Monday, September 14, 2015

In Which I get a koon!

Me and Sister X. with birthday cheesecake.

Big news this week! Birthday and a koon. Big things are happening down here in Cambodia. I'll start with my birthday because I'm selfish and like to talk about myself. Or it just happened first in the week. Maybe both. 

On Wednesday I turned 24, which in mission life is waaaaaaaaay grandma old. So people were extra nice to me. I went out to lunch with a bunch of sisters at Sunrise Taco; the best (read: only) Mexican restaurant in the city. Chips, salsas, and burritos are the best way to celebrate any occasion in Asia I think. Then I got a really fun surprise Tuesday night. Sister X. and I got home from proselyting and our landlord informed us "others" had dropped off an extra mattress for us. Confused, we hauled it up to our floor (did I mention we live on the fourth floor of our apartment building? It's a fun time). Only later did we get word Sister K. and Sister E. were staying the night! They came into town for a leadership meeting on Wednesday morning and "pulled some strings" (no questions were asked); and I got a birthday sleepover! So that was fun to be with them again. And we got Sister X. all pumped to go up to Battambang. On my actual Birthday, Sister K. and Sister E. met us for lunch at a place called Secret Recipe. They have delicious cheese cake, so I got to have real cake on my birthday! Then, that night two more sisters (Sister L. and Sister Nhem) slept at our apartment too (because of the training meeting the next day). So then it really became a party. Pizza included. 

But the real focus of the week was training! Everybody was trying to figure out who would train whom because we don't know ahead of time which trainers are training which new missionaries up until the actual day of. And it was interesting because this is the Christensens' first group of new missionaries, so they switched some things up. They had the trainers all come in for a meeting that morning and talked about the training program and some things we would need to know. Then they announced who would be training whom; but the crazy thing was the koons weren't even there yet! After the meeting the President, Sister Christensen and the APs went to the airport to pick them up, and we scattered to several previously chosen locations throughout the city where we each held a sign with the name of our koon on it. So when they pulled up and dropped the koons off, they would know exactly who to go to. I think they got the idea on Pinterest. That's a joke, but I just had the idea of a missionary Pinterest and it's making me laugh. 

So right in front of the big Psaar Orassey [market] Sister L. and I were united. Yes, she is American. She's 19. She's from Centerville, Utah, and I really like her. We get along well. We have very similar senses of humor and temperaments, so I think this is going to work well. Hopefully she likes me too because it's still only the two of us in our apartment. So the goal was to have some time to contact together, get lunch, and then head back to the mission home for interviews and a little bit of training.  But as these things typically go, we were running late. So we got some fried rice and headed back to the mission home. When I came into the city for the first time, we spent the whole first day at the mission home being trained and having long interviews with president, and then we spent the night there. But the Christensens idea was that they were probably so jet lagged they wouldn't really remember any of it (which is true) so they sent them out on the first day! So Sister L. got to teach her first day in the country, which was pretty cool. So we'll go back on Friday this week to have the full-day orientation, which I think is nice because after a week proselyting already, they have some sense of what it's like to be a missionary and can better apply what they learn. 

So we've been able to a bit of proselyting over the past few days. Not a ton, because weekly planning got moved to Fridayand Saturday we had zone training and Sunday we have SIX hours of church. But we've been able to get some good lessons in here and there. And it's been going well. It's been taking me back even more to my own days in training. Even though she's doing very well and she will continue to pick up the language fast I think, I just forget how much you still don't know when  you first come here. And how crazzzyyy hard it is to try and understand people. Even the simplest questions go over your head. But it's been fun so far. And Khmers are Khmers and are super loving and welcoming, so I think she's feeling good about everything. 

So that was the big news of the week. Other than that, the work keeps moving on. Our investigator pool is getting a bit low; but we've got some potentials in the works, so hopefully next week I can report on a few new investigators. I've so far gotten lost only twice, and had to call Sister X. only once.  So I think that's a definite miracle. But keep praying for me. This whole training and leading two areas after only three weeks in the area is causing me some serious stress. Sometimes I forget what it feels like to not wake up with a stress and anxiety in my stomach. But I haven't grown this much since my own training, I think. So it's all good things. It's all a process. 

Just want to end with a scriptural thought that comes from the Old Testament this week. I'm currently reading about Moses and the children of Israel, and I'm really enjoying it even if I kind of knew the story before, I don't think I've ever sat down and read the account of the Israelites, and I'm learning a lot. 

Just as they were preparing to leave Egypt, the children of Israel (all how ever many thousands of them) gather at the edge of the Red Sea. They know that the Pharaoh and his armies are coming after them. But keep in mind, this is after God has performed all these miracles and plagues through Moses and Aaron. But the Israelites only see Pharaoh, and they start to fear. They complain to Moses that they should have just stayed in Egypt, where, yes, they were slaves, but at least they would have a grave to be buried in when they died, and would not be slain in the wilderness. 

Moses doesn't rebuke them for their lack of faith, but rather calms there fears. In Exodus 14:13-14 he says "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." He then extends his hand, parts the Red Sea, and leads the children of Israel through on dry ground. How cool is that? I don't have much to analyze on that point, but I just love the message: "Fear not, the Lord will fight for us. We can hold our peace."

That's all I've got for this week. Have a good week everyone!


Sister Fields

Me and my koon Sister Loftus!

Me and Om Lina, a member of the Teuk La'ak Ward.

Me  and Om Dali. 

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