Semana Sesente y Nueve: I don't want it to ever ever end

It´s been another great week in the obra misional!  We found several new investigators... several other investigators dropped us or disappeared... it´s been raining quite a bit (it rains when I DON'T bring my umbrella.. if I´ve got it it never rains) :)... my companion is doing well and my roommates are great.. I´ve had some trials and some great spiritual experiences.   I´d like to just give an update on the biggest miracle of the week.

A few weeks ago a member came to work with her boyfriend that she lives with.  He isn´t a member.  We quickly put an appointment with them.  But the appointment fell through and every time we tried to call they were busy or didn´t answer.  But ever single time we went to Pueblo Nuevo they would come to mind.  This Saturday we decided to try one more time.  They answered and invited us over!  We started out the visit getting to know them.  They are a very sweet couple.. Randal and Jessica.  She has been a member since she was 15 or so and he has just been getting to know the church through her for five months.  He is friends with the WHOLE ward council which is pretty helpful.  He works at a hotel which is usually the WORST for investigators because their schedule is awful and they can never come to church.  But he has worked there for a long time so he actually has a great schedule and has two weeks of vacations right now.  We asked them what they most desire in life... they said to be sealed together in the temple.  Now THAT is an investigator that is prepared!  We testified that they can be sealed together and invited him to be baptized on the seventh of November.  He said of course!  Now here´s the problem... they don´t have the funds to have a wedding so soon and he is a little prideful and doesn´t want to accept help.  But the whole ward council is so willing to donate old suits or dresses or to make the cake!  We are searching for a lawyer that can marry them really cheap... and we are DEFINITELY willing to sell arroz con leche in the street to help... They are SUCH  sweet couple and are now coming to church every week.  We taught the restoration and he is accepting it all without doubt.  T
hey are now praying together and reading the Book of Mormon.  This has TRULY been a miracle... to find someone truly prepared!  I am just praying and praying and fasting SO hard that they will accept the help we are offering and be married on the 7th!  I know he will be spiritually prepared... and I KNOW that if they are trying to keep the commandments Heavenly Father WILL help them!  Please keep them in your prayers... tomorrow we will be teaching the word of wisdom.. I am pretty sure he drinks coffee.  I love them so much and am SO grateful that the Lord has trusted me with this great calling... I love serving.  I love it so much.  I love this country and I love every person I meet.  I love my companions.  I love just waking up in the morning and feeling happy every single day to be able to get up and serve.  I don´t want it to ever ever end.  I love this.

Thank you so much for all you do.  Please pray for Randal and Jessica.  I have seen so many miracles... but the majority aren´t completed... I just KNOW that this couple will be baptized.  They are ready!  please keep them in your prayers...

I love you all!!!

Love, Sister Cook

Semana Sesente y Ocho: Sacrifice Week

Well this was just about the BEST week ever and the HARDEST week since I started the mission!!!!  Here´s the lowdown on Sacrifice Week..

We wake up at 5.. get ready eat breakfast and study personally.  

At 7 we go out and for two hours we contact EVERYONE we see.  About 100+ daily.  We would sing on park benches... stand in front of a bus and testify to everyone... cross the street just to talk to someone.. until 9 o clock.

Then at 9-12 we knock and knock and knock doors with lots of faith to find new investigators. (I saw more rejection than I have seen in a loooooong time... the first day not one person let us in and they were quite rude... it was a little rough. but great as well!)

At 12 we have twenty minutes to eat a sack lunch.

Then we head out until 4 to work in the area of one of the companionships in our district.  The whole district goes and contacts houses to try to find them new families to teach.  It was so cool to see such unity and to be able to help eachother find several new families!

Then from 4-9 we can work normally with our normal investigators and recent converts.  

It.  Was.  Hard.  After talking to so many people and knocking so many houses... well we ran out of houses to knock :)  and So many people were ruder than I thought they were here in Liberia (this area has usually been so nice) And physically it was EXHAUSTING.  The other sisters in the house got the stomach flu... my companion killed her knees and couldnt work the last day so she stayed with a member and I hit the pavement. It was so tiring. And I am so tan :)  But it was the best thing I´ve ever done.  It is such a fulfilling feeling to know that I have given EVERYTHING to the Lord. That literally every minute is spent searching for His children that are ready for His message.  

The morning of the last day I read a story in Ether 6 about the ships and the people of Jared.  It said that they were blown from the top of the sea to the bottom closed in these little ships for 344 days.  I´m guessing that seemed like a LONG time enduring LOTS of trials.  That´s kind of how I felt for this short week :)  But the best part is that is said that THE LORD blew the winds.  It was HIM that was giving them these trials and storms for so long... but that He was blowing them towards the promised land.  I truly believe the same is true for each of us.  Though it may seem like years that we are being blown through stormy seas... I know that the Lord is truly blowing us to our own promised land.  We experienced a bit of that.  Finishing of the week we found two GREAT families.  One remembers that missionaries visited her dad years and years ago when she was a little girl... and the other is a very cute couple that had been having marriage problems.. they were separated for a month and a half and when we found them they had had one week together again.  We got there and just testified to them of how the gospel strengthens families and marriages and they said that they knew God sent us to them for their specific needs.  Today we have Noche de Hogar with them.  They are great (Antonio and Jennifer).  Also on Sunday Rosa´s ex pareja, Gerardo, came to church.  Looks like he will start investigating to be able to be with her again.  We will be teaching him tonight as well.

I love missionary work.  Sometimes I feel so bad because all our baptisms are falling and sometimes it feels like I am not reaching what the Lord expects of me.  But I DO know that I am giving it my all and will keep trying to improve every single day.  I can feel peace and know that I am a successful missionary knowing that I am truly consecrated and trying my best to improve every minute.  I love love love this work.

Oh ya!  Also my birthday was THE BEST!!!!! I love love love these girls I live with.  I woke up Saturday morning and the sisters had decorated the wall with ´´21 things we love about Hermana Cook´´ some of which included..´´you teach powerfully by the spirit´´... ´´you believe everything we say´´....´´you are pinteresty and crafty´´.... and ´´´you feel like every decision will change your life´´.  Haha.. it was so cute... then they sent me to shower and get ready while they prepared a surprise breakfast of pancakes and strawberries (I dont know WHERE they found strawberries) and ice cream!! :)  They are just the sweetest.  Then they took me to a surprise lunch at Mejicanito... then at night they had a surprise gathering at Rosa´s house with a cake with my name on it.  They are just the best and I love them SO MUCH!  I am so grateful....

On Sunday an elderly sister stood to bear her testimony... instead of testifying of the Savior... she testified about me :)  haha I was soooo embarrassed and hid behind the piano while she gave a dedicatory speech about me and my talents for my birthday..... :)  It was nice... but not quite appropriate for testimony meeting :)  Then at night the meeting had already started and I went to fix the numbers for the hymns.  I sat at the piano and saw the missionaries laughing and sister fowler motioned to my skirt....... my zipper was ALL THE WAY down in the back.  yep.  Everyone in the congregation saw my covenants.

So anyways it was a pretty awesome week :)  hard but worth it.  I know the Lord is preparing people every day for us to find and teach.  He loves us.  He loves each of His children.  And I am so blessed to be part of this work.  

I love each of you and am so grateful for all the birthday wishes!!!!! I love you all!

love, Sister Cook 

I had a wonderful birthday thanks to these girls!

Semana Sesente y Cieta : My mission will NEVER end!

I am so sorry, I lost track of time today!! I will just give you some updates...

Jenny kind of lied to us it turns out :(  she said that she had moved to San Roque (a different ward) to live with her mom... but she had told us that her mom died........... then we got to her house and she was there... as if she never left... but said that she comes and goes... and now is avoiding us and we just dont know... it is so sad :(  people have NO idea how much we pray for them and love them... :(

The best high light was CONFERENCE!!!!! I LOOOOOOVE CONFERENCE!!  We had the most beautiful miracle and had three investigators at the conference!!! Jennifer and Josselyne came!!!!! YAAAAAAY!! I am so grateful.  I just love them and know that they can have a conversion through the conference.. the church is SO true.

Also our ward is doing something awesome called family missionaries.  Every week three families are selected and given a giant missionary plaque to display in the house.  Their job is to work with the missionaries for the week.  They open the house so we can bring investigators over for lessons... they meet and fellowship investigators... they go out with us to do visits.... and give references.. It is AWESOME!! It makes many people that have never participated become very active in missionary work.. they then share their spiritual experiences and select the next family missionaries.  I love it!! We should do something like that at home!

My time is quickly coming to an end.  In internet and also in the mission :)  But a big impression that I had in conference is that my mission is NEVER ending!  Ever!  In Costa Rica, yes.  But the Lord has SO much He needs me to do.  There are SO many people He needs me to serve and love.  My job is to become as Christlike as I possibly can so that He can call upon at any minute to do any job He need.s  My whole life is to serve my Heavenly Father... so my mission will never end.  I am so happy.

I love you all!!! Next week I will have an AWESOME letter to write.  This week is called ´´Sacrifice Week´´.  We will be waking up at five and leaving to preach at 7 in the morning until 9 at night.  We will not be going to our cook´s house to eat.. just taking a sandwich.  we are going to do crazy things like talking to 175 people daily and going as a zone to contact every house in the area.  We have been told to get creative with our talents to Hermana Hubler and I will be standing one a park bench and singing hymns with her ukelele while the other sisters contact the listeners.  It will be AWESOME and you can expect a great email next week.

Thank you so much for all your love and Birthday wishes!!! I love you all so much!!!!

love, Sister Cook
We are spoiled missionaries!

My sweet companion

Our ward building

Semana Sesente y Sies: If God wants

Well it was another great week in la obra misional!!

On Monday the WHOLE TOWN was in the centro with these little paper lanterns they make to celebrate independence day.  EVERYONE cancelled our appts. because the kids get marked for attendance with their lanterns... we finally found a recent convert couple without children in the parade so we shared a message with them.  They had a friend over that isn't a member and he accepted a baptismal date and cried!  It was beautiful...there is a reason all our appts. fell through!

Tuesday is the REAL Independence day.  All the kids have to participate in a marching band for each school in the whoooole province.  They march around in the sun for hours and hours.  I got a little teary thinking of my baby sister that does that too..... :)  

Wednesday was awesome!! We found several new investigators.. we have been so blessed to be able to find FAMILIES!  They ALL committed to come to church and to be baptized.  We are so blessed.  I love being a missionary.  My family has received so many blessings thanks to this gospel and I see the families here and ache for them to accept the gospel so they too can receive things blessings!! I love this gospel and I love being a missionary.

Thursday we met another new family... they make and sell donuts in the neighborhood (and they are GOOD and only cost 20 cents!... I may have bought several... but it is for a good cause!! to help this family... the people here are pretty creative and make all kinds of things to sell so they can pay for things for school and living... I have to support.  And they were delicious) :)  Poor hermana Rosa broke her tooth eating Chicharron.  She has gone through so much in the past few months and now she has a big hole in her face the poor thing :)  But we got a good laugh at it and are trying to help her find a cheap dentist to fix it.  I will be avoiding chicharron from now on.  

Friday was good!  We went to meet with Luis (the new investigator we found on Monday) but we were quite disappointed... turns out he had just been released from prison when we found him at the house of those members... he stole from the members and went running to keep selling drugs :( :( :( it is SO sad... he was going to change his life :(  Then we went to Comunidad... it POURED rain which is quite unlike Liberia so of course we didnt have an umbrella and we got soaked :) But it was an effective day teaching less actives and finding some new investigators in Comunidad.  I love my area I am so blessed to be here.  The field is LITERALLY white.  Literally.

Saturday was good!! We went to Kukamunga to confirm with all our investigators that they would be coming to church and we confirmed with FIFTEEN PEOPLE that they would be coming and had plans to come pick them all up!!!

Sunday... we started with MUCH faith... I just KNEW we could finally reach our goal through the Lord´s help of having at least 8 investigators at church!!!  We woke up early and hiked up the mountain to Kukamunga.  We confirmed once again with eleven investigators that they would come.  Then we found Lidieth.. who had told us on the phone that she was too sick to get out of bed... and there she was laughing and talking and running around with the neighbor lady and her children.  We caught her in the lie.  And told her that we were there to take her to church.  We got her children ready and called a taxi and she went to church :)  No one else came :(  I dont get it!  They all outright lie to us... they said they were coming!  that they were getting ready!! And they ALL say ´´Si Dios quiere!!´´ which means ´´ if God wants!´´ which basically means no.  Which is so sad because God DOES want them to go to church!!!  Ah man... we will keep trying.. At church I met some gringos! They are always so sweet and always want to send a picture to my mommy :)  so nice.  A couple of them even knew Uncle Stan!  They said he is a great man... I agreed and said that his little brother is too! :)

So overall it was a great week!! I am having many spiritual experiences daily and am SO ready to just hit the pavement and give it ALL I´ve got!  There are only 7 weeks left and I canNOT end this work until I have accomplished everything the Lord wants from me!  I am so grateful to be able to serve my Heavenly Father.

I love you all!  I can´t explain how much I miss you all.  I hope you know how special you are and how much I pray for you!  I hope you have the best week ever..

In the words of the ticos... pura vida :)

Love, Hermana Cook