Monday, October 17, 2016

Faith, Sickness, and a Baptism!!!

Dear Family and Friends, 

I have nothing to talk about this week... actually that's a lie WE HAD A BAPTISM!!!!! But I will get to that in a second... let me start from the very beginning.  

Tuesday we had zone conference. I absolutely love zone conferences. President and Sister Christensen are the coolest. We talked a lot about having the faith to see miracles. It was definitely directed to me. I’ve been kind of faithless lately with finding new investigators and less actives coming to church, but it was a nice slap in the face to wake up my faith and get me ready to see miracles. The AP's shared a way cool story. It hit me way hard, so hopefully you guys like it too. 

The Unmoved Rock

Once upon a time, there was a man who was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might.

Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture placing thoughts into the man's mind such as: "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it." Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough." And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.

"Lord," he said, "I have laboured long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?" To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My child, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.

And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition, you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. I, my child, will now move the rock."

It just made me think so much about my mission and what I thought it was going to be compared to what it has been. I learned so much. Much of what I learned was pretty personal, so I won't share it, but just read this story, ponder it, and learn what the lord wants YOU to learn from it. Sister Christensen taught about the culture, specifically about Angkor Watt. I was blown away. It’s SO cool and it made me way ticked because when I went last month I had NO idea how cool it actually was. Now I just really really want to go back!!!! haha 

Wednesday was a normal day and then we went to prepare our English class and I started feeling way sick. I was super out of it and quite honestly, that whole night is a blur. I don't remember any of it, but Sister Luke tells me our lesson was really really good and I gave a great spiritual thought on the word of wisdom, so that's cool. Thursday I woke up feeling super super gross. I spent a way long time in the bathroom; so long that Sister Luke was able to work out AND stretch. To say I was sick is an understatement. Being sick as a missionary is literally the worst because staying inside makes you feel like the worst missionary ever and that you are letting the lord down, but after a good talking to from Sister Luke and Sister Brown, my STL (Sister Training Leader), I decided staying in and sleeping was the best option. I slept for a good 3 hours. When I woke up, I had to call the elders for something and apparently I sounded like death because Elder Seng asked me what was wrong... I told him I was sick, I spared him all the gory details, and he felt so bad that he made and brought us food!!! He is the sweetest. Long story short much of Thursday and Friday were spent in the bathroom... Saturday I was feeling a little bit better so we went to English class. The bike ride is about 20 minutes and it about killed me... haha so we took the afternoon easy but then we went out and got a new investigator and got a baptism!!! Sunday we just went to church and then chilled at home because I was still super sick and weak and Sister Luke was too scared to make the trek to the airport (our furthest area, about 45 minutes away). I hadn't really been eating anything, so she thought I was going to pass out... so we stayed home and I made Bou bou (rice porridge).  This is what all the Khmers make here if you are sick. Super good!!! but I am feeling a little better now... 

Our new investigator-her name is TohLaa (October in Khmer) and she is 14. She is the cutest thing ever. She is the niece of a recent convert. We went to teach her and had 3 members helping us. Pretty cool. She is originally from a province, kind of far away and she's here with her extended family, not really sure why yet... we were teaching her prayer and I like to use the analogy of calling home, but as I starting teaching it she just started bawling. Like literally sobbing... it broke my heart. She really really missed her mom and dad. I don't know what I said to comfort her but next thing I knew she had prayed (a great prayer, might I add), she stopped crying, and she gave me the biggest huge. I love her already!! And she came to church. She's super awesome!!! 

ZEEKAA!!!! The long awaited baptism. Goodness. It feels so good saying that she is now a member of the church. The baptism was supposed to be at five, but both people getting baptized, Zeekaa and Chantrea (an investigator of the elders) were late, so we just kicked it at the church until they got there. haha it was fine though because the font wasn't even filled up yet. Sister Luke gave a killer talk on the Holy Ghost. She was really really nervous, but she did a fantastic job and Zeekaa loved it!!!! Zeekaa said she wasn't nervous, but then as she was getting in the font she said "why are my feet shaking??"haha I just laughed. Elder Otto baptized her and it was the coolest thing. He’s a new koon too, so still struggling with the language a little, but we had called him the night before and told him that Zeekaa wanted him to baptize her and that he needed to start practicing the prayer. Every time we saw him we had him recite the prayer. He killed it!!! Did a great job. After, when Zeekaa was changing she said "Sister, I feel so good." ah, exactly what you want to hear. (; Then during her testimony she bore a super powerful testimony about how the lord had prepared a way for her to find the one true church and become a daughter of god. I was so proud of her!!!! She said she liked the way she was feeling and that she felt different from before, but a good kind of different. Ah, I love her!!! It had been a while since I’d had a baptism... I forgot how good it felt to help others find the light of the gospel. It was a lot less stressful than I remember.... maybe because Zeekaa had prepared herself, with the help of the spirit, 100% to get baptized. I didn't doubt our decision to baptize her AT ALL!!! She is the best!!! This work is the coolest EVER!!! 

Sunday we had church and we actually got to watch conference again... haha the things that happen in Cambodia. I just love it. (: And then I talked to Ming Samay, a member here, she is my Khmer mom, about my sickness. and she FREAKED!!! she thought I was dying... then when we got home, she called me to check up on me and told me that she really really cares about me and was worried about me. I’m so grateful the Lord is allowing me to meet these amazing people!!! I love her!! 

Hopefully I can keep getting better and it's not anything too serious and that we can resurrect our area from the week that we had... our numbers, not that it's all about numbers, cause it's not, but maybe this week we can get some good numbers. (: 

Love you all!!!! 

Sister Loftus
Double D 

P.S. Forgot to mention. Elder Otto gave me a great blessing on Friday!!! So grateful for the priesthood in my life!!!!! and worthy priesthood holders. Those here in Cambodia and those back in America!!!! 

Zeekaa and a darling Cambodian baby

Zeekaa and Chantrea's baptism

A Baptism!!!!!

Zeekaa's baptism with Sister Luke and Sister Loftus

Sister Loftus looking like death

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