Sunday, August 4, 2013

29 July 2013

I tried Persimmon this week. It reminded me of Apple and Cinnamon instant oatmeal, but in crunchy apple form. Pretty good.

This week we had Zone Conference, and leading up to it I was pretty desperate. I wanted some answers about how I could improve the current situation. And, as usual, it seemed that Zone Conference was exactly what I needed. Many of the messages presented were all about focusing on becoming more like Christ, rather than dwelling on numbers and achievements. I realized that I had an even bigger problem than the ones I mentioned last week: I was not taking responsibility for the things I could improve; rather, I was blaming my current area for my shortcomings. In reality, every problem truly can be overcome, as long as I live worthy of the Lord's help.

One thing I realized this week during my prayers and study is that our planning quality was suffering. I knew how to plan, but I didn't really apply myself to the planning process. As a result, the plan would always feel half-baked, and I would never feel particularly committed to it. In the end, we'd always stray from the plan, hardly looking at our planners. Our days were full of randomly dropping by peoples' houses and pathetically hoping that we'd get a lesson out of it. My poor companion has been trying to put together plans, mostly on his own. I was usually doing follow-ups, which is good, but I didn't really make much of an effort to make planning a 50/50 process. So on Saturday night we both hunkered down and focused for a full 30 minutes on producing a plan. And after those 30 minutes, I realized I was actually *excited* for tomorrow. Not that the next day was particularly different than usual, but I felt like I was being productive. And the next day, our plan actually worked exactly how we wrote it. AND we saw miracles.
I'm still learning the power of a positive attitude. It's easy to find the things that are going wrong, but hard to see the things that are good. Naturally, this will be a life-long struggle for me, but thanks to the Atonement of Christ, I can repent of my mistakes and keep moving on.

After Zone Conference, I had the opportunity to meet up with 李弟兄, Rich, my recent convert in Lingya. Turns out he's doing really well: he's going to live in America over the next year to study English! He'll be in the States when I get back, so we'll try to meet up on his way home and chill for a day or two. I's super happy for him; going to America has been his life dream.

My companion and I also had the blessing of being able to exercise our priesthood and give two of our investigators priesthood blessings before one of them left to study in America as well. Both have been investigating for nine years. Or should I say, one of them, because the other doesn't have any interest in gospel discussion. So it was a miracle in itself that he asked for a blessing. The spirit was strong, and they were very grateful. I'm glad the Spirit prompted us to offer them blessings.

Another investigator, 劉爸爸 (Liu BaBa), is quitting smoking and BinLang, over the course of just a few weeks. We're super happy about his progress. And after investigating the church for many, many months, he came to church for the first time. He's a good friend, and we're overjoyed to see these changes. He's clearly happier now.

I love this work! If I had my way, you'd all be out here experiencing this stuff together with me. But all I can do is tell you that this is the Lord's work, and that the power of God is evident in all that we do. I hope that you can feel it as I do sometime in your life.

Have a wonderful week,

-Elder Jorgensen

22 July 2013

Yet another week blows on by. For your information, a friend of mine, Sunnia, thinks I look like Erik Stockton. Look that one up and tell me what you think.

I apologize in advance: this letter might have some negativity in it. I include it because I want all of you to understand what I'm learning, and sometimes, a little stress and pain is a catalyst for a good lesson.

Let's be honest, Hengchun has not been what I had imagined it to be. Most previous knowledge I had acquired about missionary work has been flushed down the drain. Many conveniences are gone as well. As I become more aware of the task I have been entrusted with, the more overwhelmed I feel, because I don't recognize any of the surrounding territory. I'm in a land completely foreign to me. It feels much like my first few weeks on island.

So what are the difficulties I'm facing? One, I'm in a tourist town. This means that everybody you see on the road is not from Hengchun. While they need the gospel too, my assignment is to help the people in Hengchun. Therefore, we don't spend time contacting them. Most of our day is consumed by knocking doors, a practice I don't particularly enjoy.

Two, the population of Church members here is puny, and most of them are women. This poses a large problem when it comes to teaching females: we must have a responsible male adult present in the lesson. Basically, there are only two males in our area that can actually do this service; one of them cannot leave his house because he runs a business, and the other one randomly and frequently goes out of town. This brings up a large conflict within me: I know rules are in place to protect me, but at the same time, it's restricting our investigators from progressing towards baptism and enduring conversion. I've never felt this way about a mission rule before, so I feel a little guilty that I even have these feelings in the first place.

Three, and I'm being painfully honest here, I want to look good for the people in the mission office. I want them to see me as a possible candidate for future leadership positions. I want them to be impressed with what they see. And frankly, Hengchun is not the place to be for having large, impressive numbers. We're lucky if we get over twenty lessons a week.

All of this has caused me to have some other problems, which have only compounded on the original stress I have been having. I've been thinking about my family more, and how much I miss them, as well as getting tired and somewhat distracted. The quality of my prayers have even suffered.

Of course, I didn't notice any of this happening until I had some divine intervention. It came in the form of a letter, from my father. In the letter, he talked about true sources of happiness. He states: "Happiness is something linked with the present moment. The more we think about the past and future, the less happy we become." I realized the truth of his assertion: dwelling on the past (my family) makes me want to leave my current situation and return there, while dreaming of the future (leadership) makes me impatient and unsatisfied with the present.

I wasn't happy, I knew that. And it was clear that I needed to change how I looked at my situation. But how? I tried praying more earnestly for help, but it never seemed to come.

I haven't really improved very much since them, and it will probably still take some time. But I have learned a little. I think God was wanting me to have some experiences to help me see how good I've got it. Yesterday I was out knocking doors with my companion, and we met an old man. He had no interest, and looked like he was searching for an escape, when we mentioned that we thought he looked young. He seemed to really like that compliment, and it turned into a guessing game of his age, followed by a pleasant conversation about his family. And then he went inside. As I thought back to that conversation, I noticed that we didn't necessarily have any success in finding someone to teach, but I had really enjoyed talking with that man. I tried to hang on to that feeling for the rest of the night.

Learning how to be happy is a day by day process, but I am for sure getting better at it. I'm grateful to God for letting me have experiences to learn and understand the truth in the world around us. It's never easy to learn truth, especially when we have promised through baptism to act on it, but it sure is worth it.

Thanks for your love and prayers, and I wish you all a happy week!


-Elder Jorgensen

15 July 2013

Typhoon! Woohoo! ....unfortunately, we weren't really hit that bad at all in Hengchun. Everywhere north of us got hammered, but the only action we got was some strong winds. Ah well, maybe next time. Still pretty fun though!

In my song, I mention "A-ma's asking for your boxes." In Taiwan, you are paid for recycling. Old women typically earn a living here by asking everybody for recyclables. It's really funny to see an A-ma turning down a TV or some furniture over a few cardboard boxes.

We had interviews with President Blickenstaff this week, and it was a wonderful, rewarding experience. President Blickenstaff is truly an inspired man. Before the interview, he had us fill out a questionnaire, and one of the things he asked was: "What has been the most difficult aspect of your mission?" After some thought, I narrowed it down to "overcoming the natural man". Sometimes my motivation to sleep in a few extra minutes, be lazy, be prideful, and other destructive tendencies give my motivation to do good a run for its money. Lately I've been feeling like I'm in somewhat of a rut when it comes to missionary work, so when I realized that this was my problem, I was eager to talk about it with President. When I asked him how to overcome this stumbling block, he said to me that "all the self-motivation books out there all say the same thing: the key is to know who you are. When you understand your identity and purpose, you naturally will want to do good. You will be naturally motivated to act on that knowledge." He then counseled me to study my Patriarchal Blessing, a special blessing whose purpose is to tell you about your eternal identity. And interestingly, when I studied it this time around, many things just clicked, and my understanding was enlightened. Ever since then, I have felt much more of an urgency to stay diligent and focused, and the work has become much more enjoyable.

I loved something President Blickenstaff said in a short meeting beforehand: "The Lord does most of the work, but he's generous and lets us have most of the credit."

And I should give a shout-out to Sister Blickenstaff as well, who was eager and genuinely interested in getting to know me. I sat down in a sort of second interview with her as well, and we talked for a while about tender mercies I have received on my mission, as well as our families. She reminds me a ton of my own mother, which made me feel really blessed to be able to talk with her.

I still would not say that I am fluent at all with the language. In fact, I think my companion Elder Palmer, who's been out here for 3 months, already has Chinese ability that rivals mine. But I did have an experience this week that really comforted me about that. I mentioned before that there was this old man that we'd see all the time my first week here, who'd shout at us, "Very good!" One day we didn't see him, and then we saw a funeral party in front of his house. Funerals in Taiwan last forever, so about a week and a half later we ended up talking to some of the people at the party while we were going to see some church members who lived a few doors down. My companion spent time talking with the member children while I talked with the party people. For some reason, I could speak really fluently to them, and I have no idea why. I could even slip in quite a bit of Taiwanese, the local dialect, and they were all over themselves about it. They kept going back to the party and pulling other people out, telling them to "go talk to that white guy". After some time I was able to confirm that it was indeed the old man that we saw all the time who had died, and that the lady I was talking with the most was his daughter. Our conversation carried on for a good 20 minutes, which then I found a good opportunity to share the doctrine of eternal families with her. She seemed touched, and while she didn't have much interest in meeting with us, I can tell a seed was planted there. And I am so glad that I was living the way that I ought to receive the spiritual gift of tongues, which I know is the only reason why I was able to talk with them the way I did. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost, and for miracles.

I started an "Achievement List" program, and I already have a bunch of subscribers within the mission. I'll send you an image of it so you can see what kinds of crazy stuff we want to say we did on our missions. :) By the way, I compiled this list with the previous Assistant to the President, Elder Hoer, who's super awesome. (I mention "Taike" in the achievements. A Taike is the equivalent of a sort of punk kid in America.)


Hope all is well back home. I miss you guys, but I want you to also know that I really love it out here. I love the work, and I'm so blessed to be a part of this. Thank you for all your prayers and love.


-Elder JorgensenIMG_5480

8 July 2013

Whoa. One year from today, I'm going home. My mission is halfway over, and I feel like I've only been out here a few short months. Time flies so fast.

I spent some time this week seriously pondering what I've learned on my mission so far, and where I want to be when I leave a year from now. I'm still far from a perfect person, but I have learned a lot, and I am stunned at the progression I have made. I feel as if I have transformed into a completely different person.

When I began my mission, I thought I was pretty knowledgeable. But a few hours at the MTC changed that pretty quickly! I was humbled, and then I was teachable. It's still a work in progress (I can be very prideful sometimes), but as I truly forget myself and seek the happiness and well-being of others, my own knowledge and character grows and improves. Daily personal and companionship study, along with my everyday experiences, have helped me gain a deeper understanding of the foundational doctrines and principles of the gospel, a knowledge I realize I majorly lacked before I left. There is great glory and beauty in the simple doctrines of the gospel, and a great power in them to transform the hearts of men.

I also have learned the effectiveness of planning. When I was in high school, I sometimes fell behind on homework. Procrastination became the norm. My parents saw this and begged me, time and time again, to plan out my time. "At least make a to-do list!" But I resisted: it was too difficult and stressful to make a plan, and I would rather lay around in complete denial and pretend everything was fine and dandy. But now, when people's souls are on the line, not making a plan is stupid, period. And when I have made thought-out, thorough plans, my effectiveness as a missionary increases exponentially. It is a skill I want to use for the rest of my life.

My love for my family and friends has deepened. Isn't it sad that it's only when you are away from your loved ones when you start to truly appreciate them? I could be such a jerk at home, but now I wish I could take all those hard moments and poor choices back. I wish I could rewind the clock and instead of saying harsh, biting words, I could just go hug my mother and tell her I love her. But alas, since I can only change the future, I resolve to change it for the better. I will instead choose to open my eyes to the many small acts of kindness and love that my parents show to me on a regular basis. I am immensely grateful for my father's and mother's constant efforts to rear me and my siblings in a home centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I am overjoyed that I can continue my special relationship with them in the eternities.

Perhaps the one thing that I have learned that resonates the most in my mind is that every one of us is a literal child of God. This doctrine has been taught to me ever since I was a toddler, but I never fully understood what this statement implied. Once you leave that protective bubble that filters the harsh things of the world from your sight, you start to gain that realization. I've seen people living in immense poverty, people stricken and crippled by disease, and even more people who feel their life has no purpose. And then you think about that statement, "I am a child of God", and suddenly there is hope. There is light. I have a Father in Heaven. And He loves me. He knows me personally. He rejoices with me when I am happy, and He weeps with me when I am sad. ...When you have that understanding, you then know that you are never alone. When you have that understanding, you have purpose. I am so grateful that I know I have a Father in Heaven that loves me.

Thank you all who have been praying for me and all the missionaries in the field. I have certainly felt the power of your prayers, and I have been greatly strengthened by the hand of the Lord. I pray for you as well, and I hope you can all come to know, as I have, that this gospel is true. It is real, as real as you and I.

Love, -Elder Jorgensen

P6170430 P6170432
“Making a song for Elder White and Elder Cox... Hard work!”
“Sister Christensen with some English students playing Uke.”
“Richard and the gang.”
“Willy and Jim at McDonald's.”
“Sister Burr, Sister Christensen, and their super awesome recent convert.”
“Brother Ye, super shuai.”
“Me and the Wu brothers' kids.”
“My Gangshan ward family!”
“Us and the ward missionaries.”
“Four-man at Gangshan.”
Elder Jorgensen with Elder Ereksen.
Elder Jorgensen with Elder Jensen.
“Brother Wu is a super goofy, awesome guy. He has a friend down in Hengchun.”
“Sunset in Gangshan.”
“Our sweet American friend in Gangshan, Marcus.”
“Beautiful Hengchun.”
“Elder Palmer caught a butterfly on the bus.”
“Check out that beautiful love language mango. Mmmm, so good!”

1 July 2013

You know you are in Taiwan when you feel like the inside of your apartment is cold, and when you look at your thermometer it reads 83 degrees Fahrenheit. You know you are in Taiwan when you walk into the jungle to find an investigator for a couple minutes, and you walk out absolutely covered in mosquito bites. You know you are in Taiwan when the women at church are asking you how you use an oven. You know you are in Taiwan when you go biking with a bunch of kids through the jungle to play baseball at the Elementary School with a plaster bat and duct tape balls. You know you are in Taiwan when you can't enter a house without being commanded to eat an extraordinary amount of food. You know you are in Taiwan when you see this old guy on a bike every single day and all he does is shout at you, "Very good!" in English. You know you are in Taiwan when people are surprised that, despite being American, we actually eat other foods besides hamburgers and pizza.


Let me just say that Hengchun is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. As we ride from one area to another, we get glimpses of stunning vistas of mountains and jungle. Occasionally we may bike by an endless field of rice or grass, with a few older woman tilling the ground off in the distance. The breezes are heavenly, and the colors are vibrant. It truly is a land of milk and honey.

The branch in Hengchun has about 40 active members in attendance. The Branch President actually lives outside its boundaries, a 2 hour car ride away. The people are very friendly and welcoming, and they make lunch for the missionaries after church every week. It's been wonderful visiting them and getting to know all of them.

The work is strikingly different here. Everyone on the road is a tourist. Contacting is no longer an option. Door to door tracting has produced much better results, and we have to be a little more creative since most of these people have been visited by missionaries before, many times. Ukulele comes in handy! It's been a struggle to adapt, but luckily I have a terrific companion, Elder Palmer, to show me the ropes. Thanks to him, I've been learning fast, and we are seeing successes. We just picked up a new investigator, and he committed to be baptized at the end of July. He came to church too, so he's looking good to hit his goal! We are excited to be seeing these blessings already, and we hope to see many more throughout the course of this following week.

There was a worldwide broadcast for all members of the church last week, and I just got to see it yesterday. How exciting to see the changes happening in the way we do missionary work! I can't wait to see how the missionary efforts in the church transform over the next few months. I was also really happy to see my friend Tiffany Campbell in some video clips during the broadcast. I've always seen her as a terrific example of someone who exercises faith and charity in everything she does, and I was happy to see her joyfully carrying out the Lord's work in her capacity as a missionary.

We also caught a few glimpses of our new Mission President and his wife, the Blickenstaffs. They were the couple that were always excitedly talking to each other and smiling. They looked like the most animated listeners in the entire audience. It made me really excited to meet them. He's already here! President Bishop and Sister Bishop left two days ago, and now the Blickenstaffs are up in the mission office. I talked with Elder Forbes today who works in the office, and he said that President Blickenstaff is "so much fun!" I will miss President Bishop, but I can't wait to work with President Blickenstaff over the next year.

I love you all, and I hope all is well! Thank you for your emails and letters, I love hearing from you!


-Elder Jorgensen

presenting english certificate

“Mr. Wang in Gangshan, whom I presented with a Certificate of Advancement for his faithful attendance to English. He is 83 years old.”

four man in Gangshan

“Our four man in Gangshan.”

Sunday, June 23, 2013

24 June 2013

What I thought would not happen... did. Of course, that's how life tends to be anyway. Right?

So I've got a new companion, Elder Palmer. He just got finished being trained. Which means I'm going to be the senior companion. And I'm moving down to Hengchun. If you take a map of Taiwan, and look down at the very bottom tip of the island, that's where I am going to be. I've heard it's a beautiful place. I've also heard the work is tough down there: there are only about 40 members, and most people you contact are from out of town. One of the biggest things I'm excited about is that I'm going there during typhoon season. Typhoons down there are the craziest in the mission; during storms, it usually floods big time!

Elder Palmer is really cool too! I've actually met him a couple times during previous Zone Conferences, and have practiced teaching with him. Having that background, I was excited to know my first junior companion was someone whom I knew was diligent and hard-working. He’s a really amazing missionary, and I can’t wait to get to work with him.

I found out I was going to leave on Tuesday, because Elder Erekson got a call from President Bishop saying he would get a local short-term missionary (which ended up not happening, but he got a new companion anyway). It was kind of lame knowing a week in advance... It makes you feel pretty trunky. Not trunky for home, per se, but trunky for your next area. The ward was sad to see me go too, and they threw a party for me on Saturday. This is an amazing ward, and I’ve made a lot of friends here that I think will continue to be my friends for the rest of my life.

Willy, one of my English students, had his birthday this week, so we took him out to Mickey D’s. We gave him a few gifts, but he turned around and gave me a gift too: a new Ukulele! I felt super 不好意思, but he insisted I take it. It’s super nice. Now I’ve got two, and Elder Palmer said he wanted to learn how to play, so I’ll be giving him one and we’ll practice together on P-days and such.

Elder Erekson and I wrote a song together for Elder White and Elder Cox, our first companions who go home tomorrow. Elder Cox called me this week a few times to say goodbye and catch up. I’m excited for him, he’s going to have some good times ahead. I can’t wait to hang out with him after the mission! I love my Pops! I’ll post the song up on my blog when I get to an Internet place with USB ports (curse this cafe!). I’ll have to say the song is pretty good for my first one.

Our investigator, Brother Ye, is super amazing, and made a lot of progress this week. He came to church with us on Sunday, and seemed to enjoy it. During church, they announced a youth activity where youth could spend a week being a missionary’s companion and serving with them. Brother Ye started expressing interest in this, and asked if he could do it with us. He told us, "I want to know why you guys are so willing to give up so much of yourselves to do this. I want to know how you two know this gospel is true." So, on Saturday, he tagged along with us from 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Super nuts. And he had terrific experiences as we visited members, less active members, and investigators. He grew leaps and bounds! And even more stunning, despite how tired he was from being with us all the previous day, he still came to church on Sunday! This guy is so solid! I’m sure he will be baptized soon. His goal is in two weeks, and I’m positive he can hit it. I’m very excited for him!

So I’m off to a new adventure! It’s scary taking on this responsibility, especially considering my insecurity with the language, but I’m sure that through diligence, careful planning, and the assistance of the Holy Ghost and the grace of God, I can accomplish any challenge that comes my way. Woohoo! Here we go!


-Elder Jorgensen

17 June 2013

We hit Gangshan with force this week. Elder Erekson and I were pretty bummed about our numbers lately, because it seemed that our number of progressing investigators were going down. So we decided to do something different: instead of seeking out random sit-down lessons on the side of the road, why don't we use our talents and advertise church like we advertise English class? Elder Erekson and I made a sign that said:

人生的目的是什麼? 我們可以回答!

"What is the purpose of life? We can answer!"

I brought my Ukulele, and we went to a park holding the sign and playing random chords as loud as we could. It got a lot of attention. In the short hour we were there, we contacted 41 people. 21 of those people wrote down their contact information, and 10 of them set up for lessons. SUPER amazing. And I'm progressing in my Ukulele skills very fast, which is also a great plus!

This stuff was certainly an answer to my prayers. I've been feeling pretty frustrated with my contacting lately. I just have a really hard time talking with people. I've just developed this mentality over time that I, frankly, just don't want to talk to anyone. It's a deep internal struggle just to pull up next to someone and say, "你好." And I see Elder Erekson and Elder Teng and lots of other missionaries setting up appointments like crazy, and I can't help but feel pretty worthless when it comes to finding people. I've been fretting about it for a long time, and my way of dealing with it was my usual: denial. But lately it hasn't been working anymore, and I had to face the facts and do some serious evaluation. I prayed a lot for strength to do this. And then we came up with this advertising idea... which as a result got me a lot more comfortable and excited to contact. It was fun! No, it was not a magic cure, but mixing it up and putting my effort into it really helped me put my forward and face the brick wall in front of me. It was a really good day.

I can't close this letter without a few words about my father. The world needs to know that I have the best dad in the whole world! He faithfully writes me all the time, and shares with me his vast wealth of knowledge to help me grow and excel. He tells me often that he loves me, and he is always ready and happy to help me out when I need his guidance. He always strives to be better, and shares with us all the time about his goals to help him become a better parent Everything he's done for me, he's done out of love for me. True, no father is perfect, but there has never been a time, not once, when he hurt my feelings and didn't apologize afterwards. He is a perfect example of a faithful disciple of Christ. I hope I can be half the man he is someday. I love him a lot, and I'd like to wish him a wonderful Father's day!




Elder Jorgensen

20130610 A glimps of Qiaotou from gaixiong Subway

“A glimpse of Qiaotou from the currently aboveground Gaoxiong subway system.”


“I guess Oreo's don't float. Bummer.”


“Egads! I need a haircut.”

10 June 2013

English class is exploding with 39 people attending this week! Our numbers are on the rise! Woohoo! With some advice from my Zone Leaders, I've started doing some new things with my district, including Tuesday night follow-ups on each of the teacher's lesson plans. As I've put more effort in being accountable to my fellow missionaries, I've noticed that the overall quality of my lessons have become much more professional, and I ended last Wednesday with students coming up to me and telling me what they had learned.

In fact, we're seeing some miracles come out of English class as of late. Richard, a student in my class, was originally Atheist but while meeting with the other Elders in Gangshan, he told them that "the spiritual shares in English class have changed [his] life," and that "because of the things [he's] learned, [he has] started to have personal prayers every day." English class truly is an effective tool in finding prepared souls.

But he's not the only one who was touched. Another one of my students, Kim, talked with my companion Elder Erekson last Wednesday and asked him if we could meet with his family. "I'm really impressed with you guys," he said. "I want my two kids to be like you. I want them to be independent to be able to learn a language and grow their talents. I want them to have the happiness and confidence you guys have." So on Saturday, we came to his house and sat down with him, his wife, and his two teenage children. They had a lot of interest, and they are a very cool, happy family. After some time, the doorbell rang, and in walked two other students in my class, who happen to be related to the wife of the family. Apparently Kim had called them and told them he was having the missionaries over, and they wanted to learn about the church as well. So now we are teaching a beautiful family of six people, and we have high hopes for them. They weren't able to come to church this Sunday (the daughter has a big test in high school, and the family wants to support her), but they committed to coming the following week. I'm so excited!!!

This week was our last Zone Conference with President and Sister Bishop. It was bittersweet: the whole conference was focused on getting ready for the transition from President Bishop to President Blickenstaff, so we were sad to see our "dad" go, but we were also looking forward to being able to build this new relationship with our next Mission President.

President Bishop has been a terrific role model for me. When Elder Evans and Elder Wilson of the seventy came to tour the mission, they told us that they had never seen another Mission President with as much love for their missionaries as they saw President Bishop love us. He truly loves and cares for each and every one of his missionaries. I looked forward to the times when I could sit down with him for ten minutes and talk with him about how things were going, and receive instruction from him. He is a hero to me, and I hope I can become a man like him someday.

I love you all, have a fantastic week!

-Elder Jorgensen


“Freak rainstorm. It rained buckets for about ten minutes, and then blue skies!”


“I'm getting tired of oatmeal, so I tried my hand at bacon and hash browns.”


“That child of the devil, that demon, that cockroach hiding behind my sink.”



“Elder Erekson diligently studying his Chinese.”


“Our office.”


“Birthday pictures! Me and Elder Davis's birthday.”

3 June 2013

Today I'm baking a cake! Whoohoo! It's Sister Christensen's birthday, so I'm baking the cake my mom sent me for my birthday a month ago and we are going to have a fun party tonight with some ward members. Because you just can't find Whipped Topping anywhere (besides Costco), I'm going to be making some from scratch. A little scary, I'm nowhere near as good a cook as my mom, but I'll give it a shot.

Had another earthquake yesterday. The epicenter was in the same place as the last big one a little over a month ago, and it was a 6.3. I was down south this time though, so it wasn't too strong. BUT, being in the 7th story of a pretty old apartment building still made the ride pretty fun. It was super long: it took about a minute and a half for it to die down. Just imagine sitting on a swaying boat, that's about what it felt like. The buildings outside were just rolling around from our viewpoint. Pretty cool.

We had to move apartments on Thursday, and it ended up taking all day. When we got there, we were surprised to find that there was a ton of furniture already there, and because of some miscommunication with the landlord, we were moving pieces of furniture up and down and back up the stairs. Very tiring. And we've been having problems with the A/C people, who haven't installed the A/C since we moved in. To compensate, we sleep without covers and have six fans moving in a perfect array of rotation cycles. We really hope today is the day they come and save us!

I went on exchanges this week with Elder Jensen's new companion, Elder Bean. It was weird being with someone with less experience than me, and since he didn't have much of a grip on the language, I ended up taking the lead a lot in conversations and contacting. It was a good window into the training life. I was nervous about the exchange (I was doubting my competence as a senior missionary), but after we started working together I realized that it was all going to be okay. In fact, we were blessed with quite a few miracles, and managed to have five lessons in one day. I was also blessed to understand a lot more than the usual, and my conversations with others started to take on a variety of topics. Some of the words I was understanding I had never studied previously. I'm learning now, more than ever, that God will help you fill the mantle he asks you to take, as long as you are living worthy of his help.

Elder Erekson and I found this really funny coincidence in our work: if one knocks doors and the other one makes phone calls, every single time someone will let us into their house. Not sure what that's supposed to mean, but it's become something of a "must do" in our daily plans.

We have a surprise Zone Conference this week. This will be my last opportunity to say goodbye to President Bishop and Sister Bishop before they are released and return home. I am so grateful for their service. They've been like a father and mother to me out here, and I will miss them.


-Elder Jorgensen



“Ugh. Moving.”


“Nice view!”

27 May 2013

Ah, another week has flown by. My companion, Elder Erekson, was in the MTC at the same time as me, and has only been in the mission field 6 weeks longer than I have. He hits his "one year left" mark today, which means mine is just around the corner... What a terrifying thought! As President Bishop would say: "Time is fun when you're eating flies!"

I don't have too much interesting stuff to report, so unfortunately my letter will be relatively brief this week. But I would like to share my experience this week on effective planning.

The old standard in the mission was to have 30 lessons every week. While this is no longer a mission goal, it has still been a good indicator for our effectiveness as missionaries. Elder Erekson and I are practically whitewashing, and because of this lack of investigators, it has been pretty rough in our search for lessons. Since being together, we've had only about 6-7 lessons per week. The other day we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and Elder Erekson talked with Elder Teng about our predicament. In response, Elder Teng told him that for the exception of a couple weeks, he had gotten at least 30 lessons every single week of his mission, even when he was whitewashing. The key, he said, was to have thougtful, inspired plans. When this is done, miracles happen. Then Elder Erekson got to see this in action: In the space of two hours, they had a lesson with someone on the road, met with a less active member, and then on their way out of the house bumped into a recent convert who was dropping by to visit. Three lessons in two hours!!!

We decided to give this a good shot. On Saturday night, we hashed out a really thought out, detailed plan that focused on our goals for that day. Even more importantly, we prayed to be sure that this was the plan we were supposed to follow. Then on Sunday, the miracles happened. We had written in our plan that at 3:30 we would have a lesson with someone at the 7-Eleven next to the place where we email. As we rode up, sure enough, we saw a young fellow taking a break at one of the tables outside the 7-Eleven. AND he was willing to let us sit down with him. Shortly after, we had a lesson near our apartment, exactly where and when we had planned it. Many would call this luck, but I know better. There is no way that all of this could have been perfectly orchestrated by chance. God is placing others in our path, and sending us to where we need to be. True, not all our plans, even well thought out ones, will be perfectly executed. Many of mine have been dashed to pieces. But as we exercise faith and do our part to be prepared for the blessings, the Lord will provide ways for us to hit our goals. Super cool!

Hope you are all having a wonderful week, and I love hearing from you! Have a good one,


-Elder Jorgensen


“Our mission rocks. Check out this sticker on my scripture case.”


“Batman is "You Ban Fa!" (Our mission motto: "There is a way!"



“Our beautiful view from our apartment... Too bad we're moving this week. :(


“These cartoon characters look remarkably familiar...”

Sunday, May 26, 2013

20 May 2013

When Elder Bean arrived on island, he did a short activity with Elder Hellberg, in which Elder Bean had his first experience contacting people in Taiwan. According to his rendition of the event, the experience was marred by Elder Hellberg's ridiculously good looks. Many people approached them, asking excitedly if he was the actor that played Peeta in the recent movie The Hunger Games. They then insisted on having pictures with him. Poor Elder Hellberg, he's just too handsome for his own good.

You know how students in Asia are very diligent? I've always known it was because much pressure is put on them by the schools and parents, but I just learned of a particular strategy they use: Every student's test scores are posted in the local newspaper. Its main purpose is for the advertising of schools (IE, "Look at our school, our student's score the highest!"), but this naturally puts a ton of pressure on the individual student because they don't want their family name to "lose face". Nuts.

The rain has really kicked in. We've been having severe thunderstorms and floods recently, and one morning we woke up to the sound of the loudest thunder I have ever heard in my life. Imagine a body builder slamming a cake pan against tile floor as hard as he can, and amplify that by 1000. And then do that over and over and over again. It lasted for a good hour. When it rains out here, the city basically turns off. Nobody is out on the streets (understandably: when it rains, it rains). So we end up making a lot of calls and tracting. The hope is that somebody will take pity on you and let you into their home. In fact, a lot of people become investigators because they usually have had an experience where they have seen the missionaries riding their bikes in a typhoon, so they really come to respect us.

I am still English Leader. They're doing pretty well, we had another attendance spike from 24 to 37 last week, and I'm hoping a lot of those new students carry over into the next week. I think I've really earned a lot of the missionaries trust, which is absolutely crucial to a program's success. We are just one big round of sharing and receiving ideas and constructive criticism, so we are improving a lot! I'm glad to be working with so many fantastic missionaries.

We picked up an investigator this week, his name is Kevin. And talk about SMART. My father has been sending me letters that have talked about science and its relationship with religion, so I was more than ready when Kevin started pulling out things like "Occam's razor" and Pascal's theories on economics. Clearly, my dad was inspired to write about that stuff, because I was able to address all of his concerns and perfectly understand where he was coming from. In the end, he actually agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Pretty amazing.

Elder Erekson got a call the other day from four girls on a conference call, asking if we could go to their party. When we said no, they asked us for our personal Facebook addresses. "Um, here's our English Class Facebook!" They weren't thrilled about that. To add on to that, there was a member family trying really hard to hook us up with their daughter and niece: "I want them to go to America because I like American boys better."

On Wednesday, all four of us local Elders were biking home, when suddenly this guy in a van drove up beside us and started shouting through a megaphone, "Go go go go go go go GO GO GO!" He started accelerating and we found ourselves in a really fast van-bike drag race. And I'm happy to say we beat him. Take that!

Brother Shi got baptized!!! Woohoo!!! Because our church building is so weird, we do not have a baptismal font, so we used a puny swimming pool instead. Because Brother Shi is so tall, he had to basically crumple himself into a ball to go all the way under the water and fit in the pool. Regardless, I'm super happy for his decision. I hope he continues on to be an active member, as I know he will be very blessed if he does so.

Elder Erekson is the bomb! I'm so grateful to be working with him. This is his first movecall as District Leader, let alone senior companion, so we are having a great time figuring things out. We laugh and sing a lot together, we get along well. We are trying to write a few songs right now; we'll try to get the album published by the end of next month. First things first: where can I get a good tape recorder?

Hope all is well back at the home front! I love you all! Stay cool (It's too hot here! Appreciate the cold weather while you can!).


-Elder Jorgensen


“My desk space.”


“Elder Erekson photo-bombing my camera.”


“Brother Shi and party.”


“Sister Christensen and her new trainee, Sister Burr.”


“Brother Wu, our Ward Mission Leader.”


“Brother Yang, a super super nice guy who is a ward missionary.”


“Baptism font, so puny!”


“The Gangshan crew.”


“It's Adventure Time! This cartoon is incredibly popular in Taiwan.”