Sister Alyson Cook
The first half of my mission was spent doing normal missionary work. I was knocking on doors, I was talking to people on the streets, and teaching in peoples homes. When I came back out the second time, the new normal became calling formers, messaging people on facebook, and teaching online or over the phone. It was quite the transition, and it definitely took time to get the hang of, but for me personally and compared to the rest of my mission, I was the busiest in isolation. There's a lot of factors that go into being 'busy' as a missionary (like the area, people in the area, ect) but I can say with only gratitude in my heart that the reason I was so busy was because the Lord was hand preparing people to receive the Gospel. It may have taken something big like a [insert whichever 2020 crisis you would like to cite] to make it happen, but He made it happen if it meant that just one person would benefit from it.
Hello everyone! Its been a while. for that, I am sorry. But! I have a good reason. We were just so incredibly blessed in the area where I served that we were just so busy with the work so writing my weekly fell by the wayside. So I wanted to send one last email to all of you to update you on what went on the last couple months. I am currently sitting at home in Bunkerville Nevada, and have completed my mission. So I guess this is an update and a wrap up.
I guess the first thing I want you all (Yinz) to know is how aware the Lord is of all of us, and is willing to cause all sorts of ruckus if it means our wellbeing is accomplished. I saw this in my own personal life, in the lives of those I've taught, and predominantly in the recent case of this Covid pandemic. I was able to witness significant miracles almost daily, reaffirming my testimony on the matter.
The first half of my mission was spent doing normal missionary work. I was knocking on doors, I was talking to people on the streets, and teaching in peoples homes. When I came back out the second time, the new normal became calling formers, messaging people on facebook, and teaching online or over the phone. It was quite the transition, and it definitely took time to get the hang of, but for me personally and compared to the rest of my mission, I was the busiest in isolation. There's a lot of factors that go into being 'busy' as a missionary (like the area, people in the area, etc) but I can say with only gratitude in my heart that the reason I was so busy was because the Lord was hand preparing people to receive the Gospel. It may have taken something big like a [insert whichever 2020 crisis you would like to cite] to make it happen, but He made it happen if it meant that just one person would benefit from it.
Amazingly, I had a lot of 'one persons' come into my life. I'd like to take a moment to talk about a couple of them. For the sake of the length of this email, Ill assume you all read my past weeklies and are aware of all the magnificent people that I met 5 months ago and will just include the new to you peeps.
Anita. You may have heard of her, she has been fantastic since day one we called her. I have some great news! She was baptized on October 17th! Her testimony grew like a wildfire, and she shares it with us any chance she gets. Her story is an interesting one. She sat next to a return missionary on the plane and learned about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She thought it was interesting, and took her card and forgot about it. Well, covid happened, and Anita was really hit hard by it all. Then one day, she was scrolling on facebook, and saw a post about our church. Everything she heard came flooding back. She reached out to us and we talked 3 times a week until she was baptized. Her favorite point about the gospel is the fact that God talks through prophets in days of old as well as today. The circumstances of her finding the light of the gospel were specifically tailored to her by God, and each domino was meticulously placed. The cool thing about Anita, is that although I taught her for close to 6 months, I only ever saw her in person twice. Once when we accidentally ran into her while dropping off a Book of Mormon for her and then on her actual baptism day.
Jimmy (not actual name) is another person who comes to mind. He has been through a lot in his life, and moved to Pittsburgh as a new start to get closer to his children. Well, covid turned his life upside down. His once prestigious job offer was withdrawn upon arrival in Pittsburgh. He was left desolate, his kids he moved back for refrained from contacting him, he was at a pretty low point. Like Anita, one day he was scrolling on Facebook and came across a post from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In his own words, He said that the post "radiated light and love" so he clicked on it. Jimmy later was baptized on October 3rd. His life was filled with a sense of hope and joy he didn't have before. Although some things have improved in his life, He attributes the blessings to come from God. He has always been an amazing example of faith to me! Never did he turn his back on God. In fact, his first instinct when things got hard was to turn to God with full purpose of heart. Which is how we were able to get in contact with him in the first place.
There are so many more people that are currently being taught, but this is getting lengthy. Just know that there were so many people that we were able to come in contact with that were such precious souls of our Father in Heaven.
If you were to ask me what my favorite part of missionary work is the first part of my mission, I would probably say something cliche like 'the people' or something like that. Now, I have a better answer. My favorite part is watching someone's eyes the moment that the Gospel made some sort of impact in their soul. That moment where something clicks inside of them. You can watch it as it happens! Their eyes sparkle, and they sit a little straighter. If that moment happened away from us missionaries (which it often did) there was no need to worry. The residual sparkle was just as good. What that sparkle meant is that they were starting to gain a testimony and grasp the marvelous concept of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the beginning notes of the song referenced in Alma 5, when the prophet Alma described the effects that feeling the Saviors Redeeming Love can have in our life. (verse 26)
These moments mean so much, because I have felt to sing the song of redeeming love many times over the last 2 years. My life has changed in ways I've never thought possible. I was overwhelmed by the grace that my Savior has shown me. I understand more the plan that my Father in Heaven has for me- and for all of us for that matter. I know the purpose of this life we have on earth. I recognize the love that my Father in Heaven has for me, and just how far He was and is willing to go for me. I know that Christ is my Savior, and has paid the ultimate price for me. He has suffered complete and utter anguish on my behalf. Knowing all these thing causes my heart to sing, and the only thing better than that feeling was hearing others start singing the same melody that you are.
I love you all! Thank you for joining me on this crazy adventure of mine.
Please reach out to me either on this email, firstname.lastname@example.org, on facebook, on messenger, heck whatever platform you like! The invitation is to everyone. I would love to talk with you!!
Love Sister Alyson Cook