Tuesday, 11 February 2014

"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children."

"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." 3 Nephi 22:13

That was my first thought as i read this weeks letter from Elder Cocker.  It's a mad, mad world out there, as a mother, we breath in deeply and pray often for our children when they are blessed with that great opportunity to serve the Lord on a full time mission, to whatever part of the world they may be called.  
The journey to arrive at the casual and happy sentence of, "My son is serving in the Sydney South Australia Mission".  The realities of this journey began something like this:  March 1993 our first and only--(oddly enough favorite son), was born.  He was blessed at church a month later; as his father held him in his little white tuxedo I had made him.... I thought..."Someday son, we pray you will have the opportunity to serve a mission." and it excited my soul to think the Lord would be so mindful and gracious....there is no wiser teacher, I could think of no greater opportunity to help assist him in that vast chasm of chaos between boyhood and manhood.  Then, Elder Cocker almost two years of age; how he cried the first sunday we put a suit on him. Big tears. Big. 
I thought, "Oh, it's gonna be interesting if we don't work through this in 18 years."  (It took sixteen, 16 more years to work on that little wrinkle). So the years went on. The time came the decision was made by him, and he put his heart and soul into the prospect of serving a two year mission.  Echo the words of 1 Nephi 3:7
"“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

A mother's thoughts are not the Lords thoughts, He told us so, in Isaiah 55:8-9 8 "For my thoughts are not your  thoughts, neither are your ways my  ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my  ways higher than your ways, and my  thoughts than your thoughts. "

 My thoughts were more along the lines of, "He doesn't even cook for himself." He will go 'find', 'fish', 'harpoon' or 'skin' for his dinner....but hand him a box of macaroni and cheese and  he would hand it to one of his three sisters and ask them to please make him some food.   Two years seemed a very precarious amount of time to me. 

There was also his sense of humor. Elder Cocker loves to laugh. Loves to see 'the joy in the journey'. More often than not he will just speak his mind.  That point to a mother can be a bit disconcerting.  We send out our young men and women to serve the Lord, full of energy and vigor and the resolve and resilience of youth; often the "wisdom of Job"---not so much. 
                               (his big sister's wedding reception--the uppercut photo....typical boy fun)

That good nature has been one of his greatest strengths. It has served him well.

(A video Elder Cocker and his companion took while watching some Kangaroos 'fighting'.  I guess that is part of the Australia mission experience!  except mom doesn't know how to upload it....but heres a shot)

As a mother we think: "When he is gone; I am not there, to listen, to support, to help". How I have been humbled by the tender mercies of the Lord as we have gone week after week, month after month, now into the last six months of his mission.  I understand more deeply, and with an intimate knowledge the words of Nephi 9:6
“But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen.”

I loved this weeks message from Elder Cocker....he talked about a concept that rings  true with all of us from time to time.  "Don't get caught in the thick of thin things".  He shared some of those same feelings ( in a secular sense) with us when he returned from his time in Papua New Guinea before his mission.  He saw the world through different spectacles, humanitarian, versus the worlds capitalist agenda.

(spending some time with village children Papua New Guinea)

His letter was like that this week, with a deeply spiritual resolve, that experience and trials teach.  He said,

 "This week has been swagalicious and today I've got something good for everyone. A simple and sometimes overlooked little phrase. "Dont sweat the small stuff" or "Its all good, no need to trip" or "Dont get caught in the thick of the thin things". If your sitting there reading this and saying, "ya. ya. I know",  then congrats, guess what?  Things are probably going well for you right now! But, we all know when things suck, its tuff to see past it, so, if you can't use this now keep it and remember it; use it later, cause I know this will help. 

My comp and I this week, we realized that, we go through the motions, a lot, and we wondered 'why?'.  We talk about faith a lot, with everyone and the scriptures teach us that faith and action must be together or faith is dead(James 2:17-18-26) and faith comes before the blessing. So, we have faith to act; we know cause were doing it;  but how do we do more? 

