Friday, February 28, 2014

Walang himala! Nasa akin ang himala!


This week was super and full of miracles (himala). We went to Allacapan for our quarterly interviews with President Barrientos.  It was good to hear that some good friends in San Nicolas have received their own mission calls and that some other mission calls are on their way (President gave me the down low on some calls that have not yet been received...lucky me!).  Congrats to Kenny for her call to Cavite; she is going to change lives.  At interviews, we also recieved training from President and his assistants.  President kept calling on Sister Purificacion and I for information on how we reach our goals and how we have so much success in our area.  Although it is nice to see that hard work pays off and that President views our area as a model for the mission, I am grateful for the Lord and his blessings.  He is the real reason that we are having success and finding those that He has prepared.
After our interviews and training on actual missionary work, Sister Barrientos gave us some real-life training on how to wash laundry, mend, and iron.  It was actually really all very funny and definitely aimed at the elders.  It was my moment to shine when I was called on to show how to properly mend pants.  Don't worry, my mother taught me well and I gained some brownie points from Sister Barrientos. 
As Sister Purificacion and I tried to apply our trainings to our area, we once again saw the hand of the Lord in our work.  We spent a whole day walking around Sanchez Mira and talking to everyone about the gospel.  Obviously, most of them were too busy to listen or just uninterested, but in the coming days, the Lord placed those He had already prepared in our path.  One example is Walter, who wants to change and give up His addictions for Jesus Christ.  He just has not know how until now.  We commited seven people to baptism this week in only two days.  I am thankful that the Lord blesses us when we are dilligent. 
I am grateful to be a member of Ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo ng mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  People know what I believe; they know what the members of the true church believe.  You will rarely hear someone call out members of other faiths for acts of disobedience, but people will always say, "That person is Mormon, but I thought they didn't do that in their church." I live what I believe and I try my best to abide by all of God's commandments.  I am a witness of God at all times, in all things, and all places.  I hope that we all try to become more like Christ each day and become a little more perfect each day. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!


We were busy this week and the baptism of Junel was awesome.  Because the weather was really cold and rainy on Saturday, the river was absolutely freezing for him and President Obispo, who baptized him.  It was sad to see them shiver in the water, but shivering is a small price to pay to be cleansed of all your sins, right?
Obviously we did not really celebrate Valentine's day this week, being missionaries, but I do have a scandalous story to share.  We were traveling to Allacapan for a meeting this week.  We took a van and when we get in, there is this giant Australian man also in the van.  He is about to marry his Filipina girlfriend and they were just touring together.  We obviously talk to him because he is white and like us.  He also happened to be fluent in English; who would have guessed?  So we arrive in Allacapan and get out of the van and the large Australian man also gets out to bid us farewell.  Then I put my hand out to give him a nice handshake and he pulls me in for a hug and a kiss on the cheek!  For those of you who do not know, missionaries only shake hands.  I was in shock and then the next second he also hugs and kisses Sister Storey. Us two are always getting in to trouble. The other sisters were lucky to have a second to prepare themselves to say "no."  We just were not that lucky.

Besides the XOXO action this week, we were busy working our hardest and speaking to everyone in our path.  We are not letting anything stop us. The work of the Lord is never easy, but if it was, we would never have the opportunity to grow.  Let's feel the love of the Lord by loving eachother.  

Love you all, Paki send some fan mail,
Sister Copeland


The neighbor's dog (who thinks he lives on our property) is dying.  It is coughing blood everywhere and weighs nothing.  We informed our neighbor and she told the other neighbors.  While we were studying and scary shirtless man stormed on our property with a rope (intending to take the dog and probably cook it for dinner), but he saw the skinny almost dead thing and ran in the other direction.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dog Eat Dog World


So let us first discuss this weeks surprises and adventures.

1. Sister Purificacion and I are walking in our area and see a tricycle (motorcycle and side car thing) turn the corner.  Inside of it was a dead dog and large bucket of blood.  We were super disturbed all morning.  A few hours later, we were walking back to our apartment, we saw some men butchering an animal on wood pallets next to a home.  There was a pile of four legs next to them.  My life will never be the same.  I cannot really explain what it feels like to see man's best friend cut up like that.  I understand the people here live in poverty and have nothing, but it is sad that they cannot find any other way to feed themselves.  For those of you who do not know, eating dog is illegal here in the Philippines.

2. We went on a jungle journey earlier today.  I am not joking when I say "jungle."  We climbed a mountain to a waterfall and drank out of coconuts.  I am thankful for the member that was our tour guide and for his machete.  We were on our way down the mountain and it began to downpour.  We used palm leaves as umbrellas.  It was a Pinoy experience for sure.  To make it even more authentic, a jungle leech found a home on my leg.  It hurts now but it is cool that I can say I was once attacked by a leech.  

We had some great experiences in my area this week, too. We have been taking the role of detectives and finding all of God's children who have been baptized but have since fallen away from His church.  We met with Mercy who opened up to us and shared her embarrassment of not remaining active in the church.  Her life is hard and she has a difficult family situation, but I know she will return to church next week.  The husband of our investigator, Salve, may not return to church as quickly, but I know he remembers the covenants he has with the Lord.  He has burn marks all over his arms from when he attempted to burn off his tattoos after becoming a member.  Even though that was an extreme attempt to undo a past transgression, the burns on his arms are a symbol of his past devotion to the Lord.  Someday he will return to the flock.

