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)

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