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

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