"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, May 25, 2015

New Area, New People, New Everything

Well, it sounds like everyone's week was ok. And also full of rain. I think it's funny how much the weather where everyone is at is a parallel of the weather I'm experiencing here.
To start off I thought I would tell you guys a story. So I emailed you guys on Monday and transfers were on Wednesday. So, I got all packed up and ready to go and the zone leaders came with the van. After we dropped off Elder Mercier we made our way to where I would be staying. At one point in the trip we wanted to turn around. Now, a couple of things; one, it had been raining that whole day so the streets were wet and muddy; two, the van is old and has almost no power so it gets stuck easy. So we turned into a street that had a little bit of grass to the side. We pulled in and tried to back up but we got stuck. As I'm sure you all know missionaries back each other up when we are in cars, so I told Elder Hood that he was stuck and because he was in mud he was digging himself deeper. He decided he would pull forward and try to turn out rather than back up. At this point I was on the side of the van and Elder Hood pulled forward and turned to where the back was now towards me. The van got stuck again and before I knew it, it was flinging mud from the back end. The pictures explain the rest. Elder Hood is the one standing next to me.
That was day one in my new area! I actually thought it was pretty funny so it was no big deal.
The days following were spent trying to find some new people. A lot of the investigators that the area had were simply not progressing and needed to be dropped which forced us to do a lot of finding. We met some interesting people. One of them was a total atheist from Holland. He was probably in his late 20's and we tried speaking to him in Dutch but he speaks English really well so the conversation turned to English. His mom saw us and then immediately went back inside to grab us drinks, they were both really nice people. They asked us a little bit about how we learned Dutch, if we are paid, what we want to do when we are done with a mission that sort of thing. It was cool because even though the guy was atheist, they both said they have a lot of respect for us leaving home and learning a foreign language in a foreign country. One thing that I have immediately noticed about the city is that the people here speak Dutch really well so if we stumble a little bit they immediately ask, "Do you speak English?" It's definitely different.
Another person we ran into was this young lady, also in her 20's who knew the Bible well and at first seemed really cool. She was busy cleaning her balcony when she saw us knocking on the door of a house down the street. When she saw us, she invited us over. At first me and Elder James were really excited because she explained how she had always wanted to talk to us and at first it seemed like she would be our next investigator. We quickly realized that it was a trap though, because she began to pick apart every little thing we said about the Book of Mormon and about the Restoration. By the end she asked us to bear our testimonies and we shared how we both knew the Book of Mormon was true. She then bore her testimony and explained how the Bible is all we need and also that she would pray that we would find God. Even though we went through all of that, she accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said she would read it. In which case, you never know.
Well, I will finish it off here. I love you guys so much! I hope you guys have the best week!
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, May 18, 2015

Our Menu For This Past Week?---A Three Course Meal of Rain with a Side of Water, and Sopping Wet for Dessert

I have been trying to think of a funny/creative subject line to describe that every single day was pouring rain this week. That's what I came up with. Remember when you guys asked if there was something you could send? A rain jacket might not be a bad idea. I have a poncho but it does not do a good job of keeping me dry. You do not have to though.
Well, I guess its time I tell you all the news...I have been transferred to an area called Paramaribo North. It's not too far from where I already am. To describe the kind of change it is...it is basically  like me going from AF, which is part city part rural area, to downtown Salt Lake. I'm already in the city, but now I'm going further in. I will be with Elder James, who was actually in the MTC with me. I'm pretty excited.
My current area will be given to the Sisters. They will now have to manage two areas. They are a little nervous and are asking us to update our area book and make it really nice so that they can take care of the people we have. I'm a little sad that I have to leave just because I have gotten to know the members really well here and they are all awesome. But I did feel like I needed a change. Elder Mercier is also becoming the new district leader! He has three transfers left so he will probably finish out his mission that way.
This week was great. On Sunday we had some investigators come to church with all their kids. As well as an attendance of 92 people. To put that into perspective, the branch wants to have an average of 100 by the end of the year so that they can have their own building. (Right now they rent out a building.) At this point there is an average of 75 so they are well on their way. I was really happy to end the transfer that way. I hope that the branch continues to grow and work hard.
This week I studied the gifts of the Spirit. There was a quote from Joseph Smith that I read that explained how most of the time the manifestations of those gifts do not appear right away upon receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. They are developed and when the time and circumstances are right they are manifested. For example, the gift of healing. How would you know you had that gift upon receiving the Holy Ghost? It would not be shown in a great manifestation of lights and fireworks. In fact it may only be manifested in the privacy of a home. He also explained how each gift is necessary and useful and all together they are used to help build up the kingdom of God. Which explains the quote in 1 Corinthians 12 14-22 how the gifts are members of the body of Christ.
What I was also reminded of is what President Mehr told us in our companionship study. Only in this church, where the gift of the Holy Ghost is enjoyed, can we develop god-like attributes such as these gifts of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:28-30 states that not everybody has every gift, which is wisdom in him that we may learn to help and learn from each other.
It made me want to follow Paul's council at the end of chapter 12, "but covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet I show unto you a more excellent way."
We all have been given spiritual gifts that we are to use to help others and to build up the kingdom of god. I am grateful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
Love you guys, Have an awesome week!
Elder Cooper

