Thursday, April 25, 2013

YAY, this is my second to last P-Day in the MTC. Woo Hoo! I have survived this long and i only have 11 days left in the MTC....that is unless i get extended here because of Visa things but that will be mentioned later.
This Week has been crazy. I mean i had an amazing birhtday first off. I'm officially 19 or the old official mission age. It is weird becuase really Age in the MTC means nothing. I mean we have such a huge range in the MTC right now, that things just seem in Limbo. Especially since the teachers aren't that much older than us. I mean one teacher just got back from his mission like 5 months ago which just makes me feel like i'm  at this weird age of during the mission, especially since i don't know a lot of people at this age just because most of the people i have known in my life are gone during this age. The next part of this whole consipiracy is the fact that the MTC is a black hole of Time. 5 weeks have passed and it feels like days. We call the time where we sleep at night just "nap time" because it doens't feel like a day passes within that ammount of time. We wake up and go to class for a whole day. It is quire strange.
   The next part of this letter is adressed to all of those who sent me birthday cards and presents. I will be sending hand written letters to all of you, don't worry. It might just take me a while to get them all written. Thank you all so much for thinking of me, it really did make my day. It was werid because my birthday just kind of appeared. I woke up and people were saying happy birhtday. I really didn't understand that i had officially had turned 19 over night. Anyway thank you all so much, it really meant a lot.
   Next part is about the Visa front. I have no idea where the process is at right now. Nothing but waiting it seems. Next thursday or wednesday we will be getting our travel plans, and those will give us all the information about where we will be serving after the MTC. It could be Argentina, Utah, or anywhere. They might just keep us here at the MTC if we can wait for the Visa, but we as a district believe it will either be Argentina or a reassignment. Just keep praying for the Visa to come through. If i do get reassigned my Parents will be the first to know because i get to call them from the MTC about it so just be waiting for the information.
   Mi español es muy bueno. estoy hablando muchas cosas en español cada dia. I am quite surprised on how much spanish i am getting a hold of now. My companion and i taught a 40 minute lesson to a member in TRC this week and it was quite amazing on what we were able to teach during that time. Especially since most of it was in Spanish. We are moving at great speed as a district and we are getting a real hold of the Spanish language. We speak only spanish outside of the Classrooms and even then try to use as much spanish in the classroom as possible. We have turned ourselves into investigators this week because after saturday, we won't have any teachers in the Classroom anymore, just ourselves. So it will be quite an interesting experiecence.
   We are officially the oldest District in the Zone so we are the ones that are getting ready to leave which is quite strange. We talk about getting ready to leave as if it is a few days, which sometimes it does feel like that. The Hermanas (Sisters) in our District know for a fact though where they are going which makes things a little strange. If we get held back for a few weeks, it will only be elders in our district. Our Hermanas were called to Spokane Washington mission and they are all rearing to go. we are just anxious to see if we are able to go into Argentina.
   Anyway, days are getting monotonous here and i am really ready to go out and teach, where ever that may be. I once again thank all of you for the wonderful birthday wishes and for the wonderful day that you made it to be. I hope that you will all here pretty soon about where i will be sent in the next week because i am just as excited to know as probably most of you are haha. Anyway i love you all and i hope life is treating you as well as it is treating me here in the MTC.
   Elder Cameron Jay Cook

