"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!" ---D&C 128:19

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week 3 Is In The Books!!!

(This is everyone in the computer lab...)

Hey you guys! Week 3 is in the books. Not much has happened since we last talked. As one Elder put it, "the MTC honeymoon has worn off." I'm sick though. I have no doubt that I got it from one Elder who has been sick since like day 5 and as far as I know has not been to a doctor. I'm fine. It's more of a nuisance than anything else, I just hope I start feeling better soon because speaking the harshest language in the MTC while your sick is no fun. The MTC choir is going to be singing in priesthood. They can only take so many though and I ended up not making it. Three other elders in my district did though so that's cool. We had to take a survey and rate ourselves and considering that I have never sang in high school choir and can't read music well enough to sing to it, I didn't like my chances.

But enough bad news. Some good stuff did happen this week. I got to perform in the choir that sang to an apostle that came yesterday. The apostle was M. Russel Ballard. It's crazy because I think most missionaries go through the whole MTC not hearing from an apostle and I've heard two. Since conference is so close it must be because they're all in town. Needless to say I'm grateful. He talked about being a missionary (duh). One of my favorite parts of it was when he talked about how important it is to remember the worth of souls. Elder Ballard explained that behind every person, is a soul. However bad that person may be, God loves them and it would mean so much to Him to have them back. One of the funniest parts was when he said "When you get to be my age, the alarm goes off and you think 'wow I'm still here guess I'd better get up.' and then you go and do the best you can." The last thing he talked about that I'll share is how from time to time he will hold personal interviews with himself and evaluate where he really is, and if he is giving the best he can. 
Another cool thing that happened this week is our teacher, Brother Norton, wanted to have one on one time with each of us, trying to get to know us better. He started with me yesterday and I really enjoyed it. He gives the most amazing lessons and has a fascination with the gospel it just rubs off. In this one on one session I asked him how you teach investigators that believe that every church is good and that it doesn't matter as long as you believe in God. The reason why I asked is because we got a new "investigator" and those are his beliefs. We turned to Preach My Gospel and looked at a section that talked about listening. He explained that one of the characteristics of a successful missionary is to listen and to discern what the concerns of an investigator really are. Brother Norton talked about how in his mission (he served in Suriname) he would have upwards of 7-8 appointments a day, there was no way he was able to make lesson plans, it would get too complicated. He said that what they did instead was have a topic that they wanted to talk about and then trust in each other to say the right things. What this did was force them to listen to each other and also to listen to the investigator. He explained that when you listen to the investigator and then form your thoughts from there you make them pay attention because your talking about their life, and their concerns. It reminded me of what you would say, Dad. How when you're at work you have to be willing to listen to the customer and listen to their concerns and help them to feel comfortable about it all. Needless to say I really enjoyed it and it made me set the goal to really not focus so much on trying to teach everything in the lesson or everything we had planned, but rather to focus on what the investigator needs. It's tough because we still aren't perfect with the language and what we want to say sometimes can't be said the way we want it to. 
Anyways, Week 3 in the books, it doesn't feel like I've been here for that long. As far as visa stuff goes I don't think we get to hear about it until like the weekend before we leave which is frustrating but it is what it is. 
Love, Elder Cooper

(These two pictures are my submission to National Geographic...)
Take a look at the bees...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Letter #2 from the MTC

Me and Elder Paul Lebaron, a friend from High School

This is my district...
 From left to right: Elder Bowen, Elder James, Me, Elder Dibb with the mask and Elder Carpenter peeking from behind the wall. We all have water bottles with a hole in the cap or squirt guns so we can wage war with the other elders in our zone. 

A fort we made in our room last night celebrating P-day eve.

Hey you guys! It sounds like everyone has a ton of questions, which is good because there is not so much to write about this week as there was last week. 