The work here is solid.  I am loving it each day.  The people here love the missionaries and the missionaries love the people.  Junel will be baptized this week and we have many more souls to save here in Sanchez.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Masaya laman.

This week I broke a spoon at a member's home.  It was a little bent and I tried to simply bend it back into place, but it broke in half and flew across the room.  But that was the worst thing that happened to me all week, so I am not going to complain at all.  

In other news, Jimmuel was baptized on Saturday.  It was great to see him be baptized, especially because he will be serving a mission in a year and helping others follow his example and most importantly the example of Christ.  Also, Jimmuel's mom attended his baptism.  We have been teaching Jimmuel's mom for a few weeks but she was already active in her own church and therefore would not attend Sunday services at our church.  She would always have and excuse for why she could not attend and she told us that "I can never promise that I will attend your church."  I am thankful that Jimmuel has shown a great example to his mother and that he invited his mother to his baptism.  When she was about to go home after the baptism, she took my hand and said, "Sister Copeland,  I will be going to church here tomorrow.  That is a promise."  Sister Mary Lou kept her promise and attended church.  She also told us that she will attend again next week.  The best learning occurs by example and persistence.

I am loving my mission more than ever.  One of our lessons this week was for a dentist and her daughter.  The dentist pointed out how we were like the apostles, working and teaching regardless of the weather or time of day.  Although she was not very receptive to our message, she told her daughter that she would pay for her mission. She said that she wants her daughter to become hardworking like us.  I was grateful to hear that that woman has noticed the sacrifices that we make as missionaries.  We do what it takes to bring people unto Christ.  

Amok nga ti Simbaan ni Jesucristo ket Pudpudno.  Amok nga ni Jesucristo ket sibibiag.  Ti Libro ni Mormon ket sao ti Dios.  Amok nga gapo ken Joseph Smith ne isubli ti Simbaan ti Dios.  Adda sibibiag tayo a propeta.  Ibatik dagitoy ti nagan ni Jesucristo, amen.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

You're hot and you're cold...

It has been so cold in Sanchez Mira.  I cannot really explain how painful it has been to go outside.  But then, three days ago the sun came out.  I could not really figure out what the big glowing thing in the sky was at first, but then as it's blazing rays pierced my skin, I remembered that it was the sun.  Too bad it only stayed around for 12 hours.
This week was great and we taught tons of lessons and found tons of people who are prepared to receive the gospel.  Jimmuel will be baptized next week and two new elders will arrive this week to Sanchez Mira.  The Lord is hastening His work.

A bunch of funny things also happened this week:

-I made a Tagalog mistake through text.  I was texting all of our tinuturan to remind them to go to church.  It was obviously a group message intended for many people to receive.  I wrote "mahal kita" (I love you) at the end of the text.  I should have said "mahal namin kayo" (we love you), but it was a group message so the small mistake should have not been a huge problem.  BUT IT WAS.  One of our new investigators is convinced that I am in love with him.  He has texted us many times every day telling us that he loves me too.  My bad.

- We got a new fridge and the elders who will be assigned here are getting our old one.  Poor elders.

-We gave Jimmuel a good luck mango (artfully created by my fellow Americana here in Sanchez).  Then he passed his baptismal interview.  I think he passed because he was spiritually ready, but the mango may have helped too.

Here are some questions sent to me by a friend that I am happy to publicly answer:

What language do you speak?
--Tagalog.  I can pull out a little Ilocano, too.  "Wen" means "yes" in Ilocano but is more often pronounced like "one."

 Have you gotten sick? 
--Yes.  I have been sick many times.  Violent fevers, actually.  But I am doing well now.  

What was it like to be in that big storm? 
--The big storm did not affect my area of the Philippines, but it did affect my companion who was assigned in the Tacloban mission.  She is serving here in her home mission temporarily.

How often do you get chased? 
--A few times a week.  The dogs are crazy but the drunk men are crazier.

Whats your companion's name? 
--Sister Purificacion.  Say it with a Spanish accent, but a "ch" instead of a "c."  Sometimes people call her "Sister Purification).  Does she look like a water filter?

Any weird food you have to eat? 
--Nothing that I have had to eat.  I have eaten snails, chicken intestine, balut, and dog.  That is a joke about the dog.  A lot of missionaries have accidentally eaten it though not knowing what they were being served.  Always ask before you eat.

Favorite weird food? 
--It's not that weird but I love buko.  That's coconut.  

Have you eaten chicken foot? 
--Not yet.

What's your favorite word in whatever the speak in the Philippines that you've learned? 
--"Ginagampanan" is good.  It means "role."  Also "papel" mean "role" like in Spanish but why say that when you can say "ginagampanan?"

Do you have a pet?
--Pets are not allowed for missionaries but the next door neighbor's dog has moved onto our property.  There was a full out dog fight in are front yard the other day.  Probably 7 dogs showed up.

I think that the best part of my week was a lesson we had with Irenio Sr.  We intended to teach all of the Ten Commandments to him, but we got stuck on the second.  He told us outright that "naniniwala ako sa mga revulto" (I believe in engraven images).  We taught about faith and the Restoration, but he was not satisfied.  We asked him where his faith was and we taught that Christ lives so that we should not pray to symbols of His death.  We also explained that we pray to a God in heaven, not a god in an image.  I an grateful that Christ lives.  God lives.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the living church.  Irenio Sr. will take time to believe that there is no power in engraven images, but the power is in our faith.  God commanded us to not worship engraven images himself.  The Church is true and God's commandments give us power and strength.  

Now watch this:

Mahal kita!