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!!!!!
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