Thursday, November 28, 2013

November 18, 2013

[Thanks to Sarah for transcribing this letter]

Heeeeelllllloooooooooooo family!!!

Well, another week gone by, if you can believe it. I had another scary moment this morning thinking about how fast time is going by. Gotta make the most of it!

Well, I hope last week’s letter arrived safely and found you all safe and sound. I hope you were all able to crowd around and read my awful handwriting. We keep seeming to run out of time on P-Days lately, so I’ll have to write quickly.

We’ve had a pretty amazing week, this last week. The Lord has blessed us with some incredible people to teach and He has prepared them so much! They are so prepared, it’s insane! It’s so great to see them begin to progress in their testimonies of the Gospel.

First of all, Ruth. Ruth is incredible! She has so much faith and love for the Lord. She has said more than once that she is looking for the way to Salvation. The way to the Lord. We met with her this week and she said she has been reading a book about Joseph Smith that a member gave her. So she already knew a lot of his story, but we watched the Restoration video with her nonetheless. She really liked it and afterwards she said that with all she has read and heard about him, she knows that Joseph Smith was called of God, that he was a prophet. Wow. How cool is that? What a solid start to a testimony. She was less sure about this being the one true church of Jesus Christ and the way to Salvation, but we invited her to pray about it. She came to church for the second time (late again, unfortunately, she has a bit of a punctuality problem). She is progressing really well and was really excited when we gave her a Book of Mormon. We really have the help of the members to thank for her as well. We found her through the members and they’ve really reached out in love and kindness to her since.

We also had a really col experience with Ouvenal. Friday we met with him (this time it was us that showed up late, a half hour!). We were really worried, but he was cool about it. He confessed that he hadn’t read any of the Book of Mormon and when we kind of brushed it off he said, “No, it’s not okay. It’s bad. I need to read.” It really surprised me, but in a good way. We watched the Restoration video with him as well and he was really into it, asking us questions after and everything. He prayed perfectly at the end of the lesson and then after he almost got a little emotional. He thanked us very heartfelt-ly for all we were doing for him. He said that he lost the way of God, but that thanks to us he was getting back in it again. He said that we were like family to him. It was really touching. We expressed our love for him as well and let him know that we are there for him no matter what. Unfortunately, he slept in again and didn’t show up for church so we’ll have to get after him about that.

Finally we taught Jose again as well. I can’t remember if I’ve talked about him. He is from Bolivia, has a wife and daughter and is super prepared as well. The first visit with him was amazing. He has such simple, sincere questions about if God exits, if there is life after death. His face lit up as we told him yes and taught about the Restoration and God’s relationship with us. He has been truly looking for the truth and he sincerely wants to know if this is it. It was a really spiritual lesson, even though we were teaching the same things we always teach. In the second lesson he had read all of the pamphlet of the first lesson. He understood it all, but he hadn’t prayed about it. We reviewed it and committed to pray and left him some chapters in the Book of Mormon about the plan of Salvation to read. I’m really excited to teach that this week. Unfortunately he works on Sundays so he hasn’t been to church yet. I’m very excited for him through. I know when he gains a testimony it will be so strong that there won’t be any problem getting him to commit to live the Sabbath day. (Or whatever you call that.)

So that’s how things are looking right now. We have some really incredible people we are teaching and I feel better about the work than I have in a long time. We need to find more people to teach still and balance our time, but I feel like we are doing pretty good. Everyone has such a different way of doing the work that sometimes it’s hard to tell if I’m doing a good job or not. But I feel good, and I love the people we are working with and want to do all I can to help them so I think that’s right. I’ve been thinking a lot about how powerful the message of the Restoration is. To a person who has never heard it, it can be completely life changing. Seeing that God answers prayers as he did with Joseph Smith, that there is a prophet on the Earth today. Those are huge things! It’s so amazing to see that knowledge change people and bring happiness to their lives. There is a joy in this work that can’t be found in anything else. I never want to stop doing it, even after I get home. Alma 26:32 “This is my life and my joy.”

