"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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hey family! Thanks for all the birthday wishes. Those skit pictures looked awesome.
Well for starters, never try to fly under the radar when it's your birthday. You will have people swoop in and make it the biggest thing haha. I had told one of the zone leaders (who we happen to be staying in the same apartment with)  a couple weeks ago that my birthday was today. I was half expecting him to forget and then when he saw me open up the birthday presents he would remember. Well, I was wrong. On Sunday night when they were out teaching he told one of the member families that they work a lot with, and who I know fairly well mostly from being in Paramaribo for awhile now, that my birthday was tomorrow. So. . . they made a recording of them singing the Surinamese version of happy birthday and that recording became the alarm we woke up to today. If that wasn't enough two of the boys from that family came over in the middle of studies and had bought a cake. So much for keeping it a secret. I told them all thanks. It was incredibly nice of them. They are a really cool family, (I don't say that just because they brought the cake either) The mother and the father want to be baptized but have to be married first. They are planning on getting married in 2016. All of them are incredibly nice and it's easy to see that they will make great members.
As far as what I do today, not that much. We are going to the mall to get Elder Buehler some things he wants, maybe I'll buy something as well if I see something. :)
Thank you guys so much for all the Christmas gifts by the way, I really enjoy the music, it's nice to be able to listen to music after going without for awhile.
This week was an awesome week. So many tender mercies from the Lord in finding people. One lady we found on Christmas was really cool. We were biking around trying to figure out what exactly we would do, when we heard her greet us really friendly, almost calling out for our attention. We decided to turn around and see why she was so nice and come to find out, the Lord has been somewhat involved in her life. She told us a story where her son had a car hit him at the age of 7 and it was not looking good for him. She shared how that was bringing him to the hospital, not only wondering if he was going to be ok, but if she was going to be able to pay for all the medical expenses. This part of the story was not so clear, but what we think happened is that elders were in the hospital that day probably visiting a member to give them a blessing, and they got asked to give a blessing to her kid while they were there. The elders left after that and while this lady, her name is "G", was wondering what was going to happen, the nurse came in and told her that her son was good to go home. She recognized that the Lord had healed her child but never really saw the elders again. It was really cool to talk to her and hear that story, she was just so excited.
Another cool miracle from the week was when we went and shared a Christmas message at the same family's house we Skyped at. They had invited a couple of friends and one of those families has a son that is doing a foreign exchange program in the States. This son is staying with a Mormon family while he is there. They take him to church every Sunday. I don't believe in coincidence.
Lot's of other things happened, but it's so much in one email. I love you guys so much. Please tell everyone I said hi! I hope you all have a great new year!
Have a great week!
Love,
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, December 14, 2015

BIG NEWS!!




In the vast stretches of the flat greenland of Suriname there lies a river that bears the solemn name of the country. This river has a surprisingly rich history; a German WWII ship has been sunk and the remnants can still be seen from the shoreline. But this river is also a barrier. A barrier for missionary work. On the West side of the river the church is somewhat established and enjoys the blessings of five well-spread branches. But East of the river, there lays a city named Commewijne, (coma-wine-a) untouched by missionaries. All white, ready to be harvested. Missionaries and the leadership of Suriname counseled together for many a night and many a day to determine when the time would be just right to send the Lord's forces across the river into the untouched, unharvested city of Commewijne. Several events showed promise, a bridge reaching 100+ feet high was built and allowed the citizens of Commewijne and Paramaribo to cross the historic Suriname river and it allowed them to more closely interact one with another. But the time was not yet ripe, until December 12, 2015. A day when the Lord would declare to the missionaries and the church in Suriname to go. Go and cross the bridge and enter the untouched, unharvested city of Commewijne. "For behold the field is white already to harvest."

Ok, I had to type that up to give this news some context. It'll make more sense as I explain. This last Saturday we received transfer calls. Elder Hardy is partially leaving Paramaribo North and is going to be companions with one of the elders he knew in the MTC. Part of the Paramaribo North area will still be his area, but a part of the area that belonged to other missionaries is part of his area now. It's called Munder.
As far as what happens to me, well that's where the first paragraph of this email comes in. I have been asked to go and open up a group in the city of Commewijne. This area is across the Suriname river, over the Commewijne bridge. Missionaries have never worked there before, and up until this point there was not enough members living there to justify starting serious missionary work there. But now, there are several members and families living there and a sufficient amount of Melchizedek Priesthood holders that the Lord can now open up work in that area. I am really excited and it was cool to see how the members living in Commewijne responded when they heard the news. Me and Elder Hardy got to go with President Verway to meet them on Sunday to give them the news. Every member offered their home as a place to meet and were really excited to hear about missionaries finally crossing the river. One member went so far as to talk about building an apartment and buying a plot of land for a church building to be built there. He was excited. I am excited too!
I am going to be with an elder that has been in the mission field for about three months. His name is Elder Buehler. I've never met him so it'll be cool to get to meet him.
Don't worry about me leaving anything behind. We are driven in a truck/van for transfers so I don't have to pack up too much, or pack with the idea of losing weight. I will be able to take all of my christmas gifts and decorations, and belongings, etc. It'll be fun, it'll be an adventure and it'll be hard, but the members are willing to help and I'm excited to get to work with them.
I will still be able to get packages/letters that you send to Suriname so that's good as well.
I think I'll end this week's email with this verse in Alma 6
4: And thus they began to establish the order of the church in the city of [Commewijne]
5: Now I would that ye should understand that the word of God was liberal unto all, that none were deprived of the privilege of assembling themselves together to hear the word of God.
6: Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls who knew not God.
I know this is a sign of the Lord hastening the work here in Suriname. This work is true. Thank you guys so much for the emails! I love you!
Have a great week!
Elder Cooper

Hey Family! (Letter Written Dec. 7th)

Hey family! Mom that's cool you're in the Primary Presidency. I know you're going to get really good at that calling. I can see it for sure.
As far as this week goes it was a very normal week. Highlight of the week is probably when we took a member of the Relief Society to go and visit "E." She is the funniest sister in the whole Paramaribo branch. We talked about the love God has for us, how he is willing to hear our prayers and answer them. This sister, her name is Sister "S", talked about how she has seen God's love in her life. Her and "E" also shared each others conversion story, so that was cool. The funniest part of the whole appointment was at the end when as we were leaving Sister "S" said "I love you guys!" "E" then said, "love? I don't know if I would say that!" Sister "S" then turned to her and said "What? You don't love the elders?! Oh sister that's bad!" Pretty funny.
Bro. "B" came to church again this week and after we talked with the branch president he said Bro. "B", in an interview, has promised to come every week. We are excited for him to start making steps into full activity again. He is such a cool guy.
Thursday we went to the visa place to check on the progress of our visa's, and now I can say after a little less than a year and a half of being in Suriname. . . I am officially legal! Haha fun stuff.
Saturday we had a contacting blitz that was really fun! It's cool to just go and talk to people on the street as you see them. Hopefully we get the chance to follow up on some of the people we talked to.
Sorry it's so short this week! But transfers are this weekend and who knows where I will be going. I think the only thing I'm sure of is that I'm leaving the area. It's rarely heard of for an elder to spend so long in one area and I doubt I stay longer. I'm excited to give you guys the news next week! Have a great week!
Love you guys!
Elder Cooper

