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