Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 2, 2010

Yesterday we spent all of P-day moving to our new house. So, they've given us a little bit of time to e-mail today. The nwe house is way, way nice. So, we're excited.

Things are starting to pick up more. We're working harder than ever trying to find new investigators. I'm desperate right now. I love families. That's what I want, to teach families.

August 24, 2010

This week has been way rough.

I set a goal of baptizing 5 families while I was here. Just this last week, we have had 2 families drop us, 1 that we dropped, and 1 that is currently in the process of dropping us. We have also had 4 or 5 other investigators that have gone down the tubes. So, now we're pretty much all out of investigators. I tried to work so hard to get those families to progress. I loved them, I served them, I helped them, and what of it?

Now we have tons of free time, contacting and finding does nothing. No matter how hard I try to strengthen the members, to help them keep the commandments, to get referrals out of them, I haven't seen any progress at all really. Even when we use the stuff we learn from zone conference nd other things, it still gets us nowhere. Families who were drifting into inactivity when I got here I haven't been able to save, families who are semi-active I haven't been able to get them fully active, and families who are fully active, I can't get to save up money to go to the temple. I've never loved an area or the members as much as I have here. But, it still doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere. When I first got to Cambodia, I just wanted to learn the language and baptize people. Now that I've been here a while, I've realized there is so much more to being a missionary. So, I've been trying really hard to be a missionary, and I haven't seen any improvement.

Maybe I'm just focusing on the bad things this week. But, it's been way rough. On the bright side, we have found 2 new families that might want to learn. One famliy is Christian. We have taught them once. The father used to be a minister in some other church. He knew a lot about the Bible, which I don't know at all. And, he was asking some tough questions. But, I was getting those crazy flashes of knowledge that I didn't know I had, and we were able to not only answer his questions but completely dominate them and revert it back all to the restoration and the Book of Mormon. The family seemed to be pretty impressed by our message. So, hopefully, they go somewhere.

Another positive. There was a lady and her daughter that we found which I was in Branch 12, and they were way awesome. And, I never got to see what happened to her. But, the other week, the Elders in that area told me that she is now baptized and is the new Relief Society President, and that she wants to thank me for finding her and leading her to find the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which is a way cool feeling.

PS. Remember that one karate tournament that I forfeited because I wouldn't fight that girl? I remember it the other day and laughed at it because it is real funny.

August 17, 2010

We had talked to this guy once for about 10 minutes, but he wouldn't let us inside his house or anything like that. But, he did agree to meet us the next day. And, that night he had a dream. He came to church with his son on Sunday. Only one hour, but it's better than nothing. They are going to be a way big struggle. But, I think they will be converted if we can help them push through everything. We asked them why they wanted to learn with us, and they said because they love us and feel happy when we come. So, that's a start.

Work is going good. We're really trying to work with the members because a lot of the members need a lot of testimony boosters.

August 10, 2010

We're down in Phnom Penh for the next 5 days for leadership training, so our P-day is today, not Wednesday like usual. So, Elder Nebeker who has been here for 3 weeks, and Elder Christian, who has been here for 4 months, are roaming around together. I don't know how they are going to understand anything that is going on. But, hopefully, they'll be able to do it. So, I just thought I would tell how everything is going.

On Friday, I hit my year in the country mark. I'm super old now. That's so crsy.

We've gotten a bunch of new investigators. And, they are all doing way, way awesome. I'm super excited for them. We just had 4 people get baptized on Sunday, and we got 2 more coming up way fast, so we were worried about running out. But, God hs blessed us like crazy since Sunday, and we are back to having a new investigator pool of way good investigators.

July 27, 2010

We have some baptisms coming up here really soon. Our investigator who had an abortion passed her interview on Sunday with the mission president. So, now we have got to interview her two kids and they'll be getting baptized. She had problem on Sunday though. Some of the "old" members in this branch think that the new members should serve them and treat them like gods, so they treat new members and investigators like dirt. And, one of the old members did that to this investigator on Sunday. And, that investigator wanted nothing to do with going to church anymore. And, we tried to schedule to meet her after church, but she said she didn't want to.

So, after church, we just went over there anyway. She said she didn't want to learn. I told her too bad. She protested again. So, I said when we don't want to learn is when we really need to learn. And, I told her to get her kids and her scriptures and that we were going to learn, so we went and sat down and waited. We taught about obtaining hope through the plan of salvation and the atonement of Jesus Christ. She cried the whole time and wouldn't commit to go to church next Sunday. So, we read the thing in Moroni about charity. And, we committed her to follow Moroni's council and pray for charity. She wouldn't. So, we had her pray right then and there. She finally did, but there still wasn't much sign of progress.

So, the next day we went over there and met her. We were teaching more about the plan of salvation. And, she started bringing up what had happened on Sunday, and I told her not to but she wouldn't listen. And, after she had been telling what happened to the member, I opened up the D&C where it says if we don't forgive people that it's a bigger sin on our part. I then had a feeling that came from the Spirit to tell her how I felt. I then told her that what that member did was wrong. Then I told her that I never wanted to hear of it again, that she was never to think or say of it again either. I then told her that she was going to forgive this woman who offended her. I then told her that I didn't come to her house nearly everyday for the past 3 months teaching her about the gospel of Jesus Christ, teaching her how to be like Him, and how to follow Him, just to have her lose to the first major temptation Satan is going to send her way the week before she and her kids are supposed to be baptized. I told her that I might as well have not have ever come, or ever started teaching, or ever had her learn. So, then I very stearnly told her that she was going to still continue learning with us, that she is going to keep going to church on Sunday in order to take the sacrament and receive Christ's atonement, that she is going to keep preparing herself and her kids for baptism, and that she was going to forgive this woman. I then said that we will be coming back every day to make sure of it too, and that we were going to teach about happy things that are spiritually uplifting, such as faith, hope, charity, love, service, the restoration, the atonement, and any other thing that will prepare us spiritually for the kingdom of God.

