Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Segundo Semana

Hey everyone! 

So it is now the end of my second week in the MTC, pretty crazy. The days feel long but the weeks fly by. As last week it was a very busy week. I have a feeling that all my weeks as a missionary will be very busy haha. So now we have two teachers that teach us 4 or 5 times a week. We still have Hermano Sallisbury and now we have Hermano Mendoza who was the teacher that was pretending to be 'Marco', or first investigator. Mendoza is a really nice guy, he served in San Diego and is now married. He also is really into rock climbing, so it is nice to talk with him about climbing. We are done teaching our first "investigator" but now we have three new ones. We have one played by each teacher and a gold tag investigator that you can pick up by talking to them and setting up an appointment with around the campus. The gold tag will be interesting because they may or may not be members of the church. Anyways, it is really good practice to actually teach in Spanish even though it is really difficult and challenging when you can't really say all the things that you want to.

We had the best Sunday devotional this week as well. Janice Kapp Perry and her husband came to talk to us. If you don't know Sister Perry has composed tons of the primary songs like "Armies of Helaman/Sisters of Zion." It was really cool because we sang a bunch of her songs and it took me back to those primary days. They were also very fun speakers and very animated. Just real you know. She also told a very funny story of how she met her husband. So she and her husband took a clarinet class at BYU and had sort of eyed each other all semester. At the end of the class they had to perform and as Sister Perry was getting ready and sucking on her reed Douglas Perry nudged her and said: "Those lips look like they were made for something better than sucking on a clarinet." As soon as she said that Brother Perry, who is an old 80 something guy, got up pumped his fists, walked over to his wife at the pulpit and kissed her in front of everyone! It was hilarious! They both gave very good talks, and you could really feel the spirit there, especially when we sang a round of Armies of Helaman at the end.

Yesterday for the Tuesday Devotional we had D Todd Christopherson speak to us and all the Mission Presidents since it is the week where all the Mission Presidents come to be trained at the MTC. At that meeting there were 6 apostles total: Bednar, Oaks, Nelson, Ballard, Christopherson, and Anderson. It was really cool just to see them there, and that they would be at that meeting even though they weren't all talking. Christopherson gave a amazing talk on the worth of souls and the Charity of Christ. He gave a quote that really resonated with me by CS Lewis: "There are no ordinary people, you have never talked to a mere mortal." That is such a cool thought, that everyone has an eternal soul and has the potential to be a god. It really motivates us to make sure to talk to everyone we can because everyone has such potential. It's like Bishop Campbell always said: No one came to this world to be mediocre. He also said some really rousing things about how it is necessary for us to teach with and have the charity of Christ. When we have that pure love for people they will see that, and listen to the things we have to say. Those things in particular hit me because that was something that I had been thinking about and praying for. Sweet devotional all in all.

So this week has also been pretty trying, especially with one of our new investigators, Miguel. Miguel is played by Hermano Sallisibury and is a tough investigator that kept asking us why he needed the Book of Mormon if he already has the bible. We were kind of stumped because we didn't know how to say those things in Spanish, and Sallisbury was speaking really fast to us so he was hard to understand. One of my companions got really frustrated halfway through and kind of put his scriptures down in a huff and was quiet. It was a really tough and humbling experience that I think is necessary for us to go through. The Lord breaks us down so that he can build us back up stronger, just like when we work out with our body like I did in wrestling. Anyway, after the lesson the Elder was upset and really frustrated, he just kind of sat down in the hall. Right then I bowed my head and said a prayer, that we as a companionship could be comforted, and learn the things that we need to learn from this experience. Right as soon as I finished my prayer the elders who study in the other room started to listen to a talk by Elder Bednar. It was loud enough for us to hear and Bednar said: Do your best, keep your covenants and mission rules, work hard and stop worrying about it. It was a super awesome experience that really helped me out. It was one of the most concrete answers that I have received from a prayer.

Elder Wilkey, Elder Dixon and Elder Hartvigsen (Me!)

We also had a new district come into our zone this week with 6 new Elders and 2 Hermanas. They are good missionaries and they work hard. We are also getting another district today so we will have four districts in our zone which is a lot. The branch president also said that more districts are coming, so we might get another one next week or the week after. Its kind of crazy, when we first got here we thought that the other district was so wise and knew so much, but after a few days you figure out everyone in the MTC is more or less on the same level with each other. There are other elders that you look up to, but I realized that everyone here is going to be a greenie in a few short weeks. Kind of interesting to realize the perspective you have and how you view other people.

Yeah, all in all it has been a good week at the MTC. It's great here and I love it, but I'm really excited to actually get out in the field and work with the people. The Spanish will be tough, but I'll learn and the Lord will provide the way. That is one thing that keeps on coming up, is that we can't do this work without the help of the Holy Ghost, and the Lord. Anyway, love you guys!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Thursday, June 19, 2014

First Week Down

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hey everyone! 

Things are going good in the MTC, it has been a week packed full of fun, new (and sometime frustrating) experiences. The first day I was here after you dropped off your bags in the apartment they pretty much throw you into a class where the teacher only speaks Spanish to you for the rest of the afternoon. Oh, I am at the West Campus of the MTC which is where all of the Spanish speaking missionaries are. West campus is awesome! There is a lot of space and its not really cramped and indoors like it is in the Main campus. 

Elder Hartvigsen arriving at the Provo MTC, June 11, 2014
So I'm in a trio right now with Elder Wilkey (my original comp) and Elder Dixon. They are both great guys and have good work ethics. I've heard that trios can be tough but we get along very well, and It'll be weird to be not in on once we get down to mexico. So in our district there are 3 Elders and 4 Hermanas. The Hermanas' names are Jenson, Olsen, Wathen, and Larsen. Everyone in my district is awesome and works well together. 

So the way that they teach us is in makeshift classrooms that are set up in apartments. So there are just desks and whiteboards set up in two of the rooms in each apartment and a couple other rooms for teacher "investigators." So we got our first investigator last Friday who's name is Marco. It is really a teacher that plays someone that they taught on their mission, or I guess someone they just made up. Anyway, we teach him in only Spanish, so it is really tough. Not only do we have to prepare the lesson to fit his needs but we have to use only Spanish. Its really tough because you want to engage the investigator and ask them a lot of questions and keep the lesson dynamic but you don't know how to say anything or answer their questions when you finally figure out what you ask. It is a very humbling and awesome experience and it is the best way to practice short of actually getting an investigator. 

We also met our branch presidency last Friday and they are Awesome! Our branch president is one of the most loving, wise people that I have ever met in my life. He had all of our names memorized before we even met him and you can tell that he loves you on that real intimate level. Everything he says is also so insightful and you can tell that he has really mastered receiving revelation and using the spirit.

So my entire district is going to the Mexico Puebla Norte Mission, and it seems like at least half of the new districts are going there too. So Puebla will bet a huge surge of new missionaries. It will be cool to know a bunch of people already when I get to Puebla too. The other district is going to Tampico and Mexico City Chaco I think. The district arriving today is going to Guatemala. 

Anyways West Campus is really fun, everyone speaks Spanish and its a lot more open. You can study outside in like the apartment common area next to like this stream so I feel really blessed. Also its just my trio in our apartment so I don't have to share the showers with like a million dudes (I mean Elders).

I'm so grateful to be here at the MTC, you feel the spirit so much here it really is unexplainable the spirit you feel. Not that we don't work hard and get frustrated but I feel so blessed to be able to come here and get a way from the world and focus on those things that are truly important. I'm really excited to teach people and have already gotten a taste of the love that I'm going to feel for those Pueblitos.

I've also learned that it isn't about me, but that I'm just a vessel or instrument in the hands of the Lord. We watched the talk Character of Christ by David A Bednar and that is hands down the best talk I have ever seen. It was an MTC devotional on Christmas a few years ago and it literally changed my perspective and my life. All of you people reading this should watch it. It's really mind blowing. I also saw Elder Holland's talk where he talks about Joseph and Hyrum Smith's final days and holds up the book of mormon that Hyrum dogeared the page of the scripture he read to Joseph in Carthage jail. That's probably my second favorite talk so you guys should watch it too. It's funny, someone in the bishopric told me I would get pumped to hear from Apostles and I totally do now! 

Anyways, my time is running out but I love you guys, thanks for all the emails. They are great, and all of you guys supporting me is such a blessing. Love you guys. And hey, just in case you didn't know, the church is true!

Elder Hartvigsen

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hello World! 

Today I leave for the Provo MTC where I will be learning Spanish in preparation to go to Mexico. I am excited to begin my service as a full time Missionary for the LDS church. I'm excited to go and spread the Gospel and teach of Jesus Christ. I will be staying in the MTC for six weeks until I depart for Puebla.