Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 22 ~ July 21, 2014

Hello Family and Friends!

Happy Worldwide Indexing.

This week we had some wonderful experiences with the members that we are working with.

1. We read the Book of Mormon with Jackie. We started at the crowning event in the Book of Mormon which is when the resurrected Jesus Christ comes and visits the people ancient America's, who have been waiting for the Savior to come as the prophets had all testified that he would. I know that Jesus Christ came and visited the people in the ancient America's. And they did touch the nail prints in His hands and feet, and I know this because I have prayed for myself to know this. It is in 3 Nephi 11:7-17. This is one of my favorite parts in the Book of Mormon. After we finished reading together, Jackie said that these were her ancestors. Indeed they were part of her ancestry. She had an 'AHA' moment in the Book of Mormon. I enjoy seeing people have experiences in the Book of Mormon. It truly makes my heart happy.

2. We have been trying for the longest time to introduce family history to another woman named Faye we are teaching, but it just was never the right time. But this week, her visiting teacher, who is an expert on family history, came with us to help her get started. Faye always thought that she wouldn't be able to find any of her family online, but when she got signed up on, she was finding family members left and right. She was hooked on it. Family History is so neat. That was a blessing to be able to be a part of that.

3. We had dinner at another woman's home named Teresa, who we are also teaching. She told us she was going to have her two catholic friends there, whom we have seen before and gotten to know so we were excited to be with them again. We arrived at her home, and we saw seven plates on the table, not five. This member had invited two more friends. What a treat, these women were so funny it was so great to be able to get to know them. We had a great spiritual message all about gratitude. We talked about the story of Jesus and the 10 lepers found in Luke 17 and then talked a little bit about President Uchtdorf's talk all about gratitude. It was a nice message. 
I think all around, having gratitude towards everything at all times tends to bring the result of true joy in one's life. Not just having gratitude for the things that go right, but also the trials we face. They truly are blessings because it is a time for growing and learning and progressing. We aren't alone. We have the power of prayer. We can actually talk to our Heavenly Father. What a blessing. We have our Savior Jesus Christ at all times. 
This reminds me of a scripture I read the other day. 2 Nephi 26:25
"Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price."
This verse talks about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. He already paid the price. His Atonement is free. We can access it at all times. Think of milk and honey- it is sweet and filling, as is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is sweet and filling. It fills in all of the gaps of despair, regret, sorrow; and turns it into hope, relief, everlasting joy. I love how it is a gentle invite, "Come unto me."

Funny story about birds. We were driving and all of a sudden we see all of these cars stop in the middle of traffic for twelve geese that are wanting to cross the road. Two of them made a run for it, the others stayed behind and waited until it was all clear. They walked across the street instead of flying over it. I love the birds of Florida.

We are finally figuring out the bikes. Even the aspect of not being drenched once a day.
We are moving into our area next week! Happy Day.

I love all of you. Missions are the greatest! Florida is the best.

Love, Sister McCook

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 21 ~ July 14, 2014

Hello Family & Friends!

Great news! We are moving into our area in two weeks. We don't have to drive 25 minutes to get to Fleming Island anymore. This is the best thing ever!

Oh the joys of the bike adventures we have had so far this week! I never thought that I would ever ride a bike in a skirt, but it's not that different! I bought a green beach cruiser and Sister Call got an orange beach cruiser. They are the cutest bikes and definitely stand out when they are together. I will have to attach a picture for you all to see next week. I am thrilled to be riding a bike because not only have I missed it, but there are so many more people we are talking to because of how active the community is. Especially during the summer. For example: we were riding our bikes to a member's home and on the way we see this man walking his dog. He moved off the sidewalk because he saw we were coming and when we biked to where he was, he was taken by surprise because we stopped next to him. By the end of our conversation, he had a Book of Mormon to take home with him. Miracles happen when you talk to everyone. As missionaries, when you don't talk to everyone, it's like we're not giving them the opportunity to accept a wonderful message.

Riding bikes has definitely been a learning experience for sure. In the aspect of knowing how long it takes to bike somewhere, biking in the rain, as well as putting bike chains back on their tracks-that was a fun experience. We have been drenched two of the days this week. Sometimes you look at the sky and think, 'oh it's not going to rain'. Then two hours later you start ringing the water out of your clothes. Then the sun comes out and all of a sudden, you're dry. Little did we know that one of the days where the thunderstorm was heavy, we were in the lightening magnet neighborhood of Fleming Island. While standing under a member's garage during this storm, she was explaining that almost every single one of her neighbors homes across the street or right next to her have been struck by lightning. Metal bikes + lightening = no good. The lightening is beautiful though. I never thought there was such thing as bright pink lightening until I came to Florida.

Miracle of the week:
We have a visiting teaching route. It's basically a list of sisters in the ward that we are able to visit with at least once a month. It is the best! We were trying to visit a sister, but she must have not been home so we were about to get in the car to go to a dinner appointment. But that just didn't feel right to me. We looked around at the homes and saw this home with the garage open along with a car with its' doors open. We said let's try that home and two more right beside it.  So we go up to this home and this cute mom comes out. We went up to her to see if she needed any help with anything and she started crying. I gave her a hug. She said that her husband is in England until they move out there, she has no friends or family around to talk to, her son just threw up all over the car, and her 9 month old was still strapped in his car seat. She said that she had been needing someone to talk to all day and then the two of us Sister Missionaries showed up in front of her driveway here to talk with her. She allowed us to help carry in her groceries into her house and she started asking questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are meeting with her on Wednesday. Please pray for her! Her name is Kara.

I have been thinking about this scripture in the Book of Mormon lately as I have been studying. "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." 2 Nephi 5:27 I love this scripture. True happiness comes when we are trying to do our best; and trying to live more like the Savior. When we try our best sincerely, we are always blessed.

I must mention something about family history because of how neat it is. Don't forget to join in on the 'Worldwide Indexing Event' happening on July 20-21. Don't miss out! You are all invited!

If you ever see Missionaries on their bikes or walking, make sure you wave to them! It will make their day.

Love, Sister McCook

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 20 ~ July 7, 2014

Hello family and friends and Happy late 4th of July!

This week I was able to witness a miracle on Facebook. About a month ago, a man named Zachee from Africa asked me to be his friend on Facebook. I proceeded to message him and share my testimony about the Book of Mormon and asked if he has ever heard of the Book of Mormon. He then started talking about how much he loves the Bible and after another response, he did not reply. During the huge Book of Mormon event happening on Facebook to spread the word about the Book of Mormon across the world, I continued to invite Zachee to these four events about the Book of Mormon and he did attend. A day after the fourth event began, Zachee messaged me and I asked again if he has ever read from the Book of Mormon. He then said, "How can I get this book? Can you send it to me? I need it very much! Thank you for getting my attention!". We are in the process of sending him a Book of Mormon in French and Kirundi. I have no idea if the Book of Mormon is written in Kirundi but I guess we'll find out! The Spirit is touching the hearts of many worldwide. Thank you to all who participated in this event.
The Book of Mormon changes my life everyday and I know it can change your life every day.

The highlight of my week was that we had a great lesson with a woman named Christine. I love her! We were teaching her and her husband the Restoration and when Christine was taught about Joseph Smith's first vision, we held a picture of Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. She could not peel her eyes from this picture and the experience that she had just heard. While the lesson continued, her caretaker walked in and sat down to hear the message we had to share. She wanted to learn more as well. At the end Christine wanted the pamphlet to keep and started to open it and turn the pages. I told her it had the picture of Joseph seeing God and Jesus Christ and she said, "I know, that is what I'm looking for." 
The vision that Joseph Smith had was a beautiful thing. He was looking for something more and he got down on his knees to pray and find out for himself. I know that he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on that morning in 1820. He was called to be the next prophet to lead and guide Christ church, with Jesus Christ at the head of it, still leading it today. God truly does answer our prayers.

As of today, we are now biking Sisters! I cannot wait for this!

On the 4th of July, I was on a tradeoff with my Sister Training Leader! Fireworks went off like crazy all night long. The prettiest view that I had ever seen was when we were driving over a huge bridge to get home. The sun was down, but there was still light outside. Off in the distance you could see fireworks everywhere across the water and the islands. It was beautiful. That was my 4th of July! It was the best.

I love all of you and am praying for you!

Love, Sister McCook

Week 19 ~ June 30, 2014

Hello Family and Friends! and Happy 4th of July this Friday.

Quite possibly the best week ever full of miracles, miracles, and more miracles. 

We met with Jackie and Walt last week and talked to them a little bit more about the Premortal Life. Walt loves the Bible so we shared to scriptures all about where we were before we were born. We certainly did live with God, as His Spirit children, before we were born. He created us. He knew us each individually and loved us and we knew Him and loved Him. We were taught of His plan. Our life here on Earth is all part of His perfect Plan. With Walt, we shared Hebrews 12:9 and Jeremiah 1:5. Walt had his Bible out turning to the scriptures as well as Jackie. And if I could capture that moment all over again, watching them turn to those scriptures, I would do it in a heartbeat. They were having 'AHA' moments while reading those scriptures and developing a greater understanding of the Premortal Life. They were drawn to the cross references and mentioned that they were going to do this more often. I love seeing the happiness of others that comes from reading the scriptures. I love Jackie and Walt.

We had our ward Family History event that went really well! It was a great turnout and pilot run for activities that will happen in the future with family history. People came with family names that they wanted to find and add to their tree and sure enough, they were able to find them! A young woman wanted to see how far back she could go on her family tree on and she went all the way back until 2000 b.c. In her line of descent, she was related to a Pharoah! Whoa! That was something to see. Family History is so exciting because you can be bound to these people forever.

I have recently began reading the Book of Mormon with the purpose of studying it to understand God's love for us and Charity, which is the pure love of Christ. One of the very first verses that I read helped me to clearly understand God's love for us. It is 1 Nephi 1:20 "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." 
 'tender mercies of the Lord' are strength, protection, comfort, assurance, guidance, love, support, assistance, etc. These are blessings both small and large that we can recognize everyday in our lives. These are no coincidences. Surely the tender mercies of the Lord are evidence of God's love for us. We can feel His love for us everyday. I know this because I feel His love everyday not only for me, but for those whom I am serving. Faithfulness and obedience invite tender mercies into our lives, God's timing helps us to recognize them. 

Sister Call and I have been walking a lot. I love walking because we are able to smile and wave to all of the cars that drive by. It is the best. Missionary tan lines are possibly the funniest thing ever. The tan goes from the mid-calf down to the top of my foot, but the sides are super white. There is also the common farmer's tan. It is pretty great! I love being a missionary.

Seek always, to find the Tender Mercies of the Lord in your life.


Sister McCook