I have worked so hard trying to help this family and doing everything I possibly could for them to lead them unto Christ. I fasted, I prayed, I read the scriptures, I loved them. So, when I told them all of that, it was with every fiber of my soul. We've been doing the things that I said we would do, and I think she is in for a speedy recovery. She is doing very well. She's excited to meet us everyday now. And, it's exciting to teach her too. That family means everything to me. And, they are well on their way to baptism now.

Some Buddhist holiday was the other day. And, everyone went to the Buddhist temples to go worship idols and other things that come from the great apostasy that has led them to be greatly fooled by the false traditions of our fathers. One family that we're teaching didn't go, they said they wanted to follow the true God that could actually help them in life. When we told them they would have to take down the shrine and get rid of all the false traditions, they didn't seem too happy about it. But, they didn't go to the wat. So, they're making way good progress. They still haven't taken the shrine down, but I'm pretty sure God could help us whip up a dang good lesson on taking it down, and they'll be more than happy to take it down after that.

God is working miracles every day. It's such a cool site to see. We got some baptisms coming up here real soon so it should be pretty exciting. And, our investigators are all doing pretty dang well.

July 20, 2010

Nothing really to report. I'm super old in the mission now. I didn't know half of the Elders that were at the mission home for transfers. My new companion is Elder Nebeker, fresh out of Kimberly, Idaho. He works way hard. And, he tries really hard at the language. And, we've taught some dang good lessons together already so I think I'm going to enjoy the next 3 months or so because he's really excited to be here, and he's excited to be doing this work. It'll help motivate me some too.

One of our families had a miracle. The dad sat in twice now for the entire lesson. And, he came to church for 2 hours. He's managed to lay off the booze long enough to actually learn a bit. And, he seemed really interested about what was going on at church. So, we're hoping that him progressing will really help his family too. All of our investigators are really good. And, I would say that some of them are even stronger than some of the members. One family of a mom and 2 kids should be baptized real soon. She's going to have to get interviewed by President because of an abortion. But, she's way awesome. And, she has really repented a lot. She's been to many Christian churches. And, they've always wanted her to get baptized, and she never felt it was right. But, she said that this time, it just feels right. And, that God wants her to join this church because this is His only true church. Pretty cool.

Please pray for Cambodia, especially for Kompong Thom, and especially for us and our investigators. We want families really bad, and solid priesthood holders at that too.

June 13, 2010

Transfers are on Friday, and I'm going to be training. Elder Donnelson is going to be the new zone leader so I'm becoming the district leader. I've served with Elder Donnelson for more than half of my mission now. We work really well together. And, looks like we'll probably be together another 2 transfers I'm guessing.

We had a baptism on Sunday. Her name is Lomang. Probably one of the weirdest people I have ever taught. But, she knew the Book of Mormom was true, and that this was Christ's restored gospel upon the Earth. She was the best pain in the butt I've ever taught. Sometimes, I wanted to slit my wrists because she is kind of immature. But, she has such a strong testimony that we just had to endure. It was good.

Don't worry about our conditions. They're not bad. It's the people that we teach that got it really bad. We go through some pretty narly stuff in order to teach people sometimes. It's pretty fun.

The work is going well. And, the mission is absolutely booming. We are only about 30 baptisms off pace of getting 800 in a year, and the mission keeps growing and growing. One branch in Phnom Penh had 250 people at church and 58 of those were investigators. Our branch hs seen tons of growth too. Maybe not that much, but we're way newer. And, we had no one to teach when I first got here and now every hour of the day is filled with appointments. God is smiling down upon us. And, the whole entire mission is working ridiculously hard.

Please pray for families. That is what our focus is. And, we've been getting some. Pray that we will have families to teach. Pray that the Lord will lead us so that we can teach full families. And, pray that God will soften the hearts of the men in the families we're teaching in all of Cambodia, because WE NEED PRIESTHOOD HOLDERS. This country is ready for the Gospel. And, it's so amazing that we have a change to be a part of this.

July 6, 2010

4th of July was a blast. The senior couple made burgers. It was like I was back in America again for a meal. It was so awesome. No fireworks here. All holidays here function around Buddhism.

The work is going really, really well. We're really trying to keep it up. And, we're finding miracles to occur every day. It's so awesome. Members are the greatest thing ever. They help so much when they join in on the lessons. A lot of them run blind or with very simple faith. But, we're seeing the progression in everyone as they help us teach.

Me and Elder Donnelson have been talking a lot about trying to get this place going. He's our district leader. We've grown to be like best friends living in the same house together. When we first got here, this place was dead. But, we have seen so much growth and progression s we have worked so dang hard to dominate both of our areas. Kompong Thom has easily been my most favorite area ever. It's just so chill here. And, I have a feeling that I could be here for a long time, too. I've set my goals, and I'm working hard to meet my challenges. And, as long as I keep it up, God will help me obtain those goals while I'm here in Cambodia, and especially while I'm here in Kompong Thom.

June 29, 2010

Well in Alma, we learn that God has many ways of bringing salvation to his children. And through the Atonement of Christ, the sins of little children are swallowed up. And, because of the Atonement, we will all live again. I've never lost a son, and I hope that someday I never do, but we can be comforted that throught the Atonement of Christ, we can all be saved and live together again. My heavens, isn't God so wonderful? That he sent his Son for us. But death is just another step in the Plan of Salvation. Death is just another step in becoming like God himself. So, Ian is just a step ahead of all us now, isn't he? And, not just a step ahead, but a step ahead and on the right hand of God.

