Monday, August 27, 2018

Week 56 - August 25, 2018

HELLO, Fam! 

Hope you all had a great week this week.  This week was super awesome.  Last week I wrote early because we went to the Liga de Quito game, which was so fun!  The stadium is pretty big, to be honest, and it was a pretty good game.  The only problem was is that it ended in a tie.  But super fun time!

The rest of this week, as well, was great.  We had some really special moments.  This Sunday, we were able to receive a reference that was so cool.  She brought her kids and told us that she is ready to be baptized.  The only problem is, is that she just lives super far away and she is always busy, so we are hoping for a little miracle so that we can find her and teach her more!!  Also, Sofia my convert, gave a talk three weeks after her baptism.  I have never seen anything like it.  It was amazing!  So amazing to see how the gospel has blessed her life--and that she isn't scared to share it!

As well, we were able to find a way to contact new people in the street.  We go on the busiest road here in our sector and literally just go and talk to every single person.  We made a bunch of invitations for them to come to church, and a lot of people were super interested.  Elder Myers and I were able to contact close to 100 people in about an hour and a half. Super cool experience.  Later on, we went and contacted a reference that we received from some other missionaries and it was excellent.  He was beyond interested in the Book of Mormon.  He had so many questions for us, and he was super eager to know when we were going to come back.  So, we have a lesson with him this next coming week, and we are super excited.

Before the mission, I always hoped and thought that every time that I taught about the Plan of Salvation, people would love it and be crying because they were so happy to know about the plan that God has for us.  It turns out that it is not like that very often, and I have been waiting for a moment like that for a long time!  This week it finally happened.  About a month a go, we got a reference from Canada, and we tried to contact her for a while now and this week we had our 2nd lesson with her.  She invited her sister over, who lives in Canada, she just happened to be visiting.  About four months ago, their mother passed away and they are devastated about it.  It has been super hard in them.  That's how they got in contact with the church in Canada.  They had the funeral and their cousin, who is a member, introduced them to her bishop over there.  We decided to teach them about the Plan of Salvation, to hopefully give them some hope.  We were just talking to them about where we come from and from there they were hooked.  They were super interested.  We explained how God sent us here to be tested to see how much faith we have in him.  To be honest, we taught them a lot more.  This is just a summary.  You can't put moments like this into words.  So when we got to the part where we told them that they can be with their mom again, they just began to tear up and they couldn't believe it... We asked them if they think that maybe this happened to them so that they could go to the temple and later be able to be with their mother again.  They just realized in that moment that they had to change, and they knew in that moment that they could be with their mom again.  They were so excited and so emotional.  I don't know if I have ever felt the Spirit so strong in my life than how I did during this lesson.  It was a testimony builder for me that God does have a plan for us and that his plan is perfect.  How amazing is he that he would give us his Son so that his plan could be completed and we will be able to be with our loved ones again.  I wish everyone would have been able to feel the Spirit and love that we felt during that lesson.  They all had this much joy to know it.  It's sad that sometimes something hard has to happen for us to realize, but God loves us and wants us to be with him again.

Also, I am writing a little early again because we are going to have the baptism of Deyamaris in about an hour or two, so next week I will send you guys photos of the baptism!  Also, I'll be writing at a normal time!  Love you all so much.

I just wanted to finish with a quote from Elder Holland in a talk that I read.  It says:  "I have just said that the world you now enter holds challenges and difficulties.  In the days and years ahead, you may suffer some discouragement and disappointment.  On occasion you may feel genuine despair, either for yourself or for your children or for the plight and conditions of others.  You may even make a personal mistake or two, serious mistakes, perhaps, though I hope not- and you may worry that any chance to be happy and secure in life has eluded you forever.  WHEN such times come, I ask you to REMEMBER this:  This is the Church of the HAPPY ENDINGS.  Troubles need never be permanent nor fatal. Darkness always yields to light.  The sun always rises.  Faith, hope, and charity will always triumph in the end."  So amazing.  Learn about the gospel and live the Gospel of Christ and you will be happy!!

A pic of a dog that looks like Koda.  Also, to go along with the Plan of Salvation, I know I'll be with Koda again:')

Elder Copeland

Monday, August 20, 2018

Week 55 - August 18 - 2018


Well, today I'm going to be writing a little earlier for a couple things.  First off, right after this we are heading over to the Liga de Quito game.  They are like the biggest soccer team in the country, and we are going to check them out, so I'm really excited for that.  We are going to have a good time with that.  But the game starts at 3:30, so after the game I wouldn't have time to write you guys. 

