2010 November 8
Well, it's been a pretty wild week lemme tell ya! The biggest slap in the face about this area is that there is absolutely no work right now, so we're knocking until we die here (16 1/2 hours in four days)... We knocked more this last Saturday than I had in any week I had in Woodburn for the last three months haha. It's not all bad though. We've found some new investigators in the last couple of days, and some of them show a lot of promise. One is the girlfriend of a less-active guy named Geronimo who is looking to get married and come back to church, so that's pretty sweet. Another one is the son of a lady who is a recent convert who is pretty stoked on the missionaries right now since he met us and actually came to stake conference on Sunday!
Speaking of stake conference, it was sweet! We got to hear from Robert D. Hales and Dieter F. Uchdorf and it was so rad! It's been something really interesting to note that they are putting so much emphasis on obedience to church leaders and heeding their counsels. Aside from paying attention to what the general authorities say, they also highlighted the importance of personal as well as family scripture study along with personal and family prayer. The best way to avoid temptation is to read the scriptures and pray daily, and go to church every Sunday! I would say the reason why is because those three things help us to "put off the natural man". I was reading in my personal study the other day, and I found a scripture that absolutely spoke to me in that way, especially as a missionary. I was reading in Alma 26 where Ammon and his brethren had finished their missions and they were talking about the reasons for their success, and this is what Ammon says in verses 21-22:
21 And now behold, my brethren, what anatural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.
22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.
When we are involved in the church- really involved, not just attending- we can see the warning signs of when we're doing sub par on the spiritual side of things which helps us to repent and grow our faith through action to correct those errors. From there, we receive personal revelation through that connection that we build with God through prayer. The ultimate goal of all of this, however, is not for personal gratification to just make ourselves these big spiritual giants, but to help those around you. As I heard from President Pister's former mission president in a talk that he gave, "el evangelio no es el evangelio hasta que se comparte con alguien mas" which means "the gospel isn't really the gospel until it is shared with with somebody else". I know that people think that what I'm doing right now is missionary work, but it's only partly true. The reason they're holding these stake and regional conferences more closely together is not only so that we have a closer relationship with the brethren, but also so that we can grow our testimonies to the point where we are brave enough to share the gospel with those around us. Bottom line: SHARE THE GOSPEL!
Okay, enough of my spiritual ranting I'll tell you a little bit about what else went on this week. So Beaverton is a pretty sweet area... I think we're quite a ways East of where Randy and Susan used to live, although we still cover all of it... we even cover the Pearl District, Chinatown, and part of Burnside. It basically goes until the Willamette River :-). From there, our area covers as far west as Murray Boulevard, Other than that, our boundary on the South goes about as far as Tigard and on the North... yeah I have no idea haha but it's a pretty rad area. It's weird just because there is NO rural parts to this area... it's a little bit smaller than the Woodburn area, but it is absolutely packed with houses, apartment complexes, and lots and lots of businesses haha. The good news is that there are a TON of hispanics here, so we're never going to be short of work. The bad news is that it's a group up here instead of a branch, so they're kind of limping along right now.
One of the things that makes it weird is being a zone leader. They want us in both district meetings for our zone as well as having regular exchanges with the district leaders as well as trainers... which happens to be every companionship haha. It's nuts! It seems like yesterday I was the Jr. companion with elder Rangel and POOF! All of a sudden we're here in Beaverton, and there is only one missionary older than us and he goes home in December! What the heck!? Every companionship here in the North is training right now, so that spells out a lot of exchanges with them... it should be fun though... at least we'll get to know all the areas quickly...right? :-) I don't know. It's a whole new animal, but I kind of like it, although Spiderman keeps coming to mind with this calling...you know... "with great power comes great responsibility"... It really does work like that though! Ah well it's fun haha.
So some interesting things about what we did when we got up here this week:
Had a four hour planning session (normally only takes two hours to do it in-depth)
Found out from an investigator that Panguich (yup, like in Utah) means big fish in Spanish
Our bishop wears a bowtie every Sunday...?
Our stake center looks like a converted GINORMOUS evangelical church with two floors
Not all charcoal comes in the little KC Masterpiece briquettes
I think that last one deserves a little bit of a story. So although the last elders in this area left us with basically nothing, they did, however, leave us with some pretty fat steaks in the fridge and a charcoal grill outside on the deck space, so we decided to cook them up for dinner one of the nights that we didn't have one scheduled. [side note: We are now eating dinner with white people, and I don't think I like it... everything is overly prepared, you have to ask people to pass you stuff to put it on your plate, you have to be extremely polite and proper with how you eat, and I have to be the one to start every single dang conversation so that we actually have something to talk about! What the heck!? I don't remember if that's normally how it is, but I sure hope not... maybe hispanic people just talk a lot, but I really love having a good conversation while I'm eating... it keeps it interesting and it keeps me from putting too much food in my pie-hole :-)] Okay, sorry about that huge side note. Anyways, so back to the steaks story. I got these steaks marinating in the fridge all day long and they were getting really juicy and tender, and then the time came we came back to the apartment to cook them up. There was charcoal stashed in a bag in one of the closets, so I pulled it out and went to pour it into the grill, and I saw a bunch of pieces of what looked like burnt wood and I said to myself, "wow, what dorks! Why would they have a fire in a charcoal grill?" Then I proceeded to pour out this Mexican charcoal and wha-bam! I finally realized why haha. I didn't realize that charcoal was really like pieces of...well... charred wood haha. Anyways, it was pretty interesting and it ended up working really well and the steaks were scrumptious :-P.
Aside from that, I can't really think of anything else exciting that's happening right now here... we're just staying super busy trying to find new investigators and keep everything running smoothly in the zone. Oh! Here's the new address if ya wanna send love :-)
Elder Kurt Mooney
Park at Greenway #12
8370 SW Greenway Blvd.
Beaverton, OR 97008
I'm glad to hear that the Coug's finally pulled off a win... poor sorry saps haha they needed it. I hope that everything is going well with you guys back home I love you all so much. Be safe this week and know that I'm praying for you, okay?
Elder Kurt Mooney