JUNE 24, 2015
I am truly grateful for the opportunity and choice my son made to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint.  I know we have been blessed through his faithfully service to his Heavenly Father.  I know that he has grown in strength, integrity, and in his belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ and his love for his Heavenly Father. I feel blessed to have such an amazing young man to call my son. 
 When the age change was made to 18 my oldest son had already received his mission call to the Belgium/Netherlands Mission.  When James heard the announcement he knew he would make the choice to leave as soon as his birthday came.  He left shortly after his 18th birthday. Having two missionaries serving was a blessing for sure, but also hard on a mom's heart. I have rejoiced and also cried many tears.  When my oldest came home a few months ago it was wonderful, and now that James is home, all four of my boys are together and it is glorious!  We will enjoy our time until the next one leaves in October. How grateful I am for such amazing boys in my life. I am a blessed mom!

Fun fact:  Because he left right when he turned 18, he arrived home at
19.  Returned missionary at 19!!  (only for a few days though)

All four back together after 3 1/2 years! Best thing ever!! We
will enjoy our time until the 3rd leaves in October.
So grateful for my family!
November 4, 2014
Sometimes, as a mom, I simply wonder why the journey of my missionary has to be full of so many difficult moments and experiences. My mom heart just wants everything to be okay all the time, and for their always to be success and joy. What a humbling experience to watch this video and listen as President Eyring and Elder Holland help us understand why a cost must be paid. Why it's worth it, and how the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the motivation for Missionary work. .How grateful I am for a living prophet and for apostles of God. How grateful I am to understand that there is a bigger picture and that discipleship is worth the cost.  I love my missionary boys and I'm so grateful for the faith and their testimonies.

September 23, 2014 -Jacquilin's Birthday
I am so grateful for the relationship that my kids have with their Aunt Jacquilin, my sister.  Jacquilin was born with cerebral palsy about 18 months after me.  She and I have always had a special bond, that only sisters could have. I don't know life without her, and she doesn't know it without me.  Jacquilin is in constant pain and her body seems to betray her at every turn. Despite this fact she has loved my boys, and they love her without question and unconditionally. Elder Cooper (James) has always had the ability to make her smile, make her forget her struggles just for a minute (doesn't he do that a bit for all of us
though).  They have a tender and sweet relationship. Because Jacquilin is able to convey the spirit so strongly I think Elder Cooper first knew what that felt like because of her.  She has brought balance, and generosity of spirit, acceptance of others, and acceptance of self all into balance for him. She loves him with all of her heart and I know that it is her prayers that often keep him going.  
Here is Elder Cooper's sweet note to Jacquilin on her birthday. How grateful I feel for the experiences, although difficult and painful at times, that have been placed before us so we could truly grow and develop as a forever family.

Happy birthday Jacquilin!!!  I wanted to write you a short little email and just tell you how much I love you.  I hope that you are able to have a great day and put on a big ol' smile. :)
You are an amazing example to me, and I am so very grateful to have you in my life.  I pray for you every night that you are able to have a good day.  I know that life has been kinda crazy with all the surgeries going with Grandma and Grandpa.  You are a trooper!  Love you so much!  You help me keep going when times get hard out here in Romania.  You have made a substantial influence in how and why I live my life the way I do.  You are just the best!  Have a great birthday!
Love, Elder James Anderson Cooper

7/24/2014 -  ONE YEAR!
It's hard to believe that this kid has been gone for a year.  It seems like forever and yet it has also gone quickly. Time is a strange thing!  I am so proud of him for his courage and his kindness in everything he does.  His wisdom, at such a young age never ceases to amaze me.  We celebrated his 19th birthday just a month ago.  He is happy to not be the youngest in the mission any more.  Because he went right when he turned 18 he was "the young one" for a long time.  I miss his smile, his laugh, his compassion for others, and his genuine nature, but I know he is learning and growing and strengthening those he serves with, and those he meets in Romania.  Nothing he has gone through so far has been easy, but he has stayed the course and faced all of it with a great attitude. He truly is a light on the hill.  I sure love this kid of mine and although I miss him, and spend much time on my knees in his behalf, I know he is exactly where he needs to be.  I am grateful for his testimony, his hard work, and his willingness to go above and beyond.  Here's to another year!  
I made this video as "mom therapy" to help me remember and be thankful for everything!

How could you not love these two! What a pair.
When I went to check my email on my birthday the last thing I expected to see was an email for this cute missionary. I surely needed nothing else the whole day. I have been less than perfect in every way as a mom, but I do love my boys with all my heart. This kid is my heart.  What a gift to be loved this way and I have to say that I smiled all day thinking of the party they threw for me. I am grateful for my son's companion who loves my son enough to play with him in my behalf and who is also an obedient and faithful missionary, for an Incredible Mission President who understands family and mostly for my generous and loving son, who although 100% focused on his mission took a few minutes to think about his Mom. What a gift he is to my world!  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!  I got special permission because I wanted to write you on your birthday.  I have just been trying to figure out how to put into writing how much I love and appreciate you and everything you do for me and the family.  You have kept me going and you have kept me sane through out life. You're my best friend!  If you think about it, we do everything best friends do :)  We hang out, we talk and gossip, we go out to grab a bite to eat, we drive around aimlessly sometimes, we vent ( we..meaning, I vent ), we go on adventures, we try to build each other up as much as we can, we laugh and joke around, you really do know everything about me.  So you can see that when I say we are best friends, we really are.  Now I want to point out a gift you have.  Your advice and your comfort is worth more then any one can purchase on this earth.  You seriously can make someone feel like they are a million bucks, even better, you help make people see and feel of their eternal potential and give them hope when they see none. 
I don't think I am just talking about myself here.  I have the feeling you have blessed many people in your life with this gift, and these feelings.  Now you probably already knew you had this gift, I just know from personal experience that it helps when
someone appreciates or points it out.  That is not the only thing you do.  You are easy to get along with and relate to.  I feel like you and dad have figured out the near perfect way to parent.  I am not trying to come off prideful and of course our family has its trails and what not, but just take a look at our family.... good work :)  I just want you to know I love you.  You have provided me with a sturdy place to hold onto.  You have set me up to succeed, and I plan on doing so.  You're seriously the best mother any one could ask for.  Looking at how you've raised us, it is amazing, you've forgotten yourself and have come completely selfless.  I hope you know the things i have said in this letter, I have not said half-halfheartedly.  I have been working on this letter for a couple of days now, so it could be perfect for you.  It does kinda suck that I cant be there to celebrate with all of you.  But don't worry, as you can tell in the pictures I sent you we had a party over here for you!  It was a lot of fun!  We baked a chocolate cake and everything :)
 We bought balloons, mini umbrellas, party hats, sparkling cider, made root beer, and had a blast.  Just know that: I love you mom, you're my best friend, i'm glad I get to be your son, I can keep going because I want to make you proud, the comfort you give when talking to you is only surpassed by the spirit... which you always bring into the conversation anyways, and just know everything is okay, God has a plan :)  So there is my birthday letter to you :) Hope you have a great day! talk to you more on Monday ( which I THINK we will probably be on later in the day... we have a lesson! )  La multi ani!! 
Love James :)

10/28/2013  An Inspired letter
This Sister missionary will probably never understand the true impact she made on a mother's heart.  Entering the mission field is not always an easy thing.  Then when you get to a foreign country and immediately find out about the death of a loved one, are struggling to speak the language, and are homesick, life can seem a little daunting. Although James (Elder Cooper) is truly one of the most positive people I have ever met (it's what I miss so much about having him around), he needed "a lift" sometimes too, and as a mom, I had been praying to know he was okay and that he wasn't just telling me he was handling it all.  What an answer to prayer this was for me. I was able to hear from an outside source that he was doing well, and not only that, but being himself, always trying to help others. I was also able to send this letter forward to my cute boy to help him understand that he truly was making a difference for others in this journey.  What a sweet gift this letter was. It has made me realize how small acts of kindness (Her writing the letter, Elder Cooper helping another Elder) are really what make this world a beautiful place. It truly is how we become more Christlike.  

Hi Sister Cooper!
I hope it's ok that I am writing you again, but I wanted to share a story that I think you would really appreciate.
About a week and a half ago we had Transfers.  All of us newer missionaries had to go back to Bucuresti to get our Visas and become legal!  It was so great to see everyone from our MTC district.  Elder Cooper seems like he's really enjoying himself and that he's adjusting well.
There were SO many missionaries there to get their visas, including one elder who is particularly quiet.  I don't know him, but I always notice him standing in the corner of the room, or the edge of a group of missionaries, and no one really talks to him.  So, while catching up with a big group, I told a bunch of elders to go over and "be friends" with him.  Obviously I could have gone over and talked to him, but I figured it would be better if elders did it. 
Anyway, some of the elders said, "yeah, yeah, ok," but didn't really do anything.  This all happened while we were waiting at the Train Station before we even went to the Visa Office.  On our way to the Office, I noticed Elder Cooper walking with the quiet Elder and talking to him.  They talked the whole time to the Visa Office ~20 minutes, and continued talking until we left the office. 
I could tell it made the shy elder feel included and noticed.  It made me so happy.  I thought to myself, if any of my elders would fellowship him, it would definitely be Elder Cooper!
I wanted to let you know, again, how great your son is, and that other people can see the difference he is making here in Romania.
Sora N

10/2/2013  Tender Mercy
James had written about an exchange he had been on with an Elder that had been out only about 6 months longer than him. They had great success together and worked so well together.  Thanks to some tender mercies his mom and I were able to share the experiences of the day with each other which was incredible, but this is how her Elder closed his thoughts about my cute boy.  It's exactly the kind of missionary I would want him to be. It was one of those "Proud Mom Moments" 

"Don't even get me started on Elder Cooper!  He actually reminds me  a lot of myself.  He always tries to have a smile on his face and he's THE happiest guy I know.  On top of that, he is one of the hardest working people I have ever seen."

10/21/13 Happy Birthday Grandma (Green)
My mom is my hero, so I'm glad that my boys feel the same way. There is no one in this world that inspires me to be a better person, or try a little harder. Being in her presence just makes you want to be good. I am so grateful for her support and my dad's support. They write faithfully and send packages to our missionaries. All the extra love make everything seem just a little easier. 
Dear Grandma,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!  I wish I could sing you the best birthday song ever!  For now I hope this will do :)
James saying good-bye before he left on his mission.

I Love you.  You have influenced my life more then you can possibly know.  When I think of you I am always reminded of our Savior.  I just know the great love you have for Him so I guess it always makes me think of Him when I think of you :)  I have received the letters you have written me!  I LOVE them so much!! I also received that package you sent..oh boy was that a good package :)  My district now loves you as well haha :)  You are so thoughtful of me all the time! You are the best Grandma and Grandson could ever have or want!  You make me want to try just a little harder, and to keep being just that much more obedient.  I love you Grandma with all my heart! :)

Elder James Anderson Cooper  

9/7/13  The Passing of Grandma Cooper 

Shortly after arriving in Romania Elder Cooper's Grandma Cooper passed away.  His wonderful Mission President advised him to write a letter to her as part of his own healing process. Although Elder Cooper was aware of health concerns for his Grandma, when he left she was doing well. Having only been in the country a few days when he received the news was a challenging experience. 
We know we send these missionaries out, and we know they will face trials and hardships, but knowing how much of a transition was already taking place, and knowing how fiercely my son loves family I knew he would find this experience heartbreaking. I knew his first concern would be for his dad, and then for the rest of the family. He would wonder who would make us all smile and laugh, and who would help us get through this loss if he was not there to take care of us. My heart ached that his heart was aching and that I couldn't wrap my arms around him and tell him all would be well, but as I prayed, as I turned it over to the Lord, I felt incredible peace and comfort. I knew that for as much as I loved my son, HE loved him even more and that he would have some extra help from the other side.  Grandma Cooper loved missionary work, and served a full time mission in her youth in England and then a few others with Grandpa Cooper.  We decided together that he now had an extra angel helping him. How grateful I am for the understanding of eternal families, the power of prayer, and a extraordinary Mission President, and his beautiful wife who comforted and cared for my son and then sent him back to work, to serve with all of his heart.  

Dear Grandma Cooper,
I don't like how you are gone.  I don't feel like I spent enough time with you.  I cant seem to find words to describe how I feel.  Being so far away from home, and receiving this news is strange and awful.  I wish I could've been there, to take better care of you.  I had this feeling, that when I returned home, nothing would've changed.  Now I know, that can never be the case. 
Picture taken at Elder Cooper's Farewell
As difficult as these emotions may be, I know that Christ is with me.  He is here and there to comfort all that stand in need.  He knows what we are thinking and how we are feeling, he knows how to succor us perfectly.  My mind and spirit are at some unease, but I know those usually follow grief.  I have hope and faith to know all will be well, I just have to spend some more time on my knees.
There are so many memories going through my head, of how I felt and what was said.  They are all good memories.  You had such great love, and such a warm welcoming spirit about you.  The best part is knowing, that you are still growing.  you will not lose those traits you had, they will only become better.  I cant imagine going through this and not knowing if I would ever see you again.  Even writing that sentence makes me teary eyed.  I know I will see you again.  It just might seem to be a while.  With an eternal perspective, all is well.  But that does not remove how hard it seems right now.  Being separated is not fun and does not feel good.  it's hard to imagine how our Heavenly Father must feel.  To give us the choice to willingly separate ourselves from him.  I'm so grateful to know we will all meet again, and can live in happiness forever.  But for now this sucks, and that's okay.  We can only rely on the Lord and each other.
I love you Grandma!  In this life, I am going to miss your presence very much.  It is so difficult to try and put how I am feeling into words and into an email.  I just want to re-state how much I care about you, and how much I'm going to miss you.  With all my heart I'm so grateful for the impact you have had on my life.  I cant wait to talk with you again.
      Elder James Anderson Cooper

Sometimes you wonder how you get so lucky to be blessed with a boy like this. His love for his Dad is strong and real and being away from him during this difficult time was very challenging for him because of his tender heart. I thought I would share some of his words. 

Thank you so much for your letter.  Dont worry I defiantly dont feel neglected.  Your talk was truly inspired.  I just keep hearing about how you have handled this situation so great.  You have been often referred to as a

rock.  And it is so true.  One day you will have to tell me how you became the way you did.  I look up to you so much.  You are my Dad.  I cant imagine the emotions you have gone through losing your mom.  It brings my heart great peace to know that you have relied so heavily on the plan of salvation.  It is true, you will be able to see your mom again.  But something I keep finding myself saying is,  but it still sucks for now, and that is okay.  You are an amazing example to me!  It sounds like life has been pretty hectic. Just know Ill be praying for you and the family.  Keep doing the things you are, and things will start to turn around.
 Your loving son,

9/6/13 - Arrival in Romania
Dear Brother and Sister Cooper,
President Hill and I were delighted to meet Elder Cooper as he arrived in the Bucuresti airport with his MTC group. He seemed very happy to finally be in the mission field after his weeks in the MTC. He had a very long first day, waiting for late luggage and starting a long visa application process. By the time the missionaries arrived at the mission home for dinner, they were all pretty ready to turn in! 

The next morning, however, they were a new bunch, bright-eyed and ready to conquer the world! President Hill and I had an enjoyable interview with Elder Cooper, where we learned more about this great young man. It is evident that he is sincere in his desire to serve. Thank you very much for sending him to us. We were impressed by his personality and determination to be a great missionary. After interviews, we had an orientation meeting with the new missionaries and snapped a picture of ourselves with Elder Cooper. I'm attaching the picture for you to see.

After pictures,the missionaries met their first companions. Elder Cooper is now with his initial companion, Elder Bliss, in Pitesti (pronounced Peetesht). Elder Bliss will be a kind, good companion and will give him an excellent start.

Thanks again for sending us such a wonderful young missionary. We could instantly tell he will be a very good, faithful, hard-working missionary. 
With much appreciation,
President and Sister Hill
Romania/Moldova Mission


I always knew James would serve a mission.  He was a happy, lovable, joyous kid from the first day I held him in my arms. He lit up the room from the get go.  I knew watching him grow that where ever he served he would bring joy and light because he was my ray of sunshine.  He's the kid who walks in a room and you just have to smile.  As a mom, I had a plan though. My boys were 2 years apart.  Jonathon would go on his
Jonathon and James
mission, he would come home, we would have a few months together, and then James would leave on his mission.  I never imagined that I would have two missionaries serving at the same time.  My oldest son, Jonathon, had already received his call to the Belgium/Netherlands mission when the announcement came that 18 year old boys would be able to receive their mission calls.  That meant something very different for me than it meant for my boys.  For my boys, who were and are best friends, it meant they would not have to be apart for so long, but for me, that meant I would be without both boys at the same time. 

I will never forget Conference when the announcement came that the age would be changed from 19 to 18 for boy to serve full time missions.  James, a senior in High School at the time, walked into my room where I was watching Conference, white as a ghost, and said something to the affect of "I will be going soon Mom".  That announcement changed our world.  That December we said good-bye to my oldest as he headed to the MTC.  

For some, the age change probably didn't seem as big as it did for me.  James was a young senior and we had fully intended on him attending a full year of college before leaving on a mission.  He was not even turning 18 until the end of June, so even at

Graduation from High School he would only be 17!  But something had resounded with him, something that was strong and undeniable.  He was a busy Senior serving as a Student Body Officer at his High School and being extremely involved, but still he was also determined to leave on his mission soon.  His Dad and I encouraged him to slow down, to wait on his papers until after graduation, but he felt so motivated and so strongly that the time was now that he pressed forward on his own.  (This is evidenced by his email address which is jameskooper instead of james.cooper like the "normal" missionary accounts.  Proof he did his own thing.  

I truly gained a confirmation that my young man, this kid of my had received an answer to his pleadings, an answer to his prayer, that he was to serve, and he was to leave fast. There were many reasons for that, that became apparent later, but he was inspired, and he was right, not his Dad and I. I am grateful for his example of courage and inspiration. His example of following the spirit even though he was scared and his mom (that's me) was trying to get him to drag his feet.  Not that some young men shouldn't wait, they should, but he had received his answer and he followed it. 

James graduated the beginning of June, turned 18 on June 28 and headed for the MTC on July 24.  I felt like my heart was going to explode.  Yes, I knew it was right. Yes, I was so proud of him, yes, he is more mature than most kids twice his age and was ready and willing to follow the will of his Heavenly Father, but as a mom, my 18 year old was leaving home and heading to Romania.  He had left home to go to
leadership camp, and with friends, but he hadn't ever really lived away from home like we had planned.  I knew what he was doing was right, and yet when I said good-bye I could hardly breath. I wondered if I would ever breath again. My angel boy, my light, my sunshine, was heading to light the world, but face challenges that I couldn't help him overcome.  I knew his heart would break, his soul would agonize, and he would truly have to overcome some of the hardest things for himself personally.  I also knew that he would be amazing and that his experiences would bless his life, and the lives of others forever, but in the moment of dropping him off, in the moment of saying
good-bye my heart hurt.  

He is where he is suppose to be, I get it. That's what everyone says, and I know it's true, but as my other boys said good-bye and as my 16 year old sobbed and saying he was not ready to be the oldest in the home, as they clung to each other, my heart just broke a little.   We are blessed, and we are good, but we are human, and so in the moment of saying good-bye it was just tough.  Till we Meet Again Elder Cooper  (Oh ya, that's what he made us sing at his farewell...he's funny that 
way :)
Saying good-bye is difficult so Elder Cooper had us do it at the temple instead of at the MTC drop-off. He wanted everyone to have smiles on their faces when he said his final good-bye...and we did! 


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