Thursday, December 10, 2015

December 7, 2015 ~ Week 75 ~ Pictures

Bringing Disneyland to Peru.
A sister in my ward made the Nemo beanie for me.
 (and he's got a little fin too).

With President Zobrist and the Christmas tree at the mission

home.

Two sister missionaries from Ecuador!  Their traditional

clothes are 
pretty sweet!!


Duverli right before his baptism!!  Our ward mission

leader baptized him! :)



Selfie after the baptism!!

Elder Pascual and I after the mission council meeting

December 7, 2015 ~ Week 75



Huntendo finished this week off with 0 confirmations and 4 rescues.  However, there were two baptisms.  They weren’t confirmed because Saturday and Sunday was filled with Stake Conferences.
     
Duverli is 19 years old, he was one of the first people I had met when I got to Hunter in September.  We meet Duverli because a member showed us to him.  The first appointment was interesting because Duverli did not believe in God.  Until we taught him how to pray and have a relationship with his Father in Heaven.
           
Me and my companion went the day before his baptism to go buy a cake and soda for his baptism at the store I saw some candy called Chin Chins that look like M &M’s so I
bought them and when I opened them, and grabbed a handful they tasted like dirt, worst rip off
M &M’s I have ever eaten...

English Stories:
           
I saw this tall English looking guy with a beard in our area and we made eye contact and I asked if he spoke English.  He said "not a bit".  It made me laugh.
           
Elder Lorensen, Elder Olsen (who is a good friend from Camana but is now in our zone) and  I were in the center of Arequipa at this plaza called “The Plaza de Armas”, and we
were just roaming, and this old man who looked like doctor eggman from the Sonic the Hedgehog series came up to us and told us in Spanish "hello my American friends from Joseph Smiths army" Elder Lorenzen told him that we aren’t American and I told her that we weren’t from Joseph Smiths army either, the man asked us well where were we from, Elder Lorenzen told him we were from Germany and I said we were from Jesus Christ, (pointing to His name on our plaque). The old man was so confused as we said our byes.
           

So with the Christmas season upon us, the church has started a new Christmas initiative. It is called, “A Savior is Born”There is a video involved with this initiative as well and it is
excellent. This really is such a great time to take a minute and reflect on this past year. Go watch the video and pray that you and I will have many missionary moments to share with a stranger about Christ this Christmas.


Elder McCook

November 30, 2015 ~ Week 74



My pentionista, as I have mentioned in the past is kind of new, but what she can’t seem to understand is that I like to eat breakfast as a king, lunch as a knight, and dinner as a peasant.
I have told her this before but she just piles the food on top of food, like "would you like some more lunch with your lunch that you have not finished?"

So when I say “sorry sister I couldn’t finish”’ her and her husband tell me I’m going to get sick because I’m skinny.
 I’ve gained like 20 pounds in the mission, I’m not sure what else to ask
for ha-ha.  But then when we visit people, they ask me how I stay so fit and they
do not believe that eating healthy is a way to maintain your body form.

It’s funny.  Arequipa members are pretty interesting because it was never like this in Camana or Mollendo.


So this last November week Huntendo had 2 confirmations and 9 rescues  to finish up November with 11 confirmations and 18 rescues. That’s wonderful.  


 Elder McCook



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 16, 2015 ~ Week 72 ~ Pictures

The Huntendo Zone
We had our zone conference this past week.
28 awesome missionaries

Star Wars 7 selfie.  Who in their world is Kyro Ren?

Selfie after Andres baptism!!
U of A tie because its game day

Andre posed with his mother, at his baptism!!

November 16, 2015 ~ Week 72



Huntendo finished up this past week with 3 confirmations and 1 rescue.  Andre our investigator was baptized, he is the only member from his family but his cousins are members and they introduced us to Andre about 2 months ago.  Andre has been attending church every single week.

Changes were this past week and we had about 9 changes just from our zone and so this whole morning we have been busy with sending
missionaries to their new areas.


Beardown

Elder McCook

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November 9, 2015 ~ Week 71 ~ Pictures

Casual locuras in the tourist stores in Arequipa.

November 9, 2015 ~ Week 71





This past week La Zona Huntendo finished off the second 
week of November with 0 confirmations and 5 rescues.

Andre was supposed to be baptized this past Saturday but 
couldn’t do it because he was working and he says he wants to be baptized on a Saturday evening so he choose the date for this upcoming weekend.
                                                                                                                                                            
We had a rescue, his name is Douglas, he is 13 years old 
and he lives with his grandma and she is active, his mom 
is less active but we are still trying to even get an appointment with her.

This past week we also went to the mission house with the 
rest of the Zone Leaders and Sister Leaders to have a mission council meeting in which this Tuesday we will report to 
the whole zone and have a zone council meeting.  
28 missionaries plus lunch it will be awesome.
                                                                                                                                                

Transfers are on Saturday.

Yesterday at church all the people that went to the temple 
for the first time got to share their testimony, it was nice.

Elder McCook

November 2, 2015 ~ Week 70



Huntendo finished off the first week of November with 2 confirmations and 2 rescues.

On Sunday I turned 16 months old in the mission, I think I’ll go buy a Vanilla Coke to celebrate.  My companion turned 22 months old today, but he hasn’t been talking about going home much, he just asks for my advice about situations he thinks he will face once he goes back home.  It’s been fun getting to know him.

Andre wants to get baptized on Saturday, he passed his interview and he’s an awesome man in search of Jesus Christ’s Church.

Our ward drove 17 hours in a bus to get to Lima to go to the temple.  They left on Friday and came back Sunday in the evening.  There were only 44 members at church for that reason and the Bishop was the only one on the stand.

A handful of our rescues and converts went to the temple for the first time to do baptisms.  Also a convert family went to go and be sealed!!!  We are going to go visit them this week to go see how it was, but from what we have heard from the members who were in their session is that
the husband and wife were absolutely in love that day, hand in hand.

I sent a picture a couple of weeks back of the husband, remember Marcos?  He went to be sealed and to also baptize for his family.

The church is true, families are forever.


Elder McCook

October 26, 2015 ~ Week 69 ~ Pictures

The weather is changing in Arequipa!!

This is Mount Misty 

October 26, 2015 ~ Week 69




Having yesterday be the last Sunday in October the best zone in the world; Huntendo finished up October with 6 confirmations and 17 rescues.
Elder Pascual and I had a rescue this past week as well, her name is Irina, she’s awesome.

We also travelled over to Mollendo this past week to see how the District leaders are doing over there.
Elder Pascual was in a trio in one area, and I got to hit up my old area with Elder Agudelo and the district leader Elder Franco.  It was funny because whenever the door was opened for our appointments the member or investigator would ignore the missionaries and just be so happy that I came on down, they were surprised.

Yesterday there was a special regional conference only for Peru and Bolivia, Elder Andersen from the Quorum of the Twelve and other General Authorities gave talks through a live satellite transmission.  The talks were great, however, I liked my Stake President’s talk the most.  President Molero is one of the most powerful Peruvian members I have ever met.  At the end of the month every month we meet up with him and President Zobrist, the Stake Mission Leader, and the Stake Family History leader.


This Saturday is Halloween; I’ve been trying to look for a plastic bloody arm that I could use but I haven’t had any luck yet. (Dad edit – it was the best costume ever for Halloween when Skye was 12.  We tied a plastic bloody arm on his chest and he carried around a plastic hatchet with fake blood everywhere.  I waited 12 years to be able to do that and the wife/daughters were out of town so they couldn’t stop us!)

Elder McCook

October 19, 2015 ~ Week 68 ~ Pictures




Ya boy Elder McCook is killing it out here in Arequipa, that


 the 
church has started to produce Elder McCook action

figures!!


(NOT TRUE, this is a one of a kind toy a member made for

me)

This is the whole product that a Sister made for me
,

It is a pictures frame and in the middle I can put a photo!!


La Gran Zona Huntendo.  28 fantastic missionaries



Mollendo October 2015





Olive baptized his best friend and our old investigator

Alessandro this 
past week!!

Selfie right after the baptism!!

Every Saturday I wear the Gran U of A tie

cause Saturday is game day and baptism day












October 19, 2015 ~ Week 68


The Gran Zona Huntendo finished the week with 4 confirmations and 6 rescues.

On Tuesday 16 of us headed over to meet the other 12 missionaries in Mollendo, for training, we do that once a month. I loved it.  Not a long blog letter this week, I spent too much time sending pictures over the very  s…l...o...w...  internet, so enjoy them.


Ciao,

Elder McCook

October 12, 2015 ~ Week 67 ~ Pictures

Marcos, will be going to the temple at the end of the month,

for his 
own sealing and to be baptized for his father

Cristian's birthday lunch

October 12, 2015 ~ Week 67


So la gran zona de Huntendo finished up the week with 0 confirmations and  7 Rescues!!

Elder Pascual and I had an eventful week, we have been helping a lot of members do their temple work, so its sweet, there’s a Peruvian man who is in charge of the family history work for the Hunter Stake and he and his wife lived in Utah for 20 years and now they live here and
they are awesome, he is working with President Zobrist and with the whole Hunter Zone to get our converts and rescues to go to Lima in the beginning of December, right when they put the temple lights up.  They will be going to the temple and bringing their own names!!!
Our goal is to fill up 2 buses of 54 people each (so 108 altogether)!!
The Hunter stake will be an example for the entire area because no other zone in Arequipa or in any other mission has ever done something like this in Peru, so it’s a lot of pressure but what we need to do is get the converts and rescues to fill up their “My Family” booklets.  If they do that and print their names, they get to go to Lima for free, and just maybe us missionaries will get to go to Lima with them as well.

This past week we had our mission conference as well and it was awesome to be able to see all my old friends again.  Elder Pascual and I have our work cut out for us, we are so excited to work with Mollendo now, we are the only zone in Arequipa that is working with another zone that is outside of Arequipa.


Tomorrow we will be heading out to Mollendo to have our zone conference with all 28 missionaries.  It’s going to be sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet.


Elder McCook

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October 5, 2015 ~ Week 66 ~ Pictures

Elder Pascual and I helped the Navarro family with a

fundraiser, I was 
in charge of coating the chicken in flour.
I am a pro.



We had a sweet family home evening with the Navarro

family, and their 
son in the middle is preparing to go to Piura

in Peru for his 
mission. 


They invited us to the lunch... I love Black

Socosani, its like coke but Peruvian.


October 5, 2015 ~ Week 66




Thanks for all the Disneyland pictures, all the Latin missionaries want me to take them to Disneyland when I get back home, I tell them to learn English first then I’ll take them.  Seems like a pretty good tradeoff to me.

After conference Saturday night there was a baptism.  Afterwards we got the changes, and what happened is that the mission Arequipa, Peru went from 15 zones, to 9.   A lot of zone leaders are now district leaders or senior companions, but I’ll continue as a Zone Leaders with my companion, however instead of being 16 missionaries in our zone, we are now 28.  We combined with Mollendo, yeah that’s right, my old zone!  I was there for 6 months as a district leader and I’m so excited to be with them and get to work with the whole zone this time.  There are no Zone Leaders in Mollendo, just 2 district leaders and then 2 district leaders over here in Hunter.  We will be working a lot with the District Leaders as were not able to go to Mollendo every week (3 hours bus ride.  I use to say to President Zobrist, that he has got to look out for the Hunter Zone, (cause we on the up and up) but now I tell him to look out for HUNTENDO.  That’s the names of Hunter and Mollendo combined.

Love y’all

Elder McCook

September 28, 2015 ~ Week 65



As September comes to a close the great zone hunter finished up the week with 1 confirmation and 2 rescues to finish up the month with 6 confirmations and 9 rescues...

On Monday Elder Lorenzo and I were just roaming through the Plaze de Armas, the Plaza de Armas is actually a super touristy place and I feel like I see gringos all the time and I just want to say “hi” but
then I overhear them talking in Swedish or something so I can’t really say “hi”.

We were roaming and this American couple said “hello Elders!” That took us by surprise, so we got to chatting and they are the Marriott’s and the husband served his mission in Arequipa sometime in 2000 and ever since the Arequipa temple date was announced they decided to move over here to Peru and wait for it.  In the meantime they own a bakery place with pizza and burgers and donuts.
They live right across the street from the only Family History Center in the whole mission and it turned out great because we had a Family History and learning English training this past Thursday for the zone missionaries, so with permission from President and with everyone in the zone bringing money, we got to eat pizza and had the best donuts of 2015.  Sweet maquina these things were so good, and the last time I ate  donut was almost over a year ago...

Thank you Brother and Sister Marriott!
During this training we learned how to help the members send names to the temple and how to do their families history.  There is now a new church program on how to learn English.  It’s a super sweet program and if I was born speaking Spanish and wanted to learn English I would learn English.

My companion on the other hand is a pretty funny Peruvian.  He doesn’t have any motivation to learn English and so it’s kind of awkward when people ask him if he has learned it yet and he says no.  Being bilingual
is so cool.  The other day I was talking on the phone in English then I hung up and started speaking Spanish. que padre.

I’m stoked for this weekend with the General Conference sessions that will be going on.  Oh yeah the ironic part about being a missionary is
that you are always the last one to find out if an apostle passed away.

This week is changes and president Zobrist said that there will be a bunch of changes.  That will be awesome!!

Elder McCook



September 21, 2015 ~ Week 64 ~ pictures

Sunday morning baptisms in the zone!!

Sweet waterfall pic

Casual hawk picture

Edgar Herrera (one of my old investigators from March)

got baptized 
2 weeks ago!

I had the opportunity to go to his service because the

missionaries in 
my zone baptized him!

I'm not sure what this is but I wanted a picture with it

September 21, 2015 ~ Week 64



La Gran Zona Hunter finished the week off with 2 confirmations and 5 rescues! ¡sweet style!

Let’s start with Monday.  After writing we headed out to go and wait for a private bus which would pick us up and we would tour Arequipa.  The bus showed up and only had 12 seats... we have a total of 16 people in this zone..( I’ve noticed as a zone leader that if something like that then it’s always the zone leader’s fault).
After thinking what we could do, all the Latin missionaries bailed out on the tour so us gringos had a sweet time touring Arequipa.  That’s where my pictures come from.

Tuesday I went on divisions with an Elder to figure out the desires of some of his eternal investigators.  I don’t really have any stories about that however that night we agreed to do some sweet service in the morning.  Now in my mission I have made cement, sanded walls, and painted them too, I’ve moved loads of dirt but what we did was the hardest thing in my entire mission.  We show up at 6 in the morning to a forest and this dude is using an electric chain saw to chop down trees and then chop the bark.  Our job was to put the bark on our backs and walk it over to the truck.  We did that for two hours, I was actually surprised I could do it.  In the missionary handbook it says not to do service that will tire you out for the rest of the day.  After the project it was fun to work, but what was bugging me was all the bug bites I received on my legs.  It was like Camana all over again....

Sunday I gave a surprise talk but it was awesome and it makes me so happy for when I get back home and will give talks in church cause I used to be so nervous but now it’s not so bad.  Elder Pascual and I had a sweet week and sacrament meeting was awesome.  In the morning the Sister missionaries had 2 baptisms and then church started.  I was so excited with how many people came to church and that are investigating the church or are less active and are coming back.  In the evening our Bishop invited us to go to a funeral of a sister who was super active but as she got sicker went less active, and she passed away yesterday.  

Straight after the funeral we went with the bishop and other people to go and give a blessing in a hospital to this sister who on my first Sunday here would call me Bishop McCook.  apparently I look like a
Bishop... idk she’s 79 and a super sweet lady who has also been strong in the gospel despite being the only member in all of her family.  It was the first time in my whole mission going inside of a hospital and it was like the very first episode from the walking dead. There are patients and beds in the hall way and there are about 7 sick patients per room.  We eventually found her and gave her a blessing.  It was my first time doing that and I didn’t feel uncomfortable, but people were looking at us ever since we stepped foot in that hospital, I wasn’t too sure if they were looking and my arm or my missionary atire.  Either way it was an interesting experience.

Love y’all, all of y’all

Elder McCook





Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 14, 2015 ~ Week 63



Well I’m over here writing right now in the internet cafe and that Elder that is from my MTC group in Lima after our first fast Sunday in the MTC told me "hey we only have 23 fast Sundays left".
Now 14 months later he happens to be in my zone and this morning he tells me that our mission is pregnant and that we only have 9 months left because today is the 14th of September and we finish the 14th of June...

Well alrighty then… last Sunday this sister brought her cousin to church and during fast and testimony meeting he could feel the church was true, at least that is what he told us as he accepted the baptismal date of the 26th of September.  Please pray for Andre.

I gave a talk yesterday, it was sweet because I picked the topic.  I chose to talk about Family Search and the little My Family pamphlet that the church has created.  It was a sweet topic because the Tucson temple ground breaking date has been announced and the Arequipa date has not yet been announced.  But the date is coming; I know I will see the ground breaking during my mission.

The zone finished this past week with 1 confirmation and 1 less active rescued.
I’d say one of the harder parts about being a Zone leader would be trying to satisfy 16 people. But yeah I’m happy and its awesome :)


See ya
Elder Mccook

September 7, 2015 ~ Week 62 ~ Pictures

My companion, Elder Pascual, from Piura, Peru.

Elder McCook
Hunter,Peru Arequipa 2015

La Zona Hunter 2015 


Happy birthday to Elder Searle :D

Noemy, got confirmed yesterday, she is an awesome convert!!

September 7, 2015 ~ Week 62



The Hunter Zone had the sweet results of 2 confirmations and 1 less active rescued.

There was another baptism but he wasn’t able to be confirmed yesterday.  Perhaps you may not remember Edgar Herrera, Elder Alvey and I were teaching him in March in Matarani, I attended his baptism two days ago!!  The Elders in my zone are teaching him!!  Ill send a photo out next week of his baptismal service. 
I love being zone leader, this past week Elder Pascual and I had the best numbers that I have ever had in my whole mission.  It’s truly amazing how missionary work can advance with the HELP OF THE WARD.  We  went on splits 4 times last week with members.  I have never done that in my entire mission, the members just gives excuses, like yeah I understand that they have to work but really all the members ever did over here in Hunter last week was accompany us for 2 hours.

I’m so excited for what’s gonna be going down over here in Hunter.  If I had an iPhone I would insert the emoji of the smiley face with black sunglasses and a smirk on his face.

I sent pictures of an overview of my area, of an investigator that we are teaching that got baptized and confirmed, and of the zone in Hunter...


Lesssss go

Elder McCook

Thursday, September 3, 2015

August 31, 201 ~ Week 61 ~ Pictures

The stake relief society dance activity

HUNTER, AREQUIPA PERÚ

My CCM group along with President and Sister Zobrist because we all
finish our missions together!!

Selfie game with the clique

A photo of the missionaries that are from my MTC group that are now
zone leaders in the mission

August 31, 2015 ~ Week 61




After a 3 hour hotter then Tucson, Arizona bus ride I arrived in Arequipa where my companion found me and took me to our room.  We live on the 3rd floor of a member-owned apartment complex.  We actually have real dumbbells in there so it’s great to not actually have to use my study chair to work my bicep.
The relationship that we have with our pentionista is of that of a contractor and not a mom, we eat separate from the family but I told my companion that before the transfer ends we will be eating with the family.

Everyone here is so direct with asking about what happened to my arm, members and non members, everyone thinks that it was an accident instead of a birth defect, but the husband of our pentionista who is the 1st counselor in the stake was impressed when he challenged me to tie my own tie.  Ha, child’s play, I’ve been doing that for years…

Bishop Stevenson who is the presiding bishop of the church visited the mission this past week; he focused on the importance of declaring your testimony and also about 2 Nephi 2.  The whole mission got together that day and it was nice to see everyone.  My MTC group took a picture together along with our mission president as he will be finishing his mission with us next year.

That same night the zone leaders and sister leaders headed over to the mission house for what would be part one of our mission council meeting.  Saturday morning we finished the meeting, it was such a great spirit there and I’m so happy that I am with Elder Pascual and that we have 16 missionaries in our zone.

After the meeting, in the afternoon we headed over to the church for a stake activity where the 6 wards danced to traditional dances and music, it was a nice activity.

On Sunday we headed over to our ward. We live right next to the church and it started at 9am and there was an attendance of about 75 people.  It’s a different feeling being in a ward and a stake, our chapel is huge and its going to be fun time over here, in HUNTER, AREQUIPA.

Bye

Elder McCook

August 24, 2015 ~ Week 60 ~ pictures

Handstands on the beach.
The zone had to say goodbye to 2 really great elders.  It was a sad day.

Had to say goodbye to my awesome pentionista,
Mama Liz.



Goodbye party at Matarani.






Friday, August 28, 2015

August 24, 2015 ~ Week 60



First things first, congratulations to my sister, Madyson McCOOK for finishing her mission in Florida and for returning home with honor.  I love you so much, thank you.

Changes, changes, changes (Transfers)

I am going to Arequipa to a zone called Hunter to be a zone leader with Elder Pascual from Peru.


I remember when I arrived to Matarani; I did not like it, at all.  But in 6 months with all confidence I can say that I am leaving this zone, my district, my branch and my companion better then when I found them.

Yesterday Matarani had its branch conference, so I was not able to give a farewell talk but in the end of the conference they announced that they will be doing a goodbye party for me at 5.  Due to Peru time the party started at 6 and it was incredible, I was so surprised by how many people showed up.  We sung a hymn and had a prayer and then everyone got up to say some words about me and to just share their feelings about me.  It was one of the most special hours of my life because I just had people that I had come to love just share powerful feelings about someone like me.

I was crying within minutes.

In the end I gave a short talk and I shared a scripture that I shared for my very first talk in the branch 6 months ago.  It’s in the book of Jacob:
“I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream"

Madyson, I know your mission passed by - as if it were a dream, my time in Matarani sure did.


Now the Lord has called me to Arequipa to find someone and help them.  Thank you for those of you who are still with me.


Love you.

Elder McCook