Monday, October 27, 2014


I'M GOING TO HOORN!!!!!! Now for those of you who don't know Hoorn isa city in North Holland and guess which branch it belongs to? ALKMAAR!!!!! I'M GOING BACK!! Obviously I'm stoked :). 
But before I just go crazy with excitement I want to also say I'm going to miss Rotterdam. Already there have been some pretty hard goodbyes.
There have been a few families that were especially difficult, and I had to do both of them yesterday! One has
been like surrogate grandparents while I've been here. They reminded me so much of Grandma and Grandpa Cooper that it was so comforting to be at their home. It really helped me gain closure with the fact that both Grandma and Grandpa have passed away while I've been gone and I don't get to see them again in this life. So I listened to all of their stories and learned SO much. I talked with her and she is one of the sweetest ladies I know, with the purest heart. I grew so much being around those two and am very grateful for them.

Then the Vs. We had to go later in the evening so my buddy was asleep (remember the 4 year old girl I am really good friends with?) but before she went to sleep she wanted to say bye, so they recorded a video. :( I'm gonna miss her SO
Buddies from the beginning
much! Afterwards when I was taking pictures with them Br.V gave me the most amazing compliment I've ever received in my life and it felt like a got hit by a train of gratitude, love and the past 6 months. I love that family! They've been SUCH good examples to me and I really want to keep in good contact with them. Help me be good at this ya?

I also had to say goodbye to so others, including the man me and Elder Corsini taught that got baptized in July. Well this Saturday was their wedding! They'll be sealed in the temple in July but here in Nederland you have to get married by the law anyway. So it was really cool to be there on their special day.
I hope I appreciated it enough. It's not everyday those you teach and love get married and start an amazing life together. We got to have a really nice moment alone with them, helping with their wedding fotos and then one more at the end of the night. They're so awesome :) I am very grateful I was able to be a part their story for those few chapters. It was really special for me and I love them a lot.
There are others, but these were the ones that have already happened. I sure am going to miss this place. I've just grown SO much here, I will be forever grateful for Rotterdam and the people here who made it worthwhile. Goodbye Gotham! I'll miss you!Now it's off to Hoorn and I couldn't be more excited! It's been closed for awhile now, so I'll be opening it back up with a brand new elder. Yup, I'm training again for the last transfer! :)  But this time I feel a lot more ready than I did before. Wouldn't trade my other training experiences for anything but I'm glad I have the opportunity to experience this at this point in my mission.

The exchange with Elder Bishop was so great. You all know
how much I love being around that kid. We had this really cool
These two
moment together at the end of the exchange where we were sitting in the car listening to a beautiful instrumental hymn (Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy) and we realized that that moment was the calm before the storm. Things were about to get crazy but it was really nice to be able to spend a whole day talking and walking around Amsterdam with him. 
Well I love you all! Thanks for always being there for me and for being my family! Couldn't be where I am without you guys. Next time I write it'll be from "other home" (if you know what I mean). 

 Elder Cooper the Elder (instead of the Younger haha...missionary joke..haha....holla!)

Culture Note:  Weddings in Nederland. Pretty similar to those in America I'd assume but with a few differences. Haven't been to a lot of American weddings so I couldn't see all the differences but heres one I noticed.  In America we mainly congratulate the couple and the parents on the wedding. Here it's polite to congratulate any member of the family you come across whether it's a cousin, an uncle or a grandmother it is polite to congratulate them with "Gefeliciteerd". Now the only problem is, which ones are the family members?
Reunited for a minute before Elder Chantry heads home.
Great missionary, great friend, great family!

Monday, October 20, 2014


What an amazing week...I just can't even put in to words the joy I'm feeling right now. I cannot describe the feelings of gratitude and peace I feel. I love my life and life in general. I love where I live, where I grew up and where I am now. I love the people around me, the family that raised me and the people I learn from every day. I love the gospel, the "rules", the doctrine, the people, the Lord, I just love it all. How grateful I am for the Lord and the tender mercies He has given me. A life of complete dedication and consecration would not be enough in return for the blessings He pours out on me daily. I love my God :). 
I am grateful for a temple here in this land that I can go to
twice a year. I cannot believe how much I underestimated the temple before my mission. This Tuesday and Wednesday our mission was able to serve in the temple. It was probably the most special and sacred temple experience of my life. Everyone always told me the temple was a place of learning, a place to receive direct answers to my questions; I guess I just never had a question pressing enough to push me to try it out to see if it works. This time I did, and I got an answer. More important than the answer was the feeling of peace and wholeness which came through the Holy Ghost confirming the truth of the answer. It was unlike anything I had ever felt. It was SO strong. I know now, that the temple is the House of God and that there is more peace to be found there than any other place known to man. That is where I need to be more in my life. That needs to be become a priority for me when I get back.

