Thursday, April 25, 2013

Update About Mary

We just received an email that Mary has been reassigned until her visa comes. She will be serving in Columbus, Ohio and leaves next week!

Mary From the MTC

Hey All!
Como vai? Eu estou muito bem! That just said, How are you? I am very good. Portuguese is ochiamo (awesome)!! I love it so much and I feel really blessed to be able to learn it. Last week was really good and I feel that I grew a lot. For some reason I have been really dumb and not been praying for the gift of tongues!! Last week I began praying in my personal prayers for Heavenly Father's help. I found that others were able to understand me better, things came to my mind about what and how to say something, and I was able to communicate better!! It was really neat to see that and I know it was from Heavenly Father and not just me!
So I find out where I will be reassigned tomorrow. Hopefully I will be reassigned. There have been some rumors that I have heard that the USA is so jam-packed with missionaries that there is not going to be any new reassingments. I don't really believe that but I'll find out tomorrow!!! If I am reassigned somewhere I will be able to call you guys for about 5 minutes! Maybe on Thursday or Friday. Depending on your schedule.
So thanks Ma for some advice about the companions. It isn't that big of a problem just a little annoying with my one companion who doesn't ever speak. I am more worried about her in the field. It is okay that she doesn't pray or bear her testimony but it will be a bit of a problem if she acts out there like she does here. During lessons if we turn to her to allow her to speak or maybe a testimony she will flat out say no. One time during a lesson we asked her say the prayer and she said no with this super sour look on her face and said she could not. I worry what the investigator will think because if a missionary refuses, than the investigator might refuse also! The funny thing is that she knows the gospel. It is in that head of hers! She just needs to say it out loud! She has really good things to say! And thanks for telling me to pray for Charity!! I will do that! I need to do that!
Dad, I'm sorry that I didn't answer your question about President Monson and how he pronounced Rio De Janeiro. That is exactly how you are suppose to say it! We were really excited when he said it like that because it is correct. When there is an R at the beginning of a word, it makes an "h" sound. Than de make a "g" sort of sound. I love it! It is sounds very pretty and a little bit like french. It is a lot prettier than spanish. ;)
Thank you for all of the letters!!! Things are super busy here. I was telling ma last week that I just do not have enough time for everything I want to accomplish!! Things are not that bad but I just feel really bad for not getting my hand-written letters out. Several have written me and I haven't replied to them.
So an Elder in my district just got his visa today!! We are all really shocked but super excited for him! He is from Grass Valley, California and his consulate is San Franscisco. He has been waiting a while so it is really good that he got his. It reminds me, though, how important it is for us to keep up on the language because you never know when you'll get your visa.
I think that it is so sad about Boston but ma, that is a really interesting take on it. I didn't think about it that way. It is interesting because I was just reading those chapters (Mormon 3:9). It is sad that we today sometimes forget how we are able to do things. We could not do anything without our Heavenly Father's help, guidance, and mercy. I am learning a lot about that in the scriptures right now. I am going to finish the Book of Mormon today! I'm really excited. I just read a really great verse that has helped answer some of my prayers. I have been struggling with my relationship with Christ and knowing him. I feel that I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father because I pray to him. I know that I pray to the Father in Christ name but I just feel that I do not know him. I know he lives and suffered for my sins and sorrows. So I was reading Mormon 1 :15 and it talked about tasting and knowing of the goodness of Christ. I was thinking, "how can I know that for myself?" The footnotes took me to Psalms 34:8. It said to put my trust in God. And then it lead me to Mosiah something. I can't quite remember which scripture. But it talks about steps to take (that I feel we can take) to know God/Christ. It was really neat and I still want to do a more extensive scripture study on it. Also I have a question for you guys. What exactly is the "glory of God," and how can I understand it?
I hope things get fixed fast for the elders that are coming! So cool thing! Some Elders from my branch leaving this week have been reassigned to Iowa! There are three Elders that are waiting for their visas. I can only remember two of their names. Elder Nicholes and Elder Searle. The other one starts with an L and that is all I can remember. They are cool and I told them they are going to the best mission in the USA and that their mission President is awesome! One of them might be living in our house!
So this last week Elder Richard G. Scott came to speak!! AHHHHHHHHHHH It has been the most powerful talk that I have ever heard. It was amazing. He talked all about receiving revelation and understanding the spirit. It was amazing to listen to him and he talked specifically to those missionaries learning a language. Several times he told us to allow the Lord to help us in learning and that if we worked hard, He would help us learn. He said at the beginning that he felt he had died and gone to Heaven to be with all of us. It was cool because at the end, he gave us an apostolic blessing that we could learn the language and some other things. I'm mad because I lft my notes in the residencia. He also talked to the sisters and said it was amazing that we made the choice to serve. He promised us that our posterity would receive immense blessings because we were serving. It was really cool!! It made me so excited to get out of the MTC and teach the gospel. I know that this decision was the right choice. 100%. If anyone asks me if they should go on a mission, I will always say yes because it makes me so happy!!
I read Sam's letter!! Sam you are so awesome and don't worry, things will be hard but remember to read your patriarcal blessing!! It will help remind you as to why you need to be there. Also I love hearing about your investigators! You are the bomb!!! My whole district thinks you are awesome!
I love you all and think about you often. Thank you for your prayers. I love you and miss you!!
Sister Cropper
P.S. Sorry if I forgot to comment about something! No time!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sam's Second Week in Chile

Whats up people!

