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!!