Monday, March 28, 2016

Eighty-eighth Week - March 28, 2016

Well... another week goes by!  

I heard about the ISIS attacks in Brussells, sad.  But the Lord protects his missionaries, I know that for a fact!  This week was a decent week.  IT'S SOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOT!!!!!!!!!!!

(A member sent this picture to Elder Copeland's parents  of himself with Elder Copeland.)

On Tuesday, we worked in the morning with a companionship in Mateare.  They are struggling a bit so we are helping them out.  It was alright.  In the afternoon, Elder Carbajal and I went to Managua for a meeting with the Stake Presidency and President Russell.  We waited for an hour at the church, the stake presidency never showed up so we just talked to President the whole time.  It was good.  Than at night time, Elder Carbajal and I went and did two interviews.

Wednesday, Elder Carbajal and I visited possibilities all day long. We went to animate them and to make sure that they were all good for their baptisms on Saturday. 

Thursday night at around 7:30 we had just finished a lesson with Yanin and we had a cita with Rosa out in Pedro Juaquin (super dangerous part of the area).  We started walking over to her house and i heard a clear voice coming from the Spirit:   "Do not go to Rosa's house."  So I trusted in the voice that I heard and didn't go.  I decided to go to some other investigator's house... So the next day at 1 pm we decided to go to Rosa's house.  We got there and I told her sorry that we couldn't come.  She then said to us thank goodness that we didn't come.  She said that at 8 pm (our cita was scheduled for 8 pm also), a gang came out and shot and killed two people right next to Rosa's house.  I know that the Lord was protecting us.  Who knows what would have happened if I didn't listen to the still small voice of the Spirit?  The Lord protects His missionaries!

Saturdays are always crazy, especially on the last Saturday of the month.  Gotta get everyone baptized!  There was an area in the Zone where they had a baptism, but the girl went to León on Friday night and wasn't coming home 'til Saturday night.  So it was 8 pm and she was nowhere to be found.  So I decided to take over.  Got the mom's phone number and started calling her.  She finally answered and said that Andrea (the girl getting baptized) had just got back, but thought that it would be better to do the baptism in the morning.  I convinced her to do it that night.  Asked where she was.. she said La quinta tapa de Nueva Vida.  I sat there with my mouth shut haahahahah cause that's like the Iraq of Nicaragua.  Taxis won't even go there at night time 'cause it's just a battle field.  But I knew the Lord would protect us.  So I spent 30 min looking for a brave taxi driver.  Finally found one and we went to go and pick her up.  She got baptized at 9 pm.  Then we had to go and look for another taxi to take her mom back home.  Haha It was an adventure.  At least she got baptized.

Today Frederick (my convert that is leaving on his mission THIS WEDNESDAY) and Gregorio (member from Granada) came to Sandino and we went to eat pizza.  It was fun seeing Frederick one more time before he sets away on his mission.

(Elder Copeland with Frederick, his convert, who will be leaving on his mission
this Wednesday.) 
 (Frederick with his mission call.)
(Frederick, Elder Copeland, and Gregorio.)

Anyways, have a great weekI have to leave this cyber shop.  I'm sweating too bad.  Talk to you next week.

Elder Copeland

Monday, March 21, 2016

Eighty-seventh Week - March 21, 2016

What's up, Gringos?!

There goes another week in the books.  If I could explain how hot it is, I would.  No joke, I wake up at 3 am everyday, soaked in sweat... It's miserable haha.  March and April are brutally hot.  But all in all, good week.  We had a miracle baptism.  Today I did my "Trunky Papers." I will be home on June 15!  Crazy...

Monday night.  Well, we have been teaching a guy named Ulises.  He has been going to church the past four years, but couldn't ever get baptized for the law of castidad.  HIs old partner lives under the same roof as him.  She won't leave the house cause she has nowhere else to go.  So he has an extra apartment out back that just got finished.  We told him if that if he goes out back to live, he could get baptized.  He did it in an instant.  So he was super excited after four years of going to church that he could finally get baptized.  He always talks about getting the priesthood and going to the temple!

Wednesday was a rough day... every single one of our citas fell.  Couldn't find anyone to teach and it was also hotter than the sun itself.  At around 6 pm after like the sixth straight cita falling, I bowed my head and started to pray saying, "Heavenly Father, I don't have much time left and there are so many people that need this gospel.  Today I have tried my hardest to find people so that they can follow Thee, but I don't have any results.  Please guide me to someone or someone to me."  So I put my trust in the Lord and stayed positive and kept contacting everyone I saw.  Hour and a half later, nothing.  I completely forgot to verify with our bus driver that was taking us to Managua at 7 am the next day for a multi- zone.  So I sat down on a rock and called him.  

While I was on the phone with the bus driver, a guy came up to us with his five-year-old daughter and said, "Be careful around here at night, it's dangerous," (in Spanish obviously).  I just kinda laughed and responded, "Don't worry about it.  The Lord protects us," and then told him to have a good night and shook his hand and he left.  I finished talking to the bus driver quickly and hung up and said to my companion, "We need to talk to that guy."  So we walked really quickly to catch up to him.  I asked him if he had ever talked to missionaries before.  He said no and that he used to go to a different church, but he just got too confused so he stopped going, but that he was interested in our message.  So I asked if we could go to his house to meet his family. 

We got there.  It's a family of 5, Dad, Mom, 2 sons (13,12) and a five year old daughter.  We started to talk.  They are super awesome but... the dad studies on Sundays, so he can't go to church... I'm not sure if I was supposed to meet this family just to plant a seed or what? But I want to help them.  Please pray for them.

If there is anything that I have learned on my mission that would be, Trust in the Lord's promises.  Keep doing your part and out of no where the Lord will ALWAYS do his!

Thursday we had a multi-zone conference.  It was good.  My companion and I taught a class of committing people to church.  It went well.

Saturday night we had the baptism of Ulises.  The Elders Quorum president baptized him.  It was awesome.  He was beyond happy!  Four years of waiting to get baptized and going to church every week.  Solid guy.  He will for sure go to the temple.

Sunday, Ulises got confirmed.  We passed by his house last night to felicitar him.  He brought out his computer and he was on lds website looking at all the temples that he wanted to go to haha.  Good guy!

Hope you all have a good week.  Love you all!  BTW this week is the hottest week of the year here.

Elder Copeland

Monday, March 14, 2016

Eighty-sixth Week - March 14, 2016

There goes another week. 12 more to go... 

This week was alright.

On Tuesday night, we ate some cake because E. Martinez was going home.  Didn't sleep that night cause it was so hot!

Wednesday, I got a few new companions.  My new normal companion is Elder Gomez from Guatemala.  He has 16 months in the mission.  He's super awesome and tranquilo.  My new ZL companion is E. Carbajal from Honduras, good guy.  And his companion is E. Presinal from Dominican Republic. 

Friday... Well, here in Nicaragua.  It's super hard to have spiritual experiences.  For example, every time you get to the most spiritual part of the lesson, something happens... like a dog starts going insane, the people's phone goes off, kids start crying, a dust storm comes and blinds us, drunk guys lose their minds and the list goes on haha.  So, we were teaching a lady named Caren.  We taught her Lesson One (keep in mind that she lives in a metal sheet house), so as my companion was reciting the first vision, right in the middle of it...... the lady's wall from the house collapsed.... haha... Come on!!!!!!  So after the wall collapsed, the Spirit was gone.  Super annoying.  But at least I can say that its happened to me now.

That's basically all that happened.  Sorry.  Not much.  Trying so hard to find people to teach, but agh!  Pray for me to find some family to teach please!

Love you all, 

Elder Copeland

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Eighty-fifth Week - March 6, 2016

Pretty slow week.  Nothing special.  Another transfer, check. Two more... Wow!

On Wednesday, we had a pretty cool experience.  It was like 6 pm and most of our citas were falling, but I had a feeling to go and visit Danny (my convert from two weeks ago).  So we walked all the way to his house and... he wasn't home.  But he has a brother (Angel) that's like 27.  He never talks to us, he has had a super crappy life, he's still in high school. But he came to the gate and told us to come in.  We walked in and started to talk.  After like 10 minutes of talking, he said to us that something crazy just happened right before we showed up at his house.  He said that he was feeling so lonely that he decided to go and pray for the first time in years.  In his prayer, he told us that he asked God to send him angels to rescue him, something to help him find the right way.  He said that right when he said, "Amen," I yelled "Buenas" (here you don't knock on the doors, you yell "buenas" at them and they come to the door) at the front gate.  He said that he walked out of the front door and his jaw just dropped.  He knew that God had answered his prayer.  He said that he knows that it is a sign that this is the place where he needs to be.  But... he has a lot of things that are stopping him still from following the example of Jesus Christ.  On Sundays, he goes to school.  It's a pretty big obstacle.  We will see what we can do with him.  Pray for him so that he can find a way to go to church so that he can get baptized.

On Thursday, at like 7, we were just contacting and we saw a teenage girl sitting on a little rock by herself with her head down.  So we decided to talk to her.  We asked here where she lived.  She just lived a couple houses down, so we went to her house and talked to her and her mom.  She is super awesome.  She wants to go to church and everything.  We will see what happens with her this week.

Friday we had our zone meeting.  It was good.  We talked about The Book of Mormon.  Still don't know or understand how this world just won't accept the Book of Mormon.  I love the book.  I'm going to read it one more time before I get home.  I just finished 2 Nephi this morning.  I got a long ways to go, but I'll finish.

Sunday, we had a multi-stake conference all around Central America.  They ordained two of my converts, Manuel (the one arm man we married and baptized in December).  Also, Julio Bendaña, my convert from January.  They both received the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Pretty cool.  But the conference kept freezing like every 5 minutes, so we didn't get to watch much of it.  Elder Anderson spoke. 

This morning, I read a conference talk called, "Meeting the Challenges of Today's World,"  by Elder Robert D. Hales.

 (Click on the link above to read or listen to this talk in its entirety.)

I read it cause I am about to enter for real into the world and not gonna lie, pretty nervous!  It first off tells me to tighten my grip to the iron rod, then says that I am living through a critical period of my life, with the choices that I make - mission, education, marriage, career and service in the church all being crucial.  And the correct decision needs to be made!  We need to "fly right" it says in the storms of the last days.  We are the pilots.  We are responsible to think about the consequences of every choice we make.  In all situations before making a decision, ask ourselves, "If I make this choice, what is the worst thing that could happen?"  Our righteous choices will keep us from getting off course.  Think of it.  If you choose not to take a drink of alcohol, you will never become an alcoholic!  If you never choose to go into debt, you will avoid the possibility of bankruptcy.

One of the purposes of the scriptures is to show us how righteous people respond to temptation and evil.  In short, they avoid it!  Joseph ran from Potiphar's wife.  Lehi took his family and left Jerusalem.  Mary and Joseph fled into Egypt.  In every instance, Heavenly Father warned these believers.  Similarly, He will help us know whether to fight, flee or go with the flow of our unfolding circumstances.  He will speak to us through prayer.  We have many tools:  scriptures, living prophets, patriarchal blessings, padres, church leaders and above all, the still, small voice of the Spirit.

The Lord promises to lead us along, but will we let ourselves be led?  If we are there for the Lord, he will be there for us.  (Doctrine and Covenants 88:63)  If we love Him, we need to keep His commandments.  If we do keep the commandments, the Spirit will guide us Doctrine and Covenants 11:12,14.

He then goes on to talk about many young adults are in major debt, but he says, "You are rich if you can live happily within your means."  How can we do that?  Pay our tithing and then save!  When we earn more, save more.  Don't buy what we can't afford.

He goes on to talk about education and the importancia of getting a good education. Then marriage, that we don't marry perfection, we marry potential.  

Right now my responsibility is to be worthy of the person that I want to marry.  If I want to marry a babe, honest, happy, hard working, smart, spiritual person, I need to be that same kind of person.

We need to exercise our faith in every aspect daily.  If we do it, the scriptures say that we will wax stronger and firmer in the faith of Christ.  We need to learn how to reach up, not across.  No one can reach upward for us.  Only our faith and prayers will cause us to lift ourselves and have the might change of heart.  Only our decision to be obedient will change our life.  Because of the Savior's atoning sacrifice for us, the power to change is in us.  We have our agency to reach up or across.

After praying, spend some time alone.  Think about what is ahead.  Ask ourselves:  "What areas of my life do I want to strengthen so that I can strengthen others?  Where do i want to be a year from now?  Two years from now?  What choices do i need to make to get there? Remember, we are the pilot, we are in charge of the flight.

Have a great week.

Elder Copeland

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Eighty-fourth Week - March 1, 2016

Hey, guys!  I hope you all had a great week!
Sorry I couldn't e-mail yesterday.  My companion had his final interview and we were gone all day basically.  I can't believe that it is already March... This week was crazy fast!  This letter is much better.  I was up til midnight writing it, so that I didn't have to sit in front of the computer screen thinking what I needed to write haha...
Tuesday was just a normal day.  We have been teaching a lady named Rosa.  She's like 35ish, has two kids that got baptized like 9 months ago.  She wants to get baptized so bad, but... she is living with a guy.  His name is Abel, sells vegetables for a living.  He is married to some other lady, but left her and now is with Rosa.  He doesn't want anything to do with the church.  Rosa doesn't love him and doesn't want to marry him.  Abel feels the same about her.  It is so sad to see all the families here and how much they are missing.  But we finally just talked to her and told her to kick him out of the house cause he is only there cause he needs a place to live.  She wants to do it but is scared.  Pray for her to have the courage to do it.  She wants to get baptized!  
Also at around 6 pm, the power went out, so we had to go to our house cause it's not safe and it was pitch black.  The power didn't come back til midnight.  I showered at 9:30 pm.  It was still 90* so i laid in my bed but with no fan (AC doesn't exist here) and laid there for about 45 minutes and was sweating so bad that I got up turned my flashlight on to find huge sweat marks on my bed.  So i went to shower again at 10:30 pm, then went and sweated some more while I was reading my scriptures.  Then finally at midnight the power came back, showered again, then went to bed peacefully:) 
Wednesday we had a multizona.  Elder Ochoa from the Area Seventy came. 
It was a good day.  Sister Russell talked about one of my favorite topics, Faith.  There are two definitions of faith:
1- Definición del mundo:  See = Believe.  There is a famous saying in English"  "I'll believe it when I see it."
2- Definición del Señor:  Believe = See.  It is simple.  In order to see, we have to believe. One of my favorite scriptures says, "But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe." -Doctrine and Covenants 63:9.  If you have faith, fear disappears.  We will have many times in our lives when we don't understand why we need to do certain things, but we need to trust in the Lord and do it!  
One of my favorite examples of stories of faith is Lehi. "And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.  And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him. 
And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness.  And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family,and provisions, and tents, 
and departed into the wilderness." -1 Nephi 2: 2-4. 
It really is true that by small and simple things, great things are brought to pass!  Imagine if Lehi wasn't obedient to the Lord or didn't put his faith in the Lord and did not act on what he had received?  Would they ever have arrived in the Americas?  Would we have the Book of Mormon?  It's questions that get you thinking.  But thank goodness that Lehi put his faith in God and did it!   We also need to have that type of faith and trust in God even if we don't see why (Ether 12:6).  
First, we need to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Second, live by faith.  Lastly, continue to increase our faith daily.  Faith is a gift from God, but you must nurture your faith to keep it strong.  Faith is like the muscle of your arm.  If you exercise it, it grows strong.  If you put it in a sling and leave it there, it becomes weak.
Friday, we had consejo with President Russell and Elder Ochoa came, also.  It was by far the best consejo that I have been to.  Just talked a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of the mission.  It was awesome to have someone from the Seventy there.
Saturdays are always crazy, baptisms.  And a lot of times there are problems, and when there are problems we have to go and help out.  Saturday morning, we got a call from one of the DL's that had two baptisms that day but the dad told his son (18) not to do it (typical Nica father) and the girl (15) didn't think that she was ready.  So Martinez and I went over to their house and started talking to them.  The Spirit was actually strong.  I explained to them a lot of scriptures about faith how it is not a perfect knowledge and we receive no testimony until after the trial of our faith and all we do is need to plant a desire to believe in our hearts and act with faith that things will work out for our own good.  So all in all, they both got baptized!  It was awesome.  We ended up with 23 baptisms as a zone in Febrero.
Sunday, the Lord blessed me a lot more than I deserved because I wasn't in the area for much time this week.  I got eight investigators to church.  It was awesome!  Right now I don't have a ton of investigators, but the people that I am teaching, all have problems like Law of Castidad, Word of Wisdom, parents... problems, problems, problems.  Got to get them all figured out cause they need to get baptized.
I have been thinking about a lot of things lately.  I'm rounding third base and I'm almost home.  I have many more things I need to learn.  I have learned many things on my mission. It is my foundation to my life, but I also recognize that I will learn things for the rest of my life that will be building upon my foundation.  But my foundation will never crack.  It will never fall apart.  Even when all the storms and turbulent times come, I can say that my foundation is strong enough that it will NEVER be destroyed.  
One thing that I am really trying to work on right now is looking for the good when you feel that there isn't any because sometimes after walking days and days in this heat with dirt being blown into your face and no one receiving you, you kinda feel like there is no recompensa.  But I recognize that if I keep trying my hardest and trusting in the Lord, things will work out.  We will always have hard times but with the restored gospel we can find true happiness.  But, happiness is not the absence of problems, it's the ability to deal with them. This gospel gives us hope for something better.  Hard times come and go, but if it weren't for the hard things, we wouldn't ever learn.  Once we replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results. 
I love this Gospel with all my heart.  I try each day to be a little better.
I hope you all have a great week.
Have faith and remember, "It's so hard when we HAVE to, and so easy when we WANT to"!!!
Elder Copahland