Monday, July 13, 2015

June 29, 2015 ~ Week 71 (Week 5 Whitehouse Ward)

Dear family & friends,

I wasn't in my area for the majority of the week, as I spent 2 days in the Timuquana area and 2 days in the Orange Park 2nd area.

But for the time that I did spend in my area, yesterday was a fantastic day as usual.  Amelia's family came to Church yesterday.  Amelia and her sister Fiona wanted me to sit in between them.  They were so reverent during sacrament meeting I was very impressed.  I was
simplifying the talks for Amelia so that she could understand them and Fiona, who is 7, was reading 1 Nephi 18 in the Book of Mormon.  All of the primary children got up to sing their two songs about their Daddy's for Father's Day.  Amelia and Fiona went up there as well and
sang the songs and did the expressions perfectly--the primary music leader told their mom what they were and they practiced and practiced at home.  It looked like they have known them for months.  They were adorable.

We also had a lesson in one of our member's home with Francesca who recently got baptized in May.  She just graduated and the lesson that we had coming from the Book of Mormon was so fun because it was a normal discussion with just us three young women talking about the gospel and insights we have while reading the Book of Mormon together.  Francesca also shared with us an analogy that she came up with while she was at youth conference, that I would like to share with you:
At youth conference, there were these lights that had a bowl shaped covering on them.  She noticed that there were a lot of bugs inside the bowl because they were attracted to the light. Very soon they figured out that the light was too hot. When they tried to crawl out, they
would slide back down only to try harder to climb up again in hopes to get out.  Sometimes a few would get to the top and then fly out.  She likened that to all of us as God's children and the influence of temptation that Satan has on us.  It's so true.  Sister Sandberg pointed out that the light bulb is false light (meaning it's not natural).  Once he tempts us and we give in, it's hard to get out.  But the happy part is that we all have the light of Christ, which allows us to know
good and evil.  We can choose our destiny.  What a blessing it is that we have that influence of knowing good and evil instead of blindly walking through life.  I thought this was neat.

I began reading the Book of Mormon again from the very beginning.  I was studying for a family we are teaching with the question in mind, 'What does the restored gospel do for my family?' to help them obtain a perspective.  I read the very first verse of 1 Nephi chapter 1.  I am going to put my parents in the spotlight for this one, as I did for the lesson that evening, but as I read what Nephi wrote, I began reflecting that my father and mother are my greatest teachers (physically present) in my life.  Because of the love and concern they felt for me, I have respected them and knew the high standards of living in the way of the gospel came from God. I had a desire to be
exactly obedient and honor them even if I fell short a few times.  They never forced me to do anything, or live a certain way, but rather showed me by their example that the greatest happiness that I can find in my life is by living the restore gospel.  And that is why I honor
them because now I see from living 2000 miles away on my own that the things they taught me from the beginning of my life have been written in my own heart.  Thank you mom and dad.

Love, Sister McCook

The quality of the picture is not too great, but that's Amelia's family!

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