Elder Andrew D. Cook entered the MTC on January 15, 2014. I am excited to update as I know how he is doing, especially posting his mass emails.

Writing & Shipping information is found in the right hand column.

There is also a link to a few different translators to help us guess what Andrew said. :D Sometimes I get a better idea when I remove his ! from a word.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Subject: more mass with high protein weight gainers.

why do neither  of the last three special words I wrote follow the rule: "I before E except after see, except in words such as Protein Weight, and Neither"?
well, before everything else: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! :DDDDD

this last week has been exceptionally awesome! we have BIIIIIG plans for Balaoan, and everytime someone reminds me I am going home, I almost cry because I feel like I am the best missionary I have ever been, and there is so much to do, and I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME!!!!
We have planned an FHE for an entire Barangay of Less actives. (for those of you that don't speak, a barangay is like a neighborhood. it's hard to describe, but it's like equivalent to several city blocks, and almost everyone in this specific barangay is a member.
we also have 13 IBD. but one of them just got arrested for not paying off thier loan from the ex-branch president. so there is that... but THE ESTELA FAMILY IS AMAZING!
the Spirit was so strong in the lessons! the ward can tell that Elder Mita and I are serious about the work, and they are getting excited too! when I first got here, I called Balaoan dead beat, but It has changed soooo much! we are transfering from an old dilapidated house to a stake center, so that when we get there we can make Balaoan a ward. And we have a plan. I just hope I can see the fruits in the small time I have left. I am expecting a last month miracle!
there are only 2 Elders now, so we annexed the other area. our area is SOOOOO big. (all the state-side missionaries laugh.)
I have soo many people to tell you about... but I don't have time! they are all so amazing!
Sister Jane hopfully can introduce us to the politicians. mabey we can have a king lamoni? maybe not... elections are coming up. 2016 will be dangerous for white ELders she told us... but only in Balaoan! good thing I am leaving! hahaha :D
One youth gave us a referral. when she prayed, the SPirit was SOOOOO strong! yes!
Michelle's niece is in the hospital, so we haven't taught her since the baptism.
there is the nicest frenchman who just moved here. his wife is an active member. #hope
Dianne has been different since the baptism in a GOOD way :D always smiling! 
I don't like the way goat tastes. snake is "good," but has toooo many bones.
I'll be honest. I don't like meat in general... but that's okay. when the members feed us, I understand they are sacrificing, and I know they will recieve blessings! :D
I have learned the dark secrets of why less actives here were offended. it's like a soap opera. it makes me laugh. yet I am sad. If only they could feel the Atonement!
well have a great week! you can probably tell I rushed, but that's beacuse I have to get back to work! love you all! have a great week! especially mom!

Last Week

I almost forgot to send a mass email! yikes!
SO this last week, we had a beautiful baptism! Dianne, and Michelle were baptized into the true church! Michelle is the one who had the amazing prayer answer like I told you before! I asked Dianne how she felt after recieving the Holy Ghost. she was just floating. she simple grinned and replied "happy"
My companion as of today is OFFICIALLY ELDER MITA!
He's sooooo good! we are going to have such great success on my LAST PLANNER! WOOT!

​TODAY, we went to a gorgeous waterfall. I will send pictures when I get them from Elder Mita. my camera broke last Monday, so I will have to rely on him. well actually I put my memory card in someone else's camera and took pictures that way... but He is compressing them into the email :D

Oh, Elder Mita is from... drumroll... the COOK islands! discovered by my sailor-hero! haha It's a great name! XD​

That's all I got. my ponerize is Galtations 5:22. I wanted to memorize the list... and I thought I could learn something awesome. I'll let you know! XD

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November 16, 2015

I got a phone call during email, so I have been in the computer shop for an hour, and just now have a chance to write my email!
I guess the only thing we really did this week was in Baguio. My last ever chance to go to Legarda, Baguio. I will miss the rolling hills. we took the Agoo road, so we passed through ALL of my areas except one! We arrived in Baguio, and saw all of the missionaries in the mission in one room. and I don't know any of them! haha everyone I knew is already home! Then we all sat down, and heard the words of 1/6th of the quorum of the 12, and their wives! Elder Anderson the most adorable story. He met his wife when she was considering going on a mission. He said "oh! let us go together!" she got quite the mission! haha.
It is obvious that the Apostle's wives are equally as called as they are! they speak with the same kind of power :D
We were told that Elder Perry had a remarkable Spiritual experience before his death, and he said the only reason he had to go was so that there could be new Apostles. He said soon I will be joined by others of the brethren, so that they could also be replaced. Obviously the new Apostles will be simply amazing. Elder Renlund is also an amazing teacher. the Spirit flowed forth from his mouth. He is TRULY called of God, and even only 41 days after receiving that calling, he already is qualified! :D
Our lessons have been consistently better. In 9 days I will be with my new companion. we saw our branch's key indicators. Balaoan needs a lot of help. but my goal is to contact all 85 of the "prospective Elders" this is not just referring to prospective missionaries, but they are included. this also refers to Fathers and Husbands who do not yet have the blessings of the Melchizedek priesthood in their family. These families need me. I want to make a difference before I go home. I only have 6 weeks! yikes!
I had a super sad experience. maybe you remember Richard, from my 2nd area in Agoo. the old man who got baptized in just 5 weeks. He was sooooooo faithful when I was there. He said because of the gospel he didn't need his cane anymore ! I thought his faith was strong. then he had a stroke and disappeared. the Elders couldn't find him. turns out he went to a hospital in the next province. when he returned, he wont come to church. he tells the Elders "I already know everything" I was heart broken.
but I could hold on to one hope. In Tublay, the family we baptized. (the only FAMILY of my mission) is SUPER active, even now. that's what I need to hear. :D

Have a great week! We will see in 10 years whether or not they could endure to the end :D

Monday, November 9, 2015

Nov 9

despite hailing from the islands, ELder Mita has never been in a hammock before! wow! the last picture is our BRanch President. I caught him playing play-dough. the Filipino is my companion ELder Guiuo. (gee-oh) but we call him giohyoyo! the native igorot costume was my late birthday present I mentioned

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Multiple Mass Emails (Mom's catching up)

My apologies. I have been lazy about getting on the computer to share. I'm grateful that only 52 more days until he's home. I'm feeling somewhat burned out on getting these emails to the blog.

This email was sent Oct 18:

We were hit by a massive hurricane. It was bigger than the entire Philippines, and it went right through Manila! we are on the far coast, shielded by a mountain, and we are still without power for three days. we had to travel to the nearest big city to email! (big city? ha! Bacnotan doesn't  even have Jollibee!)
For the first time in my mission sacrament was cancelled, so we were stuck in the house. in the evening we played board games. unfortunately our gas ran out, so we were eating cold canned food! yuck! power should be back tomorrow :D
President has declared all missionaries are in training again, so we are doing "the first 12 weeks" again, but in my case it's "the last 12 weeks"

Just got my temple recommend renewed. It was soooo cool to hold that little piece of paper :D I felt the peace :D

That's all for this week! I love the Phillipines!

This email was sent Oct 25, his bday was Oct 23:

Happy happy happy Birthday!

My verse last week was D&C 29:7 what I learned was that the work of salvation is a passive experience, much like a roller coaster. we are not the source of energy, our Father in Heaven is the source. we are just along for the ride! we are however called to be the catalyst, (to bring to pass) so what we do is just try as many times as we possibly can, and the Elect will just come to us.

I am sure you remember my "With-out Guile" picture last year,
well It's almost December, and I have chosen my 3 words for this year. It is best found in this article https://www.lds.org/new-era/2010/09/truth-will-prevail?lang=eng

This email was sent Nov 1:

attached: my personal study, and my 3 words. (But it's so blurry!)

I got in a fight with one of my roommates. last Monday we found him in a computer shop by himself. he wasn't even wearing a tie! goodness gracious!
He was bullying his companion into paying for everything, and told him he wouldn't work if the other Elder didn't pay.
Now, I let them have their own disagreements at first... stay out of other people's business. but then he wanted to do exchanges with us, (like last week) a second time. and I said no, because my area is so not progressing, I need to find like crazy. but he kept going on about it. so eventually I let them do exchanges, but as soon as we were out of the house I called the zone leaders.
I don't really care too much if he is disobedient in his own area, but if he is disobedient in MY area, that's when I get furious! they didn't even go out and work that morning. It hurt my work.
He hasn't talked to me since then. it's been a full week now. what ever. He said he can't handle the stress of working. heh heh maybe he's not ready to be on a mission then? maybe that's a harsh judgment...

On the other hand, we do have one little hope in our area. the one progressing investigator we have is getting baptized this week! Her name is Dianne, she is a dropped former investigator, but she called us my second day here and asked to be baptized, and has kept every commitment since then.
We also found 15 new people this week, but I think only 1 of them will actually let us come back.
we just got news that Elder Castillo is transferring next week... to my old area with Elder Jones! say what?!
Yesterday was "Araw ng mga patay" pretty much like our memorial day
​we were given so much food, and only taught one person. everyone else was at the cemetery! Elder Castillo had a hard week, because he was remembering his family. at first I got a little frustrated, because he wouldn't talk about hit, until things finally cracked, and I think we became a lot closer. I just testified about why I'm on a mission, and that he is stronger than he thinks.

Of course you and I also have people to remember, and the things they did are written on our hearts, and to them I say:
Dios ang inyong kasama, hanggan sa muling pagkikita natin.

Ah! I have to retake the picture! I spelled prevail wrong! I even used a spell checker on my phone! 

My Verse

1 Nephi 
13:37 (I think one of you sent this to me last week, but it was ironic, because I had already chosen it.) I learned the difference between the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and the Power of the Holy Ghost. It is in fact the same difference as those who are called and those who are chosen, and the only thing the Lord asks us to sacrifice is a broken heart and a contrite spirit. The Holy Ghost is peace. we might not expect constant guidance, but we CAN expect constant peace, and guidance when necessary :D

This should be all caught up and ready for his email tomorrow!

Monday, October 12, 2015


Reference referred to in this letter: 

D&C 4:4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;

Okay, so I didn't have time to finish writing out my week, so I will now continue from here. please read the attachment first.

Here's where I left off.
Sunday morning, I was awestruck, Sunday afternoon I was enlightened.

Then SUPRISE! my companion books it. as in, he hopped a bus without telling anyone. Conference was held in San Fernando, Balaoan in an hour north. right after morning session, he just disappears. he called the zone leaders. " Hey, I'm on my way to Balaoan. I forgot my bag. could you please give it to Elder Cook."
He was with Elder "The King" Wilson. This is one tough customer. This kid is an Ex-gang, covered in tatoos, and the assistants are scared of him. He's been in Sudipen (next city north of Balaoan) for 8 months because the Ap's said he was transferring, and he said "no."

So he got very angry angry with his companion, and kidnapped mine.

I was then put for the day with the district leader and his greeny. (Elder Wilson's 2 companions) I had a GREAT time. It was super weird being on exchanges on a Sunday. But here's the reason it was so great:
after work it seemed like I was going to have to sleep in Sudipen. I was not so much looking forward to this. since all three of us just transferred in, and it wasn't my house. we had no groceries, bale no dinner. 
but we started talking and I mentioned a talk I just read about how some missionaries held their own testimony meeting, in their appartment. I mentioned how I would love to be in their house, but I didn't think there was anyone in our mission who would be down for that kind of Spirit. you would just get made fun of "oh! you want to be a prophet do you?" suddenly I realised something. I was with two other Elders who would be down. It was a good feeling. one Elder gave me a letter to read. It's called the Ricciardi letter. It was quoted by President Uchtdorf in part in the talk "Fear No Man" but this was the complete letter, and I was EXCITED to read it. 

I settled down to read, because I thought I was going to be sleeping over in Sudipen. it's 21 pages long, but incredible inspiring. The Spirit testified that there is a reason I was there in Sudipen that night. the second I finished the last page, and I mean the very second, Elder Wilson bursts in to the room. "I decided to sleep here tonight, so I can go to the gym tomorrow." Elder Castillo walks in smiling. and we go home. I was happy to be going home again. after reading this letter, and listening to conference, I was overflowing with the Spirit, I testified to the tricycle driver the whole way home, and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

now lets get back to ponderizing. I want to explain why I chose this verse.
Elder Ricciardi shared an interesting perspective on this verse. "The field is white already to harvest. not brown ready to plant. not yellow ready to water. If you are not harvesting, you are not finding the Elect of God, who hear His voice. you are not fulfilling your call. It's not my call to plant.
The next thought is my own, but I don't remember thinking it. I checked my copy of the D&C. I had a single word underlined. "the field is white already to harvest, and lo he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not at the last day, but bringeth salvation to his soul."
after all we do there is one person we are laying up for. our own salvation. the more we forget our selves, and help others, the more we save our own neck. it's a beautiful paradox.

I have a small statue of the last supper, on my desk, and I put my verse in Christ's arms. what's your verse? let's hold each other accountable :D\


(from another email)

the first two are my old area, the last is my new. big difference no?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

10-5-2015 mass, not so mass, and a story from mom

To save time by explaining the whole story, I was being hunted down by the orc overlord, but His right hand man turned on him and saved our necks! Truth Conquers All!
This week was SUUUUPER productive! we have 3 potential baptisms, all three came to church, and one of them even paid her fast offering. woo!
Not much other wise to report , I will be transferring Thursday to train, but I still don't know where I'm going! whew! adventure!

Note from mom: This is what Andrew sent. Luckily I realized it was a game reference. It had to do with some drama he was experiencing with his mission. All cleared up! Whew!

This next part wasn't a part of his mass to anyone but rather a fun thing we got to share and I thought would be fun to allow you to participate in.

My children and I went to the Bean Museum at BYU. They have taxidermy animals there. I sent him a picture of what was labeled, "Philippine Duck." This is the picture we took:

This was his response:

looks NOTHING like a philipines duck. I'll get yuou a picture. aw aw!

This is the picture he sent with that response:

He then sent the following, with the subject:

i actually took this picture

Who can argue with the duck? My only response was, "Maybe your duck isn't classified as a "Philippine Duck" even though it's Filipino. Maybe the Philippine Duck lives in the southern Philippines." I hope you enjoyed our adventure in water fowl!