Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week of February 24 2014: Simply Sharing

Dear Everyone,

I hope everything you're doing is really great, and you're all happy
and fulfilled. I think everyone here is doing pretty well. This week
the weather started showing some signs of maybe being different. It
was pretty usual (cloudy and rainy) for a while, with a few
interspersed times of slight warmth and sunniness. We also went to a
new place for our district meeting during this week---probably the
furthest area away from ours, called 안동 (Ahn-dohng), for the first
time, which was a little different. And the last time when we sent
e-mails, it was from a little government office at the base of a big
apartment complex in the area called 구미 (Goo-mee), that I'd never been
to before. After finishing, we walked back the way to the train
station, it started raining, and we met someone on the street who said
he'd seen the missionaries before on the street, and is a member of
the Catholic church. We simply shared with him about how we also
believe in Christ and his Atonement. He talked a bit more, and seemed
to like being able to share about his own faith. He had to cross the
street somewhere before us, so we didn't get to talk to him
anymore---but it was really nice to talk to him right after reading
what you had sent and writing back. We took the train back, and
someone we had met on the street a few weeks before was texting us,
and asked if we could meet that night to just talk more about church
and what we're doing. We went to the church to wait for him, because
it had seemed like he said he could meet a little later in the
evening. When we walked in to the buliding where our church is, we saw
someone waiting in a car out in front of it. When we texted him later
to ask about a later time, he said he was already waiting in front,
and we realized we had already seen him. We went back down, invitied
him back up, and talked with him for a while. His name is 민형제님
(Brother Meen), he worked for the military for about 30 years, and
after retiring he wanted to start serving other people more, so he
started working for the government office that deals with immigration,
apparently to help women who emigrate from other Asian countries to
get married get used to the country. Apparently in the past there was
a problem with people coming, getting married and becoming citizens,
and the going back to their home countries but without changing their
citizenship, and so the government has been trying to help them to get
used to the culture when they come so they don't feel as alone and
things like that. He helps them learn about culture, food, and other
things, pretty much just as a volunteer---he's a very kind and
generous person. While we were talking, he suddenly told us to wait
for a minute, went down to his car and came back up with a bunch of
little candy and crackers, and we ate them while we were talking. He
also mentioned that when he was a student, he lived in a building
together with someone who was a less-active member at the time, and so
the missionaries came to visit him pretty often, and often shared what
they were teaching with the other people who lived there, so he had
learned a little about the church. He also says he was raised
Christian, but feels that for a lot of his life he wasn't very good at
applying the things he learned, and so feels a lot of guilt because of
it. We talked about how not matter what, we can always be forgiven
through Christ's mercy and Atonement, and he said he believed it too,
but still isn't sure he's totally ready to be forgiven himself. We
agreed to meet later to talk about the program we're doing of teaching
English and the gospel, and he seems really interested and excited to
meet. I was really grateful we got to meet him.

On Tuesday we went and tried to visit someone named 이형제님 (Brother Lee
(Ee))---there's a lot of them, but he's the one we met in his house,
who invited is in, and who played Bach on an old guitar the last time
we visited him. He said he's feeling sick and not too great, so we
came back and got ready to meet some of the people we have been
regularly for the past few weeks---이형제님 and 박자매님 (Brother Lee (Ee) and
Sister Park (Pock)), who we've been doing our English program with for
a while. Brother Lee (Ee) was preparing for a really big test to
become a lawyer, so he couldn't come, but Sister Park (Pock) came, and
our branch mission leader also came and helped. We talked about
prophets, what they do and teach, and how we can come to know the
truth of the gospel for ourselves. She seemed to have some points that
she wasn't as sure about, but she was able to hear Brother Lee (Ee)'s
testimony, and it really seemed to help her a lot. The next day was
the district meeting in a different place---we had to take a train to
구미 (Goo-mee) and then a bus from there to the other area. It's an
interesting, spread out but at the same time kind of old-feeling city.
We had a really good meeting where we talked and focused a lot on
baptism, and the blessings that come from it. Afterward we started an
exchange with the district leader and his companion. I stayed in the
different area with his companion, 김장로님 (Elder Kim). We visited a
bunch of people, and met a new investigator, watched the Restoration
movie on a fancy box with a d.v.d. player and projector all in one,
and invited him to be baptized---and he said he would prepare. It was
pretty great.

