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...”