Monday, December 22, 2014

Dec. 22, 2014 Feliz Navidadeery!

Hey guys!! So some things that happened last week are as follow: ... first off, last monday felt awfully weird shopping in the electronics department. Because my companion had to buy a laptop for college because he goes home next week. And its crazy all the electronic stuff (laptops, tablets, etc.) are WAYYYY cheaper here than in the US, and apparently in Argentina too! And I did finally end up buying some pants that fit me mom... and I didn't realize it, but I bought 2 pairs of dry clean only pants...  what a burden!  so who knows how thats gonna work, I just gotta freaking lose weight ;)

Yesterday at church, there is this really cute 12 year old boy with down syndrome in the ward named Alisandro. He got to pass the sacrament the first time with the help of my companion. Of course his mom and sister were crying because they were really happy for him to have the opportunity to do it! And while passing he kept looking back at his mom with the biggest smile you can imagine... and giving her thumbs up every couple of minutes! :)  it was so sweet! Also my comp and I went to the hospital to give our Bishop the sacrament. He has like a rock in his intestine or something...  thats what everyone has explained to me, I really don't know but he is actually pretty sick. So we went to visit him, and this is like the 4th time we have been to this hospital either giving blessings to people, or administering the sacrament. Of course I love being able to go serve people there... but not gonna lie, the hospital here creeps me out! Its definitely not like one in the US, there are 8 people to each room, and every so often this lady comes into the room with a cart and like gives shots to everyone, and changes their little IV bags, and I don't know why... it just kind of creeps me out being there.  maybe because it brings my memories back to all my awful procedures this past summer :/

And something funny was yesterday hitchiking back from an appointment... My companion always sticks his thumb out to catch a ride from people, its nice because we don't have to wait for the bus or pay either...  but it works!! But yesterday this one pretty small car stopped to pick us up, and there were already 2 rather large individuals in the back seat and I was thinking to myself there is no way we are fitting back there! haha but low and behold, all 4 of us SQUEEZED in! I ended up with half my bum on my companions lap, and the other half on this strange, very large, old mans lap! And with my head crammed up against the roof of the car. hahah I couldnt help but just chuckle to myself this whole event that was transpiring :)

We had a Christmas program this week, where us 4 missionaries sang 2 primary songs, and My comp played the guitar, Elder Ospina the Ukulele, and Elder Jensen the piano... and I sang! haha not kidding! Elder Ospina and I sang, (I still don't know how they got me to do it) no it wasn't too bad actually... we just didn't have microphones and no one could really hear us, but it was a good activity there were quite a few non members there too :)

Dad... you asked me a while back "What missionary work smells like"?  well let me tell you, If you`re in Tumbes... it can only smell like a couple things. Seaweed, fish, or crab. haha literally everyone has huge tarps of seaweed laying out in the street! I think they are drying it to use later, and it just reeks! I do not like the smell of sea food of any kind! Also we taught one lesson to a couple ladies who were working to crack crab legs and pull the meat out for their restaurant. They had little hammers smashing the crabs, and removing the meat while we talked. Every so often I would get a squirt of crab juice in my eye, or on my shirt! hahaha

And now something cool I learned from the scriptures :)
I encourage EVERYONE to read in Preach My Gospel page 105 the box that gives all the scriptures that the Book of Mormon prophets give their reasons for writing their records. Seriously its so interesting!!! Nephi talks about how he doesn't really know why he was commanded to keep this record, he just obeys! And Mormon, Alma, and Nephi all talk about how its being written "For a Wise purpose in the Lord" and its so cool to think about the Lord preparing all these people so many years ago to keep this record all for the purpose that it could benefit those of future generations and give convinving evidence of the Savior Jesus Christ! Seriously guys these passages are worth studying! I testify of the Book of Mormon as well. It truly is the word of God! I hope we are not taking for granted this incredible gift that our father in Heaven has given us!

FEAST upon the words of Christ! For they truly will tell you ALL THINGS that you should do! I absolutely love the Book of Mormon! And I am studying all the conference talks which are so incredible! STUDY THOSE TOO!!!!

The wisdom and knowledge we attain here in earth is really only one of the few things we take with us into the next life! Dont miss out on opportunities to learn from the scriptures :) Love you guys! have a great week!

yrreM samtsirhC :)
Elder Hartvigsen

Dec. 15 I don't think I will be having a white Christmas

Hey guys!! How goes it? ;) Things are good here. The weather is great, and If I`m lucky... I might even be sunburned this Christmas :)  Its fun to have 2 summers in a row, and weird at the same time to see Christmas decorations when its blazing hot out. We had to go get my visa taken care of this morning, because the police have been hunting me down for the last 2 months... because I don't want to be an illegal alien here... but now I`m finally LEGAL! So I can relax a little bit :) 

 I hope you guys had a good week! Mom... since you said I usually say "nothing new happened this week", I have begun writing down little things during the week that I think are funny or that I think you guys would want to here... and so here are those from this past week :)
Yeah, remember the Woman we are teaching with 4 (3 or 4 year old) girls at the house... (2 of her daughers, and 2 of her nieces) yeah... they are still CRAZY during the lessons.  They take our agendas every time, and draw all over them, and we kind of just let it happen to try to keep them quite and have a LITTLE bit of the spirit here... also they have this dog named Pancho. Poor little thing...  because there is this one little girl that is so naughty, that literally abuses Pancho :(  This little girl grabs pancho by the tail and pulls him around the floor, while he is kind of nipping at her. And she backs him into the corner and kicks him too! its bewildering!!! 

Oh, and its super common for the houses to be blasting music too! Some people can't afford a TV... but they always have MASSIVE speakers, and they blare music! But one house we talked by was playing Rascall Flatts...  which is super uncommon to here country music here. Oh, my heart ached for some good country music though! Rascall Flatts "What hurts the most" just made me think of Me, Mitch, and Trev, jamming out to country tunes :) ahh... good times!

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Public Transportation in South America... let me try to paint you a picture of what the city buses are like. Every time I ride in them, I feel like I am in Harry Potter 3 in that magical double decker bus, that the crazy old guy drives at night through the muggle streets. He is traveling basically at "Light Speed" while the people are all just calm sleeping on the bus, and stuff and he zooms in and out of lanes, and around cars, pedestrians, and other obstacles in the road. And constantly slamming on the brakes to stop and pick people up, and usually doesn't even fully stop for people to get off. Its not uncommon for him, to just keep rolling slowly and you just kind of jump out at your stop!  seriously, its a fun experience :)

I think here in Chile, you get to just choose whatever number you want your house to be too... seriously, NONE of the house numbers make sense. You will be walking down a street that the numbers are like 56, 58, and then jump to 263, 265, and then back to the 100`s or something.  They never make sense. I just laugh most of the time, but we can never find what number the house is we are looking for.... and I think people give us fake numbers a lot of the time too. They don't want to say no to you, so they just give you a fake number. Its a problem here...

And last but not least, remember Hermana Berta (the lady who gives us MOUNTAINS of food)??? yeah, she is really sweet and all... and reminds me of Grandma Jessie actually. 1 because she looks a lot like her, and 2 because whenever we go to visit her and her less active family... we walk in and sit down, and then she leaves the room without saying anything... and comes back with Juice and cookies, or soda and crackers, she is like Grandma always having sweets around the house, and INSISTS on us eating them :)  well those are some thoughts from this week, Hope you guys enjoy your last week of school before the break! Everyone here has finished up school, and is on summer break!

Love you guys!
Elder Hartvigsen :) 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dec 8, 2014 I'm getting fat!

Movie day with Elder Robertson on P-day

My favorite member here! She made us a cake!

The movie: Finding Faith in Christ

Hey guys!!
So... I have an addiction. And its called "Chilean bread"!  Im not even kidding... the bread here is amazing! But I am gaining tons of weight. All my pants are too small mom, its a dilemma! But I am going on weight watchers this week, and working to slim down my figure :)  I think I am growing too... because the pants are shorter than I think they were when they left, and all this walking all day every day, up and down massive hills is making my thighs 
bigger too!  no worries... I`ll figure things out ;)

So... what just over 2 weeks until Christmas right? I bet you guys are excited!!! Me too. Especially to skype you guys! Should be great! I hope all is well with you guys, do you guys have much snow there yet? Its really really nice weather here. Super hot somedays, but for the most part really nice!

So apparently today is some Catholic holiday (it seems like they happen pretty frequently down here) And so we had to go to Concepcion to do my visa stuff, but didnt realize that ABSOLUTELY EVERY business is closed! It was weird because there was literally NO ONE in the city, it was so quiet, so we had to come back here to Talcahuano. So this week... Things are pretty normal,  And all our investigators seem to be progressing, but end up either not coming to church (which means they cant progress, because the baptismal date gets set back every week they don't come) or have some major obstacle to overcome before they can be baptized. Like for example Katy and Fernando are like 20 and 23 ish... and He is a member, but she isnt. And is really progressing, and wants to get baptized, and his super excited and everything... but they are living together. And they want to get married and all, but are just a little unsure. So nothings gonna happen until that happens first! 

For Elder Catròns birthday a member lady in Tumbes had us over for lunch, and bought a big cake and everything! It was great! I will send pictures :) Also, we are having a big conference December 23 with the whole mission!!! We are having it in Chillan. Which is a couple hours away, and Im super excited for that!

So... even though things are pretty tough here, and nothing is guaranteed, and I can't see the blessings of my work, and don't really feel like I am of any use yet here... there are 2 things that I CAN CONTROL. And that is my OBEDIENCE, and my TRUST IN THE LORD. I am trying my hardest to be exactly obedient, and trust in the Lord with ALL MY HEART. Pray to him with all my being, during the good times and the bad times... He will bless me, and ultimately magnify me, because I can't do any of this by myself! I am learning to accept his timing, and his ways as well.

To quote Isaiah:
¶For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your waysmy wayssaith the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are myways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts
 Anyways, I love you guys, and enjoy your last week or two of school before the vacation!!!
Chao :) Elder Hartvigsen

Dad, thanks so much! I LOVED this letter. I am going to print it off right now, so I can re read it later. Those lessons you learned are super powerful! I love your ability to relate situations of life to things in the gospel. That actually have a correlation too!   know that I really appreciate your letters, and your prayers as well! I love the part of the Book of Mormon where Alma is struct dumb, after being visited by the angel. The angel directly tells hims that he came to convince him of the Power of God, and to get him to stop destroying the church SO THAT THE PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL WOULD BE ANSWERED!! (his father especially) I love thinking of that. The prayers of the faithful can truly work miracles! No matter what the circumstances are. Thanks for you support dad, I thank my Father in Heaven every day with all my love I can muster up from my heart, that I have such a great family! And all the countless blessings I have because of his hand :)

Love, Elder Hartvigsen (Son of Darren and Amy, and also of the Most High God)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dec. 1, 2014 Its already December?

