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 1, 2015

99. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

1 June 2015

Good morning family and friends, 

So this week was my official last week as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was an incredible week and one that I'll never forget. We helped a sister move in the rain, weeded an entire yard, said goodbyes to many beloved investigators and members, and had some incredible progress with our investigators. 

The most memorable experience from this week was Sunday. It was a normal meeting all the way through. Bishop was the final speaker and at the end of his talk he invited Elder Evans and I to the front to share our testimonies. If you weren't there you missed the two of us get teary eyed :D Then afterwards, just about every single ward member came and gave us a hug and wished us well on in our travels. An Irmão got about 40 members together for  a "Till we Meet" chorus. Hugs were had, presents were given, tears were shed, and it really put the capstone on my time here in Rio das Ostras. 

There's so much to be told still, and many stories that will come up here in the next few weeks, I'm so excited to see you guys this week!!!!! See you real soon!!!

Elder Siebers

Monday, May 25, 2015

98. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

25 May 2015

Hey everyone, sorry for the late start this morning, weve kinda had a crazy week and today began in a search for a decent new LAN House to send emails. I realize I didnt send updates from last week, so I'll give some highlights real fast, even though two weeks ago already seems in the distant past....

I believe I sent a photo from the _____baptism. He was a another great story. I´ll sum it up. He appeared out of no where at church three weeks ago and we began teaching him that very week. Turns out his father has been a member for a very long time, well had been, anyways, he is 19 years old, just had his first child and recently he separated from his wife. He's going through an incredibly tough time. He remembered the church that his father participated and searched it out that Sunday. He was completely ready to receive the gospel and needs it so much durng this trying period of his life. The father lives here as well, we already met and talked with him. He knows he needs to come back but he needs to get some things back in order first. He was part of the bishopric after all... kinda a crazy story to be told later :D

So that was one major miracle, but it gets even better...

We also worked hard this week to prepare _______for her baptism yesterday. Sh'es the grandaughter of _____, and we´re currently teaching the entire family. I love them so much and they have literally become family to us. 

So that makes two huge miracles from this week. The third was the most impressive if you ask me.  We met ___ while we were teaching ___ and on one day we gave a brief introduction to our work, purpose as missionaries and the church in general. We invited her to participate and she kindly refused. She stated that she participates in [another church] and is content. We of course accepted her choice. 

About 2 weeks later I get a phone call from ___ and out of no where she had this immense desire to be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We RAN there immediately and began teaching all the lessons. She accepted everything we taught and expressed much of her complaints with her previous affiliation.  She also expressed her difficulty in changing over 17 years. While in the lesson she looked at us and said

"I dont want to be baptized on satuday... " We just looked at her with a sad look...

"I want to be baptized before" And we marked the day for the following day which was wednesday :D

I'm sorry the story isnt all nicely written, I'm typing as fast as I can to get everything in!

So this week was jsut overall... INTENSE. We were running around all week teaching, interviewing and we also had a move this week.... except this time it was our own.

So we moved. We have a new apartment, even further from our area. its on the top floor, 5th, and has an incredible view of the neighborhood and surrounding mountains. I'll send pics someday,,, or when I'm at home :D

Cleaning an old missionary house was NASTY, and we're still not done, we'll have to spend several hours to finish off the job this week. 

So thats pretty much the scoop on things. It still hasn't hit me that I'm coming home so soon, I'm just doing what I've always done. I think the best way to really take adventage of this last week is to just keep working. There are several appointments we made this week to visit beloved members and recent converts, it's going to be a great last week. 

The members this Sunday threw a churrasco for me which was AWESOME!

I love you all so much, and can't wait to see ya'll soon!

Elder Siebers

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

97. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

18 May 2015

[Well friends, this is what it has come to.  Cooper usually sends us a numbered update for the blog and then answers our personal emails as his time allows.  This week.  No numbered update.  I am not quite sure what to think of that.  How do you run this two year long marathon and then skip a checkpoint in the last quarter mile?  But we do know he is alive and well as I received the following from him personally.  -Oh, and Scott saw three charges on his card for McDonalds later that day. Clearly he has not lost sight of all that is important.]

So I'm pretty sure "trunky" came around as in packing your trunk or I guess suitcase. Something like that and it stuck. Trunky is that feeing of packing the suitcase and going home.

Still coughing, thinking today that it will never go away. I'm fine though, the fever has passed.

I watched riley's performance. It was incredible in video, I cant wait to actually see her live. She's amazing! What are her actual plans with all this?

