Monday, June 30, 2014


Lieve Familie,

               I can’t even put it into words of just how hard it was to leave the beloved and Holy city of Kortrijk. Saying goodbye to that place was like re-living saying goodbye to you all on the curb at the Zoo (the MTC).  It was rough.  Elder Argueta and I said our goodbyes at the train station in Antwerpen, He will be staying in Kortrijk, and after that I began my long journey from Kortrijk, Belgie to Emmen, Nederland. I am now serving with Elder England and he is a pretty chill guy. Quiet, but chill and a good worker. He is from Wyoming so I instantly gave him the nickname Cowboy.  As far as the work goes here... It’s back to the basics again here in Emmen. Starting once again from the bottom with nothing really.  It should be fun. Definitely an adventure that I have found myself traveling upon several times throughout my mission. I am not going to lie; the first couple of days/week has been pretty rough. It’s been pretty lonely. Things are just once again all new, but I'm sure that things will get better.  I constantly find myself reflecting upon the love that I have for the relationships I have developed with people/members here on my mission and it brings me great joy and happiness. The Lord is very mysterious in the ways that he works so as of right now I am just doing my best to stay positive and not think to much about Kortrijk or the other things that are distracting.

             Anyways it’s good to be back in Nederland. I've definitely had to adjust back into speaking and understanding the pure Dutch language and attitude here. I am no longer speaking the girly Flemish that I secretly love and am now being brought back into remembrance of that great Dutch attitude that is very bold and straight to the point. It’s been humbling. However the soccer life is HUGE here! People were going crazy last night when Nederland won. As missionaries we are actually not allowed to do any missionary work if Nederland is playing. So in other words... we got to watch the game with some members! It was awesome and lets just say... HUP HOLLAND HUP!!!!  It really is just a huge party here! 

             Fam and Friends, I have learned many things throughout my mission and I am not going to lie- it has been extremely humbling. Humility is so important in our lives. Maybe I deserved it and still do deserve it, but the Lord has really been humbling me throughout my mission. I find myself constantly on my knees pleading for help and support because without it I truly do feel like I am nothing. As I write this, another one of my favorite scriptures comes to my mind..

  "Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard....
 ...I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
  ...My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
 ...He hath filled me with his love, ...
 ... He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
 ...Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
  And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me." 2 Nephi 4:16-24
                   I cannot deny that my testimony has grown, but even with this growth it hasn't made things easier or less difficult. It hasn't made everything just ''a walk in the park'' but it has brought me joy in this journey and an enjoyment of just believing that I truly do have someone who is aware of me and that I truly am not alone. I will always strive to do my best to continue putting my trust in the Lord and realize that He truly does support me, so as long as I stay faithful and love him with unconditional love.
                 Life is good. Nederland soccer is good. Belgium chocolate is good. Free Agency is good. Music is good. God is good. Love is good. The weather is not so good. Being LEKKER is good. So on and so forth...
 I love you guys. I love you with all my heart. Please be safe this week. 
 Big Dude

New companion Elder England!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tot Ziens Kortrijk WEEK 54!

Lieve Familie,

                  I guess I will start with the transfer news.. I will be leaving Kortrijk on Wednesday and heading back up to Nederland (Northern Nederland). I will be saying goodbye to good'ol Belgium and the beautiful Flemish language/ dialect- and saying hello again to the Dutch culture and the Dutch language. The city I will be serving in is called Emmen and yes I am very excited, but at the same time my heart is crushed. Last night was extremely hard for me to receive the news and spent a lot of time on my knees.  Kortrijk has a VERY SPECIAL place in my heart and it’s hard to leave Holy and Sacred ground. Today and tomorrow I will be saying my goodbyes to the members and I will do my best to stay strong. I truly do hate goodbyes.

               Well family since my time is up here in Kortrijk I would just like to share a story with you all over one of the biggest reasons (I truly believe there are many reasons) why I got called to serve in Kortrijk. First off the biggest reason was because this is what I needed to finally learn for myself what it means to have a testimony. I know now that I have a true and strong testimony of the Gospel because I cannot deny how real it has become to me. How real Heavenly Father truly is. It blows my mind and I am so grateful for this. But what I would like to share is actually how I have felt that I have been an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I have wrote a lot about Giselinda and James (the family with 7 children that we are teaching) in my emails, but never really gave you guys the story of them. Well here ya go.. Elder Cook is going to try to do his best.
         " -It was the second or third day that Elder Argueta and I were in Kortrijk and we found a couple names in our area book to go look up. We both had no idea about this area and the surroundings of it (the little cities, parks, neighborhoods, etc) So we just left the apartment one day on our bikes with the street name typed into our little map to start these look ups. After a long time of biking and getting lost we found that right street, or at least we thought. We knocked on the house and no one was home. So we decided to just knock the rest of the street and see if anyone knew this person or had some interest. After knocking a couple of doors, we came across Giselinde and she gave us the typical "I don’t have time right now, but come back another time". We both thought okay there is a potential but not so strong. Well we back a couple of days later and no one was home, but we always left a card behind. We did this 3 or so times and finally we came to the conclusion.. Okay this is our last time and then we aren’t going to look this "potential" up anymore. Well we knocked.. Giselinda opened and let us right in. My response to her saying "come inside" was.. "Wait really?". She let us in and that was the first time that we met James. "

          Family I wish I could continue this story but I just cant because I don’t have enough time and it truly is a story that you need to just hear all the details of it. However I will let you all know that the person we first went to go look up on that second or third day of being here in Kortrijk actually lived in a different city. About 45 minutes away with the bike. Many Streets here have the same name but they are distinguished by the city that it is in. Just like in Utah with: SLC, Sandy, Weber, etc. We had no idea of that until later on. So in other words there is no coincidence that we found them. It truly is amazing and one of these days I will have to give you all the full story. 
          But I do want you all to know that yesterday we had our appointment with them (my last one) and I have never born testimony so strong in my whole life. I am just so amazed even at myself of just how convinced I am that Heavenly Father truly is there and how real the Gospel Of Jesus Christ is. I am still the same old Jason who loves to party like is hot and do all that stuff, but I also truly do feel a change inside of my heart.

         My testimony has grown. I am grateful for this sacred ground that I have in Kortrijk and the many things I have learned here. It is such a privilege to know how real prayer is and how real it can be for everyone; as long as you truly do search and pray with meekness and humbleness. As I think about Kortrijk one of my favorite scriptures comes to my mind -  
 "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12) 

I love this place and I love my mission. You all are in my heart and prayers. I love you guys.

Be Safe and make good decisions:)
-Big Dude

Enjoy To The End

Ps: here is my new address:
Landschaplaan 194
7824 BV Emmen

Here are all my pants i have ripped since being here in Kortrijk due to all the biking... 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Hardest Thing. WEEK 53!

Lieve Familie en naasten,

                  This week I really want to take some time and just let you all know through email, of the love that I have for Heavenly Father.

             On the street, going along on the doors, pretty much anytime interacting with others who may not have the same beliefs as us; the question, that I think, that is most commonly asked by missionaries (missionaries in our mission) is "Do you believe in God?". Well family and peeps I would like to rephrase the question; personally for me I don’t really like using the word "God" to address the man upstairs, instead I use Heavenly Father. And I just want everyone to know that I truly do believe in Heavenly Father and because I truly believe this, I am convinced that I am a child of him. I firmly believe that I am a child of God. Now you tell me.. Isn't that just so amazing to think about?! And so JOYFUL! A loving Heavenly Father to watch over us and a loving Heavenly Father who knows you and listens to you if you search with a sincere heart to find Him. I am so grateful to believe "that I am a child of God and that He has sent me here" (sound familiar?) because through this little belief it has lead me to so much happiness and growth in prayer.

              Family I wanted to just share that with you because things here in Belgium and Europe and actually all through out the world are getting crazy. Mom I want to thank you for the quote this week of:
            "If material things are what you're talking about when you say that "I'm blessed" you have no idea what a blessing is."  
                This past week the World Cup began and let me just tell you it is getting crazy here! Last week we spent a day up in Nederland for meetings and it just so happened to be the same day that they were playing Spain and everyone was just so crazy and excited for it. Here in Belgium also! The Flags are everywhere, big huge screen TVs in the streets, and everyone talking about it. With all this going on it’s easy to forget what real blessings are. At this time, I am just saying..."GREAT.. Summer is just beginning, the world cup as now begun, my family is most likely in Lake Powell and here I am.. Walking the streets of Europe just trying to do my best to bring happiness to other peoples lives". Now... you tell me whatcha thinkin?? Hahah I love the summer, I am obsessed with soccer (especially the world cup!) and Lake Powell is just the best place in the world.. And here I am. In Kortrijk, Belgium doing my best to sacrifice my own desires for my Father in Heaven. Lets just say that I really am learning a lot right now about sacrifices and staying focused on real blessings such as eternal families and forgiveness instead of "material things" such as soccer and Lake Powell. Its definitely not easy, but I am extremely grateful for this privilege I have to learn and grow. I love the mission.

             As far as the work goes here. It’s Ok.. We had a slow week as far as teaching goes, but we did a ton of finding and now looking ahead to this week of teaching. I love teaching the plan of happiness. This week could be the last week for Elder Argueta and I here in Kortrijk as next Sunday we will hear news about transfers SO we will be working extremely hard and diligent to build up this holy kingdom in Kortrijk. We love it here.

               Family I love you guys and I really hope you all are making good decisions and doing your best to always party like it’s hot. Stay lekker and don’t forget to pray. It's so so important.

   Always remember what the real blessings are in life and even though the material things can bring us a lot of excitement and joy, let us all not forget that we have a Father in Heaven.
Have a great week:)
  I love you all.

               Big Dude

Monday, June 9, 2014

Geen tijd, geen stress WEEK 52!

Lieve familie, 
           Well right now I am sitting in the house of the Leman family and let me just say... "Ik voel me een beetje thuis" hahaha I love this family and they are so amazing and caring for the missionaries. They are also true examples of Christ-like love. I am very grateful for them and very grateful for the privilege I have to be here on my mission. 

             I am going to keep this email a little short because the kids here want to play and I'm not gonna lie... So do I! Hahah so sorry!  About this last week-  Well it was just a great week! Seriously just soooo chill and super enjoyable, filled with awesome missionary work and just peace! I really cannot complain. Don't get me wrong; it hasn’t been a walk in the park. Life is simply just too short to not have a smile on your face. 
            So this week we met with Giselinde and James (the family with 7 kids) - it was awesome!!! We are now planning on going there every week to teach them. The Father is always busy traveling to other countries due to his work and business, but he decided to make time for us every Thursday because he is truly on a search. Peeps this Guy made time for the gospel... So I hope we can all learn like I have.. THERE IS ALWAYS TIME and if your "too busy" Well MAKE TIME:) time is short and we should always make time for the people we love. (By the Way.... I love you guys).  So that was awesome! 
          There was also a lot of other cool and amazing things that have happened especially with new investigators we’re teaching but yea... I just don't have much time to tell or "zin".. Geen tijd geen stress. 

     Fam.- I love you guys and I know that you all love me- I feel your love everyday. You guys are amazing and Lets all do our best to MAKE time for one another and for those that need a little more love and happiness in their life. Even a smile changes someone’s day. The gospel is the plan of happiness. 

Love you all. Be safe. Have fun this week. HAGS. Party like it’s hot and ENJOY TO THE END! 

        Big dude

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

COOL. Week 51!

Lieve Familie,

                    I don’t know if I have ever told you guys this but I really do just love you guys. I hope that you all haven't got too used to the life without me because before you know it, I am gonna be back kickin all your necks off so just prepare for that:) Cool! Oh and by the way... I MISS YOU ALL ALSO!!

                  So I actually don’t even know where to begin this email- I feel kind of out of it today because we just spent the whole day in Antwerpen to play soccer as a Zone and lets just say.. Wow I really got to pick back up my soccer skills; it’s been toooo longggg! But yeah lets see, life here in Kortrijk and the life of Elder Cook... this last week was a good and humbling week. It started off awesome as we taught this businessman (yes dad I am teaching one) and his wife. They have 7 children and lets just say it is no coincidence that we found them and have been teaching them. The Father - James is so sincere and just so awesome to teach. He even takes notes sometimes. But we had an awesome lesson with him and I am so curious to see how everything will unfold. Keep him and his wife- Gisselinde in your prayers please:) We also had an awesome appointment with our kick boxer Steven and he went to church this last Sunday. He is a stud, but I think this is a journey for him to figure out and as much as I’d love to see him get baptized, I think it is going to take some more time- but that’s okay because everyone has their own time and everyone still has time.
                 We are also working with that Russian Family and this Sunday one of the 3 daughters came to church! It was her first time back to church in a very long time and she even gave her testimony during the service! It was also awesome to be able to teach her during church. We did actually quite a lot of work with the actives and less actives this last week.
                  I really am not the best at this typing thing to explain experiences or tell stories, but each person we are working with and also the members here in Kortrijk are simply amazing and this time here in Kortrijk is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. It pretty much has been a "You had to be there" experience. Hahah

                Family I love you guys. This past week I have been thinking a lot about just how blessed I have been in my life. Blessed with a beautiful family, blessed with the gospel, blessed with good circumstances during my life, blessed with Finding Nemo, etc. There are so many blessing we ALL have received in our life and so many that we see My testimony has grown that we really do all have a Father in Heaven that loves us and we are ALL, each one of us, His children. "...For all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God." (D&C 101:16) He loves us and gosh do I love you guys!

                  Have a great week and know that I will be praying for you all.. (Even you Bella)! Love you guysss. BE SAFE, make wise decisions, party like its hot, and..... ENJOY TO THE END!

        Big Dude