Thursday, August 6, 2015

Obviously gonna be pretty brief, I'm still in denial that I'm actually leaving so I dunno what all the fuss is about. I was born a missionary and I've always been a missionary and I'll always be a missionary......right?...

Anyway, super weird moment when I was at the mission office and the mission secretary answers the phone and says "yeah he just dropped it off two minutes ago" and realizing "holy freak, that's my parents!" "Oh, you're on your way?"   RUN!! Not that I don't want to see my parents but... Not yet!

Anyway, the mission has been awesome and I've grown to love a lot of people, definitely gotten closer to Christ and I definitely don't regret the experience. The church is true, don't forget, and I'll see y'all this weekend.

Love ya!
-Elder Cox

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hey ya'll, gonna keep it short and sweet. I'll tell you plenty come next Friday.

Basically we found a super golden investigator, put her in date for August 6th the day before I leave.  It was looking picturesque but she lives outside of our Ward (and mission) boundaries and we have to pass her off. Basically the worst day of my life.

We did this HUGE service project for a thing called Feed My Starving Children.  We went to downtown Phoenix with like 100 missionaries and packed food boxes for kids all over the world, it was all day Friday and Saturday and was pretty sweet.

This morning we went on a nice little hike up South "Mountain", I think it should be referred to as "South Hill", but it was nice nonetheless.

Other than that, work is real slow during the summertime on ASU. Still pretty awkward being back a third time, but I'm probably the only missionary ever to come back thrice so I can't complain.

Love ya'll, the church is true!

Monday, July 20, 2015

For whatever reason President Toone and the assistants decided they wanted to ship me back to the University Ward for the THIRD time now.  I guess the third time's the charm. Honestly, church was kinda awkward. Bishop was like "man, we can't get rid of you!" He's not kiddin, can't keep me off his campus I guess. I'm companions with Elder Soloa'i and Elder Richards. Good guys.

We met a guy that went to Murray around the time my parents were there. He's a less active member who lived in Salt Lake and hung out with Murray kids sometimes. He said he smoked weed and drank with them and he hasn't given up that lifestyle in 40 years. Anyway, my patriarchal blessing says that I've "been sent to an extraordinary mother and father who have establisheda gospel family" and that I should "always thank the Lord profusely for them". I couldn't agree more. I basically got to see in this guy what might have happened in our family had Dad and Mom not lived thegospel, so thanks.

Anyway our lesson with this guy was really cool. We chatted about everything (more of a one-sided conversation) about beer, politics, Utah, snowboarding, and it ended with him crying saying he sometimesthinks he chose the wrong path. What the awesome? He just said that our parents did a good job at raising us and we told him he was doing a good job too. He said "I'm trying to, I really am" and then starts crying. I love making grown men cry. Anyway, good times.

We went golfing last p day and it was pretty legit. I'll see if I can attach the video of me being terrible.So last Thursday were the departure activities for all the departing missionaries. We went to the Gilbert Temple, had a dinner and a devotional. We all bore our testimonies and watched a slideshow of a bunch of pictures from the mission with really trunky music in it. Itwas good to see my companion off to the land of eternal p-days.

Welp, not a lot going on at ASU because...once again, it's the middle of summer and no one's here. I will have served here during two summers and Christmas break. Nevertheless, it's good to be here and I'm working hard my last couple weeks, the church is still true.

Love ya,Elder Cox

Monday, July 13, 2015

Seems like tons of stuff happened but when it comes time to write Ican't remember. I'll do my best. 

Wednesday night we were in an apartment complex and we ran into a guy that came to church the week we spoke. He came with our WML who is his neighbor. We bumped into him and just said hi. About twenty minuteslater he came and found us and invited us over just for an informative sort of visit. Nothing came of it yet, but cool experience that he chased us down.

We taught that Marko guy again and he seems pretty legit. He'll probably be baptized but it might take him a little while.  Yesterday was bomb, we had 7 people come to church which is a ton for our neck of the woods. We had the family come to church again but we still haven't taught them because they cancel so much. Christianbrought his nephew who was super solid and we're going by there tonight.  Lots of good things going on, of course right when I'm due to leave. I guess that's the nature of the beast though.

This morning we had breakfast with a member of the stake presidency and it was delicious, and then we went golfing with Elder Erikson and his companion. You probably don't remember but I came out with ElderErikson and we were companions at ASU. Anyway, that was fun. I'd send pictures but I'm on my iPad. I'm still a terrible golfer, in case anyone was wondering.

Tons happens, I see tons of miracles but they're too great to write...

Especially with my thumbs.

Love y'all, the church is true

Elder Cox

Monday, July 6, 2015

So yeah, the 4th of July we went to our WML house in one of the wards and he was lighting off some pretty fun fireworks.  I'm very surprised he didn't end up burning down his neighbors' yard or house, because the wind would take all the ashes and fireworks and junk into his neighbors' yards.  It was good though!  Other than that, we didn't have any success that day because everyone was gone.
No news about the family or Chris.  We stopped by to see Chris a few times but we haven't caught him.  The dad of the family came to like... the last ten minutes of church.  We're like "what the heck man?"  Needless to say, they won't get baptized before this transfer is over.  I'm pretty much banking on moving again as well so odds aren't great that we'll baptize them before we leave.  That's the nature of the work though.
In church we had someone bear their testimony about Kolob.  That was sweeet.  The one time we have like 2 investigators at church and a less-active come all on the same day.  Kolob.
But the good news, Christian came to church!  He only stayed for Sacrament, but he came without his family even, so that was a big step for him in the right direction.  He seems pretty sincere and it's only a matter of time.  He and his girlfriend need to get married first, which will probably take a while, slowly but surely.
The other dude is someone we haven't even taught yet because he's been out of town.  We'll see if we can come by this week.
I think it's actually been cooler here than in Idaho and Utah, according to a report from one of our members.  Apparently it got up to 108 in Idaho, and the past couple days have only been a cool 100.  I was in a members house and I happened upon their thermostat and it said 80 degrees.  I wondered to myself how I ever could get to a point where I'm absolutely comfortable in an 80 degree room.  I'm going to freeze just in our HOUSE.
Not much else to report.  The church is still true and I'm still a missionary.  Two things that will both be true for eternity... right?
Love y'all-Elder Cox

