Dear Mom and Dad,
First of all in this email, I have to say that i absolutely SUCK! Ah I feel so bad I didn't get you guys anything there before your birthday and for fathers day! I have a terrible excuse, and that is that this week has been insanely busy, so i'll fill you in on the details while I'm on here. By the way, your respective gifts are in the mail :-)
Okay, so the first thing to inform you on was on Monday after we finished emails. We were trying to decide what to do for our p-day so that we would have a good time and not just play sports like we always do, so we talked to the english elders in our area, and we decided to take a little road trip up to silver falls for kicks and giggles... it was sweet! Ah man I've forgotten how beautiful it is up there at the falls. We were too cheap to actually pay to park, so we just went to one of the pull-offs and took pictures of it and hiked around for a little bit, but man that area is really beautiful.
That night we started an exchange with our zone leaders, and it turns out elder McVey and myself were going to work in Woodburn and try to get some good work done. The first thing we had was an appointment with Patricia who had a baptismal date for yesterday... Now comes the shocking news: she didn't get baptized. In our lesson with her, she said she didn't feel ready yet and needed some more time to think about it, so we shared some scriptures with her explaining what she needed to be ready, as well as the fact that you don't need to know everything to be baptized, etc, and then reset her date for the 27th which she accepted, so things with her are going okay. After that appointment, we had a meeting with the Perez family who are going through some big struggles right now. The long of the short of it is that we talked with them and McVey ended up extending an invitation to pray about when they should be baptized, which I will address a little later in this email. Anyways, that exchange went pretty well.
The day after our exchange, I came out to my desk that morning with a poptarts box that said "happy early birthday elder Mooney" on it, so I popped it open. Turns out that while they were on exchange, elder Rangel and elder Nimmer (other zone leader) bought me a Mate. Okay, now I've got to explain what that is. In Argentina, they drink something that is called Yerba Mate, which is a really healthy herb that is chock-full of anti-oxidants, B-vitamins, and alkaloids, which are all extremely good for your body, and they drink it out a thing called a mate through a special straw called a bombilla, which if you ask me, looks like a crack-pipe haha. Anyways, I've come to like Mate since coming out here, and so it was just really cool that elder Rangel got that for me, I love it! I'll send pictures of it later for ya :-)
One sweet thing that happened this week is that the Ruybal family returned from California! Okay, I've gotta explain who the Ruybals are now. They're a retired couple that are pretty much my favorite people in the world, and someday I want you to meet them. Brother Ruybal comes from Menasseh Colorado. He's part-hispanic, part-native american, part-white, and I swear he has that indian wisdom... he's the MAN! Then there's sister Ruybal. She's this sweet little old lady who calls us "her boys" and insists that we call her mom. They invited us over for lunch the other day so that I could get to know them better because they already knew elder Rangel from before their trip, but yeah so we headed over to their house. When we got there, I knocked on the door, and she came to the door, and said "Hey! This is your house, ya know? And when you're at home, you don't need to knock on the door, you just come in! If ya knock on the door when ya come over again, I'll kick your butt! Goodness I love you, but sometimes you're a little bit slow to learn these things!" She said that with such loving motherly affection that I couldn't help but just laugh. They are seriously the most adorable old couple ever... someday I hope I'm like that haha. They've been together for 52 years now, and they are still completely in love.
They help us out a lot too. Because they're retired, they're always down for going to visits with us, and they help a ton! Brother Ruybal is actually a convert to the church, and has been a branch president twice, so he's a total spiritual giant, and isn't afraid to impart his indian wisdom or lay down the law on the people we're teaching. Speaking of which, we had another lesson with the Perez, and they came with us for the first time... oh my gosh it was amazing! We started talking about baptism with them and what they thought. He used such a great example that I have to put it in here. He said "Brother Perez, do ya like soccer?" he said yes, so brother Ruybal asked him, "well what's your favorite team?" He responded that Mexico was his favorite. Then bro. Ruybal said "okay, well think about being a fan of that team. you're always there for every game, you cheer for them, you celebrate when they win, you cry when they lose, and you make sure you never miss anything that has to do with that team. Now what do you get when they win?" Brother Perez hesitated, and said... oh well I guess I don't get anything.... Bro. Ruybal responded and said "exactly! You get NOTHING! That's exactly how it is whith this church! You can be a good person and obey the commandments and try to teach your children well, but if you aren't a part of the team by getting baptized, YOU GET NOTHING. So when can we get you on the team?" Thanks to bro Ruybal and his wonderful spirit, the ENTIRE Perez family is getting baptized on the 26th before the Ruybals go out of town...SWEET!!!!!!!!!
Okay not only that, but get this: There's Juan, the husband of Jeive who's been investigating the church for like five years and has always said there is no way he will get baptized. Bro. Ruybal comes in, and he's known Juan for about the whole time, and in our lesson on with him Sunday, he says "Juan, you know you need to get baptized. You've procrastinated this day long enough, and you know you need to do it to be with your family forever, to have true happiness between you and Jeive. Josie (his wife) and I are headed out of town, and we'll be back on the 16th, and when I get back, I want to be the one to baptize you, so will you get ready for that day?" Juan accepted!!!! Oh my gosh this has been a sweet week! That means we have six people that are scheduled for baptisms within the next three weeks!
There's one sad note though... transfers are this week, so elder Rangel might be leaving to go zone leader, and I'll stay here. Oh, speaking of that situation, after talking to president Dyches at interviews, it looks like I'm training this transfer, and if not this transfer, then the one after because there are going to be EIGHT new spanish elders coming in! Holy Crap! I'm scared out of my mind.. hope I'm ready to train someone! If Rangel goes though, he'll still be able to come back for the baptisms. Oh and on a special note, President Dyches is going to be speaking at the Perez' baptismal service!
Gosh I've got four minutes left, so I've gotta get the rest of this in this email. On Saturday we went to the temple to see three members go through the temple for the first time, one of them being Hermana Lupe-G, so we got some photos so you can see her punk-rocker haircut, although it looks a little bit more temple-worthy because it's curled... you'll be able to pick her out though haha. Speaking of pictures, i need my memory card so I can swap ya!
Anyways, back to the temple, it was super sweet to see John simpson there... gosh it brought back a flood of memories of when I was first thinking about a mission as a deacon... NUTS! Never thought I'd be talking to him in the Portland temple as a missionary... He helped me a lot when i was a deacon and a teacher.
Okay, my time is about up, but I love you guys so much and I hope you all have a great week.. Send my love to the rest of the family, okay?
All my love,