The Humboldt (1/26/16)

This week has been another week of growing.

A long time ago, my great great great (not sure how many) grandfather traveled from his home in Sweden to join the Saints in Utah. He was about my age, maybe a little younger at the time. The ship that he found a place on was called the Humboldt. I don´t know why.
My great grandpa made a bold journey on a humble ship (that sank on the return journey btw) called the Humbolt. This week made me think of him.
First, this week has been humbling. I’ve realized as the spirit continues to work on me how much work I need to do to become a missionary. In fact, when I inquired in my head earlier this week why I hadn´t been able to see all my weaknesses before now, the spirit answered quite clearly:
If you had been able to see even half of your weaknesses before, you would have given up on yourself long ago.
And then I got the impression that I still have no idea about most of the weaknesses I have.
But that is the beauty of the Atonement. We are shown our weaknesses so that we can grow, and become better.
Oh, and also, I need to work on being bold. Contacting on the street is daunting.
Adios,
-Élder Mortenson
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Twisting (1/21/16)

I´ve been thinking a lot about twisting lately. For many reasons.

First, I twisted my ankle the third day here. It is pretty easy to walk on now, but I won´t be running or jumping for a few more weeks.
Second, my mind is continuously trying to find a way to twist itself a new language. And I’m learning! I can now say just about whatever I want about the gospel and get my point across. But not really in street conversation (especially with the Venezolanos)
Third, my insides are constantly trying not to get too twisted up as I incessantly invade them with foreign Colombian food.
But, similar to stretching after a long nap or forcing myself to adjust to a new life as a missionary in Colombia, the twisting usually hurts a little but then feels much better afterward.
And, most importantly, I feel the influence of the Atonement of Jesus Christ twisting me, stretching me in new directions where I direly need His help. As I let Him, He is helping me grow into the servant he needs me to be. Wringing out all of the old habits and laziness. Focusing my mind on my eternal home, and those I want to be there with me. I’m becoming who I´ve always meant to be.
He´s not twisting me, He´s untwisting me.
A Dios,
-Élder Mortenson

Hard to Swallow (1/12/16)

Some aspects of life in the Colombia CCM:

 

Fried platanos

The entire Spanish language

A swollen still-purple ankle

All of the textures of the city

An hour a day to sit and watch all the other missionaries play volleyball

The lump in the back of my throat (occasionally)

Granadiyas (orange on the outside green on the inside alien brain fruits)

Another 2 years before English is a regular thing.

 

Are hard to swallow.

 

But, they are also quite nourishing! Despite some of the discomforts of life here, it is truly amazing. On one hand, I´ve had so many amazing experiences teaching the fake investigator returned missionary CCM instructors the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it is really true. In English and in Spanish. On the other hand, I still have four fingers and a thumb. I´m taking that for a good sign.

 

It was sad to see every single other Élder at the CCM leave this morning for their fields of service, but it meant Élder Jones and I got to go to the temple with Hermana DuVall. It was great.

 

And really, all of the interesting-ness of life in Colombia is growing on me.

 

I think I like it here.

 

Con Amor,

-Élder Mortenson

 

Baptism by Immersion (1/7/16)

Hola todos!

The last week and a few days have been a total blur! Packing up, giving my farewell, getting set apart and saying goodbye to everyone was really hard. But, as soon as I was on my way, I felt so excited to be on this new adventure in service of the Lord.
The CCM here in Bogota has become my new home. It is quite nice. My companion Elder Jones and I came in on the same flight. We’re getting along really well!
When we arrived, we found out that we would become Distrito Mormon, all two of us. Then we found out that we were the only English speakers living on our floor!
So, we’ve been pretty thoroughly immersed in the language! The classes have been difficult and relentless and almost all in Spanish.
Also, I twisted my ankle playing volleyball last Friday. Elder Jones calls me his grandfather turtle because my limping is rather slow.
But it has been wonderful. Nothing has ever been quite as hard or rewarding as this week has been. But I’m so glad that I am a missionary. I know that this is exactly where I should be, and I’m beginning to love the people and the culture.
Hope you all had a great week! 5 more weeks in the CCM, then voy a Barranquilla!!!
Con amor,
-Elder Mortenson