Saturday, May 24, 2014

30 December 2013

My last email of 2013. Egads!

I heard a crazy story that happened a few weeks ago out here. There was this old guy in a wheelchair going across the crosswalk. He had barely passed the median and was crossing in front of a large truck when the light turned green. He decided that he needed to turn around and wait in the safety of the median for the next light. However, the truck driver could not see him. As the man was in mid-turn, the truck accelerated, and the handles lodged into the grill of the vehicle, locking the wheelchair in a front-facing position. The truck continued to drive, a now panicked old man having the ride of his life in his front row seat. The truck barreled onto the interstate. All the man could do was hang on as the wind pressed him into the grill behind him. Luckily, a passerby saw the traumatized victim and notified the police, whom 8 km later were able to pull over the vehicle. That was probably better than any roller coaster ride he'd ever been on. 

I had a wonderful Christmas! I had a wonderful time talking with my family, and I got a lot of letters and presents from family and friends too. All of you are tremendous blessings in my life, and I am so grateful that I've had the opportunity to know each of you.

I'm happy to say that things are going well out here. My district is doing well. We were sad to see Sister Jarvis and Sister Grigg leave (the first finished her mission and the latter moved to Gaoxiong); they were wonderful additions to our district and they were fantastic examples to all of us. However, despite this loss we are seeing more miracles in the work. Our district now has six investigators with baptismal goals, and they all are progressing very well. Most importantly, the missionaries are feeling a lot happier now, which makes me feel good. Focusing on vision and personal commitment has been helping. It confirms to me that I really am receiving revelation from the Spirit as I prepare for training meetings.

So now my 2013 reflection: If I had to state the biggest thing I learned, I'd say that I have grown in so many ways that I wouldn't be able to pin it to just one thing. But what I can say is that all the things I have learned have helped me to love God more, and understand His love for me. His love is limitless. As Elder Holland states it, "God doesn't care nearly as much as where you have been as He does where you are and with His help, where you are willing to go." No matter who we are or what we've done, God loves us all equally and unfathomably. He knows us perfectly. Sometimes He loves us so much that He lets us suffer, because He knows we need it. I've felt that several times on my mission, and I've come out every time understanding that the trials were for my good. Understanding this makes life purposeful. Understanding this makes life beautiful. I love the simplicity of God's plan.

Now 2014 comes. In the next year, I will work hard, see miracles, see baptisms, see lives change, and then I will be returning home and starting work and schooling. This will be a challenging year. But I plan to trust in God and do my best, and I know He will lift me up when I am weak. I know He loves me.

Have a wonderful new year!


-Elder Jorgensen

23 December 2013

Christmas is upon us! Woohoo!

We kicked off this week by playing some songs at a recording studio. Elder Claflin is a pro musician (He was in a band called Box Trained Cats, look for their studio recording of "Astronauts and Firefighters" on YouTube), and we had a lot of fun goofing around on instruments. We made some friends there, and they might film us today with their sweet video equipment. Super fun!

Later we had the missionary Christmas conference. We traveled to Sun Moon Lake, caught up with old friends, and got some good pictures. I was happy to see all my MTC buddies; they're all doing really well. Sister Chord and Sister Newman are going home in a few weeks, so crazy! Really cliché, but time does fly so fast! We ended the conference with President Blickenstaff dissecting the teachings of Isaiah for us. Usually, I'm lulled to sleep whenever I start to read out of that section of the Bible, but President made it very interesting. I was impressed with his historical knowledge. He really made the scriptures come to life, and I could understand them so much better! It inspired me to be a scholar of the scriptures, and I plan to study more in depth the history of the Bible.

We also ended the week with a musical performance at our Ward Christmas party. It was wonderful to be able to serve others through our talents. I love Christmas because it's a wonderful opportunity to be able to spread happiness and joy by helping and loving.

I also got some letters from friends back home. I loved the card I got from my Single's Ward! I especially loved hearing from my old home teaching companion, Bishop Rogers. It brought back some good memories of working together to help some of God's children. I also got a letter from a boy named Corbin, and I was touched by his kind words. I certainly feel loved, very much so!

Whenever I think of Christmas, I cannot help but think of the life that followed that humble birth in a manger. Christ wrought great miracles and brought about the salvation of mankind. He suffered for us, He died for us, and He lives again for us. Through Him, we will all live again, and we can overcome our sins and mistakes and live with God and our families forever. I love the joy and hope this gospel brings! I know Christ lives, and I know that His power is real. I know that through Him, we can have eternal life. I know that if we keep His commandments, He will bless us with happiness in this life and the life to come.

Have a merry Christmas!

-Elder Jorgensen











20131200 David with MTC companions

16 December 2013


Out with the old ways, in with the new... That's something I've had to really ponder as I've tried getting used to my new area, Fengyuan. I guess the key is figuring out which old ways need to be thrown out, because my past experiences have served well in some situations.

Remember how I was feeling waaaay back when I started serving in Hengchun, six months ago? I felt pretty hopeless and tired. I had a desire to serve, and I believed that we could baptize, but I also felt like baptism wouldn't happen anytime soon. I had some faith, but I had no hope.

As a district leader, my responsibility is to bless, inspire, and motivate the missionaries in my area. To do this, I've really tried to make friends with each missionary. The common thread I've found is that they feel quite the same as how I felt in Hengchun. I love each of these missionaries, and they are all so faithful and have wonderful desires to serve the Lord, and I'm excited to help them build more hope for success in the work. The first step for building hope is establishing a clear vision. I asked each Elder and Sister to write down their vision for their area, something that inspires them, and put it in a place where they can see it every day. For example, I wrote "Eternal Families at the Gaoxiong Temple," meaning a new temple would be built. This motivates me to talk to more people, work harder, and smile bigger. It's been going pretty well, and this week we're going to start making plans to achieve these visions.

Every Tuesday we have District Training Meetings (DTM), where the district leader gives some training/presentation. Before, the meetings were held in English. But the morning of my first DTM, my Zone Leaders called and told me there was a "rule change: if there are native Taiwanese in your district, you have to do the meeting in Chinese". So that day I ran a 1 1/2 hour meeting in Mandarin.

On the note of speaking long periods of time in Chinese, the bishop asked me to speak on Sunday about Christmas for seven minutes, so I did that on my first church service here. Both of these experiences have helped me to see that I have really come a long way with my Chinese, and it brings me a lot of relief and gratitude for God's blessings. He truly has helped me much in learning this language.

The new ward is interesting, because 60% of the members are returned missionaries. However, only about 15% of the members are actively attending church—a further testament that I must be on my guard when I come home, because the trials don't end. The adversary is really good at lulling people into a false sense of security, and I plan to never fall into that trap.

Elder Claflin is the man! As it turns out, his dad is the guy who plays the investigator in the movie The Best Two Years. Super cool. What I like most about Elder Claflin is that he is very humble. He is a consecrated missionary, and really focuses his thoughts to the Lord and His work. You can see it in the way he acts. I'm really happy to be companions with him; this past week was an absolute blast.

I had a weird thought this morning... I might only have two more companions after Elder Claflin. Scary!!! I'm trying to enjoy every moment I have, because every minute out here is precious. I LOVE MY MISSION!!!


-Elder Jorgensen



“Some members in Hengchun branch. Left to right: Brother Xu, President Zung and his wife, me and the Xu girls, Sister Xu, and Sister Cai and her daughter.”


“Nice Harley!”


“From left going clockwise: Yu Ting (Lisa), Elder Wadley, Ming Yan (investigator), Sister Huang, and me.”


“Look at that tree's roots!”


“Beware of dogs.”

9 December 2013

I've moved! I went from the farthest south area in the mission, Hengchun, to the northernmost area, Fengyuan. And my companion rocks! Elder Claflin was just trained by Elder Fronk, a missionary I was with in the MTC. Funnily, Elder Fronk told Elder Claflin two weeks ago that he had a feeling that he would "be companions with Elder Jorgensen." Elder Averett was beside himself, saying that we were exactly alike. He and I have actually hit it off extremely well! I'm very excited.

My last week in Hengchun was fun. We spent one day contacting people in Kending when we saw 37 Ferrari's. Elder Hellberg called us telling us he was the new Assistant to the President. The Relief Society President's daughter told her father she wanted to serve a mission. Sister Huang gave us a lot of food at her restaurant. We watched Elder Buckwalter pass down a tie to his trainee Elder Teerlink, which had been passed down for 5 generations of missionaries. It's sad to leave these people. I love this area, and I will miss them a lot.

My new assignment is a little scary. I grimace to myself when I think about how much I wanted a leadership assignment in the past, and how now I am afraid of being a district leader in a group of five companionships. This was the assignment I dreamed of before, and now I just feel inadequate. But thankfully I have an awesome companion and great Zone Leaders to guide and support me in my responsibilities. This will be a blast!

Hope you have a wonderful week,

-Elder Jorgensen

2 December 2013

This week we had a spectacular mission tour. Elder Randy Funk of the Seventy (he spoke in the last General Conference Priesthood session) came and visited us. He talked a lot about consecration and 100% commitment to the work. Really, it all falls on the principle of obedience. If we are obedient, if we act on our faith, we get blessings. It's not enough just to believe that good things will happen; we have to be working to acquire those things.

I feel like this has been a major problem of mine. One common thing I tend to say to myself is: "Wouldn't it be cool if...", or, "I wish we could...", etc. Goals and wishes are great, but I never make the plans to achieve most of those dreams.

So I made some changes after the meeting. I decided that, first things first, I was going to start off my day correctly in the morning. I have been growing pretty lax toward the morning schedule, sometimes drifting into Personal Study time five to ten minutes late and rarely getting out of bed at 6:30 sharp. I'm noticing that as I obey with exactness the missionary schedule, I am blessed with more energy, better study, and better Chinese.

I also decided to consecrate my language study time. As I have focused my energy towards learning new words and reinforcing my Chinese, I have become more aware of mistakes I have made and have more ability to correct them. I also feel less frustrated with the language.

And how about some miracles!? One of our investigators, Brother Song, just passed a baptismal interview yesterday. Super solid. I'm really excited for him because he already has terrific support from the members: his best friend is the Relief Society President's daughter. The only thing holding him back is that he wants his parents to come to church once before he gets baptized. We agree that he should include his parents, but we're a little nervous about having his baptism delayed. After all, it's when you are on the right track that the adversary kicks in the strongest. We're going to turn over the decision to him, and let him pray about what he should do.

I also just found out that one of my English students in Gangshan, Willy (the one who gave me the ukulele), is getting baptized this Saturday. Nuts! So exciting!

It's now my last week in the promised land of Hengchun. I love it here, and I will be sad to leave. It's going to be a great week!


-Elder Jorgensen