Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Quick and Easy

Dear Family and Friends, 

So today we went to the killing fields... so we don't have very much time to email. I thought I was going to regret going because I love emailing home so much, but it was definitely the right decision. I really learned so much. I gained a deeper understanding for the Khmer people and was really really humbled. As we walked around and saw all the mass graves, all the skulls, and all the clothes, I was just overwhelmed with the Spirit and with love. I couldn't wait to get out and start serving them and showing them the love that Heavenly Father has for them. It was a very spiritual experience in the least likely of places; so grateful for moments like that. 

So a little more about our area, Toul Senguy. I love it so much, in case you guys were wondering. It's the weirdest area ever. It's just three separate areas, but we cover them all and all the streets are like back streets. There are only like 3 main roads... pretty crazy and way hard to skoal (become familiar) with them, but it's slowly coming. I'm not sure if I mentioned this last week or not, but we have 14, yes FOURTEEN investigators. Very different from my last area, but don't get too excited... only 3 of them are progressing... They are all Bong's (approximately my age or 10 ish years older) so they are all really busy with school and work and they literally have no time to meet us, or so they claim. Sister Xiong has been getting really really frustrated with it. We set up appointments and then they just don't show up. Or we go to their house and they moved without telling us and then don't answer their phones... super yap (annoying). I'm not sure if it's because I’m not leading the area or what, but it just didn't seem like a super big deal to me, but I knew how much it was bugging her, so I was trying to help her out. Each night we come home and she's just so depressed and then there's me and I’m like bouncing off the walls. I try my hardest to make her laugh and forget about the work for a couple hours. Then last night we went to the Bishop's house, miracle how that all worked out. We had two lessons with investigators fall through, go figure, and didn't have anything else planned. I felt prompted that we needed to go visit the bishop and his family. That was definitely from the Holy Ghost. We went and what he shared with us was exactly what she needed to hear. He told us that that was just a part of a mission and that we shouldn't get discouraged. We just needed to put our trust in God, the one you comprehendeth all things (D&C 88:40-41) and that's what I’ve really been trying to do. He told us to change our focus. Maybe instead of focusing on Investigators, maybe we should focus on less actives. I thought that was the best advice ever. Exactly what I’m used to. We left his house after eating delicious rice (I eat rice A LOT and love it so much!!!! Basically I’m Asian (: ) and some kind of meat, and biking home I look at sister Xiong and she is bawling. She said "Sister, that was exactly what I needed to hear. He has been called of God. I know it. We biked home in awe at how perfect Heavenly Father's plan is. 

Lately I've really been finding myself as a missionary and it is the coolest feeling. I don't get scared going into lessons, worried I won't be able to understand them or what know what to say. I'm really learning to rely on the Spirit and trust myself and the skills that I have in the language. I can usually get across what I want to say. I can explain things better from the scriptures. I find myself talking too much lately. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?? Sister Loftus has never talked too much... haha but it's happening and in Khmer too. What?? haha I love it. (: 

Just a few random things that happened this past week:
On Monday (a week ago) I ate Khmer food for every meal. That's a first on my mission and guess what... i loved it!!! (: There's a huge bridge (like a freeway over pass except it’s way bigger) in our area and I successfully crossed it for my first time on Tuesday. My legs were burning, but I did it. (: We found some less actives and were going to talk a picture of their house for our records, but there was a little boy sitting on the front steps... naked... so we decided we better not because we didn't want to get in trouble for child porn... but we just had to laugh about it. hahaha I've started taking bucket showers because our shower is koik (broken) and I love it. Maybe I’ll do it when I get home too. 
Basically I’m becoming Khmer. IT IS THE BEST THING EVER!!!! 

Sister Loftus
Double D

P.S. I LOVE Sister Xiong with all of my heart. She is the greatest!! (: 

Successfully fixed my bike chain!

Aren't we the cutest ever?

