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