Monday, August 25, 2014

Honestly, A Busy Week

Hola a todos! Como estan? Yo espero que ustedes estén bien.

Still the rainy season

Yeah, it was actually a pretty busy week. It seems like last Monday was a really long time ago! Where to start... So this week we got a new district leader. Things are definitely different with him. He seems a little more focused on how we can improve our numbers and help our areas more which is definitely a good thing. Our numbers haven't exactly been the best these past couple weeks, so we are going to need to step it up. We also didn't have any investigators at church again, which was pretty disheartening. This week we are going to really try and push for that I think. So hopefully next week we will have some come. We are actually speaking this week, so I get to really put my Spanish to the test!

Exchanges this week
So this last Wednesday we had exchanges and I went with another Elder to his area in Chiaotempan which is about a twenty minute ride in a combi (more on those in a bit) away. I had a really good time with him on that exchange. We actually taught a lesson and taught two or three members a thought too. I really enjoy working with him. Chiaotempan is actually a really cool area with a really sweet central marketplace. I think that it is actually better than the Central of Tlaxcala where we went last P-day. I´m going to have to go there and see if I can a find a cool poncho haha! So yeah, their area seems pretty sweet. They have a pretty nice apartment too. I actually had a hot shower! It was awesome! I will never for as long as I live will take warm showers for granted. We should have a working water heater with gas next week sometime though because we have to change our house, so I´m looking forward to that, a lot actually.

So we only had exchanges for a day, then it was back to normal with Elder Delgado. We had a pretty good week with some really spiritual lessons. Really when we teach the right way, it isn't us that is teaching the lesson, it is definitely the spirit. I always feel privileged to teach with the spirit when we have a good lesson. We have investigators that are progressing very well with our lessons but we can´t get them to come to church. It is pretty frustrating and we are going to hit that hard this week. It is also really tough in this mission, because even if someone is ready to make the covenant of baptism, they need to come to church 5 times before baptism.

So this week was also Elder Delgado´s birthday. He turned nineteen on Friday. I think he had a good birthday, it was honestly a slow day. However Friday night was great! We had Little Caesars pizza that night for his birthday. It seems really weird to me to eat Little Caesars pizza in Mexico, but even bad pizza is good right? Elder Delgado loves pizza too, so that was a great meal for him. That night we also had a kind of talk discussion with President Christensen (our mission pres.) about the Gospel of Christ. It was really spiritual and he interacted with the audience very well. We actually had an investigator show up to that and she really liked it. She even asked us when she could be baptized, which was awesome! Now we just need to get her to come to church!

Reunion with MTC companion

The next day we also had a meeting in Puebla at the offices with the president and all the trainers and new missionaries. It was really good, and I got to get some perspective on our companionship, and see the things that we do well and the things that we need to work on. It was fun to travel into Puebla and to see all of my MTC buddies.

This Sunday was good as well. We were actually told Saturday night that we were speaking, so we prepared talks and we had a class that we thought we were going to teach as well. I was actually excited to talk and teach a class, but we actually didn't speak and no one came to our class. We are speaking this week however, so I´ll have the opportunity to write another talk. It is honestly good practice for my Spanish to prepare a talk.

So some other things about my area and this mission in general is that there are a ton of dogs! A lot of them are strays but they're everywhere. Most of the time they will just leave you alone, but every once in while they kind of follow you and bark at you. So that´s always fun when you have to go down a street and a dog is right behind you just barking.

Also when we need to get around and it´s too far to walk we take these vans that are like little busses. They are called combis and they are always interesting. Another thing is that the drivers are crazy down here! Everyone drives really really aggressively and the speed is only really regulated by the many speed bumps. It´s pretty crazy, especially when you're crammed into a combi with like 15 other people and the driver is flooring it around the little streets and taking turns quickly. Honestly though, it´s pretty safe because everyone is very alert when they drive. I've never seen an accident and the President told me that he hasn't either. So some missionaries in Venice get to take those boat taxis around, but we get to take crazy vans!

Anyways, it was a good week. I hope you all are doing well with school starting and all. School is starting here as well, and all the kids have to wear uniforms. Anyway, love you all!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, August 18, 2014


Hola everyone! I hope you are doing well as this summer winds down. School is probably starting in just a few weeks. Wow! Crazy how time flies!
Interesting House in Tlaxcala

Things in Tlaxcala are still going pretty well. We have some good days and some tough ones. Our investigators are doing well, but it seems like not many are progressing the way that they could. We were pretty disappointed Sunday when we had none of our investigators come to church again. We had gotten some really solid commitments but still none showed up. It´s tough when you do all that you can do, but people choose not to keep commitment and come closer to Christ.

We did make contact with a very solid investigator however. Her name is Carmen and she was an investigator that the Elders that were in our area before us had taught. We had been trying to find a time to teach her since she works a lot, but we finally dropped by when she had some time. We taught the Plan of Salvation and the spirit was very strong. She gave the closing prayer and started to cry because the spirit was so strong. It has been the best lesson we've had here so far. It was really just a testament to me that the Lord really is preparing people to receive this gospel and make a change in their lives.

We also had Zone Conference and Interviews with the President this last week. They were both very good experiences and I love meeting other missionaries that are serving in this mission, especially when I have the chance to speak English!

District in Tlaxcala
The next day we had Interviews with the President and that was also really good. Our mission president is a great man, and is also a person that is nice to be around. I had a very good interview and also talked with Hermana Christensen. She actually knows some other Hartvigsens from the Salt Lake area which is pretty cool. It was a good time also just talking with other missionaries and seeing how they were doing and how their areas are.

I also found out where my MTC companions ended up. Elder Wilkey is in the eastern part of the Mission where it is more farmland. Hermana Christensen said they actually try to not send Americans to that part because it is less sanitary with the food since they just eat out of their gardens. I have actually been fortunate to be healthy so far. Pres. Christensen told us in our orientation that usually it is just a matter of time before we get really sick and have to get medication to flush our system. So I´m looking forward to that.

So I´ll try and give more description of what it is like here. We don't drink the tap water here and I´m pretty sure the locals don't either. The infrastructure here is totally different than in the states. In many of the places you buy water at the store or the tiendas that line the streets. There is a truck that drives around selling natural gas for your house. And every 2 or 3 days a garbage truck drives around honking its (very loud) horn to let people know to bring out their garbage. It really has shown me how nice things are back home where things are pumped directly to your house. I also haven't had a warm shower in a while because we don't have gas in our house right now.

 So we also have to change houses and look for a new one because our house didn't pass inspection. I´m not sure exactly why but we've been having problems with our water tank on the roof, and I think another reason might be because it is so big. Our house is actually very large for just two missionaries. It isn't exactly very nice but we are blessed with some nice things. We have a sort of clothes washer, but we still have to scrub our clothes and then hang dry them on the roof. The rain makes it tough to dry our clothes sometimes too.
The people here are very nice. The atmosphere is more laid back, but that also might just be because our area is
residential. There are lots of little tiendas everywhere amongst the houses that sell food and drinks. There are also lots of Tortillerias and Pandarias. Oh! I don't know if I´ve mentioned the Pan (bread) but it is great! It´s really more like cake, or donuts but it is soo good. It´s pretty cheap too so it makes a good snack or treat.

Yup, things are well here. It is tough sometimes, and I do wish that we had more investigators but it is still great to be a missionary. It´s great to have the Spirit so abundantly in my life. I have learned a ton these past couple months about the gospel and many other things. It´s crazy to think that cambios (changes) are in a couple weeks. Also one of the assistants called and we have to go to the mission offices in Puebla (an hour away) for something this Saturday. We don't know what it is for, but we might be changed. I heard from another elder that they are thinking of putting more Hermanas in Tlaxcala because of how safe it is here. It´s funny, I´m in the safest mission in Mexico, in one of the safest areas of the mission.

Anyways, I love you all! Enjoy your week!

Elder Hartvigsen

PS - Check out a video our zone made for Hermana Christensen's birthday. LINK HERE

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The White Tie

Hey everyone!

Things are still good here in MX. It was a good week, I actually had my first baptism and they asked me to do it. It was awesome! So we baptized a boy who is 9 years old. This week he and his mother asked if he could get baptized and since he was older than 8 and had already had all of the lessons from other missionaries we did it on Saturday. It was a really great spiritual experience. Also kind of scary making sure that I didn´t mess us the words in Spanish. The service was great, there were some really good talks by the one of the members of the bishopric and the Young Mens president. The boy's mother also gave a really great testimony. The members here are awesome! They all are very strong in thier faith and very nice. The ward I´m in (Atempan) is also fairly big. They usually have to use the overflow for sacrement meeting. It´s honestly bigger than Waterloo ward, haha.

The rest of the week was pretty good. We always do a lot of walking, especially when we teach investigators or have meals with members that live out in the southern neighborhoods of our area. We actually went further south in our area this week. It took us about 40 minutes to walk to this members house (who wasn´t home) and we still only were about halfway to the southern boundery of our area. I´ve actually heard that they are thinking about splitting up our area. That would probably be a good thing.

Our investigators are doing well and the lessons are almost always good. We are however having a hard time getting them to come to church. I also found out this week that in this mission investigators have to have attended 5 sacrement meetings before baptism. It is a lot, but it also means that retention is better and that the people that are baptised feel more comfortable going to church and keeping their covanants. But it also means that we have to set baptismal dates pretty far away. We also have an investigator that we are trying to help quit drinking. It has been really hard for him. I´m so glad that in my life I haven´t had to deal with that because it is such a horrible thing. However I know that if he really relies on the Lord and does the things that help bring him closer to Christ that he will be able to quit.

Yeah, all in all it was a good week. Kind of frustrating at times, and very spiritually uplifting at others. Spanish is still a large challenge for me but I´m pretty sure I´m making progress. It´s kind of crazy to think that I´ve been in Mexico for 3 or 4 weeks. The days seem long but in retrospect they seem pretty fast. Well, Love you guys!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, August 4, 2014

2nd Week en Mexico

¡Hola! I hope that everyone is doing well. 

Mountain view from Tlaxcala
Things are well here in Tlaxcala. So more specifically I am in the neighborhood Loma Bonita of Tlaxcala which is a nice pretty quiet community. It seems to have been a pretty regular week. Right now we have about 5 progressing investigators so we usually at least one or two lessons a day. Our lessons have been good, I´m still working on my Spanish so I don´t talk as much as I should but I´m definitely improving. It is really tough to not be able to really communicate well with people. I look forward to the day that I can engage in conversation in Spanish and not have to think about it that much. I know that if I trust in the Lord and keep working hard that he will help me improve.

Loma Bonita of Tlaxcala
So our days usually consist of a lot of walking and going from place to place. We do a fair amount of street contacting which is actually pretty painless because most of the people here are very nice. The food has still been good, not too exotic either. There is actually a KFC in our area with a Little Ceasars pizza right across the street. So it´s not like I´m way out in the middle of nowhere haha. Our area is pretty big though. We mostly stay in the northern part where most of the people live but every once in a while we walk to the southern part. We still havent seen probably the southern half our area. It´s alright though because most of it is empty land with a few scattered houses.

Church was good on Sunday. It is actually kind of interesting to hear the people sing. They don´t exactly sing in tune, but they sure do give it all they got. This Sunday was actually pretty sad for us. We had invited about 4 people to come to church but none of them showed up. It was especially rough when the Sister Missionaries that also serve in our ward had about 6 investigators show up to church. It is really sad as a missionary to see people not progressing in the way that they could. Hopefully we will be able to get more this Sunday. We might have a baptism this week. A member family has a nephew that is 9 years old that they say is ready for baptism. We are going over to meet him tonight to see if he actually is ready or not. So hopefully that will work out, it would also be a great oppurtunity to invite our other investigators to the Baptism to show them what it is like and so they can feel the spirit that is present at those meetings.

Overall things have been good. We´ve done a lot of walking which has started to help the weight I put on at the MTC haha. We did have a couple encounters with a few drunk people on Saturday night. Two of the people were pretty harmless, they just talked a lot. However near the end of the night we ran across this German guy that was pretty gone. He came and talked to us for a while and the spirit was not there. He was pretty agitated and at the end when we left he started yelling at us. Afterwards I realized how the spirit was not there at all and how bad it felt. If I have learned one thing on my mission it is to rely on the spirit and follow those promptings. The reason we have the word of wisdom is so that we can keep our bodies in a place where we can recieve those promptings. I also realized how vital the spirit is in it´s absence.

Anyway, love you guys!
-Elder Hartvigsen