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!

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