Monday, April 25, 2011

Life in Sherwood

Dear Mom,

Well, I have to say that I absolutely love life as an English zone leader haha. It's definitely a whole different animal, but it's still fun nonetheless....

Anyway, here's what happened this week. Tuesday was our technical P-day, and we had a blast! After doing emails, we went to lunch with some guys named Mark and Brent. These two are absolutely loaded and just like taking the missionaries out to lunch about once a week, and holy cow they lay down the cash! I was dumbfounded to see the vast chasm that separates the poverty of the Spanish community and the affluence of the residents of Sherwood... it's night and day man, holy cow! It's funny to see what are considered "hardships" between the two. Case in point: someone we were doing service for had a doorknob break on them to where they couldn't get the latch to release to open the door to their garage and also had the wiring to the outlet for their 65" big screen short out, so they couldn't watch the tube and she made the comment of "The Lord is really testing me right now." It just makes me think of the stuff the hispanics deal with like not being able to work because they don't have papers, getting deported to Mexico, family members dying and not being able to afford a funeral, etc.. I'm not saying that this lady was total griping about life, but it's just interesting to see the difference of what comfortable living does to your point of view... ya know?

Anywho, we went to downtown Portland and visited Nordstrom Rack along with a few other entertaining stores before coming back to Sherwood and having a couple of sweet member lessons. What elder Wylde has started here is pretty awesome and it's working... He took my "revolution" idea to heart and has applied it to the two wards we're covering. I went on a split with our ward mission leader to teach a less-active member named Amy, and it went amazingly! We just taught her the first lesson and talked about how it applied to her own life and what she could do to bless the lives of others, and we got off on a tangent about one of her friends that hopefully we're gonna be teaching tonight now because we sparked some missionary fire in her... Revolution!

Wednesday, we had a good day... I have to say that English district meetings are really weird, however... like extremely different, so we're gonna be working on that. I'll talk more about that with the district leader council that we had on Saturday haha. That night though, we had splits with one of our wards, and it was awesome! Holy cow I about freaked out because we had three ward missionaries, our ward mission leader, and ourselves to go do some visits, and it was awesome! I'm not used to having so many dang resource so easily accessible and so adept to what we're doing as missionaries... I kinda like being able to do what we're doing here haha. This area is gonna blow up!

One thing that I'm finding very hard in this area is keeping the morning schedule. Not because we're really lazy or anything, but because we live with sister DeLong. Her full name is Ella Rose DeLong, and she is the sweetest woman to ever walk the face of the earth! She's actually a Hinckley, her father was an apostle, and she has personally met or had an experience with every prophet from Heber J. Grant to the present excluding Howard W. Hunter... crazy right? Like honestly, if the quorum of the 12 and the first presidency disappeared, I'm pretty sure this lady could preside over the church and things would go just fine haha. How this relates to us struggling getting out of bed at 6:15 in the morning is the fact that we stay up until 12:00 or one in the morning talking about doctrinal stuff and hearing her amazing stories... she is an amazing lady! You will have to meet her when I'm done with the mission or if she takes another trip to Utah... absolutely wonderful. She's even the cousin of elder Maxwell's wife :-)

So, one of the days that we had a battle getting out of bed on time was Thursday. We ended up having a good day though, and even found time during weekly planning as we plotte- I mean, planned what we were going to do with the zone to make it amaz-z-zing by making miniature planners. These things are sweet! They're half sized, so they fit perfectly in the pocket of our pants instead of being an awkward size that trashes your shirt pocket haha.

Friday, we did service for that lady who felt that she was being tested a little bit, and it was pretty fun! We spent a good chunk of the day stripping paint and sanding her deck and front steps of the nasty white paint that had been laid down on it when their house was first built. It was fun! It was funny talking to this lady and her son about being a missionary and stuff. He's only like 12, but doesn't really want to serve a mission, but his mom was trying to convince him that it's not "just boring church stuff" but that there are other benefits, so it was a good time to show that you can learn a different language, become smarter, learn how to re-wire a dryer (haha), and even install doorknobs and pick locks with a credit card (yep, know how to do that now too haha), etc.. He kinda got a little more pumped about serving a mission at least from sharing a couple of those experiences with him, so hopefully he'll go in a couple years haha.

