WEEK 51 (Sagbayan)

August 28, 2016

No letter this week...just pics and videos!

 Primary girls singing Primary song


 Making Sis. Monteras try oatmeal

WEEK 50 (Sagbayan)

August 24, 2016

Well first off, I didn't get transferred!! and I'm still training Sister Monteras- it's good!!  Although we still can't get any of our investigators to take the next step and come to church. I feel like so much has happened in the last week and a 1/2 but I'm drawing a blank right now.... the days are so long but the weeks are short! 

All four of us, in honor of Sister Tatarata going home, biked from our mountain home in Sagbayan down to the coast of Tubigon so she could get on a boat to Cebu... It was so far but so fun!!! ahaha it was in the morning so everyone was going to school and we got so much attention it was funny.  Best part of the bike ride is when I was starting to slow down and Monteras passes me and says "you trained me well" and lead the rest of the ride haha #proudmama. 

Oh one thing that happened to me this past week was we were working with a recent convert Sister Zita and we were sorta ambushed by all these men in the barangay (area) who had so many questions about Mormons. I found out later that Zita and her family is like a very old and influential Catholic family in the area so the fact that they "moved" religions has cause quite a stir... We sat there for about over an hour answering their questions and teaching... but it was pretty exhausting.. my mouth hurt at the end of it from speaking so much Bisaya.. It was hard to hear these men explain to me why they pray to idols and how they need someone to plead their cause with the lord. At the end of it I looked at them and told them very boldly that as children of God they don't need anyone to communicate with their Father. Our prayers are directly to God. Just like their children talk to them directly- we communicate with Him. 
It was interesting... 

Many of our investigators have loved learning about this gospel, they love the Book of Mormon and know its true- yet they are so stuck in their families for centuries being Catholic that they can't make the next step. I know it just takes time- people here are confused and this Gospel brings them love, guidance and peace. But in the end everyone has their own choices. Agency is our gift. All we can do is invite. 

sidenote- me and Sister Ross made no bake cookies in a rice cooker hahah and we find a new species of bug every night in our "campground" seriously though!! i have found some cool ones!!! 

The other day Sister Ross said to me " I honestly can't see you serving anywhere else Sister Cook..." and she's so right!! ahah  I love it here and it's just a testimony of how much my Father in heaven knows me too. 
Well I have p-day again in 3 days so talk to you soon
30 weeks na lang!
luv ry!! 


WEEK 49 (Sagbayan)

August 14, 2016

Maayong Buntag sa tanan :))))

First off, I'll just say that the water for showering here is like the Pacific in February... I'll be ready to trunk it in March. 

So I taught YWs yesterday again and gave a talk in Sacrament and we sang a song.. haha it was busy but fun. I love teaching YW... it's so fun and I love all the girls here.
My YW class

The new YW pres (just baptized in June and is 22) is named Louie May and I told her that I want to name a daughter after her cause isn't Louie the cutest name for a girl!! 

Unfortunately we are not having any progression (except cute little Lhea Jane, daughter of the recent convert family).  We got told by at least half of our investigators that: 
 (A) they will never come to church, (B) they believe it's true but it's too hard to change religions, or (C) don't come back.  So that was tough but despite all the rejection I have just had the best week!   I don't know everyday I'm just so happy, it's great!

We went to Cebu for a trainers' meeting and it was a long trip but I got ice cream again in Lilo-an so that was great.  
Ice cream with my anak...haha I have a pic just like this with my trainer, Sis. Herdegen
Me and Sister Monteras
Also on our taxi ride back from meeting to the dock I struck up the best conversation with our taxi driver... We talked for over an hour about life, religion and the temple/familes... He had questions and it was just the coolest convo, especially when afterwards I realized ya wow that was all in Bisaya.. it was the highlight of my day for sure. I don't know if anything will come of the convo but at least I got to know this man and his family and share something that has blessed my life with him. 

There are so many religions here and it sometimes I just want to shout to people we are not just another religion trying to get numbers but we are the truth- this message will help you!!! But in the end, that's the beauty of this life-- everyone has their own personal choice. 

well I love you all.  Still killing it on the bikes, don't you worry. 

The Anober and Umbang families

WEEK 48 (Sagbayan)

August 7, 2016

Another week, wow, and boy did we work hard. my legs hurt from so much biking, but at the same time I want to bike more....

We again didn't have any our investigators show up at church, but it's ok because we had some amazing spiritual lessons this week with new investigators so I have lots of hope for next week. All four of us here have been really busy because Sagbayan just became a branch and Elder Bell became the new branch president. Yesterday we had the most organized sacrament meeting I have been too since my farewell.  It was awesome- under his direction, Sagbayan is gonna become a powerhouse for the Calape district. And that leads me to my job- with most of the members in Sagbayan only being members for less than a year. Our job as missionaries is to teach them how to fulfill their new callings, and I am in charge of the Young Women's program. Of course I was a bit nervous at first when I realized I would be "training" 22 year Louie May (isn't that the cutest name)  who got baptized 4 weeks ago how to become a Young Women's president... but mostly just excited!!!  I realize how prepared I was for this in high school and I was so happy that I was involved with the youth. We have amazing young women here- about 15 and they are so proud and strong in their new-found testimonies. Yesterday I taught YW's about families and it was so fun! I am excited to teach next week... When they all stood up to give the theme for the first time I got chills. The church is beautiful all over the world.  I love how I have met people from all over and we are just instantly family and best friends because of our mutual love for the gospel. I think that's why the church is growing so big here in the Philippines.  These people are family and gospel orientated.. They love our message because it's true!! . Who wouldn't want to here how we can live together with the ones we love most forever.

