"For God hath not given the spirit of fear, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND." 2 Timothy 1:7
Do not be afraid or ashamed of the gospel you bear, for Christ is your companion wherever you go!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 22, 2012

The Good weeks always start off with a nice earthquake :) haha.  I witnessed a miracle last night considering I was sleeping on the floor next to a dresser when the earthquake hit. I didn’t realize it until this morning and I will be smarter in the future.  I interrupted Heavenly Father last night, He probably said something like, "what are you sleeping there for Braden?" as he held onto the dresser for thirty seconds. It feels like I’m dreaming when they hit at 3am, its crazy. But all is good in Zion, always. People are sick of the earthquakes down here.

 Elder Quentin L. Cook came last Tuesday to assess damage and speak to the members of the stake here.  I got to shake His hand and talk with him for a second :)  I’m from Utah and my first contact with an Apostle was in New Zealand   haha.  I found that a little backwards.

Also this last week Elder Tamale and I attended an Indian Wedding (all I can say is WOW, what a culture!) with his trainer Elder Hussein....who is Indian/fijian and Elder Leandard’s  from Austrailia.
After the transfer I am now the only white Elder and also the only American Elder in my district haha.   I had my first islander feed this week and man, they look at me and tell me I’m skinny and need to eat more and more and so I shove it in hard out. The islanders love me because I’m funny and I can eat.  I fluctuate ten pounds a day haha. 

The work continues to move forward though many people are not very receptive.  Elder Tamale has had 16 baptisms, He has also been in Rangiora for nearly six months and hasn’t had one....so its a tough area and we are working hard to find new people to teach.  Our investigators now are moving very slowly, they just like our company haha. But we continue to work hard everyday to at least plant seeds.

Whether its inspiring and spiritually oriented or just telling me what is happening in life and what is happening back home doesn’t matter, all that matters is the thought to write and the intent to help me and support me.  I tear up every week reading these emails and also even more so when I recieve hand written letters.  It’s like everyone is giving me a piece of their heart for me to hold on to and carry with me.  It doesn’t matter what is written to me, it helps me in this work because after getting door after door closed on me and after lessons that don’t go well and after being ridiculed, those words are the miracles God has given me from Angels back home to build me up and encourage me to keep moving forward.  When I pray for strength from God, he answers with letters and emails. 

Tell brooklyn I am very proud of her for using her talents :)

Everyone wants to head out so I need to cut short.  I will be writing letters soon@!! I love you Mom ;) Have a great week and I will look forward to your words next week :) Dont worry about me, well I know you will, but just remember you raised me and I worry about you at home just as much as you worry about me out here :)

Love Elder Cottle

Pictures - MTC and New Zealand

Elder Cottle & Elder Nelson


Elder Tamale & Elder Cottle
Rangoria New Zealand


Merry Christmas Elder Cottle

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 15, 2012

Wow Brook, Shae and Mom.  Be careful youre going to make me cry in front of everyone haha.  Seriously.

Thank you so much for the wonderful emails.  I want to let you know that all is well in Zion.  The earthquakes are not even that bad.  I experienced a 6.0 and that was the biggest one out of all of them that have happened since ive been here and i can tell you it isnt that bad.  Things fall in christchurch but in rangiora nothing falls just shakes around.  I have been really kept safe by Heavenly Father and i wouldnt worry unless its over a 6.4 :) I love you mom.  Im sorry i did not email last week.  We went and built a deck for a member all day :) The branch president is a builder and he was impressed with the skills i have been taught by dad :) and it took all day long!!! Lol Mom, i figure the best way to prepare for whoever that young lady is when i get home is to serve here with all my might mind and strength so i can serve her with all my might mind and strength because i love my heavenly father, that will bless her the most. 

I love the polynesian culture, so straight up to the point and genuine. Everything i have ever been.  We have fun on P-day, but we work every other day like P-day will never come unless we do.  It was a very successful week this week.  I went on exchanges with Elder Niutua the district leader and we found 8 new investigators taught twelve lessons and we were supposed to have seven people to church but only had two.  I have to tell you the biggest miracle that has happened on my mission so far! Elder Niutua and i walked up to a gate that was closed and had two bungee cords wrapped around tight we thought, "oh their not home and the gate is wrapped up tight so lets go." When i turned around to walk away i thought to myself, "satan get out of here you sly dog." hahaha. Then turned back around undid the bungee cords opened the gate and started to walk in as a lady walked out.  I hadnt said a word when she said "come on over and sit down."  We sat down and explained to her who we were and what we were doing.  She became very interested in the message we had to share. She talked for two hours.  In those two hours were some of the most amazing experiences i have had yet! First of all she looks like a 35 year old Jessica, acts like her, talks like her and everything.  It was a testimony to me that God puts people in our lives for a reason, there is a reason for everything.  Meeting her showed me one of the many reasons i have witnessed why Jessica was put into my life and i wouldnt say i wont witness more reasons because this is the third time on my mission..  I knew near exactly how to talk to her, "listen" to her believe it our not and answer her concerns.  We were guided by the spirit to share the story of the first vision.  Mom, as we quoted Joseph Smith History where Joseph recounts the first vision, the spirit became so overwhelming that she burst into tears.  Elder Niutua and I looked at eachother and Mom i started tearing up to where a tear ran down my face. I was testified to yet again of the truth of who Joseph saw, for he did see God the Eternal Father and His son Jesus Christ standing above him in the air.  He did and i cannot deny it, who could.  Even she cannot deny it!!
We then quoted Galatians 5:22-23 which talkes about the fruits of the spirit which include love, peace, comfort, goodness. She felt what paul explains in Acts about how the "spirit listeth in the wind" and we do not know where it comes or where it goes and she said she felt like something swooped her up off her feet, hugged her really tight and softly set her back down.  What an absolutely amazing experience Mom.  She then explained to us that she thought it was a miracle that we persisted to walk onto her property and open the gate that was bound with cords.  As she explained it as such an experience and such a miracle to her, i couldnt help but thing that Christ was breaking the bands that have been put on her life to offer her a new life.  And she listens Mom, and even though she has concerns and lacks faith in God and Jesus Christ, she is letting him in and she will find Him and she will follow Him. We then met her 5 year old. He has down syndrome and she is a single mother.  He is the smartest young man you will ever meet, he watches something once and he can do it, he hears something he can say it.  She explains how she thinks he was sent to her for a reason and how much her life has changed since.  We went back three times since this happened on tuesday. Mom this is where my heart and soul was ripped to shreads!!! We went to see her thursday afternoon.  I just had this feeling to go see her i dont know why, but she came out of the house and we started talking.  She was all dressed up but i didnt notice until Elder Christensen told me after we saw her.  I asked her what she thought about the first vision to confirm what she felt.  Then asked if there was anything we could do for her.  She politely said no.  Then i said that we would let her get back to her afternoon and we would see her friday (at our set appointment with her).  Mom i should have asked what she was doing that night because we went back friday for our set appointment and what we witnessed was very sad.  She went out dancing she said and there were some things she is apparently going through and she ended up drinking....Alot.  She was soooo hungover it was ridiculous.  She wrecked her car three times on the way home that night, got arrested, lost her car and now she has to pay fines through the roof. They dont put them in jail for drunk driving here or we would never see her again. I felt terrible Mom, i felt like i could have done something and it is when you feel anothers pain when you witness a little bit of what Christ went through for each of us. What I witnessed  was absolutely terrible.  But i can also say that God is preparing her, harshly yes, but wow.  I have no words to even say to describe the feeling.  I laid down that night after praying for all our investigators and began to sob because i was witnessed to that there is a God, our Heavenly Father who loves each and everyone of his children.  After praying i thought to myself "wow, Father how do you do it? I can barely look after twelve investigators, and still let them down. How do you do it Father, How do you watch over and take care of all your children and never let them down? You must be God the Eternal Father the Lord omnipotent. how could i ever turn against you? I love you."  At that moment i felt like the dust of the earth, trampled on and kicked on and spat on. I shook and trembled in despair wondering why and how God could afford to send me to help his children knowing i would fail them without His help! That is only twelve of God's children. Now imagine what Christ felt for 2/3's the host of heaven! Not that i even felt anything close to what Christ our savior felt for those twelve people!!! I am left speechless about the power of God and the extent of Christ's infinite atonement.  The atonement is like looking out to sea and never seeing a horizon yet when you witness the power of it, its as if you can see the lighthouse guiding you home. We saw Paula on saturday and we are making headway.  Her only concern as she says is giving God control of her life.  Control that she has that she has always been successful with.  I told her "If you are successful by your own will, imagine how successful you can be, the power you can have if you turn your life to God!"

The mission just gets better and better.  We taught a new investigator named Shane and taught him  the entire restoration.  He accepted everything and is now reading the Book of Mormon and Praying!  He loves the Priesthood. He asked about an experience i had with the priesthood so he could confirm what we were saying.  Tell Grandpa Cottle that I started crying as i told Shane about the experience of being given the opportunity to give him a blessing. 