Saturday, we had a district leader council where elder Wilde and I decided to kinda lay the beat down on everyone so that they'll know what to expect in this zone. We weren't mean about it, but we just told them that we had high expectations and that if they didn't achieve them, we were going to send them to heck haha. We revamped how we want district meetings run, what we want them to be reporting to us, and how often, so we'll see how things go in the following weeks. Like I said, Pres. Dyches kind of set us up with... um... challenging elders in some places, so we'll be put to task to keep them running like a well- oiled machine.

We went contacting random people in the park on Saturday day, and we ended up talking to four people. Sounds terrible right? The good part is though, that out of those four people, we set up three return-appointments. It would have been four, but the fourth person was a pastor's wife and lived in California. Revolution! People can contact 200+ in a day, but I'll take my three with return appointments haha.

Sunday was interesting in that being in a ward is WEIRD! There are lots of people, lots of talent, and lots of money! Everyone was dressed nicely, can sing, and doesn't say blasphemous things over the pulpit... I'm still kinda not used to it. It was good though, and now I know what I'm bringing people to, I'm not worried about it as much as far as investigators go haha.

I know my emails are a little bit shorter, but it's because I don't have as much time, and being an english zone leader is a little more demanding in some aspects just because the caliber of missionaries is a little bit lower and so there are more... how shall I say... needs haha. Thank you so much for the thoughtful easter package that you sent me mommy, it really means a lot! It's always good to hear from you guys. I hope everything is going well for you and that you're having a great week... and hopefully enjoying some sunshine.. I know that we sure have this past week!

I love you tons and I'll talk to ya on mothers day!


Elder Kurt Mooney

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


2011 April 19
Dear Mom,

So, I wanted to respond a little to the email that you sent me before I start my letter haha. What you are doing with Katie is exactly the right thing. What you did with me was exactly the right thing as well. We may come from the same family, but we're not two peas in a pod haha. Keeping me home for my first year of college really helped me to establish a spiritual foundation that I NEVER would have gained had I moved out to go to college... honestly, I think it saved my life (the spiritual one at least) and allowed me the ambiance necessary to get me locked and loaded on a mission. What you're pushing Katie to do is going to be perfect for her because she doesn't have the same struggles as I do. She has a testimony (which I originally didn't) and she doesn't have the opportunity to serve a mission (something that I do), so her going to school away from home is going to be exactly what she needs in this point of her life to really help her learn and grow. I've come to know that the only way to live life is by always progressing. If you're not progressing, you're stagnating. In the scriptures, there's a good word used for this state of being: DAMNATION. I know that's harsh to say, but it's entirely true, and as we find new opportunities to learn and grow in life, we become better people and more like our Heavenly Father. Okay, no more preaching... just don't worry about Katie and the decision to head her off to school... she'll be great!

Okay, so on to the big news... transfers! Yes, I did get transferred haha. I was shocked when the call came, because elder Van Hook only has three more transfers, and he's spending another one in Beaverton, so who knows what's going to happen with him after this one. the other big news is where I got transferred... brace yourselves, okay? I got transferred to Sherwood... ENGLISH SPEAKING! I'm now a zone leader for the Tualatin zone with elder Kenton Wylde, and I'm PUMPED! I know that I've been talking smack on English elders for my entire mission, and now I finally have the opportunity to help them not suck and show them how we do things estilo-latino haha. The other thing that makes it great is that I couldn't have asked for a better companion to be with. Remember how I told you all about zone leader council meetings where I threw all the English missionaries under the bus (probably the big reason I got sent here haha) and how I hoped that they could change? This elder Wylde was one of the few English missionaries that I respected and was friends with before coming here because he knows how to work and be successful. During the zone leader councils, he was only one in English saying the same things I was, so president Dyches decided to put us together to show everyone what's up... REVOLUTION! I feel like it's pretty funny because the member we live with speaks Spanish, and so does her maid (yup, I went from the dumpiest Spanish apt. to having a maid and parking in a garage... I'll talk more later about the living situation outside of the parentheses), so elder Wylde is left to learn a little Spanish before he goes home. Oh, just so you know, he has six weeks left before he goes home, so he's gonna have to learn fast!

Seriously though, this is quite possibly the best English-going situation possible that I could have come across. I am also officially the first and only Spanish elder to be both a Spanish AND an English zone leader haha... who knows? Maybe I'll be the first to train in both as well before I die. Speaking of which, only four transfers left until that happens... yikes! Anyways, to talk a little bit about the living situation, we live with a member named sister DeLong, and she's awesome! She actually knows a bunch of the prophets personally as well as Hugh Nibley and a mess of other church scholars like Truman Madsen... interesting right? Another funny connection is that she is actually Neal A. Maxwell's wife's cousin :-) anyway, even just from being here one day, I can tell that this place is gonna be sweet. We share the house with her, and it's a pretty cush place... it's so strange to go from poverty to affluence again. I can't lie, it's nice, but I'm not used to it now haha. We park in a garage, have someone to do our laundry, a tailor that does our stuff for free, a place that does at-cost dry cleaning for the missionaries, an opportunity to golf Pumpkin Ridge for FREE, among a whole mess of other hookups... I'm kinda stoked on this area haha. Aside from just that, there is tons to do as far as work is concerned. I guess elder Wylde's last companion was kind of dragging his feet, so now he's super pumped to have some new life in the area and to find more people to teach as well as baptize some investigators that they have right now.

Okay, now that I've given you that, I'll update you a little bit on my last week in Beaverton:

Monday we took a trip as a district on the Max over to Clackamas to hit up the DI for some books, and oh my goodness I lucked out! I picked up a couple that are worth some major cash for next to nothing... for example: "Since Cumorah" by Hugh Nibley which at Deseret Book goes for $40 normally I was able to pick up for $2.50 at the DI... I love bargain shopping and even more importantly, I love READING! I ended up hauling around like 40 pounds of books for a couple of hours because I bought so many haha.

Tuesday, the sun finally came out, so we went jackets off for the first time, and had an interesting knocking experience haha. We were let in by this guy who turned out to be a total paisa. We talked to him about the restoration and then he stopped us to ask us something "important" He said "do you believe in Santa Claus?" We kinda looked at each other a little confused and said "well.. we did as kids.." and he said "well you should believe in him like we do in the Catholic church. It talks about him in the bible." Elder Van Hook was about losing it and covering his smile with his hand and covering his laugh with a cough as this guy recounted us the story of Santa and how he lived in the woods and made toys for kids, but as he got old and God was going to take him back to his presence, the children were sad, so God decided to let him stay and keep giving out gifts to kids, and that's why Santa clause is real... I'm still looking for that chapter hahaha. Pretty good right? I thought you might enjoy that haha.

One cool thing about that night was the fact that we had a sweet lesson with Oscar and Franci where we found out that Franci has completely stopped drinking coffee and got work off on Sundays... she's gonna be able to come to church!

Wednesday we had a beatdown lesson with a guy named Arturo. His two kids Marcos and Miriam both had baptismal dates, but he (supposedly an inactive member) had a hard time that we were preaching "John Smith" instead of Jesus Christ. We had a nice little lesson about the servants of the lord, and it went pretty well. It's interesting because I wasn't angry at all, but I spoke as I was moved upon by the spirit, and literally left him dumbfounded... it was like Nephi and talking to his brothers when he was building the boat and they finally put up and started helping... similar situation. 1Nephi 18. Read it. The coolest part is he committed to read and pray about the book of mormon to "rekindle" his testimony.

Thursday we had a great visit with the Muniz. I really love those guys and Yahir recounted us a cool story about how he was talking with his dad about changing his life and being at a loss as to what to do, and how fifteen minutes later we showed up and I felt inspired to give him a book of mormon to get him reading again. It's cool to have little blessings like that drop on you once in a while. Anyways, they gave me their address and phone number in Mexico because they want me to visit down there after the mission.

To kinda combine the rest of the lessons from Thursday with Friday, I've realized that the more time I have in an area, the more bold I become with how I teach people. It's kinda how old people kinda come to a point where they do what they want, that's what happened with me and I got bold with some people haha. I laid down on some members for being slackers haha the good thing is that the ones I rebuked all came to church on Sunday.

Saturday was interesting because no transfer calls came, so we were kinda stuck floating haha. We also went to McMinnville for a baptism of elder Van Hook's.

Sunday at 6:30 in the morning we got a call, so I got all of my stuff packed, and HOLY CRAP! I have a lot of stuff! It's all good though because it fit in the car haha. I'm kinda shocked, but I was really sad to leave Beaverton.. it was a great area and I learned a lot not only from Van Hook, but from all of the members and investigators there as well... I'm gonna miss it.