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Without Snow






Hey family! Glad to hear that Thanksgiving was good for all of you guys. I'm excited to try that smoked turkey when I get home.
Just to let you guys know I got your Christmas package. Not Grammy's yet, but I'm sure it's on the way. Elder Hardy and I really liked the hats that you guys sent the 12 days of Christmas thing in. We have started a new tradition where during nightly planning we wear them.  I also have to wear it when I do nightly phone calls. We also had fun decorating the tree and our apartment with Christmas things. Not sure how you can have Christmas in 90 degree weather and with popsicles instead of hot chocolate but that's what we are doing here. I'm excited for Christmas, I promise I have not opened any of my presents. (Even the one that it is easy to tell that they're contacts) :)
This week had several very cool experiences. I will start with our success with Bro. "B."  Bro. B is a Melchizedek Priesthood holder that has been less-active for a long time. At least several years. We found him a couple of months ago and have been consistently visiting him with members and also just ourselves. At first he wasn't showing any signs of coming back and a lot of times we wondered if we should stop and try and focus our efforts somewhere else. About a month ago he started saying he was going to come back to church and two weeks ago he came to just sacrament meeting. Then this week he actually took us to church and stayed all three hours which meant we didn't have to bike haha. He is now committed to coming to church every week! It has been cool to get a testimony of working with less-actives. A lot of the times our efforts don't seem to mean much. I can't tell you how many times we said to ourselves we may need to focus on someone else. Something kept us coming back though and now we are starting to see the fruits of it. I am thoroughly convinced that the majority of less-actives out there still know the gospel is true. The problem is hardly ever with the doctrine, it usually finds its roots in feeling at home. Sometimes they leave because they just need to go somewhere where they are welcome. Of course we are not done with Bro. B.  There are still things for us to do to help him, but we are starting to see fruits, and we are excited.
   
This and other things are experiences that are the biggest testimony builders for me of two important truths. The first one is that God is fully prepared and willing to give us second chances. He is chock full of them. He knows he is not dealing with a broken car, or a broken toy, but with broken people. People that need Christ's Atonement. If we make just one step toward him in an effort for help he stretches out his hand and takes ten steps toward us.
It also has built my testimony of the Book of Mormon and the word of God. The only thing that kept us from dropping an investigator this week was the fact that he was reading the Book of Mormon. Not just reading it, but asking sincere questions about it. We knew that one could only read that for so long before the doctrine of Jesus Christ would begin to sink in. After talking with our investigator this week a little bit  it was clear to see that was exactly what happened. I know that through God, we can change. Permanently.
I hope you all have an amazing week! Love you guys!
Elder Cooper

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!







Hey guys! Thanks so much for all the emails! Hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving on Thursday. We actually celebrated Thanksgiving today at a member family called the "S's." They are a really nice family. I don't know if you guys remember me ever telling an experience from the MTC where we got to meet a member from Suriname. Every time a new missionary comes along he shares the story of how he met us in the MTC last year haha. Either way, Bro. S is retired and so he gets to travel a lot. He has actually been to all the temples in Utah. Him and his wife prepared a great Thanksgiving.. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, etc. All the missionaries in Suriname were there. So, don't worry about us not getting to celebrate Thanksgiving. We are good here.
We had a baptism this week! Her name is E. She is an older lady from Guyana who made a lot of progression in the short time that we have known her. We actually almost stopped teaching her at first because she seemed adamant that she would not be baptized. But after inviting her to pray about it she came around. Within two weeks of our first meeting with her she came to church, then General Conference, and every sacrament meeting after that. She also read the Book of Mormon and had no question or doubt that it was true. It was really cool to see how the Relief Society President had supported her and helped us teach her. It'll mean so much for E when she can rely on her during struggles.
As far as the rest of the week goes, it's actually hard to say. We focused really hard on helping E make this baptism because we knew how hard Satan can work on investigators. Another highlight of the week was probably getting to go home teaching with one of the members to a less-active. We have been trying to do everything we can to get this member to come back. She was actually baptized in May of this year but has just not been feeling healthy enough to go to church the past month. She did not come to church this week, but seeing her home teacher just brightened up her day. They talked for a good 20 minutes or so before we actually got into the lesson. It was definitely a testimony builder for me that as a missionary, in fact just as a child of God, I can't do it alone. We visited her twice a week but she did not look as excited as when she saw a member from the branch.
I was thinking a lot about repentance this week and how important it is to help investigators understand it. A lot of the time as missionaries, and also so that we can keep things simple and easy to understand, we talk about repentance as a five or six step process that we go through before we receive forgiveness. As I was studying it though and pondering about it, I realized it's actually a lot more like what the GA's have been trying to teach about the Sabbath Day. What I mean by that is all the lists or steps are nice, especially when we need help understanding repentance or the Sabbath Day. But once we understand it, we can feel comfortable "throwing away the list" as Elder Nelson put it and realize that repentance is actually bringing our will in line with God's. That process can take more than just the five or so steps, and it may take more than just a week. It may take several steps, several weeks, even a whole lifetime. When I came to that realization it made me want to approach repentance with a lot more spiritual preparation behind it, to approach it with the question of, "what do I do or think that is not in line with what God does or thinks?" I don't know, it was a cool realization to come to for me.
Anyways! Love you guys so much! Have a great week!
Love,
Elder Cooper

