Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 21, 2014 (Week 101)

July 21, 2014

Well... I officially got my flight plans. If that doesn't make life hard I don't know what will. But it's cool. I hardly think about home or dream about being lazy. Too busy here to think about that now. But the crappy part is, now I'm putting baptismal dates for the 24th. I'll be home. Oh well, They're not my converts, they are the Lords. Just gotta keep workin! Nice to say I had a small part in their conversion or at least I found them! That will still be a nice touch in heaven. "Hey! You found me! Thanks!" "Haha. De nada!" But I did walk through the soda aisle today in the grocery store and realized in 4 weeks Mountain Dew will be in that aisle... I almost cried. Hadn't thought about Mountain Dew for a bit. I was starting to become unaddicted! ni modos [it can't be helped].... haha.

this week we bat-proofed the (house) bat cave. It would have been cool, but he kept leaving half eaten fruit and other surprises. We had to kick him out. So now its just the cave. hahaha.

Also, we were able to help Kiany get to the waters of baptism. That was cool. Quite the struggle, but at the end, the family all came together and came to church. Lots of little problems, but the Lord fixed everything up real nice. Wayyyy better this Sunday than the last. Poor Aracely . It was one of the worst services. I really went hard on the ward mission leader this week, and we got everything ready fast and concise and it was a lot better! Boy does it feel good to be in the water. Baptisms are so powerful if they are done with the right attitude. There are too many people that just blow through the prayer and dunk the person and get dried off. Yo gotta be smooooth and tranquilo haha... But yeah, it was a pretty cool baptism. Well attended. 

This week, we have a miracle. He's Jose Luis, a friend of a member. He was gonna get baptized in Cancun, but was a little too rebellious, and needed some more repentance time. His 84 year old mother keeps him in check now... but she doesn't even know. She prohibits friendships with anyone that's not of the Catholic church. Pretty funny, a 55 year-old guy still scared of his mother hahaha. Riley, that's why you gotta move out... I'm seeing something similar in your future....  hahaha. He's there to take care of her though, so I guess it's not as bad. but still funny. I really hope he passes his interview this time. He's gold. He reads everything we give him and understands it. I've actually been able to use the scriptures with him! Man, some people if you read the whole verse they just zone out haha. Pretty funny how things change.

We did divisions with Elder Cerna this week. That was fun. He's a good missionary. Better than in Mendoza. It's cool to see him change in his teaching. He noticed I never use my triple. Just the simple Book of Mormon. I basically carried the triple in my hand in Mendoza. I told him of the sacrifice I made to be in Mendoza. Five months without tacos was a long time, haha, so we bought 20 and went home and ate. Man they are too good down here in Tuxtepec.

It's the famed Canicula (40 hottest days of the year). Not gonna lie, when I get home at night my black pants are white from so much sweat. It's pretty bad haha. I'm ready for the dry heat again! But we are workin hard.

We have had a few struggles with the families, at least with helping Heliberto get a testimony of the Libro de Mormon. He goes to a little church but wants to find the truth, and always prays to find the path... Just ask if the book is true!!! He came to church because I called him, He was about to go to his little church again. His pastor showed up early Sunday. Man. Satan can play chess just fine. Good thing God already knows what his moves are though haha. But man, that happens like 4 times a Sunday that someone shows up Sunday morning and says "YOU'RE not gonna go to church. I'm hungry, and  YOU'RE gonna make me food. or you're gonna go with them Mormons? I don't think so." But Heliberto came. My last hope for the mission is to baptize that family. I love them. They could get baptized the 17th... I'm hoping we can help them...

That's a funny story, and you might think that me saying I hope WE can help them would be focusing on my own strength, but really, it depends. I've been studying a lot on the Atonement and the way prophets have plead in the past for help. Just like it says in 2 nefi 2, there are things to act, and things to be acted upon. we have been given that ability to act. Why should we pray for God to act upon us? We should pray like Alma and Nefi, to be given the strength to ACT. Elder Bednar did a FANTASTIC job of teaching that principle in his talk in April. Man, I love that talk. So instead of praying relentlessly for God to change our situation, we should pray so he gives us the resources to act. God will very rarely do something for us we can do for ourselves, and that's what the atonement does, is it gives us the resources and strength and ability to act and change our circumstances. Really changes the way we pray...something to think about.

Well, I'll see you all the 20th. man. That's too close... 7:10. ay caray. 

See you all later.

Elder Mortensen.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014 (Week 100)

July 14, 2014

Week 100. Man. That ain't cool!

Time sure flies doesn't it? wow...

Well, not sure what to say. My mind is really busy right now, and I can't think of much, and it doesn't help I'll be seeing you guys soon haha. I'm only thinking, "why am I writing! I'll just tell them face to face here soon".. haha. but yeah. Highlights of the week, we found 2 familias! I'm sooo stoked. They didn't come Sunday but I have faith. I'd love to end the mission baptizing a family. or 2. or 3.... that'd be cool too :) anyways, we helped an inactive lady come back to church, by helping her move. Oh my goodness... her parents died 8 years ago and for 8 years she's collected everything. She's 24 and lives alone. No wonder she's inactive. She didn't even know where her scriptures were or have a place to kneel. The mission made me really appreciate a clean house and having few possessions. It's nicer that way. But yeah, she's a hoarder. It was bad. Lots of persuading haha. Thanks mom for teaching me so well :)

ARACELY GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!! She was sooooo happy. ay caray. I was so happy for her, to be completely honest. She's one of the best I've met or had the chance to teach. Sooo ready for the gospel, and immediately everyone noticed a huge change in her. She knew very well this was the only true church and even before she met us knew God had answered her prayers. May God bless her always. She's a miracle for me and an amazing example of endurance and faith. That's the thing. Usually the people I teach, teach me more than I teach them.... I'm so happy. We should start baptizing every week now. Finally got some seeds planted and growing! But even if I only baptized Aracely everything I've suffered or gone through would have been worth it. Man.... the joy you feel sometimes. I'm so stoked Garrrett is going out on the mission. You're not gonna regret it at all... everything just starts to make sense! We've been teaching and working, and I'm trying to help Elder Winsor to not stress out so much and just to be happy! There is a lot in life to be happy about. He's got fears of rejection, so now that we know the problem, I'm able to help. Thanks for all your advice, I really need it. It's like teaching a kid. Me and Elder Cerna were already a good compañerismo but I'm really actually training Elder Winsor. It's really like being a papa haha.

Oh yeah, Elder Cerna came down to Tuxtepec. He's now in my district. hahah. That's a cool blessing. I now have Jacob and Joseph, my two children born in the wilderness hahahaha or Nefi and Laman, Elder Winsor being Nefi and Elder Cerna being Laman, the cursed one with dark skin with a hatred for his brother hahahaha. Not true, but a funny way to look at it. We did divisions Sunday at night so I had my 2 kids with me. Pretty funny stuff!

Love you all. Working hard to come home honorably! And to be honest, if I can't finish this off good, why would God ever trust me again? I've gotta prove myself worthy of completing tasks to the 100% if I am to gain his trust. and after this life, the happiest people in the Spirit World are the ones who love to preach the gospel. Gotta develop that love a little bit more :) I see a few missions later on in my life, not sure why, but I just feel like I'll be blessed in that way.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 7, 2014 (Week 99)

July 7, 2014

If I had 4 pesos for each taco I've eaten, I'd be about even.

I'm actually losing weight. I don't know whats happening to me.. and I eat like 20 tacos every week. This last change of my life [transfer of my mission] I'm gonna be eating like 3 times a week hahaha. I love them. Ricky (a cool member from Tierra Blanca) is gonna bring me some of those Tacos Morin the next time he comes down. That'll be sweet haha.

This week, was pretty normal. The worst part about the mission now is that I'm just bored of it all. The zone classes, and the district classes, and the planning, It's all just monotone haha. but I'm still working really hard, don't get me wrong. Still waking up at 6:05 every morning, and running to the river and back, still studying, still walking fast, still eating tacos (real important rule, I'm 100% obedient to that one hahaha) at least 2x a week, and still going to bed at 10:30. woo. Working hard, Praying hard, and trying to endure to the end. Really sucks I just started my last change... That's hard not to think about, This last change flew by. wow.

We were gonna baptize, but her dad went out of town so she and her mom didn't come to church. ay caray. I don't know if we should baptize her. I don't know. That's the worst feeling. Her parents are supportive, but I don't think they are too keen to go to church. Oh well.. Aracely just barely started her 5 week mark, and is stoked for her baptism this Sunday. That's good. I'm happy for her. She smoked like 10 days ago, and everyone is freakin out, but I'm the only one who actually sees her. Her life is just bad. she's had a very hard life, and is just looking for something. She doesn't have an addiction, she needs the Holy Ghost. That's all. But nevertheless, we are making sure she's got that broken heart and contrite spirit. When she gets the chance to start over her life will completely change.

