Monday, November 30, 2015

Slumber Parties and Zone Conference

At the gorge in  Zacatlán 
Hello everyone. Tomorrow is December. I realized that a few hours ago. That's crazy. I like the weather here so far. It still isn't that cold. I'm beginning to doubt that it gets cold. Who knows. 

So we had a good week. On Monday we had a good evening, taught Pablo and Karina. Tuesday we also had a good day, we visited a lot of investigators, we've also started teaching a investigator named Clemente who has a taco shop. He´s a really friendly guy.

On Wednesday we had a good day. Found a new investigator, visited some youth of the branch that had stopped going to church and visited Pablo and Karina again. Fun fact. Karina´s last name is Lee, and it is because her great grandfather was Chinese. He came to Mexico in a war or something and got married in San Luis Potosi. She can look for ancestors in China once she starts looking for names. Also that night we stayed the night in the other Elders' house to leave early in the bus to go to the zone conference. It was fun. We ate tacos and there was a mariachi band that was playing in their street until late. It was pretty cool. 
Waiting for dinner
On Thursday we had a zone conference. It´s funny, every time we go to one of those, I´m reminded that there are sister missionaries in the mission, We´re in a bubble of Elders in our Zone. The Conference was really good, I learned a bunch of things, such as in a typical mission, only about 25% of your time is actually used proselyting. A lot of time is used sleeping, studying, in meetings and eating. That night we also had a good family home evening with some members where we played gospel pictionary. On Friday we went to Olintla, the far away town. The trip didn't seem that bad this time. Especially because we got back at about 5 PM and had time to work in Zacatlán. Those investigators in Olintla are solid. This week they told us there are going to come to see the baptism of Pablo and Karina and go to church the next day. They also told us that they are seriously considering the option of moving to Zacatlán in January. We're pumped for them.

The youth of the branch
Saturday was normal. For mutual we made the kids clean the house of prayer with us after talking about service. In the afternoon we had some good lessons. Sunday was cool. President Nelson went to church with the branch, and we had four investigators in Sacrament meeting. Pablo, Karina, Clemente and Xicotencalt Jr. the son of the other investigator. It was really cool to see him there. He made friends with the other two young men in the branch.

So also this week is the last week of the transfer. That means that my companion or I will probably have changes because he's going to end his training. Also Elder Hammer is going home. I'm really going to miss those two. So we'll know what's happening next week. Everyone enjoy your first week of December!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, November 23, 2015

Olintla and Thanksgiving

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well. Things are well in Zacatlan. Its getting a little colder but not really that cold. I´m just a wimp because I´ve gotten used to a 80 degree climate. This week was pretty awesome. 

Elder Hartvigsen with the Branch Primary
Lunes we had a few lessons in the evening. On Tuesday we went to cut wood in Hna. Paulita's house. We also helped her with other things like feeding her sheep. Wednesday was a good day, also normal. We had district meeting, visited a few people. 

Thursday was a crazy day. So on Thursday we went to a town called Olintla, which is 3 and a half hours out of Zacatlan. We went to go look for a reference that we had gotten from the reference system. So we left our house at about 7:30 and got there around noon. The ride is pretty rough. The roads are pretty bad and are super windy. Also the combi drivers drive super fast around every corner to be able to get there in a reasonable time. So after the 3 hour roller coaster ride we finally got to Olintla. It´s a pretty town, and it´s also really warm there since it´s almost in Vera Cruz. So when we got off the combi we asked someone in the street if they knew the guy or where the direction was. The person we asked didn't know anything and said that the street didn't exist. It was pretty disheartening after the 3 hour combi ride. However we asked someone else and they said they might know him and sent us to ask in a store in the next street over.

Travel Day
We went to the store and the lady that answered us said that she might know him, but we started teaching her a little bit about the restoration. After a minute or two a guy passed by outside the store and she told us it was him, so we went to talk to him. He was actually happy to see us and told us to come by his house when we finished talking to the woman in the store. When he went he was very friendly and open. He told us that his siter that lives in Florida had sent the reference but he doubted that we would come. He was really suprised to see us. His sister had recently been baptized and gotten married with a member. His mother who lives in another part of Mexico also is going to be baptized in a few weeks. His name is Alfredo and is from Chihuahua, he lived in the south of the US for like 10 years when he was in high school. There he met his wife, and returned with her to Olintla where her family is from. We had a super awesome lesson with him. He was stoked to read the Book of Mormon. Also his wife got home at the end of the lessons with his two kids and her mouth dropped open when she saw us. They were both very happy that we went. We´re going back this friday to visit them, but we´re also going to teach them more frequetnly throught Skype (even though it´s a little town in the middle of nowhere, they have internet!). We also talked to him by phone saturday and he was super syched. He was reading the Bood of Mormon and said that he was having nightmares but says its because there´s something that doesn´t want him to read it. It was a super good trip and we ate some really tasty stomach pork tacos.

Saturday we had a bunch of lessons and finally did splits with some members! Its really hard to do splits here, one because there aren't a ton of members and many times they cancel with us when we ask them to accompany us. Saturday we also had a bunch of lessons.

Celebrating Thanksgiving??
Sunday was the primary program and I played the Piano. I did pretty well considering that I didn't have too much time to practice some challenging songs. At least they were challenging for me haha. 

Today we had a little Thanksgiving celebration. We made instant mashed potatoes, bought rolls and chicken and watched The Prince of Egypt. It was fun. Also a member from a ward in Apizaco came and he has a tradition of cutting the ties of missionaries. Right now I have half a tie on haha. My companion too. He said he´s collected like 400 ties that he's cut from missionaries. Yup, pretty good week. Everyone have a good Thanksgiving and remember of all the blessings that you have!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Corn Boys

Hello everyone, the weather is crazy here. It´s like Utah, one day it gets hot, the other it gets really cold and rains hard. Everyone says it gets really cold here, but we´re still waiting until it really gets cold. Maybe more in December. Who knows.

