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