Also, today was a little weird usually for Pday.  We usually sleep in a little longer and just take our time having a little time free.  But today we got up early and headed over to the chapel and filled up the baptismal font for the baptism of Jakeline!!  It was such a good day.  The baptism was amazing.  I don't know if I have ever met someone so prepared for baptism.  She has had so many problems in her life and she has been waiting so long just to get rid of them. And today she was able to do that.  Such an amazing experience for me, a real testimony builder.

This week was a pretty good week for us.  We had some things that we got done.  We were able to visit this really cool reference that we got from Canada.  Her name is Juliana, she was super cool.  We went to go and visit her and she told us about how she came to know the church.  About two months ago, her mom passed away and she went up to Canada to be at the funeral of her mom.  She was devastated about it, and her sister is a member so she introduced her to the Bishop over there in Canada.  After about two months, she came back to Ecuador, and we were able to teach her about the Book of Mormon and read some parts really important.  She was so excited about the message that we shared, and she really does want to change.  I hope that we can do everything that we can to help her out.

Also, this week we had our Zone Conference and it was super good.  We talked a lot about service and how as missionaries we need to do more service.  It's so true. Sometimes we just hope that every house that we knock they are just going to accept us and be a miracle.  But sometimes we have to do our part and help them out and then we will receive the blessings of finding the chosen!  This was a super good week and it was awesome to see how the Lord has blessed us.  We are excited to see the baptism of Deyamaris next week.  Love you all.  Have a great week.

Elder Copeland

Also, we saw a little miracle this week.  About a month ago, we promised in the blessing of Deyamaris that she would get a job if she left coffee and lived all of the commandments of God.  She struggled with it for a really long time because she has about $0 and is really struggling.  Well, yesterday we passed by and found out that she did find a JOB!!!  NOt only that, but the Ward donated her a dress so that she feels more comfortable in the church, as well they donated her a bed that she didn't have before!!! MIRACLE!!  So freaking crazy! One of the cooler experiences that I've had in the mission. SHe was so grateful and started to tear up in front of us.  So amazing!  God loves his children.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Week 54 - August 11, 2018

Crazy Week - Part 2

Hellooooo, Elder Myers and I started off to a great start of the transfer.  The first week of the transfer as secretaries is called "Crazy Week," because honestly, it is super crazy for us.  This new change we had 21 new missionaries come in, which is the biggest group that the mission has ever seen.  So we had honestly so many things to do which was super stressful.  But the good news is, is that we did survive haha. The best part of the week was that we finished the week getting ice cream with President. Haha 

This week I had to do one of the sadder things yet.  Every change, I have to go and drop off the new guys in the airport and make sure that they get there safely and on the plane. This transfer, I had to drop off some of my best friends ever: Elder Haslam, Elder Castagno, Elder Palmer, and Elder Ericksen... Honestly, some of the best guys that I have ever met, even better missionaries.  Going to miss those guys a lot, to be honest.

 Some of Elder Copeland's Best Friends

But the good news is, is that 21 new missionaries did come in and they are going to help the mission a lot.  I was able to spend a lot of time with them this past week, and they are the coolest.  I have never seen missionaries so excited to come in and be missionaries.  It's weird because it feels like just yesterday I was in their spot not knowing anything about being a missionary and Spanish.  One of my favorite parts of the mission so far was being able to go in the street and talk to the people with the new missionaries.  They were honestly just so happy to hand out a Book of Mormon, and the thing is, they didn't understand anything that the people said.  Haha it was so funny, because I was the same way.  Really cool experience, I'm super excited to see how much they will improve.

This week while we were sitting in church, Jacqueline walked in and told us that she is willing to travel every single week so that she can be baptized.  WE got permission from President so that she can be baptized.  Honestly such a miracle.   She deserves to be baptized and is so prepared.  So that was a little miracle that we saw this week.   Also, we were able to pass by Deyamaris and explain some things, and she is still beginning to progress a lot.  But she was super sad because this Sunday while she was at church, someone told her that she has to dress better... She said it felt like a punch to the gut because she wants to, but she honestly has nothing.  She doesn't even have enough to buy a dress, so we are hoping that it won't be too big of a problem.  Just really annoying that the ward isn't helping her feel accepted in the chapel.  For me, it was a good message that we just can never judge anybody because it make a big impact on somebody.  Half the time we don't even understand the message.  We just need to love everyone.

This week I was reading in Alma again about the wars. Something that caught my attention is in Alma 55:31.  It says something very important.  It's talking about how the Nephites gave the Lamanites the wine to get them drunk so that they could sneak in and beat them.  But what the Nephites did was something super important.  It says, "But behold, the Nephites were NOT slow to remember the Lord their god in this their time of affliction..."  As humans, we all go through afflictions.  We can either be like the Lamanites and just take the easy path and later have the consequences, or we can be like the Nephites and take the harder path and be successful and stronger later on.  It just requires something very important.  We CAN NOT be "slow to remember our Lord."  We always need to remember him even in our afflictions.  There are so many examples and answers in the Book of Mormon.  We need to read it frequently.  Love you all, love the gospel, love our Savior Jesus Christ.

Also, happy birthday Dad!  Not very many people have their dad as their best friend.  Don't know where I would be without him!  Love you, Dad.  Elder Copeland

Monday, August 6, 2018

Week 53 - August 4, 2018

Hello, Family and Friends! 

Hope that you guys had the best week ever!

This week honestly was not that interesting.  We didn't have top many things happen.  We had Mission Council this Tuesday, which is always fun and a great opportunity to learn from President and Sister Murphy.  We learned about how we need to brave and courageous as leaders in the mission.  We compared the leaders of the Book of Mormon and how they were courageous and how we can follow their example. Honestly, it was pretty cool. I loved the practice.

This week we were able to, also, pass by Dayamaris and teach her the Plan of Salvation.  It was a great lesson and she understood it really well.  We found out that she has some problems with the Word of Wisdom, but we set up a plan for her so that she can live the commandment.  She has been such a miracle and is progressing super well!

This week we also found out that one of our investigators that had a baptismal date, Jacqueline, moved to a different part of Ecuador, so that was one of the harder things that I've heard because Elder Ross and I had worked so hard with her so that she could be baptized.  Really frustrating, but what can you do.  Hopefully, she will continue to progress and learn in her new area and be baptized there because that honestly is the most important part.

This week in the offices we have been basically doing everything that we can to be able to be ready for crazy week. This is the last week of the change, so Elder Ross is going to be leaving and I'm going to be receiving Elder Myers!!  This first week of the change is always called crazy week for the secretaries because we honestly have so much to do.  We're going to see how I can do without Elder Ross here with me to help.  But I'm super excited for this next transfer with Elder Myers.

Hope everything is going well for you guys at home and you're enjoying your summer.  Sorry for the lame e-mail--just not too much happened this week.  Thanks for everything. Love you so much!  Elder Copeland

Week 52 - July 21, 2018


One year has passed since I entered the MTC and started my journey as a missionary... I can't even believe about how fast time has gone.   I'm going to try and make this letter a little better.  I'm going to describe what happened this week and the miracles that we saw.  But as well, I'm going to try and include some of my thoughts and miracles that I have seen over the past year of my life and what has happened.

This week we had some really memorable moments.  First off, this Sunday President Murphy invited us over to a Family Home Evening at the mission house.  He told us to invite as many investigators as we liked, so we got three of our investigators with a date, Sofia, Deyamaris, and Jacqueline to come with us.  We were with President, Sister Murphy, and Cole (their son).  We taught Lesson 3, The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Wow!  It was one of the most incredible lessons that I've had up until this point in the mission.  President Murphy taught about baptism and all of our investigators were crying and felt the Spirit so strong.  All of them were so excited for their baptism after.  More importantly, Sister Murphy made some brownies with ice cream after.  So good, never thought I would miss brownies so much.  Super cool experience.

On the 26th, the day that we hit a year, we had a great day. We passed by and talked to Sofia to see how she was doing. She was doing awesome.  She had some of her nephews over at her house and they asked us what we believe in.  We explained some stuff and we told them about the Word of Wisdom and the guys told us that they have a big problem with smoking weed haha.  Also, they told us that they live in the States, so we just talked to them a bunch in English. They were just visiting their family here in Quito.  Later on in the lesson, they guy pulled out some weed right in front of us and straight starting smoking right in front of us... They were looking for a reaction from us,haha so we just left and didn't even think about them.  They were disappointed that we didn't say anything or react at all haha so weird.  But Sofia was super cool about it and just told them to leave and honestly, it is sad to see that she has to live with that stuff. Later on in the day, we went to go and eat, and because it was our year mark, we went big and got CHILIES haha.  It was by far the best meal that I have had in a year.  Honestly, such a blessing.  

