Sunday, March 21, 2010

Letters from Meredith...

Hola, family and friends! I can't believe I've been in the MTC for four weeks! I'm pretty much halfway through. Hooray! First off, thank you Brittany, Eimi, Katy, and Grandma Vesa for your letters! I loved them! I'm going to try and write to you all today. This past week has been really busy! I finished my medical training last Wednesday. It's nice to have it done. I won't know my specific assignments until I get down to Paraguay. I got this huge first aid kit and I'm way excited to have it! Last night, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was our devotional speaker. We didn't know it was him until he walked in. They didn't put his picture on the projector until right before the meeting started. We were all suspicious that it might be an apostle, then ten minutes later, they reminded us to stand up if an Apostle walks in. Suspicions confirmed! There was such a wonderful spirit in the room when he walked in. All the whispering died down and everyone was completely quiet. His talk was amazing! He reminded us to be humble and use the resources we have been given in our teaching. He told us that we might feel inadequate, but we can testify of Jesus Christ and that's all that matters. Spanish is going really well. We play lots of fun games in our class to learn the vocabulary. Our favorite is "Sequeman Las Papas," which is like Hot Potato. We always end up laughing so hard we're crying. The other day, we played and Elder Te'O hit Hermano Taylor in the head twice. It was hilarious! Great district bonding moments. Last night, Hermana and I taught at the TRC. We had a great lesson about the Plan of Salvation and the Word of Wisdom. We taught Napoleon, a native Spanish speaker who has been volunteering at the MTC for seven years. After sharing two scriptures with him, he proceeded to teach us a 45-minute lesson about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. It was crazy! I felt drained when we walked out. I learned a lot from him, though, but it was a little bit of a disappointing teaching experience. Coordinating sister is going well. I don't do a whole lot, but I've really tried to be a good example to the other hermanas and help them with anything that they need. Spanish speaking is coming pretty well. Hermana Cooper and I have really tried to step it up and only speak in Spanish. We do pretty well. Our sentences are kind of choppy, but we understand what we're trying to say. I think my first few months in Paraguay are going to be a rude awakening as far as the language is concerned, especially because they speak in a different dialect. Well, my time is almost up. Thank you for the letters and support! I'm so grateful for all of you. Thank you, Jeanice, for always forwarding my e-mails. I love you! You're the best! Oh, Emily G., if you're getting this, I would love to hear how things are working out for you. Any fourth floor friends who are reading this, I saw Cindy and Lorretta at the temple today and thought of you all. I miss you and hope all is well! Yo se que la iglesia es verdadera. Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador, y nos ama. I would love to hear from all of you! Have a wonderful week! Con mucho amor, Hermana Meredith Cozzens

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Letters from Meredith...

Hola, amigos y familia! This has been a crazy, busy, great week! First of all, thank you Katy and Grandma Vesa for your letters! My time today is cut short, but I will write you back as soon as I can. Last Wednesday we got two new sisters in our room! They are Hermanas Read and Smart. Such nice girls! We all get along really well. They've both been sick, but getting better now. On Sunday, I was called to be the new coordinating sister in our branch. The old coordinating sister was in the district who left yesterday morning. I was really sad to see them go. You develop really strong attachments in the MTC because you see these people every day! Anyway, as coordinating sister, I'm pretty much like the zone leader of the sisters. There are only four of us, and we're all in the same room, so it's not too hard to keep track of everyone. I do have a lot of meetings, though. I was happy that my branch president thought I was up to the tast. My companion was called to be the music coordinator in our branch. We were both really excited about our new callings. It's fun to be a leader! I think we're entertaining for the new hermanas as we attempt to speak our broken spanish every night in our residence hall. Yesterday I went to a medical training meeting for nine hours! It was a VERY long day, but I learned a lot about hand sanitation, food preparation, and water purification. There was only one other young nurse there. She was going to Nicaragua. The others there were senior missionary couples.The doctor who did our presentation actually created this awesome water that has a built-in filtering system. Each missionary gets one. Later in the afternoon, another doctor took me and the other young nurse into another room and told us about some of the diseases we might see, such as bot fly bites, dengue fever, and other things. He promised us that our missions will use us well and not to be overwhelmed because we will be guided by the Spirit in all we do. I'm still not sure exactly what I'll be doing in Paraguay. They're training me in nursing and teaching, so I'll be able to do both. I guess my mission president will decide where he wants me. Things in my district have been pretty good. The elders get tired easily, but we're all plugging through. Last night, Elder Bruce C. Hafen came and spoke to us about gaining testimonies. I love to be able to hear so many general authorities so frequently. He told us that we have to have the desire to have a testimony and to be worthy of it if we want it to come. He said the three components of testimony are reasoning (seeing experiences that testify of the reality of God and Christ), feelings, and experiences. It was a very uplifting talk. Oh, I've met two of Taylor (Elder Cozzens's) teachers here. They all spoke very highly of him and joked that they would recognize our last name anywhere. Haha. Tonight I have to go to two more hours of nurse training. I got this awesome first aid kit! So neat! Because I had the nursing training yesterday, I missed teaching an investigator in the TRC. My companion and I had practiced our lesson twice last week, though, so I felt good about it. I really love teaching. I love discerning people's needs and concerns and trying to find out what I can teach them that will help them and bring them comfort and peace. It seems so simple, but it's definitely a learned task. Spanish is going well, too. My district has a goal to "Speak Your Language." We try and speak Spanish as much as we can, inside and outside of class. Hermana and I actually do pretty well. Some of our sentences are pretty choppy, but we have fun. Well, I better go. Thank you all for your support! I appreciate hearing from you. I don't have much e-mail time, but you can write our go to to send free letters as long as I'm in the MTC. I would love to hear from you! I love you and pray for you daily! Love, Hermana Cozzens

