Monday, May 13, 2013

Elder Cropper #4

It was great talking to you guys yesterday! 

MOM I forgot to wish you Happy Mothers Day and Give you your mothers day present! HAPPY MOTHERS DAY yesteray! We were going to sing for you. I thought about sending you a card but I guess they dont do cards in chile because I couldnt find any. I will record Elder Powner and me singing and I'll send it next week.

So don't worry about the athsma thing if it gets bad I'll just go to the docter. Last night I did what you said and took a shower. Doing that and also having the clean blankets helped me. I didn't have any issues last night. I have also changed the time I take my allergy meds to right after studies instead of right before I go to bed. I feel like those allergy meds take a long time to start working but once they work they go for the 24 hours so that's why I switched it. Try fidiling around with different ways to send them. I know that dad sent me a picture from is iphone with him and miss america so maybe you could do that. 

It was really great to talk to you guys last night but also kinda hard. I can see why they only have us do it 2 times a year. If we did it more we would become so unfocused. So Elder Powner and I reviewed our week yesterday during the night and decided we weren't pushing hard enough. We had 4 baptisms last week and I think we became a little comfortable with that. We erased those names of those investigators from our white board because they arent investigators anymore and now we really only have 3 investigators. 1 is Enrique but he didnt come to church yesterday so even though he had a baptisimal date we have to makie a new one for 3 weeks out. Maria Jose is progressing but she couldnt go to church yesterday because she was in Santiago. Plus she is breaking the law of chastity by living with someone (a common thing in Chile) so we can not make a date with her until she gets married, so were focusing on that. The other investigator we have is a mother in a family. Her kids are members and she is not because her husband didn't want to get baptized. They are living togeather as well so we first have to get them married before we can set a baptismal date. It's going to be hard to work that out though because the husband works in the north and his schedule is something like 2 weeks there 1 week here so he isn't here very often. He is here this week though so we are gonna figure that one out this week. We have other investigators but I wouldn't say they are progressing. Basically Elder Powner and I need to find some goldens this week to really give the work here a boost. So this week is gonna be the do or die week!

That's really cool to hear about that lesson [you taught to the ladies across the street.] Have those Elders asked them to be baptised yet?  If not they need to do it the next lesson. They also need to get them to church. And guess what there is a built in ride that lives across the street.

That's awesome to hear about the house for Anne and Michael. I think that Atlanta will be a good place for them. We've never had someone live in Atlanta so this will be cool. Good luck finishing school Michael and giving your speech!

My interview with president was good. He said I had made a lot of improvments from when we had last talked. He specifically said my Spanish was a ton better. I met with the APs as well while Elder Powner was in the interview and they said they were excited about the progress I was making and that they felt I was creating a good foundation with the help of Elder Powner to do great things after my 12 week training was up. 

I thought the insight from your meeting with the GAs was interesting. I really liked those questions.

Allright everyone, I am gonna go have a great week! Mom good luck on your final paper! Michael finish school like a boss. Anne, Dad, and Jane keep on keepin on!

Love,

Elder Cropper

PS I will know this saturday if I stay or go so next letter I will tell you.

Sister Cropper in Ohio #2


Hey all!
I'm sorry if I sounded a little down yesterday! I think I was just feeling bad for my companion. I am really good and I am getting back to my groove so do NOT worry about me! I think one thing I really need to focus on more is reading the scriptures. My PB states that if I feast on the scriptures, I will have more joy and the spirit will enlighten my soul. Also I think why I'm a little sad is that this work is slow. It takes time for people to receive answers and to understand the importance of keeping commitments. That is why I'm a little sad too. I just need to be more patient. I just want everyone to know now!

So things I learned this week from the scriptures is first from 1 Nephi chapter 5. I really liked how Lehi did not get mad at Sarah when she was getting mad at him. I thought it was interesting that he decided to comfort her and was kind back to her. That is something I can do with my companions, though they haven't made me mad yet! I like 1 Nephi 7 because it is amazing to me that Nephi is able to say things that soften the hearts of his brothers. I feel so inferior to Nephi because we have such a hard time sometimes getting others to listen to our message! 

In 1 Nephi 11:6- I've always wondered what the scripture meant that said that if we believe in Christ, we shall live (John 20:31). One way that we live is stated in verse 6. We will receive what we desire if we believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And today during personal study, I read 1 Samuel 3 when the Lord is calling upon Samuel to tell him something. Samuel thinks it is his father calling him but his wise father realizes it is the Lord and teaches his son to listen to it. It is important that we teach our children who the Lord is and how to recognize the Spirit. We know from the stripling warriors that it is so important to teach our children from a young age the gospel.

So hey everyone! It was super super fun talking to all of you yesterday! I wish I could've talked to Sam but thanks for telling me how it was talking to him last night.

So life here is pretty cool. It is nice to be in the states because we get certain luxuries. Like we have a gym in my apartment complex. We also get a car and don't have to walk around. Thankfully I have all of this before Brazil because I won't have these kind of luxuries. Westerville is like Bettendorf. It is a suburb of Columbus which is a big city. The mission is good, we do a lot of tracting, finding, less active visiting, and a few appointments. It sounds like a lot of stuff you do. The first few days were hard to get use to but now I like it and I am use to it. It is just a lot different from the MTC. They don't really prepare you for what it is really like out here. 

So we don't have anyone on date here. We had someone last week but she has not been keeping her commitments and we haven't been able to see her so we had to take her off. We have a lot of appointments this next week so I know we will be able to get some on date.
So this last Saturday was so so so so so awesome! We visited many people and were able to set up some appointments. Two things that were really awesome was we found this boy who is really interested named Cameron and this women who use to live in an investigator's home. We found Cameron smoking outside of his house, he is about 20. We just started talking to him and he had a lot of questions. He believes in God and is religious but doesn't have a specific religion. I told you last night about him not understanding where we go after this life. He said that he understands that if we accept Jesus Christ and believe in him, we will live in Heaven. He said he has a friend that is Muslim and doesn't believe in Christ. Cameron said that his friend is good and doesn't understand why he would be destined to go to Hell just because he doesn't believe in Christ. We are all really excited to teach him on Wednesday

So the lady that lived in a previous investigator's home: We found teaching records of a this women in the area book, but there was no actual record of her and what they taught. So we decided to go visit her and see what was up. We went to the house and young woman opened the door. It turns out that the women moved. This young women seemed interested and she just had a baby. She is catholic but she is allowing us to come back.
We have other investigators but I don't have a lot of time to talk about them. 

Anne and Michael! Wahoo you have a house! When are you officially moving? Have fun graduating for the last time Michael! I love you both and miss you!
Sam- Mission rules? Well for one, no iPods! I can't listen to my music and it breaks my heart to pieces. We can have CD's but I don't have any. I don't know what else you want to know. Good job on all of the baptisms! So fun! Keep working hard on the language. You are so smart and will get it, I know! Also remember to always pray for the gift of tongues, it does work and is a special gift.  

I love you all and thank you so much for your support and love for me! I know you care for me and I thank you for that! I know I am suppose to be here and I can feel that everyday!
Love, 
Sister Cropper 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sister Cropper in Westerville - #1

Haha so that is what people call Ohio here, the Great Ohio! It is pretty great. 

So Family! 

Hey! How are all of you? I'm doing well! Things here are good. It really takes some time to adjust to the life of a missionary but I am getting use to it. I'm glad that I have some time here in America to share the gospel. I find it helpful to learn how our cultural responds to our sharing the gospel. We do A LOT of tracting here. A lot of door-to-door contact, street contacting (which I absolutely hate), and reactivation. We have a lot of less actives here in the Westerville area and so that is what we have been doing for the majority of the time. We are teaching a few people and two of our investigators came to church yesterday. I haven't met all of our investigators because several of them were out of town this weekend. 

So I wish that we could teach lessons all of the time. Teaching lessons put you on top of the world! We taught a lesson on Thursday (the day we got here) and it was so fun! The spirit was strong and it went well. After a lesson, you feel so pumped up and ready to go. Unfortunately, here (at least at this time) we don't have a lot to teach and that resorts to tracting. We have something here in the Ohio mission called 2-2-5. That means, when we go visit a less active, we go and knock on the doors around the LA (less active) house. My companions have told me that they have found great success in doing this. 

So I guess I'll tell you guys all that happened after I talked to mom on the phone. We had no time to call in Atlanta! We had to travel all the way to a different terminal and so it took a while to get there and there was no phone to call on. Our mission President was there when we got off the plane! It was so great to see him and he is so awesome! We went to the mission home with all of the missionaries that arrived (I think like 30 or 40) with us. We had lunch and training. All of the sisters slept in the basement. We were packed! So my mission president did own Cafe Rio and several other businesses! They have a son in Ecuador right now on a mission. They have a daughter who is married to one of their former AP's. They have 3 children living at home. One is going to BYU in the fall, a son who is a Sophmore in High School and a son who is 12. I interviewed with President Nilsen that night and he told me that he felt I was going to be a great missionary. He was very complimentary and told me that they get missionaries like me once a while who change the mission. He was nice to say that! I don't know if I am that kind of a missionary but I do want to work my hardest. 

So I feel that finding here has been hard. I was looking in my journal today and I read a passage from when I was set apart. I was told that some would decide to not get baptized but that my goodness would continue on with them and they would remember that. That gave me comfort because I feel that this area might take us a while to find people. 

We write the President every week and this is what I wrote him and what I wanted to share with you guys! 

So when we arrived here on Thursday evening, we had an appointment that night with a woman named Jamesetta. She was found by Sis. Anderson and Hughes. She had talked with her Pastor about our religion and had some questions for us. When we arrived, we talked with her daughter because Jamesetta ended up being late for our meeting by about an hour. Her daughter's name is Lexi and seemed interested in knowing more about the church. When Jamesetta arrived, we answered our questions and invited her to pray right then to know if The Book of Mormon was true. She did and the spirit was strong. We went over on Friday to help her with her yard and brought with us two members. She came to church with us on Sunday, she was late by about an hour, but was able to listen to Elder Uchtdorf speak. I hope that she keeps her commitments and that she can feel that this gospel can help her in her life. 

So some miracles that we have had has been with some of the Less Actives. We've noticed that when we plan to visit them the night before (with prayer), we find them in their homes when we go to visit them. One of those LA's is Robert Besaw. His parents are very active right now and he even served a mission. When we were getting to know him, he talked a lot about his mission and how much it changed his life. He said the reason he doesn't go to church anymore is because of the hypocrisy of other members and that they were not as respectful to the fact that his son's had dangerous food allergies. He also said he felt the members did not care for him like he wanted them to. I also feel that there is something else going on. We will continue visiting him, we also talked to our Ward Mission Leader to double check who his home teachers are because he said he would let them come and visit! 

We did some street contacting on Saturday, which was interesting. It was definitely hard and to be honest, I did not like it! It became a little less awkward after a while but I definitely need some more practice! 

I'm a little frustrated because there is some much to learn and I know that with time I will become a better missionary. It is hard because I want to do and be my best now! It is frustrating when we knock on doors and everyone here in Westerville states that they are comfortable with their religion! It is a bit annoying!! I know that is has only been about 5 days since we began working in this area, but I feel that it is going to take a while for us to find those really searching. I pray every day to Heavenly Father that we will be led to those in need of this gospel. 

Another frustrating thing here is the ward. I love them and they work hard but the missionaries prior to us did not set a good example of what our purpose is. Several members have come up to us and asked us when we are coming to visit. All three of my companions and I have the impression that the missionaries before us would maybe go over to member's houses to hang around, make cookies, chat, and not use their time wisely! We are puzzled a bit as to how to get out of this situation. We do not want to offend them but we also feel our work is too important to not say something! I have prayed about it and I am still pondering. If you have some suggestions President, that would be great! 

So I have started the Book of Mormon over again. I was reading today and thought it was interesting how Nephi speaks with such force and strength to his Bretheren. It amazes me that he is able to soften their hearts to hear his words. I thought about myself and wonder how can I be like him. 

Thank you for writing me Mom and Dad! I loved reading them! I don't have much time to comment but thanks for writing me! I will print out your emails and write a hand written letter about it today! 

So I get to call you guys on Sunday. In my mission we only get 40 minutes and we can only call. I'm not sure what time but Sister Santillan, the one who sent the pictures will send you a text telling you what will happen. 

I love you all and I can't wait to talk!! Have a great week! 

My address:

4302 Executive Parkway 
Suite 223
Westerville, Ohio 43081

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Elder Cropper - Week #3 in Chile

I LOVE YOU GUYS!

ugh man great day.

Mother: Thanks you for sending the charger. I still haven't received any mail yet so I don't know when it will come. My companion says be should get mail every week but they also said it could take up to a month.
Ok so I eat a lot of hot dogs. They are cheap and taste pretty good. I usually eat them later like in the night for a snack before bed. For breakfast I usually eat cereal. We are fed every single lunch by members. Lunch is the main meal here they do not have dinner. Because lunch is the main meal we have one hour and a half for it. They feed us a ton!!!! In Chile you have to eat everything! and many times I have felt like throwing up but ate what was on my plate because it can be offensive sometimes if you leave a ton of food on it. I do not starve! They only thing that's stopping me from gaining huge amounts of weight is the walking we do. Let me repeat food is not and never will be an issue. I got a little sick my first few days but who cares about that. My big problem is I have a ingrown toenail. I called the mission nurse last Friday and she told me I needed to get a piece of cotton underneath the nail part so the wounded part can heal and the nail can grow out. She said it would kill and it did. It hurt really bad that day but now it's doing good and I dont really feel it. If it starts to hurt I take some ibupfrofen or whatever for it. Hopefully I don't need to get surgery because that would require me leaving my area to go to ViƱa for the day. It's only an hour away but it would cost money and suck! We wash our clothes in a washer that we have in our house and then we dry them on the line. We never do door approaches like they do in the US. It's all about street contacts here. We basically say hi to them ask what their name is and then testify about our message. if they stand and listen we testify more and maybe give them a Libro de Mormon. If they say they aren't interested then we ask them for the address so we can pass another time. My companion is good. Heavenly Father knew I would need a companion who could help me not freak out and get used to being here. He is from northern Colorado in some small town. He has 17 siblings. But his parents are divorced and both remarried so that is why. Most of them live togeather though so his house is really crowded. He has been in the mission for 10 months. 

Dad: 
That's really cool that the Iowa mission president prays for all of his missionaries by name. I wonder if my president does that? Why are you going to New York, what are you going to do there? That's awesome that you get to meet with an apostle. I will be looking forward to your email next week (or whenever he comes) to see what he said to you guys. I know 3 nephi 11 very well. It is the primary chapter we give out on street contacts when we give a book. Another good chapter on baptism that we like is 2nd Nephi 31. 

Well I have some time and I have finished mentioning all the things on my list so I'll just tell you more about my life. Sunday was day light savings so we got an extra hour of sleep which was sick! We went to church and obviously Elder Powner and I are "taking out the trash" because we had so many people come to Church (from Menos activos (less actives) and investigators that we are meeting with) that they actually ran out of sacrament and had to bless more!!!! heck yeah! Anyways we have a baptism this Sunday no biggie or anything. It is our investigator Antonio and His son Martin. They have been investigating the Church for a long time but have felt like in the past the missionaries kept pressing them to be baptized. He liked how we didn't try to pressure him so after meeting with him for a couple times and when we thought it was appropriate to ask him if he would get baptised we did and he said yes! rock it! We have a good amount of other progressing investigators so we will see what happens with them this week. We found a golden family this week mostly golden though because of the 8 year old son whos like God crazy. He basically begged his parents in the lesson to take him to church this Sunday and they smiled and said yes. But they weren't at church! Elder Powner and I think they went to another chapel in the area which is actually closer than our chapel but in a different stake. We tried to visit them yesterday but they weren't there so we will see how today goes (we have an appoinment with them). Oh funny thing about Church yesterday. 30 min before sacrament started our ward mission leader came up to us and told us we were giving talks about missionary work and that he was sorry and had forgotton to tell us. I just laughed and said ok. I think I was so calm because of faith and because of disbelief. So yesterday I gave a 8 min talk in Spanish that I prepared in about 30-45 min. I think people really liked it but I don't think they understood much. We have interviews with the president this week so that will be fun. oh yeah HOLY COW Mary is going to Ohio! that will be so cool. I wonder how long she will be there for. Kinda crazy to be planning to preach in a foreign language and then be english speaking for awhile. I cant wait to get her letter next week. So they don't have snakes in Chile but they do have turantulas-big spiders. My companion and I were walking out in the boonies to go find a menos activo member and right in the middle of the road was one the size of my hand! crazy stuff. well maybe not the size of my hand more like my palm. Well it's time for me to go hopefully I haven't forgotten anything I wanted to say to you guys.

Love you all! this week I am about an 8 Dad! When an investigator does what you asked them to do your a 10! 

Elder Cropper
Sister Cropper is now in Westerville, Ohio. Her companions are Sister Hughes and Sister Johnson. (Not sure which one is which). She is safe and sound. Thanks to Sister Wendy Santillan for sending this picture my way.

