Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014 (Week 85)

March 31, 2014

I'm glad you were able to go to the temple. Man. If that's one of the only things I miss. I'd actually give up Mountain Dew to go to the temple. I'm gonna have to keep going weekly just to keep up with the same communication rate I've learned to love with God here on the mish.
That's good you still see faith in me! That's funny because I failed the Christ-like attribute test in Preach my Gospel, chapter 6 on patience and hope. Where there isn't patience, there isn't hope, and you can't have hope without faith, and if there is no faith, there won't be miracles. It's funny how all these things are connected, right? But anyway, I studied a
lot. Hebrews 6 11-19, Romans 5: 3-5 James 5:11. and 2 nefi 10:17 and Moroni 7. I did some extensive research and basically found out that like Job, and Abraham, the Lord is just trying my patience. Like it says in Hebrews, I have to endure in the patience until the hope is full, and then I'll have faith, and then with faith, miracles. We are under oath to baptize every week, sealed by presidente Treviño and Presidente Johnson (70) to Elder Oaks to baptize every week. I realllllly hope like Job and Abraham we have endured in the patience and I've learned what the Lord wanted me to learn so he can fulfill his promise he has sworn to give Hebreos 16 o 17.. and we can start baptizing. And like Job, he had to go through a trial of patience really long, but after, he was blessed in extreme. I really enjoy Sundays now. We go home right after church to pull out numbers from the zone and then we have to wait until the assistants call so I can pass on the numbers. It takes about 3 or 4 hours, extensive talking and such, but after, while I'm waiting, I use it to study for an hour or two. I've started to realize a lot of things...
Blanca was gonna get baptized, but her husband said no, but it's like I just said, a trial of the faith. But she's gonna get baptized this weekend, especially if she uses the Lord's help. Julio is super strong in the gospel, still weak in some areas, that he thinks more gospels written by tomas and stuff are found, but he is really strong. I'm really grateful the Lord reserved him for me and Anderson. Hes a good friend too. His grandma baked me the chocolate cake with the HUGE and only candle in the house haha. I love her. Grandmas are the best. they love anyone.
We had a few people in the church, and Gabriella and Luis the young couple are progressing. It was funny, as soon as I got done studying hope and patience, the thought came into my head telling me that they are gonna stop progressing, and that my talk I gave in church on baptism scared them, or they are not gonna want anything anymore... I thought to myself, is this true? or isn't it funny that it just barely came into my head, trying my patience haha. I said a prayer and forgot about it. The Lord can do miracles, so why should I worry? Man. I sure hope they get baptized. They are super cool people. Young, with two kids, but it seems like they have things figured out right at an early age. I pray that they can get baptized the 13 of April.
Another woman and her two kids came, Mirta and Alex su hijo. Another little miracle happened, and her mom, Inactive since little, that was going to go to puebla, stayed home so Mirta and Alex could go. She wants to have a good foundation for her kids. That was cool her mom stayed home and sacrificed that for her. Perla, the mom, wants to come back too, but is staying in the family business that only sells on and Saturday and Sunday for her daughter. They are training another woman so they can both come.
One cool moment, we entered a house where there was a sick aunt of the family on her last breaths. The family let us three in, and we asked if they would like us to give her a blessing. They said yes, so we entered the humble house of wood and a dirt floor to where the woman was. The whole extended family was there, and mainly catholics I think, but we gave her a blessing, then I asked if we could say a prayer before leaving. They agreed and we all kneeled down, about 25 of us, and I said a prayer blessing the house, the family, and the aunt. It was a really cool moment. It was the first time I've done something like that. I felt a little closer to Christ in that moment when he kneeled with the Nephites and prayed with them. Just something special in la mision.
Well, that ends this weeks epistle. It was a fast week, but a good week. Had a good time in Veracruz learning from Presidente and la Hermana Treviño as a LZ. I really do love that. I learn a lot.
My letter was a bit more organized this week haha

March 24, 2014 (Week 84)

March 24, 2014

mango, on a stick! with lime, chile, salsa, and gastritis!
Dear Family,
How have you all been this week? Im still down here in mexico. Miss me yet? No, don't answer that.
Elder Mortensen
jajaja no se crean. k pasa familia! k onda como stamos? [Good luck.  I can't make it out -- Dad]
Sorry, I got a little sun baked today...
Man. I'm gonna come home and read these things shaking my head about how mindless my letters are haha.
Well, in this epistol a la familia y amigos de Elder Mortensen muchas cosas han pasado [in this letter to the family and friends of Elder Mortensen many things have happened] . I should stop writing in Spanish now. Looks like my journal. You've gotta be bilingual to read the thing.
I have no clue how to start this email. I sure do crack myself up though. We have an 1.5 hours to write now, and I have no clue how to fill the time. As you can tell, I haven't a clue about muchas cosas [many things].
This week went a little better. We had 5 in church and a whole inactive family come! That was pretty cool. Going to start working with them a bit! There are 3 people still not baptized. Blanca, la tia de Julio, came, and we are gonna ya put a date for her baptism for this weekend. She wants to do it, and she wants her family to do it too. We challenged ourselves to teach her everything again this week so she will be really prepared for her baptism. Hoping and praying it all turns out good. Her daughter came too. We just gotta tell her to quit smoking. 20 años [years old] and smoking! que feo [ugly]. We almost got Carlos in the water. He lost his fotos and records in the church when they came down here to Mexico and isn't really even a member.. He was gonna get baptized this weekend before his mom left for playa del carmen otra vez, but the kid smoked. 18 years old, and the finals sure "got to him"... He is leaving in a week for Mexico (city) for 6 weeks, and good luck finding him and his mom together again. She only comes every 15 days. Bye Carlos!
Jairo and Carlo are playing "Where's Waldo" with the bad guys. It's pretty serious. They don't tell anyone where they are or they are gonna come and kill them. I sure hope they can get baptized one day... They called their friend Bardo, the member that presented us, and said they really wanted to get baptized. I hope they come back soon, if not, they will get baptized by someone else, but I want to be in the sealing! They were really cool. It's too bad he got caught up in this.
We found a few new people, and we have been sweating and walking/running up the famed hills of San Andres.
This Sunday we fasted to find out why we aren't having success or why we aren't really united. That really wasn't the problem, and we worked that out with talking, but the Lord helped me realize in a very hard way why he hasn't been blessing us with success, and now I understand a wholleeeee lot more. I read in Lucas 5 when Peter is fishing and can't catch anything, but then the LORD TELLS him what to do, and he caught so many he couldn't catch them all.. It was a moment of pure revelation, pure communication with God, but that doesn't mean it was a very joyful moment. He kind of let me know what I was doing wrong, and I realize my huge mistake. In my want and need for people to teach and baptisms to do, I forgot the Lord. I always prayed, and sometimes my prayers were really heartfelt, but I had forgotten Him in his work, and I was demanding blessings from His hands. Now, I was never rude or disrespectful, I just made the mistake of thinking that my faith and my pleas would be answered, because God is there to bless, and he wants baptisms, I want baptisms, He wants the salvation of his children and so do I! But I realized I never asked what he wanted. I was trying to make my will his, and it's a lesson learned I will never ever forget... 
Like Christ pleaded in the garden of Getsemani, Father, if thou wilt, pass from me this cup, but not my will be done, but Thine... Our prayers have to be like Christs. If we want something, we ask for it, but like James E. Talmadge says en Jesus the Christ, his will was ALWAYS VOLUNTARY. ALWAYS SECONDARY. Man...
I made the mistake of leaving him outside when I entered in a lesson and used my own knowledge of the scriptures and my own experience with different situations thinking I could do it... boy was I completely wrong. This IS the Lord's work. I'm preaching HIS gospel, and I have to do it HIS way. I learned a very important lesson, and I hope you all can learn from my mistake... 
I love you all. This is the true church. Christ suffered so much in the Garden of Getsemani so we can be with God. You and I will never understand the depths of His sacrifice, and His love for us. I love the scripture in D&C. They are righteous men, made PERFECT in the atonement of Christ. Are we forever in debt for what he did. I love my God. He is my Father. I love my Savior and Redeemer. Think about those words.. Savior. Redeemer. You all have homework to find everything you can on the two subjects and report back to me next week!
Christ loves you. His love for us in infinite, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 17, 2014 (Week 83)

March 17, 2014

Well, cant really say too much about Jairo, but let/s just say he inherited his fathers business. He's now running from the bad guys because he didn't pay. We haven't seen him all week, and president says not to go very much over there... That reallllllly blows. Pretty upset. This week we got the fun phone call from Presidente, Elder Gomez and Ashby are getting split up because they stopped working, Gomez my good ol buddy that's almost dead in 4 weeks is coming over here. We are the weirdest compañerismo haha.
Elder Parco is from Texas. Fort Worth. He's about half my size. His parents are from the Philipines, and doesn't talk much. He's pretty serious and is pretty direct, and when he exercises, he's a stretcher. Haha, that means, he stretches for 30 minutes. I love comps like that. It makes me laugh. He's a good guy and we have a little fun together, and he's really dedicated to put and meet goals and improve. That's all he does, and it works really well. He's really obedient and a good missionary, but we have to change a bit in our teaching styles. Completely different haha.
Well, I wish I had more to say. Nobody is coming to church. Even the straight gold we find has higher priorities than God or church. Satan just straight attacks everyone we find with their weakness... job, family, trip to Veracruz for the sick grandma. Whatever it is, they just aren't coming. We are gonna have a special training this Wednesday in Veracruz so I hope we can get some answers, because I'm confused. We are super obedient, and work really hard, and everything, but really, nothing is clicking. People just lose sight after a week or two. The parable of the sower really hits the spot.
Well, I love you all. I can't believe I just hit 19 months. That sucks. I wanted to extend but I don't think the Lord wants me to. I would have liked to, but oh well.
Hasta la proxima [until next time], Elder Mortensen

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 10, 2014 (Week 82)

March 10, 2014

Tarzan. Jane. Tarzan.

Haha. Finally got to swing from a vine. Funner than it looks. Fun videos, but too big to send. Another fun trip to Ruiz Cortinez with Jairo. He got mad Sunday and didn't want to go to church. That made me happy... He didn't even know why he was mad. This week was a pretty big disappointment. We worked soooo hard and found new people, put baptismal dates, and worked like dogs climbing up hill after hill to find people, and then Sunday came, and nobody came. Everyone started lying, or putting excuses, or like crabs in a cage, started bullying their family members so they wouldn't go to church... that always makes my day!! Well, we at least have a few more people in teaching. But the crappy part is now they are gonna have to wait another week to get baptized. I hate moving forward dates.
It was sad with Jose y Blanca. He's now going with the Catholic church. He gave up. There's no hope in his eyes. I told him he's in the Catholic church now because its easier. If they never get baptized it's not gonna go well for them. They have had so many witnesses and blessings... Their 16 year old convert son bore his testimony. He's the only active member in his family, and started tearing up and saying its hard going to church alone every week, "I went to an activity and everyone had their parents, and I was there alone. I've always wanted a familia eterna, but I don't have it. I've always wanted to baptize my mom and dad when I was 16, but now I see they are opting for another path, and I know and they know it's not the right one". He bore his testimony about the church and then ended. His dad I don't even think heard him. I hope he did, though... but I want us all to remember just how nice we have it. We enjoy the blessings of an eternal family and I think a whole lot of the time we don't even realize it, or are grateful for it. One of my tactics in a contact is to tell the people what their priest or judge says when you get married...Until death do you part. Have we thought about that? EVERY SINGLE PERSON that has ever lived, unless they accept, will never be with their family forever. It's something rather dramatic that I don't think we as members even realize... well, just think about the blessings we enjoy. Man. It's pretty crazy. We have work to do.
I love you all, you are in my prayers, and I know the Lord answers prayers. We just have to ask, wait, and listen for the answer. But it will come. Have a good week, take care of all the new chamakos [babies] in the family... haha. You all keep saying there is more, and I'm just saying I'm fine down here [without all the new nieces and nephews!].

Elder "Tarzan" Mortensen.

March 3, 2014 (Week 81)

March 2, 2014

Robin hood and little john runnin through the forest,... Don't know the rest... haha
Great show, and fits pretty well last Monday. We went running through the jungle and bouncing around in a truck to get to cola de caballo, y Posa Reyna [Waters of Mormon]. Pretty cool. I wanna go back already and swim haha.
This week, Julio got baptized! Man that was a cool baptism. Apart from being the only one this change, it was cool. When I first met him, he was apostate and said the Book of Mormon is a straight lie. The next time, he had read, prayed, and was completely changed haha. It was super cool. Gave up cigarettes, and alcohol. And when he was sitting down in his white clothes to get baptized I asked him if he was ready, and he said I've been ready for a long time. It was super cool to hear that from him. That's when you know someone is converted or not. When they look to the day of their baptism like it's the only thing they have ever wanted to do in life.
Jose y Blanca got pretty hard. She wants it sooo bad, but Jose has given up. It's sad. Its not all Joses fault. She hasn't come to church, and I straight up told them that's why you haven't been baptized, because you haven't made the sacrifice to come. Pretty sad, I guess we will be working less with them... we had 7 people in church this week. that was sooooo nice. Jairo and Carla came by themselves. They are starting to make it a habit and it will help them so much to get through this next period. I'm sure hoping they can get married here soon. We also found a woman looking for someone else, but she has been waiting for this gospel alllll her life. She knows it and I know she knows it. She came to church and the baptism and I know she's next. It was cool to see her face. Brought a young couple to church. I didn't see them too much, but Elder Anderson sat by them and said she is gonna get baptized. He knows it. Just the way they were in church makes it all. I reallly hope so. We've now been sworn before Elder Oaks that we are gonna baptized every week in April and henceforth.... welll. It's a promise! Gotta start working! Wasn't the best week for lessons or anything. Nobody was home or they were just straight jerks. One guy told me to stop bothering him when he was watching how the earth got made by the big bang hahaha. I'm sure he's catholic... Do you think God made the earth? THAT'S WHAT I'M WATCHING AND LEARNING. SHUT UP AND LEAVE! 
Well, my new compañero is...... Elder Parco, from Texas. AY AY AY!!! What do I need to learn from Americans?? His parents are from Korea I think, but it's cool. He's super humble and has been baptizing like 6 weeks straight. I'm excited to learn from him. Maybe my prayers have been answered. I guess we will find out! haha. It's sure been a wild ride with Elder Anderson. I'm glad we baptized once. 

Well, that sucks about BYU [not being accepted for Fall 2014]. Maybe the lord doesn't want me in his school hahahahaha. doesn't matter. I guess I'll find out what happens next. Alaska always did sound like more fun..
Love you all, hope you are all well, and mom don't break anything else!

Elder Mortensen

February 24, 2014 (Week 80)

February 24, 2014

You all have no idea how hard it is to write the letter home every week [in English]. It takes allll my brain power... I hope you can understand me! But we have been doing divisions with all the compañerismos en la zona. We are going to their areas and doing splits for a night. It's fun because you get out of the routine and can learn from someone else. I like being ZL for that. Lots of people to do divisions with.
This week has been pretty crazy too. Super duper fast... no me diga [don't tell me]. The headaches have gone away, but the after affects are still here. Man, the mission really takes its toll. Blessings though... back is crooked, hurts to breathe when to walk up hills, among other side affects, but I'm willing to do anything for the Lord. He's blessed me with so much, I've gotta give whatever I can to him. Time is running out... but still have a bit left :) Elder Anderson dies this week. freakkkkk.
We have been finding a few people lately, the redneck Jairo came to church with his wife and family alone and before most of the members. soooo cool! They are progressing, and they are wanting that eternal familia. They have friends that just got sealed did a 180 degree change in life and they want that too. He's so cool haha. Gonna get me a few skins from some giant squirrels hahahaha, but they are starting to get a testimony..
Julio is progressing really well. He is doing a whole lot of reading and he left behind cigarros and alcohol. Pretty cool. He's gonna be our miracle baptism for this change...
Jose y Blanca. man. They are going through soo much. The Lord has put them through the trial of faith, and I'm afraid their faith is failing them. He started drinking again,, and she's super sad. Man. The songs of a broken hearted mother. I don't have words for that. Keep them in your prayers. We are gonna keep working with them.
Remember, ask, and ye shall receive. Don't doubt that promise. I love the Lord and I love all of you. Enjoy the pictures of Salto de Eyipantla, next week. I hope to have photos of the famed Waters of Mormon. On that note, gotta go. Sorry it's been short, been "texting" Garrett and dad haha. Love you all.

Elder Mortensen.

