Monday, October 27, 2014

Fourteenth Week - October 27, 2014

Well, this past week was good!

Got my first baptism.  That was a cool experience to see someone you taught go into the waters of baptism.  Juan Ramon, he lives by himself and is around 60 years old.  
(Elder Copeland, Juan Ramon, and Elder Regalizo at Juan Ramon's baptism.)

I just finished the Book of Mormon this morning, I love this book.  Elder Holland said, "...No wicked man could write such a book as this, and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so..."  Honestly how could someone say that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon?  We live in a terrible world, the Second Coming is close.  The Book of Mormon IS true, and Joseph Smith was a prophet, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is clearly true.  Satan has so many people chained down and it's sad to see.
(Click on the link above for your free copy of The Book of Mormon.)

We went to Managua twice this past week once for a meeting for all the missionaries that got here at the same time as me, so that was cool to see everyone.  And the other reason was because my companion had a zone meeting, so I had to go work with missionaries in Managua.  I don't want to leave Granada.   I love it here.  At the house we live, they had this dog "Rex" that was the meanest, biggest thing you would ever see in your life.  But it attacked Gregorio, one of the guys we live with who's 26 and served in Guatemala.  The dog destroyed him!  He had to get like 40 stitches... So they CHOPPED Rex's head off.  It's ok.   "He was getting pretty old" (Great movie). 

We have an investigator named Jimmy who's 8 and is getting baptized Nov. 29 because we're waiting until he turns 9 so it can count as a baptism for us.  We asked him who he wanted to baptize him.  He said he wanted me to baptize him, but changes are Nov. 26 and I really think I am going to leave Granada because my companion needs to train a new zone leader, and also a mission rule is that we can only baptize one time in our mission, kinda dumb, but I see the point why President wants that.  So I want to save my baptism for the end of my mission. 

After the baptism on Saturday, my companion needed a drink so we stopped at the market, and there were two Americans.  They came up to me and we started talking.  They're members in California, and he's down here for a thing for work.  Wow, I can't remember what the word is........... So that was sweet to talk English for a few minutes. 

But still, this isn't easy at all.  I'm just trying my best, that's all I can do.  I mess up sooo much trying to speak, but I just keep trying.  I don't feel embarrassed at all when I mess up because they are Nicaraguans--they don't care.  I just have to repeat it a couple times.  But I saw something in the "Liahona" that I really liked, "God Sees the Larger Picture:  What an amazing source of power, of strength, and of comfort is available to each of us.  He who knows us better than we know ourselves.  He who sees the larger picture and who knows the end from the beginning, has assured us that He will be there for us to provide help if we but ask.  We have the promises."  "Pray always, and be believing, and ALL things shall work together for your good."  Doctrine & Covenants 90:24.  That was a really good scripture for me to see.  

Well all in all, good week, ready for the next but I don't have much more to say.  Pray for the people of Nicaragua!

Love you all,

Elder Copeland

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Update on Elder Copeland Received from Mission President's Wife - October 25, 2014

Brother and Sister Copeland,

A few weeks have passed since we last corresponded and I wanted to let you know Elder Copeland is doing much better.  He said the bug spray has helped tremendously.  (He told me that he received the 50+ flea bites at one investigators house, not his apartment, so I am sure he will use the bug spray before they go back!)  

You are right, the beginning everything is quite eye opening and he is experiencing life as he has not known it.  I am sure you read in his letters home a new appreciation for many of the small things (and not so small) we normally take for granted......air conditioning, hot showers, grocery stores, umbrellas, kind members and their examples. his family, his parents and their love and guidance...)

On Thursday, we had our mid-12-week training meeting for all the September arrivals.  I spoke with Elder Copeland.  Please know that he is happy and working hard.  I thought you might enjoy this photo taken with his companion, Elder Regalizo, at lunch time.

(McDonald's is a real treat for the missionaries. There are only two McDonald's in all of Nicaragua and they are in Managua so many do not get a chance to go there.  And it is much more expensive than back in the States, so not easy to fit into a missionary's budget.).

Please continue to send uplifting and encouraging emails as it makes a world of difference to a missionary.  And, thank you for giving Elder Copeland a solid foundation of faith, which he is using in all that he does.

Best regards,

Hermana Russell
Nicaragua Managua Sur

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thirteenth Week - October 20, 2014

Well, another month has passed on. . . 3 down!  Crazy!

Well, a lot has happened this week.  It's hard to say about everything, I wish you could all just be here and actually see what it is like in Nicaragua serving a mission. 

I don't know if you guys heard, but there was a big 7.4 earthquake just off the coast in the ocean and in Managua.  I don't know about damage or anything, but somehow we didn't feel it.  We were planning at night and the guy we live with came in our room and asked if we felt it, but we didn't.  I don't know how big it was in Granada, but everyone felt it but us.   Haah.. But one thing about Nica, is sometimes you see the news on, and there is no filter.  They show all the dead bodies and EVERYTHING!  it's horrible!

Last week, I forgot to say something about the golf team.  That's awesome that they destroyed again!  It's crazy that it's been over a year since we won state.  I can remember everything about that like it was yesterday...

Elder Bennett got transferred to Managua, so now it's just Elder Regalizo and me, so i don't have any more English which sometimes bites, but I know it will help me out a lot not being able to speak English at all.  Last Tuesday, it was just Elder Bennett and me, and we went to one of our investigator's houses.  I knocked on the door, the guy answered the door, and he hates us.   He told me she was busy and slammed the door.  I knocked again, he opened it, and started screaming at me.   No idea what he was saying, but it wasn't good, and he slammed the door.  I stayed there and said "Blanca, queremos hablar con usted super rapido."  He opened the door and got right in my face screaming at me.  I was just laughing at him cause he looked like an idiot.  I was just trying to be a little persistent just like Elder Holland told us to be.  Haah hilarous!

About that Junior kid.  He was supposed to be baptized this coming Saturday, but on Friday and Saturday he got drunk and got an earring and didn't come to church. It hurts seeing that, but we are still working hard with him.  He has had a tough life, he doesn't even know who his parents are.  Another investigator, Maria Eugenia, we gave her a Book of Mormon, and I challenged her to read 2 NE 31.  She read the chapter and highlighted all the verses she liked and also wrote a summary on every VERSE!  It was pretty impressive to see this.  She said she believes that the Book of Mormon is true and she really wants to be baptized now!  Pretty cool experience.
(2 Nephi 31 - Nephi talks about why Christ was baptized.)

On Thursday, we watched "Only a Stonecutter," and I saw the Alpine, UT mountains in the background.  I miss the mountains so much.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to give my first blessing.  It was to the mission leader.  I tried my best with my best Spanish, but it was pretty cool.  Here the members don't help us at all, so its kinda tough.  It's all on us!

But anyways, no need to worry about me.  I am all good.  Strugglin' but learning a lot!  I have learned a ton the first 3 months.  I hope everyone is doing good! 

 Love you all,

Elder Copeland

This was from today, a guy in our branch works at some restaurant and made us a specialized burger.  it was the biggest thing i have ever seen.  I almost died.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Twelfth Week - October 13, 2014

Well, I made it through my first change, halfway done with training! 

This week was good, but hard as ever.  It has been hard for me to adjust to living here, but I'm getting used to it more and more every day.  The only thing really holding me up with the language is my patriarchal blessing.  It talks a lot about the gift of tongues.  So all I can do is keep trying my hardest and know that the best will happen for me.

Well, just a little about some investigators.  Juan Ramon is a guy in like his 50s.  He lives alone and sells gas tanks for a living.  He sells about 3 or 4 a week and makes 5 Cordobas each one he sells, and in US dollars 5 cordobas is like 25 cents.  One US dollar is 26 cordobas, so he makes literally nothing.  I don't know how they do it, but he's getting baptized on the 25th.  He's a little different, but he always completes his commitments.  The week before conference was his first time in church and we were late cause we had to go pick up other investigators.   On Saturday night, we told him we would come pick him up before church and he said "No, I can go myself because I don't want to be late!  He's a stud.  And Junior, the kid that got stabbed, it's all infected pretty bad, but he's a good kid and will be baptized.

