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!
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!
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.