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!

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