Dear Beloved Family (사랑하는 가족 여러분):
This week was another time. It felt in some ways pretty long, but also went by pretty fast. I guess that might not make a lot of sense, but it's a pretty apt description of how things have been going on for a long time. But I know that we sometimes need to experience things like that in order to gain a greater appreciation for other things. I'm so grateful for all of the great experiences and memories I've had with all of the people here and with all of you. Before the weather, I thought it might be good to explain about the new place that I'm in, since I didn't get to really as part of the last e-mail. It simultaneously seems like a really big change, but also doesn't really feel like it's been one.
The city we live and serve in is called 김해 (Kim-hay/金海), and it's about 45 minutes by a normal city bus to our mission headquarters and so it's very close to 부산 (Busan). It's pretty different in a lot of ways from 김천 (Kim-chun)---it's a little bigger, and a little more varied landscape-wise. Not that there weren't many mountains in 김천---there were a lot when we walked to people's houses, and a less-active member I mentioned before pretty much lived on one---but here is a little more hilly and green. It's pretty beautiful. There are lots of pretty beautiful flowers coming out around now, too, so that is really nice. The church is also significantly different---there's a big, relatively new building, and there are about 100 people in the ward who come regularly. Last Monday, after coming back from the meeting, e-mailing and shopping and things like that, we went to the church to help with a Family Home Evening activity the ward has been trying to do every week. Because everyone was busy not many were able to make it, but we did get to meet the other missionaries in our area and get to know them a little better. I served with two of them in the same area in 울산 (Ulsan), Elder Himmer and Sister Burton. The other two, 황장로님 (Elder Hwang) and Sister Hingano are a little newer and I hadn't known them well before, but they are really kind and funny. We talked about things we might want to do to help the members a little more, and work more effectively together. We met again the next day to talk about the less-active members we've all been visiting and working with, and also to figure out things for General Conference, which we watched this past week. Elder Quist and I also talked about our zone and things we needed to do for them. We had a lot of time kind of sitting and planning, but it was still good, and when we went outside to do the things we were planning on it made it that much more beautiful and exciting.
Then, during English class, he suddenly called and asked if we could talk. He came to the church, and after the English part we talked about faith and repentance---how as we live and are part of this world we will inevitably feel those disappointing things and have those kinds of experiences, but as much as that happens we can also step back, think about things and then with Christ's help commit to be better. He seemed to understand and really like it, and I was so grateful that the Lord had helped him in ways that we couldn't have, and don't even know about. This week we were also able to meet a college student who's a Jehovah's Witness---he brought some other members of his church, and they talked a lot about the Second Coming, that it wasn't necessarily supposed to be physical, and things like that. We bore our testimony of Christ's living reality and about the Book of Mormon, and the student said he would try to read it to see if it were right. Elder Quist was almost a little frustrated, but also felt good that we had sincerely shared with them what we knew to be true instead of trying to argue or prove our own point. It was hard, but in some ways really good, too.
Lastly, I thought I should share about someone we met on the bus back from Goo-poh to our area. His name is 한형제님 (Brother Hahn), and he works, I'm pretty sure, as a custodian at a middle school. He spoke slowly and simply, but really genuinely and nicely. We shared simply about how we can be relieved of the burden of our mistakes through believing in Christ, and he seemed to like it, and said we could meet and talk again. Later that day, while we were walking on a back street near our house, we saw him and what looked like his wife, going somewhere together. The both smiled and greeted us, and it was really great---that day, Elder Quist mentioned several times, was "a really good day". I'm so grateful to be able to serve here, and even though I'm not as good as I need to be that we can meet together with people and try to help each other. I'm so grateful for all of the help and love all of you have given me, and I know that the Gospel is true. I know that God loves all of us equally, and he wants us to know it, and if we try to know sincerely, we can see it. Have a great week, and try to read Mormon's Book. Thanks for everything---keep it up.