Monday, March 21, 2011

The Revolution Continues!

2011 March 21
Dear Mom,

Well, it's been a more or less eventful week here in Beaverton. I had a good time this last Monday making another impulse buy... I got a new fountain pen for kicks and giggles haha. It turned out to be a pretty worthless P-day because we spent it with English elders, but oh well. It definitely made me want to work harder this week.

One thing that happened that night has made us kind of change our game plan. We've been trying to focus a lot on the plan that God has for his children, eternal families, etc. One thing that we realized happened that night in a family home evening we had where some English members invited their hispanic neighbors to hear a quick message from us (the revolution has begun... muahaha) Anyways, we decided to read a little from the family proclamation and talk to them about eternal families. You know what they said to us? (they're catholic, just so ya know) They said that their church teaches that, that their family will be together forever and that they already know about the plan of salvation, blah blah blah. Elder Van Hook and I have come to coin these people "religious grocery shoppers" They pick and choose whatever doctrines that they like and say it's a part of their religion. In short, we've come to the decision that all we're going to be sharing from here on out is the restoration because it will cause them to make a decision whether this is the only true church or not... much more simple. Revolution!

Tuesday was a pretty awesome day for us! It was the most ridiculously rainy day that we've seen in a long, long time, but it was fun because we taught some super sweet lessons after we got out of district meeting in Portland. One of them was a girl that elder Van Hook had knocked into last saturday who is the friend of a member in the spanish group, and she turned out to be pretty golden. It was funny. She was interested in the plan of salvation, and elder Van Hook had left her a pamphlet to read before we came over... she read it! All of it! Not only that, but she also answered all of the questions in the back and had questions for us when we got there! We passed over it and taught her a little bit more in depth and at the end she said, "I've learned more with you guys in this half an hour than I've learned in my entire life in the church that I grew up in!" Pretty sweet right? Let there be LIGHT!

After that, we taught another guy named Osvaldo and his mom Julia about the restoration, and they both liked it a lot, especially about the Joseph Smith story. In his own words, he actually said "that's exactly how I feel about all the different religions! That's all I want to know is where the truth is!" Pretty sweet I have to say.

Once we finished with the lesson we had with them, we had 15 minutes before dinner, so we decided to knock in the rain (pity points means more opened door... usually haha). It's a good thing we did, because we ran into a new guy named Ricardo who let us in and talked about how he didn't trust the bible because it's been changed with so many translations that it's undergone, and he was pretty pumped when we showed him the book of Mormon. I love sharing the truth :-)

Okay, so mom you said you wanted to know if I had any suggestions about talking about individual worth this Sunday? The one thing that I can think of that kind of pertains to that is what I studied this last Wednesday morning in preparation for a spiritual thought that I gave for district meeting. I was asked to talk about being a bold missionary, but bear with me... I promise that this relates. The scripture that came to mind as I was pondering on this was one found in Moroni 8:6 where Mormon is writing to his son Moroni, and this is what he says:

"Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."

Okay, I know you're wondering what the crap, but the reason this is significant as to missionary work is for two reasons: one, because Mormon had authority from God, he had permission to speak the truth with boldness. Two, because he has perfect love, which casts out all fear. Thinking about this perfect love and how it is that it can cast out all fear, it made me think about the importance showing true love towards all people. As missionaries (or as members of the church) we find it hard to be willing to share the gospel with all people because we are afraid of what people will think or say about us. That. Is. Selfish. When we have those kinds of thoughts, although they're normal, we are being prideful. We are putting ourselves (and the preoccupation for our own self-image) before the eternal welfare of those around us. As the savior said:

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it."

It is in focusing on others that we find our true "self worth". When we worry about what others think and aren't showing forth the pure love of Christ towards all people, we aren't showing the importance of the knowledge of our self worth that we truly have. We know that we are sons and daughters of God, that he knows us individually, and that he has given us a plan whereby we may become like him. We show that we truly believe that we have this individual (and may I add divine) worth by being willing to let others know about it as well, that they too may enjoy the direction that it brings to our lives to help us increase that worth.

Do you like how I relate everything to sharing the gospel now? I hope I don't make anyone feel too guilty out there... as long as it pushes to you to open your mouths and share what you know :-P.

So moving on with what happened throughout the week, we had a sweet day on Thursday because we had the opportunity to go to the temple as an entire zone! Oh my goodness what an awesome opportunity! I have really come to love and appreciate the temple as I've been out here. A lot of times we get kinda wrapped around the axle of everyday life. Going to the temple gives us an opportunity to take a different view on life... the eternal kind. It makes everything we do in the nitty-gritty daily grind much more meaningful and seem more worth-while.

A couple of things really stood out to me in this last session that we did. The first thing was something that I hadn't noticed before or rather, that I hadn't understood. In the celestial room, there are little bundles of wheat that are gold-leafed (sp?) into some of the pillars. As I was thinking about that, I finally realized that it comes from the principle of the harvest. I know, it's not anything super profound, but it just was a reiteration of the whole "you sow what you reap" thing, and it made me think to myself "dang, if I want a celestial harvest, I dang well better be planting some celestial seeds right now! It put me to think about a scripture in Alma 32. We all know it talks about planting the seed, faith, blah blah blah, but there's a part that especially relates to this towards the end of the chapter. Verses 41-43 say this:

41But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
42And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
43Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.
According to our faith, diligence, and patience, we will be able to "reap the rewards" at the end of everything and attain eternal life. Awesome, right?

Another cool thing that stood out to me was the difference between sacrifice and consecration. Consecration wasn't something given to Adam and Eve right as they were booted out of the garden of Eden. Consecration was something that came much later. The thing I find interesting is.. well... what the true difference is between the two. Sacrifice was given to Adam and Eve even though they had no idea what the heck they were doing basically or what life was really all about yet. I would liken this to blind obedience. Consecration, on the other hand, is what is given after receiving a light and understanding of not only what is an "acceptable offering", but that we are willing to truly give up our will and our time to the Lord. The thing that makes this cool is this: Sacrifice brings the blessings of salvation, but consecration brings about a change that can elevate us to exaltation, where our will literally becomes one with the Father's, and we become like him. Kinda cool, eh? Anyways, I thought it was interesting.

Friday, Dr. Feelgood struck again haha. We had a lesson with Alejandro (the reggae guy) which went really well. We went back over the restoration and he felt good about it. He's continuing reading and is feeling the spirit, so we'll see where it leads. The interesting thing is that while we were there, his brother-in-law came and sat down by us and all of a sudden said "can I ask you a favor?" We said sure and he proceeded to spill his guts about how his marriage was failing and he asked if we could help he and his wife to change and come together again. We said yes, and we're gonna be starting teaching them this week. Crazy, eh? I'm telling you, I've got a future in television haha.

Saturday turned into a knocking nightmare where all of our appointments canceled, so we knocked all day. Such is life haha. One funny thing is that we bumped into some JW's knocking and got invited to their church... we went haha.

Sunday, like I said, we went to church with the JW's and got blasted with blasphemy for a couple of hours.... oosh they're lost. I got their version of "preach my gospel" though, and it's entertaining because now I know all the little scriptures that they use and stuff.

The true and living church was great. No investigators again this week, but such is life sometimes. Luckily, Yahir came to church again and now wants to talk to the bishop so that he can get locked and loaded on being 100% active again... sweet right? After church was over, we had stake reports with the stake president, and we dropped some information on him that is going to bring about Obama-status change without all the national debt. We only have three melchezidek priesthood holders in the spanish group, and one of them is moving back to Mexico in November. We talked to the stake president about this and asked if he would consider breaking off part of the Tualatin Valley branch (the biggest one in the mission) and adding it to our group to make a second branch. He was super stoked on the idea, and he wants us to talk to president Dyches about it, so we'll see what happens. Like I said, the revolution has begun... wanna make dang sure I leave a good mark on this mission and by dang I'm doing it!... hopefully haha.

That was about the excitement for the week though.

Anywho, I'm outta here to go enjoy a nice, rainy preparation day, so I hope all is well with you on the home front. I miss you guys... a lot. Have a great week I'll talk to ya later.

Love always,

Elder Kurt Mooney

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