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" 

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