Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fifth Week - August 26, 2014

Sorry I´m emailing later today, we went to the temple this morning!   Too bad it was closed, but it is a really cool temple.  Crazy to think that this is my last week here in the MTC.  I think I leave next Tuesday, but I get my flight itinerary on Thursday and I get to email you on either Saturday or Monday, so I'll let you guys know. 

Nothing really happened this week.  I'm ready to leave the MTC and get started.  I'm way anxious to hear where my first area is, my trainer, and all that stuff.  I'm sad that I will be missing the BYU game Friday.  They better win!  I'm done giving away BYU shirts.  I gave away three.  My thought of it was, since I can't convert anyone here in the MTC to the gospel, I might as well convert some BYU, fans and I have successfully done that. ´

A couple nights ago, we were at language study and there was a HUGE storm.  When the time came to go back to our dorm, we had to haul back because it was so wet.  When we got to our room, we found that somehow our main door was open and turned the lights on to find at least 50 mosquitoes in our room.  So Elder Kleiner and I spent the next 45 minutes swatting the mosquitoes.  At least we kinda have a somewhat colorful room with mosquito guts everywhere...

One of our teachers, Hermano Hernandez, told us a story about when he was on his mission.  I'll give you a simplified version.  One day, he and his companion had a couple baptisms, so they drove to the church, and found a lady standing in the parking lot. They went up and asked her if she wanted to come and watch the baptism.  She said no because she was waiting for someone (she was a drug dealer).  They again asked her to come, and she said no.  So they went on with the baptism and while Hermano Hernandez was baptizing some lady, they heard four gun shots that were fired in the chapel.  Everyone started freaking out, so Hno. Hernandez and his companion told everyone to stay in the room while they went to see what was happening.  

They were walking down the hallway, and he said he was shaking so bad.  By the time they got to the chapel, they saw four guys all with machine guns.  The main guy was about 6´3´´ and Hermano Hernandez is about 5´7´´ no more than 120 pounds.  He's a tiny guy!  The main guy got all up in his face and said some choice words to Hermano Hernandez.  Hermano Hernandez asked them kindly to leave.  The main guy smacked Hernandez in the face with the hot gun barrel.  (He now has a big scar from the top of his forehead to his eyebrow from it).  It knocked him to the ground and he started crying.  He said a prayer in his heart thanking Heavenly Father for his life and that he could serve as a missionary and everything.  After the prayer, he felt prompted to stand back up so he did.  He was about a foot away from this leader guy, face to face.  Hermano Hernandez raised his right hand and said, ''In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave this building because you are not worthy to be in here and never come back,'' something along those lines.  The four guys with the guns all dropped their guns and left the building without saying a word.  There's more to the story but its hard to remember it all.  I thought that was a really cool story.  It shows the Priesthood is real.   You just have to be worthy to use it.

Last Tuesday, we listened to a talk from Elder Bednar from a mission president training in 2011.  t was really good.  He talked about how to become a Preach My Gospel missionary. Some things I liked were that the Spirit can only work with us if it has something to work with, meaning we have to study and learn it first.  Then the words can be put in our mouths.  It doesn't just come.  And we need to act in faith before receiving a promised blessing.  I need to do it the Lord's way, not my way.  And he told us multiple times that we can do this! You will have His help. 

Anyway, I don't have anything else to say.  I'll be sure to e-mail you when I get my flight details.  Love you all and GO COUGS!

Elder Copeland

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fourth Week - August 19, 2014

Well, another week has passed.  Weird to think I have been out a month.  I hope everyone is doing good.  I hope Koda gets better!!  Weird to think in 2 weeks from today I will be in Nicaragua.  Life here in the MTC is the same every day. so there isn't a lot to say.  But my Spanish is improving a lot.  I feel more and more comfortable in our investigator things we do with our teachers.  I obviously don't know a lot, but I feel in most of the lessons I feel like I can get my point across.  It's tough to understand sometimes because they speak so fast, but I catch a few words in each sentence and put it together. 

Last Tuesday night we got to hear from Elder Villalobos (Area Seventy).  I liked this talk because he talked a lot about the 5 key points of being an effective missionary.  If I am prepared, I will have no fear and will know what to say.  I realized from this talk that I receive no witness until the trial of my faith.  I definitely have had trials of my faith this first month. 

The Latins that were in our dorm left yesterday, so we had to say bye to them.  I was only really friends with one of them, Elder Jimenez from Dominican Republic.  We called him "Rico Suave" because he was so good looking.  It was like a trend through the whole MTC-- everyone was calling him Rico Suave.  I don't know how the word spread so fast but it did. He is 25 and turns 26 in a few weeks.  I respect him a lot for serving a mission at that age.  He was baptized at 17 and then had health issues and some other things but that doesn't matter because he is on a mission now. 
 In the BYU shirt is Elder Jimenez (Rico Suave) and the other is Elder Garcia
 Since I can't convert people right now, I am converting BYU fans.

