Sunday, January 18, 2015

Could this be it?

January 12, 2015

Dear Framily,

Could this be my last week in Maplewood??? I am about 95% sure that I am leaving Maplewood and it makes me want to cry, but at the same time I am really excited to meet new people and have new experiences in a new area! I will know by next Monday morning whether I am staying or going so the anticipation will kill us all! Here goes week 6 of the third transfer!

Okay the funniest thing happened during p-day last week. So zone 5 (Newark) and my zone 6 came to Maplewood for a soccer tournament and there were 4 sisters there Sister Mortensen, and her trainee, Sister Larsen and I. So we picked the elders we wanted on our teams and got playing! When Sister Mortensen and I were on the side with our team we were sitting on this small table unaware that it was missing a leg. So then the ball goes under the table and about 8 elders run over and start trying to play under the table that we are sitting on. Sister Mortensen swung her legs over me and SMASH!!! The table collapses and bends in half and we fall straight to the floor! It was the funniest thing in the whole world and everyone was laughing for a solid 3 minutes! fyi no one got hurt!
Monday night we had a lesson with Wuthnay and two Haitian boys came and joined because they didn't know that the ESL class was canceled. It made for a really interesting lesson! We then got the two boys and Wuthnay to stay for Family Home Evening at the church!!!

We went out and looked for sooo many less actives that morning while it was snowing and we drove past this house with a old man shoveling snow and sister Larsen slams on the brakes and pulls over and says I have never shoveled snow...we are helping this man. So then we go ask him if we can shovel his drive way and he said no!! He said it was his exercise for the day. Sister Larsen was kinda sat so then we went to the Taber-Kewene's and shoveled their driveway, and she gave us really good hot chocolate!
That night we took out one of the young women Tiffany Brown to go and teach a lesson to Ibrahim. Tiffany was an awesome team up...she is pretty much a pro missionary already!!

We woke up early to drive down the Scotch Plains for our zone Conference with zones 5, 6, 7 and 9. It was pretty cool. This month we are focusing on becoming master teachers which I so need!! I am really excited to get more trainings on it! It was also really fun to hear from president and his wife!
After the conference we had to rush to our appointment with Greg and pick up our team up Qiana! Qiana got some really cool inspiration during the lesson and suggested a next lesson to us! It is really fun to see the spirit work in our team ups!
That night we taught Wuthnay with Regina and we had planned to teach the plan of salvation, but then we totally flipped our lesson to prayer and asked Wuthnay to pray to find out if god loves him!
Then we stayed at the church and helped our Bishopric with the ward list and organizing it for the blitz!

Thursday: EXCHANGES!!!
I got to go to Elizabeth with my lovely sister training leader Sister Childs! It was freezing cold, and it was walking day haha! We taught a lesson to a new investigator and I don't remember her name but it was something Spanish sounding! We taught the plan of salvation and her mother had just died 3 months ago and the spirit was really strong in the lesson. We then went and taught a less active couple and I have no idea what happened in that lesson because they didn't know any English, but the lesson sounded good haha! Then we went to another family and the little girls spoke English fluently and the parents kinda did so I was really able to help in the lesson! They fed us this weirdly good treat that was a tortilla with beans and cream on it....I really enjoyed it haha! That night Sister Clarke and I had a lot of fun talking! The next day it was snowing huge flakes of snow! It was so awesome! But I had only brought thermals to wear and it wasn't that cold so I was dying with heat! Really though I was sweating bullets! When we exchanged back I was so excited to change and then I walked with my coat wide open and the cold felt so good!

We got to have dinner with the Strouds the YSA senior couple! It was so nice to have Utah food! We ate roast and mashed potatoes and GREEN BEANS!!! I was in heaven with the green beans! It was also the most enlightening dinner talking with the Strouds because they are so knowledgeable about the doctrine. SOOO COOL!

We went to the BLITZ!!! So the purpose of this blitz it to find out if all these 300 less actives still live here or not and where they moved to and bring those that are still here back to church. So we had about 7 missionary companionships come and help and they split us up with the members of our ward. There weren't enough women to split up with so Sister Clarke and I ended up together! Every door we knocked on someone was home which was a HUGE miracle! And we also knocked on this door looking for a Theodor and the man that answered the door said yes, but he was only a one year old. And Sister Clarke and I are like WHAT??? He invited us in and his wife came down. It turns out she is a member and even went on a mission. She hasn't been coming to church because her husband is a Methodist and runs the choirs at his church and she just didn't have ride to come to Maplewood so she went to short hills for a while! It was really such a miracle that they had blessed their baby in Texas because then we had the records and were able to find her and bring her back to church!! And we have a new part member family to teach!!! It was soo cool!
After the blitz we went to the Serranos to help them clean and then they fed us Portuguese food that was really yummy. They invited us to dinner too so later that night they fed us Indian food haha! It was great they also gave us nonalcoholic was weird!

So I am in the chapel talking to people before the meeting starts and welcoming people then I look to the door and see Madeline my roommate and my heart seriously skipped a beat! I ran to the door and hugged the guts out of her! She moved here to nanny and she came to the YSA ward and came to see me!! We had one investigator come to church it was Greg!!
They didn't have Relief society or Priesthood. Instead we did the second day of the blitz! I went out the first time with Madeline and Regina! We were able to find a man that hasn't had the missionaries come to him in years!!! He wants to come back too! And then we did a second round and I had Madeline, Kate and Lasanyna come out with me! We didn't find anyone, but we did have 2 really cool street contacts! One of the guy’s names was Moses and he was from some tribe in Africa but he as these really cool scars on his face and they said that they did it to all the babies in the tribe so that it is easy to tell who to protect when danger comes!
That night we had dinner at the Taber-Kewene house and we asked their little boy what he thinks of when he hears the word love and he states very boldly, "A DEAD TREE!" it was so hilarious!
Then we went to teach Collette our recent convert and for the first time ever Wayne her husband joined in the lesson (he is kinda atheist but not??) and we boldly asked him if the book of Mormon is true don't you think you should know? And you could tell that he knew the answer was yes but he didn't want to admit it haha! He said that he would read it though!! It was sooooooooo cool! Huge miracle right there!

Being a missionary is awesome and I love it! Last week I had Louis ask me: How a mission has strengthened my testimony, and made my life happier? I thought I would answer this question for all of you. This is probably the hardest question you could ask because it is really hard to explain feelings, but I will try my best so bear with me. The biggest thing that has strengthened my testimony is seeing the change in other people whether it is investigators or our team-ups or less-actives or members or street contacts. I can almost physically see the atonement and sprit working through them. That is a huge testimony to me of the atonement because as I share how my life had changed other people change and the domino effect is beautiful. I have also through prayer and study become so much closer to my Heavenly Father. I don't know how I lived before without praying every day or reading the scriptures. As I pray and read I have really started to hunger for more and I feel like I can't live without it. I have found a deep love for my savior and all that he has done for me. Putting his name on my chest every morning is the best feeling.
To answer the why I am the most happy it is simply because I have been focusing on others. Lana Del Re said, "When someone else's happiness is your happiness that is love." I am happy because I am experiencing a whole new kind of love, real, pure, honest love every day. I am happy because I get to feel the pure love of Christ as I am serving others.

I love you all the mostest and miss you lots!
Sister Cooper the Jersey Girl

PS after probably tomorrow send all letter to the mission office/home because I might be getting transferred.

PSS I forgot my camera adapter so I am sorry to disappoint but I have no pictures to send this week!

PSSS I dyed my hair is sweet!

Boom clap the sound of my for NJ

January 5, 2014

Dear Framily,

I was glad to hear that you all had a good New Year kick off. It felt like just any ol' day for Sister Larsen and me. I actually didn't really recognize the New Year until I wrote the date and wrote the wrong year and was like oh ya it's 2015. Let’s make it great!

So Tuesday night we met with Nancy and Fredy. Jeff our usual Team up for the lesson couldn't make it so we asked Kate if she could come. She was a bit late and when we told Nancy and Fredy that we had a different team up they were so bitter about it for a while. But after Kate got there and the lesson started it was FANTASTIC! Kate really was a miracle team up! Fredy has been having a hard time with some of his coworkers and Kate without even knowing his situation shared about her experience of forgiving people and BOOM it went straight to Fredy's heart. And Fredy and Nancy are in the end of Alma reading about all the wars and struggling to read them. Kate was able to give them a new perspective on that to. She said before you read to just straight up ask God to let you get something out of the chapters. It so works I tried it this week! Who knew war could be so spiritual ;)
Fredy at the end of the lesson was thanking Kate so much! It was awesome and we owe Kate a lot for that!

Wednesday we took Qiana to see Sherman one of the Lessactives we just picked up and we taught him about the Word of Wisdom. He is struggling a lot with it because his roommates smoke openly in the house all the time and it is really tempting and hard for him. We told him to be bold and straight up with his roommates about his desire to stop and ask them for support! He wants to change now we just have to make it happen :)
That night we went to Karen's house for Aly's 12th Birthday party. They have a movie theater room in their basement and it was so hard not watching the movie, but I am glad that we didn't haha! It was really cool though because it was the most Christ centered birthday I have been to. We went around and each blessed Aly with something for the year and then at the very end Karen asked me to say a prayer for Aly. It was really cool and terrifying that she wanted me to say the prayer in a room full of diehard Baptists haha! It was awesome and the spirit was really burning! After that we went home and texted our investigators Happy New years and passed out on our beds before our heads hit the pillows. We even had Martinelle but we were so tired that we totally forgot about it.

Thursday our New Year’s Day every single appointment we had made cancelled on us and so we planned for the week ahead and then we decided to call Sister Serrano (less active we found last sunday) and she said to come over. So we went over there and met with her and her husband and we shared to sacrament prayers with them and talked about where they are spiritually. I really hope that over time we will be able to help them realize how much God does love them. They are the sweetest couple. They gave us some stuff called Wen for our hair to be healthier which looked really expensive it was really nice! She also has a bunch on skirts and clothes that she wants to get rid of so I am really excited for that haha!
After we met with them we ran home to go have dinner with Ruth. We literally ran because we were so late and we got there late, but dinner was running late so it worked! Conner her son had dinner with us too and it felt nice to spend the first day of the year with my Maplewood momma! Connor found me on instagram during dinner and that was interesting! Then he started sending snap chats of us to all of his friends...missionary work moves forward?? Anyway it was a fun dinner and we talked about our favorite parts of the Nativity story. Mine is the Star. I have always been fascinated with stars and it is beautiful to me that the heavens shined brighter with the birth of Christ. They heavens were happy because now all could have the opportunity to return.

Friday we met Sister Edwards for breakfast at the waffle shop and I had a waffle infused with eggs and turkey bacon...mmmmm...sooooo good! We talked about an article that was in the December ensign called life more abundant it is directed toward young adults but I think it can apply to everyone. You all should read it!
We then struggled because all of our teamups canceled on us last minute so we met allen at the library and Wuthnay the freezing cold! It was okay though. Wuthnay came across some anti-Mormon material so we mostly addressed all of his question for the whole lesson and then read about the resurrection of Jesus Christ because he read/thought this theory that Christ was in a coma. So after reading from the Bible he realized that Christ really did die haha! Christ's resurrection is beautiful.

Saturday we decided to randomly go to Jennie's after someone cancelled on us and it turns out that she had just found out the her sister and law had died. I am so glad that we were there to help cheer her up. God really does put us where he needs us as long as we trust in him and we are trying to follow the guidance of the spirit.

Sunday we had Wuthnay show up for church it was awesome to have him there and he is really moving forward! It makes me so excited! He came to gospel principles this week and really was able to participate and ask questions! It was awesome!!!!!!!!
So the ward was instructed really abruptly and fervently by our area seventy to do a missionary blitz with the whole ward trying to find where our 300 members who aren't coming live and if they have moved or not. I was so happy with this and it is going to help our work in this area immensely! The ward is really motivated too! Everyone is going out Saturday and Sunday and knocking on doors!
Later that night we went to Ivy Hill and we were looking through our potentials to go and see if we could catch anyone at home. We went to Ibrahim who the Newark Spanish elders that cover Ivy Hill Contacted and he was home! He invited us in, but there wasn't a woman there so we just talked to him in the hall we ended up teaching the whole restoration and he really felt the spirit. As we were saying the first vision his eyes got steamy and we know that he felt of it's truthfulness. We picked him up as an investigator and will be seeing him on Tuesday!

Oh and guess what else this man named Bishop Brown who is  a pastor randomly felt like he should go into the Newark Chapel and turns out that they were having a baptism when he went in so he watched it and after the ordinance he decided that he wants to be baptized, and guess what else he live is the Irvington Elders area so he will be coming to the Maplewood ward. The best part is that he has his own congregation and so we may be baptizing a whole church what? I know right? Anyway President Taggart is sending his best missionaries over to Bishop Brown’s church to talk to Bishop Brown’s congregation!!!! CRAZYNESS!!!!

Well let us all remember Christ always. When we do this we know that we are able to do what Christ desires of us!

I love you all and I hope this first week back at school is amazing! Work hard in all thinks that are good!

Sister Cooper the Jersey Girl

The scarf auntie sent me (THANKS it keeps me warm)
Brown hair??? Wait what?
Sometimes we get a little rambunctious waiting for investigators to meet us at the church ;)