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Crazy Week

So, this week was just absolutely crazy. In a good way of course, but very crazy.
It started off on Tuesday with zone conference. President Egbert, in case you guys didn't know, needed to go through an eye surgery a couple of weeks ago in the DR and had to stay there for about two weeks while he recovered. (Reading his weekly reports on what exactly had happened and how he was recovering was really cool for me because I want to go into eye surgery). He barely made it to Suriname on Tuesday. He flew into four countries in the course of 24 hours. I feel like that kind of travel can only happen in a place like the West Indies. So he made it to the scheduled day of zone conference and it was amazing. We talked so much about how we can hold better branch councils and work more with the members. It's interesting when we discuss things like that because we all try and imagine (as elders) what an effective branch council is like but we never sat in one at home and it's hard to tell when a branch council here is effective or not. I just imagine what it might be like to sit in a branch council with Bishop Sumner, or now Bishop Angerhofer and I can't help feeling like it's always how best to help people with a little bit of explanation on all kinds of doctrine. Maybe you can help me out on that one Dad? Anyways, it was really good. President Egbert encouraged us to visit more members and instruct them on how to better fulfill their callings. Zone conference always inspires me so I'm just pumped to go out and work.
Elder Hardy and the elders in his MTC group had to fly out to Guyana with about two hours left in zone conference so I felt bad for him because that would have made me a little upset. You might have to go to his mom for more details, but what I can say is that he went there before they had planned a return flight so he stayed there for about four days. In that time he was able to fall into a trench, basically just full of mud, tar, grime, and other assorted gross things. He was also bit by a ton of mosquitos and played monopoly. Good news is that we are back together.
As far as what I did in those four days. . . almost nothing! One of the elders that I was going to be in a trio with for the time Elder Hardy was gone started to get sick so for two of the four days me and Elder James just hung out in Elder James' apartment while the other elder slept. Me and Elder James worked together when I first came to Paramaribo North so we just caught up, talked about different struggles and successes in our missions. Fun stuff.
 I did get to go teaching with one of the AP's on Wednesday though. He is really cool. His name is Elder Sheen. He is a different type of leader for sure, in a good way. One of the first assistants that makes me feel like I can mostly be myself around him and not worry about what he thinks. He is a farmer from Canada so you could tell he just worked hard. He is an incredibly good teacher as well, I learned several things from him.
As far as our baptism, because Elder Hardy wasn't here and I couldn't really go teaching we could not prepare "E" well enough for last Saturday. After explaining all this she understood and prayed about it and wants to get baptized this Saturday on the 21. We are really excited for her. The members have been really helpful in picking up where we slack off or are not as organized so it's really cool to see.
As far as when I'm released August 21st sounds about right. My card that says I can proselyte and preach the gospel expires on the 22 of August so I imagine I would go home right before or right after that. I can ask President Egbert about it. I know some elders leave a transfer early but I will really like to avoid doing that. I'll let you know when I found out a little more.
Anyways, I think I have some pictures to send that I could not get to work last week. The picture of the package is a joke Elder Carpenter played on Elder Hardy. He had to deliver the package to us and before he handed it off he had written that cheesy note. The funniest part was that he did not immediately tell us he had done it. So to be honest, when I saw that note, I thought his mom had really written him that. Too funny.
I love you guys! Thanks so much for the emails and support. Tell Mitch and Cam I said hi! Have a great week!
Love,
Elder Cooper

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Refiner's Fire


Service Project at Palm Garden

Repainted the Playground

International Service Day
with the Branch in Suriname

All these pictures are from Elder Hardy and his Mom. (((HUGS)))
Cole forgot to send us some this week.


Hey family! Don't worry about the subject line. This week was actually really good!
To start off I do have to talk about the reason why the subject is what it is. On Thursday, we ran by one of our investigators named "B" He is a great guy. He teaches English and is very educated. In the last month or two that we have known him he has always admitted to struggles about his faith in God and especially faith in leadership, which made the concept of prophets very hard to accept. We were willing to work with him but when we tried to visit him after missing an appointment on Thursday his cousin came out and told us that he wasn't home and that he did not feel like he could meet with us further because of conflicting beliefs. It was really sad. We still want to call him and ask him about it personally but for right now it seems like he has dropped us. I know the only reason why the Lord would do that is because there are other people that need our help and focus. I know the Lord has other prepared people for us.
Despite that sad experience, the week was actually really good. We had a less-active we have been working very closely with finally come back to church after several years. He could only come to first hour, but that is a great first step. We hope we can see him start to come back more, because he is a Melchizedek Priesthood holder so the branch needs him.
We also had a lot of fun on international service day! There is a place called Palm Garden in the city that has just a bunch of palm trees everywhere. We helped to sand and repaint a playground in the garden. The other branches were busy in other parts of Suriname. It was a big enough thing we actually made the news!
Everyone is still on track for their baptismal dates! "E" came to church on Sunday and if everything goes well she will be baptized on Saturday. We are really excited for her.
I've taken a little too long writing this week, but next week will be quite a bit because zone conference is happening sometime this week. I'm pretty excited. It's always fun.
I love you guys! Hope you have an amazing week!
Love,
Elder Cooper

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Transfers

Hey guys how is everyone doing? It sounds like it was an adventure for you guys this past week. Sometimes it feels like a lot more is going on than when I was there. I don't know if that is because I just hear a whole week's worth of events in five minutes or if we really are getting busier. Mitchell told me in an email that he got home and felt a little shell shocked. I probably will be shell shocked too just to let you know. There is no such thing as basements here, or insulated homes, or sidewalks.
So you guys are probably wondering about transfer calls. Well I don't know if it takes me more time to learn certain lessons on a mission or if the Lord wants me to finish what I started, I'm pretty sure it is both. But I will be serving in Paramaribo North as a district leader with Elder Hardy for one more transfer. That makes it five transfers that I'll have been here in Paramaribo. I have only known what it's like to be in an area for five transfers haha. I'm actually really excited. There are three people that could potentially be baptized this transfer that we have been working with for awhile. I'm grateful I get the chance to see it through, I know not a lot of missionaries get to experience that. I'm not saying it's a sure thing, it most certainly is not, but the possibility is exciting.
To quickly describe all three of these investigators I will start with "R." "R" is a really cool investigator that when the missionaries first met him he was in church the next week. I can see him being a very solid member. The kind that receives many callings and just holds the church on his shoulders. He was supposed to be baptized on Halloween (or kinderverkleedfestijn op de avond van 31 Oktober, which is not a good translation of Halloween, but one that we found in a dictionary) but it didn't work out. Mostly because of his work, but also because there are other things we have to figure out with him. He should be baptized on the 21st of November.
"E" is the other investigator that has made so much progress in the past transfer. We actually were near the point of dropping her towards the beginning. But we challenged her to pray and come to church and she came and agreed to a baptismal date on the 14th of November. We actually were in an appointment with her the other day and she was impressed with how we kept coming even when she was difficult sometimes. In reality she was not that difficult, just had concerns like every investigator does. She is from Guyana so our lessons are in English which is weird sometimes. You guys might find this weird, but sometimes it's hard to teach in English when you're so used to Dutch. We are excited for "E" though. She actually came to general conference for one session, which I think changed her a lot.
The last one is "J." You remember the picture I sent of our branch mission leader? The one with a long beard and dreads? "J" is his little brother. It's amazing how much culture can influence religion. He asks us all the time about little things like evil spirits, christening a house, etc. But he has a very strong desire to leave his old life behind. He says over and over again he wants to be converted to Christ, but he has fears about joining the right church. It is only recently though that he has been investigating even though he has wanted to sit with us for a long time. I'm sure his brother has had a huge influence on him. If he can become a member I definitely see him as the kind that just humbly tries to endure to the end and do what's right. Just like his older brother. He is cool. It's fun to answer a lot of his concerns because he asks good questions all the time.
Those are some of the people we are working really close with. I'm excited for them.
I was thinking a lot about the power of personal prayer today. I think back to a lot of the prayers I had when I was younger. I remember I always said nightly and often times morning prayers, but I definitely slacked on how often I said just a simple personal prayer at a random time. You know those prayers where you just talk to God? I thought a lot about how important it is to make every single prayer that way, even if we may not find ourselves in the hardest situation our prayers are still important. Our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us, our good times and our bad. I've realized a lot on my mission that when something is going well, it goes a lot better when we take just a couple of minutes to be somewhere quiet and tell the Lord how we feel. I feel like I've learned a lot about the power of sincere prayer on my mission. I'm not sure I would have learned that in any other environment. I know Heavenly Father always listens, to even the smallest things we think and say. I know he cares. I've felt that so much on my mission.
I love you guys! Hope everything goes well with Lore and Noah. Tell them I said hi and that I'm thinking about them.
Love,
Elder Cooper