June 29

We're emailing from iPads today so it's probably going to be a little brief.  So I gave a talk in church yesterday about missionary work and it went pretty well. When I was preparing for the talk I wanted to talk a little bit about service and I wanted to talk about finding that ladyCarrie that I mentioned before. I called the missionaries from my area in Chandler and ask them about her, and it turns out that she was going to be baptized five minutes from the time that I called! The Elder said something I probably won't forget: "your seed has been sownElder Cox". It was a cool moment.

The family of four that I was talking about got married! They apparently came to church although I didn't see them some members told us that they were there. We were told by the bishop that apparently a text we sent to them offended them and now they are mad at us. Thetext said "are you guys coming to church? haha" and apparently that rubbed them the wrong way. Anyway, we're still looking at baptizing them within the next few weeks but we have to help them love us first.
We were in an apartment complex looking for names that were given to us by the ward mission leader, and we bumped into student named Chris.  We knocked on his apartment and asked for the person we were lookingfor but he wasn't it. He told us that he had met with the previous missionaries but had recently moved into where he's at now.  We asked him if there was a time that we could come by and he let us in right on the spot.  We had a quick lesson with him and invited him to pray. After we left we realize that we are at the completely wrong apartment complex.  I said they'll there on time that the Lord sometimes makes weak things become strong.

There was a cool experience we had while teaching a less active member. We went over there with one of the young men and we talked to her about why she hasn't been to church for a while. She was very open with her reasons and provided a plethora of excuses. We were able to talk her through most of her things but by the end of the discussion, she told us that she didn't want to lie to us or promise anything that she couldn't keep. She said she probably won't wake up. Well yesterday when we were in our first word around 10:00 she sent us aFacebook message with a picture of her in address saying "I'm up". She ended up coming to church and was fellowshipped and it was sweet!

Welp, that's about all I care to type. The church is still true, so that's good news. 

Love ya'll.Elder Cox

June 22

Hey ya'll!

So we were able to convince that family of four to postpone their baptism.  It sounds super backwards, well it is, but it will be for the better.  They are so stressed about planning their wedding that the baptism is completely overshadowed.  They did  come to church, but they came like halfway through the second hour so they missed most of it.  We called the dad last night and he said he wants to follow the Priesthood and do it the right way which is way sweet coming from an investigator.  They're super solid, we just need to put them back on date after the wedding and it should happen within a couple weeks.  Sweet!

We were teaching this guy like Wednesday-Saturday every single day.  He's an older guy with lots of health problems and his biggest hangup was that he would break his back when he got baptized.  Not even joking.  So as we were trying to resolve that concern, he calls us Saturday and tells us he talked to his little brother -- who is super anti-Mormon -- and said that his brother told him he would stop talking to him if he joined the church... Bummer.  So he dropped us for the time being.  Satan 1, Missionaries 0.
I forgot to mention last weeks Mission President devotional.  I got a TON of awesome news from previous areas that I served in.  The two speakers were Megan, a girl that I helped find when I was at ASU, and Randy, who is the RLDS guy that I interviewed.  It was sweet that I had at least some part in their process.  Anyway, Megan's story was awesome and she was a completely different person than the first time I met her.  Randy's testimony was still as awesome as when I interviewed him.  Other than that, Elder Erikson told me about that kid John that we were teaching at ASU for a little bit.  John was the guy  that just walked into the institute wanting to learn about the church.  I set him on date but he didn't end up getting baptized that day.  Anyway, Elder Erikson told me that he just got  baptized last Saturday.  I was so stoked!  Then, Elder Last, one of my other companions, told me about the lady Carrie that we found.  I think I told you the story that we went "service tracting" and found Carrie.  We never really got to teach her, but apparently she's on date for baptism soon as well.  It's always good to hear the end of the story, you know?  Even though I didn't have much part in the teaching process for these people, I got to be involved at least in part, and it just goes to show that you never know what efforts will yield fruits.

Short and sweet this week... and probably every other week for the next 6 weeks or so.
Love ya!-Elder Cox

June 15

Yep, it's hot.
Good week this week!  Where do I start... hmm.
Well we have a family of four on date!  Best part?  We've never even met them.  We called them on the phone and they're planning on getting married the 23rd, aaand they'll get baptized the same day!  They didn't come to church though (go figure) so we'll probably push the date back so they can demonstrate their faith and keep coming to church.  In any case, miracle family of four!  I'm fairly sure that it was in response to my fast for this month, being that we can end our missions with at least one baptism for the transfer.  Good stuff.  God is good.

Well we went fishing last week!  It was my first time in about two years and I caught a couple!  We used hot dogs actually... just in some neighboring park.  I caught like three and Elder Wallentine (not related to Craig) caught a few and a HUGE coy fish.  It was pretty legit.  We had one of the youth take us and he invited like 6 of his nonmember football buddies.  Good times.  We were blessed with nice cool weather, partly cloudy and around 98 degrees.  It was a nice day.

Other than that, meetings meetings meetings.
    Tuesday we had interviews.  Once again the zone leaders get shafted and didn't get any, but it's all good.  The meeting was all about all the little things that we're doing wrong and how we need to be better, etc. etc.
    Wednesday we had a meeting with the zone to talk about upcoming p-day activities, played a get-to-know-you game, and set a baptismal goal for the zone, all around pretty good.
    Thursday we had MLC which was almost verbatim what our interview meeting was about.  That meeting lasted from 9:00-3:00.  By the time we get home we eat dinner and have a meager 3 hours to work.  I forgot how crappy meetings can be.
    Friday was weekly planning, as usual and meet with the Sister Training Leader to talk about what we'll train on for Zone Meeting this Tuesday.
    Saturday  meet with the Sister Training Leader again to talk about what we'll train on for Zone Meeting.
    Sunday, six hours of church and the Mission President's Devotional.  Got about an hour of proselyting in.  YIKES.
Anyway, not complaining, just observing.

Other than that there has been a lot of emphasis this week and continual reminders about the importance of the Priesthood.  We have a recent convert in the ward who just got the Melchizedek Priesthood and we get to teach him all about it on Thursday, which I'm excited about.  They have the cutest little kids ever and I'm stoked for them to have the Priesthood in their home.  One of the wards had a lesson on the Priesthood as well, and throughout it I was just imagining myself giving blessings and such to my future wife and children (I'm not trunky AT ALL).  Anyway, I'm grateful for that power and I'm glad I get to use it.
Well that's all I got for this week.  It's all a blur.  The church is true, that's all I remember.
Love ya,
-Elder Cox

Monday, June 8, 2015

New address:

Elder Dylan Cox
2155 E Liberty Lane #126
Phoenix, AZ 85048

Well weird story, I was asked to be a zone leader again for a little bit.  Transferred back into Tempe zone, but we're now in Awahtukee which is just south Tempe where all the rich people live.  For the first time ever I'm covering two wards, the Awahtukee ward and the Mountain Park Ward.  This is also the first time I've seen ANY hills on my mission because we're right next to the mountain in the foothills area, like I say, fancy part of town.  Anyway it's pretty much been super legit so far and absolutely everyone we've talked to has been WAY friendly and it seems like they love us.  My companion is Elder Wallentine who is my mission "brother" because we were both trained by the same person.  He's also Elder Erikson's trainer (my longest companion when we were in YSA).  I lived with Wally last year when I was with Elder Francis for the second time and we had a blast.  So we're super stoked to be companions and this will be his last transfer and I'll follow about three weeks after.  Luckily we're both pretty focused and ready to tear it up.  He's been in the area before so it's been a little easier that way.
Oh yeah, whitewash #7.  Woopie.So far we haven't been able to really get to know anyone too in-depth... we've only been here since Thursday and we have two wards so I've had to try and remember twice as many names.  One part-member family we met on our first day the non-member husband plays bass.  Pretty much only a matter of time before he's in the font.  I didn't actually meet him but we talked to his wife and I saw all the basses laying around.  He also has a brand new 2015 Mustang and I jokingly asked the wife if we could take it for a spin.  She said "yeah go for it!" and I was really bummed because it's against the rules.  I'll have to come back here and burn rubber.I saw some of the biggest houses I've ever seen in this area.  Some of the richest people in Arizona live in Awahtukee.  There's some of the pro football players, all the best lawyers and businessmen, etc. etc.  The good thing though too is that there's tons of apartment complexes in the area too which provides plenty of more humble and willing people.  Also more transient so we don't talk to the same people that the previous missionaries have talked to for like 10 years straight.  It seems like a super sick area.  Because of a lot of businessmen and things, the ward leadership is stacked.  One of the wards actually goes TRACTING.  FOR US.  The Ward Mission Leader like once a week just goes with a Ward Missionary and tracts.  What the heck?  Also one of the counselors in the Stake Presidency is in our ward and he wants us to have members with us Tuesday-Thursday from 6-9 every week and he's really pushing for it.  Anyway... super legit.  I'm pretty stoked to be in this area.  Like I say, not a ton to report on because I don't know anyone, but we have several prospects that are looking pretty good.  More to come in the near future.  Until then, we have MLC on Thursday which is usually decent, and tons of missionary work in between.  I have a car again which is the biggest tender mercy ever now that we're getting into the hotter part of the year.  It's still actually been surprisingly nice the past week or so.  By "nice" I mean 95.  95 is "nice".Anyway, love y'all and have a good week.  The church is true, hope you never have any questions as to whether or not Elder Cox has a testimony of the Restored Gospel.  It's becoming more and more blatantly obvious to me that Jesus is the Christ and that he speaks through his servants the prophets.  

Love ya,     
Elder Cox

Monday, June 1, 2015

The time has come.  It's been procrastinated for about a month, but yesterday we shot up to 108, or so I was told.  Mom you said "bring on the summer" in your email and I slightly resent you for it.  It's been alright though, staying plenty hydrated and such it's not too bad. Just really sweaty.  Really really sweaty.Yesterday we had the 5th Sunday presentation that was given to us to talk about missionary work.  Not only did we have 3rd hour, but 2nd hour as well.  The WML was mainly in charge but he asked us to speak on a couple different things.  I spoke about social media and such, which is funny because I still completely suck at using Facebook.  Anyway, I showed some conversations I've had with people online and examples of good posts, etc.  It went pretty well I thought.  

No transfer news yet, I think they've officially decided to wait until Tuesday night to call for transfers, and then have transfers on Thursday.  It seems like it changes every time but I think that's what they're settling with.  So again, I could be in a totally different place next week but I won't find out until tomorrow night.