We decided that we were doing some things, just cause we knew we should; we knew it would be hard, but thought we just have to do it.  Like-- talking to everyone.  One of the hardest things about missionary work, because we put ourselves out there for people. Some people are nice; most aren't interested, but, there are a few who are hard to deal with; for real. They'll say anything, to put you down and make you go away. And because of those few experiences, it always plays on you, holds you back sometimes....Just yesterday, I was in church....... and I heard Elder Pearson say: 

"We need the faith to act and we need the faith to succeed."

 which made me think "ya-- they are different,huh." It turns out, life is what you make it.  Ya, thats right, that little, dinky, fortune cookie was right.  YOU choose how this plays out. YOU make and call the shots. If each and every day is a gift don't send it back unwrapped, thats dumb.  Use it, experience it, let it take you new places......Dont let past experiences weigh you down.  Why? because yes, our faith is in the past and ya its now in the present but it has been and always be pointing forward, to the future.  Remember, "BETTER DAYS ARE AHEAD!" and great things are to be had by all, saith the clause of santa."

His letter went on......but I really could hear him, hear what he was sharing, and it is true.  I know they've had a tuff go this past while...He doesn't say too much...a few weeks ago he said it was hot.....it's been average temperature in the 40c/105f +......they are walking every day, everywhere in the sun.....like missionaries do.  I don't like to hear that people are unkind....but we read about it every day. There are missionaries every day, all over the world experiencing the best and worst of humanity, face to face and door to door. 

I see from what he shared with us the words of Nephi 1:20, when he said:

“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

I see Elder Cocker and his companion Elder Larsen, being delivered out of the hands, of apathy.  Out of the pitfalls of mediocrity, self absorbtion or self pity.  I see the windows of heaven open up to them and their hearts and minds expanded with a willingness to grow.  
It makes me want to try harder, be better, do a little more, be a better contributor. Stop being tired.  

Oh, the commitment for the week he left us with (his sister shared this one with some of her friends):
"Commitment: When things try to get you down, punch that crap in the face and say "get off me child's play, cause that ain't happenin' today, mister jackson." A.K.A. Don't blame your circumstances for feeling bad, we are all better than that. Have faith that it will get better and keep going. Swim on you beautiful gold fish.......... swim on." 
             ("If its 41degrees and and you ain't got no car and have to walk all day-- your face                    should look like this. why? cause that dont phase us dude")  #YOSO

**again......i needed a translation for the 'generational' acronyms. 
YOSO= You Only Serve Once.

To that I say.................................
'Kia Kaha!"  (Maori--Be strong!) ;  "Tsol-haw!" (Kiowa--That's the way!)

Monday, 13 January 2014

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord"

What day of the week do  missionaries families love the most?  The day they hear from their missionary.  This week i received an email, "mum you there?"  I'm always here i keep my phone by my pillow....but today, i wasn't feeling good, feeling a bit 'down in the mouth', feeling a bit 'lowly' and had taken a nap. To wake up and see, "mum are you there?"  

AWAKE....who's awake now?  So i jumped up, ran upstairs and threw open my laptop and read the best letter. It reminded me of a scripture of the psalmist......."O Lord do I lift up my soul" (Psalms 25:1)

Before I read the letters, I always flip to the bottom first to see if he sent photos. Everything is blurry so i couldn't read the caption above the picture.  I could however see the 'helu pelu' (machete) in his hand.  Had to laugh, my Tongan boy has been doing iate (yardwork) with a helu pelu since he was four. (I remember once when moved back to America and neighbor came over flustered and aghast that we would allow our son to hold a machete.....Elder Cocker's dad was standing over him as he was teaching him how to cut weeds).  I guess from this photo, Australians are more adept to the sight of machetes. 

below: Elder Cocker and Elder Larsen service project, cutting down tree limbs. 

The letter.   Our unconventional author. The story began:

"What up planet earth! So,  last week was good for sure; last week of transfers is always exciting. Guess where I am?!.........Woden, i'm still here, nothing changed but still exciting!

