Monday, March 31, 2014


You know, you always know this day will come, but you never think it will arrive you know? I still feel in denial a little bit haha like it's not going to happen on Wednesday. But transfers will arrive and things will change, that much is certain.

No I'm not leaving :) thank heavens! But Elder Bishop is. He's heading to the Apeldoorn Zone to be companions with Elder A who just became a Zone Leader last transfer. President sure does trust Elder Bishop.

Elder Cooper and Elder Bishop ready for their power walk :) 
Obviously we're super sad to be leaving each other. We'll get to see each other every month at Mission Leader Council sure, but it's just not going to be the same. He's SUPER sad to be leaving Alkmaar, but we're working on thinking positively. We both have really  good transfers ahead of us. He absolutely loves the new district he's in and in his new zone he gets to visit his greenie city, so there are lots of pluses.

As for me Elder Chantry is coming to be my companion. Lucky too cause I love this kid :) he was actually in my first district back in Vlissingen and we've already bonded over things like P90X and Heroscape. He also has really good style I after my time with him I'll be looking SOOOO good :). Can't wait!

So know that there are a ton of positive things about this transfer and we're excited, just for now I'm a little heart broken. When Elder Bishop got the call last night it really hit me, "This isn't permanent..." It hit me how the dynamic we have here is going to change, and how one day I'm going to be leaving here. That thought alone rips my heart out. I love this branch more deeply than I've probably loved anything in my life (except the obvious ones like God, Christ, you guys, etc.). I can't stand the thought of leaving them. The thought of Bishop leaving nearly brought me to tears, what am I going to do when I leave?!

But I'm looking past that and trying to appreciate what time I have left (which is hopefully two more transfers here). The only thing is it's just simply going to be different here. Elder S is headed down to Leuven in Belgium and we're getting another elder. The Dynamic Fouro is just kapot now. There was something that just worked with us four. It was seriously such a blessed two transfers, a period of time I will never forget. 

Last night just kind of summed it all up for me. We spent our whole evening with Fam. D B from 5-9 cause they asked us to. Us four missionaries mean A LOT to them, and the same goes for us. They are a phenomenal family and I love them with everything I can give. We've gotten this tradition with them that we eat dinner and then play a few rounds of Chicken Foot with them. Only Elder Pouwer is doing worse than me but that's ok because it's so fun and we bond over it. 

Yesterday we continued that, played a round or two before we ate and then had Gourmet for dinner. I've explained that before right? The tiny little pans on the mini stove where you cook whatever you want inside it and eat it little by little and it's SO delicious? We had that again :) but the best part of the evening was when we thanked them for everything. We expressed how much they meant to us and how much we loved them. Sis. D B returned the feelings and then explained how much her family loved us and how us four came at a time when her family really needed us; how it couldn't have worked any other way. And now it's ending... :(
But enough of that, on to a bright new future! Well actually first into the recent past:

My birthday was great :) Elder Bishop really treated me good. We had cake, blew up balloons, he bought me a Kinder Egg, it was great! And thanks to the tender mercies of Heavenly Father we had to drive Elder G to Leiden that day. We saw a ton of military people on the way there thanks to the Nuclear Summit thing (Explained in Culture Note). Anyways, what do I find when I get to the office? MY PACKAGE! Best timing ever I swear! Literally got it on my Birthday :). Couldn't have been better! Thanks for it! We had a great time opening everything.

Then after all that we ate a birthday dinner at another favorite family here, Family Munster's house. We ate, played games with the family and had an awesome night. They even came to volleyball the next day and it was SO fun! (We play volleyball at least once, usually twice a month).  So yeah, I had a great birthday.

We also had Zone Training this week and it was working up to be SOOO good! We spent all of Thursday preparing, making Kung-Fu belts and bookmarks so that they could all become Dragon Warrior Teachers. We found cloth, cut out the medallions, laminated them with an iron, velcro-ed them onto the cloth, cut out and laminated the self-made/designed bookmarks and then promptly forgot them on the day of the Training :/.

