Monday, April 25, 2016

Lice and Rain!!!!

Sister Sheffield looking for lice. She didn't find any... I said I felt safer with Sister Leng looking and good thing I did because she found about 20 eggs. Sister Sheffield was very surprised. (:

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, as you can tell from the subject of this email, I was not lucky enough miss the lice infestation... that little girl; such a pain in the butt. That has been the highlight of my week. I will tell you all about it later on in this email. It’s a pretty good story. haha definitely not something I expected to happen on my mission, but hey, it makes for a good story, right?? As for the rain we had the first two rainstorms of the season. One in the middle of the night and it was so loud thatit woke me up and that is saying something because I’m dake luac (sleep pretty deep), but I woke up, heard it, looked out the window, got the biggest smile on my face, and then went back to sleep. The second was in the middle of one of our lessons and it only lasted for 3 minutes, but it made me that happiest sister missionary in Cambodia. I LOVE RAINY SEASON!!!!

Tuesday we had a lesson with one of our investigators. Her name is Jia Mian. Up to this point, my whole two weeks in this area, I assumed that none of our investigators were good... I’m not sure why I thought that but I just had that thought in my head. I guess maybe because we just hadn't been able to meet them forever because of cool chnam and all that good stuff, but we were finally able to meet her. Just a little background about her... her boyfriend is a member in our ward, so that's how we found her. She wears black contacts so her eyes are kind of scary but she gets to the appointment and she comes bouncing in. She was super happy. She sat down and clapped her hands and proceeded to tell us how happy she was that we were finally about to meet. Seemed pretty good. Then we asked her if she had any questions and she asked Sister Leng and me why we had faith in the lord Jesus Christ and how we gained that faith. Super solid questions, right? We had a pretty good lesson with her about lesson three and after I finished teaching her about the Holy Ghost she said sisters, “ I want that in my life. I want to be baptized. When can i get baptized?” We told her the date and she was so happy. It was super good, but then we met her again on Thursday and she told us that she hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon because she doesn't feel peace when she reads it, but when she reads the bible she does. That’s what really helps her. I was able to bear a powerful testimony of how the Book of Mormon was written for us in these latter days and every question, concern, or doubt we have can be answered by reading it. After I finished Sister Leng looks and me and says “wow”. Thank you Sister Loftus. I support my companion 100 percent. The Holy Ghost was definitely guiding me in that one; the coolest feeling ever. I'm so grateful I have the opportunity to be an instrument in His hands. But then she didn't come to church... so she's not really progressing towards her baptismal date... huge bummer. This week we will get her for sure. (: 

Thursday I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Baby (aka Sister Gallahad). She is in her second transfer and she is incredible!! She taught all the lessons and I just bore my testimony. She is getting super good at the language. Exchanges are always so much fun and this one was full of super fun lessons and memories. (: Whenever I’m with a missionary that is younger than me in the mission, I am always amazed at how the gift of tongues works; such a huge blessing. We talked with so many people. There’s something about not being with a Khmer that makes me more willing to talk with people on the street or open my mouth in lessons. I think it's just knowing that if I don't speak and say something then nothing gets said. But with a Khmer, they talk all the time because it's their native language. I have made a goal to always act like I’m with an American 24/7. I want to be the kind of missionary that talks with everyone I meet on the road and bears powerful testimony according to the spirit in lessons. 

Here’s where things get interesting. Thursday night we got home and I was getting ready for bed. I was braiding my hair and felt something in my head... so I dropped the hair and picked it out. Yep, you guessed it. Lice!!!!! They are the most ugly little buggers ever. I freaked out. I was in the bathroom all by myself and just screamed. I quickly killed it and then proceeded to run my fingers through my hair about 1000 times more trying to find more. I couldn’t find any, so I just went to sleep. In the morning I realized that I should probably call Sister Christensen and tell her about my discovery, so I called her and told her my concern.  She told me that I needed to have Sister Leng check my head. So I did just that. I explained to Sister Leng and her response (direct translation) was as she chuckled to herself "Sister. What? I do not believe that foreigners can get lice but okay." She started looking and she found the first egg and said, "Oh, wow an egg. I’ll keep looking for more." hahah I was dying, one because of her reactions and two, BECAUSE I GOT LICE!!!!! haha I still can't really believe it but wait it gets better. Getting rid of lice should be easy, right? You just buy the shampoo and start using it, right? WRONG!!!! Not in Cambodia. They don't believe in shampoo. They just sit there and pick out all the lice and their eggs every day. I looked at 4 different pharmacies and none of them had shampoo. So I just asked the expert, Sister Leng what I needed to do. She said she was willing to check my head every night and then when I showered I needed to use a gonesighng (good luck pronouncing that one), which I’m still not 100 percent sure what the translation is, possibly a towel, and when I was in the shower I needed to shampoo my head and then scratch my head with the towel and it would dock (help the lice leave my head). I didn't really believe her... but in my desperation I was willing to try anything. I tried it and it worked. I found 7 lice. Yep, big living ones. I freaked out once again.  They are surprisingly bigger than I thought... yesterday Sister Christensen came to my rescue though and brought me some shampoo so I started using it last night and hope to be cured of my "infestation" (the word they used on the shampoo bottle) in a week. (: The weirdest thing about this whole situation is that my head wasn't itchy at all... I always thought that when you got lice you just itched like crazy... but nope, not for me. If I didn't find that one in my hair Thursday night, I would have never known... 

We met a return missionary on Friday. We wanted to meet her less active family, but they didn't want to meet us.  She told me that I am poo guy at Khmer, which means that I’m like really really good at it. I was super super happy. (: I speak yang chbah (super clearly). What a huge compliment!!!! I definitely needed to hear that too. Tender mercy. 

I translated in church yesterday for a senior couple... there were a ton of little kids running around everywhere being super loud so I couldn't hear the speakers to save my life. I ended up just making a lot of the stuff up, but the talks that the senior couple heard (what I said the speakers were saying) were really really good. (: hahha also, the senior couple fell asleep half way through so I just sat back and relaxed and when they woke up I just started talking about the Book of Mormon and then tied it into the talk. I felt like that was the safest thing to do. I was laughing super hard thought. (: hahaha 

Oh, one more thing. Our, Sister Leng’s and my air conditioner broke. We are now studying in our kitchen and sleeping in the other sister's room with them. It is like a sleep over every night. Super fun. If we don't get it fixed soon I am going to start gaining a ton of weight because I just eat and eat during personal study being so close to the food... haha kind of a problem. No self-control. (; 

I hope that you guys all have an amazing week!!!! One of these weeks I’m going to figure out how to change the keyboard to Khmer so you guys can all get a test of what it is like to be a missionary here in Cambodia!!! (: 

Sister Loftus
Double D

Sister Leng and Sister Loftus at 3D World

More pictures at 3D World

Sister Loftus and 3D World-great P-day!

Our apartment is called the "Palace"

More of the palace

Last one of the palace

Sister Loftus and other sisters on P-day

So Khmer!

Sister Loftus's watch tan after burning in the sun

Trash Mountain!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Happy New Year (third one this year) am I even a missionary?

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, this past week was very very uneventful. Literally nothing happened. We had two lessons. TWO. That’s it, in a whole week. And I hate to say it, but they were both with the same lady... haha oh, the joys of Khmer New Year. Everyone leaves and goes to their hometowns to be with their family, so no one is in the city. It was literally a ghost town. All the shops closed. It was ridiculous. 

President and Sister Christensen tried their hardest to help us out and give us things to do, but we still had a lot of free time on our hands. Tuesday was a mission wide "clean your house until it's clean day". Sister Leng thought that we would only need two hours to clean our house, typical Khmer for you. (: I told her we were going to need to whole day. Our house is 4 stories and we had to deep clean everything. Well, needless to say we cleaned from 9 in the morning to 7 at night. It was ridiculous. I am really learning the joys of having a clean house on my mission, which is super interesting because before my room was ALWAYS a mess... but not anymore. I am the most organized in my house. One way the mission has changed me. I went a little crazy with the raid... every house I’ve lived in has had a problem with ants. This house is no different. There were ants in all of our cupboards... climbing all over our dishes and food... super gross and no one else really seemed to care, so I took initiative and took out all the dishes and cleaned them and sprayed raid. It lasted for about a day and now they are back... super annoying. Also, after cleaning we all just kind of passed out on the floor and then ended up massaging each other for a good 45 minutes. It was a good reward. Also, Sister Sheffield, one of the sisters I live with, made us some bong im and it was delicious. (: 

Wednesday we had weekly planning, went and found a less active recent convert's house that got in a car accident and broke her collarbone, her ankle, and her knee is super super bruised. They looked like she was in so much pain. That took us literally four hours to find her house, but we had no other work to do, so it was okay. haha It would have been a lot easier, but Khmer’s aren't good with directions... hahah After we went to the church for English class, but because it was New Year’s none of the kids wanted to learn, so we just talked with some of them and then got some pizza to celebrate the New Year. We took it home and ate. We ended up making a music video, and then got in a water fight. For New Year’s they always throw water on each other, so Sister Sheffield dumped water on Sister Gallahad and then Gallahd threw some on Leng and I quickly grabbed my camera so I would stay out of it, but our whole front room was soaked. There was water EVERYWHERE!!! It was super super funny though. A very happy New Year. (: 

Thursday we had lunch together with all the missionaries serving in the city. That was really fun. We ate at a restaurant called tonle bassac 2 and it was super good and nice. It looked like a Vegas hotel; you know super blinged out and all the jazz. I was reunited with my MTC loves and we reminisced. I also ate frog. Surprisingly good!! I ate and ate and ate. I was so full and then I had to bike back to my house and it was not good. Super stuffed. Thursday night, because there was no one to meet, we came back early and watched women’s conference. Always a good time. We were all going a little stir crazy from not really doing missionary work in a few days, so Sister Gallahad ended up doing Sister Leng's make-up and it was the funniest thing. Sister Leng didn't want her to do it at all, so she made a deal that if Sister Leng could do Sister Gallhad's first then she would let her do hers. Well Sister Leng did Sister Gallahad's, super super bad, she looked like batman, Khmers don't know how to do makeup, and it was the funniest thing ever!!! And then she ran away. We tracked her down and got her back in the room so Sister Gallagad could do her make-up and when it was all said and done she looked to pretty!!! She looked like Mulan. It was so funny because she was so unhappy. She just had puppy dog eyes the entire time. But…we found out why they don't let missionaries have a ton of free time... because we end up doing stupid things like that.  

Friday we had zone conference. We really focused on the Book of Mormon; super cool because that's what I’ve been studying in my personal study for the past couple days. There’s just so much power in it and we, as a mission, are trying to figure out the best way to use it. Members just don't read it... if they don't read it they can't have a solid foundation. We are really making that a focus in our area right now. I’ll get back to you on that when our investigators and less actives comes back and we can finally meet them. I've been serving here for 2 weeks already and I only know 4 members... quite pathetic really. hahah The Lord better help me skoal (get to know) this area quickly!!! We also focused on family history work, something that is really hard to do here in Cambodia, but we are getting a senior couple here in June that will focus on that, so over the next few months they are really going to push it here. I’m super excited to see what happens!!!! We talked about mission culture as well. We are cowboys with digrity. (Dignity and integrity) that one you kind of had to be there to understand, but it was good!!! 

Saturday the missionaries and two members cleaned the church. It took a really really long time... and that's about it... 

Sunday. I was supposed to give a talk in sacrament meeting about the Book of Mormon but I woke up and was super sick... like I couldn't leave my room. I slept all day. Once it was past, it was like 5 and we just studied language. Sister Leng taught me the first lesson in her very broken English. She committed me to baptism. She did a great job. haha. As I was listening to her, I was filled with the spirit and could only hope that the people I taught could tell how hard I was trying to speak their language and recognized the truth of my message. It was a really cool experience.

Sister Loftus
Double D 

Sister Loftus and Sister Collins 

Sister Loftus and Sister Leng (companion)

Sister Loftus on p-day

Another crazy photo on p-day

Sisters with too much time on their hands

What happens when sisters have too much time during suasdei chnam thmei (Happy New Year)

Monday, April 11, 2016

HUMP DAY, Stueng Menchey, Khmer New Year, and Conference

Dear Family and Friends, 

So this email will be really short. (really? Does she ever send short emails?) Sorry for that but we were emailing earlier today and the power went off in the internet cafe, so we decided to go to the mall and go to "3D world “and now we don't have a ton of time. I’ll do my best to catch you all up on life here.  Here is really, really hot Cambodia. (There is literally sweat dripping from my face as I write this letter)
So yes, transfers were this week. I got transferred to an area called Stueng Menchey aka Trash Mountain. It’s pretty good. I don't know much about the area, except that it has a lot of less actives. My companion Sister Leng says it's really hard, but that's okay because we like hard things. Right? I’ve learned the hard way here in Cambodia, but that is really the only way we will have progression in this life. But opposition in all things, the area may be hard, but my companion is amazing. We are the same age in the mission, but she’s only been a member for 2 years, so she doesn’t really know a lot of the doctrines. She is the sweetest thing ever though. She’s a Khmer and doesn't really know any English, but she tries a lot, really hard to speak. I look up to her so much for that. It's been amazing to see how the lord has blessed me with the gift of tongues already. Khmer just naturally comes out of my mouth, even to the other Americans that live in the house. hahah Sister Leng only prays in English, so each prayer is the same no matter what it is for. She just uses the words she knows, so sometimes it has no grammar what so ever and is just words strung together. I wish you guys could hear her. It is the best thing ever. 
Tuesday, before leaving Kampongcam we went to the island and did some service. On the way over I took a tumble on the bamboo bridge... I felt super dumb, but all is well. I may have an infection on my knee now, but I got up and kept biking. We sawed some wood and had fun. It was good and really really hot. 
Wednesday I woke up and felt so so so sick. It was bad... I was miserable the whole day and when we got to SMC, my new area, I tried to unpack but ended up "taking a nap". Yeah... I ended up sleeping all through the night. I slept for 17 hours straight. I never threw up, but man did I feel sick... 
Thursday there was a Khmer New Year party at the church and it was super super fun. The games they play here are so odd, but so entertaining to watch. I can’t really describe Khmer New Year, it’s something you’ve got to experience for yourself.  Because of that and being sick and conference I have only met like 6 members in the ward, so i don’t really know how the ward is, and this next week is all Khmer New Year too, so we don't really have anyone to meet. They all went back to the hometowns... huge bummer because ...CONFERENCE. 
I won't talk much about this because you guys all watched it too, and if you didn’t, go watch it RIGHT NOW because it was absolutely amazing. I loved President Eyring’s talk, President Uchtdorf'’s talk, Elder Christofferson’s talk (huge shout out to my dad for being the best dad in the whole world. Let's be real, my parents are the best. you guys all know it.) and of course Elder Holland. What a way to end conference. So so so powerful. I love being able to hear from our beloved Prophet and his apostles. Such an incredible blessing that we have as members of the church. 
So much more happened, but my keyboard is kind of broken, so it’s a struggle to type and my companion is just sitting here patiently waiting.  I’ve got to go. Love you all so much!!! 

Sister Loftus
Double D

also I can't send pictures.... so expect A LOT next week!!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I got a boyfriend, lice, and transfer calls!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, let me start this email off with a quote from Sister Nhem. "I can't wait to go home, eat cereal, study, and go to bed. That’s our job. What we do every day." she could not be more right. We wake up, study, go proselyte, sweat our butts off, eat lunch, teach and sweat some more, come home, eat, study some more, sleep, and do it all over again. That is the life of a missionary. Sometimes it's full of success and other times there is literally no success (or success that you can see, immediate results). That’s where we are right now is KPC. No one really seems to be accepting our message and it seems like all of our efforts are not worth it. But i have faith that one day KPC will explode and everyone will accept this glorious gospel. With that little preface, this email will not have much about the missionary work here in KPC, just some entertaining stories to make you guys laugh. 

Wednesday we had English class. So our English class leader, Elder Child, likes to make things interesting so we issue challenges each week. It was my turn to issue a challenge. I wanted it to be good, so I talked to Hayden and he explained that on his mission that had done something similar in tracting situations to keep things interesting. One of the challenges that they had was they had to occasionally meow like a cat in their conversations without laughing. I thought it was perfect so I gave the challenge to Elder Child. He did a fantastic job. He used it like a normal word. He put it into phrases as well, like "it's so meowing hot" and he would literally yell it at the top of his lungs. I was dying, but somehow he managed to keep a straight face. He went up and beyond (is that the saying?? sometimes my English is really bad and I can't remember anything...) the challenge. He convinced a member, a 17-year-old member who is slightly obnoxious, named Sayhaa, that meow was slang for cool, so Sayhaa just kept calling people meow or saying that something was meow. It was the funniest thing ever. 

Friday my bike tire was completely flat. There was a hole in it, so we had to find a place to fix it. We only knew of one place that could fix it, so we went. The only problem is that the guy that owns it is a crazy homeless look pu. We asked him if he could fix it and at first he said no. He said he was too busy, but Sister Nhem convinced him to fix it.  So he walked over to get his tools and stopped right by me. He grabbed my arm, stroked my hair, kissed my arm, smelled it and then told me I smelled delicious... haha not really, he told me I smelled good, but the direct translation from Khmer to English is delicious. It just makes the story better, right? He proceeded to work on my bike. I decided that it was best if I pretended not to know any Khmer... which was way hard because responses like yes and thank you have become so natural in Khmer. He called me a srei sa'at which means that I’m beautiful and all this other stuff... he told me he lobed me (the way Khmers say love) haha and that I loved him too I just didn't know it yet. He would only work on my bike if I was the one to hand him his tools.... I was a little hesitant at first, but Sister Nhem told me he was harmless and that I should do it, so I was basically his slave for 15 minutes and it was the worst feeling ever, but finally he was done. He tried to shake my hand, but I jumped on my bike to make a quick get a way, but my kickstand was still down, so it just drugged on the ground and I didn't really go anywhere... I was way scared he was going to hug me or something. Eventually I got away, Safe and sound. In the moment I was really scared and freaking out, but now it just makes for a good story. 

Friday night I had my first encounter with a baby duck egg. I was feeling very courageous and adventurous, but when I opened it and tasted it, I decided I couldn't do it, so I gave it to Sister Om. She opened it up a little bit more and after looking at it for a good 30 seconds said "I can't eat that. It’s too big (meaning it was too developed)." I was really grateful that I decided not to eat it, because I don't know the difference between small ones and big ones. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage to eat a full one, but as for now, I’ve only tasted one. It wasn't that good, but it wasn't that bad either.. haha 

Lice... so I don't actually have lice, well, not yet at least, but it wouldn't surprise me if I got it.  So yesterday, Sunday, we were visiting a less active and when we got there she was looking at her daughters head picking stuff out of it, kind of like monkeys do, you know? Well come to find out her daughter had lice and she was picking them out and killing them. I quickly jogged my memory to see if the girl had every worn my helmet. She hadn't. I was safe. But then for some reason they thought that I didn't know what lice was, so the mom got one and put it on a piece of paper so I could look at it. They told me that I should eat it, just kidding around.  I told her that I was scared of it, which was partially true, partially me kidding around, but then the little girl dumped the paper on my head. Yes, that's right! The lice went on my head or fell onto the ground. We don't really know which one actually happened.  Then to make matters worse the little girl wore my helmet... I thought about not wearing my helmet, but that is against the rules to I put my trust in the lord that if I was exactly obedient he would bless me and I wouldn't get lice, so fingers crossed!!!! 

Transfer calls!!! I am getting transferred AGAIN!!! I just can't stay in the same place for more than one transfer.... haha. I am going to Stueng Menchey, yes, the famous trash mountain, look it up, people, with Sister Leng. She is a Khmer that is in my group. I know her a little bit and I love her to death. I'm way excited!!!! More to come on that next week!!!

Love you all so much. Hopefully you enjoyed conference and felt the spirit!!! I'll give you my thoughts next week after I watch it!!! 

Sister Loftus
Double D 

My new crazy look pu boyfriend.  Shirtless wonder, no? ha ha ha ha 

Baby duck egg