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