Monday, September 22, 2014


Well hello everyone!

So ya it was transfer week this week.  I think I am just used to the craziness of it all, so it didn't seem that bad at all.  Although usually I have to get on a train that leaves late at night so I have time to talk to all the missionaries who come and go.  This time our train left in the middle of the day.  It was a little weird cause I didn't get as much time with everyone as I am used to.  None the less, everything went great and it was so good to see everyone again.  This transfer day was kinda a tender one. haha  It was possibly the last time I get to see elder Poulsen out here in Romania!!  It was really weird.  We were in the Metro(Subway) when I realized I had to get off and catch my train.  Elder Poulsen stayed on
the metro and the doors closed shut (dramatic music playing)  The doors shut and the metro starts pulling away.  Just kinda lift up my hand and wave bye, both of us thinking..."see ya on the other side". the Metro picks up speed and travels out of sight.  haha okay enough for the over dramatics.  It is weird that I probably wont see him again as a missionary.  It also kinda showed me how much the mission experience is so relate able to real life... I will show you how.  Before the mission/ MTC is the pre-mortal existence.   When you get to the mission field you are "born".  The entire mission is your earthly life.  When you go home you "die".  Your have eternity before and after your mission, but you only have two years to live on earth.  Super short time to do and grow the most you can.

Alright so now this brings us to the six hour train ride back to
"Just chillin in Sibiu"
Sibiu with my new comp elder W.  We are sitting on the train when elder W strikes up a conversation with someone.  Eventually this girl sitting next to me gets talking to us as well.  Well half way through the conversation, we find out she is a member!!  She hasn't been to church for a while, and is about to take a huge step in her life.  It was an amazing miracle.  The missionaries in Brasov have been trying to get into contact with her forever, and finally we ran into here on the train!  We are hoping this will make a difference in her coming back.  If Elder W hadn't have tried talking to people on the train, she never would have told us she is a less active member.  So awesome!

So now we are all settled in and we go out contacting.  We end up in Centru and clearly something is going on.  There was this huge contest going on.  Not just any contest... but a
"My chocolate milk fix will make me strong...right?" 
strong man contest!  We walked up to get a better look.  I look to the front of the stage and all I see are these yoked gentlemen standing there.  They were massive.  We watched as they strapped one of them to a harness.  This harness was attached to a gigantic tour bus!  The referee blew his whistle and the man started pulling the bus!!  It was rather intimidating and made me feel like a very small child.  Motivated me to work out though... so that is good haha :)

Now church happens.  It was the smallest church attendance I have been apart of.  Our branch president and his fiance were not able to come.  So church meetings were entirely left up to us.  Elder Lybbert and Elder D gave the talks in
sacrament meeting,  Elder W and I taught priesthood, and the sisters taught relief society.  Then after that we ended church just like normal.  There is this girl who came this week and will be here all during the school year.  She was baptized in Moldova just a couple months ago.  I am super happy to have her here.  She is young and has energy that will help the branch here for sure.  I just feel bad her first week had to be the week were no one came!

Okay now for something cool from personal study.  Alma 48:8-10
"8: Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts , or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all... 
9:And in their weakest fortifications he did place the greater number of men; and thus he did fortify and strengthen the land which was possessed by the Nephites. 
10:And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians . "

When I read these verses, it taught me so much.  How Moroni prepared against the enemy.  It says in the scriptures as well that if all men were like Moroni the powers of Hell would have no power or would be shaken or something like that. (paraphrasing of coarse)  So I figured I better study a bit how Captain Moroni prepared against the enemy.  First he prepared small forts or places of resort.  How can we do this? He threw up banks of earth to protect his armies.  How can we throw up banks of earth?  What does our army mean?  He built walls of stone to protect the borders and his land.  Now how can we build stone walls and what do the borders and lands mean to us?  Bare with this idea, you might have different ideas, but this is what works for me.
Small forts/places of resort:
People to talk to, places to go, or things to do when temptation comes.
Banks of earth:
Establishing good habits/ making plans.  making sure you have the vantage point when the enemy/temptation comes.
Your army:
your desires and intentions to do what is right.  You need to protect them as much as you can.  That is why it is important to surround them with banks of earth.
Walls of stone:
Goals and standards.  The line you draw in the dirt before temptation comes (refer to Uchtdorf's talk about the airplane flying to close to the trees)
Cities and the borders of the land:
Commandments, principles, and aspects of the gospel
I could write another page about this and making analogies
here and there.  I will give you the privilege of doing that yourselves.  The most important thing is protecting your army/desires.  If you have no one left to fight what good are all those other things?  As long as you have at least a single soldier you are still fighting, and waiting for reinforcements to come, or if you have a sliver of a desire to do a certain thing, keep a certain commandment, or live a certain way you are still fighting!  How great it is when we have our army there though, that is the goal.  So ya that is kinda the spiritual part of the letter :)  Hopefully it makes some sense haha.
Love you all so much!  I have a great transfer a head of me.  Elder W and I will get to work and get stuff done here in Sibiu.  Thanks for all your prayers and support, without a doubt, it is felt on this end.  Have a great week!!
James Anderson Cooper ;)           
Thanks to the awesome member Eugen for some of the pictures.:) 

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