Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015 (Week 14)

March 23, 2015

Meeting up with Elders Cazier
and Hansen getting Foreigner Cards
Well, happy one month in the country! I can't believe its already been a month here. Time flies. It's kinda scary.

So, this week I went on my own for food this week, so I have had a lot of rice, eggs, ham and cereal, haha. The next couple weeks should be pretty good though. I've gotten some more ideas for what to eat for cheap.  As far as other foods go, we had a member-meal this week. For it, we had burgogi meat, chicken wings, octopus, and kimchi ribs. All of it was so delicious! Octopus is quite delicious, it is really squishy and chewy but quite tasty. I wouldn't mind having that again. Oh man, I was so stuffed by the end, and she even gave us leftovers to take home. She is the Relief Society president so she was super nice. The husband was alright. I did a Plan of Salvation role play for our thought, and he corrected every sentence out of my mouth.  Even the pickiest details he corrected. He also said we only recognize the Atonement, and not use it. That's a lie, and he said we won't be just by our desires, just our actions and choices... So I'm not sure how much I should trust him on stuff. His wife kept telling him to stop judging me, and let me get through the role play. I felt pretty down after that. We also stayed like 20 minutes over, so that was a bad move on that. But we got a family referral from the wife, so hopefully that will go over well.   Other food, we had some chicken and chips at some medieval-themed restaurant. The food wasn't too great, but the atmosphere was pretty legit. It's hard to describe, but it was pretty sweet.  We had ice cream and churros after that, and man, honeycomb with vanilla ice cream is delicious! It was super sweet and rich. Needless to say, we were pretty full that night, haha.

Variety of Name Tags
I also got the comics you finally sent, mom. I got the February ones on Thursday, and the March one on Sunday, so I don't know how long that took to get here. But thanks for the comics, there were some great ones in there. I also got more nametags this time my Korean only ones.  So now I have an abundance of tags to choose from haha.

Jundo (proselyting) was pretty good this week. We got a couple appointments set up, and we met some guy that said the Book of Mormon was too long to find out if God was there. He also said I was a depressing influence, when Elder Whitlock was talking. So that got to me.  I felt bad for being so quiet, and I got over it pretty quick, but that kinda ate at me for the while. I also met a guy who gave me a bread treat, but as soon as I said "missionary", he took it out of my hand and walked away, haha. Some people are strange.  Nothing else too special for jundo.

People we taught:
  - Bong Suck Gyou: He is our top investigator, and he came to church for the full 3 hours! He is super nice, and hopefully will progress further. He has taken the first and third lessons so far.
  - We met a guy named Shin Ye Moon, who is a poet.  At the beginning of our lesson, he said he had no interest, but agreed to meet anyway.  He gave us his poetry book, and told us to read it, haha.  Kind of a pointless meeting, honestly.

Our other appointments fell through though :(  Hopefully the coming weeks will be better.   We got a couple referrals of less active and nonmembers from the ward, and when we said we had a kid named Peter,  Elder Lee and Cazier started getting his information. So Elder Whitlock after talked to Elder Lee about stealing people. He's stole two almost three from us, and two from the Zone Leaders. So people are mad at him. So it's kind of a drama right now with that. Hopefully it will blow over soon.

Personal study this week was King Benjamin's talk. I just realized his overall theme is how worthless we are and how we rely on God for everything, so pay him a little respect. I love his speech, so powerful. I also read in Preach My Gospel, Christ-like attributes on patience, and they have some sweet scriptures there. I would recommend going through those and Alma 5:26. Awesome scripture.
View of Seoul from The River
Bridge in the Area
  hmmm... I can't think of too much else. The language is coming along better. Elder Whitlock and I had a 20 minute role play discussion on the Atonement and I could understand a ton, I felt like. I also rocked my pass-off of the Plan of Salvation, so I'm feeling awesome right now. The Lord has answered my frustrations by helping with that, and I can seem to get a better gist of where the conversations are going during proselyting. The Lord has blessed me so much.

 Love you all, have a great week

--Elder Mortensen

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015 (Week 13)

March 16, 2015

At the War Museum
This week has been a whole lot better than last week.  Thanks for the prayers, I'm sure you prayed a lot for me.

The weather here is finally starting to pick up, although a couple days last week were brutally cold with the wind. We are still wearing sweaters, although I don't wear the gloves and scarf as much now. It's weird seeing families outside playing in parks here. Korea is a really old country, and since it's been winter nobody has been out. I guess January and February are the worst months, so I will only have one full winter, and catch the front end at the end of my mission. I can't wait for warm weather. It beats freezing any day.

