Monday, October 28, 2013

The Lights Are Going Up

Six more weeks in DeFuniak! We didn't really know what to expect out of this transfer, but we are glad that it's all working out so that we can see little DeFuniak sprout up. Seriously, the investigator work is a little slow here, but the work with less-active members is en fuego. When we got here we took this little ward from 2 to 4 full time missionaries, then at the end of last transfer, we got our senior couple, the Habels. Ha, I don't think I've talked about Elder and Sister Habel enough. Elder Habel is always on top of things and he draws a diagram at least once every lesson he teaches. They are probably in like their 70s. Sister Habel is super laid back and doesn't say too much, but then Elder Habel is always full of like three times as much energy as one man should have. It's so funny hehe.
The lights are going up, my friends. DeFuniakanlovChristmas. Just as me and Sister Bennion were walking to the library we saw people putting up CHRISTMAS LIGHTS at the lake. It's not even Halloween yet, y'all omg. I miss Halloween, btw. I wish I could participate in that madness, but I mean really, it is OCTOBER, people. But even when we came here back in August people would say that they hope we stay until Christmas because the lights and everything is just incredible. Well, it's October 28th and I guess we made it to Christmas haha.
This post has not been spiritual enough. Let me share what has helped us in the work this week. President Uchdorf gave a now-famous talk a few weeks ago in General Conference.

This talk has made a real difference in our work with less-active members. Everyone has concerns that keep them from fully partaking of gospel blessings, us missionaries included.But the gospel is the answer to every concern, even itself. Here's the part of the talk that answers all of that.

Some might ask, “But what about my doubts?”
It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some might say, “I just don’t fit in with you people in the Church.
If you could see into our hearts, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose. You might be surprised to find that we have yearnings and struggles and hopes similar to yours. Your background or upbringing might seem different from what you perceive in many Latter-day Saints, but that could be a blessing. Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church.
Some might say, “I don’t think I could live up to your standards.
All the more reason to come! The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted. It is filled with people who desire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven’t mastered them yet.
Some might say, “I know a member of your Church who is a hypocrite. I could never join a church that had someone like him as a member.
If you define hypocrite as someone who fails to live up perfectly to what he or she believes, then we are all hypocrites. None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
I know this work is the work of salvation and I know that it will change every life it touches for the better. My happy followers, there is room for each of us in the gospel. Have a great week!
-Sister Laura Cooper

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Caught a Toad

This week passed quickly and a week from now I will know the fate of the next six weeks! Ha, I get transfer jitters real early. Me and Sister Bennion made this plan. Those of you who have ever seen the Preach my Gospel DVDs aka The District, which I mentioned last week, know that when Elder Walkenhorst leaves the MTC, he and his little roommates sing the Spanish version of God Be With You Til We Meet Again-- Para Siempre Dios Este en Vos. They only sing the chorus on the DVD though, which amounts to HASTA VEEEEEEEEER, HASTA VEEEEEER. HASTA VER NOS CON EL REYHasta ver. 

And repeat.

Basically. Ha. Well, me and Sister Bennion have this plan that if anyone gets transferred in a week, right before we leave to drop the victim off in Crestview, we turn on the Preach my Gospel DVD on our little DVD player and we just BELT OUT some hasta vers. This will become a tradition among me and my companions. 

Laughs laughs... but as for this past week, we had some great times doing service! 

That's when I caught the toad of which I speak. We helped Patty and Sam, a part member couple that's been together for like 12 years, to get ready for their wedding next month. I worked with Sam to clear the side of the house of piled up weeds and wood pieces while sister bennion weed whacked the rest of the yard. There were so many critters under all that green junk. Since I was wearing garden gloves, I got to catch'm in peace. :)))) 

Yesterday at church we had a bunch of people come who haven't been in years! The work in DeFuniak is warming up quickly, my friends! :)

Love you all! Talk next week!

Sister Laura Cooper

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Saw It On The District Once

Our dear friend Morgan was baptized this week! We've been teaching her for 10 weeks, and she got like one lesson from missionaries before us. She's 18, super sweet, and just LOVES missionary work. She's a keeper, haha! So I guess I'd say that was the highlight of my week. :) Also, it was definitely the most stressful and time consuming thing that happened this week. There are just so many loose ends to tie up to make a nice baptism with a fully prepared future convert, and neither me nor Sister Bennion had ever done it before. She started her mission only six weeks before me, so neither of us had even had someone accept a baptismal date before Morgan. So basically we've been figuring out how to get someone to the waters of baptism together for the last two months. Cool haha.

On Saturday we had the baptism set for five pm, then President Smith scheduled me and Sister Bennion to have interviews right before, at 4 and 4:15. So we get there at four, and the Ward Mission Leader is scrambling because he doesn't exactly know how to have a baptism, a couple ward members are hanging out with random food and things for the event, Morgan and her boyfriend's family are hanging out, writing talks and preparing musical numbers, the Elders are there trying to explain how to do a baptism/ laughing at the chaos, and the mission president is there. And this is all happening in like 10 square feet of space between the primary room and the baptismal font. And me and Sister Bennion are like scrambling because we have no idea what running a baptism is like, plus we are trading off who is in interviews, and basically what I'm saying is... we did not know what to do, but if everyone is familiar with THE DISTRICT, which is a missionary training video series, you will know what I'm talking about when I say we were basically just going off what we saw once on The District. xD Everything worked out alright though (except the mission president had us explain our attendance at Priesthood Session of Conference; that was kinda awkward), but ultimately we had a great, uplifting service, and President and Sister Smith got to be there.

So, now we know haha! Love you, my blog reading fiends (yes, fiends). 

Sister Laura Cooper

Monday, October 7, 2013

Splits, Storms, Thomas (S!) Monson

Did y'all see the storm?! I was in that! We were getting texts for a while about being evacuated and to shop for 72 hour kits, but it never happened. And now I'm eating out of my 72 hour kit even though I totally have access to other food... I think I need someone to send me some less appealing food storage. Let it be known though, that Sister Cooper has now been in a hurricane-- Hurricane Karen.
This week Sister Bennion and I went on splits with Sister Trainer Leaders, which means that I got to have my first ever day of conducting missionary work without the help of my trainer. It went pretty good! I made sure we biked everywhere so that it took extra time, thereby leaving us with less time so that we wouldn't run out of things to do. Don't tell Sister Leifson haha! I'm glad we did that though. We got to see a few less-actives in town, plus one investigator who wouldn't stop talking... I got to learn from Sister Leifson how to politely, but firmly, get someone to shush. :)
Okay, okay, CONFERENCE! Wasn't it great? Funny story first, then spiritual talk. :) Since I'm sure the rumors have already spread from sea to shining sea, I'll just admit it. Me and Sister Bennion went to the Priesthood Session at the chapel, and watched it live in the company of priesthood holders. We don't regret it haha, it was great!! The Sister Trainers were not happy when they heard, but let's be real, we got to hear two more hours of the living prophet and apostles. I would like to share with y'all my favorite thought from President Uchtdorf's talk in that session.
I loved the story President Uchtdorf told about falling down when skiing with his grandson, and how he felt like he couldn't get up on his own. When his grandson simply told him "you can do it now", he stood up immediately. President Uchtdorf spoke on how the adversary can confuse us about who we are, what we desire, why we follow the commandments, and, most powerfully, he can confuse us into thinking when we fall that falling is our destiny. We know though that our destiny is a glorious one, and that we reach it as we walk lovingly in the path of discipleship, and as we rise up more times than we fall.
So, my happy followers, rise up this week, and show Satan who's boss.

I love you each.
-Sister Cooper

Out at Twin Lakes, biking to see some less-active people :)


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bible Thumping

This week some truly southern things came to pass. Me and Sister Bennion went park contacting using a family history approach and we accidentally crashed a Southern Baptist Youth Rally where we met Pastor Ben and Reverend Woods. They are both interested in Family History and they want to come to our center. But they also want us to come to their youth rallies haha. They said that they "seen one girl get saved here just the other day!" Man, I wish I could have seen that. It's on my mission bucket list to have someone say they just got saved while we are teaching them. I checked off one thing on the mission bucket list this week. "Have my Bible thumped"

Know what I'm talking about? The Southerners sometimes will preach and get so excited that when they mention The Bible or The Word of God or whatnot they will just like SMACK their Bible. Yeah, so yesterday I got my Bible thumped by a less active we were teaching who was on a rant about how the only word we need is contained in THIS BOOK and she smacked my scriptures that were sitting on the table. Too bad it's a quad not a Bible like she thought and so by doing that she was agreeing with us haha! 

Sister Cooper