Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nieuw en Oud!


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


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.
-Your son, brother, friend,
         ELDER COOK

Monday, December 16, 2013


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.    


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


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


 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!