"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, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hey family! Thanks for all the birthday wishes. Those skit pictures looked awesome.
Well for starters, never try to fly under the radar when it's your birthday. You will have people swoop in and make it the biggest thing haha. I had told one of the zone leaders (who we happen to be staying in the same apartment with)  a couple weeks ago that my birthday was today. I was half expecting him to forget and then when he saw me open up the birthday presents he would remember. Well, I was wrong. On Sunday night when they were out teaching he told one of the member families that they work a lot with, and who I know fairly well mostly from being in Paramaribo for awhile now, that my birthday was tomorrow. So. . . they made a recording of them singing the Surinamese version of happy birthday and that recording became the alarm we woke up to today. If that wasn't enough two of the boys from that family came over in the middle of studies and had bought a cake. So much for keeping it a secret. I told them all thanks. It was incredibly nice of them. They are a really cool family, (I don't say that just because they brought the cake either) The mother and the father want to be baptized but have to be married first. They are planning on getting married in 2016. All of them are incredibly nice and it's easy to see that they will make great members.
As far as what I do today, not that much. We are going to the mall to get Elder Buehler some things he wants, maybe I'll buy something as well if I see something. :)
Thank you guys so much for all the Christmas gifts by the way, I really enjoy the music, it's nice to be able to listen to music after going without for awhile.
This week was an awesome week. So many tender mercies from the Lord in finding people. One lady we found on Christmas was really cool. We were biking around trying to figure out what exactly we would do, when we heard her greet us really friendly, almost calling out for our attention. We decided to turn around and see why she was so nice and come to find out, the Lord has been somewhat involved in her life. She told us a story where her son had a car hit him at the age of 7 and it was not looking good for him. She shared how that was bringing him to the hospital, not only wondering if he was going to be ok, but if she was going to be able to pay for all the medical expenses. This part of the story was not so clear, but what we think happened is that elders were in the hospital that day probably visiting a member to give them a blessing, and they got asked to give a blessing to her kid while they were there. The elders left after that and while this lady, her name is "G", was wondering what was going to happen, the nurse came in and told her that her son was good to go home. She recognized that the Lord had healed her child but never really saw the elders again. It was really cool to talk to her and hear that story, she was just so excited.
Another cool miracle from the week was when we went and shared a Christmas message at the same family's house we Skyped at. They had invited a couple of friends and one of those families has a son that is doing a foreign exchange program in the States. This son is staying with a Mormon family while he is there. They take him to church every Sunday. I don't believe in coincidence.
Lot's of other things happened, but it's so much in one email. I love you guys so much. Please tell everyone I said hi! I hope you all have a great new year!
Have a great week!
Elder Cole Cooper

Monday, December 14, 2015


In the vast stretches of the flat greenland of Suriname there lies a river that bears the solemn name of the country. This river has a surprisingly rich history; a German WWII ship has been sunk and the remnants can still be seen from the shoreline. But this river is also a barrier. A barrier for missionary work. On the West side of the river the church is somewhat established and enjoys the blessings of five well-spread branches. But East of the river, there lays a city named Commewijne, (coma-wine-a) untouched by missionaries. All white, ready to be harvested. Missionaries and the leadership of Suriname counseled together for many a night and many a day to determine when the time would be just right to send the Lord's forces across the river into the untouched, unharvested city of Commewijne. Several events showed promise, a bridge reaching 100+ feet high was built and allowed the citizens of Commewijne and Paramaribo to cross the historic Suriname river and it allowed them to more closely interact one with another. But the time was not yet ripe, until December 12, 2015. A day when the Lord would declare to the missionaries and the church in Suriname to go. Go and cross the bridge and enter the untouched, unharvested city of Commewijne. "For behold the field is white already to harvest."

Ok, I had to type that up to give this news some context. It'll make more sense as I explain. This last Saturday we received transfer calls. Elder Hardy is partially leaving Paramaribo North and is going to be companions with one of the elders he knew in the MTC. Part of the Paramaribo North area will still be his area, but a part of the area that belonged to other missionaries is part of his area now. It's called Munder.
As far as what happens to me, well that's where the first paragraph of this email comes in. I have been asked to go and open up a group in the city of Commewijne. This area is across the Suriname river, over the Commewijne bridge. Missionaries have never worked there before, and up until this point there was not enough members living there to justify starting serious missionary work there. But now, there are several members and families living there and a sufficient amount of Melchizedek Priesthood holders that the Lord can now open up work in that area. I am really excited and it was cool to see how the members living in Commewijne responded when they heard the news. Me and Elder Hardy got to go with President Verway to meet them on Sunday to give them the news. Every member offered their home as a place to meet and were really excited to hear about missionaries finally crossing the river. One member went so far as to talk about building an apartment and buying a plot of land for a church building to be built there. He was excited. I am excited too!
I am going to be with an elder that has been in the mission field for about three months. His name is Elder Buehler. I've never met him so it'll be cool to get to meet him.
Don't worry about me leaving anything behind. We are driven in a truck/van for transfers so I don't have to pack up too much, or pack with the idea of losing weight. I will be able to take all of my christmas gifts and decorations, and belongings, etc. It'll be fun, it'll be an adventure and it'll be hard, but the members are willing to help and I'm excited to get to work with them.
I will still be able to get packages/letters that you send to Suriname so that's good as well.
I think I'll end this week's email with this verse in Alma 6
4: And thus they began to establish the order of the church in the city of [Commewijne]
5: Now I would that ye should understand that the word of God was liberal unto all, that none were deprived of the privilege of assembling themselves together to hear the word of God.
6: Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls who knew not God.
I know this is a sign of the Lord hastening the work here in Suriname. This work is true. Thank you guys so much for the emails! I love you!
Have a great week!
Elder Cooper

Hey Family! (Letter Written Dec. 7th)

Hey family! Mom that's cool you're in the Primary Presidency. I know you're going to get really good at that calling. I can see it for sure.
As far as this week goes it was a very normal week. Highlight of the week is probably when we took a member of the Relief Society to go and visit "E." She is the funniest sister in the whole Paramaribo branch. We talked about the love God has for us, how he is willing to hear our prayers and answer them. This sister, her name is Sister "S", talked about how she has seen God's love in her life. Her and "E" also shared each others conversion story, so that was cool. The funniest part of the whole appointment was at the end when as we were leaving Sister "S" said "I love you guys!" "E" then said, "love? I don't know if I would say that!" Sister "S" then turned to her and said "What? You don't love the elders?! Oh sister that's bad!" Pretty funny.
Bro. "B" came to church again this week and after we talked with the branch president he said Bro. "B", in an interview, has promised to come every week. We are excited for him to start making steps into full activity again. He is such a cool guy.
Thursday we went to the visa place to check on the progress of our visa's, and now I can say after a little less than a year and a half of being in Suriname. . . I am officially legal! Haha fun stuff.
Saturday we had a contacting blitz that was really fun! It's cool to just go and talk to people on the street as you see them. Hopefully we get the chance to follow up on some of the people we talked to.
Sorry it's so short this week! But transfers are this weekend and who knows where I will be going. I think the only thing I'm sure of is that I'm leaving the area. It's rarely heard of for an elder to spend so long in one area and I doubt I stay longer. I'm excited to give you guys the news next week! Have a great week!
Love you guys!
Elder Cooper

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Without Snow

Hey family! Glad to hear that Thanksgiving was good for all of you guys. I'm excited to try that smoked turkey when I get home.
Just to let you guys know I got your Christmas package. Not Grammy's yet, but I'm sure it's on the way. Elder Hardy and I really liked the hats that you guys sent the 12 days of Christmas thing in. We have started a new tradition where during nightly planning we wear them.  I also have to wear it when I do nightly phone calls. We also had fun decorating the tree and our apartment with Christmas things. Not sure how you can have Christmas in 90 degree weather and with popsicles instead of hot chocolate but that's what we are doing here. I'm excited for Christmas, I promise I have not opened any of my presents. (Even the one that it is easy to tell that they're contacts) :)
This week had several very cool experiences. I will start with our success with Bro. "B."  Bro. B is a Melchizedek Priesthood holder that has been less-active for a long time. At least several years. We found him a couple of months ago and have been consistently visiting him with members and also just ourselves. At first he wasn't showing any signs of coming back and a lot of times we wondered if we should stop and try and focus our efforts somewhere else. About a month ago he started saying he was going to come back to church and two weeks ago he came to just sacrament meeting. Then this week he actually took us to church and stayed all three hours which meant we didn't have to bike haha. He is now committed to coming to church every week! It has been cool to get a testimony of working with less-actives. A lot of the times our efforts don't seem to mean much. I can't tell you how many times we said to ourselves we may need to focus on someone else. Something kept us coming back though and now we are starting to see the fruits of it. I am thoroughly convinced that the majority of less-actives out there still know the gospel is true. The problem is hardly ever with the doctrine, it usually finds its roots in feeling at home. Sometimes they leave because they just need to go somewhere where they are welcome. Of course we are not done with Bro. B.  There are still things for us to do to help him, but we are starting to see fruits, and we are excited.
This and other things are experiences that are the biggest testimony builders for me of two important truths. The first one is that God is fully prepared and willing to give us second chances. He is chock full of them. He knows he is not dealing with a broken car, or a broken toy, but with broken people. People that need Christ's Atonement. If we make just one step toward him in an effort for help he stretches out his hand and takes ten steps toward us.
It also has built my testimony of the Book of Mormon and the word of God. The only thing that kept us from dropping an investigator this week was the fact that he was reading the Book of Mormon. Not just reading it, but asking sincere questions about it. We knew that one could only read that for so long before the doctrine of Jesus Christ would begin to sink in. After talking with our investigator this week a little bit  it was clear to see that was exactly what happened. I know that through God, we can change. Permanently.
I hope you all have an amazing week! Love you guys!
Elder Cooper