|Elder Cooper and Elder DeGraw|
Monday, April 28, 2014
This week has just been smooth and nice. We were able to get out a lot. This week we were also able to meet with a member! It was nice to sit down and have a conversation with someone in Romanian! Havent had that for a while. Well actually It was more of DeGraw and the member talking and me actually being able to follow the conversation, but hey whatever :) We talked to him about family history work. In our mission they are really trying to push it right now. It is a tad difficult because of something like their (Romanian) records not being digitalized or something like that. So they do their work on the paper to wait to get it digitalized. Eventually it will get going! Just laying the ground work!
So like I said we were able to get out a lot this week. We actually were able to contact to places I have never been in Arad! Crazy cause I've almost been here for half of a year and I thought I knew this place like the back of my hand! It kinda freaked me out a bit haha Like where am I this isn't Arad. So ya super good and a lot of walking!
Okay so this is why I love people this week. There is a certain shop we frequent. It is this little pastry shop on a corner as you are headed to the church. The district here goes all the time, because they have this delicious roll stuffed with mashed potatoes!... the best part is... it's only a leu!! So literally like 30 cents! So this particular time we went and decided to get something different, to be more specific we got sweet cheese rolls (super good!) after we purchased and were about to head out, she told me to wait as she heads to the back room. She then comes out with two potato rolls for me and DeGraw for free! Then told us to have a good day! It's just one of those things that makes you just love people. :) And now we have friends!! haha ;)
We were not able to meet up and have the lesson we had planned on. A little bit of miss communication, and the plans completely changed. He wants us to come over this week, so WE WILL this week! It will be good WHEN it happens haha :)
Okay so I dont know if I told any of you this but I found my "spirit animal" Way back when elder Whitehead was here, he took us "on the Journey". In the MTC a Polynesian elder gave the ability to take people on their journeys to elder Whitehead... haha So mine is a Hippo :) haha There is a lot of details about how I found it... so Ill have to tell ya later or something. So ya elder DeGraw wanted to find his, so we have done a lot of meditation this week! Turns out, it is really good for you. Ya it's been fun :) His was an armadillo and switched to a tiger! Crazy stuff!
Today we went to Lipova! I have now been four times haha :) it is a super cool place. Me and elder Poulsen climbed up a little tower place and just went tanning for about an hour while the others who hadn't gone explored a bit... I am burnt and it feels so good!! Getting rid of all those missionary tan lines! :)
Hey thanks for being so great! I love you all! It makes me so happy to hear you are all doing well and happy. Know that I am doing great as well. The work here is slow... but IT'S HERE. Have a great week!
Elder Cooper #2
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
So this week we had a lot of celebrating and stuff to do. For one there was Easter, we also got to celebrate DeGraw's year left mark, also DeGraw's birthday! Plus we had scheduled not one... but two flippin lessons this week!!
We had set up a lesson with G on the 17th. But he "bunged" us. Super weird cause G has never really been like that before. So we were waiting around for him and he never showed up. He then called the next day and explained that he was stuck at work or something like that... :/ We are planning on meeting with him this week so hopefully that happens!
|Happy Birthday McGraw!|
|The moving play of Christ|
There are some "Roman Guards" separating the crowd from the very center. In the very middle there are guards "whipping and beating" 3 torn up men. One of them carrying a cross. Basically we stumbled upon a live moving play of Christ's walk through Golgotha. It was super interesting and I got a lot of pictures and stuff. So that was a super unique experience. After walking down the middle of Centru for about an hour, we had to head to the church to watch our movie.... :) We watched Despicable me 2! Super good show! So that wraps up the adventure of the 18th.
Now it is Saturday the 19th. We set up with a legit guy A. Elder DeGraw and Rodenberg contacted them on there mini exchange the other day. He has so much potential. Ill explain how. He is married and has a family. He has a job and is busy. He called us to set up a time to meet. He actually wants to talk about our religion!! Sadly he “bunged” us as well this week. He actually got sick and couldn't make it. He then called us yesterday and said he is still planning on meeting with us this next up coming week! So I am really excited to meet this guy! So the 19th is When Romanians start celebrating Easter. Everyone gathers together at a church. In our case the Huge giant white Orthodox church in Centru. Everyone starts getting there at like 11 or 11:30. Then at midnight is when the magic happens. A fire carrier brings the fire from Jerusalem. (The fire i guess just appears from God there and they have to spread it around or something like that) We all bought candles and you are supposed to light your candle with this flame. It is super cool, the priest spreads the light to people and then the people start spreading it to each other and so everything is glowing in candle flames! Then they have their midnight mass. Afterwards it was like 1:30 or 2. Now the goal is to get your flame all the way home without letting it burn out, so all your sins for the year can be forgiven... Sadly I didnt make it... :) but ya that is how it went over here in Romania! I am so glad President Hill let us go be a part of the Romania culture! It was an awesome experience!
|The tradition of lighting the candles.|
Here are some random facts about Paste/Easter here. Wooden eggs are a big deal. You go around to the Targs and buy some, I only bought one (super legit one) this year, so I can have room for next easter! Also Saturday basically through Monday you greet people by saying " Hristos a înviat" They then have to respond " Adevarat a înviat" Which translated means " Christ has risen" " True He has risen". These phrases also carry over into an Easter game they play. You take a boiled egg and your opponent takes one. You hold them over each other and one person says " Hristos a Inviat" Then other then replies " Adevarat a Inviat" Then you smack the eggs together! If your egg cracks, you loose! I really like this game haha :)
Next was Sunday the 20th.... Super tired. We had permission to sleep in as many hours as we missed. The one problem was we had church, and stuff we had to do, so we didnt really get to. So after church we took those hours and caught up on some sleep :) Later that day we had an awesome Easter dinner prepared by Elder Preece! Following that we dyed easter eggs! So Easter was a success!
|Elder Rodenberg with Elder Cooper|
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Looking back at the events that took place at the beginning of the week, seems like forever ago! We had our Zone training meeting this past Tuesday. Elder Poulsen and Priece did a great job and really packed a punch in there for me. I guess they just really helped me find this desire to share the Book of Mormon with others. Okay every missionary has that desire, but it was a tad bit deeper for me. My testimony has been strengthened and it feels great. I really just want people to read this book. I know it's true and I know it contains answers that people need to hear. If people could just set aside their pride or whatever it may be and pick up this book and read from it I know it would help them. It is just a consistent sturdy handle to hold on to while the whirl winds of life go on. So ya I love the Book of Mormon! I used to always think "earlier in the mish life" That when I would have feelings like this, or this new excitement about some gospel topic it meant that I was just barely gaining a testimony on the matter. Might be the case for some things here and there, but it has been good for me to remember that a testimony can grow!! Just because that excitement wasn't really there before doesn't mean I didnt have a testimony then! I really feel like I am just growing "line upon line, precept upon precept" (something one of the big boys said in conference somewhere haha) I really dont know if that makes any sense over writing. Oh well just know if nothing else that my testimony has been strengthened a lot this week.
So we were able to watch and finish all the conference this week! I am super glad I didnt miss the Sunday sessions cause they was good! I really really like L. Tom Perry. He is just so down to earth I feel. This time around I was just able to appreciate what he was saying a lot more. Not that i wasnt appreciating what he was saying before... and just really enjoy his stuff now :) And he is a giant! and I dont know if you were watching at the end of priesthood session, but he totally gave bones to elder Bednar! haha so ill!!
Also this week I was able to see a little miracle. So there has been this member here that has been missing for two months! No one had seen or heard from him for that long. I loved this guy, he came to English sometimes, and was just the sweetest little old man ever. Well Elder DeGraw and I were just doing our thing and contacting.Throughout the path of contacting time we had set a side, here and there we were like hey let's stop at this store real quick and grab a snack for later. We get around and are looping back around to our apartment a little later then we had planned. As we were walking down the street guess who we saw!? Yep that member that had been missing for soo long! We were able to stop and chat with him for a while and see how he was doing. He is doing fine, just gets pretty sick when he is out walking, which explains the no church show. He then came to church last Sunday, which is awesome! It really just amazes me how the Lord works. What if we hadn't stopped at the store and delayed us just a bit? We might have been too fast and totally missed our friend!
Oh ya... had to give a talk in church again... it's okay. After I got done speaking the first councilor got up and said something like, the missionaries are so brave to come here and speak in a foreign language. Even though sometimes we cant understand everything they are saying, I know we can learn from the spirit... haha so... it is possible no one understood what I was saying for the 20 minutes I was talking! haha oh gosh!! Hopefully, someone got something.
Anyways Know that I love all of you! Thanks for doing your part back there in good ol' Utah. Thanks for being there for me and for supporting me through the ups and downs. I defiantly feel the prayers and know they are helping me! LOVE YOU ALL!!!
E l d e r J A M E S A N D E R S O N C O O P E R
Monday, April 7, 2014
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
|Some of the "original" District - Going to miss them.|
Well it is the end of another transfer. I am going to be staying here in Arad for a 4th and with Elder DeGraw for a 2nd. Elder Whitehead and Sora Bird are leaving, which will be kinda weird. They are the ones who came into Arad with me, so we were all like the senior veterans in Arad, and now it is just me. But not really cause Elder Poulsen will be staying here along with Sora Bynum so everything is not changing completely haha
|Elder Cooper's companion Elder DeGraw|
Nothing has really happened with G. He is an interesting guy. We havent met with him for a while. I hope this next week we can. It is so weird out here. For all the time we have for contacting... it seems like there is never time to do anything else? I know missionary work isnt always knocking doors or hitting the street, there is always just little things that pop up everywhere that makes things difficult.
We go help at a service place every Wednesday. It is basically a place Gypsies go. (dont know if I have told you about Gypsies?) So a lot of times we play with kids or sort cloths... that type of thing... that is always fun to do :) Just to tell you a little about them, gypsies are all really poor. and the worst part is, they dont care... and most of them wont do anything to try and fix it. The law actually kinda protects them... and they dont plan on trying to make their situations any better.... it really is sad how much people look down and talk bad about them...
So Easter is coming up, I think it is on the 20th of April here. I guess it is a pretty big deal here... so I am excited to see what happens.
Nothing much else to say for this week. Just a lot of contacting and preparing for transfers and what not. We actually ran into a man on the streets the other day while contacting. He recognized the white shirt and ties. (he has 3 Books of Mormon and I think has met with the missionaries before) He stopped us and wanted help with something. He wouldnt tell us what exactly and just told
us to come over at 5 the following day. So the next day rolls around and we are looking for his house. The place that he gave us directions to was weird. There was a lock on the outside of the door and it had a broken window. We knock and wait for a while, and nothing happens. Hopefully we will see him again, because we werent able to find him this week!
We are gonna be doing a lot of planning for next transfer soon. So I think we will talk about and get our focus in gear and stuff :) It can just be so hard sometimes cause everyone takes things so casual sometimes... its something I didnt think I would have to deal with in my mission, but its okay. Time to get to work.
So ya :) Love you all so much. Thanks for being there for me and being the people you are! Keep praying and doing good things! :) Pray for the people in Romania. have a good week!
Note: So basically in this mission you WILL buy cloths... if you care about style or looks even in the slightest. There are soooo many extra white sleeve shirts in every single apartment you go to, because missionaries just ditch them! It is really nice to bring at least two different normal out fits. You will loose weight so take that into account. The rules on suits have changed, so technically you only have to wear them to church meetings and interviews and stuff like that. I have never worn a suit contacting. Also feel free to bring out whatever color slacks you want basically, as long as it isnt to bright and crazy. Right now with President Hill, we can listen to ANY music we want, only if we your comp agrees, and you can feel the spirit. So bring any music you feel is appropriate. Also, bring USB sticks or something to throw a ton of pictures/movies/music on. Missionaries love doing that here. Bring USB that has good storage.