Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Letters from Meredith...

26 de julio 2010
Mi querida familia y amigas,

Hola! Como estan? Ojala que ustedes estan disfrutando su verano! I hope you´re all enjoying your summer! I can´t believe it´s the end of July. When we´re busy, the time flies!
Katy, thanks so much for your e-mail! I´m so glad you found a job! I hope you love it! I never had classes in a portable, but I can imagine it would be a grand adventure!
Laura, thanks for the e-mail! The pictures are so cute! I loved seeing them! Are you going to photograph the wedding as well? I hope you get to work in a great place next year! Oh, I love the movie Emma! It´s one of my favorites! I´m totally up for watching it in a year!
Melissa, I got your letter last week! It was so fun to see Russell because I´ve heard so much about him! You look so cute together! I´m so excited for you both! Keep me posted on wedding plans! I would love to see pictures!

I´m loving the mission right now! We´ve had such a wonderful week and seen the Lord bless us so many times! The most exciting news is that Gloria was baptized on Saturday night! It was a very simple, but beautiful, program. Her son, Osvaldo (he was baptized about a month ago), baptized her. We had quite the adventure trying to heat the water with these little heaters that were made for a bucket of water rather than an entire font! After about an hour of Hermana Sargent and I dangling two of these heaters from extension cords into the font, we decided it wasn´t doing much good. So the water was pretty cold for them, but they were really sweet and didn´t complain about it. Osvaldo went into the font and then held out his hand for his mom. They were both pretty nervous. As he raised his hand to the square and prepared to said the prayer, he looked at Hermana and I and smiled and took a deep breath. I was so proud of him! He has come full-circle in the past three months. It was a very tender moment to watch him baptize his mom, and then hug her after she came up out of the water. I was so happy to be a part of it! Hermana and I sang an arrangement of ¨I Am a Child of God¨ and Gloria also bore a beautiful testimony. There weren´t a ton of people there, but I think Gloria liked it better that way.

We have two investigators with baptismal dates right now: Renato and Antonio. Yesterday after Sacrament Meeting we were disappointed and worried because Renato wasn´t there. Just as we were saying how we were going to go visit him after church, he walks in! What a blessing! He has soccer practice on some Sunday mornings, so he came a little later. He´s such a good young man. At first he was a little unsure if he wanted to be baptized, but last Tuesday night when we visited him, he told us he wanted us to mark TWO chapters in the Book of Mormon for him to read instead of just one. We couldn´t believe it! His date is set for August 7th and we´re really excited about it! There´s a lot of planning that goes into baptisms, but it´s worth every bit of it!

I taught my first lesson in English since the MTC this week! Our first night together, Hermana Sargent and I were contacting and met Bryson, a guy from Oregon who is living here with his family. He´s part of a church/mission group that is translating the Bible into tribal languages and then teaching these people about Christ. He told us we could come visit him and we had an appointment for Saturday morning. Saturday morning we were doing companion study when the phone rang. I answered it, not knowing who it was, then he said, ¨Hi, this is Bryson.¨ I about fell out of my chair! We NEVER have investigators call us! Or it´s really rare. Anyway, Hermana heard and we were both so excited! He told us something had come up for them that morning, but asked if we could come back that afternoon. Of course we quickly cleared the agenda for them. Anyone who calls and actually asks us to come can have an entire afternoon of our time! So we went and visited with him and his wife, Mindy. They´re here indefinitely because they don´t know how long it will take them to translate the Bible, and they have to learn Spanish first. They are really nice! We (another blessing) found an English Book of Mormon on one of our bookshelves and had that with us, but didn´t end up sharing it with them. We shared with them the first lesson, kind of struggling to speak in English. It´s so funny how my mind has converted to Spanish! Bryson then asked if they could share their message with us. He basically summarized the Bible for us. After Hermana and I left, we both said how we felt the power behind our testimony. I could see the understanding in Bryson and Mindy´s faces as well. I know they felt something. We invited them to church as well. We´re going to go back and visit them again this week. It might not be their time to hear the gospel, but we´re planting seeds! And I´m sure they enjoy having someone to talk to in English!

We had a funny experience with Roberto this week. He believes firmly in evolution because he has the Encarta program on his computer and that´s the basis of all his knowledge. There are pictures of fossils in this program and so Roberto doesn´t believe that Adam and Eve were created by God; rather, he believes we evolved from monkeys. He believes in the Bible, and we read with him in Genesis where it says that God created man in His image, but he still doesn´t believe it. Saturday morning he was waiting for us with pictures of fossils pulled up on his computer. It was kind of comical. We just testified to him that we are created in the image of our Heavenly Father. We challenged him to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon on faith and then pray about it. He didn´t come to church yesterday, so we´ll see what happens this week. He´s such a good man, but the tendency to believe everything that is scientific is hard to overcome!

Well, that´s about all the news here. I have a strong testimony that the Lord knows each of us and has a plan for each of us. He is at the helm of this work and it will be done in His time and in His way. I love you all and hope you´re doing well! I would love to hear from you!

Con amor,
Hermana Cozzens

Friday, July 16, 2010

I hope they call me on a mission...

We don't really have a side bar for missionaries so I thought I would put it in as it's own post! :)

Santhi's son, Jordan Martin, has been called to serve in the New York, New York mission!

He will be speaking at their church services in the building located at 245 S. 600 E. in Springville (Southwest of the Jr. High) on Sunday, Aug 8, 2010 (9am). If you have any questions feel free to e-mail Santhi @ martin6@email.com

The open house will be on the same date at noon.

Congrats to the Martin family! :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Letters from Meredith...

5 de julio 2010
Querida familia y amigas,

Hola! Happy 4th of July! I hope you all celebrated well and ate tons of hot dogs and hamburgers! Barbecues here in Paraguay are quite different, but nonetheless extremely delicious. Paraguay was playing in the mundial (the worldwide soccer competition in Africa) on Saturday, so the members we ate lunch with grilled meat and sausage and it was riquisimo! Mmm! Aubrey and Skyler, I have an interesting piece of news for your dad. Yesterday I met one of his mission companions! His name is Brother Privette and he and his family are from Atlanta, Georgia. His first wife who died of cancer was the sister of the bishop in the ward where I´m serving, and Brother Privette brought his new wife and family here to meet all their cousins and other family members. He recognized my name! What a small world in the church! He had fond memories of his mission in Spain.

Things are going really well! Osvaldo and Javier are champs. They received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday! Woohoo! During the Sacrament, Osvaldo had the task of standing in front of the door during the prayer. He was so proud! I´m so proud of them! They have overcome so much to get to this point! They´re very excited to bless and prepare the Sacrament. There are a lot of activities for the youth coming up, and both Osvaldo and Javier are excited to go. Gloria, their mother, is going to be baptized on July 24th! Hooray! She´s come to church three times, and tonight we´re going to officially begin teaching her. She´s seen some difficult times, but I admire her strength and her love for her children. Yesterday her phone went off in the middle of Sunday School and she bolted up and out of there so fast! She didn´t realize that the tile in the church makes it echo and talks really loud anyway, so I´m sure all of Asuncion could hear her conversation. My companion jerked her head at me to go out and tell her to be quiet! Osvaldo left his class and told his mom that she needed to go way away from the church so nobody could hear. It was actually really funny! They´re a unique family, but are wonderful.

Church yesterday was wonderful! It was testimony meeting, and the Spirit was very strong. Many members testified of how they have seen the hand of the Lord in their lives this past month. I think if we are constantly asking ourselves that question, we will be very humble people. We had four investigators in church yesterday! Our best yet! Gloria, Roberto, Antonio, and Renato are our progressing investigators. Roberto is the man who has cancer. The other day we went and visited him and he had a gun sitting on the table. My companion picked it up and Roberto quickly told her to put it back down because it was loaded! Whoa! He took it all apart and very proudly told us some military stories. He is so good! When we picked him up yesterday for church, he saluted us, shook our hands, and proceeded to complain the whole way to the church because he hates wearing ties. Oh the trials in our lives! But he was a good sport about it. He seemed to enjoy church.

Saturday Hermana and I had a good companionship inventory. I´m pretty sure she´s going to go to another area next week when changes roll around. I don´t want her to go because we have a good rhythm established, but I´m completely willing to do the will of the Lord. She told me that I´m ready to have a local companion to ¨go solo¨ without her. Her confidence really inspired me. Sometimes it´s overwhelming because there´s so much to learn and keep in mind all the time, but my prayers have become more fervent and if there´s one thing I´m sure of, it´s that Heavenly Father answers our prayers and helps us with the things we need. I know He gives us hard experiences in our lives to help us learn and grow. It´s amazing for me to look back on these three months and see how much I´ve learned and grown. Sometimes I can´t believe it, and I definitely can´t imagine my life without the mission. I think back on my life before the mission, and it was great, but there are so many things that can only be experienced on a mission. I´m so grateful for this privilege!

Last week we didn´t find a ton of new investigators, but we did meet Andresa, a wonderful woman in her sixties. She has one living child out of seven pregnancies. What a trial! She also told us that her daughter lost her first child fourteen years ago. She was so cheerful, though, as she told us that through it all, the Lord blessed their family and she knows that Heavenly Father knows and loves her family. What an inspiration! We shared the Plan of Salvation with her, and the Spirit was very strong. I hope we can continue teaching her! On this note, I greatly admire the faith of the people here. They can see that their trials and difficulties are ultimately for their good. I have a testimony of this as well. I know the Lord won´t test us above that which we can handle, and our trials will stretch us and help us learn and grow. We are better for them!

Well, that´s all for this week. Changes are next week, so I won´t have another chance to write until Thursday. I hope you´re all doing well and enjoying the summer! I would love to hear from you all and hear how things are going! Taunia, did you find a new job? Are you and Kirk doing well? I think of you all often and am so grateful for your good examples to me. This Church is true. Heavenly Father knows and loves us.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Cozzens

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Random moments here on the 4th floor...

So, I'm sitting here at my desk working on some orders and Ellen just rolled past doing an "interpretative" pole dance....
we work with the funniest peeps! :)
Y'all are GREAT!!