Monday, June 10, 2013

I'm just having a great time!!

Alright well good job Shay on that math test!. I remember those feelings haha, where you just don't have to stress about anything and just get to  rest and relax. Sounds like you guys are gettin all ready to go down to Utah this week and that sounds like it's gonna be a blast! You'll have to tell me all about it next Monday.

Well not much new has happened in my life, we've just been working like crazy and every day I get more and more tired but more and more happy:) I was talking to one of my best buds here Elder Boyd about material things and how we really don't need anything to be happy. Not even food lol, like I have been eating rice for just about a year straight, and even though it gets old sometimes it really just doesn’t matter anymore. Just something that will fill me up so I won't be hungry, just like when you are serving everyone else with all your heart, it just makes you so happy and not care too much about the external circumstances. Mom, I absolutely loved that quote that you sent me from Gordon B. Hinckley about work and service, and the person that serves almost always will get more out of it then the person that was served. I feel like this might be one of the keys to our growth here in this world, how better can we become like Christ than through service! Even if everyone is as whiney as crap (which you know I couldn't take) if you serve them, you automatically love them and it makes you see things through their eyes for a moment. So I just absolutely love this mission!!!! I love learning and growing! and I finally figured out that I'm not here to have fun or to have 10,000 baptisms, or be some great leader of the mission. I'm just here to serve and give all I have to the Lord and to the people around me. 
Well, that just came to my mind lol, but I'll tell ya a little bit about our p-day we had today. We don't hardly do anything here in Cucuta because there’s not a whole lot to do inside of the city, and we're not sure if going outside the city would be that good of an idea. So we just play soccer about every p-day. But today we got there and played a little basketball, gringo style and right after we left our companions (Me, Boyd, and Elder Doll) to go back to Elder Boyd and Doll’s house (they live 4 there) and we made the BEST BREAKFAST BURRITOS of all time. Seriously it had been such a long time since I had eaten hashbrowns! man it was awesome:) then afterwards we were sitting around talking and the man that sells ice cream came by. We all thought for a moment and then decided to chase the ice cream man down with the pitcher used for water or juice or whatever. We had him fill the pitcher full of icecream and we just went to town eating more and more even though we all had brainfeezes lol. When we were done,  we decided to go chase him down again cause it was so good (and cause I personally hadn’t eaten ice cream in a very looonngg time) so this time it was a little more complicated because the ice cream man doesn’t have a specific route.  He just wanders around with his ice cream machine. So after about 10 minutes of searching random streets the spirit led us to where he had gone. He looked back to see 3 weird looking gringos chasing after his cart with the empty pitcher lol. So we asked for more and bought oreos too and broke them up and had delicious oreo and vanilla with blackberries ice cream. But now I feel kinda sick to my stomach because we ate a ton of ice cream. But it was super fun lol.
Alright so thank you so much everyone for sending me quotes and mom especially, I had heard that story before and it is just awesome!  I was so happy to print it out:) But I have a question....So this has been getting me ever since I have gotten here. There are so many Christian Evangelical churches here and almost everyone goes to church, and compared to Tunja there are hardly any Catholics. But everyone just feels fine going to church, listening to basically a motivational speaker motivate them, say some prayers and then get up and listen to basically an awesome concert with awesome songs about God and Jesus. I still haven’t been able to show them  that a church needs actual principles to be the church of Jesus Christ. Anyone have any ideas, also Pa you might be able to help me on this one. A guy yesterday really stumped us, he asked us how is it that your church has the authority of God when my church performs miracles right in front of my eyes. I didn't see that in your church? Is there an answer to that? Do you understand me lol? I personally think that the miracle thing might be very fake but who knows. Alright time to go but I will attach the picture of the baptism that was last Saturday! It was awesome:) Everyone is just so happy:)
-Elder Crook

