Saturday, 21 September 2013

Saturdays are Mom's favorite day... letters from Elder Joe!!

So Saturday is Elder Joe's "off" day at the MTC.  It's called p-day.  It's the day they catch up on letters, do laundry and play some sports.  I sure love Saturday morning when I get some mail.
Elder Joe with his district

Tidying up the room.  Wish 18 year olds would do this more at home!

Elder Joe's busy schedule
 It has been so busy here! I have completely re thought how i view and teach the gospel. I have felt the spirit everyday since i have been here! Its been the best experience and the best two weeks there is so much I have to tell you. 
So in our class room instruction time we have p.i. or progressing investigators and then we have TRC which may or may not be actual investigators. We had to teach one a minimum of 5 and then we could teach the rest however many times we wanted too. We also had a group TRC. With our group TRC Elder T. went off on a rant and we were all stressing out and worrying about what the investigator might say. It was so scary haha. Then i had to bring it back and fix up what Elder T. had said haha. 
We did however place a Book of Mormon on the first visit and assigned 2 Nephi 31 the gospel of Christ and he read it. Our next appointment. was with Carlos Garcia on Wednesday. Unfortunately we couldn't be there but they taught him the plan of salvation and he accepted the invitation to get baptized. 
shopping for postcards

The first lesson we lost Elder Smith because an Elder from the other district went home so Elder Chee and I had to teach. So we are no longer a threesome.  It was the most spiritual teaching experience i have had. We established a great relationship with Haley from the beginning and keep going. After the prayer it was like a wall of the Spirit fell upon the room. As we talked and testified and learned about Haley we truly came to love her and taught with the Spirit. Elder Chee and i couldn't even remember what we said after but when we got out from the room we hugged eachother and knew we just taught the gospel or doctrine of Christ as we should have and it wasn't us teaching but we were vessels of the Holy Ghost working through us. The second appointment with Haley was just as spiritual as we learned about her family situation and her trials we bore testimony that she could have comfort in the Father's plan and we cried together and we felt the Spirit. We invited her to be baptized and she is actually getting baptized! 
The progressing investigators class, as i was telling you about in the last letter, we taught Shane the 21 year old who doesn't know if there is God or not and has his doubts, Pete the agnostic, Samantha the church goer but unsure if she has a testimony and wants to know if she should be baptized, and Linda - we did not teach as we were all scared of her. With Pete we weren't able to get far however we did help him to question his belief's and question his soul searching for answers and we did help him feel the spirit and he has started to come to understand there is a God deep down even though he outwardly admits there is not one, he knows there is.  He is just scared to change. Our first appointment with Samantha, the Spirit was so strong that we invited her to be baptized and she accepted!!! Whereas other groups had a hard time teaching her. The Spirit our companionship possesses is so strong and united. With Shane, we had experience with prayer we had  him pray and it was a cool experience hearing an investigator's first prayer. He was really reserved at first but became more open and willing to accept the spirit he felt. The next 4 visits with Pete was so good! He tried to keep our commitments and wanted to but sometimes forgot which was okay.
Rows and rows of wash machines
apparently if you are one of Elder Joe's companions, it pays to get out of bed in the morning.

Our gym times have been fun I've been playing volleyball a lot! I have missed it so much and can finally jump serve again! haha and i have lost 5 pounds! ha told you i could lose wieght. The food here at the MTC is so good! 
Yesterday we had infield training for 9.5 hours it was so long but really educational. I learned a lot and took a new goal for my mission to try to talk to 10 new people everyday because if i do that then i can have 2 or 3 baptisms every month if i keep that goal or hopefully close to that. I  cannot wait to get out into the field! I am so excited! 
Tell Justin and Emily if you see them that the MTC is completely life changing and how we learned to teach in missionary prep is not how you need or ought to teach is it completely different.  
Tell Elder Jacobs thanks for that scripture assignment it really helped me out.
going to the Provo temple

 Last night was our last time seeing our teacher, Sis. Farnsworth. She taught us another great lesson about the role of the Holy Ghost and how it helps conversion. I have been working on the world's longest letter for you to send before i leave. So you can update on all the events here at the MTC.

I miss you all so so much! Tell my family hi! and oma and opa! and anya! give everyone a hug for me! and dont forget about me! haha. You tell Anya she can't have my room yet! haha
assuming this is the fountain outside of the Provo temple??

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The First Email Home!!!

