Monday, July 29, 2013

A note from the editor

Hi everyone, Tianna here.  I'm the one who actually posts these blogs for our dearest Jessa.  Her mission president has asked that emails that get turned into blogs (like this here blog) should not publish real names.  Her options for me were to change names, for example, from Jessa* to J---- or to come up with a completely new nym for them.  I opted for the latter, as there are so many names and they're always changing, I think having a bunch of ---- in names would make it hard for any readers to develop a relationship (as much as one can, anyway, without knowing a person) with anyone from her mission.

I have made a key of real names and nyms in a google doc.  If anyone would like to know the real names, you are welcome to comment here with your email address (and real name if you comment with a nym), or email me at tiannahomer at gmail dot com and I will invite you.  However, as the whole point of this exercise is to keep weird creepos from finding real names through her blog, I'm going to give you fair warning: if I don't recognize your name, I'm going to ask Jessa for permission first.  Which means it will probably take a week or two to get you access to the key.

*I have made the executive decision to leave names from home, such as Jessa (obviously), Nick, Shawn, Teresa, etc. the same.  However, I am asking her her opinion about that, and if she disagrees, I will give them names like Bubba and Gertrude instead.  ;)

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Hello family!!

Another week here gone. That went fast!! I finally understand the phrase "time flies when you are having fun!" And let's be honest, time drags when you aren't. So I am so glad I'm having fun!

Happy birthday Resa, Taken about an hour or so ago!

This week was less busy with Pioneer day, which I'll tell you about and the election stuff and our service. We didn't get as much teaching done, unfortunately.

Sister Smock. She is stinking hilarious!
I love her!
But yes, pioneer day. They do indeed celebrate that here! It was so funny! They had a combined thing on Wednesday with all three branches. They had a few speakers and then some of the young adults did some pioneer dancing, Reel thing that the Senior Couple taught them. They wore some pioneer-ish clothes. It was so funny!! And it was so weird in this culture!! Haha oh man. Then they fed everyone traditional Cambodian food. it was fun! These members here in Cambodia right now really know what it is to be a pioneer. They are paving the way for the gospel here right now. I can't wait to see when it has flourished!!

Something I thought a lot about with Pioneer day is so much how our church really isn't just a church. It is a culture! And I feel so like overwhelmed for our investigators. They have no idea about pioneers and mission presidents and general conference and all these things. How essential is it for them to have a testimony founded in Christ and a good member friend to help them through those first months! It's crazy!

The rice fields!
This week we got a new investigator family!! It was a member referral. We met with the mom and 2 daughters once, but they dad wants to learn too, so we have to find a time they can meet all together! I'm excited about them! Honestly, member referrals is the way to go. These are the people who are ready and prepared. It's so fun! I've been asking everyone we meet with for referrals because I just know that this is the ideal way for missionary work. Hopefully it will start paying off. It already has!

So, it turns out that Asians don't really have freckles. They don't really get them. They don't understand what is wrong with my face..... This is slightly uncomfortable....

Sister Window and Me
Another fun fact about Cambodians is that they are SO blunt. "Oh sister, you look kinda fat today!" "Look at those fat American's exercising!" HAHAHA It's literally the funniest thing! They are especially blunt with Sister Window, it makes me laugh so so much! Ugh I love it! Hopefully I don't come home that way. I feel like that could be offensive.

Speaking of habits I might bring home. Something they do here is like... point with their lips...? I don't know how to demonstrate that with words. Basically yeah, they point with their lips. Anyway, I'm kinda picking it up. I think that's going to be weird when I get home. ALSO everyone always gives these like non-committal grunts as answers to questions. You just go with it. But it really is super annoying goes half your questions go unanswered. Despite how ridiculous it is, I'm starting to do it! Haha ugh! That one definitely will get on peoples nerves. Fortunately I have another year where I have free reign with it!

The Duo
This week we did another service thing. It was like all day friday, and boy was it crazy! We went and worked in the rice fields planting rice. It's crazy! It's fun. It's exhausting. But, the craziest thing happened. I was just standing there with my bundle of rice stuff planting it in the ground, when I notice there is a worm in my little bundle. So I look at it closer and realize it has a head. Snake. No go. Drop my bundle. The snake swims away across the water really fast. Well, that was all fine, it was really a small small snake. But the Cambodian Elder next to me was asking me if I was okay and he was acting kind of funny. He started to tell me something about that snake but then said he'd tell me later. He did indeed. Turns out that snake I had been holding was ONE OF THE DEADLIEST SNAKES IN THE WORLD! What????? Apparently if it bites you, you will start getting really sleepy and if you actually fall asleep, you are gone. Crazy! It really didn't seem all that scary cause really, the snake was the size of a pencil! Anyway, crazy! Thank goodness I lived!

Neakming Crockett who we were serving
But yes, the service was fun! And halfway through the neakming we were serving wanted to take us to show us this really pretty river area. So we did and I ended up in waist-high water! Fun! See pictures.

We taught a lesson this week. I told her that Christ had 12 horses. Not 12 disciples. Yep. Luckily she is already a member! I love it!

I found out Saturday night that I was going to be speaking in Church the next morning. So I quickly prepared a talk on Enduring to the End. I ended up reading 3 scriptures! It was probably kind of short, but I tried my hardest! Who knows if anyone understood anything. But it also worked out cause most of the branch didn't show up because it was election day! How cute, Teresa and I spoke on the same sunday!

The sisters
Sister Window and I both came down with a rough sore throat/cold over the weekend. let me tell you, these Cambodian sore throats are not ideal! But it looks like we are coming out of it. The work still goes on!

We also attempted to make cookies yesterday. At first they tasted okay... and then they really just weren't very good. Fail. Maybe we'll try again another week. I can't tell you how much I miss baked goods. BUT I have found a place that sales the must scrumptious banana muffins. Just like banana bread. I will be going there shortly after email. :)

Part of our zone. I am not in fact a midget here.
I just was in the deepest water.
That's about all I have this week. Sorry it's not super exciting! I love you all!


Sister Homer

Sunday, July 21, 2013



Sok Sabbay tee teang ah knia? Khnom sralan krom kruasaa khnom! Hauy khnom nuk kromkruasaa khlang meen teen!!! Try and figure that one out. :) Muahahaha.

 sister Window's Birthday! sister Smock and Eekoo bought her a cake!
Anyway, how are you all?? I had another AWESOME week. Seriously, Kampong Cham has saved me. I found out the secret this week to loving the work so much. It is actually DOING the work and working HARD! Sister Window and I have really been working hard and I am loving it! Friday this week was especially good! We taught 4 member present lessons to investigators and then we taught 5 less-active and recent convert lessons! 9 lessons! AND we had 13 contacts! I want you to know that that is not a normal day! It was so awesome! And one of the Less actives was a lady who has been a member for like a decade, but she is super inactive. We hunted her down and retaught her how to pray. It was hilarious! we are going to try to revisit her again this week. Woohoo! Love this work!

Om French and her birthday cake!
Something else awesome that happened this week was one Tuesday. We have this other less-active lady, Om French. She is the one I bore my testimony to about the Plan of Salvation. We knew it was her birthday on Tuesday, so we bought her a little cake and went and surprised her with it. She was SO surprised! She was also so happy! She didn't even know it was her birthday because she hasn't celebrated it since she was little. You can tell it meant so much to her! Ugh I love her! I am going to get her to come back to church!!

I re-found a scripture this week that I really like. D&C 136:31. Basically we have to experience hard things, and in the long run it helps us! I love that!

So I'm accompanying a youth choir for our district conference that is coming up. They are singing a really pretty version of I stand all amazed. It is kinda stressful because I'm not really an accompanist, but it is working out okay! And it is fun to play the piano! I'm so grateful for all those years of lessons! Haha

This is sister Smock in our Kitchen.
Basically this is the funniest picture ever.
good timing on my part. Bad timing on hers.
And you can see our kitchen in the background
I love the rain!! It seriously cools down the air and you don't even know how much I love that. And yesterday I even experienced what i think people call "cold". It was super weird! and then I took a warm shower at night, which still blows my mind that we have here and that I would actually want to use it! wow!

