Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 27, 2015 (Week 32)

July 27, 2015

Well, this week's highlights, coming up...

Monday after email I went and got a hair cut with Elder Saunders while Elders Ridge and Roskelley went to do other things... not gonna lie, I hate haircuts.  I saw him cut Elder Saunders hair and thought "oh crap, that's way too short for me".  Except I'm not sure if my hair standards are the most appropriate, so decided to get a cut... Didn't turn out too bad. I doubt I'll ever be happy with a haircut, but this one still looks good, so I'm pretty content with it.  Anything beats the buzz cut I got forever ago. We then went to a super nice bathhouse over in Dong De Moon area, the famous tie place...  We met up with all the Elders from Gireum and a couple other dying missionaries there.  They had a weight lifting room, so we did that for a minute, before getting in the hot tubs.  Felt pretty good.  After P-Day we just did some more jundo around that block.

Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Bean.  He is the Zone Leader here, going home in December.  He loves to talk.  He usually has a point to his stories and talking, but sometimes, he takes a really long time to get around to it.  So we talked a little and "opened the exchange" then headed out for some jundo.  We went around for a couple hours, before meeting up with his investigator who was going in for the baptismal interview that night.  So I sat and talked with Elder Carpenter during that time.  He is an interesting guy.  After that and some more jundo, we headed back to their huge house and planned.

Wednesday during companion study then went off to district meeting.  This district meeting was better, Elder Bean volunteered to play piano today.  For district meeting, they have some weird thing where the person giving the prayer picks the hymn.   After some jundo and walking around, and English class, we did planning.

Thursday we had President interviews. Here's about how mine went "Hi, Elder Mortensen, huh? Looks like you'll be here for about a year and a half still.  Well, great to be with you. Tell me about your parents?  What do you like to do?  Ok, sounds good". It was pretty in and out, around 10 minutes long.  After that and studies, we had 7 straight hours of jundo.... sooo long.  We had a member meal at 7:00, so we had nothing else to do.  We walked everywhere in our area, I swear. Around 3:00-ish is when the rain started to come pouring down.  Some guy we were talking to at his shop gave us an umbrella and some drinks (liquid form of the candy I sent... yeah... not that good) and sent us off.  It was way too hard to do anything sharing an umbrella, so Elder Roskelley went and bought another one, so now we have a ton of umbrellas, just that one day we didn't take any out. The member meal was great though.  It was a super awesome member in the ward, and his 20, 18, 16 and 10(the only boy) year old kids. They acted like a regular family... teasing, making fun, acting stupid. It was funny. First time I've seen a normal family in Korea, I'm pretty sure.  We had some chicken wraps and watermelon for dinner, super delicious.

Friday was a lot of pizza and walking... we made pizza for lunch, then went out with the other elders to a pizza buffet to celebrate Elder Saunders birthday... so much pizza this week.  I probably had it for like 5 meals.... but other than that, we studied, and had weekly planning.  Trying to figure that out, but it's hard when the whole time we are sitting there, "well, we don't have any investigators to plan for, now what?"  So we tried to think of other ways that we could find people. We're going to try those out this week hopefully. Elder Roskelley talked about playing music, and what is ok and whatnot, and that just added to my list of questions.  What can you use mission money for, what music is technically ok? etc.  The white handbook is specific, and yet not.  So it leaves a lot up to you.  So still trying to figure that out.

Saturday was spent at the church, did studies, went there for pass off for Elder Ridge, so me and Elder Saunders had their investigator cancel on us, so we sat there talking for the whole time. That was fun.  Then we had English class. I usually just sit there and listen to these two Koreans have their own little conversation, then add in my two cents, and just sit there having fun. I left with Elder Bean to pick up their investigator for the baptism that night. We came back in the pouring rain, had the baptism, then headed out to dinner with the some members.  We had a pretty tasty soup, can't remember the name exactly.

Sunday we went to church, nothing too exciting, we had a ward meal afterward... it was more chicken wrap... Koreans don't know how to fold burritos.  They would sit there and stare at it for a second, then try to fold it some way. Pretty funny seeing white guys walking around showing how to wrap a burrito.... after that was some more jundo!!!  That's all we do around here, its wonderful!  My body is slowly falling apart I swear...  Eaten alive by mosquitoes (even on my eyelid), toe blister, knee issues, ankle acting up, like you name it and Sunday night it hurt. For planning had another long session with Elder Roskelley. We talked about how all we've done is walk around, and it seems that way again this week... that went until about 10:10 this time... but I'm just kinda frustrated.. I'm not asking for a baptism, but to just have someone who wants to meet occasionally, like a checkpoint, to see that we are doing something right.
Wearing Elder Roskelley's Glasses

Well, that was my week.  A lot of walking around, but things are getting better with Elder Roskelley,  he is just getting a little trippy that this is his last week in Korea... good guy, definitely finishing his mission strong.
Love ya,

-Elder Mortensen

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 20, 2015 (Week 31)

July 20, 2015

Surprise Package from Home!
Ok, hmmm, time to recap.

