Monday, September 29, 2014

One Of My Favorite Parts Of The Lesson Is When People Understand That They Can Actually Talk To Their Heavenly Father


Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me this week! I
love hearing about what is going on in all your lives! I know you are
SO busy with everything going on, so I really appreciate it :).  And
I'm sure mom does too, it sounds like she has been very busy with the
wedding.  That is so exciting that Spencer and Heather got married!! 
And that so much of the family got to be together!  Grandma and grandpa
too!! I'm sure that was great to see them and talk to them before they 
head back to Poland.  Ah. Our family is the best haha.

Brayden has a beard!!! Haha what?? I wasn't expecting that :). How's
school going? Haha remember anything from before your mission?!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts from the odgen temple dedication.  I
just was reading about the manner of happiness a couple weeks ago, and
it's true--following the prophets will bring us happiness.  Living the
gospel and following the prophets is the only thing that will bring us
true and lasting happiness.  And they are going to speak to us this
weekend! We won't get it until the next weekend though.  But still, I
am SO excited!

Last week we started teaching the B-- family.  They live behind a
part member family, and the mom brought us back to teach them one day
when we stopped by.  We sat down with N-- (the mom) and T-- and
taught them the beginning of the first lesson, and they were actually
pretty interested!   A lot of people here will listen to you (just
because they're nice) but arent' really interested.  But N-- and
T-- were really paying attention and asking questions and trying to
understand!  We taught them how to pray, and T-- said a beautiful
closing prayer.  That's been one of my favorite parts of lessons, is
when people understand that they can actually talk to their Heavenly
Father and say their first prayer :). We went back again, and this
time two of N--'s boys, R-- and B--, came and sat down with us
too!  We started again from the beginning, and T-- and N--
remembered everything we had taught them :).  We went through the rest
of the first lesson, and the spirit was so strong!  You could see all
of them trying to understand what they were feeling and what we were
teaching them. :)  We invited them to be baptized, and R--
immediately said yes! You could tell the spirit was working hard on
him :). N-- and R-- said that they would try but weren't sure.
T-- says she loves to hear from us and believes it is true, but
since her mom is super active active in the catholic church, she was
pretty hesitant about being baptized. R-- then seemed to be a bit
more hesitant about his answer after all his family weren't so sure,
and said he would try as well.  They are all so close!! They just need
to sincerely pray to know that it's true, and I KNOW they'll recieve
an answer.  It's just hard to help people see how much the gospel will
bless their life! If only they knew what they were missing :). We're
trying to help them see! R-- said a beautiful closing prayer this
time :). We gave them a book of mormon, and R-- and B-- were
looking at it as we were walking away :).

Well I wish I could tell you more! There is so much more to tell haha.
But it is GREAT.  It's hard work and there's SO much to learn, but I'm
loving it :).  Thank you all and know that I LOVE YOU SO MUCH :).

Love, Sis Mortensen

p.s. pictures don't work again :(.  Pres and Sis Maurer came to our
area this weekend to work with us so there might be a picture on
facebook :)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Facebook Surprise!

Sister Maurer (the mission presidents wife) posted these pictures and message on Facebook.  She said "It's not often I get to work with the sisters, but this weekend I did.  We had fun.  You would be proud of Sister Mortensen in every way. She is also using her talents to provide music for sacrament meeting.  This is their cute little house in Hinunangan.  President is dropping papers off to them on our way home."   Thank you so much Sister Maurer!

Cute Little House in Hinunangan

Sister Mauer, Sister Kallua-Santiago, Sister Mortensen

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Savior Isn't At the Top Encouraging Us To Come Up To Him. He Already Walked To The Bottom and Is Right There Next To Us

Hello familyy!!

Life in Lehi sounds like its pretty great! It's fun to hear what all you guys are doing.  That is so cool that you got to see the temple dedication! I really have missed going to the temple.  The cebu temple is pretty close, but we don't get to go.  My week has been great! We are teaching an investigator named A-- who's 13 years old.  We went by to visit him tuesday night, and he wasn't home, but his mom took us back to see their neighbors.  We sat down with them and a--'s mom and started talking to them about their day, and I was totally lost.  I was trying SO hard to understand and talk to them, but I just couldn't.  Luckily, they were pretty talkative, and sis Kalua-santiago could mostly understand, so it was alright.  After a little while we sang a hymn and said a prayer, and started teaching the lesson. And...I could mostly understand! I was even able to help teach part of the lesson, and they seemed to be really interested.  We were pretty excited, walking home after that! We definitely were not expecting to teach a new family, but it had gone well! This is the Lord's work :). 

 I'll see if I can answer all of your questions:). We speak in church about every other month, so not this week :). There is about 85 people every week at church, and a pretty even mix of ages. No balut yet! Haha I want to try it, we just havent got around to it yet sadly :).  We haven't had any very weird food yet.  Just rice ALL the time and meat. And i had my first fresh coconut today!! Haha I didn't think I liked coconut, but it was really good! Since our area is big we walk some but also ride a lot of habol-habols (motorcycles with extended seats and a shade thingie over it.  Haha i'll take a picture for next week.) and tricycles, which are bikes with a cart attached.  Hmm we live on the main road right across from a shell gas station, if that helps haha.  The church is a little back from the main road. We teach a couple of recent converts, but mostly less actives and investigators right now.  I am starting to understand more!! I'm still lost a lot, but it's getting better haha.  I can understand pretty well when non-native speakers talk, but I'm still getting used to the way native speakers pronounce everything. And Lindsey is just too nice, as you all know :). I'm really not that good!  My companion is the best!! I really have lucked out so far, for real.  She is pretty outgoing, so thats good for me, and is SO FUN to be with.  She is a super good missionary, I'm learning a lot from her.  Our district is just us and a set of elders.

This morning we hiked with our zone to Isang Lupi! It's a hill that is bald on top, with just one coconut tree.  It was really hot, and I definitely like hiking in the dry utah air more than this humid stuff, but it was still so cool.  At the top, we all shared a little about ourselves and why we are here on a mission.  That's one of my favorite things to hear from missionaries, is the reason they are serving.  It amazes me every time.  These people have been prepared by the Lord for this, and I'm grateful to be in a zone with them and learning from them.  We also talked about how the difficult hike can relate to the atonement.  The Savior isn't at the top encouraging us to come up to Him.  He already walked to the bottom, and is right there next to us.  He's there to help us every step of the way, every time we slip, every time we are discouraged. We just need to ask! He's right there, I know it.  I have felt his help many times while I've been out here and at the mtc as well.  This is hard, but we can rely on Him, and do whatever we are called to do.  I need to be better at recognizing His help, and the tender mercies in my life.  Because when I stop and think about it, there are SO many.

Well. I have my memory card AND the converter, but the computers don't work today! So sorry. Haha. One of these weeks it'll work out.  I love you guys SO MUCH and am praying for you! I am so blessed to be serving in this area and am so happy :). I'll talk to you next week!

Love, sis Mortensen

The pictures below are from Bri's mission companion.  Thanks for sharing!

Sister Mortensen and Sister Kalua-Santiago

Three Brothers who are Ward Missionaries

Sister Kaula-Santiago and Sister Mortensen

Hiking to Isang Lupi with the Zone

Sunday, September 14, 2014

There Is Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing Right Now

Hello Family, 

Sorry it's been a while since I've been able to email you!  We were at the manila mtc for a couple days and so we missed out on a p day last week.  Haha there's so much to tell you I don't even know where to start! I finally made it to my first area: Hinunangan!! Its pretty far from the mission home and is a BIG area, so I haven't seen a lot of it yet.  My companion is Sis Kalua-Santiago! She just finished her own training, so has only been here 3 months. She's Hawaiian and is super fun and works hard, I'm excited to be with her for a while!  And guess what. We speak cebuano-j here! So what I learned in the mtc, just with some j's instead of y's.  The rest of my district here all got waray, so somehow I lucked out :).  It's still hard for me though.  I can understand my companion almost always, but native speakers are harder for me.  It's just a different accent than I'm used to, and they speak FAST.  But it's all good! I'm just gonna keep trying, and rely on the spirit to get the gist of what's going on :).

Friday after transfers we traveled about 5 hours to our area and got back pretty late, so we didn't get to go out at all.  Saturday there was supposed to be a primary and a relief society activity, but it rained! So they cancelled them.  It's pretty crazy, I guess they hate the rain here and all stay inside if it starts to rain.  You'd think they would get used to it, since it rains so much, but nope.  So that was a bummer.  We walked to the church (its pretty close to us) and met a couple of members, but not a whole lot showed up.  We went home to eat, and it started POURING.  Ever since Yolanda, we have to stay inside if it rains too hard, so we were stuck in the apartment for most of the day. That evening we went to teach the D--, a recent convert family, but the wife wasn't home so we just visited for a minute then had to go.  

Sunday was so good!! We went early to church and I got to meet most of the members of the branch, and they are wonderful!  A lot of them help out the missionaries a bunch, so Sis kalua-santiago knows them pretty well.  And then we both gave talks in sacrament (my favorite :) haha) that went alright! I hope they understood it haha.  They really are some wonderful people, I'm SO excited to serve here.  

Well I better get going, but just know that I love you guys and that I LOVE being a missionary here :).  And it is so beautiful here!! I definitely forgot my card adapter thingie, so no pictures this week.  Haha sorry, next for sure.  I've learned so much already and still have a BUNCH to learn, of course.  But there is nothing else I'd rather be doing right now :).

LOVE, Sis Mortensen

A few more words from Sister Mortensen:

I am very happy! The apartment is just fine, it's pretty clean and we have a shower (which is pretty rare for missionary apartments here) so that's nice.  The beds are just fine! I've slept straight through the night since I've been here.  No major bug problems or anything like that.  I haven't even seen a giant spider yet! There are a couple little lizards living with us, but its all good :)  Yep, we wash our clothes by hand  :)  The food is good!  I actually really like most of it  :).  We might go try balut tonight though, so I'm not sure about that yet!  I really am doing great, don't worry about me :)  Our area is very close to the ocean!  We can't see it from where we are, but it is close.  And SO pretty.  Not a lot of pictures yet, but I will :).  I did see Sister Estes!!  It was so fun (and kinda weird ha ha) to see a familiar face.  She is so sweet.  She was at the transfer meeting.  I think she did get transferred or maybe her companion.    Love you all!!

Brianne didn't send any pictures, but Lindsey did.  Thanks Heidi for sharing this!  Lindsey said, "I saw Brianne! She looks great and she is awesome at the language!"     I am so happy that they got to see each other!  

Brianne and Lindsey

Friday, September 12, 2014

Facebook Surprise!

Pictures From Sister Maurer (Mission Presidents Wife).   She said 25 new missionaries arrived this transfer and that they are a powerful group of missionaries.  Pictures are taken at MacArthur Park.


Friday, September 5, 2014

I Made It!

I made it safe to the Philippines!! Goodness that's a long flight. Its so pretty here, and I am SO EXCITED to get started :).  I need to go, but hopefully be able to email you soon!  I love you all!!
Love, Sister Mortensen

Thursday, September 4, 2014

She's On Her Way

We got to talk to Brianne on the phone while she was at the Salt Lake City Airport.  She sounded so happy and so excited to go to the Philippines and start teaching the people.  She bore her testimony in Cebuano and both Brad and I were touched by the spirit.  

A couple from the ward, the Castanedas, happend to be at the airport at the same time as Bri.  Vicki sent us these pictures.  Thank you so much for the pictures Vicki.  They sure made my day.

We are now anxiouly waiting to hear from Bri when she gets to the Philippines.  To get their though, she has a layover in Portland, Oregon; then Narita, Japan; and then on to Manila, Philippines.  Have a great flight Bri!  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Have Never Prayed As Much Or As Sincerely Before In My Life

Hey everyone! 

I bet you aren't expecting to hear from me today!  Haha we have an extra mini p-day today to get ready to leave in the morning.  So I get to email you one last time before we go :). Thank you so much for the packages!! I just picked them up this morning so we haven't ate the brownies yet, but they smell wonderful :). And the shirt and the snacks are perfect, thank you so much! You guys are the best :).

As far as feeling ready, I actually think I am going to be ok with cebuano.  There still is SO MUCH to learn and I'm no where near even being partially fluent, but I think I won't be completely lost.  Haha we'll see what I say by next week though.  But one of our teachers said only like 30% of the mission is cebuano, and the rest is mostly waray-waray, so there's a pretty good chance I'll end up in a waray area first! Yesterday we had an hour class to learn a little waray, and it sounds so cool! Waray has pretty much the same grammar and kinda the same verb conjugations, but a lot of the vocab is different.  It was pretty cool to learn a little of a new language through cebuano though! Now I know kinda how Sister Chu feels, learning cebuano through her second language.  She is amazing haha.  I am so excited I get to learn waray though!  But I'm still hoping for cebuano for my first area:).  Yesterday we watched a video from when our teacher went back to Tacloban for a month this summer to help rebuild.  It made me SO excited to go!!  The people are so happy and optimistic and just so humble.  All they need now is the gospel :).

I can't believe we are leaving tomorrow morning, it has FLOWN by.  One of the biggest things I've learned here is that the Lord is very involved in His work.  I can't tell you how many times I've felt His help as I've been trying to learn the language and learn how to be the best missionary I can.  I've never prayed as much or as sincerely before in my life, and I know the Lord will always answer our prayers.  He is preparing people all over the world to be ready to hear the gospel.  A speaker at one of the devotionals a few weeks ago had everyone stand up who was a convert, and who didn't know God before they joined the church.  He then picked two and had them go up and share their conversion stories.  And oh my goodness, they were amazing.  They both had crazy stories where everything happened so perfectly that you wouldn't believe it if you didn't know God was behind it all.  God is watching over every single one of His children, and is actively involved in all of our lives.  I really do need to be better at seeing the miracles in my life, especially while I'm on a mission, because I know they're there.  I love my Father in Heaven, and am so grateful for all He has blessed me with.  

I love you all so much too, and I can't wait to talk to you tomorrow!!  

Love, Sis Mortensen

Pictures From The MTC