Iowa's Best! Elder Cropper, Sister Cropper and Sister Chloe Myers at the MTC



Mary-the Tuesday Before Leaving for Ohio


Oi minha familia! Como via?
 
I'm really well. I've finished packing and I'm now transfering my notes from my big english preach my gospel to a little PMG. They are all out of little Portuguese PMG and it is really annoying!!! They always run out of the Portuguese stuff here so fast! There is just so many Brazilians. There are also a ton of missionaries in general. There are about 1250 Sisters and around 3,000 in total. We are jam packed and it is going to be worse this summer! They are expecting an influx of 6,000 missionaries. The Church bought an apartment complex and they also are having Sisters stay at Wyview (BYU Campus Housing). I think they are having the English missionaries stay off campus but don't quote me on that.
 
I cannot believe that I am leaving for Ohio tomorrow! I feel like my mission is beginning again! I'm finally going to be put to work. It's a little nerve-wracking to leave and think by thursday I will be teaching actual people. Hopefully I will remember all I have learned and will remember to speak English and not Portuguese! 
 
Pai (that is father in portuguese. Since I use to call you Padre, I need to adjust that over to Portuguese): I did get all of the info! Thank you for copying and pasting all of Wikipedia onto the letter. Haha, I received about 8 letters from you all about Columbus. So I think my Mission President's name is President Nielson? I think but I have herad from the grapevine that he use to be the owner of Cafe Rio and they supposedly fly in Cafe Rio during our mission conference. Haha

I love 3 Nephi 11. It is one of my favorite chapters in the BoM. I think Mosiah 18 is a great chapter to use when inviting an investigator to be baptized. That is really cool that your feel a special spirit in our home since the missionaries have moved in. It makes me wonder what sort of spirit I have and convey. I can never tell but my teachers say that on their missions, people would tell them that all the time. I hope my mission president is praying for all of his missionaries! That makes me feel special!
 
I bought a phone card to use in the airport but I am really not sure if I will have time to call. Hopefully it is okay if you I call early in the morning in Salt Lake.
 
Sam: You are freakin' awesome! I miss you so much! I love reading about your investigators and experiences. Keep going!! I hope your toe feels better soon! I'm praying for you everyday!
 
So Devos and Spiritual thoughts:
 
I have finished the Book of Mormon and I loved reading this fast! I'm not sure I will do it again because I would've liked to have had the time to ponder on all my thoughts but it was really fun and felt the Spirit testify to me that it was true!
So more on the Devo from Elder Scott: He talked all about prayer and receiving an answer. He talked a lot about how our callings were dirwectly inspired. He repeated the language promise and about our callings several times. One thing I forgot to mention last time was that after he was done speaking and we sang closing him, he stopped the Sister from praying and told us again that our calls were inspired and that we could learn the language. It was really powerful. It reminded me that I am suppose to go to Brazil and Ohio, and I may not know the reason now but I will soon. I really liked when he said that when we wnat to reach a goal we have never done before, we have to do things we have never done before. That was really interesting to me. He told the story of Nephi in 1 Nephi 4. He said that we may not know why we have received the promptings of the spirit, but when we act on faith, we will be given power. He also talked to the sisters and told us that our choice to serve will enriche our lives as wives and mothers. It will enriche the life I have with my husband and children and that I will never regret this decision. I have been told that several times while at the MTC.
 
I loved the devotional this past Sunday evening! It was given by Brother Allen who works at the missionary department. He is really fun but also gives great talks. He talked about how Lucifier is really hounding on the missionaries and how to recognize when he is tempting us and what we can do about it. He related the story from the sons of Mosiah in Alma 26:27. He said that we need to be patient in our afflictions an when we are patient we will be given strength from the Lord. We have given up things (privation from Alma 26:27) and that made me think about what I have given up at this time to serve the Lord.
 
Like Sam, I also went to the Character of Christ by David A. Bednar. It was awesome!! I loved it and you guys should look it up on speeches.byu.edu. It is all about Christ and examples from his life on how we should treat others. He said as natural men, we tend to turn inward when things get hard or don't go our way. He gave examples when Christ turned outward when he was tempted Matt 4. It was awesome! I need to do more studying about that. It was very inspiring.
 
Well. I have to go! I love you all and can't wait to get to Ohio. I hope I can talk to some of you tomorrow. I'll probably try the home phone first. I only get 500 minutes and when I start a new call I lose 130.
 
Chau!
 
Sister Cropper