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.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Dear family. This week was "Holy week". You see, here in the Philippines, or at least my area, they don't really celebrate Easter, they celebrate Holy week, which includes Easter Sunday. The dominant church in the area in Catholicism, which is less concerned with the resurrection of Christ, as it is concerned with the death of Christ. In fact, the big day of Holy Week is Good Friday, which is the alleged death of Christ, three days before Easter Sunday. No one did anything on Sunday, and Saturday is the party day, when everyone makes up for the day before, when they are not allowed to have any fun whatsoever. surprisingly we got more lessons on Saturday than a normal day, because it was too hot to go to the beach, which is the general practice. Our ward party wason Friday, just because someone was bad at planning, and all the resorts were closed, because they are run by Catholics. We invited a less active member to the ward party and he said "I'm not catholic, but out of respect for my friends, I'm not doing anything Friday, that was really insensitive of your planner" We were really confused because my companion is also LDS, and didn't know anything about Holy Week either.
This week, we taught less actives most of the time. One time there was a near accident outside the house, and both involved parties were drunk. It was a three family lesson, so there were ang daming children. so we closed the windows, and just taught a second lesson to the kids, while the adults got everything straitened out. we also had all the missionaries from the ward over, because they heard a rumor that the family was planning on feeding us, and the missionaries invited themselves. which meant there was a total of six missionaries, and the ward mission leader. 

This week we found "Beyblades", (or plastic battling tops for those of you who are a little older) in a store for 25 pisos each, or roughly 55 cents us. so my companion and I both bought one for p-day. it turns out, that we both got HALF of one, and they were opposite halves, so we had one together. Fortunately, the  shop is LDS run, so they let us return them. Instead, I got a Philippino wooden top, for half the price.

My room mates are all foreigners, and I have had 2 white companions in a row, which is unheard of! 
I feel like I have known Elder Karch, my companion, since before I was born. We were instant friends, and we have the most HILARIOUS conversations as we walk to appointments 2 kilos away. (public transit is too expensive)

Speaking of expenses, we have been in a famine. we only had half our money for a whole month, however, I learned how really good about budgeting before my mission, and things like souvenirs are supposed to be bought with money from home, so it was not much skin off my ilong. I actually still have money left over. AND as a result of the famine, we have and extra 500 pisos every month from now on. (however, we used to be payed every two weeks, now its once a month)

I wish I had some amazing spiritual experience to talk about, but our week has been rather uneventful, other than what I have already told you about. Well, actually, It turns out my last companion, trained me wrong on some of the rules. I have learned how it is supposed to be done, with reference to the mandate from President, which I was shown, and have started doing it right, so it's not my sin! Ha ha.

Also we found record of a couple investigators Elder Robison never took me to, and they are golden investigators. Elder Robison said he dropped them, because he thought they only had a crush on him, but they told us what happened when they prayed about the Book of Mormon, and Elder Karch whispered to me "what was Elder Robsion smoking? These investigators NEED to be baptized." Apparently, It was the middle of a drought, It hadn't rained in six months, and sister said "If this book is true, it will start raining now." and it started raining. she said "that could just be a fluke, if this book is true, it will start raining again!" and it started raining again! I actually remember the day it rained twice, because everyone was super excited for the rain. I guess that means she prayed about the book, after he stopped coming to her, so maybe its good we didn't visit her before now :D

well that is my week. and I'm ten minutes over my time, so INGAT! Mahal ko kayo lahat! magkaroon masarap tulog! ingat!

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

4-13-2014 letter

I am majo conte oras.
but I want to share how powerfull conference was for me.
I had yellow watermellon?! whats up with that. It is crossed with manga and tastes WAY BETTER!
So back to what's at hand.
I got a new companion, named Elder Karch. He is Canadian. picture attached, It's only been 2 days so I'll tell you more when I know him better :D
so with the Spirit being the strongest at conference, came the most resistance I have ever felt on my mission. I feel as though I stared that great dragon in the face. But, I also feel I won. I don't wish to harrow you with detail, because life is truly beautiful, but know that I am not implying I was ever in danger, I just heard some truly awful things. When I was grieved to the point of near sickness, I read in the Book of Mormon. I realized Nephi has seen our day, And I understood his believe that his trials are above all others, because of the destruction of his people. The words of the Lord are the best comfort, and that could be the Book of Mormon, Or conference, Which I know has influenced me more than ever before, because of what I have learned on my mission. 

Another important topic, Is the face that April priesthood conference marks the 1 year anniversary of knowing all three halves of my family. (don't ask how I can be 150% I just am) I am so greatful for the experience of my life, so that I could grow and become what I am. The influence of so many people has blessed me! I LOVE YOU ALL! Everybody, study this conference, The time for preparation grows ever shorter, just as my P day is only 5 hours XD and like any 4 minutes, what you do in the next, will change all of eternity!  I've got to do my mission right. I love you all! INGAT!
Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4-7-2014 letter

so, really nothing exciting happened this week.
I get a new companion on Thursday. but that is next week.
I'm glad no one ruined conference surprises for me :D I won't see it til: you guessed it! NEXT WEEK
The only eventful thing that has happened, Is that I lost my two amazing investigators. They are not interested anymore. For showing me how powerful the spirit can be, It is sad that they didn't understand well enough to change. 

