Second to last email!!

So Monday was our departing trip and pictures will follow of that. It was super fun! President have given us permission to send a quick update.

So last Wednesday all the departing missionaries went to the temple. Oh how I love the temple. Before we went they told us that now we need to refocus our minds for a moment and think strictly about the future that awaits us. It was the first time I had gone to the temple seeking answers for my own life! and feeling rather heavy laden at that. As I sat in the celestial room, this feeling came over me and in my head I heard the following "you did what I sent you there to do" I just got so full of my Heavenly Father's love for me and my mind started to scan through all the people I have met and grown to love here. It was such a sweet experience. I left there feeling so happy. I felt that it was time. So I am no longer in denial or delusional about going home, but I have accepted that is approaching and can see that the future in bright.

As a mission we are focusing on the temple and our new bishopric is super awesome. The best part and my favorite part of being doubled in is sitting down with less actives and playing totally dumb, asking when the last time they went to the temple was and then just being like, "oh you haven't gone?? lets go!!" Last Sunday was so awesome because we had this darling inactive couple we have been working with surprise us and they both came to church and after the sacrament meeting they asked, "so where is the temple prep class?" I started jumping up and down and was like oh my goodness you didn't say anything!! We were so happy. the pure joy that I felt is just another witness of what really matters most. So excited for them. We also have been finding like crazy. I have just been pleading with the Lord that in my last week, I could find everyone that he sent me here to find. and wow. We have been entering and going places we have never been, and people have been so receptive. For example... yesterday we found THREE FAMILIES. like what?? I would get so excited about the return appt and envisioning their future and then Sister Kramer says, "dang it you won't be there!!" Talk about feeling like you got the wind knocked outta ya.

I had my departing interview with president and he gave me some really good advice. But I will tell you about it in more detail later.

That is so cool that you got to spend some time with Elder Whitney Clayton! Wow, talk about a pump up. that so awesome! Isn't it cool how its like as missionaries we can be 100% certain that we are exactly where the Lord would have us be? Such an awesome feeling.

Also A____ got baptized!! But the real success story here is his mother. I____ was fully active in the church in Guatemala, endowed and even sealed to A___s father. Then so super hard trials came and circumstances changed as well. But little by little I______ has felt the sweetness of the song of redeeming love as we have met with her and has realized that her testimony all this time has never left her. She still has a lot of changes to make, but she is happy. That is the first step. and cute little A____ is just the happiest camper now that he is baptized. On some occasions, I_____ was hestitant, but A____ would look at her and say "mom. You always told me that when I feel that something is right, I need to do it. Well I feel that is this what God wants me to do, so please let me do it" sweet moments like that are so wonderful to witness.

I love you mom and dad! Thank you for raising me in this great gospel.

hermana mortensen.

I don't have any pics of us in front of the temple :( BUT after the temple we went through a walk around central park. it was pouring rain but SO BEAUTIFUL.


I've lost track of what week we are on!

So, fun fact about West New York. During the month of October, they do these giant hispanic parades and people from all over represent their country by dancing. its so cool to seeing people from Bolivia to Colombia (personal fav. they can move it) to Mexico to the Dominican Republic dancing and representing their roots. Its super cool to see it. 

So definitely this week was full of the usual and the too be expected trials and tribulations. but it was great at the same time. lots of walking, lots of knocking, lots of contacting. I just kept telling Sister Kramer... welp. the Lord is testing us. hahaha but we had so much work this week in the evenings that we had to go on splits! It was awesome. On one of the days we had to do the split, I was left to teach the english class (because they really don't know like any english, so the one who stays has to understand what they are saying haha) and well anyways, it was crazy because that day we had 25 students! Such a full class. It was slightly stressful but its so great because when we start we always tell them, okay! we are going to start with a prayer! After the class a few people came up and said they felt so great there. Its so great to build relationships with them on a non threatening level and then it naturally turns into a teaching opportunity!  

 Most of all, a lot of people calling us in tears telling us they needed us in that moment. It's easy for the burdens and the shame that others carry to feel as though it is even weighing you down as well. But at the same time, it is such a blessing to feel what they feel it to a certain degree because it forces us to also rely on the Atonement and see first hand how it can relieve people and strengthen them while they are in their trails. 

Really good news is that we have a less active who is recently reactivated going to the temple to receive her own endowment this Saturday!! We also have another one who we have been working with that will be receiving hers as well on the 14th!! Such a blessing. As we explain the blessings of the temple, it makes me so grateful to be able to have entered there and made those sacred covenants, or promises, with God. 

Last but not least, we had an awesome church tour with B______. It was super short but very powerful. the spirit hits you like a brick when you enter the chapel with someone and look at it through the eyes of someone who is seeing it for the first time. As we were walking up to the church he said, "wow! I have seen churches built just like this in guatemala!" (that alone made me be like HELLO the church is so true) Then we went in and showed him around and explained the sacrament. and he kept saying " you really believe that I can be made clean??" every time the spirit hit with an undeniable yes! 

well folks. its true. and im loving it. 
con muchisimo amor,

la hermanita Mortensen

With Sister Taggart

Building a playground 


Noche de Hispanidad!!

This week was SO awesome. like for real. The greatest blessing of the mantle I currently have upon me as a missionary is being filled with love for the people I have come to serve here in New Jersey. Its never gets old. Ever! This week we had an awesome activity called Noche de Hispanidad. Its like "hispanic night" in English. Wow it's so cool to see the members in their countries get up. Us missionaries were assigned an American table. We made hot dogs, cup cakes and of course... root beer floats (I'm sure you can guess whose idea that was. hehe!) It was a huge hit with the kids! It was so cool because the countries would get up to dance before they could eat and wow... the temptation though to get up off my seat and join in the salsa was TOO real. To make matters worse, the members know how much I love to dance and would say, hermanita!! Go join them!! hahaha I refrained. Barely. We had a ton of investigadors and less actives come. Also, the less actives who came to church for the first time last week in years.... came AGAIN! That is huge. Two in a row baby. We have two part member families that I absolutely ADORE. they are young cute families that I just love. One of them, the husband is not a member and the wife less active and the other is vice versa but check this out. The spirit revealed to us in weekly planning that these couples need to reactivate and fellowship each other! Then we find out on Sunday that the 7 year old daughters of the two families are FRIENDS AT SCHOOL. thats an "in" then we tell the bishop that the member wife and the member husband need callings. So the wife will be the new gospel principles teacher and the husband is going to be the teacher of the sacerdocio cada caurto domingo! Perfect. So we are stoked. Then we have found a bunch of people contacting and we found one guy named B________ who told us that we are literal angels because he has been praying for people to come into his life that will help him overcome his drinking problem and find purpose in his life.... welp. We are your people folks. He made a hilarious comments saying "in all the pictures of angles, they draw yellow hair! You both really are angels!!" ahhah I guess thats one way you can define an angel. But he shows a lot of potential. So humble. Well that's all for now. But the work is movin thats for sure. I love this area, comp, the people. everything. expect for the freezing cold wind. but thats okay too.
love you!!
hermana mortensen
picks from the noche de hispanidad

I am a qualified "East Coaster"

Quite the week this week!! Last Saturday was so awesome. So Maria and
Christian lopez (recent converts from Morristown) went to the temple
to do baptisms and sister Dubon and I went to do it with them!! So
president Taggart told us that we were so close to New York that we
should just figure out public transportation and meet them there. So
get this. The two Southern California girls figuring out the subway
system in New York. Doesn't sound promising, but getting there was so
smooth. Not even a problem at all. As if we were certified locals. We
got there for the session and it was wonderful! I loved seeing Maria
and Christian for the last time as their missionary :) then getting
back home was slightly more complicated. We get on the subway but the
wrong direction... By a lot. So we get on another one and then walk up
the stairs only to realize we are in the middle of Times Square. We
are like both kinda freaking out but trying to remain calm because we
don't want to look like ridiculous tourists. So we calmly walk, get
our bearing and get on a underground train that took us to Hoboken.
It's was quite the adventure. I am obsessed with Hoboken. I would LOVE
to live there one day. Turns out I have ancestors that lived in
Hoboken too back in the day!

So there was a lot of rain this week. So that was less fun. We also
had a few people drop us this week so we are in major finding mode. To
even switch up on the game is even more... President called for an
area book freeze which mean we aren't allowed to plan any backups or
put potentials in the area book as plans. We have to act like we are
opening a new area and just straight up contact. Not very settling but
hay que obedecer. It's been good. It's made us get creative that's for
sure. At church this Sunday we had quite a few less actives that at
church who haven't been in forever! Blessings.

Two things that really stick out to me. So there is the C______ family
who I absolutely love. Hna C______ told us when we were there that she
had some bad news for us. She had to go back to working on Sundays.
She began to explain all the reason as to why she couldn't leave her
job and so on and so forth. We opened of the 1 nefi 3:7. As she read
she began to cry. That verse is so well known and simple, yet I was
filled with us much of God's love that before I know it I too was
wiping away tears. It's amazing how much God really does love us. He
just wants us back which is why we promises that he will make the
commandments do-able.

Second thing: we have the coolest new investigator named F_______
from Guatemala. We met him in our English class. He's so humble and
funny. We were teaching him and he was like "hermanita, are you alone
here?" I said "no! I have my companion!" And then he said "no but do
you have family here?" And I was like "well, no but we are all
brothers and sisters" and he was like "no but like blood family, do
you have any here?" So I tell him no. Then he said "so you are alone"
and I was like " well then yeah I guess!" And he was like " NO! It was
a trap. You have God you are never alone!" Hahah hes a hoot. We plan
on inviting him to be baptized the 8th

Well love you all. Pray to send all this crazy rain to California please :)
Hna Mortensen

Sister Kramer introduced me to this. We had just come in from a hurricane and so it was a perfect time for hot chocolate. So then you take this like Austrailian chocolate cookie and drink the hot chocolate through it and then you have to like slam the whole cookie in your mouth before it dissolves and then that's it! It was so yummy!

Yo me llamo le Hermana Muerense

So first bit of comic relief that I keep forgetting to tell you all about. So in this area for some reason, people really struggle with my last name. So there is a family who calls me Hermana Muerense. Which is hilarious because that means that "they die" in Spanish. It just cracks me up every time because the hermano says its so funny that is sounds like a deaf person saying Mortensen. 

This week had so many miracles. The spirit was so strong in so many lessons and we were literally lead to places that left us wondering how we even had ended up there. 
I couldnt write last Monday because we had a Passaic day of service where the top three most north zone of our mission went and basically built a sick play ground in just a day! It was super fun but we are all still BEYOND sore. I met Matt Lauer from the Today show which is cool. 
Also, fun fact. we basically nearly had a hurricane hit last weekend. We woke up on the 1st of October and it was literally like gray outside all day and freezing. Out of no where. I was so worried that the freezing weather came in like 2 months early. Then it was pouring rain and the winds were so strong it was coming at us sideways. It lasted about three days and stopped. We would come in like soaking wet. Taxis would wave us over and offer us a ride for free cause they had such pity on the two gringas but we had to turn them down hahah. 

Conference was truly amazing. We watched them all at the church except for the Saturday afternoon. We watched that with I______ (the less active from gautemala) with her son Alan who is on date for the 25th now! It was so awesome to watch that, especially with a mother present as Elder Holland talked about how and mothers love for her child is a divine love. That was so powerful. Shout out to my mom. I am certain that no one loves me as much as she does :) 

President Monson scared the day lights out of me! I was feeling faint as I was watching him near the end there and grabbing sister kramer so tight. But it goes to show that while the flesh is weak, the power of God within him is so strong that it nearly over came him. You could see it when he said to the youth of the church "YOU ARE DIFFERENT than them." We are because we have this wonderful gospel! I love all the three new apostles. I got the chills each time they spoke. I loooooved the ponderizing talk. I am doing it :) Its crazy because the question that I was pondering as I went into the conference was "how can I align my will with Gods will as I prepare to go home?" and that got answered at least 6 times. Heavenly Father is trying to make his answer very clear :) 
We were able to get in many homes of long less actives this week and how the spirit was so powerful as each one commited to come back. and how in every lesson, the plan changed to be exactly what the spirit indicated for their needs. One example of this week. Saturday night we came home and we had 10 minutes left before we had to weekly plan. I don't remember how or why but I saw a name in the directory and told sister kramer that she should call her to see if the number was still correct and to practice her Spanish. So she called and a woman answers with very good english (lucky sister kramer) sounding very skeptical. When we tell her who we are she says "oh I literally just called the elders! (it was on old number that got cut months back) "I was calling because I finally have this Sunday off and I wanted to see what time church starts" We were elated. We told her about conference and she committed to be there. then she says "when will you be coming over?" We set an appt and met her at conference the next day! The spirit was so strong as we met with her and invited her to come back. She says she knows it must be her time and that god is so aware of her because she never answers numbers she doesn't recognize, but she felt that she had to answer. 
That's just one miracle! out of many this week. 
love you all! eat some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for me :)

hermana mortensen


So Sparta is unlike any place I think I will ever be. So much green, and so few people, and the people that are there are straight up hill billies. Its pretty fun to get a whole different feel. I feel like I go across the country when I'm over there, yet its only a hour and a half drive away. Jersey is so cool. we got a car last Tuesday to drive around Sparta with unlimited miles. Pretty intense.

