Saturday, July 26, 2014

Arrival at the Missionary Training Center - July 23, 2014

Well,  I'm here.   This MTC is pretty sweet!  It's all fenced, then on the outside you can see all the favelas going up the mountain.  It's cool.  It's going to take a bit of getting used to.  I walk around clueless.  I don't know my companion yet, but I get along well with everyone going to my mission.  But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but here.  My P-day is Tuesdays. I'll write more then.
Love you,
Elder Copeland
(Note:  The land mail address and e-mail address are on the tab above.  P-day stands for Preparation Day--the day that missionaries may do laundry, participate in activities with other missionaries, and write e-mails and letters.  They may only write once a week.  Telephone calls are twice a year--Christmas and Mothers' Day.) 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Elder Copeland Leaves for the Missionary Training Center

The long anticipated day for entering the Missionary Training Center (MTC) arrived--July 23, 2014.  With over twenty MTCs throughout the world, a missionary goes to the center that he has been assigned to attend.  Elder Copeland was assigned the MTC in Mexico City.  Therefore, his family was able to travel to the Salt Lake Airport very early in the morning and there they said their good-byes for the next two years.
Elder Copeland with his family prior to boarding the plane (Dad was taking the picture.) 
Elder Copeland with his brother, Kade, and another important member of their family, Koda--their very special little dog.
 Hugging his mom good-bye.  Lots of special moments with all the family members which are too personal for pictures.  Although there are tears of leaving the loved ones and their homes behind, there are always tears of pride and love for a son or daughter or has lived their life worthily to become an ambassador for the Lord as they serve their mission.
   And then he was off for Mexico City to begin two of the best, most gratifying, yet most difficult years of his life.  We all cried tears of joy for such a worthy young man who has such a desire to serve the Lord. 

The Calling of a Missionary

 When a young man or woman decides to go on a mission, he/she must first be found spiritually, physically, and mentally worthy to do so.   
  The Savior taught, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19).  Church members consider it a privilege to show their love for other people and the Lord by sharing the gospel.
Missionaries generally begin serving when they are from 18 to 21 years old. Many retired seniors, men, women, and married couples also serve missions. Missionaries serve from 18 months to 2 years. Missions are voluntary, and missionaries are not paid for their service.  Missionaries come from around the world, and they serve wherever the Church calls them. While serving full-time, missionaries are official representatives of the Church.
As is done with every single perspective missionary, Elder Copeland first had to fill out his paperwork stating his desire to serve with recommendations from his ecclesiastical leaders of his worthiness in order to serve a mission.  This paperwork was then sent to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 The perspective missionary then waits for the special letter to come with the particulars of his/her "calling."  This calling and the place where the missionary will serve is done by revelation through the Lord's servants, the prophets. A member of the Quorum of the Twelve assigns prospective missionaries to one of more than three hundred missions of the Church throughout the world.
When Elder Copeland received his mission call on March 19, 2014, he was absolutely thrilled.  He would be serving in the Nicaragua Managua Mission for a period of 24 months, and would be preaching the gospel in Spanish.  He was told that he would be reporting to the Missionary Training Center in Mexico City on July 23, 2014.
The day before Elder Copeland left for Mexico City and his missionary training there, he was officially set apart.  This is the priesthood ordinance of giving authority to members called to labor in specific responsibilities.  It is done by those having the proper priesthood authority and by the laying on of hands. 
 Elder Copeland and Elder Johnson with their dads after their setting apart.  Not only are the two missionaries very good friends, but their dads have been friends since high school.
The missionaries with their mothers who have been friends for years, too.

 Elder Copeland and Elder Johnson (the two with suits on in the middle), were both set-apart on the same evening because they both were leaving the next day for their missions.  Many of their friends came afterwards to say good-bye while waiting for their days to leave.  These young men will be going all over the world.
The good-byes were said to friends, with all knowing that it would be at least two years before they would all be seeing each other again.  These young men have set such worthy goals to serve the Lord for these two years in preaching the restored gospel through their words and deeds.  We wish them all the best in these righteous endeavors.