Monday, April 29, 2013

Week of April 28, 2013: Lives, Plans, and Dreams

Dear Everyone,
 Thanks so much for all your letters and helping me to know what's going on. I hope I can reciprocate well---I'll try. This week we had a couple new things that we haven't before. On Monday, we did exchanges with our district leader and his companion, who serve in a place called Po-hang. Both of them are named Elder Park, and are really funny and great. One of them, Elder Park Je-hoon, and I, got to visit a bunch of the members of our branch together. We recently started a program of reading certain scriptures about missionary work every day for a few weeks, at the end of which all the members will write their testimony in a copy of the Book of Mormon and give it to someone they know. It made me think about programs like that in church that I never really participated in well. When we visited members, we found out they're all really doing it diligently, which is really great. I know I've probably said this before, but they're all incredibly busy. In general, people don't really have free time. But that they're still able to make time to do things like that, to be together as a family, and to have us over and help us is really a miracle, and shows how amazing and dedicated they are. I'm so grateful for them, and for everything they do for us.
That day it rained a lot---it's usually pretty cloudy here, but it hasn't rained that much until recently. But we also planned to try doing kind of a survey with people---about their lives, plans, dreams, etc. Even though most people were pretty busy, running around with colorful umbrellas, we were able to talk to one guy who was really friendly. He owns a cell phone store, and told us we could come and visit him later and talk with him. It was pretty great---we were pretty wet and tired, but being able to talk to him made it worth it. After we finished the exchange, Elder Moon, my companion, and most of the other native Korean missonaries went to go take an English test for college entrance. I got to see some of the other missionaries I know but haven't seen in a long time, and see how they were doing, which was pretty great. Later on in the week, Elder Moon and I were able to talk to a lot of new people just on the street, which is pretty new. We talked to a lot of high-school students, who are almost always really busy, but really friendly. And then we met a guy from Pakistan who was really nice. His name is Alsam, and he's lived in Korea for a while. He studied religion in college, and he said he would come to church this week. It was pretty amazing---I don't think I ever would have expected to meet him, and honestly wasn't even sure if he would really come. When we went to meet him, he showed up, and looked kind of tired and sick. It turns out he has a pretty bad dental problem, and was in a lot of pain, but he wanted to keep his promise. He wasn't able to stay for all of church, but it was great to be able to talk to him, and he said he'd come again next week. 
Lately, I've been thinking about things that other people have written e-mails about, and that I've studied in the scriptures about lately. We are totally dependent on the Lord and on other people for everything, and we have to remember that always. I'm so grateful for your e-mails, and for all that you've given me. I know Heavenly Father loves you, and wants to bless you all so much. I love you, and I hope you're all happy and safe. Keep it up. 
-Elder Campbell                  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Week of April 21, 2013 (sorry so late!): Love!

Dear Family,
Every time this time comes around, I can't help but think of how much I love all of you. That might not have anything immediate to do with things here, with day to day life, but really it does to me. This week we spent a lot of time going to people's apartments, which is pretty different---something I've done a few times before, but not really too much. But there are so many apartments here, and people are so busy that I thought we might have to just try it more. I'm pretty sure I already talked about it, but people usually talk through the door whenever people come to their houses (usually apartments), so usually they just politely say they're not interested or already go to the Buddhist temple. But whenever they do open the door, even for a minute, and we get to see a bit of what they're doing, it's pretty nice. Since we usually go in the evenining, a lot of people are eating dinner together with their families---usually sitting on the floor around low tables, about the height of coffee tables. We also lately see a lot of parents walking around with their kids---and things like that always make me remember good things we did together as a family. Then I get to hear you guys talk about Emily/Adam/Charlie, Pat/Becca/Ruby/Henry/Roscoe/Etta, etc., and crazy, good memories you're all making with them. I'm so grateful for the amazing family Heavenly Father gave me, and I hope you guys always know that. I've been remembering a lot of things lately, and they're always about you.
We also went this week to Busan to meet with all the other missionaries who are doing training. I still sometimes feel like I'm not really qualified to be doing it---but I know it's something I need to do, and I need to help my new companion. He's doing really well. He gets along really well with all the members, and other people we talk with---he's really kind and outgoing. He's also trying to learn English a lot, which is really cool. In general Koreans start learning English when they're pretty young, and already know kind of a lot. We're trying to teach each other, and I'm trying to learn as much as I can. In general, right now we don't have too many investigators. There are two other missionaries here, and already have a lot of relationships well established. I know that's not an excuse or anything, but it just means we'll have to work harder to find and help new people. I hope all of you are happy, and know how much I love you. I know God loves all of us, and that even though sometimes we make it hard for ourselves to feel it, that He always loves all people. I love you all---keep it up.
-Elder Campbell

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week of April 7 2013: Visiting Members

Editor's Note:  Thomas also sent this picture last week.  He has clearly inherited the Campbell love for train yard photographs!

