Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thanksgiving in Italy!

I cannot believe that I am already at this point in the transfer! Time is just flying! Well the news is............... I am staying in Trieste and becoming a district leader again while Anziano Poole will be going to serve in Milano 1 (Lumpagnano) He is pretty excited but maybe a little sad too because he hasn't been in Tireste for very long. My new companion will be Anziano Lewis, I don't know anything about him but I will let you all know next week when I do. Also Anziano Hillyard, my last and favorite companion is moving into Gorizia which will be in my district. I am quite excited for that one!
This week has been good. I barely know where it went. Again slow and steady, But we still have stuff that we are doing.

On Thursday, we taught a lesson to an Italian Lady named Simona in English. It was a really Spiritual lesson. She is a very intelligent person who asked amazing questions. She teaches English here and she learned it in South Carolina and London. What a combo! We then taught Daniele and Nicole and then there was institute.
Friday was a pretty smooth day, we taught Daniela and passed out a million flyers for English class. It generated a lot of interest. We have gotten at least 3 phone calls a day since asking about English class.
Saturday, we taught a Chinese man who is working out his PhD in Physics. I get a headache just thinking about dealing with that much flipping physics. It was a good lesson. He accepted a baptismal invite with a date! That is exciting We helped clean the Church with Nicole, Bruno and Luca, taught Nicole another lesson, and then Maurizio. It was a good day.
On Sunday we had church, a lesson with Maria, more english class flyers being passed out and dinner with the Carri family.

On Monday, we cleaned the house and taught Antonio and Adam, and got transfer calls, and went to dinner at a member's house. (We eat so much in Trieste this is probably to give us something to keep us warm through the crazy wind and cold winter that everyone says is on its way)

Yesterday, Vladmir Putin came to Trieste! Piazza Dell'Unità was blockaded by police in riot gear and there was a giant Russian Flag flying. Also people made protest banners and in Russian and hung them around town... We taught some less actives, had English class with new students!!! and the Bishop's wife came and gave Anziano Poole a giant brick of Chocolate tied with a red ribbon as a parting gift. It was a good day.

Today we went to Venezia (Venice for P-day). It was nice! We looked around a few shops, ate at Hard Rock Café and saw the city! Beautiful! I have dreamed of that place my whole life and now, I finally got to walk around it. It was all that I imagined. On the train ride there we had a very nice conversation with a lady who teaches religion at the University there. She was super sweet. She asked a bunch of question that were very intuitive. I liked that a lot. We are going to go see Antonio and Adam and then Anziano Poole is going to pack. I will be in Gorizia all day tomorrow awaiting my new companion!

Love you all! Happy Thanksgiving!

Anziano John Colin Cook

Oh man! You guys wouldn't believe this week. We certainly had a huge adventure. This has been a fantastic week and I have learned a lot and I feel great!
Well, Thursday was Thanksgiving and also transfers. Anziano Lewis and I had a very interesting time  trying to get our transfer all figured out. I will give you the details. So early in the morning, Anziano Poole and I got on a train directed towards Venezia, Mestre at a midway stop, Malfalcone, Anziano Johnson and I were to switch places. Before we pulled into the station at Malfalcone, Anziano Johnson called convinced me to give Anziano Poole Trieste's Phone so that when they got to Milano, they could meet Anziano Lewis and Hillyard, give them the phone and that way, they could have a way to tell us that they got to Gorizia where we would be waiting. The only problem was that Anziano Lewis and Hillyard were coming from Bologna, not Milano. So our phone ended up going across the country in a different direction. It was somehow arranged that missionaries who would be going from Milano to Udine would meet us in Udine that evening and give us the Phone. Anziano Lewis and I explored Gorizia and Nova Gorica that night as we waited to go to Udine. When we got to Udine to meet them, the train that they were supposed to be on was frighteningly missionary-free, so we scrambled to find somebody with a phone so that we could call them and see what was going on. It turned out that the train they tried to get on was so packed that they literally could not get on it. They ended up being on a train that would come 30 minutes later. We used that time to go get a slice of Pizza from a local Pizzeria in Udine. Which was good. The udine missionaries finally got to Udine and gave us our phone and then we went to wait for our train which came at a 20 minute delay. We crashed that night in Gorizia's apartment and left for Trieste first thing in the morning. We arrived in Trieste at about 10:00 am on Friday morning when in a problem free world, we would have been arrived at about 4:00 pm the previous day.
Most people would have been freaking out and stressed and angry that day. Not us. We were just as happy as clams, smiling and laughing about the crazy situation that we found ourselves in. We made the best of it and had a ball the whole time. Our thanksgiving meal consited of rice and curry that afternoon and pizza in Udine at 9:30 at night. I had a totally fun time!
That brings me to talk about Anziano Lewis, my companion. What a guy :) He comes from Logan, Utah. He knew Anziano Gladwin my original MTC companion. He is such a funny, calm positive, Hard working guy!! I love him so much already! These past few days have just been nonstop fun. He is in his 4th transfer and served in Pisa before. He is a great missionary. I am having a ton of fun with him.

