- So once again, I´m at a loss for where to start. So much happens in one week that it´s impossible to know what to tell.We worked so hard this week. Walking more than ever, and just striving to open our mouths. (Have to proclaim it like an angel.) We come home every night and just about melt into our beds, but it´s the best feeling! This week we have 14 people preparing for baptism in the coming weeks. We taught so many amazing people in the streets. We found another family with 7 kids! Honestly, you wouldn´t believe the differences we´ve seen in our short time here. Starting from nothing. We´ve been so blessed. The miracles continue!
Okay, so we´ll start with Lucia. She´s going to be baptized this weekend! In between sessions of conference, and needless to say, we are stoked! She´s faithfully come to church the past month, and really already feels like a member.One of my favorite moments this week was during Abrir la Boca. It was getting late, and we were on our way to our last lesson. I saw an older man walking with a cane. He was blind. I told hermana Lybbert that I wanted to go talk with him. We chased him down, and I put my hand on his shoulder ¨Permiso, Señor.¨He turned around with a big smile. We talked for a few minutes, and then I told him who we were. He smiled again, You know, I´ve talked with missionaries before, Elders, but they haven´t come around for a while.¨¨ We got his information, he´s not in our area, but the elders are going to see him. He asked me if I was from Chile, because he says I talk like a Chilean (well, wrong country, but they speak pretty, ¨sing-song¨spanish, I´ll take that!) We talked for a bit. I asked him about his beliefs and why he has faith in Jesus Christ. and he said, shaking his cane ¨Hermanita, Jesus Christ GUIDES my life.¨ he told me about his experience losing his sight, and how he´s never blamed God because He knows that he´s always there. It hit me so hard how true that is. I was so grateful for this man and his humble testimony of the reality that God never leaves our side. With tears in my eyes, I took his hand and thanked him. I´m so grateful for those strangers in the street who sometimes teach me more than I teach them.More than anything, this week I´ve come to appreciate so much more the miracle of the Plan of Salvation. The complexity, but at the same time, the simplicity of the phrase ¨walking by faith rather than sight.¨Something that was a goal of mine starting my mission was to teach FAMILIES. it´s something that in my previous areas, we kind of struggled with. But this time around, it seems like that´s all we´ve found. And BIG ones at that.It never ceases to amaze me how much I love these people. Honestly sometimes I have no idea why I love them so much. And that´s something that´s so rewarding about this work. You work with these incredible people. You see them go from nothing, to finding this hope, learning, reading, praying for the first time, literally changing their lives. It´s amazing to be a part of something so intricate!We´re still working with the familia Ramirez-Poblete. Finally teaching mom, dad, and kids!! We taught them the Family Proclamation this week, and they LOVED it. After, we started into the Plan of Salvation, but first we sang ¨families can be together forever.¨ Once again, my testimony of this simple primary song grew as I looked at their faces. They looked at each other, smiling, the spirit was tangible! As we finished, there was quiet, and then Gustavo, the dad, looked at us eagerly and asked ¨Families really can be together forever?¨Oh my heart was so full of love for this family, and gratitude for the perfect plan of our Heavenly Father. We testified to them, that YES, their family can be together forever.We´re going back tonight to finish the Plan of Salvation. I cannot wait!Every week as we talk to people, as I study more, and read and learn about the incredible blessing that is this gospel, I am more and more grateful for the ¨set up¨of this life.I love the way M. Russell Ballard put it in ¨Our Search for Happiness¨:¨So we came to earth, a mortal mixture of human frailty and divine potential.¨Each day I´m so grateful to know that everyone we talk to, all of these incredible people, are spirit children of our loving Heavenly Father. But right now a lot of them don´t know it yet, that´s our job to remind them, bring them back. A lot of them have weaknesses, trials, hurdles, as do we all. But they have every opportunity to become like him, and to reach that potential, to become the beings they were intended to be.I love you all. I´m so grateful for the knowledge that You are mine. Forever.Have fun this week! I can´t wait to see all the pictures of the goings-on.Les Quiero, Mucìsimo!Esta semana que viene,
xoxox Your Hermana C
Monday, September 30, 2013
Posted by Gayle Cox at 11:36 AM
1. What type of fruit are you eating? we eat apples, pears, and mandarinas constantly.
2. How do you keep running into Hermana Cooley? Conferences, in the terminal during transfers, we just seriously see each other everywhere. it´s great!
3. Do you ever speak English, when and where? Yeah, we speak it in the pensión. Hermana Lybbert and I are really trying to eliminate English though. Plus our whole district is now gringos except for one elder, ha pobrecito. So there are some English exchanges. We´re focusing on more Castellano.
4. Did you open your "one-year-mark card?"(can you believe it?) Time FLIES. it honestly freaks me out. We have a pact not to think about it though, so we try not to.
5. Do you think shoe inserts would help the shoe situation? I´m not really sure. I have a serious bruise right now from trying to be cool and jump...not smart.. my toes are also like sausages, but my toms are the greatest!
6. How does rubios mean Blondie's, it looks like it means red. Yeah, Castellano..... Peliroja is redhead. my hair is really more of a caramel color now.
7. Does Hermana Lybbert know any of the areas that you served in in Washington yeah, she laughed too when I told her that we did Spanish in May Valley.
8. How has it been going with Antonia and La Familia Ibaseta? They are.... well, we´re struggling with them a little bit. I´ve never been so frustrated. Agency man.
9. Will you get to watch or listen to conference this next weekend? YESS!! We are so excited for conference! We´re going to the stake center to get it broadcast in English. Plus we have several investigator families that are hopefully going, and also we´re having our baptism in between sessions!!
Posted by Gayle Cox at 9:55 AM
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Something that he focused on several times, was the scripture in Alma 29:1-2 which says: ¨O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.¨
So I´m going to start this letter by telling you what JUST happened to us as we walked to the cyber!
We went to a fruit stand, and were walking along the highway eating our peras, when this man rode by on a bike. We saluted him and said hola, and then he went past, did a double take, stopped, and when we caught up he said ¨Hey! Are you missionaries from the Mormon Church?¨ ¨Yessir!¨ He then proceeded to tell us that he met with elders over 20 years ago, but then he´d moved and lost contact. He started to tell us about the things he´d learned. And then he asked us how the prophet is doing. ha.
We found out he lives in the other area (downside of being in centro), but I asked if we could get his info to give to the elders there. He said yes! And said ¨do you think they could bring me a libro de Mormòn? I lost mine and I want to keep reading it!¨We had one with us, and he asked us to write our names in it. He told us how grateful he was that God had let him see us, and that he knew we were going to see each other again ¨Maybe not in this life,¨he said ¨but in heaven, and then I´ll remind you that you two rubios (blondies) from America helped me find the church again!¨
Well honestly, we did nothing. But OH MAN I know that the Lord puts prepared people in your path!
Antonia and La Familia Ibaseta: They´re progressing, reading, praying. THey´re tough, let me tell ya. Raul, the husband, has SO many questions, and honestly we had a lesson the other day where he asked us to prove some things between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. And then some really hard church history stuff. He´s brilliant really! But I have such a strong testimony of the scriptures, and the promise to missionaries, that if you study and teach by the spirit, the Lord will give you the words to say.
We have so many progressing investigators, and people that are just honestly so prepared for this message!
I´m way grateful for my comp. She´s awesome, and let´s me be a working maniac! I make her RUN to lessons sometimes, and she is so willing to just work hard right alongside me. It´s super great, and we come home beat every night! Something that I love is that we have THE greatest comp studies, and conversations, it really translates into the work and setting goals and making inspired plans is such a blessing! Our lessons still are not perfect, far from, but honestly she has a love for the people too, and we´re doing this thing!
This week we had a multi-zone conference with Elder Nuñez, one of the seventy. It was INCREDIBLE. I love missionary conferences! He talked to us a lot about the amazing blessing that it is to BE a missionary, and having pride in this time.
Something that he focused on several times, was the scripture in Alma 29:1-2 which says: ¨O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
Posted by Gayle Cox at 12:37 AM
1. What CAN happen during the 1-6 siesta time? Do people sleep for that long each day? Well, we try to find people, but honestly it´s kind of eerie how empty the streets are!
