Week 30

Well first of all let me just start off by saying THANK YOU FOR ALL THE BIRTHDAY WISHES :) My teen years are come and gone. So weird. But hey its cool. 

And yes... I got so spoiled on my birthday. I tried really hard to not let anyone know about it. But Sister Philbrick spread the word. So our investigadores Martha and Diego invited us over and made an American dinner and bought me a chocolate ice cream cake. And then we went to the Guerrero's house for Oscar's (our recent convert's) birthday and I thought we were going over just to be there for his 20th birthday celebration, (his birthday is the 19th) but nope, they bought me a cake too and sang to us together and hermano guerrero pushed my face in it! hahah unfortunatley no pics because camera died. and then last but not least, I saw Hermana Detrinidad at transfer conference (one of my favorite/best friends here in the mission) and she baked me a cake and bought me a Princeton sweater. So yes. I felt the love. 

So I'm sure you are all wanting to know what happened with transfers... I'm training again!! Yeah. I know. I couldn't believe it either. What even shocked me more was that there was only 2 spanish sisters coming in. But I am so excited to see what these next 12 weeks will bring with my number 2 hija! :) her name is Hermana Bentley. Shes from West Jordan, UT and went to the same high school as my other hija Hermana Philbrick! Small world. She doesn't know much Spanish at all so it'll be great to see her grow. I also am staying in Kearny and let me tell you HOW HAPPY I AM. I would die if I had to leave here. I love these people. But there were tears shed being split up from Hermana Philbrick. Its crazy how fast you grow to love your companion. 

I love the mission. I love seeing how much I change everyday. Its stinkin' hard sometimes, but it just molds us into the people that Heavenly Father wants us to be. MIRACLE HAPPENED. So the only thing I wanted for my birthday was to set someone on date for baptism. That was it. So I took it up with the Lord and felt really good about it. And let me tell you folks, Heavenly Father is the best at giving gifts. He knows how to deliver. We were coming straight back from transfer conference and I was with Sister Bentley and I felt a little bit like a chicken with my head cut off. But we went into our appt with the Familia Guerrero and as soon as we went in, I felt the spirit telling me that Hermano Guerrero was going to be our investigador on date for baptism. BACKGROUND: he has said no to every date a missionary has given him for the past 30 years. Not kidding. Thats why he's not baptized. So we go into the lesson and talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and he opened up to us about this dream he had when he talked with Jesus and he told him that his church is true. and I was like UMMM HELLO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? so I asked him that and he was just like, well I need more faith. We talked a lot about faith and then I just looked at him and said, "Hermano, will you be baptized the 22nd of Febrero?" He just looked at me and said "Can I be baptized on a Friday" and I said we could make that work. He said, "well, okay then." I WAS SO HAPPY. I love this family. I know that they are one of the many reasons that Heavenly Father sent me here. So yeah, birthday wish came true. The church is true folks :)

Love you all! 

Hermana Mortensen

Week 29

This week was so awesome! (Like all of them really) 
One perk this week was that we got to go do service at Ellis Island and like no one was there. which was kinda eerie not gonna lie. So we got to do the audio tour and learn all about the history there and wow, going through that island to get into the Americas was not a fun thing. 

So heres a funny story (you just gotta laugh at this one). so this recent convert we are working with, Tino, came to church to day with his wife and kids (MIRACLE) and his friend Carlos! We were so excited and were hoping to start teaching him!! So after the Sunday school class, Carlos asked me if I was married. I said no and then he told me that he wanted to marry me so that he could get papers and that he would pay me. SWEET. Tino thought it was the funniest thing he had ever heard and keeps saying he needs my fathers phone number so his friend can ask my dad permission for my hand in marriage. CLASSIC. So moral of the story, we wont be teaching him.

Okay so miracles that are happening here are just UN real. We have amazing members. I have learned so much about the type of member missionary I want to be from the example of these members. So this member, Hermana Rosa, called us and was like "hey! I set an appt with my friend Mirna and so I want you to come with me. She doesn't know your coming, and she probably wont be very happy at first, but come!" so we were just like YES!! well turns out that this friend Mirna has a daughter serving a mission in Provo UT Spanish speaking. Mirna was very closed off and bitter toward the church and anything mission related because she felt like it stole her daughter from her. but as her daughter has continued in the mission, her mother has seen how happy this mission has made her and the blessings that have come from it. Hermana Rosa told us right before we went into the cita that Mirna's daughter's patriarchal blessing promises her that when will she is away on her mission, a sister missionary will touch the heart of her mother and before she comes home, her mothers will be a member. Her daughter comes home in June. So I was like oh my word no pressure!! We prayed SO hard and the spirit would be with us. When went in and I don't think Mirna was too thrilled so see us, but I was just like, I have to be myself right now. after a few minutes, we totally hit it off!! and opened up to us so much. Today we have an appt with her and her daughter and we are going to set them on date for baptism this feb :) I love how the Lord is in every detail of this work. 

okay one more funny thing. since its cold, EVERYONE (I'm not kidding, investigadores and members) gives us hot chocolate and fruit cake in every lesson. Those who know me well, know i love my hot chocolate, but this fruit cake is awful. seriously. but sister Philbrick dislikes it even more than I and watching her face every time they bring it out just makes me laugh so hard that i have to like bite my tongue hahaha 

I could not be happier. I learn so much everyday, and the best part is the the Spirit is literally teaching me in every lesson I teach. 

Me in front of Ellis Island with my official federal government badge ;)


Week 28--Happy New Year!

Oscar's baptism!

This was such an awesome week! Everyone kept asking us about what we were planning on doing for New Years Eve and honestly... the mere thought of staying up until midnight made me want to cry. This work is exhausting!! hahaha I slept very well. So this week there were so many miracles. But for now heres a few.

First of all, Oscar got baptized!!! It was so amazing. The spirit was so strong and after he came in from changing his clothes and getting all dry, it was like you could see a glow about him. At the end, oscar's dad, who isn't a member that we are trying to work with, went up to give the closing prayer. In his prayer his father said, and i quote "God, I am so grateful that my son has taken the step to be a part of your only true church here on the earth" WHAT?! I start up had to open my eyes and see if that was real or I was just dreaming. but no it was real. Its amazing how the spirit works in people! We are working on the father and hoping that he will be baptized pronto so they can all start preparing as a family to be sealed in the temple. then on sunday oscar received the Holy Ghost and afterward he was feeling so good that he was asking us, "when can I serve a mission? How many transfers are in a mission?" and all those questions :) Im hoping he will get sent to Texas Houston mission so I can see him in action!

Second miracle, On Saturday we went to go a less actives house and they are Dominicans and super awesome. Its a single mother and her daughter and they are both members but both very less active and have been to church in about 2 years. We went over and and after some quick small talk, I had an inner battle in my head. I don't know why but i got so nervous! I was like.... well i could be really bold right now, or i could play it safe and just be their friend but before I knew it and words just came out and of my mouth and I looked at the mother and simply said, "Hermana Pena, we came here with a purpose. We came and representative of Jesus Christ to ask to you come back." Her face just softened and she got kinda teary eyed and said "Gracias! Gracias!" It was like all she was waiting for was a invitation. Not only did she end up coming to church this sunday but her DAUGHTER (who considers herself a hard core ateo) CAME AS WELL. and it was fast and testimony meeting and the daughter WENT UP AND BORE HER TESTIMONY! I was just like oh my word. this is amazing.

Third miracle. There is this less active man who is a high priest and hasn't been to church in YEARS. We have worked with him and little and his family is pretty active but he and his son are not. and sometimes it seems we are teaching and nothing is getting through to them. so we were SHOCKED that he came to church. and then testimony meeting was coming to a close and he got up and bore the last testimony and it was the most powerful testimony I have heard. He said that he was thinking about what would happen if he were to die. He said he knew it would be horrible because his family would be on the right hand of God and he wouldnt. He that starting on that day, he was coming back and wasnt going to leave. WHAT A MIRACLE. EVERYONE was teary eyed including me. we went over to his house that night and it was like we were talking to a whole different person. 

Fourth miracle. we are in major finding mode. and we have pretty much no progressing investigadores. ALSO we have had no car this whole week and a half so its been a lot of walking. but i think that is no coincidence because we are forced to just knocking doors all day long between citas. so we knocked on this one house and all we said was "hola!" when they invited us in!! The husband went straight to his room but his wife talked to us and she is one of the most prepared people I have every met in my entire life!! She from Colombia and the spirit was so strong that whole lessons, especially as we talked about baptism. She accepted baptism right then and there! So we are working with her. 

Gosh. I just love this work. There is nothing better and seeing people come back/enter into the kingdom of God. Every sacrifice i put into this work, the Lord rewards me like 6 times more. I am forever in debt to Him!

Oscar's family

All of our zone on christmas morning!

Week 27--Christmas!!

This Christmas was so amazing!! Well first of all, it was a little stressful because like 8 families invited us over to celebrate Christmas with them and only half of them specified the 24th. so i just assumed that when people were invited us over for Christmas they were talking about the 25th. but NOPE. for hispanics, the 25th is the day were you just sleep to recover from all the celebrating. so that made things rather stressful and had some last minute appt switches but all was well.

I always thought that Christmas day as a missionary would be kinda of a bummer but let me tell you, we felt like the guests of honor at every house we went to! Everyone was so nice to invite us over and we loved feeling the spirit of Christmas in their homes. The food was all soooooo good, but I kid you not, after our 4th appt, or rather, our 4th feast, I almost resorted to crawling back home, standing up straight was just too much for me. we just laid in bed that night feeling so full and so sick hahaha 

the best part of it all was talking to the family!! It was crazy seeing them in a completely different house and all the siblings looked SO much older!! well especially the boys. A lot happens in 7 months and 40 minutes just doesn't cut it! 