Monday I spent a lot of money on Korean supplies. Four books (still waiting to get another), flash cards, and other things later.  I spent around 100-ish dollars.  Good thing Nokbeon was cheap on groceries, and I was smart with money, so I could get them all at once.  Should last me for a while too.  Elder Carpenter spent around 300-400 on books, which is nuts.  So I've been going pretty hard with the language now. If i have any free time,  I'm usually doing something Korean.  It's kinda sad though, missionaries don't really speak in Korean to each other... I guess it takes too long to say anything to each other, so nobody speaks Korean, unless its with an actual Korean.  That night we started our exchange with Elders Ridge and Saunders.

Tuesday I was with Elder Saunders.  He has been out for about a year (transfer below Elder Yetter). He is from Illinois and super cool. With him,  I had an 8 hour jundo day... so long to walk around. So we went to the edge of our area, kinda jundoed around there, then headed back into our home area. Since we were hot and starving, we figured why not go to a gogi (meat) buffet?  So we jundoed over there, finally got there after about 6 straight hours of walking around (Elder Saunders doesn't need 4 breaks in one day), so we ended up just walking 6 straight hours.... met some pretty cool people.  One guy we met was super drunk and half crazy... He called us over to him (which is a sign he needs help... nobody ever wants to talk with us).  He took a Book of Mormon and started reading it, and as Elder Saunders tried to explain, the guy looks up, and just says "shut up".  Since he was crazy, we just kinda laughed at it, and tried to keep talking... He took our card, ripped it up,and went back to himself...  The buffet was pretty good. It was going fine, until the grill acted up and starting shooting up flames, about half a foot high... so the whole place got smoky, and everybody was looking at the weird white people who can't cook meat haha.  The worker called her manager, had us move over, and then opened the door.... pretty funny actually.  Really fun exchange though...

Wednesday was a huge let down... Planning for our member meal that night was hard. The member said they were having a family over, and so we were deciding whether to teach the first lesson, just share a message, and whatnot.  Elder Roskelley was just like "I don't want to overwhelm them with the restoration right now" and I'm just wondering why? We have a family there, they are already listening, why not teach them? So just things like that just get to me.  Elder Roskelley takes things really slow.  District meeting was "eh".  I played piano, and he picked hymns that I have never played before, so that didn't help. (yes, I do play the piano out here. I'm our district unofficial pianist.  Yes, I know you were right mom, sorry I didn't practice more).   The member meal was alright. they sat there and talked the whole time, so we didn't do much. The family played some songs they were going to perform, so we didn't even share a message...

Thursday was another 8 hour jundo day, lots of walking around trying to contact people. Yeah, we still didn't have a sit down lesson this week... all we do is walk... We met some super drunk guy (hehe, Koreans to say a heavy drinker call people "alcohol whales" haha) who kept saying since he is 50 we need to obey him and eat with him... When we tried to walk away, he chased us down the street, and kept pulling us a certain way... so he finally just bought us a drink, said he was sorry, and then walked off... I felt kinda bad.  He was drunk out of his mind, but he was so nice afterward, I felt bad trying to walk away.  After planning that night, we got a text from some lady who brought a package from Sister Boud and parents!

Friday I listened to a great talk from 1974 by Elder Holland.  Pretty good,  I recommend that one. later,  we went and picked up the package from the lady.  We were talking with a guy when she came, so she literally handed us the bag, and then just walked off.  We didn't really get to talk to her. really nice though. Thanks for the package!  That was an awesome surprise!  If I would of known,  I would of told you to send some deodorant, and toothpaste.  Koreans don't believe in deodorant per se, and their toothpaste is awful... Hopefully I can last until September... but yeah, that package was awesome!  I was jundoing that night with some guy, when a delivery boy pulled up on the sidewalk (they ride motorcycles everywhere, and obey no laws haha) and listened for a moment, then said "wow, you're good at Korean (everyone says that) I thought you were speaking English at first."  Then just drove off, haha.  That was pretty funny to have happen.

Night Skyline Shot
Saturday was lame.  For exercise we went outside, so we ran up 18 floors to get to our apartment after... That was such a long run... either I'm really out of shape, or 18 is just too high, but we were both about to pass out, haha.  Later we just some jundo and a really awkward English class. I was with a sister Korean missionary and their investigator at a table, so they weren't very good at English, and really awkward about it... English class is always super weird...  Later was just some more jundo, except it actually rained!  It's been pretty cloudy this week, but no rain except Saturday.

Sunday was pretty regular, more jundo and church.

 Well, love you all, have fun

-Elder Mortensen

July 13, 2015 (Week 30)

July 13, 2015

More Angel Wings!
Well, I have no idea what week it is, but another one gone by...

Monday we went to dong de moon, the tie place.  We went there because there wasn't anything else to do.  However, I came to the realization that personal money still carries over after the mission, so I didn't buy anything this time.  I may need you to send me a good American hat, because Korean-style aren't my favorite. Example: a girl wearing a camouflage hat with question marks all over it, and a big red box that says MONOPOLY... sometimes... but yeah, the other elders all picked up other hats and some ties, then we just came back and chilled.

Tuesday was a long 8 hour jundo day... didn't really find anybody cool, Wednesday we had zone conference. A guy in our zone is Elder Bodan.  Really similar to Brad.  He has that baby face that makes him look young.  He lived with Elder Whitlock for a couple transfers, and greenie broke/lived with Elder Green for 3 transfers.  Zone conference was focusing on baptismal dates, and whatnot, which in my case kinda just got me a little down, seeing how we can't even meet anybody to extend the commitment to. It's kinda sad.  After that, Elder Roskelley sat around talking with other missionaries in our area for a while, then we went and jundoed, then came back way too early for English class. So we spent a lot of time at the church on Wednesday. I guess president said to take 10 minutes for every hour you are out, but it just feel like we are sitting around in the church, while other missionaries are still in lessons with people....

Thursday was an exchange with Elder Carpenter.  That was awesome.  He has been doing parkour since 15, got noticed around age 17, and has done stuff ever since.  Flown all over the world, has friends everywhere, was an acrobat in the Tarzan play down at Tuacaun... he has been a lot of places.  Not with the best people and places, but he cleaned up for a mission, kind of a cool story.  But he is one of the top speakers in our mission, and so I got his study methods and advice. Pretty much it is study, study, and don't stop.  Some missionaries use only the one hour for studying, whereas if he is up, he is studying somehow.  He also told his love for this country.  Looking at it from a perspective, if these people don't know any better, and we are the only ones in charge of this portion of the residue of his people (Moses 7) . That got me super excited for learning Korean better, and serving this people.  We also had a couple member meals.  We all had one with our ward mission leader, Be Sung Su.  He bought us pizza and chicken, and we had a good talk.  Things are going good with him.  We shared a message about Helaman 10:4-5. good chapter.  I also like verse 1.  Kind of an interesting picture it paints.  We also met with another member who took us out to a meat place.  They just bring out a huge plate full of food, and you grill it all yourself.  Super delicious.

Friday we did weekly planning, got stood up for an appointment and sat at the church. Not much happened.

Saturday we had English class and a super awkward ward activity.  The missionaries introduced all the missionary lessons, there were like only 5 members there, and we watched "Meet the Mormons". I almost fell asleep I was so bored and it being awkward.

Octopi for Sale
Sunday is when the rain started... the rainy season is here. It goes for about a month of steady rain, and gets super hot and humid... Can't wait. It ought to be fun. So because of rain, jundo wasn't much fun.

Sorry my email is short, and kinda boring, but literally seemed to happen. We have no investigators, no lessons this week, and a lot of walking around...

Love you all,

-Elder Mortensen

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 6, 2015 (Week 29)

July 6, 2015

Alrighty, another swell week down... This week was a lot of patience and walking around.

Transfer day with Elder Hansen and others
P-Day we couldn't find a non-sketchy bath house, so we just got some Bing Su instead. It was ice flakes, and the guy pulled a Buddy the Elf move and threw in ice cream, Fruit Loops, Coco Puffs, chocolate sauce, Oreo.... super good. He is like Lani's Shave Ice. Super cheap, big and popular.

 After P-Day we were jundoing and got stalked by a beggar lady who kept asking for two dollars... Funny thing is, is that she pulled out like 24 bucks and was asking for two dollars... kinda weird... she followed us into the subway station, and for a couple minutes.

Tuesday we had a Visitor Center shift... the bishop wants a missionary team at the church everyday (minus P-Day and Sunday) just in case someone is we did jundo in the morning, (pretty refreshing to go in the morning). Then at the church we did studies. I listened to a great talk by Elder Holland called the Inconvenient Messiah. I recommend looking that one up.  Not much else happened,  except we got stalked again by a Christian lady this time. She saw us at a crosswalk and started yelling and crossing herself and glaring at us... later while we were talking with someone, she came up and starting to pray and cross herself, then walked away... kinda interesting.

Wednesday was a lot of jundo..... we had like 6 straight hours of walking around... met a couple cool people, but for the most part still nothing.  This place is weird... either it is super busy with people shopping, or the street is dead with nobody. There is no happy balance of people, and not super busy. That night we had dinner with the Zone Leaders.  We ran into them and decided to eat together.  We went to a meat buffet... so good... They have this thick bacon called 삼겹살 Sam gyup Sar, that you cook, put with rice and hot sauce in a lettuce leaf, and just shove it all into your mouth... So good, that is the best thing in Korea as far as food goes... Turns out Elder Carpenter (former Elder Yetter companion) used to be sponsored by Red Bull for parkour before the mission.  For uneducated people, Red Bull is the top of the line is crazy stuff like that... So he is pretty good. He wants to come back and start a gym here in Korea. (probably one of the best Korean speaking missionaries, too) Elder Bean talked a lot about his mission, and how he started out in Tebek.  That is in the middle of nowhere, the middle of the mountains... I really want to go there, it sounds awesome...  But he talked a lot about how he has grown on the mission.  Super cool guy. I love talking with him.

Thursday we met the new president. He is an interesting guy, served here in 1973 I think...  I doubt he will change up much for now, not sure about later. He didn't really talk much, his wife rambled on about their kids and grandkids.  He just talked about how he loves this place, and loves us all.  At the meeting all the missionaries, besides the ones out in the coast, came in.  So I got to see everybody from Nokbeon again.  Turns out not much is still happening there.  Our senior kid didn't understand what baptism is (thought it was dangerous) so he didn't get parent permission.  The other super cool kid (21 year old), his mom told them to never call back... so a lot has dropped off there since I left. Still the same old Nokbeon. I'm glad I didn't stay.  Looking now, I realize I would still be frustrated out there.  After the meeting, we went with some other missionaries to Pizza Hut, since they were having a buffet.  That was pretty fun. I talked with Elders Bean and Pelina (lived with Elder Yetter before) and had a great time there.   That night we had our first sit down actual lesson with somebody.  That went alright.  Elder Roskelley likes to talk super slow and quiet, so I couldn't really hear him.  He got better over the time of the lesson. I did pretty good though, I was happy with how well I did. the lesson was good, but he is just checking out churches, so didn't really commit to anything...

Purple Chips and Salsa
Friday was long.  We did our weekly planning, trying to call some people Elder Roskelley met with, trying to think of how to find people better, etc.  Later we ran into Sister Lee, who was with us in the MTC.  She went home last transfer, so it was really weird to see her just walking around. We talked for a little bit, then she gave us a snack, purple sweet potato chips, different taste, but hey, it was a gift. Later used them to eat some salsa I found in the fridge, haha.  Saturday after dinner we were walking around where people were even worse to talk to than usual, and I about died.  All we do is walk around and get rejected.

Saturday to celebrate the Fourth we walked around some more!  It was wonderful. I'm so done with walking around.  Everybody else seems to find people, but I can't seem to find that.  I'm trying to find new ways to change it up, make things more effective, but yeah, still rough. We also ate at McDonalds, because it's American!

Sunday was pretty good for me.  Church was a bunch of testimonies, and I could at least pick up the topic of each one, maybe a little bit more.  That was cool.  The rest was kinda boring for me. Still can't pick things up in class. After church, me and Elder Bean were talking about the ward. Things are starting to change around here.  The neighboring area is starting to shake its bad reputation and is getting baptisms.  The ward is getting better, and they got a couple baptisms, and people are changing.  I expressed my frustrations at not being a part of that... I don't have anybody to sit down and teach, and to help with.  Everybody else seems to have people, and I'm just like, "Hey, how's it going, you guys have fun, I'll just walk around".  So we talked a lot about how God has plans in store for me, and all the stuff.  He is a great guy to talk to.  I could talk with him for days.   After that, during jundo, I got a couple cool people to talk with and some appointments set up! Things are starting to look up around here it seems. Should be a better week this week

Love you all,
-Elder Mortensen