Monday, December 31, 2018

Week 75 - December 31, 2018

Happy New YEAR!!  2019! 

Super crazy!  I can't believe that this year has already finished.  It was awesome being able to talk to you guys this week, especially Otto.  He's so dang cute...

Honestly, not much has happened this week.  It was kind of a rough week for us to find our investigators, also, to find new ones for all of the holidays that are going on.  There have been so many people here in Otavalo for the holidays, it's insane.  Otavalo has a giant market of clothes and honestly there are thousands of people here buying clothes every day and night.  It's so awesome.

But the highlight this week is that we went to Quito to go and do divisions with the Assistants.  I was with Elder Harris the whole day and honestly, it was super fun.  It was fun to talk about the MTC together and to see how much that we have changed since the MTC.  We were able to have some really good lessons with some investigators of theirs.  But overall, just a good day.

This week I was able to finish the Book of Mormon as well. Honestly, I love the Book of Mormon so much.  It makes me so happy!  I learn so much from it.  Its teachings are for us. Read it and you'll know that it is true.

Well, that's honestly everything that happened this week.  I was able to talk to you guys this week as well, so that's kind of why this E-mail is a little shorter.  But I hope that you have a good New Year.  2019, I can't believe it's already here... Enjoy the Holidays. 

Also, I found some pictures from about a year ago that I thought got deleted, but it turns out that they're all good.  So I'll send those!  Love, Elder Copeland

Week 74 - December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!! 

Wow!  Super weird that Christmas is already here.  Hope you guys enjoyed Mexico.  I'm almost positive that Otavalo is more beautiful.

Christmas in the mission is honestly a time super special.  To me, it doesn't even feel like Christmas at all.  It just feels like another day.  But the difference here is that I feel so much closer to my Saviour.  It's such an amazing feeling, I love it.  I hope you guys could do something to Light the World this year.

This week though, honestly, was nothing special... We didn't have that much success.  We were outside of our sector for a majority of the time.  We were able to visit the Tocagon family, and they basically told us that they don't want to change their religion... Kind of a bummer, but what can you do?!   But we were able to pass by and visit Alex, our investigator with a date, and he is so awesome.  He is progressing a ton.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation, and he is super excited for his baptism.

As well, this week we were able to go to the mission house for a special Zone Conference.  It was awesome!  It was centered on the true reason of Christmas.  Sister Murphy talked about how Christ is the Light of the World, and I never really understood what it actually meant.  But, it is so true and so amazing all the things that Christ can light in our lives. But something that I love is that when we accept Christ as our Saviour, we as well, can be a light.  Like it says in 3 Nephi 15, "And ye are a light unto this people..." Light the World this week!

This week to Light the World, we went to two really crowded places here in Otavalo and sang Christmas carols as a ward. Honestly, it was so amazing.  We were passing out Books of Mormon and Liahonas that we wrapped up and highlighted our favorite verse.  We got a big crowed to watch us and started handing them out.  It was so amazing to see the joy the people had on their face but even more amazing to be looking around at the people that we gifted Books of Mormon to and they were reading their book!  Later on, they came by and asked us to come and visit them.  Such an amazing way to invite the Spirit.

This week, we had divisions with the Elders from Cotacachi.  I was able to go over to their sector and teach some of their investigators that have a baptismal date, and wow they are super cool.  They are a Venezuelan family and have a lot of faith.  We were able to teach them about Obedience and how constantly keeping the commandments is what brings us the blessings.  I hope that they can continue in their path to baptism.

On Saturday, we had to help out our stake and the future missionaries of our stake.  We had a mini-MTC with all of the future missionaries, and it was actually pretty fun.  We brought them to our sectors and had them contact people and help us teach lessons.  Honestly, pretty cool to be able to see how excited they were to be teaching people!

Final thought.  I was reading in Mormon this week and honestly, it's such an amazing part of the Book of Mormon. There are some key parts here.  I think one of my favorite parts is after the destruction of the Nephites, we hear that Moroni is the last Nephite that is alive.  He says in Mormon 8:5 "... and ore I have none, for I am alone.  My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not."  How hard would that be?  Moroni basically lived his entire life in war and running away alone. He basically didn't have anybody.  I love his example.  I want to be more like him.  If you ever have a bad day, read the last two chapters of Mormon, 8 and 9.  Have the best Christmas ever.  See you tomorrow!:)

Elder Copeland.

Elder Copeland got to call his family on Christmas Day.
He was so excited to meet his new little nephew, Otto.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Week 73 - December 17, 2018


I don't even know where to start this week... Without doubt one of the craziest weeks in the mission so far.  This week we have been able to see some miracles here in our sector, but wow, it was a hard week!  But, we started off the new change with some great experiences.

