I hope this was a great week for all of you. There's not too much I can do to control it, so I just hope so. We had good things, and colder things, and other things this week. But overall it was really great.
Last week for our P-Day time we didn't do anythig too great or specific, and this week we have to meet the other missionaries in our zone to prepare for a district conference event where we're supposed to sing together. I'm sorry I haven't been able to write or send about crazy sightseeing spots or anything---we did go somewhere to try to find ties that Elder Judd has been interested in buying for a while. There are some ties that are pretty fancy, which are famous for some people---with shiny things or little animal designs. So we went to a department store near our house to see what there was. We had to go up about four or five floors or so, but we found a big section of neckties on little drawers that fold out. The nicer/sparklier ties are pretty expensive, it turns out, so my companion just bought one that was a little more moderate---there was one with whales on it as well.
After that, we had a pretty regular week, highlighted with a few more exciting things. On Tuesday, we were getting ready when one of the members of our ward, the second counselor in the branch presidency, called us and asked us to meet him at the church to copy a key. It wasn't an especially exciting event, but it reminded me just about him and how hard he works for the branch, his family, and in general. He works at the city hall here in Ulsan, which is pretty close to the church, and has a big garden in front of it. But he's very nice, kind, and makes time for us to meet him once in a while, not to mention everything he does in his calling. His kids are pretty cute as well, especially his youngest son, whose name is 김율 (Kim Your), and kind of looks older man. He likes walking around and falling over, kind of like some younger cousins I know.
But after we met him, we went to the service projecct that we've been helping out at almost every week. It's basically just an actual soup kitchen---I don't know if all the people who come are specifically homeless or not, but the food usually does have soup included. The patrons are all pretty old, but fun and funny. They come in, get their own food on a big tray, usually with rice, kimchi and other side-dishes, and soup, and then go to sit down. The room isn't too big, and the chairs are all pretty close together, so there are some times when it gets way too crowded---but it's still fun. We usually help people who need it get to their seats, or just get food for them, and then when they're done eating take their trays and clean them off so they can do the dishes as fast as possible. Sometimes they ask us to move things like big bags of rice, but sometimes we just have time to wait until they're done eating that we can talk with them or the other volunteers. The women who run the activity also are very nice and helpful---very kind and patient. When we finished and left to go take the bus, one of them was going the same direction as us, and asked us where we were going, in a very nice polite way. I realized we've seen her almost every week without really getting to know each other too deeply---she said she was on the way to her work, when I just assumed she worked at the service center. It's good to see there are so many amazing people around who just want to help other people like Jesus Christ would.
We tried to visit a few of the less-active members of our ward this week. Most of them are people the members suggested and maybe knew well before, but haven't been able to come to church for a long time. For that reason I think some of them feel a lot of pressure if we come visit them. One of them is named 홍형제님 (Brother Hong), and he works at a place called a 겁도관 (Come dough gwan), where he teaches swordfighting. We tried to visit him a few times, but he was busy with class. We were able to meet with another less-active member we have a few times before, who works near Ulsan University, and really likes missionaries. He's also desiging a toy of some kind, and wants to present his design to a company he likes in Germany. It's pretty impressive how hard he works for the goals he has, even while doing other work and everything. He says he finally finished the design itself, and showed us a bunch of pictures of it while we ate together. It's kind of a building toy made of paper, and which can be used to make lots of different shapes and things. We talked about the preocess of how he made it---apparently he's been designing it for two years, and after finishing that had to spend tons of time, or asked help from his friends, cutting it out from colored-paper (kind of origami type paper) to make enough designs to send to show the company what they're like. We talked about how good he feels now that he's finished this thing he's been working on for so long. We then compared it to how the Lord created all things, and then rested---how he saw that everything He had made was good. He also hoped that we would use it well---kind of like how the member hopes his design will be sold, and people will enjoy and use it well. We talked about the things God hopes from him, comparing it to his own experience. He seemed to like it---but still said it's just hard for him to make it to church. Hopefully he didn't feel too much pressure or anything, but
As kind of the highlight of the week, we got to met with one of the other investigators we have before. His actual last name, like lots of people, is 이 (Lee (Ee)), but he said we could just call him 수 (Soo). He's a very nice, interesting guy. He's really polite and formal---whenever we call or meet at the church to have a lesson, he's always very straightforward about things, and very sorry if he's late or someone calls him or something like that. He came to church for the first time a few weeks ago, and said he liked it overall (the same week as the primary program) but that there were some parts of it that were hard to understand. He also said he felt a little guilt and pressure, when we invited him to come again. Because he's starting a new job, he probably won't be able to come very regularly, and he said he's worried that if he comes every once in a while, it will be rude and make the other members feel bad. We tried to tell him, of course, they would be glad to see him whenever he had time to be able to come. We talked about his personal relationship with God, and one way he can understand and develop it---through praying. We read Alma 33:5-8, which has some pretty good stuff about it, specifically that Zenos prayed when he in his field (even during work), and the Lord heard him. It's a great promise---that we don't just have to pray regularly and habitually, but in the times we can, or when we need help. He seemed to like it, and said if he has time, he'll try to come to church again.
We also did a kind of sticker survey like we have before this week---an activity usually only girl students have time for or want to participate in. One of the first people we talked to was an older guy who said he'd met missionaries before and talked about English, but not much about the Gospel. We decided to meet him again the next day. I said something about how mostly girls were coming to do the activity at one point, which it seemed like Elder Judd thought was directed at him---unfortunately, he seemed a little deflated by it. I felt bad and realized again how even at times when we don't mean it, maybe especially then, is when others' feelings can be hurt and when misunderstandings arise, which is why it's so important to be quickly and frankly forgiving. I'm so grateful for good family and friends who have shown that to me, and have always shown good examples. On the upside, we met him the day after, ate lunch together, and had a good talk---he said the next time he has his car, he could come and talk at the church. Overall, it was an interesting but good experience, just like everything.
I'm so grateful for all the experiences I've been able to have, even the harder ones. I know the Lord loves us, and even if we don't totally understand all the time, He does everything because of his desire for our happiness. I hope you're all happy and doing well, and am grateful everyday for you. I love you---keep it up.