Well, it's Monday... again... haha. I really don't understand how the time can fly so fast. Today I hit 11 months in the mission... holy cow! I'm kinda freaking out! I realized that my "daddy" in the mission is going home in three weeks... All of the old missionaries are dying out, and now it's just going to be....well... different! It's not a bad thing, but it's still just weird.. ya know? Ah well that's just part of mission life... and it's sweet. That's one thing I've noticed about the mission is that things change really fast, and they require you to not only grow up quickly, but more importantly to rely on the Lord. I love everything about the mission :-).
So last monday was nothing exciting we just went and played soccer in the church for a couple hours and then had a home evening with Lupe G. We were supposed to be having it with her and her brother Adan whom we are teaching, but it turns out that his girlfriend Rab and Lupe don't get along very well, so we ended up just watching a Joseph Smith historical movie with her and her sons.
Tuesday, however, was a little more exciting. We got to go to the temple!!! Ah it was so nice to get that spiritual boost after not going for a while. Afterwards, we went to Deseret Book where I was tempted to blow $100 worth of money I don't have on some very interesting books haha. Luckily I showed some self-control and didn't buy anything, but we did go to Burgerville afterwards and I used my home card to pay for it... sorry you guys :-P.
Okay, now I'll talk about what all went down with our investigators this week... we picked up a ton of new ones! So we have some fantastic news and some not so good news. The fantastic news is that we picked up a new investigator that elder Jackson (my MTC companion) was teaching who moved to Hubbard, and she's going to be baptized this coming Sunday!..... PLOP! Another one of those gifts from heaven haha. Her name is Rosario Silva and she's super sweet... and she's actually the daughter of one of our former investigators haha. The not so good news is that instead of baptizing Felipe Vazquez yesterday like we had planned, after his interview, our district leader told us he needs two more weeks... dangit haha. Oh well it'll be a good thing to make sure he understands everything more solidly. In the meantime he continues coming to church. Next we have Juan Velazquez. He's going to be baptized the 19th, and then the following sunday he will be confirmed, receive the priesthood, and baptize his eight year old daughter! Sweet right? It's a big blessing after almost ten years of missionaries.. I'm just glad I was able to help :-). After that, we have Laura Gutierrez who was a punk this week because we couldn't get in contact with her, Leticia who blew us off on a wednesday meeting at her own church (I'll explain that later) and also our church on Sunday. Aside from that... Rab and Junior Gutierrez came to church and are reading/praying. Okay, now for the list of new investigators that accepted "soft" baptismal dates: Ivelisse Cruz, Lydia (some girl who live's at Lupe-G's house), Leonel & Cristina Francisco, Luis & Liset Gutierrez, and two people from the family that live in the same house as Maria and Felipe Vazquez whose names are Lupita and Jaime Pacheco... yeah... pretty sweet week if I do say so myself. We taught 11 member-present lessons and just as many other lessons. We're fixing up to have a lot of people to baptize pretty soon!
Okay, so aside from a ton of new 'gators and working hard like we're supposed to, we're also finding time to do some pretty interesting stuff. Case and point: what we did on Thursday night. We were talking to Leticia Rivera in one of our lessons, and she said that she would go to our church if we would go to hers. I was all for it haha. So, she invited us to hear their Superintendant (which is like the equivalent of a stake president) speak to their group here in Woodburn. It was in spanish, and it was really funny to see the look on peoples faces when we walked in... I think I finally understand how a black person feels when they enter a room full of all white people (you can edit that part out if you want haha) Basically we stuck out like sore thumbs. I think that Jehova's Witnesses wear colored shirts just to make sure they differentiate from us haha. They all were dressed really nicely in suits of all colors except for dark/conservative like ourselves, and they all bring their little "New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures". This was fine with me, but the thing that bothered me was that when we showed up, LETICIA WASN'T EVEN THERE!!!! What's even funnier, is that afterwards when people came up to us and shook our hands/introduced themselves (LDS members should take a lesson from them on that), that nobody knew who she was haha. Overall, the experience was...well... interesting we could say. To me it was more like a community college lecture than it was a church meeting... it's interesting that you can feel a difference in the spirit of a group of people as well as individually. Not to speak badly of the Jehova's Witnesses, its just different and kind of sad that they don't have the truth... wow that sounds cocky I'll shut up now haha.
Friday was quite an adventure also haha. We started an exchange after district meeting around one o'clock, and for the day I had planned four member-present lessons in a row, but the problem is that they were all females, so we needed a male member to be there. The only one I could get a hold of was Angel, Lupe's son, and he was up in Wilsonville getting off work, so we went up to pick him up to take him to our lessons because we had (emphasis on HAD) enough miles to do it. So we start driving up the I-5 towards Wilsonville when all of a sudden we hit a huge wall of stop and go traffic... dangit haha. To make a long story short, we ended up taking half an hour longer than expected to get to wilsonville because of a huge crash as well as construction that was going on. Once we got off the freeway, we accidentally turned the wrong way on a road to pick him up and got stuck in traffic again. We finally picked him up and decided to be smarty-pants missionaries and take the backroad to Newberg and then from there take the 99 to Woodburn... yeah it was a smart idea... except that HALF OF THE WORLD WAS ON THAT STUPID HIGHWAY! We hit traffic at a dead stop after about ten or fifteen miles, stuck with it for about three miles, then decided to axe it and head back to the I-5. We missed all of our appointments haha. We had time for dinner and our interview... that was it haha. Sometimes the Lord tries your patience and then rewards you with a whole bunch of awesome stuff afterwards (investigators/baptismal dates). I love the mission!
So yeah that was about the excitement for this week.. lots of lessons, lots of awesome investigators, lots of learning lessons, and lots of spiritual enlightenment. Like I said in the Paragraph above, I really do love the mission. It's been the hardest yet most rewarding time I've had in my life... I think it's been rewarding BECAUSE it's been hard, and that's why I love it so much... it's kind of like Fooball, but better because you don't break bones or have to deal with Timpview :-).
I love you guys so much... Thank you mom and dad so much for everything you guys do for me while I'm out here. I want you to know that I love each and every one of you and that I pray for you every night. Please be safe and be good.
-Elder Kurt Mooney