Tuesday, December 23, 2014

T'was the Email Before Christmas... Also, Steven.

Before I say anything I got to say the mailing system in Africa has thoroughly confused me. And before I comment any further on the atrocity of the said system I have to publicly acknowledge and ask forgiveness to the lovely Granny K.
Grandma, I love you. Thank you so much for taking the time to hand-write a letter to me just about every week. This Zone Conference I received some letters from all the way back in May. I commend you for your consistency and adore you for how much time you spend taking care of those you care about (myself included!). Along with the packages I received from Mindy and Kent and Debbie (and a GIANT thanks to the both of you as well!), you made this kid's Christmas Conference. I truly appreciate it.
And now that outpouring of love has made me not want to lament about the mail. Sooo let's continue.

Back to Swaziland:

I'd like to separate this email from others to talk about something special that happened to me this past week. I did not anticipate what occurred to have ever have been an experienced event in my lifetime, but lo-and-behold, I've experienced it.
And I am so grateful.
This week, I met Steven.

I'll be completely honest- I don't know how to articulate our encounter and I don't know how to do this man justice, so I'll just write what I wrote the day after meeting him.
"Before Galland received his new companion, we had one final lesson together.
I finally met the fabled Steven.

All the hype was obliterated by the reality he was. My mind feels like it has expanded ten-fold. The man is pure intelligence. He has read all of the world's greatest works (they were just lying about all over his house, along with various editions of encyclopedia britannica) and he has been able to distinguish a difference between books and scripture. It is not in authorship alone that differentiates the secular and divine word, it is inspiration. Scripture is God speaking through his servants in the written form. You cannot feign scripture, it is confirmed through the Holy Spirit. On top of all this, he's concluded that scripture truly is Truth; the principles contained within are eternal and for our correction. They are a way for God to teach His Children, and they are for our betterment. Scripture is answer to life's problems.
He's practically memorized the Bible in all his years. His method of reading is astounding. What he does is he takes 30 minutes per page and completely dissects what is written. He is a virtuoso of sorts in his understanding of what he reads and sears it into his brain. It is far past just reading what is on the page; it is complete comprehension. I've never met anyone who knows the Bible more than him.
And even though God has gifted him with one of the greatest brains in this generation, he is one of the most humble men on the planet. He attributes all he is and all he has to this Father in Heaven. He wants so badly to do His will. He follows and understands what he knows to be God's word.
This middle-aged man lives with his Alzheimers stricken mother in a house not unlike any other around it. I know that God led Galland to find Steven and introduce the Restored Gospel of Jesus Chirst to him. Now, Galland met Steven around a month ago, and has not been around to teach him much of anything other than explaining the Restoration through Joseph Smith and what the Book of Mormon is. Slightly socially stilted, my meeting with Steven warmed my heart and affirmed my testimony in the Book of Mormon and in the Church of Jesus Christ.
I'll give you all rough quotes of some of the things Steven commented on with our hour together:
" Frankly, they don't know what they're talking about. They interpret the scripture out of context and infuse it with a meaning unintended. It makes one doubt if they've ever even read the entirety of the book, and if they have, if they understood it." (while fervently apologizing for having to speak his mind on why there are so many Churches and why he doesn't attend a particular denomination.)
"Science is mad intelligence but scripture is Gospel Revelation." (on why he has chosen to rely on the Word of God rather than the wisdom of the world)
"Scripture gives solutions. It isn't just a good read, it is a call to action"
And then, finally, when referring to what he feels and has discovered about the Book of Mormon:
"No man could've written this Book. If anyone is against it, they've allowed an outside influence or opinion to form their understanding. Or they just haven't read it. I've found it is scripture."
In all his brilliance and in all his humility, when Steven spoke these words the Holy Ghost entered the room. I felt God's Spirit confirm something I've come to learn so intimately through the mission.

I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know what people say about it, and I know what people think about it - but I also know how God feels about it, because He told me. I know this church is true. I know the Book of Mormon with Holy Bible, together, contain the fullness of the Gospel.
Find out for yourself. Don't take your neighbor's word for it - or even mine! Read it, Ponder it, and ask *God* if it's true. He doesn't lie.  He's your Father, He loves you, and He wants you to be happy.
Come see for yourselves.
I love you all, I love Swaziland, and I love this Church and what has happened to me since truly joining it.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12.8.14 Update

Swaziland is a gift from God. This small monarchy-guided (There is an actual king here) land is the most gorgeous of any place my eyes have ever had the privilege of encountering. The mountainous regions in combination with the African foliage destroy any notion of what I thought beauty was. Everyday I find myself pausing in awe and taking in the vistas God grants me.

My companions are the best, man. The absolute best. I think it's a culmination of speaking in my native tongue (kind of... this is going to sound ridiculous ((because it is)) but no one can understand me unless I use a shoddy Irish accent. I'm not playing with you. The Californian accent is a little too quick, I suppose. It's all the emphasis on the vowels and rolling the tongue with some of the words that helps. It's also highly entertaining for my companions.) and just being brothers in the most bonafide sense. Due to issues not of their own making, my comfort level as a missionary and human being never quite met the a satisfactory level with my companions until I hit Swaziland. I love this country. I love these people I am serving and these people I'm serving with.

Elder Banovich [The O.C. - Original Companion] (prepare for your mind to be blown) went to Viewmont. Apparently I graduated with him. He looked so familiar the instant I met him but neither of us could place it until hours after when he mentioned where he lived. Crazy, crazy stuff. He is the biggest sweetheart in the world. He's also the biggest goon in the world. It's still a holy time with him, but the humor is congruent to who we are. He kills it in the clicking language and is definitely the most knowledgeable to cultural differences and need-to-know information. 
Elder Galland is the addition to our trio. There is no complaint on my end here - Galland was the first District Leader I had in Mozambique and now he is my District Leader (and companion) in Swazi. I was so stoked to hear I'd be living with him again and now I'm serving with him! The love this bear has in his heart for everyone is love in the truest sense of the word. He's the man. He just gets it done, whatever is being asked of us. I've also never met anyone who can tell a more engaging story. It's an art I'm sure anyone he knows him would say he perfected it. 

In the weeks we've been working together I've had some of the most powerful spiritual experiences yet on my mission. The very things we study about in the scriptures have been happening. It's real. It is all real. Do people know that? I want to testify that I know this is the work of the Lord. I know He is with us and I am so grateful to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to wear my Savior's name everyday on my chest and in my heart. It is the best decision I have ever made. There is no comparable feeling to the goodness that is out here.
And this sentiment isn't exclusive to just my writings and your readings - It's attainable. It doesn't just have to be something everyone reads about every so often when they decide to look at some LDS kid's blog in Africa. The secret is choosing. The secret is acting. If you want to know if these things are, do what Heavenly Father asks you do to do. DO. Get on your knees, Pray. Ask Him what He would have for you. Read His word, and follow it. He promises blessings if you follow his commandments, and God cannot lie. My invitation from over here on the other side of the world is to join me in this happiness. Join with me in this joy.
Act, friends. Act. Do. Find out for yourselves.
Start here:
Elder Mortimer

Monday, November 24, 2014

Swaziland - 11/24/14

These are my best friends from Mozambique, Beira (goto):

We have Vincente (Minito) and Chupa (Esperanca) posing the good poses up top. They are my family. I was teaching Vincente how to read. The name Chupa translates to Suck - but I love her. I visited them just about every other day to sit with them and everyday to make sure they were okay. 

The stud on bottom is a monster of a member. His name is Gombe, but we called him Nelson. He understood how to teach better at 16 years old than I did at 6 months as a missionary. He basically taught me how to teach and he was a real bro about it. He always wanted to walk with us and he helped me understand so much about the culture. He also watched Teen Titans in Portuguese so that was cool.  

Missions are awesome, man.  


My main form of expressing sentiments with Chupa was holding her hands and singing "Sou Filho de Deus" [I Am a Child of God] with her to our appointments.

Bert. I love Swaziland. I love it so much. I finally got a bro for a companion. He has a personality. I'm with my first District leader again (Elder Brayden Galland, look him up he's loaded) who is awesome! I get to speak English (sometimes) and I still speak Portuguese with all the Mozambican immigrants. I'm really happy. I feel very close to the Spirit because I can finally express all those feelings inside and it's made me very aware of how grateful I am for the Restored Gospel. I love loving.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Big News - Transferred

Well folks, big news..

Elder Mortimer has been transferred to Swaziland!


Apparently he's the youngest Mozambique missionary to be transferred there.

He's feeling a bit trippy, he said, so prayers for peace would be great.

English is their second language, so he'll be speaking a ton of English again.

There aren't too many missionaries in Swaziland.. last I read, around fourteen, so this is very exciting news!

He didn't have too much time as he was leaving that night, so he wanted to have time to say goodbye to everyone.

I guess we have to change the title of this blog now!

Monday, November 10, 2014


Note from Bret: I haven't been able to catch him since August (besides an email from right before my wedding, which I'd prefer to keep between us because - yeah. It's special.), so I'm sorry for not posting anything - but I haven't had anything TO post. Luckily this week, I caught him. I'll piece together a few of our emails, but he didn't send out a blurb or blog post he wanted me to post. Sami was able to catch him in a past week, and will be adding her emails soon.


"When I have dreams I'm usually back at home until I realize I haven't completed my mission and I do all in my power to get back to Mozambique and it's always really awkward leaving you guys again."

"FAZ MAGIA (MAKE MAGIC) [FA - shhh    MA - GEE - AH ]

I don't know why but everyone thinks missionaries are wizards so they always ask us to do magic. 

I'm feeling I'm getting out of this area in a week but it may be for the best. I'm having a good time but they gotta bring someone else in here to do the work differently 'cause I've just about found all I can in the manner that we do. I'm gonna miss these guys, man. 

I read about everyone else's missions (outside of mozambique) and I cannot believe whats going on. Everyone's got temples and cars and ipads and bikes and jetpacks, with zero tracting in America and I'm literally walking in poop and getting blazed by the african sun and shouting in huts hoping people will let me inside. It's an adventure for sure but boy I get real fatigued sometimes. I wouldn't have any other mission in the world though. I haven't known a better gratification work/reward wise."
And that's pretty much it for now. He hasn't received any packages, but says he gets them when he goes to the mission home (which is where they're sent), and he's only there every twelve weeks or so. I told him to update me on that.
Pray for Elder Mortimer!
Thanks everyone!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

July 28, 2014

Beira is something else.

I got transferred up north. Let me set the stage a bit:

My new area is called the "go-to". Before I saw it for myself, I
thought it was called that because everyone wanted to go there - but
the way it's referred to is just cutting the word esgoto short. Esgoto
means gutter, or in other terms, sewer.

I work in the gutter of Africa. Every step (without exaggeration here,
mind you) I am stepping on either trash, poop, or muck. This week I
have seen more rats and killed more coachroaches I think a human
should in their lifetime. In terms of local and conditions, it is far
and away the most abonimable palce I've walked. Yet is is here in the
gutter, in this filth, that I am also the happiest I've ever been on
my mission.

The backdrop provides the most beautiful contrast to the inhabitants.
Never in my life have I met a more receptive and loving people. I'm
finding that even with everything they may be missing, they have more
than we do back home.

A quick something I feel I need to touch upon:

I wonder if people understand when I say or mention that I "feel" the
love of God. This isn't just a statement to express, or rhetoric to
embellish a post that a few people are going to read. It is a tangible
sensation. I am talking about a sentiment that is coming from outside
of me, confirming to me and to others what is happening is truly
right. That it is of God. This is the Holy Ghost testifying of
truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is so powerful
sometimes my heart palpatates at just the right rythmn and goosebumps
find their way all over my body. And then my insides feel it too -
real warm. Not a warmth my words can explain adequetely... just a warm
that once I have, I don't want to lose it.

That's how it works for me at least. I've seen it work in different
ways on different people since I've been out here. I can't tell you
exactly how it'll work for you or in what way - but I can promise you
can feel it too. All it takes is a sincere desire to know for yourself
and a true effort on your end. God and Christ are always there on that
other side of the door, you just gotta let them in.

"Pray, he is there;
Speak, he is listening.
You are his child;
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven."

 And now, Africa :

- My shoes reek now.

- My first day in my new house I killed 5 coachroaches within 5
minutes. They. Are. Endless.

 - Love love love love love love love

- I'm out of time.

African love you guys,

- Elder Mortimer

Friday, July 18, 2014

Leadership - July 14th, 2014

"This is to inform that Elder Morgan James Mortimer has been called as a Senior Companion.  He has been called because he has the maturity enough to lead the missionary work in his companionship.  He has already developed some skills to find, teach, and baptize and help others endure to the end.  In this capacity, he will be able to train other missionaries and help them to experience the same journey that has brought him to where he is now.  Your support and prayers for him and for the people here in Mozambique are greatly appreciated.  We thank you for preparing such a missionary for this service.

With love and appreciation,

President Paulo V. Kretly

Mozambique Maputo Mission"
Pray for Elder Mortimer!
He hasn't sent a group email in quite a few weeks, but would appreciate your prayers on behalf of his Portuguese... I'm sure he feels inadequate, but I believe those are the times we have the ability to progress and help others the most!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 16, 2014

Considering I really haven't written in three weeks time; I've got a lot to recount.

Now, I could give you every detail of what's occurred in all this time- but I feel as though it would be more effective to share my sentiments rather than particular stories.

Let it be known:

I love Mozambique. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But most of all, I love them together - the results of which are beyond my words to properly articulate. 

I am seeing the most beautiful changes in people. Situations the world would deem unsolvable are mended through our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Mozambique Mission is a mission of miracles - and not of the nominal sort. 

Things aren't easy (and things that are worth it rarely are), but I love being a part of this great work and finding families that I KNOW will be my friends for the rest of forever. I can testify of God's love for each and every one of us, no matter where they are in the world or who they may be. I've extended the offer before, and will do so now again: In *humble* prayer, ask your Father in Heaven if he is really there and if he loves you. Just like so many people here in Mozambique, you will receive a response. 

And now, to paint small pictures of what life is like in Africa:

 - I don't think I've ever described what a Chapa is. Imagine the number of people that fit inside of a bus. Now imagine that number in a mini-van. Now imagine this same multitude has not had the opportunity to shower for a couple of days. This is a Chapa. Chapas are our main means of transportation here. To help elucidate just how crammed it is, the last time I took a Chapa I had to get in the fetal position and bury my head in a stranger's thigh. Chapas: Human-Sardine Cans.

- While fervently trying to help some kids be reverent during sacrament meeting, some children realized my skin was the same tone as the bread we were using. This did not bode well for me. 

- Speaking of bites, I forgot I was white and tried to pet someone's dog.

- My African companion peed in my water bottle. I don't know how to explain this one or validate it. He just did.

- We live next to a house where 12-13 year old girls tend to gather. I don't see how, but they are under the assumption that I'm actually Justin Bieber. When I'm within sight, my companion and I get swarmed and serenaded with
BABY BABY BABY. They have tried to enter the house and I have signed autographs okay out of time bye 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pictures & A Requested Post by Bret.