Don't you just love how testimonies come like that? Little by little, piece by piece. Just goes to show that you don't need to know everything or have a testimony of everything to be a saint and to live the gospel. All you need is a love of God and a willingness to do the things He asks and everything else will start falling into place. If you do that then most times understanding will come with time and obedience. A lack of either of these two principles is a really easy way to ensure that you will never understand though which stinks cause they're the easiest things to ignore or forget!

I think love is like that too. It comes bit by bit. I realized that the other day. Sometimes is take time to truly appreciate what we have.  

I want to take this moment to say I am eternally grateful to Elder Krebs. He has taught me SO much and I owe him a ton!
One of my favorite lessons that he has taught me is how to communicate better. I always thought I knew how to do this because I know how to listen very well and respond accordingly, but that's not communication. Communication is "the imparting or exchanging of information" it is not one person receiving or one person giving it has to be two way- and I stunk at sharing my opinion. I always figured it was just better not to have one because that causes less grief but boy was I wrong. 

Without an opinion one gets tossed to and fro in the winds the world. Without an opinion your standards and values can switch in an instant and you can never truly feel good about things. At least I never could. 
I was always suppressing my feelings, emotions and opinions with some companions so they could have the "perfect companion" who always agreed with them, but that didn't help them at all! Sure they we had a great time together, but it could have been better. :) 
Elder Krebs pushes me to discuss with him. Ever since Itold him I wanted to work on this he's been really good at giving me situations with him where I can practice it. He's stretching me, and that's good. And what I love about him is he never just tells me what is wrong but always adds in what I need to do to fix it, which I am SO grateful for because without that it's just criticism and does no one any good. How are you supposed to change if you don't know how or what?

He's taught me how to teach, how to be a better leader and shown me these and so many other things merely by his example. He got me to relax again and sing normal songs (sometimes when we're in the car driving we'll just roll down the windows and sing at the top of our lungs songs that we both know. It's fun :) ). He's put my mind at ease. He has pushed me in ways I never thought possible and he's a good friend.  So that's him in a nutshell. Wouldn't have it any other way. 
(P.S. He also taught me that having different opinions isn't bad! I always used to think if you didn't come to a conclusion at the end of a conversation about who was right that it was a fight and that you were mad at each other. Really funny moment after one of our discussions where I apologized for being mean and he said, "Elder Cooper that's how conversations are supposed to go!!!" He explained how he wasn't even close to mad at me, we were merely having a conversation. Blew my mind haha :D). 

You know what topped this whole week off? A visit from Fam. D B! They were here on Sunday and it meant the world to
Love this kid and miss him like crazy!

me. It was like I was living in this little bubble of paradise the whole day. I got to hang out with Rayco, talk with Mama and laugh with Papa all the stuff I had expected and been looking forward to the entire day. Then came the surprise: Kelly came too!!! Oh how I LOVE this family! I don't even know if I can describe how good it was for my soul to see them again.
They made me a book mom :) filled with pictures of Alkmaar, them and us with them. It was amazing :) they all wrote on cards about how much they loved me and everything! Can't wait to show it to you.

Basically I had an amazing week. You seriously don't get much better than that. I love Rotterdam, I love my mission and I love life (at least this week ;) ). Hope everything keeps going good back home and if not we'll see what I can do when I get there in a few weeks ;). "Everyone put your trunky faces on!!!" - Elder Praag on his last day :). 


Elder Cooper 
aka Batman

P.S. Yes, I've lost weight...working on that.

Culture Note:
Streets are really different here. The main ones for freeways and highways are all asphalt but the second you hit a neighborhood it's cobblestone. Every time. They have these whole crews that do nothing but lay cobblestone when streets become uneven. When you have to drive over uneven cobblestone it's the worst! The car is already bumpy as is (thanks to the cobblestone) and then you add in the holes in the roads, the dips and the broken bricks that come with time and it's like a bumpy roller coaster.
K I'm exaggerating a little bit, but still. The base facts remain. 

