Monday, November 23, 2015

Hiang Lee enters the waters of Baptism!!!!!!

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was an interesting one. I don't really know where to start. Nothing super big happened, but it was a bunch of little things that added up to make one heck of a week ( am i allowed to say that as a missionary???), by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. I know that's not what that scripture means, but i just felt like quoting it. (:

Monday we went to the mission home and guess what?? My Christmas packages were there already!!! That was stressful. I had a panic attack as literally everyone that was at the mission home, like 20 missionaries, gathered around me to watch me open them... I surprised them when i said that i was going to wait to open them until Christmas. Apparently missionaries like to ruin Christmas... I'm not down for that. So the packages are just sitting in my room... It's kind of killing me not to open them, but I've got to do something to make Christmas feel like Christmas in this country where not very many people celebrate Christmas, right? Also, i got letters. Letters could quite possibly be the best things ever. I LOVE THEM!!! Shout out to my amazing family for always knowing what to say in letters to make me cry and my mom who is so on top of Christmas always, even when I'm on the other side of the world. You da best. (: I had my first experience with authentic Khmer food since my first day in country. It was good. Not my favorite, but still pretty good. I got a dish called Lok Lak. It's white rice, that's kind of sweet, with a fried egg, pork, and this sauce. Pretty interesting. We then went to the History Museum. It was pretty cool. Lots of way ancient and cool statues. One thing you guys need to understand about Cambodian Museums, they never have enough information. You always leave with more questions than when you came. So basically I paid $5 dollars to get a billion questions that I can't answer. Does someone want to give me a brief run down on Buddhism? Like their beliefs and everything? That would be greatly appreciated. (: After the museum we went to FHE with the stake relief society president and her family. It was so good. We talked about charity. Sister Fields and me have really been focusing on that in our companionship and teaching, so it was perfect. Then we had spaghetti. SHE MADE US SPAGHETTI. So sweet! and i had been craving it all day, so that was cool. It was way good, not quite as good as grandma's spaghetti (actually no where close) but still for Cambodian spaghetti it was delicious. She also made spring rolls. I had always told myself i didn't like spring rolls, but these bad boys were to die for. They were "just so fresh" as sister Fields kept saying with every bite. (:

Tuesday we went to teach the three girls. They live in this little alleyway and every time we walk through there is always a group of men just chilling there. They didn't used to try and talk to us, but they have recently began and on this particular day one of them had had a little too much to drink or something and he approached me... He started calling me koon, which is what you call someone younger than you, but it can also be a nickname for like a boyfriend or girlfriend, so you can decide what he was calling me, i prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt and think it was just because i was younger than him, but as i proceeded to ignore him, he got kind of frustrated and grabbed my arm... I felt so uncomfortable. He asked me how old i was, I told him, and then he thanked me, and sompia (the hand thing up to the face), but he did it really high, The whole exchange was quite uncomfortable, but good news! the three girls moved and we no longer have to walk down the alley every day. Tender Mercy!!!! We went and taught Hiang Lee and her sister’s boyfriend, Ciat, was feeling extremely kind and offered us each a little crab. We kindly said that we would just share one, which ended up just meaning sister fields ate it. When we opened it up we realized that there was not very much meat to eat. I did get a little taste of it and it wasn't bad. Mainly the experience came from watching sister fields bite and slurps it out of the case. We were all laughing to hard.

Wednesday we went and visited Om Daly. After visiting her, i got on my bike to bike home and my chain had fallen off. What?? Why??? That had never happened before. We started trying to fix it and this Khmer, that spoke perfect English, came out of nowhere offered to help us, fixed it, and then quickly disappeared again. Kind of weird, but my bike was fixed and that was all I cared about. At English class, we had 82, yes, EIGHTY TWO, students. It was outrageous and quite fun.

