Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hello from Cambodia!

Dear Family,

The most important picture of all:
BYU tuktuk!!!
So... I'm here! These past few days have been CRAZY! I'll try to remember everything that happened. I know you got an email from the mission president with a picture of me. That was day one. We just did like orientations and devotionals that day and then PASSED OUT because we were exhausted. The flights went well. No confusion or stress really. We were 2 hours late getting to Cambodia though because one of our flights was delayed. But other than that it was good. I felt so bad thoguh, because poor Sister Hartley was sick on the plane. She's only ever flown once before and her stomach was not really handling it well. :( I tried to comfort/distract her by telling her random stories from my life.... probably not much help. Um did anyone even know that Hong Kong looks like what it looks like?? I had not idea! It's all like island-y, tropical, exotic looking! Who knew!

The next morning we had this DELICIOUS breakfast that consisted of like rice and meat and egg... it was so good!! The food here is good, if a native is making it! Mmm mmm mmm. After a bit more orientation stuff, I got my trainer!

My trainer is Sister Lemon. I will be her last companion. But it is interesting because we are actually in a trio. So, Sister Lemon is my trainer and Sister Peach is also my companion. She has been in Cambodia for about 4 months I think. And yes, they are both American. I really like them both! Sister Lemon is reallty good at the language and gets along with the Khmer people so well. She loves them so much and loves to joke around with them. Sister Peach is not bad at all with the language either. She can almost always get her point across. I think for being here for 4 months she is great! I really actually don't mind being in a trio because that means that even though I fail to do anything useful, there are still 2 people that can salvage! Thank goodness! Also, I don't have a picture but Sister Lemon and I look like REALLY similar. So everyone asks if we are sisters. It's funny.

So yeah... the language... I don't even know what to say. The sounds these people make are like mumbled sound effects. I can't even explain, haha! I just am so not used to Native people speaking Cambodian, turns out, it is really hard to distinguish the words! So the words I know, I usually catch, but other than that I'm useless. Unfortunately the only words I know are about the gospel, and no one really goes around talking about that. Fortunately, I know gospel words! And that is the most important thing! So when people are talking about it, I can generally understand.

Also that is me on my first phone call.
You can't imagine my terror and horror when
she dialed the phone and then handed it to me.
We have taught a few lessons since I've been here. I committed someone to baptism in one of them! Her name is Ming Ranier. Her daughter is a member, I guess, but I haven't met her. But yeah, we commited her to baptism, but then she didn't come to church on Sunday. Ugh!!! I was really sad about that. But my companions didn't seem like really concerned about that... so maybe I'm missing some information. We also contacted (by we I mean my companions) a Bong Sway and she took us to her home and we taught her a super short quick lesson about prayer and prayed with her. She has a weird schedule and no telephone, so we are going to swing by again and see if we can teach her more.

Have I told you about like what they call eachother? They all have familial titles, and that is what you call people when you see them. Like "older uncle" "younger uncle" "older brother" "younger aunt" "person around my age". I'm sure you understand. So Neakming is younger aunt. So when I say someone's name is Ming Ranier... that is what I mean. Younger Uncle is Lookpuu. Older aunt and uncle are both Om. Person around my age is Bong. Oh and Broh means boy and Srei means girl. So those will probably pop-up in my letters... keep your eyes peeled.

My area is called Stung Mian Chey... I think. It means like River has blessings, or Blessed River. I am in the 1st branch, and there are 3 branches. I love the people in the branch! There are ADORABLE young women girls who look like they are 7 but are apparently young women. They are so sweet! They make me so happy because I can talk to them and I don't feel as out of place. They love my white skin, haha! But um yeah, my area is like part of Phnom Penh. We live in a nice house in a nicer part of town (Cambodian nice, not American nice.) But honestly our area is so poor. You can't imagine this kind of poverty. It breaks my heart. I'm grateful that I went to Peru because I think it prepared me to see this. We also share our house with 2 other sister missionaries who proselyte in the area right next to ours. They are Sister Canoe (native!! and she is BEAUTIFUL!) and Sister Melting from the MTC! I'm glad I like with another greenie. It helps a bit.