 Yesterday elder Larsen and I had a swag experience. We left the flat late and started walking down the road and its Aussie,so over here, its hotter than hell, so naturally we cross the road to walk in the shade. Right as cross the street, we were walking past this trailer park and this dude just walks up to the fence and almost yells at us and says " do you's have a bible?" i looked at my comp and said "ya" (a bit worried though i thought this guy was going to try to have a go at us witch sucks, always, but its worst when people do it to you in public). Anyways ,he tells us to come around the gate and now i'm confused but , 'sweet as', we walk around, we get to his tent that his partner is setting up, he breaks down and tells us that he is from canberra and him and his girlfriend back in the day left and moved up north to Harvey bay  in Queensland because he was caught up in bad stuff down here; and is trying to get full custody of there baby girl she is only 2 and a half but in order for him to even have a chance he has to be able to appear in court. So he and his partner left Queensland 2 weeks ago and came down here they've been living in a tent now for 2 weeks. they literally just tried to move into a property that was up for rent and when they got there the lady upped the rent so they couldn't afford it . All he has is dole money and his partner doesn't have her blue card to work her in NSW  (when we met them he had just pulled back up he just set up the tent and his partner was making trips back and forth from the car to put there stuff back inside the tent)  he said he didn't believe in God but he could use something anything.

He literally said "tell me something". 

At first i just about crapped my self ,I'm thinking, I'm only 20 man, my comp is 18 what do i have.......what can i say........what are you meant to say to that? its not like we get trained on what to do and what to say we just share what we believe. Anyways, I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts and remembered I have what we know, so we shared about faith and how our God, his God, is a god of miracles, that he loves us and is ready to helps, if we allow him to.  We gave him a book of mormon and promised him if he read it he would be happier and he would find answers to problems. He accepted our little message and said thank you. But right before we left we asked them if they needed dinner tonight and he said he'd call us. So, we got his number and he took ours and then we left. 

When we left we called EVERY MEMBER IN OUR PHONE no picked up so we walked to their houses literally no one was home and we kinda start to worry this took all day from 10 am to 4:30 just phone call, after phone call and a hell of a lot of walking, then the sister missionaries called us and said they wanted to know if we needed dinner tonight? my mind is just straight up blown right now like seriously, the timing was nothing short of perfection! We said yes, obviously.  I never say no to food.  That's just silly...anyways, we get dinner sussed we go over to the library print out directions to the house, its bishop Abel's by the way and then try to call them and guess what happened?! they didn't answer. So, we went by, they weren't home. Talk about buzz kill. So we go to dinner at bishops and eat, teach his nephew that lives with him, then go home with left overs. 

...Now up until this point we didn't know if they needed food, we just knew he was down for a feed. So, we just made that priority #1. We drop the food off.  He's all smiles and happy.  His partner is happy, they say thanks and we leave. About 20 minutes later get a text saying "thank you we havent eaten in 2 days"........................ Elder Larsen and I were going CRAZY we were sooooooo happy we could help out and just i don't even know, just happy."

NOW THIS IS THE BIT, that had tears streaming down my already teary face:

"People can say what they want,  "we're stupid for leaving education, jobs, girlfriends, families, sports"...whatever. But you know what?  That day, yesterday and that text, proved to me, it confirmed something i already knew. God is our father and he loves us ALL of us. In total, there were 8 people involved Elder Cocker (NZ) Elder Larsen (US) Chris (Aus.) Shelly(Aus.) Bishop Able (NZ) Sister Abel (NZ) Sister Bushnell (US) Sister Parr (NZ). 

 What are the odds of us leaving the house late crossing the road just in time for him to get back from getting rejected from renting a room he thought he already had and then to see us and having the courage and humility to stop us? ..... What are the odds that the Abel's had too much food about to go bad and needed to cook for more people? What are the odds of us meeting him, or more specifically, me meeting him, If i was at home in auckland? Was all of that just coincidence? No freaking way. Thats the right place at the right time. I thought i knew or had an idea about how much our father in heaven loves us, but seriously the more i think about my mission and about yesterday the more i dont even know. The happier i get, like I feel like I still have a lot stuff to learn. it was soooooooo cool to be able to help out."

