The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Korea Pusan Mission

Monday, September 15, 2008

MTC the more you know, the more you know you don't know

Caleb’s letters MTC July 30, 2008 to Oct 13, 2008

Aug 5, 2008
Hello! This is Elder Anderson with my first of many letters. I am currently in the MTC in Provo learning Korean so that I can teach the people of Korea in 3 months. I got here last Wednesday and am here for the long haul. I think I will need it. By the way. Anyone may send me free letters through I will receive them with gratitude. It is probably better to do it like that rather than email me because I only have 30 minuets each week to write/read emails. Anyway. The MTC has been pretty good. The first few days were the most stressful but from what I hear it gets much better. My companion is Elder Singleton from Layton. He is a Good missionary, working hard to be a better missionary. The language will come but it is pretty intimidating. I mean, honestly, Korean? My district is excellent. I know an Elder from before my mission who is in my district, Elder Bennett. He is our district leader, quite the smart Kid. Studying is not too bad, there is time set apart for personal, companion, and language time. At first I was pretty stressed about there not getting enough time for studying the language because I am more of the kind of person that learns something and needs my own personal time to get it right but they don't give you much of that here. I quickly learned that stressing out about it won’t solve any problems. Every week they give you a task that you are going to do at the end of the week like introduce yourself in your language and tell about why you are here. Our language studies revolve around those tasks so that is really what I need to study and not stress myself over the whole language the first week. I know that the Lord will bless me as long as I am working my hardest and setting my priorities strait. I hope everyone is doing well back at home! Elder Anderson

Aug 12, 2008 we are now considered 3rd week missionaries! It's pretty crazy to see people getting ready to leave that came in the same time as us. All the English speaking missionaries are only here for about 3 weeks. They are pretty lucky because they get to go right out and start teaching. We, however are learning Korean which is pretty awesome I must say. We do get to do some missionary work while we are here and it’s even in English. They have a building called the RC (Referral Center) Where people call in asking for stuff from our commercials and we get to talk to them. It is probably my favorite place in the MTC as of now just because I can actually talk to people who are interested in the church. In the RC there are 3 things you can do. Take calls, call people and make sure they received what they called for, and chat to people. The chatting we haven’t done yet because it is a little harder. There are a lot of people who just get on to argue. We should start doing that next week. Calling people isn't that great because most the time they aren’t home. Inbound calls, however, are amazing. Most of the time when taking calls is just sitting there doing nothing, I study a lot which is nice but once in a while you do get a call. It's just fun to talk to people. I had one guy call yesterday from Louisiana wanting a video about Christ because he "wants to learn everything thing he can about Christ" I told him that was awesome and asked if he read the bible. He went on a long spiel about how much he reads the bible and I said, "Great! Have you heard of the book of Mormon?" he said he had a little and asked if he could have one. I gave him a little rundown about how the book of Mormon was more teaching about Christ but in the Americas. I asked if he wanted some representatives to give him his DVD, book, and teach him more about Christ. He said that would be great and that he wanted to give me all his siblings names and numbers. I then took down his 4 sibling’s names and numbers so we can call them later. We set goals on how many referrals we can get in a week. Last week we hadn't done it before so we thought 10 between my companion and I would be a good number. We got one.... But in that one call I got 5! It was pretty exciting. We ended up with 8 in about 2 hours. Anyway, that was pretty much my excitement for the day. What is happening at home? Any news from landon? How was Lake Powell? I enjoyed the pictures and all the food. How is that iPod coming along?? I really need something to play all my cds in if you aren’t doing the iPod thing. A cd player and small speakers would be fine. Other things I need: My line of authority! I thought I had it but I can’t find it. More Doritos. 2 sets of mesh garments. I think that’s all for now! The language is coming. It's pretty hard but I’ll be fine. Love you all! Elder Anderson

August 19, 2008 A day in the life of a missionary speaking a foreign language goes as follows: Get up at 6:30 AM and get ready. From 7-7:45 is study time. We have quite a bit of study time through the day. We are expected to do an hour of personal and an hour of companion study, and then the rest is language study. Breakfast is after personal study and then we go to class for 2-3 hours. An hour of Gym time is mixed in the day along with lunch and dinner. We then have more class time and then MDT (Missionary Directed Time) Basically the rest of your personal study, companion study and language. We get to bed by 10:30. I'm sure that made little to no sense but that’s about it.

