Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January 26, 2015 ~ Week 30

Changes, changes, changes!

I’m sure that’s not how they say it in the states, but here in Spanish they say cambios, and cambios were yesterday!  I did not get changed!  I am still in Camana and I will be here for another 6 weeks! I’ve been loving life here, preaching the gospel and sharing the light with others for 6 months!   And I’m so happy to be here for another 6 weeks.

A few changes have been made and I haven’t mentioned them yet.  The time here writing just passes by so fast.

I am now district leader here in Camana!  There are two districts and I’m the leader of one of them, I will give training classes every Tuesday and record the number of lessons my district has and I will just have a great ole time!

 I am also the English leader here in Camana, I am in charge of 11 Latinos that need to learn English and they are under my responsibility to learn English.

My companion, Elder Blanco, recently changed his last name to Ramos, which is the last name of his mom.  So in my future letters I will address him as Elder Ramos.

Well in Camana this week we had some swell moments: 

As Elder Ramos and I were walking this past week we saw a middle aged woman doing some really hard yard work. (Try saying that 5 times fast). 
Never refusing an opportunity to serve we asked her if she needed help.  She replied, "No, God has given me sufficient strength, well the true and real God."
Well, that was quite the nice way to respond to someone offering to help.
The woman that said that to us happened to be the woman that told us last week to pray and repent to the virgin.
Elder Ramos asked me why we returned to ask her if she needed help if the very first time we even saw her she told us false doctrine.  I told him that tomorrow is a new day and if we see her again we will ask her to help her again.

I really love the scripture in 1 Nephi 19:9-

And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.

Help others.  Do something great this week.  Do something great, but involve Christ in it.

Elder McCook

Words of the week: ayudar a otros - help others 

January 28, 2014 ~ Week 30 Pictures

I had to say goodbye to one of my day one Elders last night, Elder Andersen, in the past almost 7 months we have seen each other every day.

At the moment this photo was taken I thought on my plate I had some bomb curly fries.  What a let down when I took a bite and my taste buds revealed to me to it was just fish...

I have been living in Peru for 6 months and just realized I don't have a single photo with Inca Kola.
Ask and ye shall receive.

These Vans flip flops have been the guardians of my feet against an unclean world.  I failed to respect my flip flops as I delivered a Messi type of shot to an innocent goal which ripped the latch of my flip flops.  Sad day.
RIP 19 January 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 19, 2015 ~ Pictures

Keeping it real with my zone leaders and the AP 

Bringing Taco Bell to Peru 

January 19, 2015 ~ Week 29

Well after I ended writing last week I left the internet cafe to go and buy some Cremolada with my companion, shout out to Shoobies shaved ice, oh how I miss that right about now, but my Peruvian Cremolada will do.

We then went to the post office to deliver some handwritten letters to the family.  As we waited for the mailman to return from his break, in walked in a nice little old lady, she was maybe 70 years old and was dressed in old style traditional Peruvian clothes.

Allow me to translate our conversation into English..

Me: Hello how are you?
Her: Are you brothers?
Me: um, what?
Her: God hates your church.  He loves my church, he only loves the people in my church.
Me: Oh, what church do you attend?
Her: I am an Israelite.  God only loves Israelites.
Me: Oh, ok.  That’s cool.
Her: He hates you
Me: I’m going to deliver some letters to my family now, are you going to send mail as well?
Her: God only loves Israelites
Me: I’m gonna send a card to my family, are you gonna send a card to your family?

The mailman returned to the post office and I delivered my letters and we were off to continue our day.  It was not the time or the place to talk about the gospel. 
But it made me laugh as I was walking in the street with my companion when some lady told us out of the blue to repent and pray to the virgin.  

There’s a lot of confusion with religion in the world right now, a lot of confused doctrine. 

2 Nephi 27:25 puts it perfectly as written: Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men—

The Holy Ghost testified of the truthfulness of the church of Jesus Christ when I was teaching a family of 3 yesterday as the husband told me that never in his life has he allowed anyone of any religion to enter his house, and during our lesson he felt warm and calm.

The church is true and i love serving a mission.

Elder McCook

Words of the week: serpost -post office

Keeping it real with my zone leaders and the AP 

January 12, 2015 ~ Week 28

This past week me and Elder Blanco had the great opportunity to eat lunch at José Luis and Hermano Salomon’s house.  We weren’t planning on it but after teaching José Luis who was my first baptism, Hermano Salomon’s wife brought out lunch: a plate full of nasty. I tried to make the excuse that we are sick and can’t eat lunch but my defensive systems were down and the Hermana was on the attack so we sat, blessed the food and ate lunch.  It was impossible to escape the plate of rice, lettuce and french fries. In the Mission Arequipa Peru we are not allowed to eat certain food simply because they are not prepared the same way they are in the states.  On this list of food we cannot eat is lettuce, I told this to the sister but she wasn’t having any of it.  We ate lunch and I was unaware of the fact that Elder Blanco was just staring at the food as we ate. 

He told me after we left the house that he wanted to barf.  He couldn’t take the fact that flies were flying, the stench was stenching, and he did not want to eat. 

I didn’t notice the stench or the flies which made me realize that after 6 months of being in Peru I have adjusted!!! 

Made me happy but my happiness was short lived as we went the next couple of days without running water... I hoped my Peruvian cologne and Elder Blanco’s Axe spray protected the noses of our investigators and less actives during our lessons, yet the flies loved it and they would land on us and buzz our ears during the lessons.

Gotta love Peru!

I’m not sure when I first started talking about the Romero family in my blog letters.  I first met them in September in 2014 and this past week the Romero family has made the goal to be married on February 21st and be baptized on the 24th!  We are going to their house tonight to have a family home evening and teach their son, so that he may prepare himself along with his parents for their baptism.

I love the church and families can be together forever!

Elder McCook

Words of the week: I’m adjusted- estoy acostumbrado
                               Flies- moscas  

Monday, January 5, 2015

January 5, 2015 ~ Pictures

Greatest meal of all time in Peru: "Arroz Chufa"  
you got your white rice with some soy sauce, your hot dog some eggs and your vegies.

Yo its that one crab from The Little Mermaid, except he cant talk...

Keeping the McCook tradition alive in Chira, a beach in Camana

January 5, 2014 ~ Week 27

Hola Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Wow this past week was New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and now we are in 2015, that’s so crazy. 

On New Year’s Eve as I anticipated the fireworks that would soon go off in the middle of the night I had to take a moment to just realize how far I have come. I would have never thought a year ago that I would be serving a mission in a foreign country. Yes, I always had a desire to serve a mission and I knew I would eventually be serving one in 2014, but to actually be here and be in the moment the feeling is incredible.

My New Year’s Eve this year was so different. A year ago on December 31, 2014 as a 17 year old kid my worries and thoughts were:
           - The grades on my finals in my school classes
           - how could I wake up at 6:30am to go work at McCook Boiler and Pump Co (when I would go to sleep so late)
           - and of course which girl would I dance with next at the church’s New Year’s Eve dance.

Now as an 18 years old disciple of the Lord, this year my thoughts were directed to the people I am teaching, and how I can address their needs through prayer and scriptures and the Holy Ghost. My mind is focused on them, I love the people I teach, they really are my friends. 

Crazy how times have changed, I guess you will never truly know where you will be a year from now.

But as for me a year from now I will still be serving my mission and sharing the gospel with my friends of Peru.

Elder McCook

Word of the week: Feliz Año Nuevo - Happy New Year

December 29, 2014 ~ Week 26

I have waited for this past week for years, and here we are, the week of Christmas.  It passed by just as quickly as it came.  As I was able to celebrate my first Christmas in Peru it started off with 
FIREWORKS LIKE BOOM, BOOM, BOOM at 12pm midnight.  They continued for half an hour and I really wish I took a video because they were insane but I was so dead asleep in the top bunk to do anything.  Also I received a nice Merry Christmas call from my zone leader at midnight and my half awake, half asleep response was "bro I’m sleeping" I guess some things still haven’t changed...

As Elder Blanco and I woke up in the morning we followed it up with a nice morning run.  It was actually very good!  Not only because the sun wasn’t shining, but because I only had to kick one dog!  Yes you read that correctly, only one.  Oh yeah and the part about the kicking... I’m not talking about the type of kick Messi would deliver to shoot for a goal but I’m not talking about a little tap either, it was somewhere in the middle.  Oh how I love my morning runs in Camana.

After getting ready, la familia Camana (our zone) went to the church for a Christmas breakfast of french toast and chocolate milk.  A big shout out to the maple syrup that doesn’t exist in Camana... but I was able to eat my french toast with butter and condensed milk.  You all should try it and realize how amazing it is.  Then tell your friends that Elder McCook told you.

As time drew closer and closer for the ever anticipating video chat call to my parents through Skype, I arrived to the church 45 minutes before the scheduled call only to discover no Wifi!  No camera!  And me and my companion were the only ones in the church.  Merry Christmas... after some quick phone calls I was able to Skype my parents, and I was only 20 minutes late to call them!  Gotta love Peru!

 Elder Blanco and I were able to close the night with a family home evening with a family of 5 where the husband is the only person who is not a member.  We watched some great videos from the bible made by the church and we had a great night!

Love you all and I hope you were able to remember Christ this Christ mas

Elder McCook

Words of the week: lets break down the word Christmas.  You got CHRIST and you got MAS well Christ refers to Jesus Christ and mas is Spanish for more.  So in reality you are saying “more Christ” :)