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 option...it'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.

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