Monday, July 28, 2014

Learning How to Sacrifice

It's crazy that I'm writing y'all right now and it's only been a week since I last emailed y'all. It feels, I kid you not, like maybe 2 or 3 months have passed. So much goes on.  Every second of every day is a new experience for me, and I don't know how to summarize it all for y'all. It's so difficult and honestly kind of stressful trying to write y'all emails haha. I have to remember everything I want to say and it's just really hard. I love reading y'all's emails, it's writing them that stresses me out!

This week was just another crazy week in Cambodia! Full of some great times! The rats here are enormous, bigger than some of the dogs here. Ughhhh, I still haven't gotten over my fear. They give me the chills so bad everytime I see or hear one. My heart rate goes up so fast and I stop breathing. On Saturday we taught a lesson in this shack that was INFESTED with rats. I wanted to die right there. I saw them running along the rafters and I could hear them all around me. After the lesson I asked Elder Johnson if he could see the rats behind me. He was like "yeah did you not see those ones?! They were running all around not even two feet from the back of you!" Good thing he told me that after the lesson. I'm grateful that the only rats I saw were like 10 ft away from me. If I had seen all those ones within arms reach... I don't even know... I would have cried in the middle of the lesson or something... Whew, what a Saturday night...

Other crazy things I've seen include a burning body on the side of the road, only 5 ft away from my bike when I passed it! They were having a funeral. Just another day in Pochentong.
So people here in Cambodia hit their kids a lot. Like a ton. It's not like they're slugging them, I mean its not like they're hitting them like you see the drunks do in the movies. It's more like they slap them really hard on the arm or the back. So that took some getting used to. They also kick their dogs in the face. Dogs aren't held in super high esteem here. Like they all have them, but they're not "mans best friend" here like in America. So that was pretty crazy the first couple times too. 

I don't know if I ever told y'all but in Phnom Penhh they don't speak Khmae at all like I was taught. They speak something which is called "cut language". They basically don't say all of the syllables that they don't have to. So they cut out a ton of grammar words and a ton of the middle-sections of words and they speak super fast so I have no idea whats going on most of the time. Its crazy. I'm starting to pick up on it a little but its so hard. Sometimes I wish I was out in the provinces (khaets) where I hear they speak very clearly, but I know that if I try with all my might I'll have a steep learning curve in Phnom Penh. Its hard, but I think I'll learn a ton here if I really put my mind to it! My main difficulty with the language is not zoning out and continuing to try and concentrate when people are speaking. It's so easy just to zone out sometimes, because it's all gibberish and sometimes they speak for a long time, but I really try to constantly focus and pick up on things I know. I have this notebook where I write down every word I don't know, so needless to say I write in that notebook all day everyday for the most part! Then at the end of the day I look those words up in the dictionary or ask Elder Johnson. It helps a lot. It increases my vocabulary and also helps me listen better (pick up all the sounds as people say them). The members also think it's really funny to speak super fast to me and then see the look on my face. When they see that look they laugh hard and then say the same thing but just faster and more emphatically. But they're really nice after and compliment my Khmae (not because my Khmaes good, but just cause they're trying to make me feel better I think).

Khmae food is so delicious. It has a ton of pork, a ton of garlic,a ton of vegetables, and a ton of peppers and stuff like that. I love it. It is so dang good. Chaa kreung is probably my favorite dish. Its this pork dish with a ton of ingredients in it (kreung means ingredient). Its delicious.

If I've learned anything about humans these last two weeks, its that no matter where we live or what our circumstances are, we're all still human! The Khmaes are hilarious! President Lom Ang in our ward (he's the second counselor in the North Stake Presidency) is super funny. He's only like 30 too. This other woman in our ward Bong Kun tii is hilarious too. We teach her brother Bong Makara a lot. He's a recent convert who comes to church probably 2 or 3 times a month. He's a great guy.

So pretty much every time we ride our bikes past a group of people we can always hear the word "bawrang" being said behind us. Haha. It means "Frenchman". Its what they call all the white people. We hear it a lot in Pochentong, because Pochentong is not a touristy part of Phnom Penh at all, so we're pretty much the only non-Cambodian people here.

By the way, there are some HUGE houses in Pochentong. Like enormous. Me and Elder Johnson have ridden past some houses this week while contacting in different areas and I'm just like "that house is bigger than even like Dominion or Anaqua Springs homes!" I have absolutely no idea what those people do for work. 

So I've ran for my life from like 3 crazy big mean dogs now. I feel like I'm always in the worst places too when a dog starts chasing me, wanting to bite my leg off. I'm always on a flooded super muddy road or something and I'll slip off my bike or get stuck in mud everytime in my frantic escape from the dogs. It really gets your heartrate going. The Khmaes will watch me from their hammocks and they just laugh and laugh. They think its so funny to see a bawrang stuck in mud or falling off his bike as he runs for his life from a ticked off dog.

So yeah, I'm pretty sure that theres more stray dogs than people in Pochentong. There are so many, its insane. They're EVERYWHERE. Most of them are pretty docile though, they just keep to themselves and dig through all the trashpiles, which are also everywhere.

To answer your questions:
- How many lessons do you teach a week?  We teach about 20 lessons a week. Thats really good for Pocentong. Its a pretty difficult area right now

Do you knock doors or contact people on the street?  We contact on the street. Haha and they don't have doors here. Like seriously. Unless you live in a nice house they really don't have doors.

- Do you teach English classes? Yes.  We teach English every Wednesday night for an hour and then give a gospel message for half an hour (in English). Thats a mission wide thing. English Wednesday nights

- Do you play the piano?  Yes. I'm the ward pianist

- How much did you have to pay for your bike?  Ya, so the mission has bikes. They were at the mission home. They're all pretty old. What they do is have you pay 75 dollars to use the mission bikes and thats just a flat fee. Then if you have to get a new bike because yours fell apart or if yours gets stolen I think you only have to pay like 5 bucks to take another bike.

Do you buy a meal or two out each day, or do you try to eat in the apartment?  We eat out maybe like 4 times a week. We eat out for all our meals on pday.

- Do you and Elder Johnson have a lot in common?  Ya me and Elder Johnson have a lot in common! We both like a lot of the same stuff from home. Its fun

- How do you say "Neuberger" in Khmae? I can't really convey it in this alphabet. The closet I can get is "nuh-buh-guh". You can hear what it sounds like at Christmas when you talk to me.

- What street do you live on?  I will try to Google Earth it.  haha we don't have an address. This is Cambodia!

- How long will you be with Elder Johnson?  Actually you do training for 2 transfers, so I'll be with Elder Johnson for 10 more weeks. and then he'll most likely be transferred and I'll stay in Pochentong for another 6-12 weeks after that!

I hope yall have tons of fun in Florida. Take lots of pictures for me! I love yall so much! Sorry I don't have time to say more! Just know that I really am giving my all out here! The phrase from the song Praise to the Man -- "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven" -- is what I tell myself in the tough times here. I'm really striving to only think of the Khmae people and of my Savior and not think about myself at all. Its really nice not worrying about myself. I like it. Its a nice change of pace. I love yall, have fun!

Elder Neuberger

Me and the Hmong Elders in the MTC.  Elder Pace on the right knows the Neubergers in South Carolina!  I love the Hmongs, they're great!  Serving in Minneapolis and Fresno.

 Me in the airport after calling y'all.  Our flight was all Asian, mainly Cantonese.

Pic of Phnom Penh driving from the airport 

My luggage in the tuk tuk heading over to our house in Pochentong. 

Me and Elder Elieson seconds before we left the misson home.  He's being trained in Kampung Cham. 

Railroad where we proselyte a lot.  We teach a bunch of people in this area. 

 Homes near the railroad.

 Elder Johnson, owpuk khnyom (my dad).  I'm his kon (child).  There's a lot of weird missionary slang here in Cambodia.  Haha

A map of our area in Pochentong. 

A pic of a more rural part of our area.  It gets even more rural than this!  We have parts with just straight rice fields and cows and farmers! 

Elder Johnson in our kitchen. 

The views from some of the homes are amazing.  The contrast  between the foreground and the background is crazy in this pic.  That's a wat.  They are everywhere. 

A slum puppy that came up to me and Elder Johnson before a lesson. 

A street in the middle of our area. 

A little girl in our ward.  Her parents are hilarious. 

Young men in our ward performing a traditional Khmae dance at the Pioneer Day party on Saturday. 

Another pic of the dance. 

The son of a less active family we work with. 

 Some young men at our Pioneer Day party.  They aren't from our ward.  They are from Saen Sokh.

 A pic of one of our investigators, Bong Viasnaa. He's the Man!  He really wants to learn and follows our commitments, event the tough ones, super well.

The youth doing a western jig.  Haha.  It was so funny when they came out in their pioneer clothes. 

Our bishop, Bishop Daen.  He's hilarious.

Bishop Daen

I've been here a week and a half and the watch tan is already there.  It will probably be permanent after the next two years.

The meat section of the phsaa right next to our house that we go to.

Half a  pig a the meat market.  Its heart was still beating.  That's how fresh all the food at the market is.

The phsaa right next to our house.  If you want to know what a Cambodian phsaa is, imagine an eastern market in a children's movie like Aladdin or Mulan or something.  That's exactly what they're like.

Dragonfruit.  Its so dang good!  It is kind of like kiwi, but more exotic and cooler.  For 2 kilos it was just $1.25.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I've been born in Pochentong!

Cumriapsua!!!! I'm in Cambodia! Wow, can you even believe that?! It was so weird stepping off the plane, because I set foot in Cambodia exactly 6 months, almost to the exact hour, after I opened my mission call. It was so surreal. I seriously don't even know where to start for y’all. How about the trip here?

The trip was long but not nearly as bad as I expected. We left the MTC at 12:30 on Tuesday, took the train to the airport, and then flew out of Salt Lake at 6pm. We flew the two hours to LA, and then walked/rode the bus to our terminal, found our gate, then went our separate ways in order to find payphones. That was so much fun talking to y’all! It feels like its only been a couple weeks, but at the same time it feels like its been years since we were together. It’s going to be really cool talking to y’all at Christmas; I promise y’all I'll be a much different (hopefully better) person. I'll have the same personality and stuff, don’t worry, but oh my word, you would not believe the things that I've already seen in just 4 days here. After another 5.5 months, who knows what I'll have seen and experienced! I'm so excited!!!

So anyways, we left LA on time at 1 am and then arrived in Hong Kong the next morning at 6:30am. That flight was about 14-15 hours but it didn't seem that long. I slept/dozed for probably about 9-10 hours of that. We all kind of sat in two big clumps about twenty rows apart. I sat right next to Elder Morris. I love that kid, he's one of the funniest people I've ever met. Hahaha he also has the best language story of anyone at this point. In TRC one day (in the MTC) he was giving a lesson on tithing and he was trying to say "We are commanded to give tithing to the church." but he messed the tones up (he's Viet speaking, not Khmae) and he actually said "we are commanded to give our little fairy poops to the church" Hahaha and the s-word is actually a better translation than the wording I used. Haha oh man, I hope I never mess up that badly. But it makes a good story! Anyway, the Hong Kong airport has got to be the coolest airport in the world! It is so big and clean and nice, unlike LAX, which is just big. It was so cool looking out the windows because there are these huge jungle covered mountains everywhere! So pretty! And you can also see these high-rise apartment buildings that are almost incomprehensible in size. Then we left Hong Kong at 8:45am and got to Phnom Penh at 10:25, so it was a 2.5-hour flight (Hong Kong is an hour ahead). 

President Moon, Sister Moon, the APs, and a senior couple were there at the airport to greet us. President Moon and Sister Moon are so incredibly nice. Its good that they've been here for two years already, because that means that pretty much have mission life in Cambodia figured out. They really know what they're doing. So they put us all in 3 vans, and then divided us, the sisters took two vans, and the elders went in another and we went to the phsaa (market) straight away to do contacting. We were placed with an experience elder once we got to the market (just temporarily, not our trainer) and then we went out and started proselyting for 45 minutes! It was so much fun, and a great way to experience Cambodia right off the bat! My companion, Elder Martinson, and me got to talk to some really great people about the gospel! After that we drove over to the mission home. It’s pretty dang big, especially for a home in Cambodia. We had training for the rest of the afternoon, and then we had dinner, and then went to bed. The next morning we woke up, received some additional training, then got our companions, were given our assignments, got a little more training, then all went our separate ways! Elder LeNguyen along with Elder Medley are up in Siem Riep, Elder Paramore and Sister Syndergaard are in Kampong Thom, Elder Zierenberg and Elder Elieson are in Kampong Cham, and then Elder Christensen, Sister Lindley, Sister Uresk, Sister Matthews, Sister Earl, Sister Allen, and I are all in the general Phnom Penh area, although I think we're all spread out across the area pretty well. 

So I'm in this area called Pochentong! Its on the northwest side of the city, its the area with the airport! Its a huge area, my companion says it technically goes all the way to the coast. It’s got a lot of variety. There are a lot of slums in Pochentong. Like a ton. We seem to do most of our proselyting and teaching in those parts. There are some nice parts too (its weird what I consider to be nice now. Nice in Cambodia would be considered a real poor part of town in San Antonio). It’s got everything. We also have countryside. We have to bike way far out sometimes to meet investigators and less-actives. The countryside is super pretty, but the countryside we're in isn't really a bunch of rice fields and stuff. Those are more out in the provinces. 

Pochentong is such an amazing place to be born (start your mission) in. I love it so much. The Pochentong Ward is the smallest ward in the North Stake. We have about 70 people at sacrament meeting every week. We really focus a lot of work here on less-actives. Actually a lot of the work in all of Cambodia is focused on less actives. Cambodia has about 12,500 members, but only about 2,500 of those are active. So reactivation and rescuing are big emphases here. I love the members so much! It is so amazing to see their faith! It is also incredibly humbling to go to church with them, see them in that environment, then to go and visit them afterwards and see where they live. Most of them live in these little plywood-and-tin shacks, which are kind of just sunk into the mud and trash. I don't know how they live like that, but they do. It's easy to see that I'm never going to look at the world the same after this mission. I already view it in an almost entirely different light than I saw it last time I emailed y’all. I wish everyone could see the poverty and dire circumstances of these people. It is so incredibly humbling. 

Its cool being in this area because I think a couple of my teachers served here. The members always ask about my teachers and they almost always know one, if not two or three, of my lookruus! 

So the food here is crazy good! Every meal I''ve eaten so far pretty much consists of rice, pork, vegetables, eggs, and fruit. It’s all delicious! I've had some cool fruits since I got here too! Dragonfruit and mangosteen are now my two favorite fruits. I also had this super good fruit in the market this morning, but I have no idea what it’s called though. We have to be super careful about what we eat here though. We aren't allowed to eat off any carts that have wheels, and we have to wash all our food from the market in water and bleach right when we get back to our house. We aren't allowed to drink any water of any kind from the tap, its all bottled water. We have those huge water dispensers in our house.

Yesterday after church me and my companion were at the church building for a ward mission meeting and there were a lot of people there practicing a dance for the pioneer day celebration later this week. They had a bag of this fruit and sauce thing and I tried it and I had to chug water afterwards to get the taste out of my mouth. It turned out to be a cross-section of a unripe banana, peel and all. It was so weird. It instantly coated my entire mouth so I couldn't salivate. I didn't like the feeling at all, but Cambodians love it. It’s a candy for them.

I have gotten used to the vegetable sprayer! Its really nice! I don't know why we don't use them in the States. [Editor’s note:  Cambodian’s do not use toilet paper]  Our house is super nice. It’s just me and Elder Johnson here so we have two bathrooms and a ton of space to ourselves. The shower is nice, we have hot water. The shower is in the bathroom though, like in it. The bathroom is the tub. I don't know how to explain it. Like imagine a bathroom with a sink and a toilet than imagine a shower on the wall and a drain in the floor. That’s what it is. I'll take a picture next week for y’all. And yes, our house is right in the middle of our area.

My companion is Elder Johnson and he is the greatest! He's from Orem and he's been out for 16 months! He's really good at the language so he's a great help to me with that. I'm super glad to have him as my trainer!

With regard to the language, I have no idea what anyone is saying here! Like no idea! I understand the gist of what’s going on maybe like a quarter of the time. It's a little bit reassuring that people always tell me that I speak very clearly, but I'm like "well that's all well and good, but it really doesn't do me a ton of good that I can speak Khmae clearly if I have no idea what you're saying most of the time!" It's alright though, I know that the Lord will facilitate understanding and language comprehension with time. I'm continuing to work super hard with the language. I ask my companion a ton of language questions, probably to the point of being really annoying. The language is frustrating and super difficult but I'm loving the journey of learning it. How many people get the opportunity to learn such an amazing and ancient language? I love speaking to people and explaining the gospel to them in their native tongue. I love it more than anything else in the world. 

Have I seen or done anything crazy yet? Hahaha yes every second of every day. I don't know what to tell you about. It’s all crazy. Maybe the craziest part is riding our bikes on the streets. Don’t worry though, we're safe. We ride smart and the Lord protects us.

Questions that I haven't yet answered:
-Yes, the food on the flight was awesome. Cathay Pacific is sooo nice

-My bikes good (now). The first couple of days we were at bike shops (which are everywhere) all the time because my chain kept falling off. But it's all good now.

- We are allowed to eat one meal a week with members as long as we set that meal up through the ward mission leader. That is to ensure that we don't get sick and that we only eat at places where the ward mission leader knows that the members can afford to feed us.

-I have a poncho but I only use it to cover my backpack. I just get wet. It feels nice.

Well that’s all I've got time for. I love y’all! I hope y’all are having a great time back at home! Have fun in Florida! I'm sad I'm not there with y’all but just know that I don't want to be anywhere but Pocentong right now! The mission is so hard, especially right now, but the Lord is carrying me. With Him I cannot fail.

-Elder Neuberger

p.s. - hey I'm really sorry. I took a lot of pictures this week, I promise, but I forgot to bring the cord. I'll send those to you next week. Here are a couple of me and Elder Johnson (from his camera).

Elder Johnson and me at the mission home

In our apartment

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Safely Arrived

Editors Note:  Elder Neuberger left the MTC on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.  He flew out of Salt Lake to Los Angeles, departing at 6:00pm.  From Los Angeles they flew Cathay Pacific Airlines to Hong Kong (14.5 hours), and from Hong Kong they flew Dragon Air to Phnom Penh (2.5 hours), arriving at 10:25 am local time.  In total it took them 27.5 hours from the time they left Salt Lake.  

This is the note we received from Elder Neuberger when he arrived at the mission home:

Hey I made it! Its been crazy! Went straight from the airport to the market to contact for an hour! Way fun! In the mission home for training right now. Love yall! Email yall soon!

We also received a letter from his mission president (with a few more details):

    July 17, 2014
Dear Brother & Sister Neuberger,

We are excited to welcome your son to the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission!  He arrived safely here today after their long flight and travel.  After their group arrived at the airport we took them to a local market where they were paired with a more experienced missionary and they had an opportunity to do some contacting—their first proselyting experience here in Cambodia.  They loved being able to try out their new language skills and do some real missionary work.  After a lunch with us at the mission home we spent the afternoon providing orientation, instructions, and having interviews with the mission president.  They will sleep here at the mission home tonight—after dinner we sent them off to bed—they were tired and ready after their long travel and full day here!  Tomorrow they will meet their new trainer and companion, and head out to their assigned areas.  Hopefully you should receive a short e-mail from them letting you know they are here safe.

We are so grateful for your sacrifice in letting your son serve and know it will be a great blessing to him and to your entire family.  We will do our very best to keep him safe and well.  If you have ever have any concerns or questions please know that you can always contact us using the information below.  Packages and letters for him can also be sent to the address below.  We encourage our missionaries to send you an e-mail each Monday, their preparation day.  Thank you for sharing your wonderful son with us!

Best gospel wishes,

President David C. Moon & Sister Kathryn T. Moon

Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission
House 2B Street 222
P.O. Box 165
Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia

Elder Elison, Elder Nguyen, Elder Medley, Elder Christensen, Elder Zeirenberg, Sister Allen, Sister Lindley, Sister Uresk, Sister Earl, Sister Syndergaard, Sister Mathews, (front) Elder Sam and Elder Satterthwaite (AP's), Elder Morris, Elder Neuberger, Elder Le Nguyen, and Elder Paramore

First day at the mission home

Announcing training assignments

Monday, July 14, 2014

I'm Off to the Kingdom of Cambodia

Wow. I really don't know what to say. These past couple months have been such a journey, filled with mostly ups but also some downs. This last week was one of those downs. I struggled for several days with terrible discouragement, homesickness, and depression. I eventually realized that Satan was throwing everything he had at me though, because he realizes that my district and I are about to go and do great things through the Lord in Cambodia. I talked to a couple of the elders in our district and they had been feeling exactly like I had. Same thoughts, same feelings, same doubts. Satan played a tough game this week but we made it out. How could we not be victorious?! We are THE LORDS MISSIONARIES!! With Him we cannot fail!!

I feel like I'm not as gung-ho as I should be about going to Cambodia. Obviously I'm thrilled to finally leave Provo and to go and work some good in this world, but I'm nervous. Really nervous. I still don't speak Khmae all that well. I don't know if I'm ready for the incredible heat and humidity or for the diseases and sicknesses which infest places like Cambodia. Even though I'm nervous though, I'm not scared. I was prompted to read the first 9 verses of the Book of Joshua in the celestial room of the temple this morning.

1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them,even to the children of Israel.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:1-9)

Those verses helped a lot. So did many of the other scriptures which the Spirit guided me to during my personal studies this week. The Lord really is looking out for each of us, even me. He is so aware of me and loves me so much. That love which He has for me has come to mean so much to me over these past few weeks. My love for the Lord is only going to continue to increase as He blesses me with the gift of charity.

That’s so funny that Brother Morgan knows President Jackson and his twin! President Jackson's twin is also a branch president here at the MTC! He's actually the branch president of the Portuguese which share the floor where our classroom is, so we see him all the time. It's really weird seeing the twin walking around at devotionals and stuff. It just looks like President Jackson is walking around with a different woman on his arm haha.

Glad my box made it. I felt a little like the Weasley's sending something through the mail. I had no idea whether it would work or how it would work. Glad I can work the post system though . . . Confidence booster! My other box ought to come sometime next week. I sent it a few days ago but I didn't do it through the priority mail because it was so light that it wouldn't have been worth the cost. I put one of my English name tags in there. Y’all can put it up on the fridge or something, do whatever.

Good to hear that Girl’s Camp was awesome. It must feel awesome to finally have some relief mom! Hahaha, that’s so funny about Riley sleeping in the car. That's so easy for me to picture in my head. That’s cool what y’all did with the Faith Walk. I think that sometimes we don't learn enough about the mortal life of Christ. We learn so much about His death and life after His death that we forget that He lived for us here as a mortal as well.

That is so cool about Travis! I can't even imagine what it would be like to have the Prophet read my words as an example of the transformation which should occur in all missionaries*. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful examples of missionary service from my cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and especially my father. I hope I can maintain the type of relationship with my converts that you still have with your converts from back in New Zealand!

Sherman’s coming back?! What?! Tell him that I say hi please! Congratulate him for his mission for me too!

I don't have too much more to say. I've been living basically the same life here for the past 9 weeks. It's been a miracle that I've found different words to describe my experience every single week because it feels like every week is exactly the same. 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in 4 different priesthood blessings. I gave a blessing to Elder LeNguyen (all the elders gave blessings to their companions) and then gave a blessing to Sister Christensen (Elder Elieson assigned all the elders to give a blessing to one of the sisters). After that I had the opportunity to stand in two more blessings, one for Elder Klein (who finally got to leave this morning after 14 weeks in the MTC!), and another for me and Elder Elieson's friend Elder Nixon, from BYU. Elder Nixon is very, very sick. I hope he gets better soon. He's only got like 2 more weeks till he ships out to Taiwan! It was such a cool opportunity to feel of and witness that much priesthood power as we watch everyone in our district receive blessings. I'm so grateful that all of the elders in our district have lived their lives in such a way to be able to give powerful priesthood blessings. Heavenly Father works miracles only through pure vessels.

Oh and by the way Elder Anderson came and spoke to us Tuesday. That,s half of the Quorum of the Twelve which we got to hear from in our time here at the MTC! What a once in a lifetime experience!

Well I'll call y’all Tuesday. Expect the call sometime around 9-10pm (your time). Just kind of be ready for it all night. Now that I've figured out the post system we'll see if I can work out a payphone.

I love y’all! I love the Khmae people! I can't wait to finally fulfill my lifelong dream of going out into the field and serving God's children! Have a great week! Liasenhowee!

Love Elder Neuberger

* Editors Note:  At the new Mission President’s seminar held at the end of June, President Thomas S. Monson quoted a piece of the final letter Mitch’s cousin Travis wrote home from Mongolia:

“Now, beyond those who come to membership in the Church, you will find that your missionaries, themselves, will change and grow as they serve to the best of their ability, thus securing blessings for themselves and for future generations.” President Monson read a portion of the last email a missionary sent to this family before completing his two-year mission in Mongolia.

The missionary wrote of some “tangible” changes that had come as a result of his mission: a new language, experience with a foreign culture, increased knowledge of the scriptures and a greater capacity to express doctrines of the gospel. Less apparent and measurable, but at least as important, wrote the missionary, were changes of fortified faith and purified purpose, of relationships with deity and with his fellow man and changes that “turned a distracted, disoriented teenager … into a committed disciple of Christ, filled more fully with charity and an increased interest in service to others. I am now ready to stand proudly with Paul and to ‘give every man that asketh a reason of the hope that is in me.’ ”

President Monson said, “This message from a missionary to his family represents the transformation which can take place in each of the young men and young women who will come to you as he or she works diligently and fulfills the responsibilities of a missionary. Yours is the opportunity to assist each one in doing so.”  (President Monson counsels new mission leaders, LDS Church News, June 27, 2014)

The Cambodian District 

My name tags came in . . . finally!

My name is finally on the Cambodian pass-down flag!

Our "elders" picture from the first night we were here in the MTC.  It's taped up in our classroom.  The sisters in our district (and one Cantonese sister) tried to replicate it. 

I got my "prawkah domnung law aw robaw yung" laminated.  Monsoons aren't going to be a problem for it now.

The copies of the Book of Mormon I'm going to place in the airport.

View out of our class window of Mt. Timp

Elder Curtis, Sister Abby Wallace (Hugh's girlfriend from BYU), and yours truly.  Let's go!

The Cambodian District

Zone pic.  Our zone is so much different than when we first got here.  I really, really miss the old missionaries, but our new zone is cool too.

The elders of our zone.