Monday, December 29, 2014

Twenty-third Week - December 29 2014

Well, I'm not gonna say much this week since we just talked on Christmas. 

This week was pretty good.  Christmas was definitely a little different, not just being on a mission, but they don't celebrate Christmas here that much.  There were a few more people passed out on the streets--that's what the difference was, and everyone still was working and stuff, its sad to see...

But it was great talking to you guys!  I have been so blessed to have such an incredible family!  We are so extremely blessed to have this gospel in our lives.  I have always taken the gospel for granted, but being out here I have realized how blessed we really are!  A mission is tough but incredible!  I am still the same Connor Copeland, but I have a new light to me that I won't ever let go dim. 

Frederick, the kid in Granada, called me on Saturday night and told me that he was getting baptized the next day, and he just wanted to thank me for everything.  I am so pumped for him!  He will serve a mission and will be a great missionary!  

I don't really know what else to say, but I love you guys so much and miss you like crazy.  But this is where I need to be right now.  I will have a better e-mail next week, but take care.

Love you all,

Elder Copeland

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twenty-second Week - December 22, 2014

Well, here I am 5 months out! 

Here, it's not beginning to look like Christmas, not at all.  The whole mission doesn't have p-day today, but we get to write, so I'll make it short.  Not much happened this week, other than we went to a new part of the area where we have never been on Friday.  It's all in the forest.  It's amazing!  There are fields of pineapple plants.  It's so beautiful.  Monkeys (we didn't see one just heard them).  I will be sure to take my camera next time I go there so you can see what it is like.  There's no other missions like this one.  I get to see everything minus the stuff you guys see. 

I can't even remember what we did this week. We painted some house, worked really hard and went to Managua a few times.
(While painting the house, the lady gave us this coconut.)

I can't believe that it is already Christmas, time flies.  I learn new things everyday and grow appreciation for little things each day.  A few things that happened this week were, we had a giant Tarantula, 5 Scorpions, and mice daily in our amazing room... I am living in a zoo minus the cages haha... But in the service of the Lord, it's not where you serve, but how. 

(I didn't dare get closer, but he was huge!)
I saw a quote this week: "This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use it as I will . I can waste it or use it for good, but what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it!  When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it.  I want it to be gain, and not loss; good, and not evil; success, and not failure, in order that I shall not regret the price that I have paid for it."  We need to take life one day at a time.  And also for anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self sacrifice.  No paper currency, no promises to pay, but the goal of real service.  I am still the same Connor Copeland, but I have a new and better light to me. 

That's all I got this week, love you all and Feliz Navidad.  Looking forward to talking to you guys on Christmas.  Enjoy it and all the food and family and stuff..

Much love, nos vemos
Elder Copeland

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Twenty-first Week - December 15, 2014

Another Week Gone . . .

Well... This week I spent more time on the seat than I did in the street...  I ate something that is killing me.  This week I don't have much to say, but it was a pretty good week other than having food poisoning or whatever I have.  

But I found a lady my second day here that was taught by the past missionaries and she went to church the week before I got here, so I have been working hard with her to get her baptized.  She doesn't have a job, family close by, money or anything.  She can't pay for her rent and was going to get kicked out of her house cause she couldn't pay for it.  So I promised her, if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized, she would find a job.  She accepted. 

On Saturday, she was baptized.  (I baptized her because our branch is tiny and not a lot of people have the priesthood).  Then on Sunday after she was confirmed, a lady in the branch came up to her and told her she found a job for her.  Her jaw dropped.   She didn't know what to say.  She was so amazed of the miracle.  She started her job today. 

 23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.

She has absolutely nothing, and she's the humblest person I have ever met.  It truly was a miracle to have her baptized.  Kinda hard to put it into words.  And for the baptism, we had to go to a chapel in Managua like an hour away because our church building doesn't have a font.

 (On the van to Managua, we stood like that for about an hour.  It was terrible!)

Then on Thursday, we had interviews with the President, than Hermana Russell (Mission President's wife) checked out our room to see if it was clean enough for a brownie, and obviously it was clean cause you know me, all my stuff was perfect. The brownies reminded me of Mom's, they were amazing!  

On Saturday night after the baptism, Elder Page and I celebrated with a big dinner box from Pizza Hut!  So nice to eat something different than rice and beans....

 Elder Copeland and Elder Page

Other than our baptism this week, my highlight was on Saturday night.  We were in a house of a less active, his son has a date to be baptized soon.  The kid was just flipping through the channels on the tv and passed something that I recognized.  He stopped and it was a classic film "DUMB AND DUMBER."  It was right on the part when Harry was "Just shaving." Absolutley hilarious even though it was in Spanish.  So that was nice to watch it for about 30 seconds.

All in all good week.  Crazy that Christmas is next week!!  Hope you're all doing well.
Elder Copeland

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Twentieth Week - December 8, 2014

Well... This week kinda sucked, but welcome to the mission. 

But, "I can do all things through christ which strengtheneth me" -Philippians 4:13. 

On Wednesday, i just wasn't feelin' it... And I went in my room and knelt down and prayed and pleaded for help.  After I was done praying, I came back to study and opened my scriptures to Moroni 8 verses 2-3.   They say, 2)'My beloved son "Connor," I rejoice exceedingly that your Lord Jesus Christ hath been mindful of you and hath called you to his ministry, and to his holy work 3)...that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end."  That was one of the most comforting answers to a prayer I have ever received in my life!! 

That night I had the best Piña Colada of my life, so that helped me out also:)  Here in Ticuantepe, they're known for their pineapples.  They're everywhere!  

