Monday, December 26, 2016

Zoe Loftus?...who is that?

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well, this week has been full of ups and downs. The highest of the ups and the downest of the downs. I'm gonna keep this short, well, I’ll try... haha because I’ll be skyping with my family soon. 

So... remember my little moto accident? Well... it was a little more serious than we thought... it was SUPER swollen and infected and they were scared that the infection was going to enter my blood stream, so they sent me to the doctor and they cleaned it out, which hurt SO bad, and then they put me on an antibiotic that I’ve been taking for the past few days. Sister Christensen and a senior couple were super worried about me, so they put me on bed rest... I didn't really go proselyting on Wednesday, except for English class, and then on Thursday I was inside ALL day... I was dying. It literally killed me. I HATED IT. But it did make my foot feel a lot better, so that was good. Maybe I should just not be stubborn. haha My foot is still pretty nasty, but things are looking better. No worries. (: 

Wednesday we had a combined spiritual thought. We have three classes and about 130 kids that attend. We all met in the chapel and the missionaries sang some Christmas songs and read from Luke chapter 2. Then they had two missionaries bear their testimonies. I got nominated cause I’m close to dying. At first I refused... I don't really like speaking in front of a ton of people who speak English and Khmer better than I do, but I quickly changed my mind and accepted willingly cause I knew it was an opportunity to testify of my savior, Jesus Christ. It was perfect. I was brought to tears. So powerful!

I also got the opportunity to bear my testimony at our ward Christmas party AND in sacrament meeting. It was cool to see everything come full circle because last year I got to bear my testimony at Christmas too. Lots of things have changed. One-I’m not afraid to bear my testimony any more and I actually find joy in it. Two-I can speak Khmer. Three-I understand this gospel a whole lot better, especially the atonement and the true meaning of Christmas. It was perfect. I was able to spend lots of time with members in the ward that I love. It was hard, but good. The hardest part so far has been saying goodbye to my recent convert, Tola. She just bawled in my arms... it was heart breaking. I didn't like it at all!!! 

Christmas was good though. Not much to say, I just want to say that I am so grateful for ALL the experiences and opportunities I have had over the last 18 months. And there have been MANY!!! Man, I honestly never thought this day would come. Freak man, I don't know if I can do this... It all just hit me like a brick wall. I don't even have words to express my gratitude and love that I have for my savior. I love him so much and am so grateful to have his gospel in my life. Merry Christmas!!! 

Love, 
Sister Loftus
Double D 

P.S. Merry Christmas! Thank you for all the Christmas notes. I love them. They were the perfect Christmas gift. 




Sister Loftus resting and icing her foot



Sister Lotus and Tola



Sister Loftus and Tola 



Sister Loftus, Sister Benson and friends


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Yuletide Carols

Dear Family and Friends, 

Life has been treating Sister Benson and me pretty good here in Cambodia. The weather cooled off a little, which I didn't like at all because I was freezing!!! But I still managed to sweat a ton. haha

The same old same old was going on. So not much to tell you guys, BUT Tola got baptized, so that is gonna be the highlight of this email. She was SO excited. She bore her testimony and said "nhom sabay cet" (which means she is really really happy) like 4 times. It was so cute. She thanked Sister Benson and me or all of our patience (we didn't need any because she understood everything, so easily) and just had the biggest smile on her face the whole time. It was cool to see her family come together and really support her. Her aunt spoke, her uncle-in-law spoke, and her uncle baptized her. It was so fun!! Now we just need next week to roll around so she can be confirmed the newest member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (: What better Christmas present could I ask for?? (: 

So Sister Benson and I have been sick with colds for the past two weeks. She is getting over hers nicely, but mine is still pretty nasty. Yesterday my voice was completely gone... that makes doing missionary work extremely hard. hahah but the members all thought it was hilarious. Hopefully it comes back so I can really get into the Christmas caroling. (: 