Let's see... the heat. All I can say is this heat is more than words can describe. I step outside for 2 seconds and I'm drenched in sweat. Oh wait, I walk around inside for 2 seconds and I'm drenched in sweat. It is CRAZY!! I am almost to the point where I can say I don't mind it. Almost. It's getting there.

Okay, so I just want to clarify, I actually do love it here! It is crazy, but I love it! The people are incredible and sweet! I obviously don't understand the culture yet, but it seems just calmer and more relaxed. The clock doesn't run everything. They all smile so nice at me. I do love them! It has kinda been a hard first week, but I really do love it.

Me asleep when I thought I was writing in my journal. The last thing I wrote was "it's probably because I'm white" Hahaha! I think it doesn't help that I came down with this killer cold. I'm just like wiped out all the time
Okay, I know there is more I should talk about, but I can't think. I have been super exhausted these past few days. I like fall asleep before I hit the pillow. Actually last night I fell asleep while writing in my journal. (A picture to come). And sadly, I seriously only took 1 picture since being here. There isn't any time. And I don't exactly feel comfortable taking pictures of the conditions these people live in with my nice little digital camera. I know I'll eventually get more pictures with people once I get to know the people better, but right now I just feel like it I need to be a bit more careful of what I take pictures of. Don't worry, I will take a lot more. You know me! But the one I took was the best of all. You'll see. :)

Okay, I love you all! Ask me questions about things you are wondering about! That will help me!

I love you! I love you! I love you!

Sister Homer

Monday, May 27, 2013

Letter from the mission president

Bro. & Sis. Homer,

We just wanted to write you a quick note to let you know that Sister Homer arrived safely here in Cambodia today.  We are excited to have her serving here in our mission.  We spent the afternoon in orientation meetings and training, followed by a dinner and devotional.  In addition to the 12 missionaries who arrived  today from the Provo MTC, we had 10 local elders and sisters (Cambodian and Vietnamese) joining from the Manila MTC.  All together, a group of 22 new missionaries!  It is a great blessing to have them all here.  Tomorrow they will receive their assignments with trainers and be off to their new areas.

We are grateful for your support and sacrifice, and hope that you will feel free to contact us if we can ever be of assistance to you.  Our contact information is listed below:

[contact information removed for privacy purposes]

We have attached of her with us, along with a picture of the entire group.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful daughter with us!

Pres. & Sis. David & Kathryn Moon

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hi there!

Okay, I have a lot to say and a short time to say it. :) Please ignore typoes.

Kinda matching outfits (colors anyway)
not on purpose
This week has been so good again! Every week and day here!!! Every one is great! This week I learned a lot. Especially about trusting Heavenly Father. We got a new investigator who is Christian. And basically after our second lesson he said we can only come back if we only talk about the bible, not the book of mormon. Fail. I was so discouraged! I had NO ideas whatsoever where to go from there. I just prayed so much to Heavenly Father to help sister Hartley and I know what to teach him. We prepared a lesson on like prophets or something, a lesson neither of us were thrilled about. But we went in there to teach him, and I just had the thought to ask him what he believes about the Atonement before we start teaching. Basically, he has heard about it but didn't really understand it. He hasn't used it to help him ever. SO, we just taught a whole lesson on the fly about the atonement, and it was incredible! the spirit was so strong. And we used scriptures from the Book of Mormon, Particularly Alma 36. He was so interested and basically said he wants that NOW. So we kinda taught him how, etc. Basically I was so humbled and grateful that even though I didn't know what pruen needed, Heavenly Father did, and he was willing to use me just in the process! It was so neat. And now Pruen is set up to be baptized!! He basically like begged us to be... it was the funniest thing ever cause sister Hearts and I were like... uh yeah! Um of course! uh... uh... uh.... It was great! Heavenly Father just knows so much! I just am trying to remember often that this is HIS work, with HIS timing, done HIS way. And as long as I'm doing all I can, He'll take care of everything else!

