Monday, February 17, 2014

There is no Valentines Day (as a missionary)

Everybody wants my nose!

Me on Valentines

Me on Valentines

My Companion and I

A Valentine from Mom!


My companion writing Valentines cards

My companion's silhouette during studies
Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been full of love. Or, better said, the PURE love of Christ...Charity! (Oh man, I can tell I am starting to rack up the months in the mission, my humor is not the same as it once was!)

Now, onto some of the great quotes of the week!

From my companion: the one and only Hermana Burnett!

¨Teaching the gospel doesn´t mean that we are getting fat, people! Sorry.¨

From the Latina missionaries as they were language studying with us and we were helping them with English. Keep in mind that we only read church approved materials.
¨Visit with each other and asses¨ (supposed to be: assess)

For Valentines Day my companion and I made a good hearty USA breakfast of french toast and smoothies. It was a hit.

MOM! I got your Valentine, before Valentines and everything! I am so proud of you and the mail system! Also, I think it is the cutest dog I have seen in 7 months.

Oh, and this is awkward, but HAPPY LATE BDAY GRACIE! Feliz Cumpleaños! Sorry that I totally spaced telling you that last Pday, on the day of your birthday. I am a terrible sister. Love you!

In other news, my roommates like to put clothes pins on their noses and walk around the house, saying ¨We are going to have noses like Hermana Van Cott!¨, or, actually, ¨¡Vamos a tener narizes como la Hermana Van Cott!¨ I am so excited to never talk about my nose AGAIN in my life.


Here is a cool story of the week. We were walking down the street looking for any signs of life, getting ready to go to our back up back up plans, and then, out of nowhere, this huge black man appears! He had his son (about 5 years old) with him, and they were out on a walk.

So, my hand instantly goes up as I walk over to him, and I shook his hand and just started talking. My poor companion thought that I must have known him from before, but soon realized I didn´t. We started off on a really good note, laughing and joking. Amos is from Haiti, but lived in Boston for some time. He plays the piano (a desperately needed skill in the church!) and, get this, he is LOOKING for a church. Really, it couldn´t have gotten better up to that point. We started explaining who we are and why we are in Chile, and he was so excited to hear our message!

Then, to make everything better, a member (a convert of 3 years), passes by and sees us. He instantly greets Amos, asks their names, invites them to watch a soccer game with them, tells the man that we would love to see him in Church. THAT is called ¨fellowshipping¨, my dear friends!

So, we are looking forward to teaching this man during this week. Our Heavenly Father really knows each one of His children, and he leads us (missionaries AND members) to find them. Like me in this story, sometimes we don´t know what we are doing or why. I honestly can´t think of what lead me to walk over and shake his hand. I had no idea what I was going to say. The Lord put the words into my mouth. The Lord knew that Amos was searching for something. I have NO doubt that this is the Lord´s work, and our part is easy. We just need to be willing to trust and act at all times.

Yesterday we had a regional stake conference. Elder Cook of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles and Elder Arnold (my dad´s mission President and a member of the 70) spoke.

What Elder Arnold said really hit me. I went to the conference thinking about my family members and how I could help them, because I learn that if you go to meetings with a question, you will receive the revelation that you need.

So, my revelation was this:

He told the story of the lost sheep, and how the shepherd left his 99 other sheep to find the one. It´s a well known story, right?

He then asked some questions.

¨What caused the sheep to leave in the first place?¨ & ¨How long was it lost?¨

Well, it isn´t important. That is why we don´t have the answers to those questions in the scriptures. There could be a million reasons why it left, and it could have been away from the group for one minute or one day, but it just doesn´t matter!

What DOES matter is that the Shepherd KNEW that the sheep was lost. He knew that the sheep was alone and that it´s needs weren´t being met as it was away from the fold.

I think about my family members that have distanced themselves from the church for some reason or another. I see them, and I know that they are happy. They, like the sheep, are still in a good environment and maybe are happily exploring. But, they STILL have a shepherd, even if they don´t recognize it. We all do. Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father know us personally, and they know that when we aren´t living by their commandments, our REAL needs aren´t being met.

I don´t want to go all missionary on you, but if you are one of these people who feels lonely or that your life isn´t as full as it could be, come back! Start making goals. Pray, read the scriptures, get to church! The goal is to be in the temple, where we can be sealed to our families for eternity, and If you have anything less than that, than an eternal family, you simply are NOT living up to your potential and NOT receiving all the blessings that our Good Shepherd wants for you.

It can be scary to start to come back, to take those first steps to returning to your Heavenly Father. But, as the story tells us, the details aren´t important, the sin you committed isn´t important. The reasons you have been away for so long DON´T MATTER. What does matter is that you are willing to get to know your Heavenly Father more, and are willing to accept His help in overcoming your weaknesses.

I love you all. I won´t name names, but I pray for all of my family members who at one time were actively in the church. I pray that you can come back and receive all the happiness this life has to offer. I love you how you are, but I know your Heavenly Father loves you more, and for that reason I want you to start putting goals in your life to receive temple blessings. It breaks my heart, and it weighs on my mind, every single day, to think that you don´t know HOW MUCH Heavenly Father loves you. If you understood this, you would understand that it is NEVER too late.

Have a great week! I love you all and am so happy to hear from you! Keep being good and stay happy!

Hermana Van Cott

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