Semana Triente y Ocho: I am happy here in the Mission

I'm learning Tico slang.  I'm pretty good at using it too!
I truly had a GREAT week.  I focused every day on feeling and following the Spirit and saw miracles!!!  
 Cow tongue is actually much much yummier than stomach.  Today was great!  I had a spiritual personal study, spiritual reunion de distrito, spiritual lesson with Mayela, spiritual lesson with Andrea (she and her sister Faiker accepted baptismal dates for March 14!!) Found Alberto at last, had a spiritual lesson with Rosa and her son and Alberto's hermano, then we felt strongly that we should keep the appt. with the family of Jennifer and Oliver (active members) even though we were late.  We went without preparing a message.  When we got there a Mormon Message popped in my head.  We watched it and discussed it and Hermana Jennifer started crying and said it was an answer to her prayers.  The Spirit had been working in us today!! And instead of ending the day tired and frustrated as usual, we felt vibrant, happy, and hopeful.  I know this is what we have been missing!

Today we had a meeting with Elder Alonso (a Seventy) in San Jose with all the leadership of the mission.  It was SO good!  He really raised our vision, hope, and faith of what we can accomplish.  (He showed us how we can have 37 baptisms every month per companionship just from referrals!!)  Plus president was back!!  So everything was elevated a bit.  President Alonso made a promise in the name of Jesus Christ that as we search diligently with faith we will find not one... but FIVE complete families ready to be baptized.  He said that we are the type of missionaries that are ready  to find people who are ready.  IT was so cool!!

Today we taught Marco.  He has gone to church for nine years and has never been baptized!  his wife is a member.  The lesson was SO spiritual and I am PRAYING that he will be our miracle baptism this month!!
Today we had divisions with the Hermanas in San Carlos.  We woke up eeeeearly to take the 5 o'clock, two hour long bus there.. (it is BEAUTIFUL... like driving through the English countryside but tropical... because then you drive through the mists of a nearby volcano... super tuanis)... then I switched my comp for Hermana Chandia and headed back on another two hour fun!  Today was really great.  We found five new investigators and set appts. for un MONTON de otras personas que van a ser nuevos esta semana que viene.  It was really great to work with Hermana Chandia.  Sometimes I think I learn more from the divisions than the Hermanas!  She is now a very good friend and we will see each other after the mission at BYU.
Still with Hermana Chandia... today was GREAT!!! We found ten new investigators!!!  I am seeing IN ACTION the promise of Elder Alonso... as we search with faith... open our mouths... the Lord is blessing us with FAMILIES!! Today we visited a new family... Oscar and Adriana are the parents... and then Genesis, Isaac, y Sinaí are the kids.  They are a GREAT GREAT family and I know they were a blessing from Heavenly Father!!!!!!!  We didn't extend a baptismal date :( but next Wednesday is the next appt. and I know they will be baptized soon! More lessons... and then Correlacion with the ward mission leader and the Elders.  Those muchachos will also be my friends forever :)  I love the mission!
Today I was with my companion Hermana Ortiz once again.  She was a little frustrated because they didn't find many new investigators in San Carlos.  But that's okay!  Today we found seven more nuevos in our area.  Tejar is BLESSED!! 27 nuevos this week!!!  The Lord is hastening the work in Alajuela!!! 
Church in Trinidad again... it sure is rough to get people to go to church!!! But today Mayela came again (she is so great... she hasn't missed since we found her) and also Faiker!!!  but Faiker left after sacrament meeting without telling us........... we weren't with her because we were doing the music but she was with a member and the member said she called her dad to come get her :(  Then after church we visited some less actives that made us the MOST DELICIOUS tortillas that we ate with natilla... then we headed to the Elders Quorum president's house to eat with Rosy and her family and the Elders.  We had some other lessons and contacted antiguos investigadores... great day! Oh ya, And I spoke in church with Elder Macias and the ward mission leader.  It wasn't the best talk I've given.  :)
Today we cleaned the house.... got someone to search the house to see if we have a pipe leaking somewhere (because the water bill was 21 mil colones..... did I already tell y'all that???  We don't have that kind of moola) :)..... Went to a district activity where we played basketball and futbol.... I actually played soccer this time and kicked the ball once or twice ;)  Then we ate at Taco Bell everyone together and headed to work!  We had a noche de hogar with Natalia and Roney then headed over to Olga's and Jose Eduardo's!  I am happy here in the mission.  I am happy in my area.  I am happy with my companion and my leaders...... I have much to improve and am constantly seeing how I can do it....but I sure am happy here.  
Today we started divisions with Grecia.... there are some little problemitas there so it was very important that we could have these divisions.  I am in Grecia right now and am looking forward to the miracles that the Lord will send us! :)

I hope you all have a BEAUTIFUL week.  We really are so blessed to have the gospel.  There is no reason for sadness people.... we've got the truth!!! Be happy and share it with the world!! I truly hope you can all feel the spirit more this week and realize just how blessed we are.  I LOVE YOU MORE THAN GALLO PINTO!!!!  :) Nos vemos pronto!!
Les Quiero,
Hermana Cook

Semana Trienta y Siete: Today I ate cow stomach... tomorrow tongue.

