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