I'm not gonna lie, the mission is getting harder, not my mission, I'm talking about the mission work in general. Westhoff says the baptisms are down all over the world. President says that Satan is working 100% all day and all night with all of his demons as a team. All of them working for one goal, and that's why they are winning right now. We can't figure that one simple thing out. Working as a team. Members and missionaries all working in the work of salvation. It's frustrating sometimes. The members down here aren't too pumped to do missionary work. A small handful. But man, it's hard. Really fighting hard to get the ward moving. Something weird did happen yesterday... a scripture has been fulfilled in my life, but that's a story for the Book of Conner. (sorry dad, 6 weeks big guy) hahahaha.

Well, I'm not sure what else to write, I'm trying hard to help my companion. He freaks out over the money change here and doesn't buy or eat much. It's been kind of a brutal wake up call for him. Money, banks, shopping, laundry, writing. I don't think he got out much. I'm trying to help him little by little, but he is getting there. I hope he can start to get the hang of things. In my prayers I feel like I need to focus more on him, and less on the area. It makes sense, I'm supposed to be his trainer. It's actually really hard. But its a good trial for me to finish off the mission. I gotta be a better trainer and helping him to understand. He knows what's going on, but he is still lost. We will see how this goes this change! I've got a good feeling for it. The last is always the best right? Let's hope. 

Love you all,

Elder Mortensen

June 30, 2014 (Week 98)

June 30, 2014

"Well... yeah.  I testify to the truthfulness of my companions words. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Elder Winsor

Ok, well we are gonna keep talking about repentance, open your books to page..." - Me hahaha.

He always used to end every testimony in the name of Jesus Christ. It was funny. I didn't want to make him feel bad, so I told him just a few days ago. We all have our quirks when we start off, haha.

Well... I had one of the most interesting days of my mission Thursday. Can't give out all the details yet, but soon, The parts I can tell you is that we went to Veracruz to say bye to Presidente, That was weird. Adios Familia Treviño! I was gonna miss them until I found out that once he goes, he takes his rules with him. So Monday, before the new president puts out any rules, we are gonna play futbol and drink lots of coca cola, hahaha.

Another part was we saw the "death" videos of everyone going home in July. Man, I have like 2 friends left here.... everyone is leaving me! That's probably the worst part about dying. It kills me to write all my friends that have passed through to the other side of the veil haha...

I got a letter from Maria's family. Man. I was sooooo stoked. I got to call her on the sister misioneras phone for a few minutes :)

I saw Elder Cerna for the first time in 6 months. That was cool. Hijo Chamako Primogenito mio! [My firstborn kid] Ven pa aca! haha. My two hijos [Juniors]! Speaking of hijos, they met their grandfather, Elder Castañeda. He was at the temple working on it. That was interesting.... First time I've seen him in 18 months... I had to stay after for a while so I said bye to everyone and me and Elder Boyd and our two sons took off to Reforma. Boyd was in Laguna, the other side of Magisterio, so we went with converts to go eat. Naturally, I went with Aracely. Boy, was she surprised and happy to see me! That makes me feel good haha. We ate, and hung out for a little bit. Then she gave me a Mexico Jersey her husband bought for 60% or more off in the black market hahaha. that was soo cool of her, and Elder Winsor got to actually see what he only dreamed of seeing, but better than fotos. He got to go in to her house to take pictures [Huge Star Wars collection]. I really think that helped him a lot to get used to things here. Just a touch of normality was good for him. He loved it. I had fun haha. We took off and went to the Temple again to wait in the stake center to talk with a few people. Elder Castañeda ended work, and came over and we talked for quite a bit. That was interesting! but it was cool. He's pretty chill now.

We 8 went to the offices, me, Elder Boyd, and 2 other compañerismos to sleep the night. We had Little Caesers. Friday we woke up and finally got back to Tuxtepec at 12:30. 32 hour round trip. Man, long day. Got back worked, and worked, and worked some more. Ate tacos Saturday and drank a Mountain Dew to help get rid of the headache, but to no avail. Saturday night I didn't sleep much, and Sunday morning I woke up with the worst migraine of my life. I couldn't hardly move without it killing me. Got to church, stayed there for an hour, nothin. Got a shot, nothin. Even worse. I almost passed out actually... Pounding in my head... ay ay ay... after trying without success to sleep, I had to go to some clinic, another shot and a few pills. 5 hours later it took affect, and here I am, slight headache, taking pills, but here. They had to do a blood analysis, thought I might have typhoid or Salmonelosis. whew. quite the scare. I don't have anything but a nasty stomach infection. hmm. Cool beans. Sheesh. I know I have never been in prison like Paul or Peter, or never suffered like Aaron and his brothers, but that truth has not gone away. If you work hard, the Lord is gonna test you. So many trials and problems. I've never gotten so sick in all my life, and never so often... wow. Well, I'm a little better now. Just real grateful I don't have anything too bad.

Aracely is still going super strong! She's just waiting for her baptism. Man, that makes me happy :)

And Dad, I never did say anything for Fathers Day, I didn't even realize it was until people started telling me Monday and Tuesday they went to fiestas instead of church that I found out! Now it's a few weeks late, but still. Feliz Día del Padre! I've learned so much from you in these 21 years I've had, and I wouldn't trade your counsels or advice for anything, Even though everything helpful you've ever told me has always been "8 minutes later" I still appreciate it. You've been my model, and I'm happy to be a fraction of the man you are. Thank you for your example and for your time. I'm glad God gave me the chance to be born in your family.

Love, your son,


June 23, 2014 (Week 97)

June 23, 2014

Do chickens have large talons?...
Well, looks like i lost my checkbook, guess ill have to pay ya in change. - Napoleon Dynamite

Hahaha such a great classic. I felt like Napoleon Dynamite when I caught my chicken. They are gonna let me cut the head of one pretty soon here. Stay tuned for the foto hahaha. 

And I couldn't stop laughing at that quote from Shrek [Blue flower, red thorns. Blue flower, red thorns. Blue flower, red thorns. Man, this would be so much easier if I wasn't COLOR-BLIND! -- Donkey]. that show never gets old.

And the "salsa that bites" is great stuff. ay ay ay pica pica me pica! Poor guy. He's never tried Mexican salsa. He has no idea. By the way, I did the same thing Elder Castañeda did to me and Elder Boyd. Here, here's a chilpaya, they are small, y no pica [not hot] hahahaha. He ate it. Classic! I can't believe I got that chance haha. 

This week was pretty hard for us. We worked our butts off. Well, I'm working my gut off. Never really did have a butt to work off. But a gut sí. I'm relief society power walkin this little guy off little by little. You should try it dad!

But yeah. Nobody was home, or didn't WANT to be home. That sucked. We couldn't see like 4 families this week. Frustrating, and a lot of walking to try again at later hours. Time to pull out the bible stories of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price. They need to focus on the important things, and not so much the worldly commitments and things they have goin on.

Aracely is still going super strong, even though her life and family is still a mess. Her kids don't want to go to church for the "rules" but she says, because we didn't FOLLOW the rules, We are where and how we are! I'm so glad she gets it. The bishop almost "killed" [made them disinterested] like 3 of our investigators. Man. Sharing long boring bible stories or warning people they need to change doesn't strike much motivation to go to church. Not gonna be workin with him much more... that's always frustrating...  Beside that we found a few others who are really great. One of the which I think the bishop warned too bluntly. "I KNOW you've got sins. They are these these and these, and you need to REPENT, I'm always in my office at 5. You can come talk." OH BOY THAT'S GREAT! We had 5 in church this week, a few people are really progressing. That makes me happy.

I don't know what else to say. Elder Winsor went through culture shock this week when he tried to buy with pesos. The internet and shopping threw him over. Man. I had to teach all the lessons until Friday when I told him that I need my compañero. The spirit isn't present when there is only one person talking. We are working together so he talks more in the lessons, because the load is too big for one. I don't like teaching by myself anyway. Doesn't leave me time to listen or process or listen to the spirit. But now he's still pretty quiet, but knows what I want when I look at him in the lessons haha. Before he looked at me and said in English. "Wait, you want me to speak?" haha. uhhh yeah. He's sharing his testimony now. He needs to know he speaks better than he thinks. He just took to heart all the comments on how he doesn't speak much and now he doesn't talk. Ay ay. It's actually hard training an Americano. 

Mexico is playin right now in el mundial (World Cup) nobody listens to us when the World Cup is on haha. Quite the frustration and temptation! Gotta keep workin'.

Love you all. not much else to say. Going to Veracruz to say bye to presidente this week. That's too bad. Gonna miss la familia Treviño...

Elder Mortensen

June 16, 2014 (Week 96)

June 16, 2014

Well, let's get things straight here. Presidente wants my new hijo [Junior] to be a leader in the future. He just barely got here from the states haha. And is my second hijo in the mission. He has 2 weeks in the mission. Fresh greenie. haha. Poor kid. He's so frustrated. hahahaha. (I'm dying of laughter because I keep hitting the ñ and not the n hahahaha.) He's a good kid. Still in Narnia, but a good little 19 year old with white shirts. His name is Elder Winsor and he's fresh from Arizona. He speaks alright for his short time here, but conversation wise its not too fluent haha. It's been difficult for me to communicate myself, because I can't speak English to him. Which makes it even funnier for me, because I understand whatever nonsense or Spanglish he says hahaha. 
Other than that, I said bye, and got packed, and got on yet another ADO bus to good ol' Tuxtepec. It's the stake center for the Estaca Tuxtepec, I came here when I was in Carlos A. Carrillo, so I was somewhat familiar with it. Doesn't mean that it hasn't required a lot of work to familiarize myself with the huge area haha, but it's been a great test for me. Get to an area with white wash and an hijo. It's been a challenge. I'm pretty happy. We got here, and went with every little "seed" that bonilla [previous Elder??] left. I say "seed" because he hardly focused on baptizing (seeing that this change he's on his way out) and just focused on seeding. Great. haha. So we went to work, started teaching real lessons and inviting everyone we could to get baptized and putting dates. It was a great week for us and I know the Lord is happy with me for my work. That's really the trick to being happy. Gordon B. Hinckley said it thousands of times. If we wanna be happy, we should serve the Lord. Man, these last few months have been the happiest because I have hardly ever worried about me. I've literally forgotten about myself, and been 100% obediente, and now, I'm seeing blessings. I'm not tired, I still have more energy than before, and I'm really magnifying my calling. Presidente put an analogy out there about pure bred horses who give their last breath in the end. And that's me. I'm givin it my all. The weeks are few, the days are short, but I've gotta keep on goin. I know the Lord put me here for a reason, and I know I'm gonna be able to help a lot of his children reach baptism before the Lord sends me home.
We were studying in preach my gospel about finding people to teach, and the underlying message of predicad [preach] is that there are people that the Lord has prepared, and He wants us to find them. He will guide us to them or them to us, but we have to be spiritually prepared to see them, and the spirit so that they can "see us", if that makes sense. They can see me as a missionary of the Lord, or they can hear and see the Lord through me. There is a BIG difference. 
But especially there is a little story about a taxista [cabbie] in chapter 9 about how two missionaries contacted him, and he got converted etc. (President is good friends with him actually and he recorded a small video for us to see his testimony. Pretty cool.) But anyways, we took off Saturday morning to go see a taxista we contacted. He wasn't there, but his mom was waiting for us and let us in very quickly. She then started to explain her story. The house they are living in is abandoned. She and her 2 kids and daughter in law live in one room of the house with rats, and they don't have anything to eat. Water one day, and a roll of bread the next. Etc. Wow. Ok. She explained she is at rock bottom, and there is a wall between her and God she just can't climb over. She looks and tries and goes to a Christian church, but she just can't find her way out of the darkness. If that wasn't the coolest chance I've EVER had to testify about the gospel and the light of the truth I've ever had... I don't know what would be. Because the spirit was so strong. Through her tears she just said I've given up. We told her to never give up, and that the truth had been restored and the gospel was once again over the earth and the light had come once again, and we invited her to church. She accepted to come, get baptized, and to serve the Lord all her life. That's all. If the lord gives her the chance to serve, she will take it. I read in Mosiah 18 about the covenant of baptism and she said yes I'll do it. WOW.
If that didn't perfect my faith in that the Lord has been preparing people for me to teach I don't know what will. Because like Alma 32 says, my knowledge is perfect.
She came to church. and when she saw the other elders taking fotos of the person to be baptized, she said: when I get baptized I want fotos too.
CLARO QUE SI!!! wow. (of course)
That was a really, really cool experience. And to share the fun, the second counselor had given me the assignment to speak on Sunday about the theme: Do we know what we have? After that experience my testimony was pretty dang strong. I was able to tell the congregation about the darkness of the world and how our brothers and sisters still have no clue how to find their way out of the darkness... it was a really good discourse. I enjoyed it.
Man. what else... Inviting everyone to be baptized, workin hard...
Oh yeah. I'm gonna buy a hammock here from the local murderers and robbers in the prison... hahaha. They have nothing else to do so they make hammocks, and sell 'em for dirt cheap, and they are huuuge. All you gotta do is knock the prison gate, say you're here for a hamaka, and the officers come out with all the ones they have hahaha. I love Mexico.
The tacos here are $2.50 pesos here. Dirt cheap too. Needless to say, I've been eating a few.
Love you all, time is short. Gotta go. Pray for me. Much love.
Elder Mortensen, el Oaxakeño. 
(I'm no longer jarocho...)

Oaxakeño (people that live in Oaxaca)
Jarocho (Veracruzanos. o sea, the people that live in Veracruz)