Monday, December 28, 2009

Reese's, Donald Duck & lots of socks!

¡Holas!

Talking on the phone with the family was incredible! After it was over my face was sore from smiling so much. The weird thing is, I can hardly remember a single thing we talked about, I just remember that it was good.

So Christmas Eve and Christmas day were pretty good. Christmas Eve we had lunch with Hermana Paillan and her daughter La Chumi (who´s a 23 year old Primary President). They gave us socks and fruit cake afterward. Then we visited Juan, Paulina, and a few other people. That night we had Dinner in the home of Anita, Camila, Paulo, and Dante. We ate shrimp ceviche with avocado, beef with a creamy mushroom sauce, little fried potato balls, green been tomato salad, and for desert we had big bowls of vanilla, chocolate, and coffee ice cream?? (One of the scoops tasted like coffee, we´re gonna have to go over the word of wisdom again). There were also truffles and sugar cookies. We also had prepared a message and games for the night, but didn´t have time to do any of it because dinner took so long. It was a really fun, really nice night though. It made Elder Boyce really homesick... Then at midnight Juan called us to say Feliz Navidad!

Oh and did you know that the tradition here in Chile is that everyone stays up until Midnight and opens presents then?? We told a bunch of people that we waited till morning to open presents and they thought we were insane.

Christmas day was really odd.. I woke up at 7:33 (the extra 3 minutes was a Christmas present) and thought it´s only 3:33 back home. Elder Boyce and Elder Maruri opened a few little gifts they´d saved (like wet-ones and finger puppets) and that was it. We cleaned and got ready like normal after that. I thought about home and the family all morning. We made Reese's and no bake cookies for various families in the ward and brought them to them (people don´t eat much peanut butter hear at all). We also sang Noche de Luz to all the houses (in parts). Everyone loved the Reese's and we have two families that want to do Noches de Hogar this week so we can make more Reese's. We then ate lunch with Vasco, counselor in the Bishopric, and his family. It was really good, but the whole meal was kinda sad. Vasco and his wife aren't able to have kids so they've been working on adopting for a long time. About 2 weeks ago they finally got their baby from a young girl who was wanting to put her baby up for adoption. They were so happy and taking such good care of the baby until all of the sudden the mother wanted it back. I´m not sure what exactly went down, but they had to give the baby back. So their Christmas was not at all what they expected it to be and was really rough. We felt so bad for them, the whole ward did. The meal was great though and afterward we sang for them. Oh and I also sang Jingle Bells as Donald Duck. At least now, they´ll never be able to forget me.. Luckily they are doing a lot better now.

The day after Christmas we sang to a few more houses we missed and received a few more gifts from people. Between the 4 of us Elders we managed to receive about 7 fruit cakes and 28 pairs of socks, pretty intense huh?

Changes were last night and guess what... I´m STILL with Elder Blankenfeld?? Haha anyways, he and I are pumped to be more obedient, more diligent, more focused, and more healthy this change (We´re gonna diet?!)

I love you all. You failed to send me Christmas pictures, but that´s OK. I´m sending you some baptism photos in this email and random others in another email. Stay strong and be good!

Love,

Elder Mooney







Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Introducing . . . Mini Matt


Just in time for the holidays, we now have a mini Matt. Have an event you think Elder Mooney would like to attend but he can't because he's on his mission? Let me know and you can borrow mini Matt too :) He's a little smaller than real life, but more portable!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas!


HO-HO-Hello!

Well HO-HO-Hello there family!

Alright, I gotta confession to make... I ALREADY OPENED ALL MY CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. I´m sorry! I couldn´t help it! They arrived last Tuesday and there was no way the other Elders were gonna let me wait so we opened them. BUT I still haven´t opened the one that says save for Christmas Eve. Please don´t be mad.

I gotta say though, you are spoiling me. Seriously, thank you so much. I can´t even remember everything you sent, there was so much. Thank you for the all of the CD´s, especially that Paul Cardall CD, we listen to it every day. The church piano and guitar music is amazing as well. Really, it´s all just TOO GOOD. Thank you for the little pecebre or manger scene, thank you for the fudge, the peanut butter white chocolate cookies, and the carmellos. They tasted amazing and Elder Blankenfeld and I made ourselves sick off fudge the other night. The ties were perfect and I loved the ASU tie (unfortunately it already has a oil stain on it from the lid to the fudge. Don´t worry, it´s still wearable). Craziest thing ever though were the signed pictures of the Christ´s baptism by Mark Mabry. You guys went all out on that! Thank you so much! I am seriously going to give those to every person we baptize. We always print them out a picture of the day they got baptized, so the combination of the two will make it that much better. The Book you sent is incredible as well. I´m guessing it´s brand new? But really, I was thinking about it and realized that if before the mission I´d gotten a book that had pictures of Jesus Christ for Christmas I wouldn´t have been thrilled. The honest truth is though, that I love it! It was a perfect gift. (Not gonna lie though, the picture of Jesus and the 12 Apostles in their Indian costumes makes us laugh every time). I can´t describe to you how perfect it all was though. Thank you so much.

I also got Melissa´s package too! Haha the Charlie Brown Christmas / Muppets Christmas CD is so ridiculously good. The CHILE pepper Christmas lights are perfect, we hung them right over the window. I love the ASU gym shorts. Seriously, I already use them all the time. Then there´s the NutterButter´s.... I don´t even have to tell you how happy that made us 4 Elders. Thank you so much Melissa and Thomashh! You guys are the best. Also, I received two letters from Melissa as well. One with pics of Tim´s birthday party (not gonna lie, those pics made me pretty happy).

K, well I´ve probably sounded all crazed and mixed up, but that´s only because I really want you all to know how grateful I am for the packages. I feel very lucky and spoiled. I´m sorry I can´t send you all anything in return (I still don´t have my debit card), but I love you guys and hope you know how awesome you´ve made this Christmas for me.

Para que sepan, Camila and Constanza´s baptisms went super well last Sunday. Constanza was baptized by her grandpa and guess who baptized Camila...? Me.. Truth is, she really didn´t care who did it, but she chose me because she knew it would be my very first one. I was extremely nervous, but pronounced her name perfectly, said my part perfectly, and we didn´t have to redo anything. It was a Christmas Miracle! The thing that makes me happiest though is that these girls now get to grow up in la primaria y las mujeres jovenes. I see how bad some peoples lives here in Chile are and how the gospel really could fix almost every problem they have. These girls now have the blessing of growing up learning about the Savior and have the gift of the Holy Ghost to help guide them. (Not to mention their part member and innactive families are now going to church again too!).

Christmas here in Chile really has begun to pick up now. A couple houses here and there now have lights up. Tons of families have there small fake little trees set up. There are gifts in the corners of peoples apartments. It´s great. This week is going to be very festive as well. Hoy día we ended our zone fast with a zone curry feast. Elder Booth and Elder Scott spent like 40 bucks making us yellow curry with chicken. It was soooooo stinkin´ good. They made way too much though, and there was tons left even after we all ate as much as we could. Tomorrow is the Christmas activity for the whole mission. It´s all supposed to be secret, but I guess we´re going to go play football for a couple hours, have an all you can eat buffet, and then we´re gonna watch a Christmas movie? We´re very excited. Thursday we work like normal, but we´re gonna sing Christmas carols and read Luke 2 with members, investigators, and anyone that´ll accept us. We´re also gonna have a stinkin´ good dinner with Vasco the 1st counselor in the bishopric. Christmas day we´re gonna work as well, but we´re allowed to eat lunch and dinner with a family. It´s all very relaxed and should be awesome. I´m definitely feeling the Christmas energy though.

