Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Week 73
Don't expect this email to be too long because we are gonna talk on Christmas anyway. But so Thursday night we had Mauricio and Andre´s interviews and they were good. Oh but I guess I should tell you what we did for pday. We went and took pics at the temple with the whole zone and then afterward went and ate at Pardo´s chicken palace place and that was good and then we had gingerbread house making competitions and then they gave us some sick new flower ties and after we went to an orphanage and played with little kids and sang songs so ya it was pretty fun. 

On Friday we had to go get a mini-missionary to come with us but we only ended up going to the Municipalidad and then to the mission offices because we had to do a ton of crap for our Christmas caroling activity that we won't actually be able to do because we went back to the municipalidad and they said that we can't have permission to do anything religious, so that sucks. But ya I felt bad for the mini-missionary. But then we had to go interview one of the elder´s crazy investigators that read the Book of Mormon in 3 days and was screaming during her interview, she is so crazy. Luckily, my comp did the interview. But ya supposedly she is going to start proselyting every Wednesday now that she has the Holy Ghost and bringing references to the elders so that is interesting. Then, later Friday night we went to our ward Christmas party and that was fun. 

On Saturday we had the two baptisms. They went well except for the fact that Mauricio showed up an hour late! But we got some members to baptize them and confirm them. Then, at night we went into like the busiest spot in our whole mission and put up the banners we got and tables and free cookies/candy with Santa hats and contacted people. It was super cool and worked out great, we got like 85 references in like 2 hours. But supposedly we aren't allowed to do that so we won't be going back haha but they didn't get mad at us. 
 
Then Sunday was normal. Today we went and played basketball in the morning and then we had to clean our room and I had to pack because I have been  transferred. Then we went back to the municipalidad and that was when they told us that we can't do our activity. Then we went to Papa Johns with the La Molina zone leaders and now we are here. 

But ya so anyway I am being transferred. I'm going to an area called Surquillo. Its like a rich zone but my area is like a half and half. I am gonna be companions with Elder Malca...I'll tell you about him when we talk on Christmas. I'm gonna be the new District Leader there. So ya I'm super hyped about not being zone leader, it is super stressful and I've never been DL before so we will see how it goes. My district is made up of the zone leaders, and another companionship of elders that are in my room so I don't think it will be too bad haha thank goodness. 

But love you guys. Hope you are having a great Christmas season. Ill talk to you soon. 

--

Elder Mortenson

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Week 72

We had a good week. On Friday we had breakfast as a zone where we planned and stuff.  We made chicken sandwiches which were super good. 

On Saturday we went to San Borja and had a zone attack there. The bishop of the ward planned the whole thing and brought like 100 copies of the movie "Meet the Mormons" so we just passed those out in this subdivision. I went on splits with Brother Hooker, so that was dope. He was mission president in Piura and then an Area Seventy afterwards and now he works in the area offices as their manager of planning. He knows a ton of stuff so I got to talk to him about some cool things. 

Sunday was a normal day. We are just visiting tons of members in these weeks so that we can invite them to participate in the IluminaElMundo (Light the World) thing. It is going fairly well. 

Monday and Tuesday were just normal days as well haha. The nice thing is, that the ward members bring tons of people to sacrament meeting so we just set up appointments with them during the week. There are a lot of Venezuelans that come because they have cousins or other family that are members. The assistants found a Venezuelan mom and her daughter that had escaped by walking all the way across Columbia, freaking crazy! The Venezuelans that we eat with always tell us about the circumstances over there and it is pretty sad. 

On Wednesday we had our district meeting and it was pretty fun. We told everyone to bring like a funny present so that we could do a white elephant gift swap. I used those weird plastic hands that you sent in my package and gave them away. hahaha Elder Fagg bought a Pokemon-go photo album and we put tons of random pictures of us and our families and whatnot in there hahaha it was super funny. 

Oh ya i forgot to mention that I got the package! Thanks a ton for all the sick stuff in there! I really enjoyed it! I haven't gone through the whole thing yet because I am gonna open it on Christmas! 

But ya today is the mission Christmas activity prep-day thing. Idk what we are going to do. But we are gonna take the zone on Saturday night and go either to the temple or Avenida La Molina where every single bus passes by and we are gonna sing Christmas carols. It is gonna be sweet. We got permission to spend a ton of money to buy light up hats and we bought two huge banners that say Ilumina el Mundo on them and we bought a stamp with the address of the stake center and our phone number so we can stamp tons of cards and whatnot it is gonna be sweet because literally thousands upon thousands of people go by there everyday from every part of Lima so we should get tons of references to send out. 

But I guess that is about it. Next p-day will be normal on Monday. Transfers are this next Tuesday but I don't think that I will be leaving, I think Elder Fagg and I will stay together. I'm excited to talk to you guys on Christmas, we already have everything planned out. Idk when we are gonna do the pre-call but it should be next week I think, so be ready for that!  Talk to you soon!

--

Elder Mortenson

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Week 71

Sorry I forgot to tell you guys that I was going to the temple on Monday and to write me Wednesday instead. Next week I won't have prep-day until Thursday because of our Christmas activity. 

It was a long week. To start out with, on Tuesday we had a multi-zone meeting. It was pretty good. They explained a lot of good things to the missionaries like inviting investigators to baptisms and whatnot so I think it will help out the mission a lot. 

On Wednesday and Thursday we had to move. We went to the other multi-zone conference on Wednesday morning and also got all of the money and stuff for our new apartment, and then went and payed the Leaser and started moving in because we had to be out of our old place by the First of Dec. We pretty much lost 2 days of proselyting, unfortunately. Even though we moved right up the street it took forever because we just carried practically everything we own to the new place. I'll send you some videos of it because we live on the fourth floor but there are these little tiny spiral stairs at the top and we couldn't get our beds and whatnot up them so we had to take them up the "Peruvian way", with rope and man-power! hahaha and we got Miguel, one of the members, to help us out. And we are all settled in now. 

On Friday we had leadership council. We talked about some of the new rules that there are in our mission. We can now only listen to hymns, but we can eat with members and investigators now, so that is cool! We had a huge debate on if the missionaries would have to ask permission or not and decided that they did but that we, as zone leaders, would be the ones to give it. Elder Fagg and I got invited to some member's house and they gave us turkey and then that night they brought us turkey sandwiches, so that was awesome! They also told us that we could skype at their house and she invited us to dinner on Christmas! Another thing was that Aaron Garate, my old companion, came to our leadership council for some reason. He came to go to the temple and his girlfriend came with him, so we met her too. He took us to breakfast on Thursday morning as well, so it was cool. 

Sunday we finally got a new pension (The person that cooks meals for the missionaries)! It is a member from Venezuela. It is awesome to eat some different food other than the normal Peruvian menu. The Venezuelan's are so funny! We also got to go to the Christmas Devotional on Sunday. 

Monday we didn't do anything, and yesterday we just had district meeting and a meeting with President Amato and the stake president about the activity that he is doing this month. It was just about following up and whatnot with the members. 

But today we went to the temple, it was so nice! There are so many activities with Christmas coming up and all.  It seems pretty stressful, but I guess I am getting used to always feeling that way. I'm excited to receive the package you sent and to talk to you on Christmas. 

--

Elder Mortenson
Week 70


Happy Thanksgiving.  Peru, unfortunately didn't have a president that freed the Slaves and officially established a day of thanks as a holiday...S/O to Abe. 

One of the sisters in our ward that studied at BYU invited us over to eat Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. The only way we got permission to go was by taking an investigator, her husband is from Venezuela and lived in Florida and Missouri for most of his adolescence so we just spoke to them in English the whole time. It was super cool. They didn't have turkey nor stuffing, but she made us good chicken and mashed yams and delicious rolls and whatnot so I couldn't complain. 

On Tuesday this week we had a meeting with our district leaders to present to them all of our new ideas and talk about the zone. One problem that we have been having is that they don't really take on all of the responsibility that they have. Elder Fagg and I spent two full morning just racking our brains for thing we could do to help the zone out and I think we have come up with a good plan. They seemed excited to work after we finished presenting everything and then on Wednesday we presented it all to the zone, and it turned out well. 

Practically every other morning we have been out looking for a place to live. Where we live is so expensive and we couldn't find anything. The financial secretary gave a price range under like 800 soles and we were finding things around like 1500. But then Saturday, at the last minute, we found this place literally up the street from where we live that is only 900 because it is on the 5th floor haha but it is really nice and we couldn't get all the paperwork and payments done today so we will have to move on Wednesday. But it is even nicer than where we are living right now. 

We went to the office on Thursday for Jhoise`s interview with president. The good news about that was that Elder Fagg had two packages waiting for him there haha so we got to bring them home. They were those ones from like the website where you order the stuff here in Lima and the people put it together, but they were better than nothing. So Jhoise passed her interview and got baptized on Saturday! It was a pretty cool baptism...let's just say she had done some pretty serious stuff in her life and she was so excited to be clean and forgiven. She bore her testimony afterward and it was super powerful, I think she will be a solid convert. 

On Sunday we went to Ward council and it was all good. We came with a plan where a couple that we are teaching is going to cook a bunch of stuff and then the ward is going to buy it from them so that they can pay for their wedding because they want to get married. Afterward, we had called a reference that we had received and he told us to meet him by the university that is in our area on Sunday morning. So we went and he was a super nice guy, he was 25 I think. But he started explaining to us all of his beliefs and whatnot and it was kinda weird. He told us all about how he had come to the conclusion that God didn't exist that only 'Good and Bad' existed and all this stuff and we were super confused because it didn't really make sense.  He is a super good guy and like wants us to be his friend but he doesn't  really want to progress in the gospel, from what it looks like. 

Today, as far as prep-day, we didn't do anything. We went to Pizza Hut, I bought a backpack at the legit Nike store that is in our area but nothing else. Everything is going well. We have zone conference tomorrow and then we are going to move on Wednesday and then we will have Leadership Council on Friday, so ya that's fun. 

I would tell you all of the things that I'm grateful for but it would take too long, just know that I'm a grateful guy and that I'm excited for Christmas now. 

--
Elder Mortenson
These are my homies here in the ward, the missionaries that just barely got home.

And this is us at Jhoise`s baptism. The sun was kinda in my eyes if you cant tell...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Week 69

It was a good week. We found two chosen investigators that came to church so that was cool. They just aren't married but that's not a problem we can't solve. We found the wife, Luz, talking to Rosemary, a recent convert, in the srteet and told her all about the church and whatnot and she was hyped about going to church. 

To start out the week we had our district meeting and then we did exchanges with the assistants. Elder Inostroza, the brand new assistant came with me. He is from Argentina and plays basketball as well so that was pretty fun. We went to the stake center in La Molina where there is an actual indoor court and played 3 on 3 in the morning. He is actually really good. Hahahha lets just say I am so out of shape and have lost a lot of touch but I can still hold my ground. 

Wednesday was a normal busy day. Thursday we had the table with pamphlets activity thing in the morning in Monterrico and that was good. And then in the afternoon we went out looking for apartments where we could live because they are kicking us out of the house. We found one that is in a really good spot where we will probably go. We have until next prep day to find one. We are moving just in time to decorate our room with Christmas stuff as well, I hope Elder Fagg gets some Christmas decor in his package that his mom sent last week

Friday we did our weekly planning. It was rough because more than anything we had to plan for the zone because we are struggling right now. We will probably finish this month with 3 baptisms, which is trash. We had to rack our brains on what we could do better and I think we have come up with a better plan for this next month. I am excited to see how December turns out with the stake president's plan and our new plan. I think we should see a lot more success and then hit our stride in January. December will be a cool month. 

