Monday, September 6, 2010

Mon, September 6, 2010 5:05:33 PMEvery good thing depends on obtaining and maintaining the power of the Holy Ghost in your life

Letter received 9/6/2010

The subject line comes from "Permaneced," a letter that the Area Presidency wrote to less-active members here in Chile. I studied it this morning and I just LOVE everything is says, really. It´s so true that having the power of God in our lives, by way of the Holy Ghost, will make everything better, and that all real happiness comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
That being said, I love my mission more and more every week.
This week we were celestial once again, thank goodness. I felt soooo awful last week, being in level 1 with the zone in level 0, but we were much more motivated this week and worked a heck of a lot harder. And we did it! The other Hermanas too. They were coming back to the house at 9:25, and we saw them a little way up the road, so we went to talk to them and asked them how their day was. They said it was really good, but they didn´t complete the goals for only ONE lesson. I told them that they had to find someone to teach in that instant, and there was a group of being coming up from behind us, so I told them to invite them to listen, ask for 2 minutes, and teach the lesson "si o si" (how we say no matter what in Spanish). We then fled the scene, but watched from our door what happened. They started talking to the big group, but they all kept walking, but one woman stayed behind, and they talked to her for about 5 minutes, wrote something in their agendas, and left. She was super interested, they taught the 3rd lesson (the easiest to teach super fast), and took down her address for the Elders in Copiapo to visit her. Soooo, we both were celestial.
The zone as a whole reached level 2, which is a whoooole lot better, and we were actually only a few contacts and new investigators short of being level 3. Not doing enough contacts kind of makes me mad, because that´s really the only thing that depends completely on us. We can always talk to more people in the street. And I´m surprised about not having enough new investigators (Elder Thomas, one of our zone leaders, calls them "new ones," because in Spanish we just say "nuevos." Ridiculous), because we found 15. But, we have big goals for this week. As a companionship, we actually only needed 4 more member-present lessons to be City of Enoch, so we are going to pray a lot and work a lot and do everything we can this week to do it and be translated to the City of Enoch!
We are super motivated lately because we had an awesome zone conference on Friday. It´s been about a million years since we´ve had zone conference, and it was great. By the way, I don´t think I ever told you before, but transfers are still every 6 weeks. They gave us some incorrect information before, but President Bruce explained it all to us and we´re still having missionary transfers every 6 weeks, but everything else is on a monthly schedule. All our goals, etc., should be monthly (well, for baptisms and stuff, we´ll still have weekly goals of course), and we´ll only have zone conference and interviews every 3 months. The mission president is to spend the majority of his time working with the missionaries. Sweet. Anyway, big changes are going on, and they´re coming from Salt Lake, but everything seems really awesome and I´m really excited to work with our goals and our "simplified curriculum," which are the most important points of Preach My Gospel that they´ve narrowed down. Okay, that was a whole lot of missionary stuff that probably doesn´t interest you guys much, but welcome to my life right now, right? So we spent a lot of our zone conference talking about that but there was also a good amount of time left for embarrassing me.
We had zone conference with 3 zones: Copiapo North, which is ours, Copiapo South, which is the same city but with infinitely better numbers, and Vallenar, which is a tiny town about 2 hours south of Copiapo. Us 4 Hermanas in Caldera are the only ones in all three zones, so we were kind of notable. They always tell us we have to come to zone conferences with really bright colors, which is kind of hard since we only have really ugly missionary clothes. Anyway, last week we were passing a thrift shop and the woman came out and stopped us to tell us that skirts came in "for us," aka (I assumed) long and ugly. But they were actually cute so I bought a yellow one with a little bow at the bottom of the back. Anyway, we arrive at the conference as I´m the only gringa in the conference, supposedly the only one who knows anything about music (not that what I know about music is a lot), they ask me to lead the music. Unfortunately, the song is Brightly Beams Our Father´s Mercy, but in Spanish. Does ANYONE know how to lead that song? It says it´s 3/2, but the notes and the words have NOTHING to do with 3/2! So I´m standing up there like an idiot, trying to lead the music and failing miserably, and a whole bunch of little with very little musical experience and knowledge are singing along. Anyway, we get through that experience, but then we eat lunch and it´s pizza and I spill some on my skirt, right on my lap where it will be SUPER visible when I have to get up to lead the music again. So we go into the bathroom and this senior missionary, Hermana Dinamarca, counsels me to switch the skirt so the bow is in the front and no one will see the stain. Unfortunately, it´s still there, just hanging out in the back. So we sit through the rest of the conference and I get up to direct the hymn, which really unfortunately is the SAME hymn, but in English (it´s a tradition to give talks, pray, and sing in English at zone conferences). So I have to really awkwardly stand up and turn around immediately so the whole group of Elders doesn´t have their attention drawn to the pizza stain on my butt, and lead the same hymn horribly. Then, they also assigned me to give the closing prayer, so I have to really awkwardly back up to the pulpit to say the prayer without turning around once again. I think I was more or less successful, but definitely really embarrassed.
Another highlight of the zone conference is that the zone leaders from Copiapo South have 19 baptismal dates. We all thought this was something super impossible in our mission, because the goal is to baptize once a month. But we practiced setting baptismal dates a lot, and we are all SUPER excited to go out and do it. Seriously, once we know something is possible, we just have to do it, right? We saw a lot of miracles this week from applying the things that we learned, and I really wish I could share them all with you, but we are REALLY out of time.
But next week I will share with you all the miracles that occurred that lead us to being missionaries in the CITY OF ENOCH. "Querer es poder," as they say here, which means more or less that wanting means being able to do it. So, we´re going to do it. And we´re going to have 4 baptisms on September 25. And we´re going to remember our purpose the whole time, which is inviting others to come unto Christ.
I really, really love my mission, and I want you to know that I am 100% happy. I thank you all for your support, and know that I am praying for you guys too. Have a great week!

outer darkness feels a lot worse than the celestial kingdom

Letter received 8/30/2010


The bad news is that I´m currently writing to you guys from outer darkness, also known as Level 1 in our "Celestial Missionary" goals. It feels pretty bad.
In other news, we did A LOT of traveling this week. Wednesday night we left to Antofagasta for the conference with Elder Amado and Elder Costa. It was really weird to sleep on a bus surrounded by Elders. When I first got here and we traveled to Iquique, it was overnight on a bus too but there were a lot of people who weren´t missionaries, plus I was SO out of it that I didn´t even know what was up and nothing was going to stop me from sleeping the whole six hours. This time, all the missionaries from 3 of the 10 zones in our mission were on the same bus, and it was just us 4 hermanas and about 40 Elders. And of course we were put right in the middle of all of them, haha. We arrived in Antofagasta at 6:30 am, reeeeeally tired, because the bus ride was about 7 hours, and of course we didn´t sleep right away. Plus, at 5:30, right when we were ALL sleeping pretty deeply, the bus driver lost control of the bus and it almost tipped over. It was a two-level bus, and we were on the top level, so it was a really scary, really drastic sensation to be close to the ground. Backpacks, etc were falling from the shelf above the seats, and obviously someone started screaming, and we all woke up and were scared out of our minds. Then we looked out the window and we couldn´t see ANYTHING. It was super foggy, and we assumed that that had caused the driver a major problem. Luckily, we´re missionaries, so the Lord protected us, and we survived the trip. But we didn´t go back to sleep for the rest of the time, naturally.
The conference was really awesome. Elder Costa and Elder Amado both had awesome things to teach us about missionary work, and we left really excited to go out and baptize every week, as Elder Costa promised us we would if we did what he said (teach by the Spirit). Almost all of the mission was there in the conference in Antofagasta, so everyone was really excited to se their old companions and stuff, but I didn´t really know anyone except the Hermanas I came with. Someday I´ll make new friends in the mission...
Thursday afternoon we went out to work with the Hermanas in Antofagasta, and Friday morning we traveled back to Caldera, but the bus is a million hours long, plus we stopped in a million places (I basically have seen the whole mission now), and when we finally got to Copiapo we still had the hour-long bus ride to Caldera, and when we finally got to Caldera, we had to walk to our house from the bus terminal with all our luggage and we hadn´t bathed since Thursday and we hadn´t eaten since the morning. Umm... we were a little low-spirited. But we bathed and ate and went out to work... at 8 pm. Friday was not a super great day in our area. We tried to work like burros Saturday and Sunday, but I´m sad to report that we only had 2 member-present lessons and that about killed us. As a zone, we´re not even in Level 1. Ouch. We definitely need some help here.
The only other news I have to report is that I´m once again practicing my English. There were basically NO gringos in Iquique, so I never, ever spoke English, but in Copiapo there are about a million, and they have the really bad habit of speaking English. I´ve discovered that I speak really awkwardly in English, but I´m trying to practice so that someday, when (if) I come home, I won´t lose all my abilities to communicate with my friends and family. I´ll keep you posted on that.
Okay, we´re out of time, but I love you! I´ll write more next week, hopefully from a higher level. Keep working hard in your jobs, school, etc., and I´m always praying for you!

It's Only Been A Week?!

Letter received 8/23/2010

Dear Family,
The good news is that Caldera is THE PROMISED LAND. We reached the celestial level without working Monday and almost all of Tuesday. The whole world wants to hear our message. Out of 20 contacts, we write down about 13 addresses, with appts to visit them, and almost everyone is in their house. We found 11 new investigators, we didn´t even have to look desperately on Sunday night. We have a baptism this Saturday, and a mom and son who accepted a date yesterday for the 10th of September. We had 4 investigators in Sacrament Meeting... I love my life. Seriously, I thought I was happy in Iquique, but I had no idea.
The truth is that I do really miss Iquique. I miss my friends there, and it´s WAY different than the tiny little town that is Caldera, but that´s the mission right? We have to change areas. And I´m super blessed to be here in Caldera right now.
We live behind the radio station, which is kind of weird. We live behind it as in we share a gate with them and there´s a little passage that leads to our house and we can hear everything they say and all the music they play. Our house is basically made of cardboard. Seriously, it´s like it wasn´t built to last. There are 4 Hermanas in Caldera, we all work in the same area, in the same branch, but obviously have different investigators and stuff. Our houses are technically different but we live right next door (both behind the radio station) and we are always coming and going. It´s a little bit harder to be obedient with the schedule with 4 Hermanas instead of 2, but we´re trying our best. My companion, Hermana Arriaga, is sweet. I suggest that you she do something, and she applies it right away. It´s only a LITTLE awkward being senior companion. Sometimes I don´t know if I need to be more strict, or less bossy, or both? But she was really happy that we arrived at the celestial level, because they had never done it before. And I know that we are going to have tons of success together, because this area is sweet! The other Hermans, Hermana Galdamez and Hermana Ramirez, are awesome too. H. Galdamez was companions with HQ early on in their missions, so we always talk about her, which makes me feel more at home.
I don´t know if you guys heard about the 33 miners in Copiapo who were trapped? I really have no idea how international this news was, but Copiapo is the city an hour away from where I live, and we´ve been hearing about them since the beginning. We thought for sure they were dead, because 16 or 17 days or however long they were down there is FOREVER, but it was super miraculous yesterday that they found them all alive! Well, I actually haven´t heard any more news since yesterday, so I´m not sure what´s been happening, but remember when I told you that when Chile won games in the World Cup the city was CRAZY? It was like that again yesterday. Every car that drove by was honking their horn, and just a general really happy feeling. Now there are more people than ever that believe in God here!
This week we´re traveling to ANTOFAGASTA. Elder Costa from the Presidency of the 70 and Elder Amado, the Area President of Chile, are giving a special conference for the missionaries, and everyone except Iquique and Arica are traveling to Antofagasta this Thursday. a) Bad luck that my best friends are in Iquique and Arica. b) We´re traveling Wednesday through the night. Again. c) This conference is going to be sweet! Today we (from now on, we will generally refer to the 4 Hermanas, because we almost function as one unit) were super stressed about what we are going to wear (because they have a million rules about how nice we have to look and hey, we´re sister missionaries, so we´re not really pretty) so we spent almost the whole morning in Copiapo looking for clothes. It´s an hour bus ride into Copiapo, and we´re still there, so we´re going to get back JUST in time to start working. I´m a little stressed out about the conference and our work this week because we´re going to miss Wednesday night, all day Thursday, and Friday morning, but I know that it will all work out. I feel pressure being "in charge," so keep me in your prayers. And I´m certainly praying for all of you. It seems like a whole lot of bad/huge/important/difficult things are happening in your lives. What we all need is a little more reliance on the Savior. I´ll be praying for that for all of you.
Thanks for your letters, your support, your love, your prayers. Until next week!
Hermana Coppins

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Letter received 8/16/2010

OKAY. transfer day. i´ve been super nervous all week because we knew that one of us was going to leave (a missionary can´t be with her trainer more than 3 transfers, right? plus last week the assistants said something to us about our numbers and that we should know that president knew of our numbers and knew that we were among the best sister missionaries so they had to separate us) and last night i hardly slept at all. i LOVE iquique, i love my zone here, the ward, the investigators, the work, everything. neither hq nor i wanted to leave, so we were both suuuuuper nervous for the call. we woke up at 7, pattered around the house waiting, and freaked out when elder radhe called. he said we both had to listen, so we were all crowded with the phone between us, and he said "hermana coppins, you´re going to......." and then started to die laughing. "ya po! diganos donde!" translation: "alright already, tell us where!" he kept laughing for so long while we were dying, until he finally said,
"Hermana Coppins, you´re going to CALDERA, as senior companion, with Hermana Arriaga, who has three transfers in the mission, and you´re leaving TONIGHT at 10:20 pm."
oooooookay. caldera is 13 hours from iquique. hermana arriaga is from peru and came to the mission the same day as me (but since she´s latina she started the mtc a transfer after me). and leaving at 10 pm the day they announce transfers is a LITTLE cruel. buuuuuut that´s life, right? luckily i´m SUPER fast at packing so i packed up my suitcases in like 20 minutes and got ready to go to our zone activity (we just went to the beach to say goodbye and write in our libros de recuerdos [book of remembrance? don´t know how to say that in english] and take pictures), because we´re going to get home right about 6 tonight and have to leave altiro (right away) to say goodbye to members and converts and then be back home at 9 to get ready to leave for turbus. the same bus that killed me my first night in the mission. life is really crazy. but i´m kind of excited for a new adventure! the zone where i´ll be, copiapo north, is really suffering in numbers, and i feel like i´ve really really learned a lot that can help raise the zone. i don´t know if i´ve learned so much that it´s wise to make me senior companion, but the problem is that our zone leaders love us (hq and me) tooooo much and they told the assistants and president bruce that they had to make me senior companion. so next week i´ll have more information on that! apparently caldera is a tourist location and it´s pretty dead in the winter, but it´s a really pretty beach and it´s close to copiapo, where there are TREES! so that´ll be great. i´ll send pictures.
the other bad news is that we didn´t reach the celestial level this week. we needed 2 more new investigators and i promise, we did everything possible and impossible (divisions, visited the people we had on our future investigator list, knocked doors, contacted in the street, etc) but we just couldn´t find two more people who accepted return visits. but we worked a lot more with the investigators we already had this week instead of only looking for new ones, and now we have two baptismal dates and good people. i´m sure you former missionaries know that leaving an area with baptismal dates is a much better feeling than leaving an area completely dead. lynch, our area here in iquique, is super great and i know hq and her new companion will have all sorts of success.
i don´t know what else to say about this past week. being on the mission is a miracle every day and it´s really, really changing my life. we talked to a lot of people with a lot of problems this week, ranging from drug addictions to cheating spouses to complete poverty, and even though it´s REALLY sad to know that there are so many people suffering in the world, i´m super grateful that i´ve been so blessed in my life and i know it´s because of the gospel. obviously we can´t control the actions of other people, but when we are faithful to the commandments, our covenants, and when we seek and listen to the spirit, we´ll never have problems that we can´t handle. the gospel is the GREATEST blessing we can have in our lives, and the outside world is a little rough. i advise that you never go there. stick to what you´ve learned and it will ALWAYS be a blessing.
that´s all for now! i love you and i´ll write more next week from CALDERA!

no subject

Letter received 8/9/2010

We were celestial missionaries again, and the zone was celestial. Actually, we were only 2 new investigators away from being in the City of Enoch, but on Saturday one of the assistants talked to our ZLs and said some mean things about how if we have good numbers but don´t have baptisms it doesn´t matter, and pointed out that a zone in Arica had 9 baptisms last week but were only in Level 2. So we gave up trying to reach City of Enoch and are a little confused about the vision of President Bruce, but we are looking for baptisms this week. Really, we challenged 3 people this week, and 1 accepted and we´re waiting for responses from 2 more, so it´s not like we´re not looking for baptisms, but really, the numbers don´t prove much. We´ll see what happens this week, because we now have approximately 40-something new investigators that we´ve found and don´t know what to do with. Turns out the mission is a little hard.
This computer sucks, it´s REALLY late and even though it was P-day libre (free) we haven´t had time to do a single thing because we spent approximately a million hours making pupusas, and I´m kind of in a bad mood from that, so I don´t really feel like writing much. Sorry.
Carlos blessed the Sacrament yesterday, it was great. He looked so good with a tie!
HQ and I are never not having a dance party to the Jericho Road songs on the EFY CDs that you sent, so that´s been boosting our enthusiasm.
Last night we knocked on the door of a future investigator named Domingo, and no one answered the door but a guy next to the door opened the window and asked who we were looking for. We told him Domingo and he said he didn´t know if he was home and that he couldn´t look for him because he was locked in. Umm, what? Apparently he´s a drug addict and his little brother locks him in his room (they´re called piezas when someone rents just one room in a huge house, and the majority of our investigators live in piezas instead of in houses with their families) because that´s the only way he doesn´t do drugs. There were bars on the windows and he had to hold up the window to talk to us, so we knelt down to be on his level and I helped him hold up the window while we talked about the Atonement. How´s that for an absurd image of the day (Cambrie, if you are reading this, that´s for you)?
The cakes that we make in the microwave are the bomb. Thank you! Really, we´ve been enjoying everything.
Sorry this email is so lame, but so you know, I´m still doing well, and thanks for the emails this week. Really, it´s a pretty awful feeling when I open my email and all I have is stuff from the mission office. I encourage you all to use at least a few minutes of The Sabbath Day to write your favorite Chilean missionary! I would appreciate it 100-fold.
Love you, have a good week!

Also, it´s getting ridiculously cold on the beach lately and the past couple nights I´ve been sleeping with my thermals and my sweatsuit and two blankets and socks and still dying. But summer´s coming, right? :)

Satan can´t live in Iquique anymore, because it´s the Celestial Kingdom!

Letter received 8/2/2010

Well, the good news is that we´re CELESTIAL MISSIONARIES again this week, and what´s better, we´re also a CELESTIAL ZONE!! We´ve all been working super hard (well, there is one companionship that´s slacking but we have some SUPER great companionships who make up for their laziness, and the level of the zone is based on averages, thank goodness) and we´re basically dead every night and especially by Monday, BUT we´re so happy that we don´t even rest, we just play! This morning we went up to Hospicio, which is a SUPER COLD city about 15 minutes up the mountain from Iquique. Everyone played soccer while I took pictures and wrote letters (soccer = not my strong point, as we discussed the last time, plus I´m still coughing from my bronchitis), but the best part was the medals that Mom sent in the package. I don´t know HOW she knew that we´d need them, but luckily Iquique won and everyone in the district was super happy to have a medal. The sunglasses/glowsticks/other things we´re saving for a party the last P-day before everyone leaves.
Tuesday we set a baptismal date, and we were super happy because it was a "real" date, aka not going to fall through because he´d already been to church. Lots of times we set a date but it can´t count if they´ve never been to church, so we set the date, wait for Sunday to come, and are super depressed when the investigator doesn´t come to church and we don´t have a baptismal date. But we had a really good lesson with Guillermo on Tuesday, the investigator who came to church basically out of the blue on Sunday, and he agreed to be baptized on August 14. In our zeal and ambition to have a baptism this transfer, we didn´t leave the 4 Sundays that we usually leave, in case they miss one Sunday. And guess who didn´t come to church yesterday? Guillermo. So, to have gone to church 3 times before his baptism, he´ll need two more and won´t be able to get baptized on August 14, the last Saturday of this transfer. And now we don´t have hope for a baptism before one of us leaves. Angel didn´t come to church either. That man... The fact is that we are super satisfied because of our work, that we feel like we´re doing everything possible, but we´re disappointed because some very important things on not happening on the part of the investigators, aka going to church so they can be baptized! But, it says in PMG that when we do everything possible and work with the Spirit, we might be disappointed in what happens but we won´t be disappointed with ourselves. Welcome to my life.
Carlos, my first convert here, received the priesthood yesterday! He´s been kind of less active ever since his baptism, but he was working basically 12 hours 7 days a week, and he just quit that job is looking for a new one, and he´s been really excited about everything at church. Last week Jorge, our super tall Paraguayan convert, and Felipe, who got baptized with his sister Allison, blessed the Sacrament together. It was such a great moment. Jorge is the bomb, he started sharing the gospel with one of his co-workers (she works in the morning and he works in the afternoon/evening, at the same desk, so he leaves his Book of Mormon and Principles of the Gospel book for her to read) but she lives in ZL´s area so they have been teaching her, and they told us last night that she accepted a baptismal date! And she said "Jorge told me that he felt the Spirit super strongly with the missionaries, and now I know what he was talking about!" Ah, there´s no greater feeling than having faithful, excited converts.
I got your package on SATURDAY because we had a special meeting about changes that are going to be happening. We don´t know much, but apparently Salt Lake told our mission president that transfers are going to be every month, or every 4 weeks, instead of every 6 weeks. The worst part is that the second that everyone heard the news, their first instinct was to start complaining. I couldn´t believe the amount of whining that we heard in that hour of our lives. I´m not sure if I used to be that person, but if I was, I´m certainly not now. We have monthly goals for baptisms as a zone, and that´s going to affect if we´re celestial missionaries or not, and seriously everyone started complaining that it´s going to stress us out and justifying why they won´t be able to do it, why their numbers are low, etc. Our zone leaders are SUPER great-- they´re my best friends and they really motivate us, but last week they asked HQ and I to evaluate them to see what they could be doing better. We said that they might be a little too interested in being our friends instead of rebuking us when we need it, and I guess they really took that to heart, because they just started to "darles palo," as they say here in Chile, which means rebuking them. They weren´t yelling, or insulting us, or anything, but they were giving us advice on what we need to do to be more effective missionaries, how we can boost our numbers, etc. Their numbers are always really good, so I respect their advice, and I was taking notes while everyone just started to complain more. It made me kind of angry to see the lack of respect they have for the revelation that our leaders (the brethren in Salt Lake who changed the system of transfers, the mission president who set goals for us, our ZLs who advise us) receive, and how they all supposedly want to be here on the mission, but they don´t want to do what´s necessary to really serve God. Okay, that was a little strong-worded, I apologize. But I´ve been feeling really, really good lately. I love being on the mission. God works miracles every single day, and many more when we are really obedient. I´ve been learning more than ever the purpose of being here on a mission and I love, love, LOVE it. I´m super grateful for this time I have in my life and really couldn´t be happier. Even the complaining missionaries in my zone got their act together eventually and did what was necessary to achieve the CELESTIAL ZONE status, so I really couldn´t ask for more.
On a related note, I really am more and more of a missionary every day. The most exciting thing in the package was the 10 EFY CDs, because I LOVE listening to EFY music! Hahaha. Does that ring a bell for any returned missionaries out there?
Okay, I love you all A LOT, even though you don´t write me. I´m grateful for the support I receive and the prayers as well. I hope you´re doing well, I pray for you every day! Have a good week!
With love,
Sister Coppins

Por la razon or por la fuerza

Letter received 7/26

Translation: By reason or by force.
Welcome to my week.

Last week I mentioned that I had bronchitis. With all my millions of drugs, I was sure that I was going to get better right away and spend the whole week working like a burro, as HQ says. We worked like burros all week, but I never got better. To be fair, I´m getting better, but I´m not really sure WHY it´s so slow, since I was super strict with my week of antibiotics and did all the crazy things that everyone told me (I need someone without crazy Latino traditions to tell me if it´s actually valid that when I have bronchitis I can´t drink cold drinks, the cold air is going to kill me, and I can´t leave the house without a scarf. I don´t know anything about being sick, apparently). But don´t worry, it didn´t stop our work at all and this week we were: CELESTIAL MISSIONARIES!
Of the seven companionships in our zone, 5 reached the celestial level, and we were only 3 new investigators short of being a celestial zone. I was a little tortured by that all night after I heard, but we are the only zone in level 3, and we were SO CLOSE to being celestial. It´s okay, we´ve got it this week.
So this is how it went down. We started out well Monday, with 2 new investigators and 1 lesson with a member. McKay told me they had members work with them every night. Que bendicion! We have a hard time working with members, but as the title of this email says (by the way, that´s the national slogan of Chile), we´re working by reason or by force and no matter what, this week is going to be better.
Tuesday night one of our zone leaders, Elder Gonzalez, worked with us. Our zone leaders are seriously amazing, they inspire us A LOT and always have really good ideas about how we can work harder and have more success. So naturally, we wanted to see how it´s done. E. Gonzalez is more or less our best friend, so he kept saying that actually he was with us to learn, not to teach, but it turned out to be a really good experience. We went to teach Liliana, who we met for the first time last Sunday (she was part of our miraculous Sunday). We had left 3 Nephi 27 for her to read, and when we asked what she had learned, she was like "mostly that I need to get baptized." So we started talking about that, and apparently she was almost about to get baptized before, the first time she met the missionaries, but never felt ready so she never did. But on Tuesday night she said that this time she really was ready, that she knew it was the right thing to do, etc. So we set a baptismal date for August 14th. And I set the date! It was sweet, the lesson was super spiritual and the little bit of pride in me was glad that Elder Gonzalez was there to see that instead of a lesson where we got totally shot down. She´s never come to church before, because she works during the night (we were super afraid that her job was going to interfere with her obedience to the law of chastity, and we didn´t know how to get her to tell us where she worked, so E. Gonzalez asked, but she just said she worked in a bar... we´ll get to that in a second), but she committed to come to church, said that she knew she really had to change her life, etc. We were super, super happy when we left, with a baptismal date for this transfer! We taught her again on Saturday, and discovered some unfortunate facts. We decided to teach the Sabbath Day, Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity right off the bat, just to make sure that she really could get baptized. Tuesday when we were teaching she started crying when I was talking, I´m not really sure why, she just said that my voice made her really emotional. So HQ said that I had to teach chastity, because my "angelic" voice would testify to her that she had to obey. So I said what the Spirit told me, she said that there was no problem, that she would obey, and that there was nothing currently interfering with this commandment. Okay. Onto Word of Wisdom. HQ read the list of 5 things that the Word of Wisdom prohibits (coffee, tea, alcohol, smoking, and drugs) and Liliana said, "Okay, I have a problem with all of them." HQ: "Umm... all of them?" "Yes." "Drugs?" "Yup." Oooookay. Apparently she works in a bar to drink with men and the more she drinks, the more she gets paid. We verified (is that the word? Verificar?) up and down with law of chastity, to make sure she really doesn´t do anything else but drink, and really, that´s it. She told us that she leaves super drunk, but she gets paid more there than any other place she could work, and she has 4 kids she has to pay for, and this job lets her live comfortably. Also, because she gets super drunk every night, it´s really hard to wake up at 9 to get to church by 10 on Sundays. She told us that she´d go to bed early and that she´d come to church, by we went to pick her up on Sunday and she was sleeping and wouldn´t wake up. We are a little discouraged, and she definitely won´t be getting baptized on August 14th, but she told us that she knows she has to change, that she really wants to, that she knows the Lord can help her, and that she´s going to start right now to quit smoking and doing drugs. To stop drinking she´s going to need to find a different job, so we´re working on that, but really, we have a lot of faith. And so does she. And whoever stays, whether it´s HQ or me, is eventually going to have a super faithful convert.
By the way, transfers are in 3 weeks now, and I can´t remember who asked me if it´s been forever that I´ve been with HQ, but the answer is yes. We work super well together, and I think that´s why they left us together 3 transfers, but it´s pretty much guaranteed that this transfer one of us is leaving. In my interview with President Bruce he was like "Wow, this is your third transfer in Iquique, in your first area. That´s quite some time" and I was like, "Yeah, but this my companion´s fourth transfer" and he was like "Yeah, but she only has one more...." So we´re thinking it´s a possibility that I´ll leave and HQ will die (finish her mission) here. We´ll see what happens, but really, no matter what, it´s going to be sad to not be with her, and with our zone leaders, and with my district leader, Elder Vidal. He´s been my district leader since the beginning, and he´s our other best friend, but he finishes his mission this transfer. And we´re pretty sure they´re not going to leave Elder Gonzalez and Elder Insaurralde together another transfer either. If I stay and HQ, E. Gonzalez and E. Vidal all leave, it´s going to be way different and way sad. BUT I don´t need to think about transfers yet! We still have time!
So we´ve been having quite a hard time getting investigators to church. I think I´ve mentioned it before, but we do EVERYTHING we can. We ask them a million times if they´ll come, they say yes, we promise blessings, we tell them why it´s important, we invite them in every lesson, we call them Saturday night and Sunday morning, we go to pick them up on Sunday morning... and no one comes. The last few weeks we´ve had few prospects, but as of Sunday morning when we left the house, we had 9 people who said that they were definitely going to come. We were so pumped! Funny that even after a million weeks of everyone not showing up, we don´t lose faith, right? We called. We knocked on their doors. We showed up at church with no one, pretty much depressed. About halfway through Sacrament Meeting, Guillermo, who lives right next to the church and whose door we knocked on about 5 minutes before church started and no one answered, walks in. We were super happy. We only taught him once, on Saturday, but he was really interested. After Sacrament Meeting he was like "Where can I get one of those books that everyone is reading? I need to follow along during the talks!" Haha he´s great. Also, we were especially disappointed by Angel, an investigator who we´ve been teaching for quite some time. We set a date with him before, but he didn´t come to church the week after, so we stopped visiting him. Miraculously the week after that, he came, but we never saw him again until this week. He said he had really been missing us, and he wanted to start meeting with us again. He promised us a million times he´d come to church, but we never saw him come in. BUT! After Sacrament Meeting we were happily bringing Guillermo to Gospel Essentials and the bishop´s wife was like "Hey, someone named Angel is looking for you" and we freaked out. He came! He stayed all three hours (so did Guillermo), and he is surely going to get baptized. :) So, at long last, we had 2 investigators at church and it was sooo great.
Another funny story (time is running SUPER short but I want to tell you guys everything!): We knocked on Guillermo´s door before church and while we were waiting a young man passed by. I bet HQ that he was gringo, because he was super white and tall. She bet me he was Chilean. Guillermo didn´t answer, so we walked past the church to knock on Juan´s door, who is another investigator who lives on the other side of the church, but really close. While we were waiting there HQ told me that he (the gringo/Chilean) had entered the church, and he was walking by again. He stoppped where we were, and I said hello, but in Spanish, and in really broken English, he asked if I was gringo, and then he asked what we were doing. I told him yes, I´m from the USA, but also in really broken English because surprise! I can´t speak English anymore. Because I couldn´t remember ANY words to say to him in English, I told him that we were bringing our investigators to church. He asked what an investigator was, and if he had a magnifying glass. Like a spy, I guess? Anyway, he told me he was from Australia, so neither HQ or I was right, but I don´t understand why his English was so bad if he was from Australia. And he clearly didn´t speak Spanish, because he tried to ask HQ where she was from and she had no idea what he saying. I´m sure he was thinking the same thing about me, that he has no idea why I can´t speak English if I´m from the US. I asked him if he wanted to come to church with us, but he said that he had gone in but there were only old people and that it looked boring. I told him that the old people are always early and the young people are always late, but that it´s not really boring. He said we were going to make baby Jesus cry if we were late. It was a really awkward conversation, and really, I´m kind of worried that I won´t be able to speak in English at all when I get home. Writing isn´t a problem, but I think it´s because I still always read in English, and ever since Hermana Montandon left I NEVER speak English with anyone. We´ll see if I ever get any practice in before I come home.
Yesterday we needed 3 new investigators and 3 lessons with members to reach the Celestial level, and we knew we had to count on miracles, just like last week. A huge barrier was La Tirana Chica, which is just like the regular Tirana festival, but right here in our sector. Wonderful, right? Exactly the streets where we had all our appts were completely crowded with people in strange costumes dancing and playing instruments, and a million huge statues of the Virgin Mary with lights illuminating her. It was super creepy. BUT we had a member working with us, so we found our 3 new investigators, and had 3 lessons with members, and at 8 pm when we finished, I was practically dying, and we went to our apartment, dead tired, but super happy that we had accomplished our goals. We are celestial missionaries! It feels great.
I have more to say, and I want to send pictures, but the hour has passed oh-so-rapidly. I hope you´re all doing well, thank you thank you thank for your emails, I love you, and I next Monday I´ll let you know how our week was. Hopefully I´ll get better super quickly so we can work without fainting this week and be celestial missionaries again!
Sorry if this email was super jumbled-- as I mentioned, I don´t know English, we have no time, and I didn´t do a very good job of planning what I wanted to say. But I hope you understood, more or less, how my week was.
Have a good week! Love you!
Hermana Coppins

Monday, July 19, 2010

Celestial Missionaries!

This letter was sent 7/19/2010

Okay, the spacebar on this computer does not really work, so beware. If you are way confused about a word, imagine a space in a convenientlocation andit was probably what I was going for.
This week was another crazy week. I thinkI said last weekthat HQ had to go to Antofagastato renew her visa. She left Tuesday afternoon,and came back Wednesday night, which meant we lost two full days of working, because Tuesday morning we have district meeting. I worked with the other Hermanas in the zone, and it was interesting to see how they work,to get new ideas,but mostly what I learned is that I´m happy with the work we do and I´mglad HQ trained me the way I am (the other Hermanas are a little... slow). Monday night we came home early because I didn´t have a voice, I was coughing like a crazy woman, and everyone thought the cold air was going to killme. By Saturday morning I hadn´t stopped coughing andit was getting stronger,so we wenttothe clinic and found out I have bronchitis. But luckily now I have antibiotics, an inhalator, and I´m gettingbetter. So don´t worry.
Thursday afternoon we had a missionary activity for the stake youth conference they had this week. A few missionaries, including me, talked about why we decided to come onthe mission, and then we taught the youth how to make contacts and went out and worked. Someof the groups had a lot of success, but the girl I was with didn´t have a testimony,which I found out in the first contact where we actually talkedto someone. So we spent allour time walking around talking about that instead of contactingpeople. But I thinkI helpedher out in the end, so it was worth it.
Friday morning we had interviews with our new President! Him and his wife were also at the missionary activity on Thurdsay but we only talkedto themfor a few minutes there. They are ADORABLE. Hermana Bruce doesn´t really speak Spanish at all, but she´s so cute and everyone just lovesher. President Bruce is awesome! He servedin Puerto Rico but like a millionyears agoand he says he´s having a hard time remembering Spanish but really,hespeaks well. Everyone can understandhim and everything, so it´s good. We had a little meeting about our new "vision" that we have, which is being Celestial Missionaries. I´ll explain that in a second, but after we talked about our new goals, we had interviews, and then everyone left. But the interviews were in our chapel, so we were waiting until everyone left so we could lock up. President and Sister Bruce and the assistants were gettinginto their car, and we were waitingwith the ZoneLeaders, and they pulled up next to us and Sister Bruce started asking about a few restaurants that shehad looked up on the internet, where they were. We were explaining one, named Wagon, which is basically next to our house, and President was like "hey, just get in" and we were like "umm, all of us?" and they said yes. So, HQ got in the front with Sister Bruce, and I squeezed in the back with the assistants and the zone leaders. Elder Skene, one of the assistants,was more orless sittingonmy lap,but don´t worry about it. We directedthem to Wagon,which is a really nice restaurant, and then we thought we were just going to eat in our house and thengo out to work, but President was like, "No, you´re all coming to eat with me!" So we ate the most delicious lunch in the world, I´mserious. It was soooo good. Nothing like any of the other ridiculous food I´ve eaten in Chile. Mmm. Plus,we got tospend more time with President and Sister Bruce, who are so soso awesome. They like to speak English, so it was kindof weird goingbackand forth between speaking English to Sister Bruce, a mixture to President and the assistants,and only Spanish to HQ and the Zone Leaders. But it was very very great and we were really really blessed.
Okay, so last week we got a letter from President Bruce about how we can develop Christ-like attributes and skills from PMG to be more Celestial,and we have levels that correspond to the number of contacts,new investigators, lessons with members, and total lessons that we do each week. To be a celestial missionary, we have to do 120 contacts, teach 20 lessons, and at least 8 of them with a member, and find 10 new investigators. There is also the City of Enoch level, which is 140 contacts, 30 lessons, 12 with a member, and 15 new investigators (By the way, McKay, Kevin, Brian, etc., I want to know how these numbers relate to your averages on your missions. I´ve been really curious about that!). This last week we were super happy to reach level 3 (right before Celestial) because we worked such few days, but this week we´re aiming for Celestial, and next week City of Enoch. It´s super cool to work with these goals, because they transfer into daily goals, and we just work with faith andprayer to accomplish them. Yesterday we needed to find 3 new investigators and have 3 lessons with members to accomplish level 3, and we just prayed and prayed for those specific numbers. At the beginning of church we didn´t have hope for lessons with members, because all our regulars couldn´t work with us, but we asked a girl named Yesica to come out with us for an hour and she said yes. We went to an appt we had, and it was sweet! The investigator, Liliana, was super interested and accepted all the commitments and everything. Yesica was so excited that she decided to keep working with us. We went to a reference that someone had given me that day, and the girl whose name we had didn´t live there, but a guy from Bolivia answered the door, consented to listen to us for "two minutes" (what we always say to get people to listen), and was SO interested, it blew us away. We said we would like to come back to visit the next week and he said "No, the pleasure would be mine. Really,this is exactly what I´mlooking for rightnow." It was great! So,one new investigator. Then we picked up Jorge, our last convert, to go to an appt. That girl wasn´t there, so we went to some reference we had, asked for 2 minutes, and went into his house. The guy said he´s been researching religions for his whole life, looking for the right one, but has never found it. He hadn´t heard anything about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, but understood exactly what we were teaching. And Jorge was so awesome, before we could even extend any invitations he was like "Our invitiation to you is to investigate this church. Read the Book of Mormon! Pray to God! I received my testimony by..... and I knowthat you can feel this way..." etc. He would be an amazing missionary, seriously. So, another new investigator. We had an appt at 7:30 with the Donoso family to teach their son, and it was about 7:30, but we needed another new investigator and knew the Donosofamily could wait. So we asked Jorge what he thought we should do. "Well, let´s go visit some of my friends." We went to one house, and she wasn´t home, so we wenttoanother house, and his friend´s son answeredthe door. His mom was busy for a little while, but HQ invited him tolisten to our message too, so we entered, taught, andhe was our new investigator too! That makes 4 lessons with members,and 3 new investigators. We brought Jorge to the Donoso family´s houseto say hello,and they invitedhim in to eat "once" (what they call dinner here,but they only eat bread with avocado,and Ecco,which is like coffee but not actually coffee), which was great because he is really strugglingwith money and can only affordto eat lunch every day. We had a good lesson with their son, Coque, and tried to set a baptismal date, but he´s really rebellious, just to be contrary, and we don´t know why. So, we still don´t have any baptismal dates, but we´re praying for the gift of discernment to know what his problemreally is,because he knows he has to get baptized, and his parents really want it to be soon so they can get sealed as a family.
Anyway, that was my week! A lot to write about. I hope it didn´t bore you guys. But I´m really loving being here and really excited to work with these goals that we have. I´ll keep you posted, of course.
Thanks for your letters, I love you, I pray for you all always, and I´ll write again next week of course!

Love

This letter was sent 7/12/2010

I have really no clue what to say today. Our numbers for the week were a little low-- there´s a Catholic festival called La Tirana somewhere "arriba" from here and everyone that believes in God is there apparently. Unfortunately, what I said last week about us having lots of good people that we´re teaching is no longer true. We had to drop some investigators, others we haven´t been able to find (welcome to the mission, right?), and we have been knocking doors like crazy with reeeally bad results. The actual festival of La Tirana is this weekend, but people flock there by the thousands apparently the whole week. Jorge, our convert from July 3, is so converted to the gospel, it´s sweet. He ate lunch with us in the restaurant on Saturday (the same people that cook for us during the week invite us to their restaurant every Saturday to eat lunch, and we found Jorge because he was working there with them) and we were complaining about La Tirana and he asked if he was allowed to work with us and take us to the houses of all his friends to teach them! He´s super great. Also, HQ has to travel to Antofagasta to renew her visa and she´s leaving tomorrow after lunch and coming back Wednesday night. And President Bruce is touring the mission this week to meet all of us, so I´m not really sure when we´re going to work.
I just realized that this is probably the most boring email you´ve ever gotten from me. Sorry.
Today we played soccer against the zone that lives in Hospicio, which is the city on top of the mountain next to Iquique. We rented a soccer field with turf (all the churches here have soccer courts, like basketball courts, but it´s just cement) and it was huge. I played for about five minutes until I realized that I was incredibly horrible and incredibly nervous and was not going to be a good contribution to the game, at which point I sat on the side and cheered with an Elder who also doesn´t like to play and some random members from another ward who came to cheer.
Remember the Donoso family? I don´t know if I´ve told you before, but they have a 14 year old son who didn´t get baptized with them who has been really uninterested in the church. But we taught him last night and he´s wayyyyyyy more interested. The lesson was sweet. Janett (the mom)´s sister was there too (they call her Lola!) and she is also really interested. This family is kind of crazy. They´re still learning how to live the gospel and everything, but they are really good in some aspects, like prayer (I believe I´ve mentioned that before) and missionary work. They give us references of every single person they know who´s not a member, and usually they´re trained up well, because they always talk about the gospel in their house. Hermano Donoso is the Elder´s Quorum President, so he comes to our missionary correlation meetings, and this past Tuesday he brought his wife, who recently received a calling as Secretary of the YW, and her sister Lola. It was.... weird to have a nonmember in our meeting, but it´s not like we do anything that they shouldn´t know about. Anyway, we´ll see what happens there, but they´re about our only hope right now.
Well, I´m still freezing here. Apparently August is the worst month, so it´s only going to get colder. I´ll keep you posted on that. I love you, I miss you, and thanks for your emails! Brothers: write me. That is all.
Have a good week!
This letter was sent 7/5/2010

First of all, we survived transfers once again and HQ and I are going to be together another transfer. Us and the zone leaders are the only companionships that weren´t changed in our zone of 14 missionaries, so it´s going to be really different this transfer. My gringos are leaving! Hermana Montandon, who came with me, is going to Antofagasta, and her companion too, because they´re closing their area for Hermanas and Elders are coming. But we´re getting 3 other gringo Elders. We´ll see how that goes.

Yesterday, being the 4th of July, I woke up singing The Star Spangled Banner. We now have a new mission president, named President Bruce, from California. HQ and I decided to call him and sing the national anthem. Luckily it´s in my English hymnbook so HQ could read the words. It went pretty badly, because it´s really high and she´s really bad at singing in English, and it was 7:30 in the morning. But he appreciated the thought. Also, he only wanted to talk to me in English because he said it´s been really hard to remember Spanish after all this time (he served his mission in Puerto Rico, but a long time ago obviously). We´ll see how that goes too. My district leader and my zone leader as well called first thing in the morning to wish me a happy 4th of July.

As for the hamburgers, they ended up not making them, so it was a 4th of July without celebrations, except for HQ and I both dressed in red, white and blue for church. Those are also the colors of the Chilean flag, so I´m not sure if anyone noticed. But we were excited. I´m attaching a photo.

Saturday we had the baptism of Jorge (that is a translation of a sentence in Spanish, sorry)! It was good. I´m not sure how much I´ve told you about him, but he has been a super great investigator and we´re really happy that he´s finally baptized. He was a little sad, because he´s from Paraguay and his kids still live there and they´re little and they don´t understand why he´s not with his wife (they´re separated) and they couldn´t be at the baptism and he feels a little lonely I think. But he was happier on Sunday when he was confirmed, and hopefully with the support of the ward he´ll feel better soon.

HQ and I sang at the baptism! Just us two! I´m sure you´re all shocked, considering my intense hatred for singing in front of people ever since that one horrible recital when I was like 11, but I do things as a missionary that I thought I would never ever do, and that was one of them. We sang that one Primary song about baptism, with parts in Spanish and parts in English, and I´m not going to say the singing was wonderful, but overall it turned out pretty well.

I don´t know what else to write about in general. We have good people that we´re working with right now, but we don´t have any baptismal dates and no one came to church yesterday. That is by far the biggest challenge we have. But we´re going to work as hard as we can and do everything we can to get these people to church and surely we are going to baptize this transfer.

I can´t remember if I wrote about Jessica, the girl that took care of Silvia, but we went to visit her this week and she was soooo happy to see us and said that our visit brought her a lot of happiness that she´s been missing. Saturday we had an appt with her and we went to her house and she wasn´t there so we called and she said she had slept at the Donoso´s house so we went there to teach her. Her and Jannett, Silvia´s daughter, are best friends now. We had a short lesson but she said that she wants to get baptized! And she came to Jorge´s baptism on Saturday night. Unfortunately, she didn´t come to church yesterday and we don´t know why. But we´ll get on that.

Anyway, I´m here for at least 6 more weeks, and we´ll see what happens after that, because HQ only has one more transfer after this one. Iquique is getting pretty cold, but apparently it´s colder in Antofagasta and MUCH colder in Copiapo, so I´m grateful.

I love you all! Thanks for the letters, I hope you´re doing well. I´m praying for you always.
Hermana Coppins

P.S. The subject line is something someone said in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. What the heck??

Chile is still viva

This letter was sent 6/28/2010

First off, although it´s exciting that Chile is progressing in the World Cup and all, it is SO HORRIBLE to be here after a game. I don´t know if any of you will remember or were there, but after BYU beat Oklahoma back in September, Provo was RIDICULOUS. The streets were lined with cars honking and everyone was running around and screaming and it was impossible to do anything but party. Welcome to Iquique (especially in the center) after every game. I couldn´t believe the amount of celebrating after Chile LOST last Friday. I´m kind of secretly hoping that it ends here with the game against Brazil today, because at least we can work. But we´ll see what happens.

This week was ridiculously busy and thinking back on it, it seems like about three months instead of seven days. Hermana Quiroz was really sick at the beginning of the week. We had ward conference, with activities every day. We attended Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Friday night, and Saturday morning. We watched both of the Chile games in the World Cup, we had interviews with the president, we had a baptism on Saturday morning, and we still found 6 new investigators and taught 12 lessons, which is an honorable week of work. We´re heading into the last week of the transfer with a baptism on Saturday and hoping to work really hard and set baptismal dates, find new investigators, etc.

Most importantly, we accomplished the 5 baptisms!! It was really exciting, and only one other companionship in our zone did. Only two zones of the ten in the mission baptized 5 people per companionship, but we had 260 baptisms in 3 months, which really is good for the previous records of our mission and this area.

Allison and Felipe were super happy, and yesterday we had ward conference, so the stake presidency was there and spoke in Sacrament Meeting and in the third hour meeting, and they kept referring to Allison and Felipe during all the talk and everything. I´m sure it was embarrassing for them, but I´m super happy that the ward is receiving them with open arms and I know they´re going to be really great converts.

[Editor's note: I decided to leave this section in because it demonstrates tough choices we have to make and the resulting consequences.] I have an embarrassing story and I don´t know if it should be made known to the world, so maybe Dad should edit this before putting it on the blog (you are posting my emails on my blog, right?). Every Sunday we eat lunch with members. Yesterday it was the Martins family. They´re from Brazil but lived in Japan for the last 18 years and moved to Chile about 8 months ago, for business related things. They don´t speak super great Spanish, and what they do speak, is with a HEAVY Portuguese (Brazilian?) accent. Sometimes we can understand them, sometimes no. But they have a car, so after church we get in the car with them, presumably to go to their house to eat. They´re all chattering away in Japanese or Portuguese or something (apparently those languages are really similar?) and all of a sudden they´re like "Can the missionaries eat in a restaurant on Sunday?" and HQ is like "No!" and they´re like "Umm... our oven.... yesterday we had to cook for 80 people... we didn´t make anything.... (a whole bunch more).... so we´re going to a restaurant. Can you?" and we have NOOOOO idea what to do, we just don´t say anything, and HQ gives me this look like "save me" but I have absolutely no idea how, and so they just keep driving and driving and driving, a million miles (it seemed) out of our sector, and we ended up at a Chinese food restaurant. We tried to hide our nametags the best we could and had the most uncomfortable lunch ever.
After lunch, when we left to work at 3:30 like we always do, we stopped by the house of Anyela, a girl in our ward who is studying medicine and always works with us on Sunday. We asked who we ate lunch with and we were super embarrassed but we told her and she was like "Okay I totally understand, what else could you have done?" and we just said we had no idea. Later when we came back to drop her off, her mom (it´s the family of the ward mission leader, by the way) was like "I made picarones, do you want some? Or would you rather we went to a restaurant to eat?" and we were really embarrassed and she was kind of angry that we said we didn´t know what else we could do. "Don´t tell me that you didn´t know what to do! If someone tempts you with something, are you going to say that you didn´t know how to say no?" Ugh. Maybe right now I can think of things I could have said, but seriously, in the moment, there was no other option. It wasn´t that we were really hungry and didn´t want to miss out on the chance for food! But we really didn´t want to hurt their feelings. Ugh, I don´t know. The only thing we can do is hope that it doesn´t turn into a huge rumor in the ward.

Anyway, that´s all I have for today. Next week I´ll know about transfers! Woo hoo! Love you guys.
Hermana Coppins

The first day of winter!

This letter was sent 6/21/2010

The bad news section: Silvia died yesterday. She was in severe pain Saturday afternoon so they took her to the hospital and apparently they didn´t take care of her very well. She had to wait from 5 pm until 11 pm to be seen, and they left the window open in her room without lots of blankets, and she´s REALLY REALLY thin from the first time she went to the hospital and they didn´t feed her, so she just couldn´t take the mistreatment and died at 5 am yesterday morning. The family is sad, but her daughter Janett and her husband are members, so they understand the plan of salvation and are super happy that at least she got baptized. Now we know she´s happily in the spirit world, enjoying paradise.

Her husband died 20 something years ago, and Janett´s husband Jorge (Hermano Donoso) went to the temple and was baptized for him, so they´re together. :) But Jessica, the girl who was taking care of Silvia, isn´t a member, and we were teaching her but she didn´t want to change her Catholic beliefs so we dropped her a week or two ago. But we talked to her last night and she wants to receive us again. Hopefully she can find comfort in the Plan of Salvation too. The viewing was at her house last night so we went with a bunch of ward members and sang some hymns and the bishop said a prayer. She has six kids and only the one is a member so they didn´t want to have a funeral like we normally do, and she´s being buried with a cross (?), but it was good to be there.

The great news section: We had so many miracles this week! Thursday we had an appt with Allison and Felipe and we were talking to Felipe about his testimony/answer about the church, etc., and he said that he hadn´t received an answer, because he hadn´t really been praying. He wanted to get baptized anyway but we told him he has to believe that this is the true church, he can´t just get baptized because he wants to. So we told him to pray that night and really seek an answer. We went back Friday to do the pre-interview with him and Allison (so we could announce their baptism yesterday in Sacrament Meeting) and when we got there Allison wasn´t home yet but her mom was like oh, Felipe´s here, and he wanted to talk to you. We were kind of nervous about whether it would be good or bad, but he came downstairs and we asked him if he´d prayed, and he said he went into the back of his house to be alone and knelt down and prayed to ask if this was the true church and he felt a warmth in his chest and he felt really good. And we were super happy and were like Felipe, that´s an answer from God! and we shared a bunch of scriptures and he seemed really happy too. Then Allison came home and we were about to start going over the questions and Felipe was like "Oh I have something to say. I´m not going to get baptized, I don´t think I´m prepared" and we were like WHAAAAAT and HQ just started talking and talking and saying that we´re never going to be perfect, but we will grow in the gospel, and it´ll be easier because we´ll have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and he had received an answer and that was important, and he was like "Okay I want to get baptized but my mom and Allison said I wasn´t sure so I shouldn´t!" and Allison was like "You weren´t sure!!!" and he was like "But now I got an answer!" and their mom was like "Fine then, get baptized with Allison" and he was really happy. And they came to church yesterday, so we´re all set for this Saturday. We´re going to accomplish the goal! Woohoo!

Another miracle is Jorge. He´s been a miracle since the second we started teaching him, but Saturday he shared with us an awesome experience. He´s been reading the Gospel Principles book and finished it Friday, and knelt down Friday night to pray to God and to ask forgiveness for his sins. He said he was praying in his room in darkness but all of a sudden it was like a light came on, but not in the room, in his mind. And he knew exactly what God wanted from him and not in a general way, but in a very specific way. We shared with him Alma 32:28 and he was soooo sooo happy. He said before he wanted to get baptized, but now he´s completely anxious to get baptized, he can´t wait. He wants to do everything right, and every single thing we teach him is a breeze. He has lots of questions but just to clarify how he can best serve God. It´s really cool because he recognizes us as servants of God and trusts the things we say as the word of God. Ah, he´s so great. So he´s getting baptized July 3rd.

Also in the way of miracles, Chile won their first game on Wednesday and again today! This city is CRAZY when they win. Everyone is just driving around honking and screaming CHI CHI CHI LE LE LE VIVA CHILE over and over again.

Well, that´s about all I have to say this week. We´ve got two more weeks of this transfer and they´re going to be super busy. Also, HQ is sick so we´ve been a bit behind on working, but we´re hoping that everything will go smoothly this week with the ward conference and all. Thanks for your support and your prayers, and thanks to Tagg, McKay, Ashely and Aunt Melissa for the emails! I didn´t hear from anyone else but that´s probably because it´s earlier than normal. I hope you´re having a good week and I pray for you always!

Monday, June 14, 2010

VIVA CHILE VIVA CHILE VIVA CHILE

This week was bacan. That means cool in Chile, by the way. Everyone has been asking about the five baptism goal, so I´ll update you on that now. After the miracle of L [woman] last week, our hope in her has fallen a little. We could never teach her last week, we´d call and she´d say that she´d be there and then just not be there. And now she works Sunday mornings and every other day in the afternoon. Lame. BUT we have the two baptisms that we need in F [man] and A [woman], who are getting baptized the 26th of June. I only said a little about them last week, so I´ll explain more now.

Their mom is a member and hasn´t come to church for a few years, but she started coming about a month ago or so. Her husband is a member but he´s less active, aka never comes to church. She has two children: F is 18 and A is 13. We started teaching them and like the second lesson, after A had come to church for the first time, she said she wanted to be baptized because she felt really good in church and wants to be closer to God and just feels like it´s the right thing to do. Check. F said he hadn´t received an answer, but was willing to have lessons with us still.

This past Thursday we went over and were just going to finish the Plan of Salvation and we had a lesson planned for Felipe the next week where we were going to talk to him all about baptism and read from Mosiah 18 where it says something along the lines of if you´re willing to mourn with those that mourn and want to be counted in the fold of Jesus Christ, what´s stopping you from getting baptized. BUT we finished the Plan of Salvation talking about getting sealed in the temple as a family and A was like "Oh I didn´t know anything about this! Now I´m going to talk to my mom all the time about going to the temple so we can get sealed!" and F was really excited too and we asked what they were willing to do to live in the celestial kingdom and they were like everything we have to so we read that scripture with F and were like "if this is the desire of your heart, will you get baptized?" and he was like "yeah, I´ve been thinking that I want to get baptized actually" so we were like "On June 26th with your sister?" and he was like "yeah!" and we DIED. Seriously. Such a happy moment. I´m happy all over again thinking about it now. So they´ll get baptized the last week. That week is also ward conference, and here they have activities every day of the week leading up to the ward conference Sunday, so everyone is going to be all geared up for the baptism on Saturday. Ah, there is no greater joy! And they are soooo firm, they just really want to do what´s right. :)

We found 10 new investigators this week, which is a huge deal for us. One of them is J [man], who works in the restaurant of a member and has been reading the Principles of the Gospel book and has ALL THE DESIRE IN THE WORLD to get baptized. He´s really busy with two jobs but has committed to meeting with us Saturday mornings and Sundays right after church so he can be prepared to be baptized on July 3rd. Ah, we are going to be so busy but so happy for the rest of this transfer. Being a missionary is great. And it´s great even when we don´t have all the success in the world, because I am learning with increasing importance every day the blessings of the gospel and my responsibility in this work. I´ve never been happier and I´ve never been happier about the RIGHT things. Ah, it´s so great.

I´ve barely read your emails but from last week, Mom said that the area where McKay and Annie live now is a little "rough." I want to know what that means and then compare it to my life. I wonder how different it will be... But I won´t tell you anything because I know you´ll worry and just know that I´m not worried because the Lord protects us 100%.

Oh, a weirdy story from this past week. We were looking for an investigator the other day and she lives in this house with apparently a million other people (like everyone here) and she wasn´t home but a man from Venezuela who lives there and was like kind of suspicious when he asked us who we were looking for. Then HQ started the pitch, we´re missionaries and all that and because we have this new rule that we can´t teach people who convive (live together without being married-- in district meeting on Tuesday they told us that they don´t count as lessons, new investigators, or sacrament meeting attendance if they convive, so we have to find out in the first contact if they´re married) she asked if he lived there with his family. He said no, solo, and HQ asked if he was looking for a wife and he was like "Yeah, like her (pointing at me), I think the Lord sent me one" and I was soooooo creeped out and he touched my arm and I just didn´t say anything to him and when we left he shook our hands and while we were shaking hands he looked at it and was like "See, we´d make a good pair" and I wanted to SPRINT AWAY from there. Ughhhhh why are people so creepy here? Why do people love gringas? Why why why?!?!?!

That´s about all I have to say today. I hope you are planning on watching the Chile vs Honduras soccer game on Wednesday and I hope you´re rooting for Chile!!!! We have permission to watch it and a few others, so we´ll be together in a chapel Wednesday morning at 7:30 (5:30 am for you guys, haha) to watch it. Viva Chile!!
Love you all sooooo much :)
Hermana Coppins

WRITE KAMI A LETTER (She would love to hear from you!):

The easiest way is to use www.dearelder.com. Simply choose her mission (Chile Antofagasta) and then select pouch mail and it is free. You fill in your own information and then you put in "Sister Kamian Coppins" and it will get to her. Then you just compose a note online (like an email) and hit send. It is that easy.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

week seven million or something like that

Okay, it´s finally getting cold here. And for weeks I´ve been walking around without a coat because yeah, I´m not cold when it´s 60 degrees. But all of a sudden it´s FREEZING and I wear a coat and my hands are always ice cream (helado) (also means cold) and everyone is noticing. Ha! Winter starts next month.

We had zone conference again this week. It was super good and we went out to work that night with all the excitement in the world. And a miracle occurred. We were looking for a woman in a house with a million rooms (they´re called piezas here and I´d say probably the majority of our sector is just people that rent rooms instead of having a house-- it makes it hard to teach men) and she wasn´t there but the woman who discovered that she wasn´t there wanted to talk to us so we started sharing the gospel with her. Her name is [Lucia] and she has been having dreams that Jesus is telling her to get baptized in a river and she knows she has to get baptized but she was waiting for the right time or something. Anyway, the lesson was incredible and she accepted our "conditional challenge" to be baptized on June 26th, the last week of our 3-month goal of 5 baptisms, if she received an answer. This means that she had to come to church the following 3 Sundays to have gone 3 times before she gets baptized, which is our rule. We taught some seriously good, powerful lessons this week. Saturday after lunch we started our fast. Our Zone Leaders decided that we should all fast for all the baptismal dates in our zone, and that they would all go to church on Sunday to be eligible to be baptized by the end of the month. We left Saturday afternoon for the worst day of working I´ve had here in the mission. NO ONE was home or wanted to talk to us. We went to every single person we planned, which is 22 people (two for each half hour of the day) and taught one lesson, with our beloved Susana and Miguel (the beloved part is sarcastic, by the way). She has decided that she´s going to live in Peru and leave him here. Ay.

Anyway, Saturday FINALLY, by some miracle, ended. We came home absolutely dead, but woke up Sunday with even more hope in our heart than the day before. We were supposed to have 6 investigators at church, and had made all the arrangements necessary-- phone calls, other people, etc. We went to pick up [Lucia]. Sick. Couldn´t come. Okay, not getting baptized on June 26th. Walk to church alone. Wait for Angel, Jessica, Nancy, Alison, and Felipe. They all didn´t come. We had ZERO investigators at church. How embarrassing! Miguel showed up, alone, without his member wife, and when I asked where she was he told me not to talk to him about her. Umm... awkward. But anyway, he is still slowly quitting smoking, and he knows he has to get baptized, so he will someday. We can´t waste our time teaching him like before, but when he´s ready he´ll let us know. So anyway, the weekend was a little disappointing after such an uplifting week. But we still have hope in Alison and Felipe, who are the children of a member, and have come to church before. Alison has already accepted to be baptized, and Felipe is less sure but we have faith! We will accomplish this goal of 5 baptisms!

I wore my contacts instead of my glasses on Wednesday for zone conference (for the first time here in Chile) and everyone thought I was someone else. Umm, do I really look THAT different with glasses? We encountered a member on the street later that day and she was like "Oh, do you have a new companion? Oh, she´s so blanquita y bonita (white and pretty)!" Umm, awkward. I wouldn´t be pretty if I wasn´t white? I´m not pretty with my glasses? Haha people here are so blunt.

HQ and I have started recording ridiculous videos of us singing hymns. Maybe sometime I´ll find a way to send them to you guys, but you probably won´t think they´re as funny as we do.

I don´t have much more to say today, sorry. But I love you guys! I hope you´re doing well, and I am certainly doing well here, but freezing all the time. :) Enjoy your summer.
Love,
Hermana Coppins

happy memorial day, apparently?

Okay, this week was the first one that kind of went by quickly. When I think back to last P-day, it feels SUPER long ago, but during the week we just did NOT have enough time to do everything! I´m not sure I´ll ever understand the people that say on P-day that they feel like it was just P-day though. Ay.

So we had our baptism on Saturday, by SOME miracle. We were crazy all week running around trying to do everything for it. We reviewed the questions for the interview like 20 times because we were afraid that it would be hard for her to understand when it was just the District Leader, who she´s never met, and her alone. The pre-interview didn´t go amazingly well, but she seemed to be much better during the last week. In the end, we were all present (Hermana Quiroz, me, the DL, his companion, her daughter, who´s the member who she lives with, and the woman who takes care of her, Yesica) for the interview and it went well. Coordinating the schedule for the baptism was another huge challenge. At first her daughter and son-in-law wanted to have it "early," so we planned it for 4, but then they told us they wanted it in the middle of the day, like at 2, no at 12, no at 11, no at 11:30. So we tell everyone 11:30. But then they´re remodeling our chapel, so they didn´t know if it would be done by Saturday morning, so we´re thinking about having it in the stake center. In the end, it was in our chapel, but we didn´t know until like 7 pm on Friday night, and this woman who said she would call a bunch of people to inform them never called. So the RS president, with the baptismal clothing, didn´t show up. We called her, she wasn´t home, so we went to her house to retrieve the clothing and her non-member husband begrudgingly gave it to us. They were planning on having 3 men in the font to help baptize her, but then they decided they needed 4, because she has a catheter and they needed someone to hold it up (?!??!?! what a horrible job!). So the whole bishopric, her son-in-law and her were all in the font, all in white. It was quite a job to get her all the way under the water with all those people, and she was crying and her son-in-law was telling her not to cry, and we were all trying not to laugh... a sight I will never, ever forget. But in the end, she stopped crying and was super happy, and when Hermano Donoso carried her out of the font and the floor was soaking wet with all the men standing there waiting to change in the one-person bathroom, she had the hugest smile on her face. Oh, our lives. I have a picture that eventually I´ll send to you. It´s priceless.
I don´t have much other exciting news from this week. Our zone´s numbers for the last week on contacts and new investigators are phenomenal. Our numbers for baptismal dates and baptisms are the worst in the mission. The whole freaking world "convive," which means lives together without being married. It´s a problem. But! HQ was studying the story of the house of Israel the other day and then we started talking about how Moses died instead of entering the promised land and we learned a super important lesson about obedience that I´m going to share with all of you.
So in Numbers 20:8 (I´m using all these scriptures from memory, so I hope they´re more or less right) the Lord commands Moses to speak to a rock to bring forth water. In verse 11, he smites the rock to bring forth water. In Deuteronomy 32:50-52 more or less, the Lord tells Moses that because of his transgression that day, he will see the promised land but will never enter it. In Deuteronomy 34:5 or 6, he sees the promised land and dies. But! He actually doesn´t die, he´s translated. We know this from a) a footnote and b) the Bible Dictionary, which informs us that because he appeared at the Mount of Transfiguration, before Jesus Christ was resurrected, he couldn´t have been a resurrected being, so he must have been a translated being (how lucky for HQ that I have the scriptures in English, because this appears nowhere in Spanish). So, the lesson we learn is that everyone, even the greatest prophet of Israel (see summary of Deut. 34) sins. And he repented, so he was translated and surely will attain/has attained eternal life. But, because of his (slight) disobedience, he missed out on a major blessing in his life, aka, attaining the promised land. So, if obedience brings us blessings, lack of obedience causes lack of blessings. We started thinking long and hard about what blessings we were missing out on for our little, tiny "lack of obediences" and recommitted to being obedient with exactness. It´s been great so far.

I hope you´re having fun on your vacation, and I´m still waiting to hear from McKay... I love you, have a good week! Oh, and my package arrived last week and I got it today! Yippee! Haven´t really looked in yet, but thank you thank you thank you! You´re the best.
Anxiously waiting to hear about Chase´s mission call...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Annie

I already knew it was Annie´s birthday before Mom told me. Sadly, I do not know her email address. Someone please forward/show this to her asap so she knows that I´m wishing her a very happy birthday and I´m thinking about her.

So, they announced transfers this morning. Hermana Quiroz and I are staying here. The 6 Hermanas in our zone are all staying, but three Elders are leaving. I can´t remember if I mentioned before but besides one companionship of Hermanas, every companionship had one Latino and one gringo. Three gringo Elders are leaving and three Latinos are coming, so we´re going to be in the minority here in Iquique. It´s sad to see missionaries go! Even after just six weeks, we´ve built great friendship in the zone. But I´m looking forward to meeting the new Elders!

So I wrote last week about dumping Manuel. We went to visit him Tuesday to "kill him" but it was totally different. We had a super spiritual lesson, he read all the baptismal interview questions and said they were easy, he PROMISED us he´d stop smoking. Before he always said he knew he had to be baptized but "me falta mucho," like he needed to experience a mighty change of heart, and when we went on Tuesday, he said "me falta UNA COSA POCA," which was quitting smoking. So we left Tuesday, absolutely full of joy and hope. Friday we go to do the pre-interview, where we ask all the baptismal interview questions to make sure he´s ready, and he admits that he doesn´t have a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. We were super crushed. We´ve seriously given him everthing, so we just advised him to read the Book of Mormon from the beginning and keep praying to know if it´s true. He´s super faithful in coming to church, so maybe in just a few weeks he´ll get his answer and want to get baptized, because he´s prepared in every other way. But man, that was soooooo depressing.

We do have another baptism scheduled for this Saturday though. It´s about time I told you about the Donario family. They are recent converts, a couple in their thirties, with a 14-year-old son named Juan but they call him Kook, and he doesn´t want to get baptized. When the missionaries were teaching them (they were Elders then) they spent A LOT of time at their house, so they´re used to the missionaries always being at their house. Obviously we have a lot of work to do and aren´t going to just hang out at their house for hours every day. But Hermano Donario´s mom is Suena, the one who is getting baptized on Saturday, so recently we´ve been over there more, to teach her everything in a short time, but not so fast that she doesn´t understand. This is all well and good, except that Hermano Donario doesn´t think it´s necessary to wear a shirt sometimes. One time he answered the door, knowing it was us, in just shorts. HQ got so mad and was like "wow, you could show some respect for the missionares or something..." Haha. Another time he came downstairs to take a shower (their bathroom is right next to their living room but their bedroom is upstairs) in JUST A TOWEL. I almost died laughing. He also is REALLY into praying, all the time, for everything. Once we were there when he got home for the day and he was standing there talking to us and then all of a sudden said "permiso" and turned his back to us and started praying out loud, thanking Heavenly Father for making it home safely. He´s a kook.

Anyway, his mother-in-law is getting baptized this week so shortly we won´t be over there all the time. Thank goodness. I like their family though, they´re good people. Yesterday we ate lunch with them after church and their washing machine started dumping water all over the floor for some reason. Luckily we have experience with mopping up large amounts of water with limited means (remember the font?). Haha the mission is crazy.

Yesterday we had a special stake conference with Elder Corbridge of the 70, who is in the Area Presidency of Chile or something. We were sitting in like the third row, and someone was talking when I noticed that Elder Corbridge was looking at me, or more specifically, my plaque. I imagined what would happen if they called me up to bear my testimony, what I would say, and then assured myself that it would never happen. After that speaker finished, the stake president got up and announced a slight change in the schedule. Elder Kneisly, a missionary who is going home this week, is going to bear his testimony. Huge relief. We´re also going to hear a testimony from Hermana Coppins, who is just starting her mission. Huge wave of nerves. But man, the Spirit told me it was going to happen! Crazy! And I think it went pretty well. As far as I know/other people said, I didn´t make any grave mistakes. So that was exciting.

I don´t have much else to say, except that apparently you decided to move this summer?? Dad casually mentioned it in his email last week, that I didn´t read until I was home and had finished emailing. That´s big news. But that´s good! Keep me posted on the details when you find a house and stuff. And have fun on your trip to New York and Boston! I love you guys!

Monday, May 17, 2010

chile is not getting chilly

Editor's Note: The names have been changed.

The beginning of the last week of my first transfer. I don´t feel like it´s really gone by fast, but I feel good that I´ve already been here five weeks. Every day I get more and more involved in what´s going on here and less and less attached to home (though I still love you guys), and I know that´s necessary and good.

I´ve been getting along really well with the missionaries in my zone, which is a huge blessing. There are 6 sisters and 8 elders, and I really like them all. Pretty much every P-day we get together and do something. Today we watched Ironman and had a barbecue. Apparently once a transfer we´re allowed to watch a movie that is approved by President Urra. Apparently Ironman was approved. Weird. But it was really fun. As you all know, I didn´t get along SUPER well with the Elders in my MTC group, and I was thinking that I was just going to spend a year and a half without guy friends, no big deal. But all of the Elders in my zone are great, I´ve been having fun.

As for the work.... I´m a little down in spirits there. We have to drop Manuel. He just won´t quit smoking. Ugh but we had a heartbreaking lesson with him on Friday. It was super spiritual, about faith and repentance, and HQ (Hermana Quiroz) and I had both studied that morning for the lesson and had all these scriptures that were super powerful. We all felt the spirit, we know he did, and he was ABOUT to say that he was going to quit smoking. We tried to commit him, and he said he would try, that it would be hard, but he would try, and we said a few more things, being led by the Spirit, and all of a sudden his wife started talking, for a long time, and I wasn´t really following, and then the next thing I knew we were leaving and Manuel was looking really sad and I tried to confirm an appt for Tuesday (we always meet with him Tuesdays and Fridays at 4) and he just said "no, another day" and I was kinda confused and I tried to jokingly ask him what he was going to do then, intending his answer to be throw away his cigarettes, and he said "I want to be alone to think."

I was really confused, and when we left, HQ said "Ugh, I want to punch Consuela! Everything we´ve spent all this time building up she just ruined!" Here´s the story: she was meeting with the missionaries for a long time, but had a "pareja" (aka someone you live with but aren´t married to, there´s not really a translation in English) in Peru, where she´s from, who was an alcoholic, so she went to Peru to dump him and then came back to get baptized. When she came back she met Manuel and married him after like 3 weeks of knowing him, and we suspect she just married him to get her citizenship here in Chile. So they´ve been married for almost 2 months now, she got baptized in March, and is in all the lessons with him. But anyway, she started talking at the end of our lesson and started talking about her "pareja anterior" and how she really really loved him but he just wouldn´t stop drinking and didn´t want to go to church so she had to dump him but she´s been thinking about him a lot lately and she´s also been thinking about going back to Peru and leaving Manuel here. And she´s saying that in front of Manuel!! And he obviously loves her, unlike her, and was really depressed, and obviously when he´s depressed he´s going to want to smoke, instead of feeling like he has the strength to quit. HQ also said "ugh, the only good decision she ever made in her life was to get baptized!"

The next day we passed by their street looking for people and we saw Miguel smoking. So, not much hope. We´re not going to visit with him anymore unless something changes and he informs us of it and wants to meet with us. We just can´t pressure him anymore.

Eduardo, our golden investigator, suddenly had a change of heart in the wrong direction and just avoids us and we have no idea why.

So our only baptismal date right now is Sofia, this basically invalid woman who is the mom of a member and suffered a paralysis in December. She had been meeting with the missionaries before, and wants to get baptized now. She´s actually recuperating, I think she´ll be much better very soon. She can´t really talk, but she understands everything and is good at communicating with us. She´s getting baptized the 29th.

And we need to find two more people to get baptized by the end of June. And they need to come to church 3 times, and we only have 5 more Sundays. And honestly, none of the companionships in our zone are super good with the numbers right now. We know, it´s a trial of our faith and then we´ll see miracles. But I need to really figure out what I could be doing better as a missionary to fulfill the promises that our President made to us when he gave us the goal of getting 5 baptisms in these 3 months. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

Last night I was really giggly for some reason and I just want to mention one reason why. Hermana Quiroz was eating a banana and we walked by this house and she told me to knock because it was a building with various rooms and there were 2 future investigators who lived there. So I knocked and no one opened the door but this guy poked his head out of a window at the way top and HQ tried to tell me to ask for Olinda but she had this massive amount of banana in her mouth and I couldn´t really understand and she started laughing and so I started laughing and we looked like two crazy people, one Latina, one gringa, laughing our heads off and trying to communicate with this guy but being unable to.

Finally she got it out that we were looking for Olinda. Not home. Madalena? Hold on. So we´re waiting and waiting for her to come to the door and all of a sudden this guy with a huge TV in his arms comes up to us and we´re like hey, how are you and he says tired and we ask if he wants help and he said no but for us to knock on the door. So HQ knocks on the door and the guy is like HOLD ON SHE´S COMING and HQ is like "Umm no, there´s a guy here who wants to enter and he has a gigantic television (televisor gigante)" and I just start busting up laughing AGAIN and once again, we look crazy. At least I can laugh about my ridiculous life.

I can´t think of much else to say, except that I love you guys and I always pray for you. I´m waiting anhelosamente (you can look that up) to hear from my BROTHERS whom I love very dearly. And I can´t wait to hear about Chase´s mission call! Make sure you tell me asap. Don´t forget to email me about it.

I love you, I hope you´re doing well, etc. Until next week (at which point I will know about transfers!),
Hermana Coppins

WRITE KAMI A LETTER (She would love to hear from you!):

The easiest way is to use www.dearelder.com. Simply choose her mission (Chile Antofagasta) and then select pouch mail and it is free. You fill in your own information and then you put in "Sister Kamian Coppins" and it will get to her. Then you just compose a note online (like an email) and hit send. It is that easy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

three months in the mission today! (May 10)

So, I talked to you guys yesterday. Don´t really have much to say now, haha. For the benefit of the people who read my blog and didn´t hear this story yesterday, I will quickly recap: first earthquake experience on Tuesday, but really it was just a tremor and not really scary. Thursday night, something in our building on the third floor caught on fire at 10:30 pm and we had to rush outside, my companion with her three emergency backpacks. Then, there was some sort of flood from upstairs that started once we were already in bed and my companion freaked out and I did not care. Carla, the woman who served here, was totally right in some aspects: I. Am. In. Chile. Now. And hence, don´t care about so many things that would have freaked me out before.

Let´s see, what else can I possibly say about this week? Oh, we made little thank you cards for some of our "mothers" in our ward here and gave them out yesterday. Mom, you would have been so proud, you love thank you cards, haha. The women were SO touched, it was cute.

Miguel is still loco, don´t know if he´s going to get baptized on May 22. Ivan, a man who seriously is made of gold is also supposed to get baptized on May 22 but didn´t come to church yesterday, so we´ll have to postpone. He has a lot of problems, Satan is trying hard to not allow him to get baptized, but he really has the desire. One of his son´s is a drug addict and someone has to be with him all the time so he´s always missing our appointments and stuff, but we have faith that he will get baptized eventually. Oh, speaking of drug addicts, we taught a lesson to one hanging out in the street the other day. I started just giving him a regular contact and he told us to sit down (there was a couch) so we started teaching when I noticed that his pinky fingernails were really long and I remembered back to like 10th grade Health class/the million other years where we studied drug abuse and remembered that that´s a sign of an addict. Then he admitted it to us. We´re not going to teach him again.

Carlos and Alba are also star investigators, they seriously want to get baptized and are keeping commitments, etc., but they live together, he has to get divorced, and it´s probably going to take a long time. So that´s a bummer. We (I, mostly) are getting a little stressed about how we´re going to get three more people baptized by the end of June. But I just have to have MORE faith!

That´s about it for now. Chase and Tagg, we never really resolved the issue of how you don´t write me. So, write me. It was sad that I didn´t get to talk to you much yesterday, so seriously, take 10 minutes once in a while and pound out a quick email. I would LOVE it.

I love you all. I hope you´re doing well, I´m praying for you and I hope all goes well with your decision making and all. Miss you!

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm Not Counting Weeks Anymore

Well, it was another busy week. I went to Arica AGAIN, but this time we were successful in obtaining our visas. It´s a nice city, and the weather is good for it being winter, because it´s the most northern. I´m hoping to serve there someday but I DO NOT want to leave Iquique yet. I had a nightmare the other day about being transferred... ha! Do all missionaries not want to leave?
We have this goal of five baptisms for three months, right, and the ¨promise¨ from our mission president is that if we do 100 contacts every week, find 5 new investigators every week, and maintain two baptismal dates a week, that this goal will be accomplished. Last week, we had no dates because Miguel was just getting ridiculous. BUT, as soon as I got back from Arica on Friday we went to visit him and he accepted the 22nd of May as his date! It was a serious miracle, apparently he just felt the spirit while he was reading the chapter we left, Alma 7, and it was so great. I couldn´t believe the feeling of joy as we were leaving his house and walking to our next appt and I felt like I had made an impact in someone´s life, that he was going to baptized and I kind of brought the gospel to him. So great. Our appt right after was with Ivan, who is a little miracle who is all about getting baptized. He showed up at church yesterday alone! He´s been taught by missionaries before and gave up drinking and smoking and drinking coffee and tea when he was taught by them, and is really anxious to have friends in the church who don´t drink. So great. So, he agreed to the 22nd of May as well. And, that´s the last Saturday of the transfer so even if I or Hermana Quiroz get transferred, we´ll both be here then.
Okay we have this crazy neighbor named Mauricio who apparently has been out of town the whole time I´ve been here but he showed up Thursday and now we see him ALL the time. He likes hugging missionaries. Umm, not okay. I didn´t know how to stop it from happening. Also, the other night he knocked on our door and was like I´m hungry, what do you have to give me? I couldn´t believe it; anyone who knows anything about missionaries should know that we do not have money or good food. Ha! We gave him some sodas that come with our lunch that we don´t drink. Que loco.
Saturday was a holiday, Worker´s Day or something. Apparently it´s worldwide but I´ve never heard of it. Anyway, the white handbook says we should utilize holidays as the best proselyting days, but I do not understand that AT ALL. We have 5 appts and all but 1 of them fell through. We spent the 2.5 hours in the morning and then 3 hours in the afternoon knocking doors. No one wanted to listen to us. No one was there. It was rough. At 6:30 we decided to go to the chapel while people were there cleaning it and clean the baptismal font. First of all, they gave us a bucket of soap and a broom. Umm, a broom, to clean the font? What? Anyway, we put a little water in, we put a little soap in, I try to turn off the faucets and it´s not working so we have more water than we want, and THEN we realize that the drain isn´t working. We are in the font, scrubbing without our shoes and nylons on (how scandalous, huh?) and Hermana Quiroz sends me to ask how to make the water drain out. I don´t know the word for drain, or plug, or basically any words to explain this situation. Everyone thinks I´m ridiculous and can´t speak Spanish. True. Anyway, turns out it doesn´t work (don´t really understand why) and we have to mop up the water and squeeze it into a bucket. With ALL the water that´s in the font. It was ridiculous. What do they do when they have a baptism and it´s full?! That was ridiculous. And then there was nothing to dry our feet so we could put our nylons and shoes back on. Sometimes my life here is really ridiculous.
One more funny thing. So we only eat breakfast and lunch here, and then if people at night it´s called once but we never do. Usually I eat an apple while we´re out in the evening because I´m hungry. But last night we were at this house, teaching Omar, who is less active, and his brother is on a mission and his mom isn´t a member, but it was her birthday and she was all over the place so instead of heaving a lesson with a member present (we had Omar´s home teacher with us too) it was just basically a chat about the Atonement, for fun. Anyway, I was starving, and then she asked if we wanted a cafecito. And I was scandalized when Hermano Tapia, the guy with us, said yes, but it was just hot chocolate. So like 25 minutes later she´s like okay sit down at the table and there´s hot chocolate, bread with ham and cheese, and birthday cake. It was crazy. And good. But it was the first time I´ve eaten dinner since we got here and it was realllllly weird. I wonder if I´ll ever go back (just kidding, I´m sure I will).
Anyway, that about sums up my week. The daily grind of a mission is really interesting. I´m sure all the return missionaries know exactly how I¨m feeling right now, and I´m sure everyone who hasn´t gone on a mission has absolutely no idea. It´s a lot of work with sometimes no apparent results. But people get baptized, souls are saved; I know it´s worth it.
I hope you´re all doing well! Oh, by the way, I got that box from you guys last Tuesday, and it takes about a week for my mail from the office to get to me here, so it didn´t even take that long to get it! I also got some letters today. What a miracle! Mail is going to work here. Hallelujah.
Love you guys. Keep up the good work!
Hermana Coppins