Saturday, April 27, 2013

(21) I Know Because I know Him



oi amigos!
 
SUCH A GOOD WEEK. started off tuesday night at choir, then we get to dinner and they have SALMON AND QUINOA. yes you read that right. THANK GOODNESS FOR 50% SISTERS IN THE MTC i thought sisters jensen and williams were going to CRY they were so I happy. I almost did.
 
then as if it couldn't get any better we're singing prelude at devotional and
IN WALKS ELDER RICHARD G. SCOTT
such an incredible devotional. he repeated a lot of things just to stress how important they were. he talked about prayer and communication with our Heavenly Father, it was so powerful. He also gave us a blessing that we could master our languages, which my district really needed. He even got up after the closing song before the prayer (sister jensen: "I have never seen an apostle move so fast!") to repeat that our calls were inspired and we were called to succeed. My favorite quotes were that "we will never regret the service we give" and when he said "I know my Savior lives; I know because I know Him." it was amazing.
 
the rest of the week went pretty well! portuguese has been coming along. except SOMEBODY (my district leader) is telling EVERYONE that I'm really good at portuguese so now random people in my branch are coming up to me and saying, "oh you're sister cooper? I heard you are really good at portuguese/speak french/etc. etc." Could be worse, but everyone was teasing my when I was worried about going over 2.5 minutes when we all prepare talks for church on sunday. The language has been going well though; everyone is progressing so fast. I just drilled a lot of verbs this week and got those down.
 
funny/awesome story: we started teaching nossa pesquisadora "Alesha" yesterday but totally thought we assigned her a different chapter in the Book of Mormon to read, so we ask her about what she thought and she flips to Ether 12 and starts talking about it. So I play it cool and pretend like I knew all along and start talking about what I loved about that chapter, and then sister Williams chimes in with the perfect segway scripture and we go on with the lesson. afterwards I thank her for saying that scripture and she says that she had NO idea what we were talking about. she had no idea we were in ether 12 and was actually going to assign that for her to read for next time. so that definitely testified to us that the spirit helped us out there because it fit absolutely perfectly in the lesson. so that was really cool. but now we are making sure to remember exactly what we assign...haha. I love teaching in portuguese though, those lessons go way better than our english ones. we are getting new schedules next week (my pday is probably switching to Friday next week) and a brazilian teacher! so excited! elder bell's friend from sao paulo came to class and talked about sao paulo and portuguese and it was sooo nice. and taught us some slang words...since elder hill keeps making up ridiculous english expressions into portuguese...yeah...it's hilarious.
 
so our district comes up with random things to do sometimes, like vote someone off the island (who is getting their visa first) and guessing where everyone is getting reassigned (elder bell assigned me to Tennesee)...and then it morphs into "if we were a hunter/gatherer tribe...."....so I would also be the gatherer/medicine woman...and they all think I look like Ke$ha...if she was mormon. haha another funny story, last night irma ricks asked me to read something in our grammar book and all the elders were talking so I proceeded to begin reading in a LOUD VOICE so they would QUIET DOWN and irma ricks was like "I'm so surprised to hear that sass coming from sister cooper.." and IMMEDIATELY all the elders said "are you kidding? EVERY DAY. ALL THE TIME." all at once hahaha. So I have solidified my sassy reputation. don't worry, the elders all dish it out and take it like nobody's business. we're district 54-C...C for sassy.
 
this week really was fantastic as far as teaching and stuff goes, sister williams is awesome. also she is hilarious. she pretends to be all mature half the time...HA. but we really work well together, I'm so grateful for all the sisters in my district as well. I was losing it yesterday morning because I was SO TIRED, I could NOT keep my eyes open, but then I had the brilliant idea to take a nap during gym...BEST IDEA EVER. and with all the snacks everyone gets (Elder Zimmerman averages 1.3 packages of candy a DAY and Sister Oborn probably 0.7) I think I'll make it the next three weeks. halfway there! ahhh can't wait.
 
muiiiiiito obrigada para todos os letters e packages e prayers, love you all! please please write, I want to hear about all of your lives! tem uma otima semana!

Friday, April 19, 2013

(14) Because I have been given much


Okay sorry this week is going to be short, I don't have much time!
 
but
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ETHAN!! I LOVE YOU! and I'm SO excited for you. eat lots of delicious healthy things for me please.
 
