Monday, March 31, 2014

Sterker Door Strijd Week 42!

Lieve Familie,

          This last week I am grateful for what I learned in my first area/ first transfer of the mission-  "Sterker Door Strijd". Stronger through struggles has to be one of the lost influential sayings I have learned on my mission and I am grateful that I can now apply it in my missionary work here in Kortrijk. This last week had some definitely struggles, but you know me- I am always trying to be positive and look at the bright side of things. Our work has slowed down a bit here in Kortrijk and has left us with some blank schedules and lots of time to fill in and by "fill in" I mean- knocking doors and contacting. So once again it’s been humbling to be brought back down by the Lord to the basics of missionary work and just trying not to get every door slammed in your face. Of course there is a better way of doing missionary work-knocking doors is always my last option of doing it, but right now that is about just where we are at. Our last option. It’s good and humbling though.

          On the brighter side of things Patrick came to church this week and loved it. He really just fits in with the Kortrijk Branch and the members. He is still on date for 26 of April and we are excited to see if his wife Meme (that is her name) is going to follow. I love teaching him and also his family!  Also this week was a big eye opener for me of just how much trust the members are starting to have with us. This week I was asked to give 3 blessing to members, one being the 1st Counselor in the Stake, for healing and comfort. Talk about more humbling moments. I am very grateful to have opportunities like that to help others feel comfort and the spirit through the power of the Priesthood. So my testimony has grown and also my love for the members here.

          I will be staying here with Elder Argueta in Kortrijk for another transfer- we saw President Robinson at our Zone Training last week and he reminded us very boldly that our assignment we have in Kortrijk is very special and that he specifically chose us to do this. I felt pretty humbled and also that the responsibility got a little more heavier on my shoulders. I am glad to be here in Kortrijk where I can really learn so many things and actually really get to know myself. I love the members here- they really are so powerful and strong and such great examples.

       You guys are always in my prayers and always in my heart. Miss you all like crazy!



-Elder Cook

Pics- Zone Training
       - Me with a man less active named "Geri" that we are also teaching. (He is becoming my Belgium Grandpa) hahha

Monday, March 24, 2014


Lieve Familie,

    This week’s email I want to talk about the "free agency of others" and how annoying and heartbreaking it can be for a missionary. This week my heart was absolutely broken because of it. I have learned something so big on my mission that I know will affect me not only for the rest of my mission, but also throughout the rest of my life and that is- giving out invitations. As people or as missionaries the only possible thing we can ever do to get someone to do something for us or just for themselves is by asking them to do it; and whether they do it or not is totally up to them. That’s where I have learned that:  all the questions that we will ask throughout our lives, with the intention of someone actually having to do something, is not a question but instead it is an invitation. An invitation for them to do something for themselves or for you. For example: I used to always ask mom if she would make me something to eat..ALWAYS. hahah but really that was just an invitation I was giving her because she had the choice to actually do it or not. Therefore she had the choice to deny the invitation or accept it. - Its a good thing she ALWAYS accepted ;) (LOVE YOU). So where I am trying to go with this is here: we gave the "invitation" for Siara and Don to read the Book of Mormon and they had the choice or "free agency" to do whatever they wanted. Don read about 1/3 of it, but Siara wouldn’t even touch it because she loves her bible. Our appointment ended up being a bible bash with them and let me just say- you can't solve anything by "proving to the other person they are wrong" it just doesn’t work.

      So yeah my heart was crushed this week with them and it actually left me in a weird, depressed, and sad mood for the rest of the week which was pretty rough... but its funny how the Lord works because that all turned around yesterday at church when: Drum Roll please... Patrick- the father of the other family were teaching- CAME TO CHURCH! He came alone because he wanted to check it out before his daughter and wife would come and guess what.. He actually enjoyed it! We had the chance to teach the Sunday school class with him there and we gave a solid review on the Restoration of the Church, Joseph Smith, and the Priesthood. So solid that yup... with the spirit being so strong we "Invited" him to be baptized on April 26th and he totally accepted. This guy is awesome and so is his wife and daughter. They are all Belgium and the Lord definitely prepared them. The branch here in Kortrijk definitely needs them and I'm pretty sure they would love to see a baptism since it has been a very very long time since they have even seen an investigator walk into church!  
       Its funny how the Lord works. One day your feeling the lowest of lows and the next day your feeling like your on cloud 9, but I guess that is just included in this missionary roller coaster ride of emotions. FREAK! hahah In other news though I am beginning to have some super strong relationships with the members here, especially with one named Marnix- who is taking us to the gym again today because he knows how much I loved it last week. Everything else is going good- This Sunday we get transfer calls and I'm pretty sure I’ll be staying, but then again you never know... right now I'm known as the "Mission whore" because I have been in just about every zone and can't seem to stay in one place.. hahaha

     Life is good. God is great. And people are crazy. Love you guys and miss you all like crazy and stay LEKKER.

      Elder Cook


    Pics: Here is Marnix and I at the gym last week
             Here is the cow family Pops!

For Shmoe!

Monday, March 17, 2014


Lieve Familie,

              OOOH  MIJN HEMEL! Ik mis jullie heel erg! zozeer!  Jullie zijn zozeer bijzonder voor me en ik voel me heel erg gezegend van onze hemelse vader dat ik jullie hebben in mijn leven. Ik hou echt van ieder van u en ik wil jullie bedanken voor alles dat jullie allemaal doen voor me.  

              Familie this week was so so so hard, but so so so AMAZING! FaNtAsTiScH! Every week is hard- but I do my best to never complain because at the end of every week I just feel so grateful for this special privilege I have to be on a mission. It’s so super, so emotional, so spiritual, and so personal. Gosh I love it! This week we truly did have miracles here in Kortrijk. If I haven’t told you before- Kortrijk literally is the southern most area in our mission. Many missionaries call it the area that is always forgotten by missionaries... haha but that is just because we really don’t see any other missionaries, nor have much contact with any other missionaries besides once a week. So pretty much it’s just you, your comp, the branch, and your heavenly father for an entire week. My comp and I have a good relationship... we are a little different, but he is good to work with because he is on his way to becoming a ¨GEWOON DOEN¨ type of missionary- which I feel is the type of missionary I am. hahah. 
           But this week of miracles.. well it was full of them. I have never felt more close to the spirit in my entire life than this last week. I literally felt like I was an instrument in the hands of the Lord. This week Elder Argueta and I were let into 3 houses in one flippen day!! It was crazzzy. I feel like prayers were answered right in front of my eyes. It gets better though .. the 3 houses that let us in- WERE ALL FAMILIES! JA JA!!! So once again I found myself sitting in front of these Belgium families sharing my testimony about the Restored Gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ that is now on the earth. Talk about being so humbling for me and just soooo intense! ahhhh. hahah it was amazing. All 3 families were totally open and we have returning appointments with each one of them for this week. Miracles really are happening down here in Kortrijk and I feel so blessed to be a witness of them.

        So in other words we are now teaching 5 families and just about every single family has accepted to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it! I would say the best thing we can do now is just keep praying and praying that it will be able to soften each and everyone of their hearts. 

          Unfortunately we weren’t able to meet with Siara and Don this week, but we called and they really want to meet with us this Thursday... so we are pretty excited and also nervous! hahah they seriously are amazing and so smart and ahhhhh!! They really are some special people.

    Family I feel like I could just go on and on about all the many things, but right now is just the time to wait and see what the Lord is going to do with these families. They are all amazing and the Branch here in Kortrijk really needs these people!

   Sorry if I am kind of everywhere with my email this week.. I just have soo many things on my mind and it’s hard to put them down onto paper! hahah

I love you all so much and miss you guys like crazy (it says it all at the top of my email). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true happiness and so is the Book of Mormon- whether it takes some of these families 19 years to figure that out like me or just 6 weeks... it doesn’t really matter because everyone has their own time and their own way.


-Elder Cooooooooooooook

ps: today I will be stepping inside a gym for the first time in just about 9 months... yes my pregnancy is now over so its time get rid of that pregnancy fat! JA JA!!

Monday, March 10, 2014


Lieve Familie,

              Here we are again. Another week gone by full of adventure. It’s crazy how many things you can learn in just one week of your mission. By the end of every week I swear I am just always humbled from the chance TO BE on a mission. Then I get here on the computer and just feel even more blessed reading some of your emails and thinking about you guys. Gosh WE ARE SO BLESSED!!

             Well this week was another week on just basic missionary work for us here in Kortrijk. We had a couple of appointments fall through which was heartbreaking, but also found new investigators and also a new family!!!! HA HA! But before I get to that part... Fam bam Elder Argueta and I had another amazing meeting with Siara. So we have been waiting and praying that Don or Siara would call us or just something to happen.. and it got to the point where we just decided on Tuesday night to go visit them. Well Don was not there, but Siara and some of her children were and they let us right in. We sat down with Siara and began to just talk to her and discuss some things with her. She told us that Don is already half way through the Book Of Mormon... yup. So that was so awesome to hear! Immediately following that we started to work our magic and change the conversation into her reading Book of Mormon and see if she was up to do it. Well she instantly went and grabbed her bible and brought it to the table.. I'm pretty sure she wanted to do the good'ol bible bash thing with us. My comp is a little more into that sort of thing than me... but maybe that is just because I’m not the best with scriptures... haha but there started to be some contention which I wasn’t a fan of. and it got to the point where I just said no more of this bible stuff... it's time to bare some testimony! Fam it truly is amazing how the Lord softens hearts and gives you words to speak. Within5 minutes the atmosphere of the room changed and the spirit began to take over. Tears began to fill my eyes and I just felt so grateful for the love of our Heavenly Father and that he knows exactly what you need to say and when you need to say it. Siara committed to reading the Book of Mormon and giving it a chance. Ever since that appointment is has just been non-stop prayer for me!

  So yea there is my poorly typed out story for you all this week.. haha we plan on going back to Siara's and Don's tomorrow I think!

         Other than that this week was pretty chill and tough. We found another new family we have begun to teach and I am so excited to teach them! Teaching is by far my favorite part of being a missionary. Things with the Branch here are doing good. The members are really starting to show some true love to us and are definitely re-motivated to do some missionary work!

         Yesterday I had the opportunity to give a 15-minute talk in church about how the Book of Mormon will change your life. Definitely a sensitive subject for me since my first time reading the whole thing was while I have been on my mission. BUT Have you ever though about it...A book changing your life? Pretty interesting, but it is so true.  Peeps the Book of Mormon WILL (not can) change your life if you take time to read it, ponder it, and pray about it. For me it just took 19 years to realize it. If you haven’t read it or don’t have a very strong testimony about it like I used to have... Go read it! Do your own part so the Lord can give you all the many blessings he has in store for you and find out for yourself by praying about it. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE- it has definitely changed mine.
      I love you all and miss you all like crazy! You guys are always in my heart and prayers.  Be safe this week and do something fun like yelling at the top of your lungs for no reason- it’s a good stress reliever. LOVE YOU ALL and party like it’s hot! LEKKER!

-Elder Cook
pics- the WIENER circus is in town....
biking in Belgium..

Monday, March 3, 2014

Parlez-vous français? Week 38!

Lieve Familie,

              Here we are again..; Zijn jullie klaar for another one of Elder Cook's FANTASTISCH weekly emails.... hurrrrr we go.
             This week actually had a huge highlight. A highlight that definitely makes the ¨top ten moments¨ list for my mission. For the first time in my mission I found myself sitting in front of a huge Belgium Family with 4 beautiful children teaching the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ and about families being together forever. Talk about a humbling and an unforgettable moment for me as a missionary. This family is the family of Siarah. Her husband's name is Don. PEEPS (whoever reads this thing) please pray for these two. I mean talk about KINGDOM BUILDERS! holy flip. The appointment went super well, as we shared the restoration they were just all ears- asking the perfect questions and everything. As we got further and further with the lesson, the spirit began to be super super strong. IT WAS SOOOO COOL and ahhhhh I just love bearing my testimony! (especially in my girly Vlaams).  Unfortunately though, the appointment also left me with a slight broken heart because Siarah is so awesome and is so in need of the truth, but she won't take the chance to read the Book of Mormon. At least not yet. (She loooooovves her bible let me tell ya...) but her husband was totally open also, which was super surprising because usually here in Belgie en Nederland the Man of the house never accepts.. but he totally did and said that he is definitely going to try reading it. The appointment was overall good and we know that they cannot doubt that they felt the spirit during the lesson. So we are just praying for them and actually, I'm not gonna lie... I’ve never found myself praying so hard for two people I barely even know.
           Other than that: Elder Argueta and I have just been working our butts off. Seriously I don’t think I have ever worked this hard on my mission- every night I find myself so tired and exhausted. It’s been  a lot of hard work and tough to try to change this place around here but with the help from the man upstairs I think it can be done.  I mean this up coming week we have made 7 appointments with all new investigators (one being with another family that we found), which has gotten the Ward's attention here in Kortrijk. The ward here hasn't had any real investigators in a very long time and earlier the missionaries were only averaging teaching 1 or 2 appointments a week here in Kortrijk I think- so I think we're on the right track to get this place back on its feet again and I am just so grateful that I get to be a part of it and watch the Lord work his miracles. 

          What else to say.... nothing else really I think. OOH Bruce has suffered some injuries and he has now been put on the sidelines in injury reserve. I have now adopted an old bike from another missionary so that has been pretty chill.. but yeah Bruce needs some help.

   BUT YEAH.... A mission is definitely not easy and is sometimes not very fun, but I FREAKIN LOVE IT and oh my gosh it is just awesome. We just have to Enjoy to the End in everything that we do and realize how blessed we really are in our lives. One thing that I am so thankful for is the way I was raised! seriously though. haha so thank you Momma and Dadda:) but Fam I am thankful for each and every one of you guys. Gosh I miss you guys and love the crap out of you all! Don’t forget about me and know that you guys are always in my prayers. Have a good week and party like its hot.


-Elder Coooook

pics: chill soccer p-day and the other is my comp.. He fell asleep while praying - WHAT A LOSER!