Spot the difference...
So the language is coming really well! Do you remember, and I'm sure you still feel this way, when all the letters in the Book of Mormon look the same? Well in fact, they don't!!! They don't look anything alike! that's not true, they all look very alike. But seriously, they each are all so distinct in my brain. What a miracle!! So yes, I love the language! And I am starting to be able to read each verse in about a few minutes! wow! Seriously though, this language is so fun. The reading and writing is a challenge, but speaking it is a cake-walk compared to spanish because they don't conjugate and their past and future tenses are like... simple. If translated, it would sound like cavemen. Basically every day I find something new that I love about this language. And because many words are made up of smaller words, they all have so much meaning! It is so cool! I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father has helped me so much to be able to learn this. And I am so excited and grateful for how much i'll realized I don't know in a week. I think I will be like laughing all the time because of how much I don't know. It is going to be the funniest thing ever!

Travel plans!
So yes, I got my travel plans!!!! I leave Tuesday may 21st, at 7:50 pm from SLC airport. I then have a 3 hour layover in Los Angeles. I then fly straight to Hong Kong and have a 3 hour lay-over there! I'll be in the same place as Stockton. THE SAME PLACE!?! Crazy, huh! And then another short little flight to Cambodia. And then it begins!! I am so excited. I also am grateful that I love airplanes, cause this will be a long one.

So, as the music coordinator, I coordinated a musical number this past week in Sacrament. It was really neat! There was one Thai missionary, one Cambodian, One Hmong, and one Vietnamese, and they each sang a verse of I need thee every hour in their language and then did the chorus in english. It was so cool! Those are all the languages at my zone here. Also Laotian is one, but no one is here for that right now. It turned out really well!

So yeah, me playing the flute here. It is a long story that goes something like this. I asked several accompaniasts. And they couldn't play it. I found one, he is a piano majoring, seems promising. He didn't show up to first practice, he showed up to 2nd. It will definitely work. He doesn't show up to 3rd practice... he doesn't show up to 4th practice which has been set up 3 hours earlier. It's really awkward... After a SUPER awkward encounter with him, I retrieved my piano music back and returned it to the music library, doomed to not play the flute. And now I see him all the time and he says Hi to me as if we are the best childhood friends... hahha!!! It is the awkwardest funniest thing ever! I seriously can't tell you how much it spices up my day to see him around and see him think that he didn't do anything wrong whatsoever... silly guy. So yeah, i'll be sending my flute back.

The word for blue and green in Khmae are the exact same word. The exact same. No distinction. How is that even okay?

I suggest each of you take a minute to read 1 Nephi 11 and just feel how much Heavenly Father loves and Christ loves each of us. We read that as a class this week and I swear I was like on the verge of tears.

Service. The best thing ever.
We use power sprayers to clean the showers.
Best. Thing. Ever.
Also, you know the 10 virgins lamps analogy thing? Well, my branch presidents wife talked about it on Sunday, and she mentioned the size of those lamps. She had bought one in Jerusalem and she measured how much oil it would hold. Only 1 tablespoon. She made the analogy that you would need to be regularly refilling your lamp for it to be continually light. That is JUST like the gospel. We have to regularly pour the gospel into our lives, other wise that tablespoon is going to run out real quick. Genuis!

I watched another devotional by Jeffery R. Holland, and I've decided I'm his number 1 fan. Obviously excluding relations or anyone who actually knows him, I am his number one fan. Every time after he speaks, I am inspired to be a better missionary. He is brilliant!!

Also Russel M. Nelson came yesterday and spoke to us! It was incredible!! He spoke a lot about how missionary work is on both sides of the veil. It was just great.

Turns out, I have been saying the work "yes" incorrectly, as has pretty much all the other sisters, for the past 8 WEEKS I HAVE BEEN HERE?!?!?! Our teachers didn't think that was important?? Hahhahaahaha what? It's a minor difference, but kinda like I big deal. I guess we've been saying the word "fried" instead of "yes" this whole time. That is hilarious!

So I've been thinking, what was my purpose in life before I was a missionary? Did I do anything worthwhile? I think I only was doing things for myself... POINTLESS!! Wow, i'm always going to be a missionary.

Classic Map
So yeah, a week left! CRAZY!! I am excited and kinda scared and nervous and sad to leave the mtc, but so excited! I'm not sure what I'll miss most. Probably my teachers. Or maybe the devotionals. Or maybe EVERYTHING. I love the MTC!! I can't wait to get to Cambodia though. I can't believe that I thought I ever didn't want to go here. Everything I ever hear about it makes me so excited. The people sound INCREDIBLE! I love them so much already. Next time I email, i'm sure I'll BE THERE and I'll be able to give you all the detes.

I love you all! I'll talk to most/some of you when I'm at the airport.


Sister Homer

Monday, May 13, 2013



Oh my gosh, what a good week! Every week and every day are the best day ever! BUT actually I have officially decided that today has been my favorite day at the MTC so far. Really. I'll tell you why in a second.

This week we stopped teaching our first investigator and got a new investigator. It was so sad to say goodbye to Lookpuu Thuu. We miss him! (even though it was just our teacher acting like him, we still miss him!) But he is baptized and commited to be sealed in the temple in a year, so it was time. Our new investigator... that was crazy. We went into the lesson thinking for sure he is Buddhist and hardly knows about God. No. He is methodist and reads the bible every day, and etc. Basically we like were so caught off guard and so we just like garbled words out of our mouth about who knows what. We sat there with our jaw open. We gave him the Book of Mormon and he started like reading it to us on the spot. This will be fun!!!

This past sunday I accompanied an elder in my district during our Zone sacrament meeting as he sang This is the Christ. I was nervous! I play piano obviously, but I don't really accompany. It turned out well though! Of all the times I practiced I actually think it was the best time through! I was pleased with that. I have also been called as my Zone Music Coordinator. I'm looking forward to it!

So once again this week I just feel pretty humbled. I feel like I have a lot of knowledge, but that doesn't mean I'm a good teacher. And it is more important to be a good teacher than have knowledge... So I've just felt humbled as i've seen how far I need to go. I am so grateful for it though! I think If I don't feel humble than I'm not really letting Heavenly Father help me as much as I could. So yay for humility! Ether 12:27, right?

Back to why today is the best day ever. This morning we decided to go do sealings in the temple. This was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. Without saying too much. A small family came in and the husband and wife were each live sealed to their deceased parents. It was so so so special. What made it even better was that they were from Peru and hardly spoke any english, so their son translated a lot of things for them. And then the Woman at the end came and gave all of us a kiss on the cheek and thanked us for being there. I was just short of weeping. It was so so neat because, THAT is why I'm here!!! Baptisms are important, but eternal families are everything. And you could see just how much this meant to the man and the woman, that they could be sealed to their family forever! And I always knew that this is the reason why I'm here, but today and saw it and I FELT it. It was so powerful.

On sunday Chad Lewis, former NFL player and BYU player came and spoke at the devotional. IT WAS SO COOL!!!!!!!

I supposedly get my travel plans tomorrow. WOOHOO!! So I should be leaving May 21st (less than 2 weeks...) but we'll see what happens. I think I am allowed to call home when I am at the airport, but I think mom and dad you will already be gone. Will I be able to call your cell phone? Probably, not? I will see what happens for sure. Maybe i'll leave a day early and see you at the airport!!!

I still haven't auditioned for the devotional yet. Long story short, I found an accompaniast but he kinda is a touch flaky. So, it may or may not happen. I'll keep you updated.

I think that is all my time for this week. I'm sorry it is short.



Sister Homer

Note from Tianna: Jessa didn't send any pictures this week.  I promise I didn't just forget to attach them.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Hi Family,

Okay, so as you probably noticed, I didn't email you yesterday. That is because my schedule changed and now my p-day is on Wednesdays! So sorry if you were concerned.

Okay so, I didn't realized how soon I'm going to Cambodia until like 2 days ago. Like 3 weeks??? I'm kinda freaking out. I was making a study plan and I drew out a calendar, and visually seeing the days left, I was shocked. I just want time to slow down just a bit! I am so excited to get there, but I just don't feel ready to leave here!

Do you all know that the Book of Mormon is the coolest book in the world?? WHY DIDN'T ANYONE EVER TELL ME!??!?? No but seriously. It is like, the most exciting, brilliant, sweetest, wonderfullest, book ever! I love it! It literally is the definition of a page turner.

I received Raegan VandenBerghe's wedding announcement this week! It was beautiful! I absolutely loved it! And she invited me to the sealing. :) :(. I almost cried when I saw that. Obviously she knows I won't make it, but I was so honored that she would invite me. I'm so excited for her!

