Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

WOW, another week come and gone. I think this was the fastest of them all so far. This week was great and we had a lot of neat experiences. We saw miracles and had a lot of fun. On Wednesday I believe it was, we were on our way to a lesson and jumped on a bus. Then all of the sudden a huge branch from a tree (practically half of the tree) crashed down in the road right in front of us. The Driver slammed on his breaks and we were all ok but a little shocked for a second. My companion and I just looked at each other and immediately I said a prayer of thanks in my heart. If we would have been even 10 feet further it would have come down on the bus and who knows what would have happened. It was one of those moments when there is absolutely no way anyone can tell me it wasn`t the Lord`s protective hand. We also happened to be the only ones on the bus besides the driver and his assistant person and if we hadn`t have stopped the bus for 5 seconds to get on it they probably would have been right in the exact spot where the tree fell. You are so welcome MR. Bus driver. That`s the blessing of driving missionaries I guess. :) So we jumped off the bus and helped (along with a bunch of other people) move the tree off to the side of the road so cars could pass. So crazy. Got to love those emergency service projects. :) 

This week I was reading a talk called ¨Becoming a Consecrated Missionary¨ by Tad R. Callister and it was sooooo good. It really helped me to refocus and think on how I’m doing as a missionary and if I`m really giving my all. It was super awesome but then as the week went on and I was concentrating more and more on what else I needed to improve on and all my weaknesses I started to get pretty frustrated and down on myself. I feel like the mission is really good at showing us all our faults and weaknesses and putting them right up in front of our faces. It`s really hard sometimes because I just want to be the best missionary I can and I want to be it now. But I know that`s not how it works. I talked to my companion about it and she gave me a lot of good advice and then I decided to start reading in the New Testament this week as well. The past few days I`ve been studying the Sermon on the Mount and I really came to realize that what the Lord really is concerned about is our hearts. It`s the true desires of our hearts that he wants and not a perfect robot. I realized that I was focusing so much on all the little things that I needed to improve on that I was missing the whole point. What really matters is that I love the Lord so much and am trying to do my best to serve him and his children. Truly loving the people I teach, not getting frustrated that the lesson didn`t go as well as we`d planned. Loving my companion, not getting caught up in the things she does that I don`t love. Loving the Lord, not fearing that because I`m not perfect he doesn`t accept my work and offering.

As I really tried to refocus my thoughts and intentions I`ve made a full 180 degree turn. My faults haven`t changed, I still have so much to improve on, I`m still not a perfect missionary. But I`m happy, I have hope, I find joy in my service. I feel like Nephi  when he said "Oh wretched man that I am" when he laments about his weaknesses and shortcomings, yet in the end states, "Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted." I too know in whom I have trusted and I know that He won`t fail me. The Lord calls us in our imperfections and qualifies us for the work. The only perfect person ever to live on the earth was Jesus Christ, I`m pretty sure the Lord is pretty used to working with imperfect mortals by now. :)

Then yesterday we had a special devotional for all the recent converts in our ward and the theme was the Atonement. It was so powerful and our Mission President came to speak and really taught us a lot. He called on me up to bear my testimony of the Atonement and it was so neat to see and feel that even though I still don`t understand it perfectly, because of my experiences this week I was able to testify of God`s love and the hope the Atonement and Christ bring into our lives. My companion and I also sang a duet of "Come thou Fount" as a special musical number (Yes, I did that. So scary.) What powerful words! "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here`s my heart. Oh, take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above."

