Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 10, 2012 (Week 17)

December 10, 2012

Interesting week, the temple and migracion and photos and just fun stuff. Lots of highs, lots of lows. It's been a pretty good week so far. Getting close to the four month mark. man. Mind just went blank.. The temple was great though. I think I failed the session thats for sure. And our president had all of the temple workers kick us out after a 3 minute prayer.. I was upset about that. We only get to go once a year and I got to spend 3 minutes with my Heavenly Father. The thing we did after made me even more upset that we couldn't stay longer. We went and ate pretty fast and then sat in the mission conference for 3.5 hours in a hot chapel with our suit coats with no break. During 6 speakers talking about who knows what. Everyone was a dissapointed in President Trevino for doing that to us when last year they were in the celestial room for 45 to an hour. During the mission conference I played the 3 hymns, that was a cool little deal. Got my name in the program. I screwed up an entire line of one of the hyms and we didn't have music, but I redeemed myself with the mission hymn, number 208 in the spanish. cool stuff. Took a picture in front of the temple before the mission presidency told us we had to leave and started ushering us away from the temple within 2 minutes. Felt like I was in jail. Sheesh. It felt like to me they focused too much on the wrong things. The area presidency said that in all of mexico the mission can't be together ever so that was a big dissapointment. Man. I love the mish, but I don't know what the leadership is doing. They come out with new rules every week. Like only baptize certain hours on Sundays, you can't eat with anyone except for your 2 o'clock appointment, and other rules they are just throwing out. It's the pharasees all over again. Focusing on the rule of the law instead of what's important about the law. Castaneñeda says that before president Trevino they baptized like crazy but with him every email in font size 72 says BAPTIZE CADA SEMANA!!! and then gets very upset when we don't have anyone for the weekend. Like we had Hector and Susi and Joshua, but Susi is still with her mom, so of course Hector won't get baptized cause he isn't married. Joshua and his dad want to wait for the others, and I feel like President Treviño would want us to tell them that they should be baptized this weekend just becuase he wants a bautizona or bautimission. I don't like it. We did go back the next day to take a picture with the whole mission in front of the temple, so I finally saw Elder Smith, but the nazis came back out and hurried everyone out and away within 2 mintues. I don't know. Oh well.


The holiday Virgin de Guadalupe is this week I think the 15, so everyone is cleaning these small houses with the Virgin inside to worship her. We even saw a procession of 13 old women walking down the street chanting things while the front lady held this huge virgin de Guadalupe... I thought it was interesting to think that the Catholics worship these virgins and statues and crusifixes when the 10 commandments say no idols... Guess that's just another reason why this church is the true church.. Los testigos de Jehova are everywhere and love to bible bash, but my comp knows the Bible in and out and shows me scriptures from the most used Bible in the world that completely destroy every phamphlet they give us... Weird religion too. They hate Christmas and they are pulling their kids out of the schools because they say the Mexican Anthem and have the flag. Sounds like America.But yeah. Hate birthdays, and Christmas, and they don't understand that Jehova is Jesus Christ... oh well haha.

Dad shoot Dave a text and tell him that I've been eating tacos al pastor like nobody's business and they are great. Look for a little taco stand that sells them. So good. Meat thats coated in a red sauce. Delicious.

Oh yeah. at a members house they were watching A Knights Tale in english. I almost died haha i even got to see my favorite line. Yeah, the Pope is French, but Jesus was English. You're on! so great.

Well, we had the ZL Elder Garcia over for a night on Friday and Saturday before he "dies" tomorrow and goes to his house. it was good, we were good friends, but then he lost it. He kept saying oh I don't care. I'm leaving. All the time, and kept demanding I sell my scripture cases to him.. he loves em, but I need em. He ordered an expensive pizza at 10:45 at night, and we didn't get to bed until 12:30. Turn off the lights nino! he said about 5 times while I cleaned up his mess. That night him and Elder Castañeda were goofing off and he was trying to get Garcia off his bunk bed, but then E. Castañeda came flying off and landed on my desk, smashing papers, shoes, and my stuff went everywhere. He smiled and said he was fine, it was how he got Elder Garcia to leave. I was upset when he laid there on my stuff groaning for 4 more minutes. Garcia knocked my camera off the table when he left and boy I just about lost it. He took my blanket and my shorts and slept on the couch. Woke up, he interrupted all of my studies with his talking and tapping, and stole both of the apples I washed. and then when it was time to leave, he took my nice shoe brush to polish the oil and tried to get the mud and dirt off his shoes. I said absolutely not and took it. Told him no, grabbed my money he tried to take out of my hands and he left. 5 minutes later, runs into my room and grabs my brush. I try and get it from him, but he grinds it on the floor, his shoes, and his hands before throwing it and leaving. He came back in and mocked me saying look how nice and shiny my shoes are. Instead of socking him right in the face, I held back my anger and words and just spit a nice loogie right on his shoe. He was stunned and tried to wipe them on my pants, but I pushed him away. He said it again about 5 minutes later look how shiny my shoes look look and I spat another one. I didn't even care one bit. He seriously acted like a 5 year old the whole day and night and I was tired of it. Very exhausted the whole day after. Learned I need to keep my stuff more protected and put away.. But yeah. E. Castañeda is "dying" fast even though he has 2 more months. He doesn't want to do anything. Oh well. Gotta go. Love you all, Love the Lord. and bueno suerte for one more week! Les amo, Elder Mortensen.

December 3, 2012 (Week 16)

December 3, 2012

I don't think you can baptize a bird
Well... the list today is long so pay attention!

As for the food this week, definately something to write about. Words you wont hear mentioned:
Delicious
Nutricious
Dead
Skinned

I had the most delicious meal at the Guazozon family this week for lunch. Empañadas. So good. There was one extra but I got greedy and left it so she would fill my plate with some more and then I'd throw the extra on.. She said want more? both said yes! She took my empañada, and brought out meat, and rice. I poked it and it was straight fat and skin and hair. I dont know if it beats hairy chicken, but does it count if the hair is still attached? I choked it down with tortillas and rice and really hot salsa, my comp played with it and fed it to the dogs. He told me in english that the sauce is really hot and bad for your stomach... Great. I also hate nothing more than animal fat and I want to throw up and gag when it is in my mouth. I literally was turning my head away, gagging and practically throwing up and crying. After, my comp told me what it was and the fact it was the most disgusting meal of his mission... Pig feet. Yup. Pig feet. With the hair and fat. Hna. Guazozon was so close to having the title of best meal of the mission until that error. hahah I also willingly ate a chicken foot. Pretty tasteless and bony things.

I ate at this rather large womans house that doesn't clean. She handed me a bowl and it had a maggot in it. I didnt say anything, but just scooped it out and threw in some chicken. 10 minutes later, 2 more maggots are in my bowl. (I've also had 3 mandarines infested during my time here. Comp, none) But yeah. comp told the hna who brought me a new bowl, but then said oh he is disgusted and doesn't want to eat. Not wanting to be a Nancy and throw a fit, I said noooo... I'm fine. And put in some more chicken even though I was full. That was gross.

Mexicans are tone deaf. Bad. I literally beg to play the piano in our miserable ward. But they take the cord every week because the kids play with it? I don't know. But I'm going to buy one I think to practice before District meeting.

While walking on the railroad tracks to the Guazozons, we came across a Horse head. Completely severed and laying there. That was interesting. Talked to a worker Comp knows and he said the horse got basically obliterated. There were too many people or I'd take a picture. Sorry mom. I know you wanted to see!

I think they give us ensigns here mom, so hold up on the sending more! I'm sure its a lot of money and I don't want you to spend a fortune! I'm fairly certain they get here, just a few weeks late :)

As for the letters, they help a lot. Keep them coming. Mom and Dad, thanks for the letters. Especially dad. Thank you. I'll have that letter the rest of my life. The white package made it safe too.
Mexicans still ramble on in sacrament, so I didn't escape that. But they can also talk for 2 hours even if you don't say a word. I might try sleeping during those sessions and see if they even notice jajajaja probably not. They say: Me intiendes? Which is understand me? And keep going without a break haha.
 
I want a turtle. They are about the size of a can of soda and they are 35 pesos hahaha just like dads rat. Really easy to take care of. They just sit in a bowl and swim around haha. Maybe I'll bring one home.

I hear about 3 to 4 crossing the border stories every day. That's a bit funny. They talk about the desert and how hard it is. I think about how funny it is to be on the other side of the border now...
 
Thats it I think.
 
Oh. pay attention to the word Nevertheless in the scriptures. Thats my favorite word. Its usually a problem, and then a blessing after. Like you might sin, but nevertheless, the arms of Christ are forever extended in mercy towards you. Fantastic palabra. (word) pay attention to that!
 

Future Missionary!
As for this week, its been a little hard. I haven't had too much energy because something always keeps us from getting to bed by 10:30 so I'm always tired and Sunday I think it got to me. I started thinking about the past life and for some reason the thought of you should go home wouldn't leave my mind. Constantly on my mind for 6 hours. It made me sick and no matter what I did it didn't leave. Until after church we passed an old lady moving dirt and offered to help. She accepted and told us another day because our clothes were going to get dirty. I said, doesn't matter! and started shoveling. I found that's why I love mindless heavy labor. I don't have to think. It's great. I just focused on where she wanted the dirt and how I was gonna get it there. Didn't think anymore about going home. After we talked to the family and got to know them, and just had a little fun. Had some more fun throwing rocks at bottles at Hno Carlos house with his nephew in laws or something. Picture of one of them that has my badge and backpack. But then this morning I finally opened the decoration letter and saw all of the little notes. Tell everyone that that was one of the greatest presents I've ever received. That helped so much and I'm very very grateful. Literally a highlight of the mission. So yeah. Tell everyone thanks for me!!
 
So we have been talking to this Jorge and Mary and her daughter Mari Cruz that we came across at a house that used to be the home of an inactive. He knew the BoM was true after reading the introduction and Mari took a little more work but they are both great people. Mari Cruz wants a husband for her 2 year old daughter so she is always off doing who knows what. Nice lady. Funny little daughter. Hanna. or hanita. They are both out of work and work at the little vet shop they have set up at their house. Not married, but thinking about getting married after we told them they needed it for baptism. Find out tonight. But yeah. Jorge was being a loser the last time and really childish. The questions we asked got answers like course. How not? come on Jorge. But Mari is really thinking about it. Really great people and I love watching the stupid boa not eat the rat they put in the cage. We spent 15 minutes before we knew it staring at the rat. hahaha. But yeah. Pictures to follow.

Not sure what else, Temple this week and some other conference. Not sure if its the whole mission. Going to be upset if me and Elder Boyd dont get to see Elder Smith. We saw Elder Merrill at the security conference where they told us what to do if we get robbed or kidnapped. Arms in the air screaming SOY MISIONERO SOY MISIONERO jajaja but yeah. Elder Smith is the only one missing so far. But temple will be cool. Man. Love you all. Getting close to skype time!!! Christmas is here finally.

Not sure what else there is... Oh yeah. Just ate at a buffet of Chinese food. 5 to 6 plates of panda express for 7 bucks. So worth it hahahaha.

Les Amo, De Elder Mortensen

November 26, 2012 (Week 15)

November 26, 2012

 Glad Thanksgiving was good for you all. I had thanksgiving too. It wasn't the thanksgiving I necessarily thought I wanted, but it sure was what I needed. The lunch was awful, so I was pretty bummed, but we went to the Guazozons house to teach that night at 8 in the poor part of town, and they live with a bunch of cousins and stuff that work with them to build the concrete houses. He said he has a job for me in 2 years :) but yeah, Hector and Susi are their in-laws or something but there were 14 of us with the old Abuelo and the family group and we had tacos and rice, and I realized how big of a blessing that was. I thanked the wife after for giving me a great thanksgiving! I had Thankgiving dinner with my adopted Mexican family I love so much. So that was good. Buen Fin, or Black Friday isn't as big here, just a big sale weekend. I didn't get to shop, since I'm dirt poor and don't want to use my American money too much haha. Need to do better with the Money this month! 1500 pesos isn't a whole lot when its 13 pesos for a dollar haha. Hector and Susy are going to get married this week, we are giving them about 200 pesos each to help and my comp and Elder Garcia (Mexicans) got to be witnesses. Joshua, the head honchos son is 9 and going to get baptized this Saturday by his Dad who just got cleared by the Bishop. I will probably get to baptize!! Joshua is going to be with Hector and Susi. H and S are amazing. They have a 3 year old daughter and a 1 month old, who loves to get breast fed every time we are there it seems like... Thats a little weird but I'm over it. Just keep on teaching and make eye contact with other people.. hahahaha. They only want a better life for their family, and now that we have reactivated the Guazozon family, they see the benefits of the Gospel and want in. They are what we call the Chosen people. It's amazing. I see a miracle with them, and I see miracles every day. It's incredible. Can't wait for Saturday!!! I'll get some pictures of them and send it home. Man. I love them. Even if it costs 16 pesos to get there and back everytime, I want to go. The lady of the house already has a Stake Calling and the other brother Enrique got a Ward Secretary already!



So me and the comp... are like best friends. I wish I could tell you what happened but I don't even know. One night we are joking about La roca! or brawlio the 9 year old with the dad that doesn't want to come back, the rock, because he is as dumb as one. Literally. Brawlio! Who is JesuCristo? Uh.... God. no... Joseph Smith translated the Gold Plates into the Libro de Mormon. Who translated the BoM? The gospel! No Brawlio... hahah but yeah. We joke about him, we joke about the lady that lived in a tin shack and told us she was ´busy´as she furiously picked her nose in front of us... haha not gonna see her again... but yeah. We laugh for a half hour every night. Transfers were this weekend and I was actually worried we were gonna get split up. I was praying for 3 days that wasn't going to be the case. Especially because I sent an email to the pres about our problems. I was so relieved when my prayers were answered and I wasn't the cause of a split. I was worried, but I have another transfer with him and I'm glad. We work hard, and I relaxed a little. The stress was getting to me, and I realized that I was a robot. I talked with some other guys who had problems with comps and it's the same. They were stressed and got mad when they woke up late, or got home late. But I asked what other disobedient missionaries do, and he said he has seen misisonarys not work for more than 3 hours, play xbox at their house, watch movies, and listen to world music and such. I relaxed a little on that because some days we get back late from appointments and dont get to bed by 10:30, but I realized its OK. as long as I'm trying. but yeah. We joke together and just have a good time, and work hard. We are having more success than a lot of people now and I don't even know what clicked! Something. But don't worry, I'm still going to be obedient to everything. Just not going to flip out when we sleep in on accident.

We baptized brawlio Sunday and it was good. He is still as dumb as a rock and his sister is too. Comp talked with the Dad, Carlos, on Friday and Saturday he said he was going to change and get the priesthood in 3 months to baptize his son. but then brawlio said.. no I dont want you to baptize me, I want E. Castaneda! Fuuuuuuuuudggee.... I felt really bad for the dad, but sunday, Carlos came to the church, but drove off saying he didn't want to go and had ´things to do´ don't feel bad that E. Castañeda baptized him anymore. He went to the Baptism though, and I hope it changes him.

As for other things, I love the Book of Mormon. It is my best friend and I hate when personal study is over. I can't believe I wasted so many nights without praying and reading at home. I think frequently about my life before and I am so glad I came on a mission. It was by far the best and most correct choice I ever made. I wasn't a bad person or anything, but I wasn't doing anything to get closer to my Father in Heaven and I wasn't happy. I was, but not the happy I wanted. I now have joy. And I love reading the Book of Mormon. I get so much revelation every day about the character of Christ and God, and revelation for my own life. It's incredible. Man. I love putting on this black tag that says Elder Mortensen. Because Conner Mortensen just isn't the person I wanted to be right now, and when I go back to being Conner I'm going to be a different Conner. Conner 2.0 you could say haha. Man. I want you and Mom and Brad and Shay to go to the Temple this weekend and just sit in the Celestial Room together for a while and just think. Can you four do that for me? Garrett and Ri, you guys drive separate and do baptisms. Just thing about things amiss in your life and I promise you will receive revelation. Garrett and Ri and Family, study the Book of Mormon. STUDY not just read. Personally, and Family. When you do personal, sit at your desk or the counter with pens and markers. I can't tell you the difference it makes sitting up at the table after saying a short prayer and reading the words and writing little sentences in the margin of revelation. Its incredible. ¿Salé? haha a saying here meaning Alright? Or another, Haz lo. means Do it. haha
 
Oh by the way, who sent the gummy bears? I love em. haha thanks :)

Gotta go! Love you all and youre always in my prayers! Good luck with everything.
Les amo! Mas que pueden ustedes imaginar. Pienso sobre ustedes cada día. Elder Mortensen.

November 19, 2012 (Week 14)

November 19, 2012

Bienvenido a esta semana correo! basically hi. and welcome to this weeks episode of: MISSION DRAMA

Halloween was pretty lame here. A few altars and a handful of trick or treaters. not much of a holiday. In the main city lots of visiting graves.

I handled a boa! that was fun. Pictures in the USB. the guy that owns it is a boxer, 30 years old and retired. Watched a short clip of him knocking a guy out haha they are inactive. Saw his wife at the store today, set up another date to visit them! that was good luck from Dios.


 

We had a dog follow us for a good 20 minutes, picture on the USB. my comp bought 7 hotdogs and gave them to the dog, but it sniffed them, and left em hahaha i laughed so hard and my comp muttered freaking dog... for the night.

they love tazos here. Google em. are they like pogs?

Think thats it. So we had a blancistrito this week. Blancizona too. well close. only one companionship baptized this week out of the zone. ZLs got GRILLED by the pres. I dont know why we dont baptize every week. Its a promise from the mission pres... Our investigators we had set for baptism this past sunday, well.. the 9 year old his dad sent him out of town for the weekend. convient... he doesnt trust god. Thinks that god told him not to go back to church by not answering his prayer. Oh well. Braulio next week! Daniel, 30 years old, played with dark magic, and lives with his mom and sister that hate us. He backed out the night before. I dont feel right about it he says.. We said, do it or dont. he mumbled for 4 minutes then my comp said, well, we will be at the church if you like to come back. every sunday waiting for you. We ran into him so many times and stood unknowingly at his house for 4 minutes trying to tract. i thought with that many run ins he was chosen by heavenly father to be in our path. Maybe i was supposed to learn another lesson. E. Boyd y Fuentes had a family not show up the day of and werent home. Bummer. I know why we arent having success though. My comp doesnt care to. for whatever reason, he still has 3 months and all he talks about it home. more on that later.