 Picture from the Zoo
We found Noah's Ark 

Monday, October 13, 2014


Whew what a week! Just when you think life can't get any busier, you go and have a week like this. We've been stressed out of our minds this week haha. Yet 2 exchanges, 1 Sister Day, 1 young men's activity, 1 talent show, 1 rainy service project and hours of planning later we're still standing...mostly. :)

Elder Cooper and his dad on the big day! 
You know what I gained a testimony of this week? Keeping your baptismal covenant and keeping your mind and heart open to serve. I've recently come across a certain mindset that I really don't like, "That's not my job." Oooo those words grind my gears. To be fair there is a good side to those words as well.

For example. If you are part of the ward and you have a problem with the way the Bishop or teacher runs things it's not your job to go and try to change things. You can give constructive feedback, but not try to take over or push your own agenda. But that's not the kind I'm talking about, that's more like respecting and sustaining our leaders and teachers. What I'm referring more to is when someone is in need, life seems to be crushing in around them and they need a little help with their calling or their kids and a person refuses to help because "It's not my job". Well guess what, as members of the church it IS our job. The second you chose to be baptized you promised that your brothers and sisters would become "your job". You promise to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort but here especially you promised to "bear one another's burdens, that they may be light". So yes, it's your job.

Sorry, but I had to vent about that. Lets just say I've had
some personal experiences with that lately. It's hard for many to see outside this bubble and realize that being in a talent show, helping a woman, who is pregnant, and just trying to do her calling, setting up chairs, participating, those are all a part of missionary work.  I do not believe we get to say "that is not my job", but alas many believe differently and we all just try to work together in harmony, because I suppose that is part of it too. :) 

I learned a lot this week. I had quite a few really spiritual and powerful experiences some which I can share and others are
The early days with Sister Robinson.
Elder Cooper loves her very much. 
between me and the Lord. So on Wednesday, cause I had my last interview with Sister Robinson that I'll ever have. It was a really good one. We talked about my mission, what I had learned, how I had grown, etc. Then she described an analogy. We as missionaries are rubber bands, and we're brand new when we first come out. Then we get stretched really far, like as far as we can go. A lot of us have the thought, "I can't wait to go back to how it was before." but there's the thing with rubber bands, after they have been stretched so much they're not the same as when they were brand new. They're stretched out, bigger and usually have odd wavy patterns. Things don't get to go back to the way they were is what she explained. It's not what the Lord expects of us. 

He is expecting us to stretch. We come out here to learn how to stretch and how to grow from it and then we are supposed to go home and continue stretching. That's the challenge she issued to me. Keep stretching. Even when you're home, let the Lord give you opportunities that will stretch you and make you grow. Don't settle for comfortable. 
Don't stay un-stretched. 

No pressure or anything haha. I'm really nervous for that actually. I mean if we look at it, how much easier is it for a rubber band to stay unstretched? It takes 0 energy and it has some semblance of what it used to be. But we need the tension, we need the load, so we can be strong. I guess that's why we get hard things some times, to be stretched. To truly test who we'll rely on and who we'll turn to in the darkest hour of our greatest need. And how grateful I am, not only to have weathered the storms but looking back, to have been in the storm because it made me stronger and prepared me for what was ahead.

Finally, in church I had a really cool thought. We were learning about the spirit world, how we go their when we die and how close we are actually to those loved ones we've lost. They're all around us actually. Rooting us on, strengthening us, praying for us, watching over us. It made me realize a hidden gift and blessing in the passing of Grandma and Grandpa Cooper on my mission, even though it was tough.  I realized that they get to now fulfill a role in my life that I always saw them as in this life as well- spiritual support. They are there on the other side rooting me on, cheering for me, helping me stand up when I fall down and providing so much spiritual help for me. How lucky am I? To have two grandparents to care for me and my needs here and two to care for and support me there. 

I just love the Plan of Salvation :). Death need never be all encompassing. That's why we have Christ. It's why I'm trying to testify more of His resurrection and not only of His Atonement. Yes, He suffered for all our sins so we can be clean, so we can be healed and helped and understood, but the crowning moment was His resurrection. It's not His suffering that we celebrate, it's His life; His eternal and immortal life. We celebrate the fact that He triumphed over death so that we don't have to be eternally separated. He was resurrected so that we can be with our families for eternity. And through His resurrection we find eternal peace, joy, happiness and healing. I am forever grateful for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. How much more that event means to me now than ever before.

