Week 55--I'm in Elizabeth!

Oh my word I feel like I died and went to heaven... IM IN ELIZABETH.
For real I love this place already. It's like the complete opposite of
Morristown. Elizabeth is like a fully functioning ward here. Just so
you get the idea of the demographic here, the English branch takes
people out of the Spanish ward for leadership callings. Coming from a
branch where 40 in attendance at sacrament meeting was a lot, sitting
in that ward I was just in shock. There were so many people. And get
this, people call US asking us when they can come out with us. Yes.
This is real.
I was shocked when president said sister mortensen to Elizabeth
because this is a STL area so this will be my fourth transfer as
sister training leader.1-2 exchanges weekly lives on haha. I loooove
my companion. For real I am getting so lucky I'm the comp department.
We already are great friends. Her name is Hermana Ivie and she's from
Alpine Utah. She's only been here one transfer before me and she left
a lot on the exchanges last transfer so we are feeling it out here

There is a lot of work here but I would like to see us get more solid
progressing investigators. We are planning like an hour a day to just
straight contact. It's so nice because I haven't been able to do that
since Kearny! And even then we couldn't really because hardly anyone
was outside because of the snow. So this is awesome. This week was
kinda a blur because I've met so many new people and I'm trying to
keep them all straight.

I think something that has stuck out to me this week is how we truly
will never know the impact we leave or the good we do in the lives of
others when we are in the work of the Lord. When we were walking up to
go to church, a man was walking up at the same time and sister Ivie
said to me "ahh he's the best you're going to love him" I look at him
and said "I've met you before where have I met you before?" He said,
"oh my goodness! It's been so long! You were there with sister Childs
when I was taught by the missionaries for the first time!" Then it all
came back to me! I remember having taught him on an exchange to
Elizabeth back in January and that was one of the most powerful
lessons on the restauracion that I can remember. He told me that he
had been baptized three months ago and he was sitting up blessing the
sacrament at sacrament meeting. I couldn't believe it! I was filled
with so much happiness when he told me that. I got a glimpse of how
great our joy with be if we bring, save it be one soul into the
kingdom of God.

Something that I took away from this past week is how we as
missionaries are sometimes really good at leaving commitments, but
fail to help them keep their commitments. Our purpose is to invite
people to come unto Christ by HELPING them... There was a less active
family that hasn't been to church for sometime now and their daughter
had just turned at 8 years old. I wanted to meet them so we went on
Thursday and had a great lesson with them. The mother seems pretty
desanimada and like she really wants to go back, but everything just
kinda seemed hopeless. We invited her back to partake of the sacrament
and receive the blessings of Christ's atonement and she said we would
do her best. I testified to her that we truly do love her and want to
help her be there. I asked her how many people would come with her if
she went. I then told her that someone would come to pick her up at
8:45 and bring her to church. Her eyes kinds lit up and we was kinda
like "really?" I couldn't believe that no one had offered her that
option before! It's so simple and yet so effective because when we
came to church, that family was waiting for us and said "misioneras!
Les ganamos" (we beat you ) hahah that made me so happy to see them
there and looking so happy to be back. El enemigo doesn't want us to
receive help so he tricks us into thinking we are better off not
asking for it or we will just feel too embarrassed. That's where we,
as missionaries and all members of the church, need to come in. We
should never wait until someone asks for help. I have decided to take
out of my vocab "how can be help you?" And instead observe, seek the
gift of discernment and do all I can to offer specific help that is
inspired by the spirit according to their needs. Then we truly become
the Lords hands here on the earth.

Love you all!
Hermana mortensen

Selfie with my new companion Hermana Ivie. I love her!

First week in Elizabeth I met the former Hermana Ordonez who served with my parents in the Texas Houston Mission! I am serving in her ward. We went on an exchange and she is awesome.  I asked her what it was like having my dad as her Mission President and she said, "Hermana Mortensen, your dad for real changed my life" It almost brought tears to my eyes to think of the impact that my parents are having on people's lives. People I don't even know.

Week 54--4th of July

This week was soo awesome. I don't even know where to begin. It makes it even harder to leave this area :( yes. I got trasferred and will be going to my next area tomorrow. I have this feeling they are gonna send me south to the Jersey Shore. That would be heavenly seeing as I haven't seen a beach for over a year now. The craziest thought is that this next area will probably be my last! I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for me. I am quite relieved to not have to go on constant exchanges! but I will miss sister dubon so flippin much. I love that girl. We became companions with snow up to our knees and now we ended with a bang in July. She's the best. Couldn't have picked a better companion myself :) we both feel like we agreed to be mission companions in the pre mortal life.
So this week, sister dubon and I decided that if we want solid new investigadores and we really want the members in on it, we needed to get referrals and be persistent about it. So we first went directly to our recent converts and less actives. Let me tell you. in one day we got 7 referrals. M_____ is my favorite human beings in all the world. She called us one day because it was Jenny from the Blocks 10th birthday. so we drove over to enjoy some cake with them and it was so funny to see the faces of her girlfriends when the missionaries walk in. They get so anxious and look around like "who invited them?" and j______ squeals and like jump tackles us when we walk in and we meet all her friends and her friends are like "j_____ has told us all about you, could you come to my house too?" so cute. we told them that of course we could! then the women that were friends of M____ totally softened up to us. M_____ kept saying "VAMOS a la iglesia!" its funny because members are so scared to invited people because they feel like they don't "know enough" but M______ has been baptized for only 2 weeks now and all she said to her friends was that the church makes her so happy and her kids are so much more well behaved. and she kept saying "you see? thats what happens when you put God first" by the end, all of her friends were coming up to us saying that they would be at church and they wanted us over. It was amazing the turn around. Unfortunately none of them came to church because of the holiday weekend but I'm sure many will come next week :)
The fourth of July was so fun! I don't want to eat carne asada for months now. We got to see the fireworks with a member family and that was way fun. i couldn't help but realize that I have been in the mission for a good amount of time now seeing as last 4th of July feels like a long time ago back in Princeton with Sister Boudesocque.
Last but not least, A______ got the Holy Ghost yesterday. It was such a beautiful blessing and when we came and sat back now next to us he said "it is complete" I felt the spirit so strong when he said that. He is someone who really gets it. I found him in a corner filling out his fast offering after church. I love that little Mexican :) I feel like he was one of the people that i was sent to New Jersey to find. He will be a kingdom builder.
Love you all!

heres some pics
 okay first: we work at a booth at the fair for it was actually super successful. it was outside our area, our whole zone did it. but wow that was hick town. i felt like i was in a movie.
2:with the zone leaders. sister dubon and i have 5 months of zone meeting trainings and elder way has been there that long as well. it was good times
3. A_____ baptism! happy day. hermano carvajal, our ward mission leader baptized him
4. one of my favorite cutest couples from the newark ward. when i saw them as i was speaking at the fireside and got so excited.
5.fireworks with the morales family and hermana garcia :)
6. cheesin it with my home girl other half. im gonna miss my dearest comp. peace america

Week 53

Ahhhhh this week was so unreal amazing i cannot even begin to tell you. where to begin where to begin. okay so A______ got baptized!!! whooooooooo :) okay so sister dubon and i learned a big lesson on this one. so he got interviewed on Saturday evening the day before the baptism. (first mistake) in the interview, something came up that had to be addressed with President Caycho (consejero of presdent taggart) A______ had tears in his eyes when we were walking up to him. it was a really tender moment as we explained to him the power of the atonement. he kept saying, " i was just so excited for tomorrow" it just broke my heart. but i could tell that he has repented. he kept saying, "the person who did that was somebody totally different. i didn't know what I know now" THEN we told the whole branch council and the relief society women making food that it was canceled and would be the next week (second mistake) President Caycho got back to us and told us that he would be at our chapel on Sunday morning to interview him. and.... HE PASSED! which meant... HE WAS GONNA GET BAPTIZED. so good think and stressful thing. stressful thing was that we hadn't even started filling up the font so yikes. also we thought there would be no food and after church, everyone is starving to thats a problem. well luckily one of the women doesn't read texts so... she brought all the food anyway and it was enough for everyone to have seconds!! and the members were major troopers. they whipped up really good talks and everything came together super well :) A_______ felt super good and bore his testimony on his own! and said how grateful he was to us. he said before he was lost, but now he has a testimony of God, his eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is his Savior. what more could a misionera want?? I am so happy.
Then that night we had a huge fireside. all the spanish units of the northern part of jersey were invited and the spirit was so strong. in these firesides, the missionaries perform musical numbers and talks and it was great. i got to see some of my newark homies. that was awesome :) I was asked to speak at this fireside on prayer. I will never get tired of seeing the gift of tongues working through me. Sometimes phrases just come out that I didn't even know I knew. its so humbling to see how the Lord works through me. I shared about how the mission has been the most spiritual experience for any missionary because it is porpotional to how often we pray. we probably pray at least 40 times a day! I talked about how i prayed to find someone prepared to teach and who would be baptized before we left the car on the street we parked at, and that's when we found A_______! As I was telling the story I testified saying that I am a witness that God answers our prayers because that very day, A______ was baptized. There was an audible gasp in the congregation. the spirit was so strong. afterwards, many people introduced their selves to me and thanked me for what i said on prayer. and as far as half of the congregation is concerned.... I'm from Costa Rica ;) hahah i wish.
one more amazing piece of news: While i was serving in Kearny, there was a man who was less active and struggling from a rare blood disease. the doctors told him that he was on a donor list and that hardly anyone would be a match so it would be up to 20 years before he got operated. they said that with that much time he would die before he got the chance. He was confined to a wheel chair and refused to go to church or ask for the sacrament to be brought to him because he thought that would be shameful.To this day I remember sitting at their tiny kitchen table, feeling the spirit overpower me. My hands were even shaking and trying to hold back tears, I promised him, as a representative of Jesus Christ that if he would take the sacrament, he would be healed and they would find a donor for him. I remember leaving that appointment thinking to myself... well flip, that was a big promise. Last night at the fireside, I asked a member from the newark ward how he was doing. He said that he has been miraculously operated on and that he is even walking! He said that he never misses a sacrament meeting. this member said, "sometime he missing an hour or two, but always there for the sacrament, I'm not sure why" I smiled and said, "i know why" I cannot tell you how happy I was. Its amazing to see how the Lord works through a sister missionary like me. I don't have the priesthood, but in that moment, I understood for myself that I do have authority in this work. I love it.
I forgot my camera cord! but I will try to send pictures later today :)
Love you all!
Hermana Mortensen