Email received April 27, 2015

I am feeling a lot better this week! Things are back to normal with me! I never drink the tap water here! It is really really dirty. I don't need to see the source to know how dirty the water really is! We are drinking filtered water all the time. And things as I said are back to normal! I did get the email on the 22nd! Got the pictures on the internet I assume? (I sent him a picture of one 25 centavos representing that he is 1 quarter of the way done with his mission already) 1 quarter of my time here has come and gone! And boy did it come and go... But I am making the most of the moments I have now with the people I have to spend them with. So things are going great here! This last week was a good week! We were finally able to get back to work as normal and we worked well! We ran into some good people and families to teach! We taught some great lessons and had a good time doing so! This week we went to visit a young man every day so that he could be ready for baptism on Saturday. We were there every day at 4pm to teach him and his mom. We taught them both all the lessons and accompanied their reading of the Book of Mormon and it went great! The young man was baptized on Saturday! He's 15 years old and was a reference from one of the young men here. We started teaching him this week and he progressed until baptism on Saturday. His mom is still a bit unsure, but we are working hard with her to help her be baptized too! She even stopped drinking coffee! We will see what happens this week with her! We are teaching a couple families now that are great! One invited his parents and sister to hear us too! and when we go there tonight, he said he will have some friends there too! Will be interesting! Maybe we will get to teach the whole street! I got to pass (spend) Friday and Saturday with my District Leader teaching and for him to interview a couple people. He is a really funny and at the same time powerful missionary! Great guy! This week was a good week :)   For those who are reading this, I would ask that you all take a few minutes to hear and watch a talk that was given at this last Conference by one of the members of the quorum of the 12. The talk was given by Jeffery R. Holland and is one of the most powerful talks I have ever heard. It is relatively short but very interesting and amazing. Take a few minutes to watch the talk on the site and you will not regret it! After watching that talk, try to do all you can to remember the Savior every moment of the day and in all things. Remember the sacrifice, and the love that He demonstrated in the Garden that night. And do all you can to exemplify Him and be a disciple of Him. I love you all and miss you all! But soon enough I will be coming back! But for now, stay safe and always remember the Man that gave meaning to Life itself.
Love you!!

Elder Cole Gunnoe

Email received April 20, 2015

This week was good. Not a lot of exciting though. We went about our business slowly though because I am still having some trouble. It´s not the water though. We only boil our water now and I still have this problem. I´m not sure what it is.
Crazy to hear that you are going to go get Conner so soon! Time really passed quickly! Be sure to send a hug to Sister Knotts and Sister Risch! They are very supportive of not only him but me as well. On Wednesday a quarter of the mission has come and gone! Really crazy how fast it is going by! But I am now doing more than ever to be the best I can be and to do the best work I can. I am truly loving being with Elder Oliveira! He is an amazing missionary and a really happy guy. He is helping me a lot to be better and better every day! It is great to hear that the brach had another baptism! Hopefully this will help the members get excited about missionary work to finally turn the branch into a ward! That would be sweet! I know when I get back, if there are Elders there, I will be going with them every single day to work with them! I will put them to work! Same if it´s still sisters. I will do what I can to be able to go and do the work there to help the branch and stake grow! Too long the work has been almost stopped there. As my mission president said, "there are no ´soft` people, only soft missionaries". And by this he tells us here that when we feel that no one is accepting us and no success is being had, it is not because the people are not prepared. It is because of something amiss in our lives. Because if we truly have the spirit to teach and testify with us, people would flock to the baptismal fonts. There would still be rejection as there always was and will be, but success will without a doubt be found when we truly have the spirit when we teach.
I have the same goal as Conner. Because here the people are lucky to go to the temple 2 times in one year. So we all need to have a goal of weekly temple attendance in a place with so many temples so close!
Gotta go on and write a couple other emails! But I love you! Have a good week and stay safe!
Love you!!!
Elder Cole Gunnoe

Email received April 13, 2015

This last week was so so so much better! I was feeling great health wise! I have been having a bit of intestinal problems (see Jeremiah 4:19-21) and have been for some time now. Nothing serious, just some discomfort. I think it is because I have been eating only bread at home. I need to get some fruit soon. Will buy some tomorrow! The allergic reaction passed and has stayed away, so all is well on that front.
Well President and the Lord must have a lot of confidence in me, because with a little more than 5 months on the mission, I am now a Trainer! My past District Leader got the call with the transfers Monday night, and he told me that I would be training a new Missionary... I couldn´t believe it. How could a gringo with less than 6 months on the mission become a trainer???? I thought he was joking with me at first, but he wasn't. My comp went to an area far away from here and I now have a NEW companion. Literally. So on Wednesday I went to the Mission Library to the Meeting of New Missionaries and Trainers. The name of my new comp is Elder Oliveira! He is from a small city close to São Paulo! He left the CTM on Tuesday and I picked him up on Wednesday. Totally new! He is SOOOOOO much better than my last one! He basically knows everything! We just need to practice and work a little bit to expand and deepen his knowledge of the lessons and doctrines. But he is able to teach everything! And being Brasilian, he already speaks the language fluently, so that helps  a lot! He is going to be a very powerful and amazing missionary! I am still here in Timon. But it turns out that the city isn't as horrible as my old comp made it seem! Elder Oliveira and I are focusing our work closer to the chapel and are finding a ton of new people to teach! There really are people to teach close to the chapel! My old comp was just not the kind of missionary to really try to find those people. But now we are having great success! (What special missionary moments did you have this week?)  Special moments would just be the success we have been having. I told my new comp that in one day with him, we did more than an entire week with the old comp. Things are truly so much better! And today I had an interview with President. I really needed it! I feel so much better now and can continue to work with more peace of heart and hope! I will attach pictures in a separate email! As I said before, I was truly surprised by my new assignment! I never expected to be training with less than 6 months on the mission. And now it will only be onward and upward... But I am truly humbled and blessed to have this awesome experience. President explained very clearly the resonsibility that I have. Whether this man becomes an amazing missionary or not is on me. His future it in my hands. It truly is a massive responsibility and also blessing. I am looking forward to this transfer with Elder Oliveira!
Glad to hear that Shane is doing well! He will be better off going staight to BYUi instead of staying home for any amount of time. He´ll find his wife sooner!! Haha
Have a good week!! And stay safe!
I love you!!!!

Elder Cole Gunnoe

Elder Cole Gunnoe and his new comp - Elder Oliveira :)

Elder Gunnoe and the other Trainers

Fresh Mango

Packet of instructions for Trainers of new Missionaries

Email received April 6, 2015

This Easter weekend was the most spiritual I have ever had! It was truly a blessing to be able to watch and listen to our Prophet and the Apostles and other General Authorities speak to us. There were a couple talks when I really felt as if the speaker was speaking directly to me. I really loved Elder Holland´s talk! Instead of taking notes as they spoke, I just wrote down the name of the speaker and the session so that after I could get the talk on paper and audio to study it more in depth. I had to pay a lot of attention because it was in Português and the general authorities have a tendency to use bigger words than I am used to hearing. But I was able to understand all that was said! It was different not hearing the actual voice of the speaker, a little sad even. The translator doesn't convey the emotion that the speaker often does. But it was still good! We watched the Saturday sessions at the stake center in Teresina and the priesthood session here in  Timon along with both Sunday sessions. I will definitely be getting my hands on many of the talks that were given so that I can use them personally and in my teaching! And I am not sure if you noticed a couple of things. From the way President Packer was talking at the end of his talk, I think it might be his last conference. Don´t know for sure, but he made it sound that was when he was talking. And I am quite worried about President Monson. He spoke 2 times instead of the usual 4, he didn't close the conference like he ALWAYS does, and he was having a bit of trouble walking and even almost fell on Saturday! Not very good signs.... But there was a talk for just about everyone in this conference. And a lot of talk about the Church´s stance on marriage. Best conference yet!
(I emailed him and told him about what Alton and I had done on Friday and this was his response) Sounds like a pretty good Friday! It´s always good to go to a ball game! Good times with the Angels!
(I told him we might be getting some rain this week) You can have some of the rain that´s been coming down here! There sure is plenty of it! And yes, hopefully the drought ends soon! Will be nice when it does!
(Where did you spend Easter and where did you watch conference) We basically spent Easter in the chapel. 1pm to 7pm there. Conference here is 1-3 and 5-7. Bit different!
(What did you eat) Nothing special. Just a normal lunch.
(Did you have a favorite talk) As previously stated, Elder Holland is probably the favorite talk!
(Where did you watch the Priesthood session) We watched the Priesthood session on Saturday from 9-11pm in the chapel.
(Did you watch conference in English or Portuguese) All sessions were in português in the stake center and the chapel here.
(Have you heard about transfers yet and has there been any progress with your companion) I have heard unofficially that my comp is for sure leaving! Oh joyful day! But the transfer hasn't happened yet, but it is for sure that he is leaving. Beyond that, I haven´t heard anything.  The opposite of progress...
(How has your weather been) Weather has been VERY hot and humid! It´s a killer combo!
(How have you been feeling) Explained the health situation below. Beyond that, everything health wise is good!
(Have you bonded with any families in Timon like you did in Parnaiba) It´s a bit harder here because the members are a lot more spread out and we only go to a member´s house for lunch. So it´s hard to get that connection here with anyone really.

Seeing as I have given a lot of detail here, this will also be the blog email for the week. What´s written above including below!

This past week would have been the worst yet if it weren't for general conference...
At the start of the week I had some kind of allergic reaction to something that I don´t know what it was and got a rash on my whole body that was super itchy! I went to the doctor on Monday to see what was going on because it was getting a little worse. The doctor just took some blood and told me to come back the next day. He told me everything was normal and just that. Didn't say what it could have been or anything. But a couple days later it was gone. I think it was just an allergic reaction to something in the water because a bunch of people are getting the same thing. But as I said, it has completely passed now! Things didn't get any better with the comp this week. Since I passed Monday and Tuesday almost totally in Teresina with my District Leader, we didn't get any work done those days. Wednesday we had a division the whole day. Got some decent work done with the other elder! was a pretty good day. Then Thursday came... My comp wasted our time being a slacker in the entire afternoon. Then we went to a recent convert´s house and spent 2 and a half hours there... We get back to our house at 10pm. I told my comp that we didn't have any more time to stay when it was 9pm. Almost an hour later we left. He just kept talking and talking when he KNEW it was passed the time for us to be home. That made me upset. So when it was finally time to close the day at home, I prayed and basically repented for having wasted an entire day visiting 2 people. Because it truly was against everything a missionary should do to spend the whole day until after the hour to be at home in the house of 2 different people. So as we were writing down the numbers for the day my comp wanted to count a lesson with that recent convert when it wasn't a lesson. I told him that according to the rules and guidelines given to us, it was not a lesson. So he told me that he counts it as a lesson. But I didn't because I know it wasn't. That too left me even more upset. Friday we did nothing in terms of teaching. All 4 of us had gone to the chapel after lunch to get ready for the baptism of the other companionship. Turns out that my comp and the comp of the District Leader are more lazy than I thought. They both sat in an air conditioned room while the other elder and I did all the work to get everything ready. My comp and that other missionary just sat there and talked about things that are not worthy of missionaries. We passed the whole afternoon in the chapel until 7pm when people started to get there for the baptism at 7:30. The baptism went great! a lot of friends and family of the 2 people being baptized! was great!  Saturday morning was a general cleaning of the house for transfers. Turns out my comp and the comp of the DL are even more lazy than before!!! They didn´t get up until 8 or 830. And they were just as helpful asleep as awake! They went and cut their hair, bought some food for themselves, layed in bed, and right at the end cleaned the garage area of the house that was hardly even dirty. THEY DID NOTHING!!!!! And while my comp was laying in bed after he had woken up, he was listening to some type of rap/reggae mix of music that I know is no good. So I reminded him that we were advised by our leaders that we should only listen to Hymns and EFY music. He proceeded to demonstrate the lack of desire he has to be a missionary when he said "But I like this music". I just about lost it. He basically said that he puts his own desires and interests above the things that a missionary and a man of God should do. He clearly demonstrated how much he lacks the desire to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I have spoken less that 50 words with him since Thursday last week. I can´t look at him or talk to him without loosing my patience. I tried to help him to be a better missionary and he flat out rejected the help. I tried. But I couldn't say anything to help him without him turning around and attacking me for the few things that I do wrong. He is so prideful that his reaction to someone trying to help him is to attack that person.
Let´s just say that I am very excited for this transfer... I am looking forward to a new comp and a new and real start here in Timon.
General Conference truly saved my week. I hope that everyone was able to be uplifted and enlightened by the words that were spoken. Now we must apply those words in our lives and do our best to be better every day!
Times up, so I gotta jet. Have a great week everyone! And never forget our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! Love you all!!

Elder Cole Gunnoe
No pictures this week. Sorry!