Thursday, January 30, 2014

안녕하새요, 여러분!

Last Pday from the MTC!!

Alright, so a dozen of you have asked me if I'm excited that the flight is so close. Really, all the excitement and anxiety of finally going has officially come and gone from my system. I've been hyped about it for so long that at this point, it's more like I feel like it's taking so long that my brain has actually ceased to believe that I'm actually going to Korea, and I'm trying REALLY hard not to think about how looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong that flight is going to be. Seriously, I don't know if I'll survive being stuck on the plane for however many hours it is. 

This week has been pretty good, in other news. I mean, at this point everybody is struggling to not just coast for the last few days of our stay (a few of us do MUCH better than a lot of us). We're looking at In-Field Orientation tomorrow, and tearful goodbyes to our awesome teachers and to each other. The journals have been brought out and are being passed around for each other to sign. I'm pretty sure it's going to be like the end of a great week of EFY when everyone blubbers and sobs for the last little bit. Seriously, this might be one of the hardest things we'll have to do yet on our missions. My district, as I'm sure I've said a more than a few times, is like a big happy family, and we're dead set on reuniting and having a big party when we're all back. Munk 장로님 and I, and a few others, have plans to do epic camping trips in Canada when we get back. Some of us want to start a band when we get back (because so many of us are so musically talented). It's an amazing feeling. 

I honestly don't know what else there is to talk about at this point. The MTC has run out of surprises for me (I guess that that's just what happens when you've been here for as long as I have). I've learned some pretty great things about myself and about the gospel while I was here, and I'm going to be sad to have to leave it (except for the part where you sit in a classroom for hours and hours and hours and hours on end... and the food. Andrew might like the food now; but just wait. Just wait.). 

I can't wait to get to Korea. I just feel that when I get there, the sense of adventure will come back, and I know that it will feel so good to finally go to work. Hopefully the culture shock doesn't hit me too hard. And hopefully not the ENTIRE country smells like kimchi. I got a mass email from one of the Elders who left a few weeks ago, and it sounds like the work is going really well over there. I just want to be a part of it SOOO bad! If anything to do something other than study (a bad reason, I know. It's just humour, I promise! ;) ). 

But yes; this is my last anything from the MTC. Next PDay, you'll get a message that probably has a lot of me oohing an ahhing and freaking out and maybe nerding out and me being overwhelmed by everything and most likely some food-related horror stories. Don't get me wrong, the food sounds great! But there's a few things that our teachers (all of whom went to Korea on their missions) said to absolutely, no-matter-what, stay AWAY from. They also say that dog isn't all that bad. But they went to the un-Americanized part of Korea, so hopefully I don't get to deal with eating live octopus and sea-cucumber soup. 

But, that's all for now. I love you all! Next time; you all get to laugh at my pain! ;) 

Without Wax, 

Elder Shaver 

P.S.: A lot of you have asked me about the "Without Wax" thing. It's something I write to feel clever, but I got out of a book, so I'm really not that clever... But it makes me feel clever, so I use it. That's the only hint you get! >:P Muahhahahaha! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014


IT'S GETTING REAL, PEOPLE!!! We just got our full-Korean name tags, and we're getting our flight plans tomorrow. AAAAAAAHHH!!!! So many mixed feelings in everyone in my district. We all want to be in Korea sooooo bad! But at the same time, we all know that we're going to cry for days straight when we're separated. We're like a big happy family at this point.

To epitomize this, let me tell you what happened on my birthday.
Happy birthday was sung to me at LEAST five times, four of which was pretty much just from my district. At the end of the night they took the cake from me ( which was AWESOME by the way, thanks you so much!) and took it out of the room, put candles in it and brought it back into the classroom singing happy birthday (again) and cheering and that whole thing. I LOVE my district so much! They're the best people in the world!

So I'm a little bummed about Ian getting taller than me... I don't want to think about how weird that's going to be when I get back. I've been working out everyday, though! It's on, bro!

