Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 Fasting for rain, even though we don't WANT rain.

hellooooo again everybody :)
I cant believe that we are on the last couple days of June... that means that 2015 is half way over! YIKES
Well, its been a busy week here, I guess we are always busy being in a little branch and being the only 2 missionaries here...  So one fun thing we did here was planned an activity on friday night. It was a sopaipilla night! (sopaipillas are little fried scone type things, that are super good with mustard or really any condiment.) And so we didn't have a big turn out. Ok we only had like 25 people there, but for those that came really enjoyed it I think. And apparently we couldn't fry them inside the church, so we had a little stove and had to do it outside, and it was a little cold and windy but not TOO bad. Anyways, turns out I got super sick the next morning I guess from just eating a lot of oily fried sopaipillas right before I went to bed... it was bad.
And while I was sick saturday all day in bed, the Branch President called me to assign me a talk in sacrament meeting (my 4th in 2 1/2 months) and then the Elderes quorum president called us to teach the class for 3rd hour because he wasn't going to be there. Thats kind of a problem that we have in the branch... so many people either accept the assignment to give talks, and call president saturday night and bail out, or they just say they won't do it, or they just don't show up sunday morning, and he usually has to assign one of us missionaries that morning. It's bad....
Anyways, it has given me some good practice and confidence to know that I can give talks in spanish with zero preparation. 
Anyways, I talked a little bit about missionary work. (La obra misional) And I shared about 1 Nephi 8: 8-12 about the vision of the Tree of Life. And how the fruit (the gospel in our case) is the most white of fruits, and the most desirable of any other fruit that exists. And it actually makes you happy! And so what was the natural result of Lehi trying the fruit? It was to share it with his family...
And thats always the natural result of having the gospel in your life, wanting to share it. Sometimes its just hard to know 1. where to start. or 2. how to do it!
Well in 2 Nephi 31:9, we are counseled to Pray always! And not do ANYTHING without first praying to the Father in the name of Christ,that he will consecrate our performance for the benefit of souls! And so we know that PRAYER is always the first step.
I shared an experience how there was a time before the mission when I was praying to have missionary experiences... and I remember I started to carry pass along cards in my ski jacket, and one time skiing I rode on the ski lift with this guy from Russia. He obviously hadn't talked with members of the church before  because he asked how many wives my dad had, and things like that. But after the 5 short minute conversation I gave him the card and invited him to visit the website and learn more about us. It was as simple as that. But that Spirit prompted me to start carring pass along cards in my pocket, and I was able to pass one along ;)
And then I shared about how the average person needs 7 positive interactions with missionaries or members of the church before they accept the gospel. And how I literally thing about that every single time someone rejects our message... just hoping that they will be 1 step closer to accepting it... because of US.
And the analogy of a football team, how has to move forward 100 yards to score. And RARELY is it done on one play... but rather a compilation of 20 or 25 plays, and one person gets the touchdown. But it never would have been possible without ALL THE OTHER small gained yardage. Yes it will be one companionship of missionaries to baptize the person, but every single person that had a positive interaction from the church with that person... played a direct (but unseen) role in their conversion!
And Doctrine and Covenants 18:14-18 is POWERFUL. "If you labor all your days declaring repentance and bring save it be one soul unto me... how great will be your joy with him in the kingdom of my father. And if your joy be great with ONE soul in the kingdom of my father, imagine how great your joy will be if you bring many souls unto him!" The worth of souls is GREAT in the sight of the lord :)
awesome stuff right there! 
And that was the essance of my talk.... But hey I dont know if you guys heard about it, but they announced the ground breaking for the Concepcion Temple.  Its going to be in October. And President Uchtdorf is coming! I sure hope they let all of us attend it :) That would be so RAD!
Well, I think we have been so blessed here with weather... even though its been cold. Its been sunny almost every single day! And I think thats been really unusual. And actually I have some mixed feelings about this upcoming Sunday... because we have been asked (like all of central Chile I think) to have a special fast this Sunday to fast for rain... because apparently they are in need of some heavy rainstorms... and I'm not sure if I will be able to fast for RAIN.  I have been so grateful that it HASN'T rained!!!! hahaha. Anyways, that just made me laugh! 
Yeah I sure love you guys... and have a stellar week yeah? And I hope you are all studying the talks from General Conference... just remember that the most important prophet for us... is the LIVING PROPHET. That means that as incredible as the Bible and Book of Mormon are... we NEEEEEEED to be studying the words of the living prophets! :)
¡Que tengan una muy buena semana!
Con amor,
Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 21, 2015 Feels like Christmas in June

Hot Springs in Chillan

Chillan on p-day

Watching Copa America with the Branch Pres. and family!

Pigs in a blanket, tasty!

My new comp from Argentina, Elder Sanchez

My neighbors slayed a massive boar!

Proof I can cook!

The Branch Pres. holding the baby, and his wife, and invesitators on the right

Hey guys! Hope you are all doing great, and I hope you enjoyed your Fathers Day yesterday Dad!!
Things are good here in Coihueco, as well as with my new comp Elder Sanchez. He is from Jujuy (who-who-ewy) Argentina :)  We have had a busy first week here, especially with me having to do all the planning and guiding him through the sector, because thats just what happens when you get a new comp.
He actually played a musical number in church yesterday, with his instrument called the Zampoña. Its like a wooden bolivian flute thing,  it made me smile to see him play "Love one another" on this wooden flute in church, and he played with another kid who is not a member but is the son of a member.
Also this week we got to watch the 3rd Copa América game against Bolivia. It was way fun... and we watched it with the Branch Pres. and his family, along with his friends that are investigating the church. I will send pictures later today at the house of a member.   Also we made "pigs in a blanket" (hot dogs wrapped in dough, and then fried them in oil) My comp worked in a cake shop before the mission, and so he taught me the basics of how to make dough and stuff. They turned out tasty!!
Umm... something that stuck out to me this week in the scriptures is found in Ether 2. Its talking about the Jaredites who are being led to the "promised land" (or the american continent). More than 4 or 5 times in this chapter, it mentions that land being a choice land above all other lands. And being a promised land as well. Its really cool to think about how the Lord was preparing that land for who knows how long, for that certain time for the Jaredites to go over and start their new life over there. And no living in the promised land doesnt come without cost...
Verse 9 talks about WHOEVER poseses this land, must serve God... or they will essentially be destroyed when his anger falls upon them.
After every single verse that mentions it being a chosen land, shortly there after follows the warning/council. (verses 9, 10, 12, 15 etc.)
Its just a testament to me, that the United States is a precious chosen land. Free of slavery, and free to worship the way you want... but its so sad to see people absolutely not serving god... because we know through the word of god that they will be destroyed one day. And we need to serve God with all our heart, might, mind, and strenghth... we have been given much. And so that means that much is required from us!
"The Book of Mormon is True. And it came forth the way Joseph said it did, there is no other explanation." Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
But I also give my testimony.... that it is true. And that a man can get close to God by abiding by its precepts than by ANY OTHER BOOK ON EARTH! I have seen that first hand in my life! Make sure you are feasting from its pages DAILY!!!! :)
Not much more has happened this week, I love you all... and keep praying for the work here in Coihueco!
Con Amor,
Elder Hartvigsen

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 15, 2015 Copa America is here!

hola familia! how goes it? :)

Its going good here in Coihueco! And today is none other than cambios. And turns out that my comp Elder Sellers is getting transferred to Talcahuano! Im way excited for him. Should be a cool experience. Its a totally different part of Talcahuano than where I was. And my new companion is going to be Elder Sanchez. ¡Mi tercero (3rd) compañero Argentino!!  should be fun! And I was actually hoping that if I got a new companion he would be Latino. Because even though I have enjoyed being with a gringo to be able to talk about things that are unique to the USA and easier to converse in english... I definiately need to RE-SUBMERSE myself in spanish! And living out in Coihueco, just the 2 of us... will definitely do just that!  Anyways, I hope my spanish will be able to improve! And I will let you guys know next week what he is like.

Okay first and most importantly, is that the Copa Amèrica is going on this month, and into July. I cannot even believe it, but our mission President emailed us last week and gave us permission to watch the games when Chile plays! haha how sick is that? So this past Thursday we got to watch them play Ecuador. I felt super "chueco" (crooked. or disobedient) haha, but I wasn.t And it was super fun! We were on a mini cambio that day and we watched it with the Belmar family. I brought my chile jersey and put it on top of my shirt and tie, and we had flags and tons of decorations!  It was such a blast. I am going to try to make it to a members house tonight to send you the pics!

Chile plays again tonight, and next thursday. And then if they advance from the group stages 2 or 3 more games!! VAMOS CHILE! haha The games are actually pretty sweet, I dont know if you can find them on ESPN or anything, but you guys should watch!

A couple funny things from the week are 1. We met this couple who are gypsies. And apparently that just means they travel all around chile and different countries living in this big colorful tent. They live pretty dirty, and junky, and even talk with their own accent. Its pretty bizzare! But after talking to this couple, the lady asked us if we were allowed to have our fortune told to us. haha... I said "sure why not?" And after asking her to make sure she wasnt going to try to use some satanic board game, or creepy machine... she said she was just gonna read our palms. So we sat on the ground and she read our palms, and told us a big bunch of nonsense like we were going to marry the "loves" that we left behind. And each have children right away. haha, then asked us how much money we had on us. "Not because she wanted us to pay her... just so she would know"  yeah right! It was all a bit fishy!  so we said chao! But it was pretty funny in the end.

Also this guy in the branch invited us over to his house that they had recently moved into... because he wanted to dedicate it! And we had talked a lot about it to him, that this wasnt a priesthood blessing for the home, but rather dedicating it to be a special and safe place for the family to grow close together, and have the spirit their with them. By the way, he used to be Evangelic before he joined out church (along with the majority of members I have met. haha) And what I was a little scared for, actually happened! After starting the prayer... his inner Evangelical "preacher tone" ( I call it ) began to come out. He started raising his voice, and speaking faster and faster, and with more and more emotion. Asking the Lord to bless the doors in this house. To bless the windows, to bless the chairs, forks, knives, plates, and bowls, and he listed like 20 different objects that he was supposedly blessing in the house! haha... I was just a bit uncomfortable TO SAY THE LEAST. But it ended up turning out well in the end, and I know the Lord has to just smile at people like that. That are only doing it the way the have always been taught! Thats something you just dont see in Alpine, Ut. :)

I know its taken me a while to read and finish El Libro de Mormòn out here in the field... but I am in Ether 3. And its been really rewarding to make progress and get close to finishing it. I have obviously been studying other things, and reading in different parts... because you dont really have time set apart to just read and finish it. But I am super excited to finish it. And be able to then read Doctrine and Covenants. I am also getting close to finishin Jesùs el Cristo (Jesus the Christ) with like 700 pages. Thats definiately a personal record. And I have learned tons of cool things there. Now I know where President Laycock pulls out so much of his random knowledge of the New Testament! haha :)

Anyways, We are doing good here. And I love you guys!! Hope you are all doing well. And say hi to everyone out there in the Alpine 10th for me!!

Con amor,
Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015 A June snow storm!

My favorite Colombian, Elder Ospina

Hola familia ¿Como estai? (as they say it here in chile ;) )

Its been a crazy week with wild weather here! I have definitely gotten a good use out of my rain coat, pants, and boots here! Mom they work like a charm. THANKS! It hasn't rained like super hard here... but thing is, it just rains ALL DAY without stopping. Granted we have had some sunny days, because we haven't even technically changed into winter yet!

But today added a crazy chapter onto our weather story for the week. Because for the Pday zone activity we went up to Las Termas de Chillàn. Its a super cool mountain ski resort! And it actually dumped down snow the entire day up there. There was only about 5 or 6 inches on the ground... but  think it poured down another 4 or 5 while we were up there! It was the best June snow storm I`ve ever seen before ;) haha And actually the reason why I am writing so late today is because of how long the whole excursion actually took us. We woke up at 5:30 and had to drive a ways to get there, and after being up there for a few hours and getting on the bus to come back home, the bus driving had serious troubles putting chaines on the back tires. We literally sat in the bus just waiting for over 3 hours while they struggled to put the dang things on. Haha I think it would have been pretty dangerous to go down the canyon without them, so thats why they took their time to get them on good! Anyways, it was actually a way fun activity.

They had some natural hot springs that were cool to LOOK at. (haha I wanted to jump in) and we just enjoyed the day throwing snowballs, and exploring and taking lots of pictures. Which I will try to send some of the best ones in the coming weeks!

Umm, we are starting week 6 today... and so next week we have cambios! I think Elder Sellers could definately stay or go, so its kind of still up in the air still. I will keep you posted though!

I dont know if you guys got to watch the funeral for Elder L. Tom Perry... but it was super good! We got to spend one morning watching it, and It really gave me a lot of respect for Elder Perry. Mostly because I didnt know much about him before... but he seriously made such an impact on so many peoples lives. and hearing all the good things said about him, made me wonder... that if that were MY funeral... what would be the things people would say about me? OR what would be the example that I left here on earth after I die? Its definately some good personal soul searching to do. To make sure we are really and truly living up to our full potential, and being the christlike disciple that we should all be!!! :)

And well, one spiritual experience I had this week was the opportunity to visit with this one less active guy in our branch. He was actually the Branch President before our current one. (side note, the past 2 branch presidents are inactive right now.) Its crazy!!! THERE IS A TON OF WORK TO DO HERE! Anyways... long story short, this guy is such a good guy. And has incredible potential, mostly based on the fact of how good he is with people. I can just see this guy being a great leader in the church... but truly wasting his talents away. Beacuse while he was branch president, and after being endowed in the temple, committed a really really serious sin. And not wanting to face the consequences, basically asked to be relased from his calling... and stopped coming to church. (That was like 3 years ago ish) Anyways, we have gone by a few times to visit him, and mostly be his friend. (he is like 35 ish) but this past week we had a lesson with him while he was alone, and he really opened up to us. He basically told us the whole story of why he doesn't come to church, and how he has so much shame to come back, because of what all the members will think of him. 

And this guy, knows so much about the scriptures, and tells us all the time that he has a burning testimony that the church is true. And that he will never doubt it. But just doesn't quite feel like God will forgive him, because of the severity of his mistake. And the reputation that he might have, and how it could possibly be repaired.

Well, we were definitely blessed with the spirit, because it came to my mind instantly what we needed to share with him. It was alma chapter 36. Now he didn't really remember the story of Alma the younger, so we gave a brief summary of his story. How he was one of the most "vilest of sinners" (scriptural terms) and he was literally trying to destroy the church. Along with the sons of Mosiah. And he even tells his son Helaman in chapter 36 that he had murdered many souls (in other words, brought many souls away from the saving gospel of jesus christ). After the visit from the angel, they ultimatley ALL turn their lives 180 degrees around. And Alma becomes one of the GREATEST missionaries in the Book of Mormon. And this guy was worried about his reputation. Alma had one of the worst their could be I imagine (especially being the prophet's son). So we talked about how anyone can change. And be forgiven! The atonement has NO LIMITS. Anyways, I think we really helped him understand the power of the Atonement, I know that I felt the spirit strong, and know that that is exactly what we needed to share with him.

Whether he decides to make the changes and return to church will be up to him. But we cannot be fully repentant until we fully accept the atonement, and say to the Lord "okay... I will do anything to be forgiven. Whatever it takes. Thy will be done. Not mine!"

I know for a surety that the Atonement of Jesus christ works. I have seen it work countless times in my life, and in the lives of others. And the atonement is infinite. Which means there is no excuse to believe Satans lies that "I cant be forgiven." Because we can!!! 

I love this gospel, and know its true. I love you guys all so much, and hope everything is well back at home! Have a great week!

Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, June 1, 2015

June 1, 2015 Singing in the ward talent show!!

Hey everyone!! Wow I cant believe that May has already passed... and its June 1st :) Time is sure flying by. I Hope you are all doing well back home, and things are going great here in Coihueco!

As far as winter goes... it has only rained a couple days, and the temperatures have actually gone up a little bit in the mornings. But we ended up getting our shower fixed, and we got a SWEET gas heater for the house! We are living in the lap of luxury here now :)  Its a WHOLE lot better than little dinky electric ones we had. And I think its cheaper?

So on saturday night we had a really fun branch activity. It was a talent night. And a ton of people showed up, which is super awesome. Because whenever you can get members uniting together and having a good time... thats a success! My comp (who is super musically talented... who reminds me a lot of Brady actually ) played a couple songs on the guitar, while this kid (who isn't a member... but is the son of a member) played the violin. We have been desperately trying to get that kid Yeison (jason) involved with the members. Because the mom isn't a member either... but they are an awesome family. Anyways, they played Hey soul sister, rolling in the deep, and counting stars. Haha a little worldly I know ;) But it turned out awesome and the kid got really involved and enjoyed the activity. And the worst part is that they were calling for me from the stage because they wanted me to get up and sing with them... because it would have just been my comp singing in english... and they were like "Elder Hartvigsen, vamos vamos vamos" And then everyone was like yeah go on up dude... and I was thinking, oh my heavens... I am not about to sing this song in public with them.  I Figured it was just better to be a good sport and go on up there. So I sang the One Republic song with my comp.  I felt like such a BAFOON! But it turned out alright :)

Sunday at church we had another small turn out... of 38 people. But I had an awesome experience later that evening. We went out with a member to visit this less active lady that we have been trying to find... and it went really well, because SHE WASNT THERE. But don't worry, It went really well, because went by the house of our "plan B" (another less active lady returning to activity) and she let us in. She had her Libro de Mormòn open on the coffee table. And I felt impressed to ask her to share with us what she was reading. And so we began talking, and she mentioned how she had an interview with the Branch President that day.... and it was EXACTLY WHAT SHE NEEDED. Because apparently for over a year she had had "some problem" that made her feel uncomfortable in church. So she didn't go. It made her scared to go to the temple. So she stopped going. And overall she was just in really bad shape (spiritually speaking.) She told us that she finally got up the courage to go talk with the President, and after the interview he told her that everything was okay. And she was "good to go!"

And so... whether this lady needed forgiveness, comfort, counsel, or reassurance... Im not sure. But I felt overwhelming joy for her, and especially just to see how her burdens had been lifted! We testified about the healing power of the Atonement, and what an incredibly MARVELOUS thing it is. And I just wanted to give her a hug right there, because I know exactly how she was feeling. There are some burdens in this life... that can only be lifted by having a conversation with a Priesthood Leader. And I`ve had my share of those... and The Atonement of Jesus Christ ALWAYS heals us. What a cool experience!

Also something I would like to share that I read from the scriptures... that REALLY stuck out to me! And I first want to bare my testimony of the power of starting personal scripture study with a prayer :) I have really come to appreciate my 1 hour of personal study in the mornings... and ask my father in heaven as I am starting that he will consecrate that hour for me, to learn by the power of the spirit something that will strengthen my personal testimony and faith about him and his gospel. So that later (maybe even that day) I will be able to help someone feel that same spirit, and be a better teacher than before! (First seek to obtain my word, and then seek to declare it. Doctrine and Covenants 11:21)

So looking at the very well known scripture in Helaman 5:12 we read:
12  And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty stormshall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Okay we learn that by building our foundation on "the rock of christ" we will not fall right? But what does that look like? "building our foundation on the rock of christ?" Well all the primary answers work... by adding up to the desired result. (reading scriptures, go to church, pray, go to temple) But a really cool connection I made to this is found in 3rd Nephi 18. (verses 1-9) demonstrate how the Lord instituted the sacrament with his Apostles in the Americas shortly after his resurrection. And verses 10 and 11 are great also. But verse 12 is the BEST, because it says at the end... that by always doing these things (or in other words PARTAKING OF THE SACRAMENT WEEKLY) you are edifying yourself on the rock of christ. And then making the connection back to Helaman... thats a foundation that if men build on, THEY CANNOT FALL. It doesn't even say the WONT fall. Its that they cannot. Its impossible.

Because its IMPOSSIBLE for someone to go inactive if they are going to church every week. And Its a promise from the Lord that if we will just go to church weekly and partake of his sacrament, we are building ourselves on the most sure of foundations! I testify that the sacrament is one of the greatest and most sure "guarantees" of spiritual safety that we have. I love the scriptures. I love the power of prayer, and know that we can learn and find so many hidden treasures in the scriptures through the power of the spirit. 

I love you guys all! And encourage you to start your personal study with a prayer... and a sincere desire to learn, and see what the Lord can teach you :)

Love Elder Hartvigsen