Sunday, January 12, 2014

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.

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