Please enjoy this picture of me and Sister Xiong. We didn't have any students show up for English class, so we ended up talking some selfies. Seems really productive. (:
Dear Family and Friends,
Happy Valentine's Day. I just feel obligated to wish you guys happy holidays even if I don't have anything else to say about them. I mean what kind of a holiday is Valentine's Day to a girl who has put her love life on hold for 18 months? (: Not a super fun holiday to celebrate, but I hope you guys did something fun. (: So this week was incredibly long... like WAY long, but it was still good and I’ve got some good stories to share with y'all. (:
Monday after the p-day festivities ended, we went to the church and taught one of our Recent Converts, Diana. Yes, her name is Diana. Not very Khmer, but I've learned not to question things here. It looks a lot more Khmer when it's written in Khmer, but that is how you say it, Diana. Anyways, she came up to us on Sunday and actually asked us to meet with her... I was so happy, that never happens. No one is ever that eager to meet with us, but we cleared our schedule and penciled her in. We taught her about the Doctrine of Christ. It was one of the best lessons on my mission. She was super engaged in the lesson. She was asking us questions and we could actually understand her. The first time I met her I thought she was a stuck up 18-year-old girl who didn't want to talk to the crazy "Barang" (french girl)... but I think that we could actually become really good friends. I want her to serve a mission, but when I asked her about it, she said she didn't feel solid enough in her testimony and knowledge, so right now that's what we are working on, strengthening those two things in order to give her the opportunity to serve if that's what she wants. She tried to share the gospel with her family and some of her friends, but they wouldn't listen to her... We are praying one day they have the desire as the watch her life continue to change and improve dramatically.
Tuesday we went and taught a lesson to our ward mission leaders mom. He joined in on the lesson as well. Before we started the lesson, we were just making small talk which is way sketchy for two reasons... 1) you give free reign to Khmer's and you have no idea what they might share... haha and 2) it takes the topic off of religious things and brings a whole new vocabulary to the surface that we don't understand. So we literally just have to sit there saying "caa""caa" which is their version of uh-huh, just to let them know that you are listening. We just nod our heads and hope that what they are saying isn't too absurd and that they don't ask us any direct questions. But as we were doing that I looked over at our ward mission leader, remember he's the one who served in the England south mission, so he knows some English, and he is just dying, laughing so hard. I look at him and say, "What is so funny?" and his response: "you have no idea what she is saying do you?" I started laughing and said "nope." "That’s okay. I know exactly how you feel. It took me a full year into my mission to realize that pork roast was something you eat and not the name of someone. Just keep nodding and one day it'll come". hahah I was laughing so hard. Glad someone understands the struggles of being a missionary that has to learn a new language. After our lesson with her, we went contacting... Toul Sengke is really hard to contact people because literally everyone is going somewhere, they are always too busy to talk with us, so we just kind of started walking along the railroad tracks... We didn't have much success. Currently our contacting is limited to drunk lookpus that hit on us... it's not super beneficial. It was especially bad on Tuesday because everyone was still celebrating Chinese New year, so they were all gathered in huge groups, gambling, and drinking... We try our best.
Wednesday. This is where the title of this email comes in. Get ready for this. It may be kind of confusing, but bear with me. So do you guys remember Ming Liang and May Kim?? They were investigators of mine in Teuk La'ak... Well, they are back in my life. I get to keep teaching them!!!! They attend the Teuk La'ak ward, but they actually live in Toul Sengke. So last week the elders in Teuk La'ak called us and told us that Mark (his real name is Visal, but he can speak English, so he has dubbed himself as Mark), Ming Liang's son, had requested that the sisters in Toul Sengke go and visit her at her home. We called the sisters in Teuk La'ak (Sister Fields, my trainer and her TWO koons) just to ask if that would be okay with them, we didn't want to step on their toes or anything. They said that that would actually be way awesome because May Kim has a baptismal date for the March 5th, but they haven't been able to meet with her very often, so she wasn't going to be taught all of the lessons in time. So along with visiting Ming Liang, they requested that we help them teach her. So fun!!! We had some struggles finding their house, the neak ming is impossible to understand, she just kind of slurs all of her words together, and we couldn't understand May Kim, so we were literally so lost, but ended up finding it by a miracle of meeting a former investigator of Sister Xiong on the road, who speaks English, so he was able to call May Kim, get directions, translate it to English, and then naenoam (guide) us to their house. When we got there May Kim was outside jumping up and down yelling "Sister!! Sister!!" Up to that point she didn't know that it was me who was coming to teach her, so when she saw that it was me she ran up gave me the biggest hug and said "Sister! You never said goodbye. I've missed you so much!" it was the sweetest thing. We taught her a lesson and she ended up breaking down and telling us that she didn't have any friends at school because they found out she believed in God...How wrong is that? She's 10 and her friends are discriminating against her... We asked her if she still wanted to get baptized and she assured us, through tears, that she was still very excited to get baptized and knew that it's what Heavenly Father wanted her to do. She said she wanted to get baptized so that one day when she was bigger she could be a sister just like us. We were able to bear a powerful, yet simple, testimony that we knew what she was doing was what Heavenly Father wanted her to do too. We told her how much we loved her and how much her Heavenly Father loved her too. She can always talk with Him through prayer and she said, "I know he loves me". She is the sweetest thing ever. Then later that day we were coming back from a not so successful visit to one of our less actives, Srey E, and we saw a family of monkeys. There were probably 8 of them. they were just climbing on this building and on the electrical wires. I never thought I'd see that here in the city, but it was the coolest thing ever. We, of course, stopped our bikes in the middle of the street and whipped out our cameras. How could we miss talking pictures of that??
Thursday we found out that one of our investigators, Om Yoi finally got her family book, which means that she can get baptized here in a few weeks!!! We are all SUPER excited!!!!
Friday we had zone training and we were FINALLY able to watch the worldwide missionary broadcast. It was really really good. I know that you guys have literally heard about it from 100 other missionaries, but the title of it was teach repentance, baptize converts. We are really emphasizing repentance because that is what true conversion comes from. If our investigators understand repentance before baptism then we are really baptizing converts, not people who are still investigating the church. Also, this work is so dependent on the Holy Ghost. A lot of times we think of the holy ghost as a tool that we can use, when in all reality we are just a tool in the Holy Ghost's hands. We need to humble ourselves, being exactly obedient, and be willing to follow the promptings of the spirit to accomplish the Lord's work. one last thing. "Less actives and part member families are GOLD MINES!!" Typically here in this mission we think of them as a hindrance or a burden because there are just so many of them, but the broadcast really changed my perspective of them and I’m going to take advantage of them and really try my hardest to help them. Elder Oaks closed it up with a way powerful talk that was basically just a pep talk to all the missionaries serving. He really emphasized our purpose and our divine identity. Do you know who you are and what you've been called to do??
Friday night we got a referral from the elders to go visit a less active neak ming. They claimed she wanted to meet with us, but when we went to her house she wouldn't open the door. All of her neighbors told us that she was home, but she completely ignored us... her son came out and we asked him if his mom was home, he walked back in yelling "mom!!" but he never came back out... Apparently she didn't want to meet with us. That happens more than you'd think. We could literally see her in the house through the window. We knew she was in there, but she wouldn't open the door... We aren't stupid. We may not speak your language perfectly, but we aren't stupid, we just left and tried to get over the fact that she slammed the door in our face.
Sunday was good. We were able to go to church. We parked our bikes and this little girl from all the way across the parking lot yells "Sister!!!!" and just runs towards us. I didn't know the little girl, like I’ve literally never met her, so I thought she was running to hug Sister Xiong, but she ended up hugging me. Weird... but she was the sweetest thing. She ended up sitting with us during sacrament meeting and playing with me. She was the cutest thing ever... to begin with, but then she just got way annoying and obnoxious. It just showed me that I am not ready to be a mom yet... haha We went and met the relief society president, who is actually inactive haha, but she was asking us how long we had left in our missions. I told her 11 months and she was so surprised she thought that I was close to going home because my language was so good. That was exactly what I needed to hear. I doubt my language abilities, but apparently I am better than I think. This week I was really able to feel the gift of tongues working through me. It is the coolest thing ever. This language, as crazy as it is, is slowly coming and each day I find so much joy in speaking and reading it. Reading the scriptures in Khmer is the coolest thing ever. I can't wait to blow all our your minds with my reading abilities. (:
Love you all so much!!!
Ming Saareye- this is a less active that lives in a park. She is the sweetest and has the biggest heart. I love her!
A way sketchy bridge that we crossed. I almost fell in... haha
This is something that's in the center of a round about. I think it looks the the paintings in Indiana Jones. Cool, no?
Sister Loftus and little girl at church
Sister Loftus and May Kim