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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

So yeah, teaching pool! We had the opportunity to teach a former investigator named Jesse. He hadn't actually met and had a lesson with missionaries, he only had talked to them. This time around he figured he'd let us teach him. Basically he told us about how he doesn't want to be a part of organized religion but if he ever did it would be for his kids. By the end he basically told us that he might start going to church a couple years down the road when the kids are older. He did say that he wants to do family history so that his kids can have an understanding of where they come from. So hopefully we can have an in with that!
Speaking of family history... Did I ever mention that I found a line in our tree that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve? So that's cool.
Other than that, we had a couple teaching opportunities with less active members but that was it. We're just in hardcore finding mode right now.
The other night Elder Erikson called me about people in the University Ward. Apparently a guy named Vincent, who we only taught twice, resurfaced after like 4 months of no contact. Remember me telling you about John? Probably not. We were sitting at the institute doing FB and a member knocks on the door and introduces us to John who just walked in wanting to learn about the church. Anyway, the last lesson we taught with him we taught the plan of salvation and he was just eating it up. It took forever. We actually had another appointment that Elder Erikson went to midway through the lesson with another member. So after he left the lesson I finished the Plan of Salvation with another member there. We weren't planning on extending a date to him, but I got the impression that I should, so I extended February 28. He declined it, but said he would pray about it, and did so at the end of the lesson. Well Elder Erikson called me and told me that apparently John is planning on being baptized on that day! Sweet huh!

Lastly, I held a macaw (big parrot-like bird) last night! The owner of it was seeing if the bird was in the mood to be pet, etc, and it was pecking at his hand. I held out my hand and the bird put it's talon up towards my hand. The owner said "that means he wants to climb on you", so the bird grabbed on and I was holding it and petting it. I guess I'm a bird whisperer. The bird even said "hello".

Anyway, all is well, the church is true, God lives. Till next time
-Elder Cox

Monday, February 9, 2015

Well... Not a whole lot going on.
Basically we spend all day every day with members. We've been setting up family mission plans and following up and hoping for referrals. We've gotten a couple, but it seems like a lot of people are hesitant in their involvement. They'll basically give us a name and an address to go by and say "good luck". Essentially that's just as good as tracting except that we can drop the members name. We're going to work on having the members introduce us to their friends instead of us just going over to their house. We'll see how it goes.

We did get a chance to do service for one of the investigators named Chris. He's in a part-member family and his wife isn't active. We helped him pull weeds in his backyard for over and hour and we were able to have a good talk with him about where he's at. Come to find out his member wife is a main reason that he doesn't come to church more regularly, so we'll have to get her on track ASAP. Other than that, I think we have an appointment tomorrow night with him.

Welp, wish there was more to report but we're working hard, so just know that. Love y'all!