the greatest miracle I think we have seen this week has been happening with the family of a recent convert, John. So he thinks he's like super hoodrat and tough is such a punk, but you just gotta love him. and he joined the church like 5 or 6 months ago. We work with him a lot because he struggles with going to church but he's been going quite frequently. As we have been working with him, his parents have started to really warm up to us. I remember our first visit with john, his mom was pretty against the church and leaned out the window when we ran the doorbell and said John wasn't home, but then John ran down stairs and invited us in. As time went on, we kinda of made it our goal to get her to warm up to us. So we would always give her a big hug when we came over and as time went on she would run to answer the door for us and talk to us until John came out and then she would leave for the lesson. One day she just broke down crying because John and his relationship with his parents is so strained and because he is their only child, she feels as though she is a failure as a mother. I felt that all she needed in that moment was someone to give hug and let her cry. The next time we came over, she was waiting outside for us to come in and gave us her number so that we could start  making citas with her! and THEN to top it all off.... they invited us over for their christmas dinner!! and thats not even the gran finale.... JOHNS DAD, DIEGO, TOOK THE LESSONS IN ECUADOR WHEN HE WAS JOHNS AGE AND HE WANTS TO COME BACK because he misses the feelings he had when he would read the book of mormon and come to church. We talked about how families can be together forever and the spirit was so strong. Its such a blessing to literally see the difference from day to night. To see how the spirit truly can change peoples hearts. when we were heading out, the mom grabbed our hands and thanked us for bringing a spirit of love and peace every time we come into the house. We are now teaching them and are so excited for the progress they are making! 

I just love being on a mission. I love serving my savior, especially in this time of year when we are reminded that He gave his life for us. The least I can do is serve Him with everything I have. 

Love, Hermana Mortensen

Looks like Hermana Mortensen was very good this year!

Week 26

Angel's baptism

Seriously. Serving a mission is the BIGGEST blessing because miracles happen all the time. Last week was tough but like I love how Moroni describes faith. He teaches us that when we have faith, we receive no witness until after if has been tried. Last week, my companion and I took to much fasting and prayer and it seemed as though even though we did those things, nothing was coming of it. At the start of this week, we promised each other and the Lord that we were just gonna keep working hard with a perfect brightness of hope. And then miracles happened left and right!! 

Well first of all.... Angel got baptized!! It was seriously so amazing to see how every thing worked out. Okay so long story short, he took his baptismal interview, passed and then said, just kidding i wanna wait some more. (well not exactly like that but you get the jist) and we were SO heartbroken. so we really felt like we needed to zero in and focus on the atonement of christ with him because he has been harboring feeling of hatred against his ex wife and her family. we got into the lesson and immediately the thought comes to my mind that we need to share the movie with him that talks about the guy whose wife and 3 children died by a drunk driver and how he forgave him. So I asked him to grab his laptop and my companion just looks at me like... uhhhh we did NOT role play this and i was just praying the whole time that it would exist in spanish and THANK HEAVENS it did. So we watched that with him and the spirit was SO strong during the movie and this man talked about how relying on his savior and the atonement, our feelings of pain and hatred can be replaced with peace and love. our spiritual confidence grows when we do not have ill feelings against those around us. The spirit was so strong that i didn't even want to speak and just sit in the spirit for hours! I asked him a simple question of how he can apply this video into his own life. He looked at us with tears in his eyes and said simply "i must forgive." So we committed him to pray DAILY to be able to forgive those who have wronged him. he offered the most tender prayer in front of us. it was truly amazing to see how something that simple really made it click for him. all he was looking for was peace and finally he knew how to find it. as the week went on, his whole disposition changed. he was happier. when we spoke about baptism he was excited! 

So fast forward to the day of the baptism. so the morning of we call him just to double check and make sure he's awake and he wasn't answering. so then we were texting and he wasn't answering and we were like kinda nervous because the night before he told us to call to make sure he was ready. So we were so nervous and slightly stressed and then 5 minutes after the meeting starts Angel walks in casually all smiling because he was like "I wanted to make you nervous! of course i am coming to church!!" not funny. AND theres always gotta be something that goes wrong. well this time, there was no ropa. so like all of us missionaries are looking everywhere for the clothes and we find like 2 XXL jumpsuits. way to big for angel but who cares it all worked out and emergency was diverted hahah 

also we have like 13 less actives that we've been working with come to church and 4 investagadores. my companion and i were just sitting and smiling so big and squeezing each other every time someone walked in! like it's so amazing seeing people come back and partake of the sacrament. 

our mission got together for a christmas conference and it was so awesome!! we have a variety show and so many people got up and sang and played instruments and then there was a few minute to win it things with a slide show. I just love christmas :) I will certainly miss being with my family but at the same time i wouldn't want to be anywhere else. 

HOW COULD I ALMOST FORGET?? and we went to the manhattan temple!! we had zero time to explore times square which was so sad but i LOVE the temple. it had been 7 months since i had been inside a temple and wow that is far too long. the new york temple is amazing because right as soon as you enter, all the sound from outside goes away. its like your in heaven for real. also. glasses were worn because pink eye make a mild come back. i flippin dislike pink eye. but all is well and back to normal.

Entering Manhattan Temple

Outside temple in Manhattan

Mission Christmas Conference