2. Does you pack of protecting dogs take a siesta too? Do they have names?(SIDE NOTE) I had to laugh when you wrote what you said to the dogs and I just had a flash back of when you were around 3-4 years old and on the playground. You would walk up to any one and I think any thing and say confidently, HI, "I'm Courtney do you want to be friends?" It was amazing the people... the kids and adults a like that you got to talk and play with your amazing verbal skills and fun personality! I can just see you on the streets of San Juan doing the same thing now, not just to the dogs! yes, the dogs siesta también. But they are seriously like my little groupies. they do not like hna Lybbert though, she´s been bitten 3 times now!
3. What is the name of your neighbors pet turtle? his name is tumbleweed. as of....now.
4. Have you had any warm weather yet? nope. the zonda continues. I might not have toes or a nose by the end of this.
5. How far do you have to travel to get to email us and how do you get there? we just have to walk 30 minutes to town to the cyber. not too bad. Shoes are.... strugglin. but it´s nice to feel one with the earth and feel every rockand pebble beneath my feet :)
6. How are the GF options in San Juan, different or the same, does Hermana Lybbert understand? to be honest, we don´t really have time to eat a whole lot. ha so we don´t. but her sister has celiac, so she totally gets it!
7. Are you in a house or apartment?we´re in an apartment. more like a cave. it´s on the lower level, and is hollow and cold!!! But clean. so can´t complain!
Cute comp in the empty streets of San Juan
Hna Cooley. Again
BRISA and SOL. They are SISTERS. 3 and 4. My favorites.
They´re teaching me Castellano.
Brisa, and her funny faces. Doll.
|Sol. I might bring them home with me.|
Picnic in the sun. Finally a day above freezing.
|Conference with Elder Nuñez|
Posted by Gayle Cox at 12:34 AM
Monday, September 16, 2013
So this week has been one for the records! Not for the heat unfortunately. Apparently I brought the cold to San Juan with me. It´s been so cold we had to break out our winter coats. No one really knows what that´s about, but we´re all praying for the sun to return soon.
I´ve got so much to tell you all! First of all. I´m in love with San Juan!
My new companion is Hermana Lybbert. She´s from Washington. We´re having fun being gringas together. But that´s not stopping us.
I honestly came to San Juan with a new fire.
I got here, and they told me that the work had been a little slow for the last few months. They didn´t have any progressing investigators, or anyone close to baptism.
We had weekly planning with our district the morning after I got here, so that was a little challenging, since I had no idea about anything. But honestly I learned from my transfer in May Valley, that sometimes starting with nothing brings great miracles, because you HAVE to rely on the Lord.
We decided to stick with some of the names that they´d had from Abrir La Boca, or street contacting. But after two days, we walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. Yes, like pioneer children. In the very cold. And didn´t contact ANYONE. One thing I´m not in love with is that the siesta is literally SACRED here. meaning from 1-6 it´s me. my comp. the dogs. and the tumble weed. real life.
So. After that. I remembered my first transfer in WA lesson. If something´s not working for ya. Try something new.
We decided to start with the area book. We found several really old antiguos, and by really old I mean there wasn´t really a whole lot except for like 2005...
But. We took out a few that looked promising/had been to church, had kept their commitments, etc. and decided to start from there!
Long story short, this weekend was INCREDIBLE!!!
We found a family! We contacted an antiguo, Antonia and she told us that they´d met the elders several years back, but they just stopped coming one day. She invited us to come back and visit when her husband was home. So yesterday, we went back, and When we showed up the kids ushered us in and welcomed us like we were old friends. They´re seriously the cutest! Her husband is Raul. And they have 9 kids. 8 of which are ¨baptizable¨. We taught them the restoration, and it went awesome! The spirit was so strong! And the 4 of them that were there all agreed to a baptismal date! They´re going to read the Book of Mormon together, from the beginning (Lehi´s Family is PERFECT for them!).
Needless to say we were stoked!
We have another antigua, Lucia, who is an older lady. She too had met with missionaries before. She is solid and came to church with us yesterday for the second time, and we have a lesson with her tonight to start prepping her for her baptism.... for this weekend!
Veronica is another lady that the hermanas taught a few lessons to before. We went, she told us she wants to know what she needs to do to help her family move forward, and come closer to Christ. We taught her about the gospel of Christ, and she agreed to be baptized!!!
We have several other amazing people that we found and began teaching. Something that we´ve really been focusing on is building really good relationships with these people. They´re super loving, and when you love them and show them that you´re there for them, the spirit directs the lessons, and amazing things happen!
I´ve been thinking a lot this week about what it means to be a part of the work of salvation. That´s something that´s so beautiful and so hard about this work. I know that it´s something that I don´t even fully comprehend. But it´s something that´s of infinite importance. It would be easy to do this thing halfheartedly, but that would defeat the purpose.
As missionaries, it is our job to ¨desire the salvation of souls¨, that´s what we´re working for. I was reading in Alma 31, and it talks about how Alma cried unto the Lord for his brethren. ¨Their souls are precious!¨ he says. These people are family, our brothers and sisters. They all have their stories, their struggles, setbacks, ¨stumbling blocks¨. Some have just one or two, others have ten. But they are all desperately lost, and they need what we have. Boyd K. Packer said ¨The study of the doctrines of the gospel will change behavior quicker than the study of behavior will change behavior.¨ It´s true. I know it. It just makes sense! In Jesus the Christ, it talks about how our Heavenly Father has a foreknowledge of everything that would happen in all the lives of his children. But that we should not assume that just because he knew what would be determined that such must be. His work and His glory IS to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. ¨provided that the transgressor would elect to avail himself thereof.¨
Our merciful, and JUST Heavenly Father has given us EVERY means of returning to Him. including the choice of whether or not to accept it. Agency is a tricky thing. But it´s necessary. ¨Oh how great the plan of our God!¨(2 Nephi 9:13).
I love you all. I love this work. It´s not easy, but every moment is worth it! ¡Bien Vale La Pena!
until next week.
xoxox Your Hermana C
Posted by Gayle Cox at 1:24 PM
1. Where did you get the GF empanadas? Were they yummy? We MADE them! I´m so Argentine, i know. Yeah they were way yumm.
2. Who is your Mission Pres and where are they from and do they do a blog ? or anything like that? Our President is Presidente Avila. He´s from Buenas Aires. remember? Yeah, I think they have a blog.. . . . not sure how well it´s kept up though...
3. Do you have any technology like ipads and phones down there? nope! we are lucky to get a brick cell phone, and a working cyber. ha just the way i like it.
4. Do you feel safe where you are now? Can't wait to see photos ummmmm... yeah, mom. Ha
we´re safe. We´re missionaries, and for some reason, the local dogs love my accent.. or something. So we always have a little pack of protection. ha I´m the dog whisperer apparently.
What do you whisper to the dogs?I just say hola, ask them what´s up, tell them I´ll love them if they don´t eat me. it works...
5. New companion etc? My new companion is Hermana Lybbert. She is from Washington, and she is fantastic. She´s learning with me. She´s got 6 weeks, too. We came together on the plane.We´re working hard. Finally, and seeing lots of miracles!
6. Are you eating with members in the new area?no we don´t have meals with members... yet.
We´re going to work on that. I found a scripture in Alma 8:20-22. Feeding missionaries is a blessing. haha
Did you get my letters in the mail, I sent them red bag. Yes we got your letters. It was so fun. I loved having something to hold from you! We will write back this week hard copy and mail them. YEAH! I´m so glad they made it to you! I sent them through pouch/ red bag.
7. Still to the address you gave me, right and packages too now that you have transferred, is it the same. yeah, the address is the same for the whole mission. They´ll just get it to us sometime.
We´re in San Juan, which is the furthest thing from any civilization of the mission. woo! Sorry I´m trying to give details, but I don´t have time to write everyone and write a letter for the blog.
middle of nowhere meaning 4 hours from Mendoza, and we drove though miles and miles of NOTHING to get out here.
8. Is the pres and wife the only ones that you have had ? Were they new when you got there? Yeah, president will be here until next July, and then I´ll have a new one for my last few months here.
9. Did you get the photos? You are all so cute! and all so lean and tall looking. Maybe something to do with the fact that all I see around me are the tops of heads?So funny story, I kept standing next to Davis and Ryan...and Ben thinking that they were growing and growing! Just went to the doctor the other day to look at this thing with my knee and hip and they measured me at 5 foot 71/2 ??? Yes, I had them measure twice. Same. Dad measured me when I got home and I came in at 5 ft 81/2....so, I had to break it to the boys that they weren't growing...I was shrinking! Weird. Starting vball tonight. missing you...and your height! Hope I can still block and hit being only 5ft 8 1/2
NO WAY!! oh my ha that´s hilarious!I miss volleyball, honestly. Everyone here loves soccer.
I´m sure you´ll still kill it, but take care of yourself. You´ll be short as Grandma Trump by the time I get home at this rate!
|Enrique, Hermana Keller and Me!|
|Saying goodbye to district!|
|Guess who again!|
Posted by Gayle Cox at 1:21 PM
Friday, September 13, 2013
|Our district sports day|
|Ping pong was good. The elders were worse than we were though. |
so our "around the world" didn't last long.
|Lice Check-I am lice free so far.|
|My very first asado....and done by a gringo!!It was chicken and beef...I think. |
The chicken was green though... eww.
|GLUTEN FREE EMPENADAS!!|
|So one day the lock broke to our apartment, and we got trapped inside... the assistants had to come all the way from Mendoza to rescue the trapped Hermanas. Embarrassing. |
Never a dull moment.
The "safety" bars are no longer!
|Ever been so tired you fall asleep in any possible position?|
I was trying to pray, and they wouldn't let me.
yeah, I fell asleep while they were talking,
They thought it was fun to take a photo.
|Pig the size of a motorcycle. Real life.|
Posted by Gayle Cox at 10:14 PM
This week, as with all of the others, has been full of surprises. I'm learning very quickly what NOT to expect. I´m getting transferred to a new area! I´m getting really good at living out of my suitcase! The rest of the girls are staying in Tunuyan, but I´m off the the heat! Just what I asked for! San Juan here I come!
This week was a blur, honestly. Time is flying so fast! I´ve learned a lot this week about expecting the unexpected, and how working hard and enduring well really do bring miracles. And there are all sorts of tender mercies in day to day things. Even when you´re too stubborn to see them. me.
We worked hard this week with a lot of our progressing investigators, and had another great turn out at church! We even started a choir. (yes, I´m singing, and actually, Hermana Keller has been making me practice piano too! Just in case) Enrique didn't end up getting baptized this past weekend. which was a bummer. BUT he is ready for this Saturday, and we're working with Estela! I'm sad that I won't get to stay for that, but seeing the changes they've made the last few weeks have been some of the greatest experiences of my mission!!
That's the hardest thing for me about getting transferred. 6 weeks just isn't enough time to really see the seeds grow, and the relationships that are forming have to come to a halt for a moment. But I'm really glad that Hermana Keller gets to stay in the area, and continue working with the amazing people here.
I´m in Alma 26 in my reading again, and I just love to see the ´missionary journey´that we go through. The ups and downs, working hard and getting ´laughed to scorn´, knowing that the area you are working in needs a lot of work, but then seeing mighty miracles in just a few short weeks.
The Lord has a way of making things come together that never ceases to amaze me. Even in the weeks where it seems like nothing will ever change, that you're exhausted without having done any good. Alma 26:31: ´Now, behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors, and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many, yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.´ I love these people. I have seen so many of them completely change their lives as they come to a knowledge of the gospel and what the Lord wants for them. This life is not easy, but the gospel makes it easier. God is our loving Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ is our older brother, and Savior. Alma 26:35: We have ´great reason to rejoice´!
Sorry, this is short, the ciber is struggling today. And I have to go pack for tomorrow!
I love you all so much!
