Monday, December 29, 2014

Año Nuevo . . . Casi

Hola Familia,

Wow that was so much fun to see all of you this past week. That was the best thing that I could have asked for, for Christmas that is for sure. Wow this week has been crazy. We have traveled so much and so the missionary work has been a little slow. Thank you all so much for the packages, they were awesome and it was so much fun to open everything. I will be putting on some weight eating all the goodies ha ha.

This week was awesome, we had some amazing family home evenings and visiting families was a ton of fun. We made all the decorations for the activity one night and it was fun to do. Then we had the activity in the church and it was a ton of fun to be able to give the members something on Christmas Eve. We had so much Paneton and a ton of hot chocolate it was crazy. I was so sick of sugary things but it was Christmas so I had to eat it ha ha. That night we hung out that night with the other Elders in our district and celebrated an Elder's birthday that was on Christmas, which was awesome ha ha. We got to watch fireworks and do a ton of sweet stuff. Then we went back and just talked for a while. On Christmas we traveled to Pedregal and got to talk to all of you. That was awesome. After we went and ate turkey and had a really fun night with our Pensionista. It was just really laid back that was for sure. 

Turkey Dinner
Pensionista's Christmas Decorations
Pensionista's Family

Pensionista and her Husband

After we went home and I got to open all the goodies that I have been waiting to open for forever it was amazing. On Friday we went back to work ha ha. We got to give three more blessings to a family with chicken pox. So I think that I have had it so I shouldn’t get it ha ha. On Saturday we cleaned the Church and then did service for our Pensionista moving rocks for two hours. It was hard work but it was fun. Then we had some good lessons with a new family. Yesterday we went to Church and then went with Ruben to visit a member and then had a BBQ.


Overall the work is good. I wish that we could find more members and find people that could be baptized. But I know that the work that we are doing is good work but some days it is hard. Ruben is starting his papers for his mission this week and so that is awesome. I know that he wanted to go on a mission really bad. We had 83 people in Church Sunday. That is the most that has attended in my time here, which is sweet.

Christmas was very different but it was a cool experience to be able to visit and to help out families. I will be focusing on them more and hopefully we can get the Church to have 100 people attending each week. I have learned so much in my six months on the mission it is unreal. I love everyday and I work hard to never have regrets. Just keep working hard and be the best person that you can be. Make sure to keep doing your goals and definitely make new goals for the New Year.

I love you all so much and I hope that you all have a great rest of your break and that you all are working really hard. You all looked so great and I am so blessed to have you all in my life.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley


1. What did you think of the Christmas presents? (I can barely remember what we even sent you now!) ;)
I absolutely loved all the presents. They are all so amazing and I will be eating well that is for sure ha ha.


2. How was your Christmas dinner?
Christmas dinner was really good. It was fun to spend the evening with the family of my Pesionista.

Christmas Dinner

3. What was your favorite part of the Skype call?
Favorite part was just talking and just seeing you and hearing all of your voices that is for sure.

4. How did your Pensionista like her picture of Christ you gave her for Christmas?
She absolutely loved and she is going to putting it up in her living room.

5. Are you doing anything fun for New Years Eve?  Are there any traditions in Peru?
For New Years we don’t get to stay out late or anything like that, so it will just be a normal day ha ha.

6. What was your favorite Christmas present?
Favorite Christmas present that is way too hard ha ha. I have no idea that is for sure because I loved then all.

7. What did your companion get for Christmas?
He got a ton of food and stuff to draw and a bunch of other stuff. Then he got another package of more food ha ha.

8. Did you give out any of the extra Christmas presents we sent?  If yes, what was the response?
Yeah only a little bit and they always ask if it is from the States. They are just super excited ha ha.

9. What was your overall opinion of Christmas in Peru?
It was really different and definitely did not feel like Christmas, that is the truth. But it was fun to see a different culture.

10. Was it weird not being cold or having snow?
A little ha ha, but it was still cool. I do like that snow a lot more that is for sure.

11. Who is your favorite apostle currently?


Hanging out with Baseball Friends!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Navidad BBQ?

Hola familia,

Wow how crazy that it is already Christmas. Geez it just feels like yesterday when I was in the SLC airport saying the last goodbyes ha ha. But now six months in and wow things have changed for sure. Overall things are about 100 times better ha ha. My new companion is Elder Holden from Arizona in the mountains. He loves to hunt, play sports and loves to work. We have been able to get a ton of work done. Both of us have the same desire to serve the lord.

This week has been awesome we been focusing on working with members to strengthen them and to make them able to come to the church everyday. Overall everything is awesome. We rescued another person this week, our Pesionista’s husband. The whole family is just coming back to church and they are all awesome. So we had one of the most powerful lessons last night about the atonement with him, it was incredible. I love being able to see the joy of everyone. Then we have been working to find all the teenagers that are just lost and aren’t coming to church. Wow there are so many that just don’t come and it is so sad. We have been working with Ruben and he is preparing to receive more priesthood in order to go on a mission.

This week we went to Pedregal on Tuesday. Then we came back and I had to give a lesson to the entire zone ha ha. It turned out really good and I am so thankful for the help of the Lord in my life.

Home Sweet Home
Then we returned the next day and hung out and practiced our skit for the Christmas devotional. That night we slept over on top of the roof, which was awesome ha ha. On Thursday we traveled to Arequipa and had an awesome devotional with great food and games. We ate stuffing, marshmallow salad and broccoli salad. It was so good ha ha. 

Christmas Lunch

My Stocking


Christmas Party

Then we got home real late. It was so cool to have the Christmas activity with everyone. On Saturday we had an awesome day of service. We built a pig corral, carried grass, milked cows and cleaned the church. We got some sweet lessons in also. Then we finished the week with a BBQ ha ha.

Building a pig corral

Milking Cows
Got Milk?

Sunday Lunch BBQ


Hermana Olga

BBQ Time


Overall this week was awesome, I am so grateful for my companion and for the help the Lord gives to us every single day. I love this time of the year, just remember how important this time of the year is and enjoy the Christmas season with the family. I love you all so much. John 3:16. Remember the importance of the season.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley


1. Have you been able to see any other Christmas videos while you have been down there?  (Such as the one done by the Piano Guys with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Peter Hollens and David Archuleta video link)
I have not been able to but I do have some more music from other missionaries that I listen to.

2. What is the scripture of the week?
Romans 6 : the last verse in this chapter I think 23

3. How do you like your new companion?  
I love my new companion he is awesome. We get along really well and are working harder then ever.

Mac and Cheese


Deer Jerky
Random Dude with a Machete



Monday, December 15, 2014

Casi Navidad :) (Almost Christmas)

Hola Familia,

Como estan, porque no hay nieve en Utah, Que es esto?
(How are things because there is no snow in Utah? What’s this?)

Well I am getting a new companion today, his name is Elder Holden and he is from Arizona. He has been out one more month then me and so it should be really awesome. I am the new District Leader of all the six missionaries in this area. I am very nervous to have such a big load, but I am excited to be able to work hard and help the missionaries here. I will be praying a ton to the Lord for help and guidance that is for sure.

How are you all doing this week? How has your Christmas season been? Well my week was really good and then really not good ha ha. We had an awesome P-day last week and then we came back and my companion was less then excited to work ha ha. But we had a good family home evening.

On Tuesday I went on divisions with the Zone Leaders and it was so fun to be able to work hard and feel the spirit without contention. Then I got to go to a gym in the morning to work out. I think with my new companion we will end up going to the gym in Aplao.

Then on Wednesday I came back to Aplao and we build a house thing or so ha ha. Then we met a new family that is good friends with Raul and Valerie. They are awesome but not completely ready to progress really fast.

I made Tortillas on Thursday they were so good. We made fajita taco things with them ha ha.

My Homemade Tortillas

Fajita taco things

On Friday I made homemade peanut butter. It is so good and healthy. Then we were supposed to have a yoga night at the capilla (chapel) but there was no power so we cancelled it. Then I went with another Elder and had a good night of working.

Homemade Mantequilla de Mani (Peanut Butter)

Saturday we cleaned the church and then had probably the best day of work in our entire change with Elder Pinedo.

We have been working with Ruben really carefully and he is starting to want to go on a mission. That would be so cool to bring him back to church and then see him go on a mission. Raul and Valerie might be getting married in January and that would be so cool because they just started coming back to the church. One night with them we were like their marriage counselors ha ha. But they are doing really good. Then we have two investigators with a date to be baptized one in December and one in January. I am excited for them and we just need to work very carefully with them.

Overall I am doing great I am excited to be with a new companion and hopefully we can work harder then ever and make this branch a lot stronger. I love being able to learn Spanish and how to be a better leader in my life. I have learned so much and plan on working harder and harder each day to reach my full potential. I love you all, enjoy this wonderful time of the year and remember then real reason of Christmas. Thanks so much for all the support and for everything that you are all doing.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley


1. Have you seen the video the church put out titled share the gift?
We are using it a ton and the mission is putting a lot of pressure on us to share the message. It is called El es la dadiva (He is the gift) here. English version Spanish version

2. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Favorite Christmas song is I’ll be Home for Christmas, literally with my cutout ha ha.

(Where's Dylan?? Come back next week to see where he turns up!)

Home for Christmas (It's a cutout ha ha)

3. Favorite scripture?
Hmm that is hard Mosiah 4:11 I think talks about humility.

4. How much weight have you lost?
I have lost about . . . I will not tell you guys ha ha.

5. When are you going to open your gifts?
I will open the gifts on Christmas morning ha ha.

6. Have you tried any of the Paneton bread yet? Was it bitter?  We tried an Italian version and it wasn’t very good.
I have tried it too many times ha ha. It is so sweet and it is really good.


7. What is the best thing you have eaten so far?
The best thing is Ricoto Relleno and Pastel de Papa.

Ricoto Relleno

8. What is something that is helping to keep you strong out there this Christmas season?
Just knowing the importance of sharing the message about our Savior’s birth to the people, and to remember my goals.

9. Are you doing anything special for you mission during the holiday season?
We have a multi-zone dinner talent show thing with the Mission President this Thursday.

10. Do you miss ice?  Don’t worry we still haven’t gotten any snow!
I miss ice but I have had it like 2 times I think ha ha. But oh, I love me some nice freezing cold showers ha ha.

11. Do you have a real toilet in your apartment? Do you have good toilet paper?

Yeah we have a real toilet but some days we don’t have water ha ha. And toilet paper is normal.

Watermelon anyone?
Eating Ducklets

Baby Duck
Ready to fish, my sweet purchase