"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, 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 piƱata. 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.
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!
Elder Cole Cooper