Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mexico City

Hello everyone. 

I feel very strange writing on a Wednesday, and I assure you all that I have permission. So I'm not sure if I told all of you but on Monday I went to Mexico City with an Elder in my zone to see a specialist. It was awesome! But we didn't get home until 9:30 so we didn't have time to write Monday or yesterday because we had a bunch of appointments.

So last Tuesday was a pretty normal day, we had a good amount of lessons and found a new investigator. We also went out with the Elders Quorum President, Javier and he is a super solid missionary. He served in Cancun about 2 years ago but he still teaches really well. He helps us out a lot whenever we go out with him. 

Wednesday was the same, we also had our weekly planning session that day because on Thursday we had a zone conference with the President! Zone Conferences are the best. We talked a lot about the state of the mission, and about how we are going to improve. President Christensen showed us how the mission was when he arrived here and how it has changed since he´s been here. In the past few months we've been dropping in numbers of baptisms, investigators and other such things. We talked about what´s happening, what the underlying causes are, and how we can improve to see more people enter into a covenant with their Heavenly Father. We talked a lot about how to find new investigators and how to leave and follow up on commitments. It was a great conference, because a struggle that we have in our area is that it´s tough to find new investigators. We are seeing improvement, but we still have a far way to go here and in the zone. 

As always we also ate great food that the Hna. Christensen prepared. I also realized that Pres. and Hna. Christensen only have about 2 changes left until they go back home and we receive a new mission president. It´s crazy that they are going to go home and that we will have someone else, and I also imagine that there will be many changes that come with the new mission president. It´ll be great!

Friday and Saturday were pretty normal as well, many appointments fell through. I am however, grateful for our new mission leader that we received a few weeks ago. He is super excited to work and he´s doing a great job so far. Sunday was normal as well, we only have one investigator that attends, the mother of Javier. She is doing alright, but has had trouble accepting a baptismal date. We´re praying a lot for her.

Mexico City
On Monday we had interchanges and I went to Mexico City with Elder Espinoza. It was awesome! It was also very nice to be able to get out of Puebla for a bit and see what it´s like farther out. So the bus ride there was about 3 hours for the traffic (its usually 2) and it was really strange because they showed "The Fast and the Furious" on the bus. It felt weird to watch a movie, but it was cool to see the mountains in between Puebla and D.F. Also the city is huge! When you come down out of the mountains you just see waves of houses and buildings as far as you can see. 

So we got there, took the subway which was a cool experience and my first time taking a subway. It was packed, and its impressive how many people take the train, and how fast it goes. A train passes by every 2 minutes and every train is huge, and full. We also took a bus that had a huge line to get on. There are just a ton of people that live there and take public transport. We also ate some pretty good street tacos, and I ate one of head-meat. It tasted pretty good.

On the way back, the bus took a different route because on the normal pass, it snowed and they shut it down. So we tood a different route but it must have been the only one open because there was a ton of traffic. It took us more than 4 hours to return to Puebla. It was a really fun day though.

Yup, and here we are at Wednesday already. Time goes by really fast. This week we find out who has changes again. I can´t believe that another change already went by. Well, everyone have a good week!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, March 16, 2015

Book of Mormon Stories

Hello everyone! I hope that you all had a good week where ever you are. We had a good week here. 

We learned a lot and have seen some progress in some of our investigators and in the area. So on Tuesday, we started the week off by having interchanges with the assistants. I was here in Aquiles Serdan with Elder Hammer who was actually here before I was. That was a good day. We actually found 3 new investigators who are from Oaxaca. The father, Mario is pretty funny. He talks really fast, At times I couldn't understand him very well. We also have had a few more lessons with the Baleon Family this week. They are doing good, we've challenged the father to be baptized and he told us that he was going to pray about it.

Wednesday was a normal day, had some lessons. On Thursday we had a super interesting la comida [meal]. So the member we ate with is an archaeologist. We started asking him some questions because we saw some books that he had about the Maya and other archeologyish stuff. So he started telling us that he has done a bunch of research on the Maya and other Tribes of Mexico and showed us some books that he collaborated on that compare the Book of Mormon to the record that there is of ancient civilizations in the Americas. Then he told us about a stone that was found with Mayan on one side and Reformed Egyptian on the other. Then he told us that he has it and showed it to us! It was pretty rad. Later in the week, we ate with them again and he showed us a short movie he helped make about the location of the Book of Mormon. It was pretty cool too. He and his friend who's an archaeology professor made it. They went to a bunch of different ruins and talked about the characteristics that the land of the BoM would have to have. It was a good conversation, he knows a ton. He also told us that Cholula is a pyramid from the Jaredites.

Friday was pretty good. We had a few lessons and it was rainy day. Its gotten a little cooler here. Its also been raining a bit. Also Friday we had a "Fireside Chat" with President Christensen where we can invite investigators, less actives, or who ever to come talk about a gospel topic. This time it was the Book of Mormon. He also talked about some indigionous writings in the mission that have been found as well, in Cholula and Tlaxcala. He showed us a drawing from Cholula with 8 ships that came from a different land and then compared it with the Jaredites about how they came with 8 ships as well. I also learned that it says that the Jaredites filled a boat wih fish because there were only 7 brothers. He also talked about the God that the Cholula people talk about that came down, and taught them. The history also says that this god taught them to keep records on gold plates. Pretty cool stuff.

The Zone Leader's desk
Honestly I learned a ton about how the Book of Mormon coincides with the history here, but in the end the reason I know the Book of Mormon is true is because I prayed about it and received an answer. The President also talked about that, how its always interesting to look at the intellectual side of things, but in the end we need to receive our own testimony from God, not from men or history.

Friday and Saturday were pretty normal. We did find our that one of the less actives we teach, Tomas had a ton of kids. We asked him how many and he told us that if he told us we wouldn't believe him. He then told us he has 36 children from 3 wives and 85 grandchildren. I said "Wow", then he said "No Wow, I worked hard for that!" It was pretty funny, and he´s super old.

The Mexican Patriarch
Well, once again I hope that you all have a good productive week and stay out of trouble!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another week in Paradise

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. When I write all of you, I always realize that its really warm here. I hope you all enjoyed the snow! 

We had a good week here in our area. Not a super super good week, but a good one none the less. 

This one was really interested!
So we started out on Tuesday with exchanges with our new District Leader Elder Boxberger and Elder Espinoza. I went with Elder Boxberger to the area of Forjadores. It`s always kind of strange going back to an old area but we had a good day. They have a really good investigator that we taught the Plan of Salvation and taught a few other Members. That night we went to the Ward Correlation Meeting so we saw a bunch of ward leaders and I was very surprised to see that some of them even remembered my name in spite of how difficult it is and that I was only in that ward for three weeks! So it was really good to see some people that I worked with. I also realized that it`s almost been 6 months since I was in that area! Time goes by way too fast!

On Wednesday we went to the District meetings of Elder Boxberger and Estes which was good. District meetings are always fun and I always learn something new. On Wednesday we had a lesson with Hector, a investigator that we have. He is a great guy, he always reads what we leave him, and he has a testimony of everything we`ve taught, but he won`t come to church of accept a baptismal date because his 90 year old parents that he lives with are Catholic and told him that he can`t change his religion. He`s a great guy, and we have faith that the Lord will help him find to the way.

March Mission Leadership Meeting (Elder Hartvigsen is fourth from far right)
Thursday we had weekly planning (always super fun), and a good amount of lessons. We found a less active family we hadn't met that haven`t attended in about 4 years. We had a really good lesson with them. We had our monthly meeting with all of the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, Assistants, Secretaries and President Christensen. That meeting is the best. Hermana Christensen made us breakfast, we had our meeting with President where we talked about the challenges that we have in the mission and how we`re going to improve and work to overcome them. Then Hermana Christensen and the Secretaries cooked us Hamburgers! We ate very well that day temporally and spiritually!

On Saturday we had a few lessons and in the evening did divisions with Elders Quorum Pres. Javier and Jose and had some really good lessons. We found a partial member family that we havent seen in a while and had a really good lesson. The husband, Hno. Baleon got really into the lesson and accepted baptism. We are excited to work with him and help him progress. Sunday was a good day as well. It seemed like the whole ward had changes in thier callings. They released and called about 20 people. We now have a new Mission Leader who just married and moved into the ward a month ago. I actaully met him in my first area in Tlaxcala, so thats pretty cool. He`s excited and we`re excited to work with him even if his schedule is super busy.

Well, everybody have a good week and stay out of trouble!
-Elder Hartvigsen

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

It's Already March

Wow, I feel like I just said its already February. Time just keeps on going. 

Anyways we had a good week here in Aquiles. We actually had a bunch of lessons, a lot were with members but we also had a good amount with Investigators. We do have to find more investigators though, we are lacking in that secion. We had a pretty normal week though.

Elder Hartvigsen in Puebla
So on Wednesday we went to the district meetings of Elder Estes and Boxberger, we usually split up and go to them both since they are both in the same chapel. After that we had exchanges with Elder Estes and Elder Giraldo from Colombia. I went with Elder Giraldo to our area and we had a really good day. We had a bunch of lessons and found a good new investigator that recently lost her husband.

Throughout the week we visited a lot of people and worked with a lot of members. We`ve been seeing a lot of progress with some less actives and people who have been suspended which has been great to see. Thanks to the new stake president he really got them all progressing. Also on Saturday we had an activity with the ward where we all gathered together in a members home and then split up to find and visit less actives that live here in the unidad. It didn't have as great as a turn out as last week but it was a really spiritual experience for those that did come.

Food adventures
Today we went to the center of Puebla and kind of wandered around. I ate a corn dog that was wrapped in bacon which probably had about 5000 calories haha. Its cool to go to the center and kind of look around. There is a bunch of different types of shops and touristy places as well. They sell a ton of Talevera [Mexican pottery] there too. Its also fun to see all of the white tourists wandering around.

With other Missionaries at recent Cambios (transfers)
Well, sorry for the short email, but it felt like a really kind of ordinary week. I can`t remember anything that sticks out to me right now. Well, everyone have a good week!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Note from his Mom. In response to an observation that the temperature in Puebla is averaging 70 degrees, even through January, February and now March. "I do enjoy the weather; the sun can be pretty unforgiving though."