Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas!

안영하 새요, 여러분!
Hello, all!

This week has been a fantastic week! Christmas was a huge party, and we've all been having so much fun! We didn't end up having two apostles, but we did have two general authorities (one of which was an apostle). We had a devotional by a member of the Seventy (whose name I apparently neglected to write down on my list of things to talk about. Oops!), and the Elder Bednar came on Christmas day! And oh my-lanta, I need to tell you about Elder Bednar's devotional!

So when it was his turn to speak, he got up and said hello and all that, then he shared a brief spiritual message that literally consisted of a sentence. Then he said, "Okay, now we're going to do something historic."

Everyone BOLTED upright in their seats. Then he said: "So we're going to do a Q&A, and we're going to do it in a way that has never been done in the history of MTCs EVER. You're going to text your questions to this iPad of mine," *queue the confusion on all our faces* "and in order for you to do that, we've got about 200 phones that we're going to pass around to you." And the Auditorium erupted. Now, that was the BEST devotional that we've had yet. Not everyone's questions were directly answered, but everyone that I've talked to had obtained an answer indirectly. It was FANTASTIC. I got almost three pages of personal revelation in my journal from that devotional, and from the devotional review that our district had afterwards, collectively. It was THAT good. It was so good, because we got to have an Apostle of the Lord talk about things that we wanted to hear about. Personally, even though I didn't text him a question, I got to hear him talk about something that I definitely needed to hear, even though I had no idea that I needed to hear it. I hope that they keep doing that. It was seriously the most wonderful thing that has happened to me in the MTC so far.

MTCs around the world got to participate, too. They all got phones that could email the iPad. A question from a missionary in the England MTC got answered. Also, we were closely watched so that nobody would try to call home or take a phone. Elder Bednar said that if we did either, that he would "personally hunt you down and do terrible things to you." He's a funny guy. We love him so much. His devotional called "Character of Christ" was spectacular too.

THAT REMINDS ME: for any and all of you that are coming to the MTC soon, or ever, NEED TO WATCH THAT DEVOTIONAL. "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. It's one of those videos that you get to watch after Sunday and Tuesday night Devotionals, and it literally ALWAYS gets played in the gym. It's LIFE CHANGING and you MAY NOT COME HERE WITHOUT WATCHING IT. I will send the guilt monkeys after you if you don't. Armies of them. Seriously.

Another good one to watch is called "Missions are Forever" by Elder Holland (my absolute favourite Apostle ever!). That one is also very life-changing and will seriously alter your perspective on how important your mission is. Plus, it's Jeffery R. Holland, so it's fantastic just because of that anyways.

Back from that tangent: Christmas was a party. K-Town (Korea-bound missionaries) went a little crazy in the Residence halls on Christmas Eve. I guarantee that there is nowhere else that you will find so many men singing Disney songs at the top of their lungs while acting them out. All the party junk came out too. Christmas hats, SO MUCH CANDY, my district got lip whistles with Santa beards on them from Elder DeMille's mom. We went nuts. Then we opened presents early on Christmas morning. Some people got some sweet stuff. I loved everything that I got. It was great!

Oh! Sidenote! A bunch of Pacific Islanders banded together in the main square-type place and did a Hakka. There was a huge crowd there taking pictures in front of the Christmas lights, so it was CRAZY! I managed to get in the front row with a bunch of fellow Korea-bound missionaries. Oh man! It was SO COOL!!! When you have a group of huge Polynesians about a metre-and-a-half in front of you doing a Hakka... I'd never felt so intimidated and simultaneously awestruck by the sheer power and energy they put into it. SO cool.

The talent show was amazing. I got in it, so that was fantastic, and there were so many awesome acts that happened. There were a lot of talented musicians, but I think the people that deserve special mention was the Elder that did what he called a "Yiddish Bottle Dance." Okay, so he was about to start, and we were all thinking that he was going to do something super-legit and maybe mind-blowing, but no. He put a bottle of orange juice on his head and carefully did a bunch of dance moves that I guess looked like they could have been Yiddish. The thing was that he did all of the music with his own voice. It was such a ridiculous spectacle, and the whole crowd was just dying of laughter.
Then there was a Mongolian Elder that did a magic show. It was REALLY good. He was a great performer, and his tricks were really impressive.

