Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas week!

Hey, if you guys didn't already know, Christmas was this last week. Crazy right?! Lol. I had quite an awesome Christmas! I got a cool multi tool from my brother Charlie, a Doctor Who blanket from my brother Ammon, some shoe Insoles, candy, and other miscellaneous goodies and awesome things from my parents. It was super cool! 

So, this week, we had a great time. We saw some people that we don't always see and we were able to get some progress with them! We met with  a man named Rodolfo. I may have mentioned him before. He is the husband of a member and he is not a member. He is a really good guy. He has a great interest in learning about everything. He has studied a lot of different religions. He also gets worried very easily. He has not recently been doing what we have invited him to do, but this last week he promised us that he would (he usually just says yes). He promised us for the first time that he would read and then he said the prayer to end the lesson and prayed a different way than he had before. He prayed more sincerely and with more of his actual heart in the prayer. It was awesome! That's like the first time I've seen him do anything different. He read what we invited him to read like the very first time we taught him, but not much more since then. It's awesome when I get to see people start to change, to bring their life into harmony with the life God wants for them!

Otherwise, we were Santa this week! all of the presents for the Missionaries in our Zone were delivered to us and we then delivered them to those Missionaries! We had to drive an Hour and a Half south west to Norfolk and an hour and a half back on Wednesday and then an hour and a half east to Storm Lake on Thursday and another hour and a half back. Being Santa takes a lot of time, expecially when you don't have permission to drive Santa's Sleigh XD. All we got is a 2012 Chevy Colorado with a little black box that tells us to slow down if we start to go to fast. but, we did it safely and we got the presents there! 

I hope that you guys all had a great christmas! I hope you all know the true meaning of Christmas isn't just the presents and Santa, but The Only True Gift of Jesus Christ, the Son of God that God himself gave to the world, because He loves us.

Love you all!

Elder Cox

P.S. my companion is voting "Hilary Duff" for President. (he meant Hilary Clinton, and I'm not sure if he was serious or not)

Monday, December 21, 2015

that's all i have to say about that

This one is going to be a bit shorter than usual.

So, I have a new companion! His name is elder Peters! He was here in Sioux City for 9 months before he got moved to another area for like 4 months and now he is back! It's like no time at all to be gone and he already knows like a ton of people here, so it makes my life a bit easier.  He's really awesome, and It's gonna be a great time here in the Sioux city!!!

Otherwise, we haven't had a lot of progression with the people that we are teaching. A lot of those that we are teaching have continued to cancel appointments or other things got in the way so they aren't available. It's not too fun. I really wish it would stop happening, but I can't control what others do, and that's ok.  

So, yeah. Pretty mellow week. I called my family yesterday which was awesome. I called early because Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to talk to all my family and meet my future brother in law! (side note: I officially approve him for my sister to marry) So, that was super cool. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! I hope that you all think of something you can give to God this christmas. He has given us so much, so we should all think of something that we can give to him. There is something for all of us to give!

I miss you all! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Elder Cox

New Companion-Elder Peters
Zone Conference Photos




Monday, December 14, 2015

A Special Week

This has been quite the week. There are quite a few parts, so I'll number them:

1. Elder Ferry, my companion, left today. He is ending his mission, and so I'm just gonna be with some other missionaries in the area. We are gonna be having an epic week! And, I'll be doing a lot of work in their area, as well as my own area. It's gonna be great.  Unknown to them, they are both leaving. I'll be teaching the people that they are currently teaching, so It's good to have a bit a time here learning who they are. Elder Ferry and I had a lot less time than usual to be together, because instead of a 6 week time period before changes, it's a 5 week period. If it was 6 weeks, we would have changed people around on Christmas day, which would be bad, since missionaries get to call their families on Christmas day. 

2. Went back to Norfolk for a day! I was able to see a few of the people that I taught again and was able to say good bye to them lol. A few of those that I saw I wasn't able to say goodbye to. It's kinda sad, but now, goodbyes are said.

3. Ricardo. So, I may have mentioned Ricardo previously. He is the nephew of a member here and he is meeting with us. He really wants to get baptized, but is struggling with smoking and, until a few days ago, he was living with his girlfriend. He couldn't get married to her until he was divorced from his wife that he had when he was like 19. Those are two things that need to change to be able to be baptized. Recently he stopped meeting with us, because his girlfriend's mom died. On Thursday, we got a call from him that his girlfriend left and that he wanted to meet with us again. During our lesson on Friday, he decided, just agreed but decided, to be baptized. It's a big difference for missionaries. We invite and they can accept that invite. But, to hear someone say "I am going to be baptized" instead of "I'll get baptized" is really powerful to hear. He is doing awesome now and came to church yesterday, so he is well on his way to be baptized. It's awesome!

4. Temple trip. A very special thing that missionaries get to do sometimes is go to the temple with someone that they baptized earlier in their mission. Elder Ferry got to have that experience and I got to witness it. Someone that he baptized went to the temple. A temple is a house of God here on Earth. Church buildings are a special place where we got to worship God and all are invited, but a Temple is a place that only those that are worthy (or keeping God's commandments) are allowed to enter and we are instructed and make covenants (or 2 way promises) with God. It was even more special because it was all in Spanish! And I was able to understand it and learn a lot; I maybe even understood and learned more than if it was in English! It was awesome. I was also able to see a lot of the Spanish Ward Members in Omaha because they were helping out at the visitor's center right next to the temple. 

Such an awesome Week! It's been a real pleasure to serve with Elder Ferry and to have all of these wonderful experiences. I love it out here! Talk to you all next week!

Elder Cox

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week of the Big Meeting!

It wasn't actually that big of a meeting. It was Zone Training, which I've explained before as all the missionaries in a certain area getting together to be trained on how to be a better missionary. The difference for this time is that I was one of the ones doing the training! The Zone Leaders of the Zone that is meeting are the ones that talk to the rest of the missionaries. 
IT WAS VERY STRESSFUL. I really don't know why it was so stressful lol. I'm not really scared of public speaking. I was preparing for it and like the entire time that I was preparing, I just felt an overwhelming sense that I couldn't do this. I couldn't get rid of the feeling for a long time. But then, I did something that everyone can do to get help. I prayed. I asked God to help me. I was preparing to help His missionaries, so I got an answer to that prayer really quick. I felt that I would still feel overwhelmed, but they I would not be overwhelmed. I prepared for it and was ready when the time came. Then, Surprise, Surprise! Our mission president was there! He usually wouldn't come up to Sioux City for a Zone Training. He spoke to us a little bit and said about 75% of the things I would have said. So, I just went up there when it was my time and I was given, by God, the words I needed to say. I know that they were given by him because I really had no idea what I needed to talk about. I said a little bit of the stuff that I had prepared but I was given a question to ask. That question lead me to something that some of the other missionaries needed to hear. After the meeting was over, I had a few people say that they knew something that they really needed to do from my training. I know that God helped me with something as simple as talking in front of a group of people. 

Otherwise, this week was really cool. I got to go back to Norfolk for a bit to do an exchange with a missionary down there and got to say hi to a few folks that I knew. I don't have a whole lot to say about what else we are doing over here because we haven't been able to teach a lot of people. Like, out of the 10 set appointments we have throughout a week, like 3 go through. It's pretty frustrating but we've been able to talk to most of the people and have been able to get better times or to find other places to meet with them. It's been improving so next week will be filled with the people that we are working with. For now, I'll mention a man named Sergio. He's someone that was taught once before like 4 months ago. He is SUPER NICE! Like, he is just so friendly! We taught him the first lesson that we usually teach and he accepted the invitation to be baptized on January 2nd! We are seeing him again tonight so I can't wait for that. He also has a wife and kids so we are hoping the whole family can be involved!

Anyways, Life is doing real good out here. I'm loving it! On Thursday, December 10th, It'll be exactly 1 year since I left. It's crazy how fast that year has gone by!

I love you all!!!!!

Elder Cox

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanks Be Given!

So, this week was the week of Thanksgiving (obviously right). But,
this is now getting to the part of my mission where I realize that
next Thanksgiving, I'll be home. O.o It's a weird thought. But it's a
fact. So yeah.

Tuesday: So, with me now being a zone leader, i get to go on more
exchanges than before. I now go to some missionaries areas that i
normally wouldn't be able to go to. This week, I got to go to Storm
Lake, Iowa. It's a little town of like 10,000 people. It's main
population source is a Tyson meat factory that is right on the edge of
town. Hundreds of asian and hispanic workers flock to tysons country
wide because they pay their way into the country or at least are
always  looking for workers who really need money. Facts. So yeah,
this little town seemed like a really nice little town that
missionaries have worked in for YEARS. Like since the 1990's there
have been missionaries there and have never been taken out of that
small town. But it is a nice town. I met some nice people and was able
to help the missionaries do work there.

The Next Day (Wednesday): We went to Spencer, Iowa. It's north of
storm,lake. Its another town that missionaries have been in for a long
time. It's not a town that was made by a tyson or anything. I don't
even know why there are people there, other than it is by the tourist
hot spot of Okibogi in Iowa. But yeah, pretty fun up there. Got to eat
at a buffet for 2 bucks. It's a nice buffet too lol. But we helped the
missionaries up there with the missionary work and personal problems
that they had. It's really different being in a leadership position in
the mission because this is the kind of stuff that I am responsible to
help with. Naturally, even without being a leader I would help someone
if I knew about it. But, now I'm one of the people they directly turn
to to get help with problems like discouragement, depression, physical
pain, etc. It's really different.

Otherwise, on saturday, a member cooked us some venison! It was really
good. This week was a lot of not being able to teach people. We had
like 2 appointments a day cancel on us and it wasn't the most
enjoyable but we are still going for it! It's was hard, but it's going
to be real good. this week.

So, there is a new video from our church about Jesus Christ called A
Savior Is Born. I wanna invite you guys to check it out. It's super
awesome. The website also has some other content that really puts the
life of Jesus Christ into a personal perspective. It's
christmas.mormon.org Go check it out!

Have a great week!