A couple days ago, I was with Elder Bennett and we went to the crappiest house I have ever been in, in my life, made of wood scraps and metal scrap roof...  We taught a 19 year old and in this house was like a mosquito farm--so many mosquitoes!  In one hour, I got literally like 50 on my shins and ankles!!  And on Sunday, there was this lady just giving everyone pills, and she told me to come over.  She gave me 3 pills, I think she said they were for bugs in your stomach or something?  I said thanks and walked away.  I definitely threw those away!  Who knows what they were, but that's Nicaragua.  
 (Elder Copeland's mosquito-bitten ankle, plus the pills to the left that the woman gave him.)

Last night, some guy that was really high came up to me and who knows what he was saying, calling me ELDER and was hugging me.  He was in a completely different world.  I was talking to him just having a good time. 

I know I have said this, but we are soooo blessed to have what we have.  I always took it for granted, but I have learned from that big time.  This is insanely hard.  Walking basically on the sun, showering in sweat, doors slammed, people don't want to talk or listen, but I am a little persistent with them.  I try my hardest and do what I can.  All I can do is my part, I can't force them to listen to us.  I'm just trying to look at the big picture in 2 years of what I will be and what I want to be, but in order to be that person, I need to sacrifice 2 years of my life to then.  Well, I don't have any more time, time to get to work...  Hope you are all doing well, please pray for the people of Nicaragua.   They need help.

Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve,

Elder Copeland

(The picture is of today, we went to the lake and played soccer.)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Eleventh Week - October 6, 2014

Good week, but BYU and Taysom........................‏ 

How is this possible?   How did tTaysom break his leg and we lost!  I'm devastated!   I can't even describe it!  Ahhhh!!  Well, I guess I don't need to think about BYU football for the rest of the year... heartbroken!!!

Well anyways, this week was good.  I'm sure conference was great, but we only went to Priesthood session and the Sunday morning session.  And it was in Spanish, so I didn't really know what was going on...  We had to go to Jinotepe which is like 45 minutes away in a bus west.  We all met at the church, and there were 4 big buses full of people.  We got 3 investigators to come with us which was good.  One of our investigators, Jr., is 18.   He has had a rough life.  The family has nothing.  A couple days ago he got stabbed twice in the leg and was beat up pretty bad... but he still made it to conference, and he is getting baptized on the 25th.  He's a stud.  I like him a lot.

Being on a mission, I have realized how much my family really means to me.  And I have thought about multiple experiences every single day we have had, and they all seem like they happened yesterday.  Time goes by so fast when you look back on it.  There are so many little geckos here.  I have caught one.  It reminds me of all the times in Florida catching them all the time.. Luckily these past couple days haven't been so hot because it has rained a lot.  But still hot.  I haven't seen anything under 84.  Even throughout the night it's in the high 80s.  Thank goodness for fans and being exhausted so you can sleep. 

I have thought about this.  A mission is kinda like working out.  First off you have to get torn apart to be stronger.  These first two months, I have been torn apart, that I feel like I can't get torn apart more.  Now since I have been torn apart, the only thing that I can do is grow and get stronger.

Last night we went to a member's house, but some of them don't really go to church.  I got to lead the message, and I had no idea what I was going to share until after the prayer.  Alma 13:27-30 popped into my mind.  So we shared that with them.  I looked at the lady in the eyes after, and I could tell she was really thinking about the scripture.  I know they needed to hear that scripture at that time, and I'm glad I was the one to be able to share it with them.

I don't really have a lot to share this week.  I hope you all enjoyed conference and discovered answers to questions you had.  Keep working hard.

I saw a quote, "God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers."  I must be one of those soldiers cause this is crazy hard.  But I will look back on all these experiences for the rest of my life.

Well, time to get to work.  Love you all
Elder Copeland