Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014 ~ Week 25 - Pictures

Say Hello to my first hijo!  Elder Blanco from Argentina!

Overview of Camana, Peru!
La Familia Camana after the Show we Performed!

I was Olaf in our Christmas show that our zone performed!

December 22, 2014 ~ Week 25

This week was such an experience.  It all started last Tuesday as I met the brand new missionary that I am going to train for the next 3 months.  Elder Blanco is 19 years old and is from Buenas Aires, Argentina.  We have really hit it off and we had some lessons this week where I thought he responded great!

His very first lesson in his mission was with a less active member and an investigator. They are not married, but have 2 daughters, and have been together for 17 years!  The lesson was about the commandments and the woman whose name is Isabel wants to be baptized and get married, but Renato (the less active member) doesn’t want to be married. 

The lesson went great and we are going to try to help them realize the blessings of being called husband and wife.  I could not imagine teaching something like that for my very first lesson but then again my Spanish 4 months ago was pretty rough...

On Thursday we traveled back to Arequipa as a zone and met with 5 other zones to celebrate Christmas with President Zobrist and his wife.  We ate some excellent food and had a great mini conference with the President.  Then the 5 zones performed their shows that they all had planned and rehearsed days before.
Our show was about Buddy the Elf that lived with Santa until he found out he was a human.  He left the North Pole and visited the worlds of:  Frozen, Scrooge and Grinch until at the very end he met 2 missionaries who helped him to know his true identity.  In the play I was Olaf from Frozen.  Although I wish I could send the video of our 30 min long play so you all could watch it, the video is 4gig, or in other words I can not send it through email.  But I will copy the video to a USB and send it to my parents so they will all be able to watch it.  And believe me; you really want to see me as Olaf!

Here we are just 3 days before Christmas and due to the high speed of the Peruvian Serpost I’m thinking I will get my Christmas package sometime in January.  But it’s all good, in the mean time I will Skype my parents, and have a great time caroling with my companion outside of the doors of our less actives, investigators and recent convert homes.  I will have a happy New Year, but most of all I will GO TO WORK. The field is Peruvian and all ready to Harvest!

Love you all!
Make this Navidad, Feliz :)

Feliz Navidad

Elder McCook

Words of the week: Soy Olaf y me gusto abrazos- I’m Olaf and I like Hugs 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 15, 2014 ~ last Picture with Elder Atencio

At a beach hut with Elder Andersen.  Felt like I was in a James Bond movie or something
Me and Elder Atencio's last photo as companions.  He is getting transferred to a different area in Arequipa

December 15, 2014 ~ Week 24

¡Cambios, Cambios, Cambios!

After 4 ½ months of being companions with Elder Atencio, he has been transferred to Arequipa to an area called Zomacola, and I will be training!!!  I am so excited, happy, sad, anxious, nervous, and all that good stuff.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the word “training”,  it means that I will be training a brand new Elder and will be welcoming him to the mission.  We will be companions for a minimum of three months and I am so excited!
In a couple of hours I will take a 3 hour bus ride to Arequipa, where I will spend the night in the mission house, and then Tuesday morning I will meet my new companion!  I do not know if he is a Latino or if he is a Gringo, I do not know what to expect over these next three months but what I do know is:

That the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the
thing which he commandeth them.
(1st Nephi 3:7)

The Lord will provide the way.  He loves us.  And I am happy to have the opportunity to train.

Speaking of far from perfect Spanish the “Mess up of the week” is.... as I was trying to describe raw vegetables to my pentionista, when attempting to say the word “raw” in Spanish I accidently said a bad word.... she laughed, Elder Atencio laughed, and I was clueless…. oh how I love Spanish.

This week will be fun and this week will be great!!  Being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the hardest thing I have EVER loved to do.

Chao till next week
Elder McCook

Words of the Week cambios- changes
                             hijo- son
                             padre- father

Me and Elder Atencio's last photo as companions.  He is getting transferred to a different area in Arequipa

December 8, 2014 Pictures

Elder Atencio and i bought some fake snow, we are pretty pumped for Christmas

¡Que rico el sol en Camaná! (translated) -How rich is the sun

Elder Atencio and I after the Noche de Misional 

December 8, 2014 ~ Week 23

¿Que Tal?

Well there was no church yesterday because Peru had elections again, yup the same old same old.  When elections are held every single store is closed and every public building except for the building where you can vote.  There is also a 1000 sole fine if you get caught drinking.  So it was pretty nice to not see any drunks in the streets yesterday!

This past Tuesday Elder Atencio and I did divisions, where he went with one of the young men from the ward and taught some people, and I went with a young man named Edwin Mayo who is a member of the church and is 16 years.  We went and taught the Romero family.  I was very nervous for the lesson that I was about to teach: the Law of Chastity.  I don’t know exactly what to say when teaching this lesson in Spanish let alone talking about it in English.  So what I did was teach with authority and through the Spirit.  At the end of the lesson I told the Romero family, that I am here to help them and that I would like them to have a goal of a date to be married.

What happened next to me was a scene from a Disney princess movie.  Piter Romero grabbed Fransica’s hand and said tomorrow?  She was unsure…so he said the 25th?  She was still unsure… he said the 31st?  She was still unsure.  They agreed that they would pray for a date to be sure.  I told them that I do not want them to be married because Elder McCook is cool and “he” wants us to be married, but I told them that they should be married because of the love that they have for each other and for the love of God.

They agreed that they would pray for a date, and I cannot wait for their answer :)

This past Thursday we had a noche de misional in the church, and we had it all planned out as missionaries.  We planned to talk about Christmas, watch some videos from the Bible, eat popcorn and then to conclude the night by watching “He Is the Gift” video the church made.  Well, gotta love Peru, the entire city of Camana had a power outage, aka no electricity, it was very funny, so we sang 4 hymns in hopes that the lights would eventually turn back on, well that didn’t happen.  So my companion Elder Atencio read the story of the first Christmas that can be found in the bible in Luke 2:1-40.  It was a very great experience and the lights came back on as we left the church and locked the door.  It was a very funny and yet Very, Very spiritual experience. 

 I want to start a new thing that I will start doing every email, (if it happens during the week), called “Mess up of the Week”.

The mess up of this week was: when I was teaching; instead of saying “They Stopped” in Spanish, I ended up saying “They Gave Birth”.... the words for the two are very similar... I was laughing... everyone was laughing... oh Spanish how I love you.

Love you all and thank you for your prayers, support, letters, and emails!


Elder McCook

Word of the week: Navidad- Christmas
                           Elecciones- Elections
                           Matrimonio- Marriage  

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 1, 2014 Thanksgiving pictures

The result of hiking up the wrong mountain! We were on top of the world!
La Familia Camana (The Camana Zone) at our Thanksgiving feast.

The Peruvian Thanksgiving was pretty bomb 

December 1, 2014 ~ Week 22

Well last week was thanksgiving.  Honestly I almost forgot, until one of the sister missionaries in my zone from Las Vegas wanted to have a feast within the zone.  There are 14 missionaries in my zone, about half of them have never had a thanksgiving meal in their life.  We decided to change that tradition and bring an American holiday to Peru, and that’s what we did.  We planned the meal all out and our pentionista helped cook. We had a bomb thanksgiving meal! There was Turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables and some cherry cobbler as well!  For a Peruvian Thanksgiving it was actually very good!  And at last, finally a meal without rice, but that short lived moment came to a close when Elder Atencio and I ate dinner 5 hours later and had a plateful of rice.

Every Wednesday at the church we have English class.  Yes I have been teaching English.  Maestro McCook right?  That’s Spanish for master by the way.

Anyways, my partner to teach English class with is Elder Andersen, who I have known since the Lima CCM days.  During English class I have come to realize that the two favorite words in English that our students (that age range from 15 to 25, also we always have a 70 year old member that comes every week with his little notebook and he takes notes, he is so cute) use are: Dance and Happy. So for almost every example we use it includes the words dance and happy.  They are used so much to the point that me and Elder Andersen broke out and did a little dance while singing Safety Dance by Men Without Hats. It was awesome and priceless.

As me and Elder Atencio were teaching this last week in our area we had an appointment and once we finished it we checked the time and our next appointment should have started like right then and there. Yet we were far away from where we needed to be.  Our area is so huge that I couldn’t even walk to the end of it if I wanted to.  Thankfully we had Rafael Florez with us, (a 15 year old jovencito) who lives in our area. He told us he had a short cut and to follow him.  This short cut was more of a joke then a short cut as we hiked straight up a dirt mountain.  With my shoes sinking in the sand, Elder Atencio and I could not stop laughing because Rafael kept on slipping and falling.  But once we made it to the peak of the mountain we had to stop and take photos because the sight was so sweet.  It was awesome to see all the lights on at night, and to see pretty much an overview of Camana.  We eventually made it to our next appointment and were only a little late but covered in a lot of dirt.

The showers in the morning are still very cold by the way; I have to psyche myself up before hopping in the cold shower.

Chao Chao!
Elder McCook

Words of the week: dance-bailar
                             happy- feliz
                             día de acción de gracias- thanksgiving


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November 24, 2014 ~ Week 21

Searching for the golden investigators at the beach.

November 24, 2014 ~ Week 21

¡Las aventuras de Elder McCook y Elder Atencio este semana!

Allow me to start this email with a focus on what happened yesterday (Sunday the 23rd).  It all started at 7am, I was the first person to shower.  I haven’t talked much about our bathroom, but it is very, very small, only big enough to have a sink, toilet and shower.

To have hot water in the shower I would have to turn on the light, turn on another switch that heats the water in the shower head, then turn on the shower by turning the knob to release the cold water, then adjust the knob to have hot water with little to no pressure.
As I was showering I heard an explosion right above my head, my first thought was that it was an electrical problem and I was about to be toasted to death. As I took one big leap to the closed door I looked back at the shower head and it was on fire!  I wanted hot water, but certainly not the fire.

As of right now we have cold water... very cold water to shower.  I asked my comp if this has ever happened to him before in his 20 months in the mission field.  He said that it has never happened and I have bad luck, then he called me Kolipoki (if you don’t get that joke read my blog letter from the week before).

After a great 3 hours of church and seeing some of our investigators and less actives at church.  We returned back to our pentionista’s home for lunch.  She was out of town in Arequipa, luckily there were hamburger patties in the freezer so we ate that with rice of course, but before eating that bomb lunch, my companion was in the kitchen cooking when I noticed a chicken hiding in the bushes.  I simply did what anyone else would do in Peru, I threw a rock at this chicken and it ran away, and revealed to me 6 eggs!  Elder Atencio told me to bring 5 and leave 1.  I did as he told me and I noticed one of the eggs was already cracked and broken, and had a ugly smell to it.  He told me I could go and smash this stinky egg on the floor, but a little ways away to avoid the stench that would arrive soon after.  So as I gave him the 4 eggs and took the cracked egg to go smash it on the ground.  I’m not sure what I was thinking before; I was expecting to see egg yolk or whatever.  But as I smashed it on the ground, there was just red.  Red blood and a little chicken, I felt terrible.  But it was already dead so what could I do?

I asked my companion what he is going to do with the other eggs.  He said put them in the fridge, but then I told him about the little chickens inside the eggs, so we went back to the nest only to discover the mother hen in her home.  It took a while to get her out, but we put the 4 eggs back and now everything is okay.

This is just two events that happened this week, and its days like that when you just got to say "Elder McCook, you are in Peru now"

Elder McCook

Words of the week: mi ducha exploto - my shower exploded 

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014 Picture ~ service project at the Romero home

Service project at the house of la familia Romero!

November 17, 2014 ~ Week 20

I love being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!

Service project at the house of la familia Romero!

So me and Elder Atencio have been working with the familia Romero and this past Saturday we had a service project at their house!  The whole la familia Camana(The Camana Zone) was present and we did 3 hardcore hours of shoveling dirt!  It was hot and the mosquitoes were on the attack but it was so worth it to see them at church the next day!  It was nice to sit with Piter Romero during the classes and help answer his questions.  He also told me a little more about his hand which was nearly cut off. 

He told me that the back of his palm was touching his forearm and it was just dangling by the skin.  Now about 3 weeks after that incident it is a miracle that he has feelings in his fingers and he can barely move them, absolutely incredible!!  He told me that he will go back to Arequipa in 3 weeks for more surgery, at least that’s what the doctor told him.

If you have not seen the movie "The Other Side of Heaven", I recommend it.  We watched it at our branch president’s house after eating guinea pig.  It is about this missionary who goes on a mission to the Togan islands (I think) or somewhere like that.  During his mission his feet are chewed up by rats, no one can pronounce his last name so they call him Kolipoki, and he has a difficult time speaking the language.

It led me to think, and my Chileano companion agreed, that I am the Kolipoki of the mission Arequipa, Peru.

1)       No one can pronounce my name correctly, so I have recently adopted the nickname of Elder Ma Cool people know me as this name and I love being called Elder Ma Cool. Others call me McDonalds, but I like Ma Cool better.
      2)      In this movie Kolipoki was sleeping during the night and as he woke up his feet were bloody, as his companion told him the rats did it, Kolipoki’s excuse was that during the night it was hot and that is why he did not use a blanket.  I have also used the same excuse and a result when I woke up I had mosquito bites, I counted 57 today!
      3)      Of course the language… Spanish is not easy and it is not hard, but the way to know the language is to follow the inspired study programs that have been given to us.

I love the mission, and I love the church, and I love life!

Elder McCook

Words of the week: ¿ Elder Ma Cool - (Elder McCook) ?

November 10, 2014 ~ Week 19

This week in the Mission Arequipa, Peru!  

Elder Atencio and I were able to see la familia Romero!  We have been calling on them once a week, wishing them health, because  Piter Romero has been in the Arequipa hospital. 

On Tuesday morning, as Elder Atencio and I were walking to our pentionista’s house we were able to cross paths with Francisca Romero, wow what a miracle, we had no idea that they were back in town, we were quickly able to talk to her and she agreed that we could visit her and her family later that same day.

So later that day we knocked on the door of the Romero house, Piter answered the door and I was sad to see his entire left arm in a cast.  As we sat and talked he told us that he was in an accident at his construction job and that his left hand was barely hanging on.  Wow that sent goose bumps down my spine.  That was hard to hear, however he wanted us to teach him, we taught about the plan of happiness.  Piter was very excited when we mentioned temples and the sacred ordinances that happen inside, that he can be married for eternity to his wife.  He wanted that, but first we told him that he needs to be married to the law of the land first.

He said that was his goal.  His 3 goals that he wants to accomplish with his family:

1) to be married
2) to be baptized
3) to be married in the temple for eternity.

It was incredible for him to tell us that he wants to be married in December. The Romero family are in my prayers, and that one day they can accomplish all 3 of their goals.

I love this Church and that God has provided a way that we can live with our loved ones forever and ever.

Elder McCook

Word of the week - Tres Metas (Three Goals)

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014 ~Pictures Week 18

Conquering the streets of Camana, one selfie at a time

Rafael Flores and I are gonna conquer Camana!

Yo its that one bird from Aladdin, except he was a little to camera shy to talk!

October 27, 2014 ~ Week 17

This week was really great! 

Days seem to go by very fast and the nights are long, simply because at night the weather is very hot because its summer here in Peru.  As I mentioned before mosquitoes are on the attack and since it is hot in the night the door is left open to help vent the room, but it also allows an entrance for mosquitoes and this morning I counted 27 bites! 

Not a day goes by where I don’t love speaking Spanish, the language is so awesome and it is sweet to hear the natives and to just get by with speaking Spanish!

Transfers are next week so I am unsure if I will remain in Camana or be transferred to another city in mission Peru, Arequipa!  I love Camana so much and it is a tender mercy from the Lord that the feeling of Camana is so much like Tucson.  I’m grateful for the work I could do here as well!

I also had the opportunity this past week to baptize one of the people that Elder Atencio and I were teaching!  9 year old Jesus Condorimay!  He has wanted to be baptized for some time now, and his parents finally gave him permission!  It was great to see a change in their heart!  I love my mission and I love speaking Spanish!

Adios till next week!
Elder McCook

Words of the Week: Cambiar de corazón (Change of Heart) 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pictures October 20, 2014 - Legendary Hermano Salomon

The Legendary Hermano Salomón.  I took a picture with the legendary Hermano Salomón.  Right before the photo he said "hold up let me make myself handsome first".  I think we look flawless in our pink clothes ;)
Also in the photo you will notice how sun-burnt I am.  I will go and buy some sunblock this afternoon.

October 20, 2014 ~ Week 16

Bienvenido a esto email!

As time goes by I feel that my Spanish is improving.  Although I have made but a small dent in the window of the language barrier, I have learned to become a really good listener.  If I do not listen to every word said then I am lost.  In a typical sentence, I can pick up some of the key words and put them together to gather an idea of what the topic of the discussion is.

Also this week me and Elder Garth Hunt (who is currently serving his mission in Mexico) were successfully able to email each other in complete Spanish.  I am thankful for him and for all of those that are supporting us.

It is getting hotter here in Camana, I’m not sure exactly what the temperature is but it is HOT.  Every day is a short sleeve kind of day. 

I have come to learn that summer in Peru can be described into 4 words- attack of the mosquitos.  Today I was able to count 20 bites on my legs :)  But there is another Hermana in my district from California and she counted 37 mosquito bites today!  She said her blood must  taste like dulce (or candy).  I would say my blood tastes like chicken and that is why she has almost double the amount of bites that I have.  Chicken is the main delicacy here in Peru.  Literally every other day we eat chicken.  Yesterday I dodged a bullet- when my pentionista asked if I wanted to eat the foot or the leg of the chicken for lunch…..You already know I replied with the leg.  However I feel that next time I should try the chicken foot.

You know the saying…. when in Peru do as Peruvians do.

Nos Vemos Entonces!
Elder McCook
Words of Week: La Pierna Por Favor (The Leg Please) 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 13, 2014 ~ Week 15

Remember the story of Daniel and the Lions Den from the Bible as you read this weekly letter.

"Be Lion Hearted"  -  Was my favorite quote from General Conference this past week.

General Conference was amazing!!! We all had the opportunity to hear what God wants His children to know.  In another 6 months time we will be able to hear more, but for now I will always remember to "Be Lion Hearted"

Lion Hearted as I wake up every day in a foreign country and speaking a second language with the objective to invite everyone to Come unto Christ.

Lion Hearted as I struggle with the language barrier and am not able to effortlessly express myself.

In this Den of life… God has given us our Lions because he trusts us to be Lion Hearted and not succumb to anything.

Of course it is hard. What would this life be without trials?

We understand peace, because we feel turmoil, Declared Dieter F. Uchtdorf this past General Conference.

As you live your lives remember to Be Lion Hearted in the Den of Life.
Chau till next week
Elder McCook

Words of the week: Be Lion Hearted - Esté Corazón de León

Pictures October 6, 2014 - animals

My mom asked me about the animals in are a few.

October 6, 2014 ~ Week 14

For this weekly letter I would like to talk about one of my investigators, Amelia C.  Amelia is 17 years old and lives in Cusco, Peru (about a 20 hour bus ride from Camana).  I first met Amelia about 2 weeks ago at church.  It was a normal Sunday, and about 60-90 people attend.  So when my companion and I see a new face at church, we introduced ourselves.  Amelia told us that this was her first time attending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that she was attending with her cousin, Nefi.   She is currently living with Nefi because she is studying for school here in Camana.  We then asked if she would like us (the missionaries) to visit her sometime in the week and talk to her more about the Church.  She agreed and a couple of days later Elder Atencio and I had the opportunity to teach her.

During the first lesson the Spirit was very strong, so we asked her if she would like to be baptized.  She happily said yes and agreed to the 18th of October to be her baptismal goal date.  The last time we taught Amelia was the 1st of October, and on that day she told me and my companion that she is going back to her home in Cusco on the 3rd of October and will return to Camana in November.  She asked if she could change her baptism date to November.  We were very excited to hear her say that.  We said our goodbyes and wished her a safe travel to her home in Cusco.  

However she would never take the 20 hour bus ride to Cusco.

A day later Elder Atencio and I received a phone call from a member of the church, who is a family friend of Amelia.  The member told us that Amelia collapsed at home and was rushed to the hospital.  She passed away 15 minutes later.  From what I was told, and what I could comprehend in Spanish; Amelia passed away from Cancer, she had Leukemia and nobody knew that she had Leukemia.

The last lesson that Elder Atencio and I taught her was about the Plan of Salvation and that Families can be together forever. 

Amelia has personally strengthened my testimony that God has a plan for all of us, and that right now Amelia is being taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the next world.

The church is true and people like Amelia make me soooo happy.

Elder McCook

Words of the week: families can live together forever - 
                                (las familias pueden vivir juntos para siempre)

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014 ~ Week 13

So this week I went out and taught with my companion and a youth member Rafael, (the 14 yrs old I have sent pictures of him before).  He is the absolute best.   

So dreaming in your other language is supposed to be the sign of fluency.  Well I`ve been dreaming in Spanish since my second year of taking Spanish in school.  I just have no clue what`s going on, so I need another identifier.  Probably dreaming in Spanish and understanding what people are saying.  Not having a way to effortlessly express myself is killing me.  I`m learning more and more every day, but the whole "there`s nothing you can do except wait" thing  is something I don’t agree with.  I’m working hard and not waiting.

The elections here in Peru are crazy.  There are about 10 people that want to be president of Peru.  It’s hard to explain but those that are running for president do not like the missionaries, because obviously the missionaries cannot vote in the elections so we are not worth their time, but it is very fun to say hello to them in the streets because they will not address the missionaries.  They also have their own songs.  They are pretty much the same and the chorus for one of the songs is "en el cinco de Octubre marca de olla" another song is "marca la casa si si" 

With that being said, the elections in Peru are taken very seriously, so serious to the point where no meetings will be allowed on voting day.  As I mentioned before, voting day is the 5th of October or in other words- general conference.  I AM NOT GOING TO WATCH GENERAL CONFERNCE UNTIL THE 11 AND 12 OF OCTOBER.

A new motto I have come up with is that you cannot stop the word of God.
So when I see someone in the streets I will not let whatever is occupying their attention keep me from saying hello.  Whether it be the phone in their hand or the bill of their cap covering their face.

Love you all…. the church is true.

Familia McCook son lo maximo

Elder McCook

September 29, 2014 ~ Week 13

My zone and I got jerseys with whatever name we wanted!  I picked number 22 because I have 22 months left.  Also I wanted my name on the back to be "McCook".  But the woman that made the jerseys heard "ME COOK"..... gotta love Peru.

Friday, September 19, 2014

September 17, 2014 ~ Week 11

Not a day goes by where I am not amazed by Peru.
What I have done this past week cannot simply be described into an email. 
However, I am willing to try...

This past week me and some of the Elders in my zone did a service project, it was for the kitchen of my pentionista.  As I have said before her kitchen is outside of her house.  It is maybe a 10 by 20 foot straw hut with a concrete floor and tin roof, (but allow me to say, she makes some of the most bomb food I have ever had in my life).  The concrete floor is unstable and has a lot of holes in it.  So for the project we took everything out of her kitchen, and we made cement. In order to make cement, you need gravel, sand, lots of water, and a grey powder (which I assume is the cement in powder form.)  After a half of an hour of mixing all of that with a shovel, the cement was ready to be poured on the floor and smothered and spread by a knife!  Now the kitchen floor is stable and looks pretty nice.

On Sunday I gave a talk in church about la obra misional, (the job of a mission).
Wow!  Translating Spanish to English is difficult.  Almost as hard as trying to write these sentences, I am having to delete a lot because I am typing in English, but in the way that I would say it in Spanish, in other words, I love Spanish.

I think the talk went great for only having a days notice, and it was my first one in my branch!

After Church on Sunday I travelled with my companion and 2 other missionaries by bus and airplane to Lima where we could get our ID cards.  After arriving in Lima at 2am and going to migrations the following morning and landing in Arequipa at 8pm I was emotionally and physically drained.  And at that moment I was told that my companion, Elder Atencio, and the other Latino that we travelled with are still in Lima because they had to go to migrations again the following morning. 

So here we are alone in the airport, me and Elder Andersen who has been my friend since the CCM.  We are in Arequipa with a 3 hour bus ride ahead of us and we have no idea where to find a bus to take us back to Camana.  After a quick prayer, a man called "Obispito" who works for the mission, shows up and takes us exactly where we need to be in order to board a bus back to Camana.

At this point I was really stressed out, but as I took my window seat inside of this 14 seat bus that currently contained 20 people I looked outside and saw the stars, at that moment tears came to my eyes as I realized seeing the stars was a blessing in disguise or in other words a tender mercy from the Lord.  In Camana I have seen the stars at night maybe twice, every night is cloudy and every morning is clear.  But for some reason the stars reminded me of home and what I am here in Peru for. 

I absolutely love my mission so much and after this short time of 2 months I’ve been out, I already know that I will be able to say this has been best 2 years.

!Chao Entonces¡

Elder McCook

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014 Pictures in Camana

At a members house with Rafael and Jose Luis 

Guinea Pig Farms are real!!!

September 8, 2014 ~ Week 10

September 8, 2014

So this week was very interesting, it started off one day when my zone and I went to the Branch President’s house for lunch.  I heard it was going to be BBQ, and I thought not much of it.  But as we arrived at his house we were led into his backyard where he has little cages and huts full of many animals: chickens, ducks, bunnies and guinea pigs!!  I was so surprised!!  We ate Guinea Pig that day for lunch!! 

I saw the way it was prepared, from living- alive and breathing to the way they killed it, cooked it and served it to me on my plate.  It was definitely a very unique experience. Myself and the other elders who were new were freaking out and saying "Welcome to Peru" and "Is this real life?"  It was so insane!

Me and my companion, Elder Atencio have been doing a ALOT of missionary work! 
We have this one awesome family named: Familia Romero.  I love teaching them; they have so many questions, from why are we on earth, where did we come from, where do we go when we die, why do guy missionaries wear ties and girl missionaries wear skirts, can we eat bread, can we listen to music and so many different and deep questions, they are really awesome people!!

One problem though….

Peru has a problem with marriage. A lot of couples are called parejas which means equal.  Or in other words, they are not boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife, just simply equal.  They have been together for 10 years and have a 7 year old son. 

They also have questions about marriage and they are such an awesome young couple!

Elder Atencio and I have also been working with a lot of less active members and it’s amazing to see their attitude change from the first time we talk to them to the next. 

The Church is True!

Elder McCook

Word of the week:    Cuy- Guinea Pig

                                  Actitud- Attitude

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September 1, 2014 Pictures in Camana, Peru

Jose Luis Quispe!  My first baptism!

Kevin Moreano and my companion Elder Atencio!  My second baptism!

My area in Camana.  It is called Habitat.

That's what most of the houses are made of....sticks and dirt.  It is very humbling.


Beach in Quilcad.

Yeah take notes Jadeyn and Sister McCook.

This picture is money!!
At the beach in Quilcad, Peru.

A picture that perfectly describes me and my companion from the CCM. 
Elder Peart.