Dear Beloved Group of People,
This was pretty good as far as weeks go. I think there's a few things I just wanted to mention first. The weather here is pretty much the way everyone says it is---pretty hot. I realized I haven't actually had any way to know what the temperature is for a long time, and what with the differences in science, etc., even when someone told me the real temperature I wasn't sure if it was actually hot or not. But a few days before someone did, and then found the equivalent in Fahrenheit---it was about 37 in Celsius. I hadn't actually thought it was that hot. I guess we've kind of just been getting used to it, what with being here every day and everything. But anyway---that was one thing that seemed pretty important. There were also a few things about the surroundings I wanted to explain about, that I think are pretty interesting. First of all there's the fact that there are so many cell phone/computer/fan/speakers/
all electronics stores here, near each other, and that they all play loud music in front of them. Our neighborhood now is pretty much the more dense part of the city, with lots of wide streets and big huge department stores. But just the interesting part is that in some places there are three or more of them right near each other, and they're all playing different songs in front of them, and that it ends up sounding really interesting, or maybe annoying---it can be both, I think. Just the different songs going in and out of phase, traffic, and things like that all combine to make something special and unique. And I guess last of all, which is something that started a while ago but I forgot to mention, is the cicadas. They're pretty much all around everywhere here---they attach to the trees or the big office buildings, and then just make a noise that I really was sure was a machine at first. I'm kind of glad about these things, really, and so I wanted to share them with you guys.
This week was also pretty good in other ways---I got to get to know my new companion, Elder Flint, the members here, and the other missionaries a lot better. Last Monday, after e-mailing you guys, we went to the area nearest ours, which is called 방어진 (Bong-oh-jin), which is right next to the ocean. It was pretty cool, temperature-wise, and we just got to sit around and play board games with the other people in our district. It wasn't a super-exciting-planned activity type thing, but it was fun and everyone got to know each other a little better.we ate ith the other missionaries in our house with a family in our branch who work really hard and are really great, and also have a few-month-old baby who hangs around there. We talked for a long time, and got to know them, including that the mom, Sister 오정란 (Oh jung-lan) used to live in Jinju, the first place I served---so that was nice. we had interviews with our mission president, which was great. He works really hard, and is kind of an understated guy, and I'm really grateful to him. We also got to, as usual, talk with his wife, Sister Gilbert, during everyone else's interviews. I think it's easy sometimes to think that I've already heard a lot of these kinds of things before, and that it all ends up runing together---but I realized that the most important part is hearing other missionaries' insights and experiences, which are all unique and different and always help me learn important things. They were all able to share a bit, about their challenges and the ways htey've recieved the Lord's help with them. I don't know---it was just good. We also ate with a cool, funny member of our branch just a few days ago. He teaches at an elementary school, has two twins and one little daughter, and is really funny and nice. His son talked for a long time when we went about the beetle he's keeping as a pet, and how it has different sleeping/eating habits than other beetles, and things like that, which was pretty cute. After we ate and talked for a while, the dad shared about how the missionaries helped his dad a lot, when he was less-active for a really long time, and how it wasn't one specific missionary's visit or message that helped it to happen, but all their service over a long time. I don't know---it was really nice, and reminded me of how many other missionaries have contributed to helping the people here, and that we can actually help the mmebers for good.
There was also one really interesting experience we had this week, which has never happened before. We were buying vinyl sleeves for our area book at a stationery store, and ran into a guy who asked if we were from Utah. He said he works for Hyundai, and that he went to Amercia for work a while ago, to Utah. He said he stayed with a family who were members, and had really good experiences with them, and so has good thoughts about our church. We asked if he wanted to know why they were so nice to him and about the church, etc.---of course, he's really busy, so he was kind of less interested. So we gave him our phone number and left. But about twenty minutes later, he called us, and asked if we wanted to eat dinner together, he said, "to repay the kindness I recieved in America". So we met him and his whole family at (of course) a T.G.I. Friday's in a big department store near the church. We talked for a while, and got to know him pretty well---his family was really nice, and it was really great. They're all really busy, but said maybe we could meet them later on. I don't know---it was just a cool experience, and reminded me of how many other people's effort is helping the work we're doing. We don't have too much time left, but last I guess I just wanted to talk about how recently we've been going to a big park near our house in the evening to talk with people. It's called 대공원 (big park), and we've been going pretty often. We got to talk to some really good families, see some cool trees/skateboarding students, and other cool things. I don't know---I'm so grateful to be able to be here doing these things, and I hope I can do the things the Lord needs me to. I'm so grateful for you guys and everything you've given me, and I hope you're always happy and know how much I love you and know the Gospel is true. Keep it up---I love you guys.