So Tuesday was temple day for us. We did that, which was awesome. The temple here is crazy small, which was weird to me. but it's a really nice temple, and we got an English temple movie (yes!) so that was a great experience. I also picked up a dual English, Korean Preach My Gospel from the distribution center there. After the temple we went to the war museum. It covered everything from ancient wars to huge exhibits for the Korean war. They had a lot of cool stuff, that was awesome. We also ran into a couple former Korean missionaries. One lives off 104th South and 13th West. Small world, haha. I took lots of pictures there, don't worry. So that took us three hours.  Didn't even see all of the museum.  We had to go back so we could get haircuts and shopping in. Haircuts actually turned out better than I expected.  They actually cut hair here really well!  Elder Herron got one and they shaved off his sideburns, so I was a little worried about mine, but it still looks good. We stocked up on fruit too.  We got pears, apples, oranges, kiwis, bananas, grapefruit, and a pineapple. It's awesome how much fruit is here, and it's super cheap at the market by our house.  So that and cereal have been my main foods, along with other Elder Herron concoctions here and there.   That night we went and proselyted (jundo) in a place called Su Sek Dong.  It took us 40 minutes just to walk there, and there was nobody there when we finally got there.  Some places we're assigned here have literally nobody, it kinda sucks.  The ward wants us to branch out of our little routine spot, but that's where everybody goes...

I went on exchanges with a Zone Leader Elder Pans on Wednesday.  That was pretty good.  When we jundoed he would always take over at the end, so that was frustrating but he gave me good advice on being here. He said to love the people, because they can't help just working. Their ratio of working hours to productivity is the lowest in the world. They literally just work to work. They came out of their own industrial revolution just like 50 years ago, so they are still feeling the affects of that. The elderly here are all bent up from working 16-hour day crappy condition jobs.  Look up Park Chung Hee, and the conditions during his time.  He hyper-sped Korea into the world scene, but it screwed half the population in the process.  So that helped me to just love them and realize that they don't know any better.  Kids here slave away at school because they don't know that you can take a break and still be well off in the world.  So he said that and tried to give language advice. That is the most frustrating thing about the language.  Nobody knows how to learn it.  Every answer I get is "it just came one day, I don't really know how." They just say be patient, but my mission is already 3 months down, and I don't want to waste 5 more just trying to get the language.

Pi day (3.14.15)
Saturday was pi day (3.1415) so Elder Herron and Brantley wanted to do pies.  We ended up making 9 butterscotch pies. It was also Sister Olson's b-day so we had a apple crumble cake that night too. So from the hours of 7-9, we had an individual pie, cake, chocolate pies (similar to ding dongs), and fried chicken. Oh man, we all wanted to die by the end. Elder Brantley ended up throwing up that night too. We still feel the affects of it. So fattening, but so delicious.  Korea does fried chicken right (Brad you have no idea).   Rewinding to earlier Saturday day... we taught a guy named Sheen Jay Jeek (신 제 직) at 9:30.  He only believes in the 4 Gospels, Isaiah, and Revelations.  So he basically argued for no prophets, no Book of Mormon, and that everyone has the Holy Ghost, due to the Pentacost. We tried to show him how he was wrong, but he quoted scriptures that he neither believed, nor did they make sense.  So that was a waste of a hour.   A couple hours later we taught Kang Gwee Dong (강귀동).   He is better, but he rambled a lot how his dream is to have robots and humans fuse to create immortality. Hopefully he will progress out of that weird dream. Our appointment right after that was with Jung Day Hoon (정 대 훈).  He is a student who is really quiet. We asked questions like 3 times before he told us "I don't know" .  So it was a really awkward lesson.  He seems really nice, hopefully he will progress too.   30 minutes later we had an intense English class. Two old ladies were there, a mean old lady and Jasmine.  Nobody likes Jasmine there.  She is rude, half the time drunk we think, and just loud. So, the mean old lady should of been in intermediate, but skipped to advance, so we had to go super slow for her. Jasmine kept snapping at her to hurry up and move on, so they started getting into a shouting match. Whitlock and a 18 year old named Alex, (super cool) started yelling at them to quiet down and behave. They still wouldn't stop, so Elder Whitlock was about to throw them out, they were so rude to everyone. So yeah, we had that then pigging out on desserts the rest of the night. Saturday was super busy.

Sunday, church was alright. I understood a lot in priesthood, since it was faith in Jesus as the topic. So that was awesome, then Gospel Principles class came... some old guy taught and I got soooooo lost, it sucked. I didn't get anything out of that.  Sacrament was alright. I still can't understand anything they say... You know how I hate kids.... (no offense everybody) but Korean kids are opening my heart.  They are so funny and can be quite adorable. (I think that's the first time I've said that about kids...(weird)). One kid gave us all superhero names.  I'm Hawkeye i guess, then measured our biceps to see how big we were.  He was hilarious. Later on the way to the subway,  I ran into a group of kids who were shocked when i said hi in Korean. They kept following me to the subway.  They were all pretty funny. We were going to the subway to travel 80 min to Ui Jong Boo (의 정 부) for a baptism. Elder Whitlock baptized one of his investigators from the military base. That was cool to see that. He gave an awesome testimony about being free from and conquer.  So that took most of our Sunday, we just came back and ate before night time.

Personal study this week has been boss.  I never really cared about Jacob, but man, he doesn't hold back in his book. I studied that so much this week. Here are some scriptures from study.

  2:6, 7, 9
  4 (18 especially)

2 Nephi 33 (especially 6 and 11)

Love you all.  This week has been much better, glad to hear from you all.

-Elder Mortensen

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 9, 2015 (Week 12)

March 9, 2015

Elder "Batman" Whitlock
This week has been pretty rough, not gonna lie.

Going from hearing about Conner baptizing everybody under the sun in Mexico, to proud people and nobody in Korea is a rough transition.

As far as people/lessons go:
 -There was a dropped old man named Kim Jung Yong, who we visited on Monday. He keeps complaining he can't read, and God won't help with material needs, so we had to re-drop him. That sucks.

 -We met a kid on the street named Jung Say Yong who wanted to meet us and was willing to bring a friend. He came, but an hour early during one of our other lessons with our 1 sort of investigator, so elders Lee and Cazier stepped in and taught them, so they took those investigators.

-Our 1 investigator Bong Soak Gyou, met us on Saturday after delaying us twice. We met, he hasn't read the Book of Mormon, and still hasn't come to church... not that great of a guy.  Kinda sucks we kept him and lost the 2 new ones...

Those are our only actual lessons we taught. We had like 7 make appointments, but bailed, including our super contact Earl. (I'll talk about him later). So yeah, our investigators/lessons kinda suck right now. Everybody is always too busy, or just doesn't show up.

Since we have nobody, we go out and proselyte all day long. For that we just walk down streets and talk to people who will listen. Door to door sucks here,  because the men are never home during the day, and they mostly all have walls and gates in front of their homes, so they would never hear us. Plus all homes have a camera system built into the front door so they can just pretend they aren't home. I'm getting better at that, but it still sucks that I can't understand them at all.  So this proselyting (전도) (jundo) is alright, expect all the appointments usually fall through. This week we had a zone conference where they wanted us to use the Book of Mormon when doing jundo and like read verses and stuff like that. We have met some pretty prepared people who have been open with us, it's been pretty cool. One guy met missionaries before, and was super open and had questions about our church, one was a pastor who wanted to read the Book of Mormon and asked about marriage and all that stuff, then we met a mafia member and Earl on Thursday. I'll explain that, cause that was a fun night.

Thursday night we went to Pizza Hut, because it was the last night for their buffet. (Korean pizza is nuts, I didn't have my camera, so you might have to look that up) (whoever said that you get skinny from healthy food in Korea lied, I felt so fat I've ate so much)  So we had that, delicious fattening pizza, then headed out to jundo.  We ran into a kid named Earl who was studying to go to a top college in Korea. He goes to a Christian church, but doesn't grasp the concept of faith in something you can't believe. We showed him all the verses about faith and praying to him and he seemed super interested, and super ready to learn. (Didn't show up to the appointment due to a "secret") but during the lesson, a random guy came up, asked if we were Mormon then left. He came back and gave us his old version Book of Mormon and said he used to be a member till his wife died.  After, he joined the mafia, and felt bad every time he saw the Book of Mormon in his house, so he gave it to us and walked away. Strange, but awesome.

Korean has sucked for me lately...  I know to "be patient" "it will come" but I feel after three weeks I haven't progressed at all. I still don't understand a word at church, and I can't explain anything in English, let alone Korean. So I've just gotten frustrated to the point where I just check out for the night and don't care, or just about break down during a role play. I freakin hate role plays. We had one yesterday about teaching people and getting to know them, and so for a quiet person like me, it kinda sucks being the one asking everything.  Because I know for me I would hate someone asking me questions, and I feel like I'm intruding. So yeah, I'm just frustrated.

This weekend was the worst in my life it feels like. I woke up feeling sick, managed to get ready for the day, then threw up a couple times. I felt decent so we tried going out and working. Our 1:00 appointments bailed, and our 3:00 showed up when we were supposed to meet another guy at 2:00. So we lost the two new ones and our one investigator keeps promising to come to church, but hasn't for the past 4 weeks. He has a baptism date for April 18 now, but who knows if he will actually do it. So yeah, that frustrated my night, and I really didn't feel like doing anything. Sunday I couldn't stay awake because I still can't understand a word during all of church. I used to like going to church, but now I dread it cause I know I can't understand them.  After church Earl bailed on our appointment set up.  When we asked why he just said it was a secret then said to meet next week. Who knows what that means. Everybody does that here. They say we should meet, then just keep pushing it back, or eventually just hang up on us as soon as we say missionaries. Role playing for companion study was the worst I've had ever, then after dinner Elder Whitlock felt awful, so we stayed in while I attempted to do calls.
Meat Kabob Stand

Needless to say, I'm kinda struggling this week. I know the church is true, I just wish God would work a little bit faster than he does sometimes... This is getting so frustrating. I feel like I haven't progressed at all, and that the work here is going nowhere.

Hopefully your weeks are better than mine was,
  -Elder Mortensen

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 2, 2015 (Week 11)

March 2, 2015


Posing with a Palace guard
This week has been more regular of a week, so that's fun. Most of this week has been proselyting. We do that pretty much all the time outside, since we have only one investigator. In our area we have a smaller pool for people. We can't talk to females, (something with Asians loving whites) people are off to college in other areas, and the men work pretty much everyday until 7-8. We have talked to a bunch of old men so far pretty much. We meet a couple cool people though. One guy has a PHD from UNC in piano theology, so he played us "You Raise Me Up" at his studio thing. Another guy was Christian, but hated how corrupt it had become here and stuff. He was basically a Mormon, just wasn't baptized. Hopefully we can teach him soon. though.  We have one investigator (bong soak gyou) 방속규. Elder Brantley used to teach him, so he went with Elder Whitlock to kinda transfer him over to us. He is pretty chill though. He is the one with the hopefully 3/21 baptism.

For most of our studies is role playing, which I hate. I know that it is good practice and all, but I still don't like doing it. It's just my personality I guess, but I'm always hesitant to speak, so when I am the only one teaching, and I can't understand Elder Whitlock half the time, it is hard to relate and get a personalized message out. Role plays have been getting better, but I still feel awful. Elder

Whitlock says I'm fine, and I know I can do it, but I still feel like I could do better. That's the most frustrating part. I don't want to role play until I'm better, but I get better through role play. But personal study I finished Jesus the Christ! YAY! Great book too, definitely worth it.

The food here is amazing though. Koreans do fried chicken right, let me tell you. That is so amazing, but so unhealthy. We also go to a 5 dollar buffet down the street. We get rice, kimchi, some jae ju (?) and sauce and it is heaven. We always leave there happy. Elder Herron and Brantley make delicious meals though everyday. We have had waffles, pancakes, spaghetti, soups, breadsticks etc. Every meal is awesome, especially members meals and pears. The pears here are to die for. They are my favorite thing right now. I could eat them all day.

Member dinners... We had one on Thursday, and since addresses in Korea suck, we proselyted while trying to find our members house early before the meal. While wandering around, a random grandma saw me without a scarf, so she kept insisting on giving me one. We went in and she offered me like 4 scarves, so I just took one and man, it is a life saver. Bless that sweet lady. She was so nice. we also met a member on the street who bought us some honey/lemon drink, which was the sweet nectar of the heavens. Oh my goodness, that women was a saint.

We still got kinda lost trying to find the members house that night, so we had to have them come and get us haha. One day maybe we will find it. But for the dinner was spaghetti, pogum bop (복음법) and ice cream after. We also had some meshin, don't know how to spell that. It is some delicious Korean drink that is beautiful. That was a good meal. Except we sat crossed legged, so my knees and hips wouldn't work after that. That was brutal. Let's hope my knees adjust quick.

Church was pretty good, I still didn't understand 99% of it, but we also had some random investigator here. He talked a couple months ago with other missionaries, so he just showed up yesterday. He had a ton of questions, but wouldn't trust a foreigner missionary, or a Korean one (he thought he was too young to understand), so the ward mission leader guy came and basically just planched the guy. He was so crazy.

So, that's been this week in Korea. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it has been pretty great here. Love you all.

One request, will you fill me in on real world news? I just barely heard Obama declared war on ISIS... that would of been nice to know the world is falling apart. I hate feeling so secluded.

Love ya,
Elder Mortensen