We've gotten some new investigators this week. We keep growing and growing and growing and most of our investigators are doing really, really well. It's been suck a miracle for us to see so much growth and that God has been so merciful to us in leading us to all these people to teach. And, in having members help us and see the joy and happiness that comes in people's lives, and to see the changes within their hearts and souls as they "have no more disposition to do evil." My heavens we are being blessed right now. And, because I'm going to have to work even harder and be even more obedient to all the rules, and to try and thank God for all the blessings.

I'm exhausted every dy when we go home, and I'm 24/7 worried about and stressed over all the ways we can help our investigators. But, the joy that comes from being in the service of God, I'm loving it here. And, I know the trials are going to keep coming and that the more blessed we are, the more tried we will be. But, I know that God will be with us.

Happy 4th of July and Father's Day.

June 23, 2010

We're working really, really, hard and we're being blessed by the Lord for it. When I first got here it was a nightmare. I was so worried about having people to meet, because we had no one. But, we just had our first baptism here. Elder Haws got the baptize her which I was really excited for because that's his first time doing it. But, now we've gotten more and more referrals and we have 6 families we are now teaching, along with 8 other individuals we're teaching. We're so full everyday now it's so beautiful!!

We had 29 combined investigators at church on Sunday and 89 people which is more than we have every had ever. 20 of those 29 were ours and the 9 were all miracles that they came. Me and Elder Donnelson were getting ready to rejoice and cry as all of our investigators were brought to church by members, had those members directing them from class to class, and overall the warm welcome they received from everyone. It was the greatest most exciting thing ever. The Lord is blessing us out of our minds right now. And, as Nephi of old, I will have to praise God all the day long, in triumph or defeat, in joy or sadness, in health or sickness, because of the great, many blessings he has poured out upon our heads.

I biffed it way hard on my bike this week. We were luckily riding out to a little village out in the middle of nowhere so no one saw but Elder Haws. I have a fatty bruise on my hip! I'm good though. It was actually really funny. I just have a fatty scrape on my arm now.

June 17, 2010

We went to Siem Riap for Zone Conference. Still haven't gotten to see Angkor Wat though. Super Wack! Oh well. Someday, I'll just go see if with you and dad when you come.

Work is slowly picking up more and more. We're getting busier and busier, and I think that soon, we'll be busier than we ever thought we could handle. We'll just try to keep working as hard as we can, relying upon the blessings of the Lord, and he will bless us for it.

The Gospel is true. No matter how hard it rains, no matter how many times we get turned away, to Gospel will still go forth, and we will be blessed for doing the work of the Lord with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength.

June 9, 2010

We had 24 people that were at church on Sunday that are non-members. Some we can't teach until they've been to church for 8 Sundays in a row. But, they sacrifice a ton in order to get to church. They're as poor as dirt poor can get. But, they're doing really well.

We have one family of a mom, Jannii, her son, Songvatt, and her daughter, Sokvan, and they are really excited to be baptized. They are progressing well and keep any commitments that we give them.

We also have another family that would be doing awesome, but the Dad is holding them back. But, he's joining in on the lessons now. It's a dad, mom, 2 sons, and a daughter. They are all super uneducated. But, the mom and kids are doing well because they are trying really hard to learn and they are being really blessed for it too. The dad is a struggle. But, with the Spirit constantly working on him he'll come around sooner or later.

The other family is a mom, dad, and 2 sons. We've only met the dad once because it's rice season and he's off in the rice fields 24/7 right now getting the rice ready. But, the mom and kids came to church on Sundy, and really, really liked it. She's received us a lot better since going to church, and she says that she really wants to go again.

While it's hot for you, we've been getting poured on. Rainy season is definitely here. I've been super tired lately. But, we keep trying in order to have success.

June 1, 2010

We're going through some hardships. We do every week though. So...ya know...nothing new. But we're just fighting through. Patience, patience, patience. I'm still working towards my goal of finding and baptizing 5 new families. We just got a new one the other day. That puts us at 3 solid legitimate families. But, two of them, the husbands drink a lot. And, they've been drunk 2 or 3 times in row when we showed up to teach. So, like Jacob of old in teaching the Nephites about the law of chastity, I will have to wake them up to the word of wisdom. The moms in those families are so good, and I've seem them in tears over their husbands drinking. I'm really hoping that the Spirit is with us as we try to change these people's lives.

You should be happy that Kylie didn't get bit by the spider that we saw last night while we were teaching! This 6 or 7 inch tarantula (yes, it really was that big) came out of nowhere while we were teaching. And, they are like lightning too. That thing darted across the floor. It was terrifying!! It could eat a human child! And, the saddest part is that they get even bigger than that.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

May 18, 2010

We have seen some miracles the last few weeks. I've been studying a lot on prayer, receiving revelation, and then diligently following up on faith. Actually, I've been studying everything, but ya. So, President Smedley told us to be specific in our prayers. So, I thought I'd try it. So, in my prayer, I said, "God, I want to find a family. And, I want to find one that has prepared to hear the Gospel. I want it to be a mom, dad, and 2 young kids, 1 boy and 1 girl. And, I want the girl to be slightly older than the boy. And, I want them to walk up and start talking to me so tht I know that is the family we need to teach. And, I want the dad to be super interested so that he could be a leader in helping them get baptized." So, the next morning, we got up to go to the market to buy food. And, some lady walked up to the veggie lady I was buying from. She noticed I could speak Khmae so she started talking to me. Turns out she was a Christian and that she was interested in learning. So, we scheduled to meet her. And, we biked the 16 kilos to her house. There we met her husband and her 2 kids, a boy, a girl, the girl being slightly older than the boy. (Crazy huh?) And, we taught them the whole first lesson, and the husband was super interested. The whole time you could just tell he knew everything we were saying was true. He tried to Bible bash a bit. But, everything he said we completely turned it around on him to the point that he knew that everything we were saying was completely true. In the end, they denied us. We tried to schedule with them, but they wouldn't. So, that night I was praying so hard for that family, and then it just hit me. That family was EXACTLY what I had asked for. But, they completely denied us. And, we've been trying to schedule them to meet again, but they won't. And, we can't exactly "stop by" because it takes an hour to get there and an hour to come back. So, I've just been trying to figure out what to do to teach them again. I know if they hear the message again, they will believe it and start learning with us. The first time that we taught them, the Spirit was off the charts. So, that was cool that God answered my prayers like that. But, it is heart breaking at the same time.

