Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 30, 2015 My new area Chiguayante

Along the Bio Bio river
Our view out our windows.  Our apartments are the same

Our new trio. Me with Elders Garcia on the right and Ribiero in the middle

Look who I saw at the hospital!!!  Luke Yamada from Alpine!!!

Hey everyone, so first off... its been a great week here in Chiguayante! I really like the sector, and the ward! The best thing is that it is "puro planito" here. Meaning there are no hills!!!  :) Umm, I actually really like the trio that I am in, and have found it to be WAY better than I first imagined it might turn out. Elder Garcia is from columbia and goes home this transfer (may 5) and Elder Ribeiro is from Buenos aires Argentina, but he lived the last six years in Porto Alegre Brazil, and he is like 23 and was in the Brazilian army, and has really cool stories! 

Anyways... let me tell you a little bit about my first day here, and one that I will NEVER forget! My comp had borrowed a bike from a member and we went to return it, and Elder Ribeiro and I didnt know the sector or any members, and so we get the front door and this guy comes out looking really grumpy. We say hi and stuff, and he says that what we did was wrong. And he was upset with us, because we borrowed his bike without permission, and he had to walk to work that day. We said like sorry man, youre wife said we coulde, and we didnt know that you didnt know. Anyways, Elder Garcia tells him that he needs to work that problem out with his wife, not us! And we ask to come in and visit the family. He says that you guys already know how I feel about your church, and you are going to just waste time with me, my wife (a member) is busy. We assured him,. we wouldnt be wasting our time, and he finally let us come in. We sat down and it seemed like he began to interrogate us. He tells us that he is a Jehovah`s Witness, and doesnt like the Mormon church at all. He was like "yeah I know what you guys try to do. You just try to convince people to joining your church and believing in it. But its not gonna work on me" and he starts asking us about if we have had success "convinving people" in the past... and well my companions were pretty quiet, and so I kind of stepped up to try to defend ourselves a little and really what our purpose is! That we teach, and then invite the people to pray so that God himself can convince them. Not us!

Anyways after a few minutes, he continues and he is being super negative and everything, Elder Garcia asks if he can please call his wife to come here, because she is obviously more receptive than him, and that we really didnt come to talk to him anyway, but to his wife. And he was like no thats okay! He didnt really want to, he actually wanted us to leave. My comp tells him to go get his wife, and if he doesnt like what we have to say than he can just leave, because we didnt come to talk to him! The guy was surprised and said, "Are you seriously trying to throw me out of my own home?" And he got ticked, and my companion persisted, and I was trying to lighten things up a bit! I was like "No I am sorry sir, we arent trying to offend you, we just wanted to visit your wife, maybe we can just come back another day?" And my comp just persisted and the guy was like "OKAY, if you ask me to leave one more time I am going to kick you guys out and sick my dogs on you!" (he has 9 dogs outside of his house okay?) and so he finally gets up and leaves the room, I didnt know if he went to get his wife, or went to unleash the dogs on us...? 

Finally he comes back into the room holding a book (I first thought it was the book of mormon, and that perhaps he was going to try to give us back his wifes book or something) He handed it to me and said here this is a book from my church.... And when he gave it to me, I saw that it was a Book of Mormon, and I said "This is from your church?" I was really confused... and then his wife and daughter came out from the other room and they all started smiling and were like "WELCOME TO THE WARD ELDERS!!!" and then my comp stood up and gave the guy a big hug and everything, and then I realized that it was all a big prank!!! hahaha I was so surprised, and of course I started laughing and we all laughed about it, and my face turned red and It stayed like that for the rest of the visit, haha I couldnt believe it. Turns out that Elder Ribeiro recognized the daughter from a photo on the wall and realized it was a joke and so he didnt say anything, and Elder Garcia was just "Throwing wood on the fire" and I was taking the heat!!! hahaha. It was actually really funny, and this whole family is members and they are awesome! It just caught me way off guard! haha This family pulls this prank with all the new missionaries! And the guy told me that he was being way harder on me than he usually is, haha anyway great experience to always remember!

So this ward really is awesome here. There are so many people (140) that came to church, because in Talcahuano it was like 60 or 70. Also they are super organized with missionary work, and they have a great vision for the ward, and so overall I am really enjoying it here! My companions and I get along very well, and just being able to laugh has made it so much more enjoyable. YEah the house is a lot more squished with an extra person, but thats not really a big deal! Just so you dont worry mom, things are great!! haha ;)

ALso really quick story about an investigator of the other 2 missionaries. WE had a zone fast that we could all bring someone to the church with a baptismal date. At church (literally 2 hours before we ended our 24 hour fast) their investigator Americo pulls elder Garcia and I out into the hall and leads us to where the picture of Christs baptism is... he points to it, and tell us that he wants a baptismal date! And that he doesnt have any more doubts! (before he wasnt sure how he could pay tithing and stuff) now he says it doesnt matter. HE apparently had a really profound dream, and knows that its the right thing to do. So long story short, We fasted for this very thing, We brought this kid Sebastian to church with a baptismal date, and the other elders brought Americo who did not have a date. But he left sacrament meeting with a baptism date! Truly a miracle I believe :)

God answers our prayers when we have the right desires! Fasting works! And this is the Lords true church!

I hope you guys have a great week. Love you all!!
Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 23, 2015 My first transfer to Chiguayante

Elder Villar and the ties we traded

This is me with Carolain and Carlos.  She is a member and he is our investigator.  I will miss them so much!
Saying Chao to Elder Hepworth

the ward had a sandwich making contest

The ward party

My favorite food called Chorriyano.  It has french fries, chicken, hot dogs, steak, avacado and boiled eggs! The Bishops wife made this for us!

Me with Hermano Puchi! One of my favorite members here!

Hey guys, so just to let you know right off the bat that I am getting transferred to Chiguayante! I am pretty excited, its close and its actually just on the other side of Concepcion. But the thing that is going to be a little different... is that I am going to be in a Trio. So one of my companions is my district leader, and his name is Elder Garcia, he is from Colombia. And was actually a former companion of Elder Cruz. But he seems like a cool guy! And the other companion is Elder Ribiero from Brazil. and so I am pretty excited, and truly ready to have a good attitude, and make the most of it! 

Its gonna be weird, starting over for the first time after 6 months here in Talcahuano! One good thing, is that I will be close to Conce, and I will get to come to the office still every week for P day and mail comes every week! which is nicer, because if you live in the campo way far away sometimes packages and stuff takes months longer to reach you!

But this afternoon after P day we get to go around the sector and see the members, and thank them for all they have done for us! But yeah guys, I am just excited to experience something new and different!

umm... this week I mentioned in the photos, that we had a sandwich contest for the ward! It was really fun, and our investigator Carlos came, and actually was one of the judges and participated a lot and loved the activity! Thats one of the biggest reasons we have activities like that. And to have more unity among the members of the ward! And yeah dad I heard about the phone call you received from this guy in the ward...  I am going to read your email first and see how it went, but this guy is really funny. But I think one of the main reasons he called was to be able to talk to Brady in spanish, and practice English with him...  I don't really know!

Well let me just say, that despite any of the hardships or frustrations that I have had ... I have really liked it here. The members truly are amazing! And I love them all so much! Mom if you guys come here, I would love to go to church here if its possible to be able to see them again. Anyways, I am grateful for the opportunity that the Lord gave me to be "born" (start the mission) here in Talcahuano. And I remember what Brady said about Ayacucho when he got transferred... something about that that was the place where he learned to be a missionary, and the people he loved, and the companion that taught him spanish or something like that. I just remember all the love that he had for that place and the people more than anything. Its true, I have loved seeing the church grow here. Its been a testimony to me of the divinity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints... that it doesn't matter what part of the world you are in, the church is the same. Its that way, because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He doesn't change. This church is HIS CHURCH. And what an incredibly undeserved blessing it is to be members of it! :)

"When much is given, much is required." -Doctrine and Covenants 82:3 

That I think should be the motto for latter day saints. We truly need to be spending more time focused on the things that really matter. (Giving the blessing of the Atonement, and gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as will listen to us!) Thats my testimony, and I hope you guys are still escudriƱando las escrituras every day!!! (aka. SEARCHING the scriptures) :) Because thats the source of the spirit, knowledge, and personal guidance for us that we all so desperately need... living in a world clouded from sin. Have a great week guys!!!

Much love,
Elder Hartvigsen

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March 16, 2015 Last week in Talcahuano

Hey guys! so, another week has past here in Talcahuano, and my time here is winding down. Im trying to soak up all the memories, and everything about the city and members here!!

