Christmas Morning at a members house!
Love how they treat our missionaries!
Later in the day, we got to Skype with Elder McCook
while in Houston with Amanda's family. What a treat!!
(Early December) Elder McCook just had another transfer and will stay in the Haywards Heath area (South of London) and is still with Elder Blumenthal from Nevada leading out the district. He is doing great and enjoying a busier place with lots of missionary work!
Commenting on a cousin’s new mission call -
“So we've got the four sons of Mosiah or the four grandsons of the McCook's on missions! When we were kids we always planned that two of us would be out at the same time, but with the age decrease, this is crazy! So cool! I wanted to go Spanish speaking and I remember Jace saying that I stole his mission, so we did a bit of a swap. Of course I'm very pleased of where I am. The 'best' mission of every missionary is their own of course.”
What a story! Incidentally, Elder Maughan - referred to in this story was tracted out in his early twenties was one of John’s best and hard working missionary companions. --
“Ok so this was so weird. We had Zone Conference this week and I saw this sister missionary at the train station as we were traveling with the last name Maughan. So later on I asked if her dad was from
, and she said yes. So
I asked if he served in the Sussex mission (same as
Dad’s mission), and sure enough he did. Just to confirm, it was back in
'84-'85 time frame and it was when they did 18 month missions. I told her
about how our dads served together and how cool Elder Maughan was and stuff.
Think of the odds of us both serving in the same mission at this time and how
she's fairly close by (in Dearborn Michigan .) That doesn't
happen every day I guess. It was weird because I was kind of asking around
the ward because he was from Hastings . I just had to get a
pic with Sister Maughan to document this.” Sussex
Here are some snippets from an email.
“So about the work, the ward is super, super, super, cool. The bishop is very focused on his calling, visiting and helping members and less actives,and we have ward activities and reach out nights where members go out and invite everyone to various activities. The ward organizes splits every week with us. Basically, they are missionary focused. We have mini ward councils every week after church, and correlation with the
ward mission leader every week. So good! It makes the life of the missionary a bit less stressful and more enjoyable if the ward is on our side. You feel a part of a team rather than by yourself. I realize this is because the missionaries previous to me were very good, so I can learn a lesson that trust with the ward is something that must be built if the ward is going to be on your side. We have about 20 on or off investigators in the area, so it's a struggle planning our time to see everyone. It's wonderful to see the work like this considering that this ward is in need of more priesthood and members in general (we have about 70 or so on a Sunday.)
I just want to add that the gospel is very, very simple. As I study it deeper and gain a sure knowledge and learn things in greater detail, the jigsaw puzzle fits into a complete whole, and the picture that results is actually very plain. We can focus too much on the appendages or the branches of our religion, forgetting the plain and precious truths taught in the Book of Mormon, centered on the Atonement and Resurrection and the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. We often get sidetracked, but I believe this is why prophets in this dispensation continually warn and exhort us to read the Book of Mormon every day of our lives, giving us intellectual and spiritual unity to our lives that can come in no other way. It's in that sacred book that we can get a refresher of that jigsaw puzzle, and though we build it up piece by piece over our lives (like learning new truths and mysteries that give us a deeper understanding) we need refreshment on the basic principles of the gospel. This is one reason I can't wait to go back to the temple so I can get that rejuvenation. But, most importantly, we need to do the gospel, continually exercising faith and repenting and renewing covenants made and enduring to the end, thus having the Spirit to be with us. We need to continue with a steadfastness in Christ, obtaining and cultivating Christlike attributes day by day, taking a step up the ladder each day, doing better tomorrow than we’ve done today. This is the purpose of the gospel, to reach where our Heavenly Father has gone and to walk in the light as He is in the light.”