Monday, November 24, 2014


Hola Familia,

Wow it is hard to believe that it is already Thanksgiving. What an amazing time! Well I will not personally be celebrating Thanksgiving here but I can just imagine the food that all of you will be eating ha ha. Overall this was a good yet hard week ha ha.

After writing last Monday, we hung out with our Zone and watched some movies. Then my companion was in Arequipa so I was with another Caucasian Elder and it was great until about one in the morning. I woke up with outrageous diarrhea ha ha. I was on the pot for about two hours during the night and again in the morning and the next day. The bad part was that I had a two-hour bus ride back to Aplao. But I was able to take some pills and my stomach got better. I think it was from some yogurt ha ha, but it was horrendous. I was in the bathroom for about eighteen hours straight. But other than that it was great.

We really didn’t get to do much this week because it was slow. This area is so different and at times I just don’t feel like I am accomplishing anything. I know that I can strengthen this branch if I keep working in it. I have made goals to really work with the less active and non-active members, because the branch is lacking strong members.

We had two birthdays this week. So of course here in Peru they shove the cake in your face and everyone loves it ha ha.

I always remember my Seminary teachers saying that on the morning of Thanksgiving we should say a prayer of everything we are grateful for. Since being on my Mission I have realized so many things that I am grateful for. Our lives in the States are so blessed. I am so grateful for my family, you guys are just awesome and all the support that you give me is the best. I am just so lucky to have the things that I have. I am also blessed to have the ability to do the things I want to do in my life. I just can’t wait to come back to the States and be able to serve more people and help them out in life. This Thanksgiving I won’t have the big family gathering but just know that I will be thinking about all of you, and remembering everything that we have and all the many blessing we have.

I love you all so much and have an awesome Thanksgiving and eat a ton of food. Eat some for me also ha ha.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley

1. Do you sing hymns in your branches? What is your favorite hymn in Spanish?
We sings hymns, it is not the best because we don’t have a piano and so ya ha ha, Asombroso Dios I think that is what is it called.

2. What was your favorite scripture this past week?

3. Are you still reading Jesus the Christ? How is it?
I still read it every night and it is amazing. I really enjoy it so much.

4. Do you eat many meals with the members there?
We have not eaten one meal with a member here ha ha.

5. How are you working out there? Running, sit-ups, or pushups?
I just run every single morning in a tiny park and then to abs, pushups, and jump rope after.

6. Describe your apartment.
Apartment is tiny and I will put pictures on today.



7. Have you been hiking at all? What are the hills/mountains like?
The area here is really flat because all the towns are in the bottom of the valley.

8. Are things getting better with your companion?
It is going all right I am just working on being positive and be the best example for him that I can be.

9. When you are with other English-speaking missionaries do you speak English or Spanish?
It just depends on the situation.

10. Are you still able to buy fruit on a semi regular basis there?
Yeah there is a ton of fruit here.

11. Have you gained or lost weight?
I am eating a ton and my weight has dropped a little but overall it has been pretty stable.

12. Are there a lot of bugs? Do you have a problem with bees or yellow jackets?
There are a ton of bugs in this area and so the bugs spray is awesome. I can buy more here so don’t worry. The bees are normal and not too big of a threat.

Honey Comb


Kraps ha ha Ritz Crackers


Weekly cleaning

Teaching Oragami

Fried Bananas


Birthday Party

Random Street Ha Ha

Double Banana

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Crawfish Soup, Ice Cream Beans, French Fries, etc.

Hola Familia,

My week has been pretty good. The family I was working with in my old area has been baptized and so four people were baptized how awesome. 

Aplao is crazy. It is everything that you would think Peru to be and overall it is awesome. The work here is really different. We are just trying to get the members to come to church let alone investigators. Wow it is tough but I am up for the challenge. We travel every single day on buses to go to one lesson. We travel about four hours a day on buses, but it is good. Our area is about five hours from one end to the other. We are the in the northern area of the mission.

My week has been awesome. Made pancakes twice this week and they were so good.  It reminded me of home. They were nice and thick. The syrup turned out really good.

Making Pancakes

There is a city in our area that everyone believes is haunted by witches ha ha. Then one day we went and I got to MILK cows, how awesome is that. I was the best gringo the first time milking cows ha ha. It was really fun. Then we made homemade French fries. The one picture of wheat is when we helped a mom and her daughter get the wheat out of the stalk.
Harvesting Wheat

Story of the week:
100 Year Old House
We went one day to find a member of the presidency. He lives about an hour drive in bus then an hour and half walking to get to his house. It was nuts. We dropped down into this valley and he lives right on the river. His house is 100 years old.

We found an old basket to get across the river before there was a bridge so we all had to go on it and it was awesome. So after traveling, we got to his house and made crawfish soup using the crawfish that he caught earlier in the morning. I know how to gut a crawfish now and make a soup that is delicious. Luckily he took us back to the road in his three-wheeler trailer thing ha ha.
Using the awesome basket across the river 

Crawfish Soup

The branch is tiny here. The six missionaries here are in charge of doing pretty much everything. This Sunday we had to get all the tithing donations for the year and pass them out to all the members and set up interviews and bring them to their interviews. We teach the classes, clean the church, set up activities, and everything. But I love it so much. It is absolutely amazing and I couldn’t ask for anything else.

My companion is doing all right; he is just so lazy and only wants to leave the area. I am working with him, trying to help him see the light and understand just how necessary this work is. I have had a ton of time to study, which is really nice, but I am just trying to get him to be more obedient and do the work. But it is a good challenge and I have learned a ton.

Overall this week has been awesome, and I love this area and the mission so much. Thank you for all your support and everything that you all do for me. Have a great week.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley


1.How long to you have to email each week?
I have two hours each week to email.

2. Were you guys every able to baptize that girl?
We were not able to seal the deal ha ha.

3. Does Aplao have farming, ranching or both?
Aplao has everything, from rice, potatoes, fruit, chemicals for the fields, and animals. It  just has everything agricultural.
Potatoes and Cheese

4. What type of animals are domesticated there?
Cows, chickens, donkeys, ducks, monkeys, guinea pigs (ha ha), pigs, and lambs, goats, and sheep are all domesticated.


5. Do you have to take public transportation often?
We take public transportation every single day ha ha.

6. Do you know your apartment address or street name?
I don’t even know, I will look for that this week.

7. What is your apartment like? Do you still share a bathroom?
It is all right, a mess because of my companion ha ha. It is just a bathroom for us.

8. What is your favorite part about Aplao?
Favorite part is just how Peru is. I also like always walking through fields to get to our investigators ha ha.

9. Have you tried any other weird food?
No I haven’t tried anything too weird here ha ha.

10. What is your favorite scripture this week?  
Favorite scripture is Moroni 7:47. It’s about charity.

11. How do you say Aplao? Is it like “a-plow”?
Yes that is the correct way to say it.




Fruit Ice Cream Beans

Preparing Crawfish


Member's House

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Hola Familia,

Wow this week has been crazy. Well I will start by telling you about my new area. It is in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Ha Ha SO EPIC! It is gigantic also. So there is one branch that six Missionaries work in. The branch is tiny and the Missionaries are part of the Presidency and we teach a lot of the classes. Our area is in this huge valley; my Companion and my area is about four hours or more from one end to the other. So for one visit we travel about an hour or so. It is what I expected when I got my call to Peru.

I absolutely love it also ha ha. It is all farmland and
But it is amazing. And wow it is hard.  This is one of the two hardest areas in the Arequipa Mission. It is all we can do to get members to go to church on Sunday let alone having investigators come also. But our purpose here is different; we need to strengthen the branch because they don’t really know the Latter Day Saint’s culture or how to run the church.

My companion’s name is Elder Pinedo. He is from Iquitos in Peru. We are not used to each other yet and he doesn’t quite have the same drive as me to do the work. When he is sleeping after lunch I get to study. It is hard because I just want to go out and work really hard and talk to as many people as I can; but I will work with him and make him love to work again ha ha.

This week was awesome. After traveling four hours alone in the night to the middle of Peru ha ha I finally found my way to our area and met up with my companion. Then in the morning we traveled two hours on a bus to go to our zone in Pedrigal. Then we came back and ate lunch. I love my new Pensionista she is the best. She always asks what we want and how much we want. She is a great cook probably the best that I have had so far. Then we came back and went and talked to some members. Then on Wednesday we traveled a hour to a farm and met with some members and we made honey. We took the honeycomb and got all the honey out it was amazing, what a cool experience. In this area we do a ton of service and work a lot with the members. We didn’t get many lessons this week but we did help the members.

Funny story:
Saturday we had a baptism of an eight year old child and she would not go under the water. I was baptizing, and so for about a hour and a half we worked with her and nothing. We were close like three times ha ha. I even fake baptized my companion as an example in the water totally immersed. But nothing, WOW my first baptism was my companion ha ha.

This week I have had a ton of time to think about life and what we need to do. Definitely visiting all the members here is a priority. It has been interesting to examine my life and make plans and goals to be better and progress more personally and spiritually. I love it so much. I always find answers reading the scriptures. Reading old General Conference talks are so nice for me to be able to find answers in my life.

Well family, I love my new area. It is a ton different and I am ready for the challenge that is before me. I hope that you all have a great week. My prayers will be with you all this week. Next week I will give more details and pictures ha ha.

I love you all so much, 
Elder Cooley


1. Did you receive the third package from us yet?
I have not received the third package yet.

2. How are you accessing the Internet there?
Just at an Internet cafe that is extremely slow ha ha.

3. What is your favorite thing about your new area?
Just being in Peru and not in the city ha ha. It is so awesome.

4. What is your companion like?
He is good, a little lazy and not too motivated at times.

5. How did you travel to your new area?
Just by a bus and somehow I got to my area ha ha. Thank you for the power of the Lord.

6. Was anything lost in transit? Did you have enough room in your suitcases for everything?
Nothing was lost and my suitcases were stuffed full ha ha.

7. Did you have to open the packages to transport the items?
Yeah I had to open the package. I am stoked for Christmas ha ha.

8. Favorite scripture this week?
My favorite scripture this week was D&C 64:10.

9. What was the hardest part about the transfer?
Just getting a new companion that wasn’t the same.

10. What would you compare your new area to in the states? Is it like Arizona, New Mexico, etc.?
It is like Arizona with a river in the middle of a valley and a ton of farming.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Aplao or Bust!!

Hola Familia,

Wow this week has been absolutely crazy. It is so nice to be busy but there is not enough time in the day to get everything done that we need to.

I got transferred to the city of Aplao in the Siguas area with a new Latino companero (companion). I leave in “T minus” 2 hours ha ha. I am so excited. It was hard at first when I found out Saturday night. I was kind of bummed because we just barely got a new room and a new Pensionista, but I am stoked as well. I didn’t sleep well Saturday night because I was so nervous. At about two in the morning I said a prayer which helped me relax and know that I would be able get everything done on Sunday for my transfer. I am glad that I have another Latino companion because my Spanish will improve a ton and I will learn even more. 

Cake of the Dead
Halloween was nothing like the states ha ha. Barely anybody was trick or treating; it was just another day. We went and had a family home evening and made pizza. 

This week was awesome; we had one of our investigating familias (families) say that they were ready to be baptized this next weekend. So I will not be there for it but, I taught them and they are starting their journey to salvation. I love the feeling when all of our hard work finally pays off! 

Fast Sunday was awesome. Especially when we have the opportunity to fast for our people and members of the church. My testimony of fasting has really grown, because it really strengthens you spiritually and helps you understand the things that need to be done. You really do receive revelation.

Sunday was crazy because of visiting all the families (see pictures below).  Wow it was so cool to visit families that have helped me so much in my first area and so far in my mission. I visited a ton of families and every single one gave me food. I had a brownie recipe Kenzie sent me and one family cooked the brownies for us, they were so delicious. But I threw up in the night because of all the food I ate ha ha. Wow I have never felt so sick in my life. But it was so worth it. I got their information so I will be able to contact them all.

Overall I am so excited to get transferred and learn new things in my mission. I know this is where I need to go and to help the people there.

Thanks you so much family for all that you do for me. I know that this gospel really makes us perfect and there is nothing that the Lord will not forgive us of. The power of the atonement is real. I know that this is true.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley


1. Electrocuted?!? What? I need the story! Was it just a shock or worse?
Yeah it was just a little only when I touched the handle to change the water pressure ha ha. It is because there is no ground for the electricity.

2. Have you received a package yet?
I have received both the packages from mom and the one from forever ago.

3. Did you get any Halloween candy?
I did not get any Halloween candy.

4. Do they have any Christmas Decorations out in stores down there?
There are no Christmas decorations at all ha ha. The holidays are so much different here. (Christmas in Peru)

5. What was the most inspired scripture you read this past week?
Wow there were a ton, probably Moroni 7 the entire chapter.

6. What food do you miss the most?
I miss milk, and quality meat ha ha.

7. What is your favorite native food?
Favorite native food is Ricoto Relleno.

8. How is the Spanish coming along?  Are you able to hold a conversation better?
Spanish is a lot better and I have learned a ton in this past exchange. Conversations are a lot easier.

9. How is your health?  Any issues?
Health is good ha ha. Only issue is to much food.

10. What time do you wake up each morning? What time do fall asleep each night?
Wake up around 6:15am to go to the park to exercise and I fall asleep at 10:30pm.

11. Do you exercise every day?
I jog every morning and my companion would sleep on a bench ha ha.



Bishop's Familia 

Giving a watch away

Familia Echegary

Bishop's Familia

Familia Diaz

Hermana Gina "Old Pensionista"

Chicken and Soup Meal

Familia Victoria

Brother Carlos



Familia Margarita

Glass on Fences to Keep People Out

Laundry Familia

Familia Marcelina