Anyways, that was the excitement for the week. I realized that with this transfer, there are two ways to look at it: I can belly-ache and complain about not being in Spanish where I wanted to be, or I can take this change as an opportunity for growth and change (remember the damnation thought) to become a better person... I'm really stoked on this though honestly. I have such a great opportunity that NO other elder has ever had, so I plan on taking full advantage of these circumstances.

Well, I love you all a lot. I'm sorry this email is so scatterbrained, but that's what happens when you get transferred haha. I'll talk to ya next week!


Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baptism! Surprise!

2011 April 11

Well, like the title says, I had a baptism! I say "I" because it was one of my investigators from Woodburn that got baptized haha. You remember Lupe G right? Well, for a long time I was teaching her son Angel's girlfriend Maggie. At one point, she had a really solid baptismal date, but then she broke up with Angel and fell off the map. Anyway, I came to find out a while back that Angel and her had gotten back together and that... well... she was pregnant. Because of that, they decided to man (and woman) up and tie the knot. Because of that (and a lot of pushing from Lupe G and counseling from Pres. Pister), they got married and Maggie got baptized! Ta-daaa! It made for an exciting weekend because Lupe G insisted that I be there for the wedding as well as the baptism, which were held on two different days. It. Was. Sweet! haha Mexican weddings are a total party. President Pister married them and afterward we enjoyed ourselves eating birria, rice, beans, and tortillas whilst everyone made comments about how freakishly skinny I look now compared to how chubby I was during my time in Woodburn originally haha.

Okay, so regressing to the beginning of the week to fill you in, here's what happened:

Monday, like I said in my last email, we had our combined zone activity where we played soccer in the rain for a good two or three hours. It was funny because first we played a good ol' civil-war status game of North zone versus the South, and just like history tells us, the North was triumphant :-). We beat them 4-2 and then decided to play old-farts versus the greenies.... the problem was that everyone was so young that in order to divide it evenly, we had to take from nine months and older to make the teams even! It was a blast and a super tight game. The best part? Yours truly scored the winning goal to finish the game 4-3... you can just call me Rooney instead of Mooney :-)

After that, we got home, emailed, and tried with a couple of appointments. They fell through, so we visited an inactive member that we had knocked into, and met his kids Marcos and Maira. Turns out that they're super sweet and want to learn about the gospel (they're unbaptized). So, we taught them the restoration and they ate it up and wanted to read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out if it's true. It was definitely a good way to end the day because it was at like 8:45 at night and we were planning on going home, but something told us to go try with them. Hooray for the guidance of the Spirit.

Tuesday we had zone conference which wasn't anything exciting aside from the fact that I have come to the conclusion that being in Hispanic culture for so long has made me talk way too much. Now that I've learned to talk a lot, I'm gonna need to re-learn how to shut up after the mission haha. After zone conference, we had a lesson with Oscar and Franci where we talked about the 10 commandments and taught them to keep the Sabbath day holy and then the word of wisdom. Not because we had planned it, but because they asked questions about it, so we kinda burned their eyebrows off with all the information that we fed them. They liked it though, and they committed to live it, so we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, I went on exchange with Elder Ballard in the Aloha area. He's a super sweet kid! He's a farm boy from Benjamin, Utah up in the Logan area, and he is seriously a champ. He definitely knows how to work! One thing about being in his area is that I was really jealous of all of the Hispanics that are there... it gave me a good idea of what we're gonna be stealing from them in the future because our plans for making a branch includes a good chunk of their area... muahaha :-). One thing that was funny from that day was the food that we had. It was an awesome Mexican meal of just enchiladas and carne asada, but holy cow it about killed me! I'm not used to eating that much anymore, and I couldn't shovel it all in like in my other areas... I'm skinnier than I used to be, so I can't fit that much food in me haha.

Thursday, we decided to do some spring cleaning and oh how the apartment needed it haha! It was a total mess! I mean, we've cleaned it so it didn't like stink or anything, but it's just been hard to find the time (and the effort) to give it a thorough cleaning, so we decided to buckle down and clean 'er out for a good hour or so during weekly planning haha. After that we taught Marcos and Maira and gave them a baptismal date for the 8th of May. Yes!

Friday, we had a sweet lesson in the morning with a lady named Angelica as well as with her brother and sister that are all sharing an apartment. They accepted the challenge to read the book of Mormon and pray about it. One frustrating thing that happened was with a referral from sister Farbe in the ward. Their names are Estela and Cesar, and they were pretty sweet people. Unfortunately, before we went over for a second lesson with them, Cesar spent a good couple of hours poring over anti garbage and then read the first seven chapters of the book of Mormon. To be brief, it sucked and I was really upset at how idiotic he was being. He said "how can I believe that the book of Mormon is true without any proof of the gold plates even existing? If they were real, they should have them on display or something." I said, "you know what, you're absolutely right. We should have the resurrected Christ on display right next to them too so that you could just know instead of having to have faith... ya hypocrite." yeah, he got pretty fired up when I talked to him about that and said "no, that's not the same thing!" What he doesn't understand is that it's the EXACT SAME PRINCIPLE. Anyway, we ended up closing on a good note to where he wants to keep reading and have us back (mainly because I destroyed him), so hopefully he is humble enough to show some faith and real intent with what he's doing. I tell ya man, I can't handle people bashing the truth anymore it makes me SO MAD!

The thing that gets me about anti-Mormon reading is this: I'll put it into a sort of parable so we can understand this. If I'm looking into buying a Ducati motorcycle, I'm going to first hear about it from a friend or advertisement. From there, if you want to know more, who do you go to? You go to someone who specializes in building, riding, and selling them, then do your comparisons with other bike companies that claim to have similar bikes. Instead, those who I would liken to anti-readers would look up some nonsense like "why Ducatis are the worst bikes ever made" It doesn't make sense... ya know what I mean?

Anyway, enough ranting. Saturday we had another exchange and I went with elder Garland to the wedding down in Woodburn which was a blast. After the wedding, we went to a dinner (yeah, we were already full of Mexican food haha) with a lady who wanted us over to talk to one of her friends about the church. Turns out the guy was really sweet. He was someone who really "gets" it. He talked to us about how people would try to tell him anti crap about the church and he said "I don't care. If I want to learn about it, I'm gonna learn about it from those who live it, experience it, and believe it. He was open-minded about it, so it turned out to be awesome. We kinda chit-chatted for quite a while about a myriad of religious subjects, then talked about the suffering in the world today. He was saying, "ya know, I know that there's a purpose for it, and that God is obviously in control of everything that is happening and it will turn out okay... I just don't have the answers as to why he can let it happen. That's when I had the opportunity to explain to him the understanding we have of the atonement of Jesus Christ and how it covers not just sins, but pains, afflictions, sufferings, sadness, sickness, and all other negative aspects of human life if we will come to him. When I said that, he kinda sat with a pensive look on his face. Then I told him "ya gotta read the Book of Mormon man, it'll give you a deeper appreciation for what your Savior did for you." After saying that, he said "I really do want to read it... do you have a copy that I could borrow?" We gave him a copy and jotted down his number and told him to call us with any questions... I'm pretty stoked to have another opportunity to teach him. he's a sweet guy.

Sunday, we didn't have anyone in church unfortunately, but it was good in that afterwards we got to go to Woodburn for the baptism of Maggie :-) The only other exciting thing that happened was just something that I read in the Book of Mormon in 1Nephi 17:8-10 that talks about personal revelation. The thing that makes it interesting is that Nephi receives the revelation that he needs to build a boat. As soon as Nephi learns this, he heads up the mountain to talk to the Lord. When he gets there, he doesn't ask "okay, how do I do it?" rather he asks "Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?" It's pretty sweet in that he took the initiative after just receiving a little nudge from the Spirit as to what he was going to do. The same applies to us. If we want personal revelation, we have to be open to the Spirit. After we receive the initial nudge, we have to be willing to do all we can within our power to follow that prompting so that we receive further light and instruction. Sweet eh? That whole chapter is sweet. Check it out.

All right, I'm outta time, but I love you guys and I'll talk to ya next week.

-Elder Mooney

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

2011 April 4

2011 April 4
Dear Mom and family (and everyone else who reads this)
Holy cow I'm really dragging butt right now haha. We just got done with zone activity where we played soccer with both the north and the south Spanish zones in the freezing rain! Dangit! Now I spoiled what I was gonna write for next Monday haha oh well. So regressing to the point about freezing rain, I think it's what I deserved for laughing about the snow that I saw during the Sunday session thinking of you guys freezing your hindparts off in the good ol' Utah spring. This weekend here was absolutely beautiful and sunny for almost the entire time, so I found it a bit comical that Utah was cold and cloudy/snowy while we enjoyed the sun haha. Like I said though, I brought upon us some really rainy, cloudy, cold weather to welcome in the new week.

Okay, so starting with last Monday, we started off the day right by giving the Sanchez bathroom a coat of paint. They decided on a sort of light earthy green color that I was sketched out about, but it looked really sweet at the end of everything. After that, we went bowling with a couple of English elders, one of which had served in Woodburn while I was down there. It turned out to be a good time! Ya know why? I won! Lemme tell ya a little about my score though... it wasn't in the triple-digits category. Yup, I pulled the "W" with a good, solid 98 points hahaha! That's how we roll (or bowl, better said) in Beaverton haha.

Tuesday was a pretty decent day. We had our usual district meeting with Portland, and afterwards decided to do what's called a "blitz" with the English elders... mainly because we ran into them at the place we were going to knock haha. Now, to explain a blitz, it's pretty simple. We switch companions, so I went with an English elder while Van Hook went with the other one, and we both knocked in some complexes that were close to each other. I have to say that I was not very impressed and in fact, a little sad about the English elder's ability. The elder that I was with has the same amount of time as me in the mission, and his knocking was TERRIBLE! Holy moses man, I mean this was the approach every time: "hello, we're missionaries and we share a message about Jesus Christ. Would you like to learn more?" Yikes dude. It's no wonder English elders don't rock any baptisms from knocking haha. Unfortunately, they don't baptize that many from the members either. I'll talk more about this subject when we get to the zone leader council section of Friday (D'oh! I'm always spoiling my surprises!)

Aside from the sad blitz, we had a good lesson with Oscar and Franci where she said that she loved church and is going to try to come more often.... now we just need to get Oscar to be able to get work off for church. He really believes that it's true. I think they'll get baptized in the near future.

Wednesday I read a cool scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants in section 18 during my personal study. I just finished the Book of Mormon again, so I figured now I'll go 50/50 between that and the D&C this time and see if I can't finish them both again before I die (I mean in the mission, silly!). I was pretty stoked about what it talks about between verses 33 and 36. I know here that he's talking to some who were going to be called as apostles, but it still applies to us as well as pertaining to the scriptures. This is what it says:
33And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.
34These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
35For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them;
36Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.
Kinda cool right? It also applies as to what we hear during general conference too :-) Ooh I'll talk about that in a minute too, don't worry!

so going back to Wednesday, we started off the morning right with a lesson before district meeting in Portland with a lady named Viviana. She was a new-ish person that we found knocking, and as we were teaching her, I threw out a baptismal date for kicks and giggles, and it turned out to be a good idea because she accepted it haha! She will be baptized the first of May, so we'll see what happens.
Another interesting thing about Wednesday is that I hit 18 months! Holy schnikes Richard! I'm OLD! haha
Thursday I had another cool personal study from the D&C again, and it's found in D&C 19:29-32 and it has to deal with sharing the gospel... Read it. Study it. You'll feel more compelled to do what the prophets told you during conference haha.
Another exciting thing about Thursday is that we finally finished the Sanchez bathroom 100%, and I have to say, it looks pretty dang nice haha. We also did another blitz with a different set of English elders. Yup, they still don't know anything. I love them to death, but dangit we're gonna have to teach them not to suck at life. One funny thing that did happen while we were knocking though is that I met a guy who answered the door with a baseball bat and I was able to talk to him for a few minutes while the English greenie (double-whammy right?) sat in shocked and fear-instilled silence haha. That's about the most exciting thing I've run into tracting thus far though.
Friday was the day of zone leader council... I ripped English elders a new one because of several reasons:
1.) They don't know how to tract
2.) They don't know how to teach
3.) They don't know how to ask for referrals
4.) They are LAZY!
I don't know if this qualifies as speaking evil against the Lord's anointed, but dang man, they need some serious help. We're teaching the English elders in our ward to not suck at life so bad so that they can have more people to teach from the members and ultimately more baptisms, because right now, we (the Spanish elders) are getting more referrals from the English members than they are.
We presented some ideas to President Dyches as well as the other zone leaders, and I think I made a lot of enemies with the English elders because, well, I threw them under the bus where they belong haha. Maybe I'm visionary, but I could see them being so freaking successful with all of the resources that they have in the English wards here, and they aren't utilizing ANY of it! Can you tell I get a little fired up sometimes out here? Goodness I'll stop ranting now, I promise. In short, we're doing a lot more training/practice with the English elders (mixed with us to a certain extent) so that they can actually find and baptize the Lord's elect.
The thing that topped off the night on Friday wasn't the usual soccer, but the meal that came before it. We ate with the Farb family, and they usually have these extravagant, wonderful meals, and this day was a little different. I was a little confused, because instead of the usual dining ware that she has out, there was a bunch of ghetto silverware, like spoons with holes drilled in them, forks with the pointy things (don't know the name of them) all twisted and bent up like corkscrews, and it was kinda dark in the dining room. Anyways, she said that we were going to start out with dessert, and I was kind of confused. She brought out some "sundaes", and then I finally caught on. I realized that it was april fools day! These "sundaes that she had made for us looked like vanilla ice cream on a big brownie with chocolate sauce and a cherry on top, but they turned out to be mashed potatoes on top of a steak with dark brown gravy and a grape tomato (go figure) with a little stem sticking out of it for the finishing touch. It. Was. Good! After that we finished up with "the main course" which looked like spaghetti, which was actually a cake with the frosting squeezed out on top to make it look like it was... dang it was good. Not quite as good as your april fools jokes or food though mom, don't worry :-).
So, Saturday and Sunday... I don't want to get too far into the nitty-gritty of what every talk that I liked was about, but this is what I mainly got out of it (dang, I'm gonna have two lists in my email!):
1.) We need to seek personal revelation to have a stronger personal testimony
2.) As members, we need to find more opportunities to serve those who aren't members. (remember what M. Russell Ballard said: baptisms don't come from knocking doors... they come from people the members are friends with!)
3.) As members of the church, we need to share the gospel! (refer to the above parenthesized sentence haha)
4.) If you're single, get married soon. If you're married, do all you can to stay that way!
Good counsels for all of us, right? I know that these men (and women) are called of God to speak his words in these conferences. I hope you paid attention to what President Monson said in his closing remarks. He said that when the May issue of the Ensign comes out that we read over it and study it. Do you know why? Because it's the word of God! This is literally like scripture in newsprint! I hope that you'll do that when you get your copies. That way, the next time you tell someone "yeah we believe in prophets" and they ask you "oh really, what does he say?" instead of saying "oh !@#$#^%" you can actually have an intelligible response to help them know that it's important to you.... our biggest claim of the modern day is modern revelation, and if you think it's really that important, STUDY THE WORDS OF THE LIVING PROPHETS! Okay, no more rants I promise haha.
So, that was about the excitement for the week, really. Nothing too terribly important to report as far as investigators right now... we're still knocking and teaching up a storm... we just need to get a couple more solid people and get our branch started. For the meantime, we're firing up the English ward and teaching our Spanish brethren of the group to get, well, their poop in a group (actually, I'd prefer a branch haha).
Speaking of Katie and Dad as well, I wanted to thank you both for the awesome letters you sent to me last week. I apologize that I haven't sent you personal responses yet, but I really appreciate your words of encouragement. At times I feel like it'd be more effective to shoot myself or something instead of deal with this group haha. The days that I received your letters, you really gave me a boost that I desperately needed. It's not that I'm not working, it's just at times I don't feel effective because, well, I'm not baptizing like in Woodburn haha. Anyways, thank you so much for your awesome letters and for the spirit that you bring to MY life. I know we're out here and feeling the Spirit and receiving revelation, but that doesn't mean that we don't need spiritual strength from our loved ones.
I love you guys so much (you too mom!) and I am so glad to hear that you're all kickin' butt and taking names. Keep doing the good things, stop doing the bad, and things will be fine. Like President Packer said: "forgive a lot, repent a little, and the Lord will pour out his choicest blessings."
Talk to ya next week.
All my love,

-Elder Kurt Kay Mooney