February 17, 2014 (Week 79)

February 17, 2014

I'm so tired of shots in the butt. It doesn't even phase me...
"Drop your pants"
"Sharp point"
"Have a good day" 
[Brad told Conner they were expecting a little boy...]And I had hope for a better world with a little Shay, but a little Brad, man, I don't know.... hahahah no es cierto [it can't be true]. FELICIDADES!! [CONGRATULATIONS] I'm so stoked for you both. I think that's the funnest part of life. trying new things.  It's just that with parenting, you try it once and it's there for good hahaha. You'll be great papas [parents]. I've already decided I'm gonna speak pure Spanish to all the little ones so they obey me in a language you all don't understand hahahaha. Combinaciones secretas! [Secret Combinations] I'll be the best uncle there ever was. man. Thanks for the graphic images. Scarred for life....
Well.... This week I had 4 compañeros. Elder Anderson, Elder Lopez (Asistente), Elder Garcia, y Elder Madrid... haha. people were so confused. They thought Elder Anderson had already left but then another got there, and then I didn't go and then he didn't go, and man. we have no clue what's going on haha.
Divisiones with Elder Lopez were good. Taught me a few things and helped me with my teaching skills.  Man I don't know what it is with assistants but they loveeee putting their shoes in my hammock. I hate nothing more in this world. I think I'm gonna ban assistants from my hammock. We will see how that goes... Had to go to Veracruz to pick up my comp who worked in Veracruz for 2 hours the night before. 6 hours wasted for 2 hours of work. Makes a whole lot of sense to me haha... We almost got a couple married, but they couldn't get a dumb document from her little town, so they haven't gotten married. Real bummer because they marry people for free the 14 of Feb. Their testimony has gotten a lot stronger, and his job ends this week so they are gonna go to her little rancho to get married. I feel bad for them. Super poor. Gave a blessing to a man woman as well and we didn't feel good about it after... turns out the misioneras talked to him and he did a few deals with la santa muerte, or basically the devil. We have to go back tonight and rebuke whatever is inside of him because since he started talking to the misioneras, he's pretty close to dying. I'll let ya know how that goes.
Elder Garcia is really cool, he's Elder Boyds hijo [trainer]. Cool cat. He's gotta go home for medical problems. Got really bad disease from the humidity on his legs and other areas and it's really affecting his health. He's probably going home for a month this Friday and he will probably get changed to another mission after. The Lord has his way. Too bad though. He's a really good elder.
Elder Madrid y Rubio started butting heads so we did divisions Saturday to Sunday. Walked a ton through 3 pueblos. Pretty cool area. He's a cool kid. I've been in like 5 zones with him. He has 2 months left. Sunday we woke up and went back to San Andres.  Elder Merrill stayed the night, Elder Nelson has salmonelis again... poor guy. That really sucks. I don't think he's as bad as Elder Lehikain yet. And oh yeah, remember that crystal clear lake water from la laguna encantada? Yeah, Elder Madrid told me that the water in Cerro de las Iguanas comes from that lake. Drinking water because they are all poor. I had like 3 huge cups of koolaid water. Man I sure hope my stomach can handle that haha. Estomago de BURRRO [Stomach of a Donkey]!!!! hahaha

We found Julio. 25 years old, the first time we saw him he told us blatantly, I think the Book of Mormon is a lie. Now he has read it, loves it, and is gonna get baptized 2/3/14. We are hoping Jose y Blanca can get married too in her pueblo to get down in the waters of baptism that day too. We can only hope... faith and hope. The Zone is lacking a lot in those aspects. They don't have the urgency to find people. Man. We've gotta undergo some serious modifications. Only through prayer...
We brought Jairo and Carla to church. He's the biggest redneck I've ever seen in Mexico. I want to baptize them soooo bad haha. He always goes hunting iguanas or armadillos or somethin exotic in the jungle then comes back, works on his truck and drinks corona beers haha. I want this guy to get baptized. Redneck converts. He actually does have potential. We missed the sacrament because we had to go and help them realize why they had to come to church. Man I hate those Sundays. We got there just in time to see the door close and the prayer start. Man. I hate how that feels. It's the only important thing to do in the week anymore. Oh well.. another long week. As much as I hate how they close the doors and don't open them anymore I like it too. It teaches us about the 10 virgins. Are we really ready? Or will we be left out? Always something to think about...
Gotta go. Love you all. Otra vez, FELICIDADED [Again, Congratulations] BRAD Y SHAY!!!! I'm sooooo stoked for you two.
Elder Mortensen