Monday, September 1, 2014


Wow we just had a busy week!
With the wonderful sister missionaries! (Thanks for
the picture Sister Anjewierden)

To summarize it all we had exchanges on Tuesday, Zone Conference on Wednesday, more exchanges on Thursday and Friday and Joint Teach Day with the sisters on Saturday. SUCH a productive week! 

It was one of those weeks where you don't necessarily learn a lot but instead one where all that learning is put into action and you make something happen. I was reading again in "The Teachings of Brigham Young" and again I LOVED it! He just has a way of putting into words what I've always believed but never knew how to say and never had anything to really back me up before. Anyway in chapter 3 he talks a lot about action, which is a topic I'm very fond of, and in it he says, "Our religion is not merely theory; it is practical religion, to bring present enjoyment to every heart." So I guess this week was really good for me :). Put everything into practice and now I have joy in my heart.

I have a very strong testimony of action. Not exactly where that came about, can't remember if I had it back home or if it got developed out here but man I'm passionate about it now! As everyone very well knows- I love Batman. In the movie "Batman Begins" he gave me another reason to love him, namely this quote: "It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me." I know a lot of people have a problem with this quote, but I love it. And so does Brigham Young, "Every act is first a temporal act." How did I get there? With what I've always lived by and what you taught me- many times the action will precede the feeling behind it.

On rare occasions we can get that desire to do something right first and then we act on it, but it doesn't really work that way for me. For me personally I have to start acting first before I desire to do it and I attribute that idea to how I've reached this point in my mission. Don't like contacting? Go out and do it while simultaneously trying to figure out how to like it. If you don't like doing it and you continue to focus on why you don't like something then nothing is going to change. But if you go at it with an attitude of learning to like it, then miracles happen. After a lot of time, you'll find the activity or commandment a huge blessing or privilege instead of a forced requirement or restriction.

Enge Beaver
Action also supplies us with protection and guidance. Brigham Young said, "Every individual that lives according to the laws that the Lord has given to his people, and has received the blessings that he has in store for the faithful, should be able to know the things of God from the things which are not of God." It's just the most beautiful gift ever! And really looking at it can't we replace action with free agency? If not they are at least inseparably bound together. NO WONDER we fought so hard to protect our agency in the Pre-mortal Existence!

Woah...that was cool :). I love getting inspiration as I write. Reminds me of one of the things I wanted to say actually. I was sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday and my thoughts were brought to Zion. I realized that Zion was a city, something a lot smaller than I was picturing. Then I thought of one of the smallest groups of people for a comparison and I thought of a neighborhood, specifically our neighborhood. Can you imagine if we as a neighborhood established that amongst ourselves/if that was how we all acted?! I love the image that comes to mind, so I think I'll continue to picture Zion like that for a while. And it all starts with doing something. No longer waiting to see what someone is going to do for you, but instead being preoccupied with doing something for someone else. Whether that be someone in the family or your neighbor doesn't matter. The more we serve others the more things fall into place and the more joy we find in life :). Least that's what I've seen. But never forget to take care of yourself! You can't save someone who is drowning if you don't have the strength to swim!

"I'm happy for my friends of all religions" 
Speaking of water- the rain has semi-stopped. One of the days this week the sun stayed out, but for the most part the sky is still trying to drown us. Hypothetically it should be getting colder from here on out, but the coldest months in the Netherlands are around February so I should be good for a while.

My companion is still fantastic and I'm loving my time with him :). We have a good pattern going on and we just balance each other out really nicely well bouncing off each other. This week we found two potential investigators! Legit ones! I was SO stoked to teach them. I haven't found a potential investigator in my own city in 5 transfers (so since February)! We've been given referrals and members have brought others to us, but as for finding through door knocking and street contacting that's true, or maybe I've just forgotten. Either way it's been at least 2 and I'm really excited to start teaching them. :) Especially this one lady. 

She was SUPER friendly and a lot of what she already believed matched up with the church. By the end of the conversation she looks at us and says, "After talking to you two, I feel like I'm missing something." So we set up an appointment with her. We had to reschedule it but hopefully it will be sometime soon!

Last thing for the day, yesterday was a very special day for
me. We were sitting in church, the gospel principles class,
The four of us who are still home
and we were talking about families and eternal marriages. The Spirit came over me SUPER strong and I remember just how much I miss my brothers! Not only that but I just miss you guys SO much! Luckily not in a bad way, it was actually a really spiritually up-building moment. 

Elder Cooper's brother,
currently serving in Romania
We teach investigators out here that "Because families are ordained of God, they are the most important social unit in time and in eternity. God has established families to bring happiness to His children, allow them to learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and prepare them for eternal life. The home is the best place to teach, learn, and apply principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A home established on gospel principles will be a place of refuge and safety. It will be a place where the Spirit of the Lord can abide, blessing family members with peace, joy, and happiness. "
That is SO true with our family! Everything I've ever learned, all my biggest lessons were learned there. Not only from the teaching but from what we did with each other. Merely from spending time with my brothers and playing with them I learned lessons like patience, how to lead councils, organization, the importance of making a plan and to put aside the things I really wanted to do to ensure that we all had a good time. Joy comes quicker when everyone is happy. 

These 3 playing their toys "practicing" so they
are ready to play with Elder Cooper.
He is their hero.
I value those memories and those lessons SO much. Memories I have of just going through life with you all teach me SO much. Both you and Dad never judging me, but love me unconditionally. The way you raised me has taught me of the love of God and of how He raises us here on earth.

So yeah, I am grateful for families. I cannot WAIT to get back to mine :)! But for now I help others get back to theirs and I finish my work here, cause I'm not done. There's still a lot left to do.

Love you all! I LOVED hearing about everything that's changing :) You're all growing up so fast! I can't wait to remeet everybody.Sam, Cody, Dallin SOOOO proud of you :). 

Elder Jonathon Cooper

Culture Note: Moving in the Netherlands is a PAIN! Especially if you're living in an apartment. See here in the Netherlands you are required by law, once you leave a residence, to strip it completely bare! Now this may just be for apartments but the idea is you need to rip out the flooring, tear off the wallpaper, everything has to go. Then the person or family who moves in has to redo everything. Great if the previous owner wrecked the place, but otherwise kind of just a pain. 

Mission Leadership Council (picture from the mission blog)

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