Meet the Mentors – Henry and Elke Kosak

June 6, 2024  •  Author: marketing

Readers and Leaders

American writer Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) used six words to describe the transformation of leaders. Putting it simply, she said: “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” There is a deep message in these six words. Margaret mentioned that leaders are first readers—they are willing to absorb others’ ideas before formulating their own. These words, written nearly two hundred years ago, perfectly summarize what Cumorah Academy does for young adults.

We work today so they can become the leaders of tomorrow. Henry and Elke Kosak, our mentors for this week, also believe this is possible. Their love for the youth, education, and the Gospel is what motivates them to join our program. It’s not their first time on campus; they were mentors a few semesters ago, and Henry even conducted a devotional about BYU-Pathway, an online educational program developed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the Fall Semester of 2022.

The Kosaks have an incredible, inspiring story. They witnessed life in Germany behind the Iron Curtain and saw lasting changes that shaped history. From experiencing the Fall of the Berlin Wall to teaching young adults at Church, the Kosaks have a rich life and are eager to share their wisdom with our students.

Passion for Books, Education, and History

The Kosaks have had many experiences in life that taught them valuable lessons on leadership, managing stress, and other vital principles. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, they have had many assignments that took them to teach young adults and inspire them to develop leadership skills. Among their callings, Henry and Elke presided over the Berlin Germany Mission, where they taught and ministered to young missionaries from different countries and backgrounds.

Along with that, the couple has many interests that keep pushing them to improve and develop new abilities. They do many things together, including going for walks and watching movies. “We love old movies—from the 50s, the first color films, the classics,” they say. Also, the Kosaks are the embodiment of Margaret Fuller’s words: they love books. They have a profound respect for seeking knowledge. “If you are a reader, I think you have it much easier in life,” says Elke. “Even if your life is hard, there’s always something that can distract you.” The Kosaks know that books can take you to places never before explored. They have three children and three grandchildren.

Furthermore, the Kosaks love traveling to other countries, mostly to England—and, of course, they love to explore its history. Henry even jokes that his wife knows more about England’s history than most English people. They embrace all opportunities for additional knowledge. “We believe in informal education too. We love to read everything, and we have a big library for a little couple,” says Henry. Interestingly, one of the couple’s favorite questions to other people is: “What are the five most influential books you’ve read, besides the scriptures?” They love hearing the answers. If they ever ask you this question and you are not into books, maybe you can skip this question.

Joining Cumorah Academy and Embracing Its Mission

At the right moment, a phone call can change your life. For many years, Henry Kosak was a coordinator for Seminaries and Institutes for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Czech Republic. Due to this work as a coordinator, he already knew Patrick Sedivy, Cumorah’s founder, who was serving as a Bishop at that time. “He called me and said he wanted to have BYU Pathway as a big part, maybe even a leading part of Cumorah Academy,” says Henry. Since then, the couple has become part of Cumorah Academy.

“We’ve been involved from the beginning,” says Elke. Indeed, they have become very involved with our program. “Sometimes we just come for a day or two to do the BYU Pathway fireside and pitch. It depends on how Cumorah needs us, but we come here every semester,” concludes Henry. Their love for what the program does for young adults, and how it expands their vision of the world and about themselves, is visible. It is a flame that still lights our campus.

The Leaders of Tomorrow

The Kosaks very much enjoyed their time with us this semester. They believe these students will surely make a difference in their own lives and others. Interestingly, the Kosaks also feel renewed every time they come to campus. “Meeting with interns and students and being here at Cumorah Academy filled me up. You filled me up. Cumorah has filled me. I could fill myself up very selfishly here,” says Henry vividly. Elke loves the humility of this generation: “For me, it is always good to come here and see the strength and humility of the youth.”

Seeing this generation learn more about the world and discover the unknown potential within themselves is always a delight. Henry and Elke want all students to feel they belong and are part of the Cumorah family. “We would hope the students leave with a feeling of belonging. You do belong. You are loved,” says Elke. In fact, their example of a happy marriage and educational pursuit has made an indelible impression on our students. This beautiful, charismatic, faithful couple is indeed inspiring the leaders of tomorrow.

Watch the Kosaks sharing their experience on campus:

Written by Fernando L. Ferreira Jr.

Photos by Camila Caraveo

Supervision by Kamila Uberto Fullmer

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