Another great week!! I have learned a LOT and I think we will be seeing great things in the future.


Today we had a joint zone conference with Heredia and President Cordón.  It was our first time capacitating... the Zone leaders of Heredia did their part solo... they didn´t even include the Hermanas.  We did ours completely as a team.  It was awesome.  I love our zone leaders.  We got home without much time for lessons.  Then we remembered that the Hermanas in Trinidad had our keys... so we had to go to el centro to wait for them to get home from their appt.  Whilst waiting we decided to contact peoploe in the park.  I bought a churro filled with dulce de leche.. YUM... and contacted the churro makers!  :)  Then a man approached us asking for money.  He had a LONG story and basically said that he was addicted to drugs but right now he jsut wanted a hamburger.  We taught him the palabra de sabiduria and how he could change.  I gave him a little money with the condition that he HAD to come to the Bishop´s classes for people with Addictions the next day.  He didn´t come.  


Today we had another reunion with President Cordón in San Jose just for the Sister Training Leaders.  It was great.  Basically we talked about our responsibilities and how we can do them better.  Then all the sisters started complaining about their zone leaders and we were able to share how we changed the Relationship with Elders Ballan and Macias (because it was AWFUL when we got here.... and I don´t like contention...).  I also had the chance to use my music to help others... Rosy, a recent convert, has been called to direct the music and start a ward choir... with zero experience.  So I taught her to lead!  It was fun.  And on Tuesday Elder Lopez, Assistant to the President that is from Gravilias- my first area, told me that if all missionaries were like me the gates of hell would shake... quoting the scripture about Capitan Moroni.  It´s not true, but it is a good goal!  :)


Today we taught some older aged woman that they said NEVER let people in the door... we were literally the first.. but something was different about us so they let us in and accepted a second visit.  Then we had seven other lessons and visited Reyna- a recent convert that lives by our house.  She made the MOST DELICIOUS tortillas I´ve had and we ate them with natilla (this cream that is like sour cream but sweet not sour and it is soooo yummy) with agua dulce... yum yum yum.  Those are the tico foods I like :)


At last we were able to contact Wendy again!  She is going through some REALLY hard trials right now.  She still has a lot of potential... just slow.  We were with Natalia for EVER (challenge of having her as our Cook.  She doesn´t accept short visits).  Then at night we went to help Hermana Jasmine.  She recently had a baby c-section and is now giving a baby shower for another pregnant muchacha in the ward- Francis.  Jasmin can BARELY walk so we thought we should help her out.  We cleaned the house and swept and mopped and made decorations and set everything up all cute.  Before we knew it it was 6 and the baby shower was started (lots of time wasted..... we are spending so much time in members houses.... but it was service!!!)  Then when the shower started the elders came so we left for our weekly correlacion meeting with the husband of Jasmin, our ward mission leader.


Valentines Day!! A joven in the ward gave me a valentine!! :)  We woke up early to go to the wedding of a sister in the ward.  In Costa Rica, you HAVE to be married civilly before the sealing so it is legal.  You don´t have to do that in Utah right?  Just the temple?  Then we visited with Natalia and Roney and Nattie told us "Today you have to dedicate TWO hours to us".  Oh no.  WAY too much time in the houses of members!  Then we found three nuevos that all live by each other and taught more lessons then went to a baptisms of the sisters in Trinidad.  On the bus home, a muchacho sat by me because he sees us EVERY day greeting EVERYone we pass... the little things!


Today the Church was being remodeled so we all had to take a half hour bus to Trinidad.  It started at 1 so we thought we could have more people... but we ended up with only Mayela.  We even left at 9 to get people to come... and Nadie.  It was super sad.  We got to church and were like NO it isn´t enough!  Let´s go find people to come!  And the first woman we found was a member from Salt Lake that looked a little hippie and she talked to us for twenty minutes and then we had to go because I was playing the piano and H Ortiz was leading the music.  The elders didn´t have responsibilities like that so they left and brought five more people off the streets!  Then after church Reyna, Relief Society Pres, invited us to Jasmine's  to help her make food for Jasmine´s family.  We went and I made the tortillas!! and they were super rico!!!!!!  So I´ll make them for ya when we get home.  But you have to find natilla or they won´t be the same.  


