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.

September 1, 2014 ~ Week 9

So this week was absolutely amazing. 

This past week, all 230 missionaries in the Arequipa, Peru mission traveled to Arequipa for a special devotional, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles was presiding and he gave an amazing talk!

Before the talk we had the opportunity to shake his hand, ALL 230 missionaries.  We only had 5 to 10 minutes to accomplish this.  When I went to shake his hand he said to me "Elder McCook, I am proud of you."  The feeling could never and WILL never be forgotten!
He truly is an Apostle of God.

Also 2 of my investigators got baptized on the 30th and the 31st of August. I had the opportunity to baptize one of them! His name is Jose Luis Quispe, he is 16 years old! The feeling was amazing!  Also Kevin Moreano who is 9 years old was baptized as well!

Today also marks that I have been serving on a mission for 2 months!  Time really does fly.  My Spanish is still sloppy but it is amazing to think that I have been living in another country and speaking a second language for the past 2 months.

Word of the week: Pecado- sin
                            Pescado- fish
(Yes, accidentally I have said that our fish can be made clean through the atonement of Christ...)


Elder McCook

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August 25, 2014 Pictures in Camana, Peru

Pictures of me and my companion in Camana, Peru.

August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014 ~ Week 8

Week 8
August 25, 2014

So some more details:  my area is Camana.  It is the same name as the city.  There are 14 missionaries in my zone: 6 in my district and 8 in the other.  In my district there is Elder Stay, Atencio and Andersen.  Andersen is one of my really good friends from the CCM so we are pumped to be with each other.  Also there is Hermanas Waldren and Garcia, they are absolutely the best.

The money exchange rate is 2.7 - 3 Nuevo soles for every 1 American dollar.  I always buy this package of cookies called Casinos, they cost 2.19 Nuevo soles. And they come in packages of 24.  It is such a steal.  American name brand food items are still the same price as in America.  Skittles are 4 soles… in other words $1.20 in the US, I think.  And toothpaste is so expensive.  18 soles or $6 in the US and I’m 100% positive couponing doesn’t exist so yeah that part is lame.  So please send toothpaste and skittles :)

Inka Kola is the bomb, and Coca Cola is too, but they are expensive compared to the knock off brands of Oro and Kola real.  I also drink Sporade which is Peru’s version of PowerAde or Gatorade I guess.  But it is very good. 

This Thursday my district and I are going to Arequipa for a special devotional, NEIL L ANDERSEN will be speaking, I am so pumped.

So the 30th will be the baptism of Jose Luis, I am not sure who will baptize him, either me or my companion.  On the 31st of August, after church Kevin will be baptized too!  We are hoping for Nefi to be baptized that same day too, but Nefi comes from a part member family, him and his younger brother are the only members.  So we need to get parental permission before we can do anything. 

But all is well in Camana!

Word of the week- Arizona (Arizona)
                            narisona (big nose)

Yes I have accidently said that I am from big nose

Chao Elder McCook

August 18, 2014 ~ Week 7

Week 7
August 18, 2014

This week was amazing!

Last Tuesday, on August 12th, I and 29 other missionaries flew from Lima, Peru to Arequipa, Peru.  After finding our luggage we met with the president of our mission, President Zobrist.

We took a tour bus, where several experienced missionaries told us some information about Arequipa and took us to around the city as well.

After the tour we ate lunch and then President Zobrist read a list of missionaries who would not be in Arequipa for the first 3 months of their mission.  I was on that list!

I am currently in Camana, Peru; it looks exactly like Tucson, Arizona except it has a beach!  I am in Camana with 11 other missionaries, 3 of which friends from the Missionary Training Center. 

My companion’s name is Elder Atencio. He has been in the mission field for 17 months!  He is from Chile and knows some English but we mainly communicate is Spanish.  He is the absolute best.  We live in a one room- one bathroom apartment.  We also have a pensionista.  A pensionista is someone who will cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for us and will wash and dry our cloths.  We pay her a monthly amount (called pencion in Spanish), hence, pencionista!  Our pencionista is a member of the church and her name is Betty, but we call her Mama Betty!  So when we eat, we go to Mama Betty’s house, which is about 500 yards from where we live. 

Elder Atencio and I live a little outside Camana.  So if we need to go into town we would use a mototaxi.  A mototaxi is a motorcycle with 3 wheels and it has a little caboose on the back half of the bike that can seat 3 people.  I love it!

My first week was awesome!  Elder Atencio and I asked 3 of the people we were teaching if they would be baptized, and they all said yes!  Their names are Jesus (9 yrs. old) Kevin (11 yrs. old) and Jose Luis (16 yrs. old).  The baptism dates will be on August 30th and the 31st! I’m super excited! 

Word of the week: Camana es el maximo- Camana is the best


Elder McCook