This is the temple this morning! Pretty!
So one day during this past week I was kinda discouraged. It was the first time that has happened since being here, so it wasn't too fun. My teachers have been emphasizing asking inspired questions during lessons that will really cause our investigators to open up and to feel the spirit. Well, to really ask an inspired question you need to have the spirit with you guiding you and directing you what question to ask. That is really hard to do when you have a hard time recognizing the spirit. So, I was really discouraged about that all. But it has been really sweet to be humbled about that and really turn to heavnely father for help. I hope that I can get better at this.

I found a spanish preach my gospel in a give-away-bin, so I took it and I take it to the gym with me and read it while I ride the bike! I will not forget this language, so help me! It has been frustrating when spanish speakers will be speaking spanish, and I try to talk back to them and cambodian words come out. That is not supposed to happen! But I think that is also really really cool that I feel that familiar with cambodian that it just runs out of my mouth before anything else. I've asked Heavenly Father if it's okay if I give my heart to cambodian now, if He'll help me remember spanish when I get back. I'm not sure if He has agreed, but I hope so! Mom, I think you are right. I definitely know that Heavenly Father has blessed me with the abilities needed to learn languages. I hope I can find what he wants me to do with that. Which brings me to my next thing. I made a bucket list of things I want to remember I want to do when I get back. There are like 9 languages I want to learn on that list, haha! but seriously. Among them are: Hebrew, Egyptian (is that still a language?), Chinese, Farsi, Latin... there are others. Don't crush my dreams on this one. :) I'm so excited!!! Haha

One of my favorite things I do every day is my nightly planning session with Sister Hearts. We plan our next day, etc. etc. and then we close by sharing a scripture and a short testimony about the scripture. We were challeneged to share our testimony with each other every day, and this is how we've found it's natural to do it. I love it! We both look forward to it everyday. And it is the last thing we do each day, so we really end with a high. And I think it brings us closer as a companionship! I just stinking love Sister Hearts.

Sister McGonagall (right) really likes to match people,
like sister Melting (on the left.).
I seriously love them both so much!
Once again this week she made me laugh SO hard. I can't remember what happened, but one night we were walking home and she was acting like SUPER creepy (on purpose). It had the same effect on me that Teresa has when she starts running up the stairs behind me and I feel like she's going to attack me. Okay, if you don't know what I'm talking about, basically I just feel super creeped out and frightened. Anyway, sister hartley was intentionally creeping me out and it was making me laugh SO HARD. My abs hurt afterward. I can't even explain. I could hardly walk up the stairs to our bedroom because of my laughter. She's stinkin hilarious.

So, this is some interesting trivia. I am older than one of my teachers! Good thing I act like i'm 5 and he acts like he's 25 so it actually really doesn't matter or make a difference one bit!

Mom, you asked about the special musical number. It's been complicated. I had an accompaniast, but then we met up and she couldn't play the piano part... so I asked a few others, and they were not really going to work either. Just 2 days ago I finally found one who is really promising. He was like a piano major. And so I think he'll be perfect. BUT, we were supposed to practice last night and he didn't show up... so now i'm not sure. I'm going to swing by his classroom today and hopefully we can practice tonight. then hopefully i'll audition tomorrow! It really is shocking that in my whole zone i'm like the only one who plays the piano. How is that possible???

Want to hear some cool words in cambodian? The word for "to like" or "to enjoy" is coolcet (pronounced joel-jet, kinda). And when you break it up, "cool" means to enter and "cet" means heart. SO when you like something, you are saying like "it enters my heart." How cute is that!? Also, the word for to repent kinda works that way. It's praecet. Prae means to turn or to change, and cet once again means heart. So to repent means to turn or change your heart. SO COOL!!! Cambodian is all about words like that. I swear like every word is just made up of smaller words that give it a lot of meaning. And it means you can learn multiple words at a time! How fun is cambodian!!!

This is how I read my scriptures. This little card is my best friend. I've almost memorized all the consonants and vowels. Next I need the subconsonants and independent vowels! fun!

Thanks for the dearelders I get during the week! That helps a lot! I love you all and I love it here and I really might never come back! OH!! Tell Jax hi and that I love him and that I miss him!

I think that's all for this week,

Sister Homer