Wards, well ours is absolutely miserable. One family with a few investigators (relatives) that live with them literally increased our ward size of 24 to 32 when they showed up at few minutes late. They are progressing so well and i love em. Hector and Susi are wanting a better life for their family, but arent married. Thats a huge problem here. They either have to separate, wait a year, or get married, but it costs some good money. Thats always a hard thing. So if i start pulling off money, its so people can get married haha id love to spend it on that. The 2nd counselor is a great man. Him and Hna Julia do so much for us. Best unmarried couple youll find! haha alsways references for us. Oh yeah. mission rule: cant tract or contact people... solo referencias. freak...

Read Hebrews 13:1 hahahaha family!

My comp... He likes to throw lit matches at me while walking and he melted my tie but wont say sorry because he doesnt think he did anything wrong, He tells me what to study, and that i cant study D and C next, and i need to study the New Testament. He tells me he is thinking a lot about his house and tells me everyday what hes going to do and buy when he gets home. Doesnt want to train me, hes told that to a few members. He says, yeah he is my 5 kid and i didnt want to train anymore but i have him, but i dont want to train. He sprayed diesel gas in our apartment 3 hours before we had to leave and i about died from the fumes. He is so scared of the fleas its almost comical. But he is going way overboard on the chemicals. Im always wrong, and he loves to throw me under the bus when i am wrong too. I could go on, but thats not the point. The point is that i have 6 more weeks and i want to be in another area with a companion that wants to work. I got mad and we started fighting when i told him no more cheerios at the study table and especially not during my prayer. So loud. He got pissed and started explainging the electrical bill. He finally said we are going to be obedient and i said i finally have a trainer. Low blow but it got what i wanted finally. Its already starting to wear off. Freaking roller coaster with this guy. THe mexicans dont care what us gringos have to say. The missionary mexicans. I love the people. No clue waht to do. But dont worry about me. Im doing fine, i get humbled everyday by some of these people and all i want to say is enjoy what you have. I wish everyone could see this. Showers, carpet, yards, everything. Just enjoy it for me! :)

We activated the family Uscanga. Let me know how many pictures you get each week so i know if i can delete them! Love you all. Stay strong and know i cant wait for christmas to talk to you all!!! Love, Elder Mortensen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 12, 2012 - [ Comments about some pictures ]

November 12, 2012 - [ Comments about some pictures ]

Oh yeah. My tolerance for pica is much more than before. I ate a chilpaya pepper. This small little thing and my mouth burned for a day and my nose ran for 3. Literally the hottest thing except for one other. The small little green thing haha is very very hot.
 

 

November 12, 2012 (Week 13)

November 12, 2012

Como estan! man love you all. The comp is getting better, still waste a lot of time i feel like, but its ok. I need to relax a little on a few things. The stress of the mission. Ill tell ya. But i sure do love being here. Not a doubt in my mind this is my home and it feels so natural already. Not the spanish, but the culture. There are still things that im not used to, but ive forgotten about america and being white already. Sometime s i forget that im even Conner. Im now Elder Mortensen the mexican. The people dont really notice my American background as much and i kind of start to fit in i hope!
 
 
 
So important news; my comp has insomnia. The past 4 nights he has done stuff to me cause he cant sleep. Like poke me in the back and then roll back onto his top bunk. That was at 2 am and pitch black and i was scared for an hour. He also shakes the bed and rolls around a lot and makes noises and sings to himself when he cant sleep. That also wakes me up 3 times a night. Need to buy earplugs and a separate bed.. Oh well. Already 2 weeks till this transfer is over. only one more transfer with this guy. Thank the heavens. I get to talk to elder boyd at least 2 times a week and every other p day we go shopping with them. But his comp and the ZLs always yell at us and say Espanol ninos! I want to punch them. The ZLs tried to force me to put a line in my hair and tell me its required, so i stopped doing it. I hate it when people tell me what to do!!
 
Im dont miss america too much and i love it here. the weather is fantastic and its only about 70 degrees right now. maybe 85 90 middle of day, but its cloudy alot which helps.
 
Oh what else. I handled a boa, got followed by a guy that wanted to jump us, and helped a borracho (drunk) to his house haha that was exciting. Not having too much success, but we might have a few more baptisms coming up! i hope! i want more.
 
OH. yeah. Our house is infested with fleas. and the cockroaches are moving in too. The owner is fixing up the front patio so he took his dog somewhere else, so all the fleas need food. Us. They bite and itch and it feels like mosquito bites all over me! Thats a bad thing about this house. Oh yeah. My comp kneels on his stool for prayer cause he doesnt want ticks on him and he also wont touch a cockroach! Freaking nancy!! hahaha i have to stomp on them all and clean it up while he cowers away. He even tells me to kill the fleas he flicks off his pants. N A N C Y. we did service for the Uscanga familia, and went to their second little house and chopped weeds. I took a shovel and went crazy on the weeds while he grabbed a matchete and did a little work. He cut himself, and instead of putting a bandaid on, he loves to flip whenever someone shakes his hand and show them his batttle scars and tell the story. When people ask me what i have, i say, they are there, but i have the hands of a man and dont feel like complaining :) hahaha that makes him mad when im better than him at something.

We got to play by the ocean today, ill send pics. Not the most beautiful beach, but its the ocean and the fresh ocean air and spray was fantastic. Always cool to be near to there. Makes me smile that i get to serve in a country and state right next to the Ocean. Freaking Veracruz. Love it. Better than Spanish speaking tulsa.. ahaha oh boy. Cant think of anything really else to say. The weeks fly by here. Its my month mark in Mexico today and thats even wierder. I got some letters sent home along with a USB in a big envelope to the family, so hopefully no one opens it. You should get it in about 3 weeks. Let me know. I also sent letters to both Granparents, and Joleen so see if they get theirs in about 3 to 4 weeks. I delivered them straight to the mission office. I dont want to end this letter, but i have to. I cant wait to have all these stories for you all when i get back. I[ll send some pics. I love you all. Tell everyone hello and im doing just swell and i freaking love it here. With all the setbacks its still fantastic. Im starting to have normal conversations and can really talk to people. I cant wait till the 6 month fluency mark!! So close. yeah. Peru. is gonna be fantastic. I love the fact that im learning spanish. I really just cant wait. LOVE YOU ALL. Hasta una semana, Elder Mortensen, the great.

November 5, 2012 (Week 12)

November 5, 2012

Phew. where to start. I dont even know. My comp is still being a micromanager, and i finally lost it friday. Not even sure how it started but in the best spanish i could muster i told him what i was frustrated with. Told him that hes a district leader, my senior companion, my trainer, and ive been here for 2 weeks and i shouldnt have to be the one that says ok, time to leave, or start lessons, or such. He didnt say much, except for Ok. I told him that i know his mission is almost over, but mine is just starting and all i want to do is work, and i dont want to waste 3 precious months with him being like this. Things were good until sunday, when he volunteered me to go with E. Mielnickowikz to get one of their investigators 30 minutes away. I did and came back to find that the class i prepared for 2 hours to teach and was really excited to teach was 20 seconds from being over. I dont know why he chose me. All they needed was another male over 18. That really made me upset because i was super stoked to share some insights with the members on why missionary work is important and why we need them. I cant help but think its because he loves the spotlight and i really hope he wasnt getting rid of me so he could talk by himself. If so, it was an extremely low blow and it made me mad. He doesnt fill me in much, and when i ask him what the plan is he mumbles something and walks in to the house and i just sit there trying to catch up when we are reading the bible in spanish. I usually just sit there and look like an idiot for 2 hours. Thats right. 2 hours at some appointments... but yeah. If he would just fill me in i can help but usually he likes to talk for a while and then gets mad at me when i dont keep my little bits "brief" ugh. He loves to control my life and wont let me buy an alarm clock. That stupid egg one already broke. The light kept spazzing out and wouldnt shut off and the alarm beeped for a solid .5 seconds before killing itself haha. Anyways, im trying. I dont know what else to do but try. I like to do my own thing but he wants to do our wash together, wants to do everything, including standing behind me in the bathroom and Burger King. awkward...  My time is precious and he just wastes it. He threw a fit because i wouldnt let him shine his shoes with my kit. I was willing until he started using the polish brush to clean the dirt. He keeps telling me how to shine my shoes but hes never seen a kit in his life and scoffs at me when i clean them with water and acts all annoyed while i wait for them to dry... He will walk around me and turn down the water while im shaving, and put away the ironing board before im done and take my card out of my hand and pull my money out at the ATM (even though there are buttons in English). AAAAGGHHH. It feels good to vent. Trying to be patient. not working too well. Need to get through a transfer and a half with this guy. I want my space haha.

ANYWAYS. the good stuff! the Buses are fun here. We have an inactive family in the boonies and we take a bus back. Its on a dirt road and it feels like an indiana jones rollercoaster haha. We sit in the back so i get bumped a good foot out of my seat sometimes. I cant help but laugh and have a grin but my comp just frowns. too funny!

The humidity isnt helping much and ive already used a tube of athletes foot creme for a serious allergic reaction to my sweat all over my quads and glutes. That was bad, but its going away. Still sweat alot but for the most part, its gone. I had a decent outbreak of ringworm on my arms and hands. Those are ugly and painful and leave scars. Thank heavens those are gone too.

Oh, but i can print off letters and emails here, but i dont really care to print them all it costs a bit and im pretty full on room! but if you could have brad and shay and all you guys print off the emails you send and put them in order in the binder of my emails i really want those too. Just the advice and cool stuff though. Dont need to use all the ink haha :)

OH!! so i was thinking... PERU! when i get back and garrett gets back, we should all go to peru with your work dad!! Ill be able to speak to the natives which will be straight awesome. Just thinking about that. Love you all. Gotta go. Les amo!!! hasta proximo lunes!

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012 (Week 11)

October 29, 2012

Hola! Oi. wow what a week 

First off! The water. Huh. Its really interesting. It smells like rotten eggs, we shower and brush our teeth and do all that fun stuff in it and hope i dont get sick. Everyone buys water from either Coke, or another competitor, but Coke basically has the market down here, so everyone walks around with these huge 5 gallon or whatever jugs and use those to drink from. When someone says do you want water? you say, yes. Nearly everyone offers when you go into their house, but its hardly ever water. These people love juice and lemonade and coke. I dont drink much water. Oh well. But yeah. The agua is nothing to brag about down here. I miss taking a nice hot shower too. We only have cold water, which feels nice, but sometimes a nice hot shower would be fantastic haha.

We probably walk about 10 to 15 miles a day if we dont take a taxi anywhere. We usually stop taking taxis in the first week or so of each month cause we are out of money. Well, my comp is. I dont care for taxis so im never one to offer to flag one down and pay. We only get 1500 pesos a month for food and other needs. About 120 american dollars. Everything translates pretty evenly, so something thats 3 american is about 39 pesos. makes it hard to stay in the budget on 120 bucks. Im succeeding so far haha. Ive overcome the blister stage, i hope. I had a few nasty days last week where my feet were covered with blisters and just ached, but now i think they are healed up. Hopefully they dont come back... haha

Garrett: They have those VW bugs you love literally everywhere down here. about 1 in 10 is a VW bug. haha just thought id let you know.

The dogs here are freaking nuts. Not only do we live with a protective Rotweiler mom that wants to kill us, There are dogs everywhere. All strays and all starving and wandering the streets. I dont know why people have dogs here in the first place.. Interesting place. Some people have like 6 of those stupid terriers the neighbors have. And here i thought i was getting away from them...

Everyone has a motorcycle down here. So many of them. Im pretty jealous actually. I miss just opening up the throttle on my dirtbike. Well, i miss adrenaline in general. Havent had that drug in 3 months. Had to quit cold turkey and i want it back. Oh well. 21 more months and i will have it again. Hopefully someone chases me with a machete sometime soon so i can get the blood pumping again haha.

A few small stories..
I have seen more women than i can count that have more facial, arm, and leg hair than me. Its disturbing and frankly i dont know what to say when a 45 year old 4 foot woman has a huge mouchstache and arm hair as dark and thick as their hair. Haha kinda funny.

There are 2 huge trees next to this apartment we always eat with members at that has about 500 crows in it. Hundreds of em! its unreal what that sounds like. Man. I wish you guys could see some of this stuff.. Oh mom, at least Elder Smith has had fish. I was completely lied to on that part. Oh yeah! plenty of crab and fish in veracruz! lies. Havent had one piece of seafood. Haha and as for veracruz being the prettiest area, ill need to see some other areas besides the main city because where we are at is still suburbania and its pretty dissapointing. Still kind of what i wanted. I wish i was with elder smith right now and walking through the jungle. Freak. Dang you city and taxis. Haha if you watch any intersection here, youre more than likely to see 7 almost Tbone accidents every 5 minutes. The people and drivers here are nuts.

The police here are nonexistent. They got deleted from the system i guess. The army is in cahoots with the Cartel, and the Navy and Airforce arent the strongest army in the world. Entonces, the Marines are the police and everything. Im going to try and get a picture of these guys. Fully dressed in military gear, 2 of them are in the front of the truck, and two in the back standing next to a fully loaded 50 cal machine gun. Did i mention they have M4s as well? Sheesh. These guys mean business. I guess there are some really bad people here. Never seen em yet. Not sure if i want to. From what my comp says, 2 headless bodies were dropped off on the doors of the Mission Office last year.. haha fun stuff right?

Oh, yeah send the letters to the Mission home.
[

Elder Conner Wesley Mortensen
Mexico Veracruz Mission
Apartado Postal 103
91700 Veracruz, Veracruz
Mexico

]
 We dont have an address and i havent gotten mail yet. The ZL´s pick it up everyonce in a while from the Mission home. so yes. Mission home. Im going to send letters the expensive way and cut about 2 weeks off of the pouch mail time. Its about 1 american dollar to send a letter.

Handshakes. my goodness. They love their handshakes and hugs. They hug to the right by the way. Thats a little different. But yeah. Whenever you shake someones hand, you shake when you greet them, and you shake everyones hand. You shake when youre about to leave, and you shake when you finally do. Mind you, you shake everyones hand and say good bye or take care. Talk about time consuming activities.


We finally baptized angel y donata yesterday by the way! Font wouldnt fill up so we had to take taxis to the other chapel. It took my comp 3 tries to baptize angel, and it took me one time to baptize donata. Shes the nicest lady. Both are in their 70s and i love em both. Nicest old couple. I want more baptisms! But my comp doesnt want to work for them. He would rather do breakfast dates, wake up at 730, 8 and hang out at members houses all day and night and play with their kids and eat. I wish we would be more obedient cause i need the blessings...

In any case, gotta go. Ill send some pics. Love you all, Hasta Luego de México! Love, Elder Mortensen

October 22, 2012 (Week 10) [ First email from Mexico!]

October 22, 2012 [ First email from Mexico!]

I dont think we are in kansas anymore... Sorry about the keyboard. Its in spanish hahaha but yes im here and loving it. Well most parts! I dont have too much time, only 45 minutes to write and send pictures. In any case, my mission area is Nuevas Esperanzas in the Villa Rica stake. My address as far as i know is yañez and prosperidad. Yellow building with a big front porch.


Basically.. Mexico Veracruz. Im dying here. Its so hot haha i sweat so much. Holy. Welcome to the land of the Crazy Taxi Drivers. Seriously. if you could compare them to New York in taxis its a fair statement. Except they dont have lines. Or stop lights.. The people just fly around corners and work their way through intersections. Freaking crazy. The buildings here are solely made of concrete. If youre lucky. If not, they are tin and rotten wood. The poverty here is kind of crazy in areas. If you have more than one car, youre richer than everyone here. If you have a dishwasher or AC or a sink youre probably richer than most people... Its insane. We have eaten, my compañero is Elder Castañeda and he is pretty chill, but weve eaten at some houses that are straight tin. Speaking of eating... The food here is comprable to the Hairy Chicken and stringy corn Brad ate. Can you say mystery meat? They drown all their soup in this wierd orange stuff too. But their soup consists of usually meat, potatoes, and whole vegetables. You heard me right. Some people cut up a cucumber and zuccini in 4 to 5 parts and throw them in soup. HUGE. Its crazy...

Ive already had my first bout with the food. I think i won. But the next day, Sunday, The curse of the Headache is back. Thanks for those crappy genes dad... Hahahah so i suffered through sacrament with my head throbbing and then through countless meetings of the natives speaking 60 mph.. Sheesh. Couldnt walk without the blood pounding. I think ive got the Gripa! Every sickness here is the Gripa to these people haha. I love it. My compañero had dengue so we chillled at our apartment and went to a few doctors visits with him, one of which i had to watch him get a shot in the butt... Awkward haha so we eat about 1 time a day. Lunch is the big meal. People feed us soup, tortillas, and rice, and meat. Pretty good. I wake up, eat a slice of bread, make it till 2, eat alot, need to take a nap, make it till 10, eat another peice of bread. Im dyin. We get to go to Costco today, so im going to stock up on food for breakfast haha

Man. What else. Most of the roads here are potholed and trash and dirt littered. The others that arent potholed are just dirt with small streams of who knows what kind of water running through them.

im sitting at a pay computer and writing this, which is different. I cant understand the people very well and its hard because they dont realize that i cant understand. Even when they do they still speak fast. When i try and teach some english, which i had to do on sunday night at the ward, i spoke slow, and used easy words. They dont really comprehend that principle.. Kinda sucks. Dont feel like im doing much in lessons. Especially when they speak about non gospel stuff. FREAK. so hard to pay attention. My brain just shuts down. I understand most of the words but they speak too fast for my brain to put them together. Drinking from a fire hydrant perhaps....

But in any case, amongst all the infirmaties, and sweating, and wanting to punch a wall or fall asleep for lack of understanding, im doing great. I love it here and i love the people. We are good friends with a family of who knows how many, and they have a few 12 and 13 year olds that really like me i think. They are fun to mess with. I speak engilsh really fast when they speak spanish too fast. Remembering names is a nightmare too. These people have 10 of em and they mumble them all. Latinos do not move their jaw very much when they talk and their syllables are soft. Makes it even harder. But yeah. Love it here. Couldnt think of anywhere else id like to be.

 Its a great time here, and we are working really hard to get this old couple in their 70s to baptism but their kids dont want them to change religions. They are Angel y Donada. Great old couple. Finally know the problem with this mission, people arent serious about it. We commit a ton to baptism and a lot say yes, but dont follow through. That leaves us with a few for the picking. But these people are receptive to our words. Seriously the Chosen People like the Book of Mormon testifies of. Im literally fullfilling scripture by being here teaching the gospel to the people of the Lamanites. Pretty cool to think about.

Cant email friends, only family. Dear elders are the most reliable, and they take about a month to 1.5 months for me to get them and about a month for it to get back to the states. So warn people. I still want letters though! Love em. In any case, I Love you Mom, Dad, Garrett, Riley, Brad, Shay. You guys mean everything to me and i think about you alot! Not more than the chosen peeps though :) haha anyways, logging off to send pictures! expect em! LOVE YOU ALL. Les amo! Quidese.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

[Dad's Note, Sunday 10/21/2012 7:00pm]

[Dad's Note, Sunday 10/21/2012 7:00pm]

We heard from Conner early Monday morning (10/15) in the SLC airport.  He intended to call us during his 3 hour layover in Mexico City, but no luck.  Not sure if he had limited time, or other circumstances which didn't allow him to call.  We did send an email to the mission presidents wife asking her to send us a quick email back if he had made it ok.  We also said we had hoped to talk with him in Mexico City but didn't and to relay on to him that we were proud of him and looked forward to his first email or letter.  She replied a couple of days later with the following:

"thank's your son has arrived very good we say him your regards
thank you"

We all thought this was awesome in a humorous way!

I also received a voicemail from the mission office saying he had arrived and was with his new companion.

We hope his P-day's are Monday's since we haven't heard from him since he arrived.  I'll post his new address and info soon!



October 11, 2012 (Week 8)

October 11, 2012 email

Hey there. I'll get a real email off! Love you all first off. Second off, thanks for all the support! I really love it and appreciate it. Garrett and riley, I love you both. Riley and Dad, a letter will be on its way hopefully today for you fellas! Garrett.. condsider my letter and pray about it hombre! I think it would be good for you. Also, for family home evening, watch the mormon messages talk by elder holland about staying in the lines. Its a really good 4 minute clip. Inspiring. Also, after that watch his full talk. Its from priesthood about 2 years ago. Garrett and Riley pay attention to that! The lord needs clean workers! and its way too often they come home for being stupid. In any  case, enjoy. HOLLAND KILLED IT. Everytime he speaks i swear... He kills it. Funny story...Elder Bednar came and spoke on tuesday!!! so sick! we got good seats 20 feet away! But he talked about how him and elder ballard gave the same talk and how they both were inspired by the lord. He was like its not a situation where we all sit down and president monson assigns topics.."Ok, Elder Eyering, you speak on uncovering the Lord and the pavillion we hide ourselves under. Elder Bednar and Ballard, you both speak on conversion. And Elder Holland... you just light it up. Everyone laughed. We all knew it was true though. That man has a way of cutting you to the very soul. Peter, do you love me? yea lord. Then Feed My Sheep. or in the words of a man i love very much, Hermano Clarke, Feed my Peeps! Do it for the Peeps! Great words of wisdom! Bednar got up and said:" So theres been a lot of talk on the missionary change. It cracks me up to hear your reasons. Thats apostolic humor! It cracks me up! The Lord will do his work, and he will hasten his work in his own time." He straight up put any rumors to rest. We all just sat there and looked around and said.. aight. Fair enough haha. No more speculating from the MTC crowd...

In response to mom's caution about the 5 donuts a day... I'm sorry. I broke it.




I had 15 at breakfast on tuesday. I earned some mad respect and even wowed myself...15 glazed donuts is ALOT. I gained 4 lbs... chill right? haha yeah... I was pretty beat up for a day or two. I felt exactly like i did after all those crepe eating contests, except for at the MTC you're already messed up because of the crappy food and stress and whatnot, so i've been regretting that eating contest a bit more than crepes. Lots more bread to eat too. Another elder from the new district, one of my favorites, tried to do 18 and only got to 12. That was still alot but it made me realize how many i ate.... haha


Not a whole lot has happened this week. I wish i could write more, but its been a review week and nothing too exciting except for hosting! Oh well. things will get shaken up a tad in about 3 days... gulp. jaja Garrett i'm glad you had fun on your dance date. Enjoy those, and keep talking to the women after. That was something me and Brad were never very good at... Haha funny stuff. Can't belive i've already been out for 2 months! its so loco! I'm stoked for mexico and i can't wait to hear from all of you guys this next monday! more info on that later. Pues... i'm still studying hard. well trying at least. Its hard to see being this close to the light at the end of the tunnel. That analogy is so so true though... Windowless box and no sun for 8 weeks and literally the flight out of here is entering the light at the end. I'm ready for it.

 Les Queiro mi familia! quidese.

Con amor, Elder Mortensen

October 4, 2012 (Week 7) Afternoon emails

October 4, 2012 Afternoon emails

2:30pm:
Just in case mom doesn't check her email, i got travel plans today so be expecting a call from the airport at 12:00-2:30 pm on monday the 15! We will arrive after a layover in texas at veracruz mexico at 9:35 at night so it'll be a long night to say the least! I can't say how grateful i am i'm not getting transferred to a new area or being held back. Everything worked out on time! i'll get some more details later!


7:00pm
Travel Plans changed!

LV Salt Lake City UT 8:20 AM
AR: Pheonix 9:14
LV: Pheonix 9:50
AR: Mexico City, Mexico 2:52 PM
LV: Mexico City, Mexico 5:45 PM
AR: Veracruz, Mexico 6:40 PM

Plan on getting a phone call in the Mexico Airport. We aren't going to have a clue whats going on and English will probably be comforting haha. It will be a 3 hour layover so we will be able to talk for a while. At least an hour! Or however long you guys have. It doesn't matter if we use it all at once. Branch president says we can call other people with extra minutes. You guys definately get as much time as we can talk :) Les quiero!

October 4, 2012 (Week 7) Morning email

October 4, 2012 Morning email

I love being on a mission and can't wait for the future. WE SIGNED OUR VISAS YESTERDAY!!!!! got to drive all the way down to the Mexican consulate in SLC to sign em. Wierd seeing SLC again... TRAVEL PLANS HOY YO ESPERO!!! i hope i get our travel plans today jaja oh my we have a week left. I talked to a few natives that were in the temple eating celestial breakfast and i was able to speak to them for a bit. i asked what jalapa was like and they said, like provo. very cold in winter and warm in summer. i then asked how Veracruz was: pretty, but hot. All of the time. And humid. He says as soon as it hits 70 people wear jackets cause its winter!! jajaja mom this is your kind of place!


In anycase, no the food is not good. Its ruining my insides. I don't know if 5 donuts a day helps at all, but Its the closest i get to a decent meal.. Kidding. I just really love donuts and i have a reputation as the donut addict here. Gotta keep that up :) I also have the reputation of hating everyone in the mornings. Literally. Everyone feels your pain mom. My companion has to punch the bottom of the bed and lift my mattress up a foot and drop it suddenly to wake me up. Inception at its finest! Elder merrill and Boyd came into our room on tuesday right after i crawled out of bed and snapped a picture with flash of my morning face.


 I almost kicked them then, but its a pretty funny picture and you'll probably enjoy it mom! I need real food and sunlight though! Mexico come faster.... We passed the prison on the way to the consulate and the only thing that was said was "hey. Their food is probably as good as ours and they get cable." Pretty funny. I also used the man. "I'd kill to go there" line and got a few laughs. Made me think of you dad. Speaking of which, i got a neat picture i'll send home you'll probably want to see. If theres ever 2 pictures to put on the board it would be this one and yours next to it.


Conner climbing the walls

Conner's Dad climbing the walls, (some 30 years ago)














I'll send it at laundry. If you could get that printed off that would be great. A few others i was thinking of as well. The one where pj and i are at corner canyon my last day. Sun is coming over the mountains. really cool picture. also the pictures of me climbing in moab with the crevice crack climb from a distance and also theres a really pretty landscape shot. I think its my picture on my FB profile. Theres also one of me in my red shirt climbing on a grey wall in big cottonwood. I've got my hat on and i'm reaching for a hold i think. Oh! and theres one where PJ is in the corner of the screen getting a drink from the cooler in daneils truck and he looks like a deformed zombie. Its a great one. and any other pretty landscape shots from moab or places you guys can think of. None others i can specifically think of. Sorry if i'm going too far with this but i don't get much adrenaline here and the pictures bring memories which do the trick in a way and make me not miss them as much.Its very much appreciated and i thank you for taking the time to do that! But thanks for the package and the pictures you did send!! I love em. Just brings me that much closer to home the further away i travel. They are also fun to show people. I appreciate the bags those will really help. I'll start putting together a package to send you of things home. Shouldn't have too much. Just a few things.

We hosted wednesday and one of the kids i hosted got dropped off by his friends. about 15 minutes into the delivery, i hear windchimes. We both stop and look around, and then he reaches into his suit coat and pulls out this way nice android. I thought: Oh shoot. i even asked him if he had a cell phone! So he hangs up and hands it to me. Idk what to do with it so then it rings and i say, answer it and tell em to meet us out front again. So we did, and waited for 20 mintues while his friend drove back and grabbed his cell phone. Everyone around us was like whoa... technology.. wierd.... jaja

In any case, I'll get travel plans today hopefully and send out a letter real soon about when i'll be able to call you guys. Might be pretty early in the morning.. So stay awake jaja. I am getting more and more excited to leave this place because i finally feel i'm ready. I feel that i will progress a little more, but it will be like the first day again when they totally immersed us and we had to try so hard to improve. I'm ready for the next challenge of mexico.

TRC was great this past week. I volunteered me and my comp for the first volunteer and it was our first 40 minute visit. We go in and talk to Hermana Rice. I said. Oh my mejor amigo se llama Mark Rice! she said.. Mark Rice is my hijo. (son). It blew my mind. I was so shocked we just sat there for a bit and smiled. I got his home address and am going to send off a letter today. Mark Rice is the mexican kid that stayed overnight the time i went longboarding with him. Rembember Mom? He is in my group farewell picture on the far left. Anyways, she said he doesn't know if he should go on a mission now or finish out a full year. I told her i'd wriite him a letter to put in his papers ahora!! (now) so i'll do that. she shared her conversion story and it had to do with her father rejecting the missionaries of what mission? Thats right. Veracruz. She was born there! rad right? So her father rejected them for 8 years until a flood happened and she as a baby got really really sick and was almost about to die. Her mother prayed for the missionaries for three days and kept seeing hallunciations of them, but they never showed up for real. Her mother then thought to go to church, where the bishop blessed her as a baby and she ended up living. Her entire familia of 9 was baptized shortly after. So rad. That was really cool to hear because it was a sweet story, but she was my friiends mom and i have a connection with that! That was really neat.

Cant wait to get to mexico and teach my own Hermana Rices. I can't wait. Mom, i love you and thanks so much for your letter. It deserves a hand written one back. Brad and Shay, i'm out of time, i'll write letters at laundry.

Garrett and Riley, Well, Riley, Thanks for the Cookies! I shared them and everybody about died... died because they were so good! haha they were good though so thanks :) i'm sorry you didn't make SBO! sounds like it was a pretty tough crowd! i'm proud of you for trying though! Keep it up and study hard. You too Garrett!
Tell Spanky i say what up for me! also austin anderson and kyle if you ever see them


Les quiero mi famila. Les quiero. Adios!

September 27,. 2012 (Week 6) Afternoon email

September 27,. 2012 Afternoon email

Yeah the wall is close. We are losing our oldest district monday, and that means its just us with a bunch of other districts we quite didn't bond with. It'll be a long two weeks. Yeah the libro is going to be legit and will be given to my kids to read when they are deciding whether or not to serve a mission. Thats so cool gramps grew up with president packer. somethin to brag about :)

I'll shoot gramps a email. I think it would be good to send them one. Thanks for all the support i really appreciate it. More than i think you all know.

Oh, send the ensign from conferences. like maybe last october and april and then when the next one comes that too. Also, have you guys checked out those zero gravity air travel bags? Ill be needing those for sure. Too many books. Oh. So i found a russian dictionary just like your german one and ill send that home as well as a small german grammar phrases book we found in an abandoned condemned room that we clean. So study up cause ill need to learn german when i come home. Let me know on the travel suction air bags or whatever haha.

September 27, 2012 (Week 6) Morning email

September 27, 2012 Morning email

I'm definately hitting a wall.. its hard to stay awake and focused in class since we just reveiw. It doesn't help that i'm a very hands on learner and i don't do well with just reading something on a board. I'm talking less in my lessons because we had a teacher tell me i was dominating too much, so now i've backed off a lot, but now i'm not learning much. My comp needs some time talking too, but i hate the fact that we still only get 20 minutes or less to teach a lesson. I need to speak spanish if i'm going to learn it. I'm starting my english fast today, and i hope it does wonders. I just really need to start speaking more. I've never been good with classrooms, like i needed to tell you guys that. Jaja! Travel plans come a week from today!!!!! leave in 17 or so days. CAN'T WAIT. no news on the visa. That's not comforting because so many people are getting held in the states for visa issues. I just want to go to Mexcio so i'm praying that it comes through.

I sent off a letter to Keyan and Kameron last week, Kameron sent a few lines in english, and Keyan dropped me some straight argentine spanish . I understood more than i thought though, which is somewhat comforting. I'm still talking to Elder Naylor every week which is cool. I miss that guy. I'll write again during wash time for sure. Might as well take advantage of the no time limit in the MTC before i get out and have to stick to the 30 minutes.

Its insane how much i'm growing everyday. I'm really starting to get to know who Christ was while i'm out here. Reading Jesus the Christ is challenging at 10:30 at night but its definately worth it. 780 someodd pages focused solely on Christ. Way cool. I love the temple every week. Just sitting in the Celestial Room is my favorite part of the week by far.

We did watch the third session of the temple dedication, that was really cool!! Does Grandpa Mortensen know President Packer?? That story sounds just like grandpa mortensens!! brigham city, graduated, war, married a girl from high shcool... etc. Haha But yeah i loved listening to his stories becuase i could just picture Grandpa telling them.. i miss the grandparents. That was always the highlight of the Thanksgiving trips was sitting in the living room with grandpa alone and just talking about life with him. Give them a shout out for me will ya?? I know they'd rather have me here than back in that living room again and i know that for a fact. But tell them i say hello and i miss them! The church is growing faster than ever imgained. There are so many people coming in that the church is involved with some legal disputes about tearing down the old 3 story 11M that you and brad used for mail and the store and building a 8 story one!!! The mail room is a new add on to the senior center 2M and they are wondering whether to tear that down as well because all the baby boomers are going to start serving missions. Crazy stuff. I can't wait to actually talk to Mexicans and bring them a message that will change their life. Its one thing to teach it to a fake investigator but when its real you know it.

Im ready for the field. I know the gospel and i know rudimentary spanish and the only reason i want out is because i want to help those people right now! Its killing me to spend so much time repeating sentences back and forth and other things for the time that we are. I think the problem with our mission is getting people to stay in the church. Thats my guess on the baptizing factory, but i think a lot of those people never really connected and need some missionaries to bump em back into the church. Cant wait. 2 more weeks of patience until i can hit the ground running. Oh well. Trust in the lord and the day will be here before i know it.

I picked me up a little unstained leather journal and scratched El Libro de Conner on it. It'll be the story of my mission. About 100 pages so about a chapter a week :) get stoked to hear this in 2 years! haha!


Pues.. adios mi familia! Les quiero!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 20, 2012 (Week 5) Afternoon email

September 20, 2012 - Afternoon email

Yeah I got on! not a second too late though! I have a few other things I need, send me my grey hoodie from downstairs. Big grey thing with the black shoelace. Its starting to get colder here in the mornings. How are things going at home? I just kicked elder stahuras shoe with my bare foot playing hacky sack and i might lose my toenail... haha but oh we got to leave campus me and elder bixler to walk to the laundromat where they do the mtc dry cleaning and also alterations. My suit pants shrunk or i grew. Im not sure but they were floods. They are taking out everything i have left haha. But in any case. Have fun with everything and tell Brad and Shay to write! I havent heard from them in a while! hosers. Feliz Navidad!

I'm no dummy. I've been here for 7 years... [From Better Off Dead]

September 20, 2012 (Week 5)

September 20, 2012

Hola! como estan? This week has gone by so fast but its getting more and more boring. Really not much to do and the journal entries are getting smaller and none of us can remember what happens every night. I'm staying in contact with an Elder Hal from my district that's in peru and he gets to play soccer under the lights as well as go tracting in the streets. i am really jealous. The MTC food really works you here and one or two elders smell like sin. We call elder Boyd the Father of all sin because 4 or 5 times a day he clears our classroom. Sometimes really wish we had hermanas (sisters) in our district... entonces... oh yeah. If you guys could print off my emails, cut out the business parts i guess but just print them out and put them in a binder. Our teachers said that was really cool to come home to. I can only hope I have more stories to tell you guys when i get in the field. I'M GOING CRAZY IN HERE. I really want to be in the field especially considering we are almost done with all the conjugations and now its a little review and then we sit around for 2 weeks like the old district that left 2 weeks ago did. That's going to be fun. I  can't even imagine being here for more than 9 weeks let alone 12. Ugh... i shiver. I get more and more excited for Mexico everytime it rains or we play soccer. Especially considering Utah and Idaho are burning we have the worst air here. We can not even see the Y somedays. Dad. thanks for the words of encouragement. I know i can't understand the natives so I'm enjoying being good at soccer here and understanding people here as well. SHEESH. chistes.

In terms of stories, not a whole lot of spirtitual, but a lot of dumb. Last p-day we shot a raquetball with excercise bands in the dorms and i volunteered to take a raquetball in the bare back for 15 bucks. I got hit on the hand, the butt, and then the last shot i allowed got me right in the back. Elder Beckert played baseball and estimated the raquetball at around 98-102 mph. So that was fun. The next day, Elder Boyd from pocatello (dad we probably drove past his house at the lacrosse tournament up there. He doensn't see why i love chubbuck so much. but yeah he showed us something that him and his friends got addicted to. Stapling his leg. so i decided to give it a try. Did it once, didn't hurt, then Elder Stahura did, and it gathered some attention and people started watching and wondering what you do. So i stapled my leg again, and then they asked, so now what? I said, you pull it out. Normally, you get two little red holes and thats it. I pulled out this staple and stared in disbelief as blood squirted out and started running down my leg in a nice flowing stream. Definetly hit a vein hahaha im fine though, got a napkin and washed it off then sat it out. I got a nice bruise from it! We really need to get out of the classroom more.

We are all heading to Veracruz except for Elder Beckert. He is going to Jalapa. It's a split off the mission, the northern half. They get the "fruit" persay, but we have the ocean and the green and the port and the mountain, whereas he has desertish spots haha. We all leave the same day. less than 4 weeks remaining.

Garrett: Take good care of the truck. I'll need it in one piece! But I'm serious about the spanish. Actually pay attention and then use it durante el verano y cada uno. It will help you alot and if you can get into the advanced class... more power to ya. haha tell Ri I say hi and for him Brad and Shay to write. those hosers havent written for 3 weeks! You have no idea how nice it is to get a letter here. Sounds like you and Ri are getting along. Take the truck and get out there and meet some new peeps. Have some fun and still enjoy being home, but also enjoy not being home and make some memories doing things all over. The memories you make are the memories you take.

Mom. love ya. Thanks for the piano songs and everything. We had a 70's general authority speakers wife talk about the stripilng warriors and how their mothers taught them. She challenged us to be the missionary our mothers raised us, and are praying for us to be. Really good talk. So on that note, thank you for raising me the way you did. You couldn't have done a better job and i hope through all my faults youre still proud of me.

Dad. I dont know what it is about actually being away from home and talking to you but i love it that much more now. Its really good to hear from you and I look forward to the dearelders and emails because I know the Lord is watching over me through you.

 On Sunday W. Tracy Watson talked to us about the BoM. at first he was animated and a upbeat and things, but then he showed us a clip from the broadway play: The book of mormon. It was the opening song in the Tony's and it was all about missionaries. It completely degraded and made fun of not only missionaries, but also the church, and they even had God's voice in it. I had nothing but disgust during the whole thing. The main actor is a returned missionary himself (inactive) and during the interview he even said this play should be rated R or above it is that bad. Watson then showed us how the church responded to this wildly popular breakout play. They put ads EVERYWHERE in NYC. on times square jumbotrons, on the subways, in the TV's in taxis, on top of the taxis, and best of all, in the Play Bill for the show, (the program) they had 4 full page ads saying: The book is better than the movie; you've seen the play, now read the book; the book is best, and so on all telling you to go to mormon.org and find out for yourself. Thats where the I'm a Mormon ads came from. Brilliant. It reminds me of the scripture in 3rd nephi i think 20;10. some chapter verses 9-10 that the lord promises to missionaries, and in it is says: I will protect them and show unto them that my power and knowledge is far greater than the cunning of the devil. It was the writers of south park that wrote the play, and im pretty sure he's the one that put the entire endowment session online as well. Best of all, i think he used to be mormon, and his wife is still active. Ironic right? But that scripture really testifies that its true. The devil put out a play putting a complete negative spin on the church, and now god gave revelation to do the mormon.org and now NYC missions cannot keep Book's of mormon in stock. The missionaries there are celebrities and people are wanting more and more books of mormon. Everyone started clapping in the devotional when W. Tracy Watson started showing us the comebacks the church did. He then went on to quote Holland's talk and said that "all throughout the history of the church from moses until joseph smith, the church has fleed from persecution. but now, we no longer flee from Babylon. We attack it."
Clearly a servent of the lord. I really hope he comes soon. That would be great.

Does Joleen live in texas again? She sent a package with that address so I was just wondering. I'll think about anything that I need you guys to throw in that package and hopefully shoot off a quick email during laundry.
The spanish is coming easier once again and i'm still doing 5/6 of the talking in lessions and half of it are random questions from investigators about stuff I've never even read in spanish but I can still get my point across which is a miracle to me. I can only hope I understand the people in mexico about half the time just enough to get the jist of it.

Stay classy san diego.

Quidense, con amor, Elder Mortensen

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 13, 2012 (Week 4)

September 13, 2012

Sounds like the house renovation has been quite the project haha! Can't say im too glad i missed out because its still better than sitting in a chair... Apparently mom thought my package was too light so i guess i'll make a bigger list :) haha i heard a cool song called baptism by paul cardall, if someone could send me the sheet music for that itd be appreciated too. They don't let us listen to music here or in the field. not even Motab... Interesting to me considering that brings the spirit and helps me focus during TALL (technology assisted language learning) its like the churches rosetta stone. I like it during the day, but during the night hours i get nothing out of it. Too hard to sit there and comprehend something completely new at 8:30 at night after 12 hours of previous studying. Me and Elder Smith talk to this Hermana in the temple laundromat every thursday morning after initiatories because the cafeteria doesn't open until 8 and service is good anyways considering we clean an abandoned building (11M the old mail room TRC/ book store in the middle of campus building) on tuesdays. It doesn't need it but they have no where else for us to serve. MTC capacity is about 2000-2100 and we are at about 2500-2600. Needless to say, we clean drinking fountains and toilets that haven't been used since they got cleaned monday.. Well actually we "check" and then walk back out. So anyways this little old mexican lady works in the laundromat and me and Elder Smith think its fun to "try" and talk in spanish to her. We absolutely suck at spanish haha she and 2 other ladies speak it as well and they had to slow down so much for us. gives us a good glimpse for mexico and we are at least trying. Our zone leaders decided to throw some more rules into play: No sarcasm and everytime a companionship leaves the room, the DL writes it down on a piece of paper. I swear they don't think about what they are saying. My life is based off of sarcasm and if they really need to keep that close of tabs on us they should hire a babysitter.

Elders Mortensen and Jake Slagowski
Theres a funny joke me and Jake say: Acutal mission rules / rules the general authorities follow < MTC rules. Me and jake have a little lunch date every week and sit apart from our districts and try and get some sanity back haha we both agree that what Jared says is true: Survive 9 weeks in the MTC and you'll be fine in the field! We both agree that you have to be able to still be yourself amidst all the schedules and rules. They even tell us what way we can walk around the guardhouse. Theres a correct way for that too. Talked to peyton and my friend Elder Naylor who are in the Guatemala CCM and the Peru CCM respectively and they both love it so much more than provo. They play soccer under the lights, the field is astro turf, and the food is much better! Oh well. there is a reason i'm still here. Maybe its so me and Jake can stay friends. I see him alot.
 
 Entonces...
 
 During one of the lessons, I was talking really well like i usually do, I speak for most of the time, and my comp uses scriptures and throws in a few lines every time i freeze up ( i just look over at him and he takes it away) He is getting a lot better at spanish and i'm glad because its nice to rely on someone instead of just myself. I hit a celiing during one of our progressing investigator lessons. literally, i felt like a baloon trapped by a celiing. It was the most frustrating experience of my life and i wanted to cry and snap my pen in half i was so frustrated by the fact that my tounge just froze up in a split second. I could barely stutter out the spanish for can we close with a prayer. (Podemos terminar con una oracion?) I look back now and realize that it was just the lord wanting me to experience that feeling and keep pushing myself harder. I don't ever want to feel that again. Ive started to stay awake more during study times and have a new determination to progress. The lord definately works in mysterious ways i'll tell you that much.
 
 Cool story... my pen exploded in my shirt. I rock a pocket protector now, (i'll send one home to you garrett and riley) But anyways, i look down and my shirt has a blue dot about the size of a quarter full of fresh ink. I immediately unbutton my shirt and take it off. I remove all the things from my pocket and i touched the backside of the shirt and it was sopping with ink. So now for the interesting part. That ink had been soaking through on the inside of my white shirt for 10 minutes and with my planner and stuff in my pocket bouncing off my garments with every step, you woulda thought that my garments woulda been soaked with a nice blue spot of ink as well... Not so. not even a smudge. SO COOL. I love it. I have my own garment story now. would that ink come out with a lot of bleach?
 
 Anyways, tuesday was possibly the best day i've had here:
 -they got Gala apples in the cafeteria. No more granny apples or red awfuls (delicious apparently)
 -I had three donuts along with breakfast.
 -Every meal was actually good
 -I scored two goals and had an assist in soccer
 -The workshop was excellent
 -I had 2 donuts for lunch
 -Had a good fireside after about a guy in the 70 who was a general in the air force and was in the pentagon on 9/11. him and his wife touched on that for a minute so that was neat...
 -Oh.. and i stayed awake (and focused) the entire day. Thats a miracle in and of itself.
 
 
 Let me know where Sam gets his call to! and yeah i loved the pictures. Find some good ones from different places, a few from the mission, a few more of friends and stuff, and a few of me climbing if you will! Send those in a book that holds like four pictures per page. I'd love that. Its so good just to flip through some things from home whenever its been a long day. Oh yeah, and check out some of those sealer bags you put clothes in. They are for traveling. You put your clothes in these bags, seal them, and then suck the air out. An elder had them and it compressed his clothes and got rid of a lot of air and saved some space. Said they were like 15 bucks so it might be worth it. We have a bunch of books and stuff that i need more room for. My goal is to send home all of my books in english (keep em nice) and just be able to interpret my spanish preach my gospel. Its actually coming along faster than i ever thought possible. I can read most of predicad mi evangelio pretty easily now. Its just understanding the grammar and looking up frases and palabras. (phrases and words) Garrett and Riley, the tie has no story. You are totally free to wear it! In any case, better wrap this up. until next time..
 
 Con amor, Elder Mortensen


Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6, 2012 (Afternoon email)

September 6, 2012 (Week 3) (Afternoon email)

[Dad's note: Sent Conner a test email to see if he could get email attachments]
We got a bit more time during laundry, but yes i can get pictures by email so if it just like pictures of the house send em through here. but if they are things that are important send me a picture printed out. I love looking at my wall and seeing everyone.Oh, i don't know if you guys saw the 85th birthday celebration of Thomas S. Monson.  Mom woulda loved it. The lead singer for the Broadway musical Les Miserables was singing and he sang bring him home. Its on the church website but we watched it for the devotional sunday. I thought of you mom and how dumb i was for not playing the piano more. To be honest i just didn't like how much you praised me for playing after so long, so i never did. I realize now i'm halfway stupid and i shoulda just played more and it wouldn't have been such a big deal.. haha :) don't worry mom you have a suprise coming in a few weeks.. Well anyways, i got the package shipped off. Anyways, i love hearing from you guys. I got here and its already been three weeks and i haven't looked back and i know you guys haven't either considering dad forgot the week :) [Dad's note:  I put the week # in the subject line of the emails to Conner and kidded him I forgot what week it was, it's going so fast] Its where im supposed to be. That much has been reaffirmed to me so many times. Gotta change the wash. Love ya

September 6, 2012 (Week 3)

September 6, 2012

Como estan mi familia!!
I'm getting well adjusted now and I'm good to go. (patience, which by the way has been a trial... Elders Stahura and Naylor wore tie clips for 3 weeks straight and the branch president never said a word, but the day that mom sent me mine, he said," Put that puppy away. We don't wear those in the MTC. If its an heirloom from your grandpa keep it in your pocket, but we don't wear those." I wanted to cry hahaha. The only thing i need at the moment is some vitamin D and maybe a small bottle of tums. everything is expensive here even with THE HUGE 40% MISSIONARY DISCOUNT ON JACKED UP GOODS!!!! these guys are luring missionaries in like sharks to blood... haha but yeah thats it. I get about an hour or two of sunlight a week and my body is having a hard time adjusting from constant being outside and sunlight to trapped in a windowless box studying for 16 hours a day haha. Im sending my camera stick home with the package today (with mom's brownies if I can find some) and you guys can look through those! print off a few for me would ya? at your discretion. So yeah. if you could get an address book and one of those little 50 picture holders that would be perfect)
 I'm sending home this copy of Savior Redeemer of my Soul for you to copy. Brad should get a copy and play it. I like the one you sent me but we've been practicing this version alot and I'm pretty used to it. So if you wouldn't mind doing one side per page and shipping both copies (original and copied) back me and Elder Smith would both appreciate it!! :) Love ya.

As for everything else, I know i said I don't like the MTC but thats just a few parts. I absolutely love it here and now we are starting to learn tenses in spanish. past tense, preterite, future. you know, the fun grammar stuff I loved in English class! haha We are finally starting to progress and the days are starting to speed up. I am really starting to love the language. I can't help but feel that what President Nelson blessed me with in my setting apart is true. He said I'd pick up the spanish language really well and so far I have. Its all because of Jesu cristo though. "Work like it all depends on you, pray like it all depends on the Lord" We do these things called TRC once a week for an hour, its basically where we go in and talk to somebody we have no info about, find out about them, and depending on the week, share a message, or invite them to do something. Its all in spanish and we talk for a good 30 minutes. I talk alot more than my comp does but thats fine. he is doing so much better since week one. We are starting to rely on eachother. Whenever I cant think of anything else to say on the topic, he loves memorizing scripture locations for topics and will pull out a scripture and read it, the investigador, usually our teachers, will ask a question and we go from there. I love speaking spanish. We are teaching two investigators right now, and we challenged them both to be baptized the first lesson. One of them, Carlos Guerra said sure why not, and the other one, Juan Carlos Cruz said i need more info, cause i've already been baptized in the catholic church. So we found some scriptures and went back in the next day and he still didn't understand. Finally we just taught him to pray on the book of mormon and he did, so the next time, we were able to get him to accept baptism. both of them are attending church and Juan Carlos is talking to his wife and family about being baptized as well. These are all in spanish too which makes it that much more challenging. Especially when you're looking at a preach my gospel in spanish. We had about 2 minutes to prepare a 30 minute lesson on the plan of salvation. I've never taught that in english let alone spanish, but the Lord helped us enough to give me the words i needed to explain the pamphlet we gave him. We made the time. That was a rush.. haha (I get my adrenaline from playing the piano in front of people and teaching lessons... Drastic changes right? haha) anyways, my companion is Peter Allen Maughan from Issiquah Washington. He is younger than me but taller and about 80 lbs more. cool guy. we havent argued once. we both are pretty easy going. We disagree on a few things but thats to be expected. We live in an old building clear on the outskirts haha but its our building. Its great and the showers are bipolar but it just makes for a better story and a lot of elders screaming like girls when the shower goes from 104 degrees to -3 in about .002 seconds.

Elder Naylor
We had four elders leave tuesday and that was sad, but our classroom  is a tiny windowless box that is about 1/3 smaller than anyone elses classroom and it was really hot. Sad to see em go, but glad to kick them and four of 12 desks out after em hahaha elder Naylor was my favorite. (by the way, he hated that waterbottle he had so he gave it to me but he was sick so im sending it home for a good scrub. I don't need it here because of the water bottle filter, so just throw it in my room. It'll be good for hiking. Nice camelbak bottle.) But yeah he was the best. He will do well in the Peru CCM (MTC) for 6 weeks with his work ethic. He was probably the worst in spanish at the start but he worked so hard he was probably 4th place by the time he left. Short little kid. I've got a few pictures with him. Him and Elder Barton live in West Jordan. Ask Maddie Mchaley if she remembers elder naylor or barton. Both left for Peru with their comps. Elder stahura is a bit of a handful and i'm glad im not district leader anymore. They switch everything at 3 weeks. ZL's and DL's so everyone gets a chance for the 6 leadership lessons. Stahura gets at least a package a day and sometimes its takeout. His record is 4 in one day and sometimes its 2 or 3 a day. So no more grumbling dad :) haha. Oh well. the district is doing well. Lack of focus though. Thats the real reason i don't like the MTC. I want to be out in the field where i have one roomate, maybe another companionship living in the apartment but we are still focusing on the people and have a real purpose. Its hard to see that purpose in the MTC but its still worth trying. Its annoying how much we can't stay focused to the lesson plan. Teachers are getting frustrated too. Some of the Elders just don't see the purpose in why we are out here yet. I hope we all grow up soon or it'll be a long 5 more weeks. We have one Elder that won't play soccer cause he promised his mom he would be safe and won't even look at the sister missionaries. I'm fine with him being the strict person he wants to be, but he acts like a pharisee and acts like a 4 year old whenever something goes off plan or someone walks more than 5 feet from their comp. He focuses so much on the rules that he forgets why we are here in the first place. Theres a balance in everything. He brags alot that he understands spanish and always chastises Elder Smith because he doesn't let him speak enough but i haven't heard a complete sentence from him in spanish yet. He doesn't speak during lessons at all so it gets old when he tells us to do things pertaining to that.

Well. Thats the district drama. (i thought i graduated high schoool haha)

I'm having some real spirtitual experiences here, and they are all in my journal and i'll share them at home with you all. But i will share one with you right now. Just finsihed the book of mormon for the first time by myself yesterday, i know i failed mom, but i finally pushed through alma and didn't quit this time and i can testify to anyone that reads this that it is true. I didn't even need Moroni's promise at the end to know that. That was a spiritual reassurance. But throughout 3rd nefi i just kept thinking as christ was testifing that there is no way this isn't true. Not even a chance. In any case. I took too long typing. Don't expect these long letters in the field! haha but if theres anything  you want to hear let me know. If not, love you all and la iglesia de Jesucrist is verdadero. Yo tengo no dudo in mi cabeza or mi corazon. Yo se que estas cosas is verdadero y Jose Smith fue una profeta que el evangelio de jesucristo fue restaraudo. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

"Mi familia is mi amor" Elder Mortensen