Monday, April 28, 2014


What a week! We've had to do SO much this week! So much so that I've been getting to bed a lot later than I should haha three nights in a row!

Really it was just the weekend that was a lot. First we had exchanges with Zaandam, then on Friday we had some service and a Branch dinner, following which (at 9) we had to go to Amsterdam so we could sleep over for KONINGS DAG! But first with the exchanges:

I was with Elder E and we may have had a brilliant breakthrough idea, scratch that, we did have a brilliant breakthrough moment. At the end of the day we were talking about the future and I asked what he wanted to do. He mentioned he didn't know but listed a few options. He mentioned his original dream was to become a director. Obviously I got excited :). So I asked him why he let his dream go. Same reason I've grown worried about mine out here. Simply stated: Hollywood is not a friendly place to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I think about it af en toe (now and again) and it just doesn't look like a bright future for a family. All the things actors have to do, all the moral struggles screenwriters must have, how to raise a family in such a setting, etc. But I know what I love doing and unless the Lord tells me no, I'm going to pursue it with everything I've got, ideally with the Lord on my side. So it makes me sad when I see people give up their dreams.

It's SOOOO important to do something you love, something you have a passion for. Sure there's bills to pay and practicalities to think about but it's like you told me mom, if you really love what you do you can always find a way to make money with it. But more than that you'll be happy and that's SO important especially in a family (at least from what I've seen). I've kind of taken it as a personal quest of mine to restore everyone's resolve out here to chase their dreams and to go where their heart and the Lord wants them to go. So far it's been working :).

With Elder E I shared an idea that the Spirit helped me solidify that night. I've always been obsessed with going into the film industry in a team, like the Avengers or Christopher Nolan. Gather a talented and unified group of people together and just crank out movies that inspire and uplift. It just seemed so cool, but now it's more than that. It's the only way to do it.

If you go against a giant army by yourself you're going to lose. Period. But you can actually win a fight with even a small group of people and the Lord. We realized the only way to stay safe in the business is to go together. Go in a group that can sustain and uplift each other, a group that supports each other in their struggles and temptations in the field, a group that sticks together through thick and thin and a group that stands for something more than what the media of the world today has become.
That's the dream. 

We stayed up really late talking about that and then the next day we spent most of the time helping clear the backyard of a member's house. Basically we moved brick and other junk from the backyard to the dumpster all day. Tiring? Yeah. Worth it? ALWAYS! And immediately after we went to eat dinner with the Branch at the church. We played Capture the Flag and Sardines with the kids and had an awesome time :).

After we got right in the car, drove to the station and took a train to Amsterdam to sleep over for Koning's Dag (King's Day).

Culture Note:
King's Day is the biggest holiday in the Netherlands. It's a day where you celebrate the king or queen's birthday by getting drunk and partying. No really that's what you do. People come from all over to party. Everyone wears orange clothing and sells their old stuff on the streets. It was PACKED!!! Even during the night when you passed certain streets where the parties were all you could see was orange and crowds of people.
As a mission we took advantage of how many people would be out and set up booths to give away Books of Mormon and Pass-a-long Cards. We gave away a lot! Not sure how many specifically but it was many many. So at very very least our name is definitely out there and we gained a few new potentials for Amsterdam Missionaries.

The worst part though was after doing that from 8-3 we returned home only to discover that Elder Chantry had not only left the car keys in Amsterdam, but that the card he used to ride the train had slipped out of his pocket somewhere! So having no other choice we had to walk home from the station and bike to our dinner appointment. yeah...we were late. But they forgave us so it's ok now :). We have all the stuff except his card back now so we are again at peace.

Sunday was a lot less crazy and we ate dinner with Fam. DB.  I'm so glad we're skyping there! You may even get to meet them! Not sure exactly on timing.

AND THEN, today we just barely got done working in some tulip fields :) snapping off their heads. I don't know apparently it's good for the bulbs and they grow better that way...but we went through and snapped the heads off every remaining tulip in the cut portions of the field, which was probably 8 or 9 acres worth :). SUPER tiring but really fun, I mean how often do you get to work in a real tulip field?! Plus we worked with Fam. M (it was their tulip farm) which meant there was 9 people working. Loved doing it and we all had a fun time together.

As for me, I'm great :). Got things back in order and my head is on straight. Me and Elder Chantry get along really well and I LOVE his sense of humor :). SO I am happy.

It's nice when you're not alone. I think that is a lot of the reason why people fall anyway, they try and do things alone. They enter dangerous or difficult situations trying to be the only one around them standing for something and eventually it just simply gets to heavy and you give up. That's what I was talking about with the movie thing. Alone, it's a recipe for disaster. Together it could influence the lives of hundreds.

