Dear Family and Friends,
All is well here in Cambodia. Alright that was way too formal. I am LOVING life here in Cambodia. It really is the biggest blessing to have the privilege of serving in this beautiful, very hot and dirty, country. I thank Heavenly Father every day because I LOVE it!!!! We had an interesting week, so get ready. Keep your arms and feet inside the cart at all time and ENJOY THE RIDE!!!! Here we go. (:
Monday was interesting. We had been invited to go bowling with the sister AP's and the Vietnamese sisters, but by the time we got to the mall, yes a Cambodian mall, and got lunch we didn't have time. K, hold on for one second let me just talk about this mall real fast. It was straight up a piece of America here in Cambodia. Sister Fields got real trunky real fast. It was funny. We walked past the movie theater and her and another sister we were with, Sister Young, told us that we had to do a walk through, so we slowly walked through the lobby of the theater looking at the posters for upcoming movies and then we had to stop and watch the trailer for Hunger Games. All of us got chills and started freaking out. haha all the Cambodians thought we were crazy. Ah, and the smell of popcorn. Oh, man. I miss movies... haha. I'm not really sure if that was something we were supposed to do, but I was just following my trainer. We walked into the bowling alley. So fun. Black lights and everything. They were even playing American music, but the sisters have been here so long that they didn't know what it was. So funny. We really do live in a different world as missionaries. We stayed for a little and made plans to come back on a different P-day when we would actually have time to bowl, but on our way out we had to stop and get some ice cream. We got it from this place called Swenson's and it was so delicious. We aren't really sure where the franchise originated... maybe someone could look it up for me? It's possible it started in San Fran, but why it didn't reach the rest of the U.S. I'm not sure... It's interesting to see what they have here in Cambodia and what they don't from the home land. No McDonald's, but they have burger king and KFC. Very interesting. After we went to the church to teach Bong Heeng and her son about the temple that's when I realized how much i already miss the temple and how long 16 months without going will actually be. We brought the preparing to go enter the temple book by President Packer, just to show the pictures, and i just started crying... It was bad, but then i got to bear my testimony and share my love that i have for the temple. It was such a powerful lesson!!
Tuesday we were teaching a lesson, nothing significant there, but while we were teaching it just started pouring. Like a complete down pour. We couldn't even hear each other talk. We all just started laughing because the youngest daughter (it was the 4 girls) said the closing prayer and she finished the prayer, but none of us heard her say amen, so we all just sat there until she yelled at the top of her lungs AMEN!!!! so funny. The Khmers are a little superstitious about rain, so the neak ming wouldn't let us leave, so we just had to sit in their house for 20 minutes trying to make small talk with them. It was quite the awkward situation. She gave us some fried bananas which were really good! Next we went and taught Hiang Lii. She is so cute. She is the girl who has like 9 people living in this little tiny house. She has an older Sister Bong Naavii that was always in the background listening to our lessons, but never wanting to join, even when we asked her. We were talking about the word of wisdom and chastity and the neak ming just goes off and starts talking (she does that a lot) but come to find out Bong Naavii believes in god, but just doesn't go to church... She and her husband both have problems with the word of wisdom, but we can work with that. We decided that the next thing we needed to do with that family was hold a family home evening. We shared our thought with them and they all go excited!!! Yes, i was super excited. (: More the come later in the email.
Wednesday I finished the book of Mormon during personal study. Man, i love that book so much. It has so much power. If you haven't read it yet or haven't read it in a while, please do and then put the promise in Moroni 10 to the test. I promise you that if you pray with all your heart and truly have the desire to receive an answer, heavenly father will answer you. DO IT!!! After studies were done we went and tried to visit some less actives (we have to many of those) she wasn't home though, so we went and visited the Bishop and his family. Let me just tell you that they are amazing!!! They are one of the big reasons i want to learn this language. I just want to be able to speak with them so bad!!! As we were getting ready to leave the neak ming says that she knows me from somewhere before and sister fields asks if she's ever been to America? Her response was classic and then she asked if i'd ever been in an ensign or liahona before. I don't think i have, so we came to the conclusion that we were friends in the pre-existence. She thought that was the coolest thing. And I truly believe that is that case with their whole family. Also, the bishop explained to me that he knows a lot of people from Utah (not sure how that happened, that's just what he said) and he knows that the best Mormons come from Utah. haha!
Thursday- my first zone conference and President's first as well! I can't tell you everything that President Christensen talked about because he talked about a lot and i forgot my book at home, but it was amazing. Definitely changed my perspective for my mission. He talked about become a deliberate disciple and making conscious decisions to do what the Lord wants us to do in order to become who/what he wants us to become. This is how i'm going to start signing off my emails double D, deliberate disciple, because that is what's going to change my mission and make the most difference in the rest of my life. Also, President and Sister Christensen have the cutest relationship. I love them so much. I've decided that it would be so cool to be a mission president's wife. Like how fun would that be? We got some Vietnamese food for lunch, I can't remember what it was called, but it was good. It honestly tasted exactly like Mandarin Chicken from Panda express haha. After the conference we went to teach FHE!!! We had planned a lesson using the first 2 points of Lesson 1, we weren't feeling super good about it, but didn't have time to plan another, so off we went. we got there and taught the lesson and it went SO SO SO GOOD!!! Everyone joined and then even bought treats. Bong Naavii's husband, Bong Chiat, really scared me at first... he has crazy eyes and just wasn't super friendly, but we got to talk with him and i found out that he's so nice and really interesting in learning. They even bought nums (little treats) to eat. So sweet of them. It was such a fun experience and opportunity. I loved it! As we were getting ready to leave sister Fields asks Naavii and chiat if we could come back and teach them more and both of them were so excited and interested!! So BAM! Two new investigators. Holla!!! so exciting. (: As we were walking to our bikes, sister fields turns to me and says "sister, that's what missionary work is all about!" She is so true. That has got to be the best moment of my mission thus far. I know i've only been here 2 1/2 weeks, but I felt so good after it. Ah, i love it!
