Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 7, 2015 (Week 51)

December 6, 2015

Alright, let's see how fast I can type with cold fingers... (the place where we email from is freezing)

World's Smallest Man
First thing...I'm getting transferred to the east coast of Korea,  Gangneung.  My companion might be either another Zone Leader who is about to die, or an elder one transfer below me... (The AP called a couple days ago asking if I was ready to go senior companion... they've never done that before that I know of.)

Monday we visited a member for his birthday, then came back, ate, and played ping pong and some games with the district.  That was pretty quiet, but I'm good with that.  After that, we went over to Nokbeon again, for exchange number 3 with Elder Apigo, haha.  That was pretty fun.

Tuesday with Elder Apigo we studied, then jundoed for a couple hours, then we bounced back to Shin Chone for dinner with Elder Grey (a temple missionary... Being temple missionary here would be pretty sweet, by the way).  He is a super nice guy.  He has been here for a couple months, and has been learning with us to learn Korean. He's a really nice guy, that was a fun dinner, before getting told that we had to teach English class and give the message, with no prep time... that wasn't cool, but it turned out alright.

Wednesday we had zone meeting.  The whole thing was on the new Christmas video, "A Savior is Born".  The mission is doing a huge initiative to push this video, and getting members involved. Let me tell you, it's kinda hard to get stuff going online when you have no access to the Internet... (Pres. Sonksen said we are never getting iPads here in the mission... kind of a bummer, but I'm fine without one) so yeah, zone meeting was kinda boring, not a whole lot of new stuff.  They've already talked about the new program a lot before this.  After that, we were supposed to meet a couple of people, but they bailed on us cause of unknown reasons... kinda lame, but we got to go to a member meal, which was cool.  They bought a ton of Sahm Gyup Sar (the thick bacon) with lettuce and hot sauce and rice... such a good meal, it was almost like a buffet there was so much.  That was a good time, we showed them the new video, and shared our Christmas testimony.

Thursday we jundoed for a while, then met Kim Dong Ho, our pastor buddy. That was interesting. He started to go off into Revelations about the one man who will be standing at the last day when Jesus comes, and pulling out more weird Revelations stuff... It's so frustrating when people pull out Revelations... it's super figurative and everybody points to random stuff to fit their point of view. We tried to teach him, but Elder Ashby got a little mad with him, and it was overall just a weird lesson. Turns out, he might be part of a church that nobody likes, even more than us... really weird church, they go to over churches acting as investigators, then stand up in the middle of worship service and start proving the pastor to be a fool, just to get more people to join their church. Plus, all their churches are hidden, and nobody can tell where they go.  It's a really weird church...

After that Elder Ashby had more Zone Leader stuff to do, so I talked with Elder Bluhm, who served out in 강릉 (Gangneung)... so I heard a lot about it, not knowing I would be going there in a week. That was pretty fun time.

Friday we planned, then jundoed... not much exciting happened that day.

Saturday we jundoed, and did English class.  Nothing exciting, until that night.  We did caroling.  That was pretty fun time, singing Christmas hymns in the cold.  Right after we stopped that, we got the call that I was leaving.  Elder Judd is leaving too, that's all for our district.  Pretty fun time.

Group picture
Sunday we went to church, said goodbye to people. Then that night we had dinner with Ahn Gyung Chan. He loves the missionaries and had us all over. Really good meal, really nice guy.

Not much else happened this week. Tomorrow we have temple, then I leave on Thursday! I'm stoked to go live on the coast and just become kinda forgotten out there, so to speak.

Take care, love you all

-Elder Mortensen

Mark 12:33-34

November 30, 2015 (Week 50)

November 30, 2015

And yet another week goes by...

Playing Pilgrims
Monday we played soccer, ate chicken (a lotttt of chicken......) then got some food from a member, then we taught Ee Yoon Heng. He is doing good, progressing slowly. He is scared of member pressure (big issue in Korea) so he doesn't want a member at the lesson, and doesn't want to come to church... but other than that he is doing good, I guess. Hard to tell if he just learns, or is trying to honestly find the truth. He's a really fun guy, I hope he finds the truth here.

Tuesday after studies me and Elder Judd went on splits so Elder Han and Elder Ashby could go to some leadership meeting, so we jundoed around for a couple hours (about 5 hours, to be exact) and man, that was kinda cold. I hadn't pulled out the gloves or scarf yet, so it was a pretty cold day.  We met some cool people, especially one old guy.  He had us sit down and asked us what we believe about the afterlife, so we taught him the Plan of Salvation for about 30 minutes. I love people like that. I'm not sure if I'll ever see him again, but who knows, maybe that changed something for him.   After we switched back, we met Kahng Bong Doo. We sat down with him, and that was about all I did. Elder Ashby started going one direction, then the guy took it some other way, and I got lost and so we all just kinda stopped talking. Elder Ashby couldn't understand him either... so yeah.. that was an interesting lesson.  After that was English class! I love English class! It's so much fun! (hopefully you note the sarcasm...:) )

Wednesday I went with Elder Collins on an exchange!  That was pretty fun. We had a district meeting, then we were supposed to meet our pastor, Kim Dong Ho, but he bailed on us, so we had play practice for our play this Saturday.  That was pretty fun, although a lot of time... After that we jundoed around for a bit, then came back to the church so I could talk with Elder Han. We talked for quite a while, but needed. It's good to talk with others and get perspective on things. He was good about it. He's super nice and a good guy and he helped a lot. That night we taught Ee Yoon Heng again, and did the Plan of Salvation. It was kinda funny, he got so caught up on the the concept of hell.  Every five minutes, "so where is hell?" "Hang on, this is Spirit World.." "Is hell a kingdom?" "No, not really. All of these are good places, places of glory." "So where is hell? "We don't really believe in that kind of hell"... It's really interesting how different our church believes, when you think about it. IF (but it's not) IF it was false, we would be the biggest frauds ever. Priesthood, Plan of Salvation, Prophets, Book of Mormon, Temples, we do a lot of weird stuff from the world's perspective.   Sorry for that tangent... It was pretty crazy though, he couldn't understand we didn't believe in a hell haha.

Thursday we changed back, did some more play and choir practice, since we were still really rough. We did that, then had ward mission meeting. That was interesting again. One of the first things the ward mission leader asks is "so why don't we have baptisms?" "uh... I dunno, you tell me." (Our district is killing it everywhere except baptismal dates.)  All of us are doing good, just the dates are not happening. Kinda weird, even the APs called and asked why we have no dates.... so yeah, getting a little pressure on that.  After we went to the Fillmore's house for Thanksgiving, that was fun. President Sonksen gave us permission to go there longer than usual, so we got to just hang out as a mini mixed family. It was super fun, tender mercy for God giving me an awesome Thanksgiving.
Pizza with the group

Friday was pretty much a lot of jundo.

Saturday we had a Thanksgiving play performance. I played the piano. It was videoed, but for some reason it won't email. Sorry....

Sorry, out of time, doing alright though.

Elder Mortensen

John 15:9

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015 (Week 49)

November 23, 2015

Hows it going?
This week was a pretty quiet week.

Group Pic
Monday we played soccer in Nokbeon for P-Day, with 14 other missionaries. It was pretty fun. Teams of 4, first goal wins.  That got pretty intense, and my feet got wrecked.  I haven't exercised like that in forever.  For sure I'm going to do indoor soccer when I get back. That's probably the funnest sport out there, tied with outdoor soccer, haha (yes, there is a difference!) We did that, shopped, then headed out for the day. I went on splits with Elder Lujan, a greenie.  Greenies are funny. It's kinda fun to say "go talk with that grandpa" and they look at me surprised, then go do it. I can't believe I was like that at one time, haha.  After that, we met Ee Yoon Heng (이윤행)  이 is Lee in English but really pronounced Ee. (fun fact).   We talked about the restoration a little, but he got sidetracked on other stuff in the gospel.  He really likes learning about the church, not sure on the acting on the doctrine part. He's super nice and cool though. I can see him being a good member if he gets baptized.

Tuesday we had a kimchi fest! Us and 40 other missionaries went and made kimchi for a welfare center.  That was pretty fun. Luckily I didn't get judged hardcore again, but the grandmas would call us over then stuff a mouthful of kimchi in us.. man, that stuff is strong when fresh! Super tasty though. Got to say hi to a couple old Gireum buddies, like Elder Saunders. It's always fun to see him again.  He has been in Gireum since I got to K

orea (7 transfers, 9 months)... He is pretty well known in the mission for being there forever haha.  So we did that for a couple hours, ate lunch, then headed off.  We met Kim Dong Ho, our pastor buddy. We went through the Plan of Salvation, then we had English class to end the night.

Wednesday I was with Elder Jung Ui Gun.  He is the happiest, funniest Korean I've ever met.  We had a good time together.  We taught Lee Yoon Heng  again, and got through the whole first lesson. he accepted a soft baptismal commitment!  He is super cool and I really like him.  We also taught Jo Jin Suk.  He is really quiet guy, and the member we teach with and he went a bit off topic. We tried talking about the restoration, then the member went off on the Plan of Salvation, and talking about the DNA similarities of Korea, Japan, and China... members are good, but need to be reigned in a little bit... Jo is nice, but lives out of our mission, so we need to refer him over... bummer.  That night I was the only American, with 3 Koreans, and yet it was one of the funnest nights I've had this transfer.  They were all super funny, although I didn't catch a lot.  I know nothing about music, or movies or stuff like that... kinda keeps you out of the loop... but they helped a lot with my Korean.

Thursday we jundoed, then had missionary ward leader meeting, then  jundo... pretty boring day..... not much happened.

Friday I went with Elder Bluhm (pronounced bloom).  We went to the American military base for a dinner invite... so I had chicken haystacks and root beer floats!  That was cool. Their third kid, loves sports... and is named Garrett!  That was pretty trippy.  He would give me play-by-plays for football games, haha.  Really nice family, although there were like10 kids over there... I keep trying to like kids, but they don't help their case, haha. That was a pretty fun night though.

Saturday we studied, ate lunch with a less active, then helped some guy with computer programming. Elder Bluhm loves that stuff, so he wants to help people, and start a computer class for people to come to. Man, I don't understand that stuff at all. Looks kinda cool, like one big puzzle, but I don't understand it at all, haha. Kinda fun to learn a little though.  We did that, then went to a music night, that a different area put on.  That was a fun time, a lot of missionaries there too. I got to say hi to them. They always just brighten my day, seeing old friends again.  Too bad a lot of my buddies are on the coast... but the ones here are cool too.

Sunday was alright. I decided to fast, and it was a great experience. I haven't had a good one in a while, but this really helped me feel peace.  It reminded me of Mosiah 24:14-15.  That was the highlight of my day...

Love you all,

-Elder Mortensen

November 16, 2015 (Week 48)

November 16, 2015

So this week,
Temple Visit
Monday we didn't do much, went to Dong De Moon so Elder Ashby could get some shirts.  I looked at some coats for winter, but didn't get anything... yet.  I picked up a pretty good coat in this house, so I'll use that until it doesn't work anymore.  After P-Day, we had a couple appointments canceled, so we walked around all night and did some calls.

Tuesday we went on a mini exchange with one of the APs. We taught Kim Dong Ho, and mainly it was just Kahng In Ho that taught most of it... us, nor the members really talked much. Good lesson though, Kim really liked it. Kinda hard though. Since he is a pastor, he can't really make it out to church... Catch 22 right now... He really likes reading the Book of Mormon though. We did some jundo with Kahng after, then he took off. That night was just English class. Pretty boring again.... teaching 60 year old guys who think they are already pro at English isn't that fun... especially when you are the only one teaching. Elder Ashby is helping all the white people learn Korean, so it's just me pretty much.

Wednesday I was with Elder Judd. He and Elder Han Jung Suk and the other people in our house. They both just moved in.  Elder Judd is fresh from America. He is from Syracuse Utah.  Elder Han lived in Draper for several years, so he's pretty much fluent in English, kinda nice. So we went on exchanges, which consisted of riding the subway to 4 different places to give members some treats, since it was PePeRo day. PePeRo is pretty much just a big candy company. So imagine a Hersey's day in America, where you go nuts with buying people Hershey's bars. So we did that, kinda took a lot of time, but was kinda fun.  We would stop by, and they would start laughing that we cared about PePeRo day, since nobody really celebrates it. Kinda fun to see them start laughing when we pulled out the PePeRo. (In America its usually called POCKY sticks, pretty good).  That night, we taught Lee Yoon Heng. He called us up, and wanted to meet. Turns out it was for a class interview thing, he wanted to interview us about our beliefs. So we kinda gave him a basic overview for his class, then agreed to meet, to actually teach, not just help his class out.  Nice guy though, he was really funny.

Thursday we finally had a meeting with a ward mission leader.  They finally called us one.  We met with him, and the first thing he said was "why are there no baptisms here?", which is weird, because the bishop told us the day before that members shouldn't ask that. He wants to focus on less-actives and retention, not just baptizing.  You wouldn't believe how many less actives there are.  Only 150 active members and about 500-ish less active... and about 80% of them have moved, changed their number, or nobody knows who they are... almost impossible to keep track of them. so yeah... kinda getting pulled two ways, not one way with bishop and ward mission leader... ought to be interesting... I would rather trust the bishop though.  Other than that, we didn't do much, just some jundo and calls.
Friday we just jundoed and did weekly planning.  We had dinner with other missionaries, and a member, that was kinda fun.

Korean War Memorial
Saturday, in the afternoon we met Jo Jin Suk, who called us and wanted to meet. We met him and had a good talk, that was a fun.  After that, we went back to the house, so we could make three batches of cookies for English, and our investigator.. so that killed a lot of time... later, running late to Lincoln and Ellie's.

Not a lot of time, but things are going okay. Kim and You are still meeting us, which is great!

Love ya,
Elder Mortensen

November 9, 2015 (Week 47)

November 9, 2015

This week....
Halloween Party
I spent Monday night through Wednesday in Nokbeon again!  That was fun.  I love it there. It's changed a lot since I've been there, but still felt like home. I got to talk with Elder Apigo a lot, and man, it's kinda weird being not the youngest. It's weird giving advice, and saying the same things that I hated hearing about the language, missionary
work.  He's a great guy though. He's one of those guys that you can't be sad around.  He just makes everyone happy.

Wednesday we got trained on working with members, which I'm starting to realize how important that really is. Members are like those people you meet, and then you see them everywhere.  This week we taught a couple lessons with members, and now I remember their names, and see them everywhere.  It also gives them a chance to know us, so that they will help us better. PJ Rogers came last week, and talked a lot on the culture of Korea. I can't explain much, but relationship is everything.  So much goes into that, and without it, members won't do much with us. It was a good training.  That night we met with Kim and You.  They are doing good.  We met them yesterday too. We have one more time of English/gospel, so if they don't want to, we may only meet them one more time. I really hope we can keep meeting. I feel like 60 minutes, with a member there, will help solve a lot of their issues, and concerns.  They still make excuses for not reading, or not coming to church. That's the most frustrating part.  Kim says "back in the past, a pastor only wanted money", "Sunday is my day of rest", "we want religious freedom for our kids so they don't fight if they join other religions"... Most of this just translates to "I'm just lazy"... really annoying. I wish he would just be straight with us.

Thursday we taught with a member couple, and they were great.  This guy, actually was a pastor, knew where they lived, they knew similar people, and hit it right off.  The husband got a little sidetracked, but it was all a good lesson.  The guy was like "oh, when you explain the Book of Mormon that way, I want to read it now", when the members explained what it was. I wonder how many people drop us, because they feel like they don't understand us, and we don't understand them. That night we met a Mongolian family that came all the way to here, just to be sealed in the temple. They knew some Korean which helped, but man, we are blessed in Utah. People travel COUNTRIES, not just 5 minutes, to get the blessings in the temple.  That really hit me.

Friday during planning, I kinda brought up how I feel Elder Ashby is really focused, but a little too much at times.  Since then, we have gotten along much better.  He still likes to do a lot on his own, (I'm kinda the same way) but we are getting better.

Saturday we taught Lincoln and Ellie, and met with a less active. Both were good meetings, although Lincoln and Ellie, man they are right there.... they are so ready for baptism, they are right there, but because of Lincoln's job, they are scared, and Lincoln can't even get baptized, since he is with the Chinese government.  I'm really hoping that we can get Ellie baptized soon, but I fear that because of Lincoln not being baptized, and his job, she will continue to hold out.

Sunday we went to church, talked with members there, then headed over to Kim and You and taught them.  Really hoping for them to keep meeting.  I get the feeling they are almost there too.

Well, love you all, there are the highlights,
-Elder Mortensen

November 2, 2015 (Week 46)

November 2, 2015

At the Border
Monday we had P-Day, which was going to Dong De Moon so Elder Sullivan could get some last things, and I tried to find a cheap coat.  No luck for me, but I'll keep looking around, maybe I'll just go without one, haha. Elder Skinner and I exchanged so that Elder Sullivan and Elder Bybee could go to the office for final interviews.  Se we jundoed and shopped, well mainly me since I'm the only one staying. We jundoed around and then met back up and we met Jung Jeen Kang.  He is 23, met him last week too. We took him to the church and discussed the restoration. We didn't get far, cause he would go off on random stuff.  Nice guy though, he says he is busy with a board game festival right now, so he is busy for a couple weeks... freaking life, why is Korea so busy?

Tuesday we did studies, then switched with Elder Bybee so Elder Skinner and Elder Sullivan could do language pass off.  That was okay, except me and Elder Bybee got separated for like 20-30 minutes though... He went off with one guy, and I talked with another for like 10 seconds, and Elder Bybee was gone.  He went down a street where it forked, so I didn't know where he went.  So I sat there for 20-ish minutes, when a guy came up in fluent English and asked if I was looking for my friend.  He said that my friend asked to borrow his phone, and told me where he was.  Man, that was a miracle. Elder Bybee was starting to get really nervous when I caught up with him.  After that, we jundoed and did some Halloween work.  The ward got involved and changed it up a lot.  So we got to work making stuff, helping get stuff done.  We then met Kim De Young, the recent convert. He is the bomb.  He helps us reach out to like 3 other less actives, willing to look up members, do us favors, everything.  He is the best.  So we started the fifth lesson, and talked with a less active on the phone. We had to end that to go meet a temple couple, who wanted to take us out for dinner.  So they took all 4 elders to a buffet. It was a pretty expensive place and I was impressed.  We talked with them, mainly Elders Sullivan and Bybee about their missions. Elder Bybee forgot about English class, so me and Elder Sullivan saved him and went and helped out there. I don't know how you forget about that, but yeah.... that took the rest of the day.

Wednesday I went with Elder Green all day! Elder Sullivan and Elder Greens companion went and played so Elder Green and I jundoed and talked all day.  He is doing good on the coast, makes it sound like the dreamland.... nothing much else happened

Thursday I got my new companion, Elder Ashby.  He was Elder Yetters MTC companion! They are super similar it is pretty scary.  Nice guy, works hard and fast. Kind of a rough transition from Elder Sullivan to him.

Captain America and Elder Mortensen
at the Ward Halloween Party
Friday we had the ward Halloween party.  That was pretty fun. We had 40-50 people show up, and we had a bunch of other activities.  I ran a bean bag toss stand, which was fun. I got to talk with some people, had a lot of candy, haha.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty normal days.  Nothing too new to report.

Sorry about short emails, love you all, take care!

-Elder Mortensen

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 26, 2015 (Week 45)

October 26, 2015

Quick email, partially because I forgot to write down what happened this week, haha.

Famous Red Pipe
Everybody Takes Selfies In
Monday we traveled clear up to Ui Jeung Bu to get Elders Bybee and Sullivan suits.  Some guy up there does custom suits for $150, so all the missionaries go up there... needless to say, I looked around and got a couple ideas for later on in the future, haha. That took up most of P-Day, at least an hour on the subway each way.  We met a guy that night, who talked really fast and quiet, in a crowded cafe, so I couldn't hear him too much.  We are meeting him again tonight, and hopefully this lesson will go over better. I hate those lessons where I can't add much, due to not being able to hear them...
Tuesday, I had interview with president. That went well, I got to chat with him for a little bit, asked him some questions. (No reason for 3 "dying" comps though, that's just my luck of the draw).  After that I went with Elder Skinner on an exchange.  That was weird. I'm the "youngest" elder in Shin Chon, but I kinda led the exchange.  We jundoed the entire day, and traveled a lot of places... that was long.
Wednesday, we had lunch as a district, then had district meeting.  The meeting was just all the senior companions sharing crazy spiritual experiences.  I'm still waiting for that for me. I've had a good time out here, but I feel like I haven't had any super spiritual experiences yet.  After that was yet more Halloween planning, then dinner and meeting Kim and You. They are doing good, reading the Book of Mormon. I'm not sure how much they want to act on the message, but they like learning.
Thursday, we had some jundo, then met for planning with the district that took way too long.  Way too much planning this week. We did streetboarding, then more planning... tired of planning. That night we had a meal with a member, pretty cool guy. He had a crazy experience on his mission, but I won't share it, because that's not my place.
Kim and You and Family
Friday, we met a couple less-actives, then met Patrick.  He showed up, we sat down to talk, then got a call that his aunt in China has cancer and a high chance of dying... so he left and flew back to China.... kinda crazy.  After was weekly planning.
Saturday we did a lot of unnecessary chores for other people and others wanted to plan more, so that took a lot of time.  That night we were with Lincoln and Ellie. The whole time was just dinner. We couldn't get in a lesson, because they just wanted to chat.
Sunday we went to church, Kim and You's house, and then family night at the Fillmore's. Pretty fun.

Sorry this is short!

Love you,
-Elder Mortensen

October 19, 2015 (Week 44)

October 19, 2015

Wow, this was an interesting week.... 
At the World Cup Stadium
Monday after email we went and had to take care of our big trash at our house... in Korea, in order to throw away a chair, or some beds, or couch, etc., anything big, you have to go to the citizen center (community center in US?) Basically it's in charge of the area where we live, Sinchon. We had to do that, since the other team couldn't figure it out to save the life of them... So we went there, got that all worked out, then went to the bank to pay for them taking our trash away... kind of a dumb system, but whatever. After that we went out and jundoed for a couple hours, before meeting JD. He is 31, and has an interesting dream. When we talked with him about his dream, he said "to be free of money".  He wants to be soo rich that he doesn't have to worry about money later on... Which was kinda funny in my opinion, because his whole life right now is focused on the obtaining of money. He's so busy chasing that money, just so he can be rid of its burden... interesting. But yeah, we couldn't do much, because he had another appointment a couple minutes later. 
Tuesday we had a lot of jundo time.  First time this transfer I think we have been empty.  So we jundoed around for the whole time, until dinner.  We ate pizza for the first time since being together, which was weird cause we ate there soooo much in Gireum. That was fun, though. We took the subway over to World Cup Stadium, since a less active lived out there.  Turns out, South Korea was hosting Jamaica that night!  The subway exit puts you inside the stadium park, so since we had still some dinner time, we took a quick look around. Pretty cool to see all the people, and the stadium. It's a huge stadium though.  It was crazy. So we toured that, then tried to visit a less active... he wasn't there, so we rode a bus back to the home, since it was a long trip to get out there. 

Wednesday we did studies, and then headed over to Sindang (pronounced sheen dong (as in ding dong)) for their district meeting. The whole was literally one role play... kinda weird... but yeah, we did that, just to come back and help plan a Halloween party... man, elders have no creativity. That needed some help. We did that until dinner, then headed over to Kim and You s house. They are doing good still! We got Kim to pray (finally!) and they read Alma 40, and had a ton of questions.  Both of them read and had good questions to discuss, it was pretty fun. Plus their kids aren't super awkward around us anymore. They bring out apples everytime.  Going over there is pretty fun now! It's better than 3 awkward lessons trying to explain what the Book of Mormon even is. The only downside is the trip. It is 45 minutes of just walking. The subway and bus take a round about way to get there, so walking is 6's either way.  That's the downside. 

Touring the Korean Border
Thursday we went to the DMZ!!! Since Elder Sullivan hasn't been yet, he set everything up for it. We got up, met a couple other missionaries, then headed as far north as we could. It took probably around 30 min, only because we caught the Fast Line. We got there, paid for a tour, then hopped on a bus.  We went to a subway stop where it is the last one before heading into North Korea. There wasn't much to see there, but kinda cool.  After that we headed over to the lookout place. There you could see through binoculars into North Korea. That was pretty cool. We could see a couple villages, and buildings.  They were pretty close too!  After that we went to a place called the 3rd Tunnel.  I guess  South Korea found 4 tunnels that North Korea dug to get into South Korea. This was the 3rd.  So we rode a tiny mine cart down about 200m, I think, then walked through a tiny tunnel a couple hundred more.  Pretty cool, except I smacked my head a couple times, since the tunnel was tiny.  After that we toured around and saw a lot of cool memorial things. Pretty fun tour.  The military couples here can get us into the JSA, but it's super hard to get that tour, I guess. I want to go once, and stand in the JSA building where you can be on North Korea ground technically.   After that we had a lesson/dinner with Bae Jung Mo.  He lived in France for a couple years, and he brought his friend, who lived in Canada.  So we ate and talked, and just as we were about to teach, they said they had to bail for a school project, since midterm season is upon us....... !@(#*$^ midterms sometimes..... half of our investigators are still out because of that.

Kimchi Festival
Friday we studied then went to Outback since it was Elders Sullivan and Bybee's 2 year mark of entering the MTC. That was pretty good, always a fun time eating out.  After that we jundoed a little, then headed over to World Cup Stadium again, since there was a kimchi making activity there. We, and 17 other companionship's, got to go to that, except the Korean elders. They wanted only foreigners... kinda sad...  We got all dressed up in apron, glove, hair net, then took a bunch of lettuce/cabbage thing, and smothered it in red sauce. Me and Elder Sullivan were on the end, and so we had these grandmas walk by, take some with their bare hands, or start to do it... ("I just saw 26 health violations... nope 27!" -Melman, Madagascar). Man, I've never been judged harsher... "Do it this way!", "Do it that way", "Flip it over", "Give me a piece"... Man, ("They are savages!" -Madagascar too).  But it was pretty fun. We all got a ton of kimchi too, which was kinda nice, although our house now smells of kimchi everywhere... after that we met an interesting Hong Kong guy, who asked a million questions, like "Why did Jesus wear a scarf?", "How many disciples were fisherman?", "How many John's are there?" Some were good too, though. We talked with him for about an hour, then had to go. We never saw him again... interesting lesson, though. 

Saturday we planned, taught English, then met Lincoln and Ellie.  They are doing good. Still struggling to make time to read and get an answer. They are always fun though.

Sunday we had a fireside with Mark A. Peterson.  He taught about how religion works in Korea, and how we can relate better with people. Pretty informational and a good time. 

Sorry, gotta cut there... Love you all, doing good here!
  -Elder Mortensen

D&C 128:22

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015 (Week 43)

October 12, 2015

Elders Mortensen and Sullivan
Well, another week in the great Korea!
Typing this is in a suit... freak... suits can be super uncomfortable, especially when wearing them for a long time... anyway

Monday we went to a place called 인사동. (Een Sa Dong). It's a big tourist place, so Elder Sullivan could pick up some stuff for his family before he dies. I picked up a couple things too, like a sweet 10 dollar backpack. I figure I'll just do some college shopping while I'm here, haha. That was our whole p-day.  We shopped after, then on the way back to the house, we passed by the temple, and the temple missionaries called us over.  They had 4 college students (3 girls, 1 guy) who were looking at the temple, so they talked with them for a little bit.  We showed them the church and talked a little. Korean girls are weird.  As soon as we said, "yeah, we can speak Korean, they lost their mind. They were freaking out, then said "Wow, you are handsome".  Korean girls here are pretty straightforward, no wonder Elders don't talk with women on the street... but it was kinda cool that they just came to the temple to check it out.  After that and a little jundo, we headed over to Nokbeon, my greenie area. That's where the other zone leader is, So Elder Sullivan and him had to hook up to go to a zone leader meeting. I got to have chicken there... man, that brought back a ton of memories...
Tuesday I spent with Elder Apigo (ah pee go).  He is also a greenie, having been here for 3 weeks. Super funny guy. We did studies, which included a couple role plays, (that was weird. It felt like yesterday that I was doing it with Elder Whitlock).  After that, we headed out for jundo. It's kinda hard to be with a greenie... I wasn't sure how much he could do, wanted to do, or should do. I wanted to push him, but not too far. So I did almost all of the jundos, and man, that was tiring, but fun. After that we did some English flyering.  You pretty much stand at an intersection and hand out English flyers for about an hour... that was pretty fun. After that I went to go visit DK, a less-active me and Elder Whitlock met with a couple times.  It was kinda funny, I still remembered all the back streets and everything. DK wasn't there, but his mom was.  So we talked with her at their work place for about 20 minutes.  That was crazy, when I fully realized how much I could understand, now that I pushed myself to really concentrate. (It's like driving, if you are in shotgun, you kinda know what's going on, but you can zone out.  Driving you know and have to keep 100% on the road).  So now that I was the driver,  I could understand entire thoughts that people had, not just words.  Super cool. We had a good talk with her about The Book of Mormon, got her to commit to read and pray about it. Elder Apigo lost his mind over how good I sounded at Korean. I still admit that I have a ton to go on Korean, but not gonna lie, it felt kinda good to know that I could talk with people. We met another cool guy and had a good talk with him a couple minutes later. Same thing, surprisingly understood a lot.  That night we had English class.  Some of the members remembered who I was, which was cool. One of the recent converts came and took all the missionaries shoes and shined them. So now one pair of my shoes looks super good.  That was nice of him.  We spent another night in Nokbeon after that.
Wednesday we did studies, then went over to Shin Chone for zone meeting.  That was good, talked a lot on how to begin teaching, and teaching skills in general. Good training.  I got mail from the office...another comic letter from mom... holy smokes, how many comics do you cut out?  Every time we have a meeting, there are always more comics!  After zone training, we helped the bishop set up for General Conference then went and taught Kim Moon Kyum and You Me Wha.   Today was super awkward too.  Kim just half talks about how he can't understand  The Book of Mormon, and You can't read Korean, so she can't even start.  We finally got her a Ukranian Book of Mormon, so now she can get reading too. Their house is super far away, (about 40 minutes walking, and that's the fastest way) so that took up the whole night.
Thursday was just the worst day ever, due to the young investigators we have, and midterms coming up, we had 7 of our investigators pretty much all drop that day. One after another would just say that they are busy for the next couple weeks, not sure when they can meet again... and that's how 7 investigators, and 4 baptismal dates drop in a week. On top of that, we had all 4 of our appointments drop on the day, so Elder Sullivan and I were kinda done with the day. We jundoed around all day, and got rejected all day.  Met one or two people that half listened, but today was pretty rough.  That night during streetboarding, there was some hippie guy that had zero interest in the gospel, just that "truth is everywhere, you just gotta look inside" and "the world is too small, I don't have a home country, or a home".  Weird hippie stuff.  He and half the missionaries talked about that for a while, I don't know why.  Then a hardcore atheist came up and was mocking us for a while, so yeah, me and Elder Sullivan just went home and kinda died that night....

Friday was a lot better though. One, because it was moms birthday, and two, we had some sweet lessons today.  Personal and companion study were a little rough still.  A lot of questions just started flowing in my head, much like my awful fourth transfer, when I just kinda hated life.  So me and Elder Sullivan just talked about life most of comp study, then we had language study, and weekly planning.  That wasn't very fun, seeing how bare our teaching pool had just become... maybe God's trying to tell us that these people we should focus on or something... but after that we went and met Patrick. He read the Introduction, Witnesses, and Joseph Smith Testimony pages, and understood them pretty well. He had solid questions, which was proof he thought about it. Also said that he had prayed a couple times, which was sweet!  We discussed the Plan of Salvation, and he had a little bit of a belief in afterlife and what not, and man, Chinese culture can be a bit graphic. They have a belief similar to Dante's Inferno, where hell is just a bunch of layers. In China culture they have 18 layers, where each one gets more violent I guess... Patrick wouldn't even start to explain what happened, luckily.  But he liked the Plan, and agreed to read and pray and meet again. Super cool guy! We got a baptism date for him too!  After that we met with Kim and You.  This lesson was great. You read Moroni 1-8, and Kim read at least a summary of what The Book of Mormon teaches. You prays, and likes church, used to go with someone to the English ward on the other side of the river.  We discussed the plan of salvation with them, and they actually showed interest in it.  It was something they actually wondered about! It was the first time we had an actual discussion with them and both of them getting involved! So that was great!
Saturday we studied, then went to the church for 7 hours. Three sessions of conference, plus a couple minutes of break in between. During one of the breaks the temple missionaries brought us root beer which was sweet (Korea doesn't have root beer, they probably got it on the military base). So we watched conference,  Then went and met with Lincoln and Ellie.  They can be frustrating... they are super nice, feed us every week, their little kid is fluent at English and super funny. They love the church, and Ellie believes most of the church.  She is just getting caught up on getting an answer and reading The Book of Mormon. I guess in Chinese it's similar to Korean, in which it's kinda hard to read. If she could just do that, I feel like she would get baptized.  But they are super nice though.
Eating chicken. Elders
Sullivan, Jung, Mortensen and Apigo
in Nokbeon!
Sunday we had more conference, then at night we met a recent convert and talked with him.  Then Elder Sullivan and Elder Bybee went on splits to go teach, since Elder Skinner was feeling sick... so I just sat there the whole night making calls.  Pretty boring day, minus conference.

Alright conference rundown... Sabbath day, 3 new apostles, and conversion.  That was my biggest draw away. President Uchtdorf nailed both of his talks, and I liked Elder Lawerence and Elder Martinos as well. Elders Anderson and Bednar had some pretty sweet ones too.  Couple of powerful talks about women too.  Elder Holland was pretty blunt about that.  Poor President Monson, the way he was leaning on the pulpit the whole time... That was a bit sad. Maybe he will sit down next conference?  No idea, but that was just sad. But, conference was pretty sweet, hope you got a lot from it too.

Love you all, have fun,
-Elder Mortensen

October 5, 2015 (Week 42)

October 5, 2015

Alrighty, well, I'll try to remember what happened this week,

Elders Bybee, Sullivan, Mortensen top.
 Elder Skinner bottom
Monday we emailed, then shopped and cleaned some more, since half of it seemed to not get done... So we cleaned for about an hour, then went off and looked for somewhere good to eat.  The taco place was still closed, so we wandered around looking at cool places. We found a cool new restaurant. They had a huge frying pan in the table, and they came over and cooked our food right there for us, kinda like Tepynaki.  Turned out pretty good.  New places are always fun to go try to. After p-day we met a guy named Patrick. He is Chinese, but lived back east for a couple years, so pretty great at English.  However, he knows nothing about the gospel.  We had to explain even what the bible was. Like, breaking it down to the simple basics. He noticed good things about religions, so he was interested. He took the first lesson pretty good, and is willing to meet again.  Super cool guy, pretty funny too.  That and we did some jundo and calls finished our night.
Tuesday we had our temple day, which was fun. I did initiatories with Elder Bean, since all of Gireum was there again.  So we did that, then they let us do the next endowment session too.  Usually its one or the other. We did the Korean session, and it was pretty cool. I understood quite a lot, more than I thought, actually. It's kinda cool, because of the different levels of speech, I learned some new stuff. It goes from super high, king form, to lowest of low form, depending on what is going on.  That was a fun experience.  After that we had lunch with a lot of the other elders, since there is a close place that is cheap, and the owner loves the missionaries. (All owners love it when we come... we eat a lot and come back often haha). So we did that, then took a survey on how to fix English classes here in Korea... yeah... it needs help.  All it is, is just people who come for 10+ years and have no interest... lame.  After that we went back to NOKBEON!  That was awesome!  Since it is in our zone, Elder Sullivan went on exchanges there. That was trippy, walking down streets that I walked the first day I got here, seeing all the old food places. That was suuuper cool. I'll get to go back there for an exchange today too! Anyway, I got to go with Elder Collins, then we headed back to Shin Chon.  He is a greenie, so has no idea what was going on, so I did all the jundo, and even led the lesson with our investigator family. That was cool. It helped me realize how much I do understand.  Pretty cool to realize I can actually help in lessons, and understand where people are coming from. That was hard though, making sure I was setting a good example for him.  He's a pretty cool guy.
Wednesday, we had another weird district meeting, but better than last week.  After that we met So Bo Hyun.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation, and he loved it. He still hasn't been to church because of work, but he loves the gospel.  Now we just need to get him to church, and he could be ready to go! That was the highlight of Wednesday.
Thursday was Elder Sullivan's birthday, so we had fun. It was super cold and rainy though, which wasn't cool. We had a cool member visit. They made him a cake, then met a recent convert who went to dinner with us, and then we did streetboarding in the freezing weather... not fun.  Pretty fun day though.  It's hard though, because now Elder Sullivan is in his last month, so he was talking about home all the time... I hope this doesn't go downhill.... pretty good guy though.
Jersey and Hat (Hiding the haircut?)
Friday we got punked 3 or 4 times.  Our only investigator who showed up was cool.  He is Christian, and loves the bible.  So we started talking, and he had a tough time accepting The Book of Mormon, and the priesthood. We get to meet him again today, but he is a pretty sweet guy. After meeting with him, we just had some more jundo, and some call time.  That night Elder Green and his companion slept over at our house.  They are in the coast, a place called Sok Cho.  His companion is the branch president, so they came in for temple day.  Super fun to see him and hang out with Elder Green again. He talked about how great the coast is... Man, I want to go there soo bad.
Saturday we sat at the church helping with English, a church yard sale, and appointments.
Sunday we fasted and jundoed. Not much new there....

Love ya,
Elder Mortensen

September 28, 2015 (Week 41)

September 28, 2015

Bowling, with the President
This week was pretty slow. It's Korean Thanksgiving this week, so everybody was getting ready for that, so we couldn't do much...
After email Monday, we went and shopped and got a hair cut... terrible idea. I said "this style, but half the length" and she took that as, nearly buzz cut... so now I feel like I have no hair, except in the back... not really sure why she did that, but I just sat there in horror until it ended... so if you don't see any pictures of me for a while, that's why, haha.  After that, we taught So Bo Hyun. He is 29, owns a chicken house (that's what Koreans call restaurants...) and is super cool. He understands The Book of Mormon only if he prays beforehand, and then he understands great. He read from the start to 2nd Nephi 22, twice, once with praying beforehand. Super cool. We set a baptism date for the end of October, so hopefully he can pull through. Later we went to a shopping place, so we picked up a couple things. I picked up the Seoul hat and Elder Sullivan picked up a hat that said 외국인 (foreigner). Pretty funny, maybe not to you guys, but to us it's kinda funny.  After that, we had some tacos. We found a good taco house and will be going back often for sure. After p-day, we just jundoed. Nothing too special.
Tuesday....we met a guy named Jay for lunch. He has lived all over the world, and pretty good at English, and man, he swore a couple times about people ripping him off.  That was super weird. I haven't heard casual swearing like that since I left. That's going to be super trippy coming back to in America. It was a good lesson with him, too bad he is moving down south.... just jundoed after that. We when down to a college hotspot and met some cool people, but its weird seeing a lot of young people. I'm used to seeing only old guys. We met a Mexican named Armando. He is here for a convention, and we helped him find a Starbucks so he could meet his buddy from work. Funny guy, he kept saying "I am Armando, the Mexican Buddha" really weird guy. He's from Mexico City though.  Later we met a family . They want to learn English, but have a little interest in gospel. Hopefully we can swing them toward the gospel.
Wednesday we had the most awkward district meeting ever. Elder Bybee maybe said like 30 words, and just had us discuss things and role play by ourselves.  Super weird, we were all kinda wondering what he was trying to get us to do. We kinda sat there lost for an hour.... later we just jundoed, then met some less active who is Korean, but hates Koreans. He lived in America for a little I think, and just wanted to vent, so he called us up.  Kinda good to talk with him, but he doesn't even live in our area. It was a really weird meeting. After, we did some more jundo, met our recent convert, who wanted to talk about how to deal with a prideful friend. Pretty good talk, kinda realized how prideful I've been so far on my mission. It may not sound like it in the emails, but realizing now, I've been pretty proud about some things.  Good lesson for him and me.
Thursday we didn't do much but jundo.  Nobody can meet this week due to Thanksgiving, 추석. (Choo Suk).  That night we did street boarding, and man, it was crazy where we went. Sometimes it felt like we were at like an amusement park. So many people. All the college kids were going places, some guys were trying to street dance (emphasize on the trying part). Kinda distracting.
Friday was super fun. We went bowling with president, missionaries from Gireum (all my old friends) and some other missionaries.  That was fun. I was in a lane with Elders Bean, Yetter, and Sullivan.  That was a fun time. I won with bowling a 142, then a 122.  Got super close to a better score, just 1 or 2 pins away from a strike and whatnot.  After, we all went to the office, and had a conference.  Talked about Thanksgiving here and what it means. We watched some cool videos, that just get you pumped about Korea. Great place. That was pretty fun. That night we went to the Han river, in the middle of Seoul. Pretty cool.  Sat there looking at the Seoul South mission. Pretty cool view.

Saturday we cleaned... the entire day. Me and Elder Sullivan went at it hard. That took forever. The house feels a lot better now. For dinner, we went out to a pizza buffet, because all the smaller shops were closed, and we decided to go big for the holiday.
Night Shot of River Han
Sunday we studied, went to church, then did a lesson and planned. Pretty much, nobody is out this weekend, so we just got much needed work done in our house.  We've got a good line up and ready to work this week. I'm tired of being in the house.... that's been my week, had a good time.

Love you all,
Elder Mortensen

September 21, 2015 (Week 40)

September 21, 2015

Soccer Companions
Wow, this weeks been pretty fun. I'll give you some highlights, then fill in the rest if I have time.

Monday after email we just chilled at the house. We were all pretty dead after the hike. Super fun though, it was worth it. After that we just did some jundo.
Tuesday we went and cleaned up the other house, since Elder Yetter would be living there with a greenie. That was fun.  Took us a couple hours Then me and Elder Saunders dipped out to go meet Goose.  He is doing well.  He is a fun guy.  Maybe I'll see him down here, who knows?  Everybody comes to Shin Chone.  Came back, sent off my luggage, then had another appointment. Luggage is doing good. I switched the wheels, so it gets me by long enough to get to the road and call a cab. I love Korean mail.  Ship my stuff for cheap and it gets there the next day. American mail takes super long compared to Korean.  Our appointment after was sweet.  He is a Japanese guy, who speaks English, and has been here for 20 years.  We talked about almost everything. I can't really describe it, but the spirit was there super strong. He struggled with believing God was there and created a plan for us, but I know he felt something. I wish I could stick around to see if he meets again. That night we met with a less-active that we have been meeting with.  He bought us some really good soup, topped off with octopus and oyster.... yum. Octopus isn't bad, but my liking of it is slowly going down.  For sure going to try live octopus, but regular octopus is just super chewy.
 Wednesday Elder Bean and Elder Eagar got to help out with the new missionaries, since there are 18 new ones, and one of the APs is in military for a week. So they were gone the whole day, and from 1:00-6:00 Elder Saunders went to a trainers training, since he will be training this transfer. So me and Elder Sol Hyun Oo (from my MTC group) hung out and jundoed all day. Man, it would be soo nice to be fluent in Korean and jundo.  He works hard and it would be nice to fully express my thoughts.  Me and him split a pizza since it was our last day, and it was my birthday.  Cool guy.  After, we just went to English class.  Still super boring. After, the sisters gave me cookies, for a farewell/birthday gift.  That was cool.  They were the only ones who remembered it was my birthday. We went back and planned and packed everything up. Pretty lame birthday, not gonna lie.
Thursday was transfers. I'm now with Elder Sullivan.  He is from Sandy, Utah, and on his last transfer... another I get to kill off.... yipee.... he's a cool guy, though. He is a zone leader, so hopefully he wont get trunky on me. We're with Elder Bybee and Elder Skinner in the apartment. Shin Chone is a cool place. A lot of college students, a lot of people, and a lot of cool places to go.  Not the best for jundo, but after the mission it would be fun to go and hang out there sometime.  Who knows, maybe I'll come be an exchange student here. That'd be cool. Hmm, have to check into that.  met a couple people that night, then called it.
Friday was super fun. weekly planning was discussing 15 investigators (.... that's nuts!!!) so that was actually productive.  Later, we met a guy who was dressed like a Mexican cowboy, with 7 earrings. Pretty weird dude. We also ran into a stalker, who is looking for another elder in the mission. She's been following him for over a year now, and is completely nuts. Later, we met a drunk guy who would say "hi, I'm Korean Elvis Presley. Do you know Elvis Presley?" "Take my hand" "I met God Jesus and the Holy Ghost" repeated like 10 times... me and Elder Sullivan were laughing pretty hard at that.
Mexican Korean
Saturday we met a couple other investigators, a couple with dates. We are really hoping to get a couple baptisms by the end of this transfer. We have some really cool people.  Korea and Yeonsee Universities had a big rivalry competition, so all the students were hanging out Saturday night. So many people, it was crazy. It felt like I was at a college football game again.

Not much time, just know that I'm doing good. Elder Sullivan is cool, hanging in there with the house, and the area is super cool. It's going to be an interesting 6 weeks. Who knows what will happen after that, knowing my luck.  Love you all!
Elder Mortensen

September 14, 2015 (Week 39)

September 14, 2015

Hiking on P-Day
Today, we got up at 4:00am, hiked a sweet mountain, did personal study on the peak, chilled, then came back down, ate and are now emailing. Super fun morning.

Last Monday we went and ate some food, then played some board games at home and just kinda chilled. Pretty good time to just relax.  After p-day, we went and visited Goose, Elder Saunders recent convert. His uncle died in the military (his officer shot him in the heart, he didn't know there was a real bullet, thought it was a fake...).  So a couple of Sundays ago he was doing pretty bad.  We visited him and reviewed the afterlife and Kingdoms of Glory with him.  He is doing better, but we ended up spending over 1 1/2 hours with him... I didn't want to tell him to leave, but I hate killing more time than is allowed.  Oh well, glad he is doing good.
Tuesday I skipped in the journal to get caught up to date (for the most part) so I can't really remember what happened, haha.  We did a lot of jundo, got punked by a couple people, then later visited a recently reactivated member, although he attends in the Pusan mission, as his family lives there, but he works up here.  He loves Elder Saunders, mainly because he's known him for so long (Elder Saunders got to Gireum area when I got to Korea... he is staying and training next transfer too ).... Since he didn't know me, we didn't really talk. That started me feeling like I want to stay in some places for a while, and actually have a relationship with the members. In Preach My Gospel it says to contact investigators daily... that's a bit much for me, but I feel like that's so you actually have a relationship with the person.  That he just isn't another investigator, but an actual person that you want to help. But, guess I'll have to start fresh in Shin Chon, since I'm moving...
Wednesday we lived at the church. We did studies, then went to zone meeting. That was pretty good. talked about becoming more spiritual, and learning to recognize the spirit more. Pretty good stuff, feeling like that will help me a lot.  After we met with a college student.  He lived in Alabama for like 7 years, so he is pretty great at English. We talked with him, but he kept getting side tracked on other things. So we spent the whole hour trying to get him directed back to gospel, but he's too caught up in other things, and says he doesn't read... so who knows, maybe later he'll make time for us. Since he came from the U.S. culture to Korea, he is considered somewhat of an outcast.  He sees how robotic the Korean culture seems to be, and how the people are all told to just fit in line (clothes, hair, lifestyle etc. ) Everybody seems the same, he feels. He hates that part. That was fun.  Later, we picked up some pizza, came back to the church, ate for 20 minutes, and taught Angel, our recent convert.  He is still doing good. Then we had English class... about fell asleep again, it can be so boring.  Teaching 50 year old people who don't care at all about the gospel.... lame.
 Thursday I went with Elder Eagar on a mini exchange. We just did studies, then worked together until 6:00-ish.  Pretty good time.  I love just talking with others.  That seems to help most of my issues. He talked about how I'm just hitting the growing pains of my mission.  Everybody goes through them, but you'll come out happy on the other side. Definitely true.  The mission is great, but hard right now. I feel like I don't know enough Korean to be truly involved, but old enough to the point where I should be involved. Frustrating. Later, after getting with Elder Saunders again, we visited a less-active. Man, he had a nice home... he had 3 pianos, a huge flat screen, lived in the nicest apartments, and it was super huge. Freakin' rich guy. Super nice, used to be in the bishopric, ward mission leader, young mens leader, but lately he didn't believe in leaders, and is expecting a Joseph Smith like answer to his prayers... kinda sad, but super nice guy. Hopefully Elder Saunders can meet with him more.
 Friday we did planning and studies, then jundoed.  No good contacts for like 5 hours that night... not much to report there, except I'm learning a lot from stuff like that. Hard to explain over email.
 Saturday we studied, then jundoed.  Met a couple cool people. We met with Bek Joon Sang.  He feels like he needs to know EVERYTHING about the gospel and our church before he makes his decision.  He says he is making progress, but I honestly don't see it. It's probably a good thing I'm not meeting with him anymore, because I just wanted to shake him and tell him he doesn't need to know every small detail. He's worried about how many wards there are, and not whether The Book of Mormon is true.... I get a little fiery with him everytime we meet.  We had English class after, then jundoed for a little bit before dinner.  Then jundoed after. This jundo was a lot better.  We met some super cool people, including Johnny. He is like 50, and super cool. He lived in Seattle for a couple years, and has been working here. Like the kid we met, he notices how everybody here isn't really happy . They may pretend, but they truly aren't happy. They all seem to fake it.  He is super tired of the busy-ness here, and wants to just live in the mountains. He has a buddy in the states who is a Mormon, and loved his example. He noticed that we have something different and totally saw how the gospel could fit into his life. That was cool.  Then got our transfer calls..... Everyone is staying here except me.  I'm moving to 신촌 (Shin Chon) pronounced "sheen chone".  That's where the temple is, and a lot of cool hang out spots. It's pretty much the heart of Seoul.  The neighboring place, (Sin Dong/ sheen dong) has all the famous places, but Shin Chon is close. It should be a fun time. I'm kinda sad to leave here though. this transfer has been good to me. My house mates are super fun, the people we are working with are cool, and the area just flipped for me.
Sunday we had church, said goodbye to some people, then headed out. Played around with my wheels on my suitcase, switched some around, so hopefully they will work better. Packed up most of my stuff, while Elder Saunders studied. Then we jundoed for a little bit, and headed over to meet a less-active. We went with him to an orchestra thing that was going on that night.  Holy smokes, I'll take Riley's driving over his. He was driving 30 kilos under the speed limit, drifting lanes, trying to find the place on his phone, making u-turns all over the place... a 20 minute drive turned into an hour drive. The orchestra wasn't bad, but not the best use of time.  I love music though, even classical stuff.  The drive back was 10 times worse...
Rasicst dog... barks only at us white folk.
 Well, that was my week, heading out of here on Thursday. It's crazy, Elder Saunders will do at least 6 transfers here.  We do 16 as foreign elders. He might go for almost half his mission here.

Love you all,
-Elder Mortensen

September 7, 2015 (Week 38)

September 7, 2015

Elder ??
Monday we met a guy named Kim Ui Joon. 김의준.  Super cool guy.  He went to Iowa University for 4 years. He has a lot of the same opinions on stuff, like he doesn't like smoking, barely drinks, (loves coffee though). Lives the law of chastity already, I'm pretty sure.  The one downside is that he just believes that believing is enough. He doesn't see why we need to change our lives, if Jesus will accept us as we are. Haven't met him again, but hopefully he will meet again next week. Later, grabbed some Baskin Robbins at night, and watched the Testaments after planning. That was pretty fun.
Tuesday was temple day.  We took an hour bus ride on a freakin' crowded bus.  That was a terrible idea. But the temple was nice. Always good to go there.  I didn't really know anybody there, so didn't really talk with others. So sad, everyone I know is either in America, Nokbeon, or on the coast..... After that we went to some museum, when the war memorial was across the street.  We saw some cool art things, but overall it was kinda lame.  Stopped by Dong De Moon and we all got soccer jerseys (I got a sweet Korea one, with my name in English now) and a couple 1 dollar ties :D.  After that was jundo to end the night.

 Wednesday we ate at Mr. Pizza buffet since it was Elder Saunders year mark in country.  That was great. I had Hawaiian pizza for the first time in 8 months, and man, it was delicious. I love pizza now, it's pretty good here. We eat it quite often now. Later met with 염상준.  He is 30s, really strange, and has no job, no college, and likes video games. We tried to talk at a McDonalds, but it was super loud, and he was talking with a full mouth. Later we talked at a cafe for a little bit with him. Got another appointment, but he punked it... (weird guy).  We ran into a member after, who bought us some 빙수 and we talked with him. He is a cool guy. We talked with him for our dinner hour, then went out to meet our half recent convert Angel. We met him before English class and taught the first lesson again to him.
Thursday we did weekly planning... and man, I have no idea how to help investigators. Everytime I look from their view,  I think "I'm a 16 year-old, why do I care?", or "I've got buddies at my church, eh, who cares".  So everytime I just see a dead end, so I'm not sure how to help them.  For me the gospel just clicks and makes sense.  Trying to get that figured out.  Later went to the church for singing practice. Me and Elder Eagar talked a little bit there.  He is a cool guy to talk with too.  Not much else happened.
Friday was mission tour.  Elder Whiting (of the Seventy) is our new area president, so he came and stopped by. Talked a lot on the Holy Ghost and faith to baptize, pretty good stuff.  Got to see a couple friends there, since there were 4 out of 7 zones there, and yet, nobody from Nokbeon or the coast..... lame. After the conference, Pres. Sonksen came up and was like, "Elder Mortensen, you have an interview with Elder Whiting"... gulp... that was scary.  The interview was cool though. We talked about some stuff  I'm struggling with, and kinda humbled me a bit.  Read Abraham 1:2, so I would recommend that scripture to read. Great stuff.
Needs some English help :)
Saturday was pretty boring, got punked and jundoed .
Sunday was Fast Sunday, so we jundoed on empty stomachs.... not fun but was a good experience.

Love ya,
-Elder Mortensen

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015 (Week 37)

August 31, 2015

Ok, family email time.
"World's Greatest Face"
 Monday me,  Elder Bean and Elder Saunders got some sweet striped shirts for a couple bucks. Elder Eagar says they look awful, but we all enjoy them. We then headed down and got some books, and then got haircuts from a member. Super nice, gave us cuts for 5 dollars! Best deal ever!  That took up most of our P-Day since we had to travel and what not.  That night I started the exchange with Elder Moore.

Tuesday we did studies, then headed out.  We jundoed until 1:30 when we met Kim Min  김민.  He is the guy we met a couple weeks ago. Super nice.  He took us out to lunch at a super nice duck meat place. Super delicious, except it was loud so I couldn't really hear or talk with him. I mostly sat there while he and Elder Moore talked. I have trouble understanding him as is, then you add a busy restaurant, and it's no good. After that he took us to a cafe, where I was hoping there we could teach him... but, he and Elder Moore got sidetracked on random stuff. I finally got us out of there because we were there way too long, and missed an appointment with Angel. He was supposed to have his interview, but both of us bailed on it... But Kim is doing good. I guess he has read 100+ pages in the Book of Mormon, and really likes us. I'm just afraid that he wants to just hang out with us though, and not really listen.

Wednesday, I talked with Elder Bean, just because I was frustrated at my lack of doing stuff, and feeling like I wasn't doing much out here. I feel like my language has stalled, and I feel like I don't help in lessons, and nobody is progressing, and we cant find stuff, and just stuff like that. We talked about how much stress is on to learn, and help others, and be obedient, etc., but I love it here, don't get me wrong. Elder Bean helped out a lot. We headed off to district meeting, and then taught 권민재 Angel. We finished up everything for his interview, then right after Elder Moore interviewed him. He passed that so he was set for his baptism on Sunday.

Thursday we didn't do much, but that night Elder Saunders and Elder Bean had a singing practice. They are singing for President Whiting [First Quorum of the Seventy?] when he comes this Friday. So they practiced while Elder Moore, Elder Eagar and I went out and jundoed. Pretty fun time being with them.

Friday we had pizza and chicken with Bea Sung Sue, our mission leader. It was a pretty fun time, except it's super awkward when everybody looks to me to play a hymn and I have no idea how it goes. I have to have someone sing or whistle it so I can remember how it goes, haha. The pizza and chicken were great. Man, I'm gonna end up getting fat from eating chicken. It's so delicious.  But it was a good time. Later that night we were looking for a member house, so we stopped into a real estate shop to find the address.  The worker looked at us, then went back to his soundproof box with his saxophone.  He was playing "Israel, Israel God is calling". Me and Elder Saunders were just laughing.

Saturday we met 김민수 Kim Meen Soo.  He went to Weber State for a year, and is 25. He has not a care in the world for religion.  He didn't really have a reason for meeting again, doesn't even claim a religion, hasn't thought about the afterlife, why we are here, etc.  Super hard to talk with him, because he didn't really have any care whatsoever.  Later we taught Bek Joon Sang, the 72 year old. We made some headway, but got sidetracked about how messed up the churches here are. I guess Presbyterian churches here have 6 pastors. One for blessing, one for preaching, etc.  Churches here are super weird.  Later taught Angel the last lesson, so he is all good for Sunday!
Angel Baptism

Sunday we had church, then a baptism!  He was super excited. Meeting with missionaries for 20 years, and finally got baptized.  It was a good experience, he was so happy.  Later that night we had singing practice again, so I talked with Elder Eagar. He is a pretty cool guy from Lehi. He doesn't talk a lot like Elder Bean, but he has good points and is easier to talk with.

Well, that was my week, hope things are going good there,
-Elder Mortensen

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015 (Week 36)

August 24, 2015

This week was a good week.  Monday we went and did some yard work at the presidents house, since he had a lot of weeds. That was fun. We did that, had hot dogs off the barbecue (soooo good) and played some basketball. One of the best P-Days so far I've had here.  After P-Day we went and jundoed.  We met a guy who wanted to sit down at a cafe and talk, so that was pretty fun.  Had a sweet strawberry smoothie and talked with him.  Hopefully we can meet him again. We met a guy from  Central Asia, one of the "-istan" countries (I've met like 6 different nationalities this past couple weeks, it's weird).  He was pretty good at Korean, which was interesting. We talked with him, then set up another time to talk with him.

Tuesday was nuts. We had a lot of weird people we met.  It started with meeting Kim Min. 김민. He is like 37, and is pretty cool. He met us at a cafe, and since he is older, he bought for us. That's the best part of being younger in Korea, everybody buys for you. We sat with him, taught him and talked, then next time he said he would buy us lunch!! He's a cool dude. Later, while jundoing, met a guy who showed us his office. It turns out it's in the sketchiest part of our area, and he works in the basement. I guess he runs an alcohol business from down there. We were both a little scared about something happening, but luckily we got out pretty quick. We headed back to the church, and some guy was there and said "I got locked out of my house, and so I took a walk around and came to see this".  So we asked if we could talk with him, but he just said no, but that he needed 11 dollars to make a new key for his house. Elder Saunders got his number, gave him 11 dollars, and agreed to meet the next day.  He didn't show up, so he got swindled out 11 bucks, it seems.  Later that night, I was talking with an old guy, when a drunk guy by the edge of the street fell over and smacked his head.  Elder Saunders went to help, and I figured I should go help. We thought he was just throwing up, but nope, he was bleeding pretty bad on his head. We got him to sit up, but blood kept rushing up, so he eventually passed out from blood loss. We got the blood to stop with some socks, and held him there until the ambulance came. Let me tell you, it was a scary picture. Seeing a guy with blood all over his clothes and shirt. So yeah, that ended our crazy day.
Wednesday I went to Jang Wi. It's a tiny place, which combined districts with us this transfer, so we are one big district. I was with Elder Pelina.  We had district meeting, then he and I took off. We jundoed around for a bit, then had English class... They only had one person there... it was pretty weird. Their area is the smallest, and since college is out, there isn't really anybody to talk with, so not much happened.

Thursday we met with Angel, our baptismal special-needs guy. He is set for the 30th right now, as long as he remembers to come to church. I want to help him, I'm just scared of him getting baptized, then going less-active because he forgets a lot. I'm not sure how much sticks in his head, but the bishop seemed ok with it, so we are going with it. We then had dinner, and were about to meet with someone, when Elder Bean came up yelling from across the street.  We came back, and he told us to get personal emergency money out, and go to the house. Sounds like North Korea and South Korea had a little spat, so all the missionaries went in their houses.  So we chilled there for the night.  That was exciting.

Friday we went back to normal. We jundoed and met a couple cool people.

Saturday we met with Kim Yoon Hyuk.  He left for Germany on the 23rd, so that was our last time meeting. He told us about the speakers, and the conference that was going down. That was interesting news to us. Sad to see him go, he was cool.  Later met Bek Joon Sang, the 72 year-old. We talked about priesthood, and the authority it has. He talked about what scores people get, and their rank in the church... that upset me.  Religion is not some ranking system and competition... I just wanted to smack him for a second.  English class followed, then taught Angel again. He accepts everything with no problems, but not sure how much he remembers.  Later we ate dinner with the ZLs, and watched some news in the restaurant about North Korea.  I guess nothing too big is happening. Kinda sad, kinda good. I want to stay and work, but it would be fun to say we got sent somewhere else because of the war...
Cool Wall Art

Sunday we had church and jundo.  Not much happened there, except our ward mission leader is awesome. He is moving our usual meeting to Friday and will have pizza there at the church. He's a great guy. It's sad to hear people didn't understand him more.

We had a good week and met some cool guys. I guess our zone did great all across the board. The APs called the ZLs this morning, and asked what we did this past week.  Slowly figuring out the mission. Sorry it took so long, but I finally feel like I'm starting to put the pieces together, and have a good time.

Hope you are all doing well,
Elder Mortensen