I know my Savior lives and that he loves me. He sacrificed his life for every one of us so that we could have the "hope for a better world and a place at the right hand of God". I`m not perfect. I won`t be a perfect missionary. I won`t be a perfect friend, daughter, or sister. But I can be perfect in one thing, and that`s my love for the Savior and my desire to serve Him. That`s all he asks, that`s all He wants from us, and it`s what I`m willing to give. I`m learning so much and loving my mission more every day. The miracles are real and the hand of the Lord is in the work. What an honor to be able to work along side Him in his work and glory every day. It`s a joy I can`t express with words. 
Thank you for all the love and support. I feel the prayers and blessing coming in every day. I love you all so much. Enjoy your week and remember the love our Savior has for each one of you. Think of where your heart is now and how you can center it more on Him. :)

Love you all! Buena Semana!
Monday, May 18, 2015

Wow, I don`t have a ton of time this week but I wanted to share a few little experiences. This week I decided that I wanted to really watch for the Lord`s hand in our lives every day and take notice of all the little miracles. It was amazing to me the things that happened and the little experiences where it was soooo obvious that the Lord`s hand was in the work.

One night we were walking back from a lesson and passed a woman sitting on the curb. All of a sudden I thought, “Hey, we should contact her.” I turned to my companion and gave her "the look" that means "Hey let’s talk to her!" So we turned back and asked if we could give her a little contact card with a picture of Christ on it. Then we began talking a little and she told us that her son is a member of the church and goes to our ward. We talked a little bit more about that and then she looked up at us and started to cry. She told us she has cancer and that she had been sitting there on the curb to think. Her son doesn`t know yet and she said she doesn`t have the heart to tell him everything that`s going on but has to soon because he`ll probably question when she starts to lose all her hair. She told us that she is just really lost and asked us when we could come visit her and teach her. She is ready to make changes in her life and wants to know God and develop her relationship with him to help her through this time. Wow. She said when we had walked past she had hoped we would stop and talk to her. We left her with a prayer and are going to visit her this week. Please pray for T... and her son M.... 

Then the next day we went to visit a few people but no one was home. We decided to visit a member and taught her a little lesson about helping the new converts and doing her visits and everything. She told us afterward that she had been having a really hard day and just needed something to cheer her up and that we were an answer to her prayers. Even the members still need lifting and helping and it`s amazing to see how the Lord leads us without us even knowing. 

Throughout the whole week we had been trying to get a hold of a few people to organize times to teach them but we were having a hard time finding them and they weren`t answering their phones. Then throughout the day we happened to run into 3 of these people in the street and on the bus to talk with them and plan a visit in the upcoming week. The Lord literally just put them in our path, right in front of our faces to help us out. 

So many other little miracles, it`s amazing to see the Lord working through us. We were able to have 7 of our investigators at church this Sunday which was awesome and sooo stressful :) It`s like herding a bunch of kids everywhere with us, but it was such a blessing and I hope we can have awesome lessons with all of them this week to keep them progressing. It`s amazing to see the fruits of our labors. :) 

Don`t have much time but I love this work and I am so happy. Yes it`s hard. Yes there are days when I don`t know how I can keep walking and searching for people. Yes there are moments when I doubt myself and plead with the Lord to turn my many weaknesses into strengths. But the blessings and the experiences and the things I`m learning outweigh any other hardship or disappointments. It`s all about love. It`s hard and frustrating because I really love these people and want to help them and it hurts when I see them turn away from the Lord. But it`s this same love that brings indescribable joy when we are able to help someone come to know their Savior and experience the joy of the gospel in their lives. The Lord is so good and he is always with us just waiting to bless and help. It is us that need to turn our hearts and eyes towards him. Find the gift, take hold of it, and never let go. Help others find and experience it too. It brings the most beautiful and deepest joy. 

Love you all! Thank you for the support and prayer. 

Hermana Cox

 (Just an update on my feet :) Haha don`t worry, it looks worse than it feels, i just thought it was a funny picture that explains a little about how they feel at the end of the day. )

Then a cool fruit we ate today which is super delicious. It`s called a chirimulla and tastes like a sweet, yummy soft pear/another yummy flavor. I don`t know how to describe it but it`s good. :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

(To protect the privacy of those Sammy teaches, I have only included the first initial in their name.  I will try to do this from now on. If you would like their names to pray for them please leave a comment and I will contact you.  Thank you--Jenn)

Familia y Amigos,

WOW! This week was seriously the best! It started off with getting to call my family for 5 quick minutes on Monday to set up when we were going to Skype. Then Tuesday we got to go to the temple which was a huge blessing. I am so lucky to get to go while I’m here and because I live right next to it I see it every day. The temple is such a huge blessing in our lives and I hope I never take it for granted. There are so many people who would love to go but don`t have one near them. We are soooo lucky to be so close. Go to the temple this month and feel the spirit of the Lord that is there! I loved it so much and just felt refilled and recharged. It was so hard to leave, I cried in the changing stall because I knew it would be 3 more months until I could go again but I am so grateful that I DO get to go and feel the peace there in the House of the Lord.

(Sammy and Sis. Davis)

(Sammy and Sis. Rameriz)

(Elders in Sammy's district.  Her friend, Kolton,  from high school is holding the camera.)

(Beautiful temple grounds)

(The sisters in Sammy's district)

 (All the missionaries in Sammy's district)

Then we had our P-day for the rest of the day and ate pizza and watched Tangled...doesn`t get much better than that! :) P.S. movies are so funny in Spanish :) Then Wednesday we got to have interviews with President Boswell! Wow, I love that man! He is exactly the President I need and I love and respect him so much. My interview was exactly what I needed and I received all the responses to questions or concerns I had. He really is called of God and he is soooo close to the spirit. He knew exactly what to say to me and what advice to give. Such a neat experience.

Then of course yesterday I got to Skype with my beautiful family!!!!!!! Wow, I can`t even describe the joy of getting to see your faces and talk with you! I miss you all so much but I am so happy to know you are all well and get to feel so close to you. I`m already looking forward to Christmas :) I feel so blessed to have so much support and love from home and it gives me so much strength here. 

I realized I didn`t finish telling you about some of my investigators yesterday so I`ll do a little summary of some of them since I have a little time. 

S... - I talked about yesterday, she is the best :)

B.... - She is about 40 years old and has 2 kids. She has a lot of faith and has come to church 2x. The hard thing is that her husband is atheist and doesn`t like to talk about religion. She is struggling right now to know how to help her family and find peace and happiness. She is awesome and trusts us a lot. We had a lesson with her last week and were about to ask her to be baptized.  Then her husband came home and it kind of ruined the moment and she closed off and then he just sat down and wanted to ask us a bunch of questions about where we were from and the music we liked and stuff like that. A little disappointing but we have a lesson with her tonight and we are going to invite her! Pray that her heart can be softened and she can have the faith to take this step. She is so ready but she just is worried about how her husband and family will respond. 

A.S...... - She is a 16 year old girl who is so awesome and practically a member already. She goes to church and young woman’s and everything, but her parents don`t want her to get baptized. We are working with her to strengthen her testimony so when she is old enough she can be ready to make that choice for herself. Please pray for her and that her parents´ hearts can be softened. 

D... - She is the sister of one of our recent converts, R.... She only visits on the weekends so that is the only time we can teach her. She is from one of the provinces in Peru and her native language is Ketchua (I have no idea how to spell it). She can`t read so it`s hard to have her read scriptures or the pamphlets or anything or leave her things to study, but R... is helping her a lot. She is 22 but still very immature, but she has made a lot of progress since the beginning. She told us she has been thinking about baptism but won`t commit to a date yet. She is afraid of the changes she is going to have to make but little by little she is beginning to realize that this is really what she wants. It`s especially good that she has her sister`s example to look at and see her happiness. She had a dream that Christ was standing before her with open arms and beckoning her to come to him. So she knows she needs to do it but just has a lot of fears. But we had a lesson with her last night that went well and she is making progress. 

