Monday, December 29, 2014

Last year around this time one of my zone leaders told me that 2014 was going to be the year I would be a missionary ALL YEAR. At the time, I thought it put into a dizzying perspective of how long I'd actually be here, but now here I am in the blink of an eye at the end of the year. Part of me feels like I was born a missionary, will always be a missionary, and will die a missionary. That my family is actually made up and I was created as a robot strictly to do missionary work with fabricated memories of childhood and youth. The other part of me feels like I've been here for a couple months and it's flying by. I'm sure my brothers understand what I mean.

Anyway, not much has changed since Thursday! We got to have a Skype lesson with Shane while he's in Nebraska. We Skyped in his member fellowship from Mesa on one iPad, and Skyped him on another, faced the iPads toward each other so they could see each other and taught him the Plan of Salvation. It was pretty sweet!

I guess I did forget to talk about MLC too. So on Tuesday we went to the temple as a mission and by 1:30 were expected to be at the mission home dressed in p-day clothes. Long story short, President didn't get out of the temple until way later and so we left by 3:30 ish. He wouldn't tell us where we were going or why we were in regular clothes. So, we drove in a caravan for THREE HOURS until we arrived at Hyder branch in the middle of nowhere. There's just a tiny little church building in the middle of the desert. We ended up having a 40 or so minute training followed by dinner and stargazing and then we drove back. We got home at like 1:00 in the morning. It was pretty funny to drive for a total of like 6 hours for a rushed training and dinner but hey, I'm not complaining.

Welp... more to come next week! Love y'all!

-Elder Cox
Dec. 15
Wooot Wooot! Just set a new record for longest consecutive area AND companion! Elder Erikson and I are stoked to say that we are both staying so there's that.
First item of business I guess would be Jeffrey. He's been doing super well and we had the opportunity to take him to the Mesa Visitors Center last week. We watched the Joe Smith movie and it was pretty good. It seems like they have a different version every time we go there, but whatever. He liked it, and he even came to church yesterday! For whatever reason... we haven't invited him to be baptized yet. That literally never happens. I always invite people to be baptized. For whatever reason... we haven't yet. We'll get on that this week.
As for Gabe, he apparently talked to his Dad about baptism and he said he's happy about it, but he still needs to talk to his Mom. I think he'll be good to go right after the break. He says he'll be back and forth between campus and home so I think we'll be able to teach him quite a bit. He doesn't live far from campus so that's a blessing.
As for Shane, he's doing well as far as we know. I think we'll have to Skype him and his member fellowship whenever we want to teach them, but that's still a huge convenience. Not complaining about that at all. #ipads
Those are our main people that we have. Last Sunday we were visiting a Recent Convert who's been less-active for a really long time. We see them all the time and we're way cool with them and they love having us over and everything they just... never come to church. Or read. Or pray. Or do anything. Well last Sunday we go to one of their apartments and we walk in and there's beer cans everywhere. They had beer pong set up, empty bottles of vodka, and trash all over the place. Needless to say, that was pretty awkward for all of us. We're just like... what the heck guys? Just... decided to throw a rager or what? Anyway, we're trying to keep them on track.
Our Mission Conference will start Sunday night at 7:00 with the Mission President's Devotional that we have once a month that we can invite investigators to and stuff. Then Monday we'll be chillin with the mission all day, and Tuesday morning we'll go do a session at the Temple. Then we have 2 hours of p-day, and for the leadership we'll have an MLC for the rest of that evening. THEN it's Christmas Eve, in which we probably won't do anything, then Christmas. Needless to say, next week is going to be pretty worthless as far as teaching opportunities go. Should be sick though!

Welp, I think that's about it! See ya'll next week!

-Elder Cox
Dec. 8

It's been a good week! We had a lot more productive of a week than the last few have been. We've been working hard and praying for more people to teach and we got some! Always good. We had something like 6 referrals this week, which is quite a few!

Let's see. This week we had our zone conference. It was pretty good, and the analogy was made between missionary work and war. The sense that we're fighting a battle and we need to be exactly obedient and what-not in order to conquer the forces of Satan. It was a pretty good training! A lot of times when President gets at the podium he's renown for making corrections. Like... every single training I've ever been in since last year he's done that. He really doesn't like to do that, so I guess he's trying to change his game a little bit. Anyway, it was nice to actually hear him teach and testify of different things. Living with the AP's, they got us psyched up for it by telling us he was going to delve into the scriptures for like 2 straight hours. Unfortunately, for our zone he ran out of time before he got to that. In any case, it was good. We have a missionary in the mission that served in Afghanistan and got his legs "swiss-cheesed" by a road-bomb. He now uses a cane, etc, but for the whole war analogy they had him going around to all the zones and talking about his experiences. It was pretty cool!

Okay, another awesome thing that happened this week was with a lesson we had with Jodie. She's REALLY hot and cold when it comes to the Gospel and her testimony. Well last week happened to be a "cold" one, so we had a lesson with her on Wednesday. Jodie's lessons are such that she invites her own "Member-Presents" to help us teach, so that's cool. She invited this guy named Thomas that is in one of the other YSA's on campus, the AP's ward, actually. The AP's warned us that Thomas would completely hijack our lesson if we didn't tell him exactly what to say. Honestly, we didn't really know what to say either so we were planning on letting him. So we did. In the lesson we got about 5 words in, and Thomas just went off for like over an hour. Now, usually my experiences with members hijacking lessons are terrible ones, but this was actually way legit. Long story short... his testimony of the Savior was way awesome and Jodie was completely content after. Not only that, but Elder Erikson and I both agreed that it was even more spiritually edifying than Zone Conference was. It was very refreshing, and one of the most powerful lessons of my mission. Can't really... describe it other than that, but you get the point.

We got a new investigator named Jeffrey! He was a referral from a member in a different ward, his cousin or something. Jeffrey has been around Mormons his whole life, a lot of his family members are Mormon, he's gone to Mormon church several times, and knows a bunch about it. Anyway, Jeffrey wants to settle down, get to know and socialize with the right kind of people. He came to the right place! We have only had two lessons with him so far, but they've been good ones. I bet he'll be super solid!

We took Gabe to the Mesa Temple Visitors Center to watch Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. It was like... way legit. He still wants to talk more with his parents about baptism, so it probably won't happen until after Christmas break, which starts this week. Apparently during break, instead of having 3 wards on campus, it turns into 1 Sacrament meeting where we all just combine. We'll see how that goes. Pray for me to stay in this area, pretty please? I really don't want to go. This is my 2nd consecutive transfer here too, and I've never thus far spend longer than 2 consecutive transfers in an area. I'm pretty superstitious.

Oh yeah! We have a new kid named Shane! Ok seriously, he's super solid! He met with missionaries in High School, had a baptismal date, and just... ended up not being baptized. Just fell through the cracks! Funny story, so we met Shane at an FHE when he was chilling with a member named Andrea. That was a couple weeks ago. Last week we got a referral from other missionaries for this kid named Skyler. We give Skyler a call and set up an appointment for right after last FHE. So we're waiting after FHE and Shane comes up to us with Andrea and just starts talking to us and stuff, we recognize him from the FHE that we met him at before. We give Shane a Book of Mormon and we're like man, where is this Skylar kid? He's not texting us back. Shane is about to leave so we grab his number from him and plug it in the phone. We realize that... we had already been calling and texting Shane, because apparently Shane and Skyler are the same person. SUPER CONFUSING. Anyway... he's legit. Probably didn't make sense but... that's alright.

Anywho, that's all folks! Love y'all!

-Elder Cox

Monday, December 1, 2014

This week was a little bit ( a lotta bit) slower than most simply because of Thanksgiving break. I think we got a good taste of what Christmas break is going to be like around here on campus. It's been a ghost town since around Wednesday, but we've kept ourselves busy!

Thanksgiving we got to have 2 dinners. One of them was at 2:00 and the other I thought was going to be at 5. Turns out it was at 4:00. The 2:00 dinner didn't start until about 2:30 and I thought I saved plenty of room for the next dinner. I was wrong on a lot of accounts. We finished our first dinner at about 3:15 and had 45 minutes to try and digest before the next meal. Needless to say, I couldn't eat very much on the second dinner. Didn't quite even finish the first plate. All well! We had our second dinner with our recent convert Jodie and her fellowship Sara and Sara's family. It was pretty sweet, and even taught a lesson after the dinner. Do work.

