Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 27 2010

We had a long and wonderful conversation with Elder Mooney on Christmas Day, so he sent this short e-mail for the week:

Just wanted to say that I'm so glad I got to talk to you guys on Christmas. I miss ya tons but not in a trunky way :-)

Love,

Elder Mooney

December 18, 2010



Elders Mooney and Rivera with the Cruz family for their sealing at the Portland Temple

Monday, December 20, 2010

Judge not...

2010 December 20
Hi mommy,
Okay, so I'm trying to work up the gumption to actually write up an email right now, and I am battling with it haha. I just feel like it's not so necessary because I can just talk to you about it on Saturday in my letter, but then I realize that it would be bad if I didn't have a record of what happened someday down the road.
So this week, there was definitely some big excitement among the Spanish missionaries. We had transfers a week ago, and all companionships aside from ours and one in the South zone were changed... pretty nuts eh? It was pretty sweet though. There are some good things going on this transfer for sure.
I'm trying to think of what else that was exciting on Monday night.... oh! One thing that was funny about the night after we got out of transfer meeting is that we went to teach this guy named Nestor (like molester?), who is the boyfriend of an inactive member. It's super funny because he told me that I speak like someone from Mexico. When people ask where I'm from, I say that I'm from the state of Guerrero, near the coast, because I've heard from a lot of people that there are white people with green eyes that speak Spanish. Sometimes they give me this really surprised look and say "de verdas!?" or "are you serious!?" but from there I say that I'm just blowing smoke because... well... it's not the truth obviously haha. I'm not trying to toot my horn, it's just fun to feign being Mexican for a little bit :-) My Spanish isn't native-status Spanish anyways... I don't use words that they do like troca (truck), naifa (knife), esquipiar (to skip), quiquiar (to kick), or parquiar (to park), or things like that haha. It's fun to talk like that though. Anyways, I'm gonna shut up about speaking Spanish because you probably don't care haha.
So Tuesday... oh Tuesday... so here's what happened: We had district meeting that was good until we sloughed out into the rain... lots and lots of it. We knocked doors for a while because our appointments canceled, and then finally came the time when we were going to visit an inactive that we found knocking named Yari. I was frustrated because I thought he was going to bail on us and I have to be honest, I judged him on his appearance the first time we met him. The first time we knocked his door, he answered it with snakebite piercings, ears pierced, with a shirt that said (edited.) From there I thought "wow, what a tool. We came to find out he was super inactive since 15 and yeah. The time came, and elder Van Hook asked if I wanted to go visit him or go visit someone else. I said "al cacho! We've got more important people to visit than an inactive." As soon as I said it though, I felt like I was going to come to regret it. Turns out that we went to visit another appointment, and they canceled on us, so we had to go visit Yari. He's just a 20 something kid who got baptized when he was fifteen. We ended up going in and having an incredible lesson with him for an hour and talked to him about returning to church, and turning his life around. I felt totally humbled and realized that I need to show love for people no matter their situation, because who am I to judge?

Aside from that, I also want to talk about my Wednesday experience. We had no fixed appointment. None. Not only that, it was raining and 40 degrees outside. Long story short, I was about to quit and say forget this let's just go to the apartment when we decided to visit a less active family. Turns out their cousin was visiting, and he's sweet! He's a 16 year old kid who got in with the wrong crowd, but now has left his friends and wants to find God. We taught him about a few things, and one of them was prayer. He said the first prayer of his life, and the spirit struck him... it was really like a Lamoni's father kind of instance in the mission where the spirit was just so powerful! Ah I love it when God throws us a bone. God really helps you out "after all that we can do".

The other excitement from this week came on Saturday. Ivelisse Cruz's parents went to the temple, and I got to go with them! Not only that, but they also were sealed to Ivelisse soon after their session! Oh my goodness it was such an amazing experience! I don't really know what else to say about it because...well... words don't accurately describe it. I do love the session in Spanish though. I think it's because it's the language of the Gods :-).

After the temple, we also got to see the Mormon Portland Choir perform in Vancouver at Skyline high school where I met a few missionaries that know Matt Gammett :-) We actually went with Nestor and his girlfriend hna. Cabrera! The even cooler thing is that the next day, she came to church for the first time in more than three months! Awesome!

The other exciting thing that happened Sunday was that we got to go down to Woodburn again for a baptism! This time for hno. Javier Blanco! Remember how back in the day I was saying I should start a TV show called "DR. Feelgood" because I had been counseling a couple in the branch? Yup. This is the one. Now I've got some credibility so I can get started hahaha! It was such a good experience to see all of the members down there again... They're all making me promise to come back to finish my mission, so hopefully pres. Dyches can hear that cry and push me that direction in a couple months to finish up... oh man that would be so sweet! I actually might be able to spend part of Christmas down there because we're going down for Charlie Raizer's baptism, so we're gonna swing by the Pister's afterwards. We're gonna do our calls beforehand though at the church around 11 in the morning if that works for you guys... well... I hope it does haha. We'll just plan on 11 and I'll call ya from the church building in Keizer :-)
I love you guys and look forward to talking to ya!
Con carino,
-Elder Kurt Mooney

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

"I love this church!"

Dear Mom,
Well it's been a pretty good week for the most part here... kinda relaxed and not too stressful. We Started off last Monday hanging out with zone leaders down in Tigard. It was pretty fun... especially since I made the most ridiculous impulse buy ever haha. We took a little trip over to a stationary store, and I blew... well, I won't tell you how much, but a good chunk of money on a fountain pen hahaha. Sometimes, you have to buy yourself a little something fun to shake things up on the mission. Aside from that, Monday wasn't that exciting of a day.

Tuesday, however, was pretty dang fun. We ended up eating with a family who knew some of the kids that I went to high school with in Bend, so that was fun. One thing that was pretty sweet that I saw while I was there was a picture that they had from the wedding of their daughter. There was some random cutout missionary in the picture, and at first I thought they had just cut him out of a picture and done a terrible job photoshopping him in, but then they explained that it was a a life size cardboard cutout of their son! They said that they wanted him to be a part of the wedding, but that was obviously impossible because he was in Portugal, so they took a picture of him, went to Kinkos, and got a ginormous copy put on a cardboard cutout for the wedding, so there are pictures of him with his family, with the bride and groom, and it's pretty dang awesome/comical :-) I don't know... I'm just throwing that out there because I think it'd be sweet to have a cardboard cutout of missionary me at Josh and Jessica's wedding since I can't be there :-)

Aside from that, on Wednesday, we had a pretty entertaining discussion and lesson with a few of our investigators, but then we had a discussion with our ward mission leader. Holy cow haha that guy knows his stuff about the church, and he also absolutely blasted us with deep doctrine! I was looking on his bookshelf when we went to his house for dinner, and I noticed some Hugh Nibley books and commented about how much I loved "Lehi in the Desert", and he said that they were definitely awesome books, but then went on to teach us a little about what he was studying right now about the second coming, symbolism in the old testament, and even saturn stones on the Salt Lake temple.... kinda blew my mind haha. I don't really wanna get into it, but he whipped out a couple videos on us from youtube (I repented of it, don't worry. he said it was on lds.org but it turns out it wasn't haha) one called "LDS, the ancient heavens" Anyways, it's super weird, but interesting if you're bored and want an entertaining youtube experience I guess haha.
Anyways, Thursday turned out to be a mess... it rained SO HARD! Oh my goodness it was a wicked change from the normal overcast and sneezing to torrential downpour that we experienced while we were out knocking doors haha. I'm glad I waterproofed my scripture case because if I hadn't, that book would have been absolutely trashed! It was pretty nuts though... we had a couple of good spashdowns while we were driving around between appointments.

Okay, now for Friday. So, I'm gonna start it off with something that's going to freak you out, but bear with me. I held a cigarette in my hand for the first time of my life haha. We were teaching a lesson to three investigators that we have (Andrea, Cathy, and Sabrina), and the lesson seemed to be going well. They had all read, had all prayed, and were all saying that they thought Joseph Smith was a prophet, but Andrea was acting really antsy the whole time we were there. Then, all of a sudden Andrea tells us that she has a problem with smoking and that she only wants to smoke two more cigarettes and then she'll quit for good. We were kinda taken aback and a little confused (especially because we haven't taught the word of wisdom yet), when all of a sudden she pulls out two cigarettes from her backpack. I told her she couldn't smoke them, and then she compromised herself (because I had no part in it) to give me one and smoke the other one. We still told her no, but then all of a sudden she thrust one of them into my hand and went running out the door with a cig in one hand and an already lighted saint candle in the other (her family is catholic... they've all got saint candles around the house). We went outside and I basically yelled at her to stop being an idiot fifteen year old and put out her cigarette, so she did and then I went over and stamped it out. Then she asked if she could have the other one, and I said no, then promptly snapped it in front of her face, dropped it to the ground, then ground it into the pavement with my foot. Score one for the Missionaries haha. While I did this, she was kind of wailing as if I'd just kicked her puppy or something... it was kinda weird/melodramatic, but hey, she has no more cigarettes haha. We're gonna keep teaching them and see what happens. Sorry that was a long, random story.

When we got home that night, Van Hook said he wasn't feeling too well and went to bed around 9:30 right after planning. I finished writing in my journal then went to bed as well. Unfortunately, elder Van Hook spent most of the night cosied up to the toidy puking his guts out the poor guy. He slept for about an hour in his bed, then like I said, spent most of the night in the bathroom. He got food poisoning most likely, but who knows how... we always eat the same things, so we're not sure what happened.

So, for most of the day Friday, we were in the apartment. While Van Hook slept, I took some time to catch up marking my new book of Mormon as well as read the first 40 chapters of Genesis... yeah it was exciting, lemme tell ya. It definitely makes me appreciate the Book of Mormon that much more. Anyways, Van Hook mustered up a little strength and we went and taught a new investigator named Jessica who is the sister of a recent convert. She is super sweet and hopefully will progress well in the coming weeks.

Other than that, we confirmed Adrian a member of the church yesterday which was awesome... he's such a stud. He'll make a great missionary someday :-) We also had the opportunity to attend a musical fireside that the stake put on, and it was AWESOME! It was like Utah Mormon status production with like eight choirs, a brass ensemble, and a great Christmas atmosphere. The most awesome part was at the very end. The Spanish group was asked to sing the first verse of 'Joy to the World', and we were pretty worried, because the group is... well... pitifully dinky haha. It was sweet though. After they invited the Spanish group up, they also invited any who spoke spanish or would like to help the group to come up, and it was amazing to see the great amount of support that was shown to us. I really was so pumped to hear the hymn sung in Spanish, and it really made me happy to see that these people are so loved and accepted in this area. I know it doesn't seem that special, but it really was to me. I love this church.

Well, that's about all for this week, but I love and miss you guys so much! I hope you're enjoying the spirit of the Christmas season... it makes me think about you guys a ton.. especially since all Christmas music is approved :-D haha I'll talk to you guys next week and then on Christmas!

Love,

Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, December 6, 2010

The day that changed my mission

Dear Mom,
Okay, so this week was pretty eventful. On Monday, we drove around downtown Portland looking for a good spot to take our Christmas card picture, and we found a spot... I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty stoked about it... you'll just have to wait til the card gets there to really appreciate it :-) I have to say though, Portland is a pretty rad place.
On Tuesday, we started leadership training again where we went through the eight new fundamentals of Preach my Gospel, which was sweet, but holy cow it killed our work load! We were in Meetings Tuesday through Thursday from nine in the morning until four or five in the afternoon, so that's some prime work time shot out of the sky.
So, It kinda turned the middle of the week into a time warp until Friday. Now... Friday was a day that really changed my mission, and I'll tell you why. So we woke up and did studies as normal, then we went out and tried to visit a couple people with Hno. Muniz. They fell through, so we just knocked doors for a little while. After we finished up and were headed back to the car, I got a phone call from one of the elders in our zone asking if we could set up a baptismal interview, so I pulled out my pen and planner and set my book of Mormon on the hood to talk and write down the when and where, and then we headed to our next appointment. Unfortunately, when we got going in the car, I realized I didn't have my book or Mormon with me... I kinda freaked out and realized I left it on the hood of the car, so we retraced our steps to the apartment complex where it happened, and it was GONE. I about broke down and cried, because that book had all of my notes in it, and I had marked it to the point where I was comfortable with it! Ah I was so mad! Over the weekend, however, I've kinda come to grips with the fact that I don't have it anymore, and I'm kind of glad. Although it would have been a good thing to hold on to as a memory, I realized that I needed a new book because of something important that had happened: I was comfortable. I don't remember if I told you guys about this, but several months ago while I was in Woodburn, I had a dream. In this dream, I had kind of a revelation. Not that it was anything huge, but it was just one simple sentence that somebody told me, and it has stuck with me ever since. Someone said, "be careful Kurt, because when you become comfortable, that is when you are the most vulnerable." I know, it's kinda weird, but I realize that this will be a good thing to start anew with no markings to distract me from what is found in the Book of Mormon. Why get hung up on things that I've read in the past when every time you read is a new opportunity to learn something new? Anyways, that's the way I'm looking at it so that I don't feel so frustrated with losing my baby haha.
Later that night, we ate with Adrian's mom, Ana Laura. Over the course of dinner, we talked a little about me losing my book, and she said I'm so sorry, that's too bad, yadda yadda all that good cheer up and quit being a whiner stuff. Anyways, as we were about to leave, I noticed that she had a thighmaster, and I asked if she actually ever used it, and she laughed and said no. From there, she said I could have it if I wanted, so I took it haha. Van Hook was joking with me afterwards saying, "well, you lost your book of Mormon and got a thigh master all in one day... it's not a bad trade hahaha." Anyways, I thought it was funny.
So, Saturday was also an interesting day. We had no set appointments aside from this one awesome African dude that called us up and told us to come over. We knocked and found a couple of cool people and ultimately the time for this appointment arrived. We went in, and it turns out that he speaks French! Holy schnikes I was totally frustrated because I couldn't communicate very well! It was really weird... I could understand him mostly, but every time I tried to speak in French, Spanish would come out! Oh goodness it was entertaining. The funniest thing was that he had totally gotten JW'd, so we had to explain in Revelations at the end that adding to "this book" is talking about the book of Revelation and not the bible. We also had to explain that the fall was part of the plan and that the doctrine of original sin is a bunch of garbage. Luckily, he had a french book of mormon with him and I was able to find the scriptures I needed, but holy cow it was weird not being able to communicate with someone haha. I'll have to brush up on French when I get back :-) We also set up another appointment with him and we're gonna bring a french speaker from the ward this time haha. I can't smash false doctrine if someone doesn't understand what I'm explaining!
Now we'll talk about Sunday a little bit. I really loved it! We had church where our baptismal candidate didn't show up... we were scared because the guy who normally picks up he and his mom heard that he had a temperature of 104, so we were afraid he wouldn't be able to get baptized. Luckily when we visited them, it was only 100.4, so he was fine. He was actually really excited.
We went over to the HUGE stake center and got the font filling up... and it took three hours! Holy cow we were kinda worried that it wasn't going to make it in time. Luckily, we started a little late (because Adrian was late for his own baptism...!), and there was time to fill the font. It really turned out to be a great baptism though. His mom gave the first talk of her life, and she nailed it! She was asked to speak on baptism, and it was textbook. She used a personal experience, she used preach my gospel, and she bore a powerful testimony at the end! Goodness I was pretty stoked. Adrian was way happy and now is looking forward to getting his own set of scriptures with his name on them this week :-). I really love this kid. He actually reminds me a lot of myself at his age, so he has really become like my little brother. Not to toot our horns, but he really looks up to us... I can't wait to see what he does with the gospel in his life.

That was about the excitement from this week though... how have things been with you guys? You said you wanted to know if I'm still taking pictures, and I am actually! The ony thing that keeps me from sending this memory card home is that you haven't sent me the other one back yet haha. The day that you do, I'll send you this one okay?
I'm so stoked to hear that Brooke is doing well and that Katie did well on her musical number. I love you all so much! You guys are awesome. I'll talk to you next week, okay?
Love,
Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, November 29, 2010

E-mail from Pres. Pister in Woodburn

Sister Mooney:
Just thought you might like to see your son in action. While no longer with us in Woodburn, a young sister with whom he worked diligently while he was here, was baptized tonight. A marvelous aspect of her baptism is that she will be able to be sealed to her parents who are going through the Portland temple on December 18th.
The first picture is left to right: cousin, sister, Brother Cruz, Ibeliz, Sister Cruz, sister's daughter (cousin and sister are not members)
Second photo: Brother Cruz and Ibeliz
Third: Three branch members at dinner after baptism at the Cruz
Fourth: Elders Van Houk (Elder Mooney's current companion), Page, Thomas, Rivera, and your son.


Thank you for setting the base, early on, for the success we now enjoy due to wonderful missionaries. While he is no longer in the branch, he trained so well that Elder Rivera has not missed a beat since becoming senior companion. The other elder, Elder Page, continues strong as he works well with Rivera. The new elder, Elder Thomas, is thriving due to Page and Rivera. All due to some great work on your son's part.


Take good care.
Karl Pister



29 November 2010

Dear Mom/the rest of the family,

Well, it's been a sweet week once again here. I mean, who can complain about the week of Thanksgiving, right? I've gotta start this email off on the right foot though and let you know exactly what happened this week starting with Tuesday, since I already filled you in on what went down last Monday. So Monday night it got really, really cold, and supposedly there was going to be a "huge" snowstorm. When we woke up, there was a little skiff that wasn't big enough to stick to the sidewalks or the roads, and it was about 25 outside. We did our studies as we normally do, then headed out at 10 to an appointment that we had scheduled. When we got to the complex, I was confused because there were a bunch of kids playing outside, bundled up like they were from the back country of Alaska and scraping the snow off the grass to throw it at each other. I asked why in the world these kids weren't at school so they could get an education, when the member we took with us said that they had canceled school because of the "snowstorm" that we had last night hahahaha. It was comical! All of the TriMet buses were chained up, some of the cars, and traffic was even bad because people were driving really slow! THERE WAS NO SNOW ON THE ROADS!!! It's super funny to see how extremely prepared for snow they are, and yet not haha. That was about our excitement for Tuesday though haha.

On Wednesday, we had district meeting with the Hillsboro elders, and we actually got there a little early, so we were waiting in the parking lot for the other elders when this kid came screaming into our vicinity in a 90's vintage Acura. While we were there, he was trying to drift some corners, and obviously he didn't care much that we were there haha.... it was pretty entertaining to see him yanking the E-brake to throw the back end, and then jerking the car to a halt instead of fishtailing like he was trying to. Eventually, he gave up and took off, leaving elder Van Hook and I chuckling. Then we realized that our Malibu has a traction control on/off switch, so we tried a little "Malibu drift"... it was fun :-)

Later that day, we had dinner with a family who introduced us to an interesting hot chocolate drinking variation. They have these cookies called "Tim Tams" that are from Australia I think they said, but anyways, they're rectangular, you bite off one corner, then the opposite corner on the diagonal, stick your cookie into the hot chocolate, and suck it up like the cookie is a straw. It melts the insides and you actually drink it with the hot chocolate, and then just before the cookie melts completely, you eat it. Weird, but yummy for sure.

Okay, now lets talk about Thursday. So we had a pretty awesome day. We got to go play football in the morning! Ah man I was so excited to be able to go out and play around for a little while. We didn't play tackle, don't worry, but I ended up playing quarterback the whole time... it was pretty sweet! I was about 50% on completions with five touchdowns.... but I also threw three pick-6's... dangit haha. It was such a mud bowl, it kind of reminded me of that last game I played sophomore year at Summit :-). Aside from that, we had a pretty special opportunity... we got to eat with President Dyches! Oh man I was so stoked! He is really such a great man. It was he and his wife, the AP's, the office elders, the blasphemous traveling sisters, and us :-) It was just a really good experience to be able to spend some time with him and eat thanksgiving dinner... gosh I love turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and everything else about it!

The one hitch is that we had two dinners haha. We originally had four, but one canceled, and the other one took pity on us and we only had to eat pie :-). The second one we ate was with a family who has some Mooneys in their family tree that live in Colorado... one whose name was Wesley Mooney? Not sure if it's any relation to grandpa Mooney, but I figured it might be.

Aside from that, Friday we had zone leader council which was nothing too exciting, and then Saturday, we actually had some legitimate time to work! Now, right now, we are planning on baptizing a boy named Adrian who is sweet! He's going to be baptized on the 5th which will be sweet. We just got done teaching him the law of chastity on Wednesday night, and it was really funny because he turned bright red and got kind of embarrassed, but we explained it really well and now he'll have no problems :-) We're also teaching a girl named Andrea, her older sister Cathy, and their friend Sabrina. It's pretty sweet! They're all reading the book of Mormon, all praying, and all came to church on Sunday! Ah man it was super sweet!!! The one hitch is that they said that in order to come to church, their mom (who doesn't like us much) said we had to go to the Catholic church... oosh. We went... but ooh man it was interesting....a lot of pomp and ceremony... not a lot of truth to it though... is it bad that I'm writing this? Maybe you should cut this out of the email mom haha. Anyways, sufficeth to say that I'm glad we have the truth. It really strengthened my testimony of the truth of what we believe in.

Ooh one thing that I forgot to mention about Saturday was that we went to Hometown Buffet... BLEH! Oh my gosh I think Hometown Blehffet would be better because the food was for straight up fatties! I really made up my mind not to go back not because the food was terrible, but the clientele was Ginormous! Not by amount of persons, but by amount of person per person if you understand my meaning! Holy cow there were some big boys in there haha. It was a fun experience though... at the very least, it made me feel more skinny :-P

So Sunday was a big day! We had church, where four investigators came (Adrian, Andrea, Cathy, and Sabrina), and the funny part is that we increased church attendance in the group by 25% haha. There were only about 12 people in church, so it was fun :-) They went with the young men/young women and had a good time though. Then there was the Catholic church I already mentioned.

After that though, I got to go to a baptism down in Woodburn for Ivelisse Cruz! Ah it was awesome! Not gonna lie though... it kinda made me trunky for Woodburn if that makes sense haha. It was funny talking to the members again and asking how things were going. Elder Rivera is a beast of a missionary, and Elder Page is as well, now that his Spanish is picking up. I guess they're not as stoked on the new missionary, but with time I'm sure they'll come to like him... they said I need to finish my mission in Woodburn, and I'm hoping that President Dyches will grant me a "dying missionary wish" and let me do that haha. The Baptism was pretty awesome though... gosh I love the mission right now!

I hope everything for you guys is going really well and that you had a great Thanksgiving... from what you wrote, Mom, it sounds like it was as awesome as ever :-) I hope you're all enjoying the snow. I love you guys so much. Have a great week, okay? I'm praying for ya.

Love,

Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

Dearest Mommy,

Well, it's shaped up to be a pretty sweet week here in Beaverton! Last Monday, we took a little trip over to the Pearl District in downtown Portland... I feel like a total dork, but I'm really starting to love the culture here. It's definitely different from anything else I've experienced up to this point in my life, but I really am liking it. The one thing I find, though, is that these people, although they are high fashion and have a lot more money than any of the people we work with, they seem a lot less happy. It kinda makes me wonder what I would have to do to help them realize what it is that would help them change to be happy... Who knows. Maybe one day I'll figure that one out haha. Anyways, while we were downtown in Portland, we decided to head over to Powell's books, and it was sweet! One hitch though is that I got excited about buying some spanish literature so that I could improve my vernacular* (*sometimes I like to be cool and try to use big words), but then after buying them realized that I can't even read them because they're not approved, so I'll be sending them home I think haha.

Aside from that exciting P-day adventure downtown, we went on an exchange with the trio here in Hillsboro or "the ninos" as we like to call them, because the oldest missionary has four transfers haha. Oh man they're so sweet, I really love the missionaries in this zone. Speaking of exchanges, I also got to go on one with Elder Jackson!!!! Ah it was so sweet to be able to serve together and actually apply all that stuff we were trying to learn in the MTC and do it out here in the mission field! He is such a stud... he kinda scares me with how intense he is in lessons, but he is the most sincere person I've ever met.. gosh he's got a strong testimony! One thing I wish could do better that he is mastered is talk to everyone. He really does talk to EVERYBODY! Me personally, when I see a white person, I think "meh, not worth my time. I'm a Spanish missionary!" but Elder Jackson will bullet right for them, no matter where they are, and start talking to them. It was an entertaining exchange to say the least :-). Oh! I forgot the most fun part! So where Jackson is serving is up in the area of St. Johns, and the spanish group actually belongs to a Tongan ward up there. Oh my goodness I love polynesians haha. We went and visited the bishop to talk with him for a minute and ended up sitting down and eating for about half an hour and talking with him. Good greif I love lamb and taro leaves... It makes me wish I was born in the islands haha. It was super entertaining to talk with them and see their outlook on life. The bishop was talking about some people that were worried abou how things were going with the economy, work, etc., and he said "that's why it's mo bettah that you come to church. If you pay yo tithing and fast offuhring, you read da scriptchas and pray, and teach the gospel so mo people get baptIzed(emphasis on the I), you get mo blessings." That's when I realized it's really not that difficult to be happy and secure in this life...they've got it all figured out! Gosh I love polynesians haha.

Okay, so now for what else that was exciting this week. We got to go to the temple, and I had a super sweet spiritual experience. I had read a scripture in Alma this last week that kind of confused me about agency. This scripture in Alma 42 says this:
"And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will."
Now, the reason I was kinda confused about this verse is because it says that agency was one of those things that Adam and Eve gained after they were pushed out of the presence of the Lord, but I always thought that they had their agency from the beginning... When I was thinking about this in the temple, I finally realized that without leaving the presence of our Heavenly Father, they never would have been fully able to utilize their agency, because they were in the presence of God... I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it was just kind of an interesting insight that I got :-).

Aside from going to the temple and having a good time, we had interviews with President Dyches on Thursday... man I love him. He seriously is such a sweet guy and is such a spiritual giant. One thing that was sweet is that we had the opportunity to spend the day with he and his wife today over at the Evergreen aviation and space museum... it was absolutely unreal! We got to go around and look at all of the super rad stuff that they have over there, like the "Spruce Goose", which is like the most ginormous plane ever! It's literally like a flying boat that was created towards the end of WWII,and its just massive! If you have a chance, google it or something and you'll see what I'm talking about. The other thing we got to do while we were there was watch Hubble 3D in the IMax theater that they have there... it was a pretty cool experience, and it makes you think a lot about Moses 1:27-39... you should all read that, go see this movie, then see it again. Absolutely unreal! It'll change the way you think about your life and help you gain a better perspective.

Well, that's about all of the exciting things I can think about that happened this week, so tune in next week for more information. Oh wait! This week is thanksgiving! I'm pretty stoked, I'm not gonna lie. One of the nice things about going on that trip with President Dyches today is that I had a lot of time to talk with him about a variety of things, one of them being Thanksgiving. Turns out, he invited elder Van Hook and myself to dinner! The only problem with that is that we already have two other Thanksgivings set up! Crap! Well, it'll at least make for an exciting day...right? We even have a turkey bowl going on that morning with the elders quo- I mean, the church doesn't have anything to do with that, but we happened to meet some friends in the ward boundaries that invited us to a friendly game in the park on the 25th :-). Okay, now I think that's about all the excitement I've got for ya, so I'll write you all next week, okay? I love you so much! Have a fantastic Thanksgiving with all of the family that will be over. I'll be thinking about you... not in a trunky way though, don't worry haha.

Much love and gratitude,

Elder Kurt Mooney

PS: Okay, so I totally used my card like three times this week because I blew through my money way too fast this month trying to get settled in the new apartment, so there is probably $35.00 worth of stuff racked up on it right now... I'm sorry! I got excited about getting books from Powell's, and it drained me unfortunately. As for the Christmas thing... I'm thinking just some new G's would be good. I'm okay on ties, socks and my suits right now... knock on wood haha. I would, however like to get some new running shoes, and this is what I've got hatched out. The Nike employee store is like 15 minutes from our apartment and we should be able to get passes super easily, so if I could get some cashola to go over there, I could get some super sweet stuff for not a lot of money (less wasted money on me, especially since I come home in not that long). Speaking of which, holy crap! I hit 14 months on the 30th of this month!!! Yikes! I go home next year! Can you believe that!? I'm a little freaked out about it... I used to feel like the greenie, and now I'm here as the ZL and there are a whole mess of greenies! Oh well I guess... just have to keep bustin' it :-P

PS. Okay, sorry about the ginormous ps section here, I just had one more thing: I love you guys. That's all :-)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Busy and happy!

