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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Week 67 - November 5, 2018

Hello family,

Well, I don’t even know where to start here.  I’m now here in a new Sector, Zone, city, and everything, honestly. To explain where I’m at a little better:  I’m in the Imbaya Stake.  Imbaya is in the middle of Otavalo.  Otavalo, is a little town about 2 hours north of Quito.  As well, Otavalo is known for it’s culture. The culture here is amazing.  They are indigenous people that speak a different language called Quichawa (Kichawa).  It has nothing to do with Spanish, and I don’t understand even a little part of it.  As well, they are super small and all of the men have a giant pony tail.  They are so amazing and are super strong in the church. Here in Otavalo they are working on bringing in the 4th stake, while in Quito there are millions of more people with only 7 stakes… The people here are super active in the Church and are a super big help to us with the missionary work.  It’s so amazing and I’m super excited, but at the same time, some things have been hard up until this point.
My sector where I am serving is half part of the City of Otavalo and the other half farms, pretty much fields.  It’s weird coming from Quito when there are so many people and giant apartment buildings.  Here, there is just not that.  We have had a hard time finding some people to teach because everyone already knows who the missionaries are, or they don’t speak Spanish, or they’re just really mean.  But we were able to some miracles this week thanks to our Father in Heaven.  As well, I don’t want to be mean, but man the food here is very different than every other part of the mission.  It’s just not enjoyable, every single lunch is a mountain of rice, legit a mountain.  As well as potatoes, a little piece of chicken and a salad or menestras (some type of beans) wow I can’t even explain how hard it is to eat haha.  But I’m super excited to be here in the BEST ZONE EVER IMBAYA!!!
 As well, we had some good experiences this week.  We were able to teach the Rodriguez Family.  They are a family that is progressing a ton but are not married so they can’t get baptized… This week we went and taught 1st Nephi 8 and about the example Lehi was in this vision.  That he was the first one to arrive to the Tree of Life, or in other words he was the example for his family,.  Later on, he helped them get to where he was.  They loved it and decided that it would be good to set a goal and be married, but the 2019… Kind of frustrating, but we're hoping that we will be able to move it up a little bit more. 
We went to go and teach Marco and Tatianna, as well they are not married and struggle big time financially.  We taught them about the faith and how they  need to trust that the Lord will bless them if they keep the commandments.  It was great!  An hour after, the called us crying and screaming saying that they got in a fight and that they are done with each other….:( We explained as fast as we could the importance of Forgiveness.  As of right now, we don’t know how they are doing, but please pray for them. 
As well, we were able to see a lot of miracles on Sunday.  Some members brought some friends to church, which was a big blessing.  They presented us to them and we are super excited to be able to teach them more in the future.  As well, we were contacting on a giant hill in the middle of no where and we found two people with a lot of potential!  We are super excited to teach these people and hopefully they will begin to progress fast.
This week we went down to Quito for Mission Counsel and it was super cool.  We learned a lot.  We focused a lot on the Savior and how we’re going to Light the World.  As missionaries, we get to see all of the videos a little earlier and wow they are unreal this year. We are super excited for Christmas this year.  President said something that I liked a lot because it has related a lot to me in my mission.  He was talking about his son in his mission, how he was able to truly know his Savior.  He said, “Por sus desafios, conocio su Salvador” or “For his challenges, he was able to know his Savior.”  It’s so true.  Here in the mission, I truly have gained a testimony of him and I love him.  I love the happiness that he gives me.  I truly do know him and know that he lives…
Ñuca mamata whoani
(Love You Mom in Kichwa)  Eldler Copeland

Consejo de mision