Also a good marriage tip for later in my life. I have to meet someone who's willing to be with me. We need to have the same goals in life (as far as a family goes), we have to push each other to be better in the gospel and to keep each other there for it's only together that we'll make it and only together will we be able to raise an amazing family. I simply can't settle for less. And neither should any of you.

Chase you dreams. Surround yourself with people who will support and help you during your struggles. Be that person for someone else. Be someone another would want to surround themselves with, someone who builds instead of destroys, who brings hope instead of crushing it and who sticks by you and loves you through thick and thin who's love isn't conditional.

Love you all! Sounds like things are a bit hectic but are moving forward healthily. You're all in my prayers and thank you for the prayers you send my way :) I definitely feel them. Tell Oma and Opa and Jacquilin that I love them and am praying for them. I LOVE Opa's comics and Oma's letters and packages :). Make my whole life and I really look forward to them.

Elder Cooper
The Batman

P.S. Me and Elder Bishop wrote a song that we sing as we give other missionaries referrals (people who have asked to hear the gospel or receive a book or a movie, etc.) so that's the song we performed :). When I get home remind me to show you the music video to it ;)

Companions at their finest. 

Ready for King's Day

Monday, April 21, 2014


Ok, first off- PLEEEAAASSSSEEE don't freak out that I e-mailed today and not Monday. (he emailed on Saturday) See let's do an early culture note.

Culture Note:
The holidays here make me smile sometimes because there's two of everything almost! It's like Lord of the Rings. "Yes I know we've had first Christmas, but what about second Christmas?...Wait you think he knows about second Pinksterdag?
Thankful for members who share pictures!
Second Easter?" ...I took a lot of liberties on that quote, but I promise it's funny if you think about it. Basically those are the three I know for sure- first and second Christmas, Pinksterdag and Easter. And if you really think about it Sinterklaas is basically a smaller form of Christmas so they have three of those! They really like their holidays over here.

So that's why I'm not e-mailing on Monday cause it's second Easter then. Why didn't I say something before? Originally we were going to e-mail in the church but last minute we decided to do it today. So, yeah....

Anyways things are going great on this end, but I do have an analogy for you.. I call it "The Break-up" Theory. Bear with me, it may be weird but it truly is the best way to describe my feelings and what in the world happened these past two weeks.

Elder Bishop and me were in a companionship, we had an awesome relationship. We worked well together, had a good time, inspired each other to be better, etc. Then came transfers calls, the break-up. Due to circumstances beyond our control we were separated and more or less "broke-up".

I really discovered this during Mission Leader Council, when we saw each other for the first time since the President had told us we were done. It was fairly awkward, not going to lie. The "feelings" (haha, remember, work with me) were still there and all we could really say or talk about was the good ol' days in Alkmaar. 

But then came the awesome closer moment. During the council President asked me and Elder Bishop to perform the song we had written to give the members of the zone referrals. The second Elder Bishop started playing the song it was just like the old days and for a moment/a few minutes it was all better. It was exactly the kind of closure I needed.

Elder Cooper and Elder Chantry. Called to Serve! 
From there I could move on and really do better by Elder Chantry and our Zone.  From there our friendship has sky rocketed! He's SO cool! We joke around, we get things done, and life’s just enjoyable again. 

I feel like we all have moments like that where we simply can't take the pressure anymore and we collapse a little. That's perfectly fine, it happens, you just have to keep moving forward and like one of our very wise district leaders counseled me, without even knowing it, we should be grateful for these trials and the hard things we are going through because eventually they are just preparing and strengthening you against what is to come. The hardest part is just opening up the heart and letting the Lord teach you what it is you need to learn from it.

Moral of my story (well at least one of them): You have to let go of the past in order to embrace the future. Don't forget it, just put it in it's place whether that is a file-ing cabinet or a glass trophy case doesn't matter, but until you do that you can never truly give everything thing you have to the now, the present, and the future because it's still back there. Don't know how but my advice this week: take a look at things in the past that may be holding you back and try to make steps to get them resolved that you may be free to embrace where you are at. :)

Things are just overall going well in the zone. I am so proud of the missionaries that are stepping up and learning to be good leaders. I mentioned the referral miracle last time, it's still going strong as ever. For the first time many of the missionaries in our zone are just going from referral to referral to see if they have further interest and quite a few have led to miracles. We are being SUPER blessed here and I am so grateful that the Lord has allowed me to be here at this time in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission. The Lord's work is moving forward, it is hastening and who can stop it?

Thanks for Always talking me down and loving me enough to tell me when I'm simply being a dramatic. Thanks dad for the awesome letter last week :) I really loved it and you Always have such good gospel/life insights. Between you and mom I feel like a get the whole picture, so thanks for working as a team to keep me balanced. You two are perfect for each other and for me :).

LOVE YOU ALL! Hope everything is progressing there well and that everyone is still learning and growing the best they can :). Can't wait to see you on the 11th! You guys will get to meet Fam. De Bruijn probably, cause that's where we're skyping :). Have an awesome week!
Elder Cooper

Amazing Tulip fields!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Hey guys :)

Still just pluggin' along here. I think the theme of this week has been endure to the end...without an actual ending, so probably just endure haha. Exchanges were a little difficult this week, life got more difficult too(as it Always does), etc., etc. I could sit here and bemoan my situation, which I will a little, but there are also good things too.

First off- me and Elder Chantry are getting a lot closer. We keep finding common ground and are building off it to make it work. We laugh, have a good time, etc. We kind of know how the other works now.

Having dinner with some of their favorite people. The new 4 getting along great!  Thankful for those
who care for the missionaries. 
Second- the relationship with the branch is still strong, I still love them and they still love us.

Third- The Lord is blessing us like CRAZY down here! The Church here started a Facebook Initiative for free copies of Finding Faith in Christ DVDs and the response has been fantastic! 243 referrals came from it in one week! The stats say that for every 'share' that a member does a referral comes from it (that's the stat they've been recording here in Nederland anyway)! It's just like the Spirit Always testified to me, this is the future of missionary work, especially here. Now we just need I-Pads to make it smoother haha. We have been super blessed by the Lord in this zone pertaining to the referrals and had to stop singing our "Referral Song" because there was simply too many coming in that we weren't doing it in a timely matter! I am very grateful and humbled to be here right now in this defining moment of missionary work here.

Well those are my good things of the week :).

It's just hard sometimes you know? That's probably the hardest part of the gospel of Jesus Christ and if not it's definitely the most underestimated- enduring to the end. It's just what I've noticed people struggle with the most out here and it literally breaks my heart. To see someone you know and love deeply, utter words of extreme pain and suffering like our Savior when he said "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?" (Or what more can I do? I've tried everything!) and having no answer other than "We've just got to endure." But that doesn't fill the pain, that never heals the wound. Questions like "For how long?" or feelings that this time it may be too much thrive off the phrase "Endure to the End".

I truly wish there was a better answer, but sometimes we are simply called upon to suffer. Now don't misinterpret this- God does not cause us to suffer, or inflict upon us a cursing just because He feels like it or wants to try our patience, rather we inflict these things upon ourselves or life just happens that brings about hardships. Whether it is self-caused guilt, our attitude about a situation, dumb choices we've made, sin, you name it. At it's core base we cause our spiritual suffering, physical suffering is another thing entirely. We've got no control over that, just our attitude and outlook.

I guess all I could share with people is, NEVER stop the important things: scripture study, prayer, going to church and one, I’ve always known, but learned out here that heals a sad soul- service. The second you step out of yourself and start trying to help other people you allow the winds of the Spirit to blow away the mists of darkness around you to help you see clearly again.

Like I was saying, even if you have no desire to do it, just try. Keep on pushing, just a little longer. Trust yourself enough to know you knew the truth. Trust yourself and your Father in Heaven enough to acknowledge that help will arrive, healing will come, it just simply sucks right now. But NEVER stop trying. That's when you've truly lost.

That's the beautiful thing about the Atonement though and this idea, the second that you start trying again, you've already won and will continue winning so long as you are trying.

I guess I just want people to Keep on trying. Keep on praying. Keep on doing those things that missionaries do cause that's what is required of me right now and it helps.
I love the scriptures and I’m so grateful for them.  Keep on praying...oh wait I said that already...but it's that important. And never forsake the church simply because you "can't handle it" because it's probably the only thing that's truly keeping you afloat right now. Like Sis. Stevens quoted in her talk "the gospel is not weight; it is wings".

LOVE YOU GUYS!!! I'll see you all next week and am super looking forward to Mother's Day :) that'll be great!

Elder Cooper Batman

 Culture Note
Money is super easy here. Really starting to understand how wacky America's measurement system is...for example: the idea that a item costs more than it does on the tag is SO weird to me! Here in Nederland what you see on the price tag is exactly what you pay. Period. No extra thirteen cents or something random like that, in fact they just round here! With no ones or twos in their moneys (they do have it but NO ONE accepts or uses them anymore) they just round it up or down based on how much change you get back. So maybe that means you eventually have to pay more, but it seems a lot easier. That's going to be a really weird adjustment when I get back haha. Especially with things like 5 and 25 cents. They just have 5, 10, 20, 50 cent pieces and 1 and 2 euro coins. Super easy :) which is nice for someone who can't do math like me ;)

Monday, April 7, 2014


Hey guys :)

This letter's probably going to be a bit shorter, I only have 30 mins :/. One of the downsides of change I guess. Not gonna lie I miss Elder Bishop a TON!
Saying good-bye to Elder Bishop was tough. Companions and
Zone Leaders together for 12 weeks.
Not that Elder Chantry isn't great, he's a super good guy and we get along well, it's just the other side of adjusting to something new again. 

See you get something so perfect that flows so well and both of you are Always on the same page, to go to literally anything else is an adjustment. 

Nothing is wrong, we just have have some different priorities, but change is good right? I'm grateful however for the common ground we have been able to find which makes it SO much easier than it could have been. The strangest part is there's nothing wrong, I literally just think it's because of what I had and change can be a challenge for me.

Luckily this place is still as amazing as ever. District Leaders stayed the same and the families aren't leaving anytime soon so I'm set. I'm hoping and praying I get to stay here for another two or three, that would make my entire life :).
The fabulous four also know as the "Four Musketeers"! Great friends and great Elders. 

Only missed one session of conference, but the way things are looking it's going to stay missed :/ we Always miss the Sunday Afternoon Session, so any thoughts on it would be very welcome :). The best part of conference though? The D Bs had us over for dinner and the Sunday Morning Session of Conference with Chicken Foot after :). I really needed that so I'm grateful for them.

Family! :)  Last picture together before transfers happened. 
They literally are family to me now. They care and love us just like a family would and should. We've started referring to R and K as our brother and sister and sister D B basically considers us her sons (at very least me and Elder P). I wish words could express how deep a love I have for them all. It really heals my soul sometimes. 

Well I'm pushing through and will just try to do what I've Always done; pray, scriptures and do missionary work. Oma and Opa D B are taking us on a small tour of the tulips today, which are starting to bloom, so that will be good and I'll get a few good pictures with whatever space is left on my SD Card (no time to buy a new one, daarom) so that'll be fun.

Hope you all enjoyed Conference and that you learned a lot. Truly was an awesome conference and I learned a lot. Scott's as Always was FANTASTIC! Basically laid out the way I think into a talk so I'm excited to get it.

Keep moving forward :) and keep trusting in the Lord. He's got it all under control cause quite honestly His plan is perfect, why should we think we know any better? He truly is the best Father anyone could ask for :).


Elder Cooper

OVER-REACTIONS (written 7 hours later)
 So I had a bad morning but I'm ok now :). I just kind of had to vent a little bit cause I simply was missing Elder Bishop. However thanks to a conversation I had (and visiting some Tulip fields SO pretty!)
I realized something: It's ok to miss Elder Bishop, it's OK to miss the times we had, and miss how well we worked together. Now I can look forward and I'm excited to be working with Elder Chantry. We have a great work to do.  

Now it's simply time for something different, time to learn a different lesson. Just got to keep my heart open to the Teacher that's all :). I love feeling the Lord soften my heart. It brings such healing and understanding. Like when you look for revelation- when the answer is yes your head is clear and you know what to do. Wrong answers give us stupors of thought and we just get confused and unsure. Best way to recognize and answer.

Thus this morning= stupor of thought. Confused, sad, stressed and upset me. Now everything is clear, time to learn something new. Clear, ready to go, recharged and hopeful for the outcome. 

Life is seriously SO good here and I am SO blessed to be serving in Alkmaar with people around me who love and care for me. I love this gospel, I love this church, I love my Savior and my God. I would be nothing without Him. This church is true and know it now and I pray that I'll know it forever!

Thank you SO much for your love and support and for always being there for me during the ups and the downs. It made all the difference. LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!

Elder Cooper 

Culture Note: 
As you drive around the Netherlands you see one of two things: lots of buildings or lots of country. It's really different that way. Turns out the country stuff are mostly tulip fields because they are all blooming!!! They are SO pretty! and I'm taking as many pictures as I can. Got some really good ones today. They're planted in rows of all different colors. The brightest reds, the deepest purples and the cleanest whites you've every seen all combined into one tiny plant! It's fantastic. Especially here in Alkmaar, it's the BEST place to be during the Spring.
As if this place needed another reason to be amazing haha!