Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Week of October 6 2013: Gifts

Dear Great Family,
Things are going pretty well lately, and it's good to hear from all of you. As some other people pointed out, it does seem to finally be getting to the different season now from the other one before, which is nice in some ways, but sad in others---the bugs for the most part are going away, although we did see some caterpillars by the bus stop the other day, so that could mean something. And the sky is turning grey instead of the clear brilliant blue it was for a while. 

People's schedules and habits are changing a bit, too. Most students have tests and things to prepare for, so they're a lot busier---but now that the weather's a little more bearable, some people seem to be more willing to meet. It's interesting how seasons control the way we act and things like that. But this week was really great. The especially good part, which was pretty much all the time, is being with Elder Judd. He's one of the most sincere and nice people I've ever met. Any time anyone even seems like they need help or are uncomfortable, he says something, and he always genuinely compliments everyone---other missionaries, members or whoever it may be. He never complains, he works hard, he's happy all the time. Everything about him is great. 

This week we were able to meet someone we met the week before, because of Elder Judd's enthusiastically greeting him when we walked by, and then deciding to talk to him again after we had to go back the same way. His name is 심형제님 (Brother Shim), and he's an interesting, amazing person. He works over in the other area in our district, a city called 방어진 (Bong-oh-jin), which is right next to the ocean. We went there a while ago on a P-Day with our district and saw huge jellyfish and things like that, which was great. He works over there where they make boats with his brother, and they live with their mom together in Ulsan. He doesn't have much background or interest in Christianity or religion really, but learned at a friend's church about how Christ died for us, and seems like he was really touched when he learned it. We first met him at the church, and then the next day he came to the church and asked if we could meet him again. We went, and after talking to the other missionaries' student investigators, met him and talked about the Restoration. He's really an interesting, well-listening, well-meaning person. He said he would try to pray, and the next time we met, he said it was really good to be able to speak with God about the things he needs and wants to know. It was really great---I felt again how powerful it is that we're able to pray to God, about everything, wherever or whenever we are, and how there are lots of people who don't know about that. Later in the week, we met again at the park where we saw him first, and walked around together for a while and just talked, which was new but interesting. He said he would try to read the book Mormon edited, too, and come to church. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to meet him.
This week there was also a baptism for one of the investigators the other missionaries have been meeting. Most of them are young men---in high school or middle school, and live near the church, so they come kind of just to hang out a lot. One of them who's the oldest is named 김형제님 (Brother Kim), and he's a professional boxer. He just graduated from high school, and he's a kind of different but really interesting person. He's really kind and nice to everyone---he especially loves Elder Judd---they're about the same height, and pretty close to the same age. 

This week we had an activity with them, the other missionaries, and some of the young men from the ward, which was interesting---we shared a short message about serving each other, and then played a bunch of games with them. One of them is called 돼지돼지 꿀꿀, which means "pig pig, oink oink". Basically, one person goes to the middle of the room, puts on a blindfold, and spins around while everyone else picks a spot to hide in. The blindfolded person walks around until he finds someone. When he does, he says "pig pig", and the person he found has to answer "oink oink". He then has to guess who it was, and if it was right, then the found person becomes "it". It's pretty similar to Blind Man's Bluff from a while ago, which I think a few people remember. We played that for a while, which was fun, and then ate 김치볶음밥 (kimchi fried rice). Overall it was pretty fun. Then on Saturday, Brother Kim came to the church to have the baptismal interview. He seemed really at peace and confident about why he was getting baptized, and I think he's going to help a lot of people. The actual event was on Saturday afternoon, so a lot of members weren't able to come because of work---but a few did, some brought cookies, and we had a short, powerful baptismal service. They day before we got to meet one person who's been coming to the church for English class for a long time but hasn't had much time to actually talk about things. He recently moved to the dormitory at the university in Ulsan, and we met and talked a little bit, after he showed us his English class report on a huge computer. We had given him a copy of Mormon's book before, and asked i he'd read it. He said he read a bit of what we wrote at the front, but not the actual contents. We read a part together in Ether about faith, and he seemed to like it---it felt different from before. 
Lastly just a few things about people---one of the other missionaries here, who I feel bad I haven't told you guys about before. He's Elder Himmer, he says funny things at funny times, and is from Gig Harbor. It's been really interesting and fun to be with him here---except this week he had to get surgery for an abscess of some kind somewhere that wouldn't be good. So we had to go visit him at the hospital, which was fun, but not really too much. Also one of the Sister missionaries who's been serving here, who I also feel bad I haven't mentioned. She's from a city called Daegu, which is actually in our mission, and has been serving here until her Visa comes so she can go to her mission in the U.S., in Seattle. She's really funny, smiles, and always makes other people happy. She works really hard, and helps everyone---but her visa came this week, so she finally went back to her house, and now she's waiting to leave. It's said, but good for her. I'm really glad I've been able to be here this week and do all these things with great people. I know, just like hard things, that all these experiences are gifts from Heavenly Father who knows what I and other people need, and I'm so grateful to be able to be here right now. I love all of you---keep working hard, and look at Elder Judd-suggested Moroni 9:25 if you want. Keep it up.
-Elder Campbell   

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