"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!" ---D&C 128:19

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Without Snow

Hey family! Glad to hear that Thanksgiving was good for all of you guys. I'm excited to try that smoked turkey when I get home.
Just to let you guys know I got your Christmas package. Not Grammy's yet, but I'm sure it's on the way. Elder Hardy and I really liked the hats that you guys sent the 12 days of Christmas thing in. We have started a new tradition where during nightly planning we wear them.  I also have to wear it when I do nightly phone calls. We also had fun decorating the tree and our apartment with Christmas things. Not sure how you can have Christmas in 90 degree weather and with popsicles instead of hot chocolate but that's what we are doing here. I'm excited for Christmas, I promise I have not opened any of my presents. (Even the one that it is easy to tell that they're contacts) :)
This week had several very cool experiences. I will start with our success with Bro. "B."  Bro. B is a Melchizedek Priesthood holder that has been less-active for a long time. At least several years. We found him a couple of months ago and have been consistently visiting him with members and also just ourselves. At first he wasn't showing any signs of coming back and a lot of times we wondered if we should stop and try and focus our efforts somewhere else. About a month ago he started saying he was going to come back to church and two weeks ago he came to just sacrament meeting. Then this week he actually took us to church and stayed all three hours which meant we didn't have to bike haha. He is now committed to coming to church every week! It has been cool to get a testimony of working with less-actives. A lot of the times our efforts don't seem to mean much. I can't tell you how many times we said to ourselves we may need to focus on someone else. Something kept us coming back though and now we are starting to see the fruits of it. I am thoroughly convinced that the majority of less-actives out there still know the gospel is true. The problem is hardly ever with the doctrine, it usually finds its roots in feeling at home. Sometimes they leave because they just need to go somewhere where they are welcome. Of course we are not done with Bro. B.  There are still things for us to do to help him, but we are starting to see fruits, and we are excited.
This and other things are experiences that are the biggest testimony builders for me of two important truths. The first one is that God is fully prepared and willing to give us second chances. He is chock full of them. He knows he is not dealing with a broken car, or a broken toy, but with broken people. People that need Christ's Atonement. If we make just one step toward him in an effort for help he stretches out his hand and takes ten steps toward us.
It also has built my testimony of the Book of Mormon and the word of God. The only thing that kept us from dropping an investigator this week was the fact that he was reading the Book of Mormon. Not just reading it, but asking sincere questions about it. We knew that one could only read that for so long before the doctrine of Jesus Christ would begin to sink in. After talking with our investigator this week a little bit  it was clear to see that was exactly what happened. I know that through God, we can change. Permanently.
I hope you all have an amazing week! Love you guys!
Elder Cooper

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