Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells...

December 22, 2014

Dear Framily,

MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FELLOW FOOLS! I am so excited for Christmas it is ridiculous! I have been singing Christmas songs for weeks now and I am just jittering with the Christmas spirit because I am just so happy! I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas and that we all embrace the gift of Christ in our lives daily!

Here we go with my week :)
So my zone and I went to the mall and the main purpose of it was to get a present for our secret Santa within the zone and I got Elder is so hard shopping for an Elder! And really just kinda weird! Haha but I managed to find something for him, and of course I also shopped for myself. I love shopping way too much. Dad you would be proud though because I put back almost everything that I picked up ;) I did by the necessities like a Christmas sweater and a winter head band to keep my ears warmer...hehe!
That night we went with Sydora to take the Taber-Kewene family a dinner. They just had a baby born and she is adorable! Her mane is Thea! It is I swear the cutest baby ever! So brother TK is from New Zealand and has the like olive skin super dark hair, and sister TK is kinda olive toned as well but a bit darker and those kids are the most beautiful little kids in the world! Anyway they really appreciated the dinner!

ANOTHER EXCHANGE WITH SISTER CLARKE!!! So both of our companions didn't go to traditions with the Taggarts so Sister Clarke came to Maplewood and our companions went off the Morristown! We went and did some nice contacting in the Newark area because we are the only Sisters in Newark so I had to take her! One day when we are for real companions we are going to be the biggest power houses! We contacted like a boss! We met his super cool guy named Andre and he doesn't really believe in God or Christ, but he know there is a higher power. He also said that there are so many religions out there that it is hard to just pinpoint one that would be perfect! Which lead to us talking about how it is really confusing, but we are here to help him out blah blah blah...we got an appointment with him! It was probably the best contact of the week!
We then exchanged back later that day at Jennie's house and then Sister Larsen and I taught Jennie the Word of Wisdom. It was so funny! She was so willing to keep it after the New Year...I think she has some big plans haha! I love Jennie! She is by far the funnest to go visit because she is hilarious!
We also taught Wuthnay the word of wisdom later that night and he had a bit of a hard time with it, but he will come around I think! He is so funny because he will walk hours to meet with us, but when it comes to getting him to commit to a baptism date or to commit to pray or commit to anything like that he will only say, "I will try" BLAH!! Come on just do it! I know he will come around, it just takes time :) he is awesome and also so prepared by the Lord!
After Wuthnay we went to the Relief Society Christmas party and I got to play with Bethany :) we pretended that the elders were monsters and we would go run away from them and then sneak up on them etc.! The program was also really cool Sydora went up and bore a testimony on her favorite scripture which is John 3:16 and she said that one day she was feeling down and there was a Forever 21 bag on her bed and she picked it up and saw that there was a scripture on the bottom of the back which was of course John 3:16 and the cool thing about it was that she was baptized when she was 21 and that was her favorite scripture. She said that it really helped her to remember the baptismal covenants! Cool huh?

We had District Meeting and for Role plays we hit the street and contacted people with the goal to watch the Gift video with someone! We didn't get to watch the video, but everyone in the district had a solid contact and got people's information!
After Zone Lunch we went and taught Allen Collins! We taught him the restoration but with an emphasis on authority and baptism. It was a really cool approach! When we were talking about Christ's ministry and read with him the story of Christ's baptism and how essential it is for each of us to be baptized by proper authority because it is a saving ordinance and everyone needs to be baptized in order to return to God! The best part of the lesson was at the end when we extended the invite and he said YES!!! He feels like he won't be ready for a while, but he is so ready. It is really cool to me how God prepares people over time and experience to accept this message. Allen has met with missionaries before, but has never been too receptive. Now, he is and we know that a huge part of it is that his wife is helping lead him from the other side. We all could feel it!
Another really cool thing happened later that night. We had an appointment fall through and we were in Ivy Hill. We felt like we should stop by to see if we could find Jiyanne who was a contact from last month or so that pretty much contacted us looking for a church. When we knocked on her door she let us in right away even though she was in her pajamas haha! She sat us down and she pulled out her phone and said, "Alright I am taking notes tell me what you have to offer." So we start teaching her and something was just really off. She looked uncomfortable and kinda guarded the whole time we were talking then right before we talked about the first vision she says, "So what makes you Jehovah witnesses different?" BOOM problem solved! She thought we were JWs that whole time. And so we cleared things up and then after that the spirit was there and she was so open and receptive! She asked us a lot of inspired questions like, "When you walk into your church why do you stay each time?" and we both answered this question and my answer was that each time without fail when I am in the church building I can feel of God's love for me. And I love that feeling so that is why I stay and that is why I keep going back." She also asked what our favorite part about this gospel is and both of us answered talking about eternal families. She loved it! She is really excited to meet with us again! It is really such a blessing that we were prompted to go to her apartment that night! She needed to hear.

We met with Nancy and Fredy later in the night and we taught them about repentance and read about Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a beautiful lesson. Last, Last Sunday when Nancy had fasted she shared with us that night her experience and she said that as she was watching some Mormon messages her brother came in and demanded that she needs to take him to game stop and she answered no and then he got really frustrated so she felt prompted to tell him something she had read in our reading assignment for the week that talked about how we should treasure things in this life that we can take with us in the next. Then she told him that she was fasting for him. She said that after that the whole week with him was calm and he was super obedient and kind! SOOO COOL!

So we got to have our Christmas party/conference with all of the missionaries and we played a lot of minute to win it games and people did some funny skits and talents! I sat with my MTC sisters and with a couple of other sister! It was so much fun! Sister Brown and I talked pretty much the whole time and it was so nice to catch up with her! We also had a little devotional and heard from the president and his beautiful wifey! I being a missionary so much! It was really cool feeling the spirit that was there with all of the missionaries! It is cool that I get to be a part of this! I believe that New Jersey is going to have some tremendous growth :) We also all got our Christmas packages from home, and yes mother I have not opened it yet. I know I have to wait, but it is so hard to wait! I have shaken all the gifts and put guesses on what is in it hahaha! Thank you family for thinking of me :)
That night we had dinner with Sister Edwards and we showed her the he is the Gift Video and then read part of Ether 12 that talks about this gift and that as we have faith that is when we will see miracles! I am such a believer in that! Miracles happen every day, but we will not see or notice them if we don't have faith. The more faith we have in Christ the more miracles we can take part in!

We finished helping Sister Long get all of her presents to her grandchildren packaged and ready to ship! We also shared with her the piano guys Emmanuel music video and talked about all the different names that Christ has. My favorite name is the Prince of Peace. I feel like I am constantly at war with the world, myself, satan, etc. But Christ is the price of the end of this war. With him I have peace from it all. I can have rest. I love that. The huge blessing that has come this Christmas with Sister Long is how receptive she is to talking about Christ and God. In the past we could barely read scriptures without her being really closed off, but she has come sooo far. Now we can talk about Christ openly and she is really receptive. It is a huge blessing! NEVER GIVE UP ON PEOPLE!
We went over the Jennie's again (she has been so greedy with appointments it is funny! She would have us over every day.) We taught her the law of Chastity haha oh boy she had some stories to tell! We were cracking up! I can promise you that she will be keeping this commandment because the love of her live has already passed on! As we were finishing up our lesson she started falling asleep on us and she was so out of it! (she has a sleeping disorder) We told her that we were going to go to the temple with week and she said that she needs to have us light a candle for her...Sister Larsen and I were cracking up! And her aid came in at the end of the lesson and started laughing because of how out of it Jennie was! It was awesome!

We had our Chirstmas Program! Sister Larsen and I were in the Choir because they were short on numbers and I feel so bad...I cannot sing very well and it was a disaster on my end! Everyone else was great! We had 1 investigator (Greg) and 1 less active (Sherman) show up to church so it was a success!!
Each day we pick names out of a box of people to pray for and Sunday we drew out Sayllin Cruz's name. We haven't been able to get in contact with the cruz's our recent converts and they have been pretty much ignoring us even when we are at their door knocking and we can hear them inside...but Sunday we prayed for Sayllin and not even 30 mintutes after we prayed she texted us asking when we could come over!!!! it just so happened that out appointment we had fell through so we went to go see Sayllin right then! I am so thankful that God answered this prayer. I have been so heavy hearted for this family. When we got there she was home alone so we talked to her in the hall. As we were talking with her the rest of the family showed up and kinda didn't really talk to us even though we tried to talk to them, but hey baby steps :) It was huge and I am just so thankful that we were able to see them! All of them!

I love Christmas time, and this year is extra special. Mommy I have been thinking a lot about how you had your first lesson with the missionaries on Christmas. I am so grateful that you had friends looking out for you, and I am thankful for the missionaries that taught you. I am really honored to be a representative of Jesus Christ at this time of year, and to give the blessing that was given to my family to another. I know that Christ is my savior. I love him it is as simple as that! The past couple week as a zone we have been studying and focusing our studies on him, and I love it. It has been the best past 3 months serving Him and being able to seek him even more. I can't really describe what it is like to be a missionary, but what I can say is that there is nothing that beats it. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I get to experience it! I am so honored that God trusts me enough to let me do this for him. I have learned so much about myself and also about the characteristics of Jesus and God through others. There is a bit of them in each one of us and the more we love each other the more we are loving them.

I love you all mostest,
Sister Cooper the Jersey Girl

merry CHRISTmas!!!
PS there have been requests for a picture of me and Sister Larsen so here you go :)
PSS my zone gets to go to the temple this Friday in Manhattan! I am so excited! Best Christmas present ever!

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