Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 8 - September 26, 2016


I can't believe I have been out for two months already.  It feels like a week ago that I was saying bye to everyone at the airport!  Time flies when you're doing the work, and although it is the hardest thing I have EVER done, I am loving it so much.  Your continuous support and e-mails help me get through each week!  All the guys are telling me that it just goes faster and faster each month, too.  It's flipping nuts. I'll go through my week as best as possible, but I barely can even remember what happened yesterday, so I apologize haha. 

Tuesday:  We started off by heading over to the Stake Centre for our District Meeting.  I got to share the importance of love for our companions and our investigators and it went pretty swell.  I also learned more about the importance of diligent working and how I can work on improving my Christ-like attributes!  After the meeting, we headed over to the library and taught one of our more solid investigators named Pawel.  We brought with us a recent convert to our ward named Sabine and he was in love with her, so he told us he would come to church with us Sunday if she was there haha.  After Pawel, we GQ'd for a few hours at the university.  Then we taught another very atheist guy named Max who agreed to come to church with us, too, and experiment on our church and see if God is truly there.  We then went over to ward coordination, GQ'd some more, and called it a day.

Wednesday:  A really busy day!  We taught David the importance of temple work, since he will be going with the Ward next week for their temple trip and will be doing baptisms for the first time.  Then we taught Vicky more about the Book of Mormon, and helped her read some of 2 Nephi.  Then we taught some new investigators at the university library named Natasha and Uaurika.  Both of their lessons went well, then we headed over to the sports village and taught Zsolt.  After that, we got on a bus and headed out of the city to the Bishop's house for dinner.  We got so lost in the country side.  I literally thought I was in LOTR or something, just grasslands, sheep, and old cottages.  He had to come pick us up in the middle of nowhere, and we only had a ten minute dinner.  He wasn't too keen to talk to us that night haha.

Thursday:  Another crazy busy day!  We taught Pawel again.  He is doing pretty well with the lessons and says he has read half of the Book of Mormon.  Then we GQ'd for a couple hours--nothing new.  Then we taught a guy named Alex who tried to Bible bash with us so hardcore.  In Scotland, a lot of the people are verrryyy Catholic, but it's super funny when they try to argue with us about doctrine, and we literally tie their tongues and have them lost in their own words.  We're only 19-year-old guys who have barely read the Bible and know more about it than these guys who have lived the Bible their entire lives.  It is pretty funny.  It only testifies to me more how true our church is, and I don't want to get into detail, but by the time I get home, I'll have so much knowledge, it'll be sweet! haha
Friday:  Today was a lot more relaxed compared to the other days.  We worked on our area book because the weather was really crappy (I mean, it's Scotland--the weather is not usually good) and cleaned it up a little.  Then we had our weekly planning, Elder Elsmore and I will be staying here in Aberdeen for another six weeks to finish off my training, but after that, who knows if I'll stay and train, or go somewhere else!  We then went over to John Howard's house and had a nice little lesson with him.  I will try to get some videos of Johnny because I really can't explain him at all.  You just will have to see haha.  We then had like three lessons planned which all fell through!  But it was okay, we GQ'd instead. Then we headed over to our church for a baptism!  The ZL's baptized a girl named Mary.  It was good to go to it.  I hope one day to be able to do that with someone! 

Saturday:  Today was a pretty tough day.  We taught Pawel again.  He told us he is coming to church!  Then we taught a man from Hungary named Kornel.  He speaks very little English but is super interested in the Book of Mormon.  So we had Zsolt come with us and translate our entire lesson!  It was actually really cool, and we told him we will try and get the Hungarian missionaries on Skype next time he wants to meet up!  We then had another three lessons planned... that fell through.. AGH.  Why do people tell us they want to meet up, confirm it the day of, then stop responding to our calls and texts and never show up? Just say, "No thanks," if you don't want your soul to be saved!  That is the only reason we're here! ;) Haha  It isnt a big deal though.  We just GQ'd instead for the night.

