Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 25, 2013 (Week 32)

March 25, 2013

Well, I found some real interesting and deep doctrine in the bible this week...
Luke 14:20 talks about the parable of the great supper. Verse 20 says:

And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

Read the whole parable, but that just doctrinalized my theory of not getting married a month after the mission. I have a wife, so I cannot come. Talk about being junior compañero all your life... jajajaja doctrina... chistoso [funny].

Anyways. not a whole lot happened this week. Hotter than gale here, I'm using my namebadge as a squeegee for my forehead... Pretty freaking hot, but a norte just came in. Blows dirt in your face and almost blows you over, but its better than the suraida. south wind that comes in may and cooks every living creature. woo!
I bought a hair clipper at walmart. Westhoff talked me into it. 400 pesos! haha I cut my own hair. Turned out like a buzz cut but it's cooler and better looking than a 40 peso haircut here. But 2 days after,  during planning he says:
"you missed a spot."
"perdon? "
"you missed a spot..."  
"the back. It's a huge chunk."
"no manches. Cut it! Now! How long have you known?!"
"yesterday... I forgot to tell you."
"well shoot...."

As for me and the comp, it's getting a little old. You can only literally be with yourself for so long before the jokes are like a broken record.. Like Elder Westhoff said yesterday, in this compañerismo, there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians...


We lost close to all of our investigators, and man, this area is tough. The bishop called us Sunday at 8:00 to tell us to prepare talks, so we did. 20 minute talks to help the ward. We get there, and the bishop cuts Elder Westhoff due to time, and gave me 2 minutes. He said "tienes, two minutes". Like I don't understand Spanish. So I got up there and tried to do my best to compress 20 minutes into 2, and made me look like a fool. I shot off a few disapproving looks after I sat down. Dumb chump tries to humiliate us a lot. The Ward Mission Leader won't give us references because he says they are part of the zetas [law enforcement??] and that they have huge problems! We are like "yeah... we are missionaries. It's our job to help them fix those problems".. He says "No. way too scary." This ward doesn't want us for some reason. We feel like we just pushed over a rock to get it rolling and it was centered on an anthill and now we are getting bit all over. Angry buggers liked their ward the way it was before.

Ugh. Who knows. Transfers this week.. Let's hope for getting out of the port haha! But anyways, we have fun with drunk guys. They try and break our doctrine, but they can't keep from peeing their pants or stand up straight. All of the neighbors laughed at our run in with the neighborhood drunk. Think we might have won over a few people. We bashed a titch with him and were calmly yelling our doctrine at him with our heads raised up to the second story where some ignorant Testigos de Jehova live. hahaha. Some people. Too much fun. As for that, I close this epistle.

Cacique [Chief] Mortensen.

March 18, 2013 (Week 31)

March 18, 2013

Anyways. En el mar, la vida es mas sabrosa... En el mar, te quiero mucho mas. Con el sol, la luna y las estrellas, en el mar, todo es felicidad! Ey! [at sea, life is more tasty ... at sea, I love you more. with the sun, moon and stars, in the sea, all is bliss! ey!]

I have no clue why that song popped in my head. Our taxi guy in the ward taught us it when we went to Costco and I bought 6 lbs of peaunut butter... Elder Westhoff bought the same. haha best 20 bucks I've ever spent.

By the way, if you'd like to get a few questions about the life here, I'd be happy to answer. I'm struggling for words. Just don't do gospel topics. I don't have time to go into detail. but like por ejemplo [for example]...

Elder. Is it hot down there?
Reply. Why yes. its 98 degrees in march. Thanks for asking.

Elder. Do you love cockroaches running around?
Reply. How did you know? por supuesto! [of course!]

cosas así [stuff]. haha.

wow... I'm so brain fried. What in the gale is wrong with me..

ANYWAYS. On to the list. We met a guy illegally tracting. Old guy, wouldn't let us in, Because he was caring for his sick wife. We asked to help, and he really liked that, so he let us in. Told us the second visit he lied, and she died 3 months ago. He's the funniest old guy though. Started talking about what he would do with his army weapons if someone broke in. He's like 70 haha. Of the suprising things he said, he served in the army in Acapulco. He also said he was the leader of the KKK there... he said the blacks would steal your rings and chains so he'd get half drunk and go beat em all up. The bar owners knew him personally and wouldn't let him drink for that reason. We were half incredulous half dying of laughter when he acted out some faces. Too funny. Great guy though. He's searching for the truth, but he knows his 5 person congregation isn't it. Hope we can get him baptized. He'd be great. Epolito is his name. Great guy. I hope he passes the baptismal interview questions if he gets there. He might of killed someone come to think about it....

Shrinks need shrinks. We've been teaching a guy who speaks fluent english, and a friend of his is in our ward and his class. Her mom is a professional shrink. Good people though. I just realized I'm more sane than the people that make people sane. It's a horrible cycle to get caught in. Can't whine. Her son got back from Mexico off his mission and him and his sister and mom were the only ones out of the ward to go to the Baptism of Trinidad. He's cool. Really good teacher. The mission was his zone. People guy.

Speaking of Trinidad. She got baptized. Her daughter came and wants to listen more. Super chill. Her and the family that let us use their house, the same family we cut the mango tree for. The dad baptized. Convert of one year, never done it. Well the boilers don't work too well down here, so the water is pretty cold. Her and el hermano Arturo got in the water and were all smiles and laughing because of how cold it was. The hermana took a break before getting all the way in. They were both freezing, but had to do it again because her elbow came up. They did it again, and both were immediately warm. She said, "well what do you know? The water just got really warm." Super funny, but they are both funny, so I guess that's how they feel the spirit. It was really strong. She told us after her interview that she hadn't been smoking for a week before. She wanted to do it by herself, so she never told us. Que necios somos [We are fools]!!! She's amazing. Loves the church, the feeling she has, and the fact that she's clean from her past. She told us that her step mom beat her for wetting the bed when she was 6 so she ran away. She eventually went back until 20, and then went back again to care for her abusive stepmother when she passed away and even forgave her. She's incredible. Pure gold. I love putting in work for the peeps. It makes it that much sweeter when a person like her with habits and stuff just come out clean and love Jesus more than anything.

As for other miracles, we've been wanting to find a family. So we did how the servant did in Genesis 24. He told God specifically where he would be, and what the woman that was going to marry Isaac would say. So we fasted, and put it to the test. We went back knocking this huge street, REVILLAGIGEDO, and knocked the whole dang thing. We went back for this Catholic guy that told us off. Had a 30 minute conversation in English with him, got only a few steps. Didn't want much. but then his 16 year old son comes flying out and tells us he wants to know more and asked for a book. It was crazy. We think we found the family to help the ward. Gotta get 'em baptized. Real educated, and strong in their beliefs. they'd be amazing for the ward. After that, we went to the DL house to get mail. I got the ensign, and a letter from Dan. Going on a mission. Call should be here soon. I almost broke down when I read it. I've been hoping he'd go since I put in my papers. I'm still hoping the rest of my friends will ask and find out if they should go. They really don't know what they are missing. So if anyone reads this, the mission is great. Super hard, but you find out a lot about yourself, and about how your life fits in with Gods. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else on Friday nights... It;s crazy. Especially for me.. La iglesia es verdadera, El Libro de Mormon es perfecto, sin ninguna sola duda en mi corazon. Yo sé que Dios me ama. y les ama tambien. Así Es. Nos Vemos. [the church is true, the book of mormon is perfect, without any single doubt in my heart. I know God loves me. and loves them too]

Elder Mortensen.

March 11, 2013 (Week 30)

March 11, 2013

Tina. Eat the food. Tina! Eat the FOOD. EAT THE FOOD Tina!  -- Napoleon Dynamite

Man. I feel like Tina on the mission. People just bring out plates of meat, beans, and other things. Then when you say "no", they are like "well was it not good?" You say "no it was great, but I'm full." Then they say "oh, el elder no le gustó".... then you have to eat the food, Tina. ugh. I'm gaining weight. They could realllllly use an oven. Or some variation. The food here is great, it's just that they cook the easiest things over and over, breakfast lunch and dinner. I don't know how they don't die... hahaha but no, they just keep their dishes in the oven. Everything on stove top here. Yum, yum. Esperanza, is also a chef. Really. For her work. She made us a meal of fried potato chunks on bottom, shredded lettuce, cream, limon, and pulled chicken. So huge, so good. I would love a nice salad! or steak. Ooh man. Call Texas Roadhouse. Tell em I'll be waiting.

As for this week, Trinidad smoked. Then she got really offensive. like attacking the fact that all the 3 and 8 witnesses are the same family. She already knows it's true. I don't know why she was doing it. Her and her smoking daughter were justifying smoking with the thoughts that the more you know the more God can condemn you. We were like what the the gale just happened.... but no. she's back on track. We gave the word of wisdom and baptism a break, but we will hit it hard tomorrow. She needs to stop if she wants to get baptized. but yeah. Shes pretty cool still. hahah

We have a pet frog. Of all the creatures that run around our house, like the 10 inch rat out back, or the ants that swarm randomly out of all of the walls to eat crumbs, literally like 4000 of em sometimes, and they bite un buen. But no, of the leeches in the bathroom, the constant mosquitoes, the ants, and cockroaches,.. a frog crawled out of the drain. He just chills in our bathroom now.  He's pretty cool. Can't get mad at me for having a pet if I didn't bring it in hahahahah.

Stake Conference was cool. It was broadcast from SLC to 55 stakes in Mexico. the YW general president spoke, some guy from the Presidencia de los 70 and Elder Bednar and Richard G. Scott. Elder Bednar was translated, but gave a good talk on the atonement, and repentance, then Elder Scott came in, and I was about to sleep, but then he pulls out Spanish. Pretty good speaker of the language. Gave a really good talk on the sanctidad de la mujer. Talked about how they should act, dress, compose, and basically how they should be. He talked about how men should treat their wives, and among other things. He planched with love. Actually a good talk.

As for the final paragraph, I have a laugh. Our new name for ourselves, es los cruzados. We go on crusades against things we don't like. One, and the most recognizable battle we won as cruzados, es la coca. The bishop started preaching apostasy, and how we couldn't have Coke in the church, especially the elders, and how its bad. We started the crusade. Houses would ask us if we wanted coke, then would remember that we couldn't drink it. We said noo..... we want it, we can drink it. it Doesn't even have caffeine down here. It's about as harmful as rootbeer. Anyways, everyone in the ward knows we want coke, and we can drink it. We personally drank 3 Liters at the bishops house hahahaha. but... we shot ourselves in the foot. Everyone offers us coke now. We smile and go along with the joke, but we drown inside, well literally drowning of coke. but, for the sake of the crusade, we wont back down. hahaha algo para reirse! les quiero. nos vemos el lunes que viene. fijanse, mayo ya viene, otra vez Skypeamos! Que el Señor les bendiga.

Elder Mortensen.

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013 (Week 29)

March 4, 2013

Making Raisin Pie!
 I'm glad everyone laughed at my pain and sufferings last week, nah no es cierto. I loved the story. Already got it written en El Libro de Conner. Great one.
So as for priesthood blessings, I've seen miracles. Really. We have been teaching this lady Trinidad, just a contact (we aren't supposed to contact, but look at what we found. She's our best investigator. Dumb rule really. Nobody gives us a reference here... even with the inspired system of getting them the mission has..) Anyways, we start teaching her. We had a feeling that she smoked, but never knew, and wanted to wait until after she went to church once. She went, liked it, and accepted baptism to be a good example to her struggling daughters and granddaughters, but she smokes 2 boxes a day and drinks coffee religiously. She failed the first day we taught it to her, but when I went on divisions, and Elder Westhoff and another comp gave her a blessing. Shes been over 5 days without smoking or drinking. She just doesn't want to. Dios primero, she always says. It's crazy. This compared to Elder Nelson, my district leader, telling some lady she can't, because she can't smoke. She just can't. Then he will be at the gas station watching her. He's an idiot. You gotta put their trust in the Lord, not bully her. That's a big problem here. But anyways, she slept in this Sunday because she had to take care of a neighbor until 6 am, but she's going to get baptized this Sunday. So stoked for her. She's made some huge changes even though her entire family, daughters, everyone, was laughing and making fun of her at first. It's incredible to see the change in these people. I think that's really where the true joy comes in on the mission. The sad part is, a lot of elders don't go through the Lord on their conversion process, so I doubt they feel the same joy. It's crazy though, the way you feel.

I don't have a whole lot to tell you, but just that it's crazy. I don't know. I missed home a little, but now not really at all. I don't know what happened over these 6 months, but I can start to feel why people don't want to go home. I'll still come home though. I miss carpet and Mountain Dew and my familia too. Can't forget you guys :) haha. Love ya all. Cuidense.
Think he's pleased with the pie???

El Mejor Misionero que tienen a este momento, El Elder Mortensen.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February 25, 2013 (Week 28)

February 25, 2013

"Don't stop... believing... hold on to that feeling.... street lights... people.... ohhhhhhahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! (guitar solo)" - Journey

Train hopping
This week I learned a lot about how God cares about the little things in life, and how much fun he has with his beloved children. First story. Journey. Remember how I told you I haven't heard Journey in 6 months? Not one hour after I sent that email we went searching for leather to make wallets and that song popped on. You know we "took our time" searching hahah That was great. I couldn't believe Heavenly Father gave me that little blessing to let me know he was paying attention.


"Coincidences are just Gods way of staying hidden" - Albert Einstein.

I figured it applies. don't faint from the profoundness, please.

But yeah, heard Journey. sweeet.

Second. We visited this cool guy, Noé. He's been inactive for a while, but him and his wife are coming back now. We ate with them Sunday so Friday they asked what we'd like to eat. He mentioned Mondongo. I said, "what in the gael is mondongo?" He said, "pig intestines." I said, "nooooo. I've already had pig feet and I almost died." We all laughed and brushed it off.

The next day, we showed up at Hna. Lastras house. She's this little old lady and her grandson served us lunch. He brings this bowl out of fat and soup. It's hairy and looks like an ocean plant with all these feelers and tubes. I said, "looks great." He said, "guess what it is!?!" No idea. "MONDONGO!!! It's delicious! Try it." I'm thinking,  no freaking way. Elder Westhoff is as pale as a sheet, we can't believe our luck, Karma, whatever it was. Twelve hours later after hearing about it for the first time, I have it. I add onions, squeeze limes, and throw in rice after rice. Didn't help. It was horrible. Remember that fish with the head Elder Smith ate? Doesn't compare. I would have loved that instead. I choked down all of my bowl, which was huge by the way, and then the grandson serves his grandma. She looks at her huge bowl and says, "I don't think I can eat all of this, and you're big and need more. Would you like more meat?" I'm thinking, meat?!? It's pure fat! Not nutritious at all! Your intestines absorb the nutrients then give them away! I said, "si hermana..." and took another huge bowl. Elder Westhoff is slowing getting his down, I learned with the pig feet that you just down it as fast as possible.

If my wife isn't at least twice as attractive for taking the hit on that, I'll be upset. I could just picture God up there laughing. He's gotta have fun with us. You know he does. He receives joy from us, so therefore, he must cause the pain in our life to make us realize the good. Mostly by food. It's funny. If I learn one thing on the mission, it would be that God is our father, and he has fun and plays jokes with us as much as we do with others. Oh well. He was just smiling and now we are too. Good times. The food is horrible, but makes for a good memory, right? Maybe that's why Heavenly Father did it. He knows I love stories. Oh well. I survived, with fingernail marks in my knee from clutching it so tight... haha asi es la mision.

[Dad's comment: As a backdrop to the next paragraph. A few times in the past, I'd come upon Conner doing something and I'd say, why don't you do it <fill in the blank> differently?  He'd say "Oh great. Now you come up with a better idea!  Eight minutes later."  Well, in Sunday School, part of the lesson was talking about enlightenment and the teacher asked if anyone had had times when they felt enlighted.  For some reason, the "eight minutes later" situations came to mind and I smiled.  I shared that with Conner in my email to him last week.]
Eight minutes later was great... I was washing a blender for a hermana, and I was scrubbing the bottom trying to get the salsa out. I cut myself, and was getting upset with the piece of plastic. 8 minutes later, the hermana came over and says, "why don't you just unscrew it?" 8 FREAKING MINUTES LATER. haha. I grumbled and thought about how hard you would laugh.

Well, times up. Para la proxima! Nos Vemos mi querida familia! cuidense.

Burning the tie (6 month tradition)
El Buenísimo Elder Mortensen.

February 18, 2013 (Week 27)

February 18, 2013

"Boston. ARGUABLY the best band ever. ARGUABLY...." - Jon Carter, D.J. 103.5

Good times. I haven't heard them in 6 months. Too bad. Or Journey
Not too much to talk about today, I'm sorry. It's been a boring week. I got a new hammock hooks thanks to the owner, but the worker put my hooks 2 meters in the air. About 6.5 feet. If I fall, I'm screweeeeeeed. I put my bed under but I've still got 4.5 feet to drop! Lets just say I sleep carefully haha! It's so nice and cool. Glad I don't have any cords or broom handles to break and wake up 3 feet lower in .2 seconds with a bruised elbow and coccyx! haha (Napoleon Dynamite: Your Grandma went playin out with some friends and ended up breakin her coccyx!") hahaha But yeah, it's nicer than the dumb beds we get. as for the mission...

The changes are in. I'm at 6 months, and I'm with Elder Westhoff again. I'm going to be his longest-had companion in his 14 months. He has more comps and special changes than months. So we are here in the city without families for another 6 weeks. We want to change this area though. It'll be super hard, but we want to feel good about our work before we leave. I'll start saying to the President about wanting to leave the city before the next changes. All these buildings are getting me depressed. Which is true, I miss the outdoors. I'd just like to take my life out of the port for a little bit. But we will work for 6 more weeks. Hoping for 8 baptisms. That would shatter everyone's record for years. This area has had lazy elders for the past 12 months. People are starting to see that we are working. The other elders just re-baptized people that lost their records and counted them. I guess we will find out how happy they are with their 'converts' up in heaven. I don't like it when people brag about those baptisms. Not like I like it at all. I don't know Elder Westhoff's number and after this change I'll have been here long enough if people can't figure it out, and they won't ever know. I feel like it's something sacred.

Thanks for the advice and the stories about your mission, dad. I appreciate those because I've been lacking people to look up to in the mission. I've never really seen a good example of a missionary that I know I'd be happy with. But we will see where things take me. I think we are a lot alike with the memories. I'd rather have those than anything else. Because who's really going to remember the times when they are nothing but "should haves" and regrets? Hey, by the way, read President Uchtdorfs talk on regrets and resolutions. I read it and wished I would have spent more Friday nights at home watching movies with you and the hermanos. But the times I do remember I loved.

well.. I spent too much time on fotos hoy. Not like it was important. I'd just ramble anyways and fotos are cooler. haha so... for that note. I'll sign off.

Well. I'm out. cuidense. son mi familia y nos vemos. El Elder Mortensen

February 11, 2013 (Week 26)

February 11, 2013

What have we done this week... We lost all our investigators except for a few, got on top of a huge apartment building, survived Carnival, and cut down a mango tree with a machete from 45 feet up and saw some ruins and ate good food and climbed trees.
To be honest, since we didn't have a baptism, today was the highlight of my time in Mexico. As far as fun goes, we woke up at 6, started the wash at Hermano Guevarras house, helped him put up a showboard in his store downtown. You wouldn't believe how many staggering borrachos there were. Drunks. haha But we drove past all the floats. A lot of 'em were super detailed. Cooler than the Magna parade. We missed the parades, probably best. Two gringos would have gotten jumped and stabbed. We saw 4 teens running after a gay guy this morning. We went back into the shop.... but yeah. the floats were cool. Not too much excitement from Carnival, just a lot of drunks and signs and talk. But if you stay away from it there's not really too much harm to the area. We wonder why the President didn't take us out of the area like the last comps here in Febrero. Anyways, after that we went over to the Famila Guzman to help clean up some huge mango trees and leaves. They are an amazing convert family from 1 yeah ago. They lost everything, jobs, cars, houses, and everything to a cousin that scammed them. They came to Veracruz to house sit for a family relative because they had nothing. The missionaries came the next week. Really strong family. Just shows God will prepare people to receive you. I hope I don't find too many families like that. They really got humbled hard... I think the hermano is still bitter. They had it all.

But anyways, we went over to help them. He said, "cut off those branches up there." I said, "where?" He said, "take this weak ladder and this dull machete and chop em off." Knowing myself, I was pretty stoked. I threw it up there, and climbed 5 feet up and started hacking away. too much fun. but then we decided to get off the ladder, and climb even higher... that was fun too. We got up probably 40 - 45 feet. hahah. Hacking away at branches in a swaying tree on 4 inch branch stubs is the funnest I've had in a long time. We got out of there within 3 hours, and went back with the hermano Guevarra and his family. They took us to Cardell, to another spot 45 minutes, or an hour and a half with how they drive. worse than mom... haha... Ate at a small restaurant, they bought us a nice American breakfast. over easy eggs, bacon, sausage, and hashbrowns. I was stoked. Went to these ruins and climbed on some huge trees and some old pyramid looking things. Too much fun. We climbed this one pyramid from the back... hahah like 35 feet up. We didn't see the chains and signs saying no te subas (don't climb), until after. Mom, sorry. Well, not really. It was sick haha. We did that, drove a few more miles, and came to the spot where Hernan Cortes built his first house and the first Catholic chapel in Veracruz. That was way cool. 100 meter bridge over a beautiful river the bridge swayed pretty good. Too much fun. All in all, I got out of the area, climbed some trees, and had some fun. The ruins were sweet, and just a whole ton of things were good. We've been moving all day today, and got to write late. Hope the President doesn't get mad. Anyways, I'll send some fotos. I've got a ton from today.  Not a whole lot else happened. I'm sure I'll think of stuff right after I sign out. but until next time, hasta luego, cuidense, y paz fuera. nos vemos.