Monday, March 30, 2015

State of Emergency : Flash Floods

Hola Familia,

Wow this week has been insane ha ha. So we had an awesome P-day making tacos and then a sweet family home evening with a bunch of families. Then the next day all the fun happened ha ha.


 We had a pretty normal day, but we did have Elder Montoya with us because his companion was in Arequipa. So he was staying with us. We went to the outskirts of our area to look for people. I am almost 100 percent positive that that was the first time that those people had missionaries in the town that they lived in ha ha.

Limits of our Area - Ongoro

 Then we came back and then it began ha ha. It started to rain and then rained some more. Geez it rained like crazy. I actually got to use my big raincoat finally ha ha. It was like dumping rain. So in Aplao the mountains are rock and then just really soft sand dirt. So when it started to rain the rain just came down. There was some insane flooding ha ha. There were rivers coming down the streets from the hills. The highways were cut off and destroyed also. The canyons just made huge rivers where there should not be rivers ha ha. So that night we just walked around making sure everyone was all right ha ha. Then to add to it there were no lights and no water going to the houses. So everyone didn’t have light or flashlights. Luckily I had an awesome flashlight so I was good. There was huge rocks falling form the hills and it was nuts.

Flash Flooding

Then it rained for two more consecutive days and nobody was ready for it at all. It has not rained like this for 30 years ha ha. So we were like stranded in Aplao for like two days ha ha. But luckily nothing happened to any of the members and everyone is doing all right. But it was insane how much it rained and how unsafe of a place Aplao was ha ha. But my companion and I are good and nothing happened to our room. 

We had another soccer activity on Thursday and it turned out really well. On Saturday we had an awesome mission night. The activities are really helping the members make the Gospel and the traditions of the Church a part of their lives. 

Sunday we were able to have a ton of success with the less active members that are coming to church. We were able to have most of the people that we are teaching come to church. We have an investigator that has been coming and so we just need to teach him a little more and he could be baptized (Spanish version).

Overall this week I have learned so much. I know that the Lord helps us when we have hard times in our life and he will keep us protected when we put our faith in him.

I love you all and I hope that you all have a great week.

Elder Cooley


1.Favorite scripture?

 2. Do you have any plans for Easter?
We have zero plans for Easter ha ha.

3. Have you seen the Church’s Easter video (Spanish version)?
We have and it is awesome.  We are working with it.

4. Do people down there celebrate with the Easter bunny?
They do not celebrate the Easter Bunny or anything ha ha.

5. Have you shared the blog address with any people down there?
Yeah I have shared it with members and people are looking it up.

6. Why were you wearing a motorcycle helmet last week?
It was a member’s and so I put it on to take a picture.

7. Do you ever write in Spanish?
I write in Spanish a lot that is the best way that I learn in reading and writing.

8. What type of pizza did you make? 
It was a ham and cheese pizza.

9. Have you ever gotten any feedback about the blog from the people down there?
Yeah they liked it but the translation is not too good.  So it is hard to read when the Internet translates it.

10.  What is the most satisfying part of being on a mission?
Just seeing the people come back to Church and realize the blessings that they have and when people just are happier from following God.


Elder Holden & Montoya

Below are the blog views by country (We have a total of 5,082 views).  Thanks to all who follow Elder Cooley's mission, this wouldn't have been possible without you.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Misión Vida (Mission Life)

Hola Familia,

How are you all doing this wonderful day? Wow the weeks are just flying by and I can’t believe that my mission is going by so fast. It really scares me and makes me think about what I am doing to make a difference here in Peru. This week has been good, it was kind of a slow week but we were able to get a lot done and help a bunch of people out.

This past week we got new goals and different things to work on. In this area we are working to strengthen the leaders of the branch and to make everyone stronger. So we have focused this week on teaching the leaders and finding old converts (Spanish version) that are not coming to Church. We have been able to work really well with the family of the Elder Quorum (Spanish version) President because he is struggling to do what he needs to do for the quorum. It has been good to get to know that family more and to figure out what their needs and what is going to help them become better members.

Then we have been working hard to have more activities. This week we almost had a activity every single night ranging from: sport night, to watching a movie, to the Relief Society  (Spanish version) going to eat and me making more pie for them ha ha. It has really been cool to see the progress from them and how the activities can help them. For members in Peru, they really don’t know the importance and how things work in the church. Definitely here in the valley they are all really new members and nobody has every had a lot experience in the church so hopefully we can teach them how to have correct traditions and how to be a good members of the church. 

By relearning the basics (Spanish version) of the church I have taught myself how to be a better member. I hope that the Church is one of the top things that come in our lives. I just want to have you all try to become the best members and try and do all the things that you need to do to become closer to God.

