"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 10, 2014

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!!!

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