Saturday, January 18, 2014

Week of January 17 2014: Miracles

Dear Everyone,

This was a pretty good week. I feel like sometimes that's not just
what I say, but feel almost every time I have to review and think
back. I guess that's a good thing---and mostly due to the fact that
other people work so hard and help so much it's hard to feel like it's
not. We got to do more in finding our branch members' addresses, which
I think I mentioned before. The address system has changed, and it's
actually a lot easier in many ways. Before, every building just had a
number without any specific order or anything. The maps based on the
old system had not just geographic information, but next to each
little building the number that corresponds to it, making it all
pretty cluttered and hard to distinguish which thing is which. I don't
remember if I mentioned it before, but cities are divided into
different parts---kind of like counties and neighborhoods, if not
quite exact. The biggest are called 구 (goo), and there's usually just
one for each cardinal direction. Each of those is made up by smaller
other pieces, mostly called 동 (dong, as in dough). Our house is in one
called 평화동 (Pyoung-hwa, meaning "peace"). We'd already gone to the
city center and post-office to find the old addresses of our members,
and we just had to put them all in our church computer, which was
interesting. I realized I've never really thought as much about that
until being a missionary---there are so many people connected to the
church, and knowing their names and how to get in touch with them when
they need help is pretty essential to being able to help them.
Especially since there are lots of less-active members who haven't
come to church in a long time and we don't have their information
written down, we just have to try to find it so people can help them
out later. 

There's one in particular we met a few weeks ago just near
our house---he works at a restaurant delivering food on a little
motorcycle, and we saw him while he was walking to work one day. He
asked if we had a copy of the Bible we could lend him---we said we
didn't, but that we had the Book of Mormon. He told us that he was a
member here a long time ago, but hasn't come, and doesn't have
scriptures at his home anymore. But he's not in our branch's or the
missionaries' records, so we've been trying to go to talk to him
again. We sometimes see him on the street driving around for his job,
and he'll nod a little with his helmet. So we updated all of the
records of people we have right now, and have been trying to find and
update those like him that are a little unsure.

Also this week, we were able to meet with a bunch of new people, some
of whom I think I already mentioned before---but we got to meet them
again and actually talk about their personal beliefs and how the
gospel can help them, which was pretty great. It started after we went
to our district meeting in the nearby city called 구미 (Goo-mee), where
we got to talk with the other missionaries there, and eat together,
which was nice. Since it was the last one until the new transfer, we
guessed what might happen on the chalkboard (not my favorite thing),
and then took a picture together. It's interesting how all these kind
of traditions start---right after that we had to leave really fast. 

We did an exchange with the district leader and his companion, a Korean
missionary who just came recently. He's really great---Elder Pickard
and the district leader went to their area, and his companion and I
came back here. After hurriedly going to the train, we came back and
walked down the big street to meet someone named 박형제님 (Brother Park
(Pock)), who we met walking down the same street the week before. He
was smoking, but also nice and friendly, and listened more than other
people usually do. He showed us the place he goes usually to relax, a
kind of coffee shop, and said we could meet there later---so 김장로님
(Elder Kim) and I went there to see him. It's an interesting
place---not exactly a coffee shop in the usual sense of the word, in
that it's a little darker and the customers are a little older,
usually. But we met with him there, talked about his family and how he
hurt his leg (he got hit by a car), and then about our church.
Apparently, he went to school in the neighborhood of where our church
is now a long time ago, when it was pretty different---but he still
knew where it was when we described it, and he said very confidently
that he would try to come. We explained a bit about what it's like,
how we have a worship meeting specifically to remember Jesus Christ,
and asked what he knew about Christ. He said he didn't really know
anything, and when we described generally His mission, he said he'd
heard it roughly before. We invited him to come again, and it felt
very nice. He talked about how the older he gets, the more he
recognizes the need for religion in the world, and he had said the
first time we met him if everyone went to church, it would be good. He
said several times he would try to come, and after a short visit we
left. It was nice. 

After calling a newspaper's office to try to put an
ad for our English class in it (there already was one), we went on the
way to visit one of our less-active members who lives pretty far away.
We got to talk a bit more about Elder Kim's experiences---he actually
went to B.Y.U. for almost three years, and then went to the army for
the last two, and applied for his mission right after finishing that.
It's pretty inspiring to see how hard he's worked and sacrificed for
his country and other people. He talked about how he watches the
missionary training videos and thinks how different it is from
reality---he said that where we're serving, when someone calls back,
or their phone number works, it's like one of the miracles that people
talk about in those videos, which is pretty true. Then when we had
walked for a while, pretty far away, we got a text from our branch
mission leader, 이형제님 (Brother Lee (Ee)) asking if we could meet to
have our meeting with him. He works really hard at his job, and
usually gives up his lunch time to be able to do it, so we went to get
the bus going back towards there, and met an Australian English
teacher who used to talk to the missionaries a lot. He said it's weird
that we're called Elder, since we don't even have beards. I tried to
say I couldn't grow one, and he said the church probably wouldn't let
us, anyway---it was a short, interesting experience. He's funny, and
friendly, and maybe a little lonely. 

So we met with Brother Lee, and then he drove with us to visit the less-active member we were planning
to. He lives pretty far away, almost in part of a mountain, in a
little house by himself. He grows food for his living, and said since
it's been pretty cold the last weeks the ground is too hard to harvest
the things he's growing, called 고구마 (Go goo-ma, "sweet potatoes"). But
we talked with him, and how it's been hard for him the last while and
he hasn't been able to come to church---but he was really glad to see
Brother Lee, who also went back to see where he'd planted the sweet
potatoes, and discovered the ground is soft enough to till and then to
harvest. We're thinking about going to try to help him later on. Then
we went back home, ate dinner, and went out to try to talk to people
on the way to a less-active member's house. It was pretty cold, and
there weren't too many people outside, so we went to the less-active
member's house, and he came outside for a few minutes to talk with
us---the rest of his family were asleep, and he's in the military
right now while living at home, so goes to bed pretty early. We just
said we hoped he was doing okay, and gave him a little card and some
cookies we were meaning to from a while ago. He seemed happy and
grateful---it was short, but hopefully helpful to him. 

Then on the way
home, just before going on the street to our house, we went back out
to where there are more people to see if there were anyone to talk
with. There weren't, so we headed back, but saw a few people in front
of a restaraunt. We said hello, and one of them did back in English.
He asked for our phone number, and we gave it, and he said he would
call us later, and then went back inside the restaurant. It was
interesting---I wasn't totally sure if anything would happen, but the
next day on the way to catch the train to meet the others again, we
got a call from him, and he said he would try to com eto our English
class. It was pretty amazing---one of those things that Elder Kim
talked about, that doesn't seem so big, but is definitely miraculous.
I was really grateful.

After we met our companions again and went back, Elder Pickard and I
went to visit one more of our less-active members whose address we
weren't sure of, and on the way thought we'd stop to see if someone we
had met the week before was in his computer store. We'd tried several
times the week before, without being able to meet him. He wasn't the
first time, but we went somewhere else and then came back one more
time, and he was there. He invited us in, saying he'd just gotten
back, and we started talking about our English class, which we had the
first time we met him on the street (he was taking his little
elementary-school kids to their piano class), and then he started
talking about his religious background very intently. He started
researching about Christianity heavily seven years ago, and not much
before then, and now he's very active in the Presbyterian church he
attends. He kind of talked about a lot of different topics, but was
very nice and friendly. As we were talking, he saw a copy of the Book
of Mormon one of us had brought, and asked about it. We explained very
simply, and he said he had thought before, when he was thinking about
believing Christianity, all the great people in Korea and everywhere,
including before Christ came, who had never read the Bible, but lived
as though they knew it very well. He also mentioned that he thought
other people in their own countries and languages had recieved
inspiration from God and recorded it, and that the Book of Mormon
sounded like that. We shared a bit from 2 Nephi 29, where the Lord
says that he commands all people everywhere to write the things he
commands them, and that he is the Father of and loves all people of
all nations. In the end his little kids called him to ask him to make
dinner for them---he says he does almost everyday, and then comes back
to work, since his wife works further away. But he said we could come
back and talk again later, and he seemed really to like it. It was
really a great experience, and I'm so grateful we were able to meet
him and for his friendliness and desire to follow Jesus Christ.

There were other really good things this week---at church, the members
had an interesting discussion about the idea of foreordination, and
the fact that we were chosen before we were born, like Abraham heard.
The talks were also good, and in general, I think everyone felt the
Spirit strongly, especially during the sacrament part of sacrament
meeting---at least me. The two people we had invited, Brother Park and
Brother Choo, from a few weeks before, weren't able to come---the
first still felt bad from being hit by a car, and the other said he
slept in---but it was still good. It's strange how after getting into
a routine, things start feeling different sometimes---but I'm so
grateful for the great things I've been able to do and learn here so
far, especially with and from Elder Pickard, who's organized and good
at planning and scheduling, and always nice and funny. I'm so grateful
for all the people here, missionaries, members, and other people who
have helped me. I'm also grateful for the nature of the Gospel, and
this life, that even though we're imperfect, we can grow and develop a
little at a time, and even though things change we can remember the
blessings and the good things in our lives and it helps us to
grow---kind of like in Mosiah 4:11-12. Also really grateful to be able
to serve here in a great place, which is small but with good people,
and trains going through every half-hour like spaceships. I miss and
love you all. Thanks so much for everything---keep it up.

-Elder Campbell

No comments:

Post a Comment