Friday, March 21, 2014

March 10, 2014 - I Will Not Shrink!

well, first, i have now tried 3 different keyboards in  the cyber, but they are all struggling, so i apologize ahead of time for the typos. 

So I have to say, I¨m sorry if  my last few letters have  been scattered, or not made sense.... such is my brain these days...
These past two weeks we have hit a whole new level in the work! I am SUPER grateful for my compañera. We both came out of less-than-satisfying transfers, and decided to pound the pavement!  This past week, we saw so many miracles, and our numbers, although not normally a focus, finally started to reflect the hard work we´d been putting in. The district and zone leaders noticed a huge change, and also we had correlation with Alan, the Ward mission leader, and after talking about all of our Super start progressing investigators, he said ¨Hermanas, these resultados are much better than before. What´s making the difference?¨ The answer is Obedience, TEAMWORK, LOVE, communication, and balance. We have FUN, and we get work DONE. I am SO happy. I love this work.
*This week numbers went up. but not just numbers. PEOPLE.prepared people. 
*we started our English class this week
*Elder Ballard came and did a seminar for the leadership in the missions of South America, and they changed the daily horario for proselyting. now instead of finishing all of our studies in the morning and not leaving until 11:30 or after lunch, we go out at 9:30  am! 
It´s a huge change, but man we have already seen the miracles. Friday alone we had 3 unexpected lessons BEFORE lunch!! (before there were some WEEKS where that was all we had!) 
*There has been a whole new focus on unity in the mission. we had consejo last week, and Presdiente Ávila asked ME to give a training on ¨improving  elder-hermana relations¨. focused on verification, teamwork, respect, love, and unity.  even to include a role-play with a mustache :) but it actually went surprisingly well, and we´re still working to make strides in that department. 
* as i´ve mentioned before, I honestly have not been this tired on my whole mission up to this point. But the phrase ¨With ALL your heart, might, mind, and strength¨has taken on a very literal meaning for me. 

*Elsy got baptized on Saturday!!! After one of THE  most hectic weeks, and a 30-minutes-before-the-baptism meltdown. But thanks to scriptures, lots of prayers, and an amazing bishop. She overcame her fears and went through with it, and the results have been so worth it! She came out of the font crying and thanking everyone for how ´beautiful´she felt.
Her confirmation on Sunday....amazing. She was so overcome with emotions. She stood up and just thanked everyone. Then she came and sat next to me and just hugged me, sobbing. after a few minutes, she pulled back, concerned-looking. ¨Why do I feel like this? It´s the most beautiful feeling, but why do I feel so strongly the need to cry?¨ I just smiled ¨THAT¨S the spirit!¨ I told her. Her eyes got big ¨That´s what that is? Give me a pen, I need to write down how I´m feeling before it goes away!¨ She couldn´t keep the tears in all through the rest of sacrament meeting, she just kept saying ¨thankyou, thank you!¨ 
*Claudia and Silena are INCREDIBLE! every time we have lessons with them I just leave walking on a cloud! Silena is telling EVERYONE about her baptism on the 22, and she is so excited that it´s the same night as the Young Women´s night of excellence. ¨Best Day EVER!¨ The gospel has already working miracles in their family! 
*We had several days this week where we stumbled upon the most prepared people. The Lord has an 
amazing way of showing you the power of HIS plan, and HIS timing when we do what we can with our plans, the time he has given us, and then when that falls through, putting our trust in him, and working diligently regardless. 

This past week I¨ve been thinking a lot about all of you. It´s always hard in a chaotic cyber to really take in everything I¨m reading. Last week, I got a glimpse at all that was happening with Davis,  but it wasn´t until later,as i was re-reading your letters that the reality and the magnitude really hit me. 
I prayed. A LOT. for Davis. for each of you. for our family. 
Then I found a talk by Elder Bednar. ¨That we  might ´not...shrink´. (D&C 19:18). 
He tells about the story of Elder Maxwell, his battle with cancer, and then also recounts the story of a young couple whose lives were impacted drastically by the finding of cancer just weeks after their wedding. 
The main focus of his message was that in the midst of trials, tribulations, and the hardships of life that are often not understood by us alone, ¨We too can plead with the Father, just as Jesus did, that we ´might not...shrink¨--meaning to retreat or recoil.¨ Christ himself  pleaded that if it were possible, the burden might be lifted from him...but if not, that he was willing to submit to the will of the Father. He emphasizes the importance of this concept:   ¨Not shrinking is much more important than surviving!¨ Our purpose is not merely just to survive, it´s about learning, living, and becoming. Facing with hope, faith, and grace the things the Father asks of us.
Elder Bednar said ¨I do not know why some people learn the lessons of eternity through trial and suffering-while others learn similar lessons through rescue and healing. I do not know all of the reasons, all of the purposes, and I do not know everything about the Lord´s timing.With Nephi,you and I can say that ¨we do not know the meaning of all things.¨¨