Friday mainly consisted of getting situated unpacking, doing shopping, and trying to start weekly planning. We had a lesson with a man named Angelo. He had called earlier in the week saying that he had been a bit distanced from the church and wanted to get back involved in it. We told him we would meet him voluntieri (willingly) assuming that he was an inactive member who wanted to get back in church. Actually he turned out to be someone who was an investigator years and years ago in Calabria. His aunt is a member of the church and while he was spending time with her in Calbria all of those years ago, he took a few lessons from the missionaries. Well, now he finally wants to be a part of it all. He has been spending the last few months as he said improving himself. He has quit a lot of habits that he had that could be damaging to health. He said "It is time for a spiritual rebirth too. I want to be made new." Well we gave him a baptismal date for the 28th of December. He is excited! He came to Church and loved it. He even stayed for Choir practice. The members loved him.
On Saturday We saw Adam and Antonio.
Sunday was Church which was really good. There was a cool experience later in the evening. We had an appointment to meet with a potential investigator. He wanted to talk in a cafè but as he entered the cafè he started up a conversation with 3 women who sat around a table. They asked him why he brought Jehovah’s Witnesses with him. We explained for the trillionth time that we weren't Jehovah's Witnesses and he explained that he intended to convert us. To which that ladies all said "Shame on you! Don't rob these beautiful young men of their faith" So a conversation was born from that. After a whle the original guy that we wanted to talk to got bored and left but we taught a lesson and gave Books of Mormon to the Ladies. That was really fun. They were nice.
On Monday, We had district meeting in Gorizia. After that, we taught Angelo the plan of Salvation. He was amazed! He kept saying "I feel so great knowing this!! This makes so much sense!"
Yesterday we taught Matteo and Jessika and Nicole and Had English class.
That was my week.

I love you all,

Anziano John Colin Cook

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Updates from Italy

On 10/23/2013 3:15 AM, John Cook wrote:
Can I first start by saying how much I already really like this city! It has been such a blast. I have been sick almost the whole time (Don't worry, just a little cold. It came on me slowly in Bologna and got me full force when I got here complete with an almost completely gone voice), but I am on the upswing feeling so much better. By Tomorrow or the next day my body will have taken care of everything and I should be back to full health.
Well so far I have been at the chapel in Trieste (that actually for once in my mission looks like the chapels back home) literally every day since I got here. It is super nice. The members here are AMAZING! I am blown away by them. We are in an actual ward. A big one too. I still have to learn everyone's names and all but I already love them. Almost everyo9ne speaks English there and love to speak it with us.

You guys wouldn't believe my crazy week! I will tell you anyway...
So Thursday morning after studies, all of the Bologna missionaries went to the station. We got Anziano Thompson on a train to Trento and then waited with some other missionaries for a train that would take us to Mestre where we would be meeting our companions and going to our respective new areas. I was traveling until about 6 pm. Basically, I did some unpacking and got some groceries and then we went to institute (another thing that I had been missing super duper bad). The institute lesson was Amazing! It made me think of Sister Coppin and all of the really enjoyable lessons that we had in the Olympia YSA institute. (Sister Coppin, If you are reading this, THANKS!!)
On Friday we taught these two friends Adam a member from New York and Antonio, an investigator from Spain. They are super cool, but also super busy. Adam is a photographer and a teacher. One of the more cerebral and kind of hipstery people that I have met in a while. He would have fit in perfectly in Olympia. Antonio is a student. After them, we taught a recent convert of about 6 months named Nicole. She is super solid. We see her almost every day because she comes to pretty much every single activity that our ward does. She also apparently knows some Chinese. (When I typed that word, I imagined hearing the Italian word, Cinese cheen-EHZ-eh)
On Saturday, we taught another new convert, Maurizio (Tobijah) who used to be a Jehovah's Witness. (More on Jehovah's Witnesses later....) He is super cool certainly a character. He asked me where I was from and I said Olympia and then he asked me my favorite radio station and so I told him that I liked 103.7, the Mountain or 89.3 KAOS. He then proceeded to get on his computer on a program that he had and looked up those stations. (This program plays the radio from literally every station in the world) That was way fun.
That morning, we were doing contacting in a park and we ran into two groups one after another of Jehovah's Witness missionaries (I don't know what they are supposed to be called) one of them set up a return appointment with us and the other one talked to us for like an hour about their doctrine. Which I feel is really really weird. Heaven is not our reward, only 144,000 have the assignment or duty to return to live with God, everyone else stays on Earth if God remembers them and wants to recreate their body and Spirit (that dies when we die) and God won't "remember" you if you don't acknowledge that his name is Jehovah (which it totally isn't). So that Whole ordeal was interesting.
The companionship that set up a return appointment with us met us on Sunday at a Cafè in town and barraged us with their doctrine about the dead not existing anymore. They talked really fast and one was really hard to understand. They then invitited us to their little Kingdom Hall because one of them was going to give a talk, our appaoinment after had fallen through, so we accepted for the experience and also to learn more about what it is that they teach so that we could be better equipped to teach true doctrine. It was a very strange experience for me and we got a very mixed response from their congregation. Some came up and greeted us and Others examined us and upon seeing our name tags began to glare at us really intensely. It was clear that we were extremely out of place but we stayed out of politeness for this man's talk and left as soon as he gave us the option. They gave us each copies of their book "What does the Bible Really Teach?" in English and Some Watchtower magazines. They tried to set up another appointment, but we said that we would call them later when we knew what our schedule was going to be like. Which is polite for "No, I actually don't want anything to do with this ever again." As we left it was really rainy and almost the end of the day, so we went in to make some calls and organize our day.
We had a lesson on Monday with a 10 year old boy who is going to be getting baptized coming up this next month. His mom is a member and his Dad isn't. Since it was Monday after the lesson, they asked us to stay and play a game with them to celebrate their Family Home Evening, It was a game called "Non Margare Carlo" apparently there is an English equivalent called "Don't Eat Pete" basically they lay out a bunch of M&M's and somebody has to close their eyes while everyone else decides which of the M&M's is Carlo/Pete. When they have decided which one it is, the person who is closing his eyes starts eating all the M&M's until he gets Pete and when he does, his turn is up. We then had FHE at the Church where we talked about Friendship and played another game which involves everyone having a number and basically you have to say other people's number to switch the turn. It's like rhythmic hot potato. It involves hand motions and we sort of looked weird doing it and at the moment when we looked the most ridiculous, the pizza delivery guy came in and saw us looking super dumb doing a weird dance and chanting numbers. It was funny because the look on his face was priceless.
 There was also a Sister there that Lives in Slovenia. and comes to Church in Italy because it is closer than the Church in Slovenia. She understands Italian but doesn't speak it super well. She is the sweetest thing! Apparently everyone here understands Slovenian, but doesn't speak it, So it is like a Star Wars type of situation. Like this
"How are you today?"
"Yes it is a beautiful day today. I also had a picnic with my family"
I asked her how to day some things in Slovenian and she ended up writing all over a few pages of my planner in Slovenian. That's okay. It's not the first or last time that something like that would happen.
Yesterday, we taught Nicole and also English class.
Today, we just did the normal P-day stuff. We will be going to find a microwave sometime soon because our old one is broken. Tonight we also have New Testament class that we will teach together. We are going to Pordenone for zone conference Tomorrow. That will be fun.
Trieste is an Amazing city! I am having a blast here! I love you all and I want you to know that this work is the most Fulfilling work ever, It is the work of the Lord and it is changing my life. I am in a good place. In fact, more than that, I feel the Spirit confirming to me that it is the right place for me to be.
I hope you all have had an Amazing week. I can't wait to hear from you!
October 30, 2013: Well we have had an Amazing week! I am having a good time here and I kind of know where I am going now! We had a lot happen this week.

