Monday, December 16, 2013

Week of December 15 2013: Huge Power Lines Above the Tracks

Dear Everyone,
I hope you're all very happy and doing well. That's really all I want. This week was pretty good---not too many different things, but a few nice and normal ones. But I also know that everything we do in our lives everyday is an immense blessing and miracle that we can't fully understand. This week we did a lot of things that seem like normal everyday things but that I know have big meaning for other people. We went to try to visit a lot of less-active members, which is not quite as daunting because our ward is a little smaller. One of the people we tried to visit is a student around our same age, but when we went to find his house his parents told us he started his military service a year ago, and so won't be back for a while. But his family was very nice. They raise big dogs for some reason, and so have a big gate around their house---but they came out and talked to us, instead of the other way, which was nice. We also kept trying to visit some semi-less-active members of our ward. They're a family with three kids who own a restaurant near the church. Now that the weather is a little colder, they apparently are a lot more busy, and haven't been able to come to church, even though they don't work on every other Sunday. We went by, and talked to the mom for just a little bit---she was very nice, and said that she wanted to talk like they sometimes have done with other missionaries, but because they have so many customers, it just didn't work out. But it's nice to know how hard everyone works for their families and to make other people happier, even when they're so busy in their individual lives. It seems like almost all the people we're visiting are pretty much the same---even though they're busy in their jobs or other things, they still make time to meet with us, or if not, they're busy working hard for their families so they can be happy together with them, which is ultimately what we're trying to help them to do.
On Wednesday we went to the city nearby to have a meeting with the other missionaries in our district. It was a pretty chilly morning---it started snowing as we walked outside and to the train station. As it turned out the train we had planned on taking got delayed a bit---so we got to wait at the platform a little while longer and watch the snow fall onto the huge power lines above the tracks. We got to talk about each other's families a little more, and about other things we've done. He talked about what it was like when he went to B.Y.U. last year, and it made me think of some of you who are there. We took the train, went to the meeting, and Elder Pickard, gave a great talk about asking questions while teaching. It's something that can seem the hardest at times---but is always rewarding and effective. Ultimately the things we're talking about people have to decide on for themselves, so helping them to really sincerely think about it and listening to their thoughts and concerns is much more effective than just talking at them and hoping they understand. Afterward we went to eat lunch together, but because there wasn't too much time we ended up going to a restaurant that's everywhere---김밥천국 (Kim-bop Heaven), which is kind of like McDonald's in that it's everywhere, cheap, and a lot of Korean people don't like eating there---but it's pretty cheap, and has a big variety of things to eat, so it's always nice.
We also got to go visit a new place that we recently found out is included in the boundaries of our area, which was pretty exciting. It's a city called 상주 (Sangju (Song-joo)), about a 40-minute bus ride south of here. I'ts a little smaller even than where we are, but also seems somehow more modern---maybe because it hasn't started developing until recently. We visited the city hall to find a map so we could look for some of the less-active members who live here. I think I mentioned before, but this new year the entire address system will change. It's good in a lot of ways, because there's no official signs of the old one anymore on people's houses. The signs and everything have already been replaced for a while, but just about all of our records and maps are based on the old one. Usually we have to hope that people have written their old address out on their gate somewhere, but otherwise there's no way to know if it's the right place or not. They didn't have a map that was different from the one we do, but they did show us to a room with a large touch-screen computer with a program which, if you type in the old address, tells you what the new one is. It was pretty useful and fancy---it took a while to enter in all the people in that city, but we were able to find most of their new addresses, or look at a satellite picture and try to figure out what it was nearby. After that we went to try to visit a few of the less-actives who live in big apartments, which we were able to find with our old map. Neither of them were home, but we got to see a lot of the city, including the symbol (two little farmer cartoon characters with leaves on their heads), and the slogan ("Just Sangju"), and talk to some people who were busy but friendly. It was very nice.
I guess the last things were all from yesterday. After church, which was pretty good, we got to visit our branch presiden'ts house. His name is 김창호 (Kim Chong-ho), he works for the school system here, and also runs marathons. He's very nice, cool, and friendly. We had a really good lunch with him and his wife, and talked about them and their family and their work. Lastly, that night we went to visit a less-active member who's been away from the church for a while, and the missionaries have been trying to help. I'd heard a bit about him from my companion and from other people who had served here. He believes in some interesting philosophies and groups that aren't really related to the church, and that no one has ever really heard of before. He's very nice, quiet, and polite---there were a lot of things that I wasn't really sure about, but he talked about how he's been worrying about these philosophies and philosophical problems a lot since he was young, and that's how he started meeting the missionaries. After we ate dinner together, a popular kind-of fast food called 짜장 (Jah-jong), we talked about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, which he said he'd learned about but not for a while. We talked about how it shows us that we can search for answers to our questions, but in the end the most sure way we can know answers is by asking Heavenly Father and believing in the answer he will give us. He seemed to remember the things he learned before, and I just hope our visit was helpful for him. But I know that all the things we're doing are for ours and others' benefit, and that we learn and grow from everything we experience. I'm so grateful for all the help and things you have all given and taught me. I know that Heavenly Father is there, wants to give help and answers to our prayers, and has already given many of them through Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful to be here and to have wonderful people to learn from and to help me. I love and miss all of you---keep it up.
-Elder Campbell

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