Elder Jonathon Cameron Cooper was called to serve a 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is serving in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission speaking Dutch.
This blog was set up after a year of him already in the field. Current letters will be posted, and some past experiences shared in the tabs below along with current ones.
Elder Cooper wants to share his experiences, and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and his love for the people he is serving!
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 that...it'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'sactually your responibility to find so...how'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
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. Hehe...it's kinda like a video game if you think about it...