On Thursday, we were in Pordenone for Zone Meeting which was really fun! It is Always fun to get acquainted to a new Zone. There were plenty of new faces and also old familiar faces.. I had a ball. We talked about a ton of ways that we can be better in our missionary work and ways that we can look for the blessings of the Lord in our lives. We met with the Bishop and his wife and they cave us dinner which was good. The families in the Trieste ward are so special. They are so strong and united and it so so cool to see that glow also in their families.

We went over to a New convert family's house on Friday night. They also fed us. It was good. Triestini know how to eat! It is funny because Italy's regional competitionalism comes out. They Always say things like "Anziano Cook, you think it's good eating in Emilia-Romagna (The state that both Piacenza and Bologna are in) wait until you get a good old taste of Fruili-Venezia-Giulia (The state where I am now)" even if I haven't said anything about what I think about the food in Emilia-Romagna. They are a fun family. They have a Young son who is learning to run and spent the Whole time running around the house.

On Saturday, we helped Maurizio/Tobijah unpack his boxes from his recent move. We then talked about Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk, "You can do it now." We then met a potential investigator named Daniela. She is a character for sure. Her house is covered floor to ceiling in nick-nacks, All surprisingly organized. It was fun. She accepted a return appointment and became our new investigator. We then met an investigator who has an interesting background in that her family comes from all over the world and her cultural background reflects all of them. She was born in the states and spoke English, but she got in a crash and suffered a brain injury that somehow put English on the back burner and assigned Spanish as the primary Language. She speaks to us in Italian or heavily accented English. She is a nice lady. She wants to be baptized and we are going to work with her for that goal. We also met with Nicole that nihgt, and passed by Antonio and Adam.

Sunday of course had Church and then we met with a member Family and shared a spiritual thought about missionary work. It turn out that this family is already doing so much to spread the Gospel and share their testimony. We then had a n impromptu lesson with two guys from our phone while we were making our calls. It was sort of funny to hear from the other room while Anziano Poole was making calls "Are you free later on this week...Oh, right now...yes actually, we are free too." Afterward we had dinner with a less active family and that was good too.

On Monday, I was in Gorizia for Scambio. It was fun. We taught their investigator who is preparing himself for Baptism. It was a long lesson because the investigator and the Bishop talked a lot together, but it was fun. After that we were doing finding work and ran into a less active member who said "I was just headed to Slovenia, come with me. We can do a spiritual thought." So, we went with him to Slovenia (which is mission sanctioned because Gorizia is Half in Italy and Half in Slovenia). I can officially say that I have been in two countries at once. The member gave us this Slovenian Soda call COCKTA, which is super good. It tastes like Dr. Pepper, Root Beer, Cream Soda, and CocaCola. Seriously. it is weird but really good.

Yesterday we taught Daniele, a boy who is getting ready to get baptized. That was fun, we then taught Nicole about temples and then we had English class which consisted of Nicole.

Today, we are going to Grotto Gigante which means giant cave. It is the World's largest open to the public cave according to Guinness World Records. That will be all sorts of fun.

I love you all. I hope you are well. I hope to hear from you soon.

Ciao Tutti!
November 7, 2013:

This has been a pretty low key week. There is a lot to talk about though and we have been still working hard. Trieste is still as nice as ever.
On Thursday, We Basically had lessons with New converts. Matteo and Jessika who were just recently baptized and have a 1 year old son. It was a good lesson, but the baby was teething and cranky. We also has a lesson with Nicole.
One of the kids in the Ward got baptized and the family invited all of their non member friends and family. We made ourselves busy striking up conversations and handing out pass along cards. It was a really good service, the ward made sure that it was very spiritual. We saw Daniela (the lady with all of the nick-nacks) she was pretty excited and she sort of taught herself the plan of salvation she is reading the book of Mormon not only from the beginning but also in all of the places, that we have been assigning.
On Saturday, we had a lesson with Antonio and Adam. That was an extremely spiritual lesson. They definitely opened up to us and we were able to understand their needs better so that we can teach them better. Earlier that morning we taught Maurizio who had a few questions about some things he read in the Book of Mormon, but he ended up answering them for himself.
On Sunday, we had church. It was a beautiful fast and testimony meeting. I LOVE THE TRIESTE WARD! I don't know if I could say that enough they are so united and strong and faithful. I am so very blessed to be here with them. Sunday was filled with finding work but somebody did let us into their house and we taught them the Restoration and gave them a Book of Mormon.
On Monday we had A lesson with Nicole and the Family that just had their son baptized. We have been using Mormon messages a lot in our lessons with Nicole because I have been feeling like she needed something more than what we had been doing. She has been responding well to them. We had Family Home evening after the lesson with Nicole which was fun because Sorella Hirsch is good at coming up with good games. This week we did basically a bunch of Mad Libs together it went like this. Every Person writes an answer to the following prompts but when they finish one answer, they fold the paper over and pass in to their right and they repeat like this until all of the questions have answers and then they read all of the stories that come from it. It got a few good chuckles from everyone around.
Lui (a man in the room)
Lei (a woman in the room)
Dove sono (where are they)
Che cosa fanno (What are they doing?)
Dice Lui (He says)
Dice Lei (She says)
Dice o fa la gente (The people around say or do...)

Tuesday, we spent the first half of our day on the Train to Verona and then we spent the other half of it Exploring Verona and having a really fun P-day there. Verona is one of the best places that I have been to on my mission. It totally has that perfect satisfying Italy feeling. I don't know how else to say that. I would suggest that anyone who goes to Italy see Verona. As we were walking back to the Verona apartment that night, we saw President and Sister Tiexiera (The leaders of the next day's conference and the President and Wife of the Europe Area) They greeted us warmly and chattered with us for a while. President Tiexiera before we left said "get ready for tomorrow because I will help your mission go from 1 or 2 new investigators a week to 10." That sure got us listening. We left excitedly more eager for the conference, the following day. We returned to the Verona 1 apartment were we slept on the floor. We were in eight there. The 4 who are in Verona and then 2 Triestini and 2 Goriziani
The Conference yesterday was fantastic! We learned about how to use our time maximally, to pray more effectively, and to network with our investigators. It was really good to be taught and in the presence of mission friends and leaders. I saw Anziano Horrocks and my "grandson" who is Canadian :) We got home late that night because we had a long train ride. But during a brief layover in Venezia Mestre, a Member from Utah went and bought us some sandwiches for dinner. They were good.
Well all is well is slow yet steady Trieste. I am happy and healthy and feeling great.
I love you all and I will hopefully hear from you soon.
November 14, 2013:

What a great week we have been having. We are making slow but sure progress here in Trieste. I am loving it. It has been very refreshing. Lately some of the big things that I am learning about are miracles, faith, obedience, repentance, trials and eternity. I am growing closer to the Saviour and I am working to become a better missionary. I am in good health and safety.
On Friday, We went and saw Daniela and Also Antonio and Adam. Daniela's lesson was really good. She introduced us to her husband and her son. We invited her to be baptized, and she said that she would want to think about it. We also invited her to Sapori di casa mia (the ward event that will be taking place on Friday for which I will cook a very delicious soup) With Antonio, we had a quick lesson about faith and the Holy Ghost.
On Saturday, we went to a tiny town called Repen that it close enough to Slovenia for all of the signs to be in Italian and Slovenian and to be able to hear Slovenian in the Background. There we did service for a non profit that teaches people about farm work and uses it as a mode of rehabilitation both for disabled people and for people who need a bit of adjustment with their attitudes. There was a baptism in Gorizia that we attended and we had interview with President Dibb. The baptism was extremely Spiritual. It had fun. It was good to remember 3 years ago when I made the same choice.
On Sunday I gave a talk in Church (President Dibb was there) the members loved it. President and Sorella Dibb both gave talks which were good. We had a huge Italian Sunday after Church lunch which was delicious. We saw Maria and her husband who also gave us some dolci to eat. It rained like crazy and they gave us umbrellas. We saw Maurizio that night too.
On Monday, we had district meeting and a scambio with Gorizia. I hosted Anziano Johnson. It is starting to get really windy in Trieste. There is something called the Bora which blows every winter in Trieste. It is very strong cold wind that they say come from Russia.
Yesterday, we had a day with all finding work planned, but the Lord totally blessed us by allowing to cross paths with Antonio who we had a quick lesson with and also a dinner appointment with the family of a returned missionary whose father is anon member, but has committed to read the scriptures with is wife every day. That was super cool!
Today we are going to have a relax pday.
I love you all!
November 21, 2013: This week has been really good. Sort of slow but good anyway.

On Wednesday, after Pday we did finding and ran into Antonio we went back with him to his house and taught him a lesson with Adam.

On Thursday, we Had ward council and a lesson with an Older man named Nino.

We had a super successful ward event called sapori di casa mia where everybody cooked, Our American food was a smash hit. Everybody loved it! It was good.

On Saturday, we had a run in with some Jehovah's witnesses a-gain... After that, We took Maurizio out for a missionary giro. He was totally frightened. He kept saying "You really walk around hearing people tell you no all day? This is so hard." I wonder if I have got a homing beacon on me or something. I see them everywhere and I Always accidentally contact them. It's craziness. Later that day we taught Antonio again. We brought the leftover of my soup that I made for the event. Enough for all four of us to have 3 bowls each and had a nice low key lesson. I have never been to a meal appointment before that day where I provided the food :)

On Sunday we had Church, an impromptu lesson in Piazza dell'Unità with a girl who looked just like my friend Faith. We then had dinner with the Carri family. They Always feed us super well!