So many things I want to comment on, but I remember that in two weeks we'll be able to talk about them in person so i'll just hold on  a bit longer! :D

[And so I give you- "Riley's performance"]

Monday, May 11, 2015

96. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

10 May 2015

[We had a fantastic LONG skype talk with Cooper yesterday!  Though suffering from a cold he seemed better than ever.  We discussed his re-entry desires- which include "no big parties, but lots of chicken pockets".  There are two companionships in this ward, so there are four of them in the apartment, at this last transfer, a friend from the MTC district- Elder Evans was assigned to Rio das Ostras, so they are now living together.  They arrived in Rio together back in November 2013, and in just over three weeks, they will fly to Atlanta together on their journey home. He seemed very excited to enjoy the last three weeks of his mission.  I can't believe we are this close!]

The final chapter began this week, and it certainly was written up quite poetic-ly. E. Evans made his epic return to Rio das Ostras. We came on the same flight from the States to Brazil, now we are going to finish the mission in the same area  and same house and then were gonna book it off on the same flight home. Nice ending.

The week was pretty difficult overall. I ended up catching a fever midweek and I managed to walk and visit some people but I just wasn't capable of working and teaching effectively so I did get some bed time in so I could recover quicker. 

We had some CRAZY experiences this week which will need further explanation here in a few weeks. Remind me to tell you guys about the time we taught ....

Strange email this week.... but the highlgiht was really talking to the family this week. I love you guys so much, and can't wait to see you all real soon!

Elder Siebers

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

95. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

5 May 2015


Wow. Where do I even begin with such an epic week? I´ll have to be brief about everything to be able to give a good summary of this weeks events. 

This week was our week in Trio, We dropped E. Hamilton off in Rio and spent the entire day traveling (Tuesday) We got back to work Wednesday covering the entire city of Rio das Ostras, covering all of our own investigators and those of Elder L. It was fun to be able to teach some of my friends from the English class. We had an incredible lesson with a woman named X from the English class. She is coming to church and this week heard about baptisms for the dead and was left very doubtful. We went to visit her and she asked us to explain for about it from the Bible. We gladly did so and she began to weep and explained how she didn't believe we were going to be able to show her. She began talking about the implication it would have in her life and of those she loves if it were a true doctrine. 

We worked until Saturday when we were to receive the phone call about transfers. nothing. We went to church not knowing about the transfer at all. We had so many of our investigators there , (mostly from the English class). We got the phone call finally at 6:20 in the evening that only Elder L was transferred. We left Rio das Ostras at 8 pm and arrived in Rio at midnight. We went to the support house (where missionaries from a far spend the night) and no one was there. I. love. adventure. So that's how we found ourselves in Rio Cumprido, a super dangerous part of Rio :D at midnight, stranded. Luckily there is another missionary house nearby, we got things figured out quickly and grabbed a taxi to Botafogo to spend the night. 20 missionaries in one house, 10 mattresses in total, I spent an awful night on the floor. 

Transfer meeting was yesterday bright and early. Junior from Madureira was there, and we talked for a good while about the ward.  Elder Evans is returning to Rio das Ostras (I took his place when I arrived here) and its going to be a great last 4 weeks! We had Famly home evening with Y (whom Elder Evans baptized) and his wife X and another family they are helping to get to know the gospel. He freaked out when Elder Evans appeared. It was AWESOME!!! 

Today is Tuesday. Its downpouring here. We are going to visit M and F to help them continue to grow and learn everything they possibly can. Then some other investigators we have in our teaching pool for the rest of the day. 

Mothers day arrived so quickly, I hadn't even realized that it was so near. We haven't really made plans yet because of all the transfer drama. I'm sorry i don't have any information as of now. It will most likely be after we have lunch on Sunday, 2:00-3:30 ish, also depending if we have to do it one at a time and so on. When I get better details, I'll send an email through the camera, with the time. (I'll try) If any problems, I log onto Skype through Facebook, I'll send a message to you guys and well figure it out on the spot. Just have FB open to be ready.

I love you guys soooo much!!!!!!!
Elder Siebers

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

94. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

27 April 2015

Good Morning everyone! I´ll be honest with you all. I feel like the last leaf on the tree,  being beaten by the wind, holding on while the winter approaches. I'm tired, beat, but this week, the sacrifices make it all worth it. The Lord truly prepares people to receive the gospel. X and Y were so open to the gospel. They felt the spirit with each passing day, didnt deny it and make the commitment with God to follow him. It doesnt get any better than that for a missionary. They already are excited to go to the temple next year. I told them I´ll try my best to be there. I look at their two your old daughter  and see a bright future. One where she will grow up with loving parents, and the gospel to orient her life. 

Last night I met the sister of one of our investigators, 15 years old and is living with a 23 year old man. Its those types of things that leave me reflecting deeply on the cruelty the world has to offer. When I was 15, I was still a child, played video games, sports, and messed around. Imagine having your innocent childhood taken away from you at such a young age. Thats not something you can get back. 

