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 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

La Segunda Semana

This week was LOCO.
I´m getting to know investigators more, getting to know the area more, and getting to know Spanish more, which is all very good. This past week I felt a lot more comfortable with being a missionary, which was really good. A LOT of stuff happened that I want to write about.
Wednesday we had our first zone conference. I was really looking forward to it, until I remembered that it was all going to be in really fast Spanish, and I was a little triste. But, when we got there Presidente Urra had an Elder translate for me and Hermana Montandon (she´s the other white sister that I came here with and she happens to be in my zone, which is good because we´re best friends now, by the way), which was REALLY embarrassing at first, but then not that bad. Sometimes it was more distracting than helpful to have him translating, so he just helped us out with the things that were confusing. But, it was really good. It was really inspiring to talk about all the promises we have as missionaries and stuff. I can´t remember if I said this last time, but our focus for April, May and June is for every companionship to have five baptisms, so we talked about what we have to do to make that happen. We´ve had two (neither of them my work, obviously) and really hoping for three more this transfer so we can do even more the next transfer!
Thursday we had A MILLION APPOINTMENTS. We spend a lot of time running from appt to appt, which makes it hard to do our 20 contacts every day, but we had a plan worked out for Thursday. We went to Miguel first, intending about an hour long lesson so we could make it to the rest of our appts. We ended up spending two hours there with him, pounding him with scriptures and with the Spirit and waiting for him to admit that he knows he has to be baptized and to decide when. He never said it, it was awful. I don´t think he´s quit smoking, and I think he maybe just hasn´t quit because he is afraid of getting baptized or something. Crazy.
Anyway, we spent two hours there and ran to our next appt, half an hour behind schedule. We had a super good lesson with Consuelo and Sandra, a mother and 9-year-old daughter, who are all about the church and will probably get baptized real soon, they´re totally elect. Anyway, we were still there, later than we ought to have been, when I saw this WEIRD explosion in the sky. I don´t know what it was, but when we finally left, there were no lights anywhere and it was really dark outside. There were no streetlights or lights in stores or houses. The only light was from the cars hanging out in a massive traffic jam. We were way weirded out, and couldn´t even go to our other three appts because there was no way to get anywhere in pitch black darkness. And we were going to commit all of these people to baptism! We decided to go back to our apartment to see if we had gotten any calls from the zone leaders, and when we got to the area where we live, everything was totally normal. But we could see that in the other part of town there was still no light. We just did contacts and called the people to apologize for not coming. It was psycho.
Friday I had to go ARICA to try to get my visa. It´s 4.5 hours north by bus and TurBus, our mode of traveling, KILLS me. I got to my area super sick the first day because of that dang bus. Anyway, we leave in the morning, which a return ticket for that night. The office closes at 1 and wouldn´t accept us because of a series of unfortunate events. But they say we have to come back the next morning, which is Saturday. So, we all split up to work with the sisters there that afternoon, sleep on mattresses on the floor in their apartment, without pajamas, without blankets, without clothes for the next day. We got up super early on Saturday morning to be first in line and it´s not open. The woman just totally lied to us, not sure why. Anyway, we get back on that bus, disgusting, and arrive back in Iquique a couple hours before the baptism. Ridiculous. By the way, my companion and Hermana Montandon´s companion stayed back to work together because they already have their visas.
Sunday morning we had to pick up investigators in two separate places, so we went on splits. I was really nervous, because I don´t know the area very well, but it wasn´t super hard to find. Unfortunately, we were super LATE, because everyone was running behind, walks slow, the girl I was with wanted to stop somewhere else to pick up this less active member, etc. And I was giving a talk! I hope the Bishop wasn´t too nervous when I rolled in like 15 minutes after 10:00 am, haha. Anyway, my talk went well, everyone said my Spanish is really good (writing out a talk and reading it is so easy, haha), and we had three investigators at church!
That´s about it for my week. We don´t have any for sure baptismal dates right now (Miguel is loco) but I have a lot of faith that we will soon.
I hope you´re all doing well! Thanks for the emails. Tagg, congratulations on the new car, and Chase, hurry up and do your papers! And write me, crazy boys. McKay, I´m really excited to hear about how things are in New York!! Dad, I´m responding to your questions in a separate email. Love you!