Monday, July 25, 2016

Turn left at the next red car

Hello Family and Friends!
I can't stop smiling right now! So many happy emails from you all! I love to hear and see the Lords blessings! It is so exciting to see the good changes that are happening EVERYWHERE!
Okay, I will try to focus my thoughts right now. I just need to breathe.
The other day Sister Nelson (my fantastic, amazing companion) and I were driving down the road to go visit some people around the area that we have been meeting with. We didn't have a set appointment so we were trying to figure out who Heavenly Father wanted us to visit first. 
"Sister Nelson, who should we go see first?"
She replied out of jest, "Turn immediately left after the first red car you see." 
I knew and she knew that none of the people we would be visiting would be on a road like that. However, a minute later in our driving I saw a parked red Mustang. So not knowing what was going to come from the suggestion, I took my next left. She started to laugh because I took her serious. I started to laugh because I realized the road we turned on. We didn't plan to visit this family that day but the road we were on has a family that the previous sisters were teaching. So we parked the car and went to go say Hello. 
I was in awe. The lady that answered the door was not in fact living there but apart of the family. We started to have a nice conversation about the gospel of Jesus Christ. She was very interested and asked us to come back.  

After this experience I reflected about the word faith. It is to believe with out seeing and then to act and do. To not stay stagnant. The only way that our faith in Jesus Christ can grow is by going and doing something that will help us strengthen it. (For example: praying, reading scriptures, going to church).  Following promptings from the Holy Ghost is another great way to increase our faith. I read from Preach My Gospel the other day in my studies how our faith can be weakened if we are discouraged. That is a word that I think we all feel often. Instead of getting stuck in a rut of discouragement we should all step forward with faith. To have faith that things will get better. I turned left because I wanted to exercise my faith. I had hope that God had a purpose for us on that rode. The only way we could find out is if we acted.
You probably won't be driving down the street and following the prompting to turn left at a red car to find your purpose and to increase your faith, but I invite you to go out and do something today that will increase your faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Go do something good!
I sure love you all!
Thank you so much for the love and the support.
-Hebrews 11
- Ether 2,3,6,12

Sister Cook

Red, white, blue and bugs

Hello Family and Friends,
My backyard is a large corn field and trees in the far distance, so last night our firework show at the end of the night consisted of hundreds and hundreds of lightening bugs. My camera couldn't capture their light, but it was BEAUTIFUL! The yellow lights sparkled throughout the field.  We could hear the fire works in the background, but I was mesmerized by all the little lightening bugs. It was so neat. God's creations are truly amazing.
Yesterday, was a great day to reflect on our freedoms. I am grateful that I have the freedom to go out and stand as a witness of God. I am grateful for the freedom to choose. I am grateful for the freedoms that we do have. It is a great gift that Heavenly Father has given us, our free agency. We chose to follow Jesus Christ and so we are here on Earth testing our faith in him every single day.
I love you all so much!
God Bless America
Sister Cook

Salty Cantaloupe

Hello my great Friends and Family!

All the hard times are worth it when the miracles come! This Sunday a guy that we are teaching and preparing for baptism came to church and brought his two little girls. By the end of church they came up to us to say goodbye and when they told us about how they liked church they couldn't stop smiling. The dad, who is very mellow and calm and one to not show a lot of emotion, cracked a big smile when he heard the reaction of his daughters. That interaction with them was worth everything we experienced from the week. They felt the Spirit and joy from coming to church. It was so neat!
For all those that know me, know that I am first not a picky eater because I am willing to try anything (even pickles and icecream. I love you Sister King!) Overall, I just like anything that is edible. However, there is one piece of fruit that I called "Satan's Fruit" before my mission because the taste was bitter, moldy and contaminated all other fruit in a mixed fruit bowl. Everyone always eats it as if it were tasty. I never could understand how people liked cantaloupe! It always boggled my mind. Out here on the mission I have said that I would eat anything that I was offered, even if it was CANTALOUPE. This week was the test, I couldn't avoid it. The lady prepared us dinner and pulled out the bowl. I could see that I was going to have a fight in my mouth. So I said a prayer and served 3 small pieces on my plate. As my fork and knife danced around the plate picking up the other food I finally had a prompting to add salt to my cantaloupe (because we all know that I LOVE salt.) With courage I added salt and took a bite ready to taste something dirty to my taste buds. I was surprised when I quickly picked up the last two pieces and enjoyed a flavor that I have never experienced. It wasn't bad! I could actually had a fruity taste! I was real excited. My taste buds have finally matured to eating cantaloupe. 

This goes along great with the gospel. I reflected on how if we want to do God's will then we must be willing to change and repent each day. As we have faith in Jesus Christ and repent then are we able to become who Heavenly Father wants us to become. It comes through time and experience. It doesn't come all at once. Our spirits are maturing at different rates. I love to see the changes that everyone around me continue to make. 

I love you all!
Have an awesome week!

Sister Cook
Picture 1: President Porter and Sister Porter have made a great impact on my life in this past year. They have left and I will be getting a new mission president this week. I am forever grateful for this couple. They are the GREATEST!
Picture 2: Us as a zone at the temple!

Hello Family and Friends!
Last Tuesday was transfers and I picked up my new companion, Sister Nelson. She is a doll! 
We have been seeing many miracles happen this past week. It is so neat to see the change that people make as they exercise their faith in Jesus Christ.
With it being Fathers Day yesterday, my thoughts have been reflecting on the role of a father. It only being 5 years since I lost my dad to cancer I think about the role of a father in a new light.  I have had time to think about the relationship between Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Savior came into this world to do the will of his Father (John 3:16-17 / 3 Nephi 27:13). They are one in purpose. Every single day I want to strengthen my relationship with the Savior as I desire and invite others to have the same opportunity. Right now in my studies I am reading through St Matthew in the New Testament and 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. This has strengthened my personal testimony in coming to know Jesus Christ even more. Jesus Christ is our greatest example and shows us the way to live. I know that as we try to be like him everyday then we are aligning ourselves with the will of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Our purpose is to become like Him. I am still learning everyday and I still have a ways to go! I still don't understand everything but I sure love being out here on a mission because I am able to learn from others as they exercise their faith in Jesus Christ.
This week we have a mini missionary! She is a cutie, unfortunately she sprained her ankle right before she came.
I sure love you all.
Have a great week!!
Sister Cook

Oops, ran out of time!

Hello Family and Friends!
Well first things first. I just got the call today and I am staying here in the Columbia City Ward! I am so thrilled. I am continually learning from everyone around me. I am sad to say that Sister Parker will be leaving me, but tomorrow I will pick up my new companion and onward and upward we will continue forward with the work. 

I don't know how to wrap up this week. I want to tell a story but I don't know where to begin. Now I am running out of time. OOPS! I guess that is typical of me to overthink things and run out of time. Oh well! I will try next week to be better prepared.
Trials and miracles go hand in hand. I keep learning the importance of having Jesus Christ as my focus. He is the center of my life. Through him we can overcome anything because oh his infinite Atonement.
Pic. 1: We made it to the temple!
Pic 2: We get stopped by trains frequently

Sister Cook

Laugh it off

Hello Family and Friends,

It has been another great week of growing pains! Yay for the hard days! There is no sarcasm in my comment. I wouldn't trade these hard days. It is important to dance and have fun in the storm. Sister Parker and I laugh a lot! Our day seems exhausting and stressful and then we just laugh. Hours go by with rejection and then by the end of the night a miracle happens. The moments that bring me joy are so much sweeter when a trial builds up to it. 
The other day we were with a guy we are teaching and it has been so neat to see the light of Christ within him grow brighter and brighter each time we teach him. He is doing things to allow Christ more into his life. His faith is so strong and he has been such a good example to us.
I have learned the importance of change, or as we call it repentance. As we repent daily we are turning more towards God and aligning ourselves with His will.

Scattered thoughts today, but I LOVE YOU ALL! GO MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE!
Pic. I love this fat cat
Pic 2. A picture can't give justice to the beauty of the open skies out here In Indiana
Pic. 3 YUMMY!

Questions anyone?

Hello my great Family and Friends!
What a week. What a week! Everyone that we were teaching magically vanished. Then I realized it is the beginning of Summer. I can't believe it is Summer time! Time flies so fast!
I love when people ask questions, I don't know if it is the teacher in me but it always gets me excited. Even with a guy the other day that was asking us questions and yelling at us at the same time. I walked away with a lot of questions of my own. I didn't let him get me down! The next day I became even more excited for scripture studies in the morning. I prayed inquiring to better understand certain principles of the gospel. Of course I didn't receive all the answers that I was looking for but through that time the Holy Ghost was able to clarify and teach me new things that strengthened my testimony in this gospel. Answers definitely come through time. I look forward to inquire and study more!
I think I am a broken record when I say this but I am so happy withEVERYONE that I have met on my mission. These past 11 months have been life changing! I am coming closer to know my Savior.
I love the area that I am in as I love every area that I have served in. I couldn't say one place is better than the other. Everyone has impacted my life for the better.
I love you all!  I invite you all to pray and study the scriptures to better understand Jesus Christs gospel. You will be enlightened by the Spirit! It is the greatest!
Sister Cook
Have a fun Summer!
Pic. 1: Yesterday, for Memorial Day we went to a park and chalked out the Plan of Salvation and talked with people. It was fun!
Pic 2: a little friend dropped on me as we were  meeting a new friend.
Pic 3: Walking shadows