Sunday, January 8, 2017

Last and Final Email #HOME

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, it's over. The best, and hardest, 18 months of my life are over. I honestly can't express the gratitude that I have for my mission. It changed my life and me. I know I’m still really young, but I feel like I aged about 10 years on my mission. I learned so much about charity, love, patience, humility, trust, basically all the important things in life I’ve learned at least a little bit about over the past 18 months. I was privileged to serve in the best mission in the world, you can argue that your mission is better, but you're gonna lose. Cambodia really is the best place in this world-the people, the food, the culture, the heat, and most importantly, the LOVE. It's home and since being back in America, I’ve missed it terribly, especially with all this snow and all this English (:, but missing it has helped me learn even more from the Khmers. I think I will continue learning from their examples for the rest of my life. and for that I am so grateful.

I'm also so grateful for each of you and the support, love, and prayers that you have given in my behalf over this crazy journey. I know I couldn't have done it without you. You guys supported me before my mission, through my mission, and I know that you'll be there for whatever else life throws my way after the mission. Thank you so much!!! That being said, I’m so excited to apply all the many many lessons that I learned and I can't wait to see what experience I get to have next. I know now that I can do anything with the Lord's help. If I only learned one thing on my mission (which I didn't, I learned so much more!!!) it's that the Lord is always there to help us. He wants us to succeed so badly. That’s really all he wants in life. That's the reason we have the plan of salvation, a loving Heavenly Father, a Savior and older brother who loves each of us so much, His Atonement, the commandments, the Book of Mormon, trials, challenges, etc. Everything in this life works together for our good. It may not seem like it in the moment, but in the end our joy will exceed our sorrow. In fact our sorrow will be swallowed up in our JOY. The whole reason we are here on earth. JOY. Find it. I know this church is true and that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father love us more than we can even comprehend. We just need to trust them and everything will be okay. (: 

Thank you so much!!! 

Sister Loftus
Double D 

Returning Sister Loftus and Mom, so happy

Sister Loftus and brothers, Hayden and Sawyer

Sister Loftus and Sawyer

Sister Loftus and Dad, content

Sister Loftus and name tag

Sister Loftus and family at the airport 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Zoe Loftus?...who is that?

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well, this week has been full of ups and downs. The highest of the ups and the downest of the downs. I'm gonna keep this short, well, I’ll try... haha because I’ll be skyping with my family soon. 

So... remember my little moto accident? Well... it was a little more serious than we thought... it was SUPER swollen and infected and they were scared that the infection was going to enter my blood stream, so they sent me to the doctor and they cleaned it out, which hurt SO bad, and then they put me on an antibiotic that I’ve been taking for the past few days. Sister Christensen and a senior couple were super worried about me, so they put me on bed rest... I didn't really go proselyting on Wednesday, except for English class, and then on Thursday I was inside ALL day... I was dying. It literally killed me. I HATED IT. But it did make my foot feel a lot better, so that was good. Maybe I should just not be stubborn. haha My foot is still pretty nasty, but things are looking better. No worries. (: 

Wednesday we had a combined spiritual thought. We have three classes and about 130 kids that attend. We all met in the chapel and the missionaries sang some Christmas songs and read from Luke chapter 2. Then they had two missionaries bear their testimonies. I got nominated cause I’m close to dying. At first I refused... I don't really like speaking in front of a ton of people who speak English and Khmer better than I do, but I quickly changed my mind and accepted willingly cause I knew it was an opportunity to testify of my savior, Jesus Christ. It was perfect. I was brought to tears. So powerful!

I also got the opportunity to bear my testimony at our ward Christmas party AND in sacrament meeting. It was cool to see everything come full circle because last year I got to bear my testimony at Christmas too. Lots of things have changed. One-I’m not afraid to bear my testimony any more and I actually find joy in it. Two-I can speak Khmer. Three-I understand this gospel a whole lot better, especially the atonement and the true meaning of Christmas. It was perfect. I was able to spend lots of time with members in the ward that I love. It was hard, but good. The hardest part so far has been saying goodbye to my recent convert, Tola. She just bawled in my arms... it was heart breaking. I didn't like it at all!!! 

Christmas was good though. Not much to say, I just want to say that I am so grateful for ALL the experiences and opportunities I have had over the last 18 months. And there have been MANY!!! Man, I honestly never thought this day would come. Freak man, I don't know if I can do this... It all just hit me like a brick wall. I don't even have words to express my gratitude and love that I have for my savior. I love him so much and am so grateful to have his gospel in my life. Merry Christmas!!! 

Sister Loftus
Double D 

P.S. Merry Christmas! Thank you for all the Christmas notes. I love them. They were the perfect Christmas gift. 

Sister Loftus resting and icing her foot

Sister Lotus and Tola

Sister Loftus and Tola 

Sister Loftus, Sister Benson and friends

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Yuletide Carols

Dear Family and Friends, 

Life has been treating Sister Benson and me pretty good here in Cambodia. The weather cooled off a little, which I didn't like at all because I was freezing!!! But I still managed to sweat a ton. haha

The same old same old was going on. So not much to tell you guys, BUT Tola got baptized, so that is gonna be the highlight of this email. She was SO excited. She bore her testimony and said "nhom sabay cet" (which means she is really really happy) like 4 times. It was so cute. She thanked Sister Benson and me or all of our patience (we didn't need any because she understood everything, so easily) and just had the biggest smile on her face the whole time. It was cool to see her family come together and really support her. Her aunt spoke, her uncle-in-law spoke, and her uncle baptized her. It was so fun!! Now we just need next week to roll around so she can be confirmed the newest member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (: What better Christmas present could I ask for?? (: 

So Sister Benson and I have been sick with colds for the past two weeks. She is getting over hers nicely, but mine is still pretty nasty. Yesterday my voice was completely gone... that makes doing missionary work extremely hard. hahah but the members all thought it was hilarious. Hopefully it comes back so I can really get into the Christmas caroling. (: 

A moto also hit me, for the first time in my whole mission. I almost made it to the end safe and sound, but nope... stupid people. I don't even know what happened... Sister Benson said that the moto just came out of nowhere and hit me and then I flew... all I remember thinking was "oh no, my shoe fell off...." haha. I was in shock and didn't notice the blood gushing out of my foot or my hand until a look pu and this boy came up and tried to help me. Then this other guy stopped and told me that I shouldn't clean it with water, but that I should use lubricating oil, for like a car. I politely told him that he was crazy and that that wasn't something that we did... and he was so confused... haha but everyone thought that I was crazy for just getting back on my bike like it was no big deal. Honestly I was fine, a little flustered, but the pain set in today. Super super sore... but don't worry I’m okay. (: 

I could literally go on and on and on about Christmas, because we've been studying it for a while, but to save you guys some time and to save my hand for hurting more than it does already, just know that I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born and died for us. Christmas is more than presents, good food, family and friends. It is a time for us to really ponder and wonder about the savior's birth and atonement. I am so grateful that I get to spend one more Christmas as a missionary cause there is no better gift for me to give Him than my time bearing testimony of Him to the Khmers. (: So crazy to think that Christmas is in less than a week, it honestly snuck up on me, but MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! May you all remember the true meaning of Christmas, feel the Spirit, and prepare room for Him in your heart and in each of your homes. Love you all. (: 

Sister Loftus
Double D 

P.S. almost forgot. Well, I did forget last week, but this week I wasn't going to forget again. I FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON IN KHMER. Holy longest thing of my life, but I learned a lot from the way they translated it and it was quite the accomplishment. I was/ still am super proud of myself. (: 

Sister Loftus and the children in Cambodia

Rain storm

Sister Loftus

Wounds from being hit by moto

Sister Loftus, Tola, and Sister Bensen at Tola's baptism

Sister Loftus and newly baptized Tola

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas, Tis the Season

Dear Family and Friends, 
This past week was SO good and I think this week is going to be even better. We are getting closer and closer to the Christmas festivities. I can't wait. Nothing quite like Christmas in Cambodia. (: 
This past Monday I had the amazing opportunity to go eat dinner with President and Sister Christensen. Unfortunately no pictures... sorry!!! It was so good to spend some time with them. I went with a different Sister as well and it was SO fun!! Like so fun. They are honestly the coolest people I know. I just tried to soak in all the time I got with them. We were just asking them life advice and they were just talking about how they met and I was just dying. They are so cute!!! It was weird though cause although I was with the mission president and his wife, we were out past curfew and I felt so guilty!!! Ha ha. That’s when you know you've been a missionary too long. Just kidding. There is no such thing as that. I LOVE being a missionary with all my heart!!! (: 
We met Zeekaa.. She didn't remember about the Atonement, so we took a good half an hour to testify. The spirit was SO strong. Very fitting lesson for this Christmas season. (: 
Here's where things get good. Tola got interviewed yesterday for baptism and the elder that interviewed her said that it was easily the easiest interview he's ever done. He said she knew everything so well!! She didn't mess up once!! We were so proud and she is so so so excited to get baptized!!! So that means that we have a baptism next week with a confirmation on CHRISTMAS. She thinks it's like the coolest thing that she is getting confirmed on Christmas. She also made us the cutest little Christmas presents. I love her. I don't even think words can express my love and gratitude that I met her. 
Church was also really really good. We had a less active, okay in-active, of about 6 years come to church. I’m not gonna say much about her, I’ll tell you here whole story when I get home because there are SO many details, but long long long story short, we went and met her every week with very little hope of her coming... she just has had a lot of things happen. This past week, we weren't able to go visit her cause we had a FOUR hour zone training, but then on Sunday we were standing at the doors welcoming people and there she comes walking in.. I was speechless and almost passed out.... CHRISTMAS MIRACLE for sure. Wow. So much gratitude. 
Merry Christmas!! 
Sister Loftus 
Double D (Double Disciple)


Sister Benson, Srei Touch and Sister Loftus

Sister Benson and Sister Loftus-a little mini Christmas cheer