We've gotten a few referrals lately, and we've gotten a lot of new investigators. We got about 10 potential families we could start teaching here really soon. We are bursting at the seams right now in potential for our area. It's insane!!! And, I've been praying my heart out that God will turn all these potential families into eternal families and that we can just have a chance to be instruments in God's hands into bringing salvation unto many of their souls. I have never prayed harder than I am right now. I've never taught with more passion than I am right now. And, I've never been more bolder in my words than I am right now. The work is about to go crazy right now in Kompong Thom. It seems like almost anything we ask for, God just instantly gives us. There are more miracles too, but for time sake, I'll tell you about them next week.

May 12, 2010

It doesn't even register to me anymore that I'm speaking a foreign language. It just seems like its natural and that everybody does it. Going back will be weird when I actually have to speak English to someone.

It was so nice talking to you guys on Monday. That was really, really cool. Sometimes I forget that the outside world still even exists. It's just completely normal being here now. Not speaking Khmae will be weird for me.

We got 5 new investigators last night, including a mom and her two kids (the dad died in a car accident). And she was a Christian before so she is really interested in learning. And then we had one girl in the branch give us four referrals (all who seem really good). So, I think things are going to start picking up here. Please pray for all of them. We've been getting a lot of potential investigators that we're going to be meeting here in the next few days. So, I'm really hoping that we can bring the spirit into their home to teach them and that they will continue learning. Things are going to start booming here. I can just feel it. It's just going to take some real serious work and diligence on out part. But, it's going to be there, and we are going to do it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 11, 2010

Not much else to say or tell because we just barely talked on Monday. But we got 4 new investigators from one member last night. And we got a mom and her two kids as new investigators too. The goal that God set for us is 800 baptisms this year. And at this point we're super behind. But, our district meeting was about the power of God and it really siked us up. And since then we've got a ton of investigators and potential investigators so maybe Kompong Thom is going to explode here in a little bit. Actually I really think it is going to explode in a little bit. We just have got to get it going and keep working as hard as we are and we'll for sure have it.

So that's about it for me today. Take care. We're going to monkey mountain today to see all the monkeys.

May 6, 2010

I personally will be calling you on Monday. So, I will be talking to you on Monday. Haha.

Yesterday we went up to Siem Riap for zone conference. I got to see Elder Zabriskie and Elder Thompson again. I love Elder Thompson. And Elder Zabriskie just has to be the best Elder and most amazing person I have ever met. And there are of bunch of Elders that I am really good friends with in Siam Riap so it was really sweet being able to see all of them. Plus, zone conference was awesome.

We are starting to really try to push our investigators here and it's going to be good for them. We had one that after she learned about the great apostasy she asked "So how can I know which church is true?" It was so perfect. We pulled out the Book of Mormon and taught her about it. It was absolutely off the charts amazing. And her family has a lot of potential to start learning too so I'm super excited over that!!!

This area is going to be a ton of work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, it's a little bit frustrating coming from Branch 12 (the greatest place on earth). But I have a real feeling that if I'll just put everything I got into it that it will explode and it will help tons of people come unto Christ.

April 28, 2010

Wow...Kompong Thom is...a mess. It's going to be a really stressful couple of months. The branch has some serious problems. There is no leadership. The one bright spot in the branch is that the youth are awesome. They hold the branch together better than anyone else. I'm already stressed in my mind and I've been here less than a week.

That's the members. The investigators are so hot and cold. That act like they have no desire to learn. But then, they'll make some huge sacrifice to learn or strengthen their testimonies. It's nuts!! So, I'm completely stressed over them too.

New companion is a nice guy. Elder Haws. He's been here 3 months. So his Khmae is still bad and he can't understand anything. So then it pretty much falls upon my shoulders in terms of communication. So, it's really hard!!!

Kaets are really cool though. We have spiders the size of my head here. And they get in the house sometimes. We had to kill one my first night there. Bug spray or Raid doesn't kill them. It just makes them really really really mad! And, they are lightening quick. So we have to kill it the instant we see it or we're going to have some friends sleeping with us that night. Scary! We also saw this 3 foot Komoto Dragon looking thing. It was sweet!!! Got some pictures. But they don't do it justice for how big it truly was.

April 20, 2010

Dear James Family,

Today we welcomed your son, Elder James, to his new area in Kampong Thom, which is about 3 hours north of Phnom Penh. He is happy, healthy, and loving the work. His companion is Elder Haws.

We are a senior couple assigned here in Kompong Thom and love going out teaching with the Elders. We have them in our home often, as it is across from the church where they meet with a lot of their investigators. We have them here for dinner on Sunday and they pay our housekeeper Sophal, to fix them lunch after district meeting on Tuesday. So we know they get at least two meals a week!

Having had a son serve in the Phillippines we know how hard it is to adapt to Asian culture, food, language, etc. so we take a special interest in the Elders. We like to send an occasional picture so you can have a visual update.

Please let us know if we can help Elder James in any way.

Warmest regards,

Elder and Sister Houser

April 13, 2010

With the Khmae New Year things have just gotten really chill around Phnom Penh. It's been a lot of finding because all of our investigators have gone back to the kaets. But, finding with Elder Cheang is really fun so it's not that bad. It just doesn't bear too many fruits, that's all. Today is P-day and tonight we learn how to update CBRs. Tomorrow is CBR day. So, we won't be leaving the house because we'll be doing those all day. Friday is sports day so we'll get to play sports from 10-4. I'll get to see how rusty my hoops skills have gotten in the last year. Haha.