Elder Tamale wasnt here to help me all week, I already know the area like the back of my hand and was able to teach two lessons with an Elder who hasnt been out long himself.  Elder Tamale taught me in six weeks what takes other to teach in twelve.  We have been told there hasnt been this much success in our area in a few years, though there have been baptisms, those members have gone inactive and we are in the process of getting them active again.  It is not us, but it is God and our Savior Jesus Christ using us for the work.  I have learned that the hardest things in life only take a willing mind and heart.  Its amazing how much i have been strengthened and cut back down and strengthened and cut back down in the past two months.  God doesnt give any of his children a commandment without preparing a way it can be accomplished.  Out here i begin to say, "Oh God my Father in Heaven, wake me up from this my deepest sleep, wrap thy spirit round about me, and give me full armor that these thy towers i may keep."  This is seriously a war, and we cannot fight it without awakening our spirits and suiting up for battle.  The adversary can never win for our captain is the savior of all men :) 

I love you Mom and will forever make you proud.

Love, Elder Cottle

God Bless

December 19, 2011

This is a post from letters we recently received from Elder Cottle that he sent on December 22, 2011 -
Merry Christmas I know it's late getting to you on time but I hope it's been a great one!  I know Christ came unto the world and established His church and provided an atonement as the means necessary to break the bands of death and cure us of all ungodliness that we may return to the presence of our Father in exaltation to live with our loved ones forever.  It is only by our Savior that Salvation cometh to us.  I know that we have the fullness of the truth in His restored gospel on the earth today and I know these things because the Holy Ghost has testified of them to me and I have experienced the fire in which these things are made known unto us!  With that testimony, I wish you the best of Christmas's :)

When I prayed before we left the flat on Saturday I asked Heavenly Father to lead us to those He has prepared to hear our message.  I asked Him to help us fill our schedule for this week.  That day, we rode our bikes 20 km and stopped by ten potential investigator's homes and we filled our schedule for Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  We are teaching a couple, Evelyn & Raymond.  We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ then invited them to be baptized.  They had a big concern because they said they had already been baptized, but by the end of our lesson Raymond said, "Can I wear white overalls to be baptized?"  Haha, we laughed and told him he could :0 we got them to church and taught a lesson on Priesthood Authority.  We hope to have a baptismal date for them this week! Hopefully :)  We will have a busy week before Christmas then have three days to kind of relax and visit people :) 

I played rugby today and learned some steps.  I am the first American they have ever seen score amongst the missionaries :)  The classic line the Poly's use is "don't worry bout it!"  in a  joking way.  I used the phrase today and all the poly's were like, "man you catch on quick."  Elder Tamale is going to teach me Tongan!  Everything is going well here. I am really learning how to have fun with the poly's, they laugh at everything!  Elder Tamale said he seriously believes I will be a trainer, zone leader and assistant,.  haha  When he said that I said, "Elder, all glory to the Father."  We laughed so hard!   I've been writing in my journal everyday I have been cooking and cleaning, I even make my bed! and I repent when I don't do the simplest things.  If anyone wants to have a strong influence from the spirit, repent for the littlest mistakes and strive not to do them.  It's the little mistakes that lead to the big sins.  If we get rid of the little mistakes, we will never get to the big ones, ever! 

Thank you for the wonderful advice you gave for travel, believe it or not the MTC doesn't tell you anything about traveling haha!  I used every bit of information you gave me.  I basically let the pack of eight missionaries through the various airports, just used my father's natural instinct with the spirit and there was no way I could go wrong.

When we went through customs, the lady working at the counter asked about my badge.  I said, "We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who are serving for two years to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with those God has prepared to hear our message."  She replied, "Wait so do you get paid to do that?" I said, "No, It is completely voluntary and we do it because we owe our Savior and we love Him." She said, "Really? well how do you pay to stay here?"  I said, "Most of us saved up the money from jobs we had before we came out here."  she smiled, stamped my visa, then the missionaries behind me handed her their passports and she didn't say a word to them, just stamped their visas and sent them on their way!  Unreal right?  I thought that was pretty cool.  I watched the spirit guide us perfectly to the mission home. 