On Monday we were in Pordenone. It took basically all day. On the way back home we helped some American tourists. They were super sweet.

Yesterday, all of our appointments fell through and it rained. We did finding work in a paesino nearby. Not super exciting.

Well that was basically my week. I love you guys!

Hope to hear from you soon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Update from Italy

September 18, 2013

We have had a really good week. This week. We have seen the love of God a lot and we have been blessed by him exceedingly. Anziano D. is doing  pretty well. He is being a trooper even though for him, this is probably pretty difficult.

On Thursday we were in Modena for a zone meeting. It was really good. We met with Jerry from English class. He seems to really be searching for truth and meaning in this big old crazy world. Please pray for him. We had English class and it was fun. We played Taboo and they had a ball. I remembered how much fun the family has playing that game, especially mom and grandma ;)

We taught Revindar and Stive on Friday (They are both growing a lot and it is really good to see) and planned our week. We realized that thing will be picking up a ton here in Bologna. We are excited.

On Saturday, our investigator, Prince introduced us to his friend, Joshua from England. That was a really good lesson. We explained the Restoration of the Gospel and I feel like both of them are so prepared and ready for the truth!

Sunday was good! Four people came to church on Sunday! Three of them for the first time! Yay!

On Monday, we had district meeting. I love my district! After that, we met with Jerry, Revindar and Lucky. All of those lessons were really good. I am especially excited for Revindar because he seems close to the goal we made together for his baptism which should be on the 28th of the month!

Yesterday, We had a lesson with Stive and it went well. We talked about priesthood and baptism and serving others. We learned a lot together and I also feel like Stive is close to baptism.

I love you all a lot and I am looking forward to hearing from you! Stay well!

September 25, 2013

This has been a good week. A lot has happened. It has been fun.

Well on Thursday, I went to Ferrara for Scambi. We taught an investigator of theirs who ended up getting baptized the next day in Catania. I gave him a baptismal interview and it went really well. I was excited. We did a ton of finding work which was actually really refreshing. We had a bunch of really stimulating conversations mostly with non-Italian European tourists. A piece of somewhat disheartening news... Anziano D. called me that night and told me that President Dibb had been in contact with Anziano D. family and Stake President and they had together reached the conclusion that Anziano D. should go home to rest up. He left in the morning of the next day before I was back in Bologna. Pray for him. 

On Friday, we went to Modena for interviews. And I joined the companionship with Anziano T. and E. until Monday. (Its was like February of earlier this year!) That was pretty good. Sorella Dibb fed us some really delicious soup. It is always a pleasure to talk with President and Sorella Dibb. We taught Stive again that day which was good and also a new convert named Elizabeth. Both lessons were great.

Anziano T. has this project going where he is recording Moroni 10:4-5 in the native languages of all of our investigators, members, and new converts! It is cool to listen to it! I found out about that on Friday.

On Saturday, we did a lot of work with the Cappi's investigators. We had a lunch appointment with some members which was nice. That day I weekly planned by myself. Weirdest. thing. ever. It was good though.

On Sunday we had a super good day at Church. We all moved into our new building. An English School through out the week. We taught Revindar and that was great. I love that guy.

On Monday, I went to Reggio Emilia for their district meeting with the cappi. Our Zone is so small now since it was split two transfers ago, that with mine and the cappi's presence it was one coppia short of a zone meeting. That got a few laughs from the other missionaries. After that, i made lunch and then ran around the train station in Bologna like a chicken with its head cut off looking for my new cellphonless companion....

Speaking of that, Introducing Anziano H. from Idaho Falls! He is great. He is my new companion and he is in his 4th transfer.

Well together, we taught Stive and then got him all unpacked

Yesterday was a good day, We had district meeting after which I made a good old southern style home cooked meal of biscuits and gravy, eggs and taco potatoes. It was good and surprisingly low in price. Between lunch and bedtime we were running around the city between lessons. We contacted a referral which turned out to be an American Family from North Carolina here fir an extended (several years) business stay who invited us back on Wednesday! I am SO excited to FINALLY teach a family! They were super nice. We also met with some less active members and had an impromptu lesson in the park. It was a good day. 

Today, I showed Anziano H. around town. I also got my whole weeks groceries for 8.26 euro. I can hardly believe it myself. It gets sparse towards the end of the month out on the mission. We have three lessons planned this evening.

It been a great week and a great time to be a missionary! :)
October 2, 2013

Hello Everyone!
What a great week it has been! Anziano H. and I are growing together and we are seeing so many miracles! I am loving it! It has been a lot of fun.

On Thursday, We had a lesson with a potential investigator. It didn't really go anywhere and he said that he showed up just to be polite, and that he wasn't totally interested in anything of the religious sort. But he listened politely and thanked us when he left. We had English class that night and I gave them a Spiritual thought (something that I had been trying to test the waters on for a while) from Romans Chapter 8 (the last few verses that talk about how God loves us and that nothing can separate us from that love) That was a really nice and I am pretty sure that they liked it.
We taught Stive on Friday and did a lot of pass-by's and finding work. It was still a good day.

On Saturday, we taught Revindar. That went really well. We are trying to get him to come to church which he said he would happily do if he didn't work. We are trying to get him to ask his boss to give him the time off. Also that day, we taught Elena and Givanni our Family from Romania that Anziano H. and I taught at the beginning of our time in Bologna. That was awesome! They all accepted invitations to be Baptized on the 5th of November! Yay!
On Sunday, we had church and Anziano H. and I did a ton of Pass-bys and a trip to the hospital to visit a member.