Thursday, when we woke up, Sister Fields was sick... She just kept sleeping as I woke up and did the normal routine; working out, eating breakfast, getting ready for the day, personal study, and then i got to companionship study and didn't know what to do without my companion... so i did language study and cleaned the apartment. Eventually she woke up and then the S.A.P (aka sister ap's aka senior sister training leaders) came over, sister young and sister uresk. They are so cool. They were kind enough to bring us Indian food for lunch. Wow. it was delicious. I had never had Indian food before, but it was good. Definitely something I'm going to keep getting. You would've thought that my first time eating Indian food would be in Cambodia. Kind of ironic, right? We then spent the rest of the day like it was Christmas Eve. We played lots of card games, uno and phase 10 (with uno cards). I had never played phase 10 before, but it was so fun. A new Christmas eve tradition for sure. (; We even made "Christmas cookies". It was quite a fun night. Even if Christmas doesn't happen like it does at home here in Cambodia at least i had my Christmas eve in November. (:

Friday we went and taught srey pov and ming sovanaa about journals. The other two girls were at work. They are the cutest. I love them so much. They were giving talks on Sunday, so we helped them prepare a little for that. Srey pov was stressing hard core and nothing we were saying was really getting to her. She was on the verge of tears. We sat there in silence for a little and then i felt prompted to tell her she could always pray to Heavenly Father and ask for help. He wants us to be successful and if we rely on the promptings of the Spirit, everything will be okay and the talk we give will be what He wants us to say. She was a lot happier after that. I'm so grateful for experiences like that, where you know without a doubt that what you just said came directly from the Spirit.

Saturday we went to Hiang lee's in the morning to teach her a quick lesson on the Holy Ghost and get everything set for HER BAPTISM. Surprise!!! We had a baptism this week. It wasn't a surprise to us, obviously, because we have to teach a lot of lessons and everything, but it's a surprise to you guys. (: She was so excited!!! It is kind of a miracle that she was able to get baptized on Saturday. Her mom and been in kampungcham (her hometown) taking care of her sick mom and came home on Friday to get the kids because her oldest daughter, Naavy (our investigator, remember her?) was leaving to go to France with her 78 year old lover. Remember that story? If i forgot to tell you that whole story let me know and i'll clue you in on all the details next week. Anyways... it took a lot of careful planning for everything to work out, but with the Lord's help, we did it! The actual baptism went so well. When Hiang lee got to the church (3 hours early, you could say that she was really really excited!!!) we were at the church cleaning with the other ward and when she saw us she ran all the way down the hall and gave us the biggest hug. It made my whole life. She is the cutest. We got her all changed and dressed in white and went to take pictures- the best part. It was too fun. It was like a photo shoot and to make everything better, Ciat and Naavy both came, so it was such a cool experience for them to watch and experience a baptism. The baptism went well and Elder Grimaud, my good MTC mate had the privilege of performing the baptism. Shout out to him because he did such a good job!! (: Hiang lee bore a heart-felt thankamony (she still doesn't really understand what a testimony is, but we are working on that with her). We finished the baptism festivities with our traditional baptism treat. Lintels, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut milk. Sounds disgusting, but it grows on you. (: We finished the night off with and hour and a half planning session where i semi-successfully made my first phone call. I said hello in English and Khmer, because that's what they do here, and then she started talking and i lost her and quickly handed the phone to sister fields. Baby steps, right? (:

Sunday was pretty normal. We had an investigator, a referral from the elders in Siem Riep, Ming Nee, come to church. According to her, she has been taught all the lessons and is ready for baptism, so if that is that case, that's pretty cool. She definitely has faith and a love for Christ. We still didn't have any investigators attend sacrament meeting... so even though we have a ton of investigators, they aren't really progressing.. We'll get them soon.
Happy Thanksgiving to all you American's out there (all of you!!! (: ). I will be spending it with President and Sister Christensen at the mission home. Pretty excited to see how a Khmer Thanksgiving is. (:
Sister Zoe Loftus
Double D

Hiang Lee and her mom

Hiang Lee, family and Sister Loftus

Tree in the shape of an elephant

Cambodia Museum

The crabs!

