Monday, November 24, 2014

Eighteenth Week - November 24, 2014

WOW!  Well,  I'm already 4 months out. 

Time goes by so fast.  I am officially done with my training.  And we have transfers on Wednesday, and I am 95% sure that I am getting transferred.  Crazy to think that I am already done with my first area, but I am ready for new adventures ahead of me.  I find out for sure tomorrow if I am leaving or not, so you guys won't know where I am 'til next week. 

This week I don't have a ton to say, but I'll try my best.  Elder Regalizo and I aren't going to be companions anymore.  I learned a ton from him!  I want to be a missionary like him  He teaches so well and knows so much!  Also, on Thursday, I had to work with missionaries in Managua because Regalizo had a meeting in Managua.  That was good.  Managua is wayyy different than Granada--a lot more people in Managua and it's crazy.

Friday was pretty crazy.  I was working with Gregorio, one of the guys we live with.  He's 26 and served in Guatemala.  We went to one of our investigator's houses in a colonia thing. I don't know what it is called in English.  So we walked in there and there were some people playing, and they didn't want us to pass, so I found a way around them and one of them picked up a rock.  So i grabbed his arm so I didn't get drilled by it.  Then one of them punched me, so I just kept walking and got away.  Our investigator wasn't there so we had to walk back, and they were just waiting for us.  As we walked past, one of them drilled me with a baseball bat in my leg and then I got a rock thrown at my back,  but I just laughed at them and told them how lost they are in this life.  So that was pretty cool.  Haha, but I'm all good.

Also that night, I was with a different member and we were just walking by the house of Gerardo, and we started walking the other way, but then I felt like we needed to go see him, and so we went and talked to him and it was the most spiritual lesson of my life. WOW! It was awesome!

Then Sunday was brutal.  We walked sooo much.  We walked all day from 7 am til 10 pm.  I was dead.  We had 13 people that said they would come to church, and as we went to go pick them up, (since we have to babysit every single one of them besides Frederick) they all said they didn't want to go and came up with the dumbest excuses.  I don't have a lot of time to describe the excuses, but they were horrible.   We got 3 people to church, and I can't describe how hard we had to work for those 3 people... But Frederick is such a stud.  He told us this week that he is 100% sure that he wants to be baptized.  He just wants to wait for his family from Bountiful to come to see it, so in the next month.  He really had a desire to know, and what do you know, he's getting baptized.  I don't understand why people have to be so ignorant about such a good word, like we'e handing them blessings and they don't want to receive them.  I don't understand it.. but oh well, just keep working hard to find people that are ready.

I need to go.  Hope you're all doing well.  Have fun in California eating a nice Thanksgiving dinner.  I'll be eating a chicken foot probably:)... Well, I'm anxious to hear where I am going next, and Gregorio keeps telling me that I'm going to be a district leader in the next 2 or so changes so we will see.  I want to be a leader in the mission.  I'm working hard.  In the picture is Elder Regalizo and Gregorio at dinner every Sunday night.

Love you all,

Elder Copeland

Monday, November 17, 2014

Seventeenth Week - November 17, 2014

Time is just going faster and faster! 

This week was good.  Last Tuesday I had an experience that I'll never forget.  Right before we left our house for the day, I had a strong feeling to put my English scriptures in my backpack, and on this day I was companions with Elder Hartley from Idaho.  We have been out the same time.  So I put my English scriptures in my backpack and just went on with my day. 
(Elder Copeland in front of the Volcano Mumbacho which is much bigger than it appears because of the clouds.)
Around 5, we were just walking and from a distance, I saw a couple of people sitting outside their house and had a strong feeling to go over there.  As we got close, I saw a guy with tattoos everywhere including some teardrop tattoos.  I told Elder Hartley that this was probably a bad idea, but we were already too close to not say anything.  So I started talking to them, and the guy spoke English and lives in Canada with his wife and daughter.  He told us literally everything about his life.  His life has been different.  He got into all criminal stuff and stuff like that.  He said that he doesn't feel God loves him anymore and that he's been praying for angels to come and save him from his terrible life.  He said that we are those angels.  He could tell how happy we were, and he asked how he could be happy and that he wanted to be a part of our church, and a bunch of stuff happened that I can't put into words.  I was in awe. 