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Letters from Meredith...

Hola, friends and family! My second week has been wonderful. I feel like I've gotten into the missionary routine. In our large group meeting a few days ago, we watched a video clip from Elder Holland where he told missionaries that our missions are "real life." It was a good reminder that this is what I'm supposed to be doing and that everything I think I may have left behind will still be there when I get back. What a wonderful week. Hermana Cooper (my companion) is absolutely wonderful. We get along so well! Last night we taught at the TRC for the second time. We did two Spanish contacts, then taught the first lesson in English for the second time. We're getting really comfortable with each other and our lesson went very smoothly. We asked really good questions and I felt like our "investigator" really understood what we were telling her. It's amazing that no matter the language, no matter how many stammers and stutters there are, any testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith will always invite the Spirit. I know that the Lord's hand is in this work. The other day we were practicing our lesson for the other hermanas in our zone and one of them asked a question. We kind of stumbled for an answer, then the most random analogy came to my mind. I shared it, and it seemed to really help clarify what we were teaching. Things like that happen every day and it's great! We've had some wonderful speakers this past week. In Relief Society on Sunday, Sister Ann M. Dibb spoke to us about the importance of virtue and chastity. It was so wonderful! Last night, Bishop Richard C. Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric spoke to us about preparing to be a good missionary. He stressed the importance of working hard and being obedient. Hermana Cooper and I work really hard, and I have seen how that blesses us in our contacts, lessons, and classes. Being at MTC is wonderful. Being an Hermana is even more wonderful. The week before we came in, the MTC President gave a talk about treating the sisters with respect. Consequently, sisters get their trays taken after meals and get to go first in line. Royal treatment! Spanish is coming along really well. We've worked a lot more on grammar this week. It's definitely humbling me and teaching me patience with myself because I can't expect to understand it from the start. I love being able to pray, testify, and carry on a simple conversation, though. Well, my time is short. Thank you all for your good thoughts and prayers. Because I don't have very much e-mail time, I do most of my writing through letters. I'm so grateful to be here and for the wonderful examples you all set for me! Have a wonderful week! Love, Hermana Cozzens

Sunday, March 7, 2010

two quick notes:

1) Direct from Scotland..... Yollie's back!! :) We are happy to see you home! :)
2) Congrats to McKell for a)graduation b)passing her boards and c)landin a job! Good luck- you're going to do great!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Letter from Hermana Cozzens! :)

