It's been crazy trying to get used to this new area, I went from one of the biggest city areas in the mission straight to the boonies of Missouri so everything is super spread out and there is a lot of driving. We started teaching these awesome kids this week out in a town called Kinderhook Illinois, population 240, and they live on a HUGE corn farm! Their names are Devon, Tallie, and James. Devon is 12 and he is the smartest kid I think I've ever met. We met them on Friday and were able to teach them and Devon said "Alright so how long before we can be baptized?" He's so excited. Then I talked to him on the phone last night and asked him how praying and reading the BoM is going and he told me he read about how the Nephites taught the Lamanites the gospel and then baptized them and how excited he was to be able to do that too, and that when he was praying he felt a super peaceful feeling that made him have a big smile on his face and he didn't know why. It was the coolest phone call I've ever had I just wanted to hug him through the phone!
We also got to go up to the Nauvoo pageant this week kind of. We weren't allowed to stay to the pageant unless we went with a member because President Jensen didn't want us out driving home super late, but we got to go and walk around and talk to people during the country fair before the pageant and meet members and nonmembers. And hopefully we'll get to stay up there either this week or next week and actually be part of the pageant!
We have also been listening to the Bill Carpenter story this week in the car as we drive. (You guys should listen to it it's an awesome talk) Bill Carpenter is a guy who was studying to become a catholic priest but then became a Mormon and came on a mission here to Iowa. He has a super awesome conversion story and some super cool experiences out here in the missionfield! But one that stuck out to me was when he was teaching this lady named Lovetta. They went and taught her and she ended up being baptized. A short while after she was baptized she received her Patriarchal Blessing, and in that blessing she was told that she would have joined the church 25 years ago if the missionary who got his to that area would have gone on his mission, but he didn't accept his call.
I always heard that the Lord prepares you for those that you will teach on your mission, but when I heard that part of his story and then as I thought back on the people that I have been privileged to teach on my mission so far, the spirit testified so strongly to me that that is true. That I have been prepared for certain people. That the missionaries around me have been prepared for certain people. That those people have been prepared for the Gospel. And most importantly that the spirit is going to lead us to those people.
This gospel changes lives. The only source of true and lasting happiness is the gospel and the the values and principles it teaches us in this life. That's the entire purpose Heavenly Father gave us these things is so that we could learn how to live life to the fullest! How to be able to enjoy our families and the experiences of life in the best possible way and how to avoid those things that will destroy all that.,
Love you family,
Love Elder Cox