Hello! My name is Elder McCook. I am a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Serving in the Peru Arequipa Mission for 24 months. In the Spanish language. I will be returning July 2016. As a missionary, I teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and invite all to draw nearer to him. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
The last full week of the
mission has past. Full of interviews withthe mission president, a zone
conference and just packing my bags, andself-evaluations. I’ve been
thinking to myself, "man its really over?"
Not that it passed
quickly, but just thinking. I’ve looked forward tomy mission my whole childhood, and
now it’s over. Who would haveguessed it.
express it in an email, you’ll just see from this Saturday andon how this childhood dream has been accomplished
We had a
baptism this past week to make it a 3 peat. We left the fontrunning as we went to lunch and the font FLOODED. We
walked up to the church after lunch and water was coming out from under
the front door. Good thing the
service started at 5 because we were
there for 3 hours with no mops, just brooms.
The branch president and young men’s president surprisingly
showed up early and helped us.
The same thing happened a
week ago as we woke up to no water and leftthe shower knob on as we went out
for the day.
even know how to start this second to the last blog so I’ll just skip to the
BACK.... Saturday we had the baptism of Jack Leandro. He is 9years old and is in a family of active
members. They are goingthrough
some hard times right now and so we are trying to activate themom. After the baptism of Jack his mom Belinda
bore her testimony. She cried
and the room was filled with the spirit. Saturday morningwas a bit rough because we had to fill up the font
twice. The firsttime the
water came out nasty and it was so dirty that we couldn’t evensee the bottom. We emptied out the water and
tried to fill it upagain and the
second time you could barely see the bottom but it wasstill a greenish looking color. We didn’t have
time to do it again butthe
baptism still came to pass and we had a baptism for the second straight
was the day of elections. We still don’t know who won but to meit doesn’t really matter haha. We didn’t
have church because everyonewas
voting and so yesterday was a pretty laid back day.
to have another baptism this Saturday so please pray for Rivaldo.
we didn’t really do anything throughout the day because thereisn’t much to do in Pedregal, however we had a great
lesson with Dana,Roselyn, and
we had our district meeting and Elder Nicholls and I taughtthe class because we are in charge of the zone and one
of thedistricts. We talked
about love and the importance of contacting.
was Elder Nicholls 20th birthday, we had one of theassistants with us. We taught double the amount
of lessons that wenormally teach
in a day and the assistant was also able to do somebaptismal interviews. They ended up passing
their interviews andafter we went
and had some big hamburgers at the food truck by ourroom.
we went to Camana for a multi zone conference. The beach airfelt nice returning after 16 months. It was a
conference with about40
missionaries and it was probably one of President Zobrist’s and mylast conferences.
was the baptism of Dana (the mom) and Roselyn ( her daughter).They were
baptized at 4pm Saturday afternoon and it was probably oneof my coldest baptisms. The water was freezing
however it was aspiritual
experience. Dana cried during her testimony and her family attended
the baptism and they are from Camana (about 1 hour fromPedregal).
they were confirmed and received the holy ghost. There was avery good attendance at church yesterday.
It was our branchconference and
we had 5 investigators and 8 less actives at church.We also
rescued Richard Garay who was less active for a good time.
being so blessed right now. We have seen a huge change in ourarea this month of May. It has probably
been one of my best month’snumbers
wise. We finished with 2 baptisms and 6 rescues this month.We still have tons of investigators and less
actives to teach that are progressing.
Leandro this week as he prepares for his baptism on Saturday. We won’t be
going to church this Sunday because of Peruvian presidentialelections.
The "let’s go and
get 100 lessons and 100 baptisms and rescues" bug haskicked in, and we are breaking
records as far as teaching goes. Alsothe temperature is super-hot, I’m not sure if
its broken a record butthe sun
seems to come closer to Pedregal’s surface every day. A family we are
teaching has been keeping their commitment and has the goal to bebaptized this Saturday, so pray for Dana and Roselyn.
We will have branch
conference this Sunday, then the following Sunday (June 5th),
are the presidential elections again (which means no church), so it appears thatJune 12th will be the last time I
partake of the sacrament in Peru.
This past week we went to
Arequipa to have our mission leadership conference, and this Tuesday we will
have the zone conference toreport what was taught. The focus this past conference was contacting and
family history. I’m excited that the
Tucson Temple will have their open house anddedication soon, but as for the Arequipa temple the ground breakinghasn’t even been announced.
At least there is a legit
reason to come back to the mission in about3 years for the temple dedication, at least that’s
what I tell members, as they ask me if I
will ever come back to Peru.
Changes were this past
week and 2 of the 6 missionaries in this branchare getting taken out, so it appears that the work
just doubled as faras missionary work is
concerned. Now there are only 12
missionaries inthe zone.
Elder Nicholls and I are still companions and I
will finish my mission as a zone leader however the mission
president has made usthe District
Leaders as well.
Every Tuesday we will
have to teach ourdistrict
a class and watch over their needs and goals.
This week we will have our MLC in Arequipa as
It was an Elders birthday on Monday, he had 3 cakes which
followed the Peruvian tradition of getting his head smashed into the cake (also a McCook tradition…)
Elder Nicholls and I have
found our rhythm with working past week. We had a great week as far as lessons go, and to top it off we had 25
people in church thatare under our care.
We were able to rescue a less active
woman whouse to be the relief society
There was a mistake made
during sacrament but instead of overreacting,it made me realize that everyone participating is a
convert to thechurch or a rescue and is
less active. The special thing is that
theirchildren are born in the covenant.
Pedregal is growing. In my interview with President Zobrist he told
meabout the progress that Camana, Matarani
and Pedregal are making toexpand.
We had our zone
conference this week, 2 hours of learning and thensome Peruvian pizza, thought we
could try something different becauseevery
time there is a zone meeting the go to lunch is chicken andfries.
we had splits with the
members, and by members it’s pretty much justthe same mission preparing youth that always accompany
us. They aregoing to Bolivia and Ecuador for their missions.
Elder Nicholls was sick
for 2 days this past week, ironic because heturned 20 months old this past week, so to celebrate
we went to aChinese restaurant. which
will probably be the last time he getsanything
with shrimp for the rest of his mission.
On Saturday Yuli was baptized!!!
Elder Nicholls got to baptize her. Don’t worry she didn’t get sick. She received the gift of the Holy Ghost onSunday after a little bit of unneeded
After church a man that
we knew from Arequipa brought in hisinvestigator friend who belongs to the Israelite
religion. He is myfirst ever Israelite investigator. The first interaction I had with anIsraelite was in Camana, I mentioned that in my letter
the week of.
Elder Nicholls and I
spent more time out of our area then in it thispast week, due to Mission Leadership conferences,
traveling, baptismal interviews, and Arequipa
visits, and then to top the weekoff,
there was no church or meetings of any kind on Sunday due to the Peruvian presidential elections, it was a slow
week as far asproselyting goes, yet a
fast one due to how busy we were helping this greatzone out.
Elder Nicholls and I are
having so much fun working out here and being companions. Pretty sure we will be bestcompanions just because now as I
am coming to the close of my mission I know who I am and what I need to do. We tried to watch all the conferencesessions in English with a laptop, however Sunday
morning we couldn’t,so Spanish it was. It was super
special to hear the prophet announce a SECOND temple in Lima, Peru!!
Christofferson translated his own talk toSpanish
in his own voice. It is so much better
watching conference with the originalvoices.
We also rescued an old
less active family of 5 this past weekend!!
This next week is voting day in Peru so it’s
illegal to have anytype of organized
reunions on Sunday so Church is canceled.
We aregoing to Arequipa on Wednesday and
Thursday for the mission leadershipconference.
It’ll be 2 weeks without the sacrament, and Sunday
we won’t be allowedto leave the room.
Everything is great this week!! there were
transfers this past weekand I was made
zone leader again. My companion is Elder
Nicholls and he is from Utah. I am now in his area. What happened is that
there are 6missionaries in our branch
and Elder Nicholls and my companions werejust
made companions and Elder Nicholls and I were made companions. In his area as the zone leaders and we are
opening up the “ZONA MAJES”!! It should be pretty cool.
Elder Nicholls will be finishing his mission in
3 transfers so Iimagine that he will be
my last companion!! I can’t believe we
had atransfer like this but it was just
what we wanted because we are bothfriends.
Elder Valverde will just be with Elder Bajaña in the otherroom across the hall.
I think somethings in the
water over here because I was sick twicethis week. On Friday
we went to Arequipa to hear Elder HugoMontoya speak at a mission conference. He is a member of the Seventy and is now a
part of the Area Presidency in Peru. I remember
when Elder Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve talked when he visited our
mission and I didn’t understandanything;
grammatically or spiritually, as I had just entered the mission field.But this
time it was different. every time he talked I could feel whathe was saying including every gospel doctrinal
reference and it was definitelyspecial
and just something I hadn’t felt before.After the
conference as he was walking I asked him to expand a littlemore on a story he told us about a missionary who had
his right arm amputated in order to serve a mission after the doctors detected
cancer.The missionaries all looked at me when Elder Montoya
was telling that story during the conference and I got somefistbumps and some nub bumps as well. Elder Montoya told me that that missionary
in the story he told was amazing and
today is now a General Authority.
My life is different; my
life is special. You receive blessings through sacrifices (it sounds better in Spanish)…por
sacrificios se dan bendiciones.
This past week was full
of family home evenings, we meet at the townscenter every night and waited for
all the families to show up. Then we
wentand held a giant family home evening
at a member’s house or less activeor
investigators house. Two of the families that we are working with said that
they want toget married and baptized.
The Cary family wants to be get married
inApril and baptized.
My legs are still peeling
and people are still amazed watching mebench at the gym.
I heard this the past
week from some Peruvians. if you have a bad dreamthen crack an egg under your bed
and that will fight away your fears.
This past week we traveled
an hour to go to our district meeting withthe other missionaries in the zone. As we arrived we discoveredthe roof of the tiny church house collapsed, so we
swept all the waterout.
President Zobrist came down
to the zone to give a zone conference,we learned more about the Book of Mormon and I was
asked to givetalk last moment about how I
have edified the church in my mission. It
We found a Mexican taco
truck and that’s where we ate dinner on my 20month anniversary.
We are working with families
now, the hard part is that most of them are couples andare not married and want to be baptized.
We had 165 people at churchyesterday, that was the most I have ever had in
my entire mission.
We are doing divisions
with the members, and mainly the youth thatare preparing for the mission.
are looking up and this week and the week just went by so fast!
This past week we were
greeted by "rain". It was the
closest thing torain
I´ve seen in Peru. It was a semi-heavy drizzle. Everyone
was freaking out, people were outside with trash bags on theirheads and all the dogs were in a state of shock. They also turned offall the power.
Days later we went on an
hour drive to come pick up beds froman area that was closed this past exchange. 4 missionaries went andthere weren’t enough seats in the front so me and my
companion sat in thetrailer bed. An hour nap later I woke up sun burned I was
so red... the sistermissionaries
gave me some Aloe Vera plants to cut up and apply tothe burn. I did
that for the past 2 days and now my legs arepurplish.
The missionaries’ farmers
tan is coming in great for this summer. At
leastI get to
wear a sombrero and sunglasses, this is the only area in thewhole mission where we have permission to do so.
We found more than a
handful of new investigators. One of my
favorite questions to ask when contacting is(let’s see how this works in English)"have you ever had a religious question in which
you have not receiveda satisfying
week people asked about Sabbath Day observance, infant baptism,and tithing.
I feel so happy to have
the scriptural and testimonial knowledge to beable to answer all of the
questions, the church is true.
This week was slower than
the last, my bed situation is the same, I’m still sleeping on the floor and
living out my suitcase.
was a good P-day spent playing soccer outside and getting bit up by the
Tuesday we went to Arequipa
in the morning and spent the whole day there with the zone for our zone
conference, it was weird being in Hunter again…8 days later. I also got an
ingrown toenail takenout, apparently I got it because I don’t cut my toenails straight andso this nail decided to push against my skin and
it hurt to walk. Aftera month I got it taken out, and it bled some but I didn’t
Entonces don’t worry.
We went on divisions with
the members and our cool return missionary branch mission leader went
with me. He served in Brazil and is
teaching me a thing ortwo in Portuguese…que legal no?
We got a baptismal date
this past week and por fin investigadores came to sacrament meeting, but
branch council and branch correlation are awkward because we don’t have
anyone LEGIT to talk about yet. We only found 2 new investigators this
week. But the branch is good, 142 came
to church yesterday, there are plansto become a district.