Friday we had weekly planning and you just gotta do what you gotta do to get through that, so we realized that it was exactly 3 months until Christmas. That's pretty exciting right? haha still far away, but something to look forward to and we realized that we can give Bong Naavii and Bong Chiat a Christmas baptism if all goes well! How exciting, right? (: We went and taught the 4 girls. because of work we now have to give them two slots and we teach them back to back, it's nice how that worked out, but still kind of weird to spend so much time at their house. After the lessons the neak ming was speaking English with us and she is actually really good. Then we got to sing some hymns with her because she didn't know the tune. That was really fun. Srey Bow was singing with us too. I really feel like she has the strongest testimony of the gospel already. She is the only one who consistently reads the book of Mormon and always wants to pray. I love her. Then we taught srey Kayo... not sure if I've told you about her, but she got baptized and then started having bad dreams which she attributed to her getting baptized. We still go teach her and just try to help her know we care about her. This time we planned a lesson on the atonement and that through the enabling power we can do anything and everything, trying to hint at the fact that she can come back to church and all will be well. We extended to invitation to come to church on Sunday and she says for sacrament meeting? and we say of course and she says oh sisters i wouldn't dare. WHAT??? Did the lesson we just finished teaching go right over her head? We just told her we loved her and left. We don't really know what to do with her...
Saturday! We were getting ready to finish comp study and sister fields said she needed something to eat, so naturally i needed to get something to eat too, right? She got to the door first and pulled it quickly shut behind her, locking me in the study room. I thought "What the heck? What is she doing? I thought she was older than this?" I gave it a couple seconds and tried to open it again, it opened a little, we made eye contact and with the most scared look on her face she said "Sister, you can't come out here. There's a bird in the kitchen". WHAT?? How in the world did a bird get in our kitchen? I started pacing the room and freaking out as i heard her trying to get the stupid thing out. She eventually come into the room and said, okay i think it's gone, so i walked and guess what? it wasn't gone. It almost flew right into my head and i started freaking out again. I went back into the room and Sister fields managed to get it out the door by throwing a shoe at it. haha very productive morning. Next we taught some English and then went and visited some less actives with the bishop's wife and the second counselor in the bishopric. That was fun and then we thought we were going to visit another member, but we ended up at the bishop's house and his wife insisted that we eat with her. She bought some meat off the street... i'm still not sure what it was, but she made us eat it and then she shared some spicy spaghetti noodles with us that were apparently leftovers from a wedding that her kids wouldn't eat... that's saying something.. haha. I was convinced i was gonna get sick, but i didn't so HALLELUJAH!!!!!
Sunday's are so long... But it was productive. I started the day off by reading a talk by president Holland called the miracle of a mission. Holy- so so so good. I needed to read it. It gave me a new outlook on learning the language and being homesick (which i haven't really been yet luckily) and basically just the hardships that come with missionary service. SO good. Then we went to church. Here's something interesting that happened. After sacrament meeting we were walking down the stairs and everyone was just gathered in the lobby area around one of the benches. Turns out there was a lady there that they weren't sure if she was alive or dead... They tried to wake her up and then she started choking... so scary. Everything ended up being okay because she was in relief society, but turns out that she's homeless and was looking for some money and help. Very interesting... then we went and met with Bong Naavii and Bong Chiat again. We taught them the rest of lesson one, gave them both a book of mormon, and taught them how to pray, with the help of hianglee who was so excited to teach them. So cute. We had Bong Chiat read part of the introduction and he got to excited. He isn't the best at reading, he didn't even know if he could, but we told him that he could read the book of Mormon and practice reading and he thought that was just the neatest thing ever. We gave them the invitation to read the book of Mormon and then pray to know if it is true and they both accepted, so that's real exciting!!! As we were leaving Bong chiat asked us if we could come every day. That was a huge thing. I really believe that they are going to accept the gospel fully and see miracles because of it. We also found out that the dad of the family, who had previously learned with the elders, but couldn't stop smoking and drinking, has stopped smoking and drinking, so we're planning on teaching him here pretty soon too. We are gonna get that whole family. (: Dang, i can't wait. (: Exciting things are happening here in Cambodia and the Lord has allowed me the sacred privilege of being a part of it. I love this!!! I have lots of pictures from this week, but we are in a sketchy internet cafe and i'm scared that if i plug my card in all lose all my pictures, so you'll just have to wait til next week. sorry!!! Love you all so much. (:
Sister Zoe Loftus (Double D)