Okay, so this week has been pretty freaking saweet, so let me gather myself to try to think where to start haha. I'll start with tuesday of this week. We went to the zoo!....well, we were planning on it until we got about three miles away from the exit to go to the parking lot, and traffic was at a dead stop! We knew it was going to be busy, but holy moses we picked a bad day to go... it was two-dollar tuesday, AND it was the day after school got out... super super bad idea haha. So anyways, we saw a sign that said overflow parking, so we followed it two exits past the zoo and parked in a church parking lot of probably 500 cars or more. They had busses coming in to pick people up and take them to the zoo, and it was INSANE! There must have been over 1000 mothers with their young children there. We decided to axe that idea and go explore Portland a little more and hit up Chinatown. Turned out not to be such a bad idea! We went and wandered around (8 of us) in full missionary attire, and saw some pretty rad stuff! I took some pictures, so I'll send them home in a little while, but yeah.... super saweet. We went and checked out a couple trinkets 'n' trash shops and got bored, so we wandered down Burnside ave.... oh man what a super sketch/absolutely rad part of town! We found out that their was a Catholic church which was super modernized and right in the middle of downtown in a sky-scraper, so we went and visited it. Turns out they were just finishing up mass, and the Father looked scared out of his mind to see 8 missionaries filing into his sanctuary haha. Long story short he gave us a tour of the whole building and talked about the stuff they do there. Turns out they have a HUGE problem with homeless people, drug addicts, prostitutes, and the like in that area, so they mainly focus on providing services for them... he total tip-toed around doctrine the whole time, and we ended up getting roped into about a 40 minute tour after he told us he'd talk to us for about 5 minutes haha. It was all right though... it's interesting to see what they believe. One thing I've noticed is they don't make a peep about the resurrection of Christ. Everything in their church is centered on the crucifixion and it just ends with Jesus being dead... like they had a mural painting depicting everything from the conviction of Christ by Pilate up until the "descension" from the cross......then it just ends! What the crap people! I wish I could teach people in a mass about what happens AFTER he was crucified. I bet they'd come to mass more often :-P.
Anyways, enough ranting about the Catholics... I really love them... they're easy to teach because they don't know what they believe in :-). After we finished our tour, we were all really hungry and decided to find somewhere to eat. We were thinking Voo Doo Doughnuts, but decided against it after we saw how ridiculous the line was, so we went to a place called Ninja Plate, which is just a little stand about a block from Voo Doo, and it was AWESOME! Oh my gosh i thought I'd died and gone to Utah haha. Turns out their specialty was Hawaiian barbecue, so I ended up eating Matiki's-status poly food for the first time since leaving which about made me cry tears of joy haha.
Another sweet thing that happened this week was on wednesday. We went and taught the Perez, hoping to just talk to them about the importance of prayer so that they could receive an answer to their prayers and become baptized, and if they weren't willing to do it, we were going to drop them. Well, as we were teaching them, the hermano said that he knows that he needs to get baptized into this church, he just needs more time. Then we asked the hermana what she thought. She instantly said that she said she wants to get baptized... we sat there for a second, and then I told her we were going to be having a baptismal service on the 27th, so we asked her if she would prepare herself for that date. She accepted! Oh my gosh I about fell out of my chair! Not only that, but the hermano was totally cool with it! Ah its so sweet that she's finally taking this step! Not only that, but their younger daughter Gabby will be getting baptized as well.
On Friday, we had interviews with President Dyches. Ah I love that guy he's the MAN! I was kinda feeling a little down because we don't have tons of investigators right now and the work load we have is still huge because we're covering so much dang area. In my interview howerver, he encouraged me and said he was very pleased with what we're doing. I hope I can be like him one day. He's the most knowledgable (sp?) kind, loving, and spiritual guy, and on top of that he's a doctor! Oh man haha we've had some good chats about the medical world... he really wants me to become one and the more I think about it, the more I want to become an orthopedic surgeon... I'm gonna be in school forever, but oh my goodness it just sounds like the sweetest job ever!
Anyways, back to Friday, after we had interviews and taught a couple lessons, we went to a bishops social that night with an english ward because they invited us since we didn't have a dinner set up... haha I feel like a total redneck because they taught us how to rope, and I liked it! Ah man and the food was good! Random, I know, but it was just entertaining to see one of the english elders here who's from Wallsburg all dressed up like a cowboy haha. it's really different from what we experience as Spanish elders.
That night, we also started an exchange with the elders in Keizer, so I went with elder Van Hook down there. It was a pretty sweet day where we got to visit some of the people i've taught as well as see some families that I've missed. Oh first I've gotta tell you about what happened that night! So we're sitting there konked out at two in the morning, when all of a sudden, the whole apartment starts to shake! We were kinda freaking out and wondering what was going on. Turns out that they were paving the road RIGHT outside our window, and they were using this GINORMOUS machine to do it that literlally shook the whole apartment building! Yeah it was lovely listening to that for two hours outside our window lemme tell ya haha. Anyways, back to the day. We went and visited the Martinez family, because Silvia has stopped going to church, and Guadalupe is being a lazy piece of trash and not getting ready to get baptized, so I went and layed down un santo regano on them (holy scolding) to get their butts in gear.... needless to say, they went to church on sunday haha. Aside from that, they were stoked to see us and visit for a little while. After that, Van Hook and I went knocking around in a neighborhood where a member lives. Within five doors, we knocked into a mom and her kids. We taught them for about five minutes inside whe the dad showed up... this guy is HUGE. I'm talking uncle troy 6'5" and weighs 250 pounds. I was thinking "oh crap now we're screwed. This guy's gonna kick us out of his house!" but it turns out, he's one of the nicest guys I've ever met! We taught them how to pray, and as we said a prayer before we left, we said 'amen' and looked up... the dad was crying... the spirit was so strong with them, it was just an amazing experience. They are going to be getting baptized within the next month I guarantee it.
After visiting with them, we went to say hello to my abuelita Miriam the cuban. Ah she's the most adorable little old lady ever I love her! Her boyfriend charlie is investigating the church, but has never gotten baptized because he refuses to get married, but in that lesson, he told us he realizes he has to get married because he knows the church is true....SWEET!
After that, I bought a $30 pen... don't ask, I just needed a really nice pen haha.
Oh man then there was Sunday... oh goodness what a good day. The whole Perez family was there, and in total we had 10 investigators, and we also had to give talks. I was sweating bullets about it, but it turned out to be awesome! I talked about the importance of missionary work in the branch, and after we finished sacrament, President Pister said "elder, I want to talk to you for a moment." I was scared out of my mind! I was afraid I'd said something wrong and he was about to lay down the law on me! He pulled me into his office and sat me down and said, "Elder Mooney, that talk was absolutely inspired. Not only that, but your spanish was almost flawless. You have such a grasp of the grammar in spanish, and you only made a few errors in that whole talk, not that i was looking for them, but you speak magnificently for only having eight months in the mission. I have an assignment for you, and that is to read out loud with elder Rangel every day, and have him critique your accent, because I want you to have what I didn't gain on my mission, and that is the accent of a native. If you start working now with elder Rangel, you will be speaking at a nearly native level." I just kind of sat there flabbergasted... what do you say to something like that!? I just said thank you and that I was flattered and I will be doing my best do do that from now on... what a freaking awesome guy. I hope you guys can get to know him.
All right I'm about pooped out on ideas for what else to write about, but I love you all and Congrats Katie on kicking butt on singing in Orem City Days! You're the man! Okay not literally, but you know what I mean haha I love you. Mom, I hope you don't freeze your butt off at camp this week haha. Dad, I love you and I'll be sending ya something for father's day. Mom, I'm sending you something for your birthday too dont worry :-).
Elder Kurt Mooney