Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Salem Hote- I mean Hospital

Dearest Mommy,

Okay, just so you don't freak about the title of this email, I AM NOT THE ONE IN THE HOSPITAL. I AM FINE. This is the excitement that we had this week though: Elder Rivera has been WAY sick all week. I feel like I kinda already ruined my story because I already mentioned the word Hospital twice, now three times in my email, but I'll explain from the start of the week what went down.

So Monday night we went to dinner with some members from Silverton (the Ellingsons) who are way awesome. Elder Page got super spoiled on his first day because they took us out to Olive Garden. The whole day, elder Rivera had been complaining of being cold even though it was in the 60's and 70's. That was the first sign of trouble. After that, we took our P-day on Tuesday, taught a lesson like I explained in my last letter, and then did E-mails. By this point, elder Rivera had not been feeling good, slept in, was experiencing flu-like symptoms, etc.. That night, actually, he ended up staying with the people we had dinner with and sleeping on their couch while we (elder Page and myself) went to do divisions. We then returned back to the apartment with Rivera afterwards, where he proceeded to crash and not wake up until about 11 the following day. Now, one key thing that he was not saying anything about is that he was experiencing... well... never mind. Suffice it to say, we were advised to go buy him some Immodium. Ooh this reminds me of a really funny story related to that. So after a doctor visit we had on friday with Rivera, he advised us to go pick up some Immodium, and so we took a trip to Wally-World to buy some. While we were there waiting in the checkout line with the afore-mentioned product, I saw some incense in the compulsory buys section right next to the register and had one of those stupid urges to grab it, which I did. We usually use incense to kind of make the apartment smell a little bit more... how would I say... homey? Anyways, there we are in the checkout line buying Immodium and then I place the two on the counter. As soon as I did this, I realized I had just made a big mistake... Incense and Immodium... strange looks from the clerk... yeah went bright red in the face trying to explain myself by saying "have you ever been in one of those situations where your friend needs you to..." Yeah she was just shaking her head and chuckling mercilessly when this all happened. At least it makes for a good story...right?

Anyways, that was the funny part of the week. Aside from that, we've been super busy trying to keep lessons balanced with a sickie in the trio. Passing him off to members some days or asking one of the english elders to "jump the grenade" sometimes so that we could go out and get some work done. I was really frustrated because we have a lot of people to teach right now and need to be on top of things, and this has been a major load that got dumped on us this week. The one perk is that I've been able to focus attention on elder Page to help him progress as a missionary with the time we have together.

Sunday was pretty sweet because we had Luis & Liset, Adan & Rahab (I finally found out her name is spelled like this and not just "Rab"... dang silent H's!), and Laura showed up to church! Not only that, but Juan was able to baptize his daughter, whic was a really spiritual and awesome experience... I do feel kind of bad though... I had to leave elder Page in the apartment for like six hours because I had to do visits and the baptism, but couldn't put Rivera with a member because they were all at the baptism! Anyways, we had a second doctor's appointment set for Rivera at 8:00 Monday morning, so we went. The results of the test were that he was severely dehydrated and had no idea what was wrong with him, so we jogged on over to the hospital and got him all filled up with fluids. After that, they still had no idea what he had, so they kept him overnight instead of just in the emergency room. We talked to Pres. Dyches and everything, and we got permission to stay the night with him up in his room. When we got up to his floor and looked in his room, I almost though it was a hotel! a flatscreen TV, nice recliner, nice couch, sweet matching interior touches, and even "hardwood" floors... take out the hospital bed, and you've got yourself a nice little place! I came to realize " wait a second... Dad does business with this hospital, and this is a relatively new wing... he probably negotiated all of this!" So if not, then oh well, but if you did help, thanks dad for a comfortable stay at the Salem Hote-, I mean Hospital.

Other than that, we found out this morning when we woke up in the hospital that one of his blood cultures came back positive for some type of bacteria, so that means he has sepsis...what the crap? I don't understand how he got it, but it's a dang good thing we found it when we did or he might have been toast. Luckily he's doing better now that he's pumped full of fluids and anti-biotics, and should be out of the hospital in the next couple of days.

That's about the excitement for the week (haha), but I hope everything is going awesome over there. It's looking like we'll have a baptism in the next couple of weeks of Ivelisse Cruz if all goes according to plan. If you can, please keep our investigators in your prayers, as well as elder Rivera. I'm doing okay, but these guys are the ones that deserve the blessings more right now. I'll talk to you guys next week.

All my lovin',

-Elder Kurt Mooney

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Congratulations, it's twins!

Dearest Mommy,
Well, your calculations are correct! We had transfers yesterday, and...... I'm staying in Woodburn for another transfer!!!! There's one hitch though... They gave me another greenie to train!!! What the heck!? I'm pretty sure this has NEVER happened in the OPM (Oregon Portland Mission) before, but oh well it's kind of interesting. His name is Elder Paige, from West Point, Utah. He's a nice kid... still getting to know him since we've only had him for about 24 hours now haha, but he really does seem pretty sweet. We're speaking in only spanish to try to help him to grab the language a little better... we had our first appointment this morning with Hno. Perez, and he got pretty lost haha. It's gonna take some time, but I bet with a little effort, he'll be a good elder. Oh I forgot to mention one fact: He's a foster child!!! He's not really an OPM missionary, he's supposed to be headed to Mexico City, Mexico West mission, but there was a hiccup with the visas for a couple missionaries, so we're holding on to him anywhere between 24 hours and 24 months... they said they'll know in the next transfer anyways. I'm pretty stoked to cover some new ground and have two greenies at the same time though haha.
It's interesting here in the mission... your "posterity" is kind of a big deal, and all of the terminology of a family is used. The kid you train is your "son", the elder you follow up train is your "step-son", the second elder trained by someone makes him "brothers" with the first, etc.. The other day I was poking fun at an english elder here in Woodburn because his companion right now is an elder that is supposed to be in Brasil, but is stuck here with visa problems as well. We were trying to find out what kind of terminology we could use for him, when I realized it's like a foster child! He can't be with his real daddy right now because of some legal stipulations, so we have to be the temporary parents haha. I thought it was funny until I got one myself. Not only that, but I have two at the same time, so they're telling me that I have "twins", but that they switched one of the babies in the hospital! haha oh goodness I love the culture of the mission.
So aside from that little excitement, Juan Velasquez got baptized this last sunday!!!! Ah man I was so stoked! Seriously, it was probably the most spiritual baptisms I have ever attended. Juan was baptized by his adoptive dad of the branch Hno. Ruybal, Pres. Pister's former president of the mission was the intermediate speaker and blew us away with his testimony, Jeive's whole family was there, both members and non-members, and both Juan and Jeive were so happy... gosh it was just such an amazing day.. I'll attach some photos on here so you can see them.
Aside from that, it's looking like Adan and Rab are fixing to get married here pretty soon, so they'll be locked and loaded for baptism in two weeks...sweet! Laura Gutierrez is reading and praying, and actually came to church as well this last sunday! She'll be getting a baptismal date this week or next depending on what the Spirit says. Turns out Felipe still wants us to teach him and help him get ready for baptism, so we're gonna see what we can do for him in the next couple of weeks... The Cruz family daughters are showing some good interest. Turns out the oldest daugter also wants to learn more about the church, so we taught her the Doctrine of Crist, and it went really really well. We're gonna see how things pan out in the next couple of weeks with her as well. More than that, we're trying to work with some of the other people from Lupe-G's family, as well as some other people that we've met.. nobody specifically is calling my attention right now, but we'll see how it goes in the next week here.

Thank you guys so much for the sweet package that you sent to me... it really means a lot to get things like that. The pictures are awesome, and a couple ladies got in an argument whether I look more like you or dad haha. I love you guys so much.. and I'm starting to get a sweet collection of postcards above my desk :-) Have a great week and I'll talk to you later.
Love always,
Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, September 13, 2010

Elder Bednar

Dearest Fandamily,
Well, we didn't have a baptism this last Sunday... turns out Felipe got cold feet and might be headed to Mexico... I don't wanna say anything rude that might get back to me, so I'll keep my mouth shut :-P. Suffice it to say it's a bummer that he's not getting baptized... at least not right now. Things here are going really well though. This week we got to be at the confirmation of Rosario Silva, and that was pretty dang sweet.

This week as been kind of a topsy-turvy week all around though. First off, one of my favorite hermanas in the branch had her mom die this week in a freak accident where she was struck by a vehicle getting on a bus in Colombia, so we spent some time talking to her on Tuesday after we got done with emails... she was a wreck. I mean, she has every right to be, but man can you imagine having that happen? I mean, I'm so glad we know about the plan of salvation and everything but still... ah I felt so bad for her. If you could, would you put her name in the temple?

Aside from that little gem, we've been playing marriage counselors with a few different people.... ah I am friggin' 20 years old what the heck do I know about marriage!? I feel bad, but I kinda lost patience with a couple of them because basically they're just being pridefully stubborn and I called them on it, then layed down the law. I leave them all with the same thing to read because it's the only thing I can think of. If you want to know how you should treat your spouse, read Ephesians 5:22-33. Other than that, be humble :-). As if it's so easy right? I love being young and inexperienced haha.

Okay enough of this depressing nonsense and off to more exciting things! Tuesday we had a good visit with Adan and Rab... they're gonna get baptized! It was super interesting, and exactly the opposite of every other investigator I've had before. We were talking and suddenly he says, "you know, I feel that I need to commit myself to God, like to do what he wants me to, ya know? I mean, I stopped drinking and smoking, and I know it was no thanks to me, and I know that what I'm doing right now reading, praying, and going to church are good, but I need to do more.".......PLOP! I love little gifts from heaven haha. THAT is the reward for righteous living haha. We set a date with him for the 3rd of October. Aside from that, I already mentioned above that Felipe was a no go because of some problemitas.... yeah... but it's okay because after a lesson we had on Friday with the Cruz, Ivelisse is going to be getting baptized! I don't know if I ever wrote down the names of the Cruz family's daughters for ya, but here they are: Ivelisse, Iyali, Italivi, and Iadani... good luck with those haha. But yeah, the youngest one has been reading, praying, and going to church, so we're gonna get her baptized! Sweet! She'll be baptized the 9th of October coming up. Aside from her, her sister Iyali is doing well and actually helped us teach her uncle the first lesson even though she's not a baptized member yet... she will be a great convert when she can be baptized. Oh and Juan Velazquez is getting baptized this sunday :-).

Hmmm... what else what else... Oh! We had a party on Saturday for Mexican independence day! Oh man it was such a blast haha there was a TON of food and quite a few people. Not only that, but I got talking to Lupe's cousin Chela, and it looks like we're gonna be having a lesson with her tonight at 6... sweet!

Oh and I forgot the most exciting thing about this week... David A. Bednar came and spoke to us on Friday!!!! Holy cow that was so cool! Pointer for all of you who have doubts about the church: Talk to an apostle of the Lord and ask him to bear his testimony... uhh.... yeah I pretty much fell over because the spirit knocked my socks off! Even as missionaries sometimes we have our doubts (maybe I shouldn't say "we", but I have had doubts), but being in the Lake Oswego stake center and having the opportunity to talk to him and hear what he had to say as well as feel of the spirit that came into the room when he talked... unbelievable. Wait, that's a terrible word choice. This situation is like when Stephen is teaching in the new testament and it says that it was impossible to disbelieve his words. That's really how it felt! I hope one day to be able to meet him again and shake his hand. They're supposed to be giving us photos of us with him that we took pretty soon, so I'll email you a copy when it comes.

He talked to us mainly about two talks he had given a while back, and it was very interesting. The jist of it is that he was talking about faith and how it relates to agency... very very interesting. Agency, as he taught us, is not the ability to choose. He says that is a false tradition of the church to say it as such. He explained to us that agency is the ability to act. From there we talked about how faith relates, and I would recommend to you all that read this to read these two talks so that you can understand how to exercise and gain faith. The first talk is entitled "Going forth in the Strength of the Lord", and the second one is called "Seek Learning by Faith". I promise if you read these and really study them, you'll be able to understand what faith is and how to really procure it.... sweet stuff to be sure.

All right I'm all pooped out on writing now, but I hope you guys are doing great... those pictures that I was finally able to see on my camera when I went to wally world to print some off are awesome! I want the Unimog that had the "called to surf" decals on it... I'm gonna buy one :-). Naw, but it was amazing to see that you're all doing so well. I love you guys so much and I hope you have a great week!
Love always,
Elder Kurt Mooney

Friday, September 10, 2010

To learn Spanish, eat spicy Mexican food...!

September 6, 2010
Hey Mommy!
That's sweet to hear that BYU did well in their first game of the season... I'm always a little worried about them haha they tend to be terrible when they first start off. I'm also not very surprised that poor OHS is choking in the beginning of their season... we always started off that way too haha. Ah man football.... here in Gudburn football is something completely different haha. Woodburn high won their first few games out of the last nine years surprisingly enough in american football. In soccer however, they're almost state champs every year! You might not believe it, butr I'm starting to get into get into it myself!
Actually, on the subject of soccer, that's what we did yesterday for Labor day! We did a combined zone activity in Sherwood and played soccer again, but this time it was a little brutal. Elder Rangel, within the first five minutes, slid for a ball on the turf field, but his cleat caught hold, and POP! He dislocated/totally destroyed his ankle! I haven't seen swelling on an ankle like that since... well... when I fell rock climbing that one time haha don't worry about it. From what I heard yesterday, he is now doing okay and in a boot... just like I was... hopefully he can still knock doors! Who knows? Maybe it'll help them get a little more success in Tigard haha. Aside from elder Rangel maiming himself, we had a game of epic proportions with sufficient players to have two complete teams. We ended up playing for about four hours and afterwards we were pretty much trashed haha.
Afterwards, we were invited to eat at the Pisters, so we ran home, showered off as fast as we could, and cruised over to their house where we enjoyed some nice tasty burgers. Before I go any further, I have to reveal a funny saying I heard the other day from Lupe-G's brother. he said if you want to learn to speak spanish well, you should eat spicy Mexican food, and if you want to learn english, you should eat lots of hamburgers haha. He's always got a good joke up his sleeve. For example, he said he had a joke about Jehova's Witnesses, and it goes a little something like this: Once there were two Jehova's Witnesses that were very faithful their whole lives knocking doors, preaching, going to church, etc.. One day, they both died and found themselves before the gate that leads into heaven. One of them went up and knocked on it to see if anybody was there. St. Peter peeked out and saw them, then turned to everybody inside and said, "SHHHHH! Don't answer it's the Jehova's Witnesses!"
Maybe not so funny for people who have lived in Utah their whole lives, but for everybody else, you've gotta admit that's pretty dang funny haha.
Okay, enough playful banter with the Jehova's Whitnesses. Aside from that, We had a baptism this week! SWEET!!!!!! Rosario Reyes Silva is now the newest baptized person in the Woodburn branch. The one hitch is that she doesn't want to go to our branch very badly right now because she investigated with the Mollalla (sp?) branch for more than two months, and suddenly had to move to Hubbard two weeks before her baptism. The one really good thing was that although her baptism was in Mollalla, more than half of the Woodburn branch was there. Out of her own branch, there were only about 15 people there, but from Woodburn, there were more than 40. I love this branch. I've decided I'm just never gonna leave until my last six months, then I'll go up where elder Jackson is serving with the Tongans in St. John's haha.
Aside from Rosario getting baptized, we're doing some good work with our investigators right now. This coming Sunday Felipe will be getting baptized, and the week after that Juan Velazquez will be getting baptized as well... both to make complete member families! Woohoo!!! After that, we've gotta get Adan & Rab's butts in gear on marriage so they can get baptized, Laura needs to come to church, and Leticia is going to get married, so she needs to come to church too haha. Aside from that, we're teaching a lady named Norma Pacheco that lives in Felipe and Maria's house, and she's sweet! We were re-passing the restoration with Felipe and she was there and listening very intently, so we decided to direct the lesson a little more to her. At the end of the lesson we invited her to pray and at first she was really scared, but at last accepted to do it. It was a really cool thing because that was the first prayer of her entire life, and she started to cry afterwards... it was a pretty powerful spiritual experience. I love seeing the power of change the spirit brings to people when they open their hearts to it... it's something that you can't describe, but it's almost tangible in the room when it's present... We'll see where things lead with her as she continues to pray and learn. We found a new family last night, and they seem pretty sweet. They were a referral from the english elders, and usually, I have my doubts when they give us someone to go visit because... well... they're english elders haha no offense to them. No but this family was absolutely wonderful. They moved here from Tijuana about four or five years ago, and the mom is a total sweetheart. Her name is Arcelia and her son's name is Jose. We were originally coming to visit with her older son Jesus, but since he wasn't there, we took the opportunity to teach those two instead. They're super humble, and they accepted the doctrine of Christ right away. I love teaching prepared people! We'll see how things go with them this week when we visit again.
The only other excitement aside from that this week is that we did leadership training again for four days from 9-5... it kicked by butt, but we still somehow managed to have 14 member-present lessons and crank out a baptismal interview/baptism. Hooray for time management skills... Heaven knows I didn't have them before the mission haha.
Anyways, we've gotta get going so we can visit the Ruybal's today, so I'll write you guys later. I love you all so much and I hope that everything is going really well now that school is started up again and you've got Shane and Zandy living with you. Be safe and remember I love you guys.

Love always,

-Elder Kurt Kay Mooney