Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Cheer in Little Caesars?

Hello fam, I had a good week and an awesome holiday. How about y'all? I enjoyed chatting with y'all. It was different for Christmas but I love change and different perspectives. 

I told the family this but we split up a fight that was about to break out in the middle of little Caesars on Christmas Eve. Two Black Chicks were mad at the store manager for how long the wait was for their pizzas. They tried to get the little white girl store manager to go outside to fight but we stopped her from going outside to fight. After that we called the store owner to tell him what really happened so that no one would get fired unnecessarily. The other people that wanted to fight were calling to complain and You can only imagine what their side of the story would have sounded like. I have learned out here that all problems that occur in a humans life is because of selfishness and pride.
 Some one might ask though, "What about when someone else inflicts pain on you or takes something from you?" "You didn't selfishly do that!" First of all the actions of people doing harm to you can always be traced back to selfishness and pride. The things that people do to you do not have to affect you in a negative way though! It doesn't matter what happens to you in life but what matters is what you do about it. Don't fight fire with fire, selfishness with selfishness. What goes around comes around. 
No one can rob justice whether it be you delivering it short term to an enemy or karma in the future. Learn the difference between justice and revenge because one is doing the right thing and the other is being caught up in selfishness and your own pride that will only result in a continuing cycle of bias opinions and unjust retaliations. Justice, trust in God, Karma and accepting reality such as your own faults will help you role with the punches in life. Realizing problems and weaknesses will only lead you to being able to strengthen them. Everything in life is only borrowed and the only thing that you can take with you is your spiritual mind of experience. Don't be selfish by thinking that anything belongs to you. It is a harsh topic and feels scary to talk/write about but it is undoubtedly true. Stay Close to God and Deal justly and you wont have anything to worry about. 

Speaking of dealing justly with folks...
We had a meeting after church with the branch council (PEC) and we were there to offer our opinions. The meeting was going great and the topic of the entire meeting was focused on Christ and helping others. The discussion of a service project came up about helping out the Syrian refugees as a stake and combining with other wards to help out. Three people in the room raised their hands and said they had reservations about it until they knew the details of the project. I didn't think much of this, I was thinking that they were concerned about carpool and technical difficulties. They then said that they weren't sure if they wanted to support such a people that want to kill us. The spirit of the meeting was instantly gone after that. We disagreed and shared an example of working with Alligators (an animal that is dangerous)... I said that you keep your distance from dangers but that doesn't mean that you stop feeding them and caring for them. I'm not telling you to trust EVERYONE but I'm telling you to be smart about it. They are still human beings and not all of them are wanting war and killing.One of the people who shall remain nameless said, "I think that we are dealing with things that are a lot worse than animals Elder!" I kept my cool and the branch president quickly changed the subject. The spirit was gone from the meeting and turned into a complaint department after that. We kept quiet for the rest of the meeting and just listened. The president called us into his office after and asked us for our opinions on the meeting. We told him that Church meetings aren't a good place for Economic opinions. He explained how we were completely correct about the situation and he told us that the people that are skeptical to help with the project are scared to help and that is because they are scared to die. Our lives are here for but a moment and are only borrowed for such a short time so why not give our lives for others? Charity never faileth!  He explained how One of the twelve apostles addressed the church saying that we should help them.



We fight for the freedoms of ALL of God's Children. having that said... you cant please everyone.

We had a good week though teaching and working with some wonderful people. We were able to give gifts and celebrate the holidays. I love life and I hope that I can one day offer more than what is asked of me towards this wonderful life. I know that times can get hard but don't stop running. I know that to some readers my paragraphs may seem bold but It is what I know to be correct. I will do my best not to be a hypocrite and try to empathize and relate to other people's circumstances .... that in itself is hard to do. ONE STEP AT A TIME... That is all that God asks of you. Please reply your opinion of these perspectives

I love you family and friends.

Love Elder Cooley
God is just and you cant rob justice, therefore you can not rob God. Stay close to God and all will be well. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Love y'all and Happy Holidays!

This week was good. I just keep chugging away. I cant complain because I realize how good life is. This week we had a Christmas party in our branch and it was very nice. I got to enjoy some good food and good company with some folks. They didn't have a Santa or games there because they just wanted it to be a nice dinner and social gathering. The Wednesday before that was the primary Christmas party and they asked us to help out with that. We made ornaments and stuff like that. I included the ornaments in the package that I sent for Christmas. I'm not to sure if it will make it on time but we can cross our fingers.

This week at one of the baptist churches an awesome thing happened. It was during their Christmas mass that a Santa Claus walked into the doors, he walked down through the pews up to the front at the prayer alter, knelt down at the feet of Christ and prayed and when he left he put a small wrapped gift at the feet of the savior. They said that the place was dead silent and that the spirit was strong. It made everyone think that it isn't about the presents; It is about Jesus and Giving. I like those kinds of stories.

This week we were checking out of at the Lowes cash register outside by all of the gardening supplies. The lady there was very nice and we asked how she was. We asked her if she was ready for Christmas and if she was excited. She gave a nice response but seemed a little unconvincing but then she asked about our name tags. We had a nice conversation with her about Christ and how Christmas isn't about the presents but it is about Christ and Giving and what is truly in your heart. We read Luke 2 with her and she asked if we would pray with her. We held hands right there at the cash register and she said a prayed with us. She was in tears after and she said "I needed that, especially in this tough season" "God is good, he sends good people to help me out." Christmas is a tough time for a lot of families. Christmas actually even has a higher suicide rate. It hurts when you cant give back or receive like you want to. But that doesn't have to be the case... If you have the right perspective and the right things in your heart then Christmas can be the most beautiful time. To do this you have to see Christmas for what it really is. 

We will be hanging out with a few families during Christmas and Christmas Eve. We are skyping at brother Stanley's house. He has 3 tablets and all the time in the world for us to use them. I got Jesse's information for me to be able to set up a video chat on google. I look forward to talking to y'all. 

After our Christmas party we sat there and watched this drunk lady scream her head off in the middle of a grass field near our church haha. It was funny to watch but i feel bad for those people. Drunk people are some of the most powerful people out there. They are so tender hearted and they are all or nothing people. They are strong willed and most of them are dreamers that are highly motivated. Think of all of those awesome qualities that can be found in a person except for they are being used for the wrong things... like drinking. something drastic can happen in their lives and they become problem drinkers to drown out the pain. We meet a lot of Hispanics that are alcoholics because they have left their family to work and provide for them but it becomes lonely and painful for them to be away. They are amazing people that are trapped and probably dont want to be there in the first place.

I just want to end my email by saying this: find some way to contribute beyond yourself this season. There was a study done with a bunch of little kids this year. They were told to go into toys r us and choose any gift that they wanted. Once they came out of the store they were told that they have two options... they can either keep the toy for themselves or give a gift for someone else that wont have presents to open on Christmas. 92% of the kids went back in to chose a gift for someone else instead. Giving makes you feel good. Try to be child-like this season and remember what it is truly about.

Love y'all and happy Holidays!
Elder Cooley

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Please send some Chirstmas lovin

Hi Ana fields Friends,
I'm sending out a blog S.O.S-
All Elder COOLEY has asked for Christmas is letters & support...
So, if you can find a minute to drop him a Christmas letter filled with holiday cheer and lovin you'd be helping make his Christmas wish come true.
Elder Shane Cooley
1001 E. Dale st.
#1010
New Iberia, LA 70560

Merry Christmas!
May God bless your way!
Momma COOLEY

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hunting with Blow Guns

Hey fam. I have had a good week. It felt a lil slow again but thats alright. We did exchanges and we continued to go and visit with people. Our friend Nick has stopped contacting us. We had a talk with him and we had to be straight forward with him. It does no one any good just beating around the bush. He had sent us a text about killing himself and so we straight up told him "Let us help you". We told him "you need help.. When A man that was in the Army that has a non quitting attitude texts you about suicide quitting then there is something that is not right with this picture. We will keep trying to see him but Im not sure how effective it is to force a horse to drink the water that you have brought it. Falling- getting up and becoming stronger... I just hope our friend can get up and become stronger than ever. Only God knows how far he will fall until that happens... hopefully we can be of help.

We went around to a lot of different churches in our area that were of all different faiths. We are handing out a gift that includes the living Christ, The Proclamation of the Family, and a Picture of Jesus Christ. It was very fun and we have A LOT more to do... Bible Belt. We walked into a big church called "Trinity Baptist" and there was a dude that asked us right when we walked in if we wanted to be baptized haha. "We can do it RIGHT NOW!" There are some good people out there. Bless his heart.

I taught a few of the elders in my district how to make blow guns and they love them. They are shooting them all the time and are trying to shoot squirrels every time they go out to check the mail. The only difference is that would eat them if we actually get one haha. One of my buddies out here is from Canada and is a big hunter. I want to get into that when I get home.

It sounds like a mad house in the Cooley casa these days. I hope Grandma is doing good and is happy. Tell her that I love her. It must be just like old times though with a bunch of little kids running all over the house. It inst a mad house.. we have just forgotten what reality speed is like haha. That is the blessing that I would want to see for my family "for things to always be moving and an adventure". Risk taking, never settling and going forever. 

I got an email just barely from Joel Cardenas and he said that he just received his mission call. Sister Cardenas's son is called to serve in the Mexico, Monterrey East Mission. He is stoked out of his mind and has come a long way to get where he is now. I am excited for him.

I cant think of anything else to write about. I just hope you know that I am doing fine. I have found that living on my own has really helped me a lot in life and has changed my perspective of life a lot. I am grateful for my life and all that I have been blessed for. I look forward to chatting on Christmas coming up soon. I hope y'all have an awesome week. God bless.

Elder Cooley











 


Monday, December 7, 2015

short letter

How goes life? I am doing great. I have completely changed my mindset towards life because of my mission. I view my trials differently and I know that a different view causes me to handle my trials differently also. Life is good and it is what we make of it; We have control. 

So we haven't been making much progress with nick. He is in a life of cocaine and up to no good. We got a text from him the other night at 2:00am that was talking about killing himself. We prayed for him and went to visit him the next day. We told him that he needs help and asked if he would let us help him. He refused to attend any type of classes or clinics and says that "its no problem" or "I can quite on my own and with the good grace of God".... we discussed how God needs a willing heart first before we can truly change. The first step in 12 step programs and A.A is to admit that your addiction has control over your life and that you need help. He is totally blinded to his problem with drugs and wont admit it. I have seen that a lot; it is a hard life of justifying wrong actions and lying to yourself. We don't go into his home or anywhere with him because it wouldn't be good to be with him in the wrong place at the wrong time with the police. We will still talk to him outside but he doesn't have enough leverage to get out of the rut that he is in right now. Keep him in your prayers.

Jose is still doing good and is reading the Book of Mormon. 

My Spanish has gone down since being in New Iberia. We do a lot of English work and Spanish every now and then. I can hold a conversation no problem with a person but I can tell a difference in how well I can understand them when we are doing more English work. We have a new guy from Honduras that is attending our English class now. He was busy one night and didn't have time to go to the church so we did an English lesson in his apartment complex's gym room haha. Whatever works right.

I walked outside this morning and there was a dead snake by our stairs haha. It got cold last night and I guess he didn't make it back to his home in time. It has gotten more cold this week and the leaves have changed color and some trees leaves fall off. You don't really see any alligators anymore because they stay under the water for the winter. 

We went and visited our Big Mama Miss Pat this week and had an awesome discussion with her. She said that she loves it when we come over because she is able to talk to someone and have a time for spirituality. She is a street minister and does a lot of good for people. She helps us out a lot too. 

My shoulder has been doing good. You can still see a difference in my shoulders but I am working diligently to build them up. I dont really have pain in them but my goal is to make them strong. I am keeping track of my health and I am doing good. God bless.

Hahah my comp and I have set a rule in our car that we don't allow Christmas Music to be played until the sun has gone down. We set this because it still feels like a Utah summer down here still and it feels like playing Christmas music in the summer during the day time... nothing worse than that. We play Christmas music when it gets dark for the Christmas lights and it cools down for the Christmas spirit.

I Think that we will be skyping at Bro. Stanley's house on Christmas morning. I also think that we will be spending Christmas eve down in New Orleans. We will find out before so that everything will work out smoothly. I don't want anything for Christmas. I know Mom doesn't like that answer but I want it that way. All I want is letters and support. 

I know that this is a short letter but I cant think of anything that is interesting enough to write about hah.

I love y'all, have a wonderful week.
Elder Cooley

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Beauty of the Uphill

I LOVE mountain climbing. There is something so healing and thrilling about standing on top of a 11,000 or 12,000 ft peak, and knowing you walked every step to get there. I love being on top and looking out across the variety of surroundings, seeing other peaks, tiny houses, lakes and a multitude of clouds. For me, it is so healing.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a family who was constantly climbing peaks. I began climbing local peaks around my family's home in layton in elementary school, the Middle Teton at age 12, and haven't stopped since. I think what I enjoy the most about climbing, even more than summiting, is a moral lesson I always learn somewhere along the trail.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I, along with my parents, decided to climb Lone Peak, via the Jacob's Ladder trail. I had been somewhat warned before hand, that this trail was steep, and it was steep for awhile. I don't think I truly understood what this warning was all about until the easy trail branched off into an intense almost vertical trail up the side of the mountain, the Jacob's Ladder part.

My calves and quads and lungs were all burning, screaming at me "Oh please, please stop doing this to us!" "Why are you even doing this?" The breakfast I had eaten at 6am was now long burned off, and I could feel my blood sugar dropping. I felt myself wanting to give up, and saying along with my burning muscles, "why am I even doing this?" "Is it even worth it?" I think I even said, "I hate this."

