While I'm here on my mission I have the opportunity to work with many different kinds of families and people. The more I learn about them and their lives the more overwhelming gratitude comes over me for my parents. How wonderful this gospel is! It is true. How grateful I am to have two wonderful parents who have taught me in the gospel. That have loved me. And always helped me to stay on the path. At times I was rebellious, but it was because of the love of my parents and their examples, that I am here today. Well part of it. I do have my own conversion story and why I am here today. But they helped me find the path to allow me to gain a testimony of the divinity and love of my Savior and His true Church.
I have learned more about how the church works and functions and how it should function in 2 months here on my mission than I have in 20 years at home. Truly a great blessing.
Yesterday we had a FHE with a family we had recently baptized and we invited a very strong family from the ward. Luckily they were able to make it and it was such a blessing to have them. They are like the rock and foundation of this ward. I believe God places certain people (gems) in wards that need strengthening to be a blessing to the ward. This family is outstanding. They set goals as a family and accomplish them. One was playing the piano. they now all play the piano. Another one is learning English. They are all working on it now. The accent is slightly off but it is great to see them trying. It sets a little fire in me to set more goals that are stretching and beneficial and to accomplish them in my life.
The FHE was wonderful. They came well prepared and ended up teaching and sharing their testimonies with our new converts. Elder Gonzalez and I just ended up bearing our testimony and not saying any more. We just felt like it was important to just sit and listen. I did so and learned so much from this family and from the Spirit. Afterward Elder Gonzalez and I talked about it and said we learned so much. One was what we wanted in our future wife and family. Just to see the difference working with all kinds of people and families. It's a huge contrast between a family without the gospel and one with that is living and striving to live the commandments of God. I don´t know what I would do without a prophet to guide us in these latter days. Following the prophet as the primary song goes, he won't lead you astray. I bear testimony of the truthfulness of this. The family can have so much love and joy in it from living every single one of the commandments and striving to love and cherish one another. I can see how the home can be one of the most wonderful things on this earth, A piece of Heaven on earth or a place you absolutely can not stand and never want to return. I am so grateful that I have a home when I return that I want to go home to. To loving parents who love each other and their children, love the Lord and His commandments. Who love me. The blessings are tremendous on a mission. So much that I can not count them. One is that my eyes have been opened to blessings that I am able to see more in my life and from my past. God truly blesses us. I think for the most part we just don't see it all the time. At least I don't.
I don't know what you want to hear about. I have so much that is going on here but I don't know what anyone wants to hear about. Let me know and I'll write about it.
My testimony has grown so much on my mission. I had one before I came and that has made all the difference. I think of the poem the road less traveled. I took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference. Truly this is the road less traveled by but a mission can make all the difference in one's life. I know those who haven't gone yet (sam), will hear that over and over. but trust me, you will never know the experience and the joy you can feel on a mission. I have never been so tired, hot, and uncomofortable than I am right now. But let me tell you, the joy and happiness I feel has overpowered it and I have never been so happy before. I have never smiled so much. I know it's cheesy and I'm trying not to smile like I just got my braces off like someone said (editor's note: I believe that was Grandma :) , but I can't help it. I love this Gospel so much. The joy it brings me. My Savior's love is overwhelming. My testimony of the scriptures is unshakable. The Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth and those who read it will come closer to God than by any other book. I can testify of the truthfulness of that. In my life and the lives of the investigators I have seen. It has changed their lives, my life, and can change yours. Read it, study it, daily. The prophets have said that over and over and there is reason behind it. I think of how wonderful it is to have living prophets today. I have the opportunity to hear the talks on my ipod in the morning and read the Liahona each month. I love it. I can read and listen and pull new things out of it each time. I know now why they said study the words of the prophets. Living and dead. For they are the words of God. I know that to be true.
Thank you all for helping me, supporting me, and loving me in my life. This mission has brought more blessings in my life than i can ever remember. I hope and pray that the Lord will bless each and everyone of you.
Elder James Cox