Monday, August 31, 2015

Aug 31, 2015, My last Aug 31, on my mission! One year left!

An amazing p-day with the district, visiting the ships in Talchuano

El Huascar, The Peruvian ship

I'm using my rain gear, ALOT

The hats Elder Butler knitted for us.

The grren one is for Brazil's colors for Elder Abreu

Hey guys!! Today is my last August 31st in the mission..... hahaha

Well I am doing great here, enjoying the end of winter, and looking forward to summer! And as far as updates go for my sector, our Investigator Santos says that he still wants to get baptized but wants to wait until October when we are attending in our normal church building. And after he can get to know more and more members. Because he feels like he knows only a couple, and wants to really have friends in the ward and everything... so we still have hope for him! hah

I don't know if I told you about Marcos or not... but he is this super great guy who is returning to activity in the church. As of 3 months ago, he was completely inactive and hadn't gone to church in YEARS. (In spite of being a returned missionary like 15 years prior) Anyways... we have been working with him, and he is really progressing. Mostly because he has a son Josè (12 years old) that he wants to grow up in the church. He is already a member, but hasn't gone to church in years just like his dad. But they are progressing super well, and actually yesterday Josè received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained a Deacon. It was so awesome to see the family all there together, and know that this is going to be a great blessing for that family in multiple ways... 1. The dad feels the responsibility to raise his child in the church, and help his son accomplish his Priesthood duties. 2. The relationship between the two is being strengthened. 3. They have been studying the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet together and are just making lots of progress and really making GOOD changes in their lives! So that was definitely a highlight from this week.

And something so funny from yesterday was Hermano Nelson who is a recent convert of like 6 months, and is like 65 years old. He used to be Catholic or Evangelical (Im not sure which). But he always makes so many comments during the sacrament, when it is so quiet but his voice is heard echoing all throughout the room. He just says things under his breath like "I am going to receive DOUBLE blessings today :)" or "I feel so strengthened right now" haha... and when the deacon passed him the tray he took the bread and exclaimed "GRACIAS, HIJO MIO, GRACIAS!" (thank you my son, thank you) hahaha all the members were just smiling and I was sitting right next to him smilling also. There is nothing wrong with that.... its just how he shows his appreciation to God, and to that young Deacon :) And the best part is when we were singing the hymns, I have a pocket sized hymn book and I asked if he could read the little lettering to sing along with me, and he says " yeah hold on one second"... and pulls out a little yellow magnifying glass from his jacket pocket, and holds it right up next to his eye, with the book right behind it and sang along with me! :) haha It made me smile so much, but at the same time I knew Heavenly Father was pleased with the efforts this man is making to come to church, and renew his covenants and everything, probably without fully understanding exactly WHY! He just knows he feels good in the church, and thats it! :)

And I guess that puts my stories from this week to an end. We have one more week left in this cambio, even though I don't think much will change this cambio.... but WHO KNOWS? Crazy things happen during cambios... crazy things! I think we have about one more week or rain and then it should be turning into summer! Thats what everyone says. Anyways, I will send some pictures afterwards. Love you guys! Have a stellar week, and remember to keep studying the scriptures DAILY. The Book of Mormon specifically!!!! :)

Con mucho amor,
Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, August 24, 2015

Aug 24, 2015 Visiting El Huascar, the Peruvian boat

a mini cambio with Elder Troncoso, Robertson and Sellers

Random pic, ours towels drying on the balcony

Me and my comp Elder Flores

Awesome pizzas we made

helllooooo again everybody ;) 

Well its been another good week here in Hualpèn. I hope all of you especially Cole and Brit enjoyed their first week of school!! woo hoo! You gotta give me the details about it. Anyways, today we had district class early in the morning, because we are changing the P day up a little bit for only this week. Because tomorrow we are going on a Zone activity to Talcahuano to see this boat they have called "El Huascar" It was Peruvian boat that had a big role to play in the history of Chile. Its an interesting story, my chilean companion gave me the whole run down.  You can look it up if you want. Anyways, it should be fun, and I'm super excited because Its in the Port of Talcahuano, where my first sector was. After living there for 6 months, we never went inside the boat, but I saw it from the distance EVERY SINGLE DAY.  So it should be a fun thing, and I will send pics of it next week.

Well we had a super great P-day eve yesterday because it was Elder Abreu`s birthday (the brazilian elder that lives with us) and so Saturday we bought stuff to make pizza, and made 4 pizzas last night and we went to the Mormon movie theater. (haha the portable DVD player we have with movies from the church) And we even made a dessert pizza too, it was delicious! I will send pics.

Well our investigator Santos that I told you about is still coming to church and everything, but they had a lesson with him last week and I wasn't there because we had a mini cambio that day, and apparently he said he just isn't quite prepared to be baptized. He says that he still needs to learn more, and thats basically his biggest impidment. Which is a little frusterating, If I were there I would have explained and asked him If he thinks that all the 8 year old children that are baptized are fully prepared, and know everything they need to know at that age. OF COURSE NOT! But that is what the Lord has commanded, and so we must do it. But we are gonna try to have another lesson this week and see if we can help him progress.

We had a great first lesson with a Lady yesterday named Ester. She is an older grandma thats probably close to 80 years old. And we saw her walking in the street, and I stopped her and simply offered to carry her grocery bags for her, and so we walked her about 5 minutes to her house and then I asked if we could come in and share a message about Jesus Christ and stuff... and she said yes. And basically was super receptive and expressed her question about "Why on earth are there so many churches, and why do they all teach different things, if there is only ONE GOD?!" sound familiar????  What a seeker of truth, right?

Anyway, we tought the Restoration and it seemed to give her a little more answers to her questions, and obviously we left her the challenge to pray and ask god if its true. And we are going back on wednesday to see how it went! If you can, please pray that she might receive an answer that she will be able to comprehend (obviously if its the Lords will.)

And well... the scripture thought that I want to share this week that has really made an impact on me is found in 2 Nephi 25:26

26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Well, if you havent realized... everything we do in this church is based on Christ. We talk of him, we preach of him, we prophesy of him we rejoice in him right? but the question is.... WHY? Well, we do all that SO THAT our children (or whomever else we come in contact with) will know where they need to go to find a remission of their sins. Because the only way to receive a remission of our sins is through the Atoning sacrifice of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. He is the way, there is no other way that works. If we are not giving all the emphasis in our teachings, to the Savior we are missing the Point. 

I love that it says WE REJOICE in Christ. Its so true. Is there anyone that has not done something wrong, repented, and felt the relieving power of the Atonement of Christ work to clean you from your sins... and not wanted to PURELY jump up and down rejoicing because of the change that you have felt? Thats the power of the Atonement. Its a 100% blessing, and miracle that we can receive a remission from our sins. But only through Christ. Thats why rejoice in him, and preach, testify, and talk of him. So that our children (and the rest of the world) will know how to find that same Joy!

Christ lives today! Use his Atonement! And Rejoice in the blessings that come!

I love you guys tons, and have an outstanding week :)

Elder Hartvigsen

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Aug 17, 2015 El Libro de Mormon: Otro testamento de Jesuchriso

Heloooooo again everybody :)

Well, to be honest... this week has been just a little bit hard. Because my companion has been 1. Really really homesick because of the natural disaster (mudslides and flooding) that happened in his hometown of Tocopilla. He was really discouraged the first few days of the week, because his family only wrote him a short note that said "the house is flooded... but all the family is okay." And then later the Mission President called him to see how he was doing... and The President called his family to see how they were doing, and so that made him feel a lot better. But then he got a really bad fever, and we havent really worked that much this week. A few hours each day. But yesterday we stayed inside the whole day after church. But don't worry he is feeling a lot better now.... I think mostly because its P-Day. :)

Anyways, the brightside for me is that I had a WHOLE bunch of extra study time!!! And I have seriously loved it. Because I have started reading "Our Search for Happiness" by Elder M. Rusell Ballard. And its seriously an awesome read!

One cool story that happened about this is this: We contacted a Jehovah´s Witness guy the other day in the street. (He is actually a missionary of their church. aka: it would be impossible to convince him of anything) And we attempted to share about the importance of the Book of Mormon. And he was all hard hearted and saying "yeah, lets say that Jesus did come to the Americas... what NEW things did he have to teach to the people there, that he didn't already teach in the bible?" Well... we explained, that he didnt really teach anything NEW. Because he taught the same doctrine that is found in the Bible. Its just there are things in the Book of Mormon that are not found in the Bible... or that are not explained very well. Because the Bible has been changed and altered so much (even some of the pure and plain doctrines have been taken out). He demanded examples....

And for some reason, in the heat of the moment, my mind seriously couldnt come up with a single reason. haha I felt like an absolute innocent fool. My companion and I seriously couldn't think of anything to say, I don't know why my mind didn't think of anything but... we just testified, invited him to read, and left. And seriously I felt so bad after that contact, just wishing I had had something better to say... and then later that very same night I was reading in that book by Elder Ballard. And there is a section that he literally says "I know some of you wonder why we Mormons focus so much on the Book of Mormon and not the Bible. We do CHERISH the Bible to be the word of God... but there are just some things that are not found there, that are found in the Book of Mormon. Or better said, doctrines that are explained more in depth." And he gave a list of a few examples.