That's why when i see little X2, my heart swells that things will be entirely different for her. Her dad said to us, "I just want to be the best father for her that I can be" and now he has truth to become. 

My time has passed. It will be nice when we can talk without time restrictions :D

I love you all so much!

Elder Siebers

Thursday, April 23, 2015

93. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

21 April 2015

[In case you missed the facebook announcement- Elder Siebers comes home on Saturday June 6th!]

I'm currently seated in Carlos and Ritas home. We are going to feast on churracso here in a bit and I'm stoked! 

In other news, X, the mcdonalds employee and her two daughters were baptized this Saturday. That will always make for a legendary story. The ward is openly receiving all new faces into the ward and the word here is impressive. 

So we've been struggling to have our investigator progress, we've been working hard and God has blessed us with a new family. 

Maybe you will all remember a few weeks ago we met two families from Bahia and they invited us in to share a message. Well we lost contact with X and Ye after that and then last week they appeared at church. We went and taught them Wednesday, they like it so much we returned Thursday and Friday, they are reading for the Book of Mormon each day and are on board for their baptism this Saturday. Another great couple. They have an adorable 2 year old daughter. I'll send some photos this week. 

I love you all so much, off to eat  some churrasco!

Elder Siebers

P.S. just got done eating. They're the type of people who just keep piling food onto your plate. Everyone is stuffed with roasted sausage, beef, ribs, vinagrete, farofa, garlic bread, and roasted buffalo cheese.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

92. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

12 April 2015

Comfort. I guess it's what we unconsciously feel when we´ve settled into a predictable routine. It's when life is easy, things are going swimmingly, there are few surprises. It's a good feeling, but I also think its something that interferes with our progression. New experiences and changes can bring new enlightenment. 

Wednesday, 1:00 P.M. Elder R and I had just finished eating lunch at home, the member wasn't going to be home so she left us with some cash. We were preparing to leave and we had an awesome day planned. The phone rings. Elder K, our zone leader, asks us how we are doing, how the day is going and then continues, "Are you guys close to home?"  Luckily this very moment we were home. "Elder R, pack your bags, your being transferred." 

That was the shock that came this week. Because of an incident, not any missionary's fault we had to have an emergency transfer. We spent the entire day traveling, finishing up some last minute things for Elder R. 

My new comp is Elder F. L. from Recife.  He's a new missionary with roughly 5 months. He's been in the zone ever since I arrived so we already kinda new each other. He's a great guy, hilarious and we share tons of interests. He break dances so I´m going to have take advantage of that! Although, I tried to mimic a move of his and I tweaked my knee pretty bad... not pretty, but only 7 more weeks :D

That brings me to my next point. Do I have dental and doctor appointments marked, because I need to get myself checked out...

Returning to my original subject. Saying goodbye to Elder R was difficult. We had incredible rhythm, we knew each other so well, so many experiences we've passed through. I love that guy. 

But I'm with a new missionary who is teaching me new things each day. change is good. 

We had some incredible miracles this Sunday, including a mother and son whom entered the church just out of curiosity and stayed. We also had a family that we lost contact with about a month ago suddenly reappear at church. The english class is providing new people to teach each week and we had a new AWESOME couple from the ward be called as ward missionaries (that couple I mentioned that lived in CT. They are like my parents here! ) They have awesome awesome ideas, so I'm stoked!!!

I love you all so much, I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather! 

Elder Siebers

Monday, April 6, 2015

91. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

6 April 2015

Hey everyone, I hope you all had a nice Easter weekend. Sorry for the late letter, we decided to get up and take a stroll to some beautiful sites in Rio das Ostras, I'll have to send the photos via camera a bit later! 

So it was another difficult week, me and my companion are struggling to get one of our investigators to progress.  I can always feel when someone has true desire and is willing to make sacrifices. I can see it in their eyes. I can see it in the way they speak with us.

Although we don't have too much going on for us, I'm still overly excited for X, the lady from McDonalds.  She went to General Conference this week with her 3 kids and is on board for baptism this Saturday. I'm literally freaking out!

Some other highlights from this week,

I participated in the ordinance of the giving of the Holy Ghost for an 8 year old kid from the ward. I can't deny the feeling I get each time the Priesthood Authority is manifested through me. It's always one more conformation that the Priesthood of God is more than real. 

We ran into Guto from Alcantara once more as he travels from chapel to chapel working with chapel maintainance. He informed us that Y spoke in Sacrament meeting this past Sunday! yes.

So General Conference got off to a rocky start. We got informed that the conference would be broadcast to our local chapel which I thought strange since it isn't the stake center, but the bishop said it was all going to work out and they do it every year. So Saturday we are arriving at the church about noon to eat our lunch and we get a call from the bishop asking us to set up the entire thing.... he wasn't going to show up... so we quickly snagged the computer from the secretary's office and got the whole things armed. We had about 15 in attendance but the entire time it was freezing and most of the members left after almost 2 hours had passed and we only had listened to the first two talks...
The second session got better, 2 hours of conference in 3 hours :D

Sunday we had another member bring a laptop and we got much better reception and watched the sessions without flaw. So I watched all the sessions in Portuguese but then I downloaded some of the most intriguing talks and listened to them this morning in personal study. I was a big fan of President Uchtdorf"s talks, as always, and Elder Balllard had a killer talk for returned missionaries in the Priesthood session.

Good week. 
So many other stories to be told but this will have to suffice for now...
I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Monday, March 30, 2015

90. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

30 March 2015

So this week was good, but also really disappointing... we had tons of great appointments set up that managed to fall through. We did have some great lessons but we don't really have anyone that is truly progressing towards baptism... The good news is the english class is thriving!!!! We had to expand our classroom and we had incredible fruits, they all live in the other area which is a shame, but I'm happy either way, we're all on the same team right?

the "Team"

There was a mother and daughter from the english class that went to church.  There was X, his wife and her mother, whom talked to me at the post office who went to church. There was Y and her three kids who we met at McDonalds whom went to church again and are on date to be baptized April 11th!!!!   That's 8 people, whom we found but belong to the other area :DDDD  So happy though! 

In total the other companionship had 13 investigators at church (incredible!!! ) and we had two.  But we'll count our blessings :D This ward is outstanding, we are going through an epic age of growth. Bishop is focused on expanding our smaller chapel and the stake encouraged him to have an attendance of 170 to do so. I've been here for 3 months and in this time to attendance has raised constantly each week, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160 last week and we hit a new record, 168 this week. massive ward!!! The members are working, we're reactivating and bringing new people each week,... it cant get any better that this!!! 

Just working :D

I love you guys so much!!!!

Elder Siebers

Monday, March 23, 2015

89. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

23 March 2015

Hey everyone, sorry if it seemed like I had been transferred seeing as I didn't enter this morning. [Cooper usually emails in the morning, except on the Mondays when he gets transferred, then we don't hear from him until late Monday or even Tuesday.  So I was starting to wonder.] We went to the LAN House and the system was entirely shut down and the man told us to return after lunch. So here´s the news. It seems President is serious about this whole 6 month in each area thing, and all four of us are staying here in Rio das Ostras! In the entire zone, only 2 of 14 elders were transferred. Times are changing!

I'm excited to be staying, seeing as we have some incredible potential for this transfer! 

So this week was pretty interesting. I just wanted to recap one of the most incredible days I have ever had. Tuesday was a pretty normal day, the sun was shining, we left home with some plans for the day as well as some errands to run. It seemed just like any other day, but for some reason everyone wanted to talk to us for some reason. We probably had about 10 different moments where someone stopped us on the street to know who we were, what we do, or if we could give money :/ I caved in two Phillipiane girls who wanted a church donation, whom didn't even speak portuguese and spoke in broken english to us. But those weren't even the highlights. We had to run to the post office, and we were a bit unsure about it because there's always a huge line and it takes about an hour to get in and out of there, we decided to go. In that hour, a man talked to my comp while in line and marked a day to teach him, a young woman and her uncle asked me about the Book of Mormon while I stood by the exit and she asked how much it costs. We went straight to her home after the post office and shared the restoration and wow it was a lesson. Smart people, with good questions, we´ll see where it goes. Also in the post office and older gentleman asked me about the English class and went this week!!! 

That doesn't even top the day off. So get this, (you guys are gonna loved this story, its almost too good to be true) That night we were kinda hungry and McDonalds has a new promotion for a triple bacon burger for 6, 50 reias, roughy 2.50. So yeah we went and we were joking on the way there that it would be funny if someone stopped to talk to us in McDonalds. We ordered, sat down and ate, and on our way out while throwing out the trash and employee started talking to us. She moved from Bahia a few weeks ago, has a relative in the church, and is looking for a church for her three young children to grow up in...... yep. So, unfortunely she lives in the other elders area, but they are teaching her and she went to church this Sunday!!!! YEEEEESS! We may or may not pass by McDonalds this week just to followup with her and give her some extra support! :D Miracles do happen :D

So that's all for now really

Love you all, 

Elder Siebers

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

88. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

16 March 2015

Well everyone, things just cant get any better right now! This week was almost completly focused on the getting X and her grandson prepared for their baptism saturday. We spent the week visiting members and planning the baptismal meeting. Saturday came around faster than usual and overall the baptism was a great success! We had in attendance about 35 people including members, nonmember family and friends of X, whom we will be looking to teach this week, and some other investigators from Rio das Ostras 2. We also had someone from the English Class show up which was awesome!!!! She was so prepared and needed the gospel in her life at this time, she has more hope for the future, her soul has been calmed. 

So early this week, I finally received what we call "Ligação da Morte" (death phone call), Elder G. Morales asked me which airport I would like to arrive at. Bradley International Airport was the response. Elder G.Morales also just left from Madureira and informed me on some interesting news. Apparently the are reforming the Stake,  the ward mission leader is currently serving as bishop of three combined wards for the time being. 

And Even better news!!!! My good friend is now Elders Quorum President and he and his wife are booked for the next carpool to the temple to be sealed.

I'm as happy as a clam.

I love you all so much! Hope ya´ll have a great week!

Elder Siebers

Sunday, March 15, 2015

87. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

9 March 2015

Well, I´ll call that a week! 

This week was INCREDIBLE. I´ll start by briefly mentioning an incredible multi zone conference we had in Macaé this week with President Cabral. I wont have time to go into detail about all that was said, but President Cabral is one of the most incredible, driven, and largest visionaries I have ever met. He doesn't have a limit, he just wants us to do more and more, and its quite inspiring. He´s pushing the entire mission to new limits and to new potentials and we are having more results than ever! We immediately put into application some of the techniques that were taught there and we had incredible results this week. We began to invite EVERYONE we possibly could to church this week and followup constantly until they fulfilled with their commitments. This Sunday, X, her grandson (whom are going to be baptized this Saturday), X2 (my first student from our english class), X3, Y and X4 (whom we met for this first time this week) X5, Y2 and X6 all came to church. We had ever more people confirmed to be there, but some didn't make it! The chapel was exploding with new faces, especially since the other companionship had 6 more as well! 

Update on our english class. When I arrived here during the holiday season, we had one student. She came the first 2 or 3 weeks alone, and we had a good time learning! Then the class started to grow each and every week until this week we hit 20! We made plans with a member here who lived in the states and teaches english and she's gonna run to course now so that the switch in missionaries doesn't hault the course like in the past. Also that we could better get the members involved! 

Miracle from the week. We were searching for a referral we received this week. A partially drunken man on the road asks if we are 'the mormons'. Yes we are. And he promptly invited us into his home where we proceeded to teach two families from Bahia. They both moved here recently and have always wanted to know more about the church. We dropped a summary of the Restoration and invited them to church this Sunday. They said they would go, but didn't come. I felt sincere desire though, so i know they'll be there this week around! 

So yeah, that's about it for this week. One more in the books. Its gonna be another great week here! Hope it is for ya´ll as well.

Elder Siebers

P.S President has received instruction from Thomas S. Monson that missionaries should stay in there areas for at least 5-6 months. Finally that has been in place after hearing it almost two years ago from E. Anderson in Gilbert. I may finish my time in Rio das Ostras, that would be a dream come true!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

86. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

2 March 2015

Good morning everyone. I am doing well. Today we woke up to a clouded sky, which always makes me grateful that today I won't be as sun scorched as usual. 

We had a busy week. We are working a ton in an area called Aquarius, which is about 30 minutes by bus away from the chapel. We are teaching several progressing investigators, we received a good amount of referrals there as well, so weve been heading there almost every day these days. We are so excited about several investigators that are on date and keeping commintments. We were so excited for this week because X and Y were on board for this Saturday, but neither of them were able to come to church this week, so well have to remark them for the next week and see where they are at this week. 

We had a great lesson with Y2 this week. We had planned a specific lesson to help her with a question she has about being rebaptized for the third time, but as we began the lesson she opened up for the first time and began talling us about several spiritual experiences she has had recently. She is dating an returned missionary, they went to visit his uncle, a patriarch, in January and she received a blessing from him. She explained how she is seeing the promises of that blessing being fulfilled and add in some recent prayers being answered. She accpeted a baptismal date for the end of March and it was a great lesson. 

This week ahead, it appears we will have another Zone Conference in Macaé and Elder Aidukaitus will be present. Im pumped

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

Elder Siebers

Monday, February 23, 2015

85. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

23 February 2015

Good morning everyone! 

Another solid week has come and gone here in Rio das Ostras. We spent Monday- Wednesday in quarantine, which isn't so bad when we have Settlers of Catan. We went back to work full time on Thursday, the carnaval festivities had quieted down but those who came to celebrate often stay until the end of the week, so it was still crowded with beach goers. 