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Week 3 MTC

 This is the third week in which also means we are half way done with our stay. After this week, we also will be the "oldest" district in our Zone. It is kind of weird to look and see new districts come and go, but the weird part about it is, We will be the next to go. We are all hoping we will be going to Argentina and not reassigned, but the Lord might need us somewhere else. We see a lot of people get reassigned in our Zone because the majority of us are going to Argentina. The only ones that are not are the district who came a week after us and the Hermanas(Sisters) In our district who are going to Spokane Washington.
   We just got the news that we as a district will be hosting next week, which means i get to be one of those missionaries who help the new ones find their way around the completely new world that we all call the MTC. I get to be a missionary Bellhop!!!! :D anyways i am quite excited because i also know i have some friends coming into the MTC this next wave, and i hope i get to see a few of them. 
   Speaking of the MTC, have i mentioned how great the Devotionals are here. We were blessed with the words of the great Richard G. Scott of the 12 this last tuesday....WHAT THAT IS CRAZY!!! He spoke of prayer and gave us all a promise that we would be blessed with the ability to learn our languages. He gave us an apistolic blessing in fact. We were so blessed with the spirit that day. We have district meetings after the Tuesday devotionals and this meeting was just absolutely filled with the spirit. We were shaken with the spirit and the MTC was absolutely filled to the brim with it. My testimony of prayer skyrocketed that day. We have had a few devotionals about prayer, but this one just dominated the rest. My favorite part was of the devotional was Elder Scott had finished his talk, we sang the final song, the girl got up to say the closing prayer, when suddenly he gets up out of his seat and tells the whole entire MTC that he had one more thing to say. First of all, it was super funny to see the girls face when she was told to go sit back down by an apostle. The next is what he said. He told us all. "God has called you to succeed, not to fail" That statement alone just floored us with the Spirit. We were all shocked and stunned by the feelings of the Spirit. I know that i have been called to serve, and he wouldn't call me if didn't know that i couldn't handle it. Argentina is waiting for me and i am waiting for it. I hope the Visa comes soon, but if anythign it probably will come the week before i leave. If not i might be held here longer or reassigned. 
   I am so blessed here at the MTC as well. My companion and i are continuing to learn Spanish at a great rate. We are learning spanish together and helping with both verbs and conjugation trees. We finished teaching our 2 investigator this last week and we had our 2nd week of TRC. WOW! My companion and i can teach in spanish and it is quite amazing on who much we actually know. We tried speaking in Spanish a whole day yesterday, and my companion and i did pretty well. I'm phasing english ever so slowly out of my language. My greetings are now totally in spanish. "Como esta" and "estoy bien" seem to be ingrained in my mind now. We will also having another english fast tomorrow, i hope it goes just as well as yesterdays did. I'm loving the spanish language and as i learn, i'm getting closer to my Heavenly Father and my brother Jesus Christ. It is quite surprising that as you learn gospel concepts only in Spanish, you seem to be closer. I have learned so much about the Gospel and Spanish that i just feel so blessed with the language. I love my mission so far and i just can't wait to serve the people in Argentina.
   Yo se que mi Hijo Jesucristo es mi salvador y mi redentor. Yo se que el Espiritu Santo es una bendicione major. Yo testifico eso Dijo he llavado mi en Argentina. Yo testifico El Libro de Mormon es plabra de Dios. You quierro mi Padre Celestial y Hermano Jesucristo. Yo quierro la Iglesia de Jesucristo. You se que presidente Thomas S Monson es profeta verdad.
    I love being a missionary and can't wait to experience more as i go. I love you all.
         Elder Cameron Jay Cook
PS The pictures are as follows. My celestial ceiling is the panels. Yes the trees and clouds are on our ceiling. I have a few of me and then i took a cool panorama of a line waiting for a devotional. I also have a picture of my desk in my room. It is where i do most of my letter writing and also some of my study.

Monday, April 15, 2013

I received a sweet letter from Cameron in the mail this week and have been feeling very selfish and guilty for keeping the whole thing to myself, so I'm sharing.  He added some fun info on his visa and departure. btw: In our weekly email Craig had told him about my job promotion and this is his reply, written the same day as the last email we received....
-Tricia, aka Cameron's mom

Dear Mom
I'm writing you specifically to tell you how happy I am for you.  I got out of the email that you officially took the job.  I am so excited for you.  The Main Branch is getting one of the best BOM's (Branch Operations Managers) and they don't even know it yet.  I am just so happy for you.  I will keep you in my prayers to keep up your amazing strength.  I just absolutely love you and Congratulations!  I send my love with an imaginary/spiritual hug.

I also wanted to thank you for the package and letter, it really made my day.  I love you all.  It's weird, there are so many times I just want to call and tell you guys of something I've learned or so you could hear how much Spanish I am learning.  Then I realize that I can't.  But on May 6th I should be able to call you and talk to someone from the airport.  That is the day I'm leaving the MTC, at the moment at least.

The visa front is going really well.  We met with the Consul.  He signed off on my finger prints and now we just wait some more.  I have 4 weeks left in the MTC and it seemed like the ambassador said the longest it would take was 3 more weeks.  So, let's hope the visa will come in smoothly.

I want to thank you for saving my emails.  My companion and I figured out that we only get to send 104 emails through our whole mission.  I have sent 2 already.  This means I am 1/52 of the way done :)  isn't that sad yet exciting?  I am way excited to continue to serve my mission.

Mom, I know this is short, but the main part of this letter was to say congrats on the promotion.  Also, I love you.  Thank you so much for the package and I can't wait to hear more about your new job.
Love, Elder Cook

(now this is Tricia typing again... on a side note; I gave the sister missionaries in our area a ride on Saturday and one of them was new.  She has been in Herriman and the Salt Lake South Mission for about a week but she is actually supposed to serve in Argentina, Buenos Aires and did not get her visa in time.  After 6 weeks at Provo MTC she was sent here to wait.  She also met with the Argentine Consul the same day as Cameron and told us he is EXTREMELY lucky to have already had that meeting.  Each week she was in the MTC the ambassador was 'supposed' to show up and kept postponing the visit.  Keep the prayers coming, Elder Cook really really wants to go straight to Cordoba!)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hola mi familia,

  Two weeks into the MTC and i am tired. Mi espanol es muy bueno. Yo estoy hablando en espanol todo dias. Este lunes mi distrito hablaran solomente espanol. En una semana mi distrito hablaran solomente espanol por tres semanas. (En ingles) My spanish is really good. I am speaking in spanish every day. This friday(tomorrow) we as a district will only speak spanish to each other. In one week my district will be speaking only spanish for the next three weeks. I know it is still a little rough, but i am learning. I mean 12 hours a day learning spanish is a really good way to learn a language. The next greatest thing is the fact that i have the Holy Ghost with me to help me learn. We as a district are actually ahead of our level and our teacher is quite surprised at the point where we are at. He says that by the end of our MTC stay we will know a lot more than the average district.

   Yesterday we had our first TRC. For those who don't know what that is, it is teaching Members who speak spanish about doctrine. Basically a member visit while we are in the MTC. It went absolutely amazing. My companion and I are starting to work really well together. We were surprised on how much we got complimented on how well we worked together. It was an amazing experience. We taught two people. A college girl who had studied spanish in Spain, and then a Chilean woman who had grown up in Chile but now lives in Orem. The experience was way cool and the way the spirit spoke through us was amazing. We taught lessons like we never had before. We have started on our second "Investigator", Javier, and we are going to officially meet him either tonight or tomorrow.

   Conference was amazing in the MTC. There are soooo many people in the MTC (Around 3000) that we had the main gym filled and two overflow rooms filled up. My district decided to go into one of the overflow rooms for all the sessions of conference. The seats were a lot more comfortable and it didn't feel as crowded. Just to let you know dad, the Gym has been completely revamped for devotionals and other meetings. They actually have risers that retract from the wall, and the rest of the floor is covered in chairs. No flag...sorry. For those who want to know, my favorite talk wasn't in the saturday or sunday sessions. It was actually in the Priesthood session. For those who are willing to watch a really good talk i would say either watch Ucthdorf's or President Monson's talk from Priesthood session. They are absolutely amazing. So to answer your question Dad, Yes i am riding the wave.

   I am still really loving my district. My companion and I are getting closer than ever, and we work really well together. We have both learned so much from each other and we are helping each other out in the learning Spanish department. Our district is super awesome and surprisingly enough, none of us have gotten sick. Even with the one day of snow and the couple days of rain. We have been wearing our suits basically every day like required. This is the first week i have not been required to wear a suit coat to class, but we still have to wear one for devoitionals or any sort of meeting. We are all getting a long together, for the most part in our district, but people do get some MTC crazies.

  I have to apologize to you all, i didn't get any pictures of this last week because i really didn't have any time. I will try to take some this week to make up for missing this week. I'll get a picture of my celestial ceiling and some pictures of us doing the Lords work. This is his work and his glory, and i am glad to be a tool in the hands of the Lord.

  I love you all and i am very thankful to have so many supporting friends and family. Thank you all so much.
      Elder Cameron Cook

Thursday, April 4, 2013

4/4/2013 Can you still call me Cameron?  I am Elder Cook now....
My week hasn't been that eventful though. Surprisingly enough the MTC is just a gigantic school meant for language and gospel studies, except you can only leave twice a week and you only have so much time to sleep. The days are starting to blend into one gigantic day. These last three days have kind of melted into one. People tell you to make it to your first Sunday in the MTC and things tend to go by really fast. IT IS SO TRUE! I can't believe how fast my first week went by. We even had a ton happen. We got our fingerprints done on Tuesday getting us ready for the Argentina Consul meeting on Tuesday. We learned a lot of Spanish, and we already saw two different live devotionals. My favorite devotional was this last Sunday. It was by a member of the Seventy named Brother Ringwood. He serves in the Korea area. He ended up talking about Enduring to the End and how that is the only thing we can not really teach to our investigators. My favorite quote from him was "There must have been a reason that Nephi first went back to Jerusalem for the plates and second for his wife" or at least something like that. It was really cool. He talked about how we as missionaries are here to gain our own foundation so we ourselves can come back changed to endure to the end. I just hope that I can create a solid foundation of the Gospel in my investigators so that they can endure to the end.

  The next thing I wanted to tell you was about my visa status. So this last Tuesday we got our fingerprints done to officially start the international side of my visa. We are going to meet with the Argentina Consul this next Wednesday so we can actually start the visa process. After that we will send off our papers to the actual consul office in Los Angeles where all we have to wait for is a signature. They estimate that the signature will take about two weeks, but they are behind on the signatures by two weeks, so it is very possible that I won't get my visa for another 4-5 weeks. The great thing is that we have a very likely chance of actually going directly to Argentina. We as a district continue to pray about our visas and just hope that they will go through on time so we can all go at the same time.

    So everyone is probably wondering about my companion, room mates, and possibly district. It can all be summed up by one word Awesome. My Companion's name is Elder Lammers and he is from Pocatello Idaho. We both like theater and Pokémon. I never knew I would run into a bigger Pokémon nerd than Dad, but my companion takes the cake. He figured out an algorithm to the perfect Pokémon team. He is super cool. a little quiet but very cool. The other Elders in my room are Elder Babbitt from Arizona and Elder Zobrist from Las Vegas. Surprisingly enough my district is mainly made of people outside of Utah which is quite a rarity. Only one third of us are from Utah. I am super excited for this district and it will be sad to leave them behind. We are all getting a hold of Spanish, and I can't wait to start speaking as much as I am understanding. I have enough Spanish to teach and preach in the sense of baring my testimony and praying. Surprisingly enough I have survived 4 lessons with our investigators and can't wait to meet our next one. I am loving it here at the MTC and I am really excited to continue my journey. Onward ever onward. I love this gospel and I love being a tool in the Lord's hands. I am super blessed with the people that are surrounding me and I hope I am this lucky out in the field. I love you all and I can't wait to here from some of you again. :)


       Elder Cameron Jay Cook

P.S Pictures are of my room mates, my district, and my class room which I spend 12 hours of my day in. my companion is the shortest Elder.
P.P.S Dad, you said my room would be a small brick room. I got lucky by getting blessed with what the floor calls the Celestial Room. The ceiling has tiles that are like the sky and trees and so forth. I am super lucky.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We got our first letter 04/01/2013!  Elder Cook was dropped off under a week ago and that night the fam dropped him a letter (okay, mom did) and the next day we mailed him an Easter Basket since only four days after entering the MTC was a holiday.
His letter:
"I'm sorry this has taken me a while to write, but life has just been super hectic.  Just an FYI my P-Days are on Thursdays.  I wasn't able to have a P-Day this week due to all the orientation meetings.  I just wanted to let you know, I am A.O.K.  I have learned so much with the little time I have spent here.  It has been a little over 3 days since I was dropped off and I can already pray and share my testimony in Spanish.  Holy Cow!!  The great part about today though, I got your letter and also your Easter package.  It seriously came on the most perfect day.  Today started off pretty rough.  We taught our first "investigator" today and it was hard for me.  I usually don't have a hard time talking about the spirit, but I seriously faced my fears by teaching him only in Spanish.  And I didn't do that by choice, it was a requirement.  Fernando, our "investigator" didn't speak a lick of English, or so he said.  Mi ingles es terible.  Mi espanol es terible.  I know I will get better, but I just can't remember my verbs quite yet.  This whole experience has been really fantastic and awesome though.  I have a really fun district and an awesome zone.  I just can't wait to send you my first email.  I'll try to catch you up on everything that has happened here so far.  Expect an email on Thursday for next week.  But before I go, I think I should let you know that I have a meeting with the Argentina Consul on Tuesday to start the final process of the Visa.  This might mean I could be one of the lucky ones to ever leave the MTC straight to Argentina.  Also, don't worry, I'm eating healthier than I was at home and I live on the top floor of both of my buildings... stairs are a killer.  I love you,
Elder Cook