Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2013 (Week 75)

January 20, 2013

Getting stitches a few weeks ago
You're all gonna kill me again, but I'm reallly sorry. We haven't sat down for a while. I got a call Saturday morning saying I'm going to be ZL and that told me everything I needed to know about changes. I'm outta here. Sad, but happy. It's been hard for a bit. You get kind of tired of dragging the same burro all over. Sometimes you need different problems to attack, haha. It's about time for the converts to get their own testimonies too. They are ready to live on their own. Doesn't make it any easier to say bye, but it helps knowing they will be alright.

Sunday I got a call in the night from the ZL. I'm heading to Los Tuxtlas Sur. Welll.... Dios [God] really loves me. It's one of the more beautiful zones and the last place I wanted to go [the final, last-the-best-of-all-the-game area he wanted to serve in before coming home???]. I can be calm now. I'm going with Elder Anderson. He's kinda crazy but he's got one transfer before death [going home]. This should be interesting. Let's see what I can do in Los Tuxtlas.... gonna be fun. Said bye to the zone and the district last night and today, and have been saying bye to converts and members, but now it's time to write presidente, cut my hair, and finish saying bye. I hope my next letter will be longer too, have paciencia [patience] with me haha. I do like writing, there's just been A LOT to do lately. Lots of stuff to get done.

Conner and Elder Cerna
But I sure do love you all. I'm really glad Garrett and Riley are grasping the gospel. It's what's needed in this world so ugly. And Maria might be moving to the north. Her husband might get transferred... he will get baptized one day.

Love you all.

Elder Mortensen.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 13, 2013 (Week 74)

January 13, 2014

Drinking water from a stream


Sorry I don't have any time. We went preaching in Necoxtla for 10 hours today with Maria Alicia y Rosalia. Freaking sweeeet! and... I might have a poncho. But a real legit wool made in a small pueblo poncho. We will see in 8 days haha. or 7 in America.
Ward Activity


Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 6, 2013 (Week 73)

January 6, 2013

Well... What happened this week? We finally baptized Zuleima. That was interesting. She hardly talked to the missionaries before. Hardly talked to anyone, but kept assisting our baptisms and I always asked her... when are we gonna see yours? She just smiled and didn't say anything. About three weeks ago I got a message saying I think it's time I got baptized... I said... umm... cool? I think we might be able to help.. haha. nah. But really it was sweet. She failed the first interview but then changed a lot, passed the next one three weeks later, and got baptized. She brought a shower cap. She is an interesting one eh...

Other than that... we started teaching a old couple that is Pentecostes. Contacted them and we are really hoping for the best. There are people that don't want to stop believing in the bible. It's our job to help them feel the need to start believing in the Book of Mormon as well. He's got real intent and is gonna do the homework we gave him. That would be really cool to see them progress.
Oh yeah, I finished el LIbro de Mormon in Spanish on the 31st. That was a really cool experience. It's so marked up and filled with notes. It's incredible how much I learned this time. I look at my scriptures and now I see the revelation and how the mysteries of God have been revealed to me. That's pretty cool. I've been having some really deep personal studies. We fasted 2 times this week. We are gonna go back to once a week but we really needed some help during the week so we started a special one. This one was really different. When we fasted from Thursday to Friday we fasted to know the secret of Alma 17:2-3. We were so hungry, sick, and tired, and empty that night that we knew we were on to something.. that next morning I had a mindblowing study about it. And now I know. Fasting and prayer unlock the mysteries of God... 
Elder Westhoff told me that Alejandro y Reyna are engaged. I hope they are still active so they can do it in the temple. he's already off to Hawaii. I don't know what he is doin, haha. Ruben made it through alllll the holidays with lots of fiestas and crap and he is still goin strong. People have made fun of him, but he is holding strong. 
Presidente de Estaca [Stake President] said something I really liked:
The purpose of satan is to lead us from sin to sin until it becomes unforgivable.
He then gave the example of: a family doesn't go to church. So what? They stop taking the sacrament. The kids don't grow up with values and the holy ghost and then a teenager gets pregnant. The couple then decides to have an abortion. murder is basically an unforgivable sin.
Of course it's not always that drastic but I now see that even the littlest littlest sin can lead us astray reallllllly quick and to an extreme where it's really difficult to come back.
2 nefi 28:21 y 22.
Just something to think about when we are tempted. Look down the road and think, "Where might this lead?"
I hereby close this epistle.
Elder Mortensen
I had a good steak for the first time in 17 months. I'm so glad this bishop is rich haha.
I still can't believe Jared Slagowski got married... Brads having a baby... I'm gonna stay down here hahaha.
que tengan una buena semana. Saludos a todos. [Have a good week.  Greetings to all]

[Just some funny signs I've seen and taken pictures of.  The scripture "with their mouths they honor me, but their hearts are far from me" rings a bell and makes sense down here. hahahah]

My Country City of God

Heaven's Gate


December 25, 2013 (Week 72)

December 25, 2013

Corn on the cob, Mexican-style
[Conner didn't send us a weekly recap on the regular Monday email, so I took some excepts from his Skype conversation on Christmas Day]

