|These are the kids of that investigator who just started to maybe be progressing. They like us a little tooo much.|
It was a good week in Battambang. We got transfer calls last night, and Sister A. and I will be staying here another transfer. Woo-hoo! We're getting good work done, so I figure it will be good to keep it going another transfer. We had five investigators at church yesterday, and the elders had eight, so that was thirteen investigatorsfor Battambang First Branch!
I'll start with an investigator update, because that always ends up taking the longest:
Ming Thida got baptized! Preeetty exciting. Except for the fact that we showed up at her house and the door was locked, a for-sale sign was on the house, and we called and her number wouldn't go through. Okay so it turns out that she is moving up towards the Thai border where we don't have the church. We actually didn't even know this until she got out of an interview with President and he mentioned that he was a bit worried about it. She asked if she could still pay tithing if she lived far away. We knew she was looking for work, but we didn't think a move would be immediate, or even necessary. So we are helping her understand the importance of attending church and encouraging her to make sure she's making it a prayerful decision. She's so good; she really doesn't want to go. So we'll see. I don't think she picked up and left yesterday, but it was just kind of strange. But the baptism itself was really good. It started at 5:00, and we told her to get their at 4:00 to make sure we had plenty of time to get everything ready. But her clock broke, so she was there at 3:00! So we had plenty of time. Her little boy came too. And as soon as we got there he kept asking us if he could get baptized (he's 9, but the size and temperament of a 5-year-old). We told him this is why we kept trying to get him to sit down and learn with us! But he's gets it now, so we'll start teaching him this week. And he goes to primary every week. So he'll learn quickly. We just have to pray they won't move...
Om Chanda, Davan, Udom are doing super good. They walked to church all together(this is the first time the grandma has attended church) and got there an hour-and-a-half early for Sacrament meeting. I think they had a good experience. The kids are totally integrated with the ward already. They were asking their grandma if they could go with the youth to visit less-active young men/young women after church. We had a good lesson with them morning with the the senior couple. It's so fun to go out with them because they are still so new, and everything is strange to them. Plus also they always add so much to the lessons (we taught about prophets and priesthood). It's fun (read: difficult) to jump in and out of teaching in Khmer and translating for them in English as your companion does the opposite. But everyone respects the senior couple so much. They call them "lookta, lookyiay" (grandpa, grandma).
Bong Mei is still very sick. She was better for a little while, and then got worse again. When she was feeling better we were able to go teach a good lesson on Word of Wisdom with the Branch President and his wife. She still hasn't smoked or anything since she first stopped. But I think it's kind of monopolizing all her faith. She hasn't been progressing in other ways, and we still haven't been able to get her to church. So we'll get her over this crazy sickness she has and hopefully things will get going for her again. She's very discouraged.
Ming Srey Niang is doing well. I feel like when we first met her I didn't think too much of her, but now she just has this crazy faith that came out of nowhere. We taught keeping the Sabbath Day holyand she was bound and determined to make it to church (despite the fact that she had no moto or bike of her own). She kept saying, don't worry sisters, I will ask all my neighbors. I will pray and God will prepare the way. Unfortunately, morning came and she wasn't at church. We stopped by her house that afternoon and she was upset. She had tried so hard to come, and nothing had worked out. So we'll keep praying for that one.
We're teaching one family that has a mother and two daughters (and then all their little neighborhood friends who join in). We've taught them a couple times, and it's been a bit rough. The kids reaaaallly like us, but have a hard time focusing on lessons and just want to get through it and play. We try to involve the mom, but she just deflects questions to her kids. She laughs when we invite her to pray. So we gave her an ultimatum . We explained we can't just teach children. If she wants us to come and teach (which we were happy, and willing to continue) she would need to learn with them. We went back expecting to drop them, but she came over and sat down. She folded her arms as we prayed, and as we started to teach on faith, she listened. We really tried to make it personal, to teach directly to her, and it really worked! We asked her if she wanted this to be true, that she had a Heavenly Father who know her personally and loved her so much, and a Savior who was standing there waiting to help her, and she said yes. She wanted it to be true. And that, we explained, is the beginning of faith. And then she prayed to close our lesson for the very first time. So, it looks like we're not erasing their names off the whiteboard yet!
We got a new investigator this week (the one we contacted via breaking bricks outside her house last week), and had a really good first lesson with her. She currently has missionaries from another Christian church visiting her once a week. So the focus on finding truth in the first lesson really stuck with her. So I'll let you know how it goes!
Have I told you we're teaching a 77-year-old man? He's the uncle of a less-active we meet. Teaching him is kind of a joke. His niece acts as our translator because this man is practically deaf, as well as can't understand our Khmer, which I don't blame him. But he's very Buddhist, and just explaining the concept of God has proven to be a struggle. But he's still learning. We're taking the lessons nice and slow. And trying to get him to church. Also to remember how to pray....
So those are the people I hang out with most days. It's pretty fun, not a bad life. What else happened this week? We had zone conference! AKA probably the last time I will ever see the Moons! (Which is super sad). We were their last zone conference, the last stop on the trip around the khetes [provinces], so I think they were sad too. They shared very heart-felt testimonies. And President Moon went around the room and said what he admired about each missionary, which sounds really cheesy, but it wasn't at the time. He said I remind him of one of his daughters. That I am meek, humble and kind. And that I have overcome significant challenges as I have been serving,which I guess I'm not that humble, now that I've shared this with the world. I just want you all to know that I'm humble. Jk.
He also talked a lot about living the gospel culture. He mentioned that in both America and Cambodia, there are certain traditions/behaviors that are not in line with gospel principles. He committed us to live in the gospel culture. And then he spoke directly to the Khmer missionaries. He told them that they need to marry each other (which made everyone laugh), but he was serious, and it is true. Lots of times when RMs come home, especially after they have learned a lot of English on their mission, they move to the US, go to school at BYU, and he couldn't tell them not to do that. But he said what Cambodia needs is strong multi-generational families that are active members of the church. That they need to get sealed in the temple and raise their families in the church. And it really reminded me of what you said, Dad, in your last email that sometimes conversion is a generational process. Sometimes I get frustrated with members here. But then I remember that the church has only been here twenty years, and that they are all pioneers with incredible faith. And their children are being raised in the gospel to be better members then they were, to raise their children to be better than they were. And then the temple will come. Hahaa.
Okay humorous anecdote of the week: Yesterday we were getting ready to go out, and talking about how we didn't really want to go proselyte (afternoons are always a bit rough). I said the prayer before we left, and as soon as I said the words "We're grateful to go out even though we don't really want to right now" there was a huge, enormous thunder clap that came out of nowhere. And before I finished the prayer the rain was pouring. So we took that as an answer to a prayer, and worked on CBRs for an hour as it dumped.
Spiritual thought: At zone conference we learned a lot about the sacrament, and we've been teaching it a lot since then trying to help members make it a more spiritually renewing process for themselves. And I came across this quote from Elder Bednar:
"Ordinances and covenants are the building blocks we use to construct our lives upon the foundation of Christ and His Atonement. We are connected securely to and with the Savior as we worthily receive ordinances and enter into covenants, faithfully remember and honor those sacred commitments, and do our best to live in accordance with the obligations we have accepted. And that bond is the source of spiritual strength and stability in all of the seasons of our lives."
The sacrament is the only ordinance we perform more than once for ourselves. When we partake each week, we have the opportunity to renew not just our baptismal covenants, but all the convents we have made. And in so doing, we connect ourselves with the Savior and build upon His foundation of the Atonement.
Well, I was going to say that's all, but then I remembered my title! Last P-day we got to go to the Crocodile farm or more like crocodile farm hopping! There are a bunch (four or five) down this dirt road in the middle of nowhere. A crocodile farm is exactly what it sounds like, just these giant pits crawling with crocodiles with little bridges (lots of times no railings) that you can walk on. Also I'm pretty sure they make them fight each other in this big open pit we found between the farms. It was creepy because no one was there when we went. But they let us go in for free at a bunch of the farms. And we got to watch as they threw in a giant container of raw fish heads and the crocodiles devoured them. It was terrifying. Turns out they raise them and sell them to China, to be turned into medicine, to Thailand, to be turned into shoes and belts, and Vietnam to be eaten. In the words of Sister Y, "Pretty sure that's illegal." That's Cambodia for you.
Have a good week!
|Last Zone Conference with President and Sister Moon.|
|This one's for Instagram. Jk. Me, Sis S., Sis A, with Udom, Om Chanda, Davan, and Ming Moni (the BP's wife)|
|Me and the crocs (not to be confused with the shoes...)|
|Selfie with the crocs.|
|and more crocs|
|Feeding them fish heads.|
|Looking in the pits.|
|Another one at the crocodile farm.|
|Playing miniature Apples to Apples Junior with Elder S. and our investigator's son, while our investigator was being interviewed for baptism. We had to translate each card for him. It was a good language exercise. Also incredibly difficult.|
|Baptism! And another one coming up soon for him!|
|A street in Battambang.|
|The Cambodian dust is all too real|
|The road out to Ming Thida's house.|
|Our hands with our 77-year-old investigator's hand.|
|Waiting for Ming Moom to show up.|
|At Davan (a RC)'s house|
|With the Elders in our branch at our baptism.|
|With "crazy pirate lady." She lives super far out and pays for a moto taxi to take her to church every week. She's so cool!|