Sunday, September 29, 2013

To you from me

Hello Family,

This week is probably going to be less exciting, I'm sorry! Mostly it was pretty normal, still trying to visit all of our recent converts and other less actives, but also making sure we hit certain people for Sister Payne to say goodbye. And then starting Friday half our time was spent in 2nd branch as well.

A neat bird paper thing a member made!
The transition slowed us down a little bit, but I think this next week we'll just pick back up running again. Working with Sister Kuoch is definitely different than Sister Payne. Probably working with any Khmer is different than working with an American. I seriously love Sister Kuoch so much!! She is just the sweetest thing. And she wants to work hard like me. And turns out, she speaks the language really well. ;) No but seriously, that has probably been the biggest change. Before, sister Payne and I split the lesson probably like 50% just naturally. Now, I probably take maybe 20%. But that is really for the better because when I start talking it sounds like a garbage truck just rolled into town. I'm not joking, the difference between her and me is just hysterical!!! Hahaha, so much for thinking I was doing alright with the language. Haha, ugh I'm laughing out loud right now - it's that funny. BUT this really is going to be such a good thing. I already have learned so many new words. And so help me, I'm going to master this language.

The group
I'll be honest, the first few days have maybe been a bit overwhelming/lonely. If those are the right words. Our house is a lot quieter. We just are a lot more quiet. Sister Kuoch doesn't know a ton of English. I know enough Khmer that we can have a conversation mostly about anything, BUT I don't necessarily always have things to say... but that is just how it goes with a new companion! We speak in Khmer pretty much 100% but I'm really determined to help her learn english, and she wants to too. So We have times where we just practice english.

Yesterday was interesting at church. I think I told you last week that a lot of our branch is flooded. Well that is still the case, so a lot of people still didn't come to church. PLUS it was raining cats and dogs. Literally there was so much rain. It was crazy. So in first branch we had less than 100 people come, and then in 2nd branch we probably had like 30-40 people come. yikes!

There is a big difference between 1st and 2nd branch (obviously). 1st branch, the one i've been serving in, is more like poverty, out in the beautiful greenland. 2nd branch is city. And for some reason the city is just always harder. But, We are going to work hard any way and I know we'll be blessed!

The girls
But back to church yesterday, I was so happy, and a bit surprised that a lot of our recent converts still ended up coming to church!!!!! Yes! As far as Cynthia, she wasn't able to make it to church, but we went and taught her last night and she was so upset that she had to stay home and watch the baby so her sister could go to church. But she cheered right up when we started teaching her! She will be getting baptized this next week! Teaching her is so fun, but what is even greater is that every night their family does like study time together and her older sister tries to expound on the stuff we taught her already! I just love that so much! This week we taught her the law of chastity... try to do that without using words. Hahaha, it was so funny! Let's just say, it was done very carefully. And somethings may have just been left unsaid, but we told her sister it was maybe her responsibility to cover that with her. haha love it.

Our church building
This week I came across a question I have in the Book of Mormon. It is in Ether 3 and it is when the Brother of Jared sees the finger of the Lord. But I realized, this was before the time the Christ had come to earth, so why did he already have flesh and blood? But then it kind of answers it, but I'm still not sure about verse 9. It says, "because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood" or something like that. So, why did the Bro of Jared see Him in flesh and blood. I mean besides the fact that he had faith... Was it like an allusion? Was it like a kind of prophesy of the future. I guess I didn't think prophecies really happened like that when you aren't expecting them, but then again, what would I know about prophecies. Anyway, does anyone have thoughts on that? Hopefully I explained that clearly...

I hope you all have a good time watching general conference this week! i think I'll be watching it the next week. I will miss you all!


sister Homer

We went to a super pretty wat this week!

Any interpretations on this bird/dead body statue?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dear Family


This week I don't think I have as much to tell, but it was an awesome week!!! I told you that we had the goal of 40 lessons. We came out with about 35. BUT we worked super hard and I'm proud of our effort. Plus other things came up like a service activity that took half a day. It was awesome though!

First, I'll tell you about my birthday. It was such an awesome day! After emailing we went and grabbed our favorite banana bread muffins and small loafs of warm bread. Delicious! And then we went over the senior couple's house and played monopoly with some of the elders and members. It was really fun! They were so nice and got me a cake and bought me a snickers bar! The senior couple got me a box of butter cookies. And then that night Sister Moon called me and wished me happy birthday. What a good day! All of which was topped off by going home and opening my packages (THANK YOU MOM SO SO SO SO SO MUCH!!!) and then having rootbeer floats! Oh and Sister Kuoch and Mok got me earrings and a hair clip! Pictures will be included. Basically everyone was so nice!! What a good day!

