Sunday, June 23, 2013

Week of June 23 2013: Little kid magic

Dear Whole Family,

I'm really glad I get to write to you all together like this. I kind
of imagine you all together reading it. I hope everything was good
this week, and it sounded like it. This week was a little different,
but really good, too. My companion got transferred, and the missionary
who was serving where he is came here. His name is Elder Lee (Ee), and
he's really great. He's really funny. He likes little things, and also
eats a lot of yogurt. I don't know why I mentioned that---it's just
not very common here. Another new missionary came here, too---his name
is Elder Jeong (Jung), and he's really cool and funny. Elder Lee is a
little quieter than Elder Moon, and that's a bit different---but good.
The less-active sister we were finally able to visit a few weeks ago
(I think I mentioned her name is Sister Shin (Sheen)) has been coming
to church a lot, and wanted her son to get ready to be baptized. So we
were helping to teach him a lot this week, with other members.  We had
to teach a little differently to help him understand, but he's really
smart, and the members helped a lot. One is named Brother Gwak
(Gwock), and he's really cool and nice. He's graduating from college,
and was just baptized a few years ago, but he really loves the gospel
and was able to help a lot. He compared getting baptized to riding on
a roller-coaster---at first it's scary, and before you do it you're
nervous and don't know what to expect. But afterward it's an
experience you'll never forget, and things like that. It was really
good. This week on Sunday, we also had a branch conference, which was
good. We visited a lot of less-active members to try to see if they
could come. A lot of them are really busy or are on vacation, so it
was kind of hard---then we also had a branch activity on Saturday the
night before. Each family prepared a little part, including dancing
and little-kid magic. It was cheesy and cute. Then on Sunday, a lot of
people came, including our mission president. It was great to see him
and his wife, and lots of new people. Another person who came was one
of our members' mom, Sister Kim. She came last week, and we talked
with her and her son together during church. She's really nice, and an
amazing person, but still has a lot of trouble understanding religion.
I think she kind of got the wrong impression of what we do, and we
just tried to understand her thoughts and questions and help her. She
said for a while she'd never prayed before, but then her son asked her
about the times when she needed help---when she was sick, someone got
hurt, etc., and talked about how sometimes he has prayed without doing
it like it's written in the pamphlet, but that he knows when he needs
help Heavenly Father hears him. She said she has had similar
experiences, and it was really great that she understood more the
personal importance of her relationship with God. I know what her son
said was true, and that I felt the Spirit when he said it. After all
of church, we had Sister Shin's son's baptismal service. It was really
nice---all the members came together with their kids, and it was loud
and crazy like usual. Brother Gwak baptized him, and it was really
great t. Later that night we went out to try to talk to people, even
though it was a little rainy. We ended up being able to talk with a
bunch of people, some of whom we'd actually already met before. It was
really cool---one was a student we met on the bus a long time ago. We
didn't even talk very much then, and I didn't recognize him
at first. He was sitting at a bus stop near our house, and I thought
we should try to talk to him. It turns out he's going to the army
tomorrow, and he was on the way to talk to one of his friends. We
talked for a while, and even though we wouldn't be able to meet him
again asked if we could help, and he asked if we could pray for him to
be safe. It was a really weird, but good experience. I know there are
so many people in the world, but that God knows and is aware of all of
them. I know I'll never be good enough at thinking of other people all
the time, but I'm trying, and I know that God and Christ know all of
us. I'm so grateful for all of you guys and all you're doing and have
given me. I hope you're happy, and I know you're helping so many other
people. Keep it up. I miss and love you all.
>> -Elder Campbell

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Week of June 2 2013: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Life Goes On!

Dear Family,
I really mean that, and I hope you all know how much I think about and love you. This week was pretty great. We got to meet with a lot of our members and spend great time with them, talk with some old and new people, and try to find some other ones. We're having a branch conference in a few weeks, and so our branch president, who I don't think I've told you guys much about, asked us to try to invite lots of people, especially less active members. We don't have a lot of information about people, and they're all really busy---so we tried to contact a lot of them. One of them is named Sister Shin, and another is Sister Eame (probably not really spelled like that, but it sounds really close). They're both moms, and are really busy with their kids all the time, so we've never actually been able to meet them before in real life. But it was amazing how kind and nice they were even just talking to them. I could tell how hard they work, and what great people they are, and hopefully we'll be able to talk to them soon. We also met with our ward mission leader on Thursday, which we do every week, usually at the church, and pretty short---but this week we were able to go to his house, which was really nice. His son is also really nice---they're both named Brother Pock (also not the way it's usually spelled, but it sounds right), and the younger one just recently graduated from high school, which here is a big deal. I think maybe I've mentioned it kind of before, but high school students here work really hard, which I guess you might expect. There's a high school pretty close to our house, which we walk by pretty often going to/coming from other places, and usually even at 8:50 or so when we come home the lights are still on and people have regular class time. They also go to classes on Saturday pretty much at the same time, and on Sunday they have voluntary personal study time. And when they graduate, they have to take a big huge exam---I know it's not that different, but basically people here work really hard, especially students. But they're also really fun and awesome. But anyway, we went to their house and ate dinner together first, which was really great---lots of things called 부침개 (boo chim-ge), which just means fried things---kind of like pancakes with vegetables, tofu, and lots of other stuff like that in them. We talked together a lot about Brother Pock's mission---he served in Seoul, and had a lot of hard experiences, but learned a lot, and loves to share about it. After we ate, his wife, who made everything really well, brought out a traditional instrument she plays that I'd never seen before. It's basically a long piece of wood that's curved a bit, with strings running up and down it, suspended over pegs kind of placed diagonally. It's hard to explain, but basically it was really great---I had no idea she did anything like that. She played some traditional Korean songs, and also "Obla-dee Obla-da". It was really cool---we didn't have enough time to do the whole meeting in the end, but we got to know their family a lot better and spend some really good time together. 
On Friday we met again with the guy I've been telling you guys about. He's really nice and friendly---we talked more about his family, and things like that, and the Book of Mormon with our testimonies that we gave him last time. He actually said pretty openly that he's not very interested, and felt kind of pressured when we gave that to him. It was kind of abrupt, even though he said it in a nice way---but I guess I kind of had seen it coming before. I just hope he knows from what we've talked about how much God loves him, and was able to feel that when we talked to him. Then yesterday we went to another member's house, Brother Moon, who I think I've talked about before. There's actually a missionary who served here a few years ago staying with them for a few weeks, so we met him, and then another member who was less active for a long time, but who first heard about the church from that missionary, and he came, too. We ate together, also lots of side-dishes, really good food, and talked for a long time about missionary work. That member wants to go on a mission, and Brother Moon talked about his experiences, too. It was really great. I was able to see how much missionary work and the gospel brought all of them together, and thought about how much it's blessed me---and all of you. I still think about all of you, and all the things I've experienced so far, every day, and I'm always so grateful. I know that God has given me so much through you all and everyone around me, and I'm always grateful for that---I just hope I can do what he needs me to do here. I hope you're all happy, and know how much I love you and miss you. Keep it up.
-Elder Campbell

Week of May 27 2013: The Lion King

Dear Everyone,
I know that's one I've used a lot, so I hope that's okay. This week was great. We met lots of people and I thought a lot about all of you, and I hope everyone's good. We actually got to visit a lot of the members of our branch this week, for a few reasons---they're all really busy, but a few of them we've never really been able to meet with had free time finally, including a woman who comes by herself and lives pretty far from the church. Her son also came back from a mission in California recently. We ate with them, which was really good, and then talked about their family and the gospel, and missionary work. We shared a part of a talk that my companion found recently, which is quoted in a lot of places, but it says faith is a principle of power and action. They both shared their testimonies, too, and overall it was really powerful visit. Every time we get to do things like that it reminds me of how much the gospel has blessed people here, and how it truly strenghtens them to do all the different things they do in their lives. We also weren't able to visit the one kind of real investigator we have right now, who works at the phone store---but I've been thinking about some of the things he talked about before with us, how all people have different perspective and so religion is inherently subjective. I've actually wondered about those kinds of things a lot myself, and it's something I think is hard to understand. But I know how much God loves all people and completely understands them, even though it's impossible for us to comprehend.
Also on Wednesday we had inteviews with our mission president. He got to our church kind of late, so we had some time to talk with the rest of our district members. It went pretty long, because our district is pretty big, but we talked about a lot of good stuff, including The Lion King. Sorry this is short, but I want you all to know how much I love you and even though I'm imperfect I'm trying to be better. Thank you all for your help and love, and keep sharing it with other people around you. I love you guys.
-Elder Campbell