2010 15 November
Hey mom!
Okay, so here I am on a 15 minute computer trying to burn through everything I need to so that you can have a good idea of what's been going on this last week.
So I guess I'll start with what happened last P-day to get things started. We went and spent the day with the zone leaders down in Tigard, and it was a blast! We spent it talking, laughing, and crashing elder Davis' toy helicopter into things haha. It's remote control, and it is seriously so much fun to try to fly around in their apartment... we had more than a few close calls with it going into people's eyes, into the sink, toilet, out the window, etc. Anyways, it was a pretty good time.
That night, we had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the assistants to the president which was really interesting. I just remember the beginning of the mission where it seemed like the zone leaders and the assistants were really scary and far away from us in every sense, but now that I'm here as a zone leader, I can't help but wonder if maybe the other zone leaders who have been in this position have felt the same way. Now I feel like we're really good friends with the assistants, and I think we might have a closer relation with the elders in our zone than any others... I don't know if there should be "professional distance" between a zone leader and everybody else, but I don't feel like it should be that way. Anyways, I love being where I'm at because we get to spend some good time with the elders in our zone. That exchange with the AP's was interesting though. Their area is pretty tiny and it covers a complex that is known as "the kill zone". A complex of about 800 units... it's ginormous! Anyways, I ended up knocking in there with Elder Hunter for quite a while haha. It's pretty sweet I think Elder Hunter and I had a pretty close connection and we're gonna end up hanging out after the mission.
After that exciting exchange with them, we took advantage of the open time we had this week and knocked like nobody's business, and found some new investigators.... we found nine this week haha. Now, so it doesn't seem like we're worthless missionaries, a new investigator is only counted when you get in the door, teach a lesson, they accept a commitment, and set up a return appointment... "anciently" it was counted as someone in the door who didn't let you in, but accepted a return appointment (basically every Hispanic in the world) Anyways, we're pretty stoked on having some work :-)
Aside from that, we had an exchange where I got to work with my "little brother" in the mission, elder Hawkins haha. It was the last elder that Smithee trained, and it was a pretty good time.... not really too much to report there aside from the fact that we get along pretty well!

Oh! So I was all excited on Wednesday night because I got a call from elders River and Page telling me that Ivelisse Cruz was going to be getting baptized, so I was super stoked! Sunday rolled around and we were prepping to take off for the baptism when we got a call from them again. They said the baptism was cancelled because she was having contractions and had to go to the hospital... Luckily nothing was wrong when they went to visit her an hour later, and she actually asked if they could still do the baptism, but they're going to wait till next week to do it now haha.
Speaking of Sunday, church here in Beaverton is a whole different animal. We have the organization of the ward, but less members than a branch, so in a way it's good, but it also is kind of difficult to figure out how to do things... there are only about 20-30 members that show up on a regular basis from what I hear. I really love the families that come though... they're awesome!
Other than that, the Oregon sneeze has started here... NOOOOOO!!!!! For those of you who don't know who don't know what I'm talking about, the Oregon sneeze is something unique to this area. It begins in about the end of October/November and doesn't really quit until about May/June. What it is, really, is like a really fine mist/rain. It really feels like someone has sneezed on you though and it just feels gross, and it just keeps going throughout the whole day! A constant, sneezy, wet feeling it's just weird. It's okay though with that jacket I bought :-)
One other interesting thing about Sunday was the family that we ate with. Their last name is Jorgenson, and it turns out that his family is from our old neighborhood in Orem! I don't remember his name, but they said that his whole family has lived there for years... I think we might actually have been in their ward at one time or another. Anyways, that's the interesting news from this week.
Okay I'm gonna get off the computer, but I love you all so much and I hope things are going great for you. Have a great week and I'll talk to you later!
Love always,
-Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wild week in Beaverton

2010 November 8
Dearest Mommy,

Well, it's been a pretty wild week lemme tell ya! The biggest slap in the face about this area is that there is absolutely no work right now, so we're knocking until we die here (16 1/2 hours in four days)... We knocked more this last Saturday than I had in any week I had in Woodburn for the last three months haha. It's not all bad though. We've found some new investigators in the last couple of days, and some of them show a lot of promise. One is the girlfriend of a less-active guy named Geronimo who is looking to get married and come back to church, so that's pretty sweet. Another one is the son of a lady who is a recent convert who is pretty stoked on the missionaries right now since he met us and actually came to stake conference on Sunday!
Speaking of stake conference, it was sweet! We got to hear from Robert D. Hales and Dieter F. Uchdorf and it was so rad! It's been something really interesting to note that they are putting so much emphasis on obedience to church leaders and heeding their counsels. Aside from paying attention to what the general authorities say, they also highlighted the importance of personal as well as family scripture study along with personal and family prayer. The best way to avoid temptation is to read the scriptures and pray daily, and go to church every Sunday! I would say the reason why is because those three things help us to "put off the natural man". I was reading in my personal study the other day, and I found a scripture that absolutely spoke to me in that way, especially as a missionary. I was reading in Alma 26 where Ammon and his brethren had finished their missions and they were talking about the reasons for their success, and this is what Ammon says in verses 21-22:

21 And now behold, my brethren, what anatural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.
22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.

When we are involved in the church- really involved, not just attending- we can see the warning signs of when we're doing sub par on the spiritual side of things which helps us to repent and grow our faith through action to correct those errors. From there, we receive personal revelation through that connection that we build with God through prayer. The ultimate goal of all of this, however, is not for personal gratification to just make ourselves these big spiritual giants, but to help those around you. As I heard from President Pister's former mission president in a talk that he gave, "el evangelio no es el evangelio hasta que se comparte con alguien mas" which means "the gospel isn't really the gospel until it is shared with with somebody else". I know that people think that what I'm doing right now is missionary work, but it's only partly true. The reason they're holding these stake and regional conferences more closely together is not only so that we have a closer relationship with the brethren, but also so that we can grow our testimonies to the point where we are brave enough to share the gospel with those around us. Bottom line: SHARE THE GOSPEL!

Okay, enough of my spiritual ranting I'll tell you a little bit about what else went on this week. So Beaverton is a pretty sweet area... I think we're quite a ways East of where Randy and Susan used to live, although we still cover all of it... we even cover the Pearl District, Chinatown, and part of Burnside. It basically goes until the Willamette River :-). From there, our area covers as far west as Murray Boulevard, Other than that, our boundary on the South goes about as far as Tigard and on the North... yeah I have no idea haha but it's a pretty rad area. It's weird just because there is NO rural parts to this area... it's a little bit smaller than the Woodburn area, but it is absolutely packed with houses, apartment complexes, and lots and lots of businesses haha. The good news is that there are a TON of hispanics here, so we're never going to be short of work. The bad news is that it's a group up here instead of a branch, so they're kind of limping along right now.
One of the things that makes it weird is being a zone leader. They want us in both district meetings for our zone as well as having regular exchanges with the district leaders as well as trainers... which happens to be every companionship haha. It's nuts! It seems like yesterday I was the Jr. companion with elder Rangel and POOF! All of a sudden we're here in Beaverton, and there is only one missionary older than us and he goes home in December! What the heck!? Every companionship here in the North is training right now, so that spells out a lot of exchanges with them... it should be fun though... at least we'll get to know all the areas quickly...right? :-) I don't know. It's a whole new animal, but I kind of like it, although Spiderman keeps coming to mind with this calling...you know... "with great power comes great responsibility"... It really does work like that though! Ah well it's fun haha.

So some interesting things about what we did when we got up here this week:

Had a four hour planning session (normally only takes two hours to do it in-depth)
Found out from an investigator that Panguich (yup, like in Utah) means big fish in Spanish
Our bishop wears a bowtie every Sunday...?
Our stake center looks like a converted GINORMOUS evangelical church with two floors
Not all charcoal comes in the little KC Masterpiece briquettes

I think that last one deserves a little bit of a story. So although the last elders in this area left us with basically nothing, they did, however, leave us with some pretty fat steaks in the fridge and a charcoal grill outside on the deck space, so we decided to cook them up for dinner one of the nights that we didn't have one scheduled. [side note: We are now eating dinner with white people, and I don't think I like it... everything is overly prepared, you have to ask people to pass you stuff to put it on your plate, you have to be extremely polite and proper with how you eat, and I have to be the one to start every single dang conversation so that we actually have something to talk about! What the heck!? I don't remember if that's normally how it is, but I sure hope not... maybe hispanic people just talk a lot, but I really love having a good conversation while I'm eating... it keeps it interesting and it keeps me from putting too much food in my pie-hole :-)] Okay, sorry about that huge side note. Anyways, so back to the steaks story. I got these steaks marinating in the fridge all day long and they were getting really juicy and tender, and then the time came we came back to the apartment to cook them up. There was charcoal stashed in a bag in one of the closets, so I pulled it out and went to pour it into the grill, and I saw a bunch of pieces of what looked like burnt wood and I said to myself, "wow, what dorks! Why would they have a fire in a charcoal grill?" Then I proceeded to pour out this Mexican charcoal and wha-bam! I finally realized why haha. I didn't realize that charcoal was really like pieces of...well... charred wood haha. Anyways, it was pretty interesting and it ended up working really well and the steaks were scrumptious :-P.

