Monday, June 22, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

Well this is it guys... the very last email that you will recieve from me as a missionary of our Heavenly Father.  As most of you can guess I'm not going to make it very long because most of you will be seeing me in a little more than a week.  I would just like to thank each and every one of you for the support that you have given me throughout my life and my mission.  It's always nice to open my email and see emails from such wonderful people.  Each one of you has helped me to stay strong and to endure the hardships of the mission.  These past two years have definitely  not been easy, but they have been more than worth the trials that I have experienced.  I would just like to leave you all with my testimony that I do know that this church is true, we have a living prophet on the earth today and if we follow his counsel and the counsel of the living apostles; we will not fall.  We will be able to stand before the judgement seat of our Heavenly Father with a clear conscience knowing that we have done what he has desired of us.  And then we will be able to enter is kingdom with our families; never to be separated again.  I know that the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ and we will be able to overcome our challenges in life if we read and heed the counsel of the prophets that have written in there.  I have read it many times now and I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is true.  No person call tell me otherwise, no book can prove me wrong, because Heavenly Father has made the truthfulness of it known unto me.  I am grateful for a loving father and mother who have raised me in this church and have taught me the ways of the Lord.  Without them I don't know where I would me in my life, but I know I wouldn't be who I am without there help.  Thanks again for all that you have done for me in my life.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                                    -Elder Cole

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,
Life here in the Philippines has been... rainy.... hot... just what you could have expected :)  News has also gotten to my ears that LeBron and the Cavaliers have fallen into a win or lose situation.  Well.... at least I'm not going to be around to witness it.  But this past week has again been pretty rough work wise.  The Pasiona family has almost stopped progressing even though we have taught them all of the lessons and reviewed them multiple times.  We're going to teach them one more time this week and if they don't attend church this week I'm afraid that we'll have to drop them and wait until they are ready to be baptized.  I was really hoping that they could be ready by the time I went home, but it's not going to happen.  Most of our other investigators that have BGD's aren't progressing and not attending church which is making things rough.  Finding is pretty hard around school days because everyone is busy and most males aren't home.  On the bright side, Marbie and Jenny are still awesome!  We went to their house on Saturday to teach them but there wasn't a male home so we asked them to ask their grandpa if we could teach in his house so we would be able to share.  Their faces were so funny as they ran back saying that he said yes.  Anyway we showed the "Restoration Video" to them and they enjoyed it a lot.  Unfortunately they weren't able to attend church yesterday because it was in Goa and their dad wouldn't let them go without one of their older siblings going.  They were pretty bummed about it to. 
For church yesterday we had a Philippines area broadcast where Elder Christisten, Nielsen, Sister Wixom, and Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke to us.  There was a phrase that Elder Nielsen (the former area president) and Elder Andersen used that really touched me.  "I will be the one".  When  I hear that phrase the first things that comes to my mind is Jesus Christ.  Before this life he said that he would be willing to act as a Savior for mankind so that we could return to our Heavenly Father.  It's not easy for us to have that kind of attitude.  I know for me when my  mom said "Who wants to do the dishes" I didn't want to be the one to say "I will be the one".  But in our life there will be times when we need to have the attitude of the Savior and be willing to stand first so that others will follow.  In the world we live in today the attitude of stepping forward is one that is greatly needed.  I see a lot of great followers but the Lord doesn't just need good followers, He needs people that can be examples for His children so that they can return to Him.  If we don't step forward and say "I will be the one", then the likelihood of things getting done are that much smaller.  The difference we make will only be made manifested if we have the courage to take that step of faith and say "I will be the one". 
I love you all so much and I am very grateful for your continued support until the end.  Ingat po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.
                                                   -Elder Cole

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

This past week was a week where a lot of patience was needed due to the extreme heat, sick companions, and no member presents.  On Tuesday Elder Key got gout in his foot so we couldn't work then.  But thankfully by the next morning he was up and ready to go.  But despite the fact of how hard we tried, we just struggled with almost all aspects of our work.  Most of our appointments fell through and tracting/finding was pretty difficult due to the heat and because the kids have school now.  I find it pretty funny that these things are happening right at the end of my mission.  Maybe it's just Heavenly Fathers way of helping me keep focused on the work.... not that I'm saying that it is hard.  Most days it doesn't even feel like I"m at the last part of my mission.  But anyways, the highlight of this past week was with Marbie and Jenny.  We weren't able to teach them this past week because every time we went to their house they were busy.  Despite the fact that we didn't share with them; they still came to church yesterday!  Why couldn't every investigator be as diligent in attending church as these two girls?  If the Pasiona family would attend church they could have been baptized already; but I guess that's a sign that they're not quite ready for the commitment of baptism.  

The other day I was looking through my luggage and I found the talk "The Fourth Missionary" that was given to me by a sister in my district before we went to the Philippines.  I decided that we would read that talk as part of our companionship study because of the power and the influence that that talk has had on me. (if you haven't read in I highly recommend that you do).  Anyways, while we were reading it I had a few thoughts that came to my mind.  "Have I become the missionary that I set out to be?"  "Have I become the man that Heavenly Father needs me to be?"  And "Is Heavenly Father proud of what I've done".  Looking back in my mission I look at who I was then and now, and I really have changed.  Not just physically, but spiritually as well.  Things that I thought were funny before the mission aren't that funny now.  Things that I wanted to do in life don't seem as important.  I have come to really now that life is about change.  If we don't change what we do, the way we think, and the way we act than we will get the same result.  But I have also learned that we can decide of how we change or we can let world kind of shape us with the trials and events that occur.  But if we do that than we won't nearly reach the full potential that we have in life.  We have the potential to literally become like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ; but it's up to us to decide if we're up to the challenge.  

Thank you all so much for the support and the love that each one of you has shown me in these past two years.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                                       -Elder Cole

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

I found a nice but disturbing email in my inbox this was my flight plans.  I'll be flying out of Naga on my birthday but won't arrive in Utah until July 1st.  Dang life goes by way to fast.  My time here in Naga is winding down, but my desire to serve continues to burn stronger than ever.  

This past week and Elder Key and I have been giving it our all to bring our brothers and sisters to the knowledge of that which is just and true and trying to rescue those who have fallen away.  There is a recent convert family who has been struggling with the trials and cares of the world and after weeks of trying to teach them, we finally were able to help them to be nourished by the good word of God.  The tatay is a tricycle driver and is constantly working in order to just provide the necessities  of life.  The nanay is constantly watching there 5 wild children which makes life tiring.  Anyways we shared Helaman 5:12 and Ether 12:27 to just help them realize the reason for trials and for why we need to establish our foundation on Jesus Christ so that we won't fall when those trials do come.  It was a very powerful lesson in which I could really feel the spirit touching their hearts.  Unfortunately they still didn't attend church yesterday but the ward has been awesome and the auxiliaries went and visited them to check up on them.   Marbie and Jenny also attended church again this week which was awesome to see!!  They have a hard time understanding things so we're going kind of slow with them.  But I feel that they could be baptized a little after I'm gone.  

Also this past week my testimony has been strengthened about people being prepared by our Heavenly Father to hear the gospel.  Last week we OYM'ed a man by the name of Michael and another teenage girl by the name of Jessica.  On Friday Elder Key and I went to go visit Michael but when we got there he wasn't at the house.  Thankfully his mom sat us down and told us to wait a little bit.  Not too much later he arrived at the house and looked happy that we were there.  He told us that he had read the whole pamphlet and really enjoyed what he read.  We taught him about the restoration and well... he understood it better than most people that read the pamphlet.  We invited him to go to church but unfortunately he wasn't able to go.  Then on Saturday a few of the youth worked with us when we went to contact Jessica.  When we got to her home there were a bunch of people and within 30 seconds all of them were gone besides Jessica.  At first she was pretty shy of us but slowly she started to up up with us.  One of the members Jobeth was able to relate with her really well.  They're the same age, go to the same college and even are doing the same course.  At the beginning of the lesson I really didn't know what to say and I was kind of stumbling with my words. But when we started to teach about Joseph Smith and the restoration my mind all of a sudden became clear and the spirit flooded the room.  Jessica's eyes started to tear up and I knew that she was feeling the spirit.  At the end I felt inspired to extend the baptismal invitation in which she accepted but she hasn't committed to a date yet.  The Lord truly does prepare His children for us; we just have to do our best to find them.  Even if it takes 100 rejections; because every soul is great in the sight of God.

Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                           -Elder Cole

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family

Two years ago from today I graduated from High School and prepared to embark on a journey that would change my life forever.  I never expected for my mission experience to be the way that it has been, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.
This past week has been..... really.....really.....reallly............ HOT!!!  It's gotten up to 46 degrees Celsius which is well over 100 degrees back home.  It's been hard to work at times because of the heat but because of the mercy of our Heavenly Father nobody has gotten really sick because of the heat.  Work has been pretty good this past week.  School is about to start here so it's been a little harder to teach because everyone is busy trying to finishing getting there kids enrolled.  But despite that fact it's been good.  Elder Key and I have been a little more bold in extending baptismal dates and now we have achieved 6 investigators that have a baptismal date.  If we aren't inviting people to repent and to come unto Christ than we aren't fulfilling our purpose as missionaries.  At first I was scared to invite people for the fear of having them say no but I've realized the importance of inviting people to things so that they will gain a testimony of what we are teaching.  We have also began to teach the sisters of one of our less-actives.  Their names are Jenny and Marbie; they're about 9 and 11 and they are probably some of the best kids that I have had the opportunity to teach in my whole mission.  We invited them to attend church, and on Sunday morning Bishops wife waved at us to come here and look who's standing there; none other than Marbie and Jenny.  What's funny is that they attended church over their older sister who is a member.  Unfortunately the Pasiona family wasn't able to attend church :(  But we've been teaching them stories from the Book of Mormon and I can really tell that they are gaining a testimony of it.  Hopefully that they'll be able to attend church again this coming week!!!  

Elder Key and I had the wonderful opportunity of giving a blessing to a sister before she passed away a few days after we had come by their house.  One of the returning less-actives in our area came and asked us if we could give a blessings to one of her friends who has been sick since February.  They've gone to the hospital and done everything that they could to get her better but nothing worked.  When we walked into their humble home, there lying on a makeshift bed was the skinniest person that I have ever seen in my life.  Even more than on T.V.  Her hip bones were as visible as the noon day sun and her arms were probably just as thick as Jarods.  Apparently her body rejected most of the fluids and foods that they put in which resulted in this state of being.  It was hard for me not to cry because of this sisters physical situation.  But I remember this peace as we gave her a blessing, it was a peace that really made me think of the eternal perspective on life.  Maybe that was a sign that this sisters mortal life was just about to end and that she was being called home to our Heavenly Father.  

I truly know that this is the work of the Lord and that no unhallowed hand will stop it.  No man or power on earth can prevent the Second Coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.  The only thing that we can do is to prepare for it, or fight a hopeless fight against the Almighty.  Let us all rise to the challenge and help those around us prepare for the Second Coming so that they can experience the joy that we will feel if we remain righteous to our Heavenly Father.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.
May God be with you till we meet again.

                                               -Elder Cole

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

"You shall not pass".... Well Gandalf, I'm sorry but I just entered into the final transfer of my mission.  I never thought that this point would ever come, but yet here it is.  Well I'm a 4th quarter player and I can still feel that flame to finish out strong and to leave everything here in San Jose.  

To start things off..... Nica and Theresa attended Stake Conference this week!!  They texted us at 6:30 and said that they were on the way to the church to wait for the transportation.  Well I can't say that there could have been a better way that to start off Sunday morning.  Elder Key and I prepared faster than any missionary has in history so that they wouldn't be left there waiting by themselves.  It was a great stake conference and they made a few friends which was awesome to see.  The ward has been doing a great job in making them feel welcome.  Theresa is still kind of shy but she's slowly getting out of her shell.  Stake Conference was amazing; a member of the Area Presidency came to speak to us and the spirit was so strong during the meeting.  Although most of the speakers spoke in English so most people didn't understand a great deal of what was said.  But as long as the spirit is there, it doesn't matter what language you speak in because the spirit testifies of truth and can speak the heart of the people.  

