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

August 17, 2015 (Week 35)

August 17, 2015

A Mandu stand. Like postickers,
but a lot bigger and tastier. They have
kimchi ones, which are the bomb. 
Ok, getting around to the family email now.

Monday, we shopped, emailed, then went bowling... We went over to the neighboring area Do Bong. There is nothing to do there, so everybody goes bowling. There were about 20 people by us that all had the fancy little ball and arm brace and were bowling like 200+... haha, it was pretty sad to watch... It was pretty fun though. We bowled a couple games then came back. we just jundoed around that night, nothing too new to report on that.

Tuesday we jundoed around, tried to visit a less-active, then met Kim Hyo Wang (김효왕) Wang means King in Korean... fun fact for ya.  He is pretty cool. He's 26, went to New York for school for a couple years, and is just hanging around here for the time, until he gets a job. He seemed interested, had a good lesson, talked with him, and that is the last we've seen from him.  Kind of a bummer, he was super cool. Later we met a recent convert Pak Dong Suk. He got baptized in December, now only comes to Sacrament Meeting, and doesn't read the scriptures... he has this idea that his baptism was a one time "I changed my life" thing, so he doesn't have to read and whatnot. It's kinda frustrating but he is a good guy.

Wednesday was just zone meeting and English class. We all came into the office, and heard from president about the new "standards of excellence" for the mission. Some of them were pretty high standards, reachable on a really good week, but for the most part, pretty difficult.  The President called everyone to have "faith to baptize" which is different than what Elder Ringwood said... That faith is not the issue of the missionaries here.  So we're a little confused on that part.  President says that all it requires is faith, that's all it takes... Honestly, like if it was that easy, we would have a lot more baptisms here. But hey, I got to see people out in Nokbeon again. They were fun to see. There's still nothing really going on, but they are doing good.

Thursday we jundoed and ran into a crazy guy who talked about how the days of the week according to the bible should be Sunday, Friday,  Wednesday,  Monday, Thursday,  Tuesday, Saturday.... complete nut case. Then we met with Goose (Gu Bone Hak).  He is Elder Saunders recent convert. He is 18, doesn't read the scriptures cause he wants to study to get into Seoul University, and looks up anti-mormon, anti-christian stuff. He still believes the church is true, but he always talks about different churches he attends, and videos he watches... I'm kinda worried about that. Trying to work with him. He is doing decent though.

Friday we met with Kim Young Whan 김영환.  He was baptized 40 years ago, now attends the Presbyterian church, and we are trying to get him to come back.  He loves the missionaries though. We tried to talk about priesthood, and how that means no other church has the rights of God.  He kept pulling out all his certificates that he is a deacon in that church. It was weird, but he is a nice guy. Went on a temporary split with Elder Eager to their appointment. We met some low rapper named "dirty pun"... one of those 21 year-old kids who doesn't really have a solid plan in life.  Interesting lesson though.

Saturday not much happened, just jundo and met some weird guy, who met just to get a drink for free.

Korean Graffiti 
Sunday we went to church, taught one investigator. We talked about baptism and the gospel of Jesus. He won't commit to be baptized.... he says he has worries, but he won't tell us... super frustrating. There is a special-needs investigator here, Angel. He is 35 and has met missionaries forever. The bishop have opposed his baptism since he is special-needs, and might be a burden to the ward. But on Sunday the bishop allowed him to get baptized, and said let's do it this Saturday... We will probably push it back a week, but right now we might have a random baptism on Saturday!

Sorry, out of time, this week was pretty good.

Love you all,
-Elder Mortensen

August 10, 2015 (Week 34)

August 10, 2015

View of the city
Alright, time for the weekly report I guess.
 So, Monday was P-Day, which was interviews... Didn't help my mood as Sister Sonksen showed me pics of where I have been dying to serve... after that we jundoed!! Set a couple appointments for Tuesday, just so we could maybe have somebody before the new comp came in.

Tuesday we did study and Jundo! So much fun! We got punked 2 times, and so we jundoed for about 6 hours that day. Honestly, I had to sit down on a bench and just sit there for a couple minutes, it was just tiring.  We finally met a guy around 6:00 that we met on Monday. He rambled on the first 30 minutes about drinking with his family and crap like that. I tried to get the lesson going, but it felt weird trying to interrupt when I didn't fully understand.  So we finally after 30 minutes got a break, and started to teach him the first lesson.  When we started to teach him, he quit talking altogether pretty much. It was a good lesson, and yet not really. And thus ended my time with Elder Roskelley

Wednesday we got up and headed into the temple area.  The ward building is right next door, so we met there for transfers. Now the President is having us all meet there, and the APs announce who is companion with who.  Every time the companions would meet up, they would do something funny. The President would then stand up and tell them to be reverent and spiritual... even the APs knew that that would never happen. I got to see old friends again, Elders Hansen, Yetter, and Brantley.  They are all doing good. I guess Elder Yetter is struggling out in Nokbeon, he and Elder Song. I felt super bad for them. I guess our senior in high school investigator "scrubbed it up" and just quit progressing. Elder Yetter is finding nothing out in Nokbeon.   Elder Brantley is loving out in Dong He. He dropped thirty pounds doing the Elder Whitlock diet, and looks like he is having the time of his life...... I want to go out there sooo bad.   I found out my companion is now Elder Saunders, so we are both combining areas. Said hi to some more friends, then headed out. I went back home, we packed up all my stuff, packed up some from the house then headed over to the other house with it. Kinda frustrating that the APs didn't tell me I was switching houses, so we bought a ton of food, and I hadn't packed up anything yet, so that was a long time trying to pack everything up. We got that all done, then headed out to eat with the ZLs, Elders Eagar and Bean are the ZLs. Elder Eagar trained Elder Green, so we knew each other vaguely.  He is a super cool dude, has about four months left on his mission. Ate some food, then we went out and got punked/ jundoed.  Two new sister missionaries in here too.  Sister Turley is fresh from the MTC, so it's kinda weird to see a greenie.  Sister Udall( her trainer) was out with Elder Yetter in the countryside WonJu 원주, so we talk about him sometimes. The district is pretty cool right now.

Thursday we studied, played soccer (Elders Eagar and Bean like sports), then we went out, got punked a couple more times, then headed over to the other house to load up all the food and take it over. That was a nightmare.  The Korean sidewalks suck, they are made out of brick, so all the sidewalks are super bumpy and not smooth at all. Throw on top of that a bunch of hills and things in the way, and it's not fun. We loaded up a couple boxes, then took some study chairs, since other elders needed them. The chairs kept tipping on the brick, and falling over, or getting caught and not moving... so that took forever to load the boxes over to the other house. Now we have food for days though, that's kinda nice.  Everything that Elders Roskelley and Ridge left over for the new companionships just got combined into one great food pile.

Friday we had soccer again, and man, I'm out of shape. Super fun though.  Studied, then had weekly planning. Super weird actually talking about people. They had 3 recent converts, a couple investigators, and some less actives. Cool to talk about them, and see how we can try to help them. Later that day we met 김윤혁 Kim Yoon Hyuk, one of their investigators. He is like 26, wants to go to a college in Germany, but is looking up negative church documentaries.  We're trying to convince him to believe us and not just friends and the internet, but he gets side tracked easily.

Saturday we studied, we out and met 유진성 (You Jean Sung)  and 백준상 (Beck June Sang). You is a 16 year old kid who is pretty cool, but doesn't seem too interested in the gospel. Taught him the Plan of Salvation, and he remembered the Atonement and says he believes in Christ! Yay! Good lesson with him.  Right after was a huge rain storm, so we made some calls for a little bit before meeting Beck. He is like 72, and is super big into Presbyterian. That seems to be the biggest church here. In Korean, it's the 장로 교회 which translated directly is the "Elder Church".  So everybody here that reads our tag thinks we are that church. That, or they say that we are only 20 and can't be an elder, that's for the old farts who pay a lot of money. Beck gets sidetracked on random stuff, like how many stakes are in Korea.  Going to try to focus in on his belief in the Book of Mormon, but he seems to believe the priesthood and whatnot.  After was English class. Nothing new to report.  After was some more jundo!  Jundo now isn't that bad. I don't know if it's just lower doses of it, new comp, or trying new things, but I feel a better sense of accomplishment. I'm feeling like I'm doing something.

Sunday we went to church, came back, studied, and jundoed. pretty good day. Found some super old hymnbooks and scriptures in the church, really want to see if I can buy them/take them... I'll have to ask the bishop about that one.

Cicada are singing! 
Today we are heading out to go bowling again.  For about 1.75 a game, that's a pretty good day.  It's weird, Elder Saunders and I are kinda sick of this place, but feel like last transfer just never happened. He has been here since I got to Korea, so I guess he has more reason to leave. We feel like last transfer just never really happened.  For me, moving houses, it's like God put the reset button on Gireum. Still kinda want to get out of here, but I'm willing to stay and work. I feel a lot better this week already about this transfer, hopefully it will keep up. I don't know how much more of up and down I can take on the mission.

Love you all, take care,
-Elder Mortensen

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015 (Week 33)

August 3, 2015

Well, I don't remember much about this week, so if its a little scatter brained or short, sorry.

Elder Baskin Robbins
Monday was email, then walking around... We got an appointment set, that later didn't show up...

Tuesday was temple day. We went to the temple in the morning. We had 7 dying missionaries give their "final testimonies" that day (There are like 23 missionaries dying this transfer). Elder Carpenter talked about how around his year mark, he felt Preach My Gospel book lied when it said you will experience more joy than ever before.  He talked about how he looked back on his mission up until that point, and realized how many good memories he had. I feel like that's true, like I feel closer to people I've known for 6 weeks than some friends I had all through high school. but at the same time, my mission has had a fair share of disappointment. I know the whole "ups and downs" but I really hope God isn't planning on backloading the mission.   Elder Roskelley talked about how he made the decision to be happy one day. He makes it sound like he just flipped a switch, and was just happy because he wanted to be. Like, I guess I can be happy with my current level, but the fact that I know better is out there makes that hard.  After temple day we went and ate at an American buffet place, and had some decent tacos (crappy compared to Mexico I'm sure).  They also had a chocolate fountain and some half decent food, so that was pretty fun. After we hit up some bowling alley with the Zone Leaders, and a couple other elders. Bowling here is pretty cheap. We paid 6 dollars for three games plus shoes... super fun. I bowled a 112 the first game, and never got close again.  Bowling for me is weird. One throw will go straight, the next will go straight to the gutter. Oh well, it was fun still.  After that, we walked around for a couple hours of jundo.

Wednesday we had district meeting.  We went through page 10 of Preach My Gospel on "how to be a successful missionary". By Preach My Gospel standards, I feel like I'm failing right now. Whether it is that page or "nothing happens in missionary work until you teach".  I struggle that God does have something planned for me. My mind just takes things and twists them to make perfect sense, but it's depressing sometimes. After that and walking around in the blazing sun some more, we had another English class. I'm so bored with the English classes. Nobody there cares about the gospel, only free English.  People there have been coming for years, and have heard the same things again and again, and still don't seem to care.

Elders Mortensen and Ridge
Thursday I was on exchange with Elder Ridge. He is a transfer below me, so we knew each other from the MTC. So I was the senior companion for a day.  Fun, yet stressful.  Me and Elder Ridge studied, made some awesome breakfast burritos for lunch, then jundoed... I felt like I understood a lot more, probably because I forced myself to since I was the senior companion. It was pretty cool, I felt like I understood a lot of what was going on, not that much did go on. Elder Ridge was fun to talk with.  I guess I'm not the only one who struggled with my MTC companionship. We talked about the MTC, transfer calls, what/where we want to go.  Later we headed over to the office to do pass-off for Elder Ridge. I sat there and talked with the office elders and the APs for a while while he was in there. That was pretty fun, nice break from just walking around. We ate dinner and called it a night. 

Friday we studied, ate chicken and pizza with our ward mission leader, then did weekly planning. I like those meals.  We come, we eat, we leave. He isn't one for sitting around and shooting the breeze. We are usually out of there in less than an hour. Pretty good chicken, too. The best is their cream mustard chicken... super delicious. I love chicken here..... the pizza is weird though.  Weekly planning seems pointless when you don't have anybody to talk about. It's just kind of awkward sitting around, going through the list in Preach My Gospel. Baptisms, baptism dates, progressing investigators, coming to church, ward members, etc.  All that hinges on the fact of having investigators, which is obviously in short supply around here.  Later, since it was the 31st, we went to Baskin Robbins and downed a half gallon of ice cream... so good, yet so fattening. I highly recommend it though. It was pretty fun. Later we got cancelled on some more, and walked around for a couple more hours.

Saturday all we did was jundo, English class, and get cancelled on. That night didn't help.  Transfer calls came in: "Elder Roskelley, you are going to your house. Elder Mortensen you will stay. You will find out more Wednesday" . That was it. They didn't tell me who my new companion was going to be. Elder Ridge didn't want to leave, but he's getting sent out to Choon Chun, where I have been wanting to go. Elder Hansen is leaving Nokbeon after one transfer to go out to the coast, most likely with Elder Brantley. Five of the 8 missionaries are leaving this area, yet I'm staying. Still trying to figure out why I am still here. I'm not even sure if I'm going move houses, or if I'm still in the 2-man house. Two man houses work when no other missionaries are around in the area. Whenever we see the others, it's like we only get highlights. Sort of like social media, we only see the awesome things, the miracles that happen for the other teams. So for me it's frustrating seeing nothing. 

Sunday was church and walking around. I'm trying to swallow my pride and keep some positivity, but it's hard,  especially when ward members seem to brush me off as I try to talk to them. They brush me off, kinda half push me off to the side, and just to go talk with Elder Carpenter, or Elder Bean. It really doesn't help my desire to serve them. So yeah, that's my current state right now. 

Love you all, hopefully next week will be better,
Elder Mortensen