Sunday:  Haha what a day.  We met Pawel and Max at the bus stop to come to church with us.  As soon as we said church was three hours, Pawel said he had to go to the bathroom in the store nearby and that he would be right back, and never came back haha!  He literally ran away from us.  We called him later that night and he told us he wasn't feeling good and that he will come next week if Sabine is there.  Whatta joke.  But, Max came to church with us, and sadly, he told us he didn't feel anything and that he was done trying to find God :/ That kind of sucked, but that just means he wasn't prepared, and he wasn't really reading the Book of Mormon with true intent to know if what we taught him was real.  But after church, we taught another lesson with the American Girls.  It went really well.  Hopefully we can keep teaching them once they get back from Octoberfest or whatever it is.  After that, we had three more lessons planned... surprise!  Fell through.. haha  No worries though.  We went and GQ'd and got invited to go to a church service in the evening at the King's Community Church.  We walk in to a huge rock Christian concert where everyone is yelling, "PRAISE JESUS."   It was quite the happy clappy church.  It was fun though.  I was having a good time, the music was pretty fun.  But there definitely wasn't the Spirit there, just a good time with nice people!  After that we went home and had dinner and called it a day.

So that was my week as best as I can remember!  It was pretty busy.  We had decent success, but of course this mission is HARD.  Top 5 least baptisms mission in the world is what I was told.  But that is okay!  As I continue to put my trust in the Lord and do my best, we will be blessed for it and I already have been able to feel his love so much more for me.  I have grown up a lot, and learned to put my trust in God for all things.  I love my mission, I miss you all so much, and can't wait for these next two months and for how fast they will fly by! 
Elder Copeland

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 7 - September 19, 2016

AH, man, this week was a good one!

So many great memories and lessons taught to people.  My heart is filled with so much love for my fellow missionaries and the people of Aberdeen!!  I'll go through my week as always now!

Tuesday:  We started off going to our District meeting for the week.  All ten of us were there for the first time, and I really learned a lot about how to find people, and be able to help investigators make commitments so that they can reach their goal of being baptized! After District meeting, Elder Elsmore and I hit the city and had a few lessons planned for the day.  We taught Vicky the importance of family history, and I was able to show her my own family tree, which is massive, thanks to everyone who has worked on my family history.  It's quite impressive!  We then taught an inactive member named Robert Gordan. He is a nice guy and has been struggling with some trials in his life, but we taught him that through Christ's love for us (and our love for him), we could help him get back on the right path!  He agreed to come to church Sunday and work to get re-activated!  After that, we went over to the Williams' home for a nice Scottish dinner full of potatoes and mince, and taught them the importance of member work!  A really solid day.  We got lots of new potential's numbers as well.

Wednesday:  After morning studies, the Zone Leaders came over and we went on exchanges with them!  I got to go with Elder Calton from Lehi.  We get along so well! We talked about a bunch of people back at home and all our stupid, funny stories.  Something that really stuck out to me was during the day as we were GQ'ing, we started to have some deep talks about our past selves that we aren't too proud of, and mistakes we have made like any other teenage boy does.  But he said something to me that I'll never forget. He told me, "Don't get down on yourself for your past mistakes.  God knows us perfectly and loves us, and those mistakes are NOTHING anymore.  The past is in the PAST, none of us are proud of who we were coming out.  We are proud of who we will be returning."  I love that guy with all my heart.  We had lots of great lessons with his investigators, and the Spirit was so strong throughout the rest of the day it really motivated me to work harder!
Thursday:  We studied at the ZL's huuuge flat, said goodbye to them, and then headed off for the day.  It was the first week of University, and we literally GQ'd for 8 hours at the entrance of it.  So many kids were willing to listen to us, not sure if some of the girls had the same intention as us though to meet up haha.  We had to explain very clearly why we are here.  But we got loads of new numbers from potentials!  We also got invited to go over for dinner at this couple from California's flat.  Their names are Kevin and Chrissy. They love us, but they HATE Mormonism haha!  It was really funny.  They asked so many questions about Mormons, and by the end of the night, they actually seemed a lot cooler about our church.  Maybe one day we can teach them more, just gotta wait and see if they're prepared!  After dinner, just more GQ'ing until it was time to call it a night!

