Tuesday, August 15, 2017

la ultima carta

Well... this is it. My last email ever as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. How crazy is that!? It has been one rollercoaster from start to finish. In February 2016, I couldn't have even imagined where I would be right now, or who I would be more like it. It is a weird feeling, this has literally been my life, every single day, for 18 months and now it's all over. I have seriously loved every second of it. Even though it wasn't always easy, it was definitely worth it. That sounds so cheesy but it's true. Florida is my second home, and will forever have a giant piece of my heart.

Dang. This is weird, but it's good. God calls us for 18 months and it's over now. But it's okay, because I have truly learned so much. This last week at zone conference we had to give our departing testimonies. I talked about a few things but the biggest one was the biggest lesson I learned on my mission, which was how we can find true joy. There is no greater joy than in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in keeping His commandments and in serving your fellow men. Charity is so vital and it truly brings us the joy we need in this life! I was so lucky to be able to learn this lesson here in the Florida streets.

I loved all my areas, all my comps, all the sisters I lived with, all my leaders and all the people I got to talk to every single day. There is no way I could count the number of people I have talked to but it's a lot. I am so grateful for every single person I got to share my testimony to, investigators, members, random people. Its been fantastic. On Sunday, right after church, I turned around to see Byron and Liliana and little baby Ethan, my recent converts all the way back from Lauderhill. They drive all the way up here to surprise me and I was so happy to see them! They are in temple prep right now! It was amazing to be able to see them. Ethan is so big, and walking now! When I left that baby was barely 1 1/2 months old! Time flies when you're having fun!

I really don't know what else to say other than my testimony! I know this is Christ's true church and I know He loves us all so much. I have been able to feel that love not only for myself but for every single person I was able to meet. Its an amazing gift to be able to feel that pure love that He has for us. UNREAL. I know that God lives and loves us and that there is so much power in reading the scriptures every day. Even when we don't want to. That's when we need to the most! Read, read, read. and pray, pray, pray. Pray until your knees hurt. Thats the best kind of prayer. I loved being able to pray with a million random people. There is so much power in that. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that as we read it, we can feel His Spirit stronger and stronger. The Holy Ghost is legit. And so good. We should listen to it all the time. I loved this freaking mission. The FFLM is truly amazing. It really is the best mission in the world, I testify of that.

I LOVE YOU ALL. There is no better way to say it. Keep it real. Keep reading. Remember: the Church is true and the Book is blue. South Florida will always mean something special to me. The place that I worked harder than I ever had before, cried, laughed, taught, learned and grew more than I ever thought I could. I loved every stinkin second of it.

1: The Sanchez family.

2: Sister Tilby at zone conference and soon at BYU!

3: I'm going to miss this little family, Freddy and Darlyne.

xoxo, sister cottrell

Monday, August 7, 2017

the final countdown: twins for the win

WOW. WHAT A WEEK. Guys I don't even know where to start, but I just wanted to say, yet again, that I love being a missionary. It is the best thing in the entire world. I don't even know how to describe all the feelings, thoughts and emotions that have gone through my mind these last 18 months and especially this last week. It's a strange feeling but it's good. There is still work to do.

Update on investigators:
-June kinda dropped us because she wants to take it slow with learning about Christ, but we gave her a Chinese Book of Mormon and she was very excited to read it and contact the missionaries later. A solid seed planted.
- Freddy and Darlyne. Our golden couple. They are amazing. They want so badly to change their lives for their young kids and they came to church yesterday and loved it. We have brought some members out with us and they love the church. It has been such a blessing to be able to see the change the Gospel brings into someone's life this last week. You can literally see the countenance change the Spirit brings.

We have some other peeps we're working with and are super pumped to see how they progress as well!

We had interviews with President on Tuesday! He is amazing and so inspired for this time. I just talked with him for like 10 minutes because I will have my hour long final interview with him this week on Wednesday! It's gonna be great. Then, on Wednesday we had an exchange with the PSL sisters and I stayed here in Royal Palm and brought Sister Albrecht here! We ate at Pollo Tropical for her first time and it was amazing. I am going to miss that place.

Friday, we drove all the way down to Ft Lauderdale for MLC and it was amazing. There are some very inspired things coming to the FFLM this next month and I am so grateful I got to be a part of it and see the way these goals are set. So much is done by the Spirit and I am grateful for that.

We met someone named Tuna this week... I am  not even kidding. I also got attacked by mosquitos and drenched myself in bug spray afterwards.

I loved this week. Sister Peterson is my fave and approximately 50 people this week, including Sister Garns, have told us that we look related/like siblings. So twinning is winning. I don't see it but it's all good. You be the judge.

This week is going to be amazing. I can feel the energy and excitement that is coming and all those awesome miracles. It has truly been an amazing 18 month journey and I am so grateful for all I learned. I have truly seen God's hand every single day. Thank goodness for that.

1: My homegirl/soulmate Sister Adams.

2: Face masks and cucumbers for the win.

3: Shoutout to the Brazilians who gave us this boss CD of a Brazilian gospel singer.

4: But then also this CD about the end of the world.

5: When this is on the Bishop's whiteboard during ward council... we don't know why this is so funny but it is.

6&7: Our companionship is a mix of these 2 pictures.

8: When you have to wear a skirt to email at the chapel but don't want to change...