Monday, December 28, 2015

In Which We Have a Very, Merry, Muppet, Cambodian Christmas

Caroling to Ming Sovanna! She loved it.

Hello friends,

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. We had a good one over here in Cambodia. When there's no classic signs of Christmas going on around you, sometimes you just have to make your own. We're pretty good at pretending 90 degrees is actually 30 degrees. And we did end up doing some Christmassy things after all.

Tuesday, instead of having regular district meeting, we watched the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas special starring the Muppets and Santino Fonana. It was weird. The three did not fit together very seamlessly. Also for whatever reason the TV didn't work, so twenty of us squished around a portable DVD player. The Khmer Elders and Sisters didn't know what to think of Sesame Street. 

Then on Christmas Day we got to caroling in the morning. That was a lot of fun. We got together with the Elders and the Sisters in Toulkork. We put together little bags of fruit and cookies to give to members of the bishopric to show our appreciation for their service. It was fun to go see members in Toukork who I haven't seen in a while. Caroling was a medium success. Most people in Cambodia just leave their front doors open if they're home, so it's difficult to sneak up on them. But at the Bishop's house in Toulkork we were able to sneak up without being seen and started singing, and they thought it was the coolest thing! We even made the Bishop cry, and he's pretty stoic. They said it sounded like angels were singing. So we had a lot of fun riding around on our bikes in Santa hats singing every Christmas song we could think of and dyyyinggg in the heat. It had to have been 95 that day. 

We got together with the zone and a senior couple at the stake center and had a yummy Christmas dinner. We had a talent show and watched a slideshow the office elders had put together for the year. And then we had a testimony meeting. It was simple, but it ended up being a lot of fun. And then the next day, of course we Skyped, which is always such a mixed bag of emotions... Fun to talk to everyone, but hard to refocus after that. But also weird to think that was my last Skype on my mission! Dahhh....

Adding to the fun Christmassy things of the week, we had a really good week work-wise, which was kind of a surprise, because a bunch of unforeseen things came up and we had less time proselyting than usual. But for whatever reason, we are getting blessings over here in Tuk La'ak. The first few weeks of the transfer everything seemed to fall through. And we recycled through our investigators almost completely. And some of the ones that couldn't meet us before are now able to meet us again. Also this past week we got four new investigators and we had six progressing investigators this week ,which beats the 1 or 0 that we've been having the past few weeks in a row. So it was a week of miracles all around.

The first miracle took place on an exchange. Exchanges are weird; they can either go very well or very poorly, but they never seem to be normal days. Sister Soeun came with me in our area, and it was one of those days where everything had fallen through and we were left to contact for hours, until I remembered that we had received a referral that morning. A woman walked into the church and said she wanted to learn, so a member took down her information and passed it on the the appropriate missionaries, which luckily was us! So we decided to give her a call, and she said she could meet us at the church right away and show us her house. So we biked over to the church and waited. She said she'd call again when she got to the church. After a few minutes the phone rang, but we looked around and didn't see anyone but a car pulling into the parking lot. Yes a car. THIS IS SIGNIFICANT. My investigator drives a car! That's not a thing in this country. She hopped out and told us to follow her, so we did, and Sister Soeun and I freaked out together all the way. We pulled up to their very nice house and she and her husband welcome us in. Turns out her son came to English class and brought home some sort of pamphlet or information and she read it and became interested. She has been interested in Christianity lately because she feels like Buddhism isn't working for her anymore. It's not bringing happiness to her and her family. So she (Ming Loen) and her husband (Pu Kheang) are interested in learning. They pummeled us with questions for about an hour and a half, and we ended up covering a lot of ground. They wanted to know what exactly a Christian life would entail for them and how it would help them. We ended by teaching them a little about prayer and leaving a Restoration pamphlet with them. 

Two days later I went back with Sister H. and we taught them lesson one. But before we had even begun to teach, Ming Loen told us she had already made up her mind. She was going to follow Christ, and soon she would get rid of her Buddhist things (I don't know what they are called in English...) in her house. She said she was determined to come to church this week and every week after! Then, we started teaching lesson one and she knew it all because she had read the pamphlet already. And she was soooo excited to get a copy of the Book of Mormon. Then Sunday morning they were there at church. She and her husband were dressed nicely and looked like members already, and sat on the front row! Basically, they're golden. And so prepared to receive the gospel. I've never taught anyone quite like them before. When we teach, they both lean in so close, and their eyes get so big! Sister H. explained that it's like we have a million dollars and we just want to give it to them. And they want it. It's so fun. Whenever I teach someone so prepared like them it always amazes me how easy it is. And it's easy because it's really not us doing the work at all. We're just the instruments, the Spirit does the real work. 

But the miracles don't stop there. There's an investigator we've been trying to meet forever (a referral from the sisters in another area). Her name is Srey Nich. But she's been way busy and it's been hard to schedule with her. But on the first call to her on Saturday she said she could meet us that Saturday afternoon. So we met her and taught her a good lesson one. She is also very prepared. Her aunt is a member already, so she already had scriptures and had learned a little about the church. She likes to compare Christianity to Buddhism to help her understand. And likes to ask me hard questions. Sometime I'm going to learn more about Buddhism. It's interesting because I can see in her mind what she's doing. She's trying to fit her notions of Christianity and the Plan of Salvation into her per-conceived understanding of Buddhism. So it'll be interesting teaching her. I'm excited to see her faith grow and how her view and perspective will start to change. 

Also yesterday we were able to meet our investigator, Ming Sopheap, for the first time in a long time. We committed her to baptism the first week Sis H was here, and then she got sick and disappeared. She's still sick, but she's doing better. And now she's home again. So we went over and started teaching her the commandments. Our meetings with her have been so patchy, but she always impresses me with how much she understands. She's never learned about Christ before, but she seems to be a very naturally spiritual person. Also somehow she's made it all the way to 2 Nephi 12 completely on her own accord! She says she doesn't know why, but when she reads, she cries. Probably because her eyes are old, she said. But we had a powerful lesson with her on prayer. And how sometimes the Lord doesn't give us all the blessings we request right away, not because he doesn't love us, but because we have lessons to learn. She's doing well. Now we just have to get her to church!

Last miracle! After leaving Ming Sopheap's house, Sis H. and I were both feeling way gross (we both came down with post-Christmas colds) and we considered just going in early. But we decided we could hold out for one more appointment. We went a different way because after all our CBR work and looking at maps, Sis H was pretty sure the road connected. So we drove down it and met a less active on the road that we've been trying to get a hold of forever! This is a family that was struggling way bad, who we used to go meet multiple times a week. The mom's name is Om Srey. And the daughter is Bunya. Well, we had been trying unsuccessfully to get a hold of them and try to find their new house for WEEKS, and we weren't sure what to do about it. And then all of a sudden Bunya's little sister Srey Pov was right there on the road. It was dark too, and I never would have seen her if she hadn't called our names. So she just hopped on the back of my bike and we went to their new house! It's much smaller (they moved because they were in debt and couldn't afford the old place). But they all seemed to be happier (maybe we just caught them on a good day). We just shared a quick thought with them. But Sis H and I couldn't get over what a miracle it was! It just goes to show you get blessings for hard work. Even when you don't feel like it. 

Okay this email's already long. But I just wanted to share a couple thoughts that came from a talk I read this week called "Live in Thanksgiving Daily" by Joseph B Wirthlin. It's a great talk all about the blessings that come from gratitude. Grateful people, he says, are more likable, more at peace, less stressed, and brighten everyone around them. He quotes Joseph F. Smith and says, "The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life. But my favorite quote was this: "Gratitude turns a meal into a feast and drudgery into delight. It turns the simple and common into the memorable and transcendent." There's a whole lot in missionary work that is drudgery in missionary work. And it takes a work sometimes to see waking up at 5:30 and getting rejected again and again as a delight. But when we can just take a step back and stop taking things for granted, and look specifically to the blessings we've received, we'll begin to change are perspective. And make us and everyone around us so much happier. 

Well friends, that's all for this week. In fact, that's all for this year! 2015. I won't lie, at the beginning of it, I didn't know if I'd make it through alive. A whole year in Cambodia. But it has been hands down if not the best, then certainly the most memorable year of my life. And at the end of it all, I'm so grateful for all of it. The drudgery and the delight. I really don't know what 2016 will bring. But I'm ready for it! 

Have a good week!


Sister Fields

We watched Mr. Krouger's Christmas together on Christmas Eve.

Buffet dinner!

Waiting to eat.

Sisters at our Christmas dinner.

IBC. We made a stop here to purchase our Santa hats. It's the most Christmassy place I've ever been in my life I think.

Preparing to embark on our caroling journey.

Caroling elves.

Lunch break. Mi chaa (fried noodles) for Christmas lunch.

After dinner.

Christmas Crunch!

Monday, December 21, 2015

In Which We Get a Shiny New Christmas Present

Me and Sister X. back together again.

Seasons Greetings, 

Seemed appropriate. If I were more of the creative type, I would turn this week's letter into a Christmas card from Tuk La'ak. But c'mon, who has the time for that? 

We started this week of right by going ice skating! Yes, Cambodia has an ice rink in Aeon mall, the same place as the bowling alley. It's like a slice of America. Or more like a slice of Korea, or some other more upscale part of Asia. It was way fun. It brought me back to my teenage years of being afraid to let go of the wall during mutual activities. But fun nonetheless. It was even chilly in there. We wore sweaters! And the Australian guy who owns the place played a few Christmas songs for our entertainment. He even played Michael Buble's "Let it Snow" and somehow they had a fake snow machine dump on us! It was too magical. 

A lot of random things happened this week. So I'll just share them all. Monday night we ended up going to an FHE with the elders at there recent convert's house. Is was very spur of the moment and their kids were crazy. But he ordered us pizza! Real pizza! And by real pizza I do mean seafood pizza with hot dog crust because its Cambodia. 

Tuesday we had a cool experience. We went over to meet a less active whose house we've only recently found. We came to her door and she pulled us in and sat us down and said we were an answer to prayer. Turns out she had plans to move houses the next day, but couldn't do it by herself and had no money to hire anyone to help her. She said she had prayed for God to send her someone to help her, and we showed up! So that's pretty cool. We went over the next day with the elders and helped her move her stuff down the street. She moved in with another less active. They are both old, very poor, and have knee problems. But they have plans to make little Cambodian treat things they call "nums" and sell them together. And hopefully they can save money enough to come to church again. 

Friday I got to go on an exchange with Sister Xiong because now she's in North Zone again! It was super fun. It's funny because it feels like just yesterday she was a koon, and she was leading me around the area (sort of--meaning sort of just yesterday, not sort of leading me around. She was great at leading the area). She's grown so much in the past few transfers, and it was fun to teach with her again and see how much she's progressed in the language and as a missionary. And the members were excited to see her again. I always wished I would have somehow gotten a chance to go on an exchange again in Kampongcham... but as of yet, no. 

Despite our busy week, it was actually not very busy at all. For whatever reason ALL of our investigators have stopped answering the phone, and/or have moved far away, and/or are sick. And it seems appointment after appointment have been falling through. And we've been sitting down to plan for the next day and looking at a blank day. Now I feel like I'm starting to know how Elder Fields feels.... It's been a little rough. Okay, more than a little. It's been stressful. I've learned that missions cannot be easy. That would defeat the purpose of missions. Missions are not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience (thanks, Elder Holland). Just when you think you've gotten the hang of something, there's a switch and a new challenge comes along. 

So we (I) have been trying to meet our new challenges with optimism. A lack of people (and it really is a lack of all people--everyone is too busy for us--investigators, recent converts, less actives, members), just present new opportunities. We've been contacting a lot, and have found a few potentials through that. Which was never a focus the last time I trained, and it's a very important mission skill. So that's been good. And we've had fun handing out our Christmas cards from the Church's new Christmas initiative with the "A Savior is Born" video. And I've been handing out the little nativity stickers you sent, Mom, and the little kids love them. 

We've also spent a loooottttt of time on CBRs. Like a lottttttttt. We set a goal in zone training to give five CBRs from the sisters and five from the Elders to the ward council in hopes of getting home/visiting teaching started. It's a good idea because so often missionaries know and visit less actives that the members don't even know. And sometimes it can be so much more effective just to have a member go over and express love. So it's a good idea in theory. But it's been a project because we have to translate everything and re-draw maps and make sure all the info is up to date. And it doesn't sound like it would be that time consuming, but it has taken hours. And hours. We were supposed to finish it yesterday and have ward council. (Unfortunately our Bishop was sick, so all that work for nothing...). Sister H., Sister L., Sister Souen and I were working on them at our tiny kitchen table from 2:00-6:00. We were much farther behind than the other sisters, so they took pity on us and Sister Souen helped me write in script as I translated. It was a mess, but kind of fun at the same time. It very much felt like finals week. We ran out of the house just in time to go make copies, but then our copy place was closed! So we drove around town like crazy til we found one that was open. Hopefully this ends up being worth it...

Yesterday was a fun day at church, a very Cambodian Christmas. The primary had a special musical number in sacrament meeting. They sat on the stand the whole hour wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers and matching t-shirts that said "how are you?" Because that's Christmas. They sang "Away in A Manger" and it was very cute. We thought that was it, but one of the teachers went behind the stand and dimmed the lights and then the kids all pull out colored glow sticks! They start waving them and "oo-ing" "Silent Night" as two primary kids sang a duet. I just wish you could have heard it. Describing it does it no justice. No one in this country can carry a tune because Khmer songs are all over the place. So it was very off. But so funny and so cute. And they're just all trying to do Christmas right. 

Speaking of doing Christmas right, they ended church a half hour early and we went upstairs to have a get-together. They arranged chairs in a big circle around a table heaped with presents! I have no idea who arranged this. But we started with a hymn ("I'm A Child of God"--what else?) and then they asked the missionaries spur of the moment to preform a number. So of course we got on stage and sang all the verses of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" we could remember. That was not my idea. Then they passed out gifts. And someone had a KFC burger for each member (don't know how that happened--perhaps we need to review Sabbath Day observance). Someone else had a really pretty cake with a Christmas tree on top. So I don't really know why that happened, but we just rolled with it. As we do. 

Oh! I almost forgot. We are getting a realllllyyyyy great Christmas present this week. We have a new apartment!! We're moving sometime before Friday... Hopefully. The L. (the office couple) took us over last week and we could not believe it was real. They are upgrading the apartments in this mission. Let's just say. WE USE A KEY CARD TO GET INTO THE DOOR. THERE IS AN A/C IN EVERY ROOM. And THERE IS A SPACE TO WORK OUT ON THE 8TH FLOOR. It almost feels wrong. Oooh one more. THERE IS HOT WATER OUT OF THE TAP (I really did not even think that was a thing in this country). It's almost too nice. But I suppose as my last apartment in the mission it's preparing me for America again. 

So it's been an interesting week. For as scheduled as missionary life is, you can never predict these things.

Just want to end with a little Christmas spiritual thought. With all the members we have been able to meet this week we've been sharing a message of Christmas with them. And even though I do get a little sad when I think of Christmas cookies and the tree at home, I really am so incredibly grateful to be here at this time of year bringing the message of a Savior to a people who (for the most part) don't yet know Him. And the message of a Heavenly Father who loved us so much that He sent us His Son. I want to share from my new favorite Christmas hymn: 

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

I love the ending of this verse. That all the hopes and the fears were met in Jesus Christ. That through His Atonement He was able to overcome every fear, sin, and weakness that we have. And offer instead eternal hope. 

That's all for this week. Merry Christmas, everyone!


Sister Fields

Ice skating!!! 

More ice skating!

Me enjoying some hot chocolate on a wintry night. Actually, it's been substantially cooler the past few days. There was one morning we didn't even turn on our A/C! for like 20 min...

Our soon to be old apartment decorated for Christmas. And Sister Suoen confused why I was taking her picture.
After moving Om Lina into Om Dali's house.

Bad picture, but this was the primary choir get-up.

Merry Christmas! KFC and Angry Birds!

Monday, December 14, 2015

In Which We Go Caroling in the Park

Caroling night.


So things are beginning to look a little like Christmas. Emphasis on "a little." Actually, I've been surprised by how much we do see signs of Christmas. There are Christmas trees in some of the more Western type shops along the street. Our bakery around the corner went all out with decor. It's a little different from being Kampongcham last Christmas, where it seems like no one knew what Christmas was. Here, they still don't really understand, but they know that it is a holiday that exists. We are giving out Christmas pass-along cards again this year with the new video the church put out this season. If you haven't seen it, go watch it here:

Personally, I liked last year's better. There's something a little weird about all these kids. But of course, the message is good. It would be cool to share it with members and investigators, but unfortunately we are not iPad missionaries like some... After you watch it, go onto youtube and watch Wham!'s "Last Christmas" music video for me. Just do it once for me, please. Thanks. 

So the Christmas season is in full swing between our new contacting initiative and we have a 12 Days of Christmas personal study program going on. So it's pretty fun. It's a good, easy, natural way to get people interested in Christ. What better time to learn about Christ then on his birthday? 

And the Church is putting on some Christmasy events. Unfortunately our ward's Christmas party is an all day hike. Somehow that's related to Christmas. That's okay, the members are excited, us missionaries are only bitter because we don't get to go. But they had a big multi-stake Christmas devotional last night that was well done. A lot of music and some talks. For some reason a lot of the songs were in English (which was weird, because only about 10 percent of us in the audience understood). But some it was translated. And it was pretty nonetheless. 

Our investigator, Line, was able to come with us. It was kind of a funny story. We've only been able to meet her once. And for a long time now her phone has not been working. But before church I decided I might as well put her on the list of people to call to remind them about church. She picked up and said she'd be there. She stayed all three hours and then heard about the Christmas program and wanted to come, even though it was all the way on the other side of town at South Stake Center. So she biked over with us. I think she enjoyed it for the most part, but we had to wait forever for the elders to take us back home after it was over. So we ended up spending the day together. I'm not sure if she'll pick up when we call again, but we'll see. We got home well over curfew (whoops), but it was a lot of fun. I ran into a bunch of the Khmer sisters who have ended their missions already. It was like one big Christmas reunion, and who doesn't want that? 

We also got to go caroling on Friday night! All the trainers and koons got together for the all-day training at the mission home. At this point I've sat through it quite a few times, but it is still enjoyable because 1) free food 2) people I love. So it was still good times. And to end the day, they announced we would walk down to Independence monument park (a famous monument in PP where a ton of people and hooligans hang out every night). Nobody really had a plan and nobody thought to bring Khmer hymnbooks! So we first started out by singing Jingle Bells and Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer in a big group of fifty of us walking around. We decided quickly it was weird and ineffective, so we ended up splitting into groups and singing Christmas hymns. We'd walk up to a group of people and start singing to them and then corner them a little bit. Afterwards we'd share a little about Christmas and pass out our pass-along cards. Sometimes it worked and they'd clap for us. But quite often it was very awkward for them, and they would run away. Either way, we had a lot of fun. This it the first time I've ever sweated while caroling I think!

This week was just full of parties. Saturday night we had a ward FHE. It was just a low-key event. We sat in a circle and one of the counselors in the bishopric taught a little lesson. Then the Elders taught the ward how to play "Do you love your neighbor?" Have you ever played that game? We play it a lot in English class. It's pretty much like fruit basket. You run around and switch seats and try not to get stuck in the middle. Anyways, it was hilarious to watch everyone play. Everyone got way into it, even the old people. I have a super funny video I took of it on my camera. Oh! Mini-miracle. I met a former investigator at the activity. She didn't even know the activity was going on, but she decided to stop by the church that night and someone invited her to join in. I just happened to sit by her and started chatting and then realized that she had learned with the sisters months before but never got baptized! Turns out she got busy, but still wants to learn. Unfortunately she didn't have her phone number yet (she's getting a new one). And was too busy to come to church the next day. But she says she'll be there next week. So hopefully she will! We've already made plans to have her teach us how to make Khmer food and Sis H is gonna teach her how to make Korean food.

So it's been a good week. Between all our events and trying to make sense of our CBRs (finally), it didn't leave a ton of time for teaching lessons. And it seems like all of our investigators are just so busy all the time these days. We have a lot of them, but one of them progresses one week and then stops picking up the phone, and then another one will come to church out of the blue, but then has no time to meet in the week. So it's been a little tricky. But it's been nice to only be in one ward. More time to focus. And we really want to try to get to know some of the active members better in the ward. We have big plans in our zone to try and get home teaching/visiting teaching started. For now we're going to provide CBRs to our ward council. We'll see how it goes. 

But that's pretty much it for this week. Sorry, I'm taking the lazy route this week and just including links. There is a great talk about Christmas in this month's Liahona by Elder Christofferson. It's all about the simple peace that comes from Christ and this season. He invites us just to not over complicate things but just to breathe in the peace of the season. It's a good read.

Okay. That's all I got this week. Merry Christmas, friends!


Sister Fields

More caroling.

Me with former Sister Tieng and Sister Khim! Good times..

Selfie with our trooper investigator.

A brief video from a family who was picking up their missionary and met Sister Fields.

Monday, December 7, 2015

In Which I Become a Power-hungry Overlord

Ming Vangsam (AKA future nanny)
Dear People I Love,

It's been a big week! Transfer week always brings a lot of change, so I'll just start at the beginning. 

Because Sister L. and I are splitting our areas, I did have to say some goodbyes; but the good news is that we all meet at the same church building. So chances are we will still continue to see each other often. It was sad to say goodbye to Ming Sovanna, whose family I've really come to love. When I came over to tell her goodbye, she had just been reading the Liahona, which has an article about a man who came back to his mission field after 35 years with a list of converts he wanted to find. He went to church and couldn't find info about a single one, except one woman whom he had baptized by herself. Turns out she converted her family, the young women's president, counselor in the bishopric, pianist, etc, were all her family members. She said that's exactly what's going to happen to us. By that time she said she would have white hair, and she didn't know if she'd be skinny or fat; but when we come back, she'll know us!

Another sad goodbye was Ming Vangsam (pictured above). She's a member who's having rough financial times right now, but she is always so sweet and optimistic regardless. She doesn't know if they will take her house in the next few days because she says she doesn't have money, but she always says, don't worry about me sisters! She asked if she could come home in my suitcase and of course I said yes. She asked if she could find a job in America. She said she had lots of experience watching other people's kids. I said that was perfect, she could watch my kids, but she'd have to give me a good 15 years or so. 15 years!! she said. "I'll be dead by then." Oh, she's so funny. I'll miss Toulkork members. 

This transfer was a big one. A lot of sisters dying (five!--and I love and will miss them all!) and 12 new ones coming in! The night before transfers Sister E. and Sister Xiong came in from Battambang to spend the night. Good news is Sister Xiong is coming back to North Zone! So all of my koons (or step-koons) will be in the same zone, so I'll get to go on exchanges with all of them as their STL! And it was fun to be with Sister E. because as we speak she's now in the motherland. Crazy, crazy fast.

So, Thursday morning I went to the mission home to pick up my koon! I was really expecting to get a Khmer koon this time, but I was wrong! I am with Sister H.. She is from Heber, UT and she's awesome! She's very much a go-getter and is so excited to be on a mission. Her language is already so good, so hopefully I have something to teach her... Jk. But she's gonna be great, I'm way excited. And the fun thing is that we now have house mates! We will be sharing our humble abode with Sister L. and her new comp Sister Suan. It's a bit tight, but it'll probably only be until the next transfer or so as they look for another house for the sisters in Toulkork. So far it's been a lot of fun all being together. We're going to go home and organize our house and then decorate for Christmas! 

Another change this transfer is I am now the sister training leader. It's gonna be a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot crazy) being over ten companionships of sisters, but I like having power. For a second there I was calling myself the Overlord of North Zone because I was training, STL, and English class leader. But I asked if maybe we could share the leadership love for the English class position, so good news is my reign is over. But not before we got 99 people at class on Wednesday! Yesss... Record, I think. Well, record for the past 2.5 transfers. 

But being STL means I get to be apart of MLC #secretmeeteings #freelunch. We had MLC just before transfers, and it was a good meeting. It felt good to be back, I like being in the loop. President Christensen talked about retention, and we looked at our recent convert church retention (which is not great). So we talked about solutions for that, and ultimately President talked about the importance of real repentance (AKA change, AKA conversion--which is what it all comes back to, amiright?). It was a good meeting, and zone leaders and I presented it to our zone on Saturday morning. I think it was a good training. We had a good discussion about repentance and gave them some good homework assignments. 

So all and all, things are busy, but good in North zone. I'm excited to get to spend all my time in just Tuk La'ak. There's a lot of work to be done there, and some things that have been neglected as we've been in two areas. I'm excited to get into the CBRs with Sister H. I'm really glad I get to have the opportunity to train again. Poor Sister L. was kind of my guinea pig child. Jkjkjk. I think she turned out fine, probably in spite of my training. But I'm excited to be able to apply what I've learned and make a new training plan/approach to these next 12 weeks. With a big emphasis on teaching the doctrine out of PMG chapter 3 and contacting and CBRs. That's the vision now at least. We have all day training for koons on Friday, so that'll be a good time to reflect on how things are going also party #friends #morefreefood.

But as far as our area, blessings are coming already, and it's awesome to work with my new companion. Last night we had two really good lessons. First we met with Srey Keo--a less active we've been working with a long time. We've built a good relationship with her, but she still hasn't come over the hurdle of church yet. But we've covered a lot of ground. And I think she took another really big step last night. She's been afraid of coming to church because ever since she got baptized she's had terrible dreams and hasn't been able to sleep when she comes to church. So just after she got baptized, she went inactive. We were able to help her to come back once about a month ago, but she told us yesterday that when she hadn't been able to sleep after that and even when she just thinks about coming to church, she can't sleep. Sis H. ended up telling her a really cool experience that her friend had with a similar problem, and I think it really helped Srey Keo, to feel like she was heard and understood. We taught her that faith is a principle of action, and that when the Lord commands us to do something, He  also prepares the way for us to accomplish. We've set a plan for the week, with to goal to meet her at church on Sunday. So we'll see how that goes. 

Another lesson that was a bit of a surprise was with a new investigator, Ming Sopheap. Because the past few weeks have been crazy, I've only been able to officially sit down and teach her once (and then Sis L went there on an exchange). So we planned a lesson 3 and planned to commit her to baptism, but in the back of my head I thought it would probably take some time because I had no idea where she was at faith-wise. I was pretty sure she didn't even remember how to pray. But I called her and she was happy to have us over. She walked out to meet us carrying a Book of Mormon in her hand! She said that her foot (that she was having problems with) had gotten worse, and now she had to stay home. So in her spare time, she had picked up the Book of Mormon. She even bought reading glasses because the print was too small for her to read before! We had a really great, simple lesson on the Doctrine of Christ and I think she understood quite a bit and her faith is growing. She accepted a baptismal date! So now all we have to do is get her healthy and get her to church. She is so sweet and always laughs at us and calls us koon (child). I'm really excited to keep teaching her.

So I think that's a wrap for the week. Like I said, things are busy, but a good busy. It's keeping my mind off the fact that I am now likely in my last area, with likely my last companion.... I'm NOT thinking about that. And it's good. 

Just wanted to close with a brief scriptural thought as one does. So I found a copy of the Mission Prep manual at the service center and I've been studying it during personal study. It's been a lot of fun. I'm working on one chapter about listening to the Spirit. It included a verse in 1 Kings 19:9-12. This is Elijah listening to the Spirit of the Lord, and he finds that it was not in the wind, or the earthquake, or the fire, but that it was a "still, small voice." Why? Because this is the Lord's pattern in working with His children, or working with me at least. The Lord's hand is in subtle things, but that doesn't make it any less miraculous. I think the voice of the Spirit is still and small because we must learn to seek after it. We must learn to recognize the voice of the Lord, and deliberately, actively seek to have it with us. It's a skill we have to develop--a spiritual gift. But when we sincerely seek after it, the Lord will bless us with the ability to hear.

Alright, that's all for this week. If you get too cold over in America, come pay us a visit. We're in the 90s as per usual. Happy Holidays!


Sister Fields

Om Cabri from Toulkork ward

Bishop and his wife in Toulkork

Tuk tuk ride to transfers!

Me and my new koon Sister H.

My koons and their comps!