Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 11 New companion is awesome

This week flew by. I love my new companion. We are working so well together and having huge success. We started out the week visiting a less active who may be a J.W. Well it turns out he is a strong J.W. but is not quite one because if he was then he could not drink and stuff like that. So he believes in it all but does not commit so he can still drink. Anyway... He made me want to punch him the face!! We were being so kind and caring and he took everything the wrong way. Man he had a hardened heart. We could not even bare a simple testimony to him without having some "argument" come up. Don't even get me started on the Book of Mormon. To him that book is from the devil. Sooo... To sum up we are not going to visit him anymore. I got so feed up that he would not even just listen to us for a second to maybe see that he is missing something. At the end we asked why he initially joined the Mormons and he says his mom forced him and he was never interviewed. He just got dunked without knowing. We both thought that sounded funny but are just gonna let him be. He is too far gone. It was sad.

That was about the saddest part of the week, from there it only got better! We meet with a man named James Lowery. He is an ex-member. Everyone he lives with goes to church but since he is EXed he does not come. Since the first day we got here we always visit him. He is by far my most favorite man!! We figured out how he can get back to being a member and have really worked with him by visiting him and just being his friend. Well our hard work has paid off. He came to church. All dressed up in a white shirt and everything!! It was so amazing. I had the biggest smile the whole day. We have set him on a baptism date. He is quite stubborn but fun and we joke around all the time so currently he is set for April 1, 2018. Haha he has got some time but we are gonna get it to a year sooner. haha such a great guy.

Speaking of great guys, I have talked a lot about Angus and his family. Well they are amazing. Angus and his family are progressing so fast and so strong. They have been through all the lessons and now we just are reading the Book Of Mormon and making sure they understand everything. Like I have said before it is marriage that is keeping them from baptism. Well we were able to set a date for them to get married and then they wanted to get baptised that same day since they are using the chapel to get married at. Jan 25, 2017. Angus loves the gospel so much that he has been sharing it with his parents. He has done so well preparing his parents. We got them some Book of Mormons. They live about an hour out of town so we have not visited them yet but when we do Angus is going to come help us teach. Haha he is not even a member yet and he wants to share. As he has taught his parents they want to be baptized. So we need to put them on a date. The family thinks it would be a cool experience to have the baptism after the marriage ceremony since all the family and friends are already there. Sorta 2 for 1 deal. He wants his parents to go on that same day. I am praying that I will still be in the area.

Now that I have a BIG Samoan comp we eat a ton and work out all the time. Push up competition every night and stuff like that. This last week every morning at 6 we rode our bikes over to Angus's house and worked out at the gym that he has. First off Angus is big muscle wise and so is Elder Talaipa. Well those of you who know me I am a skinny mate. I have muscle but not huge. Well they have put me through the ringer. I have never been so sore in my life. It is fun but while I am bench pressing 40 kilos and getting tired they go up to 85. Haha hopefully I come back a little bigger. It has been fun and Angus loves it. He loves the spirit that we bring. Such a good man.

He came to church with his whole family and participated in everything. Elder Talaipa gave a talk and Angus asked me how he could get up and give one. I was like WHAT?? you’re not even a member and you want to go up there? Most members don’t want to go up. So he will be giving us a talk here soon and will get up on fast Sunday to bare his testimony. It is so fun to see him grow in the gospel.

Over the week we had Thanksgiving. It was boring. Not the typical Cahoon style party with family all around and some basketball. Sad I missed out on that. It looked fun though. The senior couple held a dinner so we drove over to Townsville and we had the TV elders and sisters there and their branch president. It was fun but it felt like a normal dinner. I am not complaining it was a free dinner. With it being about 40 every day it just didn't feel like Thanksgiving time.

We sang a Christmas songs the other day. I said to my comp no no it is way to early to sing Christmas songs. Then I remembered what day it was. It is time for Christmas just not a normal one. It just looks wrong seeing decorations out in the summer. It has testified to me that I need the snow. haha oh well. Enjoy it for me.

