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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

63. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

22 September 2014

Hello family and friends!
This week was pretty decent, I had some fun adventures while on a division ["divisions" are when two companions split for the day and pair up with a different companion] this week in the other half of Itaboraí, which including [this made me laugh, has he forgotten how to conjugate English verbs?] seeing an ostrich, getting swarmed by mosquitoes and teaching some really poor people. 

"I like Acai."

While on division, E Van W and my companion taught X. She has already received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true and we've been trying so hard to help her take the next step on faith. She's having some serious issues letting go of the church and relationships that she has grown to love in her other church. The Elders said they had a super spiritual lesson with her and she accepted to be baptized on the 27th. When Sunday came around she didn't show up, we went to pick her up, no luck and we called her several times with no success... really depressing, but we'll get a hold of her this week and find out what's going on.

In other news, an awesome family from Rio Bonito is helping some people come to church.  It started off as one lady, she brought her friend last week, and the friend brought her mom this week. We went and had an FHE there last night and we taught the restoration. They all are loving the church and expressed that they have fought depression for most of their lives. They heard many people saying [he did it again!] to find a church to help and they never found a place that relieved the pain. They both said that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, they found peace and solace. They finally found a place that relieved them. They accepted a date for the 4th of October, we just need to help them prepare for that day now!

Life is good as for now! Just another week ahead of us, full of walking, learning and teaching!

It's Volleyball pday and rocking my comps HUGE tie!

Love you guys so much!

Elder Siebers

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

62. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

15 September 2014

Hello friends and family,

Man, I get blown away at how fast the weeks are beginning to pass. I'm sitting here again in awe that an entire week passed by since the last time I sat down to write ya´ll. I hope you all had a great week! On another note, it's been fun to slowly change my weekly email addresses of my friends who are leaving for missions.  QP [almost two months in Honduras] and Parker today [left for Mexico]! I'm so excited for all of them! 

This week was pretty good... we ran into some difficulties with X this week, which seems to be an reoccurring pattern with the people that we teach. We helped her recognize that she really did recieve and an answer through the Spirit that these things are true, and she truly believes that they are, but shes having a hard time leaving the church she currently attends. A church that really helped her change her life. It's hard to work with people who have had such spiritual experiences in other places, but we are working with her. We acknowledged that she really did have a true life changing experience with that church and pastor, that it was all in preparation to hear and accept the message of the restoration of the Church of Christ. She really is feeling 50 50 and doesn't want to have to leave the church that has brought her so much happiness over the past two years. We invited her to read Enos, someone else who was desperate for guidance from God and was stubborn in receiving such an answer. She read and prayed and on Sunday had changed ger mind to attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with us, but her Pastor called her and needed her help with some assignment in church, so she went there... We´ll keep working with her, pray that she can make the right choice and following the answer that she has received.

Other than that, life is pretty swell here. The heat is on its way back, I'm starting to feel scorched again at the end of the day, the mosquitoes are swarming, but we are fighting back! 

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

Elder Siebers

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

61. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

8 September 2014

And once again, I'm seated in the same LAN house, with that same relaxing feeling of pday. It's really amazing how fast time flies, and how routine my life has become. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting here writing my last email.

Once again, there were a lot of things that went down this week. But I'll keep it to just a few short highlights.

So grateful for the member families that feed our missionaries.  Four at a time!

X [In order to protect people's privacy, I am moving away from an initial to a simple X for female and Y for male, Note that there will likely be multiple X and Y in each letter and they may or may not be the same person.] is progressing really well. I can't believe that just two weeks ago we talked to her on the interphone and she said we could come back and teach her. She went to church this week and she enjoyed it. We are going to continue working with her this week to prepare her for the 20th, but things are going swimmingly as of now. Keep her in her prayers! 

This weeks highlight was last night. When we came to Itaboraí back in June, opening the area, the other Elders told us about the people they were teaching and passed them to us, which can sometimes be a difficult process. It took a while but we finally got to teach X and Y.   X is a member of the church who was  recently returned to Church and Y is a strict Catholic who has read a lot of anti things about the Church, but had been coming to Ala Itaboraí [Ward/congregation] recently. We had a dinner last night there and then taught them about the love our Father in Heaven has for us. Y has been pounded for some time now [from prior missionaries I imagine] about the Restoration and, because it was our first visit with him, we didn't want to approach him with all the Restoration importance again. Our priority is to help him feel the Spirit, when that happens he will be more open to us and open to accepting the message. We watched a video and it instantly brought the Spirit into the room. We discussed some of the things in the video and starting asking X and Y some questions. 

The following was probably one of the most heartbreaking things I've witnessed out here.  After talking about the love our Heavenly Father has for us:

Elder S.,  "X, besides God, Christ and the Gospel, what is the most important thing in you life?"

X in tears "My husband. I love him so much that I can't imagine not being together with him,  and being married after we pass away. It pains me that he believes that this isn't possible."

We let the Spirit work and let Y reflect on that for a few minutes. 

Elder S., "Y, besides God, Christ and the Gospel, what is the most important thing in your life?"

After some time, and with a low, choaked up voice:

Y said, "My family and my wife......... more silence passes................I just believe that after this life we all will live, but only as brothers and sisters. and I cant get myself to believe in anything else than this"

It was heavy. The Spirit was strong. the love between them was evident. The disagreement in faith overbearing for all of us. 

We wrapped up the lesson, inviting him to REALLY ask our Father in faith, with desire to know the truth, without doubt, whether possible or not. 

We'll head back there this week to see how it goes.

Being a missionary is such a blessing, I love this work. With everyday that passes, I feel the subtle changes in my heart, desires, and behaviors. I feel the calling of being a servant of Christ bestowed upon me. I witness others come close to our Savior, and that's what makes this sacrifice worth it. 

I love you guys so much, And hope you all have a great week!

Elder Siebers

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

60. Itaborai, Rio de Janeiro

1 September 2014

Hey everyone, I hope you all had a great week! I'll keep my message rather short today because I'm already low on time! 

We had a lot of ups and downs this week, but one of the highlights this week, was our experience with a new family. We've been knocking on doors of this one road for the past few weeks now and it never seems to fail us. Almost all of our current investigators live on the same road these days! We stopped at this one house, all the houses here in Brazil have a gate in front. and in this case the house wasn't visible because of the nice brick wall they have in front of their house. We hit the intercom and we talked to the mom about visiting another day to share a message. That was on Monday. Tuesday we came back and met the mom, her daughter in law, and her son. They loved the message of the restoration so much that they wanted us to come back as soon as possible. We came by on Thursday and taught the Gospel of Christ and invited them all to baptism. They all accepted and are really excited to learn more about the church and the Book of Mormon. The mom told us that she read the chapter we left her that very first night we were there and felt the Spirit so strongly. She prayed and recieved a clear answer that the Book of Mormon is true. The mom also testified to the rest of the family what had happened. She said she really loved the message we shared and that she actually has interest for the first time to read from the scriptures. She said that our message was really real, and that we don't force people to see what we see. 

I love all of you so much, and please keep this family in your prayers.

Elder Siebers