Sunday, October 18, 2015

Jersey Strong




This little lake was so pretty and I felt like I was in Canada
at the cottage :) it was awesome!

August 10, 2015
Dear Framily,

Well happy MONDAY!!!! It is crazy that is has already been another week come and gone! It makes me really sad because that means that Sister Andrus leaves me next week! Wahhhhh I don't want her to go! I don't like all my friends leaving! But hey life goes on....really though it goes on!

So Tuesday we had our interviews with President during zone meeting. It was really nice to be able to counsel with him and get advice from him! He told me a secret too about next transfer, but I was told to try to keep it secret....so....you all will find out about it in the coming weeks ;) be excited! After zone meeting president and sister Taggart joined us for lunch! Actually our zone won second in a clean apartment contest so they made us lunch! We had steak and potatoes :) it was so yummy. I couldn't remember the last time I had steak! After that we went and taught Sussy! I love her soooo much! So Sussy was I the Maplewood YSA and now she is coming to short hills so I get to keep teaching her! She is my bestie ;) anyway we talked a lot about courage and standing up for what we believe! We talked a lot about Esther and Jesus and the courage they had! It was awesome! After the lesson we asked Sussy which neighbors we should knock and she said that we should try the corner house because there are always kids playing! So we did! It is one of those apartment houses. So we started with the bottom door bell and worked our way up until someone came to the door haha! This man named Alex came to the door! He is super cool too! He is a drummer and has the cutest little boy! He said that he is really interested to learn more, but he works crazy crazy hours like everyone else here so we have to work out a time to see him again!! That night we had dinner with Arta and Rosa! They made us some Albanian dessert, and it made my tummy really upset haha and we had an appointment literally right after so I could do anything haha so we ran...literally...to the next appointment with John and Jennifer George! We had Dana Bucco team up with us! It was seriously a good lesson! They really opened up! And Jennifer talked about why she stopped coming to church and John talked about a lot of the concerns he has about joining the church! Dana was the perfect team up! She is a convert and was able to relate to both of them soooo well! It was awesome! By the end of the lesson my stomach was dying so planning that night was interesting haha!

Wednesday I went on an exchange with Sister Rigby, and Loselli because all of our companions were at the departing missionary temple trip! We sent to SPARTA (yes I say the name like a true Spartan) it was really fun and they are such amazing sisters! We got to do service at one of the Catholic Churches there! We were helping them organize closets! Knowing me of course I got really curious about all the stuff I was finding and the people ended up giving us a tour of the chapel and explaining their communion and so On! It was really cool to learn about, and it made me really thankful for the restoration! When I got back with sister Andrus we went and saw Don! We explained every little detail about church! It is really fun because he is at the point where he is getting more comfortable with us and he was cracking jokes the whole time. Sister Andrus and I were like...Don...you are funny man!

On Thursday we were walking around down town summit and there was this woman walking in front of us and she looked familiar after a couple seconds I realized that it was Defilia (Jennifer's neighbor) so I yelled after her and we were able to talk to her! We set up a time to come and teach her :) I was so excited because she went Mia from us and the Spanish elders!

Friday we were trying to find a referral but they weren't home so we knocked on the neighbor’s house. This super cute young family answered the door! The two little kids were dressed up and tinker bell and Spider-Man so we started playing with them on the front porch! It turns out that the family knows a lot of members of the church! We weren't able to set up a time to teach them, but we have hope that they will want to soon :) it was so exciting!

Saturday night we went and taught brother Bohannon! Last time we were there he said that he was praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true. So this time we taught the restoration! He had so many ah ha moments it was awesome! It is so amazing as a missionary to see the gospel just click in people's heads! We ended with the Mormon message with Elder Holland’s testimony of the Book of Mormon! Brother Bohannon was just smiling and tearing up! We know he will get his answer soon! :) he could use a lot of prayer!

Sunday we were so anxious to know if Don was going to come! We stood outside in the parking lot until 3 minutes before the meeting started just hoping he would come! My heart was pounding! There was no show so we went inside....as the meeting started I looked back and still there was no Don. But as I was scanning the room I saw John and Jennifer George!!! I grabbed sister Andrus arm flipping out with excitement! It has been over 20 years since Jennifer came to church and John has never been before! Bishop was all excited too as we made eye contact with Him! It was seriously a miracle! God provided! John wanted to stay for all three meetings! I am dying just thinking about it! They exercised their faith and now they are both progressing! It is sooooo exciting! We went and had lunch with the Mathuseks after church! They are seriously my favorite! We had this German meal thing that was awesome! So they have this tiny grill that goes on the table and you put meat and veggies to cook on it. Then under the grill there are little slots that you toast great and melt cheese in! It was crazy cool and yummy! They are a really fun family! I felt at home :)

Well that is a wrap for our week! I am so grateful for the hand of God I each of our lives! It wasn't until just now as I am typing this that I realized how much he helped us out this week! I know he is aware of us and how we are doing individually. As we pray to him for strength and guidance we will receive. He will always help us in what we stand in need for! The only thing is sometimes we don’t understand what God thinks we need :) he knows best! I am so grateful for Sister Andrus! She is amazing and it is really a huge deal that I get to have her! Man I am going to miss her a lot! I love you and miss you like crazy! I hope that this next week we can all pay attention to God in the details of our lives. Let's lot take him and Christ for granted!

Mostest,
Sister Cooper the Jersey Girl

Finding Waldo!


Kaity loves working on Ellis Island!


Ellis Island Crew!

Ellis Island!

View from Ellis Island!

August 3, 2015
Dear Mi Framily,
SOOOO can you believe that I am 11 months...TODAY???? I am about to hyperventilate over here...call 911 now!! I am sooo sad that I only have 7 months left, but at the same time...I HAVE 7 MONTHS TO KILL IT OVER HERE! I am so excited to work my little heart out!
Thank you all for the emails that you sent today! I have a huge smile on my face and I love you all soooo much!

So this week consisted of a TON of FINDING!!! Because we dropped...almost all of our investigators!
So Tuesday we went and tried to find a lot of people that the bishop and our Elders Quorum President gave us names of. Most of them were less active or inactive members. We went to the Roncallo's and we weren't really sure why Bishop wanted us to go and see them, because we thought that they were all active members and pretty strong. But we knock on the door and this man in his 20's answers that we didn't recognize. Turns out they have an inactive son! His family was on vacation and he stayed home alone so we went out into the backyard and we talked to him for a good amount of time. Turns out they went to BYUI and had some pretty bad experiences. It is a huge culture shock for easterners to go west! So this and numerous things have lead him to take a step back and figure things out! We were really real with him and straight forward and understanding. It was one of those moments that I knew God really needed us there with him. He ended up realizing that he does need to be reading and praying. It was a really cool experience and connection.
Wednesday we took Sister Mathusek to see Leilani (returning nonmember). Leilani has been seeking for a stronger testimony in Jesus Christ and we planned this lesson that we were sooo excited for! The problem was that both Sister Andrus and I didn't feel adequate enough to teach it, because we are still learning about Christ too. We read Mosiah 3: 1-10 and we talked about the life of Christ through the Book of Mormon. It was a good start that brought the spirit in very strong. Then we watched a bible video, and each of us bore our testimonies about Christ and how we came to know him, and how he has become our personal saviors. Each of us were crying and Sister Mathusek has such a powerful conversion! I want to be like her one day! She has been through soooo much, and she has just become this beautiful spiritual bomb!
Friday we decided that we were going to stop by Alexandra's house. We dropped her as an investigator, but we are still really concerned about her because she is going through a lot of things with her health. So Alexandra has been taught on and off for a while now, and no one had EVER taught her husband. He just never seemed really interested. Well, we knocked on the door and he answered. He said that Alexandra was asleep and not feeling well. Then we started doing some How to Begin teaching at the Door and he let us in. He started asking a lot of questions about our beliefs. We ended up teaching the restoration, and it was probably the most heartfelt whole souled I have ever taught it! Matt (the husband) totally got it! He then asked us how he can know this is all legit. Then we invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He said that he really wants to read it. Then he said will you follow up with me and make sure I do it. Okay can we just take a second here...HE ASKED US TO FOLLOW UP! Can you say GOLDEN!!!! He is going to be our way into this family. He is ready to receive answers! He then said that he wants to come to church! Okay I was falling off my seat by this point!
Saturday we got to serve at Ellis Island and we went with Sister McConkie (yes a descendant of the apostle) and Sister Pexton. It was a really good day at the Island! It was very very busy and I was able to help a lot of people. Something that really broke my heart is that I helped 2 people that had no results..I mean ZERO results for their last names. I got to talking to them and both of them have no idea about any of their family history. They don't know where they came from and they were hoping that they could find someone with their name. That night when I was saying my nightly prayers this was haunting me. It broke my heart. I pray that God may assist them in finding their families.
Sunday right when the first meeting started I felt our phone buzz. My heart dropped a little bit, but I couldn’t look at the phone because I wanted to focus on the meeting. At the end Sister Andrus and I looked at the phone together. We had a text from Don. Don is our investigator (one of the only) and he has had some BAD experiences with church in the past, but we got him to realize that he needs to be open to coming. Plus, this church is very different from what he has been to in the past. His text said, "Hi Sisters I was in your parking lot. I have seen the men were dressed in suit and tie. I was under dressed, so I left. Sorry" We both reverently ran outside and just broke down in tears. It was really heart crashing. We went back inside and the rest of church was good. We called him later that day to talk to him, but there was no answer and we got pretty scared. Then during studies today he called back. We were able to talk to him and we are going over there tonight, and I think we will be explaining a lot more about church! It makes me sooo happy that he acted on his faith enough to even make it to the parking lot! That is a lot for him! I know that God will bless him immensely!
That night we went to Bethany Ralston's open house because she leaves on her Mission tomorrow! One of her friends had come to church the past two times, and when we got home from church I prayed that we would have an opportunity to teach and invite her friend Julie to learn more. About 30 minutes later there was a text from Brother Ralston asking us to come over to the open house, and I knew my prayers were answered! It was really fun to get to know all of her friends and see how excited she was for her mission. Right before we were about to go I was thinking, and I seriously could not pass up this prime opportunity to teach. So I raised my voice over like 20 people and got everyone's attention. Sister Andrus was across the room and gave me this look and I knew she was nervous too. I then started talking to everyone about how on Bethany's mission she will be talking a lot about the Book of Mormon then Sister Andrus and I explained what the Book of Mormon was and asked Bethany to share her favorite scripture. We felt kinda bad for putting her on the spot, but it is going to happen a lot on her mission. Each of us testified and the spirit was there. I knew everyone felt it. Looking back before my mission that instance would have made me sooo terrified, and I probably would never have the courage to do that. It is really amazing how when you have God on your side you can overcome your deepest fears (like talking to people...a lot of people)! Bethany is going to be an amazing missionary! It is so amazing how the gospel brings people from all religions and walks of life together like that! Right before we left we asked Julie if we could teach her and her mom and she said YES!!! It was awesome!!!
Being a missionary is HARD, but it is the best thing I have ever done. I am truly happy, and I know it is because I am living the gospel and helping other people follow the savior as well. I wish I could be a missionary forever. I want time to stop so badly, but it won't. I love each and every one of you. I love my mission. I LOVE NEW JERSEY! Saturday we were driving down a little bit of a ruff neighborhood and I turned to Sister Andrus and we both just laughed because we realized that this environment is so comfortable to us and we feel at home, but if we were in Utah our mom's would probably be checking to make sure the doors were locked and drive as fast as they could. Man I just LOVE JERSEY!!! These people are awesome!
I miss and love you all!
Mostest,
Sister Cooper the JERSEY GIRL!!

Why are there so many Birds?


Sister Cooper and Sister Andrus


"I hit a Bulls-eye!

July 27, 2015
Dear Framily,

So the title of this email is what just came out of my companions mouth when I asked her what I should title this week as. It's not that fitting, oh wait...I just remembered that we contacted someone last Monday night and she went and got her pet cock-a-doodle-doo (cockatoo). And we held it on out arms! Best contact of my whole life...it was so weird!
But we are going to rewind this to Sunday night during comp inventory. So I don't know if you could tell by me email last week, but it was a really hard week and we got lots of rejection and just it was crummy.
So Sunday night we talked it out and I realized something that really scared me. I realized that I was just going through the motions of missionary work and I was doing things out of my duty to God. It want making me happy and in fact I felt numb and lifeless. So I decided that I couldn't live like that and I pledged to God and my companion that I was going to give my whole heart and do everything out of my heart. I wanted greater love and I wanted to love the people in my area. The result of this realization changed this week for the better. It has been an amazing week. We still got a TON of rejection and a TON of juked appointments, but at the end of the day I didn't want to go to sleep or drive back to the apartment. I wanted to keep working. Man I sound like a crazy person, but it was seriously amazing!

So Monday night started this pledge of heart. I probably said the word love about 5 times in every prayer that night haha. But we got out and drove to West Orange. We got out of the car and then we saw this guy in his car so we went up and talked to him through the door. It turned out to be an awesome contact and he had been looking for some direction in his life. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and gave him one. We also told him that he has to talk to the Elders that cover his area! It was a great start! Then after a couple more contacts we contacted the bird lady that I mentioned earlier!

Tuesday every single set appointment either canceled last minute or juked us. I swear Satan was working sooooo hard on us to get us down and back out of our pledge with God. But we pushed through it! We ended up going to Berkeley heights which is a part in our area that hadn't been worked much. We knocked (ps I am not a fan of knocking) the whole street and I was having a blast and almost every door we knocked opened. And it was even a weekday afternoon! The coolest contact was a woman named Desiree! She opened the door and just got this big smile on her face! She said immediately that she had found Christ just barely! So she opened up and told us her life changing story it was so cool! Then we told her that we are here to help her draw closer to him even more and find purpose. She said that we could come over any Tuesday of Friday :) it was soooo fantastic!

Wednesday we had zone conference and it was the best zone conference yet! So we talked a lot about how God’s vision for us is to be truly converted and to stay truly converted to the Lord. President Taggart was really bold and powerful! He said that if we are just casual in our study, prayer, service, etc we will not be prepared to meet our God and the world will take control over us! He talked a lot about how we can't take steps of faith...we need to take leaps and trust in God. Then the assistants laid out some goals as to how we can be converted. It takes diligent study, fervent spirit guided prayer, dedicated heart felt service, and true obedience. Christ didn't end sacrifice all together, he told us that the sacrifice has to be ourselves and our will. We have to give our ALL! It is so exciting!

So Friday night we met with Don and we had Brother and Sister Clark come with us! Last time we committed Don to read the restoration pamphlet and he did it! So when we followed up the thing that stuck in his head was about Joseph smith receiving the priesthood! He is seriously to coolest investigator! He had so many good questions and by the end he understood the power of priesthood and its importance in Christ's church! The Clarks were a HUGE asset to the lesson and they totally connected with Don! Don even said that he was going to come to church! Which was HUGE because he has had some really bad experiences with church in the past! We were soooo happy after that lesson!

Sunday at church I was sitting right by the door so that when Don came in I was there...5 minutes after 9 my heart was pounding and I kept looking at sister Andrus with panic eyes. He never showed up. It was a big heart break, but it is okay because I know that he will come soon! We just gotta prep him better! At sacrament we learned about baptism and the sacrament and the Holy Ghost. It was awesome! It was Bethany's farewell for her mission too and she had a lot of her friends there so that was great! That night we had a fireside in Princeton and the air conditioner was out so it was blazing hot and we just sand our hearts out anyway! It was awesome and the spirit was there! It was all about being a child of God! They had some recent converts bare their testimonies for the first time and it was sooo beautiful! The heat was blazing and so was the spirit!

Well that is a wrap for this week! I love you all and I miss you like crazy! I never want my mission to end. Sending 3 companions home makes it real that my time is really short. I love the Lord and I am grateful that he knows what each of the people I work with are going through and that he helps them! I throw my love your way!

Mostest,
Sister Cooper the Jersey Girl!