Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February 23, 2015 ~ Pictures

There's quite the difference between cutting carrots and cutting onions.

Carrots: Guns flexed, looking good for the camera.

Onions: tears, just tears... 

Matching jerseys with my son!

February 23, 2015 ~ Week 34

It’s always fun every Sunday bringing Brother Salomon to church. Seriously, if he can load himself with one foot into the van and exit the van with our help and be rolled into sacrament meeting, then anyone can go to church.  It is always fun to see that after sacrament meeting, I take him to the next class, Gospel Principals and then I set up the chairs.  I always put him in the front row, and I briefly leave to go and do other things. Upon returning, I see that Brother Salomon always seems to scoot himself to the back row.  What a funny man, however what was shocking for me was when we took him back home and rolled him to his backyard he asked me to fill up a cup full of water, there was no water around but I just saw a bucket of dirt liquid, he asked me to fill up the cup, never refusing the opportunity to serve I filled up the cup thinking he was gonna wash his hands or something but he chugged that thing in like 2 seconds.

We had interviews this past week with the mission president, President Zobrist.  He started off by saying that I should “buy my lot here in Camana”, it’s a Peruvian slang term which means that on March 8th (cambios), I’ll be transferred to another area. 

It’s been a sweet 7 1/2 months here.  Pretty crazy that next week I will have been in the mission field 8 months.

President Zobrist also complimented me with my Spanish in the end of the interview by saying that when I return in 2 years people will ask me where in Argentina did I serve my mission?  Since my companion is Argentinian, I've picked up the accent.  It’s pretty sick, I like talking like an Argentino but I don’t want to look like a poser, it kind of just stuck on me because of my companion.

Oh yeah its funny cause in my time with Elder Atencio I lost 3 kilos or like 7 pounds. 
But with my time with Elder Ramos I have gained 7 kilos, that’s like 16 pounds!!

See ya next week!!

Elder McCook

Words of the week:  cup - baso
                                 church - iglesia

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 16, 2015 ~ Pictures

Hand washing our clothes because Mama Bethy went on vacation for a little while.

Doing some District Leader stuff, but first lemme take a selfie.

One of our investigators drew a sweet self portrait of me, she wanted the face of a model and not my 32 teeth...
¿De quien de quien? 
Elder McCook papa 

February 16, 2015 ~ Week 33

So last week after writing, Elder Ramos and I wanted to go and find some futbol jerseys.  We went with Elder Estela from Chiclayo, Peru and his comp Elder Zibetti who is my friend from the CCM. We walked into a store and everything was just expensive, after throwing up the deuces we were walking in the market when a man and his business companion had all four doors to their car open and were selling futbol jerseys for dirt cheap.  Cristiano Ronaldo would be proud that I bought his jerseys for the equivalent of 4 American dollars.  Elder Ramos and I bought matching jerseys.

A few nights ago as we were preparing for bed, fireworks went off about 30 feet from our room, Elder Ramos was surprised when he told me that it is not my birthday yet, and there are fireworks. These fireworks continued for about 5 minutes, then started the loud music and loud voices, it woke up our neighbor and so we asked her why they are having a party over there.  She explained that Habitat has parties every weekend, and every weekend is a different holiday for Habitat. This past week it was the birthday of the street called Villa Linares.  All the neighbors were having a swell old time.

On Saturday the counselor of the branch called me to ask if I would give the talk the following day at church, without time for me to ask for a topic, the call ended.  Elder Ramos asked me what I was going to share, I told him of the promise in Doctrine and Covenants 84:85, and that in the moment I would know.

That Sunday morning I walked up to the pulpit with my Book of Mormon and Bible and just opened my mouth.  It was a little awkward at first simply because I am now speaking Spanish like an Argentino, which is totally different from the way Peruvians talk.  And even Elder Zibetti my CCM homie is jealous of the way I talk.  Thanks to my companion "El Che" Elder Ramos, from Argentina.

I started my talk with the scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 84:85 and told them that I have been watching the branch and attending the branch for the past 7 months and now as I stand before them today and it is 9:47am that the Lord will give me the words they need to hear.
The Lord as always fulfilled His promise and I received many positive compliments from the members.

After giving the talk I thought I could just go throughout the meetings and help my investigators and less actives that are in attendance, however after the sacrament meeting the branch president asked if I and Elder Ramos could teach the class Gospel Principals, pretty sweet, 5 minute notice.  Before the class could even end, the elder quorum president asked if I and Elder Ramos would teach the Elders Quorum class that was about to start.  Pretty sweet, another 5 minutes notice.  It was pretty much a McCook and Ramos show yesterday as we participated by teaching in all of the meetings and classes.

The rama Camana has lots to change before it can progress.  They have an attitude of "missionaries do this, do that"
I love service, but it would be nice to establish a house of order.

Also yesterday I ate my very last Blue raspberry Baby Bottle Pop.
So if you happen to read this letter, send some ASAP to:

Elder McCook
Av Ejercito 710
OF. 702 (Edificio El Peral)
YanaHuara, Arequipa

Nah, I joke but, yeah.


Elder McCook

Words of the week:  
The Book of Mormon- El libro de Mormon
The Lord always fulfills his promises - El Señor cumplí siempre con sus promesas 

February 9, 2015 ~ Week 32

This week was a good one, however with my new responsibility as district leader I am finding moments when some missionaries just don’t want to be obedient.

Elder Ramos and I had a great week however.  I am learning more and more about one of the greatest gifts God has given his children.  Albedrio or in English, agency - which is the power that we have to be able to chose what we want.

People will use their agency to obey or disobey, missionaries will use their agency to obey or disobey.

As missionaries we are not perfect but you know what is?  The message we have to share, so if you see some missionaries ask them what that message is.  Because the message is perfect and will answer every question you have about God and His work and His Glory.

In this photo it is of me and my pentionista mama Bethy.  You will notice she is holding a cake, because it is her birthday.  Mama Bethy is one of the most charitable, loving people I know.  For her birthday she made us all breakfast, lunch, dinner and made the dessert, she also fulfilled her other responsibilities as a pentionista as well.

If you will look closer you will see the scratch on my left arm, story time!

On Wednesday we went with our young men’s president to go and teach his niece (she is 16 and less active and we as missionaries cannot teach her alone, it would be inappropriate and uncomfortable so we went with the uncle to go teach her).  We showed up to her door as a surprise, and we couldn’t enter because she was busy.  So we just talked to her for a bit outside of her door.  I was standing up on a hill looking down into the house and my left arm was posted on a cement block that acted as a wall for the house, however the cement block was not very tall but yeah I was just chilling and talking.  Then the uncle told her to go and get some grapes, (she brought us some really good grapes) however while she left to go retrieve them I put my weight on the cement block and the rocks under my feet slipped out and I almost fell, but Elder Ramos caught me.  Falling on us though was the cement block!!  Elder Ramos and the president of the young men used their shoulders to stop the block from falling and I scratched my arm.
It’s funny because the scratch was hot and burning…. but during our following lessons I couldn’t feel the pain, only before and after the lessons.  During the lessons, when we were speaking of salvation, no pain.  Something special about this work.

Ask the missionaries about the message they have, if you’re a member or not, we all need to charge our spiritual batteries when we are running dry.

Have a great week!
Elder McCook

words of the week:
agency- albedrío
grapes- uvas 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February 2, 2015 ~ Week 31

I turned 7 months yesterday in the mission field and Elder Ramos turned 2 months.  We are gonna celebrate by trying to search for donuts.  It’s been a long 7 months without a single chocolate glazed, but with how Camana is, I doubt if we will find one. 

This past week was pretty fun; it was the very first time I have ever given a special prayer for a boat.  After having a family home evening with some of the people we teach they told us that the husband was going to start his new summer job which is to give tour guides over in the beach of Quilca, I have sent pictures of the beach before.

It’s summer here in Camana or in other words straight up apostasy, I thought the states were pretty bad with what people choose to wear when the temperature rises but here in Camana… yikes.  The people here are not very pleasing to the eye.  It’s quite the joke between missionaries to say that Camana is an apostasy. 

As for missionaries in the summer, it’s a little different.  My missionary tan lines have reached a lobster color kind of red.  I would say my skin has been toasted but I haven’t seen a piece of toast  in 7 months.  I have thought about going out and buying sunscreen but as I went to the store all I saw were knock off brands of the best way to bronze (tan) your skin, but wait, Peruvians are bronzed?  

Yeah I don’t know but the sunscreen options aren’t very helpful for us gringos. 

Speaking of gringos, Camana is actually a big tourist destination for gringos.  It is easy to spot gringos because they all seem to walk throughout the town with their North Face backpacks, I’m not talking about the kind of backpack you go to school with I’m talking out the kind a 12 year old deacon takes with him on his first trip to scout camp.  Like what do these gringos have in these bags that are so huge?  I saw a gringo this past week that had on a cowboy hat bigger then Walker, Texas Ranger. Chuck Norris would be proud of my gringo amigo. 

Well that’s the life here in Camana.  It’s a new month and Elder Ramos and I are looking forward to this month and to have a lot of success.

Maybe this letter made you laugh, and if so that’s good because the mission is very stressful, and as district leader here in Camana my stress level has only gotten higher, but with Christ nothing is impossible.

Do something awesome this week, but include Christ with it.

Elder McCook

Words of the week: apostacia- apostasy

                                 verano- summer

Here's a picture of the boat we prayed for, as your eyes guide your attention to my batman socks allow me to apologize in advance because it was p-day and after p-day we went straight to our appointment and I forgot to change them...