Elder Hunter Wayne Cook
Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission
C.C. No. 92
1702 Ciudadela
Buenos Aires

Elder Cook’s mission cannot receive packages from the U.S. :(

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mercedes!!!!! {Week 19}

Me and Elder Starr at the river before it flooded
 Ok so my new area is Mercedes!!! It seriously is the best area ever!! It’s super campo and city at the same time.  It’s SUPER European too!  There’s a super, strong Italian background.  Everyone is super nice here and I seriously feel like I’m in downtown Provo on some of the streets!  It’s the most that I’ve felt like I’ve been in the states my entire mission!  
The river after it flooded.  (The bank is supposed to be where the closest trees are)

My comp is Elder Starr!  He has 20 months on his mission.  He is from San Diego, CA and is super awesome!  He’s super funny like Elder Paskett and I know were going to have a great time together!

I seriously love Mercedes tho!  We have bikes and it’s super campo(fields).  I love how tranquilo it is.  We are also staying in a pench for 4 elders but it’s just the 2 of us so we have a lot of space!!  We have bikes too, which is awesome!  We are like 3 hours away from the offices tho, so if we ever need anything... we usually have to wait until transfers.
Weird horse dolphin we found

I saw SO MANY miracles this week!  Seriously!  I got here with the goal to fool people into thinking that I had more time on my mission than I really do with my Spanish.  Before Elder Paskett left, he gave me a blessing cuz I was kinda nervous and stressed about a new comp, new area, being done with my training, etc.  He gave me one of the best blessings that I have ever received!  He blessed me that I would be able to understand the people and communicate what I needed too, also that I would be comforted and know that everything was going to be alright.  I got here and seriously THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS SO REAL!!  I’ve been able to seriously understand basically EVERYTHING!  and I’ve been able to express myself!  I’ve fooled most of the members in our branch that I’ve been out on the mission for a year!  Priesthood blessings are real!
Mac & Cheese and Garlic bread
So Mercedes is just a SUPER, LITTLE BRANCH!  It was crazy to see how many people came!  We literally had 4 people in opening exercises of priesthood!  I also was asked to bear my testimony and give a little talk because the people that were supposed to be talking didn’t show or something.  It went really well!  I love it here and I can’t wait to get to know the members even better!  

Small little house (but they had to have their directv on the tree haha)
Well I’m super excited to be here and can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for the people here of Mercedes!  Love you all a ton!  Sorry that this is pretty short today!  Next week I’ll explain more.

Love you!
Elder Cook

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ending my training!! {Week 18}

Wow it's so crazy where the time goes!!! I'm a "real" missionary now! haha but this was the CRAZIEST WEEK of my entire mission!!! I was super sad to have Elder Paskett go home because he has seriously became my best friend!! He's going to stop by the house and bring you guys some stuff... so treat him great! He seriously changed my life!  So this week we found out that our area was being "white washed".  It's when they take out both of the missionaries in the area, and the new ones they put in, know nothing about the area, the investigators, or anything... they just have the area book to work with. Anyways, that's what is happening to our area because apparently they needed a safer place to put sisters.  So I'm leaving Parque tomorrow(Tuesday).  It's such a bitter sweet thing!! I had no idea how much I fell in love with this area and these people!!! They seriously have such a special place in my heart... I'm going to send you guys photos with the members and converts that changed my life! (See below)   
Giant Sanja
So this Friday we found that we were being white washed so I had to start packing and cleaning up the pench for the Hermanas!  We seriously were stuggling so much to get everything done!! On Saturday, it was our last day together because Elder Paskett had to go to the offices, so we went and said our goodbyes to everyone! It was literally one of the saddest, hardest things I've ever done in my entire life!! I didn't realize how much I loved these people!! When we told a recent convert family that we were leaving, they started crying, which made me start to cry, and it was just a big hot mess! haha I'll send the pictures of all of the members that were so amazing that I'm leaving behind, and write a little bit about them.. so this email is going to be a little short!! 

Last pic with Elder Paskett 
Oh I found out from President that we are able to go to the temple on December 23rd for Christmas!!!!! I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!! I miss the temple sooooooooooooooooo much!!! It's the best Christmas present ever!!! But yeah.. since Elder Paskett left, I'm in a trio with the Elders that are in the area next to Parque until tomorrow when the transfers are... I found out that I'm going to the zone of LUJAN!!! I'm soooooooo EXCITED!!  That is the place that I've been wanting to go the most!! It's like "mid campo" which is super tranquilo and awesome!  I can't wait! I can't wait for my new comp either!!!  

