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, September 15, 2015

9-14-2015

Dear Family,

     Another up and down week!
The week started really bad. We, for the last transfer, have been progressively more and more disobedient. I felt so bad. I didn't like it. but I didn't have the courage to stand and say "no!"

     I emailed my stake president to ask for advice. He told me a similar experience from his own mission, and said "my only regret was not doing it with full disclosure to the mission president. Elder Cook, Roar like a lion!" so I set an appointment with the mission president to tell him of my stress.

     Tuesday, things continued to progress. I was an object being acted upon. I wasn't acting for myself. and then a member saw us, and called the zone leaders. what added to my stress, was what the zone leader said "Just be more careful next time, so that you don't get caught. I don't want President finding out about this"

     Then Thursday came around. before this I couldn't sleep. It was hard to focus. But I told President, and I asked for a blessing. I felt really really good. At first Elder Jones was upset, then he seemed okay. after that he got really sad. We had a great talk. I told him what I want to do. I act. I am agent to myself. I am responsible for my situation, for better or worse. and now, we joke and laugh like nothing happened. 
     We were riding a tricycle home, and I sat on the outside. I felt soooo good! I thought "I roared like a lion! no, wait! Juda is the lion! What is Ephraim?" And then I remembered. I ROARED LIKE A UNICORN!!!! I tried to imagine this, but nearly had a heart attack, and fell off the tricycle!

     everything was going great!!! Until this morning... We had particular discussion with the zone leaders. We told them last night, we would not be attending the zone activity. They told us in text that we would not need to attend. But this morning, they called and said that President Balledos told us our "P-day privileges" had been revoked. we thought they were saying that we would stay home until after the activity, but they said we had to stay inside all day! I know this is not what President does, because he would have us instead go out and work. so I called him. The zone leaders called again "You need to call President right now." I snapped! I told them that we were buying phone minutes, and then I would call, and I hung up, because I was so angry.
I did talk to President, and everything he told me was different than what they said. He said that he gave them permission to do what ever punishment they felt necessary for us, because he trusted them as zone leaders. but they told us that President chose to make us stay in the house all day. The zone leaders called us "disobedient loosers" (I used their spelling) but President just told me it sounded like a miss communication, and told me to talk to the zone leaders, and if necessary elevate to the assistants to the President.

The zone leaders told Elder Jones (I talked to President, he talked to them. we played to our advantages.) that they were going to "revoke the punishment" but when I snapped, they decided to let us still be punished

I am just sick of highschool type drama. I graduated 5 years ago for crying out loud! It was never like this at RadioShack, and sometimes work drama was pretty hot!

I am including my email to President:

Dear President,
First, my report: Elder Jones and I had a talk, and everything is going great. I saw an immediate change in our lessons, and even though it was only 3 days, even our stats reflect the change! We found six investigators in 3 days, which was really important, because we haven't gone finding in 6 weeks before now. and the best part: I feel the Spirit in our lessons :D I'm not concerned now about how I am going to handle disobedient choices. before I was too afraid to stop us, but now I have courage, and I think Elder Jones also really really wants to do the right thing!

But, I am having a really reeaalllly hard time with other missionaries. especially the leaders. I know this is bad, and It's probably my fault. we just have a difficult time communicating. I specifically hate getting insulted. and they say they are joking, but it doesn't sound like a joke to me. I'll be honest, I'm shaking right now, almost crying, because I am so angry. but I know it's just because of my own communication skills. I want to just give up and emergency transfer, but I don't think that will actually help. I wont learn anything either. I have tried soooooo hard to be obedient my entire mission. the only thing I want, is to preach the gospel. but one transfer changed everything! instead I have to deal with other missionaries. I get most angry when missionaries insult me for doing things I KNOW they did before. they don't even chastise, they just insult. I didn't even want to be doing disobedient things anyway, (and we haven't since I talked to you in your office.) which is what makes it even worse. I just need to learn how to talk to people.

how can I learn better communication skills?

what I learned about agency: Agency is acting as an agent, in one's best interest. if we are agents to ourselves, then we are making choices in our own best interest; choices that will lead to everlasting life. It's like you said making the right choice every time. Agency is stewardship of our own choices which is made up of three things:
1. knowing our responsibility. The Lord will make clear to us the difference between right and wrong.
2. actually making the decision. 
3. taking responsibility. since we are able to make decisions, we are response-able. responsible. and this means we are accountable to the consequence of our actions. if we admit we are responsible, sometimes we also must admit we are irresponsible. It might be difficult, but this is maturity, and allows us to repent. It's hard, but when you accept it, it makes you feel great.

Thank you for understanding, and still loving us. I know I can trust you to do the right thing, and It makes me feel secure, especially in such a dark and dreary world. I know I can endure to the end. the Lord has lessons for us to learn, and when I go home I will be a different person!
But I know that those with the Truth need not fear, and I am doing my absolute best to be obedient. I want to live after the manner of happiness, and I must admit, I chose this situation, and I can choose a new one for the future. and I'm still happy. Because I know how to choose my future! I just gotta keep going. forget myself and go to work.
I got some really good news from President last Thursday, after my interview. I was told I will be opening for a third time! and not only that, I will be training. Unless of course something happens. who knows. but that's what's going on right now!
Have a great week! ROAAAAAAAAAAAR! 
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