Alas, we continued to work and we had some great success this week! 

Here are some updates on the people we are teaching. 

We have been working with Y for a while now. She stopped us on the street and asked if we could say a prayer for her and her family. Weve been visiting several times a week now and she was all excited to make her first visit at church and she was planning on going to X's baptism to see how it goes. She backed out of them both because a friend of hers started telling her lies about the church and the baptismal ordinance. She became scared and didnt go. This week we returned and cleared up those rumors and she came to church this Sunday. She loved it and we´re heading back this week to follow up. 

Y2  is another  woman whom we found through a referral from a member from Espirito Santo who passed by here to visit. Weve also been teaching her for a while now but she finally was able to come to church this week and also had a great experience. She's going to attend the baptism of her nephew in Espirito Santo in two weekends from now so we´re trying to see if we can hold her baptism beforehand. She really believes this is the true church and is excited to become part! 

We are also teaching Y3, it's been several weeks since we've been able to teach her and we just got back on board with things after the festival season and she also recently moved. She made homemade pizzas afterwards!! mmmmmm

So thats really about it for now. We have some awesome investigators right now and lots of good work to be had. Also the mission beat its all time record of monthly baptisms in February. President Cabral is working hard and inspiring us all to do more! 

I love you all so much!

Elder Siebers

Monday, February 16, 2015

84. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

16 February 2015

Well this week was loaded with good work and exciting events! Here are just some of the updates from this week.

Our new housemates are Elder Hamilton, a missionary I've known since Madureira. He's from Sacramento and is also finshing up his mission and goes home in May. He's a great guy. Dad, send some of your Sacramento areas and we'll see if he recognizes some people! [Scott served in Sacramento Spanish many, many moons ago.]

He is training a brand new missionary, Elder L from Bahia. He's 25 years old, was baptized as a kid and and is now serving his mission. Great kid as well!

This week we had lunch with an awesome  couple from the ward- W and E. They like making healthy foods and refrain from eating meat. Soy meat isn't a favorite of mine. You can ask mom- who tried to make soy meat tacos and I immediately noticed the difference!  She made Kibe, which is practically one of the only Brazilian dishes I'm not a fan of. It consists of whole grain wheat, onion, salt, eggplant and mint leaves. Really weird taste, but we have to eat, so down it went. I doubled up on salad, goes to show I'm not a fan

We ran into Guto, one of the bishopric from Alacantara! He reported back to us about X, who received the priesthood and passed the Sacrament this week! 

Carnaval is brutal. President established a schedule for the entire mission. Missionaries work in the morning, and have to return at 6 pm. But after releasing this information, our leaders got a phone call from him saying that our zone and one other zone (that is in the center of Rio) have to all be home by 1 pm. We only get to work a few hours in the morning, go to lunch with the members and return home. We've been laying a lot of Settlers which is a great time! It will remain like this until Thursday...

The good news is that we worked to get X's baptism all set. We taught him several times this week, he passed the interview and the baptism was a success. He brought several non-members from his family and we had a turn out of about 25! He bore a powerful testimony afterwards and several, especially his mother were brought to tears! 

So that's the run down from this week!

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015

83. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

11 February 2015

Well this was the pending last week in Rio das Ostras and it went pretty well. It rained like no other here several days this week which was awesome. We continued to work with some of our investigators.

X is coming along great and is on board to be baptized this Saturday. He´s 19 years old, dating a member and is enthralled by the idea of being able to marry her for eternity! 

On Monday, on our way home and older woman called us over. She explained to us about her son who is heavily involved with drug  trafficing and is causing all sorts of problems at home. She simply wanted us to pray for her and her family, but we offered to stop by the following day to help them out! We began teaching her and her grandson, 8 years old. Her troublesome son, hasn't been home these days that we taught, but we took a walk with him, became good friends and helped him pick out flipflops for his girlfriends birthday. The mother has been inviting countless pastors and religious preachers to her home to help her son but he hates listening to them rant about how he is sinning against God. In fact the first time we showed up there was a women there just talking endlessly at him, citing scriptures, ordering him to repent and such and he just didn't respond well... We decided to take another approach, show him that we care, became friends, search for the real issue, and then begin to help him change his ways. These things need to be done with sincere love and patience. I'll follow up when we see him next!

We also began teaching  a student from our weekly English class. I don't think I mentioned that until now. An English class began here last year and it was a huge hit. Weekly 30 or 40 students came and several people were baptized. When I arrived, Christmas and New Years were passing by and only 1 or 2 people came each week. We had 5 last week, so it's growing and I think people are liking it. I didn't like teaching at first, but I've learned some teaching strategies and now I'm actually really enjoying it!! I think my students are too! Anyway, we taught this student English for several weeks, just us and her.... Shes a spiritist which are difficult people to convert.... What's interesting about them is that they believe in a lot of the same things that we do about the Plan of Salvation. They believe its all a plan to grow and to evolve, to perfect ourselves and to become like God, they believe in Jesus Christ...but they don't believe in the ressurection into the same body. Instead, they believe in reincarnation. We taught the plan of salvation and well see where it goes from here! 

Sooooo now the part you were all waiting for. Transfers. Elder Evans, and my three housemates were all transferred while I stayed put! We had to leave Sunday for Rio and we spent the night in a small missionary apartment in Rio Cumprido with 30 other missionaries. It was a mess and one of the worst nights sleep I've ever had. The good news is Elder Neu is serving there and I got to catch up with him along with some other good friends including Elder Hammond. We spent the night  on a mattress and remininsced about good times in Gilbert until like 3 in the morning!

So this transfer was interesting. As they were calling areas and companions I noticed many whom were returning to old areas or with former companions. The pattern continued with me. My "new' comp is Elder Ribeiro!!! After just 6 weeks were back together again! So funny!!!!

Its gonna be another good transfer here. Caraval is on the way which is going to be rough, but well get through it!  Apparently some churches here are offering "Carnaval with Jesus!"

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

Elder Siebers

Friday, February 6, 2015

82. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

2 February 2015

Good morning family and friends! I hope you are all happy and well. 

So this week will be wrapped up pretty quickly seeing as we ran into some health issues that really kept us back, but don't worry too much it wasn't me this time :D My comp has been dealing with an ingrown toenail for a while now but hasn't had the funds to see a doctor, so when our payments came in this week we went there first. He got it worked on and it was UGLY. On top of that, we caught mad diarreah this week. On top of that our progressing investigators were abnormally difficult to get a hold of .... It was kinda a rough week for us but there is always a highlight. Two actually.

First is that we continued to work with a family that is on their way back into activation and we helped them with a move. We moved their fridge and other furniture into their new home, which is still on our area so we'll continue to work with them! They came to church Sunday and are coming along great.

So funny story this week. Here in Brazil the largest youth activity occurs during Carnaval. It's summer vacation here and its better that the youth avoid any type of carnvaal related activities.... So the youth trip is planned for next moth, but it's in Sao Paulo and kinda expensive. X had really wanted to go but the price was a bit out of his grasp. His parents have already passed away and he lives with his older sister who has two of her own kids and is single.... The ward hosted a fundraiser where members donated old items and they held a mini thriftstore on Saturday to help the youth raise some money for the trip. Well on his way there to help he found 750 reais in the street (Roughly 300 dollars!!!!) and that's enough to pay the trip and more! So nows he's on board and I'm so glad.

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

Monday, January 26, 2015

81. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

27 January 2015

Good morning family and friends, I hope you are all doing well! 

I'm doing great. I was able to recover from whatever I had last week early this week and things are back to normal health wise. 

This was a very down to earth week. We had another Zone meeting in Cabo Frio which turned into an interesting activity. Each companionship was sent out to find one person and bring them into the church to have a church tour. The zone leaders said that no one could go home until we brought someone in. We said a prayer and 6 companionships went running to speak to closest people around. The chapel in Cabio Frio is located on a majoy highway, and it was 3 o clock in the afternoon so theyre weren't that many people around. Amazingly each companionship was able to bring someone in within an hour. We brought a man in who was leaving his work, which was a woodshop nextdoor to the chapel. The activity was to help us understand that when we are DECIDED to do something, then we will find the way to do it. Many times in my mission I've had the attitude, "I'll work my best and whatever results come from it, so be it", I never really DECIDED that I was going to have certain results. When we are determined to have a certain result, ask God for his assistance, and act, we are much more likely to accomplish more. I digged the activity.

This week we continued to work with some awesome people whom are coming to get to know the church through members. The members are bring tons of people to church each week and we are just doing our part to teach them. 

Not too much else to report from this week, but things are going well! 

I love you all so much! Hope you are all enjoying these winter days, the weather here is beautiful!

Elder Siebers

Sunday, January 25, 2015

80. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

19 January 2015

Hey Everyone, 

How was everyone's week?  I know mom and dad had a swell time enjoying the beaches in Mexico. It must be nice to sit back and relax. We got nice beaches here, but we don't even go near them, SUPER DANGEROUS TERRITORY! 

Anyways, so this week was pretty excellent for the most part. X's baptism went over swimmingly. Some of his family members were present including his older sister, who cried during the ordinance. She told X how he is setting an example for everyone is the family (there are 11 siblings) and shes already so impressed with the changes he's made in just two weeks. 