Monday was fun, we had District meeting and I hosted Anziano R. who is serving in Ferrara for Scambio. That was fun. We taught Stive again and then we taught the Romanian family again.
Yesterday, we got stood up, so we went finding and taught an impromptu lesson to a girl from Bangladesh. She was awesome! Super Prepared. We gave her an invitation to be baptized on the 5th of November as well. We then taught Revindar and then you guessed it, The Romanian Family :)

Today we will see Stive and the American Family. I am super excited!!
I love you guys and I am so thankful for you all! I hope that you all are feeling close to God and knowing that he loves you. I have felt this love as I have been here in His service and I know that all we need to do is repent and come unto Him and he will bless our lives!

October 9, 2013
The title sums it up. It has pretty much rained every day of this week but it has been fantastic. Every little bit of it!

Well this week had a lot happen.

We met with that American family, and they wanted to take us out to dinner, so we did. We answered a lot of their questions and ate some pretty good food. We are returning today and we will teach them about the Restoration of the Gospel. I am excited. They are way nice.

On Thursday, We taught Stive, our Romanian Family and Had English Class. All of it was really good. I love my English class! They are awesome. We talked about food that brings us memories. Also that day, we dropped off some Books of Mormon in the only room left open in our Chapel. That place is totally wrecked because of all the construction. But they are going to make it a lot better, so I am glad.

On Friday, we talked to Stive, the Romanians, and Revindar.

On Saturday and Sunday, We went to Modena for General Conference. Rocking! Whoever hasn't seen this round of General Conference need to go see it now. You won't regret it. I especially like the talks that President Uchtdorf gave.

On Monday, We had district meeting, and then we taught Stive and the Romanians.

On Tuesday, it rained a lot and we were in the middle of a park and got totally soaked! We still managed to teach the Romanians and Aiuni, (an investigator who was given to us as a referral from the Capi from Palestine) 

Today, we are going to go take a bunch of pictures from high points in Bologna and then teach Stive and the American Family.

I am going to Ferrara on Saturday to give a baptismal interview.

That's been my week!

I love you  all!

October 16, 2013
Well I actually have news for you all! The Lord has called me to Trieste. Trieste is really far away from Milano  pretty much a stone's throw from Slovenia. so the joke is that I am being "exiled" My companion will be called Elder Poole (I actually have no Idea if I spelled that right) I am super excited! Leaving Bologna will of course be a little bitter sweet as leaving a city always is for me. I have learned a lot from my service here in Bologna. I feel like I have grown a lot and have felt the Lord shape me and help me grow. Well That is cool.

This has been a really good week! We have had alot of fun this week.

Wednesday night after P-day we went to see Stive and Also the Kernan family! They invited four friends over. Two of which came form Portland. One of which works at Lewis and Clark College and has offered to help me get in to L&CC! that will be super great! We had fun and we talked and we gave them a spiritual thought. Super nice!

On Thursday, we taught a less active member and we had English class. That was really great. The bread and cinnamon rolls that Anziano H. and I made for them turned out great! I love my English Class!

On Friday, I went to Ferrara to do a Scambio with them and pass by a lot of their members with Anziano C.

On Saturday morning, I gave a baptismal interview for their investigator who will be getting baptized this Saturday!! We taught the Romanian family after I got back to Bologna which was about 5 that evening.

Sunday was a good day. Church was definitely nice. I had a scambio with the Cappi. That was good. I went with Anziano E. and passed by a bunch of less actives and former investigators.

On Monday we very thoroughly cleaned our house and taught our Palestinian Investigator, Aiuni. He is so amazing!

Yesterday, we taught Stive and a man named Aftab.

That was essentially the week! I love you all. Next week from Trieste!

Love Always,
Anziano John Colin Cook

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September in Italy

Well It has been a crazy week! Anzaino De Angelis and I are getting over the companionship-of-three-becoming-a-companionship-of-two blues. Anziano Horrocks I am sure is doing great in Bergamo 3rd Ward training (and as President neglected to mention in the transfer calls...being a district leader!)
Well, Anziano Horrocks at 4:00 am on Thursday left. We had said our goodbyes the night before. Anziano De Angelis and I waited with one of the missionaries from Modena while he waited for his new companion to come from across the mission to Bologna. That took most of the day. I kept on forgetting that it was my birthday. We had English class and all of my students made a huge deal out of it! That was really good. I love my English class!
On Friday we had a couple of lessons. One with Stive and the other With Revindar and Kaor. Revindar and Kaor are going to get baptized on the 28th of September! How exciting!
Saturday was a good day. We did some finding and me some pretty nice people none of whom wanted a return appointment, but we planted some seeds.  That night, thinking that the electricity was still sketchy, I washed all of my laundry by hand in our bathroom sink. I turn out that just did that for the experience because I found out later that day that the power was back. Well it was fun at least.
Church on Sunday was really great! I feel like I am growing with this ward! They are really nice and supportive of us. It is good to feel among family and friends. We had a bunch of really cool visitors in our ward that Sunday.  In our ward, there are always visitors and that is a huge perk. They all seem to show up at the same time. It's really interesting. They become a part of the ward even for just that small amount of time. A guy came into the chapel at the end with a pass along card asking for a copy of the Book of Mormon and that was certainly interesting. Anziano Horrocks and I last transfer had prayed that something would happen from the pass along cards that we give out by the hundreds every day. Well so far two Sundays in a row that has happened!
We met Stive again on Monday. He is doing well. We read from the Book of Mormon together. He has promised to come to Church on Sunday. That will be good.
Yesterday we met with a man named Wisdom who has seen us out and about and stopped us a few days earlier. That was really good. We also met with a guy named Malik from Senegal. Both of those lessons were interrupted, one by an evangelical bus driver and the other by some drugged up teenagers. That is what you get for having lessons in the park.
Today we have three more lessons planned, one with a less active and the other two with Stive and Prince (the man who came to church because of the pass along card)
Tomorrow, we are going to Modena for a zone meeting and the ENGLISH CLASS!
I love you guys! I hope all is well! I cant wait to hear back from you!
Anziano John Colin Cook

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Well it has been a really great week. Kind of surreal. I don't know what it is supposed to feel like to be a district leader, but I hope I am doing a good job. This week has been a really good week. We had a lot of blessings from the Lord and a lot of his guidance for us. I feel like I have grown a lot and am becoming more like who God wants me to be.
I will start with Thursday. We had a couple things planned, but they fell through. It happens. So we did finding work. We had English class. (with the amount of trouble that I just had trying to type the words English Class I am beginning to doubt my qualification to teach the class.) It was really fun. We wrote a story together about a guy named Paul in a boat on a River that had a shark in it. The funny thing was that Paul, an investigator of the cappi's came by to say Hi to us. He looked at what was on the board and gave a chuckle and a little bit of a shake to his head and walked away. I said "Bye Paul!" and my class busted up laughing, because of the story we were making that was completely unrelated.

On Friday we had a lesson with our Investigator from Tunisia. He invited us to come and break his Ramamdan fast with him that night and we did. He made SO MUCH FOOD! There was soup, and bread, and pasta, and dates, and salad and juice, and these things called brik and he served us these huge heaping servings. It was amazing! And he kept on apologizing saying things like "I am just a humble bachelor, I don't know how to cook" "It's not much, but please, eat!" We brought fruit because it is polite in Italy to bring some kind of thing to share when you are invited to someones house, but in Tunisia it isn't and we didn't know that so he wasn't super offended. He had the Tunisian news on that was playing a bunch of religious broadcasting and vidoes that Anziano Horrocks thought were a little bit strange. It was fun though. We were trying to pay attention to him and not the broadcast, but he kept on saying "Do you know what that guy said?" and we would say " we don't speak Arabic" and then he would say "Oh" and then explain whatever it is was going on.  

On Saturday, we finally has a lesson with Ali! After forever. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Chirst (the lesson with the 5 steps...Faith, Reoentance, Baptism, the Holy Ghosr and Enduring to the end). We got stuck on repentance because he thought that the whole thing was so cool and he wanted to come up with a bunch of different ways to describe it. He lost some steam after that and so we decided to put a hold on that lesson.

Sunday was fantastic, Ravindar and Kaor, our couple from India came to Church and they had a good time! Our members totally embraced them and made them feel welcome. Later we asked if Ravindar liked Church and in his broken italian he said "Oh si! Piaciuto, Piaciuto, Piaciuto! Tanti amici!" the equvolent of "Oh yes! Liked, Liked, Liked! Many firends." It was good. Ravindar and Kaor are reading the Book of Morrmon daily and they are starting to pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ! It is so exciting!

On Monday we had our District meeting, in the church this time and not in the kitchen of the Bologna apartment. Before that we pulled weeds at the church and made sure it was all nice looking. Fratello Palmieri bought some peaches for us to thank us for pulling the weeds. They were good. It rained that day which was an answer to my prayers. Literally. I have spent all of last week praying for rain. It cooled us down a lot and made all of our appointments fall through but I was glad for the rain!

Yesterday was great! We had Three really great lessons! We talked to a Latvian Traveller named Chris who has been through a lot in his life and has a lot of questions, but is totally willing to listen to us. It was really good. He is a great guy and he made me miss home a little bit because he reminds me of people that you could find in downtown Olympia or Evergreen. We taught Jane again. She will be coming to church in a few weeks after everything settles down with the summer. We also had a really good lesson wiht Ravindar that was so great! The spirit was so strong! He said "I am so glad that God has sent you into my life to learn about him! I love His book and I love you guys!" I felt great about that!

Today we had an early morning lesson with an investigator from the Philipines! He was super nice and the Spirit was super strong in that meeting too!

I love you guys! I have to go now!
Anziano John Colin Cook

Summer in Bologna!

It has been a good week. We have had a lot of fun and grown a lot. Bologna is certainly quite hot but nothing new there. 

On Thursday, we did a ton of Finding work! But it was good we ended up teaching a lesson in the park to a girl in her 20's she was super open and accepted a baptismal invite with a date but then she told us that she was going on ferry (Around august all of the Italians go to the sea or the mountains and stay there for like a month) We had English class where we made another  story to do more verb work. They were excited about it. This time it was about Mickey and Minnie mouse...

We met with Ravindar again on Friday. It was really nice. I love that guy. It is always so good when we can see that he is understanding everything, because sometimes when people don't speak Italian or English, super well, it is hard to gauge their understanding.

We met Kris on Saturday, our Latvian Traveller. He has decided to go to Spain for a while. His goal is to get to South Africa before returning to England where he has been for a while and where his friends and job are. We made him promise to stop missionaries wherever he goes because our message is really important. We also went to a park that we frequent and the first people that we talked to, an Italian couple invited us to sit down and have a lesson with them. We accepted and had a really good lesson with them and at the end they gave us their contact information and a return appointment. That was really awesome. We didn't have an Italian Book of Mormon to give at the time so we gave them the Restoration film which they watched later. That was really great!

On Sunday, we had a lesson with a man from Cameroon who loves American Football. He a few days previous had stopped us on the bus and said "You are missionaries right? Take my number. I want to know more about your message". The Golden opportunity for a missionary. We taught him and he is so prepared. His father is an evangelical preacher and has apparently taught his son well about the Bible. We answered some of his questions and we talked about the Restoration. It was a good lesson.

