Monday, March 17, 2014

Week of March 17 2014: I'm glad they made it

This was another good time. I hope it is for all of you wherever you
are. I hope that all of the hard things you have to do don't feel too
overwhelming, and that you are always happy and well and fulfilled.
Things are going pretty well here. We were able to meet a few new
people, visit some of the less-active members we have been for a long
time, and have a good meeting on Sunday with all of the members. And
as usual, everyone is paying attention a lot to the weather, which is
getting warmer. Sometimes we see bugs going around, including little
butterflies, which were probably maturing all winter---I'm glad they
made it.

This week we got to meet some new people for the first time. One of
them is an older man, who we originally met on the street late at
night a few months ago, in a pretty unexpected way. His name is 안형제님
(Brother Ahn), he's about 70, and a funny, outgoing businessman. He
was originally really interested in learning English, and so came to
our English class a few times, and was curious about us and the
church. He invited us to go to lunch on Tuesday, so we left our house
a little earlier than usual to go try to talk with people before we
planned to meet him---we got to walk on a little path next to the
small river that runs through part of the city, past the main K.T.X.
(bullet) train tracks, and because it was a little sunnier than usual
there were actually quite a few people out. We were able to talk to
one, and he asked a little about us and seemed curious, but then said
he had to go. 

We walked to our church building, where Brother Ahn was
waiting. We got in his car, and he said he wanted to go to a place I
hadn't heard of before---as he started driving and explaining, I
realized it's in a different big province north of the one our city is
in, and I was pretty sure not in our mission boundaries. So we asked
if we could just go back to somewhere close by, and so we did---it
felt a little close, but it probably wasn't that big of a problem in
the end. But it was still good to talk with him by himself about his
life and his beliefs. He used to live in China for about 3 years for
his job, and learned a lot of Chinese from that experience, and said
he also went to the U.S. a lot for work, and so learned some English.
He also goes to a Presbyterian church nearby where we live. At one
point he went to get coffee, and asked if we also wanted some. My
companion, Elder Laney, started explaining that ew don't drink
alcohol, coffee and the two main kinds of tea that people drink often
(red and green). He was very understanding, but also seemed curious.
We had planned to go somewhere else to talk more about religion
afterward, but one of his friends called him, and he had to go
earlier. Before we left, he started asking more about why we had to
live that way. Elder Laney explained that God gave a commandment about
it. We talked a little about how God always sent prophets to address
the specific problems of people in every time and age, and how he has
sent them to us today, and gave to one of them a commandment about our
health. He seemed to understand, but still seemed a little confused
about why God would restrict our use of something He gave us. We told
him how much it's blessed our own lives, and asked if we could meet
again and talk more about it, and he seemed tentative, but said maybe
sometime. It was still nice to get to talk to him, and teach a little
about Joseph Smith and how through prophets we can know what will help
us to live happily.

On Wednesday, it started raining, and was a lot colder than it had
been, and we visited 노형제님 (Brother Noh), who's still in the hospital.
He seems to be still a little frustrated about his having to stay in
the hospital, but when we talked about the scripture we'd thought of,
he seemed better, and when Elder Laney suggested we bring the
sacrament to him on Sundays, he looked a lot happier. It's something
I'd thought about, but kind of just forgot, and I'm glad Elder Laney
suggested it again. After that, we went to a new neighborhood and
tried talking to people in their apartments. Some of them actually
wanted to talk---mostly just about how missionaries from other
churches came, and they wondered why we felt it was necessary to share
our beliefs with others. We simply shared about how much the Gospel
has blessed our lives. The next day was still pretty cold and rainy,
and it even started snowing at one point. We met 민형제님 (Brother Meen)
again, and talked about how our desire to have faith leads us to act
according to it. His son and family came here all of a sudden to visit
him, and so he had to leave early as well---but it was really good to
talk with him. That night we also got to visit 김형제님 (Brother Kim), a
less-active member who's in the middle of his military service, and is
really quiet and nice. He said he has more time now in the evenings
and on weekends, and he would try to start coming to church. We shared
a short message, and just got to know him better---it felt really
great, and I hope he felt comforted from our visit. 

On Friday, we visited another less-active member, who lives kind of far away and
close to a mountain range. His name is 편형제님 (Brother Pyun), and he's a
little older and farms for his living. When we talked, he mentioned
how the Book of Mormon language is really outdated and different from
how people really speak---we suggested he try to imagine himself in
the situations, and try to understand the stories and their message
more than each word by itself. He said he would try to come to our
Stake Conference, which is this coming weekend---it was really great.
That night we also met with 주형제님 (Brother Joo), a less-active member,
and after helping him with some English study he's doing talked about
the Restoration. He seemed very impressed by it, and I thik it really
helped him. He was impressed by Joseph Smith's determination and
actions, and I was too.

On Saturday, we weren't able to meet a lot of new people, but we did
get to do our English class, where almost all the people who regulary
come attended, about 6 people total---maybe it doesn't sound like it,
but that's a lot. It was really great to talk with all of them, and
share a short message at the end about Christ's mission. They all
listened carefully, and seemed to like it. 김회장님 (President Kim), our
branch president, came to clean the church, and drove us home. He's
really great. At church the next day, we talked about repentance with
the young men, Jacob and Joseph in Gospel Doctrine, and had a really
nice sacrament meeting. I realize every time I get to meet them how
amazing all the members and other people here are. I'm so grateful for
their kindness to me, to each other, and their good examples to all
the people in their lives. I'm so grateful for all of you, as well. I
thought a little bit about agency this week---not for any particular
reason, but just that Heavenly Father loves us so much, and that was
the greatest gift he could give us, to allow us to learn and grow and
become good people by following the greatest example of using agency
to help others in Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful that we're able to
learn through our decisions and become better people by helping each
other. I love my companion, everyone here, and all of you. I'm
grateful for the scriptures, and for the Church God restored through
Joseph Smith and how it's organized to help everyone (Mosiah 18). I
hope you're happy, and I love you---keep it up.

-Elder Campbell

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