Friday, February 28, 2014


February 3, 2014

Dear the family of champions!

Best chocolate milk!

Had another great week!  I am so glad to hear that all is going well over there back at the bat cave!  This week a lot of random little things happened, I jotted down a few things, so we will see how this letter turns out.
Okay so on Tuesday we had a lot of stuff we needed to do.  One of those things being english class.  We had a jammed packed schedule.  I woke up that morning and just felt like we should go block knocking again...( you know how that always turns out for me haha )  So through out the day we tried to fit it in where ever we could.  An hour freed up in our schedule so we ran over to go hit up a block.  Now, when you think that I had a prompting you would instantly think that something spectacular was in store.  During that entire time block knocking not a single person answered their door, until we got to the end.  After they opened the door they said go away we are sick.  So I kinda just got thinking.  We went out of our way to try and squeeze this in and nothing really even happened.  So I was confused a bit.  After a while things just started coming to mind.  It is possible it could just have been a little test to see if we would follow the prompting when it wasnt easy.  We could have planted a seed by someone seeing us in that area.  Just anything like that.  It just comes down to we are glad we followed the prompting and went with it.  You get an amazing feeling when you do what you feel God specifically told you to do.
Okay so last p-day after I wrote you guys, we got special permission to go see another movie in the theaters!!  Apparently there had been a big snow storm over Romania and Pres thought it best to let everyone take a good p-day movie.  So we saw Saving Mr. Banks.  It was such a great show!!  If you havent seen it, go see it! haha.  ( now I just need to see Marry Poppins)  the song Let's go fly a kite, has been stuck in my head this whole week!!
So on Tuesday, our super super day, we also had a family night activity planned for the
Working on cooking skills. After losing
20 pounds since being in Romania he
likes to show that he eats.
branch.   The only problem was that not a single branch member showed up!!  It is a good thing that we invited our english students to come or else we would have only had six missionaries there!  We taught them how to make American brownies and how to play some card games.  We tryed to make the best of the situation  It turned out to be a very fun night!
We also had a lesson with G.  It was a good little meeting we had.  He had a tough time at work and was so angry with a person there.  He was asking us what he should do and what not.  I always remembered when I felt that way, and then just vented and talked about it.  It makes you feel so much better just to talk about it.  So that is what we did.  We had a little vent sesh.  At the end of it he said that he was feeling better.  He called us modern monks!!  I love that so much haha!  Instead of missionaries I want to be called modern monks haha :)

Okay this one might be all over the place.  First I was reading in a general conference talk.  "Lurking within ever priesthood holder is the natural man, prone to wander." This kinda freaked me out haha.  It is so true.  If we are not careful, it is so easy for us to wander and to drift just a bit.  I kept reading and it gave some help.  It basically said to make sure you always pray and to surround your mind with the words of the scriptures.  That is something I have come to love out here.  Just surrounding your mind with the words of the scriptures.  
So I was also reading out of our heritage.  I was at the part where Joseph Smith is imprisoned in Liberty jail for 6 months before he is released.  Being out here for 6 months has really given me a good perspective of how long of a time 6 months actually is.  I cant believe he was falsly there for that long!!  The amount of faith that man had was unreal.  And then in section 121, his cry to Heavenly Father.  I just love how even though times were super difficult and it seemed super hopeless he knew that God was there and knew he would help.  I just have come to really really love Joseph Smith out here, and all the great things he did.
So there is my week in a nut shell.  Days are filled with structured craziness! haha  I am finding a joy out here that I never really thought existed in a setting like this.  I am so grateful for you guys and for your help and support :)  I love you all so much and I hope you can continue to have good attitudes through the crazy hectic weeks!  Until next week!!
Elder James Anderson Cooper
(I convinced the sisters in my district that my middle name was Rubin for the entire transfers I have been   in Arad... they just found out it is Anderson haha )

PS:  I would really love those CTR socks... they are awesome!  
Also I have need of a shoe polish kit haha turns out shoes can look very bad after a while in the dirt of the streets haha :)

The building the played in.
Nice outfits Elders!