Saturday was a waste of a day. We went to Chaclacayo for an investigator's baptism. It took us like 2 hours to get there and then the quick little baptism and then we bounced because we had appointments and an interview with one of the district leader;s investigators that got baptized on Sunday. So we got on the bus and got about to Vitarte where I served a while ago and then we sat in the same spot for about an hour, the traffic was insane! Turns out there was some kind of a Catholic worship demonstration and they were blocking a lot of the main roads for it. So ya we left there at 5:20ish and didn't get home until 9:15, it was painful. We ended up having to call the other district leader to tell him to do the interview because it would have taken us another hour to get to their area. Lets just say Lima is one of the cities with the worst traffic, even without Catholic demonstrations in the streets! 

Sunday was a good day! We had a solid number of investigators come to church. The second counselor in the bishopric called us like 30 minutes before Sacrament Meeting and told us it was our turn to give talks. We were eating lunch with a family that was far away from our house so we finished and ran to our room and spent a quick 20 minutes preparing, then took a taxi to the chapel. I spoke on using technology to further the Lord´s work. I think it was a good talk. I shared Luke 8 on the "Parable of the Sower" and how we never know what ground we are sowing on and how we can reach so many people through social media who might be that one part of the field with good soil, that one person, who is ready. Anyway, a sister in our ward invited us to her house for Thanksgiving. They don't really celebrate it here, unfortunately, but she studied at  BYU and so she said she would try to put something together for us. After church that night, we went to the stake center for the Face2Face with Apostles Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard. It was for the young single adults and president said that all of the missionaries were invited too, so we went. It was pretty cool. They said that the Logan Institute had been invited and was present there so that was weird. I saw Thomas Lundburg and a ton of other people that I knew when they showed people from the audience haha. 

Today was chill, we went to Chili's. I bought the Fajitas just like old times. It seemed freaking expensive in Soles (Peruvian $) but for like 6 people it wasn't too bad. We spent a total of 450 Soles! It was just like being back at home though. 

I'm doing well just trying to make it to Christmas to be able to talk to you guys. I'm enjoying this transfer with Elder Fagg and I love you all. 

PS: We thought it was Thanksgiving so we dressed up like pilgrims and were eating apple pie while reading the Bible to reenact the first Thanksgiving, Not! 

--
Elder Mortenson
Week 68

So we had transfers on Tuesday. We got to our room around 12 and Elder Fagg unpacked his stuff while I pulled all of the old stuff out of the room and cleaned everything and we moved it all around so that everything would fit better.  That was cool until Thursday when the lady that lives in our house told us that her husband died and that he left the house in his kids`names and they are kicking us out so looks like we cleaned and did all of that for nothing. We wrote down like a million phone numbers of people that are renting out rooms so we gotta call them and be moved out by the end of the month. 

So pretty much all the rest of the week was normal. It's really fun to be with Elder Fagg, I can actually make jokes that he understands and he can make some that I understand unlike with the Latinos, so that is fun. He has some dope stories of stuff that he did. I'm trying to convert him into an Aggie. His brother graduated from USU and lives in Logan and his sister is there right now too. Unfortunately, they are BYU fans for some reason...but that can be changed. 

We had interviews on Friday with president. They were good, he talked to both of us about the zone and about how things were going and out take on things and whatnot it was pretty cool. We also had a meeting with the stake president and a couple of the members of the high council on Sunday to talk about a plan president Palhua has. He is the man! let me just say that. He is going to write a letter to every member over the age of 10 in the whole stake and invite them to pray, choose a friend or family or family member, fast for that person, and then set up like a Family Home Evening and invite the missionaries and whatnot. And then he's asking them to do 25 kind acts during the 25 days of Christmas! So we should have a lot of baptisms in January after so much faith being exercised like that. 

