Monday, August 25, 2014

Baptisms!


Yes! Bong Niro and Bong Viasnaa were both baptized yesterday! It was amazing!  President Moon came up and talked to both of them on Saturday. I think that was such a cool experience for them. President Moon conducts the interviews on his own (how cool is that?!!). He's picked up Khmae since he got here! Not many mission presidents are cool enough to do that! I think Bong Viasnaa and Niro were probably a little bit scared of the 6'5" baarang at first though, haha. And then yesterday they were baptized, along with one of the sisters' investigators Ming Sophiap! So in the past two weeks we've had 4 baptisms in Pochentong, which is amazing because in the last year I think there’s only been 3 or 4 baptisms total in Pochentong. The work is finally progressing here! Elder Johnson and I have another investigator, Lookpuu Mongkol, who is scheduled to be baptized this next Sunday!

At the baptism yesterday, I baptized the sisters' investigator (the lady with one arm)! Bong Niro is right next to her, she was baptized by her husband who is standing next to her. Bong Viasnaa is to the right of Elder Johnson, he was baptized by his future brother-in-law, who is a returned missionary who is in the Pocentong ward as well.

The Spirit was so strong at the baptismal service after church yesterday. So amazing to see three wonderful people enter into the covenant of baptism with their Heavenly Father! I had the amazing opportunity to baptize the sisters' investigator Ming Sophiap! Kind of an unusual first baptism experience because she has only one arm, but it went well (apart from it taking me four times to get the wording correct when I baptized her). You wouldn't believe the number of people here who are missing limbs or have only one working eye and things like that. Did I tell y’all before I came out that Cambodia has the most disabled people (percentage wise) than any other country on earth? It's so sad to see how much physical suffering and trauma all these people have to go through in their lives and the only thing that makes me feel any better about it is when these people come unto Christ and find eternal happiness and peace in his true Church.


Bong Niro and her husband who baptized her

Bong Viasnaa and his fianc√© 

Cool things from this week:
I had my first bike accident! Yayyyy! It was on Monday. We were in Chaktomuk (the area of the city near the mission home) biking near Independence Monument, and there was this pothole on the side of the road, probably about a foot and a half across, which Elder Johnson didn't see as he was riding. He hit the edge of it and almost fell but managed to keep pedaling. I on the other hand, plunged right into it! It was full of water so we couldn't have seen how deep it was, but it was at least a foot or two deep. Anyways my front tire went in which caused me to eat it onto the pavement. No worries, no lasting harm done to me. My bike is a little wonky now though (even wonkier than before). Haha now in order to ride straight, I have to turn my handlebars about 20 degrees to the left because the axis of my bike is so far off. Hahaha, this one lookpuu sitting in a tuk-tuk nearby saw the whole thing and was just dying laughing. Haha it was pretty funny I guess.


Elder Johnson and I contacted some guys this week by playing Khmae chess with them. President Moon encourages creativity and free-thinking in missionary work, so why not?

I was also sick for the first time this week! Yeah! We came back to the house for lunch, ate, went upstairs to do language study and after about 5 minutes I started feeling really nauseous so I went to lay down on the bed and after about 20 minutes of laying there I went into the bathroom and threw up pretty much everything I had eaten in the last few days! So much fun! Then I went and laid down for probably another hour and a half till I decided I felt okay enough to go out and proselyte. Still felt sick the rest of the day, and I was super exhausted, but Heavenly Father helped me push through and then blessed me to wake up perfectly fine the next morning. So I’m good now, no harm done!

We went on exchange with the zone leaders this week. I went to Tual Kook with Elder Martinson. It was cool because Elder Martinson was the elder that I proselyted with in the phsaa right after we got off the plane that first day in Cambodia! Cool to see how much I had grown in the last month or so. Tual Kook has the most unreal homes I have ever seen too. Most of the wealthy people in Phnom Penh live there. I kid you not when I say that they are hands down the biggest homes I have ever seen. The word "house" would be completely inappropriate in describing them. The only word I could think of as we kept riding past them was "palace" and I promise you that that word is not an exaggeration in the slightest. Some of these houses had to be over 50,000 sq. ft. . I feel like some of y’all will not believe me, or will think that I am foolish and am overestimating the size of these homes. Doubt all you want, but I will put a personal guarantee on the sizes of these homes. Seriously they are palaces. I have never ever seen anything like the likes of them. Its crazy because people talk all the time about the wealth gap in Mexico. The wealth gap in Mexico is NOTHING compared to Cambodia. Nothing! In Cambodia there are so so so few people at the top, and together they share all of the wealth of the country. Cambodia has to have one of the top 10 steepest wealth pyramids in the world.

This week one of the interesting things I ate was coagulated pigs blood! It was in this curry that the Relief Society made. I thought it was liver at first, and Elder Johnson was just like "Eat it, eat it, eat it!" and so I did and then I was like "liver?" and he was like nope, "coagulated pigs blood". Haha, it actually was really good. I ate all of it. It really doesn't have a strong flavor at all (that might just be because it was in a curry though and everything in a curry tastes like curry). So yeah, now I can say I've eaten quite a bit of pig blood chunks!

Questions:
Do you eat noodles, or is it mainly rice?  Yup, we eat a lot of noodles too. But rice is by far the most common food we eat

What about fish?  Yup eaten fish a few times. Last week we ate at a members home and we had Cambodian sour soup along with this big old fish which they brought out on a platter. I thought it was like a burnt rotten log, but it was actually just a roasted whole fish. How they cook them here is they literally just put the entire fish in the fire, scales, head and all, and then they take it out of the fire when its done and then eat it! It was actually super tasty.

We read in Jake Curtis’ email that he lives on the 22nd floor in his apartment building in Thailand.  Is there even a 22 story building in Cambodia?  Haha wow thats nuts about Jake living on the 22nd floor. There’s a few tall hotels which are probab’ly 20 or thirty stories. There’s only like one skyscraper. I think its called Dragon Tower. Its owned by the Koreans I think (all nice things in Cambodia are either Korean, Thai, or Chinese, not Cambodian). You can see it from all across Phnom Penh. Its pretty sad when you're in just the poorest slum you can imagine, and you look up and in the distance you can see the top of Dragon Tower. Two totally different worlds...

View outside of our window in our Tuk Thlaa house
Elder Johnson and I on the roof of our house in Tuk Thlaa



Do you remember Natalie Haughawout?  She taught your Primary class when you were about 10.  She knows a Vietnamese speaking elder in your mission (she taught him in Primary as well)  Wow that’s super cool about Natalie Haughawout, I totally remember her! I don't think I know that missionary, but I'll probably meet him at some point or another!

That’s pretty much it! Glad y’all had such amazing last weeks of summer! Now back to school! Have fun with that! Middle school and high school are awesome Chloe and Riley, even if y’all think they're lame or hard or boring right now, I promise you'll miss them a ton once you graduate from them. I love all of y’all! I pray for y’all every day! Cumriaplia!

Love Elder Neuberger


Rice fields in the countryside




Crossed out the "imagine that" part of an activity in Preach my Gospel. "You are serving a mission in Asia". Uhhh yeah, Check...



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