Elder James AndersonCooper was called to serve a two year mission in the Romania/Moldova mission speaking Romanian for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This blog was not started until about 6 months out on his mission. Some early stories can be found in the tabs below and recent letters will be posted.
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
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
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...
"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
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
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.:)