As I read this letter from Elder Cocker and absorbed the experience they were having it reminded me of D and C 46:30.  "He that asketh in the spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh."  Those times, (when they happen) that God answers our prayers seemingly instantaneously.   

I think of that young couple, who saw the Elders and asked for help.  One could hear the words of the Psalmist, "Unto thee O Lord, I do lift up my soul".  (Psalms 25:1)

Elder Cocker always leaves us with a commitment challenge.  We are all sinners and strivers in a world of imperfection. I have grown to really enjoy these challenges.  They bring with them rays of hope and encouragement.  Food for the soul and the mind. So I leave you with these thoughts, our challenge:

"Commitment: People need what you have, so give it. If it's time, if it's just to listen or if it's an apple, whatever it is, look for opportunities to help out cause it is sooooooo worth it. There is an old lady in my last area Dapto,  Mrs. ------,  she said, "If you have time to do anything, it's to do the right thing" and she's right; at the end of the day thats all we are here to do." 

(to all of us who are older and maybe not so hip to the going lingo.....i never knew YOLO meant 'You Only Live Once'. )  

Sunday, 24 November 2013

A favorite author of mine said, "Never give up on the things that make you happy".  A very powerful statement. Our Heavenly Father teaches us in the scriptures, "Men are that they might have Joy".   We received an awesome letter from Elder Cocker last week and it did indeed, fill my heart with joy.

It has been many months since I have updated his blog.  In the world of blogging I am marginal at this stage of things.  However this blog is not about me, it's about Elder Cocker and his wonderful experience on his two year mission.  He is 15 months along the journey and is currently in the Canberra  in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory.  His mission is huge, a small part of a very huge country!

It's a 3.5 hour drive from Sydney (apparently) and under a two hour flight. A very interesting place.  In the words of Elder Cocker, " here, ah, hey, fun fact, the word kangaroo means "i don't know" in abo. (Aboriginal) (learned form a semi reliable source in my ward, however more data may need to be gathered.)  Shux and there are sooo many kangaroos here and they're freaking all over the place. i had originally wanted to fight one, but i have recently found out they are....not safe? anyways they're freaking huge, some of them so ya probs a bad idea aye." So apparently, life in Canberra has a lot of nature and wildlife. Good to know.

Elder Cocker, has been called to be a trainer and we are grateful for the enjoyment and learning this has brought to his mission.   We received in the mail a few weeks ago a wonderful letter from the mission president who stated,

"Thank you for accepting the call to serve as a Trainer. You are a dedicated and loving person and an excellent example to other missionaries. Your great leadership skills are very much appreciated.

The responsibility of training a new missionary is one of the greatest opportunities of leadership  a missionary can have and certainly the most trusted It is a very special assignment and will  have far reaching effects on the new missionary and the Australian Sydney South Mission.  Only the most stable and able missionaries are called to train.  Your companion is Elder Jarrad Lynn Larsen from California, USA. You will be serving in the Canberra Zone.

You are a wonderful example of the teachings of the gospel, and a wonderful representative of your home. Thank you for serving with us in the Australia Sydney South Mission."

How grateful, thankful and truly appreciative we are to every person who has helped and aided and assisted Joshua to this point in his life. The primary teachers, priesthood leaders, his siblings, his aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, the Tohn-Kohn Gah, those who have prayed for him in chapels, temples, sweat lodges, prayer meetings, the silence of their cars and kitchen tables. The congregations of many different faiths who have come up to me in person in my travels here in New Zealand and home in Oklahoma who have said, "How are you? It's good to see you. We are praying for your son." Aho Dah Gkee. Thank you for your faith.

