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, June 30, 2014

51. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

30 June 2014

Hello Family and Friends

This week was intense. It was just filled with work and teaching, doesnt get any better than that I guess. We literally had a day that was filled with only teaching, all of our appointments held through and we just went from house to house. 

We taught J whom we contacted the week before. When she was a kid her mom was investigating the church and when we stopped by to see her she was curious as to what we do and preach. 

Then we went to an awesome fmaily we contacted last week. E and S have 7 kids!  One of their sons was recently sent to prison and they are clearly affected by it. We sat there for 2 hours just listening about their lives and their struggles. We didnt have enough time to teach them any of the lessons, but we left them with some thoughts and scriptures. They seemed to really like it and trust in us, so the next time were there, I hope we can begin teaching them.  They are a HUGE family! 

Afterwards we went to visit MJ, a member, and her husband M, nonmember. She's a convert of 5 years and since then not one pair of missionaries have been there to teach her husband.(we were looking for a contact asking people on the street and stumbled upon him)  We had an intense lesson, one of the most intense I've ever participated in. We watched the Restoration movie and then asked him a TON of questions. We invited him to be baptized and he said he knows that this is the right church and the right path for him, but he said he's not ready yet. We tried digging deeper to find out what would be holding him back but came out with nothing. 

I was REALLY excited for this Sunday because we had a ton of our investigators say that they were going to come to Church.... when Sunday came around.... no one. I'm not gonna lie I was pretty depressed. But I'm over it now and we just gotta work harder and better with the members to help them to come to church. 

We have SO many investigators right now with sooo many needs.  Everyone one of them is so unique and sometimes its hard to think about all of them :D 

I want to ask you guys to pray for these names this week if you can. It would really help with the work.  I gained a strong testimony of prayer this week. The second day we were here we were eating with a member and when that time came around to ask "is there anything we can do to help?" she said the common  answer "to pray for them". Tons of the members ask us to do so, and I'll be honest, I hadn't been doing what they asked. I learned a few months ago, that praying for members and investigators every day really can make the difference. To return to the story, this member said that her son has been inactive for quite some time now and shes really worried about him. She said something interesting afterwards, she explained how she thinks that when she asks the missionaries to pray they often forget (we do have a lot of things to do). She asked if we really could pray for him. We accepted and my companion and I have been praying ever since. Low and behold he went to Church this week with his mom. God does answer our prayers. It was such a small thing, but I truly believe it made the difference for him. 

Now to the list, its long :D

[So this is the point where I, the mom, and editor of Cooper's blog, have to decide what to do here. He has clearly asked his friends and family to pray by name for each of their investigators that they are teaching. However, I believe in protecting people's privacy, especially in times when they are making important decisions about their future, or when they are going through tough personal things.  Therefore, I am choosing to not put up a list of names.  If you would like to honor his request and have this list of names to pray for, please email me at paula.siebers@comcast.net and I will happily send it to you.] 

We also had an awesome FHE last night. We brought a less active that the Relief Society has been working with. She went to church twice and then has missed these past two Sundays. We had a super emotional FHE with an awesome member family here and she loved it. She said she hasn't cried in years! She is way excited for the next FHE.

Thats all I got for now. I love you guys so much. This week we will meet President Cabral. 

And if your wondering what we do during the Brazil games... we've been playing Settlers of Catan, thanks again Mom! [Setters of Catan: evidence that his birthday box made it to Itaborai!]

[Since we STILL don't have any photos since Cooper moved to his new location, I will have to resort to this photo of him spotted on Sister Colvin's blog.  Thanks Sister Colvin!]

Elder Siebers

Monday, June 23, 2014

50. Itaburai, Rio de Janeiro

23 June 2014

Hello family and friends! I had a great week!


I celebrated 20 years of life by walking in the pouring rain all day and teaching people about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, it doesn't get any better than that! I was kinda hoping for an epic miracle on that day but it was pretty normal. 


This week we had our Zone Conference, which was to be the last with President Lima. The first part of the conference felt normal, like any other conference. Then things took a serious turn at the very end in Presidents final words. He told us the story about how he was called to be a mission president and his experience being called as a 70, he shared with us a powerful testimony that brought half the room to tears. He left us with only two desires for us.


1. To pray everyday that we will be ready to receive our new president, President Cabral, and to be willing to obey all of his councels


2. To not make ANY comparisons between presidents.


He began to tell us that a new chapter was beginning here in Rio, Pres. Limas work was to bring the temple here to Rio, but now its the time to build it. There are going to be changes made here in the mission and he wants us to support everything with an open heart and mind. I'm a bit anxious for these changes, but I'm doing my part and praying everyday to be ready for the upcoming changes. 


On Sunday we only had 1 investigator at church, a small victory, but we currently have 24 investigators, so we really have to do better getting them to church. Last night we had an awesome experience, we sat down and taught 6 brothers, all in their 30s and two of their wives. Everyone was seated and they all were incredibly attentive. My new missionary has a role of leading the lessons and he did an awesome job, they agreed to read the BoM and we scheduled to go back. 


We have a ton of investigators and the Lord is blessing us greatly. I'm doing well, besides the fact I feel like I'm hitting my midlife crisis. My likely return date is June 17th 2015, and I'm starting to freak out that my mission is already coming to an end. Ive been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting out my experiences so far and made some personal goals to get the most out of these next 12 months. Life flies by so fast, and we have to embrace everyday with goals and action. I still have a lot to learn, but I have changed so much and cant wait for this year ahead of me! 


I love you all!


Elder Siebers

Monday, June 16, 2014

49. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

16 June 2014

Hey everyone, 

I hope you all had a good week! I know I sure did. To clarify the odd timing [of his email, usually comes in the morning, didn't come in til late afternoon EST] today, we found out yesterday that our prep day got switched to Tuesday, because that day will be a Brazil game. [The missionaries in the Rio mission do not teach on days Brazil is playing, or days where there is a game in the city of Rio... which is a lot of days.]  On Sunday. with this information in mind we made an appointment early this morning to teach a woman who was a church this week. We later found out that we were to still email today, so sorry about that! 

This morning was quite the experience. I'm currently studying the New Testament and enjoying the stories of the apostle and missionary Paul. I really felt like I had my own mini Paul experience today. This woman lives in a place in Cabuçu, and we had no idea where it is. We knew what bus we had to take and so we went. We left Itaboraí and took off down some winding roads through the rolling Brazilian fields and hills. It felt so nice to be away from the world once again! 

Another photo not from Cooper, but we imagine it may looked like this.  [Google earth]

We got off in Cabuçu about 40 minutes later, called M and she picked us up and took us to her house. We were there for half the day. We didn't have a lunch scheduled with a member because of the pday switch and so she offered to make us lunch. She has almost nothing but offered us her best. She has been investigating the church for most of her life, almost got baptized twice but she wasn't married to her husband then and never overcame her smoking addiction to do so. It was the first time in three years the missionaries stopped by to see her and we had a really good time. We also shared some messages with her neighbors, blessed the sick, and prayed for the families. I got a small Paul like experience which was really impactful. 

We had a good week here in Itaboraí 2. We found a bunch of new people to teach and increased our teaching pool from 4 to 15 in just two weeks. We know some great things are going to happen here shortly! We have some great investigators, we just have to help them come to church, which always seems to be the hardest part. 

In regards to pictures, I know I need to send them.  This place doesn't have wifi and the last time I plugged my camera into a computer it gave it a virus (sorry J and T!)... (I'm pretty sure it picked it up at a LAN house in Madureira).  Anyway, this Saturday during our English classes at the chapel I'll try to send them off!  [Missionaries commonly offer free English classes at the LDS Chapels.]

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Its going to be a calm and hardworking day for me! I love you all so much!

Elder Siebers

Monday, June 9, 2014

48. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

9 June 2014

Hey everyone!

It feels like such a long time since I've sat down to write you all. My world has had a sufficient amount of temporal changes as I left my beloved Madureira and arrived here in Itaboraí! I got the call that I would be training and opening a new area, a task that scared me a bit at first, but I know the Lord is in control. I picked up my new missionary on Tuesday afternoon, Elder S is his name,. He´s from São Paulo and hes a really cool guy. He's probably one of the most down to earth guys I have ever met! He's also a convert of about 5 years and is excited about serving.

