Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In the world, but not of the world, week 4

Hey guys,
so... In the world, but not of the world is the best way I can describe life here at the CCM. We got to go to the Temple visitors center today which was super cool. It was a bummer that the temple itself was closed, but we got a cool tour of the visitors center, and I bought a cool tie at the store :) Having been here for 4 weeks, and NEVER leaving... was a shock today, when we did leave outside the inner walls. Everything is so worldly out there in the real world.  The whole bus was singing himnos, and having a good time, but trying to keep the spirit at the same time. In our tour of the visitors center, there was an Hermana there who was from Santiago Chile. I told Brady, that It was so fun to listen to her spanish, because its easy to tell that it is NOT mexican spanish. Thats the only thing I have been exposed to here, but listening to her got me so excited to move to Chile already, and begin my new life as a pure Chilean. 

So let me try and remember all the things that happened this week, I feel like It was 2 days ago that I wrote you.... but I feel like 2 weeks have gone by. So many things happen here, and I know that I will not begin to be able to tell them all. We always have incredible devotionals Sunday, and Tuesday nights. Last tuesday I think, was Elder Richard G. Scott who talked about Prayer.... he talked about how Prayer is such an incredible divine gift, that is taken for granted far too often! We need to take time to sincerely pray to our Heavenly Father who desires to hear from us. Yes he already knows everything that happens in our life, and that ever will happen. But its different when we sincerely ask him for things, and truly open our heart to him, he blesses us so much!

Elder Bednar talked on Sunday about the Repentance. Again... The power of Repentance is Infinite (which means it applies to every single human being ever. And it also means that it applies to each of us, an infinite amount of times. No matter the transgression, no matter the trial, no matter how many times we make the same mistake, no matter how difficult times are, Christ is ALWAYS there ready to encircle us in the arms of his safety.) I love how powerful Elder Bednar is, and what a great message to share. I believe that Repentance, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the single most important message we could share with anyone...

Our Branch or Zone 5 here is dwindling... we had 6 districts I think when we first got here, now there are only 3. We are probably getting another one this week, but we are getting to be the veterans here now... Its crazy, because I feel like I still know hardly anything compared to what I need to know to be ready to go. But I have a firm knowledge, that Christ qualifies, whom he calls. I shared this with the district in a testimony meeting this week. Some Hermanas were having a hard time with the language, and I think a little discouraged. I testify that God does NOT give a commandment to anyone, save he prepare a way for them to accomplish it. I understand it is not a commandment for Sisters to serve missions... but for those that have chosen to serve. God has called them, which means he WILL qualify them! Heavenly Father multiplies us, when we give him our whole heart and effort. He can do things with us that we would never even dream possible. 

Just know that I am on the Lords errand, and there is no better place I could be right now than here... Everything good in my life, has come from God. He has blessed me with even the very air I breathe... and this is a small thing I can give back to him. Declaring the Gospel of Jesus Christ among his children. 

The church is true, I almost speak Spanish, and I am sick of mexican food. Thats about it for this week!  I love you all very much. Have a great week, and talk to you next P-Day :)

Love, Elder Hartvigsen

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lone Peak Missionaries: Jake Irving, Luke Yamada, Elder Dahl, Zach Frampton, Chase
Is is crazy to think that another week has come and gone. Lots of things happened this week, but at the same time I feel like they are all the same types of things that happen everyweek here. But anyways, This week was really great. Yesterday was Mexican día de Independencía. Its their equivalent of the 4th of Julyy... but like 10 times as crazy. On any given night here we joke that Mexico City NEVER sleeps, because of how loud it is outside. But last night was so dang loud you cant even imagine. Huge pipe bombs, and fireworks, and loud music and everything just blaring starting at about 11 pm, and they say they party all night. It was awesome, we enjoyed the fireworks. Mostly just hearing them, they don´t do a ton of huge aerial ones.

There were about 40 of us missionaries who got on the roof of one of the casas and we all just hung out up there for a while, have "roof offs" which are like rap battles, but with songs. haha it was legendary! I have pictures I will send you guys. So we have been practicing the Mexican himno nacional (national anthem) this whole week. Its pretty cool actually, you should look it up. But we sang it at the beginning of our morning classes and afternoon classes EVERY SINGLE DAY. It was cool in the beginning, but If I have to sing it one more time so help me...

But we had a pretty cool program last night, with all these dancers, and singers, and we thats where we sang the himno nacional. I took some videos of the show, that I know mom would appreciate, but I dont know if it will let me send them or not... if not, you can the pictures that I have. 

So by far, the most spiritual moment of the week for me, was our Sunday night devotional. Shawn Cates who is the Director of training at the CCM spoke to us. He is this super cool young American guy, from Utah who lives here with his wife Nadia and their 2 or 3 small children. I think he is like 34 or something... and he is a bishop in a ward right here in Mexico City, and he was such a powerful speaker. His talk was about "Staying on target, and not looking back!" It was just so inspirational, because as a missionary you need to give EVERYTHING you have, or else you are never going to be as successful as our Heavenly Father wants us to be, and knows we can be! 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "That which we persist becomes easier. Not because the nature of the thing itself changes, but because our power to do so has increased." One of the shortest verses in all scripture is Luke 17:32 "Remember Lott´s wife." Which actually has a TON of meaning behind it. You all remember the story of this woman, that turned around to look back toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and was turned into a pillar of salt. I don´t believe she simply turned and looked back, but rather she had a desire to return, and longed for the past after she had been commanded not to do so. 

He related this to missionary work, (but I also believe it can apply to EVERY ONE OF US) by saying "Don´t let our attachment to the past outweigh our confidence in the future. The past is to be learned from, not lived in."  He also accounted the story of when the Pharisees tempted Christ by asking him if they should pay tribute or taxes to Caesar. I love how the Savior perceives their hypocrasy and holds up a coin and asks whose imagine, and name is inscribed on the coin. He is probably referencing this back to the Old Testament (which these people were probably experts on) because it talks about having no "graven image" before you, also how we are made in the "image" of god. Anyways... they answer and say Caesar. Then Christ tells them to "Render that which is Caesars, to Caesar. And Render that which is God´s to God."

This is such a POWER STATEMENT. Because if we are made in the Image of god, we belong to God in a sense. That means we must render our WHOLE SELVES to him. I really took that to heart, and that is my goal to give my whole self to my Father in Heaven, and his son Jesus Christ whose work this is. The savior is such a powerful example in every aspect of life. But especially in the way he teaches others. He teaches by asking questions, and I love how he shuts down all these people who tempt him, and try to "catch him in his words."

Anyways, this was an awesome devotional to be in, and I really felt the spirit. I really really encourage all of you to make it a habit to study the scriptures daily. Not just read... but STUDY. I am probably coming across hypocritcal because I wasnt the best at that before my mission, hahaha But I can already clearly see the knowledge, spirit, personal revelation, blessings, spiritual protection, and comfort that come from reading the word of God.

Not much else has really happened here, because its basically the same schedule with studying and teaching all day. haha, but I am sure getting excited to get out in the field and move to CHILE already :) Have a great week, and remember the source of our blessings. In fact, remember the source of every good thing that ever happens to us. That source is our Loving Heavenly Father.

Love, Elder Hartvigsen

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mexico CCM week 2

Earthquake safe zone

So It feels like about 3 weeks ago that I wrote you guys last.  time is such a strange thing here, because We have 16 hours days 7 days a week of straight gospel, and teaching! Its awesome how we can do that, but its pretty exhausting. So you know how I told you guys about Carlos who were were teaching last week. He is now our teacher in the evenings, and we still have the same teacher for the mornings. We actually found out his name isn't even Carlos... that was just for the investigator thing,  Its actually Francisco Peréz or Hermano Peréz. He is such a cool guy, I love having him as our teacher. Plus he totally looks like David Archuleta. I will snag a picture with him and probably send it next week!

So this week has just been more of last week, so I am trying to think of news things to tell you. One thing I have loved doing is in all my personal study time, I have been reading Matthew in the New Testament. My goal is to real Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and The Acts before I leave the CCM. They are the most incredibly powerful accounts of the Saviors earthly ministry. I am almost done with Matthew, and I love learning about the Saviors life. Because my goal, and everyone else's goal as well should be to pattern their life after Jesus Christ. He is the way, and only in and through him can we be saved. He is also the perfect example for us to emulate. As a district we challenged each other to pick a Christlike attribute from Preach My Gospel chapter 6 that we want to improve on, and work on that all week and re-evaluate ourselves on it next week. I still need to pick my attribute, but I will let you know how that goes.

Oh yeah, we did get a ton of rain last week. maybe only 2 or 3 days it rained...but here in Mexico, when it rains... it pours!  and the workers are using brooms to push all the water down the concrete gutters on the side of the road so it doesn't all pile up and flood! I absolutely love all the latino workers, and missionaries here. They are just so kind to everyone. They always give you the time day to say Hi and ask about you and everything. Plus all the maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, janitors, all ride bikes around the 90 acre CCM to get from place to place. And they are always like ¿hola, hola Elderes. Buenos días?  every time without fail. I just find it funny.

Okay... so I am missing American Football hard core right now!!! We found out the score of the BYU v. Texas game at about half time, it was like 6 to 0. We were so happy we were winning... and we didn't find out the outcome until Sunday morning. There were like 20 missionaries in the bathroom and someone came and told us the outcome. I guess you could say there was much rejoicing among us!!!  Taysom is such an athlete, and I hope he continues to play well.

Dad one interesting thing I wanted to share with you was that in Matthew 10:16 Jesus tells his apostles to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Sort of an odd thing to ask... but  After learned so much about Ammon, and how he was said to have been Wise and Harmless I just found it interesting to put them together and the correlation between the two. Anyways... just something I found. I am still trying to learn exactly the meaning of it. 

I do love, how you can learn so much from the scriptures, especially when you pray and ask Heavenly Father to specifically teach you something in the scriptures that day by the power of the power of the Holy Ghost. We don´t learn spiritual things in a physical way. We learn them only through the Spirit. Christ told  Peter that flesh and bone had not revealed it unto him... but that his Father, or the Spirit had. (Something to that effect)

I am really enjoying my time here, and really working hard! Thanks so much for all the love back home, and especially Dad your always uplifting messages :)

Love, Elder Hartvigsen

Mexico CCM Week 1

Hello family!
I literally have so much to say, because this week has not felt like 6 days. not even close. I am convinced I have been in the CCM for at least 3 weeks. So the first day was a super long day of flying, but the layover in Atlanta was actually pretty peaceful. Most of the other missionaries slept, but I got to just study my scriptures for like 3 hours, and you NEVER have time to do that here in the mission. I read all about Ammon and his experience with King Lamoni and stuff, I will share later in the email something super cool that I learned by the spirit earlier this morning from these chapters.

So once we landed in the Mexico City airport, we went through customs and everything and got our bags. And you remember that kid Elder Hepworth who we talked on facebook before the mission right. Anyways, apparently he did some temple challenge before he left and went to like 7 temples in 6 days and did work for all these family names and emailed his story into the church. So now they are making a mormon message about him.  so they had a crew meet him down in Mexico to film him get off the plane, and start his MTC experience and stuff. So they pulled a couple of us aside, like 5 missionaries (me included) and filmed us with our bags at the airport and so i'm going to be on a mormon message maybe.  It should come out sometime this year! So that was kind of funny, also the first day here they filmed him go everywhere in the MTC and it was kind of weird for everyone. But i think he EMBRACED the attention. 

But after the airport was a 1 hour if not more bus ride to the CCM. And driving through those streets reminded me exactly of PERU. It was really a de-ja-vu. But once you get inside the walls of the CCM you are in a completely different world. "living in the world, but not of the world" is the biggest understatement every! haha I love it though. You can hear sirens, city alarms, fire trucks, and fireworks, all night everything here. Especially as it gets closer to Mexican Independance day. (Sep 15)

umm... the food hear is actually fairly decent. But i am sick of mexican food at all meals of the day! haha they have cereal which i usually eat for breakfast, and oh Mom, you remember that jugo de piña juice they had in peru? Yes they have that + tons of other amazing fruit juices that I literally have 2 glasses of at every single meal! haha. Tonight is pizza night though, and we are having costco pizza which is seriously a tender mercy! haha Can't wait!!

So we got here, and I got assigned a companion. Elder Robertson from Riverton Utah. He is a great guy. super meek, and humble, and reminds me a lot of Jantzen actually. He even looks like him too! haha I will send some pictures in a bit. But the first day we had so many meetings, and orientation stuff, it was the longest day ever. luckily they let us end our day at about 7 pm, and we all went to bed at like 8 or 8:30 we were so tired from hardly sleeping the night before.

So we met with our branch president on Thursday. Presidente De Hoyos. (He is the Mexican Larry Laycock by the way) just the most jolly, friendly, large, and loving person you can imagine. He always has a huge smile on his face! So he met with our whole district (8 elders and 4 hermanas) and called me to be the District Leader! So I am in charge of the salvation of these 12 missioneros.  just kidding, but It is a lot of responsibility actually. Mostly just extra meetings and tasks I have to do. But I really enjoy it. But more importantly i understand that you can be a leader whether you having a calling to do so or not! I do feel like the whole district looks up to me, not because of any title I hold or anything... but because I try hard to show love, and reach out to every one of them on a one on one basis. And We all get along very well!!!! This one Elder I am getting to become good friends with is just so funny... his name is none other than Elder Cherry! :) haha ok Dad, picture someone who looks exactly like Zane Medenhall, but is about 1/3 his size, and has a thick southern accent. From a tiny town near Panama City Beach Flordia. haha he is great though! i will send pics!!!

Okay, so we have been teaching the lessons to this guy named Carlos. He is a member of the church here in Mexico and volunteers at the CCM. I think he is actually going to become our teacher later on though, anyways my comp and I have taught him 3 lessons already. the first was like 15 min. second was like 20 min, and third was like 30 min. in all SPANISH! It was nuts. they throw us right into the grove of things and expect us to work hard enough, and have the spirit to teach! Elder Robertson took 4 years of french in school, so doesnt speak spanish, So i talk the whole lessons. WE have planned things to read like scriptures and pamphlets, but whenever carlos has questions i answer them all, and respond, and ask the questions too!  He is really playing the role of a TOUGH investigator. for the other companionships I really feel like he isn't as hard on them. I honestly think its because my spanish is actually pretty good, that he feels the need to play devils advocate a little harder on us?  I don't know... i could just be imagining things! 

Sunday we had church here, but it didn't feel too different than other days. We had Priesthood in English, and Sacrament meeting in spanish. They ask every missionary to write a 5 minute talk every single week for church, because after the sacrament they select like 5 or 6 missionaries to speak, and you have to be prepared. There are like 40 or 50 missionaries in our branch. I didnt get called this week, but probably soon! 

It is seriously so nice to have P day today, because we have all been looking forward so much to this, its amazing to have a day of rest after such a hard week! I can EASILY understand why the savior needed a day of rest, and a hallowed day after he created the world! haha So mom, I have seen Elder Lewis (LaDawn Mason's brother) down here like every day, he is a great kid and its fun to see elders I know. like connor copeland, caden cluff, zach frampton, luke yamada, etc.

Im sure there are lots of things I am forgetting to tell you, but thats how it goes when you are as busy as a missionary. But I do want to share something really cool I learned in the scriptures today:
I found it really interesting how Ammon had such an INCREDIBLE experience teaching King Lamoni and converting all these Lamanites, while his Brother Aaron also a missionary... wasn't blessed with success (in the beginning). He was sent to an incredibly hard hearted and stiff necked people. He and his brethren were ultimately left naked and hungry in prison. They were only rescued because Ammon had followed the spirit and convinced Lamoni to come with him and help free his Brethren. He then had to Deliver their lives out of the hands of King Lamoni's father who tried to kill them... but The Lord always blesses those who are faithful and keep his commandments. After Aaron and his brethren were rescued from prison, they IMMEDIATELY followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost and began to preach in all the synagogues of the Amalekites (Alma 21:16-17) The Lord blessed them with much success in bringing souls to the knowledge of the truth.

I don't know why some missionaries have incredibly hard or "unsuccessful" missions, while others seem to have everything going right. But I testify that one reason this story is in the Book of Mormon is to show us that if we turn back to God and follow the spirit, even after something extremely difficult and discouraging, we WILL be blessed. God may allow us to struggle for a time, but since he is nuestro amado padre celestial (loving heavenly father) we can allow this struggle to be but a benefit for us... because Heavenly Father will NEVER abandon us! I feel like the spirit really pointed this out to me, and you should definiately read this account for yourself too :)

Dad, I love studying about Ammon, and its so sweet to remember President Butlers words (really God's blessing to me) but I hope you all have a great week, and I hope this was enough detail for mom ;)  I do enjoy sharing all that i have learned though! I love you so much, and I do pray for you ever night (always in spanish of course) haha But I will send some pictures now, and will catch up with you next week! Hasta Luego

con amor, Elder Hartvigsen

Farewell Elder Hartvigsen