Hey guys, I cant believe its already December! Christmas is just a few short weeks away :) Not like its going to be any different for me, than any other day ;)  But this week, we did a service project where we replaced the Bishop's roof! I was exhausted at the end of the day, because we worked for 4 hours stripping off the old metal roof, and putting the new one on. Then we went out and worked like normal until 9:30pm

Oh and I had an interview with President Arrington on Tuesday. During Christmas time, he has an interview with every missionary, and so we went to his house in Concepcion. Literally... he lives in the nicest place ever!! Easily the nicest building I have entered in my entire time being in the mission. haha. Their apartment is super duper nice, and they have an awesome view too, anyway it was fun to go there. I had to teach him (during the interview) the Atonement for 5 minutes. Just like he were an investigator, so we did it in Spanish obviously. He said I did great, even though I didn't feel too good about it afterward!  He said my spanish was very good, but I just didn't feel like I taught very well. I mean, its easy to get carried away and just "teach lessons, not people" which in reality, it needs to be the opposite! so I kind of felt like I just taught a leson, rather than find his need and help him!

Yeah, it was just a role play, but I need LOTS of practice before I am going to be good at really asking the person questions, to find their need and apply the gospel to them! Because if they don't see how this certain principle of the gospel applies to them specifically... they really aren't going to care! But its ok. I know I'm not a good teacher yet, I need LOTS more practice! :)

 Not much happened this week, Thanksgiving... doesn't exist here, but I bet you guys had a great time! Oh one funny, yet rather absurd thing that happened yesterday was this: We were outside of the church waiting for 
the meeting to start, and while people were arriving. There were these 2 stray dogs that started mating right there on the church steps, and remember the old guy in the ward that looks like the guy from Emperors new Groove, (that threw off the Emperors Groove)? haha yeah he was bewildered by this sight, and ran over and kicked the dogs, and chased them down off of the church property. And was throwing rocks at them until they left. He was yelling at them like saying "You bad examples!!! Not here you stupid dogs!!" hahaha it was rather absurd... yet kind of hilarious!

Anyways... thats what happened this week, I am enjoying this P day with Elder Robertson here in Talcahuano, because our companions went to Tumbes to do the same hike we already did. We didn't want to go , so we stayed here. Its actually really nice to get a break, having a nice relaxed day without being pressured and rushed from place to place :) 

Love you guys, nos vemos
Un Abrazo,
Elder Hartvigsen

Nov. 24, 2014 Happy Thanksgiving!

Really... this week was awfully slow, and uneventful.... We were supposed to have a baptism on Saturday for Michael, but after his Baptismal interview friday afternoon with the District Leader. It became apparent that he clearly couldn't be baptized.  It was a bummer... because first my companion and I had taught all the lessons and commandments clearly, and asked him if he had any problems and he said no. And so really we did all that we could do. But it turns out that he can't accept and live ALL of God´s commandments. Its sad because he believes everything we told him is true. And he says he wants to keep coming to church and participate, and read the scriptures and everything, just without being baptized. So... I guess we will just have to see with him!  

Church attendance was super poor (I think mostly because it was raining and lots of people have to walk a long way to get to church) None of our Investigators or less actives came... so it was a little disappointing. But all I can say, is we are ready to get back to work this week. My companion seems super stressed. I think its because he goes home in 5 weeks... and wants to feel like has made a difference in this ward before he leaves! But if we try our absolute hardest and are obedient. Then we are being successful... numbers dont matter a bit. And I know that :)

On saturday we had a karaoke night with the ward.  Only like 20 people came but it was pretty fun. All the songs were spanish, except they had "Happy" by Pharrel Williams... which they had me sing because yeah, I speak English! haha it was actually a fun activity to just enjoy being with some ward members and have some fun. As much as I HATE singing... and in public! it was actually pretty fun!

Like I said... not much happened this week, Love you guys! Have a good Thanksgiving! 
Chao Chao

Elder Hartvigsen

Thanks for your words dad! Yeah there really isn't a better way to be spending Thanksgiving than on the mission is there? I feel that since I have been out here I have just felt so much more grateful for everything in my life that Heavenly Father has given me. My prayers are far more sincere, and heartfelt, and longer here! My relationship with my Father in Heaven is really improving, and we are becoming closer and closer every day! That is one of the biggest blessings I have seen thus far out here :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014 My first baptism coming up

Hey everyone!!
So we were just barely in the office, because its transfer day, and my comp has a ton of friends going home, and so we had to go say good bye to all of them. I finished my first cambio (or transfer) and I only have like 16 left!!! ... But one of the Elders from Draper had his whole family there at the office, because they came to pick him up, like we did for Brady. Man that reminded me of going to Peru to get  brady... that was sure fun! 

So I am half way done with the time I have with Elder Catròn. He leaves next cambio which is like December 30th. Which is actually pretty crazy, I will get a new companion then... obviously, and Im not sure if I will stay here in Talcahuano, or get transfered? No one knows yet. But I did have a good week here. We had the conference for new missionaries in Concepcion Wednesday and Thursday. We had classes in the morning on like "The role of the Book of Mormon in Conversion", Finding people, asking inspired questions... stuff like that. And we had Papa Johns pizza the first day, and subway the next day! Those lunches were GREAT! But after the classes we had a mini cambio, so I went to Tomè with Elder Hancock from Mesa AZ. It was cool, he is a zone leader there. And his comp is Elder Noe (cornerback for BYU) We spent the afternoon teaching his investigators, and everything in his area. He has been out 21 months,  It gave me a lot of confidence in how much my spanish has improved, also being with all the other NEW missionaries like me, helped me see my progress. Im not comparing myself to them, but just stepping away from my latino companion, and being with other newbies like me was fun! 

And then literally the minute I got home from that mini cambio, I left on another one! Just to another part of Talcahuano, with this guy Elder (Mitch) Hollandsworth! He is a living breathing bore, just like Cordner! haha no... he is HUGE though! anyways, that was fun too. It was good to get back to my apartment though, after those 3 days!

so... we had 97 at church yesterday!!! We should be in the 100`s pretty soon ;) The ward is making awesome progress. It is seriously so rewarding rescuing less actives, and slowly but surely bringing them back to church! I can already see a change in so many of them. Especially those that are overcoming addictions, and starting to live the commandments again... I can see the light of Christ and the spirit shining brighter in them! its AWESOME! This one guy mauricio, is smoking a little bit less every single day, (which is the goal for now obviously before he quits forever) but after we had a lesson with him in the afternoon a couple days ago. We talked about how reading the scriptures will help him, and I think he just got a lot of hope from that visit. He shared super personal feelings and experiences, as well as my companion did with him. It was pretty intense, and after the visit (like 30 minutes later, the sun had almost gone down and it had gotten a little darker outside) but after the prayer he was like... "Is it brighter outside? Literally everything looks lighter?" I knew exactly what he was feeling! no it wasnt literally brigher outside... the sun was almost down, but I have felt those EXACT feelings, when I have made changes in my life, and started to turn (or repent) and come back to the Savior. EVERYTHING looks and feels just brighter! Its the best feeling ever. Its great to be able to help people feel this, especially since I have experienced it before, and know the joy of it!

so... im still struggling with the language, and especially teaching! One thing that I want to be able to do (just like how my companion does it so well) is know the doctrine SO WELL, that I will be able to apply it to any need anyone has! Thats the goal of missionary work I think, is to find how the gospel of Jesus Christ solves EVERY problem. Because it truly does! anyways... we read in the scriptures how Alma, and the sons of Mosiah 1. Searched the Scriptures DILIGENTLY and 2. gave themselves to much PRAYER and FASTING. So I fasted on saturday, and I am going to make a greater effort to fast and pray more earnestly, and more frequently along with a deeper study of the gospel, to ultimatley be able to teach with the power and authority that these stellar missionaries of the Book of Mormon did! Thats my goal for the next little while... 

oh, and I`m pretty excited... because I get to baptize Michael this Saturday!!! :) 

Love Elder Hartvigsen

November 10, 2014 Keeping up with my companion

Hey guys, so another week, with not much more new news... The biggest news is that you know that guy Michael that we are teaching, he is so humble and has read every single pamphlet and reading assignment we gave him. He is really interested, and always has super genuine and great questions for us. He is preparing to be baptized on the 22 of Nov. Please pray for him, that he keeps progressing and is ready then! He is super interested in family history too. We taught about the temple, and that after he gets baptized he can go to Santiago immediately to the temple, and be baptized for his ancesters. He was like "Are you serious?? I Want to do that!!!" :) anyways... he is super cool. 

And we have this other guy Abram who has the same baptismal date. He knows tons of doctrine of the gospel already, and is pretty prepared...  He doesn't have a cell phone, and is almost never home... but comes to church and I just hope he wants to go through with the baptism. Obviously he needs to develop a testimony... thats the most important part! He is Evangelical, and you can definately tell when he prays! haha Evangelicals are so emotional and like hopped up during their prayers. We taught this one old lady a couple of days ago... that I was literally scared during her prayer. It was frightening... and unlike anything I had ever heard. I was saying the closing prayer right???? And half way through she starts like under her breath saying things like "hmmm amen! Praise the Lord, Thank you God!"  haha yeah like this.... But then she began to raise her voice, and start shouting a prayer, and my companion and I looked at eachother and I finished the prayer. She kept going and going and she was kind of wailing, and crying at the same time... and like praising God and shouting it was super weird. We felt so uncomfortable. haha anyways.... This isnt utah anymore ;)

So one thing that stunk this week, was Thursday. I got SUPER sick thursday, I have no idea why... but the whole morning I was feeling super crappy, and after lunch we came home and I threw up and we stayed home Thursday afternoon. And I was just throwing up the whole time, with bad diarreah too. And all of Thursday night I was up sick with a super upset stomache, and stuff... But it was only one really bad day. I feel fine now! ha, I think it may have been these empanadas that this lady gave us? They were just empanadas with cheese in them... But it was like9:30 at night and I had a whole bunch of them. My comp thinks it was these, because I just wasn't used to that type of food? Who knows...?

umm, I have a new missionary conference in Concepcion on Wednesday. I am actually super excited for this! because I get to see all the missionaries in my district from the CCM that are in different parts of the mission, I havent seen these guys in over a month... and it should be fun to reunite and have a 2 day conference in Conce. I am trying to think of things that happened this week, that I can share. Oh yeah, one funny thing is just this guy in our ward. He is pretty old, and really short, and super funny! I literally can`t understand anything he says... and he is missing most of his teeth, and the teeth he does have are kind of sharp and pointing in all sorts of directions. Also he is SUPER SUPER wrinkly, but always has the biggest smile on his face. I dont even know his name... but he reminds me of the Old guy on Emperors New Groove... you know the guy that walks with the cane, and the hunchback, that gets thrown out of Cuscos palace, because he threw off the emporers groove? hahaha yes this guy! Anyways, he is just funny because is always telling me things, and I have no idea what he is saying. He gave me this opened bag of mints too last week, haha. I just love seeing how different people are, and how many children god has! Its incredible! I am really appreciating meeting all sorts of people, and finding the good in them too! Because "el valor de las almas es gran a la vista de Dios". (The worth of souls is great in the sight of god.) D&C 18:10.

Not much happened this week, just trying to keep up with my companion like normal ;) Well I love you guys... pray for the people here! And keep praying both Individually and as Families. This is something we tell EVERYONE!! especially the less actives. Because its the devil that teaches a man he shouldnt pray. The spirit teaches us to pray! Pray always!!! :) haha seriously... I fully belive that the power of prayer, is incredible, and infinite! Pray always, and read the scriptures continually! :) Love you guys!

Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014 One month here! A P-day in Tumbes

Hey guys! so the reason Im writing this late, is because we went to Tumbes for P-day, and just got back to Talcahuano. We went and took tons of pictures and walked all along the coast! I will send some pics, but I seriously took a bunch of awesome ones! I am going to love having these when I get back :)

Some awesome things happened this week. First one was last monday evening. We had an appointment up on this way high hill far away that we normally would have taken the bus to get there, but for some reason decided to walk... after walking the whole way we were close to the top of the hill, and walking on a dirt path along the road we saw 10 feet or so off in the bushes this guy crouched down in the bushes and in the dirt just bawling. He was crying and had his face in his hands. My first reaction, was surprised and a little hesitant, but we walked off the path over into the bushes where he was and started talking to him. Like saying Are you okay man? And trying to find out what was wrong. While he was crying he started to tell us that his 2 days before that, his wife (who was 7 months pregnant with twins) both the babies had died. This guys name is Juan Pablo. He is only 24 years old, and his wife about to have their first 2 children... they both died. He was clearly in the lowest of lows. My heart just broke for this man, I wanted to just sit down next to him and cry with him. It was heartbreaking. He is just this poor young college kid whose world I imagine seems to have just come crashing down. 

Well, we told him who we are, and that God had put us in his path, because there were NOT MANY reasons that we would be walking this way at this time. We gave him a pamflet of the Plan of Salvation, and told him to read this, because it would tell him how he would be able to see his twin babies, and life with them again. That they were not lost. We just testified, and got his address so we could meet with him a couple days later. WHAT A MIRACLE! I had complete compassion for this man, but in a way... there was part of me that rejoiced a little, because I knew or at least hoped that this man would be sufficiently humble to accept this message that I know HE NEEDS. Well turns out we wrote down the wrong address and could not find him the next day. After a few days we saw him walking down the street he said he lived on. We just wrote the wrong house number. He said he read the pamflet and really wanted us to come back and teach him. Everytime we go back, he is either busy or we are on our way to another appointment, we have not been able to meet with him yet, but I hope that when we do, everything goes well! :) This was a way cool experience though.

We find people every once and a while that are in the lowest points of their lives, and I do rejoice because I know that our message is what they need. Chist is ALWAYS the answer. We have found a few more people to teach and its awesome when we do. This guy Michael is 20 years old and really seems interested in our message, and has the 22 of Nov as his baptismal date. He even came to church yesterday with his less active mom :)  but for now we are still hoping he progresses and will be prepared to be baptized.

Church yesterday was great. We had 90 people in sacrament meeting!! That is more than double normal! The bishop, and everyone else were stunned how many people were there, and they were so pleased :) I am really starting to see huge growth in this ward. We had 2 investigators, and 10 less actives come. (all in addition to the other less actives we found last week.) With 4 missionaries working in this ward, I think its going to really benefit the members here. Our goal is to keep finding less actives and investigators and get the ward attendance into the 100`s. I totally think we can do it!!!

Well I hope you guys had a good Halloween weekend. On halloween it was apparently some huge Evangelical holiday here too. So most of the stores were closed, and there was hardly ANYONE home or in the streets. P.S. mom I hope you had a GREAT birthday!!! In honor of you we had a pancake party ;) haha we really did make pancakes that night! :)

Those are the highlights of the week! I will answer everyone`s individual emails back too... dont worry! Pray for the members here, and that we can keep finding less actives and strengthen the church here! :) Love you guys!!

Elder Hartvigsen

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 27, 2014 Its beginning to look a lot like summer....

Hey guys, so in a matter of 2 weeks... it has completely changed seasons here! When I first got here, it was pretty cold and windy and we wore sweaters all the time and a coat sometimes. Its getting super hot here though now. I would way rather be hot than cold though :)  I am already starting to get a GNARLY watch tan line, that after this summer is going to be an eagilzer, I will send a pic don't worry ;) Its great weather here though, even though we still have these massive hills to climb everyday and we get so sweaty. Luckily I have clean clothes to change into... because for the last 18 days I have not had clean clothes.  Okay well it had been 18 days since I washed my clothes in the CCM before we had the chance to wash them here. I was here for over 2 weeks before my companion finally thought we could find some time to drop the clothes off at Hermana Lagos´s house who washes our clothes. And we dropped them off monday and didn`t get them back until friday. And I only kept 1 white shirt and 2 pairs of underwear and 1 pair of socks, because I didnt think it was going to take 5 days to get the clothes back!!!! So I wore the same white shirt the same socks and 2 pairs of garments for 5 days.  Disgusting I know! I had to keep washing one pair of underwear in the shower each day and hang them up to try to wear for the next day, and keep alternating pairs. Its a blessing to have clean clothes now :)

So my companion and I have had the opportunity to give a few priesthood blessing lately. I always do the annointing, and he does the blessing. The first time I did it in English. But now I have started doing it in Spanish. I have the words memorized, and thats not the hard part. The hardest part is remembering the person´s FULL name for the blessing. Because EVERYONE here has 4 names. And its not like easy American names I am used to. Its like crazy hispanic names that I have the hardest time memorizing even just to say it ONCE! haha its great though. Speaking of Priesthood Blessings... (I guess there is a first time for everything right???) because this less active lady in Tumbes asked us if we could give her boat a Priesthood blessing. We were like, well we don't really do that... but we can say a prayer with you for the boat! Because her husband and son were going on a fishing trip and the boat had some problems with it. And this is a super small fishing town, that everyone depends on their boat for their income. because almost everyone is a fisherman there! So we walked out along the pier where the boat was docked, and offered a prayer that Heavenly Father would calm the weather for them that week, and that the boat would work properly according to their faith. And everyone was safe and the boat worked great she said.

Well my trainer Elder Catròn is super experienced and I know that there is a TON I can learn from him, and that I am here for a certain reason... but one thing that I have mixed feelings about are our role play (or practices) each morning.  These are super helpful because we can practice the lesson we are going to teach for that day, but I am always the one teaching him because obviously I need the practice. He pretends like he is some person with a specific need that I need to find and teach the lesson according to his need. He gets so "into the role" and I try my best to find out about his family situation, and work, and religious background, and stuff like that to find the need. After I struggle with the language and try to teach him something... he usually says after the practice, "okay, now why did that lesson suck so bad?" haha I`m like... well let me see maybe it was because I don`t speak spanish, and I can never find your need because he plays the hardest investigator EVER!!!  I feel so hopeless most mornings when we do this, but he tells me what I need to do better, and we repeat this about 3 times until we get it right, or he doesn't want to keep seeing me fail anymore, I'm not sure!  Its pretty frustrating, but the things is that I KNOW having him as my trainer I am going to learn some AWESOME lessons, and I am going to be a far better teacher because of it in the long run. He is a great companion. He just doesn`t have that much patience for when I ask a lot of questions, or have him repeat things because I don't catch them the first time. But its not that bad, my ability to teach, understand, and speak is improving every day!

We had Stake Conference this weekend. Saturday night was the adult session, and there were no more than like 50 or 60 people there. They just talked about like the statistics and numbers of members and less actives, and baptisms and everything in their stake. 2 hours meetings are hard to sit through normally... and when you can hardly understand them, its even worse!  And the sunday session the first speaker talked about scouting for 30 minutus, and the second speaker talked about Relief Society stuff for 30 minutes, then the Mission President and Stake President spoke. I can really understand almost every word that the mission President says, so I understand A TON of spanish, its just that these dang Chileans speak so freaking different! Sister Arrington spoke (in english) and gave a story of where her sister was in Africa for a humanitarian project. They were in a respiratory clinic thing and 3 ladies came in who were right about to deliver their babies. Apparently all of the doctors had left for the day or something, and they told her that if she had any medical training what so ever she was the most qualified for the job. She thought that surely someone else was more qualified, or that someone else would do it. But no one else could, it had to be her. She had a little training, but never on how to deliver a baby. She was so scared, and prayed to Heavenly Father that lives were at stake if she didnt do anything. She told him that she did not know how to do this, but knew that he did! She prayed for guidance and help to do it. She was guided and delivered all these babies healthy and safe. 

She related this experience to missionary work for MEMBERS. That it seams most of the time that we are not the most qualified to share the gospel with someone, or that SOMEONE ELSE WILL DO IT! ... but it has to be us! "Every member a missionary" We need to all get involved in the work of salvation, not just members. Anyway I really liked her talk. Also last night we had this program thing for members who came, and were all supposed to bring non member friends. It was a singing program, where all the missionaries in the Talcahuano Norte, and Sur zones sang and other people in the stake sang, and we passed out pamflets and pass along cards to people after. It was a fun program to be a part of. Well... I am really enjoying it down here, Its obviously SUPER DUPER HARD some times, and SUPER DUPER REWARDING at other times :)

One really neat thing I learned in the scriptures today, was reading in Alma 7:11-13 I have read these versed about the Atonement many many times, but learned something new this week. Not once in there does it mention our sins that Christ suffered for. It only talks about the temptations, the pains, the sicknesses, afflictions, infirmities, etc. And this that he would know how to succor his people according to the flesh. What I realized was that none of these things he suffered for were NECESSARY for us to be able to return back to Heavenly Father´s presence. Only the suffering for our sins was necessary, so why did he suffer for everything else as well? Yes to know how to succor his people. Because when you know EXACTLY how someone feels, you can help them PERFECTLY. But also... it all goes back to the Character of Christ! Turning OUTWARD, not INWARD! I love that message that Elder Bednar spoke on in the MTC. 
And like Neal A. Maxwell said, "There would have been no Atoning sacrifice, without the Character of Christ." I testify that Jesus Christ is our savior, and our redeemer. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Only in and through him can we be saved. Only in and through him can we be healed of our spiritual wounds. I love him so much, and I love learning of him through the scriptures, and the Holy Ghost of course.

Elder Bednar taught we should learn OF Christ, not only ABOUT him. That is what I am trying to do. Because I know by understanding more about Christ, this will make me a far better teacher, and missionary! well... another week has passed, I hope everyone is doing well back home. I am doing great, but just keep praying for the members here in Talcahuano, and all over the world! I Love you guys! Until next week :)

-Elder Hartvigsen

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 20, 2014 I still can't speak Spanish, week 2 in Chile

So another week has come and gone. Some days seem SO LONG, but the week seems to go by quick. So we dont have that many investigators to teach, but we are really working with the members and teaching lots of less actives.

We are working in one area called Tumbes, this tiny little fishing town outside of Talcahuano, and we found Fernando who is less active and was actually baptized a few years ago by  good friend of Elder Catròns from Argentina. CRAZY,  but we had lots of lessons with less actives that we challenged them to come to church and just hoped and prayed they would read the chapter in the Book of Mormon that we assigned them, and come to church.

Yesterday we went to go pick up Milta (investigator) for church, we walked about 20 minutes up this huge hill called Buena Vista (like half of Suncrest probably) to get her, and she said she had company and couldn't come anymore... we were kind of bummed and while we were walking to the church this big white van stopped and opened their sliding door like in the movies, and we saw the Bishop in the back with a family of 4 who we taught who were all less actives. They gave us a ride to church, and at church we saw that SEVEN of the less actives were there.... so we were seriouisly so happy! It was pay day for that week! There were like 55 or 60 people in sacrament meeting. like 20 more than last week. I sat next to a less active who came, she is a smoker...  but she was at church (smelling like smoke of course) so I tried not to let it bother me, and it didn't because I was so happy she was there with her son and grandson.

Sitting there in sacrament meeting...  a scripture came to my mind Luke 15:7 you guys should READ IT. It talks about the joy in heaven when one sinner repents! WOW. I just really felt that joy seeing these people make the first big step in returning back to church and the gospel. IT was a happy day!

So.... I think it was friday, we had lunch at Hermana Berta`s house. She is a legend in this area for making a HUGE AMOUNT of food. and its really rude and inappropriate to leave any food on your plate. because they dish up the food and give it to you, and you basically have to eat it all. Her food was delicious, but the most gargantuen proportions you can imagine. We were all in pain after the meal, and it was hard to get it all down. Elder Ospina couldn't finish his ice cream, and I think she was kind of irritated.  It's weird because I don't know how they think we can eat all that food, but its funny anyways.

Uh, we had zone conference last monday and it was great! Also my comp and I did a role play one morning,... and he just made up the role of an investigator and their needs, and the need was someone who was less active but didn't want to come to church because they felt rejected and that people were judging them from things they had done.... NOT EVEN JOKING, later that evening we taught Mauricio.... who is in the EXACT same situation. It's crazy, we were able to help him and we practiced the same thing that morning. The spirit can really inspire even your role play practices. He came to church with his son, and participated in class and the discussions... and I think had a good time! (His mom was the smoker next to me)

My comp spoke in church, and gave an analogy of the movie Lion King to our lives... we are Simba, and Mufasa is Heavenly Father. He gave his life as a sacrifice in the movie (or his son Jesus Christ) and Scar is Satan, and we have to overcome Satan and eventually achieve all that our father has (or be king). It sounds silly... but I think it was a great analogy... especially for the less actives coming back to church.

So, overall it was a great week. Hard?... YES. Long?... YES. Overwelming at times?.... YES but was it all worth it to see 7 people come back to church?....YES!!!

Doctrine and Covenants 18 The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. I cannot stress this enough, I have learned this and felt this so much being here... where every person is equal in the sight of God. He favors the righteous... but loves everyone the same! This is my testimony, that God lives. and we are his children. I also testify of prayer, what an incredible gift it is to talk with our Father in Heaven whenever we want. dont take it for granted! TELL HIM EVERYTHING THATS GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE. HE CARES AND WANTS US TO TALK WITH HIM :)

Our goal by the time we leave this sector... is just simple, that we leave it better than we found it! Whether that is bringing less actives back, retaining the members, or baptizing more people (we need to do all of that actully) as missionaries... we really just need to build up the church where ever we go. "How great is our calling!"

Until next week everyone... I love you all, and you are all in my prayers. Please pray for the members of the church all around the world, and for the missionary work to progress :)

Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014 My first area. Talcahuano, Conce, Chile with my trainer Elder Lucas Catron

HELLO my beloved brethren (and mom) :) I hope everyone is doing well. I am sitting in an internet cafe thing in Concepciòn Chile right now. I have been assigned to work in the city of Talcahuano. Its about a 30 minute bus ride from Conce. It is such a cool city seriously! Its right next to the ocean, which kind of looks like a lake because we are on the edge of this huge bay that opens into the Pacific Ocean. Our apartment is on the second floor and has an ocean view!  sweet right? 

So when I wrote you last I was in the mission office in Conce (concepciòn) and we were having training meetings and stuff. I met with President Arrington, and he is super cool. Then we had the assignment of our areas and companions. My trainer is Elder Lucas Catròn. He is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He looks like a gringo, but is a latin.  He speaks pretty good english although he has a thick accent its kind of funny. His english is hard to understand sometimes... and dont even get me started on his Spanish! He is 20 years old, and this is his last 12 weeks of his mission. He goes home at the end of December. Literally everyone has told me what an awesome trainer and missionary  he is. Elder Kauer (one of the couple missionaries here) kept telling me that Elder Catròn is literally THE BEST they have in this mission! IT doesnt get any better! haha I am seriously so honored to have a veteran companion who is one of the hardest workers in the mission! I know that there will be GREAT things I can learn from Elder Catròn, and that the Lord has me working with him and in this certain area for very specific reasons. I obviously dont know them now... but I have great Trust in the mission presidents ability to receive revelation for me and him, and put us where the Lord wants us! Sister Arrington told me that I better be prepared to WORK HARD, because thats what my trainer does. And we have been working way hard these last few days!!!

so... the first thing I learned this week, is that Chileans DO NOT speak spanish. Im not even kidding... I could understand all the mexicans in the CCM pretty well, but chileans speak WAY differently than they do. Talk about culture shock! They dont say the letter s really. Its CRAZY! and that sounds simple enough but no. haha luckily my comp speaks english pretty well, but he did most of the talking the first day. But after that I was forced to say thing, and just do my best! So we live in an apartment with 4 elders. Elder Ospina from Colombia, Elder Jensen from Texas, and us. 

Our schedule is up at 7, exercise, shower, study until about 11 ish, and out the door working at 11:30 or noon. we just street contact, and knock doors trying to find people to teach for a couple hours until lunch at 1:30. ANd thats the only meal of the day we eat. yeah I know CRAZY! we usually have a banana or a small bowl of cereal (something tiny) for breakfast and then we eat a HUGE lunch every day at a members. Its a massive meal seriously. They usually consist of a salad plate or bowl of soup to start. Then a big main course of rice or meat, or casserole, or really anything. And then after that a big dessert! And they always have coke or juice for us too. After we eat we go back home and have language study for an hour and a half, and then get back to work from 4 to 9:30 pm. That is the longest part of the day! Because since we are opening this area (meaning neither me or my companion have been here before, we are both knew here) which makes it even harder too. So we did not know any of the members, and we had to basically start from scratch trying to find people to teach. 

so... Elder Catròn walks freaking fast and doesnt stop working for anything! haha he just goes and goes and goes. Its awesome because I know that I am being trained well, but its awfully exhausting. Mostly because this sector has so many hills! I dont know if you can see a topography map on google earth or something but its crazy how much we walk and how much of it are on the super steep hills. Remember those super narrow steep streets in Cusco? yeah its just like that... but STEEPER!  My legs are going to be HUGE by the time I finish in this area. 

So after we email we are going to get my first cumpleto (huge hot dog with tomatoes and guacamole and stuff for those of you who dont know) I am way excited. I hear they are legendary :) haha

So at church yesterday there were only about 40 people in the whole ward. It seems more like a branch. But the bishop is really nice, and they had the 3 new missionaries to the aresa (not elder jensen) introduce and bare our testimonies in sacrament meeting. A couple ladies in the congregation were asking me where I learned spanish, and if one of my parents were latin or something because they said I talked so fluently.  I think they were just being nice... but I do feel like I am going to pick the language up quickly! Its obviously going to be hard the first few months, but I think I will be blessed to pick it up quickly because I need to in order to teach more effectively and fulfill my purpose. Find, Teach, and Baptize.

There are hundreds of stray dogs here in the streets, and everyone here is either Catholic, Evangelist, or maybe baptist. Its frustrating because most people say they respect all religions and believe in god and christ but are not going to change religions. We try our best to teach them that they need to be baptized by the right authority and everything, but its tough. We have talked to hundreds and hundreds of people in just like 5 days of working, and very few have listened and allowed us to teach them. We have taught maybe 9 or 10 lessons, and of all those people we have scheduled a follow up visit, and invited them to come to church. They all agreed, but NO ONE came to church yesterday and they are always gone when we show up for the second visit. Its kind of frusterating... But I am not letting it get me down. Thats what life is going to be like, tons of people that dont want to listen, or are not commited, we just have to find the ones that are. Heavenly Father has children here that are erneastly seeking to find the truth, and we just have to pray for the spirit to guide us to them! I love this work. Yes it is super difficult and physically demanding, but the greatest things in life dont come easy right?? :)

I am doing great, and Im sure there are things I have forgotten to tell you... but hopefully you can get a good idea of how the first week went! Ask whatever questions you have or anything and I will write you back next monday! I love all of you and thanks for your prayers and everything! I know I will be blessed to EVENTUALLY understand these people and be able to accomplish all that heavenly father has in store for me! 

Love you All! ... until next week :)

Elder Hartvigsen