Monday, October 26, 2015

In Which We Teach a Rat

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Almost. To celebrate this year we've got a baptism! Almost as fun as trick-or-treating. Just kidding. Way funner. 

We had a good week this week! We were able to meet with a lot of investigators we hadn't met with in a while, and we've got a bunch of potential investigators in the works, so stay tuned for that. We'll see what we can do. 

But, first things first, I'll start at the top of the week. Monday we went bowling!!! Finally. It was so fun. We went with a whole bunch of sisters.  I started off bowling the best I'd ever done in my life. Then the last three turns I got some zeros, so I ended up pretty average. It's okay, it's been a while since I worked on my bowling game. And it was Sister L.'s last p-day EVER. So we celebrated with her. She's headed back home this week, which is crazy. Her parents came and picked her up, and they took me and Sister L. to lunch on Saturday so that was a lot of fun. We went to the same restaurant we had gone to when I went on an exchange with her my first transfer and her third transfer! Crazy. Missions go so fast. Not really, but kind of. 

So Wednesday was a weird day for us. With two areas, we always have people to meet. But for some reason, nobody could meet with us. We pretty much spent the day riding around from one place to another. We decided at lunch we needed a pick-me-up so we decided to try a new crepe place that opened around the corner from our house. We walked in and it was like a different world. It felt like one of those cute, slightly-over-the-top desert shops in Provo, with a Japanese twist. The crepes were much pricier than pretty much any Khmer meal you could get off the street, but it was worth it. Sometimes you just need to treat yourself. 

That night at English class we had an activity night. It ended up being a ton of fun. We combined all our classes together and all met together in the gym. Each companionship was in charge of a game. I pulled out the giant word search I made with Sister A. in Battambang. Other missionaries played Scattegories, telephone, and other games. It was a lot of fun. Then we watched some really good Mormon messages as a spiritual thought, and I think it caught a bunch of peoples' interest. We've been getting a lots of referrals from English class this week. And we had fifty-five people show up! So that was a good turn-out. We're hopefully meeting with two different people who are interested in learning this coming week, so stay tuned. 

Speaking of our Halloween baptism (like 6 paragraphs ago), we had a really great interview prep session with our investigators. It's the three teenage girls of our recent convert who are getting baptized. They are already so integrated into the ward, it's like they are already members. They have FHE at their house every Sunday and invite us and the Bishop's family and others in the ward. And while they are very active in the ward already, back when we first started teaching them in September we decided to put their baptismal date out a little bit far. We felt the extra time would be good for them. President has really been emphasizing retention lately. And the wait was worth it. The girls are really developing faith. I love helping prep investigators for their interview and going over questions with them because it's such a good opportunity for them to share their testimonies. 

Srey Neng is the oldest daughter. She's 17, and she's the one I was probably the most concerned about. She seemed very much to just be going through the motions. She'd come to church every week and open her scriptures and read a few verses because she knew it's what her mom wanted her to do, but her heart was not in it. But she really opened up to us. I asked her if she felt like she had repented and prepared herself adequately for baptism and what repentance meant for her. And then she told us that she's really starting to understand repentance. The other day at work one of her co-workers suggested they steal some of the tips (she works at a restaurant), and Srey Neng paused a second. She admitted that before she would have taken it without thinking, but she thought about God. And recognized that He wouldn't want her to take that money. Then she shared another instance where she was really thirsty. She went to a little store and all they had was tea, so she drank it. But she realized right after what she had done was wrong, and she prayed and asked forgiveness. She just kept talking about how she felt like she was different, and she didn't really know how to express it. And then as she was reading 2 Nephi 31 (a chapter we had assigned her and her sisters to read) she said she just really felt like it was true. That God was real. Before, she wouldn't really believe what her Mom said about God, and it would go in one ear and out the other, but now she says she really believes. 

Those might sound like little, insignificant stories, but that's conversion! As she was talking, there was this light in her eyes. That's the light that tells you the baptism is a go. Sometimes it's so hard to tell where investigators are on the spectrum of conversion (because, yes, it is a spectrum). But there is a light and it will grow and grow as they do the things they are supposed to. And all of a sudden, one day you realize it clicked for them. It's pretty cool. 

Another cool investigator story. We've finally been able to meet with Ciat and Navy (the husband and wife who are related to another recent convert of ours). They were out of town for two weeks. I assumed they were doing what everyone else does during Pchum Ben--going to the wat, drinking, and gambling. But I underestimated them a little bit. While I think they did their fair share of that, they also read the Book of Mormon. Ming Yeen (Navy's mom) is very encouraging (or more accurately, very forceful) about getting them involved in the gospel. She told Ciat he needed to be reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. So he did. He prayed before bed and then he went to bed and had a dream in which he saw God. God told him the book was true, and now he really believes it. So that was pretty cool! We've got them pretty sold on the scriptures, now we've just got to work on church. They don't have a consistent way to get to church; and ever since they've gotten back to the city, they're way low on money. And Navy feels like he needs to work and can't spare the hours to come to church (even though Ciat has asked permission to get them off). So we'll work on that one. Every time we meet Ciat, he surprises me by how much faith he has and how much he understands. They both have so much potential. We've still got a long way to go and some addictions that need to be tackled, but the testimony building is happening. And that's what'll be the key. 

While we were in the middle of a spiritual lesson with them, a rat (full-on rat, not a mouse) jumped out from the back of their house, which is really just a small room, dashed past us and dove into a pile of clothes. I stopped mid-sentence and scooted to the other side, hiding behind our 12-year old investigator. They thought it was hilarious. I'm sorry, I've dealt with mice, but rats are NOT a thing. Then Navy told me that last night while she was sleeping, two rats were fighting on the ceiling rafters above her and then one landed on her head! So that's Cambodia for you. 

We continue to have a lot of fun with the members in our wards. One afternoon this week we went out with Ming Sovanna and the Bishop's wife Ming Sopaa. They told us they really wanted to go out with u, so we gladly took them up on it. It made for some chaotic lessons, but I think our investigators/less-actives at least felt the love. They should be a companionship. They love going out and visiting members. 

Saturday night the Bishop in Tuolkork invited us over for an FHE at his house. He kept changing the time on us so we ended up missing the lesson (whoops) but we made it the for the important part--the food. We ended up meeting a former sister who had served her mission here who came back with her husband from Utah. She was here visiting a former companion, her former koon actually. Seven years, and two kids with one on the way later! I told Sister L. that'll be us. We can come back and visit seven years later. Hopefully we'll remember a few words in Khmer at that point...

Well that I think wraps up the week. Except for Sunday. We spent all day (8 am to 5 pm) at the church with only a 20 min break for lunch. I will be a little relieved when I'm not in two wards again. 

Just want to share a little spiritual thought. This week I've been studying a lot about joy. I had been studying it in the scriptures, and had been thinking of it in regards of President Uchtdorf's "making the gospel work for you" talk from conference. And then I was looking at the Doctrine of Christ. I thought about how the Doctrine of Christ is not a four-step process that you simply rinse and repeat in order to endure to the end and attain eternal life. But it is an increasingly rewarding pattern of living. It's the simple solution to finding happiness in an imperfect world of trials. If this pattern of living is not bringing us joy, we're not doing it right. We're either not being honest with ourselves in our commitment to follow Christ or we are over complicating it. It's really so simple. The Lord knows we'll mess up, and that's why repentance is built right in to the process. But the goal is to always be progressing, in order to draw closer and closer to Christ and become more and more like him.

Well that's all for this week. Watch out for rats, and have a happy Halloween!

love, Sister Fields

the bowling sisters

Sister L. and me.

such nice shoes


English class games

English class

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