Hey! Bret here, Elder Mortimer's sister.
Another week with not much time to write, but he's still happy with where he is. He ended a string of quick emails to me with the following:
"I have to email the president again... I know I suck at the weekly emails but I'd rather email you guys. Can you write a quick something for me and I'll give you quick highlights?
...I love you too. Just post the pictures I'll write next week you can write if you want I would like that actually i love you bert."
So, here I am (without the quick highlights, because I believe he forgot about that actually..).
And of course I feel inadequate. After emailing him and hearing about the work he’s doing, and seeing these photos of the place he’s doing it in – how could I not feel that way?
So often that word rings true when I think of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Writing, I feel a bit more confident, because I have time to reflect upon each piece and to pray about the wording in order to appropriately convey the message and touch more hearts.
But speaking – I stutter, I slur, my mind goes so fast the thoughts run together and I’m afraid I don’t make much sense.
And when I get the prompting to speak up to someone, I often doubt I’m the best one for the job.
So often I imagine this scene: I ask God, “Are you sure you want me? Are you sure you don’t want So-and-So to say it? She knows so much more... she’s more eloquent.. But I’ll do it if you want me to. I promise I will. But there are better-suited souls that can do this much better than I can.”
But lately, every thought similar to the one above are shut down by a booming thought that enters my mind.
“Yes, I trust you. I trust YOU with this.”
OF COURSE there are people better-suited to express the deep beauties of the gospel and the scriptural references and every other thing I believe to be important that I feel I lack!
But God trusts me to share what I know, because what I know about the gospel has changed my life.
It has changed my eternity.
And if it has done that for me, it will do so for someone else.
And most of all, if God trusts me to share the gospel, I trust that He’ll help me find the words.
I know that Elder Mortimer, who is still brand new to Portuguese but nevertheless faithfully trying to do the very same thing I’m trying to do in my native tongue, can testify of that as well.
1 Nephi 3:7
“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”
I know God puts dandelions in my path because I love to kick them. I encounter old people who love to chat because He knows they make my day that much better. He provides me with solitude when I need to realize something I’m just not getting in the quick day-to-day pace. He gave me a family that is everything I needed.
I know that my Heavenly Father knows me – what I struggle with, what makes me happy, and everything in between. And the way He shows me He knows me also shows me He loves me.

The trials I face also prove His love, because they are perfectly tailored to challenge me in ways that require me to turn to Him.
Because that’s all He really wants – for us to turn to Him. So that we can return to Him – our Heavenly Father.
I want that more than anything. And I want you there, too.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my happiness and hope I get from the gospel on my brother’s blog  today, and I hope I get to do it through spoken word soon. Because I know He’ll give me a hand.
-Bret, Elder Mortimer’s Sista.

(This man isn't flipping off the camera, he's pointing.)
K see ya.

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014... Swaziland!?

Ouyo Ouyo!

Been a while since I've directly written a blog post... desculpe! (sorry) 
("My Brothers!")
But man, have we been busy. Most of our efforts in these last for weeks have been concentrated on preparing our families for baptism (and for two, marriage). Next week I have permission to carry my camera to these events so I'll definitely be making up for the last six weeks in pictures. Prepare to be overwhelmed with Africa. 

Before I continue, I want to share an email I recieved this morning that may affect the course of my mission:

Dear Elders Sisters, Parents and Leaders, from Mozambique Maputo Mission,

We are very excited to announce that we have receive from the First Presidency of the Church the have anounced that our Mission have been realingned.

Starting effective today, besides the Country of Mozambique, the beautiful country of SWAZILAND was added in our mission. Located on the south border of Mozambique, and about 1:40 min by car from Maputo (130km ).

This country have 1.2 million people, it's is a Monarchy  and a very safe and stable place. We have there one District with 4 branches and one group. About 1350 members. Two beautiful chapels, 14 wonderful  missionaries and one incredible Senior Couple Missionaries. We have been there this weekend and we were amazed with how kind and special are the members and the people in general.

Our goal now is, work hard and help the Lord to do Miracles there like He is doing in Mozambique. We will work for a Stake there. Please, let's pray and work hard to make that happen. The Lords wants families to be baptize there and the leadership and the members are all very exited about this news.

Thanks for all your prayers and support, we love you all,

President and Sister Kretly

We're not sure how this influences the missionaries already serving in Mozambique, but time will tell. Excitement!

Just random tidbit's I've noticed about Mozambique these last few weeks:

- Africa is cat heaven. They thrive here. The world is just a giant feast for them. Everything is for the hunt.  I saw a mouse (or rat or mammal or whatever) get DEVOURED mid-lesson. No one else batted an eye. I got queasy.

- The chickens here are of a different breed it seems like. They have the coolest colors (black, cow patterned, spotted, yellow and dotted) and they actually sleep in trees. Yes, they fly up to the trees and sleep. I don't even know if the ones in America are capable of gaining altitude.

- You can spot the teachers from the students in the schools because they sport LAB COATS. Even the P.E. teachers. I wish America would institute this. 

- If people were wondering what the kid's do for fun in Mozambique, the answer is tires. They play with tires. Rolling it up and down the dirt roads all day and then when white people walk by they throw their favorite toys at you so you get the opportunity to put your agility on display in an attempt to perserve your life.

- If girls fancy you, they hiss. Literally hiss, like a snake. Missionaries are warned to avoid both varieties of serpents in Mozambique.



Monday, May 19, 2014

More Q & A With Elder Mortimer // May 19th, 2014

My dad got to talk to Elder Mortimer over email again this week, and asked him the following. Please keep praying for my brother! We love him a lot, and we know he's helping make a difference in Mozambique.

Q: What's the biggest issue people suffer from over there?

A: Well, everyone is suffering temporally. I'm teaching someone who lives in a house the size of a closet. Another (without embellishment) lives in a straw hut. Not everyone gets to eat everyday. You can see the malnourishment in the kids as they play in streets. It's a different world, man.

Spiritually, the Law of Chastity and the Words of Wisdom are our biggest concerns. People here tend to live together (and by tend I mean always) without getting married. On the weekends, the alcohol is cheap and there aren't that many ways of having "fun" so it's usually what the people resort to. This also leads back into the problems with the Law of Chastity. I guess they go hand-in-hand here.

Q: How have you seen the Gospel help people there? Tell me about one of your investigators?

A: I've seen it change lives. I'm not sure if you remember my post about the drunk guy we walked home that ended in him charging me at me with a hug? The cartoon levels of drunkenness? 

He's three weeks sober now.

He used to drink everyday, for years. But since we've been meeting with him and teaching him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he is a completely different person. As it turns out, he's a physics teacher at a university in Maputo. He's actually very scholarly- it's such a contrast talking with him now when thinking about how we met.  I'm not aces with the Portuguese yet, but God let me understand him when he told us last visit that he feels more at peace and so much closer with his Heavenly Father. He has a baptismal date on the 31st.

Q: What is your address?  (We should be able to try to send at least post cards and airmail letters (thin envelopes).)

A: I actually received your postcard (FINALLY) this week. Along with other letters people wrote a month ago. On average it takes about 25ish days to get to me. 

(Dad's note: I sent the postcard the week before Morgan left the MTC, as did a few others. Morgan still hasn't provided me with his address, so here is the address of the Mission Home:

Elder Morgan James Mortimer
Mozambique Maputo Mission
Avenida Josina Machel, CP 1667
Maputo, Maputo, Mozambique

Letters and postcards take about a month. Packages should be sent several months early to arrive at Christmas time. Small items like photos or CDs can be sent in padded envelopes. Do not send anything of great value in a package as it will probably get stolen.)

Q: What's something you've learned this week that has impressed you?

A: I can do hard things. You can do hard things. 

I've always believed where there is a will, there is a way. 

Now, I know this.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Q & A

My dad emailed Elder Mortimer last week a few questions in Q & A form, and he replied with the following. Since there wasn't a group email this week, I'll just post this! -Bret


I thought I'd list a bunch of questions for you, and hope you can take the time to answer them.
  • Q: Who is your companion and where is he from?
    • A: My companion is Elder Peterson and he is absolutely awesome. He is from South Jordan. (I didn't  realize how many missionaries were from Utah until I got to the MTC. In my house alone, the only people not from Utah is one other missionary from California and the foreigners.)
  • Q: Are you getting along with him?
    • A: We do get along. We joke around a lot to lighten the mood and though I can't understand everything that's happening our investigators really like us. The rules and customs aren't the same here as they would be elsewhere, so a lot of our visits go around for about an hour. It's a ton of fun, I'm glad I got him as a trainer.
  • Q: What's the strangest food you've eaten so far?
    • A: We aren't allowed to eat food from members because a) it's not safe b) it's all that they have. So every p-day we run to the grocery store and buy groceries for the entire week. I haven't lost too much weight because of this.
  • Q: Have you had Feijoada yet?
    • A: I don't know what that is. I think you explained it to me once, but not remembering real well right now.
    • (Dad's link, after the fact: Feijoada)
    Feijoada Is Basically The Best Food On The Planet
    "This is a dish of bold temptation and prompt surrender for carnivores" as told by chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz! Leticia hails from Rio de Janeiro with an experti...
    Preview by Yahoo
  • Q: Can you send more pictures of the animals you've mentioned?
    • A: We can't carry our cameras with us anywhere unfortunately...
  • Q: Have you had a chance to baptize yet? (Everyone here was grossed out by the green water!)
    • A: Not yet, but we have 18 potential baptisms by the 31st.
  • Q: Got testimony? :-D
    • A: Yes. And it's growing.
  • Q: Hardest part?
    • A: Realizing any problem I have with my mission stems from me being selfish. I always seem to come to that realization when a negative train of thought enters me.
  • Q: Best part?
    • A: The people. I absolutely adore my investigators. It's a privilege to watch them spiritually progress and change. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

No Email This Week // Week 4 in Mozambique

Hey everyone! Morgan didn't send out a group email this week because he Skyped my mom this past Saturday (for Mother's Day, or he would have skyped everyone else as well!). My mom was kind enough to allow a group Skype, so my sister Sami and I jumped on for a bit.

Guys, he sounds SO great. His Portuguese is coming along. He prayed for us in the language, and we all felt the spirit strongly. He LOVES the people - his stories of his investigators were beautiful, and felt right.

He knows he's where he is supposed to be.
He loves the people being placed in his path with everything he has,
and he's letting his passion for the gospel interlace with his passion for the people.

And it's making him the best missionary I've ever seen.

I'm so glad we got to talk to him for a bit. He has grown so much in such a short period of time, and it's going to be awesome to Skype him again come Christmas.

Keep sending him emails! He loves to talk to all of you.

I did talk to him briefly over email on Monday morning (his time), so I'll include a snippet of what we talked about. There was no group email because he had to write the Mission President, but there should be a good one this coming week!

"Don''t know if I mentioned this before but my life is Legend of Zelda. Everyone makes the freaking strangest sounds here.

EEEEUUuuuuuu (dissappointment)

GEEYAAAHHhhH (contacts on the streets that are happy to see us)

BOO / DEE (told that story before I did)"

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5th, 2014 // Week 3 in Mozambique

Why hello hello.

Oddly enough, I feel like I'm getting pretty adjusted here. I may not understand everything that is spoken, and many things are still blaringly foreign to me, but I think I'm hitting a groove of sorts.

Life is simpler here, but it also allots for time to focus on things that really matter. I feel our Heavenly Father's love, speaking to me in multiple ways as my companion and I try our best to invite others to Christ. Things may appear tumultuous and overwhelming sometimes, but there is a constant peace I've discovered that comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

As one of our investigators, Joao, put it after attending church for the first time: "Well, I like it! I feel different here, and I like it."  Amen, Joao, amen.


-For everyone wondering what ""Baby in a wheelbarrow"" meant: it means that instead of a baby stroller, sometimes you just make due with what you got. And no one's "got"' a baby stroller here. I've seen it plural times now, so it wasn't an isolated incident.

- Sometimes I just stare at the critters around here. I don't know what species or even category half these fellas fall under, but they are sights to behold. 

- While making contacts this week, there was a particularly small, particularly old man we bumped into. We said "' Boa Tarde!"" (Good Afternoon) and he simply turned to us, gave us a look, and squealed "BOO!'' We did the same back, so he came closer and repeated his chosen word. We once again returned the favor, and he came closer and started pointing at us, shouting ''BOO'" even louder. We ended up in a circle taking turns shouting ''BOO"' and ''DEE'' at each other. I thought we were speaking in dialect.

We weren't. 

He spoke perfect Portuguese and we got his number after.

 -  For some reason, people have started calling me Spider-man here. And because it's near impossible for the people of Mozambique to say me last name, their attempts at saying my name always ends up being "'Elder Mormon.'' That works.

This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but it is by far the most fulfilling too. I am so grateful to be here. 

Pray, friends. It works. Ask you Heavenly Father if he loves you. You will receive and answer. 

- Elder Mortimer

Sunday, May 4, 2014

April 28th, 2014 // Week 2 in Mozambique

When attempting to reflect and relate my time here to everyone, I get the greatest opportunity to remember all the moments that culminate my week.

I love it here. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the people here are my favorite part of Mozambique. I am so grateful that God sent me to where I am. I know that, for me, I am in the best mission in the world. 


- I carry around a notecard with me now so that I can better remember the activities of the week. Unfortunately I'm always moving while writing and some notes were written in the dead of night so I can't read some of my notes. 

- One of my notes just says, "Baby in a wheelbarrow"

- There are no street signs here. My zone where I tract extends to about an hour and half out in all directions from my house. If you knew me before the mission, you would know that I was born without a sense of direction. This is a problem when wandering the streets of Africa aimlessly. 

 - Once I tell people I'm am an Americano, depending on their disposition they either get really excited or immediately decide they can't understand me.

- The ones who do know where America is ask where I'm from in the United States, and once California comes up their response roughly translates to: " THE LAND OF THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE"

- Someone asked me if Arnold Swatchernager (BRET FIX THAT PLEASE) (*editor's note*no it's too funny to fix) was still the President of California. 

 - People like to drink here. Yesterday I walked someone home that was cartoon levels of drunk. By the end of our arrangement OUT OF TIME WHAT DON'T SEND THIS YOU DO SOME HIGHLIGHTS FIX THIS UP I LOVE YOU 
*editor's note again*: obviously lil' guy ran out of time, but he seems to be doing great. I got a personal email with the above story, which I guess ended up in him learning how to hug like a Mozambican...
"put out your arms and have a man charge at you."

Oh, and here's a picture of the blisters on his hands after doing a service project. There's no question he's working hard.

Prayers for Elder Mortimer are always welcome. I don't have an address for him as of now, but I've heard from him it takes too long to get over there anyway that it may not be worth it. So email away, friends!
Thank you all!

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 // Week 1 in Mozambique!