It has been a very long, and very fast fifteen months that our only son has been away. We have been blessed and have learned much about ourselves, about him and about how the Lord teaches his children.  I have loved the fun spirited nature of our son and how he sees himself in this eternal plan. He reminds us that our Heavenly Father isn't onesided, neither are his servants.  Many people have asked me, "What do missionaries do?" Elder Cocker reminded us, " everyone now knows the mormon boys, but we are having trouble getting more people to teach.  However, on the brighter side,  we have HIPS(tongan accent on 'heaps') and HIPS of service to do which, in my eyes, is just as great as teaching, because it helps people to see we aren't here just to baptise people. Sure, we do that too, but we really are just here to invite people to learn about the Saviour and what he did for us and more importantly what that means for us now AND to serve EVERYONE in every possible way.  Lol, most people don't jump at the opportunity of FREE service which blows my freaking mind; if only they knew, once they agreed to have us help, we cant say no."

The Lord's missionaries are there to serve. Serve the soul, serve the community, serve His message of eternal joy, and happiness.  I remember the missionaries coming over and helping paint the living room.  I felt like I was wasting their precious time, and the Elder said, "Sister Cocker it is a blessing for us to serve, we never feel like it's a waste of time to eat your cooking". God Bless these missionaries who give so freely of their time.  In a world where our youth face so many challenges and obstacles, they chose the path of service and faith, to try their own hearts and help those of all the men of earth, from every land and island of the sea.

Elder Cocker challenged us a few weeks ago, "Commitment for the week: is to say hi  to elders/sisters if you see them. It's nice not just to be stared at, but spoken to, also and if you need things done like yard work, spring cleaning, some ones moving what ever, it is ask the missionaries to help.  They could probs use the work out and they cant say no if you ask. It's not wrong or rude and they would be happy to do it.promise."

These are good days. Days of work. Days of gratitude to our Heavenly Father.  We want a better world, this is how we do it. A prayer at a time, An effort at a time. We fall, we get up, we try, find happiness in the day.

I like our challenge for this week he left us with..... "Commitment for the week: have EYES that SEE. have EARS that HEAR. have HANDS that DO. and have HEARTS that FEEL . If your having a bad day then your not doing it right. There is a man who like our prophet is called by god to lead us today his name is Dieter F Uchtdorf and he said " life isnt ment to be enjoyed only in retrospect"..... or something like that aka enjoy the little things. Another man a prophet in the book of mormon named Alma said "...its by small and beautiful moments that GREAT days are brought to pass..." Alma 37:6 or something like that."

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Time is flying by so very quickly.  There is not a day or a family prayer that goes by that we do not think of Elder Cocker and his companion. We heard from him a few weeks ago, and sent his love and said that he "was doing very well but was very busy." 

I was reminded that in Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We had received a letter from Salt Lake for Elder Cocker thanking him for accepting his new Mission assignment, and on the same day had received a fantastic letter from his Mission President and his wife which explained where he was sending a map with sticky arrows pointing out his area. He is well.

For those who are writing to him, KEEP IT UP!!   He was asking if we would please send him written letters as well as email.  Which brings me to an awful discovery, the last post made in February i listed the wrong email address.  He can only email back to us, but he can receive your emails. Letters, he can keep with him as they have only like a half hour once a week to check email at the public library, 

So here is the correct email address:  josh.cocker@myldsmail.net

A great idea for Missionary mail, aside from care packages, :0) is to send cards, they are short, and sweet if you dont have time for long letters or not so inclined.  As his family we thank you and know these missionaries really appreciate it.

Elder Cocker will be turning 20 this month on St. Patricks Day. I still have a hard time imagining so many years have gone by. I still remember the day of his blessing on April 4, 1993.  That beautiful fall morning, His nena and papa, Bishop Paki and his wife, Aunty Ofa and Uncle Alfred all came over to the house before our 9a church meeting.  We had prayers together and spent time before heading off to sacrament meeting.  The day before we had gone to the temple, and that evening I had taken material from my box of cut offs, that had been used for making my temple dress and made him white tuxedo pants and a white tux jacket with tails.  Garrick was dismayed that there were no "boy clothes" only blessing gowns. He said, "I dont want my son blessed in a dress". It was pretty fun and still makes me smile thinking of how i waited til Joshua fell asleep and laid him down on top of the material and cut his jacket out around him.  He was a chubby, healthy, baby. We were very blessed.  We knew Joshua was going to be a boy, before the sonograms. He was a special blessing in our lives and bore a special testimony to us as his parents. Part of his being named Joshua is from the lessons learned during this time period. "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" Joshua 24:15.  

The road to where Elder Cocker is today began so very long ago. It began even before he was born.  My conversations with Heavenly Father have been over decades. We are not perfect beings, we are riddled with frailty and flaw.  A side product of the divine and sacred gift of Free agency our Heavenly Father has bestowed us with.  Bearing this powerful and amazing gift of our creator we journey down a path that teaches us as we could learn in no other way, and enables us to be participants to the greatest love of all, given by his only begotten Son---The gift of the atonement.  That saving power that stays the hand of justice, with the redeeming blood, and calls Mercy into play....the price, "Come unto me, all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest".  That is the message that Elder Cocker is out in the world trying to share.....Eternal Life, Eternal Hope.  

....and since I haven't heard from him in over two weeks, I can only imagine he is doing it as he does most things, both feet forward and "strait up the guts"  .  

                    (The picture above age, 15 I think, jumping off the Auckland Harbor bridge) 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Elder Cocker has been on his month 6 months and 22 days.  I am not ashamed to say, I still sleep with my phone by my pillow and the first thing i do is check email.  It is a mother's prerogative to hold her children as an utmost thought.

This past week learning that almost two weeks had gone by before i knew he was transferred, I wont lie. that really has thrown me for a loop.  It gave pause for much thought and many, many prayers. As I spoke to my dear friend who is about to send her son to the Melbourne Australia Mission and I heard of all the  physical requirements of his preparation my heart dropped.  So many things i hadn't even thought about to worry about and i'm pretty expert at that list.

My sweet friend said, sweetie you reminded me of Mary.  My eyes immediately teared up. The night i heard of his transfer and didnt have the details, going on midnight as i knelt to pray, despite my better thoughts i cried, "where is my son?" and then my phone beeped.  i finished my prayer, checked my phone and i had recieved at midnight a message sent six hours earlier from our stake president with his mission information and mission presidents information.  Somehow my phone had delayed the message receipt.  Prayer answered.

I thought of Mary. as told in Luke 2

 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. (And when he was nineteen years,  old they sent him up to the mission field as is the custom of the Elder's----you get where i'm going with this?)
 43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
 44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
 45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctor's both hearing them, and asking them questions.
 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? (Mom, i'm good his short email said, "Please don't call the Mission Prez again, I promise I will write more.)

and like this story in Luke i take great comfort in the words, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man".  

So to all the mommy's with missionaries out in the field or getting ready to send them with hearts full of tender affection and concern at this world gone mad.  There is great solace in His words, "be of good cheer and do not fear for I the Lord am with you (them) and will comfort you (them).
to note. on fb today Witness Faivakimoana placed this beautiful pic. She had run into Elder Cocker at a stake baptism and he'd been in Sydney nine days. she said, "I attended a baptism today in our stake and came across a familiar face!! It was so good to see him and his growth both physically and spiritually:) he's doing good seeing as he just got here 9 days ago but he's doing good, actually surprised he remembered me!!! "

Friday, 1 February 2013

Same Missionary New Mission!

Well guys! Sorry for the delay.  For those following via fb you already know the news but as promised here are the details. Elder Cocker Has been transferred to the SYDNEY AUSTRALIA MISSION!  Pretty amazing stuff and it was a timely occurence. (Thank goodness i found out before we shipped off his valentine's package). Now i know the Lord and his servants have much more important business than worrying about Valentine's letters and packages, but this is a mother's blog.
I had all the normal worries and concerns but received the greatest council from my own mother.
She said, and i quote:  "you cannot cocoon Josh better than Heavenly Father. The earthly factor in this equation must not be considered, as you know. Consider, with complete faith in our Lord's wisdom, eternity. The world needs him & his priesthood & he needs his priesthood. Never consider the human behavior of those around you & him as indicative of the worthiness of him serving a mission. We all have weaknesses & we all come short of the glory of God but it is especially disconcerting when the perception of a beloved child by others is askew. "  I was hopping up and down (as mom's can have a tendency to do) because i was behind the informational curve ball.  Then my mom reminded me, "Josh has temple blessings & he will, I'm sure, avail himself of those blessings. More than any earthly being our Lord wants him to succeed in this life as a follower, believer & doer of Heavenly Father's plan. You know this is true. Do not fear the adversary because to do so is to give credibility to the temptation of Christ when Satan said "if" you are. There is no "if" there is only "factual certainty".

My concerns were, "Where exactly is he?" and "We didnt send him with suits." and "What about shoes". Weird, but practical concerns of a mom.  I like Grandma's perspective much, much, better.

Well we heard from Elder Cocker the other day and he sounds really good.

Here is his New Mission Address:

Australia Sydney Mission
756 Pennant Hills Road
Carlingford NSW  2118

he can also still be reached at josh.cocker@mylds.net

His Mission President is President Howes and Garrick said he sounded really nice and gave a great report of Elder Cocker.  Right now Elder Cocker is serving in the English Speaking Samoan ward and adjusting to a new language, (just as his english was getting bad.....at christmas it was broken english......patience and many blessings  in the Lords learning school.)

My thoughts are completely absorbed right now. Thinking about Elder Cocker and his new Mission.  The changes, the everything of it all.  So I thought deeply on Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-18

 10 Remember the worth of souls  is great in the sight of God; 11 For, behold, the Lord your  Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain  of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. 12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentence. 13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth 14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentence unto this people. 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! 17 Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.  18 Ask the Father in my name, in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men.
He is in the Lord's hands, on the Lord's errand, and in the Lord's care.  For that I am eternally grateful and pray and ask you all to pray for Elder Cocker and the missionaries who are serving around the world for their care, for their strength, for their protection from harm, danger and the evil designs of men, for their courage and strength of heart.  That is this mothers prayer. 
Parting thought.  His cheeky sister had a good laugh and said, "oh, no, Elder Cocker is going to come home sounding like that shark of finding Nemo.".....i dont think we'll share that with him til he gets home.  Yeah for Israel, and the Australia Sydney Mission.  They have the greatest son in the world serving there. Ofa Atu Missioni Tonga.  You gave my son the gift of language. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

six months and four days

Elder Cocker has been out for six months and four days!  Its going by so very quickly.  We heard from him on Christmas day.....heard his voice and as a mother, it was the best sound.  His Tongan accent was thick and our conversation a bit broken and we were so happy for him as he embraces the language and the people of his heritage and his mission.
It was nice to ask him and here a response to "how are you doing son?"  I had heard through the grapevine that he had gotten quite sick, so it was nice to get that clarified and he is definitely on the mend. He had gained weight and lost 15 pounds very quickly due to a stomach ailment. He's fine now and of course said, "dont worry mom."
He asked if we could pray for his teaching pool, and he shared with us the spirit of the work.  Missionary work is beautiful, in all its forms, and it is work.
Lucky for us and grateful to sis Moala, we were able to send a package via her on New Years Day. Woot, wootl She was a gem.  Her report back was this,

"Hi Debbie, I dropped off the box to AP missionaries and they delivered it to Elder Cocker. I finally got to see Elder Cocker on Saturday at the markets in town (sadly without my camera) with his companion they were getting lunch. His Tongan language is AWESOME 5 months in to the work and he has a strong Tongan accent and speaks well! He looks so healthy-happy-handsome. He thanked me for the delivery and we parted our ways. What a blessing to speak with Elder Cocker! "

She had a conversation with his sister and said, she had to look up, he's grown taller.  Sorry crew dont have any photos since the one sent by his mission president.  Will keep you informed. The news has been sparce but he's been busy in the work.

So last week when uncle Cecil and Malia went back to Tonga Nena and us, got together a small package of Ofa to send to him and his companion. He is always in our thoughts.  Grateful for family to help us keep in touch with him.

So fellow team Elder Cocker.  That is our news for now. Spent the day today doing genealogy and submitting names and my brain is a bit tired.  Be strong in the Lord. Ofa Lahi everyone.