Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 29, 2013


So this is going to be pretty short. Today has been an incredible busy day and we still have more to do. Transfers are totally crazy.  So mostly I just want to let you know that I´m good and I´ll write more next week (maybe even extra to make up ;) ) I did want to let you know that Eugenio was baptized on Saturday and confirmed Sunday. It was awesome! I gave a talk, Wink and Levorson did another musical number and the bishop preformed the baptism. Afterword Eugenio invited everyone to his house and he had a bunch of food there! It was really nice and I wish more people had come out to support him. He´s such a good man, and he is so excited about being a member. 

Tomorrow all the new missionaries come in, so we´ll see how that goes and what we have to do. Wish me luck! 

I love you guys and I´m totally jealous that you´re eating burgers out on the deck (it´s rained all day today)! I´ll give you the whole story next week! Take care!


Elder Cousins

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22, 2013

Hi Mom! And other family members. And friends. And anyone else who may be reading this.

So things here in the office are getting more and more busy as we get closer to transfers. We have 28 new missionaries coming in on the 1st. My companion has the responsibility of finding 20 new pisos before transfer. Speaking of which we moved this weekend! President wants there to only be one companionship in each piso now, so we found a new one close by and moved in. It´s really nice too. It small, but well furnished and perfect for the 2 of us. It´s wonderful being in a piso that has not had missionaries in it before. It´s kind of like being in an actual home again.

We also went to the temple and had a zone conference last week. Both were wonderful. I really liked the conference. At the end President had us each write a letter to ourselves about what kind of missionary we want to be when we finish our missions. He didn´t say so, but I´m fairly certain we will get them back at the end of our missions. That will be really cool. 

Marcelo is doing great. We had a lesson with him about the temple the other day. He really liked the idea of being sealed as a family and said, yes I want to be with my family forever. 

That was about all that went on this week. We are full steam ahead for Eugenio´s baptism on Saturday. Not sure about Madai right now, he hasn´t been to church in 2 weeks. I love the kid, but I won´t baptize someone who doesn´t come to church. We´ll have to talk about it and what we are going to do. Meanwhile, please pray for him. 

Well, let´s see, the most common pronunciation is Cow-seen or Coo-seen (nobody gets the s on the end). One guy in B6 called me Coo-sweens. Not sure where he got the w. 

Sorry that I haven´t sent you my SD card still, I know it´s been practically forever. I just need to get something to send it in. I promise it will be soon. Don´t worry, there are lots more of the windmills. Aren´t they cool? I don´t know hardly anything about Don Quijote either, but he is all over the place here. In fact I was just in the town where the author was born last week for intercambios. I´m planning on buying a nice copy while I´m here to bring home with me. 

I thought you had already read Les Mis, and in French! Or was it The Count of Monte Cristo? Anyway, how was the movie?! I´m super stoked for it, I love Les Mis! I´ll be honest, I´ve never even heard of the Leatherstocking Tales. 

There is a musical version of Little Women? And it involves trolls? I´ve never had any interest in it, but I might now! I´m glad she got to perform and did well :) 

I don´t remember much from the driver´s test, just that it was really really easy. She doesn´t need to worry about it. For driving more, just have her drive every time you have to go somewhere. Make her the family chauffeur.

I´m not really surprised actually, that Rebekah changed her mind. I knew she was going to go to the East Coast. New York! That´s so awesome! I can´t wait to go visit her. :)

President Jackson´s daughter just got called to Orlando as well, Spanish Speaking. Talk about small world. 

I can´t believe that school is almost over. I got an e-mail from Sarah (one of my friends from school) saying that they only have a couple weeks left. That´s nuts! Time is going by so fast. It´ll be good to talk on Mother´s Day and see you all. I probably won´t even recognize the girls anymore :P 

I love you all!  Thanks for everything you do and for your prayers. I couldn´t do this without knowing you are all behind me. Take care and I´ll talk to you next week!

Elder Cousins

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013

Dear Family:

How´s everything going back home? Things are going pretty normal here in the office. This morning we received 2 digital pianos that no one ordered, so they are now sitting on our floor while we figure out what to do with them.

I´m glad you got the letter from President Jackson. Sorry it was a little late, I´m getting a little behind on things. I did read it, in fact I´m the one who sent it. I thought briefly about putting in a little personal note like Hi Mom!, but then I didn´t. 

So yes, I am the district leader here. It´s actually just me, zone leaders work in pairs, but not district leaders. My main jobs are to make assignments for and conduct district meeting every week and get the key indicators from each companionship at the end of the week to report to the zone leaders. We only have 3 companionships in our district including me and Winkelkotter. So far it´s been pretty good. Honestly I´ve never noticed who is senior companion and who is junior companion. I think if I´m the district leader then Elder Winkelkotter is the senior companion by default. 

