Thursday, April 10, 2014

One of two trips back to old Obregon.

2014-4-9   If you KNOW it DO IT! Part 2 ...Sins of omission vs. sins of commission. last weeks email..."If you know it, do it."
Part 2  Sins of omission vs. sins of commission.
They´re both bad.  I had a really crazy week last week because of this.

Yeah...uuumm...can´t go into details because I don´t have time...(hahaha is that getting cliche ;) but...well...yeah. I learned a very very hard lesson that I wish I would have applied before now....but at least I´ve now officially learned by lesson. So please learn from my mistakes. Por favor. Just because you´re not breaking a rule doesn´t mean you´re not guilty. Por ejemplo...if your friend is stealing from a store...that´s bad. If you´re there watching your friend steal but not actually doing the´s still bad...especially if you don´t do anything to stop them. Pretty sure the popo (police) is still gonna arrest you.
So yeah...there´s my soap box for the week.

hhmmm...what else happened this week...Oh...the reason I didn´t write on Monday was because we had a special transfer. My dear companion was needed someplace I got to go to Obregon and back 2 times...2 times there...2 times back to basically 20 hours on the bus. Good times.

My new companion is Hermana Rodriguez. I´m so excited. She is super nice and great and happy and doesn´t know English. So great. So hopefully I´ll learn a lot quicker now :)

OH and General Conference. Good stuff. First session I got to watch with English subtitles. Bueno. Loved loved loved.
2nd session...didn´t have the opportunity to watch. Sunday morning...todo en espanol. No entiendo mucho.
2nd session. English!! aaahhh yyeeaaahh. It was good stuff. Can´t wait to read it in a month!!!

Well...I´ve over spent my time. Drats. Just know that I´m alive and not perfect but I am learning. Sometimes I feel like I´m learning more that my investigators!! oops.

Anywho...have a good week and do good. And don´t do bad. And do things you know you´re supposed to...and don´t not just do bad...and while you´re at it...just be perfect! Sound good. And then once you´ve mastered that...teach me. Sound like a good plan...I think so ;)

P.S. Hanna!! My banana!!!How are you deary
I miss you so much. And I´ve been thinking about you tons and tons. And more tons.
I especially thought of you during conference when they were talking about the youth and needing to be strong and stand up for your beliefs. Hanna, you are such a strong person. You know what’s right and you have a great spirit. Really. YOU are very sensitive to the spirit and you know what´s right. Please never never NEVER be afraid to do what´s right and stand up for your beliefs. Ever. I know, Hanna, I KNOW that it´s hard to stand alone especially when you want to be loved and liked and popular. It´s so hard. But please please please be strong no matter what.

I know God will bless you. He always always will. Just “do what is right...let the consequences follow.¨

I love you Hanna!! Keep being the awesome person that you are!! Love you so so so so much.
Feel free to write me some day ;)

Love ya!!
Sister Chae'chae
Love you all so much. thanks for writing me every week. and thanks for getting Bryson to write!!! I´ll email him back next week. I haven´t read his email yet...but I will soon!! love love love love love love love and miss you all!!!

Sister chae chae

2014-3-29 Cute little ninos!!!

This was at a Relief Society Activity.

2014-3-31 If you KNOW it...DO it! Knowledge is only as good as what you do with it.

Another hot hot hot hot week in Guasave. And it´s not even summer. ha ha hahahawwwaaaahhhhhh.
Esta bien. I can do anything good. lol

So just a small small recap of my week.
My area is huge and we do a lot of walking. But we´ve been so blessed. 3 times this week when we were walking in the horrid heat, some members of our ward gave us rides. SUCH a huge blessing. Probably saved us an hour of walking each time. Love love love them!

I´ve been trying to memorize DyC 4 in Espanol because we recite it all the time...but Spanish plus memorizing is no bueno. But my dear companion was so great and helped me with it! We spent probably an hour working on it together. Another blessing.

Oh, and not only that, she helped me memorize the ¨15 20¨ minute lesson for The restoration so that I can know what to say when we contact people. 2 hours we spent and it was so great. So helpful. So blessed I am ;)

But...I´ve been thinking...
Now that I KNOW these things...I need to DO them now. It´s something that I´ve been thinking a lot about lately. Knowledge is only as good as what you do with it.
I love a scripture in Mosiah 4 vs. 10 ¨...if ye believe these things see that ye do them." And by that scripture I have a quote by Elder Marvin J. Ashton that says ¨"Pure religion is learning the gospel... and then putting it into action. Nothing will ever be of real benefit to us until it is incorporated into our lives."
So true. So so so so true.  You can be the best soccer player in the world, but if you don´t play the game you´ll never win. Yup. I know that´s true. So now that I know...I need to DO!! (easier said than done, but very possible)
Do and become. If you know it. Do it. Yup.

Love you all so much!!  Tenga buen semana...y siempre!
Hermana Cook

O.K....don’t have much time. Intercambios (exchanges) today because my companion is a sister training leader and has to go up  to Obregon. (which is actually terrifying for me because I´m going to be companion with a girl that has been here for 2 weeks, doesn´t speak any English, doesn't´t know the area or the people...And I have been here two weeks!  2 days. oh pray for my stressed out soul...)

oh one more thing...would you send me a small synopsis of what was said in the women conference. I didn´t understand nada...except for the spirit. but I´d love to know what they actually said.

muchos gracias.
love hna.cook

Friday, March 28, 2014

2014-3-25 "It is better to prepare and prevent, than to repair and repent"

Where to begin??
I would start at the beginning...but there is no beginning. Wow. So much.
Highlights perhaps??