Not a whole ton to report this week.  I left plenty of white space so it looks like I wrote a lot more than I did, but maybe I shouldn't give that away.  Everything's all good down here in Maricopa.  I'm always sweaty and always working and I won't stop.  I was pondering what it means in the scriptures when it says don't run faster than you have strength, but be diligent.  I think the conclusion I came to is that sometimes you sprint, sometimes you walk, just move forward on the straight and narrow and don't ever stop.  Pretty catchy little jingle, huh?  I'm proud of it.  Anyway, keep moving forward.  Love y'all
-Elder Cox

May 25
I guess for starters I interviewed a guy for baptism that was RLDS.  I didn't ever expect that to happen on my mission, but it did.  He was baptized Saturday and by some miracle Hunter and his family showed up.  They seemed to like it, and after the baptism Hunter's dad tuned up our bikes for us.  They still didn't come to church despite them telling us that almost nothing would keep them.  Almost.  Anyway, the baptism was good and it was cool to see that anyone and everyone can gain a testimony of the gospel.
So the most recent development with Matt is that he doesn't really believe in the Atonement.  You'd think that'd be something he would've told us sooner, but he basically doesn't really believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  *facepalm*.  But he said if it came down to it he'd side with the believers.  He clearly sees that living gospel standards is a better lifestyle, or a "better way to live" in his words.  Anyway, he'll still be a long time coming.  I'll probably be long gone by then.
We were out biking one day and this guy says "hey" to us, so we stop and ask him if he needs help because he was moving this huge wardrobe in his garage.  So we help him and he tells us that his friend has been trying to get him to the Mormon church for a long time, that he's been previously quite a bit.  Sweet!  So we teach him a quick lesson about the Atonement after he tells us about some of his life struggles.  As we leave we ask him who he knows that we could visit and he tells us that he has a friend that lives down the road.  He gives us the last name and we realize that his friend is one of our other investigators!  Bingo!  So now they'll be able to fellowship each other.  Hopefully that'll work out.
We were biking along one day and a car drives by that looks at us and tells us to stop, so we do.  Turns out it's this guy Trent who used to by the EQP at the ASU ward I served in.  He is in Maricopa selling solar door-to-door and he tells us about some people we can stop by.  So yesterday we go by and find a TON of less-active people who live there whose records aren't in the ward directory.  Also way too coincidental is that one of the ladies was baptized a couple years ago in the Chandler ward that I just served in.  Weird!  So anyway, we're working with them and we're going to teach some of their other roommates who aren't members, etc. etc.  Kinda cool miracle.  Just so happens that two different people have connections to wards I've been in previously.. anyway, you get it.
Man, we do a ton of stuff all week and when it comes time to write home, I forget everything that happened over the past week.  I swear the last 6 months have just been a blur.  Did any of my brothers get the same feeling nearing the end of their missions?  It's like it's just one big day.  Anyway, not much more to report other than the church is still true, so that's good.
Love ya'll, do good and stuff.
-Elder Cox

May 18

Welp, to start off, Hunter fell of date because, yet again, they didn't come to church.  Not sure where to take it next, but we'll figure it out!  We had zone conference last weekend and President's training was on getting people to church and teaching about the importance of the sacrament.  We applied the training as much as we could but it still hasn't worked for them.  We'll keep trying!
Speaking of zone conference, apparently it was my last one.  They asked all the missionaries that will be leaving before the next zone conference to stand up.  I look at one of the assistants with a confused face and he nods at me.  Wait, what?  That time already?  Weird.  So I got to say my final "departing testimony" if you will.  So that's weird.
Got to teach this guy about the Restoration.  We've been trying to teach him forever.  Yesterday our appointment fell through so we figured we'd drop by again and sure enough he was outside just chillin.  We taught the restoration and I got the feeling to tell him about eternal families and sealings.  That pretty much won him over and now his mentality is that he needs to find an answer so that he can be sealed to his family.  In his mind baptism is just the next stepping stone before he can be sealed, which is the right mentality to have.  Pretty sweet!
Still teaching Matt.  We took him to the Mission President's Devotional yesterday and he said "[it] was nice".  So... that's good?  They had two recent converts that were confirmed THAT DAY speaking to us.  It was so legit.  These ladies that spoke last night were SOLID.  I thought it was perfect for Matt to hear from a different perspective, but I don't know how much it really affected him.
Hmm.. other than that we taught a bunch of less-actives or recent converts.  Those have been going well but not much to report in detail.  I don't think we did anything crazy this week either.  OH.  Except that we got DUMPED on!  Friday night we were about 2 miles away from home making a last stop before we head home.  We knock on the door and talk to the dude but nothing came of it so we hop on our bikes and start heading.  It had already been sprinkling on us on the way towards the guy's house, but as we left God opened the windows of heaven and started to flood the earth again.  So we just start BOOKING it faster than I've ever biked before.  We bike on the shoulder of the highway heading home and within two minutes every inch of me is just drenched.  I screamed like a schoolgirl in pure delight.  There was lightning flashing RIGHT above our heads and every time I would just start screaming like a child.  I imagined the confused faces of all the cars passing as they see this thoroughly soaked missionary with the biggest smile on his face.  I don't think my companion was quite as amused.  We got home and had to strip down in the garage.  I thought my silk tie was toast but it turned out alright.  Anyway, we don't have pneumonia so that's good!
Life's still good down here.  Weather's been good because of the rain, but that won't last long.  Hope life's good up there.  See you in no time!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

So yeah, got to see Karen get endowed!  Pretty cool experience.  I saw a whole lot of people from that ward from forever ago and it was cool to say what up.  Got to see Brother Bezold, the member we used to live with, but he didn't see me and bolted out of there before I got to say hi.  All the other members that were there were like "so, who are you staying with while you're in town?"  or "how long have you been home?"  I'm like... uh... I'm still a missionary guys.  My companion is right here.  I'm allowed to go to this stuff.  Anyway, Karen seemed to enjoy it and it was really good to see her!

So with Hunter we haven't really been able to talk to him this week.  They didn't come to church, surprise surprise and we're running out of ideas.  We didn't get to see Nick last week either, they were busy, but they said today for sure and they confirmed with us yesterday so I'll have to let you know how that goes later on.

We got a referral from our RSP for another part-member family with a nine year old kid named Evan!  We just met them last night and they said come by on Saturday, so again i'll have to update you on that later.  I feel like it's going to be pretty promising though!

