Monday, March 23, 2015

I freakin love it here!

So I am transferred. I am sent to help open up a new Spanish area in Albany. It is a good sized area so we are in a car; and stretches down by lake Maurepas. They sent a Spanish speaker here last transfer and he had an English companion. It is originally an English area so the majority is originally English work, but the Spanish is growing (the lord prepares people). The Elder they sent here leaves for home at the end of the transfer so now I guess that I am here to take his place for when he leaves because they will need a Spanish elder that knows the area.. So that means that I will most likely be assigned an English speaking companion next transfer. 

Albany- I Freaking love it here. This place is straight country. Thirty minutes away from our area is where the KKK originally started. Everyone here has thick southern drawls and it always seems like they are hunters, farmers, and/or were in the military. It is so cool down here and so beautiful. We live close to gator farms and swamps. At night the trees are lit up by fire flies and the locust sound awesome like always. 

I have never met nicer people plus Everyone cooks amazing and offers you a ton of food. Everyone has Southern Hospitality... Yes sir.. Yes Mam. This is a completely different type of work than in Kenner. Mom do you remember when we watched that movie Mud together? that movie reminds me of how the people are down here.

The ward- So the ward gives us so much support. I have never seen so much support and this type of attitude before in missionary work. The attitude is very straight forward and is like a "lets get it done" type. The Ward has set up a schedule (they plan it every month) where twice a week (Tues. and Thurs.) we go on splits with people from the ward (they cycle through and take turns) from 6:00 - 9:00. We are constantly busy and are working our butts off. I love it.
Spanish work- We have a few Spanish investigators. They are very serious about baptism and they are all coming to English class also. We translate the English meeting into Spanish (easier than Spanish to English) for when they come and we also have a separate Gospel Principles class. We go to two church sessions because we work with both the Hammond and Albany ward. This week we are going to go check out an area called Tickfaw... supposedly there are a ton of Hispanics there because they work in the strawberry fields or on gator farms.

The work- It seems weird but down here we have been being very bold in our teaching. We have asked people to be baptized every single day this week in at least one (if not two) of our appointments. 

Companion, Elder Mccutcheon- I don't think that I could ever ask for a better companion. There is a reason why President sent him here in the first place to start a new area. Not only that but in his last transfer too. That is because he is such a hard worker and going home soon still doesn't effect him. He stands out from the others. He knows why he is here and he is going to get it done. He is funny and reminds me a lot of Keaton for some reason. He has a tattoo of a bear on his shoulder... he says that he has changed a lot before his mission. He is from Las Vegas and actually lives right by where I was whenever I would go there with Grey. We work out every morning. He is about my height but he is a lot bigger than me. He is 22 years old.

I forgot my camera this week so I will have to show you my pictures next week. You can Google map it though. There is so much things that I could tell you about down here but I know how much mom hates long letters... haha.

I hope that I can accomplish that of which they expect of me here. I feel like I am trying to fill some pretty big shoes coming in after Elder Mccutcheon. (he is a strong example) I will work hard and will not settle for less. I have learned that if I am able to put all of my focus on my mission then I will be dang good at focusing on what I want in my life after the mission. Plus I love the people here, It seems like they are the only thing that I want to focus on in the first place. 

Well I love Y'all and hope the best.
God bless!
Elder Cooley

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

which way do you face? Look em in the eyes!

Hey fam. So we got our transfer calls and I am getting MOVED! I do not know where I am going though. I pack up and leave my area tonight. I will let you know.
So Nelson was Baptised! His baptism went great. So during all of this process of teaching him his uncle Antonio has joined in on all of the discussions and now reads even more than Nelson does in the Book of Mormon. He has a great excitement about the gospel, especially after watching his nephew get baptised (an awesome example) . I hope to hear about him in the future (now that im leaving) of him taking steps closer to Christ. He is awesome.
We also have another person named Marco that accepted baptism. He is praying about a date and also likes it when we come over. We need to get him over to members houses now so he can Have their support. Member missionary work makes all of the difference in lessons. Members are able to give support and be an example and can testify of things that we cant. 
It rained so much last week. God knows me because I love the rain. It is hot again. You see gators in the canals again, Summer is here. I have a lot of new good pictures to send you but I forgot my camera today. I left it in my other bag because we are going to the jump gym right after emailing.
Thanks for the emails. Mom - I would have to say the same. The biggest thing you see in a mission is change in yourself and loving to watch others change. Everything contributes to it, Being humbled, watching stupid missionaries and changing your attitude and desires too. I work hard but the attitude is the hardest (thanks for your email dad) All of it can be called a refiners fire but I will say that I am very gratefull. I have it good in life! I cant EVER complain, I just simply dont have room to.
Megs- I have been waking up really early again and working out really hard. I dont know what happened but I have just found a strong motivation to do so again.
Which way do you face? Look em' in the eyes!
If you were lined up to be put to death... would you want a blindfold? to turn around and face the other way? or would you look them in the eyes?
We have moments in life where we need to look a decision, peer pressure, and people in the eyes and take the hit. Not everyone likes people that do the right things and act on what they believe in.
Standing up for your beliefs is one of the most important things you can do. That is because you are being true to yourself. When you are not however... We are not as happy as we could be. That is not being true to yourself.
Look the shooters in the eyes. The greater the struggle is, the sweeter the reward will be. This brings a clear consience, and there is no greater friend than a clean consience.
Be true to yourself.
Well famn damily, I love y'all! Good luck Prego! I love ya.
Tenga un buen dia!
Elder Cooley

Monday, March 9, 2015

God created us and sent us here to learn and to MAKE MISTAKES

Hey fam, this week has been good. I go to bed so dead tired every night. I smile every time I get into my bed because it feels so good. It is a different type of exhaustion.