We are enjoying things here in Saint Patricia. We have a couple of baptisms set up for the 25, Joyci is gonna get baptized for sure and then we are still on the edge with Flor and Monica. But we are having tons of lessons and teaching a lot of good people. 

Today for prep day, we didn't do much of anything. I got a haircut and we went to the office because I am buying a new suit and there is a member that works in Gamarra and makes suits and sells them for real cheap so I got one, its blue. I hope it turns out well. Afterwards, we went to the stake center and just watched some movies and ate burgers. We asked for permission to go to the gym in the mornings because there is one super close by. We are also thinking about going running in the mornings and we are trying to eat healthier so that is cool. 

Everything is going well. Never thought I would have a white comp but turns out president put 5 companionships of zone leaders with another American comp so that is cool. Speaking English again is pretty weird. But ya until next week. And here is a pic of Elder Fagg and me planning. I got the hat in Gamarra and idk what he is wearing. 

--
Much Love,

Elder Mortenson

Friday, November 10, 2017

Week 67
My Companion, Elder Rojas went home. He cried so hard like everyday it was kind of sad tbh some days he was like super excited to go home and then other days he was like super sad to go home.  But I'm going to be companions with Elder Fagg, he is my homie, he is from Heber, UT. We will see how it goes, haha I'm hyped. 

So it was kind of a sad Halloween. As you know, it's my favorite holiday, but at least that's the last time I'll not be home for it. We bought some witch hats and went proselyting with them on hahaha! There was an activity in our ward that night that we went to. They brought food from all different parts of South America like Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Columbia. It was pretty cool.

On Thursday we had our Leadership Council. It went well. President talked about how we are the "mission presidents" of our zones and that we have the power to do what we need to to help the zone, but we also have all of the responsibility if things don't work out, as well. He talked about how we need to help our district leaders understand the same principle so that they feel the weight and responsibility on their shoulders as well. My companion had his last interview with president after that meeting so that took a really long time....lets just say we didn't get a ton of things done this week. 

On Friday, my companion had lunch with president. I went and dropped him off and then went with Elder Whitby to a training that was going on and they gave us pollo a la brasa to eat, so that was good. We just kinda chilled while the outgoing missionaries were eating with president and we went to the office with Elder Hidalgo and talked.

On Saturday, my companion wanted to organize a breakfast with the zone, so we did that and ate breakfast hamburger-type deals. It was good, and then we did our weekly planning there in the chapel. Then my companion had bought these huge pictures of the zone and wanted everyone to sign each one of them and it took forever. Then we went and ate with Chacarilla´s pension so that he could say good-bye to her and that took forever too, but we ate good food at least. 

Sunday was pretty much a waste of a day as well, as far as missionary work goes. Elder Rojas packed all of his stuff in the morning and then we went and ate at like 12 and then went to church afterwards. We ended up leaving early because he still had a lot of stuff to finish.  We went back to the room and he finished packing and then wrote like a million cards to everyone with his picture and whatnot and then Monterrico came and got us at like 7:30 and we dropped him off at the assistant's room and then went back to Monterrico. 

Today was pretty chill. We had to go to the office this morning because Elder Rojas had forgotten the battery to his camera. So we had to go all the way back to our room and then all the way to the office again to leave it there so that he could get it. Then we went and ate Papa John´s, I am with Elder Beach and Elder Valle right now. Next, we went and cleaned up the room a bit because it was super dirty after Elder Rojas had packed everything up.

I am pretty excited for the new transfer with Elder Fagg, it should be fun. I never thought that I would have an American companion lol. I have a lot of new plans and ideas for what we can do this transfer and it should turn out well. But ya that's about it....until next week. 

Here's a pic from my birthday celebration:  

--
Much Love,

Elder Mortenson