For starters though I think I need to tell everyone that mtcdelivery.com works. I think the modern age has ruined communication cause I hear elders around campus saying stuff like "I don't think my family got my letters." and then people who write me say they don't think I got their dear elder letters. I feel bad because I can't always write a letter back right away but I promise I get the letters people send on mtcdelivery.com and it's honestly the best to hear from you guys. So if you guys have like a funny story you just need me to hear, write it on dear elder and I promise I'll get it the next day. We check our mail twice a day.
Anyways, I'll answer the blitzkrieg of questions that I got.
1. Who are your roommates? Where are they from?
All of my roommates are from Utah except one who's from Pennsylvania. (The one is Lizzy's stake) I realized I didn't give descriptions to the email last week so I'll try to do better there.
2. When do you go on temple walks? 
We do temple walks every Sunday but they don't like us telling what time since people like to meet their parents who "just happened to be there." Every P-day we go to the temple, last week we did initiatory's, and today I think we are planning on doing endowments.
3. How is the Dutch coming? Do you have to speak Dutch all the time? 
Dutch is coming along more and more. We are now starting to learn some complex sentence structures which is exciting. Every other day or so we will have a lesson with an "investigator" (just our teachers pretending to be an investigator) those lessons are all in Dutch. Other than that we can speak as much English as we want unless the teacher asks us to speak Dutch.
4. How is the food at the MTC? Have you gained weight? 
The food is good. Just a ton of carbs which explains why elders gain so much weight. I came into the MTC about 154 pounds and when I weighed myself today it was 157 so there ya go. As far as eating the wrong food and getting sick I don't think there is anything to that. Just as long as you don't eat the fish they make sometimes. haha. There is a cold going around though, I've managed to avoid it so far so that's good.
5. What time do you wake up every morning?
The schedule says bedtime at 10:30 wake up at 6:30 but it's closer to go to bed at 11:00 for us. It's not so bad when there is about an hour or so before gym so we just get breakfast and then fall right back asleep.
6. How many missionaries will be in Suriname? 
There was 20 missionaries when we arrived and 6 more left just last week. So with all of us together there are 30 or so missionaries. 
7. Are you O.D.ing on the snacks we are sending you? 
I love receiving packages from you guys, and I don't think I've missed one but I think it'd be better to send letters for about a week so we can catch up with all the candy we have. Plus I like hearing about your guys' life more than the candy. Haha

The highlight of this week was easily having an apostle speak to us for tuesday night devotional. Richard G. Scott was the apostle and he spoke a lot about prayer. The talk was broadcasted to all the MTC's around the world which was sweet. We stood up when he entered and everyone took a ton of notes. My favorite part was when he shared a scripture that said "Whatsoever ye shall ask the father in my name shall be given you, that is expedient for you." Basically what that means is that when we ask the Lord for blessings or help he will give it to us. If we need it. I think sometimes we lack the patience or the faith that God has a plan for us and he knows what's best for us. So this week I'm going to try and be more patient and know that if I don't receive the answer right away I either don't need it, or I don't need it right at that moment. 

I'm sorry this email is more of a Q&A type email rather than me just saying a whole bunch of stuff that I feel. But not much happened besides an apostle for Tuesday night so it's cool. 
I think we just try and make stuff fun here at the MTC since it can get very routine. (Hence the funny pictures) 
Tots iens (Good Bye)
Love Elder Cooper

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lost Letter Arrived

We knew that Cole had written us a letter. But it was taking forever to get here. We thought it had gotten lost in the mail. After receiving his email this morning we got a bonus letter in the mail!

1st Real Letter From the MTC

Hey you guys!! Thanks so much for your emails! PDay is the best...new sheets, clean gym clothes, and time to write home. It's such a big deal that the other elders in the zone read a poem out loud that is dedicated to PDay. It's sweet. I'm in a trio companionship which is really nice at least to start, because when we teach we do not have to worry about saying so much stuff in Dutch. We taught an investigator that only speaks Dutch on like the second day!! I'm not sure if he's an actual investigator or not but either way we still have to do our best and it's a struggle to answer questions he has. Our lessons are highly scripted which can make it difficult because that's not how your supposed to teach. It's gotten better though. We can understand a lot more about what our teachers and investigators say so it helps when we want to answer questions. It's still tough because our vocab needs work, and I'm pretty sure our grammar is worse than a 2 year old.
I like the guys in my district. There's five of us to a room and we are all going to Suriname. We get along well and have some funny stories. Both of my companions are the only two people we knew were coming to the same mission before I left so that's kinda cool. (That's WAY cool!!)
A typical day here is wake up, get a sack breakfast and eat, go to gym for an hour where you can work out or play basketball, get dressed, go to class, lunch, class, dinner, class, and then bed. We spend so much time in class and almost three quarters of the time is spent studying or practicing the language. The other time is spent in personal study, which is nice because it's in English. The other Elders that speak Dutch have been really encouraging and helpful in helping us figure out what we can do to learn the language quicker. it was funny because about four days after we came in the other Surinamese Elders were getting packed and ready to leave. But at around 10 they came into our room and read us a pretty cool poem. Apparently two elders before the ones that just left were good poets so they've handed down that tradition of reading them. The other tradition for Dutch speaking Elders is to sing a Dutch funeral hymn. It has like the happiest tune but it's for a funeral and I've only ever heard it in Dutch. It basically means, "We shall meet again." I'm pretty sure that's what it means. 
It's been an amazing spiritual experience as well. On Sunday we had the chance to go to our choice of  a film showing. Everyone that had been here before told us to go to the film called, "Character of Christ" which is a devotional talk Elder Bednar gave a couple years ago on Christmas Day. It apparently is only shown here at the MTC which is kinda lame because I think it'd be really cool for you guys to see it. Because it's a devotional talk Elder Bednar can say some things that he otherwise wouldn't say. For example, he talked about how he thinks the epitome of the natural man is the cookie monster...(Will have to go into more detail later...)It was great because you don't get to see that side of him during Conference. Basically what the talk was about is how Christ never once turned inward and started to feel sorry for himself. He always kept his integrity. He said for the most part you gotta find out examples for yourself but he did give one. The example he gave is how after the Savior had fasted for 40 days he was then tempted by Satan, and the midst of all that temptation and obvious struggle for fasting so long, the scriptures talked about in the footnotes how Christ sent ministering angels to John while he was in jail. Elder Bednar talked about how while we are on our mission we need to turn outward instead of inward. He even went so far as to say, "Get over yourself!" Which was honestly the funniest thing. It was cool to see that side of him. I enjoyed the talk, needless to say. 
Other than that there is not much to say about this week. The only thing I don't like really are the showers. Because there is only like 15 or so for a whole floor of people and they can only clean the showers so often. Everything else though is great. The teachers for our Dutch class are awesome and very encouraging, companions are good and feeling is just good vibes. 
I don't know why the letters I wrote didn't get sent. They haven't gotten put back in my mailbox which makes me think they sent fine. Not sure how it works. All I said really is that I'd like a 2nd shammy/terry towel, a couple more pairs of ankle socks, a brown belt, and more contact solution. (The water here is fine Mom.) And checking up on Boise State scores. Since I couldn't be any closer to BYU besides right on campus everyone and their dog are BYU fans so any other score doesn't really get mentioned. Apparently they had beaten Texas 40 something to 7. So I was kinda hoping for some good news as far as ironing out the wrinkles against Colorado State. 
Anyways, best of luck to you guys this week. I check my mail every day so if you send something on Dear Elder odds are I'll see it. i'm now 1/7 of the way through the MTC. Have a good week you guys and Happy PDay! 
Elder Cooper
PS. Oh, and can you real quick send me Aunt Celeste's email and home address? I wanted to write her thanks for the package. It was cool. Love ya guys!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014


Hey you guys!! They are giving me ten minutes to let you know that I'm alive! It's been overwhelming! The schedule is jam packed. We have very little time to ourselves. My P-Day is on Wednesday, which is nice cause it'll split the week. So expect a longer email then. I wrote a letter that goes into more detail about what it was like first day and who my companions are, what I need, stuff like that. As soon as I get the chance to get some stamps at the bookstore here I'll send it. Love you guys so much! Missing you!
Love, Elder Cooper

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Arrived At The MTC...Finally!!

Well, the day has finally come!! We dropped Cole off at the MTC yesterday! What a beautiful day it was. We were able to walk around the Provo temple and take some last minute family pictures. Cole was also able to send out his last tweet. He asked that I leave you with the scripture that he is going to put on his plaque. It is found in Romans 8:38-39. It states, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Remember that you are loved!! Thank you!!