A cool experience that we had this week... as we were saying goodbye to the recent convert familia that was crying, I felt the spirit so strong to leave them with my final testimony about temples!!  I remember just telling them to do everything in their power to make it to the temple, because it's there that we recieve the greatest of God's blessings!  The spirit was so strong and I realized that that is the greatest goal anyone can have!! To go to the temple, make covenants, be sealed, have a family and perseverar hasta al fin!!  That's the greatest thing you can do in life.  That's what will bring you to the celestial kingdom one day to finally rest from all of your labors!! I thought about how wonderful the moment would be when Christ would say at judgement, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, you're DONE! You don't have to suffer anymore! You don't have to feel any more sadness, any more stress! YOU DID IT! Now enter into my REST! There is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father!" How great would that be to hear!?  I can't even imagine how it would be to hear that! That's what were doing here right now. We are preparing so we can hear those words!

There was another lady who was less active, that Elder Paskett and I reactivated, that came up to us after sacrament yesterday and started bawling and telling us how greatful she was for what we did for her.  She said that she was going through a really hard part of her life, her husband cheated on her and left her with a 5 year old CRAZY son!  I didn't realize that we had helped her that much! I didn't realize that she felt that way!  It made me realize that even though we didn't have any baptisms in Parque, we did change lives and help people! Which I'm grateful that I was able to do that!  

It was super hard to say goodbye to Elder Paskett but I'm ready!!! I can't wait to get to my new area as a trained missionary! I know I'm going to see miracles!! I already have seen so many! They occur everyday in this work!!  This truly does bring greater joy than I have ever experienced in my life!!  It's super weird because it's SUPER HARD, but it's THE GREATEST!! I can't explain it!! haha
Well I love you all! Thanks for everything and all of the prayers!

They are seriously the BEST!! He is super rich and he loves just doing anything for the missionaries!  He sends us take out food like 4 times a week!  And his wife is the sweetest lady too! They really care so much for us and would do anything for us!! They are seriously my Argentine family! Mom don't worry, these people take great care of me!  She is my other mom!  I wish I could have you send them an email or somehting and thank them because they seriously have done so much for me!! I love them so much!

This is a family that was less active that we reactivated, and now she's preparing to go to the temple!  Super exciting!!

This is the family that cried that we had an amazing experience with about the temple!! I love them so much!! They were super sad to say goodbye to the Elders! They made us a cake too! That was super good! One of them is preparing to serve a mission!! I have so many stories about them! We have pretty mcuh worked with them 2-3 times a week since I've been here!! They wrote us notes that were super sweet! I love them!!

This is a progressing investigator that we found and were teaching! She has a fecha for the 26 of December!!! But, she is juntada so she has to get married... which is a struggle

This is a less active family that we found and have been teaching.  They are so awesome and are now preparing to go to the temple!

He is 16 and lives with his brother, sister, and his sister's boyfriend.  They are members but are not active. His dad died and his mom lives somewhere else!! We were working with him and now hes going to church!! We are trying to help him get on a mission!! I feel super bad that we have to leave him!!! I love him and I hope that he keeps working on the mission! It will change his life!

This family made an asado for us! (Meat/bbq thingy)
Love you!!!
Elder Cook

Last Week With Elder Paskett :( {Week 17}

So this is my last week that I'm with my papi Elder Paskett!! I'm super duper sad!  He has seriously been the best trainer that I could have ever asked for! Seriously he has became my best friend!  And It's not even that I'm just getting a new comp but Elder Paskett is going home!!! I've been with him 24/7 for the last 3 months haha and so now I I don't know what I'm going to do without him!!  He is basically the only friend I have in this country haha so if you guys could pray that I'll have an easy transition with my new comp!!   

On Colectivo (the bus)
This past week I learned SOOOO MUCH!  We did a division with the other elders of our district (you switch companions for 24 hours).  This month I decided that I wanted to test my faith and ability so I asked if I could do the division with a new elder.. (newer than me) haha When we were doing the switch I was thinking to myself that I had made a horrible mistake!! haha I was super scared because he didn't know like ANY Spanish and I am still struggling a lot with the language!! I felt like I was being dropped into a Spanish speaking country with another American that didnt speak the langauge! Well I guess that's what really did happen! hahaha.  The only thing that made me do this was, I knew that when we "take initiative"  and just have faith and try, God will bless us with the ablility to do what we need to do!  So that was a day full of prayers and stress, but I was blessed with the ability to do it!!  I realized that the only thing that has been holding me back with the language has been my own doubt!!!  I have been doubting in myself to be able to speak... I was more worried about what I could do than what God could do for me!!  Anyways, I did the division and it was such a MIRACLE!!!  The morning of, Elder Paskett gave me a blessing and blessed me that I would be able to understand and communicate everything that I needed to if I had faith.  I trusted in God and his power and tried my hardest, and I was able to understand EVERYTHING!  I was speaking without even thinking about what I needed to say or how to translate it!!  It was a complete miracle that God gave to me!  It was still super stressful because I was literally being a trainer myself and helping the new missionary, but with God I was able to do it!!

My Capilla
This is the family that we eat dinner with every Tuesday night.  They are seriously THE BEST!  I love them with my whole heart.
 This strengthened my testimony of faith tremendously!! I know that FAITH is seriously one of the most powerful things that we can possess!  In "True to the faith" it says somehitng like how faith is what power is based on... If we have faith in Jesus Christ we can have POWER to do whatsoever thing. (Moroni 7:33)  In the Bible it talks about someone being able to heal  people because of their faith.. they weren't an apostle or had the priesthood or anything but they were just acting in perfect faith in Jesus Christ and were able to do miracles in his name!  So my challenge to all of you is to STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH!! In Jesus Christ and His power!  Our faith is strengthened when we get to KNOW CHRIST!  You need to know OF Him but also KNOW HIM!  Do you know Christ? We can always strengthen our faith.  I don't care if you are Thomas S. Monson or an 8 year old... you can always get to know Christ better and strengthen your faith!! 
Parque sign on the bridge

Also read/listen to the talk that President Uchtdorf gave in the general womens session of conference this October!! It is amazing!
Matching ties (From Car, Tar, and Lexi)

Elder Cook

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week ? No se {Week 16}

My zone in Castelar
Hello familia!  Sorry for not being able to write a big letter last week.  We were super pressed on time because we had to go to a zone activity. This week has been great down here in Buenos Aires.  No they don't celebrate Halloween here, but I was glad because I really don't like Halloween anyways.  We are just doing the same ol, same old.. the work of the Lord!!  Everyday I have been able to see so much progress with Spanish!  Actually one man asked me if I was from Guatemala.. And I was like NO!  Haha I guess it sounded like I had a Guatemalan accent or something!  So that was a confidence boost for me haha.  

This week in my studies I have been focusing a lot on families.  I was reading in PME one day and a part on families just hit me sooooo hard!  I felt the spirit so strong and I knew that that's what I needed to be focusing on!  I realized that the family is seriously the most important thing in the entire universe.  After all we are all a huge family of God.  But I realized because since the family is seriously so important, that it is satan's biggest target!!  Every temptation and sin that there is that you can commit, effects the family in some way or another.  Seriously there is not anything more important in this life or in the life to come than the family!! I realized that since the family is satan's biggest target, that we as missionaries, and members of the church need to counter the attacks!  WE are the ones that have to stand up and protect the family.  This made me realize that this needed to be my main focus as a missionary.  Finding, helping, and teaching families!  

I decided that I needed to read The Family Proclamation again.  Wow, if you haven't read it in a while....or ever GO READ IT!!! I didn't realize what I was missing out on!  It was always hanging on the wall in our house, but I never got the chance to actually read it fully! haha!  Because of how important the family really is in God's plan, Elder Paskett and I decided to start using the Family Proclamation in our contacts that we are doing!  Because seriously everyone that we talk to and ask what's the most important thing to them, or what it is they worry the most about, is the family!  It's such a great tool to have to say, "Hey look, thru the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have a modern day prophet who receives revelation from God to help us with problems that we face today.  For example..." and then we show them the Proclamation. It's such a great finding and teaching tool!  

I know that there is a family here in Argentina that is waiting for me to find them!  I cannot wait to help a family go to the temple and receive the ordinances of salvation that will bring them eternal life and exaltation, being sealed together as a family for all eternity!! This is why I'm here.  I have already promised them that I will find them. I am NOT leaving this country until I find my "queridos amigos" 
Te hallare mi querido amigo!

I had a division with my zone leader... actually Elder Wiggins trained him!! Elder Rawlins

I'm so grateful for my family, I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH!!  
Elder Cook