Tuk tuk - normal transportation in Cambodia

The baby of our investigators, her name is Lake-Hanna. I love her. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Toul Senguy

Meet Sister Xiong, Sister Loftus' new companion!

Dear Family and Friends, 

This week has been absolutely amazing!! I am really coming to find myself as a missionary and see my mission as a huge blessing in my life, rather than weeks and weeks of misery. Yes, I am finally back to my old self again!!! You guys will all be relieved to know that you have good, happy emails coming your way again rather than all of my problems and struggles. (: 

I am officially serving in Toul Senguy and I love it so much already. It was really hard to say goodbye to everything in Toul Kork- all the members, sister fields, my nice apartment, but mostly the members. I had served in that area for 4 months and had really really learned to love the members. They became my family. I wasn't expecting tsaying goodbye to be so hard, but I cried every time I had to say goodbye. Saying goodbye to Ming Sovana, Srey Bow (my recent convert), and their family was definitely the hardest. We had a good lesson with them and the elders happened to show up at the same time to teach her son, Odom, who just got baptized on Sunday. So we gave them a double dose of the missionaries- they loved it!!! I said goodbye and we were all crying and Neak Ming started singing “God be with you til we meet again” except she changed the words to “god be with you til we meet again at the temple”. And I just started laughing through the tears. How amazing would that be if they were able to come to salt lake to be sealed in the salt lake temple. That is her goal, so I am praying that it happens. (: She is amazing and because of her incredible example her daughters and sons have gotten baptized and they are enjoying all the blessings of the gospel. I learned so much from her. I'm going to miss her so much!! There were tender mercies left and right as I tried to say goodbye to everyone I wanted to say goodbye to. Ming Vangsom wasn't at home, but then we met her on the side of the road and I was able to say goodbye and get one last picture with her. 

Food update…just because I want you guys to try and understand what the food is like here. Monday we ate lunch off of this WAY sketchy cart.. like way sketchy... I got Kaa, which is way good, I thought it was the least sketchy. Typically it has meat in it, but mine didn't... just bones... so that was kind of nasty.  Then on Tuesday we went to lunch one last time as a district and I found a worm in my food... I got a picture of it, but that is what I’m eating here in Cambodia and surprisingly, I love it. I'm really really going to miss the food. 

SISTER XIONG!!!!! Goodness. I love her so much already. She is the best. She is from Anchorage, Alaska. She's the oldest of 5 siblings. She is Hmong. She's been on her mission three months longer than me and never lets me forget it. She always talks about how old she is. I always tell her that 3 months isn't that long, but in the mission it actually really is. I've already learned so much from her. She has so much confidence in her language abilities-something that I really need to work on. She really focuses on teaching to the needs of our investigators and less actives and doesn't really care about the language. When she teaches you can feel the love she has for them, as well as the love heavenly father has for them. It’s amazing. Her lessons are all really powerful. We laugh a lot together and I’m slowly learning again that missionary work is meant to be fun. We are supposed to be happy and find joy. I love it. This transfer holds so much in store and I really believe that this will be the pivoting point of my mission. I can't wait to see what happens. (: I know that heavenly father put us together in this area for a reason. We are going to do work!! I'm way grateful that I’m no longer leading an area... like way grateful. I can see how much stress it causes Sister Xiong, so I’m trying my best to help her out. She's been getting frustrated the past couple days because lessons have fallen through, but I am really focusing on having a positive attitude this transfer, so we just find something to laugh about and everything is better. 