We had 2 devotionals on Sunday.  They were both really good.  The first was just by one of the MTC presidency and he talked about specific prayers.  I liked it a lot.  "The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the phone and ordering groceries--we place our order and hang up.  We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for, and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another." -Gordon B. Hinckley

And the second devotional was one of the best devotionals I have ever heard in my life.  It was a replay from I think 2011 in the Provo MTC by Elder Holland.  He definitely got in our faces!  He talked about being a little persistent, don't just give up if someone slams the door in your face and stuff like that.  If you want to be a great missionary, you have to work at it.  Why would you want to be just average when you can be great???   You cannot do this mission unless you truly love Him.   I have been trying hard to be converted and truly loving Him.  He told some great stories, of about Peter and when they were fishing and couldn't catch anything until they heard a voice say to cast to the other side of the boat.  So they did and they had countless many of fish.  And Peter looked back and jumped out of the boat and swam to shore and realized that it was Jesus.  Jesus said, "Do you love me more than your nets and fish?" and Peter said "Yes."  Jesus asked him that question three times and Peter said, "Yes."   We need to love Him more than our worldly possessions. 

A mission doesn't just end after 2 years, it is forever.  I am going to be a missionary for all time and all eternity in ways.  If you love me, feed my sheep.  That's exactly what I am going out to do, feed his sheep.   After he finished his talk, we all stood up and sang, "Because I Have Been Given Much," (first time singing in English in a month) and right when we started singing, I had the feeling of the spirit come over me the strongest it ever has in my entire life, I can't explain the feelings that I felt that moment.  I couldn't help but have tears come out of my eyes.  It is true.   I have been given so much in my life, that all I can do is give back. 

This past week I had a prayer answered that really helped me a lot.  I have been praying a lot about the gift of tongues, and in class we rarely read out of the scriptures because we are studying the language.  But our teacher told us to open to D&C 31 and the first verse my eye caught was verse 3, the only highlighted verse on the page.  I don't ever remember reading this verse but it says, "Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation."  Right when I read that scripture, I knew that it was an answer to my prayer.  It was very comforting.

Well, I don't have any more time, so I hope you all have a good week.  Love you all so much.

Elder Copeland

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Third Week - August 12, 2014

Halfway done with the MTC!

Wow!  I'm already half way done with the MTC.  Time goes by so fast!!  But this week has been a good week!  It only gets better and better! 

On Wednesday, a kid in our district broke his nose and needed surgery at the hospital and had to stay there for a couple days.  I was able to go to the hospital on Thursday night to pick my companion up from watching him all day, and we gave him a blessing.  I was able to be in the circle for the first time.  It was amazing!  During the blessing, I got the chills throughout my whole body.  The spirit was so strong in that room.  Then he's been on bed rest for a few days, and I've had to watch him twice for half the day.  So I got to study quite a bit.  But with our investigators that we teach, I can now listen to a lot of what they are saying and respond to them from what I know and feel to say from the spirit.  No more using the book to say stuff.  So definitely there is progress every day with the language, but I am working so hard to get it! 

On Sunday in sacrament meeting, I was able to bless the sacrament in Spanish for the first time, so that was pretty cool.  Then after sacrament, my companion and I went to take the sacrament to some Hermanas (sister missionaries) that are sick.  So I got to bless the sacrament two times on Sunday, and I didn't mess up at all.  

Also,  on Sunday night, we had a devotional.  It was a video from a couple years ago on Christmas in the MTC by Elder David A. Bednar.  He talked a lot about the character of Christ.  It was one of the best talks I have ever heard!!  Some things that I liked are:  A mission isn´t about you, but it begins with you, and as you lose yourself serving others and obtaining Christ, you WILL find yourself.  But it doesn´t all come at once.  It takes time.  

I just finished the book Our Search For Happiness by M. Russell Ballard.  It was a great book. If you really concentrate on trying to walk the way He walked--loving, caring, serving and obeying each step of the way--one day you´ll look up and discover that His path has led you directly to the throne of God.  In the book, he tells a story of where he flew down to Mexico with 2 millionaires and a billionaire.  He could tell that they weren't truly happy.  When he got home, his wife asked him how it was and he said, "Happiness is the greatest of all riches," For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  I loved that and it is so true!  I was thinking about the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon and how they left the church, but they never denied their testimony that the Book of Mormon came forth through the gift and power of God.  Or never once did they deny seeing it all.  Those witnesses are important, but the most important witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is the witness of the Holy Ghost to YOU personally.  And I can tell you that the book is true.  It does change lives.  Read it.  Walk by faith, not by sight. 

A mission isn't about me, what I want, where I go, who I teach or anything of that matter.  It is all about turning to Christ and what He wants and needs to be done.  Alma 26:12:  "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."  That is such a powerful scripture.  I am coming to the realization that I can do this, but only with the support of you guys and my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Anyway, I hope you all have a good week, I am doing better and better each day.  

Love you all!
Elder Copeland

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Second Week - August 5, 2014

Before I start,  you can send me packages through missionarypackagemx.com  You can send like Krispy Kreme glazed only, please, and all that stuff sooooooooooooooooooo... I would love that. 

Here I am two weeks in, the days go by weeks and the weeks go by days.  This week has been a lot better.  Every day gets better little by little.  I am starting to appreciate missionary work a lot more.  It is hard but fun and worth it!  The spirit is so strong here, and I love it here at the Mexico Missionary Training Center.  Thanks Mom and family for all the letters and pictures.  The Mexicans loved looking at the pictures.

Last Tuesday night, we had a devotional from Elder Reyes.  He's from the Area Seventy.  I really liked his talk.  He talked a lot about, through obedience comes blessings and through exact obedience comes miracles.  That made me want to be the best missionary I can be because I want to be able to experience miracles in Nicaragua.  My mission president's wife e-mailed me and told me that there are miracles happening in the Nicaragua, Managua South Mission, so that's always good to hear.

I don't really have a lot new to say.  We basically do the same thing here everyday:  Wake up, shower, eat, go to class, lunch, gym, more class, investigator, dinner, more class, more class and finally get to sleep.  I have no free time.  I'm always busy doing something productive.  But remember how I talked about those Mexican missionaries... well, we became like best friends with them.  They left yesterday to the field, all of them are going to Guadalajara, Mexico.  I LOVED those guys.  It all started with me saying,  "You teach us Spanish and we will teach you English, and they were more excited than I was.  They really wanted to learn English!!  Their names are Elder Guzman who's from Northern Cancun.   I love the guy.  He fought MMA before his mission and has 42 knockouts, so I wouldn't mess with him.  He also has like 7 stab scars from protecting his family from the South gang or whatever they are called.  He spoke basically no English.  He made me call him Daddy... Then Elder Benitez, he's a stud and likes to play basketball.  He basically spoke no English, too.  Elder Villagran is the only member in his family and he speaks pretty good English, and then Elder Cuessi.  They all cared about their families so much.  It was really cool to see that.  
 (On my right is Elder Guzman and on my left is Elder Benitez.  I gave them those BYU shirts cause I love them so much.)

But now they're gone so we have new roommates, one from Dominican Republic and one from Mexico.  They seem like pretty cool guys.  The first thing I said to them was, "You teach me Spanish and I will teach you English."  They were very excited also.  You should have seen the smiles on their faces when I said that.  I know that I will learn the language a lot better if I learn from Natives.

This week has been a lot better.  Each day gets better and better.   It's hard, fun and definitely worth it.  I can't even imagine how amazing it's going to be once I get to Nicaragua!!!  I'm learning new things every day.  But I don't have much time.  Sorry that the e-mail is short, but know that I love all of you guys and thank you for all of the support.   I wouldn't be able to do it without you guys!


Elder Copeland

First Week - July 29, 2014

ONE week in the MTC down... FIVE more to go‏

Well, here I am writing my first ever e-mail, kinda crazy.  I definitely didn´t ever realize how hard a mission was going to be until I got here and I´m only a week out!!  But there is no other thing in the world that I would rather be doing. 

The campus here is beautiful, palm trees and everything, parrots flying everywhere.  It´s on like 90 acres of land and I think just over 1000 missionaries.  It has a huge fence surrounding it with barb wire all along the top, kinda like a prison minus the prison.  But my companion is Elder Casey Kleiner.  He's from Mesa, Arizona.   

(Elder Kleiner and Elder Copeland)

We are both going to the same mission, and I like him a lot!  We get a long really well and he is a very smart kid.  His Spanish is unreal!  I have been kinda hard on myself this first week because the language has been really hard for me so far.  I have kinda been getting down on myself, cause I keep comparing myself to others, especially Elder Kleiner.  But I have been working so hard and I am constantly doing something productive.  I have faith that if I keep working hard and do my part, the Lord will do his.  I miss everyone like crazy!  But I get along with everyone really well here.  

The food here is no bueno.  There are obviously are some pretty good meals but also some terrible ones.  I still eat it cause I know I'm going to eat much worse. There's no A/C here so that kinda bites... but luckily its not too hot here right now.  We have one bathroom for 6 of us and 2 of the elders in our dorm are Mexican, and they don't flush their toilet paper so that's good.  At least I get to take a warm shower.  Sunday was church that was all in Spanish.  I understood nothing.  

Elder Kleiner and I have investigators we teach here and it annoys me so bad because the lady speaks no English and I can understand basically nothing she says.  It frustrates me because Elder Kleiner talks most the time cause his Spanish is so good.  I want to be able to express myself to this lady, but I can't yet.  Every day is jam packed with stuff to do.  I'm really struggling with the language right now.  I can't tell if it is because it's the first week or what, but I'm studying hard.  

I don't have a problem with waking up at all, and I fall asleep so fast at night cause I am so freaking tired.  One thing I have been thinking about is, we never read the scriptures as a family anymore.  You guys NEED to do that everyday.   It'll make your day better every time you do it even if it's just a chapter a day.  

Well, I don't really know what else to say besides I love my mission already.   A quote I was thinking about last night was, "Faith without works is dead."  That really is helping me. 


Well, I have no more time.  I miss you all and love you a lot.

Elder Copeland