Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015 Winter came today! Its freezing!

a copper copy of the Concepcion Temple, for mom for mother's day!

 These are pizza french fries! ironically enough, its at a different restaurant called "el carrito rojo"  their sign says... "The best in fast food" lol

la pizzeria barcelona! haha I also sent this to elder cruz, because he is from there.

making banana bread for the district :)

We make these little birthday packages for all the members when its their b day.  just little american candy treats. They all love it. With a signature birthday passalong card,

Winter started this very morning! We woke up freezing, to a temperature of 42 degrees INSIDE OUR HOME:  with tons of frost outside on the grass, and with a broken electric shower, and we are trying to get it fixed today because we havn't showered in 2 days! Yeah we just load up on deodorant. I know, its bad!!
And as far as the work here in Coihueco, its coming along slow (kind of like how the whole mission has been) but that okay, we are trying really hard!! and are working lots with members and less actives. I have fully come to realize that success doesn't matter about the numbers! It really doesn't. We aren't even called to baptize people either. Our calling is to "declare repentance unto this people" Everyone is in need of that! Not just investigators!!
Pres. Eyring said that the Lord has such great joy when we help someone have, even if its a brief moment of joy, or peace in their lives. Our mission president encouraged us to think about this every day! How much of a successful day it is TO THE LORD when we even just help someone feel a little closer to the spirit. This can be done in EVERY conversation we have with people in the streets!
I am sorry about the kind of lame short letter today. We had lots going on, and not much time. Actually the internet cafes are closed and we are taking turns on the church computer. thats why it has to be short. Just know things are good here, and I am trying my best! haha I love you guys so much, and have a great last week of school okay??
Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015 The weeks are flying by here!


Hey guys!!

Wow the weeks are really flying by... sometimes its even hard to keep up with them!  I hope all is well back home, because things are going great here!

So first off, Happy Birthday DAD!! and Happy anniversary mom and dad! Wow 2 awesome events for you guys to celebrate this week! Should be really fun. Umm... I know my letters probably seem pretty scattered, because thats how my thoughts always are when it comes time to writing. Luckily I write down the things that I want to share with you guys in my little agenda.

So to set the stage of this funny little story, you need to know and understand how many people absolutely STARE at us!  Like its super amusing to see, that I guess we look like aliens to them or something... because we are 2 well dressed gringos, my comp is super tall, and we are stopping and talking to everyone all day everyday!  seems a bit peculiar right? Anways... we had to finish cleaning out everything of the hermanas house since they got transfered. And so we were hauling a whole bunch of cleaning supplies from their house to the church, and so as strange looking as we already are, we each had a bucket of cleaning supplies in one hand and a mop or  broom in the other. And everyone was just starring like who on earth are these people? hahaha it just made me laugh so hard inside... seeing all their reactions!

okay and really quickly we had a District class last week talking about the importance of working with members. And how we get the best references from them. Its totally true, I remember Pres. and Sister Laycock in mission prep telling us how member referrals are I think, the number 1 most effective way of finding people to be baptized. Yeah and so leaving chillan at the bus stop, (we had been there like 30 seconds) this 28 year old guy comes up to us with his girlfriend, and introduces himself as a member in one of the wards in chillan. And has been trying to find the missionaries, because he has been working with his girlfriend and she wants to be baptized. The first thing I naturally asked was if they were living together (haha because thats usually the first big obstacle) and he said. "No, we are already keeping the commandments and everything... all she is missing is to be baptized!" and she seemed excited about us sending the missionaries  to visit her. And so about 4 days later my comp got a call from the missionaries who stopped by, and she has a baptismal date for June 6th and came to church!  Seriously, a pure miracle! Fun to be a part of it :)

And we made pumpkin bars this morning in the church for the district, (pumpkin substituted for bananas) haha but it was fun!

Also... I had to give another talk yesterday, my comp and I figured they would call me since its been a whole 2 weeks or so since I gave the last one. And the branch president didn't ask me until 5 minutes before sacrament meeting started. And he said, try to speak about tithing if you can! haha but I think it actually turned out pretty well. I am just gratful for the gift of tongues, because it wouldnt have been possible without it! 

Also something random is that the copa America is gonna be here in Chile this summer. There is a stadium in Chillan and one in Concepcion, that are both in our mission. should be fun to be so close and be able to see how everyone gets so excited about it!!

Also something really instructive I learned in the scriptures this week, that I hope you guys will take the initiative to study it afterward! :)  After studying 3 Nephi 2:1, It helped me realize that Satan has a few ways to try to get US to distance ourselves from the Spirit. (see 3 Nephi 1:22 to first see how ALWAYS, after we have spiritual experiences, Satan immediately tries to follow them with lies, to get us to forget the things we have seen and felt.) This was the case after years of waiting for the sign of Jesus`s birth to come to pass. After Samuel the lamanite had prophesied about it, it finally happened... and exactly the way he said it would. To say the least, there were incredible signs and wonders that the people saw!

There are 3 steps listed that help us be aware of how Satan deceives the believers! : In chapter 2 verse 1, we learn that when we 1. begin to forget of the many signs and wonders we have seen, and 2. be less amazed, or impressed each time another one happens, and ultimately 3.our hearts become hardened, and our minds blind and we eventually don`t believe in any of the amazing things we have seen, felt, or even lived! This is Satans tactic. If he can get us to fall into his lies of "Nah, what you felt wasnt really the spirit." or "maybe that happened a long time ago, but things are different now, those things arent even true anyway." Whatever he may try to deceive us with. We need to be strong enough to remember how we DID feel when we had those experiences, and dont ever fall into the first steps of falling away. DOUBT.

Anyways, powerful lessons there! I sure love you guys and hope you have a great week!!

chao chao
Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015 A mother's day phone call! A happy mom!!

Thanks for writing guys, seriously it was super fun to see the whole family yesterday. You guys all looked really good as well! I think my camera on the computer worked well,  and so you could actually see that I looked good. By the way mom, I do weigh 165, but Im not as fat as I sound... haha (no offense dad) ;) Its crazy to think I have gained 30 lbs from when I left on the mission. Granted I was 20 lbs under weight, but still. And the time seriously is flying by so fast. I need to take advantage of every day, and keep improving diligence, obedience, and love for the people EVERY DAY!

You guys are awesome! And that was fun for Elder Sellers to meet you guys, we talk a lot about our families and stuff, and he said you guys were just like how he imagined Hermano y hermana Hartvigsen would be :) 

I felt the same about his family, Just getting to say hi for a second was fun. He has only one brother, who is 14 years older who served a mission in Australia, but now is far away from the church. And his parents are both converts. Its definitely a little different than my family situation, but thats okay!!

One fun thing, you guys remember the McKewan family? Yeah with the amazing parade of homes house? Yeah I know their daughter madelyn, and I went on a mini cambio last week with her cousin from PG.  small world!!

Mom, would you please just send me Ellis's email?? That way I can just write her a quick note and say whats up :)

One last thing about the Coihueco branch that I wanted to share, was the joy of blessing the sacrament yesterday with Hermano Juan Palma. He is 88 blithering years old.  imagine that! :) I may have already told you about him, but this guy (along with all other Chileans) are just as hard working, and active people in their 70s and 80s as they are as teens. Its crazy, people don't really retire here! Like Juan, just moved to here from Chillan a few months ago, and extended on to his house. Build a whole new kitchen and family room and stuff, and he literally does everything. ITs crazy that he still works everyday. (doesn't get paid, because its on his own house) but thats how the chileans do it.

I remember seeing 70 year old WOMEN in Tumbes (Talcahuano) chopping wood everyday, because thats what you gotta do, if you want firewood to both cook, and stay warm in the winter here. Its crazy how different life is, but you know, they make it work :)

p.s. do you think its still a good possibility that you would be coming to chile to pick me up? Just curious if you guys have thought any more about it... or who would come with you... or things like that.? ha

ok, que tengan una muy buena semana y disfruten su verano que ya esta acercando! 
(have a great week, and enjoy your summer that is getting close)

Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015 Its getting colder and colder here!

Elder Garcia was on the cover of the Liahona Oct 2011

Making pancakes for early morning seminary students!

Reminds me of Peru

Coihueco countryside

Bienvenidos Al Campo Chileno

Elder Sellers from Orlando, on his birthday

Okay, today is day of cambios, and so thats always exciting :) There are no immediate changes within the companionship or anything, but definitely stuff that affects us! So this cambio there are a lot more missionaries leaving than arriving to Chile. So we knew there was no other choice but to close certain sectors. Here in Coihueco there was my comp and I, and 2 hermanas. But they closed the sector of the hermanas, and so now it is just going to be Elder Sellers and I in Coihueco, and on top of that... my comp got called to be District Leader. And that means a HEAP load of more responsibilities for us both!  Should be a great experience!

I am excited about the change, but it means we are gonna have to work even harder here in the branch. Coihueco isn't  huge or anything, but its not tiny either. There are quite a few people here, and more than anything, lots of the surrounding "campo" little villages outside of the main "pueblo" or city area of Coihueco. And by city I mean like really, really small town feel! 

Anyways, things are great here. It just keeps getting colder and colder as it approaches winter, and I am not ashamed to say I am jealous of your  Utah summer starting up :) So that was the biggest thing thats happened this week. One small funny thing, you might appreciate is that there is this guy named Mario who lives in front of us. He is a little bit handicapped and is ALWAYS (every single day) just outside going for strolls in his wheel chair. We always say hi to him, and always invite him to the church. He has become quite famous among us, just because we see him like 3 times every day, and my comp and I call him "Mario Kart" :) 

Yeah once again mom, we are going to try hard to get to a members house today to use a computer to be able to send pictures home. Hopefully later this afternoon, sorry we havn't been able to send some sooner. But also that should be really fun seeing you guys on Sunday! Happy early Mothers Day mom ;)

Yeah okay something cool spiritually that I have been studying this week in the scriptures is the importance of "The Sabbath Day". The topic obviously stood out to me, when Elder Oaks mentioned to us missionaries that the first presidency, and quorum of the 12 would be stressing the importance of it, along with the sacrament more this year than they had ever done in the past. I strongly encourage you guys to read Isaiah 58, and Exodus 31 which are super good chapters on the subject.

I would like to focus on Exodus 31 for a second... in verse 13 the sabbath day is said to be a Sign among these people, and their future generations. Verses 14 and 15 talk about he that works on the sabbath day, shall surely die! Yes that sounds like normal HARSH Old testament language right? But hey... thats what it says!  No I don't believe we will physically die if we work on the sabbath, but I do believe he that does not put the Lord first, on his holy day.... will definitely be with holding himself from receiving MANY blessings, and who knows, could spiritually die? 

Verse 16 talks about it being a perpetual covenant. (I think those are the words, I am translating it from my spanish bible) Or in other words... a covenant which lasts FOREVER. (also verse 17) talking about this sign which is forever, that we will keep the Lords holy day HOLY.

I know that before the mission, I was always irritated when Dad would tell us that we couldn't do this, or couldn't do that on Sunday... but that really was so selfish of me. The Lord has given us 6 days to do EVERYTHING that we need to do, and all he asks is that on the 7th day... we rest from our labors, and pay devotions to him on his Holy day! Elder Oaks said: "We can think about the commandment to keep the sabbath day holy, like the commandment to pay tithing. We give 1/10 of our money to the Lord, and we give 1/7 of our time (days) to the Lord. I know It would have sounded crazy coming from my lips before the mission, that I wanted to eliminate all worldly activities and stuff... because I know I would try to get away with whatever I could sometimes...  But I testify that the Sabbath day is Gods gift to us! (mark 2:27) "The sabbath day was made for Men, not men made for the sabbath day."

I want to invite and strongly encourage all of you guys to studies these 2 chapters, and analyze your Sabbath Days. Which the underlying question in mind that Elder Oaks proposed. "What sign do I want to give God". And that should make all of our decisions of our activities on the Sabbath Crystal Clear :)

The scriptures truly are the word of God, and what an incredible blessing they are for us in our lives. But lets be honest... they do us almost no good, if we don`t APPLY their teaching in our lives :)

These things are true, and I love you guys tons!
Elder Hartvigsen

Friday, May 1, 2015

April 27, 2015 Volcanic Activity

Hey guys! wow... another week has flown by, and its the last week of the cambio, even though I cant imagine there will be any changes between Elder Sellers and I being here in Coihueco, but hey ... who knows?! ha.

So, I am sure you guys have heard about the big volcanic eruption in southern Chile right? Pretty cool huh? I think it was like 6 hours away from where we live... but there was even ash falling from the sky here in Coihueco, it was super loco! There wasn't like a ton or anything, but you could definately feel it in the air, and breathing it in was bad. All the cars had a really thin layer of ash on them and stuff, even Elder Sellers had all his white shirts hanging out to dry over night, and had to bring them back in and wash them again the next morning, haha because there was freaking volcanic ash on them! Its crazy, I never thought I would see that before?...

Also a member showed us some pictures, and a time lapse even of the eruption, it was so cool, and looked like something strait from a movie. (even though I am sure its not so cool for the people that live close by).

So I got sick again on Saturday... not really sure what from. Food poisoning I think. Because I was sick for only about an hour and a half saturday morning, which was strange. But luckily we had our "dia de limpieza" or mission cleaning day. So we had to clean the house up all morning  until lunch. And so it was a good time to be sick in bed, because we didnt have anything else planned. A small little blessing there. But whats funny is that we called the hermana that we had lunch with before hand to let her know I wouldnt be eating, because I was sick, and so she would just be aware before hand. Anyway... we went over there, and the husband brings out a big bowl of soup for me, and I said " no thanks... actually I am not feeling good and won't be eating lunch". but oh no, THEY INSISTED that I eat this bowl of soup, because of course it was some sort of really healthy food that would help me get better, and they ASSURED me it wouldn't do me any harm.  Thats totally how the Chileans are. They think they have remedies for EVERYTHING. And just insist on you trying them, so they said it was asparagus soup, even though it neither looked nor tasted anything like it. I ended up eating it, and actually felt better later in the day. haha :)

Also I had to give a talk in church ( I just used the talk I gave in Talcahuano, because the branch president called me saturday morning when I was sick, and I had no time to prepare anything else. ) Its crazy, because in such a small branch we have to do almost everything. We teach Elders quorum twice a month, and my comp and I and one of the sister missionaries have all give talks in 2 weeks.  There just really isn't that many people to do things like that. Nevertheless, its an awesome little branch, with awesome members that I love! :)

Also funny thing dad, everyone here drinks herbal tea right? And they just go out to their garden and bring in all sorts of different plants, to make tea out of it. And they have the mint plant, that we have in our yard. And it actually makes a really good mint herbal tea :) haha I was totally thinking that I will drink that when I get home. I remember Brady did the same, when he got home ( or I just remembered him talking about how he liked herbal tea ) and I literally thought he was crazy! ha.

Also funny thought, that I went to my first South American Chinese buffet today :) It was pretty good actually. It was just the darndest international mix ever. 3 gringos, and 1 brazilian in a chinese buffet, in Chile. speaking half English, and half Spanish, to Chinese people :) haha oh the adventures of the mission! 

Well, I hope everything is well for you guys. Love you tons!

Elder Hartvigsen