Truth is though, it is really important to remember why it is we even have this holiday. And that is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The bishop gave an amazing talk this week about how gifting can invite the spirit into our lives, caroling can invite the spirit into our lives, El Viejito Pascuero (Santa Claus), decorations, food, and everything are all great things to do that invite the spirit. But we´ve gotta remember the story of the birth of Christ and how there was no room in the Inn. We have to make sure that we accept the Savior into our homes during this season. The inn keeper that rejected Joseph and Mary didn´t know he was rejecting the Savior, but we do know. We know exactly what we´re doing and that we´ve just gotta keep the right focus... Anyways, his version was much more powerful and poetic, but you get the idea. He´s an amazing bishop.

Well, I´ve gotta go. Know that I love you and that I hope you all have the happiest Christmas ever. I´m perfectly safe and happy. Enjoy the holidays and don´t worry.

Love,
Elder Mooney

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas???

Hello everyone!

Alright, first off I wanna address the whole holiday business. Holidays don`t exist. It doesn`t feel like Christmas in the least bit here. It`s about 90-95 degrees. You can`t have Christmas in this type of weather?! Anyways, there are a few houses with fake scraggily lookin` Christmas trees and a couple of houses with Christmas lights, but that`s about it. Luckily, there were 2 days this week that sort of felt Christmas-ish. On Tuesday night we had a Noche de Hogar with Anna, Paulo, Camila, y Dante. Anna is reactivating in the church and her daughter Camila is going to get baptized this Sunday. For the Noche de Hogar we ate a little bit of food then started to decorate their house for the holidays! yay! Haha but yeah, they turned on some Christmas music in spanish we put up their small tree and decorated it, put some stuff up on the wall, and began to hang Christmas lights. It was so weird cuz it made me realize that everyone at home is doing this stuff without me :S Oh well.. Then, yesterday we had lunch at the Bishop`s house. They had the nicest lookin` tree I`ve seen so far here in Chile. It wasn`t that big, but just looked good. (Which reminds me, please send me pics of our 10ft Christmas tree please!) We ate some Christmas cookies and listened to Mormon Tab Christmas music. It was really nice as well. Right now though, I have trouble even believing it`s Christmas.

Something really cool that happened this week was that I got really REALLY sick on Thursday and basically slept in the bathroom. (I didn`t really sleep in the bathroom though, the floor was too dirty. But you get the idea). The only thing that I ate that the other Elder`s didn`t was some store bought nestle manjar? But yeah, I had to stay in the Pension for a day.

I`ve realized that I really miss music this week. The other day when we were taking a collectivo (taxi-ish) to our Zone meeting, the collectivo driver turned on the radio and the song ¨Let´s Get It On¨ came on. Wow, weirdest thing ever. The four of us Elders felt embarrassed and awkward haha. It felt like a sin to hear such a song, but we enjoyed it a it. Sorry :S It was really fun to hear real music though. Right now as I`m typing at the store the song ¨Weapon of Choice¨ by Fatboy Slim just came on and it sounds like the coolest song ever. OK, I need to refocus...

The other day we ran out of toilet paper and we were running low on money so..... The Yellow Pages became our new bathroom buddy. Yesterday we saw two full on bearded ladies. No lie. Middle aged women with goatees or whatever. Made me feel funny.

The Presidential elections of Chile have been going on for the last few weeks now. The Diputado elections too. Campaigning has been intense. Practically every wall in our sector is covered in paint. One day HASBÚN will have his name covering a street and the next day all his signs will be torn down and the walls will be painted over with the name ALESSANDRI. It`s messy, crazy, and strange. Last night Piñera won as President though. It`s all interesting to watch. Truth is though, the face of HASBÚN, who`s running for Diputado, will forever be burned into my brain. His face is EVERYWHERE.

Next Sunday we have two baptisms. One of Camila and the other is Constanza. They are 9 an 10 years old. One is extremely bright and understands every principle we teach her and the other is kinda half way there. But we`re excited for them and their families. Also, we`ve been teaching a family of 6 that lives DIRECTLY in front of the chapel. Gloria (50s), Gloria (23), Romina (25), and Estefanía (14) have been listening to us pretty well though. They`ve been reading the Book of Mormon, praying, reading the pamphlets we give them, and praying. The one thing they don`t want to do though is GO TO CHURCH. You think it would be easy for them because they step outside and they`re at church, but no. We`ve been praying and fasting for them big time. I think that the can definitely progress.

Well I love you all. I miss you so much, especially since Christmas is almost here. I hope you all enjoy the holidays and eat plenty for me. Gotta run

Love,
Elder Mooney

Monday, December 7, 2009

Yep... That`s it.

Hello everyone,

So this week has been very interesting, not gonna lie. A lot of firsts, a lot of funny stories, and a few difficulties as well. I´ll try to inform you as much as I can.

Well first off, the other day I caught a fly out of the air with my bare hands... Impressed aren´t ya?

The other day, the mother of Camila, a girl we are going to baptize this week, was singing her own adaptation of The Beetles song ¨Let It Be.¨ She speaks no English so she just sings it how it sounds, ¨Larry P, Larry P, Larry P, Larry P....¨ She`s great. Haha but really she is awesome. She`s been concerned about us missionaries not having a fun Christmas so she invited us over to do a family night this Tuesday to help them decorate their house. Normally we probably wouldn`t, but since Camila is getting baptized and we`re gonna share a lesson, why not?!

Just wanted to let you all know that I`m eating plenty of hair here in the mission. Yes, hair. I probably find 1 or 2 hairs in my food or drink everyday. I´ve gotten used to it though. Who knows how many hairs I haven´t found and actually eaten though.

My favorite story of the week is the story of Marta Schulz. Elder Blankenfeld and I spent an entire day knocking doors and didn`t enter into a single house. It was a blast. We made a lot of contacts though and a few people told us we could pass by later in the week. One of the people we contacted was Marta Schulz. Little old lady walks outside and asks ¨what do you want?¨ We explain our message and she says ¨All of us here are atheists!¨ We tell her we still want to share with her and explain a little more and she says ok, but later on in the week. We ask her for her phone number and she says she has to go check to see what it was. Few moments later she return from the house holding a calendar and asks us, ¨what did you want again?¨ We explain that we wanted her phone number and she says, ¨why didn`t you say so?¨ She goes back inside the house and returns to us with the calendar and another piece of paper and hands them to us. So we just write our number and the date we`re gonna pass by. Couple days go by and it turns out the date we told her isn`t gonna work out so we ask the other elders to pass by. They actually teach her and tell us that it went really well. We were kinda shocked. They even set a second appointment for the next day. Here´s the best part though, they pass by the second day and Marta`s son comes to the door and explains to them that Marta has alzheimers disease and doesn`t remember a thing they`ve taught to her. Yep... That`s it.

This week I had to give my very first blessing! I was terrified.. What happened was, the 12 year old boy that Paulina hit with her car a couple weeks ago, died this week. She was pretty shaken up about it. So we asked her if she needed anything and she asked me to give her a blessing. It wasn`t very well spoken, poetic, or anything, but she was very grateful. The family of the boy is doing alright we hear. Paulina has been in contact with them and so have the bishopric of our ward. The family lives in another sector and we gave the reference to the missionaries there to offer any sort of help.

Then on Sunday we`re sitting in Sacrament Meeting with Juan and realize that Juan hadn`t picked anyone to confirm him a member of the church. We told him he could pick any of us missionaries, or the young mens president, or anyone. Guess who he picked.... Yep, me. I was tempted to decline and say that I wasn`t prepared, but I did it anyways. I felt like a fool afterward, but I´m still glad I did it. I´ve decided I really need to start working on the TU form of spanish so i can give better blessings.

Ok, well this has been a hard week. I`ve missed home alot and missed everybody, but I realize I just gotta keep working through it. Thanks for all your emails, letters, and support. Mom, Dad, Diana, Kelly, Oh and thanks Melissa, Tom, Sister Knighton, Olivia, Summer, and Hunter Howard for sending me letters recently as well! ¡Muchisimas gracias!

I love you all and miss you a lot.

Elder Mooney

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving.... wooo...

Hello my dear friends and family!

So last week was Thanksgiving.... wooo... Haha it actually wasn`t that bad. On Thanksgiving day we ate lunch with Juan and his mom. Juan and his mom are both great and it was a fun lunch. The whole day felt like a completely normal day though, nothing special. Then at night Elder Maruri and I returned to the pension to find Elder Blankenfeld and Elder Boyce waiting outside (because we had both sets of keys) holding a whole chicken, bread, and a 3L bottle of Pepsi. So we ate chicken sandwhiches with spicy mayo and pepsi. It actually felt like Thanksgiving after that.

This last week we had a ward Noche de Hogar and the missionaries (us) had to make a video of traditions in the church. Long story short, the video was made about 3 different times and was erased somehow each time. HOURS and HOURS were wasted. In the end though, the video was great and they even re-used it during their ward conference.

Ward activities here really make me appreciate ward activites back home. Here, we schedule the activity for 8pm and only 15 people showed up. By 9pm though there were over 60 luckily. The missionaries had to organize like everything, who´s going to bring food, drinks, activity, etc. And finally the day after they ask THE MISSIONARIES to clean the chapel. Let me tell you, it looked like we were cleaning up at a club or something. Chips, bottles, and trash were all over the floor. I appreciate our ward activities so much now. Truth is though, we have one of the most amazing wards in the mission. I love our ward, so working with them is great.

Two really unfortunate things that happened to me this week were: I was casually walking down the street one day when a giant dog jumps into a giant puddle of mud and splashes me all over..... Also, last night during our Noche de Hogar with Paulina and friends, one of her cats urinated on my bag....... Yeah, it smelt horrible.

Today we played fútbol on the mini-court and it was ridiculously fun. You basically play soccer on a basketball court 3v3 or 4v4. It showed us all how out of shape we are.

Best part of the week though was Sunday. Juan (17) was baptized and man was that cool. Juan is one of the elect, a golden investigator. He was found last change just by knocking. He said missionaries had never passed by before. He immediately wanted to be baptized and started keeping all commitments and commandments immediately. It`s not like he was already perfectly living everything before either. He smoked a little and drank coffee, but quit immediately. He loves going to church and going to mutual. Best thing of all was that just the other day he asked us what he has to do to become a missionary. Very cool kid.

Well there´s so much i wanna tell you but I´m out of time. I really missed home this week. LIKE CRAZY! I missed all you family, i missed Kelly, I missed my bed, Thanksgiving dinner, everything. I know that the mission has really showed me how blessed I am. I love you all and will continue to pray for you always.

Love,
Elder Mooney

P.S. Just had to let you know. 2 security guards just got in a fight with 3 big guys with bats here in the grocery store-ish place we`re at. They were all beating each other LIKE HARD and screaming and I saw one guy run off limping and I have no Idea what happened to the other guys?! It was kinda exciting at first, but then I got this sick to my stomach feeling. I think being a missionary is turning me into a softy. Crazy...

Monday, November 23, 2009

First Baptism!

¡Hola Buenos Dias!

Warning: This letter is going to be a little shorter then normal because I have a lot less time. I was going to try and download a bunch of pictures and send them to you all, but it turns out the camera cord i have is the WRONG cord. Next week I should be able to do it though.

I received the package you all sent me! Thanks Mom, Dad, and Diana! You are all incredible, seriously. Unfortunately the bread you sent was pretty moldy by the time it got to me. Luckily one of the chocolate pumpkin whatever ones looked to be in good condition so i ate it. Elder Maruri (from Ecuador) and Elder Blankenfeld (my companion) cut off the mold from the other ones and ate it anyways. No one got sick luckily and we all enjoyed it! Thank you for the USB drive as well. Unfortunately when i plugged it in it said that Jai Ho? was the only song on the drive. I messed with it a little bit today and found all the music I´m allowed to listen to haha. Thanks so much for the package, it was really great. Oh and thank you Uncle Johnny and Aunt Ruth for the contribution to the mission as well. You two are the best.
I don´t think we´re doing anything at all to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. We´re gonna eat noodles with an investigator this thursday. Haha should be good.

This week was a wonderful week BECAUSE I had my first baptism! Elder Blankenfeld and I baptized Macarena yesterday. We were worried that she might not be able to go through with it because she was always so on the edge about everything. We prayed for her constantly and through it all she managed to quit drinking coffee, quit smoking entirely, and pass her baptismal interview. One of the big factors of it all was this really strange dream she had 2 days before her baptismal interview. After the dream, she had no doubt it was all true. How crazy is that?? The best of it all was seeing her in all white, smiling and laughing before and after the baptism. It was incredible to see the change in her. That is why we missionaries do what we do.

Well I love you all, I pray for you all the time, and I hope your doing well.

Love,
Elder Mooney

Monday, November 16, 2009

Me again...

I got Becky´s package last tuesday!!! It appears that it takes about 2 weeks for letters and packages to reach me. Oh and also I always get emails on mondays and packages & letters tuesdays (just so ya know). K, so let me tell you what went down last tuesday. Us Elders had forgotten to do our fast the week prior and long story short we started our fast after lunch on Preparation Day. So on tuesday we were feeling pretty hungry and thirsty right? Luckily Becky´s package came just a half hour before we were gonna end our fast. We opened that puppy up and it was filled with TONS of bags of chips, Reese´s, snickers, bread, peanut butter, jelly, rice krispie treats, etc, etc... I don´t know if you´ve all seen the movie HEAVYWEIGHTS, but there´s a scene in it when the fat kids re-take control of the camp and they´re just stuffing food in their mouths and bathing in chocolate syrup and such. Well that was basically us. Then after that, we had lunch with THE MAMACHELA (or the little old lady who´s in love with the missionaries and is in charge of organizing all of our lunches). Well she fed us a HUGE salad, a HUGE BOWL of soup, a HUGE plate of chicken, rice, and potatoes, and after all that she served us like 10 peices worth of berry manjar birthday cake. We were dying... Literally... Every time she left the room we´d colapse on the table... Then we´d force as much food as we could down. Breath. Then force more. It was awful. You can imagine how we felt the rest of the day.

Ok, well anyways, thank you so much Becky for the package. It was ridiculously awesome and I eat stuff from it everyday. (PS why did you spend so much money on me?!)

Sad thing happened the other day. I saw a dog get hit by a car :( He only got clipped, then ran off screaming. It was horrible.

Oh, so there is a spider called the Araña Rincón or something here in Chile that is extremely poisonous. The Chileans claim that every spider we see is a rincón. So could you please look it up and send me a picture of it next week? Gracias.

This whole week has been quite interesting because i accepted the invitation to hear about Elder Okleberry´s book series THE SEVEN SWORDS OF KADOSHELN. I guess he has written and self edited a series of 7 books? So every minute of spare time or walking time we have he asks, would you like me to continue? and I of course answer YES! So yeah.. This week I´ve been having some pretty wacky dreams...

Which also leads into something else I´m trying. It´s called a Dream Journal? Basically you just leave a journal and pen next to your bed and if you ever wake up in the middle of the night you just quickly write down what you were dreaming about. It works ridiculously well! (Except for the day when I dreamed i wrote in my dream journal and when i woke up there was nothing there). Anyways, I know it´s not exactly helping me to fulfill my purpose, but it´s really cool.

Alright then, back to the MIRACLE OF MACARENA story. So all was going well with Macarena until 2 days ago when her mom (Paulina, the recent convert of 2 months) hit a 12 year old boy with her car. It was late at night, the street was really narrow and he just came out of nowhere. Paulina was put in jail for the night, but was released the next day. It was devastating for her, for us, for everyone... We didn´t know what to do because we got the call after we were already supposed to be back in the pension. Well the next day we found out that the boy was put into a coma. His family doesn´t blame Paulina at all, but Paulina couldn´t stop asking why? Why couldn´t she have driven by 5 seconds later? We met with her and Macarena that day and helped her find peace and understanding of it all. We also did a group fast. The real blessing is that if this had happened to her before the missionaries came, she probably would have wanted to end her life. Now she is filled with love, hope, knowledge, and everything the gospel brings. She also had members helping her through the whole accident. She is still extremely sad about it all, but is doing fine. Macarena on the other hand started questioning if God really did exist and if so, why would he do this to her mom who was making all the right choices. After a really powerful lesson we left her to read and pray about it. As of yesterday, she still believes in God, she still wants to be baptized, and she has recieved an actual testimony of the Saviour Jesus Christ. She´s still got some obstacles to overcome, but she´s doing great. I´m just so glad these people recieved the gospel when they did.

Today was CHANGES. Elder Okleberry and Trovato are gone. Elder Blankenfeld and I are still in the same sector as companions (which I´m pretty happy about, especially since thanksgiving and christmas are in this change). We now have a latin in our pension who speaks fluent english as well. He´s gonna recieve a new companion to train tomorrow.

Well all is well. I love you all and miss you more then I can explain. Be good!

Love,
Elder Mooney

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I´ve basically finished my first change!

Hello Familia y Amigos!

In the mission there are things called CHANGES. Here in the Santiago Chile Este Mission each CHANGE lasts 6 weeks. At the end of this week I will have completed my first change (cool huh?). This Sunday I will find out if I`m going to receive a new companion or a new sector. The President told Elder Blankenfeld that he is going to stay in this sector and Elder Trovato is leaving (Trovato goes home in 3 months). As for me and Okleberry, we`re not sure what`s gonna happen...? Elder Blankenfeld thinks he and I will remain companions for another change and I definitely hope he`s right. Anyways, I`ve only got 15 changes left in the mission, but who`s counting.
So last P-day we turned our Pension into a Peluqueria (barber shop) and Elder Blankenfeld cut my hair as well as Elder Trovatos and boy was it an experience. We were using an ancient maquina (hair clippers) that short out and change cutting length if you push to hard. All turned out well in the end and I finally forced my hair into a more Missionary like hair-style (i refuse to go completely to the comb-over though).
This week we`ve been eating a lot of frozen breaded chicken patties with spicy mayonesa or home-made guacamole. Elder Blankenfeld and I are guacamole chefs, no lie. We´re pretty sure we`ve eaten some raw chicken as well, which makes doing the obra missional (missionary work) a bit more difficult.
Soda here is different. There are 5 major sodas that everyone drinks here and they are PAP, BILZ, KEM, PEPSI, and COKE. Pap is orange, bilz is red, and kem is yellow. I have no idea what flavors they`re supposed to be, but they`re good!
Here on the mission I`ve been told I look like Leonardo Decaprio, Drago (the big russian guy from Rocky 4), and the guy from American Pie. People are always trying to tell me who I look like... Yesterday a lady told me I looked like her Chilean grandson and totally thought I was part Chilean? Haha my companion Elder Blankenfeld is officially THE TERMINATOR here in Chile. All the kids tell him he looks just like the Terminator, it`s great.
It`s absolutely insane hearing about Cody Smith being back and being eNgAgEd?! Haha that`s awesome though. Tell them congratulations if you ever see them! I also feel horrible hearing about Cameron. That`s so tough... I`ll definitely be praying for him. I can`t even imagine him being able to lose 26 pounds??
I´ve been tested quite a bit with the language this week. Twice this week, i was left alone with Okleberry for 3 hours. During one of those times I had to teach 3 lessons. It was terrifying at first, but once I started, it was no big deal. I totally felt like a senior comp though. The strangest part of it all is that when my comp is around I can't speak at all, but once he´s gone I can speak. GIFT OF TONGUES?
Best thing that happened this week is that THE MIRACLE OF THE MACARENA has continued. We went back to teach her again after she felt something RICO in her prayer and she had something to tell us. She said that night she offered a personal prayer in her room and her heart started pounding and she basically felt ¨a burning in the bossom.¨ We retaught her the Plan of Salvation and this time she was totally into it. She asked questions about everything and totally applied it to herself and to her father that passed away last year. We thoroughly explained baptism in the lesson and guess what.... She accepted a BAPTISMAL FECHA! (Date) This is a girl who didn`t believe in God like a week ago and now she shares her testimony with us in lessons and wants to be baptized. She still has a lot to learn and a long way to go, but she´s doing amazing. It`s just so cool to be a missionary when people want to learn and people are willing to ACT in FAITH.
I`m about out of time, so i just wanted to terminate with, I love you guys very much. You`re letters and emails this week made me REALLY happy this week. Things are difficult at times, but we just gotta keep our eyes on what`s important in this life.

Love,
Elder Mooney

Monday, November 2, 2009

Many Strange Things...

It´s November!

Yogurt comes in giant bags, milk comes in unrefrigerated boxes, and we don´t have clothes dryers here.... OK, just had to get that off my chest.

Many strange things have happened this week:

Earlier in the week we went to something called El Universo Audiocisual de Los Pueblos Indigenos: Mirada de Mujer. With the approval of President we accompanied some investigators to this educational film about different Latin tribes in South America. It was great until the last part where a bunch of old naked men and women started dancing around and painting their bodies. We understood that it was educational, but still, we left a little early...

Last monday we cleaned the entire house. We swept, mopped, scrubbed, bleached, everything we possibly could to make our pension feel clean. Afterwards, it still looked the same...

There are Gypsys living all over the place here. You can always just tell if someone´s a gypsy or not just by the way they dress and walk. We accidentally knocked the door of an old gypsy woman the other day and she just looked at us and said PASEN in a really creepy and crackily old voice. We walked away really fast...

For about 5 minutes the other day, a couple of drunk guys told us how they used to be friends with the missionaries. When they shook our hands good bye it felt entirely wet. Their hands were covered in beer and our hands smelt like beer for the rest of the afternoon...

The other day someone asked Elder Okleberry where he was from and he replied with SI, MI MAMA TIENE ALERGIAS DE GATOS...

There is a man in our ward who totally reminds me of a Chilean version of Brother Phillips. His name is Hermano Olave and it´s just funny how they are so much alike...

On Sunday a little puppy of about 5 or 6 months managed to sneaky past all the people and both doors of the church and ran into the chapel. It was just before church started and he was runnin up and down the aisles, hiding under benches, and just goin nuts. Finally a 16 year old girl just grabbed him by his skin and carried him outside. Not gonna lie, it was quite entertaining. The best part is, he waited outside for three hours then managed to find his way back in at the end of church and I had to carry him out....

I don´t know if I aready told you this or not, but here in Chile everyone greets each other by kissing on the cheek. EVERYONE. Haha so it´s always weird when people are smoochin in the church or smoochin on street corners or whatever. As missionaries we´re not allowed to participate in this tradition. Occasionally people don´t understand this and force a kiss upon us. On thursday a crazy old lady grabbed my hand and started pulling me toward her saying ¡BESAME BESAME! Fighting with all my might I managed to escape....

Halloween was the other night. It was weird, cuz it just felt like every other day to me. The only thing different was that an investigator gave my comp and I a handful of candy. Also Halloween is practically the same here in Chile. Supposedly they just started celebrating it with in the last 3 years. My comp said last year kids ran around yelling ¡QUEREMOS DULCE QUEREMOS DULCE! at every door. This year they went around yelling ¡DULCE O TRESURA DULCE O TRESURA! It´s not nearly as big of a deal here as in the states, but they´re definitely catching on...

