Monday, January 12, 2015

In Which I eat DQ! (welcome to city life)

Hello Friends!

It's been another week. I'm getting adjusted to life in Pochentong and in the city. I'm not gonna lie. I miss Kampongcham! I didn't appreciate what I had til it was gone. So I want to serve in the khets again someday. But until then I'm learning to like city life. It's not all railroads, factories, and less-actives (and let's be real, there's plenty of less-actives to go around no matter where you go). Last Monday after emailing we went to the mission home and serendipitously met up with Sisters S. and H. We went out and got Blizzards together! From Dairy Queen! You can't get that in Kampongcham... And I also went to a little supermarket and found wheat bread and Kraft mac and cheese! So like I said, city life has it's perks. There is, however a lot of traffic. The ride to the mission home is not a fun one. But I'm getting more used to it. So far the semi trucks haven't hit me yet. 

The highlight of this week was zone training on Friday! We had it at our stake center (we have one of those!). And it was fun to see everyone in our zone. They're planning a "zone hangout"at the stake center next p-day. So stay tuned for that. Exciting stuff. My current zone leader is actually my old district leader. And my zone leader (one of the elders in my branch) is in my zone now as well as Sister Khut! So it's going to be fun all around. We learned about working with members and focusing on our mission's new theme for this year "Teach ye diligently, Labor ye diligently, Serve ye diligently, Prepare ye the way of the Lord" (or whatever the order actually is of those three things. And then we had pizza! It wasn't too bad. They don't have Domino's or any chain pizza restaurants here or any American chains really. They have KFC and Burger King and Dairy Queen. I think that might be all. 

But the best part of zone training was the Moon's showed up! And the elders and sisters in my district got interviews with him. Which also means that we each got a loaf of homemade banana bread from Sister Moon. So it's a good time all around. I had a really good interview with President. Every time I meet with him I feel like he's a doctor. Like I want to spill all of my problems and thoughts over the past two transfers for him to fix. And even though it doesn't really end up working out that way, I always leave feeling rejuvenated. 

One of the things I expressed to him was my (relatively) new found desire to really do this well. I feel like all during training I was kind of just doing what I could to scrape by. Like I was doing just enough to keep my head above the water because that's all I could do. But now I really want to do this well. To be an effective missionary. To build real relationships with people and really help them change their lives as they come to accept the gospel. But there are still obstacles in the way of me becoming that missionary (person) I want to be. The number one is still communication. I feel like by the time I will really know how to do this well will be the day I go home. Pres Moon told me that in some ways that's probably true. But that's how life is. He told me that's how parenting is. But that's also the way it's supposed to be because we learn from our mistakes. But it's because of Christ and his Atonement that we can get rid of the guilt and regret and pain that accompanies those mistakes. And just take the good growth that comes from it. 

And what's helpful to me when I get discouraged is to look back at where I've come. When I was packing and moving I found my notebook from the MTC. I looked back through it and found goals I had set the very first week. Things I wanted to accomplish before I left the MTC and before I finished my mission. One of the goals I set was, and I quote: "not to resent the fact that I am here." Hahaha. Sooooo I have changed. If anything just my attitude about serving has changed. And I will continue to grow and improve. I make a fool of myself here every day. But the more times I do something the easier it gets and the less I care about making a fool of myself. 

As far as our area, I'm getting more familiar with it. It's big. And we have LOTSS of less active members. But I think you will find that anywhere. So the majority of members who attend are recent converts. I think a lot of them are quite strong. But it's hard because the older members don't want to attend because they don't know anyone who goes now. There also has been a history of gossiping and bad feelings between lots of the members. It's hard because I don't understand a lot of the details (or any of the details really). 

It's hard to know what to focus on. President has set some pretty steep goals for this year. One of which is to find two new investigators a week. So that's a thing. But we have two full binders of lost members to be found. And recent converts to strengthen. And members who still need encouragement. And as of yet, not a whole lot of support from the Bishopric. I feel like I'm still just trying to get my footing in this ward. 

We do have one investigator scheduled for baptism this weekend. She was unable to make it to church this week (she's been sick and she's seven months pregnant, which makes things difficult for her). So we might hold off a bit until she can attend again. She's only come twice. And I would feel a lot better about baptizing her if she came once (or twice) more and had a regular for sure way of attending each week. I think I got a little bit spoiled in Kampongcham. With my solid investigators who would come every week all three hours and then help out at all the branch parties! Miss them....

We taught English class on Wednesday as per usual and that was fun. It's always nice to feel like I know something. And English is something I can speak. They have a smaller turn out than we had in Kamponcham in seems like. But they have a regular two or three that come every week. Me and the American elder in our branch teach it together. One boy comes whose probably 15 (that's our cut-off point) and he's really funny. He knows a lot of English. And two nights ago on my way home I heard someone yelling "Teacher Fiel! Teacher Fiel!" (That's how you pronounce my name in Khmer, you don't say the "ds" and I turned around and it was him on a moto. It made me smile.

To end off on a spiritual note I want to share a scripture I came across in personal study this week. This comes from D&C 123. It talks about the imperative nature of spreading the light to the world. I love that in verse 13 it tells us "to waste and wear out our lives in bringing light to all the hidden things of darkness".  I think it's interesting that the word "waste" is used. I think it means to spend our whole lives . To wear out our lives in the Lord's work. And sometimes it feels like this work is a waste. Like it's doing nothing because we aren't reaping the benefits of the work we are doing. But verse 15 counsels to "let no man count them as small things, because there is much that lies in futurity." I like to think about Bong Naid. Who started learning from the missionaries ten years ago. Initially when things didn't work out, I wonder if the missionaries felt like it had been a waste (probably not, they're probably better missionaries than me!). But now look. Ten years later she is baptized. And her children are baptized and her husband will be soon. And they are so solid!

And then to end off: 
17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we  stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."
I love the phrase STAND STILL. We just have to work hard consistently and than realize that the Lord is in control. He knows what He's doing because this is his work. This provides the peace of mind and conscience I need every day. This is not my work. I do what I can and than I stand back. And let the miracles happen. Because I have faith that they will.

Anyways. That's all for this week. Until next time!

Sister Fields

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