Monday, February 23, 2015

And so goes another fast transfer and I can say my goodbyes to Elder Guevarra and Elder San Pedro who are transferred.  With only 18 weeks left to go I'm starting to get a little bit nervous about going back into the real world.  Driving, school, dating (well actually I'm pretty excited about that one).  I've honestly had a few dreams about being home and it's starting to freak me out because this dream is going to be a reality before I know it. 

Not a lot of really exciting stuff happened this week which was kind of a bummer.  We've been focusing a lot on working with our potential Melchizedek Priesthood holders so that they can be ready to receive it before stake conference which is coming up pretty close.  We also focused on helping the ward organize a fireside to help members understand the importance of home teaching and of how to home teach.  We as missionaries had planned out a pretty good workshop but another one of the members gave a 3 1/2 hour workshop (and he still wasn't finished) so we weren't able to share our part on Saturday.  But Bishop Flororita said that we'll be having a part two of the fireside this upcoming Saturday so we'll have a chance to give our insights about how to help the ward. 

We've also had the opportunity to do service at a resort in the area of the zone leaders.  We cleaned up the land around the property because summer is quickly approaching.  "Who ever knew that coconuts could be so heavy"!!!  I think that the Philippines has the heaviest coconuts on the planet.  After an hour or so of carrying bags of coconuts you really start to feel out of shape.  While we were cleaning we found an ENORMOUS spider; and I mean that this sucker is huge.  So Elder Haueia thought it would be funny to put it on a stick and chase me with it because I hate spiders more than I do the Lakers (no offense to Laker fans).  I think I lost a good 5 pounds from that little joke.  

This past week in my personal study I've read a lot about the life of Christ and of the love that he showed for each of those he served.  For me tracting and OYM'ing is one of the hardest things for me to do.  I love talking to people it's just getting the courage to approach them which is the hard part.  But there's a few verses in 1st John Chapter 4 that really helped me to realize the importance of loving everyone  

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?

If we truly love our brethren and our God, than our fear to share the gospel will go away because we know that this is what they need in order for them to achieve eternal life. 

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

                                                  -Elder Cole

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

I spent Valentines Day without a Valentine :(.... well at least we had a baptism!  Hay-Hey was baptized this last Saturday(on Valentines Day) and  words can't describe the feelings that I felt during his baptism.  He was so excited and I will never forget his face when he came out of the water.  It's such an honor being able to help people come to know our Heavenly Father and to help them to start on the straight and narrow path.  It's such a weird thought thinking that in a little over 4 months I'll have to remove my name tag and people will start calling me "brother" again.  I still remember when Bro. Wilkinson started calling me "Elder" two weeks before I went into the MTC.  Looking back it does seem like a long time ago since I was a young 18 year old kid who didn't really know who he was or what he was doing.  But know I can say to you now that I have really found who I am, a "Child of God", and He really does love each and every one of His children;rich or poor, black or white, tall or small.  Being here in the Philippines has taught me a lot about how we need to have charity to all people, especially to those whom we struggle to love.  Now I'm not by any means saying that I don't have a problem loving everyone because there are times when I wouldn't mind putting some duck tape over peoples mouth; but if we strive to be like the Savior, He'll help us in our weaknesses so that we can make them strengths.  

Besides the baptism of Hay-Hey there hasn't been a whole lot that has happened.  Never mind....  On Thursday before District Meeting; we got a surprise phone from the AP's.  I"m not going to lie, even when you're innocent it's still scary when the AP's call because you know it's serious.  Well in short my good buddy Elder Christensen was ET'ed to Calabanga and my old room-mate Elder Haueia is the new companion of Elder San Pedro.  Oh, and this week we have a fireside coming up in the ward about home teaching and visiting teaching.  And guess who was asked to speak there... yep, yours truly will be giving a workshop on home and visiting teaching so if you have any ideas don't be afraid to email me.  

Thanks for putting some "play money" in my account, if you have any requests for souvenirs just let me know. Just to let you know T, I bought you your gift a while back so don't worry.  I still can't believe that Brendon and Shannon are getting married on the 4th of July!  Thankfully I'll be home in time to see dad tie the knot for them.  But it's too bad that I won't be able to see Kaiden... Elder Cloward pala. And please tell Emily "Good Luck and don't forget that you are a special missionary/friend."  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo!!  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                            -Elder Cole

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dear Mom Dad, and Cole Family,

This past week has been another challenging week but I'm trying to stay positive as I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that each trial will help me grow in some way.  This past week I have gone on a few exchanges with Elder Christensen as Elder San Pedro and Elder Guevarra got sick earlier this week.  All I can say is that it's been fun walking around with a fellow American because everyone talks to you; especially when they find out that you can speak Tagalog.  But despite being two strapping young missionaries, we had a hard time teaching and finding people, partly due to the fact that we didn't have a male present with us which made things pretty rough.  Oh well, with all said and done I really enjoyed working with him and getting to know him better.  

We also had zone training this past week which was great.  We talked about the Plan of Salvation and of how we can more effectively teach it because it is such an important lesson.  It was weird listening to the testimonies of those missionaries going home at the end of that zone training because I remember when Elder Hodge (my district leader in Minalabac) was kind of bragging that he only had 3 transfers left.  Well now he's about to go home in two weeks and then I'll be in his position.  Man time goes by way too fast.  After zone training I was able to finally have a real american style burger!!!  It had real cheese, lettuce, and beef patties.  I'm not going to lie, it was pretty gosh darn expensive but it was worth every peso. Elder Guevarra's birthday was yesterday so a member invited us over to eat and have a small party which was nice.  But one of the members kept trying to get me to buy ice cream and pancit (the small little noodles) for him because one way I can show my love is by providing for his temporal needs, even if it meant buying it on a Sunday.  We both just laughed afterwards.  Of course I was planning on getting him something for his birthday; just not on a Sunday.

This past week I was reading in Alma about Moroni who just happens to be one of the coolest people to have ever lived on the earth.  Even cooler than LeBron James (which isn't something that I would say very often).  Well there's a verse about the characteristics of Moroni that really makes me look at myself and try to do better.  in Alma 48:17 it says "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."  I don't know how you guys feel when you read this verse, but every time I read it I get the chills down my back.  The faithfulness and steadfastness of Moroni is honestly hard to explain.  Not once did he fear the power of the Lamanites; but he feared doing wrong in the sight of God throughout all his days.  I know life is full of hardships and temptations, but if we can try to be like Moroni we can overcome anything that the world throws at us.

Well Cole Family, I was so excited to get your letter , but I am sad to say that there wasn't any money in the card when it arrived :( There was a bunch of packing tape over the seal which seemed suspicious. Well I hope that the person is using the money for his family and didn't bet on the Seahawks to win the Superbowl.  Maybe 70 dollars will do for souvenirs for the family.  I've become a pretty good bargain shopper which has come in handy :).  I think that having a Filipino feast would be just fine with me when I get home.  Than you guys can taste the stuff that I've been having for the last two years.  Thanks for all that you guys do.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo!!  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                                          -Elder Cole  

Monday, February 2, 2015