Okay, time is starting to fly by now. Probably because I am SO tired all of the time....the days are kind of blending together. in a zombie-like way. but also in a good way! learning so much!
we finally got to teach em Portugues! it actually went really well, me and sister williams were able to talk the whole time without any notes or prompts. our district has been getting really discouraged though after the first lesson, a lot of them had a really hard time. it is really hard to teach yourself a language, which is basically what we are doing. definitely blessed to have studied language before, it really helps.
 
favorite parts of the week:
 
our district has been slowly descending into madness, aka everyone's goofy and downright insane sides are coming out under pressure. Let's just say it's been really entertaining, especially since everyone's english grammar is going down the drain and we are all sleep-deprived. (and my whole district knows who Janoonoo is now...) new goal for the week is to actually get something done during class time...but it is hard to stay motivated.
 
our hermanas are leaving this week so we are getting a room to ourselves (weird). but we ran into them in the hallway yesterday and they "street contacted" me in spanish, so I got to have a little conversation in spanish and it all came back super fast, so I was excited about that! hopefully I'll meet some bolivianos or get to use spanish in brazil. if we ever get there...but that's another story. I really am grateful to be in Provo now.
 
during the relief society (sisters) meeting on sunday, Mary Edmunds gave a talk. SHE IS HILARIOUS. And SO inspirational, she's been on like four missions, loved her. amist the hilarity she talked a lot about letting others servce you, especially the missionaries around you, which I really need to work on as well. she was fantastic.
 
during sunday night devotional, they talked about mormon.org and how awesome it is, WHICH IT IS. everyone should go on there and read the bios and FAQs, they are so good.
 
choir director is HILARIOUS but tells us the story behind the songs we are singing, this week was nearer my god to thee, which is about Jacob's ladder and the birthright, so cool.
 
my favorite really was after the sunday devotional when we sang because I have been given much. I've always known I've been incredibly blessed in my life and really wanted to know why I have been when so many others have struggled, but it definitely hit me that the Lord has blessed me with so much so I could be here right now serving a mission and sharing my blessings and talents and the joy I've discovered in the love of Jesus Christ with all those around me. I've always kind of knew that, but my purpose as a missionary right now really hit me during that song. I also was reflecting on that when we went to the temple today, and the line from a poor wayfaring man of grief just played in my head, "and peace bound up my broken heart." I know that giving up all that I have right now to the Lord has brought me such peace, and I know that giving up whatever you can to help someone else truly can mend any hurt you have. I'm so grateful for all I have and for all of you, so blessed to be here now.
 
one thing I loved from Mary Edmunds' talk was when she said "Just let Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost love you today." So many times we all try to be perfect and work hard and do our best (especially here in the MTC), but sometimes we just need to step back and let the Lord love us. really powerful testimony.
 
thanks so much for all of the letters and prayers! (JANEA YOUR PACKAGE!! I LOVE YOU! the picture of the sao paulo temple is on our classroom door :) you are fantastic.)
love you all
tenha uma otimo semana!
tchauuu
sister cooper
 
 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

(7) 1st letter from MTC


AHH FAMILIA OLA! (Sorry I can't do accents, most portuguese words have accents, just so you know

okay I officially LOVE it here. Best week of my life. Longest for sure, but so much fun and so great. so my district is all going to Sao Paulo Leste, we are all here until further notice (the four letter word 'visa' is not allowed, were not supposed to talk think pray about it, just to enjoy being here), but I'm so glad I'm in provo. I've seen SO many friends and it's fantastic. The spirit is so strong here, I've never been so happy.

Minha companheira se chama Sister Williams (we're Sister, not Irma because the nuns are called Irma and we wanted to differentiate ourselves), and she was actually in my spanish class last year!! CRAZY. we didn't know each other that well but we recognized each other it was really fun. And our roommates are all going spanish speaking so we get to pray in spanish every night, which is a nice break haha. There are two other companhierismas in our district, Sisters Barker (we met last semester) and Jensen and Sisters Oborn and Aledo. We have five elders too, Elders Hill Shipp Bell Regher and Zimmerman. Everyone is from all over and most of the elders are turning 19, half of us girls are 19 too. SO COOL. We kind of jumped right into portuguese, but remember that sore throat I had wednesday morning? yeah...my voice was gone by 2 pm. So when we met our district I had my deep hoarse smoker voice, which turned into a whisper by thursday. Today was the first day it was all back haha. So THAT was quite the challenge, but it really helped me grow closer to the district, since everyone was praying for me and sis williams was SO sweet and would listen to my strangled whispers haha. The best part was when we were trying to teach ourselves portugues one morning and I would try to say something in the classroom, so I would raise my hand and one of the elders would be like SHHH Sis Cooper has something to say! and they would all get quiet so I could whisper haha. It was pathetic but everyone was so great. but I can sing now wooo!

