"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, February 23, 2015

Transfers Calls Came and I Am Staying!

Soccer game against the other zone...

Hey everyone! So transfer calls came this week. Our entire zone is staying the same. Which is good. Our zone has had a lot of inspirational meetings and it's actually helping me to be more effective at missionary work.
So, this last Tuesday we had a Suriname-wide district meeting held by Elder Paulson, one of the counselors in the mission presidency. It was on obedience. One of the things that he talked about was how exact obedience brings miracles and how we need to have a willing heart and do what the Lord asks of us. One thing that he said though was somewhat interesting. He asked the group for examples of miracles that had happened on their mission and two missionaries that had served English-side shared an experience from when they served English side. They were amazing stories, and really inspiring. But Elder Paulson made it a point to emphasize that those stories happened on the English-side, and not in Suriname. Which I thought was kinda funny because I have experienced miracles on my mission and I've only been out a couple of months. There are several weeks that I've had to debate what stories I share with you guys because I only get 30-60 mins. to write a long email.
Still the Spirit chastised me a little. The part about a willing heart really got to me. I had been studying about conversion that whole week, and I realized that part of conversion is not only willing to do what the Lord asks of us, but being willing to do it and enjoying it. I realized that for as many of the blessings I have experienced up to this point on my mission, the Lord had to hold some of them back because I was not willing to be exactly obedient, and my attitude was not all the way there.
So after having that lesson we went to follow up on a contact we had made. Before this me and Elder Mercier were having problems teaching baptism by proper authority to our investigators. We had one investigator who said she was baptized by a woman apostle. We had to explain that to her, but it took a couple of lessons. It would have been so much easier had we explained right from the get go that we were there to help her come closer to Christ by baptism by proper authority. So with the goal in mind to make sure that never happened again we began to explain our purpose to this contact, "S." She then asked what was for us the golden question, "Why do I need to be baptized again?" With that we were able to teach the Restoration. Not just the Restoration of the organization of the church, but of the whole gospel. The Restoration of the gospel, authority, and organization. Everything in it's fulness. The Spirit was so strong. She wanted us to come back. We are having another appointment this week. It should be awesome.
That's awesome to hear that Landon is back. I miss that guy. I looked up to him growing up, just a funny, friendly, all around good guy. I know he's probably busy, but I'd like to email him if he gets the chance.
I am staying one more transfer in Wanica. It should be fun, there are a lot of good people here. I don't know if I'll stay after this one, so I want to do the best I can to leave the area better than I found it.
I love you guys! Thanks so much for your letters and emails! Have a great week!
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, February 16, 2015

Study Every Day

Well this is crazy to think about but I am two weeks away from hitting the 6 month mark. That's insane. This first part has just flown by. I don't know if that's because it's all a little new or if time really is speeding up just for my mission. I swear the month before my mission just felt like forever. I guess that's what happens when you get a really solid routine.
This week was awesome! We were in an bit of a slump for about a month where we could not get investigators to church. We wanted to help "S" ("O's" niece) come to church so that she can get baptized by the end of the month. We were talking about what we could share with them during comp study and we decided that what would help them is to understand their covenants and understand why we ask them to attend church. After that lesson it was just amazing to see a light turn on. They were just like "Oh that's why we come to church." It was really cool. "S" and her sister "A" came to church but "O" couldn't make it because she is going through training to be a nurse. It was honestly a miracle. 
As far as transfers and that sort of thing it's kind of a toss up. I have been in Wanica North for awhile but I have only been with Elder Mercier for one transfer so who knows? If something does happen to me I probably move because I have been here for awhile. I doubt they would pull Elder Mercier out after just one transfer. I like Wanica North and I would be good staying and I wouldn't mind moving either. If I were to guess I think I stay for one more transfer with Mercier. Then I will really be due to move. Transfer calls will come this weekend so I will be able to tell you what happens to me next week.
I don't know if I'm gaining or losing weight. I haven't been on a scale since I came out here. We just don't have one. I feel about the same, and I'm trying to be healthy and work out. Btw, those pills that you sent me are intersting, I actually got a pain in my stomach after taking them and looked to see that one pill has 200mg of caffeine and another has green tea extract. I decided to stop taking them, I still take the protein though. 
The binder grammy sent me is awesome. One thing I will say is that as missionaries we have very few things outside of investigators getting baptized that we can get excited about. One of those things our district in the MTC started getting excited about was being organized. How we marked scriptures, what kind of pens or colored pencils we liked to use, how we wrote in our study journal, all of it. One elder actually asked if he could have one of the pens I got. Grammy gave me plenty, as well as a couple of refills so I saw no problem giving him one. It's coming along. I constantly try and think of topics to study that I can fill it with. They ask us to study every day, at the very least get personal study in. So that's been really nice. It's gotten to the point where an hour is actually not enough time. I'm serious. If I would have told that to myself two years ago I probably would have said you're crazy. But with not much else to do, as well as feeling the Spirit a lot more, you actually enjoy it. I wish you guys would study everyday. 
Lastly, I've heard very little about my new mission president other than that his name is President Egbert and he's from Sandy. I don't know what the split will mean as far as where I go.
Anyways I hope you guys have a great week! Love hearing from you!
Elder Cooper

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cool Personal Study Moment

Well, this week was a good week. We started off the week really well, having some good lessons and even getting some members to come with us. (Which we have not done enough) Our whole zone wants to get 30 member lessons by the end of this week. For us that means having one member come with us each day. It would be hard, but so worth it to help our investigators come to church.
I did get your guys' packages this week! Thank you so much. Grammy delivered on that package. That was everything I wanted and more. I'm excited to start filling that in. It will probably be one of the greatest things I get to take back home with me.
Funny story from this week. Our zone was going to play soccer against the other zone today, and we were all thinking of ways we could make it more fun. Our zone decided to buy some Suriname polo shirts and then we would have our names printed on them. It would look like a jersey. We found a cool shirt, but the only problem was the print. When we saw what the shirts looked like after they printed them we couldn't help but laugh.  It's fine, we still like them, and have decided we would rather have them that way. The picture I send will explain it all.
I had a cool personal study moment this week. Every night we do phone calls to make sure that people get home safe, and to see how the day went. The district leader called me one night and asked me if I felt like I had magnified my calling that day. I told him that I did. But I wanted to know what his thoughts were on magnifying our calling. We hear that phrase used all the time in the church and it's a commandment for us as priesthood holders to do it. But I kinda wanted to know...what does that look like?
So we decided we would study it together. The results were really interesting. My favorite scripture I have found so far is Heleman 10:4 "Blessed art thou Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people." I love how it says with unwearyingness. I have noticed a difference in the days where I am kind of going through the motions, maybe thinking about home too much or just being back in the apartment again and then times when I am focused, energetic, and willing to work. I think that is one of the biggest ways I can be magnifying my calling right now. I have made it a goal to pray for and be more energetic and engaged so that I can magnify my calling.
I hope you guys all have an amazing week! I love you! And miss you. Thanks so much for your emails. I'm sorry if I can't respond to them all, but I love reading them. Please keep sending them.

                   "This is what happens when 20 YM organize a soccer game..."

Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, February 2, 2015

Make It An Awesome Week!

A butterfly that flew into the store.

Cole and his companion, Elder Mercier

Hey you guys! It sounded like your week was pretty normal. I have not heard the name Training Table in a long time. That sounds really good. How often do you guys go out with Grammy and Pop-Pops? Seeing that they live really close now I figure it's pretty often. Tell Ledoux I said happy birthday, that guy's a stud. I first off want to say that I do not have good pictures to send this week. I am really bad at taking pictures. I'm going to try and get more creative with pictures from now on.
I have not gotten the package yet.
This week was pretty normal for us. We met with "R" and "D" and they show a lot of potential. We are wanting to take "D" with us to a member's house for family home evening. She was excited to hear about family home evening so hopefully she will want to come with us to this members house.
"R" has had tests and exams this past week so we only got to stop by once, and it was really quick. He is studying to become a judge. He is a talker. We talked a lot about Suriname, the culture, and the people. One thing I've noticed is that the gospel has a way of helping people get their priorities in order. Which is what we talked about with him. When people become converted to the gospel they take hold of their lives, get things in order and begin to work hard. It just shows how much the gospel can give to us. It's more than a feeling of comfort in the next life, but actual blessings in spiritual and temporal matters. The Lord really is in the details of our lives.
This week was area conference. It was cool to see all the members and other elders. I hope I get the opportunity to work in every branch in Suriname because there are a lot of cool members and potential for every area. Even the slower areas are picking up speed right now. Branch presidents are getting excited, and everyone is trying to organize callings and home teaching lists, there are more miracles and wonders on the way.
This email isn't too exciting or long but I want you guys to know that I love you and that I'm having fun. There are little funny moments each day. One time we tried to contact this guy and he just started to go off about how he was a true believer. He was saying stuff like, "I'm a true believer, Ima tell you a story about how I became a true believer. God loves me and you man, your my brothers, I hope you know that. I'm a true believer." The guy was just a little crazy. Kinda funny. There are some awesome people here in Suriname, and more awesome people yet to be found. My testimony grows a little each day, I hope that you guys are having a similar experience.
Cole sent this picture a few weeks ago! Thought it was "awesome" :)

I love you guys and miss you like crazy!
Make it an awesome week!
Elder Cooper