Monday, November 16, 2015

In Which I Get Chased By Sandwiches and a Bishop's Wife

Selfie. Hiang Li is in the back. She'll be baptized on Saturday. Makara, her little brother, is a member already. 
Hello hello (read in a Khmer accent, hint: roll the Ls), 

So it's been a good week. We seemed to have made it through the rainy season up until this morning when it decided to pour for a total of about thirty minutes while we were at the psaar. The sun came out as we went inside. So it goes. 

The week started off with a fun p-day. A bunch of the sisters rented a field and we played soccer. Yes, you read that right, I played soccer. I dusted off my 7th grade skills. We kicked the little Khmer kids off and played our hearts out. It was a covered turf field, but still outside. It was very hot. I didn't actually play that hard. I gladly took the goalie position, which consisted of me just taking pictures of my koon in her element (she loves soccer). That's all I am, just a little soccer mom these days. 

In other news we picked up three new investigators this week! Woo-hoo! And our potential investigators keep coming along. We've been getting referrals up to literal wazoo this week. So that's been fun. It's way hard to meet with people consistently because people are either working all day every day, in school all day every day, or both. But we've got hope. 

Our first investigator of the week came from English class. Her name is So Nan and she's a college student. She actually came to church twice in a row before she became an official investigator. Then of course this week, she didn't make it, but that's okay. She's never learned about Christianity before, but she's definitely sincerely seeking. We met her on Saturday for a second time and she had read a good chunk of the intro and 1 Nephi (despite her busyness) and she said that she had been praying. And after she prayed she had gotten the job that she applied for! So that's a cool faith-building experience. We extended a baptismal date in January. She says if she feels like she understands enough by then and feels it's right, she'll do it. So hopefully her schedule allows her to keep meeting with us. 

The second investigator was a referral from English class at another building. Her name is Line, and she's also young. We called her on a Thursday and she ended up being able to meet us that afternoon. After a stressful time of her getting lost and me trying to give directions to her over the phone, she made it. And we had a good lesson one with her. Only problem is she goes home on weekends.... 

The third newbie is a contact from the elders. She's a neakming, and she recently lost her husband. The Plan of Salvation peaked her interest. We went back and taught lesson one. It was slightly awkward because she only has three chairs and us and our member help filled them, leaving her to stand. I didn't know what to do in that situation because it would have been a culture no-no to teach while I was standing above her. So that was slightly awkward, but the lesson was good. She had very little context for it, having never learned about Christ before either. But we taught simply, and she had lots of good questions. She was going to come to church (pay for a moto dope even!--which never happens!) but then she got sick. So hopefully next week. 

So we have some good things in the works. And we've got a baptism this coming Saturday. Hiang Li, our 13-year old daughter of our recent convert we've been teaching forever. Her mom's been gone and we don't want to baptizer her without the support of her mom. So hopefully her mom will actually come back on Friday like she says and the baptism will be Saturday. Otherwise, that'll be awkward...

Speaking of baptisms, we had some drama go down with our recent, recent converts--those three girls we baptized a few weeks ago. The mom went out of town for a week and the girls were at home alone. We learned later that the two oldest had started hanging out with a bad crowd from work and were coming home at like four in the morning every night. When their mom finally came home, she got in a huge fight with the oldest and she ran away. It was way hard on her mother. She didn't know where she went or when she would come home. We were over there a lot during the week and prayed a lot and ended up fasting. Then on Sunday morning guess who came through the chapel door! It was a bit of a miracle. I don't know all the details yet, but for now things are good. Their faith is still small, but I've seen a lot of progression. Now she's just gaining and even more solid testimony about repentance. 

Another cool thing this week, we had an opportunity Wednesday morning to hear from Sister Marriott and Sister Esplin. It was a way good meeting. They both spent a lot of time chatting with us and getting to know us before and after the meeting. So that was a lot of fun. Sister Marriott talked a lot about love and Sister Esplin talked about the Holy Ghost. In an object lesson teaching us to be "quick to observe," Sister Marriott sent us outside the chapel with the task of finding an object we could turn into an object lesson in one minute. But there were sixty of us! And objects were very limited. So Sister L. and I found each other. They really enjoyed being in Cambodia. I think it was very eye-opening for them to realize just how new the church is over here. 

Our lives continue to be verryyyy busy. Training, being in two areas, teaching English twice a week, and helping to clean the church just seem to eat up every bit of time. Saturdays are always crazy busy because we teach in the morning, then help clean the chapel and go out visiting less actives with the ward council in the Tuolkork ward. But Saturday is a day when a lot of our busy investigators can meet us. This Saturday we came to clean the building and went to a meeting for visiting even though we wouldn't have time to go this week. We hoped to have some time to contact (we're working hard on contacts as a mission this month) before our investigator came to meet us at 4:00), and we managed to sneak out of the room as they brought in Cambodian sandwiches for refreshments. We snuck up the backstairs, came down the other side of stairs, and ran outside to the curb with our English class sign thinking we were in the clear. But only minutes later the Bishop's wife comes running out the door with two sandwiches and two Cokes in her hand, asking us where we had been.  She had been running all over the church looking for us! Whoops. She then sat on the curb next to us to catch her breath. When Khmers try to give you food there's no getting out of it. 

Well, that's mostly it for the week. It was good one. I'll end with a scriptural thought I found this morning. This one comes from Alma 26 in which Ammon is going on about how great missionary work is. In verse 36 halfway through he says: "Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land." The phrase "wanderers in a strange land" really caught my eye. I think in this context he's talking about the part of the House of Israel (the Nephites and Lamanites) that had been broken off and guided to the promised land. But I couldn't help but relate it to missionary work, and myself. There's no doubt Ammon certainly felt like a wanderer in strange land as he went about converting Lamanites in the Land of Nephi. Even though it's been a year and I feel comfortable living here, there's no way I am not a wanderer in this often times very strange land. But, in the end, are we not all wanderers in a strange land? Stay with me. Let's turn to Hebrews 11. Here, as far as I can follow, Paul is speaking about the righteous. In verse 13 he says: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." From what I understand, these are those that are righteous, but never received a for sure sign of the eternal life that they sought after. But they nonetheless press forward in faith. Knowing that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth because this was not where they truly belonged. This is not our home. And from time to time, I think we all feel homesick for a heavenly home. In verse 16 they " desire a better country, that is, an heavenly." That's where we come from, that's where we're going. And for this time we're merely strangers and pilgrims, wandering in strange lands. With our eyes set on our home. 

That's all for this week. P-day plan this afternoon: National Museum! I'm super pumped!


Sister Fields

Sports. I love those things.

Our soccer team!

Our pre-soccer lunch date at a new cafe that just opened up. I had a cream-cheese salmon bagel. It was a risk, but it ended up being delicious. 

I took these from my balcony in the morning after we got back from running.

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