So I think I told you that Moiseng left, but then she came back this past week! We met with her twice this week and she is doing awesome. Still not ready to commit to baptism though. I still love teaching her.

Teaching Kunthia is also going well! We taught the plan of salvation this week. You may wonder how we can do that without any form of communication. Let me tell you, very carefully. We drew paper people (one a body, one a spirit) and showed them coming together and separating and coming together again. We have this like sheet that walks through the plan of salvation in Khmer, so we used that as well. Long story short, it was awesome! She seriously understood so much. And she was so excited with how much she understood. We also taught her repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end this week. Creativity is key. But I really think she understands a lot, and I KNOW that Heavenly Father is making up the difference. What a cool experience I have to be teaching her!

Lookpuu Thia is still doing well. I think he has completely stopped smoking! (fingers crossed) As well as our other recent convert lookpuu, lookpuu Lii!! They have the sweetest hearts. Another daughter in Lookpuu Lii's family just got baptized yesterday. I don't think I have talked much about her. Her name is Srei Channa. She is 16. Boy is she sassy, but super fun and cute as well. We've had fun teaching her. I'll send a picture.

Yesterday we didn't have as many people come to church. Actually that's an understatement. Last week we had around 150. Yesterday we had 104. What?? That's just like a 1/3 gone. BUT I think some of it has to do with many of our members houses are now surrounded by water. Flood. I guess it happens every year. I'm gonna get a picture and show it to you, it's crazy! Now I totally understand why all the houses are on stilts! So I'm not sure where all those people are, but that I think is partially the reason for our low numbers.

Speaking of weather. I really can't tell you when rainy season starts and ends. It has definitely been rainy this week though, which I love. I'm not sure how much longer to go. But the river just did flood over, so I'm not sure how long that lasts for. And then listen to this. After rainy season, it is COLD season. You can't even imagine how excited I am!! I think that means maybe like 80 degrees, on a regular basis! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!

Also, let me tell you about this hilarious contact we had this week. We went to this local gas station where we regularly go, and there was a guy just sitting at the counter talking to the clerk. She was helping Sister Payne so I decided to contact him. I gave him a pamphlet, he was amazed that we could both speak the language already. He put our number in his phone right then and I invited him to church on Sunday. WELL, like 20 minutes later he calls us and asks if he can sit in on a lesson. That really wasn't an option so we said if he was interested in learning more we could teach him another day. Blah blah blah. Long story short he calls us at like 9:30 on Saturday night asking us about church the next day. Calls us again Sunday morning at 7:30 about church. And then he actually went to church! BUT the thing is... he may just be more interested in me than he actually is in the gospel...yikes. He asked if he could come have lunch at our house. I definitely was quick to tell him that was not gonna work. But, I made the elders sit by him the whole time, I think he got the hint I wasn't interested. But I was still friendly in missionary terms and asked him if he liked church, etc. I gave him a book of mormon. He is a nice guy, like 23 years old. He is super smart. He actually lives in Second branch's area, so we'll see if anything happens there. I want to assure you though, I do not take part in the "flirt to convert" style. This all just got out of hand really fast.  Haha so that was funny this week.

Now, speaking of second branch. Let me tell you about transfers. As you know, Sister Payne and I have been working in first branch, and sister mok and kuoch have been in second branch. Well, transfer calls came last night, and starting on Friday, Sister Mok and Sister Payne are leaving but Sister Kuoch and I are now companions and we will now be covering both branches. Let me tell you something. This is a bit crazy. I know in Utah missionaries cover multiple wards at the same time. But let me tell you. This is not Utah. And my branch alone has been keeping us SUPER busy all the time. BUT despite how crazy it is going to be, I can't tell you how excited I am! Sister Kuoch and I are going to be working hard all the time. I will get to know all the people in second branch as well!! Also my language is going to improve a ton a think because Sister Kuoch speaks hardly any english!! BUT she is also going to improve a ton because she wants to and I am going to help her! Also, no other sisters are coming back, so it will just be Sister Kuoch and I here in Kampong Cham with a bunch of elders. We might get kind of lonely, but it will be really fun! I think president is closing down this area now because next transfer we are losing a lot of sisters. So he is probably just thinking ahead. Anyway, I'm super excited! I just love the idea of having too much work today, because I know we will never be wondering what we can do next. I will definitely miss Sister Payne. She and I get along really well, obviously. But this feels so right and I'm super excited! 6 hours of church on sunday (not including baptisms) might be a little intense, but this is going to be fun!!!!

