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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

12. Gilbert AZ

30 September 2013

Dear Family and Friends-

It is the last week of the transfer so a lot of crazy things have been going on, but we will get to them soon. The week started off pretty normal.

Monday- On Pday we took naps. After that we made some homemade pizzas in celebration of Elder J's last pday ever! [I guess he is finished with his mission and is going home?]  That night we did yard work for both of our neighbors.

The highlight on Tuesday was giving a blessing to a returning member of the church who is working to return to the Temple. She has had a crazy history. She claims to have done every drug, and illegal substance at some point in her life. She is also bi-polar. Fun. She asked for a blessing to clear her mind, I guess it was off the wall that day. She asked me to give the blessing and she said that once the blessing was over her mind was totally relaxed. I was so happy that I was able to help her through the authority God has given us. It was a true testimony builder for me as well!

Wednesday was a rather uneventful day. We visited a lot of less active members.

On Thursday we returned to Bobbi's to do some more service. We took down some massive tree limbs that were infested with cockroaches. Nasty. Bobbi brought some baby chicks out to play with. Fun!

I also had my first minor bike incident this week. I wasn't paying attention while riding down the sidewalk and I drifted into the stucco walls that surround nearly all the neighborhoods here. It tore up my shoulders as I blasted out chunks of the stucco wall. Ouch. It was really funny though!

On Friday we had dinner with the Primary of one of our wards that night. They were having a Primary Program rehearsal and had a pizza party before. [Primary aged children are 3-12.  All year they learn new songs and scriptures, and in the Fall present what they have learned during a Sunday Sacrament Meeting.]

On Saturday (this is where things get fun) one of our Zone Leaders was called to be the new Assistant to the President. Then our Zone Leader made us pack our bags and head to his place. We are now a trio with the Zone Leader until Wednesday (transfer day). Its been hard but pretty fun thus far!

On Sunday we attended 4 Primary Programs. Best Sunday ever! [I love that he is calling 7-8 hours- at a minimum- of Church time- the "best Sunday ever".] We taught two recent convert lessons. 

So now for the BIG NEWS. And I just found this out while I was here writing my email. Elder P was called to be a District Leader and will be getting transferred. Afterwards, President Nattress called me and told me I will be becoming Senior Companion, leading the area (hopefully the one I'm in right now) and will training an incoming visa waiter heading to Brazil.  I'm only 6 weeks old!!!!!!! WHAAAAAA. I'm really scared but excited at the same time. We have a lot of surprises to come. There are 17 new cars in the mission.  We are waiting for iphones and ipads.  I have no clue whats going to happen. Next Monday's email should be really interesting!

 hope to hear from yall soon

Elder Siebers

[In a separate quick note, Cooper asked us to email photos to him.  He wants to decorate his planner. So if you have photos (mission appropriate ONLY please) that you think he would like to remind him of the important people and places in his life- please email them to him.]

[And, on another note, many have asked about the status of Cooper's VISA.  Last Wednesday- September 25th- I logged on to the Brazilian Consulate Visa Update website and lo and behold his VISA was now "ready for collection".  This means it still needed to be mailed to the Church Travel Dept. in Salt Lake City, they will contact his current Mission President, President Nattress and his Rio de Janeiro Mission President- President Lima- to have them work out a good day for him to transfer. In general they don't like to move missionaries between transfers.  So it is highly likely that Cooper will be in Arizona for another six weeks.  But from the above, I would say he sounds pretty happy about all of that.  The ipads and iphones are going to piloted in the Gilbert Mission.  Eventually they will be rolled out to all US Missions and then perhaps most other missions?  But I would be surprised if the Rio Mission has use of this kind of technology while he is serving there.  So it's fun that he may get to be a part of the pilot.]

Monday, September 23, 2013

11. Gilbert AZ

So for this week I'd thought Id just give some highlights from each day.

Monday- On Pday we finally did something active and headed to the stake center [local church building used for Sunday Worship and recreation] to play some "frasquetball", a  beloved game here in the Gilbert mission. Teams score by throwing the football into the hoop. The football is passed around ultimate frisbee style, which basically means it can go anywhere until it touches the ground and then the other team gets the ball. It was pretty fun!

Tuesday- Tuesday night we had dinner with the B. Family.  Early in the dinner they asked Elder P how long he'd been out and he said 6 months, and they said "6 months!? They sent you to us only after being out for six months!?"  They then asked me and I said 1 month. They all just started laughing. Good start yeah?  The night was spent by Elder P and the daughter debating over a matter. I just inserted funny comments here and there to keep the debate friendly and lively. They loved me! They told me how much they wanted to adopt me! It was a very fun dinner. I love so many of the families here, but I have a very special place in my heart for the B family.

Wednesday- On Wednesday we met with A again. He's an investigator that Elder P has been working with for a while now. He doesn't really feel like my investigator because he committed to baptism before I even got here. He is having troubles with the parental consent (he's 16). We met with him again this week as a step of faith that it will happen. The ward is having a fast for him on the upcoming Fast Sunday to help soften his mother's heart so that he can become baptized.

Thursday- We went to B's farm again and worked on repairing some fencing that had been ripped by her goats. She doesn't seem to be progressing much [in the Gospel]. We keep inviting her to church but she just wont come. :(

The mission is changing a lot. We found out we will be getting the iphones and ipads here soon. Service used to be kinda dead here, but suddenly we've been encouraged to seek out service opportunities. Finally they get it! Service in my opinion is one of the best ways to build trust. If we serve them then they at least should give us 10 minutes to help them gain eternal life.

Friday- Friday wasn't too exciting. There is going to be a huge constitution fair here soon, so the zone got together and helped members set up about a 1000 chairs. Swell

Saturday- Saturday was the most fun day of the week, We went on splits [splits: when two companionships split up and exchange companions for a day or afternoon].  I just planned to visit a bunch of names on our ward lists that didn't have any information about them. We visited about 14 houses that day and about 6 of them we made contact with. He found a guy who claims he "self-excommunicated" himself and has been a pastor for 6 years. We found a bitter lady who claims that she is a "christian" now....ok. A young couple who is now non denominational. A less active who is CRAZY and has some serious issues with the Book of Mormon, and an old man who hissed at us. Twas great. That night was J's baptism, it went flawlessly. The ward is doing an amazing job with fellowshipping him. He's a great guy and he's going to make for an awesome member of the church.

J's baptism, actually sent to me (Paula) by his family.

And on Sunday, I spoke [in Sacrament Meeting] again, luckily I got to give the same talk, and I did a way better job than last time. It went really well..

I got the package this week and it was awesome. I waited every single day until it came on Saturday. Thank you sooo much! We have a DVD player that miraculously converts CD music files to files on a flashdrive. I'm gonna get some songs converted today and then ask Sis. G to help me out. Thanks for setting that up mom!

Dad I enjoyed the words which you sent me this week. The Doctrine and Covenants commentary is really cool. I'll jump on that after I finish the Book of Mormon and before starting on Jesus the Christ.

I love you all so much! You'ee taking care of me!

Elder Siebers

P.S I forgot one more highlight for Sunday. We met with a family for dinner. The Sister knew I was a Brazil bound missionary and invited a nonmemeber Brasileira ( woman from brazil ) and we got to chat a bit. It would be crazy if I ended up teaching her. She's awesome and already recognizes the Spirit in her life!

Elder Siebers- sent to me by a woman in his ward.

Monday, September 16, 2013

10. Gilbert AZ

 Mon, Sept 16, 2013

[Cooper's letters came in bits in pieces spread out over four hours today.  He sent some photos and I think it blocked his other email from going out for hours or something, but it was really disconnected.  I will try to piece it together.]

So transfer time is coming up yet again. There are 6 weeks in a transfer and I'm excited to not be the newbie. President Nattress returns from a mission president's training in Dallas with several of the Apostles. I hear that he's coming back with a lot of new and changed policies. I think for the good since the last mission president was really strict. I am really excited!

On Tuesday we had our Greenie [brand new, newbie] meeting. In my district there is me and Elder W., we came in on same transfer.. and sister W-H who is actually Elder P.'s cousin. She is one transfer older than us. Anyway, they often put us in role plays in front of district to help us learn and such. This week we focused on inspired questions while teaching.

Elder P. utterly destroyed his bike this week. The spokes just blew out while we were crossing the road and his rear wheel locked up. We were without bikes for the remainder of that day and had to walk to all of our appointments. I'm gonna miss having a bike in Brazil.

At the P's [home], the members from Germany, they fed us Lattkes for dinner. 

On Thursday I went on splits with our District Leader, Elder R. It was awesome. I love that guy. Hes way down to earth and a great missionary and super funny. He and I went to Wendy's that night for a late night snack. Great day!

Elder P. finally got it approved for the Portuguese speakers to call each other every once in a while to speak in Portuguese. It was awesome. We hope to get a conference call going one of these times with the four of us. Its crazy how good my Portuguese still is. I'm not even thinking about it anymore. So weird. Why was I so bad at Spanish in high school???

Thanks dad for the mosaic book. Real cute, and the bear article... that was awesome!!!!

I love you all. I really cant believe how the time is flying by.

Let me know what other things i can answer. I answered a bunch of questions for dad. It helps me focus my letters and such!

I forgot to add one story. Once a week we visit Bro.W.  We'eve actually been meeting with him every week since I've been here but I forgot to mention it.  He's a very active member who is 80+ years old. His wife has been diagnosed with alheizmers and he lives alone now. We visit him every week just to chat. Its definetly one of the highlights of my week. He has the best spirit and I get teary eyed every time he talks about his wife.

Also, our mission is getting ipads!  

I really don't have time to read Mallory's emails, but i love reading them when they come in the mail. They are so great. I wish I had the time to tell more stories but I don't. :(

This the smallest geographical mission in the church right now. The new missionary work is through the members. He [Elder Andersen, when he visted the mission last week] gave an Apostolic promise in the April general conference called ""It's A Miracle" motivating and trying to help members pray about names whom to share the gospel with. Every member visit we make, we pass along this promise on a piece of cardstock from them to rememeber and use. Not much has come from it so far, but well keep on trying. Elder Anderson also said that we should expect to stay in out wards and areas for very long periods of time. At least about 6 months he said. To build trust and friendships with the wards members. We should also expect to be narrowed down to one or 2 wards. Crazyness

[Scott asked about his typical day]

Typical day is structured

6:30 Wake up, work out and prepare for day
8 Personal study
9 comp study
10 training
11 language study
12 lunch
1-5 out doing work
5 dinner
6-9 out doing work
9 home and daily planning
10:30 in bed

[He wrapped up with this visual to remind us that he most certainly is not in New England anymore!]

[We received a few pictures from members of the ward(s) Cooper is in.  They feed him dinner most nights of the week, and often send me and Elder P's family a photo.]

Monday, September 9, 2013

9. Gilbert AZ

9 September 2013

So we had a really packed week!

Last Monday, on Pday, after emailing we went home and played Risk again. This time people's feelings got hurt ... but I won again :) That night we went to a family reunion which they invited the missionaries to judge a chili cook off.

On Wednesday we had our temple trip. The Mesa temple is beautiful and it was built in 1929. Its wierd, I've been to the temple 4 times now and they all have been in different places. Boston, Palmyra, Provo, and now Mesa. We missed our session with our zone because Elder J forgot to wear a long sleeved shirt).  If you knew Elder J-t was pretty classic of him. I ran into Elder N for a quick minute which was the first time I'd seen any of my MTC buds since the transfer meeting.

That afternoon the Smiths took Elder P. and me to lunch which I know you guys knew all ready. We went to a tasty pizza place. My fav. Samantha couldn't make it I guess because she was working. Too bad :) [The Smiths are great friends of ours. Cooper's dad has known Cami since they were in Primary together in their ward in Chicago.  Scott met Jeff in the MTC when they were both there to prepare for their Spanish speaking American missions.  After Jeff and Scott returned from their missions, Jeff met Cami through Scott and they were married the same summer we were.  They have a daughter- Samantha who leaves soon on a mission to Meridia, Mexico.  Jeff and Cami live in Gilbert, so they were able to call Cooper and arrange to take him and his companion to lunch.  It is stories like this that remind me of the wonderful "community of Saints" the Church has provided for me in my life. Samantha is just a few months younger than Cooper.  For a few years the Smiths lived in NJ and we were able to get together on occasion.  But it has been years since Cooper has seen them.  Thank you Jeff and Cami for making this happen!]

Elder Cooper Siebers and Jeff Smith

Most of Thursday was taken up by a Zone Conference that went from 10-4 pm. The president and his AP's [Assistant to the President] did training for most of it.

It rained pretty hard the next day, and the people of Arizona LOVED it. Pretty cool!

Saturday was a fantastic day. Elder Neil L. Anderson came and visited us and told us some really cool things about the Gilbert mission. The brethren are looking at it very closely for the work here is the missionary work of the future. He claimed that if things don't work out then Gilbert will be reabsorbed by the Tempe and Mesa missions. Work through the members is key. All of the spiritual thoughts we have been sharing is to motivate and help the members teach those around them about the gospel.

I also got to see all my my MTC buds all day which was the best. Apparently one of us got our visas but they wont tell us until the end of the transfer or something...[I am fairly certain it is Cooper.  Don't ask me why.  I just know.  :)]

Elder Siebers- reunited with two of his MTC buddies.

Sunday was great to. I got assigned to speak in two different wards for next Sunday...awesome...

But the best part was that we got to take Jeff to the Visitors Center, and we were with him almost all day. You may have received some pictures from his girlfriend named Jeniffer . He may be my first baptism. Way neat. We have a lot in common which makes him awesome-  He loves classic muscle cars and NASCAR which makes him awesome.!

So yeah. Things are going swell!

[Cooper also included these photos from his service day on Bobbi's farm last week,  And I am guessing that this car belongs to Jeff?]

Monday, September 2, 2013


Since Cooper brought up the subject of INFOGRAPHICS, thought I would share a couple of most appropriate ones.  The first two are coming through very small.  You can find them here:  LDS Infographics.

8. Gilbert AZ

2 September 2013

So week 2 [in Arizona] started off perfectly. The four of us, Elders P, J, J and I got to play board games for a good 5 hours on our Pday. One of the games included Risk, which as you know I absolutely love. 

Anywho a few wonderful and not so wonderful things happened this week. 

Lets see, I got my first flat tire on Tuesday, I bought a $12 slim tube to fix it (that's whats on the debit card). Then on Sat night I blew out the other tire. I have to buy another tube.... So that was gnarly. While waiting for our ride to pick us up a cop turned his lights on to come talk to me. I almost started to OYM him but I thought it might be a bad idea. [OYM- Open Your Mouth. A reference to Doctrine and Covenants 24:12. "...he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel..."]  After we have a short talk and he pulls off and I see Elder P giving a Book Of Mormon  to a man standing over his yard wall. Elder P who is 6'4" and is standing on a rock just to talk to the guy whose head is peering over the 7 foot wall. It was a pretty funny sight. 

On Thursday morning we went back to Bobbis [Livin' off the Land She is] for more service. I absolutely love working on her farm. I spent a good hour and a half sawing down good sized branches off a dead tree for her. Then I spent a good hour playing with the baby goats which is the most awesome thing in the world. You know me...

Elder J and I are really good pals, it's too bad this is his last transfer, he's a hilarious guy and we get along really well. O well!

Side Note: We were meeting with our mission leader for one of our wards and he has this really cool book called "The Visual Miscellaneum" by David McCandles. Its all about visual information. I couldn't put the book down for my life. Mom you should check it out, I know our minds work similarly, I think you would enjoy it. Apparently its a fairly new idea of explaining things solely through visual  aids. It made a lot of sense to me. I WANT THAT BOOK.... [Ok, this is actually kind of funny.  I looked at the book on Amazon and apparently it's all infographics.... which I DO love.  So does Mallory.  In fact, at one time I was encouraging Mallory to consider it as a focus in her communications major.  The interesting thing is that Cooper had two semesters of school before leaving on his mission.  In those two semesters he decided mechanical engineering wasn't his thing and was leaning more towards industrial design or graphics.  I remember telling him that while he won't necessarily be focused on career development while on his mission, it is not uncommon for things to just "click" during this time and come home and know exactly what they want to do.  It would not surprise me at all if this is something he pursues.]

My favorite dinner I had this week was very unexpected. There is a lady named Silvia, whose from Germany and she speaks 7 different languages. She's very cultured and Elder P had requested Schnitzel for our next dinner. I was not too stoked about this. When we got there, she didn't end up making Schnitzel for some reason and made Goulash instead. Which is basically and beef stew over rice. THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!  It was sooooo good.

On Friday night it rained pretty heavily here. It was a lot of fun to be riding out in the rain and oyming [OYM- see above] people every which way.

One of the funniest moments I had was we rode through the Gilbert High parking lot. There was a big football game going on so there were people every where. We stopped to talk to these three goons who had just lit up their cigs and they were making fun of us. And eventually prank called us later. From that we went and talked to this kid, just about the same age as them. He was standing at the crosswalk. He had a nice black umbrella, he was wearing a full on suit, top hat, and scarf-tie thing? He was so propper. When we handed him the book [a Book of Mormon I presume] he said "Oh wonderful, another addition to my library" It was unreal. Polar opposite people roughly the same age. So funny, but sooo awesome

Earlier this week we were saying one of our companion prayers and Elder P said something along the lines of "having baptisms fall out of the sky". I smirked when he said this, (only because the idea of people falling from the sky wanting to get baptized would be a funny sight".) [He IS very visual, remember?]  I asked him afterwards why he said it that way. He said his old companion uses to say it time to time and it would happened. That was that.

Hope everyone is doing well. I love you all so much! 

Elder Siebs