Ugh what a great day. I have been feeling pretty down and it was so nice to read all your letters. Dad: moral of the flooding story is listen to your wife. lol. Michael I am so happy you got the job. I just seemed like the better one from the get go. Nonprofit system, better chance for a job after. Haha--this is hard to write, the computer is saying all of my words are wrong because they are in English not Spanish. Speaking of Spanish! Holy Cow I don't speak it and it sucks! I have been so frustrated this last week to the point of thinking multiple times if I even want to be here, if the
Church is even true, or if I even care enough about any of it to want to be here. Ugh-Satan is bad bad bad. Anyways we had interchanges with the ZL´s on Wednesday because Elder Powner is the DL, so I went a worked with Elder Kimball for the afternoon and evening, and boy, was he what I needed. Elder Kimball is like 20 almost 21 and he goes home in 3 months. He basically just helped me realize that my Spanish isn't that bad-it’s actually really good; better than most at my level. He helped me gain the confidence I needed to speak Spanish and use it with people. While being with him I learned for myself that God knows I don't speak Spanish. He didn't just dump me here to mosey around and hopefully learn it in 4 months and then be of use to Him. He wants me to use what I can now. Elder Kimball said the strongest thing I have is my testimony and the new missionaries have the strongest testimonies of all. So he told me to use it!. Although this helped me, yesterday after church I was once again feeling down because people say things and I don't know what they are saying. When we came back home to study I was once again feeling those feelings of wanting to go home and do something more fun or something like that, but my companion helped me realize something I already knew but that this was the situation I needed to do it. That thing was stop focusing on myself. I kept worrying about how I was ever going to learn Spanish or how I was going to be able to do this for 2 years. He said I just need to have faith and focus on other people. He said that only by focusing on other people and not focusing on myself would I learn the language and really start to enjoy my mission. I applied this principle by immediately going and praying and giving thanks for 20 things in my life. After the prayer I felt a lot better and my focus and outlook on the mission has been better ever since. I am still worried about Spanish, how could I not be, but I know that as I continue to have a desire to learn and trust that, with the help of Heavenly Father I can do all things, I will be speaking Spanish like a pro. 

I loved your letters. Crazy to read about the Boston thing. I had not heard anything about it so it was nice. Dad it would be so cool if you owned an original copy of the BOM. Sell your shelby and get it. Just kidding but maybe something to think about. Dad I dont even know how you do your life its so busy maybe ill know some day. Mom, you too. Your lives are just crazy but hey your doing it right because your lives are filled with busy good things that build up each other, the Kingdom of God or those in it. Dad good luck on your talk! I know how you feel as a missionary your personal study is just for lessons you will teach later. Dad, zone conference was cool but it was in Spanish. The topic was testimony and I like what was said. I hate it because I always want to make comments or ask questions but I don't have the words. Mom, so cool to hear school is going well. How exciting with the institute teaching. I don't think you will have trouble finding a job with all this religion teaching experience.

Anne and Michael! you got the Job! I am so happy and excited for you guys. I just loved how it all kind of worked out. Lots of nerve racking changes going on for you guys but they are all exciting things. Good things happen when we choose the right. 

Mary! I can't wait to hear where you are going. I am excited if it is state side English-speaking and to hear how your first week is. I am jealous that you will have the possibility to serve in 2 missions! I don't know if you know this but when you get recalled they actually send your thing back to the missionary department and they pray about it again. That’s what I’ve heard crazy right. Don't quote me on it though because I don't know. I am so jealous they changed the rules for the MTC. They told us they weren't going too ugh, but I am also happy because now you have more time to write people!

Ok more facts about Chile. Villa Alemana is pretty but also ugly. Viña is amazing and lush and green but Villa Alemana is like a desert. It doesn’t rain here is just mists or something like that. Because it is a desert (basically) here it gets hot during the day and cold at night. Actually the days are fine mostly but the nights are freezing. We usually walk everywhere which is totally fine because our area just isn't that big. We do have to take the bus to zone things though which is always fun. They drive very fast in Chile and the buses drive even faster. If you are riding a bus here and there isn't and open seat it can get pretty interesting. Chile has large supermarkets but every street also has a corner store. One they go to every day the other once a week. The only stores I see are food stores so I don't know where people buy the stuff they need besides that. Oh they also have Walmart-type stores so probably there. We have everything in our ward. Poor, middle class, and maybe rich I don't know. Like I said we have a part in our area that is por Alla! or in other words way out there. It has dirt roads, little shacks, dogs, the works. The people that live out there are obviously very poor. We also have very nice suburb type places in our area. The members there have jobs in the city doing things that a middle calls or upper middle class family would do. The houses are very small here and every family usually only has one car. They mostly use buses and the metro here to get to the city. We are teaching a man named Antonio and his son who is 8. Antonio is married but his wife is Catholic, maybe the only person in Villa Alemana who says they are Catholic and actually goes to church. They have another son and he joined for our lesson but he wasn't there this last time. They came to Church this sunday which was awesome! basically with Antonio and his son they know its all true and they have been taught everything so we just have to point to the font. We are also teaching Roxanna and Hugo. Roxanna was sick yesterday so they weren't able to come to church but we visited Hugo last night (Roxanna was sleeping) and taught him. I felt like our lessons with Hugo were too simple and easy. Our homework assignment for them to read for next time, I felt, was also too mushy and easy. Because I felt like we weren't making progress with him I just flat out invited him to be baptized. My companion freaked out and gave me a high five under the table. He accepted and then i invited him to maker the goal of the 5 of May or something like that to be his date of baptism. He said he was nervous about baptism because what would he do if he sinned after he had been baptized, so next lesson we will teach him about repentance (BAM!). He knows its all true but Satan has a strong hold on him and Roxanna. We will see if they are willing to give some things up. We work a lot with the menos activos here (less actives) during one of our meetings with a menos activo named Ingrid, I just flat out asked her where her fire was. I told her in my broken Spanish that obviously she had known the Church was true when she was baptized, so why doesn't she feel the same way now. At the end of the lesson she told us that she wanted to get her fire back so we were like YEAH! She couldn't come to Church yesterday because she was out of town but we will see for next week. So I have about an hour and a half to write you guys every week. 15 min of that are taken up by writing my president. I can also write friends, basically anyone outside of the mission, but have to ask for permission for people inside the mission (like investigators) 

 Alright well my time is up. Love you guys. Talk to you next week. 


Elder Cropper

Mary's Latest From the MTC (#4)

How are you all? I'm sorry, my companions wanted to wait and so I didn't know how to tell you guys that I wouldn't be getting on at 1:00. I'm sorry but sadly I have to work around my companions. So I'm so glad that they extended the time that we are allowed to write emails. It is now 60 minutes. Plus we can write friends not just family!!! I still love to get Dear Elders though!  
Things are really good here. I'm just getting really antsy to leave! I am really excited to leave but at the same time extremely nervous!! I find out in about a week where I will be reassigned and so we will what happens. Oh and I haven't told you guys that I get to talk to you for 5 minutes when I receive my reassignment! We don't hear anything about our visas unless we get them. I think it would be really fun to get reassigned because then I could go to two different missions! Plus I really enjoy teaching in English. It helps me become more confident in my teaching. I feel that I am not the best teacher so I am really grateful that I have this time in the MTC to figure it all out. I find that I am able to teach better when I plan ahead and write out exactly or basically what I want to say. If I don't do that I kind of go off on tangents. You guys all know I don't explain myself very well. I am learning to put myself in the investigator's shoes.
So Arianna wrote me and said I must be dumbing down how hard the MTC is for me! Haha it actually is not that bad. I did struggle the first few days. I was feeling very overwhelmed but I pushed through and things are reall good. I just go along day by day. the language is coming. This week, my companionship is working on only talking Portuguese in class. It is challenging but I think it will really force me to learn the language better. I heard from the Elder from my district who got his visa, that we learn so much more here at the Provo MTC than Sao Paulo. That is because the teachers speak english and are able to communicate and teach us better. That made me feel good.
I am going to be a host tomorrow!!! I am really excited! I think it will be really fun.
So I am done with Alma!! I finished yesterday!! I am trying to finish the Book of Mormon by next Tuesday! I love reading the book of mormon. I have never felt this way about reading it before. I have never had such a strong desire to read and to learn from it. Some things I learned (from my study journal) and thought were interesting is first Alma 10 verses 5 and 6. I had the thought that maybe some inactive members feel this way when they decide to stop coming to church, than in Alma 15. Zeezrom becomes a good man and repents of his sins. It is too bad though because of the things he said to the people in the land of Ammonihah, they blieve nothng good. I thought it was cool though that at least Zeezrom repented. In Alma 21, verses 6 and 7, it totally helps with investigator's questions about why they need the gospel. Alma 22: 15- nothing is worth more than eternal life, not even a whole kingdom. Alma 26: 22- cool list! 1. If we repent, 2. exercise faith, 3. do good works, 4. pray without ceasing; we can know all things. Plus we,as missionaries, will be blessed that we may bring thousands of souls unto repentance. Alma 30:41, a testimon is complete truth and proof that our Father in Heaven lives. If anyone denies the existance of God or Christ, refer to verses 41 and 44. In verse 60 of that same chapter, I had a thought "why did the Lord not save korihor?" I believe it is because Korihor didn't repent! If he had humbled himself, the Lord would've been merciful unto him! I also love reading the story of Corianton! He is interesting and my hero in the book of mormon because he repents of his serious sins and goes on a mission!! He becomes a good person. I think it is too bad he didn't have more recognition.
I love the devotionals too! They are so freakin' awesome!! I brought my notes to share!!
We had the coolest devo last sunday evening!! It was given by the Director of Media for the Missionary Department. His name is Greg Droubay. He talked to us all about how Heavenly Father's work is hastening. He first talked about NYC and the things that have been done there. For this last Christmas, the Church put up several billboards in downton Manhatten. The billboards said, Christmas is ___________. They put in the blank several different words like, family, service, Jesus Christ. They were humongous and everywhere!! He said that the Athiest had put a billboard close by but this was his words, "We had no idea the Athiest were there, but we DOMINATED!!" They also put ads up on hulu and different internet sites.
He also discussed what they have been doing in London. The Book of Mormon play is about to begin there and they were putting ads up for it with phrases like, "The Mormons are coming," on buses and such. The church put ads on buses and there was this one picture of the play ad on a bus and then a bus behind it with our ad. It was really funny! He then talked about all the ads that are up! When you guys are there in May look in the subway stations and all! They are everywhere!! He told a story how he was behind a woman who was pregnant on an esculator that takes them down to the metro. There are ads on the walls just about different mormon things. At the bottom of the esculator, he noticed the woman was crying. Like a good missionary, he inquired and asked what was wrong. She said that the ads were the most beautiful thing she had ever read. He talked with her more and got a referrel for the missionaries. He shared another story about a family and The Book of Mormon play. He explained that this family wouldn't have given the missionaries the time of day. The family was really wealthy, they had gone to the play and were do disgusted with it, they left it half-way. After, they were thumbing through the playbook and saw the ads from the church. They ordered a Book of Mormon and read all the way to the end of 2 Nephi. They believed it was true and asked for the missionary discussions! They are all now baptized and are going to help their branch in London!
That story made me cry a little! Although this play has had an affect on the way the world views our church, it has also really benefited us! I bet Satan wasn't expecting that!!
So the speaker moved on and talked about the importance of having the spirit with us and our purpose as missionaries. Our purpose can be found on the first page of PMG. In Portuguese it is, Convidar as pessoas, achegaram-se a Cristo. Ajudando-as a receber o evangelho restaurado por meio da fe em Jesus Cristo e em Sua Expiacao, do arrependimento, do baptismo, de se receber o dom do Espirito Santo, e de preseverar ate o fim. That is all from my memory so I might be a little off. He remindedus that everyone on this earth at one time believed in Christ, saw him, had a testimony and agreeded to come to earth. All we have to do is bring the spirit (which is not an unfamiliar feeling) and remind them of their testimony that they once had.
I liked that thought a lot. After his talk, I was so excited to just get out of the MTC!! I want to teach actual investigators!!
Anyways, almost out of time!
I love this gospel, I know it is true and I am grateful for that knowledge. I hope I can be an effective missionary and help realize God's plan for all of His children.
Love you lots,
Sister Cropper

Monday, April 15, 2013

First Letter From Viña

Letter From Sam WHATS UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy Cow this is like the craziest thing I have ever done! Ok so I don't even know where to begin. By the way I am in the middle of nowhere with a keyboard that doesn't work too well so if i am missing a letter chill out. So let’s begin at the airport. We were late getting to our flight because of the infamous Elder Roberts or something like that. He just didn't show up so we left like 45 min. late to the airport. We got to SLC and it was confusing because we had showed up so late that half of us were locked out of the system (I was not which was nice) we got to the get where we were chewed out by all the flight attendants for being late I don't even know. The flights were good. We arrived in Atlanta and I had a chance to talk to Mom and Dad. If you want more info about my time in the Atlanta airport ask Mom and Dad. After I hung up the phone with Mom and Dad I walked over and got on the plane. We switched around some seats so I ended up sitting next to people in my district which was fun. I was nervous on the flight over but I did sleep a little. I was very nervous because the Church had given us things to memorize when we went though customs We were supposed memorize the phrase saying who we are, and a phrase saying how long we would be in Chile. We were not supposed to say 2 years! We were supposed to say that we would be in Chile for 90 days until we could get a religious visa. We got off the plan and I was like aghhhh! We went and paid our tax thing for being Americans and entering Chile, then after we went to customs. The guys basically spoke English to me and was very nice so it didn't matter. We got out of customs found our bags (Mine were BOTH there which was lucky because one girl had neither of her bags) We then went through more security and then out into the airport area where our president would be waiting. Sadly he was not there. It turns out our flight had arrived like crazy early so we waited. I of course, being the way I am, decided to grab Elder Huntsman and catch the other 30 missionaries that would be coming out in spurts and tell them where to go (we were the fist to come out of security). After a while of doing that President Kahnlien showed up with his wife and two assistants. He is very tall like at least 6 foot 7 or something like that. The assistants gave us some passalong cards and told us while we were waiting to go hand them out. We were all nervous and everyone didn't want to do it so they just got in a circle and stated talking. Elder Seamons and I however decided to do as they asked and go find someone. I was super nervous because I don't speak Spanish. Well, I didn't speak Spanish. Elder Seamons was from the Intermediate class so he had better Spanish than me so he initiated the conversation with someone. He said a lot in the one contact we did but I did explain a little bit about the Book of Mormon. We gave him a passalong card and we got his number. We were proud of ourselves that we did that. Once everyone was ready we took a quick picture in the airport and then went to the bus. It was hot outside and I was in my jacket. The Elders helped load the bus which wasn't easy because we ran out of room so some of the suitcases had to go on seats. I was sweating a lot when I got on the bus. 

There were actually already people on the bus about 15 or so. All of them were natives so I thought they were our trainer but then I realized that they were actually missionaries reporting to the mission that day from the Santiago MTC. I sat in the back and talked with them which was fun. They taught us some Spanish and we taught them some English. The trip from santiago to Viña is about 2 hours. One we got to Viña it was crazy. They stopped the bus on this mountain and we were able to take pictures of the whole city and coast. Super cool. They then took us to the famous Viña flower clock where we took a picture which is on the blog. the blog is This is the cool part. They then took all 30 of us and asked us who wanted to go do some missionary work. I raised my hand along with a few others and they called us to the front. They then divided us into companionships (I got paired with one of the natives from the Santiago MTC) gave us book of Mormons with the mission home address and said go find it and don't come home until you've given that book away!!!!  Crazy right. So anyways, they dropped people off in other parts of the city (now we know actually parts of the city closer to the mission home). But my temporary companion and I just left right from the flower clock. It was hard to communicate but we were able to do it. We found an old woman taking her groceries home and we decided to help her and teach her about the Book of Mormon. My companion talked a lot but I said some things too. We ended up getting her address and giving her the Book of Mormon. We asked from directions a lot after that but we were eventually able to find the mission home. We then had pizza for lunch which was good. After lunch we had a ton of business things to do. Some of us stayed to be interviewed by the president, others were interviewed by the nurse, and others went to the consulate to sign some stuff. We all had to do all three, it just depended which order we did it in. I interviewed with president first which was fun. He said I had a powerful testimony which I liked. I just told him about my life so he could get to know me. After that I met with the nurse Sister Hugie. She is older and is from Utah. After I had finished filling out a bunch of papers and doing all the interviews I went with a group to the consulate to sign some things. Once we had all finished in my group of six they told us to gather our stuff put it in the van and they would take us to an apartment for the night. We slept in the nicest apartment (pension) in the mission that night . It’s the apartment some of the office Elders stay in. It was actually a pretty nice apartment. In my group there was a mix of native elders and English elders so we had fun hanging out and getting to know each other. They don't have dinner here but at around 9 the Office Elders came back with snacks for everyone which was awesome.

The next day we had orientation at the institute building in Viña which was cool but not to crazy so I don't need to say much about it. Now for the fun stuff! Right after orientation (which went like all day) around 5 we had transfers. They had all the new missionaries sit on the stand and they called transfers one by one. My Companion is Elder Powner! He is 20 years old (one month younger then me his birthday is in March). I serve in the Las Americas Ward in the (I think) Villa Alemena Oeaste stake. I think it’s that stake because that’s the name of my zone. We are about an hour or so, maybe 45 min., east of Viña Del Mar. We took the Metro to get here which was cool. Our ward has about 100 active members and they are really glad we are here. They completely white-washed this area which means they took out the old elders and put in new ones. The plus side is the ward is happy because they feel better but us then the old Elders. but the downside is that we don't know the area so these last few days have been focused on that. If you want to know where I live go to Google maps a type in Las Americas, Villa Alemana, Chile. My ward basically covers all those nice little houses and then way out there in the boonies. Scroll in on the (A) a little more and look for that green streak going through my area. That’s a creek and a couple blocks below that is a road with train tracks next to it. If you can zoom up on the M of the train station for Las Americas but not to far to the bottom left you might be able to see a big supermarket it’s called Unimarc. RIght next to it and I mean right next to it is the chapel we meet in. I would tell you where I live but it would take to long and I don't have much time. We live in what would be considered a house here. It actually is pretty nice but just a little dirty so were excited to clean it today. Mondays ae our P-days. Tuesdays are zone coordination that Elder Powner has to go to because he is DL. Wednesday is usually District meeting but this Wednesday is Zone conference. Thursdays are normal and so are Fridays. Saturdays we usually have service in the mornings and Sundays we have Church. Lots of people say my Spanish is very good. They say they can understand what I am saying which I guess is a really big deal. They also say I understand a lot of what they are saying which makes me feel good. This is my companion’s first time training but from what he has said about his experience being trained I am doing a thousand times better which makes me feel good. I am doing well so don't worry about me. I left my camera charger in the MTC so unless they send it to me which I don’t think they will I might need a new camera. I can’t really do anything about the issue here so that’s on you guys. If you want to know where to mail letters or packages scroll back to my Facebook history with all the address. If you can’t find it then maybe you can call the mission or the church and they can give it to you guys. Love YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Cropper

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Message From Chile


We are glad to have Elder Cropper here in the mission safe and sound!

Elder Boss
Secretario Ejecutivo
Misión Chile Viña del Mar
4 Norte 1112 | 68 31 53 32

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Week #3 From Sister Cropper

Boa Tarde Minha Familia!
Como via? Todo bem por meu. So I hope you are all doing well. I didn't receive any letters from Anne or Michael and I got Mom and Dad's at the beginning of the week last week. I hope you all enjoyed conference, I know I did! So Sam left yesterday and I was sad but also really excited for him to travel to Chile. Did you talk to him yesterday? How was it?! I was jealous that he could talk to you guys, but I guess I'll get to do the same in three weeks. I cannot believe I have been here three weeks and that I am half-way done!!! All very exciting.
So this last week was good. Teaching went okay and I was a little bummed because it is just hard to teach in a different language with a very limited vocabulary. I was also sad because I felt I wasn't very good at teaching our english investigator. I felt I hadn't explained the Plan of Salvation really well (granted it was my first time teaching it) so I was bummed after the lesson and a little frustrated. Don't worry, I am totally fine now. I prayed about it and our lesson yesterday with Filo (that is his name) went fantastic and the spirit was strong there.
So conference was so fun to watch at the MTC. (Check out the 183rd Annual General Conference here.) It was a little sad because I couldn't stay in my PJ's all day but it was nice to have a break from classes for a day. Basically our whole day was based around conference and we watched the YW broadcast that evening while the Elders watched the Priesthood session. I heard from them that it was pretty amazing and I started listening to Thomas S. Monson's talk yesterday. So my favorite speaker or I guess speakers from conference were Henry B. Eyering and Holland. I really liked Eyering's because it was about service and sort of becoming a better individual by living the example of Christ. I just enjoyed it a lot and felt it pertained to my life right now. I liked Holland's because he just said a lot of really great stuff. I enjoyed his bit about faith and that we don't have to know everything, just believing is enough. It can really pertain to an investigator. I liked Clayton's a lot too. It was a good conference, nothing totally changed my life but it was fun to listen. I can't wait to print some of them out and read them over again. Especially Dallin H. Oaks, his was good but a little over my head. I want to study it more. What did you guys think of conference? What were your favorite talks?
So it was cool, at the temple we did initiatories today instead of a session. It was neat to be reminded of the blessings I receive and the promises I must keep.
Also are you guys getting ready for your missionaries?! How is that going? I'm telling everyone here that if they get reassigned to Iowa, they could live in my basement!!
Oh so I haven't told you guys!! Vocal point came for our devotional on Sunday!! It was so awesome! I didn't really how much I missed music. We are not allowed to listen to music at the MTC so it was so fun to go to the concert live.
So ma, our room is always clean here! We actually get the excellent award (or something) for a clean room. Our classroom on the other hand needs some help, we failed the cleaning checks so we will have to do better this week.
So my companions and I totally thought we were going to get some more girls in our room because we have three extra beds but we didn't get any last week and I'm not sure about this week either!! We are happy because it means more room for us. Plus there are only four closets and desks.
Oh!! It was snowing this morning!! It is cold here so I am so glad I have my boots and coats!! Thanks again for sending them! Oh and thanks again for the cookies!!
So I asked Sam to give me a blessing on Saturday before he left. It was really cool and really helpful. He first started out talking about my worries with my visa (which is funny because I haven't really been worried since becoming a missionary) and I was told I would go where people would need to hear the gospel from me and to not worry about it. I was also blessed with learning the language of my mission. Then I was told  about my companions and that I would learn things from them and they would learn things from me. He then talked about me learning the doctrine and teaching. He told me to have confidence with my teaching and to listen to the spirit because it would guide me in what I should say. (that was really helpful at the time). Then Sam paused for a second and said that I needed to remember I was a daughter of god and that in his eye, I was pure and have been faithful my whole life. Sam began crying at this point and I was too. Sam also talked about my decision to go on a mission and that it was a right one. I was told that I was where I was suppose to be at that time. I was really happy with the blessing and it was really comforting. Sam told me that he was planning to say some things but that he didn't say any of them. He said that all of it was inspiration. 
Anyways!!! So great blessing!!! Things are really good. I am just itching to get out of here! I want to leave and teach actual people!
Hope all is well! Love you all!
I hope the blog is going well and that you are putting up our emails MOM!!
Love you all,
Sister Cropper

Elder Cropper On His Way to Chile!

