Tuesday, March 29, 2016

La Semana Santa

Hello everybody. Hope that you all had a good spring break. This last week was also a week of vacations here in mexico. They call it the semana santa (holy week) remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We actually had a good week and were able to work better than we thought we were going to be able to. 

Good Friday procession
On Monday in the evening we had a good night. President Tolentino accompanied us and we were able to visit a few investigators, Samantha and the Cruz family. We had found these people but it was funny because Pres. Tolentino already knew them haha. Everybody knows everybody in this town. On Tuesday we had an average day, a bunch of appointments fell through but we were able to find some new people, and some that lived way up on a hill that were more or less interested haha. On Wednesday we went to the district meeting in Chignahuapan which was good. Long combi rides however. In the afternoon we went to a tiny town called Talican to contact a reference that an investigator had given us. We took one of the taxis that goes there and found him, his name is Gregorio. It was a good lesson, but difficult because the guys pretty old and doesn't´t understand too well. It was really pretty out there though, with a little bit of rain in the mountains.

On Thursday we did weekly planning, and had a really good day. We found an investigator that we had lost contact with and put a baptismal date for the 7th of may with him and in the afternoon we found an awesome family that lives in a solitary place near the cemetery of the solidad which is a town leaving Tetela. The fathers name is Joaquin and his wife is Maria. They have a 11 year old daughter and two new born twins. They´re an awesome little family. Also on Thursday a bunch of tourists came to town, as well as family members of people that live here. From Thursday to Sunday there was a ton of people here for all of the festivities. On Friday, the catholic church did a recreation of basically the crucifixion of Jesus, where they actually had an actor that they whipped and put up on the cross. We saw the procession when we were headed home that night.

On Saturday we had a slower day, there weren't many people in their houses. There was a concert in the town square in the evening, and we live basically right in front of the square, so we got to listen to that all night haha. Sunday was a pretty big bummer, we didn't have any investigators in church and we were expecting about 8. Only 10 members showed up as well. Yup, and today we've just been hanging out here in Tetela doing the normal things of p-day. Everyone have a great week!

Elder Hartvigsen


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Revenge of the Cold

Hey everyone. How're you all today? Today has been really cold and it came out of nowhere. There is also a lot of fog today. It's strange because it has been really warm and awesome. Hopefully it'll be gone in a few days. Yup.


So Monday was good in the evening. We came back to Tetela and had a few appointments. We visited Alejandro who is one of the few members here. We also visited a new investigator, Francisco. On Tuesday we had a tougher day. It was one of those days that we had full of appointments but then literally every one falls through. It was rough, but we managed to get a few lessons out of it. We also gave an English class. It´s kind of funny, my companion can teach English better than me haha. It's hard trying to teach something that you just know naturally, I feel like I could teach Spanish way easier.

Tetela
On Wednesday we had a lot better day. We were able to find a lot more of our investigators that we had lost contact with and had some good lessons. We also ran into Hector, a less active that's been working outside of town. On Thursday we had a zone conference and it was super powerful. We did have to get up super early to go however. Usually we would go to Apizaco and sleep there in another house of Elders to be closer, but we had scheduled appointments Wednesday night so we weren't able to do that. So we got up at 2:45 and left in the 4:00 bus to Apizaco to get to Tlaxcala on time at 9. I was less tired then I thought I was going to be. But the conference was great. President got pretty serious for a bit because some bad things had happened in the mission and some people got sent home but I learned a lot. So basically the whole day was going to, having and coming back from the conference. I realized that day just how far away we are.

On Friday we had a good day. Not a day with a ton of lessons but we felt good with the work we did. We also had a lesson in the night that was kind of heavy with Ismael and Patricia, they said they really just let us visit them out of respect, but aren't really interested. On Saturday we also had a few lessons in the farther away parts of Tetela, in Zoyatitla and the Eden. We also had a family home evening with the Tolentine family which was good. I really enjoy the company of the members here.

Meeting place in Tetela
Sunday we had the services and had a lower attendance then we had had. There were a few people that didn't show up and some others that were sick. We had two investigators there, Francisco and Maria Lourdes. We weren't expecting Francisco, but we were expecting the whole family of Maria, her parents and her brothers and sisters. In all they're like 8. It was good, but were shooting for more!

Yup, and today we went to Zacatlán with the district to play soccer. It was fun, we played in a indoor place where it wasn't so cold. But it was kind of a long trip. Everyone have a great week!

-Elder Hartvigsen


Monday, March 14, 2016

Nuevos

Hello everybody. How´re you? I'm doing well. We had an interesting week this week. We found a ton of new people to teach. 22 to be exact. We were working pretty hard haha. A lot of walking.

