The ‘Hot Seat’

August 4, 2014

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Picture 1: This is my district (and my mission family)! Left to right: Elder Cuyan, Elder Walker, Sister Jakins, Sister Lewis, Sister Taylor, Elder Black, and Elder Owens. We meet every Tuesday for District Meeting, learn a ton, and then go out for lunch. It’s great.

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Picture 2: Sister Taylor and I made empanadas on Friday! Linda (one of our investigators) taught us how to make them one night after a lesson, so we gave it a shot in our own kitchen. It was a little terrifying – hot oil was flying everywhere, but we had a blast. They were also really yummy

Happy Transfer Day to me!

Hello everyone! Guess what. I have been out for an entire transfer. WHAT? I can’t believe it. The time has flown by! This week, I have been reflecting a lot on my first transfer. How have I grown? What have I learned? How have I changed? Have I served the Lord with my whole heart? Have I worked hard every day? How can I improve? What more do I need to do?

At the last district meeting of every transfer, we have an additional meeting called, “The Hot Seat”. The entire zone gets together in the gym, and any “dying” missionaries (missionaries who are going home) sit in the Hot Seat. We all get to ask them questions, hear about their experiences, and hear their testimonies. I was quite inspired by this idea, and I have spent every day this week asking myself questions and evaluating my service thus far. For this week’s email, I have decided to put myself in the Hot Seat! Hopefully, this will tell you a little bit more about what being a NJMM missionary has been like.

WHAT WAS ONE OF THE FUNNIEST MOMENTS OF THE TRANSFER?

One of my favorite lessons (by far) that we taught this transfer happened a couple of weeks ago. Sister Taylor and I were teaching M—— the Law of Chastity. Well, considering the fact that I have never given “the talk” to anyone, much less a 57 year old woman, it was… hilarious. Sister Taylor couldn’t do it – she was SO embarrassed. She just sat there blushing and giggling the entire time! M—— thought it was super funny too. Luckily, Dad gave me “the talk” almost every day growing up (one of the “perks” of being raised by a bishop/lawyer/over-protective father), so I was pretty comfortable teaching the Law of Chastity. Seriously though, Sister Taylor left me hanging in the middle of a Law of Chastity lesson! That is not cool to do to a greenie.

WHERE DID YOUR TESTIMONY GROW THE MOST?

My testimony has grown in a hundred ways during the past six weeks. It’s astounding. I wish I could express how I feel and know to be true about the gospel, but I don’t have the words or the time. Heavenly Father is the greatest tutor. One area where my testimony grew the most was in the power of the Holy Ghost. This past transfer, I have learned a lot about recognizing and following the Holy Ghost. It’s so important to understand that as a missionary, because without the Holy Ghost, I can’t do anything. Literally. I am completely hopeless. However, with the Holy Ghost and the help of the Lord, we can do anything. I have learned to understand how the Holy Ghost personally speaks to me. As I have come to know Heavenly Father and the Savior through the Holy Ghost, I have felt its guiding and instructive influence even more. My will is closer to God’s will. Through the Holy Ghost, we have been led to people who are prepared to hear the message of the gospel. The Holy Ghost helped us understand these people, know what they need, and how the gospel can bless their lives. It is wonderful to be able to teach people that they can receive answers to their prayers through the Holy Ghost. As we have been able to teach our investigators about the Holy Ghost and how it speaks to them, we have seen the gospel change their lives. Their own testimonies of the restored gospel and of Jesus Christ are growing. They are beginning to understand who Heavenly Father is and what their purpose is. It is a beautiful thing to see.

WHAT WAS THE WEIRDEST THING YOU ATE?

I ate cow stomach on Tuesday. Yes, I actually ate it (chewed, swallowed, and didn’t throw it back up). I am pretty proud of myself! _______________ ( a recent convert we are working with) is from Ecuador, and he prepared us a traditional Ecuadorian meal this week. Apparently, Ecuadorians enjoy eating cow stomach, and it is available at the nearest grocery store. I don’t think I will be cooking it anytime soon. However, it was really fun to try it.

WHAT WAS THE BEST THING YOU ATE?
Dinner last night was the best meal I have had in New Jersey. The thing is, it wasn’t amazing because the food was super good. It was amazing because of the woman who prepared it. The woman who fed us dinner last night was baptized two weeks before I arrived in the area. Shortly after her baptism, she has had a million trials and awful experiences happen to her. She (literally) does not have enough food to feed her own children, she is sick, and she is struggling more than any person should ever have to struggle. Despite all of this, she insisted on inviting Sister Taylor and I over for dinner last night. She prepared the most loving meal for us, and I was completely overwhelmed by her sacrifice. Somehow, it doesn’t seem right that people who have nothing are serving me. And I have everything. The story of the Widow’s Mite comes to mind. She truly gave us everything she had. It was a very humbling evening. This woman has experienced every awful thing this world has to offer. I was almost in tears as we listened to her talk about her life and her growing testimony. I sat in her home, feeling like the smallest, most vain and insignificant person in the world. Why has Heavenly Father blessed me with so much, when there are others who don’t have anything? I still don’t know the answer to that question. However, I do know that the Savior’s Atonement can heal us. It heals broken hearts and broken souls. I have seen it. And that is truly a miracle. 
HOW HAS SERVING A MISSION CHANGED YOU?
Now, I have only been out 6 weeks, but the Lord has wasted no time in teaching me, stretching me, and helping me grow. It’s weird, but I feel as though I am the one who is actually learning out here! I can only hope that I have helped someone grow as much as I have! One primary way in which my mission has changed me is in the way that I love people. In learning more about the Savior, His Atonement, the Book of Mormon, and the restored gospel, I have grown to love this gospel. I love my God. I love my Savior. My deepened love for Heavenly Father and the Savior have changed me, and I want to share it with everyone! I want everyone to know what I know and feel the way I feel! In Alma 29, Alma says: “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!” That is how I feel, ALL THE TIME. It’s a good thing I am a full-time missionary for the Lord Jesus Christ! I get to teach people about Him everyday! Every person that we see is a child of God, and they deserve to hear the message of the restored gospel. Heavenly Father loves them just as much as He love me and you. No matter how scary they look, what they have done, how mean they are, or where they have been, it does not change the fact that God loves them. Miraculously, I love them too! I didn’t know my heart had this much room for all of these people! I love people differently than I did before. It’s not a perfect love, but it is a more unselfish love.
 

Those are just a few of the classic Hot Seat questions, but if you have any more, send them my way! It has been quite interesting to reflect on my time here. I love being a missionary. Have I mentioned that yet? Honestly, I wake up every day SO EXCITED to be a missionary and I go to bed every night SO EXCITED that I get to keep being a missionary.

You know what else I am excited about?! The newest members of the Cobb family! Kirsten – welcome to the family! I am so happy you and Joe are (finally) engaged! Your engagement photo almost put me in tears. It’s that beautiful. I am also that sappy and emotional. Caroline – your wedding dress is gorgeous. Thanks for emailing me! I hope you and the boys have tons of fun in China. Send me pictures! Ah, the Cobb family is growing, and it is amazing!

You know how they say, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder?” Well, I am here to tell you that that is true! Being apart from all of you has made me realize how much I love you. I am so blessed to be a member of the Cobb family. Heavenly Father really knew what He was doing when He put us all together. And just think of it! We get to be together FOREVER. It doesn’t get better than that. I love you all.

Be Jersey strong!

xoxoxoxo… into eternity.

Sister Cobb

 
 

 

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