Dearest Mommy and the rest of the family,
Ah man... I always get started on these emails, and I don't even know what to start typing... I guess we'll start with last Monday as always haha. So we talked to president Pister the week before, and we decided to hook up a family home evening at his house with a few recent converts as well as some of our investigators. I don't remember him saying it, but he asked if we could provide the lesson and me being the space cadet that I am, didn't write it down in my planner... if I don't write it down, it never happened out here in the mission field haha. Basically, president called us an hour before we're going to start the home evening, and he asks "so what are you guys going to teach about?" I laughed it off and said "oh president that's not a funny joke you can't scare me like that!" Then he says, "I'm not joking... you said you'd do it last Sunday...remember?" I think my answer mainly consisted of "CRAP!!!!" Luckily president Pister loves me in spite of leaving my brain at the apartment most of the time, so everything turned out okay haha. It ended up being a really good home evening where one of the recent converts even ended up crying over the lesson.... the spirit was sweet :-).
Okay, moving on from Monday night, let's move to Tuesday. Tuesday day we just visited some potentials and knocked for a while, nothing exciting, but that night was awesome. We went on divisions with some people in the branch, and got a lot done it was sweet! I went with a guy named Manuel Hernandez, and Rivera went with Hno. Pacheco and a guy named Angel Estrada (son of Lupe-G). Manuel and I went and taught a couple of lessons. The first of which was to Felipe who just got married a little while back and we talked about tithing and fast offerings. It went really well, but the coolest thing about it is that Manuel was really involved in the lesson. Normally when we take people to lessons from the branch, it's like they're just doing their time, but Manuel really has a testimony. He got baptized a little over a year and a half ago, and just went through the temple about six months ago... he's awesome! He, his wife, and his two little terrors-for-children are so so so so sweet. Anyways, I digress. The main point is that he has a strong testimony of the things he's changed in his own life, and he's not afraid to share it with people when we go out on visits. Jumping back to Felipe, he's just about ready to get baptized! We'll see how things go this week, and if all goes smoothly, he should be baptized this coming Sunday or the one after. SWEET!
Okay, so aside from that... hmmm.... what else happened. Oh! We had a sweet lesson with a lady that Rivera found while we were blitzing one day. We went back to visit and see if we could just set up an appointment for another day, and this lady named Teresa let us in and talk to her. We ended up talking to her about the doctrine of Christ and following the stuff they've been teaching us, and push came to shove, and well, she accepted a baptismal invitation... it's always a little awkward when people ask you something like this: "so, you're telling me that my baptism wasn't valid, and that yours is the only one that will count?"... good luck trying to tell someone that without making them feel like crap haha. Somehow though, we did it, and we have another lesson with her this wednesday that's coming up!
Speaking of sweet things that are coming up, we have a golden opportunity here in Woodburn. There's a little radio station that all of the paisas listen to here called PCUN, which is... ah crap I don't remember the full abbreviation, but it's a radio station that is specifically for the "campesinos" or people that work in the fields. Anyways, they have one hour a week that is open for different religions to come in and give a little "doctrinal discourse" and then answer questions if people call in... I think we might be doing it in the next couple of weeks.... muahahaha I'm so excited! Sorry about the evil laugh, I can just see myself getting into trouble for talking about the virgin mary or about all of the other blasphemous doctrines that people believe... I'll probably just teach the restoration and see how people react. Interesting though, right? Never thought I'd have an opportunity to be a radio host... especially not on my mission... in Spanish :-P.
So some of the cool things I've been able to do out here is read some really good books. I already finished the missionary library about three months ago, so I decided to read some other stuff. I found a couple of books that are super legit... I love them! The first one is called "Day of Defense" which is basically a courtroom setting attack on a pair of missionaries from all the other christian denominations in the which they all get completely smoked and the LDS religion comes out completely unscathed... if you've ever had doubts about the LDS religion, I would recommend that book. Also, another wonderful book which has helped me gain a greater testimony of the Book of Mormon as well as the Pearl of Great Price, is a book by Hugh Nibley, which is a collection of three books called "Lehi in the Desert", "The World of the Jaredites", and "There were Jaredites". It's basically the coolest thing that really explains what's significant and correct that correlates with ancient culture in the middle and far east... I promise it'll absolve the doubts you've got :-P. Read them!
Okay now that I've done my schpeal for those books, I've gotta try to remember what else happened this week. Oh! I had the opportunity to go back to Salem for a day on exchanges with elder Dawson. While we were there, we had a pretty good day. Not to say that we had appointments, because they ALL fell through, but that we had some good experiences. After having a bunch of appointments fall through, we knocked into a member by accident who directed us to a complex that I had been thinking about earlier in the day, so we decided to take that little bit of inspired advice and go knock there. Turns out we were following the spirit. Within three doors, we had found two families whom we were able to teach and the third one was a less active from the YSA ward, whom we ended up convincing to read, pray, and go to church the following sunday... I love batting 1000! It never happens, but that was the most amazing thing ever. Then afterwards, we took a trip to Del Taco because our dinner appointment canceled on us, and we both ate 12 tacos... oh man I thought I was gonna die haha.
On Sunday, we were pumped because we had a bunch of people that told us that they were gonna come to church. When 9:20 rolled around, NOBODY showed up! LAME! Oh well that's life for ya. Not only that, but then for Sacrament, instead of being able to sit with our investigators, we had to go translate! Ah I was so mad! Not only that, but after translating Spanish to English like I always do, I had to translate for a high counselor who did nothing but read his talk, which consisted of nothing but endless Neal A. Maxwell quotes sprinkled with scriptures with no references so we could find them, and a whole mess of English sayings and idioms that don't translate to spanish! Throw that all together with more quotes with C.S. Lewis, and that's what I had to deal with. Don't get me wrong. I love Neal A. Maxwell... he's my favorite apostle actually, and I love the scriptures, and even C.S. Lewis, but THEY ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO TRANSLATE INTO SPANISH!!!! It wouldn't have been so bad, but Luis Franco (the branch mission leader) usually translates english to spanish, after about a two minute pause during the talk unplugged the microphone and then said "here, you can do it". Bleh! President Pisters daughters and his wife were listening in on the headphones for kicks and giggles during his talk, and were dying laughing on the stand while they heard him talking and me trying to put it into Lamans terms haha... Translating is okay when you have the quotes and scriptures in front of you, but trying to do it by the seat of your pants like we had to do it, it just plain sucks haha.
Anyways, to make us feel better after church, we got to take a trip to a hospital to give a blessing to the son of a less active (wow that sounds like a bad word haha) who is about to have surgery. It was really interesting to go up there to where he was at, because I remember going up to Schriner's hospital with dad a few times, and Doernbecher is just right around the corner from there. I couldn't believe all the growth that's happened up there even since I was last there... holy crap! It's a beautiful campus... not gonna lie, makes me want to be a doctor even more just being there in the hospital :-).
Well, that's about the excitement for this week, but holy crap it sounds like you guys are having a blast there without me. I hope you have a great week I love you guys!
Elder Kurt Mooney