Monday, March 29, 2010

Crying & hugging going on...

Hello friends and family!

Wow... Time is flying? It´s almost April and then in May I get to talk to you again?! I´m excited.

This week has not been the healthiest week for us (cookie dough, frosting, sopapillas, empanadas, etc...). The four of us Elders decided to start "La Dieta Adámica" today. The adamic diet is basically a diet of what we think Adam and Eve ate, fruits and vegetables. We´re gonna eat lunches normal, but the rest of the day it´s alllll natural. My companion is a little concerned.

We found an amazing investigator this week named Pablo. First lesson there was crying and hugging going on. He lives in a very ghetto part of the sector but he seems to understand our message better then everyone else. We´ll see how it goes. I recieved amazing news from my old companion Elder Blankenfeld. Christian and Macarena, two of our old investigators got baptized!!!!!! I wasn´t there, but I´m still way excited for them.

Mom and Dad, I just want you to know that you did a horrible job of preparing me to live in Chile... Let me explain why: So the other day we decided to do service for a family in our ward of repainting the short wall beneath their gate (they asked us to). We had to scrape off all the old paint then paint the wall white. My companion was just hacking away at it and left the majority of the old paint on the wall. Then he started splashing paint all over the side walk and gate and I was like ?!?!?!. In my house, this would not fly.. I did my side a little more orderly and when we finished I thought, "this looks terrible." Fortunately when the hermana came out she said, "O qué lindo!" She loved it and was completely satisfied. The standards of painting are just slightly different here.

Just want you to know that I love each and every one of you. You are the best seriously! I know the church is true. I know that Jesus Christ leads and guides his church in these days and I´m so excited to listen to his chosen prophets this Saturday and Sunday. I encourage all of you who have troubles focusing and enjoying conference to take notes, it totally makes it a lot more enjoyable.


Elder Mooney

Monday, March 22, 2010

More UPS than downs!

Hello Dearest Loved Ones,

First off, I´m required to inform you that I have changed my email. The mission has officially asked us to switch back to Luckily, is now using GMAIL and it works really well. My new email address is:

So if everyone could please write me at this email I would greatly appreciate it. I´ll still be able to check this one for the next couple of weeks, but I´m gradually switching to the other. Thanks!

This week definitely had it´s ups and downs, but definitely more UPS than downs. On Wednesday we broke our record for number of lessons in one day. That was exciting! The next day we were pumped and taught above normal again. Then unfortunately it slipped back down. It´s always great when the Lord blesses us with days of success like that to show us that we can be doing a lot better. The health of my companion seems to be doing a lot better now. It´s not keeping us from working and we´re both more positive!

An awesome, strange and unfortunate things that happened this week was.... An 11 year old kid named Dilon started talking to me in the street as we were searching for some houses of less active members. I talked with him for a while as he followed us around and then asked him if we could teach him and his family. It turned out that he lives alone with his dad who is a less active hippie carpenter jewelry maker guy. We taught him and his dad and gave Dilon a Book of Mormon. Unfortunately they are moving to another city, but it was a cool lesson. Dilon was a golden investigator. He went to his Evangelical church by himself every week. He knew practically all of the teachings of the bible and understood them. We described to him where the Book of Mormon came from and he said well that makes sense because GOLD is a tyoe of metal that lasts for a long time. He was very cool. Now they plan on talking with missionaries in their new city.

Then on Saturday night I was praying with Elder Tello to end our daily planning session and I felt the desire to pray for a special blessing over the ward. I asked that all of the members, less actives, and investigators would feel the need to go to the chapel so that we could have a powerful and memorable sacrament meeting. Then afterwards I didn´t think much of it. The amazing thing was that that next day we had 134 people in the chapel and 4 of them were investigators! That´s about 40 more then the average we´ve been having. On top of that one of the Elders from the Quorum of the Seventies suprised the ward with a visit. It was a very powerful sacrament meeting.

Last night we had changes. They called us at about 11 and told us that the 4 of us would all be staying where we are. That we´re doing a good job and need to keep it up. I´m not going to lie, at first I was a little bummed. BUT afterward I prayed and slept on it and in the morning had a very powerful personal and companionship study. Elder Tello and I know that we can do more this change and we´re going to do it. One of our goals is to help all members to take an active part in the missionary work. We´re going to try and bring members to lessons with us every day. Nobody realizes how important it really is.

Well I love and miss each and every one of you. Thanks for all the emails, letters and packages. Please keep it up ;) You´re the best!

Elder Mooney

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tengo 20 anos!

Hola mis seres queridos!

This week has been amazing. (Not really, but I`m gonna be more positive). Haha! Alright well we did not have too much success this week when it comes to teaching. I think we taught less lessons this week then I`ve taught any other week in the mission. There`s an excuse though. Elder Tello and I got really sick. One day i woke up with my throat burning and my nose running like never before. It hurt to drink water. I worked through the day anyways. The next day Elder Tello woke up with the same sickness. So we stayed in the pension and slept ALL day. It sounds really nice, but not that great. Without air conditioning, the house gets pretty hot during the day. My throat was killing me that second day so i made one of the boxes of pudding that you sent me and ate the whole thing on the spot. Then about an hour later i made the other box and ate the whole thing. 9 CUPS OF PUDDING! Talk about happiness... We felt a little bit better the next day and decided to work through it because we had a full day of appointments. Luckily, every single one of our appointments failed and we taught like one lesson that day. It was incredible. Really though, it wasn`t that bad. We stayed positive and we`re almost completely better now.

Just in case you were wondering, yes, we did feel three really big earthquakes or aftershocks this week. I was laying in bed when the whole house started shaking and rattling. It was really strong, but not as strong as the original so I didn`t get up. My companion started yelling commands like usual ;) Then a minute later another one came and Elder Tello started yelling to us to ¨disfrutenlo¨ or enjoy it. So everyone just stayed still and felt it, me in my bed. It`s a weird feeling, but becoming pretty normal.

The day before my birthday I decided to forget my ¨diet¨ or whatever you want to call it and ate. I ate 3 sopapillas and 2 empanadas that night it was delicious. Then on my actual birthday we celebrated. The Saturday before we bought pork ribs, rice, onions, cake, ice cream, everything. Sunday night we had a feast and the whole house was decorated with my Pokemon birthday decorations. (thank you family). We ate Pork ribs marinated in some crazy sauce Elder Tello made, yellow rice and fried onions with eggs. Afterwards we ate the dessert I found, which was La Torta de Mil Ojas. Mom, you know exactly what I`m talking about. It was a cake made half of manjar and the rest of crispy pastry stuff. It was ridiculously good, especially with the half melted vanilla ice cream. It wasn`t such a good idea to eat so much at 11 at night though. Don`t worry, we took plenty of pictures and videos of it all. I`ll send them to you when I can.

One thing I forgot to mention was that at about 8pm on my birthday, all the power in Santiago went out. We were in the middle of a lesson with Daniel and Jacuelyn (who agreed to get married and baptized) when boom. DARKNESS... We taught for about another 10 minutes in the dark then wrapped it up. We went back to the pension, lit a bunch of candles, and started cooking my feast. At about 20 till 10 the power came back on and we celebrated. I`ll for sure never forget my 20th birthday.

The most spiritual experience I had this week actually occurred today. When everyone was taking their Preparation day naps I decided to study a little bit and started reading ¨For The Strength of Youth.¨ I read through the whole thing and realized how amazingly good that pamphlet is. Before the mission I struggled reading through a few pages of it and now I`m loving it. After reading it all I started reflecting on how I lived my life before and during the mission and decided to change a few things and set some goals for myself. It was an intense experience that came out of nowhere. All I know is that repentance is such a powerful tool and that it`s all possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I`m so grateful for this time I have to improve.

Well I love you all and miss you so much. I pray for you all the time. Thank you so much for all the love and support!

Elder Matthew Mooney

Monday, March 8, 2010

Everything's Chill...

Hello Mis Seres Queridos,

Everything here in Santiago has seemed to calm down. Yes we have felt a few of the aftershocks, but they were just like vibrations. Water is fine. Food is fine. Mail is fine. Everything is fine. De hecho, I got my package!!!! On tuesday and opened everything. Sorry. Everyday is the same here and when we get packages we open them. I loved it though! Pudding, cookies, candy, mints, decorations, DVDs, everything. Thank you so much. You all do too much for me, really. Don`t worry though mom, we`re putting up all the decorations and everything on Saturday, Elder Tello is going to cook, and we`re buying a cake. My actual birthday is still gonna be fun.

Missionary work here has been normal. Every once in a while we find someone still freaked out about the earthquake, but for the most part everyone seems the same. Let me give you a summary of our investigators. We have Daniel (age 19) who is the boyfriend of our recently active member Jacuelyn (17). They live together and have a baby. Maribell (age17), Daniel`s brother wants to get baptized and was able to get baptized last sunday, but couldn`t because her parents want her to move back down to the south until she`s 18. We have Ramòn (55?) who is living with a less active woman Juana. He`s amazing but the two of them can`t get married because she`s still married to another man. Divorce in Chile is ridiculous. We have Elsa Riquleme (40) who is going to get baptized in June. We have to wait till June because that`s when she`s getting married to her ¨husband.¨ We just found Ines (30) and her daughter Constanza (9) the other day and they both accepted a baptismal date. She is separated from her less active husband right now. Hope it all works out. We`ve got a few more investigators with similar stories. It`s a whole different world.

My companion has been having a lot of problems lately. He has had a few surgeries here in the mission because of intestinal problems and other things. He has a LONG list of foods he cant eat. Unfortunately, he eats them anyways. He eats empanadas, lettuce, melons, beans, ketchup, etc etc... Everything he`s not supposed to and for that we have to spend an hour or 2 in the pension everyday and some days, we`re in the pension all day. I`ve tried talking to him about his eating habits and he says he`s gonna improve, but then in the night time he makes a big bowl of beans and sausages before bed. Then he wakes up to 2 fried eggs, sausages, bread, mayonesa, and ketchup. It`s a bit frustrating. Personally I`ve been eating a lot healthier. I`ve officially put myself on a diet and I`ve stuck to it for 2 weeks now. I think my companion has shown me what can happen from eating bad.

Well everything sounds crazy at home. I miss you all demasiado! You`re amazing and I appreciate you all more then you know. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that God has called a prophet in these days, Thomas S. Monson. I know that the family really can be eternal. And I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families. Oh I almost forgot, The Prophet, Elder Bednar, The Primary President, and one of the Seventy spoke to all of Chile yesterday. It was awesome! They managed to address Chile`s need perfectly. It was so powerful.

Alright, well I love you and I`ve gotta go.

Elder Mooney

Monday, March 1, 2010


Alright, well I`m gonna try and write as much as I can. We`ll see how it goes.

At about 3:30 in the morning I was laying half awake in bed when I felt a little vibration and opened my eyes. Then everything started vibrating more intensely. My bed started shaking, the window started rattling. After a few seconds the entire house was shaking pretty crazily. My companion then jumps out of bed and shouts ¨¡ÈLDER MOONEY ÈLDER MOONEY LEVANTATE! Hay un terremoto!¨ I was tired, comfortable, and kind of shocked and had absolutely no desire to get out of bed, but I did because the top bunk in a bunk bed probably isn`t the safest place to be during an earthquake. Elder Tello then started running across the apartment to wake up the other elders. The shaking nearly knocked him over. Elder Wilkey was already awake putting on his pants, but Elder Laney was still completely asleep (how, I don`t know?). We waited for about another minute and the earthquake died down. The power was out, it was pitch black in the house and we started searching for lights. Elder Wilkey and I found flashlights and Elder Tello lit a few candles. We looked around the house and everything seemed ok. Things had fallen off the shelves and water spilt out of the toilet bowl, but besides that, everything seemed ok. We quickly got dressed and put on tennis shoes in case another one came. We then got our backpacks ready with food and supplies in case we had to leave quickly. We checked the phones and they were dead. We looked outside and tons of people were outside looking around and a few people were packing up their cars and leaving. We weren`t 100% sure what to do...

Now let`s go back in time a little bit: A couple weeks ago our mission president gave us a few sheets of papers that had to do with WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF AN EARTHQUAKE. It explained the procedures we would take. It explained that we should all have money, dried food, and water prepared in a backpack. It had everything. We read it and figured we`d get it ready pretty soon. Then, the day just before the Earthquake President Laycock, his wife, and the assistant missionaries came to our zone to do house inspections / interviews. They talked to us about how important it will be to have our emergency supplies ready and before leaving we did a blessing over the apartment. They did that for our entire zone. We asked the President if these precautions were something that all the missions were doing or just ours. He said, just ours. We need to be prepared. Pretty powerful huh?

Back to the earthquake. We couldn`t call or do anything but wait. Elder Laney pulled out his MP3 player and somehow got it to play the radio. We listened to what they were saying for a while but it didn`t help much. This whole time Elder Laney, Elder Wilkey, and I were all pretty chill, but my companion was a different story. He was shouting commands, bagging all the food he had, and going nuts. He denies it now though.

We had the order to wait an hour in the apartment if something ever happened and if we didn`t recieve a call, then go to the chapel. After about a half hour we got a call from the office telling us to stay in our pensions with everything prepared in case of another. I got everything ready and went back to bed. The others couldn`t sleep and decided to make yellow rice and fried eggs. Every once in a while we felt some pretty strong temors and one big one in the morning. We stayed in the pension until about 12:30 when we recieved a call from the office to go to our scheduled lunches in our sectors, but to go in our street clothes. We would be offering service to all members, investigators, less actives, and anyone we knew. We went to lunch and the hermana had been going nuts because she hadn`t been able to get a hold of us and figured we were terrified or dead or something. We went to a bunch of the areas with houses that could have been in danger, but we found everyone to be in good conditions. No major damage in our area at all.

The major fear of everyone now is the replica or after shock that`s supposed to come. Everyone was expecting it the same day and it never came. They say it has to come though. Everyone`s flooding the stores now, buying all the food they can carry and more. Some malls and large stores are being robbed. Everyone was afraid that the water would be bad after the quake. Now we`re hearing that they might cut the water in Santiago. So we have every bottle, bowl, and cup full of water. The tub and the washing machine are full too. The office also gave us some fancy pants water bottles with filters about a month ago that we can use. There`s a little bit of a panic going on though.

On Sunday we held Sacrament meeting as normal and the Bishop chose to speak the whole time after sacrament. They then canceled the last 2 hours so that people could contact and visit family.

Truth is though. The earthquake felt really cool though. The ground, the walls, everything moving was insane and kind of exciting. Nothing really happened to us here. Unfortunately it hit other parts so much worse. I can`t even imagine being in the middle of all that. I pray that they`re all ok and that the aftershock is a lot less powerful (if there is one?).

I`m ok though. I miss you all more then I`ve ever missed you. The knowledge that I`m sealed to my family is actually a huge comfort to me now even though I`m not in much danger at this point in time. It`s been crazy here, but strangely normal as well. I hope that Chile can help the people who really are suffering and I also hope that this helps people remember what`s really important in this life.

I love you all so much! Thank you for the worry and concern, but it`s all ok now. Tranquilo. You`re the best and I`m so lucky to have such amazing friends and family.

Elder Matthew D. Mooney