Monday, November 24, 2014


 Well, I've been humbled again :) See I had a little bit of  "carbon-monoxide pride" this week. 

I don't know if you all remember that analogy I drew a little
while ago, but man I got hit with it hard. I've been SO prideful this transfer! Not that I've thought I'm better than other people, but I've been prideful in my insecurities. This desire to do good, be good, sometimes gets the best of me. One of the good parts of noticing and appreciating the good in others, is,... I notice and appreciate the good in others. :)  That is great until I let my pride settle in and then I decide to be extra hard on myself. 

I just wasn't feeling good about myself at all cause of that, which is dumb quite honestly, I was comparing myself after all, but hey, it's how I felt. What I finally had to do was humble myself. Thankfully the Lord helped me to do this. He showed me that I needed humbling, I know you all think I'm just hard on myself, but truly it is pride. Why did I feel bad because of certain things? Because I wasn't them. I didn't feel good enough, and I wanted to be better.

Those are such tricky lies. They come off as emotions that push you to want to be better but truly that is Satan. The ONLY person we should ever be allowed to compare ourselves to is ourselves. We have no right to compare ourselves to others, we've had completely different lives! The Lord needs different things from us. Of course I can't fight like Batman, I didn't devote 7 full years of my life to learning how to fight crime! (Just go with it :) Unfortunately though, it's the easiest thing to do and I had to really work hard this week to keep it all in check.

I even brought it up with Elder Hunter yesterday, which l am SO glad I did. We had a really good talk and we'll be setting some goals on how we can start working for Heavenly Father instead of working just for me, or for him. We want to become "us" and not "I" if that makes sense. Gosh I'm grateful for this companionship :). He's SO willing to work on these things and make changes and adjustments where necessary, and so am I. 

Yes I'll be singing on Wednesday at the Zone Conference with Elder Hunter and Elder Silva (Elder Bishop's companion) and it's going to be AMAZING! Elder Hunter is really working us hard to make sure it is good so I'm looking forward to it.

Now before you think it was only a difficult week, think again! So much good happened this week, we actually had an AMAZING week, I just struggled internally for a snap. For example, we hosted a fireside this week. The ward took care of the food and we took care of the fireside. We used a talk from Elder Whetton in April 2005 and took sections of it out. In between these sections we showed Mormon Messages, sang, and had people bear testimony, kind of like a Primary Program. It was super powerful and we all felt the spirit really strong. It was also cool because there were several non-members there who also really enjoyed it.

And then there was the Turkey Bowl which was SO fun! I love
Elder Cooper and President Robinson
that I've learned to love sports out here on the mission. When you're not competing with professionals it's a blast! I can't wait to keep up that habit back home! President Robinson even came and played with us :D that man plays hard! He seriously is the best. I'm gonna miss seeing him around pretty soon. 

So many other miracles happened this week, but I don't have enough time or ability in e-mailing to give you enough background to have you truly appreciate how awesome these miracles were. So I'll just have to tell you all in person one day or let you read this week in my journal.

Love you all! Thank you for your support and your never ending love! I owe you everything for that! Hope everything continues to go well! Till next week!

Love, Elder Cooper

Culture Note:
On November 11th is a holiday known as Sint-Maartens. I don't know where it comes from or what the meaning is behind it but it's the closest thing they have to a Halloween. No one dresses up but kids go from door to door with these paper lanterns and they have to sing a song at the door. If they do that they get candy and they put it in their bag. I'll have to do some more research on that, but that's about all I know about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Hey everyone!

Lots of thoughts going through my head this week but I only got room to share a few of them.

Elder Hunter and I were talking the other day and he was expressing his beliefs when it comes to talents. I gotta say I
COMPANIONS (thanks for the picture Elder Hunter)
LOVE it! So much so that I wanted to share it. The idea is as follows- every one of us is given talents. Many of these are gifts of the spirit and our given to us by God. This we know. There is not a single child of God anywhere on this planet that doesn't have a least one talent, so if you think that, stop lying to yourself and ask someone (Heavenly Father is also a safe bet) and be grateful for the new talent you'll discover in yourself.

Some may not seem like talents at all. We often think of things like the ability to sing or play football or the gift of healings or visions, but all too often (at least for myself) it's harder to recognize the other ones. The ability to love, the gift of listening, the ability to be alone, the gift of being passionate about something, the ability to use Facebook, the gift of being a calming influence, things of that nature. All of these are vital in our Heavenly Father's plan.

According to this idea (I'm hoping one day to find doctrine to back this up...) every single one of these gifts or talents has been given to us for the purpose of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the four corners of the earth. Just think of that. No wonder Christ gives the parable of the talents and invites us all to increase them, in other words- develop our talents and abilities; for that is what will ultimately help us share the gospel.

Now it makes it SO much simpler to be a missionary! If we will but develop our talents and then do our best to consecrate them to sharing the gospel in our own way, and share them as often as we can then we can touch SO many lives and help SO many people come unto Christ.

Elder Hunter is just fantastic. I have been blessed in my mission, to be put with some companions that are incredible in their knowledge of the gospel and their dedication to Heavenly Father. Seriously. I learn SO much from them definitely. I only hope I can help them grow as much as they help me. 

My plan now is really trying to continue to own who I am.
Helping the with a Young Women lesson.
Thanks for the picture Carmen :)
Heavenly Father has tried SO many times to drill that into my head, I just can't seem to get it to stick. Or maybe it did stick but now I'm just having to be ok with who I am at the level that I am at. Either way, it's good for me and I'll come out stronger in the end for it :).

See now THAT'S something weird about this end phase- the digression. You spend these two years and receive help from on high to overcome your weaknesses, to develop needed abilities and to make you as solid a missionary as possible. Then the digression phase. Everything that was put on pause for these two years is beginning to come back to me. 

Yeah, just a fun fact. It's like a former missionary here said about coming home: "A mission shows us our potential, everything we can become. And then we spend the rest of our lives trying to get back to that point." Don't know if that's true, but either way it's something worth fighting for.

Two last things before I finish. The first is an appointment that we had with Family Tee. We went over there to share a spiritual message on the Restoration. We had been previously invited to share the message of the Restoration with everyone we taught this transfer and had felt really prompted to share it with them that night. So we set up a last minute appointment and headed over there after our dinner with the Branch President and his son. Little did we know that after we left they went there too! They went by car though so they beat us there.

While the Pres. 't Hoen and Br. Tee worked on his scooter we taught Zr. Tee and her son Le the first lesson. The branch president's son J sat in on the lesson and while Zr. Tee went to grab her son from upstairs I felt prompted to ask J to share his testimony in the lesson and he agrees.

We share the message of the Restoration and finish telling about the First Vision. We turn to J and ask him to bear his testimony and he does. The spirit was SO strong! J is only 12 years old but the spirit testified through him that night in a
powerful way. What was even better was earlier that day Zr. Tee had been talking with her son about that very subject and they were discussing how to gain a testimony because he wants one for himself (he's somewhere around 9 or 10 I think...). J then looks at him and shares the story of how he gained a testimony of the gospel and extended a hand of fellowship to help Le gain a testimony of his own.

It was a powerful night :) and I was SO proud of J. Seriously such a good kid. And I think it was good for him too. You can never feel the power of the Restoration too much in your life. It's not possible. We should be striving every day for small or big confirmations of that event and if we do we will Always remain steadfast.

Also, this week, I was able to spent time with some of my favorite missionaries. It truly has been a blessed week! 

Last thing- never under appreciate how important and special this life is. It truly is a gift. I don't exactly know what it means to be 'perfect', in reference to how Heavenly Father is, but I do know one thing. The thing that will bind us together through eternity to our families and our spouses will be the time we spend on earth. If it so be that everyone looks the same and acts the same in heaven it won't even matter because the people you love will be special because that's who you spent your life with, that's who you experienced earth with. So live every moment! Stay as close to those you love as possible and never let them go because now is a precious time and will make all the difference in the end.
LOVE YOU ALL!!! Thanks for loving me back by the way haha :). You're the best!

Elder Cooper 

Culture Note: The Sint arrived in the Netherlands! After sailing in his boat from Spain, Sinter Klaas is here again and guess where he visited? Hoorn! There me and Elder Hunter are, riding home when a parade of Zwarte Piets came walking through the crowd followed by the Sint on his white horse. The marched all around the centrum, even right by our
apartment, and put on a show in the middle. All the kids were dressed up as little Piets and went to see the concert. But it wasn't just little kids, there were a lot of adults there too. The show seemed great. Although we were not able to attend we were serenaded by the tunes of "Zwarte Pieten Style" (to the tune of Gangham Style :) ) as we ate.

The tradition here is that on the 15th of November Sinter Klaas arrives in Nederland and that night all the kids set their klompen out to receive candy from him. They actually have very religiously based holidays over here. Next week I'll have to tell you their Halloween equivalent: Sint-Maartens.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Dear the Family,
I'm doing fantastic right now, Sometime bipolar about the whole going home thing, but I'm good. :) 
So basically the only reason Hoorn got shut down was because we ran out of missionaries for a little bit there. There was a bigger group that went home and they didn't have enough to place any there, at least that's what I've heard. 

Thus far it's been going really well. We're finding people, teaching a lot, everything is on the up and up here. Alkmaar
Happy Birthday Elder Hunter
and Hoorn are both in the same branch, yes, and we definitely had like two parties for Elder Hunter so no worries. Not really good at taking care of that stuff, but I did it as best as I could :). Hope my wife is good at's like Papa said yesterday. He was explaining how he's no good at remembering birthdays or special events, so he has Mama remember them and just tell him what to go get and what to do. What a team those two.
Ah man that just reminded me! We had SUCH a good Sunday yesterday! It was Unit Conference so the Stake Presidency came to Alkmaar with our High Councilor Representative. They rocked it. Seriously, every talk and
every lesson was just exploding with the spirit and thus with power. Maybe I was just obsessed because I'm a missionary, but the whole thing was about missionary work. The four themes that were taught on:
1. While missionaries will always have to do finding, they are set apart to teach others the gospel and the primary responsibility for finding rests on the members.
I figured this one out on my mission really quickly, but as a missionary it's not exactly something you can teach on you know? Can you just picture the missionary now? "Well, it's actually your responibility to find's that going?" Euuhhh I shudder at the thought. So to have a member teach on that was amazing! It was like an awkward unspoken truth was finally put out there in the open and was so refreshing. I know this family, and they are just incredible people. 
2. We as members of the church (and of course as missionaries) should always have a missionary mindset.
It's like Joseph Smith said, “After all that has been said, the greatest and most importantduty is to preach the Gospel.” That's something I want to be more concious of back home. No matter where I go or what I'm doing I really need to make sure I'm looking for every opportunity to share the gospel in word and deed and never be afraid to share it with my closest friends.
3. The leaders of our church are all inspired and should be followed with the utmost diligence.
He compared it to Moses and the children of Israel, our leaders are meant to lead us out of the different types of
slavery we get wound up in; one of those being comfort. He explained that our leaders (especially the prophets) are there to lead us from our comfort zone and guide us through the uncomfortable but worthwhile journey to the Promised Land. (See Exodus14:12 and other examples in that book). We all know that in the end it was worth it for them so we should also try our very best to do what the children of Israel (and many of us) struggled to do- follow the inspiration of our leaders, especially when it is difficult.
4. To achieve great things we have to be willing to pay the price. How much are we willing to pay for what we want?
He talked about how we all need to be sure to set goals and keep our eyes focused on those goals, but not only that- we have to be willing to pay the price to reach those goals we have set. The more you're willing to pay, the faster the progress. But paying is painful, in other words no pain, no gain. He encouraged us all to set goals and be willing to pay whatever price was asked and no matter how painful or uncomfortable it was.
That was unit conference :) really powerful and I loved every second. Then there was this really cool moment for me after it was over. The Stake President found me afterwards and asked me to tell him a little bit about myself. So I did and we started talking (by the way, awesome example this man. He can make everyone feel like they're cared about while at the same time getting things done. Least he did for me). When he learned I was going home soon his face lit up and he said he had to tell me something: how to choose my wife.
Yeah...that was an intense moment hahahaha! But his advice was SO solid and I have a testimony of what he promised, that if I ask myself these three questions before choosing my wife and the answers all match up accordingly, your marriage will be a success and you will experience a lot more happiness in it.
Question One: Can you picture her raising your children?
That is to say- can you see the way she will raise them and is that what you want for your children? Is it what they'll need?
Question Two: Can she pick you up when you are down?
Basically, will she push you when you're out of energy, will she cheer you up when you're sad, will you share burdens together? Stuff like that.

Questions Three: Does she keep you standing on your toes?
Now that's a Dutch saying so I'll explain it a little more. Does she naturally push you in a way that makes you want to be better every time you are around her? And are you a better person when you are with her?
He told me these were the secret to the success of his marriage. He's been married 23 or so years and says he's loved every second of it.

