Sunday, February 9, 2014
A PRECIOUS COMMODITY (1-20-2014)
JANUARY 20, 2014
You never know what you have until it's gone eh? Time and Missionary Work, those things are SO valuable, I just never got it before, but now I do. The Leadership Conference thing (AKA Jedi Council :D they seriously call it that!) was like you said every emotion rolled into one. Exciting, uplifting, nerve racking, funny, never boring though, everything. It really made the click for me too. These are elders I've seen as leaders for a LONG time. So to be amongst them talking and counseling with President switched something inside. First: We are SO YOUNG! We're super glad the Lord has everything already planned cause we're just a couple of Zone Leader Greenies here trying to make things work, and it's SO FUN! But more on that later.
Second: This is a whole new ball game. We miss the old missionary work a lot! We had a moment yesterday where we were just SO down because we couldn't go out and contact people. We had to be inside planning and arranging things . We miss the good old days where we'd go out and find, get a potential investigator, teach them and try to help them. You just can't do that as much on this level. Our zone members are now our investigators, our exchanges are our missionary work. It just takes a little getting used to is all. Looking back it's what I’ve been prepared for, but I switched gears in Sint-Niklaas and now I got to switch back. The Lord will help though and it'll all turn out great.
Boy do I wish you could all see me now! I don't even remember how I used to be :) I just read the paragraph about laughing through hard things and thought "Of course :) doing it any other way is dumb" (No offense PLEASE!) Let me explain. Me and Elder Bishop laugh at EVERYTHING now. Running on 10 Kilometers of gas, in the middle of nowhere, with other elders in the car and an appointment we were late to- we couldn't stop laughing. Thought it was the funniest thing ever and we just kept making fun of it all. I feel really different :)
Remember the Color Code Test? Red, Blue, White and Yellow? Well if you remember correctly I was and have always been a solid Blue-White with one or two in Red and Yellow with Blue being dominant. Because we are giving this test in our Zone Training tomorrow (AH! :P) I had the chance to take it again. The result? Dominant White with lots of Yellow and Red and Blue on the same level. Weird huh? Don't worry, I'm still me. I've just been really refined out here I guess. I love it :) if it's who the Lord wants me to be than so be it; I approve (not that He needs my approval but still).
Then there's time. This week has been the fastest week of my mission. We are so busy all the time and we still can't get everything we wanted to done. Journal has been taking a big hit, but I figured out a solution so no biggie. This will be the rest of our missions. Excluding an unexpected change we will be Zone Leaders probably the rest of our mission. This busyness and exhaustion is probably what is in store for me this year. And there's not much of it left. Two Years seems like so much but One Year is never enough. There's only 8 transfers left, how did that happen and how did I miss the memo? Time just flies by in the blink of an eye and there's nothing we can do to stop it. How grateful I am that we have an eternity to work at it! One life time is not nearly enough.
Guess I'm at that annoying stage that I hated as a younger missionary- "Two years go by SO fast, I can't believe I'm here" phase. Sorry James :/ and every missionary who reads this, but try not to be mad- use it as something to strive for, something to aim at, at light at the end of your tunnel. Just make it one year trying your very best to be the best missionary you can be and always trying to improve and receive correction and you'll see. You'll be saying this too.
Glad you liked the package :) I've got another one coming eventually. Gotta get rid of some things. I've got a year left and no more room in my suitcases! Awful, so awful. And I feel guilty throwing anything away cause I know there are people who could and want to use it, I just don't know how to get it to them or who they are! Hate being a pack rat haha :)
Life continues to be great over here and the Lord's blessings abound. I'm so grateful for all of you and for your support and your love. Thanks for being the best family ever and for raising me how you did (brothers- for being my best friends!) it really has made such a difference in all of our lives and I never realized it until I came out here. And now I'll never forget it. Love you all and hope that life continues to move forward. Never waste a second! Never hesitate! Just do those things that you want/need and stay close to the Lord. Then if those two go together life becomes amazing and you can never fail.
Elder Jonathon Cooper
Cultural Note: Mondays. They day of P-Day, the Day of Rest. And the day everything is closed! It's so frustrating to do things like get a haircut and shop because here in Europe shops either are closed on Monday or don't open till around 1 in the afternoon! So sometimes you have to do things on other days, but you make it work. No idea why it's like this, just is.
Just in case I already did that cultural note- here in Europe they don't often buy cigarettes like the Camel brand and pre-made cigarettes; they make their own. They have tabacco in a little pouch and some sticky paper. They take some Tobacco, roll it up in this paper, lick it like an envelope and it sticks together. Lasts aproximately 5 or 6 smokes and is apparently healthier, just kind of interesting fact is all.
P.S. Remember how I speak Dutch? What?!?! Still trips me out, even though I have terrible Dutch haha it's more like Neder-Engels (Dutch-English).