As the end of the week approached I wondered to my self what I was really going to say in this weekly letter to the world. I decided I had nothing really to say and no interesting stories. About an hour after I was thinking that, my companion, Elder Singleton, came up to me after gym limping. He was playing basket ball and landed on his leg strange and he felt something tear (never a good sign). He believed it was his ACL but that he didn't know if it was just sprained or torn. He played a lot of football and has pretty much torn or hurt everything in his left knee. He decided that it would "buff out" but I and our roommates insisted he go see someone. This happened on Saturday. The health clinic in the MTC was closed so we got pushed straight to the BYU health clinic right down the road. I must admit, it was quite exciting to see if the outside world still breathed oxygen.

While waiting for Elder Singleton to be examined I suffocated the receptionists with questions about the outside world. What’s going on with the elections? What’s happening between Georgia and Russia? How are the Olympics going? They didn't know too much but they looked up a lot and there just happened to be a game on TV USA vs. Spain. Anyway, back to Elder Singleton. We eventually found out that he had re-torn his meniscus and he will have to go in for surgery. We still aren’t sure as to whether or not he will be taken out of action but we're praying for him. It sounds like it shouldn’t be to bad of a recovery but they are talking about taking him out for 3 weeks and putting him back in with the next Korean group coming in. That was pretty much the exciting news of the week. I missed a few hours of class because of the knee injury but Elder Wells and I worked on what they learned and I think we got it down pat.

The whole language thing is still a work in progress... I’m just starting to formulate sentences of my own. Oh, so last week we were walking and some Chinese speaking missionaries stopped us and asked if they could practice with us. One of the kids had a thick German accent and after they were done I kind of commented that he sounded a lot like President Uchdorf. He got this bashful smile on his face and I said, "You’re related to him!" He said "yes, I'm his grandson...." That was kind of exciting for us. I hope all is well in Babylon (That is what we call the outside world) My thoughts are with you all. Elder Anderson

Aug 26, 2008
My mother this week sent me a check list of things I may want in the MTC. It was pretty amazing and many missionaries were jealous, especially of the question "I saw a missionary with ________ and I want it" Ha-ha, it was pretty funny.

(note from mom: Caleb wasn’t answering any of my silly questions, a friend that goes to the MTC weekly took him some muffins with a check list on it. All he had to do is to put a check next to statements that are “yes”, she returned it to me that evening. The list included: I want lemon bars, chocolate chip cookies, 2 checks were by I want Doritos. Other things checked: I want detailed Olympic updates, I want pears, I am doing great, I love you, I can speak________ Korean (he wrote” a little”) I love my companion, I love the Gospel, I am still a happy boy. He didn’t fill in the” I saw someone with ________ and I want it.” I learned a lot

LeAnn Albrecht: Caleb...he looked really good last week...he had 3 other missionaries with him....and they loved your questions...all helped fill it out. I had him speak a little Korean...and he did well...I think he said the right stuff... but I didn't know what he was really saying. Ha ha...but his companions listened and said it was right. I can tell he is into it and will be a good Elder. If there is anything you would like me to find out just let me know. I am putting a package together for him too this morning.
I think the highlight of this week was the Tuesday night fireside with Elder Oaks. It was amazing; he is definitely an apostle of the Lord. He spoke about teaching with the spirit. I think it was a much needed talk. That is definitely something that they tell us to do a lot but it’s not really something you can teach someone to do. I think that with this weeks practice investigator, Elder Singleton and I did a good job of teaching to the needs of the investigator and bearing testimony. It was really neat to have Elder Oaks speak directly to us as missionaries.

This week “Preach My Gospel” really hit me hard. I never really realized what an amazing resource it is. I have taken the motto: Learn Preach My Gospel and teach what you know. I think that it is important not to teach Preach My Gospel but truly teach what you know and care about it. If anyone ever wonders what they should study, study Preach My Gospel! It's not just lesson plans; the entire book is amazing and will teach you so much. It's all pretty simple doctrine but everyone should know that doctrine well and Preach My Gospel spells it out pretty well. Anyway, that’s my take on Preach My Gospel.
Elder Singleton's knee has yet to have surgery. We thought we would go in immediately but the doctor decided to wait a week so he is going in tomorrow. I will go on splits so I won’t miss any class and he will get a service missionary as a companion. From what they tell him, he will be out of it all day tomorrow after the surgery. He should be fine and he really wants to stay, even if it means a wheel chair. Anyway, that’s about it from me. The church is true and I love you all! Elder Anderson

Sept 2, 2008

No, I did not forget about you. I shall explain. Each week we get 30 minutes to email. This week I wrote a nice email but I lost track of time and BAM! All lost. 30 Minutes gone, email gone. Thus I am writing nearly the same thing in letter format.