On Saturday, we went to 구미 and helped out with a kind of church
open-house activity---not too many non-members came, but we were able
to talk with the members who were helping out, and to get to know
them. And older member who was there and helping at the same table as
me was really cool and nice, and talked about the temple and how his
children work for the church translating magazines and videos. Kind of
a sadder part of the week was that we got a call that Elder Pickard,
my companion, would be transferred to another area in the same zone.
It was a little sad---we've done a lot here together, met a lot of
people, and gotten used to some of the interesting parts and people
here---but it will be good. We went to the mission headquarters on
Monday, had a good meeting with all the other missionaries, and then I
met Elder Lainey, from Oregon (Portland and Beaverton), and we came
back together. He's really great, likes reading the Old Testament and
study guides, and quoting Disney and other movies---he's really great,
and I'm really excited for all the people we'll be able to help and
things to do together. I really have felt recently how much the Lord
has helped and blessed us and all the people here in very real and
strong ways, and I know that no matter what, whenever we're trying to
follow Christ's example and help others, things work out for the best.
I know that the gospel is true, and am so grateful for the blessings
it's brought in my life, mostly through all of you. I hope you're
always happy, and know how much I miss and love you. Thanks for
everything---keep it up.

-Elder Campbell

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week of February 16 2014: Boo-roke

Dear Group of People,
This has been another pretty good week. I'll try to explain the high points without too much detail or being too boring, and I hope it will be helpful to all of you in some way. The weather as usual has been going contrary to what you would expect or what people say. For several days it was pretty cold, but mostly just cloudy---the thick kind of clouds that makes it feel like there's a big ceiling over the ground. It even started snowing lightly a few times, without sticking much. But that didn't really have a big impact on what we did, luckily. This week as well we were able to meet a few newer people and talk more about the Gospel and their thoughts about it. On Tuesday night, we met one of two people from our English class we've been talking with regularly for a while, 이형제님 (Brother Lee (Ee)). I didn't really introduce him in much detail, I guess---he's about fifty, really likes studying English, especially from kid's books he gets at the local library (including "The Giant Turnip", and one about an otter). He also is looking for a job right now and still living with his mom---he's trying to become a lawyer, and so has been studying for a long time for the test that's required. We talked about Alma 12 with him, about how God not just provided the Plan of Salvation but a way for us all to find out about it. We talked about prophets, and what he would think if there were a true prophet of God on the earth. He said he would want to know what he said and taught. When we invited him to pray, he talked about how in Buddhist scriptures from China, there's a teaching that he thinks is similar to prayer. It basically says think about your actions three times a day and whether they were good or not. He was saying that he thinks if it helps us to become better people, whatever the teaching, they're all pretty similar. But he did say he would try praying to Heavenly Father during the week. He's also taking the big test this coming weekend, so hopefully he will be able to relieve his stress by trying it.
We also went to visit the man I mentioned we found in his apartment, 이형제님 (Brother Lee (Ee)---a different one). His apartment is pretty removed from where we usually go, is pretty big and has lots of people in it. Whenever we go in to visit him, it reminds me of how many people there are around us all the time that we don't see living different lives---his house is pretty small, probably more than the one we live in. But it's nice, and has all the things he needs. We talked again, he asked what we've been doing, and then when we asked again abot the guitar he has in his house he said it was there when he moved in, and asked if one of us knew how to play it. We said not really, but kept asking if he did, and eventually he started playing something that sounded very familiar that he said was by Bach. It was nice---then we asked about what he thinks of God. We had talked about Christ a bit before---but not just about Heavenly Father. He said he would probably be powerful, kind of general---we talked about who He is in detail, and how we can pray to Him. He joked and laughed at some points, but also seemed to be listening very intently at others. At then end we asked if we could pray together, and just before we did his mom came in, and he had to go somewhere with her. It was still good to talk to him, and get to know him and about his life a little better. The same day we were able to meet with another person I mentioned before, who's originally from China. We texted him and agreed to meet in front of one of the big grocery stores nearby (이마트: E-Mart) and on the way there got a call from him asking why we weren't at the other one (하나로마트 (Hana-ro Mart). We turned back, met him and went to the church. We talked about similar things with him---what he thinks of God, if he's ever felt His influence in his life. He still said he didn't have a lot of big experiences or beliefs to help him believe, but asked us how we came to believe enough to go to a new place and only talk about it. We both shared our experiences and testimionies of the Gospel, and coming to know its truth through prayer. We invited him to pray as well, and he said he would. He still seems to have a lot of questions and is confused about certain points, but when we talked about how through his own actions he would be able to know better than just from us talking about it, he seemed to understand and to agree. It was really good.
We also were able to meet another person, who we first met a long time ago and have been visiting periodically at his computer shop for a while, and the week before agreed to try our program of teaching English and the Gospel to families. We went when we had agreed to meet and go to his house, and he sort of embarassedly explained that his son, who would be the one interested most in English, has to sing for a choir in the Presbyterian church they go to, and he had to go practice for it. We sat down and talked with him for a bit more (just a few tables and functioning computers and pieces of computers he's fixing around), and he eventually said that his wife was also a little unsure about us visiting. But we were able to talk with him about the Book of Mormon, which he's pretty curious about. His name is also 이형제님 (Brother Lee(Ee)), and he joined his church about 7 years ago, and teaches the children's class there. He really likes to talk, and gets very animated about different things that are important to him. We talked about the Bible, and how the Book of Mormon supports it and helps us to know it's true (he compared it to a word, 부록 (boo-roke), which he explained is like when you sell something and tape an extra thing on it---an addition). He's very busy helping provide for his family, and had to run out while we were talking to take his little daughter to a 학원 (private after-school learning place). He's a really great person, and hopefully we'll be able to visit him again and talk more about the Gospel in detail and help him to find out if it's true for himself.
We also did a few other things that were good, including visiting an area called the "New City"---lots of bigger apartments than anywhere near the main town, and a little more modern-looking. It felt different, mostly because there weren't really any other people there besides the workers constructing the buildings. We also got to go visit a less-active member who lives near the side of a mountain, who's very interesting---he had a new touch-screen phone, and also a computer monitor with nothing else attached to it, but he agreed he would try to read the Book of Mormon for 5 minutes before he went to bed one night---he's always really nice to talk to. On Saturday, before we had our English class, we went and tried to talk to people for a long time, walking around our neighborhood. We met one student who asked where we were from, if we could speak English, and then explained in perfect English that he lived in Pennsylvania for three years when he was younger. As we were walking, we got a phone call from our mission president, and I realized it was Elder Pickard's birthday, which I hadn't known---I felt a little bad, but it turned out to be an okay day. And on Sunday, one member came in during Sunday school and asked us to come help her with something---apparently her son is applying for high-schools, and needed help with introducing himself in English. After church we helped her, and she talked about how her son doesn't think church is fun---but that she knows it's true, and she will wait until she can help him to come and find out for himself. It was funny, but nice.
Recently I've been thinking about the nature of the Spirit World and the judgement that will occur after it, according to our desires and our actions. Sometimes that can feel like too much, that we have to make the right choices every day, every minute. I came to think that it's important for us to treat every minute that carefully and importantly, but also to focus on learning and not to get too caught up in things like that. I still feel like there are so many things I need to be better at and to work on---but I know that, like our mission president said before, this is God's work, and he is directing it---we just need to help to the best of our capacity. I know that the Lord loves and is blessing the people here, and I hope we've been able to help Him do it a little bit. I know he loves and is blessing all of you. I'm so grateful always for your examples and encouragement. You guys are really amazing---I know you're helping and blessing all of the people around you, too. Thanks for everything. I love you---keep it up.
-Elder Campbell

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week of February 10 2014: Huge Robot

Dear Beloved People,

I hope everything is going well where you all are. This has been a
really great week---I've been able to learn a lot about how much the
Lord has given me in my life, and how much He truly directs missionary
work, even through imperfect people. It didn't have too much to do
with the weather, which has started going backwards---it was snowing
as we came to the place we normally do e-mail at, which I guess I've
never explained in detail before. One of the members of our branch,
김형제님 (Brother Kim) owns a 형대 (Hyundai (Hyunday)) service center pretty
close to our house, in between our house and the huge K.T.X (bullet
train) tracks. There's a little customer service area where people
wait while they're working, with a small high-tech coffee machine,
T.V. and chairs, and two computers. We usually sit here and write
while looking out the window at cars on lifts being worked on, and
every once in a while one of the bullet trains flies past. I like to
imagine where all of you are, and hopefully that gives a better idea
of over here.

I guess maybe starting from the end might be good. Yesterday we went
to the church like usual at around 9:00 to help get ready. We set up
the chairs, put the little seat-cushions our branch members like to
use on each one, put out the hymnbooks, turned on the huge heater in one
corner that looks like a huge robot, set up the sacramanet table, and
the white-board for Sunday school type things. At around 9:40 or so
most of the members started coming---the branch president had to go
somewhere, and couldn't come, and his one counselor, whose family
invited us to their house for the new year, also has to work a lot of
the time on Sunday, so the member who owns the car repair shop kind of
filled in. At first there were just two families there, about 8 people
total, so we just had Sunday school and priesthood and Relief Society
meetings together. It was nice and a little more intimate---we talked
about the Plan of Salvation and what President Joseph Fielding Smith
had to say about it. It was nice---the youth were able to participate
a little more, since their parents were with them, too. There was also
a nice part from the Teachings manual where he talked very plainly
about how Christ's coming and suffering and death were ultimately to
allow us to possibly return to God's presence---kind of a big-picture
reminder of the Plan of Salvation, how it seems to have a lot of
working parts but is really at its heart very simple and plain. Then
Brother Kim, who's very kind and smart and usually doesn't have a lot
of opportunities to talk, taught a lesson about the ark of Noah and
the flood. It was very interesting---a few more of the members came,
and after reading the actual story and talking about it together
simply, he emphasized the importance of thinking about how we can
apply it to ourselves today. He talked very thoughtfully about the
people at the time---how wicked they must have been to necessitate
what happened, and the faith of Noah in obeying the Lord's
commandments in the face of opposition and without a sure knowledge of
the future. I guess I haven't really thought about that story in quite
as much detail as some others, but it was really nice to have a good
discussion about it all together. Then we had sacrament meeting, where
there weren't as many people, including the Sister who usually plays
piano, so we sang with just the member conducting starting each hymn
off. The talks were nice, focusing on agency and the blessings of our
families. A few of the members and the people we invited weren't able
to come, so it was a smaller and different but still really great

I was definitely able to recognize and see a lot of the blessings that
I had been taking for granted this week, especially in a lot of the
people we've met recently. Even though it wasn't anything big or
immediate, we were able to meet and talk with most of them. One of
them I think I mentioned before a little bit ago---we met him trying
to visit someone else who had told us to come back later, and he let
us into his apartment right away. He worked before in a factory
nearby, but isn't working right now, so we were able to go and visit
him on Tuesday afternoon. His name is 이형제님 (Brother Lee (Ee)). He
lives alone, and his parents live somewhere else in the town here.
While we were eating peanut-flavored snacks, we asked about him and
his interests a bit more. He made lots of jokes---he asked if while we
were walking on the street we ever saw Jesus, and things like
that---but after asking it turns out he's read the Bible and remembers
it really well, especially in the New Testament about Christ's life.
We talked about how His life and teachings aren't just interesting
historical information, but truly the central way for us to find
happiness and peace in our lives. He seemed unsure about
religion---his parents used to be Buddhist but recently suddenly
started going to a Christian church, and he said after getting older
it seems harder to believe in things like that, but said we could come
back again to talk more about how Christ's teachings are important in
his life. He was very nice, and maybe a little lonely---but I was so
grateful we were able to meet him again and talk about what we did. We
also got to have a district meeting with the other missionaries
nearby, but for the first time in our area here. Because of
transportation issues, the missionaries from one area (called 안동
(Ahn-dohng) ended up getting there a little late---but we eventually
all got there and fit in our church. We ate first---we ordered out
from a Chinese restaraunt, where they serve noodles with black-bean
paste, and things like that---and then had a nice meeting. After, we
decided to go do a survey activity together to try to find new people.
It was a simple survey, just about peoples' first impressions of
missionaries, and then we gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon with
an insert in the front about the questions they have that it can
answer. It actually went really well---we got to talk to a lot of
people total together, and found a lot of people we could contact
later about the Book of Mormon and what they thought. It was really
fun to be able to work together with other missionaries like that,
which we haven't been able to do as much of recently. 

That night we also got to meet someone we had before the big holiday again. His name
is 김형제님 (Brother Kim), and he's originally from an area of China where
a lot of Korean people settled and started a kind of community among
themselves there. We met and walked to our church building. He talked
about how he went to see his relatives in Seoul during the new year,
and had to come back and work really early the next morning---but just
in an informative, not really complaining way. He's really passionate,
positive, and likes to talk. We showed him around the building, and
then sat down to talk about what he thinks about religion. We asked
what kind of things he had experienced where he originally lives with
churches. He said there is Christianity there, just not very
widespread---that a lot of people in that area associate it with
beliefs in healings and miracles and things like that. He seemed
curious about that part---he asked about the nature of healing, and
also about the belief that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born, and
a few other kind of miracle-type things. We explained that those kinds
of things do exist, but that exercising faith usually has smaller,
built-up impacts on our everyday lives. He asked about having belief,
and was really very interested, and seems to have thought a lot about
it before. We talked about how when first try to believe, we have to
act order to know if it's true or not. He still seemed to have a lot
of questions, and said we could meet to talk more again.

On Friay, we went to visit someone we met briefly on the street a
long time ago and have been regularly going to his computer repair
shop to try to talk to him more, he was just too busy usually to do
it. Elder Pickard suggested we go, and even though it was around the
same time we had before when he was gone, we tried. He was there, and
we talked for a while---kind of about a lot of things, but also about
church and the program we introduced to him that our mission has been
starting, teaching English and the gospel together to families. He was
two kids who are already studying English at home with a tutor, and we
asked what he would think about just trying meeting once---and he was
very positive. His son also came in, and he asked what he would think,
and we got to talk with him for a little while. It was really great.
He and his family are faithful members of a Presbyterian church here,
and they all seem really great, and have great faith in Christ. We
decided to meet this coming Wednesdaysday with his family to try it. It
was a really happy, good day. Then on Saturday, we cleaned our church
building, which hadn't been done for a while, and then had our English
class. Amazingly, two people came for the first time---one we'd met a
while ago but had been busy and just hadn't been able to come before,
and one we had just met a few days earlier on the street. They seemed
to get along with the regular people who have come for a while really
well. It was really great.

Also on Friday, we were able to meet the older guy we had before at a
coffee-shop type place, at his new job as an apartment security guard.
It was the first time we were really able to talk with him by himself,
and he expressed a lot of hard things he's going through in his
life---how he had to start working to support himself, but he's also
kind of sad and depressed, and his work schedule is pretty
demanding---one day on and off, for twenty-four hours. We talked about
what we had before, and what he remembered---aside from that, he
talked about how we're all naturally sinners, and how he knows a lot
of the things he had or is doing are bad. We talked about how Christ
came to help us to overcome those imperfetions, and gave him a
pamphlet to read and learn more about while he works when he has time.
He said he would come to church this last Sunday, but didn't realize
he had to work that day---so he said he would come next week. Again,
it wasn't a huge event, but just a really great experience---it really
seemed to help him feel a litte better, and he said we could come
visit again.

This week we had a lot of plans that went kind of weird---when we
tried to visit the older man at the apartment, he couldn't totally
explain where he was well, and other things like that. But even when I
wasn't sure what to do, Elder Pickard always offered great ideas and
helped us to start thinking, and we were able to figure it out well. I
know how much Heavenly Father has blessed me with all of you, a great
family, and to be able to serve here with Elder Pickard, a great
companion. I'm so grateful for everything, for all the things we've
been able to do, and know that even if we're imperfect the Lord will
help his children to be able to understand the gospel and get the help
they need from it. I'm so grateful for the scriptures, and that it we
work together with "one accord" God will help us be able to serve His
other children. I hope you're all happy, and know how much I love you,
and am grateful for the gospel. I love you---keep it up.

-Elder Campbell