Hello, family and friends! This keyboard won't enter, so this is just going to be one LONG message. My first week here has been GREAT! My companion is Hermana Cooper from Tooele, Utah. We get along so well! It's like we were made to be companions with each other, which we probably were. We read each other's thoughts. There were supposed to be two other sisters in our room, but one decided not to come and the other one (we guess) never arrived from the Philippines. There are six of us in my district; four elders besides me and Hermana. They're so funny! Definitely nineteen years old. Elders Hendrickson and Wallace are going to Quito, Ecuador (which is also where Hermana Cooper is going) and Elders Te'O and Rood are going to the Toronto Canada East Mission. We're all speaking Spanish. I'm the only one in my district and my zone going to Paraguay. I heard that two elders left the MTC to go to Paraguay last week, but I think I'm the only hermana. There are only two other hermanas in our zone, so when we got here last week, we were quickly dubbed, "Las hermanas nuevas!" All the elders in our zone are so friendly. They always wave and say hello to us. The MTC is such a friendly place. Everyone is smiling and happy, and you know it is right for you to be here. Last Thursday night, we met our Branch Presidency. President Greenwood had personal interviews with each of us, and when I talked to him, he promised me that many, many people in Paraguay would open their doors for me. He told me that I am where I need to be right now. I felt that as soon as I got here, but it was so nice to have it confirmed again. My teachers are Hermano Mortimer y Hermano Taylor. (I roomed with Hermano Taylor's cousin Maren last semester and took care of their grandpa when he had his hip replacement. It's been nice to see a familiar face, and he's an amazing teacher!) Spanish is coming along really well. On our second day, we learned to pray in Spanish. You can always feel the Spirit when you pray, no matter the language and no matter if the grammar isn't completely correct. Spanish is a beautiful language! We've also learned how to bear our testimonies in Spanish. It's still a little rough, but yesterday we had to go out and do ten contacts (as a companionship, bear our testimony and share our message) with ten other companionships in our building. It was neat to translate for each other for those missionaries who don't speak Spanish. So many people told us that our Spanish is really good for just being here a week! It made us feel so good! We work really hard. Every day we read 15 minutes from El Libro de Mormon. It has helped us so much with our pronunciation. Yesterday we went to the TRC for the first time. That's where you and your companion go into a room with a volunteer from the community and practice contacting, testifying, and teaching. We had to do 3 contacts in Spanish, and then teach a 30-minute lesson about the Restoration. Our first contact was a native speaker (go figure), but he was so kind to us! He would just smile if a word didn't come out quite right. Hermano Mortimer said he's been volunteering for years. We taught our lesson to a young couple with a baby (they're members, I'm sure, but they played the part of investigators). We've been working on getting to know our investigations and gearing our lesson toward meetings their needs, whatever those may be. We had kind of a rocky start, but our lesson was so good! I felt like we both knew exactly when it was the right time to bear our testimonies. We came away feel good, but knowing some things we need to work on. Hermana Cooper and I work so well together. I'm so glad we're companions! Sometimes investigators need to feel that God loves them individually, or other times they might need to be taught about eternal families. Teaching by the Spirit is wonderful. A few days ago, Hermano Mortimer read us a scripture in the Doctine and Covenants that taught us that if we have faith and open our mouths, the Lord will fill them. I can definitely testify to that! Saturday night, we had to practice teaching lessons to Hermano Taylor, who was playing Tomas, an investigator. Hermana and I spent ten minutes getting to know him and figuring out where he was on his spiritual journey (now a very familiar phrase), then we had ten minutes to prepare a lesson for him. When we went in the second time, we committed him to read the Book of Mormon and promised that it would bring blessings to his life and answers to his questions. We were a little hesitant, but we also committed him to a baptismal date. It's hard for me to be that bold on the first visit, but the Spirit really guides you. We all had tears in our eyes as Tomas told us that he felt this was right and agreed to the baptismal date. Hermana and I were so excited, even though it was just role-play. As we stood up to leave, Hermano Taylor told us we did a good job and that he really felt the Spirit during our lesson and as we extended the commitments. We were so happy! We floated on a cloud as we went back to our residence halls. All the talks and devotionals here are amazing! In Relief Society on Sunday, Janice Kapp Perry spoke to us. It was amazing! She had us sing a medley of her Primary songs and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room by the time we were done. All our leaders have encouraged us to use the hymns in our lesson. Last night, Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke to us. He promised us that singing the hymns would bring the Spirit faster than any other single thing. It's so true! We sing in Spanish at the beginning of all our classes, and it's wonderful! My new favorite hymn is "Juventud de Israel," or "Hope of Israel." Well, I better wrap up. Thank you all for all your love and support! Katy, I got your letter! It was my first! Thanks so much! A letter will be coming your way very soon. I hope you are all doing well. I want you to know that I know this church is true. Being a missionary is a wonderful feeling. I love seeing my name tag in the mirror and knowing that I really am a missionary! I know the Lord blesses us when we obey His commandments. I know the teachings of our Prophet and other church leaders come from God and that following them will bring blessings. Hope to hear from you all soon! I think my sister forwarded my mailing address, or you can e-mail me. I'll be checking it on Wednesdays. Love you all, Hermana Cozzens