LOVE YOU ALL!! Keep on fightin' the good fight and I'll see you soon :).

Elder Cooper

Culture Note: The winter season is coming upon us! You
know what this means? Warm clothes? Snow? Santa? Yes of course, but more than that Stamppot! That's this delicious thing where you take mashed potatoes and mix it with all kinds of stuff. Some you'll have carrots and onions, some you'll have broccoli and others with bacon, etc. It's gotta be one of my favorite dishes here and they usually eat it only in the winter so I'm super excited :).

Monday, October 6, 2014


Hey! (If anyone gets what I quoted in the title I'll be proud cause it's really obscure) 

So, SUPER short e-mail today, I'm giving myself 15 minutes to write this one, even though 15 minutes ago we probably should have headed home. Why am I here then? Cause if I don't do it now then you don't get an e-mail this week, and that's not cool.

Elder Cooper what happened today? Oh, just the normal thing when you try to do something cool on a P-day- everything never fits. Something always gets crowded out and today unfortunately it was e-mailing. On the plus side, I got pictures mom! I hadn't really sent any before because- A: No time...literally. This is like the most stressful e-mailing period of my entire mission haha and B: I hadn't taken any worth showing. Not gonna lie, most of my pictures are simply of my view from the I'm trying to take more...I just struggling getting into the picture...haha (nervous laugh)...but I got some today, so here's hoping I'll have time to send a few.

Today we went and spent the day at the Rotterdam Zoo!
"I had to at least get one picture off to you!"
SUPER fun! We decided that's a fantastic place for a date in case anyone was wondering. It's just so gezellig, there's plenty of conversation topics all around you, it's relaxed, you get talking and one-on-one time, you can go with a big group, it's got everything. After walking around there the whole day we have to rush back to our car, drive twenty minutes to a would be appointment after dropping off the South Elders, drive back, pick them up and then head over to our dinner appointment. 

That was supposed to leave us plenty of time to e-mail, but here's the second half of the story:

An Elder, who I love, one of the funniest elders I know, and
sometimes a bit oblivious (in a good way) put himself in quite a situation. Well Sunday evening roles around and he and his companion are walking home from General Conference with a group of missionaries. Suddenly a Turkish man comes out of nowhere with a really nice racing bike and asks him if he wants to buy it for 50 euros. K, it's a NICE bike. Like easily worth 300 or more. Everyone in the group can obviously see that this bike has been stolen...but it never even crossed this Elder's mind.

So he starts haggling with the man (I think originally to get him to go away) and tells him he only has 20 euros. They start going back and forth while all the other missionaries are desperately trying to tell him the bike is stolen but none of it is reaching him. The man agrees to 20 euros but says he needs something else with it. So what does Elder Hunt do? He gives him a Book of Mormon! :D The man takes the twenty, gives him the bike and runs off. Only then does it begin to dawn on this awesome Elder: I just bought a 300 euro bike for 20 euros, that man probably stole it! The man is long gone at this point so there's nothing to be done. And then the second point dawns on him- it's the Sabbath! He just did that all right after conference!

Tonight we had to go pick up that bike and shove it in the back of our car and take it to Rotterdam South...while a few were squished with it on their laps in the back. Thus our P-day came to a close and now I am here. Least we got a good story out of it right? :)

As for everything else, it's going fine. My minutes are up so I can't really go into detail. Work continues, we're staying super busy every day and I'm working through everything that comes my way. I've prayed so hard, for a few weeks now, that Heavenly Father will help me be prepared for when I go home, didn't know what that would entail completely, but sometimes I guess we should be careful what we pray for. haha. :)  We have temple conference coming up next week so I hope that helps :), but either way I'll go through whatever because I know it will help eventually. :)

Love you all! I feel so bad I can't write back to everyone. Please send them my love and appreciation. Hope everything keeps going well! Thanks for always loving me and taking care of me!

Elder Cooper

Culture Note: Elevators. In America the ground floor is labeled as the first floor. It makes sense. You want to get out you hit the 1. Simple. Not here. Their ground floor is 0. So when you walk into an elevator and have the habit of just hitting the 1 for two years it gets pretty old. Haha.