It rains a lot here and I love it. It is starting to get hot here... here comes summer.

We are having our transfer calls next Monday night. I have been in Kenner for a while so I will keep y'all posted.

Nelsons Baptism (the refried bean) is on march 14th. He is looking forward to it and is still working hard on his testimony and exercising faith. Plus we have a new investigator that gets checked up by the ICE (immigration) every Monday. He has a strong interest. I hope all goes well. Plan for the worst, but hope for the best.

So we have been assigning Fernando some scriptures to read with his wife to exercise a better relationship. They have been doing that and I think that it is helping because they discuss their circumstances and how they can relate it to themselves to change. He also got a full time construction job now, I think. He still needs our prayers.

So our baptism percentage is .5% I think it is that every missionary baptizes half of an investigator every year in Louisiana. It is very difficult out here. BUT! we have quadrupled our baptism numbers in the past three months. It is time for a change in the south. haha it is easy to get discouraged as a missionary down here but I wont let that get me down. 

Keep on going:
One thing I have noticed about a lot of Church going people is that so many of them get very discouraged. They think that you have to fit a certain stereotype or be perfect to be blessed. These people that get discouraged and give up are the ones that do not understand the meaning of life and what the atonement is for.
What is the purpose of life? To be perfect?.... Of course NOT!

God created us and sent us here to learn and to MAKE MISTAKES. To fall, and to get back up, again and again and again. What does a child do when learning how to walk?... they fall. How many times do they fall?... a lot. They do that until they can walk, then run, and then sprint. That is the concept of life... and God knows that.

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. –Michael Jordan

Keep your head up. The only perfect person in life is Christ.
Life is for progression, Not perfection. That is life's plan.
Learn from it, don't let it chop you down. Through all of these things we can reach excellence... but nobody is perfect. So never give up.

Love y'all
Elder Cooley

Monday, March 2, 2015

Como le fue su semana?

Hola familia. Como le fue su semana?

​Este se llama "sopa de marisco" Translation: "soup of seafood."
Once you are done with the soup you crack open and slurp out all of the crab meat.
I like the food here. Of course it depends on who cooks it haha. We have a less active member that feeds us and sometimes I just want to shoot myself in the face haha. Disparame en la cara! The worst is if she cooks us liver or her tamales... There was like an entire chicken organ inside mine last time. haha I eat it anyways though... like I said, I have no room to complain. I have it pretty nice in the states. Plus I'm not picky; look her in the eyes, smile and take a bite.

I'm going to try to go turtle fishing this week. we are living by canals so the turtles are pretty easy. I don't think you would want to eat the fish that live in there at all. I would love to serve in deep bayou like the area Homa.

So we BBQ'd with our friend with the drinking problem. We had a pretty deep conversation with him and sitting down with his family too. It has come down to pretty much "get ahold of your desires or lose your family". I fast and pray for that man... There is no greater desire of mine then for him to turn around his life. It is possible too.

I thought y'all would like this.
Parable of the surgeon:
I want you to think and pretend for a moment that your life dream is to be a heart surgeon... Okay?
Now with this dream you have not gone to school yet or worked on it at all... Do you think that you could give me heart surgery "Right Now"!
No, obviously not.
It is the same with any dream or goal that you have. Your mind can Not make the mental leap of becoming what you want to become. but... Surgeons go to classes, school, and practices for years until they are at that point to do such a difficult task. They master their skills
In the Book of Mormon from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints says in Mosiah 4:27 
-"And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order;
 for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.
 And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might
win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."

It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength... but if he has strength then he better be using it to run faster.
It IS possible! One step at a time and being consistent right? Dreams are possible! But it is like the surgeon, you have to take the small steps and put in the time.
It is like one of my favorite inspired artist and actor Will Smith says... "Why should we be realistic?"
Saying that we can flip a switch and have light in a room or fly people over the ocean in a giant metal craft was NOT realistic before now. Years of experience and development have proven that wrong and it is the same thing with going to the moon today. 
The same with going to the moon. Have it be a sign for you... that every time you look at the moon, to Not to be realistic with your dreams. A man stood on that moon! When did being realistic ever take somebody somewhere successful?... NEVER.
These unrealistic dreams are what are developing us and taking us farther still to this day. Every person that has ever had a dream has had a mental leap of getting there that has seemed nearly impossible. But... they did not get there at the snap of two fingers, they worked their butts off one step at a time until the prize was within grasp.

For Example: The Billionaire and owner of the company Paul Michelle was homeless and started that huge company just with the $700 dollars that he had in his pocket. That does not seem realistic and seems impossible... But look, it was done... so why not you?
Make your dreams happen in order and consistency that you may win your prize. It is rightfully yours. You have to take the small steps to get there. It is easier said then done... but actions speak louder than words. Take the first step... go get it.

-Shane R. Cooley

Well I need to go... we have Zone P day today at the jump gym!:) benefits of being in the states. I love y'all and all that y'all do. Have an awesome week!
Elder Cooley