Aside from that, I can't really think of anything else exciting that's happening right now here... we're just staying super busy trying to find new investigators and keep everything running smoothly in the zone. Oh! Here's the new address if ya wanna send love :-)
Elder Kurt Mooney
Park at Greenway #12
8370 SW Greenway Blvd.
Beaverton, OR 97008

I'm glad to hear that the Coug's finally pulled off a win... poor sorry saps haha they needed it. I hope that everything is going well with you guys back home I love you all so much. Be safe this week and know that I'm praying for you, okay?

Love always,

Elder Kurt Mooney

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

White-washed!

2010 November 2
Dearest Mommy,
White-washed! That's right, I said white-washed! Not only that, but we white-washed as zone leaders in Beaverton! What the heck!? I had heard whisperings of this possibly happening, but never thought it'd come to pass. Not only that, but I think this is the first time in the history of the OPM that they've white-washed a zone leader area (minus when they opened it for the first time).... It wouldn't be such a drastic move, but neither elder Van Hook or I have been a zone leader before. Oh yeah, my new companion is elder Van Hook from Ogden, Utah, and he's the man! We served near each other when I was down in Salem at the beginning of my mission. Anyways, now here we are in Beaverton and feeling a little lost haha. What makes it funny is that up to this point in our missions, we've both been serving in the South zone, but all of a sudden POOF! Here we are in Beaverton! I can't lie though, I'm pretty excited about it. The elders we're going to be serving around are way sweet, and Elder Jackson (MTC companion) is in my area again!!! Yay! We'll be able to go on exchanges once in a while which will be good.
Now, to explain a little of the work situation here in Beaverton... When we got to our apartment, we read the list of "to do's" that the previous ZL's had left us, and this is the line that stood out to us: "The only good investigators we were teaching moved back to Mexico. Happy knocking :-)". Dangit. That's all that came to mind when I read it... I promise... haha. Anyways, I was a little discouraged about it, but then last night we talked to the group leader and the bishop of the ward and I'm feeling a little bit more assured. This area has a lot of potential... I feel like the previous elders might have just kinda dropped their packs because one was finishing his mission. Who knows. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm excited at the opportunity to help this place grow! Yup yup that's the excitement from this side of the world... I would say I'm excited to serve as a zone leader and help out all of the up and coming missionaries, but I'm more just scared to death. Elder Van Hook and I have so much to learn and have no idea what we're doing, so we're going to have to rely solely on The Lord. I think that's definitely a good thing though. It'll help us stay humble and definitely help with the work.
All right, I'm all done writing about all of that for now. I will write you next week and try to respond to letters... I'm not making any promises with how busy it's looking to be, but I'll do my best. I love you all so much and your prayers are much appreciated. Have a great week!

Love always,

-Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween from Elder Mooney



Elder Mooney with the Warnicks
They were visiting the OPM, looked Kurt up, and took this photo and sent it to us! Thanks, friends!

Transfers

Dearest Mommy,

Well, today is the day. I've spent the morning packing up and visiting a couple members to say goodbye... ah man I hate goodbye's. Especially in this area right now. We had such a successful week and everything seemed to be going so well and then BAM! Now I'm jettisoned off into another part of the mission!

So I'll start with what happened from the beginning of the week last week and work forward as always. We started off with some kick butt visits where we included Juan Velasquez (baptized in September) to help us teach. It was amazing! We're teaching a couple right now whose names are Leonel and Christina, and it went super well! Juan helped us teach them about the plan of salvation, and ultimately we were able to invite them to be baptized which they accepted! Ah man I was super pumped! They'll be getting baptized in the end of November, so there's one trip I'll be able to make back to visit for.

Other than them, we've been meeting a lot with Adan and Rahab. As soon as I found out I was getting the boot on Saturday, we went and talked with them. It turns out they've decided to get married before the end of the year and they both want me to baptize them when they're ready! There are two more trips I can take back :-). Ah I am so stoked about that one... they're gonna make great members of the church when they're locked and loaded.

So aside from that, It's just been kind of a sad weekend packing, making sure no investigators fall through the cracks... I'll write later today to let you know exactly what shakes out. Thank you for the popcorn balls by the way they were scrumptious! I had to cut them up to eat them with the veneers, but it was totally worth it! haha I love you guys I'll talk to you later!

Love,

Elder Mooney

Letter from Elder Mooney's Branch President in Woodburn

Dear Brother and Sister Mooney:
Well, it has been a marvelous run, but your son is leaving our little branch tomorrow. It appears he will be transferred to Beaverton. He is sitting in our dining room playing dominoes at this moment, since the president has suggested that their tracting could be mistaken for "trick or treating". He will be with us the remainder of the evening.
I want you to know that he has been more than outstanding for our branch. He is a stellar, hard-working missionary. I was speaking with our executive secretary and he mentioned that Elder Mooney has almost been a third counselor for us in our branch presidency. We have a fairly thin pool of reliable priesthood at this stage and his presence has been invaluable. He has demonstrated a maturity far beyond his age and in his seven months has yet to let me down in any assignment. It will be extremely difficult to replace him. Beaverton is fortunate to have him come and serve in that area.
So, thank you for what you have done in raising such a magnificent Elder. We were blessed by his presence.
Sincerely,
Karl Pister

Monday, October 25, 2010

Work, work, work!

October 25, 2010
Dearest Mommy,

So If I could describe this week in one word, it would be work. Work, work, work, work! The best part about it: I LOVE IT!!! Ah it's been such a busy, exciting, stressful, and satisfying week I absolutely love it. We've been teaching up a storm as well as finding new people! Let me give you the down-low for what all we've been up to. Last Monday you already know all that excitement of playing soccer as a Spanish zone and then buying a freakin' sweet jacket which I happen to have on right now :-). After that wonderful day, we set off to work.
Tuesday, we had to go to the doctor to have a follow up with the CDC down in Salem, so we were all stressing that it was going to shoot our day, so we planned to do it during language study (10:00 am), take our lunch hour, and then only have to sacrifice one hour of proselyting time, and it paid out in spades! We got there, got 'er done, and got back in time to teach seven lessons and do an hour of finding! Wh'bam! Technically it was due to the divisions we did, but it was still amazing! The best thing about being in a trio is that if you can find members to go with you, you can triple your work load for a day. So Tuesday racked up our member-present lesson stats for the week, and then the following day, we scheduled a triple-blitz with the English elders here in Woodburn because they're also in a trio... it worked out really well!
The thing that's funny about this is that we were planning on having a pretty crappy week because we had to shoot basically three hours for the doctor on Tuesday, plan on thursday for three hours, have district meeting on Friday which takes quite a bit of time, and go to the doctor again on Saturday. In spite of all of that, we had one of the best weeks we've had in the last month!
The thing that makes me even more stoked about it is the fact that our investigators are doing well as well as our recent converts. We had a lesson Thursday with Ivelisse where she set November 7th as her goal for getting baptized, we had a lesson with Adan & Rahab on Friday where we talked to them about getting baptized on the 14th where all they need to do is get married, and we also had several lessons this week with a lady named Bertha Hernandez who has been investigating the church for more than a year, but has not gotten baptized because she's married in Mexico and lives with someone else here... oops haha. Luckily, we talked to her, and it turns out that her sister is now in the process of divorcing her in Mexico so she can marry her...umm.... partner Martin (pronounced Marteen). Anyways, exciting stuff right now.
Aside from those three, we're working with a couple whose names are Leonel and Cristina. They're progressing very well, and I think we'll be getting them baptized (married first though!) towards the end of November. We are also teaching a lady named Laura who has come to church for the last four weeks in a row and she is really liking what she's learning... We're hoping to set a baptismal date with her tomorrow night!
One other sweet thing that has happened is that Rahab's family has taken an interest in the church. Like her mom says when she finds out its true she wants to be baptized! Holy crap right? For example, she had a question about baptisms for the dead the last time we went over (yesterday), and we ended up teaching her the entire plan of salvation in depth. I'm talking IN DEPTH. Like we were talking about the pre-existent state of spirits, the council in heaven, the veil, the foreknowledge of God and how it played into the fall of Adam and Eve, the millenium, etc.. A really exceptionally intelligent woman who soaks up information like a sponge! If she gets baptized, she'd probably be like a relief society president or something... we've just gotta pull the rest of the JW doctrine out of her head first haha.... I'm a little scared to teach her that Jesus is Jehova.... Oh boy for that I've got a nicely marked up bible :-P.
Speaking of bibles, I bought the coolest one ever!!!! We were wandering around on Front St. in Woodburn, and we found this little tienda called 'El Nuevo Jerusalen', so we decided to stop in. Turns out it sells grocery-type products in front, and blasphemous Adventist materials in the back... along with a whooooole bunch of different bibles. I found one that is fuhreakin SWEET! It's a little pocket bible that isn't just the new testament... it contains ALL of the old and new testaments and it's teeny tiny! Anyways, since I found it, all I do now is carry around my book of Mormon with a bunch of pamphlets stuffed in it and then the bible in my pocket in case someone tries to give me crap for not having it.... then I can smash them with it :-). Naw I'm just kidding I don't bash. But yeah, I love having that little guy with me it makes it super fun :-).
So on a little bit more serious note, I had a super sweet personal study the other day, and I kinda wanna share my "revelation" with you guys haha. So right now I'm working on reading the book of Mormon again, and I'm in Alma. What I was reading that called my attention is in Alma 12. To explain a little of what is going on so you have a point of reference, this is right where Alma and Amulek are laying it down on Zeezrom and they call him to repentance and he sees the error of his ways. From there, Zeezrom asks to know how he can know for himself the things of God, and this is what happens:

9 "And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction."

