Monday, August 28, 2017

Week 52 One Year

What the heck I have been out a year. That went by so fast. It did not feel like a year!! It does not feel real right now. I feel so young but old on the mission. Most people are younger than me now on the mission.

We had a great zone conference full of inspiration on the Book of Mormon and at the end I was talking to my Mission President and he showed me when I am going home and who I am going with.

I will fly into the SLC airport on the 29 of August. The only people leaving the mission will be me, my MTC companion Elder Hansen and Elder Johnson. It is gonna be a fun plane ride home. But I am not thinking about it yet. I still have a year to go.

So the coolest thing happened on the day I hit my year mark. We had a fireside at our chapel for the Gold Coast stake and the Coomera stake. That means all the members from Beenleigh were there. It was so fun to see everyone and catch up with them.

The best part though was the speakers that came to talk to everyone. The only one we knew that would be there was John Bytheway. When I was up north in Charters and Ary he was the only way we survived the long car drives. He is so funny and wise in his knowledge of the church. It was so fun to see him and meet him at the end. While our stake president was announcing who would be speaking he announced that Emily Freemen would be speaking. When I heard the name I thought to my self, I know that name. Why do I know that name?? As soon as I saw her stand up I knew exactly who she was. She was my seminary teacher when we lived in Europe and I went to school with her kids. I ran up at the end to say hello. She remembered me and with a big smile said, “Spencer!! My seminary student.” It was so fun to talk to her and she took us over to John and we got to talk with him too. It was quite the way to celebrate being out one year!!

The other great experience we had on my year mark day was doing service for Ben Hannet. To give you an idea who he is imagine a ex-NFL football player who has won heaps of super bowls. He is so famous over here. He is a member who lives in our ward. So on Sundays we see him but today we got to do service for him and really get to know him. Geez he is broken. He cannot touch his knees or shoulders with his hands because his body is so broken. It is a brutal sport. We did some yard work for him and on Sunday we will be having dinner with him and he wants to give us training gear from one of the teams he played for. How cool is that. He is quite the guy.

Right now all of our investigators are just coasting by. We really want them to progress but things are hard. Shelia is still on coffee but is down to one cup. Jessie is just to busy for church and Celia is always sick. Oh the ups and downs of the mission are just great!

Elder Sharma and I are going ok. Not much to talk about again this week. It was just a normal slow week in the Gold Coast. We are hoping it starts to pick up as we work harder and pray with more faith.

I love you all. I can’t believe it has been a year. I officially can say on this day next year I will not be on a mission. How weird is that to think about. So crazy!! Time is flying.

Elder Cahoon

 Ben Hannet

 Elder Sharma, Ben Hannet, Elder Cahoon

 Emily Freeman Spencer's seminary teacher

Spencer's stake president

Monday, August 21, 2017

Week 49 On My Knees

AHHHHHHH I am going to be totally honest. I don’t want to make it sound all nice and good. This week was the hardest ever on my mission.

Elder Sharma and I had a hard week trying to work. Let’s just say I was on my knees a lot praying for what to do. I don’t want to sound like I am pointing a finger too. I was a part of the problem too.

In the end after some yelling on Sunday we came to the agreement to start over and both be humble. It is going ok. We are talking now I’ll put it that way. I have never had a comp not talk to me for a week. I would ask a question. No reply. Man was it a hard week. But hey things are going good now and I don’t care if you know or not. It is just part of the mission and all returned missionaries know.

Oh so I don’t have much to report on. Nothing happens in the work if you and your comp don’t do it together. We still got really good numbers and lessons in but there was no miracle or blessing. Working together is key also in this work.

The one fun but terrible story is Elder Young. He severed in this area right before I got here. Well he ended his mission and his parents picked him up in Australia. That always sounds so fun right?? It is so great for the elder who gets to see his parents. But man for everyone else it sucks big time.