I love the families here and I'm so grateful for their examples and love. 
ALWAYS GRATEFUL TO BE FED. (Thanks to the families who send and post pictures, we love you)
I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Keep being awesome and never forget I love you and am praying for you!
Elder Batman Cooper
Culture Note:
Mail Time, Mail Time, MAAAIIIILLL TIIIIIIIIME! (If anyone can get that musical quote I'll be very impressed).
So here's how mail works here: Mailboxes doen't exist for the most part. Usually there is just a slot in your front door where the mail people can slip your letters in. That leaves the
question, well how do I send letters? Just stick it in the door? Nope. What you have to do is either A: find the closest post office to your house or B: Look for the Orange Box nearest you.
What that is is this decent sized contraption where everyone can stick their letters in. They are scattered all throughout the Netherlands and are most of the time very handy cause you can just keep the letter on you at all times and send it when you find one. It just stinks when you can't find one and have to ride all over the city looking for the color orange so that it will hopefully be one of those boxes.'s kinda like a video game if you think about it...

Monday, November 3, 2014


My new son's name is Elder Hunter, and yes he's from Scotland. You may remember him from Priesthood Session of general conference. He's the one who sang the solo. Yup.
Elder Cooper and Elder Hunter
Grateful for families who send pictures :) 
He's SO COOL! You know those times where it just clicks? That's us. We're SO similar! He's done a lot of singing and musicals in his life, he's worked a lot in church things like the Nauvoo Pageant and he's thinking of doing something in film later. We have our differences I'm sure, but we've done nothing but laugh, party and work hard since we've gotten to Hoorn. 

Being back. Ah, it's SO great! I feel like I never left. However, I feel like everything is more potent than before. These people just have so much of my heart that every little success feels like an overwhelming wave of joy and love that nearly makes you pass out and every loss feels like I swallowed a bunch of termites and they're devouring me from the inside out. Needless to say I'm on kind of a roller coaster adjustment right now, but I'll be just fine. :)
The fabulous four back in the day when Elder Bishop and
Elder Cooper were Zone Leaders in Alkmaar and Elder Pouwer
was in Hoorn. Now the two have switched places.

You're right the Zone Leaders
Leaders are in Alkmaar and you'll never guess who they are, Elder Bonney and Elder Pouwer! If you look back you'll see that me and Elder Pouwer have basically switched places! :D So that's been really cool. It's literally like I never left this place or that I just went on vacation for awhile and that I'm finally getting home. I feel like this situation is literally the best way Heavenly Father could have prepared me for going home. Obviously it will be different, but I imagine the emotions will be similar: lots of pain, but endless joy. Every situation seems to be getting me more and more prepared for the transition, so it's cool to see that working hard here is actually getting me ready for home there.

One thing I did not miss as a Zone Leader was Greenie 
Butt...that's been fun. For all who do not know, that term is what we use when you first start riding a bike every day. Let's just say it's not the most pleasant feeling in the world. haha, but I love being a missionary!

Elder Hunter is seriously a champ. He's SO prepared for a mission it's unreal. He knows what he needs to be doing but is open to learning and correction. If there's anything I've learned on a mission it's that that is the key to life. Without that attribute you better buckle down for a bumpy ride because it's gonna get tough. It's still tough if you have it but you'll be able to bend with the punches instead of breaking.

My favorite part about this whole situation is, I will be better at what I'm doing this time. I feel I will be a better trainer than before. Wanna know the secret? You stop being a trainer and just be his companion. The first time, I tried to teach with words, the second time I tried to teach through his actions, but this time I'm trying to teach by example. My whole thought process is to simply treat him as a normal missionary companion. Get out there, do the work and when he has questions you answer, because it's only when others ask that they are truly open for learning.

It's been going great. There's no trainer, trainee tension. We're just friends and we work super hard :).  This week we've had to take care of a lot of random things, which has cut into our work time but we're both REALLY looking forward to this week where we can just work, work, work!!

Yeah...especially in Hoorn nothing happened for Halloween.
Elder Cooper's little brother
They're just not that into it here. They are enough to the point where the costume shops that always existed start bringing in Halloween costumes and the stations and stores decorate accordingly, but as a missionary you're never in a place where anyone dresses up and no one goes trick-or-treating. Quite honestly I forgot it was Halloween...haha. Sam's costume looked sick though :). 
We went to the DBs which was great. It was so relaxing being with the family again and I loved it.  I truly love all the people here. This branch has a huge piece of my heart, and I want only good things for all of them. 

I have a huge desire to help families be together for eternity. I always have, and I know that is what brings true happiness.  I've prayed and fasted for that more than anything I've ever prayed and fasted for...but maybe that's the issue. Maybe I should stop praying for people to change their minds and I should start praying and Fasting for inspiration on what should be doing to help them; on how I can exercise my agency. Ha! Inspiration. I'll try that and see how it goes.

Glad to hear everyone is still doing ok. Send them all my love ok? I'm stoked to see you all again, but right now I got a little bit more work to do here and I'm excited about it. ;) 
Elder Cooper