So Monday was normal. Did normal things in our area. Cleaned the house. Bought food. In the evening we had a good lesson with a family that was a reference from another investigator. Ismael and his wife Patricia. It also suprises me how many people we meet that have lived in the US from Tetela. It seems like half of the men have lived there. On Tuesday we had a slower day. Only 3 lessons but we ate with the Ojeda family. That was cool. So in Tetala to eat everyday the mission gives us an amount of money to eat in a little restaurant. So we eat in a little cocina economica (economic kitchen). It's pretty good, simple but they give us enough food so that we're full which is the important part haha. On Wednesday we had our district meeting which was really good, to go to the meeting we had to go to 
Chinaguapan which is an hour and a half away in combi. We´re in a district of 8 elders, us two, Elder Prieto and Page from Chinaguapan, Elder Law and Cruz in Zacatlan 1, and Elder Rivera and Pastor in Zacatlan 2. It´s a pretty powerful district. The meeting was great, I learned some new things. Also that day I had interchanges with Elder Prieto in Chinaguapan which I really enjoyed. He's a great Elder, he's also from the generation of Elder Dominguez which is cool. We had a good day, but there was a huge wind storm and the electricity went away a few times. The next day when we went to Tetela, there were a few trees that had fallen in the road to the town. Pretty crazy.

Wind damage in the region
So due to that huge wind storm things have been kind of different in Tetela, the electricity has been going on and off, there hasn't been any internet (we´re writing from Chinaguapan right now), and there were even some houses that were damaged. Pretty crazy. Thursday we had weekly planning, and we visited Adolfo and Teresa, two investigators that live pretty far away. The Ojeda family always takes us to them. On Friday we had a super busy day. We found 6 new investigators and visited other people as well. It was pretty sweet. We walked a fair amount. Saturday was interesting. My companion is branch secretary and the auditor from the area came to do an audit on the branch. So we did divisions with the audito (Hermano Leiba, ex stake president from La Libertad, really good guy) and I went with the Ojeda family to visit Alejandro and Teresa and their kids. We had a good lesson and had a little birthday party for one of thier kids. However the electricity went away in the middle of the lesson, but we were outside and so we make a little fire. Adolfo is like a mountain man, he made the fire in like 3 minutes flat.

On Sunday we had good services. President Nelson came to set apart the new branch president, Pres. Tolentino. Adolfo and Teresa also came to church! We were waiting for a ton of other people though :(. My companion and I are also the counselors to the branch president, so it was fun trying to figure out how to do the tithing without internet and figuring out how to use the church global help desk.

All in all we had a great week. It flew by. Everyone have a great week!

-Elder Hartvigsen

Monday, March 7, 2016

The land of many hills

Hey Everyone. I hope that everyone is doing well. I've had a good week that has been full of many things. I´m in Tetela de Ocampo right now. It´s a really pretty place. We´re in the middle of the mountains, pretty far away from everything. My new companion is Elder Arce, from Carretero, MX. He has about 4 or 5 months in the mission as is a great missionary.

Tetela de Ocampo - The missionaries live near this large Catholic Church
So on Monday we had a good evening. We went to visit Carmen and Angel. It was a good lesson, but it´s always hard to say goodbye. On Tuesday we had the actual changes. Elder Arce and Elder Arriagada arrived at Apizaco abound 11 so that I could go to Tetela with Elder Arce. They had come to Apizaco with some members from Zacatl├ín, Hno. Jorge and Hna. Ambar. That was great to see them. So from there we took the bus to Tetela from Apizaco which takes about 2 and a half hours to arrive. It´s a very scenic route through the mountains to get to a town in the middle of the mountains. So here we are in a branch of the church that consists of about two active families and a few individuals. Elder Arriagada had actually been the branch president here, however thankfully nor my companion or I are branch president haha.

So on Wednesday in the morning we received a call from Elder Arriagada who was going home that day that he had left his hard drive that had all of his pictures in the church here. He asked if we could go to Puebla to give that to him before he left to go to the airport. So we went to Pueba. We made really good time and the trip took 3.5 hours. We also saw President Nelson and he told us about his plan for Tetela. He told us that he wasn´t going to put another missionary as Branch president. For the time being he's going to put one of the fathers of the families that has already been branch president, and our job is to find and baptize new leaders. Also when we said goodbye he told us he would see us and the branch presidency on Sunday. We asked him which branch presidency? Then he said, the branch presidency you're going to find. Haha, we were kind of a little stunned. So that´s what we've been working on, is finding potential priesthood with their families.

On Thursday we had a good day. We found 5 new investigators, taught an English class, and did a lot of contact. On Friday we also had a good day, we taught a few people, and a few members. President also assigned us to invite all of the Elders of the branch that are less active to church so that he could interview them so we tracked down a few less active members. On Saturday we visited a few other Elders, and met a new family that one of the member families (the Ojeda family) brought us to. That was a good lesson, the only thing is that they live far away and can only meet with us in the evening. There also is no public transport at that hour, so that member family has to take us there if we are to teach them. The good thing is that they are willing to do that.

Sunday was interesting. We didn't get any investigators to come, and in total we were 19 people in Sacrament meeting. Also President Nelson was there to preside. After the services we had branch council and President explained the situation to the branch members. The members are really good here, they are few but are quality members. Yup. Today we´ve just done normal things. We didn´t play sports because we´re an hour and a half away from the nearest elders. We did play ping pong in our house. Oh, by the way, our house is the best house in the mission! We had a clothes dryer! It´s the best thing ever! I´m pretty happy out here and glad to have the opportunity to work hard out here. My companion is great, the area has potencial and I really enjoy the town and where we live (which is right behind the huge catholic church haha). Everyone have a great week!

-Elder Hartvigsen