M... - We just met about 2 weeks ago and she is 20 years old. All of her family lives in California but she is staying here with her aunt. There is a lot of contention in her house and she just wants to find peace. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she read some of it. She is really interested but doesn`t quite understand why it`s important to join one church and not just learn what you can from all of them. We will be teaching the restoration this week so hopefully that will help her. 

We have a couple others too but these are the main ones we are focusing on right now. Also our less actives P... and R.G.... could use prayers. P.... is progressing really well and working with the bishop to clear some things up. R...l is a little more stubborn, please pray for a softened heart for him. Then our recent converts R..., R..., F..., C..., J..., E..., and L.... Especially R..., she is passing through a difficult time right now and could use some prayers of strength and hope. 

Thank you for all you do and for all the prayers. I love you all so much. I am doing so well and really love it here. The mission is the best and I am learning sooooo much every day. The Lord is so good and is always with us. His plan and his gospel are really what bring us true happiness in this life. I can see that now more than ever before. We are so blessed. I love the Lord and I love his work. Have a wonderful week! 

Hermana Cox

(A BYU flag at the store across from the temple)

(More pictures from Sammy's temple trip.  This is her companion from Rexburg, Idaho, Sis. Davis)

 (Sammy's CCM companion)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hola Familia Y Amigos!!

Wow, what a week. It flew by as does every week here in the mission :) I decided that this transfer the Lord is teaching me to have faith. I am in a pretty rich area that is more urbanized and nice. It´s nice for the living and working conditions, but harder with the people and finding progressing investigators. We had a lot of lessons fall through this week, people not being home or not having time, and lots of hours of walking and searching for less actives, contacts, past investigators, anyone really. :) I´m not going to lie, it was pretty frustrating at times and I tend to blame myself and look at all the things I could have done better or what more I need to improve on. But my companion is awesome and has really been helping me remember that there are a lot of things we can´t control as missionaries, no matter how much we try. It´s not our fault if people aren’t home for lessons, if people choose not to progress and accept our message, if members are too busy to accompany us in lessons, or if the people we contact on the streets aren´t really interested. What we can control is our attitude and our determination to stay positive and keep trying harder and harder every day. I can choose to feel like a failure or I can choose to do my best "and then stand still with the utmost assurance to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed."

We really are seeing many miracles and I am seeing the Lord´s hand in our work and softening the hearts of those we are teaching. Little by little, poco a poco, lots and lots of patience and faith. :) It´s been something really good for me to experience and learn. My love for the people is increasing and I also think that´s why it is so much harder when they don´t progress. Because I really love them and know how much the gospel will bless them if they´d just let it in. Pure love is so important as a missionary. It brings a lot of peace but also a lot of pain. But I feel like I am coming to understand more and more the love Christ has for us and his desire to bless us. And also how sad it is to Him when He gives us everything and we choose to reject it and go our own way, thinking we know better. It has been really humbling and really eye opening for me. But really I am doing so well and I am learning and growing so much. The Lord is with us every day, blessing and teaching us. It´s really such a beautiful thing. :)

To answer some of the questions, the food here is awesome! Lots of fruits of all varieties. Lots of rice, potatoes, and chicken. Good thing I like all of those things. :) We also eat a lot of pastas with our pensionista and lots and lots of bread...wow I love the bread here! :) They drink lots of juices, freshly made of course :) The milk is from a box and it is a little odd, but I drink it if I have to. I haven´t eaten guinea pig yet, but everyone says it is really delicious...we´ll see. :) I haven´t really eaten anything super crazy yet besides the weird fruits and sometimes meat that I’m not quite sure what part of the body it´s from. We also ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the other day and it was amazing! Oh the little things we take for granted. :) But I have been really blessed and haven´t gotten really sick from the food yet so I can´t complain. It´s really super rico y delicioso. :) Wow, I’m making myself hungry :) 

