Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Week of July 14 2014: Sorry for the gap!

Dear Wonderful People,
This has been another pretty great week. There were some things that developed and changed a lot rapidly, and others that have been going for a long time and have just started to turn subtly. But they were all good, and they all of great good points attached to them. The first is, as always, the weather, which was pretty unpredictable for a while and after that started to be pretty hot at one moment. Over a span of a few days, while walking around we heard the starting and stopping of 매미 (cicadas), making the noise that they do. Then all of a sudden during the past few days they seemed to start to be all around constantly, and now it's just a regular part of life.
Not everything is like that, I guess, but it seemed to be kind of a regular theme recently. On Tuesday, we went to 구포 (Goo-po) early in the morning to meet with the other missionaries in our district and our mission president for interviews. Unfortunately, everyone (including me) forgot to tell the Sisters in our area that we were doing the meeting there, so they didn't show up and eventually called and realized what had happened. It was a little rushed and they seemed frustrated, but in the end we started. It was interesting to see how it was different from before---not that it was a lot different, but because they've come recently and are trying to figure out their own method they had the missionaries who serve in the headquarters come and help. We talked a lot about faith, and President Barrow specifically shared some very good scriptures, asking us to personally read later the rest of them and asking deep questions without giving the obvious answer in one time. He's very good at helping others to think and come up with ideas for themselves, which is ultimately the way we have to do most things. We also watched a few videos I'd never seen before, one of missionaries teaching about repentance, which was pretty great, and the rest were chosen from the "I'm a Mormon" videos specifically about people who had a serious injury or disease or some other kind of physical hardship, but didn't get discouraged or pessimistic about it. The missionaries who prepared it did it very thoroughly and well, which was really great. They made it possible for everyone to participate, and luckily everyone did. It was pretty interesting, because it was raining a bit at the start, and then started to get heavier, and by the mid-end there was thunder pealing outside that sounded like a movie studio prop because it was really near and verylong and heavy.  When I went to do an interview with President Barrow, it was really great. He asked about some basic things, which is very understandable since I'd only met him once or twice before, and then about plans and about my companion, 박장로님 (Elder Park (Pock)). He's very supportive and kind, and I'm grateful for his serving us here.
We also had some other good opportunities to meet and learn wiht others this week. One was our usual English class, which has been kind of different recently because some people who came very often before haven't been able to for a long time. There were just a few who came this week, including 허형제님 (Brother Huh) who we've been meeting for a long time, and a few of the younger kids who have been coming recently to the church to hang out and learn. But before we started, we suddenly got a call from 조형제님 (Brother Jo), who we met on the bus coming back from a district meeting a few weeks before. He is a very shy, quiet person, but he's also very curious and already goes to a church and has faith in Christ, and he asked all of a sudden if we could meet that night. We said that we could after English class was over, and he decided to come then. As we started to finish, he called us, and we went outside to meet him. It was a pretty windy and rainy day, but he had come a little before 7:00, when we ha decided to meet, and it was pretty inspiring. We went in and tlakeed with him about his religion and the reasons he wanted to meet with us. He said he's been going to his church for just over a year, and has studied the Bible a fair amount, but still isn't sure for himself if the things that it teaches are really for sure true. We talked about having faith, how Heavenly Father gave us all of these things as an expression of his love for us as our Father, and invited him to meet again to talk about how he can gain greater faith. He said that would be okay, and seemed very nice and glad to be there. I'm glad he was there, too. On the same night, while we were talking with him, someone came up and looked through the door where we were, and later introduced himself as someone we had met a few weeks earlier and who had come to see what English class was like. I guess there were quite a few pretty amazing things that happened that night, and I was really grateful for all of them.
We also got to have a zone meeting this week, which was the first time in a while we've been able to do that. We only found out a week prior that it would be on that day, so we tried ot prepare as best as we could in advance. The district leaders and Sister Training Leaders agreed to help, and as they're all really responsible they prepared very carefully and well for the parts we asked them to. We also prepared a short teaching-practice activity about finding a good flow and teaching evenly as companions. It's something that Elder Park (Pock) has wanted to focus on a lot, and has really been helpful and a great way to learn lots of new things. It was a little last-minute, so we had to rush to finish it, but in the end it turned out pretty well. We all met in 연산 (Yun-sahn) on Friday morning, set up, and then sang hymns for the first while before we actually started. The room was a little small for everyone to fit in, but it was nice to be close with everyone else and feel that we were doing and learning things together. All the leaders prepared really well, and shared the parts they had received with their own personal insight. One of them, Elder Sutton, who I met in the MTC, shared several examples from the scriptures and also from his own life of understanding and valuing the personal worth of others and of ourselves. Elder Flint, one of my companions, talked about teaching others about the premortal life and their life and roles there, and then there was a really great special song that Elder Sutton also sang, which was about pretty much the same topic, called "Here Am I, Send Me". The Sisters from our area, 최자매님 (Sister Choi (Chway)) and 어자매님 (Sister Eo (Uh)) did a good practice about explaining scripture stories simply and to help us understand the moral of them, using pictures and things. In the end, Elder Park (Pock), my companion, shared his experience about teaching simply, and then we gave a short demonstration, and then practiced all together. It ended up a little longer than we had expected, but it seemed good, and everyone seemed to learn something. We ate lunch together, which was nice, at a restaraunt outside the church where the staff are very friendly because they know the missionaries well, and then came back on the subway/경전철 (lightrail). We went to try to visit the house of a less-active member one of the leaders asked us to try and find. She wasn't there, but we were able to see a good view of the valley in the area near the kind of downtown part of the city, which includes lots of mountains and huge apartments. Some big cranes or other birds were flying around a big green mountain which has a secret shiny building at the top of it, probably some kind of astronomy lab---it was a pretty interesting sight. Afterward, we had another opportunity to meet with Brother Jo. The members had some kind of activity that we didn't know about, so they gave us a big plate with potatoes and 자두 (Jah-doo: kind of like a plum) to eat while we were talking. We talked specifically just about faith, and even though there were some hard parts to understand he shared the things he did know and understand for sure, and seemed excited to participate and to share the things he knows. He's a shy, quiet young adult, and he said he works cleaning somewhere, and still lives with his family. We talked about the change that believing in Christ can have in his life, and he said he would like to meet again.
On Sunday we had a lot of good things happen. The Busan Stake President came to visit our ward, and the members all gave really good talks. It was raining, so we stayed inside and got to talk with a lot of them, instead of staying outside like we usually do. Brother Huh also came a little late, so we didn't actually see him until he came up to us. He talked with lots of the members on his own, and seemed very happy. After church, we met very briefly and watched a new video about the mission of Christ, "그분 덕분에" ("Because of Him"). It was pretty great, and he seemed to like it. He understands very well the necessity of  Christ as our Redeemer, and he prays very simply and faithfully. He also said that he's been very busy, so much so that he hasn't had time for the usual things that have been making it hard for him to keep the Word of Wisdom, so he's focusing on studying and keeping it. It was pretty great---it seems like he'll be ready to be baptized, and I'm so grateful for his effort and faith and the opportunity to be able to know and help him.
There were lots of great miracles this week---really, it seemed like almost everyday. But there was one that was pretty different from the others. On Monday, we started preparing for our Family Home Evening activity that we usually do, but no one we had invited had come yet. Then, we heard someone calling in the back of the chapel, and it was an older man that none of us knew. He said he was trying to get back to where he had come from, and asked if we could help him to pay for the bus. At first we weren't sure what to do, but one of the other missionaries invited him to first just come in and sit down and drink some water. We talked with him for a bit, and he seemed pretty tired and things---and then we decided to just have a short activity. We sang a hymn together ("Abide with Me"), said a prayer, and had a short message, and then he had to go---but it was pretty great. I hope he was able to feel God and Christ's love for him, and we treated him the way They would have wanted us to. I'm constantly grateful for the experiences and people we've been able to have and meet here, especially for the help of my great companion, who's always working hard  to progress personally and together. I'm grateful for the simple knowledge of and faith in the Gospel that blesses our lives, and for all of the help and blessings you have given me. I hope you're always happy and know how much I love and believe in you. I know you're blessing all those around you, and making a difference that no one else can. Thanks for everything---keep it up.
-Elder Campbell

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