Dear Everyone,
I hope you're all happy and safe. It sounds like it, so I'm glad. I'm still not totally sure what to write about this week, but I hope it works out okay. My companion Elder Moon is pretty amazing. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but he already did his military service. He's the oldest in his family, and he's also the oldest of the missionaries living in our house, and he's a really caring, cool person. So far we still don't really have any investigators---recently we mostly visited members a lot. The members here are really great. The weather here is actually pretty similar to Seattle. Other places we've gone for district meetings and stuff are pretty sunny now, but recently here it's just cloudy all the time. It also rained a lot all of a sudden this week, which I wasn't expecting, but was kind of fun. That day we went to visit the oldest member in our ward---she has a few of her children in the same branch, and they all live pretty close to each other, kind of like student housing. It was raining really hard, but she let us into her house and we talked and ate fruit for a while. Elder Moon is really friendly, and gets along with members and other people really well. Yesterday, we had a meal together with the branch. It was fast sunday, and everyone was pretty ready to eat. We had so-up with vegetables and other really good stuff, and lots of rice, kimchi, and jap-che (noodles, vegetables, etc.). It was really good to see and talk with everyone together like that, and was really fun.
I still feel like I have a lot to improve on and need to do, but I know that it won't come all at once. I just hope I can help people here to be happy like all of you have helped me. I'm so grateful to be here, and for the gospel. I love and miss all of you. Keep it up.
-Elder Campbell

Friday, April 5, 2013

Week of April 1 2013: Elders Campbell and Moon Hun-jin

Dear Fambly,
Sorry, I think I already used that one. I'm sorry I always talk about how I'm not good at writing e-mails and things like that---I've really been trying to just remember experiences after they happen. This week was a different, so hopefully I'll be able to remember better. I left Jinju, which was weird, and a little sad, and then was with one of the other missionaries who's serving in my new area and one of the other missionaries who I came with and who also didn't have a companion. The first one is Elder Hahn. He's a really cool guy---he grew up in New Zealand, but his family is from Korea, and he speaks both languages really well. The other is Elder Hall, who's from St. George and is really nice and cool. We were together for a few days, which some people call a "threesome"---but basically just doing missionary work with more people. It was actually really interesting. We got to visit a lot of people in a different area and eat with them. Specifically we visited a family in the branch here, which is a place called Ho-geh, a part of a bigger city called Ursan (Urlsan). I'll try not to worry about the pronunciation too much---but anyway, we ate something called kimchi-chigeh with them. It's actually one my favorite things I've had here for a long time. It's basically just really hot soup with kimchi, tofu, vegetables, and other really good things. The family is pretty big, and the parents have siblings living nearby who they go to church together with, so there were a lot of cousins visiting, and it was fun. It reminded me of family gatherings, and made me miss you guys more.
And then on Wednesday we had a meeting with the new missionaries, which was kind of surreal, but good. There are a lot more missionaries coming to Korea in the next few months. Almost all of the people who just came are from Korea, and the majority of them are sister missionaries.  We did kind of an activity together, and then ate together (also kimchi-chigeh). Then I met my new companion, Elder Moon Hun-jin. He's really amazing. He just finished his military time, and came as soon as he could. He has a really strong desire to do well, and is really enthusiastic. He was a primary teacher before, and plays the piano. I don't think I'm describing the events very well, but he's really great, and hopefully we'll be able to learn and do a lot here together. It's a little different because I've only been here as long as he has---a lot of the time it seems like we know about the same amount. But the members in the branch here are really great and helpful---it felt a little different from church in my last area, partially because it's a little bigger---but I'm sure it'll be really great.
I think thing I've noticed the most this week is that it really is almost spring here, too. In Ho-geh, kind of unlike Jinju, there are cherry trees everywhere. On one street near our house, they're lined up all down the road, next to car shops and restaraunts and things like that. There are also more mountains around in this area, and overall it's really beautiful, and an interesting mix. I took just a few pictures, and I'll try to take more this week. It also reminded me of something I almost forgot of this week---that it's Easter. In Korea it's not a very big holiday---there aren't baskets or anything. And even though there are flowers and stuff here the weather's not quite sunny and warm, like Easter usually is. I know those aren't great reasons, but when I did remember that it was happening, I felt how really amazing and wonderful the gospel is. I know Christ was resurrected, and all people can be, and that if we follow him we can live together with our families, which is ultimately the happiest thing we can imagine. I hope you al know how much I love you, and love people here, and how grateful I am to be here. I miss you all, but I love you, and I know how much you've brought me and how grateful I am. Keep it up.