Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Busy, busy, busy....

Que transas familia?

I'm doing well here in Salem, and a lot has happened this last week. We now have FIVE baptisms set for january! Four of them are on the ninth, and the other one is on the 30th. I would have written this yesterday, but we had our mission-wide Christmas party, which was pretty fun, but it took up almost our entire day, so that's why I'm writing today :-P

One thing I've noticed about being on a mission is that if you don't make an effort to write stuff down that happens during the day, you don't remember any of it just because SO MUCH happens! Like this last week, we had zone conference for the first time, which wasn't too bad... There were a few talks, a training on how to teach some certain doctrines, and then a practice. Oh, and at the very end, there was a doctrinal discourse by president Dyches about the Holy Ghost. That was pretty cool actually.

Aside from zone conference, Smithee and I had an exchange with the Zone leaders up in Tigard, so Smithee and Roush stayed in Salem, and I went up to Tigard with Sotelo. We knocked doors for about six hours that day, and had quite a bit of fun. We knocked into a Baptist family, who actually let us in, and let us teach them! It was seriously saweet because usually, baptists are in your face about being saved by grace and will flip when you pull out the Book of Mormon, but with this family it was different. They were seriously so humble, and so prepared to hear the gospel. We taught them the first lesson and got to the book of mormon, and I kinda braced for impact, thinking he was going to freak out on us, but when I extended the invitation to read, he was hesitant at first, saying that the bible was the true word of God, but after explaining the concept of being able to read and pray for himself to know (and after Sotelo cracked open the Book of Mormon to 2nd Nephi 29), he accepted to read it and pray to know the truth of it. Needless to say, awesome.

Aside from that, I thought I'd find it harder to be away from home during Christmas time, but there really isn't much time to feel homesick out here just because we are so busy all the time! I absolutely love the people here, and am excited to spend Christmas with them... even if I only understand like 50% of what they say haha. I feel like my spanish kinda took a dive for a bit, because some people speak so freaking fast, especially if they're from Mexico, I mean, when Smithee speaks, I understand like everything he says, but when we teach people from Mexico, holy crap it's fast. Oh well, I'll get it, it's just a matter of time and hard studying.

All right, I apologize everyone that this letter isn't too terribly long, but I've got to get going.

I love you all, and I wish you a merry Christmas!

Con todo mi amor,

-Elder Moondogg

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The atonement is most important above anything else

Hola familia y todos los otros!

Oh my gosh the mission has been great this last week... I know I say that a lot, but it seriously is so awesome every week. There has been a whole mess of things happening this week. Silvia y Guadalupe have both agreed to be baptized the 9th of January which is awesome! Other than that... gosh I'm trying to think what else happened this week. It all kind of blurs together, but ah it's so much fun!

We've been pounding food as usual, and yesterday, Smithee and I decided to do some "conditioning" eating so that we can eat more at our meals with the members haha. We went to this mongolian barbecue place where you pick the stuff you want and put it in a bowl, then let them cook it up for you it was delicious! Oh my gosh I thought I was gonna die though with how much I ate... Three HUGE plates of the stuff and then ice cream after that haha. One thing I've come to find out about the mission from the spanish elders especially, is after meals, we usually go take what they call a "food coma" because the food is so heavy and so tasty, that you really do have to lay down and take a little nap afterwards haha.

Oh I tried something the other day at a member's house, and I really liked it! It may sound disgusting, but trust me, you'll love it if you try it. They gave us a cup with pistachio jello cubes, and then poured eggnog over the top of it, and you eat it with a spoon! Oh my gosh it is fuhreaking good haha. It's funny because Smithee is peruvian and most of the members are from Mexico, and people from Mexico speak kind of "dirty" spanish and use kind of corrupted words or funny phrases that none of the other latino countries use, and he says I'm starting to sound like a dirty mexican with my spanish haha. It's okay though, I really don't mind at all... maybe it'll help me fit in a little more haha. Smithee was telling me one of his old companions actually went tanning and dyed his hair black during his mission for kicks and giggles.... maybe I'll try that... no not really, but it sounds pretty funny right?

What else what else what else.... hmmm.... We haven't had time to go knocking doors very much this week minus one blitz that we went on with the english elders, which was pretty cool. You definitely find some...uh... interesting characters when you go out knocking doors haha. This time though, it was pretty cool. We knocked into this kid named Jarod who had graduated and now is living at home and going to Chemeketa community college, and doesnt really know what he's doing with his life. It was cool because he had been going to some different churches, but hadn't found one that answered questions he had... like why are there so many churches? Why did they have prophets in the bible, but not now? yeah... un investigador de oro. Myself and elder Chapman (Elder Cox's companion) ended up teaching him the first lesson in english, and it ROCKED! Like I'm seriously so excited to see how their next appointment goes, because he was way stoked to read the book of mormon and find out for himself if it's true. Ah it was so sweet I don't even know what else to say. Seriously, in all the crappy hours of knocking, it makes it all worth it when you see someone feel the spirit.