Mexican food and angel food cake? Are you trying to torture me Mom? Mexican food is the only thing I really miss eating.

Haven't had a chance to get anything for my birthday yet. Things have been kind of crazy the last few weeks with a bunch of things going on including the holiday. But, I'm going to get myself some shirts and some pants. That's what I really need. Especially shirts. But, other than that, I don't need anything.

I'm doing pretty good right now. Actually, doing really good. My desire to declare the Gospel has shot up in the last few weeks. The farther I get into my mission, the more I learn. And, the more I learn, the more I realize the importance of teaching people the gospel. And, the more I realized the importance of teaching people the gospel the harder I try. And, the harder I try, the happier I feel. So, things are going well.

April 6, 2010

Thank you for the Happy Birthday. Some of the members threw me a "surprise party" at the church. Let's just put it this way. Khmae's aren't the sneakiest people on the planet. So, I just played dumb and had a good time with it anyway. Haha.

This week has been kind of rough. We had 3 progressing investigators drop us. They had baptismal dates and everything. Things just went wrong and now they're gone. But ya, just means that God has prepared 3 other people for us to teach the Gospel.

Conference is on Saturday and Sunday. I'm really looking forward to that. All of our recent converts are just straight up kicking butt right now. I had no idea they were this strong in the Gospel and their testimonies. And, absolutely amazing.

Khmae New Year is coming up which means that Phnom Penh will be shut down. So its going to be finding crickets and toads to teach because everyone goes to their hometown in the provinces.

We have about 7 people that could be getting baptized after the Khmae New Year is over. So I hope I get at least one more transfer here so that I can see all of them get baptized. I started with them from the very beginning. So, if I get transferred, it will be kind of disappointing. But whatever. It just means that God has other people for me to teach elsewhere.

Gospel is true.

March 30, 2010

Here we have to worry about rats the size of cats stealing stuff. Other than that, it's not too bad.

The next few weeks are going to be interesting. Friday is Zone Conference, then the weekend after that is General Conference. And then it's Khmae New Year so we won't be able to proselyte for 3 of those days. And then comes Mother's Day. Khmae New Year is in 2 weeks. But people are already leaving to go to their hometowns. So, we'll see. It might be straight up finding for a few weeks.

March 23, 2010

Work is going well. Just as busy as ever. Just trying to work harder than the day I did before. I really like this branch and serving with Elder Cheang is really fun. He doesn't listen to me very much. But, he's easily my best companion so far and I'm having a blast so I'll keep my complaints to a minimum this time.

It's crazy how fast time goes by on a mission. Two more months and I will be at my year mark. Crazy. I don't know if I like getting this old this fast. But whatever. I don't think that I have much of a choice.

March 16, 2010

On Sunday I had the opportunity of baptizing someone named Tola. He's awesome. He just came wondering into the church about a month or so ago saying that he really wanted to learn. And, now he's a stud. He goes to institute class. He comes to church. And, he does anything that we ask him. It's awesome.

A few weeks ago our district leader told us that if we have time slots to fill, that God has already prepared them for us. And when he said that I thought it was really profound and took that to heart. And it is true. We keep finding new investigators to meet and fill time slots. It is absolutely amazing. Most of them don't go anywhere. But we have a few here and there that are starting to become really promising.

Cool story. We were going tracting the other day and we met some kid. He rode up while we were talking to some people and he stopped to listen and then he said he wanted to learn. When I saw him pull up, I had something that told me that he was the reason why we were stopped and talking to the other guys and so we set a time to meet him. And, we haven't been able to meet him for a week and a half now but we went by to randomly visit him the other day. He wasn't there. So we were talking to one of his neighbors and just as we said that we were representatives of Christ, a lady was walking by. She turned around and told us that she had learned of Christ before but had stopped. And, she said that she wanted to learn again. It's a family too. Her, her daughter, and her husband. The husband wants to learn but he works from 7am to 11pm so we never have a chance to meet him. But last night, after only the second time of meeting them, we committed them to baptism and they said yes!!! Now I don't know why God had that one kid stop and talk with us that one day. And, I don't know if God was just using him to get us to this family. But holy peeling bananas is that not a miracle of what !?!? That God uses a means like that to get us to this family. And, I hope we can continue teaching him too because he was really good. But, God blessed us with a family on this one.

The gospel is true. I know that every day as I open the Book of Mormon and read for 30 minutes in the morning. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I know that God loves us and we are his children. And I know that the Lord will prepare a way for us in everything we do here in the mission.

March 9, 2010

Last night it just started pouring rain out of nowhere, which means that rainy season is fast approaching because it does that all the time during rainy season. Right now, it's super hot every day. There is lots of sun. I have a fatty missionary tan.

We had another investigator get baptized on Sunday. Her name is Malis. She is absolutely amazing. Her Book of Mormon has stuff highlighted and written in the margins, and she takes notes and links things together. She is probably the best investigator I have ever taught. She was awesome. And, we also have a baptism this Sunday. So, we're really excited for that.

We had a bunch of new investigators and referrals that were really good but they have all disappeared and we have no idea where they went. It's really easy to move houses in Cambodia. So people just disappear all the time. So it's really hard to keep track of people. And especially because there is no church in a lot of the provinces yet so records are a disaster too. Some stop learning for various reasons like being super poor so that have to work a ton. But, we are trying to encourage them to set aside just a bit of time to learn every week and the Lord will help them. I still have full confidence that this will be a Latter-Day Saint nation.

If there is one attribute of mine that I have seen increase is my love for the people. Now that I can usually understand what they are saying I just absolutely love talking to everyone I see. I can walk up to anyone and just start talking with them for an hour and it's so fun. Most of the time when they see that I am a white guy speaking Khmae, they all come and flock over and then we have like 20 people that we can share the Restored Gospel with. These people are so amazing. It's just so sad that they have rejected Christ and believe in Buddha. But, the Buddhist religion has developed more morally clean people than "Christian" churches of America. I am really starting to realize what Nephi meant when he said there is only Christ's church and Satan's church. That is definately true. This truly is the only church of God.

I can get clothes specifically cut to fit me perfect for cheap. A shirt is about 5 or 6 bucks and pants are about 7 to 10. It's way sweet. I can choose the fabric, they measure me, and then they make it. It's that easy. And, they make it pretty good too. Please stick 40 bucks in my account so that I can get some new clothes because all of my clothes are starting to really wear. They weren't meant for the gruttiness of Cambodia.

We just got transfer announcements yesterday, and I am happy to say that I am not going anywhere and neither is Elder Cheang.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 2, 2010

Have you heard anything about the Cambodian-Thai War? Things are seriously starting to escalate around here. And supposedly from what people tell us it gets worse and worse. So, I was just wondering if you had heard anything or if something had been said or something. The other day the senior couple asked if we knew the emergency evacuation plan. I don't know if they were hinting at something or if they just wanted to know.

I had the opportunity to baptize someone named Vuthy on Sunday. He's really good and we'll be teaching him getting him to go on a mission in a year. We're really stressing the fact that they all need to go on missions. Trying to turn this country into the Latter-Day Saint nation that it's going to be someday.

There are some mean roosters here too. I've wanted to kick a few animals. Haha. And, I've had to run from a few bulls before too. Other than that, it's not too bad.

February 23, 2010

Work is going good. We have a lot of people that are finishing up the lessons and so they will be interviewed in the next week or two for baptism. So, that will be fun getting to see all them go through.

We just had zone conference on Monday, and it was awesome. Zone conference is always just so refreshing to the soul. I don't know why that is. But my heavens it is great. Elder Pratt from the 70 came. He gave an awesome speech. What really impressed me the most was how simple yet powerful his testimony at the very end was. He just bore testimony about all these simple truths and it was just so amazingly powerful. I guess that's why he is a General Authority and I'm not. Haha.

Language is going well. I've learned a ton so far and it's getting easier and easier to memorize words now. And, I'm starting to learn a bunch of words that are awesome but only get used every so often. Like cancer, and democratic republic, and refugee and words like that that everyone knows but they're only used every once in a while.

I've almost been a missionary for 9 months now. 3 more days and it's 9 months exactly. Crazy huh.

The Lord truly has blessed me in letting me come to such a wonderful people and such a wonderful country.

February 16, 2010

Elder Chiang is awesome. When we first started serving together, I had some serious adjusting to do because he's a bit different from my other companions. But now I'm having an absolute blast serving with him. It just seems funner and funner with each new companion I go through. But I hope that I get a chance to serve with him for at least 2 or 3 transfers because I think that we teach and work really well with each other. And, it's really fun doing that.

I'm absolutely loving the work right now. I'm having a great time. Which means that God is probably going to have to humbe me here real soon. But I just can't keep it to myself. I'm just too happy for my own good right now. We have all these investigators that are reading the Book of Mormom, keeping their commitments, and doing whatever it takes to do what we tell them to do (or rather what God has commanded them to do). I honestly think that we are kicking Satan's butt right now. We still get rejected a ton. But just spreading the news of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is just too much fun. And the fact that people are hearing it, triumph or fail, is still a victory over Satan. Someday this country is going to be booming with members of God's one and only true church. I would honestly not be surprised if someday the whole country was members.

Anyway, I can't boast and rejoice for too long. But I had the opportunity to baptize a student named Vicett on Sunday. He's awesome. And when we met him on Monday he didn't even know what to say when we asked him how the baptism was because he was so excited and happy and just everything you want to be after you are baptized.

And we have another investigator getting interviewed tonight. Last weekend was the Chinese New Year so not many people were in the city. So it was a lot of finding. But now that I can understand people and can talk with them finding is actually a lot of fun. I'd rather not do it though because it has no effectiveness. But, it's still fun meeting a lot of people.

While finding we asked someone if they knew anyone who would be interested. And she said she didn't know anyone. But, she knew someone who had joined in a Christian church before. So she led us to them and it happened to be a mom, dad, and about 7 kids. And, I think they could be really promising. The Dad is going to have to stop drinking that's for sure. But, there's nothing like the gospel that can help someone do that.

Our area is so big that there are new streets and turns to go down every single day and it's so much fun talking with all these new people. And, I love having Khmae companions. As long as they work hard and are dedicated to the work, they are easily the funnest people in the world to serve with. I'm having so much fun right now serving with Elder Chiang, my heart honestly can't contain the words I want to say.

The Book of Mormom is true. I know this with all my heart. We watched Safety for the Soul by Elder Holland (if you haven't reread this talk, I suggest you should do so now) yesterday for district meeting and discussed it. Oh my heavens, it was filled with the Spirit and it was just pumping us all up to get out there and do more of the work. We are all so excited to be doing the work right now. It's now even fair for anyone else out here in the world. God completely spoiled us when he sent us here to preach the gospel. Oh my heavens, I love these Khmae people more than anyone else in the world, except you guys of course. But they are just so fun to be around and teach and live among. On my heavens. It is amazing what God can do to you when you completely lose yourself in the work. Every thought that tries to go through my head that isn't about Christ's atonement, or about preaching the gospel, or about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormom, or the love that God has for us, I quickly throw it out. And, I hope and pray and cry unto the Lord every night that things will never change from this my whole two years on a mission.

February 9, 2010

Crazy...We thought we had a mouse in the house. We saw it running around for 2 weeks, and we tried to catch it but it always got away. We were wrong though. So we laid a stick trap and we got...7 mice, a mom, a dad, and 5 babies. One freaked out so bad that it pooped all its intestines out. Real gross. But we stuck peanut butter in the middle. And that's just irresistible to them. So now our mouse problems are over. We spent a good amount of time cleaning up the house this morning too.

Work is good. I'm having tons of fun teaching so many different people every single day. It's a blast. We have to baptize 68 people a month as a mission in order to fulfill our goal. And I think right now we're on pace.

The Khmae is coming great. It's a real blessing from the Lord to see how He helps us learn different languages.

I never realized how much more you prosper when you keep the commandments of God. I wish I would've realized that sooner in life.

February 2, 2010

I'm on a rice diet right now. And have a rice belly to show for it too. Yap!! That's a Khmae word for ya. Things are going well here right now. We have 15 investigators with baptismal dates. So we'll hopefully be motoring through some people here right now. I got to baptize someone on Sunday. Her name is Sotiarit. She is the cousin of some of the other members in our branch. They are all really good. So it's awesome teaching them. And we also have two more baptisms coming up a week from Sunday. A lot of our baptisms are just single people because they are mostly students who go to one of the gazillion schools that surround our area and our church building. And God wants us to baptize 800 people this year so he's going to prepare a lot more people for us to teach and baptize.

I also had this thought about 3 weeks ago that said, "What I get out of my mission is what I put into my prayers." I thought that was interesting and really good. And so far, it's been true. For all our investigators, the ones I pray the hardest for seem to progress the most. And so now, no matter how tired I am, I'm trying to pray for all of them and everything else I can think of. And, I'm still trying to improve my prayers. There are just so many things to pray for. So I keep dedicating myself to my prayers at night trying to fulfill the Lord's work that he has set aside for me.

Khame is going well. I just started the grade 4 Khmae book. Haha. I have forgotten about 99% of the words I have ever learned. But someday I'll get them all. Don't know when. But it'll come. Elder Chiang, my new companion, is great. He speaks English. So we mostly speak English, but I'm going to propose a day of Khmae and a day of English switching. That way I can practice too.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 26, 2010

It’s been a tough week. Still lots of people this week. But one of our investigators has gone completely down hill. She was supposed to get baptized last week but she's tanked all of a sudden and so we have to keep working with her. Other than that the month of February should be filled with baptisms. We have two in a week or two. And, a family of 4 after that. I love that family. It’s a mom and her 3 sons. They are ages 12, 10, and 7. So it reminds me a ton of Nick, Matthew, and Nathan. It gives me a piece of home every time I go visit them. We have another investigator who should be getting baptized too. But he goes to Branch 7 every week because its closer to his house. So we told him he HAS to go to Branch 12 and he said that he would try to go this week. So we'll see how that goes.

Transfers are this week. Elder Um is leaving. He's been here for a long time. My new companion will be Elder Chiang. He is Khmae. And he is amazing too. I knew him well before. We're going to have fun serving together. He knows a ton of English. So we're going to have to work something out so that we can speak in English at times so I can help him and so we can speak Khmae at times so that he can help me.

I've started learning Khmae in only Khmae. I use the Khmae=Khmae dictionary only. No more Khmae-English for me. So now when I have to translate for the senior couple on Sunday its hard because I don't know words translate to in English. But I can spout off 4 or 5 different words that mean the same thing in Khmae. It’s kind of cool. I'm getting pretty confident in my Khmae speaking. Still don't understand everything. But I absolutely love this language. It’s a bunch of memorizing, reviewing, and memorizing some more. I'm going to learn this language fluently, and it’s completely through God's power. How awesome is that?!

Good luck with guitar lessons. There is someone who plays guitar in our Branch and he knows a lot of American songs so its fun listening to him play when he is hanging out at the church.

January 19, 2010

So President Smedley called a Zone Meeting thing, wasn't a zone conference, and we all got together to discuss our new goals for the new year. Last year, as a mission, we baptized a total of 438 people which is a lot. And President Smedley said that he had prayed a lot about this and that based off all our goals and stuff he decided that our goal this year would be........800 people!!!!!!! Can you believe that? That's almost double the people we did last year. But he said that all it will take is the faith to believe on our part and it will get done. And, one more thing...verbal prayer. So now we're praying in different rooms every night. And I love it. Just being able to pour my soul out every night is just so amazing. So I went home and prayed about this goal forever trying to make sure that we could do that. And we're DEFINITELY going to do that this year. 800 people are going to come unto Christ this year. And it’s going be an amazing experience to do that to.

We're getting it set up right now where the Branch Missionaries will be teaching all the recent converts, so that we can concentrate on getting all of our investigators progressing and baptized. It’s going to be absolutely amazing. We'll be having our third of the month this Sunday. And we have about 11 more that could be baptized in the coming months. So we're well on our way.

And we've already seen amazing miracles. We had a group of 13 people show up saying that they all wanted to learn on Monday. It’s like 4 families. And we met them all on Tuesday. Their only problem is that they are poorer that dirt. And they live right behind the Branch 7/8 building. So getting them all the way to Branch 12 is going to be a nightmare. And while we were talking with them on Monday, a group of 5 guys walked in that wanted to learn. So on Monday the Lord bagged us a total of about 20 new investigators. But none of them have any means of getting to our building. And they're working on rearranging the boundaries. But when they do we'll lose our Branch President because he lives really close to Branch 7 and they have to take in a huge number of other factors. So we'll see how it goes. But right now we're going to be teaching them all.

We've had to start double booking a few hours. So now we tell them they have to show up at 7 because if they show up at 7:30 will be meeting someone else. (And for Khmaes being on time is 30 minutes late). So this will be a good lesson for them.

We have some really good investigators right now. One has read all of 1 Nephi already and it’s only been about a week or 2. She's awesome. Her name is Maalih.

We also have 2 others that just have to get interviewed. So they should be baptized in about a week or 2. Their names are Vicett and Vuthy.