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lots of News!


Branch Mission Leader



Gospel Principles Class


Cola-Creek




Hey family! I'm glad to hear how everyone is doing good, even if it wasn't the most exciting week. There is a lot I feel like I want to talk about so I'll get right to it.
About the music, I've been trying to figure out what options I had and what I could do. Basically, the policy President Egbert came out with makes my speaker ok. But not the ipod I use it with it because it can access radio and has a touch screen. The speaker works by bluetooth so I don't know how many devices are out there that can use bluetooth and at the same time not access the radio or have a touch screen. As far as what can be on the playing device, I feel like really only hymns, MOTAB, and some, not all, of music from EFY would be appropriate. The idea is reverent music, which makes even some of my classical music not ok. I would really just like the instrumental versions of the hymns, especially on guitar if that's even there. I appreciate you guys trying to help though, if it becomes too difficult please don't worry about it. I've gone three weeks without it so far, I don't think too much will change in a year.
As far as what happened this week...we had a convert of about two years get a calling that more or less makes him a ward missionary. We went to visit him a couple of days after he had received this calling and he challenged us to go out contacting with him to try and find 10 new people. He said he wanted to form a stake.  I can't tell you how much these people want that. We went out with him on Saturday to find these people and found a couple of really promising people. We are excited for them and for him with his new calling.
Another highlight of the week was yesterday during church where we had a good attendance for gospel principles class. There were members and investigators that spoke English, Dutch, and Portugese. The class was in English and one Portugese member who knows just a little bit of English translated the input they gave. It was really cool to see everyone participating despite the clear language barrier. I really feel like participation in Sunday school is what helps people to stay active in the church, it's so much more edifying when everyone gets to share inputs and experiences.
To explain some of the pictures,
The one of just me and a guy with a beard is a picture of our branch mission leader! Super humble, super cool guy, the church has helped to completely turn his life around.
There are a couple from gospel principles yesterday
There are also a couple from our P-day activity today. We went to a place called Cola Creek. So named because the water is said to look like Coke, I'll let you guys decide. We played a lot of volleyball and celebrated a sister missionary's birthday. Fun stuff.
I love you guys so much! The last thought I want to share is something that came from Elders quorum yesterday. We talked about how the welfare program got started with Ezra Taft Benson. The elders quorum discussed a lot about how being self reliant means doing as much as we can to help ourselves before the Lord and others would come in to help us. I felt very grateful when I realized how much my parents had emphasized the principle of hard work, not just by talking about it, but also in actually living by those principles. Thank you for helping me to understand that, I thought a lot about people here who do not always grow up in circumstances that allow them to enjoy the benefits of loving parents who teach their children everything. Thank you guys so much for that example.
I love you guys so much.
Have an amazing week!
Love,
Elder Cooper

Monday, October 19, 2015

Baptismal Dates

Hey family! It sounds like we are not allowed to go to Boise State games unless they play in a bowl game. To throw down the stats, in regular season games we have shown up to Boise State is 1-2, but in bowl games that we attend Boise State is 4-1. :) Good news is that we are a young team with time to improve.
This week was a great one. One of our investigators named "E" has made a lot of progress the last transfer. She has been to church twice now and attended a session of General Conference. Yesterday was the first time she attended all three hours. We had interviews on Tuesday which I always enjoy. After our interview with President Egbert we went and taught her, and I think being on the spiritual high inspired her to pray about being baptized on the 14th of November. When we went to her again on Friday she agreed to be baptized. It was great to see the Lord working in her life to answer her prayers.
 I write in my journal, but I think the only events I really make sure to write down are interviews and baptisms. In my interview with President Egbert we talked a lot about how as a leader you have to earn the respect of people and not demand it. He shared a story about how a bishop had had a lot of success with the ward where he was, especially in helping people to come back. When a new bishop got called, he, needless to say had huge shoes to fill. But because of the members' faith in the Lord they respected him at first because of his calling, and as time went on he earned the respect of the ward by his actions. I realized how good of a goal that is, to strive for the respect of people not because you hold a certain position, but because you take a sincere interest in their lives and you have earned their respect by your works and by the example you try to be.
We also talked about the Atonement and the power that God has to deliver us from trials. After that discussion I thought a lot about how the Lord might deliver us from a trial. In the beginning of 1 Nephi, Laman and Lemuel bind Nephi with cords and plan to leave him there to die. Then Nephi prays for strength to have the binds broken. I think one of two things could have happened after that prayer, the bindings could have just suddenly loosened and fell limp to the ground or Nephi needed to struggle and fight before the cords could be broken. I think it was the latter that really happened. Often times the way the Lord delivers us from a trial is not by moving us away from the obstacle, or moving the obstacle out of our path but giving us the strength and motivation to jump over it. It was a cool discussion.
Transfers are in a little more than two weeks. I honestly don't know what'll happen to me. I will at that time have spent four transfers here in Paramaribo North and I spent five in Wanica North. I sometimes catch myself thinking that it is just as likely I stay here for five transfers just like in Wanica. I'm not sure how I feel about that. There are pros and  cons. I'm sure I'll know by the end of the transfer.
The cyber where I'm at is known for causing SD cards to crash so I'm playing the safe side this week. Next week for sure. I love you! Thanks for all your support! Have an amazing week!
Love,
Elder Cooper

Monday, October 12, 2015

Don't Forget Your Keys


The contraption they built to get the keys.


Future Missionaries


From left to right Jonathan, Stephano, Remi.



Hey family!
There is a lot I want to share with you guys from this week so I'm going to start right off. Me and Elder Hood were on exchanges this past Friday and had an interesting experience. This all starts when early in the day the fender of my bike broke and we stopped off at a store to see what we could do to repair it. We bought some tape and zip ties and got it somewhat repaired. Enough that we could continue on with our day. Well as the day went on we realized we needed to run back to the apartment to grab a piece of paper we needed to give to a member. We ran in, got a snack, and then locked up. Except one thing was wrong. We had locked up without grabbing the keys. Feeling kinda silly we went next door to where the landlord conveniently lives and explained to them our situation. The only problem was that the landlord was actually not there. But his mom was.  She brought out all the keys she could find. When none of those worked we were about to give up and call the zone leaders. But Elder Hood feeling inspired said "I wonder if they are behind that bag of clothes on the table." (We could see through the door as the picture gives away.) We grabbed a broken lamp and reached it through and shoved the bag out of the way, revealing the much desired keys! Our lamp shade was too short though so we looked for other things. We found an old kickstand for a bike and some hanger wire. Then we used our previously purchased tape and zip ties and were able to attach these things to our lamp. Creating just the contraption we needed to hook the keys and give us access to the house. An hour after having locked ourselves out we got out again. Too funny!
Another cool experience from this week was that we were out contacting yesterday and passed two kids that we said hi to. When we contacted the next house we realized it was the mom of one of them. After giving her a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet these two boys took us to an apartment complex and tried to get everyone to come out. Only one came out but we were impressed with their natural skill at missionary work. That explains the picture of me with two boys holding a pamphlet.
The last picture is of three really cool guys that are in our area. The two with ties on are amazing converts that basically put the branch on their backs as far as the young adults are concerned. They are amazing examples of what it means to be converted and they have inspired me to magnify whatever calling I get when I get home. From left to right Jonathan, Stephano, Remi. Really cool guys.
That is all the time I have time for this week! President Egbert is in town this week so that'll be fun to have him in zone meeting with us tomorrow as well as interviews. I love you guys! Have an amazing week!
Love,
Elder Cooper

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Conference Weekend

Hey family! I loved your guys' thoughts on conference this weekend. Me and the missionaries that were with me in the MTC joked about how funny it would be if we made our families do the Suriname conference experience. What we decided is that we would turn the heaters up to 80 or so with the fireplace on, several humidifiers, have hard foldable chairs and be in our Sunday best. What do you think? ;)
What you said is so true Dad, every single talk seems to apply either to me or to an investigator or a member. I remember what Pres. Egbert told me in an interview once. He said you will never get to live the missionary life, applying the principles of Preach My Gospel, and teaching people, the same way again. Even if I were to serve as a senior couple or mission president I would not get to live it the same way.
I really loved the overall message I felt. Whoever gets to determine the order of those talks knows what they are doing, because topics flowed so well from one to the next. The message to enjoy the simplicity of the gospel, the message to have faith and let the master potter go to work. The message about faith during the priesthood session were all amazing. We were actually talking about faith during dinner in between sessions so it was cool to hear the repeated message of "faith is power." I really enjoyed the talk by Dallin H. Oaks about the Atonement.  I felt that one speak personally to me.
I had an interesting thought cross my mind as I listened to the new apostles give their testimonies. I had always grown up with Elders Scott, Packer, and Perry. They gave amazing talks. I will miss hearing them, hearing the messages they often repeated when they spoke. But I will enjoy the new apostles, they will be the apostles that my kids get to grow up with and love. It'll be fun to see what messages they emphasize and repeat frequently in their ministries. I thought it was cool to see them sitting next to each other, I can only imagine how strong of a bond they will form as they all learn and grow.
I thought Elder Nelson's and Holland's talks were awesome. We all agreed that we owed our moms a lot and that the upcoming email session would be just us pouring out our thanks to them.  So Mom, thank you so much for what you did and still do. I will never be able to pay you back fully for that. I appreciated the insight the apostles gave about how women can be likened to Christ. It is so true.
There were so many things I learned and want to still learn when I get the magazine from this conference. When it comes out, will you send it as quick as you can?
I'm running out of time so I'm going to end this email with something I learned from David A. Bednar and D. Todd Christofferson. This is God's church led by experienced and wise prophets and apostles. I am so grateful to have living oracles testify of the truth of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The way the Church is run may not make sense to the world. But our ways are not His.
I love you guys so much! I am excited to take the thoughts from conference and apply them. I hope you have an amazing week!
Love,
Elder Cooper

Monday, September 28, 2015

We Need To Stop Counting Down :)

Hey family! That blood moon looks really cool, I don't think we even tried to see it, wasn't it at like three in the morning?
When I saw those pictures of the mountains I thought that was pretty cool.When we hiked Brownsberg I was surprised how much it can be like the Utah mountains in places. Just with a few more vines. Haha. Tell Jenny I said Happy Birthday, and tell Celeste Hi!
To start off, "R" is on a baptismal date! He should be baptized on the 31st of October. We feel like he is ready. But he is so hard to get an appointment to sit with him that we haven't been able to oversee his progress. But now that he knows what we're shooting for he should hopefully be a little better at appointments.
This week was also really good with getting members to come out with us. We have a lot of members in our area that were baptized at most three years ago and so a lot of them are always willing to do missionary work. What's funny is the investigator appointment falls through more often than the member coming with. I've had it happen a lot on my mission where it's the other way around. Either way the people here are amazing and I have grown to love them so much.
Being a district leader is a fun experience. I'm not sure if you did this on your mission dad, but here the district leader calls all the companionships at night, mostly to make sure they got home safe and to see how their day went. What that means is that immediately after planning for the next day I'm calling everybody and it stays that way right until I have to go to sleep. Basically I stay busy, which I like. I also like the opportunity I have to help the other companionships out. If they had a bad day then in that nightly phone call I can help to get them on their feet. At least that's what the nightly phone call did for me. So I like being able to be that for others. I get to teach my first district meeting tomorrow so wish me luck! Haha.
I don't have any pictures this week, but what I thought I would do for next week is just take a lot of pictures with the members here. They are some amazing people and I would kinda like to tell their stories a little bit.
Well, that's about all I got! Hope you all have an amazing week! Enjoy General Conference, tell me what you guys thought next week.
Love,
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, September 21, 2015

Transfer Calls

That is a Koi pond at a new investigators house. 

Some puppies at a less-actives house. Elder Hardy wanted a picture with them.

When I got that package I read Maddi and Celeste's letter asking me to take a picture with the piñata. I  Pretty fun package.

Hey Family! Man I remember homecoming weekends. It seemed like such a hectic time for everyone else. Keri, I'm glad you got to go to homecoming. It sounds like your group was a lot of fun. I would have liked that escape game.
That's so cool Mat will have to learn Dutch to use his dog. Doesn't that just seem like a coincidence? :)
As I'm sure Dad can tell you guys, transfer calls are somewhat of an event for missionaries. Especially if you're Elder Carpenter, who has served in the same area since he came out here. (He did get moved btw haha). As for what is happening to me, I am staying with Elder Hardy in the same area, but I'm now the district leader! I'm pretty excited. There have been several good examples of district leaders in my mission which I will have to wait until I get home to tell those stories. It'll be fun.
As far as this week goes there were some ups and downs. "R" cancelled our appointment with him this last week so we couldn't give him a date. He came to church. He always comes to church, so I'm not too worried, but in all honesty he could have been baptized awhile ago. (You weren't kidding about Satan working on investigators leading up to baptism Dad). Having said that though there were several other successes this week. Mostly with less-actives who we have been working with like crazy to try and help them come back. We have had fewer investigators in the past while so it's allowed us to work on those less-actives we might not otherwise have time for. One of them named "G" came to church this week which was awesome and two others, Bro. "B" and "S" promised to be in church either this week or on General Conference so we are excited. So even though "R" will have to wait maybe one more week for his baptismal date we are still seeing success. One cool experience from this week is a member from Brazil came to church in Suriname last week and is staying in Suriname for at least two months. It was cool to see her faith and to have her still come to church even if it's not in Portugese. We are going to start teaching her English this week. She already knows a lot so it won't be too difficult but there is enough of a barrier that we will have some funny moments.
I haven't gotten Grammy's package yet, I will be sure to let you guys know.
Well, I love you guys so much. Thanks for all your emails and letters!
Have a great week!
Love,
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, September 14, 2015

I Still Bleed Boise State Blue!







I think to start off the weekly letter I need to make one thing absolutely clear. . . I still bleed Boise State Blue. Haha. Even if it means being ostracized at my Alma Mater. It sounds like even though the result was a little painful it was a fun game to watch. Sounds like the type of game that keeps you on your toes the whole time. You can't really beat that x-factor that allows you to throw desperation bombs successfully even if your defense is crazy good. I still think Boise State will have a good season, with a defense like we have it's hard not to.
It also sounds like I wasn't the only one to go on an adventure through nature. Those pictures look fun. Especially the moose.
Today we went to a place called Brownsberg. If you remember we tried going there around May but the way there was blocked by a good sized over-flow of water. Well this time was a success. We took some cool pictures that I'll send. The hike led to a waterfall which was pretty cool. It was also just fun to be doing some form of exercise other than biking haha.
Sometimes I think it would be so cool to come with you guys and show you all the stuff I've seen and be able to give you guys a similar experience. But then I see things like this biting fly, and I think, there is no way I could bring you guys here. Haha. I'm just kidding. You guys would survive, but seriously those flies were about the size of a quarter maybe bigger, and had pretty good sized mouthparts, maybe a quarter inch long? Long story short, I wore very good insect repellant so I was fine, but others were not so lucky.
This week was really good! We went out with a lot of members this week and it was an amazing experience. This one member helped us to find a less-active we had no clue about. His name is "R." He seemed cool and said he was willing to sit with the missionaries again. We also got a very promising referral for some one that seemed very interested in the concept of eternal families, which we as missionaries love. "Ro" also came to church this week and gave us his schedule so that we could set a good baptismal date for him. I'll give you more details next week on that one. He seems like he will progress really fast. All in all, we have a small but very promising list of people I'm excited to follow up on this week. Also, Elder Mercier and I are getting back together to do his death tour. The area I'm in is his first area, and he wants to say bye to a couple of people. It'll be fun.
That's about all I have time for this week! Hope it was detailed enough. Tell Aunt Celeste and Maddy the picture of the pinata they wanted is coming next week. I read their letter again and realized I forgot to do that. Don't worry the pinata is not yet smashed so. . . yeah!
Love you guys! Have an awesome week!
Elder Cole Cooper

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Miracle Week






Hey Family! It sounds like everyone had a good week. Our week was good as well.
We saw several miracles this week in trying to find people. I think the biggest one is when we went by a member's home at the end of the day. He is our branch mission leader so we meet with him a lot. He wasn't quite there so we started talking to his brother who was just sitting outside. To give this some context we had been talking to our branch mission leader about sharing the gospel with his brother for quite some time, never pushing anything too hard but always asking him about it. At first it wasn't yielding too much but on Friday night we started talking to him for the first time. Our branch mission leader had told him a lot apparently about the church. One of the first questions he asked was why they haven't built a temple in Suriname yet. It was quite a surprise to hear a question like that. Most people don't know about the temples until we talk to them. We asked him if he had a little bit of time to sit with us and he said only about 5 minutes. We shared Joseph Smith's First Vision and gave him a Book of Mormon. He agreed to meet with us again. It was pretty cool. We are excited for him.
We also got an investigator of ours to agree to baptism and the next time we see him we are going to set a date so that was also a plus. His name is "R." He has been to church several times, really cool guy. Basically was interested in the church and wanted to join right when he met the missionaries.
As far as how the year mark went it was great! It's tradition hear to burn a shirt on the year mark. (Don't worry, it was not one of the new ones! This one was actually already ruined). We went to Subway to celebrate so that was fun.
Dad, I don't know if you remember using those flipcharts, (I sent a pic). We were at the zone leaders apartment and I nabbed it. We had some interesting conversations about what it might have been like teaching with them. I was kinda curious if you remember anything about it? Either way I thought it would've been cool to take a picture and send it to you.
Besides that there was not much else. P-Day today was combined sports which is always fun. Hope you all have a great week! Love you guys!
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, August 31, 2015

Zone Conference and District Conference



These pictures were from a couple of weeks ago...