Today I ate cow stomach.  Tomorrow... tongue.  

Today for PDAY we went to Reyna´s again and helped her clean her house and make food.  Then we got her help in identifying some people on the list of members that aren´t baptized.  We still have two weeks left!  I know there is someone waiting for us that can be baptized these weeks!  

In my studies today I was so hit by something I read in Mormon... in the book of Mormon.  About the people that were fighting fighting fighting for their lives with all their might... yet they were losing!  They were weak!  And it was because they were doing the work with their OWN strength and leaving out the Lord.  I feel like that has happened to us a bit this month... we are focused too much on the numberos the numberos we have to do the work and what are we doing and discouragement and yadda yadda... and I can´t even think of a really spiritually experience.  Without the spirit.... you can´t teach.  You can´t find.  You can´t baptize.  People will NEVER be converted.  So this week I am going to refocus in having the spirit and doing all I can to have REALLY spiritaully experiences DAILY!  I know I can do this work because I´ve got the Lord!  But I can´t do it alone!  I´ll just be fighting fighting fighting working working with all my might.. tiring myself out... without any results.  But the Lord is BOUND when I do my part and rely on Him.  Get ready for some miracles people because they´re a comin!

Today......  I really am going to eat cow tongue after this.  I forgot my camera last night to take pictures of the cow stomach and the raw tongue she will be preparing today... but Elder Macias took a pic so I´m gonna try to get it from him.  For now... just google "raw cow tongue" and then imagine me eating that.  Yay.  :)

I really do love this work.  I am learning so much.  This week I learned that we have to be CONSTANTLY evalutating ourselves.  Evaluating our pride, our efforts, our faith, our focus.  Like the talk in General Conference... if you keep living the way you are now... will all the blessings in your Patriarchal Blessing come to pass?  As Baylie Benson taught me this week... there is no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone.  We have to be continually stretching in order to progress!!

I love you all.  Truly.  I hope you are all stretching and coming closer to your Father in Heaven this week.  I miss you all :)

Love, Hermana Cook

Semana Trienta y Seis: I think it shall all be well

Hello there family!  It has been another great week en la obra misional!  Presidente Wilkinson is still in Utah.. but there are high hopes that he will return to the mission this weekend!  

Update on Natalia... She is doing GREAT!  She is our new cook (adios health and good weight... hola rice and beans.. everyday..) which was very necessary because she wants us to visit her every every day.  She received a calling this week as the second counselor in the Relief Society!! She is awesome.

Roney... this week Roney received the Aaronic priesthood!  He is working SO much that we can never see him, but is still firm in the changes he has made and is still making changes with his marriage and family.  

Alberto... changed his number and we can never find him!! But he came to church so he still exists!  He received the priesthood a couple weeks ago and has been working with the Elders in our area.

We worked really hard this week.. and in the end... only one investigator came to church :(  so all our baptismal dates fell this week and now it´s looking unlikely that we will have baptisms this month :( :( :(  but the investigator that came to church is great!  She is named Mayela.  We found her through her son.... this muchacho was hauling this 10 meter (or mas) pole for the construction of a house around the streets and almost killed everyone with it it was so long and out of control... so Hermana Ortiz and I offered to help.  We set it on our shoulders... and he let go haha.  So now just imagine two sister missionaries with a huuuuuuuuge long heavy piece of metal walking around haha.  We took it to where he was going and set up an appointment to meet with him.  His name is Rodolfo Jesus.. but everyone calls him Chuchu.  Chuchu is a little harder... He doesn´t think it is necessary to change or be baptized or anything... so he doesn´t come to church or read his assignments or even pray.  But I know that once he realizes his need for the Atonement he will be eager to follow the example of Jesus Christ!  His mom is VERY anxious to see changes in him and for that  she is very willing to listen to us.  She lives across the street from the church so it was easy for her to come.  She is great.  Her baptismal date is for 28th of March.  

With President Cordon we have learned un MONTON de cosas super helpful in planning and using our time wisely.  He gave us many handouts and tools super tuanis that I am gonna take a picture of and send you.. eventually.  According to him, we should have 74 lessons weekly if we are truly consecrated missionaries that understand planning.  We should also have an 8 week plan with someone that will be baptized every single week

Someone just passed on in the internet and we are now calling an ambulance.

