Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Elder Mooney is home!

waiting at Sky Harbor Airport

this was the first version of cousin Danny's sign

Practice Run

We didn't even recognize that Chilean coming off the plane

We didn't even recognize that Chilean coming off the plane

Little sis Diana got the first hug

Sister Becky and a very friendly airport employee

Mom may have been the most excited!

Dad was pretty excited as well

Mom and Becky couldn't help but cry a little

Return missionaries, his cousin Taylor

We made quite the scene at the airport

Hunter and Diana, Matt's little sisters

The welcome home banner

Monday, August 1, 2011

A final email - and a powerful Testimony

Dear family and loved ones,

Wow.. The mission is almost over. This will probably be my last email home as a missionary. Last night and this morning I was looking through all of my pictures that I have taken here in the mission and it is hard to believe that the two years are coming to an end. Now that I am about to go home it is easy to say, yeah, the mission just flew by. Truth is though, when I think about the places I have been, the people I have met, and the lives I have influenced it seems that I have managed to cram in a life time of experiences into just two years. It also feels like I haven´t seen my family or home in ten years or so. Time in the mission is a very strange concept.

Many interesting and fun things have occurred this past week, but I figure I will just tell you all about them when I get home. More then anything I just want to let you all know that I love you all very much. I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting me over these past two years and for helping me to stay strong and faithful to this sacred calling of serving a mission.

I want you to know that even though the mission has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life, I have seen and felt the love of God more in these couple of years then any other time in my life.

God exists and loves us very much. If anyone is unsure of that, get down on your knees and ask him if he exists in sincere prayer. I promise you that he will answer.

I know that Christ is our Savior. I can feel it. I know it is true and that is the only reason I keep the commandments and strive to do better each day.

Christ´s church is on the Earth today. The fulness of the Gospel was restored to the Earth by the prophet Joseph Smith. It is hard for me to understand why anyone would not accept him as a prophet of the Lord. He lived and died dedicated to the Lord and his work. That same work continues to spread throughout all the earth in these days and will continue to spread until the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Holy Ghost is real. He testifies of all truth and by him we can come to know the truth of all things. If we trust in him we will never be lead astray. I like to look at it this way. Life is difficult no matter what. It is difficult for the righteous and for the wicked. We can either struggle, suffer, and fight through the problems of this life alone or we can struggle, suffer, and fight through the problems of this life with God´s love, help, and comforting Spirit. I personally choose to have God´s help. Not to mention, life is better when you follow God´s commandments.

It has been a privilege and blessing to serve the Lord as a missionary here in Santiago Chile. I will never forget the lessons I have learned while being on the Lord´s errand.

Again, I want to thank each and every one of you for helping me to become the person I am today. I guess I will be seeing you in about a week. How exciting is that! :)

Love you,
Elder Matthew D. Mooney

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pretty stinkin' crazy.

Dear Loved Ones,

Well this should be my second to last email home. Pretty stinkin' crazy. I am super excited to come home, but now that it's almost here I feel kinda weird and nervous. I am super excited to go see Captain America with the family Dad and I'm also excited to go to Iceberg with Diana. It's all going to be 2 good.

This past week I have been having some crazy dreams. In a lot of my dreams I have been inviting people to church and inviting them to be baptized. The other day I had a very stressful dream about trying to find baptismal clothing. I have also been sleep talking quite a bit. Two night ago my companion said he woke up to me imitating Beaker from the muppets saying "mee mee mee mee mee I'm Beaker." Haha sounds pretty random, but I'll explain to you later why. My companion is Beaker from the muppets.

On Friday President Laycock came to our pension and studied with us. We did an in depth study of Isaiah. It was pretty legit. Then the four of us had personal interviews with President. My interview was pretty quick. Ten to fifteen minutes. My last week in the mission I will have my official going home interview. The longest interview in our pension lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes. Pretty long. After we were done with interviews we ate lunch and then went to the church for Claudina's baptism. She is now officially baptized and confirmed. We are super excited for her. She and the family are doing wonderfully.
Our Bishop here finally returned from the United States. He is a very humble nice guy. I really like him. His family and a few other gringo families have been returning from vacations so that has been pretty fun.

In all things are going pretty well. We are still finding some new investigators. We have Kati who should be preparing herself for baptism, but is just difficult to keep track of. The work is going well though.

Oh, so let me explain what it means to die in the mission. To "die" in the mission is to become so tired and worn out mentally and physically that you no longer have a desire to work. It's to just get lazy at the end of your mission. Sounds pretty drastic, but it happens to plenty of missionaries their last change. It is kinda difficult though to keep working and finding new investigators when you know that you will never have the opportunity to see their progression. You just have to remind yourself that your efforts in finding that person could change their eternal destiny. That it doesn't matter who teaches them, just as long as they are taught. Don't worry though. I am still working and not "dead" yet. All the return missionaries like to bug me though by telling me that I am dead and trunky. So that helps. Haha

Well thank you for all your love and concern. I miss you all very much and hope that everything is going well back home. Thank you for everything.

Elder Mooney

Chicken livers & Pizza Hut

Dear friends and family,

Things here in Santiago, Chile are going just fine. The weather has been pretty nice. It´s cold and rainy, but nothing too horrible. It snowed a lot up in the mountains and they say there is a good possibility that it rains in our sector as well. That would be pretty awesome. I can´t even imagine 100 degree weather back home in Arizona. I´m gonna die. Well, maybe not die, just get pretty sunburned because I´m pretty pale right now.

This past week we had some pretty awesome experiences with finding people. We found an awesome less active lady and her 12 year old son who is not a member. She wants to get married to her "pareja" or living partner and she wants her son to be baptized. We also found a really nice Peruvian family just by knocking a few doors in between appointments instead of just waiting in the person´s house. The person we are most excited for at the moment is Claudina. Claudina is the investigator who was married the other week. She is getting baptized this Saturday and Brother Ojeda (the convert assistant ward mission leader) is throwing a big after party in his house for her and all the guests. It is amazing how strong of a testimony Claudina has, as well as her husband Cristian. They understand everything so well. It´s as if they had been members their whole lives. So we feel pretty blessed to be the missionaries w
ho get to witness their wedding and her baptism.

The food has been pretty crazy this week. One day we had to carry lunch to the house and it was rice with chicken livers. Another day the members forgot and they gave us $40 to buy lunch so we bought Pizza Hut. The sad thing is $40 only buys two pizzas and some cinnamon sticks here. Then yesterday we had lunch with the White Family again. They gave us pot roast with carrots and potatoes. Pretty awesome. I feel like I am halfway back in the states at times, then I realize that I am still far from it.

