Monday, January 25, 2016

In Which We Live the Trio Life

 Wat Phnom
Hello friends,

We reversed our P-day today, so we went to the Killing Fields in the morning, and we're emailing in the afternoon; and now we're crunching on time, so this might be a bit short. I'm really glad we went though. It was sad, but also important. I kind of wish I went earlier in my mission just because it helps fill in more context. But then at the same time, I have more context for the experience after being in Cambodia so long, so it goes both ways. Unlike many museums and places in Cambodia, the Killing Fields actually had a lot of information. We paid for the audio tour, and it was worth it. The Killing Fields is the site of most of the slaughter that happened during Pol Pot's reign. After the Khmer Rouge was in power, they evacuated the city, sent everyone up to the khets to be worked to death, and took all educated or otherwise "enemies of the regime" to be imprisoned, tortured, and executed. Much of the torturing happened at Toulsleng (the prison-turned-museum I went to last transfer), and they were afterward brought to the Killing Fields to die. Like so many other places in Cambodia, it was very real and raw. They have bones and teeth of the victims on display outside in cases that visitors can touch, and rows and rows and rows of skulls. Listening to the audio tour was interesting though because it had lots of personal accounts. By the end of the morning, we just felt overwhelmed by it all. 

I'm trying to fit in all my need-to-see Cambodian stops before I go. Next week I'm finally going to Angkor Wat! So, super pumped for that. And last week we went to Wat Phnom, The place from which Phnom Penh gets it's name. The best thing is we have our own little tour guide. Sister Thoun worked as a tour guide before her mission, so she knows everything there is to know about everything and tries to bargain down the higher prices for foreigners every where we go! I tell her as soon as she comes to American we will switch, and I'll be her tour guide. Her visa is in the process of coming, so it's possible she could come over on the flight with me next month!

Hmm. What happened this week? We've been adjusting to the trio life over here. It always takes a bit more time and a bit more patience to get into a groove, but it's always more fun too. I'm really loving training this time around. I've been in an interesting position, training the last six months of my mission. I won't lie, it's been exhausting; but I've also really loved it. I've come to learn that one of the most rewarding parts of missionary work comes from helping my companions out. I feel like the best work I can give at this point is to help build Sister H. and Sister Thoun into powerful missionaries, which they're both pretty great already, so it's not a hard job. But it's so cool to be at this point where I really can see that I am being an effective missionary. And it's taken a loooong time to get to this point. I remember something Pres. Moon told me a long time ago in my third transfer when I told him I felt like I was never going to be able to do it. He told me missions are like parenthood and like probably so many other things in life. That you never feel like you get the hang of it until the end of it, which is kind of a depressing thought. But it just shows that missions are about a whole lot more than just getting baptisms. Not that that's not important, but one of the biggest reasons for missions is creating powerful missionaries. More on that in the future....

As for Tuk La'ak, things are moving along. We had two long-time less actives at church on Sunday! I can't tell you how fun it is to come in to the chapel and see a less-active unexpectedly sitting on a pew. It takes a second to recognize them because you've never seen them at church before! Sister Thoun has been a great help at getting less actives to come back to church. She just ends every lesson by asking, so we'll see you at church this week, right? And nobody can say no to her!

We had a cool experience with a long-time less active member we found this week. We had an old CBR, but using the map we were able to track her down pretty easily. The house had a big locked gate in front, the bell didn't work and neither did her phone number. We stood outside for a few minutes until a moto pulled up next to us. We asked the man on the moto if he knew the girl in the picture (taken seven years ago when she joined the church) and turns out it was his wife. He let us in the house and his wife was there. At first it was very awkward. It was clear they didn't really want to let us in. But they're Khmer, so of course they did. We chatted with her a little bit and Sister Thoun (our people person) got her to warm up a little bit. Sister Thoun shared her story about when she went inactive and how she came back, and that really helped this less active to open up. All of a sudden she was telling us about how she and her husband wanted to have a child, but haven't yet, and how hard that's been, and she let us share a scripture about trusting in the Lord with her and she's gonna let us come back! So that's just the beginning.

Well, not too much else from this week. I'll close with a quick spiritual thought. I've been reading about Christ's ministry among the Nephites this week. And this time around I've been struck by Christ's personableness. What I mean is that Christ is not an aloof God. He loves us so personally and individually invites us to come unto him. This is so apparent in 3 Nephi. For example, the first thing Christ does as He descends to visit the Nephites is He invites them to come unto Him, to feel the scars of the Atonement, and understand the magnitude and the reality of His sacrifice. 

"And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come."

They went forth "one by one" because this is the way of the gospel. We are all children of God, but He knows us and loves us individually. And Christ's sacrifice for us was equally as individual. As is God's plan for our futures. Pretty cool.

Okay, that's it friends. Next week I'll be riding an elephant. Love you!

Sister Fields

The twins. They're famous here. Both have mission calls. One to Salt Lake City, one to Portland, Oregon.

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