Actually they are having a seizure.

Anyway we all tend to baptize only at the end of the month... but people don't just repent the last week of every month... they repent every week!  So why can´t we baptize every week?  So anyway that´s the new goal... I´m gonna do it!

Oh ya.  And on Saturday we did a service project and recorded the english textbooks for the government of Costa Rica.  So now all the students in costa rica will hear my voice saying "Track one.  Listening..."  And then the dialogues.. "daaaad have you seen my cell phone??)  (I got really into and played the part well... they liked my work) :)

And for preparation day our district visited some waterfalls!  They were beautiful!  We had to walk through a river to see them.  Working on the pictures but we will see if it works.

I love you all so much.  I have almost completed 9 months of my mission and I am so ready to give it even more than what I have been doing!  This is the Lord´s work!! He is hastening it and I´ve gotta keep up!! I have so much to give.  I KNOW this church is true and I´ve GOT to share it with every single person!!!

I hope you all feel the urgency of this work.  I hope you are all searching for opportunities to share the gospel and to support the missionaries in your areas.  Feed them!  Offer your home for lessons and family nights.  Offer to give them rides!  Or to drive investigators to church!  Give referrals!  This work is something we canNOT do alone!!!! We are a team!! LETS DO IT!

The man is now coming to.  I think it shall all be well.

I love you all so so sooooo very much. I feel like the mission is like the Plan of Salvation and Right now I am in earth life and will soon be returning to live with my family forever.  :)  

Have a great week will ya?  I don´t think I´ll get the pictures sent... next week!

Semana Trienta y Cinco: Nicolle and Michelle are baptized

Oh dear I'm afraid that once again I don't have a biggy to send.  This week was a little rough :)  We didn't have many lessons or opportunities to teach... we didn't find many nuevos... and because of that we got a little discouraged and lazy... we didn't open our mouths much and it was just drab.  But I have repented and this week will be different!!!

Some highlights however...
President Wilkinson has been in Utah for the past three weeks or so... he had to have a hip replacement.  Send your prayers to him and his family!!!!! Meanwhile... President Cordon is here meanwhile.  We had the Leaderhsip Council with him this week and learned a LOT.  It started out a little rough because everyone was thinking... this is NOT how President does it!! But we really ended up learning a whole lot and I think it prepared us well for the two new mission presidents.. whoever it is.. we will learn a lot from them! 
Second highlight...
Nicolle and Michelle were baptized!! Did I ever tell you about them???  Their parents were baptized like 5 months ago.  And Nicolle was going to be baptized (Michelle wasn't 8 yet) but in the font she started screaming that they were forcing her and... well... she didn't end up getting baptized.  Whenever the sisters went to visit she would rip up their liahonas and tear pages out of the Book of Mormon...... She is kind of scary.  So the Elders started visiting them.... then we had transfers and Hermana Ortiz and I came to town.  We visited them because we live closer but didn't really focus on teaching Nicolle... we just started inviting her to leave and teach with us.  Little by little she became nicer and nicer to us.  Then one day the Elders called and said that the girls were with an investigator of the Elders and she had convinced them to be baptized!!! It was a miracle!! So technically Nicolle should count for us.... but the Elders asked if they could count her and we had decided we were a team so we said of course :)  So Nicolle and Michelle were baptized last Saturday... but they were VERY specific about who would attend and requested that I do their hair which I did con mucho gusto.  It was a lovely service and I hope they continue changing poco a poco.  Now.  Numbers don{t matter.  The important thing is that two more daughters of our Heavenly Father decided at last to be baptized!!!!!!!!!! However...... now Hermana Ortiz and I are basically out of possible baptisms for this month............... it's rough.  We should be baptizing every week.  Especially as the leaders.  But that's okay... we will continue with the faith that we will find people that are prepared in this short time!

So this week was slow..... not much to report.... here is to a MUCH better week.  I really really really miss you all this week... a lot!  and also Utah food.............. Esta bien.  

Have a great week all!  I love you and I DO love this work!!

Hermana Cook
Bautismo de aquipo

Gabriella with Nicolle and Michelle

Beautiful hair

The kids of Hermana Reyna

Roney!!  Look at this beautiful family!!!  Soo happy!!!

Add caption

Maria Isabel and her mom Kathia

Last minute pep talk

She is from Riverton!

Divisions with Grecia!  Herman's Canales, hales, Ortiz and Cook

Semana Trienta y Cuatro: Alberto and Roney are baptized

 I only have five minutes!!!!  Okay okay enough suffering for yall... next week I will manage my time well and use my journal and all.

Highlights... ALBERTO Y RONEY SE BAUTIZARON!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!! Seriously it was the most beautiful thing!! We worked hard to find them white shirts and ties and I gave away an undershirt and a skirt to Natalia and they came soooooo beautifully dressed.  Their family is REALLY progressing and will soon be eternal!  :)  Alberto is really great too... he shared his testimony in his baptism and it started out "It was a beautiful day in summer... and I noticed two birds... singing... but there was no water..."  :)  I didn´t even giggle.  He is great and has a huge desire to share the gospel.  My converts here are solid... they are truly converted and making great progress!!!

Aaaaaand thats about it.  No other highlights.... We are out of money this week because we had to pay three times the water bill.... so I will be losing more weight!! :)  Haha.  No that´s a joke.  We have pudding and a can of tuna.  :)  

There is a video on youtube that explains garments and sacred temple clothing... we can´t search on youtube but maybe someone can find it in spanish and send it to me so I can put it on a dvd?  Or download it on a dvd there and send it to me?

I LOVE YOU PEOPLE!  Lo siento mucho por no tener mucho tiempo.  Next week I PROMISE I will do better... and I have LOTS of pictures to send si???

Okay.  And off to work I go!! Tomorrow I complete 8 months in the mission... I have to admit I´m starting to feel a little........... hmm.  Like.. wow everything I have already done I´ve got to do over again.  I am learning a lot about enduring to the end and never relaxing or taking it easy... I´ve got to give EVERYTHING until the very very end!  And I shall do it!

Love you all!  Happy Week!

Hermana Cook

Semana Trienta y Tres: Strange, blessed, great week

Hola mis queridos amados!!!!!  This was a week  :)  A stressful confusing strange blessed GREAT week.  Short update today.

Maria Isabel Jimenez Fernandez... turned 9 years old on Sunday and was baptized.  Her mother is a less active and has HUGE financial problems...... for that reason it is VERY difficult not to judge her.  All week she was using that to ask us for money... saying her daughter couldn't be baptized because she only had mil colones and asking help from us and the church yet not wanting to do what it takes to become self sufficient and make progress.  I study  A LOT Charity in ch 6 of PMG.  A LOT.  And prayed with ALL THE ENERGY OF MY SOUL to have love for this woman.... and in the end....... I can truly tell you all that I LOVE Katia.  I love her.  My heart aches for her and her challenges..... even more... my heart aches for her daughter, Maria... and I am SO glad that she had the chance to be baptized... to open the door to salvation so she at least has a chance.  That night after her baptism.... Katia called to ask for help with a big decision.  She was given the chance to move to another house where she would only have to pay luz y agua and not rent... and the woman would care for Maria during the day for half of what she was currently paying.  THe Lord answers prayers.  As representatives of Jesus Christ... we make promises with people following the spirit.  We promised Katia that if she gave her daughter the chance to be baptized... the Lord would bless her financially.... and that very night He did it.  They are no longer in our area so we 
can´t visit them but I am so grateful that Maria Isabel was able to be baptized!!

Alberto...27 years old... will be baptized this Saturday.  Lives in VERY humble circumstances.  Was raised by his Grandmother.  Looks like he is always sleeping or not paying attention... but is actually analyzing EVERY thing very deeply.... has a strong testimony.  However... says that he has some questions for us that have to wait until after his baptism.... I am afraid.

Roney... you all know him by now right?? This week he made HUGE progress.  He is committed to be baptized and confirmed this Sunday.  He has a testimony.... he just has to make the change.  And we know he can do it!!

Also, this week we met an old lady that doesn't know her purpose or what is waiting for her after this life and is MISERABLE.  How blessed are we for the knowledge we have!!!!  I am looking forward to bringing her to the knowledge of the truth.

Also this week a recent convert in this ward told us that she will be returning to the Catholic church.  It felt like a bag of bricks hit my chest.  However we listened to her and through the spirit were able to pinpoint the problem and are in the process of helping her.

Thank you all for the prayers and love for me and for my investigators.  It means so so SO much and I am so grateful for the support.  And so are they!  I know that Heavenly Father hears AND answers our prayers.  I am seeing miracles out here!!!!! I love you all!!! Have the best week ever!!

Love, Herm Cook

PS.... sometimes I get distracted thinking about my future family because it is SO clear to me the plan of our Heavenly Father... it is ALL about the family!!!!!!  I will testify more of this later.  I am out of time.  But I love you all MORE THAN WORDS!