Holy cow I don't even know where to begin with this email this week haha I think I need to start writing down the stuff that happens so I can know what to put in my emails because I feel like it kinda falls out of my brain after a little while. Ummm where to begin, where to begin.... Oh! On your question with Spanish mom, the verb estudiar... to study lol I know what you mean. Spanish is a little less complicated than english, in that if you want to say "I am studying", you can say "estudio", which literally means "I study", or you can say "estoy estudiando" which literally means "I am studying"... they both mean exactly the same thing, although I usually go with estoy estudiando. "Estoy" comes from the verb 'estar' which is 'to be', and estudi'ando' is what's called the "gerund" form, like adding 'ing' to the end of a verb and yeah... I'll stop rambling haha you already get it.
So Alvaro got baptized last Sunday, so we had to wait til this Sunday to confirm him, so I called him on Saturday night to ask him who he would like to do it... I said "maybe someone from the bran-" and before I could even finish my suggestion, he picked ME to do it! Oh my gosh I've never been so scared/flabbergasted in my entire life! I mean, I was flattered and excited that he picked me, but at the same time, I'm not very good at Spanish, even worse when it's in front of a group of people, and doing a confirmation is a lot harder than just doing a baptism because you've gotta add a legitimate blessing on to the end of it... aaaah it was scary! Don't worry, I didn't botch it.... I made sure I memorized his full name before-hand haha. Alvaro Cruz Lara Gomez... yeah all hispanics have like four last names its insane haha. But yeah, it all went well, and he's going to be a great member for the branch.
On a worrisome note, Silvia and her family are kind of falling off the wagon... Silvia and Salvador haven't been to church in two weeks, and their daughter Guadalupe in nearly a month. I don't know how to get them to come on Sundays, it's ridiculous! We've tried explaining the importance of the sacrament to Silvia now that she's baptized, we've tried teaching them all about the sabbath day, and it still seems like it isn't clicking for them... I don't want to lay the law down on them, but I feel like if they don't get it in gear, they're never gonna go anywhere! Dangit, as a missionary sometimes, I wish I could just make people see the importance of the things we teach them... make them get off their lazy butts and do what the Lord wants! I guess that kind of infringes on the whole agency thing though... ah well maybe they'll get it through their noggins soon and become a good family in the branch... just maybe.
On a higher note, we found a lady this week who is absolutely awesome. We found her knocking doors, and her name is Liliana. She told us that she was born as a Catholic, but had never gone to church growing up (surprise, surprise). Also, that her kids had been asking her questions about God, and she had absolutely no answers for them. She said she knew that the Catholic church wasn't the right one, but she didn't know which one would be. The day she was thinking this, we knocked her door. PLOP! That was the sound of "un regalo de los cielos"(a gift from heaven) falling into our hands haha. We taught her about the atonement of Jesus Christ and why it is important to her, and then about the Book of Mormon. She told us that her grandmother had read to her from the bible growing up, but that it just seemed like a bunch of random books thrown together and that it wasn't very clear (go figure huh?), and that she wished there was something more clear that showed us what we should do with our lives. PLOP! I really thought I was going to keel over with how shocked I was from hearing this. This really goes to show that some people really are prepared to hear the message; people who are the elect of God and ready to make the changes necessary in their lives to come into the church. We left her in that visit with Moroni's promise, just 10:3-5, and told her to pray about it. She asked us, "so if I find out that this is true, do I have to give up the virgin and saints and all the stuff from the catholic church?" We told her, basically, yes, expecting her to say that she wasn't going to do it then, but instead, she simply said, "okay, if it's what God wants then I can do it." PLOP! We came back a couple of days later to find out that she had read what we left her, as well as the introduction, as well as the testimonies of the three witnesses, as well as the testimony of the eight witnesses, as well as starting on the testimony of Joseph Smith. She said she was too scared to pray, because she was afraid of talking to the most powerful being in the universe, so we explained that God is our heavenly father, and that just like our fathers here on earth, he loves us and wants to talk with us, so as we closed our lesson, we asked her to pray, and she did... It was one of the most beautiful prayers I've ever heard in my whole life. I can't even wait for her to come to church! Yesterday she couldn't, but next Sunday, she's going to come to general conference which should be sweet, and we have an appointment with her today, so we'll see how things go. Gosh I LOVE being a missionary!
Aside from that, there's not too much going on here, just knocking doors, trying to find people that are ready for the gospel, as well as trying to keep the rest of our investigators progressing. At times, it absolutely crushes you with disappointment out here, but finding people and helping them change their lives as well as develop a love for the Lord... that's what makes it all worth it.
So a quick question... Did Katie Jo ever get the letter I sent her? If not I'm gonna be mad because that was a letter of epic proportions. If not, I'll try to re-construct it in email form so that she has what I tried to write her. That's amazing she's doing so well in school I'm so proud of her... she isn't making stupid mistakes like I did in high school. Tell her I love her and I'm so proud of her... and that boys are stupid and she should stay away from them... well, at least until I get back. That way, I can scare the crap out of them when they ask her on dates haha. She's such a sweetheart, I absolutely love getting all the letters she sends to me. It sounds like she's a total champ when it comes to working and schoolwork! Kudos to her! Is she still driving around in Franklin, or are you guys being sneaky and letting her roll around in Blanca while I'm not there to defend her? Speaking of which, how is that ol' bucket of bolts? Still nicely parked on the side of the house leaking out of the transfer case all over the driveway? If so, I'm sorry dad, I'll clean it up when I get home I promise haha.
Gosh I never realized how much i missed the little holidays you always put on for us mom! Easter sounds like it's going to be a complete blast while you're down there with Michelle and Ryan. The Easter-egg hunt we had down by gunlock was, in all seriousness, probably my absolute favorite memory from Easter... it was so fun! you should definitely do that for Dodge and Addison while you're down there... they would have such a blast with that!
As for food suggestions for when you have those little punks over the missionary night, you should feed them what I got to have last night for dinner... Tacos de Chicharron! We were eating with the other two elders at this lady's house named hermana Avila, and she said "orale, estos son tacos de chicharron... espero que les gusten!" I asked elder McVey (one of the elders from Keizer) what they were, and he said, "don't worry about it, I'll tell ya after. Just eat." So, without questioning more, I ate eight of them. Now, so I don't sound like a total fatty, these aren't hard-shell, pour sour cream and grease all over them tacos, they use the small corn tortillas and put just a little bit of meat in them, then you put salt, lime, salsa verde, onions, and either lettuce or cabbage on them... delicious. but anyways, after we ate those, shared a spiritual thought, and took off to the car. When we got there, I asked him, "okay, what were they really?" He told me that chicharron is pig skin and pig fat... YIKES! haha they really weren't that bad, but i'd rather stick with carne molida (ground beef) in my tacos thank you very much haha. But yeah, for dinner I would suggest tacos with corn tortillas (heat them on the stove on a griddle or a frying pan for about a minute a piece, just don't let them get blackened) and then serve them up with normal taco meat like you make mom, and then have lime, salt, salsa verde, and lettuce. For dessert, go to a panaderia and get some "pan dulce" and hot chocolate. If you want really authentic mexican hot chocolate, you can get some stuff called 'Abuelita' from a mexican specialty store. It's made my nestle, but it has cinnamon and stuff in it, and it's tasty!
But yeah, I'm gonna stop talking about food, because it's starting to make me hungry haha. That about sums up the excitement for this week, but I love you guys so much and I am so grateful for all of your support and love while I'm out here. I'll talk to you guys next week! Be safe!
Con amor para todos de ustedes,
-Elder Kurt Kay Mooney