Ok...first off...I LOVE my area. My district, the members, my companion. Casi todo...except for the misqutoes. I thought they were bad in Obregon. False. Way worse here. I got 15 bites in 1 hour. WITH bug spray. No bueno. If I die, it won't be because of drug lords or heat'll be from the bugs. Not even kidding. 

Anywho...yeah. Love this area. The members here give us referrals without even having to ask. They just give them. It's so fantastic. OH, and one of the girls in the Young Womens volunteers to come with us to lessons. She actually wants to come!!! most of this last week consisted of cleaning our house. The elders have been living there since like...forever. One elder's notebook we found was from 2008..but yeah. Disgusting! So nasty. Probably hadn't been cleaned once. And my companion, bless her heart, is OCD and long story short...we cleaned the house for 3 days. No joke. Mommy...I will NEVER complain about cleaning our house again. Ever. One night we stayed up until 3am. 3AM!!! Cleaning. Everything. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.Yup...but it's very very very very very very very very very very very clean now. Very! 

But on one of the many bright sides of all this, I had much time to think and ponder about stuff. One thing I thought of while cleaning the house was if the elders had just done the little things, it would not have been a 3 day project. Alma 37:6-7. "that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass;" 

And then I thought of a quote I have in my scriptures in Alma 59: And now as Moroni had supposed that there ashould be men sent to the city of Nephihah, to the assistance of the people to maintain that city, and knowing that it was easier to keep the city from falling into the hands of the Lamanites than to retake it from them, he supposed that they would easily maintain that city.

"It is better to prepare and prevent, than to repair and repent". No recuerdo who said that...but yeah. It's very true. When we do the little things every day, we won't have to worry about trying to repair and repent. It's doable. I know it's doable. It's possible to make a life full of mistakes and wrong doings better again. It's possible to be clean again. But it's not as easy as it would have been if I had been doing the little things daily. Reading, pondering, applying, praying, serving, writing in my journal and remembering, etc. Repentance is possible. But living the gospel is much easier. it :)
But remember that we are not perfect and make mistakes. Just do the best you can. The BEST YOU can. I'm an imperfect teacher. I'm not perfect at what I'm teaching...but I do know that it's true and I am trying MY BEST to live it. 

There's my two cents for the week. 

Love ya'll so much. 

2014-3-19 1st transfer ;) Guasave in Sinaloa

So I'm not in Kansas anymore...or Cuidad Obregon...or Sonora. 
I´m in Guasave in Sinaloa. About 4 hours south of Cd.Obregon. It´s a puebla. 
People told me it was going to be huts and card board boxes...but it´s not. Just a smaller little city. least from what I can tell from the 1 day I've been here.
My companions were Hna. Kindt and Hna. Alatorre. After Hna. Kindt and I got here around 3 yesterday after our 4 hour bus ride, the Zone leaders got a call saying Hna. Kindt was being transferred. Poor dear was NOT happy about that. So after we ate at a members house we took an hour ride up to her new area.

Crazy story.
So the Hermano that was driving us has this tiny little truck. There are 4 of us in total making this journey up to her area. 2 people can fit in the interior...what do the other 2 people do?....they ride in the back of the truck of course!! hahaha so fun. Hair in my face and trying to keep my skirt from blowing up and trying to not make eye contact with the people staring at the 2 white girls in the back of the truck. hahaha good times.
Once we dropped her off I got to ride solo in the back. Bueno. 
I love Mexico :)

Anywho...I miss my other companions...but my new companion, Hna. Alatoree is so so so so so so so so great. I´d met her once before because she stayed with us twice for a leadership meeting. I thought she was awesome then. I think she´s even more awesome now. Seriously an answer to my prayers. Huge answer. She was talking to me today because I told her I was not very good at contacting. She then gave me a small demonstration of contacting and all this good stuff...but what really touched me was that she said that we are learning together. Juntos. She wants to help me learn. She is willing to help me. 
Ya. Just ya. And her motto is ¨don´t worry.¨..but in Spanish. She says it about everything. And she told me over and over and over again that she wants me to enjoy my mission. Her attitude and love and spirit is just amazing. 
Not gonna lie...she´s a little intimidating but only because she is so awesome. She is 26, has a career already (she´s an architect), has met amazing people, taught seminars to seminary teachers and yeah..the list goes on. She is the best. A blessing. And she has a huge responsibility...we have a huge responsibility. 
We are opening this area. We are the first sisters here. We don´t know where anything is or who anyone is. She is training me. She´s the sister training leader over 26 sisters and they are all an hour away....
Pero...¨don´t worry¨
I don´t know why the Lord assigned me to such an awesome companion. I really don´t. But I am SO grateful. I feel so blessed.

Anywho...that´s what´s going on in my Mexico right now.
Que suave :)

Love ya lots!!!
Hopefully someday I´ll actually have time to send pictures...


