Monday, May 26, 2014


Hey :)

So I'm done being frustrated, doesn't do me any good. Besides all these trials are merely reminders. Remember how in Sint-Niklaas I learned the most important lesson of my life? Namely, that from now and for all time Heavenly Father must be my first priority above all else. Yeah, I forget that SO easy.  I wish I could just remember things like would be SO much easier. :) 

Nothing has really changed all that much situation wise. Things are still a bit difficult, but I'VE changed.

Grateful for my friend.
It all started a few days ago. All these things just kept weighing on me dragging me down and down. I got to the point where I thought man I could really use a blessing. Luckily I had Elder G in the zone (he was in my MTC district) whom I love and trust. We had exchanges and during the course of those I asked him for a blessing. Not knowing before hand what exactly it was that I was struggling with this amazing elder gave me a wonderful blessing from my Heavenly Father. It was as if the words were coming directly from His mouth to me and was a very sacred and special experience for us.

This awoke me to the state of the situation I had put myself into. I was so focused on myself this past little while. I was thinking: I miss Alkmaar. I miss the people. I can't figure out how to function in this place. I can't figure out how to work here even though the members are great (by the way :) just different and it caught me off guard. Still working to get to know how to be around them...but that'll come :). But I never stopped to think that He could. He knows I am needed here, it's why He sent me. He knows how to function here. He knows what His children here need. 

I got down on my knees later that day and begged forgiveness. I had been SO hard-hearted and wasn't letting Him in! But He's with me now and together we're working through everything. It's really all about forgetting yourself and getting to work. 

Step 1: Forget yourself and remember Christ. Still working on this, but a big part was taken care of that day.

Step 2: Forget yourself and remember those around you. We have a saying in the mission here- "The success of a leader comes from seeing the success of his team". Namely here we as leaders are asked to sacrifice our own success so that others can succeed. We are asked to put our all into trainings and exchanges and random other things so much so that we have very little time to work in our own cities. Most of the work here actually happens on exchanges because when we're back together we need to get rested, united and organized. We are asked to sacrifice everything for those we love here. 

And we do it willingly.

That has been one of the greatest keys to me out here while learning to rely upon Christ. For "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God" and He blesses you for it. 

I seem to be hearing a lot lately of people I love more than life itself being thrown into the refiners furnace. To you I write these words: I love you. SO much so I wish words could describe it. I may not know everything you are struggling with but I know that it hurts and I know that it's hard to keep going, but please just keep trying! You are not alone I PROMISE! I may not be there right now, but I think about you and I pray for you.

 I pray that angels will be round about you to lift you up, inspire and support you. I pray that you will be able to find peace in your soul. I pray that you will feel God's love and the power of His Son's Atonement, for it is SO real. I pray that you will come unto Christ and be swallowed up in His grace. There is NOTHING you can do and NOWHERE you can go that is too far for Him. His Atonement stands there all day, every day, extending into the eternities. He has already suffered for your sins and sorrows so please go to Him in prayer. Let Him make your burdens light. They may not go away, but two hands make any burden lighter.

I guess over all I just want you all to be ok :) cause I love you. I truly do. Please don't forget that.

Funny that you mention the lunch thing :D I talked to Sis.T and A  about that today! I know they mentioned who the other sister was too. Sis. A is actually the Sister Training Leader and Sis. T is in the Media Arts Program at BYU so hopefully I'll be seeing her a lot in the future.

LOVE YOU ALL! Send love to all the people you know I would care about and love if I was there. I REALLY wish I could write them all, but I barely have time to write you guys! So please let them know I think about them and love them a lot.

Keep on pushing through! :) You guys are the best and I love you all SO much!


Elder Cooper

Culture Note: So Rotterdam. It's actually a ward here, so there's lots of members and LOTS of families (most I've seen in my mission). It's the only city in the Netherlands that has two wards within it's boundaries and it even has a Portuguese unit for those who speak Spanish and Portuguese. We have three elders serving there currently and we go on splits with them and work like normal. Luckily Elder Corsini speaks like 7 or 8 languages so it works haha. It's always busy, and always tight (mom you'd HATE driving here). We live next to a giant Mosque and as such where we actually live is mainly Islamic. I chuckled when you wrote the Amsterdam thing... :). I'll tell you when I get home ;).

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Hey :)
Sorry about not e-mailing yesterday, things get crazy sometimes. All things considering, I'm doing ok; I at least think I'm realizing the reason behind things more. 

It was SO SAD leaving Alkmaar. That hurt worse than literally anything I've ever felt in my life out here. Didn't help that I then was thrown into a world completely opposite from the one I had left. I could go on and on about why this place is so different, but that be a bit much so I'll just list a few:

- Parallel Parking is the WORST! I have never been able to do it and it still holds true in Europe. And living in a big city like this, parallel parking is the ONLY's just really embarrassing I guess, but it drives me up the wall.

- The work is so different here. Everything I've learned about missionary work up till this point just got thrown out the window because it simply just doesn't work here (I've tried). I'm having to rethink things.

I've been realizing though, I think that's the point. Once again Heavenly Father has knocked away every single one of my support pillars and is remolding me. It's so difficult, but I endure because I know in the end it will be good.

The missionaries here have lost a little hope, we need to figure out how to connect, but I'm just meeting them :), many have just seemed to have kind of given up and it's a lot to take on all at once. I can't imagine how I'd be if the Lord wasn't with me. I also know that's why I was sent here. It's time to make some changes like what we were able to develop before, we were happy, we were friends and the work wasn't a burden. The members were involved, helping and at least willing to try. 

What I've got here (and I think this is also a really good point and a reason I'm here) is the work. So that's what I do. I will work harder than I ever have before. In a sense Heavenly Father has eliminated every single distraction I had. I have committed to Him to work my tail of here, give more than 100%.
(I will keep my Batman ring, that was so lovingly given me on my desk, to remind me of how good missionary work can be) 

Our big focus here in this zone is personal conversion. We had a really good talk, me and Elder C (not from Brazil, but we have a TON of elders from Brazil in this zone. There's even a Portugese ward here so if you know his name I'm probably his zone leader) and we realized everyone is SO focused on getting the baptism that we're forgetting the real point, although that is important, there is more to it. 

Baptism is a good goal and what not, and one we will strive for, but only if you process it right. And from what I've seen humans are terrible at processing goals correctly. So we're going back to what it's really about. We are here to testify of a resurrected Christ, of His restored church upon the earth and of the glory of the Plan of Salvation and it's time we realized that as a zone. So we want to help all the elders and sisters to fulfill their purpose as missionaries, as witnesses of Christ by helping them testify everyday and becoming personally converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
And it all starts with me. I need to testify every day. Otherwise who am I to say anything? I am careful when I say anything though haha nothing we say to others makes a difference unless they're open and lets be honest, who is ever open to receiving criticism from another? Biggest mistake we ever make. I guess I just hope my example and the emphasis I put on their strengths will help them increase their strengths and diminish the less desirable qualities. 

Bleh...what an awful e-mail. Guess I'm just still in mourning right now haha, it'll get better. At least Elder C is amazing :) such a good elder with really good ideas, initiative and a testimony/faith that could move mountains. We're going to get some really good work done here. 

Sorry if this email is too much, but I promised I'd always be honest so that's what I'm doing. It'll be ok I promise, it always is eventually.

Music rule here: MoTab and Hymns. So yeah anything that is a hymn or is sung by MoTab (technically). 

Well I love you all! Hope things continue to go good there and that we all keep progressing. Guess change has to happen huh? Ah well. LOVE YOU ALL!!! That at least will never change.

Elder Cooper 

Culture Note: Credit Cards. Checks. Non-existent. In fact only 4 months ago they weren't even using Visa cards here. Obviously their money system would be different over here but that still surprised me. Credit Cards and Checks don't even exist over here, it's literally an American thing (and where ever else they use them). Everything here is done with cash or online or different cards but at least for missionaries we do everything with cash.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Gosh I thought I knew what heart break was before. But turns out that was just sadness, because THIS is heartbreak. Just as I thought, I got transferred. President had warned me in our quarterly interviews that it was time and to start saying goodbye, but I just tried to forget that. It STINKS!

I got transferred to Rotterdam with Elder C. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do. Luckily Elder C is a great guy and an amazing missionary so he'll be able to drag me around while I'm getting over Alkmaar. Not only that but it's kind of cool because this is where Elder Mathis served as a Zone Leader so I'm following in my daddies footsteps on that one.

Drama moment! Big cities and me don't mix. I've known that and have been hearing it since high school. I remember vividly on the New York trip I think Dylan asked me "Moose, where do you want to live again?" I responded in a smaller place, definitely not a big city and he said "Good. Cause it'd probably eat you alive." I mean it was all a joke and everything but it was based on truth!

We had it good.  These two Elder became great friends.
Well I could say more but I don't really have zin (desire is the closest translation) to do that. So I'm just going to pray, read my scriptures, serve the zone with all my heart.

I don't like change. I know it's necessary, but I hate going through it. 
Sorry the e-mail isn't uplifting, you guys deserve better but I just can't write any more or I'm going to start crying all over again and I'm in that'd be awkward haha.

Just know that I love you all and that it's going to be ok, it always is. This wound is just deep so it's going to take a little time to heal, kind just how it goes. LOVE YOU! Hope you all have a great week this week and that things keep falling into place.

Elder Cooper
Well I just read Dad's e-mail and I kept the e-mail open in case I got more zin to write. 
Dad said something interesting in his e-mail about the Lord giving me this opportunity to prove to myself if my eye truly is single to His glory, in other words- will I work as hard, give as much, do everything I did here… in Rotterdam? A place that is the complete opposite from here (according to Elder Chantry, that's where he was before he was here)

The answer is- of course I will. I want to do everything the Lord asks, that's why I do everything that I do. Sounds right? It is right, it just doesn’t always feel that way. The other reason for the title of the e-mail was the other thing that's been on my mind recently- how real the world is.
"Moving on is heartbreaking, but I'll be okay.  This
is the Lords work."

For example: Another hard thing is knowing at some time, in my life, my heart is going to get broken again when I find out someone here has left the church or given up trying, it is the worst pain I've EVER felt.   After an investigator is baptized Satan hits them with everything he's got and they often go inactive here and fall away from the church.
I had a realization the other day that started all this. Out here we talk a lot about getting investigators to feel the Spirit and to gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and that somehow if they can just get that everything will fall into place. False! A testimony means nothing if there is not action involved. And that's the problem here and I’m sure everywhere.
Frankly stated, many people can't and don't want to live the standards of the gospel (members or not). I will forever be impressed with anyone who is an active member out here despite any of their flaws because it can be a rough road. But I love them and I am so anguished when anyone falls. It all comes from love of the people and the gospel, but it tears at my heart to leave this city and these people I love so much, knowing some will fall and I won't be here to help.
Good thing I'm an optimist right? Otherwise this would be a really depressing e-mail. Guess I'm just having a hard time right now, but it'll pass- it always does. Just endure. Cling to the knowledge, experiences and moments I've had before to keep me going until the next one. Love you all :) 

Elder Cooper

Monday, May 5, 2014


Ever since the 25th of April life just has not slowed down over here :). On one side it's great, but on the other it's super tiring. Definitely worthwhile stuff though.

Tuesday we had Temple Conference, and I actually got to go this time! SOOOO glad I did too. It was a lot easier to find this time seeing as we got to drive if we got lost that would have just been sad (we had a Tom Tom/GPS). But it was beautiful. I can't believe how much I love the temple :).

The interesting thing is sometimes after you've been away from something so long it's hard to go back to it, I don't know why that is, maybe it's the guilt from being away for so long, maybe you just feel like a stranger after all the distance or maybe it just pushes you out of that comfortable way of living you had before. Either way in the long run it's good for you. Sometimes you just got to do good things because you know their good for you, even if it's super hard and you have absolutely NO desire to do it.

It's like living the gospel. I see it SO often out here, people who believe strongly in the church and in it's truths and the standards it gives and then at the first sign of trouble they cast away their newfound standards because it got too hard. But that's the biggest mistake of all! It's like it says in Jane Eyre "Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this." aka moments when your standards and morals are called into question. That's actually when morals and covenants mean something. If you're able to live them without any opposition do they actually have any worth? If so it's not nearly as much as when there is opposition because that's what they are designed for! Not for moments of comfort as some sort of banner to show the world but for moments of true temptation as armor to shield you.

Me and Elder Chantry talked a lot about that the other day kind of. We were having a really deep conversation on different forms of hypocrisy when it led to a discussion on setting standards. I expressed my fear of going into the film world without set standards to base all my choices off of. To do so otherwise is suicide and setting myself up to fail. We decided that standards like that are designed to be created and established in times of spiritual strength for their use in times of spiritual weakness (also got that from Jane Eyre) and we both agreed that here on a mission we are spiritually stronger than we'll probably ever be in our lives again. So it stands to reason that I need to return home with a set of standards to guide my life in the film world...just can't figure out the specifics.
Elder Chantry and Elder Cooper at the Temple
I got this far though (took it from the talk "Personal Strength Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ" by Elder Scott). The fathers of the Sons of Helaman were in a similar situation. It was a seemingly justifiable situation, take up arms to defend family, yet the prophet counseled, and they obeyed, not to compromise their standards on any level. What was the results of this? Covenants were kept, God was obeyed and everyone was saved. There is literally no other way it could have worked out that perfectly. Only through exact obedience to our covenants, our Father and our standards can something like that happen. So I know that's what I need to do- NEVER EVER compromise on ANY level, just have to apply that now.

On the missionary front things are going fantastic :). I'm super happy and me and Elder Chantry are becoming really good friends. The work has simply exploded here and we are SO busy all the time! This week is packed and by the end of it I'm probably just going to want to die haha :) but we carry on cause that's what we missionaries do.

Well we're going on another adventure today so I guess this is all the time I've got. Love you all! Hope everything keeps going smoothly on your end. You're definitely in my thoughts and prayers all the time :) thank you for being so loving and for caring for me and each other. Makes our family the best place in the entire world to be a part of :).

Elder Cooper

Culture Note: Yesterday was Memorial Day in Nederland. They do this thing where at 8 o'clock pm everyone in Nederland is silent for two minutes. They take it so seriously that cars aren't even supposed to be on the highway during that time and they ask people to not travel during those two minutes.
Since we were at the D Bs we got to see the ceremony that they were holding for it at Dam Square. It was really cool to watch and it was really nice to watch the Dutch have this really sincere and respectful moment in time :).

The mysterious island

These 5 Elder were in the MTC together and arrived in the Netherlands together. 

Reunited for awile...Elder Cooper and Elder Bishop

Everyone needs a picture in the shoes!

Leadership meeting

What an AMAZING group of Missionaries!