So MTC life: we basically are structured 24/7 aside from prep day (free....time? what?), which still has a schedule in case we freak out and don't know what to do with ourselves (we do). Seriously I had ten minutes free after gym and literally stared at the wall for ten minutes thinking I have free time....is this real life?....not even kidding. haha. But even though our time is structured, we get to choose what we do with a lot of it. Basically all day in class:
three hours with a teacher (irma ricks and irmao read switch off)
three hour block to prepare and teach an investigator (We are teaching in English since they can't hire enough portuguese teachers haha. But it's actually really nice! we are teaching Nick for the week, it's been amazing. he really feels the spirit and he's willing to listen and read, and he's commited to baptism and all of that. sis williams and I get along really well teaching)
two hours of personal study time (our branch president challenged us all to read the book of mormon again in the six weeks we are here)
two hours of language study (which is after lunch....so we are are tired/antsy/otherwise prone to giggling...yeah. sis jensen and sis oborn had flarp and played a prank on the elders, they had NO idea. SO FUNNY. sis williams is apparently the only sister with a poker face. and we've officially earned their respect. It is nice to have some fun as a break from all of the studying. we get a lot of personal gospel study in the morning and the afternoon is mostly language so it's a little less serious. we are still reverent and respectful promise!)
the rest is additional study time, meals, devotionals, etc.
Okay food: not too bad. It's what you would expect for feeding thousands of people a day, but the wrap bar is FANTASTIC and SAVED my life. but we've had fish and stuff, it hasn't been all that bad. all you have to do is get into a rhythm and figure out how much food you need. they always have fruit and salad bars worst case, and wednesday/sunday are ice creeeeeeeeam.
The best part has definitely been getting to know everyone here. even though I was the butt of all the elder's jokes the first few days, and they said I was intimidating... but that's okay. they all say they love to hear me talk now so I guess that's a good thing. They got to ease into the whole sarcasm/witty comeback thing, so there was a nice adjustment period for them. haha. Love them though.
CONFERENCE. FANTASTIC. Loved it. Also the perfect weekend to come into the MTC since it was a lot more laid back. Loved the talks about marriage and family, annnnnnd MISSIONARIES so great. Definitely special to be here. Vocal Point came on Sunday to sing, faaaaaaabulous. Our district got together after both sessions to share what we learned, and both turned into testimony meetings, it's amazing the trust that we can have among each other because of the spirit that is here. Going to the temple together too was really special. Even though it SNOWED this morning. ridiculous. we went out to go on a run (ps gym time SAVES LIVES. not joking.) at 630 this morning and we were like OOooookay, guess we are getting COATS. we love utah. Actually it's super weird every time I see the mountains or campus and I remember oh yeah...byu is RIGHT there. crazy stuff. definitely your own little world here.
Ummm sorry I didn't bring my journal so I don't remember a lot, but then again I haven't had time to write anything in there anyway. I have an hour to email, and I can email anyone! Dear Elder is still the best way to write, but I can print emails off and write quick replies via email too. especially to all my missionary friends that will be suuuper nice. Thanks to everyone who wrote me, shoutout to Kalen and Janea LOVE YOU sending yours today. Family I sent one yesterday but I'll write another today too. Dear Elders come M-F and my entire district (okay only the elders) hate me because I get the most mail....so keep it up! haha. but seriously, letters are fantastic. Okay I better go, but I love you all, obrigada a todos eu voces amo. Eu seu que Jesus Cristo e nosso salvador e que ele VIVE :)
tchau!
sis cooper 



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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

(0) i'm going on an adventure

Well I'm finally OFF. Thanks to everyone who helped out, contributed, and supported me over the past few months, it means so much! I'll be in Provo, UT at the Missionary Training Center awaiting my visa, then I'll (hopefully) be transferred to the MTC in São Paulo. I would LOVE to hear from you, letters are the BEST. My address for letters and packages until further notice is:

Sister Annica Cooper
MTC Mailbox #302
BRA-SPE 0514
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

The easiest (and free) way to reach me is through DearElder.com:

Just select Provo MTC from the home page (you don't need an account)
Enter my address and your return address at the top like a normal letter
Type away in the box and press send!
They print them out for me every evening so I'll respond with a handwritten letter.
I will be super busy but I PROMISE I will write back eventually!

Once I reach my mission home (around May 15) my address will be:

Sister Annica Cooper
Brazil São Paulo East Mission
Rua Caa-Açu, 229 Belenzinho
03171-020 São Paulo - SP
Brasil

and you can (most likely) email me at:

annica.cooper@myldsmail.net

My mom will be updating my facebook with more information once I get my visa or my address changes. She'll also be posting my weekly emails here, so check back every week or subscribe through email on the side to hear about my adventures! I'll try to make it sound super exciting. Feel free to get ahold of my mom (Amber Iverson Cooper) on Facebook (she'll check my account as well) if you have any questions. LOVE YOU ALL. até logo!