Wednesday, July 13, 2011

may???

email from 5/2/2011
So this was another good week, in the end. But it was kinda tough getting there. On Thursday something HORRIBLE happened. Remember Habib? That one young guy that we met on a Thursday, that went to church, we set a baptismal date, etc? Then he disappeared for two weeks and we called and went to his house three times every single day and could NEVER find him again? On Wednesday night he was driving by and stopped to get out and talk to us. He promised us that he´d be there waiting for us Thursday at 4 pm, so we talked to Daniel (our trusty future missionary, fellowshipper of the whole world) and went over to his house. The first time around that we talked to him, he confessed to Daniel that he was in love with Hermana Lindner but that he was still totally psyched about getting baptized and everything. Then he disappeared for two weeks and we felt like if he were really in love with Hermana Lindner, he would probably be there for our appts, right? Anyway, we go and he´s there. We talk about what happened in the time that we didn´t see him, and he expressed a lot of interest in changing his life. We talk about the Word of Wisdom, he gives me his lighter as a sign that he´s going to quit smoking, we set an appt for the next day, he agrees to go to a baptism on Saturday and come to church on Sunday. As we´re leaving (we´ve already started walking away) he calls us back and says that he wants to talk to Hermana Lindner alone. I say he can´t. He says fine, that he wants to talk to both of us but not Daniel. Daniel stays like 5 steps back but doesn´t leave. Good work. Habib tells us that something "weird" is happening to him and asks us if we know what it is. I just flat out say that he´s in love with Hermana Lindner and he´s like WHHHHHAAAAAAAAT how did you know??? and I said it´s because he looks at her a lot. We continue to have a really uncomfortable conversation about how nothing can happen EVER along those lines, even after the mission (Hermana Lindner remains silent and awkward), and even though Daniel has already told him all this when he confessed, and so we say that we´re going to explain more tomorrow (aka, the law of chastity). He agrees. Later that night, at about 5 to 10, Daniel calls us and asks if we´re at home. Not yet. Okay, just wanted to tell you to NOT put Habib in your planning for tomorrow. WHAT?! I´ll tell you tomorrow. Boooooo. We were SOOOOO depressed that whole night. Friday morning we get up and it´s cloudy all morning. I dress in black because that´s my mood. We go to Daniel´s house and he shows us a text from Habib. "I don´t want you to come anymore because I´m in love with Hermana Lindner and it hurts too bad." So ridiculous! We spend the rest of the morning knocking doors and just to go with our wonderful moods, we ONLY knock on the doors of atheists. There almost aren´t even atheists in Chile, but we found them all. So wonderful.
Okay I don´t have time anymore, but apart from Habib dying, we had three people at church yesterday, so that was great. One of them, Elisabeth, has been to church before and is praying about getting baptized right now! She shared her testimony in Relief Society! It was a huge miracle. We also brought two INACTIVE families to church yesterday and the ward was way happy. And one inactive member brought his wife, who is thinking about getting baptized. Woohoo! I know that if we keep working hard and relying on the Lord, we can see miracles in this sector! We are GOING to baptize in May! Plus President challenged us to read the whole Book of Mormon in May so I started yesterday and I love it. I´m reading it in Spanish for the first time and it´s going really well.
Okay, I love you all. I hope everything works out with the phone call so we can talk, to McKay and Annie too hopefully, and Chase if it´s possible!
Have a great week!
PS Hermana Vilche, my first hija, is here in Arica now, in my zone, so the attached picture is me with my two hijas! A little family photo!

:)




email sent 5/9/2011

It was so great to talk to you guys yesterday! Except that I got so worked up talking that it got really hot in the house and both my companion and I forgot to bring water and the family only had tap water, which is not okay to drink. After I talked my companion still had to talk, and I just started eating cookies. Which made me more thirsty. But I had to do something! Haha then we had headaches all night. But it was worth it. Such great news about everyone! It´s wonderful.
So anyway, there are two things from this week that I didn´t talk to you about that deserve space in this e-mail.
a) We are going to have a miracle baptism on May 28. Aka a golden investigator that just fell into our laps. On Monday night we were cruising around Puerta del Pacifico II, which is an apartment complex in our sector, looking for people to teach, and just as we were leaving this woman is coming in the gate and goes "Oh, good thing I saw you! Do you have time to come to my house right now?" Umm, sure. Are you a member of the church? Yes, and my son is 9 and he´s baptized, and my daughter is 7, but I have another daughter who is 12 and isn´t baptized and wants to be. Peeeeerfect. We went to her apartment and met Danaees, who´s the 12 year old. They´ve been here in Arica for just a month or so and never found the church. They were active in Copiapo, where they lived before, but they have a pretty complicated situation and have had to move around a lot. We taught them three times during the week, and they came to church yesterday and LOVED it. They said that something happened that had never happened before-- people went up to introduce themselves and talk to them and offer them books and rides to church and to go to their houses. ·Everyone says the people in the north of Chile are really cold but that is TOTALLY not true in our ward-- they are so great. I think I´ve talked about it a million times, but I TOTALLY love love LOVE my ward. They are a huuuuge blessing for me. Anyway, Danaees really loves the Young Women, and had been thinking about moving back to Copiapo to live with her grandma but now doesn´t want to anymore. So we asked if she wanted to get baptized on May 28 and she got sooooo excited. Thank you, Heavenly Father. That is just a straight up blessing because we have been working hard and basically nothing that we do turns out, so God decided to place someone in our path that invited us to teach her and baptize her. Wonderful.
b) On Saturday morning we had a stake Primary activity about how to be a missionary. All the 14 missionaries in our stake went, and we had a little devotional and then had the "MTC" where we taught them how to do contacts and share their testimonies, and then we went out to work with them! I was with these two girls who were reeeeeally eager (one of them says she goes out with the missionaries every day. Suspicious, but let´s hope that she´s just exaggerating) and they talked to 20 people on their own. For the most part, people were nicer because we were with little girls, but we still unfortunately talked to a few jerks. Plus they had no shame about anything, and when we passed this huge group of drunks they gave passalong cards to all of them. I´m pretty sure they didn´t notice that they were drunk. Menos mal. But, the activity was waaaay great and really inspired the kids to go on missions. Our eternal investigator, Raul, went and loved it. When he came to church yesterday he still had his fake nametag on (it says Futuro Elder Cortes). He reeeeeally needs to get baptized.
Anyway, that´s about all I have to say, except for the pictures. The first photo is us with the Bishop´s family. My bishop is hilarious. He is named Mario Bascur.
The second picture is us with our hijito, Daniel, the one who´s going on his mission to New York next week (where we did the phone calls yesterday). He went to the Primary activity and they gave him a nametag too, so if you look closely you can see that it says "Futuro Elder Albornoz." Not so far in the future! By the way, can someone tell me what ward McAnnie are in? They need to look out for him!
The third picture is my companion reading her Book of Mormon in a tree at our P-day activity today. We have the goal as a mission to read the whole Book of Mormon in May, and she´s so dedicated to it that we didn´t play paintball today with the rest of the zone so she could catch up. But we did go to the paintball site and read there. How naturey, right?
Well, I love you guys! Hope you´re all doing well! Keep up the good work.

