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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 24, 2014 letter

This week has been incredibly... interesting. 

I'll start with something a bit light hearted (Brother Bytheway once said "being light minded is bad. never make fun of spiritual things. being light hearted is good. always be happy and make jokes" I think he also quoted a prophet, but I don't have the book on me"); 

Pens are so much better quality here! There are these super fine point pilots (they make the g2) and they are the missionary staple here! 

I found out the letter I got from my mission president was actually not from President Balledos. They are just recycled from the last mission president who is now in urdanetta. It wouldn't be a big deal, but The rules are different from the letter, for example, crocks are not really allowed, (but we do wear rubber shoes) and he really didn't care if we listened to music or played video games before the mission. It was still good for me to read the Book of Mormon in 2 months, and I recommend everyone do it as quickly as possible. In fact, Elder Bednar, recommends buying a new cheap paperback, reading it quickly, with one question in mind. and putting it on the book shelf. By the time you are his age, you should have 400. 

I bought a smaller bag, even though I love mine. It ripped in a week. I am back to my giant bag, and I still love it. I think I will just ignore the other missionaries, and keep loving it :D 

I ate my last protein bar from Grandma yesterday. I wish I had suit case to bring all of them, but I left half in the MTC. It's too bad, they were very comforting. I just make american food on my own sometimes, and we all feel a little less stressed. 

The Permetherine was a waste of money.  It is not really available here unless  we have it mailed from home, or we get tiny bottles for killing bugs when we see them. we also don't have a filtered sink. We just have a bottle with a built in filter that lasts six months. They are wonderful, and you can buy them for food storage on the church website, from the online distribution center. That's two more things that are different from the president's letter then what we actually do. 

I discovered in section 89, that using alcohol for washing is recommended. Everyone carries hand sanitizer here, but it is very different from the stuff in the states. It is so much better. It's a spray, and smells really good! 

I am out of tabs for marking my scriptures. They were color coded for preach my gospel and I only need 4 more :C maybe I'll find them in an office supply store here. 

On sundays they feed us lunch before ward council. Last week I told them I like fish better than chicken when they kept trying to tell me only Filipinos could eat fish, until one of the native missionaries showed me how to get the bones out, and told them to leave me alone. This week they brought me in a fish, just for me and teased me for several hours about not liking chicken (which is of course not what I meant, I just like fish MORE) Oh well. R

Sunday was actually pretty annoying because the bishop surprised us with HALF DAY MISSION! which was not on the schedule. So, we had to wait for several hours at the church, for everything to get organized. then we had time to go to 2 appointments, and our golden investigator's dad was drunk. She didn't know it though, and so that lesson was screwed up. We had to go BACK to the church to close the half day mission, which is actually a really good idea. The members in the ward all come and teach the less active members, with the missionaries. The only problem is, that they taught everyone we had scheduled for without us, so we had to hours to do nothing but find. The problem is, Filipinos go to bed at six, or get drunk. so we literally did nothing for 2 hours. we tried hard, but we got nothing done. S

With all the frustration this week, something really really amazing came out of it. I had a new investigator. We both felt like we should go talk to this gentleman. We just teach him the first lesson right then and there. He would not pray, and I did not get a chance to ask him why. I think I mentioned this in my last email. It was the most spiritual lesson of my mission, up until that point. It set the new standard. But here's the thing, Elder Gemmel, the New Zealander in our apartment was being really hard on himself. He's worried he will not be able to resist temptations when he gets home. I shared a scripture from D and C 133: 30 and 31.

30 ... the children of Ephraim, my servants.
 31 And the boundaries of the everlasting ahills shall tremble at their presence.

Well the thing is, this scripture was actually for me. When we taught the 2nd lesson to brother Freddy, again, he wouldn't pray at the end, again. Suddenly the scripture echoed in my mind, as it were the voice of someone else. I replied, what would you have me do? "Jordan" one word came to mind, and I immediately remembered he said his wife was abroad in Jordan. I began speaking, about how he wants to hear his wife, and he loves to hear the sound of her voice, and Our Father is the same way, but he doesn't have a phone. Prayer is a conversation, and He wants to hear from him. As I spoke, it was my voice, and I knew I was saying the words, But it sounded like it came from somewhere else. I felt like the world was shaking. He was speechless for at least a minute. Then he replied "what are the steps to prayer again?" I was filled with the most overwhelming joy I have had in my life. I knew the Lord was sharing his joy with me for being a faithful servant. As soon as we left, my companion said "That was INCREDDIBLE!"
I get shaky just remembering it. Again, We set a new bar for our lessons. We strive for the spirit to be like that in every lesson.

Dear Josie, I erased the Code. I'll have to write it again later for you. 

Whelp, anyway I'm on my way to a waterfall, I'll let you know how it goes :D

The picture is Nino. He's going to be my first baptism. His mom is a member.

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook

First Companion

His letter just contained a picture. This is Elder Robison. In a previous letter Elder Cook shared that his companion is 6'4" and like purple and Wendy's. I don't remember what else was said. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

3-17-2014 Letter

(sorry I had a crazy week and forgot to post this.)

My companion showed me a cool trick. We take pictures of emails, and then read them over the course of the week, unless we know we need to reply right away. This way we can save time, and have joy throughout the week :D 
For those of you who asked, or want to know, I can and have received dear elder in the field, however I believe it costs to you. I may be wrong about that. Let me know!
We have a golden family, and I met them my first time tracting. We asked them to pray about the Book of Mormon, and the brother said that he hasn't wanted to smoke or drink since then, and we haven't taught the word of wisdom yet! The sister said she is always nervous applying for jobs, but she felt like praying, and said she was not scared at all! we hadn't expected this kind of response, but they want us to visit, and they want to come to church each week! It's so beautiful!
We keep having people walk up to us and say "OY ELDERS!" (we walk over) "Kamusta brother!" "I've heard about Mormons, and I want you to teach me" 
It has happened three or four times now, and my companion said it had not happened any other time on his mission! (I think his previous companions were a little disobedient) We just need faith!
My favorite time is when a man was sitting on the side of the road, and we started the conversation. He got a big ol' smile. "Are you waiting for a trike brother?" "No... I just felt a strange urge to come sit out here. I keep seeing you walk by from my window, and I've always wanted to get to know you and I don't know why." or the time when a man said "I have no religion because they are all business and God hasn't told me which one is right yet, but my coworker in America was such a good person!" 

On a less spiritual note, we are in a famine. I only get half as much money for this month, but in return next month I get an extra five hundred pisos or so.

Back to the spiritual. We have taught two lessons about faith this week. Both times the less active we taught ended up crying at the end. The first was our first visit with the brother. It was the first time he came back to church in 5 months. I cant figure out why he ever left, because he worked for the church until he retired, and we caught him studying the scriptures, which was cool because he didn't know we were coming, he thought it was another day.
The second was a family, for the last few lessons, the 17 year old has been really grouchy. She wouldn't study the Book of Mormon on her own. after the dinner appointment we caught her reading on her own, gluing in an insert, and marking a ton. She also cried, and was back to her bubbly self, which was so refreshing. Also, her sister came for the first time in months as well!
We're teaching the scripture again today after 6. I hope we get similar results.

My companion is Elder Robison. No N. He is 6' 4". He's from Provo, his favorite color is blue, his favorite food is anything from Wendy's, and after his mission, he wants to "live the country life" which basically means, getting a big truck, cowboy hat, boots, "big ol' belt buckle" and driving up on a hill alone, blasting country, and sitting on his hood, and then napping for a couple hours. He says he thinks it's a perfect date, if you bring a picnic. He also has a pair of shorts with tiny sharks embossed on them.

We had a conference with Elder Arden of the first quorum of the 70. He explained what a 70 is, and what they do, and now it makes so much sense! (but it would take a whole email to explain, so you'll have to figure it out on your own) He also gave a ton of good advice, and mostly answered questions. He's a great teacher. 


His advice changed one of the Elders in my apartment over night. He was super worried about going back to the way he was before his mission, because of his friends, which is to say, not good. President Arden suggested "Marry someone who inspires you" and Elder Gemmel realized, he just needs to marry quickly!
He gave a lot more advice for missionaries, but again, that would take a whole email, because the conference was an entire day!

Today was zone activity day! the beach is sobrang maganda! 

Finally, I made a list of everything unique about the philippines, and I will be making a field journal. I found this gorgeous leather bound book, that ties closed with a leather strap. I will be putting it in there. Maybe I have a picture. If so, I will put it in the email.

also, 2 nephi 9:17
and Alma 42:21

the Lord always makes sure you know the Law. There are never any phantom laws. If he wants you to do something, he tells you. :D

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook

Monday, March 10, 2014

Letter 3-10-2014

I have not had time to read emails, the last couple weeks, so this mass email will be short. 
my families are the best. One family told us they know the church is true, half the family wants to be baptised, but the other half they family missed some lessons, :C oh well. It will be straitened out. 
I hate to kill your sparkling image of missionaries, but there are so many disobedient missionaries here, but my companion is not one! We are committed to excellence. We are going to have a month coming up with only half as much support money, so that we can get more money every month after. Everyone is calling it "the famine" 
Don't get me wrong, some of the missionaries here are the most faithful people I have met! We were discussing Ammon, and how the spirit, through some missionaries has successfully converted over 2 thousand people. I hope I can have enough faith to do what the Lord wants me to, so that I will be the Pinakamissionary that he wants, whether or not it's to convert thousands. 
I prayed for my companion to learn how to plan so that we can be most successful in helping the Lord's work along. He had to teach a class on planning, and as a result, studied hard. I can already see a difference! So now, not only do we work hard, we also work SMART! 
I love and miss you all. If I had a scripture to share with you it would be Alma 17 through (I believe) 23. 
Did you know John Bytheway served in Baguio AT THE SAME TIME as uncle Richard, AND our mission president, President Balledos! 
btw, my area is Candon, It's hottest in the mission, and most missionaries refer to it as the fires of... Heck. (he he)
I love you all, and I want you to know I am forgetting English. INGAT!
Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook
(P.S. came in a second email)
almost forgot. I tried connecting my camera, but it did not work. so I can just use the memory card, but I did not bring the adapter.... so pictures next week! 
(Note: He told me that the weird toilet paper line from last week was about how they are banned from having tp in their apartment.)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mailing Address

Please forward this address to anyone you know who would like to send me something! It can take as long as 2 months to get here for a letter so write today! Dear elder still works, but it costs now and I only get it like one a month.

Elder Andrew Cook 
Philippines Baguio Mission
P.O. box  115
National Highway, Brgy. Lingsat
San Fernando, LA union
salamat po!

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook
(Note from mom: his email address is acook@myldsmail.net I will also let you know about dearelder,.com after I know if/when he gets the letter. It may not cost but I won't know until I know if he gets the letter sent through "pouch".)

1st Email to everyone from the Philippines!

Kamusta Kayo!
This is the most amazing place. I have so much to share. for many of you this is the first opportunity I have had to add you to my email list. Please feel free to forward this letter to anyone you know, who would like to read my emails!

I'll start with last week because I didn't get a chance to write from the MTC.
Our teacher told us that there are essential six (or 7) key components of being fluent in Tagolog. As a district, we made goals, and one goal was to study one of the topics each and teach it to the other missionaries. We were promised, in the first week, that it was entirely possible to be fluent before we leave the mtc and also, as I have stated I have really attached to the concept of planning. Our teacher promised us when we finished making the goals, that if we stuck to them we would have many specific things, that i wont write here. Every morning we studied.

The 24 hours on a plane, was terrible, but not near as awful as the 8 hour bus ride from Manila to Baguio. KFC is not the same here.

I got my new companion, Elder Robison (walang n) and we said good bye to our MTC district who all went to different areas.
I got a golden trainer. He's not disobedient, we work hard, he follows the spirit, and I can understand him!
Here's the most amazing thing! Everyone said when I get off the plane I will think "what language are they speaking?" but in my first lesson I understood them perfectly, and most amazing of all, they asked how many months I have been speaking Tagolog. When i told them this is my first area they were shocked. I know that it's not my talent though. Through our districts diligence, we were blessed I was blessed with the gift of tongues. There are times when it escapes me. but when I am in a lesson it always flows out. Our message is so important to me. I know it's a gift from our Father in Heaven.

On a less spiritual note, bawal toilet paper sa bahay namin. walang flush dito. we just pour a bucket.  I keep hoping to see a large spider, and I still haven't tried the sweet kind of mango. or rambutan. I love my bag to death, but there is such a thing as two big. I bought a 2nd (tiny) bag for 300 pisos! and I bought some shoes, that look like really nice dress shoes, but are actually rubber, for 200. The man thought he could raise the price because I'm american, but I really enjoy bartering :D I didn't get any support money til today, so I've been on personal funds, However, money goes a lot further here. The best advice I have received is to not compare anything to us dollars. think in relative terms to the country you are in. I have started calling anything over 20 pisos expensive thanks to my companion... 

The only thing that frustrated me about him, is even though he is experienced with Tagolog, he has no clue how to plan, and wont accept what I say about planning. And what is even worse, he has no clue how to determine the needs of the investigators. we usually answer many questions about the trinity or the sort. they tend to walk on us in our lessons. I know that I'm not perfect, and I used to be that way when i worked at Radioshack. But I am having a hard time praying for patience. That's something for me to work on. 

I will send a couple pictures next week. I forgot my chord for my camera. 

I love you all so very much, and I know our Father in Heaven does as well! Ingat kayo!

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook