Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Greatest Day of my Entire Life!

Sister Kaity Cooper and Sister Nicole Cooper!

August 17, 2015
Dear Framily,
Well I know that there is some anticipation going on as to what will be happening to me this week....but I just can't tell you...yet. Haha read on and maybe you will find it! So I have a lot to talk about today and I will try as hard as I can to express all the beautiful things that have happened this week.

We will start with Tuesday night! So we had a lesson with John and Jennifer George! We took Sister Harman with us and when we called to ask her to come she said, "Are you two getting on me for not doing my visiting teaching?" then we said, "Wait are you her visiting teacher?" Haha turns out she is! It was totally inspired! The lesson went awesome! We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in more depth. At the end of the lesson we asked John if he would be baptized. He said, "I'm going to say I am not really sure yet. I would like some more time before I commit, because I really want to know what I am getting into. I want that answer." So we were pretty pumped with that answer from him! By the way they really like church last week! At church bishop invited them over for lunch afterwards and they were able to develop a good relationship with him! We are so excited! Sister Harman was a perfect fellow-shipper too. She is a Convert to the church and was really able to relate with John and help Jennifer with searching for their answers by how she did it!
Wednesday we went and taught a recent convert named Sarah. She is about 15 yrs old! When she found out that Sister Andrus was leaving she started to tear up. This girl has gone through sooo much this year and it has been an honor to be able to teach her about the gospel. It has been really fun to see her start to develop a relationship with God and rely on him!

Thursday night we got home after an appointment and started to plan. They phone rang and it was President Taggart. So I answered the phone. Can I get a drum roll?? eh? haha So he called to remind me that I had a trainers meeting the next day. So yes I am going to be training again! I have honestly been scared to tell anyone because I don't want to jinx myself. So none of the ward knows, and not very many missionaries knew (well until this morning). I am really excited to be training! I can't wait to meet her! She is on the plane this very second!
Friday morning Sister Andrus and I drove to the mission home! She stayed and helped cook the lunch while I was in the meeting with some of the other trainers. At every trainers meeting we go around and tell each other what we learned from our trainers. I said, "So I had got to have my trainer twice which means I got to learn twice as much haha :) but the second time I got her she taught me how to catch the curve balls that come my way. I had a lot of unexpected things happen and she taught me how to rely on the Lord to help me get through them." I am so grateful that I got to be with Sister Giles a second time because I really needed her. I had more to learn from her. I will forever love my trainer!
After the meeting Sister Andrus had her departing interview with President Taggart. It hit me then that she is really going home...and leaving me! I think I have had a melt down every day since.
So as you know Don wasn't at church last week. We had been texting and calling him, but there was no answer or response. Friday night we decided to go to his house to try to find him. We looked in the back and saw that his work truck was back there so we had high hopes! We knocked on the door once...twice...a third answer. We started to get a little worried.
Friday night at about 10pm we got a text from the Englewood sisters saying, "Sister Parkinson is getting baptized at 3 tomorrow." I flipped a lid! 1. Because I was sooo excited and my heart was jumping out of my chest 2. Because we had a full day planned for Saturday and I didn't know how we were going to work out going to Englewood.

Saturday morning we made a lot of phone calls and we were able to rework our day around the baptism perfectly!
On the drive up to Englewood my mind was going CRAZY! I had so many different thoughts and emotions, but mostly I was just so excited! So I didn't tell Sister Parkinson that I could come to her baptism, and she had no idea that I was coming. When we drove into the parking under the church in Englewood I saw bishop and ran out of the car the say hi to him! He was really surprised to see me! We rode up the elevator with him to the second floor where the baptism was going to be and he gave me an update on the missionary work in the ward! We have all been waiting so long for this baptism. When the elevator doors opened Sister Santamaria was right there and I gave her the biggest hug! She was shocked to see me too and we did a little happy dance together as we hugged! When I walked into the relief society room I felt so at home. I have missed this ward so much! There were so many people that I loved there and I just went around giving everyone bear hugs! I hear sister Egan in the hall so I knew that Sister Parkinson was probably with them. I snuck after them and walked into the bathroom behind them. Sister Parkinson turned around and her face was priceless. Her jaw just dropped and I gave her the biggest hug. My eyes were full of tears. We hugged for a long time. She then said, "My mom is going to be so mad she missed this now!" We all just laughed! She was so excited to see me there and I was just so excited to see her! She went and got her jump suit on and we went back into the relief society room! When I got back in there Jose (investigator) was there and he tried to give me a hug haha but i just gave him a good hand shake! haha! The Sister Nicole Cooper came in with little Ryan (less active that we found) I went and gave her and little Ryan a hug! I was so happy that they were there! We all took our seats and the baptism talks got going. Sister Hattie Heavner (Sister Parkinsons VT from 20 years ago) gave the talk on Baptism. Then the Spanish sisters did a musical number. Sister Parkinson, Bishop and Brother Noble walked out to go to the font. Brother Noble came back to the door and pointed at me. Then I did the whole are you pointing at me face. He nodded so then I followed them out (with sister Andrus) to the font. They asked me to help her go down the steps. I held her hand as she walked down into the water. My heart was pounding. I dreamed of this moment my whole mission. I let go of her hand and she went and sat down on the chair in the water. (she has had 14 back surgeries and she can’t bend backwards) Sister Parkinson just looked at me and smiled. Bishop raised his hand and then they tipped her back into the water. Sister Parkinson had the biggest smile when she came out of that water. I took her hand again and all I wanted to do was hug her, but she would let me because she didn't want me to get wet haha! I helped her get dressed and as she was combing her hair this is what she said to me, "I've never felt so calm and peaceful in my whole life. I remember the first time I was baptized, but his time means so much more. I got a second chance. After all those years of searching I found my way back home." I had tears filling up my whole eyes and I just hugged her. I am so grateful that God let me find my best friend. You know when I left on my mission all I wanted was to find one person, I just wanted to bring someone back home. God let me find my Sister. Anyone could have taught her and been with her in that moment, but he let me. We walked back into the relief society room and I have never ever seen her so happy. She went and sat back down with Sister Egan and I saw them just hug each other. The spirit was there stronger than I have ever felt it. I know without a doubt that God is so proud of her decision to be re-baptized. I know that no matter what you do in your life you can be forgiven. I know that he forgave her and now she can come home. Bishop gave her a welcome into the ward and oh boy does this ward love her. Sister Nicole Cooper gave the closing prayer. Brother Noble then went and told Sister Parkinson that the only thing she is allowed to do is watch Mormon messages until church tomorrow so that nothing stops her from being confirmed! The adversary has worked harder on her than anyone! I was able to talk to a lot of the people I love from that area. I went and got picture with Sister Cooper (the other Sister Cooper) and after we took the picture she said, "You know I never got to tell you thank you, I want you to know that I truly am thankful for what you did for me." Man my heart was so full. I realized right then that I had brought two people back home. Two people that I love with all my heart. I said my goodbyes and when I said goodbye to Jose i told him that he better be getting baptized soon and that I would come to it. He was happy to hear that. I said goodbye to Sister Parkinson and we promised each other that on August 15, 2016 we would be in the temple together. As we drove away I was so happy, but it also really hurt leaving everyone again. It was the best day of my entire life. I have never felt God's love so strong. I know that I came to New Jersey for a reason. I need to be here, and nowhere else. I never want to leave.
Sunday John and Jennifer George, and Leilani came to church! Man it is such an amazing feeling having them walk in. They talked a lot about marriage and family during church and I just sat there like...uh...this is making me a little trunky! It make Sister Andrus even trunkier though!!!
Hey Sydney I want you to know that I listened to the talk that you gave on Sunday and I felt the spirit so strongly! I am so proud of the decision you made to be baptized. It was a perfect talk for this week! You have grown up so much!
After Church we went and met with Brother Bohannon. He wanted to know if there was anywhere in the bible that is prophesied of the restoration or of Joseph Smith. We showed him a lot of scriptures and invited him to read them again and continue to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He said he knows that the answers is going to come soon and he wants to know so badly. His grandson was with him and he turned to his grandson and said, "Jayden these girls are changing our lives!" Mine and Sister Andrus's hearts were a melted puddle on the ground! We taught a more lessons that night, but I don't have time to talk about them. During our dinner appointment though we got a text back from Don. Saturday we had send another text asking if he was still alive. He responded and said, "I is alive, I is okay." They we texted back and forth after our appointment turns out he and his wife are going through some things. We are going over tonight to talk to him. We are a bit worried, but we are also just happy that he got back to us!
Well that is a wrap for the week! I really don't want Sister Andrus to leave me tomorrow, but I am also excited for my adventure ahead with my trainee! I know with all of my heart that this is exactly where I need to be. I know that God is behind this work and that we are being lead to those who have a soft heart and are ready for change. Pray for the people here. They need it. I am so grateful that I get to represent our Savior Jesus Christ. It blows my mind. I know that as we wake up every day with positive optimism that we will truly find God's hand each and every day. I love you all and I miss you like crazy! I know this is a very long email, but I hope that you were able to feel the spirit and love of God for each one of you. Again, I miss you.
Sister Cooper the Jersey Girl
PS I don't have the pictures of me and Sister Parkinson...they were taken on Sister Egan's Ipad stay in tune for those!

-- Pictures: Bishop Rumble & Sister Nicole Cooper

Sister Cooper and Bishop Rumble

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