Monday, July 28, 2014


Hey everyone :)

So basically as I type I am experiencing what it would be like in a zombie apocalypse. You finally reach safety after distracting the zombies and you've barricaded the door. However you made a mistake and now they know where you are and are pounding, trying to break in. You sit there and cringe as you realize it's only a matter of time...

Luckily our lives aren't in danger, but we do have people banging at the door trying to get in. Make that little kids. There's this crazy group of six kids outside that want to come into the church and we had to trick them to go away long enough for us to slip inside. But Elder C promised to let them in if they found a card (face palm). I promise we're not being rude. Last time we only let two of them in "for a few minutes", they left the building an hour later after running through it all and causing havoc. :) kids. But to let six of them in...they would have destroyed the church.

Thus why we are here, barricaded in the church, hoping that they go away before we have to go home.
I think the biggest thing this week was Zone Training on Wednesday. It went really well. The first half we really focused on The Character of Christ (turning outward in love when the natural man would turn in) in three parts- What is character? The part Action takes in developing such a character and Charity. I gave the part about action.

That's something I've gained a strong testimony about out here: action. Maybe I've always been like this (I don't think so or don't remember it) but out here I've created a new pattern, namely- when I face a problem or am having a hard time I try to sit down and make a plan. I realized that sitting around and just stressing about things that have already happened is dumb and got me nowhere (except sick). We've just got to put things that happened behind us, there's literally nothing we can do about it now, it's already happened! 

And this is where the enabling power of the Atonement comes in. Never understood that part of the Atonement before but now I'm beginning to. See, without the Atonement that would be it. We'd make a mistake or doing something wrong and bam! it's over. It already happened, there's nothing to do about it and you're left with your regret and sorrow. But because Christ paid the price for our sins and our mistakes, we have second chances. We can change.

Because of Him, we can take moments like that and turn them around. We can sit down with Him and say, "I'm really sorry I messed up on this one, but here's my plan on how to avoid it in the future." Then you hash out a plan. 

2 Nephi 2:26 says "And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day according to the commandments which God hath given." (emphasis added).

He truly enabled us to act, and not just be acted upon by our sins, mistakes, situation, there's always something we can do. Maybe we can't solve everything, but there's always things to do (or keep doing). And what a blessing that is.

This truly is repentance. I mean think about it: Christ has suffered for EVERY sin that we'll EVER make. So it's not like every time we make a mistake it's some new, unexpected load on Christ. He has already gone through that, He was fully aware that it was going to happen. Yet what does He ask from us then if not to destroy ourselves with guilt until we shrivel away into oblivion? Like it talks about in "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad R. Wilcox,  He just requires that we keep "practicing" because we are learning heaven right now. Godly sorrow is realizing what you did was wrong and desiring to change it because you have offended God. The level of bad feelings vary and where they do have a place, never forget that truly godly sorrow uplifts and inspires us to do better, not the opposite. So keep going! 

The talk me and Elder C had was amazing. We know we are simply different.
It makes us a good team. He treats the missionaries as they've been called, namely set apart representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. He refuses to lower expectations (which is just fine) and expects the best from the elders he works with. He has a true gift of lifting missionaries to be better than they ever knew they could be. It's an amazing gift.

And that's why I have my gifts. I'm the healing balm when it stings, which it does. Together we truly make a great team, especially because the biggest thing we have in common is our work ethic, namely go till we drop :). It's tiring but So worth it.

We go on splits all the time, at very least 3 times a week. Rotterdam Zone is on fire right now :). The Lord is showing forth His hand and blessing us TREMENDOUSLY! Relations with the members are better, missionaries are motivated and working, it truly is a blessed time to be here. We even go on splits with the Portuguese elders.  They are great Elders and we are really impressed with them. 

Well, I love you guys! Thank you SO much for your letters and your love. I never have to feel too far behind out here and I never have to feel abandoned. I truly have been super blessed and I could not have had a better situation in which to grow, so thank you, thank you, thank you!

Elder Cooper

Monday, July 21, 2014


Wait a second...didn't I just get off the computer two seconds ago? How in the world is it P-Day again already?! Yeah, lots happened this week. Best part? Exchanges with Elder Bishop.
Seriously was just like old times :) and exactly what I needed. Do you know how nice it is to just spend the day with someone you're completely comfortable around, who you trust with your soul (life just didn't seem enough) and who loves you unconditionally? It's the best and we got things done in a positive way.
He single handedly (with the guidance of the spirit I’m sure) restored my self-confidence when no one else could! You see there's this weird phenomenon with me but I feel like maybe it happens to others too? There are just SO many voices out there! Too many in fact. They get all jumbled around in my head and it just becomes a slur of voices, none recognizable.
In Sint-Niklaas, Heavenly Father helped me learn to rely on no one else except Him but this week He taught me how important other people are in this life and how to filter all those voices.
Rotterdam at night. 
First and foremost, one must have a group of people who they love and trust surrounding them. These are the voices to listen to in a time of crisis and them alone (I'll explain how to channel the advice from others shortly, that's the second point). That's why Elder Bishop was able to help me. I love and trust him more than anyone at this point in my mission, so his counsel, his friendship, and his words were the ones which broke through.
Second though comes the voices from everyone else. It would be very unwise of me to say we need to turn those off completely because they have SO much to give, but if we try to take it all in then it becomes overwhelming and things begin contradicting and then your sad and everything goes downhill. So what is more important is that we learn to filter the things which are said to us.
In the MTC Elder Bednar gave a talk called "The Character of Christ" which played a key role in how I re-learned this lesson. In it he begins by counseling the missionaries to not take notes on the words that he says, to not make "large plates of Nephi" but to instead make the "small plates" and fill them with the words, whisperings and promptings of the Spirit you receive during the talk. That's exactly what we should strive to do in life, especially with feedback. Dad just wrote me and EPIC letter on that subject that just blew my mind :) thanks dad!
Basically, the Spirit can work through anyones words, we just need to be able to discern the difference between his words and the words of the person giving the advice or the feedback. Like dad says you also need to look in their heart, what/why they're saying what they are. It's a very enlightening experience. Sometimes when we get feedback it's not that what they're saying that needs fixing, it's simply what they're seeing and it's up to us and the Lord to help them see the other side, or to work on showing that other side more.
So I guess that's kind of where I'm at...not really too big a surprise, this is Rotterdam after all, I'm noticing a trend haha :). But yeah, Zone Training will be coming up here on Wednesday (that's the thing we run) and Mission Leader Council was Friday (also super good! Learned a lot and ready to move with the new direction and instruction) and it was my first chance to wear my new suit :D

Hyrum Smith is now a personal spiritual hero of mine. Thanks for answering that prayer. One of the Zone's themes this transfer is "Who is Your Spiritual Hero". You know how much I love the Book of Mormon, but so many of them have so much "red" personality in them that I don't relate to certain things.  This is such a good fit for me.  How eye opening. 

Kambree Lynn
ASH! Congrats on the baby! I can't wait to meet her! And on that note: I can't wait to hear Cole talk! That simply blows my mind that he speaks coherent sentences now. I like being an uncle. :) By the way Ash, thanks for keeping Cole and yourself involved in my life :). You mean a lot to me and I couldn't picture a life without you or your family in it. That's how important you are to me at very least. Love ya!

COURT! So stoked! 12 more days! Super proud of your preparation for marriage :) you two will be so happy together cause you're taking it so seriously. I can't wait!

 LOVE YOU ALL! Hope you have an awesome week and thanks for your prayers and support! Couldn't do it without you. Really though, your words played a big part in me getting back up on my feet again, so from the bottom of my heart: thank you.
Elder Cooper
Culture Note: Really sad one this week. I don't know if you've seen the news at all but a really big tragedy took place last Thursday night for the Netherlands. A commercial plane full of Dutch vacationers was shot down by near their border. 183 of the 294ish passengers dead were Dutch. Super sad :(, and kind of scary too. This whole time you think "I'm all the way in the Netherlands, that stuff in the Ukraine won't have too much of an effect on us." Boy was I wrong. It just got brought a whole lot closer to home for us. Just goes to show that one way or another everything can/will effect you in some way. How grateful I am for the Plan of Salvation and the comfort I can receive from it to know that, in the end, all will be made right and it truly is going to be ok. Now to let my brothers and sisters here know that! :)
P.S. I would LOVE some more peanut butter :) and oatmeal.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Hey everyone!

Looking back on my mission the Lord has been continually trying to teach me to be myself and do what I do best. I love my Zone, I love this area, I know what Heavenly Father needs from me and I need to trust in it and follow the promptings of my heart.  