Now a little about my new area. I've only been here a few days, but I love it. The roads are way crazy and it may take me forever to learn them, but I love it. There are wats (Buddhist temples) everywhere. They are way cool. (: We've met a few Less actives and they are amazing. One, her name is Ming Sarye. She is the sweetest lady ever. She doesn't have a house, she just sleeps on the cement in front of her cart where she sells drinks and a really mean mi chaa. Like no joke it is delicious!!! She just has so much love in her heart. She just holds our hands during the lessons. It's the sweetest. Even though she doesn't have very much physically, she has everything she needs spiritually. The love and faith she has is out of this world. Then there's Om Yoi, Bong Yuan, and Bong Vandi. They are all investigators and they are incredible!! They should already be members, but they are waiting for a marriage certificate. Marriage Certificates cost a lot of money, so they are just trying to save every piece of money they don't need to stay alive, which is not very much because they don't make much to begin with and they still need money to buy food and everything... it's a really rough situation, but they have so much faith. They come to church every week. When they finally get their marriage certificate it will be such a glorious day. They have a daughter, srey nit, which is actually already baptized. They really really want to become members, so they let her get baptized which is way cool. Om yoi is just waiting for her family book (a book of all their records, they do records here way weird) which is in a khite, to prove that she was married... they don't know how long that is going to take to get... Saturday we spent the whole day with one of the youth, Bong Siam. She is preparing to serve a mission and she just came with us to all of our lessons. She is way cool. I like her a lot. She is going to be a great missionary. Church was amazing. I didn't really know any of the members, but I just felt like I belonged there. It felt like home. The bishop invited me to bear my testimony and tell a little bit about myself and normally that would freak me out, but I got up and did it no problem. I just felt so comfortable with everyone. There are a lot of people in the ward that speak English, so our ward mission meeting was half in English half in Khmer. It was the funniest thing. Our ward mission leader served his mission in England, so when he speaks English he has an English accent. Every time I hear him I just laugh. That's a really funny thing to hear a Khmer speaking in a British accent. haha can you even imagine?? (: I am really really looking forward to this transfer. I really believe that I can and will learn so much and really set my mission on the right course. I'll have more to share in my email next week, but for now just know that I love this gospel, Cambodia, being a missionary, sister xiong, Toul senguy, my family, and my heavenly father and savior Jesus Christ with all of my heart!!! Cambodia is slowly sating to feel like home and I couldn't be happier here. (: Complete 180 from last transfer, but that's how the lord works. (: Looking back on my last transfer I've realized that I really did learn so so much. It was definitely preparing me for this transfer. I am happy and healthy here in Cambodia. (: LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! 

Sister Loftus
Double D 

P.S. just some quick cool facts
Vietnam is becoming it's own mission on March 1. 
We have a world wide missionary training on Saturday
Sister Semones and Sister Schwab (sisters from my MTC group) are training... how crazy is that? I think that's it... I promise next week's email will be more organized and informative. (: 

Way sketchy restaurant! 

Sister Loftus and Sister Sueon

Sister Loftus and Om Cabrie

Sister Loftus and Srey Pov

Sister Loftus with the Bishop and his wife

Sister Loftus saying goodbye to Ming Vangsom

Saying goodbye to Sister Fields, Sister Haddock and Sister Sueon

Monday, January 11, 2016


 Dear Family and Friends, 

This past week I hit my 6-month mark. So crazy.... It does not feel like I’ve been gone for 6 months. It feels like just yesterday my family was dropping me off at the MTC, I walked into my classroom, my teacher started speaking Khmer to me, and I thought, "oh, crap... what have I gotten myself into??"But now look at me. I'm 1/3 of the way down. I can't believe it. I've already learned so much and can't wait to keep learning more. 

Unfortunately this week was not very successful... Tuol Kork is very slow right now... Our investigator pool is still the same- none of them are really progressing. We still meet all of our less actives. It’s hard because Khmers love to talk about the drama that is going on in their lives or their health issues and I don't really know the vocabulary for that, so we go meet them and I’m lost for 45 minutes. I literally have no idea what they are talking about... Then we share our little scripture that we picked out for them, pray, and leave. I talk very little in the lessons, but I try to bear a powerful testimony and let them know that I know this gospel is true because that's what I’ve been called here to do. I have the vocabulary for that, so that's what I do. I do my best. (: 

