Sunday, September 20, 2015

White Girl Storms Cambodia

 Dear Family and Friends,

Goodness. I just wish all of you could be here with me because Cambodia is indescribable. so much has happened in the past 4 days, I don't even know where to start. Travels went safe and sound. I got all my missionaries safely to Cambodia, thanks to a very nice Elder Smith you saved my butt. I knew I was in for an adventure when i was already freaking out when i got to Honk Kong. So crazy. I've decided they need to create a better way to travel because 15 hours on a plane is WAY too long. I thought we had been on long enough when i looked at the little tracker and we were in the middle of the ocean and still had 7 hours. I thought I was going to die. I just went to sleep again. haha The food was nast, but we did get some ice cream which was good. We got to Cambodia, stepped off the plane and saw a soldier. I'm pretty sure he was armed, but i may have just imagined that. Welcome to Cambodia. haha We then went out and met our mission president and his wife and a huge group of missionaries. They are the sweetest. It really is one big happy family. I love it. So many people have come up to me and said that i looked familiar, like they know me from somewhere. Interesting, right? From the airport we went straight to meet our trainers. You'll all be happy to know that all the trainers were American so no worries there. They dropped us off at the phisaa (market) and we met our trainers.  My companion is Sister Fields. She's 24, from Washington, she's been serving for a year, and is the nicest. I'm her goon (child) and she is the best mdaay (mom) ever. All the sisters call her the mission mom because she is so old. haha. I don't really know if we have much in common, but we get a long great, so that's good.   we were supposed to go contacting, but we didn't we just went and got some delicious fried rice and then made our way to the mission home, which is so nice!!!! We took care of some business and then went to our apartment.  Our apartment is a 3 bedroom apartment that's relatively nice. It’s on the fourth floor though so we have to walk up 73 stairs everyday. That's a workout. haha. Yes we have running water. The bathrooms are interesting though. The shower is just right there, so you shower and everything gets wet. Once we got there and walked up the millions of stairs we had some down time before our appointment at 6. We planned some stuff and i got a little situated. Sister Fields offered me a shower, but i declined because i figured i'd just get sweaty again anyway. Oh, here's something interesting. in this mission we wake up at 5:30 and go to bed at 9:30 and the sisters have to be in by 7 unless teaching a lesson and then it's 7:30, just for safety reasons. So we have two hours to kill in our apartment. Anywho we went to our appointment which was with four sisters Srey Heng, Kim Hoa, Kit, and Srey Bow and i already love them. They are so sassy and so funny. Their mom is a recent convert, like 3 weeks ago recent, and she is amazing. She knows what's up and tells her daughters straight up. They called on me to say the opening prayer. Go figure. They then asked how long i'd been speaking Khmer and Sister Fields replied 2 months and they were blown away. They thought i'd been learning for at least a year. That 'made me feel good. We then went home; I showered and crashed at 7:30. I was exhausted!!!! 

Friday we woke up and studied. We had weekly planning and then we went to our lessons. We taught an Om (grandma) about the sacrament. It's so interesting because the recent converts/ less actives understand so much about the gospel, but have no way to get to church, so that’s why they are less active. The places they live and so humble. You'll turn down a little alley way and find 7 different houses, which entails one room where everyone sleeps and cooks and eats and then a bathroom. I'm not sure what they bathroom looks like, i haven't used one in a members house yet... I assume pretty simple though... We then went and taught Hianglee. We had to wait for a little because she was talking ice cream to someone, so we contacted two om's that live next to them. They were very friendly, but said they didn't have time to learn... this is when the rain started. We then visited Hianglee who is a 12 year old girl whose mom is a member. She is absolutely stunning. This is the family with the little girl that hold my hands.  There's one little girl, the daughter of a member, she's about 4 I think, i don't know her name, i don't know anyone's names yet, but she is the cutest. When we go and visit she sits down right by me, shakes my hand and then just doesn't let go. She literally holds my hand for the full 35 minutes. I love it. All the little kids know some English from the missionaries so you walk by and they say hello with the biggest smile on their faces. It makes me so happy. 

