September 22, 2014
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!!
Sister Cooper the Jersey girl!
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