Monday, November 24, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,
Rain rain go away, come again another day!!  Welcome to my life in the Philippines.  This past week it has rained nearly every single day which has meant.... lots and lots of mud.  It has also meant that our work this past week was.... well it's looked a lot better in the past.  Elder Grospe and I have been trying to increase our teaching pool but it hasn't been that effective at the moment.  We talked to everybody that we've seen but they've either been busy or they weren't interested.  I guess we just need to "Keep moving forward".  That is officially my theme for my mission because it's true.  If your head is always in the past about what you did, you'll never know what you could do or become, but if you keep your head up and keep moving your right foot in front of your left; the possibilities are endless.
We had a baptism coming up this week but we have to move it back a week because we need to finish teaching Justin all the lessons and have the baptismal interview for him.  Elder Grospe and I are also teaching a young man named Sherwin and this guy is awesome!  He's about 23 and a criminologist but can't find a job because it's hard to find a job like that here in the Bicol Region so he's working for a delivery company right now.  Every time we teach him there is a special spirit in the room.  He hasn't accepted the baptismal invitation yet but I feel that in a little bit he'll be ready.  This past week we as missionaries also hosted a missionary fireside in order to try to help the members get excited about missionary work.  There were about 20 people who attended which is more than we anticipated so that was great  The only bad part about that was that Sister Delicano and Sister Redline (she was in my district at the MTC) told me a little bit before the fireside that I was going to sing a special musical number.  Whoop di doo.  I'm not going to say how it went so I'll let you imagine that I sounded like David Archuletta.  On top of that I had the wonderful opportunity of speaking in church yesterday about "Strengthening Families".  I'll say that that one went much better than my musical number.
It really has become a reality that my time in the mission field will actually come to an end some day.  It just hit me that my sisters are going home next transfer and that marks the beginning of my "4th Quarter".  Now for all you sports fans the 4th quarter is the most important part of the game because if you give up in the 4th, you give up the game. All that hard work that you did in the first 3 quarters wont matter because you are going to end up on the losing side.  It's almost the same thing in the mission life; of course the good that you did in the first 3 quarters of your mission isn't going to go away, but the feeling of being a victor is going to be absent from your heart.  Missionaries only have one shot to make their mark in the "Record books" so there isn't time to waste.  Even the best teams know not to relax when they have a big lead because anything can happen.  Live. Laugh. Love. Serve. I love you all so much and I wish you the best with everything.  May God be with you till we meet again.
                                                       -Elder Cole

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad and Cole Family,
What?  I only have 32 weeks left?  Oh nelly!

First today on the agenda... My arm is not broken!  You can all ask Elder Grospe about how our 1-1 basketball game went earlier this morning.  He can defiantly tell you that I am back to normal and lighting it up from long range.  Oh boy it feels good to back to my old self.

