Monday, August 26, 2013

Week of August 25 2013: Bugs and Birds Were Making a Song

Dear People,

I really can't believe every week how fast things have gone by. I know
I've said that a lot, and then said that I know that I've said it a
lot after that, but it's still true. But I think it's a good
thing---if time didn't go by, we wouldn't be able to experience any of
those things that happen over time. Which I guess leads me to how this
week went. It was pretty similar for a while weather-wise, except the
past few days started to get a little cooler, and it rained a bit. I
don't know---instead of the weather, maybe I should talk about some
people instead. I don't think I've actually mentioned it before yet,
but our area also has sister missionaries, which is actually pretty
different from before, in a good way. There are three of them, and
they're all from Utah, which is great. They're all really funny and
happy, but also work hard and do things they're supposed to, so it's
really good. We usually all meet together at the beginning of the week
to plan for what we're going to do, and to make sure plans aren't
colliding or anything. We talk about who we're planning to visit and
things like that, with a chalkboard in the church, and when they go up
to write theirs it's almost always really full and they have a lot of
specific people they plan to visit. Whenever they see any members
around, they always say hi all together, and everyone always smiles
and is happy to see them. We also teach English class together with
them, which is pretty great. Usually there are a few crazy kids, or a
few of the members bring theirs, and a lot of middle-aged women who
want to learn English, and the Sisters can actually help them/calm
them down as needed. A week or two ago, after introducing ourselves,
as part of the class we sang "Popcorn Popping", out of the Primary
Songbook. The actual singing was fun for, even though most of it is
pretty esoteric and kind of more difficult---language-wise and just in
terms of the ideas presented ("It wasn't really so/But it seemed to
be", even in English can be a bit troubling to think about). And of
course, the Sisters were singing the loudest and clearest so everyone
else could hear well. It was just nice, is all.

This week we also spent a bit of time looking for the houses of people
who are less-active, who we called and their phone number is either
deactivated or didn't answer. I know that doesn't sound very fancy,
but something that eventually has to be done. It's something I
actually like, even though it usually takes an hour too long to find
the address. But it's always good to get to go to a new neighborhood,
since we're around our church most of the time, and to actually see
the real people around there and what they're up to. I probably have
talked about it before, but most of the actual houses here are older,
since most people live in apartments, which around here are really new
and fancy. It's pretty interesting/cool to look across the river that
runs through here and see big green hills with trees, and right next
to it big tall towers or stacked clusters of pretty high-class
apartments (a few of the names: MajesTower, Exordium, Exilu). A few of
the people we've talked to, including one less-active member we met
last week who has lived here his whole life, said Ulsan didn't really
become a big city until about 20 or 30 years ago. Before that, most of
the area was just fields and farmland, which some of it still is, but
that when he was younger, all of a sudden one day apartments started
to be built. So it seems like most of the houses here are from that
era, and are really cool. They usually have a fence around them, and
on the outside stairs leading up to the roof, and in front usually
tons of plant boxes, water tanks, or other assorted old things that
don't really look like anyone uses them. We tried to visit a lot of
people who live in places like that, and it didn't turn out too
well---but we did get to meet some interesting people on the way, and
hopefully will be able to see them again.

I guess now, since we don't have too much time, is the investigator I
think I mentioned before---Brother Hahn, who speaks English well and
worries about fore-knowledge/pre-destination. We were able to meet him
again this week---he's pretty busy, since he's a college student and
is applying for a lot of government jobs---and it was really good. We
talked a bit about commandments, and why we have them---something that
it doesn't seem like we stop thinking about ever. While we were
thinking about how to help him learn about them, we found a scripture
in John 14:23, which I really liked. Sorry I don't usually share
scriptures that much in e-mail; I figure you guys have most of them,
but this one I think was very special for us and for him. He mentioned
before that he really wants, it's one of his greatest desires, to have
a heart-to-heart relationship with God, but he's had trouble feeling
it at other churches, on his own, and just doesn't know how to find
it. I think honestly this is something I've wondered and thought about
a lot personally. But when we found this and talked about how we could
share it with and apply it to him, I really felt its truth for me, and
know it was something I needed to learn as well. I know that Heavenly
Father places things, experiences, and people in our lives that are
exactly what we need, because I have felt that so much, even when I
was too stubborn to realize it.

This week we also sang something in sacrament meeting with all of the
missionaries---since one of the Sisters got transferred because
someone else is sick and she has to go help them out. It was "Joseph
Smith's First Prayer", which I don't think I've ever really sung that
much before. We sang it, and one of the Sisters who plays violin
really well also played for part of it. Except the regular accompanist
didn't know what the plan was and stopped playing for the second verse
when the violin came in, so she suddenly was just playing by herself.
Everyone else looked over a little surprised/freaked out, but I think
it was actually the best part of the whole thing. It was pretty
powerful, actually. I also, after singing it for a while, started
thinking about the lyrics a bit more. The second line of the first
verse, I think is really cool---벌과 세들 노래 하니/온 숲이 으막이었네, which means
roughly "bugs and birds were making a song/and so the whole forest was
music". Especially lately, with all the bugs and everything, I think
that applies to us pretty well.

My companion is great, and doing well---it's interesting to see how
similar we are in a lot of ways, but also the differences that help us
to learn from each other. I'm so grateful for him, and everyday for
all of you. I know this gospel God has given us means we can always
have this happiness, and I love you so much. Thanks for everything.
Keep it up.

-Elder Campbell

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