Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hey Fam

Dear Family,

Another week. Let's see, actually quite a lot happened this week. First being: Sister Kacher's companion got changed to go to Battambang in preparation for Sister Thain to come back on Thursday. BUT that means for a week we'll be proselyting in our trio again. This keeps happening and it's great!

Something that Sister Kacher and I were talking about this week is the difference between sacrifice and consecration. As I've thought a lot about it, I've realized that there really is a big difference, especially when it comes to missionary work. Sacrifice has a sense of giving something up with some sadness or regret. Like there is a loss. On the other hand, I feel like consecration is just willingly and happily giving your efforts to the Lord, and there aren't any losses. I feel like it's easy to be a missionary that sacrifices but harder to be one who consecrates. Sometimes I feel like I am sacrificing a year and a half for Heavenly Father, and I am happy to do it. But there are still things I am missing out on, or giving up. But I realize that there is a better way to do missionary work, which is consecrating this time to Heavenly Father. I also think that depending on the day, or even minute, I go back and forth from one to the other. I also think that a missionary who gives all his Heart, Might, Mind, and Strength is one who consecrates. This has given me so much to think about. I really want to be a missionary who consecrates my time, all of it! I feel like I've been really humbled this week as I've thought about this. I also think that this is something that is very significant outside of missionary work, just in our daily life. There are people who sacrifice their time and efforts for the sake of the gospel. But then there are people who consecrate their time to the Lord. I know that both are blessed. But I also think there is a big difference, especially in personal growth and happiness. Now if I could only apply this!

More big things happened with Ming Slippy this week. I think I told you last week that we would probably be pushing back her baptismal date. Well, long story short, she now doesn't have a baptismal date. Without sharing too many details from her life, basically she has a husband, who isn't really her husband. But they have been together for the past 20 years. And her getting married to him doesn't fix the problem - in fact she probably shouldn't get married to him - and we aren't about breaking up families. So we kind of are at a point where she just can't be baptized... I never thought this would happen. I'm so sad because she has been progressing so much. But we told her should still keep going to church, and she still wants us to go and teach her. So we will keep doing that for now. But then yesterday I also felt sad because she didn't go to church, so we went there right after church and she said she felt ashamed because she isn't worthy to be baptized therefore isn't worthy to go to church. That just broke my heart. But we had an AWESOME lesson with her. Also we took two members with us and they really were awesome.

Another thing we have been doing with Ming Slippy and some other members who don't know how to read is reading to them from the picture Book of Mormons. The ones kids read, you know? Well, this was inspiration. What we do is read a few words, and have them repeat them, and then obviously talk about the pictures. THEY CAN REMEMBER!! This seriously is helping them know the scriptures!! I know it's not the scriptures and can't replace them, but maybe for people who can't read... it just might be the answer. BUT I will say, you have to be careful. We gave one to Ming Slippy, and then the next time we went back she had some questions. The first was Nephi killing Laban... yeah. The next one, haha, so good. She saw a picture of Laman and Lemual beating Sam and Nephi with rods, and she asked, "Is this how we do it in our church?" HAHAHA basically asking, is this how we should punish our kids? ...haha! NO. So that was good.

We also had another little miracle with another member with these books. Okay there are actually two members involved. The first is Ming Samantha, AND SHE IS AWESOME. But we have been going for a while now and reading to her from the picture book. So then we asked her to go start explaining what she can remember about the pictures to her neighbor, who is also a member, who also can't read, named Ming Wall. So we went back this week to Ming Wall's house. Guess what we found. Not only had Ming Samantha given Ming Wall her book and somehow acquired another one, but Ming Wall had been READING. We are talking like 20 pages. And that also revealed that she can read. Very little, but she can read! This is a miracle. You don't understand. Ming Wall, when I got here wasn't going to church, now she goes a couple weeks a month if we dope (?) her. And now she is reading the (simplified) Book of Mormon!!!!! Woohoo! Seriously I like almost fainted when I saw that. So although this kids Book of Mormon isn't the real thing, it is working wonders here in Cambodia. (They do have it translated in Khmer, btw).

Another awesome lesson I had this week was with an investigator named Bong Hannah. She has actually been learning for like one year. And she knows everything. She is so smart and she GETS IT. But, she hasn't been baptized, (1) for a long time they didn't have proof of her marriage, but that problem has been solved, (2) she doesn't go to church. We have tried everything to get her to church. Really, everything. So this week we went and taught her about the gift of the Holy Ghost. Too often I think we teach about baptism and just skim over the Holy Ghost, but honestly I feel like it should be the other way around. Or actually just teach both really well... but you know. Anyway, we decided we should really talk about the Holy Ghost (this was on exchange with Sister Kacher, btw), especially because then it really focuses more on enduring to the end, rather than baptism is the end. Cause it's not. So we went and we taught it, and it was incredible! The Spirit was so strong. And she told us that she knows without a doubt that this is the true church and she shared multiple experiences where she has felt the spirit. It was really awesome, and then we comitted her to baptism (again) for March 30. But fast forward to Sunday...she didn't come to church again. :( I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!! She gets it, and she has everything set up for her to be baptized, she just has to go to church. Then I think about Ming Slippy and how she doesn't even understand nearly as much, and she goes every week and yet she won't be getting baptized. Ugh! Why can't this just be easy?! Why can't they just see what I am trying to help them have?!

 On another note, do you know that ants here eat mosquitos... is that a thing all over the world? I have been observing, and all those mosquitos I zap with our electric swatter seem to get carried off by ants. Where are they taking them? I can only assume they are going to become food... right? It's just the craziest thing.

Hey, what's going on with the Olympics? Any cool updates?

I've started teaching a piano class here once a week. A lot of members have been asking, so I'm teaming up with the elders in Tuk La'ak and we are both teaching together. It should be fun!

I guess that is all for this week! I love you all! I love this gospel!

Sister Homer

This is normal.

This is also normal.

This is Me, On Lucy (Pochentong Branch), and Sister Kacher.  On Lucy is a sweetie.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

This is the life!

Hey family,
Another week, already. Seriously, these weeks are flying. I haven't counted, but if I did I think the weeks I have left are surprisingly low. How does this happen?

This was another good week, actually just quite normal. Sister Mok and I just went to work all week. And it's kinda funny because, we have less work now than ever. Two stories:

We kinda have like hardly any investigators and so I've been praying a lot but also asking everyone for referrals and we've been contacting, etc., and earlier in this week there were multiple people who basically came out of nowhere with a desire to learn. And that I saw as a direct answer to my prayers. I remember that same thing happened in Kampong Cham for us too. Right before I got all those investigators, we literally had hardly any. It just took some faith and effort on our part.

Well, story #2, though we did have all these new people with a desire to learn earlier this week, nothing has really happened... so that's kinda too bad. I don't know why but they can like never meet us. So back to square 1. But I still really do think that was an answer to my prayers to see that there are people who want to learn! But also it's okay because even though we don't have many investigators, we have so many less-active members and some recent converts. So, there is never nothing to do. And actually a big part of me loves work with less-actives more than investigators.

Speaking of investigators. Ming Slippy. She is honestly super good. She was sick yesterday, so she couldn't come to church. She is supposed to get baptized on Sunday, but we actually found out something that is kind of a big deal... so we have to push her baptism back. I hope she will still want to learn and still be baptized in a bit. We just have to sort out some family things. There are a lot of issues here with marriages and multiple marriages and people not ever being officially married, etc. It's just a fun extra element. Hooray!

Yesterday we actually had a way awesome experience. After church we went and met with Bananaboat. She is a girl I told you about a few weeks ago. Well we met her and just kind of shared about Christ and how it's through him that we can have happiness and joy. And so of course a part of that was the Atonement. I bore my testimony to her that I know Jesus Christ has felt everything we've felt including our disappointments, hurts, sadness, etc. And that he really can help us in those times of hurt. And I just shared a little experience of my own. And then after we had kinda finished up our lesson Bananaboat said something like, "Sisters, how do you know what I'm feeling? I really am hurting right now." And that was just the neatest thing to hear. Not that she was hurting, but that what we had taught was exactly what she needed to hear. That honestly might be one of the first times on my mission that that has happened to me, that I'm aware of anyway. It was really neat.

I also went on exchanges this week to an area called Tuulkok. I was Sister Vorn's companion (Khmer) and Sister Davis came to Tuk Tlaa with Sister Mok. It was good! Sister Vorn is super sweet. It's fun to see the work in other areas too. OH AND GUESS WHAT!!! I went in another mansion. This one was crazy! We are talking like marble floor, massive staircase, servants!!! It was crazy!

Did you know that just before I got to Cambodia there was an Elder Elder serving here. Did I already tell you that?? That is crazy! That has always been my biggest dream to meet an Elder Elder and I just missed him! Ugh.

So, this is really awful of me, but sometimes Sister Mok says things in English, and she says them wrong, like pronunciation wise, but it is so cute that I just can't bring myself to correct her. My favorite is this: the word mosquito. She says it how it is spelled, which is with a "qu". So when she says it it sounds like mos-kweet-o. It is just the stinkin' cutest/funniest thing ever. So I really just can't put it to an end!

You don't know what this is, but I LOVE this food called Caek Cian. It's like fried bananas, but you don't/can't even understand how delicious. I'm gonna try and take a picture and send it. So good. I would mail you all some, but it wouldn't last. BUT I am going to try to learn to make it so we can have it when I go back!!

Hey, did any of you, my brothers, memorize D&C 4 on your mission and can you still say it?

I guess that is all for me this week! Love you all!

Sister Homer

Sister Davis, Ming Sang, and me, just like the old days!  (Also, look how tan I am?)

This is classic Cambodia.

Church building!  Super big and pretty, right?

The Church's name in Khmer.

Sister Vorn, Sister Davis, Me, Sister Mok.  (LOOK HOW LONG MY HAIR IS!!)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hey Family

Hey there,

What's up?! It's just another normal week here. Tuesday sister Mok and I biked into the mission home for our meeting. That actually was in fact hilarious. My bike had some problems with the spokes, so we decided to get it fixed on Tuesday and I would take an old bike of an Elder. Well, there is a reason this bike is out of comission. I can't even tell you, this bike was the worst bike ever! Haha, it was so funny! The pedals like don't function properly and I feel like I had to really concentrate to go in a straight line. And then we pulled up at a stop light and while we were waiting I definitely got pelted by some bird droppings from above. But the best part was that I didn't have anything to clean it off with, so I just rode the rest of the way to the mission home and let the poop dry on my foot. So, haha, it was HILARIOUS! I can't even tell you, things like this really make my day, because they make me laugh so much.

Something that Sister Kacher and I were talking about this week is how almost everyone's life here is like an r-rated movie. And the more I've thought about that, the more I think it is true. The things I see I'm sure are nothing to what other people see. And then there are the things people tell me. There are definitely some people who don't have that, but there are a lot whose lives are really extreme. Sometimes I'm sure you all wonder if (1) I'm crazy by my weird funny stories I tell or (2) if I don't take my mission seriously. But I've thought a lot about that too, and I think my reaction to the things that are going on around me is to just really focus on the happy and funny things that happen. It's really interesting.

Something I learned this week: It's not "for all intensive purposes" it's "for all intents and purposes". I feel like that's one of those things I should have learned a long time ago... Thanks for the heads up on that one. :)

Let me tell you about our AWESOME investigator Ming Slippy! She is amazing!!! I have seen her progress so much in these past couple of weeks. She was originally a referral, but I don't think she really knew why she was learning, I think she was just going along with it. But over time she has really become so interested. She has come to church for all 3 hours for the past few weeks. And when we go, she just sets everything aside and turns off the tv and pays really close attention. She can't read, so she tends to think she is not smart, but we assure her that she is. And she really has progressed. She is now really willing to pray when we go and when we read a scripture to her she tries to tell us what she got out of it. She is progressing so much!! And this week we went and I asked her about church and she said she loves it. She said that no matter what she has going on she's always gonna put it aside so she can go to church cause she likes it that much!! Woohoo!!

The other awesome thing that happened with her yesterday is that we really got the Relief Society involved in welcoming her, and it was amazing!! I think she really felt like she belonged yesterday. Actually yesterday for the first time ever I felt like I was in a Ward in America. It was crazy good! I don't think I've told you about her yet, but we have this AMAZING member who like runs this branch. She is the first counselor in the RS presidency and she is a returned missionary. She is pretty young, but she is so awesome. She understands just what needs to happen to help our investigators and recent converts and everything. She pulls so many things together. What a strong member!

So for the past week our room has somehow turned into a mosquito farm and it really was affecting my, and sister Mok's, sleep. We would get so many mosquito bites in the night and they would buzz around our heads. Super lame. BUT then we purchased an electronic mosquito swatter. Let me just tell you. I will probably take this thing to my grave. It's amazing! Also, it really is cool because it is shaped like a tennis racket. The past few nights I've killed probably like 40-60 mosquitos before I went to bed. I have so much fun. Actually probably too much fun.

You probably won't remember her, but I was teaching a lady in Kampong Cham before I left. Her name is Ming Sang. Well after I left, she kept learning, and got baptized. Well she just moved up here to TUK TLAA!!!!!!!!!! She is so cool! So we found her and met with her and then she came to church on Sunday!!! That was way fun for me. Also I ran into like 2 other people from Kampong Cham at the church building on Sunday, so fun!!

Well I guess that's it for me!! HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Homer

Milk fruit. Pretty!

This is a watermelon.  It's yellow!

Sister Mok and I.  We look tired, because we are.

This is the cutest girl, and she loves us!  And she loves to wear her tag like us.  Her dad is a returned missionary.

Ice cream with Sister Davis! (Ignore the red blotch in her eye. She has a bruised eye.)

Ming Sang from KC.

Ming Savvy got baptized yesterday in Pochentong branch!

LA we found yesterday.  Her name is Sonya.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Latest

Hey family,
So yes, another good week. I don't think I ever told you that this is actually Sister Mok's LAST transfer. How sad is that?? But she is awesome and we are going to hit it hard til the end.
Also Sister Kacher now has a new companion, a Khmer! And she actually just got in the mission, but she is awesome, and super funny, and totally fits right in with the rest of us. We have good times.

This morning I remembered Vacuums! What an incredible invention!!!!
So I was thinking about contacting here, and I'm not sure I've ever really explained my approach to you. Well first off, we aren't allowed to go door to door, but we can talk to people on the street and stuff . But so often when we contact people it goes like this.

*They are starring at me cause I'm white*
Me: Hey, have you ever seen us before?
Them: No
Me: Oh really? We are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Have you ever learned about Jesus?
Them: No.
Me: *slight gasp for affect* Really? That is so sad! Do you want to learn?
Them: I'm too busy. *while they are sitting on their little thing outside their house doing nothing.*

It really works like a charm. But actually, I do better contacting than that, but it's the general frame work. Just thought you'd like to hear that.

Sometimes I'm actually sad that I never will have the door-to-door stories that everyone has. And honestly, that might even be affective here because there are a ton of people always at home. But at the same time, maybe I'm grateful I'll never do that.

This week we had a super cool experience. We went and found this less-active neakming. She actually let us in to teach her, but she really wasn't excited about it. But then, she called her daughter out, and her daughter was so happy to talk to us! They haven't been to church in years, but the daughter still remembers and still does pray often. And she was telling us about all her good memories from going to church and how she loved the friendships she had there. So we invited her to go to an activity on Saturday that the branch was doing. Fast forward to Saturday, we went to pick her up, but her mom wouldn't let her go. We think her mom is probably kinda offended about something. Anyway Bananaboat (the girl) was really really sad she couldn't go. But we left without her. And then like an hour or so later, she just showed up at the church! And she was hanging out with her old friends and she was so happy! It was really cool, but it's also obviously kinda touchy cause her mom obviously isn't a big fan. We're going to keep trying to go over there and hopefully work our way into neakming's heart!

Also another success story, there is this other neakming, named Ming Tara, and she is a relatively more recent member. Well, she got offended about like 1 month ago, and she was kinda not coming to church. So we've been visiting her and such. And then on last sunday she came to church, woohoo! Well then we went to visit her Monday night, and come to find out, that was the first time she ever stayed at church for all three hours, and she couldn't get over how much of a difference that made and how much she learned in relief society! And then she was telling us how she has been trying hard to read the scriptures every day now. And then yesterday she came for three hours again! let me just say, it was a miracle! And it was so exciting!! I LOVE seeing the magic happen. There is nothing better than when people just "get" it. So incredible!

So, here is an update on being sister training leader. Sister Mok and I are still STL, but we are now it for all of Phnom Penh. I'm not even sure how many sisters that is over. Maybe like 10 companionships? I'm not sure. But, I don't think we are going to be doing exchanges with all of them. I guess we'll see. I have a big training meeting all day tomorrow at the mission home.
This week was Chinese New Year. So happy Chinese New Year! A lot of places closed down, but we still stayed pretty busy. Also, the best part was, we made a cake. From real cake mix. and we had real frosting. We just popped it in the crockpot. IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!! But also it was SOOO sweet. How do Americans eat so much sugar??
Dad asked some questions that I'll answer now.

I do miss Kampong Cham. Because transfers were this week, I sent a ton of pictures of members down there to them and I wrote notes to them. That made me miss it. Also a sister is going down there and I drew a map for her of all the wonderful things you can buy there, that made me homesick for KC.

The work is kinda different here in the city. We do teach a lot more educated people, which is cool. But we have a lot less referrals. I don't know if that is a problem of people now really being as close to their neighbors or just that people are busier here in the city. The other thing is, in KC everyone lives by their relatives, so the gospel is easier to share that way. Here people don't necessarily live by their relatives as much.

We still ride our bikes every where. No public transportation. I guess I do see president and Sister moon more. I see them if we go to the mission home on mondays. they also came to my branch yesterday because we got a new branch president. I do know the couple in the office from Riverton. They are the Westovers! They are THE office couple. But they actually just moved to riverton right before they left, so they don't really know it as much. They are super cool though!

Also I forgot to mention that Sister Davis got transferred up here to the area right next to mine, so I see her like 4 times a week!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!
Anyway, that's a long email! Wow!

Love you all!

Sister Homer

Homemade workout bench. Stop it!

Sister Orton and Me

Me and 3 of the sassiest little girls in Cambodia.  They make me laugh so much!