On Tuesday (4/8/2013) Elder Cropper was greeted at the Atlanta airport by his brother-in-law, Michael Johnson who just happened to be in Atlanta for a job interview. There were 30 missionaries who left Salt Lake City for Chile on this day. Elder Cropper arrived in Chile the next morning.

Week 2 By Sister Cropper

Hey Everyone,
Todo bem? Muito todo bem for me! Todo bem means everything is good. So you ask, is everything good? And then you can reply with the same thing that everything is good. Anyways!!! So I got the package yesterday! Thank you so much mom for sending my skirt, boots, and blanket. It has been cold here at night so the blanket was much needed!! So did my miz mooz shoes come? I had ordered the size and figured that they would've come by now. So Sam wanted me to tell you guys that he is departing for Chile next Monday at 1:00 pm here. So he will call you guys from the Salt Lake Airport around 11:30 am. Be ready!!!!! He flys directly to Santiago, Chile from SLC. He also sends his love. It has been so so so so so fun having him here. I see him all the time and it is fun to catch up. We like to write each other during the week so it's fun to be able to write to him. Thank you for all of the letters. It is so fun to read what is going on. I have gotten a ton since I've been here so it is hard to find time to write back some of my friends. I feel bad for only being able to write them on my P-Day.
So yeah, my companion totally left last Wednesday. I am actually glad she left because after the thought came into her mind about leaving she just totally checked out. She decided after the Tuesday Devotional to leave, then talked to our Branch President and then all of a sudden decided to stay!! I was frustrated because I kind of knew she was just going to leave eventually. She woke up the next morning and was sick. So we went to class but our teacher told her to go rest. So we went back to the resendencia and I sat in the dark studying my scriptures and reading while she took a nap. I guess I could've napped but I knew I didn't need to and I got a ton done!! Later that day she talked to the Discrict President here for the longest time. I sat in this room for my whole gym time! It was okay though because I talked to all of these missionaries. She came back out and said she called her family and she was going to leave in the next hour. We went back to the resendencia and packed her stuff and she left. Now I am in a threesome. I like the girls I am with. One has really attached herself to me and follows me around everywhere. Plus she keeps touching me and it is really annoying! But she kind of has stopped now because she probably noticed I don't really like it. She is hard because she has a lot of insecurities. She thinks she is ugly and gets offended when people tell her she is beautiful. I flat out told her to never call herself ugly around me because I don't like it when people are negative and it takes away from the spirit. She is actually very pretty so I hope I can help her in some way to gain her confidence. I like my other companion. She is from Oregon. Sometimes she goes off and talks with the other girls in the other district going to our same mission so it is frustrating when she leaves because it makes me feel like she really doesn't like my other companion and I. I feel like she thinks because now that I am here, she can just leave. It is getting better though, it was worse this last weekend. Oh and my old companion was from Utah! She lived in Highland so yeah she could pretty much see her house! 
So Easter was so great here! We did not have a General Authority come, which I hear is very rare. Bishop Causse came and spoke with his wife. It was very good!! Plus Sam and I both sang it the choir and that was super fun!! Also the whole MTC partook of the sacrament together. That was so awesome! And there was no one that was missed!! It was pretty amazing.
So one of the Elders from my district got his visa last week. He left this morning. We were all really sad to see him go. I am so grateful for the disctrict I have received because the Elders are so very nice to us and we are all really close. It feels like a family. We all love to sing together so it is so fun. Last night, our teacher (which actually he won't be our teacher ever again because we are getting 35 more brazilian missionaries tomorrow, 20 are sisters so they need more portuguese teachers)  shared an amazing experience about faith from his mission that really brought the spirit. After he left, Elder Christensen (the Elder who left today) asked if they could do a blessing. It was a really powerful blessing and we could feel the spirit so strong. Then we sang as a district together one last time. It was a really special night last night. I am so grateful that we are all going to the same mission so that we might see each other again. It is so hard not to hug the Elders because we love them so much!!! Um so not much time left now, so I have no clue about my visa. Dad, you should call the mission office to ask them!!
I love you guys so much and miss you!!! I am having a great time! Yeah the language is hard but I feel fine about it. I am more putting emphasis on learning the doctrine during my study time. Also did I tell you guys last time that my branch president challenged us to start the book of mormon over again? I am now in Mosiah!
Um so yeah, things are good! I am grateful to be a missionary and I am trying hard to make sure I work and do my best! I am trying not to waste my time here.
Oh ma!!! So we went to the temple this morning and guess what!! Our session had way more Bretheren than Sisters!! I am not kidding you so it can happen!!
So this last sunday, I fasted to be able to feel the spirit more and to be able to recognize it. Sam said he could feel the spirit really strong here. I didn't really understand that at first when I got here but I think what he means and others mean when they say that, that they spirit comes more easily.
Oh by the way, the food is not very good here. I am so sick of it!!! I try to avoid eating it because I do believe it does something! I haven't had any gas problems but some of the Elders have and my old companion was getting an upset stomach when she was here. So I totally think they add laxatives. I try to avoid it by eating a lot of salads, soups, fruit, and veggies.
Oh I have also seen Chloe a lot!! She looks good but I don't get to talk to her much!
Love you all again!!
Sister Cropper

