Dear Nice and Loving People,
This was a pretty good time. I know it can't always be the same---but I'm grateful for the good ones that were there. One of them I think I mentioned the first part of last week. The weather got a little warmer. I guess some of you wish that would happen where you are---I hope it does. Specifically there was the person who came to a few minutes of church outside the doorway of the chapel last week. His name is 추형제님 (Brother Choo), and he's a very nice, quiet high-school student. When he came last week, he seemed just afraid and embarassed that he'd come late to church and didn't want to offend other people, so instead he said we could meet during the week, on the one day of winter vacation he had. We were going to meetafternoon, but he texted us and said it wouldn't work out all of a sudden---he had something to do with the other people at his school. So we asked if he could meet in the evening, and he said that was okay. So we went to the train station, probably the biggest part of our city, with spurts of lots of people coming out when the trains stop, and a big tree next to a volcanic rock out front. We sat down and waited there, and he called us a few minutes after the time we planned to meet---he was waiting, looking the other way, and hadn't seen us. We walked to a popular pizza chain called "Pizza School," and talked for a while waiting for the food. He's very nice, and curious. He's always texted back right away after the first time we met him, which was a while ago, when he told us that he'd met the missionaries on the street a long time ago and gave them his phone number but never got a call from them. He's funny, quiet, and likes soccer. He lives in the dormitory at the biggest high-school here, and then goes to his family's house on the weekend. He said he takes an economics class in English, which is pretty cool and ridiculous. He also used to go to a church in elementary school with his friend, and said he asked them to learn more about Jesus Christ and just what religion is, but they told him just to come to church first and learn it there. He sincerely has a lot of questions, and is very nice.
While we were walking out on the same street we ended up meeting the branch president, and so he got to talk with him for a little bit---Brother Choo's dad is a P.E. teacher at an elementary school, and our branch president works in teacher re-training, so he said he thought he'd met his dad before. It was a very interesting, rewarding, good day. He was planning to come to church, but when we called him, for whatever reason, he couldn't pick up. He was very sincere, and it was a really great time when we met him, so it seems like something just came up---hopefully we'll find out soon. Then we visited someone who the missionaries have taught for a long time, who works in the security room at an apartment complex here---he's kind of older, and isn't too interested in changing things, but he did talk a lot about how we could go around where the farms are here, a little out from the town, and ask the farmers if we could taste what they're growing, and could live that way if we ever needed food, because they're so wholesome and generous---I honestly believe it.
This week we also met a few new people---all on the street, on the same day. It's not usual, so it was a pretty great experience. One of them was an older guy we met on the way to try to visit two less-active twin brothers. He was smoking while we walked next to him, but once we greeted him he put his cigarette out, and wasn't super talkative but also wasn't completely uninterested. He said he used to believe Buddhism a little, and right now doesn't have a particular religion, but that in general Korean people need to go to church more. We talked about his family---just his son lives here in the same city, and we talked a bit about how that's like our Heavenly Father, that most of us are away from him now, and it's hard, but when we meet him again it will be that much better. He seemed to like it, and when he started going a different way he showed us where he was going---a coffeeshop that he spends a lot of time in. We were on the way to visit the other less-active members, so he said maybe another day we could meet there and talk again. It was pretty unexpected, and pretty amazing.
Later the same day, on the way back from where we were going, we were walking next to a dad and his two kids who were talking really loudly and funnily. We walked by and just said hello, and all of a sudden he got very excited, and asked about what we were doing. He stopped to drop his kids off at a piano studio with "Peanuts" characters on the windows, and talked a bit about the church he goes to, and what we're doing. He was a little surprised that we're called 장로 (elder), because it's usually only used for older members of a church or things like that---he seems like he was very active in the leadership of his church in the past, and was actually interested in our English class and other things that w'ere doing, mostly for the principle of them and not because he wants to come---he said he thinks different churches should help each other out, and wanted to talk to the pastor at his church about what we're doing. He showed us the computer store where he works, and then explained his name again in a very specific, clear way, and then explained why he said it that way, assuming se might not know. He was very nice and enthusiastic, and we went back to try to visit him at his store a few times---he was always out, and it seemed like to take care of his kids again, which is good. We called the number of his store a few days later and talked to him again, and he mentioned that if no one at other churches knows we're doing missionary work, they won't be able to help us. I guess I never really thought of it that way, just because we're not supposed to proselyte nearby other places of worship---but it was nice and different. I really appreciated his sense of unity in the work we're doing, and among Christians. We might not be able to meet him soon because he's so busy with his work and family---but he's been so nice to us, and I hope we can pay him back somehow.
We also did a lot of walking and trying to find addresses this week. On the 1st the entire address system of everywhere changed, and our branch president asked us to try to find out the members' new addresses whenever we visited them. We remembered a while ago when we went to another town's city hall and used a big fancy computer to find them out, and went to our city's---they had a similar one, alhtough it was a little slower, and were able to find most of them. So we went to some of them, and some in the same other town from before, called 상주 (Song joo). It turns out almost all of them have moved or weren't home---but it was an interesting adventure to go up to find them. Some were in big apartments, others were in big hills with old houses that were all clustered together. Those days as well, because some people had the day off, were a little quieter---so we didn't get to talk to too many people, but we did get to see new places, and say hello to a few people on the way. We also had fast and testimony meeting here, which was nice. A lot of people talked about their new year's resolutions, things they wanted to do better. A lot of them talked about their relationships with their families. We also got to teach the young men's class, which we usually do, and only one of them came---but we talked about coming to know Heavenly Father, and he was more attentive and participatory than usual. It was nice. I recently have been reading Jeremiah a bit, after Isaiah and things---it's interesting how much the Lord emphasizes his personal relationship with His people, and his disappointment that they turned from a living relationship with Him to one with idols who don't talk, live, move, or hear.
More than anything, I'm so grateful and have been completely dependent on the fact that Heavenly Father wants to and does communicate with all of us, and that we can reciprocate. Thinking about all the times where people didn't feel like talking, and comparing it to all infinity of small blessings He's given us without our thanks, makes me feel a little more good. I'm so grateful to be here with great members and an awesome companion who thinks things out well and is funny. I love and miss you all---keep it up. Thanks.