I'M NOT PERFECT 1/27/2014

January 27, 2014


Oh my gosh have you all had such a busy week!  It all sounds so overwhelming and yet at the same time... fun.  (of course looking back at it).  I got on to read my emails today, and I read yours last.  That was interesting cause in an email I recieved from someone else, it was talking about dad on crutches!  I was like " what!!!" haha then I go on to read your email and It is all okay.  Gosh dad you and your injuries.  You need to come up with a good story.  Like someone threw a sword at you and you dodged it, but it got your foot or something, but because you had super glue with you, it was able to hold it until the doctors could re attach it or something! haha :)  But seriously, I am glad you are doing okay.

Okay so we had the first snow of the year on the 24th this week.  It has been lightly snowing every since.  Anyways, because it was pretty cold outside we diecided to go block knocking.  Dont know if I told you what that is yet?  Basically just these apartment complexes, that are all over the place.  You go inside one and just knock all the doors.  So me and elder Poulsen see a block we want to get into.  To get in, you have to ring in.  You just buzz a random number and then ask a random person if they will let you in.  Sometimes they wont, and other times they will.  Okay so we buzz the first number and this lady lets us in.  We decide we want to go to the top and work our way down.  Just as we are about to reach the top, the little old lady we buzzed, is wandering the stairs trying to find us.  We run into her and she asks us what we are doing.  Elder Poulsen says " we have a message to share with all the world"  She makes him repeat this several times, and she still clearly isnt conecting what we are saying.  After a bit, she is like " oh I know"  She starts knocking on other doors of the block asking for money for God's servants.  ( at this point we kinda realize she isnt quit all there) :)  so the whole time she is getting money for us, we are trying desperately to tell her we dont want any money and we just would like to talk.  After she gathers a bit of money from her neighbors, she turns to us trying to hand us the money.  We say loud and clearly that we dont want the money. (we also figured she was hard of hearing)  Now she is all confused.  Eventually we kinda explain the situation to her, and we think she understands.  So we walked her back over to her apartment door.  We ended on good terms with her and left her smiling and happy.... so not a  waste of time haha :)  I have yet to have a normal block knocking experience! Something like that happens almost every time to me :) It is fantastic! 

Elder Cooper and Elder Poulsen
Okay onto just the normal and random stuff of this week.  We had our first English class of the transfer on Tuesday.  It went great!  We filled up the entire sacrament meeting room!  It is the most people I have ever seen attend an English class.  Me and elder Poulsen are teaching the advanced class this transfer.  We had about 10 people in our class, then the rest were beginners. It is so fun to just talk in English and hear about these people's life.  In our Saturday class, we didnt have as many people show up.  Nevertheless, it was still a good turn out.  Tuesdays are just the "good" days.  So at the end of every English class, we have a spirtual thought.  They are not obligated to stay, so some people leave.  We had two really great ones this week, that I really felt like eveyone could feel something.  I love English classes now!
So this week elder Poulsen and I have been really good at working out.  We are doing P-90X!!  ( There used to be a thing in this mission where missionaries could get gym permission and could go and work out to relieve stress and other stuff, elder Poulsen used to have it, but gym permission has been taken away from the mission, so now he has permission from pres, to work out for an hour and to do it at night... so it is awesome!)  It has been kicking my butt, but I am getting in good shape with all the walking and now with this working out!  I am so sore... but it feels so good! haha :)
So mom, I got some cloths!!  I got a scarf,cardigan,belt, binie, and shoes/boot things.  I am super warm with bloody feet! haha breaking in European shoes sucks!  But it will be worth it cause they will be nice for the snow.  So ya, love all the stuff I got.

I have had some pretty good realizations this week.  I have been learning a lot lately about obedience and rules.  Remember how we are not perfect but we keep trying?  Remember how sometimes back home when I would do something wrong I would feel so guilty, hopeless, and down put?  Now I've remember something you have told me.  That feeling that I felt couldnt have came from Heavenly Father... and that it was Satan trying to get me to stop trying and to just feel bad about things.  Of course we feel bad about mistakes we make, when that feeling makes us want to improve and do better, that is when it is from a good source.  I have learned how that feeling feels.  Ive learned not to completely destroy myself over not being perfect.  I have learned not to get stressed out when I do things I am not supposed to.  This is kinda hard to put in writting what I have learned.  I dont want this to come across like I am being super disobedient and not caring about the rules.  I have just been able to see where I need to improve, and not feel that awful feeling of being depressed about my imperfections.  I guess lately I have been able to take Satan out of the equation of guilt.  Sometimes it is harder then others, but it is something I have in my head that I can do now.  I have seen a lot of places I need to improve.  So Im going to improve.  Im not going to get stressed out, and worried.  Just gonna take care of it.  The Lord teaches me very subtly and over a long period of time. I dont really konw if any of this paragraph makes sense.  It is so hard to put into writting what I have experienced this week.  I am just grateful I have my loving Heavenly Father.  I love that I can have the comforter with me.  It makes it all possible.  I am so grateful for the sacrament, for being able to get that boost for the week, and for being able to kinda hit that restart button.  I have had a great week! :)

Life seems pretty crazy back home.  I pray that things will start to calm down, or at least that you all will have the strength to get through what is coming.  It sounds like my prayers have been answered!  You all made it through last week in one piece, except for dad's achilles tendon haha :)  I love you all so much!  Thanks for being there for me, and thanks for giving me the life I have.  Just like Joco has been saying for a while, how different our lives could have been if we just changed a single aspect of it.  So ya, Just love you all so much!!  Hope you have a great next week!


Elder J


January 20, 2014 

This has been a fun and interesting week.  I feel like this week has never ended and the last time I wrote home was like a month ago!  It is not because I have had a bad week at all.  In fact, it has been one of the best weeks for me out here so far.  
  So we have done a lot of stuff this week.  We were able to go do some service and at charity place that helps less fortunate people. This particular Wednesday, they wanted us to play with the kids.  I love playing with kids! haha  there were only a couple there, but we had some fun.  There was this one specific little 4 year old gypsy girl that loved playing with us.  She made up this... fun... game.  She would look at us, yell, "sus!" (up) and expected us to lift her up on a very high stool. 
The first Sister missionary you serve with is your "Mission Mom"
Elder Cooper thought they needed this picture. 
Once she was up there, she would wait until we sat down, then yell, "Jos!" (down).  The thing is if you refused to lift her, she would smack you until you did what she wanted haha.  This game could've been A LOT easier.... some kids are just.... a lot bigger then others :) haha So ya had a great time there and a great work out :)

TRABA:  (for future this word basically means... like busy work... or just like stuff to do)
This week we had our zone training meeting.  It was fantastic!  We have a great zone, and I know a lot of people in it, so it makes it fun to be around them.  So the zone leaders call us up a few days before the training meeting and ask us to give a presentation for the zone on working with the branch members.  So we came up with this great object lesson we could do, so it wouldnt being boring just listening to us ramble.  So here is what we did.  We bought four oreo milka bars ( the best chocolate bars you can get here)  we also got rope.  We put the four Milka bars in the four corners of the room.  Then we tied four volunteer's feet together.  We then announced that if they could get a milka bar, they could keep it.  They went nuts!!  No one was able to get what they were going for, because there was always someone else pulling the other way.  After a while of sitting there watching and laughing at these people going crazy for their chocolate, we stopped them.  We then proceeded to give them an idea.  "What if you all worked together and went around and picked up your candy bars one by one working together?" Then we tied it all back to our topic.  You and the branch have similar goals, everyone wants the branch to grow and for more people to join the church.  Doesnt matter if you have the same goal in mind, if there is no communication and no working together, then achieving that goal is a thousand times harder!  So we just emphasized working and communicating with your branch and getting them on board to work with you. :)
Then on Saturday we had to give a fireside.  We split it up amongst the 3 companionships and tried to make it a great fireside for the members.  Me and elder Poulsen had to give the Spiritual thought.  We decided to do it on, why we have trials and asking God for help.  We had two object lessons with this one.  We had a very complicated maze for them to try and do.  Then on the other side a very simple one.  We had them do both and then we talked about it.  Then we had them hold two hymn books out and see how long they could do it.  This one was to teach them to ask for help.  That when it started to get difficult to keep them up, they just had to ask us, and we would be right there and give them some aid.  So this week we had a lot of teaching opportunities within the members and missionaries here.  It was super fun!
I have grown a ton this week.  I have been able to take a better look at myself and make some pretty crazy realizations.  Elder Poulsen has been a champ.  Me and him think so a like it is uncanny.  He has showed me that it is possible to become the missionary I want to be.  He is really great with the language, and that gives me more hope then I think he could ever know. We have had some real talks and it has been something I have needed. I am on the search to find myself.  Now I dont know how cheesey or silly that sounds, that is just simply how it is. 
Of course I know who I am and I am still the same James, but I am just going a little deeper.  It is kinda scary, but at the same time super exciting.  So I mentioned last time about my theme for 2014.  It is D&C 6: 36- " Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not"  I am going to try and look at these words every morning this year to remember what I have promised to do.  While studying I stumbled upon another scripture that goes well with this one. 2 Tim 1:7-  "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  I just love what these verses tell me.  They help pump me up and look at things in a better light.  While reading them I just feel like God is with me.  I feel I can do anything He wants and that there is no reason to fear. :)  Everything is going to be okay :)

So that is basically it for the week :)  I hope all is well back home, and that you are just having a good ol' time being the best family ever!  I am so grateful for you guys, and for the life you have given me, for helping me stay on the right path and helping me become the person that Heavenly Father needs me to be.  I love the way how our family helps each other grow and to become better.  Just konw that everything is going splendid over here in Arad and that all is well!  Remember what it says in 1 Peter 2:2- " As a newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow therby.".... haha :)  If you have the sincere desire you can grow into what you and Heavenly Father want :)  LOVE YOU ALL!!
Elder James

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Just using the rope on the new companion

Hello :)
Another adventure for P-day!!  Seriously this is like the 5th P-day in a row where we have gone on a legit hike to some ruins or something.  This time we went back over to Lipover.  It wasnt all frozen over this time, so we were able to climb all over it and have a great time.  Elder W bought some rope and we tried to make a rope swing thing from one of the ruin's pillars... it kinda worked haha no one got seriously hurt :)  So ya I am just getting back from that, and now it is time to write.

He loves hiking to the ruins

This week  has been pretty crazy and fun.  So Tuesday night we hop on a train to head to Bucharest.  We get into our little compartment  and get settled in.  We realize that we have six beds and there were only 4 of us.  The train lady comes by and tells us to keep those beds clear,. cause people are coming later.  I was super stoked to meet whoever they were, but turns out, they didnt show up, so we had the place to ourselves :)  Twelve hours later, we are in Bucharest.  I spent the whole day with some great Elders. We basically just walked around Buc and had a grand ol time.  To end the night, we met up with more missionaries and went over to Ruby Tuesdays!!  SO GOOD.  Ok so now I got my new comp elder P, and he is super chill!  He is from Utah, and he has been out a little longer then a year.  Anyways, it is so nice to have a companion from Utah!!  I never thought I would say that.  It is just nice cause our lives before the mission were very similar.  We have a lot in common and get along great!  I am super blessed!!  So that same night we hop on a 23:45 train and head back to Arad.  We fall right asleep after a day of walking all over.  Now 12 hours later we are back in Arad.

So that is how my transfer day went.  Things have been pretty good since.  Nothing much has really happened at all.  I decided with the new year I want to have a theme.  So what I did is spent a couple hours in the scriptures trying to find a verse somewhere that I could make my theme for the year.  There is good news and bad news...  Good news.. I found one! and I really like it!... bad news... in all the hastle of today, I left my planner at home, and dont remember where the scripture is so I cant share it with you yet :/ haha oh well next week :)
I am really excited for this transfer with elder P.  We have already had a lot of fun.  We have messed with the cat a bit, made a lot of pancakes and waffles, and of course contacted.  I think we got a good balance between work and play :)  Just know all is well over here in Romania and things will continue to get even better!  The days seem to be getting warmer.  It seems like it is colder in Utah then it is over here.  Love you all so much!  Thanks for always having my back, and being there for me!! LOVE YA!!
Elder, James Anderson Cooper
ps:  I bought some gray pants!  I will get a pic and show you later!  I love them! 

Elder Cooper and Elder Poulsen

A NEW YEAR 1/6/2014


WOW!  Looking back on this week, there has been many events taken place.  So let's start with new years.  
It was crazy.  Cant believe our mission pres.  said we could stay out and watch fireworks!  He is just the best!  So what ended up happening is we all ( meaning the whole district)  were together all day.  We were able to watch a movie of our choice... so we picked Star Wars :)  The whole day we were also hanging out with G... ( if I havent mentioned him before... let me know.... this man is so  legit! )  G taught us all how to make this Romanian food Sarmale.  It turned out really well, and we had fun doing it.  By the time midnight rolls around, we our outside in the middle of Centru watching the fireworks.  I have never seen a town so shut down, and yet every single person out on the streets you could barely move!  The fireworks were so big and really close to a lot of buildings.  I thought one would catch on fire!  After the fire work show, I found out what they do here.  They take their champagne bottles, and just smash them all over the streets!!  This isnt something that the punk teenage schmeckers do, everyone does it!!  There was glass every where for the entire week!  Then after carefully walking back home, we went to sleep.
Elder Cooper's companion and a Sister in his District :) 
So we had a great lesson this week.  We went over to a less active families house and had a lesson.  We were teaching about the first 4-5 chapters of first Nephi.  It was super fun.  We made these little toy things out of paper, to represent each of the characters from the story, then played with them like they were actually doing the story!  It worked well and the kids loved it... and I loved it!! haha :)  It was really great to see something simple like make all the difference to these kids that have so little.  We let them keep the toys cause they loved them so much! :)
I found a scripture this week that I really love! D&C 63: 20 " Nevertheless, he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come"  I just love how it puts those two things together.  If you endure, with faith, and then you do Heavenly Father's will, all will be okay.  You WILL overcome what ever you are facing and you WILL receive the greatest blessings.  It just brought me a lot of comfort this week and just really stood out to me.  This is why I am so grateful you always remind me to " doubt my doubts, before I doubt my faith".  The combination of these two scriptures has really just been great for me to see.  Right now I am just working on remembering to doubt my freakin doubts haha :)  
Okay so you nailed transfers right on the head.  It is this week.  We found out Saturday what was happening.  Then on Wednesday, we make the swop.  I am staying here in Arad to do another transfer!  However Elder M is not.  He is headed to Galati.  My new companions name is elder P.  I am so excited!  From what I hear, he is just an awesome guy.  I called him today to see if he was allergic to cats or something, cause you know, that would be a problem haha
Just the cat that visits sometimes
 He was also the trainer of elder M!!  I love elder M! so Im thinking it is gonna be good! :)  Elder P has been out about as long has Joco has.  So I get to learn a lot from him!  It is gonna be good... maybe not easy, but it will be good :) ( just like you said )
So anyways this week has just been crazy and it wont stop until the end of next weekish.  I am catching a late train to Bucharest tomorrow, where I will spend 12 hours of my life with the rest of the elders from Arad.  We will then arrive in Buc about 5 in the morning.  We will stay there until 12 am to catch our train back to Arad, where elder P and I will spend 12 more hours of our lives.  Then by the end we should be back in Arad by Thursday.  Then he will have to unpack.  So as you can see, a lot is gonna happen this next little bit haha :)
I am really excited for this next transfer!  We will work and play hard!  I am happy that you all had a great time in California!  That place is the Never Land of the real world!  It is the best!  You are seriously the best family ever!  You all make me so happy and help me remember, I am trying to bring other families the great joy that we have!  Love you all so much!!!
    Elder James Anderson Cooper