Sam's Last Letter From the MTC

I am good. This week was like an 8 or a 9. Actually I don't really know what number to put to it because it was just a good week. Thank you all for your letters. I should have brought your letters with me so I could comment about things you guys wrote about or asked me but I didn't bring them, so I will try my best. Easter in the MTC was fun. We had a special Easter Morning Devotional. We all were banking on an apostle coming but guess what! no apostle came....... it was the presiding bishop and seriously people I thought there was going to be a riot. When the doors opened up and the non apostle walked in everyone was just silent....and disapointed (can't spell that word). We then came back and had district meeting. Sister Nichols gave the lesson and it was on the atonement. She did amazing! I told her afterwards that she did every good teaching practice known to man in her lesson. In the lesson people in my district gave really powerful testimonies of Christ and how He's our elder brother. I felt a little left out because I was feeling and I still kind of feel that my testimony of Christ isn't as strong as theirs. I recognize the need for a savior and that I couldn't be clean without his sacrifice, but I don't start crying when I think about him. I don't know I probably shouldn't compare myself to the others. I said a prayer before the testimony meeting that day that I would be able to know how to have a stronger testimony of this topic. During the testimony meeting I had the prompting come to me to share my testimony just like everyone else and Heavenly Father would show to me as I shared my testimony how strong my belief in Christ really is. I was stupid and felt like I had nothing to contribute to the meeting and so I actually didn't end up bearing my testimony (stupid I know spare me the chastisement) Later that night and the normal Sunday devotional Sheri Dew came and spoke to use. I don't know if you guys like Sister Sheri Dew or not but her talk was insane. The lady is like an animal. The talk she gave was completely different from the talk the presiding bishop gave. I mean I took like 3 pages of notes. One thing I really like was that she said she learned in her 20's to ask God to teach her how the spirit speaks to her. I really liked this thought so I have started doing this myself. Promptings from the spirit have been on mu mind lately because I'm gonna receive promptings to go teach this person or go knock on this door and I want to be able to know when it is a prompting. I think I am getting better about recognizing these promptings like the one i had in testimony meeting. I guess i need to better work on acting on those promptings and not out right ignoring them like i sis on Sunday in the meeting. After the devotional on Sunday we have the chance to go to different rooms and watch a church movie for an hour or so. I stayed in the big gym hall where we have devo and watched the character of Christ which was a talk given by Elder Bednar on Christmas day at the MTC 2 years ago or so. IT WAS INSANE! His talk was crazy! I have never seen a general authority call it like it is so much in my whole entire 20 years of existence. He talked about putting off the natural man and becoming more like Christ. He says that we do this by focusing on other people. This last week I have tried doing this and prayed for opportunities in which I would be able to do this. I don't really know how I'm doing but if I had to guess probably not very well. I had the chance to host again this week which was cool. It was really hot and just a normal hosting day so I'm not going to write much about it. Yesterday was in field orientation. IFO is when they take up the whole day teaching all the departing missionaries how to work with the ward and members in the field. I really enjoyed these meetings because of the teachers. At the end of the meeting the teacher who was giving us the summary of what we had learned and stuff like that told us that were going to be nervous talking to the first 100 people no matter what (he went to Mexico by the way) so we could either drag it out and talk to 1 person for 100 days or talk to those 100 people our first day. I really liked this thought because I'm gonna be in Chile next week not knowing anything that people are saying. Basically its gonna be uncomfortable and nerve racking for the first few weeks and then its just the same thing every day. In IFO we watched another video by Bednar (it was shorter) in which we told a story of two missionaries in his ward when he was at Harvard or Duke or where ever they were. He said the missionaries came over one Saturday morning, talked with them for a bit, played with there 2 kids, ate breakfast with them, and then after it was all over having been there for an hour and 15 min asked if they had any people they knew they could teach. Elder Bednar said he told them that for them they had no one to teach because they were not obedient missionaries. He told them that there visit should have gone more like this. You come to our house ask if you can share a short message, we would go get our children and make this an important moment for them. after finishing the short message you would then ask me who I would like to pray, He said I would call on one of you and you should give a short powerful prayers. After the message and the prayer you would then ask us if we had any people you could teach. He then told the Elders to get out of his home. The story of course has a happy ending. 3 weeks later the Elders knock on there door and do exactly those things Elder Bednar told them they should have done at the first visit. The point he was making was that we have to act in such a way that the members will trust us, Elder Bednar's tells it like it is! BAM! anyways time to go. Next week ill be writing you guys from CHILE! wish me luck!
Elder Cropper