"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, March 26, 2015

The Atonement and Families

Hey guys! This week was zone conference! We had a member of the seventy come by for the zone conference so it was really special. It was Elder Cornish. He gave an amazing discourse about the Atonement. He showed us a video depicting Abraham and Isaac when Abraham had to offer him as a sacrifice. It was a really touching video and it gave me a visual of what it must have been like. Elder Cornish explained that we begin to understand the Atonement a little bit better when we have families. The amount of sacrifice and love it requires to raise a good family gives us an idea of what Heavenly Father must have felt when he had to put his son Jesus Christ through the Atonement. It made me think of all the sacrifices you guys make for me and all the love you guys show me. It was really humbling to think about that. The spirit was incredibly strong. 
I can testify of the power of the Atonement. One of my favorite scriptures about it is 2 Nephi 9:7 which says "Wherefore it must needs be an infinite atonement, save it were an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption." It's so simple and so powerful. It is an infinite atonement, which means it reaches out to everyone who is willing to partake of it. Every pain, sickness, sin, and shortcoming is covered. It was amazing to have a seventy teach us.
Other than zone conference this week was hard. Yesterday we contacted for three hours. We had brought a member with us to meet with a contact and the person was not there. This member is awesome though and just loves sharing the gospel and being with the missionaries, so he just spent the rest of the day with us. We tried so hard to sit with people, but no one would budge. We actually talked with one guy for a half hour and got nowhere. Very frustrating. 
We found a new family a couple of weeks ago, their names are "S" and "R" They are a little slow as far as comprehension goes, so we need to work really slow with them. But they are awesome, they like meeting with us, and they are trying to learn more about God, which is great. I'm excited to keep working with them.
I'm sorry it's not too much this week, just know that I love you guys! Thanks so much for your emails and your support! I hope you have an amazing week! 
Elder Cooper
P.S Keri, congrats on the cheer competition that's awesome to have done that well with so much adversity and challenges. Carson, that's awesome to hear you gave a great talk. Have an amazing week!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Watch Over Each Other

Hey guys! First off, you guys are funny. In all honesty I just have a small receding hair line.  It is more or less a joke between the zone than a statement of fact.
To summarize this week it was hard towards the end. We have been having problems filling in the time slot from 12-3 on Friday-Sunday. We have yet to meet someone that is good for that time. After explaining this to Elder Alpeter, our District Leader, he challenged me to find a better method. He wanted me to look outside the box and find a way to contact more people and contact them effectively. I'm still thinking about what to do, but I think I want to do something involving family history. Any ideas?
Elder Holland gave a fireside this past Saturday. He didn't come to Suriname. He was in the Dominican Republic. But it was broadcasted to Suriname. The fireside was about teaching, which Elder Holland explained is central to every calling in the church. Everyone teaches. He shared a quote by President Kimball, "Stake presidents, bishops, and branch presidents, please take a particular interest in improving the quality of teaching in the Church. … I fear, that all too often many of our members come to church, sit through a class or a meeting, and … then return home having been largely [uninspired]. It is especially unfortunate when this happens at a time … of stress, temptation, or crisis [in their life]. We all need to be touched and nurtured by the Spirit, and effective teaching is one of the most important ways this can happen. We often do vigorous work, to get members to come to Church but then do not adequately watch over what they receive when they do come." That kinda struck me as a missionary. Often times I find myself struggling so hard to get into an appointment with someone and then don't give enough time to think about the lesson and what we will teach. So I am trying to focus on ways that we can "watch over" our members and investigators.
I love you guys! I hope that you have an amazing week! Please know that I think about you all the time.
Love you!
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pave the Way

Apartment that Cole lives in right now.

View of the street outside his apartment.

Hey family! It sounds like another day in Highland. Another Elder here, who likes to ski, was telling me that his dad sent him a picture of Park City where there was no snow. It was basically mud and plants. That's going to make the summer hard. Hopefully they don't have to go crazy with the water restrictions.
This week we tried to work hard and just put our hearts into it. The Lord was with us, every available hour of the day was spent in appointments or meetings, with the exception of the weekend, which is always hard here.
For this week I wanted to tell you guys an experience we had. Three weeks ago we met a guy named "D". He was visiting his aunt who lives below us, for a couple of weeks. He lives in the forest area (the locals call it the binnenlands which is Dutch for inner-lands) which takes about 6-7 hours by bus to get from there to here in the city. We had given him a restoration pamphlet and explained a little bit about what we do, but besides that we did not explain much more. Later on that week we saw him at a small store nearby where we live and he asked us to come over. So we went over and shared with him the message of the Restoration, as well as a little bit of the Plan of Salvation, which he had questions about. He told us he was going to be leaving soon, so we gave him a Book of Mormon and the Restoration and Plan of Salvation pamphlets and invited him to read.
Two weeks later he sent us a text. In this text he explained to us that he had begun reading the Book of Mormon and from reading it he realized that he was on the wrong path. But because of the Book of Mormon he was now on the right path. He told us that he would call us with questions if he had any, but for right now he would continue to read it. He explained that he was really grateful to have met us.
This week he texted us again. He expressed his gratitude again that God had allowed him to meet us and that we had given him the Book of Mormon. He testified that he knows the Book of Mormon is true. He had found out that the Book of Mormon referenced to Bible verses and he explained that this only strengthened his testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. When we asked him how far he was he said he was by Jacob 2 and that he had also started reading the dictionary/topical guide in the back.
This experience has really helped to strengthen my testimony of the Book of Mormon. It really can change people's lives. "D" explained to us that when he had read the section about repentance, (may or may not have been King Benjamin's speech) he had teared up. The Book of Mormon is one of the most unique aspects of our church and I'm grateful not only for the book, but also for the opportunity I have to share it with people.
It is amazing to see what an amazing example "Su" now is for her whole family. When we went by this week she was able to help us explain to one of the family members how to pray. She also explained to them the different aspects of baptism. It was awesome. She is paving the way for future family members to get baptized as well as people in that neighborhood. As well as "D"  who is too far south to be taught further by missionaries, but by reading the Book of Mormon and hopefully sharing it with people the first few missionaries that open up the area will already have a branch. It's amazing how the little things we do today help to pave the way for others.
Tell PopPops and Lizzy I said "Happy Birthday." Also, please thank the Wilcox's for sending money. We went to Chois today to stock up on food. So that money was well spent!!
I love you guys! I hope you have an awesome week! I want you guys to know that even though I miss you like crazy and wish you could be here experiencing this with me, I am so happy to be here and share the gospel.

Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, March 2, 2015

This is my Joy...

Hey Family! So Kache wasn't the only one that was baptized this week! One of our investigaors, "Su" was baptized this past week. "Su" is 17 and is the niece of "O" in case you didn't know. "Su" asked me to do the baptism, I felt honored. It was the first person I've ever baptized. Not just first investigator but first person ever. I was so nervous! I actually had to baptize her twice! Other than that it went great! There were only a couple of members but pretty much her whole family was there. Which is exactly how I would have wanted it if it were me. It doesn't matter how many people are there as long as you have your family there. The happiest moments of my life have always involved family.
This family that I sent a picture of is really prepared. Just about everyone was there Sunday as well for the first time. They said they enjoyed it. I hope that seeing "Su" get baptized gives them a strong desire to get baptized themselves.
It was a really humbling experience to be able to baptize her. I felt the Spirit so strong. It really strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to be apart of that experience.
On Sunday after thinking a lot about what had happened I stumbled on Alma 29:9 "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."
I realized after reading that verse that I was only an instrument in the hands of the Lord and that the Spirit helped "Su" to make this decision. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary. It was a very humbling experience. I cannot say it enough, it was a very humbling and spiritual experience.
I love you guys! I hope that you have an amazing week! I miss you guys like crazy! Love you!
Elder Cooper