Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Photos at last!

Elder Mooney with Elder Anderson, his new companion

2 Weeks' Worth

Dearest family,

Okay, buckle up, cause this is gonna be an email of epic proportions to try to make up for the lack of time spent last week, as well as to try to recount all of the last two week’s activities in a somewhat intelligible manner. Let’s start with the Monday before last shall we? I feel that it makes it seem more enjoyable to read if I pose it as a question instead of taking away your agency and just diving into what I wanna talk about, so if you don’t feel like reading what I have to write, that’s your choice I guess.

Okay, I’ll stop acting like a dork and get this letter going. The Monday before last was pretty dang sweet. We went to the driving range in the morning and smacked the crap out of the ball again… I’m afraid my slice is gettting worse though… I need some lessons or something haha. The only other excitement on the day was the trip to visit sister McBurnett (or as she’s better known, the Mad Hatter Seamstress) to get a couple of things altered. I took her my black pinstriped suit and one pair of slacks that I bought a while ago, and holy cow man. She ended up taking about five inches out of the jacket and more than three out of my suit pants… I’m excited not to look like a flippin’ gangster anymore in my suits haha they’ve been fitting a little baggy for the last couple of months.

Tuesday the 17th we had interviews with president Dyches which went really well. Mine lasted all of five minutes. That was enough time to tell me that I will be training a new zone leader and to discuss a couple of the problem children in our zone. I’ll talk more about my new companion later on seeing as we’re in process of two weeks ago right now in this letter. The only other exciting event from Tuesday was the fact that I’m fed up with Mark and Alex. Remember how we put all of their crap in a box including a gallon sized zip-loc baggy full of weed? Well, turns out that Mark still had more that he smoked every day between that appointment and when we had one the following week. I’m gonna kick his butt!

Wednesday was a more entertaining day. We had to take a trip to the mission office to drop off some old phones from our zone, and we got a little lost along the way. We took a road that we thought would be a shortcut and we ended up halfway between Newberg and Hillsboro in some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen. The sunshine made it even better J It was just such an awesome happy day for us. To top it all off, we were invited to dinner by elder Wilde’s old boss and he took us to a little place called Ringside Steakhouse. That doesn’t mean a whole lot to anyone reading this email aside from maybe dad, but to get you clued in, this place is in the top 10 steakhouses in the U.S. and is super posh. The food was AMAZING! We ate and talked shop a little bit about what Wilde is gonna do when he gets back. He worked for Invisible Shield and actually might be opening up a few new locations in Arizona. Wilde’s boss paid for everything (over $200 for three people!) on a business card and Wilde said “as part of coming back, I demand that you let me have one of those cards.” I told him that him getting one of those cards was about as likely as me opening up Invisible shield for his boss in California. His boss then said “the card’s not gonna happen, but you opening up California might." Prophecy to put me through school? We’ll see what happens.

Thursday we went to the temple. Gosh I love going to that place. Especially the Portland temple because its so beautiful! That was about the only excitement aside from splits with the Woodhaven ward where we found like five part member families that we’re gonna start teaching.

Friday, I went on exchange with elder Falslev here in Sherwood and it went really well. A lot of service and tracting before switching back with Wilde a little early because we forgot that he was having a goodbye dinner with the Jarmin family. Holy cow we ate a ton of food! I tell ya, I definitely can’t pack it away like I used to.

Saturday turned into a service extravaganza where we borrowed the stake president’s power washer and helped the Steers family strip the paint off of their deck so that they can refinish it. One other funny thing from that day was that we got bikes! Elder Wilde and I realized that it would be a good idea to use them to save miles as well as stay in shape. We only took two trips of less than two miles a piece, but holy cow we were dying! I guess I need to ride more haha.

Sunday was, well, Sunday. Nothing too exciting to report there aside from the fact that Mark and Alex didn’t show up to church and neither did Scott Cunningham.

