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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Baptism & Transfer To Siem Reap

Yesterday we had a baptism! She is great. So the story of how we found her. So we got a referral from the elders in First Ward.  We called him and we scheduled to meet at this one place. But we couldn't find it. Then after a half an hour he went home, and told us the directions to his phone. Well our area is a maze and I'm not good at directions, especially in Khmer. So we started looking for it, and we knew the general area, so we just started guessing and asking people if they knew where he was. Well we asked a lot of people but no success. Then it was late and we tried one more place and they didn't know him, then we shared that we were missionaries and they said we could come back. Well when we came back, they were busy and couldn't meet and postponed our meeting. So when that happens it usually means that they are not interested. But we tried again, and this time we met with the woman who was just baptized (this was the first time meeting her, the last visits it was her brother in law.) When we met her she said, "I want to go to your church." (She was prepared!) That week, she went to church and got lost and didn't make it. Then we met her again, (but at that time she said she only has time on Sundays) but then the next week we went to her house and took her to the church. But then the next two weeks we tried to meet her, but to no avail, and she didn't come to church. At this point we kinda thought she lost interest. But we were about to drop her but decided to try to meet her one more time. This was on Nov 30th. We finally did meet her and were able to actually teach her the first lesson. And it was great and she said she wanted to be baptized, and her cousin wanted to learn to! Since then she only missed church once cause she was sick and has been strong! She was very prepared and last week she had a dream were she was getting baptized and a lot of people were dressed up in white and one of them told her, "Don't be scared!" The baptismal service went well, and non chaotic and a lot of members came to support! 

I am leaving Stung Meanchey 3 And I am going to white wash and train in Siem Reap!!!!!!
I am thrilled! I really wanted to train, and I've never whitewashed and I really wanted to go to Siem Reap. That is where Angkor Wat is! So I am pumped. It is going to a crazy fun adventure. Whitewashing will be hard, but awesome. This is so so so so awesome. And Seam Reap has a bunch of awesome stuff I can get for souvenirs! I couldn't be more happy about transfers. This also means I have completed my streak, of never having a comp less than two transfers! Cool. 

But my goal is to just lose myself these last two transfers and forget about going home, and work harder than I have ever worked before. When new people come they bring a new energy with them, so I'll just that energy and give it all I got!!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Photos

Zone Meeting

Christmas Party Favors

Zone Christmas Party

Ideas for English class

Ward Christmas Party

Ward Christmas Party

This is the place I buy breakfast every morning.

Singing "The 12 Days of Christmas"

Original MTC District (the sisters have returned home)

On the way to the market

Monday, December 8, 2014

Baptism & A Great Day At Church

This was a fantastic week, and I am just super happy. A few weeks back on November 3rd, the work was really slow and our efforts to find new investigators were all unsuccessful. And I remember that I really had to push myself to push on, cause sometimes it is hard when nothing is working out to keep pushing. But on that morning I had a scripture pop in my head, and felt the smallest impression that it was meant for me, so small I almost didn't realize it was from the Holy Ghost. But anyways it was Alma 26:27. Be patient and I will give you success. That really helped me the last few weeks. And starting since last week our area is doing super super well. 

Yesterday was an awesome Sunday. First off our investigator got baptized! He is super cool. He came late to church so it was a little stressful, and I forgot to do some stuff for the baptism so that was also a little stressful, but it all turned out great. The spirit was there. And Last Thursday we started teaching his family! 

But yesterday at church we had 8 investigators come! It was awesome.  One investigator lives by another church, and she is super awesome. She was the one I told you last week that ever since she met us she has felt more happy. And she says she honestly doesn't want to come to our church because it is far away, but in her heart"for some reason" she wants to come to our church! (And it isn't that far about a 10-15 min bike ride.) Her husband is also learning with us but hasn't been to church. 

Another family we contacted over 6 weeks ago. We just couldn't find a good time to meet her and for some reason or another we could never meet. But we are now meeting them on a consistent basis. And they came to church yesterday too and doing very well. 

We've been working with another 15 year old boy for a while, but he came to church yesterday and is doing well. 

There is a super cool story another man and his son. We contacted him about a month ago. And he uses his house as a shop (which a lot of Cambodians do). And almost everyone in that situation says they are too busy selling. So he said we could come back and share a message, which surprised us. But I wasn't super optimistic about him. Then we came back and he wasn't home, so we almost stopped going, but we went again. And it was a very short (because he is selling and it right next to the road) but a good lesson. Nothing special. The next time, we taught the whole first lesson but still really short, and he said that when he prays he feels good in his heart. Then on Friday we meet him again and we teach the plan of salvation and the importance of baptism. He said he wants to get baptized (which really surprised me, this guy looks like a really tuff military guy) and he said when he prays he gets this dream where he is having a celebration with his friends and family and he said he only get it when he prays and he has never had a dream like that before. And then we are like, well in order to get baptized gotta go to church. Then he came!

So it is obvious that God has prepared all these people already to learn about the gospel. Without the spirit encouraging them to go there is no way they would learn or do anything. 
There are six investigators who all have a baptismal date on the 28th. (Which happens to be my last week in SMC.)  We are trying to give them lots of TLC and help them get some member friends. 

We are also working really hard helping some of the recent converts remain strong. 
Baptism on Sunday, December 7

Here are some random photos of the Stung Mean Chey area.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving & Stake Conference

So this week was really really great! There are some great things happening in SMC 3rd Ward! But before we get to that I'll tell you about thanksgiving. Well first off please remember that my last Thanksgiving all we had was a ham sandwich and chips so it really didn't remind of Thanksgiving at all. So I haven't had a solid Thanksgiving dinner since I was 2012. So when I was eating all the delicious food that Sister Belcher made it was triggering lots of memories from home, especially the turkey - haven't had turkey since Thanksgiving two years ago. So Thanksgiving was super great! After Thanksgiving dinner we met with a great investigator and taught a wonderful lesson. He is so cool. And every time we meet him I love it. I love being a missionary mode.   But overall thanksgiving was delicious! We had turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, a yummy yam and apple dish. And all of the missionaries in SMC were there along with the APs. I was the oldest missionary there, including the APs. So that is cool. But overall it was great and fun and delicious! 

So because of stake conference the Bishop wanted to postpone the baptism till next week, so our investigator will be baptized next week, and he is still doing great. 
Another investigator, on the other hand, is not really progressing and has his head in the clouds, but we are not sure exactly what to do with him. 
The guy we taught after Thanksgiving dinner is still awesome, he just can't get baptized till March. :( 
Our other trash mountain investigators aren't really progressing, they are still drinking a little and smoking. One of them we taught on Saturday about the importance of baptism and how he had to quit smoking to get baptized, and I forgot my planner and came back to get it and he was smoking...... I can tell he really gets a lot out of our lessons. 

The Bishops nephew that is studying at one of the universities, and his hometown is far away. But he is good, we have met him three times and he is reading and praying and he says it makes him feel good. And I think he is good. He has a date for the 28th. 

New Inv: 
Another couple we found on YOSO day. The wife lives near another Christian church called the Tree of Life Church (wait what?) So the first time we taught her was on Tuesday, and it was a okay first lesson nothing special, but she said that she wanted to go to our church in the afternoon after she finished The Tree of Life Church in the morning. Then on Friday we met her again and we told her that our church was in the morning because of stake conference, and I was expecting her to say well o well wait till next week. But she said that she would go! Because she said that ever since we met her on Tuesday she felt more happy and joyful and she didn't know why. I love when that happens! So she committed to baptism on the 28th, and she came to stake conference.

Another lady we actually contacted a while ago, about four weeks ago, and all she said was I want to go to your church, but it was really hard to meet with her. So 3 weeks ago she tried to go but got lost. :). Then the next week we went with her. (we all biked there) But the last two weeks she couldn't go. But finally yesterday we explained our purpose as missionaries, (because before we would try to teach her but she would always say, just wait till I go to church) but we finally were able to teach them and it was good. The lesson wasn't the best but it was alright. But she said she really wants to join and committed to baptism on the 28th. 

So right now we have 13 investigators with baptismal dates, those that I honestly think will make it probably about 8. The others aren't really progressing. But those 8 I feel like are doing really well.  

So stake conference was awesome. At 8 all the members that didn't have a ride we supposed to meet at the church for the tuk tuks. And it started at nine. So many of the investigators didn't have rides so I told them to go there. And at 8:00 there wasn't enough tuk tuks and the bishop wasn't there, but we called the bishop and he just said call another one, so we did and it all ended up great and we were only a little bit late. 

Stake conference itself was awesome. It was the highest attended meeting that I have ever attended in Cambodia. The chapel and the cultural hall were all filled, 404 people! It was great! All of them here not to get free rice or money but just to listen to the good word of God. 

Family Home Evening

Thanksgiving Dinner with Elder and Sister Belcher.

On a bed.

Investigator list and goals.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

YOSO & the Meals I Eat

Well this was a good week. For the first time since Elder Asay arrived we went a whole week without either of us getting sick. 

On Saturday we got a really cool new investigator.  He had a ton of questions and he really didn't let us teach, but just had all these questions. He is a thinker. He is able to think past just work eat, sleep, work; eat, sleep, work--which a lot of Cambodians just can't get past at all. But he was just super cool and I can tell he is really searching for something good. He says every religion has its pluses and minuses, and he wants to take the best of all of it and make one religion. Of course he knows that can't happen, but he is definitely teachable and seems to have potential.  He is the one that scheduled a return appointment with us, and I love when that happens. 

Friday Elder Asay and I did a YOSO day, something Elder Asay came up with which means "You Only Serve Once!" We wanted to be more like Alma, Peter, and Paul and truly declare repentance and contact with all our hearts.  So on Thursday we both fasted and Friday was great. It was one of the most successful contacting days I have ever had. We had a lot of return appointments, and phone numbers of interested people. We already have a new investigator from it. So that was fun. 

We have two investigators in Trash Mountain whose wives and kids are recent converts and they want to be baptized too. But they smoke and drink. But recently they have been doing a lot better. They both came to church yesterday. One has been a super heavy drinker. For the past year or so he has been decreasing a lot. Then about three weeks ago he fell back and started drinking more again.  When he was drunk he hit his wife and kids, and they finally got sick of it and left for about a week and took everything. I guess that awoke something in him and he prayed really hard and finally truly committed himself to stop drinking. So he has been clean for about 2 weeks now. And last week his wife came back, and they are doing really well, but he is still smoking two cigarettes a day but he is working on it. :) 

Another investigator didn't come to church this week, and we think that we are going to postpone his baptism. We are now shooting for December 14. 

Last night we met with two recent converts who are cousins but for the past little bit they haven't been doing so well. Last night we talked about praying, reading, and going to church--the three basics. They said when they did those things it made all the difference and really helped their lives have more peace and happiness. The Spirit was super strong and it was a really great experience! So do the small things! They make a big difference. 
Here are some photos of some meals we eat.

Stir fried tomatos. We made this ourselves!

Our own cooking!