First of all Elder Singleton's knee was not as bad as the doctors predicted. They thought it was a torn meniscus but it ended up being a bunch of scar tissue that was catching and mimicking a meniscus tear. They went in and took it out and now it should be fine. He has been on lots of medication such as Lortab. He also hasn't been able to come back to class so he has missed out on a lot. It will be hard for him to get back into things but we will be fine. This reminds me, we are officially half way through the MTC! This also means that we start teaching Korean in all our lessons! I am way excited. We will be teaching very simply and very slow but it still should be good. Another thing that happens when we are half way through is new District and zone leaders. This week they asked me to be our new district leader. That basically means that I encourage the missionaries and get the mail. That's about it.

I have recently been talking to a lot of Mongolian sister missionaries. They think it's the funniest thing that I know Elder Frisby and one of them said they had Grandpa Clark over for dinner once. They're pretty funny.

Here is an interesting fact that I hope does not shake anyone's faith: We as Korean Elders do not use the King James Version of the bible. From what I heard there are many problems in the translation. The main one being there are two words for baptism, sprinkling and baptism by immersion. The King James Version uses sprinkles. Obviously this could create problems. They have "John the sprinkler" rather than "John the Baptist," We use the Korean Bible Association's Bible.

Studying is going well; I am now realizing how much I generally know about the scriptures. I have been memorizing scriptures and I found that it helps to just know who writes what and what story it comes from. I am truly beginning to love the Gospel. Elder Anderson

Elder Singleton’s mom saw Caleb in the Hospital after her son’s surgery:: Elder Anderson looked good and was studying hard. He helped translate because when Thomas was waking up from anesthesia he was only speaking Korean which I didn't understand at all.
Sheri Jenkins: I thought I'd let you know that I just had a Caleb sighting at the Dr.s office. He's just as cute as can be. His companion said he runs into people he knows all over-a very popular boy! It was fun for me to see him.

Sept 10, 2008
This week was quite the humbling week for our zone. This was the first week that we were to teach the entire lesson in Korean. Yaw, needless to say it was hard. The task this week was to order Korean food and talk a little over a dinner table. That wasn’t too bad. Our mock investigators were all Korean which was nice and they were really patient with us. After the task we had about 5 minutes to finalize anything and then dive back in but this time we were going to teach the entire first lesson.

We had practiced a lot and we felt fine with it but the issue seems to be actually teaching to their needs. It ended up being pretty good over all the district. Everyone I talked to said it was way hard but at the same time it was way fun to start being able to put thoughts into Korean. I have said a few odd things in Korean that no one informed me of until after the lesson was over. For example: "Today we are going to teach about God" ended up being "Today God is going to teach us." Not exactly what I meant.
We have started some goals to start speaking Korean as much as possible. Our district for example no longer speaks English at lunch. It's hard and we end up talking mostly about gospel related things but it's good for us to start speaking as much as possible.This week comes a new batch of Korean speaking missionaries! I can't believe we have already been in here 6 weeks. It is strange to think that we are now the older Korean speakers. When I got in here it was so mortifying to look at them speaking what I thought to be fluent Korean. Now I realize just how little they knew. Ha. The older missionaries for us were way nice and helped us out a bunch. We feel like we need to now pass on the friendliness and help the younger missionaries out when they get here.

Lets see.... This week's Tuesday devotional was with Elder Cook! We always know if there is going to be someone important because the church security is all over the place when they come. Ha. He talked a lot about "Preach My Gospel" because he was heavily involved with it. It was really cool to here that this apostle wrote this and that apostle wrote that. It truly is an amazing resource we have. MTC life pushes on. We have 5 weeks until we are off to Korea. That’s a pretty scary thought. Well, that’s about it from me for this week. Thanks for the letters. They are always appreciated. Elder Anderson

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