Everything is going well though. I´m trying really hard not to DIE my last 3 weeks. It is really hard to stay focused, but we just keep working and the time flies by. So please keep praying for me and our investigators. Thank you for everything. I love you all!

Elder Matthew D. Mooney

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lots of Stuff!

Dear family,

Well this has been a long week. Teaching wise, we didn't seem to get very much done, but a lot of stuff happened this week. On Friday night we were able to go to a wedding in the chapel. Their names are Claudina and Cristian. An investigator who has been attending church for a long time finally got married to her inactive husband. It was way fun to see them get married and to hear how they are excited to start coming to church as a family now because they no longer feel guilty. On Sunday them and their two kids all sat together and attended all the meetings. The wedding was super fun though. Kinda small, but we ate tons of food. They made us eat more then we even wanted to. Claudina should be getting baptized this next Sunday!

On Thursday night we celebrated the birthday of our mission leader's baby boy Matthew. He turned 1. So we ate cupcakes and cookies and cream ice cream. It was awesome. On Friday and Saturday we celebrated Elder Miller's birthday by bringing him to a mini surprise party and by making him a chocolate cake. That was pretty fun. He seemed pretty bummed out at first that nothing cool was going to happen on his birthday, but after that I think he felt fine.
Our investigator Kati has been feeling kinda off and on sick this past week so we haven´t been able to teach her much. We really need to just sit down and teach her so that she can get baptized. We are excited for her.

On Saturday Elder Owen and I helped Hermano Ojeda fortify his stone wall by making a mini cement wall. Surprisingly I really enjoy working with cement. I find it to be pretty fun.
Today we were going to go to this place called El Cerro Santa Lucia. I guess it is a big hill and at the bottom there is a big market where you can buy lots of souvenirs and stuff. Unfortunately it was raining in the morning. So instead my companion went to go buy new shoes to match his fancy new suit and the other Elders went to try and return their $500 pens they bought. Yes $500 pens. Kinda nutz.. So this hasn't been that fun of a day.

Well I love you all tons and please keep praying for me. Thank you for everything.

Elder Matthew D. Mooney

Hey, it appears that I forgot to mention that I had the opportunity to baptize someone on Sunday as well. His name is Benjamin Riquelme. He is 15 years old and his older sister is an active member of the church. The other missionaries have been teaching him for a while, but for some reason he wanted me to baptize him. It was kinda random, but I was happy to do it. (There is a lot more to the story, but I'll tell you when I get home). I had to baptize him twice because he was so dang tall and wouldn't go all the way under the water. Haha but it was a fun experience.

Fotos from LaDehesa

4th of July in Dehesa!

Dear family,

Things here in La Dehesa are pretty different. We see Porsches, Jaguars, Lamborginis, and all other types of beautiful cars up here. Our sector is gigantic. It might be bigger then Pirque. Not sure. It is huge though. I still don´t even know half of my sector yet. It has been extremely fun though. I love my companions, I love the ward members, and I only have 5 weeks left in the mission. Life is good.

One thing that is pretty legit here is that our mission leader´s name is Brother Abe Smith. He is from Mesa, AZ. He works for the US Airforce and is here in Chile for a few years sharing ideas and helping out. It felt amazing to have a mission correlation where the mission leader actually writes stuff down, plans activities, prays to receive revelation during the week and then shares his ideas with us in the correlation. They even plan out baptisms here. In advance! Supposedly the Bishop is from the states, one of his counselors is Chilean but has lived in Switzerland as well as the states. And yesterday for our Sunday lunch we had an early 4th of July Celebration! We ate with the White family and the Headquist family. Gringo families. We took pictures with them and the food to show you what it was like. We ate BBQ chicken, chicken wings, potato salad, corn on the cob, salad with dressing, and Apple pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. It was a super weird feeling. Spanish was not spoken the entire time. I realized that it is super easy for me to have conversations in english, but introductions and saying goodbye to people in english feels really awkward. Praying in english is nearly impossible. I love the new sector though and the ward is great.

One of our investigators here is Kati. I don´t remember if I told you about her last week. She is from Colombia and is very black. She is super nice and super cool. She has a little baby girl named Milady (my lady). At the moment she is living and working in the house of a recent convert here named Hno Ojeda. He is the assistant to the ward mission leader and is awesome. He hated the church at first. His son secretly filled out his mission papers and then went and told his dad with the help of the bishop. They had a huge fight, but somehow overtime he changed and was baptized a little over a year ago. He is incredible. The rest of his family still isn´t too into the church yet, but he is working on them. He hired Kati to help her out and now he is working with her spiritually as well. She had a baptismal date a couple weeks ago, but we are putting her baptism off till the 24th so she can understand and be converted fully before her baptism.

We also have a kid named Kevin that has a baptismal date, but needs to go to church. Then we have a lady named Claudina that will be getting married on the 8th. She will also be getting baptized soon.

Things are going great though. My companion Elder Stephen Owen is pretty much a clone of Jared Bishop. Haha he reminds me of Jared all the time. Facial expressions, jokes, everything. The only difference is he has an accent. So you can imagine that we have had some fun. Elder Miller and Elder Daines are crazy too so between the four of us there is always something going on. We are trying to be good examples for them and have a lot of fun.
Thank you for your emails. I love and miss you all a lot. I hope that California has been treating you all very nicely. You are the best!

-Elder Mooney


Monday, June 27, 2011

Changed AGAIN!

Dear family and friends,

Well this is the first letter of my last change. It´s kinda a weird feeling being in my last change. Today a bunch of my mission friends gave their farewell testimonies and are going home. It´s kinda sad to see them all go. Elder Afeaki and Elder White, two elders from my MTC district are also going home early this change so they gave their testimonies as well. It was an emotional morning, especially for President Laycock because such a large number of his "children" are now going home.

As for the changes, unexpectedly I was changed AGAIN. Three changes, three sectors, and three companions. Kinda a strange way to end the mission. I guess the Lord is just trying to keep me on my toes. I was kinda bummed for about thirty seconds last night, but got over it pretty quickly. I am now in a sector called La Dehesa. It is in the Las Condes Stakes. I am pretty much in one of the richest (fancy pants) sectors in our mission now. Supposedly there are six gringo families in our ward who all speak English. The bishop is from the states, as well as the mission leader and a few others. The Elders here are telling me that we will be eating some of the best lunches I have ever seen here and on occasion dinner as well. (There goes away any hope of coming home in shape..) My companions name is Elder Owen. He is from Louisiana and has already been zone leader here for two changes so at least he knows whats going on in the sector. We live with and share the sector with two other elders, Elder Miller and Elder Daines. I think that this is going to be a very fun place to end my mission.

I want you to know that I can feel and sense that the Spirit truly does guide this work. I can see the Lord´s hand helping us in all things and that through our obedience we receive blessings. I know this work is true and that Christ lives and directs his church through a living prophet. It feels great to be a part of such a marvelous work.

Well I love you all and miss you so much. I hope you have a great trip to California without me. Hopefully it will be the last trip to California without me as well. You are the best family every. Keep the Faith!

Elder Matthew D. Mooney

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's all worth it in the end.

Querida familia,

Well first off I would like to say HAPPY FATHER´S DAY DAD!!! Wish I could've been home to give you a big hug, but that will just have to wait till August. I hope you had a great Father´s day. I imagine you ate pretty well and received a few cool gifts. I just want to thank you for being an amazing father and a great example to me. I think back through my life and I can´t remember you even once setting a bad example for me. I know that I am where I am today thanks to you and Mom. You are the best. I love you Dad.

I love the rest of you as well and miss you very much. This past week was a pretty rough week. It rained several times. Investigators have been kinda flaky, but there were some great experiences as well. We received a reference from the office to go visit two people who were interested in receiving a Book of Mormon. We showed up at the house and yelled "HALO!" but nobody came out. Then the next door neighbor peaked her head out and I asked her if her neighbor was home, she said yes, but we just needed to yell louder. So we yelled again and waited another minute and as we waited the neighbor´s little kids kept peaking out at us. Finally the reference opened her front door and told us that she didn't want anything from us. She said that she and her daughter never gave their direction to anyone and they weren't interested in the Book of Mormon. We were kinda disappointed, but I felt like we should yell at the neighbor that had talked to us and see if we could share something with her. She let us in and we taught her and her three kids. She told us that her aunt had been baptized and now lives in Salt Lake City Utah. She also told us that when she was a little girl she used to go to church with her aunt but was never baptized. We invited her and her kids to be baptized and they agreed to start preparing to be baptized.

I want to thank you for the amazing package I received last Tuesday. 4th of July toys and decorations. Brownie mix. Cooke mix. Tuna and corn? Haha love it though. But those homemade cookies you sent were SO good. We ate them all the second the box was opened. Thank you so much for the package and thank you Diana and friends for the note you sent.
Oh and I almost forgot. On Saturday we had a ward movie night. We had been planning it for a while. We watched the new Joseph Smith movie which hasn't been seen by a lot of members here in Chile. It was awesome. We had a projector and an awesome sound system. We also had 200 sopaipillas to eat. Unfortunately it rained all day Saturday so only about 30 people showed up as opposed to the 80 we planned for. It was still way fun though.

The mission is great though. I am dead tired. The work is hard, but the mission is just great. I think it is great how when you know you are doing the right thing you feel good on the inside even if you are exhausted on the outside. It's all worth it in the end.

Thank you for all your love and support. I miss you and love you!

-Elder Mooney

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What a shock!

Dear family,

Wow, so the news about Taylor just blows my mind. So crazy and so unexpected. One week he is perfectly fine, happy and working hard in the mission and next he is home with 20 stitches in his head. It is hard for me to imagine him at home already. I feel so relieved and happy though because he is alright. If I had just heard the news without getting a personal letter from Taylor and my parents saying that everything would be alright I would be extremely worried. Thank you for that. I am just happy that he is OK and that in two months I will be able to see him! I will definitely be praying for him and his family.

This past week we managed to teach Tamara (35), Angelo (37), and Victor (82). Tamara and Angelo have four kids and are extremely difficult to get a hold of. They forget about our appointments always and always are busy doing something. On Saturday we had a nice lesson using the Book of Mormon teaching about baptism as we read 2 Nephi 31. We demonstrated the way we need to be baptized and confirmed by a holder of the priesthood and it only added to the desire that Tamara had to be baptized. At the end of the lesson we invited the three of them to be baptized the 26th of June and they accepted. Unfortunately they didn't go to church on Sunday so we will probably have to adjust their baptismal dates again.
Yesterday was a very stressful Sunday. Elder Walters and Elder Erickson baptized two young women and we basically spent the day covering their tracks, fixing the hot water heater that didn't work, picking up the baptismal tunics that they left in the house, cleaning up afterwards. It was kinda hectic, but in the end it went well.

This morning we had a zone activity where we played fútbol and ate 60 completos (hot dogs). There were 15 of us and 5 sister missionaries so there was a lot of food to eat. Avocado, tomato, chips, soda, and 4-5 hot dogs each. It was pretty awesome. I still feel a little sick though. Haha

Things are going good. Thank you for your letters and your love. You are the best family ever.

Elder Mooney

Monday, June 6, 2011

We have witnessed a miracle.

Dear family,

Well this past week kind of flew by. We have been knocking doors and contacting people like crazy. We have found plenty of new investigators and a few families that are extremely legit. Our days have been pretty busy which has helped us to stay pretty focused.

We have witnessed a miracle here in the sector. Two weeks ago we found a less active family of members, the Monares Family, and started to teach them. They have a 22 year old son named Abraham who at first didn´t want to talk to us, but we invited him anyways and he listened. He really opened up to us and told us how horrible his life has been since he left the church. He told us about problems with drug abuse, about how he has a kid, but the mom wants nothing to do with him and her boyfriend has been literally trying to kill him. He has been so upset that he has attempted to kill himself about 7 times, but he says someone has been watching over him and doesn´t want him to die yet. We invited him to start reading the Book of Mormon again and to come back to church. He came to church last week and he said that same week he found work, he has been happier, he quit swearing, quit stealing, quit everything bad that he was doing, except he says that he can´t stop smoking. We taught him how the body is a temple and he needs to keep himself pure so that he can feel the spirit. He said he would try to cut back. He came to church on Sunday for the full 3 hours and at the end told me that he was praying on Saturday and after the prayer he took out his cigarretes and cut them up. He has committed to not smoking anymore. He is a really great humble kid. It is amazing to see how the spirit has been working in him and changing him. We have only taught him a couple lessons, but he has been reading and praying alot and feels the difference. It is amazing to see how faith in Jesus Christ really can help people to overcome any temptation or obstacle that they might have in this life.

At the moment we have plenty of investigators and a few of them have listened to the missionaries before, but never have taken the decision to be baptized. It has been hard to know what to do for them, because they already understand so much about the gospel and have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Please pray for Alexandra, for Viviana and her family, for Tamara, Angelo, and family, and also for the Jimenez family that we just recently have started to teach.

