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 30, 2013

25. Madureira, Rio de Janeiro

30 December 2013

[On Christmas Day we were able to Skype with Cooper for 90 minutes.  It was absolutely spectacular to see his face and hear his voice and see that he is our same old Cooper.  I regret not taking any notes from our conversation that day, but I am glad I was just able to enjoy having us all together in a room for a few minutes.  It was the best Christmas gift ever.  I am very grateful to J and T, the young couple that he and Elder P are currently teaching.  They had dinner at their home that evening and were able to use their computer to Skype their families.]

Hello Everyone. I hope you all had an awesome Christmas! I would love to hear about everyone´s holiday! 

So this week is going to be a special edition of Elder Sieber´s weekly letter. This was week 25, this week I pass my 1/4 mark on the mission, which is just insane! 

This week I wanted to write a bit about what I've learned, the special people I have been teaching. Some of it may be repetitive, and I apologize for that.

Thus far I've had one baptism. J.A.. J is a very important person in my life, and he's someone I will always remember. Through my experience with him I learned a few things. 

First, the Lord answers our prayers. I may have told this story already, but it was a Thursday night and Elder Parrish and I were saying our nightly companionship prayer. Elder Parrish said in the prayer, "...we ask that a baptism will fall out of the sky". After the prayer I asked him why he said this, especially in the manner of them falling out of the sky. He told me that with a previous companion he had prayed for this at it actually happened. That very Sunday, while meeting and greeting the members of the ward, an unfamiliar woman and mad walked into the doors. Elder P immediately went on the move to meet them. She was a less active member of another ward and had starting dating J, a nonmember. She had always wanted a temple marriage and all the blessings it brings. She knew she needed to introduce J into the church in order for this to happen. We started teaching J immediately after church at his house. He expressed to us how he´s been thinking about getting involved in a church and that he's felt that he has been lacking religion in his life.

Teaching him was an incredible experience. I was a brand new missionary and still pretty new at teaching, and he made it so easy for me. He wasn't quick to doubt and just absorbed everything we taught him. Not many weeks later that baptism happened. It was in all meaning of the phrase "a baptism that fell from the sky". When we prayed we didn't know J, or his girlfriend. 

J is an incredible guy. He has a really warm attitude about everything. The week of his baptism, Elder P. warned him that Satan will try everything to keep him from the font, and if this occurs, take it as evidence that he is on the right path. That week, his brand new bike was stolen from his garage. He didn't let it get him down, and it strengthened his testimony. J fits right it with the  ward, and he will make an amazing member of the church. He is so selfless and willing to lend a hand at any given moment. 

I'm so glad to have played just a small role in helping him on his path.

There may be two more coming in a few weeks. J and T WILL be baptized. We've been waiting for them to get married, which the date set right now is for Jan 21st. We are hoping everything works out! . They are incredible people with bright spirits, and my experience with them has been absolutely incredible.

We taught them the first lesson during my first week here. I had NO idea what was going on, and I tried my best to share my testimony with them. I didn't know how special they were until about the 3rd or 4th lesson with them. As I look back on it now, its been incredible to actually witness how the gospel can bless families. Every single time I'm over there I can feel the spirit with a greater abundance. Their 5 year old daughter, is absolutely adorable. She is really intelligent and she's already talking about our Father in Heaven and the love he has for each and everyone for us. Having this knowledge at such a young age will bless her during her entire life. They are a very special family to me, and I feel TRUE love when I am with them, even though I still don't understand everything that is happening. We laugh a lot about it and they teach me so much. 

Again, I am so honored to have been just a tool in the Lord's hand as he gathers his children into the flock. They are an amazing family and one that again, I will always remember!

Lesson number 2

A mission is not easy. If anyone has seen the video, "The Atonement and the Work" by Elder Holland, it is absolutely inspiring for missionaries. He comments on how some missionaries may question, "if our gospel is so glorious and completely true, why aren't there just flocks of people gathering at the font. Shouldn't my only problem be getting hypothermia from standing in the water all day?" As a Brazilian missionary I've sometimes had this same question. The answer he continues, is that because


The Savior, the most perfect missionary to ever live on the Earth was rejected and persecuted. We must sacrifice and suffer just a small token of the price he paid in order to even just barely even begin to comprehend the suffering that he went through. 

Yeah this mission is hard. Is everyday going to be hard? Probably, but I am learning so much about my Savior and His gospel. That token must be paid in order to attain a greater understanding of our Savior and His love for us.

Watch the video, its really good.

There are plenty others, but I don't have enough time to share them...

In other news

-My Christmas was really special and unexpected. 

-This week has been the most difficult for me,  It's the end of June here remember... school just got out and it's heating up. I've never sweated so much in my life.I'm sweating literally 24/7. Sleeping isn't as fun as it used to be.   I take off my name tag and literally wipe the sweat off my face and it's really gross. The mosquitoes also kicked up their game this week. Sleeping has become miserable, I'm figting the battle of heat and mosquitoes. Just in my underwear I'm sweating as is, but if I don't use a blanket I get eaten. I counted this morning and I have a grand total of 54 bites on my body. 12 of which itch like crazy and 4 of them I've made bleed. So its not the most fun. I bought some insect repellent which should help. ( I have the stuff mom sent with me but its applied to things that you are not supposed to touch with your skin. bag, shirts and pants. It requires an entire day out side to dry so I might make a permanent sleeping outfit today... we'll see...)

-Chilly Dana proved her worth this week. Thanks Mom!  [I had to ask about this, I had no idea what or whom he was referencing.  Turns a Chilly Dana out it is a little gem I found at Walmart and sent to him in his Christmas package.}

Cooper in his Chilly Dana.

[I don't know if he wears this out of the apartment, but if he does, I am pretty sure he doesn't wear it like that.  Can you believe that tan?  He had said he was getting some color, but holy cow, he has never, ever been anything but a very light shade of pale. ]

Well.... I love you all!

Have a good New Year!

Elder Siebs

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