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

 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

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!

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!