Monday, July 27, 2015

In Which We Celebrate Pioneer Day....Khmer Style...

This kid is crazy. Don't let his cute smile fool you. 

So here's the big news! I'll be staying in Battambang (woo-hoo!); but here's the catch, I will be serving in two branches now (Branch 1 and Branch 3). And I will be in a tri-panionship with Sister K. (who's currently in branch 3) and Sister E. who is coming up from the city. I'm super excited!! I had a feeling they might combine branches because we're running low on sisters over here. I'm really glad I'm staying. I'm not ready to be done yet with my branch, but serving in two branches will be a fun (and stressful/busy) change. We also might move houses... So stay tuned! Exciting things are coming. 

Also coming soon this coming transfer... (1) my birthday (common knowledge already, I'm sure) (2) ELDER HOLLAND is coming. I haven't mentioned it yet, because I wasn't sure if it was officially announced or not. I'm still not sure, but I'm mentioning it now anyway. He comes August 22nd, I believe. I'M SOOOO EXCITED. He's doing a whole trip of SE Asia, and Cambodia is the last stop. He's here on a Sunday, and he'll have a general meeting with all the members (broadcast throughout the country) and then meet with just the missionaries in the afternoon, and all the missionaries from the khets are coming in. So, it will be a good transfer I think. 

So it was a good week. The theme of this week was definitely pioneers. Pioneer Day is BIG here, like equal to Christmas in size and importance, at least when it comes to ward parties. Christmas and Pioneer Day are the times to party. I'll get to the party in a little bit though. We taught a lot of lessons focused on pioneers this week, which was difficult a little bit. Not only does it require a whole new set of vocabulary (wagon, oxen, snow, etc,), most of our members and investigators have no concept of the significance or even what pioneers would look like (having no background in US Western migration in school, understandably). But we've got gospel art books and Liahona articles to help us out. 

We shared a pioneer message with Chanda, Devan, and Udom. Update on them first. They haven't gotten kicked out of their home yet, but their hose/water source got turned off. The mom/daughter is coming at the end of the month to try and help solve the problem; but if she can't, they will have to move far away to a place without the Church. And the kids will get pulled out of school, and who knows if they'll get to go back. So we're keeping them in our prayers and waiting. That's pretty much all we can do at this point. Hopefully this week we'll learn about the situation. But we wanted to share them a message of hope and faith this week. So we shared President Uchtdorf's message on pioneers in the Liahona, "All is Well," or in Khmer "Sreul Teang Ah." At the end of the lesson we all sang "Come, Come Ye Saints" together. and as she was seeing us off on her porch, she said something to the effect of, "don't worry about me, sisters. God is in charge and everything is going to work out. "Sreul Teang Ah." And then the 12 year old boy, Udom starts singing the song. They are such a good family, and I know the Lord prepared them and prepared us to find each other. Someday they will get baptized whether it's here, now, or in the future. Planting seeds. 

Okay so Pioneer Day. We showed up in the morning a to help cut food. They made three giant vats of Cambodian curry. I wish I would have taken a picture of it. These enormous pots cooking over makeshift stove/fire things outside in the church parking lot. It was a stake activity, so they needed plenty of food to go around. We left, went proselyting for a few crazy hours and came back for the program at 2:00. We had a program with five speakers (probably a bit excessive, people got a little restless), but the talks were good. Then the young men and young women and elders (sisters we're not included, slightly offended) put on a play they've been practicing for a few weeks. It was so good! I was so impressed! (Taking into consideration the fact that it was performed in the chapel, without many costumes or props, and more importantly without a whole lot of knowledge of who the pioneers are). There were only a few historical inaccuracies. Martin Harris was originally dying in Carthage with Joseph, but that got cleared up before the final performance. All the girls had these cute pioneer dresses and aprons, and the boys had vests. They looked so good! They had two curtains they were swinging back and forth in between scenes. And they had music and narration they played of speakers. It told the story from the Restoration to arriving in Salt Lake. They did a lot of "traveling across the plains" AKA walking in circles in and out behind the curtain. And then at the end they square danced! I was so impressed. It was so fun. 

So it was a good program. The whole thing was a little long after the speakers and the play, but it was good. And then the counselor in the stake presidency stood up and told us to turn the page in our program to the second program. After a closing prayer and hymn and opening prayer and opening hymn, we started seminary/institute graduation. That's the Khmer way to do it! Hit two birds with one stone. So it was a loong program. But we all got through it and then had curry with all parts of the chicken in it, and had fun mingling with members from all the branches. I was told it turned into quite the dance party as the night went on, but unfortunately we had a 6:30 curfew to make. So between the curry, the electronic/dance music, and playing Ava Maria as Joseph got shot in jail, it was your pretty classic Pioneer Day. I did stop and think for a second about how bizarre/fascinating it was from an anthropological perspective for Cambodian youth to be dressing up and acting out a piece of American history. It's a weird time. But it's a good time. 

We had a good turn out for the party. A few investigators and a few less actives who don't make it out church very often came. Unfortunately I think a lot of people thought because they went to Church Saturday night, Church Sunday morning was not that necessary. We ended up getting called in to teach primary with no notice. We only had three kids though. It was a hodge-podge lesson made up of what we found in the cabinet and our backpacks. We told the story of the restoration, played an "I can be a missionary" board game we found in the Liahona. And we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" we had in our bag. The kids were good and very cute. 

And even though no one was at church, guess who did show up for the first time. Om Jonhan! Our 77 year old investigator! He came totally on his own. Showed up on his moto in a white shirt. We had really hoped he would come after teaching Sabbath Day, and we waited and waited outside and he didn't come. And then maybe 10 minutes into the meeting he slipped into the back! We were in primary, so we didn't really get to interact with him much. But we gave him over to the Elders. And I think he did well! 

Oh, another interesting thing that happened this week, as we were driving past the Elders house (we pass it all the time, it's right in the middle of our area), we saw them standing outside the gate talking to a guy who was definitely not Cambodian. They saw us and waved us to stop. It turns out it's a guy from America named Danny or something who is also a missionary here. He's here with a group teaching kids about the Bible. We ended up having a half-hour discussion about the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, priesthood, and a ton of different topics. He just had a lot of different questions and all four of us kept taking turns answering. It was so fun! It gave us a taste of something we don't really get a chance to do much of here in Cambodia. For so many of our investigators, just the concept of God is foreign. It surprised me how easily I found the answers to his questions. I don't really feel like my knowledge of the gospel has increased that much, but it's more I have a better understanding of how everything is connected. 

Well, that's all I have for this week. I keep getting distracted as I write this email because I am finding out where everyone is going for transfers. But I want to end with a brief spiritual thought. As we were sharing about pioneers, we shared what is one of my favorite scriptures from my mission thus far. D&C 64:33 (34 is also really good, and I know it's one of Dad's favorites): "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." I love this in regards to pioneers. They did not weary in well-doing, even though their travels were very wearying because, in part, they knew that they were laying the foundation of a great work. And then, as we explained this in lessons, we'd turn it on them and help them see how they are the pioneers now. The Church got started here in Battambang just ten years ago. There were only 18 members at first. And now we have a district with three branches. Out of small things proceeds that which is great. When they come to church, pay their tithing, read scriptures, prepare to go to the temple, and teach their kids to do the same, they are the pioneers paving the way. So in the decades in the future after there are many stakes and a temple, the members will look back and look up to their examples as pioneers in Cambodia.

That's all for now. See you next transfer! Have a good week! 

Sister Fields

Me and Sis K. figuring out transfers. My making brackets for guessing transfers went to a whole new level this time. I wrote out little papers with all the sisters names so we could move them around for our guesses. It's an intense game.

This is one of the big intersections in town. We contacted for English class here with the Elders last Monday night.

Chanda, Davan, and Udom, the "All is Well" family.

Helping Om Jonhan read his prayer cheat sheet because he still can't pray without it.

This is Om Jonhan. He is just a joy to teach.

These girls come to our English class every week.

The YM/YW pioneer play!

Last Monday we decided to have a relaxing P-day, so we made cinnamon rolls and watched a movie.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

In Which I Teach in Sign Language

This is what being a good missionary looks like.


So it was a good week. Unfortunately the baptisms we were hoping for (Chanda, Davan and Udom) didn't happen. There were a lot of factors outside of our control. Satan works hard. But it's okay because they just need a couple more weeks. We went on Wednesday and helped prepare them for the interview, and the kids were so good. They know so much. They've been coming to church every week for two months almost, and they are practically members already. But the grandma is still working through some Word of Wisdom things. And we think they got kicked out of their house. We don't know for sure; but if they didn't have a certain amount of money by this weekend, the landlord was going to kick them out of their home (and it's been their home for lots of years). And they weren't at church on Sunday. So we're praying for them. And hoping that they can find a more stable situation. So it's probably a good thing they didn't end up getting baptized yet. 

Sooooo we set a goal for five baptisms this month, and it's looking like we're not going to get any. Chanda, Davan, and Udom will be sometime in August now. And then Ming Srey Niang moved to the city. And Soknang (Ming Thida's son) isn't quite ready yet. We haven't been able to meet him as much as we hoped, but it's okay. He'll just be an August baptism to. It's not about numbers! 

Speaking of Soknang, we had fun teaching him this week. He's 9 and I think he might have ADD or ADHD or something that makes it hard for him to pay attention because it is so hard for him to sit down and learn. But he's a super funny kid. His sense of humor makes the experience less exasperating. For example last Tuesday after teaching Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity we asked him if he had any questions and he asked a really good question: "Why did Christ resurrect?" After talking about that for a bit he asked: "Will grandma be resurrected even though she was buried in a Wat?" Which led him to ask: "Will dogs be resurrected?" And then things really went downhill, "Can dogs see ghosts?" We were all laughing. I don't know where he comes up with some of these things. But he is smart. 

Speaking of funny investigators, we're still meeting Om Jonhan, our 77 year old investigator. And I would say he is progressing, if slowly. He read a page of the Book of Mormon on his own. So we praised him for that and then read to the end of the chapter with him. I have no idea how much of it is entering his brain, but he's very kind. And he seems like he's starting to learn how to pray. He still (one month later) uses our prayer example sheet to help him remember, but he understands now that he should fill in his own words after the parts that say "I thank thee for..." and "I ask thee for..." His prayer this week was difficult not to laugh during. He said "Thank thee for me....your child" and "I ask thee to help me...overcome my enemies." We were curious who his enemies were. But this was really cool, as we were going to leave, we started contacting a woman who came to the house to collect recycling. She said her husband was Christian but she had never knew much about it, so we were talking. And then Jonhan comes out and starts helping us contact! He told her that when we have hardships we need to rely on God. And he got so serious and sincere about it! So something we're saying must be sinking in.

I went on an exchange on Friday with Sister L. She is super fun to talk to so we had a good time. She finishes her mission in just two transfers! On our exchange we got to help prep one of her investigators for baptism the next day. The trick was, she is both deaf and dumb (meaning, she can't speak). So that was interesting. Apparently all the neighbors in this neighborhood are members. And for a long time she's always joined in the lessons and gone to church with them. She prays (or at least kneels and folds her arms, and helps her kid do the same before meals and bed). So it seems like she understands quite a bit. And they got permission from President to baptize her. She was so excited. She's so sweet. But the prepping for interview was a little bit interesting. Okay, so we didn't actually teach in sign language. We pretty much just showed her a bunch of pictures of church and Joseph Smith, Thomas S. Monson, and we have little diagrams for some of the commandments we like to use. But it all worked out. And she got baptized the next day and was so happy. 

Oh this was kind of a cool thing. We've been going through all our CBRs trying to make sense of some recent converts we have on a list who don't seem to have any paperwork. And we found one CBR of a grandma who looks like she's been a member for a while, and someone came and baptized all her grandkids. But they seem like they've all been pretty inactive after that. So we found the house and she wasn't home, but had a far too long conversation with her daughter who was either drunk or just not all there. We left thinking we'd try back another time when the grandma would be home. But then the next day at church my companion looks around the room halfway through the meeting and turns to me and asks if that's her. And it was! The grandma came with one of her granddaughters. So we went up and met her after the meeting. And what's even better is I saw a bunch of members go up and greet her and tell her that they missed seeing her at church. 

We also got to officially "meet the President" this week. President and Sister Christensen came up to visit on Tuesday morning. It was a very informal meeting. They told us all about themselves, the story of how they met and stuff; and then we got to ask them any questions we want. And then they shared a little bit of a spiritual message. It was fun to get to know them. And President told us about his mission. He got called to Hong Kong, and then 18 months into his mission he and three other missionaries were called to go open Vietnam and work with a branch (or the beginnings of a branch) that servicemen from the Vietnam war (it had just ended) had started. They were asked to start translating the Book of Mormon, hymns, and pretty much just start the church in Vietnam. All the while knowing zero Vietnamese at the time. So that's preeettyy crazy.

In other news I went out three mornings in a row to find a flat tire on my bike. I got the tube patched three times. Sometimes I don't trust Cambodia. You should see some of the sketchy ways they fix things around here. Hint: they use fire. But it costs 25 cents. 

That's pretty much all the news for this week. This Sunday is transfer calls (again, what??), so next Monday you'll know where I'll go. Pray that I will stay here! I'm not ready for my Battambang days to be done yet. Speaking of end of the transfer, I'm still working on my reading of the Book of Mormon. I'm only halfway through Alma, so we'll see if I'm gonna make it. But my spiritual thought this week comes from what I've been reading. 

I'm at my favorite part in the Book of Mormon, Ammon's adventures with King Lamoni. Every time I re-read the account I'm struck by how dramatic it is. It's a crazy story! Ammon pretty much converts a whole town and sees crazy huge miracles (involving people fainting, rising, and then fainting again). And after all these miraculous conversions Ammon learns by revelation that his brothers are in jail. So he sets off to go rescue them (more miracles occur on that road). But in chapter 20 Ammon goes and meets his brothers. And his brothers have had pretty much the opposite experience. Ammon finds them naked, with skin worn from the cords they were tied up with, thirsty, starving, and suffering from all kinds of afflictions (but it is added that they were patient through it all). And it hit me how hard it must have been for them to see Ammon in all of his successes because he had literally the coolest mission ever and his brothers probably had the worst mission up to that point. But the important point is that they cannot compare. There is no ideal model for "how your mission is supposed to be." It's up to the Lord and His will and what He wants us to learn. 

Also, missions are hard. Who ever says that they are not is a liar. One thing I loved about what President Christensen said when he talked about his mission is that the main word he uses to describe his mission was "hard". That said, it was also fun, but it was certainly not fun every day. It was so hard, but he would never regret it, and he would chose to go again in a heart beat. And I think Aaron, Omner, and Himni would say the same thing. And they went on to have success too. Aaron has a crazy cool conversion experience with King Lamoni's father. The important thing is Heavenly Father knows us each individually. And he knows the experiences we need to have to become the people he wants us to be. So we just have to trust that. And endure with patience the afflictions. And then (equally as important) recognize the successes and enjoy the little victories and appreciate the funny moments. Because there are a lot of ridiculous moments. 

Okay that's all for now. Have a great week!


Sister Fields

Me doing what I do every spare second of the day. Cross-stitching.

We went to eat last p-day at a restaurant with Khmer and Western food. I decided spaghetti sounded good. The waitress asked me if I wanted cheese on it, and I thought, yes, I never eat cheese in this country. This is the result. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

In Which I Sing At A Wedding

Us and the bride and groom.

Suasdei! (I don't know how to spell that in English... Sometimes I really wish I could type in Khmer. But let's be real, only for like two words and then I would switch back to English)

It was a good week! A bit crazy, because we went down to PP on Monday and came back the next day, which always makes the rest of the week kind of stressful trying to catch up. But it was good.

So I'll start with our Mission Leadership Conference meeting in the city. We got to spend some time with the Christensens, and we'll get to see them more tomorrow. They're coming up to Battambang (and the rest of the khets) to meet us all. I'm excited for them to be here. It was a little weird walking into the mission home and not having the Moons there. And then we got a new senior couple in the office, so the whole place feels different. But change is good. And the Christensens are going to be really fun to work with. They're both really funny! And very real, relate-able people. It must be so crazy to take over a mission. They only overlapped with the Moons for about three hours of training. And everything is just still so (unsurprisingly) new for them. They hadn't even adjusted to the time difference yet. But they're going to be great! I'm excited.

So the APs led MLC this time. It was good training. It was all very practical, like keeping good records and English class details. They called me and my comp the day before while we were on the bus and asked if we could teach a segment "What to do when everything falls through?" It was pretty ironic because we've been having a lot of moments this transfer where appointments fall through, and we don't know what to do. So we talked about back-up plans and seeking inspiration and then acting even if we feel like we haven't received a for sure answer. I think it went pretty well. And then we each got up from every zone and shared our results from the month before and goals for next month like we always do. And we all habitually set our goals too high and miss them. All of us. It's kind of depressing. And then President Christensen stood up and said something interesting. He said the missing of a goal should be relatively rare (which at first made us all feel worse) but then he said that we should set our goals around factors we can control. So much agency goes into our key indicators that we can work super hard every day and still not have any baptisms because so much is out of our control. Then he said he wants us to feel like we are successful. He wants us to go home thinking we had a great day everyday even if all our lessons fall through. To do that we have to change our measure of success.

So we talked about some of those things with the zone leaders. And on Friday morning we taught the training to our zone. And we decided that one of the factors we can control is contacting, the people we talk to everyday and invite to learn. We set a goal to get fourteen contacts per companionship daily. It's going well so far. It's fun because the zone leaders tally it every night and text us to let us know how we're doing. I'm not sure if it really solved the problem before. We're probably still a little too focused on numbers. It is causing me a little anxiety, always having that number in the back of my head as we are biking around. But we've had success so far. Yesterday 3 appointments fell through, so we found ourselves at the church (out of our area) with an extra hour. So we stood outside and handed out fliers for English class. Then we ran out of fliers, so we took out the pamphlets, but yelling "Do you want to learn about Jesus?" rather that "Do you want to learn English?" just felt a little wrong. So we just held the pamphlets up and less then a minute later a man pulled over, and about two minutes after that, the Elders had a return appointment. So it's working!

We got two new investigators this week! One was a girl who came to English class. Usually our English class in Battambang is filled with members/non-members who sneak out before our spiritual thought. But she wanted to learn. So we met her on Saturday at the church and had a really good lesson one with her. She asked so many good questions. The unfortunate thing is she's so busy! But she comes to English every week. So we'll make something work out. Her name is Rachana.

Then (also on Saturday--Saturday was another one of those crazy, no time for lunch days) we went to go teach a recent convert and she had some family friends at her house. We chatted with them and went in a different room to teach and this girl just sits down to join in and then starts asking all these great questions about prayer and commandments and things. It was super cool! And the thing is, we weren't even planning on going to her house today, but then ended up changing plans, and I'm glad we did. She's definitely prepared! We'll meet her again on Tuesday.

Speaking of investigators, our grandma and grandkids Chanda, Davan and Udom are doing well. They're having some serious financial issues right now because it really is Satan just making things hard. Satan is real. That's one thing I've learned on my mission. But it's okay because when we have faith things work out. And they've got some serious faith. And they are getting baptized this Saturday, woohoo!

Unfortunately, Ming Srey Niang (the referral from Thida who had a really hard time getting to church) is moving all of a sudden. She's found work in the city and she's planning on staying for seven months. She says it's bittersweet, because she really does need the money, but she really doesn't want to leave her family or stop learning with us. She was scheduled to be baptized next week! But it's okay. We're hoping that once she gets settled in she'll call us and we can figure out where specifically she's at and set her up with sisters there. And then maybe when she comes back she can afford a bike to get to church. I''ll just miss her. She was so  good and prepared. But her story isn't over yet.

We had a great FHE this week. We went over to what we call the "handicapped village," have I mentioned that? It's what it sounds like. There are so many handicapped people in Battambang for some reason. But we have a bunch of members who all live in this neighborhood and are all in wheelchairs and all play on the same basketball team. We went with the Spencer's and taught two recent converts at a less actives house. It was a great lesson about faith and miracles. And they made a plan to have a scripture reading group together. Unfortunately they still didn't make it to church. So we'll keep working with them! It was fun to spend time with them all together. They are very strong women.

Okay last but not least, the wedding. A guy in our ward (who's a huge help to the missionaries. He knows everyone and helps us a lot.) got married at the church Saturday morning. I've been anticipating this wedding ever since Bong Nuen (the groom) came up to the elders last transfer and introduced a referral as "the woman I love." They taught her in a few weeks, Bong Nuen baptized her, and in a few short weeks they were inviting us and the elders to sing at the wedding.

Here's just a list of some things I don't ever want to forget about this great occasion:

--We waited fifteen minutes for the person giving the opening prayer to go home and change into a white shirt (the branch president made him) because another person could not have been chosen. 
--We heard two talks before the bride made an entrance (one of whom shared from a Word of Wisdom pamphlet???)
--The bride entered from the overflow with the sliding curtains opening as Sister Spencer played "Here Comes the Bride"
--The theme was 80s prom, I think. That's the only explanation for the decor and outfits--purple and white balloons, and Bong Nuen and his groomsman were in white tuxes, checkered shirts, and bow ties
--The rings were found, only after someone yelled on the stand "Who has the rings??"
--One very awkward kiss on the stand in the chapel. Seriously though, it took three times and the bride was still not having it. PDA is not a thing here. 
--The Elders and Sisters sang "Love is Spoken Here"
--Closing hymn: "Did You Think to Pray?"

And that is apparently how you do an LDS wedding in Cambodia...

To close I just want to share a couple thoughts about repentance. I feel like I've been learning a lot about repentance. Before my mission I did not really understand repentance. I thought repentance was something you did when you really messed up. And it was hard. And yes, sometimes it is those things, but it is also just the process we can do everyday as we strive to grow closer to Christ. In PMG (and I think this is in the Bible Dictionary too) we learn that repentance is forming a fresh view of God and ourselves. I had a seminary teacher that always defined repentance as "to turn." Basically repentance = change. And change is sometimes hard, but it's that change that is going to turn us into the person Heavenly Father knows he can be. And that is the ongoing conversion process. Because if there's one thing I remember from that thesis I wrote (and this is really the only thing I remember, no joke) it's that conversion is a process. Alma 5 lets us in on that process. Thankfully Heavenly Father is merciful with us in that process, and thus gave us his Son to help us through it.

Well, that's all I've got! Have a good week everyone!

Sister Fields

Us with our investigator (Tin) who came to the wedding.

The goomsman and bridesmaid. It's just too good.

The wedding party & Elder S.

Me and our investigator (Srey Niang) who's moving. Her child is screaming because she stopped nursing to take this picture. 

This is us contacting outside the church and behind us the motorcycle gang otherwise known as our ward council about to go visit less actives. This may be one of my favorite pictures ever.

Ming Thida helping her son read the picture-book copy of The Book of Mormon. 

Our 77-year-old investigator. We came to his house and this is what we found. Sleeping with an open Book of Mormon

Me walking to a members house through a semi-creepy alley.

Sis A. locked me in with our bikes.

Monday, July 6, 2015

In Which We Celebrate Our Independence...In Cambodia

At our 4th of July zone meeting

This one's gonna be bit quicker. I'm actually emailing from the city today, because we came down for a leadership meeting tomorrow. We left at 6:30 this morning, so it's been a weird P-day. I met the new mission president and his wife! President and Sister Christensen. It was only for a brief few seconds as we were leaving the mission home. But they seem nice! We'll get to talk to and hear from them tomorrow. And then they'll be coming up to Battambang next week. So our mission is in for some changes. It's exciting! But also a little sad to walk into the mission home and know the Moons wouldn't be there. The senior couple up here in Battambang were invited with all the other missionary couples to a goodbye/hello dinner. And they saw the Moons off at the airport. They showed us pictures, and it almost made me want to cry! So many returned missionaries and members showed up to see them off. And they sang "God Be with You Til We Meet Again." There must have been 30 or 40 people there. They will be so missed here! 

Another change is that our numbers are going down. These past few transfers a lot of missionaries have ended, and not very many missionaries (especially sisters!) are coming in. So our force, if you will, will be smaller. And I've heard a rumor that there are no new sisters coming in for the rest of this year. So this girl may not be training on her mission. Which could be a good thing for everyone. We'll see, we'll see. 

We celebrated the Fourth of July this week! We had an "important zone meeting" Saturday afternoon, in which we gathered at the church for lunch and an American celebration, whatever that means. We had a color guard and a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Someday you'll see the video. It was all a bit of a joke. And I'm pretty sure the Khmers thought we were quite literally crazy. But lunch was delicious! I'm fairly sure Sister S. slaved away to make it all for us because it was a feast! Pulled-pork sandwiches, chips and salsa, coleslaw, watermelon, chaa (or Khmer stir-fry) for those less inclined to an American palate. And then dessert! Brownies and two kinds of pie and ice cream! I did not think I would have pie in this country. It was delicious and a very patriotic day. I've never been a patriotic person until I celebrate the Fourth of July in a foreign country (see Thailand, summer 2013).

I got to go on another exchange this week. With Sister Koung. It was a lot of fun. It's been really fun getting to know her these past few transfers. We proselyted in her area, branch 3. There are three branches here in Battambang. But the fun thing about this area is that it feels like everyone knows each other. We all share the same building, and between baptisms pretty much every Saturday night and stake "singing practice" each week. We all get to see a lot of each other. Missionaries too. Battambang is seriously the best. But speaking of singing practice, I have now become the designated piano player. The church came out with a newer version of a hymn book in Khmer (before they only had probably 40 songs). But no one ever sings them because no one knows them. So every Sunday night we get together and practice singing a few new songs each week, which used to be fun until this transfer when the sister who actually knew how to play the piano left leaving me to rely upon my 7th grade piano skills. It's rough. Anyone out there prepping for a mission, practice the piano! Either that or just unlearn it all, and then they can't depend on you. 

As for the work in our area this week, it's going pretty good. We've found ourselves teaching quite a few kids actually which I like to joke about because everyone knows teaching kids can be risky business. But it's not really in our case because the kids we are teaching are connected to active members or are also getting baptized. We're teaching a nine year old girl who comes to church every week with her grandma and aunt and uncle. So she's active already and has pretty much grown up in the church. So the lessons here are kind of a formality. But it's been a lot of fun teaching her because she's so smart. But really, she pretty much teaches us. 

So we've got five baptisms planned for this month, and it's looking like they'll all pan out! Pretty exciting. 

Sorry, this is so short! Have a good week!

The amazing meal.