Until next week.
xoxo Your Hermana C
ps. I learned how to say zurburt in Castellano. Fun fact. ´sobarle la panza´. have fun with that ;)
Posted by Gayle Cox at 1:28 PM
Thursday, September 5, 2013
It´s September?? Che! Time is seriously flying! But honestly this week didn´t feel that way.
I have never been so time-warped in my life!
So my brain is scattered with all of the incredibly amazing, emotional, hard, miracle-ish things that I have to tell you about this week.
This week was definitely one of the hardest, for lots of reasons. We spent another 4 days back and forth to Mendoza to try and figure out the best ¨plan of action¨ for my poor compy. The other hermanas and I finally put our feet down, no more pretending that she´s not sick. It´s been good to finally get some of the answers she needs, I´m getting some good nursing practice in, but honestly I would rather not have to say that.
The other days this week we couldn´t really plan for, not knowing where we´d be. But we decided to focus hard on finding new people to teach, and getting referrals. We pounded the pavement harder than we have for a few weeks, but NO ONE wanted to listen to us. We would come home to the pensión every night, and honestly our numbers were pathetic. But we just decided to keep working. Diligence, right?
Throughout the week we had lessons with Fabiana and Antonio, who are GREAT! I love them so much. They are just solid, good people, they´ve got some kinks to work through, like everyone, but I have faith they´ll continue to progress.
Greatest news of course is Enrique!! Oh, he is GOLDEN. He´s now had all the lessons, and everything in between. He is praying faithfully, and reading the Book of Mormon. He is so prepared it´s crazy. He just has so much faith, and everything that he´s been through in his life has really helped him to have a desire to come unto Christ. He came to church yesterday, and was just glowing! He was welcomed with open arms, and then proudly announced that he is going to be baptized Saturday at 6:30, and invited everyone. Then, after church, he told us that he was going to go ¨track down¨ Hermano Gil, and find out why he didn´t come to church. He is already excited to get the priesthood, and we told him he´s already starting to be a missionary. Holy Cow, the kid is just amazing!
Yesterday was definitely one of the most memorable days of my mission so far! We went and got Enrique for church, and then when we arrived, the building was so full of people! The first people we saw when we walked in the door was the Contador family. A less active family that we´ve really been working with the last few weeks. They have 3 kids, only 1 was baptized, but they are just lovely. Anyway, we went by Friday just to check in, and she told us: ¨hermanas, I just want you to know. I appreciate you, and honestly I love you. You can come eat, and share messages with us whenever you want, our door is always open, but I´m not ready to go to church. I don´t NEED to go to church. and when I need it, I´ll go, but for now, no.¨ We left a little disappointed, but just determined to keep loving them. We don´t know what changed, but THEY ALL CAME!
Relief Society was FULL, Sunday School was FULL, and the official count in Sacrament Meeting was 69!!! 69!! That count is up from the 18 that we had our first week here! We had 3 investigators, Enrique, Maria, and Silvana. And then 7 menos activos families that came!!! Some of them hadn´t been to church for over 10 years, and they came!
Fast and testimony meeting was Amazing! And we even had a baby blessing of Maria´s grandson, from their part-member family.
We got a call from Elder Ence this morning, telling us that President is just ¨bubbling¨ with excitement for the things that are happening here. The work is moving forward.
My heart has never been so full of Love and appreciation for the hand of the Lord in this, His work. I always laugh at how many ups and downs I can have in just a single day. But I have a testimony of the ¨diamond in contrast to the black background¨ theory. All of the trials, rainy days, doors in the face, and frustration. It´s a test of our faith, our diligence, our willingness to endure. Not saying that I have that figured out perfectly yet, I´m reminded daily that reality is quite the opposite. But I love this work. Every part of it. The good, the bad, and the really bad.
The Lord knows his children. He knows who they are, where to put them, and what they need. I honestly feel like I´ve done nothing to deserve the miracles that we´ve seen. He is the master planner, and I know more than ever that I am just being given the privilege of being an instrument in his hands.
I love you all so much. Thank you for all of your prayers, ¨air hugs¨, and pep talks. You all mean the world to me.
Con Mi Amor,
Your Hermana C
Posted by Gayle Cox at 9:47 PM