Thank you for your support.  This is an interesting part of life, I used to rely on your expertise. I realize how much you do fro me that I never noticed.  Now all I can rely on from you is your words, the packages you send and your love and support.  It's 100% emotional, without your temporal help I could have never survived high school! I'm barely surviving here without your temporal help! haha!  I guess it's my turn to learn the walks of life, the things you cannot be taught, but I thank you for teaching me how to think through difficult situations.  Your example helps me everyday.  I realized that everything I have learned over my entire life has prepared me to be on a mission today.  Brother Pledger, my seminary teacher at UCAS once talked about the Dead Sea scrolls and the Apocrypha that was contained on them.  Someone I talked to yesterday brought it up and I knew what he was talking about and my trainer was like, how did you know what that was?"  I laughed and said, " I went to seminary everyday and never missed."  Another lady brought up evolution and my brief knowledge in biology batted that down.  I know that God has his hand in every second of our lives.  All those hard rough times in school had its purposes.  I always wondered if UCAS was the right choice and not I know without a doubt that is where I needed to be for 3 years of my life.   The way you raised me is a fantastic blessing in the mission field.  I notice everyday how something you taught me affects how my success went for the day. Everyday I want to get something a little better. Went to the mall and saw other missionaries that were messing around . They say relax this is the islands not the states. Yes it is P-day but I believe there is never a time or place to mess around like that when you are representing the Lord.  It's tough to stand up for that when these are Elders that have been in the field longer.  Because of  experiences in my life  I know what to do in situations like that.  It has only taken two weeks for me to connect all these things in my life and I wish I could have recognized the benefits earlier and thanked God for them.  But I'm sure there was a purpose for that too, probably to teach me to recognize miracles.  There are miracles everyday.  All it takes is recognizing them to make your day or to build your testimony.  I realize that work is ridiculous for you dad, and your most likely sick of it I can guess.  I know that these small miracles can help everyone through the toughest of times through the annoying things in life and through the most joyous times in life.  We ask for blessings everyday, but do we recognize the blessings as they come?  Do we thank our Heavenly Father?  I've learned to ask for blessings, look for them, then thank Heavenly Father for them.  I've noticed that He opens up the windows of Heaven more fully when we do that.  I know this is the Lord's work and that the only way it can be done is through the power of the Holy Ghost.  I hope the family can feel the power of the spirit and notice the blessings that come from supporting His work, "Yea even a miraculous work and a wonder" that is taking place on the earth right now."

Love Elder Cottle

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January 2

Thank you Mom for the wonderful emails you send.  I am so grateful to hear what is going on in the family back home.  It has been blast having the holidays over here, but it feels like I should be celabrating the fourth of July! hahahaha. There was an earthquake this morning and heaps of aftershocks early this morning so we didnt get much sleep after 3am. But out in the boonies in Rangiora we are pretty safe.  Its crazy here because its hottter than hot one day and the next is cold and rainy like today. 

We were on exchanges with the zone leaders this week and I ended up staying in Rangiora barely knowing the area with Elder Triantafillakos.  This week we got two baptism dates for Evelyn and Raymond in February because we have to get them married.....we found 4 new investigators this week and taught over ten lessons.  We made all our goals except for refferals. Exchanges ended friday so i got my companion back.  The families feed us a ton and ive gained another ten pounds in new zealand alone. so i weigh 190lbs now.....Elder Tamale has some mean work outs so he is keeping me fit plus we ride our bikes fifteen to twenty km's a day and walk about ten. We are constantly on the move whether going from lesson to lesson or from door to door.  We have had some crazy talks with born agains and anglicans.  They all come after us for having quote "the cardinal belief that we can become God's" then they use Isaiah to say "there are no other Gods but me." Then they dont listen at all when we talk.  They are a waste of time past the initial seed we plant.  Its a crack up when we quote scriptures to them and then they say we are distorting the scripture when we explain it.  Like when I talked about Ezekiel 37 testifying of the Book of Mormon, this historian couldnt accept the concept that Isaiah speaks in symbolism and that the sticks of judah and ephraim are not just symbols of the tribes coming together but also of their books coming together as one. Everyone knows that but these guys dont listen. Its crazy!!  The people God has prepared are humbled, its very interesting to see the difference. You can tell who God has prepared because there is this urge to talk to someone on the street or to knock on someones house! We met Alan this last week and set an appointment with him, we explained breifly the Restoration and he just listened a soaked it all up and invited us back next week.  It is amazing the high you get when you get invited back.  The best lesson this week was with Evelyn and Raymond.  They told us not to talk about baptism or they would get angry with us.  We taught about the Restoration because the questions I asked them led to the fact that they needed a testimony of Joseph Smith, Priesthood and the Book of Mormon.  It hit spot on. Then Bro. Delaney, our member present, told Raymond that it was through this church that he can get closest to Christ and to God then asked Raymond if thats something he wanted.  By the end of the Lesson, the spirit was so strong that Raymond started talking about baptism then asked, "can i get baptized in white overalls and a white bakers hat?"  Then he laughed really hard then said, I want to be baptized but im not ready. So i told him that if He set a goal to get closer to Christ, and did everything neccassary, that His answers would come.  Then we set a date for Feb 11 for him to be baptized and the next saturaday for Evelyn to be baptized because they wanted it to be special for each of them.  It wasnt til after the lesson that we found our they werent married and were living together.  I cant but help think that those dates were inspired by God because a month and a half should be enough time to get them married or split.  It is crazy, everything i say doesnt come from me, its all our Father in Heaven.  It is completely directed by the spirit.  Everything we do everyday is directed by the spirit. God's hand is everywhere if we but look for it!

I can't wait to see what happens the next 23 months of my mission! It is crazy how much up and down there is out here in the field.  It's like we know when there is a down and ten people have shewed us away that the next person is going to listen.  It just happens that way.  There is a pattern in the mission field, many patterns actually.  When there is a down, there comes an up. When we go to a members home, we get fed.  If we meet a Maori, we get fed.  If we ride our bikes and walk, the more success we have.  If we get up at 630am, we make it everywhere on time.  If we study as hard as we can in the morning, we end up using what we studied throughout the day with everyone we meet.  I think newtons law, "with every action comes an equal or opposite reaction"  is not a man made physical theory, but it is an ETERNAL LAW for physical, spiritual, mental and emotional situations.  God's hand is everywhere.  I encourage everyone to look harder for Our Heavenly Father's Fingerprints this year.  As we put on the full armor of God, read our scriptures, and pray continually as the Lord has asked us to do, we will not only witness God's Fingerprints, but we will be apart of His Will and we will be apart of His miracles. 

I love each and everyone of you!  Thank you for all of your support, all of your care and all of your Love.

Love, Elder Cottle

Elder Tamale says to love him too.  :)

P.S.  Happy New Year! Set those goals and keep them! Have a great week, I love you all!

December 25

It was fantastic to hear Elder Cottle's voice on Christmas Day.  He is doing fantastic things in New Zealand, sharing the gospel, sharing his testimony and increasing his love for the Lord and the people of New Zealand. He is very much enjoying being there and loving serving the Lord. They were rocked by 3 big earthquakes on Christmas Eve and several aftershocks many above 5.0.   In his words, "When the first earthquake hit we jumped in a door frame and the walls moved like they were jello. Then we ran outside and Surfed the Earth through the bigger ones." Way to have a positive attitude Elder in the face of adversity.  The people there have been struggeling with the continuing earthquakes since September 2010. We pray for them.  On Christmas Eve Elder Cottle and Elder Tamale were able to help some members, Brother and Sister Ryan, put together 30 food boxes for families that had been displaced from their homes by the earthquakes.
Elder Cottle & Elder Tamale helping Sister Ryan
put together food Packages on Christmas Eve

December 18

Hey Mom, Dad and Kids!
I am settling in to mission life just fine.  I will be calling home on the 26th so it will be Christmas day for you over there. I will call around noon from a members home probably a land line so it will be 4 or 5pm there on Christmas day!  Tell Ty i love his guts and cant wait to hear from him. Im in the process of writing him a letter along with individual letter to all of you. They are supposed to be a Christmas gift, but i havnt mailed them yet so they will most likely be a new years gift! 
I am feeling fantastic,  I am having a blast in New Zealand, people are different but im coming to love them! Its a blast with Elder Tamale, he is so funny! Can't stop laughing with him, He knows when to work and when to play so we get along real well.  We taught our investigators Evelyn and Raymond about the Gospel of Jesus Christ last wednesday and we will have a baptisimal date for them next week sometime.  They came to church yesterday so that was awesome! We are going to start teaching their friend tony and we have twenty potential investigators that will be new investigators after this coming week!! So success is coming and it feels fantastic!! On saturday when I prayed us out, I asked that we might be guided to those that He has prepared to hear from us and that we might set appointments with them so we can teach the word.  That day we set ten appointments for Wednesday and Thursday this week. Marvelous answers to prayer come everyday.  Miracles are to be found every second of everyday.  I see God's hand in everything we do.  The spirit guides all day everyday.  Its amazing how much we repent to have the spirit with us.  One night i noticed i hadnt made my bed that morning so i asked for forgiveness for not making my bed.  I asked forgiveness for writing in my journal during personal study. We ask for forgivness for the littlest things and it is absolutely amazing that when we strive to be better we have a greatly increased power when we find and teach.  We are more submissive to the guidance of the spirit.  
In the week i have been here i helped a family move for nine hours and helped the branch president with his deck in his back yard. It's amazing how much i use the skills i have learned in my life in the mission field. It goes a long ways when you tell someone you've painted before, or built fences, or done drywall or stone or landscaping.  Not to mention its amazing how much i have used my higher education to answer questions and also how much i use thingsIi learned in seminary or institute.  Trevan needs to ask Bro. Pledger about the dead sea scrolls and the apocrapha because I remember learning about that in seminary and a potential investigator said he doesnt beleive in the bible because it doesnt contain the apocrapha and I remember Bro. Pledger talking about that stuff, I would really like to know what he has to say about that so after break Trevan if you could do that!!! It would be awesome!  Im realizing how big of a miracle it was to have the opportunity to go to UCAS i know that was the correct choice at that age to go to that school..I read a verse in 1 nephi 20 where Christ says basically dont complain about the afflictions you go through, because you have been chosen to endure those afflictions, you have gained the privilege to be put in the refiners fire to learn and grow to your potentials! What an amazing scripture that is.  As hard as things can be at times, they are always for our benefit, we have to look for the benefit.  There are Miracles everywhere, we ask for blessings everyday, but whats the point in asking for blessings when we dont notice the blessings?  I know that when we thank Heavenly Father for blessings, he can open the windows of heaven wider than ever before.  Its a constant process of ask, seek and thank. 
There was an earthquake in eWllington just before I landed. President Kezerian said it was a 2.8, couldn't even feel it.  Cant feel earthquakes unless its a 4 I hear. Congrats Trevan on finishing your 21 credit semester strong!! Thats how its done!! I admire your efforts, I could have never done 21 credits, I could barely keep up at 17.  You will be greatly blessed for enduring that fire! Im praying for snow too, but its summer here so i dont think that will happen! hahaha. But you'll get to go soon!! Shaelynne, keep hasseling mom and dad for that learners license! ahahaha, you need to start driving!! Congrats on the 1000 dollar mark in babysitting cash! keep working hard, all that cash will pay off.  Save half for college and a mission!! and never forget tithing! Brooklyn, I'm so happy about your basketball team, thats awesome!!! Im glad your dance performances were great! Im sorry you got kicked in the face, just make sure to kick her back next time :) Thank you for keeeping Welli warm and happy :)  I love all  of you so much!!! Have a fantastic Christmas, i'm looking forward to calling you!!!
Mom I love you so much and I am so grateful for all your care and support and love for me.  Your words hit straight on my heart everytime I hear them!!  Your words mean so much to me and I couldnt be more grateful for them. You are a prime example of a Christlike person.  You have given me everything and all I have done is take, take, take.  Being on a mission hopefully gives back to you!
Dad, I cant say much cus i got to get off. But thank you for being such a fantastic Father and teaching me the trades :) I love you so much!
Tell Ty and Jessica i couldnt ask for better friends and I Love em both!!
Love Elder Cottle

Pictures from the Wellington New Zealand Mission
South Island Christmas Party

 Christmas Skit  - What is going on Elder?

December 11

I was happy to get to talk to you last monday, it was good to hear all your voices. Thats cool you could stalk my airplane over the pacific :) I slept the entire flight! I am serving the Rangiora/Kaiapoi area north of Christchurch on the south island. Lots of farmland surrounding town.  Its absolutely beautiful here! My trainer is Elder Tonga Tamale from Tonga.  He only has six months left on his mission.  I showed up to the mission home Wednesday, slept at President Kezerians then got up 5am Thursday and made my way to Christchurch and my first area is Rangiora/Kaiapoi just north of Christchurch.  Driving up here i got to see some of the damage from the earthquakes.  First day in my area i got my drivers license and i drive on the left side of the road now haha. Its crazy, they had me fill out an application, pay fifty dollars and printed out my license.  People drive crazy down here.  I live in whats called a flat.  Its two bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room and only two of us live there. Lots of space. There is only a small branch of 60 members out here! crazy! Elder Tamale and I are doing alot of finding ourselves. Havent taught a lesson yet! There are a lot of less active members in the area that went practically inactive after being baptized so we focus on them.  The area book is a mess so we are working on updating that.  We went tracting saturday and got door after door shut on us. they open the door and say "no thanks" then shut it.  We knocked on this one guys door and told him who we were and asked if we could help him with anything in his yard, he said "THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO FOR ME!" and slammed the door haha. The only contacts we have made were on the street with people in their 20's.  There are alot of baptists and anglecins around the area.  I already got in a nice discussion with a baptist man named Clive.  He was working in his yard when we walked by and we said hi. he came to us and asked "so what do you want to talk about?" like he wanted to bash with us. I bore my testimony about the book of mormon, something he cant argue about, then i had him asking questions. Elder Tamale was amazed. So we taught a brief version of the first lesson right there on his lawn, he took a book of mormon and we said we would stop by again.  We have a lot of people to visit based on the area book info we have but we are in the process of updating it.  We have eight potential investigators we are setting times with for appointments this week. 
Everything is expensive down here.  And milk and gas comes in liters and milk cost double than a gallon in the states.  I told my mission president i came to work hard and he said he could tell, and was excited for me to show up to his mission.  Elder Tamale hates it cus i told him we have to clean the flat and whip the yard in shape :) It looks like bad and the car isnt clean either so thats we we are doing today. Monday is p-day. We are going into christchurch later to play rugby with the other elders.  Thanks  for all you support.  I love you and I hope everyting is going well at home.
Love Elder Cottle

December 8th

We wanted to let you know of our pleasure in welcoming your son into the mission field. We had a testimony meeting here at the mission home yesterday and felt the strong and fervent testimony of Elder Cottle.
We look forward to serving the Lord together for the next two years in this wonderful country of New Zealand. The beauty and strength of the land and the people is evident the moment you get here. We know all of your family will be blessed because of the faithful service of Elder Cottle. His testimony, talents and abilities will all be enhanced as he diligently completes his missionary service.As soon as he arrived at the mission home he offered to help prepare dinner. He was a great help. You've taught him well.