This week we have been able to work with a lot of members and we had a lesson with a recent convert the other day. After meeting with her it really made me think about my life. So she was baptized last year and barely goes to church. We have worked with her but she is in a really bad economic state. She cannot pay off her debts with the store that she buys food so now they wont sell her food. She can’t pay to buy her daughter’s notebooks and other materials for school. Then on top of it for her to attend church she has to pay for two different buses because she lives so far away. Then she can’t work because she has really bad asthma and she works in the fields. It is just sad and really made me think of how blessed we are to have had everything that we needed. We have the church so close and we take it for granted so much and it is sad. I am going to be more grateful for everything that I have more because of the things that I have seen.

This weekend was the anniversary of Aplao and the other cities in the valley. So it was like a three-day party in Aplao since Friday and just full parties every single night and it has been crazy. Yesterday on Sunday they had a parade from two in the afternoon to like ten at night it was crazy. And so there was literally nobody at home so we went and found one member and made pizza because there was nobody to find. I am grateful that most things in the States happened on Saturday not on Sunday.


 Well family, thank you so much for everything that you have done for me and I hope that you all have a great week.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley

1. Favorite scripture?

2. Have you read any general conference talks lately?  What was your favorite?
I have not read any general conference talks lately.

3. How do you watch General Conference (Spanish version) down there?
We will get a satellite connection with the other church in another city to be able to watch it ha ha.  So it will be a really awful connection.

4. Have you done any service projects lately?
We have done the service project of cleaning the lot in the back of the Church and it was fun.

5. How is your Spanish coming along?
It is coming along, I can really hear when I am not saying things right and just know when it does flow right.

6. What is your apartment like?
It is clean or my half is clean ha ha.  It is really tiny 10x12 feet I would say.  It is like my room at home.

7. Do you share a bathroom?
We have one bathroom for the two of us.

8. Do the buildings down there have a lot of color?
Pretty much all the buildings either have a ton of color or don’t have any.

9. Have you tested out any new recipes this last week?
I have made pizza this past week and it was really good.

10. Do you notice any season changes?
Yes the weather is super hot.  Although it is not more humid than before.


Cesar and Arceyli

Chicken Fighting Arena


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Great week

Hola family,

Well this week has been really good. We have been able to have a ton of success and we are finally seeing some progress in our members.

This week was crazy I will start of talking about the spiritual things that happened first. Well we had two awesome experiences this week with less active members finding us. On Saturday night we were walking around just contacting people like crazy and just struggling to find anyone. We were going up this dark street with nobody on it. This motorcycle taxi came down and started to stop right before us ha ha. My first thought was that this guy was either drunk or was about to bug us, so I was trying not to make eye contact and then we heard him say “Elders”. Then we started to talk to him and we found out that he was is a member and had just moved back to Aplao to live with his family. We talked with him for a while and got him to come to church on Sunday. Today we were going to catch the bus bright and early to go to our meeting and this guy named Jose Louis came up to us and asked where the church was. Later we found out that he is from out of town working here and didn’t know where the church was. So we have found two awesome less active members just by being in the right place at the right time.

Well this week was really busy and we had a ton of stuff to do. We had a Zone Conference and then another two day meeting during the week. Then on Saturday I made 6 PIES ha ha! It was Pi Day so I made the 6 pies for the branch that we handed out on Sunday. I made a lemon meringue, chocolate mint, key lime, apple, banana cream, and coconut cream ha ha. It was a crazy day but it was so much fun.

Well activities made this kind of a bust this week ha ha. We had planned to have a sports night in Cosos on Saturday, but nobody came so we cancelled ha ha. This week we are already doing better then we did last week. We had a sweet family home evening last night and then tonight we are making pizza and then tomorrow we have sports night. Then Thursday we have an activity for the Elder’s quorum and the young men to play soccer and then we have mission night and then another sports night. We are really working with the branch a ton and really focusing on the members to help them be the best that they can be.

Overall this week has been awesome and everything is going great. We are seeing a ton of success in the less active members that we are teaching.

My testimony in faith (Spanish version) has grown so much. There is this mom named Luisa she is a single mom and she lives about an hour and a half away form the church. She works all day in the fields harvesting onions or just anything so that she can to earn some money. She does so much for her family just to get to the church. Sometimes they only have money to send one person from their family but they come and they make it work. It is such a sacrifice for her to come to church that it is just amazing and such a testimony  (Spanish version)builder for me. 

I love you all and you guys are always in my prayers. Thank you so much for everything that you do for me. Have a wonderful week and keep working hard to be happy every single day of this amazing life that we have.

I love you all,
Elder Cooley


1. Favorite scripture?

2. Have you purchased a hat yet?
I have not purchased a hat yet ha ha.

3. Where is Pedregal?  How far away from Aplao is it?
It is out of the valley about two hours.  So we travel two hours to get to all of our meetings as a Zone.

4. Why did you not have eggs and flour thrown in your hair?
I don’t know I was just lucky to get out of it ha ha.

5. Was the dog you were holding in the picture from last week wild or somebodies pet?  Is is a Peruvian hairless dog?
It was somebody’s pet ha ha.  It is a Peruvian hairless dog.  It is extremely ugly.

6. When you had the fire night did somebody play the guitar?
Yeah, there is one Elder that plays the guitar in our district.

7. Who made the cheesecake for Elder Holden?
It was a member that has a cake business.

8. What type of pizza did you get?  How does it compare to pizza in the states?
It was a pepperoni pizza and it was really good.  It was a little different but awesome.

9. Did you celebrate Pi day? (3/14/15)
We did, I only made 6 pies.

10. Did you have to climb the mango trees to harvest the mangos?  Or were you doing it just for fun?
Yeah to get the mangos we had to climb the trees to be able to get some of them.

No new pictures this week.

Monday, March 9, 2015

As the Army of Helaman

Hola Familia,
Well I did not get transferred, so I have another six weeks here in the Valley.  I am stoked!  I was not quite ready to leave the wonderful people here.  Overall I have been thinking a ton and am planning to continue working extremely hard to do all I can to make this next change even better.  This week has been wonderful.  We have had a ton of awesome lessons and we are working hard to help out the people that are here. 

Well not too much has happened, it was a good week just kind of slow and we traveled a lot to places.  We had some fun times and some very spiritual lessons.  Fun times first ha ha.  We were able to have an great fire one night.  We cooked hot dogs and S’mores and it was really fun.

Fire Night

Then we stayed the night in Pedregal.  We had a district meeting and then we headed back.  We made some more awesome cinnamon rolls.  

Cinnamon Rolls

Then on Tuesday we were able to talk with a less active family and then they came to Church on Sunday it was amazing and hopefully they will keep coming.  They live about two hours from the Church but they made the trip with the little money they have, to be there to learn and to partake of the Sacrament (Spanish version).  

Wednesday we helped a Member move into his new house and it was fun.  He is awesome and hopefully he will be able to help us out with the work more.  After we went and had lunch with a member, it was a bunch of fun and I learned a new Peru dish ha ha: Aji de Gallina.  Later we went and played basketball at the Church with some members.  It turned out to be really fun and awesome.  

On Thursday it was Elder Holden’s birthday, so I made him German pancakes in the morning.  Then we went and had lunch.  After we put a bunch of eggs and flour in his hair, which was a bunch of fun.  That night we went and got pizza for his birthday, because absolutely no one was home ha ha.  




Then on Friday one of the Zone Leaders came to our area.  We went and visited some members and it was amazing.  We had some pretty awesome lessons.  Hopefully Raul and Valerie will get married, we are just working hard with them.  They know they need to but they have some doubts that are holding them back.  

On Saturday we went and helped Vigil with his mango orchard and we had a great time.  We were able to help him and it was cool to go and pick some more mangos ha ha.  


Picture in Mango Orchard ha ha

Then we went to visit a member and we thought she was going to buy a cake for Elder Holden, but we get into the kitchen and she was like, “Elder Cooley make a carrot cake” ha ha.  I was like crap I can’t just whip out a carrot cake without having all the stuff.  So we told her that we didn’t have a lot of time and we made some boss pancakes ha ha.  After we went with some kids from the Single’sWard (Spanish version) and visited a bunch of members and showed them what it is like to be a missionary and everything.

Overall this week was awesome. I just need to keep working hard and everything will turn out great. I love the missionary work and I am so excited to keep learning every single day and just to keep being the best that I can be.

I love every single one you guys, keep working hard everyday to be the best people you can be.

Elder Cooley


1. Favorite scripture?
The story of the 2,000 stripling warriors. Alma 57 (Spanish version)


2. Was the rice arroz verde good?  What did it taste like?
It is really good, I don’t know how to describe it ha ha.

3.  What did the Aja de Gallina taste like?
It is like a cream chicken thing ha ha, something like that.

4. Do you eat a lot of eggs there?
Yes we eat a lot of eggs and a lot with just a ton of oil ha ha.

5. Why did you deep fry Oreos?
I cooked them because I wanted to and they looked delicious ha ha.

6. Why types of activities do you plan for the branch?  Anything fun?
We do mission night, talent show, pioneer night, sport night, and MTC night.  They are always great and I love doing them.

7. How did the youth night that you were planning go?
It fell through but this week we are going to have it.

8. Do you get referrals (Spanish version) from the members at all?
Um . . . very little, ha ha in other areas more but in this area not too many.

9. It was daylight savings time today (Spring forward).  How does it feel to not have a time change?
It just feels the same and it is fun.

10.  How is your luggage doing?  Will you have enough room for when you transfer?

The luggage is going well and I think that I will have enough room in the luggage for my next transfer.

Dog - perauno Link

Pie with Lucrecia

Noche Misional (Missionary Night)

Huatiapa Map link

Tuna (Prickly Pear)

Below is a Spanish version of We'll Bring the World His Truth.