Well I miss you all and hope all is going well back home.

Elder Mooney
This was just his P.S. to me, but I thought I'd share :)
And mom, to answer your question, no the inspections are not a district leader responsibility. Elder Page and I are the zone leaders. Its not that big of a deal though.

New fotos!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Here comes June...

Dear family,

Well things here have been pretty good. We have had some really great days and some really slow boring days. It is slightly frustrating being here with Elder Walters who has been here for about 4.5 months because he has built up a huge pool of investigators and has almost too much to do and we are just searching for investigators. We have found some really nice families, including last night we were knocking doors at about 9:40pm and at the last house we knocked a family of 4 (father, mother, and two daughters ages 16 and 20) let us in. They were having a little birthday party and a foreign exchanged student from Mexico was there and the boyfriend of the 20 year old daughter was there. The foreign exchanged girl had made mexican enchiladas. We said a prayer with them and they invited us to sit down and eat some enchiladas. We couldn't refuse.. We set an appointment with them for next Sunday and we are way excited to teach this complete family.

Elder Page and I had to go and do some pension inspections this week. In the mornings we visited each sectors pension and had to fill out a little form. We also have five hermanas in our zone and we aren't allowed to inspect their pensions so we just made ourselves some ecco and vanilla milk latés and did an over the phone inspection. It was kinda nice to have something different to do.

This morning we played fútbol as a zone in our department complex. We have a little baby court. It was pretty fun, but different playing with five hermanas. Oh and I don´t think I ever told you this, but there is a new hermana in our zone named Hermana Howe. She arrived here in Chile about two weeks ago and the first thing she said to me was, "do you know Hermana Allen?" I guess she and Kelly were friends in the MTC so that was kinda cool.

Things are going good here in though. We just need to keep finding more people to teach. Elder Page and I are trying not to think too much about how we both only have 10 weeks left.. Kinda weird. Haha

Thank you so much for your emails and support. I love you all so much.

Elder Mooney

Monday, May 23, 2011

A New Sector

Things here in Los Presidentes are quite different from how things were back in El Castillo. Half of our sector is pretty rich and the other half is just normal. Elder Walters (the elder who has been here for over 4 months) was always telling us to be careful in the bottom half of the sector. We went down there and it is tranquilito or super chill. I feel like some missionaries have been kinda sheltered from the real ghetto areas. Ironically the other night we were knocking doors in the rich sector and we saw three punk kids hop a fence into a park and a minute later a Carabinero van (police van) pulls up and asks if we had seen some teenagers around here. We told them yeah and that they had just hopped the fence. Instantly the officers hit the gas and zoomed over to the park, two of them ran and hopped the fence and one called in for back up. We saw two motorcycle cops and another van zoom by to cut them off on the other side of the park. It was pretty intense. So we have decided that the rich sector is more dangerous then the poor sector.

We have found some really cool people in our ward. The bishop is a young guy in his 30s with big side burns and glasses. He speaks some english so we practice with him. The bishop's mother recently got married in the United States to a really tight black man from Tucson Arizona. They now are living here in Chile and are looking for an apartment. The funniest part about this guy is that he has a low raspy voice, he has a lot of attitude, and doesn't speak a lick of spanish. In church he doesn't understand hardly anything, but my companion translated a lot for him and when he liked something he would always be like "mmmhhhhmmm.." or "alright alright yeah." We love this guy though. He and I spent a while talking about Joe´s BBQ and other places in Gilbert. The ward is really nice though and it has been fun getting to know the members.

Sacrament meeting went pretty well yesterday. There were 83 people in church, but we have a small cozy chapel so it felt really filled. Between the four of us missionaries we managed to have 6 investigators in church. Two of them were baptized by Elder Erickson and Elder Walters yesterday as well. A little old lady named Ester and her grandson Matías. Her sister and the family of Matías were all there and it was really spiritual. Ester gave the sweetest little testimony afterward and Matías mom was tearing up the whole time. Hopefully the whole family will start listening now.

The mission has been a little different being with Elder Page, an elder that has the same amount of time as I do. We are both used to leading and directing the lessons and everything in the sector. We haven´t been fighting at all, we both just have the habit of starting the lesson and of starting contacts so we are trying to adjust to that. We live with Elder Walters who has 6 weeks less then us in the mission. He is now training Elder Erickson from Boyce Idaho. Elder Erickson and I discovered that we are somehow related?! We are both descendents of Parley P. Pratt and we both come from the Grigg family. His mom's name is Sheri Grigg, his grandpa is Joe Grigg, and his great grandpa is Anthony Wells Grigg. So mom, you have a little homework to do. Can you please look back a little in the family tree and see where our familiar ties are? I think it's kinda crazy that we are living together. From some reason Elder Erickson reminds me of my cuz Taylor McBride a little bit. There are definitely some family ties there.

Things are going alright here though. Please pray for us. We need your help because we are still just looking for people to teach and knocking doors a lot. Thank you so much for everything you do. I love you all.

-Elder Matt Mooney

Monday, May 16, 2011


Dear family,

Well this past week went pretty well. It was the last week of the change which is always a little tougher, but we worked hard and it went extremely well. On Saturday the youth in our ward had an activity. They decided they wanted to have a movie night. The movie they chose to watch was Dumb and Dumber. Haha and they also wanted to make sopapillas and play futbol. It was supposed to be just a fun activity that they could bring their friends to. We worked hard all week inviting all of the youth and teenage investigators we had. We then went by all of them again with one of the young women's leaders and got 7 of them to commit to going. On Saturday night we managed to get 5 people there. Unfortunately the person responsible for bringing the movie didn't bring it and the only movie they had was Freddy Krueger. We had to convince them that it probably wasn't the best movie to be watching in the chapel. In the end one of the youth brought a pirated copy of the Fast and the Furious 5 and they watched that. They ended up not making sopapillas either, but had cake to share with everyone. Afterwards we played games with the jovenes in the chapel. It was a pretty disorganized sloppy activity, but everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. The investigators made friends and got to know the chapel.

On Sunday one of the speakers didn't show up so the bishop asked me to give a talk. I talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Haha and then in the Elders Quorum none of the leaders were there and nobody had a class prepared so they asked me to give a class and I taught about The Spirit World. It actually went pretty well. I realized how much the mission has helped me to develop my ability to teach and to improvise.

All week though the members of the ward have been saying goodbye to us just in case one of us was sent out of the sector. The majority thought that my companion Elder Bench was leaving because he had been here for 6 months, but we told them we weren't sure. On Sunday night we were surprised when we received our changes and they told us that BOTH of us were leaving. White wash.. It was pretty upsetting, especially because finally we have some people really excited to get baptized. So right now I am in a sector called Los Presidentes with Elder Page a missionary that started the mission the same time as I did. We are both new to the sector, but luckily we live with another missionary who has been there for a while. I am still pretty sad that I couldn't stay in El Castillo until the end of my mission, but I think Elder Page and I will have a good time here in our new zone.

Well thank you so much for your emails. I love the stories and the pictures. Please keep them coming!

Con amor,

Elder Mooney

Monday, May 9, 2011

I guess that's life.

Hello Family!

It feels like I just talked to you..? Oh that´s right, I did just talk to you last night at 11:00 at night. Thank you so much for all being together and being so patient with the technical problems on Skype and then calling me on the cell phone and then calling me again. It was kinda a hassle, but I was really happy to be able to see you on Skype at least for a little while and then get to talk to each of you on the phone. I realize that I am so blessed to have the family I have. I feel that I really have a testimony that the family is ordained of God and that families really can be eternal. I just want you to know that I love each and every one of you so much.

This past week was a little rough as I told you. On Monday I wasn't feeling so hot and when I woke up Tuesday morning I was pretty much dead. My throat was killing me, my sinuses felt raw, and my neck was really swollen. My whole body was in pain. I could barely talk because my throat hurt so bad. It burned every time I swallowed. Even drinking water hurt. The next day was even worse. I bought ice cream thinking that would be something nice on my throat, but not even ice cream was enjoyable. We went to the doctor and the nurse at the church office just handed me an antibiotic, decongestant, and ibuprofen. Finally on Saturday I started feeling better. It was a pretty boring week in the pension in pain with nothing to do, but sleep or read. Now it´s all over and its crazy to me how one minute the body is in so much pain and the next it feels perfectly fine. I guess that's life.

On Saturday we started a service project with the members of fixing up the room of an Elder who is about to come home from his mission. I guess it is a tradition they have in the ward that everyone chips in and they fix up the return missionaries room a bit. This kids room really needed some work though. His dad has slowly been constructing their house for the last 10 years or so. He had a cement floor, a partially cardboard roof, and a brick wall with holes in it. We fixed up the roof and cemented the entire brick wall. Next week they are going to spackle and finish off everything, then paint, and somehow they are going to fix the floor as well. It was pretty fun though. Elder Bench and I were in charge of mixing and making the cement. I don't think they trusted us with anything else. For some reason they think because we are gringos we can´t work well with our hands or something.

Well I love you all. Thanks so much for the love and concern.

Elder Mooney

Things go up and down...

Dearest Family,

Well this week went pretty well. We found plenty of new investigators, we filled our days with lessons, and really included the members in the work (dragging them to lessons and having lessons in their houses). Elder Bench and I were pretty content with the work we had done this week. On Saturday morning we made a list of investigators (I) and less active members (MA) that we were expecting to see in church on Sunday. It looked something like this:

- Jeannette (MA), Violeta (I), Alison (I), Estefanía (I), Marilyn (I) and family
- Veronica (MA), Pato (MA), and Cata (I)
- Juana Rojas (I)
- Irma (MA), Nicolas (I), and María (I)
- María (I) and Yazna (MA)
- Elina (MA), her three kids, and Cindy (I)
- Hermano and Hermana Camposano (MA)
- Antonio Gutierrez (I)
- Juan Briones (MA)
- Eduardo Bahamondes (I)
- Jaime Alvarez (MA)
- Luis (I) and María (I)

It was a list of about thirty people and we had taught every single person that week and they had all committed to going to church on Sunday. Saturday night we passed by and called every single person on the list to make sure they were going. On Sunday morning we called all of the people who asked us to call them in the morning and passed by three of the families to accompany them to church. To our surprise, not a single person went to church. A few were sick, others had emergencies the night before, others were sleeping. It was quite a disappointing day for us. Reading the Book of Mormon has really helped me to see the pattern of how things go up and down always. We just need to be constant and keep working.

I saw Diana´s prom pictures and it was weird.... Diana kinda looks like a different person. Haha she looks good though. Her and Thomas kinda look like they are at a modeling shoot or something. I also loved the picture of Grandma and her tiara. Tell her I send my love and say Happy Birthday! The new garden looks pretty legit as well. The pictures made me kinda trunky haha, please keep sending them though! Pictures are the best part of email!

MOTHERS DAY.... So this Sunday, May 8th, at 4:45pm your time we will be speaking through skype. Daylight savings time ends here on the 7th so we should only be 3 hours apart instead of 4. We will be using a members computer so hopefully everything works fine. I am pretty excited for this last conversation we will have before August. :)

Well I love you all very much. You are the best family ever! Talk to you on Sunday

Elder Mooney

Monday, April 25, 2011

We are working hard.

Hola Familia!

Well things are going pretty well here in El Castillo with Elder Bench. We are working hard and trying to find more investigators that will actually fulfill their commitments. We have plenty of people to teach and we can find new investigators and less actives pretty easily, but a lot of them listen, but then don't do anything afterwards. They choose not to read, not to pray, not to go to church. We do have a few investigators that are progressing though.

On Monday we found a family looking through the list of members. We found a lady named Jeannette on the list and we passed by last week and met two of her daughters. They told us to pass by Monday so we did. On Monday we knocked on the door and asked if Jeannette was there and the lady who answered told us that Jeannette didn't live there. We told her that we had talked to her daughters Alison and Violeta. She then admitted that she was Jeannette and let us in. Jeannette is the mother of eight children and seven of them are still in the house. Violeta (16), Alison (14), Estefanía (10), Marilyn (8), Juan (6), Justin (2.5), and the baby (1.5) I forgot her name.. The family has a really sad story. Their dad is in jail at the moment. The mother has had a horrible life. And at the moment they are barely surviving with Jeannette working every day. Jeannette doesn't know how to read or write (not normal, she had a hard childhood) which makes it even harder to find work. We taught them about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The four girls all said that they would get baptized and their mom said that she would be willing to support them. Juan, the six year old, was pretty upset because he couldn´t get baptized yet. This week we brought over several members to get to know them and we brought over one of the young women, Tania (14), and her Dad and had them do the official invitation to church and they accepted. On Sunday morning we called them at about 8:50 and Jeannette told us she was sick, but that she would wake up the girls. We show up at 9:50, about 40 minutes before church starts and they were all still in bed. We had to wake them all up. Alison and Violeta got up and went to church. Violeta nearly died of boredom in the first hour, but in the second hour we had the young women and their leaders attack. They befriended them really well and Alison and Violeta had a great time. We told Jeannette that she is going to church next week even if we have to carry her there. At the moment the four girls have a baptismal date for the 15th of May. Please pray for them. They are the family Cardenas Gardina.

You asked what our Pension is like. We live in a pretty nice pension actually. It's small. One room. One bathroom. Small kitchen and a small living room. The two of us live alone and their isn't space for anyone else. It is nice though. This is the first house that has had a shower that is taller then I am. In the others we would have to hunch over. The house is pretty much tile and brick so it is freezing cold already. We live right behind the house of the owner. She is a nice old lady named Magdalena that washes clothes and irons for a living. Her husband travels and works a lot so we mostly just see her. We also have a sassy dog named Daisy that lives there. She only lets us pet her on special occasions. I like where we live though.

Thank you so much for the love and concern. You are the best family ever. Your Easter party looked like a blast. And yes, we will be skyping on the 8th for Mother's day. I think that 9-10 my time should work out alright. Its a little late, because we won't be in the house. 8:30 to 9:30 would be better though. Let me know what you can do. The earlier the better. Thanks for everything.

Love you all,

Elder Mooney

Monday, April 18, 2011

Here comes Easter!

Dear family,

So last week was a really cold week. It was cloudy for about three or four days and we had to walk around with our jackets. The worst part about it getting cold is that our pension is like a cave or something and it is way colder inside then it is outside. We wake up in the morning thinking it's gonna be freezing cold, but outside the sun is shining and its not that bad. The same thing happens at night. So I bought some nice thick wool socks in the street market and that has helped a little bit. I am already using three blankets to stay warm and we are not even in winter yet. I am getting worried...

We have been teaching a lot of less active members. We have found some really great people with strong testimonies of the church who want to return and we have also found a few who have seem to forgotten everything and are now attending the nearby evangelical churches. There are a lot of little houses converted into churches all over our sector. We hear singing, yelling, and preaching all the time. We were happy to see Jaime in church this Sunday. He is a thirty year old less active guy who graduated from the churches institute. We have passed by him about four times and he has been opening up to us more and more each time. In the last visit we brought the Single Adult Leader with us and they went to institute together on Saturday. He is so funny, when we saw him on Sunday he told us that he had made two friends (amigas) at institute. We also convinced Jaime to go on a three day trip with the Young adult group. He wasn't sure at first, but now after making some new friends he is looking forward to it.

Do you remember Adonis from my last ward? He was baptized two Sundays ago and confirmed yesterday. That information made me really happy. We have two people with baptismal dates at the moment. One is Betzy and the other is named María. We met them both through less active families. Almost every member in our ward has an inactive family member or someone who is not a member so we plan to work with them a lot.

On Saturday night we were invited to celebrate the 87th birthday of a member named Hector. We thought it was just going to be a little thing, but they went all out. We were the first ones to show up (because we showed up on time) and they had tables and chairs set up with drinks and salads. They also had a GIANT pot of mariscos or seafood cooking. Clams, muscles, fish, pork? and lots of other stuff just brewing away. Little by little the guests showed up and it was basically The bishopric and their wives, the stake presidency and their wives, a few other members, and us the missionaries. The funny thing is, we fit in fine with the group. Before the mission I would have thought that eating with a group of people like that would have been awkward, but it was nice. We left the party early to go to a lesson and ate a piece of cake on the way out.

Things are going well. I can't say that it is easy to work in a sector like El Castillo, but I like it. It´s dirty, a lot of the people do not know how to read, there is a lot of poverty, but there are some really good people here.

Thank you for your concern and support. You are the best! Each and everyone of you! ;)

Elder Mooney

Oh and yes I do have my go home date. I have had it for months. I finish the mission on August 8th and should arrive on August 9th. We still have plenty of time before that though...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Always more work to do.

Dearest family,

This past week was a long one. I have been adapting a little bit to my new sector and my new comp. On Wednesday my companion woke up with diarrhea and was throwing up. We went to my leadership meeting and then back to the house to sleep. That evening at about 8pm at night as I was studying the Book of Mormon I began to feel a little sick and my stomach started to hurt. I went to bed and in the middle of the night woke up to a similar situation as my companion. We ended up staying in the pension that entire day as well. It was terrible though because my entire body was hurting and aching. I couldn't get comfortable laying in bed, on the floor, in the chair. It was miserable. Luckily that has all passed now and we are doing much better.

As for my sector, it is very ghetto and very dangerous just as Mom discovered online. The people are pretty poor. There are a lot of little punk gangster kids every where, but they don´t really do anything to us. It actually reminds me a lot of my old ward Turquesa. The members have been really great to us. Most of the leaders are either converts or recently reactivated members. For example, our Bishop reactivated just recently and is now Bishop. He is a really great guy though and we are going to try to help and support him all we can. There are also a few members in the ward who are active, but are not married so they go to church every week but cannot have a calling until they get married. They are really great strong people and are fighting to get married. Their kids are really great as well. There are thousands of people that are inactive here so we will just be doing our best to find those who want to return to church and to baptize those that we can find.

My companion Elder Bench is really great. He is a goofy kid and really chill. He is a very curious guy and asks questions about everything. He asks about the language, about the mission, baptisms, other sectors, other missions, everything. He has been here in the sector for three changes, but still doesn't know a lot of the active members or their names so we are working on that.

Things are going alright though. I am tired. I miss home. But there is always more work to do so I guess we will just keep working. Thank you for you concern and your support.

Love you all,

Elder Mooney

Oh and say hi to Dallas for me!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I have a fire to get some work done!

Dear family,

Well we received our changes last night and I am no longer in Pirque. My companion, Elder Jofre, was also changed. Elder Riding and Elder Grillone both stayed and will now be alone in Pirque. Truth is, even though I really loved being in Pirque I was pretty excited for this new change. I was extremely anxious this morning waiting for my change but when it came I wasn't too happy. I have been called to the Gabriela zone in an extremely well known sector called "El Castillo," but more commonly referred to as "El Castigo" or "The Punishment." My entire mission I have heard about this sector as being the worst sector in the mission. Several Elders busted out laughing as they congratulated me in my change. I'm probably going to die here (in other words, end my mission here). So at the moment I am not too excited. The conference talk about the gardener trimming back the bush keeps coming to mind. I need to just trust that I am here for a reason. I have a fire to get some work done here now!

My new companion is great though. His name is Elder Bench and he is from Glendora, California. He is a really calm chill kid and I don´t see there being any problems between us. I actually feel kinda bad for him because he started his mission here in El Castillo and this is going to be his fourth change here. He's had a tough time here, so now we are looking forward to attacking the sector. Elder Bench has also explained to me how he needs a lot of help learning the lessons and practicing his teaching so we will be working on that a lot. I am happy to be his companion.

Last night I only got about four hours of sleep - packing and getting ready to leave and all. For some reason the President ended up changing the location of our change concilio so we ended up having to go to literally the farthest chapel from us in the mission. So we had to get up extra early this morning. We called a taxi to take us to the subway, then we had to cram onto the subway with tons of luggage (which was not easy). Afterwards we had to walk a few blocks to the chapel. Then my companion and I had to return all the way back to almost where we came from on the subway. I showed up at the new pension, laid on my bed and fell asleep in my clothes for about three hours. My companion woke me up really politely and asked if I wanted to go shopping and write home. Haha he is a really nice guy. At the moment I am exhausted and out of it.

News in Pirque. Adonis is getting baptized next week for sure! We found another really promising family on Friday that the other missionaries should be teaching soon. Carlos, our recent convert, attended all 10 hours of conference with us on Saturday and Sunday. He really enjoyed it. Then Carlos and another future missionary from a different ward helped us teach Adonis in between sessions. Things are going pretty good over in Pirque.

I want to end telling you how much I loved conference. It was great. I really enjoyed the Saturday sessions. Us missionaries found it really interesting that President Monson in the Priesthood session and Elder Scott both talked about how we should not post-pone marriage. Great theme for a bunch of missionaries who shouldn't even be thinking about girls.. Haha. I really enjoyed all of conference though and felt that a lot of personal doubts and problems I have were addressed. It´s just like Elder Holland explained. The conference talks are for the whole world, but the Lord will teach us all individually. And yes mother, I missed your cinnamon rolls more then you know. We will definitely have to have them next conference.
I love you all and miss you very much. Please keep writing me. It helps a lot!

Elder Mooney

Monday, March 28, 2011

We ate ourselves silly!

Aloha Familia,

Like always, this past week was pretty interesting. *** I'm leaving out the next few paragraphs of Matt's letter because he includes details on some of the challenges and problems that his investigators are experiencing. Probably best not published :)

We have been working hard anyway though. In the last twenty days we have found twenty eight new people to teach! Some of them seem really prepared to accept the gospel.

On Saturday we had our "Concurso de Postres" activity here in the branch. It was a huge dessert contest that we planned. All of the members had to bring their best desserts and a panel of judges would choose the best three. We decided not to be the judges, we passed that honor the the branch president and two other hermanos to avoid the wrath of any upset hermanas. It was a great activity, we ate ourselves silly.

Other then that things are just cruising along. Thank you for your prayers and support. It really helps. It's great to here that the missionary work back home is really working out as well. Keep at it!

Love you all,

Elder Mooney

Monday, March 21, 2011

Things have been tough, but good.

Dear family,

This week went pretty well. Thank you for the great emails today as well. I really enjoyed them. Anyways, we have been working hard preparing Adonis Gonzalez to be baptized and we have been inviting lots and lots of others to be baptized as well. Adonis is doing great. We taught him on Saturday and it was one of the greatest lessons ever. We show up to the house and he is waiting outside for us. We go in and he already has a friend there, Diego, who is a member. So we teach them two and Adonis´ step sister, who is a member as well. We asked him if he had read and prayed and he explained to us his experience. He said he read 3 Nephi 11 three times so that he would understand it well and after each time he would pray and ask if the Book of Mormon were true. He said that after the third time he still didn't have a clear answer, but the next morning he woke up and just knew and felt that it was true. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he understood it really well, better then most people. Then on Sunday we taught him pretty much all of the commandments with his dad, step-mom, and step-sister. He is doing really well and his Dad being a really strong convert is making sure that Adonis is taking it all very seriously. We feel very blessed.

Ivan Lopez, his mom Susana, and his grandma Maria are some great investigators we have that have accepted baptismal dates several times, but never come to church and always seem to have an excuse. We are not sure what to do with them. Please pray for them so that they can make it to church this Sunday. They are really great.

We are also working with a lady named Jessica. She is in her 30s and seems kinda like a punk-rocker. She has three kids and her husband is a long haired football fanatic friend of ours that works in a glass store next to our house. We met her a couple of weeks ago while knocking doors and she has become one of our most interested investigators. She reads. prays, and really likes the idea of being baptized. She had a baptismal date for the 3rd of April, but now we are going to have to change the date. She told us that she and Rodrigo (her husband) had been fighting and she didn't know if she would be able to go to church. To make things clear, he has nothing against the church, but at the moment, things are just rough between them. We taught her and calmed her down a little bit and then we went and taught Rodrigo in his glass shop. We discovered that they aren't married, but things seemed good and he said he would be willing to accompany her to the chapel. That night we called to confirm and Jessica told us they had a huge fight and she left the house. Please pray for them as well.

Things have been tough, but good here in Pirque. My back wheel on the bike broke again... We had stake conference yesterday and this next Saturday we have our Missionary planned activity of Desserts here in the branch. I´ll have to tell you about it next week.
Hope all is well back home. I love and miss you all.

Elder Mooney

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm 21 years old!

Dear family,

Well this is kinda cool. I´m 21 years old. I don´t feel that old.. I like it though. I feel like an official adult now. Today to celebrate my birthday we watched "The District," a series of missionary training DVDs. We then ate lunch with Margarita and Luis. We ate some tortilla de papas (like a giant french fry thing), with some creamy chicken popper things, rice, and some pork. It was an interesting meal, but very delicious. Afterwards, we played MONOPOLY DEAL for about two hours or so with our District Leader and his companion who came to chill. Elder Grillone made the German Chocolate cake you sent me and now its cooling back home. It was a nice relaxing birthday party, especially with the cool cloudy weather we are having.
Oh and thank you so much for the birthday package. I loved it. The two new ties are legit. The Peanut Butter M&M´s and airheads were delicious. Everything was amazing. My companions laughed at the Zing-shot and the Transformer bubbles. We couldn't decide if you actually thought I would love them or if you were sending them just to try to keep treating me as your little boy. Well when our Zone Leader came over on divisions we set up a pyramid of BBQ and Jalapeño Pringles and Dr. Pepper cans and had a tournament with the zing-shot to see who could knock over the most. I won 4-1-1. It was pretty intense. Thank you so much for the gifts.

This week I had the opportunity to go on divisions in another sector called Nocedal while our District Leader Elder Lyman came over to Pirque. Elder Bloomquist and I had a great time. I was exhausted at the end of the day because I am not used to walking. We had a really good experience though with a lady named Andrea and her 23 year old daughter Jocelyn. When we first started teaching them Andrea made it clear that she just let us in cause she felt bad for us and she thinks it is good to hear the word of God on occasion. She flat out told us that she wouldn't go to our church and she wouldn't join our congregation. It didn´t matter to me though, I was determined to teach her the first lesson and invite her to be baptized. We started teaching and she would just start talking and talking. She probably talked for about an hour in total. Really.. We kept teaching though when she would give us the chance. We explained baptism using Mosiah 18 and explaining 1) that it has to be a personal decision, 2) it has to be done by immersion, and 3) by the proper authority. It was probably one of the longest lessons I have ever been in and one of the most disorganized with two little kids running around, a mother breast feeding her kid, with crazy questions and side themes, BUT in the end Andrea and Jocelyn both accepted the invitation to be baptized. Andrea said the closing prayer and afterwards said that she doesn't know what happened, but that she somehow went from not wanting anything to now wanting to be baptized. They seemed pretty determined as well. It was a cool lesson of patience for us.

Then on Sunday Carlos showed up to church in a suit and his new tie we bought him. His mom Gloria and his little brother Benjamin came as well. It was great. Also Adonis, the son of a somewhat recent convert named Victor, came to church for the second time. He lives with his mom from Victor's first marriage and visits on the weekends. Last week we invited him to play fútbol with us on Friday and he loved it. When I saw him in church again I decided that we needed to put a baptismal date on him immediately. We had the day booked with appointments but I really felt like we needed to teach him. We talked to his Dad and he said that they would be home until 7:00. I told him that we had a lot of appointments but that we would try to pass by. After church I felt that we needed to go strongly so I called and canceled one appointment, then changed another appointment to later in the evening and we went to Adonis and Victor. We taught Adonis the Restoration and as we were talking about Jesus Christ we started talking to him about baptism. We invited him to be baptized and he said, "of course, that´s kind of why I have been coming to church." In the lesson Victor explained that he had been praying ever since we talked to him in the church that we would come to teach his son and was worried because we never said it was a sure thing. So at the moment Adonis has a baptismal date for the 3rd of April, conference weekend. Adonis and Victor both seem very happy.

Things are going well here in the mission though. I am worn out, but still trying to work hard. Thank you so much for all your love and support. You are the best.

Elder Mooney

Friday, March 11, 2011

Time seems to be going by a little too fast.

Dear family,

Time seems to be going by a little too fast. We always work and think of time by changes and two weeks have already gone by this change. We only have four more weeks left?! We´ve got some work to do.

So on Thursday we had Zone Conference with President Laycock and a couple other zones. It was really good. They did a good example of hard work and perseverance with an Elder who had to do wall sits for five minutes while the assistants but electric heaters by him and started to tempt him to give up. Then his companion, President Laycock, and a zone leader went to cheer him on and support him. It was pretty intense, because the missionary got really into it and was suffering after only a minute.

At the end of the conference President decided to do something that he hadn't done in about eight months or so. He asked five people to give surprise talks. We always have a theme given to us each theme for studies and we should prepare a talk for that theme. This changes theme was the Book of Mormon. Luckily I gave a really good talk about the Book of Mormon in my last ward JP and felt ready. To my surprise President called on me to give the first talk and I didn't have it with me. I had written it in a different journal and so I walked up there and spoke a few words and shared some jumbled up thoughts. It wasn't very powerful at all. Afterwards I started thinking about what it will be like in the final judgment. A lot of people will think they are ready, but when it comes down to it they will just end up feeling unprepared and stupid. I don´t want to feel like that. I want to be ready.

We have a few people with baptismal dates. Emanuel (17?), Sonia (61), and Ivan (19). We have a lot of work to do with the three of them and they are all a little unstable at the moment. Please pray for each of them. Sad story of the week though. Sonia accepted a baptismal about 8 days ago. And about 3 days ago she slipped on some water that had spilled from the dog bowl and broke her wrist. She now has a cast from her wrist to her shoulder and she told her daughter to tell the kids that she won't be able to get baptized right now :( We haven't seen her yet, but we are going to see what we can do.

Things are all right though! My birthday is almost here and that should be kinda weird. I might throw myself a party so I don´t get depressed that day. Haha! I can't wait to get the package you sent. I love you and miss you all.

Elder Matt Mooney

The Elders are well taken care of!

Monday, February 28, 2011

"Al proximo nivel!"

Hello family!

This week went by pretty fast. It´s been pretty strange having a new companion, because it doesn't feel like I have a new companion. I think since I have spent so much time with Elder Jofre already that it has been an easy change. It has also been really nice having Elder Riding in our house. He is a fun kid and is really chill so there are no fights or contention in the pension. My companion Elder Jofre has seemed a lot happier and more talkative. Elder Grillone has also begun to speak spanish a lot more now that he has to guide Elder Riding around. It appears that this is going to be a good change for us!

A couple interesting stories from the week:

1) We went to the Barrales Family´s house the other day after lunch and they gave us some ice cream because they were having a big party with some friends from other wards. We talked to them for a few minutes and then started to leave. As we were leaving we noticed a large group of children in their front yard sneaking up on their brand new pet EMU named Julio. They started chasing him around the yard throwing balls at him when he started to book it and ran right out the front gate. (Luckily not our fault because the gate was open the entire time). We ran back and told Brother Barrales and the three of us ran and kinda guided him back toward the house. The Emu is really fun though. It supposedly can grow to up to six feet or so. The Barrales family is awesome.

2) We were knocking doors the other day when we came upon a castle looking house. No one came when we yelled ¡HALO! and then my companion noticed that the side gate was open. So he said "Al proximo nivel!" which is President Laycock's saying that means "to the next level." We entered the property when all of the sudden we heard a faint barking. Within a matter of seconds there were 5 or 6 large hound dogs chasing after us. I turned to see where my companion was and he was already out the gate. I hopped on my bike and booked it out of there. Afterwards we just started to laugh. It was a pretty fun experience. Just after that we found 3 new investigators.

Things are going well though. We just invited the grandma of a convert family to be baptized last night and she accepted. She will be the fourth member of the family that will have gotten baptized now.

Thank you for your support and prayers. You are the best.

Elder Mooney