"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, April 27, 2015

Not a Baptismal Service But A Baptismal Fireside

     First off, I want to share with you how saddened I was to hear of Dr. Richey's passing. He and Dr. Moshifar were inspirations to me of how I would want to be a surgeon for my patients. Dr. Moshifar could tell me details about his patients lives that I have no clue how he could maintain all that information, and Dr. Richey was just so empathetic and understood how big of a decision it could be to undergo surgery, despite the fact that he had probably done a similar surgery hundreds of times and felt completely comfortable doing it. I think the profession of a surgeon is interesting because only a select few make it through that process. The sheer workload to get there is enough to turn most people away. I remember when I told a sister missionary here last week that was what I wanted to do and I started to explain what you have to do and she was just like, "That's terrible Elder Cooper." But I think the reason why so few get to that point is because only those that truly want to help others in that capacity and at the same time have a passion for it, make it to that point. If it's all about the money then the process and workload just weeds them out. (Mom-I hope you are able to attend Dr. Richey's funeral.)
     This week we had 5 baptisms on the same day! Two from our area, two from another in the same branch and one from the north. One of the members joked around and said it wasn't a baptismal service but a baptismal fireside. It was awesome to be a part of it. I cannot tell the story of the one sister who was baptized from the north. I've never met her and I forgot to ask the Elders what her story was. I know you guys look at Elder Carpenter's blog sometimes. It was his baptism so he probably explained it in detail on his side.
What I can say though is that the other couple that were baptized have an amazing story.
"N", the wife, has been investigating the church since about a year and a half ago. She could not get baptized because she was not married. Despite that setback she continued to visit the church every Sunday and made sure her kids were baptized and would not be waiting for her during that time. Well, a couple of months ago her boyfriend started to turn around. The elders started to teach him and finally two weeks ago they were married. Just yesterday, they became baptized. It was amazing to see how happy they both were.
One member commented during the baptismal service that if we could part the veil for a short time we would be amazed to see how many angels were there at that service. Some more of Heavenly Father's children are coming back. The Spirit was so strong.
As for our end, two more of the "K" family were baptized yesterday. They are incredibly prepared and we know that if they continue to be fed by the gospel, they will be kingdom builders here in Suriname, especially for where they live. They are quite a distance from a church or from any member and so they are pioneers in their own right. I can see that there desire to learn more and to be a part of this church is so strong though. I believe that if there is someone that could be pioneers for the area that they are living in, it's the "Ks."
Love you guys! Have an awesome week!
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thank You!

Hey everyone! So this week had a lot of ups and downs. Highlight of the week was Saturday haha. We had all of our appointments fall through the morning of because for some reason everyone wanted to go to a parade in the city. We only saw two people that day. We have been trying to help a sister in the branch with institute. She gives good lessons. But on average there are only two or three people each week. It's kinda sad, if that were me it'd be tough to feel like I was magnifying my calling. So we went to institute Saturday evening. At the end of the lesson we were waiting for a bus, and after ten minutes none came. (We usually wait a minute or two) So, we ended up walking home. It took about an hour. I wasn't mad, I just had to laugh at it.
There were some positive things though. We met a girl named "M" who we had met last week and finally had our first appointment this week. In between our meeting she had read 14 chapters out of the Book of Mormon. Which does not happen very often. We also taught a less-active named "SA" She knows the doctrine well and she is really cool. She speaks English too and she wants to become an English teacher. Should be fun to keep teaching her.
We also had one of our investigators come to church for the first time. His name is "D."I think he enjoyed church, second hour was just him and the gospel principles teacher. I'll let you know how it goes with him this coming week. He really likes the Book of Mormon.
Dad, to answer your question, none of those brands are here. The best brands are called Giant,and Gazelle. They are basically like beach cruisers. Nothing fancy here haha. I have no idea where I would go. I honestly could go anywhere with anyone after this transfer. Mom, I got the package thank you so much. Please tell everyone thank you! It was awesome to get everyones cards and letters. I love hearing from everyone. Im sorry I can't email everyone every week. It is just impossible. (Remind them that the letter I send to you and Dad is meant for everyone.)I shared the cadbury eggs with the zone and they really liked it. The only request I'll make is new razor heads in the next package, I'm down to two.
Love you guys!
Have an awesome week!
Elder Cooper

