Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015 (Week 10)

February 23, 2015

"Twin" Zodiac Pig
Alright, were to begin with this week?

Leaving the MTC was just goodbyes, nothing too special, so I won't waste my time on that.

The plane ride was freaking long on the way to Korea. I was stuck in the middle seat so I couldn't get window or close to the aisle. Everybody around me was watching "Fury", or "Frozen" so it was super hard to focus on reading Jesus the Christ. I would look up and see 4 f words in one line in "Fury", look back down and trying to concentrate on Jesus riding into Jerusalem before his death. That was a back and forth thing for most of the trip. Everybody around me fell asleep, but I didn't want to for fear of getting jet lag and whatnot. I tried to finish Jesus the Christ on the plane, too, so I didn't try too hard to fall asleep.  After the plane our mission and the Seoul South group split up and said our goodbyes and left. The president took our bags back to the mission home, and we took the subway from the airport to a different area Gwangwhamoon. (I suck at area names still).  We 전도 on the subway (jun-do proselyting) to the stop. That was hard, since we didn't know what the heck we were doing yet. We got off at Gwangwhamoon, which is the equivalent to Times Square here. We visited there today, but I'll write about that later.   But anyway, we stopped there then took a bus to the mission home.  There we ate dinner, did introductions and President interviews.  The President is super nice and welcoming, and I've heard nothing but great things about him. Hopefully the new one [this summer] will be just as cool. We just slept in the Presidents home that night, 3 sisters upstairs,  2 elders main floor, and me and 7 others in a tiny room downstairs.  The next day we all got ready then had breakfast then went across the street to the mission office building/church. There we met our trainers and learned about the mission some more.  You will have to ask Cary if he remembers the song arirang. I guess its the unofficial anthem for Korea.  It's pretty sweet.  We watched that video, then officially got assigned our trainers.  We didn't do the different trainers thing. I guess that was just a Pusan thing. But my companion is..... Elder Whitlock.  He is from Highland, Utah, and has only 2 transfers before he dies. He is pretty sweet, definitely a step up from the MTC. Our area is called 녹번 (nokbeon) it is on the north eastern part of Seoul. It is pretty nice, it has one of the biggest wards with 150 members. We live with Elders Herron and Brantely, who are awesome. They are freaking funny. It's awesome being with them.  Our apartment is pretty nice too. It has a sleeping/eating room, two study rooms, a pretty decent kitchen, two bathrooms/showers and a changing room. I won't complain haha.  I guess it's one of the nicest in the mission. We sleep on things called a yo, which is basically a narrow foldable mattress. We just fold them up to make room for the table. We also eat on the floor, which kills my knee.  But that is enough of the introductions I guess. Anything I missed please just ask.

So that was through Wednesday. Thursday was the start of 설날, the Korean New Year celebration. So we had a mission conference. We went there, watched "Meet the Mormons", some movie about the strength of the Book of Mormon in the academic world, then ate and had some announcements. I saw Sister Boud there, she is on her last transfer. She looked great, and said this was a great place to be. That was cool to see her. I saw everyone that left the MTC at week 3 at the conference, but I guess one elder has already gone home. I guess he had testimony and other problems. That was sad to hear. Zone Conference took until about 4:00. We did some proselyting for a while, then did the Visitor Center in our church. There is a little Visitor Center if anybody wants to come and see it, so they usually have a companionship from the area do it for 2 hour shifts, once or twice a week. Nobody ever comes, so we just planned and started setting goals and whatnot while there. That was Thursday.

Elders Whitlock and Mortensen
Friday was still New Years celebrations, so missionary work is kinda ineffective. We had deep cleaning instead. That took from 9-2 to do, but we still missed some things. It was fun though, we all just talked and got to know the others a little bit more. I guess Elders Whitlock and Herron lived together when Elder Herron got into the field, so they know each other, and Elders Herron and Brantley have been together for one transfer already.  After cleaning for 5 hours we had a missionary/ward mission leader meeting. That took way too long, but was a good meeting. The guy is super helpful. I guess the actual ward leader didn't do his job much, so he just kinda filled in as the unofficial ward leader, until they just made him the assistant. He talked with us about our investigators and whatnot. I guess we have someone with a sketchy 3/21/2015 baptism date, but he has never been to church yet, so who knows. We have not met him yet, so we don't know what to do with him. We have a couple investigators, but not too many.  Hopefully that will change soon.         oh yeah, don't use the "phrase of planting seeds" and "not a lot of baptisms". If you hear someone say that to somebody else, you have my permission to smack them. You don't know how bad that messes with your mind. I knew coming in that they were a proud country, and it would be hard, but coming out to the field you want to believe you can baptize a lot. Then you hear "you'll just plant seeds" come to mind, and you kinda lose focus. I know I started to wonder "why bother" if nobody will be baptized anyway.   I try to fight those thoughts off, but they come back once or twice a day. So if you hear that phrase, smack the person. I'm not giving up, but that phrase doesn't help.  But anyway, after that meeting, was weekly planning. We sat in the Visitor Center to do it, since we covered somebody's shift.  That was good. It was good to set goals and get a stronger relationship. We got sidetracked a lot, but hey, it was fun haha, but we still got work done, don't worry.

Saturday we woke up at 5:50 so we could go to the church and play soccer with the other elders. We walked, since the church is about the same as the distance from the South Jordan home to the church. So it's not too bad. There were 8 there, which was fun. We did that before study time. I guess we do that every Saturday and Monday mornings.  After study and lunch, we had "choir practice". It was just the two districts in our area (12) total people, we sang a musical number in church on Sunday, so we were prepping for that. We sang "Abide With Me", which was really nice actually, just way too much practice time. So we did that, went and proselyted for bit, then went back to the church for English class. Every Saturday and Tuesday the church holds an English class, since so many Koreans learn English. This is our service project here.  It was fun. We had the advanced class, so we just sat there and talked in English with the members, so they could practice. We just talked about the New Year, and what they did. That was pretty fun. Elder Whitlock and I had the spiritual thought after, so we shared Mosiah 4:27 and told them to rely on God and be diligent with their efforts. After that was ward FHE. We played the game signs with some members, then Elders Herron and Brantley shared a message of praying with a purpose. That was a good time to talk with some members.

"Bowing" to the Elderly
Sunday was up and down. I didn't understand a word they spoke all 3 hours of church, and wanted to die during it. I got up and introduced myself with the new missionaries to the area, and just bore a quick testimony with the members. We sang as well, which was cool. After church they had a special New Years event. In Korea they have all the younger people bow to the elderly, so that is what they had. They started with the kids, then teens, then adults, then the missionaries. That was a cool experience, I'll send pictures of that. We did that then had a ward member baptism, which was kinda boring since I didn't even know the person or understand anything. Another ward mission/missionary meeting happened, where the ward leader wants to split the proselyting areas.  Nobody was too happy with that, I wonder how that will turn out. We also found out we had a member dinner that night.   For the dinner, we got to know them a bit, the oldest son likes soccer, Starcraft, and piano. He is pretty legit, needless to say. We had some delicious food, (the food here is wonderful) then shared a message about prayer. We left there at 8, and got lost trying to get back to our house 15 minutes away. We took the bus a wrong way, then took the subway a wrong way like three different times. We finally got home around 10:15. I gave Whitlock so much crap about that, it was quite funny. That was a fun experience though, I told him he was as bad as Brad with directions, haha

Today we played soccer, then got ready and went back to Gwangwhamoon to get my foreigner card. I saw everyone from my MTC district there which was cool. I also have my passport back mom, and a paper copy, so don't worry about that anymore. After that us and Elder Cazier's companionship went to some big palace down the road. That was a cool experience.  They put so much work into that it was crazy. I took lots of pictures, don't worry haha so we did that, now we are writing emails in a PC 방  (bong) [room] . It is basically 100 computers that anyone can come play on. They are so common around here it is crazy. I also have two hours to write emails which is awesome, so if you get an email, reply quick.

Love you all

Well, that's been my first week in Korea, and one to remember
--Elder Mortensen

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