But, giving up isn't in my nature. So we pushed on, and eventually made it past the really hard steep stuff. Then the climb became quite fun and adventurous for me, scrambling over big boulders up cliffs and along beautiful gray and green granite. I fell in love with the mountain. And oh, I cannot even say enough about the view from the top. It's a skinny rock on top, but a fellow climber convinced us (I required no convincing) to take jumping pictures from the top. I found myself thinking, "This is the best hike ever."






It wasn't until the following Sunday that I found the moral lesson I had been seeking from the Lone Peak climbing trip. It came as I pondered my mission, and the time that has elapsed since. On December 1st, it will be one year that I have been home. For me, that is so hard to believe. It seems like just yesterday, but also, like a lifetime ago. So much has happened, so much of me has changed.


After reaching the top of Lone Peak, coming back down was quite fun, and equally beautiful. I found myself noticing so much more beauty that surrounded me, that I had so easily missed on the way up. How did I not see these beautiful leaves? How did I miss that exquisite meadow? I was too focused on the pain, too focused on how much I hated what I was going through. As I thought about this, how I walked through the meadows and the changing leaves the first time, not even seeing them, I realized I had also done this in my life since coming home from my mission.

After returning home, I kicked and I fought and I cried and I pleaded for all of those bad experiences and feelings and pain to just be over. I didn't understand why I was going through what I was, or why anything had even happened. Mentally and physically I just wanted to give up, I was exhausted.

But giving up is not in my nature. So I kept pushing on. Now I am at a place, walking through the changing leaves and the beautiful meadows and realizing how easily I had missed God's hand in my life this whole past year, leading me to the beautiful place I am now. I have been richly blessed with experiences that have changed me. I have been showered in an abundance of love from my family and people around me. I have had many opportunities to reach out to others who too were struggling. But I was too focused on the pain to notice the small miracles. Too consumed with the dark to appreciate the overflowing of light. Sure, the path was very difficult, as was Jacob's Ladder, but there is so much beauty in the uphill. And if we are not careful, we will miss it all.

Now, I am not saying I have reached the top of my peak. I am sure there are MANY more peaks, many more hard experiences and difficult situations to come, but I have learned a powerful lesson. God is so aware of us, and He loves us enough to sometimes give us trails that go straight up the mountain. It may be more than we think we can bare, and without Him and his love, perhaps it would be. But I know he can and will help us push on. He can help us open our eyes and see the beauty that surrounds us, even when the trail is steep.

Don't give up. Even though the trail seems endless. Keep pushing. You are surrounded by love and beauty, even in the uphill.




Monday, November 2, 2015

Rain, Bullets and Eternal Prospective

Hi fam, I had a pretty slow week. It rained a lot and flooded a lot. We were on tornado lock down for one of those evenings so we were pretty bored. I have been enjoying this rain a lot. I just wish that I could go hiking in it or something. I have been wanting to go fishing in the bayou right next to our area but my comp inst very interested in that kind of stuff. I learned how to rig my line for Alligator gar and hope to one day try it out. There are so many opportunities down here that a lot of people don't get anywhere else... I don't want them to pass me by.

So this week I got a good laugh. We went to this old guys home and it seemed like he wanted us to stay and chill with him because he kept asking us if we wanted to see all kinds of his different toys. Once he was done showing us his HAM radio set up he asked us if we wanted to see his guns. We said of course and he turned around and started opening this huge safe that was in the room (the man cave). He started showing us all kinds of guns from WW2. After that he showed us all of his assault rifles and some long range rifles including a sniper rifle that he built from a kit. After that he showed us all different varieties of hand guns. When I thought he was all done with them he turned around facing his closet with a small hand gun and cocked it back to see if it was empty. After looking at the empty chamber He let go of the top of the gun causing the firing pin to come down and BAAAAM!!! hahahha he set a round off in his house straight into his floor. He jumped in the air with surprise and looked at us with a look of shock on his face. He then looked down at the hole in his floor and rambled off a few cuss words haha. The bullet was all ready in the barrel and he couldn't see it. I was sitting there not knowing what to think of the situation and trying not to show any body language that I found it somewhat amusing. His wife came into the room screaming at him hahah.. Get rid of that stupid gun!!! We are lucky he didn't shoot one of us or himself but hey.. all you can do is learn from it now haha. He was done showing us his toys after that and drove us home.

We went on exchanges this week. I was in Baton Rouge with the Zone Leaders because I also had a Doctors appointment there. It was the most amazing thing that I have ever seen. I walked in late to my appointment because of traffic and I didn't even wait in the lobby. They put me in a room right away and the doctor came in 5 minutes later. Louisiana fast! The doctor had a young Med student that he was training so he was going out of his way that day to show him how to get the job done and do it right (made all the difference). He checked me out and sent me over to a different appointment that was a physical therapy place for the LSU baseball team on that same day and time. I went over there straight from the doctors and they were awesome there... SO much better then the last place I went to. The owner there was such a cool dude and I had a lot of one on one time for him to help me out. They put me on a machine that diagnosed my muscle strength within 15 minutes of me working out on it and He gave me what I needed to do for workouts and a lot of things that I have been wanting to hear. I know that I am blessed and that god is constantly giving me tender mercies. My shoulder is fine but I am trying to build it to its full potential. 

I am sorry to hear about the loss this week of Uncle Vernal. It made me think of a young man that we prayed with this week who had lost the person who raised him as a kid. He was crying and didn't want to let her go. I am glad to be here as a testimony of an eternal prospective. I taught on the Atonement this week at church also and I said some similar things. Every person strives to better themselves in some way either big or small. We as imperfect human beings have that characteristic. God views us as foolish and short sighted at times because God has an eternal prospective and knows what is best for us when we do not. We get ourselves in debt every day with our actions but an eternal life offers us the opportunity to change and to grow. This is the message of Jesus Christ (The Atonement).

I have had a good week and am holding in there. I hope y'all are doing well. Love ya!
Elder Cooley

Friday, October 30, 2015

8 months!

How is life going? Mine is good. I think back to my past and I wouldn't want to change anything about it. I want to become good at focusing on the simple things of life. It is especially hard to find those small things when life is hard. Anyone can feel happy and motivated when their bills are paid, Their jobs are good and life is going well. We know that that isn't the case though... Life is going to throw a brick at you. The race isn't given to the quick and the swift; The race is given to those that can endure. I want to get better at not only enduring but enduring it well... trust me there IS a difference. 

