Week 48--Week of Loco

so this week was so crazy! a ton of changes are going down... but I'm so excited about every one of them. 

So first of all, WE HAVE IPADS! we really have them. Literally, studying with the gospel library is life changing. i am like sometimes almost overwhelmed because of all of the options at my finger tips. Its really funny too because i have to re-train my fingers to us like touch screens and stuff (and those of you who know me, know my thumbs are terrible with touch screens haha) but its so eye opening because from this point forward, no lessons will be the same. we have soo many options now that we can fine tune every lessons exactly to the needs of our investigadores. It has been amazing to see how the spirit communicates to be about how to use the ipad. We were in a lesson with a recent convert who is a single mother and who is very frustrated with her imperfect self. As sister dubon was speaking, i felt impressed to open up my ipad and pull out the talk by one of the Seventy about how the Latter-Day Saints keep on trying. I felt like I was just winging it but I know my fingers were being led my the spirit because I pulled up the talk and scrolled to a paragraph and asked her to read it without knowing myself exactly what it said. but as she read it, the spirit filled the room because it addressed her needs in words that I, myself, am incapable to express. and this is just the beginning! we are stoked on the ipads. it was weird though because the iPad mission conference was the first time I've ever felt old in the mission because we had to get the used ones and we don't have to option to take it home. weird. 

Second of all, the Elders that are serving with us in our branch are getting doubled out and we are taking over their area... which means that WE WILL HAVE SO MUCH WORK. oh my word i am so excited. we have been itching to get into their area ever since the A.P.s called and told us. BUT the biggest pain has been moving. so we have to move into the elders apartment because they are closing our apartment which is nicer than the elders. the elders are like basically our neighbors, so they were just like, you're on your own on this one. So sister dubon and I spent SO LONG having to go through all the junk that missionaries have left in that apartment for the last 10 years to get it move in ready. We found the most bizarre things. It was not fun at all and frankly gave me slight anxiety because I hate being inside when we are normally prosyleting, but I'm just glad its over. Luckily when we went out in the evening, we were able to do to work. But good grief major deep cleaning (see me vacuming couch)

Third, so many people are progressing that we are working with right now that it is unreal! we are focusing way more than just new investigadores, but zeroing in on making sure they progress. we do daily follow ups and we have been sending our daily scriptures to random potentials on our phone and investigadores and menos activos. its amazing the response that we get. one amazing investigador that we have that we found knocking doors always sends us a scripture back that he found on his own :) His name is J_____ and he is progressing so much. we will definitely be getting baptized this June. As well as A_______! (the guy I startled in the street) he loves reading the book of mormon and also will be baptized this June. 

Fourth, all was SO WELL in Zion that sister dubon and I thought for sure that something was gonna go down that would shake everything up. We thought that for sure the transfer text would have one of our names on it and we were dreading it. but.... WE ARE STAYING TOGETHER FOR A THIRD!! AHHHH. we definitely were jumping on the beds so happy. major miracles are gonna go down in this area this transfer :)

One last thing! we met with I_________ after his baptism and he is doing amazing. He said that after his baptism, he felt warm inside like all day. Yesterday, he received the holy ghost and the priesthood! We will baptize his wife, C_______, this Saturday :)

Love you all!
Hermana Mortensen

Pepe (he was a less active that i worked with in Kearny, came to visit me!! he had a taxi job up here in morristown and we were one our way home when we met up with him to say hi super fast! he is so awesome. he recently got endowed on Saturday night he called saying that just got called as the second counselor in the bishopric! yes i screamed on the phone. so amazing.

Week 47---Milagros on milagros

So many great things happened this week! It will be hard to narrow them down to just share a few!

