Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Some Nights

I've probably mentioned this before, but I'll review. In the mission, 8 to 9 p.m. is "Miracle Hour". It's so awesome! Every time we walk outside at that time, we without fail meet someone who is ready to hear the restored gospel. Usually they come in large familial groups and don't find it strange at all that we are wandering around in the dark and wet coastal night. No I'm not just saying this because I'm sitting next to one of our zone leaders right now.......
Okay, just kidding to all of that... except the fact that 8 to 9 is Miracle Hour and I am sitting next to our zone leaders but luckily they are not creepin' on my email right now haha.
But truly, we have been trying our hardest this week to stay out that late, and honestly, most nights the miracle is the part where we get to run inside, turn on all the lights, and get in pajamas. Most nights no one is outside to talk to us, and if they are, they think we are loony. 
Yeah, "most nights, I don't know anymore!" <---- (Fun Lyrics, as closely as my missionary brain can remember them. Hopefully someone gets the reference!)
But "some nights I....!" Oh, I give up, I've been on my mission to long to remember the song... you know what I am going for haha. Some nights miracles do happen.
And as for all the other times, day and night alike, miracles happen as well. But most of the time the miracles aren't finding super prepared people, teaching a spirit-bursting lesson, or even getting inside a friendly home. The biggest miracle that comes from the mission, I've been told, and I am increasingly observing, is the miracle of becoming more Christlike. Every hard moment leads to more diligence, humility, faith, and hope. I think that's what Miracle Hour is really going for.
As that has been happening, we have been blessed with a few easier moments this week. Like on Tuesday night we visited a less-active lady, and her friend came over and discussed the church with us for half an hour, then told us we can visit her and her boyfriend anytime. What can I say, sometimes the challenges are totally, visibly worth it!
I'm realizing I have not really discussed my week in this post. Here's a bit about the week. I finished the Old Testament yesterday and have moved on to the New Testament. I'm trying to be at Luke 2 and 3 Nephi 1 by Christmas. I just love the Nephite Christmas story! :) That's about all I have time for today! Happy Thanksgiving!
-Sister Laura Cooper

Saturday, November 22, 2014


This week, we honed our skills at our best contacting approach...
"Hi, how are you! I'm Sister Cooper! We see that you, like us have lost your mind and are out wandering the streets in the damp cold muggy swamp weather. Do you want to talk about Jesus? Maybe family history..?"
Yeahhh... Or something like that.
I had the wonderful opportunity these week to get more acquainted with Navarre. I said last week in my letters home that I had fulfilled my two secret mission wishes. First, I wanted to be a campus sister, which I did for one day in Niceville, at our family history booth on NWFSC. Second, I wanted to train a new missionary, which I did for a week with Sister Seegrist. I failed to mention one other secret wish, that I've had ever since the day I received the Florida Tallahassee Mission map in the mail at BYU. I saw that there were some islands included in the mission and I was like... I want to go there!
Little did I know that those islands are not areas that missionaries are assigned to. Missionaries are assigned to wards and branches, not islands. But lo and behold, I got a chance to proselyte on an island this week because there is one in the Navarre area. It's where we went for beach day a while back, but there's also some neighborhoods there, and one less active we can go see. So there was another dream fulfilled!
I am getting used to all the normal, but foreign parts of being in a ward. My stomach is expanding again, and is not longer satisfied to eat dry cereal for dinner. (yep, I'm admitting what I did sometimes in Brewton). We have lots of member support, young families who have the energy to be involved, and lots and lots of streets to contact on. We met a cool new investigator by contacting this week. We will see where that goes. She is a middle-aged lady taking care of her adult son who has a brain injury. She is looking for God to be more a part of her life, in fact, she was praying when we walked up to her. 
Our district leader has challenged us to try to talk to people even in the most awkward situations this week. I think we can do it! I'll find some scriptural promises we can hope for in doing this.
"If ye shall interrupt someone riding a riding lawn mower, ye shall have eternal life"
Shoot, I can't find the reference for that. 
I've been feeling really inspired by the song, "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" lately. It's hard to remember he's walking with us everywhere we go, but it's true! And how much better would we be if we could see it. So I'm going to keep that in mind while we prowl the streets and teach the lessons this week.
Have a sweet one, followers!
-Sister Laura Cooper 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Neah Var Ray!

I don't know about you, but when I look at the word Navarre, I can't help but think it should be pronounced Neah (rhyming with the baby sound... that's the best way I can describe it). Var. Ray.
But it's not. It's Nah Var.