There was a couple 'minor' events. They opened a new store called save more in Candon, the local large city. The next closest save more is Baguio, which is actually the summer capitol of the Philippines. (4 hours away.) save more is like a cross between Ikea and walmart, and clean. Almost terrifyingly clean. It's the only place to get American products, and I have been affirmed I will be here for another six weeks, so that will be cool. I got Doritos today, man, relatively the same price as home, but three times the price of any other chips!   I'm excited to try calamancy soda. It was pretty cheap, and calamancy is so good! I tried 3 new fruits this week. Macopa (kind of like mini apples but not really. I cant explain taste!), Calamancy (like mini limes, only way more intense. and a little bit sweeter) and guava, which I have had the juice of before, but trust me the fruit is way better than the juice. and fresh!

We say a lwalwa laban yesterday (in Ilkano). Also called, Laban ng gagumba. or  SPIDER FIGHT! Sorry, that's the best picture I have. I got a short video though. cant send it. they keep them in match boxes, and they dont bite people.  when you hold them, they roll up into what looks like a small rock, and they are stored in match boxes! then when they put them on a stick, it's to the death! they don't need to be fed because they eat the other spider. It's kind of violent, but it is a nifty trick.

The other game they play is with pogs. unlike american style, they just hold them in the palm of their hand, and kind of "high five" their opponent. if yours is right side up, then you win! they also use small cards.
 The last game is bato bato pick, or rock rock choose. also known as rock paper scissors! haha

OH! I finally remembered something amazing! Look up two talks. "The fourth missionary" by Lawrence Corbridge* and "why the restoration happened when it did" by Hyrum smith.** That last one may be really difficult to find. But it is well worth the effort. I will put the cliff notes version in my email next week :D It was super impactfull. I'm also reading Jesus the Christ in my studies. It is phenominal! I want to be just like Jesus! All the Philippino missionaries look at me strange when they see me reading it. "I don't know why you read that. It makes no sense." Ha ha we tell them it's "deep english" because they use the term "deep Tagolog" to describe the bible.

I want to tell you what I learned, but I believe it will be more impactful if you go after it on your own. I just want you to know, you are always changing. Never think you are standing still. You are either going up or down, and the smart person makes sure they are improving. Because it's alot easier than going down. You might say that the opposite is true. It's good to go down, and bad to climb the latter, and it's a whole lot easier to fall. Maybe "The enemy's gate is down" will help out you nerd reading this.

Now finally, I only got one baptism. The girl did NOT get baptised, But Nino did. That's his name. Saturnino Alnajes (pronounced ninyo alanahes)

Anyway, I'm out of time, but I love you all. There is Always a purpose for everything!

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook

*Link from mom: Lawrence Corbridge "The Fourth Missionary" pdf
**Link from mom (I'm not sure if this is what he is referring to but here you go.): Hyrum W. Smith "The Restoration of the Church, Why Now?"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

3-31-2014 letter

Somehow, for once, I actually replied to everyone!
So I am running out of time, so here are the most important points.

I got a free strait edge razor, from the barbar shop where I cut my hair.
I NOW SHAVE LIKE A MAN! (note: I spelled barber wrong on purpose, and those it matters to know why.)

I also got a duyan, (or hammock, literally means net) for really cheap, (I'm getting good at bargaining) and I will now get the best sleep ever. they are really common here. every house has one, but they don't look like they do in the states. I'll try and send a picture some day

Probably most important this week, I started my study of my 3rd language yesterday! Tagolog, English, and ILKANO! 
anyone over 50 here would rather speak English than Tagolog  because they speak Ilkano in this mission. 1 out of 3 people cant speak Tagolog, but fortunately we have members to help teach. It's frustrating to me to not be able to share, so I am starting to learn, and I hope to be at least proficient, If not fluent, soon.

The water fall is sooooo gorgeous! It is in our area, and we have started teaching near it, even though we can only go to the actual fall on p-day. we met a man, who has been formerly taught by missionaries, and is now being prepared to learn the rest, as he said "I didn't learn enough about your church to join, but I know that no church is true, so I have no religion, but I have Jesus. I'm not catholic anymore." they taught the apostasy well, but apparently not the restoration. They must have been pulled out too soon unfortunately

The water fall is layed out the same as Kiawanis park in Pleasant Grove. It was good for me to be in nature, in a way that showed me God love me. Kiawanis park, is my own personal "holy place" so when It looked almost exactly the same, I nearly had a heart attack!

Sunday was not horrible. I usually hate Sunday, but this week, we told the bishop we needed to actually work, so we didn't wait four five hours for the zone meeting like we usually do, and It was a spiritual hardworking day!

Finally and most important, last night I was a little sick. Nothing terrible! don't panic. It's just cold season here. I slept for a while before dinner, and after planning. When I was half way between asleep and awake, I started thinking about goal setting, and how I wish we had key indicators and daily planning at Radioshack, then I realized I could make key indicators for my personal goals, and It just clicked that is how I can learn and progress just as  well when I get home, as I do here. and now I have started. I am super excited :D

well anyway, I am 4 minutes over so ingat! I love you!

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Elder A. Cook