Let's start with probably the craziest stories of the missions so far... The Adversary was attacking us super hard this week in every aspect.  First off, we weren't able to visit some of our investigators with baptismal dates. Second, our SIM card in our phone burned out and didn't allow us to do calls. As well, we didn't have hot water for the baptism.  Back to the story.  

The baptism we had this Saturday was the baptism of Jose Maigua.  Keep in mind--he is 75 years old and doesn't speak a lot of Spanish.  We had the baptism scheduled for 4 pm, but we were unable to make any calls with any of the leaders because our phone didn't work.  Luckily, a member lent his phone to us for a little bit so that we could do some calls so that we could have hot water in the font as well to get people to come.  So, we figured that out and went and filled up the font, but the water was so gross.  It honestly looked like pee. But there was nothing that we could to do change that.  So, we just left it there haha.  

As it finally got to 4 pm, we were just sitting there in the chapel waiting for Jose Maigua to get there and we were there for about 40 minutes.  We just couldn't find him... Another problem that we had is that we didn't know where he lived, so we couldn't just stop by and pick him up.  So we went and asked one of his friends where he lived and he said he didn't know exactly, but he knew that he lived in a place called Rey Loma (King Hill).   

So Elder Fernandez and I decided that we were just going to go and look for him in a place that we had never been.  I don't know if you guys know what it's like running at 10,000 feet, but man it's hard.  But, we went running up one of the steepest hills that you'd ever seen and finally made it to Rey Loma, basically gasping for air.  When we got there, we just went asking literally everybody if they knew Jose and not a single person knew.  We told ourselves that it was just a hopeless cause and that we'd never find him, but we thought that we'd ask one more person.  We went and asked a woman and she said that she knew Jose and that he lived even higher up on the hill.  We went running up the hill hoping that maybe we would be able to find his house or something like that.  I don't know how, but honestly I felt like I could have run forever despite the fact that we were above 10,000 feet!   

We went and made it to the higher part of the hill, but the problem was is that is like a farm town so there weren't a lot of people to ask.  After like 10 minutes, we found a person and she directed us to the house of Jose.  We knocked on the door and found Jose!!  It was such a miracle!  We took a taxi down to the chapel and had the baptism!  Wow!  It was so amazing!  I truly understood the words of Alma when he said, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, the Lord comforted us, and said:  Go amongst thy brethern, the Lamanites (or REY LOMA) and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success," (Alma 26:27) or when Nephi says,  "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."  Such a testimony builder!   We truly were guided by the Spirit this day, and were able to see God work miracles.

As well, this week we were able to put on some more baptismal dates on some investigators that we have.  One of them is named Alex.  He is 20 years old and is a reference that we received from some Elders in the mission.  Wow, is he is prepared!  He is super excited to come to church and everything.  He is progressing a ton and we were able to put a baptismal date on him for January.

Every week as a Zone, we have had the goal to do service in a new sector.  This week we went over to Punyaro and did service in the famous cemetery.  We just went to clean everything up, and there were so many people.  We got to meet a lot of cool people.  As well, we were meeting this guy that was digging up this grave and we asked him what he was doing.  He told us that he was digging up a hole for someone that just died and wanted to be buried in that spot.  I guess they don't use caskets here to bury the dead because he was just digging up old people's clothes and dead bones haha.  It was so gross.  He said he was going to throw the clothes away and just put the bones back in the hole with the new body that was going to come in.  
This week, I was reading in the Book of Helaman.  It's honestly a super interesting book.  I think without doubt that Helaman 5 is one of the best chapters in the Book of Mormon.  We learn about Nephi and Lehi teaching the Lamanites in the fire.  A part interesting to me is that while there is is cloud of darkness, they heard the Spirit three times.  It took until the 3rd time that they could actually understand what the Spirit was telling them.  I wonder how many times had they actually heard that voice tell them they should repent.  It's so important in our lives to learn how we can understand the Spirit the first time.  Also, to understand that the Spirit doesn't only teach the righteous like the Nephites, but as well, the wicked, like the Lamanites.  And like Nephi and Lehi, they helped them understand the voice that speaks to them.  It's also important to be able to help others recognize the voice of the Spirit.  Like the Lamanites, help them become true Disciples of God.
Crazy week, love you all.  Elder Copeland

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Week 72 - December 10, 2018

Dear Family,

Well, another transfer under the belt.  Super weird how that change already went by.  We got changes and found out that Elder Fernandez is going to be staying with me!  I'm honestly super excited for him.  He's honestly a great missionary and a great friend, so we are super excited for this next coming change that we have.  We feel like we can do great things.

This week was honestly a great learning week for me.  We had many miracles happen in our sector as well, we had some heartbreakers.  We'll start with all of the good that we saw. On Tuesday, we had Mission Council.  Wow!  It was awesome!  It got me super excited for the work and that we have so much potential here in our Zone.  As well, it taught me about the importance of our calling and of prayer.  Also, Christmas here in the mission--it's a super unique Christmas that instead of giving presents to the kids, we just give them happiness.  I love being a missionary.

This Wednesday, I was with Elder Plata.  He is also from Bolivia.  Honestly, he's a great guy.  We had an excellent day. We just went out with so much faith and it was a great testimony builder.  We went and just contacted, and the people were accepting us.  We went contacting in the mountains and we were able to find a really cool family. They were cleaning up their farm of corn, and we asked if we could help them. They said that we could, so we just started cleaning everything up in their farm hahah.  After, we were able to teach them a message from the Book of Mormon.  It was a super good way to find people.  Just by offering to help people out.  As well, we were able to meet an eternal investigator.  But we had a great lesson with her.  I believe that it will help us a lot with her so that she can be baptized.

As well, we were able to do some service this week, which was a great time.  We went to a sector called Carabuela.  I'm pretty sure that there are more pigs than people there haha. It's such an interesting sector.  But we were able to clean about a super dirty street..

This Friday, I went on divisions with Elder Stallings.  He is a new missionary from Herriman, Utah.  He is super cool.  We were able to visit some old investigators that we have.  As well, this week our investigator Jose Maygua passed his interview to be baptized.  He is 75 years old and doesn't really speak Spanish... But he is going to be getting baptized this week.  We are hoping that he doesn't die or anything like that haha.  But it was such a miracle that he could get to this point.  So, I believe that at this point, the Lord will continue to bless him.

Our investigators are progressing super well and we were able to receive some super good references.  We are going to have a lot of good future lessons this week and see what we can do to help them.  Overall, great week.  Can't believe that Christmas is right around the corner.  So crazy.  Love you all!

Elder Copeland

Friday, December 7, 2018

Week 71 - December 3, 2018

Dear Family,

This week pretty long, to be honest.  We spent a lot of time outside of our sector because we had divisions with the Assistants in Quito.  So, I was able to go with Elder Vega and wow!  I don't think I've had a harder day in the mission haha. Everybody was rejecting us. They were yelling and just treating us super badly.  It was a good learning lesson for us though.

As well, this week I went and did divisions with Elder Bracken in Cotacachi.  While I was in the offices, I saw Elder Bracken start his mission and I went out contacting with him.  It's crazy to see how much he has improved in his short time in the mission.  But Cotacachi is a very interesting sector there are a bunch of Americans there from the states.  It's a place where a bunch of people go to retire.  So, we went and had a lesson with the Stirling family and it was only in English.  It was super weird.  They're all members.  They came here to help build up the church, such amazing people.  The husband brought his whole family which includes 4 kids, the oldest being 12.  They are here going to school learning Spanish and a lot more.  Such an amazing family.

As well, we were able to listen to our prophet yesterday.  I love listening to his words.  He is such an amazing example. I loved how he talked about the four gifts that Christ has given to everybody.  First, Love- the ability to love everybody as well as to be loved.  Second, Forgiveness-  the chance that we have to forgive someone that has hurt us, or the joy we feel when somebody we have hurt decides to forgive us. Third, Repentance- the ability to change from bad to good. Lastly, Eternal Life-  to know that we have the chance to live the way God lives.  I loved these four answers because here in the mission I have truly learned that with these four things, you can be happy.

Sorry for the short email.  Honestly, not too much happened this week.  Kind of a hard week, to be honest.  We weren't able to visit a lot of our investigators that have baptismal dates because we weren't in our sector for that much time. As well, this Sunday I got sick, so it was just kind of a long week.  But, I know that this next coming week will be better. It's the last week of changes, so we'll have to see what happens.

Just wait for the Fotos haah.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Week 70 - November 26, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!!! 

Wow, I can't believe Thanksgiving already passed through again.  I'm so thankful for the chance that I have to be here in Ecuador.  I've been able to learn so much here in the mission.  I'm thankful for my family who has supported me in every moment of my life.  As well, for all my friends that are all around the world preaching the gospel.  I'm so thankful for the testimony that I have gained of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and his atoning sacrifice that he made for us.  I'm thankful that his Father was willing to send his Son to die for us and for the scriptures that we have today.  I'm thankful for all of the challenges that I've had in my life and for the people that I've been able to meet.  They truly have changed my life.  I'm thankful for everything and love every one of you.

