"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

Monday, December 22, 2014

Jesus The Christ

Hey you guys! It sounds like everyone got sick. That's sad to hear. Get feeling better soon.
This week went by really well. The branch did a Christmas party/program on Saturday.  Me, Elder Beckstrand, Elder Carpenter and one other elder all sang a song called Little Drummer Boy, by the Pentatonix. The members really liked it and actually gave us a second round of applause. For today we are going to Choi's with the zone leaders van so we will actually be able to take more food home as well as we're eating at a members home. One cool thing about Christmas time for missionaries is we actually get to watch a movie of our choice. It has to be appropriate obviously but we get to watch How to Train Your Dragon 2 tonight which will be sweet.
All of our investigators are doing well. Cool story from this week is we went contacting and found an awesome person named "M." We asked if we could teach her right there and she agreed. We taught her the Restoration and she listened really well. One of the biggest indicators for me that someone seems interested or is listening is when they ask questions. She had several questions about us and what makes our message and our church different from the one she and her family goes to. We explained the priesthood and the Book of Mormon to her and she found it really interesting. She explained that she wanted to be baptized but wasn't quite ready to come every week to church. She said that actually really only one of her kids goes to church every week. I think they would be awesome to keep teaching. I'll let you know how it turns out.
A couple weeks ago I don't know if I told you guys this but I actually finished Jesus the Christ for the first time all the way through. I must say that I really enjoyed it. It talks about everything! A really in depth look at all of his earthly ministry, and bits and pieces from pre-mortal life, and Second Coming. There's so many things that I could quote from that book. You guys would have letters for the next two weeks. What I will say though is that it helped to strengthen my testimony in Jesus Christ. No other person taught with such a combination of love and tolerance for people. Jesus Christ was and is the epitome of charity. There is a scripture in 1 Peter 4:8 where the JST says "Charity preventeth a multitude of sins." Which is so true. One thing I've seen is that it's harder to teach something wrong or say the wrong thing when you feel love for the people and love for God. I testify to you guys that Jesus is the Christ. Our Redeemer. I enjoy this time of the year not just because of gifts and family but because Christ is the biggest part of Christmas. He's more than half the word Christmas itself. ;) I love you guys and hope you enjoy your Christmas.
Love Elder Cooper
P.S I got your guys' letters. I really enjoyed them! Thanks for all the packages too!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Package Arrived

First things first---I got three packages from you guys this week. All at once. You guys are crazy! I haven't opened up two of them because there was no way I was going to be able to bike with them yesterday. The one I opened was the one with the Christmas tree, presents, and decorations. I'll send you a pic of me next to it. By the way, are we allowed to open up the presents yet? Haha I figured not but I wanted to ask just in case.With this week like I said it was kind of same old same old. We just got out and worked. We don't have too many investigators right now so we kinda spent the week doing more contacting. There are a couple of people that we want to follow up on but we're not sure how it'll turn out. I'll let you know though.
With "O" it's been going good. They are continuing to see us and are reading each day. What was cool is we ended up having an hour and a half long lesson with them on Saturday. They had asked us all kinds of questions and even had a notebook writing down the definitions of certain words and stuff. Super cool. "O" and her family will be awesome members when they get baptized. We still have to teach them a lot, but I look forward to when they will.
The other investigator is "S" and she is continuing to be awesome! She has a date to be baptized in January and she is still holding to it and keeping commitments. She is awesome to sit with and since we have taught her all of the lessons several times we actually go into a little more depth with her. Nothing crazy, just details, like about the Millenium and stuff.
This week wasn't actually bad it was just not much to write about type stuff. All of our investigators are doing great and we have a couple of people that show some potential so I will let you guys know.
Here is a funny story from this week for you guys though. So we wanted to follow up on a referral we received from a contact and went to the house. The lady we were looking for wasn't there but instead a guy came out and started to talk to us. This guy might have been high. He might have just been straight crazy, but he started going off about all kinds of things. He said he was looking for the silver souls. He said he knows there are gold souls and silver souls and if two silver souls have a kid, the kid is white. He started talking about how he saw one kid and suddenly the kid ran away from him and went and dived into a bucket. When he went to look in the bucket the kid was gone. This poor guy was all over the place talking about who knows what. He was just straight crazy. Your guess is as good as mine with what he was talking about. 
Anyways, thank you guys so much for the packages and the awesome emails! Dad I hope you start to feel better soon! I'm sorry there is not much. Next week hopefully will be awesome.
Love you guys!
Elder Cooper

Monday, December 8, 2014

Three Month Mark? What?

Hey guys! So apparently I have hit the three month mark. The milestone went completely over my head. Time may not be going very fast for you guys but it feels like a blur here. I am really enjoying it!
To update you guys on the area, "Z" is technically in the sisters area, so we are not able to visit him. He still came to church this last Sunday which was cool. I really hope the sisters visit him often and teach him well. He shows a sincere interest and I feel like he could progress so much with love and patience. I'll keep you guys updated with him.
As for "O"--we taught her the Plan of Salvation. She received it really well and told us that she is   still reading and studying. It's awesome to see how much they love the gospel. They had some questions about what would happen to someone who didn't get baptized in this life which gave us the opportunity to talk about temples. They really liked it, especially when we showed them what temples look like. Every lesson with them so far has been awesome! They came to church again yesterday which was awesome to see them there. We also helped her niece with English, which we then realized we don't know the names of any of the grammatical terms. We eventually figured it out but at first it was tough. I'm really excited to see how the rest of it goes.
As for everything else it just goes. We still have contacts to follow up on from the city blitz as well as some other contacts. We had one lady pass us on the street and she was like "you guys never called me back!" Now I'm new so I had no idea what she was talking about but then Elder Beckstrand immediately recognized her and explained that his companion before me had said that she would call us. Which apparently was not what she had said. We called her back and have an appointment set up. It was kind of a tender mercy to just boost our area a ton. Me and Elder Beckstrand are excited for what this transfer has in store.
You guys had some questions so I'll try and answer them super quick.

How far away from the ocean are you?
Far. I've never seen the ocean in Suriname. Maybe an hour north of Paramaribo by car is how far it is.

Do you eat out much?
About twice a week. Usually to Hesdy's or Wolly's. Wolly's is a burger place that kinda reminds me of a poor-man's version of JCW's. Hesdy's is a BBQ. We actually went to a really nice place in Wanica this week. It was the best I've eaten in Suriname. The name of the dish is "Nassi." So good. Different flavors all in the same dish.

Rate your bike on a scale of 1-10.
I got a new one from the zone leaders and it gives me less of a headache. I'd say this one is a 7. The big gear has dropped a couple of times but I've figured out how to ride and get it to stay.

What time do you have to wake up and be out of the apartment?
We usually get out of the apartment around 1:30. We are supposed to be awake at 6:30, work out, breakfast, studies from 8-12 then lunch for an hour.

I have a couple of pictures this week. One is of me in skinny pants we had made. The other elders had some made and it was kind of a big deal. I wanted to try it and see if I would like it. They feel fine so... The other one is of a building under construction I thought it was a big contrast between how we use nice 2x4 and they are using unprocessed trees.  The last one is a pic of all the missionaries in our area.

Love you guys! Have a great week!
Elder Cooper

Monday, December 1, 2014

Golden People

Hey everyone! I first off want to say that I don't have pictures this week since we went to the internet cafe early. I was planning on getting pictures at the Thanksgiving feast we're having today but again we emailed early today. I have a ton of potential pictures though so rest assured next week will be good.
As for how this week went it was really amazing! First things first is transfer calls came and I'm staying for another six weeks with Elder Beckstrand. It makes sense since my training isn't done and the tradition of most elders here is that they stay where they work for several transfers. The elders that were "born" here "die" here. (Missionaries use the terms being born and dying to mean when you enter the mission and when you leave) I'm honestly glad I'm staying since I'm still trying to learn the names of the members and I want the chance to work with them more.
So last Saturday all the missionaries came together and did a contacting blitz in the city, which is basically where anyone we pass gets the whole spiel on the Book of Mormon and our church. Once the blitz is over all the contacts are pooled together and given to the elders who run the area. Our area specifically got thirty contacts to call and set appointments with. Which turned out to be great!
The first investigator name is "Z." He actually lives on the same street as our apartment which means we ran into him a couple of times before the appointment. The people who contacted him in the state left him a Book of Mormon and one day when we passed him on our way to some appointments he was walking home from school reading the Book of Mormon! When we sat in the appointment with him he wanted to know where the church was and when it started. We explained it to him and said we would come with him to help him find it. Sure enough he came with us yesterday.
The other investigators are "O" and her family. When we first met with them pretty much the entire family was there, as well as nieces and her sister. It was easily the most people I've ever had sit in a lesson. We taught the Restoration, gave them a second Book of Mormon since there were a lot of them, and then told them a little bit about church. The next appointment we had she explained that they had all read the Introduction, testimony of the eight and three witnesses, testimony of Joseph Smith, and the first chapter of the Book of Mormon together! Then "O" explained how she took a bus the day before just to see where the church was! Elder Beckstrand said it was the first time that had ever happened in his mission. They made it to church yesterday and we are going to meet with them Tuesday to see what they thought.
To sum it all up, the Lord gave us a tender mercy and we have some "golden investigators" at the moment. Also one of the other investigators we are working with is on a date for the first Saturday in January! All in all a great week!
Anyways I hope everything goes great for you guys this week! Good luck with everything and the countdown to Christmas begins! (I'm dreaming of a rainy Christmas)
Love you!
Elder Cole Cooper