Hey family! So for this week we had zone conference! As well as district conference in the same weekend so it was pretty chaotic as well as a lot of biking to get from place to place. It was amazing though. We had a member of the Seventy attend our zone conference. His name is Hugo E. Martinez. He gave a talk in the October conference in Spanish. Don't worry...he spoke English to us during the zone conference. Funny moment of the weekend is the zone leaders needed to come by to drop off some supplies we needed and they told us that they were having a difficult time getting Martinez a room in the Marriot so they were debating whether or not to have him stay in our apartment. Needless to say, we spent a little bit of time cleaning up that night. The next day the zone leaders told us they were just joking about Elder Martinez needing to sleep at our apartment. We all had a good laugh.
The Bakers also gave a class on bikes. Something our area is surely in need of.
I really enjoyed zone conference. We talked about what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Which was also the topic of conversation for my interview with President Egbert. We talked about what it means in the Bible when it says we become new creatures, and what it takes to do that. I always enjoy my interview with the mission president. Both President Egbert and President Mehr were really in tune with the Spirit. It was always awesome.
Elder and Sister Martinez talked about becoming full-purpose missionaries. It basically helped us all to understand how important eternal families are, which is what really influenced Sister Martinez to join the church. It was really cool when I talked with the both of them one on one for just a couple of minutes. They both are in the medical field and so I asked them about how that was. Elder Martinez explained that the years go by fast and how medicine was an amazing way to serve. He encouraged me to go for it, and to follow the Spirit and search for the will of the Lord. Pretty cool!
I think the thought that I'll share in detail from this past weekend is something that Elder Martinez explained in the priesthood session of district conference. We talked about the worth of souls as well as the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. He shared with us what the three different parables represented.
1. The lost sheep: The lost sheep is the one that wanders off on their own, they fall away from activity in the gospel and in the church. So, we go looking for them, and when we have found them, we invite them back, and we help them in that process.
2. The lost coin: The lost coin is the one we offend and so they fall into inactivity. Elder Martinez shared a story about how he had offended a member serving as a stake president and when he went back to see him, he just simply said sorry. He didn't give excuses, or say he didn't mean it, he just said he was sorry. Then the member came back and was active again.
3. The prodigal son: The prodigal son is the member that starts coming back all on their own. When they come back we embrace them and welcome them back. We don't ask what happened while they were gone, because that is the job of the bishop. We just do our best to help them feel welcome and loved.
I had never heard that explanation before and it stuck out to me quite a bit this past weekend. I really liked that explanation.
There were so many cool things said this past weekend. I barely had time to write them all down while I was there, let alone to write them to you guys this week. But I really felt the Spirit. It was an awesome weekend, even though we barely knew how our schedule was going to work out.
It was awesome to hear from you guys! Hope you have an amazing week!
Love you,
Elder Cole Cooper
P.S I loved the package you guys sent me. Thank you so much for the shirts, as well as the so called camel piñata. Haha.  I thought it was pretty funny. Please tell Grammy, Pop Pops, Celeste and Maddy thank you!!! I love and miss them. I was wondering if in the next package you could send those v5 roller ball pens that you sent last time? I think Grammy was the one that sent it last time. They were black, red, green, and blue. Thank you so much! Love you guys!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Missionary Life is Like A Zoo in a Jungle

Cole and his new companion, Elder Hardy


Stinkin big caterpillar.

Trip to Zoo on P-Day





Hey Family! How is everyone doing? Sounds weird that you guys started school. School just ended here in Suriname so it feels like you guys were never on vacation. That's funny you guys mentioned how hot it was in St. George. It's starting to approach the dry season here so the heat is starting to kick up. Imagine about the same heat you felt in St. George but because of the humidity your clothes stick to you. Carson, the only advantage I had over you was that I get to wear short sleeves haha.
Our week was an interesting one.  Missionary work is definitely like a zoo in a jungle. We had so many appointments fall through. It was very discouraging. I just always have to remember to keep perspective and realize that one day does not make it the end of the world. Even on the rough days there are experiences that you will never forget. Someone once told me that there isn't a missionary out there who would trade in a heart beat to go back to the worst day of their mission. I always try to remember that when the times are hard.
There are some really cool people here. My companion and I are working with a lot of recent converts and trying to help encourage them about missionary work. We just tried helping one of them do family history the other day. I wish I was taking the class you guys are doing. I had no clue how it worked. Maybe some tips could help?
I'm sorry it's real short this week. I ran out of time. It took a lot of time to upload pictures to dropbox. I love you guys so much! Enjoy the pictures. We went to the zoo.
Love,
Elder Cooper

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Companion! New Trainee!



Hey family how are things?
I can't believe Keri and Carson are going to start school. It feels like summer just started. It doesn't help that it's summer vacation for the people here, so to me it's almost like you never went on vacation. haha
That family history class sounds really cool. I wish I would have done it a little more when I was back at home. You guys ought to talk to Brother "S." He is the family history nut of Suriname. Never hesitates to show you photos of all the temples he's seen in America. He was actually endowed in the Mt. Timpanogas temple so me and him had a good conversation there.
Our week was an interesting one. We had the transition into the new transfer which is always a good time haha. Mom, to answer your question, it is more than likely I will be with him for the next two transfers. It can happen to where his training gets split, but it's not likely. Elder Hardy is excited to meet all the people we have and he is excited to do missionary work. He did choir throughout high school and likes to play video games. (I don't think you'll meet a guy today that doesn't like to play video games, haha). As I was talking to him I found out that he is actually from Las Vegas and not Salt Lake City like I originally thought. He was living in Colorado when he left but he said his family moved back. He is an awesome missionary. I'm excited to see how far he goes in the next twelve weeks. I'm excited for this next week. We have some good appointments planned.
I hope you all have an amazing week! Love you guys!
Elder Cooper