Monday, June 3, 2013

Un regalito de dios...I love missionary work

Well I’ll start right off the bat and tell you that a “regalito de dio” is a small gift from God. Why am I saying that?  Its because we are going to have the baptism of a kid who I never thought would be baptized. He’s the Elders Quorum president’s son. And come to think of it his story is kind of like the story of the one about dad’s home teaching companion.  The one that was never going to get baptized but his wife every fast and testimony meeting droned on about how he would come around.  Well ya it’s like that. When I got here I saw in the area book a page with his name on it and full with comments and lessons that the missionaries had taught and family home evenings they had had. So we went there 2 times, and we hardly even talked to him, we just talked to his dad, who is awesome.  Then shared a little message and got to know him better and then made fun of him for not being baptized, (he’s 16 by the way) He told us that he liked the church but would probably never get baptized (no idea why).Then this Sunday I guess after the youth split off, he asked one of the first counselors of the bishopric what he needed to do to get baptized.  Of course the 1st counselor got up and sprinted to let us know and almost had a heart attack telling us the good news. So we sat up an interview with the zone leaders and yup, looks like we will have a baptism this Saturday. They were quick to ask me if the bishop could just interview him right there but I’ve read Preach my Gospel enough times to tell them that no, the missionaries have the keys to baptism over anyone besides the 8 year olds who’s parents are members. It was a really cool feeling, knowing that God really has so much power to change the hardest of hearts.  It was an awesome testimony to me, that God knows what he is doing, and his work will go forth boldy and nobly no matter how hard things get. 
Alright so GREAT JOB MAMA!! It didn’t register in my mind that you were gonna run the same marathon as you ran last year:) That was so fun!! and yes I do remember riding in the back of the car wanting chicken strips being hungry. I am almost sure that we had sandwich stuff in the car but I was just too picky for a pb and j. Now a year later, you don’t even know how much I would give for one of those sweet wonders! I think 18 straight years of pb and j’s for lunch have given me a certain love for pb and j’s lol. Also I think that is SOOOO FREAKING AWESOME that you guys are doing that quest thing. That sounds so fun! I know you will have a blast and it will be a great spiritual experience for everyone that goes. Shay are you going? you better not miss that, it sounds so awesome!! You’ll have to keep me updated on how that is going. I remember all of my time as a young man going to those AP camps and especially Trek. When I think back I am unusually surprised to remember that I made the best of my times there. Although it was hard to get used to and I was always with kids I didn’t know from different wards, I still had tons of fun and strengthened my testimony. Usually when I think about the things I did before the mission I get mad at myself and disgusted and think why did I do that, or why was I like that!! It makes me mad sometimes and makes me want to get better. But I feel like I actually had tons of fun and did a good job at AP camp and the trek. 
Well we had interviews with the president this week.  He told me that I was one of the old guys now that I am gonna complete a year in the mission here soon. He also gave me good ideas on how to be a better trainer, and that surprisingly, all my kid had to say about me was good things! And how good of an example I was! Yeah I’ve been kind of hard on him and haven’t babied him at all due to the fact that he is just so new and fresh. And I think at times he really hates me. But that was how I was trained, there were a lot of times when I just downright hated Elder Suarez, but now I completey understand why he did those things that he did, and the next time I see him I’m gonna give him a big hug and tell him thanks! So there are times where we don’t get along and times that are tough for him, which stress me out a lot because I feel like I need to be 10,000 times better to train someone so new. So I expressed that to president and told him that I feel a huge responsibility and he helped me out with a few things. He told me, praise him, pray for him, and do lots of practicing on how to teach and what to say. So I’ve tried to follow the counsel lol. 
Anyways I still really, really ,really, really, want inspirational quotes, and stories, and object lessons from you guys all!!!!! I want everything you  have to give me. HELP ME BE A BETTER MISSIONARY, these things honestly help me a lot. Oh yeah dad I got a question. Where were you at when you had a year in your mission, and what were you doing and who were you with? thanks
Alright well to end I have attached a picture of me and my companion and the other 2 missionaries of our ward up on stage rockin out. We sang a song for our ward activity this last Friday and it was awesome!! It was a song about a missionary who left on his mission and his girlfriend got married with his best friend and sent him a dear john letter. I sang and played the piano and even read the letter in a high girly voice and then after was featured as our groups lead falsetto singer (yeah I can sing pretty high lol;) It was so much fun and my comp is a great guitar player, he rocks the guitar and we both took the song music and just put it to the guitar and piano by ear. It was a super fun night and the members laughed so hard!
Alright well I sure love you guys°!!!!!!!!!! have a great week and remember to smile and be happy always!! I know that no matter what Jesus always has a smile on his face, and we should too:)
-Elder Crook