Hey mom and dad!
Umm.... well... I'm trying to remember exactly what happened this week because... well.... time is seriously flying out here, and I'm starting to freak out... I am officially officially not a greenie anymore now that I've hit 6 months in the field, and I'm at 8 months! Holy crap what happened!? I seriously feel like I just got here a couple weeks ago,and things are... well.. flying by in a hurry.
This week we mainly just taught a ton of lessons and found some new people... ummm I'm trying to think specifics haha. Oh! Tuesday we had exchanges with our zone leaders which was sweet. I went with elder Nimmer up in Tigard, and I have to say, I really love that area! The members are rad, it's not overly populated like the portland area, but it's not a tiny little place like Woodburn is either. Anyways, that day we taught a bunch of lessons, got in some knocking, and had a little bit of a fall off the Diet Coke wagon together...dangit! I was doing so well too haha. No but seriously, that was the first diet coke I'd had since Mother's day basically, so it was kind of a bummer that I drank it... ah well it was delicious :-).
Aside from that, I had to give the practice in our district meeting this week which I was a little stressed about, but it turned out to be really sweet. Normally in our district meetings, it consists of a spiritual thought, a training, and then a practice. I was super stoked about what I had prepared, but as the training started (done by elder Van Hook), it turns out he used about 50% of the material that I was planning on covering, including my main point, so my first thoughts were "Oh cripes!" as I scrambled to change what I had planned and try to make it worth while, when I suddenly just felt a calm and decided it was going to be okay. The moment arrived, and I gave the practice. I was originally planning on covering something called age-specific sharing, as well as good question asking, but it ended up changing quite a bit... I don't wanna bore you guys with it, but it was just really cool to feel the power and influence of the spirit guide and direct my teaching to help the other elders recieve needed inspiration to help their investigators.
One of the sweet lessons we taught this week was to a lady named Laticia. Gosh that lady is rad! She's a single mom with four kids who met a member here in the branch who helps us out a lot. He got her really excited about the book of mormon, so we went over and had an opportunity to teach her the restoration... It was amazing to see how fully she accepted the truthfulness of the first vision, the book of mormon, as well as the fact that we have living prophets. Ah I just love it when people actually GET IT! The majority of the "paisa's" that we teach here in Woodburn (or Gudburn as it's called by most people here... not sure why still haha) Just don't get it... Regressing to my interjection of my last sentence, it's hilarious to hear spanish-speakers try to pronounce Woodburn. Here are a few variations I've heard so far: Gudburn, Gudbed, Gerdbeck, Geerbop, Goobur, Gorbick, and so on and so forth haha. It's funny because the first week I got here, I checked the outside of the area book and it said "Area of Gudburn" in official-looking print, and I was a little confused as to whether it was a typo or not, and it wasn't until several weeks later that I came to realize it's just a spanish-missionary joke here that they really canNOT pronounce it right haha.
Okay regressing back to Laticia being awesome and most Paisa's not getting it, I've decided to take pictures of all the "Virgencita" shrines that I see while I'm out here because EVERYONE worships the Virgin Mary... riciculous haha I dont' understand it. Not only that, but they're obsessed with F-150 trucks! Especially if theyr'e step-side SVT's with rims and LOTS of chrome haha. I've decided to start a picture collection of F-150's while I'm in Woodburn, so I'll send you some more pictures within the next month or so, okay? right now the picture count is 21 on them :-)
Hmm.... What else is new and exciting.... Oh! Elder Rangel and I have started alternating between playing tennis and playing basketball every morning starting at 6:00 and playing for a full hour... it is AWESOME! Ah it feels so good to be able to exercise a little bit longer in the mornings, and i'm actually getting good at basketball! Who'd-a-thunk right? As for tennis.... well... it's a work in progress haha. Elder Rangel is way good though, so he's teaching me tons. footwork, body movement, hand position, swing, follow-through, etc. It's just like the Beetles say: "Geeeting soooo much beeeter all the tiiiime."
So, besides trying to not get fat, getting sweet pictures of the virgencita and f-150's, we're doing some good work with Patricia and the Perez family... Patricia has a date for the 20th of June which she is really excited for, she's accepted to live the law of chastity as well as stop drinking coffee to obey the word of wisdom. Gosh she's awesome. The Perez are progressing slowly but surely... we're going to be putting a date with them this week when we meet with them on saturday, so i'll let ya know what happens next monday. Also, there's a former investigator named Hilda that we dropped a while ago because she wasn't keeping her commitment of coming to church, so we couldn't baptize her, but guess what happened this sunday... while we were having branch conference and about to start the first meeting, lo and behold in drives HILDA! Oh my gosh I about fell over I was so shocked! You might thing this is something little that she happened to come to chruch, but okay... the missionaries have been working with this lady and her five kids the whole time I've been in the mission, and she's only come to church twice. She's come three times now, and she wants to meet with us to get ready for baptism now!.....PLOP! Another gift from heaven :-)
Oh, so I forgot to say, the reason we didn't write is because, obviously, it was memorial day. So instead, we spent the day in true patriotic american fashion by first going golfing at "sand greens" as we call it, and then at a barbecue with a retired marine/ex-special forces master gunnery-sergeant, brother Roberts. He DESTROYED us with food! First we had two monster brats each, then he made us each two half-pound burgers, then steak & shrimp kebabs, then two steaks each! Oh my gosh I was stuffed! Not only that, but then ten minutes after we left, we realized we had an appointment to go play basketball with some of the members at the chapel! BLEHHHH!!!!! It's okay though because we totally poned... although we both thought we were gonna die at one point haha.
Well, I think that about sums up the excitement that we had here in Gudbock this week, but I hope you guys are enjoying the sun and warmth down there, because here in Oregon it's still cloudy and sticking in the sixties... dangit.... I miss my friend the sun haha. But yeah, I love you guys so much, and I hope everything is just cherry!
Elder Kurt Mooney