We are teaching a mom and her 3 sons and they are doing awesome. They all understand so much. And the 12 year old reads the Book of Mormon to his mom at night because she doesn't know how to read. So it strengthens them all. I was going to go buy them a picture Book of Mormon, like the one you would always read with the boys (but Khmae of course), so they could practice reading, but it’s been nonstop raining the last two days (VERY STRANGE, rainy season doesn't start until about July or August), and I don't feel like an hour bike ride in the rain to and from the service center.

Work is going well. We had 126 people to church on Sunday. Our Branch goal for the year is to have an average of 140. So we'll be pushing to get that up there.

As for the package, more chocolate or sour patch kids. Also if you could send me the CDs that sing us through the plan of salvation, that would be sweet. Remember those?

January 12, 2010

We got 2 of our investigators baptized. Elder Um baptized one and I could have baptized the other. But, we let her uncle baptize her instead. They're both really awesome. We should have a few more coming up in the next month here too so I'm really excited.

One of our investigators has to get interviewed with the Mission President. I'm kind of nervous for that because I'm going to have to translate. I'm not the greatest translator. My brain either operates in Khmae or in English but it still has a hard time operating in both. She's awesome though. So I have no doubts that she'll pass. We also have two or 3 other people that are legitimately close to getting baptized.

We also have a family of a mom and her 3 boys. The husband died. And they are progressing awesome. We also just got another new investigator that we just gave a baptismal date too. We now have 9 with a baptismal date and about 4 more we're planning on giving this week. So we should somehow manage to stay busy. Haha. One of our best investigators had to go back to the provinces because her mom is sick, really sick. So now we have to wait on her to come back as well.

As of today I've been in the country for a total of 5 months. It’s amazing how time flies. The language is going really well. I'm not letting myself settle on being comfortable with the language. I want to become fluent. So right now I'm really training myself to just constantly study in order to keep the language flowing.

I'm so tired 24/7. Its killer work being a missionary. But my heavens it is worth it.

I'm really worried about the transfer that is coming up in about two weeks. Elder Um has been here for about 6 months already and so it’s about that time for him to go. But I don't want him to. I absolutely love serving with him. I've never had it been so stress free ever. It’s awesome. But whatever happens, the Lord knows its best. So I'm not going to worry about it too much.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 5, 2010

I actually bought the tie from someone who lives in one of the provinces. It is a mom. And she sells them to make money for her two daughters that are getting ready to apply for their missions. It's only 500 bucks for Khmaes to go. Which in their standards is a ton. Its a ton in my standards. Haha.

The work is still going well. We have 3 people getting interviewed for baptism this week. So we should have 3 squeeky clean people by about 12 on Sunday. The work is amazing here. They are getting ready to change the boundaries of all the areas right now though because a lot of the boundaries are pretty wacked out. So I hope that doesn't affect too many of our investigators, because we have some seriously awesome investigators right now. We also have some fence sitters too. So we're really trying to sift through everyone and see who is really ready to keep the standards of God. Their names are Liin, Sotiarit, and Sopeak. All girls. All referalls. We also have Vijett (he's amazing, started crying the other day when we taught about the Atonement and how he could be forgiven for his sins because he said he wants to be forgiven too). Then there is Da. He's good. He wouldn't come to church for awhile because he didn't want to give up going to this thing on Sunday. But he finally came. Vijett helped him a lot in that. They're good friends. Then we have Vutii. He has almost finished 1 Nephi and he's getting ready for his baptisimal interview here soon. We have 11 people committed to baptism right now.We got 10 new investigators this week. Most of them were pretty weak. But 1 or 2 had some mild interest. But they said they were willing to meet us again and we scheduled a time so they can't be that bad. So we'll see how that goes.

I'm learning a ton of Khmae. I started reading the Book of Mormon in Khmae. And every word I don't know I scribble in the margin what it means. I'm hoping that as words are repeated and that as I learn more and more, Khmae there will be less and less words in the margins. Plus I read that one of the best ways to learn a new language is by reading the Book of Mormon in that language. That comes from Preach My Gospel. Which means it comes from the Prophet. Which means it comes from God. So I'm hoping that God will enlighten my mind to learning a lot of Khmae while I read the Book of Mormon.

I've been jump roping everyday except Pday and Sunday. Those are my days off. I study Khmae instead on those days. If you can look up an variations of jump roping for me that'd be cool. I'm coming up with some on my own. I'm hoping it will help me stay in better shape.I'm glad you like the tie and the pictures. I'm gonna start taking a lot more once I get my new camera. And send them back more frequently too. Its just hard to take pictures because we're just so busy all the time. But we'll see.

November 24, 2009

We have a baptism on Sunday. The mom and her 2 daughters. The mom's name is sokli and the daughters are gumseng and gumsua. They are really good. I love that family so much. They've made an incredible change. Before, they didn't know anything about Jesus Christ. They didn't even know who He was. But now it is so awesome hearing them talk about Joseph Smith and the 1st vision. Its absolutely incredible how much they've changed in the last 3 months that we have been teaching them. Right now we have an investigator named hoan and seiha who are both really good. Hoan has read til 2 Nephi chapter 8 in a week and absolutely loves the Book of Mormon. He is 23 and has a wife. His wife isn't very interested right now. But we're going to keep working with her. And hopefully she comes around. Have fun at Thanksgiving tomorrow without me. I'll enjoy some rice for you. Just make sure you enjoy the turkey for me. And tell David hi too. Tell him thanks for setting an example for me by going on a mission, even though I never got to see him much growing up. The weather has been absolutely awesome here this whole month of November. Glorious!!! But all the Cambodians are freezing. Its so funny. Its probably about 75 or 80. Its great. We've gone to eating rice 3 times per day now because its just so much cheaper. But we have thrown a ton of Americann twists on Khmae food. And its really good. Its fun. And in 2 days, I'll have been a missionary for 6 months.