Sunday, September 28, 2014

First Week in New Jersey.



September 22, 2014

Dear FRAMILY,

Ah I am so glad to finally be able to talk to y'all! I miss you a lot more now that I am in the real world I noticed that I think about everyone a lot and little things bring up so many memories! I am in Maplewood NJ missionaries call it the Promised Land because the work here is so amazing and the people in Maplewood are so prepared and ready to hear the gospel. It is all true, fact, positive, YES! My companion is Sister Giles from Providence, UT (Dad Cache Valley just stays with me forever!) She is amazing and really quirky! She is quiet but in a good way, she also knows how to have a good laugh! She is very obedient to the rules as well which is really really nice to help get in the groove of missionary life! She has taught me a lot this week, and it is a good thing she is amazing with remembering names because that is honestly my biggest challenge! The names here are hard too because mostly everyone is black! I love colored skin everyone is so beautiful and they have a good sense of humor!

Maplewood houses look like Kingston houses and every five seconds I point out to my companion how pretty this house is or how this house has a nice garden or how this house has nice shutters...good thing she loves me because I never stop talking about houses! My mission President and his family are so awesome! Emily the older daughter talked to for like an hour with all the other sisters in my batch! And Sophie has picture day Tuesday morning and her mom was really busy so Sister Taggart asked me to do her hair in the morning so I put her hair in a really cute French braid that went horizontally across her head and then a cute messy bun on the side...I love doing little girl hair! It is so much fun! She is super cute too! Transfer conference I swear to you was the longest meeting of my whole life...i was dying!!!! I had to lift one foot for the whole meeting so I wouldn't fall asleep!

My first night in Maplewood we went and say our recent converts Wendy, Ronal, and Saylline they are brother and sisters. We read the book of Mormon with them and helped answer some questions! It was really fun and they are good cute kids! Saylline was conferment this Sunday FYI!

Wednesday we had district meeting and it was really fun to do role playing with actual real life missionaries! I learned effective ways to introduce the book of Mormon and they were actually pretty shocked at how I was asking inspired questions and knew a bit of what I was doing...I'm sitting here like uhhh we have the MTC for a reason people! After that we went and saw Karen, Aly, and AJ! Karen is the mommy and she makes wedding dresses!!! SOOO cool! Aly is 11 and AJ is 10 they are so adorable! We talked to them about how reading the book of Mormon daily will help them to know if what we say is true! Karen has been an investigator for a long time and she loves her Bible! They are amazing people and I love them soooo much!

Thursday I met S. Cochran a recently reactivated member and her mother, son, and grandchild! They definitely know how to talk that is for sure! We tried to talk to her about the Holy Ghost and ways to keep it with her always! She is a funny lady!! And also really smart! She has a notebook where she writes down every question she has prayed about and the answer she got! She also loves her bible haha
Later that night we met Freddy and Nancy our investigators that are Jeff's friends! Nancy has a baptismal date now we are just trying to help her with some Vices! Nancy is so sweet and kind, Freddy is very opinionated and a bit suborn! Freddy says I am pretty urbanized for a missionary...it made me laugh! We taught them about the Ten Commandments and they are really good about reading the scriptures every day!
We went to institute after and Elder Strought our senior couple teach it...wow mind explosion right there in the classroom! So many people come because he is so knowledgeable! He talked about the seer stone and about little things that happened to Joseph Smith that I guess never really stuck in my head! He also explained to us about how spirit people are here with us and they can have a real big influence good and bad!

Friday we were able to watch Mormon.org videos...but I don't have headphones so I just read some conference talks. Bummer. Every lesson we had that day fell through...Ashley was asleep, but we did meet up with her later in the evening. Saylline wasn't home she was at the mall when we got to her house so we talked to her older sister Wendy and I shared my favorite scripture with her! Gigi was also at the mall went we went there...so disappointing because we were going to teach the Law of Chastity...I was pretty nervous to teach it, but it didn't happen
We tried to contact some referrals and less actives, but it was pretty dark and the streets weren't lite very well in Hillside...it is a bit ghetto...and we both had the prompting to just stay in the car and go home to call some people and try and contact them. a bit of a disappointing day, but we were successful because we tried everything we could and worked really hard.

Saturday I we started off by me meeting S. Long a less active that S. Giles has been meeting with for a while! We talked to her about President Uctdorf (sp?) 's talk about gratitude from this spring and the spirit was so resonant in that lesson! Sister Long could feel it I just know it! We then met with Leanne a recently reactivated member and talked to her about some of her bible questions (she loves her bible too) and we also committed her the read the gratitude talk as well! She is so fun and amazingly smart!
We then went to S. Banshaw, S. Elizabeth, and S. Grant's house (they all live together and are all from Africa) we read a story from the ensign about a man that had lost his wallet and they shared some similar experiences that they had. S. Banshaw and S. Grant are recently reactivated and S. Elizabeth we are trying to get to come back to church! I will just tell you all that you have to have the gift of tongues here because everyone has different thick Haitian, Russian, Jamaican, EVERYTHING accents and it is so hard to understand people!
We tried to see Gigi again and because she hadn't paid her phone bill we didn't know where she was sadly. But on our way back to the car this group of middle aged men were calling after the blond girl and started blowing kisses to me and were telling me to come over there...I was laughing pretty hard! They love White girls here I guess!
We tried to find some less actives but one of them was dead...and the other one was out of town and the house sitter didn't even open the door soooo ya!
We then went to Ivy Hill the huge apartment center place to have our meeting with Raph and Yana. On our way in we offered some guys help with boxes and they said we could help if we came home with them so we said, "oh well I sorry we don't help with that kind of service have a nice night!" and then we ran away! Raph and Yana are Russians and Raph knows some English but Yana knows very very very little English! It is really hard teaching them with the language barrier so I am not sure if they really got the message, but the spirit was sooooo strong it was making me sweat! They fed us Russian cake it is very peanut buttery and dry and I couldn't finish it and I tried so hard so I told them that I would finish it at home then they handed me the whole cake and I tried to tell them no, but they insisted....yum....

Church was pretty empty because all the single adults which is most of the ward had a conference in Manhattan with the whole east coast....PRETTY COOL!!! Church was fun though and in ward counsel the YW president totally blew up at our ward mission leader...it was pretty hilarious! We had 5 investigators come to church!! S. Giles and I were so excited! It is the best feeling to have them there! Karen, Aly, Aj, Gigi, Raph, and Yana!! We also had Wendy's brother surprise us and showed up randomly! He was baptized in like 2005, but hasn't been back since and he came!!!! In Sunday school he totally shined too he shared a lot and he still knows a lot!! He really helped Karen with her concerns about Temple marriage!! So cool! After church we reminded Gigi that we were coming over in a bit. When we got to her apartment there was a man standing outside saying some not so pleasant things to us. We will just say that he likes white girls. Any way we tried to buzz in quickly but she wasn't answering and the man came up to us and started talking to us more, and I was praying so hard I was terrified and he put his hand on the door so that we couldn't get away and so I just said want us to pray for you right now? and he is like sure... so I said a prayer for him and then he went totally off about crude things and kept talking and I was praying in my head so hard to help us get away because he was very forward and then I just wrote down a scripture for him and said we will talk to him again after he has read that scripture and then he let us out and we walked quickly away! We headed over the S. Edwards apartment in ivy hill for dinner and on our way in we contacted two men that had seen the elders and we gave them our numbers and got their numbers!!! S. Edwards husband was at dinner he is 7th day something?? And his mom was there too and she is Jehovah Witness!! It was a fun dinner! They are Haitian and love to talk a lot! Marie is a very good cook to so I was in heaven! We talked a lot about the atonement and service casually and then read a scripture about service from the book of Mormon! They are such amazing people!!! I love them and I also hope they feed us again!
On our way out the security guards where talking to a young family and the security guard was asking us about what we do on missions and we told them all about it and they were surprised that we can't watch movies to they gave us a list of movies to watch when we get home. The young family was really into what we were doing and were asking questions about what we believe and we had a good bible conversation! We exchanged numbers and told them that we would love to come and visit them and they were pretty happy about it! I was really so much fun talking to them! Their names are Eliza and Eric! They have a son and daughter that are pretty young and a new puppy and another dog as well! I really hope that we can start the lessons with them and help them be an eternal family!! AHHHHHH! I am so excited!!!

Well New Jersey is amazing and I am learning so much and I love talking to strangers and getting out of my comfort zone!! Today we are going to a store like no-frills in Canada and you have to have quarters for carts so we taped a bunch of quarters to pass-alongs and put our number on the cards and we are going to put them on the carts!! It was my idea and I am so excited! I hope it works!!!

I love you all and it was so good to hear from everyone! Flood this earth with the gospel family! I love you all!!

Love,
Sister Cooper the Jersey girl!

XOXOXO

PS my apartment has bedbugs and i was so scared....but hey at least it has character and is old and beautiful!!! The bedbugs keep us company!


 Sister Cooper and sister Giles

First News From New Jersey



September 15, 2014
First news from New Jersey!

Okay so coolest thing we got to see Manhattan as we were landing in Newark we even saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty!! So we landed and obviously went pee pee! Our mission president’s wife bet us at baggage claim with a couple of the other couple missionaries!!! So they took us to some place in the city of Newark and we got paired up with some old missionaries then they got us in a circle and started singing called to serve then all of the sudden all our temporary companions just ran away so we ran and followed them! We talked to 3 people, and the first man didn't really want much to do with us, but we gave him a pass along! The second guy was going to school so we just walked him to class and I gave him a book of Mormon!! He was actually pretty excited about it! And he has seen the missionaries in his neighborhood!

The third guy called us over from across the street and asked us if we could do his genealogy for him! Ha-ha anyway he thought Joseph smith was John Smith and he knew a lot about our church...probs why he called us over! We got his number to give to some elders to help him with genealogy!! Super cool! I love being a minority! Mission president and wife and family are amazing! I am loving this and dinner was amazing because I have only had crumbs of muddy buddies and pretzels today!! Love you all!

Love,
Sister Cooper who is now in Jersey





On the airplane here we go!



First Letter from the MTC



September 8, 2014

Dear FRAMILY,

Soooo many good things have happened this week that I can only write a highlight from each day in the email with my limited time on the computer!! First off I love you all so much and miss you soooo much.

Day 1 - Wednesday
The second I said goodbye to my family I was calmed, and all my nerves (which were very overwhelming in the car) went away immediately. I felt the spirit instantly. I could not stop smiling all day long I was so happy, happier then I have ever been EVER! And the second I met my companion we clicked instantly! Her name is Sister Brown and she is literally brown it is pretty funny. She is Tongan and Samoan and absolutely beautiful! We have the same exact humor and we laugh all of the time! Her tonsils are swollen so she has been sick and in pain all week but she is finally getting better!! We are so crazy together, but at the same time we focus so well! My favorite part about my first day was that the spirit was constantly with me. It was a different kind of spirit than I have ever felt. I never realized that the spirit was more than the big boom overwhelming feelings. For me this day it was subtle, calming, and constant. And it still hasn't gone away to this second. 

Day 2 - Thursday
Our first full day of classes and let me tell you it was loooong!!! We had a class about revelation. I never really understood this concept entirely and how it works. So it was such an amazing spiritual experience to realize that I have always been receiving revelation I just never knew what it really was. AHHHH so cool! Our teacher Brother Balzer (my favorite teacher) is so amazing. He invites the spirit the second he walks into the room not even joking! Our Progressive investigator is our teachers acting like their own investigator in their mission. So Brother Balzer plays the Role of Michael a boy 19 years old from Detroit who just moved to Tennessee. He asked god if he loved him and got the answer that God hated him...soo sad.  That next day he met our "ward mission leader" Ed who became his father figure over the past weeks. He agreed to meet with us so we would teach him the next day! I was really terrified that I only had one day to plan a lesson and figure out exactly what Mike needed to hear. The only thing I did know is that I loved Mike. It is amazing now that I am a missionary how much I can feel Heavenly Fathers love for people, it literally goes directly into my heart. 

Day 3 - Friday
WE finally had GYM today and it felt so good to run my heart out and stretch!! Sitting in a classroom is so awful without being able to run so it felt goooood! We learned how to invite people to be baptized today in a way that makes it not awkward for the missionary and the investigator! I am now comfortable talking to someone and inviting them to be baptized in the first 5 minutes of talking not kidding! It is because I realized that it isn't about baptism it is about following Christ’s example. Baptism is just a first leap of faith to the wonderful journey back to our Heavenly Father! We were challenged to ask for a miracle that we wanted to have happen for ourselves these next couple of days in the MTC and I want to have a conversation a real legit conversation with God...well it happened but I will get to that later! So we taught Mike right? And Sister Brown and I said a really sincere prayer before we knocked on the classroom door that "mike" was in! When we walked in he was so cool he gave us high fives and just totally was chillin with us! It was fun getting to know him! So our goal was to really let him feel that heavenly father loved him! So we started talking and it was awesome the Holy Ghost was so strong, and I got the impression that I should tell the story about Lindsay. So I told him how I felt like one day in my prayers that I wanted to ask god if he really loved me and was there. I felt nothing at all when I prayed and then the next week my cousin's life was taken the worst possible way I could ever imagine and I was devastated. I didn't understand why god would do this to me and why right after I asked him. But as time went on I realized how god's hand was really helping me through her death. He put me with my two best friends to fall back on and to just cry with for hours. He gave me a wonderful Mom that was there for me through the tears as well. And he made it possible for me to help my mom's side of the family by being there to listen to them. I realized that God did love me so much. After I finished my story He said that he thought he had heart burn, but he didn't even eat breakfast that day. I explained to him that nothing is wrong with him, but that the Holy Ghost was trying to let him know that God was there with us. It was so powerful, and we invited him to pray and ask god again and really let god know that he is trying to change is life. The only thing I would change about the lesson is that we forgot to teach him how to pray hahahaha!! 

Day 4 - Saturday we taught Mike again and focused on the Restoration and the Atonement! Honestly it started off pretty rough he was confused about prophets and he thought that we were prophets and everything sister brown and I said just wasn't helping until I did this uhhh I forgot what it's called but I had him put his fist out and then I put my fist over his and told him that he was his fist and my fist was god. Then I told him to close his eyes and follow god as I moved my fist...impossible right? So I got a white board marker and connected our two fists with it and told him the marker was the prophet and then he closed his eyes and following god was a lot easier. I then explained how we have one prophet to help guide and direct us with his direct communication line. TUDAHHHHH it made a little bit more sense. Then we went on and told the joseph smith story and then we finally taught him how to pray. We asked him to say the closing prayer and ask god the questions of his heart. Let me just tell you WOW! I have never heard or felt such a strong prayer, I was bawling and so was Sister Brown and I could tell that he felt the spirit and we asked him how that felt and he said that he had the heart burn feeling again, but that he didn't want it to go away so we meet with him again tonight!!! I am so excited! Great note to end a lesson that started off pretty bad! 

Day 5 - Sunday

I didn't really miss family until Sunday. It was really hard being fast Sunday in our Zone Sacrament meeting as people were baring testimonies, and I realized that I didn't get to hear my little sisters testimony and from there it was the domino effect...i was streaming with tears and it didn't really help that I was feeling the spirit from what everyone else was saying because then I just cried even more! Let’s just say I miss you guys....I mean BROTHERS and SISTERS. I have the hardest time not calling people guys, but the whole Elder and Sister thing is coming along! 
Moving on now! I really learned a lot this Sunday about myself and on how to be a better missionary. For the Movie night the girls and some of the boys in my zone watch the talk that Elder Bednar gave for the Christmas devotional in 2013. Hands down the best talk I have ever heard, and they only play it in the MTC so I am sad that none of you can see it unless you go on missions! I don't even know what to write about it because my whole mind is blown! The thing that stuck out the most is that he did a cookie monster impression! Just kidding, but he really did do that! He talked about the Character of Christ. He really emphasized on how most of us are pretty darn selfish when things go wrong in our lives or even every day, whereas Christ would only be thinking of other all the time. So when you feel like turning inward and thinking of yourself, make that an opportunity to be like Christ and lose yourself and turn to others, turn outward always. So I am going to lose myself in service for the next 18 months because there is nothing else I would rather be doing after that talk!

Day 6 - Monday (today fyi)
We were so lucky to be able to go to the temple as a zone and do a session! I have been so exhausted every day since I have been here so I will be honest I totally fell asleep during it...sadly. But when we got into the Celestial room I said a prayer I don't ever remember what I said, but I was mainly asking God to bless my family and some specific friends, and my special friend Brandon! But as I was praying what I asked for early this week happened. God spoke right to me and it honestly freaked me out a bit, but it was so amazing! He told me that he was really proud of me for how strong I have been, and that his love for me grows every day I am out here. WOW right?? I am just so in shock that it actually happened! 

I really feel like the MTC is a worldly heaven. I love it here so much, and I am happy all of the time! My zone has really become my family even after our first day. I guess when you spend 24-7 with these people you get to know each other on multiple levels! 

Mommy and Daddy-
My Zone bishop president person told me that I have to raise one of me. Someone that will have my heart and desire to bless people. I just want you two to know that you guys raised another you. I have realized this week how much I am like you two. You give me strength, and mom I am glad that I have your amazing heart!

Package stuff -
Dr. Pepper... I miss it so much not even kidding they don't have heaven's syrup here
Sour patch kids -  ask my companion I never stop talking about them
Muddy buddies - I saw someone with them and I could really use some muddy lovin
Bath and bodyworks sweet pea lotion - my legs are ashy and ugly they need some hydration
No show sock that you wear with flats- color black and tan - the skin on my toes is rubbing off from my shoes and they are about to bleed..nasty
My scripture highligher pen thing in the back pocket of my marina paisley purse
My New Jersey Flag
Anything else that you might think of! 

PS I love you all so much! A mission is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now and I am learning and growing leaps and bounds! It is amazing here! 

MOM- please forgive me for the grammar and spelling error aint nobody in the MTC got time for that

FYI this is my one and only P day in the MTC my flight is at 10:15 next Monday and it is a direct flight so I will call before then get ready!

Mission plack Scripture - John 8:29 it is amazing you all should read it! It really helped me this week

LOVE,
Sister Cooper




 MTC Zone Temple Day!

 Kaity and Sister Brown
Sister Cooper and Sister Robinson