Sunday, April 20, 2014

Week of April 14 2014: Changes!

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 bfore 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 are 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.
On Tuesday night, after planning and eating, we went out and walked up a bunch of rolling hills to one of the colleges in our city, called 인제대학교 (In-jay University) with the other missionaries and all went to try to talk to pepole together in the campus. It was a bit chilly but very nice night, and there were lots of students walking around, some on the way to exercise or play sports, and they were all really friendly. Students in general are very kind and nice to foreigners, but also it seems to other people---that's probably a bit of a generalization, but they do seem to understand that they have a lot of responsibilities to others, and in general are really kind and considerate of others. In particular, one of the people the missionaries had been meeting for the past few weeks who we got to meet again a few times is a good example of this. His name is 허형제님 (Brother Huh(?)), and he's about 23, and really nice. One of his cousins is a member, and she told him about missionaries, and he started meeting with them and really liking and accepting the things they taught. He came to both of the English class times we had on Wednesday and Saturday, and afterwards we were able to talk with him about the gospel. Unfortunately, he also has had kind of a bad experience recently, and os he felt pretty down about that the first time we met him on Wednesday. We talked about faith, and how it's not just knowledge or an outward thing that is simply a requirement, but a hope that helps us to endure through hard things, that even if we don't understand now we hope that things will work out for the better later. He seemed to appreciate it, but also called a few days later and told us because of the problem he might have to go somewhere else to work for a long time and might not be able to meet anymore. I was afraid for a bit he had felt like we weren't really working for his best interest, that he felt like we were just trying to get him to come and do something we wanted him to. Then on Saturday, 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.
On Friday, we got to go to our mission's headquarters and have a meeting with the other zone and Sister training leaders, which our mission president also came and spoke at. It was really good---I fee like sometimes I can not participate as well sometimes at those kinds of meetings, but I was able to learn a lot, and we've been trying to share it with the other missionaries in our zone well. After the meeting we took a bus up to another area in our district, a part of Busan called 구포 (Goo-poh), and give something to and talk with the missionaries there, all of whom I've served close with and know pretty well. It was great to see all of them---their church is high up in a big hill, and the bus we took up almost seemed like it might not make it in the struggle to get up there. There were lots of students running around, and talking with a bit of the dialect that people use here more---it was fun. Then on Saturday and yesterday, we were able to watch General Conference in the church, with members, on of our Sisters' investigators, and just with us missionaries at a few points. It was all very good---I felt a lot of the talks addressed specifically a lot of things I've been thinking about, even if not exactly the central things. I especially thought it was interesting that several speakers talked about our different perspectives in this life---there are an infinite variety of different people that we come into contact with every day, but they're all still the same children of Heavenly Father, and the more we try to understand and sympathize with others' point of view, the more unified and peaceful everything will be. I also really liked a few of the talks that mentioned following guidance in making choices, which Elder Quist and I had been talking about a lot. President Uchtdorf also mentioned, which I think he has before, that we have limitless opportunities to do good. Sometimes we feel limited because of our perspective or circumstances, and even though that's true for some things, the ways we can love and be kind to each other are varied, and we can find new ones if we look. I also really liked the talk about Joseph Smith's early life, leading up to the First Vision. It's something I feel like I can talk about without thinking as deeply about sometimes, just because it feels so usual and natural. I know that if we all realize how much God personally cares for us, and act accordingly with a sincere heart, that if we truly try to reciprocate, like President Monson mentioned, we never know how far He is willing to go to show is love for and direct us in our lives.
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 togethe 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.
-Elder Campbell  

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