We've had a pretty fair week. Nothing too out of the normal. Last Monday we had a cool family home evening with Pablo and Karina and our Branch President. We talked about the plan of salvation, baptisms for the dead really caught their attention. Tuesday we had a day with a lot of lessons! It was great. We visited a less active guy that is coming back to church that´s named Froylan who is super cool. He reminds me of a Pirate with his gruff voice. We visited Xicotencalt and had a good lesson. The relief society president accompanied us and shared a really powerful testimony. We also found two new investigators, Jorge and his kid Angelo. Wednesday we visited some investigators and Pablo and Karen again and also had a zone meeting in Apizaco which is about 2 hours away in transport. It´s always a little weird leaving Zacalán because they usually put a movie on in the bus. Sometimes they'll put on some really sketchy or weird movies too. 

The "Corn Boys"

Thursday we did service (or however you say it in English, in Spanish it´s prestamos servicio) with a member of the branch that has a field of corn. We worked from 8 until 2 pm. It was actually really cool. We opened the husks and collected the corn in costales (sacks). It was actually pretty fun, and we ate tamales after. I was pretty sore the next day though. Missionaries walk a lot but don´t work too often doing farm work. Friday was another cool day. We taught Pablo and Karen about the word of wisdom since Pablo smokes. He was kind of on edge in the lesson, and we think it´s because he read the pamphlet we left him and stopped smoking and was thinking about how hard it was going to be. He smokes a fair amount and more right now that he doesn't have a good job. Hna. Lucia also was with us (relief society pres.) and also shared a great experience with them and then my comp gave Pablo a powerful priesthood blessing. It was a very spiritual moment.

Saturday we had Mutual with the young men and women and my comp was in charge this time. We ate hot dogs and played family feud with scripture questions. It was really cool and the hot dogs were really tasty. Sunday was good. We had Pablo and Karina and another investigator named Alejandro in church. The services were good, and I´m playing the piano to help the primary kids practice for their program next week. I wish I would have practiced more. Some of those primary songs are tough. Well, everyone have a great week!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Normal Week in Zacatlan

Hello to all.
I don´t have too much time, so this will most likely be a short e-mail. We've had a good week here. I can´t really remember anything out of the ordinary to be honest.

Memories of home 
Tuesday we had some interesting lessons with new people but they didn't become new investigators because they didn't accept another appointment. Wednesday we had exchanges and I was with Elder Hammer in his side. We had a great day with like 8 lessons in the afternoon. It was a solid day with a chess game at the end haha.

On Thursday we had planning, did the family home evening again and visited an investigator. Friday was a good day, we visited our investigators who are progressing and they accepted a baptismal date for the 5th of December! We´re so excited for them! On Saturday we worked and went the mutual because my comp is the Young Mens President. We made pizza which was tasty, and on Sunday we had a good day with investigators in the church! Pablo, Karen and another one named Xicotencalt (I think that´s how you spell it). 

Everyone have a great week!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, November 2, 2015

Philippians 4:4

Hello everyone. We are doing very well here in Zacatlán. Time continues to go by very fast. When you can work and also joke around a lot with your comp, time goes by almost too fast. We had a good week. Technically it was the first week of the transfer, but because training is 12 weeks the transfers didn't affect us. The next transfers will likely affect us.
Some good exercise and service 
So on Tuesday we had a good day. We did some service for an older sister cutting fire wood. She lives pretty far away, like 30 minutes in combi from our house. She has a pretty cool ranch. It was fun cutting wood. Also interesting to see the way that they cut wood it a little different. Instead of cutting it from the top down, you kind of cut it on the side. It was fun, but I was a little sore after. However I felt like a Mexican lumberjack for a few hours haha. 
A floating caterpillar 
On Wednesday we had interchanges and I was with Elder Pantoja in the other area. It was a good day. The other area has a lot more "city" than our area. It was cool to get to know it and get to know some of their investigators. Wednesday went well as well. We had to do the family home evening of the branch again. The branch president had to stay late in his work so he called us minutes before it started and asked if we could do it. It went well though, the members are fun here. Friday we found some great new investigators that my companion contacted in the street. Their names are Pablo and Karina and they are a young comple with two little kids and the best part is that they´re married! I was so suprised when I asked them that. Its also kind of funny, because they´ve only been in Zacatlán for like 2 or 3 months and before they lived in Tlaxcala in my last area. They also went to church after only having one lesson. They´re the bomb.

Dia de los muertos 
Saturday was weird. It was Halloween and we didn't have much of anything. We just taught some members and less actives that day. In the nights after about 7 pm there wasn't anybody in the street. The other Elders told us that the center was packed and that´s where everyone went. Sunday was great! We had 3 investigators with their kids that went to church! It was also a good fast and testimony meeting. On Saturday the branch went to the temple (we couldn't go), and many of the testimonies were pretty powerful. I miss the temple so much. But the services were good. I had the opportunity to teach the Sunday school class and it was cool as well. The streets were also empty too, because it was the Day of the Dead. It´s kind of strange how the custom is. So what they do is make like an altar with a picture of the person that´s dead, and put their favorite food and vices on the table with candles. In the center there were a lot of really big altars and I saw some in some houses of investigators. Interesting however.

Well, I hope everyone has a good week! Can you believe that it´s already November? Bye!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice.