Monday, January 4, 2016

In Which I Go Back to Pochentong

Us and our investigator Ming Liang, her granddaughter May Kim, and another girl in the ward. 

Happy 2016! I still can't believe it's a new year already. This time last year I thought 2016 would never actually come. Yet, here it is. Success story. 

We started off the new year right by moving into our new apartment! We had been told we would probably be moving on Tuesday or Wednesday, but didn't know any details. Then Tuesday morning someone called and they were outside with a tuk tuk ready to move us! I freaked out because we hadn't packed anything up! Apparently they thought someone had warned us they were coming. So they ended up coming the next day. But moving turned out to be quite the challenge because we lived on the fourth floor. Four very tall floors! Four lookpus were hired to move us, and four sisters helped. And far too much stuff. They eventually rigged a pulley system from the patio and started bringing stuff down via rope. It was very sketchy business (see pics to follow). But our stuff made it all in one piece, but it took far more than one tuk tuk. Try a large flatbed truck. Thankfully our new apartment has an elevator! I'll include pics next week, but so far it is working out well. It smells of new plastic. And has hot water from the tap, which I realized this morning I haven't been using because I'm just still not accustomed to it. 

I spent New Year's Eve on an exchange. I was sad to leave our new place, but I was excited because I got to go back to Pochentong! I was with Sister C. We stopped by a food mart next to her house and got little snack cakes and drinks to celebrate. And then proceeded to fall asleep like the obedient missionaries we are. More like the exhausted missionaries we are. Ever since I got sick last week I feel like I haven't been able to catch up on sleep. I can't remember not waking up exhausted, but I also feel like that just comes with the territory of being an old missionary.

It was a lot of fun being back in PCT. We got to see a couple members whom I love and hadn't seen in lots of months. Also, remember Srey Khuat? The pregnant investigator we baptized my second week in PCT? Well, we went to see her again. She's been less active for a long time, pretty much almost immediately after she got baptized. She got sick, and then she had the baby and she and her baby have both been sick. But I've always felt bad about the situation. We'd still go try and see her and strengthen her every week, but I always felt like there was more I should have done. I asked Sister C. about her and she said she had never met her. They tried, but the neighbors are super unfriendly and told them Srey Khuat didn't want to see her and that her husband had a knife. So what did we do? Go back, of course (come on, her husband's like 15 years old). We parked our bikes and cumriapsuaed the om srey who lives there. I asked her if she remembered me and she said, "Where have you been? We haven't seen you in a long time!" And then Srey Khuat turned the corner with a huge smile on her face and a huge baby in her arms! No for real, her baby is so old! I remember going there the day after she was born. So we had a good chat with her. I asked her if she still prayed, and she said no. We testified to her about how much prayer could help her and I told her we'd pray for her. "Right now?" She asked. And I said, "Okay, we can pray now." So we went in her tiny little rental room and knelt and prayed together on her mattress on the floor. And then she prayed. And I could tell she felt the Spirit. She said she didn't know where the new church building moved too, but Sis C. said she could definitely help with that. So it was a cool experience, and I was grateful to have had the chance to go back and meet her again. We never know the influence we have. I was surprised to realize how many people were so excited to see me again. I always thought that I hadn't done much in PCT. I learned a lot, and I grew, but I felt like because my language skills were so minimal at the time and I was always with a Khmer companion, I felt like I hadn't really done much to help anyone out. But looking back, I don't think that's true. If we have a heart and a willing mind (D&C 64, Dad), that's all we need. And the Lord will use us. Even when we don't think we're doing much, the Lord can use us as an instrument for good. 

I'm learning a lot about being used as an instrument even when we don't think we are doing much this week. It seems like we blow through our investigators so fast and for a week they progress, and then they stop meeting us. Or they move. Or they just stop answering the phone. We're learning a lot about patience over here. But we do have one new investigator who is doing very well. Her name is Kim Sia and she is 18. She goes to the university across from the church. We started teaching her last Sunday, and have met her nearly every day since then. She's super smart and she asks great questions. She even takes notes when we teach! We taught her the Plan of Salvation this week and committed her to baptism and she said yes. And then asked, "Sister, what can I do every day to prepare myself to get baptized?" Could there be a better question? We have her scheduled for Feb 13, but we told her we might move it up depending. The only problem is she might live in a different area. Stay tuned on that one...

Srey Nich had plans to meet us, but her plans or our plans kept falling through day after day. Ming Sopheap (our other investigator committed to baptism) and she doesn't know where yet, but now is living with neighbors and says it's too chaotic to learn now. Ming Loan and Pu Kheang (the super awesome potentials) couldn't meet with us this week and said they'd be at church, but they weren't. Ming Liang (another investigator of ours who comes to church every week) still won't commit to a baptismal date, but her 10-year-old granddaughter really wants to get baptized, so we'll see what happens. Agencyyyyyyyyyyy..... 

Another issue is the church here has changed the policy about the church building use. It used to be they were open to the public all the time with a guard there all day to watch the parking lot. Members would come and go and use the wifi. Kids would play basketball in the parking lot. It was great. But now they have decided to make the church a more holy place.  It will no longer be open to the public. They've had problems with keeping the buildings clean for a long time. So now the buildings are locked. And we don't have a key! The zone leaders will have a key eventually, but we have no place to meet our investigators except at their houses, which often doesn't work. So that's another challenge we'll have to figure out this week. But it's okay. It's teaching us patience. 

I've been learning a lot about patience this transfer. I used to think I was a naturally patient person. And that I had patience down. But for Christmas last month we took the Christ-like attribute quiz in PMG to figure out what we needed to work on and what attribute we could develop as a gift to the Savior. And this time patience came up. It surprised me, but as I thought more about it it made sense. 

Impatience is a lack of trust in the Lord and His timing. Patience, on the other hand, is the ability to put our desires on hold for a time, and recognizing that the Lord has a purpose in requiring His children to wait. As my mission begins to wind down, I've subconsciously begun compiling in my head everything I want to accomplish and see happen on my mission. For example, I want to see this Neakming and Lookpu get baptized with their family, yet when I call them they can't seem to make time. I was fasting about this yesterday and thinking about it during the sacrament when a thought hit me hard. Trusting in the Lord and His will means my mission might not go the way I planned. However, it will turn out the way He planned, which ultimately is infinitely more important, and much wiser. He knows what He is doing. My mission has not gone how I imagined it thus far, but it's been exactly what it needed to be to help me grow. And that's the way these next two months will go and beyond, if I just trust in Him. 

Well, that's all for this week. Love you all!

Sister Fields

The pulley system. Welcome to Cambodia.

Moving out

Our new apartment building from the outside. 

We stopped to pick up Dominoes as a splurge the night before Fast Sunday.

I told them my name was Sister. I even spelled it for them in English. The result was "Miss Sisgea."

Traffic. That's me in the white. Trying to get home on time is sometimes a struggle. 

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