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, March 18, 2014

36. Madureira Rio de Janeiro

17 March 2014

Well, I know your probably dying to know about transfers, but I'll make you all suffer and anticipate like I have to when waiting for a transfer call. 

Not much to report about this week. First of all, I learned the more [this is where we start to see his Portuguese sentence structuring kicking in, in English we would say "rest"] of the story about the Bishop that died in this ward 2 years ago, and it's quite tragic. The ward was flourishing (as I picture it) and everyone really loved the Bishop. Until one tragic day, not only did he pass away, he was murdered. yup. At his work he found out some employees were involved in a scheme and so they shut him up for good to make sure he wouldn't spill the beans. His family is still in the ward. It's been two years, but they are such strong members of the church and have incredible testimonies. The mom works like crazy and she as two teenage girls, 16 and 13 to care for. Rough stuff. I cant even imagine what it must of been like. 

So now that thats out of the way. (I just thought that might give some insight on my Ward's history. In Doctrine and Covenants it talks about how the Elders should know a lot about the history of where they are serving, I forget the reference.) 

Anyway the best experience I had this week was Saturday night. The chapel was absolutely flooded with people. The Relief Society had a Stake party to celebrate 172(?) years. The Elders from Bangu held their baptism here because their investigator and all of her friends were attending the party, and to top it off there was a farewell for a Sister missionary. Throughout all of this, Elder M, Bishop and I hung out in the Secretary's office. He was updating the ward list when we found him. I made and left a sheet of less active visits we had mad during this transfer with notes about their situations. (most of them have moved away). We showed him how to use the ward list on LDS.org and the interactive map that puts the members on the map. We settled some strange names that live way outside our ward boundaries. Bishop assigned us over 20 other names on the ward list to update. 

I can imagine when Bishop G was suddenly called to serve as the Bishop (he's from another ward not to mention) he came in with a lot of other things in mind. He didnt know the members, and suddenly he had to replace a beloved one. That is not an easy task. Develop relationships, pick up where everyone left off, get the ward back on track, keeping everyone calm about what happened. We're really starting to hammer down on it now, so that's what matters.

So. What I thought would happen did. Got the call last night that I'll be training. I have to spend my pday at a trainers' meeting and then tomorrow is transfer day. I'll be emailing at strange times today because of all this so just don't even try to predict when I'll be online. I am excited and also frightened.  I learned so much when I was training Elder H, and we've been neglecting our area the past three weeks so it's time to get started again. We have a lot of work to do.

I'll most likely be receiving a Brazilian comp. because I'm still new to the language and because a new rule was instituted by the Church. Any missionary who served for more than 2 months stateside while waiting on a Brazilian Visa will come to the São Paulo MTC for 2 weeks and refresh on the language, then will be sent to their missions. 

Some other notes.

Dad, Austin told me last week that Devin Hester is being released by the Bears. Thats just too bad, but he set the NFL record with them so thats what counts I guess. I'm afraid Bears Hester jerseys will become very expensive here soon, so if you could use my personal funds to get a hold of one before that happens, I would LOVE that! 

Mom, I'm still doing well as health goes. I'm still taking plenty of vitamins and doing exercises in the morning. 

Aunt Shauna- thank you for the Valentines. The chocolate bar was liquid but it was still good!

[I had asked him about any news on the Rio Temple]
The Rio Temple site is set. If will be built on the Barra Tijuca. Right on the beach in a beautiful location. I've also heard that we have a ton of land so I won't be surprised if the foliage is stunning. 

[I also told him about how a member of the Boston Mission Presidency came and spoke to our Ward last Sunday about being more personally involved with the missionaries and making them part of the fabric of our Ward and our home.... his response]

I think as members we've had this idea about the missionaries and how to do the work with them.
"I'll feed them from time to time, when I have someone they can visit I'll give them the name and address, let them know about service opportunities when they come up". That's just the way things have been going.  But now we have been directed with the First Presidency's push to Hasten the Work of Salvation. If we want progress, growth, acceleration, we can't just keep doing the same old things. This applies to both the missionaries and the members. This a new era, and a time for members to be more proactive and creative and using the missionaries in any way that they can to build stronger Wards. It may require you to spend some time thinking about ways to involve them in your life more, it will require you to spend time with them, it will require more. It sounds like everyone is excited about the Sisters in Canton Ward, everyone has been telling me about them so they must be good. Take advantage of the time they are there. Make the Canton Ward a better place for everyone. The missionaries have time, motivation, and are more sanctified from the world to do this type of work. Get going!

When I get home, theres nothing more I want to do than help the Canton Ward in any way I can. My mission has shown me that anybody can reach out, and there is no excuse not to. I'm not a different person then when I left, but I'm talking to new people everyday and reaching out. If I can do it now, what should stop me later? I know the reality of life will most likely set in when I step back into the real world, but I have so much drive right now to do missionary work. I guess the mission does that to you!

Alright I love and miss all of you so much. It's gonna be a wild ride starting this week, but I'm excited. 

Till next time, Elder Siebers

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