2011 April 19
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