Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cornwall


A view from the cemetery in Hayle
Pool of water near the ocean in Hayle
Petting a goat at Paradise Park
Controlling some weeds with roundup.  
Elder McCook is getting pretty serious about this!
Scraping wallpaper at a members home.  Looks like he is serving with a smile! :)
A very silly district!
Now a very serious district!

So, with Cornwall, things are a bit like Yeovil but not really.
Firstly, we don't have a car so that means walking and bussing, which
also means more opportunities to talk to people! I've had some fun
experiences already. I make an effort to try to talk to at least one
person on the bus each time we take it. So far, I've had experiences
ranging from return appointments to a conversation I had with a man on
the bus: Me - "So where are you headed to today?" Random guy - "That's
none of your business" ........ Me - "Not very good weather today, is
it?" Man - "No." End of conversation. And then awkward sitting there
for 30 minutes.

But for example, this morning, I chatted to this guy named Dan who's
really cool, very talented, but I can tell his life isn't where he
wants it to be. We got a return appointment with him.

The thing with missionary work is this: We need to be warm to our
neighbor before we warn our neighbor. With knocking, that isn't very
easy to do, plus we are mistaken for Jehovah's Witnesses 90% of the
time. Sure, I'll still do that, but when you've got someone on a bus
who is just as bored as you are who will be on there for half an hour
with the opportunity to simply have a fun chat, then it's amazing and
you can actually find people who are prepared. But you have to be
courageous as you will encounter people like the guy I mentioned
earlier who is just kinda bleh. It just takes faith.

Some really cool stuff has been happening, especially in the Zone. We
have a miracle zone conference call every once in a while and we had
one last night where each area shared a miracle. About five areas said
that yesterday they had one or more less active members return to
church that hadn't gone in several years at least! (one of them 30
years.) Yesterday a random guy walked up to us and said that he was
meeting with the Elders and had an addiction to cannabis, smoking, and
porn but he wanted to give that up and get baptized. He's living in
Penzance so we forwarded him onto the missionaries in our district in
Helston. Cool stuff!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Downend (Bristol area)

I've got to admit as much as I enjoyed Yeovil, I'm really digging this

area! It's a city, so it's more like Phoenix. Basically, Tempe is to

Downend as Phoenix is to Bristol if that makes sense. Except as I said

our area includes much of actual Bristol and the surrounding suburbs

like Fishponds and St George and Kingswood, etc.


When traveling through certain parts, especially as you get closer to

Bristol, it feels like you're walking through Turkey or Pakistan or

the Congo. I'm guessing it's changed a lot since Grandpa was here,

but there are certain parts where it's hard to point out a white

person. I really like that though. There are plenty of Muslims in

Bristol, and the UK in fact. Yeovil was very English, with a little

Polish, but there are all sorts of nationalities here.


A little sight seeing in the big city!

Surely Elder McCook was thinking of his Mum
when he saw this feature as his was strolling down the streets of Bristol!


Zone picture

Many good things happened this week. Our baptismal date Ruth is

progressing and keeping all the commitments we give her. She really

enjoyed General Conference. I can see the Spirit operating in her and

prompting a repentant attitude in her. The only obstacle with Ruth is

family opposition, particularly with her mother, upon Ruth telling her

mother about her baptismal date. Ruth said that she'll turn around,

and we hope she does. As changes occur in Ruth, I believe that her

mother will see this and know that the good fruit that living the

restored gospel brings will yield blessings in Ruth's life, and her

mother will be alright with it. She's already getting to know the ward with Institute

activities and such. Such people have been prepared over time. A year

ago Ruth investigated the church when she was attending Oxford

University, but had a boyfriend that was halting progress. She was

more concerned in what her boyfriend thinks than what God thinks. But

she has changed, and possibly breaking up has catalyzed that. She will

make a fine member of the church.


We also had investigators Paul and Judith attend General Conference,

and I can see that they felt the Spirit. I felt that the talks given

in the respective conferences that the investigators attended had

personal relevance for them. For example, Elder Baxter spoke about

single mothers, and Judith felt that she needed to hear that as she is

a single mother. The Lord works in mysterious but grand ways!"


Everyone else we're teaching are foreign actually. Paul from Rowanda,

Judith from South Africa, a Philippino named Loni, and a Saeid from

Pakistan. Very interesting. Everyone that we find is either Catholic

or Muslim, which I think is pretty weird, seeing as those are the two

strongest faiths besides ours. The London South Mission is possibly

the most diverse mission in the world.


President Shamo asked us to read through the White Handbook

and PMG cover to cover in as little time as possible, and identify

areas to improve on. As I've highlighted multiple things and have

repented, I've felt the Spirit's influence in greater abundance. (See

D&C 130:20-21)

Cathedral in Bristol




Monday, March 12, 2012

Fourth Transfer - Yeovil

New companion – same area!

Elder Peach is from Tennessee; says “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes, sir”, and is an energetic missionary! Here he is dancing to “Come, Come ye Saints” – bluegrass style. Elder McCook loved working with him.