yesterday in Sunday school we had a lesson about D&C and the teacher asked me if there had been a specific section that has really impacted my life. there were several that came to mind, but I thought of section 100. words of comfort, reassurance, and promises of success to Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon as they were called to leavetheir families in a moment of trial to go and serve missions. In the beginning stages of my mission, when things were looking rough at home, and I wonderedif it was fair for me to leave my family in such an ¨inconvenient¨moment, this section brought me a lot of comfort. And still now (almost a YEAR later) I find that those words still ring true. 
I know that the Lord is aware of our struggles, trials, and that while I¨m out here, you are all in his capable hands. I know that because I¨ve seen that although trials may continue,he has (in Davis´words) ¨Made the burden lighter¨and brought an unexplainable peace. I¨ve watched as my baby brother (who was once of few words) has, through his trials and hardships, become a strong, determined, faithful MAN who expresses so eloquently of the trust he has inthe Lord and HIS plan. Who despite all odds looks forward with unshakable faith and a powerful and inspiring testimony. Who keeps dreaming big, and with great willpower makes the most of every day.Always choosing to live true to his motto of ¨living life to the fullest¨.  Who in every way refuses to ¨shrink¨. 
I¨m amazed at the depth of his character. The calm he´s  maintained  in the most chaotic of moments. And the way he so fully gives his will and trust to the Lord.

I know his ¨mission¨started 4years ago. A mission that has helped to build and strengthen him personally, but also a journey that has had the purpose of touching hearts, strengthening faith, and bringing hope to those around him. 
Especially  me. In his last letter, he said ¨The last thing I want is for you to be distracted worrying about me.¨ Well, he is my baby brother... But then he said ¨My goal is to keep a positive attitude attitude and not worry about things I can´t control.¨ There I was  back in that  moment of briefly feeling useless. So far away, and wishing that there was more I could be doing.
But then, just as Davis told me he hoped would happen, that peaceful ¨Everything´s going to be okay.¨ Feeling came over me. 
I knew when I left that it was going to be one of the hardest things I would have to do. I knew there would be trials, that there wasn´t really an ¨expectation¨of what could happen. But I felt that promise peace from the Lord, and up until this point, He´s been good to His word.. 
Seeing the trust Davis has, the strength that you (my parents) have, and the way you are all working together and putting wholeheartedly your faith in the Lord, has helped me time and time again to see that I have nothing to fear. I know why I¨m here. I know you know why I¨m here. I¨m working hard to make the most of my time our here away from all of you. I know that the Lord is aware of us. He knows us. What we need. I know that even in those times when we don´t understand the ¨why¨ or the ¨how¨ behind the things that have, are, and will happen, we can hold fast to the promise that the Savior knows. and that He will provide the way for us to move forward. With faith. Helping us to feel that we know what we need to know. Are learning what we need to learn. And ultimately becoming what He needs us to become. 


I love you all. 
xoxox Your Hermana C

*Happy Baptism Elsy!! 

Monday March 10, 2014 - Hi from RY

Hey Co, 
Everyone else got their Christmas time letters a month or so ago, but mine came in the mail about a week ago, haha I thought you just neglected me and forgot to write, but we're good. ;) I thought a lot about what you said, "I challenge you to choose one of these attributes and work on it." I decided to work on one that I struggle with, a lot. Patience. I have always been a little, ok a lot jumpy and energetic, and I don't think that is a bad thing I just need to focus on the right time to be patient and quiet. This was really hard for me, especially when sometimes being patient leads to being late, like to church this morning. In school I tried to breath deep and just take things as they came. This week went by really slow for me and it was difficult, but using my patience that I knew I had (no matter how deep down) helped me to overcome the week and make it to the weekend. 
In my personal scripture study this week I found an amazing one. I've been reading in the Old Testament a lot lately, it's Isaiah 50:11, it reads "Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow." I really like this one, after the : it says "walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled." I think it goes hand in hand with Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven." and also D&C 115:5 "Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for all the nations." all three of these scriptures are saying, don't hide your greatness, yes still be humble about it, but if you don't let your light shine, no one will ever be able to follow the light that we have, our potential is enormous, and if we learn how to use it, we can become like the greatest example of all time, The Savior Jesus Christ. 
I have a testimony of personal scripture study, it has helped me a bunch, there are things that I swear change in the scriptures to meet what I need to hear right then, I will read something, then read it again and get a completely different feeling and knowledge. I love you big sister, keep up the good work down there, love everyone, and don't get lazy. 
Love, Ryan 