... one interesting/random/funny thing that we have enjoyed here is going to buy candy at this store called La Fruna. Its so interesting how life here is so different in South America, even from the smallest details to the biggest! But this store, they sell stuff in bulk (like Costco). And the majority of the things here are candy, cookies, soda, milk, cookies supplies, etc... but most of the people that have a little venders cart that sell stuff on the side of the road come here and buy their stuff in bulk! Thats the best thing is that everything is so much cheaper here, and the interesting thing is how they work. There are like 5 to 7 workers behind the counter working in this big room, and the counter runs along 3 walls, and everyone just has the workers pick out what they want, and bring it down from the shelves, and most of the time people have a huge order of stuff, and when they are finished the worker just shouts out really load the entire order, and there is this guy in the middle of the room on this big tower (I call it the Rameamptum)  and he is just typing out the order so fast and prints it off, but its nuts in there (especially on saturdays) because everyone is just shouting out names of food and candy and stuff and he is somehow keeping track of everything, and then the next person yells out the order!  its great... life here is much more fast paced than in alpine ;)

But no this week has been good, and lots of the same things, visiting the same people, and just hoping that we are making a difference here in the ward! I was sad to hear that Mauricio, one of the first less actives I met when I got here, (well for a time he progressed really well, and is now regressing lots... its been an up an down battle for him) He is only like 33 years old, but is a severe alcoholic, and has 2 beautiful little kids that live with the grandmother, because the mom of the kids left after they were born, but anyway he was drunk and fell and really badly damaged his face, apparently broke his nose and cheek, and he is in a really bad condition. And its really so sad to see how badly Satan, can destroy someones life or take it in such a wrong direction, with the simple tool of alcohol. Obviously this isn't his only problem, but I have literally seen how awful alcohol affects families here... and its so sad!

There are so many men, and teenagers that literally DO NOTHING with their lives, except sit on the corner of the street ALL DAY... and drink and smoke with their friends. They don't work or go to school, they just sit there and waste their lives away... its tragic! Thats why everyone should be "anxiously engaged, in a good cause!"

And, well something interesting I studied in the scriptures was about Forgiveness! Because there is this one lady in the ward that has completely stopped going to church, because there are people there that have offended her, and she cant throw her pride away and forgive them, therefore she is losing out on so many of the blessings of the gospel, just because of this. Its actually shocking how many people I have met that tell me that they can't go to church, because the people there are hypocritical, or have done them wrong and they can't forgive, or something along the lines of that. And so what I studied was the parable in Matthew 18:21-35. Its about a King that has a servant that owes him a fairly large debt! The servant pleads for him to disregard the debt because he was going to sell him, and his family, but he didn't have the money to pay the debt. anyways The king lets him off the hook and the servant goes out to one of his like co-servants who owes him a very small debt. And he demands that he pay him that which he owes him. Anyways the king is so disappointed because the servant is being a big hypocrite!

well... long story short, thats exactly how our father in heaven feels after he forgives us of all the infinite debts we have against him, and we withhold forgiveness from our brothers and sisters. King benjamin taught "Aren't we all beggars?" He used this to demonstrate how we shouldn't withhold our substance from the poor, but I believe it summarizes the message of forgiveness also! Who are we to withhold forgiveness when we so often plead with our Father to forgive us of our many many debts!!!

Anyways, we shared a scripture that says that the Lord won`t forgive us of our sins, if we first cannot forgive our brethren! Thats a powerful lesson in itself!

Yeah so, that was was stuck out to me... that no matter how hard it is to forgive, think of how many times the savior and our father have infinitely forgiven us! :)

Hopefully the spirit can teach you something from this message, as it taught me something! And hope you guys have a good week! Things are good here! Cambios next week :)

Elder Hartvigsen

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 8, 2014 Visitors from home!!!

Well... first off, guess who I ran into wandering around Talcahuano!? haha. It was really fun to see Brother and Sister Hilton here with Brian. And mom and dad thanks for sending the little package! My comp absolutely LOVED the beef jerkey! haha its his favorite thing ever. Also the letters were great! Thanks a lot guys! Brit and Cole thanks for sending something! And the birthday wishes too.

Grandma also sent me a little package this week, which IDK if I told you or not... but tell her thanks! Always good to hear from her :) ... on Saturday we had a whole mission wide fast! And since our investigator Carlos has been coming to church every week, and reading the Book of Mormon almost daily with his wife and hasn't quite gotten an answer if its true or not... we decided to invited him to fast with us! Turns out he actually did! He came to church fasting and everything! We haven't heard how it went for him yet... but it was something that I sure hope will help him! but this guy truly is awesome!

He met with the bishop with his wife and he wants to start paying tithing. Believe it or not! But can`t because he isn't a member yet. (Dad... is that true that you cant pay tithing if you aren't a member?) Anyway... he is going to pay a fast offering, and he told us that even though he hasn't gotten an answer yet, he knows "we are heading down a good path!" Which is a really good sign! Please pray for Carlos!

And how I saw the Atonement in my life this week is this: That while we were fasting, I had complete strength to climb up and down the hills, in the beating sun, and work all day, with a great attitude, not even thinking about the hunger. Most of the day I forgot I was even fasting, and then remembered I hadn't eaten or drunken anything since the day before... but was able to work hard. And then as we were coming home for the night, the tiredness began to hit me. Once we walked in the door, I collapsed in my chair exhausted! and we planned a little, and then I hit the hay. And slept like a baby!  OK it doesn't sound like that was even an experience worth repeating... but I know that the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is what helps us accomplish the little things during the day that we wouldn't be able to do by ourselves. For example, help edify me through this fast. I could DEFINATELY tell the difference between what was my own physical strength and will power, and that help that was given me!

Just a cool way to see the Lords hand in my life! I challenge all of you to watch SPECIFICALLY every single day, for "How you saw the Atonement of Jesus Christ in your life that day." (remember that their are 2 main parts to the Atonement: Enabling, and Redeeming. But I believe there are a lot more things that relate to the Atonement. We just need to be watching to find them out) I promise that you will see and recognize more of the blessings in your life. And especially when we have spiritual experiences, if we will write them down, and ponder on them... that shows the Lord that we cherish those experiences. And then he will give us more of them! Thats a promise from an apostle!

I hope you guys have a great week! Love you tons!

Elder Hartvigsen

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March 2, 2015 Had a great birthday turning 19!!

So first off mom.... I know you are wondering if I had a good birthday or not....  and yes I did! It was great! We got to do service in the morning for some lady that the other missionaries just knocked on her door the week before. She isn't even an investigator yet, but they asked if they could come by next week and do service. So we showed up all 4 of us and cut down all the weeds in her front yard, and sweeped and cleaned up the whole patio. She was super grateful, and rather surprised at why 4 teenage boys would just show up on a Saturday morning and do service for a couple hours for free!  It was great!

And after that, we had lunch at a members house, and she was so sweet and made the best lunch ever, plus a big birthday cake, and even decorated the house with balloons and little signs for me too . :) I will send pics, and a few different ward members gave me little gifts and called to say happy birthday, (they were all super thoughtful of me) and also the mission president and his wife called at night to wish me a happy day, and so yeah I hope you didn't miss me too much mom and dad ;)   just know that it was a great day!

After lunch friday, we stayed at this Sisters hours, because she lives 20 minutes away, and we were going to work in that area after lunch so we stayed there for like an hour. And I was so exhausted that I sat down in her super comfy recliner chair, and fell asleep. And woke up like half an hour later to the sound of me snoaring, and my companion was just reading, and she was just knitting a scarf on the coach looking at me and smiling...  I was so embarrassed and like "oops... excuse me" hahaha

We have 1 solid investigator Carlos. He is progressing, and we are praying hard for him,. I fasted yesterday too for him. Sierra is in Tome I think... like half an hour away and yeah its fun to see her! Also my comp and I are getting along. We are taking lots of time to laugh and have more fun! 

But on a spiritual note, yesterday at church I was really happy to see all the members get up and bare their testimonies. My heart truly was full of gratitude and love yesterday. I was so impressed that every one that spoke, talked only about all the blessings and happiness that they have received from the gospel. And these people truly know the difference, because most if not ALL of them are converts. And have only been members of the church anywhere from 1 year, to 40 years.... but I was really touched, and reminded how the only true source of happiness in this life, comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ, and living his commandments. Thats it. period! There isn't another way! The world disguises so many things to appear as happiness, and while it may be very short lived pleasure... nothing compares with the joy that is felt by living the gospel. And seeing the Atonement work in someones life (specifically our own!)

And this is what really has stuck out to me this week. If we are living or even thinking with the mentality that there are some commandments that don't really apply to us, or that we can live in contrary to the gospel and find happiness in this life, we are severely mistaken! Christ himself said, that he is the bread of life, and if we partake of this bread.... we will never hunger again! This is true! And I am so blessed to be here in Talcahuano seeing this first hand, people making changes in their lives, and truly finding the happiness that the gospel brings! :)

I hope you guys have a great week! Thanks for your love, support, and prayers!

Elder Hartvigsen