I miss you all so much! You have no idea!  I will be writing a letter home with more details but I will tell you some of what has happened the first two days.  
When we got here we did an orientation with the MTC presidency.  They had all the missionaries from the differnt places stand up - the foreign ones first, then in the States.  THe amazing one was when they said "Utah, please stand" everyone in the room pretty much stood  haha.  
The food here is so horrible, I have gotten sick twice now haha.  It is so good and so hard to say no.  There is a myth about the orange juice that it causes the sickness.
Our beloved zone leader, Elder Smith (veteran missionary of 2 weeks at the MTC) is leaving this coming week.  He is such a chill and sweet zone leader.  Our district is comprised of 8 people:  my companionship, Elder Smith from Idaho and Elder Chee from AZ.  We all got called to be the next zone leaders!!! Which is awesome and I am senior companion for part of the 2 weeks here.  Our schedule is filled and it is always busy.  I will get a chance to send you pictures sometime this week!  Our companionship is so strong together! I already love them so much!  We are so good together.  The others in our district are Sis.Stuart, Sis.Permanter, Sis.Craig.  The other guys are Elder T from Tonga!!!  He is so funny!  Humble and amazingly strong testimony and knowledge of the Bible.  He always seems to get lost and wander off as he is a social butterfly. Then there is Elder Gunnel from Twin Falls Idaho. He is such a knowledgeable scriptorian and such a strong testimony. Our group of people we are with are so sweet and amazing and we truly complete eachother and have been learning alot. 
Our room is good.  We have three guys in it and have an extra space.  I haven't been able to sleep so I study the doctrine and what we learned from that day.  It is such an amazing time having personal study like I do now.  My testimony has increased in the two days being here and up to today.  My testimony grew tenfold as I found out about the true power of prayer and the true power of the Spirit.  
We learned the beginning of teaching people and gaining an introduction to our investigators by talking to real people in class settings and asking them questions to learn about them and teach them.  In classes we also do role plays or teach one another or church member "actors" are taught by us as if in the mission field.   Our comps have studied hard and long and by the Spirit we have been helped to what to teach and say. I know that prayer works and invite you all to pray with all your energy for the things that you wish to have.  It will truly be given unto you.  In Matthew either chapter 5 or 7 it talks about "asking with a sincere heart and real intent and it will be given unto you."
Our branch presidency is pretty cool and really wants us to teach from the Preach My Gospel book and nothing else - they were kinda strict about it.  

On the 3rd day we had classroom instruction which our companionship was late for and we were taught about how Lehi taught about "act, not be acted upon."  During that class we learned about how to extend the invitation to be baptized and learn more about the doctrine of Christ, which has never changed since the time of Christ's earthly ministry.  
We then had "Revelation Station" which taught us about reading from the Book of Mormon with our investigators. It was such a cool experience! 
During our time at the MTC we are supposed to have a personal objective to make our stay here more purposeful.  Mine was to be able to teach with the Holy Spirit.  

At Zone Teaching, we learned about meaningful role play. As missionaries we practice teaching investigators by being them.  We are to teach an investigator, "Linda" who loves the Bible and it has been a year since she met with the missionaries!  I am so excited to teach her.  Our plan for teaching was truly inspired by the Holy Ghost.  
Our teachers for "Missionary Portal" and "People and Your Purpose" didn't show up so I wanted to teach the class and lead discussions but I could not.

Elder T today found a hair cutting kit in a Narnia hole (*I have no idea what this is).  He cut Elder Chee's hair, which we made him do!  We all were watching and asked him if he knew how to.  He said "I listen to the Spirit and let the Holy Ghost guide"  We laughed so hard.  And he was like "guys, I am serious" as he continued cutting and shaving Elder Chee's sides bald!  We also found old food and other secrets in our Narnia holes.  Well I have to go!!

It was so great to hear from him today.  He even sent a quick little email to his sister, Anya.  I am excited to get pictures, especially of Elder Chee's haircut LOL.    
If you want to send him snail mail to Provo, you will need to be quick!  Otherwise you can send it to Toronto (check the info on this blog for his address)  Elder Joe also has an email address:  

Thursday, 12 September 2013


We dropped him off yesterday. It was a mix of emotions but it was easier dropping him off than I thought. I felt comforted handing him over to hundreds of other young men like him and teachers who would love him and take care of him as much as I do. He was so ready. He was a giddy ball of emotions. He was stressed about everything not fitting in his  suitcase to putting on goofy glasses with his sister to jumping up and down because 1:45 (his time to report at the MTC) wasn't coming fast enough
Someone gave us some nice advice - to park across the street at the temple and say our long goodbyes there. 
It was hard letting him go but I can't even begin to express how excited I am for him and how proud I am for him. 
For anyone who wants to write him, he can access his email each werk on prep-day   

If you send him a letter by snail mail you will have to send it VERY soon.  Here is the address is
Elder Joseph Sopal
2009 N 900E
Provo, UT

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Gosh golly gee

It's finally the night before I report. It's been an awesome surreal trip down to Utah. I finally got my Swiss Army knife of missionary bags its definitely going to make me a better missionary. Lol. No where in utah can you get this perfect missionary bag but i got it!!   been calling mr.macs (a missionary store) for weeks but they have been sold out. I thought I would try one more time as we were traveling to Utah. I called the one store I didn't try yet in American fork and I was in luck.  They just had one returned because it was missing a small clip. I didn't care!  It's the perfect bag.
I have packed and re packed my bags with my mom.  I won't be able to take some of the stuff I wanted but I have everything I need. I don't have my winter coat- but mom will ship it later. We are at a friend Tim Lawson's house and they made a delightful steak dinner made by his son! Then had ice cream cake celebrating Tim's youngest sons birthday. Suitcases are packed, bag check and loving the missionary life in order. MTC here I come!

Sunday, 1 September 2013


This week has been a flurry of preparations but I sure am impressed with Joe.  He doesn't feel prepared but I would consider reading Preach my Gospel four times, reading the scriptures, attending missionary prep classes, earning enough money and living a missionary lifestyle for the last 3 months TOTALLY prepared.
It has been an extra blessing to have the full-time missionaries from our ward spending time at our house. They have been teaching Joe "the ropes" and taking him on assignments.  I sure appreciate the Spirit that they bring to our home.  Thanks Elder Jacobs and Elder Smith!