"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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lots of News!

Branch Mission Leader

Gospel Principles Class


Hey family! I'm glad to hear how everyone is doing good, even if it wasn't the most exciting week. There is a lot I feel like I want to talk about so I'll get right to it.
About the music, I've been trying to figure out what options I had and what I could do. Basically, the policy President Egbert came out with makes my speaker ok. But not the ipod I use it with it because it can access radio and has a touch screen. The speaker works by bluetooth so I don't know how many devices are out there that can use bluetooth and at the same time not access the radio or have a touch screen. As far as what can be on the playing device, I feel like really only hymns, MOTAB, and some, not all, of music from EFY would be appropriate. The idea is reverent music, which makes even some of my classical music not ok. I would really just like the instrumental versions of the hymns, especially on guitar if that's even there. I appreciate you guys trying to help though, if it becomes too difficult please don't worry about it. I've gone three weeks without it so far, I don't think too much will change in a year.
As far as what happened this week...we had a convert of about two years get a calling that more or less makes him a ward missionary. We went to visit him a couple of days after he had received this calling and he challenged us to go out contacting with him to try and find 10 new people. He said he wanted to form a stake.  I can't tell you how much these people want that. We went out with him on Saturday to find these people and found a couple of really promising people. We are excited for them and for him with his new calling.
Another highlight of the week was yesterday during church where we had a good attendance for gospel principles class. There were members and investigators that spoke English, Dutch, and Portugese. The class was in English and one Portugese member who knows just a little bit of English translated the input they gave. It was really cool to see everyone participating despite the clear language barrier. I really feel like participation in Sunday school is what helps people to stay active in the church, it's so much more edifying when everyone gets to share inputs and experiences.
To explain some of the pictures,
The one of just me and a guy with a beard is a picture of our branch mission leader! Super humble, super cool guy, the church has helped to completely turn his life around.
There are a couple from gospel principles yesterday
There are also a couple from our P-day activity today. We went to a place called Cola Creek. So named because the water is said to look like Coke, I'll let you guys decide. We played a lot of volleyball and celebrated a sister missionary's birthday. Fun stuff.
I love you guys so much! The last thought I want to share is something that came from Elders quorum yesterday. We talked about how the welfare program got started with Ezra Taft Benson. The elders quorum discussed a lot about how being self reliant means doing as much as we can to help ourselves before the Lord and others would come in to help us. I felt very grateful when I realized how much my parents had emphasized the principle of hard work, not just by talking about it, but also in actually living by those principles. Thank you for helping me to understand that, I thought a lot about people here who do not always grow up in circumstances that allow them to enjoy the benefits of loving parents who teach their children everything. Thank you guys so much for that example.
I love you guys so much.
Have an amazing week!
Elder Cooper

Monday, October 19, 2015

Baptismal Dates

Hey family! It sounds like we are not allowed to go to Boise State games unless they play in a bowl game. To throw down the stats, in regular season games we have shown up to Boise State is 1-2, but in bowl games that we attend Boise State is 4-1. :) Good news is that we are a young team with time to improve.
This week was a great one. One of our investigators named "E" has made a lot of progress the last transfer. She has been to church twice now and attended a session of General Conference. Yesterday was the first time she attended all three hours. We had interviews on Tuesday which I always enjoy. After our interview with President Egbert we went and taught her, and I think being on the spiritual high inspired her to pray about being baptized on the 14th of November. When we went to her again on Friday she agreed to be baptized. It was great to see the Lord working in her life to answer her prayers.
 I write in my journal, but I think the only events I really make sure to write down are interviews and baptisms. In my interview with President Egbert we talked a lot about how as a leader you have to earn the respect of people and not demand it. He shared a story about how a bishop had had a lot of success with the ward where he was, especially in helping people to come back. When a new bishop got called, he, needless to say had huge shoes to fill. But because of the members' faith in the Lord they respected him at first because of his calling, and as time went on he earned the respect of the ward by his actions. I realized how good of a goal that is, to strive for the respect of people not because you hold a certain position, but because you take a sincere interest in their lives and you have earned their respect by your works and by the example you try to be.
We also talked about the Atonement and the power that God has to deliver us from trials. After that discussion I thought a lot about how the Lord might deliver us from a trial. In the beginning of 1 Nephi, Laman and Lemuel bind Nephi with cords and plan to leave him there to die. Then Nephi prays for strength to have the binds broken. I think one of two things could have happened after that prayer, the bindings could have just suddenly loosened and fell limp to the ground or Nephi needed to struggle and fight before the cords could be broken. I think it was the latter that really happened. Often times the way the Lord delivers us from a trial is not by moving us away from the obstacle, or moving the obstacle out of our path but giving us the strength and motivation to jump over it. It was a cool discussion.
Transfers are in a little more than two weeks. I honestly don't know what'll happen to me. I will at that time have spent four transfers here in Paramaribo North and I spent five in Wanica North. I sometimes catch myself thinking that it is just as likely I stay here for five transfers just like in Wanica. I'm not sure how I feel about that. There are pros and  cons. I'm sure I'll know by the end of the transfer.
The cyber where I'm at is known for causing SD cards to crash so I'm playing the safe side this week. Next week for sure. I love you! Thanks for all your support! Have an amazing week!
Elder Cooper

Monday, October 12, 2015

Don't Forget Your Keys

The contraption they built to get the keys.

Future Missionaries

From left to right Jonathan, Stephano, Remi.

Hey family!
There is a lot I want to share with you guys from this week so I'm going to start right off. Me and Elder Hood were on exchanges this past Friday and had an interesting experience. This all starts when early in the day the fender of my bike broke and we stopped off at a store to see what we could do to repair it. We bought some tape and zip ties and got it somewhat repaired. Enough that we could continue on with our day. Well as the day went on we realized we needed to run back to the apartment to grab a piece of paper we needed to give to a member. We ran in, got a snack, and then locked up. Except one thing was wrong. We had locked up without grabbing the keys. Feeling kinda silly we went next door to where the landlord conveniently lives and explained to them our situation. The only problem was that the landlord was actually not there. But his mom was.  She brought out all the keys she could find. When none of those worked we were about to give up and call the zone leaders. But Elder Hood feeling inspired said "I wonder if they are behind that bag of clothes on the table." (We could see through the door as the picture gives away.) We grabbed a broken lamp and reached it through and shoved the bag out of the way, revealing the much desired keys! Our lamp shade was too short though so we looked for other things. We found an old kickstand for a bike and some hanger wire. Then we used our previously purchased tape and zip ties and were able to attach these things to our lamp. Creating just the contraption we needed to hook the keys and give us access to the house. An hour after having locked ourselves out we got out again. Too funny!
Another cool experience from this week was that we were out contacting yesterday and passed two kids that we said hi to. When we contacted the next house we realized it was the mom of one of them. After giving her a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet these two boys took us to an apartment complex and tried to get everyone to come out. Only one came out but we were impressed with their natural skill at missionary work. That explains the picture of me with two boys holding a pamphlet.
The last picture is of three really cool guys that are in our area. The two with ties on are amazing converts that basically put the branch on their backs as far as the young adults are concerned. They are amazing examples of what it means to be converted and they have inspired me to magnify whatever calling I get when I get home. From left to right Jonathan, Stephano, Remi. Really cool guys.
That is all the time I have time for this week! President Egbert is in town this week so that'll be fun to have him in zone meeting with us tomorrow as well as interviews. I love you guys! Have an amazing week!
Elder Cooper

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Conference Weekend

Hey family! I loved your guys' thoughts on conference this weekend. Me and the missionaries that were with me in the MTC joked about how funny it would be if we made our families do the Suriname conference experience. What we decided is that we would turn the heaters up to 80 or so with the fireplace on, several humidifiers, have hard foldable chairs and be in our Sunday best. What do you think? ;)
What you said is so true Dad, every single talk seems to apply either to me or to an investigator or a member. I remember what Pres. Egbert told me in an interview once. He said you will never get to live the missionary life, applying the principles of Preach My Gospel, and teaching people, the same way again. Even if I were to serve as a senior couple or mission president I would not get to live it the same way.
I really loved the overall message I felt. Whoever gets to determine the order of those talks knows what they are doing, because topics flowed so well from one to the next. The message to enjoy the simplicity of the gospel, the message to have faith and let the master potter go to work. The message about faith during the priesthood session were all amazing. We were actually talking about faith during dinner in between sessions so it was cool to hear the repeated message of "faith is power." I really enjoyed the talk by Dallin H. Oaks about the Atonement.  I felt that one speak personally to me.
I had an interesting thought cross my mind as I listened to the new apostles give their testimonies. I had always grown up with Elders Scott, Packer, and Perry. They gave amazing talks. I will miss hearing them, hearing the messages they often repeated when they spoke. But I will enjoy the new apostles, they will be the apostles that my kids get to grow up with and love. It'll be fun to see what messages they emphasize and repeat frequently in their ministries. I thought it was cool to see them sitting next to each other, I can only imagine how strong of a bond they will form as they all learn and grow.
I thought Elder Nelson's and Holland's talks were awesome. We all agreed that we owed our moms a lot and that the upcoming email session would be just us pouring out our thanks to them.  So Mom, thank you so much for what you did and still do. I will never be able to pay you back fully for that. I appreciated the insight the apostles gave about how women can be likened to Christ. It is so true.
There were so many things I learned and want to still learn when I get the magazine from this conference. When it comes out, will you send it as quick as you can?
I'm running out of time so I'm going to end this email with something I learned from David A. Bednar and D. Todd Christofferson. This is God's church led by experienced and wise prophets and apostles. I am so grateful to have living oracles testify of the truth of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The way the Church is run may not make sense to the world. But our ways are not His.
I love you guys so much! I am excited to take the thoughts from conference and apply them. I hope you have an amazing week!
Elder Cooper