Monday, August 31, 2015

In Which I Get Back to City Life

It felt kind of like graduation, but yes we're friends.

So this week's email will be significantly shorter than last week's. Compared to last week, not much happened. I'm just trying to get to know this new area just in case we get split apart in two weeks! Real transfer calls come on Sunday night, so we will see what happens. A bunch of new missionaries are coming in, which is good news. For whatever reason, we are all spread very thin between areas now. Usually in our mission elders and sisters have only one area to worry about, but in Battambang and now here in North Zone I've been working in two branches. I have a theory that they might split our wards again and I'll stay in one and Sister Xiong will stay in the other, each of us with new companions. But there might be more places that missionaries are needed. Stay tuned. 

The big news this week was we had two baptisms! So that's a pretty good way to start off an area. One from Toulkork and one from Teuk La'ak. It was a little chaotic because they're doing construction in our building right now, so we ended up having the baptismal service in the chapel; and when it was time for the baptisms, the construction workers stopped pounding in tiles and moved to the side for a second. It's Cambodia. 

The convert from Toulkork Ward is Ming Sovana. Even though it's only been a week, I feel like I've gotten to know their family pretty well. She was a referral from the Elders in the Vietnamese branch. Her husband is a member, and I'm not sure why it took Sovana so long to learn because she is so good and prepared! She understands so much already, so she's really fun to teach because she just wants to learn more and more and eats up everything we have to teach her. We met her a several days this week, to help her get ready for her baptism, and she was so excited. She and her husband have four teenage daughters that we are going to start teaching tonight! It should be interesting... They don't quite have the same attention span or learning level that the mom has, but they are cute girls. And they really like us a lot, haha. So we'll see how it goes. It will be good practice applying what we've learned from Elder Holland about meeting our investigator at the level they are at. Teaching them there, and then bringing them up step by step. 

The second recent convert is Somphoa. She is a seventeen-year-old girl. Her cousin and aunt and maybe some other family members are members in the ward too. She was super excited for her baptism also. So excited, in fact, that she forgot to plug her nose before going under. Both me and the elder baptizing her didn't think to mention it. But now I won't forget because she came up with nose full of water, coughing and choking all over the place. Whoops. I think she still had a good experience overall though. 

Overall I'm starting to get adjusted. Being back at the stake center I see members I knew from before, so that's been fun. And it's surprised me how many people I know/recognize from doing exchanges in these areas and from just sharing a building with them before. Being back in the city isn't all that terrible. I'm getting into the swing of city life again. Traffic is still annoying, but we do live literally around the corner from a delicious bakery. I was so sad to say goodbye to my Green Mango Bakery (with fresh banana bread) from Battambang, but now I can get fresh (okay, semi-fresh) chocolate croissants anytime I want. It's become a dangerous temptation for Sister Xiong and I. 

As far as training goes, it's been interesting. It's been stressful and humbling. Maybe almost as much so as my own training, but not quite. Let's be real, those were very dark days. But being a trainer is changing the way I look at the work. While I've grown to take a lot of ownership over investigators and the work (especially this last transfer in Battambang), I feel it so much more now. I want to give my companion as many opportunities to lead as much as she wants/is willing to take. I keep getting flashbacks to my own training! She's a lot like me. I just really want her to have all the confidence she needs. And I want her to love her mission. But that's a process. Let's be real, I'm not even all the way there yet. But I want her to see that missions can be fun in addition to testimony-building and all those other good things. 

I just get worried I'm not doing all I can sometimes. It's just exhausting because I have to be "on" all the time. No tuning out for a second in a lesson or when you don't know what to say turning to your companion. So I'm learning a lot from this experience. Probably more than she is to be honest. But despite the stress, it's also been very rewarding. It's so nice to feel like I can really build relationships with people. The other day we went to go visit a less active. It was kind of an awkward lesson (mostly just because she's an awkward person, I think). But she hasn't been back to church since pretty much the time she was baptized because she had bad dreams/scary experiences and her family convinced her it was their ancestors. I kept trying to say things and help her realize why church was important, but it was not working. I ended up saying a quick prayer and then ended up testifying of the Atonement and the comforting and enabling effect it can have in our lives. And I could tell she felt the Spirit. It was what was needed at the moment, and I was very grateful for that inspiration. 

But I'm still very much still learning how to do this. Confidence has played a big role. And it's something I've struggled with a lot more on my mission than I think I had for a while. I remember having a conversation with President Moon about it. He taught me that confidence does not come from myself and my own abilities, but it comes from my faith in Christ. So that's what I'm still working on. Putting my faith and trust in Him and His Atonement. And it's funny, even though my stutter is still very much present at times, and it's still hard for me to understand and for people to understand me at times, it works. And I'm grateful that I have the confidence enough, know the culture enough, and I don't know, just feel comfortable enough that now I can make real connections with people. 

Well, I said I'd keep it short this week. That's enough of my musings anyways.

Have a good week!


Sister Fields

View from out my window one morning. 

Ming Sovana and her family (including the four girls we are teaching now).

Ming Sovana.


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