Monday, October 27, 2014

Okay, so first off: Jodie's baptism. Way legit! We had a super good turn out, and everything worked out great! All went according to plan, and it was beautiful. Another person enters into a covenant with God. Woot! Another way cool part is that her friend named Jason was there to support her. Jason is a non-member, and it's way legit that she's already been doing member missionary work. Super stoked! After the baptism, we had a lesson with Jason. At the lesson we had 2 return missionaries, 3 full-time missionaries and a very freshly baptized recent convert. It was so powerful! Jason didn't know what hit him. POW.

Another awesome thing that I'm not sure I mentioned about Jodie's conversion: So after she was baptized she shared her testimony of her conversion, etc. She said that the moment she knew that the Book of Mormon was true was when she read 1 Nephi 2: 15: "And my father dwelt in a tent". Never underestimate the power of the scriptures! I don't know what it was about that verse, but it just... resonated with her. Isn't that sweet? Even a verse that is seemingly useless can provide a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. That verse is also way cool for other reasons but, that's a conversation for another day I suppose.

So the open house! We had Bailey and Jodie at the open house. And Jodie's friend. The morning before her baptism. I guess I could have done it in chronological order, but whatever. So yeah, the open house was way legit! I have pictures! Other than that, not much to say. The temple is beautiful and that's that.

So we were hanging out at our usual Sunday dinner (which is a crazy party, let me tell ya) with like 20 YSA kids in this house. It's so interesting because they're all so super rowdy and irreverent and loudly talking about this and that, but when the missionaries decide that it's time to share a spiritual thought, they all get silent and listen. For some reason, I was just struck with the reality of the power and authority of the calling I have as a missionary. I just thought about what would happen if I were wearing normal clothes without a name-tag or missionary mantle and trying to quiet down a group of YSA kids. I'd probably get mocked or something, right? Just a thought.

Okay, so remember me talking about Sterling? He walked into the institute and said he wanted to change his life? We met with him last week and gave him a Book of Mormon. He's on date for the 22nd. Need I say more? Miracles.

Another miracle for ya: So a member came to church yesterday with her non-member friend and asked us if we could meet with them after church. I guess her dad had met this guy at Home Depot and they had a conversation about the Gospel and then he wanted to get a closer relationship with God so he came to church with our member. Anyway, so we met with the guy, Drew, after church and he's super legit. He doesn't live in our area so we'll have to pass him off, but still way cool. He even said in the middle of the lesson "I'm interested. I'm really interested!" He was so shocked at how awesome church is and was even participating in Gospel Principles. His main passion is skydiving, which he does once a week. Nice little anecdote for ya. Cool dude.

Another cool instance happened yesterday morning (seems like everything happened yesterday). We were driving to church and we see a truck up against the traffic light pole on the sidewalk. The door of the truck was open and there was an old man on the sidewalk looking like he was struggling to get up. Naturally, we stop and help him (even though we were already late. Woops) and see what his deal is. He was on his knees and it seemed like he was trying to get up, but he wouldn't respond to any of our questions. We checked his pulse, helped him wipe some of the blood off of him and tried to help him up. We took his phone and called who we assumed to be his wife and told her what's up. Then we took his wallet and beat him up. Just kidding. Another guy called 911 so the firemen showed up fairly promptly and told us they think he had a stroke. They whisked him away on a gurney and as far as we know he's alright. In any case, we got to have our good deed of the day. I felt like a superhero. I was talking to my comps about just taking the day off of missionary work and just going around saving people. They didn't bite.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The first ones are from my birthday. When me and my companions got home they AP's had a cake made and they popped confetti thingies and had party hats. It was pretty legit. All the protein cans in the picture are just the empty ones from all the protein that has been consumed in that apartment over the last... forever. But we stacked them to make it look like my birthday present. The other pictures are from Canadian Thanksgiving, which was a HUGE success! Turkey turned out great, and there was way too much food. We're going to attempt soup today.

This week was legit! We're still seeing a steady increase in our numbers, which is always good!

Okay! Where to begin?! I'll start with Jodie. She's getting baptized this Saturday! We're so so excited for her. The ward had what they call "Summit" last weekend, which is basically just like Youth Conference but for our YSA ward. It was so cool. We actually had 3 of the investigators in our ward go to Summit, which obviously is huge. So there's that. Not only that, but the Phoenix Temple open house has been going on, and Jodie and her super awesome fellowships are going this Saturday before her baptism! Cool right? We're going with them too, so expect pictures.
Okay, moving on. The other person, Bailey, we have on date for the 15th. She is like... way too prepared, so much so that we really don't even need to teach her. Just a matter of time at this point! She just has to let her family know what's going on and get a baptismal interview. Solid!
So the Sisters in our ward are teaching an investigator named Katie, who's getting baptized the 8th. Katie's so legit that she bore her testimony on fast Sunday. SHE'S NOT EVEN A MEMBER. So awesome. Anyway, she's also inviting her friend Gabe to a bunch of stuff. Gabe is super legit too, and they actually took us out to dinner the other night. They're so members already it's ridiculous. Anyway, apparently Gabe is a BASS player! Not only that, he's actually good. And he likes jazz. No one likes jazz. I don't think I need to further emphasize how excited I was. Even better, is the Sisters decided they want us to teach Gabe. Cha-ching!
Okay so get this. I don't remember if I ever mentioned this, but on the first day we were in the area we were chilling at the institute talking to the sisters about the area. Out of nowhere this guy walks in and asks us if we "work there". He said he just felt like walking in the building (which actually happens a ton) and learn what it's about. Long story short, the sisters got his info and started teaching him. They have been teaching him for the past few weeks, and everything's been going great. The ward is invested in his progress, the sisters are invested, and the sisters' families back home. Recently they extended this guy, Chasen, a baptismal invitation and he actually cried. Get THIS. Last week, the sisters were trying to refer him to the missionaries that should be teaching him. He said he didn't want his information to be sent out because he got his identity stolen, so that's why the sisters had been teaching him. So they were calling the Gilbert Missionaries to send the referral. When the sisters called the first time, the Elders were super abrasive and the conversation didn't last long. On a further attempt, the Elders (from Gilbert Mission) start laughing and say "haha, we got you!" As it turns out, "Chasen" was actually a member of the church! His name is actually Ammon (such a Mormon name) and he and the Elders from Gilbert staged the whole thing. What the HECK?! The sisters had been teaching this dude for like three weeks! Isn't that disgusting? The sisters were crushed, we were crushed, the invested ward members are probably livid. Who does that? Anyway, I'm pretty sure they got in huge trouble. Isn't that so funny? Sort of?

Anywho, that's pretty much it for this week. I'm loving life right now!
Love y'all!

-Elder Cox
Holy cow. This week has just been absolutely incredible. Absolutely.. where do I start?

Okay, so I'll start with my birthday. I took pictures but I forgot to bring my stupid little card reader thing to be able to put them on the computer. Hopefully I'll send the pictures next week. If I remember...
So probably just plan on seeing the pictures a year from now when I'm home. Good? Good.

As for the rest of my birthday, it was pretty much the most successful day of that week. We had lots of good stuff happen that day. For our dinner, our WML took us out to eat at an Italian place. The best part? They were playing jazz music the whole time. I was in heaven. I could have stayed there for hours... So I did...
Just kidding.
So that day we met this girl named Janette. Get this: Janette has a boyfriend who's on a mission right now. She's a non-member, but has been taking THREE Institute classes! Doctrine and Covenants classes nonetheless! Isn't that insane? So she just asked her teacher if she could meet with missionaries, so he called us up. At first when we met with her she was really closed off and shy, but we kept going with the lesson and she started opening up. We honestly didn't think it was going to be as easy as it was. We invited her to be baptized at the end, per usual, and her only concern was that she's "afraid of water". What? That's insane. Honestly, the things that happen here don't happen anywhere else. So legit.

Speaking of food, guess what today is? That's right, it's Thanksgiving. Canadian Thanksgiving in fact! And we just so happen to have a Greenie in our zone from Canada! So naturally, we're throwing a big feast later on. The best part is that President is going to let us do it at the Mission home. I guess the other important question of the day... how do you cook a turkey?

Have I already mentioned the movie "Meet the Mormons"? Well we got a pre-showing of it on my Birthday (seriously, best day ever. Watching movies? On my mission? Legit.) and it was SO good! Has anyone seen it? I recommend it. Take non-member friends. I almost cried like 25 times.

I don't even know. I can't write a hundredth part of the awesome things that happened this week. It was a great week. I hope everyone else had a great week. The church is true!

Love ya!

-Elder Cox
Hey family!

I guess first things first, I have another new companion! We're in a trio now with Elder Baker. He's from Colorado, and is super chill. He's the mission "tech" guy. He goes around with the AP's a lot, so they just decided to move him into our apartment and have him be in a trio with us. The funny part is that the AP's are also in a trio, so there's 6 of us living in our apartment. It's kind of a party, which I think goes without saying.

Where to begin? I guess I already did. We can talk about Jodie. Have I already mentioned Jodie? Jodie is absolutely incredible. We had dinner with a member a week or so ago and they had their friend Jodie over. We taught her the restoration, invited her to be baptized, and she said yes. In the next lesson, we taught her about the Book of Mormon. She has two really solid member fellowships that committed to read the Book of Mormon every day and that they'd all text each other about what they read. So that was legit. Doesn't end there. We then teach her about the Plan of Salvation, resolving a lot of her concerns about whether our actions in life actually determine where we end up. We invited her to be baptized on the 25th of October. She said she'd pray about it. She came to General Conference yesterday, just the morning session. After the session she sends us a text and says that she received inspiration that she shouldn't procrastinate her baptism, and that she'll prepare for the 25th. So... that's freaking legit. She's so awesome! At work every day she Googles stuff about Mormonism. Obviously, that can be super sketchy. She's already told us that she's found a ton of anti stuff, but that it actually strengthens her testimony. I don't get exactly how that works, but I won't ask too many questions. I could say a ton more, but I forgot a lot of it. She's just too legit.

I really don't get this area. We asked our WML how other missionaries have generally gone about finding. He literally told us that they just go to the Institute building and "stuff just happens". What the heck does that mean? Well, I guess I could provide a couple examples:
The other day during companionship study we get a phone call from the ASU institute. The dude told us that some kid named Sterling just waltzed right into the institute and said he wants to change his life, and is willing to make room in his schedule for anyone that will help him do that. What?

Even more, we're leaving the institute after Conference and the other Elders walk up to us and say they have a referral. Apparently they ran into a guy who was walking with their member friend. The nonmember guy walked up to them and said something to the effect of, "I want a copy of the Book of Mormon so I can read it, ponder it, and pray about it to know if it's true".
"Nah, we actually don't give those out."
Yeah RIGHT! Of course you can have a Book of Mormon! So legit!

Even MORE, is that there was a Chinese guy knocking on the doors of the institute during Conference. We have a Chinese-speaking sister from Taiwan in our zone who was there. The guy comes in and says he wants to learn more about the church, and so they plop him down right there and turn on General Conference in Chinese. WHAT THE HECK?! Missionary work is not like this. It's so weird. People just flock to us and get baptized. So awesome.

Another cool story: We were looking for this potential investigator out of our Area Book. We knock on the door and ask for Steven. The guy tells us that Steven doesn't live there. Obviously, we can't just walk away without inviting him to hear the message so we just throw out, "Hey, wanna hear our message?" The guy says "yeah, sure!" and we set up an appointment. That's the abbreviated version, but still legit.

As for General Conference itself... I don't know where to start, so I probably won't. It was awesome. I only have one more. Can you believe it? One more.

Anyway, that about sums up my week. Hope everyone's doing well!
Loooove ya.

-Elder Cox