Matt came to church which was way awesome!  Saturday we were brainstorming ways to get through his thick skull and we thought of fasting.  We were SUPER prepared for the lesson with awesome scriptures and everything and I went through it in my mind a bunch of times and was ready.  So we taught him about fasting and related the story of Alma the Younger.  We turned to Mosiah.. whatever it is.. that talks about him seeing the Angel calling him to repentance.  Then we turned over to Alma 5 where Alma is sharing his testimony and says that he gained a testimony for himself through fasting and prayer.  We told Matt that even though Alma saw an angel, that's not where his testimony came from.  His testimony came through the Spirit that was given to him through fasting and prayer.  We committed him to fast, realizing JUST then that the next day was fast Sunday (go figure) and he said he would.  We never asked him if he ended up fasting, but we promised that if he fasted and went to church that something would happen.  Hopefully it did...

Woah, almost forgot about Sherman.  Sherman is SICK.  He's 18, football player, has scholarships to ASU and U of A for football and is waay smart.  We asked him about prophets and why they're important and he was just on point.  Taught him again yesterday and we took our Priest Quorum 1st Assistant and it was legit.  We just talked about the Book of Mormon and why it's important.  Our member bore a sick testimony for like 10 minutes straight and you could slice the Spirit in the room with a knife it was so thick.  We invited him to be baptized and he was like "oh I was baptized as a baby".  Obviously I didn't want to ruin the Spirit by down-talking his previous baptism, so we just told him that we only want to add to the things that he already knows are true, to build his faith and give him an opportunity to choose baptism.  I told him as a baby he didn't have a choice to be baptized or not, but now he could add to that by showing God that he wants to be baptized, etc. etc.  That seemed to get him and he accepted.  Good day.  

We met this funny kid named Martin in the street.  Martin heard a bunch of stuff about Mormons that he thought was weird, mostly dealing with the Plan of Salvation.  He's friends with a less-active family we've been working with and when they got home he runs up to them and is like, "holy #$*$ why didn't you tell me about this?  I've just been converted to Mormonism!"  It was pretty funny.  We gave him our number but we'll be sure to follow up with the member.

Welp, that's pretty much all I got.  Be prepared with questions or whatever for when we Skype 'cause... I have no idea what to talk about.

Love y'all, see ya in a week.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hey y'all.  This will be my second longest area at 4 1/2 months, not consecutively!  Woo!  I thought for sure I was moving again, just keep pinging me around.  
So funny story, our zone leaders got whitewashed out.  Funny huh?  Not really.  Okay, but what's funny is that one of my TRAINEES is my ZONE LEADER.  Nothing says "you're super old" than when your trainee is your zone leader.  What a stud.  Anyway, we did all kinds of fun stuff with the other ZL's before they left.  I have a couple pictures...
One time we went to McDonalds the very last thing of the day.  They have this spring meal deal going on where you buy 2 big macs, 2 large fries, and 20 chicken nuggets for like 14 bucks or something.  Originally we were going to get ice cream cones, and what do you know... we end up walking out with these huge meals.  Me and one of the zone leaders split one so we only had a big mac, large fry, and 10 nuggets each.  My companion and other zone leader however were feeling very ambitious thinking they could eat the whole thing.  It's like 3600 calories or something.  Needless to say, they didn't finish.  We ate it at like 10:00 P.M. right before bed and needless to say, that was a bad idea.  Anyway, when I hit rock bottom like that it always kindles my desire to eat healthy and such.
We also built a big blanket fort and slept in it.  It was hot.
As far as stuff that I'm actually supposed to tell my family, here goes:
Hunter is still doing well, they never come to church though and we're pretty fed up not knowing what to do.  What's worse is that every time the dad is like "yeah we'll totally be there, no doubt, for sure this time guys.  Not kidding around."  Then they don't show.  That's pretty much our only problem right now.
That part-member family I talked about is super cool.  I think they're prepared but we need to get them married first, and they can only meet once a week so that'll make it go a little slower.  They're cool though.  He's a tattoo artist and apparently a gourmet cook.  He wants to have us over for dinner and I definitely won't complain.  We only were able to talk to them for a few minutes but they're super legit.
I got permission to go with Karen to the temple this Saturday so uh... yeah.  That's super legit.
We taught this cool black guy named Zedrick.  He works for border patrol and is SO JACKED.  Other than that, he's a cool guy and seems interested.  They were teaching him here a little there a little before I got here and we were finally able to get in the door.  His family doesn't seem interested at all but maybe that will change.  We got some info from his neighbor that they may have lost some loved ones recently so we were able to hit him hard with the plan of salvation.  I feel it went pretty well.
Our bishop is super stoked about missionary work right now and wants to keep pushing forward with more missionary activities and firesides and everything.  There's starting to be a pretty big push and we're excited for it.
Welp, that's all I got for ya family.  Love y'all

Sunday, April 26, 2015

So again transfer calls are actually going to be tomorrow, so I guess I'll let you know by next week about any changes.
We found out last night that President Toone has been in the hospital for the past few days.  Apparently his organs started shutting down... What the heck?  So they gave him some medication and he's responding well to it.  We're fasting for him today, just keep him in your prayers.  Thanks!
I guess moving backwards, last night we had the Mission President's Devotional.  I sang in a choir that was pretty awesome.  One of the sisters was singing a solo while the choir sang "oo's" and "aah's" and stuff.  It's her last transfer so it was pretty touching I guess, if you're into that sort of thing.  It's held at ASU at the Institute so it's always good to be back in Tempe.  Got to see a couple of the members from University Ward that were excited to see me.  Great feeling to be loved!
We taught Hunter a couple times.  Have I mentioned him yet?  He's an unbaptized youth who we've been teaching since I was here like 7 months ago.  After our lesson on Saturday his dad asked him, "So Hunty, you wanna be baptized?" 
"Do you want to do it for yourself or because I want you to?"
"I wanna do it for myself"
"Okay, when do you want to be baptized?"
It was that easy.  They decided on May 30th as the date, so looking forward to that, assuming I'll be here!
We taught Matt on Saturday as well and I threw down the law with him.  He basically doesn't feel that God will answer his prayers and isn't sure if he even wants an answer.  What the heck?  Okay, so I was like "what would it mean to you if you knew this was true?"  He answered that "it would mean everything"...
"...Okay... so if it would mean everything and be totally life changing why wouldn't you want to find an answer?  Also, if it really is a matter of salvation, why would God withhold an answer from you?  He wants you to be with him" etc. etc.  That seemed to make sense for him but I still am not sure if it penetrated.  He's out of town now too for about a week so that's that.
We helped with a Mutual activity about missionary work.  The young women presidency asked if we'd give a ten minute training on how to share your testimony with friends.  They did like a mission simulation where they all got fake mission calls and name tags and they went around to different stations to learn about missionary things.  Anyway, it went pretty well and we got like 4 referrals from the youth out of it.  We followed up with the people that gave them to us because we'd rather have them make the invitation than going and knocking on these peoples' doors.  It essentially becomes tracting at that point.  Anyway, that was fun.
We found a part member family while we were going by new move in names that the Ward Clerk gave us.  We came at the perfect time apparently because the less-active member lady found out she has a medical issue and we came just at the right time.  Apparently her fiance is mega interested in the church and was taking lessons before they moved here.  Jackpot.  We were supposed to see them yesterday but they didn't show, so we're trying again today.  Wish us luck.
OH YEAH.  Best news ever... KAREN IS GOING THROUGH THE TEMPLE.  So.  Stoked.  She emailed me last week and said she's going early May.  I have yet to hear back from President about going, but he's usually really encouraging of us going with our converts to the temple.  I'm so excited for her.  Super glad I had the opportunity to teach someone as prepared as she was.  Now I get to witness even more fruit of my labor.  Makes it all worth while!
Welp, that's all I got.  I'll probably email you next week about how I'm transferred again and everything will be different.  But, I'll go where the Lord wants me.  Until then, love ya!
...and... after that too.

-Elder Cox

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

First off, we had a baptism  yesterday!  Mardi got baptized and it was great.  Pretty funny because the water level ended up being really low so she practically had to lay on the ground to get fully immersed.  Sweet old lady. Anyway, it went well.  There was a musical number with singing and a guitar which was different, but I liked it.  We also went to a missionary fireside yesterday for the youth because Bishop invited us.  We didn't end up saying anything or telling any stories, but it was good nonetheless.
Anastasia is off date because she didn't come to church.  She hasn't even talked to us for quite some time.  We saw her  and she just cracked the door open and said "it's not a good time" and closed the door.  So... that's that.  
With Matt we watched Elder Holland's talk from conference with him.  He seemed to enjoy it, but I dunno how much is really penetrating through his thick skull.  He came to church yesterday which was good.  The focus of the block seemed to be about prophets and Joseph Smith which I'm sure was helpful for him.
We met this less-active family because one of the ward council referred them to us.  Apparently the dad of the family has lost his testimony and is super anti so he doesn't let his wife go to church.  Fortunately he lets the kids go with their grandparents at their ward.  We talked to the mom and we're going to go over there regularly and just share uplifting thoughts with her on their doorstep.  Super sad situation, but hopefully we'll be able to do some good there!
So this week the zone leaders found some gold in the newspaper.  We noticed that they have a listing of all the houses in Maricopa that were recently sold, how big they are, and how much they were sold for.  Basically a huge list of houses for everyone in our zone to go tract, because according to President Monson new move-ins are a good opportunity to rope someone into the gospel, so to speak.  So, they cut out the list and gave it to the companionships in their respective areas.  We were going around knocking on the houses and one of them opens up and says "Hey Elders".  Naturally we were taken aback.  My companion stammers something about how she obviously has had contact with the church.  Come to find out she's a member and she has a non-member fiance that was meeting with missionaries in Tempe.  Woot!
So we went on exchanges on Thursday and I went with Elder May in his area.  We were teaching their investigator Deron (pronounced Da-Ron) that night.  Deron has been back and forth for a while.  He has a baptismal date but still wasn't sure.  We prepare a lesson about prophets and the organization of the church backed with a bunch of scriptures from the Bible.  We get to the lesson and start into it.  Long story short, the Spirit was super strong and he said he felt the Spirit for the first time in forever.  Come to find out, he was thinking about dropping the missionaries and thought maybe it "wasn't for [him]", but by the end of the lesson his mind was changed (or should I say, heart) and he said he had a firm commitment to be baptized on his date.  Way sweet!
Also with that exchange, I drank like 104 ounces of soda, and ate Taco Bell and candy which rekindled my testimony of healthy eating.  I felt like garbage.  I've still been having green smoothies every day for lunch but... supplementing it with Easter candy and Dr. Pepper.  You know, the healthy stuff.  
Last week for p-day we colored easter eggs, so that was fun.  Apparently I'm the only person in the whole district who will even eat hard boiled eggs, so now I have tons of them.   

Anywho, the church is true and being a missionary is legit.

Love y'all!
-Elder Cox
Lots has happened this week!  I think?  I actually don't ever remember, it just seems like one big blur. 
So Mardi is still on date for next Sunday.  We had a delicious steak at her house that was... delicious.  It was cool because that day the AP's came on exchanges with the ZL's and DL's in our zone, so we had Elder Babcock with us.  Elder Babcock was in this ward at the very beginning of his mission and he only has one transfer left.  When he was here, Mardi was just another eternigator that was way far from baptism.  Well he was there with us when we had dinner with her and it was pretty cool to see it full circle.  She just looked at him funny and was like "he looks soo familiar".  She told him that he's grown up a lot and looks like a man now, etc. etc.  It was just cool, and now she's going to be baptized.
Not too much to report on Anastasia.  She's still on date for the 18th but neither she nor Mardi were able to make it to Conference.  Anastasia's kinda hard to meet with too.  Based on the last time we met though, she's solid and really wants to be baptized.
On Friday we went to the Easter Pageant with our wonderful black family Dierre, Serita, Johnny, Jellia, JaKayla, Martholomuel, Bartogondrion, DaMarcus, DaMatthew, DaLuke, and the whole gang.  Okay, I made some of those up after JaKayla.  But still.  Anyway, it was a pretty terrible experience actually, but absolutely hilarious.  So we get to their house at like 6:30 so we can head all the way up to Mesa, like 45 minutes, find parking, find a seat, and be ready for the pageant to start.  Well we get there and get in the car and we're all just sitting there but Serita, the mom, isn't there yet.  We're all buckled up just waiting and we ask Dierre where his mom is.  He goes inside and says she's just chillin there.  He goes back in a little later and she's COOKING FOOD.  Okay, uh, we have to go like... right now.  After a little bit she comes out and yells at us saying she's been to Mesa a thousand times, we came too early, she knows where to park. etc. etc.  Okay... so we wait.  After a little bit she's ready and we leave.  Pretty much the whole time she's just agitated and yelling at her kids and it was super awkward and we didn't say a word.  She ran a couple red lights on the way up and I literally thought I was going to die.  Long story short, we get to the pageant like 15 minutes after it started and just sit in the grass.  After about 10 seconds, Serita says that the kids are too squirmy and she's going to go "walk them around".  We watch the rest of the pageant and are wondering where Serita is.  Turns out she took the kids to dairy queen and was just chillin.  That's cool, I guess.  Needless to say, we made it home safe and sound and I never will do that again.
As far as conference goes, it was sweet!  It's weird because it's my last one of the mission.  Crazy!  One of my favorites was Elder Uchtdorf's about grace.  It seemed to change my perspective a little bit and I really like it when that happens.  Also very touching was Elder Holland's when he was talking about those brothers.  I don't think it's coincidence that the younger brother saved the day :)  Granted, the older brother boosted him up...  Anyway, thanks all my brothers for showing me the right way and being stellar examples of good missionaries.  Love y'all.
What did you all think of people opposing the sustaining of the brethren?  Crazy, right?!  Who in their right mind?  All well.  Let it be known that I sustain the brethren!  God hasn't ceased speaking to us!
Oh so, our mission has been pushing for physical fitness as of late.  I think mainly because back around October President said no more waking up early and going to gyms, and no more gyms whatsoever.  Naturally, our motivation to exercise would decrease, so to supplement that he announced a mission 5k run.  Well, that was today and I haven't run more than a mile in about a year.  Last year around this time I was running almost 3 miles daily but since then... not quite that far.  Anyway, I was able to run the whole thing without stopping, so that was a bonus.  Needless to say, it kicked my butt.

Anyway, love you family.  Keep it real and endure to the end!
-Elder Cox

Monday, March 16, 2015

So, surprisingly I'm actually back in my old ward in Maricopa. I've really never heard of missionaries re-visiting areas except for maybe the very last transfer of their mission, but now I've revisited TWO areas. I've been asked to step down as a zone leader and asked to be a district leader again. What they didn't mention over the phone, as I found out at transfers, is that I'll be second-half training. It's almost like deja-vu. Anyway, just in time for the warm weather coming in I'm back to biking all day.We had a baptism on Saturday! Obviously I didn't really know the kid because... I just got here. His name is Dierre. It's just like Pierre, only with a "D". He seems pretty cool though! His mom is still not a member although she was very supportive of him being baptized and was even crying and everything. We'll get her pretty soon I'm sure.
Apparently we have a couple more baptisms coming up too! One is an unbaptized daughter of an active family. I guess the family was just waiting for the dad to get the priesthood back before she was baptized so that he could baptize her. Makes sense. We don't really have to do much for it, but as far as statistics go...
There's this other lady that I only met one time who is on date sometime in april. Her name is Mardi if you want to pray for her!
Oh yeah, my new companion's name is Elder Mason and he's from Fairfax, Virginia. Seems like a pretty good guy.
Other than that, we have like a billion investigators, especially in comparison to where I just came from in Chandler/Gilbert area. After I left the Elders that were here were together for 6 months in this area so they were actually able to get things going. It should be looking good for the next few months I reckon.

I wish there was more to talk about, but I haven't really gotten my bearings on the new area yet so I'll have to be more informative next time. Sorry!

Jesus lives
Love ya'll
Elder Cox
Transferred again, his new address:

Elder Dylan Cox
45175 W. Cypress Ln.
Maricopa, AZ 85139

Monday, March 9, 2015

 Lessons!  We got some!  Woot!  Only like 4... but STILL.

So the first was an older couple who are neighbors to our Bishop.  The guy recently lost his sister in an unexpected accident.  She was around 70 and she was carrying pizza up the stairs and fell backwards and broke...important stuff, her neck or something.  Anyway, tragedy is a perfect opportunity for missionaries so we took advantage of it and was able to talk to them about opposition being a part of life, Jesus Christ, the Atonement, etc.  It was superb.

So because of lack of teaching pool, we're trying different tactics to try and soften people's hearts.  One of them is service tracting.  Basically we dress up in p-day clothes and knock on people's door offering to do community service.  We've only done it a couple times, but we actually found someone!  She met with missionaries before when she lived in Mesa.  She said she felt bad making us pull her weeds, but I was pretty persuasive and she let us do it.  Long story short, we have some teaching opportunities coming up.

We taught this young guy named Mike.  We're going to have to refer him to the YSA missionaries but first we're going to baptize him.  Just kidding, we're just going to spark his interest a little more before handing him off.  Not too much to talk about other than we shared a video with him and I'm pretty sure he was drunk.  Woo!

  We taught another couple yesterday about the importance of reading the scriptures.  She tried to give us some crap about how she doesn't have time and blah blah blaah, so we told her that God recognizes the sacrifice when we make it, even if it's just 5 minutes and that he'll bless us even more.  By the end, they committed to read the Book of Mormon as a couple every day and pray too!  Pretty neat!

Still don't know about transfers, but I guess I'll let you know next week!
Love y'all

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Craziness, March already!  Time just keeps flying by

Well, I wish there was more to report but sadly we literally didn't teach any lessons this week.  100% zeroes all across the board.  We're pounding the pavement, mind you, but the fruits haven't quite been seen yet.  

We did get a chance to stop by Rose, the lady that we helped move.  She was really excited to see us and gave us hugs when we showed up at her house.  That was pretty awkward.  She's Italian so she's really expressive and funny.  Anyway, her house is still an absolute mess from the move, and we got to just chat with her for a few minutes.  We tried to slip in some Gospel conversation but for the most part she dominated the conversation, which is fine.  She is interested in having us over although I'm not sure she quite understands the purpose for our visits.  That can come over time, so I'm not too worried about it.

We had Stake Conference this weekend and had a visit from Elder Pino of the 70.  The adult session was really interesting because they actually talked about Ward Council for the entire session.  They even addressed the fact that it seems more fitting for a leadership training sort of setting, but that the direction given from Elder Ballard was to train the entire Stake about how to have an effective Ward Council.  It was pretty interesting.  President Toone was there as well standing next to our Stake President.  It was pretty funny because our Stake President is probably around Rick's height, and President Toone is 5'24" as he would say.  

We got to go on a couple exchanges which are always good.  Still doing a ton of service which is pretty much the best thing ever.  Hopefully it can soften some hearts and lead to some baptisms, but we'll see.  Maybe the Lord has plans for us other than baptizing people.

Other than that, transfer calls are next week so we'll see what happens there.  Our mission gets brand new iPads this Wednesday for... some reason I guess we'll find out.  They're changing a bunch of stuff about how we do online proselyting and such.  President Toone will also have god-like control over our iPads remotely, which is also pretty cool.  He basically has a "big brother" program where he can watch our every move and turn off certain functions of our iPads remotely.  So that's pretty neat!

I don't think I'll know by next Monday if I'll be transferred or not, so it'll actually be a couple weeks before I can let you know.  They're changing a bunch of logistics about transfer week so... yeah.  Anywho,  have a good week!

-Elder Cox

Monday, February 23, 2015

Okay, so I guess I'll start off with the audition.  I was wiggin out on Monday night and essentially having a panic attack.  Okay... not that bad, but I was psyched out.  So I get to the place and it's this rundown "art school" for Junior High and High School kids in the middle of Tempe, which is pretty ghetto in and of itself.  I get in there and we end up having to wait for like... an hour or something because we were so early because I was so psyched out.  So they take me to the warm-up room and they actually had the "sight-reading" material in the practice room and they let you look through it, which was a blessing.  So I look through it and it's all easy stuff.
Then I go to the audition room.  It's dark.  There were two judges.  They asked me who some of my bass influences were so I told them.  I gave them the CD and played the song Almost 12.  One of the judges was a percussionist and I could see him trying to tap along with the beat trying to figure out what time signature it was in.  He couldn't figure it out.  I did pretty well with that, and right when I finished they said, "Alright sweet, let's jam". 
Uh, what?  Sweet!  So the one hops on guitar and the other on drums.  They ask me what jazz standard I want to play and I told them Donna Lee.  I was impressed to bring my Real Book with me, so I had it all ready to go.  They ask me if I can play the head (melody) and I tell them that I can.  So he tells me to play the head the first time through, then a walking bass line, then solo.  I felt pretty good about it.  Then they had me play some arpeggios, no problem.  Then they just had me play a couple different styles in a 12-bar-blues starting with Funk, then Bossa, and Samba.
Next they had me "sight read" the stuff that I got to look through in the practice room and It wasn't hard.  Then the guitar-man said he would sing phrases and I would have to copy them on the bass.  100% flawless.  Then he had me sing the phrases back to him.  100%.  Then he clapped complex rhythms that I also mimicked, 100%.  After that I was on my merry way!  There was an interview as well that wasn't too bad.  It was cool because for the first time on my mission instead of representing Jesus Christ, I represented myself.  The reason I say that's cool is because I could tell that Elder Cox and Dylan Cox aren't two different people.  I see a lot of times that it's almost like a switch goes off in people's heads when they're in missionary mode vs. non-missionary, or even gospel mode vs. not gospel mode.  I got to clearly see that whether I have a name-tag or not, I'm still a disciple of Christ and will gladly represent Him.  I even got to share a portion of my testimony about serving others during my interview.  Good stuff!
Whew, that was lengthy.  Anyway, other than that we've been picking up on the service hours.  It's been awesome! Saturday we helped pull weeds for a former investigator who we're going to start teaching again.  We did that from 10-12, and then from 12 to like 5 we helped someone move with our WML.  This was probably the hardest move I've ever had to do.  This lady had the nicest furniture I've ever seen.  And it.  Was.  Heavy.  She had a dresser that had a granite top and was made out of solid... really heavy wood-stuffs.  It took forever and I've been walking very gingerly since then.  But, we asked for service opportunities and we got some! This lady is a non-member too, and she invited us over sometime!  Service is legit!

Other than that, we're slowly getting this steam locomotive running.  Slowly but surely.  We have found a couple people and we're making progress!  Until next time, keep on keeping on!

-Elder Cox