Thanks for that story about when President Rogers was a zone leader. I really like that, that he made a difference in that person´s mission. That´s the kind of leader I want to be. I want to really love and serve my district and help out the missionaries. I feel like I need to do better in that, go the extra mile. It´s hard for me to keep track of everything though. We´re always so busy in the office it´s hard sometimes to remember to be a district leader as well as an office elder. But it´s only been a few weeks, so hopefully as I keep learning and trying I´ll get better. Pray for me! :)

I´m so so glad too that we still get to teach. I would go crazy if we didn´t and if we didn´t have such amazing people we are working with. Everything that happened with Marcelo and his family happened several months ago, so I don´t know really well, but he and his wife were both in a pretty bad place afterwords. She seems to be doing fine now though. Marcelo as well is doing great. That´s what is so amazing. He made such changes in his life thanks to the Gospel. It is wonderful to hear him talk about the Plan of Salvation and how he wants to do everything right so that he can see his kids again. And he is on his way. On Saturday he was baptized by Elder Winkelkotter. It was a really great service and as always my favorite part was listening to him bear his testimony. Both he and his wife are happy, friendly people. You would never know that they had suffered so much. It is such a blessing to see people change their lives through the power of the Gospel. Even more so to be a part of that by bringing the message and the spirit. 

We found a new investigator this week, who is easily one of my favorite people I´ve ever meet. His name is Eugenio. He is about 63 years old and is from Sevilla, right here in Spain. Now, I don´t know if you know this, but it is incredibly hard to find Spanish people who are interested in the Gospel. Most missionaries go home without baptizing anyone who is actually from Spain. Let alone someone older than 60. Which makes him remarkable already. Then add on how we found him. He came to General Conference. We met him in the chapel watching the Priesthood session of conference. He explained that he has a very close friend in Portugal who is a member. He went to church once or twice with her several years ago as well as began meeting with the missionaries. Something happened and he stopped visiting with them, but his friend told him about conference and he decided he wanted to try again. He said he liked what he had seen of our church and that he wanted to be a part of it. Fast forward a day and Elder Winkelkotter has our first lesson with him (I was on splits). He says that he studied with the testigos (Jehovah´s Witnesses) for a few years, but something stopped him from being baptized. He said he couldn´t quite give them 100%, but that he hopes he can with us. A few days later we taught the Restoration (which he already knew and had read and underlined the entire pamphlet) and set a baptismal date for the 27th. In church yesterday someone asked him if he was a member and he said: After the 27th I am! Are you starting to see why I think he´s so great? But all of that is not even why I love him so much. I love him because he is the nicest guy, he makes friends with everyone he sees. He came to Marcelo´s baptism and gave a member a ride. At the end of the 40 min drive they were best friends. After the baptism a bunch of members and Marcelo´s family went back to his house to eat and talk and Eugenio was the center of attention the whole time. He carried on a conversation with the whole room, talking about whatever it was (he´s really intelligent as well). I absolutely love the man! Plus he has a full beard and great hair. I want to be him when I´m old. I have no doubts we will baptize him on the 27th and I can´t wait. All of this goes to show how much difference a member who shares the gospel with those they love can make.

Well, I have talked an awful lot. I´ve included some pictures. The first 3 are of the famous "molinos" or windmills in Consuegra. These are the windmills that Don Quijote jousts with. It was a beautiful day and a lot of fun. It´s definitely one of the sights I would want to take you guys to if you come. The other 2 are from Marcelo´s baptism. 

I will definitely be Skyping the family for Mother´s Day. All the computers in the office have webcams, so there should be no problem. 

Well, I´m off. Tell the girls I love them. I hope driving is going well. Erin is an amazing athlete and I can´t wait to see her in the Olympics. I love you all! Be safe and hug each other every day. Bye!

Elder Cousins

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

Hello, family!

Thanks for the pictures! It looks like your trip was incredible! I´m super jealous. I would have loved to stay in that little cabin right there in the woods. I´m surprised though. Are the girls really that tall? It took me a minute to figure out that was Sarah walking beside Mom, and Erin looks like a giant standing next to Dad on the beach. Maybe I´m just crazy (it hasn´t been that long) but they look like they´ve grown. I like the one of them in their holes in the sand :)

So conference was great! How did you guys like it? We watch the morning sessions live (so at 6 at night), Priesthood Sunday morning, and then we miss the last session. I think we might watch it today though, I need to see Elder Holland speak! One thing I really loved from it was a phrase that I heard in a few talks: "simple acts of obedience." I also liked that there was a lot about family and teaching in the home, just like last conference. 

I´m doing pretty good here. Life in the office is the same as always. This morning I´m working on re-doing 94 letters because imos was designed by a drunken monkey. It´s fun. Everyday it´s something else. 

I´m getting to know the ward better. There are some really good JAS or young single adults here that like to help us out, so that´s good. We also eat with members more often than I did in B6. Combine that with the fact that I spend most of the day in an office chair or the car, and I´m getting seriously worried about getting ridiculously fat. Oh well.

