Monday, December 29, 2014

Preparing to Cross the River

Hey! I'm so glad to hear y’all enjoyed our Skype conversation! I ended the call and instantly I was like "what in the world did we talk about?" Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but that was like the fastest forty minutes of all time. I looked down at my watch and it was already time to end! I'm glad we only did forty minutes though. Elders and sisters who Skype for hours get super homesick. After I Skyped y’all though I didn't feel homesick at all. Quite the opposite actually. It felt kind of weird talking with y’all. It didn't really feel right. It was fun, but it just kind of felt weird, like "Why am I talking with my family right now?" Made me realize that the last thing I want to do right now is go home. Cambodia is absolutely the place I need to be right now (and for the next year and 4 months as well). Heavenly Father confirms that truth to me in different ways every single day. Some days I get that confirmation as I teach and tell someone about the Restoration and feel that special, special spirit that comes as you recite Joseph’s account of the First Vision. Sometimes it just comes when I'm riding my bike and the sun is setting and I've got a river and rice paddies on my left and slums and shacks on my right, and the only sound that can be heard is the voice of a monk floating through the air as he chants at a funeral.

So transfer calls were last night and they were wildddd. I was upstairs doing my laundry and all of a sudden Elder Kim starts screaming "Elder, President's calling, President's calling!!!" I sprinted down the stairs and Elder Kim answered the phone and talked to President for a second and got this big smile on his face and then handed the phone to me. When I started talking to President I could hardly hear him because Elder Kim was yelling so loud "I'm training I'm training I'm training!!!" I greeted President and then he said "Elder Neuberger I have a special assignment for you..." I gulped audibly. He continued, "Elder Neuberger I want you to be a trainer this next transfer. Do you think you could do that for me?" Somehow I stammered out a "yes sir, thank you very much president" but I still don't know how I did that. I had a lump the size of a jackfruit in my throat. President then told me that neither Elder Kim nor me would be leaving the area, but we would be splitting it and that we should decide amongst ourselves how to split it! Gosh it was crazy. After the phone call Elder Kim and I were jumping around and hugging each other and patting each other on the back. We were so pumped. When I woke up this morning though it sunk in "Oh no no no no no, I'm training..." I'm terrified to cross the river (that’s a euphemism for giving birth in Khmae). I still don't know Khmae! I still don't teach very clearly! Yikes! I'm about to learn so much about praying with a sincere heart...

Our baptisms yesterday were so awesome. Vin and Vichika are both so cool and their testimonies are so sincere. I love hearing investigators bear their testimonies right afterwards. It’s amazing to feel the innocence and sincerity of a person who is completely without sin. I'm so happy to continue to work with them and with our two other recent converts and to see them all progress here.

Vin and Vichika's baptism!

Vins on the left, Vichikas on the right

That’s all I have today. Sorry it’s not a ton, but I did just talk with y’all a couple days ago.

Chloe I hope you have the greatest sixteenth birthday ever! That is the best birthday I ever had. 18 is pretty cool too, but when you're 18 you have to grow up a little bit and move out. When you're 16 life is good. No responsibilities, you live at home, you can drive... So easy! Appreciate it because a split second later it’s gone! But the good thing is that life only ever gets better and happier, even if it is a lot harder now.

I love all of y’all! Happy New Year! Suasdei Chhnam Thmei!

Love Elder Burger

Playing soccer with about 20 other elders this morning at the Stung Mean Chey church building

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Bonus - PICTURES!

Editor's note:  We had a great time Skyping with Elder Neuberger Christmas evening.  We won't speak a gain until Mother's Day.  He is doing really well -- looks good, feels great, so happy to be serving the Lord.  He loves what he is doing and you could really feel it as he talked about his mission and experiences.  After the call, and while waiting for another companionship to finish at the internet cafe, he sent pictures from the last few weeks.  There is a series of pictures from when they visited one of the provinces on a Pday.  They went to visit the home of a recent convert who works in Phnom Penh, but whose family lives in one of the nearby provinces.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

from my exchange in Chatomuk

Back in my area in Stung Mean Chey

Khmae nativity.  If you want one mom, let me know and I can arrange for you to get one.

Super deep holes with a path a foot wide on the side.  Super near death.  The picture doesn't do it justice.
Elder Ang (right), Elder Kim (center), and a recent convert of Elder Ang's on the ride to Kampung Chhnang. 
Kampung Chhnang

Me and Elder Duffy

Recent convert's house

Cows pulling a cart.  A super common sight in Cambodia, even in Phnom Penh.  This is in Kampung Chhnang

Don't take too many selfless cuz they're awkward, but here's one anyways.

Me and Elder Kim (hahaha, I knew y'all were going to say his name just like the English name "Kim".  Haha, nice try)  Editor:  it is pronounced "Keem"

Maybe the most awkward picture I've ever taken.  I promise I thought I was making a normal pose, but when I went back and looked at it I was very confused as to what in the world I was doing.  So there you go, have fun laughing.

Rice harvest 
Elder Ang making a whistle out of a rice stalk.

Last of the Kampung Chhnang pics
Christmas at Looktaa and Lookyiay Belcher's house. Elder Kim is on first step.  After district meeting they fed us Christmas lunch.
On two separate nights this last week we rallied all the young men and young women in our ward and went around caroling at less-active member's homes.  We sang at probably 20 houses or so.  It was ridiculously fun and a great way to spread the Christmas spirit and reach out to others.  The youth had a blast.  It was so fun riding around in a huge gang with them.  Each night we probably had 20 or so people riding with us. 

We had these huge "He is the Gift" posters made telling the story of Christmas for our Christmas open house/party at the Stung Mean Chey building.  Several hundred people showed up.  It was a blast!

The Christmas Party

The MTC district (well most of us).  It is our sisters last Christmas on the mission (actually it's their only Christmas on the mission).  Next year's Christmas pics will just be me and the elders.

Me and Elder Johnson reunited!
Lehi (Elder Johnson), Jacob (me), and Joseph (Elder Carter).  Elder Carter is almost finished training with Elder Johnson up in Kampung Cham.
Khmae keyboard
South & East Zones Conference