Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer" -John 16:33

Hola Familia,

Ya pues este semana era muy interesante. (Now because this week was very interesting.)  Well this week was great; we were able to teach a ton of lessons and help out a bunch of people.  This week nothing too exciting happened.  But we were able to have a bunch of fun.

This week we had an awesome experience yesterday.  So we were out searching for people to teach and we planned earlier that day to go and visit people with the Bishop (Spanish version).  We went and we were on the other side of our area and he called for us to go with him, but he wanted us to go to his house first which is like a 25-minute walk so we started on the trek and we decided to walk on the train tracks.  So we were walking and then this guy walked by and said "I wouldn't walk that way" so then we stopped and started talking to him and he said that there are a bunch of druggies and people that have guns and stuff.  So then we started walking with him and later we found out that he is a member and hasn’t been to the Church for 4 years and we will be visiting him this week.  It was awesome to see how everything works out and happens.

This week we had a Zone Conference with the Zones in Moquegua and Mollendo.  They all came to Ilo to have the Conference.  We had a great conference and we learned a ton.  The President is awesome and I am so glad that we have him leading us and helping us become better.  I learned that the most important thing in this world is family (Spanish version).  I love you all so much and am so grateful for all the help and the amazing examples you all have set for me.

I just want to say that this life is so important.  Also we need to learn something new every single day.  We need to be the people that God wants of us.

I love you all and have a great week.

Les amo,
Elder Cooley

This story is amazing and I just would like all of you guys to read it.

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.  There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files.  They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.  But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings.  As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked."  I opened it and began flipping through the cards.  I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.  This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life.  Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content.  Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.  A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird.  "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At."  Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers."  Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents."  I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.  Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.  Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards?  But each card confirmed this truth.  Each was written in my own handwriting.  Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents.  The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body.  I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card.  I shuddered at its detailed content.  I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

An almost animal rage broke on me.  One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards!  No one must ever see this room!  I have to destroy them!"  In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out.  Its size didn't matter now.  I had to empty it and burn the cards.  But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.  Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.  And then I saw it.  The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With."  The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused.  I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands.  I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came.  I began to weep.  Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me.  I fell on my knees and cried.  I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all.  The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes.  No one must ever, ever know of this room.  I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.  No, please not Him.  Not here.  Oh, anyone but Jesus.

I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards.  I couldn't bear to watch His response.  And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.  He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.  Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes.  But this was a pity that didn't anger me.  I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again.  He walked over and put His arm around me.  He could have said so many things.  But He didn't say a word.  He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files.  Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

"No!" I shouted rushing to Him.  All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him.  His name shouldn't be on these cards.  But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive.  The name of Jesus covered mine.  It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back.  He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards.  I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.  He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.


Hola Familia,

Hermana Basilia
This week we had the amazing opportunity to be able to baptise (Spanish version) Hermana Basilia.  It was amazing, after working with her for over three months she finally was able to make the decision to be baptized and it was so incredible.  She had almost all her children come from Lima, Spain, Ilo and other parts of Peru to watch this step that she took in her life.  She really is great and it was such a great experience to help her.  The baptism was awesome and overall everyone had a good time.  It was great.

My new companion’s name is Elder Cluff, he is 19 years old and has just under a year left in his mission.  He is from Spanish Fork, Utah.  We get along awesomely, talking about the mountains and all the stuff that we both love.  Overall this week has been great.  We are going to have a ton of fun and I am so excited.

This week we went to Arequipa for the monthly Zone Leadership and Sister Leader Conference of the mission.  It was so awesome.  One thing that I really liked learning was that if we are not progressing then we are going down hill.  There are only two ways up or down.  We were able to learn a lot from all the ideas and the help that we got from the conference.  So while we were there we stayed in a shut down area in the old room.  It was like a bad movie.  In the room the beds were on the floor; the room was a mess and there was left over food and only two blankets.  Arequipa is freezing at night, but we toughed it out and had a great night there.  It was really cold but it was really fun ha ha.  After the conference we went to Hunter and I went and randomly knocked on the door of the family that I was teaching with Elder Vargas when I got transferred.  They got baptized the week after I left and now her son is passing the sacrament (Spanish version) and she is in the Relief Society Presidency (Spanish version).  It is awesome.

Testimony (Spanish version) booster this week:
On Friday we went and helped a lady clean some of her house because she has really bad arthritis and cannot clean or move her hands that well.  So we got done cleaning and she asked me to give her a blessing (Spanish version).  We gave her a blessing and right after we said Amen, she started crying and said that she did not have any more pain and that she could really move her hands.  Wow, it was incredible to see that and to have that experience.

We had to remember that God (Spanish version) is very witty with the stuff that he does, because then we had to go and talk with some people that didn’t have a testimony.  I could and can testify of the power of the priesthood (Spanish version) and the Book of Mormon (Spanish version) and everything.  It was incredible and so awesome to be able to have that kind of experience.

Overall this week has been awesome and the Zone is doing great and I am so glad to be able to be here on the mission and see all the amazing blessings that we see and all the miracles (Spanish version) that we see today and everyday.  I just love this work and so grateful to be here.

Les Amo,
Elder Cooley

1. Favorite scripture?

2. What type of animals do they have in Ilo?

3. Do they drink hot chocolate? If so, does it taste different then ours and how?
They drink a type of hot chocolate thing ha ha.  They don’t have hot chocolate mix.

4. Was that a hot dog on top of the lamp chops?
It was sausage.

5. Where did you get a recipe for cheesecake?
I got it from the wrapper of the cream cheese.

6. What is the weather like during this time of year in Ilo?
It is brisk but not too cold ha ha.

7. Do you use public transportation much in Ilo?
Yeah, I use a lot of taxis and buses.

8. Who cuts your hair?
Just whoever we can find to cut my hair.  It is about 2 dollars.

9. How many toothbrushes have you gone through since you have been in Peru?
I am on my second one right now.

10. Do they have Popsicles in Peru?
Yeah they have a ton of popsicles.

The Members

Her Familia

Family that was baptized a week after I left Hunter

Elder Cluff

Eating with Hermana Basilia

Lunch with the Zones

Zone Leaders from my Group

Monday, July 13, 2015


Hola Family,
This week has been one of the most interesting weeks of my entire mission ha ha.  My companion departed Wednesday.  He was supposed to leave Thursday but there was rioting in Arequipa and so he had to be there before the road was closed down.  So then I had no companion ha ha.  In the morning after my companion I went with my Pensionista’s husband for a couple hours, then I chilled with a member for a hour or so, and then I went on a triple date ha ha.  I was with a member from the Ward and he brought along his wife to visit people with his guitar ha ha.  It was just great.  I was literally the third wheel for the entire afternoon ha ha.  Then I went to sleep with some Elders.  The next day I was lucky enough to have a member be with me the entire day.  We had some awesome lessons and everything went great with him.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were even better ha ha.  I was with a member from our Ward for these days and it was just dandy.  I said something that he did not like so he did not talk to me for Friday night or Saturday.  But it was all good and I still had a good time.  

We were able to have such an awesome lesson with Hermana Bacilia, and she came to Church so she will be baptized this week.  She is awesome and it has been amazing to see her be able to change her life and to be able to come unto Christ.  On Saturday night we had a fire for the Zone and it was sweet; we made hot dogs and then some s’mores and it was just a great time.

So on Sunday we had a bunch of investigators come to Church, which was awesome, and everything is great.  My goal is to find a family to be able to baptize (Spanish version) and have them go to the Temple (Spanish version).

Well this week I think that the biggest lesson that I learned was to trust in the Lord (Spanish version) and that you make your own happiness.  Nobody else can make you happy it comes from you and you only.

I love you all and hope that all of you guys are doing the things that the Lord would want from you.  Remember that this life is super short and that we only have so much time to be able to be ready for the eternities (Spanish version).  I love you all.

Les amo,
Elder Cooley

1. Favorite scripture?

2. Where did you get the Bib and what was it for?
It was a towel and it was so that my shirt didn’t get all dirty from cooking ha ha.

3. Where did you get the BBQer?
From a member and we used charcoal.

4. Did you make the cheesecake?
I made the cheesecake ha ha.

5. How was the soccer game?  What position did you play?  Did you score any goals?
The game was great!  We won and I played defense so I didn’t score any goals.

6. How often do you eat tacos (they look amazing)?
Only every once in a while ha ha.

7. Who is the Lajo family?
Senor Lajo is a high councilman member and he invited us to lunch.

8. Where did you get the blue Ilo jersey?

We made them as a Zone for like $10 ha ha.





Bye Companion

Sunday lunch with Fernanda

Lamp chops