So what I decided to do was take a piece of paper and make myself a Profile of a Hero! See I realized another reason I love Batman so much, I can relate A LOT with him. In the Justice League he's not the main guy, definitely one of them but the leading role goes to Superman. The same hero who seems invincible, flies, shoots lasers from his eyes, can travel faster than a speeding bullet, etc. Superman is the world's hero and he's in charge of taking care of that greater portion. Batman on the other hand is a mere mortal, barely able to keep one city under control let alone the world. He gets tired, he fails, he picks himself back up and stays on a larger scale in the shadow of Superman. But neither of them could do it alone.

I can't even count the number of times they have saved each other's lives. Both would be long gone without the other.  When I doubt myself it's like Batman sitting there saying "Ah man, I wish I could fly and be come the world doesn't love me, I only have Gotham to take care of and this city needs so much, what kind of difference can I even make?" Most of us can agree that'd be dumb of him to say and I agree!  Embracing who we are and then sharing that with others is the key, I'm praying a lot, and on course. (By the way this analogy came to my mind when I realized Rotterdam is my Gotham :) finally found a title for it!)

It's kind of like keeping a fire burning. Originally I thought of this analogy for conversion but it works for this as well. You start with doing different tasks and working really hard to get some embers going until finally it works and you have that spark. Well you have to continually give that ember oxygen until it can burst into flames. Then once it is burning bright you have to continually supply it with wood for it to keep burning or it will go out. See once you get the idea of who you are you have to fan that idea, put it into practice until it becomes more defined.
Then you need to find a way to continually remind yourself who you are or that flame will go out. Same with conversion. Starts with the desire to believe or act. Then you give it enough oxygen or action for it to become something more, namely faith or a testimony. Finally you have to continually be faithful to what you know to be true for it to become conversion. If you continually feed the flame it never needs to go out. And how much easier is it to keep a fire going as opposed to starting the whole thing back up again? So my advice, don't ever let it go out. But if it does somehow, I promise it's worth the effort to rekindle it. You may not think so now in the heat of the day, but you'll be grateful when the night comes and it begins to grow dark and cold.

As we grow up we all have to make that choice eventually, especially growing up in the church. We read yesterday from 1 Nephi 2:10-19 and it made me think of the youth of the church, including myself of course. You have the father and mother, Lehi and Sariah, who are members of the church and by virtue of their heritage, so are the children. Laman and Lemuel go through the motions but complain the whole way and find it silly to listen to their parents, whereas Nephi also does all the motions but goes to the Lord to ask why. I'd wager a bet that Nephi was initially upset at having to leave home as well, but what made the difference? He asked the Lord. He asked Him why he had to leave and had a conversation with the Lord about it in which he was shown many great things. So what will we choose? Ask the Lord and experiment on His words or go through the motions until we simply can't take it anymore and fall away? I don't think it's a sin to ask 'why?' it just all depends on the way you say it and what you're willing to do with the answer you get.

Anyways, President let us watch the World Cup game last Wednesday...just in time to lose to Argentina...but that's time.
All is well when you have these 2 praying
for you. (Elder Cooper's youngest brother,
and his Aunt Jacquilin)

Culture Note: See that's the thing with Nederland, out of 17 World Cups we've placed in the 'Top 4' 10 times and I think we've only won it once. Nederland is super consistent in it's Voetbal playing and will probably make it again next year. The guy Trav was talking about is a super good player! I'm pretty sure he was voted the best player in this year's World Cup or something like that. We were expecting some epic match between him and Messi (best voetbal player in the world) but then nothing really happened...and then we lost at penalty kicks.:(  

Overall I am doing just fine, just gaining a testimony of doing all things "in wisdom and order". We're moving 24/7 with no time to do anything but work, sleep and eat occasionally if we can :) least that's how it feels. And it's ok because it's the way it needs to be. 

Send everyone my love. Thank them for their prayers. Thank Jacquilin for her prayers :) I really feel them out here, otherwise I couldn't work the way I do.

LOVE YOU ALL! Have a great week!

Elder Batman Cooper

Monday, July 7, 2014


I mean sure it's a little hot in here, but it's SO worth it!

K, full disclosure.  It’s been a tough few weeks. But no worries, I'm going to "be Dutch" again (as we say out here) and just say it all, good and bad…like I agreed to do.

I think in the past few weeks I experienced one of the hardest trials a human being can go through: a loss of identity. Okay, maybe not a loss, but I was definitely confused. Suddenly I found myself unsure of everything I was, everything I did.  The world seemed unsure.

Let me tell you, that's terrifying. I am SO grateful for the gospel! I have realized how much knowing who you are and your purpose here on earth helps the challenges of life. Without that knowledge good and bad begin to disappear, everything seems like too much and you literally have no idea where to go or what to do to fix it because you can't recognize that still small voice that guides. 

I pray that I never go through this again, but I do KNOW what to do: just keep swimming!  I went to my knees and prayed to be in tune. I read the scriptures, got to work, basically just did what I was supposed to until I had enough fire wood in the back of the trailer to gain traction. :) (See "Bear Up Their Burdens With Ease" by Elder Bednar).
The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.
 The key to it all though, for probably all of us is to learn to accept ourselves. Something about a mission can warp your perspective. A lot of times it is a good thing, but to every pro there is a con. You can forget what real life is, you can forget that you're a person, you just get in the mode of trying to be perfect, and no one is perfect, and no one has every perfect trait, but somehow I felt like I should, but I was wrong.  Like you were telling me mom, we are all different and that's ok! We're not all supposed to be perfect in the same way, we're supposed to be perfect in our differences (eventually). I've been telling that to missionaries my whole mission and promptly forgot it when I needed it haha :) gotta love that...

So here’s what I did: 
First- That ugly side of me known as The Perfectionist. I think I’ve been struggling with that my whole life right?  Well no one is perfect.  Like President Robinson wrote last week in his letter about Excellence vs. Perfection "Excellence is...simply doing your best and letting that be good enough while you move on to your next challenge." Or like Abraham Lincoln, "I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end." (That one's for you Grandma :) get well soon!)  So that’s what I’m going to do.

I've started learning to accept myself and my role again, but not just accept it but truly embrace it and be the best me I can be. We all have to learn this lesson a few times in our lifetimes right? 

Second kind of went with it-  I started to doubt that what I was doing was enough, or that I was everything I should be, or that I was consecrating enough. But I worked through that too. It's all about looking at yourself, truly finding out who you are and what your role is and giving everything you can that day. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less, but it's a daily thing. That's all the Lord asks of us- consecrate everything you are able to.

I know at least for me I often look at that and it overwhelms me. Consecrating everything (usually the way it's worded) entailed for me giving up things I didn't have or more than I was able to. But truly it is simpler, look at it every day and give up everything you can until the day when you realize you've given everything. :)

And that's just one of the lessons I've learned this week! I've got five more pages of this in my journal! I can't even explain how good Rotterdam has been for me. Truly it's been one of the most difficult of my mission to this point but I can say it has changed me forever and the lessons I am learning here are more valuable to me than all the treasure of the world. I will share these truths with all I meet. 
Elder Cooper's sister/cousin and her finance at
the St.George temple.  Nothing could make him
happier.  To top it off, His grandparents are
Your week over there sounded amazing! I love reading every word about it! Basically (and because you're ok) the firework story was funny, YAY!

Thank you SO much for all the support you send my way. Please tell everyone thank you.  Mom and Dad, your letters last week were amazing and just what I needed at that time to keep me going. Thank you so much for knowing who I am and encouraging me to develop myself further.

LOVE YOU ALL! Hope you have another great week like that! And Court congrats :) love you a lot. Sam awesome job with all those awards :) that's really cool. Sky :) I'm just straight up proud of you! :) 

Elder Cooper

Culture Note: The World Cup comic made me laugh really hard, cause it's SO true! When Nederland plays, no one is outside. President has been telling us all to stay inside during the game hours but that got changed recently. See the World Cup here is bigger than the 4th of July in America. EVERYONE watches the game and there are so many houses just decked out in Orange and World Cup paraphernalia.
Since a few days ago President realized this was a major cultural event that we were missing and that a lot of good relationships could be made and good missionary work could be done if we were allowed to watch the games. So Wednesday night I'll be watching Nederland vs. Argentina. Really hoping they win that one too cause then we get to verse Brazil (bwahaha let the games begin all you I know who served there ;) ).
I'll probably keep the World Cup as a family tradition after this. It's kind of fun and addicting :).

"I am grateful for the people I have met who have changed my life for the better. I am truly blessed"