Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week of September 1 2013: The Most Important Thing In Your Life

Dear Family,

I hope everything is going well on the other end of things. I think about all of you every week, especially when it comes time to write like this to you---about you're good examples, you're funny things you've said, all the things we've done together, and then I imagine the things you're all doing right now and the people around you who are so lucky to be a part of it. I'm reminded of you guys by the people in our branch. I guess it is a group of people pretty similar to a big family, in most ways---everyone has their different roles, but all work to help each other and have a good, enriching time together. This week we got to see them a bit, but also just to walk around, too, partially to tell people about a big activity we did this week. I don't know if I mentioned it before or not, but a few weeks ago the sister missionaries were thinking about, as a branch, watching and inviting non-member people to come and see one of those church-produced movies the kids are always talking about. Everyone was pretty excited about it---we talked about it a lot, and then realized kind of until this week, right before we had to do it, most of the preparation was still unfinished---inviting people, figuring out who would bring what and set it up where, and other small things. So we figured it out, and then went out to tell people about it with all of
the missionaries in our area (seven, total). There's a particular kind of activity we've done before that a lot of people seem to like, and so we tried it again to share about this activity. Basically there's a big poster-board someone made a while ago, with five or six sections---money, family, friends, health, etc---in answer to the
big question written at the top, "What's the most important thing in life?". There's also a layer of vinyl covering the board, and aspeople come up, they put a sticker on whichever one they agree with.  Maybe it sounds silly or not very reverent, but apparently people are very interested in those kinds of things, and afterward are pretty
willing to talk about why they picked what they did, and it seems to be helpful for some things. So we tried it at a place around here where a lot of students are walking around at night, when they're done with school. We were able to talk to a lot of people, and some of them seemed a little interested in coming---although it's pretty hard to
tell sometimes. On the day of the activity, we also had to teach our English class, during which we tried reading the introduction to the Book of Mormon aloud, and talking about the contents. That actually turned out pretty well---but as soon as we finished, we had to start getting ready for the activity. One of the Sister missionaries
apparently knows how to make slushies, and also learned from one member (the wife of a foreign family here) how to make caramel for popcorn. So they started making slushies with a blender, and popcorn in a pot on the small burner in our church's kitchen. Both of those reminded me of things---the first of a time while we were walking around and went past a slushy machine in front of a convenience store, with no other markings on it but a big sticker that said in plain text, "Fresh Slush!". The second reminded me of a lot of some memories I've had with all of you. It was pretty late, and so I made some of the popcorn since all the other stuff was done. Unfortunately, the pot was just too big and the burner just too small to get very hot very quickly, so the popcorn actually kind of just sat for a while and some got kind of burned before it would even start to pop. But in the end
it worked out okay, and lots of members came. The movie was "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration", which luckily I've seen a bit before. After finishing all the other food stuff, we went in to watch
the rest of it. Maybe it was just the event, but there were some parts that were pretty powerful---healing kids sick with malaria, things like that. It reminded me of the amazing blessing we have to live in this time where we already know about these things. After it finished, one of the Sisters bore her testimony about Joseph Smith, very nicely and very simply, and it was really cool. It also turned out there were some new people who we met during that activity before, and we got to talk with them for a bit. Some were maybe people who wouldn't usually have anything else to do on Saturday night---one I remembered seeing during our activity, who kept walking back and forth past us after participating. But they were nice, and I know those are the kind of
people Jesus would have gone to and invited and talked with the whole time. After the members all left, we finished cleaning all the leftover stuff, and took a taxi home pretty late. But overall, really good.

We also met again this week a few times with the investigator I mentioned before. He's really cool---before now we were really only able to meet once a week, and that was more than I think he thought he could because of his schedule. He studies at the college here, but also lives pretty far away, in a city between Busan and Ulsan, and so he usually has to take an inter-city bus to meet us here. But he's also just studying for a lot of tests all the time. Not just for school, but to apply for jobs, which is what he says he's most stressed about. One time this week when we met, he said he had just finished taking one of them, and was completely mentally exhausted. So we just talked a little bit about what he's doing, how we can help, then ate and prayed together. But he's okay---he's doing really well, actually. I think I mentioned before how he was worried about God's
foreknowledge, and how he believed that God existed but kind of said himself he resented Him. But after talking for a long time with us, and especially with one member who really helped him, he said his idea of God has changed, and that it feels right. He's also been pretty miraculously able to stop drinking coffee---he said himself it's not that addictive, but I know especially that students who need to study for a long time, diligently (which is exactly him) often need those kinds of things, and it's hard to stop, but he was able to. We're planning to meet with him at least a few more times, and especially to read the scriptures/the book Mormon abridged together, since he says that's still sometimes confusing to him. But I know God has helped him and us, and it's really great to be here with him.

Lastly, I keep thinking about time and how it's gone by---and then I think that it has been going by for a long time, and other people have worried about it, too. And then I think about scriptures that explain that God is the same, unchanging, and constant. I know that because of Him, and Jesus Christ, we have all reason to hope, and to know things will be well. I love you all, and hope you're happy and know how much love all of you and know these things are true. I also recently read Matthew 14:23, and I think it is pretty good. Keep it up.

-Elder Campbell

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