Also! Yesterday, I got to HOST Andrew. Best birthday present ever! (and the RC car is awesome, too! Fowler 장로님 and I were having RC fights while our 덩반자들 were napping, it was lots of fun) One of the funniest parts about hosting Andrew, though, was that when I showed him to his classroom to meet his teacher, I spoke more French to her than Andrew did. I kept up a conversation with her, and we talked about where I was going, and how I learned French for years in immersion, and whatnot. It was pretty sweet. I still got it!
Thank you to everyone for sending me your best birthday wishes! I love you all so much, and I miss you!

Okay, one more thing that I really want to put up here (I don't like making these super long, because I know how hard it was for me to read long mission-blog-posts):
제 덩반자와 저는 totally had an AWESOME Friday! When we went to TRC, we totally shared a message that the volunteer really needed to hear in his real life. Consider this: we had no idea who this man was, aside that he was a volunteer for TRC, he and we were randomly assigned to the same room, we were supposed to skype with Korean volunteers, but couldn't because there weren't enough of them, 제 덩반자 had a story from his life stuck in his head ALL day that day and was prompted to share it, and an applicable scripture, that didn't really have much of anything to do with what we had planned to teach, and this man, was going through a hard time and really needed to hear it. It made him feel better, he told us in 한국말, which made us two feel like we were on top of the world.
Best.Thing. Ever.

The Lord is guiding and helping us everyday, and we're feeling more and more confident everyday. I LOVE IT HERE!!! I can't wait to get to Korea and start working with real investigators!
But anyways, that's all I have for this week. I know it doesn't seem like much, but I want to save some time to get back to those that wrote me individually. That, and the MTC, as great as it is, is just as repetitive and monotonous as ever. I don't think you'd enjoy me writing about my 9-10 hours in class per day, so, hopefully Korea will be more interesting ;)

Love you all! I'm going to eat a cinnamon roll now! (Thanks Grandpa P!)

Without Wax,

Elder Shaver

Saturday, January 18, 2014

3 weeks to go

This week has been a marvelous week, for a number of reasons.

First (and perhaps the least spectacular, but still fun), we got a new group of missionaries! We got 22 more elders and 11 more sisters in K-Town! The Korean branch is now once again one of, if not THE largest branch in the MTC. We've got 60+ members. Seriously, that's big as far as MTC branches go.
I got to be a new missionary host yesterday when they all came in. It just so happened that I got to host a sister that was going to my mission! It was awesome! The new group seems like a great bunch, and I'm excited for them.

Second (and much more spectacular), Elder Bednar came back! Remember how he did that Q&A thing at Christmas? He came back saying that he received 1000+ questions that day. So since he was assigned to come back so soon, he brought some more of the questions that he didn't get to onChristmas. It was just as awesome the second time! This time, though, he bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon, and OH MAN was that intense! An Apostle's testimony is one of the most powerful things I have ever experienced, and it's that much more amazing when he's right in front of you, bearing it in a devotional setting. We got to be right near the front because we were called to Usher duty that time. People from our branch also did the prayers, and those that weren't Ushering got to be pretty close to the front. President Yost said that we have a friend in a high place of authority watching to give us opportunities like that when something big is about to happen. We were SO happy.
Two of ours got to sit right in the front row. And they actually got called up to help answer a question. They were one of our Zone Leaders and an Australian Elder that had only gotten here the night previous. What a way to remember your first full day, huh? Elder Bednar poked fun at him when he saw the orange dot on his tag (which he called a "dork dot." I don't know about you, but I'd be totally fine to be called a dork by an apostle).

One of the things that he talked about was miracles, and how to get them. He told us that "the more you press for a miracle, the less likely you are to receive one." He told us that if we want to see miracles, that we only need to "pray for the eyes and ears to see and hear the miracles that take place all around [us] every day." If we learn to wait on the Lord, we will find that all the miracles that we really need happen to us all the time. It's just a matter of being able to recognize them.

An example of this actually happened to me this week. I was concerned about something that I couldn't understand, and I was praying to find an answer or an understanding, and I was even planning on praying specifically just for that in the Temple this week. But, I guess it turns out that Heavenly Father, in His wisdom, saw fit to put my concerns at ease sooner than that. Some of the Zone Resource teachers, by assignment, pull out missionaries to do one-on-one with them. I got to do that with Brother Wade (who, if you don't remember, is one of our absolute most favourtie people of all time ever in the whole MTC, so it was pretty fantastic to have that), and he asked if there was anything he could help me with, so I told him about what I was worrying about. He was surely inspired to tell me everything that I needed to hear, because he did just that. The Spirit was felt strongly by both of us in that conversation, and I came out of it feeling so much better and reassured that I was in the happiest mood for the rest of the day and I'm still, in fact, super happy from that experience. To me, it was a miracle, because part of Brother Wade's helping me was a couple of his mission experiences.

I hope that helps some of you that are reading this. I realize that I should probably start putting more spiritual thoughts and spiritual happenings on here because the MTC is chalk-full of them. We're progressing in here faster than we ever have EVER. Seriously, it's the most amazing thing, and I'm going to miss it a lot. I'm going to tell everybody who's on their way to the MTC soon that they need to bring a journal to write down all of the spiritual experiences they have in. You won't regret it in the least bit!

That's all for now, though.
Without wax,
Elder Shaver

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Another Great Week!

안영하 새요, 여러분! 어떻께 되십니까? 저는 잘 있습니다!

Hello, all!

Another week down, and another week closer to 한국! I seriously can't wait!
Life's still good, I haven't been sick for weeks, which is fantastic. Life's so much better when you're not sick, incredibly enough. You can learn a lot better, too.
Focusing is getting harder and harder, though. I've decided that I hate classrooms, which really sucks, but it probably has something to to with being in the same classroom for ten hours a day EVERY FLOPPIN' DAY.

Seriously, I've run out of steam for MTC lifestyle. We hardly get any breaks. In fact, we don't get a break until PDay, which isn't much of a break because you've got a bunch of stuff to get done on those days, too. On the upside, though, we can finally start going to the temple on Pdays, now that it's actually open. Thank goodness! We got to do a session this morning, and it was glorious! The Provo Temple is BEAUTIFUL! It's going to be such a blessing to be able to go every week until we leave.

On another note, though; there were some pretty funny screwups that happened this week. I'll start with mine:

So my 동반자 and I are in an "appointment" with our "구도자" and we're about to read a scripture with her. D&C 9:7-8. I was flipping through my 한국말 triple to it, and accidentally went a little too far to Moroni 9:7-8. I'm still at the point where all 한굴 looks the same to me, and since the two aforementioned references are so close together, I thought I was there and so I handed the book over to her and we asked her to read.
Somewhere in her reading, we picked out the words "Laman" and "Ammoron" and other things that were definitely NOT in the D&C reference and so we figured it out and pointed her to the correct one.
After that lesson, we looked at the Moroni reference... and, well... You can look it up if you'd like to. It was hilarious. If the two of us were in Korea, we would have never recovered from that.

A 자매님 also made a silly mistake, not nearly as bad, though, and much easier to do. She said in a prayer "Thank you that my companions are dead." Instead of "thank you for my companions." The verb for "to give" and "to die" sound a lot the same. The joys of learning a new language.

On the upside of language learning: I was able to understand on of our "구도자들" for once. First time I've been able to actually pick up on what they're saying EVER. I can speak, and write and build sentences, but understanding what other people are saying is the darndest hardest thing in the world! Just goes to show how much the Spirit is helping me, personally, because we don't get nearly as much practice listening and understanding as we do everything else. We listen to each other's broken 한국말 all the time, but, it's broken, and super-slow and deliberate, so that doesn't really help anything. But with the Lord's help, we've been able to make some pretty crazy-awesome improvements and achievements in our time here. The older 동이 and the branch presidency always tell us how impressed they are with our district. Just the other day, President and Sister Snow joined us in a post-devotionsal discussion and took some time to tell us about just that. We don't always feel like we deserve that kind of praise, but we must be doing SOMETHING right! So long as we can keep track of where we're at, and see how much we improve, and always always always rely on the Lord's help, we'll be unstoppable!

One more quick note: I know all about the stashes that are left behind in the dorm rooms. KTown calls them "Narnia Holes." There was only one in our room, and it had a bunch of candy in it. Anyone coming to the MTC soon: make sure you look for them, because some people find some seriously awesome stuff.

여러분의 사랑은 저를 주셔서 감사합니다. Thank you for your love, and keeping me motivated. 저는 그리스도의 복음을 참되는 것을 알고 있습니다. I know that Christ's Gospel is true. I can't wait to start teaching it in Korea. Everytime my teachers, or other staff and volunteers come and talk about Korea, I get so excited because everything about Korea, even the weird things, sound so cool and amazing! I can't wait to meet them, and I can't wait to share with them the greatest gift anyone can give.

But that's all for now!

Without Wax,

Elder Shaver

Friday, January 3, 2014


So this week, my district has determined that we're having one of the most crazy MTC experiences possible. First off, we were here for Christmas and New Years, with their celebrations and shenanigans that come along with them. Then, the "who's our teacher?" fiasco. We've gone from one amazing teacher, Brother McArthur who, due to unforeseeable circumstances, had to quit out of the blue. We haven't seen him since, and we're still heartbroken, because he was super-awesome. But it's alright, because we got an equally awesome teacher to replace him. This teacher, Brother Campbell, was a volunteer "investigator" for us since day one, and was hired as a teacher after our first one had to go, so we love him because he's been, and I quote just about all of us; "the one constant of our MTC lives."  Plus, he's one of the most straight-up and spiritual men we've ever met, and he NEVER slips up when it comes to speaking Korean to us like all our other teachers will sometimes do. We're really impressed with that.  Now we have Sister Allen teaching us half the time as well. She kind of came out of the blue, but she was so open and friendly that we all warmed up to her in ten minutes or so. MTC teachers are the best. I just might apply to be one when I get back from my mission. On top of those two, we've had several zone resources come in to sub for the teachers over the holidays! That adds like, three more teachers that we've had! One of them deserves special mention, though, and that's Brother Wade, who's actually been assisting our teachers since day 1, so we love him. He's super passionate about Korea to the point where he has to think harder to speak English than he does to speak Korean. He's had the best language study-tips for us so far, but it's hard to match his zeal. Nonetheless, he's one of our favourites.

Back on track: the third thing making the MTC crazy is the fact that our schedule is getting switched around, which doesn't usually happen to people. It doesn't bother me, personally (though I might discover otherwise when it actually happens, so who knows?), because I like what the switches will mean for us.

But anyways, Korean is still super fun. I'd write some here, but apparently this computer is dumber than the rest and won't let me, so whatever. Fun fact: if you're not being careful, you might be trying to say "Do you feel the spirit?" but could easily say accidentally "Is the dragon greasy?" Serious. It's only a slight sound and a syllable difference. So funny when we stumbled upon that.

It's getting harder and harder to think of things to write. At this point, nothing is really new and exciting in the MTC. All of us in my district are just dying to get out to Korea, because we're so sick of the limbo your life gets put in in the MTC. I seriously envy those who only have to be here for two weeks, because I've only just hit the approximate halfway point, and I'm going BONKERS! My district and I are so out of it, either we're super-tired, or super-hyper and giddy, and sometimes, when we try really hard, we're quiet and focused. We're still learning lots everyday, though, and we're surprising ourselves all the time. Thank goodness for the Spirit's help. We'd be doomed without it.

We're so excited about Korea and actually BEING there in a month. So far, the only weird foods we've heard of are kimchi, and live octopus. Everything else sounds DEELECTABLE! But then, that might be because we're getting sick of the MTC food. Seriously, we've seen everything that the cafeteria serves at least twice, and most of it is so fatty that it's just unappealing after you start to realize how fast you can put on weight. But back on track: Koreans use chopsticks that are long, skinny and metal, which is awesome, because I don't like wooden ones. They use a spoon to eat their rice (HALLELUJAH!!), and it's super-important to eat every single itty-bitty grain, because if you don't you're being super-rude. They sit cross-legged at a table that's pretty much at ground-level, and they eat food right off the platter. Except for their rice. Everybody gets a bowl of rice to themselves. It sounds super-awesome, and I can't wait.

Also, we've learned that our mission is the wealthiest area in Korea. I'm pretty stoked about that, because I was worrying a lot about being sent somewhere third-world when I was waiting for my call. I'm grateful that the Lord  didn't put me in that kind of situation.

That's all I've got for now. I can't wait to be in Korea and to actually have real-life super-awesome experiences to talk about on these blog posts. Oh well. Just one more month to go!

Without Wax,

Elder Shaver