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Reflecting on General Conference

Hey everybody!  Mom, I'm glad you looked up the national holidays in Suriname, I was wondering what your reaction would be when I didn't email yesterday. I figured you'd be ok. Just wondering though haha.
First, I did get the package. But I haven't had it delivered to the apartment yet. The thing is that North Zone elders pick it up and then deliver it. Not sure when they will make time, but it's here.
Second, I am staying in Wanica North. I honestly have mixed feelings. All in all---I'm grateful--- because I will get to continue working with some prepared people, and will most likely be able to see them get baptized. So that's good. Who knows, maybe I still need to find someone. :)
Third, General Conference was amazing. I was surprised at how many of the talks focused on families and marriage. One of the reasons why I think that is because I felt the Spirit telling me that when I get home I need to make sure I spend my time wisely.
I think it's funny that the advice you guys are giving me is to make sure I'm having fun and that I'm enjoying the time I have here to serve the Lord. There were so many talks that made me feel that way. One of the talks was about maintaining perspective, especially during a trial. I realized that I was kinda having a narrow view, that I wasn't really trying to stop and enjoy the moments. I feel bad that I'm vaguely referencing to these talks, but one of them said we need to continually enjoy the simple truths of the gospel, we need to be caught in awe of the simple beauty of the gospel. It was really powerful.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk on Potemkin villages was awesome. Dad-- there was a talk by Larry M. Gibson that made me think of you. My favorite quote from it was "I love my dad, I loved how he taught. . . my deepest hope is that I'm living up to his example."
Well I'll have to let you guys go. Sorry this email is so short. Have an awesome week. Know that I love you guys! Have fun!
Elder Cole Cooper

Friday, April 3, 2015

Transfers Coming Up!

Cole's Zone...

Broken bike seat?

Hey family! To start off with, no I haven't gotten the package yet. Someone mentioned that they were going to try and pick them up Tuesday so I think I will get it this week. I do need to apologize because I haven't been good with taking pictures. At all. I just need to take them, even if it's of the stupidest stuff. It'll be worth it to be able to see all of those pictures when I've come home from my mission. I really liked that picture Grammy sent me of dad with the guitar. I remember he had told me a story of someone that would play it, but I'm not sure about the details. You will have to tell it to me again haha. 
As far as this week went it was an interesting week. Me and my companion gave the district meeting. We talked about how it is important to listen to the Spirit while we are on the street or while we are planning. As a missionary I think it's easy to get caught up in biking from appointment to appointment and just pass people. We taught how we should be looking for opportunities to help random people with whatever they need help with and also looking for chances to just stop and talk to people. My companion always likes to tell people something along the lines of, "Well we aren't just here to share the gospel with people but we are also here to serve. Is there anything you need help with?" He will say this to everyone, even plain strangers. There's something to be learned from that though. 
On Wednesday the AP's were in town and one of them shadowed us for half the day. It was kinda hard because all of our appointments fell through and the only person we really sat with was a less-active that was pretty much unwilling to learn anything that day. She's going through a hard time so it's understandable, but the lesson was just tough. It was funny because the AP would stop literally everyone on the street and start to talk to them in English. I mean EVERYONE! Haha we got home that night and counted up like ten names and we were just like, "How are we going to follow up on all of these people?" It did actually prove to help though because we found a less-active we didn't know lived there. Her name is "S." She was baptized when she was 8 and up until three years ago she was active in the church. 
President Mehr was in town and we did our interviews. We had 88 people in church yesterday. That's the most it's ever been since I came here. It was awesome. President Mehr hinted that I might be leaving. Nothing is set in stone though so I won't say anything else.
Today we played soccer and ultimate frisbee with all of the missionaries in North Zone. I took a picture of all of us together in our "uniforms" for what will probably be the last time we all play sports together. These last two transfers have been really hard and yet miraculous. I have enjoyed the leaders that we had and just how dedicated everyone was. It'll be sad to see the zone split up. 
I want you guys to know that even though I don't take good pictures I am having a fun time here. It's awesome to just be dedicated to helping people. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I hope everything is going well for you guys, and that you try to have fun too!
Love you guys!
Elder Cole Cooper