Warmest Regards,

President and Sister Kezerian
Wellington New Zealand Mission

Elder Cottle Left the Provo MTC Monday afternoon December 5th  and arrived at the Mission Home on Wednesday December 7th in time for dinner.  New Zealand is the furthest Mission from the Provo MTC about a 7,000 mile trip.
New Arrivals from Provo MTC and New Zealand MTC
 December 7, 2011

Elder Cottle with President and Sister Kezerian

November 26

Thank you for all the packages!  My district loves you! But more importantly I love you.  Thank you for the pies, the chips and salsa, the treats and for sending my iPod.  It means so much to receive letters and packages here.  I’m actually so busy that I can barely eat, much less write.  We learn everything so fast here and I am constantly stressed about my performance. I didn’t even have time on P-day to check my emails.  I still have two packages full of stuff!  Of course the pies, the chips and the martinellies is all gone :0 I wish I could write more but serving the Lord takes all day every day.  I love it so much and I just realized I only have 9 days until my flight to New Zealand!  Time goes by so slow but the days fly by.  My teachers keep telling me I’m doing extremely well.  But I know it’s not me, the Lord is guiding me everywhere, I’ve never prayed so earnestly in my life.  Every prayer I say is so long my district begins to laugh.  Especially when I bless the food everyone already ate. 
I know that the Lord is on my side and I know that it’s only through Christ that I can do what I am doing.  I know He felt all these things that I’m feeling and I know He knows what I’m going through and how to get through it.  Asking as I rely on Him I know I can get through the hard times.  I’m so grateful to have a mom who loves me so much.  I can’t wait to get out in the field but 'til then I’ll rely on the Lord.  Thank you for all you do.
Love Elder Cottle J

November 22

Dear Mom…and Dad J  I Love You!
Thank you so much for the package with all the goodies, the iPod and the Letters J  I sent a letter out on Friday that I hope you got.  My Branch President (President Peterson) told all the Elders in my District that were not to write any “Prospects” at home while in the MTC.  I am being exactly obedient so I can have the spirit strong so I can teach by the spirit which is really the source of conversion.  I am just the mouthpiece.  I have lead by example and have been approached by everyone in my district for being a good example and influence.  They all ask me about why the MTC doesn’t phase me and how I’m not homesick.  But really I am very homesick and stressed but I have been taught by two fantastic parents to work harder and focus longer and be more diligent in times of stress.  My teachers love how I buckle down and study.  My Preach my Gospel is written in and highlighted all over and it has only been a week here.  Brother Thurston and Brother Williams were senior missionaries and have great aspects on teaching the Gospel.  I learn more everyday about teaching approaches, gospel doctrine and how to love people.  Elder Nelson and I have three “investigators” now.  Nick Brown has been taught the first lesson and is committed to read the Book of Mormon.  Sergey Maroe from Latvia doesn’t believe in God but we taught him about faith.  We don’t have to teach him the restored gospel as much as we need to help him gain faith in God and understand the Plan of Salvation.
 I memorized the excerpt of the First Vision in Preach my Gospel and recited it to those two Investigators.  “Joseph Smith was a 14 year old boy searching for truth, he wanted to do what is right and know what religion would help, he searched out many churches and became extremely confused on what he should do.  One night he read the verse James 1:5-6 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upraideth not and it shall be given you.”  “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering for he who wavereth is like the wave of the sea, driven by the wind and the sea”  Joseph Smith decided he would go and ask God in Faith what he should do, for he knew God would not keep anything from him if he would ask in faith.  On a beautiful spring morning, Joseph went to the woods to pray as he knelt down to pray, He explained the following, “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun which gradually descended until it fell upon me…when the light rested upon me, I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.  One of them spoke unto me, calling me by name, pointing to the other saying, "This is my beloved son, Hear Him!” Joseph Smith did in fact see God the Father and His son Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove.  As a prophet of God he translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God.  If one reads the Book of Mormon and asks in faith with a real intent and all their hearts, they will know it is true proving the divinity of Jesus Christ and hence proving the integrity of the Prophet Joseph Smith as a prophet of God in the Latter days.  I challenge all of you to read the Book of Mormon and follow the instructions in Moroni 10:3-5.  You will know it is true because our Heavenly Father will give an answer to y out of the Books truthfulness through the Holy Ghost which testifies of all truth, of the Divinity of the Savior and the power of God.  As Joseph Smith said, “one will come closer to God through the doctrines of this book than by any other book.”  I know that is true.  I know that Jesus Christ showed us the way to return to our Father one day through example of charity, patience, kindness, love, service and through the power and authority of the priesthood.  Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for all our sins, griefs, pains, sorrows, happiness, heartaches and our spirit’s torment while in sin.  He was crucified for the sins and anger of the world and died that we might live.  He became the living water and the bread of life that if we but believe on his name, have faith in him and God the eternal Father repent of our sins and are baptized in His name, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end, we can return to the Kingdom of God and enjoy the blessings of immortality, eternal life and exaltation.  All this did the Savior of the world do that the plan, even that great plan of salvation might be activated so that we can repent, be forgiven, forgive and live forever in joy.  Christ is the way, the truth and the Light.  This gospel and all the doctrines ordinances and covenants are true and they are the way provided that we might live with our God and our Savior forever and ever.  In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I hope everything at home is getting along well.  Thank you mom and dad for everything you have done for me to prepare me for this critical time in my life and in the Lord’s work.  When I was interviewed by President Peterson, he told to tell him three things my mom would say about me and I responded, “That I am strong, I’m a hard worker and that she loves me.”  I began to cry uncontrollably.  I cried ten minutes after the interview realizing everything you have ever done for me Mom.  All the cares, notes, gifts, talks late at night, all the times you comforted me when I was sick, when I was sad and angry.  All the times you would listen to my complaints when you clearly had more to complain about.  All the times you were patient when I wouldn’t listen to you when all you wanted was to talk to me.  All the experiences you gave me and the love you rendered.  You are the Best Mom in the world.  Dad thank you for the Letter.  All the advice you have given me throughout life, all the hunting and fishing trips.  All the times you whooped me for my attitudeJ I love you so much.  Dad I am working hard here to become the best missionary I can be and the one the Lord intended me to be.  Thank you for teaching me to be a hard worker! 
Love you Mom and Dad J
Love your son,
Elder Cottle

