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.
Haha I cant believe this is the last
email that I will be sending as a missionary. Before I write about all
that stuff though I want to tell you real quick a little about the week.
Our elevator rides are always interesting!
We were able to go over a couple
times this past week and really help the R's finish up picking all his
cherrys in his garden. I feel like some of the reason that me and him
were able to work so well when it came to the branch work was because we also
worked together in other aspects of life. He has really helped me out
here in Craiova and I have tryed to do the same for him. T R Is seriously one of the best men I know. I am glad we got to
spend so much time with him this week in his garden.
We also had a kind of going away
party this past saturday. We invited a bunch of people to the church so
we could do a BBQ... dont worry mom we took a bunch of pictures haha :)
It was amazing! I got to play with a bit of fire again and we got
to just eat pork and mici like men! It was perfect. It really
showed me that I do have a lot of connections here in Craiova that I really
want to keep in touch with. It was really weird saying goodbye to all the
good friends I made here. I know that I will still be able to communicate
with them through email or facebook or whatever it may be. But just the feeling
of not knowing if I would see any of them in person ever again was weird.
I am happy for the time that I have had with them.
Sunday I gave my farewell talk.
The first time in my life I ever lost track of time while public
speaking! It was a good
Being in a trio has been a good time :)
practice round I think ;) It was a really
comfortable setting with not many people, but just enough to make it feel like
a talk. I dont even want to think about 100+ people in the same
room. Sounds overwhelming.... I might just not do my homcoming talk.....
There is no way that I will
ever be able to relay all my experiences over to other people. I know
that I have experienced many many things for the benifit of others through my
mission. but I also know there are many things that I have experienced for
my well being. This has been the hardest thing that I have ever done in
my entire life. So looking back
sometimes I wonder why I didnt give up. I have thought about this a
lot. I don't have a big cool experience to share of how at one big moment I just knew this was the place for me, All I know is that I was sustained by some other
source or divine intervention to be able to make it day to day... cause that is
how I lived my mission.. day to day. I
know that source is my Father in
heaven. This simple fact is something I have come to know through sweat
and tears. He is my Father that happens to live in heaven and I know He
wants me to succeed here. One powerful thing I read the other day came
from my first journal. I was re-reading back to the good ol days in the
MTC. One particular day I was stuggling and I wrote in that journal
"if I am able to do this full 2 year mission, there will be no doubt
in my mind that what I am preaching is true and that I will have recieved power
beyond my own strength." It took me reading that to really
start to see that I have been so
blessed in my time here in Romania as a
missionary. I am sad to be leaving these people now. It is a really
exciting time over here. The mission is really picking up energy and
momentum. Things are happening and it for sure going places. It is time for these new missionaries to be here. That is why it is my time to leave. We need to keep
progressing here and even though I have had 2 years of experience and know a
bit about how to do things here, the new blood and the new ideas is what will
keep this place growing, and not stuck in a rut, into the place that it's
dedication prayer says it will be "a beacon to the surrounding
countries." I know I planted seeds that some day will make this a reality.
Until we meet again Romania!
So I really just want to thank
everyone who has given me any type of support in the time that I have been on
this crazy adventure. If it wasn't for all of you guys fasting and
praying for me, I would not have been able to do this. that's why this
gospel is so beautiful, it is all about team work to help and love
others. In all of you helping me I hope you feel some sort of
satisfaction in knowing that through me you were able to help the lives of the
people here in Romania. You are just as much a part of this as I am! :)
I love you all so much!! I can't wait to see you all very
soon!! Two more days and it will be over. What a roller coaster,
but one I am glad I went on! :) The gospel is true.
Something that happened this week was an hour before church started we got a text from our branch president saying that he wouldnt be able to come to church. Which is fine, just added a lot more stress cause church was literally in an hour.
What that text basically told me was like "hey I can't come, so I am gonna need you to conduct, play the piano, stretch/wing your talk (cause he was the second speaker) to fill as much time as you can, and also to teach something for Sunday school." At least that is what the text meant to me when I read it haha. Thankfully it really isnt as bad as it seems and we are kinda used to doing a lot of stuff over here. So like 15 minutes before the hour I had finished my talk so we sang a song, and then I asked my comp to just say a few words/bare his testimony. Overall I say it went very well haha.
Back to the hospital this week. Like I have kinda explained in the past, it is a freakin maze in there and there are no maps
anywhere. So we walk in the front door and just go to the first elevator we see. We got in a little trouble, but we didn't know what we were doing so mostly people just roll their eyes and let us do whatever. We had a good visit chatting with all of them in the room and one of the guys was actually really interested in the church and our English classes. So we got his number and now hopefully he will get better soon and we can start meeting with him or something! So that was super cool. I felt kinda nervous though cause it was me and A like standing in the middle of the room like telling these men about the church, and technically you arent supposed to like go into hospitals and start preaching, so it looked pretty bad. But we started gathering an audience, two nurses came in and starting asking us questions as well so we had like 5 people in the room. It's cool how some things work out some times.
I feel like I may have already told you this, but recently my favorite scripture is in Alma 32. It is basically just the entire chapter. It is so amazing! It first talks about being humble and stuff and then goes into the famous talk about faith being likend unto a seed. I just really like the concept it is really
simple to me. Alma says how if it is a good seed it will bring forth good fruits and enlargen your understanding if you do not cast it out with your unbelief (first you gotta chose to believe right ), and therfore you will know that is a true and good thing. (alma 32:28-33) Then for the most part I feel like Alma talks a lot about how faith is not a perfect knowledge of things. I love what he says in verse 27 'But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.' I like this so much because I feel like there have been times in my life where I was not able to do more than merely desire to believe in the gospel. I love how he says "awake and arouse your faculties" . Just get up, just start experimenting on the word!" And I take "experimenting" to mean things like reading the scriptures, praying, doing what the prophets tell us. Just doing good overall. So being a missionary I also have really loved this scripture. That is all we can ask people to do. Just experiment on the word, just to see if it is a good thing or not. Just to see if what we are teaching is true. It is promised that through the holy ghost we will be able to know if it is good/from God. (Moroni 10:4-5) So we have promises that we can know if we just ask, and experiment on the word. That's all. :) It's really comforting to me personally.
Sorry that was just me rambling, I just really really like that whole chapter. It just make sense to me becuase I have done it and can testify that it works. :)
So we are nearing the end of the transfer. Next Pday we will know what will be happening to me in my final transfer! Super crazy! Time really does just keep slipping away. As hard as it gets out here, I know that when the time comes to leave this place and this call I will miss it. So for now just enjoy the time I got here right! I love you all so much! I hope you all have a great week!
Elder James Cooper
Well it's the end of the transfer and now on to my very last one! Next transfer me and Avila will be staying together in
Craiova and gaining one new companion! Elder Duker! He has just been in Timi ever since I left him there and now he is coming back to me. It should be a good last transfer. And yeah like i said, I will be coming home on the 24th of June!! it's so soon! But for sure I will finish up strong, still a lot to do here.
This week has been full. On Tuesday before English we contacted all the way over to this park. It was like mid day so the sun was killer. I didnt realize how much the sun can just drain you. When we got inside we just had to sit down for a bit to refresh. I kinda forget that contacting mid day during the summer is a bad idea cause no one is out, and it is extremely hot. But overall, it was a good experience and the park was beautiful!
Also our hot water has been broken since about last Tuesday. I called our land lord to come fix it, but weird enough it started working when he came over to check it.... but the next day it broke again so I just decided it would fix itself again the rest of the week, but it didnt until Sunday. I really dont know what happened haha. Hopefully it will continue to work cause it stinks not having hot water.
Our branch president is very excited that Duker is coming over here cause he is a really good pianist. So this past Sunday we were all trying to sing our best to practice (all four who were there) and we were trying to sing great so we would be ready for him. haha
(Sorry kinda spacy right now the letter is all over the place)
So this Wednesday me and Avila will be heading down to Buc
to pick up Duker. I then have a meeting I got to go to. I think they will be telling us about the meet the Mormon movie, they have dropped a couple of hints already about that. I know in a couple of cities they have been getting ready to use it, It would be a really cool tool for us to be able to use over here. So yeah we will be in Buc for about 4 hours I think. Hopefully enough time to do that meeting and say my goodbyes to everyone. I am dipping out at a weird time so after Wednesday I will not see the majority of the missionaries again. Super weird feeling. Over all I am excited for my last transfer. It will be interesting figuring out the dynamics of a trio, but it could really be what Craiova needs. (Plus we can teach beginner, medium, and advanced for English!) I will let you know more details about everything next week! Sorry this letter is shortish, allergies kicked in like a heavy weight boxer last night so it was hard to sleep. Love you all!! Talk to ya soon!
Nighwing aka Elder Cooper
The week has gone by really fast!
We were able to meet with a new investigator this week and I am super excited about him! He was a referral from president Ivory. He was down in Buc and saw the meet the Mormons movie and got interested in what we do more specifically. We sat down with him and found out that a lot of what he believes and does already is inline with the gospel. When we got talking about stuff, I just kept thinking, holy cow we are already on the same page! haha. He is a very open minded guy so we are really excited to meet with him in this up coming week. Also he is going to Utah sometime close to the end of the year, so we might even have him over for dinner or something after I am home! That'll be cool right!? haha
This week we also got to do some cool service at the R's house. We went over and picked some cherrys. It was pretty fun. Sister R showed me how to make this certain dessert
thingy that I am excited to show you guys. Super easy and it tastes amazing! So it was great to be able to go help them out this week. We gotta climb up a ladder pretty high in the tree. It was just fun, havent done that for a while :)
Also starting last Friday up until yesterday we had Craiova day! It was just a big celebration of the birth of Craiova basically... I think. :) There were so many stands selling stuff and concerts going on, people singing and just having a great time.
I really like how Romania in genral does cool stuff like this. The whole city just seems to come together and just seems so alive. It is something I am going to miss about this place. Just being able to walk through the center of town and see all
the unique stuff going on, or the different stuff people are selling. It is not only Craiova that does this, about every other city I have served in there have been cool festival things going on. Oh yeah, on that note, kinda, before that all started we went to go support our friend in her book signing. She is like an author now. It was a pretty cool experience to see how that whole process worked. She was so nervous about it but she was glad that we went for the extra support. (sorry kinda random)
So things are really starting to feel like they are winding down. Like yesterday was my last sunday doing the clerk stuff. I trained elder D a bit and will do a little more next Sunday with him so that he will be better off the start then I was haha. So responsibility is shifting now. It has made me realize how much stuff was on my shoulders. Of course we have our companions, but when someone talks to you personally about something or needs you to do something, you are usuallly the one "leading" it through. Also there is going to be a Meet the Mormon showing here in Craiova on the 27th on June... haha so that stuff is all on D and A. I mean of course Imma help out as much as I can, but it is on them to make it actually happen. So I guess you can start to see why things are kinding feeling like they are winding down. But of course Imma give it all I got till the end. It's so close they is no reason not to just go ham at it. :)
Love you all so much! I took pictures this week so Ill send them over! Have a great week!
The Elder Nightwing
I can't believe this is basically my
last normal pday... who knows what I'll need to do for the next one! Time
just keeps going no matter if you try to stay or move faster... it goes at it's
own pace haha.
This week really did go by really
fast. We went and did some more service at the R's place.
They are super nice and gave
us some cherry jam from the cherrys we
picked. It was a pretty exhausting day honestly. We did this
service at R's house after we taught English, then after the service we
went to the park for our sports night. Lately it has been SO HOT
outside. We were all drained and sweating buckets. This was the one
time that I wasn't hating not having any hot water to take a shower. A cold
one is super refreshing after an killer day.
Oh something cool, President
R wants to do something this next saturday as a kind of going away
party for me. I am super excited. There will be mici and all
different types of meat there. It'll be fun for sure.
Spend some time with L. I sure love that man.
To top of this week, we had an
amazing Pday! We got to go to Pitesti and I got to see my boy
again! Also I got to return to my "birth city". We had so
much fun. Ill have to send pics of what we did, it is kinda hard to
explain honestly. It involves trampolines and tricycles haha. At
the end of the day it is super weird saying goodbye to Chatty. Love training that kid and he's One of my favorite
Sorry there isn't to much spiritually
up lilfting stuff in this email. Just saving it for my last one you know
haha :) I