Monday, January 26, 2015

Twenty-seventh Week - January 26, 2015

Well, there goes another week once again. 

Also, this past week I completed 6 months!  Big accomplishment!  Crazy how fast time is going.  This week wasn't the best, but we had 2 more baptisms so that made up for it!

Let's see what happened this week?  Well there's this black guy from California that has a little restaurant.  We always go get hamburgers.  They're dang good!  On Tuesday, he invited us over for breakfast, first real breakfast in 6 months!!  

This week we went to a new part and had no success, contacted all the 'houses' and no one wanted anything.  Some of them wouldn't even talk to us.  It's sad, but it's all good.  We are still searching for new humble people.  But we had two more baptisms on Saturday--Eduardo and Esteban.  

 (Elder Copeland and Elder Page with Eduardo and Esteban who were just baptized on Saturday.)

Just like every other baptism, something that shouldn't have happened, happened.  The morning of their baptism, the aunt came to our house and told us that the grandma wanted to talk to us.  So I thought, "Oh no..." But we went over there.  She wasn't happy.  She got mad at the 2 kids from coming home so late the night before and didn't think they should be baptized because they were being disobedient.  Then I went to try to talk to the two kids, and they wouldn't talk to me cause they were mad.  The grandma said that it was Satan trying to ruin it, and clearly it was. 

Elder Page started to play hide and seek with them and after that they were all happy, thank goodness.  We took 9 people (including us) to the baptism in Managua (Eduardo, Esteban, the grandma, 2 ladies from the branch including the lady that was baptized the week before, a kid in the branch, and the guy baptizing for us.)  It was insane trying to get them all in the bus, but we got it all done!!  The two kids on Sunday told me when they were confirmed that their whole body got the chills.  They're awesome 11 and 12 year olds.  The grandma and the aunt should be getting baptized here pretty soon.  Sunday we also got 7 people to church (most in my mission).  

Last night we got into the "house" and found a huge scorpion with like 100 babies on its back chillin' on the wall right next to my bed... It was way aggressive, but after a long brawl, I took him down!!  Basically everyday we have scorpions, tarantulas, lizards, mice, and bats in our "house"... Where am I? But yeah, that's basically my week.

I have learned and recognized that the best paths in life aren't the easiest.  Look at all the people from the scriptures.  Lehi had a dream to leave everything to go to a 'promised land,' the life of Nephi definitely wasn't easy but definitely was the best path.  Enos, Alma, Alma the younger, and many more.  Also we have Joseph Smith, look at the life of Joseph Smith and tell me if that was easy???  The life on the mission isn't easy but is the best path for me to be taking at this stage of my life.  We have to be willing to pay the price of all things.  We will receive help along the way.  But we are free forever to act for ourselves.

I read a talk this past week that I liked a lot.  Why does the Lord allow the evil speaking to chase after the good?  One reason is that opposition against the things of God sends seekers of truth to their knees for answers.  I for sure have spent nights on my knees. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "First doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."  Also, President Holland said, "This is a divine work in progress, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don't hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved.  They do and they will.  In this church, what we know will always trump what we do not know."

The church is so clearly true and no one can convince me otherwise.  "I have found that questions of life are far more important that the answers.  We can be satisfied with different answers at different points in our life.  But it is the questions which keep us searching and growing."  No life ever goes great until it is focused, dedicated, and disciplined.  I love this church and all of you guys.  Thanks for the support.  I couldn't do this without it.  

Hope you have a great week.

Elder Copeland

Monday, January 19, 2015

Twenty-sixth Week - January 19, 2015

Great week! 

We had another baptism on Saturday.  It's always an adventure to baptize someone in this area cause our chapel is in a house (Priesthood is in the garage), and there's no font so we have to go to Managua to baptize (like an hour away in bus depending on traffic).  

So this is the story.  A guy in the branch was going to baptize for us, so I called him like 10 times and he didn't answer at all.  I walked to a member's house to see if she was going.  She said, "Yes, and the guy that was going to baptize is going by himself."  I tried calling him again to confirm; he didn't answer, so I just said, "Whatever, I'll trust him that he will go by himself," cause we didn't have time to go to his house cause he lives in Narnia basically. 

We got to the chapel in Managua and he was nowhere to be found.  I called him again, didn't answer. Then I called the 2nd Counselor again.  He finally answered and told me that he would call the guy. He called him, he answered and said he was waiting at home for us to pick him up... We literally have to babysit everyone.. So I wasn't happy that he wouldn't answer my phone calls, but I still took the fault.  So luckily we brought an extra pair of baptismal pants.  Elder Page baptized her with his normal shirt and stuff, so afterwards, he was soaked haha.  