  They have about 14 people living in a room the size our laundry room. It's so crazy and they are all so happy. It had rained the entire time we were in the lesson, so the streets were flooded.   I experienced my first Cambodian rain my 2nd day here. Quite the welcome, right? Sister Fields said that it hadn't rained like that in a while and that i brought it with me from America. Whoops... It has rained every day since then... The streets flood and traffic is crazy. but it does feel way nice to get cooled off a little. everyone puts on these ponchos that are neon colors and we all look like Easter eggs. I love it!! We had an appointment at the church, but traffic was so bad we couldn't make it, so we just went home. I was so wet!!!!! Also, the streets here have no pattern, so i'm convinced i'm never going to be able to find my way around... I can get to the church, but that's about it. haha I guess that's the best place to know how to get to, right? But there aren't really any rules for the roads and then there's me and sister fields on our bikes hoping and praying we don't get hit!!

Saturday we had zone council which was all in English. Very nice. We then got lunch from KFC. SO DELICIOUS!!!!! After that we went to a relief society activity. that was good, i think, I didn't understand anything. haha, but after they had some refreshments and they were good. They were like crepe chips. if that makes any sense. SO good. and then with every meal they serve a whole loaf of bread, like French bread that's like a foot long. The bread here is delicious!!!! I''m gonna get fat... haha. Also, our apartment is right by a bakery, like a legit french bakery... so that is just one thing that's gonna make me fat. haha We then went and taught some lessons. I am slowly gaining confidence in Lessons. Sister Fields said that i speak khmer very clearly and that they can understand me, so that made me feel pretty good. Now i just need to work on my vocabulary. 

Sunday- ah, 6 hours of church, I didn't get anything out of it at all... haha during the second ward the stake president was there and made me bear my testimony... it went pretty well. Also, the primary kids, all 8 of them sang the family is of god and that's like my favorite song, so that made me happy. Also the sacrament was way cool. I can't really explain it, but the spirit was incredible. The church is true. After church we went and taught Hianglee again. It's so interesting because the rest of her family sits just close enough to hear what we're talking about, but doesn't actually want to join. One day we'll get them! After church we just went home and chilled. 

Today has been good. We woke up and went to the phisaa. Ah, that was quite the experience. There were just people everywhere and raw meat. like whole pigs cut open... i just tried to no think about it, but the food is really cheap, so that's a plus. I'm still trying to get used to the money system. They take our dollars, but they don't take coins, so that's when you use ril (spelling??). so confusing... but then we went and got some baked goods from the bakery. Holy, delicious!!!! Now we're emailing and then going to the mission home and then out to lunch with the other sisters, which i'm stoked about because i'll get to see Sister Semones and Sister Collins again!!! 

Saying goodbye to my teachers in the MTC was so hard... like so hard. and Lookruu didn't make is any easier. he made us sing god be with you til we meet again for our hymn. Cruel. but they all assured us that we were all ready and that we would be amazing instruments in the lord's hands. Lookkrruu mickelson's brother ended up coming home early (not really sure why) but he said that if he had been companions with any of us he would not have come home. He said he knew the power of a good companion and that's what we were all going to be. I thought that was the nicest compliment. 

I know i'm missing so much, but next week i'll be a little more settled and ready to write an email that actually makes sense. But I just want you all to know that I love Cambodia, serving the lord, and this gospel. I know this is where i'm supposed to be for the next 16 months and i couldn't be more excited to see what that entails. Keep the faith. Love you all!!! 

Sister Zoe Loftus, the goon (child)

Hong Kong Airport

Sister Loftus and Sister Fields
View From Sister Loftus' Apartment
Sister Loftus' Kitchen
Second View From the Apartment

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