We went back the next day, and he told me that he wrote me a poem.  He told me it and wow!! it was amazing.  It was in Spanish, but wow!  He has experienced all the worldly things and found out that it doesn't make you happy.  He told us that he wanted to come to both church services with us on Sunday, but when it came to Sunday, we went to pick him up at 8:30 and he was at work.  Then for the afternoon reunion, we couldn't find him.  I was so disappointed.  Then we went back later that night and he was 'busy' and couldn't talk... I was devastated!  I hope everything is still good with him.  I need to get a copy of the poem so you guys can see it and also a picture so you can see this guy.  And he's only 28!  I'll try to get a picture this week.

Also, Tuesday I got my packages!  Thank you so much.  I am so blessed to have an amazing family.  I have been living off that stuff this past week.  A few times this week, we were out til 10pm finishing our goals.... but I can truly say that I am happy.  There's nothing more I like to do than make others happy.  And being out on a mission is so freaking hard, but I love it!  And I'm not even good at Spanish.  I can't imagine how happy and different I'll be when I get home.  I have gained a true love for the scriptures and just keep wanting to learn and study them. 

On Saturday, we had a baptism of Naomi.  

Also, we went to the house of Frederick, and I told him that he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and that he just needs to act on his faith and be baptized.  Hess a really smart kid and says that he wants to know everything before he is baptized.  So I related it to him like hiking a mountain.  You can't just get to the top instantly.  You have to climb up little by little one step at a time.  I told him right now he's on a plateau, and the next step to get closer to the top is to be baptized, and to get to the top of the mountain is a whole lifetime journey.  

Then Sunday, during sacrament, we went to get Iovan, one of our investigators, so we walked to the market and he wasn't there.  So we walked all the way to his house to get him, then all the way back to the church.  By the time we got back, sacrament was just ending.  We were about to walk in the building and a car pulled up with an American family.  The lady told me that she had a package for me.  So thanks to her and thank you mom!  We  really do live in a small world.  So really, that's how my week was.

A favorite quote:  "Sometimes we become the lightning rod, and we must 'take the heat' for holding fast to God's standards and doing his work.  I testify that we need not be afraid if we are grounded in his doctrine.  We may experience misunderstanding, criticism, and even false accusation, but we are never alone.  Our Savior was 'despised and rejected of men.'  It is our sacred privilege to stand with him!"

I hope you're all doing well.  I can't imagine that it is getting cold there cause here it's just getting hotter and hotter.......

Love you.


Elder Copeland

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sixteenth Week - November 10, 2014

Well... Another week of studying, praying, planning, working, teaching, helping and serving.  Another week to cherish.  Another week as a missionary

This week was better, but still tough!  I can't even describe to you how hard we work everyday!  A quote I saw on the back of some guy's shirt I saw said, "Let your life speak louder than your words ever could," and us missionaries definitely take this quote into action.  Also, last Tuesday was the first day of my mission where I didn't sweat!!  It felt so good, and also to not sweat was amazing.  

We are so truly beyond blessed to have this gospel in our lives.  It is soooo clearly true in our eyes.  All the other churches are sooo lost, and it's sad to see what Satan has done and how well he can deceive people.  With our baptism this Saturday, the girl is 9 (Naomi) and her family is less active members.  The dad smokes all day and "can't" stop, but he's a good guy.  I like him a lot.  And Naomi is having a hard time giving up coffee, so after a long discussion with them, we came to the conclusion that the best thing to do was buy milk and pinolillo for them. (Note:  Pinolillo is a sweet cornmeal and cacao-based traditional drink in Nicaragua. It is made of ground toasted corn and a small amount of cacao.)  They haven't drank coffee since.  Everyone here drinks coffee because it is so cheap, so hopefully she hangs in there for a few more days so she is able to be baptized.  

This past week, I saw the moon, the biggest I have ever seen it before.  It was orange and was so sweet!  Oh, WOW!   I'll never forget what I ate for lunch on Thursday.  A fish that has probably been dead since the ice age!  Absolutley horrendous!!  Elder Regalizo threw it up that night haha!

And about the Frederick kid.  He's progressing a ton and came to church again yesterday, also looking like a missionary!  And he told me that his aunt lives in Bountiful!!! and is a member, and she wanted our address and #.  What are the chances???  So, I'll give him that info tonight. 

So much of life depends on our attitude.  The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference--to do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they might be.  I love the quote:  "Attitude, to me, is more important than the past,... than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important that appearance, giftedness, or skill.  It will make or break a company, a church, a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day." 

And also, we need the courage.  "Whatever you do, you need courage.  Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right.  To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs.  Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them."
I think of it as my Junior and Senior year at the state golf tournament.  Courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve.  Those 2 years on the first days, I struggled, but I would tell myself over and over again before day 2 of the State Tournament something like, "I don't care what it takes.  I am going to have the best round out of everyone tomorrow."  And with that attitude I had, I was the low score out of everyone on the second day both years.  That only happened because I refused to give up.  

That's how I am out here.  I get denied, stuff thrown at us, doors slammed in my face, rejected everyday, but I refuse to give up!  No matter what they say or do, I won't give  up.  And if it weren't for golf, I doubt I would have this attitude.  I have learned many life lessons from golf that I apply to my life everyday!

Well, time to get to work.  Hope everyone is doing well, and I hope "Dumb and Dumber To" is hilarious.  I can't wait to see it!  Thanks for all the support.  I couldn't do this without you guys.

Love you,

Elder Copeland 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fifteenth Week - November 3, 2014

Well, hello once again from Nicaragua. 

The rainy hot season is just ending and now getting into the even HOTTER season... This past week was brutal!  I have never sweat so much in my life.  My shirt was constantly soaked.  The thing that is bad about this mission is we get absolutely no help from members, so it's so hard.  But this mission is the hardest working mission in the world, I won't deny that.  We have to teach 11 lessons a day, 7 with investigators and 4 with recent converts or less actives, and 24 contacts a day.  We are like running to our next lesson cause we never have time.  A mission is soo insanely hard, but I know in the long run it will all pay off.  Sometimes I get down on myself cause I want to express what I want to say to them, but I can't!  But I'm trying to get the language more and more.  It comes little by little. 
I don't really have time today, but this past week nothing new really happened, other than I saw a guy get the crap beat out of him in the street.  That was scary cause it was right next to us.
I have been asked like three times by different missionaries what I want to do after my mission, and I say "dentist," and every one of them has said, "If I had to guess what you were going to be, it would be dentist."  Haha.  I guess it's just meant to be.  

But anyways, I don't have a lot to say this week, sorry... But I've struggled in ways the first 15 weeks, trying to find out who I am, but you have to lose yourself to find yourself, and currently I'm trying to lose myself.  It's hard, but I'm doing my best, and I know in two years I'll be a completely new person. 
We got a new investigator this past Monday and he's 17.  He's already almost done with 2 Nephi.  He's a stud and really wants to know if the church is true.  His prayers are so heart felt and his family has a little more money, so this kid is a really intelligent kid.  He went to church with us on Sunday and loved it.  I believe he will be baptized, but we have an appointment with him tomorrow, so I'll let you know next week what happens.
Well, just know I'm trying my hardest and just smiling at the people and trying to bring this gospel into their lives cause everyone needs it!  Sorry my email is horrible this week.  I'll have a better one next week, but love you all.  Thanks for the love and support.  It means the world to me.
Elder Copeland