Monday, October 5, 2015

In Which I Teach Church

Dinner with our recent convert's family.


It's been a good week! I'm starting to get a little more comfortable with training now. I think Sister L. and I have gotten into a good groove, and things are really starting to happen in our areas now! It was a good work week. I feel like I'm learning to see the hand of the Lord more and more. The trick is you've got to look for it. It's always there. 

So I'll share a couple cool moments from this week. The first came about from my flat tire. It wasn't super flat, I just needed to get it sopped (Khmenglish for pumped up? Is that what we say? I didn't know bike lingo before, now I only know it in Khmer). I had been putting it off for a few days just because I was lazy, but one afternoon I gave in and stopped at a little bike place around the corner of the apartment. Because so many people ride bikes and motos in this country, lots of people just hang out on the corners with a tank of air. We stopped and the bike guy immediately contacted us. Turns out he's learning with the Japanese Jehovah's Witnesses right now (because that's a thing), but they only come every once in a while, and he really wants to learn more about Christ. I shared a little bit about the Restoration and he was hooked. He actually learned with elders before a while ago. So I got his number to pass along to the elders and he said, "make sure they call me!" So that was a pretty golden contact. Good thing I was lazy about my bike tires!

That same day we went by a less-active member's house. The same house with the twin babies named Nephi and Joseph. We hoped to meet with the less-active mom, but she wasn't willing to meet us. We're not exactly sure what to do to help her. But then we started talking to her daughter (she and the dad are the only active ones in the family). It became clear that she really needed to talk. She's been having a hard time lately feeling like she's carrying her whole family on her shoulders, and she's just getting tired. I think she really just needed to talk to someone. We shared a scripture about hope with her; and after we were leaving, she said that even though we came to see her Mom, Heavenly Father had a different plan. God is in the details. 

We had a way cool experience with our new investigators, Ciat and Navy, this week. We taught them lesson two about the Plan of Salvation and then we extended the baptismal commitment. Navy (the wife) accepted right away, but Ciat was more hesitant. He said he wants to make sure that he can come to church first, which is a good sign of his understanding of the significance of baptism and his commitment to it. He's going to try to ask if he can get out of work Sunday afternoons. We also helped them understand that by setting a date for baptism, we're setting a goal to work towards. And I promised that if they kept their commitments, they would be ready by that date. They're both worried about some word of wisdom addictions they have to get over. But I testified that through Christ and His Atonement they would receive the strength to do it. And I could testify of that because I had seen it before on my mission. I felt the Spirit and I could tell they did too. They are just both so much happier. Ciat was smiling so big, he couldn't help but laugh. So we've committed them for a Christmas baptism (which is INSANE that that's only three months away). Then Ciat said the closing prayer. Even though it was short and simple, the Spirit was very strong. And at then end we opened our eyes and he was crying. It was a very cool moment. The gospel changes lives. 

So investigators are doing well. We started teaching two new investigators this week. The mom and niece of a recent convert. They came to church already with him, and have faith. But it's going to take a little bit of work to help them understand and come to feel the importance of baptism. The mom/grandma is named Ming Liang. She has memory problems and is worried about committing to baptism and falling short of what she's supposed to do. But we just have to help build her faith. We've only met her once, so hopefully we'll get to meet them again this week. It's starting to get tricky with Pchum Ben upon us. Everyone is leaving town. So we'll see who we'll get to meet this coming week....

We seem to have a bunch of people coming to us wanting to learn this past week, which is cool. The only problem is they are all children. We have four separate children (ages 13-17) who've come up to us in various situations wanting to learn. So we'll see, we'll see. I'm quite against teaching kids. Maybe a little too against it. I've just seen so many situations where the kid goes less active or moves, or years later just has no interest in coming back. But we'll try and get the families in on it. We'll see. Again, it kind of seems like everything's being put on hold for a week for the holiday. So we'll see what happens. 

Yesterday was a bit crazy. It was fast Sunday for us (because we don't have general conference until next weekend). And in the Teuk La'ak ward (the afternoon ward) I was asked to teach Sunday school two minutes before class began. So I put together some sort of an excuse for a lesson on eternal marriage. Then we walk into Relief Society, and guess what? No teacher. So several unfortunate members had to listen to me teach two hours during church. Thus, I taught church, the girl who speaks no Khmer on a Fast Sunday brain. That was fun. Sometimes I think I'm gonna get home and life will be so easy because I've had to learn to do so many hard things on my mission. But that's not really how life works...

We ended up going to a member FHE that night. It was a last-minute invitation, and it was on the other side of town. So we had to bike across town through 6:00 pm traffic on our very empty stomachs. But we made it; and after some spiritual thoughts, they fed us some pretty delicious Khmer curry/noodle soup deal. It was a lot of fun. It was the family of Ming Sovanna (our recent convert, and we are currently teaching her teenage daughters) and the Bishop's family was there too. 

So that was the week. Today I'm going to go check out Tuol Sleng, a museum about the genocide in Cambodia. So that will be very interesting, I've been wanting to go for a while. Sometimes I forget about how recently Pol Pot was. It was only 40 years ago, so a lot of the people I meet and teach every day are survivors or the era. Just this week we went to go visit a less-active who told us her story. She was 31 during the Khmer Rouge. She had 10 brothers and sisters and all of them (along with her parents) were killed. Somehow she escaped and was forced to go work up in the fields in Kampongcham. When it all ended, she came back to the city. But everyone was so poor and the country was in ruins. She (with many others) walked back to PP. It took 17 days and she was barefoot the whole time. Rocks dug into her feet the entire way. When she arrived, she had to start her life all over with no family left to help her. I'm always so interested to hear peoples' stories, and usually they're willing to share their experiences. What always impresses me is the resilience these people have. Khmers know how to endure. 

Well, I think that's all I've got for this week. Just wanted to end with a little spiritual thought. I'm currently trying to finish re-reading all of last conference before this next one comes. I read Elder Anderson's "Thy Kingdom Come" this week and I really liked a line from it. He says, "we do everything we can to move this work forward. But this is the Lord’s work, and He directs it. He is at the helm. We marvel as we watch Him open doors we cannot open and perform miracles we can scarcely imagine." This hit me hard this week. The past few weeks I've been stressed and over-anxious about the tasks in front of me. But this week I've learned again that all I need to do and all I can do is to rely on the Lord. And it is my privilege to watch His hand work, and to play what little part I can in His plan. It's a good life. 

Til next week!


Sister Fields


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