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Little Q&A

Hey family! Sounds like everyone had a good week. I'll answer some questions to start out.
Did you have another baptism this weekend?
1.) No baptism, we had to cancel his date for the time being. I'll let you know a little more as his story develops a little more.
How is the rainy season?
2.) I have no clue about the rainy season. Every person I ask says a different thing, I've heard that right now is the small dry season, others say it's the small rain season and others say it's the big rain season. No clue. The rain is kinda really funky. Sometimes it rains a little bit for the whole day, other times it rains really hard for five minutes and then it's done.
Did you get your packages? 
3.) I did get both of your packages, I really enjoyed the photos that you sent me in the package. As well as all of your letters. Please tell everyone I said thank you!! It helps me out here to know that everyone back home loves and supports me!! No words can express. I enjoyed reading Grammy's letter about how multiple speakers in Conference said to stay close to the tree. You cannot go wrong if you stay true to the gospel.
What are your thoughts on King Benjamin's speech? It will be part of our study this week.
4.) King Benjamin's speech is amazing. I think my favorite part of that talk is when the people cry with one voice saying that they believe all the things that King Benjamin spoke to them. And how his words wrought a mighty change in them or in their hearts. I always wondered what that must feel like to have a mighty change of heart and determination to serve God to the end of our lives. I think I experience it on a smaller scale on a mission. It's really cool.
Anything you want to share with Carson?
5.) Carson, that sounds really cool. I wonder if it bugged more people more than it entertained. That's interesting the game won't have space battles or the prequel stuff. I thought it was cool to have both. Someone told me that the 7th episode comes out this summer so you'll have to tell me how that was, (without spoilers).
6.) Keri I love how you reported to me about the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. That fight was highly anticipated for like two years. I wonder if and when they'll fight again. I think me and you are in sync, because I just started to have a sore throat yesterday. (Mom, don't worry I'm loaded up on vitamin c and halls drops so I'll be fine.) There is a member here that served her mission in Provo, she talked about hiking up to the Y and described how hard it was for her just because of the elevation. That sounds like you had a lot of fun.
7.) Dad, that's crazy Jay dropped so low in the draft. I completely forgot he had a knee injury his freshman year, he never played like he had had one. I will have to watch the Fiesta Bowl when I get back, that's crazy to hear how much Grant Hendricks improved.
As far as this week went it wasn't too bad, kinda just another week. The assistants are in town so today we played ultimate frisbee and soccer. There are a couple of shots of us after we were done in dropbox. The assistants will be working with us tomorrow so wish us luck. And also, President Mehr is in town. He did some last minute administration work, and we got to see him at a fireside yesterday. Kinda funny cause he came up to me and said,
"I would like to have a companionship study with you two tomorrow, what is your schedule like?" When he said that I thought at first he might be joking. But he was serious, he joked around and was like "Yeah we'll have some fun, we'll talk about when the Holy Ghost is going to get a body and all of that stuff." So, after I'm done emailing we will go back to the apartment and have a companionship study with the mission president. Wish us luck!
I had a really cool study about knowledge this week! There is a scripture in 2 Nephi that talks about how the people in the last days will be in captivity, because they have no knowledge. I thought that was interesting how a lack of knowledge about anything could bring us into the captivity of Satan, but after you think about it you realize that it makes sense. If you didn't know anything about anything you would be subject to all kinds of superstitions and falsehoods, not knowing any better. I'm grateful for the gospel that dispels all doubt and for the Holy Ghost that testifies of all truth.
I better wrap this thing up, but I love you guys! Have an awesome week!
Thanks for the support!
Elder Cooper