Sunday, February 24, 2013

20 February 2013

Operations President, Elder Evans, were coming for a surprise visit on Monday, and that we were all to travel to Taichung to meet them at a mission conference. It turned out to be a magnificent meeting. Elder Watson said something very interesting, and all missionaries out there should take note: "The most important thing you can do on you mission is to write your parents every week!" As we do this, it will help us better understand Heavenly Father's love for us, as well as build up your family in the Spirit. Elder Evans followed him, and told us some news about what is going on at the MTC right now. By the end of this year, the number of Elders in the mission field will have doubled, and the number of Sisters will have tripled or quadrupled. Many, many missionaries are on the way. He then told us that we need to be ready to train all these new missionaries. "You need to grow up... quick!!!" We are in the midst of amazing times, and we need to rise up to the occasion and take up the mantle of responsibility that has been placed upon us. How wonderful it is to be alive at this time! We are blessed beyond measure to witness these miracles!

This week is POWER WEEK!!! The most intense week of the year. Every day we have goals we strive to hit, and the goals are pretty lofty. It really rips us out of our comfort zones. Yesterday each companionship was to give out 15 Books of Mormon, as well as swap contact information and set up a time to call them and see how their reading is going. At first, I was dreading this week, but now that I'm experiencing it, it's tremendously fun. There are miracles everywhere! Families, often so unreceptive, were accepting our invitations and setting up times to meet! Elder Dailey gave a Book of Mormon that lives in Mainland China, in an area that Sister Busath used to live. I asked a random guy to pull over, and he did! And he was totally prepared to hear our message. So far every night we've called President Bishop and had the joy of saying, "President Bishop, this is Elder Dailey and Elder Jorgensen. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!"

This Saturday is a half hour of Dan Jones, classic soap-box preaching. WOOHOO!

I love all of you, and I know God does to. Keep being faithful and you will see God's hand in your life. Be strong!

"Jesus got your back." -Elder Chia


-Elder Jorgensen


“Oh noes! My desk is out of control again! Aaah!”


“Eeew, soggy cut-up finger... It's looking a lot better now, that's for sure.” *Mom is sparing you the close up. :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

11 February 2013

As you all know, I've been struggling a bit with my duties as a missionary, particularly in the confidence department. Last week, I had the tremendous privilege to sit down in an interview with my mission president, and I mulled over the problem with him. He emphasized to me that there are two things that need to happen in order to get over my fears: One, I must forget myself, and Two, I must have faith that Christ can help me turn my weaknesses into strengths. He was also very understanding and empathetic, and shared experiences that he had on his own mission that were similar in nature. He is a terrific mission president, pretty much a father for me out here. At the end of the interview, I was walking out the door when he called me back and gave me a big hug, saying, "I just want you to know I'm impressed with you. I think you are an outstanding missionary." It was what I needed to hear, and some of the stress inside me just melted away. I am grateful for his charity and leadership.

So, this week is officially Chinese New Year!!! It started on Sunday, and Elder Dailey and I gave out tons of hongbao's, or red envelopes filled with chocolate coins, to church members. There were not many people at church though, so congregations were combined for this meeting. On New Year's Day, people typically leave town and go to their rural homes to visit their parents. As a result, downtown city areas (such as Lingya) really empty out. Luckily, we have this fabulous place right next to our apartment called the Cultural Center, which puts on tons of shows for New Year's, so there are plenty of families that come to see them. Of course, none of them are actually from our area, so we just refer them to the missionaries in their respective areas.

The best thing about New Year's is that everyone is incredibly friendly. Nobody on the road will ignore you when you try to talk to them, at least saying "hi" or something. If they aren't on a vehicle, they will even have a conversation with you. The one problem with all of this is that they assume we are here on vacation. This makes it incredibly difficult to bring conversation into gospel subjects. They mostly just have interest in what we think about Taiwan and how it compares to America.

So we have had to adjust our finding strategies. We are always looking for new investigators of our church, so if one method isn't working out, we just have to adapt. We decided to try our faith and try something that, from the outside, may seem just ridiculous. On Sunday morning, we wrote in our plan that we were going to have a random sit-down lesson with a guy named Yang at 4:30, at the Cultural Center. (There are about 100 different surnames in Chinese culture, and Yang is about in the middle in popularity.) So, at 4:00 we started riding around the Cultural Center, talking to people. Some people would talk to us, but they were a little brisk when they realized who we were and we didn't see too much success at all. At one point, Elder Dailey was taking down information from a family, and I was waiting for him about two yards away. Then, at almost 4:30 on the dot, this random guy walks up from behind me and asks in English, "Hey, where are you from? What's your name?" I respond, and then ask him, "What's your name?"


I'm thinking in my head, Wait, is this the guy? So I say, "Sweet! What's your 'xing ming'?" ("xing ming" means "chinese surname".)

"Oh, wo xing Yang." ("Oh, my surname is Yang.")

I just kind of did a double-take. No way, is this happening?! I started talking with him, and I found out that he had already studied extensively on his own about our church, and that he believes in Christ. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and he said he was willing to study it and pray about it, because he "really [wanted] to know if it is true." He sadly lives in Jiayi, so we'll never see him again, but it was a testimony to me that if we seek something out in faith, God will provide.

Another cool experience happened while we were tracting an alleyway. We learned this clever little trick (sometimes I feel bad doing it) where we ring all the doorbells at once in an apartment building. When they all answer over the loudspeaker, we say "Wo men dao le!" ("We're here!"), and usually somebody will unlock the door and let us in, therefore letting us knock on the doors instead of using the intercom. In this one particular instance, we rang all the doorbells, and instead of anybody answering through the intercom, we heard somebody shouting at the top of the building. We looked up to see some guy leaning out the window. When he saw we were Americans, he said in English, "Hey, who are you looking for?"

Elder Dailey replied, "You!"

Slight confusion crossed his face. "Do I know you?"

"Not yet!"

He thought for a moment, and then smiled. "Okay, give me a second, I'll be right down!" We had a wonderful conversation with him (in English!), and he expressed to us that he wanted to talk with us because he thought it must be "depressing to have so many people ignore [us]." He was super nice, and will probably be coming to English class soon.

So while some areas of my mission are hard right now, there are other parts that are very rewarding. I love the miracles I see every day. I am blessed to see the Lord supporting us and carrying the work forward. Honestly, God doesn't need me to do this. God, the all powerful being that He is, can do all of this better than any mere mortal can. But I am grateful that He is willing to allow me to be a part of His work. He truly wants us to learn and grow, and will give us opportunities to do so as long as we seek them out. I love being a missionary!

I love you all, and have a wonderful New Year!

-Elder Jorgensen


“Power cleaning time! Check out that kitchen! (I can't believe I'm releasing these pictures...)”

***I am only releasing the “after” photos—I don’t want to subject anyone to the “before” photos. Your welcome—David’s mom :)


They worked hard during power cleaning time—trust me. :)


“Oh boy, Power Week next week! Aaah!”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

4 February 2013– Homework, Grammar, and fulness


Da gei he!

On Tuesday my companion and I were sitting outside a Family Mart fretting about our schedule that basically went up in flames. It was supposed to be a good day, full of appointments, but everything, I mean everything, fell through. While I was talking with him about it, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a gaggle of teen girls huddled at the nearby street intersection, toting a large red board of some sort. Every so often one or two of them would glance up at us, and then turn back to looking at this board. I paid little heed to this; being American foreigners, the majority of Taiwanese stare at us like some museum exhibit. But when they started walking directly toward us, holding this board that I realized to be a giant red heart, I began to feel a little concerned. I braced myself for impact... impact with what, I had no idea, but I was sure it was going to be bad. The girls gathered around our table, six in all, one holding a video camera. Then the one holding the board said: "We are looking for a foreigner, and if you answer all of our questions, you get a prize." We then looked at the heart and saw that there were questions written across it, and as we read them, the worry just fled away. "Where are you from?" "What's your favorite food in Taiwan?" etc. Phew. Just some high school'ers doing their homework. And their gift was vanilla egg pudding, so good. We didn't think our week could get any better.

And then that evening Sister Busath randomly calls me and says, "I didn't know you are Elder Burdick's cousin!!!" Elder Burdick is currently serving in New Zealand, Mandarin speaking, and apparently he and Sister Busath were in the MTC together. But wait, there's more! Elder Burdick was MTC companions with Elder Terry, who was my Dan Jones companion when I first came to Taiwan. So between Elder Burdick and Elder Jackson, I'm connected with practically everyone here in the Taiwan mission.

On Wednesday, I did some training for the missionaries in my district about teaching grammar principles in English class. I was showing them a method that would help the class take the grammar pattern and draw on previous English knowledge to expand their understanding of the grammar. At the end, I asked them if they had any questions for me, or anything else they'd like training on for the next week, and Sister Busath said, "Elder Jorgensen, I'm impressed. I think we need you to teach us English grammar, because it's obvious you get it, and we don't understand it at all." Everybody laughed really hard, and nodded vigorously in agreement. I guess I'm just teaching English now! Kudos to my English teacher, Mrs. Browning, for helping me understand and retain all this stuff. You rock.

But the best day was Friday. We had English Training, a special meeting that was put together because our mission just changed all the English curriculum and advertising materials. At one point, they told us that they were no longer going to have young, inexperienced missionaries be English Leaders anymore. I automatically assumed that this would be my last movecall as English Leader, and joked that Sister Busath would become English Leader again (she was English Leader for five movecalls in a row, and she hated it!). To my surprise, my Zone Leader who overheard the joke told me that the new English Leaders were already picked and that they were the people who are Leaders right now. I was shocked, but pleasantly so. I'm one of the youngest in the District, but my mission leaders trusting me with the work. I hope I can live up to their expectations, and the expectations of those in my District as well.

I hope all is well for all of you. Enjoy the cold weather you still have, while you can. (Winter lasted for only two weeks here. I'm already back to dripping with sweat 24/7.)


-Elder Jorgensen

“Chi dao bao.” Literally translated: “Eat until you have obtained fulness.”


I decided to immerses myself in Taiwanese culture and buy some cheap, thick framed black glasses.  Elder Dailey did the same.


Elder Dailey

Elder Gummow, the most chilax (chill/relax) man on the planet, with cocoa powder in his face.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

28 January 2013

And so begins my fourth move call! And I am very happy to say that I am not leaving Lingya! Yeah!!!

Two interesting foods this week. I tried true sushi for the first time, and it actually wasn't half bad. Now I know what my sister Freja was raving about. The other food is the McPoorMan’s burger. The two cheapest burgers on the McDonald's menu are the Double Cheeseburger and the Chicken burger. You buy one of each (cheaper in total than a BigMac), and stick the chicken burger in between the two meat patties of the Cheeseburger. So good. And it fills you up. Mom's gonna have my neck for this.

As English leader, I have to work with my district in figuring out how to expand our English education program. At the beginning of the last move call, I had set some pretty lofty goals for the English program in our area, including 50% attendance boost and two new investigators from English per companionship (six total). We really threw in a lot of effort this move call, doing combined, heavily planned spiritual shares at the end of class, and renovating our flyers and advertising. Our attendance didn't ever dramatically grow, but last week was met with huge success. We had nine new people come to class: half came because of flyers, while the other half came from friends of students who were currently attending. And we picked up five new investigators. It was really invigorating to see new student after new student walk in through the door. Woohoo!

Elder Lathen, who came on island with me, stayed with us for a few days. We had a funny experience where he was riding our extra junk bike, and while we were riding down a back-road he somehow wrecked and was lying sprawled in the street. There was a man getting into his car at the time right next to Elder Lathen, and he came walking over to him as if to help. But all he did was pick up the bike and move it so he could back up his car out of his driveway. We can't stop laughing about it.

I was really touched last night at Family Home Evening, when Sister Wu who was teaching the lesson asked who in our lives we needed to share the gospel with and how we would do it. Amy, Sister Zhang's daughter, shared about how she wanted to share the gospel with her older brother. I looked over to Sister Zhang and I saw that she was staring intently at her daughter with a huge smile and tears running down her face. It was clear to me that they truly love their family. It reminded me of my own family, and how my mother must feel about me and my siblings. I hope I can grow that kind of love for everyone I meet in my life.

I feel like half of a mission is introspecting and analyzing what is lacking, and needs to improve. For a long time now, I've been very apprehensive toward talking to people on the street. Quite often I'll be waiting at a stoplight, and a guy might be there right next to me, and I don't say anything. I'll start having this inner conflict that seems to consume my whole body, trying to get myself to speak but meanwhile having the desire to just hang back and stay in my own personal bubble.

One night I was talking with Elder Dailey about this and it suddenly all just sort of clicked in my mind. I fear contacting because I fear rejection. I fear rejection because, in my thought process, rejection means I'm inadequate, which in turn means I don't understand myself. For example, my early days in middle school and beginning of high school were hard for me. I had a few friends, but I definitely wasn't popular, and I felt terribly insecure. I remember one instance when a total stranger made fun of me for tucking in my button-up shirt, and I've never tucked them in ever since. I was ruled by the longing to fit in, but what I didn't realize until later in high school is that to "fit in" means to "stand out". It was when I figured out how to be myself that I made many friends. It was then that I rarely, if ever, faced rejection and criticism from peers. To me, having friends and being, well, popular, were signs that I understood who I was.

And now I face rejection on a day-to-day basis. Subconsciously, this rejection indicates that I am not being myself. This in turn means that I don't truly understand who I am. Not wanting to face this thought, I shut down all motivation and resist any situation that risks open rejection.

Now there are many that would say, "No, they're not rejecting Elder Jorgensen! They're rejecting Christ!" But what if they are only rejecting this message because the bearer of it is not being genuine? This would mean that the fault lies with me, not the recipient.

Clearly, something has to be done. Whether it's a change of thought process, or just a go-and-do-it attitude, I have to do whatever it takes to get over this fear. I take comfort in the fact that through Christ my weaknesses can be turned into my greatest strengths. This fear is definitely a great trial of my faith. I do not know exactly what I must do to overcome this challenge, but I do know that God will help me through it, and help me learn and grow in the process.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I hope all is well, and I look forward to writing you again next week!


-Elder Jorgensen

P.S. Thank Grandma Connie for me for the new pajamas. Much needed, and very comfortable! :D Thank you Grandma, I love you!!!!


“Me, taken by Elder Morgan Chen (professional photographer, currently being trained by Elder Chia, and currently has photos being sold for $10,000). He never ceases to amaze me.”

“Our trip to the Dream Mall . . . “


“The Dream Mall from outside.”


“Elder Dailey and I at the Dream Mall Ferris Wheel.”


“Roxanne in the Ferris Wheel.”


“My English student, Sam Yang.”


“Taking a stroll in the Mall.”


“Sam (right), his girlfriend (middle), and my other English student, Roxanne Huang.”


“Elder Chia.”


“Rich lifted up his sweater and asked, ‘I just bought this shirt, what does it mean?’”


“Downtown Kaoshuing (There's the 85!).”


“Mmmm, Peanut Butter.”




“Elder Dailey on the phone.”


“Termites in our apartment.”


“Elder Lathen.”


“The best Spring Rolls ever.”