Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Busy, busy

July 26, 2010
Dear Mom and dad,

Well, this week was pretty freakin sweet.... now I just need to remember exactly what we did so I can let you know what's up haha. We've been working really hard.... and playing really hard haha. We had 9 member present lessons, 11 others, and only three hours of knocking haha. To make up for the normal 10 hours or so that we do, we were doing a whooole bunch of service. I mean really slave labor kind of service haha.

I'll start out with last Monday and work through the week. Monday.... yeah I don't even remember what we did for p-day haha so we'll skip that and maybe it'll come back to me. Tuesday, we had a good busy day teaching a bunch of lessons, and then that night we also taught a whole bunch of lessons, but also dropped some investigators because they're not doing jack. I feel bad, because the people really get hurt when we tell them we're not going to pass by to teach them anymore. I don't know... you get to become friends with these people, but they're not willing to get their butt in gear and start changing, so we have to drop them.... it's like getting out of a relationship though haha it's kinda weird. You say things like "it's not you, it's me" and "maybe we can try again in a little while" or "I just feel like we need to give you some space" haha. Anyways, it's just kinda hard to drop investigators I've found.

Aside from that though, we've got a sweet wedding lined up for Maria De Los Angeles something or other (who is a member) to her boyfriend Felipe Vazquez so that he can get baptized! Not only am I playing marriage counselor, but I'm also playing matchmaker! I love it haha. Juan Velazquez, the husband of Jeivi is also doing really well and is getting ready to get baptized so that he can baptize his daughter in a month or so... I love it! I can't really think of what else to say about our investigators... Oh! Iyali Cruz is going to be getting baptized in a month or so, which is sweet! Okay, I've gotta tell you the names of the daughters in this family so that you have a feel for how confusing it is to keep track... Ivelisse is the youngest, then Iyali, then Italivi, then Iyadani... dang Oaxacan dialect names haha. It's so dang confusing sometimes! That's one thing I never knew, was how many native dialects there are in Mexico... someone told me more than 80! Nuts!

Aside from that this week, my companion elder Rivera decided to be a starburst addict and popped off a crown along with the majority of his tooth... wonderful, right? Yeah I thought so too haha. Because of that, we shot our planning day in the butt and found a member dentist who hooked him up with free everything....SCHWING! He didn't have insurance, and the dentist said don't worry about a thing it's all covered... I was shocked, but man it's good to be a member! So like I said, that's what we did on Thursday. Friday, we taught lessons again, and that was about all.

Then there was Saturday... oh Saturday was a blastie. There was an activity for the four wards in Woodburn. In the morning, we had a service project in the local cemetery where we cleaned up gravestones that were pre-civil war it was nuts! It's the oldest cemetery in Oregon, so there were civil war vets up through people who are planting marble of their own... it was fun! Afterwards, we got roped into a move for an English member where we've been helping build her house for habitat for humanity, which shockingly enough only took like two hours! The one hitch is that after that, we got roped into another move for their neighbor whom we also helped to build her house, so yeah... that was fun. Afterwards, we were invited to a barbecue for the 24th with our favorite ex-marine brother Roberts! Oh my gosh he killed us with food again it was great! We had barbecued pork loins, and after three, I took a nice little food coma on the table haha. Afterwards, we went to an appointment, and then directly after got invited to the ward(s) party for our dinner hour... we didn't eat a thing, but decided to play baseball instead :-). Oh man I miss playing baseball! Ah it's like the best thing in the world! I really do miss playing it... maybe I'll get hooked into softball like Ryan when I get back.

Anyways, then Sunday we had seven lessons ka-ching ka-ching ka-ching! Holy crap we were trashed by like 930, so we went to bed. Then we woke up today and had a zone activity with both spanish zones... we were missing two out of the whole zone, and still had 24 of us! It was nuts! We had enough to play a full-blown soccer game on a nice turf field in Sherwood, and then went to Mickey D's afterwards, and oh my gosh I think we freaked people out... 24 sweaty 19-25 year old missionaries booking it for McDonalds in matching Corollas and Malibus haha. It was a good time though, and now I've got the best farmers tan ever. I would show you, but I think I'd get in trouble for sending that home haha.

