Thursday, January 29, 2015

January 29, 2015 (Week 6)

January 29, 2015

Garrett and Elder Tate Stroud,
former soccer teammates
So I found out from my buddy who is here, who worked at the Salt Palace with me, that our boss is going through the temple for the first time. That was a cool surprise to find out. I never would of taken him for the person to go to the temple, but it's awesome to hear it. It was good to see him. We got a picture of him, me and Hayden from the Salt Palace. The only one missing went to Chile about 2 months ago. That would of been sweet if all of us were here at the same time.

This week has been pretty good. Not much happened after I emailed you guys. Friday night was TRC, which was the best one yet. We had two RM's who were easy to talk to and helped us out, and then one sister RM who has been back for 3 years now. One of them has been back for 2 weeks from Seoul mission, so that was cool to talk to him. After that we had comp inventory and weekly planning. I used to dread that, and I still hate planning the same thing over and over, but for comp inv. we actually talked and got to know each other. We are getting better at talking, and getting along better. That was the best hour we have spent together since getting here.

Saturday we didn't do much. It was more linking forms in Korean, and learning how to teach.  Sunday was the last day for the older districts before they left. It was cool to get to know them these 5 weeks. The oldest district was in another building most of the time, so I didn't really care for them. These guys were right down the hall, so we actually got to know them, and talk to them. They were all pretty cool, except for one or two that bugged me. Sunday we took a big zone picture at the temple, then we went off to Sacrament. One of the native Koreans gave a talk in English, since that was her hard language, then Elder Tate gave a talk. He didn't have one planned, so he bore his testimony in half English half Korean haha. It was good though. I have never really seen the spiritual side of him, so that was a cool experience. Him and his companion were the funniest ones in the districts.   That night we went and watched the restoration in Korean with the leaving people, except nobody was paying attention so me and Elder Hansen went to the classroom and watched Mormon Messages and such for the whole time. We also snuck over to the other building and switched our crappy desks, for some nice ones in the other building. They were nice for the day that we had them. We came in the next morning and saw a message saying to take them back. We were kinda bummed about that, since they were really comfy. I don't see the problem if they were just sitting in an empty room, but oh well. Hopefully we get nice desks before we leave. That night we stayed up until like 11:30 with the leaving elders, just talking to them. Hopefully I see them someday, but I doubt it. Not many of them were from Utah, or had plans to come back here.

Monday I wanted to kill something. That was without doubt my worst day here. Elder [name omitted] started it off by contradicting everything I said and trying to prove me wrong. Even if I said it was hot in the room, he had to oppose me. I about said something, so I got out of the class and just chucked my pen down the hall. I broke my pen and still wanted to smack him. He's been like that for days now, I'm about to just let him have it....     For class we started learning gerunds, and I didn't even know what gerunds are in English, let alone Korean. I couldn't get the hang of it, and the teacher couldn't help since he just talked Korean. Everybody else tried to give me advice, which didn't help me at all. We reviewed that in class later, and I was still lost. When we got back to residence I chucked another pen, broke that one, then grabbed a nerf basketball so I wouldn't go through all my pens in one night. I probably threw that for about 30 minutes before I stopped. It was frustrating not being able to get it down. Everybody tried to talk to me, but I just wanted to be alone and work it out myself. The one highlight of it was I got a letter from dad. That helped me out with a crappy day.

Tuesday was much better. I started to grasp the concept of gerunds, but it's still hard. I've been reading Jesus the Christ, which is a great book. I'm finally to his actual ministry, and it is interesting the points that Talmadge makes. Its a good book to read. I did that for personal study, then I tried learning the First Vision in Korean. Holy freak that is so hard to do. I can get about 2/3rds down on a good try. Class was reviewing gerunds and I got them down pretty well. At the devotional that night I fell asleep in the first half, and woke up with a stiff leg and stiff neck. My leg is still sore, don't know how that happened. But the speaker talked about how we need to be perfect, obedient missionaries. It was a good message, but Elder [name omitted] took it a step too far. I've been working on being obedient with like going to bed on time, and things like that, but he gets after me if I suggest grabbing new sheets the night before we are supposed to, just so we don't have to keep going up and down stairs. He always says "strict obedience, Elder". He doesn't even say my name. It's stuff like that that just bugs me. I feel like cases like that it doesn't matter.