-Elder Cox

Monday, February 2, 2015

Dang iiiitttt... I just can't stick. Thee transfers isn't that long, right? Whatever, either way I'm transferred AGAIN. This will be my 8th area and 8th companion. I will admit, in the past a lot of the time I didn't really mind being transferred. This time I'm a little bitter about it. Hopefully the Lord will soften my ever-so-hardened heart and help me quit being a baby. I'll definitely miss University Ward though...
So, I am whitewashing...
And not only just whitewashing but we're still zone leaders too. My new companion is Elder Last from California, and not only do we know absolutely nothing about the area, but we know absolutely nothing about the zone. So that should be fun. This will make whitewash number 5. Anyway, so we're now in Chandler East zone, which covers parts of Chandler and Gilbert. Basically it's the most like Utah you'll ever get without actually being in Utah. Our ward is a square mile and I would say 80% of the people are members already. All the members we have talked to are super missionary minded and have already talked to all of their neighbors. It'll definitely be a change of pace from ASU where people literally just walk in the Institute wanting to know about the church. But, it's essentially the same as my second area Trailside Ward and I loved it there. So who knows.
Considering we've only been in the area about 3 days, I don't know much about it. The only thing I've heard about our ward is that everyone is super missionary minded and that we'll get fed a ton. Other than that, it's really small and our teaching pool is basically empty. We have a couple new people that were referred just before the previous missionaries got transferred out so we'll see where we go with that. I'm sure we can get some things going here. It's happened before and it'll happen again.
It's super weird going from YSA to a ward like this. Chandler is full of really wealthy young couples. I went from poor college students with a dead silent sacrament meeting to super-wealthy-young-Mormon-Ville that has TONS of tiny little kids running around and screaming and all sorts of craziness. Definitely night and day, but I'll adjust as usual.
I wish I had more to talk about, but that's about all I got! Shane was supposed to be baptized this coming weekend, but apparently that might not happen again, so who knows. As for Gabe, I told him to make sure to keep in contact over FB and such, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Oh yeah, remember Karen Hernandez? She's taking temple prep classes and should be receiving her endowment sometime this month! Woot! Can't wait to be there to support her. Should be sweet. I wish we could've gotten her husband too so that I could go to a sealing but alas, not so. Maybe someday.

Anyway, that's all folks! Love ya,
-Elder Cox
They're changing things up a bit in that transfer calls will actually be tomorrow night. "What the heck?", you might say? I don't know either. They said our p-day would be changed to Wednesday too but then they changed it back so I don't even think they know what's going on. In any case, I may or may not be in a different place by next email and I guess that's that!
So funny story, Shane nor Anil came to FHE last week so neither of them saw Meet the Mormons. Gabe was there though and he said he liked it. That kid's so dang Mormon it's ridiculous. He also gave Elder Erikson and I a late Christmas present and gave us sweet ties. That kid is so awesome. We're trying to see if we can get him a calling in church even though he isn't a member, just so we can keep him around.
So we had a lesson with Anil last week. I think we mistook his super friendliness as interest in the gospel. We were planning on teaching the Restoration but never really got past the first principle. It was kind of funny because we planned on extending a baptismal date that lesson too. We ended up spending most of it just talking about Jesus Christ and His divinity. We invited him to pray if Jesus Christ was the Son of God but he said he wouldn't do it. Haha, what?! Not expecting that one. Long story short, we convinced him to pray about Jesus Christ so we'll see where that goes. As for his progress, it's definitely at square one with him and he'll have a long way to go.
Shane went out of town for a Pokemon tournament -- believe it or not that actually exists. Not the card game, but the video game -- so he wasn't able to come to church yesterday which was a huge bummer. Not super sure what his next step is but I'm pretty sure he'll be solid no problem. Probably good that we pushed back his baptism because he would have been playing Pokemon instead anyway!
Oh yeah, so here's a cool story. We were sitting at the Institute building just doing our online proselyting and we hear a knock at the door. We answer it and it's a member from one of the other singles wards. She introduces us to this kid named John and tells us that he walked into the Institute wanting to know more about our church...
Nah, just go find the other missionaries we're busy.
NOT. So obviously we teach him about the Restoration, and then about the Book of Mormon the next day. Holla! John grew up in Mesa and most of his friends are Mormon and he has a Mormon girlfriend that didn't even know he was meeting with us. So yeah, that's legit.
Oh yeah, last week we met this kid named Avery. He actually lives in Trailside Ward that I used to be in, but that's part of our singles ward too. Anyway, apparently Trailside missionaries have been teaching this guy for like a year and they just decided to throw him our way. So on our second lesson we invited him to be baptized on February 28th and he was all for it. Apparently he wants to be baptized super bad, but he's not all there if you know what I mean. I'd say he definitely has the accountability of at least an eight-year-old but his information retention could be better. Anyway, it's a cool story because we extended him a date to draw his concerns out, but he didn't have any concerns he just accepted the date.

Welp, that's all I got for you this week! Until next time

-Elder Cox