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