Yesterday we did redundant service again (shocker), I mean, how dirty do the outsides of garbage cans get? They sit inside and never get touched. I would love to do actual service for once. We did personal study for about an hour before we went out to do traffic on the curb again. I love doing that. I just get to sit out there in the sun and not care about things for an hour. Even the hot chocolate is perfect, and can't go wrong. We did that, then learned about indirect questions in Korean. It's weird for a sentence like "Do you know why we are baptized?" In Korean it's "You, baptism why receive, know?" It's weird, but I kinda get the hang of it. I love Korean, and how it just drops stuff. You don't have to keep saying "you" every sentence, they don't have works like "do, of, the, a etc." All the pointless little words they just drop. Even when talking they don't say half the things, because they don't need to. I love that part of the language. My reading still is brutal, but slowly getting better. Our teaching lesson was a disaster, because we didn't really have time to learn the vocab for our lesson. Then the teacher asks why we lay on of hands for the Holy Ghost. I can't even answer that in English, let alone Korean. That part of teaching sucks.

Ya, that's been my week 6. It's crazy to think it's gone by so fast. Each day takes forever, but the weeks just blend. Like we just got a bunch of new Koreans yesterday, and I can't even really remember what we did for the first week. I've already been out a month and a half, it's weird to think that 2 years will be the same way. I haven't even really thought about the things I'm missing, minus music. No offense family, but I don't really miss you guys as much as I thought I would. I don't have much time to think about that though, which is nice. We will have to see how bad it is over in Korea with that.  Don't forget to write letters. Those are more valuable than almost anything here. To get a letter just makes my day better, no matter what.

Love you all,
-Elder Garrett
Zone picture

January 29, 2015 (Week 6) (Mailed Letter)

January 25, 2015

Hey Fam,

Walking with the MTC
Presidency 1st Counselor
Day 1
How's it going?  Time for my Sunday Newsletter, haha.  Things are pretty good here, except the oldest districts are leaving tonight, so it's kinda sad today.  Today has been pretty relaxed, it is a nice break.  Remember the old guy that was with me on the first day?  His is the MTC Presidency 1st Counselor, and he stopped by to our Sacrament and Priesthood meetings. He remembered walking around with me.   It was cool to see him again.  I've still not given a talk in Sacrament.  Let's hope I can avoid it for a couple more weeks, haha.  I think I'm going to give the blessing next week. That should be fun.

Here is a venting session, so feel free to skip this paragraph.  I about blew up at Elder [name omitted to protect the guilty :) ] just barely.  Anything I say he has to contradict, so I finally just walked out of class and hucked my pen down the hall.  I was so freaking mad at him.  I was that close to just letting him have it. He always has to be right, no matter the situation.  I'm about to smack him if he says something again.  That's why I'm venting here, and not to him.

Other than that, life's great.  Elder Cazier and I are actually talking now, and can tolerate each other's presence.  Elder Hansen and I help each other out, since we both have callings and whatnot, and Elder Green and I just laugh and have a good time.  I talk to some of the younger districts but not too many.  I guess we are getting 18 new missionaries on Wednesday, including one native who will be with our district.

The language is coming slowly but surely. I guess Koreans love foreigners who attempt to learn the language.

Love you all,

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 22, 2015 (Week 5)

January 22, 2015

"It's been such a long time... think I should be going" -Boston, Long Time

That's how this week has been for me, haha.

Bored in Class
First off, you guys are the best! A little overboard with the Dear Elders, but I definitely won. I only got 2 letters, both from girls they have dated haha. I even got one email address. So yeah, the competition is over, so you don't have to send any more letters to them haha. They don't look forward to mail anymore cause they know they are going to get more quotes from mom haha.   Now if you could send me some letters, that would be great :D

This week we had some native Koreans come in, and if all Koreans are like that, I'm not coming home. They are the funniest, happiest people ever. It's 6 sisters and 1 elder, and they are hilarious. Not to mention the technology they have. They have cameras where the whole back side is a flip up screen so you can see yourself when taking a picture. Not only that, but it recognizes when you wink, and will take the picture then. We were all freaking out about this, and they just sat there and laughed at our amazement haha But yeah, if everybody is like that, I'm not coming back to this country

Thank you for the song lyrics, they are amazing. Those lyrics help keep me sane in here. Oh, and thank Joleen for the package again, it was super nice.

Like I said earlier, I got 2 letters from girls. One was Elder Green's girlfriend, who gave me her email haha. I've been giving Elder Green a hard time about it all week. I may start writing her haha.

You already know this from the phone call, dad, but I got into the ortho this week to get my bracket put back in. It was so nice to go off campus and see the outside world for at least an hour, if not more. I even got to listen to music again haha, but yeah, the bracket is back in, and let's just pray it doesn't pop off again.

I had a couple rough days this week. We started working on more grammar forms, and when they started throwing in more objects and whatnot, my mind just couldn't piece it together. I got so frustrated and down, cause up until that point, everything had been clicking for me. Korean had been making sense, then that came along. I just wanted to walk out of the class room and vent for a couple minutes by myself. Sister Smith talked with me for a while and helped walk me through it and stuff. That helped a lot, and she said to use the Atonement to help me learn Korean. I thought that was a little weird but it helped me a lot.   That night I was just by myself at residence and I just read "I Stand All Amazed". I love that hymn. Don't sing it, just read the lyrics and the words used in the first verse especially. That's exactly how I felt that night. I went into my room and just prayed to God for help and strength to get through this trial. That was a great experience for me. The next night was TRC, and our topic was on The Atonement. I shared Luke 22:43 where Christ needed an angel for help. I related that back to how much more we need help, if even Jesus needed help. I started to bear my testimony and I started to choke up. I couldn't speak for a couple minutes. I love Jesus and the Atonement more than I thought I did.

We got a new MTC presidency this week, so we got to hear from Elder Nelson again, and Elder Ballard on Tuesday. They were pretty good talks. Both times we got there early so we sat on like the front rows. It was sweet.

Meeting with his
Uncle Scott and Aunt Debbie
So meeting Scott... I was looking for some cereal bowls, and I went to the side I never go to to look for them, when i saw Scott and Debbie sitting talking to someone. I snuck up and starting hugging Scott haha  We talked for a minute, then had to go off to class. That night, I saw them getting dinner, so I ditched the Korean missionaries and just sat with them and talked about life and family. He was saying how grandpa helped set him apart and gave them a blessing. That was great to hear. Sounds like he's doing awesome right now. He said grandma was sad to see him go, since not too many people stop by anymore. Hope she is doing well though. I've seen Scott and Debbie a couple times since

Elder Green ate 15 bowls of ice cream last night. so I'm no longer king haha. He really did die that night haha

I'll try to write more later, my laundry is done...
If not, I love you guys

Thursday, January 15, 2015

January 15, 2015 (Week 4)

January 15, 2015

Week 4 was pretty good

"Hosting" during the new
missionaries drop off
We finally got to go the temple, which was nice, since we haven't gone yet due to Christmas and New Years... That was a nice refresher. They showed a different video though, which was a little strange, but still good.

TRC this week was a lot better. We just decided to share our personal favorite scriptures, then have the member share his favorite. I of course chose Galatians 2:20 as mine, which was awesome. I'm trying now to get it down in Korean so I can share it even better. Elder Cazier shared Ether 12:28 (?) I think that's the right verse. He seemed disinterested, so he kinda struggled with his.

I finally heard from Brad this week. That sucks about his car and school, but hey, I'll switch him classes haha He can sit in the same tiny cell that sucks your life force everyday, haha. Hope he and Shay and Bronson are doing well, and everything will work out there.

So for service on Saturday we were talking to the janitor in charge, and she asked where I was from and when I said South Jordan, she said that she loved South Jordan. Turns out that was her first area on her mission, in the Country Crossing stake. I almost said that sucks, cause being on a mission in South Jordan sounds awful. I guess she stayed with an old lady who complained that 11400 South was a paved road now, and how South Jordan is all rich people now, haha. It was weird.

Right after class we have an additional study time for a little bit, so me and Elder Green have started "Korean-izing" songs haha. We tried, say like, Don't Worry, Be Happy", "Bohemian Rhapsody", The Beatles, and others. We got a little bored, haha. Our teacher came in and saw that and just laughed.

So every Sunday we are given a topic for the next Sunday's talks, and they don't tell who is speaking until right after the Sacrament has been passed, so its like a Mormon Russian Roulette. We all thought it was on the Atonement for last Sunday, until the morning of, when everyone else said it was on faith in Jesus Christ. That whole morning we sat there scrambling to think of stuff to say and how to say it. Luckily I didn't get called on, but it's always nerve wracking.

I will never have more than 2 bowls of ice cream at one sitting again. On Sunday, me, Elder Green, and Elder Hansen all had a contest, in which I had 8 bowls. I about died afterward, but it was fun. Monday, we thought of the bright idea to try and chug chocolate milk. The chocolate milk here is thicker than you would think. Elder Green and I had three glasses and about threw up. It hurt more than the ice cream did.  Then yesterday, I was determined to beat Elder Green's record of 9 bowls, so I pounded down 10 bowls of ice cream during dinner. Needless to say, I felt like I wanted to die. but hey, I'm first one to reach double digits, so I'm retiring from that sport.

Yesterday we hosted regular missionaries. Except our district (minus Elder Green) and the Seoul  South district got selected for directing traffic, hence the fireman coat and gloves haha. I saw the Klinglers, Lleweyans drop off Ryan, and a friend from school. It was weird to see them again. Hosting was a nice break from the class though. the police guy in charge of traffic said we could come back any week, and do traffic if we wanted, so we will probably do that every Wednesday if we can.   Right after hosting we were supposed to teach a "less active" member (aka our teacher still) but we didn't have any time to prepare a lesson so we just went in there and winged it. I felt the Spirit there. I was able to talk with her and feel love for her and try to help her become active again. It was a cool experience. Then during the night lesson, we were supposed to teach an investigator who still had concerns about the gospel and whatnot, and I could actually understand him, that was awesome to be able to understand most of what he was saying.

Elder Cazier seems to finally be turning a corner. He is interested in actually planning things out, and trying to study and whatnot.  At least he is showing signs of life. We are still on different pages, but at least on the same book. I feel like all the other companions have it figured out and whatnot, they actually talk to each other. Me and Elder Cazier don't really talk much, which is fine with me. It's just hard sometimes because we are so far different personality wise. Korean is really clicking for me now. Their grammar structure is screwed up (just ask Cary) but other than that, I'm understanding how the language works. we keep learning different forms, so it definitely helps in being able to speak and read and understand it better. Come on dad, it only took me like 3 days to figure out how Korean alphabet works, what's the hold up with you? haha [I told Garrett, Cary was trying to teach me the alphabet and I said I barely know English, haha]

Sorry this email seems short, I've just been hitting the MTC groove where everything seems the same. Best of luck to you all! Please send letters too. You don't know how nice it is to have mail. Even if it is a simple 30 second dearelder, it makes my day.   Me, Elder Green and Elder Anderson of the Seoul South mission have a contest, so if you could send them a bunch of dearelders too that would be awesome. Loser has to take a 10 minute freezing shower, and I don't really want to do that, so spread the word to write to them. Their addresses are:

Jordan Green, Unit 58 Korea Seoul
Blake Anderson, Unit 59 Korea Seoul South

Love you all, I might sneak on later to get a couple pictures off. My camera is charging right now.
-Elder Garrett
Zone Missionaries

January 14, 2015 (Week 3) (Mailed Letter)

January 11, 2015

Hey Family,

Quick letter since I have a couple of minutes and writing letters helps clear my mind.  So don't be surprised if I write home occasionally.

Not much has has happened since Thursday,  just more class and teaching.  I'm tired of the routine.  I just need to go to Korea already.  I'm going crazy here.  Me, Elder Green, and Elder Hansen had an unofficial ice cream contest at lunch today.  I had 8 bowls of ice cream, while Elder Hansen had 8, and Elder Green had 9.  Needless to say, it reminded me of the crepe contests, haha.  We all just came back and laid on the classroom floor, haha.

I played piano in Priesthood today.  It was good until the last line of the last verse in "Now Let Us Rejoice".  I messed up big time, so I just kinda sat there and let them finish a capella, haha.  I felt so bad.  I think that's half the reason we didn't do a closing hymn, haha.

English translation:  I love my family.  I love the gospel.  I know that Jesus died or me.  I love him for that.  I offer these words in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

P.S.  Before you go to bed tonight, just read Galations 2:20.  I love that scripture more than anything right now.  It's the main reason I'm out here.

Friday, January 9, 2015

January 8, 2015 (Week3)

January 8, 2015

Week 3 (?) the weeks blend now

Let's see what happened this week...

Sister Furner. I went to school with
her. She is going to Kansas.
She' s pretty cool
I played the piano again, now that I got the sheet music. Thanks for that. And I'm down to play in sacrament some times, which will be cool. It's so nice playing again, and listening to it. Apparently they don't allow any sort of music, but at like 10 at night I just sit quietly in my room listening to it. I don't think about anything but the music, and its the best 10 minutes of my day.

We had our first TRC on Friday. It's basically teaching a family evening thought thing. It kinda sucked. We had 2 natives from Korea. The first one was an old lady who just spoke English half the time and corrected us when we tried to say something. We spent 20 minutes trying to introduce ourselves. The next person was a tiny Korean lady who looked like a ghost. She hardly spoke and when she did, we couldn't understand her. So we went through our lesson in like 5 minutes, and sat there awkwardly for a while longer. That was not very fun to do. I don't understand the purpose of it, to be honest.

Things with Elder Cazier are still tense.  He always thinks he can't speak anything, but he is doing just fine. We have flashes of good times.

Class is getting better. We are learning grammar forms now, so we can actually put together sentences and be able to speak our thoughts. I've had that happen during our "investigator" lessons. I feel the spirit help me to say things I wouldn't of thought of before hand. Korean is still a struggle though.

Sunday was weird. The oldest elders were leaving, so it was basically a farewell day. We had a mission conference, which is a devotional, because it was Fast Sunday. Turns out we are getting a new MTC presidency next week, and a new mission president in June, so should be fun. But anyway, during Sacrament Meeting, all the old elders and sisters got up and just bore their testimony about how much they love the MTC, our district, Korea... etc. It was kinda cool, but really repetitive. Oh yeah, I also got called as the sacrament meeting coordinator, so that should be fun. It doesn't sound too hard though. We went to the temple after, and as a zone all the elders took a picture, minus Elder Tate's district, they always do their own thing. It was cool experience though. That night we went as a zone to go see Legacy in Korean for our Sunday movie, and they sat there and made fun of the Korean voices half the time. We had a native Korean elder, and they laughed at one moment, so he just got up and left. Elder Seely (awesome guy) got up and called everybody out for mocking it. He is going to Seoul, and I really hope I see him again. He was always just that quiet guy who was still fun to be around, and you could tell he had the spirit. The mood after that was just silent. Everybody felt super bad. That was a neat experience.

About 14 people left our branch, so we are freaking tiny now haha. It's weird not seeing them anymore. We got new people though yesterday. We got three elders, 2 are going to Daejon, and one is going to Canada haha its kinda funny

We hosted the senior missionaries on Monday. That was a nice break from the classroom. We just carried their bags to their room. It was cool to do that. There was a cute girl from Mr. Mac delivering clothes, and all the elders volunteered to help haha. It was so funny to see 8 elders jump to help her out haha.

"Drunk" with Martinelli's Cider.
The new elders looked at me funny
I already downed my bottle of Martinelli's which was delicious. Not much else happened yesterday. I got a Dear Elder from Tyler Griffiths telling me he is getting his call soon. You'll have to tell me where he goes. That's been my week in a nut shell.  

Love you all, and have a good week

-Elder Garrett

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

January 1, 2015 (Week 2)

January 1, 2015

Half an Elder
Glad to hear you guys on Christmas! I'm glad to hear you guys had a good Christmas and a nice break.  After we talked, we had a sack dinner for dinner, which kinda sucked. Then we went to the evening devotional, where we sung every Christmas hymn for the third time that day. Then they had Hale Center Theater people come sing for us, some lady slowly recount Jesus' birth from the view point of Mary. Not my favorite activity... kinda boring... After that we watched Ephraim's Rescue for the film. That was the highlight of the night. Still working on the companionship.  Also, an Elder in our district from Michigan has no musical taste. He hasn't even HEARD of Bob Marley. We ask people from Germany, Australia, and Korea, and they all know who Bob is, so we give him a hard time about that, haha.  He has barely heard of Journey, Imagine Dragons, doesn't know who Def Leppard, Styx, Boston, or Jack Johnson is... I cry just thinking about it. He listens to musicals and Japanese stuff instead. It's weird...  Another side note, There is a "zone resource" teacher that helps out every other day, her name is Sister Smith. Turns out, she was at Bingham when Brad was there. She saw my name and asked if I knew a Brad Mortensen. We got off talking about that for a while. It was cool.

Friday, our first investigator became our new teacher. His name is Bro. Memmott. He is a great teacher, and pretty funny too. After that, he introduced our new investigator, which is our old teacher. So basically our teachers switched places, and are both teaching... It's weird and it sucks. So now we have to teach two investigators. Everybody else gets to just teach once a day, every day, but we have to teach twice a day, then take a day break. Honestly, that sucks. We get so focused on getting the one lesson down that we are scrambling to get the next one down right before we teach. It's stressful and a bit overwhelming to try and get it planned so we can learn the vocab in time. Last night was one of those nights. We taught in the afternoon, so we didn't have much time to prepare for our evening lesson, and we were trying to teach the Plan of Salvation. Our lesson was basically him reading a bunch of scriptures, and us trying to answer questions. How are we supposed to answer what the spirit world is in broken Korean??? That lesson dragged on due to lack of talking, haha.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much like usual, just more class and learning. On Monday I thought I was feeling sick and we had to teach twice a day for the first time, so I felt like crap. And because of that I started thinking about how nine weeks here is forever, and two years is even longer... and just random thoughts like that. It wasn't a homesickness, just a sickness of the MTC. One Elder came up to me before class and told me even if I feel like crap, I need to at least pretend to be happy for my companion, so we don't both give up. That really helped me relax and get over myself.

Tuesday was the usual grind until after the night devotional. We had a district discussion about the meeting and during that I read Galatians 2:20. I love that scripture. I truly felt like Christ really did die for me and I owe him my life for that. Later, during my night prayer was a great experience I will never forget. That really helped solidify my testimony.

Elder Mortensen
Jesus Christ
"Last Days Saints Church"
Not much else has happened since then. Yesterday we got our Korean name tags. They say Elder Mortensen in Korean, but they messed up, so all of us get more tags. I'll send one home. In Korea they say Mortensen Elder [In Korean culture, the title comes after the name], but our tags say Elder Mortensen. It's weird, but hey, free tags. We stayed up till midnight for New Years though, haha. I was just writing in my journal with Elder Green from my district, when there were like 7 other elders doing the same thing out in the main foyer, I guess you can call it that. So we sat there and wrote in our journal and talked. One of them is from Hooper, Utah, one from Clinton, Utah, Sandy, and Logan Utah. So many Utah people, haha. It was a fun night.

Right now I'm kinda regretting staying up that late, but oh well, it was worth it.

I'll send pictures home and a couple emails later.

Love, Elder Mortensen

Elder Cazier, me, Elder Hansen, Elder Green, and Elder Carmen