Anyway, I guess that is all this week!! I love you all!

Sister Homer

Birthday cake

Blowing candles + Monopoly


My earrings (you might not be able to tell, but these are purple bears with pearls as stomachs. haha!)

Road to service

Srei Cabanna

Bananas anyone?

Our regular egg lady

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hello Family

Dear Family,

"I don't know about you, but I'm feeling twenty-two!" <---Thank you Taylor Swift for those more than appropriate lyrics on this my 22nd birthday. Thank you all for the Birthday wishes!! I hope you eat cake or something for me. Also happy birthday to Dad tomorrow and Shawn on Thursday!!!!

This week was a good week, pretty normal, but good!  Bong Elle was bapitzed yesterday, and I am so happy for her. Of all the investigators that I have been baptized so far, I would say she is just the most sincere and understands the big picture more than anyone. So I am really excited about that and I just love her!

Also, yesterday we got a call from our investigator Moiraine. She said she is already back in Kampong Cham!!!! woohoo!! So we will start teaching her again this week! That is awesome!

This week is really going to be awesome. Sister Payne and I decided we could fit in 40 lessons. So that is our goal. It really will be dependent on whether people are home and available, but we are going to work so hard to make it happen!!! I know it can though.

This next sunday will be transfer calls. We assume Sister Payne is transferring as she has been here for 6 months already. I will be sad for her to go, but also excited for something new and different. I got fun email from President Moon today, he said:

"I know at some point I am going to have break you two up, but I'm really going to hate doing it because you are such a dynamite pair together!!"

Haha, so yep he nailed it. We work hard and we play hard together! It's just been great! Dad asked about my interaction with the mission president. Every week we email him a short email, he will sometimes email back. If we ask questions he definitely will or if he has other random thoughts to say, I don't know. He's a busy man though. He is a really good mission president. Just this week he and Sister Moon came down to Kampong Cham and had a breakfast with all of us and we did a group study in the morning about conversion. It was awesome! They care so much about the growth of the church here as well as the growth in their missionaries.

Mom asked about a typical p-day. It usually goes like this:
5:30 wake up
6:00 market
7:30 personal study
8:30 companion study
9:30 clean house and wash vegetables
10:30 go email
12:00 grab some sort of lunch/do other shopping errands
2:00 free time (usually a nap or going somewhere cool, today we'll play monopoly)
5:00 back out teaching
6:30 Home
7:00 dinner
8:00 Language studay
9:30 BED!

Dad asked about the missionaries in my group. The only one I see these days is Elder Garrow who is also here in Kampong Cham. I really don't know how anyone is doing on the language anymore. I assume they are all progressing! I think it will be fun when we are all together for Christmas and we can see how eachother have progressed!

Teaching Cynthia is going well. (She is the deaf one). It is definitely interesting. We make up hand sings. The other day we took the Restoration video to her house and have her watch it. We're not sure what she understood, but afterward she got up and found her sisters Joseph Smith Pamphlet! So she obviously made some connection!

Mom asked what percentage of people can't read... Sister Payne and I would say maybe 30% read with comprehension, 30% read without comprehension, and then maybe the leftover 40% really can't read much at all. But that is at least what we would guess from our area. I'm sure in the city more people can. It definitely makes asking them to read the Book of Mormon hard! And yet it is so so so cool to see the members who are in the group where they can read with no comprehension, and yet they still diligently read the Book of Mormon every day. I just am in awe by them. So cool!

Lookpuu Dore did receive the Holy Ghost yesterday! He said he's been smoking free since last Sunday! So, we'll keep praying for him! Ugh smoking. It's killer here.

This week I also tried this food that everyone here loves. It's called Brahak. Actually when you read that it won't sound much like how it really is pronounced, but... sorry. Anyway, they call it Khmer Cheese, but what it really is is fish that has sat out and rotted for like 4 months, ground up into a paste, with other random stuff mixed in. They dip really really unripe mangoes in it. As you might imagine, the taste really resembled vomit. But hey, when in Rome!

I guess that is all I have this week!! I love you all!!

Thanks for the emails!