He called us from his father’s phone and said “Hey elders my family is on the Gold Coast. Are you seeing Shelia today?” Luckily we were and he asked if he could tag along. That seems great right. Well that is I guess where the fun part was. To have Shelia see Elder Young right before he leaves back home. It was a really powerful lesson and we made huge progress with her. This week she only had about 1 to none coffees a day. Thanks Elder Young. He is from Orem, Utah. Oh dad do you work with any Young's? The dad knew you and said he worked with you. I even made sure it was not the football one. It was you.

So the terrible part comes when you see the whole family together having a great time. When we got home I was in a huge depressed home sick slump. So badly did I just want to just call up my family like Elder Young did and just say “Hey Dad. How are you?” Man it sucked.

I did have a good week in the growth of testimony and the power of prayer. Holy cow is this church true. We had a lesson in church about Joseph Smith. The lady that gave the lesson was like an apostle. I don’t know how, ok wait I do know it was through the spirit but how the spirit works so well I have no clue. It was amazing. I have never seen the prophet in that way. I testify right here, right now that I know that the prophet Joseph Smith is a true prophet. He would not have done or gone through what he did if he was just making it up. I know that he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I know they live and love us and through the power of a simple prayer brought about this great work. This week I have really learned the power of prayer. I was in such a need to know what to do with my crazy comp. I was so eager to email my earthly father and ask him what to do. Dad I am still going to ask you but I knelt down in prayer and asked my Father in Heaven what to do. Boy did it make all the difference.

Sorry about the small letter this week. I just had a rough one. But life goes on and next week is gonna be great!! I love you and miss you.

As Parker would say:

Onward and Upward,

Love Elder Cahoon.

Crazy to think you are home Parker.

 Elder Sharma

Sore knees from lots of prayer

Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 48 The Work is Hastening

Whoa guess what!!! Even since I have been sent down south from up north I have got a new companion every 6 weeks!! So my exciting news is that I am still in Gold Coast but I have a new companion named Elder Sharma. He is from Fiji. This is his first time being a ZL so we are going to figure it out together. I sorta knew him before. He was in my district up north but we only saw each other on skype. It was fun to meet him in person today. I can see just from meeting him we are going to get along. He reminds me of Elder Bodeeletkaseam. He loves the area and the flat. He is just a really fun outgoing person. I think that is where my last comp and I struggled. He did not ever like to talk with people or connect with them. He described it as an extrovert and introvert. But the good news is Elder Sharma and I are just the best.

So not much happened this week. I can’t remember if I said it last week. I don’t think I did. Jessie's mom and son are both on date now with Jessie so that is just so great!! Oh no I don’t think I told you, but last week we went fishing after we emailed and while we were fishing Jessie came by in a kayak and then started fishing with us. After fishing we went and had a lesson with him and his family and they wanted to get baptized with him!! Like I said last week, the work is hastening!!

On that note another cool hastening story happened. We have a member who is always doing mission work. Well trying. No one she invites wants to take the lessons, but she still prays and tries. This week she/we got a miracle. She was walking into work when she got the strongest prompting to talk to a man in a wheel chair. As she did she heard his American accent. Long story short he is from Park City, Utah. He is in a wheel chair because he fell 50 ft while rock climbing and broke just about everything. Sucks to be him but he is ok. His name is Graham and he is not a member. But he would really like to take the lessons. She got his phone number and we gave him a call and set up a time to meet. He is just great and really has true intent. He is looking for the truth and really willing to try everything. So now all we have to do is let the spirit testify to him. What a miracle. When we meet him we talked all about rock climbing and he went up AF all the time and knows right were we have been before for scouts. We hit it off great. He thinks it is a sign from God to have had this lady stop him and then for me to be from Utah and into all the same things as him. Hopefully this week we can set him on date.

We again had a cool hastening miracle happen while GQing. We were done and walking back to the car when we hear a yell, “HEY MORMONS.” Usually that is just terrible. Someone just wants to be mean and fight with us, but this guy came up and said, “Hey my wife is Mormon.” Haha what?? After talking he loves the W of W and has just been able to start living it. He has struggled with smoking but just last month has given up and really stuck with it. He has been to church and is ready to take the lessons.

It is just amazing to be apart of this work. We are not in charge at all. We would not have seen any success if we had not been obedient and tried to do the work. Really the Lord is in charge and we are privileged to be apart of this work!! Too many crazy things happen on your mission that you just cannot explain. No one else could have planned it better than God. It has been so cool to see his hand in this work. I am not like the brother of Jared where I have seen his actual hand but I have seen his hand in this work. He is in charge and running it.

One sad thing that happened this transfer was we had to close down an area. We had two elders get into a big fight and they got emergency transferred to different areas. The crazy part of this whole thing was we did not find out until after it happened. We had no clue that they were separated and gone. It took us 2 days to finally get word of it. The sad part is they have to talk to the area presidency to sort things out. So their area is shut down and they have no missionary's any more. Since they left in a hurry they did not have time to deep clean their flat and since they had been fighting the whole transfer they never cleaned their flat. So we had to go over and spend our whole day cleaning up rotten food and crap. There was just so much crap everywhere. It took so long to clean but now it looks so good. Mom, I bet you wish I would clean our house the way I clean a mission flat. It is spotless.

From now on we are going to go around and inspect all the flats and make sure the elders are keeping them clean. It was so bad. My flat took 20 minutes to clean because we keep it clean throughout the weeks. It makes it way better in the end.

We helped an investigator clean out a shed in his back yard and as we did we found these massive fishing poles. They were huge!!!! 12 ft tall. We helped him get all clean and settled and then at the end he said for our hard work to help him he would like to give us the fishing poles. So now we have the two little ones that we bought and 2 massive ocean fishing poles.

We have found out that all the rivers and lakes in our area are salt water and there are heaps of bull sharks in them... so we have asked around if it is possible to catch them. Heaps of people said it is all you catch. Oh just off topic last week we saw a massive sting ray just swimming in the water. So in like an hour from now we are going to the lake to fish for a shark. Our members said just get a big hook with a big chicken on it. When we cleaned out the flat they had heaps of bad chicken in the fridge so we kept it and this afternoon we are going to try and catch a shark!! It will make for a good story next week. Hopefully I don’t lose an arm or leg... hahah don’t worry mom:)

Well I think that is all I have for this week. It has been really good. I am really working on getting an Aussie accent and it is coming along. I have got some people really confused and they said, "Wait are you Australian??" The old people are easy to get but the young YSA think I still sound American. Either way I sound funny. It is great.

Love you all,
Elder Cahoon

Monday, August 7, 2017

Week 47 I have never been happier

Haha this work just brings so much joy. I have never been happier. It is crazy to think I am so happy and I am not doing "adventurous things." I am just sharing the gospel. This week was just so good.

It started with a trade off. Being a leader I have to switch with other companions and be an example for them and help them. So we traded off with our farthest area. I was with Elder Sautia from Samoa. He was just great!! We have so much fun and saw one of the greatest miracles yet.

As we planed I wanted to follow him. So I asked where we should go to door knock. He wanted to go to a street that started with F. So we prayed about it and looked on our map for an F street. Sure enough we could only find one so we went there and nobody was home or answering their doors. We were persistent and continued on only to find the greatest person ever!! Her name is Astrid. She is YSA age. She used to have a boyfriend who was a member in the Coomera stake and she started to investigate the church there. She was going to church for about 6 months but got pregnant with her member boyfriend so she moved. Long story short she was going to get baptized but could not since she was not living the Law of Chastity. Well now she has had the baby and moved into our ward boundary and is not living with a male. We met her on Tuesday and then again on Sunday. We set her on date to be baptized on the 15th of September. It is going to be great!! She is so awesome and prepared since she has already done the lessons and gone to church. She has just been too scared to come to church since she does not have a friend. Well again at a dinner we were talking with the members and sure enough Brother and Sister Butters were in her same ward where she went to church and knows her. So now she has a friend in the church.

Gold Coast has it’s reputation to never have success or baptize. But we as an area and zone are not seeing that at all. We have really tried to get all the Elders excited about the work and this wonderful area. Last month we got four baptisms as a zone and reached the goal that we set. It was pretty impressive. Out of our six areas none have baptized since February. Something has just changed. Things are really going now.

As of right now as a zone we have 11 baptismal dates set. Three for August and eight set for September. It is just so great to see this work start to hasten. In my area we have five on date right now and they are all excited and progressing in the work. Shelia went two days with no coffee and now she knows she can do it. She is on a detox plan and will be ready to get baptized in September.

Ok before I get too off track I want to go back to the four baptisms last month. President McSwain invited our whole zone to come to the mission home to have a dinner and game night. On Friday night we all carpooled down and had a really fun filled night with our mission President. He called us and said Elders this is a FHE so don’t dress up in suits. Wear normal clothes. Haha I felt naked going to an activity not in a white shirt and tie. We played some really fun games and had a great night with our Zone and mission president. The funny story comes in when we were driving home. President McSwain let us stay until 9:00 and our area is an hour away. So we were really pushing our time limit on being back at the flat on time. With traffic and dropping everyone off we did not get back until 11:00. On the drive back we had Elder Paulino, laspinas, and Sauita in our car. I was driving and pretty tired so we turned on the music to keep us awake. We sang our hearts out on the drive home. The crack up came when we pulled up to a stoplight. We were in normal clothes, it was 11:00 at night and we were blasting church music out of the car. At the light a member just happened to pull up next to us and just lost it with laughter. Haha he must have thought we were so dodge being out so late in normal clothes with other missionaries. We all had a great laugh and you are going to love the videos that we took.

On the more spiritual side, I had something really hit me this week. We were door knocking when we got a frantic call from a YSA member in our ward. She was in need of a priesthood blessing. When we got there she expressed her love and gratitude that we were worthy to hold the priesthood. For the first time in her life her father and brothers were not worthy to hold or use their priesthood and she had nobody to turn to for a blessing. I have never been around someone that is not a worthy priesthood holder, but then to see this sister not have anyone and have it cause such a great scare really got to me. I am so grateful for the priesthood and that I am worthy to use and hold it. I never knew how much it meant to me or someone else until you don’t have it. It grew my testimony so much in the power and responsibility to remain worthy to hold it. It was a really humbling experience.

On the other note of amazing miracles, we got a referral from a member who we helped move last P day. He had run into an old friend named Jessie who was 15 at the time an is now 18. Jessie used to go to mutual and church but never got baptized. He used to be in foster care and there was nobody to sigh the paper for his permission. Now he is living back with his mom and little brother who all have huge potential to get baptized. They live in a pretty scary spot where everyone is on drugs or doing something stupid, but somehow Jessie has always stayed on the right path. No drugs, smoking or doing stupid things. You would think he was already a Mormon. He is just like me too, loves to fish, loves sports and to have fun, goes kayaking and surfing. We have really hit it off.

We met him on Wednesday and got to know him, we tried to start up his car with a jump start but no luck, but we did jump start him with the spirit. With just our causal visit to meet him and see who he was and if he would be interested we set him on date for the 2nd of September. We are hoping to have Jessie and Astrid baptized on the same day. So we might move Jessie back or Astrid forward. Right now we are five on date all for September. It is going to be a really good month.

Another great thing but also sad thing that happened was Tash. She is Shelia's daughter. We set her on date for September but she is moving to Cairns. It is about 24 hours away by car. The good news is I know the sisters in the area. It is SISTER DAY!! From the MTC. I have only talked to her once the whole mission but since Tash is moving there we got to call and give a golden referral. Oh it was so fun to talk to her. I loved giving the referral. Imagine getting a referral from someone where the person has been taught and is set to get baptized. All they have to do it finish the lessons and fill the font. It was so fun, she was so excited!!

I just love this area so much right now. We are hitting it off amazing with the members and the work is hastening so fast right now. It is amazing to see how the Lord is in control of his work.

I love this gospel and I love the people I am serving. I miss you all but know how important this gospel is.

God Bless and have a good week.

Elder Cahoon

 Driving to FHE

 FHE with President McSwain

 Elder Cahoon with President and Sister McSwain