Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 20, 2015 ~ Week 61 ( Week 7 Mandarin 1st Ward)

Dear Family & Friends,

I will go through the days this week because it was very eventful!

Tuesday: We had a lesson with our family that we found in Walmart just the week before.  Heidi, Sokol & their two children.  I shared the experience with my dad for how we found them so I will share it will you to get you updated.  In Wal-Mart, we were just shopping along and we were in the yogurt, milk, eggs section of the store.  There was this family that we walked past and I smiled a friendly smile at the father of the family and he smiled back.  (We learned from Elder Kopischke about a month ago that when a person smiles at you, they will receive you).  But I kept on walking.  I cannot even begin to tell you what was going on within my soul as I walked past this family who just received us and I did not talk with them.  The Spirit said very softly as if it was almost faint, you need to go back.  As I kept on walking I was fight in my mind that it would be so awkward to go back because I had just smiled at them and walked away.  I was given one more chance, this struck me so much.  "Sister McCook, you are going to regret it if you do not turn around."  So I said to Sister Kloepfer that we needed to turn around.  I walked quickly to the opposite side of this aisle in hopes to talk to this friendly family that the angels had prepared for me to talk with.  We showed them a picture of Jesus and shared our pure and simple testimonies of the Book of Mormon.  Sokol who is from Albania said that he has 2 copies of the Book of Mormon at home (An Albania and English) and the Book of Mormon app downloaded on his phone and is about to begin reading it.  Turns out they just moved from Ohio and are living in the same apartment complex that we are living in.

We brought a member along and it was a wonderful lesson!  Heidi is very into the Book of Mormon and when we followed up with her in a couple days, she had been reading it!  Sokol understands our message very well and his only concern is that he won't be able to do some of the things he loves if he joins the Church.  He thought one of them might be Permaculture which is a very interesting gardening technique and healthy way of living.  The neat thing about this is that I actually did Permaculture with Sister Murray about 2 months ago and so it was neat to make the connection.  When a person understands the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, they understand that there are so many more things we can do because not only are the blessings in store for here on Earth, but the amount of blessings that are available in Heaven because of this gospel, cannot be comprehended.

Later on that day we welcomed in 14 new incoming missionaries straight off the airplane from the MTC.  They were so sweet.  I met a Sister Saxton and I asked her where her relatives are from because I have Saxton's in my family and she said Idaho and Utah so Saxton's, I don't know but you might be related to her!  Also, the first missionary from Tucson, Arizona besides me arrived.  He is from the Sahuarita area and so I asked if he knew some my family and he said he didn't.  It was interesting being here in President Craig's home.  I felt like I was just walking in their shoes a day ago.  It was nice being there.  These missionaries were very scared, just afraid of the unknown.  As we would talk with them they would ask if I ever felt like them or if I was ever scared.  When I would let them know that I felt exactly like them, they wouldn't believe me. They would ask, "Are you sure you felt like this?  Because it couldn't possibly look like you ever did because you're so confident”.  Repeatedly they would ask and so I invited them to ask President Craig what my first few months in the mission field were like and that I gave him permission to let them know.  It's okay to be afraid, it's normal.  This is a marvelous work and honor to be in the service of the Savior and all we want to do is the right thing.  We had a very powerful devotional in the which we listened to all of these missionaries bear their testimonies of the gospel.  They are all great devoted Elders and Sisters.

Wednesday: Sister Blotter (who is a Sister who just went home on Friday) joined Sister Kloepfer and I for the day.  What a blast talking with everyone!  We went out teaching, knocking doors, teaching people through the car windows, it was just the best day ever.  We loved being in a trio and didn't want it to end!  We found a couple that let us right in and listened to our message. They wanted time to read from the Book of Mormon before we came back.  We had two Sisters going home, stay the night with us.

Friday:  We went on a trade off!  I went to the Hendricks Ave. area with Sister Gillman.  We witnessed TONS of miracles but my favorite one was the first one we had.  We had a teaching appointment with this woman named Taleka.  We walked up to her door at the same time another woman was walking up to her door.  We talked with her and found out her name was Kevena. Taleka shouted out from her upstairs window that she couldn't meet with us today.  So we invited Kevena to learn more about our message.  She took us over to her home.  She is a very sweet mother of 3.  As we shared our message, she asked us, "what is this feeling I have?  It is so strong I have never felt it this strong before."  It was the Spirit of God.  And yes, she was right, the Spirit was powerful in this lesson and it reconfirmed to me the truths of the things we were teaching.  As we shared about Joseph Smith's experience with seeing Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we sat there for a second and she said, "Say it again!  Say it again!  I really want to hear it again."  There were tears in this lesson.  She desires to be baptized on May 23.  We received a phone call from the Hendricks Sisters today saying that Kevena is progressing very well.  Oh how my heart is filled with so much joy!

Saturday:  As we did Golden hour, there were a lot of people who were short with us, but that is okay.  We moved forward with faith and decided to go follow up with John about the Book of Mormon.  He said that he had read a few pages but there were some things holding him back. We had a very great discussion about the Priesthood.  What a blessing that the Priesthood has been restored to the Earth and that our living prophet holds the keys of the Priesthood.  He had a few questions about the Priesthood and when we talked about the Priesthood being able to seal marriages for time and all eternity, he said, when can you come back this week?  He really wanted to learn more.

Sunday:  I love the Sabbath and being able to attend Church!  Later on that day, we had dinner with a family.  The wife is a member, but her husband and three children are not.  We taught them about the true Church of Jesus Christ being restored to the Earth and about the Book of Mormon and all of them wanted their own copy.  One of the daughters even jumped up and said, "I want to be baptized."  And continued by saying that she wanted us to come back every Sunday.

Monday:  Even today Sister Kloepfer and I set a goal and prayerfully took it to Heavenly Father saying that we wanted to find someone in the paper towel aisle of Wal-Mart and invite them to be baptized.  Well, we went to do our shopping and found ourselves down that aisle talking with everyone.  We found many wonderful people who loved their Savior, but did not find the person to invite to baptism.  We came out of that aisle and straight ahead was Jarvis.  He is a man that we gave a Book of Mormon to about a month ago.  We followed up with him and said that he wanted us to meet with him and his family to share our message.  We then invited him to be baptized and he said yes!  Miracles upon miracles.  God answers prayers and knows the desires of each and every one of His children's hearts.

I love being a missionary.

-Sister McCook

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