|Making angka lin to sell at the market.|
This keyboard is the worst, so this might be a bit rough. Good news is, I'm headed off to Siem Reap after this! It is an eight-hour bus ride, which is always fun times. And then we get to spendmorning at Angkor Wat, and then we turn around and come back. So it'll be quick, but I'm excited. Sister Thoun has been prepping me--telling me all that I need to know and where I need to go, so I'm all set. Pictures next week!
This week was good. We got a couple new investigators. The first is Srey Muay, Kim Sea's good friend. Of course she's Kim Sea's friend, Kim Sea is awesome! She's the kind of investigator who comes early to lessons; and when we show up at the church, she's already there reading her Book of Mormon. Or after a lesson as we're waiting for our next appointment to show, she joins us on the curb in front of the church holding signs and passing out fliers for English class. So last week she invited Srey Muay to our ward FHE and then to church as well. This week we met her and taught lesson one, and she's gonna be super solid too, you can just tell. She has a lot of really great questions that drive the lesson. She was really curious about Christ and His life and what He did; and so when we met her againwe watched "Finding Faith in Christ" together. It's a good one (also one of only two church videos that have been translated into Khmer...). And we had a good discussion on the role that Christ can play in our lives. As we discussed, it hit me again just how all encompassing the Atonement is. I go through phases in my mission where I want to teach everyone--investigators, less actives, active members--about the Book of Mormon or the importance of the Sacrament. Now I'm on an Atonement streak. There's just so much there that members here still don't understand--so much enabling power going untapped. We've been practicing teaching it in companion study and have been learning a lot. The Atonement covers so much more than sin and death. It helps us fight fear, have hope, and change our weaknesses into strengths. And every time you study it, you learn something more. It's way cool.
Our other new investigator was a street contact. She sells sugarcane juice (which is actually very good) on the street corner all day, every day. It was one of those contacts where the other sisters had stopped to talk to someone nearby, so I decided to go chat with the neakming on the corner. She was friendly enough, and we found out I'm born in the year of the pig (I thought I was the year of the goat, I swear it changes every time). But she agreed to let us mook leeng (come back and chat with her) in the future. We went back a few days later and planned to do a little "how to begin teaching" and talk about Heavenly Father and prayer. We got there and I knew from the get-go she was going to be a tricky one. She sells all day, everyday just to make enough money for her and her daughter to eat. We sat down with her and started chatting, and people would come by and buy from her every few minutes. It was distracting, and she seemed relatively uninterested in the idea of learning about Jesus. She can't read and didn't really ever get a formal education (because Pol Pot) so she (like many other Khmer people in her situation) thinks that she won't know how to learn with us. That morning Sister H. taught a good lesson on asking inspired questions, and a thought popped into my head to ask her: "Neakming, what do you want in your life?" She looked at me and laughed, and I had to tell her "Ming, I'm serious, what do you want?" So she stopped and thought. And I could tell she was really thinking. After a pause, she said she wanted peace, happiness, she wanted to not to have to work so hard, and she wanted a house of her own. Now we're getting somewhere! We told her that her Heavenly Father loved her; and because He loves her, He wants her to have a good life and to be happy. Sometimes this life is hard and it's supposed to be, and there's a reason for it; but we know one day we will rest from everything, if we prepare now and do the things we must do today. Yet, God doesn't want us to struggle everyday. He still wants us to be happy. And He's provided a way that we can have that now. Cue "the gospel blesses families." We caught her attention, committed her to pray, and got a return appointment. Thanks to the Spirit. One of my favorite things about being a missionary is feeling the Spirit work through me and my companions and then seeing that affect our investigators in ways we would not have preconceived. It's way cool.
Hmm, what else happened this week? We had a good district meeting about contacting (shout out to Elder S.), and it got us pumped to go out and contact. One day this week we had a few minutes before we had to be at the church, so we tried to get in a few contacts at a pssar next to our last appointment. I try to make it a point not to contact people selling food, because I always feel bad not buying their stuff. But we didn't have much time so I chatted up a neakming selling mii chaa (fried noodles). I asked her if she had been selling for a long time, to which she responded "if you want to know it's delicious, you have to try it!), which was not an answer to my question, but that's okay. So I ended up buying mii chaa off a food cart (which is technically against the rules, whoops), but you do what you can do get your contacts, am I right? She did not want to learn about Jesus, but her noodles where actually quite delicious. They mix in little green vegetables and spicy stuff and fry an egg on top. Ahh, it's so good, now I'm hungry.
Om Dali came to church this week, which makes three times in the past month! Which makes three times since I first came here six months ago. Whoohoo! We now go help her everymorning so that she can have time to come to church. Her neighbors have a little machine that makes what they call "angka lin", which is a powder that comes from grinding rice. They use it for cooking, and they sell it at the psaar. So it's Om Dali's job to put the little bags of rice into a bigger bag to be sold at the psaar, fifteen in each plastic bag. It's very tedious work, but strangely relaxing. We go over to help her because the four of us together can do it much quicker than she can on her own, and then she has it done by church. Does that mean we're working on the Sabbath? I just thought of that...Probably. Whoops. It's for the better cause of getting Om to church, right? It's a Nephi chopping of Laban's head situation i think...
Okay I can't take this keyboard any more. It's taking me twice as long to type this email. But for spiritual thought this week I want to share something I've been preparing for zone conference. Zone conference is Wednesday, and we're supposed to prepare a talk on what it means to be a "deliberate disciple." This morning I re-read Pres. Uchtdorf's talk from last conference. I think I've shared this before in an email. But he asks the question, "Is my experience in the church working for me?" Or you can alter the question to "Is my experience on my mission working for me? Is it drawing me closer to Christ? Is it blessing me with peace and joy promised in the gospel?" If not, than we can change because "the power is in us" (D&C 58:28). That is the blessing of agency. We are not mere objects to be acted upon, but we are the actors! We get to decide what kind of an experience we have on our missions, in the church, and in our lives. Yes, there are obstacles and choices of others that we can't control. But we can control how we respond to them. And when we actively choose to seek after Christ, to follow His example, we begin to change. And our missions and experiences in the gospel affect us because are hearts have changed. More on this idea in the future. For now I'm about ready to kill this keyboard.
Okay that's all. I'm off to ride an elephant now.