2014-3-12 DyC 123:17...Cheerfully do all things that lie in your power...then shall ye see the hand of God.

Sorry for not emailing on Monday.
I got to go to Guaymas on Monday for Visa stuff. It was a fun little field trip and I got to see my favorite peeps!! Hna.Andelin and Hna.Skeen!! It was so great to be able to spend the day with them. Such a blessing. Also, one of the Elders that went with us had an amazing conversion story. He was born in the Lutheran church and went every so often. But when he was 10 he felt that something was missing. 10!! a tiny little 10 year old felt that something was missing from his life. So then he started religion shopping. He found the LDS church and loved it. He knew it was true. He wasn’t able to be baptized though until he was 18 because his madre didn’t like the church. Anywho, I’m glad he told me that story. It really gives me hope and reminds me that God does prepare people. He loves his children and His children love him too. I just want to go and find them!!!

Ok, miracles of the week.
One miracle came from an inconvenience.
From Friday night to Sunday night, all of Obregon didn’t have water. Nada. Nadie.
Talk about nasty and stinky and gross. Yeah...we don’t have to go into details...but it was not pretty.
Anywho, on Saturday, we were out walking and both of my companions had an impression to go and visit a lady in our ward, Hna.Montoya. We went over there and talked with her for a bit. She then asked us about our water situation. We told her we had none. She then told us she had TONS of water she had saved up and stored and told us we could come the next morning and take a "shower."  So the next morning we come and she had made us breakfast, heated up the water on her stove, put the water in buckets for us to bathe with etc. SUCH a TENDER MERCY!! Because she was prepared, she was able to bless our lives. I know that is a true principle. We can’t help others with things we don’t have ourselves. Since she was prepared, we were blessed. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE HER!!!

Saturday we had a baptism. For 2 cute little ninos. Angel and Angelic. (pictures will come next week).
Funny story, I actually didn’t even know they hadn’t been baptized. They’re at church every week with their mom. Super cute. Angel is 11 and Angelic is 9. They were counted as our baptisms because they weren’t baptized at 8...or something like that. Since I still don’t completely understand Spanish...I don’t totally understand what went down...but we planned it and all that fun jazz.
Anyway it was a good experience. They both have very strong testimonies. And they cute little girl Angelic, is SO sweet to me. She is always giving me hugs and giving me flowers and such. So sweet. I got to speak about baptism at they baptism and when I asked her what she was covenanting to do, she said be a missionary like me someday. SOOOO CUTE. I want one.So yeah. Good times.

Anywho...some last minute thoughts. 
Through others wisdom and my own studying, this week I’ve really been trying to focus on DyC 123:17...Cheerfully do all things that lie in your power...then shall ye see the hand of God. 
I really really really try to apply that every day. I can’t do a lot of things right now, and when I don’t feel like I’m helping, I get frustrated with myself and everything just is no bueno. But that’s not right. I need to be happy with the things I can do. When I am constantly having a negative opinion of myself, I miss a lot of the good things that are happening around me. I miss a lot of the blessings.

Entonces...D&C 123:17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us acheerfully bdo all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the csalvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

Thank you all so much for everything!! I love you and your examples!! Like for seriously. Thanks and keep up the good work!!


P.S. BIG thank you to Sis. Mitchell!!!! It is such a blessing to have people that are so caring and giving to one that does not deserve it. I have a strong testimony of Mosiah 2:17...when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God. Thank you so much for your love and service to God.

love love love love love
Love the people in Mexico! 

2014-3-3 “See that all these things are done in wisdom and in order...” Mosiah 4:27

1 month in Mexico!! Crazy. Anywho..this week went by so fast. So fast. It’s hard to believe this transfer is almost over! Hna. Bledsaw is going to be leaving us because she is going to be training. That is so crazy and scary. She only got here two transfer before I did. There is no way that I can train after next transfer!! I don’t think the President would do that...but yeah. Let’s pray for that NOT to happen. haha

So first off...I decided that fast Sundays are my favorite days. Yesterday was so amazing. I LOVED testimony meeting. All the testimonies were soooooooooooo sweet and sincere. They were all pure testimonies. The "I knows" or here "yo se que." So beautiful. I felt the spirit so strong. I love these people. They are so great. They definitely know how to bring the Spirit.

This week was fun. I was sick (and still am) all week. I have a nasty cough and a stuffy  nose...and it ain't going away. All the things I don't love here love me. Sickness, mosquitoes, dirt, etc. haha. Opposition in all things, right?

This week with Carlos was pretty good. We taught him 3 times this week. He is soooo good at doing all the readings and coming prepared with questions...but it’s just not clicking for him yet. He doesn’t feel like he is getting answers. We’ve explained and given examples of how the Spirit talks to people..but he says he’s getting nada. We watched the Joseph Smith movie with him on Saturday. LOVE THAT MOVIE!! LOVE THAT MAN EVEN MORE!!! So amazing. I felt the Spirit so strong, and I think he did too. When we were bearing our testimonies of him, he was getting teary eyed. Hna. Lima told me to ask him to be baptized again...but he declined once again. No pressure. Next day was Sunday and sadly...he didn’t show. That was kind of a let down...but we have an appointment with him hopefully we can figure out what’s up with him and maybe some more of his doubts. I just love Carlos so much!! I want this for him so much!!! But we all have that amazing gift of agency. Bless his heart.