Wednesday was an interesting day. We went to a less actives, Ming Vangsom, but she was busy doing laundry (her job), so we couldn't meet with her. Sister Souen started helping her and I just kind of stood there awkwardly, but then after about 10 minutes I jumped in and started helping her too. She was way concerned because I didn't "ceh", which means I didn't know how to do laundry the way the Khmer’s do it. She was right. I have no idea how to do it, but I still wanted to help. Eventually she told me very kindly that I was being more of a nuisance than a help, but that I could take the clean cloths and wring the water out of them and put them back in the basket, so that's what I did. As all of this was playing out, a crowd of about 11 people had gathered- old, young, male, female. Apparently they had never seen an American do laundry by hand. I thought they were impressed with me, but as I listened more closely to what they were saying I realized that they were all criticizing me and saying that I was doing it wrong. I just smiled, pretended like I couldn't understand, and kept doing what I knew how to do- wringing the water out. (: haha 

Sunday I had the opportunity to translate during Sacrament Meeting for one of our senior couples, the Van Brocklins. They are the coolest couple ever!!! They walked in and asked me if I could translate for them. I had never done that before, so I was very hesitant and they could tell. Sister Van Brocklin took me by the hand and said, "I know you can do it. We just want to know the big picture. You can do that right?” I said yes and off we went. It was a way cool experience to realize that I know more than I give myself credit for. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be and it helped me pay attention and get more out of the meeting than I would have if I hadn't been translating. It helped a lot that the topic was Elder Uchtdorf's talk from this past conference about Great Aunt Rose and Eva. I know that talk very well, so I was able to go based off of what I remembered from the talk instead of directly translate what the speakers were saying. Half way through the second speaker, the power shut off and I was so in the zone of translating that I almost said "okay, the power just shut off". But then I realized that that wasn't in Khmer and they could very easily see that for themselves. I just had to laugh about that. (: 

Transfer Calls!!! I got the call last night that I am.... drum roll!!! Transferring to Tuol Senguy, which is about 15 minutes away from my current area, Tuol Kork. I will be companions with Sister Xiong, a sister that is my same age, from Alaska, she's 3 months older than me in the mission, she's half Hmong, and Hmong is her native language, but she speaks English too. I'm really really excited to see what this transfer holds in store for us. I think we have to potential to be a power duo and really help Tuol Senguy. I was really sad at first to be leaving Tuol Kork, my birth area, and all the members that I’ve formed such great relationships with like Srey Pov, but when I woke up this morning, I had the thought that it was time for me to leave, that I had done everything the Lord needed me to do in this area, so keeping that in mind, I am diving head first into Tuol Senguy. I am going to try my hardest to speak as much Khmer as I can and really try my hardest to help the members come unto Christ, help them become converted to this amazing gospel. I have faith in the Lord that this is the next step for me in my mission. (: 

Sorry this email wasn't very cool. I always have such high expectations for my emails and then I finish writing them and think "man, that does not do what I’m doing here justice what so ever. I'm having so many experiences here on my mission that I just can't put into words or even try to explain them. I'm learning so much and even though it's a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, I know that this is where I’m supposed to be right now. As I continue putting my trust in the Lord and submitting my will to His I will see miracles; that is one that I love about being a missionary, you can always expect miracles. 

Sister Loftus
Double D  

Khmer writing
Aren't they the cutest?? 

Monday, January 4, 2016


Dear Family and Friends,

I wish I had a lot to talk about in this email because I know how redundant all these missionary emails can get, but sadly I don't... the work is currently moving very very slowly in Tuol Kork. 

We have 5 investigators (Sonan, Bong Vi, Ming Saruen, and Srey Ny, Ming Li Nit) with only Sonan progressing. We are trying our best. Sonan has been a work in progress and I love her so much. She will be the best member ever, it's just a matter of actually being able to meet her and teach her the lessons. She's solid. Bong Vi is a little iffy. We've been to her house multiple times, but each time she has an excuse not to meet with us. Her mom also doesn't want her to meet with us, which makes it way hard... Ming Sauren and Srey Ny (mom and daughter), we've met them twice and this past time I found out that ming Saruen has a job women are not proud of... pretty interesting.  Doesn't make sense to me, but she has to get money somehow. I'm not 100% sure that's what's going on. I didn't know the word sister Soeun used, but when she explained it to me, that was what I got out of it, so we'll see where things go with her. I'll talk to president because if she doesn't do what she does she literally has no money. Welcome to Cambodia haha. Ming Li nit is our newest investigator. We found her on Wednesday. We moved houses and she works at our new apartment building. She really has a strong desire to learn. She used to learn with the elders in a khite (out in the country), but then had to move to Phnom Penh for work, so she already knows a little. I'm really excited to see her progress. (: 

Tuesday was probably the best day of the week. We went to District Meeting and were able to watch the Christmas Devotional. Man, it was so so so good. I know that this is all way old news for you guys, but bear with me. Cambodia is always behind on the technology side of things. I loved it. It was so Christmassy. I think that was the first time I’ve actually watched.  How that is possible when I’m 19 years old I have no idea, but it will definitely become a Christmas tradition. I loved Elder Bednar’s talk and how much everyone talked about Jesus Christ and everything he can do for us. The comparison of him being the light is incredible. Can you imagine being in absolute darkness for 3 days and then having Him come visit you? That would be amazing!!! He can be a physical light and a spiritual light. Such beautiful imagery. I love it!! We went to lunch at Mom's Kitchen with the crew- a joy as always. We then went to teach Srey Bov and Ming Sovana. Turns out it was Odom's (her son) birthday. You know what that means!!! Lots of food and cake. (: it was so much fun. I felt like I was just apart of their family. We had Thai Curry and it was delicious!!! WE sang hymns because that's what you do at birthdays and then we even had cake. Me and Srey pov started a frosting fight and that was the best thing ever. We got everyone. She finally got me and I screamed way loud... then I couldn't get the frosting off my face and the bishops son tried to get it off my face, but that is Khoh cbab (against the rules) so I just ran away from him. haha Awkward encounters happen with him way to often. Basically they have just become my home away from home. I love them!!! Oh, real quick there were 4 different languages being spoken at this birthday party English, Thai, Khmer, and Vietnamese. pretty cool, right? 

Wednesday was our moving day. It literally took all day, but it was all worth it when we got to the new house. It is so nice!!! They moved our things out of our old apartment (fourth floor) with a rope. They just lowered it down all the way from the fourth floor. So Cambodian. oh, the things they do in this country. 

Thursday- New years was non-existent... we got some coke from our landlord and ate some Khmer food, but we still went to bed at 9:30. it was very unexciting. It just doesn't feel like the New Year. I'm still living in July, when I entered the MTC. 

Sunday we had a way cool experience. Sister Souen was able to go and get her patriarchal blessing. It was a challenge finding the church, but somehow we managed. I am convinced that the Holy Ghost led and directed me. The patriarch is the cutest old om you've ever seen with the cutest smile. I was able to think about when I got my blessing as I waited for her and I realized again how big of a blessing it is that we have to opportunity to receive personal revelation like that. So cool. Just shows how much Heavenly Father really does love us. ah, and then at church we had 5 less actives comes to sacrament meeting. Miracles!!!!!    Thank you time change. (: 

And that sums up my week. Sorry it was so short and not very exciting... maybe next week will be better. (: also, I don't have much time and the computer is freaking out... gotta love Cambodian computers. hahaha sometimes you've just gotta love everything about your life in this country.

Sister Loftus
Double D 

How you move out of a fourth floor apartment in Cambodia-you use a rope and bucket.

Saying good-bye to my first pteah (house)

Hello to our new apartment, so nice!

Mosquito bites-plural

More bites and tan lines, not dirt!