Elder Cooper Siebers has been called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He will serve for 24 months in the Brazil, Rio de Janeiro mission. He enters the Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center on 10 July 2013.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

1. MTC Provo, Utah


Before I begin I have a few notes.

-There is a lot of information and stories that I want to share, I'll try my best to get everything out.
- Since there is a lot to share in such a short amount of time, don't judge my grammar.
- I did send the family a letter in the mail, I hope you guys got it! I Dont remember what I wrote so I may repeat myslef.


So, day one was crazy. And honestly I can't even remember everything that happened. After recieving some papers, my tag, and room key and such. I was whisked into a room where a few other missionaries sat, dazed and confused. A teacher was speaking entirely portuguese and we didnt hear him speak a word of english until the following day. After our district showed up we all got to know each other a bit and then headed to a welcome meeting with the MTC president. He did an activity, having those called from across the nation to stand up. When he got to the East Coast, he started naming state by state. New Jersey, one elder from my district stands up. No missionaries from Maine, Rhode Island or Vermont stood up. One from New Hampshire. Two from New York. I was ready to stand up and represent CT in a crowd of 830 new missionaries. He then finally said..... Kentucky. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? I didn't stand.... 

So my district is made up of 12 missionaries. 8 Elders and 4 Sisters. 

The rest of the day was just trying to wrap my head around a new language.  The language has been a lot of fun. Its been really hard though. Spanish has helped a lot. As Mr. Scavone [Canton High School band teacher that Cooper greatly admires] says "Fun is the end result of hard work, everything else is cheap entertainment. Is cheap entertainment a good thing? Yes, but you need to know where the balance is."

On the second day, Elder F. and I had to teach a lesson to an investigator [while in the Mission Training Center- "investigators" are actually returned missionaries that the new missionaries can practice with] named Aquilino....entirely in Portuguese. I had everything I needed and wanted to say written down and pretty much read right off of it.  We have continued to to teach Aquilino. In the second lesson I wrote everything in english and then translated it on the spot. In the third lesson (last night), I only brought the headings to each section. We taught the Plan of Salvation, which was a ton of information.

Here there are no days, just work followed by a period of sleep. All of the days being to blend and mesh. Our teacher commented on how our district is doing better than any other district in learning the language. 

I've seen Braxton A., Diana [a cousin- who is going to the Ukraine!] and two BYUI kids who were in my classes.

Sunday was relaxing....after Sacrament Meeting at least. Our Branch President, randomly picks elders and sisters to speak without telling them before hand. We must have a talk written every Sunday entirely in Portuguese.... this puts me even more on edge. I wasn't picked, but it keeps me up at night...(not really, don't worry mom).

We have a gym period each monday at 6:40. Its a great way to kick off our week. Our district plays sand volleyball as the sun rises over the mountains.

Overall, the atmosphere here at the MTC is unlike any other. There are plenty of cute sisters which is just awful. You are only allowed to shake hands with them, flirting is obviously not allowed and sarcasm is also prohibited. Its been almost impossible for me.

In my second gym period, I was playing indoor volleyball. The ball came over the net while I was in the front row. A sister next to me went for it and I went to help. My shoe fell off as I quickly jerked my body. We both fell and almost collided into eachother. I quickly stood up to avoid embarrassment. As any good person would do I reached out to pull her up...without thinking... and helped her up. I felt the entire gym watch us as this forbidden gesture took place. Its getting to me a bit.

So good news...kinda. The district that's leaving [the MTC] this week had 11 of the 12 of them get reassigned to the states [temporarily until their VISAs come]. One to the Boston Mission too. Sooo things are looking bad for most. A sister going to Brazil got her visa in her second week, she's from Rhode Island and left for [the CTM-Center for Missionary Training in] Sao Paulo. There is a chance that I will get mine in time to go down there, but honestly I like it here, and kinda don't want to leave. [Elder Sieber's VISA could come in any day or 4-6 months from now.  If it comes while he is at the Provo MTC, they may want to send him to Sao Paolo to finish his training.  Rhode Island and CT have their own Brazilian Consulate- so he is speculating that since a Sister from RI got hers while in week two at the MTC, he might also.  But we really have absolutely no idea.]

Weird fact, Our entire district is going to Rio and none of us are right out of high school. Even more impressive none of us are from Utah. 

I live in 6M, the Rey L. Pratt Building. Room 435

Thank you for all the letters and packages. Please send DearElders when you can instead of Emails. I can only check the emails once a week and only have a half hour to respond. I don't know if ill be able to see all of them today. 

As for things to send [I had asked him for some suggestions.]  Food: Fruit Snacks, Sour Cream and Onion [potato chips] and whatever else. Elders get 6 dollars a week to spend on stuff. The snacks range from 50 cents to 2 bucks. Not worth it. would rather save for laundry stuff.

The MTC food has been decent, but not always appetizing. I've had chicken strips, chicken patties, and chicken cordon bleus...which have been the highlights as far as meals have gone. 

Also I think we have a giant Brazil flag... if you could send it, that would be awesome. We want to decorate our district room where we spend 10 hours a day in studying,.

My certificate for teaching in Brazil is only good until June 23, 2015, so I think that's the return date! [I have no idea what he is talking about, seems like a certificate of teaching could/should be related to the VISA?]

Thats all I have for now. I may send another email if I remember something else.

Continue to send Dear Elders, and tell everyone to. They make me sooo happy.. PLEEEEASE!!

And tell my friends to email me and send letters gosh dangit!

Tata for now!

Elder Cooper Siebers

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