1. Baptisms of children (Moroni 8)
2. The Fall of Adam (2 Nephi 2)
3. The Atonement of Christ (Alma 42)
4. The concept of Resurrection (Alma 11:43-44)

I was astonished to read EXACTLY what I wished I had known or remembered earlier. haha and the moral of the story... I dont think even if I gave those examples in that moment... that that really hard hearted guy would have changed, or even wanted to listen more. But I do know that It strengthed my testimony A TON from reading that book by elder Ballard. And I testify that the Book of Mormon truly is the Word of God. And it is the only book that contains THE FULNESS of the gospel of Jesus Christ. "Feast upon the words of Christ, for they truly tell us ALL things that we must do"

Yeah okay... I just want to ask everyone to please pray for our investigator Santos. He has a baptismal date for this saturday... and is basically just waiting for an answer to his prayers to go through with the decision. He freaking told us on saturday about this dream that he had. That he was at some sort of a party, and there were white roses and white baloons everywhere, and everyone was at these tables eating food. And he thought that it was an answer from God that he needed to be baptized. Then the very next day there was a party in his apartment complex.... with the same white roses and baloons, and food and everything. Then he realized that is WASN'T an answer from god. AHHHHHHH thats so annouying! haha

So I told him what I thought about the answer, and we invited him to keep praying and asking. And testified that the Lord would give him an answer that he would know was an answer to him! Please pray for him!! :)

Well thats about it for this week guys! Love you tons... and one funny thing is that this week we went to the grocery story to buy something, and literally 3 different abuelitas (grandmas) asked us how much something cost, or where the eggs were located, or something related to that because they thought we worked there, with our shirt and tie, and dark pants and sweater and name tags. haha. It was just something that made me laugh!

ok. les amo mucho! chao chao
Elder Hartvigsen

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Aug 10, 2015 A crazy windstorm

Hey guys!! So this week we had a really great "special conference" type thing in the mission. Where basically the theme was "how we can better reach our potential as missionaries."

And we talked a lot about King Benjamin's address found in Mosiah 2-6 and how there are tons of things that help us reach our potential. Like how the people there, became sufficiently humble, by recognizing their awful and pathetic state. Speaking of how we were truly made from the dust of the earth, and compared to God we are nothing. And if we get that in our minds, and understand that... it will help us rely WHOLY on the Savior, and our Father in Heaven. And well lots of other lessons, we took out of how we can better reach our potential.

And something that the President was focusing on... is us BETTER using the scriptures in our teachings. And so we are reading the Book of Mormon as a mission starting like 2 weeks ago, and finishing November 30th. And something that he said would be a great help to us... is in our study journal write down ALL the times when the Lord makes "the impossible... become possible!" or all the miracles the lord performs, or even all the times we see the hand of the Lord in the life of someone in the scriptures. Because that will help us better see how if the Lord can do ALL THOSE MIRACLES for people in the scriptures.. He can make the "impossible... become possible" for us! :)

And so thats what I have been doing... and its true. Like just for example, there are dozens of examples just in the first few chapters of the book of Mormon. LIke Nephi and his family going to get the plates multiple times, and always escaping with their lives, and then Laban being placed in Nephis path to be able to obtain the plates, and living for 8 years in the wilderness. With the women living off raw meat (but not having to cook it, because the Lord commanded them not to make fire very often, because he would make the food flavorfull) and despite that, the women still had sufficient milk for their babies, and sufficient strength to handle the traveling without murmuring! (1 Nephi 17) And thats just the beginning...  But I am really focusing on that, and its gonna be my second time finishing the B.O.M in spanish in the mission, and I know it will help me to better use the scriptures in our teachings! :)

And focusing on the scriptures, We all learned to sing the song "Scripture Power" in spanish! It was super awesome!!! and they did a funny presentation on the song how the translation was "Skripchur Powhur" and its a catchy song in spanish! 

Umm like 2 nights ago, it was so windy.... and living up high on the 12th floor makes it even worse! We could hardly sleep because it sounded like a hurricane was outside bashing and wailing against our windows... I seriously thought the glass door might break! But the next morning (sunday) that power had been cut, and so the pump in the building that brings water up to our floor wasnt working. So none of us could shower, or shave, before church.  and we had to walk down 12 flights of stairs because the elevator was out of power. haha

But anyways, I like my sector, and we all have a good time living together the 4 of us. And we meet all sorts of people in the streets. Like this guy came walking up to us bellowing (singing) hymns... "O Elders of Israel, come join now with me"  and introduced himself as a member of the Stake Choir. But assured us that he wasn't a member of the church, he has just been a member of the stake choir for years...  but doesn't want to join the church. But loves the choir! haha what the heck?

Will you guys please pray for the people in the North of Chile. I don't know if you heard, but there are tons of land slides and stuff because of the rain.

My comps family Elder Flores is from Tocopilla, and their house got flooded with rain and mud and they had to evacuate. Just keep them in your prayers!! :) thanks

And we are teaching Santos right now. he is like 60 years old, and has a baptism date for Aug. 22 I think. and seems to be really great, but my comp says they always have to keep changing his date because he can never quite commit to the date. But we are gonna work with him, to help him understand that baptism is the beginning. not the end. you don't have to be perfect, just willing!

anyways, things are good here. have a stellar week. and know that I love you all!

Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015 Luxury Living in my new area of Hualpen

Juan Palma 89, my sacrament passing companion in Coihueco 

The Moya-Diaz family, saying goodbye

The Moya-Diaz family, saying goodbye and giving me a mug and wooden decoration with a poem, 

My new view

Elder Florez from Tocopilla, Chile, my new comp

12th floor views

We are in one of the nicest buildings in Hualpen.
Elder Abreu from Sao Paulo, Brazil

Hey guys!! So.... Im here in my first week in Hualpèn. And of course it was just a little sad to leave Coihueco behind... but I am way excited to be here in my new sector. We are only about 15-20 minutes by bus from Concepcion, and so its nice to be back here close to Talcahuano where I started the mission. One of the coolest things about where we live... is WHERE WE LIVE!  We live in one of the nicest apartment buildings in Hualpèn. And we live on the 12th floor! Its weird coming in and out of the house, and having to take the elevator. Everytime we do, I actually feel like I am on vacation at the beach in a hotel resort! haha.

But its a really nice place. And the biggest tender mercy I have experienced, is having an equally high pressurized and HOT shower as those in the united states :))))))) Complete luxury! And so thats been a bonus this week.

And I guess its a small world, becaus I am back not only in the same zone... but also the same district as Hermana Kinkade! And our district leader is Elder Sellers (my old comp from Coihueco. I think I already mentioned that. ha) And also our church building was set on fire sort of. Someone was cooking fried chicken inside, and.... NO JUST KIDDING. But the whole relief society room caught up in flames from the inside a few months ago, and so we are attending at the stake center in another sector. And thats where the zone leaders and the hermanas go to church as well. So its cool, and weird at the same time to see Hermana Kinkade at church again! 

The members here seem pretty cool, and even one family was so excited to hear I was from Norway. They kept calling me "the viking!" and wanted to talk all about my norwegian heritage. That I know NOTHING about! 

Then we got on the conversation the whole night of last names. And they taught me a whole bunch about mapuche last names and their culture!  I felt like I was back in 5th grade utah history class :)

Anyways... this saturday we had a sports day, where we played basketball in the morning and futbol in the afternoon with all the youth. And I think since I havent really ran or done excercise like that in AGES that it damaged my body... internally... or in other words I may have torn my calf muscles. Because I am in UTTER PAIN with each step I take!! I hope it passes soon, because it makes EVERYTHING more difficult!  But I have this roller type thing in the house that I used to roll my calves out like Mark Basil did.... man its a killer treatment!

And something we are doing as a mission is reading the book of mormon together. And so one really cool spiritual lesson I learned this week is found solely in the first verse of the Book of Mormon.

1 Nefi 1:1 is POWERFUL. Nephi starts out by saying how he was experienced so many afflictions in his days. "But nevertheless still being highly favored by the Lord." And you might ask yourself... why would the Lord let someone that he loves, and favors so much experience so many afflictions or trails in their life? Well the next sentence sums it all up! He then says that having achieved a knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God. (Of course I am translating from spanish so its probably not exact) But I wrote the pattern that I learned in the margin....     That Nephi received a knowledge of the goodness and of the mysteries of God, for having experienced many afflictions throughout his days. IN SPITE OF BEING HIGHLY FAVORED OF THE LORD. :)

The Lord allows bad/HARD things to happen to those he loves, even those that are highly favored by him. So that we can come to knowledge of how truly GOOD he is... and even of his mysteries!

Powerful lesson right? :)

I hope you guys have an excellent week.... and remember how truly good God as been to us. You might even want to take the time to write down all the things you see daily of the Lords hand in your life. So that he knows how important those things they are for us, and that we truly cherish those moments. Then he will be more likely to give us more of them!

Con much amor!
Elder Hartvigsen