Que mas...Oh, last Monday, since we moved, we don’t have a washer we (hna. Bledsaw and I) got to do our laundry by hand for the first time!! With one of those cool rock structure things that people have....idk what they’re called...but it was exciting. Hna. Lima was so shocked that we didn’t have one. "Rico" haha.

Oh...reality check. So once upon a time my companion was frustrated with me a lot because I wasn’t saying a lot in lessons, which I totally understand where she’s coming from. Long story short, we were practicing one morning and she decided to do the practice in English (she speaks English really really well). So we did. After the practice she informed me that my Spanish was not the problema when it comes to teaching. "You can't even teach in English."
"Ow..oooowww...OUCH CHARLY!!"hahaha..but really...that hurt.
But the guilty taketh the truth to be hard. And I am guilty. Teaching is definitely not something that is coming naturally to me. But that's where being humble and relying on the Lord comes in. Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them theiraweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them. Now that I know my weakness, I can build and learn from that. But also, Mosiah 4:27 helped me a lot.
And see that all these things are done in wisdom and in order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.”
I know that every scripture is true. I really need to do what I want my investigators to do and APPLY it.
Be diligent. Be diligent, that thereby I might win the prize.

Also, I just want to say thank you for all your prayers and thoughts!!! There have definitely been some times where I’m feeling down, and I get the thought "people are praying for you. Be happy." Daily I have that thought. And daily (and in every moment really) I try and be happy.

So thank you thank you thank you!!!Your faith inspires me.
 Love you all!!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2014-2-17 & 2014-2-24 Be thou humble & "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee"

Hna.Brita (from Dominican Republic...LOVE her accent) Hna.Bledsaw, Me,
Hna.Ibañez (my grandma), Hna.Lima (my mom)

2014-2-17 Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answers to they prayers" (D&C 112:10)

I can´t believe I´ve already been here for 2 weeks. It just can´t be possible. At all. But somehow it is.
So this week...I don´t know where to start.
Out of the 2 weeks I´ve been´s literally been the best of times and the worst of times. But right now they are good ;) But let´s focus on the best.

I learned so much this week!! Not so much Spanish...but other things. I learned that I´m like super duper prideful. Probably not a shock to anyone...but yeah. Like I knew I was never perfect...but this week even more.

After getting home from a difficult and frustrating trainer...bless her heart...told me of some things I needed to fix. After her long spiel, she asked me how I felt. I told her I knew I needed to be better and I was grateful for her input. I was feeling very very irritated and didn´t want to say anything I would regret later on. She told me I needed to tell her honestly...and long story short...I realized my pride is really holding me back.  After our long conversation, Hna. Lima told me to go have some time alone and pray. So I did. As I was reading scriptures and praying, I also read the words to ¨Be thou Humble."
Ummm...yeah. Pretty sure that song was written for me. It was perfect. And true. And super great. 

Be thou humble in thy weakness, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee, Shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers. Be thou humble in thy pleading, and the Lord thy God shall bless thee, Shall bless thee with a sweet and calm assurance that he cares.

Be thou humble in thy calling, and the Lord thy God shall teach thee To serve his children gladly with a pure and gentle love. Be thou humble in thy longing, and the Lord thy God shall take thee, Shall take thee home at last to ever dwell with him above.

So I know that song speaks of true principles. It´s very great. 
Well..I was going to write more...but I was just informed we´re leaving.

I love you all!!
Thanks for your kind....everything!!!


P.S. I miss Becca!!! I wish I could hear her sing... it´s soooo funny hear...and sweet. Since no one is super musical here unless your rich...they don´t really know how to carry a tune. It took all my strength not to laugh my first couple times singing with them. My Mexican companion is so great...but she was not blessed with pitch. Bless her heart ;) But it´s really sweet. They sing from the heart and I love it!!!

2014-2-24 "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" 
(Joshua 1:5)
I have 3 weeks here...already!!!! Can’t even believe it. Honestly. I can’t. Crazy crazy.
Anywho...recap of my 3rd week here in dear ol' Obregón.
 We moved apartments last week...which is partially why it was so crazy last week. Our new one is much much nicer and less least less cucarachas. We have a problema with the beds right now....but hopefully we’ll get that figured out today. Hopefully. :)
So last week I did splits with my "grandma" trainer’s trainer. We had to do splits because one of my companions has problems with her back and another hermana has problems with her’s complicated...but yeah. We "got" to do splits. I was super nervous at first because we were splitting up in my área (which I do not at all), she doesn’t know the área, and we don’t speak each other’s language. Yeah. I was terrified. was like the best thing ever.
Definitely a breath of fresh air. She was SO SO SO SO SO SO nice and loving. So helpful, and very very very patient. She constantly told me I was doing a good job, and didn’t get annoyed when I had to look up a Word in the dictionary etc. So great. We got to do that for 2 days and it was so great. I already miss her. She was definitely a blessing. A HUGE blessing this week. She helped rejuvenate my emotional batteries. for the best part.
Once upon a time we had this lady we thought was an investigator (Angela) that we just found out was baptized when she was 16...but she’s never been active. time when we were teaching her, she said her friend (Carlos) wanted to listen. Bueno.
Long story short...first lesson went pretty wellHe said he’d be cool with listening again. The next lesson I wasn’t there because of being on splits, but my companion said that he was very argumentative. That made me sad...he seemed SO great and ready.  
Third lesson. 
We asked him about questions he had ( least I think that’s what happened...I didn’t actually understand it But yeah...he had a lot of them. BUT that’s okay...he has been doing the Reading we’ve asked him to at least he’s searching. At the end of the lesson, Hna.Lima asked me to invite him to baptized.
I did. He said no...before I even finished asking. That was exciting. But...even though he didn’t accept...he did accept our invitation to attend a baptism that was on Saturday.
Long story short...HE CAME!!! It was the greatest thing ever. He said he felt really really really good. So we reminded him about church on Sunday (last Sunday he didn’t come). He said he’d come...and he did!!! HE CAME!!! AND STAYED!! THE WHOLE 3 HOURS!!! It was so fantastic. He got to see the 2 people that got baptized the day before get confirmed. I tried to explain to him how baptism is only half of it...confirmation is just as equally important. Hahaha...that was fun. I don’t think he understood...but at least I tried. All the talks were suuuuper great for him to hear. Great testimonies. It was perfect. And the lesson in Sunday school was also super great. It was about prophets which was SO GREAT because that was a big chunk of his doubts...about Joseph Smith and prophets today. The teacher was super great at teaching and was good at including him. I think Priesthood was good for him. The elders were there with him and of his friends that he didn’t know was a member is in our Ward!! So that was a huge blessing too.
Our next lesson with him is tomorrow. I’m just hoping and praying that I can teach to his needs...say what he needs to hear. He really is such a good person. He needs the church, and he’d bless the church so much.
Anywho...those were the highlights of my week. It was a great 3rd week.
 Thanks for all your prayers, thoughts, and love. I am always in need of that stuff ;) Siempre.
 OH...I read the talk given my President Monson (Conf. Oct 2013, "I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee.”) 
 So great. Needed it Mucho!!! You should read it too. It’s super duper great. 
Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.

Much love and gratitude,
Hna. Cook
P.S. Thanks for sending Elder Christofferson's talk "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread" (BYU Devotional)  LOVE IT! 
*the food here is really really really good. 
*Also....IT IS SO HOT HERE!!! And it’s only Feb....not good. It’s going to be an interesting 2 summers.
*Oh...and even more...the mosquitoes love me here too. I have 14 bites right now. And that’s with bug spray. AND the people here say that this is nothing compared to the summer.
 Oh dear. Keep praying for me ;) hahaha

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014-2-10 Primero Semana (first week)
To my dear family and friends!!!
Hola hola!!! Except crazy...people don´t say ´hola´ hear very much...mostly buenos dias/tardes/noches. I´m trying to break that habit. first week in Mexico has come and gone. On to the second. first couple of days here were CRAZY!! Like...I can´t go into details...but I wasn´t able to sleep in my apartment for the first 3 nights. Crazy crazy. But I love it. My companions are the greatest peeps ever! I feel so inadequate to be their companions. Hna. Lima is my trainer. She´s from Mexico and has only been here for 6 months. SHE IS SO AMAZING!!! Not only is she training me, but she is the sister training leader, she is opening this area we´re in (been here for 3 weeks), and has 2 American companions!!! She is so crazy busy. I kinda feel like a burden a lot of the time. I know how hard I am to teach...especially Spanish!! (of which my MTC teachers can testify ;) But she has some how found a way not to kill me...yet. Bless her heart.  Hna. Brensaw is also the bomb!!! I think I would have died by now without her. She set a goal to learn Spanish is 7 weeks...and she did!! She is so amazing and is ALWAYS so loving and willing to help me. Always. When I can´t understand what Hna. Lima is trying to tell me, she nicely explains it to me in 2 year old Spanish. She is so great.

The Lord has seriously blessed me!! He just keeps doing that!! He is so amazing. I feel inadequate of His blessings. But I’m glad He keeps sending them.

So my area right now is the mission home area, Ciudad Obregon. It's a HUGE area. So big. I don't think I’ll ever remember all the streets or where anything is. I never know where we are. Ever. But it's a super good thing that my companions know what's up. Since it is a newer area, we don't have very many investigators. But we're trying. We have 2 right now...but we contacted a bunch of people last week and set up appointments for this week. Hopefully some...if not all...will want us to come back! But we are still keeping busy. Siempre. Our ward is great...but there are TONS of less actives. So many. So we are visiting tons of them. They are all super great. I can't remember who is who yet...but I hope to very soon.

I'm loving the Spirit here. It's so amazing how well I can feel it when I'm teaching. My Spanish is so bad...and the people talk so fast...and differently...but my companions tell me that when I talk they feel the Spirit. I hope they're telling the truth. It's one thing if I’m feeling it...but I want others to feel it! So yeah...I hope it's true (:

The people here are so great!! The ninos and the older people are my favorite!! They are so cute!!! We visited an older lady yesterday...she was the cutest thing ever. She was so sweet to me even though I only got like 45% of what she was saying. They are all so loving here Black heart (cards) I just wish I knew what they were saying!!

So question for all ya'll that had to learn a different language...
How do you contact people when you only know like...5 words of Spanish? I'm really struggling. What tips do you have? The goal for our mission is for everyone to contact 10 people a day. It kinda seems impossible for me right any tips or words of wisdom you have would be SO GREAT!!

So this email is super duper long...I’m not sure how many of you will have actually read this far...but thanks if you did. Thanks if you didn't (:  And seriously...THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR LOVE AND PRAYERS!!! I'm pretty sure it's the only reason I haven't died yet...or been killed...yet :)

Hermana Cook
P.S...President Munive and his family are the best!!! He is SO NICE!!! Love them!!

hola de méxico!!

entonces...I made it. It's been a crazy 2 days. Feels more like an eternity!!!
I don't have long to write...but here is a small synopsis :) 40 minutes of sleep. no bueno...pero i´m still alive.
Got to call home for a small moment...that was great. I love you guys!!
Sat by a really nice man on the plane, he was LDS and yeah...we just talked.

Once we got to the airport in Hermosillo we got to wait there for 4-5 hrs. We didn´t know what to eat...or how to pay for we didn´t eat anything until about 7 that night. But after waiting and doing nothing for 3 hrs, Hermana Andelin wanted to go talk to people. So we did...we talked to a man named Luis. well..I just listened...she (the almost fluent in Spanish) did all the talking and understanding. It was fun.

The plane ride to Obregon was SO PRETTY!!! so so so pretty.  Presidente Munive and his wife picked us up. They are so cute! Their house is SO nice...crazy. We had dinner at their house with the other new missionaries that all speak Spanish. Then they took us to a hotel and we slept...then all day today we did practices and learned stuff/rules. It´s hard not knowing Spanish. but I´m trying really hard to be positive. Trying to remember my missionary plaque scripture: Alma 17:11 “And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.” 

I have 2 companions, Hermana Brensaw and Hna. Lima.  Lima is from Mexico and Brensaw is from Idaho.  She already knows it´s interesting..but they are both super nice. My apt is really...not nice...and lets just say it was silly to bring a blow dryer, straightener and curling iron. I will not be using them. Everyone was so surprised at how many suit cases we that was embarrassing...
but yeah...I should probably get going...

I love you all so much! I´m getting teary eyed just thinking and missing you all. I appreciate all your prayers...please continue. I super duper need it.

I love you!!! and I KNOW THE CHURCH IS TRUE!! Really really and I love it SO MUCH!!! Please share it as much as you can...because I won´t be able to for a someone needs to ;) hahaha

Love your daughter,

love love love love love love you!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

“The Spirit can't help guide us if we don't move our feet, or open our mouths.”
Hola! Hola!
This time in the MTC has just FLOWN by SO FAST!!!! I can't even believe that I've been here longer than most districts!! Because of transfers and stuff, everyone that came Dec. 18 is here an extra week. And let me tell you, I needed it!!! I am soooo grateful for it too!!!

So this week was great. Super great. Definitely had it's ups and downs, but more ups :)
Sad day last week, our dear Hermana Benally left us. She was previously in our zone, supposed to leave the first week of January, but she broke her pinky and had to stay. She got put into our district. Anywho...she was the coolest thing ever. Definitely a blessing. We were so was great :) I miss her, but I know she's doing amazing things in Mexico!!!

So yeah...I got my travel plans last week. Crazy crazy. We'll be leaving the MTC campus at 4:30 a.m. So exciting. From there we take a plane to AZ and then to MEXICO!!! Hermsillo!!! Crazy crazy. Hopefully I'll be able to call!!!

Last Sunday in Relief Society was AMAZING!! Janice Kapp Perry came and spoke. So great. We sang a bunch of songs and the spirit was just amazing. It always is...but still super great. Love that lady and her songs :) One song that she sang to us said "I want to be like Jesus...I want to feel what Jesus I ask myself the question, What would Jesus do."  I'd never heard it before, but it was super great. And I concur with the lyrics 100%

Elder Stephen B. Allen also came that night. I think he's in the 70...either that or he's part of the missionary department. Either way...he was super legit. He said tons that I liked...but what stuck out to me was "when we feel sad or depressed, lonely, etc, it's because we're only thinking of ourselves." So true. I need to stop it. So something nice for somebody else...that's what Jesus would do :)

We watched a devotional in class by Elder Bednar. So great. It was about feeling the spirit. He says if you ever wonder if the Spirit is actually talking to you or directing you..."stop worrying about it!" As long as we are being good boys and girls, doing what's right, honoring and keeping our covenants and commandments, he will be with us. He gave a bunch of examples where he did something...not knowing if it was him or the Spirit...but everything turned out great because he ACTED!!! So good for me to hear. The spirit can't help guide me if I don't move my feet, or open my mouth. So yeah. Don't worry if you're not sure the Spirit is talking to you or not. As long as you're worthy of him and doing what's right, and acting, he'll make things so it doesn't end up in a disaster :) yeah...the teachers here are all super duper AMAZING!!!! Like so much it almost hurts. I have had so many lessons, even Spanish lessons, where I can just feel the spirit so well. They are all amazing. The 2 most amazing teachers though are definitely the ones I was blessed with. Hno.Passantino and Hno.Bruce. If any of you ever meet them...just give them a HUGE hug for me and probably everything you have in your wallet. :) They totally deserve it.