Its a lot of driving and delivering packets, but get this, I know one of the reasons why we were sent to Sparta. So the great success at the fair lead to the formation of nearly 600 packets. When we got to the sisters apartment to start making calls, I randomly grabbed a packet from a pile of 200. I look at the name on the packet and see that its a Hispanic name. I thought to myself, wow how weird! Then I opened up the packet and saw the women's handwriting and then BOOM flashback to when sister Dubon and I worked the fair the first week of July! I helped her fill out her family history because she didn't speak English!! We called her, set an apt, visited and she's so awesome. She didn't even really care to talk about family history, she just wanted to talk to us and see what we were all about. It was so cool. It's amazing how aware Heavenly Father is of us.

While we are working away in Sparta trying to help out the missionaries over there, unfortunately our area is slowly but surely crumbling :( its nearly impossible to try to manage an area when you are gone 5 out of the 7 days in the week. I just keep repeating to myself that the Lord will help us and bless us for our efforts in Sparta. I just have to keep repeating to myself "a donde me mandes ire senor" all the live long day.

I had the amazing blessing of going to the temple last Saturday with recent converts N_____ and C______ :) it is so cool to see people progress in the gospel. the peace and calm that is in the temple is amazing. Espicially in the manhattan temple you can truly appreciate it because its so drastic compared to the noise and speed of Times square.

Last but not least, Elder Christofferson came to our stake conference! Can you believe that?? Such an amazing blessing for us here in New Jersey. We had stake conference in a huge symphony house in Newark. It is gorgeous there. I consider that place sacred for me because there I received one of my strongest spiritual confirmations a year ago at the Scotch Plains Stake conference when I was new in Kearny. Elder Christofferson spoke about how we receive answers from God and how we cannot dictate God. We must accept His timing of when we will receive the answers to our prayers. He left 7 very specific and prophetic blessing on the people of new Jersey that were so powerful.
  1. Power to resist temptations and the efforts of the adversary that are real. Resist His temptations.. Do it now.. Do not wait.
  2. A greater capacity to serve. I bless you with that desire. It will take some time but it will come. A blessing of new means and capacity.
  3. I think that you have a desire for greater Faith. I bless you with this. Faith is a gift given to the righteous and obedient. It comes through the spirit. Pray for it. It will change your present reality.
  4. A new vision in your life. You will see the Lord through new lenses and will have confidence. I bless you with this trust. He will preserve you when you are down and discouraged. 
  5. Food on your tables and more… enough to share with others always.
  6. Blessed marriages. Your relationship with your spouse will bring great satisfaction and the sisters will have confidence and support. Trust that the bond will become unbreakable.
  7. A blessing that the work will continue to grow here in New Jersey. It will blossom into great fruit. We are a part of this growth.
At stake conference I was able to see many people probably for the last time as a missionary in many of my past areas. there were some tearful reunions :) Its amazing the impact that we have had on each other. I am so grateful to my mission because of all the amazing people that I have been able to rub shoulder with and feel of their spirits and grow with. what a blessing.

Well love you all!
Hermana Mortensen

so this is S______ from Newark! she has recently moved into the ward from Ecuador when I was there. I was so excited to see a young ysa girl asked her if she would like to come out with us. she would come out with us and would also come to us crying because of her terrible living situation with her father that she has meant for the first time in 18 years. it was a terrible transition but she would come out with us to keep her strong in the faith. when she saw me she ran over and starting tearing up telling me that she completes her mission papers in a week and hopes to be serving in December. I was ELATED. such joy. I am praying she goes to Texas Houston.

BEAUTIFL lake by the miracle Peruvian family house in Sparta #nofilter

mah sista friend, Hermana Kramer. Its funny cause people will yell at us from across the street and say, "are you two sisters??" and we say "yes!" thinking that they are asking like sister missionaries. and then they say "oh really? who is older?'" classic.

tiny house we drove by on our way home on stuart little street

Hey!! Week 64

So this week quite the roller coaster. It was so great because we had a ton of meetings for the new missionaries and it's awesome to be a trainer and be on the receiving end on some awesome revelation. So there is a meeting for missionaries to go to when they are only three weeks in on the mish and its to kinda just check up on the emotional aspect of stuff and what not. Well anyway, President always give the same training and its so inspiring on understanding The Fall. well, its my third time hearing it so I got it on lock. It was weird to feel like one of those old missionaries who knows all the answers hahah but every time the spirit teaches something new to me. its crazy how many connections there are too because this week a few missionaries came up to me saying they know people in the Texas Houston Mission. The Mormon social circle is just so small.

So we had a heart break this week. B____ was already to go and be baptized this Sunday. On Thursday we were planning on moving back his baptismal date because we just didn't feel too good about it, but when we sat down he was like, give me the baptismal questions, I'm ready. So we did and he passed and the spirit was there and he was saying how when he makes his decision he will never fall away and all that jazz. Then we couldn't see him on Friday. On Saturday we go to see him and he just was acting super different. He started saying these crazy things that someone must have put in his head. but he was saying things like how he wasn't even sure if there was a God, that he is probably just an energy and all this craziness. Then he started saying that I have a truth, he has a truth and God has a truth and how they cannot be one. I just kinda looked at him all puzzled and was like... B____, there is one truth, and it is the same yesterday, today and forever. The truth of God is here in your hands, and it is the truth for all the world, it is up to us to accept it or reject it. he then said that he accepts the fact that he needs to be baptized, but he wont accept the fact that church is necessary, because he believes that all of them come from man. (even though the spirit has already testified to him otherwise) So then I asked him, "how can you be baptized without a church?" then he was stumped. We testified of the truthfulness of the prophet and church. We told him to call us when he was ready. That was definitely a bummer because you really come to love the people you teach, but agency will get ya good sometimes.

Something cool and random happened on Friday. so we had an apt at 6 oclock with a less active. We show up. No answer. We call, and said she will be there in 10 minutes. So we decide to go try a few potentials while we wait. We start walking down Broadway when a man yells "HEY!" outside his truck window. we turn around an immediately recognize him. We were teaching someone on their porch our first week there and this like 4 year old boy sees me and what can I say? It was love at first sight. He had his own cell phone (I know crazy) and was taking picture of me and selfies with me as we were teaching hahah it was so cute. He was pulling out his toy porsche and yelling at me "oiga! oiga! mire! mire!" and telling me to get in to with him. Well his grandpa thought it was hilarious too. After we taught the person, we went over and talked to the grandpa. he was super nice. A Cuban Jewish person (hard to come by) he nicely declined the offer to learn more but said we were cute girls and that was that! Well he called us over from his truck this Friday! We walked over and he was like "this is my daughter!" she was so sweet. She was the mom of my cute little "novio" she was gonna on and on about how her dad and her son haven't stopped talking about us for the past month now. she said something along the lines of "but now I know why. there is something so different about you two. You are literally glowing! I wish there were more women like you around here" I guess its something that you cannot see in yourself, but the light of Christ is a real thing! It brought a whole new meaning to being a light unto the world.

Also plot twist: we got a call last night from the assistants and lets just say it looks like I will have to be ordering an English name tag because sister Kramer and I are getting reassigned!! Yes folks, you read that right. President has chosen sister Kramer and I go to over to Sparta and teach. When I was in Morristown and last transfer, the Sparta area did this family history push and at the local summer fairs, we had booths that the missionaries ran and invited people to start their family history work. There was a huge reaction and by the end of it, there were about 200+ packets that needed to be delivered to people who had filled out info. All the packets have been delivered and over half of the people accepted a return apt for the missionaries to visit and teach them. It truly is an honor that the President called us and trusted us to go and teach these people! we have been reassigned and so has one companionship of elders to carry the load. We will be there from tomorrow till Friday night and do so for the next few weeks. So juggling two totally opposite areas will definitely be interesting, but we are down for the challenge. should be awesome.

I love being a missionary. seriously. its hard. but its so rewarding.
Hermana Mortensen

 R____ before her baptism. 

R____ after her baptism. Isn't she just glowing after?!

G______s baptism

with Belyruth!

what the elders used to scare the living daylights out of me on the car ride to the meetings. I figured paige would enjoy the deer head

Elder Wildman, the cousin of the Texas Houston Mission Elder Wildman :)

ellis island with sister dubon. love her.

streets our area. don't you love those picket fences??