Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Immunizations “SHOOT ME NOW”

Decide we like being together as “companions” 24/7
Fill out lots of papers – and remember things we thought we forgot - dates,events...
Have our photo taken – Companions - together, smiling, & pretty happy (thank you Heather)
Hope and pray our internet is working when we push “send”
Arrange meetings with the Bishop, the Stake President and the Postman
Have a family gathering (via phone line with out of town members) to read the “call”
Buy “How to Speak Good Russian” on CD and talk with Adam (our former Russian Missionary son)
Fill out lots of papers - remember what we didn’t write in travel journal – dates, places...
Have 31 passport photos taken – alone, no smile, & no photo shop special effects
Hope & pray internet works when sending email to travel dept. to ask dumb questions
Attend church meetings and the temple – speak in Stake Conference on “Faith and Serving the Lord”
Retirement party for Dave – Feb 23rd (Clyde Companies loss- my gain)
Gather with family often as possible – make phone calls, send emails and text message
Study Russian CD-learn how to say “Good” Хороший (Huhrrroshe)(Adam says it better)
Hepatitis A(2) & Hepatitis B(2); need 3 - the last one is in June before we go to the MTC (and a Booster upon our return home from Russia)
Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis);(1)in the past Dave has gotten very sick from Tetanus – FYI- we can say “In the present…also”
Meningococcal meningitis(1)
Pneumonia shot (Dave got one even though he isn’t 65)
Flu shots –(had one in December and luckily they count!
Typhoid Pills (4)rather than a needle - lasts for 5 years instead of 2 – (We thought since we are both feeling a bit under the weather from the other shots we would wait until after Sunday to begin taking these.

In the meantime – we continue to prepare to serve our mission the best way we know how ~ with faith.

Dave: "I am a Russian Missionary"

Becky: "How many shots are there?"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Once in a lifetime adventure"...again

“Hello!” in Russian. We received our call Wednesday Feb.9th - and opened it with the family and loved ones gathered in our home. "Dear Elder Cook...You are hereby called to serve as a missionary...as an auditor..." Dear Sister Cook, You are hereby called...as an assistant to the auditor..."
Assigned to labor in the Europe East Area headquartered in Moscow, Russia. We are to enter the Missionary Training Center on Monday June 13, 2011 to serve for twenty three months.
We know a little about Russia since Elder Adam KYK (Cook) served in the Russian Samara Mission from 1997 - 1999 - we went over to pick him up from his mission. Dave said it would be a "once in a lifetime adventure and opportunity to see Russia and that part of the world and he didn't want to miss it"... In 2007 we returned to Moscow with the Springville Museum of Art to go on a River Cruise up the Volga River to St. Petersburg...and now we are going to have another "once in a lifetime adventure and opportunity and then some...
The Europe East Area consists of Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Estonia; Georgia; Kazakhstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Republic of Macedonia; Montenegro; Russia; Serbia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan.

Opening and reading our call - Feb 9, 2011 - Tiffany took our picture and put it on Face Book as we read the words.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Some thoughts from Dave about serving a mission for the Lord...

Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles. George Bernard Shaw

Dave: I have wanted to serve a mission since I received a testimony of the Book of Mormon in 1969. However, by 1969 I was already married and any mission seemed to be either impossible or so far in the future that it might never happen.
A few years ago I remember praying about going on a mission. I told the Lord I would be willing to go anytime he wanted me to, but at the time Becky was a rheumatoid arthritis patient and very ill. She was also losing mobility.
I remember talking to an artist friend, Peter Myer, who had just been called to serve a mission in France. His first wife had died a few years before and he had remarried. He told me miracles happen and he felt it was a miracle he was going on a mission since his first wife had been ill for so many years. I told him it didn’t seem possible for Becky and I to go as a couple and I didn’t want to lose my wife in order to be able to go. He insisted again that miracles do happen. I was a doubting Thomas, but continued to pray about serving a mission from time to time over the next few years.
About a year after I had begun to pray about serving a mission, Becky’s condition seemed to be get worse. She was in so much pain, nothing seemed to help alleviate the pain she felt in her hips and they didn’t seem to function anymore. This new development caused her to talk about remodeling or selling our home she designed and move so we could have our living space on the main floor. Becky was also losing her appetite and a great deal of weight. When she became sick and tired of feeling “sick and tired” she decided enough was enough and began to study the side effects of her many arthritis meds. She found she was suffering from many of the worst side effects listed. She took this information to her doctor and met with his Physician’s assistant. She asked for help in returning to the basics, simpler medicines and smaller doses of those causing so many problems. The reply, “We can’t do that, let’s try something more…more bio meds, stronger injections, more counteracting drugs...” She just wasn't listening to her and she returned home extremely upset.
At the same time Becky was going through her worst times, I was trying to get her to go the Dr. Eric Brady, a chiropractor, who does a physical therapy called Active Release Therapy and who had helped rid me of the headaches since my concussion in 1994. She finally gave into my pleadings and scheduled an appointment. Dr. Brady was able to get her hips moving without pain after just a few visits. After looking at her hands, he also determined they didn’t belong to a rheumatoid arthritis patient. He encouraged her to get a second opinion. Along with pain, stomach ulcers became just one of the many side effects she had developed. She went to Dr. Brett Thorpe for help and asked to be tested again for RA. The results came back – negative for Rheumatoid Arthritis – no elevated RA factors. It took the better part of a year, but after being off the medications she got her appetite back, and with physical therapy she started to feel healthier than she had in 17 years. This was miracle number one.

During this time of healing for Becky, I once again began to feel hope about a mission. I felt for the first time that a mission might be possible and I went to the Lord in prayer and told Him I would go as soon as the time was right. I had no Idea what that meant, but I hoped I would have enough faith in myself and His promises that some time after I retired at 65 or 66 we could go on a mission.

Miracle number 2: With Faith all things are possible

Although a mission now seemed possible, it still seemed like many years before it would or could happen. My father retired at the age of seventy five. I thought seventy five was a little too late to do all the things I want to do in my life; however, sixty six or sixty seven seemed a good age and likely for me. I was not looking forward to retirement. I liked my job as Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations. I was enjoying the political aspects of the job especially my involvement and participation in the Ronald Reagan Club, and the political action legislative committees in and around the Salt Lake area; (Associated General Contractors, Utah Manufacturing Association, Salt Lake Chamber, and Taxpayers Association). I was a director on the Mountainland Applied Technology College board as well as the Mountainland Regional Council board. In the past, I had the responsibility of marketing and promotion and had recently been reassigned this department again. As a CPA and independent from the Accounting Dept of Clyde Companies, I oversaw the auditing department, which added another interesting dimension to my job.
At this time in the United States the economy is suffering a severe downturn. Knowing this, but without warning and seemingly out of the blue, Wilford Clyde, President of Clyde Companies Inc., started talking about offering several key executives an early retirement package. I have to admit I was extremely discouraged when I first heard that I might be offered the package. I replayed the scenario in my mind over and over and felt all types of emotions, some positive, but mostly negative. I took it very personal; had my thirty four years of service to the company and the Clyde family meant nothing? THEN --- I remembered - I had been praying to serve a mission someday and felt that with enough faith I promised the Lord I would leave when He wanted me to. It took only a millisecond to change my thought process and waited with great anticipation until I was offered the package. The offer seemed good to me when it was first explained to management, and it got much better when the offer was actually given. The Company offered ten executives an early out and I opted to retire as one of the five who accepted. This gave us the financial means and medical coverage we need to retire. Faith does precede the miracle…

Miracle number 3 “..only by persuasion, long suffering, ….”

I learned a valuable lesson at this time in my life. Throughout this whole experience, I had been praying to the Lord about a mission, many times I pleaded with the Lord to help me find the way that I might serve a mission - I just forgot to include Becky in those prayer sessions. The retirement decision was decided on together; however the mission plans were a complete shock to her. She is very comfortable in our home, loves working in the yard, planting a garden, and enjoys watching the grandchildren play on the swing-set, the “park” as Emilee and Mackey call it. It is a gathering place for our children and their families and it is filled with love. Upon hearing the answer I had received about it being the right time for us to serve a mission - she cried. She said she hadn’t gotten that answer; in fact she wasn’t sure about anything at that time. Although it took some time for her to get used to the idea of a mission, she began to warm up to the idea - and soon got her own answer to prayer, and we began to discuss the real possibility of serving a mission together which brings me to miracle number 3 - Becky is willing to go!! As soon as we decided to accept the retirement package, had our finances worked out, and I signed the actual contract at Clyde Companies, she actually agreed to come with me and serve a mission. She is still struggling with leaving her responsibilities of the care of her father, and her children and their spouses, and her wonderfully perfect grandchildren she said she would go. We set the wheels in motion by getting in touch with Bishop Stewart and as we filled out our papers she struggled with some of the feelings the questions raised. In the very first section of the papers it asks how long we would be willing to serve a mission. We left that question open but we continued to talk about how long she could go for. She agreed to 18 months, I was good with that, but after more talking together and consideration along with prayer she decided she could extend to 24 months. Two years of serving together. She still doesn’t want it widely known and is pretty selective who she chooses to tell about our plans until we have the call in our hands but I could sing it from the highest roof top. She always tells me she feels like she is living in some musical, singing my own songs, with my hands out stretched and dancing in circles. I didn’t have to persuade or suffer while she made her decision for too long at all.

Miracle number 4 – Family is central to the plan…

After making the decision to retire, we talked about how to tell the family. We had plans to travel to Texas and spend Thanksgiving with Jenny and John and witness Brooklyn’s baptism. We would tell the Norton family at that time but decided that we would tell individual family members one at a time to judge their reactions, whether favorable or not.
After I knew I would be given an offer to retire early I took some time on October 28th and traveled to Salt Lake to talk to my father, Vernon Osmond Cook. I wanted his opinion and thoughts about my retirement and our missionary plans. Dad’s response was almost instantaneous. He said he thought it was a great idea and there is more to life than money. He couldn’t think of any negatives about accepting the offer and serving the Lord. Dad said “David, you could spend the rest of your life serving the Lord and being richly blessed”. I told him I hadn’t talked with anyone else except Becky – since it hadn’t been announced officially in the Company, and wouldn’t be for another month and half…imagine my surprise to see this posted on my Facebook wall later that afternoon
It was good to visit with you again. I pray that all future events will be according to your best thoughts and wishes. You and Becky will make a wonderful missionary team. May the Lord's blessings attend you, and the best of everything be yours, Love Dad
With his support I gained more confidence that I was doing the right thing. Luckily no one keeps track of my Facebook account.
After talking with dad, I felt I needed to talk to Adam since he still worked for the Company at Geneva Rock Products. I was concerned about how he would take the news of my retirement. We have been able to enjoy a wonderful relationship on a working level as well as father and son. Adam’s reaction could be labeled as “cautiously optimistic”. I then told him of our hopes to serve a mission and again he exhibited that “cautious optimism”. We have always relied on Adam for so many things, and we knew we would need more of his involvement and help with our personal finances especially if we were called out of the country on a mission. He called the next day and told me he was happy for us and it was about time I did something like this and he committed to help with whatever we needed him to do.
Cynthia and Alan invited me over for dinner one night while Becky was in Salt Lake helping Kim with our newest grandson Brayden. Thinking I was being very sneaky, I dropped a hint about Becky and I going on an extended vacation, and did they think it would be possible to find someone to stay in our home while we were gone. Cynthia said “We will do it!” I was so glad to hear her enthusiastic response. Then she asked where we would be vacationing. Alan just looked at her and took no time saying “Duh! It’s a mission”. I didn’t say yes, and I didn’t say no. I have never been one to have much success in the sneaky department. The Nelson family has now begun to make plans to prepare to move into our home during our “extended vacation”.
During our trip to Texas, Jenny’s in laws, Paul and Sharon Norton and their entire family were there to see not only Brooklyn’s baptism but her cousin Natalie’s also. While sitting in the heated car the morning of Thanksgiving Day, watching a game of flag football starring John and his older brother, and also watching Colin and his cousins play some scrimmages on the sidelines I took the opportunity to visit one on one with Paul and ask several questions about serving as a senior missionary couple. Paul was the mission president in the Chicago North Mission while John was a student at the University of Chicago working on his MBA. We visited for about an hour discussing the importance of missionary work and the sacrifice it is to serve but Paul stressed it was so worth it. I felt really good about our talk and told him that we hadn’t told Jenny or John just in case something happens that would prevent our going on a mission. At Thanksgiving dinner Paul turned to his niece, who also lives in Flower Mound, and all of us sitting around the table invited her to tell David and Becky about her parents who are currently serving in Australia on a mission…”as they are thinking about a mission.” Jenny’s head darted up, and she started to say something like, “Are you…?” we were in a state of shock, we laughed it off, shaking our heads, not to deny what Paul had said, but more to try to figure out what we had just gotten ourselves into. We were able to distance ourselves from the subject as there were dishes to be washed and pies to taste. Later, after about the 6th or 7th football game was winding down, we were sitting in Jenny’s family room and both Paul and Sharon shared with us their testimony of missionary service, the lessons they learned, the sacrifices they made and the blessings which came from their years of service. This seemed to help put aside some of Becky’s fears about leaving her family and grandchildren. The night before we were to leave and all the other Norton families had driven off to their respective homes, we once again sat in the family room with Jenny, John, Paul, and Sharon to share the news of my retirement and hopefully be able to bring up the possibility of us going on a mission when Paul announced to everyone that Dave and Becky are going on a mission. Jenny and John’s reaction was very positive. One potential problem—Jenny had called Becky, before they left Australia, to ask her to watch the children while Jenny traveled to Prague with John’s company. Becky had made a promise and didn’t want to go back on her word. Jenny turned to Sharon and mentioned they would need someone to watch their children in May of 2011. Sharon looked to Paul and quickly consented.
The reality of actually going on a mission began to wake us up to all the needs and responsibilities we have. One of our main concerns was Becky’s dad, Bill. For the past few years, Becky and I have taken care of his finances, a lot of his medical needs and setting the schedule of his care by the family. Bill has requested he not be put in an “Old Folks Home” until he is no longer able to care for his personal needs. Becky has done a lot of research on her family history and knows her grandfather, Robert Christopher Inman, Bill’s father, was placed in an insane asylum in the Thirties when the family was unable to care for him. This is the picture Bill carries in his mind of an “Old Folks Home” and Becky, understands the reasons he fears being separated from family, assured Bill she would see that he not go to a retirement home or assisted living as long as he is able to care for himself. If we were to go on a mission, Becky’s brothers and sister-in -laws would be required to take our share of the responsibility for Bill. We have a lot of respect for Bill and want to take care of him until he leaves this life. Becky agonized about how her inactive and non-member family members of the LDS faith would react to our desire to serve a mission. There is no doubt that our leaving would add more responsibility to her family, some who are not in the best of health.
The Inman family conducts meetings periodically to discuss what is to be done with Dad and how he is doing traveling to the homes of family members and what changes might need to be made to see to his care. I felt the necessity to call the December meeting to give her siblings an accounting of his financial net worth and ask them to take a more active role in managing Bill’s finances. There were several items to be discussed including my retirement and our plans to go on a mission. Becky was beyond stressed and feared the possible reactions of those in attendance. We gathered in a restaurant-bar that is owned by her nephew and went through Bill’s finances, money management, gains and losses and his expenses. I kept trying to get the conversation around to “mission” and Becky kept saying “later”. At the end of the discussion we said we had one more thing to announce. This was it, no drum roll, just that we have decided to serve a mission for the LDS church. Instead of the negative response that was expected, the family was unanimous in their positive responses. Becky’s sister, Jayne (who is not a member of the Church) stated “I want to go”. In a moment of shock and concern, Becky said it again…to make sure they understood exactly what we were saying. They understood. We expressed our concerns about putting the extra burden on them and for not carrying our share of the responsibility for Bill’s physical care. Todd, Becky’s brother, was even more positive about our doing what we want to do while we were still young enough to do it. We are pleased with their support and for the first time since we began talking about a mission she relaxed and seemed to enjoy the idea of serving a mission. Later when we got in our vehicle, Becky turned to me and with a big smile said “WE ARE GOING ON A MISSION!” She repeated the same response when we stopped at Adam and Heather’s home for a short visit and to get our mission pictures taken. A great weight is lifted from our shoulders.
Other reactions from family members –
Tiffany said something to the effect, “It’s about time, you have wanted to go on a mission and have talked about it for as long as I can remember “
Liz laughs every time she says the word mission. She is very excited and happy to tell everyone she knows in Cache County her parents are going on a mission. Poor Cache County!
Kim's reaction was a mixed one. She is excited and happy for us, but she knows that a mission will mean missing a lot of firsts for their family, Brayden's first words, first steps, first birthday, etc. etc... This is something that has caused Becky hours of worry also.
It is a wonderful time to be living - computers, face-book, email, blogs, SKYPE, cell phones... Family is really central to Heavenly Father's plan and our children and their families are making plans to gather together once a month -
Way to Go Family!

Miracle number 5 – Modern Medicine

For years I have had trouble swallowing certain foods including, rice, nuts, whole wheat breads, carrots and other raw vegetables. At times while eating these foods they would get stuck in my throat. When this happens, the food had only one means of escape, which is up. With my desire to serve a mission I felt I should tell my Doctor, Dr. David Voss that I had been having trouble swallowing. He asked if I would be willing to have an upper GI to see if there was anything wrong in my esophagus. He wrote a prescription which I ignored for three weeks, because I thought I was in perfect health, but might possibly have an allergy to these foods. I finally called Dr. Thorpe, the same Doctor Becky went to for her stomach problems, and asked him to do the medical procedure. He found several sores and ulcers as well as scarring in my esophagus and stomach area, and a hiatal hernia, which had nearly closed off the opening to my stomach. Dr. Thorpe prescribed some acid reducing medicine, and ordered a bland, tasteless and strict diet of small portions, then redid the procedure three weeks later. My throat and stomach had healed and Dr. Thorpe was able to stretch the opening to my stomach. Now for the first time in years, I can eat all the foods previously causing trouble. I feel each day is a new miracle and a testament to the blessings of modern day medicines.

Miracle number 6 –Receiving a Priesthood Blessing –

I consider myself to be in very good health. I have always exercised, sometimes more consistently than at other times, but for the last year I have been very consistent and exercised five to six times each week jogging, biking, or lifting weights. When I was required to get a stress test as part of the medical exam for my mission papers I felt (almost arrogantly) nothing could be wrong. The day arrived to take the test and I drove myself to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center and reported to the cardiology unit. I was hooked up to all the patches and wires and monitored in a resting state and on the treadmill as I walked. The treadmill increased in speed and slope. I thought it was an easy test, and one I handled well. After the test the doctor asked if I had chest pain or trouble breathing, which I didn’t. He then showed me my test results, and said I had “flat-lined” on the lower end of the EKG. I know that flat lining in a medical emergency means that the heart has stopped and I wasn’t anywhere near death. He said I had a 5% chance that the test was a false positive, but I would need a nuclear stress test, which he scheduled for the next week. As I was leaving I asked him if he meant I had a 95% chance there was something wrong with my heart. He said “yes.” What a blow!
All of the family was gathering on Christmas Day to celebrate the birth of the Savior, except for Jenny and John and their family in Texas, and Liz and Kori and their boys in Logan, and I realized this was a perfect opportunity to ask for a priesthood blessing for Becky and myself. The family met together in the family room as worthy Priesthood holders placed their hands on our heads and pronounced a blessing on Becky and I. Our son, Adam Cook, and sons - in - law, Alan Nelson, Chris Saling, and Troy Stark stood in the circle, first, Chris anointed and Adam sealed the anointing and blessed Becky with peace in her heart and to quiet her fears and then Troy anointed my head and Alan sealed the anointing and gave the blessing. I don’t remember Alan saying I would be healed, but he did say that all would turn out well and to trust the doctors. It seemed an easy answer – Trust the Doctors and all would turn out well.
The second test was similar except that a nurse put an IV into my arm and injected what I thought was some kind of radiation, I guess that is where the nuclear comes from in the test. They took thirty pictures of my heart in a resting state then hooked me to the heart monitor and had me step back on the treadmill, similar to the test I had done a week before. After the treadmill the nurse took thirty more pictures of my heart. I noticed the test results from the treadmill looked very different than from the first test results. I asked the physician’s assistant who was monitoring the test if this was a good sign. He thought it was better, but refused to comment further since it is the doctor’s responsibility to tell me. Not as reassuring as I would have hoped the PA said the test results would be available in a couple of days and they would forward the results to Dr. Voss. This was Tuesday December 28, 2011. I called the Doctor’s office on December 30th to hear the results, but it was closed for the New Year holiday weekend. Waiting is not something I am fond of, but there was nothing I could do but wait. So, I waited and waited some more. The New Year came and as soon as the office opened on January 4th, I called but still no results. As luck would have it, Becky had an appointment the next morning with Dr. Voss. I was now retired so I tagged along to find out if the results had come yet. Having to do medical tests during the holiday is not something I would recommend to anyone. After Becky’s results from some tests and her blood pressure was taken, I asked about my results. Doctor Voss still hadn’t received the copy but he was able to look them up on line and to our great relief there is no problem with my heart - no blockages of any kind. Blessing from worthy Priesthood bearers can produce miracles – one answered at a time!

I don’t know how many miracles will be required to actually get us out on a mission, but Becky and I will be counting.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oh the places you'll go...

Cynthia thought it would be fun to guess where and when we will go on our mission...these are some of the suggestions ~ No cash prizes awarded

Dave ~ Topeka or South Africa May "As good as guess as any"
Becky ~ Hawaii June

Tiffany ~ New Zealand April
Troy ~ Argentina
David (21) ~ ?
Kylie (20) ~ ?
Natasha (17) ~ Kansas March (LOL) Sorta the same guess as Grandpa

Cynthia ~ Madagascar March
Alan ~ Ukraine May
Austin ~ Brazil
Kellie ~ South America
Alexa ~ Georgia USA (Birthplace - Lex will probably want to come pick us up & tour the area)

Jenny ~ Scotland
John ~ "Zion"
Colin (10) ~ Australia or England
Brooklyn (8) ~ Guatemala
Isabella (6) ~ Texas or Australia
Jared (4) ~ America

Adam ~ Moscow, Russia March
Heather ~ Samara Russia April
Emilee (6) Mackey (5) ~ TEXAS ... because "they don’t think Grandpa and Grandma should be too far away from all their grandkids!"
Garrett (2) ~ Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (which happened to be on the T.V. when asked)

Liz ~ Russia June
Kori ~ Poland May
Spencer (4) ~ "To a mission on my birthday" (Going Anywhere - but leaving for sure April 5th)
Matthew (2) ~ "A mission to Mario on Christmas"

Kim ~ Japan April
Chris ~ Canada May "Oh Canada"
Brayden 3 month ~ "Babble-Babble" or is that "Bubble-Bubble" (Kim says he chooses Hawaii - in May) A trip for Pineapple Ice Cream could be in Brayden's future

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


The word, "call" has taken on a whole new meaning for us. Note to self - Must relearn to use the extended version "cell phone call" or "telephone call" when referring to talking on mobile phone or land-line. No more shortcuts. LOL

With this said...

We got a call from our Stake President Sunday night to tell us he checked on our mission status.
(I think he was really checking on Dave's status after being retired for one whole month)

Mission...possible STATUS UPDATE

1/2 ~ electronically submitted Mission Papers to Bishop ... sent to Stake; 1/7 ~ began required immunizations; 1/9 ~ met with Stake President ... got medical form back to have Dr. complete more information; 1/11 ~ Mission papers sent to Church Headquarters ... accepted; 1/19 ~ email questionnaire from Missionary Dept... "How comfortable are you serving...? Look for call in 4-6 weeks"; 1/27 ~ Phone call from church for clarification on Dave's medical form...wrong hemoglobin count; 1/30 Call from President Oldroyd ~ Mission Status "Waiting for Assignment..."


Continue to work on common goals -
1- to rid our lives of accumulated things - clutter and junk - just stuff we don't need or want to store to prepare our home for while we are gone,
2 - see if we can stand being together 24/7 (so far - so good), making good progress.

After having our papers in for almost a month...we have learned -
We should NEVER begin a sentence with "We just got a call..."
Spending time with family is more important than just about anything...
and - Patience, the virtue - is at times...difficult

Family gathers at Brayden's Blessing - January 30, 2011

All is Well...