Now for the news on the week before Elder Wilde took off for home:

Monday, I made a stupid purchase... I got kinda pressured into something that I didn't want to buy, but to be honest really love haha. I bought myself a pair of jeans, so I'll be sending you the money in the mail this week to reimburse for my idiotic splurging :-P

Tuesday, we had a "last grand hurrah" lunch with Brother Demaris (ward mission leader in Cedar Creek ward). It was pretty sweet because he speaks Spanish too and we went to this place called Mazatlan here in Sherwood and it was legit! I had mole for the first time in like three months and it was amazing! Oh my goodness I had a food coma afterward though because I'm not used to eating that kind of food anymore haha. It was fun to talk with people in Spanish, and I'm pretty sure they hooked me up with some better food because I spoke to them :-). Other than that, sister Delong has gotten me in the habit of playing the piano again (no, not practicing... that's different haha) and I'm liking it a lot! She loves the old classic songs as well as the great musicals that she directed while she was teaching theatre at the U (holy cow this woman is amazing!), so we spend a good chunk of time when we get home until about midnight playing pieces from Les Miserables, Phantom, even stuff like "Georgia on My Mind", "At Last", "You Don't Know Me", and a couple of other classy songs like "La Vie en Rose". I still don't sight read very well, but I sure am learning to play chords like nobody's business haha. It's really fun!

Wednesday, I went on exchange with Elder Cox, one of my good buddies from Salem, and it was a blast! We had to do it because Wilde and Elder Cox's companion were having their exit interviews, so we spent the day teaching, talking, and laughing (in order of importance/time dedicated). We've both seen a real transformation here in the mission field to the point where we really are two completely different individuals from who we were when we first started the mission, and it's awesome. Because of it, we've both grown really close and become like best friends. I'm pretty excited to hang out with him after the mission. He almost had me convinced to move in with him at his grandparents house and go to Dixie with him, but I found out that the block classes that they're offering won't do anything for me, so I'm not gonna do it. Well, we'll see, but I doubt it unless I get a full ride. However, if I worked for Elder Wilde's boss, I could manage Invisible Shield down there (make bank) and live for free while going to school, so that would be sweet.

Thursday, we had another exchange together, and decided to do our mormon.org time at the library here in Sherwood. Elder Wilde had taken the car, so we decided to ride bikes down there. It was a pleasant ride on the way down, but on the way back, we had a not so pleasant surprise that I've heard called the "juneuary effect" where it looks like it's June for a minute, but then you find out that it's a mixture of January and June in that you suddenly have spurts of January rain. We. Got. Soaked! Just as we started to ride back to the house, the rain kicked up and we got absolutely soaked! Not just kinda, but seriously like competely DRENCHED! I now can say that I've gotten soaked and ridden a bike, so those dang English elders got nothin' on me :-P

That night turned out to be pretty sweet once we got home and started talking to sister Delong. We had one of those meaning of life talks where we just discussed all of the fears of post-mission life and what it is that we need to do. Elder Wilde wasn't feeling well, so he crashed early and I was able to talk to her until about 11:30 by myself. Gosh I love that lady a lot. I've gotta find a way to be related to her haha.

Friday we did some service with that lady Cher and finally found out what it meant to "have a sparkle with Jesus"! It means to have a toast to him (with something bubbly... not alcoholic I'm sure haha) and all of the things that he's given you. We were toasting to modern-day revelation, the restoration, the pearl of great price, the inspired translation of the bible, etc.. All things that were well over Cher's head, but quite amusing to throw out there haha.

For lunch that day, we went with Mark, Brent, and Ken, and I got to talk to Brent about the time he spent living in Spain, and I have to say, he's got me more than halfway convinced that I need to go over there and either do a semester abroad or just plain live there for six months or so. He was telling me all about Valencia... I really wanna go there! Gosh I'm being pulled in a lot of different directions haha. There's the pull to stay home, to go to California with Kyle, to go to St. George with Coxie, to go to Spain for myself, to go to Mexico with Rangel, and a whole mess of other stuff... guess I'll figure it out eventually.

Dinner that night we ate with Ken and his wife at a place called Buggatti's, and it was scrumptious. Gosh I love italian food and hanging out with super sweet members. I think we're covertly going to take over the ward he's in and get some baptisms haha. He's in the Sherwood ward, and Elder Wilde knows a bunch of people from there.

Saturday we went to the farmers market and met up with one of Wilde's recent converts and talked for a bit... nothing too exciting, but her mom is an ex-member who is supportive of her daughter being a member. Strange eh? Turns out she got her name removed because she "didn't want to be a burden to the ward" because she'd been inactive for 15 years... I'm gonna get her back to church.

That night we had goodbye party number who knows what at the Hales home where we ate killer BBQ salads, a mountain of desserts, and played Mafia til it was time to go home.. it was a good time.

Sunday was just a mess of goodbyes and parties haha. We went to all three Sherwood wards and said goodbye, had dinner at the Steers house and then partied after. At the Steers, they fed us the most GIGANTIC potatoes EVER! I've seriously never eaten a bigger potato in my life! The thing had to weigh at least three or four pounds. They told me I had to finish it to be accepted as the awesome elder after Wilde left or I'd be shunned. I finished it. Not the skin, but everything else. I thought I was going to die haha. Mission accomplished though haha. After that, we went to a party at the Dowdle's home (yeah, like the owners of Dowdle folk art) and had a party with more than 150 people there. Ridiculous right? Elder Wilde is such a freaking stud that everyone loves him.

Yesterday was transfers, and I'm sad that elder Wilde is gone... we're gonna be good buddies after the mission. You know something funny though? I don't envy him at all and I'm not trunky in the slightest degree. I'm more scared than anything. The jokes are always fun, but as far as actually being having to go home, I'm scared to death. I don't want to yet, and thank goodness I still have a few months left in me. My new companion's name is elder Anderson. I don't know him super well, but he's from Kaysville, and seems to be a good kid. I'll attach a picture or two so you can see him... oh and elder Wilde too haha

I love ya guys. Have a great week.

-Elder Mooney

Monday, May 23, 2011

Short and Sweet

Hey mom!

Okay, so elder Wilde doesn't wanna waste his last P-day emailing, so I'm just gonna email next week and fill in the fun details, okay?

Love ya!

Elder Mooney

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Sky High"

2011 May 16
Dearest Mom,

Well, it's been an interesting week to say the least haha. The highest of highs and the sickest of sicks (not myself though, don't worry!). Monday was a total party it was sweet! We went to the driving range in the morning to do a little golfing and chipping work... I'm getting rid of my slice which is nice for my golf game I guess, but man I think I threw out my back or something for a day or two. However, it might be a combination of what we did after the driving range... we went to a place called "Sky High" which is almost exactly like "Jump on It" in Utah. It was nuts! There were 39 missionaries there which definitely spelled trouble. We had taken ourselves and 10 other elders from our zone to play around, but realized that we had made a big boo-boo in that when we got there, the Spanish south zone was having their zone activity at the same time, so that brought us up to a total of 26 missionaries (that in and of itself would have been too many). On top of that, there was a group of what I would entitle "idiot elders" that had commandeered the mission van from the mission home, and picked up ten or so other elders from various outlying areas in the mission such as Scappoose, St. Helens, and Astoria... They. Are. Idiots. The funny thing is that they got what was coming to them. One of the R-tards from Astoria ended up breaking his ankle. I would venture to say that's because the Lord can't protect you when you aren't being obedient. Anyway, it turned into a big fiasco where we ended up attending a 9:00 at night meeting with pres. Dyches and got Sky High banned from missionary entertainment forever. It's kinda sad too because I learned how to do a back flip (now I can actually do it whenever I want) and I also learned how to do a gainer... guess I'll just have to wait to utilize those skills 'til after the mission haha.

Tuesday was kind of a fun day. We had a really good district meeting where we had a funny getting to know you game. Elder Gossett was in charge of it, and here's what we did: he had a big bowl covered with a bandana. What we had to do was pick out an object (without seeing it) from it, and then you had to describe your companion by likening him unto that object. There were such items as a magnetic fridge clip, a zipper, a pregnancy test, and I don't even remember what else. Anyway, it was just really funny and kind of a creative way to get the elders of our district to know each other.
After the district meeting was over, we headed back to Sis. DeLong's house and did a little bit of service. We noticed the other day that when it rained, her gutters overflowed along the front of the house, so we figured we'd clean them out. Holy Moses it was a good idea that we did... those things were chock-full of filth! We ended up cleaning out not only along the front, but also along the sides and back of the house because ALL of the gutters were full of probably 5-10 year old plant litter, moss, and sand from the shingles that had eroded off. Ridiculous. That's all I can say to describe it is ridiculous. The good part is that now they work like a charm haha.
After we had entertained ourselves sufficiently with that, we helped one of our investigators (Mark) to empty out his old apartment in McMinnville which took a good chunk of time. It gave us a great opportunity to talk to him for a long time as the drive from Sherwood to Mac is about half an hour. That night, we had a lesson with him and his (hopefully) soon-to-be wifey Alex where we helped them make a list of things that they wanted to put in a box so that the spirit would be unrestrained in their lives. We did so, and holy cow it was really funny how much stuff they put in there. We had originally planned to take the box with us so that they couldn't be tempted by it, but then we realized that we couldn't. I'll tell ya why. Turns out that Mark smokes weed... A LOT of weed. We ended up putting about an ounce of weed in a zip-loc gallon bag inside the box along with a coffee maker and a plethora of other random objects haha. Long story short, they're in for one heck of a week!

Wednesday, I had to roll my eyes as for the first time in English, someone pulled out Revelations 22 on me to tell me that we add to the bible, so I proceeded to give her a history lesson on the bible. She's reading the Book of Mormon now haha. Her name is Tia, and she's the sweetest old lady ever... it's not her fault that she grew up in a Christian church.

Thursday, we studied, planned, then tracted for a couple of hours before dinner. We ended up only talking to two people... each of them for about 45 minutes haha. The thing that's sweet is that at first, they wanted nothing to do with us, and then we ended up talking to them for a good while, and found out that they both have good friends that are LDS in the area, and that they even eat dinner with them once in a while. Golden contacts. I'm excited to see if we can teach them in the future :-)

Friday, I went on an exchange with a greenie in a bike area for the first time, and I have to admit, it was pretty exciting! I actually really like riding a bike haha. I know you're all gonna think I'm a dork, but I plan on getting a road bike when I get back because 1: I really do enjoy riding a bike (and I miss it a lot) and 2: because I've got more of a biker build now... I'm down to 185 as of this morning :-) The one sad thing is that we had to end the exchange early because we found out around 6:00 that elder Wilde was sick, so I cruised back to the house and that's where I've been for the past few days. We couldn't leave to go anywhere because it turns out that Wilde got the flu bug. I passed the time catching up in my journal, studying my scriptures, and writing letters. Oh and I picked up a new "for kicks and giggles" hobby... sewing haha. I spent a good chunk of time tailoring up my shirts (not destroying them, don't worry) and dinking around experimenting with different cuts and seams... I'll have to take some pictures of it or something. anyway, that was about all of the excitement for the weekend. That and lots and lots of talking with Sister DeLong as well as flying a toy helicopter that elder Wilde bought last P-day haha.

Anyway, I love you guys a lot and I hope that you have a great week. Say hi to Jess and wish her the best of luck for me.. I hope that things turn out well for her wedding.

Talk to ya next week!

-Elder Kurt Mooney

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dear Mom,

Okay, so I suck at life and I haven't gotten the address yet, so I'm gonna pull it off of the white pages really quickly hang on. Okay, here it is:

18073 SW Parrish Ln
Sherwood, OR 97140

I hope I get a boatload of letters for putting this on here because I haven't gotten squat in the last two weeks aside from the package that you sent me for Easter... granted there is a pile of letters sitting on my desk waiting to be responded to, so maybe I should get my rear in gear and actually send some off haha... it's just a big effort and it makes it even worse that we're dealing with a lot more time-consuming items of business here in Sherwood than in my other areas.

Last p-day went all right... dangit I hate having to wing these emails without my planner on me because that's where I write down all the funny things from each day so I know what to write home about lol. We ended up hanging out with elder Cox and elder Falslev and doing a little bit of shopping for new shirts because mine are getting kinda trashed, so I bought three and they look pretty dang nice. One nice thing about being in this English area is that it's helping me to get my body back to the way that it was once upon a time haha. I'm actually down to 188 lbs as of this morning... it's sweet! I've shed a lot of the fat (and muscle mass) that I used to have, so now my suits fit baggy and I'm gonna have to get them tailored while we're here in Sherwood. The nice thing is that there is a lady who will tailor our stuff for free, so I'm gonna ask her to do it for me. I love free hookups!

On Tuesday, we had a combined district meeting with the districts covering Sherwood, Tualatin, and Tigard (although there are only two districts) and did a little training on the revolution. We came to the realization that if we really want these elders to work, we're just going to have to keep our standards of excellence high and hold them accountable for the work that they do. We taught them about teaching the members and getting referrals that way as well as effective tracting instead of just "80 contact"ing it to reach that goal. After we finished with that we had a productive night where we talked to the Jarmin family. I know this sounds weird, but I think I knew the guy from Utah. He said that he used to live in Provo in those apartments up by grandma and grandpas that are kind of the party apartments by Y mountain. He has some brothers and stuff that live in the Orem area as well though, but he looked really familiar. Anyway, his wife isn't a member and has not had a super good relation with missionaries in the past, but we've got her in our pocket now and they're gonna have us over for a barbecue in a week or two :-)

Wednesday we went to the McMinnville district meeting... holy mess! President Dyches put Elder Wilde and I together simply to keep them under wraps I think... they're a mess! There are two companionships that are okay, but the other three have disaster written all over them. I'll tell ya more about them in the Thursday paragraph. We kinda let the district leader crash and burn in the meeting and just took notes on what we were going to talk to him about.

That night Dr. Feelgood struck again! We're teaching a couple whose names are Mark and Alex (Alejandra... she's Mexican, not a guy, don't worry. This is Oregon, but I couldn't deal with that on my show if she was a guy! haha) Basically what happened is that they just had a baby boy and Mark's brother is a jerk and was planting seeds of doubt as to whether or not it was his kid, so Mark talked to Alex about getting a paternity test which deeply offended her, so he dropped the subject. Unfortunately, he ended up getting it behind her back and REALLY made her mad. Anyway, they asked us to come over and talk to them about it. I basically used it as a time to call them both out on being prideful suckers as well as lazy in the things of the gospel (they don't read their scriptures or pray together) and used it as a springboard into active investigation so that Mark can get baptized, she can return to activity, and we can save their sinking ship of a relationship. Dr. Feelgood strikes again!

That night we got some info from a couple elders that some missionaries out in Mac (McMinnville) might have some apostate materials, so Thursday morning we took a little trip out to their apartment at like 8:30. We found them still asleep. We separated them and sat them down for basically PPI's, and I was the one picked to talk to the elder who supposedly had an ipod and a nintendo DS. He told me a sob story about how everyone in his old area was against him, how he's trying the best he can, that he makes mistakes, blah blah blah (playing the victim like a good sagaist does). I told him to cut the crap and just give up the ipod and his ds so President Dyches didn't have to come down here. He lied to my face. He told me he didn't have them, so I told him that I trusted him, but that if Pres. found out that he still did, he'd let him keep them and enjoy them on the plane out of here. We left and talked to a couple more missionaries to gather intelligence and found out that he for sure had them and lied to us, so we talked to Pres. Dyches. He then proceeded to talk to him, and he lied to President, but with a different lie than he gave me. He told me he never had those things, and he told President Dyches that he had bought one for his sister's birthday and shipped it directly to his house after two days of having it... too bad his companion that he had two weeks ago saw him with both as he left for Mac town haha.

Anyway, we had a good beatdown session with him on Sunday night again. His comp said that he sent them home, so we should be good.

Aside from that, on Thursday we went golfing with Mark at Pumpkin Ridge for FREE because he works there... I totally sucked, but it was fun anyway even though it rained like crazy.

Friday we had ZLC and were there basically all day.

Saturday, we tracted all day in the sun and found some new investigators :-)

I ran out of time, so my email is short, but I love you and I'm gonna call Sunday around 8:45 your time, okay? I know it's late, but that's the only time that we have throughout the day. I love you guys!


Elder Mooney