Monday, February 9, 2015

In Which I'm 6 Months Old!

Eating at Sisters Cafe
Hello my friends!

Yes! I'm growing up! I turned six months old on Friday, which is really kind of crazy. I can't decide if it feels like shorter or longer than six months. But the craziest part is, I only have a year left. Which, yes, is still a really long time, but I'm officially one-third of the way done. I still feel like a baby, and like I have so much to learn. I used to look at the elders and think, okay 18 months sounds preferable to 24. But I'm starting to worry I won't have enough time! By the time I actually learn this language and actually become an effective missionary I feel like I'll be on the plane headed home. But that's kind of just how life goes....

In other exciting news, transfer calls came last night! I'm staying in Pochentong, but my companion, Sister Choek, is transferring. I will have a new companion, Sister Khum. Transfers are on Friday, so it should be exciting! I'm a little nervous about leading my area, but it will also be a good opportunity for me to have more responsibility. Pochentong is pretty big, and I'm not confident that we won't get lost once in a while; but overall, it should be good. The past six weeks went by super fast. I feel like time will just keep going faster and faster.

I'm glad I'm sticking around here. I'm starting to make good friends with the members here. A lot of what we've been doing in this ward is just visiting and strengthening the members. Everyone is just still so new here. Our bishop, for example, is super young. He's probably late 20s. We have yet to have had a meeting with him... So yes, Mom, hearing about ward council made me jealous! That's a weird thing to say... But yeah, home teaching, visiting teaching, even having someone to teach Relief Society would be nice. Sometimes it feels like the missionaries run the church in this country. But that's why local returned missionaries are so valuable. Coming home from missions (whether here in Cambodia or elsewhere), they just understand how things are supposed to be done and have a vision of how the church can be. Last night we went over to the home of a less active member to teach her, but she was having a party. We tried to sneak away but she saw us and insisted we come in and eat. We ended up eating with two returned sister missionaries (one served in England and the other here in Cambodia). And it was fun to chat with them about their missions. I could tell they missed their missions. 

This week we got to do a lot of service. We always love opportunities to serve because 1. it's usually pretty fun and 2. it helps build good relationships and shows the members that we love them. This week I perfected my bead-working skills, which is still very far from perfect. I've also been teaching this same member English. Usually we go over, sit on her mattress on the floor, share a lesson, and then practice English for twenty minutes or so, all the while her 4-year-old daughter is singing "Let it Go" at the top of her lungs. It can be tricky sometimes because Bong Pich (the member) is a VERY impatient student, but she's funny. And when she gets something right she gets super excited.Yesterday I brought over an English copy of The Book of Mormon and started teaching her to read. She's getting the hang of it! And she told me that even though she's had various missionaries to try to teach her English, that she's never really learned much until I started teaching her. So that meant a lot to me. Especially because this past week I had been worried a little bit about my less than adept ability to make relationships with people here. Sometimes I get frustrated because it just seems so easy and natural for my comp to win everyone's love and affection as she chats them up. My small talk skills in Khmer are still VERY small, so to speak. But that's where service comes in. 

This week we also spent over an hour at a less active member's house helping her pull leaves off plants. That's my best description. She had an enormous bag of some sort of leafy food and we were separating leaves and stems for cooking. But while we worked, we chatted. And we showed that we cared about her. And we gave our time. I think that's the key. At least in my mind. Quality time is my love language, after all. And she showed up to church on Sunday! That isn't the moral of this story...  You should serve people no matter what. But it was still a happy thing. We had quite a few people at church on Sunday. We sat in a row with Om San (the less active), Bong Pich (who has recently been coming to church much more regularly than before, Srei Khuat (our recent convert), and Bong Phaa (our investigator)!

Speaking of investigators... So I think I mentioned last week we are teaching a family! Bong Phaa and Bong Makara. They had learned a little bit before with other elders, but never got baptized. At first they both seemed pretty eager, but now they're getting hard to meet with. And even though Bong Phaa came to church, she left quickly after sacrament. We're not really sure what to do about them. But hopefully we can get into a regular pattern of meeting them a few days a week. 

Oh, this was a kind of cool thing! So remember Ming Cen Thi I mentioned last week? How she lost her job and we had a cool spiritual experience teaching her. Well, we have a recent convert who was looking for a live-in nanny to watch her kids. And Sister Choek mentioned it to Ming Cen Thi and it worked out! Ming Cen Thi is working for her! And this recent convert (her name is Bong Kim Hon) is suuuper strong. She has a ton of faith. The only problem is her husband hates Christianity and doesn't approve of her involvement in the church and is abusive... We meet her at the church. So.... we don't really feel good about trying to meet Ming Cen Thi at their house. So we'll see how things go. But either way, Bong Kim Hon will be a good influence on her. 

Hmmm. What else happened this week? We had zone training. Which is always fun. And a couple people in our zone are ending their missions this week! So that's pretty exciting for them. Like Sister Chan, who I live with, ends this week. I still can't even picture how that would feel. It's still way too far away! After zone training all the sisters went to lunch together at a cafe we found called Sisters! It was too perfect. 

Sorry, this email is not very exciting this week. But I have a spiritual thought, and that'll make up for it.... So something I've been thinking about a lot as of I've been on my mission is receiving inspiration from the Spirit. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing all the right things, but I don't really feel like I get promptings. I hear all these amazing stories of missionaries in the Liahona that knew exactly which door to knock on to find an amazing investigator. And I have not had any experiences like that. But I was reading in Alma chapter 8 about his experience preaching to the people in Ammonihah. He preaches to them, but they won't listen. So he leaves the city. But after he's left an angel comes to him and tells him that he is supposed to go back and preach repentence to the people. So he "speedily" returns to the city. And in verse 19 as he's entering the city, he's hungry and he asks a man for some food. This man turns out to be Amulek, his future mission companion. What I love about this is that it doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary. He's just hungry. He probably didn't receive any particular inspiration to talk to Amulek, but because he was exactly obedient in obeying the Lord, the Lord led him to where he needed to go. Sometimes we do have the big spiritual experiences (like Alma seeing the angel) and sometimes we don't. But either way the Lord's hand is in all things. 

Anyways, that's all for this week! Keep doing good things, everyone. As Hermana Davis shared in her email to me, "it's about progress, not perfection."

Love you!

Sister Fields

Lunch at the Sisters Cafe.

Zone Conference.

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