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!
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 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
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
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.
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 ;)