Sister Loftus and the crab

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

No title for this email

Dear Family and Friends, 

This week started off too good. It was Independence Day here. When i first heard that i had to ask myself "from whom?? Cambodia sure doesn't seem free?" but for all of you who are lacking on the Cambodian history knowledge, it was independence from France. We celebrated in the best way possible- SOCCER!!!!!! I was so close to dying from lack of soccer in my life, but i finally got to play. It was heavenly. We played on this little covered turf field. We walked into the field and i just took a deep breath and sighed. All those nights spent at ultimate indoor came flooding into my mind and i was SO happy. All the sisters thought i was crazy. They don't understand how much I love soccer. We started playing and it was clear that i was the only soccer player. I just had to laugh at them all. Mom and Dad, you would be so proud of me. I kept the "monster" tamed and played nice. No one got hurt. My team did win though, not that we were keeping score or anything because that's against the rules... white handbook. (: Playing soccer here is a very different experience than at home because of the heat. Never have i sweat that much in my life. It was quite nasty actually. But it was all worth it!!! And it only cost 50 cents. Cheapest soccer game of my life. Best way to buy happiness. (: We went to lunch at this cute bakery called Joma. It was filled with white people and i felt out of place... never thought that would happen... Does that mean i'm becoming Khmer?? I hope so. (: After our very successful day of soccer we taught the first lesson to a 19-year-old girl named Sonan. Sonan was an English class referral. She has come to church twice and seemed really interested in learning. She asked really good questions and said the sweetest prayer. She started off "Dear Heavenly Father. This is Sonan." and then continued with her prayer. Too cute. 

Tuesday was an interesting day. We went to teach our recent converts, the ones that got baptized on Halloween. Remember them? One of them hadn't been at church on Sunday and we didn't know why, so we went to figure it all out... Well, turns out she had run away. She had gotten caught up with some bad kids, had a falling out with her mom, and decided to run away... WHAT? No, that can't be happening... We shared a powerful lesson on the Holy Ghost and the role it has in helping us know right from wrong. We bore powerful testimony that Srey Nen would remember her baptismal covenant and return home soon. To make matters worse, her mom, Mind Sovana, had chicken pox... Rough situation. But Neak Mings faith is so strong and her trust in the Lord was really helping her get through the situation. We had a lesson fall through, so we decided to contact, which would have been okay, except for the fact that it was dark... The AP's have given us a contacting goal for each day and we were just trying to meet that goal. We were doing really well when this guy stumbles up to us. He sticks his hand out to shake Sister Fields hand, but she quickly stuck an English Class flier into it. He looked very confused. We both had a very bad feeling, so instead of trying to talk to him, we turned to walk back into the church and our Bishop was standing right there with his arms folded. The guy tried to follow us in but the bishop starred him down. We got our bags from the church and got on our bikes to ride home. The bishop stopped us and asked us if we were okay and informed us that the guy was drunk. Completely wasted. I was so grateful for the bishop and his worthiness to have the spirit with him. He was a lifesaver. As we were driving home this tuk tuk drives past us with a white lady in the back yelling what sounded like "hey, sugar!!"but as i continued to listen to her i realized she was saying "praise Jesus!". She had a huge sign that said Jesus, king of the jews."Me and sister fields looked at each other and exchanged a look like "what the heck just happened?" That probably wasn't the most effective way to spread whatever message she was trying to explain. They can't understand English, but it made for a very entertaining ride home. (: That experience helped me realize the sacredness of the call to be a missionary. There is a correct way to do the Lord's work, through His power and authority. Made me so grateful for the knowledge i have and the call and responsibility i have to preach His gospel. 

Wednesday we had the coolest opportunity ever!! Sister Marriot and Sister Esplin came to Cambodia to do a leadership and training meeting with the ward and stake leaders. They were kind enough to plan a meeting with just the missionaries. Goodness, it was so good!!! We had to get there early, so all the missionaries were just sitting in the chapel when they walked in. They just started working the crowd. They are the sweetest ladies i have ever met. So genuine and real. They started teaching and it was so good. Sister Marriot talked about teaching with love and seeing everyone through Heavenly Father's eyes. When we do that, the work gets so much easier. When we are filled with the love of God, we naturally have the desires to share the gospel with everyone we come in contact with. Sister Esplin taught from the story of the sons of mosiah and the need for preparation and relying on the Holy Ghost. We save the spirit of god for the closing hymn and i was brought to tears... The spirit was so strong. Almost a tangible thing you could grab. Sister Christensen was crying too. I guess i just realized a lot of things in that moment. Such a powerful personal experience. After the training we went to the most delicious restaurant ever- Brooklyn pizza. It was kind of awkward though because President and sister Christensen, all the senior couples, and sister marriot and sister esplin with their husbands were there too... haha. We felt really awkward, but the food made up for it. It's gonna be weird to get back to America and crave American food that you can't find in America. haha. 