So I have told you a little bit about Lookpuu Jordan and his wife Neakming Sleigh. They are doing so good! This week we've really seen them progress! Initially like whole lessons they would just be like "yeah...yeah...yeah" but now they are like adding their input and answering questions!! And they are praying! And their prayers are getting so much more heartfelt! We committed them to baptism for August 11th. I hope it goes smoothly! they are so funny and so sweet!

My shower and my toilet! Together!
also that little box thing is what heats my water!
It's magical!
I think this may be what nick had on his mission
Something I really realized the importance of this week (again) was how important it is to teach so that your investigators FEEL something. We can tell them anything we want, but unless they feel it they are going to act on it. We had some really good lessons this week and some less goods ones. And the results were obvious, some came to church, some didn't. Go figure! I'm going to work so much harder on that this week!

So a really big election is happening here and the voting day is this Sunday. All the American missionaries can only go to church and then we have to go right back home. All the Khmer missionaries have the opportunity to go back to their home towns to vote though. It is really exciting for them! This election is a big deal.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TERESA ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are just growing up you little kitty you!

Okay brothers, did any of you start having really weird dreams on your missions, or is that just me? I have the WEIRDEST dreams all the time!

A regular street in downtown Kampong Cham
We have these rocks on our bathroom that like eat/drink water... I don't understand. We give them water and then the water just slowly disappears. It's not evaporating either. I think that goes against a law of science. The water can't just disappear. The rocks aren't getting bigger. The rocks also aren't going to the bathroom. Can someone research this for me?

I want you to know that the people here are such a strong people. They are so resilient. And they know how to work so hard. They also know how to relax hard. They are such a good people!

Me, like an hour ago! woohoo!
This is a new Cambodian skirt i'm wearing. So cute!
Also yes, as you have probably guessed,
I don't do my hair. I just let it go.
Someday I'm going to explain what it is like going to the market here. It is such a different planet experience. Pig heads. Alive fish swimming in nets. The most disgusting ground you've ever walked on. It's magically disgusting. An experience every one should have once. Mom, you would be dying.

Last but not least. I want to tell you about my evening last night. We found this baby baby mouse alien thing just lying in the middle of our front room. We don't know where it came from but it is SO creepy. We think we killed it's mom a few days ago... but it just came out of no where. I attempted to take pictures, but they are kinda blurry. I'll send them anyway. Basically the creatures here are just too much to handle. I can't even tell you. Lizards also share are house. That was totally okay because they are kinda cute... until I found lizard poop on my bed last night when I went to bed. Basically I hope I make it out of this place sane. Or alive. either one.
Alien mouse

I love you all!!!! I miss you!


sister Homer

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hello Family

Dear Family,

THIS WAS A GREAT WEEK!!!! Kampong Cham is incredible!! Let me start off by addressing the questions mom and dad asked me.

My area. The usual. GORGEOUS!!

Okay so my area is Kampong Cham branch 1. There are 3 branches in Kampong Cham, two companionships in each. There is a grand total of ZERO wards in Cambodia. BUT that is going to change soon! Where I was before, in Stung Mean Chey, they are all pretty close to getting wards, and hopefully a Stake in the next couple of years! My branch had like 110 people there yesterday, many of which are children... but every soul counts! I think most branches in Cambodia have attendance of like 80-120 a week. But then there are some that have like 50ish... so there is a lot of work to do! There are way more members though, just a lot of inactive ones.

The building we meet in is like a rented out house converted to a church, but it is really nice! Maybe I can take a picture this week. That is how a lot of the facilities are here. In Stung Mean Chey we actually had a really nice building though, so that was cool! 

The members here LOVE the missionaries! It is so funny! We ride our bikes around and just all the time your hear the word "sister!" yelled from some member's home. Also I hear the word hello probably at least 50 times a day. Everyone wants to speak English to like the only white girl in the city. Literally. I'm like the only white girl in the city. Oh and the Senior couple! (Sister Payne is half white, half Korean. For some reason people like pass her up and say hi to me. Kinda really funny.) The members really rely on the missionaries a lot as well. They really value our word as like the final word. Scary when I have a hard time saying any words...

The cookie. Mmm. I can't even explain.
Sister Window in the background.

