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!
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 invincible...how 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 ok...next 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.