"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!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

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

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