But after the lady was baptized (Justina), she bore her testimony and it was awesome!  She has a daughter that is like a demon.  She hates Mormons and doesn't know a single thing about us. She wouldn't even come to her own mom's baptism or wouldn't even talk to her.  It's sad, no one here supports anyone in their families... On Sunday she was confirmed, and also a member from the Seventy came to our branch, Elder Kevin R. Duncan, so that was cool.  

One thing I was thinking about this week is the importance of having a strong testimony in these days.  To have the power to say I know these things of myself.  That is one thing I have learned in my first 6 months.  I knew before my mission that the church was true, especially after Origination, but I didn't really have a knowledge of the gospel.  I still don't know a lot but learning for ourselves that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true can be one of the greatest and most joyful experiences in life.  That is absolutely true.

Whoever is reading this, ask yourselves if you REALLY TRULY know that this church is true and have a testimony.  Do each one of us know for ourselves that the gospel is true?  Can we say with confidence that our testimonies are of our own?  

President Thomas S. Monson has stated:  "In order for us to be strong and withstand all the forces pulling us in the wrong direction... we must have our own testimony..."   I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will protect you from the sin and evil around you.  If you do not already have a testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one.  It is essential for you to have your own testimony, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far."

First, we NEED the desire to gain our own testimony.  Just like Nephi, it was something that he hungered and thirsted after.  If we are hungry for the gospel, without a doubt, we will gain a testimony of our own.  In 1 Nephi 2:16 it says Nephi had "great desires to know the mysteries of God."
So a testimony is something that is grown little by little, like a seed into a big strong tree.  I saw something that says a testimony is like a light switch.  It is either on or off, you either have a testimony or you don't.  Whoever is reading this that doesn't have a testimony for yourself, I strongly recommend you getting one.  Now is the time, today is the day.  Because if you don't have a testimony for yourself in these days, good luck... in my opinion, the chances of you falling away are about 100%.

Just like Helaman 5:12:  "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."  We absolutely NEED a testimony . I recommend reading The Book of Mormon.  When you know that The Book of Mormon is true, everything else follows, Joseph Smith absolutely was a prophet and he saw God the Eternal Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  It also follows that the gospel of Jesus Christ clearly was restored in these last days through Joseph Smith.

Think about this, give me one good reason why Joseph Smith would make all of that up when in reality he didn't gain anything.  In the end, he lost his life, all on a religion, he could have easily have said, "I made it up," but he didn't, cause he knew it was true for himself.  So if you don't have a testimony, get one.  If you do have a testimony, strengthen it!

Love you all,

Elder Copeland

(One of Elder Copeland's best friend is serving in Korea on his mission.  So Elder Copeland sent this picture with the caption: "So close, yet so far, but doing the same work!")

Monday, January 12, 2015

Twenty-fifth Week - January 12, 2015

Another week gone just like that...  

This past week was pretty good.  I didn't get transferred thank goodness, but I made it through another transfer.  4 down, 13 to go.  I downloaded a conference talk from Richard G. Scott called, "The Transforming Power of Faith and Character."   It was absolutely amazing!  One little part that I liked was, "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become".

(Click on the link above to listen or read the talk Elder Copeland is referring to.)
On Wednesday, we got kinda lost.  We got on a mototaxi and told him to take us to an area called Pablo Calerdo.  He took us a different way that we have never been before.  When we got there, he told us to get out.  We had absolutely no idea where we were so we just walked on the dirt path for about an hour... we found ourselves at the Masaya Volcano haha... At least we got some sweet pictures!  

But like an hour and a half later of walking, we found the house!  This lady is super positive.  She came to church yesterday with her two daughters which was awesome.  When we go there to this area, I call it, "Jurassic Park," cause all the trees and stuff.   But there are BILLIONS of pineapples here.  It's awesome.  On Thursday, we went to "Jurassic Park" again and on the way back there were guys putting pineapples in the back of a pick up, so I asked if they needed help.  We put 400 pineapples in the back of this pick up, and this area takes like 40 minutes to walk to, straight dirt roads. 

