Monday, August 29, 2016

And Baby Makes Two!

Dear Family and Friends, 
This week was too good. I GOT ANOTHER CHILD. She is the coolest ever. You guys should all be way jealous. So the story starts way back in December. My third transfer, when I was ripped from the grasp of my loving mother, Sister Fields (my trainer), because she had another child, Sister Haddock. Sister Haddock came and talked all about her MTC group, especially one sister, Sister Luke. Sister Haddock talked her up so much and made her seem like the best person ever. Sister Luke, unfortunately had to go home at the end of her MTC stay so she didn't come to Cambodia with the rest of the group but rather went home to work through some things and all Sister Haddock said was one day Sister Luke was going to come back and serve in Cambodia. I thought to myself "one day I’ll be this Sister Luke’s companion. It’s destiny." So after that I didn't really think much about it, until I saw her picture on the transfer board and thought "holy goodness. She is coming back" and since that day, like 3 months ago, I said, "I am going to train Sister Luke." No one believed me. Thursday rolled around and guess who is training Sister Luke???? ME!!!! That’s right. I am THE LUCKIEST ever. I wish you guys could have seen me when I got the paper with her name on it. I screamed so loud and all the Elders just looked at me. I was so happy and excited that I almost peed my pants. I wish someone had gotten it on camera. She is amazing!!!! Definitely just as good, if not better, than Sister Haddock said she would be. She’s worked so hard to get here and she is so ready to start doing missionary work and loving the people. She is from Tennessee and my same age. They didn't want to make her got to the MTC again, so she came straight from normal life, so that's been a little weird, because she forgot some of the weird aspects of missionary life, like praying a million times in one day and it's weird because it's been like 8 months since she has spoken Khmer, but it's good. The words she knows she says really clearly and she is so determined to learn a ton. She’s gonna pick it up so fast!!!
Now that that's off my chest and you guys all know who THE Koon of the century is, I can now tell you about the rest of the week. (: 
The last few days with Sister Seng, my mini missionary, were pretty interesting. We played Uno on p-day and that was so fun!!! Then on Wednesday we had a little devotional for all the mini missionaries so they could bear their testimonies... her "testimony" was interesting... not really a testimony at all, just kind of her bashing on me. I don't even know what she was saying. Too embarrassed and mortified to understand her Khmer... all I know, is that after, so many people came up to me, even President, and thanked me basically for "taking one for the team" and training her. I had emailed Sister Semones, my MTC companion, the first Monday of training the mini missionaries and tried to explain to her.  Then after the testimony meeting she came up, put her arm around me, and said, "Wow, I didn't realize it was THAT HARD." I just laughed. It was way hard, but I learned so much from her, so I’m way grateful for that opportunity and now I have just way good stories and I can laugh about it. (; haha 
Thursday we went to the mission home, got a little bit of training, and then hopped in the tuk tuk and went to the airport to get our new koons (new companion, new to Cambodia).  That’s when I almost peed my pants from excitement. It was way cool while we were waiting at the airport because my entire MTC district is training so we were all at the airport together one more time. I love them all so much. We've come SO far. haha We didn't know ANYTHING when we got here... it's been a very humbling experience to see just how much the Lord helps us on these missions. It would be impossible without His help. I went from barely even being able to say a prayer in Khmer and now I can teach full lessons and make small talk with the members and people I meet on the road. OH I ALMOST FORGOT!!!!! Speaking of the language. I had a recent convert tell me on Saturday that I speak Khmer beautifully. I HAVE BEEN WAITING OVER A YEAR TO GET THAT COMPLIMENT AND I FINALLY CAME!!!!! (note from mom-she forgets how many other Khmers have told her that already) I remember getting here like a year ago and everyone talked about this sister, Sister Lindley, and that she spoke beautifully and it become a goal to get that compliment on my mission. Goal accomplished. I was SO HAPPY. I was freaking out. The lord is helping me so much!!!! I am eternally indebted and grateful for Him. The atonement is real. USE IT!!!! 
So my koon lucked out getting me as her trainer (hahaha just kidding) but she really lucked out getting born in Pochentong. She has the best members ever. We were at church and one of the recent converts came up and invited us to her house for lunch. It was so much fun. Sister Luke had no idea what was going on and EVERYONE wanted to talk to her, but it was still so fun. She got some native Khmer food and it was the funniest thing ever. We used to live with a Khmer, but on Tuesday night, she got an emergency transfer call and left the house. So now it's just Sister Luke and me living in this giant house... kind of a bummer, but it'll be good. I just wanted her to eat good Khmer food and not my knock off American Khmer food... she'll just have to keep getting it from the members. (: We ate fish, fish paste, larvas, and so much other stuff and this really good pumpkin dessert. Every time I eat it there are always ants in it. So this time I asked... they just said they crawl into it and I made a joke and said that I just thought it was one of the ingredients and they thought it was the funniest thing ever. hahahah But then our investigator, that got baptized last week was sick, so she didn't come to church to receive the Holy Ghost. So to make sure things were still good with her, we trekked out to her house and had a really really good lesson with her. She is the sweetest. I love her!
Investigator update: Zeekaa is still doing well. She will most likely get baptized in like 3 weeks. We taught her about the sacrament and the atonement and it was a really really powerful lesson. We were all bawling and I was prompted to ask her if she knew that this church was true. She shared this story how she has been to a lot of different churches and didn't believe in any of them. Even when she started learning with us; she didn't believe. But then at the end she said, "I know that this church is true." Ah, she is SO AMAZING!!!! Then Srey Moam and Bong Moam came to church. I was so happy. Bong Lida is not progressing, so we will most likely drop her this coming week. And then once Sokhiab (the one that got baptized last week) get's the holy ghost she will no longer be an investigator, but she is so good!!! I love them all so much!!!!  

Basically I love my mission and never want to leave. Hope you all have a good week. Good luck to everyone who just started or will be starting school soon!!!! 
Sister Zoe Loftus 
Double D

Can you see the excitement on my face????

The airport with the best district ever? So blessed to have met them.

We are basically Khmer.

Our first meal.

My new baby with her her new baby.  She loves it so much!

Sunday lunch.

The phsaar where we buy our food each week.

Another photo of the phsaar.

Another photo of the phsaar; it's a miracle we don't die here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Holla!! New bike and a baptism. Life doesn't get better than this. (:

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well, this week was good. Not much happened. Still trying to skoal (know) the area and meet with all the members, so not much progress there, but I did get a new bike, had a baptism, and got caught in a huge storm... haha that was fun.

First off, the bike, the Giant bike. It is so nice. Probably nicer than my car back home. (just kidding my car at home was really nice, thanks mom and dad for letting me drive it. you spoiled me) but for real. It is so nice. And I feel way bad driving it and going to members houses when they don't even have enough money for food, but it's what president wanted us to do.  So I took that as revelation and bought it. Trying to make the best of it. Make jokes and tell people that they forced me to buy it. They think that's pretty funny. But the nice bike wasn't without price. It was lots of money... I won't give any specifics, but more expensive than some of the motos that are out on the streets in Cambodia.... and it took a total of 4 hours at the Giant store trying to get it all figured out. Talk about 2 days shot. No proselyting done in our area... I thought my koon was going to die from boredom... sorry!!! Wasn’t my fault. 

Baptism. So this was probably the weirdest baptism I have ever had on my mission. You know out of all 3 of them. haha because I haven't even taught her a single lesson yet. The sisters that served here last transfer taught her all the lessons, got her all prepared and interviewed, and then got transferred... so I just came in and got the baptism. haha I wish missionary work was always that easy... but the investigators name is Sokhiab and she is the cutest thing ever. She is SO good. She was so excited. I was talking to her before sacrament meeting started and all she could say was how excited she was. I asked her if she was nervous, because typically they are way nervous, and she said nope, not at all, just so excited!!! So she made it through three hours of church and finally got baptized. After the baptism she got up and bore her testimony. She said that this day was so special to her and a day that she won't ever forget. She said that the night before she only got like 2 hours of sleep because she was so excited!!! How cute is that. And then she promised God, from the pulpit., as well as everyone that was there, that she would never go less active. She would continue on this path forever; all the way to the celestial kingdom. Ah, she is the cutest ever. And her story of how they found her is so amazing. She lives with a different investigator and that investigators story is way crazy... and I still don't really understand it all, still getting details from the other sisters every day, but one day I’ll tell it to you. But let's just say that I am so excited to start re-teaching Sokhiab the lessons and helping her strengthen her faith and testimony even more. 

The storm. So there was a less active that came to sacrament meeting yesterday and one of the counselors in the relief society presidency wanted us and the elders to go with her to visit her but she lives way far away like almost an hour biking, So we prepped mentally and off we went. We were about 30 minutes into our ride when it just started POURING. The drops were huge and they hurt way bad when they hit. I thought it was hailing it hurt so badly. I was drenched, soaked from head to toe. And the water was getting in my eyes, messing with my contacts, making it basically impossible to see. I thought I was either going to hit something or get hit by something.... it was so sketchy, but we finally took shelter at a gas station along with about 40 other people. They all just started talking about the Barangs (French people, that's what they call us all the time...) little did they know that we could understand them. Their look of confusion and surprise when we started talking with them in Khmer was priceless. I loved it. hahaha We waited there for about 10  minutes trying to decide what to do. Half of the group, there were about 10 of us, so three of them, went home. The elder invited us to go with them to visit one of their recent converts, so we went with them; still in the pouring rain. It was so black. The sky was the blackest I have ever seen it. But we ended up making it safely to the recent converts house and they fed us really really really delicious food, so all was good. Biking home the streets were flooded, up to my mid-calf. I love biking when the streets are flooded. Good thing I had my trusty bike to help me out. (: 

Our investigators are good, well, kind of. Two that were progressing before have stopped since I got here... the curse of Sister Loftus. But the one investigator, NoZeekaa, that I didn't think would progress is amazing. She is my favorite. She is about 20 years old and knows so much English. I thought she would be really really flaky, you know teenage girls, but she meets with us twice a week, and comes to church. She understands so much. She just gets it. And she reads the Book of Mormon almost every day!!!! Super amazing. I love her so much. I'll give you more details on the other 3 next week, hopefully they will start progressing. (: 

Saturday night we had a way cool experience. We were sitting at our table and these little Cambodians kids were playing in front of our house, so we went out to talk with them. There were four of them and they were not scared of us at all. There was one who was 14 and he just right off the bat asked us if we taught about Jesus Christ. He learned a little bit about it at school. He knew all about Adam and Eve and really wants to know more. So cool. He seems like such a good kid. The other boys are too young and they didn't really know what was going on, but the oldest asked us to sing "bot comriang khaang sasnaa" (church songs) so we, Sister Hall and I, started singing “I am a child of God” and “I love to see the Temple”. The spirit was so strong. We also gave the little boy a pamphlet and he just started reading it. The coolest thing ever. Not sure if anything will come from it, but we planted a seed, that's for sure. It’s experiences like that that make being a missionary so worth it. They were just so innocent and willing to listen. The Lord will prepare a way for them. I know it. 

Can we just talk about how conference is in like 1 month? That is crazy. Sorry that was  a real random thought, but I can't wait!!!!

Also, I was studying in Ether today, and the brother of Jared and his faith blew me away. If we could all be like him, this world would be so much better. All of you should go read in Ether about the brother of Jared and just be amazed by his faith. I can't even put in in words. I sat there for a long time trying to write about it in my study journal and I couldn't... haha. We can learn so much from him. He had so much faith that he saw the Lord. The Lord showed Himself to him. So cool!!!!

That’s all I’ve got, but get ready for next week because I’ll have my new baby!!! Straight from the MTC. Get excited. I know I am. (: 

Sister Loftus
Double D 

picture above-Looking good with my new bike, right? Notice how high the bar is. I almost fall every time I get on and off... haha they didn't really take into consideration riding in a skirt when they made it, but that's okay. I still love it. 

Sister Loftus and Sokhiab. 
Baptism pics!!!! Sokhiab is the sweetest thing ever. Gives the best hugs. 

After the baptism

And me. Just remember that I love you all and LOVE being a missionary. 
It is literally the best thing ever. Keep the faith and keep smiling. 

Dinner with recent converts!

The cute boys outside Sister Loftus' apartment.

Peanut Butter. Just look at the date. You know you go home toooooo soon when your 
peanut butter expires the day you go home. I don't wait to leave Cambodia!!!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Gonna Catch Em All

Dear Family and Friends,

The subject of this email is a shout out to all of you who are obsessed with the new Pok√©mon game and it is a perfect description of my week. That is exactly how I feel. I just kind of bike around looking at these poorly drawn maps hoping that I am lead to the less actives that I am trying to find. And then if/when I find them I think to myself "wow, what a success." haha 

This week has been the longest week of my life (she has said this before, sorry). So forgive me if it's kind of all over the place... I don't really know what I’m doing.  Monday and Tuesday, Sister Soem and I said goodbyes to all the members... I didn't realize how much I had grown to love all of them and the area. Each person I said goodbye to I felt like part of my heart was being ripped out... it was A LOT harder than I thought it was going to be and then when we left the church on Tuesday night for the last time I just started bawling.... SMC is home. 

Wednesday was full of traveling... and getting my new koon (goon, child,). She is a mini missionary, just serving 2 weeks. She is 18 and from Kompong Thom and super hard to understand... her accent. It kills me. All the members were giving her crap about it at church and I was just laughing. You know it's bad when even a native speaker can't understand you. (: haha but we just kind of threw ourselves into the area... hoping everything would work itself out. 

Whitewashing has been interesting. Our area is special because the elders and sisters are BOTH whitewashing so we have 4 missionaries who know NOTHING about the area. haha Luckily the sister that was serving there before, Sister Hall, is still in the house with us, so she has taken some time to show us some of the houses. If we didn't have her, there would be NO way to find some of these people. My brain has been tested a lot this past week. I get shown about 10 new houses each day and, surprisingly, I’ve been able to remember most of them. BLESSINGS!!!!!! 

Huge Miracle. I was looking through the CBR book and I found the CBR of a less active from my birth area, Tuek La?ak. Her name is Bong Nida. I went and found her and she gave me the biggest hug. Before she wouldn't let the sisters go teach her, but while we were there she told me she wants me to start coming twice a week. So cool!!!! I am way excited to start working with her again and helping her start doing what the lord wants her to do. She has a very young family, so it will change her life and well as theirs. I know that I’m supposed to be serving here in Pochentong. The lord has a plan for everything!!! 

I know this email is way short, but not much has happened. Oh, we do have four investigators with a baptismal date and two others that are progressing and three potential, so that's a huge change from all my other areas. haha I’m way pumped!! Hopefully I don't mess anything up. Hopefully they all end up getting baptized and become super strong members. (: We actually have a baptism this Sunday, so holla. How cool is that? I met her yesterday and she is so good!!!! The missionaries that served here in the past met a lot with the members, so we've got our work cut out for us with finding less actives. I'm actually really excited. (: 

There's one area that is way far away and it goes right past the airport, so that's interesting... makes me trunky but also helps me realize that I don't ever want to go home. I didn't know something could do both things at once... we'll see if I get more used to planes flying right over my head all day long. (: 