That's all the really exciting stuff, I guess. Once you get to a certain point here in the MTC, everything is just routine and gets kinda boring because it's literally the same thing all day almost-every-day. But I guess my Korean is getting better and better every day, which is good. I mean, it's nowhere where I want it to be, but I'm not complaining. It's still super fun to speak it to everybody I run into. I said 'thank you' to a cafeteria staff the other day, and he responded back in Korean. It caught me so off guard that I couldn't do anything about it until after he had left. It was funny. The only thing that bothers me about Korean right now, is that there is no word for 'you.' Honest to goodness. I mean, I hear that there is, but that it's super-rude unless maybe it's among friends, so we're not going to learn it in class. Also, there is no word for 'please.' I think I've mentioned that before, but it still drives me nuts.
Also, just in the past couple of days, I've been speaking in French, which is NOT helping anything. Seriously. I'm juggling between three languages now. It's ridiculous. AAAGGH!!!

Anyways. That's all I really have for today.

여러분을 사랑합니다!

I love you all!

Without Wax, 

섀버 장로

Saturday, December 21, 2013


This week has been pretty rough, I'm not going to sugar-coat it. There was a lot of fun stuff and spiritual moments that happened for sure, but I had an upset stomach all week. It got bad enough that I had to go to the Medical Centre. Turns out I had a virus wreaking havoc in my gut. I'm feeling better now, thank goodness. It was so hard to keep focused during anything all week, and I feel like my learning curve got stunted a little bit. Hopefully I can make up for that in the next few days. I blame the cafeteria food (to give you an idea of what it's like, Shaylynn).

Learning a new language is so much fun and so confuzzling at the same time. It's fun because you get to say random things to people and they just assume you're saying hello. Muahahahaha. It's confuzzling because Korean is absolutely nothing like English what-so-flopping-ever! Basic sentence structure is : Subject - Object - Verb, as opposed to Subject -Verb - Object in English. Wrapping your head around that is ridiculous at first, and it only goes downhill from there when you learn how to say more complex phrases. But you figure it out eventually and it gets easier with practice. Other fun facts: 'please' is not in the Korean vocabulary. I mean, it is, but it's only used for begging, apparently. Korean has two number systems, and while the teacher tells you general rules for when to use which one, it's just going to take getting used to. Titles come after names. I'm Shaver Elder, if you're addressing me in Korean. The basic greeting in Korean: 안영하 새요,  translates into: "are you at peace?" To which you generally reply "내" (or 네), meaning yes. ㅐ and ㅔ make the same sound. It's a nightmare trying to figure out which one goes with what words. So does ㅚ ㅙ and ㅞ. AGH!

Anyways. Elder Rasband and his wife and family came to the MTC last Tuesday, which was awesome! He talked about Spiritual Gifts and how special they were, no matter what gifts we are given. The BYU Men's Chorus (I think is what they're called) came on Sunday, which was awesome, because it's just good to hear good music for once. Music is not allowed to be played here. So the iPod that I have with me is not allowed until I'm in Korea. Whoop-de-doo. Everybody misses it so much, we bring it up at least twice a day. 

A new group of Korea-bound missionaries got here on Wednesday, which means that we're not the greenies anymore! Yay! Elder Watts, in my district, has been challenged by the older dongi (our Korean word for 'group' that I'm not sure how to spell), to keep up the impression that he's from England. Watts has the most amazing voice. He can do just about anything with it. He can sing really well, he can impersonate so many awesome things (like an English accent, or Smeagol, and the best 'black man' voice I've ever heard. Seriously, people down the hall thought some random African American guy was hanging around being really loud.)

My District is so awesome! We all have musical talent. It's phenomenal! Elder Meeks plays guitar in the same way I do. The Sisters have amazing voices. Elder Ethington has a super deep voice, (deeper than maybe even the Whibleys O.o), seriously he can hit those notes in the dwarf's song in the Hobbit flawlessly. Ah! It's wonderful when we do four-part harmonies a cappella at the beginning of class. We're all learning really fast, apparently. The older dongi and the teachers we have are apparently blown away with how far we've gotten in learning the language. The best part is, we all like the same things. Lord of the Rings? everyone's a fan. Avatar and Korra? Everyone's a fan. It's awesome. And we've started a quote journal because some of the things that come out of our mouths is just golden because we're always tired, and ecstatic, and goofy. All the time. We've already filled a page since we started on Tuesday. I'd share some, but they're all "you-had-to-have-been-there" moments. So trying to explain them would make it lame.

I almost forgot about Christmas! CHRISTMAS!!!!! We've been told that TWO apostles are coming to the MTC on Christmas! AHHH! My district gets to help clean the Temple two days after Christmas! There's going to be a TALENT SHOW ON CHRISTMAS!!! I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! I auditioned just today, right before getting here to write this out. We'll see what happens, but I've got my fingers crossed. The Korean Elders are maybe going to band together and do something great for Christmas. I'M SO STOKED!!! 

I'm running out of time here, and I want to try to get back to as many of you as I can! I love it when I get mail from you all. I'm really sorry if I can't get back to you all in a day. I'll keep trying to answer your questions in these blog emails if I can, because it takes the longest to write out anyways, so I might as well. Thank you all for not sending me food, thus far. If you just sent me food, don't worry about it. I'll eat it and love it (anything that's not cafeteria food is glorious), but we're rarely in the residences, and everybody's treat stashes are growing faster than they can eat them because people are sending them candy and cookies and whatnot all the time. A lot of it is probably going to go to waste. 

By the way: Cairns family, I found Elder Pronk! He's in my zone, but not my district. It's nice to have another Canadian around.

I love you all!

Elder Shaver

Saturday, December 14, 2013

1 week down, 8 to go

Hello everyone! (I might misspell all of my 한국말 horribly wrong, but hopefully not)

One week in the 앰티시 and I'm feeling great! Especially since it's P-day! Haha just kidding, I'm loving everything! My district is still even better than the best, classes are going well, the 영 is super-strong every hour of every day and the days don't drag nearly as much as they did when I first got here. The older 덩이 told us when we got here; "Just make it to Sunday," and they were so right. Once Sunday hit, we got into what will be our regular schedule for the next 7 weeks, and the days got so much easier.

BUT ANYWAYS, it's hard to remember everything that happened this week, I realize as i sit here typing frantically. Next week I'll have to remember to write down a summary of cool things that happened throughout the week. Oh well. I do remember that Cook 장로님 (I misspelled jangno-nim horribly last week, just so you all know. I'm getting it right this time) and his wife came and gave a devotional this week on Tuesday night. That was pretty awesome. General authorities are the best. As soon as they walk in it's like a bomb of the 영 was just dropped and we all get that much more excited. I can't recall what they talked about exactly, unfortunately. I have it written down in a journal in my room, but Tuesday felt like a month ago. The days don't drag anymore, but so much happens in a day that we forget a lot if we don't write things down.

For instance: We taught a... *ahem, "구도자" one day (as we do almost everyday so far), and when we went to bed that night, I said to my roommates; "Hey, did we teach 죄강덕 today?" We honestly didn't know. There were a lot of "No way! That was yesterday!" "I think so?" "I don't remember..." and whatnot. We had to look at our planners to find out. We were so blown away that we couldn't remember what we did that same afternoon.

We also walked by the temple one day. It was great. The temple itself was closed, so we didn't go in it or anything (sad face), we're not going to be able to until January. I loved it, though. The Provo temple is one of my favourite temples just because it's so unique.

But that's all for now. I'm going to take some time to get back to you individually. Hopefully next week I'll be better prepared to give you a little more than this week.

저는 여러분을 사랑합니다!

I love you all!

섀버 장로

Elder Shaver

Friday, December 6, 2013

First Pday at the MTC!

Hello everybody!
It's my third day in the MTC, my first p-day, and just another day of awesome!
The MTC is a wonderful place! Everybody's friendly, the Spirit is around ALL the time, we're all learning so fast, the only downside thus far is how cold it is outside. That, and how much time we spend in class... and how you're tired ALL the time. But you know what? I'm not complaining in the least bit.
We're teaching our first, *ahem, investigator today... In Hangookmar (Korean). ACK. It's only day three and we're already being asked to teach a lesson in our language?! WHAT?! We're freaking out, but really, we're doing okay. I mean, my companion and I are scripting out lesson line-for-line, so at least the two of us are fine. BY THE WAY, our teacher spoke almost nothing but Hangookmar to us in all of our classes. We had NO CLUE what he was going on about for a while, but we already understand him (thanks to his many hand-motions and miming and drawing, etc... But we get it! And we're learning! Yay!)
My companion is DeMille jeongnoh-nim, from SLC Utah. He's pretty awesome. His grandma is Korean so he has a bit of head start as far as the language goes (which is really helpful for all of us in the district). My District is awesome! There's 11 of us, 8 elders and a sister tri-panionship (just for you, Shaylynn). There's a fourth sister that was apparently supposed to come in from New Zealand, but that's more of a rumor at this point. I haven't met everybody yet, but the other two elders in my apartment are pretty cool. One of them, Meeks jeongnoh-nim, is a guitarist like myself. Like, same style of play and everything! As in crazy-fingerstyle! He knows people like Sungha and Andy Mckee! Meeting each other made both our days just because of that. Other than that, I've met pretty much all of the other elders, though I haven't had much of a chance to get to know all of them yet. The sisters, are great, too. One of them, Hoffman chamae-nim lived in Korea for a little bit, and so she has a head-start, too. I guess I guess I have a head-start with the language because of the Rosetta Stone (which is actually being really helpful these first few days), but it's hard to compete with real-life interacting with natives experience. Oh well, we're already starting to be at the same level. DeMille Jeongnoh-nim is better at speaking than I am, and he knows so many phrases than I can keep up with, but I think I got him beat with spelling (like that's going to be helpful for teaching :P ).
But yeah, other than that; the flights went well, although the 45-minute commute from the airport to the MTC ended up being more like two-and-a-half hours because the snow came down in buckets that very day. We tipped that driver well, because he was awesome about it. I ran into Rodgers chamae-nim a couple of times on Wednesday, which was a pleasant surprise for the both of us.
Our branch presidency is really awesome, too. President Yost, who doesn't speak a word of Hangookmar, is really nice. I like him a lot already. There's also Perrington hyongjae-nim, from New Zealand, and his wife (not from there). Snow hyongjae-nim and his wife. President Lee from Taejon, South Korea, and his wife from North Korea (cool, huh?). President Lee pretty much is over the actual Koreans. There are five of them in our branch, and they're awesome. I love them already.
But anyways, I don't want there to be a too-long wall of text for you guys to go through. I'm going to leave it there for now.
Sarang haeyo!
Bye for now!
Shaver Jeongnoh.

Monday, December 2, 2013

This may very well be my last realistic chance to put anything up before I leave. There's nothing but packing and a few last-minute errands to do tomorrow, and get set apart, of course.


Man, reality is finally starting to settle in, and my brain is finally starting to process that I'm actually leaving! IT'S SCARY! AND AWESEOME! AND NERVE-RACKING! AND EXCITING! ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!! I've never really traveled outside of N.A., like I said last post, but seriously, that's a huge factor here! It's practically my first time leaving the continent! AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

I'm being talked about on Reddit! What the heck! Apparently some of you that know me have been doing more research on how-to-adjust-to-Korea than I have. Ha! Maybe I should get on that. I left a post on that thread, and hopefully that missionary (who is/has reported to the MTC for the same mission as mine) will see it, because that would be just too cool to find another someone going to Korea before I leave. I'd feel a lot better to meet someone in the same boat as me before I go. Here's a link to that thread, though, just so you can see all the great advice (and scares) that people are giving this guy/girl:

I think that saying goodbye to everyone here in Vernon has been the worst part, so far. I hate goodbyes, and I always have. But you know what? There's something about everyone being so incredibly excited for you that just makes things better. It's like their happiness for me makes it impossible to feel anything but happy. It's wonderful! I'm going to miss a lot of people, but, this feels oddly, and much to my unexpected surprise (if that makes any sense at all), this feels right. Getting all the preparation done and as the magical date of departure drew closer, my biggest fear was that leaving everything and everyone behind for a while would be much more terrible than it is turning out to be; I mean, come on! I'm not going to see people like my sister for years and years and years! Our missions will overlap! The same goes for a lot of my friends! But there's just this comfort that comes from knowing that I'm about to go and do something really good. Regardless of what happens, I'm going to come back having grown exponentially as a person and in spirit, and the Lord will bless me in one way or another that will make it okay in the end.

Anywho, it's REALLY late. I'm writing at this nonsensical time just because I love you all! I'm going to try to put up my ldsmail address up here somewhere conveinient before I leave, but just in case I don't, here it is:
Tah-dah! It's pretty straightforward. I hope, nay, I expect to hear from lots of you! My mailing address is, as of yet, a mystery to me. I'll figure that out when I can, and you'll all just have to get it from a parent of mine.

BUT! That's all for now! And quite possibly all forever until I'm out of Canada! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Without wax,


PS: Just kidding! I just found my mailing address! What a coinkidink!
Elder Wesley Aaron Shaver
2007 N 900 E Unit   2
Provo UT 84602

But seriously, I'm tired. Goodnight all! I'll see you in two years!