Monday, March 24, 2014

Week of March 24 2014: Questions of the Soul

Dear Everyone,

I'm so grateful all the time for every way in which you have all
helped me to learn stuff. I hope you're always doing well. I know it's
hard to do that, and I sometimes feel like I'm just writing it the
same way every week---but I really do sincerely hope that. The weather
is pretty steadily moving, which means other things are too,
especially people---Sunday night is quickly becoming the time when
people are the most visible, while just a few weeks ago there was no
one at all out at that time. Sometimes it's weird to realize changes
like that, but to other people it must be a relief.

I'm always glad to be serving here. It's not exactly like you might
expect, that because it's a smaller town everyone's really familiar
with each other. But in a certain way, it is like that---among the
members, or just people who live here. And since we often go to
similar places regularly, there are lots of people we get to see
several times in a week. And now that the weather is a little warmer,
people seem a bit nicer and more open, which I guess is only natural.
This week we got to go to the biggest city in our zone, called 대구
(Daegu (Day-goo))---it's one of the bigger cities in the country, and
because it's not too far from where we are people often go there for
business or just to shop and things when they have free time. We took
the train there on Tuesday morning, and met two really great
missionaries I've been able to know for a long time, 윤장로님 (Elder
Yoon), and Elder Hall. They are our zone leaders, and we were in the
(M.T.) C. together. We got to do a companion exchange with them, Elder
Laney staying in Daegu and Elder Hall and I coming back here. It was
really great---we took the train back, looked at the interesting view
(rice fields, highways, mountains with clumps of apartments grouped in
them, and lots of churches), and after putting everything in our house
we went over to the main part of where we usually go, in front of the
train station. While we were walking, we greeted an older man carrying
a bike, and he started talking to us about our church and how he used
to talk with the missonaries and wanted to learn English, although he
was really quite good already. He talked about how he used to go to
Catholic church, but then his daughter had kind of a breakdown and had
to go to a mental hospital for treatment, and that made him wonder why
God would allow something like that to his family---he said she's
getting better. We sympathized with him, and told him we're here to
help him, including if he wants to learn English. He seemed
appreciative, and asked where the church is, but in the end said he
will come if he wants to. It was very nice to meet him, though. We
went to the base of the overpass/skybridge next to the train station,
where we planned to meet 김형제님 (Brother Kim, originally from China),
and called him because we didn't see him. While the phone was ringing,
we turned around and saw him standing there smiling with his phone in
his hand. He said he had seen us standing up on the bridge talking to
the other man with the bike, but wasn't sure if it was us because he
didn't recognize Elder Hall. We laughed a bit, and then went to 이삭 토스트
(Isaac Toast), the first time I'd ever met an investigator there. We
ate a little, and then talked about the scriptures---he mentioned how
all scripture, the Bible, Buddhist or other scriptures, and the Book
of Mormon, seems like more than other books something that's a little
more special, that helps us to live happily. We talked about how they
provide a guide for us, and Elder Hall shared his testimony really
strongly. We then gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Chinese,
which we had gotten for him a while ago. I wasn't actually sure if he
was comfortable with reading it, but he seemed to understand it all
pretty perfectly. We talked specifically about the story of Alma's
people in Mosiah 24, and how they were able to find real comfort and
have their burdens lightened even in the face of hard tribulation and
work---he works at a bath house for almost 12 hours every day except
for Tuesday. He seemed to understand it, read the whole introduction
by himself in a few minutes, and said he would try to read the chapter
by himself later if he had time. It was really good---I just hope he
felt how we wanted to share a story with him he could apply to
himself, and why it's important to him personally.

That same day we also visited 편형제님 (Brother Pyun), the older
less-active member who lives near a mountain. The walk over was really
nice---we got to talk to lots of kind people, and each other (we're
from the same 동기---group of people who started missoinary work at the
same time). We talked with Brother Pyun about his family, and what
they do, and his dream---he wanted to become a politician, but said
he'd never had enough money. He also asked about what we're planning
to do---I said I'm still not totally sure, but trying to focus on what
I'm doing now and gradually think about and decide that. We read
together in 3 Nephi 18 where Christ gives the sacrament to the
Nephites, and explains so clearly what it means and why it's
important. He has in the past complained that the script of the Book
of Mormon in Korean is old-fashioned and hard to understand, but this
time he said it was all good, and said he would come to Stake
Conference on Sunday. We walked back, and tried to visit a few
less-active memers' houses that we haven't been to before. That night
we went and visited a brother who used to come to English class at the
church, and he was really nice. We went to the pain clinic where he
works, on the second floor of an office building above a clothing
store and beneath a pool hall, and talked with him there---he had
little chairs with massaging machines for people waiting, and talked
about how when he lived in Canada things like that and other interior
things were much more expensive than in Korea. We talked about his
family, and how he's doing, and invited him to come back to English
class. He said he would try---it was really nice.

The next day we went to 구미 (Goo-mee) for a district meeting. It was
really great---we talked a bit before, played ping-pong a little, and
then started. Everyone had prepared really well, and it was just a
great, helpful time. Usually a district meeting includes talking about
announcements and how everyone's investigators are doing, then a
language practice/lesson, then a short talk, and a longer
teaching-practice. We bear our testimonies at the end, and then
finish. It was just really nice---afterward we ordered lunch, ate, and
went to do a proselyting activity together. The Goo-mee missionaries
made a board with a few of the "Questions of the Soul" that the Book
of Mormon answers ("Preach My Gospel"), and we went to a kind of
crowded place and invited people to come and choose one and then talk
about why they think it's an important question. We were able to talk
to lots of people, and it was fun. After we finished, we took the
train back, and went to meet 민형제님 (Brother Meen), and after he talked
a bit about the local elections and English, we talked about prophets
and what they do. He explained in great detail what he thought about
each of the famous prophets of the old testament, and what they
did---and then when we asked if he thought we would still need one
today, he stopped for a minute, and then said probably yes. We talked
about the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon---he had been confused
that we only believed it, and not the Bible---and he seemed to really
like all of it. He agreed to try to read the Book of Mormon, and to
pray about it. It was a really simple, great talk. Then because Elder
Laney wasn't feeling great, we went to Lotteria, the kind of
in-country McDonalds, for dinner, and tried to talk to a few more
people before going home.

The rest of the week was pretty much taken up in relation to our Stake
Conference, which was also in Daegu. On Friday, we did another
exchange with the missionaries in 안동 (Ahn-dohng). They had two
investigators who would be baptized after Stake Conference, and they
needed to do an interview. The first was an older woman, about 80 who
lived pretty far away. The other is a younger man whose girlfriend is
their branch's president. They were both really great in different
ways---the older woman didn't understand a lot of what the Sisters
taught because she's pretty deaf, but said she desired to keep coming
and review again and better understand what she did learn, and was
pretty stubborn and cute and funny. The younger man was really nice,
as well---he really understood well what he had learnerd, and seemed
prepared to make a big change in his life by being baptized. It was
pretty inspiring to talk to both of them. The next day we went back to
Daegu to meet the other missionaries and go to the evening meeting of
Stake Conference. It was pretty great---all the leaders and other
speakers had prepared really well. There was an Area Seventy, 백장로님
(Elder Beck), who gave a really simple but powerful talk. It ended
late, so a member who used to be a taxi driver took eight missionaries
including us to one of the houses for the Daegu missionaries, a really
big apartment, and we ate together before going to sleep. It was
really nice.

I feel like there were a lot of specific events this week to talk
about, and we don't have as much time again---but I guess in general
what I felt and learned from most of them is that, as always, the Lord
is aware of us and is addressing our needs and wants right now, mostly
through other people. I also realized something obvious, but in a more
powerful way, before going to sleep on Tuesday, which Elder Hall then
talked about when we studied the next morning, but basically the
importance of remembering. Relating to the sacrament, if we don't
remember all these things we know, then the knowledge is hollow. If
it's not really part of us, and if it doesn't motivate us and change
the way we live and help other people, then it doesn't really mean
anything. I'm so grateful for church and the sacrament and family to
help us remember all the great things God has given us in our lives. I
love all of you, and am so grateful to be here, and to know the things
I know. I know they can bless everyone ,and will always help all of
you. Thanks again for everything you've helped me with, and I love you
all---keep it up.

-Elder Campbell

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