The key to all of this is found in verses nine and 10... where it says God grants the portion of his word according to the HEED and DILIGENCE that we give to him. Not only that, it says that he who hardens not his heart is the one who will receive the mysteries of God in full. So, in order for people to become converted to this church, they must not harden their heart to the message, and show diligence and really try to listen to get an answer. Anyways, I thought it was cool.
So for my last thought, now that I've got the spiritual stuff down on the page, I've gotta share with you something really, really funny that happened last night. So we ate dinner with the Wetzels, and they're awesome... they kind of remind me of a slightly younger version of Grandma and Grandpa Dayton. They actually have the same vintage house and cook very similar foods I love it! Anyways, they're kind of the same caliber of members as well. VERY awesome people! Super spiritual giants, humble, kind, willing to share the gospel, etc.. So we got to the end of dinner and we were fixing to head out, when brother Wetzel says hey I have a note I would like you guys to read, but not until you're out of the house and in your car, okay? We all said okay and took the note. Once we got out in the car, this is what we found:

Who are the 5 most constipated men in the Bible?
1. Cain - because he was not Abel
2. Noah - Passed nothing but water for 150 days
3. Moses - took two tablets and went into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights
4. David - no power on earth could move him
5. Solomon (David's son) - sat on the throne for 50 years

Maybe it's highly inappropriate, but coming from a guy like brother Wetzel, we were about on the floor crying when we opened it up! Ah he's such a sweet guy and he always has a subtle joke like that to pull on us.
All right, well that's the excitement for the week here in Woodburn (or Boorbun as I heard it called the other day haha), but I love you all so much, tell Katie Jo that I am so sorry I didn't get my card off to her in time, but I'll be sending her one today in the mail. I love you guys so much, and I all is well! I pray for you every night, so I hope everything is good!
Love today, tomorrow, the day after, yadda yadda yadda,
-Elder Kurt Kay Mooney

PS: I do play the piano in district meetings from time to time, so your years of tooth-pulling with me was not wasted! I love you mommy! Tell those Larsen kids to get their butts in gear or I'm gonna kick 'em when I get back next year!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Bear witness of the Light"

October 18, 2010
Dearest Mommy,
Okay, so here I am at 7:30 writing to ya and trying not to fall asleep haha. Today for our P-day, we played soccer with both Spanish zones... again... and we did it for three hours haha. Oh my goodness I was totally trashed afterwards haha. It was such a total blast though I loved it.
Aside from that excitement today, we had an all-around good week! Last tuesday I had a super sweet exchange with elder Davis, one of our zone leaders, and then later on in the week I had the opportunity to serve with elder Rangel again!... but this time in Salem! Ah it was so sweet being able to go back and serve with him again! I'm pretty sure they should let us open a new area together, because we would blow it up. We were able to teach four lessons, two with member, and talk Charlie (Miriam, my Cuban Abuelita's husband) into getting baptized! I am so excited!
What's even more exciting than exchanges is the fact that Rivera is now back to normal! We actually went walking around for the first couple of days this week! It was really nice to be able to go out and about and not feel so fat... ya know? I think this whole near-death thing has really changed him as well. Now he is really carefree, happy, and good at teaching it's rad! He has no fear to open his mouth and teach doctrine to anybody. Not only that, but now all the members love him!
I'm trying to think what else exciting happened... ooh! I bought my jacket today, and it is fuhreaking sweet! Like really, it's gonna be way nice once the weather really hits. It's a North Face soft shell.... yeah it might be easier if I just send you a picture of it haha. Anyways, it's gonna be relly warm, keep me really dry, and last for a long time... *knock on wood* I was super bugged because I had planned on buying this Helly Hansen jacket that I've been looking at basically the whole time I've been in Woodburn, but unfoturnately today when I went to go get it, it was GONZO! Oh well I think this one is cooler haha. Anyways...pretty exciting, right?
Anyways, I'm having a blastie here in Woodburn, although I think my time has run out for this area... I don't know... we'll find out in the next couple of weeks, but I realized I've been here for almost seven months... I love it! I hope I get a chance to come back here again haha.
What else what else...... ooh! Okay, so this is kind of weird and you guys will probably think I'm an idiot, but I had kind of a spiritual experience running the other morning. So we go running around a neighborhood by our apartment complex, and part of it runs through an old folks neighborhood where every house is cookie-cutter exactly the same. One thing that's interesting is that every one of those houses has motion-sensor lights. As we're running in the mornings, it's dark obviously, and once we get to that neighborhood, every house we pass by, the lights turn on out front, and all of them seem to stay on after we run by. The interesting thing is that by the end of the houses, if we're taking a more leisurely pace, the sun comes out, and we don't get to play our little game of turning on all of those lights, so we always try to run a little bit quicker when we see the light starting to come out. You're probably thinking, "wow elder Mooney, this is totally not related to the gospel", but bear with me. I was thinking about my mission and how it seems like we always seem to be in a rush to find new people, teach them, baptize them, etc., and I always thought, why can't we just take a nice, steady pace to do it... doesn't the old saying go "slow and steady wins the race"? Then I kind of had an epiphany. The mission is a lot like the route we run in the mornings in that you only have a certain amount of time to get things done, and then it's all over once the sun comes out. If we waste time dawdling or "taking it easy" as missionaries, there will be people that we won't quite reach in time, and have a chance to be touched by that "light".
It's kinda like it says in John 1:7-9... likening it to myself a little bit, it made a lot of sense
7" ...[elder Mooney] came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. "
I love our church and the opportunity to let my light so shine before men... I hope you guys are willing to do the same.
I've gotta go cause my time is up, but I love you all so much have a great week!
Love,
Elder Kurt Mooney

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Slowly but surely

October 21, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, this week has been a little bit less exciting... and I think that's a good thing haha. Right now I'm here at the Mt. Angel abbey writing this email with my good ol' zone leader elder Davis... and I don't even know what to write haha. This week has really been pretty uneventful.... I'm trying to think of anything out of the ordinary that happened.
Well, first things first I guess. So you all know, elder Rivera is almost 100% now! He is going to be going out to do visits with us tonight, so that will be exciting :-) He had a doctors appointment yesterday and they said that he will be fine he just needs to finish his antibiotics this week and he will be golden! No more visits to the hospital or with any doctors! Yes! Finally!!!!! It's super funny though, because "mommy" (hna. Ruybal) is watching over us like a proctective... I don't know what haha. She's making sure that we are safe from any potential typhoid hazards in the future... she won't let us eat at certain places in the branch, if we want to eat at a taqueria, we have to call and ask if it's an okay place, things like that haha.
Other than that, I saw someone I hadn't seen since I was about 15 years old.... Josh Schriner! I know, super random right? We were driving back to our apartment on Sunday after church, and there they were he and his wife driving in a van! They probably thought I was an idiot waving like I was, but I think they recognized me... if not, well... then they'll just think that missionaries are total dorks. At the very least, it was something interesting that I could throw in the email to take up a paragraph :-)
Our investigators right now are doing all right... I'm a little frustrated with them because I feel like we're not really making a lot of headway with all that has been happening with elder Rivera, but now that he's better we should start kicking some butt. Adan's soon to be mother-in-law is having surgery today on her ankle, so we might go visit her to see how she's doing, as well as tell her to push the marriage thing with Adan and Rahab... is that terrible? haha if so, then I apologize, but they need to start living the law of chastity so that they can get baptized! Wedding number two of the mission... I just hope this one works out a lot better than the last one :-S. Aside from them being good and coming to church this last sunday, we had a super funky day for church... I was kind of annoyed. We only had two investigators in church! We called all of our investigators to make sure they were coming, and out of those that answered, all of them said "but it's raining a lot outside"... and!? It's not like we hold our meetings outside people! It was just super funny because branch attendance in general was in the toilet. We only had about 50 people show up... super strange thing about hispanic culture or something. Anyways, at least Adan was there.
I don't think I have anything else to report from this week... we taught a bunch of lessons, we were handing off Rivera to members every day, and yeah... that's about the excitement. It kinda stresses me out a little bit, so I've been super tense, and of course I'm not exactly getting regular massages to work out knots in my back, but let me tell you all a story. So this last Wednesday night we were picking up elder Rivera from the Mendoza's house, we got talking with them for a minute and Hna. Mendoza's brother said "elder, you look overly stressed, let me give you a massage" He gave me one and I just about died I was so happy. My back was solid knots, and he totally worked me over. I don't care that it was a 40 year old man who did it for me because I was completely comatose from 9:30 that night until 6:30 the next morning haha.
So aside from that, I'm over the year mark and I feel really weird about it... where did the time go? I still feel like I just started a little while ago, but here I am with more than a year gone! Poof! Fart in the wind! I don't know what else to say about this past week, so I'll stop. I love you guys so much and I'm so grateful for all the support out here. I'll write something more exciting next week I promise. :-)
Love,
Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, October 4, 2010

Typhoid Diet

October 4, 2010

Dearest Mommy,
Okay, so it's been a pretty eventful week haha. The big news is that it turns out that Elder Rivera not only had sepsis... he also got Typhoid fever! What the heck!? I thought that disease died out with the pioneers!!! Super weird right? They had a whole bunch of doctors coming in trying to figure out what the crap was going on when President Dyches told them to talk to an infectious disease doctor, so he did and ta-da! Typhoid fever. It's really really really rare that this ever happens in the united states... like the CDC (Center for Disease Control) wanted to talk to us to see what we'd been eating and stuff like that. They were saying he most likely got it from a south american company called Goya, so if you go into one of those little latin markets, DON'T BUY GOYA PRODUCTS! I feel bad that they're gonna take a hit as a company, but that's what they get for giving my companion Typhoid.
Now that you know what he's got, I should probably give you an update on Rivera: He's doing okay. He's getting better every day, and he is chock-full of antibiotics. Not only that, but holy crap he is SKINNY!!! He weighed himself when he got back to the apartment and started laughing a little bit. When I asked him what was so funny, he told me it was because he had lost 20 pounds in only like a week! Holy COW!!!! He really does look really skinny... I didn't notice it at first because...well... he had about a week's worth of beard on his face, but when they shaved him down, he looked like a survivor from a death camp or something! He is reeeaaaaally really skinny. We were joking around and saying maybe we should market this as a weight loss program. It could be called "The Typhoid Diet" it would be sweet! We could use elder Rivera as a testimonial and show a before/after picture haha. As you would probably imagine, he didn't really find it too terribly funny, but ah well he's on the road to recovery.
Aside from that, we've been... well.... pretty much worthless missionaries this week just studying in the hospital for a couple days, trying to get some lessons done when we could to keep the work afloat. I was really stressing out about everything and thinking I might leave Page with Rivera in the hospital and go on all-day splits with a member to get the work going, but then Uchdorf's talk about slowing down and working at a steady pace kind of slapped me in the face and was basically telling me "don't stress so much!" I really enjoyed conference this weekend... ah the spirit during the talks were so amazing and they really spoke to me. I know that I need to show more trust in our leaders, have more faith, receive the Holy Ghost, and show more gratitude to those around me.
I'm trying to think if there was anything else exciting that happened this week that was of much importance.... We went running for a couple days this week which has helped me lose some of the stress I had bottled up... that was nice. I really can't think of anything else that happened this week. Your prayers were much appreciated with all that has been going on with elder Rivera. Now that I've got conference on the brain I need to say thank you for all of your support out here. Your prayers really do help in ways that you don't even know.
I love you guys all so very much and I pray for you each night. Keep on keepin' on!

love,

Elder Kurt Mooney

Hey just thought you might think this was cool... check it out :-)
A Special Type of Soldier--Hugh B. Brown
At the request of the First Presidency, I had gone to England as coordinator for the LDS servicemen. One Saturday afternoon in 1944, I sent a telegram from London to the base chaplain near Liverpool letting him know that I would be in camp the next morning to conduct Mormon church services at 10:00 a.m
When I arrived at the camp, there were 75 Mormon boys, all in uniform and quite a number in battle dress. The chaplain to whom I had sent the wire proved to be a Baptist minister from the southern U. S. He, too, was waiting for my arrival. As these young men ran out to greet me not because it was I, but because of what I represented, and as they literally threw their arms around me, knowing I was representing their parents as well as the Church, the minister said, "Please tell me how you do it.
"Do what?"
"Why," he said, "I did not get your wire until late this morning. I made a hurried search. I found there were 76 Mormon boys in this camp. I got word to them. 75 of them are here. The other is in the hospital. I have more than 600 Baptists in this camp, and if I gave them 6 months notice, I could not get a response like that."
And then he repeated, "How do you do it?"
I said, "Sir, if you will come inside, perhaps you will see."
We went in to the little chapel. The boys sat down. I asked, "How many here have been on missions?" I think a full 50% raised their hands.
I said, "Will you and you and you, and I pointed to six of them, please come and administer the sacrament? And will you and you and you, and I pointed to six others, please come and sit here and be prepared to speak."
Then I said, "Who can lead the music?" A number of hands were raised. "Will you come and lead the music? And who can play this portable organ?" There were several more hands, and one was selected. Then I said, "What would you like to sing, fellows?" With one voice they replied, "Come, Come Ye Saints!"
We had no hymnbook. The boy sounded the chord: they all arose. I have heard "Come, Come Ye Saints" sung in many lands and by many choirs and congregations. Without reflecting adversely on what we usually hear I think I have only heard "Come, Come Ye Saints" sung that once when every heart seemed to be bursting. They sounded every verse without books.
When they came to the last verse, they didn't mute it; they didn't sing it like a dirge but throwing back their shoulders, they sang out until I was fearful the walls would burst. "And should we die before our journey's through, happy day, all is well". I looked at my minister friend and found him weeping.
Then one of the boys who had been asked to administer the sacrament knelt at the table, bowed his head, and said, "Oh, God, the Eternal Father." He paused for what seemed to be a full minute, and then he proceeded with the rest of the blessing on the bread. At the close of that meeting, I sought that boy out. I put my arm around his shoulders, and said, "Son, what's the matter? Why was it so difficult for you to ask the blessing on the bread?"
He paused for a minute and said, rather apologetically, "Well, Brother Brown, it hasn't been two hours since I was over the continent on a bombing mission. As we started to return, I discovered that my tail assembly was partly shot away, that one of my engines was out, that three of my crew were wounded, and that it appeared absolutely impossible that we could reach the shore of England."
"Brother Brown, up there I remembered Primary and Sunday School and MIA, and home and church, and up there when it seemed all hope was lost, I said, 'Oh, God the eternal Father, please support this plane until we reach a landing field.' He did just that, and when we landed, I learned of this meeting and I had to run all the way to get here. I didn't have time to change my battle dress, and when I knelt there and again addressed the Lord, I was reminded that I hadn't stopped to say thank you."
"Brother Brown, I had to pause a little while to tell God how grateful I was."
Well, we went on with the meeting. We sang. Prayers were offered, and these young men, with only a moment's notice, each stood and spoke, preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to their comrades, bore their testimonies, and again I say with due respect to the various ones with whom I have associated and labored they were among the finest sermons I have ever heard.
Then the time was up and I said, "Fellows, it's time for chow. We must dismiss now, or you will miss your dinner." With almost one voice they cried, "We can eat grub any time. Let's have a testimony meeting!"
So we stayed another hour and a half. I looked at my friend, and he was weeping unashamedly.
At the close of that meeting, this minister said, "I have been a minister for more than 21 years, and this has been the greatest spiritual experience of my life."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Salem Hote- I mean Hospital

Dearest Mommy,

Okay, just so you don't freak about the title of this email, I AM NOT THE ONE IN THE HOSPITAL. I AM FINE. This is the excitement that we had this week though: Elder Rivera has been WAY sick all week. I feel like I kinda already ruined my story because I already mentioned the word Hospital twice, now three times in my email, but I'll explain from the start of the week what went down.

So Monday night we went to dinner with some members from Silverton (the Ellingsons) who are way awesome. Elder Page got super spoiled on his first day because they took us out to Olive Garden. The whole day, elder Rivera had been complaining of being cold even though it was in the 60's and 70's. That was the first sign of trouble. After that, we took our P-day on Tuesday, taught a lesson like I explained in my last letter, and then did E-mails. By this point, elder Rivera had not been feeling good, slept in, was experiencing flu-like symptoms, etc.. That night, actually, he ended up staying with the people we had dinner with and sleeping on their couch while we (elder Page and myself) went to do divisions. We then returned back to the apartment with Rivera afterwards, where he proceeded to crash and not wake up until about 11 the following day. Now, one key thing that he was not saying anything about is that he was experiencing... well... never mind. Suffice it to say, we were advised to go buy him some Immodium. Ooh this reminds me of a really funny story related to that. So after a doctor visit we had on friday with Rivera, he advised us to go pick up some Immodium, and so we took a trip to Wally-World to buy some. While we were there waiting in the checkout line with the afore-mentioned product, I saw some incense in the compulsory buys section right next to the register and had one of those stupid urges to grab it, which I did. We usually use incense to kind of make the apartment smell a little bit more... how would I say... homey? Anyways, there we are in the checkout line buying Immodium and then I place the two on the counter. As soon as I did this, I realized I had just made a big mistake... Incense and Immodium... strange looks from the clerk... yeah went bright red in the face trying to explain myself by saying "have you ever been in one of those situations where your friend needs you to..." Yeah she was just shaking her head and chuckling mercilessly when this all happened. At least it makes for a good story...right?

Anyways, that was the funny part of the week. Aside from that, we've been super busy trying to keep lessons balanced with a sickie in the trio. Passing him off to members some days or asking one of the english elders to "jump the grenade" sometimes so that we could go out and get some work done. I was really frustrated because we have a lot of people to teach right now and need to be on top of things, and this has been a major load that got dumped on us this week. The one perk is that I've been able to focus attention on elder Page to help him progress as a missionary with the time we have together.

Sunday was pretty sweet because we had Luis & Liset, Adan & Rahab (I finally found out her name is spelled like this and not just "Rab"... dang silent H's!), and Laura showed up to church! Not only that, but Juan was able to baptize his daughter, whic was a really spiritual and awesome experience... I do feel kind of bad though... I had to leave elder Page in the apartment for like six hours because I had to do visits and the baptism, but couldn't put Rivera with a member because they were all at the baptism! Anyways, we had a second doctor's appointment set for Rivera at 8:00 Monday morning, so we went. The results of the test were that he was severely dehydrated and had no idea what was wrong with him, so we jogged on over to the hospital and got him all filled up with fluids. After that, they still had no idea what he had, so they kept him overnight instead of just in the emergency room. We talked to Pres. Dyches and everything, and we got permission to stay the night with him up in his room. When we got up to his floor and looked in his room, I almost though it was a hotel! a flatscreen TV, nice recliner, nice couch, sweet matching interior touches, and even "hardwood" floors... take out the hospital bed, and you've got yourself a nice little place! I came to realize " wait a second... Dad does business with this hospital, and this is a relatively new wing... he probably negotiated all of this!" So if not, then oh well, but if you did help, thanks dad for a comfortable stay at the Salem Hote-, I mean Hospital.

Other than that, we found out this morning when we woke up in the hospital that one of his blood cultures came back positive for some type of bacteria, so that means he has sepsis...what the crap? I don't understand how he got it, but it's a dang good thing we found it when we did or he might have been toast. Luckily he's doing better now that he's pumped full of fluids and anti-biotics, and should be out of the hospital in the next couple of days.

That's about the excitement for the week (haha), but I hope everything is going awesome over there. It's looking like we'll have a baptism in the next couple of weeks of Ivelisse Cruz if all goes according to plan. If you can, please keep our investigators in your prayers, as well as elder Rivera. I'm doing okay, but these guys are the ones that deserve the blessings more right now. I'll talk to you guys next week.

All my lovin',

-Elder Kurt Mooney

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Congratulations, it's twins!




Dearest Mommy,
Well, your calculations are correct! We had transfers yesterday, and...... I'm staying in Woodburn for another transfer!!!! There's one hitch though... They gave me another greenie to train!!! What the heck!? I'm pretty sure this has NEVER happened in the OPM (Oregon Portland Mission) before, but oh well it's kind of interesting. His name is Elder Paige, from West Point, Utah. He's a nice kid... still getting to know him since we've only had him for about 24 hours now haha, but he really does seem pretty sweet. We're speaking in only spanish to try to help him to grab the language a little better... we had our first appointment this morning with Hno. Perez, and he got pretty lost haha. It's gonna take some time, but I bet with a little effort, he'll be a good elder. Oh I forgot to mention one fact: He's a foster child!!! He's not really an OPM missionary, he's supposed to be headed to Mexico City, Mexico West mission, but there was a hiccup with the visas for a couple missionaries, so we're holding on to him anywhere between 24 hours and 24 months... they said they'll know in the next transfer anyways. I'm pretty stoked to cover some new ground and have two greenies at the same time though haha.
It's interesting here in the mission... your "posterity" is kind of a big deal, and all of the terminology of a family is used. The kid you train is your "son", the elder you follow up train is your "step-son", the second elder trained by someone makes him "brothers" with the first, etc.. The other day I was poking fun at an english elder here in Woodburn because his companion right now is an elder that is supposed to be in Brasil, but is stuck here with visa problems as well. We were trying to find out what kind of terminology we could use for him, when I realized it's like a foster child! He can't be with his real daddy right now because of some legal stipulations, so we have to be the temporary parents haha. I thought it was funny until I got one myself. Not only that, but I have two at the same time, so they're telling me that I have "twins", but that they switched one of the babies in the hospital! haha oh goodness I love the culture of the mission.
So aside from that little excitement, Juan Velasquez got baptized this last sunday!!!! Ah man I was so stoked! Seriously, it was probably the most spiritual baptisms I have ever attended. Juan was baptized by his adoptive dad of the branch Hno. Ruybal, Pres. Pister's former president of the mission was the intermediate speaker and blew us away with his testimony, Jeive's whole family was there, both members and non-members, and both Juan and Jeive were so happy... gosh it was just such an amazing day.. I'll attach some photos on here so you can see them.
Aside from that, it's looking like Adan and Rab are fixing to get married here pretty soon, so they'll be locked and loaded for baptism in two weeks...sweet! Laura Gutierrez is reading and praying, and actually came to church as well this last sunday! She'll be getting a baptismal date this week or next depending on what the Spirit says. Turns out Felipe still wants us to teach him and help him get ready for baptism, so we're gonna see what we can do for him in the next couple of weeks... The Cruz family daughters are showing some good interest. Turns out the oldest daugter also wants to learn more about the church, so we taught her the Doctrine of Crist, and it went really really well. We're gonna see how things pan out in the next couple of weeks with her as well. More than that, we're trying to work with some of the other people from Lupe-G's family, as well as some other people that we've met.. nobody specifically is calling my attention right now, but we'll see how it goes in the next week here.

Thank you guys so much for the sweet package that you sent to me... it really means a lot to get things like that. The pictures are awesome, and a couple ladies got in an argument whether I look more like you or dad haha. I love you guys so much.. and I'm starting to get a sweet collection of postcards above my desk :-) Have a great week and I'll talk to you later.
Love always,
Elder Kurt Mooney


Monday, September 13, 2010

Elder Bednar

Dearest Fandamily,
Well, we didn't have a baptism this last Sunday... turns out Felipe got cold feet and might be headed to Mexico... I don't wanna say anything rude that might get back to me, so I'll keep my mouth shut :-P. Suffice it to say it's a bummer that he's not getting baptized... at least not right now. Things here are going really well though. This week we got to be at the confirmation of Rosario Silva, and that was pretty dang sweet.

This week as been kind of a topsy-turvy week all around though. First off, one of my favorite hermanas in the branch had her mom die this week in a freak accident where she was struck by a vehicle getting on a bus in Colombia, so we spent some time talking to her on Tuesday after we got done with emails... she was a wreck. I mean, she has every right to be, but man can you imagine having that happen? I mean, I'm so glad we know about the plan of salvation and everything but still... ah I felt so bad for her. If you could, would you put her name in the temple?

Aside from that little gem, we've been playing marriage counselors with a few different people.... ah I am friggin' 20 years old what the heck do I know about marriage!? I feel bad, but I kinda lost patience with a couple of them because basically they're just being pridefully stubborn and I called them on it, then layed down the law. I leave them all with the same thing to read because it's the only thing I can think of. If you want to know how you should treat your spouse, read Ephesians 5:22-33. Other than that, be humble :-). As if it's so easy right? I love being young and inexperienced haha.

Okay enough of this depressing nonsense and off to more exciting things! Tuesday we had a good visit with Adan and Rab... they're gonna get baptized! It was super interesting, and exactly the opposite of every other investigator I've had before. We were talking and suddenly he says, "you know, I feel that I need to commit myself to God, like to do what he wants me to, ya know? I mean, I stopped drinking and smoking, and I know it was no thanks to me, and I know that what I'm doing right now reading, praying, and going to church are good, but I need to do more.".......PLOP! I love little gifts from heaven haha. THAT is the reward for righteous living haha. We set a date with him for the 3rd of October. Aside from that, I already mentioned above that Felipe was a no go because of some problemitas.... yeah... but it's okay because after a lesson we had on Friday with the Cruz, Ivelisse is going to be getting baptized! I don't know if I ever wrote down the names of the Cruz family's daughters for ya, but here they are: Ivelisse, Iyali, Italivi, and Iadani... good luck with those haha. But yeah, the youngest one has been reading, praying, and going to church, so we're gonna get her baptized! Sweet! She'll be baptized the 9th of October coming up. Aside from her, her sister Iyali is doing well and actually helped us teach her uncle the first lesson even though she's not a baptized member yet... she will be a great convert when she can be baptized. Oh and Juan Velazquez is getting baptized this sunday :-).

Hmmm... what else what else... Oh! We had a party on Saturday for Mexican independence day! Oh man it was such a blast haha there was a TON of food and quite a few people. Not only that, but I got talking to Lupe's cousin Chela, and it looks like we're gonna be having a lesson with her tonight at 6... sweet!

Oh and I forgot the most exciting thing about this week... David A. Bednar came and spoke to us on Friday!!!! Holy cow that was so cool! Pointer for all of you who have doubts about the church: Talk to an apostle of the Lord and ask him to bear his testimony... uhh.... yeah I pretty much fell over because the spirit knocked my socks off! Even as missionaries sometimes we have our doubts (maybe I shouldn't say "we", but I have had doubts), but being in the Lake Oswego stake center and having the opportunity to talk to him and hear what he had to say as well as feel of the spirit that came into the room when he talked... unbelievable. Wait, that's a terrible word choice. This situation is like when Stephen is teaching in the new testament and it says that it was impossible to disbelieve his words. That's really how it felt! I hope one day to be able to meet him again and shake his hand. They're supposed to be giving us photos of us with him that we took pretty soon, so I'll email you a copy when it comes.

He talked to us mainly about two talks he had given a while back, and it was very interesting. The jist of it is that he was talking about faith and how it relates to agency... very very interesting. Agency, as he taught us, is not the ability to choose. He says that is a false tradition of the church to say it as such. He explained to us that agency is the ability to act. From there we talked about how faith relates, and I would recommend to you all that read this to read these two talks so that you can understand how to exercise and gain faith. The first talk is entitled "Going forth in the Strength of the Lord", and the second one is called "Seek Learning by Faith". I promise if you read these and really study them, you'll be able to understand what faith is and how to really procure it.... sweet stuff to be sure.

All right I'm all pooped out on writing now, but I hope you guys are doing great... those pictures that I was finally able to see on my camera when I went to wally world to print some off are awesome! I want the Unimog that had the "called to surf" decals on it... I'm gonna buy one :-). Naw, but it was amazing to see that you're all doing so well. I love you guys so much and I hope you have a great week!
Love always,
Elder Kurt Mooney