A moto also hit me, for the first time in my whole mission. I almost made it to the end safe and sound, but nope... stupid people. I don't even know what happened... Sister Benson said that the moto just came out of nowhere and hit me and then I flew... all I remember thinking was "oh no, my shoe fell off...." haha. I was in shock and didn't notice the blood gushing out of my foot or my hand until a look pu and this boy came up and tried to help me. Then this other guy stopped and told me that I shouldn't clean it with water, but that I should use lubricating oil, for like a car. I politely told him that he was crazy and that that wasn't something that we did... and he was so confused... haha but everyone thought that I was crazy for just getting back on my bike like it was no big deal. Honestly I was fine, a little flustered, but the pain set in today. Super super sore... but don't worry I’m okay. (: 

I could literally go on and on and on about Christmas, because we've been studying it for a while, but to save you guys some time and to save my hand for hurting more than it does already, just know that I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born and died for us. Christmas is more than presents, good food, family and friends. It is a time for us to really ponder and wonder about the savior's birth and atonement. I am so grateful that I get to spend one more Christmas as a missionary cause there is no better gift for me to give Him than my time bearing testimony of Him to the Khmers. (: So crazy to think that Christmas is in less than a week, it honestly snuck up on me, but MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! May you all remember the true meaning of Christmas, feel the Spirit, and prepare room for Him in your heart and in each of your homes. Love you all. (: 

Love, 
Sister Loftus
Double D 

P.S. almost forgot. Well, I did forget last week, but this week I wasn't going to forget again. I FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON IN KHMER. Holy longest thing of my life, but I learned a lot from the way they translated it and it was quite the accomplishment. I was/ still am super proud of myself. (: 




Sister Loftus and the children in Cambodia



Rain storm



Sister Loftus




Wounds from being hit by moto




Sister Loftus, Tola, and Sister Bensen at Tola's baptism



Sister Loftus and newly baptized Tola


Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas, Tis the Season


Dear Family and Friends, 
This past week was SO good and I think this week is going to be even better. We are getting closer and closer to the Christmas festivities. I can't wait. Nothing quite like Christmas in Cambodia. (: 
This past Monday I had the amazing opportunity to go eat dinner with President and Sister Christensen. Unfortunately no pictures... sorry!!! It was so good to spend some time with them. I went with a different Sister as well and it was SO fun!! Like so fun. They are honestly the coolest people I know. I just tried to soak in all the time I got with them. We were just asking them life advice and they were just talking about how they met and I was just dying. They are so cute!!! It was weird though cause although I was with the mission president and his wife, we were out past curfew and I felt so guilty!!! Ha ha. That’s when you know you've been a missionary too long. Just kidding. There is no such thing as that. I LOVE being a missionary with all my heart!!! (: 
We met Zeekaa.. She didn't remember about the Atonement, so we took a good half an hour to testify. The spirit was SO strong. Very fitting lesson for this Christmas season. (: 
Here's where things get good. Tola got interviewed yesterday for baptism and the elder that interviewed her said that it was easily the easiest interview he's ever done. He said she knew everything so well!! She didn't mess up once!! We were so proud and she is so so so excited to get baptized!!! So that means that we have a baptism next week with a confirmation on CHRISTMAS. She thinks it's like the coolest thing that she is getting confirmed on Christmas. She also made us the cutest little Christmas presents. I love her. I don't even think words can express my love and gratitude that I met her. 
Church was also really really good. We had a less active, okay in-active, of about 6 years come to church. I’m not gonna say much about her, I’ll tell you here whole story when I get home because there are SO many details, but long long long story short, we went and met her every week with very little hope of her coming... she just has had a lot of things happen. This past week, we weren't able to go visit her cause we had a FOUR hour zone training, but then on Sunday we were standing at the doors welcoming people and there she comes walking in.. I was speechless and almost passed out.... CHRISTMAS MIRACLE for sure. Wow. So much gratitude. 
Merry Christmas!! 
Love, 
Sister Loftus 
Double D (Double Disciple)




Cambodia!!!!



Sister Benson, Srei Touch and Sister Loftus



Sister Benson and Sister Loftus-a little mini Christmas cheer

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Walking In a Winter Wonderland

Dear Family and Friends, 

This past week was really really good. Nothing too new or exciting happened, just the usual missionary life, but that's what I LOVE. so I am a very happy camper right now. 