Sister Homer

Typical scene 
I may or may not have broken the bathroom door off this makes life more interesting

So our laundry machine doesn't work so much... this is the water I rung out of my clothes. Haha, you can't tell, but that water is BROWN. It good to know that I sweat a lot and then it never really just comes all the way out does it. Sorry if I permanently stink when I get home!


The cute Caneet

A turtle!!

Road to Wat Balang

Beautiful area

Finally: The dynamic duo!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hello Family

Hola mi familia,

Psyche, I don't speak spanish. I try though, all the time.

Now for real things. This week was good! And crazy!

First, mom asked what happened our last visit with Moiraine. We met with her on Monday for the last time and read 1 Nephi 8 together, which you know is the tree of life. We totally broke it down, and it was AWESOME!!!! Have I mentioned how much I love that chapter! Anyway, it went really well and I hope it was enough to keep her going until she comes back. We'll see what happens.

We have a new investigator this week. Her name is Cynthia. She is Om Nebo's daughter and Bong Cabanna's sister. Let me tell you about her a bit. She is deaf and cannot speak (usually that's how it works). She has been this way her whole life and has no education. But she has seen her mom and sister learning and has started coming to church too. She can communicate in her own little way, and she wants to be baptized! She prays with them, even though I'm not sure how much she understands. But so, we are going to start teaching her. I know it will be interesting. But also, I am so excited because I feel like there will be a lot of sweet experiences involved. And I really think that Heavenly Father will make up for the differences in her lack of ability to communicate. We have taught her about prayer so far. Teaching her mostly consists of pointing to pictures and acting things out. I'm not sure how this will all work, but I just know that Heavenly Father loves her just so much, and she wants to follow Him. So we'll make it work!

Also this week we had an interesting experience with our dear Lookpuu Dore. He was baptized a week ago, and yesterday he and his family was supposed to be receiving the Holy Ghost. So we rode our bikes past his house on Saturday and I saw him holding a cigarette. You probably could imagine my panic and confusion and disappointment. Long story short, we had to sit down with him and tell him he could not receive the Holy Ghost the next day. We had a really good talk about worthiness among other things. I'm not really sure what happened. He and the wife tell us he really hasn't been smoking but he like had a small relapse I guess you could say. Although this was highly disappointing, it also is really sweet. Yesterday he still came to church with his family, and they received the Holy Ghost. Our branch president pointed out that he was there but would not be receiving the Holy Ghost that day. Ugh, haha FAIL. Poor guy, was probably SUPER embarrassed. But we met with them after church and I can't even tell you how sincere he is. He is trying so hard. So we gave him a massive bag of mints to help him try to quit. I feel like this could be such a good faith building experience. I know you might be thinking we didn't teach him right in the first place, and that this sounds really sketch. I want you to know, (1) it is really sketch! But (2) We really do emphasize the important of these covenants they make and we make it very clear the things they need to do to be worthy. There is just kind of a different learning curve here I think. I wish you knew what Cambodia was like. Mostly, I am so proud of him though. He is going to be good. If you remember, please keep him in your prayers.

Also we were teaching another one of lookup Jordan's daughters this week (she will be baptized in 2 weeks) and she told us she wants to be a missionary someday too!! WOOHOO!! You can't imagine how much my heart just exploded when she said that. And then all the little Vialksach girls said they wanted to be too!!! I love it! I would die if someday they all become missionaries. Issue though, they can't read... haha. I'll encourage them to get on that. Note: vialksach is an area we go to basically every day.

Last night we also visited these 2 daughters of a less-active family that is just becoming active again. They are so fun! We are teaching one of them how to read once a week. (blind leading the blind?). And let me tell you, these two teenage girls talk SO FAST!!! But guess what else! I understand like 97% of everything that went down!!! woohoo!!

I also went on an exchange this week into Sister Mok's area. It was really fun. I'm so glad to be in the area I'm in though. Also, I love Sister Mok so so so much. She is HILARIOUS!! But mostly she is just the sweetest thing ever.

Also, probably every single day this week people have addressed the "issue" of my freckles. I have been encouraged multiple times to go to a doctor to get them removed. I can't even explain how absolutely hilarious it is. They really just aren't quite understanding.

And last, but not least. Last monday, p-day, we went to a wat called Phnom broh, phnom srei. Those are actually two mountains that have wats all over them. Mostly the pictures will say it all. But at one point there was a monkey holding onto my dress and hissing at me and I may have been close to tears. Have fun! :)

I love you all!!! GO COUGARS!!!!!!


Sister Homer

contacting the monks (this picture was probably staged…

This is Moiraine!

Our area, so pretty!

A little taste of the city

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hello Family!

Dear Family,

So, this week was another good one here! Every week is just awesome! The highlight of the week was most definitely yesterday though. We had every single one of our investigators go to church, as well as almost every single one of our Recent Converts (like 17 people). You can't even begin to imagine what a miracle that is here. It was AWESOME!!! And testimony meeting was really awesome as well. I hope everyone felt the spirit like I did! We also had 147 people at church yesterday, that is the most it has been since I have been here! Woohoo!!! We are totally seeing miracles here!

Lookpuu Dore's family
Also yesterday at church Lookpuu Dore's entire family was baptized! (Except for their 2 year old son...). So it was Puu Thia, Ming Sophia, Srei June, and Srei Drey. I love this family!! They have grown so much these past two weeks. I feel so blessed to be the one teaching them. I feel as their faith and understanding continues to grow, they can become such a strength to this branch. I'll attach pictures with them.

More of their family, with other neighbor girls I love!!
Also, we had a neat experience with Ming Sophia this week. We were teaching them a lesson, and one of these neighbor girls was looking through Sister Payne's picture book. We ended up showing Ming Sophia a picture of the temple. As far as I know we have not shown her it before. Anyway, she got excited and she said she had a dream about the temple, and that she saw SOO many people there! It was so neat, because we really don't think we had shown it to her before then. Sister Payne thinks she maybe could have been seeing her ancestors. Anyway, we will begin teaching them about temple work/family history work and get them excited to go to the temple as a family. What a neat thing! I know that Heavenly Father is teaching this people even when we aren't there physically teaching them! This work is awesome!

Our regular meat lady.
So, update on Moiraine. She is still super awesome, but she told us this past week that she is moving to Phnom Penh TOMORROW. :( What?? No!! Where she is going there may or may not be a church near by, we are going to look into it more. But also, she says she is coming back in a month or two, in which case, I will probably still be here!!! So, that is putting my mind at ease. She seriously is so awesome though. We taught her a lesson on Saturday about Tithing and Fasting. It was convenient that the next day was fast sunday. As we were teaching her she said something like "this is so interesting, I want to try it out!" And try it out she did! We got a call from her yesterday while we were out teaching. She had just been to the other branch and called to ask if she had broken her fast by partaking of the sacrament. I assured her that she was totally okay!! Are you joking?! That is so cool!! She understands stuff so much. She sees the big picture. Ugh, so cool. I really hope and pray that in a month or so when she comes back she will be ready to commit to be baptized. We will meet with her one last time tonight. We are going to commit her to read the whole Book of Mormon. I know she is ready, she just doesn't quite know it yet.

Would you like the pig head, the chicken feet, or the cow guts?
Sister Kuoch told me some interesting stuff about the culture here and dating. It is SUPER traditional. A lot of people are changing, but there are still a lot of people who are super traditional. You NEVER spend time alone with the person you are interested in. And eventually, the boy goes to the girls parents and says they are interested. The parents talk and decide if they think it is a good match. And then they are kinda paired off and the parents can act as like supervisors if they want to spend time with just the two of them. So different from USA!! Mostly all of the Sister Missionaries here are very traditional like that. You see a lot of other people who obviously aren't like that, but it is interesting. Just a fun random fact I thought you might like.

ALSO, this is crazy. People here do not know maps. Sister Payne have been on a quest this week to find a Cambodian who can point out Cambodia on a map. We have found one. ONLY ONE!!!! He is one of the Elders. It blows our mind! So, we have been educating some people. I guess they just focus on different things here.

Also, I've been looking at some pictures that have been taken of me and I'm pretty certain my face shape has changed. It's the weirdest thing! Do I look different to you in my pictures? I have come to the conclusion that it is because this language uses different muscles, and so my face is morphing. It's really quite unsettling.

Also, I received both the packages from Mom!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! I am waiting to open them both for my birthday. I was shocked and amazed that they got here so quick! Especially because at the same time I just received a letter from the Johnson Family that they marked 3 months ago left from the states. haha, so yeah. I think maybe packages get here better then letters! Maybe not. But thank you!! I can hardly wait to open them, but I'm trying to practice self-control. Thank you!!!!

I think that is mostly it for today. I hope you all had a good time at Huntington Park this weekend! I love you all!!


Sister Homer

 Random pictures from my companion this week:


And more random pictures from me: