Monday, October 26, 2015

Another Week in Zacatlan

Hello everyone. 

This week was a lot more normal. We didn't have any grand adventures to any town where the vegetation is different. It was an alright week. I left my agenda at home so I´ll see what I can remember haha. 

In the fog
On Tuesday I can´t remember what we did. I think we taught Karen and Edwardo. We taught them the Word of Wisdom because they smoke a bit. Karen is willing to give it up but we´re not sure if Edwardo really has the desire to change. Wednesday we ate Cochinita Pivil which tasted awesome! However the Jalepeños were pretty spicy. Me enchilé. That night we taught a few less active members that are doing alright. There are children of the other less active that we are teaching. 

On Thursday we had weekly planning which was actually really good. We had a change in our mission, we had been using different formats to do weekly planning that the mision had implemented and it was kind of complicated and took forever. However now we just use the basic planning papers that come in Preach my Gospel. It was so much simpler! Also that night we had to change plans because our branch President that morning dumped a branch activity on us that we had to prepare that day. We had to cancel some appointments but the activity was a good one. We used a projector to watch a bullying video and talked about why it is important to love the people around us.

So much candy!
Friday we went to check out another town nearby because we had a reference there. The reference didn't exist but the town was pretty cool. It was really tiny. Saturday we were helping prepare a lot of things for a baptism of one of the 8 year old kids in the branch. The parents threw a big party for his birthday after his baptism. We went to help them fill bags of candy. It was sooo much candy. The baptism went well. Things always start so late here. I know there is the joke about Mormon time in the states, but here it's way worse! It´s Mormon Mexican time. The baptism started 50 minutes late. The family of the boy showed up like 25 minutes late. 

On Saturday the mission also told us to buy extra food just in case with the hurricane Patricia coming. We´re kind of in the mountains however. We were fine, but I didn't mind shopping Saturday instead of Monday :). On Saturday it was just windy. There hasn't really been weather out of the ordinary. Lots of fog and some rain. It has been getting colder however. Everyone have a great week!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, October 19, 2015

Caxhuacan - Alma 13:23

Hello everyone. Espero que todos se encuentren bien. I´m tempted to just write in Spanish. I feel like sometimes it would just be easier. Anyways, we had a good crazy week, full of adventure and excitement! No but really, we went to a really far away town on Tuesday. It was quite the experience.

So on Tuesday we got up early and went to go search for a reference that we received through a the missionary web site. So when we got to the bus stop we got into a combi that went to a town called Zapotitlán, to get there we had to cross the mountains through winding roads and cliffs. Two and a half hours later we got there and then took a different combi to a town called Ixtepec. It also went on an even more treacherous road with some really good views. After an hour in that combi we came to the last town that the combi went to. So we got off the combi and it was pretty hot and humid. All of the people had traditional clothing on, all of the women were wearing a white skirt with a red band around their waist with two pig tails. The men all were wearing white pants and white shirts and had Jesus sandals on with white hats. There were a fair amount of younger people that did have some regular clothes on like jeans and t-shirts. So we went to go talk to the people to ask them how to get to Caxhuacan, and we went with one group. Out of the 5 ladies only one spoke Spanish so we asked here how to get there. It was pretty funny, we would ask a question or say something then they would talk among themselves in Totonaco (their native language).

So we figured out that to get there we would have to take a truck that passed by every 30 minutes we we got in the back where there were some benches welded in and rode another 25 minutes into the town. The town itself isn't actually too tiny, and it was really surreal. It was a different climate with different plants because we were on the border of Vera Cruz. It was interesting to talk to all the people. It was a pretty sweet experience. We did not however run into the reference that we were looking for. We got to the house, but the person was working and wasn't going to get home until 4, and we had to leave at 3 to catch the last combi back to Zacatlán, but we left her a Book of Mormon with her son :). So after that, we went home the way we came. We also saw a funeral in Ixtepec as we were waiting for the combi. Everyone was dressed in the traditional clothes. Also we saw a big street market in one of the towns on the way. It is super beautiful in the sierra.

Nearing the end of the rainy season??
Yup. Wednesday we had some lessons, talked to Edwardo what he would have to do to get married. Thursday we had a few other lessons and I taught mission prep in the branch. Friday we had to go to Tlaxcala for a mission conference. The president talked a lot about obedience and changing the culture of the mission. I think we had the conference because some things happened with some Elders in Puebla. Who knows, we´re pretty out of the loop out here. That night we stayed in Puebla with the Secretaries so we didn't have to travel to far for a meeting of the trainers the next day. We were 7 Elders in one house. It was pretty crazy and I understand why there is only one companionship per house generally. However it was really fun to be with the secretaries and with Elder Breceda. Later in the day we came back to Zacatlán and helped the other two Elders out with their baptism. It was a very spiritual experience, except that when the convert came out the water, he said, "I feel like a cat." haha.

Sunday was disappointing. We didn't have any investigators again. We even went to the house of one and woke him up. He told us he would be ready in 10 minutes, but after the 10 we went to check and his cousin told us he had left. It was pretty frustrating. Oh well, we can't take away their agency I guess, even though it would be easier. And I would be Satan in that situation. Have a good week!

-Elder Hartvigsen 

Alma 13:23 And they are made known unto us in plain terms, that we may understand, that we cannot err; and this because of our being wanderers in a strange land; therefore, we are thus highly favored, for we have these glad tidings declared unto us in all parts of our vineyard.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Branch Changes

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well and enjoying your fall. It still gets hot here during the day but in the mornings it gets pretty cold. I`m expecting the temperature to drop pretty soon. We've had a good week. We've been finding a few new investigators (some that live pretty far away) and have been teaching them.

Mowing the lawn??
 On Tuesday we had a day of walking around looking for people until the evening. That night we had a good lesson with one of our investigators, Asael. He`s a 17 year old guy who is the cousin of some members. It`s a little funny because the other Elders are teaching his mom. He lives with his cousins on our side and his mom lives on the other side. Wednesday we had district meeting (in our house :D) and had exchenches with the other Elders. I was with Elder Hammer in our area. We had a good day, a member took us with a few references and we taught some investigators. We also tried unsuccessfully to fix the churches electric piano. It was a good day, and it`s always interesting to be with another American working all day. 
Better days for the church electric piano
Thursday we had another day of searching and had weekly planning in the morning. In the night we went with a member to a part of our area called Ayeualulco (something like that) and got lost looking for a reference. I just love when the people who we talk with just blatantly lie to us. We were looking for the contact that we had talked with and we knocked a door and asked if they lived there and were home. The guy said just a minute and went to look for them. When he came back out he told us that they didn't live there. Yup. It was pretty funny.

Friday we went to another part that is pretty far away in our area called Tlatempa. There we contacted a reference (yay!) and did a bunch of contacts. We also had a funny experience but to understand it I need to explain something. So in Mexico there is a store called Coppel that sells a bunch of stuff like appliances and they give people loans to be able to buy there. So many times they have people that go out to collect loans from the people. So when we went to see if one of the contacts that we had done was home, his wife greeted us and then when we asked if he was home he wife told him "the people from Coppel are looking for your!. Also when we had talked with him before he didn`t tell us his name at first because he thought we were from Coppel haha. Friday night we also taught Edwardo and Karen the law of chastity so that they get married. It was a good lesson but Edwardo didn`t seem too excited. He told us he wants to save up to have a fancy wedding. He told us maybe in about 4 years they could get married. We`re shooting for November haha. We`re going to see how it goes. 

Saturday we had more lessons, one was really tense with the daughter of a member. The member is really pushy that they accept the chruch. It was a pretty akward lesson. You can`t really force the gospel on somebody. We`re going to see if we can visit her without her parent there. And on Sunday President Nelson came to the branch to implement a lot of changes in the callings. President Cordova now has two councilors who are members! Now the missionaries won`t have to be councilors in the branch presidency! We`ll have less meetings!

Yup, it was a good week. Tomorrow we are planning on going to a town super far away. It`s called Caxhuacan. See if you can find it on a map. It`s on the border of Puebla and Veracruz and is going to take 3.5 hours to get there in a micro-bus. It will be an adventure.! Have a great week!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, October 5, 2015

D&C 1:23-24

Heyo, everyone. Hoped you all enjoyed your general conference weekend. I sure did. General Conference in the mission is like Christmas haha. All the missionaries get pretty pumped up. It was a really great conference too! Three new apostles! That's not something that comes along very often. There were a lot of talks that I really liked. I especially liked Jeffery R. Holland´s talk, Pres. Eyring, and many more. If you missed them go check them out or rewatch them on!
Working out in the country
This week was a good week. We had a lot of things to do this week too. On Monday we had a good lesson with an investigator that has an autistic son and it was really spiritual. She just didn't want to commit to go to church. That is one of the hardest commitments sometimes. Tuesday we had a good day, we visited a sister of the branch that is recovering from a health problem induced by her diabetes. She´s doing well, but I´m sure that when she had the problem it was pretty scary because their town is 4 hours out of Zacatlán and 2 hours away from a clinic. She´s recovering however. On Wednesday we had interchanges with Elder Hammer and Elder Pantoja. Elder Pantoja and I were in our area working with my comp in the area of Elder Hammer. We had a really long day of appointments falling through. We were walking around from lunch until we finally had a lesson at about 8 in the evening. It was a long day but we had a lot of contacts.

Thursday we ended our interchanges and had interviews with President Nelson in Chinaguapan. They were good. Also while we were waiting we went to a nearby catholic church with a virgin that is 13 meters tall. Es gigante! We also had some good appointments in the night with Karen and some new investigators. On Friday we moved into a different apartment because our old one is the branch Presidents and he wanted it back haha. So we spent the whole morning doing that but now we´re good and settled into our apartment which is a little farther out in our area. However it´s OK because there is a really good panadería (bakery) nearby! And on Saturday and Sunday we enjoyed general conference! However our investigators didn't show up this week. :( Also today we played pool in the morning which was fun. Well, everybody have a good week!

-Elder Hartvigsen

D&C 1:23-24 - That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers. Behold, I am God and have spoken it; there commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.
The gigantic statue

September 28 letter

Hey everyone. Another week has flown by. 

We´re doing well here in Zacatlan de los manzanas [of the apples]. I don´t know why it´s called that, I haven't even seen one apple tree! But one of the things that I do love is that the sweet bread that they have here is super cheap. 2 pesos. I might gain some weight here for that. We've had a good week. We had a few days of a lot of walking around but overall it was good. We've found even more of the investigators that we hadn't been able to find. We also found two new investigators. On Wednesday we found the two new ones and they´re good people. The only problem is that the husband talks way too much. We couldn't control the lesson very well and we had also brought a member that likes to talk. We could barely squeeze in a word between those two haha. But they have a lot of potential, he´s named Carlos and he seems to have a lot of interest and is ready to study what we give him.

Thursday we taught a few lessons to members and taught a mission prep class to a member who's preparing to go on a mission. Friday we made contact with another investigator that also talks a lot, but we managed the lesson a lot better. We also had a really good lesson with another investigator and her less active boyfriend. That was a really good day. Saturday we taught some recient converts and passed by with Karen and Edwardo (the investigator and her boyfriend). We just read a part of 2 Nephi 32 with them but the spirit was really strong and Karen had a bunch of really good questions about baptism. The best part was that on Sunday Karen and Edwardo went to church! It was great! Now the only thing we have to do is get them married and help them quit smoking... We´re really excited for her though. Its always a big obstacle to get investigators to church.

OK, now for a funny story. It will make more sense if you speak Spanish, but we were talking with some people in the street about the church the other day, and one of the ladies asked us why we both have the name Elder. So in Spanish there´s a word  that means that two people have the same name, which is tocayos (or however you spell it). However I got my words mixed up and said tlacoyos, which is a a type of Mexican food. So I basically said to this person "Yup, we´re quesadillas!" Tlacoyos aren't quesadillas but you get my point haha. It was pretty funny, we all had to laugh it out.

Well, I hope you all have a good week! Enjoy the first days of October!

-Elder Hartvigsen