Friday:  Another really great day!  We went on exchanges with some more Elders in our district, and I got to go with Elder Ritchie.  Elder Ritchie went to Utah State for a year, but came out with my group so were both the greenies out here.  We had a pretty solid day. We spent it in his area so we taught a few of his investigators, but Elder Ritchie is just a really inspirational wise guy.  We talked about back at home, trials we went through, and how our missions have been so far.  He gave me some great advice, too.  He told me that once you get to college, everything changes.  High school is over, and it is time to grow up and stop being a dumb teenager.  I can defiantly say I was a pretty stupid guy in high school, but that time is over, and I have already grown up and learned so much!  It was good to work with him, and we had a great day!

Saturday:  I was back with Elder Elsmore, and this was one of the GREATEST days on my mission so far!!  I did not stop smiling the entire day!  We started off teaching Jim about forgiveness because he hates some people at church simply because they are FC Rangers fans instead of Celtics fans (Sounds like Utah v BYU haha), which was good.   Then we headed off into the city and taught there.  We taught another solid investigator we have named Pawel, who is from Poland, and has had some rough times.  We got him to commit to work for baptism so we will see how that goes!  We then taught Matthew, a 17 year old guy trying to find the right church.  We have taught him a few times already, and its going well.  But about halfway through our lesson, this guy named Sergio from Portugal (as he said 20 times) walked up to us and was beyondddd drunk.  He wanted to trade his nice leather jacket for my trousers.  I had to keep saying, "No, thanks, no, thanks.  He then sat next to me and asked me if I like Jesus, I told him, "I love Jesus and that is why I am here."  He then gave me a biggg bear hug. . . and.. gave me a massive smooch on the cheek!  Ah mann.  It was pretty hilarious and pretty gross!  Elder Elsmore and Matthew were dying and I learned that I am now a true Scotland/Ireland missionary because I have been kissed by a drunk guy hah! 

The ZL's then came over to our flat for dinner and they brought with them two MASSIVE boxes, filled with my birthday packages!!!!  I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!  Thank you to the entire family who sent me stuff.  I love it all and was beyond happy, to sum it up, for the rest of the night.  You guys are the ones who keep me going through the rough days! THANK YOU!!!!  I'll send pictures too!  Such an incredible day!!!

Sunday:  Another great Sabbath as always on the mission!  Some of our investigators who were supposed to show up sadly didn't though, and this week we're going to have to emphasize how important church is and how they can only get baptized if they come!  But Elder Elsmore and I got to teach Elders' Quorum on the spot which was pretty funny. Everyone just assumes in Scotland they can throw everything they don't want to do on the missionaries cause they can't say no.  But it went well, and we taught how important service is for your fellow being! 

After church, we had a lesson with these two girls from California who came running up to us saying they love Mormons and have a ton of Mormon friends back in the states and want to learn about our religion!  It went pretty well.  After teaching, I wanted to go eat cause I was starving haha.  After their lesson, we went over to another guy's house we were suppose to teach and shocker, he cancelled and moved it to this week haha.  But overall, Sunday was really good.  I was filled with so much love for everyone.

This week went by so incredibly fast, and I have to go soon, but I just wanted to leave a short thought for you all this week.  Try to give up some of your time this week to serve others!  We only are filled with true happiness as we help and love others, not ourselves. No matter how big or small it is, serve someone or just do something for a family member and you will feel the love of Christ.  Strive to be more like Christ and remember that your past is in the PAST.  Do not dwell on your mistakes or trials, instead dwell on the positives and realize that God loves you so much and is always rooting for you to do his will.

I love you all so much.  Thank you once again for the support, without you there, I would not be able to do this because no matter how happy I make it sound, this mission is a tough one.  Only 200 out of 75,000 missionaries get sent here every year, and I know that I am here for a reason.  I hope I can continue to feel that love and that Spirit every day this week, even if it is raining on me, I have sunshine in my soul today :)

Elder Copeland

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Week 6 - September 12, 2016

Well, I guess I am 19 now haha. 

Not much has changed, I feel like, and my birthday wasn't anything special but that is okay because I know that you guys were celebrating with me in spirit ;).  

This week was a pretty good one, we taught a lot of lessons and I was able to feel the Spirit really powerfully throughout them.  I guess I will just go through my days as always now!

Last Monday- After we finished emailing, the Zone Leaders invited me to go with them up to Dunnottar Castle.  It was really cool!  It's the first big old real looking castle I have seen so far on my mission, and I got some pretty solid pictures of it!  I'll send them, other then that just a normal P- Day full of grocery shopping and cleaning our little flat.

Tuesday- My birthday!  Like I said nothing special about it haha, but Elder Elsmore did make me Crepes for breakfast which was really nice of him to do.  We had another district meeting, and I got to go on exchanges with Elder Forward from Wales.  Elder Forward is one of the funniest guys alive, and he made my birthday pretty funny because every person we GQ'd he would say:  "It is Elder Copeland's birthday.  You have to listen to him speak! We had a really successful day and were able to get a lot of new potential investigators numbers.  When we got to the flat after a longgg day, Elder Tolk and Elsmore made me a cake and had a little celebration for me, and the sisters also gave me little gifts and so did some other members of our ward.  I admit, it wasn't as exciting as my other birthdays have been in the past, but I did have a great day and am happy to be serving with all of these incredible people!

Wednesday- We said goodbye to Elder Tolk and Forward, and went out to some of our planned lessons for the day.  A lot of people fell through and didn't show up, and we GQ'd forever with no success at all.  It was actually a really tough day and I was missing home a lot.  I realized that not every day on the mission are big miracles going to occur, but by focusing on all of the positives and little miracles it sure helps. I can't remember much else.

Thursday- We had a lot of lessons planned out again with new investigators that actually happened!  I wish I could go into detail about some of the lessons we had, but I had never felt the Spirit more powerfully then I did that day.  Please pray that the people my companion and I are teaching will be able to feel that Spirit and come to know what we teach is true.  We have so many people that are so close!  I really hope something works out with one of them.  Other then that another great day.

Friday- Another great day full of lots of lessons, and one point Elder Elsmore and I were sitting at different tables teaching different people haha.  We were having a lot of success all day and once again please pray that these people will know what were saying is true and will feel that spiritual confirmation!  After teaching all day, we went over to the Geekies, a family in the ward who I really love, and they had a little cake and celebration for my belated birthday haha.  Although I cant have my family celebrating with me, it's nice to feel at home and loved by someone while I am here!

Saturday- A really positive day!  A lot of our investigators are progressing really really well and the more my companion and I teach them, the more they understand!  I don't have a lot of time but just simply another good day.

Sunday- We had ward council and church in the morning which were all very spiritual!  A few of our investigators came over to church with us and we got to teach them and they loved it!  After church, we had more lessons with progressing investigators and I really learned a lot about teaching people to their needs and wants and letting the Spirit be the converter. 

All in all another good week here in Aberdeen.  I was feeling homesick around my birthday missing my family and friends, but I know that if I just work hard and try my best to teach people that I will be blessed for it.  I love my district and thank you to everyone who sent me happy birthday emails.  It made my day!  I don't know when I will get the packages that anyone sent me.  Since no one is going down to the mission home for awhile, I could be getting them in three weeks and that bites :(  But feel free to write me letters straight to my flat.  I will probably get those a lot faster and it really would help me out.  The work is hard, but I am trying my best and learning and growing and coming closer to our Savior every single day.  

I challenge everyone to focus on their families and close friends this week and spend more time on them--more than their earthly possessions because in the end, family is all that matters, and I wish I would have realized that while I was home.  But that is why I am here!  I am learning and growing and becoming a better person and missionary and love it!  I love you all.  Have a great week and be safe! 

Elder Copeland

Monday, September 5, 2016

Week 5 - September 5, 2016

Wow! Another week down! 

Honestly, I have no clue how these weeks are flying by so fastI guess when I work hard and focus on why I am here, that is what happens!  I'll be honest, I forgot to take lots of photos this week because we were so busy.  But I took two random ones haha.  I guess I will go through my week now

Tuesday:  We started off with a district meeting over at the Aberdeen Stake Center.  A lot of good stuff was taught to us by the Zone Leaders and some other guys in the district and I also got to teach about the pre-earth life.  It was cool to get into a little more detailed doctrine about the pre earth.  Every single one of us are God's generals and we are sent down in such a wicked time on earth because we were his strongest children, always remember that.  If you ever are having a hard day (I have a few out here haha), just remember your purpose and where we should all strive to be one day!  After District meeting, we split back up into our companionships, except this time we were on exchanges. I got to go with Elder Tolk, who we found out lives right next to my grandparents and we probably hung out when we were younger.  It was pretty funny to make that connection, and we had a great day of GQ'ing and getting some new potential investigators.

Wednesday:  We woke up at 5:45 a.m. and met up with the District on the Aberdeen University Pitch.  We played ultimate Frisbee and it was a really good time.  I love everyone in my district, I can talk about them more in the future and I'll send a picture of them from last week! 

After Frisbee and studying, I got back with Elder Elsmore and  we had a pretty rough day.  All of our lessons fell through.  It's pretty frustrating to have these people tell and text us saying their gonna meet up with us, and when we get to the places to meet them, they stop responding and don't show.  But that's okay, it's life!  Instead we GQ'd a lot and got some pretty solid numbers.  Just a normal day on the mish!  I was feeling really homesick for some reason that day, but I pushed through it and remembered why I am here and that helped.

Thursday:  Another day full of lessons that actually happened!  It was great!  I have all the lessons down pretty well and me and Elder Elsmore are getting really good at teaching together.  It's fun when the person we teach is feeling the Spirit and we are making everything easy to understand!  A lot of people have dates and I'll let you guys know the progress on them as it comes closer to their baptismal dates.  Pray it works out!  

Friday:  Another exchange day!  I got to go with Elder Bradshaw from Arizona who has been out in the field for 15 months!  He has been in Scotland his entire mission.  I feel kind of bad, but he is a great guy.  We talked about football the entire day and got to teach some of his investigators, which went well.  I had a great day with him!

Saturday:  We started off with our studies, then headed back to the Stake Center for ZLC (Zone Leadership Council), although it wasn't for me since I'm not the District or Zone leader.  They wanted me to be in for their meeting.  So I got to see how everything works around here and really learned a lot.  It was a good experience for me and am thankful to have the ZL's and Elder Elsmore.  We're all so tight already and we have a good time.  Other than that, just more GQ'ing and lessons that fell through.  Elder Elsmore also taught me how to solve a Rubik's Cube which is pretty cool since we sat there waiting for people to show up all day.  Maybe a blessing in disguise! ;)

Sunday:  Fast Sunday was great!  We were starving cause we ate dinner so early the night before though.  I was really feeling the Spirit and Elder Elsmore told me to get up and share, so I did!  I don't think I have ever gotten up for a testimony meeting in my life, but as I bore my testimony about missions and how thankful I was for all the love and support I had felt from the ward and how much they do for us, I was really feeling the Spirit.  It was really powerful and I enjoyed it a lotI think I'll keep getting up for testimony hour now!  Other than that, we had a few more lessons which went really well, but we were beyond exhausted haha.  Dinner was great, I am getting pretty good at making Curry cause we eat it a lot.  I'll send a picture haha. 

Anyways that was my week as well as I can rememberIt went by really fast and I can't remember all the details, so I hope it sort of made sense.  I was feeling pretty homesick at times, especially since it is my birthday tomorrow and you don't really celebrate them out on the mission, you just work.  But I know that everyone back home is cheering me on and it means a lot to me and helps me get up every day.  I know some of you sent packages and thank you so much for that.  I don't know when I will get them sadly, since they need to be brought down from the mission home.  But I learned that you can send letters directly to my flat and I will look forward to when I do get those packages!  But in the meantime if you want to send just letters to me, which will get here a whole lot faster, my address is: 

40 Linksfield Gardens

Aberdeen, Scotland

AB24 5PF

United Kingdom

I hope school goes well this week for all of you and that you remember that when you focus on your Savior and serve him in any way you can, you will be blessed!  And that you are all Generals in God's army and we all need to keep striving to be more like Christ in everything we do.  I love you all and will talk to you soon!

Love, Elder Copeland