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, 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