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 

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