We taught an awesome new family this week. I have only talked to them once but it went great as far as I could tell. It is a part member family and the husband was very close to being baptized because of an awesome experience that he had with his family. We Invited him again to read the Book of Mormon and be baptized. I told him that since I have been on my mission I have never felt more shaken in my faith and felt so weak. People say that we are supposed to be out here as spiritual giants but I have never felt so small. Inst it supposed to be the other way around? I told him that that the closer you get to God the harder it will become. Those walls are there to show see how bad you want it. When those walls get rough and times get hard you are going to need something to desperately grip. What do you have to hold onto? It is going to be the things that you know from your heart that will get you through. Dont let go of those experiences that you had with your family and that you know are true. I also believe there is a redemptive power that making a choice has and the actions that follow that decision. That is because There are so many oppositions and different opinions in the world, that if you don't know where you are going then you will end up some place else; that some place might not be where you want to be if you are not careful. It is important to decide.. Just decide.. Where you want to go. That foundation of beliefs (the things you KNOW) will weather you and your family through the storms. Remember those powerful experiences.

I am at 8 months now! time flies. I have goals for before I come home. I have been amazed looking back at my past and I do not know what to expect for the next 8 months. Life is full of mysteries and experiences. I don't know what to expect but I know that I don't feel like the same person. I have a new perspective of life and how I want to react to situations. I look forward to the future and the opportunities that it holds. I received a call from Fernando this week. It meant a lot to me. It is hard to see your progress out here and has gotten me very discouraged. But he told me how much It meant to him for me being out here. He called the mission the front lines of the world. He is now clean from drinking and is planning on getting remarried with his wife since she left him earlier because of drinking. He said he is driving a bus for a church now during the week and every Sunday. He has strong faith in God and I am very happy for him.    

It has been raining a lot these past few days. I guess the cane farmers are really worried about their crops right now. Especially if a hurricane comes through then all of their crops will be lost for this year if they haven't all ready plowed yet. All that you see around here lately has been cane trucks, cane tractors and clouds of smoke from burning the fields after harvesting. It always smells like camp fire... I love that smell. I love the rain and stuff like that. 

We went to the temple the other day to do sealings for a man whose wife died. He is very happy to have the names done and we also had some names from our ward mission leaders family. I saw a huge group of people from my favorite area in the mission also. It was awesome seeing them. It was the same family that I made the knife for. 

We do a lot of things throughout the week but It is usually the same old. Let me know if you want me to write about anything specific. I love you fam and friends.

Elder Cooley

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Letting Go of What Defined Me.

Vegetarian. Runner. Shy. Marathoner. Funny. Pescatarian. Anorexic. CrossFitter. Loving. Intense. Paleo. Healthy. Crazy. Determined. Beautiful. Smart. Lazy. Tense. Gay. Tall. Short. Fat. Skinny.

Who are you, and what are you letting define you? Is it your hobbies? Perhaps it is your eating habits or the music you listen to or the way you dress? Have you ever been labeled as something, and allowed that label to become your identity? If you had a reset button, that cleared the air of everything anyone ever thought about you, the opinions that were long standing, and the labels that never seemed to wash off, would you push the button? And after the slate was cleared, how would you define yourself?

I recently returned home from an LDS mission. I've blogged in the past about my experience about returning home early due to medical conditions, more specifically, anxiety related health conditions. It has almost been a year since returning home and a lot has happened. I'be found myself amid ups and downs, hills and valleys, sorrow and bliss. I've spent a lot of time working with a counselor to challenge the anxiety triggered behavior and overcome the challenges that I face. My most recent break through came as I realized that I did not want to be define by old labels any more.

Soon after returning home from Indiana, I jumped right back in to CrossFit, a passion that I developed 2 years ago. I was going every day, sometimes spending two or more hours there each time. In the beginning, the gym was therapeutic for me. I felt myself growing stronger and it was a great distraction from my anxiety. Little did I know that eventually it would become more of the problem than the cure.

At the end of August, I thought I had a stress fracture in my foot. I didn't want to go to the Dr, because I knew they would just tell me to stay off it, or worse, put me in a boot. So I kept going to CrossFit, and the foot got worse and worse. Finally I made an appointment to get an x-ray. The morning of the x-ray came and I considered canceling it. I told Charles (my husband) that I already knew they were just going to tell me to stay off it. He kindly replied, "well, meg, don't you think you should stop doing CrossFit for awhile and stay off it?" The simple suggestion of missing a week, let alone a day's workout made anxiety swell within me. "I can't!" I replied, "I just really can't do that!"
As I went throughout that morning, I thought about that anxiety response that was so quick to jump to the surface at the mere thought of not doing CrossFit really concerned me. I knew something needed to change.

I hopped on my laptop and looked up articles and blogs about people who quit CrossFit and why. I stumbled across an article that would change my whole outlook and propel me into recovery. I found it on the heyeleanor.com, and it was titled - Quitters: What I learned quitting the thing that defined me.

I found myself crying as I read this woman's story, realizing how closely linked mine was with hers. Her words resonated within me. She had been doing this intense workout for so long, and found out that she had to have her thyroid removed. She documents her experience with realizing that she needed to quit CrossFit and listen to her body. I liked this part the best...

"I’m much softer and gentler with myself now, but I’m still mouthy and tough. Quitting CrossFit helped me remember that our identity isn’t tied up in the external stuff we do — it’s how we think: about ourselves, about the world, about the people we love. And it’s about how we treat them and ourselves. Quitting CrossFit gave me the time and space to find my compassion for myself and others, and it’s made my whole life better."

I realized after reading her article that I had most of my identity, and most of what I thought about myself tied up in external things. This made me sad, but even more so, it made me ready; ready to change, ready to actually live life in a way that creates happiness in myself and promotes happiness in others.

So I quit. That very day I cancelled my membership to my favorite CrossFit gym. It was so hard. I had all sorts of fears surface. "What if I gain weight?" "What if they all think I'm a quitter." But the worst was.."Who am I without this?"

It is so easy to get caught up in the trivial things of life. What we look like, where we exercise, what we weigh, what we eat, our jobs, our cars, our clothes. We allows such little things to define us, and often route our choices and our lives. Why do we do this to ourselves? We are made for so much more! We have a far greater purpose...we know we do.

After quitting CrossFit, I've realized that I've allowed a lot more than just exercise to define me. So little by little, I am taking small steps in defining myself in a meaningful way. I don't want to leave this earth and have people say, "Dang, she was good at the clean and jerk." or "She always ate so healthy." no. that seems like such a waste of a life.

I want to define myself with how I love others. I want to define myself with how I love God. I want to define myself with how I serve others each day. I want to define myself with how I never give up. I want to define myself by my ability to listen and empathize. I want to actually live and experience and enjoy life. I regret the trivial things I've been caught up in for the last 8 years of my life, but I have learned so much through this journey, and been changed. I've learned so much about letting go, and holding on to the things that matter most.

So ask yourself... what are you letting define you?


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Live a strong life

Hey fam! 
I had a good week this week. I know that I say that every week but that is because I cant complain. I say that I cant complain because I have complained in the past and I feel like an idiot after every time that I do. I want to be strong and live a strong life... That does not include complaining then haha. I know that an attitude can make all the difference in an endeavor. I hope that I can stay consistent with a good attitude. I say consistent because that is how great things come to pass. Plus I have seen missionaries in the past that are not consistent. They are VERY nice and happy to other people and during our meetings, but once they get to the apartment where no one else sees them but their companions they turn into completely different people... People that you don't want to be around. I would have to say that one of my biggest goals in life is to be MYSELF all the time and be very real. There is only one Shane Cooley and to me I believe that that is powerful.