Those are my thoughts for the week. We are among the most blessed of Heavenly Father’s children. I am so grateful to Him for everything, especially for my amazing family. I love you guys so, so much. Much more than I can say. I pray for you lots and I thank the Lord for the blessings he sends your way. Thank you for your prayers. I hope everyone is happy and safe and I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving! I love you! Until next week.

Elder Cousins

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 11, 2013

[Thanks to Erin for transcribing Quinn's letter so that we could post it!]

Dear Family, 
So this is a little bit different but hopefully not in a bad way. Sorry for the wait though, I hope you weren’t worrying too much. And don’t worry, I’m totally fine. Better than ever, actually.

Can you believe this is how missionaries used to communicate with their families? You know, way back when the dinosaurs roamed, right Dad? Thank heavens for technology, right? Except when it doesn’t work like it should and makes us crazy, like it’s doing to all of my friends/ companions right now. We are in Segovia (yes, again) and the computers here are about as old as the town.

There is something special about a handwritten letter though. I feel like more like myself writing like this than on a computer (even if my words per minute rate is rapidly dropping). So we’ll continue like this for the foreseeable future and please forgive any inconvenience (like, for example a lack of spell-check). 

So I didn’t get to read your email for this week but I assume all is going well. I hope everyone is happy and healthy.

Things are going quite well here. The beginning of the week was a lot like the last couple, lots of walking, but by the end of the week we had a few lessons. We are starting to find some people, which is awesome! We had an amazing lesson with  Ruth (the lady who gave us her number at the little tea-party-in-the-church thing) on Wednesday. She is so prepared and so interested in the Gospel. She had several good, sincere questions and even though she sometimes distracted herself when she spoke (it was a bit of a long lesson) it was obvious that she had genuine interest. And she came to church on Sunday and really liked it. :)

We also found and began teaching Juvenal. He is about 25 years old, from Equatorial Guinea and is here studying something that makes him sound really, really smart. The first lesson was a little awkward. We didn’t have much time and we didn’t really do a good job explaining things. But we gave him a Book of Mormon which he was interested in and he said he wanted to come to church to learn more. He also came to English classes on Saturday and stayed for Noche de Hogar (FHE) afterwards. He left pretty quick after but he said, “I’ll see you at church tomorrow.” Which was way cool! Sadly, he didn’t show, but when I called him afterwards, he was really apologetic (he slept in) and sounded like he really wanted to be there. We set up another lesson without trouble and he was super friendly so I have high hopes for him.

We also taught Jhonny (I know, right?) this week. The first lesson was good and he came to English classes and NdH, but he didn’t like NdH and he basically said he wasn’t going to come to church so we’ll see. He may need a little more time to warm up.

Other than that, we see Arthur just once a week at Miriam’s house and he hasn’t come to church for 2 weeks. We don’t really get to talk to him at Miriam’s because there are always other investigators there, but as far as I know he’s still slowly smoking less and less. Very slowly. We both feel like he is going to get baptized someday, he has a strong testimony, but it will be in his way and at his pace and no one is going to change that.

We saw Mayte again for the first time in 2 or 3 weeks. She went to a Young Women’s activity and afterwards we were able to talk for a few minutes. We found out that her dad has prohibited her from meeting with us because it’s affecting her grades or something like that. We encouraged her to continue coming to church if she can and to go to the YW activities and be friends with them. We testified that there is happiness in living this Gospel whether you are baptized or not. I hope she continues to stay close to the church and when the time is right she’ll be baptized.

Beto showed up to church out of the blue for the first time in a month. And Patricia said she would call us  to meet again for the first time in a  month, so I guess we’ll see what happens there. Viki is lost completely so pray for her.

And that’s about the picture of things right now. This Sunday was the ward Primary Program, so that was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the Primary songs in Spanish. You remember when we all used to be in that?

Well that’s about all I can think to tell you for now. My companion and I are getting along great and I feel like we are working well. Segovia was beautiful with all the fall colors. It’s starting to get stinking cold again here. And just stinky. The cleaning people have all been on strike for about a week so the city is covered in trash. It’s pretty gross.

Oh, just a heads up, if you see a lot more money coming off my home card lately it’s because I’m full into Christmas shopping. In fact I only need a present for Dad and then I’m done. Any requests? Also I found this coat that I really like and would be great for here and after the mission, but it’s a bit pricey. I’m going to wait and see if it goes down in the big Christmas sales, but I am considering it as a present to myself, just so you know.

Oh, I almost forgot! Thank you so much for the package you sent along! That was awesome. I especially liked the quotes from Erin. Thanks!

One thing I thought of for Christmas that would be nice would be a battery charger. I love my camera but it is always out of battery right when I need it. It sucks them dry so fast! So that would be nice. Also, pictures. Lots more pictures.

One last thing. I know there are at least a few people who read the letters blog, so I’m not sure what to do about that with this new set up. I don’t want to ask you to type up my letters, but maybe a brief summary or something would be good. Or maybe you could just scan the pages and post it like that. I’m not sure what the best thing would be. Sorry about that. Thanks for your patience with me.

Well, that really is all now. I must go. I just want you to know how much I love you all. I’m so grateful for your love and prayers, for your incredible examples to me throughout my life. Thanks for your concern and prayers for the people I teach and love so much. It makes a difference to them and to me. I hope everyone is doing wonderful and you all have an amazing week. I love you!!

Elder Cousins

Monday, November 11, 2013

Change in Communication

Family and Friends of Quinn:

Quinn's mission president emailed us yesterday to let us know that Quinn had decided to avoid the distraction of computers and write letters long-hand for a while. So we should get a letter in the mail from him in about a week, but there will be no email today or for the foreseeable future. President Jackson did say that Quinn was doing well--that he was "happy, healthy, and working hard." So I guess that will have to do for this week's report.

Not sure what the switch to letters means for this blog. I suppose we could consider scanning his letters to post here, but I don't want to commit to that just yet. In the meantime, if you want to write to Quinn, please send a letter to the address at the right instead of using email.

Thanks for all your prayers and support for Quinn. We'll try to keep you updated,

Rob & Julia Cousins

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 4, 2013


Hey so this is going to be super short, sorry! We kinda didn´t plan so well P-day today and we left emails until last and now we have only a few minutes left. I apologize, but we did have a good day. We got haircuts (blech! I so much prefer having Mom cut it in the kitchen than going to some fancy place and paying 9 euros to have someone mess it up) and went to the Prado. So that was pretty cool, I saw some parts of it I didn´t see a year ago when I went (weird...). So it looks like everyone had a great Halloween! Even though you had to hand out candy. I remember I always agreed to do it because I just ate half of it while I was handing it out. The girls´costumes are great! I hope they had fun at their parties. Thanks for sending along the pictures, but I cannot believe how tall Erin is!! Are you sure she´s really that tall? I´m barely as tall as Dad and look, she´s almost there! That´s super wild. Congrats on your goals by the way, that´s awesome! 

We had day-light savings time a week or two ago. It gets dark so early here now!

Well, this week has been pretty similar to the last. We have received quite a few references (still having the problem of having to pass most of them to other areas), but very few lessons. We did have a couple cool experiences on Sunday, though, that show that the Lord is aware of us and has plans for us. Sunday evening we went to the church to get our coats which we had left there that morning and we stumbled upon a little tea party of members and non-member friends. They invited us to stay and we were able to share a little about who we are and what we do and even give an impromptu lesson about what we believe. One of the 4 ladies there gave us here phone number and seemed genuinely interested. And the other four all said they would come to church next week. 

The other experience (really quick cause I got to go!) was that we passed by Valencia´s house. We taught him once and were going to meet with his whole family but something came up. So we passed by to see if there was anything we could for them and we found his brother José at home. He came up to talk with us in the door and he is awesome! He is super open and super interested. He said he would love to hear more and was certain that his family would too, so we are super excited to be able to teach them. Pray hard that it will happen! 

Thanks for all your prayers and love for me and my investigators and converts! You all are the best, I hope you know. I couldn´t ask for better. Be safe!! I love you!!!

Elder Cousins