Monday, April 27, 2015

In Which I Have Investigators Again!

Me and Sister Phon.


I'm writing this on a very rainy Monday morning. Whether the rainy season has begun, who's to say; but we had a VERY wet trip to the psaa (market) this morning. Because it doesn't just rain in Cambodia, It RAINS. So I had to throw my clothes in the dryer when I got home. Jokes. By that I mean hang them on the line and blow the fans at them. You can't really avoid the wet here, you just learn to deal with it. So I'm ready for it. Bring on the rainy season!

Okay, not a lot happened this week. Things have gone back to normal since the big holiday last week. But the big news this week is WE HAVE A NEW INVESTIGATOR. Hallelujah. Her name is Ming Chan. She is a member referral from a member in another branch. The other sisters passed her along to us when they learned she was in our area. Good news first: She has come to church twice already with her sister and she came to general conference. She was member of a Christian church before, but felt it left something to be desired. The not as happy part of it is she has a rough life. She's very poor and she is crippled. Her legs don't work. She has been sick this past week and unable to meet with us again. And now she's had to sell her phone because it cost too much. But regardless, I think there's still very much hope. Even though it took us 45 minutes to track down her house, she was willing to give us directions over the phone.  Every five minutes we would call her (one of 1000 reasons I never want to be the companion who knows more Khmer. Interpreting directions in Khmer would be fatal). We had a great first lesson with her and then set an appointment for another. Even though we ended up not being able to meet because she went to the doctor, SHE CALLED US THAT MORNING AND TOLD US. You have no idea how rare that is. So we'll keep working with her and keep her in our prayers. Heavenly Father prepares the way. That's one of the great things I've learned on my mission thus far, and the reason we don't have to stress. We still have to work hard and do everything in our ability, but in the end we just "be still and know that He is God" (D&C 101:16).

Speaking of investigators.... Bong Phaa and Bong Makara came back! Remember them? They were a young family I met with Sister Choek. Then Sister Khim and I also taught them together. They went to a province for over a month, but now they're back. We ended up just meeting with the wife for a few minutes the other day and I was surprised by how sincere she seemed to be about how sad she was to not have the chance to go to church when they were away. They weren't really progressing when they left so I just figured we had planted some seeds and moved on. But who knows. Maybe they are ready to learn again. We said a prayer with her and invited her to say it. She said a beautiful prayer and remembered the way to pray no problem, which surprised me a little bit because she is a bit forgetful. So we'll be trying to meet with their family this week and we'll see how it goes!
As for the rest of the week, we spent the time visiting our less actives and recent converts. We had a helpful meeting with the bishop Sunday afternoon, and were able to go out visiting less actives with a bunch of members in the evening. It's becoming a Sunday tradition. It's a lot of fun, and more importantly, I can see the fellow-shipping really does make such a big difference. And then the members feel good for having helped. So it's a win, win, win in the words of Michael Scott. 

I actually went on two exchanges this week. Thursday Sis Phon and I went to Sister E's area to help her and her koon (trainee) who's unfortunately sick and can't proselyte. So my comp went out with Sister E. so they could get some work done. And I stayed at home with Sister L.  I intended to help her with CBRs, but we ended up chatting the whole time, and it made me realize how far I've come on my mission. I can definitely relate to the stress and anxiety that she feels in traininghood (magnified for her because she's sick), but I also hadn't realized how much I really have adjusted to life here in Cambodia as a missionary. It's just normal now. And it's weird to think about going back some day. It's starting to seem less and less appealing. 

Thursday night we did an exchange with sister training leaders and I went with Sister Khut in her area. It was a lot of fun, because it was just the two of us in her house. She made me delicious food and we talked a lot about mission life. I love Sister Khut. I've been with her for my whole mission (in the same house in Kampongcham, and in the same zone in Pochentong). This coming transfer is her last transfer, along with Sister Choek, Sister Khim and a lot of the Khmer sisters. After that big group leaves at the end of next transfer, we'll only have SIX Khmer sisters in the whole mission! That's insane. We'll probably get some new ones coming in in the next few transfers, but still. The ratio will definitely shift to more American sisters I think, which should be interesting. Also the Moons leave officially July 1st. So this mission is going to have quite a few changes over the next few months! 

So things are going well. I feel like our area is progressing, and I feel like I'm growing too. Growing spiritually, growing in the language, and just learning to let go of the things I can't control and enjoy my life more. I think those last two things are definitely related. And I've got a great companion. I realize I haven't really talked about her much. I think sometimes when things are good in my companionship I take it for granted and forget that sometimes that's not how companionships are. She's great. She's 20, and even though she's still new on her mission, she's served as a BM leader and has helped the missionaries a ton before she served. She's also probably one of the most selfless people I know. She is always going out of her way to help the members and help me. I always try and find little things to do for her, because she is just always serving other people. Also she's funny and sassy. I'm telling you, there is no shortage of sass in this country. 

I'll end with a spiritual thought. I've been working my way through Paul's works and really enjoying it. Yes, occasionally I'll run into some views on marriage and women that I can only hope got muddled in translation, but overall I'm really loving his take on the gospel and the doctrine of Christ and missionary work. This thought comes from 1 Cor 3. He's talking about missionary work, and he tells the members of Corinth not to focus so much on having "their missionary." This is something I see sometimes here. Members who are more attached to the missionary that taught them then they are to the gospel itself. And then he goes on to say, 

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos [the name of another missionary], but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?”  And then the verse I love is verse 6.  Paul say, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

 Isn't that such a great perspective on missionary work! We're all in this together. And you can see this when you look at the teaching records. One companionship will find an investigator and then transfers happen and new missionaries come along, but someone is always working with these people. Someone else might be there when they get baptized, and as they become new converts, someone else comes along. But what doesn't change is the Lord. The Lord has been working with these people, preparing them long before we came along, and He will continue to work with them long after we're gone. And ultimately it's His increase. We are just lucky to be a gardener at some point along in the process. Planting seeds or watering.

Well, that's all for this week! Next Sunday night is transfer calls, so next week we'll learn if my stay in Pochentong will be four transfers, or if it's time for me to move on. I can honestly say I would be good either way. Have a good week!


Sister Fields

Working on CBRs (convert baptism records) with the elders. These are our lost sheep we will find. 

 Sometimes personal study looks like this

And sometimes it looks like this....

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