It´s starting into fall and the mornings and evenings are getting cooler. The days are still pretty toasty but cooling down a little bit. All the Peruvians talk about how cold it is in the evening when we are walking around and my companion and I (she´s from Rexburg Idaho) are just feeling great and finally stop sweating :) It´s really humid here too but super dry. Never rains and the mountains are just dirt and rocks. But there are some really beautiful flowers and plants around the houses and parks that make it not feel so desert-ish. :)

I´m out of time but I’ll try to write a little more about my day to day life next week. I love you all so much! Thank you for all the prayers and thoughts. I love being a missionary and I know without a doubt in my mind that this is the Lord´s church and that he loves every single one of his children. I´ve seen more than ever in my life how much the gospel really does bless families and individuals. Strengthen your testimony every day, be a witness of Christ, do all you can to follow him and bring others to him as well. I love this work and am so happy to be here. :)

Love you all! Have a great week and don´t forget to look for the little miracles every day!
Hermana Cox

 (My teacher from the CCM that is in my ward. She just got engaged this week, so fun! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Today I hit my 3 month mark!!!! Wow, I can`t hardly believe it. Time is flying by...but at the same time I feel as if I’ve been in Peru forever. :) Yes, this week we did have cambios (transfers)! My companion, Hermana Ramirez, was made a sister leader in another area in our zone so I still get to see her every week :)

(Last night with Hermana Ramirez)

My new companion is Hermana Davis from Rexburg, Idaho. She is so funny and keeps me laughing. She is very different from Hermana Ramirez but we are getting used to each other and becoming friends really fast. :) But because she was transferred into my area that meant that I have been leading the area here.

 (My new companion, Sister Davis)

Not going to lie it`s been super stressful and overwhelming because I`m still learning everything and learning the language. But the Lord never asks more of us without helping us to accomplish it. I`ve really had that testified to me this week. I`ve had to decide who we are going to visit, what to teach, where to go, how to get there, everything! But it`s really made me have to step up to the plate and I feel like I am a real missionary now who actually knows what she`s doing :) It`s amazing the strength and confidence I’ve received from the Lord. I`ve had to go from relying almost completely on my companion to having my companion rely almost completely on me.

Hermana Davis has 8 months in the mission and knows a lot but is still learning so we are sort of figuring things out together. :) I`ve had to speak so much more than before because I`m the missionary that the people know and I`ve seen the gift of tongues made manifest more than ever. There were lessons where I was basically the one doing everything. But it`s been really good for me and Hermana Davis is working really hard to learn the area and the people so I know it will get easier and easier. She has so much energy and desire to just go out and get the world so that will be awesome this transfer. I am excited to learn from her.

We`ve seen miracles every day and hearts changing and softening. Oh, and I also was called on to bear my testimony in our big transfer meeting in Spanish. It was a really good experience...so scary....but awesome to see that I could do it. :) I also got to see Elder Taylor Griffin, Elder Kolton Pierson, and Elder Nick Batty. They are all doing great and it was fun to talk to them a little bit. It`s a little different talking to them as missionaries but still so fun to get to check up on them a little bit. :) Overall it was a big week, lots of learning, lots of growing, lots of patience and faith. :) Three Months have gone by and I know that these next 15 will fly by even faster. Please pray for Rosita, Fernando, and Elisa this week. They are converts that are having a hard time right now with coming to church. Also Beatty, Silvia, Natalie, Rocio, Dinna, and Alejandra. They are investigators that we are working with. And then Raul, Lina, Paola, and Mirium are less actives that need help with their testimonies as well.

Love you all so much!!!! Thank you for all the love and prayers. I am seeing miracle after miracle here in Peru and I know so much of that is because of the faith of those at home :) Love you all. 

Hermana Cox

(This is my pension (landlord) and her family. They are the best and speak some English which is really nice. They feed us so well too...I`m gaining so much weight!! But I`m enjoying the Peruvian food a lot. :) 

(A convert in our ward gave my comp and I little sun hats the other day. How cute, right! :) Haha too bad we can`t wear hats, i`ll have to wait until I get home.)