Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Transfer Week!

Seeing as you are all probably wondering where I'll be for the next six weeks I'll start off with it. I will be staying in Rotterdam South for another transfer! That means total I'm going to have spent 6 months of my mission in Rotterdam- that's 1/4 of my entire mission! Guess it's a good thing I love this place then huh? I do love this place now, just so you know. It's really grown on me. And with Elder Krebs it's great cause we work hard, are on the same page and we just get things done! I love that. And since this basically is my Gotham, I kind of want to use the trams a lot more this transfer. Usually we're always in the car, but if I'm going to spend 6 months in one city I wanna know it inside and out. In the car as well as on the streets. 

Now this one will probably lose me some friends...but I think I have to be a Feyenoord fan...I mean I've spent a ton of time here and only went on exchanges to Amsterdam...I'd feel like a traitor if I was an Ajax fan. For everyone offend by this, I beg your forgiveness and you're always welcome to try and convert me back ;). (Gotta love missionary logic for choosing soccer teams haha!)
 For everyone who doesn't know what that was all about- Feyenoord is the biggest soccer team in Rotterdam and has a huge rivalry with Ajax. People here LOVE their soccer with their entire souls :). You literally cannot serve in Europe and not become a huge soccer fan after, I feel like that's impossible. So I had to take sides eventually, and we as missionaries choose our favorite teams based on the cities we serve in which means when I can I'm also rooting for AZ and Lokeren :).

As I have looked back I realized I haven't really talked a whole lot about what goes on from day to day here on the mission, but I also believe that's why other elders hate e-mailing and why they are most of the time so short. We do the same thing every day! Every week as well! If we were just to report on the chronological happenings of our weeks we would hate writing! It would just be explaining the same things over and over and over again. Church Sunday, numbers at the end of the night, P-day, District Meeting (sometimes with an exchange after), exchanges, contacting, looking up old and potential investigators, filling out the Area Book, riding bikes, buses, trains and trams everywhere, and then rinse and repeat. For leaders it's a little different but not much. For us all those work days are just exchanges. Spent the whole week on those and it was great :) but I'd much rather talk about the things I learned this week, the spiritual experiences I've had, the spiritual knowledge I've gained and mainly just talk about what's on my mind at the time. That's how I've always written my e-mails, or at least how I've learned to write them.

That leaves the question- so Elder Cooper, what's on your mind today? Lots of stuff actually, but we'll see what comes out.

Utah is a very big part of what helped make me me and I wouldn't be where I am today without it. One of my biggest
Back in the day my trainer helped me realize that I
should be grateful for Utah
pet peeves of this day is anti-Utah conversations, because I know how destructive it was to my soul (I was so negative about living there) and how often it carried me away, one step closer to the edge. But I don't engage in those conversations any more. I could try to defend it, and probably should but the spirit of contention is of the devil and if there's anything I've learned within the past few weeks it's that anything said with negative intentions takes the Spirit away and nobody is uplifted. And like Elder Halstrom explained to us on Thursday, if you try and instruct without simultaneously uplifting and inspiring it is all in vain and nobody learns. 

Now that was a cool experience. Elders Dyches, Halstrom and Ballard came to the Netherlands on Thursday to talk to us as a mission and later to the Den Haag Stake (The Hague).

It was a really good conference and we learned a lot of things from them, but you know what the great part is? It's still the same spirit. There is definite power and authority that came from Elder Ballard. You could literally feel it when he came in the room and it just descended like a calming blanket on my nervous soul. He delivered a powerful message according to the Spirit and instructed us on how to be better missionaries, yet everything I learned that day doesn't compare to the lesson Heavenly Father had me learn from it. 

It just felt the same. We were still learning from the Spirit. Even though it was an apostle of the Lord speaking to us I have felt that same confirming spirit radiating from passionate district leaders, caring companions and loving bishops. It doesn't matter who is speaking, if they are speaking with the Spirit and their words penetrate your heart then it is Heavenly Father speaking directly to you. I saw this especially in what Elder Ballard did after he was finished speaking, he turned the time back over to President Robinson! Now normally that is against all policy. After the presiding authority speaks no one else can speak and the meeting ends, yet Elder Ballard turned the time over to President Robinson and left the building. In other words this example confirmed what the Spirit had taught me, President Robinson's words were just as important, just as valuable and inspired as were Elder Ballard's, because it is the same Spirit, it is the same Heavenly Father and whether it "is by [His] voice or by the voice of [His] servants it is the same". 

One last thing I learned this week about standing up for what we believe in. You always picture it as these clearly defined moments where you see or hear something you're against and you do something about it (usually accompanied by dramatic music or a speaker). Now that's basically what it is but what I learned is that these moments kind of sneak up on you. Twice this week I ran into this and it's only now looking back on these experiences that I realized I didn't stand up for what I believed in. Not because I was too scared and not because my beliefs were shaken, simply because I didn't realize it was a moment where I needed to be standing up! It snuck right by! Only after those moments where I could look back I realized I shouldn't have just been involved in those situations but I should have said something. Turns out recognizing the moment is half of the battle, especially when it's amongst friends and allies, the last people in the world who you'd expect to have to "stand up" around. So I'm working on it. :)  
Life is good, the mission is good and we are truly seeing success! In fact more than this mission has seen in at least a year! Truly this is a blessed time to be a missionary and to become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

LOVE YOU ALL! Hope everything keeps going well! Thanks for always being there for me and for loving me enough to listen to me vent, be excited and all those other roller coaster emotions I go through. Sure couldn't do this (or eternity) without you guys!

Elder Cooper  

No comments:

Post a Comment