After that we gathered at the Institute building with our zone. We borrowed the mission projector, borrowed Frozen from Jodie, took all the soft chairs out of the lobby and put them into the gym and we watched Frozen. It was easily the best movie I've seen all year! Tons of fun.

Other than that, we were just anticipating Gabe talking to his parents about baptism. His report was that they were very open and receptive to the idea, but that they all want to pray about it and stuff first. I can't say that I blame them, I think it's a fantastic idea. Who knows, maybe we can rope his parents into it. Anyway, he's still doing super well and he's definitely ready, just a matter of a date at this point. We're really hoping for early December. We're going to take him to the Visitors Center in Mesa on Tuesday so maybe that will help him!

Have you guys seen the new Christmas initiative that the church has? It's called "He is the Gift", and they're encouraging all the members to #sharetheGift on social media and stuff. I guess a lot of our family aren't the social media type, but for those who are... hit it up! They have a cool little website which has the cutsie li'l video.

Well it's December now... that's weird. I'm going to keep telling myself it's August. Partially because it's still like 75 degrees outside. Before you know it we'll get to Skype! Until then, have a great week!

-Elder Cox
So, Happy Thanksgiving! That time again already! Seems like just yesterday I was with Elder Francis (the first time) chilling in our tiny room on Thanksgiving hoping we'd be together for Christmas. Weird. Last Thanksgiving of the mission though! Crazy! I'll see you next year! ;)

President Toone just announced the Thanksgiving policy this morning and basically we just get 2nd P-day. I won't complain about that. Surprisingly he said if we take an investigator we can even go to a "Turkey Bowl". I don't think we will, but I'm shocked nonetheless. We might even get to watch a movie with our zone! *fingers crossed*. Other than that, we'll have probably 2 dinners. NBD.

So last week we had our Zone Meeting for this transfers training stuff. One of the things we talked about and introduced was our new "theme" this transfer: 你好奇迹
(ni hao qiji) Which means, "hello miracle". Honestly it doesn't make sense in Chinese... or English, but that's our theme. What we committed our zone to do is to pray every morning in companionship study for a miracle that day. Then we look for the miracle throughout the day, and at the end of the day we say a prayer of gratitude for the miracles we received. Pretty cool eh? We have definitely seen loads of miracles. I'll see if I can recall a few of them!:

Most recently is the fact that our super-recent convert Bailey Ellington visited with her family this week and her parents didn't even bring up her baptism. They were super antagonistic towards it and was begging her not to, but apparently all of that was smoothed out! So sweet!

Do you remember me talking about Janette? She was taking 3 institute classes and decided she wanted to meet with missionaries. She had already read the BoM and gained a testimony of it and was basically ready. We had to pass her off to a different ward because of a bunch of complications with her living situation. Long story short, she decided she didn't want to make the lifestyle changes. We met with her one last time and she just said that she appreciates everything but that she's still going to just take institute and wait for... ever. We encouraged her to pray about the things she had concerns with, even though we could tell she already knew the answer, she just didn't want to live it. So that was that and we went our separate ways. Well randomly last week she texted us saying "I got the answers I was looking for and I'm going to make those lifestyle changes". So, we got her in touch with the other missionaries again and as far as we know, she's still going forward with baptism. Pretty sweet!

I can't really remember the other miracles. Maybe I'll hopefully keep track this week probably. Convinced? Me too.

Anyway, God is a God of miracles! Part of my training included the importance of exact obedience. I demonstrated the principle by talking about Moses and how every time the Lord told him to do something, he did it with exactness and was able to see miracles. Included in that was the fact that the magicians of Pharaoh could replicate the miracles as well, and that the adversary has power as well. Plenty of disobedient missionaries still have success, but in the long run they deny blessings for themselves and/or their investigators and recent converts. Anyway. Obeying the commandments brings blessings and stuff.

Welp, happy Thanksgiving! We have a lot to be grateful for! I'm grateful for my family, the gospel, music, friends, and much more. We are blessed.

Peace love and blessings
-Elder Cox