My mission in Mozambique has officially begun.




If I tried to condense these last six days into a sensible account I would be on this computer for another six days.

This place is nuts. Absolutely nuts.

I'm going the usual route with the highlights because I don't know what else to do. Be prepared for the barrage of sporadic thoughts coming.


- I will never, ever complain about Utah driving again. There is one rule while driving here: survive. There are no lanes ( at least that the people of Mozambique care for), there are no speed limits, and there is no restraint. People just want to get where they're are going and that's all there is to it I guess. Think of the most thrilling roller coaster you've ever had the opportunity to ride. Every time I step in the car I experience very similar sensations to that

- In my life I have never met nicer people. Even though I slaughter their language, they accept me and hear our message. My favorite thing about Mozambique is the people.

- Everyone here is black. Well, I mean, other than the black albinos. But yeah, everyone else out here is black.

- Sometimes when walking down the streets, the kids will swarm me and shout CHING CHANG CHONG because for some reason they think all white people speak Chinese.

- Speaking of languages, this week I got to use English, French, Portuguese, and CHIGINA (yeah don't know how to spell it. It's a dialect here mostly used by the older generations. If you don't speak Portuguese here in Matola you speak Chigina) while talking with people. They get the biggest kick out of it when white people speak their tongue. A family here after we taught them how to pray prayed entirely in Chigina. 

- The people tend to get plastered here every weekend. Even though I can't speak the language my companion will hide behind the drunkards when they approach me and just let me get yelled at because I don't understand anything that's happening. 

- How's the water look over here? Check out our baptismal font. It'll clean you of your sins but it won't do much else.

- I LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with the kids. This weekend for church we received General Conference in Portuguese, so everyone and their families came and watched it at our chapel. Since I had already watched it in English in the MTC, I stayed in the back and tried to contain the children. Black babies everywhere, man. Just clinging to my limbs as I try to walk around. Clutching my head hair and arm hair because it isn't normal to them. They are honestly just so loving. I made a lot of new friends on Sunday.

- Our house is rad. We make due with what we have like everyone else. Check out our crafted exercise equipment.

- Because of the rules, I can't take pictures unless I'm at church, on my p-day, or at baptism. My companion, Elder Peterson (who is the greatest, by the way. Spiritual giant and very patient with anything that arises) had an old investigator that got baptized this Sunday. He asked me to be in the picture with him  and his previous companion. As for the other guy on the right I'm not sure who he is but he wandered in there and no one said anything about it.

- The rule also explains why I was only able to snatch one photo of my area. I'll be taking more pictures of Matola this next week.

I'm so grateful to be here in Mozambique. I love learning everyday new things about the people, the culture, and myself. I know that though it is difficult, it will be oh so worth it to share the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is on the earth today, and it is a Gospel of love and miracles. I am so grateful for our Savior and our Heavenly Father. They love you. I love you. 

Until next time,

- Elder Mortimer. 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12, 2014 // MTC Week 6 (Final Week in the MTC!)

As per usual with the contradicting feelings that arise from living in the MTC: I feel like I just got here.

Like the prior weeks, this one was brilliant too. But it was different with the knowledge that it was our last here. I've grown to love my district. I feel like they were divinely inspired to be in my group as we prepared to leave for Africa (and Florida, for Elder Gooch). They are good men. They each have had their own beautiful experiences which have culminated in them deciding to give two years of their life to the Lord. Getting to know every one of them has been humbling, and I'm so glad Heavenly Father let me serve with them. 

Tomorrow we leave. Tonight is the last night I get to look at the North American moon for a long while. It's a foreign concept that I'm going to be *living* in such a foreign land - really, Mozambique is just about as far away as I can imagine I can get from Fresno. I think the 41 hours of our travel plan can attest to that. 

Soon I'll be in another world. Dealing with problems of a variety I haven't even begun to grasp.

I have the distinct impression that this mission thing - it's going to be tough. For a good while, I've been in the MTC wondering, "Am I really ready for this? I don't know how to speak the language well, I don't know how to live off the fatta the land, I don't know how to...((a lot of things, thinking about it again))" In conjunction with this thought process, I found a certain amount of anxiety inside of me.

So, I prayed. And Heavenly Father answered. Someone, not even directly talking to me, quoted Joshua 1:9.  It reads:

"Have not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage;be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the aLord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." 

I know it's going to be okay. After hearing that, I felt it in my core. Through God, all things are possible. Even things like boys heading over to exotic lands to help the people in anyway they can. God loves me. God loves them. God loves you. He wants all of us to be happy and return to live with him one day. If you need comfort like I did this week, I invite you to get on you knees and ask Heavenly Father for just that. He hears you, and he will answer you. 

--- I'll be posting pictures of the impending adventure come next, next Monday (my P-day). Thank you to all that have been sending the Dear Elders! Unfortunately, they don't have that service in Africa (weird, huh?). So if you want to contact me, EMAIL is the only way to do so now. Love you guys!

- Elder Mortimer

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 5th, 2014 // MTC Week 5

Ola! Oi!

That's about all the Portuguese I'll throw at you guys this week considering once again I'm low on time. The emails will get better when I'm in Africa I promise.

 - We got our travel plans for next week! I'm heading to Africa next Sunday, but I won't be getting there until Tuesday night. Yup, It's 42 hours of traveling. First to Chicago, then to London, then to South Africa, and then finally to Mozambique. Total time in the air? 31 hours. Yeah. Gonta get a lot of reading done.

- I'm in a very exclusive group of missionaries that can Archuleta Five. What does that mean? It means last week I asked, "How long has David Archuleta been serving now?" And this week he was the speaker/singer for our Sunday devotional. It was brilliant. He had been home for less than a week and was slaughtering English - but it was beautiful hearing his testimony both through his spirit and song. My favorite hymn he sang was "Be Still My Soul."  There's nothing better than hearing someone share something they *truly* believe. (POST THAT SONG BERT) {OKAY, BRUDDER}

- This week some executives from the Boy Scouts of America came down to observe our study of Portuguese and ask us some questions about how missionary life is going to be in Mozambique. My hands have this affinity for getting sweaty when I'm nervous... and coupled with the situation and the driest climate that ever existed (darngert Utah)... not a great combination. Sorry for whatever visual popped in your mind, but it definitely happened. Still, besides when they shook my hands we all had made a pretty stellar impression and answered their questions pretty well. It was a good time.

I'm heading off to Africa this next week. THANK YOU ALL FOR SENDING ME DEARELDER LETTERS, it's made my time here so enjoyable and those days which seem a little tougher than they should be are alleviated when I hear from friends and family. I want you all to know that Deus and Jesus Cristo love you all, and know you each individually and intimately. If you feel alone, just pray. Deus ouve.

- Elder Mortimer

Thursday, April 3, 2014

March 29, 2014 // MTC Week 4

I only have around ten minutes left today so I hope no one feels gypped by the length of my weekly report.

I suppose the best way to handle the current situation is to do highlights again:

 - This week seemed so short. One day it was Monday and now it's Saturday. Some of us are going kinda crazy being holed up here for so long. You can find my body's streak marks from running into windows all over building 18M. We just want to roam Africa already, you know?

- Elder Tuigimala made the grievous error of telling our Branch President that sometimes he falls asleep during personal study. Now every lesson we have revolves around praying for energy.

- Oi! We hosted this week. "Hosting" is taking care of the new missionaries that come in. I only had enough time to host one missionary, but of course his name was Elder Morgan. So Elder Morgan and Elder Mortimer toured the MTC campus trying to get Elder Morgan settled in.

- I had a dream partly in Portuguese this week. It was the strangest thing. Something terrible happened to someone, and as they told me their problem in English, I could only respond in Portuguese. I kept trying to tell them, "seu Expicao vai ajuda voce, Eu prometo." (Sorry if that wasn't proper I don't have my verb card or dictionary so I can't pretend to know what I'm talking about today.) 

Anyway, I love you guys. I hope everyone is doing alright. Thank you all who sent the riddles this week. I can't actually respond to Dear Elder letters unless you send your email address with it. So please do that so I can respo- time for lunch I have to go thanks for love

 - Elder Mortimer

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 22, 2014 // MTC

I think the biggest struggle with these weekly emails is knowing just what to say with the time given. 

So maybe I'll just shoot some highlights and hope you all feel bit of what I've experienced this lovely week in the MTC:

 - We finally got our first culture class on Mozambique! The Irmao that came in had served from 2010 - 2012 and told us everything he could in two hours. The kick was he said everything in Portuguese... but I was able to understand most of it! He showed us a video of a wedding he had gone to, and everyone in it was doing a rad tribal dance and chanting in their own dialects. It was the sweetest thing. After the wedding video, he showed us pictures of some of the service he had done. The people of Mozambique work HARD. They are always at work, and it's heavy manual labor. It was cool watching some videos of them farm. Super efficient. 

- In around three weeks I've gone from just knowing the word "Legal" (cool in portuguese. The Brazilian kind too, so we can't even use it in Mozambique) to being able to teach Gospel lessons without any notes. It doesn't even seem reasonable (Probably because it isn't), but hey, through Deus all things are possible.  I'm still pretty sore at speaking, but my understanding allows me to hold a conversation with simple responses from my end. It really is a beautiful language.

- I absolutely love my district ( the group of kids I go to class with, most of us are serving the same mission ). I think Pai Celestial really knew just who we needed to be around for these weeks we trained for our mission. I love each and every one of these Elders.

- Meu companheiro and I just got called to be Zone Leaders. We're in charge of our district as well as any other districts that come into our Zone. I think it's mainly because Elder Adams is the most righteous human I've ever come into contact with. We actually call him Ned Flanders but I don't think he gets the reference because I don't think he was allowed to watch the Simpsons. 

Anyway, I'm loving it here. Especially as of late, since I feel like we're finally hitting our groove. 

I hope everyone is okay! Nosso Pai Celestial ama todas pessoas! 

-Elder Mortimer

P.S. - Use Dear Elder.com and send me riddles.

P.P.S. -  I love riddles.