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