So first off, we worked at Ellis Island this week and WOW. it was so amazing. It was actually a really spiritual experience. So every time we went to work there in the winter it was pretty much a bust because it was so cold that hardly anyone came over. But this transfer, we were assigned to go this month on a Saturday. the weather was great and there were so many people! So what we do there is we help people use the system there to look up the ship manifests and find their ancestors. It was packed! So I went over to help this Italian family and both the mom and the dad had ancestors from Italy. I helped the dad find his grandfather and they were all so excited! and then the mom was like, "hmm this will be far fetched but Im gonna give it a go" all they had was the name of the ancestor and where she was headed after she went through ellis island. I was like *gulp* this is gonna be slim. but then we found her and they both welled up with tears when they realized that their grandparents come over on the same boat! the woman was crying saying, wow if only they were here now. I took that opportunity to explain to them that their spirits very well could be here with us right now, rejoicing over this find! and how we I know that families can be together forever. I wanted to go more into it, but its a federal government operation and we promised not to proselyte. </3 but seriously, the spirit was so strong as we looked for and found name of many people that day. Its made them seem so real. 

Soooo one awesome experience happened on an exchange this week. I was leading out our area with a dying missionary who was majorly fighting some "trunky tendencies" if you will. I decided that the best way to fight off laziness was working our behinds off finding. so we changed up the plans a little bit, drove up to Boonton and I prayed specifically that we would find a prepared son or daughter of God to share the message of the restauracion. so we get out of the car and we get to walking when literally 10 seconds later, and short little hispanic man nearly passes me! I step right in front of him and probably scared the guy to death haha it was so abrupt that my comp kept on walking because she didn't realize that we had stopped! but I am so grateful I stopped because this guy IS SO PREPARED. he is from mexico and he is probably in his 30s. So we taught him right on the spot the restauration and he was like "wow that makes so much sense!" he said that he has walked this same path for 7 years and no one had ever stopped him to talk, and how that day we was longing for someone to talk to him and felt as though God had forsaken him. we said was so grateful for us angelitas for having stopped him. We met with him again after that and he had read the first couple chapters of book of mormon and said he wants to be baptized! stay tuned for June 14th folks :)

Other news: I_______ got baptized! the drama involved is unreal to get to this point. he has been investigating for 10 years with his wife, and they didn't like that all the missionaries pressured them so much for baptism (i mean, that is our purpose) so when we came in we just dropped them because even though they were going to church and what not, they were not progressing. so when we dropped them, I________ came to us at church and was like, ummm why don't you visit me? we explained our purpose told him that we are on the Lord errand to find people who are ready to act now, and we cannot waste His time. The guy was like, well then, I will be getting baptized the 17th of may! It was cool how dropping an investigador could make him realize how important it is that he ACTS. His wife will be getting baptized next week because she was sick last Sunday :( but the good news is that I_______will be able to baptize her!

sister dubon and i in front of this new exhibit at ellis island that talks about migration of the people to the americas and its basically evidence that the book of mormon is true :)

us in the great hall where the immigrants were loaded into and interviewed 

where we ate lunch on ellis island

talking with my family reminded me that i had a first name... here is its in jersey city!

Our investigator - deprimido

Our investigator - feliz!

Week 46--Feliz Dia Madres

So I think the hugest time warp realization of my life happened yesterday. So the secretary asked me to bear my testimony in sacrament and I was like okay! So when I went up to go and share it, I realized that on mothers day of last year, I gave my farewell! It was so crazy for me to see how first of all, when I gave my farewell, I knew hardly any spanish. and then second of all, how my testimony had so much more meaning to me now than it did then. My testimony itself hasn't changed drastically, but i feel as though as I look back on the past year in the mission, I have experiences that back up my testimony. I seriously I am soooo grateful for that foundation. I love how we are taught in Doctrine and Covenants, "seek not to declare my word, but first, seek to OBTAIN my word" when we obtain the word, it becomes our very own. So I feel like I take ownership, as did many prophets of old, when I say that I know that Christ is our Savior and that He leads and guides His church and this missionary work. We could not do anything if it were not for Him. 

So earlier this week, I went on an english exchange in the area clinton. and its like suuuuper farm land not even kidding, but SO beautiful. so we went to this lady's house and she let us in and she showed us around her HUGE farm and sister rogers, my companion for the exchange was sister rogers who is from austrailia and grew up raising hens, so we go to the farm and the lady passes sister rogers a hen to hold and they flap their wings like crazy and i have a HUGE fear of birds, so i have my arms crossed, you know, trying to send the message that i really don't want to hold it, but the lady gives it go me anyway and i wanted to run away screaming, but i held it. so yeah. and i didn't have my camera so their is no photo evidence, but you all would have been very proud of me haha

So we had an amazing miracle this week!! This week was pretty long, with a few exchanges and what not, and we had seen little success. well on Saturday, I was leading out the area on an exchange and I remember clearing the thought coming to my mind as if it were out of nowhere, "text J_____! you need to see him tonight" So I texted him right away. J____ is from Ecuador and we knocked into him one day and he was super nice and told us to come back in like 15 days because he was super busy at the time. As soon as I sent the text he responded saying that we should come by at 7. So we went there and he asked us, "how did you know that i had been thinking about calling you all this week?" we were so asombradas! He was explaining that he had a really rough week and he felt like he had forsaken God for so long that he doesn't even know where to begin or how to return. So we began to explain to him the restauracion and how God sent someone here so that we can always know how to make it back. We talked about how Christ established His church and he said, "so where is that church now?" ummm... best question ever? probably.

By the time we got to the book of mormon, we was so excited. he was saying, wow these are my ancestors here in the americas that wrote this book, I must know what it says! porque nadie me ha dicho todo de esto antes? (why hasnt anyone told me about this before?!) then he offered the most sincere prayer thanking God for having sent us to answer his prayers. and he said it right outside on a bench in madison. I was so so soooo grateful for having followed the prompting to meet with him. then he told us before he left, he said, I feel like Ive met you two before, from another life. Sister dubon and i just smiled, knowing that it very well could be true.
I was soooo good to talk with the family!! :) being away from the family definitely makes you realize how much you LOOOOOVE them. 
love you all!
Hermana Mortensen

skpye with family that mom sent. we are complete!

Week 45

Well, this week on Saturday night we went to visit a less active family and they took us out to this place called fuddruckers, and they are the craziest funniest family from Honduras. anyways, they were messing with me telling me that I'm so flacita that i probably don't eat and i told them during my mission I've learned to eat a lot. And so they put me to the test and hermano garcia bought me the 1 pound burger. okay so that might not sound like a lot, but that was the biggest burger i have ever seen. and so I started eating it you would be so surprised, I didn't even feel full until the last two bites (i'm sure my dad is laughing right now) so my companion pulled out the camera and recorded me eating the last two bites. wow, the day after, I was full all day long. I'm actually still kinda full, but don't be fooled folks, yo como sin verguenza (I eat without shame)

well I'm awesome, sent too soon. anywho
this week was super eventful actually! I feel like we did so much! so on wednesday we had a lesson with E____again and wow the guy is so cool! so I talked about i think last week about how i met him with one of my english sisters and we introduced him to the book of mormon and committed him to read the intro. well I had a really good feeling about him and I really want the guy to progress because he has so much potential so I was praying so hard that he would actually read what we left him and that we would be able to meet with him again. Well the cita came and he came out to meet with us and we met with him in a park with a member. he sat down and he was shooting some super weird questions with us left and right and was super rude kinda and i don't know, like a totally different person. Sister Dubon was looking at me like, "uhhh this was the awesome guy you were talking about?" like 10 minutes later he said "you passed the test" and we were like ummm what? he said that as soon as people who teach about Christ get impatient with people, everything else they say is discredited and how we passed the test because every time he was rude or something, we just testified of Christ and thanked him for asking questions. it made us laugh for a while and then he looked at me and said "I know you've been praying for me." and i said "well it's true I have been! but how did you know that?" He said that the night before, I came to him in a dream and and asked him if he had read what we had given him in the book of mormon, he replied saying yes but he had forgotten most of what he had read, and that i had told him to read it again. So he woke up, sat down and read it. He said that dream helped him realize that we really have been sent by God and that he needs to listen to the mensaje. He even said, "you are fishers of men and let me tell you, soy un pez gordo (i'm a fat fish). Its amazing because he really is someone who is prepared. we can find toooons of people, but very few and truly prepared. So that is super excited. 

Also, sister dubon and I have been enjoying taking the train lately, I feel pretty independent when we do, except for when we almost get on the train going to New York instead of the nearby city. but hey, baby steps. It was so cool too because on saturday I told sister dubon, hmmm i feel like we need to go to Hermana _____ right now (who is a member who is mas o menos activa who we hadn't seen for a long time) and she was like okay! so then we drive up and we see these balloons out side and a ton of cars and there was a huge party going on, and so then I immediately was like "oh gosh well its probably not a good time, we will just go by tomorrow" and then sister dubon looked at me and said "Sister Mortensen, this was YOUR revelation. we are going now" I felt so uncomfortable and everything but sister dubon made me shake it off and we went and its was such a miracle because 1)it was sister ______ birthday so we wished her a happy birthday, and 2)one of our former investigadores was there who explained why she hadn't been able to see us for so long and invited us over, 3)after we left, hermana _______ was talking to all her friends about the word of wisdom and a gospel discussion started! then right after we left, E______, another investigador, called us over to get birthday cake with her because it was her birthday, and oh my word, she not only invited us, but a ton of her friends and she was like, "I love them! trust me, you want them to come visit you" by the end of the party, of couple of her friends were like, hey! text us so we can set something up! so cool. 

how could I almost forget!! Carmen and Isdeyver, husband and wife (shes in the hiking picture in the orange shirt) are gonna get baptized in 2 weeks! we are so excited. So good things are happening here, the members are majorly warming up to us and we are just getting to work (unfortunately so are the mosquitos so the bug spray is a must. I don't want more scars to compliment my scars from last summer)

Love you all!
Hermana Mortensen

Week 44--Heeeeellllllooooo!

So another week has flown by! Seriously I am so happy all the time because spring here is soooo beautiful. now I know why they call New Jersey the Garden State. There are trees that are pink, red, yellow, white basically every color and everything is so green. I dont think I was ever depressed during the winter.... but definitely have a hightened level of spring in my step (no pun intended)

ANYWHO. this week was super inspiring. we had zone conference and we also had a mission leader training. I feel like at these meetings I am drinking out of a fire hydrant. like sometimes, i even have to bring like tylenol because my brain just goes like 100 miles a second. something that i learned at zone conference that i loved is that a CES teacher who teaches institute at Princeton University taught us about how we can help our investigadores progress. He said "the most crucial events of your investigadores conversion, happen when you're not there" we taught us about how to teach better and according to the needs of our investigadores. He said, they may not be prepared, but we can teach in a way that will prepare them for the restauration. This example he used helped me. He said "you can take the horse to the water, but you cant make him drink... but you can salt the oats" and BOOM that made so much sense to me. when we meet people, sometimes i just wanna go straight into the restauration, which isn't necessarily made, but we really have to take a sec, ask them questions and really discern what it is they need to hear and help them feel understood because we teach. Its been amazing for me to see how real the gift of discernment is. 

After zone conference, we were feeling so pumped up that we decided to go out to a place in our area and apply what we learned. so this town is called sterling. and i kid you not, we had zero names in this place. nada. we were going blind. we werent even sure if there were hispanics there. but we went out on main street and started knocking. the 3rd door we get to, a woman answers and we start talking to here and she said, "pasen!" so we go inside and we see that she is making pupusas and she tells us shes from el salvador... well there are like NO el salvadorians in jersey and sister dubon nearly fainted because shes el salvadorian and so there was an immediate bond. we got to talking to her and we learned a lot about her and related just about all of her answers to a gospel principle. she insistied that we eat pupusas with them ( SOOO yummy) and then she said she wanted us back that tuesday. what a milagro! seriously. I think the greatest thrill ever in my life is finding people. It so exciting. awesome things are happening in this area. 

Then at leadership training, I had to give a training on the NJ approach. This approach is what our mission does to approach people in contacts. Its hugely successful. we basically go up to people and instead of saying "we are reprentatives of jesus christ" we go and say "hey, so youre probably super busy right now, its probably kinda strange talking to two strangers here in the street/at your doorstep, and you probably already have a belief in Jesus Christ, but that's exactly why we are here!" we are training to overcome objections before they happen. there's more too but its super cool to see how receptive people are to it. I mean come on, people can read right through people when they are being awkward or fake, and we just have to be real! so i gave that training.... solo.... for 2 hours. it was set up as a work-shop and so by the 4th round, i was pretty tired. sister dubon asked me how it all went and it was weird, looking back, every training i gave was different. I think the greatest thing i am constantly trying to learn is how the spirit communicates with me, and as i have strived to follow that my whole mission, i almost dont even recognize following the spirit, it just becomes a first instinct. 

something really cool that happened this week was that we went on an exchange and i stayed and was with an english sister. We set an appt with a referencia of a recent convert. it was cool because when we were walking up to him, he was already outside waiting for us. We had a lot of questions prepared to ask us. I felt that everytime he asked a question, i just needed to first ask him what he thought, and then testify. I followed that pattern throughout the lesson. I felt like every time i testified, the spirit just got stronger and stronger. i pull out the book of mormon to give to him and he said, "i am only accpeting this because i felt something when you said that you know its true, so it must be, and i want to know for myself. I know that you are an instrument in God's hands because your spirit must be clean. my spirit is not clean so i could not impact someone that way you impacted me." i testified again that that is exactly why we are here, so that he can become clean because God needs him to build his kingdom. 

SERIOUSLY moments like this happen all the time! this is why the mission is so happy! 

well love you all, my hair is brown, my skin is white, and ive never felt bettah

no pics this week (we are gonna take pics of the pretty spring scenery) 

Hermana Mortensen

Week 43--Hey Mom, I can cook like a Latina!

So many miracles occur on the mission. one great miracle that occurred this week is that I can cook like a Latina. well. this might be an exaggeration but hey, baby steps. I can make tortillas like i was born and raised in honduras :) 

This week was basically getting slapped in the face with humility. sister dubon and I were praying for some major guidance to figure out how to pump some life into our area, especially since president is really cracking down on the leaders in the missions having exemplary areas. one of the most simple yet true statements in preach my gospel is when it says "nothing happens in missionary work until you find people to teach" oh true that is. but let me tell you, the gift of the holy ghost is truly such an amazing blessing. sometimes we were are driving in the car, i thought will pop into my mind like, "hey wait. we should go to this street." or "hey lets knock that door" sometime we sees results and we are able to talk with someone, or find a hispanic (miracle in a rich white area) but Ive decided that it doesn't really matter what comes of following those impressions. the most important thing is showing the Lord that we are willing to follow whatever prompting he throws at us simply so that he knows he can trust us. at the end of the day, thats all I could ever want, for Him to know that He can trust me. that definitely comes from my dad having raising me drilling into my head that if there isn't trust, theres nada. 

B____ and J_____ are progressing really well. B______ told us about her boyfriend and how is coming up so that they can get married and she will move to florida when he gets here so they can start their family. We were so excited for them! and then we asked her when he was coming and she said "in 4 days!" our hearts sunk. we were just like WHY? we find someone amazingly prepared and she's going to leave! her mom was in tears because she doesn't want her daughter to leave her care since she is pregnant and her husband wont be able to take care of her because he will be working all day everyday. so we told her to really pray about it and keep reading the book of mormon and we promised her that she will know if she should stay or leave. so then we went back like the next day and she was like "so I've been thinking, and I really don't have a clear answer from God yet, but i think i am going to stay her with my mom until the baby is born." sister dubon and i were just so happy and then B______stomach visibilly moved and her baby basically jumped! she looked at us and she said " i think God just sent me his answer" we then taught about the law of chastity and they were just so happy and accepted it right away. I adore those two. I feel as though I have know them for years. 

I feel like sometimes my heart can just burst because of how much I love my mission, the gospel, my savior, spanish, the hispanic culture, everything. during church on sunday, the opening hymn was llamados a servir (called to serve) and tears filled my eyes at the beginning of the song, and it took me straight back to the CCM in mexico, which about 400 missionaries and singing that song, and feeling the spirit so strong in the room, and i really felt like i was 1) clueless because i didn't even know spanish, 2)poweful, like i was really part of an army. And sitting with a little branch almost a year later, singing that song brought all those feelings back to me . I wouldn't trade this time for anything in the whole world. 

Love you all!! 
Hermana Mortensen

making tortilla con la familia garcia

celebrating hna dubons 21st bday with an ihop breakfast and investigador family!

sister dubon and i taking comp unity to a whole new level with knuckle hlj rings.