Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March 25, 2013

Dear Family!

This week was interesting.  Every single day I got up in a terrible mood and it's been a struggle all the way until pretty much the sun goes down, but we always go home feeling happy and accomplished.  Things are going great with Elder Nelson though, he is incredibly good at asking people questions and listening.  He's charitable, I guess would be a good way to sum it up!  He's from Moab, UT and talks all the time about how amazing his experience was as a river guide before his mission.  He is 23, so he waited a while to come out, but it just makes me able to see even more how much he wants to be out here.  He's really goofy, kind of like dad's humor goofy almost, but it's really nice being with him.  So far we have been working well together and I know that we both have a similar vision of what we want to happen this transfer.  

There's another missionary that plays piano that just got transferred into the Spanish Branch to be with Elder Hernandez, so we were able to play on the piano this morning together.  He's really good.  He writes his own music, but is still impressed by the songs that I have played for him.  Maybe he'll teach me how to be better.  It feels like the four of us are going to be the Elders in this ward for a while now.  

This week Alfredo came to church again and he was acting so buddy-buddy with me!  It was really fun sitting with him in class when the Stake President was teaching the ward about missionary work.  There were something like six non-members in the church yesterday.  It was a gift from heavenly Father to see so many people there yesterday.  It was Ward Conference, so I translated for everyone that can't understand Spanish for the first two talks and then I translated the Stake President's talk into Spanish.  I found out that it is a LOT easier to translate from English to Spanish for some reason by the way!  Alfredo came up and told me he really enjoyed the talk that I translated, so I guess I did pretty good, right??  It's horrifying, but I couldn't do it without the help of the Holy Ghost!  

We met with a man named Alexis that we gave a blessing because he is in a lot of pain and apparently he's been reading the Book of Mormon a lot, so we'll see what happens in the next few days!  This week included giving a lot of people blessings and talking to a lot of people that we had never seen before, going to places we've never been before.  It rained a lot this weekend, but now the sun's out and it's suddenly cold!!  It's the weirdest thing that it's so warm whenever it rains and cold when the sun's out.  It'll just be hot in a few weeks though, so we'll just have to keep bearing through this for a little while longer.

Things have been good!  What really bugs me a lot though is the feeling of how dang long I have left!  I can't even believe I've been out for two months already though, can you??  I have been taking your suggestions to heart and memorizing hymns every week to keep positive and pure thoughts.  It helps a lot to see the bright side of life.

 We moved really far from our area, like ten minutes from the church, but we live in a very nice apartment now!  I'll try to post more pictures on Facebook every now and then.
Our New Address is:
8401 Baymeadows Rd. Apt. 501
Jacksonville, FL 32256

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19, 2013

Querida Familia:

This weekend Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices Choir came to the Orange Park Stake Center for a devotional / performance.  It was SO AMAZING!  There was a huge focus on inviting nonmembers because it was a missionary effort, I guess she's called to be a missionary!!  It was also focused a lot towards members of the Baptist church because everyone in the South thought Sister Knight was CRAZY when she joined the church. She and her husband, William McDowell, bore testimony of the restoration and the Church of Jesus Christ and they had swag.  During Gladys Knight's testimony, she had this hammond organ playing a jazzy solo in the background, it was like nothing I've ever seen before!  Straight out of a movie.  There was a WHOLE LOT of praising!  The songs were written by Gladys Knight or arranged by her, but they were mostly upbeat and southern gospel types of songs.  Uphold me with thy sweet spirit, whatever you do LORD don't take your joy from me.  Heavenly Father!  Haha I still feel that music in my bones.  Will you get me their CD please?  I think it's called One Voice and it's incredible :)  The mission received a LOT of referrals from the event and they are even better than normal because all of these people filled out their slips THEMSELVES of paper asking for this little gift bag that the missionaries are going to be delivering the next couple of days.
I can't wait to hear about how the Trek goes.  Hopefully you can pull that cart!  I'm sorry, I didn't take 100 pictures, but I did take a lot more than usual and forgot the cord.  I'll post them to Facebook sometime this week though.  We're going to be going to a BBQ for P Day in just a few minutes, so I don't have a ton more time to write.  Things are going well over here, my new companion's name is Elder Nelson and I will be meeting him tomorrow at 12:30 when I drop Elder Winward off for good :( 
Thanks for your prayers and love :) 
Elder Moore

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

Zone Conference-Jax East

Dear Family: 
It was a pretty good week.  I went on a trade-off with the District leader and it was really nice because for the first time in a while I was reminded that I can hold my own in a conversation with a Hispanic!  I had to teach everything the whole time because the other Elder doesn't speak Spanish.  We met a bunch of new people that day from several referrals that we received from their neighbors and set up return appointments with them!  This is actually usually how knocking goes for us:  I've told you before about the clues we look for, i.e. Dora gear, bright paint, upside-down mops outside, etc., and then we knock on those houses to find Hispanics and just ask everyone which of their neighbors speak Spanish.  This area's really nice because we only have to worry about Spanish-speakers, but in most areas of the mission it's half and half English/ Spanish.  It's really fun looking for new people when we don't have anything more productive to do.  On good days where I actually want to see people, I think that it might be my favorite thing to do!

Things are going good with Taina and Alfredo, but everyone is getting sick lately, so they weren't at church.  We hope it doesn't slow their progression though!

We have been going on somewhat of a fried chicken binge over the past couple weeks.  We have been to every fast food chicken place just to find the best one and have definitely determined Popeye's is for sure the best, but KFC actually holds its own pretty well, surprisingly.  I have been obsessed with cole slaw, biscuits and FRIIIIIEEED CHICKEN, but after the last one we had, Church's Chicken, I think I'm about done with fried foods for the rest of my life.  We eat really well when we don't eat out to make up for the fried chicken we get when we eat out.  Ugh this is just making me hungry talking about it.  I learned in my nutrition class that it's important to remember to shop the perimeter of the store when we go food shopping, so I've been trying to live by that every since.  Our groceries are usually pretty cheap and our fridge is full of way healthy food for the most part.  A couple of weeks ago a member fed us skrawberry ice cream with animal crackers and it was a great discovery, so we bought that too.  Haha.  

Thanks for everything.  I PROMISE that I will take at least 100 PICTURES this week and send you some soon.  That's a promise!!  

Love you,

Elder Moore

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013

Dear Family,

That is the most amazing news about Hannah's mission call!  I was telling Dad about how I have always felt like he and Hannah have always had a special connection and now it's going to be even stronger!  I am so incredibly happy for all of you!  I'm sad that I missed it..  Also the video didn't work, but thanks for sending that picture of you guys and Charlotte!  You all look so happy :)  I'm glad that you get along so swimmingly :)

We did a lot this week.  Every day we went out with so much faith that something great would happen and, even though Taina wasn't baptized, we started teaching a man, Alfredo, about the restoration.  Taina doesn't feel like she is ready to commit to coming to church every week and make a covenant with God, which is a little bit sad in a way but at least that means that she is taking this seriously.  She's not going to get baptized just because we wanted her to.  Elder Winward and I both felt good about moving the date to a few weeks from now.  Alfredo is one of the most humble men I have ever met.  We had an incredibly powerful lesson with him on Monday or Tuesday or something and at the end we taught him about how important it is to read your scriptures and pray every day to maintain the desire to follow Christ.  He committed to do both and be baptized on the 17th of March.  He has been reading every day and praying and came to church yesterday!  He has a somewhat hard time reading, but is so blessed for doing it without shame every time.  It's interesting to see how two people can accept an invitation so differently.  Taina will be baptized, we just need to get her some more support from her less-active family.

Rene, a Cuban man that was baptized in December was telling us about an experience that he had with his boss last week regarding working on Sundays.  He told us that the boss was pulling the whole "just one more Sunday" thing to get him to work on Sundays regularly and he said something like, "OK, but this is the LAST time.  It doesn't have anything to do with my loyalty to the church - I made a COVENANT with God that I would keep His commandments. I will not work on Sunday or I will get a new job.  God will provide."  Isn't that great?  I honestly feel like Alfredo is the same way already. 

One more story, then I gotta go.  We were shopping today at Wal-Mart and this old man came up to us and asked us if we thought that Joseph Smith was in Heaven or Hell, so we told him heaven and asked why he was asking that.  We cleared up a couple of misconceptions that he had about the restoration and then A TON of people walked by and added their two cents about being saved and Jesus and how that old man knows way more than us.  It was seriously something that would ONLY happen in the South.  Like five people walked by us and added to our conversation and then walked away.  Haha it's so funny how often things like that actually happen.  It's like a foreign country some days down here.

Thank you so much for your letter.  I studied all of those things this morning and then I said a prayer and felt like everything that you had said was true.  You're an amazing person, Mom!  Thank you for your example :)  Say hi to Charlotte from me.  I still live in the same place.  I'm not sure when we'll be moving, but I'm not getting transferred anytime soon.  


Elder Moore

February 25, 2013

Dear Family:

We found out this week that we've had her name wrong the whole time!  Haha it's actually Taina Diaz, and we've been calling her Daina Encarnacion.  I just don't understand Latino names still though and probably never will!  She is still planning on being baptized, but it's going to be this Sunday.  She's scheduled to be interviewed and is really progressing very well.  We went over to her house on Sunday (yesterday) to get her over to the church because we heard she might not be coming and she just told us that her mom needed the car, so she didn't come this week, but we had a really powerful experience with her at the doorstep.  We talked to her about the importance of keeping the commandments and how God doesn't give us commandments that we can't keep and invited her to pray for a way to go to church from now on.  She was a little bit hesitant about it, but then she did it and the spirit was so strong.  All the stress that we had just went away.  We missed the sacrament because of it though!!  

This week we had Zone Conference, but it was only the Jax East Zone.  It was so nice having such a small group.  It really feels like we're coming together like a big happy family.  Haha we learned all about pride and giving short, powerful 4-minute lessons.  It was a really good conference.  It makes me sad to think that President and Sister Barry have such a short time left here, but it's amazing that they told us that Savannah is being dissolved back into the resurrected GA Macon mission in July!  That's where Elder Jones and Elder Winward were at the start of their missions!  It's good news to hear that they are going to be making so many new missions!  I hope that the missionary force stays as huge as it's going to be forever!!  There's a chance that I might change missions in July, but hopefully not.  My missionary plaque is weird enough as is.  Could you imagine - "Served in the Mexico Cuernavaca /Florida Jacksonville / Georgia Macon Mission from May 2011 to April 2014."  That'll be interesting to explain to the kids one day ;)  We found out that the new mission president's name is President Paul Craig and he's from north Salt Lake.  One more thing I thought I would share with you while we're on this subject.  I was translating my Patriarchal blessing this week into Spanish and I noticed that it says I should follow the counsel of the bishops, stake presidents and mission presidentS with an s if you didn't see...  I thought that was pretty neat.  

It's been raining cats and dogs in bursts lately.  It's nice that we don't have to be out in it for too long.  I'm sure that if I was still with Elders Johnson and McArthur though that they would make me be outside just because it was raining so hard...  Did you know they're both married now??  Elder Winward's trainer has a 3 or 4 month old baby!  It's crazy how fast people move when they get back into normal life.  I wish that I was there to see Hannah open her mission call!!  Let me know how it is and what her reaction is like!  I'll send pictures sometime soon.  I just am terrible at taking them, so I don't have many.  Things are fine.  Not great, but definitely spiritually strengthening.  I'm pretty sure that it's going to be April of 2014.  If not, February.  We'll see.  March is a good estimate.

The Church is true and Jesus is great!