We had transfers this week and I am staying in New Iberia with the same companion. Mom has heard that I am more shy... I don't think that is true. I just know that the more you talk the less people remember. I think that people speak sometimes just to hear themselves talk and I feel that is where most difficulties, Misconception and arguments start. People need to be more careful with their words...that includes me. Be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to contention. 

I am working on finishing the Book of Mormon. I have been doing pretty well with it. I have put into action my goal setting again. I have no clue why I haven't been doing my goal setting like I used to. I remember in school that one day I realized something needed to change with my grades, My attitude and the direction I was going. I started setting goals and took my grades from a 3.0 to a 4.0 in one term. My grades were worse than the 3.0 previously but it all changed after that 3.0 due to goals. I have started setting goals again in every walk of my life. I do a review of them every morning and night and I go over 4 strengths that I did right and one weakness to improve on out of that day. I hope to stay consistent with this- It takes willing determination. (faith)

We met with a man the other day that is in our ward. He worked for NASA and Is a brilliant genius! You would never guess it though because he had two strokes and he lives one of the most humble lives that I have ever seen. He is still very smart... scary smart haha. On my mission I have been amazed at how not to judge to quickly. this one time With some members we had a waiter that seemed very mean and impatient at first but he ended up being the BEST waiter that I have ever seen. I made a comment to my friend "well... maybe this job isn't for everybody" But I was totally wrong about him.

One step at a time we can accomplish great things. Thank y'all for your love and support. Let me know if I can do anything for you.
Elder Cooley
Live a strong life.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Gallons of Cold Water & Miles of Sugarcane

I had a pretty alright week. I say that every week but that's because I have no room to complain. I have it good in life. 

Everyone in the ghetto loves basketball. A man named Rico here has a vision to get this area back together. He put together a basketball game with less actives and wants us to bring investigators. He said that they used to have huge games back in the day and it was amazing how great it worked with less actives and investigators. So Thursday we had a lesson with everyone and then we played a pick up game with the homies. It is different but has been effective so far. I'm not the best at basketball but I can try.

I have gone from sending one quote a day to the district to three a day. One in the morning, mid-day and at night. I am planning on turning it into an open conversation of quotes and inspiration throughout our days. Anyone can add their thoughts and quotes. Thanks for the Idea Mom, Its brilliant.

This week I was biking from Walmart to our apartment just after buying a big gallon of cold water. I was thinking in my head how much I love water and I was entertaining my thoughts of how all I want for Christmas is a gallon of cold water hahaha... I thought it was a funny. Its HOT out here! But anyways... I heard a lady screaming HEEEYY ARE YOU GUYS LDS MISSIONARIES!!?? she was bawling when she walked up to us. She said that they were trying to get back to Utah and were homeless for the time being. She had been sitting on the side of dollar tree praying like crazy for God to send some kind of help and that is when we biked by. I never knew someone could be so happy to see me before haha. We got her in contact with President Knight from our branch and left them with our two gallon jugs of water. 

It is the time of the sugarcane season where they start cutting it and shipping it to the factories. All we can see is cane fields so now all we see is tractors cutting and shipping cane stalks haha. We also have the sugarcane festival coming up soon. 

Everything else is pretty regular here. We are trying to visit all less actives and see our investigators at the same time, nothing new. I shocked my companion with a mosquito zapper after I touched it twice... haha he freaked out. It was funny.

Have a good week fam. Love y'all.
Elder Cooley

Monday, August 10, 2015

sneaky camouflage

I had a good week. I guess that what I say on every letter. But its true, I have no room to complain. Why should I ever be negative? Who is that going to help and how is that going to get me anywhere?

I cooked German pancakes and aunt Kristine's special syrup for my district this morning. Another elder did crapes and the sisters brought other stuff too. It turned out great. 

We found a new investigator this week. And a few other people that we have been working on. It is all on gods timing. I am simply an instrument that needs to be kept sharp and tuned for use when needed. Other than that I am not much to brag about. I am created by the owner of the dust in which I am created.

Wow, megs is gettin married. I am happy for her. I am sorry that I'm not there but other that that it is quite a relief to not have to take thousands of wedding pictures haha. Congrats.

We found out that my comps ankle is very very badly sprained... So the doc says. They didn't do an MRI but it seems like it is bruising worse. I guess we will see. I hope all is well.

I got to be part of a baptism and confirmation this week. It was a lady named Judy that the sister taught. The bishop baptized her and everything went great. 

I don't have much to say this week other than the usual. We are seeing progress in our area and life is good. The days seem to mix together and time flies by. I like what I am learning out here and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon haha. duh

Brother landry made some fried jalapeno and cream cheese poppers. We started the idea from the doughy maker (THEY LOVED IT!) and we have been experimenting ​with different recipes. I hope all goes well and y'all have a wonderful week. 
Love y'all
Elder Cooley

Friday, August 7, 2015

Eatin some Gator

I had another good week. All went well except for one thing... my companion tore his Achilles tendon, the doctor thinks. It happened playing soccer on our last p day. I feel bad for him and have been trying to help him out as much as I can. He has an MRI appointment this Tuesday to find out for sure. We have still been working and have actually talked to a few people about baptism this week. He has three months left and I can tell that he gets depressed because of having an injury so close to him finishing. Basically we keep his mind off of it and stay busy and putting a purpose to every moment so that he wont think about it. He is strong and I know that he will be all right. I hope that I can be of some help to him though.

We went to dinner at this black ladies house this week. She made me laugh a lot. She brought out a jar of pickles and told us to eat some with our dinner. I ate one and she told me to take another haha she screamed "You like em?...have another!" "GET IT" "Dont be modest!" "GET IT" "GET IT!" "GET IT!!!" hahaha. She cracks me up. I have never felt more pressured by a black person to eat a piece of food before in my life haha. 

I am going over to the Landry's home tonight to cook them Doughies and have a lesson after that. I hope they like them... oh wait, they are doughies, I know that they will like them ha. 

I went fishing this morning. I didn't catch anything but that was probably because I was reading the whole time. I have come to LOVE reading. Of course it will never replace jumping from planes, the out doors, extreme sports and stuff like that but I enjoy it a lot. My favorite so far is JESUS THE CHRIST. I like reading about Jesus. He was so amazing. I am fascinated by his stories.

I ate some Gator this week. I have had a lot of opportunities to eat it at shops before but Landry cooked it all sorts of ways for us and it was dang good. It is a better version of chicken I think.

We were having a lesson with this Cajun lady this week and her son had to keep telling her that she was speaking in her Cajun accent..."MOM your doing it again!" She would be talking in a thick hick accent and then all the sudden we couldn't understand her at all haha. It sounds like a whole other language. I have heard it before but not as bad as hers haha. She was raised on an island in the swamps and used to take a boat to get to school on the mainland.


I love my area and the people. Have a good week fam. Love y'all.

Elder Cooley



Monday, July 27, 2015

The chance to play with some more gators

I had a good week this week. It feels like we hit a plateau but we have been knocking doors so we will get it going again. 

A friend of mine is going home in 9 days. He is a cool kid and has been good help to me in this area. I hope all goes well for him at home. We have the same type of motivational thinking and get along well. He will do awesome in life.

I love finding someone to talk to but it is a pretty big bummer when they dont come through or show up haha. That happened to us this week, Im used to it. I dont want to be like that to people.
 We had an awesome Pioneers day celebration with our ward. We had a lot of food so they had a linger longer after church the next day. It was the best jambalaya I have ever had. I will get the recipe from the guy.

I am almost done with the book "Jesus the Christ". I Love that book. I love the prospective of Christ. Who better to follow right? haha I would love to sit down with that man... one day I will. 

Sister Crain is still doing good. Yolanda is getting her patriarchal blessing here soon. 

Thank you so much dad for the doughy makers. I am stoked to cook them for some folks down here. I know that they will love them.... who knows maybe they will invent you a deep fried recipe hahaha.

I got the chance to play with some more gators this week. I also pet a nutri rat haha.

I have felt my Spanish take a big step. I understand a lot and do my best to use the right grammar. It is always going to be that way with a language that you are learning... To understand more than you can speak. I think it is because I am with a Mexican hahah. hopefully I can keep up with missionaries that go to South America to learn Spanish haha.

We get a lot of chances to share the gospel at mixed religious group clubs and we might be doing a booth on slu's campus coming up soon. I love to do service projects. I think that it is one of my favorite parts of a mission. The people are hard workers and so friendly. Charity never faileth
Love y'all. 
Elder Shane R. Cooley

"I refuse to sink"

From the beginning of time as a child you are an open book. You are a clean slate; an entire story unwritten. No known fears, no past regrets and only the world of experience ahead of you. This life has shaped you since the day that you realized the reflection in the mirror staring back at you is actually you. We have developed and changed in our lives until this very present moment, even up until the moment of you reading this sentence. The past is important but now the question is "where do we go from here"? Your thoughts as a child were perfect. There was nothing that was holding you back. The world was yours and all of the its possibilities. This is because child's mind doesn't worry about the past. They think that where they went has nothing to do with were they  are going. Where you were didn't matter because that wasn't where you were going to stay.

So what happened to so many of us? Why did people begin doubting and settling for less as  they grew up? No person says to themselves in their childhood days "I want to give up on my dreams and settle for something less" That simply doesn't make any sense. Granted there are some people that are not fully capable to do the dreams that they wanted; but even then possibilities are still beyond measure. What happened to your child-like mind? We as human beings are powerful. Why have so many people forgotten that?  

Life is tough. We catch ourselves asking "am I the weak"? Am I the person that they are talking about when they say "weeding out the weak"? Is this who I am? Am I called to this earth to fill in the gaps as the weak? (the opposition of the successful people in life?) These are all deep questions that a person might feel like when they get down and might ask themselves in their lives. Life is tough and it is easy to feel this way. If you feel this way then I want to tell you that you are not alone. This is not God punishing you or you being unlucky... it is simply just a part of life. Everyone has problems in life, there is no avoiding it. There is not a single person on this earth that doesn't have problems. so what makes the difference? A successful person isn't a person without problems. A successful person is one who has learned how to deal with their  problems.

The thinking that we are weak is not true if you take a look at it from a different prospective. In the book of Genesis in the KJV of the bible it states that we are made in the image of God. Did you hear that? We are made in the image of a GOD! Other beliefs state similar backgrounds and heritage. If you do not believe in a God (something greater than us) then open your eyes and look around. The world is amazing. People are amazing. You are amazing. All of us have a calling in life. Don't give up.

Have you ever wondered why it is so amazing to admire nature? Why is nature so beautiful? This is because all of nature and its elements are perfect. Wind is not water and water is not stone. These things never change. This is because they have found their callings in life. They have found and accomplished that in which they are supposed to be. No person knows the age of elements. No person can tell us how they became that way, But, as human beings we can take a brilliant guess. Nothing is made by the snap of two fingers and done without a process behind the making. This is the same for us as human beings. We are presently becoming what we were  individually designed to be.

We are here to be tested. We are here to take further steps in becoming what we are to become. Don't lose hope. Please, don't lose hope. Keep pressing forward and becoming better every day. Everything is possible and we can know that simply by glancing at the universe. Refuse to sink. This is not the end nor will it ever be. Continue forward and refuse to sink.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lightening strikes!

I had a good week this week. It has now been 12 days since the last day my friend Yolanda has smoked! she said she is done and no longer has the desire. 10 years of smoking to cold turkey.

I challenged another lady yesterday to stop smoking. I tell them to give me three days. Prove to yourself that you can go three days without smoking. After those three days nicotine levels drop drastically and it is all mental from there. I asked her if she was committed and she had one cigarette left and told me that she would start after that one cigarette... I agreed but then after a lesson with her and how God is going to be her biggest strength in quitting I felt impressed not to leave her wiggle room with one more cigarette. I left her apartment that night with her pack of cigarettes and lighter. I hope that it left her motivated and am impression on her. That proves a lot more dedication and how bad she wants it than..."please just one more cigarette"! Please pray for her. "Mrs. Crain"

Julian the Marine vet is now a deputy and doing great. He is going to school and trying to become an officer and even talks about moving up to Utah for a better life style. He is a stud and is doing awesome.

I am doing good with my therapy. They asked me to do my workouts twice a day. I do my morning workout and after planning at night I do my workouts. my shoulder is sore but when it burns it grows haha.

Lightning struck like 30 feet in front of me the other day. It was the brightest and loudest thing I have ever experienced. I thought a bomb went off right in front of me. It was probably the highlight of my week... It was awesome! It killed a squirrel and burnt out our investigators TV inside. haha gotta love it, because I do.

Love y'all
Elder Cooley

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I LOVE AMERICA!

I had a good week this week. It was full of meetings and visiting people. We knocked 25 doors the other day and 4 of them opened but we found 2 new people to out of it to go and visit. I actually Like that type of work because you can see your progress and you are out in the hot sun getting a leather neck. 

It rained even more... surprised haha? I love the rain. It makes me feel good. It feels like the world around you is clean and new.

There is a lady here named Yolanda from Cuba. Today marks her 5th day of not smoking. I have never seen any person like her before. The only thing that seems to be on this ladies mind is god. She says to me every time how much closer she is getting to finally enter the temple. This lady has been the cause of people in her trailer park getting baptized because she goes out knocking doors and spreading the gospel. I love to be a witness of how much passion she has. 

I know how everybody is going crazy about the new laws and things of that sort going on in our country but I have a different point of view. I have never been more grateful for a country like mine. I BLEED red white and blue.
In life you WILL get things taken from you. The sad part about this is that we don't appreciate things until they are going to be taken from us. for example: A person that has his car taken away and has to bike everywhere would probably appreciate car rides even more after that. I love opposition, It is life's best teacher.
I love America. A place of freedom, A place that holds dreams.
It can get a lot worse, Love and defend what you have.


I went to the doctor. I am doing physical therapy because I have two undeveloped muscles in my shoulder that cause it to be unstable and pop a lot. I am so grateful for the opportunity to figure this out and get help. I am gong to be diligent with therapy and fix my body. Thank you family.

I am doing fine family. I appreciate your concern and love. I just have a lot on my mind and am slowly figuring things out. hahah sometimes I wish I could just turn my mind off and go on through my day but i cant. I am good though, I cant ever complain.

I love y'all and hope y'all have an awesome week.
Elder Cooley

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

un paso en paso

Hey family how are y'all doing? I have had a good week. It is raining really hard right now. We are going down to the bayou right after I get done emailing. I love it.

My shoulder is doing good. I feel good. I am used to waking up at 5:00 now. My alarm goes off and I'M UP! I feel like my Spanish is getting better too. I feel like it is becoming more natural. I don't have to think of how to say stuff as much as I used to. I enjoy Spanish, but it is easy to get discouraged with a language. One little step at a time right? un paso en paso.

I will be sending y'all a cool video today. It is of the guy off of swamp people. T mike

there are people here that are like family to me now. We have spent a lot of time with them and working with them. Two of them are trying to stop smoking and one of those two are a member. I have never met better people. The lady grew up and was homeless. She lived 2 years in mexico too. They are going through hard times right now and the gospel has brought their family further than ever before. They are close and strong. the non member is reading the book of Mormon like crazy. He says that it gives him strength and gets rid of stress and anxiety.

I have met a lot of people out here that have a dream of one day living in Utah. If you are not on your feet then Louisiana is a pretty rough place for them. I want to help other people in my life. I have found that many people have the heart to help others but not a lot of those people would go as far as giving the shirt off their back. Is not life more than meat and the body than raiment? 

We found a new Hispanic family. This lady crossed the border and they put an ankle bracelet on her to track her. No other Hispanics have that! She feels pretty burdened especially because it will electrocute her randomly. They are an awesome family and they are really receptive.

My trainer is going home on Wednesday. Time flies.

I love y'all fam. Have an awesome week.

Elder Cooley 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Acres of Diamonds

How has my family been? I have been good. This week went by pretty fast because we were pretty dang busy. We have formed an awesome relationship with our ward and especially with our bishop. We have worked well together and right now we are trying to get their ward roster all cleaned up. This gives us the chance to talk to a lot of people of all different back grounds.

This week we worked a lot with a guy that has gone through a lot of stuff in his life. He was living out of his car with his wife and baby. He was once a member and was very into it too. He told us how he did scouting and all that fun stuff. He got involved with some bad stuff and he is trying to get on his feet now. He broke down with us and said that he doesn't know what to do. We got in touch with bishop, got him some food every time we saw him, and now I think he is doing better, and was two weeks clean from drugs when we last saw him.

My companion and I speak Spanish a lot throughout our day. We get along well and he is a big help to my Spanish.

Before coming to email our washing machine broke half way through our cycle so I had to ring out bed sheets and get the water out with a plastic cup. I think they will be dropping off a used one or I am going to have to walk down to the laundromat. haha
I love it down here. The people are so humble and kind. Almost all of our ward is converts and have powerful testimonies and excitement about the gospel. I love to work with people and try my best to help them (not change them) but help and motivate so that they will desire it themselves.

I love my mission, It is my acres of diamonds and I'm going to discover and use it.
Love y'all fam and friends.

Elder Cooley

Monday, May 18, 2015

Attitude!

hey fam. 
This week was amazing to me. Nothing changed throughout my day but my attitude and how to progress my mind has improved, and that will make all the difference. Laman and Lemuel went on the same journey as Nephi but which one had a better experience all because of his attitude? I had a lot of things that led up to me deciding to change my attitude or mind-sight and this included a lot of opposition. There is only one way out of mediocrity.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others".

I only have control over that in which I do and how I act, No one is my keeper. It is our attitude towards life that will determine life's attitude towards us. Have you ever heard someone say that life is dull only to dull people? That is all because of attitude. Life is also interesting only to interesting people.
anyways... I will stop boring y'all. I don't think I can fit all of my thoughts in this email. 

Julian is back. haha it turns out that he had to go out of town to get checked up medically by the V.A. All is good. He called us and then showed up to church the next day. He is still strong in faith and confident in what he does. He is actually working at the VA now coordinating things and people come to him for help now. He is inspiring to me. 

I have been put into the Hammond ward and we still do all Spanish work around too. I love it. I am meeting even more new people and get to feel the great new feeling of having to start all over. I like this ward a lot and the people like always are awesome. 

I got the chance to talk to a little girl this week that had problems with stress and she was very shy. I thought about how thankful I have been for advocates in my life and those that took the time to stop and uplift or inspire me. The girl shyly told me that she liked my necklace that I bought the previous week and so I asked her if she wanted it. She shyly shook her head and so I told her she could have it only if she promises to do three things.
  • To do something every day that scares her and gets her out of her comfort zone.
  • To always have a good attitude and if you aren't then Change It.
  • Find a passion and dream you have in life and stick with it, never give up.
I thought about my life and the Life of a sister of mine that powerfully got over an eating disorder and how BIG of an influence we have on other people. Our words and actions towards others can cause trans-formative moments in their lives, either for the best or worst. The greatest currency that we have in this life is the effect that we have on others. Everything else rots and withers away, all that will be left is what was in our hearts. I love to imagine that I made a difference in that little girls life that day and that she will always remember it. A few words can either tear or build a person... but over time one of the two will start to dominate and be hard to defeat whether for the good or bad. We Do make an impact, So make it a good one. Be the difference that you want to see.

Well I love y'all. Have and awesome week.
Elder Cooley ​
It rains like crazy here. Literally like a wall of water.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Turtle Guts

​hello fam.
I went fishing today and pulled this big turtle out. I got the opportunity to gut the sucker out too.
This week has felt like a long week. I dont really know why. We knocked a lot of doors and weren't successful. But I guess No effort is wasted huh?
We stopped by a less actives house the other day and it went great. I opened up randomly to the book of Ether and read him a verse. He said that it was exactly what he needed to hear. He said that Elders haven't come to his house in five years. He told us that he knew it was time for him to come back to church so he was there that Sunday.

note from mom: not much to say... I'm guessing Shane was all talked out after the mothers day call.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Hi Y'All!



I have had a good week this week. So turns out we are covering a huge area thats Spanish. We don't have a lot of Hispanics yet to fill our entire week so I think we will be teaching a lot of English too.

We are headed out fishing again today. I absolutely love it here. 

So I shared my testimony in sacrament for the first time on my mission this past fast Sunday. I usually don't feel the need to do so but this time while translating I felt inspired to go tell a certain story that I recently had on my mission.

I had my first craw fish boil the other day. I loved it. It is spicy and such a big part of their culture down here. Like you can see in the pictures you just peel them, suck their heads and then eat the meat in the tail. They give you huge plates to eat them too.

I have a new companion that is originally from Mexico. He is Hispanic and really nice. I feel like we get along just fine. I feel like he will help me a lot with my Spanish too. 

I am driving now, I feel so free! I have been so sick of being a back seat and passenger seat driver. 

I sent you a package mom! I know you will LOVE it.

So we found a Hispanic area this month. It is on a giant farm and they live in a hotel looking complex that the owner built. THERE ARE SO MANY! I said it looks like if you stepped on an ant hill and they are swarming everywhere haha. We go talk to them one at a time. 

We are helping three people quit smoking right now. With two of them They have such a strong desire to quite that its inspiring to me. 

I don't have much to say this week but As long as y'all know that I love ya. Have an awesome week and I will call you for mothers day.

Love,
Elder Cooley

Friday, April 24, 2015

Not on the GPS

Hey fam. 
I had a good this week. Our investigator that was baptized got confirmed in church this week. To our surprise the bishop announced that after church he would be receiving the priesthood also. I guess he set it all up on his own and never let us know about it. He is so happy now and very strongly dedicated. 

I love the people down here. people go and shoot guns right in their back yards all the time. There is this old guy named Ribando and his neighbors get mad at him all the time for shooting 22's at turtles that crawl out of his pond so that he can make turtle soup haha. Crazy old man. Some people also have 100 acres of woods in their back yard though. I guess out side of city limits you can get away with that kind of stuff. 

I go running every other morning and do workouts on the others. Im not as strong as I was before I left but thats okay. I still killed everyone in a pull up competition this week though so don't worry. I love it when you send me healthy snacks mom and protein and stuff like that. I have smoothies for breakfast and I drink 6 bottles of water a day. The humidity just sucks the moisture out of you here. I think that dad would shrivel up like a raisin here because he never drinks water.

It rained every day this week. I love the rain. Some places get very bad though from flooding and mud. We have to go down dirt roads every day to get to houses so sometimes it gets really bad with mud. I love it out in the sticks. I love it when the GPS cant find the house because it is too far out in the boonies. We usually have to call people to find their house if we go out there.

We found a Giant farm this week and right on the farm there is a long building that looks like a hotel and it is PACKED full of Hispanics that work on the farm. It kind of seemed like when you step on an ant hill and they all come out in swarms haha. It is like a little Spanish community tucked away in the trees. We haven't talked to them yet though because we want to try to talk to them one at a time and not in a group. When they are in groups then if one person says no then they all say no. Peer pressure plays a role too so we are going to go about this the right way.

we are working with some people with baptismal dates but with one of them smoking is in his way. We told him that it all depends on his desires. We can only help people so much and then it is all up to them. 

My ward mission leader is one of my favorite people here on my mission. he is a really short old guy that hasnt drank water in 20 years haha no lie. He says that water will rust your pipes. He has drank diet coke for 20 years and the funny thing is that he is really healthy. He is always messing with people and I have a really good time messing with him. If you dish it out be ready to take it back in.

Thank you some much and I love y'all. Let me know what I can do for y'all.
Elder Cooley

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Love y'all

Hello fam,
 I had a good week this week. 
We had a baptism this Sunday. He is that 19 year old veteran I was telling you about that has no family and lives at the VA. He got up and shared his testimony in sacrament and after church he was baptized. Both events were the most powerful that I have ever felt on my mission. The ward told him that they were his new family and they love him.

I got the chance to translate the first sacrament meeting we had because we are in both wards. I like it because it helps my spanish a lot. Both testimony meetings were awesome.

I am so sorry but this computer isn't working too well so this email is pretty short. It isn't letting me upload my pictures either.

I am happy and loving it here. 
Thank you for all that y'all do.
 Love y'all.

Elder Cooley

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I love my mission

I had a good week this week. Conference was good and I really enjoyed the priesthood session (Uchtdorf and Eyring). We sat at the church for every session. 

We have some Hispanics that have been attending and participating a lot. There is a man named Ambrosio and he is very dedicated. He has been to church 4 times and one of those times he walked five-Six miles early in the morning to get there on time (Inspiring). He also came to the church to listen to conference. We didn't have it in Spanish at the chapel so he watched it and listened to it on his phone with ear phones.

We Visited this lady this week and she thought that we were Jehovah Witnesses (we get that a LOT). The Jehovah Witnesses Will see us knocking doors or find out where we are going to knock and will either go ahead of us or after us telling people how we aren't Christians and try to ruin what people think of us so that they wont listen to us haha. Her mind was changed after talking to us for a little and in fact we asked her to Find out for herself and be baptized. She was very open and acceptable to it; I hope she will continue to do so (only god knows).

So we have a Baptism this Saturday. His name is Julian and he is a 19 year old Marine veteran. He has no family and he is homeless (for now) and lives at a place called Quadvets (veteran support facility) with full benefits and pay until he is able to re-enlist (He got shrapnel in his back but still might be able to re-enlist) or work as an officer for Louisiana. He is very dedicated and sincere and says that he wants a new start. He says that he needs a spiritual companion to constantly be with him and comfort him (He has gone through some hard stuff in his life). He is one of the people that I feel like I am here for specifically.

On P-day morning we went fishing for 3 hours. I love it. We were catching cat fish and the biggest one that someone caught was 9 pounds. They caught a 12lbs one before I got here. They taste good too. 

My companion is Spanish speaking. I don't speak it nearly as much but that is okay. maybe that is why I learned so fast... so that I could be here working with awesome English speaking people and still retain my Spanish.

I have made some great relationships out here and I love my mission. Sometimes if I ever get down I just try to stay busy so I wont think anything different. I haven't been homesick at all but I sure do think about a lot of things like my future for example. BUT... I have learned a valuable lesson.

The thought of the future might mean failing, but doing your best in every second of the 1,440 minutes that you have in your day will only bring you success and satisfaction in the future. 

Example: If I put my head down and give 110% in every second, focusing on it one minute at a time then at the end of my mission I will have nothing but success and satisfaction with my past performances. Success in Life is a matter of inches and seconds so make them count On At A Time.

Like the words of Will Smith-(10yrs old) His dad told him and his little brother to build a brick wall outside of his workshop. This seemed nearly impossible to a ten year old! But... in time they completed the task and now Will says "you don't just Build a perfect brick wall... you lay a brick as perfectly as you can one brick at a time and in the end you WILL have a perfect brick wall."

 Actions shape your future. Take action.

Love ya family. Let me know of anything I can do for y'all. 
Elder Cooley