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!
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.
BACK TO BIKE!!
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 I 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. ;)