We have been praying super hard to find new solid people to teach and miracles have been happening. We first meet a mom named Tianna and she did not want anything to do with us. Well the Holy Ghost worked at her and we got an appointment with her and taught the restoration. She loved it and said it gave her hope. Now she is willing to have us teach her more. She is evening thinking about baptism. She wants to pray before saying yes. So that was just so great!! We said our closing prayer for the lesson and prayed for rain. It was a powerful prayer for it being her first time. The next day it just stared to dump. So we texted her “look at the power of prayer.” She loved it so much. Elder Talaipa and I were in the flat having dinner when it started and you will never believe who the first one was to strip down and run out into the rain. Elder Talaipa. So I am not the only crazy one. The storm lasted a couple of hours which is really rare so we sorta just played in the rain until it was time for bed. It is the closest thing we can get to swimming.

We have another YSA who we taught the restoration to and it blew her mind. She is catholic and she said, “This is something I have never heard before and a lot to take in.” It took lots of explaining but she understood it and just wants to pray too. She is very interested and is going really well.

I want to talk a little bit about how me and my new companion are. We are having so much fun together. There is never a dull moment. One of his favorite saying is "The church is true." We have started saying it so much. Even to investigators. When they say, “Oh yeah that makes sense” we say, “You wanna know why? BECAUSE THE CHURCH IS TRUE.” haha it is the best. It is little stuff like that, that has unified us as a companionship. We are also always singing. In the car, while tracking, all the time in the flat. I am really hoping we are gonna stay together for a transfer.

Elder Talaipa shared a story with me that has made finding our number one priority. To sum it up it said "Imagine you had a best friend in the pre-earth life. Together you did everything and when you found out God has this plan for you both to come to earth. Together you get your "life package" I read mine. It said I would grow up in the church and know of my brother Jesus Christ. We both were so excited. You read yours silently and tears fell down your face. You would not have the opportunity to grow up knowing about Jesus Christ and the gospel. You looked at me in the eyes and said, “Friend find me. Whatever it takes, please find me."

This simple story changed it all for me. We went from contacting about 20 people a day to 50 people. I used to hate going out in the heat walking around and talking to people and getting rejected. Now it is my favorite thing to do. I don't let any rejection get me down or dull my spirit.

Elder Holland gave a talk to missionaries that said, "President? Why is it not easier? It is the truth. We believe in angles and miracles. Why isn't it that the only thing we have to worry about is getting sick of being in the font all day and night baptizing people?" He then goes on to say," This isn't church doctrine just my own personal belief. It is because salvation is not easy!! Salvation was never a cheap experience. It was not cheap for him so why would we think it would be cheap for us?" The talk proceeds to go on and it is powerful. It changed how I looked at things and how I can work harder. Salvation is possible but it is not going to be a simple thing. To find people ready for salvation you have to work HARD. What I am meaning to say is I love being on a mission and it is not easy but it is worth it. We have some of the funnest times but it is not all fun and games. It is people’s salvation on the line. So I need to work as hard as I can to find that best friend and to help him see the truth again.

One thing that drives me crazy when finding is people answer the door "ah nah mate I'm all good." I just want to say so bad, “No mate your not good. Take 10 minutes to listen to us and then see if you are good.” It just pains me to see a son or daughter of Christ deny the opportunity to come to the truth. We have started to say funny stuff like “oh well I haven't even said anything yet.” One time Elder Talaipa said, “Oh you don't need some extra money for the week.” That man had us come back we started to talk about the restoration. He caught on quick and kicked us off his porch.

Ok that was my rant for the week. Hope it was good. Thanks for all the love. I am doing great and having so much fun and feel so much love.
Elder Cahoon

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 10 New Companion

Mission life continues on and it just gets better and better. I am glad everyone likes these letters. I have so much fun writing them and this week is another crazy good one.

Now that we have a car we were able to visit all the less actives in the surrounding towns. They all have personal problems -- health, no car, and things like that but we are working with them to start coming to church. We were in a town called Home Hill, it is about a 30 minute drive from Ayr and you have to cross the longest bridge in Australia. I think we have longer bridges in Utah than this bridge. It was pathetic for being the longest. No offense to Australia but set it up. Anyways the town is wonderful. We did some finding and have some good potentials to come back and visit. While we were there we visited a less active. Her parents are both super active but this lady and her family have fallen away. They are a really nice family and we read some of the Book of Mormon with them. They are slowly going to be able to come back. They still have a good testimony of the Holy Ghost it is just a matter of getting them to church. The family owns about 60 acres of cane farms and that night they were burning their biggest paddock or field. So they took us to see the fire and it was huge and really hot.

Mariah is still super solid. We gave her a Book of Mormon and had the restoration lesson with her. She got an answer saying be patient with the missionaries and trust them. This was perfect. We have been having the lessons with her and she was all set up to come to church but caught the flu that is going around and had to bail on us. Super sad but she has sister Yip as a friend and they hang out so we are not scared about losing her. She will come around. She said yes to baptism and now we just need to pick a date for her. Ahhh it is so great!!

I have not talked about Andrew and Brooke for a while because they are moving to Townsville so the elders over there are going to take over.

About half way through the week I got a call from our mission president and he was in a frantic hurry. There was an emergency and my companion had to go to Townsville so we got in the car and drove over there. When we got there I had to get a new companion. YES! Oh he is great!! Elder Talaipa from Samoa. He is a huge giant but a gentle man. He is so great and we are so powerful together. We are going to hasten the work. We have so much fun and laugh so hard all the time. He is quite the amazing missionary and all the people in this area love him already.

We drove to Charters Towers and on the way saw a whole bunch of wild camels. I did not know there were wild camels in Australia. Weird. Anyway we were able to visit Angus. He was unable to go to church also but still is reading the Book of Mormon and progressing. He is keeping the word of wisdom and all he needs now is to be married and then we can baptize him. He loves when we come over and the spirit we bring. He wants it for himself and wants to always have the spirit. You can see him light up when he feels it. It is so fun to see!!

There is so much to say and so little time. Basically everything we do is awesome and we have so much fun doing it. The people love us and we are teaching lots more people just not on a date yet. So I will talk about them when they are on one.

The last P-day we went on a hike with Brother Finn. We hiked Incaman Hill. Haha it was so funny. He had us stop at the bottom to tell us how to hike a big hill like this. Go slow, take your time, etc... Haha he had no clue about my lifestyle. He said it takes him about 30 minutes to get up this hill. He was super proud of that but was disappointed when he saw me hiking up it. He had not resized I was an avid hiker and had done mountains 10x the size of this little hill. It was only 3/4 of a mile and boy it just about killed him. I loved that I could show him my awesome hiking skills. The view was pretty amazing at the top. We could see the ocean and all the cane fields.

Even though we are having all this fun with worldly activities the real fun comes when teaching people. It is nice to have the break on P day but when you see your brothers and sisters coming to the Lord their God it is amazing! I am so grateful I can be the one to help them do that.

I have heard lots of people say they love seeing what I have been doing and how perfect my calling is. Well I can truly say that I know when a missionary gets their calling it is where the Lord needs them. The Lord needed me here in this place for a reason. It is just a blessing that I am able to love it so much and gain so much joy out of it.

I love you all and love hearing from you.

Elder Cahoon

In the rain.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 9 -- Driving on the left side

No pictures for this week. My camera died so I will be getting one today. It was such a crazy week full of so much love and fun. I wish I had my camera.

It started out in Townsville. An hour drive from Ary. We stayed there because the elders there were having problems and one needed to go to a new area.

We were with them for P-Day and went ice-skating. It was really fun!! The rink was not cooled by frozen pipes but rather the whole building was a freezer. You could see your breath and I had goose bumps. It was like being back in Utah weather. We were the only ones there and I was the only one that could skate, so I gave everyone else a lesson. It was great. All 4 of us were doing really good. Every once in awhile one of us would fall and we would all just start laughing so hard. They played music from all my favorite bands while we were there. Coldplay, M83. It was so weird to listen to them since I have not heard them for a while.

The Townsville elders ended up staying so they took us to Ayr on Tuesday after a district meeting.

We went around to say hello to all the investigators because on Wednesday the Townsville Elders came and brought us back to go to a training given by our mission president. He came up north to visit us and to give interviews. He is so amazing and such a good president. He really helped me understand things better and how to teach people more clearly.

