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, August 25, 2014

59. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

25 August 2014

Hey everyone! 

Another week has just come and gone here in Itaboraí. Most notably the weather took a drastic change. Last week we were enjoying nice 65-70 degree days and it shot up to about the 90s all week. Summer is on its way back and I'm not looking forward to it, but just one more time!

This week wasn't too bad, but wasn't too exciting either.  We have been working with one person since the beginning of June and its been a roller coaster ride. Last week she had told us that she didn't have any desire to go to church and still was full of doubts about things she saw at church. We passed by there Tuesday and she said that she had prayed and was going to church this Sunday. We finally thought that she had received a sure answer and was set on going. Sunday came around, we went there to pick her up and she didn't want to go anymore. Well keep fighting but it's been a brutal two sided fight since day one.

We have some solid investigators who are progressing right now, C and E who we found knocking doors two weeks ago. They already had some contact with the missionaries in the past and have always been curious the learn about the church. They are coming a long great and the next step is to help them come to church.We also found Cx knocking on her door and she is great. Of all the investigators I have ever taught she really understands the message we bring and is full of great questions. She is very intelligent and understands that to receive and answer from God about the truthfullness of the restoration she needs to exercise faith in the Book of Mormon and in the message we share. She is reading a ton and we are so excited for her. This week we had to field one of the most difficult questions with an investigator. Upon learning that the authority to baptize had been restored, and is found today in the Church of Christ, she asked, 

"I was baptized my immersion and I truly felt like it played a role in my conversion to the gospel of Christ,.... are you guys saying that my baptism was invalid?" 

We asked her about her baptism and asked about how it had changed her life. Baptism is an ordinance we do to show our Heavenly Father that we have had a change of heart, and have desire to follow him. Baptism doesn't save our souls if we truly are converted to the gospel. We affirmed that she fulfilled with many of the steps of baptism; immersion in water, a true desire to follow Christ, and a devoted life to the Gospel of Christ. Those things WERE real. We explained [priesthood] authority and one more step to baptism, that she could fulfill. She understood really well and I think she felt like the Savior knew she was doing her best with the knowledge that she had. That what she did in faith, was real. Now she has more knowledge and she will be accountable for the new information about the priesthood that she has received.

She understood and we continued!

It was a great week here in Itaboraí. In other news both me and my companion are staying here for one more [transfer]! Elder VW is also staying here, which is crazy because after this transfer he will have 9 months in this area...

I love all you guys! Have a great week! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

58. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

18 August 2014

Another week flies by, and we sure had a good one. We really worked hard this week to find new people to teach because our teaching group was leading to much disappointment. Some of our best investigators have fallen through this week. J doesn't believe in tithing and doesn't believe that the leaders of the church don't receive any of that money for themselves. We taught her the comandment of tithing, the need to make sacrifices in this life and that not one cent of sacred tithing goes to the leaders of the church. The churches here in Brazil are really corrupt with tithing and the people find it hard to believe that tithing is actually used the way it should be. 

S has been advised by her family members that the missionaries of the church are anti christs. We had an intense lesson with her, covering the restoration and the purpose of the Book of Mormon in our conversion, and the need to pray and receive and answer from God to know if the message is true. 

To sum it up, we really needed to find some new people this week. We chose a road and started knocking doors. We were recieved really well and we found a bunch of new people to teach this week. Several which accepted to prepare themselves for the 13th of September to be baptized! We are going to have to work really hard these next few weeks to help these people recognize the promptings of the Spirit while they read and pray.

We had a great week and we hope it will only get better. 

Next Monday will be transfers, President Cabral has switched all transfers to be on Mondays now, so if I get transferred, I could be emailing late on Monday and possibly even Tuesday. 

I really do love all you guys so much. I'm doing well, healthy, and the weather is perfect these days so I can't complain too much. We are working really hard, and I'm exhausted. But this is the best thing I have ever done in my life. 

Elder Siebers

Saturday, August 16, 2014

57. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

11 August 2014

Hello everyone, I hope everyone is enjoying their summers. I'm enjoying the super cool weather here these days which has been a blessing! 

I'm going to have to leave a short note with you all today. This week was absolutely one of the roughest weeks I've had in a long time. We had a TON of appointments fall though this week which really hurt the progress of our investigators.This week really hurt, but we gotta dust off and head back to work today. We can't let it get to us. We just gotta work a lot harder and pray more often. Our plan is to find new investigators this week, doing whatever it takes to get some new people to church this Sunday. It's hard to have failures when you feel like you are trying more than you ever have, when you are praying more then you ever have...but it happens. Can't do anything about the agency of others. 