Elder Cox

P.S. big snow storm today. Our big castle appartment complex has a
computer that I am currently e-mailing from but I can't get my usb or
my camera to hook up to it. So, no pictures until next week T.T

Monday, November 23, 2015

First Week in the Sioux City!

So this week was pretty exciting. I like the good ol' Sioux City. I found out that It is part of 3 states: North Sioux city in South Dakota, South Sioux city in Nebraska, and Sioux City in Iowa. I got to do some things that I wouldn't normally do and got to have a great opportunity to be trained!

Trained: So first of all, I will need to explain the organization of our church.
1. The Prophet. He is the guy chosen by God to lead the church. He has all the power, authority, and right (or keys) from God to do so. There is only one at a time, so he is a pretty important guy. He directly receives direction from God for the whole world.
2. The Apostles. These are the guys that work directly with the prophet. They have the same power and authority but not the keys. They aren't directly lead by God in the same way the prophet is. They are special witnesses of him, and they are there to help the prophet.
3. The Seventy. People called to direct what the Prophet says in certain parts of the area. They get moved around, but they just say what the prophet says and apply it to directly to the area they are put over.

So, we were visited by a member of the Seventy, whose name is Elder James B. Martino. He's a really awesome. He came to our mission and visited Sioux City on Wednesday. He trained us on how to do our work better, because we are just 18-25 year old young adults, so a lot of times we don't do things right. He talked to us about how be more effective and to recognize that we are called by God to do this work. It was awesome. 

Things I wouldn't have normally been able to do: 
1.The day after he visited us, I and Elder Ferry went to Omaha to hear him instruct us as Zone Leaders specifically and help us help the missionaries we are in charge of. It was super awesome 
2. We went and closed an old missionary apartment. It's this place called Vermillion, South Dakota. There used to be missionaries there like 2 months ago but they were moved out of there and put somewhere else. We went and cleaned out the apartment. In the process, we discovered that the local thrift shops were all closed. So we filled a dumpster with the stuff that we didn't take back with us (we took stuff back to move in a different set of missionaries with the furniture that was there.), I'll include a picture of the dumpster that we filled. That day, it was also snowing!  Like a lot. So much that after about 1 o'clock, we were not allowed to use our cars anymore. We had to, because of the before mentioned move, but afterwards, we just had to walk around. It was like 6-8 inches of snow in one day. Wicked sick. We started the moves at about 9 (with about 2 hours total traveling to and from Vermillion) and ended the moves around 5:30. We helped like 5 people who were stuck in the snow and saw a huge crash of 3 buses and like 5 cars down this steep hill. It was awesome! 

So yeah, We're doing real good down here. Hope you all have a good week!

Elder Cox

Monday, November 16, 2015

Transferred to IOWA. And also, I'm a ZONE LEADER!

So I got transferred. I was only in Norfolk, Nebraska for 4 1/2 Months and then they moved me. I'm now in a place called Sioux City, Iowa. I'm one of currently 7 Missionaries in the area. There are 3 Girl missionaries (sisters) and 2 sets of Guys missionaries (elders) here in our Spanish congregation. And I'm now something called a Zone Leader. 

So, as far as leadership in the mission, it's like this:
Mission President (Not a normal 20ish year old missionary; older person lol)
Assistants to the President (1 Companionship of Normal missionaries)
Zone Leaders (1 Companionship per zone; our mission has about 11 Zones)
District Leaders (1 companionship; 3 or 4 of these per zone)
Senior Companion (every companionship has one)

So, every missionary is under the direct stewardship of the Mission President. The Mission President delegates responsibilities down the chain of leadership all the way down to normal missionaries. He trains the Assistants and Zone Leaders, we pass it on to the district leaders and all other missionaries, then the District leaders basically see if what the Zone Leaders taught is being used. It's pretty cool how it works out. We report directly to the Mission President on the things that the missionaries in our zone are doing and ask him for help to help them be better missionaries. It's all for helping them teach better, find more people to teach, have better studies, etc. 

So that's a lot of info and I haven't even talked about the area yet! So I've been to Sioux City before. It's a biggish city that is mostly in Iowa but also partly in Nebraska. It's here that we had a few meetings that I had to go to when I was in Norfolk. It's a city of like 100,000 or more people, and there are TONS of Hispanics. Like, TONS. Especially in South Sioux City (which is the part in Nebraska). And it seems like it's gonna be a really awesome time here. I am really enjoying it so far. The work is gonna be like Omaha was, because we have a Spanish congregation. It's pretty exciting.

I'm really sad to have left Norfolk, but I really like it here so far. The Spanish congregation is really awesome and full of people that are super funny. Also, I am in the same ward as 2 people that I was before with in omaha, that being a sister missionary named Sister Grubbs and Elder Jensen (previous companion). It's pretty cool. 

My companion's name is Elder Ferry. The scary part of all of this is that I only have 4 weeks to learn how to run our zone (in terms of like "administrating" [like managing how many miles people get for their cars, when to go and serve with them, etc]) and learn the area (in terms of like teaching) because he goes home December 14th. I'll have to run it when he leaves. It's a scary thought.

Man, that was a pretty long e-mail. Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Cox


So we live in a castle. We are on the top floor and either have to go up like 3-6 flights of stairs or use an elevator. It's called Castle on a Hill Apartments and was formerly a high school. It's really awesome. No flies get into the apartment since it is a long way in lol. Also, I got a leather jacket. It's warm lol

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Week of the Same

This week was awesome. And that's what I mean by "the same" in the title. It just seems like the weeks are generally improving and almost going slower. One thing that I always hear from missionaries is that they wish the time would go slower or that their mission went by so fast. Well, for me right now, time is going pretty slow. Before, It was going so fast that I couldn't even believe it. I'm still pretty astonished whenever Friday comes around (that's when we plan for the next week; we basically count that as the start of the week lol) but otherwise, everyday seems to be filling up pretty well. It's been every since 2 Thursdays ago when I receive instruction on how to help people better, specifically by planning lessons that are specific and detailed to meet the needs of the people that we see. It's been just being straight up better from that time on until now, and it's gonna keep being good.

In other news, I might be leaving the current area that I am in this Friday but I won't know until Thursday. Hope you are all on the edge of you seats! I know I am. I don't really wanna leave this area yet. It's been really great here and I really wanna spend more time here and see the people here progress, but If I am called to another place, that's aight. I'll do it.

Anyways, there was a lot of good things that happened this week that I could tell you guys about. I don't even know which one to choose. This one. So, on Saturday, we went to go see some people early in the day and they were like "come back at night." So we did, with a member of our congregation. We went there it's this couple named Filipe and Caridad (Philip and Charity if you translate it.) They are from Cuba, and this is only the second time that we have seen them ever talke to them. Filipe is really kind and humble. He is the one that we are mainly teaching. But he read the part of the Book of Mormon that we asked him to read and he already believes that it is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet! And It's only been two visits. It was awesome. Although he smokes a ton and he didn't go to church yesterday, I still think that he will be able to be baptized soon. He already said that he wanted to quit smoking (or at least that he has struggled with smoking his whole life, which kinda implies that he wants to stop.)

So yeah, that was like the best of the week and how I am doing. If there is anything you guys would like to know more about what I basically do just ask me and I'll start including it in here. I kinda realize that I don't have your perspectives so I don't always know what to include so yeah. I'm up for improving what I send to you guys. 

Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Cox  

Monday, November 2, 2015

This was Halloween! And an extra hour!

so yeah, my companion is from Arizona and they don't have Daylight Savings Time in Arizona, so yesterday, he said "THIS DAY IS SO LONG! When will it end?!" It was funny.

Halloween! We didn't do anything Halloween night because we were told not to go out after 6, so yeah. We just stayed in and planned for the next week. But, on Friday, our church did a trunk or treat and we had some awesome Chili and Cinnamon Rolls (a strange Nebraska tradition which tastes really good actually). And for that trunk or treat, we decorated our car! I'll attach a picture of that. And I'm in my costume, which is just one of the other english missionaries. 

Yeah, this week has been pretty solid. We've had a lot of people tell us that they don't want us to visit and only a few people that we found to teach, which is overall pretty normal. One thing that we did yesterday was get a church member to come out with us to go teaching. The only sad part about that is that we went to like 5 peoples houses and they were all either busy or not there, so I was pretty frustrated about that. But then, after the member went home, we knocked on 1 persons door and it was this women named Ana. When she was younger, she said that her mom had her talk with missionaries so she knew who we were. But she said that she didn't really want to have God in her life right now. I asked why. She told us that her heart was just so full of hate that she didn't think that she could have God in her life. She felt that what she did before in her life was so much that she could not be forgiven and that she could not return to God. I told her the simple truth: We are never to lost to God. There is always a way that we can be forgiven and have God's influence back in our life. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus Christ to be our way back to live with God. And the only way that we are lost is by our unwillingness to change ourselves. We must be ready and willing to do the things that God has asked us to do. That's how we can get rid of all the guilt that we feel. That's is how we change ourselves. She felt that it was impossible, and I know that it is possible. We're gonna be go back and talk to her again on Friday and I hope to be able to help her see that she is not lost and that God wants her back on his side. He loves her, just as He loves me and all of you.

So yeah, I'm really glad I'm out here doing God's work. I know that it wasn't a coincidence that we found Ana. God sent us to her specifically yesterday. And God will help her, if she lets him.

Hope you all enjoy the fall weather! I know I am. I got a oldish leather jacket for free so I'm set for now until winter is over (for my top half at least.) From what I hear about the winters here in Norfolk, I'm gonna need to buy me some thermals for my legs (probably gonna get one or two today lol). 

Love you all!

Elder Cox 



Monday, October 26, 2015

Who cares?

So there is this one 8 year old kid in our church here that we saw yesterday. His brother said that he lies a lot, so we said "You know lying is against the commandments, right?" His response was, "Oh, who cares?" It was reallllllyyyy hilarious for us, but it is a good question to ask. Who does care if we disobey God's commandments? The answer is kinda obvious, but God cares. He cares about everyone, because he set his commandments as a barrier to protect us from the pain and misery that disobeying the commandments brings. If we obey God's commandments, we will be happy. I promise it.

Anyways, about me XD. I'm doing good. They feed us well here so I'm full everyday, unless I choose not to be (but why would I choose not to be? I always choose to be full lol). It's getting kinda cold 'round these parts but it just means I can break out my sweater that I got on clearance a few months back #preparation. I am loving here in good ol' Norfolk. It's really a pleasure to be here and I know that I am doing what God wants me to do by being here. 

This week was rather awesome. So as missionaries, we invite people to come unto Jesus Christ. We have been focused on inviting people through baptism, which is an essential part of coming unto Jesus. And so we have been doing that A LOT. And most people say no. It's sad, but it just happens that way. But we have had 2 people say yes! And this is what happened. So one of them is Almarosa (i've mentioned her before) and she wanted to meet with us. Well, we can't go inside someone's house if there is not another male there who is 16 years or older. So, if her husband was home, we could have come over. But he wasn't. We were calling some of our members to see if someone could come but we couldn't find anyone. She then said that she could invite one of her friends to come over so we were like "Perfecto!" So we went over there and talked to them. We taught them about the Plan of Salvation, which is where we came from (We came from God cuz he made us), why are we here (to try to live good lives to return to God after), and where we go after this life (we wait until judgement and then we are judged and those who are obey God's commandments will go and live with him). One of God's commandments is baptism, so we told them about that and asked them if they wanted to be baptized. They were concerned how much it would cost, which shocked us. They told us that in their church, for any of their kids to be baptized, you had to pay, which is rather foreign concept to Elder Wiltbank and I because we our church doesn't ever charge for baptism and stuff. So they decided that they would work towards being baptized on Dec 5th, and it was awesome. Amen.

Love you all!
Elder Cox

Monday, October 19, 2015

A not terrible week!

This week was actually super awesome. It's been a blast out here. By a blast, I mean that not only am I having fun doing missionary work, we are having quite a bit of success. I'll tell you how. 

So, I'll tell you of my best day this week and how it is like the most productive day I've ever had in terms of number of lessons. Overall, numbers aren't overly important, but they help us get a physical representation of how effective we are being. So, it was Friday. An investigator named Almarosa (translation: Pink Soul) invited us over for breakfast and we taught her and her husband a lesson. That's 1. Then we finished our studies and had lunch. Then, as we do on every Friday, we planned out what we are going to teach to all the people that we are currently teaching and make goals for the numbers we want to get. This takes us up to about 5 o'clock. We then went to our appointment that we had. They weren't there. We then had a big string of events that went like this: tried next door and had a lesson (2) ; went to the next street over to see a previous investigator and had a lesson (3) ; tried next door and had a lesson (4) ; went to a different part of town to knock doors and saw someone who we have been trying to find, so we stopped and had a lesson (5) ; got to that other part of town and had 1 lesson from knocking doors (6) ; went to the car to plan what next to do and saw someone pull up to their house so we knocked on their door, turns out they are members and had a lesson with them and gave the wife of that family a blessing of healing (7) ; went and tried someone who said they weren't gonna be home until super late and he was there so we had a lesson (8) ;  went home and ate dinner. That day was crazy!!!!!!! To put it in perspective, a day where we have 4 lessons is a really good day but we had 8! The biggest about all of this day was that we didn't really know for ourselves where we wanted to go originally. It was pretty different from the day that we had originally planned to have, but we felt like we needed to go to other places so we did. #effectivemissionarywork

Other than that, the rest of the week was good too. On Saturday, we were able to have Jasmin, the person that we baptized, go to the temple in Omaha and do baptisms for the dead. Baptisms for the dead is something that we do in our temples. We believe that baptism is essential to go to heaven. We also believe that everyone will have the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ after they die. But, without baptism, even if they accept Jesus Christ, they can't go to heaven. So, we believe that it is our responsibility as living members of our church to be baptized in place of those who have passed on. And we got to help in that work on saturday. It was awesome. 

So yeah, I'm doing freaking epic out here.

Love you all! 

Elder Cox

so there was this beautiful sunset so we took some pics. here is my favorite one


Monday, October 12, 2015

This week tho.

The title states it all. This week feels like it just flew right on by. I barely even remember what all we've done! I actually do remember most of it but it's all just a blur for the most part. There is not a whole lot to say about it. Well, there is some to say. So, I don't think I've mentioned this specific person we were teaching before but there is this big Cuban man named Dunieski (the s is silent too) and we were just knocking doors and found him. He wasn't like 100% into our lessons but enjoyed having us come over and teach him. He had been gone on vacation for a while so we hadn't seen him, but we set him for a day to be baptized and he accepted. Also, I was with Elder Jones (English speaking missionary serving in the same town), so I was the only Spanish missionary there. And Dunieski told me that he was never going to go to church or be baptized. This is a kinda common thing to hear but he then went off for 20 minutes about how all churches, whether baptist, Mormon, catholic, etc. were corrupt and just to get money. I told him that our church isn't like that and that I, as a missionary, wasn't paid. I explained that we do a lot of community/worldwide disaster service, etc. but he didn't believe me. I was really sad. Like this has been weighing me down since that day. But I did what I could. I can't make him believe my words, even if they are true. He has to choose for himself. It's just a bit depressing overall. 