Friday we went with the Elders to contact some contacts that they had for us. We literally biked all over the country... I was exhausted... Hottest and sweatiest I've been since getting here. We probably could've biked to China if we had wanted to. We were outside so long that i got sun burnt. I've got some pretty nice tan lines on my hands and feet. Maybe i'll send pictures next week. They are awesome. (: Friday I got hit pretty hard with a cold and everyone here can tell when you are sick, so no joke everyone i told  asked me if i was sick with a cold. "tau sister mian graa sigh" I just smiled and said "chaa". and they got way sad and told me to get better fast. One of our investigators, ming liang, pulled this bottle out of her bag with this green liquid in it. She told me to put it on my finger and then put it on my temples and under my nose and it would help me breath. And it worked at first, kind of like menthol, but then that wore off and i just ended up smelling like old lady... it was bad. Sister fields was making fun of me!! 

Saturday should've been a very eventful day. We have so many investigators and potential investigators that say they can only meet on Saturday and Sunday, but none of them would answer their phones or call us back, so we couldn't meet with any of them... I have started learning how to cook. FINALLY!!! it's fun. (: We cleaned the church, well, kind of. The bishops wife told us that we didn't know how to clean the Khmer way and that we should just watch because she could clean it better, so we just ended up sweeping. Goodness, i just love her so much. We needed to contact, so after cleaning we ran away from her. I wish you guys could've seen us. Our church has three staircases, so we would run up one and down the other and hide in class rooms to get away from her. it easily could've have been in a comedy. I was laughing too hard. She eventually found us out on the street while we were contacting and gave us cokes and those Cambodian sandwiches.. they just keep coming around. She told us how she had been looking for us everywhere and me and sisters fields had to try with all our might not to burst out in laughter!!! We taught Sonan again, this time the second lesson. She started the lesson off with sharing a personal experience about prayer. She had prayed to get a scholarship and to find a job, both of which came true. She said, "Sisters, i know this gospel is here to help us. “She is so good!!! She asked a lot of questions like where Jesus Christ came from and what happens in the spirit world, like will we receive punishments or anything? Everything she asks is in relation to Buddhism, but she really understands this whole Christianity thing. it's so cool to watch the wheels start turning in her head and have things start clicking. She accepted baptism on the condition that she learns more first and if she receives the answer that this is the true church. SWEET!!!! 

Sunday we only had 1 investigator at church... not sure what happened there. Huge bummer quite honestly, but eventually they will realize the importance of church and have the desire to come. Not sure where Sonan was, but we'll get them all there next week!!! 

Love, Sister Zoe Loftus
Double D


Soccer with the best sister missionaries ever!! Sorry it's so darn dark. We didn't really think that one through when we were taking the picture. Please note the HUGE smile on my face. I was literally so happy. Almost as happy as I am in Disneyland. (: 

A lesson really isn't a lesson unless you take a selfie with your investigator, right? (: These two kids are my favorite.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Four Months Down

Dear Family and Friends,

So as you can tell from the subject....I have officially been out on my mission for 4 months. Isn't that crazy? I mean I've still got quite a bit of time, but that's a good chunk gone already. It kind of stinks when you're in the MTC for 9 weeks, but that's okay. (: The time has flown... mostly haha. But I have loved being a missionary and I know my love will just continue to grow as I continue to serve and that is the coolest thing to think about. With each passing day my love for this country, the people, and the language grows more and more and I think to myself that going back to America seems less and less appealing... One day I’ll be ready to come home, but not yet. Speaking about that, I had a dream two nights ago that they sent all the sisters home from this mission and we weren't able to go serve anywhere else, so I literally only got to serve for 4 months. I was heartbroken... I just cried and cried. It was the saddest thing. One of those dreams that felt so real, so when you wake up you kind of have to sit there for a second and figure out if it was real or not. I was quite relieved to realize I was still in Cambodia. (:

This week was SLOW... Not a lot to talk about... Monday we went to this market called Phsaa Thmei (the new market) and it was insane. There were just little shops everywhere! It reminded me so much of Patty's market in Australia (for my family). It was really fun though! We don't need to go into any details about how much money I spent, but I felt like all my purchases were necessary for my survival here in Cambodia. (;

Tuesday we had a break through with a less active named Om Daly. She lives on the top floor of this house and has really bad knees, so she can't really go up the stairs. Basically she just lives on the bottom floor, but we knew she had a book of Mormon upstairs and we were just trying to figure out a way to get her to go up and get it. She talked a lot about her two kids who were adopted by a Canadian lady when they were little in order to help them have a better life, so sister fields, being the inspired missionary she is, asked to see some pictures of them. Good news!!! They were upstairs. She was more than happy to go up and get the pictures so we could see them, so while she was up there we just had her grab her book of Mormon too. Too perfect really. We haven't been able to go back and check to see if she's been reading, but baby steps. We'll get her back in that book. I know it. We went and visited a member who has recently been struggling. She doesn't have any money to pay her bills so they have turned off her water. But she does laundry for a living, so she has no way to get money to pay. Kind of a cruel cycle... We didn't really know how to help her. We can't really tell her that we know what she's going through because we don't... so we definitely have to rely on the spirit to help us know what to say in order to help her feel the spirit and feel heavenly father's love for her even in her trials. We went and visited a less active Bong Lida and her little sister, Banyaa, joined the lesson too and asked way good questions. She wanted to know why heavenly father wasn't blessing her and her family even though she was reading her scriptures, praying, and going to church. I don't really know what we said, but she said she knew how hard that question was to answer and that she knew the Holy Ghost had helped us answer. It was a really really cool experience!! We were able to set up another appointment with her to help answer more questions. She is the sweetest little girl (she's not really little, she's like 16, but she just seems so young haha) and just wants to be happy. Good thing our message is a message of happiness. We just have to help her see again the blessings and happiness that come from the gospel!!

Wednesday we went and visited Banyaa again, but by the end of the lesson I was about ready to die. I was sweating so much, more than normal and sister fields said "sister Loftus, you look really bad...". So we went home and called it a day. I slept for 5 1/2 hours. We aren't really sure what it was because I never threw up or anything like that, but I literally felt like dying. It was the worst... But don't worry, I slept it off and was back to work again on Thursday!

Thursday we met with two less actives Bong Chanti and Ming Kuan. It was amazing to see their whole countenance change as we taught them. When we first got to their houses both of them were very sad and depressed, but by the end of the lesson they were smiling and laughing with us. It was so so cool. The gospel really is good news and when we live the principles of it we will find happiness in this life.

Friday we got up and went running. It was really rough getting out of bed, so you guys can all be super proud of us. (: It felt so good to run again! I miss it. I mean we weren't running fast, but still. I somehow managed to work up a good sweat- that's what this Cambodia weather does to you haha. It's quite the experience. (: I studied chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel, which is Christ like attributes. It was such a powerful personal study. There's an attribute activity and I had done it in the MTC and thought it was time for me to do it again. Well, I got the same 2 attributes that I needed to work on, so I have really been focusing on them the past couple of days and plan on working on them until I get them mastered a little bit better. I can already see the changes and the blessings that are coming from them. Christ really is the perfect example for us and when we try to align our will with Gods and try our very hardest to become like Christ we will see blessings and miracles in our lives. We had zone training. I won't bore you with all the details, but Christmas in the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission HAS BEEN CANCELLED!!!!! Not really, but it for sure feels like that. In years passed, they have gotten together as a whole mission and had a party and then a mission conference, but this year that is not happening... sad sad news. I was a little devastated, but I'm slowly getting passed it. That just means that I won't see my good MTC friends for who knows how long... But the rest of the zone training was good. We focused on contacting, teaching, charity, and the book of Mormon. We read a story of a guy that found an old book of Mormon in Italy, I believe, and ended up becoming converted. Such a cool story, but in the story there was a quote that said that the book of Mormon is the "fifth gospel." As I thought about what that meant I remembered reading about the gospels in the bible dictionary. It says they are "testimonies". They tell you Jesus was, what he said, what he did, and why it is so important. That's exactly what the Book of Mormon is. As we read the book of Mormon, just as Joseph smith said, we come to know Jesus better and draw closer to him. That statement of being the fifth gospel could not be more true. We went over and taught our investigators Ciat and Naavy. Here's an update on them. So the situation is kind of hard to explain, but they are actually not married and Naavy has weird ties to this 73 hear old guys who is the father of her son. He moved to France and is coming back to Cambodia for a month to be with her and then they are going back to France for 3 months. She doesn't want to go, but he is going to pay her if she does, so her mom is kind of making her go. Super sad, but that means we can't really continue teaching her and then when she leaves, we can't teach Ciat by himself, so we are planning on giving him to the elders. We taught about repentance and committed them to start the repentance process, repent of word of wisdom problems. They committed, but before we had even left Ciat had lit up a cigarette, so we'll see how that all goes.

