Elder Jonathon Cameron Cooper was called to serve a 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is serving in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission speaking Dutch.
This blog was set up after a year of him already in the field. Current letters will be posted, and some past experiences shared in the tabs below along with current ones.
Elder Cooper wants to share his experiences, and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and his love for the people he is serving!
SETTLE FOR NOTHING LESS THAN THE BEST! (2-17-2014)
February 17, 2014
Transfer time she comes! If you hadn't said anything about it in your letter I probably would have completely forgotten about it haha! Basically every city in our zone changed by at least one missionary, so that'll be new. We also got a new Sister Training Leader (do you know what that is? Imagine District Leader without the meetings for sisters) which is sad and exciting. Sad becaue we LOVED Sister Hudson, had got a good relationship going and never got to work with her quite the right way. We'll fix that this time around. It's exciting though because I'll probably be here in Alkmaar working with this new sister, Sister S for awhile, so hopefully we'll get it done. :)
Saw "his boys"(the 2 Elders he trained) at Zone Training.
We actually got all the information last night at 9 and had to let everyone in the zone know where they were going, so yeah the zone leaders are fairly involved in the process here. We get this thing called the Byzone which shows where everyone is going and then we just make calls. Everything is the same for me and Elder Bishop. Still in Alkmaar (we actually live in a city called Heiloo) still over the Amsterdam Zone. We did however get a new district leader Elder Enslow who's great. We have ROCKING District Leaders (Elder Pouwer, the other one, is probably one of the best missionaries I know) this time around so we're STOKED to get to work with
We went over to the De B's this week but K had to work :/. It's ok though, I left her a note and had R put it on her pillow :). On the other hand the Fam. invited a non-member over to eat with them and we had a really good time. Shared a nice spiritual thought with them and everyone left uplifted. I've been praying about her a lot too, basically she needs to be able to feel God's love and have her heart softened enough so that she can accept her past, swallow her pride and come unto Christ. But mainly the feeling God's love part.
Sounds like you guys had a pretty crazy week there, which can be fun, which is weird cause we had a crazy week too! I learned SOOO much though and I am super grateful Heavenly Father had the patience to teach me.
The first was my priorities. You remember my Sint-Niklaas experience? The one where I had to make Heavenly Father my one and only priority? Well it was an expansion to that lesson. You see I did that back then by giving up everything that wasn't Him or a part of this work. But it was time for me to take the next step I guess. This week I learned that for me to truly make the Lord my first priority and have "no other gods before [Him]" I needed to start making His priorities MY priorities.
This first came about when I started incorrectly thinking that I shouldn't get too lost in the work otherwise I wouldn't be able to apply everything (sound familiar? The devil is SO tricky! One word change and it's over) and that I needed to keep one foot here the other there. That was dumb of me (face palm). But one thing led to another and I realized the only way to put Him first was to lose myself in His work. Namely "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man"- Moses 1:39.
That needs to now be a guiding factor in my life. That needs to always be my first priority because it's good enough to be Heavenly Father's top priority so there must not be many things more important than it. Please help me to remember that.
The second was never settling for anything less than the best. In the Februari Liahona (Ensign) Elder Richard G. Scott had an article. In it he says:
"As an exceptional son or daughter of God you are sorely needed. There is an urgent need for more men and women like you who will stand for principles against the growing pressures to compromise those very principles. Men and women are needed who will act nobly and courageously for what the Lord has defined as right...We need individuals who have the spiritual, righteous influence that will motivate others to live honorabley...Above all we need mothers and fathers who will preserve the sanctity and safety of the home and the integrity of the family in which faith in God and obediene to His commandments are taught as the foundation of a productive life."
SO powerful! In essence we don't just need great men and women out there, we need amazing ones. Someone who I esteem very highly shared this story with me this week-
"so on the mission you get to spend a lot of time in people's homes and you see how different decisions impact people later on down the road. And I've loved noticing the different families and what makes good families verses what makes AMAZING families. And I want an amazing family... thus I need an amazing guy and I need to be an amazing girl. And [my fiancé] kind of falls short of the new expectation. Love him. I don't say that in a mean way. I just can see that a lot of things that I thought were little things (like skipping classes of church, not doing HT, watching questionable movies) are actually big things".
I'll be sharing that quote with my sons and daughters one day, but it's good for us all to apply. Little things matter! Even one degree can make all the difference. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for having the patience to mold me because that's exactly what I want. I can't have just a great family, the Lord needs it to be amazing and it's probably the greatest desire of my heart.
Everyone raise your hand up as high as you can. No really do it. Now look around :). Ok now reach up even higher. Did you see that? Everyone could. The Lord needs us to be amazing, needs us to be the best that we can with what we have. Whether that be missionary, parent, child, fiancé or employee we always need to strive to be our best and that comes when we put the Lord and His priorities first :).
I can't believe how much the Lord is teaching me, how much I've learned and I stand in wonder that I still have a whole life time of learning to go! I LOVE it! Life is good :) never forget that. Keep working hard. Keep praying. Keep reading your scriptures. Always go to church. You do those four things and you cannot fail. I love this gospel. I love all of you. Thank you for everything :) especially for raising me in this church and always watching out for me.
LOVE YOU ALL!!! and till next week!
Elder Jonathon (Batman) Cooper
PS sorry...pictures are hard :( can't figure them out and I always run out of time haha! But one day I'll send more! :)