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!
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.
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.
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.