Tola is progressing nicely. I'm not really sure how it happened, but we were blessed to meet her three times this week. She is praying and reading every night. We just need to get her coming to church regularly, every week. She misses occasionally... but she is scheduled to get baptized on December 18th and we couldn't be more excited!!! She is super excited too and asks about it all the time. I've really really grown to love her and her family. Going to their house really feels like going home. They just welcome us with open arms every time. 

Our less active, which isn't really less active anymore, Srei Touch, the one I talked about last week, she is doing so good!!! She is just starting to understand everything. She’s been reading, praying, AND coming to church. Very rarely do the lessons we teach actually cause people to change, but she must have felt something from the Holy Ghost, because she is currently on fire. I love going to visit her because she has this light in her eyes now. Before she was kind of meeting us unwillingly.. We’d get there and she wouldn't be super happy, we'd share, and then by the time we left she would be so happy. (: But now she is just happy 24/7. I can't imagine how hard it is to be the only member in your family, without any support, but she has been overcoming that. She even came to stake conference on Sunday!!! I was so happy to see her there. She came up and told us how much she liked it and gave us the biggest hug. Also, this past week she told us that before she wasn't following the Word of Wisdom, she was drinking tea and coffee with her family, but on Sunday, last week, we had a lesson on the Holy Ghost and they said that if you aren't following the commandments the spirit couldn’t be with you. So she told us that she repented and is living it fully. That is what we like to hear. (: 

Thursday we met with Bunleu, our pregnant investigator. She is doing well. We are just teaching her really really slowly, making sure she understands things. We just read with her in 1 Nephi and she understood it all. We aren't really in any rush with her because we have to wait to baptize her until she has her baby in February. But she is really surprising me. She even came to stake conference|!! Then we met a less active/recent convert... kind of a tough situation to explain over email, but they are so good and they fed us SO much food... they just wanted to thank us for our service to God and let us know that they love us. If any of you are worried about me out here in Cambodia, food wise, STOP!!! I am getting way too much food... haha and it's good food too. (: I am one happy sister right now. (: 

STAKE CONFERENCE!!!! It kills me when we have stake conference because with 6 wards, we have less than the amount of members that we have in America for one sacrament meeting. But I learned SO much from conference. There was a theme of "do you believe?" It was definitely inspired. Cambodia is at the point that if the members here don't know for themselves that this church is true, then the church will not continue to progress... so the stake president was really stressing that. Also, his talk was SO GOOD!!! He just called them all to repentance for not reading the Book of Mormon every day. He started off by sharing his love and concern for them and then said "I promise you, as your stake president, set apart by a servant of the lord, that if you do not read the Book of Mormon ever day, then your life WILL NOT progress." So today I just want to echo what he said. I know it seems really harsh... but the Book of Mormon was written for us in these days. It can help us in every circumstance. so I challenge all of you to start reading every day, even if it's just for 5 minutes. It will change your life. If you think your life is good now, just imagine how amazing it will be with the Lords help and direction from reading the Book of Mormon. Just try it!!!

I love this gospel so much and I know that the Book of Mormon is true. Hey, if you guys didn't know, it's almost Christmas. Sister Benson reminds me every day "hey, Sister Loftus, only 3 more weeks til Christmas!!!" also, the subject for this email... it was a little chilly this past week. We are convinced Cambodia knows that it is snowing in America and it's giving us a little Christmas present. (: 

Love,
Sister Loftus 
Double D 




The "new" Sister Loftus



Sela is my favorite!



Sister Loftus and Bunleu



She won't let us leave until we put her on our bike...she really wants to come with us.



Sister Loftus, Bong Sophea, and Sister Benson



Ming Sovanna, from my birth area. She is the best!



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Very full...of food, of love, of the Spirit

Dear Family and Friends, 

I'm just gonna stop apologizing for short emails. You guys should just expect it by now. (:  

I know you guys probably won't believe me cause last week's email was a little down, but this week was really good. I felt like it was a very successful week. 