no subject

email sent 5/16/2011

So this week was really emotionally charged. I don´t have a lot of time (welcome to my life) but here are some highlights/lowlights.
a) The ward had an FHE on Tuesday night for Daniel´s farewell. The bishop asked us to do a musical number so we sang I´ll Go Where You Want Me To Go in Spanish and English. My companion made me start it out solo. Soooooooo nerve-wracking. Public singing has NEVER been my strong point (I´m sure you all remember), but everyone liked it I guess. Even our roommates (the sisters from the other ward that live with us), who had to hear us practice it like 50 times.
b) Wednesday morning we decided to visit a woman named Clara who lives in our apartment complex who said that we could go by in the morning (which is rare). As we neared the building and then started climbing the stairs, we noticed a very strange smell. When she opened the door, it was apparent that it was coming from her house. The whole apartment was really smoky and she told us to come in. I started talking about the Restoration and my companion wrote a note to me in her agenda that said "Smells like drugs. What is that?" with an arrow pointing to my right. I looked and saw nothing. After a pretty short time, without finishing the lesson, we exited the scene. When we left, my companion informed me that there was a HUUUUUUUGE bong right next to me and that Clara (who´s like 75, by the way) was definitely doing drugs right before we went into her house. We REEEEKED of drugs and had to go change our clothes before we could keep working. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do about the hair, backpack, scriptures, etc. So ridiculous. Why am I so naive?? HL was not okay with it. Haha.
c) Thursday evening we were hanging out, doing missionary work like always, and we decided to go see Danaees to tell her about Mutual on Friday. We walked into the apartment and her mom, Daniza, walked out her bedroom looking horrible. How are you? Bad, do you want tea? No, we just came by to tell Danaees about Mutual tomorrow. Danaees is leaving tomorrow. What? To go where? Copiapo to live with my mom. She just started sobbing and said that Danaees would not come out of her room and didn´t want to talk to her mom and that she had arranged everything with her grandmother (bus tickets, school, everything) and just all of a sudden told Daniza that she was leaving the next day. Wow. HL (Hermana Lindner) went into Danaees´s room to go talk to her and I stayed with Daniza in the living room. She just kept saying she wanted to die and she couldn´t believe something so horrible was happening to her, and I just kept telling her that it would be okay. Not sure how. After about 30 minutes HL and Danaees came out and said that we were going to buy a soda. We went to a little store across the street and drank Sprite out of glass bottles while Danaees talked about Justin Beiber (what is up with him, by the way?). We walked back to her apartment and said our goodbyes. I assumed HL had done all of the convincing possible, but just as we were about to leave HL said "By the way, there´s still time to change your mind" and Danaees started looking really weird and I asked her if she had asked Heavenly Father about her decision. When we told her to ask him if Joseph Smith was a prophet she said that there was something inside her that told her yes but she didn´t know what it was. So, she can get and recognize answers from God. Perfect. She said that she hadn´t really prayed about it. I told her that she knew that God knew what was best for her and she just had to listen to him to be happy. She said that she knew that it would be the right thing to stay. Without saying anything else, she got reeeeally happy and said "I´m going to stay!" Her mom was in her bedroom crying, so we sent Danaees to go tell her and waited in the living room. After a few minutes she came out, we went to tell Daniza goodbye, and she hugged me soooo hard and said that she would thank me for the rest of her life. Another account of the missionaries receiving amazing inspiration and saving someone´s life. So, we´re still good there.
d) Finally, yesterday was the day Daniel (Elder Albornoz) left. At 9:30 am, right before Sacrament Meeting, they set him apart. It was a really cool blessing, as all setting aparts are, right? His sister had come up from Antofagasta with her darling daughters and they were all in Sacrament Meeting but left right after (well, after taking like a hundred photos, haha). We ate lunch with a family who lives in the same building as the Albornoz family, so right after eating lunch we stopped by to say our final goodbyes. He was soooo happy and his mom was sooo sad. We took a picture of the whole family for them, and on the way to the airport they dropped us off at our house. I got unreasonably sad (he reminds me a lot of Chase and I felt like I was seeing Chase go off on his mission-- an occasion that I luckily was not present for, since I surely would have cried buckets, just as I did yesterday afternoon) and we went out to work a little late. We struggled through the afternoon, and it just got increasingly worse as almost all of our investigators that we´ve been teaching forever killed themselves. It got to the point at 8 pm that I couldn´t handle so many people rejecting this wonderful message anymore and started crying again. We sat down on a rock (it was FREEZING, as it had already been night for like two hours) and I tried to get myself together. Tough. I went to bed 40 minutes early with a pounding headache and woke up today happier. And with more faith for the future. We´re having 3 baptisms on the 28th! And we´re having zone conference this week, which is always great. And I know that I´m doing the work of the Lord. And I know that Elder Albornoz will be a WONDERFUL addition to the mission field. So, it´s all good.
Thanks for your letters this week! I love you guys and I pray for you always. Have a great week!

:?

email sent 5/23/2011

So this was not the greatest week of my mission health-wise. It´s possible that I go into some not pleasant details, so sorry if you are weak-stomached and end up reading something you don´t want to hear. Just buck up, because at least you didn´t have to live it, haha.
Wednesday we had ZONE CONFERENCE. Now we only have zone conferences every three months (well, ever since the President Bruce era) so it´s a pretty huge deal when we have one. I woke up on Wednesday morning with an urgent need to use the bathroom, and it actually just stayed like that all day. We got all dressed up and got to the chapel and started the conference. It was really great, and all the stuff we talked about was REALLY applicable to me, my feelings, our sector, etc., so I really appreciated it. But every time there was a break I just had to go running to the bathroom. So not pleasant. The weirdest thing is that it has never happened to me before in my life! I had no idea what this was like. After lunch we had "workshops." One of them was to talk about a family home evening plan to share with less actives, one of them was to give us FLU SHOTS, and one of them was to talk about two new programs in the Chile Antofagasta Mission. All the Elders were sooooo afraid of flu shots, which I thought was hilarious. I volunteered to go first so I could show them there was nothing to be afraid of. They just kept saying I was "pesada" because I told them to not be afraid. One of the new programs that we have in the mission is called "Terminator" and consists in literally "terminating" all the missionaries that are in their last transfer. Now all missionaries that are finishing are going to be junior companions and their companions are going to be terminators, which is the preparation for becoming senior companion and training someone. They have to work us (I say us because when this program starts, I will be the one being terminated!!) like they´re training us and it´s going to be really intense. There are lots of rules and goals. I think it´ll be awesome. I´ve kind of lost hope of being with Hermana Lindner next transfer, but maybe it could still happen. We´ll see. Anyway, during these workshops I started getting REEEEEEALLY cold. I was just shivering and shaking and my whole body was achey. When we finished the conference we got home and I was dying. At 6 pm now it´s getting dark, and when it´s dark it gets A LOT colder, but I was way colder than usual. I put on a long sleeve shirt, a sweater, my coat, a scarf, gloves and tights. My companion laughed at me and said I looked a little exaggerated. I was literally shaking with cold but my face was burning up. We left and got about 4 buildings away from our apartment, knocked on an investigator´s door, and when he didn´t answer we went running back to the apartment to go to the bathroom. I threw myself into bed at 7 pm and surfaced again at 7 am. The weirdest thing was that during the night HL, who had been feeling totally fine through all this, started moaning. A lot. I tried to open my mouth, turn over, etc. to ask what was wrong, but had no strength. Luckily Hermana Marin got up and asked her what was wrong and brought her some water. In the morning HL told me that she got up in the night and also had a fever. I was still not feeling well (still running to the bathroom every time something, even water, entered my body), but we did companionship exchanges that afternoon until Friday morning. HL comes back from the other sector with SURPRISE! The same diarrhea problem that I´ve been having. We´re soooo pathetic, looking for a bathroom every five seconds. Saturday night we fasted for the baptismal dates and future baptismal dates in our district, and my throat started hurting pretty badly. I didn´t take anything, because we were fasting, but Sunday morning it escalated into a full-blown cold, right in the middle of Sacrament Meeting. I all of a sudden started sneezing and sniffling, and it´s been like that ever since. Haha I have not really gotten sick very much on my mission, but this week has been pretty intense. Our numbers are NOT that great. But the good news is that we are still going to have our three baptisms on Saturday! Khimberly, Thiare and Danaees are all progressing nicely and I´m really excited and grateful for this blessing.
Another awesome story: last week we went to visit this recent convert named Hans who has only gone to church once since I´ve been here. He was totally not excited about listening to us and admitted that he had been going to a Baptist church. We were left with little hope that he would come back to church, etc., but we set an appt for this past week. When we went he was weeding outside his house and had a friend with him, but he told us to come in anyway. We started asking his friend, Matias, about what he believed and he said he didn´t believe in Jesus Christ or even God. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and also read Alma 22 about King Lamoni´s father, and he agreed to pray. We went back Saturday morning. He said he had prayed every day but hadn´t felt anything. We talked about how he needed to pray, and what were the things he had to "give up" to be able to have hope of eternal life/an eternal family. We also told him that if he went to church he would feel something. He agreed. Sunday morning came, and sitting in Sacrament Meeting, right before the opening hymn, one of the young women comes running in and grabs me by the arm and says "ªMatias is outside and he doesn´t want to come in!" We go out and get him and he sits with some of the youth, who are apparently ALL his friends. During church everyone keeps congratulating us on getting him to church and all of them, adults and youth, are like "we have been trying for so long to get Matias to church! This is a miracle!" Yes, it definitely is. We´re going on Wednesday with one of the young men and I´m really excited. We are totally going to baptize him.
Well, that´s about all for this week. I hope you´re all doing well, and next week I´ll have baptism photos!! Finally!
Love you!

baptisms!!!!!



email sent 5/30/2011

Hey fam,
So the great news is that we BAPTIZED this week. Three. And I only have 4 chapters left of the Book of Mormon. And that means that I officially will have met the goals that our mission president challenged us to complete in this month. What a great feeling. Plus after like a million (okay, three) months without baptizing it was great to get back in the water, so to speak. Not that I´ve ever been in the water because I don´t have that special power from God that we spend the majority of our time talking about, but we did witness it. What a great feeling.
The baptism turned out really well, except for a HUGE failure that I will explain in a second. Our ward is so great and there was lots of support and everything. The girls looked adorable (see picture) and they were all really happy and HL was really happy too, it being her first baptism and all. We were all over the place like crazies this week making sure the girls were prepared and that everything else was prepared. And they were!
Okay, so we had plans to do a really awesome musical number with Christian, the guy in our ward who decided like a month ago to go on a mission, after not wanting anything to do with the church for several years. He´s 21, and he´s our replacement Daniel/our new best friend. Anyway, his sister, who is the aunt of two of the girls that got baptized (because her husband is their dad´s brother-- got it??) told us that he plays the guitar, so we went to investigate that situation. We told him to look up that one baptism Primary song, I Like to Look for Rainbows, or whatever it´s really called, and figure out how to play it. On Friday morning we got the okay from the Bishop to play the guitar inside the chapel, and Friday afternoon I was in Loa, another sector, on exchanges, so I told HL to go by and try to practice with him a little bit. She didn´t see him, but she left a message with his dad for him to be in the chapel half an hour early to practice. We got there and his brother was just dropping him off (he lives like two blocks from the chapel BUT here Evangelicals are pretty big and they always walk around with suits and guitars and he didn´t want to be confused with one of them) so we got to work practicing. We just listened to his guitar chords and then started singing along and it sounded sweet. We ran through it three times and every time it was perfect (it´s a pretty simple song, right?) so we thought we were all set. We also recorded it on HL´s camera so we could listen to it right before and get the note right. We start the baptism, have the opening song, prayer, the first talk, and then we´re up. We get the note right, luckily, but that´s about all. I guess because we were nervous we started singing really fast, and what we had practiced was a really slow rhythm, and Christian tried to whisper to us that we were singing too fast and so I tried to slow down, but we just got REALLY choppy and he couldn´t catch up to us. We started the second verse, thinking that maybe we could get that right and no one would remember the first verse, but it just kept getting worse. It was totally our fault, but it totally sounded like it was Christian´s fault. Or like we had never practiced. But we did! Ugh, it was sooooo embarrassing. Plus the three girls that were getting baptized were dying laughing, because they´re 12 year olds and were nervous on top of that. So horrible. The worst part is that Christian had to give a talk literally right after the musical number (leave his guitar and the bench and go up to the stage) so that was probably really horrible. Buuuuuut luckily we have that one recording where it sounded really good and I´m hoping that in the future that´s all I´ll remember about that song.
It´s the last week of the transfer and I´m going to (guess where) ANTOFAGASTA tonight. Oh, that´s something new. Go spend a day in Antofagasta, traveling through the night twice to get there! Haha. I´m not sure what it is, training for Hermanas, but next week I´ll have more details. Today we went to the beach (see the other picture) and made a pyramid! And I got really sunburned because I forgot to put on sunscreen (first time in forever). Isn´t it nice that it´s about to start winter here but we can still go to the beach and get sunburned? Sorry about your lame spring weather over there. It´s the last P-day for Hermana Marin and Elder Insaurralde (remember that he was my ZL in Iquique? He´s in the other zone in Arica now) and it´s so weird to think that in ONE more transfer I´ll be in that position. But luckily I still have to be terminated. Seven more weeks of this LOVELY, lovely mission.
I love you all! Thanks for your emails and I hope you have a great week!

transfers?!?!?!?




email sent 6/6/2011

So. I´ve got news.
Last night at 9:15 (aka really early) they called us with transfers. It was Elder Edwards, my good old ZL from Copiapo, who is now assistant. Hermana Coppins, are you busy? No, luckily I´m in the bus terminal dropping off Hermana Marin, who is going home (see photo number 3), because if I weren´t, I´d probably be in a lesson. Good, because I´m calling with your transfers. Yeeeeeeah. Hermana Coppins, do you like Arica? I LOVE Arica. How much do you like Arica? So much that I´d love to finish my mission here. Those are strong words, Sister. I know. Let me talk to your companion. HL talks to him for like 10 HOURS and he finally gets the point across that she is going to Antofa with Hermana Ramirez to open a sector. Then he talks to me again. Hermana, you´re leaving. WHAT?! No, just kidding. You´re staying in Arica to die. Hermana Canto (a Chilena who has 9 weeks in the field) is going to be Terminator. She has 9 weeks on the mission and she´s going to be senior companion! She must be an EXCELLENT missionary (I don´t know her) and I´m really excited. But terribly devastated about HL leaving. I LOVE her. I have been so happy since day one and it´s going to be sooooo sad to be here without her. But, I guess it did have to happen. I am very thrilled with my transfer, because I REALLY wanted to stay here. Yesterday at church I was kind of sad thinking that I´d be leaving and we told everyone that we had transfers and that we´d be by tonight to say goodbye if one of us left and they were pretty sad too. But I am so grateful for six more weeks that I have with this wonderful ward and I am really excited to help it progress in the time I have left!!
In other news, training on Tuesday was pretty fun. All the missionaries who are going home in the next two transfers (aka, just 9 sisters) went to learn how to DIE. Obviously, strong, working hard, etc. It was a really great meeting, but it was only like two and a half hours. Then we ate a really good American lunch, cooked by Sister Bruce. All the other sisters, who were coming from Iquique, Copiapo and some from Antofa, went to their sectors or to the bus station at like 3:30. Hermana Montandon and I didn´t leave until 9 pm. We went to visit a few people in her old sector in Antofa, and then we went back over to the Bruce´s house. Which is the nicest house I´ve seen here in Chile, btw. They were in their NORMAL CLOTHES. It was so weird. That´s the first picture I attached. We were kind of weirded out but it was a really nice evening. We ate popcorn and just chatted about our lives. I felt like they were my parents and not really like I was on a mission. Then two office Elders came over to take us to the bus station and they just hung out with us for a while too. It was really fun and I am going to miss them soooooo much when I have to leave. It´s funny because I have never been in Antofa, but I´ve still spent a really good amount of time with them, probably more than most of the missionaries who have been in Antofa, because I´ve never heard of stuff like that happening for them.
Our bus was supposed to leave at 9, so we headed over to the bus station a little early, and before it left, at 9:15 pm (see the second picture, and look at time on my watch) I finished the Book of Mormon! The last day of the month :) It was so great. I love that book. And now I´m reading again where I left off (the never-ending Alma) and planning to finish before the end of the mission.
The rest of the week was good, normal. I´ll tell you next week about my new companion and how many (millions) of people we´re going to baptize.
I love you! Have a great week!

And it came to pass that Hermana Coppins had become weary because of their iniquity, and took it upon her to preach the word of God all the remainder of her days.


email sent 6/13/2011

Now that I am one week into my last transfer, I can´t tell you HOW many times I have had the desire to just stay on my mission. The other sisters that started with me are are going home in August, one transfer later, so I know it´s a possibility. I love the mission, I´m happy with what I´m doing and where I am, and I really am weary because of the iniquity of the world. But unfortunately, extending my mission one transfer won´t change the fact that eventually I do have to end it, and I KNOW that I need to finish in July. I know it, but I just keep getting tempted to stay anyway. But, just so you know, I really am coming home in July. I really am getting terminated right now, and I really am working HARD AS HECK to finish this mission with honor. :)
Hermana Canto (see the picture) is a really great missionary. I´m kind of taking it easy these days.... not that I´m not working, obviously, but she basically seems like she´s been a missionary her whole life and does (well) all parts of a missionary´s job. It´s a big difference from HL, who is a wonderful person and a wonderful missionary and I love her to death, but she was learning how to be a missionary and how to speak Spanish. I was in charge of a lot of things. And now, Hermana Canto does them. Getting used to that the first day was not easy, but then I just ate a big slice of humble pie on Tuesday night and woke up great on Wednesday morning. And we did some really great work in this week. We found 12 new investigators, which we haven´t found for quite some time, and had some reeeeeally spiritual experienes. I will share a few miracle stories later on. But anyway, I´m doing really well here in Arica. The members were pretty happy to see me stick around, and I´m happy to see these people progress-- the investigators, the less-actives, and the members. The gospel is such a beautiful thing.
Okay Thursday was like the best day of my life. First I will tell a funny story, and then the good ones.
On Tuesday we contacted a guy named Dámasor and set an appt for Thursday. He ´"didn´t know" the address of his house but gave us his phone number to call him and ask for it that day. We called him and he told us he´d meet us by the gate of our apartment complex. He took us to his brother´s apartment, and we started chatting. I would call it teaching, like a normal appt, but we did no teaching. He is Baptist, and had his church clothes on because he was going to a "meeting" after. Later it came out that he´s a preacher. He kept asking us questions without waiting for the answers and just going on and on and on. Hermana Canto really wanted to teach him what we know but he would have none of it. I took a backseat to the situation because it just does not go over well with three people desperate to talk all at the same time. Hermana Canto kept interrupting his really rapid discourses with questions, trying to get him interested in our message. This is my favorite. H. Canto: "Hermano, do you know what the resurrection is?" Dámasor: "I do know what the resurrection is, but I don´t know if we´re hermanos." HAHAHAHAH. Then his brother gets home, and he just stands up at the end of the sentence he was saying and starts leaving. I ask him if we can "end" (his sermon) with a prayer. He, surprised, says yes and sits down. We thought maybe his brother was like really mean and would be mad that we were there and that was the reason that Dámasor wanted to leave, but I invited the brother, Ivan, to join with us in the prayer and he very kindly said yes. Sooo strange. We said the prayer and Dámasor took off running. I luckily intercepted him at the door and gave him a brochure of the Restoration. Good grief.
Anyway, besides that we taught a bunch of awesome lessons on Thursday (we taught 32 in the week-- that is A LOT). The best was with German. On Tuesday night we were walking down a street on the way to visit a family and contacted a younger guy who was in his doorway smoking. He (German) was with a friend and his brother and they weren´t very interested, but he kind of listened to us and invited us to come back on Thursday. Not the most promising contact, but still, it´s an appt. Thursday I decided that we should call Christian, the next missionary leaving from Costanera, to meet us by his house and go to the appt with us. He was on the corner of Barsac and Eiffel at 8, the time of the appt. We rolled up at like 8:10, shook his hand, and started heading down Barsac, German´s street, when we noticed that there was someone else standing on the corner. It was German! "I thought you guys were coming earlier." "Umm, we´re here now! Let´s go?" He said he had a problem in his house and we couldn´t meet there. What should we do? "Umm, Christian, can we go to your house?" Luckily he lives close so we just headed over there. We started with a hymn-- the Lord is My Light. NOT the easiest hymn in the world, right? He sang every note perfectly. German, do you know how to read music? Yeah, something like that. We taught the first lesson, the Restoration. Christian shared his testimony at the end, which is always one of the most powerful things (think Alma the Younger). We asked German what he thought, and he was just blown away. He told us that he had been looking for the truth for years and had never had the opportunity to talk with Mormon missionaries. We invited him to pray at the end of the lesson and it was excellent. We asked him what he felt after the prayer and he said it was hard to describe. We read Galatians 5 and he said that described it. I was seriousy trying to hold back tears (and not really succeeding-- a couple escaped) and we invited him to be baptized if he received an answer and he said he would, and that he would be at church on Sunday. And we´re going back to teach him at Christian´s house on Wednesday. Now, there´s a reason that Sunday was not the best day of my life. German did NOT go to church. We called him and called him and he didn´t answer in the morning. When we called him in the afternoon though he said he had been working since the morning and had really wanted to go. We just need to pray that he can stop working on Sunday (he´s in the military so it´s not like he can just quit his job really) and I am positive that he is going to get baptized.
Okay I have like ten more really awesome stories from this week but NO time. I love you all, I hope you´re doing well, and someday I´ll tell you everything. Have a great week!

miracles!!


email sent 6/20/2011

First off, the picture. TODAY the Liahonas from MAY and JUNE got here and the Elders were playing soccer so I took advantage and started reading away (one of the favorite experiences of the month). I´m going to have to enjoy the conference edition in little bits, but I dove right in and started reading June´s. Strangely, it talks A LOT about families and the importance of MARRIAGE. Everyone has started teasing me quite a lot now that I´m two weeks into my last transfer, and it was no different when they realized that I was reading the article about the LDS concept of marriage. My new district leader, Elder Vergara, is ex-assistant and is strangely trunky, considering he goes home in December. Our district meeting on Tuesday was pretty ridiculous. Anyway, Elder Vergara, just to tease me, found this picture of Jesus Christ being baptized and wanted to take a picture of "his focus" and "my focus." Not really accurate, but funny.
Okay, besides that, this week was pretty normal. Our numbers were not really that impressive, but we have TWO baptismal dates! Finally!!! So many things are happening on my mission that have NEVER happened before and I´m so excited because I always wanted my mission to be like this and it finally is. Now I´ll explain.
Exhibit A: Marco and Gema are GETTING MARRIED so that Marco can get baptized!! We even went to the Registro Civil with Gema and they set the date for their wedding: July 15. July 16 he gets baptized, and July 17 he gets confirmed, and that night I get on a bus headed to Antofa. They wanted to postpone their wedding further, but I played the little "I´m going home in one month!" card and here we are with a date for this transfer. Perfect. They´re a family that recently came to Arica from Santiago and THEY talked to US in the street. What a blessing! We have taught millions of couples who just live together and always had hope that they´d get married but they (almost) never do. But as soon as they heard about the Law of Chastity they were into the idea of getting married. They´ve been together since high school, about 13 years, and she got baptized while they were separated for a time. Her 9 year old daughter got baptized recently, but they were pretty less active until they got here because of some "problems" in Santiago and luckily they came filled with faith. Marco is sooooooo willing to obey the commandments and the family has been receiving a ton of blessings for coming back to church. It´s so awesome to see people´s conversion! We gave them the Liahona that talks about temples to help them set that goal. We may be projecting kind of far in the future but it´s all about ETERNAL salvation, right?
Exhibit B: Yesterday a guy named Allan came to church who I contacted knocking doors with Hermana Lindner about a month ago. He told us not to come back because he was always busy, but we left a passalong card with the address of the church and the meeting schedule. How many times have I done that on my mission? A million. How many times have they actually come to church? NEVER. Until right now! Our ward meets in the same building as another ward, and they have Sacrament Meeting at 11:30, right when ours finishes. A guy from the other ward, our mamita´s son, Carlos, who got back from his mission in February, said that he was talking with someone outside the building right before their Sacrament Meeting started and he saw a guy come in, take two steps, look around and start to leave. He said he had to run a little bit to catch him, but he grabbed him and brought him into Sacrament Meeting. Their Sacrament Meeting ended while we still had half an hour left of third hour, so he went to look for us in Relief Society (which was initially really suspicious, because he usually TOTALLY avoids us) and introduced us (well, I already knew him kind of) and we brought him to Elder´s Quorum. Obviously once he was safely inside EQ Carlos told us all the details. Carlos had also set an appt for us that afternoon at 5 pm (totally still thinking like a missionary-- "if the missionaries can meet with him this afternoon and set a return appt, he´ll be a new investigator AND have attendance at church!" Ka-ching), and when we went it was perfect. He has kind of low self esteem, but we talked a lot about our worth as children of God and he really opened up to us. We taught him about the Restoration and he accepted a baptismal date for July 9! At the end he prayed, and he had told us that he had trouble expressing himself, and he was pretty nervous to say the prayer, but it was one of the sweetest prayers I´ve ever heard. He said "Heavenly Father, I thank thee that after SO MANY YEARS of looking, I have finally found thy church, and I ask thee that this feeling I have of knowing thee never ever ever ends." He wanted to say more, but he was struggling, so kind of frustrated he just ended "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Wow. Tears were falling from my eyes, and Hermana Canto was in the same boat. We´re going back on Wednesday, and I am so excited to help this young man realize his true worth.
Other than that, we´re still looking for our other two baptisms for this transfer, but I have a lot of faith in God and in this work. I´ll make sure to keep you posted!
I love you! Thanks for writing. Have a great week!
Hermana Coppins

celestial missionaries!!!!




email sent: 6/27/2011

Great news. We are celestial missionaries once again. AND this is the first time since they changed the criteria to include needing 3 baptismal dates and 4 investigators in sacrament meeting to be celestial, regardless of the other numbers. We have 4 BAPTISMAL DATES! I am so excited. Justina is getting baptized next Sunday, Alan on the 9th, and Marcos and Krashna on the 16th. And we have more people that we can set baptismal dates with because more people have gone to church, etc. These next few weeks are going to pass by SO quickly. On Saturday night I started having a little panic attack because I realized that in THREE weeks I am going home. What a pain! I love the mission so much! But I know that going home is something necessary. Wow I am having the hardest time expressing myself, I am sorry. We are already short on time, I´m sorry, and I´m not really sure how that happened. Okay just a few important things.
Alan is the guy that just showed up at church last week. He´s progressing and everything, but his life is like really sad. Yesterday we were talking about the plan of salvation and we talked about living with God before this life. I asked him if he has ever felt God´s love and he said he´s never felt love from anyone, not even his parents. :( Oh, it´s so sad hearing him but we are trying soooo hard to help him feel the Lord´s love. The other day Hermana Canto asked him if he had any friends and he asked if we were included and she said yes and he said "Okay, I have two." Aww. I think it´s going to be pretty upsetting when he realizes that we have to leave eventually. Boots.
Justina is an abuelita in a wheelchair. It´s basically the same story as Silvia, who I baptized in Iquique. Remember her? Anyway, she´s having a private baptism on Sunday afternoon and President authorized her to get confirmed the same day, so that´s going to make this week really busy.
Marcos is the father of the family from Santiago. He is progressing SO MUCH. We went to teach him the Word of Wisdom with our District Leader and a Zone Leader on Thursday and he asked for a priesthood blessing to quit smoking, and he´s doing great. He is sooooo pumped about his wedding and his baptism, it´s amazing.
Krashna is a 14-year-old who we´ve been teaching since being with Hermana Lindner and she came to church yesterday and accepted a date for the 16th. Woohoo! I love this work!
Next Monday I don´t think I´ll be writing because we are going to ANTOFAGASTA for an all-sisters Pday!!! Okay this is ANOTHER miracle of the end of my mission. I have been waiting my WHOLE mission to go bowling because I LOVE bowling. The only bowling alley exists in Antofagasta, and surprise, I NEVER was in Antofagasta. But we just got an email from Sister Bruce telling us to bring socks on Monday because we are GOING BOWLING!!!! What a huge blessing! I started screaming in the internet cafe to Hermana Montandon (I think I´ve gotten a lot more dramatic on the mission) and she died laughing. I think we´ll probably write on Tuesday so I´ll be sure to tell you all about BOWLING.
Also, one more thing. Hermana Canto and I are running every day and we go running at the BEACH! It´s sweet. This week I´ll make sure to take my camera one day to show you what it´s like. There are a TON of rocks. They are really cool looking.
Umm sorry this email is lame. I love you guys! Have a great week!

Independence Day!





email sent 7/5/2011

As I mentioned last week, all the sisters in the mission went to Antofa yesterday for an all-sisters P-day, hence the email today instead of yesterday. It was really really great! This whole week was really busy and really good. I´ve got lots of pictures to show :)
a) First of all, as I mentioned last week, we go running at the beach every morning. On Saturday I took my camera to document. This is a typical scene-- me resting. Haha just kidding, we´re running a lot. We even get up early to run a full 30 minutes. It´s kind of cold right when we go outside but then we start running and we can´t even feel it. That mountain-like thing behind me is El Morro, where we go visit at least once a transfer. All those rocks were recently brought in by the tide, which is really interesting to me. I´m definitely going to take advantage of running on the beach for the few weeks that I´m in Hull with you guys.
b) We had a baptism on Sunday! The lovely Justina. We thought the hot water heater in our chapel wasn´t working (it actually was) so we changed the baptism at the last minute to our DL´s chapel, but it was fine because it´s pretty close, and the family wanted it to be private anyway. Plus our DL and his companion are the ones who baptized Justina. She was really happy and looked SO ADORABLE, right? By the way, that´s her smile in the photo. And to the left in the photo (in front of Hermana Canto) is Elder Vergara, our DL. He is quite a character. He´s Chilean but speaks like a Colombian. At least once per sentence he says "Que bendicion Hermana!!!!" He was APa few transfers ago and spoke and understood perfect English and now he can´t speak AT ALL. He´s pretty funny and really likes to talk to us on the phone and suck up to us. But he´s a good guy.
c) Sunday night at 9:30 we got on a bus to Antofa and got there yesterday morning at 9. We ate breakfast, had training with President, WENT BOWLING (see the photo), ate lunch, had a talent show, a testimony meeting, and went back home. The food was wonderful because Hermana Bruce always make something American for us. The bowling was GREAT. I think I mentioned last week how I have been waiting my whole mission to go bowling and I finally could. I won on my lane (92 and 98) but I didn´t even come close to winning overall. But it was really fun. For the talent show we did a skit about President and Sister Bruce and the 4 APs. The sisters from Antofa did the same thing but we went first and ours was funnier (judging by the crowd´s reaction) :). I was Elder Edwards, who was my ZL back in Copiapo. He is REALLY exaggerated when he speaks and I was nominated by the other sisters to be him. It went pretty well. The testimony meeting was cool. Apparently when the prophet and apostles have testimony meetings in the temple, they each have one minute to share what they know. We did the same thing. It was cool to see what people´s focus was. Some about the Atonement, some about the Book of Mormon, some about missionary work. I talked about repentance. That´s my favorite topic these days. Something that I realized recently is that when we make errors, we have to repent without trying to justify why we did it. That is something so common to human nature, but if we justify ourselves, it is just an invitation to do the same thing in the future. If we recognize that we sinned, feel sorrow for doing it, confess to Heavenly Father in prayer with all the humility that we can manage, abandon the harmful action, and fix the problem that we caused, we are ready to never go down that path again. Everyone needs repentance and then everyone can be made clean by the Atonement. What a wonderful plan of our Heavenly Father, right?
It was pretty sad getting back on the bus to go home, because I won´t see a lot of these sisters ever again probably. During the talent show two sisters sang that one song from Wicked "Changed for Good," and even though I always thought it was pretty cheesy, I started crying because I realized how much I really really love these people and what a blessing it is to know them, because I definitely wouldn´t have in any other way. My mission has been a huge blessing in my life and I am definitely going to come home changed for the better. I can´t be the same person that I was when I left. One of the things President taught in the training yesterday was a quote from a former member of the first Presidency that said something along the lines of "I´ll go to my grave saying that no one will ever achieve a higher level in life than what he accomplished on his mission." What I´ve learned on my mission will set the bar for the rest of my life, which will set the bar for eternity. This has been such a wonderful experience.
d) The last photo is of all the gringas with the 4th of July banner (Hermana Bruce always has really adorable holiday decorations). BTW, I didn´t get my 4th of July box, but maybe it will get here next week or I´ll find it in the office when I pass by to go home. Or I´ll leave a forwarding note to send it to my zone, haha.
As for the work, our baptismal dates are falling a little bit, but I still have faith. Alan´s dad came to visit and told him that he needs to prepare for at least a year before getting baptized. We had a pretty intense lesson with him on Sunday and he said he was going to pray and read 2 Nephi 31 to see if he really wanted to get baptized. We´ll have the answer this afternoon. Krashna didn´t go to church on Sunday. I´m trying to maintain my faith that we had have 3 more baptisms in these next 2 weeks. God has a perfect plan and if we´re obedient, we can receive all the blessings he has in store!
I hope you all have a great week! Love you guys!

Final Email: "LOVE!!!!"

Email sent: 7/11/2011

Hey family,
So, it´s my last P-day on the mission. It´s weird. I still feel like it´s a million years away that I¨m coming home, but it´s actually next Wednesday (you guys received the itinerary).
This week was kind of normal. I don´t really remember what I wrote about Alan last week, but he wants NOTHING to do with us anymore. That´s one of the worst feelings ever. And it´s happening a whole lot here in Arica. All of the missionaries have the same stories. Remember last year when a member of our ward said in his testimony that Satan lives in Iquique? I think he moved to Arica recently. On Tuesday morning we had district meeting and we spent the majority of the meeting talking about Alan. The DL and his companion agreed to go visit him with us that afternoon. Elder Vergara, the DL, was convinced that the best way to get someone to accept a baptismal date is to threaten to drop them. Hermana Canto and I did not feel like that was a good idea with Alan, because he has SUCH low self-esteem that we knew he would just agree with us and even if he felt differently, he wouldn´t do anything to fight back. And that´s exactly what happened. We had to take Alan to a member´s house, because his family doesn´t let us teach him there, so we went with the Elders AND a young man from their ward named Jean, plus us two and Alan, to Hermana Cortes´s house. They just let us sit at the dining room table alone, which was probably better. We had a really intense lesson for an hour and a half, trying to really understand WHY Alan didn´t want to accept a baptismal date. We got some information out of him, but then Elder Vergara just told him that we wouldn´t visit him anymore and he was soooooo depressed and just let it happen. We tried to secretly set an appt (behind Elder Vergara´s back) but he wasn´t having any of it. He said he would keep going to church, but he didn´t go on Sunday. When we went to visit him in the afternoon, he said that he would like it if we never came back. So. Weird.

The most ridiculous part of this all is that Elder Vergara told his mamita that I´m “chucara,” which means untameable. Me?! He´s the one that goes around killing our investigators when we don´t even want him to!!!! Haha if I still remember this when I get home (probable but not certain) I´ll explain more about the chucara thing, it´s pretty ridiculous. So anyway, Alan will NO LONGER be getting baptized. Hopefully at some point in the future.

The other notable thing that happened is that Marco and I got in a yelling fight last night. He´s our investigator that´s getting married on Friday and baptized on Saturday. He thinks that we expect too much of him, and I wanted him to understand that we HAVE to teach him how to be perfect, but that we don´t actually expect that he becomes perfect right away. Hermana Canto and I totally have this good cop, bap cop thing going on with him, which isn´t really fair because she´s supposed to be the senior companion, she´s supposed to be in charge of the investigator´s progress and totally acts like she´s in charge, but has NO spine when it comes to stuff like that. But, I hope she learns. That´s why we´re companions, right? To learn from each other. Anyway, in the end he´s still totally getting baptized and he still totally loves me, and I think it was a pretty good experience.

We don´t have anymore time, so I´ll just be seeing you guys next Wednesday at 12:55 pm. Umm, please don´t leave me hanging like that one time when I got back from Spain. I´m going to feel REALLY weird traveling alone for the whole day, after spending 18 months with someone attached to my side. I love you guys! Have a great week!


Hermana Coppins