Something cool that happened, walking back we stopped at a pulperia to buy a drink and behind me were two little girls, so I told them to give me stones.  One of them kinda hesitated, but did it really fast and in the split second, I noticed that she was wearing a CTR ring.  I asked her if she was a member.  She had no idea what our church was, so I asked her where she got it.  She told me her dad bought it for her.  So I told her to take me to her house.  We walked to her house and her dad was busy, so I asked him where he got the ring.  He said from his brother's ex-girfriend... I told him that the ring was of our church.  He asked me what the HLJ (Haz Lo Justo) stood for.  And before we left his house, I asked him one question. "If you had the opportunity to ask God one question, what would you ask him?"   (I love asking that question to everyone.)  He responded, "What do I need to do to be saved?"   "Perfect question," I responded.  Conversation went on.  He said he wanted a Book of Mormon, so I told him I would bring him one the next time we went over. 

On Saturday, we went back.  He was kinda closed and didn't want to talk, but I wouldn't let him leave.  He said he prayed but didn't receive an answer, so he doesn't want to talk anymore, and he said he has his Bible and doesn't need anything more.  So we read 2 Nephi 29.  I kinda had to challenge him a bit.  He finally told me that this is probably his fault of knowledge and that he would keep reading and praying.  So we will see what happens with him, but I believe I saw the little CTR ring for a reason... 

So that basically sums up my week.  We also have a baptism this Saturday which is awesome!  I hope you're all doing well and happy birthday, Kade, on Wednesday!  I can't believe you're 16...

Love you all and thanks for all the support.

Elder Copeland

Monday, January 5, 2015

Twenty-fourth Week - January 5, 2015

Well, we finally have 2015! 

2014 was a great year.  Got my Patriarchal Blessing, mission call, all state banquet, spring break, graduation, Origination trip, temple, mission.  Those were some of my big highlights from the year, but many more!  But I am so happy that it is 2015 now, the whole year that I'm gone...
(You can read the disappointment all over Elder Copeland's face.  His mom sent him a brownie mix to have freshly baked brownies, but this is what happened when they tried to cook them.  Lots of lessons learned on a mission!) 
 (Harry Potter, aka Elder Copeland explains:  "We sweep this guy's house every Tuesday and Friday. He has some disease with his feet called asuca.  It's horrible... So I decided to make this a little fun.")
 ("My chocoyo," Elder Copeland says.)

One thing that the Nicaraguans do for New Years is they get some clothes and stuff a bunch of paper in there to make it look like a person.  They put a ton of fireworks in there.   Then they put the stuff that they are giving up by the guy; for example, smoking or drinking.  Than at midnight they blow the guy up with all the fireworks...  That night I didn't sleep because of all the noise...  
But this week was normal.  I got 6 people to church yesterday.  That's the most I have ever had in my mission.  We really had 10 people but 4 of them are under 8, so they didn't count. And also yesterday in Sacrament meeting, there were 76 people.  They told me that's the most people they've had in Sacrament Meeting for over 6 months.  We've been working with the inactives quite a bit.  I will tell myself this every single day for the rest of my life, we are sooo blessed to live where we live and to have opportunities in life and especially to have this gospel in our lives.
I was reading in the Ensign for the general conference.  I read the talk called, "Which way do you face?"  It was incredible.  It talks about people trying to please others before pleasing God.  It says, "While it certainly takes courage to face perils, the true badge of courage is overcoming the fear of men."  And it gave some really excellent examples:  Bad examples: 1)King Herod was sorrowful at the request to behead John the Baprist but wanted to please "them which sat with him at meat."   2) King Noah was ready to free Abinadi until peer pressure from his wicked priests caused him to waver. 
 (King Noah with Abinadi)
 3) King Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord by keeping the spoils of war because he "feared the people, and obeyed their voice."
Good examples:  1)Mormon- Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God, and I fear not what man can do, for perfect love casteth out all fear (Moroni 8:16).  2) Nephi-Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world (1Ne 6:5).  3) Captain Moroni- Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain, I seek not for power, but to pull it down.  I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my god, and the freedom and welfare of my country (Alma 60:36).  
(Captain Moroni)
There are many great examples of this in the scriptures. And also the story of Korihor who finally admitted that he always knew there was a god (Alma 30:52). I loved this talk.  This is just a little bit of what I learned.  You should all watch this talk for Family Home Evening. 
(Click on the link above to listen or read the talk Elder Copeland is talking about.)
The church is so incredibly true.  I hope none of you guys take it for granted like the way I did, but with the power of the Atonement, we are all able to receive a remission of our sins and become perfect in Christ.  I love this gospel, I love this work, I love this people, and I love you guys.  I hope you all had a great new year!  Have a great week, love you all!
Elder Copeland
The picture is of people cooking this pig, and I wanted a picture with them on New Years.