Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hey again!

Dear family,

Skyping with all of you was so nice! Thank you so much for all being there!!! Dad and mom asked a lot of followup questions which I will now answer.

Okay, so I thought leaving KC was going to be the worst thing ever, especially from my previous experience in the city. But, these past few days I have been PLEASANTLY surprised. In fact, I'm loving my new area. The city is SOOO different. It's not scenic whatsoever, but I actually still really like it. The biggest thing is this branch. It's incredible! There are like 10+ return missionaries that COME to church! It's amazing! The branch president is an RM. Do you know what this means???? The leadership is incredible! Also there is like a hint of reverence at church!!! I could talk about this for like 5 more paragraphs, but I'll stop. Basically I'm really excited to be in this branch. Also our Church building is beautiful! Someday I'll take a picture and send it. As of right now we have a handful of Recent Converts we work with, we have quite a few investigators but... they aren't really progressing, we'll see about that. And there are TONS of less-active members to work with, like usual. Our work is different than in KC, cause mostly I just did a ton of Recent Convert stuff, but I'm excited.

The biggest change is just the pace in lifestyle. KC is so laid-back and just like there isn't ever a traffic jam... sometimes you don't even see a car... but here it is so CROWDED! It is actually kind of energizing, and it means that there are always new people you see every day that you've never contacted before!! Imagine that!
Sister Davis' new companion is a Khmer, her name is sister Kong. She was actually SO nervous and just worried about it, but I know that she will love it. She is in the most beautiful area in the mission with the best members ever!
I know I tried to explain my new house, but it didn't really make sense, so I took some pictures and I'll attach them. The cool thing is that I'm in a house with 4 sisters again! It's so social!! It's crazy! Sister Kacher and Thain are the other two in our house, both american. I really like them!
So yeah, my new assignment as Sister Training Leader. This means I'll start going on exchanges with different sisters around the mission. I'm not really sure what it entails besides that. Just leadership stuff... But it will be fun. I'll get to know a lot of the sisters. I think Sister Mok and I are actually just over 3 other companionships though. We are the North Zone STL, and there are 2 for South Zone, and there is 1 for Battambang/Siem Reap. KC just didn't have one...
I did mention I'll be going to the mission home a lot, but that is just because on p-days we can go if we want and hang out with other missionaries and stuff, which is what we are doing today. Though I will also be going once a month for the training meeting as part of being STL. The mission home is kinda far from us, like a 40 minute bike ride. So we probably actually won't be going every week.

I don't really know my new district yet. As far as my branch there is also a companionship of elders assigned, and they are super cool. One of them also served in KC with me for a transfer, so that's fun.

The school system, as far as I understand, school isn't required, you go if you can afford the 5 dollars a month. Most go, but there are some people who can't afford that. I know many kids who are in 5th grade and don't know how to read yet. They can read a little, but like mostly not. The interesting thing is that school is honestly only like 4 hours a day, and then if you can afford it you can learn more, maybe like tutoring, but not everyone does that. Especially in KC not very many people I know do that. They have public and private, but mostly I think it all kinda works this same...
At church I would say it's rare to have a member quote the scriptures, but those who can read usually share a scripture in their talk. Not everyone here is uneducated, but especially in KC, I just came across so many who were. But there are like really really smart people too, and their understanding of the gospel is deep.
Another big change that comes with being in the city is that they just changed the rule that city sisters can now proselyte until 7:00/7:30. So that's only another hour, but let me tell you, it's like made my whole life crazy. It's not required to be out that late, just if we actually have appointments. But we are pretty much out until then. It kinda sabotages our language study/dinner time, but we're figuring it out.
Yesterday we stopped and watch a train go by. It was the 2nd time Sister Mok has ever seen a train. She was really excited. Stop it. She is literally like my favorite person EVER. I love being her companion!!!!! We laugh all the time. I think we should adopt her.
I guess that's kinda all for me today! Life is great! I'll send you a bunch of random pics. :)
I love you all! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Sister Homer

My KC zone/district



Party hats!

Ming Donny, 1st Branch KC (One of the best people I have ever met)

Srei Label and Mona (KC 2nd branch)

My Vialkhsach kids.  :(  Miss them so much.

Goodbye my beautiful KC!

The ladies of Fambodia!!

More Fambodia ladies!!




My house.  It's REALLY tall and thin.  We live in a VERY nice place.  Pretty much all our neighbors have cars.  And it's like a gated community.  It's so ritzy!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Hey family,
So, this is the last email I'll be sending before Christmas. With Skyping next week we don't have our normal monday p-day next week. So this is it before I see you next week! I'm super excited to skype you all, but kinda not at the same time because I think it might put me in an emotional coma for a week or so. Just a fair warning, this skyping session may not be pretty. You might wonder what's wrong with me, but just probably don't think too much about it.
I also want you to know that it is now coat season here as well. Seriously, they were selling coats, WINTER COATS, at the market the other day. And we saw people actually wearing coats outside, even this morning. People are asking us all the time if we are cold... you must understand, it is not cold here. There is something wrong going on! This might be a horror movie!
Actually, I'm certain this week has been a horror movie. One night I came downstairs after planning and there were, no exaggeration, THOUSANDS, of insects filling our kitchen. Of course the only answer was Raid. I love raid. After I swept up most of them there was like a pile a foot long and at least an inch tall of bugs. I took a picture, but it just doesn't do it justice. I think what happened was that sister Davis left the light on outside when she went to wash her clothes, and then the bugs were attracted to the light, and then they saw the light inside and came through the cracks in the door. But whatever happened, it was seriously like a horror movie. Also, I don't suggest inhaling large amounts of raid...
Also last night we had another Lizard encounter, which was only fitting with our horror movie week. This one was crazy. He thought it would be okay to jump on my bed... false mr. lizard. False. We spent the next good part of an hour trying to deal with him. In the end he somehow disappeared... we still don't know where he is. Needless to say he was tricky. These lizards used to be cute. But now we think they are actually seeking revenge from that first encounter. There have been more and more encounters lately. I'll report more later.
This other really weird thing here is that they like to eat fruit that is not yet ripe, like mangoes for example. Not only is it not yet ripe, it is REALLY REALLY sour. So what they do is they dip it in this salt mixture to level out the sour. Needless to say, it is not delicious! But, what can we do, we choke it down. Well we had this very situation earlier this week, and poor sister Davis. It was maybe her first "force-down-the-food" situation. I think she did okay. I really can't blame her. The weirdest part though is that these people really LOVE it. What is with that?? But good things came out of it. One of the recent converts who was there eating them with us hasn't really been meeting with us decided she really liked us after that, and sat by me all through church yesterday and was like "why haven't you came to my house in the past four days!" Woohoo!
So onto actually important things. Brak Kneesock. This is incredible. We went and visited her maybe Tuesday afternoon. We asked her how she was doing, etc. etc. Well, let me tell you, she is doing so good! She basically like bore her testimony to us about how much she knows this is all true. She found her husband (long story), and that was like a miracle, and her neighbors have been giving her food. And she was like "I literally have NO money, yet I have had food for every meal." Wow! And the best part is that she does attribute this all to God! And then it wasn't 'til after all this that I she wondered if the branch could maybe help her a bit. But she was really afraid to ask because she is so new and she knows it will look like she just joined to get stuff. I assured her it was fine, and we got it all taken care of with the branch president! I'm just so grateful that this all has built her testimony. I wish you all could have heard her testifying! So cool!! One of the greatest moments of my mission so far.
Another AWESOME thing that has been going on lately is with Ming Cat. I've talked about her a bit, but mostly you probably have no idea how heavy she weighs on our minds. She is the one who just knows so much about Buddhism, and has a drinking problem, and maybe also has an interesting mental state...? Unsure. BUT we have seen such progress. Sister Davis and I both agree that we have literally seen light come into her countenance. Before she literally was void of like any light, and we have seen her change. There is definitely SO much more to go, but it's incredible! She has been coming to church and other activities during the week. WOOHOO!!!!! The gospel seriously changes lives!!!!!!!!!!!!
Another fun thing from this week was that our branch president's son is getting married. They did a little ceremony at the church because they are both members (yes!!!), but they are actually getting married somewhere else. Well it was just the darndest thing. It was so SO funny and cute but mostly just REALLY awkward. These people do not do PDA. So funny. Relationships here are just so different from the states. But it was really sweet because they both shared their testimonies. He is a returned missionary, she's isn't... but she was like SO grateful to be marrying in the church and to another member. You could tell that meant the world to her. Because her whole life she probably wondered if that would be an option. (at least since she's been a member she's probably wondered...) But it was so sweet and I'm so happy for them!
Okay I guess that is all this week! I will see you all on your Christmas day next week! Maybe sometime between like 7:00-9:00pm your time. I'm not quite sure but I'll try to get there closer to the 7 o'clock hour for you.
I love you all! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!
Sister Homer

We went to Hanchey again this week.  SO COOL!!! If any of you ever come here, we are going there.  Elephant

Sister Davis and I

This picture really doesn't do it justice.

I like this pic

There was a pig encounter.

totally candid, totally awesome

just . . . yeah

This doesn't need to go on the blog, but it is certainly the best picture that has ever been taken of me, ever!  (oops)

I must have been a dino in my old life.




The ladies (left Bowtie, right Savannah)

The crew

THIS is the pile of bugs.  You can't tell but it was HUGE!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Hey everyone,
This week was SIGNIFICANTLY better than last week. Mostly it was just a normal week, which I loved! I love just getting out and teaching. These people are just so funny and this place is so funny!
We got a few new investigators this week. One's name is មីង​​រង (Ming Song), she learned a few years ago but left to a different city. Well now she is back and she is awesome! we've taught her twice and she is so good! She can't read, but what's new. She cut us up the yummiest pineapples to eat before she would even let us start teaching. By the way, the pineapples here are tiny, so cute! Anyway she is so good and she like insisted on coming to church, even though she couldn't make it to the branch she is supposed to go to, so she came to the other one. Haha, okay! Yes! So she did come for 2 hours yesterday, and I hope it was a good experience for her! I think it was!
Yesterday we also had Ming Laundry, Brak Kneesock, Srei Chia, and Homestar  get confirmed, woohoo! I was so so so excited that Brak Kneesock came. We came across her on the side of the road on Friday and talked to her for a long time. Long story short, her husband left (wants to go back but his co-workers won't let him) and hasn't sent her money so she has no food to feed her kids, not to mention she is pregnant and has lost 3 pounds, in the last few days. She was saying she will probably have to sell her bike to be able to feed her kids. I obviously didn't tell her to not do that, but if she did that meant she couldn't come to church. Well, after talking to her for a while we went and bought her some food so her kids don't starve. We offered to come get her and take her to church on sunday. She told us to just wait and see, and then we didn't hear from her. But so yeah she came and I was so so so excited!! This woman is awesome. She bikes herself and her two kids to church, while pregnant and stays three hours. Not to mention she said she had been praying constantly and reading her scriptures because she didn't know what else to do. So good!
Probably the best thing that happened this week though was that we got a new washing machine. We told the senior couple it kinda didn't work (understatement), they came and looked at it and were like, oh well let's just get a new one! Apparently that was no big deal. Let me tell you, if I had only known, I wouldn't have been wearing dirt for the past 5 months! It was like Christmas. It's incredible. We maybe smell like real people now!!! It's wonderful.

Something I always knew, but didn't really think about much until this week is the difference between The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Let me tell you, there is such a difference. In Utah I think it is really easy for the two to kind of just be the same, but here, they are two very different things. And I actually realized I kind of like that because, you don't really develop a testimony of the Church here, but you can still develop a testimony of the Gospel. Certainly, you CAN develop a testimony of the church here too, but at least for me coming from Utah... you just kind of don't. But it's an incredible thing to see, and realize that the true thing we are converting people to is the gospel, not the church. In places where the church is developed, it's easy to forget that. All that probably didn't make any sense, but to me that was kind of a significant thought this week.
This week was a creature week. Meaning there were creatures everywhere. The best one though was the cockroach. I have honestly had the best luck with not really having to deal with cockroaches. But one morning this week, we came downstairs and there was one laying on it's back. You would think that would mean it would be dead, oh no. They play dead. They fake you out. So after lengthy observation I decided it truly was still alive. I took so much raid to that cockroach, it was borderline excess. And then we also poured soap on it, cause sister Davis heard that kills them. I wish you could have witnessed this battle. I like to think I'm maturing in my ability to handle bugs. Needless to say, we overcame.
Also someone told Sister Davis her feet look like baby pigs. HAHAHHAHAHA this is the same member who wants me to marry her son. Also a dog stole one of sister Davis' shoes. But it was recovered.
Do you know how much I LOVE Pineapple Fanta?
Also, it's official. You can spot a nerd in any culture. <3
I guess that is all for me! I love you all!

Sister Homer

The cheesecake mom sent me that I made this week. :) SO GOOD!!! Thank you mommy!

These are my wonderful members in Vialkhsach!!! (some of them.)

A pile of rice stalks after they take the rice off.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December already!

Dear Family,
I really can't believe it is already December. When I got here in MAY I thought that I would never make it here. Can you believe I have already been here this long? This month I will hit my 9 months as a missionary. Technically that would be halfway. But If I stay 'til next October it won't quite be halfway. But it is all just so bizarre because I still feel like a fool who has no idea what is going on around me. But, whatever. I make do. It also is incredible because today I was standing at our kitchen sink washing our vegetables looking out over my backyard swamp and just thinking to myself, "I don't really want to leave yet." That's like a big deal. Obviously I'm not really close to leaving, but also I just really really love it here. I know that you probably already assumed I love it here, but like I don't know there are different levels. And something no one will ever understand is what it is like to live in Cambodia. It really is not ideal in almost every way. It's hard, but today I just actually LOVE IT. And I don't want to go home yet. Good thing I still have at least 9 more months!
This week was probably the craziest thing that ever happened. I think there was literally some force in the universe preventing Sister Davis and I from getting anything done. I have no way I can really put it into perspective for you besides just telling you it was comical how thing after thing after thing just came up and fell through. The best way I could tell you would probably be to say that we only taught 12 lessons this week. I know for some missions and some areas that really might not be bad. Actually that might be really good, I have no perspective of these things. BUT, for me and my companion here in Kampong Cham, that is HORRIBLE. Two weeks ago we had 37 lessons. So it really was like, not okay. But honestly we were working hard all week and doing what we were supposed to, so I don't feel frustrated or disappointed in myself, it really just turned out to be comical!
One major thing that came up during this week was that one of our members died here in 1st branch. He has been a member for a long time, but he is not just any member, he is actually our recent convert, Seang Hach's dad. :( So that was like the worst thing ever. He was sick for the past few weeks so he went up to Phnom Penh to get it taken care of. They said there was nothing they could do and that he would die soon, and they sent him back home. He did indeed pass away I think on Friday morning. So we were there on Friday and Saturday doing stuff with the funeral. And funerals actually last 7 days here, so we'll be going back there again this week. They did already bury him though, and that was the most interesting thing. The monks came and did all the cleaning of the body all the way through the procession. They then let the mormons come in and dedicate the grave before they covered it all up. It was really fascinating thing to be a part of. There was a good turnout of members there and I was really grateful for that. I think the family was as well, to have all that support. More than anything seeing they way the did the funeral and the difference between mormon funerals really just confirmed that I KNOW the plan of salvation is real. I have literally no doubt. I just wish people could see that and understand.
The thing that is amazing is that yesterday Seang Hach still came to church. I was so touched by that! You would think if there were one time that maybe there was a decent excuse to not come to church, it would have been yesterday. And in a place where everyone is looking for excuses to not come to church, that was truly amazing. I was just blown away when I saw her walk in. I'm literally speechless.
Another thing that took up a lot of our time this week was Brak Soknii's baptismal interviews. She had to be interviewed by both our district leader and our Mission President. So Tuesday we did the DL one and then on Friday we arranged for her to skype with president moon. Let me tell you how hysterical this was. I told her we would come pick her up on friday to go do the interview. I obviously didn't think it was that big of a deal. But so yes, we went and picked her up in the senior couples car, took her back to their house, set up the computer so she could skype him, and then just took her back home after it was all finished. Totally normal. Well based on the look on her face when we dropped her back off, it was obviously like the most bizarre experience she's ever had. Then I realized, she had just driven in a car with a bunch of white people to go to a nice, big, air-conditioned house to talk on a computer with a white man speaking Khmer about the gospel. Turns out that really isn't a normal thing here. Her face was seriously like the funniest thing I had ever seen when we dropped her off. She just had this goofy little smile and she like didn't know where to go or who to talk to. You could tell her mind had just been blown. It was so great! It was eye-opening to me to though, for how eye-opening it was for her. I'll send a picture of the neighborhood she's from. But besides all that, she did SO AWESOME! on her interview. I obviously don't really know what was said but I heard her talking a lot and afterward President Moon said she was awesome. woohoo! So she was baptized yesterday! Ming Sokhom did come to church yesterday so she was baptized as well!
Srei Miah was also baptized yesterday. This was endearing. Saturday she had her interview with Elder Sorenson. We were at the funeral so we just had him go by himself. Not ideal, but necessary. Well, Srie Miah our fiesty little ten year old turned from sassy to scared. She literally wouldn't even talk to him. She hid under a towel for 30 minutes and refused to do the interview. So he called us, and we finally got there. I talked to her for a while under the towel and finally got her to do the interview if I sat in. Elder Sorenson made an exception and decided that was fine. So we finally got the interview all done. So fast forward to yesterday, baptism. Her dad baptized her, but once she got in the water with him she was SO scared. She doesn't know how to swim and the water was cold. She was just like crying through the whole thing. And then they always have the new converts stand and bear their testimony, well that was just too much for her. She was just sitting there with tears streaming down her face, refusing to get up. I felt so bad!! I promise we didn't force her to be baptized! She wanted this. So they didn't make her talk, and it was all fine. After it was all over she was fine and even smiled at me. I just don't know how getting her the Holy Ghost next week will work.

Another thing this week is that our BM helper Sanna got her mission call! She is going to Cambodia! She leaves for the Manila MTC on January 17th. That is so soon! I could very well be her companion in the future, which is crazy because I've known spent so much time with her already these past 5 months. I guess we'll see!
And now I will report on Thanksgiving. IT. WAS. WONDERFUL. The senior couple seriously went above and beyond. We had a delicious ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, corn, rolls, PUMPKIN PIE!!!!!, ice cream. Oh my gosh. It was delicious. I was in heaven. After that we all went and did service for a member in 3rd branch. That is the funnest, best thing ever as well. We harvested rice. I don't think anyone can even understand the work that goes into rice. I literally can't understand how there is so much rice in this world. I ponder this regularly and I come up short every time. I do not understand. But it was super fun! And it was the perfect thing for Thanksgiving day.

The other coolest thing about Thanksgiving was this. Sister Dilworth had her ipad and she showed us this music video of these people singing Little Drummer Boy. You must find this. It was incredible. Search Pentatonix, Little Drummer Boy on Youtube. Do it. It is the best thing ever!!! And from what I can tell it looks like there is a whole Christmas album. Are they like a thing in the United States? I love them.
This morning the best thing happened at the market. We were buying bananas and sister Davis pointed to the ones she wanted and the Neakming who was selling them to us like got really startled and she looked at the ming selling next to her and was like "what do I say??" and she was like looking back and forth at us and holding up fingers. It was hilarous. She assumed we couldn't speak Khmer. So I was like "haha ming, don't worry, I understand." And like this great wave of relief washed over her. Haha, it was HILARIOUS! You really had to be there, but really it was super funny.
So yeah I guess that is all I have this week!

I love you all!
Sister Homer
Read the back of this dictionary. HILARIOUS. There are a lot of errors in our dictionaries. Also my favorite favorite favorite thing is to find hilarious definitions in my dictionary and highlight them. It will certainly be one of my favorite souvenirs.

A normal house in the neighborhood

Brak Kneesock's neighborhood

When Savannah received her call

The group at the call opening

My Thanksgiving meal :)

The group at the Dilworths!

In the rice fields

Sister Davis and I

The Elders

The rice fields

Our new converts!  Ming Laundry, Srei Chia, Brak Kneesock