We were SO mad! If we had noticed it at any other time in the travel we would have turned around, but it was right as we were pulling in to Diemen, Amsterdam that we realized we had left them at home and to go back would make us late for our training. So we made due with what we had. That was kind of the whole unexpected theme of the training. Nothing went as planned. Things went too long, we all went over our allotted times, etc. But it's ok I guess, we got done what we set out to do and trained them all on how to become better teachers. We basically just roleplayed for the entire thing (acting out missionary situations). At very LEAST it was an hour and a half of straight roleplaying. On the plus side the Assistants were impressed and they said it was the best Zone Training they had seen this week thus far, so maybe I'm just being too hard on us cause I know what it could have been.

However immediately after that training we did indeed come back to Alkmaar and have a talent show. Guess what we all performed? 1,000 Miles :) "If I could fall, into the sky" one. SO good! The whole branch was laughing (plus a ton of non-members who also came) and LOVED it! We had to do an encore at the end and then one yesterday for those who missed it :). Fear not! It is on my camera, but the D B will probably put it on Facebook first haha!

One non-member who we've been working with is M. I love this kid as well :). He came to the talent show which is HUGE cause he's not a social guy. He has led me to a very interest thought process. 

See M loves video games, like bad. Every elder that comes here has hardly been able to communicate with him because video games are his reality. He has something wrong with his back which makes it really difficult for him to get out and do things, but what does he do with the times he does go outside? Volunteer work at an animal shelter! Purest soul ever, just corrupted by his situation, but the innocence is still there you can just feel it. 

Any way, we've become really tight wanna know why? Because I can actually hold a conversation with him. I have two thoughts here. Thank you mom and dad for:

1- Teaching me the importance of being social and making friends outside of the home. Of encouraging and supporting my extra curricular activities which really helped shape me into a social being with many experiences that have helped me relate to SO many people, and for teaching me the balance between time for yourself and time with others.

But there's also this part (Thank you mom and dad for)-

2- Allowing me to play video games and teaching me how to balance them. Thank you for letting me be a little obsessed with them (especially Batman) and for indulging them not only in me but with my brothers. Thanks to these experiences I have had with video games I have been able to reach and connect with SO many people out here!

See you just have to know everything a little bit, Christ did. I mean just look at all the parables he used. They are all SO different. He was aware of how everything thing, job and style of living worked and I know he understands gamers cause I talk about it with Him sometimes. He's fully supportive so long as you keep it under control and within the limits judging it by the standards of the gospel. 

So that's how I talk with M, and from what I saw at the talent show he most definitely considers me a friend and the same goes for me. We spent nearly the whole night together simply because no one else knew what to say. But we could talk, so I stayed right by him :) and yet the Lord still gave me moments in which I could talk with the others that I loved there. It was the perfect balance of a night.

The Lord works in strange and wonderful ways. Not always easy to understand, but it's always for our betterment. It's like warfare sometimes. It has a cause and the cause is good (hopefully, but in this analogy always) but there is pain and suffering involved.
Going to miss being together! 
Elder Bishop is leaving, M is needs some help and Zone Training didn't go as planned yet all these things are part of Heavenly Father's plan. Every single one of these things will teach me and others around me and make us stronger than ever if we will just open our hearts, humble ourselves and let the message Heavenly Father wants to give us into our hearts.

LOVE YOU ALL! Thank you SO much for what you do and have done for me! It's crazy all the changes that are taking place here and there but I can always find comfort in the fact that I have you guys. For eternity. And that will never change.

Elder Cooper the Batman

The Elders performing at the Branch Talent show! What a great way to finish off their time together! :)  Thank you to loving members for posting this video of our boys.

Culture Note: The Nuclear Summit
You probably heard about this back home but here it was a BIG deal! All of Den Haag was closed for like two or so days. No trains, cars, buses, nothing could go in or out of that place. Was on complete lock down. Then all along the way on the roads there every five minutes or so you'd see a army jeep with three or four soldiers in it stationed on a bridge or on the side of the road. Super intense, 58 world leaders all in one place talking about Nuclear things, we thought it was the beginning of World War III haha! But apparently everything went well so all is well again :).

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