That was the highlight of this week. The low light was that entire day (day of X's baptism) I was feeling terrible after lunch. I fought it off the entire day because we had a lot to do. That night I vomited BIG TIME! I felt terrible all day yesterday and I'm still at it today. It feels like the same thing I had in October when I went to the hospital. Thankfully I kept the doctors note on medication so I'll bring that to the pharmacy today to take it again. 

BIG NEWS. I found out today that X2 was baptized!!!! I can't even believe it and I'm soooo happy!!! Almost to the point of shedding tears! 

I love you all so much. Hope you all have an amazing week!

Elder Siebers

"...that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul unto repentance: and this is my joy" Alma 29:9

Monday, January 12, 2015

79. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

12 January 2015

Good morning family and friends! 

How is everyone doing? I am well. 

The summer here in Ri odas Ostras is much cooler than Madureira and Alcantara so I'm just trying to enjoy it while it lasts. This week was caught up in several meetings in Cabo Frio. We had our Zone Training with E. Luque and E. Evans on Thursday. It was a great and inspiring meeting and helped us all increase our desire to do more. Presidents main theme is just to have us do ALL that we can, striving to have the most results as possible. President has really help expand our vision as to what we can do. 

My entire understanding of goals have changed while I've been out here. A goal is implemented to push us, to do more, to accomplish more. It's not always reaching the goal that is the point, but to have more success along the way. 

Everyone is going to work harder to achieve our goals and along the way we will find ourselves with more success, which is what Pres. Cabral wants. 

It's like an athlete practicing for the high jump. He places the bar at its highest level. While he fails to clear the bar attempt after attempt, when he goes to compete he finds himself jumping higher than earlier thanks to his efforts in trying to clear the highest bar.

In other news we had interviews with President as well on Friday. My interview was really low key this time around. President just urged me to push harder, to increase my faith and vision and finish off the time left with the most success that I've had yet.

We continued to work with X this week. He´s excited for his baptism and he's doing very well in keeping commitments. His baptism will be this Saturday and we've invited the whole family, so much should come out of the example of a 15 year old boy. 

We had some new people at church including boyfriends of members, spouses of other members, and we booked to teach them all this week. There is a ton of work to be done here, so I'm excited for this week ahead! 

If we don't take chances and step into the unknown, we may find ourselves ripe in age and discover that all the outcomes of our not taken chances have become eternally unknown to us.

I love you all so much and I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Elder Siebers

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

78. Rio das Ostras, Rio de Janeiro

5 January 2015

Good Morning everyone! Happy New Year! 

My News Years activities including arriving home at 9:00 and crashing at 10:10. I didnt even wake up once to the fireworks I was sooo beat!

So after one week, we got to know our area a bit better. Here's the run down. Our house is located above a members home in county of Jardim Marilea. Get onto Google maps to get a better idea of all this. We don't live in our area, and our area begins on the other side of the bridge that crosses Rio das Ostras ( the river that the city gets its name from). The bridge is about a 30 minute fast paced walk and that begins our area. The chapel is an hour away, and our main area of focus is closer to the chapel. To sum it up, we are walking a TON. Our area goes almost into Cabo Frio, to a place called Unamar. The area is beautiful, but we came at the worst part of the year. The summer holidays everyone comes here to enjoy the beach and to party. We knocked on many doors to find tourists, or people who were just spending the holidays in their summer homes... Its clear that we have to work through the members, especially in an area like this one. 

Actual scenery shot from Cooper, not Google.

Speaking of such, a Irmã R called us Tuesday night telling us about a young man who was shot in the midst of a trafficing incident. She and he husband work at the hospital and asked the lad if she could send two young men to give him a blessing. We went there on Wednesday, gave X (15 years old) a blessing and we've been visiting him almost everyday teaching him the lessons. He even came to church with us with his massive cast that covers his entire arm until his shoulder. He wasn't involved in the trafficing incident but he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. While conversing in the street, other trafficors (does that make sense) shot the 16 year old boy in the back and twice in the head. X and his cousin ran for their lives and X was shot in the upper arm. The experience opened his eyes, he saw death, and is now searching God in his life. 


We also helped with a service project this week. We helped a member who is contructing a house. We mixed cement and carried bucket loads into the house for him to work with. I got BAKED in the sun. I will send a picture of my arm which looks like Neopolitan ice cream, white, pink and then brown! Way funny!  President said we had to use our prosylitizing clothes and they got way wrecked, but no problem! The project was awesome though, it's nice to get out of the routine every once in a while.

So thats about it for this week! Things are going well here so far. We have a lot of work to do. The ward is great!

I love you all. Have a great week!!!

Elder Siebers