On Tuesday we had a great adventure in Naga at the trainers training.  I learned a great deal about what I can still improve on so that I can bring my teaching more in harmony with the desires of our Heavenly Father.  As all RM"s now, you don't really have a training without having practice teaching... and again my companion and I had the opportunity to teach President Reeder.  Oh what fun ha ha.  I remember when I taught him when I was with Elder Manicdo (who is now going home this week) and I was happy that I could teach in English.  This time is was totally opposite.  I had the hardest time trying to think of what I wanted to say in English.  At one point in the lesson President Reeder winked at me because I couldn't think of what to say.  But all in all... it was a good lesson and another thing to laugh at.  Poor Elder Key got sick so we couldn't work as hard as would have liked to but this past week was amazing.  Fiesta is also going on in San Jose right now so there are a lot of drunk people everywhere which makes OYM'ing pretty adventurous.  

Well in one of my recent personal studies I came across this scripture which has really given me a new light about "Love" In 1 John 4:18-21   

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 19 We love him, because he first loved us.

 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

We as missionaries/members have the responsibility to share the gospel to other people.  But of course, how will we do that if we don't feel love for them and desire their eternal salvation.  Like it says in verse 18, if we fear sharing the gospel with others we will not be made perfect in the Love of Christ.  One way for us to show our true love to our Heavenly Father is through sharing the gospel.  I know it's not easy, but it is a commandment.  I can promise you that as you strive your best to help your fellow man to return to our Heavenly Father, you will experience joy and happiness like you have never before experience.  Then you will feel the "True Love of Christ".  

Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                                    -Elder Cole

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

It was so great to skype all of you guys!  Since we were able to skype earlier I'll keep this letter pretty short.  

This past week has been amazing, I have really seen the hand of the Lord in our work.  We have been able to get 24 lessons this past week which is awesome. I haven't been able to get that many lessons since my first transfer here.  Our church attendance has also gone up from around the mid 80's to 119!  On Tuesday I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Watene (Elder Greens companion) and it was awesome!  We worked in their area which has been struggling this past little bit but it didn't seem like it when we worked.  When we were walking trying to find new people to teach we found some kids that were playing basketball and made them a deal that if we beat them we could teach them, but if we lost we would buy them soft drinks.  Lets just say that with help up above we beat them pretty easily.  Thankfully they sat down right after the game so we could teach.  At the beginning of the lesson it was pretty rough, they weren't listening and we could tell that they weren't really interested, but as we continued to teach about 20+ people came to listen to the lesson and a lot of them seemed really interested in learning about the church.  In short the Lord helped us use basketball to gain access to the hearts of his children in the Philippines.  Later that night I probably had one of the most spiritual moments of my entire mission.  Elder Watene and I visited one of their investigators that I had met on a previous exchange in their area and when we got to their house their lights were off so we assumed that they were gone or asleep.  But Elder Watene OYM'ed some nanays and the told us that this family was actually at the house, their power had just been cut.  When we talked to this family (Tagle Family) they told us that they couldn't pay their power bill and it was cut because their neighbors had been using their electricity and they didn't bother to help them with the bill. Elder Watene had the impression to use Ether 12:27 which happened to be the exact verse that they needed to hear.  During the lesson I had the feeling to share a personal experience about when my grandma passed away and about how hard that trial was for me in my life.  I was so filled with the spirit that I don't even remember what I said but I remember of how I felt.  That's a feeling that I never want to forget.  

We've been struggling with getting investigators to church which has been frustrating but Elder Key and I are doing every thing that we can do in order to help these people understand the importance of attending church and keeping the Sabbath Day holy. But I love you so much and I am grateful for everything that you guys have done for me. Ingat po kayo palagi.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                         Elder Cole