Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Life is just good.... WEEK 72!

Lieve Familie,

Well I'm speechless. After reading all the emails I received and responding to just about every single one, I am left speechless and thoughtless just because life is so good. Life is so good because I feel so much love. Feeling loved and cared for... It doesn’t get much better then that. However at the same time I am secretly freaking out and going crazy because #1- Utah football won!!!! LEKKER! #2-wedding plans?!?! and #3- time is just going so fast and so many things are changing.  But that is what is so great about life I believe. We all have so many moments where things are just tooo busy or there is tooo much stress and change, making you go a little crazy or giving you a headache (I have that often as a missionary I feel like). But then if you really just take a moment, pause to look around you; look at all the people who love you and care about you or to be there for someone else who is in need- At that moment (for me at least), that is when the feeling of love and comfort comes to me and brings exceedingly joy and happiness. Then I simply can’t help but to SMILE. Life is good peeps.

     Anyways many of you have asked about my companion and area because I seem to not talk that much about it in my emails... whoops! Things with my companion are good. He is just giant and loves his bacon! haha but we get along great and learn a lot from one another. The best news is.. We will both be staying and doing another transfer together! Lekker! In Eindhoven we have a house (same one as last year) so we live there with 4 missionaries. Elder Rudolph and I never use our bikes because we have a car and also we are using it for traveling everyday to another city to go on exchanges or to trainings. I am still doing my push ups:) at least 100 everyday! Life is good.

   As far as our week went..we had a great week. Super busy, but saw lots of miracles and I was able to share my testimony a lot. I also did something pretty cool, which I believe not so many missionaries can say.... I drove across the whole country of Nederland in one day (from the boarder of Germany to the coast of Vlissingen)! But yeah.. Going on exchanges everyday and only sleeping in your own bed once a week definitely beats you up and leaving me just exhausted. When the weekend came around I was grateful to just take time and work here in our own city for once. I am truly amazed by the energy and strength I physically and spiritually receive to just keep working. It blows my mind and I LOVE IT! 

   Family I don’t really have much more to say. Like I said earlier I am just speechless because of the love, support, comfort, etc. that I receive from you all and also from Heavenly Father. Many missionaries, including myself, say or have said, ''I came on my mission to repay Heavenly Father for everything He has given me. 2 years is the least I can give to him.'' Nowww don’t get me wrong that is a great reason to come and great to say, but just know that you and I will never be able to re-pay him. Just when you think you have already been blessed with a snickers bar, Heavenly Father just seems to give you another one without even asking.  He truly is amazing and loving. I love him and I love you guys. Enjoy the snickers bars that He gives to us because as long as we are doing the right thing He is just going to give you another one! Life is good and Enjoy to the End!!

Miss you all and Love you even more! 

    Big Dude

Monday, October 20, 2014

``Is not this real?´´ WEEK 71!

Lieve Familie,

               Family I miss you and love you so much. Truly I thank you all for the constant love and support I have received during my mission. You guys mean so much to me and words do not describe the relentless love that I have for each one of you. 

       This week has been pretty exciting for the Cook family it sounds like? Announcement of a new baby coming, an engagement, Utah football just keeps winning, etc. Exciting news!  Know that I am so very happy for you. Happy because you are all happy; besides feeling the spirit nothing, brings me more happiness than knowing\seeing you all happy. Knowing that our Family is forever brings me eternal joy. 
       With all this exciting news I could not help but to think and ponder upon the many blessing our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us and just how much He truly loves his children. My week was great and I am just speechless because Heavenly Father has answered so many of my prayers. 

         This last week I was able to attend the Temple and what a special moment that was for me. I learned something very important and received many confirmations of the Divinity of Christ, His Gospel, and the love that Heavenly Father has for us. I am so convinced and I have never been happier in my life!
         I love the way Alma explains the concept of faith and how faith it is not having a perfect knowledge, but   ''if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.'' (Alma 32:21) 

     The Gospel of Jesus Christ is something we cannot see, it is not tangible. We can only see the  ``fruits´´ or the change of attitude and life that it brings. However you can see this change and you notice that the change is good or that the ``seed is good´´ and after you have noticed this change Alma goes on to say:

 ``  And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing (the change), and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.´´  (verse 34)

  You notice the change and therefore you know that it is true. It doesn’t mean that you have a perfect knowledge of the Gospel or of the scriptures, but you DO have a perfect knowledge of the Goodness of the Gospel and the change and joy that it has brought into your life. Then I love how Alma says in verse 35:

 `` O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good;..´´

``O then, is not this real?´´  Family it is real. It so real because it has brought discernment, it has brought light, and most of all it has brought pure joy. Discernment, Light, and pure joy.. are these not good things?? I think so. Therefore I know the realness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now it is my responsibility to Enjoy to the End and do my best to live it. 

         I invite you all to read this chapter found in the book of Mormon and begin with verse 17. 

         Anyways, Family, know that I love you guys like crazy and that you are always in my heart. I am very happy and excited for you. You all bring me so much Joy and so much Love. We are all changing, but let all of our changes and the exciting news bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. It is so important to strengthen and nourish your ``seed´´ (testimony) daily. Love you all and God bless! 

     Big Dude

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. WEEK 70!!

Lieve Familie,

      Goeie morgen! wat een voorrecht en zegen het is voor me om jullie te mogen schrijven en wat bijzonder het is om mailtjes van jullie te mogen ontvangen en te mogen lezen. Ik hou veel van jullie en mis jullie heel erg. Ik heb nou nog 7 maanden of zo, denk ik,  tot dat ik terug ben (ik ben helemaal niet aan het aftellen zoals jullie zijn aan het doen) maar toch, tijd vliegt en voor dat we allemaal kunnen beseffen, ben ik terug. SOOOO we moeten allemaal  ``ENJOY TO END!´´ #lekkerzwetenALLESvergeten 

     Family I love my mission. This last week I just felt exhausted and beat, but it is a great feeling to have because that is when you know you have been giving all your time and energy into working for a great cause. Everyday I was working in a different city with a different Elder and if I wasn’t doing that then it was to the planning boards to plan for the upcoming Temple Conference.  (Next week I’m going to the Temple!!!)  It truly is a life of service that I am learning to love.

     This week I learned some valuable lessons of just how important attitude is and how important it is to show love for one another-  be charitable. 

Because we work so much with other missionaries and in other cities we sacrifice precious time in our own city with our own investigators. I kept on thinking to myself, ''why are all these people coming to me and asking me for help with personal problems when I have so many problems/weaknesses myself?!'' It has been a humbling experience. I have definitely had to work on my attitude of staying more positive and being there for others who are in need.  

      It is a privilege to help another and to be a blessing for someone. In missionary work we talk a lot about planting seeds; especially here in Europe because most of the success we see (such as a baptism) comes from a seed that was planted years ago. I have now turned this ''planting seeds'' theory into a life motto. Planting seeds of charity, of love, of simple acts of kindness, etc. We could all plant so many seeds of love and charity with the people around us. I mean they say ''a smile could change someone’s day'' and it is so true. The example that we set or the impression that we leave with people really can change a life.
 I echo the words found in Alma 37:6 ''Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass;..''   
There have been so many miracles brought to pass during my mission simply because of the little things that have been done. Family and Friends I hope we all are doing our best to show little acts of kindness, charity, and love with the people all around us and with each other. It is through these small things that we may all feel more love for one another, have more unity with one another, and most importantly we will be able to feel the pure love of Christ and be charitable with one another. 

  I am so grateful for all the love and support I feel and receive from you. I love you with all my heart. Family is everything to me and I am so grateful that The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives us the opportunity and the greatest blessing to be together forever. I am a true and firm believer of the divinity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the happiness it brings. It has brought change and light into my life. 

Love you guys. You are ALWAYS in my prayers. 


    Big Dude

Monday, October 6, 2014

Work hard Play hard. WEEK 69!

Lieve Familie,

     I love you guys and miss you all very much.

    It has been a humbling week. A week full of gratitude, love, stress, testifying, spiritual nourishment, struggle, and just pure joy. Of course there were many other emotions felt during the week, but I think that is a good summary of how I felt.

     The stress this week simply came because of the busy schedule, preparations, and trainings that we were able to give.
     Spiritual nourishment came from teaching and testifying of the Divinity of Christ and the reality of Him. Also came from General Conference; what a privilege it is to listen to the Prophets of God and receive inspired council from them.
     The struggle came because that is just apart of life; your attitude is the only thing you have control of in this life.
      I feel and have felt gratitude daily as I pray and think just about how blessed I am. ``And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell? ´´ (Alma 26:2) I invite you all to take the advice from Ammon and ask yourself what great blessing have I received in my life. It brings you the joy, love, and comfort that I have recently felt to know that someone (Heavenly Father) cares about you.

    I don’t really have much to say this week just because the leaders of the church said it all this last weekend. Uchtdorf always kills it. Henrying also. I definitely have no favorite because they were all amazing. I was truly uplifted and inspired, not only from their words they delivered to us, but the way they brought it. There is a reason why they always give the best advice. I just know that the leaders of the church truly are all called by God and knowing that brings such comfort to me.

   One thing that I have learned on my mission and it was just confirmed to me again during Conference is this; However hard it may be we cannot lower the standards of God or ourselves just because the world expects us to do so. I hope we can all learn that lesson also. 

This last weekend has just kind of left me speechless because I have never believed so strongly in my life before. Everything is just becoming so real and I cannot deny it. Prayer is real. God is real. The Gospel is real. Eternal families are real. Christ is real. Reality brings clarity peeps. 

 Love you all and I keep you all in my prayers. Have a great week and ENJOY to the End!

      Big Dude

Fwee at general conference!!!