Dear Great Family,
This has been another great week---it's pretty easy to say that every week, because there are so many people around me who are truly kind and bless me, not to mention all of you, but I'm sorry if it seems repetitive. This week the weather also fluctuated a bit, mostly in temperature, while the humidity remained relatively constant. I think I mentioned it before, about the day a few weeks ago when it rained the most, the way stepping outside of the church building you could almost feel the density of the air around. That has become a pretty regular feeling, which is alright.
This week we spent a lot of our time and effort around the church building. I think I mentioned it a little before, but the church is actually on the front of a big main road that goes from here to Busan. It's the same road that the 경전철 (light-rail) tracks are built on, so when you ride that it seems like it's right in front of you. It's right next to the 김해 소방서 (fire-station for this neighborhood), which is very helpful in explaining to others where it is. Recently some members, one of whom used to be the branch president, have tried to make it look nicer by planting some new trees and flowers in the little garden around the border of the grounds, which is a popular place for bugs hang out and buzz loudly.
The bishop and some of the other ward leaders, after talking to the parents of the youth, decided that it would be good, since it's "summer vacation" for most of the youth, to organize an activity of some kind, and so they asked us to plan and set up an English camp where the youth can sleep over and bring their friends. I already mentioned that the Stake youth conference happened here, where they did it in a pretty similar way, but they asked us to especially focus it on English. So we met several times to come up with specific activities and things that we could do to make it fun and helpful for some people. It's a little different to have meetings like that often, but it's nice to be able to interact more with and hear the ideas of other missionaries, all of whom are very smart and funny and talented. I don't think I've taken a lot of time to describe all of them to you, so I'll try to very briefly. 김장로님 (Elder Kim) is very funny and a strong person, and also very good at piano and violin and math. He usually kind of lead the discussions we had, seeming serious and making lots of jokes at the same time. His companion is Elder Leftwich, who's from Arizona, and is a very serious and deep thinker. He also sometimes makes a funny noise when something silly happens, like the laugh that cartoon characters make when they catch someone red-handed (ha-HAah), but more high-pitched and extreme. He's very kind and funny. The Sister missionaries who serve here are also both really great. 어자매님 (Sister Uh) is very happy and funny and kind all the time, and always brightens up the atmosphere whoever she's with. She also is able to think very logically and seriously about things in a fun way, which is really helpful for things like this. 최자매님 (Sister Choi (Chway)) is really great in most every way---she's kind and helpful, and always thinks of everyone's perspective, and is also very good at English, so she is able to and makes the effort to help everyone in many ways. After meeting and talking almost everyday, we were able to come up with a pretty rough plan for the activity, basically making several different rooms with different real-life secenarios, includnig a drugstore, mart, bank, and things like that, which other missionaries will come and set up, that the youth can go through and use English to try and conquer some kind of challenge, after which they get a sticker. We also planned, at the specific request of the leaders, to have several people walking around as police officers to make sure that everyone is only using English, which if they're not they have to go to "prison", where they learn and practice how to say what they were trying to. It sounds kind of crazy at first, and maybe it will be---but hopefully people will like it.
We also were able to meet several of the people we have been before, and one new person this week, and talk about the Gospel. The first was 조형제님 (Brother Jo), who I've written about for the past few weeks. On Thursday afternoon, we met at the church and went to eat together. It was really pretty hot, the kind where the sun makes everything look really clear and new (화창한 날씨: a specific phrase for that kind of hot weather), so we went to eat something that we have a lot, because it's close to the church, cheap, and pretty cool, called 밀면 (Meer-myun: noodles, either in cold broth or with spicy sauce). We talked about where Elder Park (Pock) is from, and the weather there, and about Brother Jo's childhood. Afterward we walked back to the church and talked about the Plan of Salvation. He really likes most things that we've introduced to him, but has some problems understanding why Adam and Eve's fall was part of God's plan. It was kind of sensitive, since Elder Park (Pock) had met some people before who had the same question, and they weren't able to understand the explanation well, but as we focused on the bigger and more important role of a Savior in God's plan, he seemed to understand most of it. He also came to the church a few other times during the week while we were there, and talked with and interacted with the other missionaries, who all really like him because he's very pure and funny and, in their words, "cute".
We also were able to meet 김형제님 (Brother Kim) for the first time separately this week. We originally met him in a park where we were trying to advertise for our English class, and he seemed very interested. Apparently he served during the Vietnam War, and learned a lot from serving with American soldiers there. He came to our English class a few times, and said he would like to meet later again to talk about English and the Gospel. We met him and talked about his family. He has two daughters and a son, on daughter who lives in Okinawa with her son who was born in Seattle. He has lots of great experiences, and is very good at English. We first just wanted to find out what kind of religious interests or backround he has in his life---he said he mostly believed in Buddhism, but never really practiced it much. As we talked very basically about who God and Christ are, he seemed to be very curious and interested in who is who, I think partially because he's never really had an opportunity to learn about them before.
We were able to meet the other missionaries in our zone to talk about and prepare for the same youth activity, and it was nice to see how everyone was able to come together and work well to prepare for it. We also had a similar experience, where we had a meeting with the ward leaders, and even though it was pretty long, they asked us to talk more specifically than usual about everyone we're meeting with and how they can help. I'm really grateful for the kind, amazing people we're able to serve with and their good examples to us. I read Moroni 7 this week, and was grateful for the way it teaches very simply about the way Christ brings goodness into our lives. You have all helped me to learn and apply that and other truths of the Gospel, and I'm really grateful for that. I hope you're always happy, and know how much I love you---keep it up.