March 14, 2011
A lot has happened. We had a great Zone Conference on the Book of Mormon. We spoke about how we have been “treating it lightly”. We talked about how we needed to apply it to every aspect of the work: finding, studying, teaching. I have learned how to be a powerful missionary through the Book of Mormon. It really is the foundation of the church, or the keystone. If Moroni is wrong, if we pray with a sincere heart and a willing to act on which ever answer we receive we will recieve it. What is even more amazing is saying that I have tested it. I have tested it with my heart, with my feelings. I have also tested it with my thoughts and my actions. It is the most correct book on earth and I testify that a man will get nearer to God by applying its teachings than by any other book. I promise all that read, ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon,with a sincere heart, that they will come to know of the reality of Jesus Christ.
I am obligated now to write to my beloved friends who have not read it with a sincere heart, or in other words a willing heart, a submissive heart.I will speak boldly. I will speak boldly only because I know that I have not been decieved. I have a clear conscience before the One and True God. I know in a very real sense that Jesus is the Christ and that the Book of Mormon was translated by an imperfect man who was called of God. If you too want to know if Christ was the Son of God I invite you to read it. But before you do I invite you to soften you heart and allow God to work with you through your feelings. It is most unlikely that he will appear to you, it is more likely that he will require you to exercise faith and patience.
I invite those who are not reading it every day to repent and start. If you know that it is God’s word than you must believe that God’s prophets speak for him. They have commanded us to read from it everyday.
I invite those who are reading it every day to follow President Eyrings advice and read until you fell the spirit, and then read a little bit more.
The Lord has required that Elder Lush and I work with our members and the branch a lot. This has required a fine balance because our purpose is to find teach and baptize unto repentance. In the process of helping the branch Elder Lush and I have been creative. We have been taking branch members with us to meetings with investigators. We have been teaching the members to help eachother and themselves. The Branch President has been a great help. His inspired guidance and our ideas have created a synergy.
At the same time Satan has made his attacks. I should have know that it would be on the families here in Ashtarak. There has been a lot contention. we have been teaching more about love. Elder Lush has been sick and we have been busy trying to help the branch stay strong but the Lord has blessed us with investigators. He puts these people into our paths. We have spent zero minutes find on the streets. The Lord has blessed us with a lot of work.(blessed because sacrifice only brings blessings)
We have an investigator staying at a members home. Her name is Anush. she is 18. she lives about an hour away. She is supposed to leave on the 15th of this month to go home. Elder Lush and I are “bumbed”. She was so solid. She reminded me of the beattitudes in 3 Nephi 12. She had such a unique but bright spirit. She arleady believed in it’s truthfulness(the Gospel). She feels truth, when most people think and fit truth to their logic. I fasted on Saturday night because my companion was sick. I was out of energy, the work seemed to be falling apart. Our most investigator with a baptismal date wasn’t answering her phone. Anush was leaving. I started my fast, got up off my knees and called 25 of our members. I read a scripture with them that the Branch Presidnet wanted them to hear. Then, I invited them to find the commandments written in Alma 34:38-41. This lifted my spirit, but I still felt like the missionary work was falling apart. The next moring we went to church. Anush showed up to church. None of the other investigators did. I jsut decided that the Lord would answer my fast in his own time. The day contiuned on with long, but important meetings. Then at 7:00pm the Branch Presidency and us(Missionaries) decided thtat the the people of Karin Village needed a visit. Taht wasn’t what we planned for but that is what we felt needed to be done. So Elder Lush and I met with a lady named Anna(Not really her name, more on this meeting later) while The Branch Presidency visted two other homes.
When we left KArin Village Elder Lush and I had two new investigators and Found out from our Branch Presidnet that Anush was going to stay until she got baptized. The Lord really did answer my prayers and quickly. It is amazing to seek what he can do.
The story that woudl really sum up these last two weeks was my meeting with Anna (Karin Village). I have come to have a deeper testimony of the Gospel and what is required for salvation. So I have been striving to give others a more clear understanding of Life and the life after death. I have been asking people what the purpose of life is, what does God require from us to find happiness and salvation. I have been bold.
Alma 31:5 And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.
Enos 1:23 And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction.
LAst night we met with Anna(in Karin Village) (Background:Elder Reece, Elder Lush and I had been meeting with her a lot but she hasn’t been making any changes. She asked us to heal her son. We told her God would not allow us until she had the faith. The Last vist we had she poured some beer into her crippled son’s glass to drink.) I asked her what she wanted in this life. She said,”for my son to walk” I asked “what do you think that God requires of you, for your son to walk again.” She said, “Keep his commandments.” I asked , “What is stopping you from keeping his commandments?” she said drinking. I said that if you start coming to church you will begin to find the strenght to overcome that habit. I asked, “Will you come to church?” She said “yes, my husband will drive us there” I asked and “what will you do if he doesn’t?” She replied ” I can’t go.” I inquired Why? she said “Its cold”. Then I began to speak words that I felt the Lord wanted me to say. I asked, “[Anna], do you want to stand before God at judgement day and say you didn’t come to church becasue it was cold. Do you want to stand before the man who was crucified for your sins and say you didn’t come to church becasue it was cold?” She said no and I promised her that she would feel his strength and see his blessing if she came.
I am here to bring others unto Christ through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance and Batpism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. This is my work and my glory along with my Savior, Jesus Christ.
This is my prayer that every man women and child will come to understand and feel that they have a Loving Heavenly Father that knows their names, their needs and their deepest desires.
Love Elder Cook