This week, we were able to meet a Seventy that came to our mission, Elder Gavarret.  He is from Uruguay.  He is a great man and we were able to learn a lot from him and his wife. They are awesome people.  We had to travel down to Quito to go and visit him, so it was cool going back to my old sector.  As well, we had to travel up to Ibarra to help out with some meeting that we had.  So honestly, a lot of this week we were in meetings, which was kind of a bummer because we lost some time in our sector.

But, this week we were able to find a really cool Venezuelan named, Faviola.  She honestly was so awesome and prepared.  She told us about how excited she was to meet us.  We are hoping that she will be a miracle and will be able to complete with the commitments that we leave with her.

On Tuesday, the Assistants came and stayed with us here in our house so we were able to go out with them and teach. But the cool part is, is that both of the Assistants have served in this sector.  So, they were able to help us out finding some old investigators and stuff like that, so that was a big help to us.  As well, we had a ministering night in the Imbaya Ward were we went and helped out.  We went and ministered to the less actives over there and that ward, so that was actually a cool experience as well.

But a cool experience that we had this week is on Wednesday.  We were talking to a member and he asked us to come and visit his wife that is sick so we went and passed by Friday night.  Wow!  It was such a spiritual experience, she was about 70 years old and had cancer... For the cancer that she has, she has lost basically all of her hair and her leg... But she continues to be so faithful to the gospel.  As well, they lost one of their sons not too long ago... They were such a testimony to me of the trails that we will have in our life and how we must continue to be faithful in these moments and God will bless us.  They don't understand how much they blessed me and helped me realize how blessed I am.  I am thankful for their example in my life.

Some other testimony builders this week that I had are from the Vera Family.  They are a family of 11 people and, to be honest, the situation between the parents is super weird and it's probably better that you do not know haha.  But they have three daughters who are members of the church and they live on a giant hill about 40 minutes from the chapel. Because they don't have enough money, they walk to church every single Sunday.  Keep in mind--they are 11-16 years and their parents don't even go to church with them.  They walk up and down the hill every Sunday, such an amazing example...

As well, we were able to teach Jose Mayua.  To know more about him, he's 75 years old and talks very little Spanish, only Quichaua haha.  So, we had to teach him with our Ward Mission leader, basically, just translating for us haha.  You have to see the video and see if you can understand anything they say hahaah.   Love you all.  Elder Copeland

Elder Copeland's lunch.  Hah!  

Plasa de Ponchos

Monday, November 19, 2018

Week 69 - November 19, 2018

Dear Family,

This week I had the opportunity to read one of the best parts of the Book of Mormon.  I was reading about Abinadi and the influence that he had on the people.  I love this story so much because it shows us how important it is to have a testimony. Not only that, but that your testimony can bless others.  I love the way that Abinadi teaches the people in Mosiah 16.  He only teaches them about Christ.  In verse 9, he says, "He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death."  Not only does Christ give us everlasting life or the resurrection, he, also, gives us life even better here on earth so that we do not have to walk alone or be in darkness.  Later on, Abinadi dies giving his testimony, saying that he would never deny God, Christ, the Commandments, neither his own testimony.  Such an amazing lesson that we can learn from him.

This week, I really did need to learn from Abinadi because what happens in the mission in one week can be a week of miracles and the next week can just be super hard haha. This week wasn't the hardest week in the mission, neither the worst, but at the same time it could have gone a lot better. We had a bunch of lessons with the investigators that we found last week and basically all of them fell through.  So that was pretty frustrating, but on the good side, we were able to visit with some of them.

Karelis was an investigators that we found while we were doing service the other week.  She, as well, was listening to the missionaries like four months ago and she is super awesome.  It was a little miracle that we were able to find her again, but she is awesome.  She told us that she really did need to listen to us again now that she is pregnant, and she is willing to do the things that she needs to, to get baptized. So we are super excited to continue teaching her. 

As well, we were able to teach Familia Cachimuel.  They are, also, excited, but they just don't understand the importance of the Sabbath day.  Jakeline, the wife, is super excited but the husband not so much.  So it was pretty hard this week because they didn't come to church this week.  So we are hoping for a miracle for them so that they can truly understand the importance of the Gospel of Christ.

Another little couple that we are teaching is Ruben and Veronica.  They are both 25 years old and they are awesome, but they are not married... So frustrating, nobody here is married.  Here, in Otavalo, it's even harder because to get engaged here you have to do like a festival.  For example, you need to buy the mother-in-law a cow, pigs, and chickens ahahah.  I'm not even lying! 

But, I love this place.  The culture is so awesome.  This Sunday, some lady gave her talk in Kichwa.  It was like I was in my training again haha.  I didn't understand anything.  But life is great.  Love you all.  Elder Copeland

Today we had a turkey bowl with all of the missionaries in the Campo..

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Week 68 - Novemer 12, 2018

Something crazy happened this week! 

I promise you guys that I'm not counting my days, but this week I completed 2/3 of my mission.  I'm saying this so that my mom knows.  Love you, Mom.

This week was a week of miracles and hard work.  We had a couple of divisions with the Elders in our Zone.  First off, we went with Elders from Cotacachi.  I went with Elder Garces, he's from Ecuador.  The guy is super cool.  We spent most of the day just contacting, to be honest, and didn't really see any success.  Later on with the ward, we did an activity to go and visit all of the less-actives in the ward, so we all divided up with the members and went and visited.  It was pretty cool.  I feel like it was a very successful activity. 

As well, we had divisions with the Elders from Punyaro.  I went with Elder Merrill, he's from Salt Lake.  In the morning, we basically just went contacting and it reminded me of the beginning of my mission when I did't know anything.  Elder Merrill is still super new, so he doesn't have the experience or much of the Spanish.  It reminded me of how much I have improved in this past year.  But we were able to visit an old investigator, Maria, who was so cool.  We taught her about the Plan of Salvation, and she loved it.  She lost her mom not too long ago, and it made her so happy to know that she could be with her again.  As well, we did service going to all of the stores in Otavalo and just asked if we could clean their windows.  It was a huge success for us.  Basically, everybody listened to us and we were able to find a lot of new investigators.  It ended up being a great day for us, which was awesome.

As well, this week we were able to put a baptismal date on a family that we are teaching, Familia Cachimuel.  They are a young couple that basically live in the middle of no where haha.  But for like the first time in my mission, they were actually married!!  They work in their house.  They sew clothes then sell them.  They are super cool.  We went and read 3 Nephi 11 with them and taught them the importance of baptism.  It was a very spiritual experience.  Pray for them so that they can continue towards their baptismal date.

As well, this week we did some service in our sector.  We went and cleaned the windows of the little stores in the center.  We had so much success though.  It was such an amazing way to find new investigators.  Basically everyone accepted us.

Saturday was a day of a bunch of miracles for us, to be honest.  We were able to get a lot of things done.  We visited a reference that we received, and he was so awesome!  His wife has cancer, and it has been super hard for him to work, and as well take care of his wife.  But we had a great lesson with him that will hopefully bless him.  After lunch, we went to visit an old investigator.  We got to their house and it turns out that they are a family of 11!!  Eleven, haha!  Three of them have already been baptized, but we were able to teach some of the others. They are super cool, but the parents aren't married.  But they were super excited to see the missionaries again.  So, we are hoping that we will be able to help them get baptized this year.  As well, we went and visited another reference that is just dying to be baptized.  So, we're going to start working with him a lot.

But, wow!  The miracles just kept on coming and coming this week.  On Sunday, we got to church and we decided to go and talk to this old guy that basically only talks Quichaua.  It turns out that he's not even baptized haha.  So we talked to him and he told us that he wants to get baptized, so we put a baptismal date and it was such a miracle, but at the same time it was so funny.  Since he can't hear very well, and he doesn't speak a lot of Spanish, we had to teach very slowly and repeat a lot with him.  But we are hoping that we can help him get baptized this coming month.

As well, as we were walking, we passed by some investigators and some lady yelled "ELDERES!"  So, we went and talked to her.  She told us that she is a member and that she had some references for us to go and visit, so we went with her and we were able to meet Familia Lara.  They are a family of five.  They are so awesome, and they are married!!  We were able to present the Book of Mormon to them and they are super excited!  We are excited to see how we will be able to help them.

The last miracle that we received this week was Jakeline. The Sisters in the Otavalo Ward told us earlier this week that they had an investigator that lives in our sector, but they didn't know exactly in what part, so they taught her for a little as she had a baptismal date for the end of December.  We went and talked to her about how she would have to go to church in our ward, and she was super excited about it and was willing to make the change. 

Honestly, just a week of miracles.  The Lord blessed us in so many different ways.  We are super excited for all of the potential that we have here in the Centenario Ward!!

Love you all, Elder Copeland

As well, we passed by Cayambe today to go see some of my converts there, and it was probably one of the best moments of my life. I almost cried being able to see them again.

Interesting Photos of the week:

A whole pig hanging by the side of the street.