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, October 28, 2013

16. Gilbert AZ

28 October 2013

Hello family and friends that are basically family. I hope this email finds everyone swell. Life is pretty easy here in Gilbert. We have so many awesome members that just hand us food all day. I'm not spending much on groceries at all!

Weekly Recap:

On Monday our zone finally got our act together and had a zone activity and a local farm. We went through a corn maze, and rode in barrel carts dragged by a quad. It was pretty decent.

That night we had a lesson with J once more at the P's. Its been a little intimidating the last few lessons, because the girlfriend of their missionary son has come home from her mission and she's been sitting in on the lessons. She seems like she was a very effective sister missionary.  She's really cool and has been offering some great suggestions to help us improve.  In this lesson we emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon in her conversion process. We also had some awesome Mormon Messages at our disposal which she said helped her a lot.

Tuesdays are always the roughest days for me. After the pday festivities it can be hard to get back to work, not to mention the dreaded greenie and district meetings we have first thing that morning that make me feel like such an inadequate missionary. Got to love that... Not to mention one of our lessons was a no show. So yeah.... great day

Wednesday ended up being a fairly interesting day. I believe I wrote you all about a family that had us over for THREE hours that one time? I said that the dinner wasn't a waste if something good came out of it, and sure enough something happened. The mom called me on Tuesday.  She asked elder H and I to come over, give them blessings and offer suggestions. We were there for about two hours talking to the mom and her 17 year old son who WANTS to go on a mission. We talked tons on ways to spiritually strengthen their family. We've been sending them reminders every single night to do their scripture reading and their family prayers. We need to get another ward family in there to help them after we are gone.

We asked B. if she would set up a big service project and we had the ENTIRE zone over (14 missionaries) for a few hours doing a hodgepodge of repairs, cleaning, digging and constructing. One of our other members was driving by, saw us working, and then brought tons of Pizza and gatorades over! IT WAS AWESOME. Everyone in the zone is so jealous of our members here. They really do love and take care of us!

We had a lesson that night with one of our investigators who struggles understanding the Book of Mormon. We read with him for and hour and a half and got 3rd Nephi 11 out of the way. Only several hundred chapters left! Not really though, were hoping that after a couple nights of this he'll have a good understanding of what the book is all about. He has a hefty work schedule so we don't get to see him too often :(

On Friday we were back over to the P's with J once again. This time we got some nice one on one time with just her. We've been trying everything we can think of to get her to see the big picture. We invited a member of the ward (G) who was a convert to the church and she has had many of the same struggles that J does. She said some amazing stuff and was very direct with some of the things that we were afraid to tell her. See, J's whole deal is that she feels like her baptism was complete. She feels like she already received the gift of the Holy Ghost. The best line of the night was from G [regarding receiving the Holy Ghost] "I thought so too...... Hun, you don't got it".

The room fell silent.

Then J said, "I'm going to have to pray about that!"

The whole zone got together for another service project. This family wanted every single room in their house painted another color so we spent 4 hours painting which was really fun!

We brought J to a baptism. We are bringing her to the Visitors Center tonight to see the temple and to watch the Restoration movie.

Sundays are always awesome. I love being at church, seeing the investigators and the less active  make their way to Sacrament meeting.. We had 2 of our 3 less active friends at church which made me feel awesome!

The highlight of Sunday was this older single sister who came up to us and prasied us for our comments in Relief Society last week regarding Hastening the Work. She said shes was really surprised that us two "youngins" were so inspiring and so articulate. She said, " that must be why you two are going to Brazil". That made me feel good

So its Monday again. Elder H I, along with the elders that live with us are going to a member's house later to make Halloween food and play fuseball, pingpong, air hockey and pool in their basement. Should be fun!

 Lastly, as I've been thinking about the possibility that I may be leaving here, I've been really sad. I know I've expressed this already but leaving behind the work, the families, the relationships, the food, the easy communication, the language is all going to be quite depressing.

And on that note...

See ya! :)

Elder Siebs

Here is part of what I said to Cooper in my letter tonight:  

This time in Arizona has been so good for you.  I KNOW that YOU know that.  I hope that when the time does come for you to leave, and when you may start missing Arizona, please see that your time there was a gift.  It was not something you were expecting, and it came by quite a surprise.  It’s not a place that sounds exotic or exciting, and based on the number of members there one could even think it may be boring.  But that was not the case.  Instead, your Heavenly Father provided you with a gift in putting people in your path to teach you.  Likewise, he put people in your path upon which YOU will leave a lasting impression.   You have learned so much and gained a tremendous amount of confidence in your ability to teach and share the gospel.  Take that with you.  Be grateful for the gift and be enthused and ready to take on the next challenge.  Be grateful that you are heading to Brazil with that teaching confidence.  Yes, you will learn a new culture in a new language- and in some ways it may feel like you are starting over.  DO NOT let this get you down.  You have already become an amazing missionary and once the culture has a few days to settle in, you will be serving the people of Brazil like no one else can.  No one else has the same skills, talent and gifts in the same combinations and ratios that you do.  Wherever you are a week from now, just remember that The Lord is mindful of you and he is mindful of those that you would teach.  It is all going to be good- I promise.  Go Forth with Faith.

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