Garrett, Riley, I hope you are studying your scriptures. Garrett when are you thinking of going [on a mission]?  You gotta start thinking about it though.  I hope you don’t go before I get back.  Put your availability date as September 1st.  I have college set up so I won’t be extending.  I am going to stay the full two years.  I have a lot of work for you little brother [Garrett].  I’ve got a lot things in mind.
Are you reading?  Are you reading your scriptures?  Are you reading them, though?  Are you r e a d i n g them?  Before the mission, I didn’t really read them, so I already know what you guys are doing.  Seriously read them.  Buy some markers too.  Garret and Riley, go on a mission.  I don’t even care if you don’t want to, just do it.  It’s cool, it’s really cool.  Start getting ready now.  The more you show you’re ready for the mission, the more the Lord is going to bless you.  The mission has been something really cool. Pretty interesting.  Get going on those papers, you’ll be leaving in about 9 months.   I didn’t even think I was on the mission for a while.  It doesn’t hit you for a while.  Mendoza’s been my favorite area.  We’re going on 17 baptisms. Pretty incredible.  My mission president goes home in June.  He actually had me stand up in Zone Conference on Thursday, like just randomly, and he said, “Elder Mortensen, stand up.”  I was like, oh, boy.  He said, “What did you guys do to have 5 baptisms in one weekend?   I said, “Well, we prayed really hard, we hoped for the best, and we left the rest to the Lord and we worked hard.”  We had a topic on faith, like on faith and desire, like how much we want something to make it happen.  There’s a quote by Boyd K. Packer I want to share with you [it might be this one]:

"There is another kind of faith, rare indeed. This is the kind of faith that causes things to happen. It is the kind of faith that is worthy and prepared and unyielding, and it calls forth things that otherwise would not be. It is the kind of faith that moves people. It is the kind of faith that sometimes moves things… It is a marvelous, even a transcendent, power, a power as real and as invisible as electricity. Directed and channeled, it has great effect."
[As he translated it]: There is another class of faith, even though difficult to find. It’s the class of faith that makes things happen.  Then by another manner things wouldn’t come to pass. It’s the kind of faith that inspires a person, inspires people.  It’s the class of faith that sometimes moves things, very few people have it.  It’s the class of faith you gain gradually.  It’s a marvelous power.  A power that is really real.  A power that is invisible, like electricity.  When it’s directed and moving, it’s effective.
Really, all I want you guys to know is that faith really does move mountains.  Really, faith is everything. I’m just mentioning this to you, but one Monday, I was reading Alma 32 and it just went “click”, and now I understand why the gospel is the gospel. I understand why the gospel is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I understand why Jesus Christ is the Atonement. I understand why the Plan of Salvation is what it is.  I want to write a book, but I don’t know where to start.  It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool to know that out of the 30 or 40 people there [at the Zone Conference], the president chose me to stand up and talk about faith and how it’s affected my mission.  Even though you guys aren’t missionaries, faith changes things.  As Boyd K. Packer said, there’s another kind of faith.  It’s not the faith in Jesus Christ, it’s the faith that makes things happen. It’s faith that makes things happen that by other ways it wouldn’t happen.  Just remember that. When you guys need something, have absolute faith that it will, and it will!  Always with the will of the Father.  I don’t know.  It’s something that has really affected me lately.  Before, I didn’t really get it.  Maria change my mission. Not because she’s chosen, but because I actually prayed.  I’ve always prayed, but I actually prayed. Really, I stayed on my knees I don’t know how long or for what, but I actually prayed and miracles have happened here.  Miracles have literally been happening here. That’s why I don’t want to leave here [Mendoza].  But, really, I just want you guys to know that I love you.  Faith took me here.  That’s why I want you to go on a mission, Garrett.  That’s why I want you to go, Riley. That’s why I want you, Brad, to teach your little kid what everything is.  I want you to keep studying.  I want you guys to raise your kid, be the best parents you can ever be.  Be better than mom and dad.  It’ll be hard.  They set the bar really high.  That’s what I’ve noticed out here.

The change in me is something real. It’s been interesting.   I feel it.  Every day, I have a headache. I wake up with a headache, I go to bed with a headache.  I don’t sleep very well.  It’s hard, it’s frustrating, people are frustrating, we walk a lot, our area is huge.  There’s something else out there that keeps you going. I can understand why the mission is the best two years. I love it.  It’s something I’m going to miss, to be completely honest.  It’s freaking me out that it’s going to end, only 7 months left.
Family picture from Conner's Skype point of view
There’s always something to get better at.  There’s always something more you can do. There’s always something more to work at.  It really takes a toll on your mind.  Especially when you have a lot of investigators.  Especially when they’re not coming to church.  When everything is just going bad. It’s crazy.  You really find out there’s something more.  You find out there’s something more to this.  I don’t even know how to describe it.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot.  It sucks the mission is coming to an end.  I’m working hard every day.  That’s all I can do.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t sleep. It doesn’t matter what happens. It doesn’t matter if I have a headache.  You determine what can happen that day.  That’s what I’ve learned. It’s something I think about.  The peoples’ lives that have been changed have changed my life. 
Love you all.