Monday, September 29, 2014

Keep the Faith and Trust in God Evermore

Hola Familia,

Well this week has been great. I cannot believe that it has already been 3 months. They have absolutely flown by; gosh I never thought it would go by this fast.

Well I will start by telling you about my new companion.
Dedicating graves (blurry)
His name is Elder Vargas he is 23 years old and from Panama. He is about a foot or more shorter than me and we get along very well. He has a different way to work and it has been really effective. Our area has been really hard and we are working with the members to find investigators. We both have the same view on missionary work. So it is way nice to be able to work a ton and not have to push him around. 

My Spanish is coming along because that is all I speak and listen to ha ha. I am able to understand pretty much the entire conversation and say what I want to say.

Peeling Onions
This week we have five more investigators. We have been doing a lot of service to become closer to the members and investigators. We peeled onions for about an hour to help an investigator prep them to sell at the market. It was really cool but so tedious. I like doing service it really helps with the work.

This week I was able to cook a breakfast with something other than bread. We had eggs and tomatoes. I have grown to love tomatoes and avocados. It is weird but they are so good. I am getting really bored with bread, rice, and potatoes for every single meal ha ha. But I’m finding ways to change it up.

We found a family that is incredibly poor but they really like the gospel. The mom, Isadora, can’t read in Spanish only Quechuan (Language of the Incans). I also taught her son some English, which was really cool.
We have an older man that is nervous about getting baptized. But he should be baptized sometime in the upcoming weeks.
Then we found another family and they are great. They have questions about the gospel, which is good.
The last family is great and we had an awesome lesson with them last night. They are all very receptive but we need to get them understand the saving ordinance of baptism.

We try to have family home evenings with all the families. It is awesome. I really like family home evenings. I know that is strengthens family and helps bring them together.

The hardest thing so far on the Mission is when people don’t see the importance of this life that we live. It is so short but so incredibly important for our salvation.

Overall this week has been pretty hectic and we have gotten a ton of work done. I know that even though I have not had any baptisms they will come, it is hard but I know that.

Thanks you so much for all your support and for everything that you all do. Keep the faith and trust in god ever more.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley


1. Did you eat the jello?
Yes I did and it was delicious ha ha. (Hopefully he doesn’t get a parasite!)

2. Apartment address??? 
Our apartment address is Avenue Berlin 713 Hunter Jacobo D Hunter Arequipa i believe. (Map) (Take a look at the street view!)

3. Favorite general authority?
Favorite general authority is definitely Elder Holland. (Bio

4. What has been the most memorable scripture for you while you have been out so far?
Probably 3 Nephi 13:8 

5. Have you been spit on by a llama or seen someone spit on by a llama?
I have not been spit on by a llama yet and hopefully never will be ha ha.

6. Have you been chased by wild dogs yet?
I have been chased by dogs on multiple occasions. All you have to do is grab a rock and they usually run away.

7. What is your favorite Peruvian food so far?
Favorite food so far is Ricoto Relleno and Queso helado.

8. Have you eaten a guinea pig yet (otherwise known as cuy)?
I have not eaten cuy so far. Pretty much everyone has a pen of cuy that they eat ha ha.

9. What do you miss most about the States in general?
I miss the cleanliness and just the grocery stores. You can buy anything in the States so easily.

10. Have you gained any more weight?
I have not gained weight I have been losing weight actually.

11.  How is the moral out there?
The moral out here is pretty positive usually. It is nice because we always have sun.

12. Are you getting along with your Latino companion?
My Latino companion and I get along awesome. We both like the same things and talking is hard but we can do it.

Peeling Onions (2nd picture)


"Cocaine for sale"

Toilet ?!?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Out with the Old . . . In with the New Companero

Hola Familia, 

My week has been pretty hectic ha ha.

My companion went home on Friday and he was in the mission home from Thursday on. So I have been with our zone leaders for a couple of days. They are both Latino and so you could just imagine me not knowing what is going on for a couple of days. I was in their area so I didn’t get to work in my ward this week, which stinks. The language gap is huge. But in those short days it has gotten much better. I can already understand more than what I learned in 6 weeks with my American companion. 

Going Away Party
Before my companion left we went and visited many families. It was a lot of fun. It was like a vacation but I just wanted to get back to work. That is pretty much what we did Tuesday and Wednesday then on Thursday I was with the ZLs (Zone Leaders).

Cool story:
On Friday I got a call from someone in the ward. It was from a less active family that we have been working with. The mom was pregnant and had a stillbirth. So they called us to go and dedicate the grave. It was so sad. I have never seen such pain as I saw in her eyes. But my companion shared about how the baby is perfect and going straight to the Celestial Kingdom. It was amazing to feel the Spirit and know how strong it really can be. 

Funny story:
One night I woke up because I had to go pee really bad. I was in a different apartment and I could not open the door. It had a weird lock. So I started to ask the Latino Elders in English to open the door. I was so close to peeing my pants.

I get my new companion today. He is Latino and I don’t know where he is from yet. This should be really interesting. I know that I will be able to learn more and more Spanish from him.

Yesterday we met with a family, the mother was struggling with her married son becoming less active. I was able to bear a great testimony that just came so much easier than before.

Well family sorry this is short, but not much news worthy happened this past week ha ha.

I love you,
Elder Cooley

1.  What is your favorite hymn?
I don’t remember the name but it goes, “I’ll go where you want me to go Dear Lord.” (YouTube link for mobile devices)

2. Have you played soccer with any of the locals yet?
Yes I have played with the Peruvians and it was a ton of fun.

3. What is your apartment address?
Apartment address . . . I still do not know that ha ha. I will get it for you next week.

4. Did you get your package yet? If so, what did you think?  Is there anything else that you need?
I have not received my package yet ha ha.

5. How is your new companero?
Yo no tengo recibir mi nuevo companero. (I have not received my new companion.)

6. Have you been emailing Schone and Barton?  How are they doing?
I have been emailing Schone and Barto pretty much every week. They are both doing really good.

7. Tell me a funny story!!! (The funnier the better lol)
See the funny story above.

8. What is Central like?  How many stores?  Is it anything like the states?
Central is Plaza de Armas I think it is the big white castle thing in all the pictures of Peru, it is sweet. Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa
Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa

9. What is your favorite word in Spanish?
Favorite Spanish word, I don’t know which one to choose.

10. Did you fly to Lima last week or did you take a bus?
Yeah we flew to Lima; it was a 1 hour flight or so.

11.  Have you forgotten any English words yet in conversation?
And yes I have forgotten some and talking in English is hard at times ha ha.

Cuy = Guinea Pig (Tradition)



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another Week In Peru

Hola Familia,

Sorry for not writing yesterday I was in Lima getting my ID. I found out that I was going the night before so it was impossible to let you know. It was fun though; I was able to visit with a bunch of my friends from the CCM again. We got in at about 11 pm and went to go and get dinner at pizza hut ha ha. Then we went to a hotel for the night. We woke up, were in lines for 5 hours or so, and then went back to Arequipa. I saw some Elders from the CCM and told them to tell Elder Bell hi (Elder Bell's Blog). So hopefully that works out. It was a nice trip but missing P-day is awful. I still get to write today which is nice. 

My week was awesome. On Tuesday all the new Gringos serving in Arequipa right now went to a lunch at the mission home with the President and his wife. It was so fun and they are awesome. The lunch was great. He is a great mission president. He is a little more laid back on the rules. It is really up to each missionary to choose if he/she wants to be a good missionary or not. He does not watch your every move. There is a lot of agency and I like that a lot. If you want to be good you will be. Someone is not making you do something that you don’t want.

This week we have been focusing on working with less active members of our ward. We rescued two people. One is named Camilo he is about 65 and hasn’t come to church for a while. We have been teaching him and he had an interview with the bishop and is planning on attending the temple in a year. The other is named Rolando he was a very inactive member but he is struggling to come and be a good member. One day we went with the ward and build stairs in Huascache. Rolando came with us, it was some hard work but it helped him. Just doing a little service can help a ton. He is going to have an interview and hopefully he will attend the temple in a year also. He has a great family and just needed some help.

My talk went pretty good and hopefully the ward understood my message I was trying to get across ha ha. 

Funny story:
On Thursday we had a mission night and we were showing a video. The only video we had was about 9/11 and the church welfare program. We started the video and since it started a hour and a half late we had to go to our room and just left them watching a video about 9/11. Hopefully the members were able to help the night go better. 

This week we had two of them. One was on the mission night and was pretty strong. And the other was during the night about 4:30 am and just lasted a little while. It is honestly a natural thing now. I have felt a ton of them and it is nothing too scary now. ha ha 

We lost two of our investigators and it was very sad. That is the worst when Satan works so hard to stop people progressing in the gospel. It breaks my heat that is for sure. Satan has a ton of influence and people just need to really work hard to come to church and be saved.

Spanish WOW it is incredibly hard. Some days are easier than others for sure. I have heard that it takes around 6 months to be able to understand everything that is being said and a few more months to speak Spanish really good. I love the language but I just need to keep working on it.

My companion goes home this week and so for the next 6 weeks of my training I will be with a new companion. So by next week I will have a new companion, wish me luck. Hopefully I get an awesome one. 

I love you all and thank you all so much for the support.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley

In the picture I was carrying Alf Alfa I think. I don’t really know it was something from the fields though. It was quite heavy and she was carrying it up all the stairs by herself when I stopped to help.


1. How is your relationship with the church members going? Are they working with you guys better?
My relationship with the church members is going good. There are a couple awesome families. They are doing a little better with working with us I guess ha ha.

2. What is your favorite scripture this week?
Favorite scripture was Alma 13. The entire chapter was just amazing. Also D&C 90:24 is good. 

3. Have you shown anybody the pictures you took from home yet?
I have showed my pictures a ton to almost everybody ha ha they are great.

4. Have you read any more talks or heard any more songs that you would recommend?
I have not ha ha I don’t have that privilege anymore, which stinks.

5. How are you doing?
I am doing great just loving the mission every single day so much.

6. Do you know your apartment address so I can locate it on a map?
I do not know my address.  I will get that to you next week it is on Avenue Brasila in Hunter by a restaurant.

7. Are you flossing your teeth twice a day to prevent cavities?
I am flossing at least twice a day honestly ha ha. I brush my teeth a ton also.

8. What types of fruit are you buying off the streets? Have you tried any Peruvian type fruits?
Bananas, mandarins and a fruit called pepino, which is like a mini cantaloupe. (Solanum Muricatum = Pepino)

Friday, September 12, 2014

353,858 steps = 109.739 miles . . . And he walked and walked and walked

Hola Familia,

            Well this week was a lot better and we were able to get more done. After writing emails on Monday we went to Central and got lunch at TGI Fridays. It was so good. After we went shopping and I got some awesome gifts for you guys. It is so amazing all the authentic stuff from the stores. We then went and played basketball with some other North American missionaries. It was an awesome time ha ha.

            Later that night after P-day ended, we went to the farthest and poorest area of our mission named Huasacache (Map). We had family home evening with a family and it was so humbling. They live on a mountain literally I have pictures. It was cool and we taught about the atonement, after we had Chicha (Chicha Information) with arroz (rice).

Mountain Living
            We gave three blessings this week to members and non-members. One blessing was to an investigator’s dad who was on his deathbed. So my companion gave him a blessing of comfort and said that God is ready to see him and receive him. Crazy! One blessing to a menos activo (less active) woman and she finally came to Church this past Sunday.

            On Thursday after a long day of working we come back to the room to find out that my companion had left the keys in the room. Luckily our window was kind of opened. I constructed a pole and was luckily enough to get the keys back after 45 minutes of trying. On Friday we had the only food I cannot eat. It is called Aceituna and it is about 100 times worse than olives, which I hate. The dogs won’t even eat it. Later that day we went to Tiabaya (Map) to help out some Missionaries in our zone. It was fun to work in a new area. On Saturday we found this awesome hidden ice cream place in a house. It is delicious. That is the only thing I buy besides fruit and granola from the street. We contacted forever ha ha with not much success.

Ricoto Relleno and Fried Fish
            Fasting for 24 hours is new to me. But it is awesome and I love the experience that comes with it. Then on Sunday church was great I found out I am giving a 10 minute talk next Sunday. But we had the best lunches; I have pictures of Ricoto Relleno, and fried fish. I love the members.

            The missionaries before us didn’t work very hard and had no previous investigators for us. The Ward did not like them and so we have been working really hard to get the trust back of the members and have them give us references. It’s hard sometimes because we work so hard to find people and nothing. I know that if I keep working it will be good. I have gotten to bless the sacrament twice so far. 

            A cool experience this week was when we were teaching a 20 year old named Edson. He has become less active. We were teaching him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and I started to talk about the atonement and I could just tell the he needed to hear some blunt stuff about repentance and I was able to tell him. I have noticed being on a Mission that I can really tell when someone needs to be talked to. It is really cool. I anointed 3 people, also in Spanish.

            I love the mission and wow I have learned so much about myself and how important life is. I am hoping not to get sick on the mission so I am being really careful with all the food that I eat. Sometimes I just have to close my eyes and drink the drink. Blessing the food has never meant more in my life ha ha. I know the power of prayer and the comfort of the atonement in our lives. It is awesome what it can do for me. After understanding it so much I can really trust in it. The atonement is real and can help any situation.

Thank you all for all the support you guys have given me.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley


-What is your favorite scripture this week?
            King Benjamin’s address to Mosiah for sure.  It is just so blunt and tells you what you need to do. Mosiah 2-5 

-Do you have a favorite experience so far? If yes, explain.
            Favorite experiences so far are the food and being in Peru. 

-What was Neil Anderson's talk on? And why did you like it so much?
            The talk was on honesty and how crucial honesty is in our lives.  It was also about the atonement.  Because honesty is really what is important in this life and he focused on how essential it is.

-Have you had any clumsy moments?
            I have not had clumsy moments yet so far.

-Has anybody commented on your height?
            Yes, everyone comments on my height ha ha.  They just stare at me and my companion everyday.

Total steps from being in Arequipa are 353,858 and total miles walked are 109.739.  It is all up and down hills ha ha.