I¨m so sorry that your letter got lost for a quick  moment!! But i´m so happy it finally made it there!!  
I love you, little brother. I'm always amazed at the depth of understanding you have, and the way you really take things to heart, and put them in practice. You are such a great  example to me.
I love those scriptures in Isaiah, we always talk about ¨fire¨here in the mission field. how  important it is to always keep that fire burning in your heart and your belly to work and work hard, all the way to the end.
I love you lots.   Thank you for being you,,  and for always helping to keep me going and motivated. I hope that all is well with you, and that you´ll give mom,dad, Davis, Ben and em mi big hugs for m e. you are all in my prayers.
xoxoxYour HermanaC

Monday March 10, 2014 - The Process of Becoming...

So I had to tell you about how much I love you and appreciate that sometimes we seem to be on the same brain wave, even across all the many miles.
I decided two transfers ago to start naming my transfers according to what my goals were, or what I wanted to accomplish....
Two weeks ago, I named this transfer ¨The Process of BECOMING...¨
Really I´ve wanted to focus more on what the mission is helping me to change, who it is helping me to become.
I´ve felt such a difference as I´ve focused more on turning my will over to the Lord, trusting in His plan, and allowing his power to work for good in my life. I still have a LONG way to go. I realize that more every day. But i´m grateful that he knows me and my needs, and that he considers me worthy of the trials, the ¨shaping¨, the ¨changing¨ and ¨molding¨, that he´s giving me. Every day it´s more and more. Physically, spiritually, emotionally. my strength and willingness are challenged every day. But I know he knows what he wants from me, who he knows I can be, and that he´s doing everything to get me there.
Thank you for your love, support, and for your prayers, wisdom and strength that I receive from you all each week.
Every night when I count my blessings, you all are always at the top of my list.
I love you,
xoxox C

March 10, 2014 - My Dearest Brother

My dearest brother,
I have been thinking about you A LOT this week  and I have been anxiously hoping to have a letter from you. It makes my heart hurt. I am so sorry for the ongoing struggles that you are having and the setbacks. But I am absolutely blown away at the depth of your patience, understanding, maturity, and just complete submission and faith in the will of the Lord and His plan for you. You are inspiring, and I love you.
This week, in my prayers, in my work, and in the constant overload, I too, have had this constant sense of peace, and reassurance from the Lord. ¨Don´t you worry, child.¨ everything will be okay. and I know it will be. I´m so impressed with your ability to see the good in life, to look forward with faith, and to continue on with your ¨live life to the fullest¨ attitude. 
You may not realize it, but your ¨mission¨began a few years ago as you began this crazy journey with your illness. From the beginning you have been an inspiration to many, and an example of strength, tolerance, hope and wisdom well beyond your years.
It´s continuously hard for me to be away from home, and hear of the things that are happening, and not be there to work through it all right there with you. But I KNOW and I have felt time and time again that you are in good hands. The Lord is with you, and He is helping all of us to maintain the faith and the sense of peace despite the obstacles and continuous trials.
I LOVE YOU. I hope you know how much I pray for and think of you.
Thank you for keeping me updated, for your example, and for the strength and hope that I can literally feel as I read your words.
Cuídate mi querido hermanito,
con muchísimo amor, 
Tu Hermana C 