In other EXCELLENT news, Elder J.Silva sent me a photo this week of Juniors little brother getting baptized. I'm so proud of him! 

Hope you all have a great week! Love you guys!
Elder Siebers

56. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

4 August 2014

Hey everyone, well another week as flown by here in Itaboraí. The highlight of this week were our interviews with our new President. He is a very powerful leader and influential, and our interview has expanded my vision. He helped me develop more faith within the time of 20 minutes, and I walked out of there with more desire, motivation, goals and faith to get more done with what liitle time I have being a missionary. 

We continued to work with J this week and she is coming along perfectly. She is keeping all the commitements, her faith is growing and shes making sacrifices to come to church. She came to church yesterday and we also had a Ward FHE which she attended. The sisters of the ward love her and are taking her in so lovingly! 

I sent some photos this week, we had to pick up lunch from a member who doesnt live in our area. (the area of the other elders). We had never been there and we got super lost in the middle of nowhere. But me and my companion love adventure so we just had a good time taking photos of huge animal bones

This week I also finished the New Testament which I started a few months back. Its been a privilege to really sit down for the first time in my life and study the scriptures so thoroughly. I truly enjoyed my study and learned A LOT about the life and mission of our Savior Jesus Christ. I also really enjoyed learning about the early church and the history after the death of the Savior. All comes into perspective when we understand that Christ established his church with a Prophet, Apostles, Authority and his pure gospel. Shortly after his death and the death of the apostles, the established church and wards quickly fell into all sorts of apostasy. That very church which Christ established has been restored for one final time in this dispensation and we have to privilege to be members of it. 

I love the scriptures. I have a firm testimony of them, and those that want to know where the truth lies, they can turn to them for answers. True study brings about true answers. 

I love you all, and hope you all have a great week!
Elder Siebers

Sunday, August 3, 2014

55. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

28 July 2014

Hey everyone! Just another week of hard work here in Itaboraí. I have no complaints, we have a great teaching pool, great members, and a great companion! This week went well, we had hoped to mark baptismal dates with those that went to church this week but it didn't turn out how I wanted, but we still had some great progress with them.

We visited one woman with a Sister of the ward and we had an incredible lesson. When we began with S she really wanted us to focus on her kids. She didn't really catch the idea that we were also there to teach her as well. She has already started three churches herself, been a missionary for another faith, and she finally opened up to us telling us that she was tired of false churches. She's tired of working for churches that are from Satan (her words, not mine). We were there for a long time helping her understand that the Church of Jesus Christ was truly restored, we taught her how she can know for herself. She said she saw two angels with trumpets in the chapel last sunday during the sacrament. She said she would be at church this week, but didn't show up. Something must have happened... were going there tomorrow.

In other news we also had a big learning moment with another woman whose been going to the church for an entire year now and hasn't agreed to be baptized. I asked her if she could tell us what she knows of Joseph Smith and the Restoration, and she said she didn't know anything. She says she has a bad mind and can't learn things very well. If she doesn't know about these things, how can she understand that this is the truth on the earth today? Good question. We will start from the beginning with her, and focus on her feelings. It will be through her feelings that she will know that this truly is the true church.

On the most exciting note, we had an incredible Sunday. In my mission I've come to understand that there are certain types of investigators. There always comes a certain conformation when you know someone is really understanding, keeping the commitments, and preparing to be baptized. They start opening up to us more, then find more time to receive us. Someone who told us that could only meet on Saturdays is suddenly open on Sundays and Wednesdays as well. These things start to happen when they have that thirst to learn more about Christ and to follow his example.

J came to church all by herself this week. The sisters of the ward love her and are receiving her with much love. On sunday we marked with two sisters to teach her about 4:00. We had a marked lunch in Rio Bonito which is far away and we weren't able to return in time. The two sisters, who were doing their visting teaching, went there just to get to know her better. We got there around 5, right as they were leaving, and we went right into teaching the restoration. She accepted a date for the 16th of august. it was a great lesson and she believes in everything that she is being taught. She has visited a ton of churches trying to find a church that agrees with her beliefs and study of the bible and gave up. After the lesson we left for an hour to work and then came back and brought her to a family home evening with other member, who are practically neighbors. It was great. She is so prepared and I'm so happy we were guided by the spirit to find her. On Sunday she spent 3 hours at church, 1 hour with two visiting teachers, 1 hour with us, and 2 hours at FHE. Those who have real thirst, find time, and make sacrifices to quench it.

I love all of you guys so much! Have a great week, I know I will!

Elder Siebers