Anyways, it sounds like you guys had a total blast this week for the 4th. I hope you guys know that I love you and I miss you. Say hi to Jorge for me when he gets there... gosh that's so sweet you guys get to visit with him and show him around a little bit. I told him to stay away from Katie Jo or I'll be coming off my mission to stab him to death with a spoon, so watch out haha. Anyways, have a great week and I'll talk to you guys later!

Love always,

Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Cuban abuelita Miriam

Dear Family,

DANGIT!!! I can't believe that someone beat me to the punch on the "Steak Center" idea.... I'll have to meet whoever came up with it and kick their butt haha. Naw its not such a big deal... I'll just have to make money some other way....that's why there's med school :-)

Okay, so starting off with all the excitement of this week, first of all, after I got done with my email last p-day, we went and did some shopping, which included a trip to Zumiez for a little bit, because I'm now looking for a lighter bag that doesn't totally kill me during the summer.... to make a long story short, I made the biggest impulse buy ever, and got a pair of VonZipper sunglasses haha. I love them! I won't tell you how much they were, or you'll fly out here and back-hand me, but they were totally worth it haha. After that, we met up with the english elders and two elders from our spanish district to go golfing, and it was sweet! It's been funny, because with that little golf game you sent me, elder Rivera has been practicing up, and has dubbed himself "mini Tiger Woods!" Luckily, this golf trip was a good time for me to *ahem* humble him so that he can continue being a good missionary haha just kidding....kind of haha. Naw, but it was a total blast going golfing there with all those guys.

After our golfing adventure on monday, we set to work this week... holy crap we tore it up running around like chickens with our heads cut off haha. We found several families knocking which we are now teaching. One Martinez family, and another whose name escapes me, mainly because I dont' know how to spell or even say it haha. Dang Mayan dialect names haha. Aside from that, we're working with Juan who is set to get baptized on his birthday (the 22nd of September), and Flor who is set to get baptized on the 8th of August. It's super sweet because she's really feeling support from her dad and her sister through all of this. Aside from her, we're teaching Felipe and getting ready to get him married to his convert wife so they won't break the law of chastity haha. Their wedding will be on the 30th of this month. Oh! Speaking of weddings and baptisms, Miriam my cuban abuelita got baptized on saturday! I'll include a photo on this email so you can see what she's like. She's super awesome... ah I love her. Not only that, but her hubby is getting ready to get baptized too!

Okay, aside from them, we're teaching three recent convert families and getting them ready for the temple. No wait, four families haha because the Perez are now baptized. Oh! Speaking of the Perez, Ivan, their son, asked me to ordain him on sunday... that was really cool. He's gonna be a great kid as long as he stays in the church. But yeah all of those families are sweet and are progressing a ton.

Aside from that, and actually jumping back to the Perez, after teaching a lesson to them with the Ruybals, they had us over to lunch to get to know elder Rivera a little better, and guess what they made.... NAVAJO TACOS!!! Oh my gosh i was so freakin' excited! I'm not gonna lie, it made me kind of trunky for home haha because the only other person in the world who makes navajo tacos like that is you mommy :-). Ah it was so freakin' good. I've decided you guys have to meet them. Dad, next time you're up here and you go to Silverton, you've gotta visit them so you can meet them. Best people ever, I promise ya.

Other than that... I'm trying to remember what else was exciting from this week.... Oh yeah! Michelle sent me a sweet french cuff shirt to go along with my sweet cufflinks that I couldn't use until now haha. Not gonna lie... looks pretty legit. Haha and aside from that, we walked some monster dogs this week for an english member... OH MY GOSH! They're the biggest dogs I've ever seen! One of them, I kid you not, he looks like a friggin bear! His name is Balto. The other one is a rottweiler (sp?) mixed with a black lab, so he's just a big, fat, tank of a dog that will drag you for five miles if you're not careful with the leash haha.

Anyways, that's about the excitement here... I'm super jealous you guys got to go to fish lake! Man I'm excited for that trip! Anyways, I love you guys and I'm so grateful that you're there for me. Have a great week, okay?


Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dirtiest car and Dr. Feelgood

July 12, 2010
Hi everyone!
Okay, so this week has been kind of an adventure, so I'll try the best I can to explain all that went on during the week.
First off, after I got off the computer we took a sweet little district activity up to Silver Falls park and had a total blast! We first stopped in at a place in Mount Angel and ate at a place called burger time which was sweet, and then went and burned off all the calories running around the park looking at waterfalls and running into about 20 members from different parts of oregon haha. We actually ended up teaching a first lesson to a park ranger as well which was entertaining.
Aside from that, we've shot a lot of hours this week in the shop getting our car fixed, which sucks because I didn't even wreck the car or anything! Toyota is total hosing us right now... and Elder Olmstead haha. We first had to take the car in to get an estimate on a bumper that's coming loose where it joins with the rear left quarter-panel, and it took FOUR HOURS of sitting there before they could take a look at it, and then to buy the retaining bracket to fix it, it cost $70 bucks plus an hour of labor to put it in! The worst part: they didn't have the part, so we had to come back the next day (Wednesday) after zone conference to get it fixed! AAAAAH!!! Zone conference is sweet and everything, but we're there from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, so it's a total day-killer. Oh well though... it must be done I guess. I was a little miffed at this zone-conference though, because okay... let me explain a little about what we're doing now. They have an award for the two cleanest cars and the one car that is dirtiest. This zone conference, I got the dirtiest car award, which is crap! I Washed it, waxed it, vacuumed it, and totally organized everything about that stupid car, and elder Olmstead (the guy who is in charge of the cars) total threw me under the bus because a box of materials in the back wasn't organized.... at least I use my materials. That's why theyr'e like that. Oh well enough animosity haha. I secretly kind of want to rebel and just not clean the car the next time I go to zone conference though just to spite him haha. We'll see what happens though.

So aside from zone conference this week, something sweet happened... Kyle came to visit me for a little bit! It was super rad! We went and got some dinner and got to talk for a couple of hours it was sweet (all this was approved by pres. Dyches, don't worry haha) but yeah... we got to talk about life for a while... it was trippy to think I hadn't seen him for over a year... it seems like just a little while ago! The last time I saw him, I was opening my call at the house! Holy crap time goes fast!

Okay aside from time going fast, I still feel extremely young for the stuff I have to do out here... for example: Training a new missionary after only being here for 9 months. Another example: Playing marriage counselor for persons in the branch that are having problems.... YIKES! I won't go into detail on that just in case someone from the mission is reading my blog, but yeah I'm not old enough to do that... although I think I have a promising future in opening up a show like Maury but I'll just call it "Marriage Counseling Moondogg" or "Dr. Feelgood" or something like that... good grief but I don't wanna have to deal with it right now! haha.

Speaking of marriages and weddings, I don't know if you guys remember Miriam my Cuban grandma from Salem, but if you don't you can pretend. And guess what... she got married! Oh my gosh I about freaked out! Not only that, but she's getting baptized this saturday and I'll be there for it! Ah I'm so excited for her!!! On that day of the wedding though... oh my goodness I thought we were going to die. My greenie got to experience his first triple-dinner... it was nuts! We first went to the wedding at 1 and we ate there, although we knew we had dinner at four, so we tried to eat light, but then Miriam got mad and told us to eat more and have a piece of cake... AAAH! Then we had dinner with the Perez family, and they total poned us with food... we had like two heaping bowls of posole, so I was ready for a coma afterwards, but we had been invited to the birthday of a recent convert and his two daughters, one of which we're teaching right now (Flor). When we got there, we were anticipating just dropping off a gift and saying happy birthday....but OHMIGEASH! They destroyed us! Chicken, Rice, Beans, Tamales, Horchata... I don't know why I capitalized all of those, but oh well haha it was a TON of food. After that we were about ready to cry haha but it's all good.

Now I've gotta tell ya about sunday.. it was the world cup if you didn't know, and it was shocking because there were actually people in church! About 80% of the branch was there, and we got invited to have lunch with a family after church was over. We went over with the family Cruz, and they made us tostadas... when they told us tosdadas, I'm thinking little maybe 4 inch tostadas... no... these were HUUUGE! like a foot in diameter if not more! Covered in beans, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes with salsa... oh man they were good haha.

Aside from that, today we're headed out to do some golfing with the english elders and our district, and I've gotta bail, so I'll talk to you guys next week! I love you guys so much!
elder Mooney

PS: I'm super jealous you guys went to fish lake!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Large and small plates

July 5, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
Okay, so this week has blown by, and there have been some pretty sweet things happen! We've been teaching a ton, and now I'm trying to gather my thoughts so I can try to spit it all out in this email. I guess we'll start with our investigators.
First up, we have Juan Velasquez. He's the husband of a member, and we've been working with him the whole time I've been here, and like I said previously, we have a date set with him... he's the man I love him. We're finishing up teaching the commandments this week, and then he'll be set. There's one hitch though... he wants to get baptized on his birthday, which is in September on the 22nd! AAAAH I don't want to wait! Oh well... good things come to those who wait, right?
Then there's Patricia... Oh Pattie. She's a total mess! She was progressing really well until her daughter-in-law moved in with her, and now we hardly have time to teach her because she's "gone" or "busy". In my honest, blunt opinion, I think now that she has money coming in from her daughter-in-law, she doesn't feel as obligated to the church as before, so we'll see what happens with her... she hasn't been coming to church though, so we might drop her.
Aside from Patricia, we have a new investigator with a baptismal date whose name is Flor. She's the sister of a member here, and actually lives with her and her sister, who are taking care of her dad because he's old and pretty sick. We were actually planning on teaching a lesson to Luz, her sister, but instead of finding her there, we met her sister, who just returned from Arkansas not too long ago. We ended up teaching her about the power of prayer, and set up another appointment. We checked her teaching record from before, and she'd never been taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, so we decided to teach her that... Long story short, she has a baptismal date :-). We're gonna keep working with her, stopping by at least twice a week to finish off teaching what she needs to know, and get her ready to get in the water on the 25th.
Speaking of the 25th, we also have another baptismal date for that day. There is a recent convert who just moved up here from California to be with her "husband" We went over and visited her to invite her out to church and let her meet Pres. Pister along with some other people, and the hubby was there. We got talking to him,and it turns out they're not married, but they want to do it right away so that they're not breaking the law of chastity so he can get baptized....sweet! He's a super humble guy, and really willing to learn, so we talked about settting up a wedding for the 24th and a baptism the 25th...SI!
Aside from those, we're working with a few other families, but nothing too terribly exciting yet, so I'll keep ya posted on the rest if something happens.
I feel like I'm taking a Nephi approach to this where I have my big and small plates. I just gave you the spiritual record, now let me give you the secular record. First of all, I am so stoked on this greenie that I have. He's the man! He isn't afraid to teach, he's not bashful when we knock doors, he's learning to love the members already, and I don't have to teach him spanish. I love it haha. We're working really hard together, but also finding opportunities to have fun.
For example: This last friday, we had three or four appointments fixed, and they ALL canceled on us! Ever one of them! That's okay though, because we usually ahve backup plans. We went to visit a list of potentials that I had noted, and of those that we visited, NONE of them were there! Ah I was so frustrated! Even if they were there, they'd look through the curtains really quick, and then we could hear the click as they locked the door haha. We finally got tired of it and decided to knock a little bit of a complex we've been looking at. When we arrived, we were spotted by a family through their window. As soon as they saw us, WOOSH the curtains went closed and the door locked, so elder Rivera and I decided to run up and knock their door first just for kicks and giggles haha it was entertaining. Although they didn't open up the door to us, an ice cream truck drove through, and she was hispanic, so we decided to get an ice cream and talk to her. Turns out, she's one of the sweetest people ever, and now we can say we ITL'd a paletera (ice cream truck driver).
Oh another sweet thing we did this week was take a little trip out to St. Paul for a 4th of july rodeo celebration (it was approved, don't freak out), and it was sweet! The show was an absolute blast, and it turns out there is an act that they do with a rodeo clown who is actually from Utah and is a member of the church. He always makes it a point to talk about the church while he's out doing his act, and I just thought that was really cool. The day of the 4th, we had church, a few lessons, and then we went to a dinner with President Pister and his family. Afterwards, we headed back to his house and had angel foodcake with raspberries and whipped cream, and then watched their neighbors shoot off a whole bunch of illegal fireworks haha. It really made me stop and think how fast this last year went though... kind of freaks me out! I remember exactly what we did last 4th, like minute for minute, and it seems like it just happened yesterday!
Anywho, we're about to head out and go on a little excursion with our district to silver falls to show our greenies whats up, and yeah... I'm running out of stuff to talk about aside from the fact that I love you guys and I miss you. I'll talk to you next week, and I hope you're having a great time celebrating the 4th! I love you!
Elder Kurt Kay Mooney