Monday, September 23, 2013

Week of September 23, 2013: Harvest Festival

Dear Everyone,
This was a really good week, with lots of good people helping each other and things like that. Weather is pretty much the same---it's weird to think it was so much more hot just a while ago, and now that it's just a little cooler everything seems different. But if there's one thing I think I've learned the most repeatedly and emphatically, no matter how things might change, it would be that I can always learn from the examples of people around me in some way. 

A few of those people: the members of our branch generally, and the sisters specifically. We visited this week a family who are pretty young---they have a daughter, a son, and a baby girl, who are all funny and crazy and cute. The husband and wife both work at a restaurant together, and invited us to come and visited them. When we went, the mom and all the kids were there together, while she was working. The daughter kept asking if she could go to the playground across the street even though there were no other people, and the son was doing funny things. They work pretty far away from where they live, and where their kids go to school, and it seems like it is pretty hard sometimes, but they're always happy and nice and working hard in everything. It's really inspiring to see them, and they're so helpful. We asked the mom if there were any less-active members she knew we could help out, and she told us about a few people and helped us to be able to find them. It was really nice. And during church, they also give talks and are teachers for classes of groups of people that are hard, and teach primary and everything---I don't know. I just kind of realized this week after visiting them how awesome they are.
We also talked a lot with one of the investigators who the missionaries were meeting for a while before, but kind of just stopped for a bit. He's a really interesting person---his name is 장 (Jong), or John, and he teaches kids after school like a tutor. There are lots of places students go to study after school, that are a little more official, but he just teaches them in his house. He also speaks English pretty well, because he lived in San Francisco when he was in the Korean army and stuff. Basically he says he believes in the philosphy of Buddhism, but is pretty suspect of religion in general, and so doesn't really subscribe to any one. But he really likes learning about different ways of believing, and so goes to lots of churches, including starting to come to ours randomly a few weeks ago, even without anyone directly inviting him again. So we decided to try to meet with him to see why he specifically wanted to come back to our church. We visitied him at his house and talked just briefly about God, and read a bit of the Book of Mormon together. He said he doesn't deny the existence of God, but that he doesn't know for sure whether he believes if He exists. After that the kids he tutors came, and so we talked with them a little bit, and then played about 5 minutes of a game kind of like "Monopoly", except with different world cities, and a space travel involved. That was interesting. 

This week also was a pretty big holiday, about the harvest, called 추석 (Choo-suk), and so part of it was kind of hard because we weren't supposed to go visit people without being invited. So some of the other people in our district, from a different part of Ulsan, came to our area and we went and tried doing a survey-type thing in a big area near a lot of stores where there were lots of people walking around. It was fun, but a lot of people were kind of focused and busy with buying things. But we still talked with a lot of people who said they were going to their hometown to meet there family and do stuff with them, and how fun it was to do that. It made me think of you guys, but also of how important and special it is to be with our families, and how everyone does that at whatever big time of celebration, and just how good it is. That night we met with the guy named John again, and talked for a long time about churches and religions. We agreed that religion should help us to be happy and do the right thing, and that a lot of other churches and other institutions don't really help us with that. But he said he'd come again to church and learn, because it seems like it would be helpful. It was an intersting discussion, and my companion, Elder Judd, bore his testimony really strongly and I think it was really meaningful for him.     
Also this week, a little less interesting and meaningful, we changed our phone plan. So everyone got a new phone, and the old one died, so that there was a time where we couldn't contact each other, and then we didn't know the new phone numbers. The Sisters in our area also didn't get theirs for some reason, so there was no way to contact them at all, which made certain things a little harder (planning activites, etc.), but I guess reminded us that it's possible to do things without phones. We went to the bus terminal to pick up their card, which people do a lot here, just sending things on the bus, and then met them for the English class we do on Saturday. One student we met a long time ago, who's been busy and hasn't come since then, came again, and it was good to see him again. Then we went out to dinner together, and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon---he said a while ago he got the Bible as a present from a friend of his, and so we thought it would be a good idea. He seemed really to be grateful and interested, and even though he'll be busy said he wants to meet again soon. So things were pretty nice---and then we just walked around a lot, and Elder Judd got to talk with lots of people and see the great and intersting and pausing things about our area. He's a really funny, nice, cool guy, and I'm glad to be able to be here with him. 
Yesterday, we walked to the house of one of the American families in our branch who live here, and ate with them. We talked a bit with them, he liked their kids, and then we talked about the Book of Mormon. Both of the parents had a lot to say, but also made the kids talk a lot---and then my companion also shared his feelings. I remembered all the times the Book of Mormon has helped me, but more how it's helped people around me, and what an amazing and good thing it is that Mormon abridged. I was grateful again for a family who also believe and seek hard to personally, and also to help each other, understand the things it teaches. I'm grateful and think about and love you guys all the time, and I hope you know that. I promise to be as good a representative of you as I can. I know the Gospel is true, and it's brought us all together, and will bring us all together with eveyrone else around us. I love you guys---thanks for everything. Keep it up.
-Elder Campbell 

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