Monday, August 3, 2015

Over Bridge River Resort




Over Bridge River Resort






 Lunch with The Bakers


Hey family what's up? Sounds like it was an awesome week!
Mom, to answer your question transfer calls are this coming Friday/Saturday and the next transfer starts next Wednesday. By next week I will know what happens.
As far as this week goes it was a good one. We had a rough day Wednesday. Everything had fallen through and the only solace was a member lesson at the end of the day. We were feeling pretty down in the dumps and it had kinda carried over to the next couple of days. Friday the Baker's had invited us to lunch. But it wasn't as easy as just going to lunch. We had a couple of appointments scheduled at around the same time and so we decided that we would skip out on lunch and try to teach. Well, it all started Thursday night when my inner tube went flat. So we went and bought a new one right before we went to the apartment. The next morning I was trying to fix it and realized the rubber part of the tire had a split in it and the inner-tube was too big. Which meant that the tube was bulging out of the tire. Plus, I had set the tire up wrong and so the chain was barely working. We decided that we would still try to get to the appointment but when we got there, he was not home. So we thought we would go and try and fix my bike. Then my chain fell off which was kinda the straw that broke the camel's back. Finally, we called the zone leaders and they took us to lunch which explains the picture of Pizza Hut you guys saw.
The Bakers wanted to come back to our apartment with us to help fix the bike. Which we were just fine with. After the bike was fixed we talked for a little bit and it was just hilarious. They are both really funny. Looking back on what happened and how I was feeling before they came with us. I realized what the main reason probably was for them coming with us is so that I could have my spirits lifted. The rest of the week went great after that.
In other news, the sisters who took over my area when I left told me that "S" went on a mini mission with them for the weekend. She also graduated from the Suriname equivalent of Junior High and is moving on to High school. They said she loved doing a mini mission.
Highlight of the week as far as people go, a less-active who we have been trying for so long to find the past two transfers has finally come back. She gave her testimony in sacrament meeting and basically explained that the Spirit had led her to come back to church after a long time. We have considered her reactivated, which is awesome!
Today we went to a place called the "Over Bridge River Resort." It's basically a cool beach place about an 1 and a half away from the closest set of missionaries. There is a place to play volleyball so we did that. Me and Elder Dibb also got to play catch. It felt awesome to throw a baseball after not having thrown one for two or three years. We also played a game called Joule. It's a local Suriname game that would take forever to explain, just know that I'll bring it home.
Anyways, that's all I got. Have an amazing week!
Love,
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, July 27, 2015

"I Do Set My Bow in the Cloud..."

Hi Family!!
Not much is going on around here. Thanks for sending that picture of the rainbow Mom.
(This is a picture of a rainbow we saw in our backyard that I sent to Cole this week.)


Elder James and I look for them all the time. (There are so many storms here.) And when we see them we always say jokingly, "It's going to be ok."It reminds me of the scripture in Genesis 9..."I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant..."If you notice in the scripture that this statement is repeated several times. By using repetition it strengthens the covenant.
As far as this week goes, we had a good week. We had finally found a less active we have been trying to find for a long time. We sat with her a couple times this week and she came to the decision on her own to come to church. She has been to church the past two weeks and yesterday she even brought a friend. She has a lot of faith. The last time we sat with her she confided in us that she is having problems with her testimony. It's amazing to see that she is still wanting to do the right things and keep the commandments despite how easy it would be for many to think that they are the exception and just not come to church or keep the commandments. That was definitely the highlight of the week.
Other than that not too much else happened. As far as cool insights this week from personal study, I was reading in the Book of Mormon about how captain Moroni was preparing his people for war. One cool insight that I got this week is that what is interesting to note is that as soon as the Nephites successfully fought back against the Lamanites, Moroni did not stop preparing his people for war. I realized that when we overcome one of Satan's temptation or overcome a weakness that we have we should not cease to pray for help or guidance because just like the Lamanites, Satan prepares for another attack.
It's not too much this week, but I hope you guys know that I love you. We have a really good week planned so hopefully there will be a bunch to write about next Monday.
Storms can be a little crazy here.
Have an awesome week!
Love,
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, July 20, 2015

Keep The Sabbath Day Holy

Hi Family!!

Our week was a pretty good week. We had finally taught a contact that we had run into about three weeks ago. They are a couple in their late 20's that studied English at a University level. . . you can guess which language we spoke with them. They had a lot of questions about LDS doctrine which was really fun to answer. We had talked about what being sealed in the temple means, as well as the remission of sins, and other questions about basic LDS belief in general. We do not get to talk about those things with people for a couple of visits so you can imagine how excited we were. We are afraid of two things for them though. Because they studied at the University and because of their personality they approach things very academically which may be hard if your trying to feel the Spirit, which comes more as a feeling rather than an academic discovery. We are also afraid that they will search things on the internet where the truth will be distorted and presented in an extreme way rather than reading the Book of Mormon for themselves and praying. I have faith that they will do well though, they seem like a really amazing couple.
Other than that the week was pretty normal. Yesterday was branch conference. It was a discussion about keeping the Sabbath day holy, which the Apostles explained is one of the best things we could be doing to strengthen our faith. It really made me want to strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, not just on my mission but when I get home. The biggest thing I learned is that it is not so much about what we can or cannot do on the Sabbath, like the Mosaic law. But that it is more about what sign we are trying to give the Lord on the Sabbath. If we think about that then the Spirit guides us into knowing what would be a good idea to do on the Sabbath.
I testify that the Spirit is absolutely necessary to succeed in life. Without it we are lost and we lead ourselves into temptation and problems. I also know that a mission is the best experience ever. Even on the worst of days I realize I would not want to be anywhere else. I hope you all have an amazing week! I love you guys so much!
Love,
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, July 13, 2015

Our Trip to Two Hotspots in Suriname

(Cole didn't take this pic. This is just a pic I found online of the bridge. 
It shows the height a little more clearer.)
A view before they headed out for the torturous ride.

Cole's view from the bridge.





Hi Family!!
I had an amazing spiritual experience last Monday that I wanted to share with you guys. Because last week was a difficult one I was trying to think of what to study last Monday. I felt prompted to look up patience in PMG. It led me to an inspiring scripture in Alma 17. For the background of this scripture it is talking about how when the sons of Mosiah first went on their fourteen year missions they were praying to the Lord for success in converting the Lamanites and that the Lord would grant them his Spirit. What is interesting to note is the first thing the Lord said in answer to their prayers was "Be Comforted." When I had read those words I felt a wave of spiritual comfort. I know it is what the Lord would have said to me if he could've been sitting across from me.
The next thing he told them, was to be patient and long-suffering in their afflictions. I'm sure that would have been a tough pill for them to swallow but they did it. They were then blessed so much for their efforts.
I know that the Lord will comfort us in our trials and afflictions if we can be patient and accept the Lord's timing. Which is often times so hard, but the effort is well worth it.
As for this past week it went a lot better. We have an appointment with a cool couple we met this past weekend who have heard a lot about the church and are not afraid to ask questions. They also studied English and are English teachers so that's nice.
Other than that, it's just working hard to show the Lord we love Him.
Cool thing we did today was found the I heart Su sign. As well as biking up to the top of the tallest structure in Suriname---The Commewijne Bridge. It was pretty fun, but also tough surprisingly. We were both breathing pretty hard when we got to the top. Took some pictures. Some people called us crazy which was funny. We did not dare bike down, it's way too steep. We just walked.
Anyways, you guys all have an awesome week.
Love you guys!
Elder Cole Cooper