Monday, September 12, 2011

"Make some good waves in the pool before you get out..."

Dearest Mommy,

Holy cow it has been HOT this week! It's seriously been the weirdest
thing ever... every single day has been over 90 except for today. The
clouds finally rolled in and we're enjoying some cooler Oregon weather
finally... kinda weird to hear that from me eh? It sounds like you
guys had a real blast down there at the beach... that's awesome! The
nightly jam session sounds like it would have been the funnest part
for sure... we might have to make that a tradition along with the
morning devotionals when I get back... it'd be fun :-)

So this week has been a little bit crazy with all that has happened,
but it's nothing unusual when you're working in a Spanish branch haha.
You already heard about Monday in last week's email, so let's start
with Tuesday. It was a wide open day with no set appointments, so we
decided to knock the heck out of Canby because there is a boat-load of
Hispanics all over the place. The only downside was that it was HOT!
Holy cow it was blazing to the point where there was nobody in the
street to talk to, so we just knocked, knocked, knocked all day long.
The funny part was that we really didn't get sick of it... we made it
fun! Ya know, when you're doing everything in your power to help
others come to Christ, and you show love toward those you come in
contact with, it doesn't matter what they say to you or how they
react. You know the Lord is happy with what you're doing, and that
you're being guided by Him to touch their lives and try to brighten
their day. We ended up finding a couple of great potentials that we
set up appointments with, but didn't have any lessons... the whole
Because of that, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice carne asada
with some home-made green salsa with avocado. Oh yeah, our dinner
canceled on us haha. So anyway, in spite of the adversary's best
efforts to make our day miserable, we had a total blast and were able
to keep our spirits high.

Wednesday, we had our district meeting out in Newberg again, which
went well... although driving out there is a total day killer for the
most part. After getting back at around 3:00 in the afternoon or so,
we did some knocking and found a sweet guy named Rodolfo. He's met
missionaries before, and even had a book of Mormon, but has never
actually read the thing or understood the purpose of it, so we had a
nice little restoration lesson and topped it off with personal
revelation. Long of the short of it: he's gonna read the book and
pray about it :-).
After that, to finish off the night we had a lesson with a lady named
Jessica, and wouldn't ya know it... we got on the subject of all the
CRAZY stuff that people tell us as missionaries and the amount of
counseling that we end up doing, and then she said, "well let me talk
to you about a situation that I'm having." Oh. My. Goodness... Dr.
Feelgood strikes again! I don't wanna get into the details of it and
publish it here on the internet, but my oh my it makes for a good
story when I get home.

Thursday, Elder Hernandez was scheduled for an interview with
president Morby, so we had the opportunity to go to the Woodburn
district meeting with those elders... and ended up being there almost
all day haha. It was such a sweet experience to be able to talk with
those elders while they were there, and then to sit down with sister
Morby and chat with her for almost an hour... she is freakin' awesome!
She's actually good friends with the Travellers from St. George Mom,
so maybe you'd know her? I don't know... it's a stretch, but ya never
know :-P
Anyway, after talking to sister Morby for a while, I also had a little
chat with president Morby in an informal kind of interview, and it was
sweet. He's looking to make elder Hernandez the district leader after
I leave, and he also wants me to do some training with the elders in
this district so that they can be better trainers... kind of apply my
old fogey missionary wisdom to them I guess... not sure how wise that
wisdom really is, but hopefully it helps. The biggest thing they need
is help learning Spanish haha.
One thing that was cool at the end of that meeting though, happened as
we were walking to our cars. President Morby said "Elder Mooney, you
have four weeks left as a full-time missionary. They always say that
a baptism is the crowning achievement of an elder's mission... see if
you can get one right as you go home, so you can go out with a bang?"
We're doing our darndest to make that one happen now :-)
As far as doing our darndest, we had a sweet experience later that day
that might be related. we prayed before going out knocking doors to
be able to find the elect and help them to find the truth in our
message. Nothing amazing or out of the ordinary in a prayer, but
maybe with a little bit more "oomph" behind it with four weeks to go.
Anyway, we went to this complex, knocked the first door and met a lady
who was a less-active member... who was now a baptized Jehovah's
Witness! NOOOOOOO!!!!! Talk about turning away from the light!
However, the second door we knocked happened to be answered by her 45
year-old daughter who lives next door. Now, she's kind of a disaster
and has definitely lived a pretty hard life, but the thing that was
sweet was that we came to find out that she was trying to find THE
church. Not just A church, but the right one. She recognized that
there are a lot of them, they all say they're right, and that there
has to be a right answer-- none of that "all churches are good" crap.
The best part about it was that she said that the JW's probably
weren't right haha. She really wants to get to know God and live her
life in accordance to His will, so teaching her the restoration was
absolutely MONEY! We're way excited to keep teaching her and
hopefully she can be "the one." The best part about that lesson?
She's living with a less-active member who wants to come back to
church and just happened to pray about it that week. Coincidence? I
think not! I'll keep you guys posted on what happens.

Friday was a full day of knocking once again, and it was sweet! There
were some decent appointments set up for next week, but the best part
about it were the two funny things that happened:
1: so there we were, out knocking doors at this super ghetto
apartment complex. We knocked this one door, no answer. We knocked
it again, and didn't get a response, so we decided to ring the
doorbell. Now, it's not one of those that's wired to the house...
it's one that you buy at Wal-Mart for ten bucks that has a remote
control doorbell that you stick on your front porch with double-sided
tape and then put the doorbell inside the house. anyway, this
particular doorbell was kind of falling off, and I, being the genius
that I am, decided to tug at it a little bit. It came right off in my
hand, and so after muttering "oh crap!" I then proceeded to press it
firmly back into place with the tape. It stayed there... for about
five seconds. Suddenly, this little dinger decided it had had enough,
and took a flying suicide leap off the side of the house as if
screaming "so long, cruel world!" as it plummeted toward the sidewalk.
I kinda felt like Ralphie off of 'A Christmas Story' when he drops
the hubcap full of lug-nuts and says "oooooohhhhh ffffffuuuuuudge!"
because it seemed to fall in slow motion, and when it hit the ground,
it didn't just hit and bounce--oh no... it exploded on impact! There
was a spring, the button popped off, the battery cover broke, and the
battery shot out as well. As soon as it happened, Hernandez and I
looked at each other for a split second, then we bailed to the next
door! Luckily there were privacy fences separating them, but gosh we
felt like such dorks afterward haha. The exciting life of a
missionary right?

2: The other funny story was while we were driving trying to scope
out a good pocket of paisa where we could knock off this country road
just outside of Canby. we saw this really long, really straight road
with houses on either side of it just randomly, and decided to
investigate a little bit and see if some of the houses were paisa.
Upon driving in, though, we came to realize something... IT WAS A
FRIGGIN' AIRSTRIP! Holy crap! Not only that, but ALL the residents
in this cute little suburban (except not) neighborhood had huge
garages attached to their houses WITH PLANES IN THEM!!! There was a
pretty funny sign at the entrance that said "residents and guests
only... please yield to airplanes" Well der... what else are ya gonna
do? You'll have to see the picture cause it was kinda comical :-)

Okay, so Saturday. We had a stake presidents breakfast out in Oregon
city, and it kinda made me sad... it was the last one of my mission!
Missions are full of "firsts" and "lasts," but for some reason, all
the lasts seem to be really, really depressing. This was a good one,
though. In every one of these meetings, a member of the mission
presidency comes, and in this area, president Stone is the
counselor-- the same one who did it while I was in Beaverton, and we
have a pretty good relationship. He was excited to see that I'd gone
back to Spanish, and more specifically in this area. The reason why
is that this area has kinda died off in the last year because of some
elders that were...well... less than obedient and less than skillful.
So, president Stone said, "I'm sad that you've only got a few weeks
left and a lot of work ahead of you...see if you can make some good
waves in the pool before you get out!" Does that mean do some repair
Anyway, the only other exciting things that happened that day were
that we stole an organ from the English elders apartment, which was
definitely a good idea... I've missed playing music at nights after
planning, etc... like I said, we'll have to make it a tradition when I
get back :-)
I think by doing that, however, I shot myself in the foot, because
Sunday rolled around, and all of a sudden, EVERYONE knew that I play
the piano and can sing! Ridiculous! I had to play the piano for
Sunday school, teach the priesthood how to sing a hymn on pitch and in
rhythm, then play the intermediate and closing hymns in Sacrament
meeting! I guess I'll just have to start practicing now... do some
deathbed repentance on not utilizing my talents earlier on in the
mission haha.
So jumping back to the stake presidency breakfast comment from
president Stone, I've kinda come to the conclusion that on the mission
there are several different types of work: there's the work of
reaping, the work of sowing, the work of watering/weeding, and the
work of clearing the fields... Woodburn was a time of reaping, sowing
and watering, Beaverton of clearing the fields, Sherwood of reaping,
sowing, and watering. As for Molalla, I feel like there's a lot of
field clearing to be done... as well as sowing... and hopefully we can
make reaping a part of that process as well :-) But yeah, sometimes
you're planting and caring for seeds that will pay dividends in the
future, sometimes you're reaping the rewards of other elders' work,
and sometimes you're chopping down trees and digging out the stumps
that were left to grow by previous elders so that you can plow
straight furrows for the next ones who come along to plant. Looking
over the course of the mission, about a quarter of it has been
dedicated to doing the "clearing," and now that I'm here in Molalla, I
feel that maybe that's what I've been called to do. To be honest,
you'll hear no complaints about it. This place is awesome. The thing
that made it really interesting was that during Sunday school as I was
thinking about this to myself, we read a scripture that HAD to have
been the Lord trying to speak to me. it's in 1Corinthians 3:5-9
Sometimes you boo-hoo a little bit because you don't feel that you're
being effective as a missionary because you're not knocking 'em dead
with baptisms, but reading this gave me some comfort because it helps
you to recognize your role and who is really important in all of this:

"5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye
believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

"6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

"7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that
watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

"8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man
shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

"9 For we are labourers together with God..."

The other one that kind makes me feel good is found in chapter one of
the same book :-)

"17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not
with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;
but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

To finish it off, it makes me think of our mission scripture as well as my own:

3Nephi 5:13:
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the son of God. I have been
called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might
have everlasting life.

Moroni 9:6
"And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor
diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought
under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this
tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all
righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God."

I know to what I have been called and what I am to do. My only lament
is that I have so little time left to do it. I pray that the Lord
will continue to strengthen me as I come to the close of this
wonderful mission so that I can finish strong and continue to labor
diligently and help those around me obtain that everlasting life.

I love you guys so much, and I'm so thankful for the love and support
that I feel... even if it makes me excited to get home sometimes haha.
Be safe, stay strong in the gospel, and I'll talk to you next week!

Con carino siempre,

-Elder Mooney

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