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

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