Monday, April 27, 2015

Accepting... WEEK 98!


Lieve Familie,

          What a week it has beeen! An exhausting week if I may just add.  My motto so far in my last transfer has been “go off in a stretcher”, or in other words.. FINISH STRONG! I feel like in the first two weeks of being here in Antwerpen I have succeeded in that. Elder Wilson and I finally got the bike situation figured out and since then it has just been worrrkk till you cannot work no more. The other night we were making dinner and before you knew it I was literally falling asleep while eating. It was pretty embarrassing. The exhaustion level just keeps increasing and increasing! But I believe that it is a good thing, to be honest it makes me feel a bit accomplished in a righteous way for the work we are doing:)

    It been back to the basics with LOTS of door knocking and street contacting- love it! And since we have been going hard lately, we have seen some cool miracles. We´ve been let in twice on the door (cool stories!) and probably given out like 3 book of Mormons a dayyy! So since the white wash we are slowly but surely picking things up and are planning on leaving this place better than the way we found it. Training has been fun! It’s pretty exhausting, just because I am stuck to do almost everything and all the talking, but Elder Wilson is probably the best 18 year old, fresh out of high school, Son I could have ever asked for. He is just willing to try anything. The other day I pretended to take a phone call while we were at the Centraal Station and told him to go give out 5 cards while I was “on the phone”. He was terrified. But with a simple “If your scared you should probably do it” encouragement he went out and totally killed it! It was so awesome.

   Antwerpen is a cool city. Super ghetto, but also very beautiful! The ward is cool.. Lots of old people I noticed, but still a great ward. 

    I am so excited to be re-united with you all again. Seriously I cannot wait! But I haven´t been able to accept the fact that my mission is coming to an end. Living this life for two years and giving all your time, energy, strength, etc. to it- forces this life to actually become your life. THIS IS MY LIFE- to be a missionary here in Nederland & Belgium and to think that in one day it is just going to come to an end.. I haven´t been able to accept it yet. I just can’t. At least not yet. However I recognize and understand that I need to accept it. There is nothing I can do about it. I need to accept the fact that my mission is coming to an end and that one-day I am going to have to take that nametag off my chest. Man ooh man.. BUT at the same time, that doesn’t mean that I need to change. That I accept it and never do missionary work again or that I come home and forget everything I learned on my mission and just adapt myself to those around me.  It all has to do with a change of perspective and attitude.

 NOWW.. This is a life lesson I am learning right now. Today in the world, there are things that are just hard to accept. People who do dumb things and or experiences/incidents that happen in our lives that can be difficult to accept. Some things we don’t have to accept and other things we need to; much like me and my mission coming to an end. Its time to change my perspective and attitude about it. After all, the past 23 months have just been a preparation for the future. Gosh I love my mission.


Well fam and friends. I love you. Love you LOTS. Be safe and have a great week. See you all in 5 weeks or soooo... ENJOY TO THE END! 
Christ lives! 

Love,

     Big Dude 



Monday, April 20, 2015

GROWTH.. WEEK 97!!

Lieve Familie,


        I love you. The love I have for each and every one of you just seems to grow and grow. It humbles me to know that I have such a lovely, caring, supportive family who inspires me! You are all awesome. 

  Well things here in Antwerpen are just newwwww. My son (comp) is a bosssss! Couldn´t have gotten a better young missionary. Elder Wilson is his name and he is from Calgary, Canada. He is the definition of “hipster” so he is really showing me some new hip fashion! HA. But it’s been a fun first couple of days back here in Belgium. We got left with absolutely nothing and the apartment seemed to have gone through world war 3 before we came, including a huge invasion of mold through out the shower- couldn´t think of a better way to end my mission:) 
   So far we have just been walking around A TON (we both don’t have bikes yet) and doing lots of contact/knocking doors. In otherwords.. Were doing the typical missionary work here. Back to the BASICS! I really am loving it. Elder Wilson is pretty funny when we are working because he is not yet used to it, everything is just new for him! However, it is awesome to see his “greenie fire” and high spirits while working.  It’s also nice to not have to worry about giving trainings or spend lots of time planning. Finally just get to chill with my comp and get work done. Were just hoping and praying for miracles here and planning on picking this city/area back up on its feet. 

  Saturday and Sunday we had stake conference so unfortunately we haven´t ready had a chance to meet too many members, but I did get the chance to see many close and dear friends of mine from Kortrijk and Eindhoven. It was a glorious re-uniting! I couldn´t wipe the smile from off my face. I love my mission and all those who have been a part of it. I hold them close to my heart. 

  At stake conference I came across a good friend of mine who I hadn´t seen in about 18 months. We served in the same district at the beginning of my mission. After we were talking for a bit she simple said.. “Wow, you have changed.” I was a little caught off guard by her comment, but then she corrected herself and switched the word from change to grown. I believe I have grown lots in the last 2 years or I should say- I have learned a lot the last 2 years. Being with Elder Wilson has also helped me realize.. Him just beginning his mission and me finishing mine. The mission has given me the opportunity to grow. To grow in a way that I would have never been able to have unlesss I came out. I am so grateful for that. My testimony has grown lots and also my love and understanding of the Gospel. Its true! 


Love you all! Have a great week, be safe, keep preparing for the homecoming, and ENJOY TO THE END! 
CHRIST LIVES.

Love,
   Big Dude

Here is maaaa NEW MISSIONARY!! ELDER WILSONnnnnn!! 


Ps... Here is my legit house address.. Send letters to the following address:

    Sneeuwbeslaan 29-4
    2640 Wilrijk, Antwerpen

    Belgium 

               Here is maaaa NEW MISSIONARY!! ELDER WILSONnnnnn!!






Monday, April 13, 2015

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.. WEEK 96!

Lieve Familie,

          I love you. 

   Those three simple words do not even come close to describe the love that I have for you all.
 To be honest, I have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard you try, you truly cannot express to someone that you love them through words. The famous saying “Actions speak louder than words” is very common and happens to be one of the most truthful statements in this world. I cannot describe the love that I have. Showing people you love them; doing small acts of kindness, listening to others, praying for your loved ones, etc. are all ways of showing true love. I always think of our Savior and if he just came to the earth and did nothing else except for preach and teach with his words... life would have been a little different. The things in which the Savior did spoke much louder than the things he said. He showed us the perfect example and did not just tell us what it was. He took that statement of “actions speak louder than word” and did the things in which the Father had commanded. He showed us His love and the love He had for our Heavenly Father. I believe He fully understood the concept of “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.”  I am so grateful for that and hope that I can continue to pick up my own cross and follow him. 

     Just know that I love you all and am so grateful for not only being able to wear the Saviors name on my chest, but also the “Cook” family name. Stay awesome! 

           Well many of you are dying to know... Yes transfers happened!!! DRUM ROLLLLLL................  I will be finishing my mission in the wonderful city of Antwerpen in the wonderful country of Belgium! Antwerpen, Beligë here I come! I will first be heading up to Leiden on Wednesday to go pick up my new “greenie” missionary who will be fresh from the MTC (zoo)! Then we will be taking a long train ride down to België with all our luggage and such. It’s going to be an adventure; it’s going to be a good white wash! Really looking forward to it! 

 With that being said... you guys are great. This last week we were able to attend the temple and also Keukenhof. All those who are in need of healing (which is us all) get to the Temple. It is the closes house to Heavenly Father. Get there or prepare yourself so that you may attend in the future. Miracles truly do happen there. 

I love you and miss you. Be safe. Have a great week. Make good choices. Pray often. and... Enjoy to the End!- the final countdown has begunnnn!

LOVES!

   -Big Dude

By the way.....

   Here is my new address:
              Sneeuwbeslaan 29
              2640 Wilrijk, Antwerpen
              Belgium 












Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter:) WEEK 95!

Lieve Familie,

             This last weekend has been the most humbling weekend yet in my life. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. It has the power to change ones heart and bring a never ending hope of joy in this life. I am thankful for the chance we have to develop and make choices on our own. To choose to follow the Gospel. To develop Christ-like love and charity. To choose to follow our Savior and His teachings. Grateful for the Book of Mormon and the difference that it has made in my life. I love the truths and undeniable power that comes with it. Happy and grateful for the Priesthood that gives us the privilege to take part of eternal salvation here on earth.  So grateful for modern day Prophets and Apostles who lead and guide us today. Most of all I am grateful for the Savior. 

There is a difference between “knowing that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world” and knowing that He is your personal Savior and Redeemer. I am finally starting to understand that essential gift in my life. That He is my Savior. That He did it for me.
It is becoming more personal every single day of my life. I invite all to change and to come unto Him. 

I am grateful for my mission. Without it, I would not yet know of these things. 

Elder Dale G. Renlund spoke to me yesterday with His powerful talk.

“T´was I, but T`is not I”
  & 
 “God cares more about who we are and what we are becoming than who we once were.”
 -Elder Dale G. Renlund

Love you all. Enjoy to the End.

Love,

   Big Dude