Sunday, January 31, 2016

February 1, 2016 (Week 59)

February 1, 2016

Another view of the New Years sunrise
Ok, I guess I actually have something to report this week, haha.

Monday we didn't do much, but as we were walking to email, we were stopped by a guy who wanted to talk about our message. Turns out he was a Jehovah's Witness, and wanted to find our "trump verse" that proves clearly that Joseph Smith is a prophet. We tried to explain that there wasn't really a verse, but just prayer and God will tell you. Then, we talked about how God has a body, and the Spirit is a spirit, but in the personage of a man, and all that... didn't get very far with him, but he was really nice. That night we tried to visit a less-active and her son answered the door and got mad and seemed to start to cry(?) about the fact that we knew his moms name and address. We tried to explain she gave us the address when she was baptized, but he didn't like that and said it was illegal. Not your average visit, but was kind of interesting.  That night we had a couple Chinese buddies come to Family Night at the church. Two of the three understood the game, but the one just kind of sat there like in a stupor the whole time.  Overall, a pretty fun time.

Tuesday we met 이상준 in the morning.  He is 20, and his sister is a less-active. He didn't know about the church, so he agreed to let us teach him.  We taught him the Restoration and he has already read the Book of Mormon a little and the pamphlet.  Super cool kid, hopefully we can meet him again.  After that, we just went around the city looking for any sort of service project to do... not much came of that.

Wednesday was some more proselyting after district meeting.  But that night we had movie night, and showed Joseph Smith.  We are trying out new activities to get people to bring friends to the church, or get investigators or people on the street to come over.  That was good, a couple members came, hopefully that can keep building though.

Thursday we had a member meal, so we went over there and ate pretty good and shared a quick message (President Uchtdorf's Women's Session talk, "summer with great Aunt Rose) pretty good talk actually. I was impressed.  After that we tried to find some less actives in the area, met a couple cool people, then had to come back for English class... not much new there.

Friday was sweet. One, it finally snowed. Two, we had another buffet.  Three, we met some great people. A couple weeks ago we met a guy who said we could visit his house, and so today we finally got around to it. It turns out, he and his wife had seen the other elders pass by everyday, so they were pretty curious about our church and what the heck we were doing.  So we had about an hour chat with them about the church, and they seemed really interested and wanted to read the Book of Mormon. That was a pretty cool miracle for us. Then we "slided" our way to the buffet (cause there was snow!) to celebrate Elder Megargel's 1 year mark.  That was pretty fun.

Saturday, we studied then went to the church and shoveled out snow from the parking lot, then had English class... After English we finished the parking lot since there was a fair amount of snow still. We did that until dinner, then went and proselyted and tried to find some less actives.

Sunday we had church, then met 조재현.  He studied at USC for college, so he is still pretty good at English (He is in his 40s?).  The first thing he said was that he was atheist and wanted to just get coffee with us... great... What a perfect way to start off the lesson.... But as time went on, he told us that he was wondering about God, and a lot on the Plan of Salvation questions.  So we had a pretty good talk about that.  Then we headed off to Seoul to stay the night at presidents house. (3 hour bus ride later....)

More Snow Art
Today I got my foreigner card renewed.  Now we are off to a burger buffet then back to home.

Love ya,
-Elder Mortensen

January 25, 2016 (Week 58)

January 25, 2016

The Branch
Monday was P-Day and Family Night, which was games like Duck-Duck-Goose. It was pretty fun. Not much to else report.
Tuesday we had lunch with an English member who really likes the missionaries. So we went to a sushi buffet.  That was pretty good. After that we went looking for less-actives all day/talking with people in Real Estate offices trying to find addresses. It was kinda funny.  They talked the most out of anybody "wow, you look cold? what on earth are you doing?" and that just led to a nice little discussion... That night we had a 삼겹살 (thick bacon) party which was suuuuuper delicious. Man they bought a ton of it, more than anybody could eat. It was great.  That was a good time with them.

Wednesday we got up early and dropped off Elder Dixon at the bus stop... That was sad to see him just hop on a bus by himself.  They got rid of transfer meetings, so we just send people by themselves now. It's weird without Elder Dixon here, he was a great guy.  Definitely going to have to visit him in Australia.  After that was just more less-active hunting, and walking around freezing, trying to talk with other freezing Koreans... doesn't work out too well. They don't like the cold any more than mom does, which is saying something. It's kinda funny.

Thursday we planned activities to do so we don't just suffer like an idiot during the winter... That was much needed, although we can't do a lot of stuff it seems... We can't even watch Korean history movies... only church stuff.

Friday we watched a mission worldwide broadcast which was alright.  It talked a lot on the basics of missionary work. After that we planned, then met Kim Dae Hyun. a 17 year-old, who is moving back to Seoul... Dang it, he was such a nice kid. Wish we could meet him again...

Saturday we did English class.

Snow Art
Sunday,  went to Church and more out in the freezing cold.... not much new.

Well, there's my lovely week,
-Elder Mortensen

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 18, 2016 (Week 57)

January 18, 2016
Making Rice Cakes for FHE

Ok, well, this was my week... nobody here...

We searched a lot for less actives since we have like 600+ less actives in the area. We found that 30 don't live here anymore... That was a joke. Trying to find apartments on multiple maps, getting out there, just to find out they moved after searching for days.  So yeah, that was pretty fun.

None of our investigators answered their phones all week, so we didn't meet anybody, and really nobody new to report on.

Elders Dixon, Sanders and Mortensen
Well, me and Elder Megargel are staying together... My first time having a companion for more than a transfer since Elder Whitlock. Weird.  Elder Dixon is dying, so we'll get a new elder in the area, and the one of the sisters is training.  Sorry, not a lot to go on this week.  It was as boring as this email.

Love ya,

Elder Mortensen

The Branch

Sunday, January 10, 2016

January 11, 2016 (Week 56)

January 11, 2016

Gotta Love Korean Artwork...
Welllllllllll yeah,
This week was pretty good. Let's take it from the top, shall we?
Monday was nothing special... I learned how to play Korean chess, and man, it's kinda hard. You have to learn CHINESE characters to play KOREAN chess... Go figure.... so yeah, I can't remember the pieces half the time, but it was kinda fun. It's still better watching 80 year-old men get into it and slam the pieces down, haha.  Pretty boring day otherwise, nothing too exciting with it being winter and stuff.  But after that was family night. That was a game night, which was pretty fun, but the members chickened out cause it was hard. You go on each side of half of a ping pong table and try to blow the ball off the others' sides.  They made some really funny faces, You'll have to try it sometime.
Tuesday was interesting. We traveled down to a little town down south, and turns out it's a P-day type of town.  Not much down there as far as regular people.  Everybody was at a couple parks or tourist places, but we met a couple cool people and then bounced back up to civilization... That's the tough part about out here, there are only a certain areas that actually have a good amount of people. You want to visit other places, but when you could walk for hours with nobody, kinda shoots that idea down. So we did that, tried to visit a less active, then saw a member that is sick right now on the street. He has cancer I think, and he has to go into the hospital in a couple days. So that was cool to see him and try and help him out.
Wednesday was zone meeting. That was pretty good, shared stuff from the mission president seminar, and talked a lot about faith and repentance and how that's want you want, not just people getting baptized to get baptized. We did that, then went on a goose chase trying to meet a guy. We went on a 40 minute walk to some church, only for him to forget that we agreed a minute ago to go there. Then we went up, found some restaurant that he was at.  He sat down, said hi, took a Book of Mormon, then said he had a meeting he had to go to... Freak. That was lame...  not much else that day, just some more walking around.
Yummy Seafood??
Thursday we got cancelled on, and others weren't home, so it was a somewhat long day.
We had a couple meals the rest of the week, went on an exchange with Elder Dixon, (talk about that next week? ) and picked up two baptismal dates, that was pretty cool.  Well, time kinda snuck up, sorry, I'll finish this later.
Love you all,
-Elder Mortensen

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January 4, 2016 (Week 55)

January 4, 2015

Hmmm... 10 minutes to write about my week... Challenge accepted haha
Elder Too-Tall Mortensen

Monday we didn't do much. We went around and picked up supplies for newspaper hockey for family night. That was pretty fun.  We used a ton of newspaper to make hockey sticks and ball, then you play hockey with them.  So that was our P-day and night.  P-day out here you can't really do much, although today we might visit the cup museum... just cause, haha. So it was kinda fun to just chill around the house.
Tuesday was cool. We were going out for another day of walking around, when a guy we met called us back and said he could meet right then.  So we met him, and he was interesting.  This 50-ish year old guy, talking in old-man Korean slang (sooo freaking hard to understand, sounds like German with throat slurs all the time...) anyway, he explains how he saw God and Jesus in a dream, and found his faith in them that way. But he got into a fight with his pastor (pretty common here, actually) so he quit attending church. He was really nice, but was pretty loud about no need for prophets.  Then later that night after dinner, a guy from a month ago called and wanted to meet, So we went all over town trying to meet him, finally sat down and talked.  He is really nice and sincere, really seems to want to learn until we pull out pictures...  He gets really distracted by pictures, especially the one of Moroni with the gold plates... "wow he is so big. He is very strong", etc. He's really nice though.   On the way back from that, we talked with a guy for a minute before he invited us to get a drink with him (you would not believe how many offers I've had to drink beer or coffee with people... ) So we sat down in a gas station and had a nice 40 minute chat about God.  Pretty cool, he gave us his number and address and said to come visit him. It was a really cool day.
Wednesday was less-active searching.  We went looking for like 6 less actives in one little place, so that took a while, nobody really answered. Not much else happened this day...
Thursday we went and visited a ghost town, now that it is vacation for college kids.  We went up by the campus and there was nobody. It was kinda weird. It felt like a downtown place, but nobody really there... but we went and tried to visit a bunch of other less-actives, but no luck on that either... Kinda sad.
Sunrises, especially the first in the
New Year, are important in
traditional Korean culture.
The Jeongdongjin and Gyeongpo
beaches in Gangneung
are popular places to enjoy a sunrise.
Friday we got up early and went to see the sunrise.  That was super cool to see it on the beach for the New Year.  Kinda cool, we just sat there, without really thinking, just admiring it.  I love those moments, just a moment of bliss where the world doesn't matter.  After we had 떡국 which is a traditional soup. and everybody gains a year when they eat it, so now I'm 22 in Korean age, what up! After that we met a kid who was super nice and happy, lives in Seoul by himself. His dad died of smoking and his mom is a drunkard... super sad story but he was really nice.
Saturday and Sunday were pretty regular nothing too new....
Love you all, take care,
-Elder Mortensen

Friday, January 1, 2016

December 28, 2015 (Week 54)

December 28, 2015

Elders Mortensen and Megargel
Ok, Monday, we went into Seoul, and had conference in there. Pretty cool, it was only 16-ish people, and we all stayed at the presidents house. We had abelskievers for dinner, since that's a Sonksen family tradition.  Super fun.  We got to watch part of the Christmas message from the First Presidency. Cool talks.  We stayed the night at presidents. I found out that I'll get released on December 22nd next year, so I am officially more than half over... Super weird...
Abelskivers at the Presidents

Tuesday we got up, had breakfast, then took off for the temple.  We got into a session with some other white people, so we got an English session.  That was cool, kinda fun to just chill in the temple. We ate lunch after, then headed back to our area.  Overall a fun little trip into Seoul, probably my only one for the next couple weeks, maybe more pending on transfer calls next month.
Wednesday we went over to Wonju, another city in our zone. We had planned on doing a big zone flashmob for Christmas.  So we practiced for a while, then went over and did the mob, and yeah... there weren't a whole lot of people there... Kahng Won Doe isn't the best place for a flash mob it turns out... but we did the actual flash mob, then went to another place and caroled and sang for a couple of hours. That was pretty fun day.
Thursday was a regular day of missionary work. We went and tried to visit another less active that lives quite a ways from our house, so that took a little while. We did jundo the rest of the time between that.
Friday we had our Christmas party with our branch.  That was cool. We had a talent show, the Elders did a play, (that was interesting) then we watched Christmas videos, and had dinner.  I love this branch still, they are super fun and really nice people.
Saturday we called home (obviously haha) then went out and jundoed all night. We got canceled on by a couple people, so we didn't do much.
Sunday we had church then jundo. Not much else happened there either. It snowed and melted for an hour.  That was pretty fun.

Korean Nativity
Well, sorry there's not much here, it was pretty much just Christmas activities and jundo. Pretty fun week overall. I loved talking with you earlier in the week,

-Elder Mortensen

December 21, 2015 (Week 53)

December 21, 2015

What up?

At the East Coast
Monday: P-day was just going around and picking stuff up to make some Christmas gifts for members. Nothing too exciting, we got to go to another buffet though. That was pretty good. That night we had Family Home Evening.  That was fun. I played Uno with a couple members. Man, they got pretty into it, doing stuff I didn't even know you could do, haha. That was a fun time though. We shared a message about President Monson's talk on keeping the commandments. It's a pretty good talk.  I think it was the second or third paragraph that just summarized commandments pretty beautifully.
Tuesday: We headed out to find a referral we got from the sisters... that was a nightmare.  It was some apartment complex buried out in the middle of who knows where... we went down one path, didn't find it, asked 4-5 people, and they all gave us different responses... eventually we found the place.. only to have 3 women leaving the apartment... soooo ya, that was interesting. Kind of cool though, I got to see trees, and space, and there were some small farms even. First time seeing that in about a year. I love this place, everything is a lot more just spread out. It's like being in South Jordan, then you go to St. George, and you're just like, "wow, big streets, slower feel, I could get used to this".  That's the best way I can describe it.  So we did that, then went to do "pictures with Santa" as a district, which turned out to be 2 Elders doing something, while the rest just kinda walked around. So me and Elder Megargel left and went up to the college in the area. That was pretty cool, we met some cool people up there.  We taught a guy the whole first lesson on the street, another guy about half of it. One guy wanted to meet us again (mainly for English and be friends), but hey, we can work with it.  So that place was pretty cool.  They also have a taco place that sells pretty good burritos for 3 bucks.  So now I have that, and we make burritos at least 2-3 times a week here. It's pretty good. For some reason,  Korea made me love burritos... (sorry, mom!) That was a pretty good night. We met a guy who told us that they were building the Olympics, only to tear it down 2 weeks after its over, because there's not enough people around to maintain it, and use it... pretty sad, just another reason Utah should get it again... haha

Wednesday:  We had 4 lessons scheduled... only 1 met, and that was just to have a hot chocolate and talk... really nice guy.  He's a body builder (so he's pretty massive) and out of town for 4 weeks... bummer.  He says he'll come back and check out our church when he gets back, so we're holding onto that hope.  A lot of people left for school/vacation/going home.  So yeah, kinda of a bummer, but who knows maybe later he'll come back. After that, it was jundoing around, having people cancel.
 Thursday: We had district meeting, which was terrifying. I didn't really have much to go off of from zone meeting, and other things, and the topic was just Christmas... Pretty vague, so I didn't have much, but managed to pull out a decent meeting. I hate talking in front of people, whether it is missionaries, members, or English class, public speaking is not for me... And, I'm fine with that, haha.  After that, we jundoed around and then had an English class.  This edition consists of one table full of old grandmas that are half decent at English, then another table where one guy talks the whole time. It was an interesting place.  One of our investigators came to it, but left before we could have a lesson (he is the biggest flake ever... He's already cancelled like 4 appointments).  That's been frustrating.
Friday: We had weekly planning, and then we went to a place called 주문진. (Joo Moon Jeen).  It's about thirty minutes by bus, and right by the coast.  We went visited a less active (he came out and asked if we were "Mar Eer" which is how the old church name was 말일 .... (it changed 10 years ago...) so he's been pretty less active for years now.  That was one of the first times a less-active has answered and admitted he was baptized though, which was cool. We did that, jundoed, and saw the coast.  That was pretty cool. Now, with going out to the west in May, DMZ in October, and here in December, I just need to find a way to get to the south end, haha (without breaking rules of course) (I heard that there's some place here, if North Korea attacks goes south for emergencies... hmmm.....) anyway, that's pretty cool to say I went coast-to-coast in Korea, haha.  We were supposed to meet the afore mentioned investigator, but he canceled because his back hurt...
World Cup Bridge
Saturday: We did work for some Christmas stuff, then had English class. nothing too new, except nobody really showed up, it was kinda weird. after that was jundo and trying to get gifts figured out.
Sunday: We had church, then we went out and delivered gifts to members, and met some cool people. I walked down "World Cup Bridge", which was kinda cool.  We met some sweet people, hopefully we can meet them again, although this week is super busy.

Today we are in Seoul, we have Christmas party with the president, then stay at his house for the night, then tomorrow we have p-day/travel, Wednesday a flash mob activity in a different city (hour by bus).  Friday is our ward party, Saturday is calling home... pretty nuts...

Christmas Tree Greetings
Well, love you all,
Elder Mortensen

Mark 13:37

December 14, 2015 (Week 52)

December 14, 2015

This week was pretty crazy,

Elders Ashby and Mortensen
Monday we didn't do much, except email and jundo... I think we did other stuff too, but I can't remember and it's in my other planner, haha. Nothing too special though.
Tuesday was temple day. It was my zone, and Gireum zone, so I got to see old friends again. Elder Saunders is finally leaving there, after 10-11 months there, haha.  He got there when I got to Korea. It was good to see him again.  We did that, went and ate a lot of pizza at the buffet, then headed over to the national war museum. That was pretty cool, but a lot of it was closed and we couldn't spend a lot of time there cause of travel and such.  Pretty fun.  Then we had English class.  There I got to see some more friends before I took off.
Wednesday we met Kim Dong Ho, our pastor buddy... It was going well through the whole Plan of Salvation, then he suddenly brought up Revelations again... that led to him, Elder Ashby, and our member getting into an argument, where manners were ignored and voices were raised... Kim got mad when we told him that President Monson is a prophet of God and that it was made known through the Holy Ghost. He got up, put on his winter gear, asked for our proof that he is called of God, then left. Kind of a bummer, and kinda saw it coming, but it was still sad to see happen. He liked to bring up Revelations, and wouldn't ever see our view on stuff in the bible.  Big change from our first lesson.  After that we had dinner with Ee Yoon Heng. We ate, got some snacks after, then he said he had to leave.  He gave me a huge neck warmer, since I was going to the coast, haha. It's super big, but pretty warm. I'll miss him, he was fun to be with. I really hope he keeps meeting with missionaries.  After we said hi to Lincoln, talked with him about his job, and where his family is at. I'm gonna miss them too, they were always super nice to us.
Thursday was transfers. everybody out in the countryside, got transferred into the city, kind of a bummer. Elder Green is going back to his greenie area, haha.  He was kinda shocked about that. I'm now with Elder Megargel. He's from Eagle Mountain, Utah, and has been out a transfer less than me. We hooked up, then headed out. We rode the subway for a while, then the bus for a couple more hours.  And thus I came to Gangneung.  This place is awesome.  There are still people, but not as busy, space in between places, no skyscrapers, it's great. We haven't explored much of it though. We taught English class that night.   I'm now with Elders Megargel, Dixon and Jung Jeen Sup. Elder Dixon is from Australia and dies this transfer, Elder Jung the one after, then there's us, haha. It's a fun house.
Friday was just jundo.  We were supposed to meet with an investigator but he cancelled, so we jundoed most of the night. This place is beautiful!
Saturday we had a district meeting to plan stuff, then English class. We did a lot more jundo after that.

Ee Yoon Heng and Elder Mortensen
Sunday we had church with our 20 members, then had lunch after.  Super fun ward. They actually are friends, not just merely going to the same church. I wish that was a thing everywhere, because everywhere needs help, even Utah. So many people don't know who others are. It's kinda sad really.

Well, sorry, kinda short, but still taking it all in. I love this place, hopefully I can stay here for a while!

Love ya, Elder Mortensen