Sister Loftus 
Double D

picture at top-
the best cupcakes ever!!!

the best youth ever!!!!

the best district ever!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Farewell SMC, Hello Koon!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, I’ve got some BIG news. I am currently pregnant with TWINS. Twins that are going to come two weeks apart... haha now that you guys are all way confused let me explain. So transfer calls were last night and I got the call that I am going to be training a brand new missionary. Cool, no? I’m all grown up, even though I still feel like I am in training. (: They had to make some adjustments in the dates of missionaries coming because of a change in the MTC, so my new koon (new missionary, means kid in Khmer) doesn't come for 2 more weeks, so in order to feel the empty spaces from the missionaries that die (go home) this week until the new ones come in two weeks, we are having mini missionaries. Young men and Young women from the local wards who want to serve, but haven't saved up enough money yet, just to help them get a taste of this amazing work. So I'll get a Khmer and train her for two weeks and then in two weeks I’ll get another koon, the Khmer will go home, and I’ll start training an AMERICAN!!!! Oh, and to make this even more challenging for me, I’ll be white washing. That’s what's up. I'm leaving SMC and going to Pochentong; back to north stake-same stake I was born in, but different ward and area. The Lord has a lot of trust in me. (: I'm SO excited, but also kind of peeing my pants I’m so nervous. hahaha 

That being said, the whole white wash situation is happening in a ton of areas and SMC 2 is one of them.... I’m way bummed because when that happens, typically investigators are lost... and our investigators are just starting to progress. We even had one at church. She is so good!!!! Bong Daa. Remember her? I’m just calling it right now. She will get baptized. She already has a great support system in the church. She just needs to read the Book of Mormon and get some more faith. 

This past week Sister Soem and I taught a kick butt zone training on chapter 10 in PMG (Preach My Gospel). So good. The whole zone training was on PMG and I LOVED it. We are so blessed to have it as a resource to aid us in this work. It truly is inspiration. I encourage everyone to read it. Those wanting to serve and just all you member missionaries, it helps us become better missionaries, but even more, it helps us become the disciples and people the Lord wants us to become. We were supposed to teach for 30 minutes, but ended up teaching for an hour. It was so good. You know it's good when you learn something new even when you're the teacher and that's exactly what happened for me. I know I’m not perfect at chapter 10, but it was such a good experience to be able to evaluate myself and find out what I can do better to become a master teacher like the Master himself, Jesus Christ. 

I'm way bummed to be leaving SMC. I've become way good friends with the youth and I can't imagine saying goodbye to them.... it honestly breaks my heart. I know the past three transfers haven't been the easiest, but I have learned so much from this area and am going to miss the people so so much, but I know that the Lord has something good in store for me in Pochentong. (: 

Sorry this email was all over the place, but next week will be a good email. Get pumped!!!

Sister Loftus
Double D

Scriptural Insight 
3 Nephi 7: 16,18, and 21- Nephi is such an incredible example. He taught so powerfully. 
Also, if you want a REALLY good read that helps you feel the Lords love for you read 3 Nephi 11 and 17. I love them. 

Service for a less active. This is her house. There are clothes everywhere.... 

Crickets… did I eat them? No. I couldn't get myself to. They were way too big... 
Sorry I don't have better pictures.... 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Everything Has Changed

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well, this week went by in the blink of an eye. I feel like just yesterday I was emailing you guys. Time needs to SLOW DOWN!!!!! First off, Congrats to Hayden and Michelle LOFTUS; he's married. He actually did it. (; I’m so proud of them and couldn't be happier to call M (Michelle) my sister. Love them so much. Second, those three "investigators" that we got last week, yeah, they were a false alarm. We went to teach them and they ran away from us... I was really bummed but realized that the lord hasn't prepared time for them yet. One day it will come, but it won't be with me.

I was able to go on an exchange with Sister Semones, my MTC companion, this past week. I love her. Talk about a blast from the past. That was such a cool experience for many reasons. Their area is so full of work and the people are amazing. Helped me get a fire and desire to come back and help my area. It's the coolest thing to see the gift of tongues kick in when you are comps with an American. It still works when you're with a Khmer, but not as much because they are native speakers, but whenever I am with an American I can understand everything and know exactly what they need to hear. I don't stumble over my words or anything. It just flows. You could say that we were a power companionship thanks to the spirit. We have grown so much since the days of the MTC. Sometimes it's hard to see your personal progress because as a missionary you are changing little by little every day, but seeing her and how good she is at the language and how much she has grown helped me realize that I had grown so much too; such a huge blessing from the Lord. Also, Sister Lines is incredible. She bears her testimony so powerful. She’s gonna change lives on her mission. (: 

So since we lost those three "investigators" we are left with two-Ming Sophy and Kim Hua. We had two interesting lessons with Ming Sophy. Lesson 3 was going really well, until we started talking about baptism and the priesthood. She can't accept the fact that women don't have it... we tried to tell her that if she tried to increase her faith things would start making sense and she'd see this was how Heavenly Father planned it to be.  She wouldn't listen. Then we met her on Thursday and she told us that she has been listening to the monks... that lesson all she did was fight against everything she said. Sister Soem has decided that we are going to drop her. I don't really have a say in the decision, but we'll see if we keep her around this week or not. Then there's Kim Hua, the cousin of the boyfriend of the missionary. She seems really good, but we weren't able to meet her this past week. She lives way far away and can only meet us at night, so if we went we wouldn't have been home on time, but we called her.... turns out she is like 19, married, and has a 3 year old kid. BLEW MY MIND. But that doesn't change much. We are still going to teach her and I have the faith that she is going to progress and be SO good. (: Oh, I just remembered, yesterday we got a referral from the wife of the second counselor in our bishopric. She came to church and she seems really interesting, so we'll start meeting her this week. The Lord is preparing the way for us here. It's just definitely in his Time. (: I’m learning patience. Oh, also, we had more lessons with members this past week than we did with less actives and investigators.... haha. I don't think that has ever happened on my mission. There is a first for everything. (: 

Saturday was Pioneer Day round two... it was exhausting... we helped the missionaries in the other wards with their party and somehow they volunteered to make the food. Chili. We made 140 kilos of chili. It was ridiculous. Took us over 6 hours. I can't even put it into words. It was an experience I’m glad I had, but just let me say that I’m way grateful for ward parties in America. (: I never want to eat chili again.... 

Here’s a quick update on my studies. I've been reading in Helaman and Third Nephi. I was studying the prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite. He's the coolest ever. But he taught so much about repentance and light. Read Helaman 14:30 and 15:7.  Also, conference talks to read 1. The Price of the Priesthood.  Go read this talk and you will receive your own revelation. It’s so good and you can learn so much about the priesthood for boys; you can learn how you can better fulfill your priesthood responsibilities and duties.  For girls you can learn how you can receive blessings from the priesthood. I loved it 2. Do I Believe? So good, so so so good. Here's a quote.   

"We believe that this Church is more than just a good place to go on Sundays and learn how to be a good person. It is more than just a lovely Christian social club 
where we can associate with people of good moral standing.  It is not just a great set of ideas that parents can teach their children at home so they will be responsible, nice people.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is infinitely more than all these things. 

How blessed we are to be members in this wonderful church. I love it so much.  That's my week in a wrap. Just a heads up -next week is transfers. Where will I go? No one knows... I don't even think President does yet. (: 

Love you all so much!!! 

Sister Loftus 
Double D 

Sister Loftus and Sister Semones

Sister Semones, Sister Loftus, and Sister Lines

Making 140 kilos chili

Ingredients for chili

Cooking chili

Elders looking pirates

Pioneer Day "take two" with other ward