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
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. (: