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 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