Saturday was a full day. We went and taught English, taught an investigator, Naiky, who seems to be very interested in learning about the gospel. We aren't sure if it's for the historical sense or if she actually believes in it, but it was still a very powerful first lesson. After the lesson we cleaned the church and then literally got dragged, no joke, the bishop's wife grabbed my arm, I had her hand print on my arm (don't worry she loves me, so it's okay. (: ), into a relief society/priesthood activity that we had no idea about. They had these sandwiches. I was so excited because I've been missing a good deli sandwich, but I got my hopes up.. Cambodian sandwiches are not like our subway sandwiches at home... I ended up just holding it in my hand for like 30 minutes and then sneaking away to throw it away haha. Then we went and supported the elders that are serving in our areas, Elder Grimaud and Elder Asay, at their investigators baptism. One of the investigators was this little 8-year-old boy and he was the cutest thing.

Sunday was typical. Two wards= 6 hours of church. We have so many investigators, 9 to be exact, but NONE of them were at church. How does that happen? The odds were definitely not in our favor. All my coaches for soccer told me that if we took 10 shots at least one would go in... yeah, that's not the same statistic for investigators I guess. Or maybe we're just missing that golden number 10. We'll find them this week!! (: When we finished teaching a recent convert it was a downpour and the streets were flooding. We put on our ponchos and went to brave the storm. Half way to our recent converts house we decided it would be a good idea to see if they were still ready for us to visit, we pulled over and called and they said "ot so srual khluan" which means they aren't feeling very good, so we bagged that idea. Trekked home in the storm and had language study.
Relatively speaking nothing super exciting happened this week, but as we were biking through storm after storm (literally one every night) I thought to myself that there is no place else I’d rather be. Being a missionary is the coolest things I’ve ever done. It's not easy, oh, it's so hard, but it is so so so so worth it. When you see the gospel "click" with someone, it makes everything work it. Even if the work is slow, knowing that I am doing exactly what the Lord wants me to be doing right now, helping his children learn of him and this gospel, Ah, there is nothing more satisfying. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!

Sister Zoe Loftus
Double D

Also, just a quick side note. If you guys are in need of a good read try reading the Inconvenient Messiah by Elder Holland. It is amazing. I mean you know it's gonna be good when it's by Elder Holland, but it really changes your perspective on discipleship and the way you do things.

The pictures this week are of the cutest little puppy with the cutest little Cambodian boy, who plays hand games with me and cuddles up to me every time we go. He is Naavy's little boy. And sister fields attempting to eat the Cambodian sandwich. hahahahaha

Cutest Cambodian little boy and puppy

Sister Fields not eating a Cambodian deli sandwich

Monday, November 2, 2015

Good Week for a Halloween Baptism

Dear Family and Friends,

This week the work moved SO SLOW. Little progression was made, but we know that the Lord has something big in store for us so we are pushing through this rough patch. We've got a lot of potential investigators and are hoping they quickly turn into progressing investigators in the next few days. 

Monday was delightful as usual. We went to a delicious Mexican restaurant with like the whole mission. No joke. There were 14 of us there. Okay, not even close to half the mission, but still there was A LOT. The food was delicious, like so good. We were planning on going to Phsaa Thmei, but we ran out of time, so we just went to Thai Huot instead. Thai Huot is this grocery store that everyone raves about and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. We walked in and it even smelled like a grocery store. We spent probably too long there just looking at all of our options. They have food from the US, Thailand, and Australia. I found Tim Tams. Shout out to Hayden and our days of Tim Tam slams!! So delicious. (: I found my crazy bugs in my bathroom and somehow the ants managed to get IN our fridge. I don't understand, but once we figured that out and got it all cleaned out, the night came to a close. 

Tuesday we had district meeting where we talked about asking inspired questions and listening. We read from the account of Ammon and King Lamoni. Our district leader did a fantastic job, i was able to look at it in a new light and learn so much from it. Also, we got a new Khmer elder in our district and he has a lot of sass, so him and the Khmer sister were very sassy together. It was entertaining, but i felt bad for our district leader, Elder Olsen. I've discovered a little piece of heaven here in Cambodia- apple and peanut butter- I can't remember if i talked about that in last week's email, but it is honestly so so so good. I love it. Okay, enough about food. We went over to teach our little 12-year-old investigator Hiang Lee. She is not really getting it, like everything goes in one ear and out the other, but we are trying really really hard to prepare her for baptism. As we were teaching her Naavy and Chiat were in the background cooking food. They cook on these little gas stoves and as Chiat goes to light the burner the thing literally exploded and flames go everywhere. The heat was so intense. Luckily their house is made of all concrete or the whole thing would've burned to the ground... I literally saw my whole life flash before my eyes... it was so scary. I've never moved so fast in my life. They eventually got the fire out with a giant bowl of water, but it was so scary. That just shows you that the Lord protects His missionaries. As we were standing outside of their little house we saw lots and lots of rats. I think I’m getting used to them. We lived to see another day. (:

Wednesday was very rough. Literally all of our appointments fell through. How is that even possible? The odds were not in our favor that day. We decided our best bet was to go to the church to do some English contacting. This dad and his little girl, on their moto, pull over and i start talking to them in Khmer and apparently it wasn't good enough for her, because the little girl about 8 years old looks at me and with the most attitude you've ever heard says "do you speak English?" I said "yes." and she says "you can just speak English to me. I know English too." and i was just like okaaaay. Sass to the max. We played this game called "what are the odds". It is so fun. But Wednesday night i did a “what are the odds” that sister fields has to tell our district leader "sleep tight” for the rest of the transfer every time he calls to see if we are home safe and i won with the number 14! It is the funniest thing. She's really awkward about it and it cracks me up every night!!! Haha i love it!! 

Thursday we had weekly planning and it was long and hard. We have literally hit a wall with all of our investigators. Not much progression like I mentioned before, but we managed to get through the 3 hours and finally got to leave the apartment, but of course we had an appointment fall through so we ended up trying to contact. Nothing seemed to be working. Everyone was either inside or they were males. The one lady that was outside had her little girl with her and as we approached her sister fields made the little girl cry by saying hello, so no contact was made there. haha it was one of those situations you just had to laugh because if you didn't you would've started crying... We literally had no idea what to do, so we sat down and said a pray. It was even said in English, that's when you know we are desperate. We finished the prayer and both of us felt like we needed to go visit one of our Less Active Recent Converts, Srey Kayo, so off we went. We got there and had planned to share a conference talk with her from last conference, Sabbath a delight, but they didn't have any Internet, so change of plans. We ended up just reading with her in 3rd Nephi 18 where Christ institutes the sacrament, the only catch was her sister was in the same room as us cross stitching and listening to music. Best part was it was American music... The spirit was definitely not present as we read the scriptures and listened to Taylor Swift, One Direction, and Anaconda... The worst song known to man... it was rough. But we felt prompted to testify about the importance of the sacrament and going to church. We invited her to come to church and.... SHE SAID YES. Such a huge tender mercy. Like honestly that right there made all the hard and difficult times we had early that week worth it! It was such a great reminder to me that we are not in charge of this work, the Lord is, and he has a plan for each one of His children. He will prepare a way for them to come back to Him in His own way and according to His own time. Such a cool experience. 

Friday we taught one of our potential investigators and it went really well. You guys will all be happy to know that i officially have the first vision memorized in Khmer. It only took me 8 weeks, but i finally did it. Man, it has so much power behind it. I love sharing it and seeing the investigator really think about what we are sharing and then be able to bear testimony that we know it's true and that it really happened. AH, there's nothing better. We unfortunately weren't able to set up a return appointment though because her work schedule is too busy... The rest of the day was rough, appointments falling through again... Sister Fields got her foot ran over by a tuk tuk, so after that we called it a day and went home. We drowned our sorrows in some pretzels and peanut butter and nutella and called it a day. 

Saturday was Halloween, or not so Halloween... it was weird. We spent the first 30 minutes of English class trying to explain to them what Halloween is and what we do to celebrate it. Needless to say, they don't understand at all. haha i was just laughing, but then we sang some nightmare before Christmas and all was right in the world. And now for the best part of this whole email. BAPTISMS!!!!!!! They did not disappoint and they made for my favorite Halloween yet. We had gone over before English class to try and help them with their testimonies... They don't understand what a testimony is, but we did our best. They were all so nervous!!!! We got to the church early in order to prepare some last minute things and to get the baptismal clothes ready. We helped the bishop's wife get the dishes ready for the food. We washed them in the bathroom... even though our church has two working kitchens. That's just Cambodia for ya. Our investigators were 45 minutes late, but they showed up and that's all that matters!!! Oh, they were so excited. We got them all changed, took the classic baptismal pictures, and off we went with the program. Elder Asay, one of the elders in our district was the one who performed the baptisms. That's whom the girls wanted. Their dad could've performed it and I’m still not really sure why he didn't, but whatever. I didn't actually get to see the baptisms performed because I was in the bathroom helping them get towels and everything which I was super bummed about, but I heard the prayer and it was the coolest thing ever. It still blows my mind that a saving ordinance takes less than 1 minute.  As they walked up the stairs from the font they all had the biggest smiles on their face. Ah, it was one of the coolest moments thus far in my life. After the baptism we started eating and the bishops wife was so sweet to get me some soup that didn't have any meat in it. I think she thinks I’m a vegetarian or something. Haha I’m not complaining. It gets me out of eating fish. (: We had the dessert with jack fruit and rice again. so here's a fun fact. Cambodians literally eat rice with everything and even when you don't think you're eating rice, you are. Even their noodles are made from rice. haha We were all just laughing and having the best time ever. It was the perfect end to a not so perfect week. 

Fast Sundays are rough, but this one was surprisingly good. We spent 8 1/2 hours at the church, just like a full time job, but there's not place I’d rather be, surrounded by members. The spirit was so strong in testimony meeting. I was even able to understand, for the most part. Srey Kayo came and we were so happy!!! We finally had the opportunity to meet with a less active family and that went to well. They are the sweetest! We're gonna reactivate them for sure. We broke our fasts with the most tasty fried egg sandwiches you have ever tasted! And that sums up this past week in Cambodia. (: Sorry, by the end of the week i have no desire to keep emailing, so Sundays lack details, but you get the picture, yeah? 

I’m going to try to start making my emails a little more spiritual, so to start it off here's a quote i found from my studies of the teachings of Joseph Smith: "Be faithful. Be diligent. Let every man, woman, and child realize the importance of the work, and act as if success depended on his or her individual exertion alone." Obviously we know that we aren't alone in this work, the Lord will be with us every step of the way, but when we look at it from this perspective, it really helps us realize the important role that each of us, as members of the church, play in the work. We all know people who would benefit from learning about this gospel and their Savior Jesus Christ, so my challenge to all of you this week is to invite. Invite someone to learn with the missionaries. I promise that as you do so you will see huge blessings in your life. Get a taste for missionary work and then just keep eating. It's the most delicious tasting fruit there is. 

Sister Zoe Loftus
Double D

Sister Fields and Sister Loftus with the three baptism girls

Another beautiful sunset in Cambodia

Selfie with three baptism girls and Sister Fields

Khmer writing- a glimpse of Sister Loftus' life everyday