There was another guy that same day that we were knocking that elder Chapman and I ran into who i'm pretty sure was a baptist. We saw him and said hey how's it going, and I told him we were out and a bout talking to people and asking them about their beliefs. After I said that, he said, "well that's funny, 'cause I've got some questions for you." As soon as he said that, I thought to myself 'oh boy, this could get ugly'. His first question was, "what do you think is the most important thing in your religion?" I told him that the atonement of Jesus Christ was the most important thing above anything else. After that he asked if we are saved by grace ( this is what made me think that he's most likely a baptist) so I said yes, through grace we are saved... through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ is how we can have that. When I told him that, he looked pretty confused.. I bore testimony of that to him, and he started to get choked up, and said "that's it. That's what it's all about." We left him with a pass-along card, as well as James 2:20-26... muahaha. I'm hoping he'll really take that passage to heart because faith without works is DEAD! That's the most important thing! Yes, faith is key, but we show that faith, by what we DO! ah I freaking love the gospel.

It's funny, because I've been studying Jehova's whitness basic doctrines, and oh my gosh I'm so glad I'm LDS. Not to bash on them, well, yes to bash on them, their religion sucks! I would never want anything to do with them. But I shouldn't be smashing on them right now haha.

Anyways, Oregon has finally settled back down into it's normal self.... rain, clouds, bleh. haha. It's not too bad though, so no complaints here. I'm loving it right now. I seriously think, though, once I get back, I might want to go to a spanish branch. Ah its just so nice to be among such humble, kind-hearted people. I'm really loving it here in the mission.

I don't have too much else to say, aside from Merry Christmas everybody, This is seriously such an awesome time of year to remember our Savior Jesus Christ (unlike the JW's) and really come to realize what he did for us while he was here on earth. I love you all, and hope everything is going great!


Elder Moonshine

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Week = AWESOME!

Buenos tardes familia!

Oh my gosh it has been a wild/crazy/absolutely awesome week!!! There has been so much that has happened in the past seven days, I don't even know where to start.

Well, first off, we went knocking doors (tocando puertos) last p-day at about 7 at night for the first time, and I was scared to death because A: I don't know spanish, and B: because people speak so fast! Haha I'm hoping that with time, it will get better, and I'll be able to better understand what people are saying.

Here's the amazing story for the week though... Wednesday morning, we decided to go knocking doors in an apartment complex in Keizer, and we knocked into a lady named Silvia. I started by asking her a few basic questions, and it has been incredibly cold the last week, so she decided to let us in and teach her more after talking to her for about five minutes. We ended up teaching her the entire first lesson, in which she ended up crying. Yeah, absolutely crazy! Right after the opening prayer, she just broke down. I guess as missionaries, we're used to having the spirit with us all the time, but it really touched her heart. After we finished the lesson, we committed her to read the book of mormon and pray to know if it was true and if joseph smith was a prophet. Amazingly enough, we were at a dinner that night, and SHE called US saying that she AND her daughter Guadalupe had both read, prayed, and felt that it was true! I couldn't believe it!

The next day, we went over again and her husband Salvador was there along with their daughter, and we went over the restoration one more time to make sure they all got it, and during the lesson, her daughter was really touched by the message as well, it was amazing. We gave them a few more scriptures to read, and they kept their commitment again!

After that, we came a third time, shared a short message, and asked them to attend church on sunday. They did. It was absolutely golden too because it was fast sunday, so they got to hear the testimonies of all the members of the branch, it was great. Oh, another cool thing I failed to mention, they agreed to a "suave" (swaw-vay) compromiso de bautizmo or a soft baptismal date, which is when we ask them when they find out that these things are true, if they will be baptized, and Silvia and Guadalupe said yes!

I'm trying to think what else happened this week... Oh! I found out I can email people other than just family, which is nice, so any of you that want to send me emails, feel free, just understand if I'm a little slow in responding, okay? Missionary work is crazy busy all the time, especailly when there are only two spanish elders covering all of Keizer and half of Salem. Seriously, our normal schedule is something like this:

6:30: Wake up, exercise 30 minutes
7:00: Shower
8:00: personal study
9:00: companionship study
10:00: Language study
11:00: Lunch
12:00-6:00: Knock doors/teach lessons
6:00: dinner with members
7:00-9:00: knock doors/teach lessons
9:00: Plan
9:30-10:30: read/study
then CRASH, and repeat haha.

It's been crazy though, seriously, like this last friday was absolute insanity. We have enough investigators now, that we almost dont have any time to knock doors. We had SEVEN teaching appointments in a day, and we pushed some to other days because we didn't have time. Seven doesn't sound like a whole lot, but usually they end up being about an hour a piece, so that's seven hours of teaching in a day! I feel pretty worthless when I try teaching in comparison to elder Smithee, but he's teaching me a TON, and I'm getting more and more comfortable with spanish every day.

It's kind of funny, Smithee is basically a scriptorian because of how much he has studied the bible and book of mormon while he's been out here on his mission, and so whenever he runs into someone who likes to bash on the LDS church, he is a fuhreaking MACHINE! I actually gave him a nicname after this last experience because he thoroughly destroyed the points she was trying to trash about the mormon church... I've decided his new nicname is 'Master Mahan' haha. I don't want to get into details of it, but it was just really funny because every point she brought up, he totally trucked her...with her own bible! If you ever run into someone who says that they they don't believe we need prophets, check out Amos 3:7, or Ephesians chapter 4... they're awesome. Oh, and look up a man by the name of Barnabas... he was a prophet after Christ left the earth. Oh, and if anyone tries to say that God no longer talks to men, or that there can be no more scripture written because of what it says in the end of the book of revelations, check the chronological order of when the books in the bible were written... Revelations isnt even the last book! Plus, read Mormon 9:6-9, it's one of my favorite scriptures right now.

One point I need to make here... we aren't out here looking to bash all the other churches and trash their faith or anything of that nature, or even contend with people who "started it first". One rule Smithee gave me on when to "bajar la cana" (lay down the law), is be courteous and polite and all that until they attack the restoration of the gospel... I'm not too worried about it anyways because I can barely speak Spanish, much less argue in it haha.

On a different note, I'm absolutely loving the food here! Oh my goodness, it's like having Red Iguana every day, but better! Like seriously, you all know that I love tacos Don Ramon, but since I've gotten here, I've come to realize that that's just how home cooked mexican food is...Delicious! Oh my goodness it's a good thing we get to exercise in the mornings, or I'd probably get fat haha. Seriously though, it's awesome to have such great members in the branch here in Keizer, because we never have to cook! Smithee and I are kind of in a rhythm of just having a little cereal for breakfast, and then kind of starving ourselves until dinnertime because the members feed us so well haha. They'll lay down a plate of taquitos in front of you, and as you're filling up and finish one plate, BAM here comes another plate, until you just have to give up haha there is just so much food and it's so good you don't want to stop! Once you're full and you say "estoy lleno", then they break out the mexican hot chocolate and bread. Oh my goodness you guys have got to try this stuff it's amazing! I'm seriously gonna get the recipe of one hermana's hot chocolate because it's amazing. It has cinnamon and I can't tell what else in it, but oh my goodness it's just so creamy and good! anyways, I've gotta stop writing about this or I'll get hungry haha.

On a spiritual note, I have been loving my personal study time, it's been great. I'm actually going to invite you guys to follow along with me if you like. So far, I've been studying things strictly pertaining to lessons, but since I've gotten here, I've come to realize there are some basic doctrinal questions, as well as some that I've just never thought about that other religions bring up that you have to be able to answer, like what is the nature of the Godhead? What is grace? Who is Jehovah? What is priesthood authority? Why did Adam and Eve start out in the garden of Eden at all, instead of being put directly on earth? Some of these are pretty heavy questions, but they get asked pretty often, so I've been studying them. For my personal study this week, I want to be able to answer the question, what is priesthood authority and where did it come from? In my next email, I'll include some of the cool stuff I find, all right?

Well, this is turning into quite a lengthy email, and I apologize to everyone who is going to read it haha, but I love you all, Mom, Dad, Katie, Michelle, Josh, I hope you all have an awesome week, and I hope you know I'm thinking about you, and praying for you.

All my love,

~Elder Moonshine~

Monday, December 7, 2009

Elder Mooney and trainer Elder Smithee

We received a letter from Kurt's Mission President Dyches letting us know Kurt arrived safely in Portland and was assigned to work with his trainer (senior companion) Elder Smithee in the Los Salados Del Sur (Spanish South) Zone. He said "Your son's companion has been prayerfully selected and he will be a fine trainer for your son as he begins his missionary service." He sent these pictures which, once again, are a little fuzzy, but give you the idea.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Airport picture

Just by coincidence, Kurt's Uncle Randy was on the same flight Monday when Kurt flew out to Portland! They got to talk for a few minutes, and got a picture, although blurry. Still, it's so good to see his cute mug!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Goodbye, MTC; Hello Oregon!

Hola Todos mis amigos!

Holy cow a lot has happened in the past week!

Our turkey day in the MTC was WAY bomb because elder Holland came and gave basically a 2 hour doctrinal discourse it was sweet! All the missionaries had written down questions the week before, and he did a sort of Q&A session with those, and it was cool, because during it, I got a lot of personal questions answered. After that we ate tons of food and then did a service project where we put together med-kits for... oh shoot I can't remember who! I think it was just as a general service for the church. After that, we said our goodbyes in our district on sunday night, which was kind of sad, knowing i'm not going to be seeing any of them for the next two years, but it's okay, we're all going to be having a blast, right?

We had a really spiritual experience sunday when we had a kind of final testimony meeting where we shared our favorite scripture, then bore testimony. For mine, I chose 1st John 3:1-3 which says this : "1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." The reason I chose this scripture is because it describes exactly what we are, and what we will become after this life: like him. God loves us so much, and we literally are his children. This alone is so beautiful to me, so empowering, so simply wonderful. Ah, I am so excited to be able to share this message here in my mission!

Oh, I need to finish my story here haha sorry about that... After we said our goodbyes, we headed out of the MTC for the first time in nine weeks at like five in the morning. Ah it totally trucked me getting up that early, but such is life right? It almost seemed like we were breaking the rules as we drove away from the MTC just because we've been there for so long... inside those walls... not able to go anywhere haha. Don't get me wrong, in all honesty, the MTC was seriously such a great experience, I loved it, but I am so excited to start legitimately preaching the gospel. Anyways, so we traveled to the airport and got there at around seven. Then I called home and got to talk to the family for the first time in what seems like... oh... I dont know, a week. haha. it really does kind of seem like that though, I dont know why. Time seems to fly while you're on the mish. Well, as far as these last two months are concerned at least. In some ways, I feel like I haven't been home in forever, but in others, I feel like I just left a little while ago.

Anyways, I digress. Back to the story. So it turns out that uncle Randy happened to be on the same flight as I was going up to Portland, so that was funny talking to him in the airport for a while before we got on the plane and such. After a short hour and a half flight, we arrived in PDX, and then I met my mission pres. when we landed. He is such a cool guy! I totally love him already, he seems awesome. Then i met my companion, whose name is Elder Smithee. He is a peruvian who actually went to Lehi high school and played football for them haha. Even though he went to the most pitiful football-playing high school ever, he is a pretty awesome guy. I am seriously so stoked to have him as a trainer because he is so spiritual... it's kind of weird though... He reminds me almost exactly of Kyle Linehan! He talks just like him and even looks a little like him! Hopefully you'll be getting a picture of us soon, but yeah it's pretty funny, he's way cool. Speaking of Kyle, is there any way I could get his address? i've gotta write that punk and get him thrown in the font haha.

Oh something interesting that i just found out, I'm not going to be using my bike as a spanish elder... like ever. So, i might be sending that bike back sometime haha. for now, it's just chilling in the apartment, but yeah. Sad huh? It's kind of a good thing though... our area that elder Smithee and i are assigned to is HUGE! It covers half of Salem and all of Kaezer! So having a car is kind of nice for getting to appointments... I also found out that we have four baptisms lined up in about three or four weeks which is awesome! I am so excited!

So I realize now that i'm out here, that my spanish totally and completely fuhreaking blows haha. I thought I was learning a lot about spanish, but I have come to the conclusion that you don't learn like anything in the MTC about the language, I swear. I can read spanish, but holy crap trying to understand what people are saying/speak to them is like the most impossible thing ever it seems like haha. Oh well, I'm a greenie and i know it, so I'll just keep studying and speaking even if i sound like an idiot haha.

Oh man the first night we were here though, it was ridiculous. I had lunch at one, dinner at four, then another dinner at six and they were all MASSIVE! I seriously thought i was gonna hurl cause they crammed so much food into me haha. Especially the last meal we had, because it was with a mexican family who made this killer carne asada and served it up with rice and beans.... I just couldn't say no when they offered more, so two and a half plates later, I was feeling pretty full... then they told me there was mexican bread and mexican hot chocolate that I just HAD to have, so i ended up eating it. It was soooo good but man it killed me haha. After that, we headed home, did some quick planning, and then I konked out in about 3 seconds flat haha. Then I woke up, and came to find out that tuesday is P-day! hooray! haha.

Aside from that, I can't really think of anything else to write except I love you, I can't wait to hear from you again, and I hope everything is going well on the home front.

con todo mi amor,

~Elder Moonshine~

P.S. Mom, Dad, Katie, Josh, Michelle, even little Max E. Padd, i love you all and miss you all SO MUCH! i'm glad i got to talk to you all on the phone, it was great to hear your voices. Keep doing well, okay?



Monday, November 23, 2009

1 week and counting....!

Hola Amigazos!

This week has been absolutely awesome in the MTC. For the first time, we did calls in the Referral Center in spanish...Hoo boy that was an experience haha. Humbling to say the least. I would talk to them for about two minutes and they would understand what I would say,then I'd start speaking from the script to find out if they received whatever they had requested, and then I would get "Que?", "Mande", and then they would switch to english and say "Oh! chya I geet eet." and then continue the conversation in english haha. Definitely showed me that I have a lot to learn about speaking spanish, but it's all good, I still love speaking it.

I seriously cannot believe I am taking off for portland a week from today!@!!! AAAHHH@!!! It is going to be so freaking rad, but I just cant believe it's already here.... It feels like I just got to the MTC like a week and a half ago! I love this place so much, but I am so excited to go out and share the gospel with REAL people for the first time, although I want to share an experience with you that I had this week when we taught someone this week... He had us teaching him the second lesson, and the reason we were teaching it was because he had a friend in the hospital who was dying. I don't know how, but I seriously got so attached to this "investigator" and I really deeply cared about him, and sharing the message of the plan of salvation as well as the atonement of Jesus Christ. After we were done, he broke down...for real.... I was a little confused at first, but the spirit was so strong, that i knew it was because we taught by the spirit. He told us we had answered a question that he (as a real person) had been trying to figure out for quite some time, and it was through the lesson that we taught him that he was able to receive that answer. This goes to show that the spirit really is the ULTIMATE teacher. I tell this story not because I'm trying to toot my own horn about my teaching abilities, but to let you all know that we MUST teach by the spirit in order for people to learn the lessons that they need to know.

What else did we do.... oh man this week on sunday I blessed the sacrament in spanish for the first time! Oh my goodness that was a scary experience haha but it went all right. I prayed my guts out before I did it, and thank goodness the spanish flowed.

I don't have much time left, but I thank you all for your love and support, especially that of my family. I love you all and I hope you know I'm praying for all of you

Con mi hombro a la lid,

~Elder Moonshine~

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hasta Ver

Dear all,
How's life going for you guys? Things are great here...WAY busy, but really good. i'm trying to get locked and loaded to be ready for the mission field. AAAH! it's only two weeks away from today! I seriously can't believe it! The time here has absolutely flown, and I'm afraid I'm not going to be prepared to start full-blown missionary work, but ready or not, here it comes right?
I can't really think of anything exciting that happened this week... another district in our zone left, and we have a really cool tradition for everyone that leaves. Every time a district takes off for the field, because we're spanish speaking, we all get together the night before they leave, and we sing "Hasta Ver" (God be with you til we meet again) and then they all bear their testimonies. Needless to say, it was a great spiritual experience for all of us, and gets us all pumped for actually serving in the mission field. Speaking of which, I will be leaving the MTC on November 30th, so post up the mission home address, and then I'll give you my address after that okay?
I don't really have any pearls of wisdom from this week because we've been SO busy learning spanish as well as just teaching lessons, so I feel bad, but I really don't have a spiritual experience to share from this week that I can think of off the top of my head... Oh wait! Last night for our sunday fireside, Sheri Dew came and spoke and it was actually really cool. She talked about the atonement for quite a bit, and she brought up an interesting point that I hadn't given much thought to... The atonement wasn't just Jesus Christ paying for our sins, he also suffered for all of our pains, discomforts, our hard moments in life, our sadness, and all of those other things. In order to love us perfectly, Christ had to understand all of us perfectly, and so through the atonement, we are truly never alone. I am so thankful for the atonement in my life, and I hope you all will apply a deeper meaning of it to your lives.
That's all for now, I love you all with all my heart-


Monday, November 9, 2009

Six weeks down, 98 to go...!

Hola pueblos,
You're absolutely right Mom, time is FLYING by here in the MTC! I was just talking to some new missionaries that got here this week, and when they asked me how long I'd been here, I couldn't remember ! I had to ask one of the elders in our district... we have been here for six weeks on wednesday... CRAZY! It's a good thing though, We just study the crap out of the scriptures, teach lessons, and learn a whole bunch of spanish. Oh, and eat and sleep... if there's time for it.... I've actually slowly been weaning myself off of sleep, so I don't need it anymore. I just STUDY! haha jk but seriously, eight hours of sleep seems like i just closed my eyes and the alarm is going off again. It's okay though. One thing I've learned, as long as I'm putting forth 100%, and trying to be completely obedient to the commandments and rules we're given, the Lord will make it possible to do all of it... I still get tired and grumpy sometimes, but I do what I'm supposed to haha.
This week.... ummm.... oh gosh what did we do.... Oh! we taught a bunch of lessons, and had a cool talk last night on the power of Christ's atonement. The guy who taught it was in the quorum of the 70, and it was absolutely awesome. He taught us about feeling fully forgiven of sins we've repented of. this is interesting, because this week,I created a list of difficult questions that i wanted to find answers to, and that happened to be one of the questions I had, so it was absolutely awesome to get that answer, ya know? I found that the biggest problem people have, is that they pray and say that they're sorry, but they forget this extremely important point: to ask the Lord if he forgives them. that and he shared a scripture with us from 2Nephi about Christ being the person who cleanses us of our sins so that we can be in the presence of the Father. This was really awesome for me, because I feel like Satan is beating me over the head with stuff that I've repented of, and it's frustrating, because then i had doubts about being worthy, but this thought from this General Authority struck me, and I decided to inquire of the Lord.... Suffice it to say, I no longer worry about being worthy to serve this mission.
Other than that, I don't really recall what went down... We taught a ton of lessons, we're speaking in spanish all the time now, and we read a cool story in the old testament... 1st Samuel chapter 15. I don't remember specifics, but if you have time, look it up. Old Testament is freaking awesome haha.
I'm kind of bummed about spending thanksgiving here.... So many fond memories of being with the family, ya know? I don't know how I'm gonna handle not having Mom's food, or lazing on the couch with Dad. I don't even know if we can play friggin football! What is this world coming to!? I guess I'll just have to learn to be more....thankful for the other things I've got going right?
I apologize this is a little shorter than my usual emails, I just really cannot remember anything extremely exciting that happened this week haha. Hopefully I'm not getting complacent with feeling the spirit here, because it's so strong. I don't think that's possible though, but yeah, I love you guys so much! Tell my friends to send me some FRIGGIN LETTERS! haha
Elder "Moonshine" Mooney

Monday, November 2, 2009

"May we cut in?"

Hey everyone!This week has been way rad in the MTC. Once again, I don't know where to start... there were so many things that were awesome and eventful here, and it's all a friggin' blur! So, this week was sad in that one of the districts in our zone that I and a few other missionaries had gotten close to, left for Argentina this morning, so it was hard to see them off.... I envy them in being able to head out and start preaching the gospel right away, but in a way, it's a good thing I've still got four more weeks here, because there is so much more to learn!!! Oh! one awesome thing that happened this week, for our tuesday devotional, L. Tom Perry came and spoke to us! It was really funny because the line to get into the auditorium was absolutely ridiculous, backed up for probably 400 yards or so of just solid missionaries. I haven't mentioned this, but I'm in a trio now with elder Jackson and elder Rodahl. Elder Rodahl has cerebral palsy, and had kind of a hard time walking sometimes... but he sure gets us great seats for general authorities! haha we walked with him (our entire zone almost) to the front of the line, and then started to walk in the doors. Some missionaries behind us yelled "HEY! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!?!?! DO YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST CUT IN FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE!?!?!" then elder Rodahl says, "Yeah I do because I'm crippled. Are you? Yeah. didn't think so." haha so all these missionaries went dead silent and we proceeded to sit on the third row and had perfect views of elder Perry hahaha. Needless to say, I LOVE having elder Rodahl for a companion. Not just for amazing seats though, but just for all of the crazy-funny stories he has. He's only been a member of the church for about three years, and he is also the only memeber in his family... He is a real example to all of us in our district, and we all love him. Back on the subject of L. Tom Perry, he gave an inspiring talk on missionary work and how to teach effectively. I don't want to go in to too much detail on it because I don't have much time, but there was something that he said that really struck me..."a good teacher is always a good listener." Ever since I heard it from him, I've instituted it in all the lessons we teach. Okay, cool experience number two of being in the MTC. We went to the referral center (RC) and were placing calls and answering questions on chat. A chat popped up for myself and elder Rodahl asking about the second coming of Christ. We ended up teaching this lady, who was an evangelist, about the plan of salvation and it was really awesome! We didn't get to finish it becasue she logged off, but it was a sweet experience to show her scriptural evidence of the pre-existence and stuff like that, which really made her stop and think. After that, just as we were leaving, I decided to to one last call in spite of protest from my companions...I was doing outbound calls, and I came across a couple in West virginia that had requested a book of mormon, so I called to verify they had gotten it. Not only did they get it, but they really loved what they had read about it! Not only that, they had a friend there who they had shared it with! THEY asked me if they could have the missionaries sent to their home to teach more about the gospel, and their friend asked if I could send her a book of mormon as well, so I got her address, and I'll be sending her one in the mail in the next month hopefully! Overall, an awesome week here in the MTC, I wish I had time to write more, but I've got to get back to the wonderful world of missionary work. hasta ver mi amigos-Elder Moonshine

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gift of Tongues

Hola Familia! How's everything going? Things are good here, and yes, I DID say swine flu haha. There were three elders headed to peru this week, and they all made it without getting sick luckily, but one of them I became really close friends with, so it was a bummer to see him go. Other than that, and My companion is better now, and so is the other elder who got it. Aside from that, we're all in good health and whatnot so now it's back to the grind. We've been learning spanish at a crazy pace here...I know almost as much spanish now as i learned in six years of learning french it's nuts! I think the reason that is though is because we learn like abslolutely NO nouns in spanish aside from ones pertinent to teaching the lessons haha. That and I really do think the lord blesses us as elders with the gift of tongues.... We taught our first lesson in spanish the other day and it was crazy! we were scared to death and prayed our guts out before we did it just because we know like absolutely nowhere near enough spanish to be teaching, but we did anyway and it was amazing... we kinda stuttered through for the first minute or two trying to get to know our investigator, but after a little bit of time, we caught hold, locked in, continued praying our guts out, and were able to teach the whole lesson with such power. The investigator was about in tears and I was as well along with my companion. I'm sure our conjugation and actual speaking were terrible, but the reason we were able to give the lesson because the spirit was there and we HAD to rely on it to teach anything. This just reiterated the fact to me that we aren't the ones that really teach the people, we're just vessels of the spirit to bring it to our investigators to let them partake and comprehend it. That was probably my most spiritual experience of the week. We had an awesome fireside as well on how as time goes on, the book of mormon along with all the other writings of joseph smith are being proven to be true by Non-LDS sources and it was awesome! Not only to have a testimony of the things already, but to have legitimate proof showing the book of mormon to be the word of God! Other than that, I'm trying to think what else we've been doing.... Oh! I'm not gaining any weight...which is somewhat worrisome... I'm afraid I'm wasting away muscularly, but probably getting fat haha I'll send my sim card this week and let you guys decide. I've been running a couple miles a day and doing situps though, so hopefully I'm not too terribly fat :-P. Oh! haha we invented a wonderful new game for the mtc (it's amazing what you can come up with when you're starved for entertainment) and it's called Acorn Pong. How we play is we gather acorns from the plentitude of oak trees here, and then we set up a shoe about 15 feet away, and we start throwing acorns. However many acorns you make in the shoe, the rest of the elders have to drink that many cups of water at the next meal haha. It sounds absolutely idiotic, but it's freaking addicting, I promise you haha.Anywho, I've just about run out of time, but I love you all (especially my family) and I'll write you guys next week!con todos el amor de mi corazon,-Elder Moonshine

Monday, October 19, 2009

Swine flu, egg salad, and JOY and LIGHT

Hey everybody!This week in the MTC has been abolutely awesome as usual...well.... mostly awesome... my companion came down with the plague of swine (swine flu) and then two days later, another elder in our district did too! They've put us all on antivirals which you DO NOT NEED TO PAY FOR, so if you get an invoice in the mail, just ignore it because the church is covering the cost of the regimen ok? I'm feeling fine, so no need to worry about me. This week has seemed like such a blur... I'm trying to think of some specific events that happened that were way exciting... The three kids from our district going to Peru are headed out this Wednesday, which is really sad because I've become close friends with one of them who has been sharing a room with myself, elder Jackson, and elder Rodahl. His name is elder Eggleston, but nobody can remember how to say his name correctly, so we've resorted to just calling him elder egg- followed by anything that comes to mind. Some examples would be elder Eggleschtein, elder Easter-bunny egg-basket, elder egg mcmuffin, etc.. Needless to say, we're going to miss good ol' elder egg salad sandwich and fries. I think from being in the MTC we're all starting to change our senses of humor (not necessarily a bad thing) just because we can't joke well for lack of better terms, things we used to joke about haha. It is such a good time though that it's not a big deal. On a spiritual note, there's an awesome analogy hermano Keeton shared with us about Lehi's vision the other day in class and I wanted to share it with you... in Lehi's vision, it starts out with him being surrounded by darkness and getting lost. Immediately, he hits his knees and starts praying to The Father to help him. He is then shown the way to the iron rod and proceeds to the tree and partakes of the fruit and says that it is SWEET, brings JOY, is LIGHT, and he wants to SHARE it with other people. If you then look to alma the younger's conversion story, it talks about being struck if he were dead for three days and that he was racked with eternal torment for those three days. He finally caught hold of the thought of what his father taught about Christ. When he realized this, he cried out to him to save him. As soon as he did this, he was "harrowed up by the memory of [his] sins no more" and those feelings of pain and darkness were replaced by feelings of SWEET rejoicing, JOY, and the LIGHT. Afterwards, he spent the rest of his days trying to SHARE that "fruit" with all the people he could come in contact with. I hate to have to paraphrase, but I'm running short on time. That "fruit" that we are sharing with investigators of the gospel is the gift of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The tree of life which represents the love of God is Christ himself and the fruit that he bears and wants to give to us all is that gift of the atonement. I cried when I heard this analogy of these scriptures because it was so sweet to me... I absolutely love this gospel and the joy and happiness it can bring us. Although being a missionary is the hardest thing I've ever done, I would not want to be anywhere else than right here, right now. The Lord has a great work for all of us to do, and I feel priveleged to be able to contribute to a small part of it. I hope things are going well at home... Mom, Katie, travel safe back East ok? Dad, I love you and I hope you're traveling safe for business as well. I love you all, and I'll talk to you next week!
-Elder Mooney
P.S. to anyone who is reading this blog, send me a letter or a package it means so much to feel some love in here!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MTC Biggest Loser!

Hey everyone :-) yeah 'elder mooney' does seem a bit formal... I think it's kosher if the fam still calls me Kurt, so don't feel too obligated in that sense. So I don't know where to start with this letter.... I guess I'll just start off with the stuff that has happened in the last week. We decided to do a fatty challenge where we would see who could gain the most weight in a week here at the MTC... I was out after two meals... I felt incredibly sick from how much I ate, and then I didn't end up gaining any weight anyways, so I guess you could say i lost haha. The next challenge we have going is "the biggest loser: MTC edition" so that ought to be fun this week! On a more serious note, I had some pretty cool spiritual experiences this week I'd like to share with you guys... A couple days back, our District Leader was having a really tough time, missing home, etc. so we decided to give him a blessing as a district... it's amazing the spiritual power in all of the elders serving around me when we all band together in a friend's time of need. Another cool thing that happened was when one of my good buddies from our room was called to give a sister in our zone a blessing and he was scared out of his mind. He accepted to do it, but he hadn't given a blessing for the sick before, so as soon as he left our classroom, myself, elder Jackson, elder Argyle, and elder Carpenter all knelt down and I offered a prayer for him as well as for the sister he would be doing the blessing for.... In all the time I've spent at the MTC, I have never felt the spirit that strongly. That's when it really hit me... This whole time that I've been here, I've been praying my guts out to have the spirit with me so that I can be a good missionary and teach the lessons with power, but I realized after that prayer for elder Eggleston that it isn't about me... what's really important is in loving, caring, and praying for those that are around us whom we serve. One last cool experience and then i'll get on with the rest of the letter. Today is P-day of course, so we got to go to the temple, which was amazing. To preface this, I've been having some self doubt... wondering whether i'll actually be a good missionary, whether I can acquire the spanish language, and whether I can have that confidence that comes with having the spirit. When I was at the temple today, I prayed to the Lord as I was in the celestial room to know if I am where I am supposed to be at this point in my life, if I'm worthy to take upon me the yoke of Christ and be his emissary. The overwhelming feeling came just moments after uttering this prayer... It felt like my whole soul was on fire. The light... the love... the peace that filled me... I can't really accurately describe how amazing it felt. Simply put, I don't have those doubts any more. So things are good on the home front? It's kind of funny, one of the guys that I met in the temple today knew who grandpa was... It's super weird being in here and wandering around the temple and being inside the MTC as opposed to all the times that i spent driving by it to go to school, to Stan's, or to grandma and grandpa's.... I feel kind of caged, but it's voluntary so it's not bad :-P So what's new? Katie got a job/walking pneumonia? That's good/bad haha. You'll ahve to send me pictures on a regular basis so I can keep up with you guys and I'll send you my SD card from the camera here in a little while... oh and don't try to attach photos to emails... I found out they don't let us open those up. Don't you just love this weather? It's so nice it has been in the sixties and seventies for like the entire time we've been here. How is work dad? I miss golfing with you so much. How are the decorations looking mom? I miss your cooking haha. How's school sis? Are you excited for your little trip to MD soon? I feel way out of the loop in here, but I guess that's a good thing... I need to get some score updates or something haha. Who's going to the world series? Are the chargers gonna pull it off tonight against the donkeys? (the broncos suck) and how was the family partay that susan told me all about? I'm running out of time for typing this email, so I'll send the account info for the jeep via snail mail, although I think I already gave that to mom before I left. Could you ask people on my facebook to write me? It really makes life so much better when you get letters from those you love... thank you guys so much for all of your love, letters, and support... it means the world to me. Oh! I forgot to ask... can you send me my black LRG jacket, my LA hat, and another towel? If you could it would make life heavenly because I forgot to pack a hoodie :-PAnyways, I love you guys SO MUCH and i hope to hear from you soon!con todos el amor de mi corazon,Elder "Moonshine" Mooney

Monday, October 5, 2009

At Last! Elder Mooney's first e-mail!

Hey everybody! It's hard to believe this is my first email from the MTC... in some ways it feels like I just barely said goodbye to you guys and in others, it seems like I've been here for quite a while. It's really an interesting experience in here.... No cell phones, no hanging out with friends on the weekends, no talking to girls (major life change haha), and in general, no distractions. All we do is eat, study, and sleep it's pretty awesome. I don't know what Matt Gamett was thinking when he said I'd get fat... The food isn't exactly up to par with mom's cooking, and I've actually lost a few pounds... I went from 203 when I entered the MTC and I'm down to 197 in five days. I really miss you guys so much, but the spirit is so awesome here i can't say I would rather be anywhere but here right now. My companion's name is Elder Jackson... He's from Gunnison Utah of all places but it's kind of shocking because he is not a redneck in the least degree! He played baseball and football in high school, his parents are both doctors, and like myself, he wants to go into medicine someday! I really feel like there was some divine intervention on us becoming companions because in all seriousness, when we first met, I felt like we had met before... like we were premortal buddies or something I dont know. But the important thing is that we're the best of friends already and the spirit is so incredibly strong every time we pray or try to muddle our way through teaching the first lesson of the gospel... It does worry me to think how much harder it will be once we actually have to do it in spanish haha.The interesting thing about learning how to teach the gospel is how incredibly dumbed down it has to be for investigators to understand it although, I guess if we know enough by the time we're eight to be baptised, that's about the caliber of information that the people we're going to be teaching will need to understand. How did you guys like elder Holland's talk on Sunday? WOW! I was totally flabbergasted on how incredibly powerful his testimony was and how strong the spirit was when he bore it! I hope that I have the opportunity to bear testimony like that when I'm out in Oregon in eight short weeks.... It's funny... some of the kids have been here for four weeks or so and can't stand the MTC and say they can't wait to get out of here, but I for one feel like eight weeks might not be enough time... I feel so woefully unprepared to go and preach the gospel in that amount of time, especially in another language! It's nice to know some french though, I actually got to talk to an elder from france the other day, and a lot of the verbs and nouns between french and spanish are really similar. Okay, I don't have a lot of time left to type on here, but how are things going at home? Who's shaking/spinning mom? How's little Max E. Padd? Is Katie staying away from those boys? How's work Dad? Oh and I have a couple odd requests... could you send me my 'locals' sandals? the floors of the MTC bathrooms are pretty gnarly and I do NOT want to be contracting some ridiculous disease haha. Also, could you maybe send me a list of peoples addresses so I can write them leters? I don't really have anyones besides yours and a couple of other people... maybe like grandma dayton because I've gotta tease her for not writing me this week. And tell Michelle thanks for the letter and the package... it really meant a lot to me. I miss you guys and I love you all so much. Con amor,Elder "Moonshine" Mooney

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Today Kurt entered the MTC at 1:00 pm. He's gonna be a great missionary, but boy are we going to miss him!
You can write to Kurt at this address:
Kurt Kay Mooney
MTC Mailbox # 189
OR-POR 1202
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Write to Elder Mooney

The exact address for the MTC will be emailed to us late Wednesday night. We will post it as soon as we get it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

MTC DAY T minus 44 hours and counting......

This blog is dedicated to the adventures of Kurt K. Mooney as he serves in the Oregon, Portland, Spanish-speaking mission. He enters the MTC September 30, 2009 at 1:00 pm.