We made a horrifying journey with 3 suitcases and 4 bags. We hopped onto a crowded bus and stood uncomfortably for 2 hours. We crossed the Nitiroí bridge which connects Rio and Nitiroí. We watched Pão de Açúcar and Cristo Rendentor fade away as we made our way here. My novinhos (greenie or newbie) suitcase got utterly destroyed during the journey and it was pretty rough. A tip for Qp and Parker, don't bring those suitcases with four wheels...they WILL break. We got to our area which has a decent amount of cobblestone and it tore down my heavier suitcase pretty well... but better than having the wheels come off entirely like my comp.

itaborai 5000m2 site pacheco - plots in Itaboraí images - 02
Coops did not actually send this photo, but according to Google, this horse lives in Itaborai.

Anyway we are living with the Zone Leaders, Elder M and Elder VW, and they are both awesome. They found out the night before that two new missionaries were moving in so they had to move some stuff around with almost no notice. We were down one mattress until Saturday so each of us got to spend a night on a wooden box. It was one of the worst nights of my life. 

This week we got to meet some of the members, we did some service for a couple in the ward who needed help moving. We started to explore our new area which is nothing like Madureira. I left with Elder VW one day to visit our investigators and do the trade off. We didn't have any luck and up until now we've only gotten to meet with one of the four. Talk about bad luck, but we'll continue. Opening an area is not easy, we spent almost all week just walking on random roads, getting to know the area, knocking on doors, doing a bunch of contacts. We picked up about 35 addresses this week so with more time the area will begin to grow and well have a solid teaching pool. 

Sunday we had stake conference and there was a church broadcast for all the stakes in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Elder Ballard and Elder Scott talked.... in Portuguese! It was awesome! Elder Ballard talked about technology and pornography and Elder Scott talked about prayer. 

We had a ward Family Home Evening that night also to help the ward attend a baptism for the Zone Leaders. This is an awesome ward and they all seem really excited to have two more Elders. 

That's all I have for now, I have a ton of emails to reply to and not a lot of time.  Have patience with me as I respond to as many as possible, I love you guys! 

Enjoy the World Cup, on the 12th we've been ordered to stay inside all day!

Elder Siebers

Monday, June 2, 2014

47. Madureira, Rio de Janeiro

2 June 2014

Sorry for the extremely late email today, my world got turned upside down this week! We had an alright week.  Elder j.Silva has been really sick all week and its been kinda a setback. On Sunday night I got the call, I'm being transferred to Itaboraí (Ee-tah-Bore- Ai-ee). Not only that I'm opening a new area and to add on top of that-  I will be training another new Elder. I either have a knack for training or I have a serious thing to learn....I 'll go with that... 

Almost seven months in Madureira

 I haven't heard too much about my area, actually I've heard some conflicting descriptions. My experienced and well aged District Leader (who goes home this week) said that about a year ago it was an exploding area, lots of new people moving there because of a new oil plant. Others said that I will teach a lot of cows, and Elder Evans who did some divisions there, the first word that came out of his mouth was:


... so its going to be quite the shock leaving busy Madureira....

[I seriously love technology and social media.  Being the mother of a missionary in 2014 is different than it was even ten years ago.  Last night a friend of Cooper's in Madureira (who is also friends with me on Facebook) posted a picture of Elders Siebers and Silva and said that he was being transferred.  Through Google Translate we were able to go back and forth a few times and in addition to committing to stay in touch, she was able to tell me Cooper was going to Itaborai.  So last night Scott and I spent an hour on Google Earth looking at street views of this rather small town on the other side of the bay.  I think it's going to be a big change for Cooper.  For my CT locals I would say it looks like going from Manhattan to Goshen CT.  For my Western friends I would say it looks like going from Los Angeles to Hurricane UT.  We found the LDS Chapel in Itaborai and look who was walking down the street!  (see below)]

Google Maps Street View- Gotta love it!

I had to go to a training for the trainers who are finishing with their current trainees and had to stay once more for a meeting for new trainers :/

Pday with 6 hour training.... gotta love that!

Adventures to come!!!! Love you guys!

Elder Siebers