Otherwise, the last 2 days were really hot. It hasn't been this hot at this late in the year in Nebraska since 1955. That's pretty crazy. It was like 95 degrees. I'm really happy that I don't have to wear a suit coat all the time. But we had some good times. We were invited to the birthday party of a young man in the area named Angel. He's super cool and really fun to be around. And, as is customary, there was a cake. And his face was partly pushed into it by his aunt XD. It's a tradition for many Latino families. And then we got a pic together. It was great. 

So yeah, things are really going good here, other than the story I told. I am really liking it here. I definitely have to come back and visit after I leave. But that's not for a while. lol.

Love you all! (no homo)

Elder Cox

Monday, October 5, 2015

Transfer Week! #8

Not moving! Yay! 😁😇🙌😹

Still in Norfolk. Another 6 weeks has come and gone and I don't know how I really feel about how fast this is going. Sometimes, I feel like one week has been like 1 month. Other times, one day feels like a week. Most of the time, it feels like It's been maybe been 3 days when it's been a full week. AAHHHHH! Time is so annoying. But I'm still living "The Good Life" here in Nebraska. I really like the people who are here and I like how nice they are. 

So this weekend was something called "General Conference" for our church. It's where the Prophet and the Apostles and other men and women who are called to lead our church get to talk to us and give us advice, teach us things that are important to know in this day and age, and warn us of things to come. It's really amazing. I feel that it is like Christmas for me, cuz we get to hear the words of God through his servants! I wore Christmas ties during it :P. It had some awesome advice in it this time. It happens twice a year, every year. This time was the 185th time that it has happened, since we are coming up on our church's 200 year anniversary. (that's really young for a world wide church). Anyways, I'll share some insights that I had from this year's conference in e-mails in the following weeks, as I re-listen to them. 

This week has been sweet. Saturday, we had dinner with the Cartela Family. They invite over friends of their who has been asking questions about our church. We were able to have Chili with Cinnamon Rolls (which is a weird Nebraska tradition, but it's good too) and answer their questions about our church. Then, yesterday, we taught her the first lesson st the Cartela's house and they wants to keep learning more! They are super cool and I'll be able to tell you guys more about them next week. 

That's about it! I got at least 6 more weeks here in Norfolk, if not more! I'm excited for every single one of them! Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Cox

Monday, September 28, 2015

BAUTISMO! (translation: BAPTISM!)

So on Saturday, we had a baptism! I mentioned it last week and it happened! It was awesome! We lot more people show up than we thought we would. I talked about the Holy Ghost during the baptismal service and I think I did ok. Jasmin is the name of the person who got baptized. We did the baptism in Spanglish, because there was a lot of people that spoke only english there and her parents who don't speak English were there. It was really super-duper-diddily awesome! She also invited some of her friends, who aren't members to come and the mom of this family was crying during the actual baptism. I know I could feel the Holy Ghost there, telling us all that this was truly a life changing event happening here. I know that the Holy Ghost was testifying to her that baptism is the way that we can get closer to our Father in Heaven.

With that baptism, we had a super epic week! Normally in a week, we set the goal to find like 3 new people to teach. But, this week, we found 10! THAT'S A CRAZY NUMBER! It's been a real blessing to see that we can find so many people. We've been working really hard to reach what are called the Standards of Excellence. Those are certain goals our mission leaders give to try and reach every week. They are not easy to get, but it is possible. They are numbers like how many lessons we get, non-members at church, people that have a date set for baptism, etc. These numbers measure how much effort we are putting forth and basically tell us how many people are accepting our message, and it correspondes to how many people we invite to accept our message. Even if we have low numbers, we can still be very successful. The numbers just show how much success the Lord is giving us and how many people we are able to help. It's weird to explain. But, we didn't get it this week. We are closer than we have ever been, but there is one thing that we can't control: Peoples choices. If they choose not to come to church, we can't force them too. We can only invite. But, I know that we can get these standards. It's something that Elder Wiltbank and I really wanna achieve. And we know the Lord can help us achieve this goal. 

Anyway, I'm doing well. I hope you all are too. Love you all!!

Elder Cox

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sup

Overall, this week wasn't too exciting. But, I have some exciting news: this Saturday, we are going to have a baptism! It's really exciting! I have told you guys about Jasmin. She is the niece of a family in the ward from Mexico. She grew up in California and her grandmother took her to our church for a very long time. She was gonna be baptized when she was a lot younger but her mom didn't approve it. So, after about like 10 years now, she can make her own choice whether to be baptized or not. And she chose to do it. And it's gonna be this Saturday! I'm really excited. She asked Elder Wiltbank to baptize her, and he is happier than a woodchuck in a wood pile to do so! It's pretty great being out here. I get to help people change their lives and make decisions that will bring them closer to their Heavenly Father. It's a huge priviledge. 

So, yesterday, a women named Elizabeth came to our church. She lives in a place called West Point, which is 45 minutes away from Norfolk, which is where the church is. We've met with her twice and committed her to be baptized on October 24th. We didn't really expect her to come to church yet, even though we invited her. Usually, people don't start coming until like 4 visits. But she surprised us with a phone call, and told us that she didn't know where the church building is. We met her at a different church parking lot and then she followed us to our church. We introduced her to one of the Spanish families and then she was introduced to all the Spanish families. She went to the Sunday School class that we have in Spanish and was immediately friend-shipped by all of them. She had a great time. She said that she would be back next week and she received an invitation to come over to one of the family's houses if she was in Norfolk that week. It was awesome to see how well the members of the congregation were able to see that she needed someone to talk to and just embraced her immediately. I could really see the love of God working within the families and Elizabeth too. I really liked to see that so perfectly.

Have a great week!

Elder Cox

Monday, September 14, 2015

A week and a fight!

Ok, so the fight doesn't involve me. It involves 2 Orb Weaver spiders. Elder Stoker (english speaking missionary serving in the same city as me) was taught by a polynesian companion how to catch and then fight Orb Weaver spiders. It's actually really intense. The picture included is when one spider beat the other one and then wrapped it up to eat later. Really wicked sick guys. Like, It was intense. Anyways, other than that, there were no other fights. Yet.

So this week, we spent 1 day in Sioux City, Iowa. We have meetings there pretty often and this time, we had 2 meetings: one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. Wednesday, we had Trainer-Trainee Meeting, which was for all the missionaries that are training new missionaries and the ones that are new missionaries. It was really good. We created a vision, goal, and plan for each of our companions and got advice on how to help them become the missionary they need to be. It was sweet. Thursday, we had Zone Training. It was really sweet.

Otherwise, this week was a really normal, but very productive week! We were able to see a lot of people and had a lot of lessons with new people too, even though we spent an entire day in Sioux City. While we were in Sioux City, I got to be with my old companion, Elder Jensen! It was super awesome. He and I got to teach together again. We found some people who were from Iraq and were Shiite Muslims. They were super nice and had a few stories to tell. The military was really helping out over there when they were there. They say that the news is very unreliable. Really nice opportunity to get a look at a bit of their beliefs too. It was super awesome. Then, we visited someone who is of the Seventh Day Adventists. It was a really good experience too, because I saw that their religion has a lot of truth to it. They are just realllllllllyyy adamant about the Sabbath day being Saturday. Otherwise, their religion is pretty darn similar to the one I belong to. It's a big thing too; all religions have truth in them. And they are all trying their best to be right by God. But I testify that the complete truth has been restored by Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. It's what I believe with all my heart. I wouldn't be out here if I didn't know that this is true. And I will continue to be out here until I am released because I want to share this truth with everyone that I can. 

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Cox  


Monday, September 7, 2015

TV watching was allowed once and it felt weird.



So I watched the BYU Vs. Cornhusker football game, which was an amazing game of football. As mentioned last week, we were allowed to do that by our mission president. But it was weird. normally, as a missionary, we are not allowed to watch any form of entertainment, because it distracts us from our work as a missionary. But our mission president had us do it because most of the state was gonna be watching the game anyways so yeah. It was a great game and a great time with family we were too. (Picture of me and Elder Wiltbank during game included at end). Good times.

Otherwise, this week was pretty awesome. We have someone who is preparing to be baptized. Her name is Jasmine. She is a student at Wayne State College and she is living with a her aunt and uncle who are members of our church. She has gone to church with her grandma for like most of her life and she basically knows everything already. Her grandma wanted her to be baptized when she was younger but her mom didn't let her be baptized. Now, she is old enough to choose for herself and she wants to learn and be baptized! It's really awesome. 

We also received a referral from a family in our church for someone that the wife of the family sees at work all the time (a referral is when someone gives us the address of someone that they know to go see them and see if they want to be taught). We went and saw this referral last night. This man's name is Brunel and he is from Haiti. He moved from Haiti to Mexico when the big earthquake happened in Haiti. He learn Spanish is mexico and began to take college classes in pharmacy until he had to move to America. He lived in Texas and then Madison, Nebraska (which is a town 16 minutes outside of Norfolk). Now he lives in norfolk and works at the Tyson meat processing plant. He knows english pretty well and spanish like perfectly, even though it is his 2nd language. He's super nice and I can't wait to talk to him more over the next few weeks. 

This morning, I was reading in the Book of Mormon, as I do everyday, and I found a scripture that says exactly how I feel about my mission/life. I wanna share it with you guys. Alma 29:9 "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." This is what I am doing. I am trying my best to be an instrument in the Hands of God. Whether I'm a triangle or a tuba, a violin or a mandolin, I just want as effective as possible. I wanted to share that with all of you and tell you that we can all do that too.

Elder Cox

This is what driving from town to town looks like in Nebraska.



There are a lot of apartments in Norfolk. Like half of the city lives in apartment complexes. And this is how I am most of the time (btw I'm holding an english Book of Mormon and a Spanish one cuz most latinos live in apartments but so do a lot of non-spanish speakers)


Monday, August 31, 2015

This second week of training was one that was quite difficult I'd say. We had a lot of good times but also some not so fun ones. Anyways,

To start, we had zone conference on Thursday. It was really instructive. A zone conference is where 2 to 4 zones worth of missionaries (70-150 ish) all meet up and get instructions from the Mission President, his wife, and the APs (Assistants to the President). This time was a very awesome opportunity, cuz it was the first Zone Conference with President Gardner, which is out mission president now and has been for about 2 months. He is really awesome. Recently he instructed us to memorize 12 scriptures and then we would receive a prize. Apparently the prize is having the chance to watch the Nebraska Cornhusker's starting season game Vs. BYU on this saturday! It's pretty crazy how the mission president is allowing this! But, he reasoned "The entire state is gonna shut down for the game anyways, so watch the games and then go do your work afterwards." It is really shocking, but that is the way president Gardner is gonna work I guess. It's gonna be real good, even though I don't like football that much. 

Anyway, this week was an awesome opportunity to see the Lord's work in action. At Zone Conference, we learned how to better use the Pamphlets that we have to explain what we are teaching. It helps us teach with clarity and helps others understand what we are teaching better. Since that training on how to use the pamphlets, Elder Wiltbank and I have used it every single day. It's AMAZING. It makes for much shorter lessons and much more effective lessons too. It really helps me to see that President Gardner is being lead by God in our training.

Yeah, so it's been really good. Through the use of the pamphlets, we got 6 new people to teach this week! Usually, we get like 2 or 3. It's so awesome! 

Have a good week everyone! 

Elder Cox

By the way, i really tried to take more pictures but I kinda failed. So, I will take a picture a day this week around Norfolk and the surrounding areas. I will do it! For now, here's a selfie with Elder Wiltbank, my companion.


Monday, August 24, 2015

The Biggest Opportunity of my Life

Ok, so maybe not the biggest but it's really huge. I'm training! Training in the mission means that I have the opportunity to be companions with a BRAND NEW missionary, right from the Missionary Training Center. It's a huge responsibility that isn't given to everyone. It is a quite heavy responsibility too! The Mission president, President Gardner, Told us that "Training is the most important leadership position in the entire mission. Trainers set up a new missionaries entire life. The mission itself sets up a person for their life. Having a great trainer allows missionaries to have a great mission and a subsequent great life." THAT'S A LOT OF RESPNSIBITITY! It's a real blessing to know that God trusts me so much that he has allowed me to train a new missionary. His name is Elder Wiltbank from Safford, Arizona, which is like 3 hours east of the capital of Arizona. He is super awesome and really willing just to go out and work. 

I was not expecting to get a new companion this transfer, much less expecting to train lol. Elder Pearson and I had a really good time together. There is really so much to talk about that I don't even know where to start. Right! So, Elder Pearson and I got a call from some really fast talking Spanish lady to help her learn English. We made an appointment and were able to meet with her. Her name is Almarosa (translation Rose Soul or Pink Soul, which is really cool). She has some really weird last names that I don't remember lol. But she is quite the person. She had our number from last year, when my trainer, Elder Wilson was around. He and his companion were doing English classes at the time and she was too busy with school to take lessons. She instead decided to do them this year. It is quite exciting to be able to teach English! It's gonna be flippin' hard but really awesome too! She also has a lot of questions about God and our church but she basically said "English first, church later" so that'll be fun. 

Anyways, I am having a great time right now! It's gonna be hard (and it kinda is already) to have a new missionary but it's a responsibility that I will be ready to bear! Love you all! I hope to hear from you guys soon!

Elder Cox

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meetings!




So, we had some meetings this week. First off, we had Spanish Conference! This is where all the Spanish missionaries in the mission come together and have some special training in Spanish and such. It is always an awesome time. We had to drive 2 hours to get there and 2 hours to get back. It was really far. Second, we had Zone Training. All the missionaries around a central point (Sioux City, Iowa for me) meet together and have some special training. It was really good and I got to see some missionaries for the last time, because they are going home. It was nice to see them and such. I'll include some pictures in this e-mail or subsequent e-mails.

So this week felt like it was only half of a week, because of the meetings but they were all good meetings so I didn't really mind it. But it was a pretty disappointing week. We had like at least 3 people that we had recently found or found a while ago "drop us". "Drop us" means that they decided to stop having us come over and teach them, or they tell us that through their actions, like being inside the house where we can see them and not answering the door (happened like 2 times this week). It's not very fun when that happens but what can we do about it? It's their choice, and we will respect it. Anyways, the bright side is that now we have more time to find new people to teach. 

I'm not really sure what else to say on this one. It's overall been a pretty great week, just without any stories or anything to tell. I guess I'll just close out by saying this: It doesn't matter if nothing works out; the thing that matters is that I am doing all that I can to serve my Savior and that is enough for me. The truly important thing is that I am striving to follow the Spirit of God in my day to day life and He will lead me where I need to go if I trust him and follow him.

Have a great week!

Elder Cox

P.S. Picture is of Spanish Conference
Zone Training