I have been thinking a lot about how beautiful this country is- God is everywhere- its is the center of their government, their daily lives.. even if its based of some different beliefs--they still love him and Jesus Christ. It scares me that I will be going home to a country that has forgotten God and how much he is over our lives. I am so grateful for my mission and the things I have learned so far and I know will continue to learn. This life is hard, the world is harsh and it's only getting worse. As we get closer and closer to the end- evil will only grow and grow. But I am not scared- just strong in my faith that as long as we stick to our covenants and promises with God he will not forget nor forsake us. We have to be prepared. not prepared in things or possessions but spiritually prepared... Life is not easy. Satan is smart. But if we stay close to the light and the truth we will be happy and live with God again. I have been studying the Old Testament in correlation with the Book of Mormon- we are so lucky to have the scriptures as guides for our lives! They are written for us- to help us. I love this time I have to really learn from them everyday. 

Training is going good. sometimes it's hard but I love helping Sister Monteras and in turn learning from her. We went on splits with STLs (who are also our roomies :) and me and Sister Tatarata-Marheahea had the best day!!! We were tracting and every house we went too we had a new kid follow us until the end we were tracting with 10 kids following us. It was the cutest. Also while biking we got caught in a huge rainstorm and I couldn't stop laughing yet was kinda scared for my life.. I took a video (not safe, I know) but its was funny. 

okkk, I am outta time.  I get to go to Cebu this week for a trainers meeting- I hope I'll see some members in Liloan!! 

Sister Cuuok (how i have to say my name so people understand.. o's are different here haha) 

p.s i can speak pretty fast in bisaya now. i love it. people say i sound like a native sometimes, YUS. my saying is: "oo,taga amerika ko apan 100% pinoy sa akong kasingkasing.. " char
means: yea im from america but i am 100% filipina in my heart... cheesy huh haha

ESPECIALLY YOU MATT, CAM AND EMILY. ayaw kalimot sa akoa. 



After the rain

Missionaries from around the world!

Momma and baby

WEEK 47 (Sagbayan)

August 1, 2016

Maajong hapon (good afternoon--sounds formal in English, but that's what we say here as greeting!) 

So- I think I invited everyone I talked to plus all our new investigators to church but no one came- I was pretty bummed (I am praying this won't be like my 1 transfer in Loon eek.)  But we keep on "ayo-ing' (our version of knocking on doors) in hopes of finding the people who need Christ in their lives. 

I taught a lot about Joseph Smith lately and man I am so grateful for him.  Everytime I teach about him- I feel such a peace. A peace that God doesn't change- just like times of old he called a prophet to restore his true gospel and his true way for us to live with him again. Teaching and talking about the 1st vision is so powerful!  Even when not in my native tongue. 

So I have a slight obsession with all the caribous here.. I will ride one soon (I hope I have my camera by then!!)  But seriously they are all so ugly yet cute and they just like to chill in their little mud ponds when they're not out plowing rice fields.  Like me in the ocean. basta. They're funny.  Also an obsession with green mangos. ya you guys don't even know what those are. I'm sorry. Soon my friends, soon. 

I think I'll be ready for the Tour de France after my time here in Sagbayan- oh man these hills. You'd think I'd loose a lot of weight haha nooope.  The rice addiction is so real right now. 

Well- the church is true! I am loving all the youth here in Sagbayan. They are so diligent with studying about the gospel and sharing. Makes me wish I did better as a youth, definitely took what I had for granted- but can't go back only forward! so I'm better now :))) There is this one Recent Convert here named Marian (she's 15- Emily's grade!) and I just love her. She just got baptized with her family- and yesterday when we were tracting we met one of her high school friends who told us that as soon as she became Mormon she boldly quit all the weird clubs/ associations everyone is a part of here and now is always talking about how awesome the Book of Mormon is and wants go to the temple.  She has a different light about her... It was so cool to hear from someone who totally noticed her change and isn't even a member. We are teaching her friend now and hopefully she will come to church soon cause she is interested. But Ah.. it was awesome and I am so happy Marian and her family has the gospel in their lives now.

 " Happiness and joy come from what a person is, not from what he or she possesses or appears to be."
 So beautiful and so true. I am constantly humbled by the people here and I am grateful for everyday to improve myself and to share the love of Christ with people I love.  I do miss you dearly and I miss lots of other things as well. Missions are hard--but March will come surely soon so I'm trying to make each day count. 

love ryan !!!