Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sweater Weather!

Okay okay okay, I know I have given all you cold weather people grief over the last couple months but good heavens someone cursed California!!!!!!!! It got so cold out here! I even had to break out the scarfs and the real winter coat last night. We even had to turn our heat on 2 days ago after its been off for the last month!!!!!!! However a really cool miracle happened with all the cold weather. California has been in a huge drought  this year. We recently learned why we are having water shortages. Long story short....many many years ago 2 people bought a whole river that flowed down into LA. They built a resevoir. The source of the river is run off from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A couple years after the resevoir was built it broke and flooded the land clear out to the sea and killed many people who were illegal immigrants living in the "wild." Since then our water has been in short supply and these men lived the rest of thier lives in shame. Okay so with all of that, yesterday several other states besides all of southern California fasted and have been praying for rain/snow (for the mountains) and IT TOTALLY RAINED LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!! It had been over cast all day and had really dark clounds, then at 6pm it started raining until about 9pm. We didn't get a ton of water in the valley so we are praying it all went to the mountains and dumped snow. Cool, right! total miracle in my book!
This week has been really awesome. Once again we worked really hard to find the less actives of our ward. We got in with quiet a few of them and had wonderful experiences with them. Our investigators are really struggling right now. I have no idea why but they are. For whatever reason they just wont keep commitments. I mean hello, how hard is it to read 2 pages? Anyway they could use some extra prayers. One of them is from the Philipines. His name is "Bill." We sometimes have a super hard time communicating with him and question whether or not he really understands what we are teaching him. We have invited several of our ward members to come to the lessons because 1. we need them and 2. they speak Tagalog. However Bill absolutely refuses to speak Tagalog when we are present, only English. So frustrating! So we are devising a plan to send over our Filipino members to review the lessons without us so that they can judge whether Bill understands or not. We did set a baptismal date for him in March which is pretty exciting. Its gonna take a ton of faith and a big Miracle to get him ready for it! 
We also taught our 13 year old investigator who has Aspergers. We set a baptismal date for him as well last night. It was super funny because when we told him that we wanted to work towards March 2 he stopped us and said, "Hey that's my Birthday!" We were totally shocked because we had no idea and found it really ironic it was the date we have been pulled to for weeks to shoot for. I am really hoping that "grandpa" is ready to baptize him. We are concerned he wont be ready. We found out that our Bishop has already discussed this possible scenario and there are back up people ready to baptize our investigator. I am still trying to come up with a name for him.
We helped a member in our ward quit smoking this week. The program that we as missionaries get to use is amazing! It requires us to commit individuals to follow 15 steps every day in order to turn off the bell that signals a person they want to smoke. So far it is working really well for her and it was an adventure for us all. The Bishop and his wife were there and just really added to the spirit and the enthusiasm for this Sister to continue to living the Word of Wisdom and giving herself and her son a better life. At one point during the lesson the person has to crush, or tear up the cigarettes. It was cool to watch and also super disgusting..... This program has been proven to be extremely useful and effective and we are now using it to help another less active in our ward and possible 2 other people.
This week I also had a wonderful experience in my personal study. I was totaly focused one day in studying how to have faith to find people who are ready to receive us. By the sprirt my study was totally redirected in the middle of it to go read my Setting apart blessing, which gratefully I had people take notes on. I swear things have been added to the blessing since it was written down! =) I read things that were new to me and that I absolutely needed to hear that day. Specifically about not being shy and having no fear. It brought me to tears and to my knees. I also discovered that in my head I got 6 weeks ahead of myself. How? No clue. I think that with everyone always talking to me about how long I have left my brain just shorted out. I was happy to discover that I had 1 whole extra transfer out here! HOORAY! Now I know it seems weird to be excited about this discovery but I am seriously excited. I still have so much I want to accomplish! I am grateful for the tender mercies the Lord has given me this week. 
We had some pretty funny moments this week but at the moment I dont remember any except for one. We stopped by to see one of our investigators who has liver cancer. They had just gotten back from a Costco run. They are also Filipino and are always very giving. They sent us home with Waffles and a big, big jug of juice. As we were walking into our apartment complex Sister Bray went to swing the paper sacks holding the goods and suddenly there was a huge thud. Looking back Sister Bray's face was in total shock and totally red. I looked at the ground and there were the waffles and juice in a very riped paper bag. I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe.........funny. It might have been a if you were there moment but even writing it here on the email has me in the giggles. 
Another one I just remembered is that on our way to an appointment with a less active I had looked up to say hello to someone passing us. I said hello and he said, "Hey Sweetheart..." Gross. But what was funny about it is that Sister Bray has been getting the fliratous ones lately and I had refused to even think it could/would happen to me anytime soon. Well it happened. It had us both giggling. 
Probably the highlight of the week besides setting 2 baptismal dates was seeing how many of the people we having been teaching came to church yesterday. For us alone we had 6 total (2 investigators and 4 less actives). The total number of investigators and less actives to church in our whole ward was somewhere between 15-20. It was amazing and our Bishop was very quick to notice.   
This week was good and full of miracles. I am so excited to be a missionary and to continue helping people come closer to Christ!
Hopefully you all will stay warm and safe this week and we will try not to "freeze!"
I love you all very much!
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell