Sunday, October 5, 2014

Closing Remarks . . .?

Hey guys,

Well, is anyone else just starting to feel kind of sick? Or is that just me? Honestly it's kind of starting to hit me and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Maybe we just won't talk about that for a minute.

This week was actually really good! In order to get people ready for conference we have been teaching a lot about Following the Prophet. WOW! I love teaching this lesson! I know that we have a prophet called of God, and telling people about him is just about the best thing ever! It is the best to teach it near conference too because the invitation is perfect to invite them to attend conference! "we thank thee oh God for a prophet!!!" I can't wait to see conference! I hope you all enjoyed it!

We did get to watch the women's session though. It was really good as well and I love how they focused on the temple a lot. But I do have one question, President Uchtdorf mentioned a "life-hack". Life hack? What is that??? I am so out of touch with reality!! President Uchtdorf knows more about social media than I do!!!

Also you will never believe this. Yesterday a returned missionary and his wife and son showed up to our branch. Somewhat rare, but it happens. I didn't really talk to them until relief society. She didn't have anyone to translate for her, so I did. Well do you know who she is? She is Annalee Mickelson's niece! Her blood-relative! Woah!! What a small world! That was so cool! 

Also this week I had one of the best experiences of my mission, what great timing! Maybe I have told you a little bit about Bong Noreen. She served a mission in the states about 10 years ago and we've been meeting with her once a week helping her to come back. Well we went on Monday and we taught a lesson about tithing. We knew that she obviously already knew about tithing, so we read about the young rich ruler instead and also in Jacob 2:18-19. It was a good lesson! But really it was just a pretty normal lesson. She was being kind of sassy and saying she didn't know if she ever received blessings from tithing. So we left and blah blah blah nothing happened. But the next day we got a text from her that went something along these lines, "I'm so sorry I said those things last night, I didn't intend to. I used to be a missionary and bear my testimony all the time. Sometimes I am busy and lazy and don't apply my faith. But from now on I will pay my tithing because I want to show my faith and I want to receive blessings from Heavenly Father." I can't describe how happy I felt when I read that message. She has yet to come to church, but we can see that the spirit really is working on her and we know that any week now she will come back to church as well! What a special experience! I wrote down the full text in my journal, so maybe I'll read it to you when I get home. It was so cool!!

Also, I really feel like she is specifically one of the reasons I am here in this area right now. I haven't felt that often on my mission, so it is really sweet. Also she and her dad have invited Mom and Dad to dinner there on Saturday night. Are you down for that? I'm not sure if it's for sure happening nor do I know details, but how do you feel?

So I have been reflecting on my life and I realized that I have developed quite a few habits that are probably unusual in America. Such as: 
  • grunting yes
  • using my skirt as a sweat rag... that's a good one.
  • eating with a spoon and fork at the same time, one in each had. I don't remember quite but I feel like in America this might be somewhat barbaric.
  • wearing spandex under my skirts
  • being really blunt about peoples' weight
  • taking peoples' scriptures from them, opening to the right page, and then helping them read it. I just feel like all those things would not work in America if I tried to do that to anyone over the age of 14. Especially not 50 years old people, like I do here.
  • riding directly into oncoming traffic
  • not doing my hair
So yeah I'm seriously so sorry by any offensive things I do and I promise I'm not trying to be offensive and if you could just kindly correct me that would be helpful and appreciated. :)

So I guess that is really all I have but I just really want you all to know how much I love my mission. It has not been what I thought or would have expected, or even what I wanted, but it has been everything I needed. There is a verse I came across that I think describes my mission quite well: D&C 112:13. There has kind of been a lot of tribulation, but I truly have been converted. I love this gospel I love this church. And I know that Heavenly Father really has and will heal me from the hard things about my mission. I know He lives. I know He is so aware of us and very patient with us. I know this gospel changes lives for the better. This is true! I love it! I love the Book of Mormon so much and it truly does testify of Christ. He is our Savior! And I just can't wait to serve Him forever! 

I guess that next time we talk I'll be in America, or I guess Mom and Dad will be here in Cambodia. Wow! I love you all so much!!

Sister Homer

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Too close for comfort . . .


Well things are getting a little too close for comfort now, aren't they? But actually that being said, I think my preferred coping method is denial. It really has not hit me yet that I'm done anytime soon, so I'm just going to keep going with that and live the normal missionary life!

This past week was good. We actually had Zone Conference, which was SO COOL!! Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you how great it was. But let me give you the highlights:
  • "If the mission isn't changing you, then maybe you aren't trying to change." Woah, that is true, isn't it! And I feel like that applies to life as well.
  • "Repentance isn't the back-up plan, it IS the plan." Woah. That one gives me chills.
  • Also, last but not least: TWO NEW PROVINCES ARE OPENING FOR MISSIONARY WORK HERE IN CAMBODIA!!!!!!! You don't realize how massive of a deal this is, but it is HUGE!!!! Probably this transfer when I finish they will be sending elders to these new places missionaries have never been before. SO COOL!!!! If you are curious, they are opening Prey Veng and Pursat.
So after zone conference was over I actually asked President Moon for a blessing. For a long time I have been wanting one, since trash mountain probably, but it just was never really convenient to ask for one. And then now that I am getting close to being done I've just told myself I'm fine and that I can make it to the end without one. But as I was sitting there in Zone Conference something hit me and I realized I was just being dumb. It doesn't matter how close to shore you are, if you are drowning you are drowning. And I realized I've kind of been drowning, and just because I was close to shore I thought I was fine. Fact is, if you are drowning, you are going to take a life jacket that is readily available, and that is kind of like what a Priesthood Blessing is, isn't it? A tool to help us stay afloat. I'm so grateful for the priesthood!

So we had a really cool lesson yesterday. We met this less-active who we haven't met for a long time. And we went and she kind of just spilled everything to us, which includes some law of chastity problems. And her life is just kind of in shambles. And it was neat because we then got to have a very real talk about her options and about repentance. The gospel just became REAL to her. Honestly lots of times I feel like we just go and teach and sometimes immediate application doesn't happen. But with her, the result was I gave her the Branch President's number and promised her that if she will meet with him her life will improve. And I believe that with all my heart. The gospel really is about change. I love that. Our life can always change for the better when we are doing it God's way. She found that out as well. When we follow God we are happy, when we don't our life often ends up in shambles. I hope she calls him.

Also I had another really interesting experience this week. I did another exchange this week. This time I was with Sister Fife, and guess where I was? SMC 3rd ward, AKA Trash Mountain! It was so weird to go back. It's only been two months but it almost felt foreign. When I got there that night and was looking through their area book and CBRs and stuff, I started feeling kind of panicked and anxiety. One, because I was there again, but two, because things were just kind of crazy. They weren't meeting with a lot of people that they probably should have been and they have a TON of investigators in trash mountain which we were specifically asked not to do. But then I was laying there in my old bed and just thinking, and I just felt very strongly that "I don't belong here anymore." That was my old area, room, desk, bed, everything, but it just was not where I was supposed to be. And I was so grateful for that feeling. I realized that I had been there at the right time for me and with the right companion, and now it's not my area anymore and I can trust that they are doing the work the way the Lord wants them to. I just felt so much that my mission has been RIGHT. I can't really explain that but, I just am so grateful for every area and companion, even the ones that have been really hard, because it has been so right.

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

Sister Homer

Zone Conference photo

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hey guys


This week kinda flew by pretty fast. It was once again just a normal week, though maybe we had more rain than usual. Honestly, I love the rain. It is so much better than the heat. I would so much rather be soaked with rain than sweat, and those are kind of the only two options. So, get ready Mom and Dad! :) 

Also, do you know that I have officially been a missionary for 18 months now! Yay! Now everyone blow a kazoo.

Today until Wednesday is a major holiday here in Cambodia called Pchum Ben. So things are going to be kind of quiet for the next few days. Yesterday our church attendance was down because people headed out to the provinces. BUT it was still a really good day. I actually really liked the Sacrament talks we had. One woman talked about Job's story, which is ironic because sister Kean and I have been using that a lot this week in our teaching, and I just LOVE JOB! Seriously, if everyone could be like Job! And then the 1st Counselor filled up some spare time and I really liked something he said: "Obedience is the key to heaven." I love that. Obviously the Atonement is really the other major key, but if there is one thing I could instill in these people here it would be that you really do need to follow the commandments and teachings of God if you want to be with him again. The Atonement by itself won't be enough if you don't do anything to change your life to be more like God! Oh how I wish these people could see that! Honestly, I just have such strong feelings about obedience these days and I think our 1st Counselor nailed it! 

Also I have maybe told you about a somewhat less-active Ming that we visit regularly, Ming Paula. She is just a sweet, sweet, sweet woman. I love her so much. And I went to visit her this week and she told us how this other church has been coming and studying the Bible with her weekly. And we talked about it briefly and how she should just be kind of careful. And I loved her response. Mostly it was along the lines of, "Don't worry Sisters, I know where my heart is. I know where my loyalty is. I know what I want. I know the book of Mormon is true, I have a witness for myself. There is nothing that can tear me away." Wow! I felt like a proud parent. I think I will take Mom and Dad to meet her. She truly is an incredible woman with a firm resolution to stay committed to God's church!

I also went on another exchange this week with Sister Earl! That was super fun again! We had a really good day. She also is only in her second transfer, so it was fun to be with her. Also something we were focusing on throughout the day was teaching commandments in the context of the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, etc.). So we had a few lessons about the commandment of scripture reading and we taught it intertwined with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it was so great! I think it created a clearer picture for WHY we read the scriptures and more than just something that we need to check off the list every day. It was fun!

Also during our exchange we decided to eat lunch out at this place I have had my eye on called Alma Cafe (Mexican homestyle cooking). So we went. And do you know what happened? I had Mexican food. And I heard native Spanish speakers. If I had gone there a year ago I probably would have left in tears. But I was able to make it through with only small pangs of grief. It was a good experience. Also their cake was delicious. 

Now for some really important things:

My whole life as I have sung the song "Up on the rooftop" at Christmas time, I sang it like this: Up on the rooftop reindeer paws, out jumps... but in fact, that is not correct. It is actually this: Up on the rooftop reindeer pause, out jumps... I know that it sounds the same, but that is quite the distinction, and it wasn't until I read these Christmas trivia cards we have in our apartment here that I realized that major difference. And you would think the fact that reindeers don't have paws - but actually have hooves - would have tuned me in a lot sooner but... no. This is one of those Grapes=raisins/tuna=chicken of the sea kind of things, isn't it. Gooood. Gooood. 

But, on a more serious note, did you know there aren't any McDonald's here in Cambodia? Why you may ask? Well, turns out Cambodia's meat doesn't pass McDonald's standards. So that is comforting considering the amount of meat I have consumed these past months has been considerable. Once again, gooooood! But don't worry Mom and Dad, the meat really is fine I think! You will quite enjoy it!

So I guess that is all for me this week! We are making some good headway with some less-active members who probably would have rather remained unfound. We are slowly winning their hearts. :) We are quite the persistent pair, Sister Kean and I. :) 

Love you all!

Sister Homer
This is sometimes how we try to deal with the rain, but usually we just don't bother.

Me and Sister Earl!

This is Cambodian Primary.  Also, the lady in the blue-ish shirt is Ming Paula, who I told you about!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Happy Homer Birthday Week!


First things first, Happy birthday to Shawn and Dad this week! I'll be celebrating over here by visiting a lot of less active members and eating the Starbursts that Mom sent me. :) Also I might try to find a cake that kind of tastes like American cake. It might be possible.

This week was good. Actually it was kind of funny. Have I mentioned that we don't really have much going on investigator-wise right now? We have one investigator. But she is getting really busy and we couldn't even meet her this week... so... good! BUT, we visit A TON of less-active members every week. And I actually really, really love them. I just wish they would sacrifice and go to church. Also I feel like I am becoming the world's best visiting teacher. Seriously, watch out world. 

But really, it has been really interesting meeting with so many less-active members and just seeing all the different "reasons" for being inactive. Some of them still have faith but don't come, some don't even care at all, some run away from us when we go (those are the funnest). Mostly I feel like I am learning a lot from each of them.

This past week we found a less-active member, Ming Missy. She actually lives in a wat--the Buddhist temple places. And so we found her and she was really friendly, but she said she decided to go back to Buddhism because it is easier since she lives there and she's afraid if she keeps going to church they might kick her out. So that's rough. But we had a good talk with her. We talked about some of the differences in doctrine between the two religions. I was hoping that would help her see she kinda had to pick one. Which I guess she did, just the wrong one... but she said we can go back and keep visiting her. So we'll try to rekindle the flame. 

Also there is another member who I LOVE. Her name is Ming Sophie. She has been a member for a long time. Her husband was one of the first branch presidents. And she has been to the temple. Her son served a mission. But now, she has a hard time going to church. And Sister Allen and I (I'll explain) sat there and talked to her this week, she really opened up to us. She talked about how her family doesn't really support her going to church and how it creates a lot of family problems. And I could see how painful that was to her. I just wanted to cry. She really really really wants to go to church and this has been such a hard thing for her. :( Which led me to feel that I want the 2nd coming to come. Now. Really. I know the Second Coming won't be perfect, but it will be a whole lot better than it is now. And there are a lot of GOOD members here in Cambodia that are just exhausted because of how hard it is to be Christian here, and not just Christian, but a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It requires a lot, and that is something that this culture doesn't lend itself to very well. So let's bring on the Second Coming! (Will the 2nd coming even make that better at all?)

So as I mentioned, I was with sister Allen this week on exchanges. She came with me in my area. I don't have much to say about that besides it was really awesome. It was so refreshing. She is new in the mission, this is her 2nd transfer, and she had a lot of awesome ideas on new ways to teach some things. I learned so much from her! Also we had about an hour that we went contacting, and we had some funny, weird contacts! But no one was interested...

Also have I ever mentioned how people are just everywhere here? They are all always outside. I can't explain very well, but it's not really like America. I think the U.S. will feel kind of empty when I go there. But anyway, why I thought of this was, the other day we were riding our bikes and I yawned, and the next thing I hear is "WOAH!!!! THAT'S A BIG OPEN MOUTH!!!" Hahaha ,some random guy just yelled that as he watched me ride by on my bike. Seriously, so funny. You really can't avoid people watching you here. 

Well, I guess that is all I have this week!! I love you all! Happy birthday one and all!

Sister Homer
My comp (Sister Kean) and I

This is Ming Missy

These are the other Sisters in my house, kinda.  Sister Nov and Sister Earl.  I think I will take Mom and Dad to this restaurant too.  So yummy!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Another week


I know this is lame, but I really just don't have much to say this week. We are just kinda doing the same thing all the time these days, meeting less-active members. But we did have one really cool lesson.

We met with Bong Noreen, who served her mission in America like 10 years ago, and is currently inactive. So we have been meeting with her and she is really friendly, but just not quite holding onto the rod. So, we went and we read in Alma 32 with her. She really has the desire, I think, to do what is right, but she just isn't really doing it. So we read with her and we talked about nourishing our testimonies. But the coolest thing is that mostly the scriptures talked and she talked and Sister Kean and I just kind of butt out of it. It was neat to see as she read and talked about the verses how the Spirit was touching her heart. You could see it on her face and hear it in her voice. And so then at the end of the lesson she committed to start reading her scriptures again daily! She said she's not ready to go back to church but that she will read. So we are going tonight to meet her again and I hope that she has been reading! Really, the Spirit touches hearts! The scriptures are amazing! I love this gospel!

Also, the scriptures really nail it every time. EVERY TIME. I feel like a lot of lessons I am living 1st Nephi 16:2. The wicked take the truth to be hard. When we go and meet with less-actives, a lot of time the lessons we share are hard for them to hear, cause they just aren't doing what they are supposed to do. Especially with Om Nan, I have told you about her. It doesn't matter what we teach her about, she always ends up trying to explain herself. And you can just see that the truth is hard for her to hear because she isn't doing what she is supposed to! It's not that we go with the intentions of making her feel guilty, but she just does! 

Another interesting comment I hear a lot is that "I'm not abandoning God, I just don't go to church." Well, I don't like that. The fact is when you aren't going to church, you aren't keeping the commandments. And another way to say "not keeping the commandments" is "sin". And I don't know that you could better describe sin than "abandoning God". It's killer! I just wish I could give these people my perspective for one day. Actually give them God's perspective would be better. But I just wish they could see how their life COULD be. The joy they could have. The hope. The peace. 

But what was cool was yesterday at church there was a woman who walked in looking for the International Branch. She is from the Philippines, and she had her 20+ year old daughter with her as well. So, I told her that the International Branch was actually at a different building and that they were also having their meetings at the same time. So instead of going over there, she stayed and I translated for her. Well, I found out that she has only been a member for like 8 months, and she was amazing! Her comments in the classes to me were spot on! And she really really just had the desire to come and worship Heavenly Father and keep the Sabbath day holy. She was amazing. I have never had an investigator even close to her. And maybe that is my problem. Maybe I haven't done what I was supposed to... but I don't know. I just want to know who taught her and congratulate them for doing such a good job. And I just hugged her before she left because I was so inspired by her faith! I hope that the people I taught reach a point where they have the same understanding that she did, as a new member of the church! She is amazing!

Well I guess that is all I have!

I love you all!

Sister Homer
The river

Welcome to Phnom Penh!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The beginning of the end


Well, this week started my last transfer and my last planner. It's safe to assume that this will be my last area and my last companion as well. How did it all come to this? And yet everything is still just kind of the same. People are STILL asking my about my freckles and trying to convince me to get rid of them. Come on guys! 

This was actually quite a good week. I feel like we worked hard and accomplished a lot! Yes! We kind of have like no investigators (we have 1 that we meet once a week...) so our time is spent visiting less active members. Also this week we spent quite a lot of time finding members who are just kind of "lost sheep." Honestly, it has been so fun! And I feel like we have been very successful as well! We found one girl who served a mission in the states like 10 years ago and met with her and she came to church yesterday!! Success! Also we have found a few others. Also along with this we are updating our CBRs. 

I think I have talked about CBR's before a little but let me explain. They are Convert Baptism Records. (I think...) Basically addresses are like useless in Cambodia and sometimes non-existent, so when someone gets baptized we need a way to keep track of where they are. So we create a CBR which is just a paper with a picture of them, their information, and a map we draw so later missionaries can find where they live. Think of, like, a complex ward directory. So sometimes people get lost and you have to find them according to the map, which based on how the map is, it's a joke! So we are going through and getting good pictures for people and updating maps and really trying to find as many people as possible! I'm a little bit addicted right now but I think it's a good obsession. 

Also I realized that missions are kind of like getting a tattoo. It's really painful. And it's really permanent. It's like someone has injected a bunch of gospel ink into my heart and soul and it's really going to be there forever. I'm permanently changed.

I forgot to tell you that a couple weeks ago I saw Elder Christensen in the mission home! He sounds like he is doing really well!  Haha, he is definitely going through the adjustment. It is so funny to hear him say things and it makes me think back to when I experienced it. But he really sounds like he is doing great. Also he has been serving in the same ward as Sister Melton, and Sister Melton told me that he has these magic tricks that he does for the members here and THEY LOVE IT!! Haha I was dying when Sister Melton told me. It sounds super cool!

We have one Ming that we work with, Ming Rhoda, and she is a sweetheart. She is kind of less active because her husband got SO SICK and can't work, so she has been constantly working to provide for her family. What does she do for work? She pulls a cart around finding recycle-ables. Trash Mountain style. AKA, she isn't earning much. But she still goes to church a lot of weeks. Anyway, we felt like we should teach her about tithing. That is kinda scary when she is so poor. But we prepared the lesson especially about the blessing we receive. It was so neat because after we had talked about it she responded by saying "thank you, sisters!" Wow. What incredible faith. My heart was truly touched by her response. 

Also something that we hear A LOT here from our less-active members is: "It's okay if I can't go to church.  I read my scriptures and say my prayers at home instead." And while I'm happy that you are doing that, really no. It's not enough. There is really only so much progression you can do at your home. The gospel is really a lot about DOING. You can say you have faith all you want but until you start doing something about it, it's kinda pointless. That is something I'm learning a lot about here on my mission. 

I also think Cambodia is one big workshop on the WHY of the gospel - the whole reason for any of this. And you can be doing all the right steps but still be missing the why. And on the other hand you can totally understand the why but still be too lazy to do anything about it. It's giving me so much to think about. Really the gospel is actually quite simple and quite easy. It takes faith for sure, but that is kind of it. It's really neat when I see that in the lives of these members. 

On a random note, we randomly contacted the uncle of a missionary here! We stopped to talk to this lookpuu and were talking with him and he's like, "my nephew is Elder Khem", and we were like... wait, what? And yeah, turns out it really was! So we had a really good talk with him! It was super funny. But he still wasn't that interested in learning. 

Also I've had multiple people tell me they think I'm taller than before. Could that be true? 

And just because I realized that there is no way any of you are saying the name of my area, Chamkarmon, correctly, I will tell it to you. It is pronounced kind of like Jum-ga-moon. Khmer's do some funny things with English letters. 

Also last, but definitely not least. You know how I have had some interesting conversations with my Khmer companions over the months about things that you would think they know. WELL this one probably tops it. Sister Kean asked me how many months are in America. Which led into a discussion about time, which led into the rotation of the planet, and how the earth is indeed a sphere, and I didn't even want to get into the solar system. SHE DIDN'T KNOW OUR EARTH WAS ROUND! She didn't know the rotation of the planet is one day! There are so many things that she didn't know!! How can this be?! How is this possible! How can one live to the age of 24 and now know our earth is a sphere! I'm flabbergasted. Seriously my mind has been blown.

Hopefully that gives you something to think about. I love you all! I hope you have a good week!

Sister Homer

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hey family

Hey guys,

So, I'm sorry you all didn't go to Lake Powell this week. I did think of you. But it sounds like it kind of worked out best for every one that way. But can we please all commit to go next year? Please?

This week was good. I feel like I don't really remember what happened though... just a lot of normal work. I'm sure that is lame for you all to hear, but for me it really was a really normal week. 

I think I told you last week that there are a ton of less-active members that we work with here in this branch. Many of those less-active members are returned missionaries. I get so frustrated talking to them. Most people in Cambodia just don't really get it, and so when they are less active I kind of understand, but the thing is, those people should get it! And they do! But as I've thought about it a lot, I realized something. I think there is a common thought process that is something like "I served a mission, I proved myself, I am good to go." But what I've been thinking about is THAT IS TOTALLY WRONG. For all the obvious reasons. But also I think in reality, the mission isn't the time we prove ourselves. Serving a mission is more like time that we have to become converted and to have experience and to learn and seriously to become converted! And then the rest of our lives is the time we have to prove ourselves. I think some people really misunderstand that. At least a lot of the time I think that is the problem with a lot of these returned missionaries here in Cambodia. They kinda think they have done it already - proved themselves already - but the fact is they are just getting started. If I ever become like that, slap me upside the head. But I promise I will never become like that. I feel like my mission has been such a blessing and has helped me so much. 

I also read a really good talk this week in the November 2011 Conference Ensign. It's called A Time to Prepare, by Elder Ardern. If you have the chance, you should look it up. :)

I'm sorry I really can't think of much to say right now, I'm a little bit out of it getting over being sick. I'll try to do better next week. 

Oh by the way, I will officially be staying in my area with my companion for the rest of my mission. That is only a transfer away. Weird. 

Love you all!

Sister Homer

This girl is grinding rice to get flour, old-fashioned style. Cool.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hey there


Well, I did it. I used a squatty potty. I might not ever be the same. It was the bus ride to Siem Reap, and there were no other options. I didn't limit my water intake. Amateur. Amateur. I will never make such a mistake again. But obviously I lived to tell the tale.

Siem Reap though was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow! So much fun! It was so short. We only had Tuesday morning to run around and see the sights, but it was perfect. Our tuk tuk driver was a member, and he was the sweetest man I've ever met here in Cambodia! Seriously he took such good care of us. Haha, I'm just smiling thinking about how funny he was! It really was a little tender mercy. And we met such cool people along our way. We stopped at this girl selling like "temple rubbings" that she had done in Angkor wat and such, and we were talking to her in Khmer of course. And when you do that they lower the price a ton. So we would be talking to her all in Khmer and then other people would walk up and talk to her in English and she would give them a way higher price. And she would just look at us and kind of smile. We were dying! It was so funny! They accept us!! We've made it!

But seriously Siem Reap was beautiful! The sights are gorgeous! I will send pictures. :)

But after that life went back to normal. I'm getting to know this area pretty fast. I actually REALLY like the members here. So funny! Also there are a lot of old time members with lots of faith, though some of them don't show it anymore. There is one member, Om Nan. She has been a member forever. And we go and meet her and her testimony is amazing! Seriously she understands more than almost any other member I've ever met! And yet she is inactive. And she knows it and she knows it's wrong. The other day we went and I was listening to her talk about all the ways the church has blessed her and then about how she doesn't go anymore and I just couldn't help myself. I just started crying. Seriously I can't think of anything more sad than someone who loves the church and knows it is true and still chooses to be inactive. I think she didn't know what to do with my crying, haha, but she didn't say she would probably go to church! She didn't go but... that was better than before! Maybe I should cry more often!

 Also something we do regularly is go out and teach with a senior couple, the Hollenzers. They are the family history couple here. They are amazing! I love them so much! They are such a blessing in my life and they probably don't even know. Also the members love when the senior couple comes. They feel important. Go senior couples!

I actually don't have a ton of time today, but I love you all!

Sister Homer

Turns out I have the coolest mission in the world!

Sister Kacher and Me

Yes. I did it. I rode and elephant!!!!!!!

Siem Reap is beautiful!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

This area is RICH!

Hey family,

Well, my first week in this area has just been crazy! Honestly this area is so different than my last. It is just the exact opposite. We went to this one house and Sister Kacher said, "This is probably the poorest area in our Branch" and it was still NICER than trash mountain. So, I actually feel kind of out of place here. But really, it is very refreshing. This is actually still a Branch instead of a Ward. I'm back in a District. Which actually, as far as I'm concerned, feels just the same so, oh well. But this Branch has a lot of long time, old members! There are people here who have been members for like 15 years! There are also a LOT of less-active members here. But I really, really like this area. 

Definitely one big change about this area is that everyone is educated. There are still some older women who don't know how to read, but they still can remember and grasp what we teach. I think in SMC 3rd Ward I maybe met with 2 or 3 people who knew how to read every week, where over here, there are only 2 or 3 people who DON'T know how to read! This is so weird! It's so nice. Also there are quite a few returned missionaries that live in this Branch. Yesterday was kind of a weird Sunday and there weren't very many people at church, also 2nd and 3rd hour were complicated, but long story short I feel like I'm still not sure how this Branch really is yet, but I think they are good! This is the first time in a year I didn't play the piano in Sacrament meeting! 

Also this area is straight CITY. There is so much traffic. And there are big bridges that we have to ride over. We ride across a bridge that goes over the main river several times a week. It is neat! This area is just kind of full of energy! It's fun! Right now they don't have much going on investigator-wise, but I feel like there is so much potential and so much work to do regardless. I'm excited to just DO WORK! 

This week we had a Mission Leadership Council meeting and then Zone training on Friday. It was good! Those always get me excited to do my best work. 

Also being with Sister Kacher has been so refreshing. She finishes on Friday. I think I will cry. But I think I'll be okay. She really has been a great friend. I have been blessed with so many great friends on my mission!

Lastly, today Sister Kacher and I are taking a trip to Siem Reap before she finishes. We will be coming back tomorrow. It will be very short. But they let every missionary go and she hasn't gone yet. It will be fun! We will be seeing beautiful Angkor Wat! I should have some good pictures next week. :)

I love you all!!! 


Sister Homer
Sister Davis and I

Big Dirty River!

The River

You'd never see this in America!

You wouldn't see this either!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Big News

Dear Family,

I feel like I JUST emailed you, but I still have quite a bit to tell you this week.
We'll just get the news out of the way. I had an interview with President Moon this week and he told me that he probably wasn't going to have me train anymore. :( The girl who is coming who I am supposed to train probably won't be here for a little while more, so by the time she gets here I won't even be able to be with her for two transfers, so I think he just decided it's just easier if I don't. I'm actually SUPER bummed. Training is so fun. Training Sister Davis was definitely the funnest transfer of my mission. BUT you know, it's all okay. Because actually even more news, he said he is going to have me go serve in a different area.

So today I am changing areas to Chamkarmon. It is in Phnom Penh. And I will be with... Sister Kacher and Sister Kean!! Sister Kacher is finishing her mission in 2 weeks so after she goes it will just be me and Sister Kean. AND Sister Kean is actually a member from Kampong Cham who helped me ALL the time the whole 6 months I was there. So I know her quite well already. I think it will be good. Chamkarmon is about as opposite as you can get from Trash Mountain. I am excited, I think.

I actually feel really sad to be leaving this Ward. Don't get me wrong, it has been SO HARD. I have never had a harder time on my mission, but I also feel like I love these people so much despite a lot of disappointments. And I feel like I didn't get to see much progress while I was there. But that being said, yesterday I actually felt quite strongly that things are progressing! We had some members come who haven't come in a bit, our Relief Society set up visiting teaching, we are having regular meetings with the Bishop and Ward Council! In "Preach My Gospel" it talks about leaving your area better than you found it. And I feel like I have done that. It still needs a lot of work but I feel comforted that it really is better than I found it!

Also remember a few weeks ago I told you we dropped a lot of our investigators hoping some new things would open up! Well guess what, they did! We have received like 5 referrals recently, and hopefully they will be good!

Also yesterday when I was fasting I kind of fasted for a trash mountain miracle, and we really had one! Remember my investigator Sonia, who got baptized here like a month or so ago. Well, after she got baptized she never was able to come back to church. Complicated family problems. Including her mom being less-active as well. Sister Khut and I have been devastated about this, but we have been trying everything. And yesterday not only did Sonia come, but so did her mom Ming Sissy (which is probably even more of a miracle!) and her older sister. Nothing could have been better for my last Sunday here! I feel like Heavenly Father really did answer my prayers and fasting. It was wonderful!

This past week I went on another exchange with Sister Tieng and Sister Allen. Sister Allen is a new sister of a few weeks and Sister Tieng is training her. They actually live in the Stung Mean Chey house with me, but I went and served with them in their area for a day. SMC 1st ward, again! My first area. Once again, I was so happy to go back. I have decided that I LOVE that area and I'm so sad I can't serve there again! But the exchange was really good!

I had to say goodbye to Bong Lily yesterday. If you remember she is my AMAZING investigator who got baptized a few weeks ago. I really love her a lot. I was so sad to say goodbye. But I know that she will do amazing things. And I told her in a few months I'll be back to introduce my parents to her. :)

Also this past week we went and taught this girl who is like 9 years old. She and her mom are recent converts but they haven't been to church for months. So we were teaching her and her little sister about the Second Coming and how we need to prepare and stuff. And can I just tell you, they were so into it. It was the best lesson ever. We were asking about what we have to do to prepare and Reanna, the older one was like, "Can I wear my hair down or do I have to pull it up when He comes?" and "I think it would be better if I wear a white shirt and a black skirt. That would be appropriate. Some people would probably wear colored shirts, but that is not good enough". HAHAHA And then I was talking about how we don't know when He will come. "It could be tomorrow, or the next day, or the next year," and then the younger sister Brenda blurts out, "But it will probably be next week." So there you have it family. Get ready. According to Brenda, the Second Coming is happening this week! And you all best be wearing white shirts.

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

Sister Homer

You can't tell, but this is a beautiful little pond with lily pads!

Houses in Cambodia are really tall and skinny.

My sweet Sonia!

Typical trash mountain house.

Cute member in TM.  She is holding a Liahona!

Bishop's daughters

TM destroyed my shoes!

Me, Sister Khut, Sister Ray

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Happy Pioneer Day


This was a good week, I think we saw some progress with some people! I think I told you last week that we dropped a ton of our investigators in hopes that we would be able to find new people who are prepared to receive this gospel. I think we are already started to see some results!

Sister Ray is now here with us here in SMC 3, so we are in a trio. She is amazing! She is PERFECT for this area. She is just the right amount of pushy when it comes to contacting and it's yielding some results. Also she is a very passionate teacher and she really likes to give hugs to our members and investigators, which is probably what they need. I think she will do wonders here! I'm so excited!

Actually Friday SMC 3 kinda had a miracle day! I wasn't here, I was on exchange in another area, but Sister Ray and Sister Khut were able to meet with some people that we never can ever meet with. And they found some people who might be interested in learning! I think SMC 3 has some good things on the horizon!

So, like I said I went and did exchanges this week. I left my two companions in SMC 3 and I went to serve with Sister Nov and Sister Earl in Tuldompong Ward for a day. Sister Earl is a new missionary. So I was especially watching how the training was going and how she was getting into life here in Cambodia. It was nice to kinda get out of my area for a day and also to kinda have some flashbacks about when I first came to the country. It really doesn't seem that long ago, but for Sister Earl she feels like I've been here forever. I think she is having a similar experience to mine with coming to Cambodia. I was able to give her some suggestions and a few pep talks. I think it was good! 

Also update, I don't know that my new companion from America will be here anytime soon. We'll see. I'm kinda bummed. But I hope she eventually gets here!

I hope you all had a good pioneer day. I am so amazed by the pioneers! How did they do it! How did they have so much faith?! I feel like I am among pioneers in the Church here in Cambodia. They are leading the way for the rest of the country. Some of these members truly have incredible faith and are carrying the weight of the church here on their shoulders. I'm so inspired by them and the pioneers of old. 

Yesterday we had a really neat experience. In the morning before church we went and taught one investigator who hasn't really been progressing very much, and we just meet her once a week. Her name is Cheri Lyn. Her husband was there and we invited him to join in, but he didn't really want to. But the house is about the size of Nana's bedroom so he didn't really have anywhere to go, so he sat and listened anyway. So we taught her about the gospel of Christ and it was really good, the Spirit was so strong. And then at the end we committed her to go to church, and invited her husband too. She told us that their motto just got stolen so they didn't have any way to go. I told her that I wasn't sure what to do about that but that if she would find a way to go to church, I know that she would be blessed. And THEN the husband was like "Why don't we just walk?" So we were like YEAH!!! You should walk! The answer every missionary in Cambodia is dying to hear. And you have to understand, no one walks to church here. No one walks anywhere here. Especially in the middle of the day 1:00 pm. when it is blazing hot. And their house is probably a good 20-30 minute walk from the church. Anyway, so we left and then later at church we didn't see them. But just after the Sacrament they walked in!! We were flabbergasted, for lack of a better word. Seriously, I was so amazed! And they stayed 3 hours and we got the husband getting involved. And that is another cool story in itself. He is a hardcore drinker and has a rough rough story. So, we'll see what happens with them this week!

BUT the worst/funniest thing also happened during that lesson. While we were saying the opening prayer I felt something on my hand, so I look down and I see something big and dark just crawl SUPER fast up my torso and over onto my back. I was still uncertain about what it was and I was not okay. I was whacking myself all over the place but still trying to be reverent because we were praying. I couldn't find it so I stopped, still praying. Next thing I know I hear a massive thing fly right next to my ear. Once again I wasn't quick enough to see it. But by this time I knew. Cockroach. My heart was pounding so fast. I know a bit ago I said I was starting to feel pity for cockroaches. Let me reassure you, those feelings are gone. Anyway, we start teaching, but maybe like 5 minutes into the lesson I see this MASSIVE cockroach crawling all over her house. Like I said, her house isn't that big. So I was still a little on edge but I was trying REALLY hard to focus on our lesson. But of course right when we were talking about the Holy Ghost and the Spirit was so strong this demon cockroach came running right towards sister Ray, so she hopped up screaming and then I was next in line so it was coming right at me. So I hopped up and ran out the door. And then it was crawling all over our investigator. Finally it flew outside. Oh my gosh. It was a nightmare. But like we said, we were able to salvage our lesson and they still went to church! So it didn't sabotage anything too much! Can I just say that I love Utah and it's lack of cockroaches.

Well last but definitely not least is a BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT TO TERESA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The big 18!!! Woohoo!!! This is your birthday song, it won't be very long!

I love you all!

Sister Homer
FHE with the Bishop's family.  We played Minute-to-Win-IT.  Can you stack 5 apples of top of each other?  Cool!

Bishop's family

Trash mountain is really fun in the rain!  Our senior couple are rockstars.  Seriously the world needs more senior couples!!  (But not you, Mom & Dad.  You need to stay at home and take care of me.  :)  I'm only mostly kidding.)

More rain!

And more!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hey guys

Dear Family,

Well, I just saw a bunch of pictures that Teresa and Dad took at the wedding! It looks just adorable!!!! Congratulations, again, you two!! Sorry I didn't get you a present... yet...

This was kind of a slow week here. Sister Khut and I made kind of a big decision yesterday and decided to drop 6 of our investigators in Preak Toal (trash mountain). They haven't been progressing at all, but we have been hanging onto them because we don't really have anything else to do. But we realized that we should try showing our faith that Heavenly Father will fill our time with those He wants us to meet with. So, we'll see how this week goes! We plan to have a lot of contacting time! I want to help this ward so much, but we are just having a hard time knowing what to do! But I know that Heavenly Father can lead us to those who are ready!

I'm sad to drop them though, because I really love them. But, they just aren't making the steps they need to and mostly they just like meeting with us because they don't have much else going on in their lives. But if any of them start showing real commitment we'll pick them up again.

I want to tell you about one member in Preak Toal. Her name is Ming Jan. She has been a member for almost a year now and she is awesome! She, like everyone else can't read, so she has a hard time remembering any significant details about the gospel, but she is at church for 3 hours most every week, even if she has to walk. Not only that, her husband has a hardcore drinking problem and beats her many days. The thing is, she is amazing. She is the happiest, funniest person! (At least on the outside.) You would have no idea that her life has been hell. I look up to her so much. She has incredible faith. 

Also I want to tell you about two other blessings I have noticed throughout my mission. On a regular day after coming home from the morning proselyting I am usually quite tired and hungry, and definitely pretty thirsty, and yet throughout my mission as I have fasted it hasn't been too big of a deal. I'm kind of thirsty, but nothing too crazy, and the hunger is just kind of a normal level. By the end we are pretty tired, but you would think it would be so much worse. Biking under this hot Cambodian sun really is exhausting, I can't describe it. Yet when we are fasting there is strength that really shouldn't be there. How amazing is it that Heavenly Father can provide strength to our bodies even when we don't eat or drink?! I know He has done that for me regularly throughout my mission.

Also one more: the roads in Cambodia are generally not very smooth and have a lot of holes and stuff. And when we ride around during the day, I can see where I am going and I avoid the potholes to try to make it as smooth as possible. Yet, during the evening I can't really see, but yet for some reason I rarely hit any potholes. I promise, riding in the evening when I can't see is always smoother than when I am riding during the day and I can see to avoid the potholes. I don't know if I'm just REALLY bad at riding a bike, but mostly I think that someone is watching out for us during the night when we can't really see. This is something I've observed my whole mission. It's been a small blessing. Also, one more, the fact that I have had no traffic accidents is incredible. There have been times when it was physically impossible that I shouldn't have been hit by a motto or a car or something, and yet I never have been. BLESSINGS!!

So the big news this week is that Elder Sam Christensen has arrived to the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission!!!!!!!!!!!!!! woohoo!!! This was crazy. I was in the mission home Friday for the training meeting, and what not, and saw him! I don't know what's going on, because I've only been gone for a year, but Sam walked out of the mission president's office and I was like "what the?"because he is so grown up?!?!?! Was he like this a year ago and I just forgot? I have been imagining a much smaller version of Sammy coming to this mission. It was so weird! IS EVERYONE BIG AND TALL AND MATURE NOW?!?! Anyway, that was super cool to see him. And his trainer is in a really good area and guess where he is serving?... TUK THLA!! My old area!! I'm so excited for him! It really is a great area, and definitely a more clean area. :) 

Also I found out a little bit more about my new companion. Her name is Sister Christensen! Haha go figure. And she will probably be here in a few weeks. I guess before her mission she tore her ACL, and it was fine but then it started acting up in the MTC so they are just making sure she is good to go. In the mean time Sister Ray will be coming to join us sometime this week. She was in my same house with me when I was in TT, so I'm excited for her to come. I really like her. Though I'm a little apprehensive about us working as a trio. But, it will all work out. 

And I did meet those few girls who were stalking my blog before my mission! Haha they were so sweet! Sam introduced me to them. It was pretty funny.

On Saturday we also celebrated Pioneer Day in our ward, so that was fun! Happy Days of '47!!! 

Also, there is a new Sister in my house fresh from the states, her name is Sister Allen. And do you know what she brought with her? Colorful tape. We are talking patterned tape. Is that a new thing in the states? I literally never saw that before my mission. Is America a whole new place now?!?! 

I guess that is all! Love you all tons!

Sister Homer
Yay trash!

Riverton Park Ward representatives!!

This is the funny girl I think I got lice from! I actually love her a lot! But she is a pill.

I know this is pathetic, but I tried my best to match the bridesmaids . . . (but I took the necklace off for proselyting)

Cambodian dancing for our Pioneer Day celebration!