Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Praise the Lord - I'm dyin' in Sherwood!

2011 July 11
Dearest Mommy,

Holy cow this has been an eventful week, so brace yourself, okay?

So, to start off this whole shebang, let's begin with last Tuesday after we finished emails. Just as we were about to finish up and log off, we got an email from the mission office saying that they needed stake reports info emailed in for both the tualatin and mcminnville stakes by 5:00, so we were sent scrambling trying to find the numbers, get them punched in, and get them off in time... holy stressful mess! It wouldn't have been so bad, but we found out that there's a limit to how much time you can spend on the computers in the library, so we ended up not being able to use those, frantically searching for a key, and running to the clerk's office in the church to get them done on time. Luckily, we got it done under the gun with like 20 minutes to spare haha.

Wednesday was the day for zone conference with our new mission president Morby so that he could go through and interview every single missionary... basically it ended up being the AP's and ourselves (elder Anderson and I) babysitting four zones by giving them extensive training on how to use the new DVD players and focus on the fundamentals of preach my gospel. It really wasn't too bad, but I'm a little disappointed that we forgot to bring the DVD player that president Dyches had assigned to us, because we had a perfect plan of how we were going to do a "demonstration." We were planning on having one of us fake watching an unapproved movie on it and have the other companion come in with a hammer to smash it to pieces, and then tell the rest of the missionaries that's what we'll do if they watch unapproved material on them. We didn't, however, so we gave a more grown-up training where we showed them "how to use the pause button effectively during companionship study to improve teaching skills".... sounds idiotic, but hey, it's what they asked us to do for the training. We made sure to make pauses to point out how one dude had really short arms in proportion to his body, the funny faces some of the people made, and to hear some comments from the peanut gallery about their teaching techniques... it was actually kinda fun :-)

That night, we had the most crazy awesome splits ever. So you remember how we talked about Jared, Mia, and Allie right? Well, I think that fateful fourth of July night after we left put that awesome trio into some deep thinking after we'd shared our experiences of life before the mission and how we were able to change to come out. To make a long story short, elder Anderson went to the lesson on splits Wednesday night with Clint Demaris (WML) and I went to some visit some other people, and it turns out that during the lesson, Jared said that he was going to separate from Mia and move back to Texas to prepare for his mission while she moves back to Colorado to live with her family and continue learning from the missionaries there to get ready for baptism! Boom! At the drop of a hat! It's amazing how if someone is willing to act they can have that much spiritual influence exercised in their life. Allie decided to stay and continue going to church here and keep learning about the gospel. Pretty sweet, eh? We're continuing to teach Allie who already has such a solid testimony it's awesome, and we're planning on keeping in close contact with the other two so that we can make sure that they stay strong and don't get lost in the process... they're all such freakin' awesome kids I love them! There's more to the story with these three as the week goes along, and it's a lot more in-depth than I'm describing it, you guys at least have to hear this part of it.

On Thursday, we did some service for Scott and Heidi at the house where we seriously tore the crap out of their lawn by digging out all the weeds growing in it and trying to make it look really good. We're planning on coming back next week to weed-n-feed the whole thing and fill in the holes with some potting soil and grass seed so it'll grow in nice and thick... it's a major project, but Scott deserves it along with his two daughters... they're sweet. Actually, one of the cool things that happened this last time is we had the opportunity to talk with Scott's oldest daughter Sam while she was out picking cherries out of the tree and we were digging weeds. She's been super distanced the whole time I've known her because I think her church talks a little smack on the Mormons, but she warmed up and was chatting it up about her job, the truck she drives, and just life in general... we even convinced her to come out to Keltapalooza (a party for Kelton, the former elder Wilde... I'm getting there don't worry) at the Steers on Sunday night. Anyway, hopefully we can start teaching her and get her going to church or something, cause she's a super sweet kid... has the exact same personality as her dad, it's way cool.

After doing that, we headed back to the house and got changed so we could go say goodbye to Jared and Mia before they took off for their respective homes (like I said, at the drop of a hat!) and talk for a little bit... it just blows my mind the amount of faith that these three have shown to be willing to act just like that. We made sure to jot down their numbers and email addresses, and get Mia's address so the missionaries could visit her... I think they even got us added on facebook I'm not sure haha. Anyway, that was way cool.

Friday, we were on exchange, so elder Anderson took a trip to Tigard to work with elder Shupe, and I was here in Sherwood with his companion elder Bowthorpe. It's funny how you have a predetermined mindset about a person before you get to know them... I thought the kid was a jerk to be honest when I first met him, but now I realize that he's way sweet and just super shy and humble. We spent the morning doing some service for my DCBFF (diet coke best friend forever) in the cedar creek ward, sister Barker. It was pretty funny how much coke she has in her food storage... like she probably has more of that than any other commodity haha. I think it's because in all reality, you can survive off of just diet coke for quite a while :-)

Anyway, we did about the same thing with sister Barker as we did with Scott's lawn, but to a more extreme level. We were digging out entire patches of lawn where moss had killed off the grass and re-planting with grass seed mix... hopefully with some watering, weed-n-feed, and time, we can get it in working order again.... gosh maybe I should be a landscaping major or something, cause I'm seriously loving yard work right now haha. I have another story about it on Saturday for sister DeLong that I'll tell ya.

Oh, one more funny thing about Friday was that we helped Mark and Alex move out of their townhouse to be closer to Mark's work. While cleaning out their freezer, we found another gallon zip-loc baggie chock-full of weed haha. His wifey said when I showed it to her "uh.. it's just green beans" but it was pretty funny... goodness she was very adamant about keeping a hold of those green beans after I pulled them out of the freezer :-P

So Saturday morning we were supposed to get to McMinnville's SPC breakfast, and we got totally lost and didn't find it till the last 20 minutes of it haha. It's a terrible thing when your GPS dies and you have no phone signal on the back roads of Mac... goodness it made for some good rallying in that Malibu though :-)

After the breakfast, we did another exchange with Cox and Wohlleben to keep them from killing each other, and because we found out that Kelton (elder Wilde) was up visiting. Before seeing him, we did some work in sister DeLong's yard, and holy moses we found out something interesting. Where we thought there was a bush in the front right by the walkway turned out to be a tree that should have covered a patio! We hacked the crap out of the bush and were able to make enough space to park two nice patio chairs underneath it and have room to stand up straight... pretty ridiculous, but it looks awesome. I'll take pictures for ya.

After that, we went to a dinner at the park, which was a barbecue put on for elder Wilde, and it was pretty sweet... he brought his girlfriend Erica with him as well as his mommy Kim. They're a pretty cute couple together... I don't really have much else to say about that haha. Other than that, his mom is absolutely awesome. Seriously, I talked with her more than with Kelton because he was...ahem... occupied with his girly haha. Kim and I are gonna be good friends after the mission though cause we both get along really, really well. Kinda funny eh? Maybe a little strange, but whatevs. You'll have to meet her... she's only like 20 min away in Draper.

Sunday, Allie came to church with the Steers, and it's so adorable. She might be horribly embarrassed if she read this, but it's been so cool to see the change that has come over her even in the last three weeks. The first time she came to church with Jared and Mia, both of the girls were dressed...well, not overly modest we'll put it that way haha. However, in the following two weeks, their dress became more and more modest (and not just on Sundays!) and it's so cool to see how their countenances have changed, especially Allie's. She's a kid who definitely has her head screwed on straight and is looking to do what her Heavenly Father has planned for her. The gospel changes lives as long as the people living them are willing to follow it. She's one of those people.

That night was the big Keltapalooza over at the Steers home where we ate a boatload, talked a ton, and laughed even more. It was really so much fun to be with those guys for the night. Kelton, gf, and mommy were there, the Steers minus her hubby who's working in California, and even Scott's crew and Allie were there! Holy mess it was fun!

Now for the fun part of this whole week-long experience that I forgot to tell you until now: We got transfer calls on Saturday night, and it turns out that I'm staying here in Sherwood till the end of the mish! Gardner called and said "elder Mooney, I'm so sorry... I tried. I was really pullin hard for ya. I fought tooth and nail, and well... YOU'RE STAYING IN SHERWOOD!!!!" Ah man I was so mad at him for like five seconds haha.. I was so scared of leaving this place, and it just makes me really happy to know that I'll be here to finish the mission, so I can not have to worry about getting the boot or seeing another area... just me, Anderson, and Sherwood... with Ella Rose DeLong, of course :-)

Now for the funny part. Transfers were yesterday, right? So as I'm doing my studies in the morning before we headed over, I got a call from some random area in the mission, and it turns out it's Rivera, and guess what... I'm a grandpa! A friggin' grandpa! Rivera is training a kid in English, so it's official: My posterity continues onward, thank goodness haha. Kinda funny though, right? The poor kid is training on a bike in Gresham... I gave him a knife as a father's day present so he can fight off the hobos out there where he's at haha.

After transfer meeting, we did some shopping, dropped off elder Cox and his companion the Nazi, and headed to dinner at the house. Turned out that our dinner canceled on us, but sister DeLong's granddaughter was nice enough to make us a super killer dinner complete with steak, green beans, baked potatoes, and even angel food cake (Twinkies haha) with homemade whipped cream and strawberries over the top... delicious!

Anyway, after the super sweet & thoughtful dinner, we had a lesson over at the Steers house with Allie, and it went really well. Actually, we didn't even end up talking about what we wanted to... most of the time was honestly spent hearing about how Kelton's girlfriend was like the Yoko Ono for his Beatles and how he should do better, blah, blah, blah until we were able to change the subject. To make a long story much, much shorter, we got talking about the church, her reading, and how her prayers have been going. She had a confirmation this last Sunday that this is the true church through a cool experience that she had where the Spirit kinda spoke to her, so we asked if she wanted to be baptized. She's set up to have her baptism on the 5th of August :-) the crazy thing about it? five is her lucky number and it's also her half-birthday mark... cool eh? I freakin' love being a missionary!

Okay, I apologize that this letter is so dang long, but I just want you to know that I love you so much Mom and I appreciate so much the sacrifices you guys are willing to make to let me be out here and serve the Lord... it truly has and continues to change me as a person every day... I just hope that you guys see the blessings of it as much as I do.... even if the only blessing is that it makes being around me a little more bearable haha. Have a great week and I'll talk to ya later, okay?

All my love,

-Elder Kurt Mooney

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