Monday, August 26, 2013


 Family let me first begin this email by saying prayers were answered.
Okay soooo this week was AWESOME. It started out pretty rough not gonna lie, but Elder Alfaro and I were extremely blessed. Family I found my reason for being here in Rotterdam. Before I tell you this reason I want you all to know that we have a goal and eyes set on having 4 baptisms next month.... YES I SAID 4! As I have said, "WONDEREN"!! So this week Elder Alfaro gave me the responsibility to lead not only the lessons this week, but everything that had to do with speaking dutch. Including, street contacting, door knocking, church meetings, and also taking the lead in lessons. Holy cow it was so humbling and hard, but so much fun.
Familie my reason for being here in Rotterdam is because of a man named "Hernandes". We met him "opstraat" (on the street) he is from Surinam and about 33 years old. He told us a little bit about his life and how religion has played a role, but he accepted our number and said he would call us. Well that usually means we will never get a call. haha but yeah, we got a call! He called us just two days later and we set up an afspraak met hem voor zaturdag. As we entered his house I had an overwhelming feeling take over me, and I'm not exaggerating at all. Anyways we began talking to him and telling him about the Book of Mormon. It was an alright lesson and after about 30-40 minutes he began to tell us once again about all of his problems in life. Well... that overwhelming feeling came back to me and I opened the Book of Morman to 1 nephi 9:6. I waited patiently for a good time to share it with him and when I felt prompted to, I gave him the scripture. As he began to read it out loud.. well he couldn't even finish the scripture. Tears filled his eyes. Tears then began to fill my eyes. As I bore testimony of this scripture and also of the gospel the spirit absolutely took over. It was amazing. The lesson ended with Hernandes and I hugging, both with tears in our eyes. Familie this is my reason for being here in Rotterdam I believe. He came to church the next day and loved it and pretty much told me he wants the gospel in his life. We plan on giving him a baptisimal date this week and Elder Alfaro and I are just feel so extremely blessed.
As for the other 3 future baptisms hopefully... We are now also teaching two 8 year old girls and a 10 year old girl and they all want us to teach them about baptism. Familie it is amazing at the things the lord is blessing Elder Alfaro and I with right now. We have been working our butts off, but still we both feel like we dont deserve this. The lord is amazing and I just feel so blessed right now.
Familie I really just want to thank you all, each and every one of you. You all should know that I carry around a picture of you all in my wallet and everytime we are talking about families in a lesson I immediatley pull out my picture of you guys and say "Hernandes (or whoever we're teaching) this is my family and I am so grateful that this gospel and the lord has given me the opportunity to not only live with them in this life, but for eternity. They are my joy and my angels. They are the greatest thing to me on this earth."
Mom, Dad, Candace, Jake, Carly, and Chloe... thank you guys. You guys really are all so amazing and know that I love each and everyone of you. You all are always in my heart. I strongly invite you all to do family prayers and just be thankful. If there is something that I have learned through the adversity that I have had, it is to just simply be grateful. I Love you all so much and in everything we do.... "ENJOY it TO THE END""
-Elder Cook
1 Nephi 9:6
Just another day of personal study....
Elder Alfaro and I.... This describes our relationship.
Chillin in BELGIUM

Chillin in BELGIUM

Chillin in BELGIUM

Me and Homer Simpson doing some studying..
Just another day in Netherlands
Elder Alfaro and I

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Sterker Door Strijd" Week 10!

Before I even begin this email I want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY ANGEL! Chloe "the SHMOE-IN-ATER" Cook! Holy cow chlo! 14 wow.... WHY ARE YOU SO OLD? STOP. I hope you got my letter I sent to you for your birthday??!....  I also wanna give a shout out to Brookie and say Happy Birthday last Wednesday! Oh and of course my two favorite girls who I will never forget... PACK TWINS (Neela and Neena) Happy Birthday 2 weeks ago! I'm sorry I missed ya'lls birthdays, I didnt really have a choice. hahah but know that I love you all!!
Real quick... so all the letters you guys have been sending me have been going to our neighbors, so for example: today I got all your letters and my two month package from our neighbor.. it was really funny, but definitely came at the right time! haha
Well familie, where to begin. Today in Rotterdam its been raining cats and dogs, literally. 2 feet of rain in the streets! Every morning at 6 am Elder Alfaro and the Zone Leaders and I go play soccer (so none of us get fat) and today we played in the POURING RAIN! It was pretty awesome, but soooo cold. I have pictures, but once again stupid euorpean laptop is... well stupid and I cant send any photos.
So what else happend this week.. well oh yea I went to BELGIUM! Holy cow it is B.E.A.UTIFUL! Once again I have pictures, but stupid laptop. Its was so awesome to go down to Belgium though, it seriously is so freaking pretty. I dont know if it is just because I am in the ghetto ditry streets of Rotterdam or what but I felt like I was in a whole new world of awesomeness! hahah It was also super cool to see all my buddies again. Gosh I missed them and getting to spend a full day with them was much needed. I also had 3 Belgium Waffles and a whole box a Belgium chocolate and HOLY COW! SMAAKT LEKKER!! (look that word up). so gooood!
We also spent all day Saturday doing service with my favorite member family, they are called Famile Winters, I'm pretty sure i've talked about the before. But we helped their Grandma move out of her house and into another which was a ton of work, but super chill.......not sketch at all. We had a ton of dinner appts this last week and have even more to come, the food is so freakin good here.

But yea spiritually... well since it was a crazy week of going to Belgium and having two day exchanges we didnt find or have any new investigators, but we're really trying to have a lot of faith this week and set a goal to visit as many Less actives as we possibly can. Elder Alfaro has kind of put me in charge this last week and also this week of taking control throughout lessons and contacting people, so my dutch (nederlands) has gotten significantly better. Still a lot of work to do. Still need a lot more faith.
Familie life is getting better. Rotterdam is an awesome area and actually as transfers are coming up in two or so weeks I'm kind of hoping to not get transfered. Weird right? I'm actaully liking rotterdam... haha but familie GOSH I MISS YOU GUYS. Seriously there is not a day that goes by, actually an HOUR, that goes by in which I dont think about you all. I love you guys so much, more than all of you could imagine. Mom and Dad... my letter I sent you guys still didnt have enough love behind it. You two seriously make me so proud and so grateful. Whenever I think about you guys, which is just about ever 5 minutes, a warm feeling comes to my heart because I can feel your love. Yes even though I am in a whole nother country I can feel your love, ALL OF YOUR GUYS' LOVE. and I hope and pray that you all can feel mine.
D&C 118:3  love you guys.
"Enjoy To The End"

-Elder Cook

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Mij mooi en geveldig familie,
Well what a long week it was. I decided that in my email this week I'm just gonna tell ya'll about what has been going down here in Rotterdam Zuid! Things have been interesting that is for sure. On Saturday we pulled weeds for a family who are members for literally about 4 hours, but they are my favorite ward family and super nice! Also they fed us a '"real Nederland BBQ" and holy cow it was the best BBQ I have ever had! (I'm getting fat guys, no joke.) Also The past week we have been teaching a "J-DUB" (also known as a Jeavoh Witness) and it has been super intense. The first time we knocked on his door he was speaking dutch and spanish so the first time we were with him my companion spoke to him in spanish the whole time....yeah I had no idea what in the world was going on! but anyways turns out that when we went back and visted him again, he pulls out an english bible! WHAT THE HECK he speaks english also??!? Yeah thats right so I took my opportunity to finally talk! It was a pretty cool experience for me to finally actually teach someone and truly say what was on my mind. Nothing came out of it really because he was brainwashed by the J-Dubs, but it definitely was a nice experience for me.
But I actually really wanted to talk about a family from Croatia that we have been visiting. I wrote mom and dad a letter about this family. Its a family of 4, with 2 children who are 8 and 6 years old, and the wife is pregnent. Well anyways, they have nothing. And when I say nothing I mean absolutely nothing. The Dad is a super humble guy and has been trying to find a job here for the past month and just a little heads up.. finding a job here in the Netherlands is about 5xs harder then in Amerika.) We walked into their apartment and they have one plastic fold up table and one mattress on the floor. The kids and wife sleep on the bed while the dad sleeps on the dirty floor. Unfortunately there is only so much we can do as missionaries as far as helping them with food and financial needs. I guess I am telling you guys all this because we really are so blessed by the Lord for all the things we have in our life. It really was a good time for me to reflect and just think about how blessed I have been. Super humbling experience.
Man there are so many experiences I wish I could just tell you all about. A more quick funny story to lighten up the mood and maybe get a laugh from ya'll... So yesterday after church we went and knocked on a lady named "Carena" door and turns out she was locked outside of her apartment.. Well we showed up and there was about 5-8 people sitting outside trying to help her. No one had a key and she lived on the second floor of the apartment. Turns out the balcony door was open though, and I bet you all can guess who decided to climb up the 2 story wall and open up her door... ME! haha so if you guys could just picture me rock climbing up some apartment with my missionary attire on hopefully you all just smile! haha and because I did it she decided to meet with us tonight and learn about the gospel!! wahhhhoooooo! haha
Well yeah fam thats really all. well thats not all, but thats all the time I got! haha I love you guys so much and am thinking about you all a ton. Chloe good luck in your game tomorrow! Dont forget to use my advice that I wrote you! Your gonna kill it I know it! Jake keep on working hard brotha! Cand and Winst have fun in Hawaii, just remember it was shark week..... Carly holy cow I miss my best friend. I love you so much!! Mom and Dad, I actually wrote you both a letter and sent it a couple of days ago.. I hope you got it! I love you guys though and am always praying for you!
Ik heb veel liefda voor jullie!
-Elder Cook

Ps. Sorry for not sending pictures.. this european laptop I am on is mentally retarded and not letting me send pictures~! sorry. As soon as I figure out a way, I will send some!
*Also I forgot to mention that this Wednesday is that day I get to go down to Belgium and see all my friends and hang out with them for the day!! super excited. LOVE YOU ALL!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Fam bam,
Wow. Let me first just start off by saying thank you. Today I was able to have some more time on the computer and I got to read just about all of your emails except for a couple that I printed out for later. THANK YOU! Everyday I wake up and every night I go to bed, I can feel all of your guys love whether it is through prayers or letters that I find myself reading over and over again. So sincerely with all my heart thank you.
Let me first start out by answering all of the questions (SOOO MANY QUESTIONS):
        So my apartment, well its actually pretty nice. Since we "white washed" this area of Rotterdam we actually got a brand new apartment. Its super clean (mainly because my companion is a clean FREAK), it's got hot water which I'm so thankful for, and well it's actually in an extremely ghetto area.. haha I will send you a pic.
        My companion, he is super cool. Little mexican guy from Canada. He actaully learned english in the MTC so his english right now is like my dutch. So yeah I help him with learning english and he tries to help me learn dutch, but honestly his dutch is not very good... haha so mostly I just try to practice speaking dutch with anyone I see on the street and that always ends as a failure, but oh well!
       My bed, it's nice I guess.. haha the first 9 days here I had no sheets so I just slept on the mattress, but we have a air conditioning (nederlanders dont believe in air condition or heaters) so every night I'm just sweating while trying to sleep.
       New Area, yeah so as I have said previously we opened a new area. That means that we have no area book, no investigators, and yeah well nothing. hahah I've been here for 2 weeks now and haven't taught a single lesson... Rotterdam people are STUBBORN. Luckly for me though I feel like I'm getting to know the area better. I'm leading the way on our bikes to and from places while my trainer is following me. Its definitely been hard opening up something new, but its super humbling and it forces me to work hard.
      Church, gosh I really love some of the members we have met in church. We have dinner appointments at least twice a week with members and their families. I did have to bear my testimony (in dutch)  my first week in sacrament which was pretty insane! But yeah the church has about 40-50 "active" members which is good.
      The weather, HOLY COW IT HAS BEEN SO HOT! Seriously every single day it feels like I just jumped out of a swimming pool, except its all sweat! I think the other day it was like the hottest day in Nederland since like 1995 or something so everyone was rolling around the city shirtless or with tank tops on and then you see us with white shirts and slacks just sweating insane amounts of sweat! It makes our apt like 100 degress inside also since there is no air conditioning and plus we live on the top floor!
      MY BIKE, yes I got a bike and his name is BRUCE! No one messes with Bruce that is for sure. He is a tank and freakin awesome. Oh and we bike every single day.
      Food, so my companion (Elder Alfaro) loves to cook. He is like a chief or something and cooks some DANK FOOD! haha going to the grocery store is an experience though... everything is in dutch so I have no idea what things are... haha
      Money, money is good. Just used some to buy my bike and food. Everything is good in that area.
      Transportation, well like I said we ride our bikes everywhere, but sometimes we'll just take the trams or the bus for when we're going to like a dinner appt or something. We also take the Metro to travel from city to city. Pictures will come. Actually on the 14th of August, I'm taking a Metro all the way down to Brussels to finalize my leagalization here in the Nederlands. So I will be spending all day in Belgium on that Wednesday! oh and I'll be able to see all my friends again because we're all going together (my MTC district and stuff) so I'm super stoked for that!
OK so I hope I answered all the questions.. Now into my missionary life.
Well family this week has definitely been a lot better than my first, but still extremely humbling and challenging. This week we have been trying to do a ton of Finding since we havent taught a single lesson... so it was a long week of finding. But I did have some super cool things happen. First thing I'd like to tell you all about is a man named "Rob De Cleen"..  on Thursday we were biking around and we were actaully going underneath the metro so we were in a tunnel (a super sketchy tunnel) and some guy started yelling at me... he started yelling "Zendelingen zendeling! Jij kunt uit Utah Toch?!" that means ''missionary missionary you come out of utah?" So I immediately stopped. Well long story short, him and I talked and he was homeless, but he started talking about how he used to be a member of our church and everything and then how his life changed completely once he left. He got super emotional with me and I invited him to church. Well he didn't come to church, but it just got me thinking how different not only my life would be but all of our lives if we didnt have the gospel. I am so thankful that we have the gospel in our lives that is for sure.
Also I gave my first ever blessing on Saturday and wow it was probably one of the coolest things I've done since being on my mission. WE have a member named Tony in our ward- he has been a convert for 1 year now, he is a super HUGE black dude from Boston so he speaks english and barley any dutch. So I gave him a blessing and he chose me to say it and all.... it was so flippen cool. The spirit was super strong and it had been a while since I have felt the spirit so it was super nice.
Sorry I'm running out of time now. But fam I just wanted to say that I love you guys all so much! Times still are tough but I can feel your love daily. I really wish I had more time, but maybe next week i'll have more time since I won't have as many questions to answer.... haha
But real quick I also want to thank Sister Tracy for her letter she wrote me. "It's people like you who help people like me" Family if there is one thing I have learned the most through out my first week here and the trials that I have faced or am still going through and for the many trials to come is:  "We can not direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails" Family we cannot know what faith is if we have never had it, and we cannot obtain it as long as we deny it. Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time. I know with all my heart that A MAN NEVER STANDS TALLER THAN WHEN HE IS UPON HIS KNEES. I love you all and Enjoy To The End.
-Elder Cook
1 Corinthins 13:11 (Thank you Jake)