After, President Murphy asked us to go over to the hospital and give a blessing to some girl.  It was a super cool experience, to be honest.  After, we went to the offices and burned our shirts on the roof.  Honestly so cool! I got some great pictures of it.  Great day, can't complain.

Also, this Friday, we had the baptism of Sofia and honestly it was one of the coolest baptisms that I've been a part of so far.  It was pretty stressful because she called us in the day asking to be able to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon because she was really nervous, so we gave her a chapter to read (Helaman 5.)  We got a call like three hours after and she told us that she wouldn't be able to be baptized tonight. So, we had our ward mission leader call her and somehow she changed her mind.  Such a blessing!  We got to the church and like nobody was there, so we got kind of frustrated.  But after awhile, so many people came and they brought cake to celebrate her birthday.  It was so perfect.  The perfect way to end the week!:)

To be honest, this past year has been one of the greatest years of my life up until this point. But, as well, it has been one of the hardest.  I can't even explain about how much I have missed everything:  My mom, family, food, Koda puppy boy, football, Otto, traveling, relaxing, friends, food, Star Wars, Mtn. Dew, oh and also food, and the list can go on and on.  I felt like I've been doing great here in the mission, but I've also gone through so many challenges in the mission as well.  Learning the language has been really hard for me, and it requires so much patience, time, effort, faith, and so much more.  Like I said before, it's also been hard to miss some of the things back home.  I didn't get to see baby Otto be born, neither will I be able to see him for the first year of his life. Didn't get to see Lauren graduate.  Don't get to see Hannah go onto high school.  Didn't get to go on trips with the family, the Super Bowl, Jazz games, as well as golf with Connor and Taylor.  I have to live with people who sometimes drive me crazy, I walk in the freezing cold rain contacting people, or in the coast I had to walk through the blazing heat sweating into my eyes, getting rejecting by about every person that I came in contact with, getting yelled at from the crazy guys on the street, getting robbed (oops, forgot to tell you, Mom,) getting made fun of, feeling alone, and the list continues to go on and on.  But the weird thing I can say is that I have never been happier in my entire life.  And these challenges have made me into a better person.  I'm so grateful for everything that I have been through in the mission.  Honestly, it doesn't make any sense to me that I've been so happy because I should not be this happy.  The most important thing for me now is to be able to finish the day, praying to know if I've done everything that I could have done to serve the Lord.  I now know that the Lord communicates with us, and when we do the things that he needs us to do, he will always bless us. If you are considering going on a mission, it shouldn't even be a question... GO.  And if you have already been on a mission, well then look back and learn from it.  Every day here is a blessing as well as a lesson.

I've gained a strong and true testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ, as well as his Atonement, his sacrifice where he bled from every pore for us and died on the cross.  More importantly, after that, he rose on the third day, and broke the bands of the death.  I know that he lives and that he loves me.  I've gained a testimony of repentance and the blessing we have to repent and be better everyday--one of the most important things that I've learned up until this point.  A lot of people think that it is bad to repent, but that is a purpose, to repent and be better.  Without doubt, I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  The words in this book are the words of God to guide us in our life.  Joseph Smith was a prophet of God as well as Russell M Nelson is a Prophet today.  I am so grateful for this Gospel and the happiness that it brings into my life in this moment and for eternity.  I know the secret to happiness is to serve others and to forget about yourself and just go to work.  More importantly, to do what is says in the scriptures and always keep the commandments of God and you will always "prosper in the land."

I look back on this year to things that I have been able to accomplish, and I feel like I have improved so much in my life in every aspect.  I feel like I have learned so many important lessons in my life.  Some of my favorite parts of my mission have been being able to see the conversion of my investigators and to see how happy they are after their baptism.  Being able to see family Trujillo and Madruñero has been life changing along with the other baptisms.  It is a testimony that this is the actual restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. The good news is, is that I have one year more to give it all that I got and to be able to see even more miracles!

START THE COUNT DOWN MOM!!:)  Love, Elder Copeland

Some AMericans came to our ward