On Saturday, I got 11 people committed to come to church.  Sunday morning, we left the house at 7:30 am to go pick them up and church starts at 9 am., so I was doing all I could do to bring them, basically running to try to get them to come, and Elder Palacio was just lolligaggin around, so I told him if he wanted to be here he had to work hard, because I don't like lazy people at all.  Ends up, I got one person to church... I cant describe how devastated I was.  I was working sooo hard for them, but they can't every keep their commitments here... 

But around 6 pm yesterday, the AP called me and said that Elder Palacio had emergency changes and that he had to go pack up his suitcase cause the AP would be there in 20 minutes to pick him up.  So I was a little worried about what was going on.  Turns out his Visa came and his mission president wanted him to come to Bolivia tomorrow, so now I have a new companion, Elder Page from Burley, Idaho.  He has one more transfer than I do and our Spanish is like the same.. both not great, but we can communicate well.  This is gonna be tough, but we can do it.  The branch president invited us to his house last night at 7 to watch the Christmas devotional and for dinner.  They make good money for Nica so they have a normal house and a car. 
 Elder Copeland said, "This is my beautiful kitchen and how I wash my laundry."
 Elder Copeland snapped this picture because he said, "I have the best mom in the whole world."

I liked the devotional.  My favorite part was when the sister talked, I don't remember her name.  She talked about the story when the mom told her kids that Santa wouldn't be coming this year and the kids didn't believe her, so the kids all put plates on the table hoping to get something.  They woke up to find a dill pickle on each of their plates, and the mom said,  "I  didn't want you guys to wake up and find nothing."  The kids were devastated, but one of them found a dime by one of the plates and said, "No, Santa came!"  So with his dime, he sprinted out of the house to the grocery store to buy some candy with his dime.  All of the stores were closed, but they guy that owned the grocery store lived right next door, so the kid went to his house and asked him if he could open up his store so he could buy a dime's worth of candy because that is all that he got for Christmas.  The guy was more than willing to open up his store for the little boy and gave him a big scoopful of each candy in the store.  This was something simple for this man to do and because of that, this kid and his family enjoyed their Christmas with the candy.  "By small and simple things, great things are come to pass."  It is the little things that make the difference in this life.

(Click on the link above to watch, listen, or read the talk by Sister Bonnie Oscarson that Elder Copeland was referring to, as well as the entire Christmas devotional.)

Also, today I found something that I really like in Alma that I can relate to my mission:

 27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
 28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
 29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
 30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
 31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few?  I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.
I really liked that and compared it to my mission... We can't ever forget that through God's power and wisdom, they were delivered from their challenges.  Heavenly Father did not forget them!  They had a mission to fulfill, and his promise was that if they continued in those moments of tribulation and suffering, they would be blessed to save souls.  The reward for continuing on through hard and difficult experiences were amazing!  REMEMBER, HEAVENLY FATHER WILL REWARD AND BLESS THOSE WHO SUFFER AND SACRIFICE FOR HIM.

Let us all press on in the work of the Lord... FEAR NOT!!!

I love you guys so much.  Thanks for all the support.  There's no chance that I would be able to do this without you guys.

Elder Copeland    

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nineteenth Week - December 1, 2014

Well... I made it through another week.

I got transferred to a new area--La Borgoña the city is called Ticuantepe (20 min. south of Managua) and my area is huge!  I am also a TRAINER!  I just finished my training and now I am a trainer and also re-opening a new area.  That never happens especially for an American!  Talk about a lot of responsibility!  But crazy that I am already done with my first area!  I really enjoyed Granada and Elder Regalizo.  I learned a lot from him.  Also, when I went to put my suitcase in the taxi on Wednesday morning, my pants ripped so bad that they are beyond repairable... even worse, there were my suit pants. 

A little about my new area.  It's in like the suburbs of Managua.  My companion is Elder Palacio from  Chinadega, Nicaragua.  He is waiting for his Visa because he is going to Bolivia, so I will be training him for at least 6 weeks.  He is really quiet, so it's been a little tough to adjust to him but it's good.  He doesn't really know how to read that well and can't write at all..... I am working him hard!  He is a bit lazy, but I'm changing that because I don't like lazy people especially in the mission.  Also, reopening an area is tough.  I know nothing, where anyone lives, the objects that they use for street direction, cause here they don't really have street names.  Also, in my house the water never works at night, so I always have to take a bucket shower, and have to do my laundry by hand... so that kinda blows.  

On Thursday for Thanksgiving, we went to some ward member's house in Managua.  Let's just say I'm sure it was 1,000,000 times better in SF... My first Sunday, I got 3 people to church.  I was really happy with myself, especially having 0 investigators on Wednesday-- the field is white, ready to harvest.  One thing I don't do well is teach, but I can bear my testimony... "The fire of your testimony is all you need in order to introduce the gospel" -M. Russell Ballard.

(Click on the above link to read or listen to the talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard which Elder Copeland is referring to.)

One thing that I like telling them is I AM NOT HERE TO LIE FOR 2 YEARS! I wouldn't leave everything I have (family, friends, school, golf, house, car, technology, AC, BYU sports, AMERICA, normal life, etc.) if this church wasn't true.  It is so easy to know!  I have noticed that people believe, but don't want to change their lives and accept the truth.  I don't understand it.... but I am here to baptize, and I am going to baptize!

I can't believe I already have made it through one BYU football season!  And also, November is already over!  Last month of 2014, ready to start 2015 (my whole year I'm on the mission).  But day by day it gets closer, July 2016 will come........... this past week, I have been thinking of home a lot, so that's been annoying me because it is hard to focus. But I'm here, doing well.  Hope SF was amazing.  I wish I could have been there, but I'm still in the family tree..... But until next week.  Hope you have a good week.


Elder Copeland