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, December 16, 2013

23. Madureira, Rio de Janeiro

16 December 2013

So much happened this week, I cant even try to cover anything, so I'm gonna focus on some special moments.

The name of the game, was working with members this week. We had two trainings with President Lima this week. On Wednesday half the mission gathered for a special Christmas training. We spent the whole day learning how to work with members of our wards. I was so spoiled in Gilbert, with amazing members that always provided us with work and loved participating in the teaching, (Petersons...!)  Here, they need a little boost. Afterwards we had a small Christmas feast. It was great to see the MTC crew again, minus Elder E [Elder E is a friend from the MTC, he is in Rio, but on the other side of the city, it seems like they meet separately, maybe due to distance?]

MTC mini reunion- Elder A, Cooper, Elder N and Sister C.  (By mission rules the men and women can not touch each other.  So poor Sister C, I know they love her and just want to pull her in close to them!)

Transfer meeting is happening tomorrow and Elder C.  is leaving [for another area] which makes me sooo sad, but I'm staying and getting a new Elder... another Brazilian and  Elder S says he's great soooo yeah!  It's been awesome so see Elder C. grow this transfer, he's learned so much and he's really changing our ward, so it's really too bad hes going. 

These two clowns seem like brothers already.  Happy to see he got his Christmas package finally! I think they are making those faces because Cooper likely figured out that I made Christmas stockings out of some of his old Christmas season  boxer shorts that he no longer wears.  Before you get all grossed out, just know that they were really long boxers and were very clean.

Thursday night was really special. Before I came down to Brazil, I didn't know how people react to Americans. Mallory always tells stories about how in China, she's basically a celebrity. Since I've been here, none of that has happened, it's not anything too special. This is why I was really surprised Thursday. Here's what went down. We were knocking on a door where we had taught weeks earlier. There were three kids playing in the street, and Elder C asked them if they knew the person we were trying to see. They asked why, and elder C explained that we are missionaries with a message to share. They wanted us to share it with them, but elder C insisted that they bring us to their homes to teach their whole family and they didn't want to. We began to walk away and they kept following us insisting that we share with them the message. They followed us for a surprisingly long time once they found out I was American, until we stumbled upon a sister of the ward walking on her way home from work. She knew the kids and brought us to their homes. When we got to the street, there was a huge party and kids everywhere. The kids starting telling other kids that I'm american and they swarmed me with questions. They found it really amusing when I tried to pronounce their names. (The names are ridiculous here). We taught two lessons and had a great night. One of the lessons was with a pastor which ended up being a bit argumentative. He called us a cult, typical. I didn't say a word even though I understood most of what was happening.   I didn't want to risk getting involved and saying something wrong.  I gave the kids my name on a piece of paper because they wanted to add me on facebook. I may have like 15 friend requests now! 

This may be my most favorite photo he has sent
from Brazil so far.
Yesterday was also a crazy Sunday.  We went with a member to pick up an older lady who is less active. She lives on the favela hill and its hard for her to walk. During Sacrament Meeting she got really emotional and thanked us for bringing her! Its crazy how people can forget how much church attendance can bless their lives...

Both Elder C and I spoke in Sacrament meeting.  We taught youth Sunday School and did missionary role playing with them.  We put together a baptismal program on the spot for a 8 yr old. Its funny how they don't have a calling for this, the family just expected someone to take care of it, and I guess its the missionaries responsibility here? Again, I was spoiled in Gilbert!  We had lunch with the Relief Society President.

We stopped by to see J, shes practically a member at this point, minus baptism... but that will come in Feb. She got really upset when Elder C told her that he might be leaving... and now he is.... But she said to come have dinner with them on Christmas Eve and she would make Pao de Quejo, which Sister Lopse says is really good! 

Lastly, we spent three hours with our awesome Bishop Sunday night. We visited two houses of two less actives. We taught two street lessons with him at the very end of the day. Our final plans fell through so we said a prayer to find a family to teach before the day ended. We walked down the road a bit until we decided on the door. We knocked, and found a family with four kids! three of which are 8 years plus! The mom seemed really interested so I'm hoping the best!

Fantastic week, many other stories that will have to wait until we are sitting around a puzzle late at night in a year and a halves time. 

Love you all!

Elder Siebs

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