Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week of July 29 2013: It begins when you start

Dear Everyone,

This week was pretty interesting. I never know what to start with---but I remember Boyd K. Packer saying a few weeks ago that, "It begins when you start". I don't know when everyone else got to see that video, but I thought it was pretty interesting.
As for what actually happened this week, there was a lot of time spent on a primary activity that our District had on Friday. It was a camp for the primary kids, so we had to set up a bunch of activities at the church and also figure out sleeping arrangements and things like that. Early in the week the primary President in our branch called us and asked if we could come and help her set up part of it. When we got to the church, we went up to the second floor where the chapel is, and she and some other people were sitting on the ground blowing up balloons---regular ones and the kind that clowns and other professional entertainers use to make dogs, etc.---and putting them together in the shape of something that looked like a spaceship. Afterward they blew up smaller white ones and drew shapes on them to make eyes, and when they put them all together they were shaped kind of like fish. They asked us to tie fishing line to them, and tape them to the ceiling so that pairs of fish would be kissing each other. After we finished tying them, we realized we didn't have a ladder, and so we used a desk to put them up. We also had to use tape to make them stay together because the air conditioning was on the whole time. I also realized after a while that their tails weren't vertical, but horizontal, like a whale's fluke. But it was too late to do anything. After a while of doing that, we went to visit some other people. We came back later and missionaries from the other areas in our District came to help set up a "scary room" type thing in the primary classroom, which is already kind of a scary place to begin with. Apparently the church has Halloween decorations, so we used those, even though it felt a little weird. It ended up that they wanted to make it like an obstacle-course/maze, and so we bought a bunch of big black trash bags, cut them up, and taped them to the ceiling and to desks lying on their side on the ground. We spent a lot of time doing that, and the next day had to do more. But when we came back, it turned out that some of the balloons mysteriously popped, so we had to help put up more. It was the first time I remember having to set up something like that, and made me remember/think about the kinds of things people did for primary way before.
In the end, I didn't end up going to the activity, because one of the investigators in a nearby area, 경주, who got baptized this week had to do an interview. So I did an exchange with one of the missionaries there, Elder Meen Song-joon, who came at the same time I did to Ulsan. It was really nice---we threw a last-minute surprise birthday party for one of their English class students, talked with him and his family for a while, and then did the interview with the guy who got baptized. It was pretty interesting---he's a really cool guy. He graduated, and now he's moving to Seoul to work with firetruck repairs. It was just cool to see the great people who there are around here, and how much the gospel will bless him and other people.
I also kind of didn't mention it, but I actually got transferred to the nearest area from here---another part of Ulsan. It was sad to say goodbye to the members, especially since it doesn't seem like I've been here that long. But we got to eat together on Sunday, talk, and I remembered how much they and other people have helped me. I know the missionaries coming will help the investigators I told you about before, and I hope they're all happy. I know the gospel is true, and I'm so glad I get to help other people find out about it, and learn from so many great people and experiences. I love you guys, and I'm so thankful for everything. Keep it up.
-Elder Campbell

Monday, July 22, 2013

Week of July 22 2013: Military-drill-exercise-activity

Dear Family,

This week was again kind of a blur, but really good. One good thing
was we got to visit a few less active sisters who are really cool
people, but just don't know the members here very well and are busy.
One of them I think I mentioned before, Sister Choi (Chway), who has
kind of a skin problem on her face, but is really cool, kind, and
showed us a bunch of pictures from when she went on a mission soon
after being baptized (one of the toilet in her apartment). It was
interesting how we got to talk to her---during the week, one of the
other people in our district had to go to a
military-drill-exercise-activity, which people who have already gone
to the military here have to do every year. So we went to where he
serves, a place called 경주 (Kyung-joo), which is apparently really
famous---it has a lot of historical castles and things like that. So
we went with him to visit a less-active member who lives in a
remodeled old-style house with a roof and small doorways, and that
less-active member started calling a bunch of the other members and
asking if they had sent us there. One of them I met before a while ago
at a church meal/activity, and she told us to say hi to the other
less-active member we visited (Sister Choi). Sorry if that was
confusing, but in the end we got to tell her that other people are
still thinking about her and miss her, and it was nice. We also got to
talk to a cool person who's been coming to our English class for a
while, but we haven't been able to talk about church with yet a lot. I
was a little worried she might feel pressured, but she said she liked
the people at church she's met, and how we call each other "brother"
and "sister", and said she would try coming to church once. So we got
to see her again on Sunday, and talk more. She's really good at
English, drawing, and smart in general, and really likes fantasy
books. When we were talking about religion, she showed us the Philip
Pullman book ("The Golden Compass", I think) she's reading, and had
some questions about the things in there. It was really interesting.
She also talked about some of the hard things with her family. She's a
really cool, hard-working, nice person, and I hope we can help her to
get the help she needs and Heavenly Father wants to give her.

Sorry this is short again---we got back here kind of late, and don't
have much time. But every day and every week, I'm inspired by the
other members and missionaries and people around me, and know that
Heavenly Father helped them all to be where they are so we could help
each other. I know the gospel is true, and especially that the Book
compiled by Mormon is directly from God and for us. I love you guys,
and miss you---I know how much you're helping everyone around you, and
I'm so grateful always for the things you have taught and given me. I
love you---keep it up.

-Elder Campbell

Monday, July 8, 2013

Week of July 7 2013: Be not afraid, only believe

Dear Everybody,

This week was pretty good. I know everyone was wondering mostly about
the weather so I guess I should do that first. It's hot, and pretty
humid, and everyone seems to be carrying an umbrella all the time.
It's partly because when the sun starts to come out women almost all
use a fancy parasol-type thing called a yang-san (양산), and the rest of
the time it's usually raining. This year the raining season, jang-ma
(장마), apparently started a little late, but on Sunday it pretty much
rained the whole day. Most people are pretty unhappy about it, but I
don't know. This week we also met a bunch of new people, which was
pretty good, and visited some older people. One of the second was
Brother Kim Jong-sheek (김종식), who I think I didn't tell you guys about
enough yet, or remember if I did. He's one of the oldest members here,
about 75, and he works as a farmer, though that wasn't his career when
he was younger. He joined the church 7 years ago, and since then I
don't think he's ever missed church once. He's really friendly, and
always asks how to say things in English and things like that. His
wife isn't officially a member, and is pretty physically disabled, but
she comes with him every week. It's amazing how hard they work, and I
thought I should tell you more about them. He also teaches the
priesthood quorum lesson every week, and conscientiously tries hard to
learn about and understand the gospel all the time. We visited him at
his house this week, which is pretty near to ours. We talked about
Mosiah 2:17, and how all the service he gives does is serving God, and
how He is so happy and grateful. He said he still feels so inadequate,
but that he tries all the time to be prepared and worthy and to do
what is right. He's a pretty amazing guy.

We also talked to two new people this week---one we met on the street,
and it was pretty amazing. We talked for a bit, and asked him what he
thought about religion, and he said it's something we choose in our
hearts, for ourselves. Sometimes people say things like to say that
religious proselyting is wrong, but he was really kind and
open-minded, and even though he doesn't have a religion when we asked
if we could meet again and talk about it, he said we could. It was
probably one of the strangest but best things I've seen in a while.
The other guy we also met on the street recently. His name is Gamith,
and he's from Sri Lanka. He works designing car parts here, which he
says he could make a lot more money doing another country, but is a
really happy, nice guy. He speaks English a bit, and Korean a little
better. We talked with him and his friend, pretty simply, about
religion---he said his family is Buddhist, but he's gone to different
churches recently, and feels good when he goes, and feels good about
Jesus Christ. We also realized later that there are a bunch of copies
of the Book of Mormon in his native language in our house. So
hopefully we'll be able to him, and all the other people we've met.
I've been thinking a lot recently about faith---that's not too
general, is it? I remember a while ago reading in the New Testament
where Jesus says "Be not afraid, only believe." Among other things, it
made me think that a big part of faith is just not worrying about the
worst-case scenario, or if something goes wrong, because those kinds
things aren't in our control. But if we worry about them so much that
we don't act, then even if they don't end up happening worrying ends
up hindering us anyway. I know this is probably really obvious, but
it's just something I thought of, and something I think I need to
understand better. I know that Heavenly Father has blessed me and all
of us so much, even though I wasn't grateful or didn't recognize it as
well. And I know he blesses and wants to bless everyone. It's amazing,
and even if I don't understand it all, I know it's true, and other
people deserve a chance to be able to understand it, too. I'm so
grateful for everything you all have given me, and I know you're
helping everyone around you so much. I hope I can be worthy to do all
the things I need to, and of all the help I've been given. This week
in fast/testimony meeting (most of the testimonies were actually
pretty fast), a lot of the members talked about their experiences with
missionary work, or their children who are doing it. I'm so grateful
for this and for all of them and you. I love you. Keep it up.

-Elder Campbell