Monday, July 28, 2014

Being better WEEK 59!

Lieve Familie,

                   This week had its ups and its downs. You have so many moments as a missionary where life is just going so good and you feel like you’re on the top of the world and then... yeah you have those moments where you just find yourself feeling like the dust of the world. It truly is humbling and a chance to learn so much about who you really are. So this last week was definitely a learning week for Elder Cook and also a week full of those top of the world moments and moments of feeling like the dust of the world, but we always do our best to stay positive and grateful. 

                   Saturday we baptized! It truly was a great and humbling baptism to be apart of. Frances is definitely someone that needed to feel the love, comfort, and most importantly the HOPE that comes from making promises with God. The spirit was definitely there during the baptism. The member who baptized Frances, his name is Melvin Hoepel, just so happens to have some crazy connection with me...  Years ago Melvin was actually taught and baptized by Chris Grant in Suriname.  Melvin is now living in Nederland and well... he just baptized one of our investigators. Small world right??  Crazy!! But yeah everything went very smoothly at the Baptism and I was very pleased to see the Branch here to help out a ton and support Frances. The following day at Church I had the chance to confirm her as a member of the church and also to give her the Gift of the Holy Ghost during sacrament meeting. It truly was a special moment and I am just so grateful that I had the privilege to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Saturday and Sunday were definitely great days!

                  The rest of the week was good. We had lots of exchanges with other elders and also zone training. So that kept us very busy through out the week. The members here are super cool and we find ourselves many times throughout the week in Germany spending time with them. (Most of our members live in Germany).  There is still more work to do here in Emmen and I am grateful that I get to be here and serve others. 

                  Peeps I really don’t have much to say this week, but I just want you all to know that I am thankful for each and every one of you. Being here on my mission has taught me A LOT, more than I could have ever imaged. I miss you all a ton! I know that I am where I'm supposed to be and that Heavenly Father truly does have a plan. His plan doesn’t always make sense to us or a lot of the time we just don’t understand things, but I really just have faith and trust in him that He knows what He is doing. I just have to make sure that everyday I am becoming better than the person that I was yesterday.  

I am sorry if this email is not the best and doesn’t have a lot of details, but just know that I am doing fine and doing my best to truly Enjoy to the End. I love you all so so so so much! Have a great week and be safe. Make good choices and be better than you were yesterday. 

    Big Dude

Monday, July 21, 2014

Find the Joy Week 58!

Lieve Familie,

           Well Family and peeps.. This upcoming week Elder England and I will be baptizing on Saturday. Frances has been making so much progress lately and I am truly grateful that I was able to help her on her journey of receiving happiness that isn't bought with money, but happiness that comes from my Friend, Jesus Christ. Our appointments with her have been very emotional and I just feel so privileged to be able to testify of the pure love of Christ. It has been humbling and it is always nice to see the fruits of your labor. So I am looking forward to that on Saturday. 

           As for the rest of the work, it’s coming along extremely well. I enjoy doing this hard labor of love and I am really just finding joy no matter how hard it really gets. The weather has been deadly! So hot that I find myself taking a shower every single day of sweat while riding my bike! "LEKKER ZWETEN ALLES VERGETEN"!!!!  Next week we have got an awesome week planned out of appointments with many new investigators and I have come to the conclusion that it’s just time that we turn this Emmen area around. So this up coming week should be good:) 

         Week 3 is down and gone here in Emmen. Crazy how fast time is flying and crazy how it just never stops or goes faster and that you cant go back-  no matter how hard you try. Time is so irrelevant and so out of our control. That’s why we need to always ENJOY and FIND JOY in our journeys. Laugh about the small things and smile constantly; Make good choices and just choose the right. So simple isn’t it! But yet, so hard sometimes. Soooo sooo hard sometimes. I have learned something very important on my mission and that is your free agency. For me, my free agency goes like this- You have the choice everyday, every second, every moment; no matter what the circumstance or situation is between good or better. The choice truly is yours.. Good or better. With regards to your attitude, actions, deeds, words, etc. You have the choice between good or better. I hope that I can always be strong and the courage is enough to choose the ''Better" for the rest of my life. Just always striving to be better than who I was yesterday and be filled with love. I have said it before, but love truly is soo powerful and I am grateful for the feeling of love. I know that that truly is a gift (light of Christ) given to each one of us from God and it gives me enough of a confirmation to know that God truly exists. 

                  I love you all with a relentless love and pray for you all with my whole heart. You guys mean the world to me. Do your best to not forget about me!!! Have a great and safe week. Make good choices and find JOY! ENJOY TO THE END and go make somebody’s day:) LOVE YOU!!

                     Big Dude

               With regards to the crazy plane crash that happened here with the Nederlanders... just remember that…

       "He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation." (2 Nephi 26:24) and.........  ""And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. " (Moroni 7:41)  He loveth the world and we should all hope for eternal life. 

Monday, July 14, 2014


Lieve Familie,

          Yes the World Cup has now come to an end. It was super fun to be here in Nederland during it and also spending half of it in Belgium. Last Wednesday President Robinson gave all the missionaries permission to stay up and watch the Netherlanders play against Argentina and let me just tell you, that was awesome to just spend the night staying up late with members watching the game (check out the pics attached). Unfortunately they lost though. Penalties are definitely not the way to go out.... (Been there done that). In Nederland’s we would say HELAAS PINDAKAAS for Nederland! I still think that Amerika should have been there... 

           Anyways the missionary work is going good. We have been able to pick it up here a little bit. Last week we had a great appointment with Francis who is still on her date for baptism (26th of July) and we're also able to extend another baptismal date for the 16th of August with a new investigator that we found named TĂș. It was great! However there is still lots of more work to do and lots of lives to change. Just got to "keep on swimming" and make sure to always be engaged in a good cause. 

            You know this last week as I watched Nederland play and lose in penalties I thought to myself. Man life just isn’t fair sometimes. And I haven’t come to any conclusions, but I believe that it is true- that sometimes life just isn’t fair. We have so many things that happen in our life that are unexpected or things that are taken away from us. So many emotions and so many choices to make. Just so many things to deal with. Now I have been thinking about it and ya life definitely isn’t fair, but that is because it is not supposed to be. We experience all these emotions/ incidents throughout our lives so that we can learn and grow. I am grateful that we aren’t on this earth forever. I am grateful that we get to go through this learning process and discover who we really are. I am grateful that life isn’t fair and that we sometimes just have to climb over some mountains. I heard this quote here on my mission: "The blessings are behind the Mountains, first we just need to climb the mountains". We just got to keep going and climb. Trials are just blessings in disguise. We just have to make good use of our free agency and stay positive and realize that "alles komt goed".

The mish is great peeps. It is the best learning experience available. I love it and I love you guys. Love you all with my heart and soul! God is real. 

      Big Dude 

Monday, July 7, 2014

lets go... HUP HOLLAND HUP!! WEEK 56!

Lieve Familie,

            So family what to say...
                        The world cup is going OFF here in Nederland!! It really is crazy with decorations and excitement here in Nederland. It has been sooooo awesome to be here and to experience it! HUP HOLLAND HUP!!!! (pics attached) It definitely has been putting a damper on the missionary work though, but super fun to talk about it and watch games with members! 

                       This week was actually pretty good. Can’t really complain. It had its hard and long days of knocking several hundreds of doors and receiving lots of rejection.. Aka: not finding anyone with interest; it had also the brief exciting teaching moments of bearing strong testimony and watching people slowly and surely come to Christ. The whole roller coaster ride of emotions thing here on the mission is very humbling and also difficult, but I find myself just so grateful to have this privilege of being on a mission and having this time to truly grow each and everyday as I go through all types of emotions. It truly is humbling and I am very grateful.

                       The members here are great! I definitely miss Kortrijk A LOT, but there are some great members here and I am excited to get to know them better. Being with Cowboy (my companion) has been a great experience. Shortly I am going to teach him "how to walk the dog"... hahah but he is a stud. The work here is going kind of slow but it should start to pick back up soon. Last week we set a baptismal date with a new investigator named Francis and she even came to church on Sunday, which was super awesome. My weekly presentations that I give to the other missionaries are all about becoming BOLD missionaries and I am just loving that because being bold (with love) is the best part in missionary work. Other than that... I am safe, healthy, still swimming (just keep swimming), and always smiling :) JA JA! 

          Peeps these were the first quotes that were given to me on my mission (my first day in the Zoo (MTC) to be exact) and although I thought that they were the worst quotes anyone could possibly give to us at that time, they have had some serious impact on me during my mission.

          Never Give Up. Enjoy to the End. Gewoon Doen. Alles komt goed. Lekker. etc...  These simple phrases, that actually sound like they came from a child, have seriously impacted me so much during my mission. We should never give up on all the good things in our life, always enjoy (not endure) things in our lives, Sometimes just DO and not ask why, always hope that everything will be okay, and well.. we should all strive to do our best to just say the word LEKKER and to just be lekker. :)   I've been doing this whole mission thing for some time now and it hasn’t always been so positive or so happy or so lovely that I have enjoyed every single moment. It’s been new, difficult, tiring, stressful, just CRAZY, etc.. but I know what I am doing. I am performing a Labor Of Love that is far greater than you and I. This Labor Of Love has brought me so much happiness. This Labor Of Love has brought me so much peace and harmony in my life. Doing Labor isn't easy, but doing it with Love makes it all that much easier. I hope we all find Love in our daily Labor because I know that Love is the most powerful influence in our lives. I know that the feeling of Love comes from God and not from anywhere else. He truly is our Loving Heavenly Father.  Find Love in your Labor. 
I plan on finishing this race that I started. 

                    Love you all. SO. SO. SO. SO. SO. MUCH.
        Be safe this week! make good choices. 

                  Big Dude

PS... Maybe you guys can’t remember but do you remember Ethyln- investigator from Den Haag??... yea she was baptized yesterday! WAAAHHHOOO