"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, February 15, 2016

Family Bonds Mean Everything

Hey family! Sometimes I hear about how cold it is over there and get a little jealous because it is so humid and hot here. But then someone mentioned inversion in their emails and I realized that the real reason why the  cold is so bad there is because of inversion which will probably kill me when I get home.
This week was awesome. The highlight was definitely sacrament meeting. We had several investigators show up. One of them was someone that the members brought along and introduced us to so that was cool. We are excited to follow up with her.
So I'm pretty sure I've mentioned  "M" in previous emails but he has definitely made the most progress out of all the investigators since we have come into Commewijne. We had committed him early in the week to pray and ask the specific question of if  the Book of Mormon is true and on Saturday he had not done that. So we took the lesson to just talk about that. We had a return missionary member come with us and it was clear from the thoughts he shared that he had served a mission and had retained a lot of it. We talked with "M" about Moroni 10:3-5 and helped him to understand what the Lord's requirements are for an answer. The reason why we did this is because he said that he felt like he would need to finish the Book of Mormon before he could ask that question, also he felt like he needed to learn more before he could know. What was cool to see is how the Spirit just worked on him. He went from feeling like he could not ask that question specifically to that was the only thing he should be asking. The Spirit definitely helped him to realize that all other questions would fall into their place once he knew that about the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson he said he would pray on his knees and ask the specific question and listen closely for the answer. We are seeing him again on Wednesday so that'll be exciting to hear how it went. The Spirit was so strong.
One thing that has been kind of sad to see in the area is that several of our investigators have asked us to stop coming because of some conflicts between family members having different beliefs and feeling that it is not necessary for them to even investigate. It's really sad because it's clear to see that the adversary tries all kind of avenues to get someone from receiving the restored gospel. It has just been a big testimony builder  for me of how important it is to develop the kind of family relationship where righteous desires are supported. The family is definitely ordained of God. Seeing  how sad someone's life is made when their family relationship is less than favorable has shown to me how important it is to maintain family bonds. I don't know if that makes sense, but basically Satan is attacking  families and it is sad to see.
That's all the time I have, hope you all  have a great week!
elder Cooper

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Morpho Butterfly

Hey family! So, in Suriname how it works is... the Chinese people basically run the show. All major grocery stores, auto and bike repair shops, multiple cybers and such are run and owned by Chinese people. Everything was closed on Monday for the Chinese New Year. So that's why I didn't email yesterday.
Please tell Joey I said congrats, that's awesome that he got baptized this weekend. I forgot that chapel was the chapel I was baptized in. I remember very little. Mostly how confused I was as a kid when everyone would bear their testimony and say how they knew that this is the only true church. For me, I understood that to mean that that church building was the only true church. Not completely knowing that they meant the organization as a whole and not the individual building. Haha good times. What I do remember though is how I felt on my baptism day. I know I have a journal that has a small page in very big letters that talks about how I felt.
This week was an awesome week! We had zone conference and it was amazing. President Egbert talked about the Atonement and narrowed it down into seven main points:
1. Forgiveness of sins
2. Ressurrected bodies
3. Justice satisfied
4. Resist Satan
5. Strength in trials
6. Power to change
7. Heals infirmities
All of these seem very simple and they are, but there are so many places in the scriptures that talk about what Christ has to go through in order to make these things possible, how we access it, all that fun stuff. He challenged us to find the scriptures we knew about  the Atonement and to put them into one of these seven categories.
A favorite example of mine that was shared in zone conference was the example of what is known as the Morpho butterfly. I wish I had a picture to show you about it, but basically it is an amazing example of God's creation. It is fairly large and is just this amazing bright blue. President Egbert used that example to symbolize the power the Atonement has to change us. We go from caterpillars to butterflies thanks to the Atonement it was a cool way of visualizing that for me.
I really loved a talk that a return missionary gave for district conference since that was also this past weekend. He talked about how the Book of Mormon gave him confidence as a missionary to answer people's questions and teaching. He talked about how he could go into a lesson and know that he would get to teach with Nephi or Moroni, or Lehi because he was using their words. Then, whenever the investigator had a question he couldn't directly answer he would jokingly think to  himself "Alright Nephi do you want to help me  out here? I think you've got this." Pretty funny plus I liked the visual.
I'm running out of time so I'll have to stop for right now. But I realized that of all the things I can say I've learned the most about on my mission, I have learned so much about the Atonement. I am so grateful  for that. I would not trade it for  anything. Obviously I still have a lot to learn about it and the rest of the gospel, but that realization came to me as I sat in zone conference this last Friday.
I love you all! Hope you have a great week!
Elder Cole Cooper