Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nieuw en Oud!

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!


Lieve Familie,

        OH MIJ HEMELJE it was good to see you all a couple of days ago! You all look so good and sooooo awesome! If you couldn’t tell, the whole time we were Skyping I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face because I was just so excited to FINALLY SEE and HEAR you guys! There is no doubt that I will never forget the "first time Skyping with my familie on my mission" -such a special experience. It definitely is true though that your first Skype is the hardest of them all but it was well worth it and I am already looking forward to the next one!

        Well as for my Christmas week - it was a crazy, fun, and exciting week. First I will start off by saying that I was well taken care of this week from the members here in Den Haag. The members here really are so special and amazing. They also seem willing to help the missionaries and make sure that they are all taken care of.
     
 Here is a short preview of what exactly went down:

      On Christmas Eve we went caroling with a member from our ward here named Zuster Van Der Put. We ended up going to several people’s houses and singing them Christmas songs and a short message about the importance of Christmas. It was so amazing to watch these people feel the spirit work as we sung to them -many tears where shed due to the spirit.  The next day (Christmas) we spent the whole day at member’s houses. We first went by Familie Muntigas and had such a "GEZELLIG" time there. Following that we went to our Bishops house and enjoyed dinner there and then ended up biking to another family’s house to Skype! The next day (tweede kerst) we were once again by member’s houses. We ate breakfast at our Ward Mission Leaders house and following that we had a missionary meeting with our district. The rest of the day we spent singing Christmas songs in the middle of the Train Station, which was "HARTSTIKKE LEUK". And then to end off the Christmas spirit we went to the Stake President’s house for dinner. Which was super awesome because He invited us to just wear normal cloths and not "missionary attire" soo for the first time in about 7 months I was able to just dress normal and relaxed! And all I can say is that our companionship was LOOKING GOOOOD! Hahaha

But yea there is a short little run down about all of the Christmas spirit this last week.

And here is just a funny little story from this last weekend..

        Friday it was back to normal missionary work and we started off by doing some look ups because our other appt. fell through. After the look ups we stopped by a member named George to go see him and cheer him up during this Christmas season. Well He was nice enough to make some food for us and he decided to make us some real African food..... Yes it was FU FU (hope that is spelled right) I can't really explain just Google it. It wasn't too bad; better than the one I had before. But the funniest part is---Later that night we headed over to Dennis' house for our appt. with him (the business man). And you wouldn't guess what he did for us... He made us Fu Fu. WE HAD FU FU TWICE THAT DAY AND IT WAS JUST NOT NEEDED!! Hahah Fu Fu just makes you sleepy and lazy. The Fu Fu that we ate at Dennis' was weird, there were intestines inside yyyyeeeccckkk haha. Who would of thought a missionary called to the Nederland would have to eat food such as this. Whatever though it was a fun experience. But now we have established a new goal to try and stay away from African food now, especially FU FU!

 Well Fam Bam I'm not so sure what else to say..  Transfers aren’t this week, but they are the next week. So next Sunday I will be finding out what is going to happen to me and our amazing companionship! We are all hoping that we will stay together, but the chances of that happening are low. But ya still never know!
I love you all so much and miss you guys like crazy! Have a great New Year and now that I am here in Nederland having a good'ol time and becoming somewhat of a man... HA! LOVE YOU GUYS AND STAY STRONG AND SAFE THIS WEEK!!!

-Elder COOOOOOOK(ie)

Monday, December 23, 2013

GELUKKIG KERSTFEEST!!


GELUKKIG KERSTFEEST IEDEREEN
 
Lieve Familie,
 
  Well it’s Christmas week huh? Pretty crazzy! I can’t even describe to you all the crazy emotions inside of me- I am nervous, EXCITED, about to throw up, stoked, a little tired, and ready to run around in circles. Pretty crazy right? What a special week this is going to be though.

 For the information you have all been waiting for: I will be Skyping on the 25 of December at around 7:00/7:30 p.m. here. That means that it will probably around 11:00/11:30 a.m. there.

I have made sure that my account works that Carly has set up, THANK YOU SIS, so I will actually be calling Carly around that time. I’m not sure how long I will have to Skype... I'm thinking maybe an hour and a half or two and a half hours, but I hope that I will have enough time to talk to each one of you individually. This is very important though family- knowing me I will probably be really shocked and all that when I see you all and Skype.. So to help me please try to have some questions or something all written down to ask me that way this whole Skype thing will run smoothly! I said that in my last email, but it was in Dutch so I'm not sure if you guys were able to translate that all... hahah but yeah that would be awesome!

Well as for this last week it was a very good and fun week.  Our investigators are great! Ethlyn is so blessed and our lessons with her truly have been so spiritual. We are excited for when she will become baptized and receive all the many blessings the Lord has in store for her. And as for others... well here is a quick little story.. 2 weeks ago I went on exchanges and ended up "randomly" running into a Jovo (young adult) named Jasmine who is a less active. Well long story short we have now had 2 appointments with her and OH.MY.GOSH. We found ourselves a kingdom builder everyone! I have never seen someone who is only 19 years old and so excited about learning the gospel and then sharing it with other people. All I can say is that Heavenly Father absolutely put me there on that train in another city that day to meet her.  She is one awesome young adult and so excited to keep on teaching her.

But the spirit of Christmas is definitely in the air here in Nederland and Elder Thomas, Alade, and I are really just having a good'ol time! I have been doing the 12 days of Christmas thing and I must say that number 8 was my favorite and it was so good that Elder Thomas, Alade, and I find ourselves having dance parties to it every night. (Which I have a ton of videos but they won’t send...) Thank you so much for all the love you guys have sent to me. I truly feel your love every single day and LOVE YOU GUYS LIKE CRAZY.


As for my spiritual note:
.
 Familie, Friends, whoever reads my emails....  This Christmas could go down as the most "Memorable Christmas EVER" for me.  I will not be skiing; I will not be attending the family parties, no playing in the snow (as of right now), and unfortunately no big Christmas breakfast. Actually I will pretty much be doing nothing that really has anything to do with a "typical Cook Christmas". Weird right?  So how could this possibly be the most "Memorable Christmas" of my life.. Well it’s easy- Gratefulness and Thankfulness. I have been so blessed for everything in my life (with family, friends, etc) and this is a Christmas where I can really reflect on WHO has given me all these wonderful blessings and that is our Savior Jesus Christ.


      Family I could go on and on about all the many things I have learned throughout my mission and the spirit I have felt. But I will make this short and meaningful and leave you all with my personal testimony that comes out of the mouth of Joseph Smith  “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!” (D&C 76:22).
     
 
I love you all with my entire heart.
 
     ENJOY TO THE END
 
 
-Your son, brother, friend,
         ELDER COOK
 
 
Ps: SEE YOU SOON!
 



Monday, December 16, 2013

BIJNA KERSTMIS HIER IN NEDERLAND


Mijn Geliefde Familie,

               Het is bijna Kerst hier in Nederland en natuurlijk ben ik heel blij mee, maar ook een beetje bang ervoor want het zal de eerst keer voor mij zijn dat ik niet bij jullie zal zijn. Maar in ieder geval ik kan niet wachten om jullie weer te zien via Skype:)!!!! Even iets voor jullie... Voor wij gaan skypen, kunnen jullie een paar vragen in jullie gedachten nemen om aan mij te vragen. Op die manier gaat het skypen gemakkelijker. Danken jullie wel!

             Familie holy shmoooooly! This last week absolutely flew by. It’s hard to believe that it is only 9 days until Christmas, I feel like December just began! Time really does just fly by. Even though there are those days that feel like weeks or years, but really I can’t believe Christmas is just right around the corner! I hope all of you have finished all the crazy Christmas shopping and are finally able to just settle down and think more about what Christmas really means. Fortunately for me I don’t have to worry about the crazy shopping and instead really take this time to think upon the importance of this wonderful Holiday! Christmas ahhhhhhh! I don’t even know where to begin with it. I’m so excited and sooo... just... blaahhh! hahah

            But ANYWAYS this week familie.. "It wasss a goooood one" (dumb and dumber voice)!  On Wednesday we had a General Authority come speak to us, Elder Teixeira, and it was quite the experience that’s for sure. He said/gave some really good advice on how we can be better missionaries and how we really can improve- it was definitely a good conference, but I must be honest... It was our Christmas Conference for the mission and I didn't feel to much love..:( And "ISNT THAT WHAT CHRISTMAS IS FOR" (Grinch voice). It was a good experience though. Following the conference I got to finally pick up all the wonderful packages you guys sent me!!! AHHHH they are so awesome! It definitely made my day to see all that Love from you guys. I want you all to know that I am taking this whole "12 days" of Christmas thing really seriously and only opening a present once a day, I'm on day 3 now! Oh and I am also saving all the other packages/presents for Christmas Eve and Christmas! wwwwwaaaaaaaaahhoooo!

             The next day I got to spend my whole day on exchanges with a younger Elder in a different city. It was a longgggggg day as we knocked doors and street contacted for almost 6 hours. My feet were about to fall off and I’ve never experienced such a sore throat in my life from the non-stop Dutch speaking. However it was a fun day and definitely a day that I needed of just non-stop work.

            I hope you all are wondering about Ethlyn also... well on Friday we had probably one of the coolest lessons ever on my mission. (It was definitely a journal moment) On Friday we took Ethlyn to the Temple that is really close here to Den Haag. Ethlyn used to think that she wasn’t even allowed to go within 100 meters of the Temple so she was really surprised when we took her inside of it and had a lesson in the waiting room. Well I can honestly say without a single doubt that the Temple radiates the spirit. As we taught/ talked to Ethlyn about what’s so special about the Temple (while sitting inside the Temple) the spirit completely took over and I’ve never seen or experienced the Holy Ghost testify so strongly of the truth in my life. It really built my testimony up that we, us as missionaries or members of the Church, are only instruments in the hands of the Lord and that the Holy Ghost truly is the one who testifies the truth. Tears were shed by just about everyone in the room because of how strong the spirit was working. I am so grateful to have experienced it and be here to help Ethlyn on her path.

      Well that’s about all for this week. Just same old same old... missionary work. Hahah so I'm sorry if it is boring! But yea know that’s just my good'ol life that I get to be living right now! Only 9 more days until we Skype which is going to be crazyyy! Can’t wait. I'll let you all know about the details for it next week probably.  But Family holy cow I love you guys. Seriously there is not much more that I can say besides "IK HOUD ZOVEEL VAN JULLIE" en "MIS JULLIE ZO VEEL"" also.    


     ENJOY TO THE END

Met Lief,
            Elder Cook(ie)!

PS: Congrats to Elissa on the engagement! I’m super stoked for you guys! Just remember that this "Andrew" guy has got one crazy cousin he still has to meet who is in Europe! hahahahha


PS: mom look I got my picture with SANTA CLAUS!!!



Monday, December 9, 2013

THE BIG 6 WEEK 26

Lieve Familie,

          This week- week number whatever it is- will mark my 6 month mark on my mission. As many of you can remember in my farewell talk, I compared my mission a lot to sports, or more specifically, the biggest championship game ever. With the thanks of Dad, I have been able to keep that comparison going thus far on my mission and really thinking about this "big championship game" and my part in it. Well it's been 6 months now and in the sports world that means that the first quarter is up and now it is the time to look back and see what you have learned thus far and also what needs to be done to go in at half time with a lead.

Well looking back at my "first quarter" and what I have learned thus far, I can honestly say that I have never been so happy. Of course there were some mistakes: some fumbles, some turnovers, some big hits (including times where my lineman missed a block or two, leaving me helplessly on the ground), and maybe even a missed opportunity or two.  BUT through all this, through the hard times through the good times, through every single second of this first quarter... every time I looked over at that sideline to get the next play, there He was. There was the Savior. There He was helping me every step of the way, never giving up on me, never doubting me, never giving up hope. He was there and will continue to be there, standing on my sideline, standing with me in the huddle, giving me a hand to help me get back up, and always encouraging me to keep going. I feel with no doubt in my heart that He truly has been here and that He will never leave me alone.

My testimony has grown this "first quarter" and with the help from my teammates (companions), help from my assistant coaches (mission leaders), and help from the head coach (mission president), it will only increase throughout these next three. I love serving the Lord and knowing that He is there, always cheering me on.
       
Now about the week real quick: Family I don’t feel bad for you guys and the weather over there in good'ol SLC, because it is absolutely getting freezing here also and guess what... we don’t get to stay inside! So lets just say that I am super grateful for my new Thermal Jesus PJ's;) (Thanks momma). LOVE IT! Hahah
     
Ethlyn now has a baptismal DATE!! Wahhhhhoooo! It’s been a long time working with her, but we've set a date for Jan 14! So exciting and I'm just so grateful for being able to teach her.

 This week I had the chance to give good'ol Zuster Barrie a blessing and all I can say about it is that it definitely made the Journal because of how strong the spirit was. HOLY COW!  (emoji hahhah)
      
Yea everything else with our investigators went absolutely awesome this week, not awesome but very good! Hahah We also got a new family to teach! Gosh I am just so dang grateful.

       Last night Elder Thomas, Elder Alade, and I went to my favorite members house (Familie Muntingan) for dinner and oh my gosh it was awesome. The spirit was so strong and their family really is just an awesome family and do such good missionary work. We had dinner with them and they also invited one of the daughter’s friends who isn’t a member and then we gave one of the coolest "spiritual desserts" on them. (Spiritual thought). It was a memorable moment that is for sure, and they invited us to go to their house the day after Christmas and maybe watch Despicable Me 2..... hahhah So excited!

    Family gosh I love you guys so much. There really isn’t anymore to say about that. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU GUYS and MISS you guys like crazy. You are always in my prayers and in my heart. 
"Enjoy to the End" in all things!


-Elder Jason Rich Cook(ie)


Ps: this Wednesday we have a member from the 70 coming to speak to us as a mission and that is when I will pick up all the packages you sent me! LOVE YOU!





Monday, December 2, 2013

DECEMBERRRRR WEEK 25


 Lieve familie,
 
                       Ya know... I just never know how to begin these email things. Like hey? What's up guys? Long time no see..? Its kind of difficult and all I want to do is be chill, but sometimes I feel a little sketch. Am I being sketch? Because that's sketch if you think so....
 
                Hahahah familie familie!!! Hey guys!! Another week down and HERE I AM AGAIN- here I am again sitting inside this Turkish computer store emailing all of y'all and just feeling so blessed and grateful for all the wonderful and heartfelt emails I just received. Gosh you guys truly are awesome and inspiring! THANK YOU.
 
               Well this week.. where to begin. Overall it was a very good week with some big parties, new investigators, and great lessons!

Parties-  Last Monday night there was a huge party in the church for "SinterKlaas" and I know you guys have no idea what it even is- I didn't even have any idea what it was- but it was pretty freakin awesome! SinterKlaas is like another Christmas for Nederland and Belgium and it is actually celebrated on the 5th of December, so this Thursday. It's going to be huge and awesome...from what I have heard! So I AM STOKED!  
 For Thanksgiving I actually had some delicious Turkey! There was a Thanksgiving dinner in the church for all the young adults and Elder Thomas, Alade, and I were invited!!! Soon Thursday I got my turkey meal and was very grateful;)
 
New people to teach-  We found 2 new people to teach this week also. Both young adults. We have a girl named Shelly who is 22 (pretty good looking also...... "flirt to convert" right?)  and a man named Michel who is 20. We found them both on the street and had appts with them inside the church. Michel is an Ex- Jehovah witness so it was super fun to teach him. He is also super open for the message. These two, Shelly and Michel, were both prepared by the Lord to listen and accept the message of the Restored Gospel. Truly amazing to see the way the Lord works. We had such great lessons with them and we have committed both of them to read out of the Book of Mormon. 
        
   Great lessons-  Familie, Ethyln is getting close to baptism. We have had so many good lessons with her and seriously every lesson we have had with her, the spirit has been so strong. Her story truly is inspiring and I am so grateful for the chance I have to teach her and for the friendship we have developed. She has been investigating the church for just over a year and has earned the nickname of "Dry Mormon" (since she just won't get baptized yet). But I can honestly say that we are getting so close with her and I can not wait for the day that she gets baptized because she is an absolute kingdom builder!
 
   Last but not least we had another appointment with Dennis ("the business man" Dad) and oh.my.gosh. the spirit was once again so strong!! Tears were practically coming out of all our eyes as we talked about Trials and bore testimony about how with the Gospel we can overcome any trials.
 
 
    How blessed are we people. Seriously how blessed.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly is the plan of happiness.
 
                         Love you all.
                                -Elder Cookie
 
 
                 "ENJOY TO THE END"
 
Ps: I'm sorry if this email was just kind of everywhere, but I'm just so grateful for you all and I just dont have the words to explain it!  

SINTERKLAAS

P-DAY PICTURES


Monday, November 25, 2013

GELUKKIG THANKSGIVING


GELUKKIG THANKSGIVING
 
Lieve Familie,
 
             Well familie what a week it was here in Den Haag and it looks like i'll be staying here for another 6 weeks!! (thank heavens)! Transfer calls were last night and I am so grateful that our phone never even rang. So in otherwords Elder Thomas and I will be staying together and finish training Elder Alade before he bounces to the good'ol zoo (mtc) in Provo.
 
              I am so happy that I will finally be staying in a place longer then one transfer and even though it's absolutely freezing here, I'm so glad that the place I'm staying is Den Haag! Den Haag really is such a blessed city and I love the ward here. I have been able to make such good friends with the Members here and especially some of the kids, I mean all the kids here in the ward call me "Elder Coookie" hahaha pretty funny!
 
          But about the week- this week was full of so many ups and downs (as usual). The week started off with going to my sweet angel Zuster Barries house to check up on how she is doing now that she is baptized. She taught me how to make some LEKKER African food (Mom you would be so proud of my cooking skills now) and honestly everyday I see her she just makes my day so happy! I truly am so grateful for her. She is already making plans on coming to America in the 2015 summer and staying with us.... hahah she is awesome!
 
              The next day we had zone training in Leiden so I finally got to put on my absolute netjes European Suit! LOOOOKINN FRESHHHH! hahah and then on Thursday we got the opportunity to teach Ethlyn, who is now one of my absolute best friends! Ethlyn's story truly is amazing and I would tell it but I don't want to take up 10 pages on here... But anyways it was probably one of the most spiritual lessons i've ever had. By the time we were gonna say the closing prayer, the room was absolutely quiet and the spirit just took over. A baptismal date will be coming up soon!
               The next day we had a good run in with the "J Dubs" (Jehovah Witness') and well it was interesting. Nothing else more to be said about that.. hahah. But it did just make me realize how grateful I am for the knowledge I have about the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation. 
              Oh and I must say one more thing about investigators.. we got a call on Saturday night from a member about teaching their little brother. Well we got a new 9 year old investigator named Eshmal and he is soooo cool! He such a little stud and so funny. We taught him the Restoration and looks like he's gonna be getting baptized in the next month or so! SUPER BLESSED AHHHHHH! Miracle from the Lord right there.
 
              Now the news you've all been waiting to hear... THE TURKEY BOWL! It was up in Amsterdam, so I got to spend the entire day there and I must say that Amsterdam is my dream city to serve in! But yesss.. The Nederland Turkey Bowl was last Saturday and it was pretty dang fun. It was pretty relaxed since there was a lot of people there who don't even understand the game of Football, but still fun! President Robinson and I were going at it all day and I'm gonna be honest- for a 55-65 year old man, he's got some game! hahah It was nice to put on the good 'ol cleats and relive the glorious High School days....... HA! blahhhhhh! And speaking of High School, shout out the EHS football team. Keep your heads up boys and just remember to be grateful for having that chance to play because not very many teams even get a chance to play in a game that big.
 
             Thanksgiving this week huh... "Well lesss putta nother, SHRIMP ON DA BOBBIE"!! 
Thanksgiving, what a great American Holiday. A holiday all about giving thanks, being grateful, and showing your love for one another. How blessed and unblessed are we Americans.. I mean we're blessed to have another holiday, another day off of work, and a day to spend time with our families. But how unblessed are we, that we have to have a holiday to remind us to give thanks. COME ONNNN! hahaha Thanksgiving is really such a blessed time of the year and I'm really gonna be thinking about you all this Thursday. I am so grateful for each and everyone of you. I'm grateful for having three beautiful sisters who I absolutely love and an older brother who will always be there for me. I'm am so grateful for you Mom and Dad. You two really have no idea how grateful I am. I'm eternally grateful. Gosh family I love you guys so much and miss you all. Take the time this week to not only be grateful for one another, but also for your Father in Heaven and His plan. Afterall, it was His plan to put us together as a family and it is through His plan that we will be together forever. 
"Ik ben heel erg dankbaar daarvoor"
 
   LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!
 
           -Elder Cooooookie




 
       

Monday, November 18, 2013

"GEDOOPD"


 Mijn Geliefde Familie,
 
       Wow what a week it was. Such a stressful, but rewarding week thats for sure. From all the emails I recieved I'm guessing you all want to know about the baptism this week and before I get there I just want to say -
Familie ik ben op mijn zending bijna 6 mandan nu. Elke dag is een echt practige geweest, so veel wonderen dat mij hulp om door de dag te gaan. Ik ben heel erg dankbaar voor mijn beproeving dat ik gehad heb. Ik hou van mijn zending en hou ik van jullie ook. Streker Door Strijd is juist en iedereen moeten tot het einde genieten :)
 
         Soo the baptism... Well everyone Mariama Barrie was baptized! It truly was the most humbling experience of my life.
Just a little background information on her - Barrie was a Muslim and has one of the craziest life stories I have ever heard. For those of you who dont know, going from Muslim to Christian is quite the change and it takes a strong testimony and A WHOLE TON of faith.
  
        The baptism was so amazing, but I must tell you all the full story because it is actually extremely funny. Before the baptism we went to go fill the font up and last time we filled it up it took about 2 hours and it still wasn't full all the way. So this time we thought: "Hey lets just turn the water on and then come back in about 2 hours or so" - super smart right? Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaa NO. Hahahah well we came back about two hours later (an hour before the baptism) to turn the water off and clean up the ward a little. As we entered into the church building we found ourselves stepping into about 2 inches of water... WE FLOODED THE MAIN FLOOR OF THE CHURCH! hahah the baptism font filled up so fast that it overflowed and we ended up having just one huge swimming pool on the main floor on the church! Of course we were freaking out and we just keep on saying "Well looks like were gonna be getting transfered out of Den Haag now" haha. Luckly no damage was done and Elder Alade, Thomas, and I were able to make it look somewhat clean and decent before everyone got there. hahaha I just couldn't stop laughing the whole time cleaning up and thinking about how stupid we were! AHHHHH!
 
     But as for the baptismal service itself; it was absolutely amazing. I had the opportunity to be in the water with Barrie and baptize her - truly a humbling experience. The spirit was so strong and tears of joy were definitely shed. It honestly was beautiful and something i'll never forget. Yesterday Barrie recieved the Holy Ghost and once again the spirit was so strong that it brought many people, including myself, to tears. What a joy it is to not only see the life of someone change for the better, but to also be a part of it. I am truly grateful for the friendship and love Barrie and I have for one another. I am also so grateful for Barrie and the example she has set for so many people, including me. She really is an angel and I can't wait to keep on being apart of her journey as she now sets her goal to one day go to the Temple.
 
        Familie as you can see it's been another spritual week here for me in Nederland. It's these sort of experiences that keep me going out here, it's finding the next Hernandes, the next Barrie, or simple just bringing the gospel into someone else's life. Truly a humbling and grateful experience. I am grateful for my blessings and know that one of the greatest blessings I have ever recieved is you guys. I am eternally grateful for each and everyone of you. I love you all so much. You guys are my inspiration and light at the end of the tunnel.
 
Enjoy to the End
 
-Elder Coook(ie)

Ps: This Saturday we're having a "Turkey Bowl"  against the missionaries... So looks like imma about to go good'ol #8 ON ALL THESE FOOOOLS OUT HURRR IN NEDERLAND!!! WAAAAAHOOOOOO!!!!




Monday, November 11, 2013

TIJD OM ZWEMMEN TE GAAN


 Mijn Geliefde Familie,
         Familie what a week it has been! Can you believe I have been out on my mission now for 5 months?! Holy tatter tots. Time has been absolutely flying by. I feel like I was just in the Zoo (MTC) like last week!! But then again... yeah it still feels like it's been 5 months. haha Before I begin to tell you all about the wonderful and exciting life of missionary work, Ik moet ites naar jullie zeggen- en dat is dat ik so zeer dankbaar ben voor jullie. (I am so grateful for you guys) Today I opened up my 5 month package and it just about brought me to tears because of how much love I have for all of you! So seriously thank you so much. I love you guys like crazzzzzy.
        Well this week.. where to begin. I am in a "threesome companionship" LEKKER TOCH?! Last Tuesday Elder Thomas and I got a call saying that we are going to be training a new Elder from Nederland who is waiting on his visa to go to Atlanta, Georgia. His name is Elder Alade and let me just tell you.. I have a new companion who looks exactly like WILL SMITH! Oh and he speaks perfect dutch. Let me say though that it has been fun and also a humbling experience. Elder Aleda will be with us anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 weeks and then he'll be heading to the good'ol MTC in Provo. So thats been a good/fun experience. He speaks perfect dutch so it's fun to be able to always speak dutch with someone all day:) Also just this weekend we had Stake Conference here and OH MY GOSH IT WAS AMAZING! It was all about members and missionaries working together.
       Other then that we have had a pretty bummer week as far as our investigators. Dennis and Ethlyn both canceled on us and Kelt kind of dropped us, so it's been a humble week. But I did title this email "time to go swimming" because this Saturday I'll be going swimming.... IN THE BAPTISM FONT! haha Barry, our angel and miracle of this transfer, will be getting baptized this Saturday and I will have the opportunity to do the Ordinance. I am super excited and just extremely grateful for the opportunity! On Wednesday Barry cooked us FUFU which is some real African food (pretty interesting) and then she asked us what our plans were for after our missions- well Mommy and Daddy I told her about how in 18 months or so you guys would most likely come and pick me up.. and how the first person we will be visiting will be her. SHE LOST IT! haha she just started freaking out and crying so hard and was so excited! hahaha it was pretty darn funny! So yeah lets just say that her and I have a really strong and close relationship and we are both looking forward to this Saturday!! WE BE DOOPEN! LEKKER!
       So familie that's the highlights of this week and overall it was a pretty good week. We still find every single day for like 4 hours, but I've learned to just have fun with it and not let people get me down. Familie and Friends Thanksgiving is coming up and I encourage everyone to really take each day and look at things they are grateful for. I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU GUYS.
     Ik hou van jullie so veel. Ik heb so veel dingen op mijn zending gelerd en de belangrijkster ding dat ik hier glerd hebt is dankbaarheid. Dankbaar zijn. Verget nooit al de kleinje dingen die wij in onze leven hebben ontvangten. Verget mij nooit :) en verget nooit uw vader in de hemel en zijn plan voor ons en al de liefde Hij voor ons heeft.
    I love you guys so much.
     -Elder Cook
        "Geniete tot het einde"
                "ETTE"


                                                             ps: only 7 weeks until skype....

Elder Aleda and I
My New Winter Jacket ;)  LEKKER


Dankbaarheid (Gratitude)

Monday, November 4, 2013

NOVEMBER WHAAAAT?!?!


FAMILYYYYYY,
 
    OOOH Mijn Geliefde Familie, Ik hou van jullie so veel! Jullie zijn mijn inspiratie om zending werk te doen. Ik denk over jullie elke dag en jullie zijn al tijd binnen mij hart!
 
      Family and friends this week was absolutely a roller coaster. IT WAS AWESOME!! As you all know last week was an absolute spiritual high for me and I felt like I was on cloud nineeeeeee. Which means this week has been a week of just blahhh feelings and just desiring for the spirit again. But a lot of cool things did happen and I always feel blessed.
 
    We had some bomb appointments this week with our top 3 investigators and did, as always, have lots of findings. It's pretty incredible when I look back to my first week or so in the mission field and contacting absolutely sucked and I couldn't even speak or say anything I wanted to towards people on the street or at the door. Now contacting is one of my favorite things to do! Everyday we probably spend 4 hours contacting on the streets or knocking doors because, well... this is Europe.. people are quite difficult here and you definitely don't have much to work with. haha but now I love contacting because honestly familie, I LOVE THE DUTCH LANGUAGE! I think I'm finally at the point where I can just about say what I want in Dutch and finally speak with confidence and be myself (which is the most important). It has been pretty fun. Even in this crappy weather we have over here, where I haven't even seen the sun once this week and it has now rained every single day. It's rough, but I wouldn't change it for the world!! WAHOOOOO~!
 
      But our investigators.. well we have a girl named Barry who we are baptizing on November 16! Super excited. We have been working hard to keep her on the right path and she just can't wait to go swimming (baptized)! We also have Ethlyn who is an absolute angel and there is no doubt that we are going to get a baptismal date with her this transfer! (She has been investigating the church for almost a year now.) And then of course we have my good'ol kingdom builder Kelt, who unfortunately was super sick this week so we couldn't teach him, but he did come to church!
 
     Now for the miracle this week... Family we set ANOTHER baptismal date this week! I'm not sure what exactly it is with the success we're having right now, but all I know is that I am working my butt off! haha His name is Dennis and he is a very very successful fashion designer (successful business man Dad..). We had an appointment with him and taught him the first lesson and then showed him the short Restoration film about good'ol Joseph Smith. At the end of the film Dennis was just about in tears. You all know me... I was not gonna let this opportunity go by, so we started to bare our testimonies hard and the spirit filled the room. We invited him to be baptized on December 14 and he accepted with tears in his eyes. After we got on our knees and he said one of the most sincere heart felt closing prayers I've ever heard in my life. The spirit was there and after the appointment I just started running down the street like a retard because I was so happy! hahah
 
     Family I can't tell you how much my testimony has grown these last 5 months. It really is unreal. I love you guys so much and truly am so grateful for everything you have done for me. Keep the faith back home and always remember that you are always in someone's heart and prayers here in Europe. LOVE YOU!
 
   -Elder Cook
       "Enjoy to the End"
 
 
Ps: Once again I promise I'm not a nerdy missionary... today I'm rolling around in my tall t-shirt with the bull dawg on it and drinkin ma RED BULL!! YEAAAA!!!
 
Pss: WE WENT TO THE BEACH!!



Spider Cupcakes!

Monday, October 28, 2013

GELUKKIG HALLOWEEN Week 20!


FAMILIEEEEEEE,
 
     Where do I even begin with this week's email... Familie this week has been one of the most spiritual weeks thus far on my mission. NOUGH SAID *(insert big smiley emoji).
 
    The TEMPLE! On Tuesday we had the chance as a mission to go the beautiful Zoetermeer Temple and OOH MIJN HEMEL! Being a missionary and attending the temple here is something that just can not be explained, only experienced. We were able to do a whole endowment session and it was one of the most humbling and grateful experiences of my life as we went through the whole session in Dutch. Simply amazing. haha and then just to top it off... we got to all be in that "one special room" with not only all the other missionaries, but with President and Sister Robinson. It was an experience I will never forget with recieving revelation and feeling the spirit.
 
      I must say though, that was just the start to one of the coolest weeks here on the mish thus far because.... WE BAPTIZED! Yup Elder Thomas and I baptized on Saturday. We have been teaching a man named Albert who has been investigating the church for about 6 months now and has had baptismal dates in the past, but could never actually do it. Well after the Temple we went to Albert's house to go check up on him, before we went in we said a prayer and asked the Lord to bless Albert with strength to be baptized. Well family and friends, the Lord answers prayers. We went in and we commited Albert back to baptism and he actually told us he wants to be baptized the next Saturday! The spirit once again was so strong. So on Thursday President Robinson came down and gave him the baptismal interview and Albert was "KLAAR"! Saturday October 26, 2013 Albert Ramautarsing was baptized by my Companion Elder Thomas and the next day (Sunday) in sacrament meeting, which just so happened to be a farewell in church that day and the Stake President was speaking also so instead of having 80 members there in sacrament there was 250, I gave Albert the Gift of the Holy Ghost and a blessing. (It was a good thing the Lord blessed me with good Dutch that day!) haha.  Family I can't even explain it, but I can tell you that the spirit was there and that my testimony has grown so much this last week.
 
     So Familiy it,s been an exciting week here in Den Haag and lets just say that we are working our butts off right now to bring people closer to Christ. We have another baptism of the 16th van November with a girl named Barry who Elder Thomas and I have been teaching since my first day here in the land. We are still working with Kelt and we taught him yesterday. Him and I have a good bond/chemistry with one another and He is an actual real dutch man so it's gonna take some time for him to come to Christ, but I know that the Lord has got a plan for him and that this guy is going to be a Kingdom Builder. We are also teaching a girl named Ethlyn right now and we have a goal to set a baptismal date with her this upcoming week. 
 
   Familie my mission thus far has been definitely hard, but there is no doubt that the Lord has a plan for me and that I am in the right place right now. I miss you all like crazy, but I really am putting my whole heart and trust in the Lord right now and letting him lead me to people who are in need of the gospel. I love my mission, I love you guys and miss you SOOOO MUCH! I think about you all everyday, everynight, every second. But the Lord is watching over you all. LOVE YOU and..
 
     "ENJOY TO THE END"
 
-Elder Cook
 
 
Ps: I got you letters and packages this last week. LOVED'EM! Thank you all for the prayers.
 
CAN'T BAPTIZE IN EUROPE.......HAHA!
Albert after I gave him the Holy Ghost

THE TEMPLE
ELDER BEAN

Elder Christensen and I


Does this guy look familiar...?? (Elder Taggart)