Monday, March 30, 2015

In Which I Eat Dog (Because let's be real, I never really liked them anyway)

Transfer day! Tuk tuk ride to mission home!
Greetings from Pochentong, where the factories churn and the members skip church weekly! Just kidding. Sorta. It's officially a new transfer! And I really think this transfer is going to be turning over a new leaf for this area, in part because my awesome new companion! I'm excited.
But first, this week was a busy one with the end of the transfer. And it is a big transfer. We had five new sisters (one Khmer, the rest American) and I don't know how many elders, but a lot! When they get a new batch of misisonaries, they always take them to one of the big markets in the city and go contacting. And I got to go and help this time! We all paired off with the new missionaries and went around for 45 minutes or so and gave them a chance to get a feel for contacting. Can I just say, it is the strangest feeling to be in a position of authority and knowledge. Since when did I learn this language? And, okay, let's be real, I still don't really know this language, but it was a nice reality check. It made me realize that I do know a lot more than I think I do. Even though we've had new groups come in since ours, this is the first group with American sisters. So I've always still kind of felt like the baby of the family until now. That being said, this new group knows a lot! Way more than I did when I first came I'm sure.
And it's fun because we have a new American sister in our house! There are six of us all together now because Sister Khim stayed on with her new companion, at least for the time being. So it's crowded, but it's fun! And it's fun to be the translator for the American and other sisters a little bit. Though my speaking still has a long way to go, my listening comprehension has really grown since I've had Khmer companions. I don't even have to think about it most of the time, and I catch quite a bit of what people say. When it's not someone I know speaking and if we're not talking about the gospel, my comprehension goes down; but it's definitely improved a lot these past few transfers.
As for my new companion, she's great! Her name is Sister Phon. She has only been out for 2.5 transfers, but she already knows so much. I'm technically senior companion, but I'm pretty sure I will be the one learning from her most of the time. She has such a good work ethic and an enthusiasm that's contangious! She's one of the reasons I really think Pochentong is going to turn around this transfer. That and the Bishop is going to be a help to us this transfer. He's instigated weekly meetings on Saturday afternoons with the missionaries. And yesterday after church I was able to talk to him about a few things and give him a progress record, and I was happy to learn he had already been working on a couple things I had mentioned to him the week before! So I'm not exactly sure what changed, but something changed. And I really think he's going to be a great resource for us this transfer. Having the ward leaders and the members help makes all the difference in the world. It's missionary work, but it's not really because whether we are teaching investigators, recent converts, or less actives, ultimately they are all members (or hopefully will be in the future) and they will be here with the members long after we're gone.
We had our weekly branch mission meeting yesterday and that was the main topic on the agenda. Getting the members involved in fellow-shipping less actives, recent converts, and investigators (if we ever get any... Honestly, I think our main task here in Pochentong right now is just to strengthen the ward. That's not to say I'm going to stop looking for investigators, but I won't be disappointed if they don't come flocking to the font this transfer) because the members will be here long after the missionaries are gone. It's hard because so many of the members are busy all the time. But we're going to try and get the youth involved when they're not busy at school. I have hopes! My hopes are high. And that's what counts. It's gonna be a good transfer! I'm pumped.
As I was leading my area this past week, I was thinking about how I'm here again with a new companion. Three transfers, three companions! While it is a bit exhausting to lead again, I'm glad things worked out this way. If I had left at the end of transfer two, I would have left feeling disappointed with my work in Pochentong. I feel like this transfer has given me another chance to work even harder and really help the area grow. Plus I've really gotten close to a lot of these members. There are some good people here in Pochentong. Whenver I do leave it will be sad.
As for a spiritual thought, I want to invite everyone to read D&C 6 sometime this week. It's written to Oliver Cowdery. Joseph received this revelation on behalf of Oliver after Oliver had already received a witness of the truth of this work from God, but he wanted Joseph to ask again on his behalf. I feel like Oliver and I could be friends. He and I have the same mentality a lot of the time, a bit self-doubting, a bit unsure at times. But thankfully with both Oliver and me, Heavenly Father has a lot of patience. This section has a ton of great verses, but the gem I wanted to share is verse 20. The Lord's counsel to him is to be diligent and faithful in keeping the commandments and "I will encircle thee in the arms of my love." How great is that? I've really grown to love teaching about obedience. You just have to do these things and then you will get all these great blessings. Just try it and you will see!
Well, that's all for this week. As for the subject line of this email, yes I did eat a dog. Sister Khim and I bought it as a end of transfer surprise, and we didn't tell the other sisters it was dog until after they ate it. It was not bad. It tasted quite a bit like beef. It was quite tough. I wouldn't eat it everyday, but it was not bad! Okay, does anybody hate me now?
Have a good week, friends!

Sister Fields

Last district meeting before end of transfer.

This is what dog looks like on the grill.

This is what me eating a dog looks like!

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