Monday, February 22, 2016

In Which I Close One Chapter...

Kim Sia's baptism!

As we exited the church parking lot after my last church meeting, Sister H. quoted the immortal words from Princess Diaries, "The eagle is flying. For the last time..." This is it, folks. 18 months and 3 weeks and here we are. I've been dreaming about this blog post my whole mission, and then this week came. This week has quite possibly been the craziest of my mission. Some quick highlights include:
  • We sang at an engagement ceremony on a Wednesday morning (because when else would you get engaged?)
  • 4 days at the hospital--but we made it we all made it out alive, don't worry. Sister Thoun is getting released and resting for the time being. 
  • We learned last night none of the members of our tri-panionship will be staying in Tuk La'ak, and as of Wednesday morning our area will be whitewashed. In other words, today and tomorrow will be crazy, stressed preparation. 
  • Kim Sia got baptized and it was SO good. Because she is SO good. 
  • I had my last English class, district meeting, church, and baptism of my mission.
So it's been a bit of a crazy week. I haven't really had time to process all the emotions that are happening right now. Sometimes, this past week, I've imagined the moment of landing in the airport as I'm biking and I get so excited I just have to make noise. And sometimes, like sitting next to my 10-year-old investigator belting out the lyrics to "I Am A Child of God," I just get choked and think, I can't really be leaving this place, right? 

But today during personal study I was reading Mormon's sermon on faith, hope and charity in Moroni 7. Verse 2 reads:

 "And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you at this time."

I don't know if it is by the grace of God that I'm permitted to write to you today (probably, let's be real) but as I read this verse the line "gift of his calling unto me" hit me hard. I was sitting in the hospital and thinking about how my mission was ending, and not quite in the way I had expected--the past few days have been full of surprises. But ultimately the thought that keeps coming back is overwhelming gratitude for this calling, and for these past 18 months. It has meant so much more than I ever even thought it could. And I don't know how to talk about it without it just coming out as a bunch of cheesy cliches. So I'll just try it in list form:

What I've Learned from My 18 Months in Kampuchea...: 

  • How to speak Khmer (sort of)
  • How to step up to the plate and take charge because often there is no one there to do it for you. And going along with that, get the scary/hard things out of the way first because procrastinating only makes things worse. 
  • That I love fried bananas. (Unfortunately I did not learn how to cook them. It's cool, I still have 4 days.) 
  • How to feel the Spirit teaching me. The way that the Lord often speaks to me and the way I learn/receive revelation is through writing and talking about my ideas. As I actively think through it, inspiration comes. 
  • That I will never hit my kids.
  • How to be led by the Spirit. Sometimes we distinctly feel it's presence, but often it requires faith on our part to go forward without a crystal-clear assurance. But when we step into the darkness, the light will come. If we are being good and being worthy, we will be following the Lord's will. And we must move forward in faith.
  • How to cook rice without measuring. 
  • The importance of agency. It is quite possibly the most important gift we've been given. Only through exercising it can we progress #beadeliberatedisciple
  • That building on the rock means making the doctrine of Christ a part of our daily lives.
  • How to skip over the median on a bicycle. 
  • How to repent. In a practical, daily, applicable format.
  • How to wear a sweater when it's 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity.
  • What grace is. Grace = Enabling power of the Atonement. And the closer we come to Christ, the more blatant our weaknesses become, and our dependence on Christ's grace becomes more apparent. 
  • The importance of a vision. Looking forward to the future with an eye of faith. 
  • That the gospel is simple. It's us humans that try and over complicate it sometimes. 
  • How to love more purely. I certainly don't have it down yet, but I know it starts with not thinking about myself so much. When we stop thinking about ourselves and we start thinking about others, our own self-consciousness and fears go away, allowing charity (Christ's form of love) to take its place. 
  • Conversion is a process not an event. It is a gradual turning of the heart. And it's a process we must all be actively involved in daily. Namely through prayer, scripture study, and repentance. Just do these things. That's it. And that's how you'll be happy. 
  • God loves us. More than we can understand. 
This list will never be complete. But it's a pretty good start. In my mind this last blog post was far more eloquent, but what it comes down to is gratitude. I'm so grateful that I was called to serve in this crazy little country on the other side of the world. I'm so grateful that the Lord could use me to be a very imperfect instrument in His hands. I'm mostly grateful for the testimony that He has given me. We are God's children. He loves us. He sent His Son to help us as evidence of His love. Only through this gospel can we find true happiness in this life, and eternal life in the world to come. That's all it comes down to: love. 

Well, it's been quite the journey, friends. Until next time. 

See you on the other side!

Sister Fields

Just looking at these pictures makes me miss Cambodia already. How am I supposed to leave this?

The engaged couple.

Our choir for the engagement.

Ramen party in the hospital.

Sister Thoun is a trooper!

FHE at Ming Sovanna's!

Getting ready to float away to the homeland...

Srey Leak, our little investigator.

More baptism pictures.

The whole group.

Kim Sia gave me a Valentine!
May Kim! She has asked me maybe twenty times if I can wait to go home until after her baptism in two weeks. Ultimately she said it was okay because some day when she goes to the temple in America, she'll come see me. 

Our Valentine's outfits

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading this at work with tears streaming down my face. Thank you for your testimony!!!