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!
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 there...so 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 :).
LOVE YOU ALL!!!
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