Monday, March 10, 2014


Hey everyone!

I think this may very well have been the busiest week of my 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 tired...

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 trouble.

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.

Eating real Stroopwafels!
But the icing on the cake was when he expounded the best movie ever made: The Dark Knight! He LOVES that movie as well and that's when I realized his true skill- character analyzation. The Joker is his second favorite villain of all time (second only too Iago the "Original") and not just because he's "cool" he had a literary explanation that made so much sense and made him SO much cooler!Thursday we taught P about recognizing the Spirit which was really cool but kind of awkward for a second. We go in prepared to teach him how to recognize it only with him explaining to us in the first five minutes everything we were going to teach him. (Chirp, chirp) May be awkward but it definitely wasn't bad to hear. He already knows what the spirit feels like! Now we just have to wait for him to get an answer :) Oh and to adapt we just basically went through the scriptures and proved everything he said true with them. He loved it,

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'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 normal missionary.

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.

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