Saturday, June 28, 2014

24 February 2014

The last week of the transfer approaches, and then I only have three more. Absolutely terrifying. Time flies so fast!

Tomorrow I get my new greenie companion. He should be out with the office Elders right now, trying his first Hot Pot.

Power week kind of flopped because I've been going to tons of meetings. Thursday was the Train the Trainers meeting. I think before I went into the meeting I was a little daunted about the prospect of training, but President Blickenstaff helped me feel a little excited for it. You know, I'm not really going to train, I think I'm going to be trained. I'm excited to see what I can learn from my new companion, and I'm excited to make a new friend.

People always say that you end up having a lot of the same character qualities as your trainer. Which is true. Elder Claflin has said multiple times that he can't wait to see "Mini Jorgensen".

On Sunday I biked into the parking lot of the church meetinghouse to see a girl that looked strikingly familiar. I coasted to my parking spot in a daze. "Wait.... No way. It can't be!" I ran inside to see my Taiwanese mother, Sister Zhang, with her daughter, Amy, waiting for me. They came to visit a family friend up here in our ward, but they also came to see me! They are doing very well. Amy turned 17 a few months ago. I still remember attending her 16th birthday party. Before they left, Sister Zhang gave me a ton of bread, and Amy gave me a pink tie to go with the blue one that she gave me when I left that area. I was so happy to see them! They are family to me, I love them so much. It was all I could do to restrain myself from giving them hugs.

We closed off the week with a wonderful meeting with the Presiding Bishop of the church, Bishop Stevenson. His son is in my district (he is the one I accidentally left the mission boundaries with). The meeting was great, but really, if all I heard was his testimony, I would have been satisfied. He bore a powerful witness of the Savior, and the power of his words shot through me like electricity. I just found myself crying. He was right, he was so right! The Savior does live! He loves us! He suffered and died for us! And He was ressurected! And if we follow Him, He will be our advocate with the Father, and we can live in Heaven with our families and have an eternal progression. I know these things are true, for I have received this witness for myself. This knowledge came from God.

I love you all. Have a wonderful week!

-Elder Jorgensen





19 February 2014

The temple is a magical place! It was a tender mercy of the Lord that I could attend the English session. They were assigning us to different sessions, and I was hoping for the English because I wanted to hear again the wording of the covenants in the endowment. God answered my prayers.

About yesterday, we started Powerweek. In one day, Elder Claflin and I placed copies of the Book of Mormon, swapped contact information, and set up a time to follow up on their reading, with 19 people. AND we had four lessons. One of them was a LA we found the day before, and after meeting with him that day he sent us a text thanking us and telling us that "he had lost [his] way, but now [he wants] to return to [his] Lord and God." Woohoo!

And final big news of the week. President called me Monday night to tell me that I'M TRAINING!!! Starting on this coming Tuesday. I'm freaked out. It's gonna be fun, and it's gonna be a good learning experience for me. :) Exciting!

17 February 2014

Hello folks!

I'm afraid I don't have time to write much of a letter this week. Our email time has been cut short today because...


Finally! After a year and a half of waiting! WOOHOO!

Some interesting observations I made: I've noticed I've forgotten a lot about the temple. I don't remember the specifics of what we do there very clearly, and I have forgotten the feeling of the temple. I remember it feels good... but beyond that, I couldn't tell you. In fact, that memory had diminished so much that I noticed I didn't react very strongly when I found out I would be going. There was excitement there, but it was pretty small. This worried me, and I've been spending time trying to revive my memories to build my excitement, so that this will be a good spiritual experience.

This week was another hard week. Few lessons, and a lot of knocking doors. A lot of "No thank you"'s and "All churches are the same"'s. To top it off, there's all these other Taoist holidays going on, so nobody's really in the mood to hear about what they call an "American religion". Really tiring. The one thing that keeps my spirits up is recalling that I had it much worse in Hengchun. We still have a few investigators, so I'm happy about that. Plus, I have a fantastic companion, who is fired up and willing to "leave it all on the field". I remember a couple days ago when I knelt down and started praying, and found myself overcome with gratitude for my stellar companion. Times may be hard, but I don't think I've ever had more fun on my mission than now.

I'll write back more on Wednesday, we get another hour then.

Love to you all!

-Elder Jorgensen




10 February 2014

I went on an exchange with a new arrival missionary a couple weeks ago. This was Elder Stevenson's (the Presiding Bishop's son) first exchange. Well, he had quite the experience... We went to a secondary area, and unfortunately, we got on the wrong train going back. We all too late realized our mistake, and got off on a creepy train platform in Miaoli. We had left our mission boundaries! We waited around for a good hour until a southbound train came by. That was the first time I had ever left the mission. Elder Stevenson thanked me for making his first exchange so memorable.

We had a fantastic Zone Training Meeting this week. They talked about consecration. They closed the meeting with a talk by Elder Holland, which I invite you to watch. It is seriously one of the best talks I have ever heard, and after it was over I felt like I needed to step it up. My mission has been fantastic for me because it continually pushes me to be a better person and work harder.

Of course, it has been all too easy for me to compare myself to others as I try to improve. Elder Terry, a departing missionary, shared with us the following poem:

"No one can be a better me than me.

If you try to be better than me, I'll break your leg.

Now try to be a better me with a broken leg."

In the end, God does not care where you've been. All He cares about is where you are right now, and what you will do going forward. My accomplishments don't have to be any bigger than a great leader of history. In God's eyes, the street sweeper is just as important and just as special as a prophet. The street sweeper doesn't get any less privileges than the prophet; we are all His children, and heirs to all that He has. As long as we remain faithful in our respective capacities, we can obtain eternal life and salvation in God's kingdom.

Last but not least, while I was at a 7-Eleven making phone calls, some lady randomly gave us rice pudding, told us "Happy New Year!", and drove away. Weird. But super cool. I felt so happy after that, and it made me really realize the power of random acts of kindness.

Hope you have a wonderful week, and a happy Valentine's day!


-Elder Jorgensen


“We got this Buddhist calander, and we saw this familiar picture of a building inside...”

3 February 2014

I had a fantastic interview with President this week. We talked about the remainder of my mission. He brought up the fact that I have sent him several emails regarding the reasons why I am sent to certain places and why I am in specific capacities. He told me about how he receives revelation for missionary transfers. He told me that his biggest expectation and hope for me is not to be a big leader, or to train a new missionary, but rather to find, teach, and baptize. He also told me that District Leaders are very unappreciated. He gave me a hug and told me he's been very proud of the work I've been doing, and that I am definitely more than qualified to be a Zone Leader or a Trainer, but that he just needs me where I am right now. It was a very spiritually uplifting conversation, and I walked out feeling more certain that the Lord's plan for me is the best one.

Then followed Chinese New Year. Our Ward really pitched in and fed the missionaries every lunch and dinner for the entire duration of the holiday. Imagine Thanksgiving dinner, twice a day, for a week. I gained 10 pounds in the first two days. I got food poisoning on the third day and spent the next 24 hours on the floor of the bathroom just wanting to puke. I don't really enjoy eating anymore, which I thought I'd never say.

Remember Tyler from my first area (He called me his "little brother")? I saw him on Sunday. He's changed a lot. He's an active member, and is in the process of submitting his missionary application. I am so very proud of him.

I got a fantastic email from one of my friends today. She talked about trials and loss, and how the gospel helps us overcome such obstacles. It made me think about my own mission, and about my family. I've personally lost a few great-grandparents during my lifetime, but I'm sad to say that I never was very connected with them, so I never really felt much of the pain of their leaving. I have spent time, however, thinking about how I would feel if someone close to me passed away. It's hard to comprehend. However, I count myself lucky to have the buffer the gospel provides. It is a blessing to know that through the power of Christ's Atonement, family relationships can endure beyond the grave. When loved ones leave us, of course it is sad, but with the knowledge of the gospel it does not have to be tragic. There is still hope. We can look forward to a time when we will be reunited with them, free from all cares and sorrow.

I think of trials in the same way. When they happen, it's sad, frustrating, and can even be overwhelming. But Christ's Atonement even covers the stresses of everyday life. When Christ suffered for you, He felt the stress you had when you lost your job. When He suffered for you, He felt the fear you had when you accidentally overcharged your debit card. When He suffered for you, He felt the stinging pain you had when you scraped your knee on the road. Believe me when I say that He gets it. He 100% understands what each and every one of us is going through. And the best thing is, we can rely on Him to help us get past the pain and fears we have. The opposition does not have to last. When we follow Christ, we have hope for a better life in the end, living as a resurrected, immortal being in the presence of our Heavenly Father, free from all cares and sorrow. All our loses will be made up through Christ.

The gospel is true, and I love you. Have a wonderful week, and a happy year of the horse!

-Elder Jorgensen


“Huludun park in Fengyuan.”


“I won the lottery! Woot! 200NTD is the prize. The numbers are on all receipts for any purchase.”

2 February 2014

Us having Chinese New Year dinner with the Mao family (the family on


27 January 2014

Project Purification is trying, but now I'm starting to see good results. I've noticed small changes in my personal ability to resist temptation. The improvement is slow, but I definitely have more control over my impulses. For instance, I am more quick to recognize when I am thinking of a "Babylon Song", so that I can shut out the thought before I start singing it. It's cool to use the power of the Atonement and see the transformation taking place inside myself.

As a result of this project, I have been teaching with more power. On Tuesday, we visited an investigator family. We've mainly been working with the father, Brother Wu, for the last few months, and despite his faithful reading of the scriptures and daily prayers, he still has not set apart time to go to church. He lately has expressed a desire to receive revelation from God regarding decisions with his work, but he hasn't been getting any answers in his prayers. We had already talked about church with him several times, but he didn't really see the urgency of attending. As we talked with him this time, I bore testimony about the importance of sacrificing in order to obtain answers from God. I then felt a particularly strong impression, and I told him that he had not made enough of a sacrifice for God to give him revelation about his work. Then followed with a promise: if he made the sacrifice necessary to attend church a few weeks, he would receive a direct answer from God in his prayers. That was when the member accompanying us kind of gasped. Brother Wu thought about what I said for a while, and had a hard time coming up with a response. After a little bit, he said, "Yeah, I really need to go to church. Let me talk with my wife about it." It was a big breakthrough.

The amazing thing for me was the level of confidence that I had as I dictated that promise. It felt like it wasn't something that I came up with on the spot, but rather direct inspiration from God. The Spirit was strong in that room, and I know Brother Wu felt it too. I am hoping that he gives this promise a shot.

Another event that occurred during the week was probably the closest I've gotten to direct contact with the devil: I'm pretty sure I phone called him. 

We were calling through our investigators, and I eventually came to the number of a precious family we've been teaching for a while. The mother hasn't really wanted to participate in the lessons, and the father is very Buddhist, so we've been mostly teaching the kids. We'd wanted to meet with her for a while and re-invite her to take the lessons together with her children, but we had not gotten a hold of her for weeks.

I dialed her number, and she quickly answered. I said my usual hello, and she responded, "Uh, what is it Elders?"

"Hey, we were wondering if we could come over tomorrow, would that be okay?"

She kind of groaned, then said, "We're very busy lately, we don't have much time."

"Oh, no problem, maybe just 15 minutes then."

"Uh, um, no need. Don't come anymore, we have different beliefs, we can't accept your religion. Don't come."

I felt panicked. "Huh? Why can't we visit anymore? It was okay for us to visit in the past; what changed? Is everything okay?"

Silence. Then she hung up.

Elder Claflin and I looked at each other, and our hearts just flopped over and died. I quickly checked the number that I dialed, and sure enough, I had dialed the correct number. Elder Claflin was also sure that it was her voice over the phone. I didn't want to accept this as the end of our relationship with this family, so we decided we'd go by the next night.

We got there and knocked on the door, but she wasn't home, only the kids. The kids kept inviting us to come in, but due to the phone call a few days before, we felt we probably shouldn't. Clearly, the children did not know about their mother's feelings towards us. About ten minutes later, she pulled up in her car in front of the house. I was gearing up for some yelling, but instead she got out and said, "Hey Elders, what are you doing outside? Come in!" She started in, then noticing our hesitation, her smile dropped and she asked us what was wrong. I was confused at her apparent lack of anger for us coming against her wishes, so I had a really hard time forming words to tell her the reason for our visit. When I told her about our phone call the day before, she said, "What phone call? You didn't call me." She checked her phone log, and our phone was not listed. She asked, "Are you sure you dialed the right number?" I looked at our list of phone numbers, and she said that it was correct. I then looked at my phone log, and miraculously, the log didn't list the phone call.

Now I was really confused. And emotional. I tried to tell her that we were worried we had made some mistake and messed up our relationship with her, and she quickly told us that we hadn't done anything like that, and I started to cry, and she hurried us in, sat us down, and gave us oranges. We then talked with her, and she told us on her own that she felt like she needed to start participating in the gospel lessons with her children.

Clearly, the adversary really didn't want us to meet with them.

Hahaha! Roundhouse kick to Satan's face successful!

This week was a week of miracles! I am having fun! You know, the joy of sharing the gospel is all that really matters. Everything outside of that, including callings and responsibilities, are insignificant compared to the wonderful happiness that comes with sharing my testimony. God lives! This is His work.


-Elder Jorgensen


“Pretty sunrise!”


“Elder Cao cooked up some delicious curry rice. Soooo good!”



“Elder Sun and Elder Cao being funny.”


“Elder Claflin looking graceful on the fancy sofa.”




“Elder Claflin playing soccer with the Xie family.”


“Various thank you notes, most of the writing done by me and the pictures by Elder Claflin.”

20 January 2014

Hello all!

Week one of Project Purification... was tough. Trying to change gut impulses and base desires is really draining. I found myself pleading with Father to forgive me for messing up on every item on the list this week. Here and there I will feel discouraged, but I'm trying to, as invited by my Zone Leaders, "roundhouse-kick the devil in the face", and tell myself that I can repent and do better the next day.

Elder Cao got a call from the Assistants last Monday, informing him that he would be taking the place of a Zone Leader that broke his foot for the following week. It was quite the surprise, and we were sad to see him go. We decided to spend the P-Day at a theme park (Lihpao Land), and we had a good time riding roller-coasters and bumper cars together. Pretty inexpensive too! There were only about 20 people in the whole park, so we just walked on any ride we wanted. After that we raced home and sent Elder Cao off with the Assistants to his new area.

Elder Cao's companion, Elder Sun, stayed with us, and we became a three person companionship. Teaching was a little tough because we all wanted to say stuff, and it just got a little overwhelming for our investigators. But after practicing a little bit, we got used to each other's teaching styles. It was a lot of fun working with a Taiwanese companion, because he'd teach us Chinese and we'd teach him English. He taught us useful words like, "character strengths", and, "post office". We taught him important words like, "Sup, dawg", and, "powning noobs". He doesn't speak any English at all, so in the week that he was with us, he progressed a lot, at least in the slang department.

On Tuesday I was to run a District Training Meeting. I didn't feel particularly excited about it... I had gotten the topic of the meeting the day before, and not only was I not very inspired by the topic, but I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be. Then, twenty minutes before the meeting, the Mission President's wife called, telling me that they were going to attend, and that they were bringing "fresh pineapple!". Great. We rushed over to the church as fast as possible so that we could be there a tad early. I then proceeded to run DTM in Chinese, but I was so nervous that I forgot a ton of vocabulary and I kept stumbling all over my words. I was really perturbed by this: I knew President Blickenstaff was a nice guy, so why was I so worried? Was I too focused on impressing the big man?

I realized that lately I had been thinking a lot about my potential as a missionary. I know it is wrong and evil to compare myself to others, but sometimes I can't help it. I think about the Elders in my generation and younger, and how it seems like all of them have trained and are going Zone Leader and such. So, because I'm not getting these kinds of experiences, I draw two conclusions: 1) I am where the Lord needs me to be, or 2) I am lacking in some area or doing something wrong, which is preventing me from having more trust from the Lord and my Mission President. I tend to gravitate towards the latter of the two, and internalize everything. It looks to me like I still have quite a bit of learning and growing to do. We have interviews in a couple weeks, and I look forward to talking with him about it then.

English party was a blast! We went with a birthday theme, and the highlight was watching a 50-year-old man beat a 3-year-old kid at musical chairs. He was very proud of himself.

Have a wonderful week! Love,

-Elder Jorgensen















13 January 2014

Hello world!

Sorry about the absence of a blog post last week. Things got hectic, and the office needed my help in resolving some technical difficulties. Nothing got better while I was there, but luckily I was able to isolate some possible problems (all of which were way over my head to fix). They're bringing in some more experienced folks to work on the computers, and then we'll see if I get called back to do some work on some other projects (possibly updating the English website).

Elder Claflin has been struck with the worst of health as of late. After an exchange with our Zone Leaders, he started getting really dehydrated, and was experiencing all the symptoms that go along with that. We stopped to go to a bathroom every five minutes. We basically 7-Eleven hopped all the way home. He slept for a while, and then we called Sister Blickenstaff, who was shocked and told us to go to the hospital immediately. By this time it was 10:30 pm, which is lights out on the missionary schedule. We decided that we'd need some translation help, so we asked the Taiwanese companionship in our apartment to come with us. They readily agreed. All four of us biked over to the hospital, got Elder Claflin checked in at the ER, and we all watched him get escorted behind a giant metal door. At about 11:30 he came back out, smiling and telling me that he sat down and had a lesson with a less active member that we've been struggling to get ahold of for the last month. Apparently that guy was back there too. Just goes to show that the Lord will do whatever it takes to take care of his lost sheep.

We decided that we'd take a trip out to Heping county, a large, mountainous region outside of Taichung city. After an hour long bus ride, we got off in the town of Heping, realizing all too late that we were still far from our final destination, and that there were no buses coming for two hours. We then commenced a 5km walk, which turned out to be pretty perilous. There were no sidewalks, cars whizzing around hairpin corners, and hundreds of huge banana spiders hanging from power lines and trees. When we got to the small cluster of houses that we were looking for (out in the middle of nowhere), we walked up the mountain and could not for the life of us find the address we wanted to visit. Walking back down the mountain, we ran into this intoxicated elderly man who escorted us to the government representative in the town (not the mayor, but some other official). Outside the government worker's house there was another drunk guy, who kept puffing cigarette smoke rings and, with a wide grin, shouting "America!" over and over again. 

Highlight of the week: Our investigator, Brother Zhang, got baptized! He has a very solid testimony. I'm very happy and excited for him. Also, our district has been having a lot of success, and in our four companionships we have ten total investigators with baptismal dates. I had the opportunity to interview two of them prior to their baptisms this coming Saturday. I find these interviews to be very spiritually rewarding. One of them shared a scripture with me that made me cry: "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation." I'm grateful that I have been able to witness many others gain a testimony that Christ is their Savior.

I have decided to try something called "Project Purification". It stemmed out of a desire to be led more by the Spirit, and to teach with more power. I started by fasting from two meals and asking God to inspire me in some things that I should not do over the next 40 days (aka one transfer). I made a list based off of these promptings, and promised to the Lord that I wouldn't do any of the things on that list during the specified time frame. For example, I decided that I would not sing any pop music, but rather would only sing church hymns. I also decided I would not play piano outside of church services and meetings. This commitment is proving to be very difficult, and I find myself breaking these commitments accidentally on almost a regular basis. This is teaching me how to have better control over my thoughts and actions.

It's been a great two weeks, and now it's my last week of the transfer. Who knows what will happen!

Last but not least: HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEIF!!! I love you, bro!


-Elder Jorgensen