Monday, January 27, 2014

Week of January 27 2014: Bananas Through the Window

Dear Everyone,

This was another interesting, good, nice week. I hope it was where all of you are, respectively. I hear it's been pretty really cold in some places. It has been here for a long time. Supposedly this is one of the coldest/farthest North places in our mission, and even though it snowed this last week it was a little warmer, which as usual lots of people are excited about. Last week we didn't do anything too special on P-Day. But that night we went to our branch mission leader's house to have dinner with his family. It was pretty great. His name is 이형제님 (Brother Lee (Ee)), and his family has three sons and one daughter. One of them just graduated from high school and is figuring out what to do, and the daughter and her little brother still live at home. We ate with them---just usual, rice with lots of side-dishes (different types of kimchi, similar things), and then as kind of the main dish 돈까스 (donkasuh (same as donkatsu)) and fried 고구마 (sweet potatoes). 

After that, we had family home evening together---we sang some good hymns together accompanied by a tablet, and then Brother Lee (Ee) shared a scripture that his son who's a missionary in Seoul did with them in one of his letters home, somewhere in 2 Corinthians, where Paul says he is the weakest and most evil of all men but is still strong. He talked about it with his kids---why they think he would have said something that doesn't really make sense if you just look at it, but if you think about how weaknesses help us to be humble which helps us to learn and become better, it makes more sense. It was really inspiring to see how he helped them understand something pretty complex and that can be hard to explain, in simple words and by relating it to them. He's a pretty great member and leader. 

After that we played a game called 윷놀이 (yoot-nori), kind of similar to Sorry, where you toss four sticks with different markings on them, and depending on which sides land up you can move pieces across a board towards a goal. I haven't really played it too much in the past---but for some reason ended up throwing the highest one a few times in a row, which everyone was excited about. In the end, we ate ice-cream (individual bars, which are cheap and pretty good) and then went outside to start going home to find it was snowing. It was pretty good first day of the week. 

On Tuesday, we went to try to visit a few of the people we have before that I mentioned who work at computer stores or hang out in coffee-shops---one of the older ones, named 박형제님 (Brother Park (Pock)), who was recently injured by a car, apparently got in an accident on his scooter, which I'm not sure why he was riding. I just hope he heals up soon. Most of the other people were all too busy with work to be able to meet this week---too bad, since we had some really good discussions with them before but it's been kind of a while. But hopefully we'll be able to meet them again soon. 

We also went to visit a member who plays the piano every week for sacrament meeting and teaches piano for her job. Her name is 박자매님 (Sister Park (Pock)), and she lives in a big apartment complex up in the foot of a hill a little ways away from where we usually go. She's really great, and has been helping us practice after church for a few weeks an arrangemnt of "Abide With Me". We took her some little chocolate snacks with a card, and she was really happy and grateful. We saw her on the street driving somewhere a few days later, and she pulled over and gave us bananas through the window of her car before she turned right---it was interesting. Her husband isn't a member and lives pretty far away for work, but she's a really great example and works hard for her kids and helps them to come to church. 

When we went to visit her, we also thought we might try to find people in the same apartment complex. It's pretty big, and seems to have lots of families in it. We went back later and tried without too much success. Most of the people were tired or just in the middle of something else---but were very kind in saying it, for the most part. We ended up talking to one guy who said someone was visiting him, but that we could come back later. We went back a few days later to see if he were still there---his door was open, and he said the same thing. We figured we would try a few more people nearby and see if we could talk with him one last time before we left. After a while of trying different houses, one man opened the door and came out to listen more. After just explaining a bit of who we were and the message and service project (our English class/program) we were sharing about, he stood there for a second and then told us to come in---not a very common thing to happen (the first it ever has to me). We went in to his small apartment, sat down and talked with him for a while. He was really nice, and said even though he's about 50 and doesn't think he could learn English well, and he's been Buddhist most of his life, we could come back and talk later. We just were able to talk a little about Christ---he said he's read the Bible before, and we decided to talk more next time. It was pretty amazing---the other guy wasn't at home anymore, but it was still pretty miraculous day. 

Lastly we met with a few of the people from our English class---two of them on Tuesday--for a kind of half-English half-gospel themed discussion program that our mission president introduced a while ago, which was great. We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and how it helps us in our lives to know our nature and the things we need to do to be happy now and forever. Both of them, Sister Park (Pock) and Brother Lee (Ee) seemed to like it a lot. We shared a lot of scriptures from 2 Nephi 2 and other places that explain some pretty complicated ideas really well, and it seemed to touch them. It was really great---Elder Pickard had found a lot of the scriptures beforehand and had a very specific plan to help them understand it and what we'll teach them in the future. I'm so grateful for him, his enthusiasm, good planning and love for the people we're meeting. We also met our regular English class early, talked about what we had planned to, and then went out to eat together because it's the last one before the lunar new year, 설날 (Soullar), and we probably won't meet next week. It was great to get to just talk to them and to have a good time together---I'm so grateful for their kindness, and their good nature, even though some of them aren't interested in learning about the gospel. 

I haven't been studying anything in particular recently---just the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. I've been really impressed with just reading the Book of Mormon closely, and how good it is. I know that sounds obvious, but when I just read it, wihtout either trying to analyze too much or not paying close attention, I am always able to learn something new and feel good and think about the great things in my life. I know you all can, too. We also had a meeting with the other missionaries in our zone this week on Wednesday. We got to see a lot of them, some of whom I've know from serving other places. I'm just grateful for all the people who are here, for their desire to help others, and that we can do it together. I know other people feel the same way about all of you, including me, and I hope you're happy and know that. I know that Christ is truly our Savior, and I'm so grateful for all of you and that knowledge. I hope you're all happy and good---I love you all. Keep it up.

-Elder Campbell

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