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