Monday, May 11, 2015

In Which I say Goodbye to Pochentong!

My investigator Ming Chan.

Greetings from Battambang! This is just going to be short this week, but I will write as I wait to Skype the family! But I am officially in my new area! It is so beautiful and I love it already!

It was a good week. I spent a lot of it saying goodbye to members in Pochentong, which was a little sad. I had gotten to know the members and recent converts especially quite well in my four and a half months there. 

On Monday we ended up sacrificing a good chunk of our p-day to help Bong Pich move. Even though she moved from one very small one-room apartment to another, it still took a lot of work and she had a ton of stuff! But we got it all moved and got her set up by the evening. And the bishop was there helping and was able to give the new home a blessing. The next night we came over under the impression that we were going to share a little lesson/FHE thing with the Relief Society President and the bishop's wife (though really we were throwing a surprise birthday for her daughter). It was actually quite cool. We invited Bong Pich (our recently re-activated member) to share, and she shared from 2 Nephi 4. She bore a strong testimony about relying on the Lord through trials. After we made it seem like we were leaving, but we really just went out to the front where we had stashed a little cake a gift for Srey Niat who turned 6. We came back in singing Happy Birthday with the lights off and the candles burning and she was so excited. Her birthday is not until next week, but we wanted to do it while I was still here. 

As for the rest of the week we said a lot of goodbyes. We had a good last week at English class. I'll miss teaching my little beginner students. I had a good group of regulars. The bishop came after and gave the spiritual thought. Then he and his wife brought dinner for us as a goodbye for me, which was very nice of them. 

And then I packed up my things and took off! We took a bus to Battambang. It's about an six hour ride. Four of us came up together, but the problem was none of us had ever been there before, so we weren't sure where to get off the bus! We ended up passing the church and realized we had gone too far so we told the driver to pull over. And there we were stranded on the side of the road.

This is where her email ended.  But she told us the rest of the story when we Skyped and here are a few other things she told us:

She said they were told to get off the bus at the first stop in Battambang.  But they didn't know how to tell when they arrived in Battambang.  They were told if they saw a statue of "a black man" they had gone too far and they should get off. She said they need to find out the story of the "black man statue" but it has some Buddhist significance.  The statue is near the Church (a legitimate LDS chapel) and makes a good land mark for directing people to the Church.  So they asked the bus driver to pull over to the side of the road.  The three sisters and one elder got off the bus and it was quite late, 9:30 pm.  They got off the bus and a set of sisters live near the Church. So, she and the new sisters spent the night at the sisters' apartment and made it back to their new place the next day.

She is excited to live in her new place.  She and her companion  and two other sisters live on the top floor of a three-story house.  A missionary couple lives on the bottom floor.  She is already thinking about the advantages of living near the missionary couple: they have a car and they an  oven!  The only oven she has seen is the one in the mission home.  So, she has hopes of making some cookies on a p-day.  The missionary couple is learning Khmer.  They are excited to be there.  They have offered to drive them to any appointment that Lindsey and her companion might find it helpful to have them along.  The only challenge she sees so far about living in this house is there is a limited supply of electricity.  She turned on the hot water when she took a shower, which turned off the power in the building.  She ended up taking a cold shower in the dark.  But the advantage of the missionary couple in the basement is that she thinks they will look into any problems with the house.

She is really happy to be out of the city.  Battambang feels more rural and it is very green.  It is mango season right now and they are every where.

She said the branch has between 60 - 80 people attending.  Things are done differently than in some areas of the Church.  Her example was the branch president put the Primary in charge of Sacrament meeting on Mother's Day. They had Primary children speak and sing.  And the Primary President even conducted Sacrament meeting!  But, they apparently had no pianist.  So Lindsey got to dust off her piano skills and play the piano for not just the hymns but the musical numbers the Primary kids sang.  She said they wanted to sing "A Child's Prayer" and that song has accompaniment that is different from the melody that is sung.  She played the accompaniment and the kids ended up reading the words!  And her companion, who has never been involved with music, lead all the numbers.

She sent lots of pictures of her farewell to Pochentong.  Here are a few of them.

Ming Thavie is a recent convert. She teaches gospel principles and is preparing to go to the temple right now. 

Saying goodbye to Pochentong...
We threw a surprise birthday party for Bong Pich's little girl with the help of the bishop's wife and the relief society president.

Me, Sis Phon, and Bong Ryna (who helps the missionaries all the time! She's awesome. Also she's already making plans for us to hang out together when I come back to Cambodia). 

This is Ming Sarun. She was really sad I was leaving because we didn't get to do an FHE together. Maybe next time I serve in Pochentong (Jkjk)

Samnang is our recent convert. She's in the middle next to me. This is her family. We're going to work on them next. 

This is our recent convert Amy. We went and visited her the day before I left and it was deathly hot outside. So we went down by the lake by her house, and there was a nice breeze coming off the water and it felt wonderful! I'm really going to miss Amy. We've met her twice a week since I came in January. She's so good and has seen so many blessings come in her life just in the past few months. Also she made me a scripture case as a going away present. It's beautiful. I'll have to take a picture of it. 

Enjoying the breeze at the lake. You can't really tell in this picture, but the pleasant breeze turned into a huge windstorm. 

Om Narath. She's less active because of health problems, but she is so nice to the missionaries. And she makes delicious food. 

This is Bong Kunthy. She teaches Relief Society and her daughter.

Srey Khuat (my recent convert) and her baby Srey Leak

Bong Phiap (another recent convert) and her family. Her kids are crazy so we have to bribe them to be reverent with candy. But it still doesn't work. 

Classic tuk tuk pic on way to mission home. Bye bye Pochentong! 

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