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 AM SO TIRED!!! I can't even explain it. All I want to do is lay down and just die for a few hours haha :D! I guess that's good though right? This week has been really really intense spiritually speaking.
So we had a Zone Conference this week with Elder Moreira
Thankful that Elder Hunter takes pictures :)
on Wednesday and we were scheduled to do the intermediate hymn. Well we had been practicing it for two weeks, once or twice a week, and we took Tuesday to work out all the kinks and make it amazing. Definitely paid off, and I had a really cool experience with it. We were almost finished practicing on Tuesday when we decided to take a second (thanks for Elder Hunter), and study the first two sections of Joseph Smith History, pray for a reconfirmation and then come back and sing it again.
It was a really cool and special experience. I Prayed to open and then I studied. I read the words and I felt the spirit, but there wasn't any really big experience. At this time I was dealing with some really crazy emotions. I was especially thinking about recent converts, church drama, and those who I love more than life itself and just thinking, "Gosh is it worth it all? So much pain, frustration, sorrow, all for what?". Sometimes you just get tired of it I guess, and I think that's normal, but you have to work through it.
Anyway that's what I had in my head as I read it. And after the first time, nothing to crazy, just what felt like normal feelings with the spirit added. Then the idea came (aka the spirit whispered) to read the last few verses again. I did so and felt all the tenseness and sorrow and annoyance wash away when I felt the words, "That's why you do it".
That's what it's all about. That's why we serve in the church, that's why we sacrifice, that's why we struggle and fight every step of the way, because this is real! This isn't some fun little game or pass-time to be indulged in when you feel good or feel like you need it. This church means everything and what we do/how we act within it will determine SO much more than anything else this world has to offer because it is the true church of Jesus Christ restored again on the earth! And everything in our lives should revolve around the gospel that it preaches; for it truly is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the only way we can be saved in the kingdom of God. The only way we get to be with those that we love forever, never again to be separated.
That's what I felt at that time and my greatest desire was that
It was good to see Heidi who is now serving a mini-mission. :) So proud of her.
through this song somebody else in the audience would have a similar experience and be even more converted to the gospel. Well we got there on Wednesday and I was really nervous. Our time came and we just sung. We sung and angels sung with us. You could just feel it. The spirit was powerful. The song ended and the room was silent. The next speaker got up with tears beginning to appear on his face. He shared his testimony with us and what did he say in it? He thanked us, then shared that the song had really pierced his heart and testified that that song represented what it was all about and testified of the importance of the restoration and of this work. It was amazing. And on that spiritual high, Elder Moreira got up and spoke to us! The song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEZS8PfPSBs#t=56
That man's great, if any of you were wondering. The things he taught us changed my life forever! He changed the way I am ever going to approach anything ever and how I'm going to face ever single day and night for the rest of my life. Maybe I'll touch on that later, we'll see.
Anyway, after the conference we are talking to him and he asks us to come to the conference the following day and perform it again. So we did and stayed for the whole conference. What was really cool was this gave me and Elder Bishop the opportunity to say goodbye to everyone on the mission. Usually you just disappear with only your zone knowing but thanks to the tender mercies of the Lord we were able to say goodbye to everyone we love.
Now we arrive at the end of the week and work as hard as we can to get some work done. We did but in different ways. We delivered some letters, supported our loved ones and played some volleyball! :) Geez I love that sport!
And then there's the other half of the spectrum. My heart is getting torn in two and it hurts! :( All I want is to stay here, but I want to go home just as badly! Why can't we all just live in the same place? I don't want my heart to be split in two...but I guess it has to happen. Can we just make sure I get back here as fast as possible? I can't stand the thought of not being here. It's like you said in the blog: "I will tell you that he loves the people he is serving and they are now part of our family. I am grateful for all those who have become a part of his heart. Once you are there, you stay there forever. That's how he rolls!" That truly is how I feel, and I hope that they all know it.
I can already say I'll be crying for the 6th time in my life this weekend, I don't know, maybe the Lord will give me the strength to be strong and hold them in haha. Hm...just had a thought. Maybe the time is coming that they no longer need an Elder Cooper, but Jonathon Cooper. My time as a missionary is ending, but I will always be here as their brother/son/friend. I already know that no matter what I am called, I am always going to need them in my life. I couldn't live without them, or this place, just as much as I can't live without you guys. That's what eternal families are.
LOVE YOU ALL!!! More than you'll ever know.
Elder Joco Cooper
Culture Note: Winking is a LOT more common in Europe than it is in America. I still feel really self-conscious doing it but here you get winked at all the time. It has less of a flirty connotation here. I once heard it described as "When someone winks at you, it's like they're sharing a secret with you." and he went on to describe how effective it was when you contact old people homes. Haha :) never tried it, but I'm going to this week!
Examples of when they wink:
Person 1 just told a joke, everyone is laughing, Person 2 looks at Person 1 and Person 1 winks.
Train Conductor coming by to check your tickets and winks before taking your card. After checking gives it back.
Sitting across from your companion you make eye contact and he winks at you while rubbing the seat next to him...oh wait...that's just me and Elder Hunter ;) haha!