I've been struggling lately bike wise. I've had a flat tire, like completely flat 3 times this past week... not okay. I don't understand what's going on... we bike up to the shop, just a little shop on the side of the road, and they just look at me like I’m crazy and ask me how I did that to my bike. I just have to laugh and say that I don't know. And then they talk about Sister Benson and me, thinking we can't understand them, but then we start laughing, and they get super embarrassed. It happens every time. haha I love it. (: 

We had success, ish, this past week with a less active. Typically when we go over to meet her, she doesn't let us share with her. She just talks with us and we do our best to work gospel topics into the conversation, but this past week, she brought up prayer, so we jumped on that opportunity to share. We taught a great lesson and really felt like she understood it. She even promised to pray, but then we asked her if she's been reading the Book of Mormon. She said yes, good, but that she was also reading the Buddhist scriptures and Islamic scriptures as well... haha Sister Benson and I just looked at each other and started laughing... man... 

We met with lots of less actives and they all went pretty well. Less actives are always pretty much the same, not much changes from week to week. Actually, one of our less actives, Srei Touch, is progressing very nicely. She has started reading her scriptures every day and she came to church. She is the cutest ever. I've gotten really close to her lately and am learning so much from her example. (: 

Thanksgiving!!! So this year, the mission came out with a new rule that the mission won't pay for holidays anymore, which means it's the missionary’s responsibilities to prepare something for holidays. I was way sad that I wouldn't get a good Thanksgiving, but our senior couple, the Dowds, saved the day. We got to go to their apartment as a zone and enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (lunch). We had all the fixings too. It was so so so good!!! I was so grateful for it. My stomach is even smaller now than it was before my mission, so I only ate a little bit, but it was so tasty. Then they had prepared a super sweet little program and we were able to go around and share what we were grateful for. Man, the spirit was so strong. Something super cool about hearing the testimony of 24 missionaries. However good your Thanksgiving was, it did not beat mine. Not a chance. (: 

GUESS WHAT??? Zeekaa came to church. My mind was blown. We walked up and she was just sitting there and said, “Hey, Sister Loftus!”. I freaked out and she just laughed at me. We had a killer lesson on the Restoration with her and I was SO happy!!! She even told us that now she'll have more time to meet with us. I guess I should've just had faith in her and trusted the lord. (: Maybe one day I’ll learn that lesson. haha 

Things are going good. I love Cambodia. So much. And this gospel. (: 

love, 
Sister Loftus
Double D




Just Cambodia



Christmas in Cambodia



Autumn in Cambodia



Zeeka?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Unbelievable

Dear Family and Friends, 

This week was LONG and ROUGH... I don't really know what's been going on lately, but I feel like all of our lessons fell through. It was the water festival and everyone was busy dau lenging (hanging out) and couldn't meet with us. Also, our ward is kind of falling apart... Lots of people have just stopped coming to church and no one has their phone number or knows where their house is so that makes going to find them to try to help them come back, pretty impossible... Our relief society president is less active and going to a different church, along with a recent convert, and a couple other members as well. They are going to that church because they give out rice and if they go to that church they don't have to pay for their kids schooling because the church will pay it for them... Unbelievable. It just breaks my heart. Also, a few of the members are still doing their Buddhist traditions (worshiping ancestors) and there is no way that they can have strong faith if they are caught up with that... I just don't know how to help them. I feel like they won't listen to me, a little 20-year-old American girl, even if I am a set apart missionary of the Lord. I go in and teach them, what I think is a great lesson, by the spirit, and NOTHING. I have faith in my calling, power, and authority, but maybe they don't. I've been trying to work with the members to see what we can do to help them, but they have all kind of given up hope... they just say "Sister don't worry about them. They won't come back." but that's not what I should be doing. I should care. I should be helping them. That’s my purpose and calling as a missionary -to help people come back and repent, really repent and change their lives. I just don't know how to do that if they won't let me meet with them... you know? I feel pretty hopeless right now... I just want to help this area progress, especially with the little amount of time that I have left, but nothing seems to be working.... that's what we are working with for the less actives. Our investigators seem to be doing pretty good though. We have 6 right now. 3 of them are pretty solid, Tola (14 year old girl) Bunleu (the pregnant one), and Marina (the member non member situation) and then the other three are kind of iffy, not really wanting to meet us and such. But I should just be grateful we have 3 good investigators. And I am. I love them, but I just want them to be able to come to church and feel like it's something they want in their lives, but if we only have 40 people there... makes it kind of hard. I know you guys have never had to deal with Buddhist drama, but if you have any idea on strengthening faith in Jesus Christ, I’m all ears. (: 

As for Zeekaa, yes, she gets a whole paragraph to herself... she has basically dropped off the face of the planet... we have natted with her (made an appointment) three times now and she just doesn't show up... I know she's busy with work, but she worked before and still had time to meet us. When she got this new job, maybe a month ago, I asked her if it would affect her church attendance and she said no... and now she hasn't been to church for two weeks in a row... Unbelievable. I’m super sad about it and Sister Luke didn't even get to say goodbye to her... also, I talked to her and she's now reading her scriptures, so that's cool... Praying we can finally meet with her this week and help her see the light. Her birthday is this week and I’m planning on getting her a birthday present, so hopefully that sweetens her up a little bit. haha 

We spent a lot of time saying goodbye to members this week. It was way sad seeing Sister Luke say goodbye to them, but made me even more grateful that I am staying here in PCT, the work might not be moving super good, but the members are the BEST!!!! We had dinner Thursday night with some of the elders recent converts that we've grown pretty close to and it was so fun. We just laughed and had the best time. They are such examples to me. Nimol, the older brother (their parents are dead I’m pretty sure) was a street contact and he was golden. His little sister and two of his cousins have since been baptized and the elders are currently teaching his brother and his wife, so they are the best!!! 

Transfer day was hard saying goodbye to Sister Luke... also, everyone that was going back out to the khets gave me hugs and said "I might not see you before you die, so goodbye!!" and that when things got super real... I didn't like it... so that was the down side to transfer day, but the upside was Sister Christensen's nephew was there and he is the cutest!!! Also SISTER BENSON!!!! She is a year younger than me and from Ephraim Utah. And she is SO GOOD!!! She blew my mind. Her Khmer is Unbelievable. She must have worked so hard in her training to get where she is. She is basically as good as I am. She is going to help PCT so much!!! We've had a few lessons already and she teaches by the spirit and teaches things so simply. I really really love being her comp and it's only been 4 days. Excited to see how we continue to grow over the next few weeks.

Tola is doing so good. We met her last night after not meeting her for about a week and she remembered EVERYTHING. She is so good. I love her. Super good for her to have such a good support system around her. 

I know this email was super sad and negative, but I’m actually pretty excited to see how my relationship with the lord develops over the next few weeks. What a great way to end, right? I know that I can't do this work without His help. I will trust Him and He will help PCT. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve the Lord. So much happens on a mission that can't happen anywhere else. My mission has changed my life. I am a different person since the day I entered the MTC, all because of the Lord. His plan is perfect for each of us. Through the Gospel, we can find joy and happiness in this life. We can overcome all things through the Atonement of Christ. If you don't have a personal relationship with your savior yet, I encourage you all to start reading the Book of Mormon, Today!!!! . The Book of Mormon is the word of God and a book that, if read and applied in our lives, WILL CHANGE us. I have seen it so much in my mission. Reading of the Book of Mormon is the game changer. Always. READ IT!!! 


Love, 
Sister Loftus 
Double D

P.S.  forgot that it was thanksgiving this week... haha!!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!! Eat lots of good food for me and you should try giving a gratitude prayer. A prayer where you only thank him. Don't ask for ANYTHING. it's a really really cool experience. LOVE YOU ALL!!!! We have so much to be grateful for.



Sister Christensen's nephew



Sister Luke, Sister Loftus and the Elders



Sister Loftus, Sister Semones, and not sure who the other Sister is, sorry!



Cambodian scenery



Ming Samay, the best member ever, with her GIANT Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants