Monday, December 26, 2016

Zoe Loftus?...who is that?

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well, this week has been full of ups and downs. The highest of the ups and the downest of the downs. I'm gonna keep this short, well, I’ll try... haha because I’ll be skyping with my family soon. 

So... remember my little moto accident? Well... it was a little more serious than we thought... it was SUPER swollen and infected and they were scared that the infection was going to enter my blood stream, so they sent me to the doctor and they cleaned it out, which hurt SO bad, and then they put me on an antibiotic that I’ve been taking for the past few days. Sister Christensen and a senior couple were super worried about me, so they put me on bed rest... I didn't really go proselyting on Wednesday, except for English class, and then on Thursday I was inside ALL day... I was dying. It literally killed me. I HATED IT. But it did make my foot feel a lot better, so that was good. Maybe I should just not be stubborn. haha My foot is still pretty nasty, but things are looking better. No worries. (: 

Wednesday we had a combined spiritual thought. We have three classes and about 130 kids that attend. We all met in the chapel and the missionaries sang some Christmas songs and read from Luke chapter 2. Then they had two missionaries bear their testimonies. I got nominated cause I’m close to dying. At first I refused... I don't really like speaking in front of a ton of people who speak English and Khmer better than I do, but I quickly changed my mind and accepted willingly cause I knew it was an opportunity to testify of my savior, Jesus Christ. It was perfect. I was brought to tears. So powerful!

I also got the opportunity to bear my testimony at our ward Christmas party AND in sacrament meeting. It was cool to see everything come full circle because last year I got to bear my testimony at Christmas too. Lots of things have changed. One-I’m not afraid to bear my testimony any more and I actually find joy in it. Two-I can speak Khmer. Three-I understand this gospel a whole lot better, especially the atonement and the true meaning of Christmas. It was perfect. I was able to spend lots of time with members in the ward that I love. It was hard, but good. The hardest part so far has been saying goodbye to my recent convert, Tola. She just bawled in my arms... it was heart breaking. I didn't like it at all!!! 

Christmas was good though. Not much to say, I just want to say that I am so grateful for ALL the experiences and opportunities I have had over the last 18 months. And there have been MANY!!! Man, I honestly never thought this day would come. Freak man, I don't know if I can do this... It all just hit me like a brick wall. I don't even have words to express my gratitude and love that I have for my savior. I love him so much and am so grateful to have his gospel in my life. Merry Christmas!!! 

Sister Loftus
Double D 

P.S. Merry Christmas! Thank you for all the Christmas notes. I love them. They were the perfect Christmas gift. 

Sister Loftus resting and icing her foot

Sister Lotus and Tola

Sister Loftus and Tola 

Sister Loftus, Sister Benson and friends

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Yuletide Carols

Dear Family and Friends, 

Life has been treating Sister Benson and me pretty good here in Cambodia. The weather cooled off a little, which I didn't like at all because I was freezing!!! But I still managed to sweat a ton. haha

The same old same old was going on. So not much to tell you guys, BUT Tola got baptized, so that is gonna be the highlight of this email. She was SO excited. She bore her testimony and said "nhom sabay cet" (which means she is really really happy) like 4 times. It was so cute. She thanked Sister Benson and me or all of our patience (we didn't need any because she understood everything, so easily) and just had the biggest smile on her face the whole time. It was cool to see her family come together and really support her. Her aunt spoke, her uncle-in-law spoke, and her uncle baptized her. It was so fun!! Now we just need next week to roll around so she can be confirmed the newest member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (: What better Christmas present could I ask for?? (: 

So Sister Benson and I have been sick with colds for the past two weeks. She is getting over hers nicely, but mine is still pretty nasty. Yesterday my voice was completely gone... that makes doing missionary work extremely hard. hahah but the members all thought it was hilarious. Hopefully it comes back so I can really get into the Christmas caroling. (: 

A moto also hit me, for the first time in my whole mission. I almost made it to the end safe and sound, but nope... stupid people. I don't even know what happened... Sister Benson said that the moto just came out of nowhere and hit me and then I flew... all I remember thinking was "oh no, my shoe fell off...." haha. I was in shock and didn't notice the blood gushing out of my foot or my hand until a look pu and this boy came up and tried to help me. Then this other guy stopped and told me that I shouldn't clean it with water, but that I should use lubricating oil, for like a car. I politely told him that he was crazy and that that wasn't something that we did... and he was so confused... haha but everyone thought that I was crazy for just getting back on my bike like it was no big deal. Honestly I was fine, a little flustered, but the pain set in today. Super super sore... but don't worry I’m okay. (: 

I could literally go on and on and on about Christmas, because we've been studying it for a while, but to save you guys some time and to save my hand for hurting more than it does already, just know that I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born and died for us. Christmas is more than presents, good food, family and friends. It is a time for us to really ponder and wonder about the savior's birth and atonement. I am so grateful that I get to spend one more Christmas as a missionary cause there is no better gift for me to give Him than my time bearing testimony of Him to the Khmers. (: So crazy to think that Christmas is in less than a week, it honestly snuck up on me, but MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! May you all remember the true meaning of Christmas, feel the Spirit, and prepare room for Him in your heart and in each of your homes. Love you all. (: 

Sister Loftus
Double D 

P.S. almost forgot. Well, I did forget last week, but this week I wasn't going to forget again. I FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON IN KHMER. Holy longest thing of my life, but I learned a lot from the way they translated it and it was quite the accomplishment. I was/ still am super proud of myself. (: 

Sister Loftus and the children in Cambodia

Rain storm

Sister Loftus

Wounds from being hit by moto

Sister Loftus, Tola, and Sister Bensen at Tola's baptism

Sister Loftus and newly baptized Tola

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas, Tis the Season

Dear Family and Friends, 
This past week was SO good and I think this week is going to be even better. We are getting closer and closer to the Christmas festivities. I can't wait. Nothing quite like Christmas in Cambodia. (: 
This past Monday I had the amazing opportunity to go eat dinner with President and Sister Christensen. Unfortunately no pictures... sorry!!! It was so good to spend some time with them. I went with a different Sister as well and it was SO fun!! Like so fun. They are honestly the coolest people I know. I just tried to soak in all the time I got with them. We were just asking them life advice and they were just talking about how they met and I was just dying. They are so cute!!! It was weird though cause although I was with the mission president and his wife, we were out past curfew and I felt so guilty!!! Ha ha. That’s when you know you've been a missionary too long. Just kidding. There is no such thing as that. I LOVE being a missionary with all my heart!!! (: 
We met Zeekaa.. She didn't remember about the Atonement, so we took a good half an hour to testify. The spirit was SO strong. Very fitting lesson for this Christmas season. (: 
Here's where things get good. Tola got interviewed yesterday for baptism and the elder that interviewed her said that it was easily the easiest interview he's ever done. He said she knew everything so well!! She didn't mess up once!! We were so proud and she is so so so excited to get baptized!!! So that means that we have a baptism next week with a confirmation on CHRISTMAS. She thinks it's like the coolest thing that she is getting confirmed on Christmas. She also made us the cutest little Christmas presents. I love her. I don't even think words can express my love and gratitude that I met her. 
Church was also really really good. We had a less active, okay in-active, of about 6 years come to church. I’m not gonna say much about her, I’ll tell you here whole story when I get home because there are SO many details, but long long long story short, we went and met her every week with very little hope of her coming... she just has had a lot of things happen. This past week, we weren't able to go visit her cause we had a FOUR hour zone training, but then on Sunday we were standing at the doors welcoming people and there she comes walking in.. I was speechless and almost passed out.... CHRISTMAS MIRACLE for sure. Wow. So much gratitude. 
Merry Christmas!! 
Sister Loftus 
Double D (Double Disciple)


Sister Benson, Srei Touch and Sister Loftus

Sister Benson and Sister Loftus-a little mini Christmas cheer

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Walking In a Winter Wonderland

Dear Family and Friends, 

This past week was really really good. Nothing too new or exciting happened, just the usual missionary life, but that's what I LOVE. so I am a very happy camper right now. 

Tola is progressing nicely. I'm not really sure how it happened, but we were blessed to meet her three times this week. She is praying and reading every night. We just need to get her coming to church regularly, every week. She misses occasionally... but she is scheduled to get baptized on December 18th and we couldn't be more excited!!! She is super excited too and asks about it all the time. I've really really grown to love her and her family. Going to their house really feels like going home. They just welcome us with open arms every time. 

Our less active, which isn't really less active anymore, Srei Touch, the one I talked about last week, she is doing so good!!! She is just starting to understand everything. She’s been reading, praying, AND coming to church. Very rarely do the lessons we teach actually cause people to change, but she must have felt something from the Holy Ghost, because she is currently on fire. I love going to visit her because she has this light in her eyes now. Before she was kind of meeting us unwillingly.. We’d get there and she wouldn't be super happy, we'd share, and then by the time we left she would be so happy. (: But now she is just happy 24/7. I can't imagine how hard it is to be the only member in your family, without any support, but she has been overcoming that. She even came to stake conference on Sunday!!! I was so happy to see her there. She came up and told us how much she liked it and gave us the biggest hug. Also, this past week she told us that before she wasn't following the Word of Wisdom, she was drinking tea and coffee with her family, but on Sunday, last week, we had a lesson on the Holy Ghost and they said that if you aren't following the commandments the spirit couldn’t be with you. So she told us that she repented and is living it fully. That is what we like to hear. (: 

Thursday we met with Bunleu, our pregnant investigator. She is doing well. We are just teaching her really really slowly, making sure she understands things. We just read with her in 1 Nephi and she understood it all. We aren't really in any rush with her because we have to wait to baptize her until she has her baby in February. But she is really surprising me. She even came to stake conference|!! Then we met a less active/recent convert... kind of a tough situation to explain over email, but they are so good and they fed us SO much food... they just wanted to thank us for our service to God and let us know that they love us. If any of you are worried about me out here in Cambodia, food wise, STOP!!! I am getting way too much food... haha and it's good food too. (: I am one happy sister right now. (: 

STAKE CONFERENCE!!!! It kills me when we have stake conference because with 6 wards, we have less than the amount of members that we have in America for one sacrament meeting. But I learned SO much from conference. There was a theme of "do you believe?" It was definitely inspired. Cambodia is at the point that if the members here don't know for themselves that this church is true, then the church will not continue to progress... so the stake president was really stressing that. Also, his talk was SO GOOD!!! He just called them all to repentance for not reading the Book of Mormon every day. He started off by sharing his love and concern for them and then said "I promise you, as your stake president, set apart by a servant of the lord, that if you do not read the Book of Mormon ever day, then your life WILL NOT progress." So today I just want to echo what he said. I know it seems really harsh... but the Book of Mormon was written for us in these days. It can help us in every circumstance. so I challenge all of you to start reading every day, even if it's just for 5 minutes. It will change your life. If you think your life is good now, just imagine how amazing it will be with the Lords help and direction from reading the Book of Mormon. Just try it!!!

I love this gospel so much and I know that the Book of Mormon is true. Hey, if you guys didn't know, it's almost Christmas. Sister Benson reminds me every day "hey, Sister Loftus, only 3 more weeks til Christmas!!!" also, the subject for this email... it was a little chilly this past week. We are convinced Cambodia knows that it is snowing in America and it's giving us a little Christmas present. (: 

Sister Loftus 
Double D 

The "new" Sister Loftus

Sela is my favorite!

Sister Loftus and Bunleu

She won't let us leave until we put her on our bike...she really wants to come with us.

Sister Loftus, Bong Sophea, and Sister Benson

Ming Sovanna, from my birth area. She is the best!