We do have a senior couple here in Kampong Cham. Elder and Sister Dillworth. They are from Idaho. I talked to them a lot on Friday when we all went out to lunch together after Zone Training. I just can't imagine being them here right now. It would be so hard! They like know hardly anything of the language. They have a member who works as their translator most days. I just can't imagine being them. These are not like ideal conditions to live in. And then I thought of Mom and Dad serving a mission and I thought of you being called to Cambodia. I laughed out loud. Haha, too good. But I love them! they are so positive! Today they also made cookies for sister Payne's birthday. Cookies. Real ones. Delicious ones. Oh my gosh. You can't even imagine. I'll send a picture, it was that significant.

More of my area. SO GREEN.

Okay so more about my companion, Sister Payne. It is her birthday today! She is from Sandy Utah. She is so chill! Meaning her personality is just like really relaxed and easy-going. Nothing is like too big of an issue to handle. It's fabulous! But just because she is chill doesn't mean she doesn't work hard. She so does. We worked so hard this week and it felt GREAT!! I can't even tell you. This is the first week where I have worked hard every day. I have been waiting for this! So yeah, we get along really well! I don't really know what else to tell you about her. Her favorite candy is Cinnamon Bears - but not chocolate covered. Strange. She also loves fruit snacks. I gave her three packages for her b-day. I have been rationing them for the past 4 months since I entered the MTC. No joke. But I figured this was a good cause. And it is hard to surprise your companion with much else when they are with you all the time. I feel like our speaking skills are fairly equal. She can understand a lot more than I can though, thank goodness! 

My area really is beautiful! I took some pictures this week that I'll send. It is very much like country, so we ride on dirt roads surrounded by trees. Turns out we also have a lot of hills in our area. These hills. Oh my gosh. They look very small, but you get on them, and your bike doesn't have any gears, and the sun is beating down, and it is about too much. But we just keep going! It's really comical actually. I've said it before but, my life should me a movie.

This pig is so cute. Are you kidding? It should be in a movie!
The work in my area is pretty good. We had a baptism yesterday. We have a lot of recent converts that we visit regularly. There are also a lot of less-actives that we plan to hunt down. We are low on investigators. I'll tell you about our one family in a second. Mostly we need more investigators. We are going to try to do a lot more contacting because that is hard in this area cause you don't see as many people. I'm determined though. I know there are people that are ready for this gospel. I just need to find them. Or they just need to find me.

Ha okay mom you asked about my new toilet. I've yet to use it. I must not have been clear. I do have a normal toilet as well. THANK GOODNESS. It just is up three flights of stairs, but I go up every time. I just dread the day when that toilet is the only option. Though actually, it will probably be a funny experience. I should try it out once just for the experience... we'll see.

So living conditions really aren't like ideal, but honestly, compared to how most of Cambodia lives, I don't even worry about that. I am so grateful that my bedroom has an A/C unit we can turn on! And that I have a mattress! 

English class in this area is so different from SMC. There were only about 6 students there this last week. I didn't really participate much at all. there is an Elder in charge and he has a system. The system can't be messed up. 

The regular bike ride
People I meet are always really friendly. Most are surprised to see an american. And then they are REALLY surprised when that american half-successfully speaks their language! The looks on their faces are priceless! I love contacting because it is so fun to talk to people here! 

I love that Sister Chin emailed mom and dad! She is so great! I miss her and love her!

This week I had a sweet experience. We visited a Less active member whose husband died shortly after their family was sealed in the temple. She had a hard time handling that. We visited her and taught her the plan of salvation. We were talking about sealings, of course. I shared with her about how Grandpa had just passed away and how I was so sad because I didn't get to see him but that I know I'll see him again. The tears started to flow. It was really sweet because I felt like it meant a lot to her, and it meant a lot to me! I'm so grateful that we can live with our families again!

I don't think I ever told you but, there are chickens EVERYWHERE in Cambodia. They all just run around. There are more chickens than dogs I think.

Pig pig pigaroo
So I told you about the family we committed to baptism. They are Lookpuu Lii, Neakming Srei, and their daughter Caneet. Their are a referral from their neighbor, a member, and they just really want to learn! We've taught them a few times and they just really want to get baptized! It is funny because, they don't really remember a lot of what we teach, and they can't read so that makes things hard, but they have the sweetest hearts and they love to meet with us. They have kept their commitments to pray every day and they came to church yesterday! We are going to start going a couple of times a week to read the book of Mormon to them because it is so important!

So yeah that is one major issue here. A lot of people don't know how to read. And some who kinda can read, can't really read for comprehension. It is quite the situation. It makes gaining a testimony through the Book of Mormon hard. I am just racking my brain for solutions. Obviously I can't personally teach everyone here how to read. In SMC they just started a class on weeknights where a member is teaching a reading class, I'll be interested to hear the results. I also obviously can't go to everyone's house either and read to them. Eventually with Lookpuu Lii's family I'm hoping we can hand off reading with them over to their neighbor who referred them to us. She sits in on all our lessons anyway, and I think it just might work out. Maybe that is the solution - setting up members that can read to read with members who can't. I don't know. 

It also sometimes makes teaching hard. BUT something that helps so much is our picture book that we take everywhere! They love pictures, and they remember a lot from them! So, love that. 

Our baptism yesterday! My companion is on the left.
Haha okay, so this week we hunted down some inactive members who haven't been visited for like 5 years. IT WAS HILARIOUS. We like asked some members if they knew them based on their picture in their CBR record. They were so funny. They were so into it. They were like "Oh sister, You have to go up this road like so far, and then turn and then talk to every one on that road and show them the picture. You can do this. Talk to everyone." They were like acting like it was the biggest expedition ever. It was hilarious. So we did just that, talked to everyone. That was hilarious! we went like back and forth on this massive road asking people for directions. And the thing with directions here is, they aren't really a thing. "Oh yeah, it's three big houses down" "oh yeah, there is a house with a big rock in front" (no rock in sight...) "oh yeah, it's over there" (point to the distance). SO FUNNY! but eventually we found their houses. One of them isn't really interested in coming back, but she called us Elder the whole time so it was worth it. The other one wasn't home, but we're pretty sure we freaked out her son... Honestly, the things we do here are so creepy! So creepy! Regular conversation: "Hi, where are you going? Oh really, I'm going to find a member of our church. Have you ever learned about Christ? Here have this pamphlet about the gospel. Can I get your phone number? Have a nice day?" The only thing that makes what we do here okay is that it's true. Really that's the only thing.

Everyone needs to read Alma 26!!! SO GOOD! Also Romans 1:16 is just an awesome power scripture. Mmm mmm mmm. 

How is Jax doing?

Also I have been trying to think of the star wars quote that yoda says that goes like "Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, suffering leads to the dark side." I try to remember it every time I get frustrated, but I don't think I quite have it right. Brothers, help me out? Yesterday I was really really frustrated at Church because the reverence standard here = no reverence. So that drives me crazy! And I was started to get like angry, more like annoyed. Anyway, I just realized though that I can't get annoyed or angry because that leads to hate and I need to love these people!!! 

Anyway, haha that was random and crazy. I love you all! 


Sister Homer

My breakfast this morning! Mm yummy! It's called Baay sac cruuk dak poong Tia. Which you don't know what that means, haha. It means, literally, rice meat pig put egg duck. So yeah, rice, pork, duck egg. DELICIOUS!

Sunday, July 7, 2013



Okay, you can't even imagine how much I love emailing every week. I sit here and giggle essentially the whole time because of how happy I am to be talking to/hearing about my family and friends. My companion just turned to me and said, "Wow. you really do love your email time." I LOVE IT!

So let me finish up my life in Stung Mean Chey and then I'll move onto the details of Kampong Cham. One of the highlights of my week this past week was the English Class we taught on Wednesday. Everyone in the whole mission teaches english once a week. Anyway, it was like the last day of the class series and so it was supposed to be a review. The elders who usually teach didn't really have anything planned. So because I spent all that time observing foreign language classes and learning about methods, I was all for giving it a shot. So I just jumped up there and we started reviewing body parts, of course by playing head shoulders knees and toes. I also had them play simon says a little bit later. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!! I was laughing, and mostly everyone was laughing with/at me! that is just what I wanted. So essentially it was the funnest thing ever and I LOVE teaching English as a Second Language.