November 17

Dear Mom and family,
I am having a great time at the MTC, it’s November 17th, second day here.  Mom I miss you and I realize how much I enjoyed being taken care of.  I have ran into Grandpa twice today and grandma was running!  She was late to teaching a class and Grandpa was taking his sweet ole time J  I need to assure you mom that I am being taken care of.  I was a needle in a haystack and as soon as I turned and left for the next two years I was taken to the District President.   I met with the branch presidency tonight and Dad, the counselor Bro. Wenn is a broker for Ivory Homes and has been in your office before.  His name is Derek Wenn.  I have my interview with President Peterson on Sunday.  I am working hard, writing in my journal, getting these letters off, learning and teaching in class, taking notes, studying at all free time during the day and serving my homesick companion as much as possible.  Elder Nelson is a good-hearted man.  I love him and am trying to get along the best I can.  I am the senior companion so I am about to call for companionship inventory.  Just wanted to send a second letter home for you to know I love you and what my health situation is.  I got a flu shot today so I would like some tums, I also need an insurance card and some healthy snacks because I don’t get fed after 6 p.m. and you know I’m hungry an hour after Chuck-A-Rama, oh I mean food on top.  I love you Mom, Dad and Trevan, Shaelynne, and Brooklyn.  My testimony of Prayer, Faith and in Christ continues to grow and I am ready for this mission.  Written with love and gratitude. 
Elder Braden Cottle

November 16

Dear Mom and Dad, Trevan, Shaelynne and Brooklyn…and Patches J
It’s 10:00 p.m. November 16th 2011, the first day of my missionary service to the Lord and His children.  The anxiety for this day has finally passed and I am in the zone now.  My confidence was tested today when we had a teaching experience workshop though.  I really learned what teaching the gospel will be like and I hope and pray I am ready to teach this gospel, the only true Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to the people of New Zealand.  I am striving with every ounce of me to become the missionary God would have me be a strong, humble, hard-working, steadfast and diligent agent of Jesus Christ full of charity and love towards his children on this earth.
 My companion, Elder Tanner Neilson from Centerville Utah is awesome.  He is low-key willing to do anything and easy to get along with.  We have come to know each other today and by doing so have found we have traveled through the same types of difficulties in this life.  Right now he’s wearing his shiny black pajama pants with a checker robe, haha.
Tomorrow we jump into rigorous training and I am excited to get into the work of the Lord.  Yes it will be hard but I am able to accomplish anything with the hand of the Lord in mine.  I haven’t much time to write at night so it will take a few to give full length letters but my intention is to write one a week while here at the MTC and I hope you all understand. (including closest friends) you know who you are J  I want to be fully invested in the Lords work.   Learning His way that His gospel must be taught and in the next three weeks pounding doors with my companion and our Savior.  I wanted you all and especially you MOM to know I am okay and I am thinking of you and am grateful for all prayers.  This Gospel is true, I know Jesus Christ lives and that this is God’s work and His glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  I love you mom!
Your son, Elder Braden Cottle