Monday March 3, 2014 - ¨Don´t you worry, don´t you worry, child...¨‏

I can´t believe it´s only been one week since I last wrote. Seriously so much has happened. This week has been one of, if not THE, busiest weeks thus far. en serio.
I laughed, I got an email from Jaden saying ¨coming up on the year mark, my body seems to be saying ¨what are you doing to me??¨. I think that every morning as I wake up. I feel destroyed. But the results we´ve been seeing are bien vale la pena. 
*This week we had consejo, and several other leadership meetings. It´s crazy the things that are happening in this mission, well, the whole world. The Lord really is hastening His work, and we have to do EVERYTHING in our power to keep up! 
*We hit a serious high this week. Hermana Enos got here, and things were crazy, but she was so willing to just jump in with me and run around crazy. We´ve been working so hard, that we´re honestly exhausted, but super satisfechas with everything that´s happened.
*Miracles. We set a goal as a companionship to have 4 baptisms in the month of March, and it pleases me to tell you, that I believe we are going to hit that mark! 
*Elsie. Silena. Yamila. for sure. then we have Celeste, and Pablo that are progressing as well. And we have Claudia, and then good old Mauricio that need to get married first. JUST GET MARRIED!!! 
*Elsie. Oh boy, has that been a tilt-a-whirl of a ride.
Monday- We went by to have our first lesson with her. She informed us that she´d read the folleto de la Restauración, and several pages of the Libro de Mormón. She told us ¨First, I want to explain what I´ve understood, and then, if I´m wrong, you can  help me.¨ So she explained the restoration, basically perfect, told us that she´d prayed, and she already knew that the book was true. Then she said ¨But i have a few doubts....¨  okay.... ¨What are all of these DyC´s at the bottoms of all the pages (Doctrine and Covenants). HA. We explained, and she says excitedly, ¨you mean there´s another book I get to read after I finish this one??¨ 
Stop. she told us she wanted to meet the bishop asap, and get baptized. We set a fecha for 8 de Marzo. and she then said ¨how long after that do i have to wait to go on a mission?¨ we told her a year, and she said ¨oh, perfect, that will give me time to prepare.¨
We set up a return appt for Thursday. prayed, and left.
So needless to say, when Hermana Enos and I were about to go to teach her, I had told her all about how amazing this lady was. 
We show up, and she says ¨Good thing you came, I have A LOT of doubts.¨ Oh dear...
She told us she´d met this man, and mentioned that she was investigating our church... he then told her that all of our bishops are extremely corrupt, that we all practice polygamy, that if she got baptized it would be in the name of Joseph Smith, and that she´d have to give her daughter to the bishop as a wife... well, we obviously put those doubts to rest. And she was happy. ¨This is why i was so anxious to see you. I was praying all of that wasn´t true. What do you have to teach me today??¨ So we had an awesome lesson about the plan of Salvation, and she was super happy.
THEN. there was a knock at the door. guess who?? THE MAN.
turns out he is an apostate member, was baptized 20 years ago. He came in and immediately started yelling at us about how wrong we are and how awful the church is.
We were backed up against a wall in a very tiny room. After some long minutes, and some silent prayers, we bore testimony that what he was saying wasn´t doctrine, and that they both could learn for themselves. I´ve never had such a mixture of anger and the spirit in my life...can those things mix?? 
 but he wouldn´t have it. wouldn´t let us talk. But several times, Elsie interrupted him and said ¨You were baptized? and then you left because of some mistakes of another MAN? That has nothing to do with the church!¨ but he kept arguing. When he finally stopped to breathe, I testified again, that as missionaries we teach the truth, we don´t force our opinions on anyone, but that each person can learn for themselves. and then it was quiet for a minute. Elsie spoke up. 
¨We´re going to pray.¨She said to all of us. then, looking at him, ¨This Sunday, I´m going to church with the hermanas. I´m going to meet the bishop. And I´m going to keep preparing to get baptized. The Lord has led me to this church. I know that it´s true.¨
We prayed, and we left.
Friday: we went by the next day just to make sure everything was okay. She told us sorry he´d come over, and that she´d been praying that he wouldn´t come back... because ¨He´s from the devil to confuse her.¨ She´s smart, that Elsie. We had a short lesson, and told her we´d be by to pick her up on Sunday morning for church.
Sunday: We went by to get Elsie. She wasn´t there! Confused, we just went to the church. We walked into Relief Society and there was a big group of Hermanas in the front talking... they sat down, and there was ELSIE! She looked at me with a big grin and said ¨Sorry, hermanita. I woke up early this morning, and I was just too anxious to come to church...¨ alright.
¨But guess who else came to church??¨THE MAN. Sergio is his name. and he came to church. and he loved it.... apparently.....
we have another lesson with her tonight.. .and he said ¨I´ll be there!¨ But this time we´re bringing back up. Magalí! and Alan, our ward mission leader. I´ll keep you all posted! 

Okay, so sorry, that was a novel about Elsie, but it has been one of those expect the unexpected¨ rides with her.

*This week we met our goals of investigators progressing, finding prepared people who are willing to really stick with it, and our prayers have been answered. 
But even then, there are those random setbacks, and moments where you really have to analyze your progress.
There were several moments throughout the week that I thought ¨How am I supposed to do this?¨ Our schedules have been insane. We´ve been slammed with a bunch of changes in the mission, more things to do with leadership, and more hermanas in the area. But I´ve never been so happy to be dead-on my feet exhausted. 
There´s been this constant feeling of stress, the unknown, frustration and exhaustion... but it lasts a brief moment and then is over-rided by this feeling of peace, calm, and ¨don´t worry, I´ve got this.¨ That song played in the supermercado the other day, and i just smiled as it seemed to confirm the need to just rely on the ¨plan that heaven has for me.¨ (I´m sure Davis and Ryan will know what song I´m referring to.) 

This week, and really my goal for this transfer, is to recognize more my dependence on the Lord. Work harder and smarter, in the way that HE wants me to work. Develop more LOVE for everyone that I come in contact with. Submit, willingly and completely, to His work, and count the blessings and miracles that happen every day.
I´m SO grateful for the time the Lord has given me to serve Him. It´s not easy. But nothing worthwhile ever is. He knows exactly what I need, now and in the future, and every day the things I see, hear, and experience are contributing to the knowledge he wants me to have, the lessons I need to learn, and ultimately the person he knows I can become.

I love you all. My heart breaks when I have to receive news of the setbacks that Davis, and all of us faced this week. But you are all such an inspiration and a strength to me. Parents, you are my hero's...but really in every sense of the word. I couldn´t do this without you. Davis is inspiring. Patient, strong, and hopeful against all odds. I love that kid. Ryan, Emmi and Ben, you are all such good supporters, I love your letters, thoughts, and the people that you are becoming. (Although I wish you´d slow down a bit!) I´m thankful for each of you every day. And as hard as it is to be so far away, mission you and wanting to be there to help, I´m comforted with a knowledge that the Lord has you in His hands. He´s caring for you, and guiding you. He´s reminded me of that on several occasions. Know that I love you, I pray for you always, and I so appreciate the strength, love, and support that I can feel even here halfway round the world.

I hope everything goes well this week. Here´s to moving forward with faith, hope, and the reassurance of the wisdom of the Lord.
¨No te preocupes!¨ 
I love you all. 
xoxox Your Hermana C
*reunited at last! 

*last district picture. literally every picture. so we copied her.

*ciao hermana Lawrence. she makes this pose in EVERY picture.

*new comp!!! sorry, another selfie, 
we did it on the way to cyber...

Monday March 3, 2014 - Love, Courtney

I have to say that my heart broke a little bit as I read Davis´words. But then at the same time, I was so overwhelmed with love and a sense of peace at his words. This week I´ve been thinking about him A LOT. one of those subconscious connection things I think. And I was nervous to hear the news, but he is incredible. The greatest source of maturity, faith, hope, and perseverance that I have known. It´s times like these that make being far extremely difficult. And I miss you so much more than you even know. But I´m grateful for the knowledge I have that the Lord loves us. That he has our family in mind, and that you are all so carefully placed in His care while I´m here. I hope that you all know of the prayers I say for you, of the gratitude I have for THIS family that my Heavenly Father gave me. ¨We may not have it all together....but together we DEFINITELY have it all.¨ Here´s to moving forward with faith. Trusting in the Lord. And holding onto the love and unity that have kept us close these last 4 years.
I love you all so much! 
xoxo C

Monday March 3, 2014 -Davis Update

Courtney, I hope that you were able to feel of Davis' strength through his email before reading mine.  This is the email that goes out to everyone for an update.  I wanted to let you know all the information.  There are of course still so many unknowns, but the known is that we will keep moving forward.  Your letter to Davis offered such strength and love for him.  He looks up to your example every day.  I know that this will be difficult news for you to hear so far away, but know that your amazing love and spirit is felt here so strongly.  I miss you in times like these, however, also more than other times, know that you are in the right place for you...for Davis and for our family right now.  I love you so very much and thank you for your incredible strength that you often willingly and knowingly give to me and especially for all the times that I pull from your strength when you don't even know. Love, MOM!
PS I'm here!
No words through email can ever soften unwanted news.  Unfortunately, Davis' bone marrow function results that we have been waiting for, are not as we had hoped and prayed.  To this you say, but he looks so good and strong.  As we have all come to know, this disease is difficult to describe and understand, I will do my best. We are so grateful for his amazing senior year thus far.  It will be incredible to experience him graduating.  He has worked so hard and has been one of the most stalwart and diligent individuals that I know. 
His bone marrow is currently functioning at 20%, which is far below the 80% that they were hoping to see. We are at a critical point to decide where to go next.  They suspect that the high dose meds are the reason for his 20% function and yet, he needs to get off the meds to prevent further complications, too many to name, long term.
The reason for my delay in getting the information out, has been the back and forth discussions, between going straight to a bone marrow transplant or waiting out a taper from the meds to get him to a lower dose that will sustain him through graduation. They are still consulting with a few specialists. 
They suggested the need for a bone marrow transplant, and then for 48 hours, we were told that there was not currently a good enough match(they are looking for a certain number of markers needed for the best outcome) Then we were told that there are a few potential non-related donor matches upon looking at the registry. (If you are so inclined, I am thinking that Ryan may do an Eagle project to inform the public about and organize a bone marrow registry.  I will try to provide more information soon. However, from what little I understand at this point, it is free and simple to register to be a bone marrow donor.  You will be tested for anyone in need and they will call if you are the best match.  One story I heard, is of a man that was called 20 years after registering as a match for a 6 year-old little girl.  I express my testimony for mothers out there, that they would be ever grateful for your life-saving donation. It was very tender for me when there was a thought that there wasn't a match and I don't want any one else to feel that uncertainty).

My emotions are all across the board as his strong desire as well as his continued preparation to serve a mission, or head off to college within the year was up for discussion. 
Thank you for all the calls and concern the past week. Jeff has been out of town and it took us a moment or two to gather our wits and all the information.  We truly feel of your prayers and support. 

I am challenged at the need to simplify and explain, however, here it goes;
*As for now the most agreed upon plan is to begin tapering off the high dose meds, and watch labs closely.
*Doing this slowly over the next 3-6 months will hopefully allow him to complete high school with much of the immunity and strength that he has been having for the past 8 months.
*If his body can tolerate the taper, and get his levels to a point of sustaining on lower meds without the need for transfusions, then there is talk of maintaining on the lower meds for college or mission in the fall or spring.
*hope to sustain on lower dose meds for 2 years
*Upon returning, undergo a bone marrow transplant.
**Key uncertainty : If at any time in the next 21/2 years his body relapses, he will go directly to transplant. Thus there is also talk of going directly to transplant this summer and then if all goes well, starting the college and/or mission a year from transplant.
*So yes, either way, now or later, the consensus is that he will need a bone marrow transplant to survive. 
Sorry for the bluntness, there is just no nice or brief way to tell this story.(side note; when the other kids heard the news, they were reflective on the past 4 years, tender and supportive.  Ben looked deep in thought and then said, "I know, Davis should go on his mission first, then when he gets back they will test his blood and say, "what! we do not see any more Aplastic Anemia.")"
Ahh the faith of a 13 year-old.  It reminds me that it is okay to hope and even plead for miracles.

Breathe, Stay calm and Carry on. I keep commenting that although the bootstraps are stretched out and worn, we will pull them up yet again and go forward.  After so many thoughts of issues beyond our control, race through ones mind, we must choose to carry on, anticipating the little moments of life and planning for the best.  Go to movies, on adventures, enjoy spring and cherish family and friends.  We hope you will continue to share these regular moments and laughter with us. Davis will for certain be making the most of his 'go big or go home' mantra. Life is fragile, Hold Tight. 
Our family is sincerely grateful for all your love over the past 4 plus years.  I am in awe at the struggles and challenges faced all around us every day.  We pray for you to have the peace to be sustained though you own trials. [HOPE] a powerful medicine.
Thank you for crying, praying, laughing and especially loving with us.
We love you all, The Coxes

Monday March 3 2014 - From Davis...Read First

Thank you so much for the Christmas/Birthday letter that I just barely got like a week ago! Those "18 Life Lessons" are things that I will keep always and hang up somewhere that I will see every day thank you so much! This week has been crazy. I have had such a spiritual and emotional overload that it doesn't even feel real it kind of just feels like it's gone over my head. I'll start with the good. Last night was my Eagle court of honor. It is such a good feeling of accomplishment to have completed that even with all the rushing and finalizing it 2 weeks before I turned 18. I got asked to Sadie's by Morgan Lawson, and I have no idea who I'm asking to prom yet. I'll let you know next time I write because I have to decide quick, prom is only 3 weeks after Sadie's and people are already asking. The state high school basketball tournament starts this week and I am excited and sad. It is so weird being a senior and knowing that this will be the last couple basketball games I will be cheering in I will miss it so much. High school is going too fast. All my friends are putting in their papers and getting their mission calls. These next couple weeks are going to be really weird, all of my friends are either submitting this week or next and it's awesome to see all the excitement people have about missionary work. In mission prep this morning we practiced giving short 4-5 minute lessons, spending about 30 seconds on each of the subheadings in Lesson 1 in PMG. Brother Schank was telling us that we need to know these lessons well so that we can adapt the length and depth of the lesson depending on the situation and I thought of some of the stories that you shared, especially of the one with the man in the garage. 