So this week has been pretty exciting, but the high point of the week occurred last night. Last night we had a Noche de Hogar with a recent convert named Paulina. Paulina is an extremely strong member now and is helping us out with the missionary work. She has two daughters in their 20´s and one of them, Macarena, has been joining us in a few lessons each week. She doesn´t believe in God necessarily and she definitely doesn´t feel that religion is necessary. She´s glad that religion helped her mom with loss of her husband (her father), but that's it. She thinks prayers only help people because people feel good when they talk to themselves. She´s very sincere about everything though and truly seems to be searching for answers. Unfortunately she hasn´t been progressing though. Well last night we had a Noche de Hogar with them and we ended up switching topics several times during the lesson to meet the needs of Macarena. We had a very spiritual lesson and answered many of her questions. That´s not at all the cool part though. The cool thing that happened was is that we all knelt down to pray together at the end of the lesson and Paulina asked Macarena to join us, but only if she wanted to. Macarena knelt down with us. Then Paulina told Macarena to offer the prayer. Macarena offered a short, sweet, and simple prayer using the basic steps we had written on her Book of Mormon. After we all said amen, then started eating and playing a game. Later that night Paulina pulled my companion to the side and told him that Macarena said she felt something during the prayer. She felt a sensation of some sort, something rico. A miracle occurred that night and it´s true, by small and simple things do great things come to pass. We have no idea what´s gonna happen with Macarena, but it´s amazing to see the progress she´s made thus far.

I love all of you so much. I miss you more then you can imagine and I hope all is going well. Thanks for all the letters, they help so much, no joke. Keep doing what you know is right. And most importantly, be consistent with the gospel.

Love,
Elder Mooney

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cold & Rainy in Santiago

Dear Todos,

I had my first cold and rainy day in Santiago! It was nuts, most days here have been pretty warm, but the other day it was dark cloudy and rainy. Best thing about that day too was that we had almost no appointments so we knocked doors in the rain for hours. We had on our raincoats, rainjackets, and we had our umbrellas and we still got soaked. The draining systems in Chile are horrible so after just a few minutes of rain the streets are full of water. Our shoes were soaked through and through. I felt like a REAL missionary that day.

Another cool thing that happened was that I got cussed out for the first time. My companion and I were walking down the road when a man in a baby blue car stopped in the middle of the road and started yelling at us. We´d walk by, he´d yell at us for a while, we´d pass him, he´d drive past us, stop the car and continue yelling at us. He did this for a couple minutes. Luckily I could not understand a word he was saying so my companion translated some for me. Supposedly he screamed the F word a bunch of times, told us to go back to our country a bunch of times, and insulted our mothers a few times (sorry mom...) But yeah, my companion just smiled and waved at the guy.

One of the customs here in Chile is you have to saludar or greet everyone. If you don´t shake every persons hand when you enter there house or leave, it´s rude. We shake hundreds of hands every day. We are also supposed to say hello to everyone on the street. It´s pretty cool. Another custom I like is that the women in Chile are basically obligated to offer us jugito or juice every time we enter their house. We drink a lot of juice in Chile.
The food is still pretty darn good. Yesterday our friend Paulina just returned from the beach with a huge box of famous desserts. She made us try a bunch of them. Basically every dessert was made of manjar and a different kind of pastry. My favorites are the manjar and merengue? cookies (I´m pretty sure mom would love them). I miss food from the US but I´m definitely not going hungry in anyway.

SO the other night the zone leaders ditched me and Elder Okleberry to go to a meeting and it was faaaaaantastic. We had 3 hours in the night to teach by ourselves. I actually taught a 30 minute lesson by myself about prayer. It was terrifying, not gonna lie. Elder Okleberry did his thing and I did my thing. I don´t think it was a great lesson at all, but it was a lesson none the less. Crazy huh?

We still don´t have many investigators, but we met two extremely nice families who are truly looking for the truth. It makes our job so much easier when people want to know the truth for themselves. I pray that things will continue to go well and continue to improve. I love and miss you all. Your emails and letters are incredible and help me so much! No joke! I wish i could respond to everything, but there´s just no time. I´m doing good! I love the mission, it´s hard, but I love it. I feel good about what I´m doing even when things aren't going well. Thanks for everything!

I love you Mom, Dad, Diana, Becky, Melissa, Grandma, Tom, Tim, Martha, Uncles, Aunts, cousins, friends, etc...

-Elder Mooney

Monday, October 19, 2009

¡Hola Todos!

I just wanna start out by letting you know that I´m doing alot better. To be honest, the mission is very difficult, but I´m already becoming more accustomed to it. I am enjoying myself quite a bit as well. Once I know the language I can only imagine how much more fun it will be. I have a million things i want to tell you, but i only have so much time. So i´ll cram as much into this letter as i can.

Funny thing about Chile is that dogs run the city. Haha not really but it seems like it. Dogs here are way smarter than the dogs in the states. There are dogs on every street, at every store, and in almost every home. The other day i saw a dog carrying 2 grocery bags down the street full of stuff. My companion says he saw like a pack of dogs that stopped a car in the middle of the street and started barking at it and attacking it. The people inside the car couldn´t do anything about it either haha. Just yesterday, my companion and i were waiting to cross the street when a dog walked up to the edge of the sidewalk 10 ft away from us, literally looked both ways, then crossed the street. It´s pretty ridiculous.

The food here isn´t that strange but different for sure. Lunches are huge here. Usually we almorzar (to lunch) in a members home at about 1:30 to 3 everyday. The people always eat salad with just oil and lemon here. That´s it... We´re lucking when they throw in avocado slice and peeled tomatoes though. (Tomatoes are always peeled here??). Then there´s a meal with rice, lentajes, chicken, sausage, potatoes or something. We always finish with a dessert as well. Alot of times it´s chopped up fruit with sweet condensed milk and manjar poured ontop. Sooo goood. People have also made us some lasagnas as well with some twists to them. They´ve actually been pretty good. Yesterday we had the best lunch though, called Papas Rellenas. Like a chile relleno but with a potato haha. There was meat, and cheese stuffed inside a fried potato. Some had olives in them, others had dried apricots, etc... Favorite thing so far, for sure. I´m gonna try to get the recipe. Then every evening people eat ONCE?? It´s just like an evening snack with bread, cookies, or whatever they have in the house. As missionaries we don´t usually get once unless we´re sharing a lesson or having a noche de hogar. Food is good though.

Missionary work has been quite difficult. We´re having difficulty finding people to teach. We´ve been knocking alot, but are trying to come up with a better way of finding new people to teach. We´re trying to put together a huge halloween party with a food making contest. Pei de Limon, Empanadas, y Completas (fancy hot dogs). We went to stake conference the other day and it was quite entertaining. The mission president is like a crazy good speaker, he and his wife are both authors, she was like miss teen USA, he was a quarter back, they did speach and debate in Utah somewhere, but anyways they both spoke, but President Laycock had the whole stake excited, intent, and motivated during stake conference.

The one thing I learned the most about missionary work is that it really is just as much the ward´s responsibility as it is the missionaries. Without ward support, it´s almost impossible to do anything. Members are supposed to pray and ask for help in finding people who are ready to receive the message of the restored gospel. Members are supposed to fellowship and help out investigators, recent converts, and less active members. Members should hold family home evenings often and invite friends and neighbors as often as they can (with the missionaries). Really the missionaries are supposed to do their best to find, but they should be using the members as support and the members should be trying just as hard. This is something i hope to remember and apply all my life.

Couple random things... The other day a older lady who´s a member of the church was telling us a really long story and i started to space out cuz it´s difficult to keep up sometimes. She was telling her story when i SNEEZED and COUGHED at the same time. My companion looked at me with a ARE YOU SERIOUS FACE?? Anyways, afterwards my companion told me that she was just telling us about a lady who lost her husband and then her son a week later when i SNEEZED and COUGHED at the same time and to them it sounded like a laugh. So they thought i laughed about the death of the father and the son. I felt so bad afterwards :S Also, I´m allowed to listen to uplifting music! So if you could, please send me food and cd´s. Haha i can listen to instrumental music, efy, church, christmas, etc... So yeah, if anyone loves me, please send cds and food (like peanut butter)! Haha

Ok, well I love you but i gotta go. I miss you all SO much. Not even kidding. But i know the church is true. I KNOW IT. So i gotta be here.

Be good! Be safe! Be clean! and Keep the faith!

Love,
Elder Mooney

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Address!

Check out the right hand side of the blog for Elder Mooney's new address in Chile!
And I had trouble reading the first hand-written letter from Chile so I tried to blow it up a little :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

¡SANTA VACA! I’m in Chile?

This is kinda weird, I’m in Chile sitting in a small little room in the city of Santiago that is filled with computers, listening to a some funky 80’s music in english, writing home to a different country/continent. It’s gonna be difficult, but I’m gonna try and update you on as much as I possibly can.

So I wrote home the first day I got to Chile and the President and his wife said they would send it to you. I don’t know if you actually got it though?? Well anyways, we flew into Chile with a group of about 20 of us. President Laycock (a big jolly old fellow) and his wife (a really nice lady with long dark hair) were there waiting to pick us up with 2 missionaries who are almost finished with their missions. We went to the mission home, wrote letters, ate some pretty american snacks, and had a short interview with the president. The mission home is extremely nice and it feels like we never even left the states, but other parts of Santiago are a different story.

We got paired up with our Senior companions which was kinda nerve racking, not gonna lie. I hate to admit it, but there were quite a few Elders that I didn’t want to be paired up with. Some of them just had these smug looks, others looked a little crazy, i dunno... I probably shouldn’t have judged them though. One by one everyone was paired up, it was kind like picking teams in sports, one by one names were called and it was kinda intimidating. I was the second to last person to be called and I was paired up with eLdEr BlAnKeNfElD. He seemed pretty chill when I first met him, but little did I know.... (you should be getting a picture of him pretty soon too). Immediately after we were paired up we were on the mission. We had to just find our ways back to our Pensions with ALL our luggage. We had a lunch appointment that we had to get to so we took a taxi. It was crazy...

So Elder Blankenfeld actually turned out to be awesome. We’ve got plenty in common, he’s from Texas and likes similiar types of music, movies, and just stuff as I do. He was like the only member in his highschool so he was never very active in his teenage years, but his dad was bishop and told him to get ready to go on a mission so he did. Now he’s rockin’ the mission and doing a great job. He’s really really chill and is a great example to me when it comes to living by the schedule, teaching well, being a good companion, and enjoying your mission. He’s obedient, but has fun ya know? We are actually kinda part of a quad as well. Elder Blankenfeld and Elder Trovato are actually the zone leaders in our zone. They used to be companions and then they got split up to be our trainers, but are still the zone leaders as well. Things are kinda crazy sometimes cuz they have to teach or hold meeting or even do ¨divisons¨ which i’ll describe later as well. Elder Trovato and Elder Blankenfeld are both awesome guys though.

The first 2 days I did not understand a single word here in Chile, but now I can follow along and understand most of every conversation. Most people think I know spanish cause I’ve gotten pretty good at acting like i know what they’re saying. Smiling when my comp smiles, laughing when he laughs, and so on. I also have learned to say common things with a good Chilean accent. It’s insane that I’m starting to really learn spanish. I’m not very good, but after a month or so I can only imagine how much it’ll improve.

Oh yeah, the second night we were here in Chile Elder Trovato and Elder Blankenfeld had a meeting together so they left Elder Okleberry and I alone for 3 hours. Basically we wandered around neighborhoods and knocked doors. Can you imagine?? I was freaked out at first, not gonna lie. We would make a contact, talk about the church and our message, then the people would talk to us for like 2-5 minutes and we pretended like we understood. It was intense. We got a few contacts and referrals from it though.

K, so a few random facts..... Here in the mission we get up at 730 and go to bed at 1130, which I like a little better. We have personal study from 9-10, companion study from 10-11, and language study from 11-12. After studies we’re basically out and about until 10 at night. We eat lunch at about 1:30 with a member every day, which is a huge blessing. Also dinner is the biggest meal of the day here. The food is really good here. Really, it’s nothing that strange, but nothing like what we eat. I’ll have to describe the food better once I learn the names. There are some really poor people here and some pretty rich people here. Our sector is kinda a mix of both sides because we’re right in the middle of the mission almost. We have one of the greatest wards around supposedly. Plenty of members and plenty of help.

The other day i had to go on ¨divs¨ or divisions. Basically i pack up a day’s worth of stuff and go live with other Elders for a day and work with another Elder. I’m gonna have to do this alot since my comp is a zone leader. At first I dreaded the idea, but the Elders I div-ed with were really cool. One was from Argentina and we got along pretty well and I could almost fully hold long conversations with him in spanish. He knows like no english haha. He made me eggs and fried hotdogs for breakfast. It was crazy and fun. The comp i div-ed with was kinda lazy though. SO I saw what i needed to avoid being. We went to a Stake activity where they had different latin cultures displayed. Food, dancing, and little skits. I took some videos that i’ll send to you soon.

I’m out of time and I’ve written tons so I’m gonna wrap it up now. But just so you know, my first day here was probably one of the hardest days of my life. The apartment/pension seemed crumby, it was already kinda hot, i was exhausted, and I missed home. The first 2 days were so hard that I wanted to just lay down and cry. It’s still hard, but I’m getting the hang of it. I totally see how devoting yourself makes the mission worth it. Teaching people is the coolest feeling ever. We took Paulina, a recent convert to the temple who had lost her husband within the last year. She loved it and felt the spirit. We’re baptizing Tamara next week. She’s a 19 year old girl who wanted to change her life and actually approached the missionaries and basically asked them to teach her. There’s also a lady who says she believes it’s true, her daughter loves church, she has received every answer she asked for, but doesn’t want to change her life to become a member. My testimony is growing, I’m changing as a person, my Spanish skills are growing so fast, and I’m starting to like the mission.

I love you all and miss you. I hope you are safe and doing well!

Love,
Elder Mooney

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hello again!

Wow, it's nearly here.. In about a week and 4 days I will finally be leaving for Santiago Chile! "I'm so excited... and I just can't hide it... I'm about to lose control and I think I like it..." Sorry, it's just kinda hard to contain myself sometimes. ;)
So couple funny things, for the past few weeks I've been saying "quierro bailar" or "me gusta bailar" and doing a little jig around the class room in between study times. I look like a complete idiot, but it's enjoyable for me. The cool things is, that I now have many people in my District who join in with me! All i have to say is "?Quierre bailar?" and they start dancing around. Haha sorry i think I've been at the MTC for too long. Actually no, I take that back. I used to do the same sorts of things before my mission. Nothings changed.
It's absolutely incredible having multiple friends here at the MTC now. Chad Tialino, Christian Price, Jacob Paulsen (Jr. High! So cool!), David Urbina, and Braden Hamel, and more! Yesterday afternoon my companion and I were just strolling through the MTC when BOOM! On the left I saw Elder Tialino! BOOM! On the right I saw Elder Price! BOOM! and there I was.... Within moments we had all bowed our heads and began an epic battle of "NINJA?!" I'm proud to say that after a long battle, I came out victorious!
So Elder Sheahan and I have new roommates (I don't remember if I mentioned them last week?). Anyways, these Elders are really cool. Elder Thiebeau (pronounced T-BO, and he's not Asian) and Elder Young. The four of us usually end our nights by brushing our teeth, getting ready for bed, playing several games of ninja, and then saying our prayers. We're always obedient and have our lights out by 10:30 though, no worries... I'm not sure if Ninja is necessarily categorized as a missionary appropriate game or demonstrates "quiet dignity" but oh well?? :S
Last night Elder Afeaki and Elder Lauh'hulu (or something like that?) started teaching us the "Haka" (SP?). You know what I'm talking about though right? The Polynesian battle cry/dance. So cool. One of the Branch Presidents came by and told us to keep up the good work, then 5 minutes later another Branch President came by and told us that we needed to stop. It's interesting how everyone leads differently...
Did I mention a couple weeks ago that Elder Afeaki and Elder Ostergar in our District became the Zone leaders? Well it was a shock because Elder Afeaki is having SO MUCH trouble learning the language. They were called and it's incredible to see the change in them. It's kinda dorky but I feel like a proud parent or something. Elder Afeaki has always been the slacker guy who's really funny, but not too serious. Now he's leading the zone with power and authority. He talks like a real Zone Leader! haha and Elder Ostergar I compare to Moses. Moses wasn't a very strong speaker, but had the Lord to support him. Elder Ostergar has trouble sound powerful and professional when he speaks, but you can feel his reverence and the spirit when he does. I just think it's all so cool.
So this is my last week and a half to recieve mail! If anyone is reading this and considers themselves to be my friend, please write me! Haha i know I sound desperate, but it's kinda sad how nobody really writes :(
I'm low on time, but I just wanna say how grateful I am to be learning and growing so much in the Gospel. Seriously, I just listed off a bunch of fun things that have been going on, but really we are focused on the Gospel. Bringing the true and restored church of Jesus Christ to people around the world is such a blessing and there's nothing else I'd rather be doing. We're so lucky to understand who God really is, what we need to do to return to him, and have the authority to do so!
I love you all so much and pray for you always! Be safe and be good!

Love,
Elder Mooney

(P.S. I hope to see my cousin Taylor soon :))

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hello my wonderful family and friends!

So I realized that I neglected to say whether I was still sick or feeling better in last weeks email (thanks to my mom). Yes! I was way better last week and am feeling great this week. No signs of sickness at all and my ankle is still sore but I play basketball and soccer on it now anyway ;)
Cool thing happened yesterday, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and spoke to us. Crazy cool! He has always been one of the most famous missionary speakers because of his "Miracle of a Mission" talk he gave at the MTC years ago. He talked all about how a mission truly is the greatest blessing he ever recieved in his life besides his "perfect" wife. He the says that he would not have even had a chance with his wife if he hadn't gone on his mission. He sincerely attributes every major blessing in his life to his mission. It was incredible. Another thing I really liked was how he talked about "the war in heaven" and how that war has carried on into this life. Used the "armor of God" analogies and all. He reffered to us as warriors, then referred to us as medics because we are only trying to heal the world. It's hard to explain it all, but I loved it! He seriously covered like a million different things in like an hour and I wish I could write them all but there's no time!
Thankyou so much mother and family for the package! I loved the ties, newsletter, protein bars (haha), and medicine. I especailly like how you sent me the shirt and ties gift wrapped, it just makes it that much more exciting. If you'd like to send another that'd be great ;) (but you don't have to). The package was amazing and you guys have been amazing for all the Dear.Elders you've sent (unlike my friends)... Haha out of the hundreds of people who said they'd write me, only like 4 have. But honestly, it's ok. I'm not offended at all. I realize how easy it is to forget to write when you're busy with life. I was unfortunately the same way before my mission.
So I guess the last couple weeks I've sounded kinda bummed out about being here at the MTC? Let me just tell you that it was rough for a couple weeks, but I'm grateful to be here. One thing I've gained a strong testimony of this week is how you truly can find the answers to ALL life's problems in the scriptures. It's not just some cheezy catch phrase or slogan. Every single day this week I have found something in the scriptures that has helped me. Ranging from all sorts of different topics (missing home, missing "somebody," difficulties with my companion, how to teach better, not looking forward to the end, etc. etc...).
Hebrews 13:17 "...do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you"
Proverbs 24:10 "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small"
Proverbs 15:32 "He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding."
1 Nephi 7:12 The Lord is able and willing to do all things for us "if" we exercise faith in him first.
The list of scriptures just goes on and on. I love the scriptures and I love being a missionary. It's extremely difficult, but I can already see how It's changing me into a better person.
Thank you all for the love and support. I love you guys very much and hope you are doing well. Be safe, be good, and keep the faith!

Love,
Elder Matthew D. Mooney


PS... 2 weeks and 4 days about

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Letter # (I've lost count already...)

Hello,

I'm not gonna lie... I don't have much to say about this week. The greatest thing that happened was that Chad came to the MTC. Chad and I sat together at choir and at the Tuesday night Devotional. It was so good to have someone familiar to just talk with, joke around with, and catch up with. It truly was 2 good....
So we had Elder Hinckley come speak to us this week. It was funny, he didn't really prepare much to talk about but cracked alot of jokes. He looks and sounds like his dad. It's nutzzz! I love Tuesday and Sunday night devotionals/firesides.
This friday my companion and I are teaching the 1st lesson in Spanish. It's nerve racking. English is so much more enjoyable :S My spanish is coming along farely well. I'm memorizing about 30-50 vocab words a day. It's very cool, cuz when I pray and ask for help with spanish, it comes SOOO much easier. I'm planning on holding off on spanish letters until I've been in Chile for a little while. Haha sorry

K, well things are moving along. I miss you all so much! I missed my dogs especially.... Haha

Love, Elder Mooney

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A month has already come and gone...

Hello Family and Friends!

So i've been at the MTC for 4 weeks now. Crazy huh? Things are still good, but this has been an especially rough week...
I'd like to begin my letter shouting out to my cousin Taylor McBride who will be joining me here at the MTC in 2 weeks i believe? Here are a few words of wisdom:
1. Bring good shoes! So this week i rolled my ankle really bad playing basketball. Hundreds of missionaries have rolled their ankles playing all different kinds of sports; Four-square, volleyball, basketball, Soccer, and more. So bring really good shoes that will prevent you from rolling your ankle ok?
2. Bring lots of medicine with you. So the Swine Flu has been popping up every once in a while here at the MTC, but more serious is the amount of "regular" sicknesses here. Almost every member of my district has been seriously sick in the last couple weeks. The same goes for ALL missionaries here. The medical office here is booked full every day with appointments. MY companion has finally passed his cold and sore throat to me a little bit. It's no bueno! Haha so bring tons of medicine to make your days easier WHEN you get sick (not if, but when).
3. I don't know how many ties you are allowed to bring to your mission, but definitely bring more then 5. My paper said bring only 5, but that is nowhere near enough. Bring at least 7 to keep things interesting cuz everyone gets sick of their ties and trade all the time to keep their sanity. (I myself have not traded :S) Also, Zip-up ties are a BAD IDEA. They fall down way too easily and it's annoying to have to constantly fix them.
4. Bring TWO journals. Bring one journal for writing in at night, your "Missionary Journal" or whatever it's called. The other one is called your "Study Journal." This is the journal where you take notes in during devotionals, during personal study, during class, and during any kind of "study" activity. Also, they have a really nice bookstore here and plenty of different journals to choose from if you just wanna buy one here.
5. I am in Zone 38 District C. It's quite possible that you could be put into my zone or even into my room (probably not though). Which means we would be able to go to GYM together, eat meals together, and sit by each other at sacrament meeting, as well as other meetings. I live on the 4th floor of Building 15M and I go to class in 17M. I have dinner at 6:00 everyday as well. Remember all that so you can find me sometime!
6. Last word of advice. Start living the rules the minute you get here. Make your bed and clean up your room everyday (they do random room inspections all the time and you get a grade). Don't listen to ANY music (new rule at the MTC, not even Mo-Tab). Don't sneak food out of the cafeteria. Be on time to class and go to bed on time. Etc...etc... My companion and I were lucky enough to have roommates who helped us from day one and that made living it so much easier.
7. I love ya cuzzzz... See ya soon!

So yeah, that's my advice for Taylor. I have not seen Chad or David yet and I don't think they're in my zone unfortunately. I see more people I know each and everyday (Brock Perry, Marcus Oliver, and Hunter Poulsen from my high school is in my District, which i forgot to mention earlier). Yes, I rolled my ankle really really bad. Yes, I am kinda sick. Yes, I do blame my companion for it all ;) But hey, it's all good.
Lately in my scripture studies I've been studying 1st and 2nd Samuel in the Bible. It's way cool. The story of David goes on forever and is very interesting. My favorite chapter so far is 2 Sam 22. I think if you read everything before it, it makes it even more powerful though! The scriptures are so incredible and you can always find a way to apply them in your life.
I'm grateful to be here, I miss you all so much! Keep writing!

Love,
Elder Matthew D. Mooney

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Third letter's a charm...

Why Hello There!

So guess what???? I was exposed to Swine Flu this week... I'll explain more about that later. So this week has been a very very very cool week. Very cool, but very difficult. Let me explain to you why.

So things at the MTC have become very monotonous. Every day feels kinda the same. Days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days. Each day seems to take forever! But at the end of each week, we're always like, "Where did it go?" It kinda ridiculous, not gonna lie. Things were a little rough with my companion this week. So i like to compare my companion to my old seminary teacher Brother Dees. Haha they kinda talk and act very similiar to one another. It's quite humorous actually. The one thing that's driving me nuts is my companions lack of a sense of humor. He doesn't like and doesn't understand sarcasm at all. For all those who know me, know that I have come to love the art of sarcasm. He doesn't like joking around much and tends to be a little too serious. SO often there's silence between us. We've talked a little bit now though and things are getting better. I'm working on being nicer and being careful on how much I joke around and he is trying to loosen up and show his personality more. There's alot more to it, but that's all I can explain. (But don't get me wrong, he's a great guy! And also, I have been using about 1/1000 amount of sarcasm i normally do. He just doesn't like joking around).

Ok, so a few amazing things that happened this week:

1. The MTC became an extension to the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple dedication of Sunday. We got to see the Prophet and his counselors on video dedicate the Temple. Then we took part in the Hossanah shout. It was truly an incredible experience and my testimony of Temples has never been stronger.
2. On Tuesday, August 25th Elder Richard G. Scott came to the MTC and spoke at our friday night devotional! He was insanely good. He spoke about following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. He also, using the Authority of a Twelve Apostle gave a specific blessing to all of us in attendance. I felt so blessed to be there and to feel of his power and testimony. You could "warm your hands by the fire of his faith" one might say. I'll never forget that experience.
3. And oh yeah, I was exposed to Swine Flu. Supposedly they had an outbreak here months ago that we all heard about. Well 2 kids were just found to have the swine flu and then our roommate was showing the same symptoms. So they were all Quarantined (locked in a room with a desk, a bed, and a bathroom for 5 days). Since we shared a room with him we were immediately given Anti-Virus pills or something that cost about $11 a pill. They gave them to 10 of us for about 10 days each. And they've had to do that for hundreds, maybe even a thousand students. Crazy huh? But luckily, I am not sick at all!

In answer to your questions Mom, I am in the choir. We practice every Sunday and Tuesday, then perform every Tuesday Devotional. And my departure date is October 5th, so I should be here for General Conference. Unfortunately, there will be no missionary choir for conference this year. :(

Anyways, all is well. Life here at the MTC is good, but I'm not gonna lie, I am very homesick. It's very tough to be away from home and away from the people you care about. I know it's all worth it though.

K, well I gotta go, but Choose The Right! Keep The Faith! And "El Poder es Suyo!"

Love,
Elder Mooney

P.S. I've seen Braden Hamel, Nephi Nelson, Cameron Roth, Stephen Andersen, Elder Mcclelan, the triplets quite often, Sam Wright, Ben Matalae, and i think more.... Very cool!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Carta Numero 2

Mi Familia....

I miss you guys sooo much. I miss home alot. BUT it's all good. I've finally become used to the schedule here. Everything just feels normal. I do miss sleeping in and being lazy though ;)
My favorite days here at the MTC are Sundays and Tuesdays. Sundays we have hours and hours of personal study time which is way nice and they have Ice Cream "Sundaes" (haha) at dinner, which is fun! But on both Tuesday night and Sunday night we get to go to Devotionals/ Firesides. We've had a couple speakers from the Second Quorum of the Seventy and a speaker from the Proselyting division of the church. His talk last Sunday was incredible. Talk about being "Spiritually Recharged!"
So the last few nights I have been sleeping very well. Fallin asleep just after 10:30 and getting up at about 6:20. The weird thing is, I've been having some InSaNeLy WeIrD dreams. The other night I had a dream that involved "The Muppets", Wild Wild West, Snowboarding, and a gang of theifs and terrorists. It was like the coolest and most random action movie I had ever seen! (or dreamed?) Haha! And last night I had like a some-what, but not really, scary dream. I was at home and we adopted a little boy and he was evil. It was like a cheezy scary movie or something. Very strange, I know.... I think my mind is having trouble not watching movies or TV so it's making up for it through dreams....?
Ok, well back to the serious stuff! I studied alot on the topic of Humility and how to recognize pride this week. It was very helpful and insightful. The scriptures are incredible at identfying every aspect of your life. It's almost unbelievable! So I'm gonna try to work on being humble, which I know I have ALOT of work to do.
I miss you guys alot and love you all very much. Please keep writing me! Letters are what make the days different one from one another. Yesterday I received a bunch of letters from you all and felt so supported. It was awesome! Well, I gotta run, but I'll definitely email again next week!

-Elder Matthew D. Mooney

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Elder Mooney's First Email!

Hola Mi Familia y Amigos!

Wow... The first email to home is quite an intense experience. I have over a million things I'd like to say, but only enough time to say like 7 or 10 things. First off I want you to know that I love you all very much and I miss you. The MTC is amazing and I am learning more then I could have ever imagined, but there is definitely "no place like home!" MY schedule here is absolutely insane. I wake up at 6:15 and am completely scheduled and busy until 10:00 at night. Then i have a little bit of time to relax and think before LIGHTS OUT at 10:30.
Thank you guys so much for the letters you sent. You have no idea how badly I've wanted them. The first 3 days here at the MTC were so insanely long most of us Elders could barely stand it. It felt like we'd been here for weeks even though it'd only been a few days. We were told that time at the MTC and on your mission is relative, as you lose sight of yourself and focus on the Lord and serving him, TIME WILL FLY. I hope that's true because it seems like I haven't seen you forever.
Don't get me wrong though, I love it here at the MTC. Never before have I enjoyed being busy so much. My favorite part of the day is the one full hour of personal time we get to study any gospel topic we want. Studying the scriptures can be incredible if you do it the right way, I promise you that it will bless your life if you take the time to do so as well.
My companion Elder Sheahan is a great example to me. He is from Montana and has a twin brother. He's suffering from a little bit of seperation anxiety because he's never been away from his brother for so long, but he's still serving boldly!
I'm sorry I can't write more but the Lord's time is more important then my time. I love you all very much and ask you to please write me as soon as you can! Letters are the best... They are seriously 2 good... People basically compete here at the MTC to see who gets the most mail each day, so please send what you can. Well I'm out of time...

I just want to leave you with this:

I know that Jesus Christ lives and atoned for our sins. I've always believed it, but through devoted service, much studying, and sincere prayers it has been confirmed. Never before has the atonement been so real to me then it is now. I encourage all of you to seek out that same knowledge.

Adios,
Elder Matthew D. Mooney

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dropping off Elder Mooney at the MTC

Hanging out at Temple Square the day before going in to the MTC.


Elder Mooney is related to Parley P. Pratt so he took a photo by his portrait.


The next morning we made him pose for a few last photos and say goodbye.