but that's about it! Love y'all!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

So yeah Mom, I guess I know a little bit more about our assignment. We basically do menial tasks for the senior missionaries in the office and for President. For example, last Tuesday we drove with one of the senior couples down to Yuma which is about 3 to 3 1/2 hours away just to pick up a car. So we drove down with them, stayed the night at one of the missionary apartments in Yuma, then drove back the next day. We got back at around 1, and by about 4:00 the housing coordinator asked if we could help some sisters move into their new apartment. So he picked us up and we helped move for the rest of the night. Just random stuff!

We haven't seen Squeaky yet. We had an appointment for last Monday, but according to the sisters he doesn't have very good perception of time or date. Probably because he doesn't have a watch and he's homeless. We have an appointment with him Tuesday though, so hopefully we'll be able to meet with him!

We have a couple of overage youth (nine-year-old) baptisms coming up within the next little while. One of them was supposed to be baptized this weekend, but they didn't end up making it to church. The other one is going to be baptized the first of August. The concern for both of them is that their families aren't active, so we don't want to baptize them to just have them drop off the map. Other than that though, they seem to basically already know everything no problem! They should be good, as long as we can reactivate the family!

We had a pretty cool experience in Ward Council yesterday. Out of the blue the bishop just started testifying of how he thinks this ward is about to explode with baptisms. He feels that all the missionaries have just been building off each other, and that God has elect people here. He testified that if we all do our jobs that we will have mucho bautismos aqi! Also, he commented that he hasn't seen missionaries pay fast offerings for a long time, and was impressed that we did, and testified of the blessings that come from assisting the poor. Pretty sweet! Member trust! Ka-ching!

Welp... that's pretty much it! Everything's going great! I'll try to do better at taking pictures, so here's a few. One of them is Elder Francis so you can see his beautiful duck-face, and the others I took right before coming to email... :)

Love y'all!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

This has already proven to be the absolutely most insanely random transfer of the history of anyone's mission ever... let me explain...

Well, maybe before I get to the really crazy stuff, I'll start at the beginning of the week:

So I gave my last zone meeting as a zone leader, which ended up being really good! We talked about vision, and how we need to envision success. We had a little "tour" set up around the church and took a walk-through of an investigator's experience. We started with teaching the first lesson, and inviting them to be baptized, and them saying yes. Then moved to imagining them getting a Book of Mormon, inviting them to be baptized on a date, and them saying yes. We then took them into the chapel and imagine their investigators at the church for the first time, and taking the sacrament for the first time as a new member. We then moved into the primary room where we had the baptismal font filled up, and had them imagine their investigators dressed in white. It was a pretty cool experience, and I think it worked out! In any case, it was a good last zone meeting as a zone leader.

Okay, so now for the "insanity": So we're chillin in Costa Vida after zone meeting and a guy walks up to me and asks, "Hey, are you from the Murray 2nd ward?"
He then told me that he is Elder Baker(I think?) and that he served in our ward. Not only did he serve in our ward, but he was there for my farewell talk. He told me that he had just got done with his mission the week previous. What the heck?! There's no way that's a coincidence! Why I needed to meet that guy, I have no idea, but crazy insanity nonetheless. It gets better.

So we're sitting in transfer meeting. As usual, the adrenaline is pumping wondering where am I going to go, who am I going to be with, etc. President Toone goes through the zones alphabetically. After each zone I get more and more anxious. Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Chandler, Gilbert, Maricopa, Mesa. Am I going back to Phoenix? Phoenix, Phoenix South. No, doesn't look like it. There's only two options left. Either I stay in Tempe where I was just a zone leader (awkward!) or I'm going to Yuma. Oh please, don't let me go to Yuma during July. It's one of the hottest habitable places on Earth (literally). And THEN: "In Tempe area 22....
Elder Cox..."
Oh heck, I'm white-washing AGAIN. Great.
"...and Elder Francis..."
Suddenly, out of no where, there's a 6-year-old girl screaming at the top of her lungs. Oh, wait! That 6-year-old is ME! It was okay, because there was another 6-year-old girl named Elder Francis who was screaming as well! Yes. Elder Francis and I are companions, yet again. What President is thinking? I have no idea, but all I know is that it's going to be SICK! SO EXCITED! I guess we did it wrong the first time, and so we get to try again :P

So we go into President's office so he can explain our "special assignment". We still don't really get it, but I guess we help with things around the office, go sometimes with President to Zone Conferences, help the AP's with weekly stats, and do other random stuff that he wants us to do. Coffee boys, so to speak. Crazy!

So as part of this "assignment", we get a call from President to give a blessing to a lady in the hospital. We were pretty far away, so he had us come to the mission home and gave us the keys to a 15-passenger van. What?... Not only that, but we got a "WARNING" text about a massive dust storm that was coming into the valley. We could see it in the distance, a big red wall of zombie-apocalypse-looking virus dust. So we're booking it in this giant van and right as we get to the hospital...the storm hits. We get out, dust in our faces we're running towards the door of the hospital. We swing the doors open, and I slam my fist on the front desk, "We need to find room D315 NOW!" (not really). We're running (walking) through the hospital hallways, zombies left and right (there was actually one person on a gurney that we're pretty sure was dead. I count it). Long story short, we gave this nonmember lady a blessing, and she said she felt a wave of warmth start at her head down to her toes with a feeling of "We got this. I won't let you down". Pretty cool experience. Just another day in the life of us crime-fighting vigilantes.

Another day I was riding my bike along...
Oh yeah, I'm in a biking area. *Pop*, WWoOOooo...
Anyway, I'm riding along and we hear what sounds like an air compressor leaking. Ah, freak. It's my tire with presumably a huge hole in it. I keep riding in faith. Tender mercy of the day, I keep riding and my tire had no problems... what? Miracle.

Running out of time, but we had a homeless man come to church. His name is Squeaky. That's not a joke. Insanity!

Here's my new address!:
2045 S. McClintock Dr. #126
Tempe, AZ 85282

Love y'all!

-Elder Cox
Yeeeepp. Transferred again. Shoot! I really liked it here. All well. I'm also no longer a Zone Leader, which is weird considering I was a zone leader for... 6 weeks. President called Saturday and asked if that would be okay so that he could have me do a "special assignment" that I still know nothing about. I guess maybe there will be more news on that later? My assumption is that I was just not needed as a ZL anymore so he told me I'd get something "super special" to help me feel good. Who knows? In any case, it'll be an interesting week!

Speaking of interesting week, this last week was pretty interesting also! We tried a little game called "car sauna". You can probably guess what this game entails... I think they do it on the Big Bang Theory? Anyway, it all started when Elder Bressler was driving. I was backing him out of the parking space. As I get in the car, he says "man, it's really hot!" As I sit there I think to myself, "Yeah, it is really hot. It's hotter than usual.... wait a second!" He had the heater cranked up all the way. Not only that, it was already 100,000 degrees outside. So we decided to make a game out of it and see who could last the longest. Long story short, we both got dehydrated, passed out, crashed the car into oncoming traffic, and wound up in the hospital.

...Okay, that didn't really happen. At least, the last part. But as we finally pulled the car over and stepped outside, it really made us appreciate the crisp, cool, 104 degrees. It was actually kind of cold! It helped us really appreciate the companionships that have to bike during the summer. Hopefully my new area will be a driving area... fingers crossed!

On a slightly more spiritual note, we performed a musical number yesterday! I got to play guitar, Elder Bressler played violin, and there was a slightly less-active member who sang. We did a rendition of "If You Could Hie To Kolob" in Sacrament meeting, and it ended up sounding fairly decent! We wanted to do it because the member we performed with was feeling left out of the ward and kind of ostracized, and told us that he's been wanting to do a musical number but no one would let him. So, we made 3 quick phone calls, a couple texts, and 10 minutes later we have a musical number scheduled. (Have I already mentioned this?... all well) It was good to see the excitement on the member's face as he got to sing in front of everyone and be the star for a day. It was one of the more fun acts of service that I've done here.

Speaking of guitars and stuff, apparently there's been a problem in the mission of Elders buying electric guitars and amps and stuff and going way overboard, so President is cracking down on musical instruments. Darn. As for the guitar... I guess it'll just get left behind. Maybe I could sell it or something, who knows. In any case, my P-day jazzy hymn playtime has come to an end. Sad sad day.

Pretty cool experience with the Priesthood last week! Remember me telling you about the less active member named Andre? He's a tall, black, dred-headed football player for Scottsdale community college. He came in to FHE last week and mentioned that he pulled his hamstring, and asked us for a Priesthood blessing. We told him to ask someone else, cause we were busy. But what actually happened is that we gave him a blessing. Apparently the next day, he had absolutely no problems with his hamstring, and was even able to impress the coaches and such, and lead the team in footwork drills. Super cool! Priesthood works!

That's pretty much all I got for y'all this week. Attached is a picture of me next to a super sick Subaru Impreza STI that was in an apartment parking lot. Pretty dope. Other than that, the work is still true and stuff, and I'm having fun and loving people and stuff. My family's like, cool or whatever and I guess I love you guys and stuff.

Have a good week!
Happy 4th!

-Elder Cox