I realized that I haven´t really told you anything about our investigators yet. I´ve been too focused on the office and stuff, but the truth is we have a couple of really great investigators. We are teaching a man named Marcelo who is one of the most prepared people I´ve ever seen. His wife is a member who was lees-active and that´s how we found him. A few months ago his two kids were killed and his wife was beaten by a man that was renting a piso from them. It´s incredible to see how he wants to forgive that man and how he is fighting to do the right things. The gospel is bringing light again to his life and it´s incredible to watch. He loves his children so much and he loves that he will see them again one day. He is very sensitive to the Spirit and more than anything his desire to do good is remarkable. He is going to be baptized this Saturday. 

We also are teaching Madai. He is a 19 year old kickboxer from Brazil. He´s a super cool kid. His mother has been inactive for years and still has no interest, but he is progressing well. He has already been taught nearly everything, he just needs to come to church some more. So we have his baptism scheduled for the 27th. 

That´s about all that is going on around here. Sorry if my e-mails are more boring lately. Being in the office is. . .weird. But I have an awesome companion and we have a lot of fun so, no worries :) 

Well, I´ve got to run. We have a trip planned to Toledo today and we need to get on the road (there are advantages to having a car). Fun fact, Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride is from Toledo. Other fun fact, my companion can play the main song from that movie.

I love you guys and I hope all is going well for you! I know I´ve said this before, but I´m so grateful for all that you have done for me throughout my life and all that you still do for me. I´m grateful to have been raised in a home where the Gospel and Christ were the center, where what is right and wrong was never in doubt. I´m grateful for all the love you´ve shown me and your continued prayers. I love you so so much.

Elder Cousins

PS Thank you so much for the package! It came just in time to be general conference snacks! :) 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

I won´t lie, I didn´t even remember it was Easter yesterday until we got to church. Holidays in the mission are weird. Still it´s amazing that I forgot since all of Spain has been off work and celebrating all week. Well ¨celebrating.¨ It´s very different how the Catholic church celebrates Easter. There´s Holy Thursday, which I don´t remember what you do for that, Good Friday where you can´t eat meat and big processions all week long with giant images of the crucifixion. It´s different but it´s very focused on Christ, which is cool. 

We didn´t do much special for Easter. The bishop gave a great lesson about the Atonement and forgiving ourselves the last hour of church (he´s really cool and German) and he also invited us to eat at his house, but we already had an eating appointment with a recent convert. It was really good food, so no worries. The other companionship did eat with the bishop and they brought home giant Kinder eggs for us and hid them in the piso, so that was fun. (Kinder eggs are German chocolate eggs with toys inside them. They´re delicious). Of course we also got the van towed so that was kind of a damper on the day. But it all turned out OK. We also went over to President´s house for dessert as a kind of good-bye to Elder Johnson. He has left and I am on my own now. No worries though, I think I´ve got the hang of things here in the office. I´m starting to get things organized and get a system for things that works for me, so that´s good. 

So, we don´t live in the mission home, but we do go over there pretty often and we do have a lot of interaction with President Jackson and his wife, which is cool. We basically know everything that´s going on in the whole mission. We live in a piso close by. 

I got to go back to Barrio 6 this week for a baptism the other elders here had (we don´t have a font in our chapel. In summer we do baptisms in the bishop´s pool. He´s German and rich) which was so much fun! I got to see Beatriz and Kancho right after he finished doing baptisms in the temple for the first time! It was amazing! I also got to see a bunch of the members and friends there, so that was super cool. It already feels like so long ago that I was there. 

I´m glad you guys are enjoying your Easter and spring break even if it´s a little different than usual. A cabin in the redwoods? That sounds amazing! Are you really saving that much money with me out of the house? Haha! Well, maybe not that much if it´s just a wood stove. That´s OK though, I love the smell of woodsmoke. I hope you enjoy your vacation and make the most of the time there. Send me some sweet pictures! 

That´s awesome that Bekah has made a decision, although I must admit I´m a little surprised by her choice. I thought for sure she would go back east for school. Seattle is awesome though! I could totally live there and go to school. I bet Grandma and Grandpa and pretty excited about that. :) 

Ohh, a mystery package! I´m excited. Would you like me to write you back with a list of the contents? Haha! Thanks for thinking of me and sending a package, I´m super excited to open it!
Well, sorry if this seems short. I´m not too sure what else to write. Office work is not the most exciting thing in the world. As such, I shall share with you an awesome scripture that I found this week and then go. I hope you all know how much I love you. I thank the Lord all the time for blessing me with such an amazing family and such great friends. Thank you for all you do for me. Take care!

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able toaseparate us from the blove of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Cool, eh? I love you!

Elder Cousins

PS I forgot. A bit of news for all readers. The rules about e-mail have been changed. We are now allowed to write friends as well as family members. So feel free to send me an e-mail and I promise to be better about responding than I am with letters. :)