Let's just start off by saying that I have learned a great deal this past week.  We had the opportunity to have zone conference and to be counseled by President Reeder.  Just a quick fun fact; back in the day President Reeder was the accountant for the Utah Jazz.  Now that is cool!  Anyways, he talked about the keys and power of the priesthood.  It really helped open my eyes to really of how the priesthood works in our lives. I learned that after Jesus Christ and his apostles were killed, the priesthood power was still on the earth, but the keys of the priesthood were lost with them.  It was when one of the bishops made himself the "Pope" and a little while after that the priesthood authority was lost.  Oh man, how much I still have to learn before I can consider myself at least somewhat knowledgeable in the gospel.
Here in Calabanga I find myself bearing my testimony a lot more during lessons than in my last areas in order to defend our beliefs. Elder Grospe and I are teaching two nanays who are both really devoted to their respective religions.  One is a Baptist and the other is a Couples for Christ (Catholic).  Sometimes during the lessons they will tell is straight up that what we said is false and then they will explain what they believe.  I think it's pretty cool of what they do in order to defend their beliefs and to share with others of what they believe.  Most Filipino people are pretty sensitive so I can't just go and say "No, that's not the way it is" so just bearing my testimony helps invite the spirit even more into the lesson.  Sometimes during those specific lessons I have felt the spirit stronger than in most of our other lessons which lets me know that that was right thing to do.
Well congratulations Mom for enrolling in college again!!!  I wish you the best of luck with this new task but I know you can do it because you're awesome!  If you can raise 6 kids you can do this no problem!  I still can't believe that it's almost Thanksgiving, man I am craving some home-made rolls and mashed potatoes right now.  But I can almost guarantee that I'm going to miss rice when I get back home so I'll enjoy what I have right now.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that when I get home Uncle John and I are going to have a rice eating contest ha ha.  I don't know how that one will go but I'm sure right now I could stand a pretty good chance against him  I've learned that I have extra space in my stomach that I didn't have before because Filipinos like to feed you until you pop.  Well that's all for today folks.  Take care.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.
Ps: I tried to attatch pictures but my computer is being pretty lame and won't read my card reader.  So next time I'll send pictures for sure. 
                                             -Elder Cole 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,
Life in Calabanga is what you could say.... Magical.  Magical for the fact that we have a Ward Mission Leader!!  Calabanga hadn't had a Ward mission leader for almost a year and now we finally have one.  In fact we had a correlation meeting with him right after church.  What the biyaya!  I hope that this can help us in our efforts with getting members to work with us because right now that is one of the biggest challenges for us as a district.  
Now what has happened this week?  Justin came to church yesterday with his mom for the second week in a row which was awesome!  After that not a lot happened this week.  Just tracting on doors, getting punted, and trying to what we can to get lessons and new investigators.  There have been some pretty hardworking missionaries assigned here in the past so most of our area has been tracted out which means we're "re-tracting".
This past week Elder Grospe needed to conduct an interview for some of the Elders in Tinambac which is about an hour away from our area.  Long story short, we rode on top of the jeepney which is one of my favorite things to and I got some pretty cool pictures of the ocean.  When we were about to get off I started to jump off the top like I normally do but some old nanay and her grand kids came out of the jeepney and stood right where I was planning on jumping.  So I grabbed onto a bar and swung my self back with one arm and ended up slamming right into the jeepney.  I almost broke my arm and honestly it still hurts, but I'd rather have that happen than me landing on a little kid.  Well that's all the exciting news from this week.  I'm sorry nothing more adventurous happened.  I'll try to wrestle a Python this week so I can have something to write about ha ha just kidding.
Well I love you all so much and I wish you the best around this holiday season. May God be with you till we meet again

                                            -Elder Cole

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,
Now what do I say about his past week?  It's been a pretty fun week, hot and rainy as usual but fun.  Elder Grospe and I have been putting the pedal to the metal and the Lord has blessed us.  We are teaching a Part Member kid named Justin.  He's about 9 years old and as quiet as a mute person. It's so hard to get him to talk because he is so shy.  When we ask him a question he just shakes his head.  But he is so funny and we're hoping that we can help get his mom and dad reactivated.  Thankfully Justin's mom and siblings went to church yesterday but not his dad.  He has a baptismal date for November 29th so I really hope that he can make it.  We've also been trying to get some new investigators this past week but at the moment we haven't been making a lot of progress; but that doesn't mean that we're giving up, we've just got to work a little bit harder this next week. 
We also had the opportunity to have exchanges with the zone leaders this past week in their area.  I thought I was masipag (diligent, hardworking) until I worked with these guys.  I can say that I was really sore on Thursday.  But Elder Seegmiller and I had an amazing experience with our last appointment.  It was about 7:30 and it was almost time for us to go back home but Elder Seegmiller (he's from California) wanted to go to one last appointment.  Now just a quick back story about this family.  Back in the day they were going to be baptized but soon before their baptism the husband passed away and for some weird reason the missionaries stopped going to their house so pretty much their teaching record got put in the former investigator section of their area book. During our visit we retaught about The Restoration and about Joseph Smith and I can say that the spirit was so strong and every time that we bore testimony we knew that they were feeling that same way.  Even one of the daughters who never was taught by the missionaries joined in on the lesson and she started to tear up like everyone else.  The power of the spirit is absolutely amazing and I'm just finally beginning to understand the ways of the spirit.
Well I love you guys so much and I wish you the best of luck with everything.  Continue to be the amazing people that I know you are.  Like the old saying says "Rome wasn't built in a day".  If we just have patience everything will work out.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.
                                             -Elder Cole