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!
I think this may very well have been
the busiest week of my mission...it was great! I am feeling SO fulfilled by the
end of it! Let me walk you through how it went:
Started with P-day on Monday,
District Meeting on Tuesday, followed by exchanges that day and the next, we
got back together Thursday and had a really good lesson with P, went on more
exchanges Friday and re-exchanged on Saturday so that we could attend a digital
missionary workshop and head over to Rayco's birthday party. Whew! I is
We are working with some Elders that
are really struggling. Sometimes companionships can be difficult and in this
case they are completely different people but the problem is still the same for
all of them: they are so stinkin' prideful!
It's that Carbon Monoxide poisoning
coming back again. I swear it just runs rampant in this world. Want to know how
to diagnose yourself? Good cause I'll let you know. Think back on the
relationships you have and the people you interact with. Do you ever have the
thought "They have nothing to teach me?" or do you
disregard criticism through justification? Then you've at very least got
traces of it. We all have a little bit of it every once in awhile, but too much
will kill you spiritually (like it literally damns you, aka stops your
progress). The second that you think that someone can't teach you something or
you're unwilling to at least consider why they are saying that, then you're in
Every single person you could ever
meet on the street has something to teach you. From the best of the best to the
worst of the worst. Why do you think all those bad guys and girls are in the
Book of Mormon? We can learn from everyone. We just need to keep our hearts
open for it. So we're hoping that situation eventually wears one of them down
into submission aka humility. That's the only way they're going to survive.
The other exchanges were a little
more uplifting. I went to Leiden with an Elder Krebs and found myself a new
idol! That man can expound with the best of them. Not only did he explain the
Plan of Salvation to me in a way that opened the eyes of my understanding to
the whole thing but we talked a bit about AP Literature and he expounded books
like "The Great Gatsby” and "A Heart of Darkness" in such a way
that I could understand, appreciate and get excited about them.
Then it was on to another exchange
this time with Elder L. We talked pretty deeply about the mission. The biggest
problem we seem to be facing, or at least the biggest question is: Why do the
"lazy” elders, the ones who are known to be a little apostate, who
do interesting kinds of missionary work seem to Always get the most
baptisms while the obedient, hard working elders, who do all they can to do
their best hardly see any.
They made Pannenkoeken!
We threw up a lot of different ideas
out there but we realized it wasn't necessarily the obedience part; it was the
results of what the disobedient ones did. With their lack attitudes they are
able to make real relationships with people and then those people are willing
to listen whereas elders who are so focused on being obedient and not breaking
any rules are more rigid and make very surfacely relationships because they
don't want to risk breaking rules. it's ALL about the relationships, even read
the story of Ammon! The reason so many Lamanites were converted was because
Ammon had a solid relationship with the king which started a chain reaction of
opening hearts. That sounded about right to us. So the key is being obedient, but allowing
relationships to form. Allowing people to matter and truly loving them,
but Disobedience is never the answer even though at times it may seem to bring
rewards. This is the Lords work, bottom line.
Ah this week was just the best! Each
day I learned some new lesson or experienced some fulfilling experience.
Saturday and Sunday were not different. We've become really close with a family
named De Bruijn. We've basically become brothers to their 14 year old son named
Rayco who was ordained a teacher on Sunday.
Anyways we got invited to Rayco's
birthday party which we happily attended and had a great time. They seriously
are SUCH a good family. So much love is shared between them and there house is
just bursting with the Spirit! If anyone deserves an eternal family it's them.
Then on Sunday after the ordination
Sis. De Bruijn thanked us personally for the good influence we have on her son.
She said something to the degree of "I don't know what it is about you
four, but you four...it's just like it was meant to be." (us four being
me, Elder Bishop, Elder Pouwer and Elder Strikwerda. They work in the city Hoorn
but we all go to the same branch. We are SO tight with them!)
Always happy after exchanges to be together again!
:) It feels good to know that you are
loved and are truly making a difference. We're really praying that we don’t get
transferred next time because there are so many people relying on Elder Bishop and
me being there, namely three member mothers who all have either a non-member or
an inactive child that we have really good relations with. The work is moving
forward here! We have a dinner appointment every day except today this week!
And I've finally found the balance between being a zone leader and being a
Life is busier than ever but OH so
sweet! This gospel truly is the best thing that has ever happened to this
world, more specifically me. I feel so blessed to have grown up in the covenant
and to have a testimony of the truth of these things. This is real life.
This really is all that matters. God loves us, Christ His Son suffered for us
so that we can return to live with God again, Joseph Smith was a prophet of the
Lord and he did restore the church to this earth in these the last days. The
Book of Mormon is true. Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of the Lord here
on the earth today. I know this church is true and I love it with all my heart.
Please don't ever let me forget it.
LOVE YOU ALL!!! Thank you for your
prayers and your support! Thanks for being with me through thick and thin and
for being righteous sons and daughters of Heavenly Father. Stay true to the
gospel and live up to your potential! Do whatever you need to to keep your
covenants cause I am REALLY looking forward to spending eternity with you guys
Elder Joco Cooper
"I'm Batman!" J
Cultural Note: I had a really good one this week but I
forgot it :/ so this one will have to do. There is a difference between brands
here! European Twix bars for instance are gross. Never realized it till I ate
an American Twix the other day and was nearly translated it was so good! Not
only that but smarties are more like M&Ms, they don't have any jumbo packs
of those by the way, KFC is SOOOO much better here it's like heaven and the
McDonalds here is just gross. Feels healthier but doesn't taste as good as
America. Oh and Wendys doesn't exist. Lesson? Just cause it has the same name
doesn't mean it's the same thing.