We've actually been walking a lot around Yeovil this transfer. Basically, we're totally out of miles because we've had a Zone Conference, Transfers, and two Zone Meetings, and a couple District Meetings. Basically, lots and lots of traveling. We're allotted 1250 miles per month, which seems generous, but it does run out, considering our area is about 40 miles in diameter. But yeah, walking is great! We should do it more in America. People walk everywhere in England. Well, for the most part. Lots of cars too. Lots of people in general. Over 50 million people squashed in the size of Hawaii can do that.

Recently I went on an exchange with zone leader Elder Wells and we had some interesting things happen. We talked to a guy for half an hour on his doorstep who's studying with Jehovah's Witnesses. We had an hour long chat with this family (a knock in) who were really intense Christians. They had all sorts of questions about the trinity, the Book of Mormon, and all sorts of doctrine. Although we answered them to the best of our ability, afterwards I felt defeated. I'm not much for debate and stuff like that. It did give me a few questions which I'll ask Dad about. In PMG it says that as missionaries we are not obligated to answer every objection everyone has. We are to simply testify of truth and leave commitments. That's really what we're here to do.

It just saddens me when people do not think we're Christians because we do not hold a 4th century view of the Godhead. We hold an eternal view.

To be honest, the work is really slow here in Yeovil. We just continue to try to find people. The Lord will bless us in His own due time. You just got to plug along.

I've been listening to a lot of BYU devotionals and General Conference talks that Elder Day gave me before he left. Some notable ones I like are Holland's "Thee, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou Hast Sent," and his "Broken Things To Mend." Both are general conference. I've also got some McConkie and Kimball and Benson, which is old school, but I like them. I didn't grow up with them, so it's cool to hear other prophets.

Zone Conference the other day was really interesting. Savannah Stevenson came to talk with us. (Look her up) She played Mary in the recent church videos that they played at the Christmas Devotional. She's from England, I think from Gloucester? Anyway, she spoke to us about her life and the decisions she has had to make to maintain a wholesome career as an actress. She's a member of the Church of course.

Elder McCook helped the Ward Mission Leader with a little plumbing at his home!


Converts as of a few years – The Sharpe’s

Elder McCook loved them and appreciated the yummy Filipino food!

A “cool” family - The Hazell’s – fairly recent converts.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Third Transfer - Yeovil

Elder McCook and Elder Day
with cool Christmas shades that ward members gave them

Our zone had a Temple Conference the week of Christmas, which was waay cool! I had forgotten lots of the Temple (the doctrines rather than the mechanics, surprisingly) and so it was a good refresher. It will be a year until the next trip, so that's pretty crazy. After the Temple we did some skits and showed short films of ourselves, some of which were spiritual and others silly. It was fun to have a break.

The team at "Brainwave" (Charity shop) that the missionaries volunteer at

I've noticed English people are really into working, and then spending remaining time eating, sleeping, or with family. That's really all they do. Often times, religion doesn't come as a high priority unfortunately. So because of the work (and it's always both Mum and Dad who work) it's hard to find people with free time on their hands. But we do what we can.

Santa's Elves prepare for some baking on Christmas Eve

For Christmas we are baking some goodies for investigators and we are wrapping up a Book of Mormon in Thai and giving it to an investigators wife, who's from Thailand. Speaking of that, did you guys know I've met people from like everywhere? There are loads of Polish people here. I've met people from Germany, France, Spain, Holland, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, pretty much everywhere in Europe, then like a bunch of Africans and there's lots of Muslims here (that we don't talk to because we're not allowed, so I don't know where they're from.) The UK is most definitely more international than the US. And, what I mentioned is in Yeovil, a little English town. Elder Day served in London and met people from 80+ nationalities.

The Yeovil Ward shower the missionaries at Christmas time!!

Elder Day and I gave talks in sacrament meeting. I talked about Jesus Christ and Elder Day talked about gifts that God has given us. It was my first talk that I decided to basically just outline with scriptures and speak how I felt. The only funny thing is that because of that I didn't time out my talk beforehand and it turned out being like 20+ minutes. The bishop handed me a note while I was speaking basically saying "Sorry, time is up! Excellent talk!" It was funny because he gave it to me at the end when I was bearing testimony. Eh, whatever, it was kind of funny. That gave Elder Day only like 15 mins.

(Elder McCook shared the scriptures below with us from his sacrament talk. He says that these are in no particular order. Some of the scriptures that he chose were interesting to us and gave us more insight into his spiritual sensitivity.)

Isaiah 7:14

Isaiah 9:6

Isaiah 53:2-5

Matthew 22:36-40

John 3:16-17

2 Nephi 2:8

2 Nephi 9:21

Mosiah 13:33

Alma 7:13-14

Ether 3:14

D&C 19:16-19

Moses 4:2 (also see Abraham 3:24-28)

I'm excited about all the goals you guys are setting in regards to the Book of Mormon reading. I finished the Book of Mormon for the second time a month ago (personally reading it), and gained lots of insights from it. It's so verrrry important that we read this book, because it's a foundation of testimony. President Benson's "The Book of Mormon - The Keystone of Our Religion" is amazing. I recommend that you read this before reading the Book of Mormon. Also, Dallin H. Oaks has a really good talk "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." This one is super doctrinally intense, but it's great. It basically says that the saints are under condemnation until they read and treasure the Book of Mormon.

8:00 AM Sunrise in Yeovil
(Who says Arizona has the most beautiful sunrises?!)

Same sunrise overlooking a nearby farm