Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Hola mis seres queridos,

This week I was blessed to receive an amazing package from my family. Just wanted to say thank you so much for the OXY stuff (highly needed), the Jelly Bellys (not so needed, but very appreciated), the incredible CD´s from Diana, the homemade granola and craisins (which is like my favorite thing ever), the Balance Gold and CLIFF bars (which makes me feel 100 times healthier, the Youth theme for 2010, and the ordinance cards in spanish. It was the perfect package for the new year. Really, thank you so much. Elder Blankenfeld also received his CHRISTMAS package from his family this week, so we had plenty of food and fun.

President Laycock always tells us that the mission is the University of Life. It makes sense because we learn to prioritize our lives according to the gospel, but this week, I received even more revelation on what he means by University of Life. I live with a bunch of children. Last week I was sick and worked through it, this week the 3 other Elders weren't feeling good either. My companion was feeling sick and wanted to stay in one day, so then Elder Boyce felt like doing the same. Then everyone was just in a lazy kinda mood all week. I don´t doubt that they all weren't feeling good, but I feel like it was taken a little too far. Then there was how a couple of days ago when Elder Boyce tells me that my CD player won´t play any CDs anymore. Somehow it just stopped working and i wanted to blame them for always leaving it on all day and stuff, but I tried to have patience (key word was tried). The apartment is always messy, I'll wash all the dishes one day and the kitchen is completely destroyed the next. I´m already missing some clothing and nobody knows where it is. Elder Blankenfeld and Elder Boyce fight and get mad at each other all the time and blah blah blah.... Haha I know it sounds like I'm complaining A LOT, but the truth is I just wanted to paint a picture. I realized that all of these stupid little things that aren't even that important are helping me to develop patience. I can totally see how every little problem that passes is something that I need to be able to handle well after the mission, especially with the idea of having a family some day.

With all that being said, I really do love the mission. It's tough, but when i think about it, it's really exciting to be doing what I'm doing. We get to help so many people every single day for 2 years straight. We're teaching the true and only doctrine of Jesus Christ 24/7. I'm blessed to be in the Chile Santiago East Mission as well. When Elder Richard G. Scott talked to President Laycock before he became president of this mission, he told him that this mission has the most obedient missionaries in the world. (That´s all because the mission president before President Laycock had the missionaries living the Law of Moses. They had to count every contact they did, they had to use certain contacts, they had to fill out forms every day, for every lesson, for divisions, for everything. They had more rules then practically any other mission as well. Luckily President Laycock has allowed us to live the higher law and given us his trust. We´re all praying that nobody does anything stupid and loses the trust for the whole mission).

Our sector is doing well. We have a lot of people that we're teaching but some of them have some major issues to overcome before baptism. Marriage, opposition from family, believing in God. These are just a few. I know that if we're faithful and trust in the Lord, he'll provide a way.

Thank you so much for all your love and support. I know that what you're doing at home has a huge influence on what's going on here and vice versa. Keep doing what you´re doing and most importantly, ¨Keep the Faith¨ -Bon Jovi


Elder Mooney

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's all good.


Alright so this week has been good. I had/have a cold for the last 4 days, which has been pretty rough. Luckily I still have the giant bag of medicine Mom packed me when I started the mission! Thank you mom, it´s going to good use. Anyways, I've just pushed through it and kept working anyways and am feeling a lot better now.

So on Saturday night Obispo Perez nos llamar-ed (called us) and asked if 3 missionaries could give talks on Sunday because elections here messed the up the schedule. We quickly prepared the best talks we could and yeah... It was the first talk I had to give in Chile and it was a cool experience. Elder Boyce was the 1st person to speak and he spoke about the how the gospel blesses families. He struggled through the language, but delivered a good message. Next up was Elder Evans. He gave an Apostolic conference talk on the Book of Mormon that was really good, but left a lot of people sleeping. Then came YO. I gave a 10 minute talk on La Oracion (prayer). I tried to be as enthusiastic as possible so that people wouldn't fall asleep on me too. In all, it was a good sacrament meeting.

Our investigators are a little lacking this week. Problem is that people go on vacations for 2-4 weeks at a time here and we´ve lost some good investigators and a few baptismal dates because of it (Gloria, Romina, Estefanía, and Macarena). Luckily our good friend Rodrigo (age 30) is still progressing and told us that he´s positive he wants to be baptized now, he just is afraid to talk to his family about it. He lives with his parents and they're strong Catholics. It´s all good though, we´re positive, he´s positive, and it´s all gonna work out.

I miss you all so much. Sorry I didn't have any crazy stories or anything this week, I think I just am tired. Mom, in response to your questions, it´s like 95 degrees here and the Santiago Temple is awesome, but really small in comparison to others. I still haven't received the opportunity to actually attend the temple though..

Love you guys,

Elder Mooney

P-day Hike

Monday, January 11, 2010

Elder Mooney's pension (apartment)



Cleaning day

Looks like Elders live here!

This week we've been blessed to see the good.

Hola, ¿Que honda?

First off, I´d like to throw a shout out to my favorite Dad in the whole world. hApPy BiRtHdAy DaD!?! I hope you don´t feel too old (even though you´re REALLY old now). Haha I love you. That letter you all sent me on dad´s birthday was incredible. Si tienen ganas de hacerlo de nuevo, por favor haganlo. Me encantó. (If you feel like doing it again, please do. I loved it!) Really, it was cool to just get a little bit from everybody really quickly, thank you.
On Tuesday I finally got my package from Kelly! She´s just TOO good. I don´t know if she told you all what she sent me, but the best part of it all was the Baby´s First Christmas Snow Globe she sent with a picture of me in it.... There was a book, CD, spongebob, Cheetos and cualquier otra cosa (all sorts of things) in that package. Unfortunately the bag of Jalapeño Cheetos she sent exploded during the journey. Spicy, cheesy, grease soaked into everything. Haha. Elder Evans re-baked the Cheetos and we ate them anyways. I cleaned everything up and everything is good now. Thank you so much Kelly!

Last Monday we went to El Cerro San Cristobal, which is a giant famous hill with a GIANT statue of the Virgin Mary on top. The four of us and 6 other Elders hiked up it in our missionary clothes. Halfway up we began to regret our decision to hike (we also began to realize how out of shape we are). We climbed to the top, looked over all of Santiago and took some awesome pictures. I'll send you the pictures in a separate email. After that we took this train thing back down and then went to Gatsby's, all you can eat buffet. It's probably one of the best quality buffets I've ever seen in my life. We ate ourselves sick then went and did a public presentation. Good preparation day.

This week I witnessed one of the scariest things I've seen in my life. About 30-40 ft away from me a kid got hit by a car. He crossed the street from a behind a vehicle, just as a car was passing at full speed. He smashed into the front window and then his face skidded about 10 ft on the ground. The scariest part was that his older brother or friend started screaming, running around, kicking cars, and yelled at us to call the police. I felt horrible for the middle-aged lady that hit him as well. She was so sad and confused about everything. The miraculous thing was that after about 10 minutes the kid who got hit seemed to be breathing normal and talking and there were no signs of blood?? We don´t know how it all ended, but ever since Elder Blankenfeld and I have been very careful when we cross the street.

Now for a change in theme. As missionaries we hear a lot from people that the world is just evil and that everyone has bad intentions and does everything for themselves. This week especially, I've begun to realize that they´re wrong. As servants of the Lord we are blessed to see some of the best and worst in people. Luckily this week we've been blessed to see the good. A 15 year old girl, who always attended seminary, named Macarena finally told us she´s ready to start preparing for baptism again. A 30 year old guy has brought his friend to church twice now and we placed a Baptismal date on his friend now. This guy is amazing, his name is Rodrigo, and he has truly been humbled through his afflictions and his trying to grow closer to God. Gloria and Estefanía, the family that lives directly in front of the church, finally went to church! Best thing about it was the members were great about saluting them and both Gloria and Estefanía loved it. A boy at church who was starting to ¨go down the wrong path¨ spent a full week of doing service and is now aiming to be a missionary again. He bore his testimony yesterday and it really impressed Gloria. Marcela Soto, a lady that lives next door to the bishop, finally has started to take interest in the church these last few weeks. She goes to church every Sunday now and is the most attentive person there. She invited all 4 of us over yesterday, gave us food to make completos (crazy hot dogs), and she made us an ridiculously amazing cake! It was a chocolate vanilla, raspberry, and mint cake with white and dark chocolate chunks. I ate my portion for breakfast today... Everyone wants to give us stuff right now. Gloria and Romina always make us banana milk, fresh juice, or some kinda tomato egg and bread stuff. Anita, Camila, and Paulo are always inviting us over to eat too. This sector is being amazing to us in every way and we don´t even feel like we deserve it. It´s a real blessing though.

As you can tell, things are going good here in the mission. Elder Blankenfeld and Boyce are always fighting (kinda fake, but kinda real). Elder Evans is always cleaning or baking for us. And I´m just chillin´. I miss you all very much and I hope all is well for you. Thank you so much for the praying and fasting for our sector. I´m positive it´s paid off.

Elder Mooney

PS- Sister Knighton, thank you so much for all the letters you've written me. You are amazing!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

So many stories...

Hola a todos,

So this is cool, it´s 2010. Kinda crazy huh? For the New Years we weren't allowed to stay out or anything so we entered the pension at 10 and ate some meat and rice that a member who lives upstairs made for us. We talked until 12:05 and noticed that the New Year had passed and went to bed. IT WAS A BLAST!

I've come to realize that there are so many little stories that I haven't been able to tell you all. Like how a Peruvian man in our ward had to make little tunics in the 3rd hour of church so that the people being baptized had something to wear. Or how my COMPANION overflowed the Baptismal font into our Gospel Principle class the day of Juan's baptism. Or about how a bunch of little kids dressed up like fat wise-men were running around the temple grounds during the Christmas programs. Or about how a missionary in our zone unfortunately got sent home a couple weeks ago. There's so much that I wish I could tell you all, but there's just no time to do it. Unfortunately you'll just have to deal with what I feel like writing you.

A few things that have had a great impact on me this week are:

The Stake Mission Leader invited all the missionaries and all their Ward Mission Leaders in our zone to a meeting. All of us missionaries showed up and not a single Mission Leader arrived. We held the meeting and the most memorable part was that he used a clip from the movie 300 to inspire us to work harder. (Had to do with how 300 real soldiers is better then thousands of bakers or blacksmiths).

The Patriarch's wife made us lunch the other day and she made us a drink that you HAVE to try! All you need is Ginger Ale, crushed pineapple, and pineapple sorbet/ice cream. You just make basically a root beer float but with ginger ale and pineapple. It was actually REALLY good.

We taught Mario, Lucy (de England), and family how to make REAL Estados Unidos pancakes and they LOVED them. Pancakes here are basically crepes.

I saw a dead body covered by a tarp right outside of our apartment. A man got hit trying to cross the main road. The police were blocking the street off and measuring everything when we passed by. Also a little boy got hit by a car while we were sharing a lesson, we all went outside to see, after about 5 minutes they decided he was ok, and we went back inside to finish the lesson.

I had a crazy man come right up to my face 2 days ago and scream ¨¡MATA A LOS NORTE AMERICANOS!¨ and also while we were knocking doors I told a man that we were Representatives of Jesus Christ and he yelled ¨¡USTEDES NO SON REPRESENTANTES DE EL!¨ and slammed the gate right in front of my nose.

This week Elder Boyce, trying to be funny, locked the front door after he left the apartment while we were still inside. Little did he know that the keys cannot unlock the door from the inside so Elder Blankenfeld and I were locked in the apartment for 30 minutes. We tried calling neighbors, we called the Elder´s phone, but they left it at a member´s house. Eventually a old man walked by and we threw him the keys and asked if he could open our door. Elder Blankenfeld taught Boyce a lesson that night.

The most memorable thing was that last night we passed by the hermana's house that lives upstairs to visit her, but she and her son weren't there. The 82 year old grandma was though (and let me just tell you, she looks even older then that). We asked her if there was anything we could do for her and she looked right at me and told me that she could use a boyfriend... I told her we couldn't help her with that and we left.

That´s basically my week in a really disorganized email. Thank you so much for the help you are doing back home for our mission here. I love you all so much and hope all is well. Please continue to pray for us so that we can find new people to teach.


Elder Mooney