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!