|The delicious Chinese fried dumplings that has become a weekly tradition for this companionship.|
It was a great week! I'll just start at the beginning and work my way through.
On Monday we went down to the city for leadership training. It was a six-and-half hour drive by bus down and then back the next day. It was a bit crazy. Also we had seats at the back of the bus, and it was suuuper hot. But that's okay. We got lots of cross stitching time in. Sis A. has a cross stitch now too (actually I got all the sisters in our zone into it). Mine will still take me another twenty five years, but that's okay. With no plans for the future, I'll have nothing but time on my hands when I get home...
We didn't get into the mission home until 9:20 pm! And then Sister H. was spending the night. So it was a little bit of a party. And then I was quite sleepy for meetings the next day. But that's okay. Mostly it was just leadership training stuff. It was good. It was the Moon's last MLC. They are doing zone conferences this coming week. And then they've have just two weeks and they go home! So crazy. I wonder what it feels like to leave after three whole years.
At MLC we got to present our zone results for the month, which was fun because Battambang has been doing so well! We've had at least one baptism (usually more than one) every week of the transfer. It's so fun. Saturday at 5:00 everyone shows up and there's always and handful of investigators getting baptized. And we've got one this coming Saturday, so we'll have had a baptism every week of the whole transfer.
Tuesday we spent in meetings and eating delicious homemade food (lasagna and chocolate chip cookies courtesy of Sis Moon!) and then headed back on the bus. We left a little earlier, so we got home by 8:30 pm or so. The senior couple moved out, and Sister Y. has taken advantage of their oven already. She had a French toast casserole and a chocolate cake waiting at home for us! This oven opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Wednesday we finally had some time to go proselyting again. And our investigators are doing way good.
I'll start with Om Chanda and her grandchildren Devyan and Udom. I mentioned them last email. The grand-kids were doing pretty good; they have come to church twice. But the son of the grandma wasn't allowing them to get baptized. But we went back on Wednesday and we met with them with the Branch President and his wife (who are neighbors). We taught doctrine of Christ and it was a really good lesson. And then they told us they had talked to the son again, and he had given them permission to join the church. So we extended them the invitation to be baptized, and they accepted. It was a miracle! But the coolest thing was seeing the change in the grandmother. At first she was just sitting in on the lessons because she wanted her grandchildren to learn. We would ask her questions, and she would just deflect them to the kids. But somewhere along the line a change happened. And now she is just eating everything up. She loves learning the gospel. Especially now because we found her a pair of reading glasses, and she can read The Book of Mormon along with the kids. They love reading scriptures! We went back Friday and taught scriptures and prayer using a story in Mosaiah, and they loved it. They keep reading after we tell them to stop. And the grandma said that in the mornings they will read from 6:00 am-8:00 am and then make breakfast and get ready for school. They're so good! Unfortunately a relative came from out of town on Sunday, so the grandma didn't come to church, but the kids were there again. We're hoping for next week! They'll get baptized on the 18th of next month (Spencer's birthday!--we will hopefully have a lot of investigators getting baptized that day!)
Next up Bong Mei. She sill hasn't smoked! She's dealing with a lot of side-effects from stopping smoking. She's only 32 but she told us she's been smoking for 20 years (yes, since she was 12. And I believe it). So it's a serious addiction. But it's been almost two weeks now that she's completely stopped. She's pretty sick, but we were able to teach her about priesthood blessings and have the elders come over and give her a blessing. On Thursday we decided to a few days early about trying to get her a ride to get to church. And we worked hard at trying to find a way. We asked all the members around her (unfortunately a lot of them are less active and hardly come to church as is). We talked to a member who is a moto doper (motorcycle taxi) and said it would cost 6000 riel or $1.50 to get there and back, which for her is a lot of money right now. We ended up finding a member who couldn't promise a ride every week, but really wanted to help once we told her the whole story of how she's making all these changes in her life and is preparing for baptism. But then Bong Mei was too sick this week to come. So here's to hoping for next week! And hoping a more permanent solution comes along...
We have a newer investigator who made a lot of progress this week. She's the neighbor/referral of our almost-member Ming Thida). Her name is Ming Srei Niang. She's progressing quickly (minus the fact that she doesn't have a consistent way to come to church...the building is so far from our area!). She accepted a baptismal date and she has a couple kids over eight. So as long as they can all have a way to come to church, we'd really like to teach the whole family. She's really enjoying reading The Book of Mormon, even though she's not the quickest person and it takes a while to help her understand. She really has the desire to understand, and that's what counts! We asked her about how her Book of Mormon reading had been going and she said she really pitied Joseph Smith after he had to go work out in his dad's field after not sleeping all night. I suppose she was talking about when Angel Moroni visited him, and she had been reading in the introduction. I'm not sure why that was what she took from it, but hey. She's reading and connecting with it in some sense. She's doing good! And I love teaching people who want to learn. It makes such a difference. And it's so nice after teaching so many unresponsive less actives for so long. It makes me remember why I want to be a teacher someday.
And then of course, there's Ming Thida. We went over yesterday to help her prep for her baptismal interview which is tomorrow. And then just a couple more prep things and she'll be good to go for her baptism on Saturday! She's so excited. And I'm so excited for her!
We had a good English class on Wednesday. We're trying to be more creative/put more effort into our lessons. I teach with Sister A. and Sister Y, which is nice because in Pochentong I taught my class by myself! The topic was directions this week. We ended up hiding candy in different rooms in the church (we were going to do it outside but we ended up having a HUGE storm). We gave them directions in English. They had to draw a map, and then go find it. It was a lot of fun. And then I was on spiritual thought and taught about prophets. I did an object lesson in which I blindfolded and spun around a student (spun her way too many times actually, whoops) and told her to find the piano on the other side of the room. After stumbling to it, we did it a second time and I gave her someone to guide her there. And then explained how the prophet can show us the way. It as pretty fun.
Hmm. What else. Sunday was a lot of fun. I feel like I'm really starting to appreciate Cambodia more. A lot of things that used to really annoy about people here just kind of makes me laugh now. And church was super funny. Like in Sunday school (gospel essentials) when our teacher literally taught that Adam was the same as Jesus and that Joseph Smith was Jesus' dad. I think she got confused about the whole "begotten son" thing and then got confused about which Joseph is which. She's just so sure that she is right all the time. The elders were dying laughing in the back of the room. Maybe it was a good thing we didn't have many investigators at church...
Also Sunday night our 5:00 pm appointment fell through, so we went contacting. I always hate it when I start, but then I warm up to it. We ran into a woman working splitting bricks outside her house so we rolled up on bikes and I squatted down next to her and asked if I could help. She laughed like they always do and said no. But I told her I was serious. She told me she didn't want me to get rocks in my eyes, but I told her not to worry and I put on my sunglasses. She laughed, but realized I was serious, so she gave me her hammer. So I worked on splitting bricks (to make a floor for her house) while Sis A. talked with her and got a return appointment. So we now have a new contacting technique! All the neighbors gathered around and took pictures of the "Barang" (French person. Every white person here is French.). Sometimes I'm really glad I'm here in Cambodia. Everyone is so kind and welcoming. And even though they can be very blunt and like to make fun of you, they are very humble and willing to learn.
So it was a pretty successful week! Gosh this was long. But I do have a spiritual thought to end on. It comes from Sister Rosemary M. Wixom's talk from last conference. Remember it? It was so good. It was about finding and giving strength in times of doubt. She shared the story of a woman who was dealing with a crisis of faith, and what she did to cope and all the people who helped her through the hard time. She shared a quote by Mother Theresa that I really love. In a letter she wrote:
"Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show Himself—for there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead. It has been like this more or less from the time I started ‘the work.’ Ask Our Lord to give me courage."
Sometimes I really relate to this. Sometimes even in the midst of seeing miracles and knowing I'm doing all the work, I doubt myself. And I allow Satan to let me think I'm not doing enough, or not doing things right, or that others could do it so much better than I could. But I'm trying to shut those thoughts out. And I love the response Archbishop Perier gives to her:
“God guides you, dear Mother; you are not so much in the dark as you think. The path to be followed may not always be clear at once. Pray for light; do not decide too quickly, listen to what others have to say, consider their reasons. You will always find something to help you. … Guided by faith, by prayer, and by reason with a right intention, you have enough.”
It's all good. But I love the beginning especially. That you are not so much in the dark as you think. And I think that's true for all of us. Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us individually. And I think lot's of times we're on that path being guided by Him even when we don't think we are. And it isn't until we turn around and realize how things fell into place that we recognize the Lord had His hand in our lives the whole time. We just have to trust him and also trust ourselves.
Okay this has gone on far too long. Have a good week everyone!
|This is us riding to church with our recent convert who's in a wheel chair. She bikes with her arms. It took us forty five minutes. She's so strong!|
|Baby lizard and my thumb.|
|Me and Sister H. enjoying crab apples dipped in Nutella. An acquired taste.|
|Sister A. driving into the storm (also this is the wat we drive through every day to get to our investigator's house)|