James B Martino came on Tuesday...I think he's the one in the 70. He's also super cool. He talked about members and missionaries working together. He shared the story of Alma and Amulek. If you go and read it, you'll find that whenever the people are astonished or amazed, it's after the MEMBER shares something or says something. So important. So even though I can't testify of ya'll's usefulness yet...please go and help the missionaries. I have a feeling I’ll need your testimony :)

So anywho...time is just about up!!!
Thanks for reading yet another super duper [not] exciting letter about me in the MTC ;) My next email will be from MEXICO!!! Pray for me...and my future companion. But if you can only pray for one...pray for her!! She's going to need a ton of patience and love for this hermana!!!

Hasta Luego!!!
Hna.Cook .

P.S. Hanna Banana!!! Thank you SO MUCH for your letters :) They made me laugh out loud.
You are just the cutest thing that I miss!! Tons and tons I miss you :) I hope everything is going well. You are going to be such a good musician!! You already are!!! I know it. I just love you. So much. Remember to be happy. That's what the gospel is all about. Being happy. Just remember what Jesus would do. The more you think about others and their happiness, the happier you will be. Whenever you are sad, frustrated or lonely, do something for the others around you.
I love you my little twin!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25

 “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”  2 Nephi 2:25
To no ones surprise, time is short today. Idk what it is about an hour...but it's hard to read lots of emails and then write one....oh well :) This week has been a week... Every minute was crazy slow. But the days have just at the speed of sound. So crazy loco. 
So first off, last week I forgot to inform you that I went to salt lake and got my visa!!! hooray, I will be for sure leaving to Mexico on Feb.3!!!!
Wow. wow. wow.
Just typing that makes me feel all sorts of nervous and excitement!!

Since I don't have lots of time on email left, I’ll just write about some lessons I’ve learned this week (and although I’ve learned them...I’m still trying to apply them. It's very much a work in progress). 

There are SO many AMAZING examples here.
Like so many. I know I’ve already said this...probably too much even, but my teacher, Hermano Passantino is like the greatest human being. Ever! I am humbled every day from his experiences and how he teaches. He definitely is on his way to being a prophet. Well one day, when we were all stressed and looking like we wanted to cry, he just decided to pretty much skip the lesson he had planned and tell us stories. He told us a bunch about his mission in Argentina. The more stories he would tell, the more I would feel SO bad for not being a better student. For not being a better person. A better missionary!! Like I really was beating myself up mentally because of how good he is!! Well later as I was pondering on his amazingness (I know it isn’t a word, but it describes him), I had a thought come to my head, “God has blessed me with SO many good people around me, not to make me feel bad and stupid, but to help better myself!!! He doesn't want their goodness to bring me lower, he puts them in my life to make me better!!”   Sometimes when there are really nice and outgoing people around me, I have a strange temptation to be jealous of them. But that is not right. I just need to look at the good things about them and then try and emulate those things!!! So yeah...even though this is a lesson I should have learned looooooooooong ago...I am relearning it this week as well :) So don't beat yourselves up because you think someone is better than you, just work on becoming better :)
This is kind of like the first.
Because of the many many good examples I have around me, I often just wish that I was like them. I wish I was a good example, a good leader, a good friend, a better missionary, etc. Well I came to realize that if I want to be all of those things...I need to DO all of those things. I can't just wish I was nice and friendly to everyone and not be. I can't be someone that loves everyone if I don't love. If I want to be someone that is patient with others around me, then I need to be patient. I need to speak with kindness. Like I know this is like common sense...but it's some sense I’m coming to get more of while being here. So yeah...if you want to be better...THEN BE BETTER. You can't be better by staying the same. 
Every Sunday after our devotionals, we come back to West campus and they have some church movies/devotionals playing. This Sunday we decided to go to the Joseph Smith video again. I ALWAYS love that movie. Well as the movie was coming to a close, I just had a VERY overwhelming feeling of gratitude for Joseph Smith!!! Because of him, I am here on a mission!!! Because of him I have the knowledge that Jesus is my Savior, he died for me, I can repent and become clean, I can have the gift of the 
Holy Ghost, and I can return to live with God again. Because of his sacrifice, I have happiness. I was thinking about how great that was, another thought came into my head. What am I going to do differently as a result of that? Yeah, being grateful is good and all...but what am I going to do to change? What am I going to do as a result of his sacrifice? Having gratitude is not enough. We need to change!!! I need to change. When I got home, I wrote in my journal things to work on...I challenge all of you to find something(s) to work on. Yeah, you're grateful for Joseph Smith and the gospel...but now what? What are you going to do to change? How does his sacrifice, and the sacrifice of our Savior change us?
Being happy. 
Like I was saying, because of Joseph Smith (and more importantly our Savior), I have the ability to be happy because of the knowledge I have. But, for some reason, I get discouraged a lot and then I’m sad. This is not right!!! This message and gospel I’m going to be sharing is all about happiness. "The plan of happiness." 2 Nephi 2:25 aAdam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy“  We are here to have joy and be happy!!! I had to make a conscious effort this week to be happy even when things went wrong. When my lesson was a TOTAL failure, when I felt dumb not being able to speak the things I wanted, when I felt like all of my preparations and studying was for nothing. I choose my attitude!!! All of those things are SO so so so so so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I shouldn't let a failed lesson (or two...or five...) make me sad when the message I’m trying to share is about happiness. Kinda hypocritical of me ;)

So anywho....those are some of my lessons this week. There were SO Many more...but my time is up. 

I received some fantastic letters this week. Very inspired. So thank you to everyone that took time to follow that inspiration!!! 

I love all of you SO MUCH!!!
Love love love you!!!

Hermana Cook

Friday, January 17, 2014

"Wait Upon the Lord"
So today is crazy. I have like no time. My companion was sick today, so we've been taking turns getting our stuff done....anyway I just don't have lots of time...

Um....this week was hard. I feel like sometimes I am regressing in Spanish. There are so many things I want to do and just don't have time....blah blah blah. I don't want to make this a complaining letter. So I'll just talk about the good stuff :)

Last Sunday was so blessed!!! The Lord let me know he was thinking of me during The Mormon Tab “Music and the Spoken Word”.  They played 2 of my  favorite songs of all time!!! Gabriel's Oboe and Homeward Bound. When they were singing Homeward Bound, I almost started crying. That is like the best song ever and I so needed to hear it. I miss you all so much and yeah...Heavenly Father let me know He was thinking of me through that song. I may not have the gift of tongues yet..., but he is aware of me. I am so grateful for that!

Sunday night devotional. AMAZING!!!! It was Richard L Heaton....He's the director of like all the MTCs...or something like that. He's super in-charge somehow. Anyway...I cannot do his message justice...but he just talked about how we as missionaries are NOT saving people. We are HASTENING the work. We are helping Heavenly Father. Nothing more. If we have ANY success, it is because of God. He is preparing his people. This is His work. We are just helpers. He then had people that had just joined the church in the last 2 years stand up, picked 2 of them to come up, and then 2 people that had been reactivated in the last 2 years. He picked my dear Hermana Skeen. All of their stories were SO amazing. And he pointed out how in each story, the people had been prepared waaaaaaaaaay before the missionaries ever helped, or in some cases weren't even involved. God is in charge. He loves all His children and we are just here to help Him get them back. "You don't have one [a home]. But I will help you get it back if I can." --the Hobbit...I don't have time to write EmmaLee a personal that quote is for her ;)

Tuesday night devotional. Guess who came?!??!
ELDER BEDNAR!!!! AGAIN!!!!! Amazing! He did another Q&A with the questions asked last time. One of the questions was “why do good things happen to good people?” He brought up many good things, one of which was my theme for my mission so far D&C 122:7 “...all things shall give thee expereince...,”  but he also talked about President Kimball before he was prophet. He had throat cancer. Why would the Lord give him throat cancer or not heal him of it if he was going to be a prophet? He told of how before he was the prophet he had just had throat surgery and how he went to a stake conference or something with Elder/Pres...Harold B se...but how he made him talk during each session and all he could do was croak. He could hardly say any words. He felt humiliated each time he sat down. He felt like he was failing at his sacred calling. But each time he was able to say more. Still tons of croaking, but he could say more. Anyway...that experience helped make him how and who he was. I felt like I could relate to him in a small way. 

Last thing that was good. Elder Bednar gave us a blessing saying that we would learn how to 'wait upon the Lord'. I loved and hated that he said that. I felt like he was talking right to me. I feel like I already have been waiting on the Lord!!!! But I guess I will learn even more patience. Good thing my theme is "all things shall give the experience and be for thy good." I think something in my future is going to be hard and this is just preparing me. I guess we'll see what Heavenly Father has in store :)
 Isaiah 40:31 But they that await upon the Lord shall brenew their cstrength; they shall mount up with wings as deagles; they shall erun, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Love you all so much!!! I can't tell you enough how much it means to me! I wish I had the time to write you all personally!! But just know I love all ya'll!!!!

Until next week (hopefully)

Hermana Cook

P.S. So what I need is to THANK YOU!!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! That package you sent on Wednesday was the greatest thing ever. Everyone loved the brownies. 2 of the elders were way excited about Elder Callister’s CES fireside talk too ;) All the girls LOVED it. Could you send one more por favor?  I gave one to each person...there are 8 of us in my district, including me. So just one talk short. And yeah. Everything was so great. LOVED the Articles of Faith in Spanish!!! and the Plan of Salvation. LOVE LOVE LOVE TIMMY!!!! So funny, when I saw the pics I was like "my boyfriend!!!" and then the elders were like "your boyfriend sent you a package..lucky" and then I showed them how cute he was. They all was jealous;) But yeah.  Beccas pic of the tiger was super legit and Hanna’s letter was great. I do believe she promised to write me once a week... ;) oh and all the Hermanas said THANK YOU and how amazing you were for typing up that devotional!!! They were all going to write you thank you notes but since the craziness today....we didn't have much time. So...yeah. You are the most amazing ever. EVER!!!
 oh...and could you send me one of those book mark thingys with all the scripture mastery's on them...Just a quick little guide before I have them memorized ;)