First... to answer all the questions and comments from my mama (so all you other people know... my mom writes great emails faithfully every week... pat her on the back and give her a chocolate please.)
Roney is making GREAT progress!!! He hasn´t drunk a bit of alcohol since tuesday!!! However... he has started smoking........... But he prayed and set his own baptismal date for the 18th of this month. He is doing great to reach that goal. Their marriage anniversary is the 19th of January... so he wants to be able to be sealed on that day the following year. Its so sweet :)
Other people we are teaching... Saúl... have I told you about him?? He is a Mayan priest! It´s interesting.... but he really loves the Book of Mormon (he has already read it all!) because the Mayans believe Jesus Christ came to the Americas so it is evidence of that! Other than him..... we don´t have much :( We found 14 nuevos last week...but we aren´t following up well and helping these people progress. We´ve had some challenges in the area... but today I talked to President and we are so ready to work harder than ever to see miracles here in Tejar!!
On Friday we had a Leadership Meeting with all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders and President. It was AMAZING... I can´t get over how great President is. He really reminds me of Daddy. You´re great Dad. This meeting really showed the potential we have in the mission and how much we are lacking. November we baptized a total of 203 with about 80 percent retention for those people.... and December.... only 124!!! The mission is splitting. There is work to be done. The Lord is hastening the work in Costa Rica and if we don´t catch up we are going to lose! It´s time we all work harder... give more... we have to be better examples... better leaders... and teach the sisters in our zone how to do better. Now is the time... and I´m ready!! :)
New Year in Costa Rica.... it´s a party. All Night. Long. Music and talking and alcohol and music and dancing and alcohol. Yay! We went to bed at 10:30 of course as the obedient missionaries we are... and at 11:59 we woke up... counted down... hugged... and went back to bed. Hermana Muñoz heads home this Thursday. It will be so different without her.
Had an interesting conversation with Presidente. He used the word "sheeple". He says in the world there are lots of sheeple... that are followers. He told me in the future Hermana don´t be a sheeple... be a leader. YOU Hermana Cook are a leader. Your time on the mission is short. And you´ve got to use it! So a word to all of you... DON´T BE SHEEPLE! Set your standards high and stick to them... and if someone tries to lower them! You don´t have much time here on earth.... you´ve got plans... goals... and you are going to reach them! And then get to work! Don´t waste time!!
We get temple trips and President interviews every three months. I wish we could go to the temple (and have interviews!) more often because I love it so much but I am blessed to be doing the work of the living for now!
Keep it up with your goals mom! And all of you! Way to exercise! Way to read the scriptures!!! Remember the goals you all sent me for Christmas and Keep it up! We have to be continually evaluating our progress every day and every week and every month or we won´t make it! You can do it! I love you all!
Ok mom for the practical skills thing.... in most the apartments we only have a little portable stove.... a pot.... a knife... a wooden spoon... a strainer.... sometimes a blender... ya. That´s about it! Our house we have all that... a strainer... and an oven! and a microwave!! Most apartments don´t have a microwave or an oven. Also all the ingredients are different.... sugar is a little different.... everything.
I am so happy to hear about the whole family! I will keep praying so yáll can kick this sickness!! Doyles... don't move too far! Little girls. The trick to waking up at 6:30 everyday without being tired... well there are many things that help but I´ll tell you the real key... go to bed at the same time every single night. Go to bed at 10:30 and wake up at 6:30 and your body will be so used to it that it´s all you can do! It also helps to exercise a little every morning... shower with cold water to wake you up (preferably from a pipe that sticks out of the wall.. sometimes there can be a showerhead on that pipe)... take vitamins (I´m taking mine mom! I´m changing so much!) :)... read your scriptures daily and prayer several times... and you are golden. You can do it!
I´m so shocked at what the peruana said about my accent!!! THat is truly my goal... to return with an accent LATINA! Hooray!
Okay now I have to tell you the best part of the week.... and it was today. :) Before you leave the mission... everyone has a last interview with President. Hermana Muñoz is going home thursday to start school before the next transfer.... so she is the only one. So President had us all come to his house and he intervied Hermana Ortiz and me too! During the interview of H Muñoz... We helped HErmana Wilkinson take down the Christmas tree. I loved it so much.... I LOVE them. H Wilkinson is amazing and it felt so much like home... wrapping the ornaments in paper towel... hearing the stories about the ornaments they had (they have our same tradition! New Ornament every year!) Then it was my turn for the interview. You guys I LOVE President! He is truly amazing. As I said before, he reminds me of Daddy! Okay some background info before this interview... well I already told you a bit before in this email.... but in Gravilias with H Garcia... I worked HARD. Every minute I was focused on the mission and what more we could do and how we could use our time better and how we could see better results and have more obedience... every minute! Since I got here I have felt SO relaxed... I have felt so unfocused. I have felt disobedient (though we aren´t DISobedient... just not obedient with exactitud) There´s been SO much contention everyday with the Zone Leaders. And honestly I have not liked it one bit. I was completely prepared to tell President that I would like to train again if I could... that I don´t like being a Sister Training Leader... that I know that this is Heavenly Father´s plan... but if he has a different plan it would be okay too :)
Okay now I want to tell you EVERYTHING President said. I know I won´t remember it all but it was so great. I walked in and he offered the most inspiring prayer. Then he proceeded to ask how I am doing... then he started to tell me about my Dad... he said that he will be trying to write you Daddy to tell you the principles :) He said he doesn´t ever write talks... ever. But that he will try to remember all the details to write up well enough to send you :) I told him about all the challenges right now in the area. He said that he could tell me all the answers and what to do and how to fix the problem... or even to fix the problems for me. But he said that he doesn´t want to and the Lord doesn´t want him to. This is a time... this time as a Sister Training Leader... when I will learn skills that will bless my life forever. He said that in this time I will learn and grow the most in my whole mission! He says that he wants to teach every missionary to be spiritually reliant. If there is a problem... we don´t go to him. First.... (and this applies to ALL of you!) we go to the scriptures to see what the Lord has to say about it. Second... we go to the words of the prophets to see what the Lord has to say about it... then we go to the handbook and PMG to see what The Lord has to say about it.... then fourth... we talk to our companions... counselors....spouses..etc. to see what they have to say about it... and fifth we pray. To see if Heavenly Father agrees with our plan and to truly understand His will. So that´s what I will be doing with all the problems we are having here. He then said "I want to tell you about when I was a seminary teacher. I LOVED it. I woke up every day and LOVED going to work. Then one day they called me in and said I was to be the new seminary president. I told them I
didn´t want it... I liked teaching... I liked doing what I did everyday... what I was comfortable with... what I liked (he obviously knew for the spirit my plan of telling him I didn´t want to be a Sister Training Leader). They then told me... Brother, we need you to expand your vision. Right now as a teacher you have an influence over 180 students. But if you can teach these 7 teachers to be great... you will have an influence over thousands. So Hermana Cook I need you to expand your vision. You are a great missionary. And can have an influence over a few.... but as a Leader.. if you can teach these 8 sisters in your region to be great... you can influence thousands." How does he always know my worries?? It is incredible. He told me "I just want you to know that I trust in you Hermana Cook. I trust in you one hundred percent. You are a blessing to this mission. You are an answer to my prayers. And even now during this interview I have been offering a silent prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for sending such a great missionary here. You are a treasure. And I am very very eager to get to know your parents. To know the people that raised such an incredible missionary." I testify that those parents that raised me are AMAZING :) And I am so grateful to have them. I hope you can get to know Pesident soon... he returns to his house the end of June. in Saratoga Springs. Don´t worry... I will not be getting prideful for all that President told me :) But I DO know that I AM daughter of God with MUCH to offer in this mission in this area in this leadership position and in this companionship.
I am so ready family. Thursday things will be changing a bit and I will be working harder than ever. We will see results in Tejar. We will be an example for all the other sisters. We will help this zone of Alajuela reach its potential and we will see MIRACLES!!! Get ready for some great emails coming :)
I LOVE YOU ALL! Happy new year! Work hard on your goals and remember to put the Lord first! The most important things are the Gospel and Families! And luckily they go hand in hand! So focus on those this year and you will be succesful!! I love you all literally more than words and am so grateful for all you do for me. Stay strong! Repent quickly! And don´t forget about me yet!! :) I love you!