We showed up to the chapel before President to clean and prepare for him. I waited at the door to greet him and when he drove up I walked out to shake his hand. He got out of the car and tossed me the keys. "Elder this is your new car!!!!" haha what???? He brought us up a car, so now I am driving and loving it. It is not that hard on the other side. I am pretty used to it from biking on the left side for so long now. So driving was easy to pick up on. I am always really careful still. But now we can drive to Charters Towers and all the little towns in our area that are too far to bike to. It is so fun!!!

We meet with an investigator named Maria and she has been having the J.W's teach her but when we came over she said she knew what we are teaching is true and she told the J.W's to stop teaching her. We could not believe it. We had been gone for two weeks but she still knows this is true. It is amazing the power that the spirit has on people. Later that week she came with us to a dinner appointment at the Yipp’s home. The Yipps are helping us teach her. We have gone through the plan and tonight it was the restoration. Brother and Sister Yipp both served missions so they are great to have with us when we teach. Maria is wonderful. She always asks question and wants to really understand what we are teaching. She loves it and really understands and it makes sense to her. She is going to pray to see if Joseph Smith was a true prophet and when we asked if she would be baptized by the proper authority she said YES!! She was baptized in another church but knows that this baptism will really count. IT IS SO GREAT!!!

While she is doing great, Steven is falling away. He has stopped having us come over and told us he will be going back to jail in December. Sooooo..... we dropped him and his B date. That was really sad.

I had the funnest miracle this week. Going back and forth between two areas it is easy to forget something in one area and not have it for two weeks. This week it was the soap. So I was going to have to go a full week without body soap. I was mad but dealt with it. Well, the next day we visited the Ellies. We re-activated them. When we were leaving she wanted to show me some soap that she bought. She was having me smell it and then said, “Here, take some.” She gave me a bunch of really fancy soap. I just started to laugh so hard and told her I forgot my soap and this was a miracle. She loved it and we had a good laugh. It was so great!! The Lord really does watch out for his children and loves them. I didn't even pray to "magically" get soap. But yet Heavenly Father took care of me.

When President came we stayed in Townsville overnight. The assistants came over too. We had 6 missionaries in a flat that can barley hold 4. It was so fun. We all slept on the ground and talked and laughed. I actually know one of the assistance. I knew his sister from Lincoln Academy. He went there too but was 4 grades ahead of me. So fun!! They told me what a blessing it was for me to be a greenie here. I guess I am the first missionary to be trained in the northern zone. They only send the best up here and it is rare to have a newbie come up here. I thought wow that is cool. I don't mean to brag or anything. The assistants said it is a sign that I will be going big places and most likely be a trainer when I am done being trained and definitely a leader later on. I felt so blessed to have them say that to me. I feel like I have to work really hard to prepare myself for the things to come. I love it so much! Being a missionary has brought me so much joy and I have had some of the best time of my life.

One fun thing I did this week was showering in the rain. It stared to rain really hard again when were getting ready for bed. I usually shower every night but this night I grabbed my towel and soap and ran out in my undies to the back yard. It was raining so hard that I literally took a shower in the rain. It felt so good. Nice and cold. I just started to laugh about what I was doing. Being a missionary you have moments where you just love what you do so much and the joy that come from it. It was a really good shower and I felt so refreshed.

We cannot have any pets as missionaries but I am currently kinda breaking that rule right now. There is a cockroach that is always crawling on our table when we go to cook so I caught him and put him in a little container. At first it was to see how long he would last with no food but he just kept going and then we felt bad so we made a hole to give him food. He looked lonely so we also caught him a gecko to play with. They get along just perfectly. haha so if you have any good names let me know.

With the car we were able to visit some less active members in a nearby town. They did not know that there was a church here and are going to start to come back. So that was really awesome to visit them. There are lots more like them in others little towns that we are going to visit tomorrow. Having a car is such a blessing and has helped us in so many ways to hasten the work.

Anyway, it is so fun to email and let you know all the things that are going on. I love you all and hope all is well. I challenge all of you reading this to invite the missionaries in your area over for dinner and get to know them. It is such a blessing to eat with members and get to know them. So get to work.

Elder Cahoon

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 8 - Charters Towers -- Loving being a missionary!

Just when I thought things could not get any crazier they did. I will talk about the week in a sec...At the end of the week we got a call from our mission president and he has to transfer the new Townsville elder to Makay so the other Townsville elder will be our new comp for 2 weeks while we are in Ayr. We thought that was fine, no biggy, but he has set appointments in Townsville and we have appointments in Ayr so we have to drive back and forth between the two areas. It’s a 1½ hour drive. CRAZY! So now we are in charge of 3 areas. It is just temporary but so crazy. Then today we found out the elder that was supposed to leave is not leaving anymore but he still wants us to be here in Townsville so half of the week all four of us will be here in Townsville and the other half in Ayr. Haha it is so fun being with other elders. It is such a blessing and I have so much fun with them.

Ok, here's how the week was. GREAT!!! Angus (the one with the dream) testified to us the truth of the Book of Mormon. His son wants to get baptized and his wife who at first did not listen to our lesson is now participating and enjoying it. They have told us they want to be members and they all want to get baptized. They even started making wedding plans so they can live the law of chastity!! It is so great I love them so much and love the testimony they already have!!

Last P-day we went to a little museum called the Miners Cottage. Since the town I am in was as gold mining town they have a rich history in gold mining. We got to learn all about it and even got invited to go out looking for gold one day. We couldn't go but still glad for the opportunity. I did some gold panning and found 2 tiny nuggets worth about 20 bucks and I only spent 5 bucks to pan. Chac-Ching!!

Life is so great as a missionary. We got to do some service for Jose. His celling was falling off so we cut it down and put a new one back on. It took all day and I did most of the work since I am the tallest and most experienced. I am not complaining. I loved to have all the responsibility. It was so fun. We got the job done and it looks great!! We also got to help President Williamson dig trenches for sprinklers. The church has a great big yard that is full of dead grass and now that they have missionaries they have permission to water it and make it all green. It was super fun to help him and it felt so good to be outside doing hard work. I did not have gloves so my hands are blistered up and rough but I loved it! With the sprinklers on and running, the grass has already started to go green.

During the week we got some rain again. The last time that I said that the rain was bad... well, this storm was so much worse!! It was like I jumped into a river. The roads were rivers! We frantically road to Jose house since he was down the street but it was too late when we got there, we were drenched. We were at his gate yelling, “Jose! Jose! Saves us!” He let us in and told us to strip down to nothing and he gave us some dry clothes. It was one of the mission moments when you just start laughing from all that is happening. I loved it. He is a large man so when I put on his clothes they were a little big. Still it helped. He drove us back to our flat and we got some white shirts back on after the rain stopped.

It was a slow week besides all that craziness. My companion got sick for 3 days so we were in the flat all day. So I read and read and read the Book of Mormon. It was great but I got so bored. During those 3 days was the first time I missed my phone. I had nothing to do but read. No insta or YouTube. I suffered through it just fine though. Haha

We had a fast and testimony meeting and like normal only a few people showed up, about 10. I was reading in 1 Nephi and thought about when they were in the wilderness for 7 years and all they had was around 7-10 people in their congregation. I really pondered on this and felt like I was Nephi preaching and helping the people here. It was pretty cool.

I am having so much fun and loving being on a mission. There are definitely hard times but the joy that comes from the good times makes up for all the hard times. If you are thinking about going on a mission, GO!! It is the greatest experience ever. You will not regret it. I love you all so much and wish you the best.

Elder Cahoon

Ps. this is for James. You bum you need to come to church. Trish came! When we come back you better have the white shirt ready to go. Haha love you, you are the best. Tell Sister Lowery the fruit was delicious. Oh and get out and go for a run. Haha see you in a little bit.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Week 7 -- Charters Towers -- Baptisms lined up

The week started out crazy!! We were finding on Tuesday and my companion always has dog treat to feed the dogs so they don't bite us. It’s a good idea but I usually just stand back and let him do it. Well most people don't mind but that day a lady did not like that at all. She saw us from across the road and started to yell and get so mad at us. Typical, but then she pulled out her phone. We thought she was calling the cops but she posted on Facebook. "Two religious guys are going around feeding your dogs. Watch out." Well that blew up on Facebook and now everybody in Charters Towers knows us for a bad thing. I will send someone a letter with some cool Aussie stuff if you can find the post. I think the page is called Charters Towers Discussion Page. Good luck. You may have to scroll because it has gone down in the feed since that. The next day a lady started taking pictures of it and we were told by the ward members people are upset and mad about it. So we get some pretty scary glares riding down the road now.

During our first week in the area we spend the whole day finding so we can teach the second week. So during one of the all day findings I had to poop so bad!! We had 30 minutes to lunch and I was not gonna make it. I had to GO!! We had a few houses left and I said, “Heavenly Father if there is someone ready for us to come by, help me so I don't crap my pants.” That is how bad this was. So we went up to a house and knocked and the man came out and as soon as we started talking with him I did not have to go anymore. I knew this was the man we needed to talk to. So we had a lesson with him. (Brendon) He is a really good guy. He is pretty interested and next time we see him we are gonna invite him to be baptized. Man was that a huge miracle. As soon as we left and started to go home I had to go like crazy. It was so great to see that miracle.

During the week we had the best idea. We call it I.B. Invitation to be baptized. In Preach My Gospel it teaches us to invite them to be baptized on the first lesson. At first I thought this was crazy, but it is actually really smart and good. At the first lesson most people don’t know what you are doing. Ok so they taught me this great. They don’t know why we are there. Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Jesus Christ and his atonement. Baptism is the way to let them know that. So when you challenge them that first time they know what we are doing.

The day we came up with this goal we set Brodie on a date. December 3. It was amazing that we were already seeing the blessing from putting our faith to put someone on a date.

Throughout the week we set 2 more on a date so we are up to 7 on dates now!! It is crazy how well we are doing. Some are stronger than others but they are all open to be taught and work towards baptism.

We got a referral from our less active 1st counselor. The referral was awesome. His name is Angus. He has 4 kids and a partner. Not yet wife. We are gonna work on that. But anyways, Daniel, the 1st counselor, has taught him some of the gospel and he has really liked what he has heard. So when we showed up he was really excited to learn more. He told us about a dream he had where there was a huge building with lots of people having fun and drinking on one side of the river and an iron rod on the side he was on. When he tried to swim to the building a man pulled him out and said hold to the rod. WOW what a dream. We gave him a Book of Mormon to read the story about the iron rod. He loves it. He and his 8 year old son are set for Dec 3. It is going to be great.

I don’t want to say I am a great missionary because it is the Lord that is helping us. I am only the instrument in his hands. Read Alma 29:9-10. The Lord sees that the people here are ready and he is helping us find and teach those people. In our whole zone we set a zone goal of 15 dates set. Well by the end of next week we are gonna have 10 just from my area. All the other districts are so confused how we are doing so well. I love it. The Lord is helping us so much.

One night our lesson fell through so we rode our bike to the top of Towers Hill. It was nighttime but we still saw some kangaroos. But the view looked so cool with all the lights on. It looked like Squaw Peak in Provo just smaller and not as high.

The people are still feeding us really well and I am going to come back a lot bigger. Haha Since I am small everybody says, “Oh he needs double of everything.” So I feel like exploding whenever we eat at someone house.

The magpies still attack us. I have a few dents in my helmet now because of the power they hit with their sharp beaks. At first it was scary but now I just laugh about it when it happens. It is funny to see it happening to someone else.

I hope everyone is doing well. I love emailing and showing you pictures of the crazy things here in Australia.

I did not email as much today because we went to a gold mine/ museum. It was really cool!! Charters Towers is full of gold. They are still pulling it out of rivers and mines. I thought it was really cool. We could pay 5 dollars to pan for some gold and there was no guarantee you got any. So I thought I would push my luck. So I grabbed my pan and started to sift. I ended up getting one of the biggest pieces he has seen from a scoop from the river. They are 2 tiny pieces but still really cool. Most of the time you usually just get tiny flakes but I could pick mine up. So that was really fun to take a break and go do that. I hope all is well back home.

Elder Cahoon