Also, i think I told you about the random girl who came to English class 2 weeks ago and how I sat by her and she wants to learn about the gospel. She came again and I helped her a lot and had her work with some members. She still really wants to learn. She is a different branch so I wrote down all her info and gave it to the new elder that just got to that area. But she is so cute and when I told her that I was leaving, she was so sad! I was so flattered she likes me so much! I'll send a picture with her.

I want you to know that I have never been so proud to be an American nor loved my country so much. 4th of july was obviously really low-key. But I did start the morning off with a load of pancakes, and I dressed for the occasion. See pictures.

So remember Ming Ranier who just got baptized. We visited her this week and she has read in the book of mormon all the way until Helaman Chapter 13. That honestly doesn't happen. That is not a thing. she is so gold!!! And she understand like everything! Wow! I'm like a proud parent! I love her!

Now to Kampong Cham. Wow, I love it here! It is about 3 hours outside of Phnom Penh, and the busride was BEAUTIFUL! I want you to know that Stung Mean Chey was really not very pretty at all, and so I was SHOCKED at how beautiful Cambodia actually is. It gets better, my whole area is gorgeous. See the picture taken from my kitchen window.

My companion is also awesome! Her name is Sister Window and she is from Sandy, Utah. she is just really chill and so I think we will get along great! Her language is actually really good! I think we'll definitely have some funny experiences together, but it will be great! We'll both get so good at the language. It's also hilarious because the women here really do know how to talk a lot. They go on and on and on, so I have really learned to make just the right noises in just the right places so they think I know exactly what they are saying. Haha... yeah. I do try really hard to understand, and I usually catch the gist. It is also funny because Sister Window does about the exact same thing. Haha! Love it! Oh and false alarm last week. I am definitely still being trained. Which really all that kinda means is we take an extra hour of study in the morning as a companionship. It's nice though because then we can practice running through lessons together and stuff.

On Saturday I did my first service project here in Cambodia. We harvested lemongrass. Turns out lemongrass grows in mucky, muddy, leech infested water! It honestly was so fun! And crazy hard work in the heat! I loved it! I guess we'll be doing a lot of service here. That's how it is in the Khaits. I'm excited about that! Oh and don't worry, I didn't have any leech issues. But other people did. haha crazy!

Also, there are actually heated showers in Cambodia. I didn't know that was a thing here! my room has one! I never thought I would even want one, but this morning I actually used semi-heat. It was incredible!

Dad asked about my living conditions. How can I say this... These are not the most desirable of houses. BUT here in Cambodia, they are so nice! So i'm happy. I'll send you a picture of one of the toilets in our house...Haha. Also Sister Window and I live with the other two sisters here. They are Sister Smock and Sister Eekoo. They are both Khmer, from Stung mean chey!! They cook pretty much every meal, so I eat really good food! These people know how to take a pile of grass and make it into a meal worth $50. I'm not kidding, it is so good. Sometimes the meat is hard to work with because they eat every part of every animal, bones not separated. But i'm working on it.

Dad also asked about how the language is coming. It is not bad! I have to keep in perspective that I have been here for 1 month and a half. And honestly, I think I'm actually doing really well. I'm getting better and better at listening. The people here kinda have a funny accent, but mostly they actually speak a little clearer. I love learning this language!

I'm not quite sure how the work is here yet, i'll update you on that next week. The weather is hot. Surprise. But cooling down a bit! It rains almost every night.

Wow long letter! That's about all I have! I love you all! This week was so fabulous!


Sister Homer

(editor's note: she sent about a billion pictures this week, so instead of trying to fit them in the blog, here they all are!)

Sister Hearts and I, shopping last week. Did I ever mention I love shopping?

All the missionaries in SMC this past transfer. LOVE THEM!

Sister Cheek stuck in the mud. So funny.

The gasol sisters who I love! 

Srei Bling, the girl who goes to english class

Ming White, the RS president!

Good morning with pancakes

Proud to be an american

The red, white, and blue

Sister Cheek and I

Sister Cheek and I

Ming Ranier and her daughter!!

Two of the most adorable girls ever. Ever. Ever.

The view from my kitchen window.

Same view, but zoomed in. Can you see the wat in the distance?

Nothing special, just the normal bikes...