Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Companion

Hey Dad!

I hope Mom doesn't get mad, but I decided to send my email to you this week instead of her since she's off pachangiando (partying) back east, so hopefully this makes your day at least a little more bright!

So you miss me Dad? I'm not gonna lie, I miss you too! Gosh it seems like forever since I've seen you, I mean, I can remember distinctly what you looked like when I went into the MTC for the first day, but yeah at the same time it's tough... I know you got on me about a lot of crap before the mission, but being out here now, I know exactly why. It was such a good thing for me to have you there guiding me and keeping me from being a total idiot sometimes. I mean, you still let me make mistakes, but they were ones I could learn from... not ones that were going to totally destroy my life. I really do miss you though Dad. I miss being able to talk to you on a daily basis. I really look forward to when we can serve for that week at the end of my mission. I hope you're hitting Spanish hard as well as preach my gospel chapter 3 with the family... that way you can kick trash when you come out here, and so I can introduce you to my converts and the branch members here.

I've really developed a love for the people here. Don't get me wrong, you still have your (names inserted here that you know who I'm talking about)-type members that love to spread rumors and sometimes you just want to choke, but the majority of them are absolutely amazing. Gosh I love the people here in this branch! I really feel like they'd give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. They're so kind and thoughtful and really just all around good people. Even the investigators that we come in contact with are like that!

Shifting gears a little bit here, I went on my first greenie exchange. That's where two greenies spend a day together instead of a greenie with someone experienced i.e. my trainer.... needless to say it was interesting haha. I was up in Woodburn with an elder McBride for the day, and it actually didn't go too badly! We taught three lessons that day, knocked quite a bit, and yeah it went surprisingly well.... being a couple of greenies, we had to be super humble because neither of us are totally fluent in Spanish. Because of that, we ended up basically praying our guts out that we could have the spirit with us and be able to understand what people are saying... that and be able to speak back which is the harder part haha. The whole time though, he spoke probably ten words as we knocked and maybe five while we taught, so I felt like I had to step it up a little bit from what I would normally do with Smithee, and it went well. We taught a first lesson to a guy they had contacted a few days earlier, and it went really well. When we got to the first vision, he really got watery-eyed, and we committed him to go to church as well as read the book of Mormon and pray about it. KA-CHING!

Aside from that sweet exchange, we had transfers today.... I'm now sitting here writing my emails with my new companion: Elder Garcia! He's from Peru, but like Smithee, he moved to Utah when he was like five or something, so he's fluent like Smithee, but speaks perfect english like him too. Pretty freakin' sweet! I'm way excited that he's my companion, we should work great together out here. One interesting thing is that he was actually Smithee's companion in the MTC.

Okay I'm going on and on and on I'm afraid you're getting bored, sorry about all of this! I already asked you if you've been studying Studying, and I bet you have. How has it been going? Do you take that software with you on your trips? You've gotta study a lot so we can say funny stuff to eachother in Spanish!

That's sad what happened to sister Mitton... holy cow man... I'm praying for them for sure, as well as the Norris' and Jeff and his wife. Gosh what a mess! That's why staying close to the Lord is so important in our lives seriously.

I think it's summer here now, man, everything is in bloom and we've had FIVE sunny days in a row!!!!!! I'm a little worried though... it makes for a really hot summer.... guess we'll see what happens right?

Anyways, I've gotta get going Dad, but I love you so much and I pray for you every night. Keep working hard cause you know I will!


Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, February 15, 2010

FIrst Baptism!

Dearest Mom and Dad,

HEY!!!! On an extremely exciting note, we had a baptism on Saturday!!!!!!! It was awesome! Silvia Duenas Quintera Martinez (good luck trying to say all of that when you're trying to baptize her) is now officially a member of the the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I was the one who got to baptize her!!!! I have never been so excited about the mission! Ah it was just such a sweet experience to see that happen after only having served for two and a half months in the mission field. The thing that makes it even sweeter is the fact that we have a few more lined up in March!

Unfortunately, I think elder Smithee is going to be leaving me this next transfer, so I'm a little worried about who my next companion is going to be.... hopefully it'll be someone who knows their crap... I'm kinda hoping it'll be someone who is a native Spanish speaker and English is their second language so that I can learn more Spanish... guess we'll see what happens.

Aside from Silvia's baptism, we've just been busy teaching as always. Not really any new investigators or anything, just teaching the same people we have been for a while, but it's good because they're progressing :-) Oh man one thing I've got to mention though, is that there was a Valentine's dance for the Spanish branch on Friday night... oh man I don't like ranchero music, and that's all that they played... THE WHOLE TIME! The food was sweet, the members are awesome, but gosh they need some musical enlightenment haha oh well they're cool people anyways.

All right that about wraps up the exciting news from this week for me, but what's new with you guys? Is the weather still kinda warm down there? It's been kinda wacky here trading off between sunny and cloudy about every other day... right now we have a marine layer fog that has rolled in, and yesterday it was sunny for part of the day... I don't understand Oregon weather, but at least it's not snowing I guess haha. How's work Dad? Still teaching a whole mess of kids Mom? Is Katie Jo staying away from boys, or am I gonna have to kick some butts when I get home? Say hi to Josh for me, okay?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Learn Spanish through music

February 8, 2010

Hey mom and Dad!

This has been a stressful week, but it's still been good here in Salem. We have 15 progressing investigators, which is sweet! There's Silvia who is going to get baptized this saturday (the 13th) at 4:00, Guadalupe her daughter wants a little more time, so she's going to get baptized in March sometime. Salvador the husband of Silvia is doing well and understands a TON of what we're teaching him... he just needs to come to church so that he can get baptized. There's a guy named Albaro whom I already talked about, and we have an appointment with him tonight to teach the plan of salvation. Also the family of three that Smithee taught when he was here as a greenie over a year ago whom are super awesome people and will probably get baptized in march if all goes well. Then we have Jesus and Yara, a couple that we've been teaching since we picked them up from the previous elders... they're an awesome couple, and are just waiting on papers so that they can get married so they can get baptized. We're still working with Dana and her grandma... I still wanna kick her butt haha. Then we have Pedro Vazquez... The husband of one of the members who is a super sweet guy, just needs to, well, for lack of better terms, sack up and get baptized. he already comes to church every sunday as well as the activities... i'm not sure what it's gonna take for him to do it, but it'll be sweet if he finally does.

So groundhog day was good for you guys? I was kinda sad, we didn't celebrate it at all and it just blew by as another day in the mission field! Well, I actually think that's how it is for almost all holidays maybe minus thanksgiving where they feed you so much food you want to cry haha. I can't complain though... Oh an interesting fun fact for the day speaking of eating WAY too much, This week we had so many appointments that we didn't have time for dinners, so I got to weigh myslef today... and i'm 12 pounds lighter!!! I weigh 201.0 which is two pounds lighter than when I started my mission haha! I'm sure that's mainly thanks to losing any and all muscle mass I once had, but I'm actually not getting very fat either. One of our members had an electronic ab thing that cost him like 300 bones, and he's been letting us use it, so I've almost got my 6-pack back... booyeahk'shaa. haha.

One other thing I did this week, and I hope you guys don't freak out when you hear this, I bought some CD's... haha not bad ones I promise you, but spanish CD's. Smithee has been helping me a lot with spanish, and there are a couple elders that are learning spanish faster than others, and I was curious what their strategy was. Turns out all of them study spanish music. Not that crappy rancho garbage that all the mexicans listen to with the trumpets and accordians, but real, good music. They listen to the songs, have the lyrics in front of them in spanish, and they translate them into english. The combination of listening, reading, and translating into english makes your brain work a lot harder and a lot faster it's sweet! I've been doing it for a couple weeks with Smithee's music, and i decided to get a little more so that i could keep absorbing information... you guys are gonna give me so much crap, but I LOVE Spanish music! Dad, you should look up an artist named Juanes, you would love him. It's a lot like classic rock, but spanish... just trust me... haha. I did buy them on the debit card though, and it was like $20 just so you know.

The only other exciting thing I can think that happened this week was the fact that we had zone conference... woohoo? It's not too bad, it just lasts for a long time. We start at about 9:00 in the morning and finish up around 5 in the evening... it's like a full work day I guess, but we just hear talks, do trainings, and eat a massive lunch which is sweet. We had it in Tualatin, and I never realized how nice of an area that is... holy crap maybe it's because I'm living in the ghetto of Salem, but the houses were saweet! haha. One other funny thing is that the Tualatin stake center is right next to a HUGE 7th day adventist church... I wonder if they like launch water balloons at each other on occasion haha. The LDS members could come on saturday and shoot waterballons at them, and the 7th day'ers could come shoot them at the LDS members on sundays haha.

Goodness what else what else... I'm about fresh out of what else happened out here this week aside from being a stressball for a bit of it, but it's all good. Gosh sorry if this email sounds a little giddy mom and dad, I just feel... AH I feel so good!! So liberated! Thank you both so much for all the words of encouragement this week and everything you guys do for me. I really am so grateful for having such amazing parents like you guys... I would never wish to have been raised by a different mom or dad. I love you guys so much! thank you thank you thank you thank you for being so amazing!!

Con carino y amor para mis padres y los demas,

-Elder Kurt Kay Mooney

Monday, February 1, 2010

Short and saweet!

Hey guys!

Okay, I apologize this is gonna be a short email, but we have a bunch of stuff we have to get done today. Ah the hectic life of a missionary.

It sounds like you guys had a blast with all the rest of the family over! That was so good to get the notes from Susan, Kelly, and Mike! Tell them all I love them, okay? Also, thank you mommy for all the hard work you put into writing me letters every week... even if you have to re-write it three times to get it to me :-P.

The baptisms we were supposed to have saturday have been pushed back yet again... dangit haha. Silvia is completely ready and is excited for the 13th of February as her baptismal date, but now her daughter Guadalupe isn't looking like she's going to be getting baptized in the near future. Honestly, I think it's because she has a problem with the word of wisdom.... That, and she doesn't read the Book of Mormon on a consistent basis. I can't really fault her any for that, I mean, I remember before starting the mission that reading for five minutes every day was like the end of the world haha. Now, however, I realize that it's not even a big deal! I mean, how often do we just sit on the couch, not even watching the tv for more than five minutes every day? Now if I could just convince people to do it! Five minutes! That's all I ask! Ah well, she still wants to get baptized, but wants a little more time, so that's fine.

As for other things going on here, we have five more scheduled baptisms, which is gonna be saweeet!!!! Three are from a family that Smithee taught here when he started his mission almost a year and a half ago, and the other is the boyfriend of a member (there's nothing wrong with flirting for converting, right?)

Anyways, that's the quick update for this week, just trabajando como burros. I love you guys and I pray for each one of you every day.

Con amor,

Elder Mooney