This has troubled me my whole mission.
What a precursor.
But indeed here I am in Navarre, FL. I have heard much about this place through my companion, Sister Smith, who served here, and because the zone leaders and a lot of the P-Cola Stake Leadership is here. It's a lovely town by the beach, much much much different than what I'm used to. I tell y'all, I am country folk now. I don't like the traffic, or the baby noises in church. Just having a church building was enough to get used to for me!
But even country folk can't resist the beautiful Navarre Beach! As a plus, the missionary work here is going really well. We are working with many people, especially part member families. (Part Members to work with are something that I really missed). We are helping an awesome lady quit drinking so she can get baptized in January. Sister Seegrist is a great companion, and is very bold and not shy for a newer missionary. :) We are just working on teaching together, and she wants help in using the scriptures, which I just love to dig up scriptures for everything, so that makes a good match.
The ward here is very supportive. I think I'm gonna like it here! (Annie reference, anyone?) Sorry this is short. Darn these stingy libraries and their timed computers. I'm going to have to start working on my blog the night before! I love y'all! Stay well and stay spiritual!
-Sister Laura Cooper

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Collards and Primary Songs

Well, happy followers, my long ride in Brewton, Alabama is coming to an end this week. Due to the change to secret transfers, I have no idea where I am going or who I will be companions with, but I will know by Wednesday! It's going to obviously be a bittersweet ending, and a big adventure (all the clichés you can think of).

Sister Lloyd is going home in a few days and I'm moving out of the area, so two new sisters are coming here. That will be quite the challenge, considering the uniqueness of this area, but I'm sure it's inspired. I don't know if they will believe us at transfer spots if we get the chance to tell them that we meet in the Civic Center for church and are a group.

Halloween week led to some special proselyting... going tracting in dress down shirts. We handed out cards with candy and guess what... no one rejected them hehe. Brewton folks are smart. We met a lady that wanted to visit our church and find out what we have for the children. We were kind of like... we have everything but a source of children! But she is interested in checking it out and bringing like 4 kids so hooray if that happens. Something for the new sisters to follow up with.

We helped at the Library with the Halloween Fair, with me on the face paint again. Lots of strange paint requests for Halloween and many many requests for sparkles, even by boys. I think my favorite was the child who asked for a red dog with pink spots and sparkles. Kids and their creativity!

Yesterday was really good, even though it was really cold and I was plagued with a headache all day. Britney and Vicki both bore their testimonies, and they invited us over for dinner so they could say good bye to sister Lloyd. The Dad, James, cooked up a big southern meal of fried chicken, collards, cornbread, and a little peppered rice. Minus the rice, that is the exact same meal I had when I entered the mission field. It's like the go to meal here.

After dinner we practiced Britney's lines and songs for the Primary Program. It was a little cliché, but I have to admit there was a special spirit getting to sing the primary songs by the fire with this family, some of my favorite people I met on my mission. I sure will miss them.

Even though we weren't supposed to find out about transfers until this morning, the zone leaders called last night at like 10 and told us. I like these zone leaders. They get the info out. So I was not expecting to just be meandering around the apartment and all of the sudden have Sister Lloyd be like on the phone with the zls and telling me I'm leaving. Saved me the drama of the waiting through studies though haha!

I'll let you know next week where I'm at. Until then, peace and blessings to you!

-Sister Laura Cooper

Sunday, November 2, 2014

20 Kids and a Bounce House

Back in DeFuniak Springs, I thought that there isn't really a population of children in backwoodsy towns. I recently realized that I was mistaken. It most certainly depends on the woods you live in. Here, everyone who's anyone has a little child in their arms or holding their hands or roaming the building. Granted, the family trees here can be a little more curled up a branch in all directions than the trees in some other places, but as for little ones, they are not in short supply.

That was made evident at the Fall Festival (not trunk or treat! Not enough people? Too many trucks instead of cars? I don't know why). Lots of people from Brewton and Jay made it there, including the part member family we are teaching-- the Morelys. They have a daughter and a baby boy, and the daughter went nuts over the little 2 person bounce house that someone decided to blow up.

The bounce house was only about 3 feet high and could fit one young child comfortably and 2 young children if they wanted to hold hands and bounce, but guess what... the kids all ate sugar and before we knew it there were 5 children the bounce house, ranging from toddlers to 10 year olds. They had the thing like sunk to the ground, but somehow still managed to make the poor little thing the highlight of the evening. Investigator kids, less-active family kids, recent convert kid (Britney!), and the regular member kids in the branch got to know each other in the brawl of the bounce house. I thought it was a fun and cliché but wonderful missionary moment demonstrated by the little ones.

As far as traditional missionary work this week (haha) we've started teaching the Plan of Salvation to Billy and he loves it. I used to think that people would just naturally have the questions that the Plan of Salvation answers, but it seems like most of the time, people don't really think about it until missionaries or someone else brings it up. The Bowlers brought a video to Billy's lesson that they wanted to watch with him. It went through a few different questions that the Plan of Salvation can answer. It started great discussion of what he hadn't been taught about in his Baptist upbringing, and what he did learn about, but didn't have the why of it. We are excited to teach the rest of it to him. He's expressed interest in the after death part, and how we believe in another chance for the dead. Should be some great discussion ahead.

In other news, our apartment is currently being inspected for leaks because of a mushroom that popped up out of our shower wall. True story. We might have to live with the Jay Sisters, which is not a very fun sleepover when we still need to work in Brewton. Hopefully it's for a day or less. Don't worry, I can still get mail in Brewton. Write away. ;)

Love ya peeps!

-Sister Laura Cooper