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

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