Tuesday, September 9, 2014

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 piƱa 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

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