Now on to the not so good :( There is no easy or soft way to say this over an email so here it goes. My bone marrow tests came back this week. We were hoping for a number around 80% cellularity to show that my bone marrow was functioning properly. Didn't quite get it. The number came back at 20%. When mom and dad first told me the news I was in shock. I had suspected that it was low since mom wouldn't tell me the number all last week and said that the doctors were talking over what the plan was. But I hadn't expected it to be nearly that low. I couldn't talk really for a couple seconds or minutes I don't really remember. It's not fair that one number can potentially change my entire mission, college, and life plans just like that. For now the plan is to start tapering off cyclosporine and try to maintain the blood count that I have through the end of senior year and try to get to a lower dose that we can maintain on. If I can do that without any complications then we have to decide whether to send me either on a mission or to college on low-level cyclosporine or to get a bone marrow transplant and then go on a mission next year or something. Though I was in shock I told mom I just felt overwhelmingly calm and comforted, so much that I kind of thought something was wrong with me at first. But then I almost audibly heard a voice tell me "Everything will be ok". I feel so blessed to have the gospel with me through all of this I don't know what somebody would do without it. My goal is to keep a positive attitude and not worry about things I can't control. This week I have felt my burden lightened and have felt so peaceful and stress-free through all of this happening that I seriously think something is wrong with me, but then when I pray I am reminded that the Holy Ghost is comforting me and it is because of him that I feel the way I do. I pray that the spirit will comfort you in hearing this news the same way it comforted me. The last thing I want is for you to be distracted worrying about me. I am feeling awesome and nothing has changed besides the fact that now I know a number. I am sure mom will keep you updated on everything that is going on better than I could. Know that physically, emotionally, and spiritually I feel well. I am still running up Adams canyon in the snow and pretty much skiing down it and doing stupid fun stuff like I do to live life to the fullest :) 

I'll end on a spiritual note to lighten the mood of this letter. Today in warrior training, Joel shared with us a dream he had about Jace. In part of it he saw a big, powerful bull. But this bull had a nose ring and was being led and pulled around by a girl with just one of her fingers. He said that He felt the bull represented Jace and the nose ring was his weaknesses (his OCD and turrets). While he was on his mission he talked to his mission president about these weaknesses and they have been working on them while he is there. Joel said how because he had opened up and admitted his weaknesses to the lord, on his mission he was being led by lord down the right path. But he feared that his dream might be representative about when he comes home from his mission. He warned Jace not to become arrogant or self righteous and to stay humble because as soon as he got home from his mission he was going to have a lot of temptations and worldly things grabbing that nose ring and trying to lead him astray, and that he needed to continue to rely on Christ and his gospel to guide him and protect his weaknesses. This was such a cool dream and I felt the spirit so strongly when he shared it. 
I love you and hope you are doing well. You are such an inspiration and example to me. I share your stories and experiences in seminary and in Sunday school because you are such an awesome example of what to be as a missionary. Loving, caring, concerned, and involved with those you teach.
Stay sweet. Love Davis.EmojiEmoji

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday March 17, 2014 - Scripture Power is the Power

This week was another good one. We´re really just busy doing a little bit of everything right now, so some days I feel like I´m going a little crazy! 

We had our Stake Conference this weekend, and Elder Nuñez from the area came along with Presidente y Hermana Ávila. They talked, of course, a lot about the work of salvation, and the way that the Lord is hastening His work. 

We have been put on a little bit of a hold with things here this last week. We´ve been doing a lot of finding week and we got told ¨No¨a LOT this week. BUT as we´ve learned to say in the mission ¨No, es una buena respuesta.¨ (NO, is still a good answer.) The work isn´t easy down here, and keeping missionaries animated is a big part of what we do day to day. But patience builds character, and helps us to understand the importance of doing EVERYTHING in our power to merit the blessings and the help of the Lord in this work. 

We´ve been working a lot with Gabriel (recent convert that will be headed to a mission in May). His story is incredible. I´ll tell you about it next week or something. But the gospel has worked the most miraculous change in him, and he is just so eager to share it with his friends. 
*Rocio is a friend of Gabriel. We went by with him to visit her older brother, but ended up inviting her to take the lessons. We had one with her last week, and it was AWESOME. We taught the plan of salvation. She is 16, and lives in a really rough part of town. She loved the idea that God really has a plan for her life, and that he knows her. She´s loved watching the change in Gabi, and is eager to know what makes him so special now.
*Mauricio!!!!!! His paperwork FINALLY came!! So...that means.... He and Ivana can go to get a ¨turno¨ or go register to..... GET MARRIED!!!!!! that is a HUGE step for them, and even though they don´t have money for rings, clothes, or a real ¨wedding¨, they know it´s what they need to do. THey´re moving forward with tons of faith, and they know the Lord will provide.

This past week, we had Zone conferences in Mendoza. We talked a lot about the changes that are happening in the mission, and the need to really dedicate ourselves. We talked about the need of preparation. This work is getting harder and harder as the world becomes more and more complicated. The need for us to be convinced and even more so be able to convince others, of the truths that we teach is undeniable. Our message has the power to change the world... do we treat it that way? 
Presidente Ávila issued us the challenge as a mission to read el Libro de Mormón cover to cover in 66 days. So this last week I started over, and I have to say, I am obsessed. 

I´ve probably read first nefi a bazillion times, but it never gets old. 
As I´ve made the message of the restoration and the Book of Mormon a priority in my studies and really tried to live according to those truths, it´s made a huge impact on me. The other night we were in a lesson with Mauricio and his family, and we talked about the Restauración, and he bore his testimony about the Book of Mormon. He´s not even a member yet, but just the focus that he´s had on that book and the message it contains has brought such a new meaning to his life and a conversion that will be lasting.
We all know the story of the boy José Smith. Of his vision, and then later his calling to be a prophet of God. 
There is no reason to not share this incredible message with the world. They need what we have, and what we have can change the world. It´s just THAT important.
I know that THIS is Christ´s church. That from the beginning, the Lord had a perfect plan to accomplish his wise purposes. I know that a young boy of just 14years had a question, and important and sincere desire to know the truth. He ACTED on that desire, and in response, received one of the most life-impacting respuestas. One that not only changed his life, but the history of the world. I know that God answers prayers. That he knows his children so personally, and wants that each of us know the truth, and not be left in darkness. 
I know that The Book of Mormon IS ¨Another Testament of Jesus Christ¨. It is the word of God, and the key to our religion. It holds the tools we need to know what to do in this life to bring us happiness, peace, comfort and guidance now, and lead us to the path that leads to life eternal.  
Our message is único. There´s nothing else like it. Nor will there ever be.
It´s humbling to know that the Lord, all-knowing and all-powerful as he is, knows each of us. Our trials, our struggles, our happinesses, and our needs. And that if we pray to him, exercise our faith in him, and trust that he will do what is in our best interest, he will work miracles in our lives and allow us to touch the lives of others of his children.
I love this gospel. I love all of you. Every day I grow more and more grateful for how incredibly and undeniably blessed I have been in my life.
God lives, and Jesus is the living Christ.

Les amo. Esta semana que viene! Cuídense! 
xoxox Your Hermana C 

1. Is the best address for letters or packages still 
Hermana Courtney Cox
Argentina Mendoza Mission
Casilla de Correo 631
5500 Mendoza
Mendoza, Argentina
1. they told us not to send any packages any more. nothing´s getting in, and I would hate for you to keep spending money and sending stuff that isn´t ever going to get to me.
2 Did you happen to talk about calling on Mother's Day...yes, I will most likely ask until I actually talk with you on May11Th!Emoji2. i still need to hear back from presdient. but the zone leaders told me that si o si i´ll be able to talk to you for mother´s day. even if it´s not on the actual sunday.
3. did you find boots? 3. i haven´t found boots yet. i think i might just have to wear my snow boots for the rain... ha
4. is it cooling off there or still warm?4. it´s cooling down quite a bit. still kinds of like utah though. can´t make up its mind.
5. Is Pres and Sister Avilia being replaced in July?  Weren't they just placed right before you? 5. Yes, they get replaced in June. two more transfers with them. Our new president is from Arizona. Presidente Goats.

Cotton Candy in the Plaza!!! 

Cerro de la Gloria

March 17, 2014 - Davis College/Eagle

Mom and I had to fight for my admission and scholarship to USU(long story but there was a mix-up and my paperwork had not been processed.   Of course it all went unnoticed until the deadline had passed, but this week we finally got the long awaited letter that I finally got into Utah State! I also received the scholarship I wanted which is the Presidential, full tuition and fees. I opened the letter on Saturday at about 12:30 and by 1:30 the whole family was in the car on the way up to visit the campus with me. We drove around and looked at housing places and got out and walked around a little and it was super exciting. And of course got some blue Aggie ice cream.
Love, Davis
PS these are the photos from my Eagle Court of Honor
Eagle Court of Honor - 3 Stalwart brothers!

Future Utah State Aggie!

Logan Temple