On Monday we were in a park tracting after a lesson that fell through, and we met first Jehovah's Witness man who to me seemed a bit misinformed. His entire premise was that we live in a world full of oppression and therefore it is entirely impossible to be happy in this world as well as that Man has no power over the devil. I thought all of those things were ridiculous because, A) We have agency and we can be happy even when there are terrible things happening in the world, because happiness is something that we can choose to have and B) Man will always have more power than the devil because, God has given us a body and the devil doesn't have one. Men can be weak minded and weak willed and choose the wrong thing but in reality the devil isn't the one with any power. But after him, we met a guy from Tanzinia, who accepted a Baptismal date and a copy of the Book of Mormon. That was really nice. Later that night we taught a lesson in Family Home evening. That was really good.

Yesterday we had a scambio with Anziani Hess and Thompson. I was iwth Anziano Thompson. It was like a few months ago in Piacenza! We taught three lessons that day. One was in the morning with the husband from the couple that we ran into on Saturday. It went really well! Then we taught the guy from Cameroon. We watched the Restoration Film with Him and his friend in French. It was really good. At the end he said "That's the third time I have seen that movie. I watched it twice on your website last night." Also I read the chapter that you left me. He then proceeded to give a detailed account of Alma 32 and how much it helped him understand the parable of the sower that Jesus gave in the Bible. That was really cool!

After that we taught Ravindar and Kaor and that was a really good lesson! It is always good to hear from them!

Today, we are going to do a pass by of a less active member and then go to another park to talk to people. 

Tomorrow we are going to Zone meeting in Modena and then I will be doing a scambio with Ferrara!

It has been a good week. I am excited for the week to come.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hot and Humid in Bologna, Italy!

I am tempted to make further comment about the time flying, but I will refrain.
Dear Family and friends,
Greetings from a very humid and hot Bologna, Italy. We have had a very good week and we have been working hard to help as many people as possible come close to God. I love it here and I am feeling the Spirit witness to me time and time again that this is the place that I need to be. I can finally say with complete sincerity that I don't miss Piacenza anymore. I haven't for weeks which is good. It's good to bloom where you are planted. It's a life lesson that I am learning here.
Well lets see about the week...
Thursday was the day that we had transfers. That was vaguely exciting. Our apartment was involved in coordinating all of the transfers happening at the Bologna station. We saw off Anziani Hill and Strong on their fast train to Milano. It is weird to think that they are at home right now and it is also weird to think that every week that passes by is bringing me closer to a transfer, which is bringing me closer to going home. Weird. As it stands right now, I am only at my 8 months mark, so maybe I shouldn't worry about it. After Anziano Hill and Strong left, we picked up some of the missionaries form Modena who were waiting for their companions and then I made lunch. After lunch Anziano Thompson arrived at the station and then we had a little reunion. After that, we went to go do a ton of finding work. We had English class with two people one of them kept speaking to us in German. That was fun.
On Friday, I took my trainee, Anziano Horrocks to the Questura to get his fingerprints done. That was really fun. Well, not really. But it was quick. We met with Jane, an investigator from Nigeria and she brought her friend Juliet who didn't seem extremely interested. We asked Juliet if she wanted to meet again and she said something like "I don't really think so..." and Jane said "Juliet, Honey, come to Jesus!" that was awesome. Jane has been reading so much from the Book of Mormon and always has such great questions. She is super sweet. We met with Antonio later in the evening and he is pretty sure that he wants to move to Belgium but he wants us to teach him up until he leaves. He is really awesome and he wants to change his life. I hope everything works for him.
On Saturday, we went out into the countryside to help some members move a giant pile of wood that they have that will last them through the winter. We found out that there are like 4 member families all living next to each other. So we got to bond over sunburns and splinters. It was actually a really positive experience. Italians put the party into work party. They were laughing and joking and singing literally the entire time. We had a giant Italian lunch afterwards and Anziano Horrocks took his first real Italian meal like a trooper! He learned that these things come in courses (Like 4).
We had church on Sunday which was really good. We visited Samir who is really worried about his family back in Afghanistan their town has recently experienced the rough end of the armed conflict lately. (Please pray for him!) We comforted him and talked to him about God's plan. He is super eager to learn and understand and I hope that his family stays safe. We then passed by a less active sister and visited and member of the ward while he was in the hospital.
On Monday, I took Anziano Horrocks to the Questura again to get a second copy of his fingerprints. The lady there was super nice and seemed interested to know what we were all about. We had plans for several lessons but they fell through, so we found a bunch of people to talk to. At the end of the day we were feeling a little down because we didn't have any lessons taught, we were going towards our house when Anziano Horrocks said "Let's go to the park near our house and find a lesson!" I went along with it, a little skeptical... and the first person we talked to, A lady from Moldova talked with us and we had a lesson with her. She was super sweet. We are seeing her again tonight!
Yesterday we met with Karim again after a bit of a hiatus. He is doing well and still reading from the Book of Mormon. We did some finding and talked to a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses. They were pretty nice but only wanted to talk about their beliefs and talked about having an appointment to get to when we tried to share our beliefs. Well... I learned some things from that though.
Well that has been my week. Tomorrow, we go to Rimini again to have a Zone meeting! That will be good.
I hope everyone is doing well. I pray for you all and think about you. I know that God is watching over us. I hope you are all enjoying the sun!
Anziano John Colin Cook
PS: I have decided that instead of sending things directly to where I am in Bologna, it would be better that letters and all came to the mission office. That way, If I get transferred, the letters will still arrive instead of waiting with the missionaries there until they get the chance to get them to me.